Emanon Volume 1 Review

Demelza

Adventuring Alchemist
AUKN Staff
The mangaka behind Eisner-nominated series Wandering Island, Kenji Tsuruta, is back! Teaming up with the winner of the Nihon SF Taisho award, Shinji Kajio, the two have created Emanon. The manga promises a whimsical look at what it means to carry memories with you from the beginning of time, but does it deliver?

Continue reading...
 

RoryBurrows

Hikikomori
Why are you treating this as if its the start of a continuous manga series? Sure sequels did follow, but this is for the most part a stand-alone manga. Not trying to come off as too critical as it's not my place to be, but I feel like you're looking too far into something that hasn't set out to provide an intricate story with character depth rather than something that has been made to remain mysterious and spark emotion based on the characters emotions.
 

Demelza

Adventuring Alchemist
AUKN Staff
Why are you treating this as if its the start of a continuous manga series? Sure sequels did follow, but this is for the most part a stand-alone manga. Not trying to come off as too critical as it's not my place to be, but I feel like you're looking too far into something that hasn't set out to provide an intricate story with character depth rather than something that has been made to remain mysterious and spark emotion based on the characters emotions.
I treated it as a continuous series due to the fact the publisher, Dark Horse, labelled this entry as 'volume 1' and the next is down as volume 2, so to me that does imply the series will be continuous. At the very least I assumed they will be connected enough to judge them that way. There was a preview for volume 2 in the back of this volume too, which didn’t help on selling the idea that it’s a single story.

I came away from it feeling like it was going for a similar idea to Kino’s Journey, where we never stay with the same set of characters but are always with the main one, so Emanon in this case. That both allows it to be continuous and tell individual, complete, stories at the same time and there were enough plot threads in this volume where I thought they’d be getting touched upon later.

I hope my response clears things up a little bit. :)
 

AironicallyHuman

Time-Traveller
I treated it as a continuous series due to the fact the publisher, Dark Horse, labelled this entry as 'volume 1' and the next is down as volume 2, so to me that does imply the series will be continuous. At the very least I assumed they will be connected enough to judge them that way. There was a preview for volume 2 in the back of this volume too, which didn’t help on selling the idea that it’s a single story
Just to clarify 'ere, volume 1 is the complete series of Emanon. The writer did not work on what followed (iirc many years later), and most treat what Dark Horse are going to list as 'volume 2/3' as a spin-off/fanservice continuation. So, it's confusing for those unfamiliar, and also those not aware of how Dark Horce are planning to release Emanon.

The TLTR is Tsuruta cannot (or maybe will not) write and unless he's adapting someone else's work, more often than not all you are going to get is pages of art depicting the artist's dream 2D waifu. Not quite light porn but not 100 miles away. Also: he's like a lazy version of Berserk's author.

removed/I was wrong

TLTR2: The series is best described as a romanticists' view of true love and how a moment in time can be more meaningful than a lifetime. The sci-fi backstory is there only as a titular prop. What you are saying in your review is akin to someone reviewing S1 of Game of Thrones and complaining there are not enough dragons, or swords: too much uninteresting dialogue.
 
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Linkachu

Completely Average High School Student
As for your review, I feel you are doing what I regard as one of the best short manga in known existence an ever so slight disservice by suggesting people not read. I understand why you think it doesn't do enough, or explore the sci-fi side in any detail, and that's fine. But you have two problems: the most obvious is you are making assumptions based on v1 (the male lead is a vital part of v2/the ending) not knowing it's a essentially a two volume series. The less obvious is more subjective: you want more, where as others (ie the great Aion) go for less.

TLTR2: The series is best described as a romanticists' view of true love and how a moment in time can be more meaningful than a lifetime. The sci-fi backstory is there only as a titular prop. What you are saying in your review is akin to someone reviewing S1 of Game of Thrones and complaining there are not enough dragons, or swords: too much uninteresting dialogue.
While I've not read the work in question, I'd disagree with the assertion that the reviewer is doing it a disservice simply because they didn't enjoy it as much as others have. One person's trash is another person's treasure. I've been told plenty of times that I was "wrong" or "uneducated" for not enjoying certain novels I'd read for school, but to me personally those stories were bland and often times melodramatic and pretentious. I'd never recommend them to anyone. Whether others agreed with me or not was neither here nor there: for me, that's how I viewed them and it's all they'd ever be.

It's good that fans like you exist to offer differing opinions, but it's okay that not everyone agrees. Some people will likely read this manga and feel the exact same way @Demelza did when reviewing it, which implies that it's not for everyone and - for some - does have flaws; flaws that potentially can't be overlooked if you don't enjoy that style of storytelling. But that's okay. Both stances are still valuable.

It's good to hear that there are only two true volumes for this manga, though! When I'd looked into it myself it didn't sound like something that could sustain itself beyond 1 or 2 books, so I was confused why it wasn't just a standalone volume. It's certainly sounds more promising now.
 
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Demelza

Adventuring Alchemist
AUKN Staff
First of all you've managed to misgender me, which isn't a huge issue but for future reference I am female so she/her/etc, but I guess it's not obvious unless you read my on-site bio so fair enough there.

That's neither here nor there, mind you: I was critiquing ol' Demi for not doing his due diligence as a most-likely-unpaid AUKN review guy. He made a mistake that was easy to make that could've been remedied by a lil' Google research. Being a nice guy 'n all, I was willing to that that slide, being as Dark Horse are seemingly confused themselves. Then I thought I'd glance through and see what the actual review said.
Here at AUKN we all take our job incredibly seriously and research all of our articles. I did attempt to read up on Emanon, but it's surprisingly difficult to dig up any information on it (especially when the first several results are for pirate sites or simply Shinji Kajio's wikipedia page). So I did the natural thing and defaulted to Dark Horse's information. They are the publisher, so rightly or wrongly their information is what I can take at face value. Even the ANN article about when the series was licensed wasn't of great help in pointing me in the right direction. That's just a limitation of the industry and to some extant who I am, the series is old enough where I wasn't that knowledge about manga (and if I was I'd obviously have done a better job with what Dark Horse have left out) when it was a big deal. I've done the best with what I had.

Your comments have been very insightful to the book, so I'm grateful for the information. Now I know what comes next is a case of agreeing to disagree, we obviously don't see eye to eye on this and that's fine but I wanted to reply anyway.

Not finding the male protagonist interesting because Emanon monologues at him? Okay. Wanting the sci-fi more at the forefront? Okay. Assuming the male lead isn't in v2 and basing that on the series being on-going with throwaway characters aplenty? Not-so-okay.
The male protagonist has no real presence of his own. He's heartbroken and homeward bound, we know he likes Sci-Fi but other than that the book does not do a good job at portraying him. He feels like a substitute for us as readers, which is fine but he needed just a little bit more personality to truly work. I agree I probably shouldn't have made assumptions about the second volume, but the preview made it look like so much time passed that he couldn't be involved. As I mentioned in a comment a lot earlier, I got the feeling from my read that it would be somewhat like Kino's Journey where new characters would come and go. I'm sorry I came away with that opinion, but at the end of the day the manage did nothing to tell me I was wrong in that assumption either.

Subjectively, Demi can 1/10 it and tell me to suck his **** if I disagree. I respect his right to do that. But when his opinion is clouded by factual inaccuracies regarding a short two vol series very much reliant on its last half/end to leave a lasting impression besides 'art gud, waifu whimsical', we gon be having words. Ignorance should always be remedied.

...tbf though, someone once told me to finish D-Gray Man because it gets better, 50+/100eps in. So, I do see why you'd defend Demi's right to be judgemental after one volume of manga. I think I blocked and deleted that person, on a sidenote.
I don't think it's unreasonable to judge a manga, even a two-part one, on its first volume. If you've read any of my other work then you might be aware that I like giving almost every series more than one shot to impress me, but Emanon didn't get that because I really did not get on with it. I think my argument for why is solid, too, it just wasn't for me but I also struggled to see why it would be for anyone as it stood. Everything has its fans, I acknowledge that and there is plenty of series I adore that no one else will look twice at, but as reviewers we're inherently giving our own opinions on whether something is worth your time or not. For me it has too many issues to be readily recommendable, but hopefully the information in the review (my opinion aside) helps people decide for themselves.

TLTR2: The series is best described as a romanticists' view of true love and how a moment in time can be more meaningful than a lifetime. The sci-fi backstory is there only as a titular prop. What you are saying in your review is akin to someone reviewing S1 of Game of Thrones and complaining there are not enough dragons, or swords: too much uninteresting dialogue.
The whole problem is that for me it doesn't project that at all. I can see how it's a romanticists view of true love, and I can certainly buy into it, but in that case it would have been better had it not had the Sci-Fi angle at all. The sci-fi backstory ended up grasping my attention more. I guess that too comes down to the individual though, those who are sold on the romantic elements will get more out of it than those intrigued by the Sci-Fi and I think my review reflects that quite well.

It's always interesting to go against the flow and not enjoy something that other people adore, as you clearly do with Emanon. I can't help my own feelings and at the day all I can do is write up a factual , informative, appraisal of why it didn't gel with me.
 

AironicallyHuman

Time-Traveller
Hold the phone, I'M the one confused by Dark Horse, more than anyone here: I saw Dark Horse were releasing a third Emanon volume and for whatever reason had it in my head v1-2 would be the original. Having ironically enough done my own due diligence belatedly, to my horror, I discovered it is a one-volume standalone. Volume two onwards is the spin-off/continuation.

TLTR3: Refer to the first response by Rory. Ignore me. Sorry: Dem missed nothing and was correct with what she said in her review about the lead being done with, after v1. A brain fart on my part. Turns out I was the ignorant one 'ere. I've not yet ordered my copy, and my faded memories failed me.
 
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