Friday, August 6, 2010

Manga Review: Oniisama E volume 2

AWESOME. Traveled home from my trip (where I didn't have internet access) late last night, and saw that Prop 8 was overturned!!!!! Yay, marriage equality!!! ^___^ I was shocked when Prop 8 actually passed over a year ago, and I'm ecstatic that the California Supreme Court did the right thing. *pops confetti* Now let's get marriage equality everywhere else!

On that happy note, part deux of my Oniisama manga review-

Volume 2 wraps up all of the loose ends, some in ways that you might find satisfying, some not quite- like life. But the Sorority is abolished (whoohoo!), Mariko returns to school, relationships are reconciled, people die, get married, move, graduate, and...Nanako grows up. That is the point of this manga. The ending was tear-inducing, but not unexpected. It brings the series full circle, with a grief-stricken Takehiko sending a letter to Nanako for the first time we see, prompting Nanako to write back to him.

The yuri in this volume is some yummy Nanako x Rei, Mariko's brief crush on Kaoru, and Fukiko's hilariously botched attempt to seduce Nanako.

Story: A- (Sometimes irritating, sometimes sad, but definitely worth reading. More to mull over than in most manga.)
Art: A-
Overall: A-

After her high school graduation, I want to think that Nanako would attend a culinary school and open a bakery, because she loves making sweets. Fukiko would become a bad ass politician and win the Prime Minister's seat after filling the National Diet with members of her own newly formed political party, the Sorority. If Kaoru were alive, she would become a pro basketball player, with Takehiko and the Seiran student body as her groupies. And Rei would open a pharmacy, while simultaneously running an underground drug ring with the yakuza. They would all lead happy, sparkling lives.

Don't read past this point if you don't want to read even more detailed spoilers for the Oniisama E anime and manga.

I always like comparing adaptations with their original sources, whether the adaptation is good (Aoi Hana anime), bad (Mai Hime manga), or a mixed bag (live-action Love My Life). The Oniisama E manga has some things that I prefer over the anime, while the anime includes some things I like that aren't in the manga.

The pros unique to the manga:
  • The diner flashback. It makes Takehiko's father infinitely more sympathetic. Where the anime made me want to punch him in the gut, the manga made me want to give him a pat on the back and some tissues. Correct me if I have a bad memory and the diner-flashback really was included at some point in the anime.
  • Fukiko's violin trauma isn't present. With her personality (spoiled, imperious, proud) and background (teenager who has been treated like the world revolves around her, aside from that one time) I can make it work- but it still feels kind of overblown.
  • Rei's death makes more sense. Where in the anime, her death filled me with peevish fan-rage ("NO!!! DATE!!!!!!!!"; really, it felt like I had a hot chocolate chip cookie waved in front of my nose, before it was chucked over a bridge in front of an incoming train), when she died in the manga, I thought, "Well...yeah, realistically, that would happen to someone who keeps popping pills like that."
  • 70's clothes.
The pros unique to the anime:
  • A happier ending. It brings the series full circle in a similar way to the manga, only with Nanako receiving a letter with a photo of Kaoru, Takehiko, and Nanako's new baby nephew/niece(?).
  • Misaki Aya's character development. After Fukiko, she's probably the closest thing to a villain in this series, but in the anime she and Mariko resolve their enmity after they realize that they've only fought because they're similar, and hate seeing their own weaknesses reflected in the other.
  • Mariko's resolution with her father, right after she lights her entire freaking collection of candles and tries to burn down the mansion.
  • The Sorority-abolishing arc lasts longer, the better to savor it. It's also less bittersweet, because the Sorority is closed on the strength of the student petition alone.
  • The scene in which Fukiko gives her final speech as President of the Sorority. It made me like her for the first time.
  • Fukiko's character development after Rei's death. I'm mostly thinking of the moment where she gives Nanako Poupeé-chan, and the revelation that she knew that she and Rei were sisters.
  • Tomoko's smack-down against Misaki's cronies.


Anonymous said...

O.O -wants to read it- xD

Katherine said...

Heh, yay! ^^ I've done my job as a reviewer.

Sheldor said...

Omg, I was crying with laughter at the thought of Rei running a pharmacy! Too funny!

I don't know if I could ever go back and read the manga, I actually liked the series (despite certain unpleasantness) but it left me kinda on a bad note. HOWEVER! Armed with the knowledge that there is no "Fukiko's violin trauma" scene, well that certainly changes things. There are no words for that scene.

I only have a few episodes left of Rose of Versailles but I must say it’s rather amazing. Do you have any plans reviewing that in the future?

Katherine said...

@ Sheldor- Yes, since it's A) freaking excellent and B) one of the earliest yuri-ish shows. (And the greatest influence on my beloved Utena. X3)

Sheldor said...

Awesome, I'll look forward to it! Utena was my motivation as well, I was so pleased it ended up being as awesome as it is.