Friday, February 03, 2006

Boy, was Tower of the Future a major disappointment. Saki Hiwatari's Please Save My Earth is a great, skiffy romp, a reincarnation soap-opera with a bunch of likeable and flawed characters. She has a reaccuring problem with talking-heads and the usual Japanese inclination towards woolly-headed, abstract idealism, but the manga works on a visceral and emotional level. PSME is one of my regular buys, and I haven't regretted a volume so far. I wish I could say the same about Hiwatari's Tower of the Future, which is some sort of minor-key later project of hers which CMX started publishing a few months back with almost zero fan-fare. Now that I've read the first two volumes, I can see why they weren't talking about it.

Basically, the story is about an only child named Takeru, who's supposed to be imaginative and a dreamer, and how his mother dies & he finds out that he has a bastard older sister. There's some sort of skiffy fringe about a little kid named Zen, but by the end of the second volume Hiwatari hasn't even come close to explaining what that's about except that Zen's trying to get the hero to hook up with the nominal heroine, who's barely been introduced as of that point.

Now, I say that Takeru is supposed to be imaginative, but his dreams are really tedious - the worst kind of RPG-style and-then-this-cool-thing-happens-for-this-airy-reason fantasy-plotting crap. He doesn't come across as particularly geekish, or charming, or even particularly gangly or awkward. He's just a dick. A passive-aggressive, selfish, unlikeable, undistinguished teenaged dickhead. He treats everyone around him like shit, and even his own motivations are poorly established & worse-expressed. Even when his victim-saint of an older sister shows up, the story doesn't really pick up, as she is, as I said, a walking stereotype of offended, vulnerable, abused virtue. And she's got a silly name - Hojyu? Honju? Something like that.

At any rate, I gave it two volumes, nothing happened, the page count was short, and I've got better things to do with my manga money. Dropped.

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