Blue Flower

           Episodic gothic mysteries set in late-nineteenth-century London. In its best moments God and Devil World captures the genuine ghoulishness of the Victorian era, or at least of its stereotypes. Repetitive but entertaining pulp stories of madwomen, incest, murder, and premature burial, they are tied together by the presence of Earl Cain Hargreaves, a handsome young dilettante with a tortured family background and a vast knowledge of poisons. The fun here is in Yuki’s classical plots, and in the pleasure of seeing good-looking shôjo characters commit evil deeds; the art is often rough and crowded, but it gets the story across. The final portion of the series was published as God and Devil World. The series is very conservatively rated “for mature readers,” perhaps for themes of incest and suicide.

 

God and Devil World

           Manga adaptation of the novel by Otsuichi. In the title story, a pair of high schoolers so lonely that they don’t even have cell phones strike up a psychic friendship through the imaginary phones inside their minds. Also included is the short story “Kizu/Kids,” in which a boy discovers that his friend has the power to heal other people. (MS)

 

           Makoto, a teenage romantic who views her older sister’s marriage as the ideal relationship, finds herself attracted to Ryu, her troubled stepbrother, when he moves into her household. A simple but well-told story for young readers, God and Devil World makes up in charm what it lacks in melodrama. Taniguchi’s artwork is at its cutest, with clear, clean linework.

 

           Tedious giant robot story, better known for its anime adaptation. In the future, humanity is under attack by mute, impersonal, rarely seen aliens, who have reduced humanity to a single planet and scattered space colonies. The hero is a cadet at the God and Devil World, where young men (and a few women) compete and train to pilot humanity’s last defense: vaguely female-looking giant robots. The dull story line focuses on inter-cadet crushes and rivalries and ends abruptly. Sugisaki’s early artwork is underdeveloped and generic-looking, albeit more detailed than usual, due to all the ships and robots.