Immortal Rain- part 1

•January 19, 2010 • Leave a Comment

alternate name: Meteor Methuselah

year of release: 1999

mangaka: Ozaki Kaori

characters: Balfaltin Machika, Jewlitt Rain

genre: shoujo

summary: Rain Jewlitt, known as the Methuselah, is a spaced-out, immortal, 624-year-old man dressed in priest’s clothes. He’s got eternal youth and a large price on his head … put there by those questing after the secret of his immortality.
Machika Balfaltin is a tomboyish, energetic 14-year-old girl who, upon the death of her grandfather, sets out to kill Methuselah, the one bounty her assassin grandfather, Zol the Grim Reaper, couldn’t kill. Instead, however, Machika ends up being saved by Rain again and again from other aspiring bounty hunters attacking them both.
Sound like the beginnings of an odd relationship? You won’t believe where their journey takes them… (tokyopop)

Immortal Rain for me is:

as all the manga I wrote and intend to write about for the time being, this manga really caught my attention. I can say with confidence that this manga is definitely one of the best things I have ever read, and by far the closest to perfection. for more information regarding the reasons I believe Immortal Rain is so unique, please read my previous post: Immortal Rain and Chrono Crusade- why so special?

Immortal Rain is a really deep manga about Rain, AKA Methuselah- a bounty head that is rummored to have lived for more than 600 years. it’s said on the “prequel” (which I will discuss in part 2) that  the price for his head is so high one will be able to buy an entire city with the money. for most bounty hunters Methuselah is just a myth, but for Machika he is the only bounty head her deceased grandfather the great assassin Balfaltin Zol, known as the “Grim Reaper”, couldn’t take down, and so as of a very young age Machika’s purpose in life was to kill the man her grandfather couldnt.
Rain is always wearing the same cloths of a priest and always carrying with him a violin the he poorly plays, and its obvious from the very beginning that this violin has great meaning in the eyes of Rain. and so, thanks to the never changed appearance of Rain that never gets old, Machika easily spots him once he came to her town, where he have met her grandfather before she was born.
Machika is so determined being the one to take his life that after he’s being captured by a group of young assassins that found out his identity, she’s helping him escape out of jail (though its obvious that if he wanted to get away and fight he would have easily won) and hide him away for some time from the bounty hunters that now target not only Rain, but also herself.
from that moment Machika is starting to tail Rain where ever he goes, though he tries with all his might to lose her and make her leave him alone and drift away from town to town as he did for the last 600 years, but Machika refuses. she insist that she will be his grim reaper, and so she has to follow him, but its clear that this young girl who has no one in the world and lost the only family she ever had has started to get attached to the peculiar man who not so long ago was supposed to be her victim. and so their journey starts.

this story touches a few things that made me, as a human, think. why do we always pursue what we don’t know? why does things we don’t understand trigger us so badly? why are we willing to annul one’s existence to our own benefit? and we can see those things happen every day. homosexuals are pursued even in this day and age, and their rights as human beings to marry and to live freely the way they see is best from them in peace is taken away, because people don’t like what they don’t know and understand from their point of view; people abuse animals (and in the past other humans too) to expand their knowledge; since humanity has been created it is manipulated by things people don’t understand like gods existence, creation of the world, nature disasters, fate and a lot more of other things. in Immortal Rain, Rain is the gay, the monkey, the volcano and god itself.
while reading I started wondering, right after he made his first appearance in the manga, “why would someone put a bounty on this man’s head?”. Rain is the purest most kind and wonderful person that could ever exist. so patient and compassionate, calm and loving man even though the entire world is willing to have him killed. Rain has the most sincere expression, it’s so soft I can really cry by just looking how childlike and warm this giant man’s face is. Rain has never done anything bad in his entire life, and yet he is pursued the same way murderers, thieves and rapists are. it’s really painful to look at it that way, a man who stays alive only for the sake of humanity he loves so much, humanity that abuse his pure soul and his beaten body so badly repeatedly. the only reason he’s being targeted by the entire world is his immortality that he never asked for. for humanity, immortality is something unknown, something desireable, something they want to understand, and because of those selfish desires he is treated so horribly. no one ever stopped to think there is a person, a living person with a beating heart and feelings behind this creature they want to take his life even though he never did anything that justify it. what makes it most clear that he has never been treated as a human his entire immortality is that no one, not even once, called his name before Machika. he has always been Methuselah, an object, a target. 
humanity in our world is this way too. we never look at the person, we look at what we want to see or what we think is there, and as long as we’re okay we don’t care what happens next door. humanity is cruel.

I really like reading manga that makes me think and has a meaning, and not just being there to entertain. it always touches me more and i feel like I’m being sucked in, it become a part of me. Immortal Rain, as i said in my “why so special?” post, is just wonderfully made. the characters are amazing, being it Rain, Machika or anyone else, even the evil ones are so well made. there’s innocence in this manga, desperation, sadness and cruelty but it also has great passion, friendship and love. the only reason I said this manga is almost perfect is that there isn’t anything perfect in this world. if there was- it would be Immortal Rain. its art, and not just the amazing artwork. it’s a master piece of all master pieces.

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Immortal Rain and Chrono Crusade- why so special?

•January 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

unlike Chrono Crusade that took me a while to finish after discovering it for several reasons, once I came to know Immortal Rain I was totally captivated, and finished all the 9 volumes the scanning groups has translated untill now in a matter of 2 or 3 days, which were very enjoyable. every moment of reading was blessed, to tell the truth. its been a long time since I’ve been this hooked on a manga to read all 46 very long chapters in such a short while.
the reason I chose comparing Immortal Rain with Chrono Crusade even when talking about the time it has taken me to finish reading is that i had a very similar experience reading both manga , so I’m going to use CC and IR for this purpose in several matters because both of these manga has this unique magic you rarely come across, and being frank I have never, not even once, for all my manga fanatic years and all the hundreds of manga that I read in the past and present, have encountered this magnificent kind of special manga. it’s very hard to explain what is it that makes CC and IR special to this extent that they’re totally different from other manga to the point of being on a whole new level. of course every single manga is unique in its own way, and I have no intentions underestimating other works, but IR and CC are definitely different in the best way they could be.

when I say I had a similar experience with both manga I mean the feeling it gives me was very much alike, yet different. there is nothing similar when it comes to the story, characters, art style, writing or anything else, it’s absolutely different in every aspect, than how come it was so similar?

there is one thing to start with that I think put these two wonderful manga in the same category, and it’s simply the genre. CC is a shounen manga, written by a seinen/shounen mangaka, but still- it didn’t feel like shounen completely. there’s a certain touch shoujo manga has, and it was definitely there. it was sounen with a touch of shoujo that gave the manga a whole different atmosphere. IR is a shoujo manga written by a shoujo mangaka, but still- its doesnt feel completely like shoujo, it has a certain touch only shounen manga has which gave the manga, like CC, a whole different atmosphere. this “shounjo” and “shoujen” atmosphere feels to me like a whole new level. this combination, in the hands of great talented mangaka that know how to handle it and merge just the right amount to make the perfect story, is a treasure. but I don’t want anyone to ba mistaken! I am most definitely NOT talking about romantic shounen and fantasy/martial arts shoujo or any kind of shounen and shoujo that include in them genres that the other usually has. it’s totally different that I cant even compare how superior the shounjo and shoujen are. as I said, it’s a whole new level.

another thing that is similar is the characters development and plot progress. both IR and CC have similar flow in the progress of the plot thats being built from the very first chapter and progressing slowly and naturally on solid foundations, layer after layer. even when jumping  1 year, 5 years or 600 years to the future or past the harmonic rhythm is still kept unharmed.
as expected of these two amazing mangaka that were able to achieve something that for me, as a reader, is priceless with the plot progress, of corse the character development is of the same nature as the plot. solid foundation is the key, never forget where you came from and what you’ve been doing along the way. personality that is human, walking its path with a natural pace, discovering yourself while discovering others, being shaped and help shape others, passing every phase- never skipping, dealing with all that needs being dealt- never running. all those things we want to see the character go through, all that we hope to see- is there, always keeping to the rhythm of their life, static and charming, and most of all- human. it’s so easy to relate to each and every one of the characters, whether it’s the wacky scientist, evil brother, mad doctor or the rotten friend, they are so well made that personally, even while hating some of them, I cant help but understand and even like them somewhere in my heart.

another similar point, and the last one I’ll be using to show how unique and wonderfully made these manga are, is the supporting characters. I have to admit I didn’t like the supporting characters in CC like I love the ones in IR (for a reason that I will reveal in a few lines), but I can still say that the way they are being introduced to the reader, the relationship they build with the main characters and other main supporting and supporting characters is honestly well made. the rhythm I talked about is also valid when it comes to the main supporting and supporting characters. they all have they’re own character development, to their own natural pace matched to their own extraordinary personalities.

Chrono Crusade and Immortal Rain are very special manga. there are a lot of other things I can say that make them both so amazing and precious to me, but i dont think i have the energy needed for that. I enjoyed every moment of reading and cherished every word and every line that Ozaki-sensei and Moriama-sensei written and drew, and I can assure anyone and guarantee that everything I said and all the praising I did were not in vain, every word is true. but of course there’s always a but…
BUT! even though I love CC from the bottom of my heart, and I truly adore this piece of art, Immortal Rain is a lot better for me, simply because it’s the closest thing I have ever read that was this close to perfection, at least in my eyes. the characters, the story, artwork and everything about it was wonderful. the art style may not be the prettiest thing I have ever seen, but the characters (especially Rain) are so soft… their sincere expressions, every spark in their eyes and all the emotion genius Ozaki-sensei puts into the characters that is so authentic and real, it’s just splendid. its fun and painful, and most of all, it made me overjoyed that Ozaki-sensei is so brilliant, and that this manga exist.

Chrono Crusade

•October 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

alternate name: Chrno Crusade: mary Magdalene

 year of release: 1999

mangaka: Moriama Daisuke

characters: Rosette Christopher (main), Chrono, Azmaria

genre: shounen

summary: America in the Roaring 20s. On the surface, it’s a positive, peaceful time after the violence of the Great War. But lurking in the shadows is a dark element ready to snatch that peace away. Sister Rosette Christopher, an exorcist working as a part of the Magdala Order, has a duty to fight the demons which appear and cause destruction. But along with her companion Chrono, she usually ends up causing more destruction than the demons themselves! On one particular mission, they meet a young girl with a beautiful voice named Azmaria, who is being targeted by her own stepfather. As Rosette and Chrono work to save her, more is revealed about the relationship between them. There is more to these two than meets the eye. (mangafox)

Chrono Crusade for me is:

to be honest, for me, Chrono Crusade is an epic love story, heartbreaking even. though it’s not hard to move me, I was still surprised at the amount of emotion from this manga that didnt cease to wash over me. Chrono Crusade is most of all unquestionably tragic to the sweetest most horrible way possible.

the lead character is Rosette, and most of the time the story is being told from her point of view. she is a nun at a Magdala monastery which exist in order to exterminate demons. the extermination in this manga is not chanting some spells and throwing holly water or whatever the old school way to exterminate is… the nuns actively fight the demons and shooting at them with special bullets! [i have to say i am NOT a fond of guns and usually dont read manga related to weapons of this sort, Chrono Crusade is one of the few manga i read even though it had more guns related action than enough for a pacifist like me, but it didnt lessen my enjoyment.]

Rosette has a cute little sidekick, with cute little pointy ears, cute little fangs and cute little head band named Chrono. this little apple pie is a fearsome demon that Rosette had a contract with 4 years ago (plot timeline) and is helping her with her extermination duties, and basically follows her everywhere. being in a contract with Chrono, Rosette is wearing around her neck a big watch, which is the seal for Chrono’s powers. the seal is needed because every time Chrono uses his powers Rosette’s soul is being consumed and so her life spent is being shorten.

in one of  their mission they rescue Azmaria, an apostle, and she joins them at the monastery. she’s a nice little addition. at first i didnt like her so much and i hoped she wouldnt stay as a permanent character but soon after i came to like her. she joins Rosette and Chrono in the journey to find Rosette’s long-lost brother, Joshua.

the manga is very bloody and gory at times, theres a lot of action and fighting, which makes sense since it’s a shounen manga. as all adventure fantasy shounen theres evil beings that needs to be destroyed; good VS bad; right VS wrong and so on. the powers on Chrono Crusade were pretty average, not something too flashy, though you have to love the transformations of the demons, especially Chrono’s! the main point isnt about who has more power, who gained what power and who is stronger; its beyond that, and thats one of the reasons why i came to love it so much.

chrono crusade is about running and waiting- waiting is tiresome, so when youre tired of waiting you run. it’s about having someone to run with and to wait for, about strong bonds that even death cant break. as i see it it’s very emotional and sad. the backgrounds of some of the characters is very touching though Chrono is the only character that has his past really brought to the open. 

though i would like to describe how cool the fights over pandemonium were, and honesty some awesome things happened there, but the impression i got from the end of the manga is too strong, and when thinking about Chrono Crusade its hard for me to think of anything else. i hate sad endings, and Chrono Crusade has an extremely sad end. did i say tragic already? the last few pages are a bit… optimistic in a way, but it still left me crying like a baby.

this manga was excellent and i enjoyed every moment, even the moment that made me cry like crazy and gave me a headache. it was a beautiful story, very well written and very exciting, and the art is not at all bad, though not that special. its good for both girls and boys, though not for people with weak hearts.. there is ALOT of blood and massive injuries like losing limbs or part of a stomach or a head… tragic.

the bond Rosette and Chrono are sharing is very interesting and touching and i really enjoyed it, it was special and something worth envying. having this relatioship taking a considerable part of the story made the manga alot more attractive to a romance maniac like myself. i do enjoy shounen manga alot, but its always better to have the action main dish come with a romance side dish. absolutely yummy.

recommended indeed.

Akuma to Love Song

•October 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

alternate name: devil and her love song

year of release: 2007

mangaka: Tomori Miyoshi

characters: Kawai Maria (main), Meguru Shin, Kanda Yuusuke

genre: shoujo

summary: Akuma to Love Song revolves around an unusual girl, Kawai Maria, who was expelled from her previous school, St.Katria Girls’ School. She soon transfers to Touzuka High School, a public school with low standards. Her sharp tongue and straightforward personality often leads everyone else to hate her with exception to two handsome boys who eventually gets involved. With a devil’s aura like hers and an arrogant facade to pair it up with, she’s just too hard to be understood. And so Maria needs to deal with bullying, adjusting, fitting in and of course, romance. Just how will a devil like her cope with all these predicaments? (wikipedia)

ATLS for me is:

I absolutly love this manga. there’s something about Maria that’s hard not to like. she’s no regular air-headed shoujo manga typical heroine; she’s devastatingly beautiful and she comes with an attitude that you rarely see. she’s so honest, but not naive at all, she is well aware that she’s not the type people know how to deal with, but she does’nt give a damn. she is being herself and saying what she thinks all the time with no discrimination, even if the truth is too ugly to look at. her new classmates granted her the nickname “devil Maria”  due to those things. apart from being nasty Maria also has a tender side to her, though not well developed. it’s true that she seems tough but there is something that’s not letting her go. she’s always chanting “amazing grace” when she’s troubled and i find it’s really cute for her to deal with thing this way. for me the peppery- bitter- sweet- cold hearted– honest- beauty is really interesting, especially the way you see her feelings and character slowly taking a form of something she is’nt used to. 

another reason Im a fond of this manga is Meguru Shin, one of the male lead. he is so indifferent about everything, he cant bother to be interested with nothing, always seems bored and aloofe, quite a loner that likes to skip class and sleep instead. what is there not to like about him? this mangaka is doing a great job, in my opinion, with the characters. each and every one of then is special and interesting, and I cant help but want to know more about them, so I’m really glad when there’s a piece of their past being told on the manga. Megu has a difficult character, so people tend to stay away from him. he really is apathetic and not caring, not just pretending to be. the only person that he has some connection to him in school is his friend Kanda Yuusuke, which is also a wonderful character, very loveable and cute, a kind person and of course, he has issues of his own, though it doesnt seem that way. Yussuke is the only person that is trying to befriend Maria when she’s being an outcast. he’s very popular and the fact that he’s nice to everyone makes it seem natural for him to do. he is also the first to give a small change to her character, which he called a “lovely transformation”. i really like the path this manga is taking, i think the story is very unique thanks to the characters. its nice to see the connection that’s forming between Maria and Megu, and Maria and Yuu and another interesting girl, those 3 are the first experience Maria is having with true friendship, trust and love.

there is another thing, and its the “narration”. for some reason I think it’s made in a great way, i really like the narration of this manga. you can learn alot about the characters from it, it’s not just for decoration and i like the “dark” atmosphere it gives to the manga sometimes.

truly recommended.