Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sorcerers and Secretaries, Amy Kim Ganter

Title: Sorcerers and Secretaries (2 vol.)
Author: Amy Kim Ganter
Published: 2006, Tokyopop
Category: Manga
Rating: 6/10

My first manga! I'm so hip (not). I chose this one because it was mentioned at Dear Author.

Nicole is a young woman living in New York, going to business school and working as a secretary. She's not that into school, though; she'd rather be writing and drawing her stories of a sorcerer named Ellon (we see snippets of this story too). She meets Josh, a young hottie who likes to make all the girls he meets fall in love with him. Nicole's not interested, and of course Josh is intrigued. They finally become friends and Josh encourages Nicole's writing.

Now, I tried really hard to appreciate these books. Graphic novels of any kind are quite a new experience for me; my first instinct is for my eyes to zoom to the bits of text and hardly notice the illustrations. So I made myself read slowly and actually let the pictures tell some of the story. But, yeah. Just not happening. The story just felt so shallow. Compared with the depth of characterization and plotting that I'm used to in regular novels, this just seemed like nothing at all. Obviously I have no frame of reference, as this is my first manga, so I don't know if I would feel this way about other manga books. Maybe manga's just not for me.

Question: I guess I am showing my ignorance here, but is all manga intended for a YA audience?

The story is very sweet, and I did like the drawings. So I was mildly amused, but I do sort of wish I hadn't shelled out $20 for the 2-volume set. That's really pricey for something I can read in a couple hours.


nath said...

hey there :)

hmmm, first, I don't think that this was a good choice for your first manga. I don't want to sound judgemental or anything, but most of the time, if it's not written by japanese or korean, then it's not worth it. A two-volumes series will rarely be satisfying... and manga is aimed at everyone... You'll find mangas for every kind of audience... So some manga are more graphically explicit... finally, yes, it's true, manga are expensive... I guess it's because the audience is not as big.


try this link... it has a lot of manga online... You should try Nodame Cantabile... it's one of my fav. right now :P I liked Akuma De Sourou too... Fruit Basket, Hanakimi were also great :)

Anonymous said...

I don't read manga, but I bought these for my fourteen year old daughter who occasionally would - like you, because of the Dear Author review - and she absolutely loved them.
They were quick reads: she got the first in her Christmas Stocking & read it before coming in to show me what 'Santa' had brought - but she was very happy with them.

Perhaps they just are more for that age group.

Marianne McA

Li said...

I'm sort of with you, Jennie - I tried one last year (Emma, I think) and just really didn't get it. I think it didn't help that I tend to speed read anyway, so yeah, I was zooming to the text and had to consciously take in the graphics as well.

I'm going to try Nath's link and see if it was just a one-off!

Jennie said...

Nath--Thanks! Wow, that's a lot of manga online. I'll try some of the free stuff and see if I like it more.

Marianne--I can see it being really great for that age. Maybe I was just asking too much of the story. :)

Jennie said...

Li--I almost bought Emma (someone had told me that was a good one), but it was several volumes and I didn't want to spend that much money, so I got S&S instead. It is really tempting to just flip right through them, isn't it? I like the idea of getting it free on the internet--then I can zoom through one without feeling guilty. ;)

ChristinaTE said...

I'd also hesitate to refer to this comic as a real manga. If it's not from Japan then I tend to skip it. One of my current favorites is Nana. And two of my oldie favorites are His and Her Circumstances and Boys Over Flowers. I think it helps if you're a fan of Japanese culture to enjoy these though... I'm biased since I majored in Japanese. :)

Estara said...

OEL can be classified as manga if you're generous. Some are quite successful in picking all the manga strong points (Dramacon 1, for example), but they don't come from within the culture this graphic novel style was founded on, so might not be the best idea to start out with them.

Manga can be for all ages (AND for all kinks - for a long time Western audience thought that martial arts fighting or tentacle sex or both were all manga could offer).

For a short and authentic romance start into manga, you might want to start with three volume Wish by Clamp.

Or the Fruits Basket first four volumes boxset(keep in mind this will turn into a 23 volume saga with loads of deep plot)
If you want to see exquisite art combined with gentle slice of life get yourself Aqua - only two volumes, no romance

My personal favourite (14 volumes) is From Far Away, here's my review

Estara said...

Umm, to all those "free manga is nice people": I read them too, but mainly they aren't free by choice, they have been translated and edited by volunteers and are just as stolen as downloaded mp3s even if you read them on the net.

I use that to actually chose what I want to buy, but please be aware that it still is illegal and the authors and Japanese publishers do not earn one cent (referring to www.onemanga.com, etc.).

Nor do the US publishers if you read Nodame Cantabile which IS licensed.

There is free online manga artwork in webcomics though or in previews in various publisher sites (Netcomics, Tokyopop, Seven Seas).

How about manga-style four panel comics (4koma) from top to down at http://www.nemu-nemu.com/ ?

Or Lea Hernandez's version of Texas Steampunk:

shadowlilgurl said...

I thought it was a bad manga to read, you know? The "Not worth it" ones. But none the less, I read it and I gotta say, even though it's not Japanese made, it was still enough to get my attention. Sorcerers & Secretaries is a manga that will make people wonder about what will happen next (since I only read vol. 1 so far). I'm already trying to piece together what will happen next in vol. 2!