Review : 12 Days.

Ever wondered what an art-house romance story would be like as a manga? 12 days by June Kim is just that. Not really depressing, not really bursting with action, yet it's still quite interesting in a melancholic way, which probably adds to the realistic nature of it's narrative.

A young woman named Noah dies in a car accident on the way back from her honey-moon, however, 12 days is not really her story, it is the story of her lesbian lover Jackie and her brother Nick, as they come together to try to deal with the grief and loss of a loved one. They go about this in a rather interesting way, by drinking Noah's cremated ashes over 12 days, mixed in with wine, smoothies and other assorted beverages. Together they reminisce about Noah, in particular, slowly uncovering Jackie's past with her. There's also a few nice touches of comedy strategically placed through out the narrative, giving you a break from the melancholic vibe.

The art of 12 days is nice, clear and vivid. Sometimes the characters say little, leaving the pictures to do the talking. The characters are drawn on a more realistic side to most manga, which adds nicely to the books verisimilitude . The only real reason the book has a +16 age rating is it's themes, realistically someone 13+ could enjoy this, but it's clearly been crafted for an older audience. Being a Korean made manga, it's also written in the english format, which makes it more reader friendly to beginners of the graphic novel medium than their Japanese counterparts.

12 days is a nice, simple, interesting story of two people working their way through the loss of a loved one. If your looking for a one volume drama/romance graphic novel to sink your teeth into, look no further.

Review : Air Gear.

Imagine zooming along the city skyline, jumping off roofs and grinding along power lines at exhilarating speeds before bursting out into the clear blue open sky. All you need is a pair of air treks, motorized two wheeled roller blades. Welcome to the world of Air Gear.

The story focuses around Ikki, a 15 year old high school student, who is first introduced whilst piledriving someone in a brawl. Followed by a proclaimation about how great he is, some of the others present are not too impressed with his attitude and call in an air trek gang named The Skull Saders to deal with him. After being smashed to a pulp by said gang. Ikki slowly enters the world of air treks along with the help of his harem-like makeshift family, who have been a secretive pro air trek group all along without him knowing. It's not too long before Ikki gets a hang of things and gets some revenge, but now obsessed with the sensation of flight it seems that it's only the beginning for him in the sport of air treks.

Air Gear is a fast paced manga, with every page containing either humorous antics or stylish action. Ikki delivers most of the comedy himself, but he's just silly enough that he still remains a strong, cool, likable character without becoming annoying. Air Gear has a harem like side to it, with a whole collection of girls hanging around him, like a lot of manga, this leads to some pretty perverted opportunities for him, many of which, he takes. The female characters take a back seat to Ikki in relation to the storyline, but they're still very strong characters none the less. There's Ringo, his childhood friend, whom we are told is the successor to Sleeping Forest, the best air gear team in the world. Ringo seems to have some sort of crush on Ikki, but she's awfully shy about it, unlike the beautiful Simca, another air trek enthusiast who leads Ikki into all sorts of trouble seemingly purposefully.

The art breathes alot of life into the world, with characters drawn at insane energetic angles and the choice of fashion in the character designs above par. There are a lot of sexual themes, both comedic and just plain seedy, so it's probably best to keep this in a fifteen plus category.

Air Gear manages to take possibly the most fruity activity in the world, rollerblading, and turn it into something very straight, stylish and totally kick-ass. It's a great mix of action and comedy and can only leave you wanting for more.