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Thoughts on Arina's Newer Series'

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Thought I'd start a general topic for Arina's newer series', since discussion's been pretty low lately and I'm genuinely curious to hear some opinions about her latest work :3. Most of us were probably brought here by her older stories like KKJ, FMoS, or even SDC, so it'd be interesting to see what we all think of her newer endeavors!

 

So, this is just a thread to share your opinions on her newer stuff: Sakura Hime*, Fuudanjuku Monogatari, The Cat's and my Friday, 31Ai Dream, her essay manga, and whatever else Arina's been up to as of late!

 

How does her new work compare to the old? What do you think of her ever-evolving artstyle? Did you quit on a particular series, or never try one out, and if so, why? Should more of her new stuff get localized? Has anything changed do you think since she left Ribon? Have YOUR feelings about her and her work changed through the years?

 

Going back to the new series' themselves, here's what I think about each one, to get the ball rolling. Make a similar list yourself if you want! :)

 

Sakura Hime:

This probably ranks as my second favorite Arina's manga, tied up there with SDC. I wish it were more popular around here! D: It might not be her darkest series, but it's probably the one the most upfront about the darker stuff, I think. It's so deliciously screwed up xD;, and I love how intricate it is. Sakura isn't an extraordinary heroine, but the other characters with their skewed subplots and backstories start carrying the story for her pretty earlier in. One of my favourite magical girl tumblogs (even though SHK drops the magical girl thing pretty fast) reviewed some of it recently, stating that it's best read in a pile of volumes rather than as serialized, individual chapters, and I have to agree. I can't see the Shura Yugenden arc playing out in any other way, but reading it in serialized form was the most frustrating thing ever because it took 4 volumes' worth of chapters to get her out of there and have the present day story continue DX. That's. More than. A year! Which sucks because the arc itself is quite good, especially compared to what happens afterwards! (Looking at you, the Everybody Dies/Great Character Massacre of 2012 Arc 8/..)

 

To sum up my opinion, I ADORE this series for its intricacy, mind-screwiness, and separate character strands, and would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't tried it yet since it's probably the most similar to her more popular series' in the past of the manga on this list, but I do wish the pacing and ending were better.

 

Fuudanjuku Monogatari:

A set of oneshots rather than an actual series, and they're best read that way too. They're cute, but I'm guessing I'd enjoy it way more if I were a fan of the group. My favourite's probably the one with the elementary school kid! It was like Neko to Watashi ni Kinyoubi done right XD;.

 

Neko to Watashi ni Kinyoubi//The Cat's and my Friday:

I wrote about my opinion on the series here. Now just imagine some of those negative feelings intensified no thanks to the latest developments (We all knew the cliffhanger for chapter 13 was gunna happen eventually...) It's harsh, but I just want it to be over ;_;. I'll still keep in an open mind and read it, though, because A. her art's as gorgeous as ever, B. I find Nekota interesting, and C. Since SHK read better in a certain way, I want to see if this applies for NtWnK, too..*crosses fingers because I really WANT to like this series*

 

31Ai Dream:

Haven't had the means to read this yet, but man am I excited to :D. A dissatisfied 31-year-old trying to restart her life at 15 after a depressing high school reunion? Eff yeah! I hope Viz translates it (seeing as it's with Melody, which if I recall correctly wasn't Shueisha)..

 

Arina's Seed--Her essay manga in Cobalt:

Oh, the book that I couldn't figure out the contents of><. haven read this either. i really want viz to translate as well even though it probably unlikely. just..i love reading her free speech columns so be a dream able this. she mentioned that writes about life before debut mangaka and seeing was young when started off learn that..>

 

 

*Granted, SHK isn't that new considering when it started, but I still consider it pretty new because of how it only ended last year. Not to mention it won't be until next February that all the volumes'll be out in English. Hey, have I ever mentioned how much I love the way Viz kept the two-sided front covers of the Japanese editions? 'Cause I do. They're gorgeous and I always squee a little whenever I see the series laid out on my bookshelf. Man, if they ever did the perfect kkj volumes like that...

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I love SHK, but when compared to KKJ and FMoS, it falls flat. Of course, that might just be because those are so hard to top. Those are tied for my favorite manga.

 

One thing I wished SHK did better was spread out the backstories, sort of like how there are only about one or two per volume in FMoS. I loved the backstories, though-- especially Asagiri's.

 

I also felt like volume 8 was pretty much a way to fill the time.

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One thing I wished SHK did better was spread out the backstories, sort of like how there are only about one or two per volume in FMoS. I loved the backstories, though-- especially Asagiri's.

 

I also felt like volume 8 was pretty much a way to fill the time.

 

I totally agree! :)

 

Oh, don't even get me started on volume 8..It was a nice change of pace, but totally pointless. We could've skipped the whole thing and gone straight to the revelation of Aoba's secret. I'm sure Princess Yuri's introduction and Fujimurasaki's backstory could've been fit in some other time, in a better way. It was just generally..downgrading on all the characters involved--even Yuri XD;;. I liked her way better when she returned later on.

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Ah, you're right, they haven't been translated as quickly!

 

The cliffhanger's not bad in the sense that it puts the characters in a really tight spot (though Ai might be upset afterwards); it was just..an extremely predictable turn of events that didn't need 13 chapters to lead up to since it was pretty inevitable from the start, seeing as the whole series revolves around a love triangle. It just disappointed me since I thought Arina was going to execute it better. D: I mean, here we finally get some story development after all those shenanigans >>...I might have to reread it though since Serizawa's collar bone was distracting me too much

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LOL his collar bone? XD

 

I really like SHK (I still need the last 2 volumes though...) But I do prefer FMoS, SDC, and Mistress Fortune (mostly cuz I thought MF was super cute XD )

 

And yeah Neko is really slow at the updates so I don't really know what to say about that ._. But as you said, the art is still amazing

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Oh, this is such a good topic. :3 I was just pondering this over the other day while re-reading KKJ. (Because I'm a KKJ-version of Chiibi sometimes. 'Nuff said.) I was thinking about what I've read of Neko and SHK and Arina's more recent series and thinking about the old ones.

 

Personally, I couldn't get into SHK. It's not just that I tried and failed. I bought the first 3 volumes when they came out in English after reading and re-reading and re-reading and re-reading scans.... And then I tried re-reading the volumes I bought. But it always somehow.... lost me. I honestly am not sure how. Usually I'm not as big on the fantasy-era manga. So that could be it. Or like you said, ArinaAngel, I need to read it all in one long sitting instead of as chapters or volumes.... That's how I felt sometimes, that it was so much and breaking it up just... BROKE it. XD It just didn't come up to KKJ or Full Moon standards for me. Not even ION standards - though I FLIPPING LOVE ION.

 

Speaking of ION, I disliked the continuation of it. (Which I guess is a recent development.) I am very sorry to say that because ION was and still is one manga I return to constantly because I love it so much. It just took away from the actual storyline, I felt. I didn't like that Mikado said that he "liked Ion all along" because frankly, he didn't. He had no idea that he liked her, didn't even really notice her as a girl AT ALL before they met. It just felt like Arina was trying to make it into some gushy romance that it wasn't. SIGH. That's the whole point of the story, right? That Mikado realized that he liked the GIRL Ion instead of the psychic one. Saying that he liked her all along breaks that down. :/

 

I'm going to skip Fudanjuku because I haven't gotten to read it yet but I have a feeling it'll be like Mistress Fortune and I'll like it. :)

 

Now, Neko... Neko, Neko, Neko. I only read 2 chapters. I haven't scoured for more lately. I think it could be good. But Arina's got to up her game on characters for this one. Ai seems like a standard heroine - which is definitely not Arina's style. So I'm hoping she develops into a stronger character. I love the younger guy / older girl pairing so I want to read more.

 

Honestly, I'm sad that more of the recent works aren't being picked up by Viz yet. They have other series that are ongoing in Japan that they are releasing in America. And Arina's manga usually does well here - at least that's what I thought.

 

What I also thought recently: "MY FAVORITE MANGA IS FROM 1998!!! @_@ I FEEL SO OLD."

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Sakura-hime Kaden is a great series. After my disappointment for Shinshi Doumei Cross (in terms of a longer series), it was great to see her pick up the ball again for SHK. It became my third favorite Arina series (after FmoS and KKJ). I actually wish it was longer? cause there was a lot I think she still could have done, but I don't mind the way it ended. Now I just can't wait to read all of those chapters I read when it came out in chinese haha

 

As for the other stuff. I honestly do not like Neko. Its on the same level as SDC for me. Honestly, Arina is not all that good at slice of life series at all in my opinion. Its very predictable and you can see where it is gonna end up. If anything, I would probably sum up the series as boring haha. I haven't read the other two things you mentioned Mimi, but I would like to. I would love to see arina do more fantasy stuff, since its really her strong suit, but whatever she makes, I will always check it out.

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^^^

 

Pretty much everything fake mexican food item said. (Can I just call you chimichanga for the ease of typing? XD)

 

Yeah, I like Sakura Hime much, much more than SDC... (tbh, I just gave up on SDC.) Also, I haven't read enough of The Cat's and My Friday to really like it, but I feel like it'll be more like SDC than anything else... Dont' get me wrong, her art's just as gorgeous as ever... I think it's just the storylines that aren't so great. I'm more interested in 31 Ai Dream than Neko...

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Ahh I agree with you in regards to the length of SHK Chibi! There was loads of unexplored potential. I guess I'm not upset with the ending as much as I feel like it ended too early. Everything was tied up in the end, but with how fast it all was it felt rushed to me D:. The thing with Kaguya-Hime especially, seeing as so much was leading up to it.

 

I also agree that she works better with fantasy stuff! SDC for me is the exception there, since I love it, but I've almost classified it as fantasy in my head on the basis of how unrealistic it is XD;;. She's just a really good worldbuilder, imo, and with SDC she created a nice universe with interesting rules, a ranking system, etc like that of a fantasy series (the kagemusha thing especially), while Neko is..kind of all over the place, with no overarching theme. Not inherently bad, just not my thing.

 

I'm looking forward to 31Ai Dream a lot as well! :) I was hoping for THAT to be a fantasy, but since her transformation was triggered by a Conan-esque pill..

 

I thought the new ION chapter was really cute and fluffy, but I like to think that it all happened in an AU of the original XD. Especially since it backtracked on the whole girl vs experiment thing, as much as I loved the concept of her powers transferred via kiss.

 

And I really want her newer stuff here, too! (Yes, even you NtWnK. XD) I've seen people ask about it on twitter to Shojo Beat (with their response being that they can't disclose anything, but license suggestions are always welcome), so I hope they get the message ;D.

 

I'm not a big fan of Ai at all either, Maron :). She's probably my least favourite Arina heroine after Haine, tbh. She's not doing anything wrong, it's just I was skeptical if she could carry on a whole series from the start and I still am, especially with how long it's shaping up to be D:. Her character design is cute though

 

LOL his collar bone? XD

 

Ah, actually it might be the outline of his adam's apple..I'm not sure XD;; (Yeah, his collar bone's drawn in, too, but I was looking at something else.) Arina always draws her guys with really defined lines on the neck, but for some weird reason when I see Serizawa they're ALL I see. Like a normal person would see this:

serizawa_zpse50a0ba2.jpeg

 

and I would see this

 

serizawa2_zps28e4c59b.jpeg

 

Yeah.

 

Maybe because there's been less screentones in NtWnK? D:

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@Blue: I believe the new ION chapter is in a volume of SHK. Don't ask me which one! XD I was picking them up one day at Barnes and Noble and flipping through them. To my surprise, I found ION!!! Ha ha ha.

 

I do agree with the rest of you guys that fantasy is Arina's strength!! She's amazing at romance, but I feel like that little twist of fantasy brings her stories and plots to life. Without that, they fall kind of flat... (And I freaking love romance manga. XD)

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@Blue: I believe the new ION chapter is in a volume of SHK. Don't ask me which one! XD I was picking them up one day at Barnes and Noble and flipping through them. To my surprise, I found ION!!! Ha ha ha.

 

Volume 8~ (I HAVE IT BWAHAHAHAHA) Wait, wait, wait... Is that the ONLY new chapter of ION or is she like making a continuation of the series? (like is there a chapter once a month or something???)

 

Omg ArinaAngel, you have no idea how much that made me laugh XD

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;D

 

She's amazing at romance, but I feel like that little twist of fantasy brings her stories and plots to life. Without that, they fall kind of flat... (And I freaking love romance manga. XD)

 

^This! :)

 

And I'm pretty sure it was just that one chapter, unless she decides to add more in the future. It was for the series' 13th anniversary I think! :)

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Fantasy is completely Arina's strength.

 

...........that being said, Neko is my favorite of her non-fantasy series. It's my pervy dream fantasy of a cool shota with an older girly-girl....fffffffffffff yeah, I CAN'T SAY NO TO THIS. :FMMitsukiXD: I have been craving something delicious like this for a VERY long time...and the fact that Arina-f*cking-TANEMURA chose to do it is HNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG :FMFMlove:

 

Its on the same level as SDC for me.

BLASHPHEMY, CHEEBS. NEKO IS NOT HALF AS CLICHE!! D:

I think it's pretty damn original for a slice-o-life romance story. There are so many shoujo manga where it's a little girl crushing on a cool, older guy....HOW MANY have you read where it's the other way around!?

 

Need to reread SHK........it's very easy to get lost when you don't give it a straight shot through. What shocks me is that I like ALL the female characters more than Sakura herself. o___O

 

Fudanjuku? Also need to read this properly but I have the raw book and DAMN IS IT SEXY!!

Naked bishounen in the shower fanservice!? Loli love interest side story!?

HELLZ YES.

 

31 Ai Dream? The curiosity may eat me alive before the first volume comes out............. :SHKOhno:

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it's very easy to get lost when you don't give it a straight shot through.

 

Ah, that's a really good way to put it! :D

 

Gotta retract my statement on the Neko chapter 13 cliffhanger XD;;. I've the same qualms about the pacing as before, but in terms of what happens itself, chapter 14 imo picks up at a good place and I feel bad now for ever doubting Arina xP. And Ai! Her reaction was unexpectantly well-executed. Anyway, I'm rather pleased with the developments in chapter 14, and I'm really excited for the direction the story seems to be taking from here on out .

 

Oh! I also read the first chapter of 31 Ai Dream a while ago. It was pretty good (and I already have a ship someone stop me) but what I really just can't wait for is what happens from there, since SO MUCH can happen from here

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You thought Neko dragged? o_o

 

I THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY FAST-PACED!

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Ah, I just felt like the triangle was rather drawn out, which has been fine for me in other series', but since this one's focus is solely on the romance and on these characters..I guess I only found it slow because I didn't like it as much as I'd like to? 13 chapters spent on all that makes sense, especially for a biweekly series, but I was annoyed at the cliffhanger in chapter 13 largely because it was predictable (to me anyway) from the start and didn't need that much 'oh well im starting to develop squishy feelings for him, but im serizawas girlfriend oh noes and hes so much younger dang oh he's hugging me again' beforehand. The shenanigans in the middle (Nekota's deal with kissing Ai, the hat and the clip and all that, the magazine, the festival etc) /were/ pretty fast-paced, but never invested me enough I don't think, especially with such an inevitable result. I can see how we needed the time to watch Ai fall in and realize her love for Nekota, though, and again it all makes sense from a storytelling pov. I guess you could say it's mostly personal biases that makes me feel like the series was dragging, which is why I'm so glad to have that arc over.

 

Might also be my skimming through too much of the Chinese at some point when I was annoyed with the story, too, tbh XD;;. I feel like I'll have to reevaluate everything once we get English releases..

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Lol, I read them all in Japanese Margaret....yeah, much better story-reading when you understand a majority of the language it's in. XD

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Oh, I'm sure it would be! :) A definite bias other than my sadistic need for angstier stuff XD is probably my understanding or lack thereof of everything, which is why I mentioned as much. The main problem is I'm used to simplified Chinese, so trying to read traditional Chinese is like decoding a language based on looks and context alone (grantedly LOADS easier with the common words the two share; this is making it seem harder by a lot, bad comparison is bad ;; ), and with how tired I got of the series I pretty much just looked at the pictures and read missjupiter's summaries instead of translating myself between chapters 6-ish to 12-ish (I revisited them myself later on when I was working on my Secret Girl Mep part however). You're so lucky you can read Japanese! :)

 

To be honest though I don't think my mixed feelings would really change reading in English since most of the problems I have with this series are pretty general (the same way everything about it I LIKE are!). Even with the direction of chapters 13 and 14 (which I looooved btw), it's all just not my cuppa tea :/--the same way SHK and SDC aren't to some others, as much as I love them both and wish others shared my blind adoration for lol XD *.And like Einstein's relativity theory, that's probably why I found it so slow-paced before.

 

*I always feel so hypocritical when I complain about Neko but then get upset at others complaining about those two D: *bashes self*

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Lol....well, all three are very different. XD What I like about Neko is, it's really simple with very few characters who are easy to read and keep track of.

THose other two....NOT SO MUCH. XD

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Haha, they are! Funny enough, that simplicity's one of the things that don't work for me personally when it comes to Neko XD which is weird because I love Mistress Fortune but then again that was super short and even had that angst packed in there despite the length

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