Monday, December 24, 2007

Red Strings, vol. 1

Story and Art by Gina Biggs
Published by Dark Horse

Slugline: Do you choose your fate, or does your fate choose you?

This manga is the collection of webcomic. To read the webcomic, which includes the material in this volume, click here.

Miharu's parents have always been a little odd, but they have just dumped on her the biggest shocker, that they already have arranged for her marriage while she was still a baby with the son of a family friend. Needless to say, she does not take welll to this announcement and storms out. While out, she runs into an older boy that helps give her some perspective on the whole ordeal. And because this is a manga, that boy is Kazuo, the boy that is supposed to marry. Wackiness could ensue, but merely the mundane confusion as the series deals with these issues, along with the other problems of Miharu's friends and family.

I admit I do have a fondness for Red String, because I first discovered it a few years ago at SPX (read a report about the latest SPX here) and picked up an ashcan of the first chapter back then. But looking at the first volume as a whole, you can see the seams in it, for a webcomic flows differently in a published format. The chapters do not flow into each other easily and it feels like the overall story is moving in fits and starts. That being said, the art seems very old-school. As in the use of obvious tones and very sparse line art. It is the style that fans first imagined that American Manga would take back in the early 90s. Now that isn't a knock on the art style, but it is very realistic, refusing to fall into moments of kawaii and chibi art. For a realistic romance story, that is what you need. I am not sure how 'Japanese' it really is, but it has enough of those touches that it feels real. I took a look some of the later chapters that were available on the website, and it does seem to flow together better. There are no big flowery dramas, but Red String, despite it's talk of fate and the like, feels more real and grounded than most other shoujo.

Red Strings, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.


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