oyceter: man*ga [mahng' guh] n. Japanese comics. synonym: CRACK (manga is crack)
I feel as though I keep repeating myself, but this series is really just so charming! I can never decide who I like more: the ever-practical Rakan, who is unfazed by people falling into his garden but will whack someone for putting a foot on the table; Chigusa, who has absolutely no comprehension of human behavior whatsoever ("I'm trying to seduce you"); or Koh, who is already filled to the brim with awesome by virtue of being a talking snake.

Spoilers )
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This is embarrassingly late, and my other year-end posts will be even more so. It's so late that it's even late by the Lunar New Year!

OMG people! I actually read less manga this year! I suspect this was less because I was reading actual books and more because I moved to a place where the public library either does not have as much manga, or I have had a harder time finding it via the catalog, since they are never on the shelves.

Some people may also have noticed that I've switched from doing a post for manga to doing a post for sequential art overall. It's getting too annoying to distinguish between which OEL manga is manga and which is comics—some just read more like comics to me, and I cannot say why, except that they do. I'm also changing formats a bit, since having the same series on my best-of list for three years in a row or so feels odd. At least, that would be my reason if I wanted to look good. In actuality, it is merely because I am tired of trying to come up with blurbs that will sound different from last year's.

As with previous years, this is my list of favorites that I read this year, and it has nothing to do with the date published. Unlike previous years, I have each individual volume linked, thanks to my awesome new database! If there's no link, I haven't written it up, but feel free to ask about it in comments. The licensing information is only for the US, many apologies!

Favorite new-to-me series )

Also recommended )

Favorite ending series )

Favorite continuing series )

Total read: 197 (36 reread)

All sequential art read in 2008 )
oyceter: man*ga [mahng' guh] n. Japanese comics. synonym: CRACK (manga is crack)
This continues to be funny and touching and sweet, although Koh the talking snake is not quite as hilarious as he is in the first book (seriously, "The sky is blue!" still makes me giggle randomly).

We get to learn a little more about the world Chigusa, Narushige and Koh come from, especially about the prince of the world, but most of what I remember after reading the volume is the character interactions. I think my favorite moment is when Narushige hugs Rakan for no good reason, and we see Chigusa catch sight of them. But instead of being jealous, he blankly walks over and envelops the two guys in a hug, prompting Koh to attempt to hug them, albeit a little too enthusiastically.

"Why did you do that?" they ask Chigusa.

"I thought it was just a morning ritual," he replies.

It's the combination of easy affection and intimacy, the complete lack of understanding of human interaction, and the quick by-stepping of romance tropes that's so lovely.

I also giggled a lot over Chigusa's attempts to figure out how to stop liking Rakan, as again, complete lack of understanding of human interaction.

Yet even with that complete lack, the makeshift family of Chigusa, Narushige, Koh, and Rakan is still so much healthier and cuter than many other character relationships.

Still charming; looking forward to volume 3.
oyceter: man*ga [mahng' guh] n. Japanese comics. synonym: CRACK (manga is crack)
Rakan's a fairly normal high school student with an unusual affinity for plants, until one day, he comes across an unconscious man in his garden who then proceeds to wake up and threaten him... with a flowering gun. As it turns out, Rakan looks exactly like the (evil) imperial prince from Chigusa's world (the formerly unconscious guy), but instead of being evil, Rakan is a sanome, or someone who has power over plants. Soon, they're joined by Narushige and his talking snake Koh, both also from Chigusa's world, while some politics go on back in Chigusa's world.

The worldbuilding so far isn't entirely new (parts of it remind me of Nausicaa, and for some reason, I feel like I've seen the plant thing before), but it's still fascinating and inventive. But the part I love best so far is the characters. Chigusa is protective yet shy, Rakan is confused and attempts to cover it up by feeding everyone, Narushige is also protective and sweet, and Koh is proof that talking snakes are made of win (see also: Fire Dancer, The Hollow Kingdom). I feel I should be more into the worldbuilding, which is cool, and I am, except again, my brain, it is on vacation. As such, I am left with the impression of a lot of UST between Chigusa and Rakan and tons of hilarity involving the snake.

Seriously, people! Characters from other worlds being confounded by modern-day life, a la Rukia in Bleach and the juice box, are always hilarious, and even more so when they are talking snakes exclaiming, "The sky is blue!!"

In conclusion: funny, sweet, charming, yet epic-feeling, with pretty art and nice production values from TokyoPop to boot.

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