365 Days of Manga, Day 2: Andromeda Stories

 

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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.
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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”…