Unfunny collection of short stories by the “international rainbow-haired rock-’n’-roll cartoonist” Ippongi Bang. An extremely light parody of the horror genre, the tales involve ironic punishments for various social ills (a girl makes a devil’s bargain to lose weight; a guy who cuts in line on the subway suffers an awful fate; a girl who wants to be a “material girl” turns into a sex doll). Chaotic sword god
Based on a collection of short stories by author Koji Suzuki (The Ring), MEIMU’s Dark Water manga offers a quartet of horror tales, all of which revolve around disquieting bodies of liquid. The title story, “Dark Water,” is about a recently divorced mother who begins to suspect that something sinister is going on in her run-down apartment building (the tale also served as the inspiration for a Dark Water live-action film in Japan, later remade in Hollywood). The second story, “Island Cruise,” preys on the fear of what may lie beneath the waves during a boat trip. “Adrift” is also set during a sea journey, and posits a theory behind ghost ship legends. The final (and best) story, “Forest Beneath the Waves,” contains no overt supernatural elements but is still a journey into the dark side as a man suffering from a midlife crisis seeks the ultimate getaway during a sea dive. Reading like a manga collection of Stephen King stories, Dark Water is a slight but enjoyable collection. As the top adapter of J-horror tales, MEIMU’s art and storytelling are more than up to the task of conveying physical terror and psychological dread.
Kei, a girlish boy who hangs with the tough kids on the school roof, discovers that he’s a medical hermaphrodite, and (slightly against his will) undergoes the transition to become female. The first chapter is promising—a transgender manga about an actual sex change—but things become conventional when Kei shows up at school as “Megumi,” and the manga turns into a typical “girl who feels like a boy inside” story. Meanwhile, her four best friends from when she was a guy all ask her out. Like Hiroyuki Nishimori’s A Cheeky Angel, the story parodies teenage male machismo, but Tsuda’s heroine is weaker, the plot is slow, and the page compositions are dull. Disappointing.