Ryu’s Musings – 3 One-Shot Briefs

Posted on July 13th, 2010 by Ryu Sheng |

One-Shot briefs will make odd occurrences from time to time. Its purpose is simply to give a post to single volume titles that I have bought, but failed to Impress me and I don’t feel worthy of a post on their own, so I will make a single post for all of them. Usually I will hold off making a post until I have three or four titles.

The titles in this post are: An Ideal World, The History of the West Wing, and Toxic Planet. All are released by Yen Press.

An Ideal World

idealworld ISBN-13: 978-0-7595-2942-7

Language: English

Direction: Left to Right

Pages: 176 (Single volume)

by: story – Weidong Chen, art – Chao Peng

Publisher: Yen Press

                            Type: One-shot

                            Genre: Shounen

                            Synopsis:

Time and again, A You finds himself chasing a mysterious rabbit through his dreams. But before he can reach out and grab it…his mother is shaking him awake for another day of work. A You’s not exactly thrilled with his job at the factory, so when a persistent streak of bad luck leaves him unemployed, it seems like a great opportunity to start over. The trouble is, A You doesn’t have anything to move on to. With no goals or aspirations, A You roams the city searching for direction. Deep in thought on one of his strolls, A You suddenly rouses himself only to discover he’s lost in the woods. He catches sight of a rabbit, and in desperation follows it through the forest. But this scene seems familiar…Is it a dream? Or could there truly be an ideal world within the darkness?

General Thoughts:

If I am to be honest I did enjoy this volume. Of the three titles on this post it was the one I enjoyed the most.

A You is a funny character that I could really get into. I loved hi personality and the character designs. Just as I liked the personalities and designs of the other characters through out the volume. The art is stunning, with some really amazing settings and lush sceneries.

So if I liked it so much why did it fail to really impress me? Sadly it suffers from the fatal flaw of a lot of one shot series, it’s to fast, cramped, and ends to predictably.

This would have been excellent spread over two or three volumes allowing time for the characters to be established better. This is especially true for A You, we literally get his personality dumped on us and then off to change it. There’s no chance or time to build up an impression of his personality.

The story hook for his change, a Alice in Wonderland feel, works well. But again there’s not time for the characters to be established, or for A You to go through the changes. He changes from the depressed, pathetic kid into a regular go get’em in the space of a few chapters. The change is just to fast.

The extras of the volume are nice, the character designs and colour covers from the french version look amazing. In the end though I was left feeling a bit disgruntled, wishing more time had been spent on building the story and characters.

Considering it was considerable more expensive than normal manga I had high expectations, which it fails to live up to. I don’t feel it was worth the extra.

The History of the West Wing

westwing

ISBN-13: 978-0-7595-2992-2

Language: English

Direction: Left to Right

Pages: 112 (Single volume)

by: story – Sun Jiayu, art – Guo Guo

Publisher: Yen Press

                            Type: One-shot

                            Genre: Shojo

                            Synopsis:

Lavishly illustrated in full color and based on the classic Chinese play Xixiang Ji by Wang Shifu, The History of the West Wing tells of the illicit romance between the daughter of a Chinese government official and the roaming scholar who seeks to win her hand. But before he can turn his attentions to his ladylove, the young man must win the heart of her mother! When it seems even heroic deeds in the face of murderous bandits will not please the strict matriarch, the young man goes off to become a civil servant. Will he return in time to marry his true love?

General Thoughts:

I had high expectations for this volume, the cover design is superb and definitely one of the best I have seen on a manga (manhua). When I flipped through it I found the art throughout to be equally lavish. I also liked the feel of the paper. Sadly that’s where the quality ends.

History of the West Wing fails to bring the characters to life despite the lavish art. I found the characters to be dull and uninteresting with no real personality to them. This volume is even shorter than Ideal Word, and as such it’s even faster, giving the story an even more jerky feel to it. The sad thing is this could have been an excellent one-shot if more time, and pages had been spent on it.

The original story this is based on is a single volume 300 page novel, which leaves loads of room and scope to make a single volume manhua. However no matter how lavish the art is, if the story and characters do not work, then it fails. Again considering the cost of this volume to a normal manga, I find myself wondering if it really is worth the cost.

I will say that the extras are even more stunning. We get over 20 lavish full colour panels that are really breath taking. However I would have rather seen all that extra space to expand the story a bit more

Toxic Planet

toxic ISBN-13: 978-0-7595-2928-1

Language: English

Direction: Left to Right

Pages: 192 (Single volume)

by: David Ratte

Publisher: Yen Press

                            Type: One-shot

                            Genre: Shonen

                            Synopsis:

In Sam’s world, pollution is such that everyone is forced to wear gas masks at all times. He lives with a lovely young woman whose face he has not seen in years. Though pollution still poses a few (arguably) negligible problems here and there, Sam finds the state of his world…normal! At the factory where he works, everyone seems resigned to live in such putrid surroundings; “It’s just how things are!” “It’s not dangerous!” they say.

This was another that looked interesting at the time of buying, but when I got home was lacking.

This volume is pretty much a mickey take on the whole global warming issue, and I will admit I found the volume mildly amusing. But it feels like nothing more than a collection of newspaper cartoons. Sort of like the Garfield and Marmaduke strips we get in mainstream newspapers.

I do not have anything against these collected volumes per say, I just don’t see them being worth what they sell for. This collected volume does have it’s moments where I found myself chuckling, but nothing that really jumps off the page at me.

The other thing I found a bit disappointing was that there is no real story to the volume. It literally just a series of pokes at global warming. Some people I think will probably like it, but for me I found it boring after a while, and barely made it through half the volume before I went off to read something else.

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