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Friday, April 29, 2011

Reader's Diary #708- Katsuhiro Otomo: Akira Volume 2

Last January I was pleasantly surprised by my first, and until now only, foray into manga: Volume 1 of Katsuhiro Otomo's epic series Akira.

I won't say it was a short lived affair as I definitely plan to continue with the series, but I enjoyed the 2nd Volume slightly less than the first. I still didn't get the character development that I was hoping for, in fact there was almost no building from the first in that regard. However, the trade off to that was a very intense, fast paced story that was quite gripping.

I also commented that I enjoyed the details and artistry of the backdrops of the first volume. And once more, I still enjoyed them, but some of the initial appeal had worn off along with the novelty. Most panels, yes, are still detailed in a crisp style that reminded me almost of schematic drawings. However, I wasn't crazy on the action sequences. Sometimes Otomo abandoned the fine details in favour of lines surrounding the characters or a bunch of smoke and bits which made it confusing at times. Some of this may be Otomo's personal style, or maybe it's a manga thing and I just haven't learned to appreciate it. Compare the 4th panel on the top page to any of those below it:

Still, Otomo's fascinating post-apocalyptic Tokyo is fascinating. It is a bit hard and feels somehow insensitive to read about some science fiction catastrophe to hit Japan right now while they're going through a very real catastrophe. But I guess I should be thankful they don't have Akira to deal with on top of everything else. (If you've read it, you'd get that last sentence.)

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