By Julie Opipari
With the bad news that CMX is closing shop, I am left with the horrible sinking knowledge that there are many of their series that I will never have a chance to finish reading. Some were so close to being finished, too! Two Flowers for the Dragon, Orfina, I Hate You More Than Anyone. Instead of dwelling on the bad, though, I will think of only the good, and point out a few titles that have been published in their entirety. All of these are worth picking up before they go out of print.
The Recipe for Gertrude is the series that turned me on to Nari Kusakawa. The first volume didn’t do that much for me, but the character development and suspenseful plot kept me reading to the end. The first volume was quirky and kind of interesting, but nothing really special. The second volume, and each one after that, however, upped the ante to create a compelling story, full of danger, magic, and romance. I loved this series.
Kiichi and the Magic Books by Taka Amano is another magical title that is well worth a read. This is another series that did not grab me with the first volume. That’s why I have a two volume rule, and try to give every new release that I pick up at least 400 pages before I decide not to follow it any more. Kiichi is about a traveling librarian who journeys from village to village with his magic books. And a kid with a horn growing out of his forehead. Who is going to turn into a tree. Peopled with characters who come to life over the five book series, this is one of my favorite titles. Ever.
VS (Versus) by Keiko Yamada is all about the drama. Loads and loads of ansty melodrama fill each and every page of the seven volumes, stretching emotions to the breaking point. Reiji is one of those tortured musician types, and he has got some issues, to put it mildly. He’s got so many emotional problems and personal quirks he’s trying to deal with that it’s no wonder he can’t get along with anybody. Sadly, I think I am the only person who read this one! If you like intense, brooding characters, give this one a try.
The Palette of 12 Secret Colors is another series by Nari Kusakawa, and it is a winner! It’s got it all – humor, romance, drama. The characters came vividly to life for me, and I cried when it was over. Mainly because it was over, and I wouldn’t be sharing any more adventures with Cello, a young woman who is studying to become a “palette,” and her magical bird, Yo-Yo. The series drips with personality, and quickly became a favorite.
EMMA by Kaoru Mori is a beautifully illustrated romance about a maid and a nobleman in Victorian England. They have to overcome class differences, but nobody is making it easy for them to be together. William’s father is vehemently opposed to the relationship, and he threatens to disown his oldest son if he doesn’t give up his love for the penniless Emma. Told through touching vignettes, Mori’s detailed line-work compliments this character driven romance perfectly. There is also an anime series based on the series.
Moon Child by Reiko Shimizu is just plain weird, but it’s a good kind of weird. Taking the fairy tale, “The Little Mermaid,” and twisting it on its ear, Moon Child has gender-changing, space alien merpeople. One of them is even trying to destroy the world! Can Benjamin, a little boy who is destined to turn into a woman, save humanity? Or will his love for a human bring disaster to everyone? Words can’t do this one justice – just go read it.
Canon is one of the first series that I read by Chika Shiomi. Like Nari Kusakawa, she is now one of my favorite artists. I will buy anything of hers that is released, and I am lucky that several of her series have been licensed, by several different publishers. Canon is a paranormal romance. It’s all about revenge, with vampires, a talking crow, and a really hot guy. How can you not like that? Or all of the big, dramatic confrontations that take place throughout the series?
If you are interested in any CMX titles, you should probably snap them up sooner, rather later. It looks like Amazon has low stock on several series, and with DC pulling the rug out from under CMX, once the books are gone, they are gone for good.
When Julie Opipari isn’t mucking around the barn, she can be found trying to make a dent in the massive pile of manga that keeps following her home from the bookstore. Not wiling to admit she has a problem, she blissfully continues to anticipate the latest releases despite the cries of agony from her credit card. She cheerfully blames her addiction on the stresses of college and post traumatic work disorder, and is grateful that her family grumbles only occasionally about the amount of time she spends buried in her books. In addition to reading Your Manga Minute every Wednesday, you can read more of Julie’s work on her blog, Manga Maniac Cafe.