Sunday, June 24, 2007


The first manga review I ever wrote (though not the first to appear on this blog) was a review of Tenshi ni narumon! a two volume manga based upon the anime of the same name (the first half of the anime was released in the U.S. under the title I'm Gonna Be an Angel!). At the time I wrote the review, I had only seen the first nine of the anime's twenty-six episodes. I saw the rest of the first half when it was released in the U.S.; and a few weeks ago I watched the rest of the series on YouTube. Now that I've seen the whole anime, I thought I'd take another look at the manga, in particular at how the manga differs from the anime. As far as possible, I'll try to avoid spoilers for both the anime and the manga.

Obviously, when transforming a 26-episode anime into a two-volume manga, a lot has to be left out or condensed. But given this constraint, the first half of the anime is adapted pretty faithfully, except for the first-half climax, some aspects of which are changed. On the other hand, the anime's second half (which makes up the second volume of the manga, except for its first few pages) undergoes drastic changes in the manga.

To start with, Raphael is eliminated completely from the manga. Of course, this substantially alters Mikael's character. Miruru is virtually eliminated from the second volume, in contrast to her prominent role in the second half of the anime (she only appears at the edge of a single panel, as far as I know). Noelle's family, who were less important in the first volume of the manga than they were in the anime, are even less important in the second volume. In fact, they're virtually absent from the second half of this volume. And Natsumi's role in the second volume is diminished, and different, from her role in the second half of the anime.

While Eros and Muse remain important characters in the manga, their characterizations, and their relationships with each other and their employer, are completely different (up until their final scene with their employer). Eros does not remain in his employer's realm directing Muse, but works hand-in-hand with Muse, who does not transform herself. Eros is not constantly and fruitlessly trying to please his employer, nor is Muse constantly trying to please Eros. Nor do Eros and Muse function primarily as comic relief, as they do in the anime. Furthermore, the strategy they employ is different.

In fact, the only scenes from the anime's second half which appear in the manga are the aforementioned final scene between Eros, Muse and their employer; the finale, which is itself heavily altered; and parts of the aftermath. Apart from these, the events in the manga's second volume (except for its opening scene, which is a spillover from the anime's first half) are almost wholly new.

I'm sure a lot of people will be outraged upon hearing of these changes, particularly the elimination of Raphael. I myself regret the diminuition of Natsumi's role (she gets somewhat of a raw deal in the manga, IMO). But the manga tells a satisfying and enjoyable story in its own right. In fact, I actually prefer some aspects of the manga, such as its more serious Eros and Muse. I also like the manga's finale better: not only does it do a better job of avoiding cliches, but it gives Noelle herself a more active role in the finale. As for the loss of Raphael, I'd be more unhappy about it if his role, and his relationship with Mikael, hadn't been so sketchy in the anime in any case. All of this, of course, is not to say that I didn't thoroughly enjoy the anime.

If you've watched the anime, and want to know more about how the manga differs (or if you've read tha manga and want to know more about how the anime differs, for that matter) write me, and I'll answer your questions as best I can.

UPDATE: In the original version of this post, I let slip a fairly large spoiler for both the manga and the anime. I've fixed that.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Recently I was up in the Chicago area, and watched some DVDs I rented from Odd Obsession Movies. Here are brief reviews of two of them; more perhaps to follow.

"Turkish Young Frankenstein": This film is one of a number of Turkish rip-offs of famous American movies which have become notorious among connoisseurs of cult and/or bad movies. The "Turkish Young Frankenstein" (whose real title is Sevimli Frankestayn) is virtually a scene-by-scene remake of the Mel Brooks classic. As I was watching it, I got the feeling that Nejat Saydam, who wrote and directed it, didn't realize that the original film was a comedy. Adding weight to this suspicion, the film reproduces several of Brooks's routines, but with the comic payoffs omitted. If Saydam did intend the film to be a comedy, then the Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman parts were woefully miscast, while the "monster" looks like a heavyset man with a few facial scars. Unfortunately, for the most part the film is funnier to read about than to watch: I stopped watching after about fifty minutes, which was about a half-hour after the joke, such as it was, had worn thin. Odd Obsession's copy is in Turkish without subtitles.

Sexy Line (Sekushii Chitai): Not a pink or etchi film despite its title, this is a Japanese black-and-white crime drama directed by Teruo Ishii (who also directed Blind Beast vs. Killer Dwarf, which I reviewed here, along with many other films). It's about a young salaryman who, framed for the murder of his girlfriend, investigates the murder himself and discovers that she was involved in a shady prostitution ring. The film has most of the accoutrements of film noir, but the noir atmosphere is spoiled by Yoko Mihara, who steals the show as an irrepressively vivacious female pickpocket who joins forces with the salaryman for the thrill of it. Actually, Mihara's performance is the main reason to watch what is otherwise a fairly routine film.

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Monday, June 11, 2007


I know I've been gone a long time, and I should have a more substantive post up soon (knock wood!). But right now I want to quickly pass along the news, reported on Same Hat! Same Hat!, that Drawn and Quarterly have licensed Seiichi Hayashi's Red Colored Elegy, which I reviewed here. It will appear after the third volume in their Tatsumi series, which itself will appear "probably in the first half of 2008."

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