Friday, September 7, 2007

Shutterbox Manga Volume 1


Overall Rating: F
Synopsis: Shutterbox follows Megan Amano, as she begins to have strange and troubling dreams the night she watches a handsome stranger drown himself. She begins dreaming of the man she watched die. As her dreams progress, she begins to attend the afterlife's most famous school, M.U.S.E. as a living exchange student. In theory, hijinks and plot then ensue.

I got maybe 20 pages into this manga before I put it down. I got it for free at Comic Con after buying a bunch of other manga, and it sounded interesting, so I hoped I had found a fun, new series. NOPE! The art and plot are horribly cliched, and even worse are extremely boring. Maybe the series gets better further on (or even later in the first volume), but I couldn't bring myself to care. Maybe it's just me, but in my never humble opinion, unless you like stories involving inane girls arguing over their prom dresses (and I like a good dress argument) or plot that feels tacked on, I don't recommend this one.

11 comments:

Gaby said...

I wonder which book you were reading, 'cause Shutterbox is nothing about proms or dresses. Is about the afterlife, muses and inner demons.
Maybe you could give it a second try and go past the first 20 pages to read what the story has to offer.

I will be remembered... said...

I'm with gaby. What you described does not sound anything like what I've read in three volumes of Shutterbox.

There is no prom in this series, and is little to-do about dress.

Honestly, it sounds like a slam of another series entirely--I don't know which, but something other than this.

Nick said...

You're both right, there is no reference to a prom, I was referring to the scene at the beginning of volume 1, where the stuck up girls are arguing with Megan. They're all in fancy dresses, and are trying to get beer. I misremembered that as being about prom, but it's about grad night. The arguing was the girls dissing Megan on her pink hair, another misremembered aspect. However, it doesn't change the fact that the first volume didn't interest me at all.

Actually, I was really hoping this series would be better, which is why I think I felt so let down and gave up on it. Let me ask you this, what about the series do you like? Why do you think I should give it another chance? Maybe if I understood what you think is good about the series, I would be willing to give it another go.

Regardless, I respect your opinions, even if I don't necessarily agree.

Gaby said...

I believe yes, you could give Shutterbox another chance. The first book is to present the characters, and the plot grows by book 2 and 3.

What I like about Shutterbox, is how the story of Megan, a person who doesn't feel she quite fits is what society calls "normal". I believe many can feel related to her in that sense, when your creative mind is often scoffed as "childish" or "immature" but you are actually aiming to something more grand than instant material gratification. To find your sense of self, and how that connects you to others. In the first volume, Megan is in a bleak "real world", having to go to therapy because she has fantastic recurrent dreams and doesn't get along with her mother, yet, she is aware of that, is the mother who wants her to be "normal". When Megan goes into the Merridiah world, be it by dream or soul travel, or however is she can reach there, that "world" feels more real than the reality where she lives every day. To many of us, who like fantasy, myth, adventure and storytelling, is easy to relate.
Think of Bastian in the Never Ending Story.

As the story in Shutterbox grows, we are presented with interesting theories of Multiverse and "what if" possibilities were only limited by our own narrow vision or close minds.

There's no "good guys" or "bad guys" in Shutterbox, but complex characters that are all linked together in a web that has been there since the very beginning of time, and yet, they couldn't exist if humans didn't had any more use for creativity, imagination, inspiration.

I feel, is well worth a second try, and be read with an open mind.

I will be remembered... said...

Well, you're welcome to say you don't like it. No series is going to appeal to everyone.

It's just that the plot segment you described happens pretty much in the first scene of the book, and we never see half of those girls ever again; it's a hasty and premature judgment, as the points you draw attention to are nothing of the series itself, window-dressing for the scene described in the synopsis.

It takes a while for the plot proper to get started, and I know that's not for everyone. For myself, I enjoyed the ride and continue to do so. Either way, I don't feel this series merits the F you gave it.

Nick said...

Gaby,
That does make the series seem more interesting. I may try to get through the first volume and try the second. Maybe I'll like it better after I get past the rambling "real world" of volume 1.

I Will Be Remembered,
Fair enough, but I'm not a fan of rambling introductions. I gave the first volume an F because I didn't feel like it was building up speed. 20 pages is a bit of an exaggeration, I actually got a little farther than that, but that scene stuck out to me, which is why I focused on it. Maybe that's not fair, but that scene was the one that marked the point where I started getting bored and irritated with the book. I didn't find anything in the next few pages (I didn't actually count) that grabbed my attention, so I put it down and moved on to something else. I felt that any book that made me react that way deserved a low grade.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, though between what Gaby has told me of the series, and the fact that I realized today that the creators also did "Ranklechick and His Three-Legged Cat" (a comic I enjoy) I will probably give it another shot.

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