While you’re waiting for your fix of DMotR this week, check out Girl Genius. I discovered this when a friend sent me the first graphic novel, but the entire series is online. In a nutshell, it’s a steampunk-victorian world where certain people are called “sparks” – blessed with an innate gift of genius for creating mechanical marvels. Just imagine: a world literally dominated by mad scientists. Some of the visuals are almost Miyazaki-esque in their imaginativeness. And some less so; the heroine tends to work in her underwear, though she really is a wholesome type, it’s just accidental. On her part anyway.
You can get up to speed with the “GG 101” class andthen when finished, start reading the “Advanced Class“. The 101 Cast List is also very useful as a side reference. New comics come out M-W-F so it’s very satisfying. It’s well worth your time.
3 thoughts on “Girl Genius”
Have you ever run across Kenji Tsuruta’s Miss China (the central figure of his “Spirit of Wonder” manga). This is also set in a Victorian-like setting — and features mad inventors and the like. there have been some anime adaptations of bits and pieces of this — but all may be out of print.
Note: Tsuruta is one of Abe’s acknowledged inspirations.
Can’t say I’ve ever heard of it, to be honest. I still have a kind of cultural impasse when it comes to delving too deeply into japanese mediums. I enjoy (some) anime but I’ve just been unable to really grok manga of any sort. The best anime isnt so Japanese as much as it is thouhgt provoking; this is why Haibane Renmei and Kino’s Journey were so satisfying, they were more abstract. My “experience with Steamboy”:http://www.haibane.info/2006/12/20/steamboy/ was a massive disappointment, I wonder if the Japanese themselves have too much trouble really grokking Western culture too.
To tell the truth, I actively dislike (or am totally disinterested in) almost all anime and manga. Mostly what I’ve seen and like is closely tied to Japanese cinema (which I love). There is a lot of dross out there — but still because there is simply so much (and it is so varied), there are also plenty of (very scattered) treasures.
I think Japanese artists’ familiarity with (and understanding of) Western culture needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Some are quite canny — some are clueless. Given the clueless goofiness of American productions like “Last Samurai” and “Memoirs of a Geisha” — lack of US-Japanese cultural comprehension is clearly a two-way street.
One Victorian-setting anime/manga series you might like is “Victorian Romance Emma”. Sort of an “Upstairs, Downstairs” story — but with a tighter focus on the young male and female leads. Sweet, intelligent, well-drawn. Only draw-back — still only fan translated materials (not sure if this has been licensed yet in the US — and whether commercial releases will ever actually show up here).
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