Saturday, 26 November 2011

More on Berserk, and CLAMP again

Berserk is one of those things, I've decided now, that I continue to delve for extremely odd reasons - it seems to be just one of those things that are heavily intended for breeds of people who either enjoy greatly being reminded of the sufferings on the world, or on the other hand, people who enjoy the sufferings of the world on their own i.e. those people on the sadomasochistic spectrum. This manga is one that really does not bother at all with standard manga, or even media tropes at all. Instead of intending to make the reader feel good, as almost EVERYTHING IN EXISTENCE is intended to do, it instead could almost be said to intend to make the reader feel bad. Horrible, in fact. When you don't like it, you feel horrible at the horrors depicted on each page. When you do like it, you feel horrible at yourself for doing so. I really wouldn't recommend this manga for anyone simply because I do not currently know anyone who would actually enjoy feeling horrible, though rest assured, for the benefit of the readers I will continue with this manga - or so I say to cover up my own queer affiliation for this manga, that weak as it may be now seems to be growing by the minute.
     In other news my love affair with CLAMP has been rekindled in passion, as upon giving Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle a second chance I was absolutely blown away. CLAMP having made quite possibly one of the best shoujo manga out there, seems to now be trying to create one of the best shounen manga out there, and is doing quite a good job of it, as far as I can see. The general feel of things isn't really standard shounen-fare. I mean, there is, obviously an extremely prominent plot-driving goal in place, just as in almost every shounen manga that dares to call itself that, but it doesn't seem, at the point I'm at, to be a goal that the protagonists are grinding for. What I mean by that is, shounen manga typically behave like RPGs - the protagonists basically keep facing enemies stronger and stronger, or train, in order to become good enough to fulfill their dreams. Now I do think, though it may be too early to tell, that the protagonists WILL get stronger, but there isn't a huge focus on this at the moment. Rather, more emotional and intricate things are being focussed on, as would be standard for a shoujo manga - which is of course what you should expect from CLAMP anyway.
     As for the books I'm reading: I can't for the life of me get back into Speaker for the Dead. While the plot does seem to be coming on in the neat, intricate way I've come to expect from Card (as evil as the man is), I don't really feel much at all at this point for any of the characters. That's Card's main literary flaw I think - his characterisation is terrible. While Ender's Game was fast-paced enough to basically breeze through any characterisation necessary, in Speaker for the Dead I really feel that not painting every character as a disjointed annoying wreck would have served him a lot better. I don't mind that he portrays humanity as weak, but I DO mind that the plot is such that it calls for characters who don't exemplify that every second.

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