Thursday, September 24, 2009
Well, I must really and truly apologize to all of you, who have surely begun to ignore me by now. A lot of things conspired against me all at once and in rapid succession. Work was madness, I spent some time out of the country without a regular internet connection, school started back up, and for the last few days my only coherent thoughts have involved the love of my life, video games, and Full Metal Alchemist. Anyway, that’s my sob story and I’m sticking to it! While I was away I managed to read something webcomicky (gosh my spell check hates me), and I think this material ought to carry us along for a great while. What was it, you may ask? I read the wonder that is Lavapunch 2. These reviews won’t be exactly like our regular reviews. Normally I review the body of work as a whole, but since the book uses the work of many different artists and contains many different stories, I’ll be reviewing each as a standalone.
And where better to start than at the beginning? Dokodetsuka: Unagi Jane and the Skullbunnis is beautifully drawn. It looks a little bit like a manga, but without some of the things that most manga artists do, for example, Unagi Jane’s mouth is never just a simple line, rather, her lips are always drawn very full. Her ears are very detailed, and her eyes and hair aren’t blown out of proportion. These factors make the character easy on the eyes, although you may wonder why she always seems to be pouting, or what the deal is with those weird blush marks on her cheeks. Character drawings aside, the focal point of the story, the ridiculously cute Skullbunnies, are drawn in an idealistic fashion. In other words, while an actual skull is pretty scary to look at, a bunny skull just looks like a bunny without fur and eyes. Probably the best thing about the whole comic is its backgrounds. There are tons of gnarled trees everywhere, and the ground is appropriately textured for the setting. Though the lighting suggests that it must be broad daylight, the design of the trees gives the impression that this particular forest is a scary place that school girls such as Unagi Jane should probably avoid.
Now the short story, or short comic in this case, is a medium that everyone should be able to appreciate because it has its own unique set of challenges and rewards for both the reader and the artist. My favorite thing about short fiction is its noncommittal nature. When you sit down to read it you know that it won’t trap you for hours on end, maybe just ten or fifteen minutes. The foremost challenge for the artist or writer is to hook you in for that fifteen minutes be eliciting an instant emotional response. This story’s appeal occurs by the third page, and you arrive quickly as the first three pages contain a grand total of four words. It’s there that the intrigue starts, and it’s there that you’re hooked. I won’t give away anything, but let’s just say that the story is magical, despite the artist’s obvious personal identification with what we in the anime biz know as “furries”. Don’t google that if you’re easily disturbed.
Dokodetsuka: Unagi Jane and the Skullbunnis is a cute piece of short fiction for those of us who enjoy the slightly surreal. This comic gets an impressive 7.8 out of 10.
(PS: This guys original website is no longer viable, so I’m waiting for an email because I might have found his blog. If it is his, I’ll put the link up.)