365 Days of Manga, Day 2: Andromeda Stories


ANDROMEDA STORIES ??????????????? • Ryu Mitsuse (story), Keiko Takemiya (art) • Vertical (2007-2008) • Asahi Sonorama (Manga Shônen, 1980-1981) • Science Fiction Adventure • 3 volumes • 13+ (mild language, violence, nudity, brief mild sexual situations)
More fantasy than sci-fi, this is a space opera in the Star Wars and Flash Gordon mode, a collaboration between manga artist Keiko Takemiya and science fiction writer Ryu Mitsuse. On the distant planet Astrias, the Cosmoralian Empire has just crowned a new king and queen. But a new star in the sky brings a herald of dark days to come, as sinister machines land and invade Astrias, controlling human minds and gradually terraforming the once-green planet into a mechanical wasteland inhabited only by artificial life forms. Now, the fate of the world lies in the hands of two psychic children, who must fight the machines as well as the native giant spiders, dragons, dinosaurs, etc. The sometimes depressing ecological theme and the sci-fi visuals are perhaps influenced by Leiji Matsumoto’s Galaxy Express 999, another story about evil machine-men, but Andromeda Stories has less of Matsumoto’s philosophical whimsy and personal touch; instead, it’s a big-budget exercise in explosions, duels, chases and melodrama. The story is well-told and Takemiya’s shôjo-influenced art is stylish; the weird landscapes look like 1970s fantasy illustration or rock album covers, the characters are pretty, and the imagery of the mechanical invasion is chilling. Like To Terra, Andromeda Stories is technically a shônen manga because it was published in a boys’ magazine, making Takemiya one of the first successful crossover women artists.
***1/2 (three and a half stars)
As our second Day of Manga begins, we already have our first winner: Nancy M. from Alabama! Nancy will be receiving 5 shojo/josei manga.
As the first winner, Nancy also becomes eligible to receive even more manga by submitting her photo. It’s a little more complicated than just emailing us a photo, but not much:
(1) Take a digital photo of yourself with your manga, once you receive it
(2) Post the photo online in a publicly visible place (facebook, livejournal, flickr, deviantart, your blog or personal webpage, etc.). Link the photo back to unboundworlds.com and mention the manga contest (in the caption, blog entry, or whatever).
(3) Email me (all contest winners will receive my email address) to let me know that the photo is online. I’ll link back to it, cross-post the photo on the 365 Days of Manga blog, and send you 5 more manga.
Contrary to rumor, you can’t get more free manga just by sending us a photo of your manga collection (like this impressive photo by Ryan Boles), but we’re happy to receive photos showing how much you like manga, and we might post them on the site if we like them. If you didn’t win the contest the first time, persist! Ganbatte yo! The contest entry pool refreshes each day, so you have a greater chance to win if you submit your name on the site every day. Non-winning entries from a few days ago don’t count anymore, so please go back and resubmit ’em periodically. However, if you post multiple times on the same day, it won’t help. The best way is once a day or once every couple of days.
Thanks for all your entries, and I look forward to sharing tons more manga with you! In the meantime, rereading “Andromeda Stories” has got me in the mood for ’70s shojo science fiction, and now I’m looking through my bookshelves for my copy of Viz’s out-of-print Moto Hagio classic “They Were Eleven”…

  • Brad Rice

    Nice, I’ve been meaning to read this for a while now, but I think I’ll finally take the plunge soon. I’m especially looking forward to whatever classic shojo Vertical is (supposedly) going to release in the coming year.
    Any other classic shojo titles (the few that exist) that have been domestically released that you would say are worth reading?

  • Phillip Patriakeas

    Just out of curiosity… if someone wins, is there any time limit to when they get the picture posted and everything, or do they have to the end of the contest (or longer)?

  • Arc

    I have a question…For the last name box, do we put an initial or the full last name? And if we use the full last name, will you use an initial when referring to us?
    And thanks for doing this! It’s an awesome chance for everyone, and I do love reading reviews.

  • Jason Thompson

    @Brad Rice — There’s lots of great classic shojo in English: FROM EROICA WITH LOVE, SWAN, MOON CHILD, and PLEASE SAVE MY EARTH to name a few. (Are ’80s series now “classics”? -_- Arguably…) Viz’s THEY WERE ELEVEN is sadly out of print, though, and so is the never-finished bilingual edition of THE ROSE OF VERSAILLES, an awesome manga apparently rendered unlicensable by the artist or publisher’s request for excessively high licensing fees.
    @Phillip — If you win, you have until the end of the contest to post a photo. 🙂 The contest will run for at least a year.
    @Arc — Please put your full last name in the box at the end. I’ll use an initial when referring to you for security reasons, though (unless you reply to my email and say it’s okay to use your full name). Glad you’re enjoying the reviews!

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