Sunday, December 31, 2006

Originally posted October 4, 2006 at 18:53.

Today, I was shelving and saw that we had gotten in Dramacon v.2. I've been rabidly waiting for this volume since I read the last one, which was probably about a year ago. I understand how hard it is to put out graphic novels and I'll try not to complain but dangit, if it's a year between this and the next volume I might become rabid.

The first volume has a lot of highs, much like a con weekend. It's almost frantic, and it ends on a good note. It's a LOT like going to your first big convention.

The second volume is NOT like that. In fact, it's a little more like going to conventions after you start to grow up and become a bit more adult. Yeah, you're still silly and you still geek out. But you also budget your money a little better, and you think a little more about things, and the emotions aren't quite on the same roller coaster.

This is not to say I didn't love it and reread my favorite parts right after I finished it. I like that more grown-up sensibility, the fact that the characters are actually dealing with some difficult issues for kids their age, and doing so without falling into typical cliches. Bethany, one of the new main characters, has a speech that really floored me and was very unexpected.

There is one fault I can find with this graphic novel, and that's the cutesy little name-dropping. I know, it's about fandom. I know, it's about an anime convention. But we're treated to "Narilyn Nanson," "Fruity Basket," "Half-Metal Alchemist," "Pawky," and of course, the big American manga publisher: MangaPop. Oh, I'm not sure at all what she's referring to.

We'll end on a good note though. I wasn't sure at first how I felt about a main subplot being the arguments of fans over what is and isn't manga. The characters are American's doing a Japanese-style comic. Some people call that manga, but they have people come buy going "that's not manga!" These are the people I always want to stab and remind that manga literally just means comic. It has no shiney specialness in Japan. THEY call Disney animation anime. THEY call X-Men manga.

Anyway, I have a new perfect retort. A character replies that if you apply the logic that only Japanese manga can be called Manga because it's a Japanese art form, then you can't call it pizza unless it's made by Italians.

The same character also says "We can call it fried cheese if we want, it's a free country."

Thank you, and so's your muffin.