EL-HAZARD: THE MAGNIFICENT WORLD
Shinpi no Sekai El Hazard, “World of Mystery El-Hazard” • Hidetomo Tsubura • Viz (2000–2002) • Tokuma Shoten (Monthly Shônen Captain, 1995–1997) • 3 volumes • Shônen, Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy • 13+ (seual situations, violence)
Bland adaptation of the El-Hazard OAV series. Hidetomo Tsubura’s rubbery art is occasionally funny, but the stripped-down story only has the bare bones of the anime: boring guy ends up in high-tech pseudo-Arabian fantasy world, where his face is magnetically attracted to women’s cleavage. In place of character interaction, the manga introduces two new evil Ifurits (genie-like, superpowered robots) for pointless fight scenes.
• Kaoru Mori • CMX (2006–ongoing) • Enterbrain (Comic Beam, 2002–2006) • 7 volumes • Historical, Romance • 16+ (nudity, mild seual situations) Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou Manga
In 1885 England, a young man from a wealthy merchant family falls in love with a maid: Emma, a quiet young woman with glasses, who works in the house of a kindly widow. But will his family ever approve of the marriage? A three-handkerchief love story with occasional light comedy, Emma (no relation to the novel by Jane Austen) has a novel-like plot and a unique organic art style that makes London’s streets and drawing rooms glow with warmth. Wordless sequences follow the characters about their daily tasks and in the silent reflection of their hearts; it has minimal narration and, unlike most manga with such large-eyed characters, it rarely breaks the mood with caricatures or outright goofiness. Despite the artist’s eventual hiring of a historical consultant (from volume 3 onward), Emma is not a realistic portrayal of the Victorian era; this is a romanticized world where rich men ask out poor maids, the streets are clean (more or less), and an East Indian prince can ride an elephant through the London streets to visit the hero. Sweet and old-fashioned though it may be, in its own way it fits well with present-day otaku manga trends: a “maid manga” set in a time when maids were actually common. The nudity is scarce and nonexploitative.