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.
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!
Like I said last week, I want to pick this project back up, with the goal to keep going until volume 13 or so. We’ll see how it goes. But with the upcoming Blade of the Immortal live-action movie, I need to freshen up on the story – and we’re now getting into an arc that I really love. As usual, these reread posts contain spoilers, potentially of the entire manga, so you should tread carefully if you haven’t finished the series yet. Let’s dive in.