3×3 Eyes Reread: Part 5: ILU Haan

Volume 8 to 9

Yesss! This is what I’ve been looking forward to: the introduction of my favourite 3×3 Eyes character (aside from Yoko)! I love Haan so much, where do I even begin?!

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3×3 Eyes Reread, Part 4: IT’S GUPTA TIME, BABY!

This post will discuss the arc that introduces my BFF Gupta. This means volumes 7-8, but not all of volume 8, the last chapters belong in the next post, which I am insanely looking forward to because Haan :D

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3×3 Eyes Reread, part 3: It’s Tokyo being threatened by a monster! Shocker. ;)

(Volume 6)

I want to apologise for how rambling these posts might have been … and will probably continue to be. It’s difficult to always find the right balance between recapping and commentary. That is, recaps are boring, but I still need to briefly explain which scene or circumstance I’m talking about. And sometimes, the process of writing things out in my own words helps me figure out what I even think about it in the first place.

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3×3 Eyes Reread: Part 2! It’s Sazan Eyes with a twist! Or two or three twists.

Volumes 3 to 5

I ended up on WomenWriteAboutComics this week, and, on a whim, searched the page for any articles about 3×3 Eyes. To my surprise, the search presented me with an article from last December: “10 Reasons Dark House Needs To Finish Releasing 3×3 Eyes“. Woohoo! I’m always happy when someone, somewhere, knows about 3×3 Eyes. Especially in the English-speaking world, where 3×3 Eyes was only partially published a long time ago, and probably isn’t on the radar of most comics or manga fans … Which is a shame, but I can hardly blame them. They only really got a few manga volumes and of course the anime (two short OVA mini series). The anime tells an incomplete story, covering just the first five volumes (out of 40! 40!). I am actually going to discuss in this post why the ending of volume 5 is such an unfortunate place to just call it a day.

That article also made me go “OMG, ARE YOU ME?” repeatedly, first at the description of Amara (I swear I must have used these exact words before), then because the writer dedicates the article’s longest paragraph to my beloved cinnamon roll, Hazrat Haan <3 <3. (Also, seriously, don’t read that article if you want to avoid spoilers, because there’s hella spoilers. Especially regarding the most precious bundle of joy, Haan.)

But back to the topic at hand: Volumes 3 to 5 form an arc that actually sets itself apart quite dramatically from everything that came before, and what will come after. Amara notwithstanding, I consider it the strangest arc of 3×3 Eyes.

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Let’s start a 3×3 Eyes reread! Because that’s an awesome manga and I wanna read it again.

3×3 Eyes! I love 3×3 Eyes! It’s one of my favourite manga series! And sometimes, At random intervals, my thoughts wander back to 3×3 Eyes and I grab a random volume, which almost always leads to grabbing another volume … grabbing another one because I wanna check that one scene I just remembered … grabbing another one because that was the wrong one … reading the next because there was a cliffhanger … And before you know it, I am surrounded by piles of manga (because 3×3 Eyes is a long series at 40 volumes!) and that’s usually when I get the idea: “I should just read the entire series in order instead of randomly reading bits and pieces!” So that’s what I’m gonna do now.

For starters, I read the first two volumes, since they form a little arc of their own. I haven’t actually watched the anime, but as far as I know, the first OVA series covers this part of the story.

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The most FEMINIST manga I know: Arte by Kei Ohkubo

Everyone in anime/manga fandom misunderstands demographic categories. For example seinen: often described as gritty, edgy stories with lots of violence and sex, and sexual violence. Always dark, always psychologically complex, manly stories for manly men.

And then they get confused when they learn that A Bride’s Story is seinen. And so is Chi’s Sweet Home. Haha.

Bride’s Story is sometimes misidentified as shojo or as josei, because it’s about women, and somehow there’s this idea that only women care enough about women to read stories with female protagonists. Which is a rather sad thought, you know?

I am by no means an expert, but I am kind of getting the impression that there’s actually an entire sort of genre of seinen manga that is blatantly about women and their struggles in society, past or present, in foreign places or domestically! So, let’s discuss one such manga, Arte by Kei Ohkubo.

I first took note of Arte because of the gorgeous cover illustrations. Look at them! The details, the colour, the atmosphere! I’ve read the first three volumes now, which is enough to form an opinion.

Arte runs in Comic Zenon. There are currently six volumes out in Japan, five in France, where it’s published by Komikku. Before I discovered manga, I didn’t know I’d ever be grateful for my tedious French lessons!

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The fun I had last week …

Manga: I watched a Youtube video about “Shonen Anime’s Biggest Problem”, and while I agree with the core idea that power escalation is a huge problem for battle-focused shonen stories, and that making the fights bigger and more badass is meaningless without finding believable emotional stakes … Yeah, well, but I am mostly struck by just how few shonen titles people even know these days! And yet they try to make sweeping generalizations about the genre of shonen battle manga. In this video, there’s an attempt made to lump shonen manga in three sort of groups: first wave, second wave and third wave. Not only does he basically claim that Hunter X Hunter isn’t really part of any “wave”, being ~too unique, a ~deconstruction. He also shows a picture of Yu Yu Hakusho alongside Dragonball (as “first wave”), implying that he believes this to be another generic old shonen manga that just throws bigger and bigger enemies at the heroes, without depth or self-examination. Which is simply ludicrous! In YYH, Togashi already did many of the things he’d later do again in HxH, things that newbies today consider to be ~unlike anything that’s ever been done in shonen manga~.

It’s kind of sad how Rurouni Kenshin is never talked about in these videos or written analyses. It’d blow their minds! Because Kenshin is genuinely atypical in many ways, but it’s still a classic, famous and successful Jump manga. But … it doesn’t have a recent anime adaptation that can be watched on Crunchyroll, so it simply doesn’t exist for today’s crop of “shonen experts”.

Anyway, I just automatically lose respect for people when they say Hunter X Hunter is “not really a shonen manga” but a “deconstruction”. HxH is a shonen manga, and like many other shonen manga before, it plays with the reader’s expectations and comes up with a couple of surprising new takes on familiar tropes. That doesn’t mean it’s no longer a shonen manga, it just means it’s a good one. But that’s what happens if your entire shonen horizon begins at Bleach and ends at Naruto, and DBZ memes: you don’t know what you’re talking about.

I don’t know a lot of shonen manga myself, which is why I try to avoid blanket statements about the category as a whole. I don’t want to embarass myself, mostly.

Videogames: I am still busy with RPG Maker Fes. This week, I finally learned how to use variables to create a sidequest. I really find it oddly relaxing to think within logical commands. Obviously, it’s challenging and requires concentration and figuring things out, but it’s a kind of concentration that relaxes and satisfies me. At least … if it works. Sometimes I regret that Mathematics and numbers never clicked with me, because there’s something nice about their order and precision, quite different from the diffuse chaos of words.

TV: I don’t know what came over me, but I binge-watched Doctor Who‘s tenth season this weekend. I hadn’t watched any Doctor Who in years and really had no interest whatsoever. But … it was actually quite nice! I like Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, and I really like Bill as a companion, and it’s kind of funny I get attached to them now that the season and their time on the show is basically over, haha. Hmm. The thing is, I really like the stand-alone episodes of Doctor Who, but whenever it goes for complex and longer story arcs, I put up some kind of inner resistence, and don’t connect with it so well. I wonder why that is. Maybe I just like things low-key.

I generally really like stories where normal people get drawn into something supernatural and weird, with creative, unusual monsters or alien threats. Some of my favourite bits of 3×3 Eyes essentially did this in combination with a POV shift, so you also get to see the main characters from the perspective of a clueless newcomer. One famous example of this occurs right after the timeskip, when “Pai” has lost her memory and lives as a normal schoolgirl, until creepy puppets try to kidnap her and a strange young man claims to know her from a past life. And that’s Yakumo, our protagonist! (I love Yakumo.) And the creepy puppets are like something out of a Doctor Who episode, totally, especially when their backstory is revealed … and ultimately it’s about humanity and stuff. Aww.