This hands me a problem, because I don't know of a translation site equivalent to saiyuki_manga on which I can read it. Anybody have a suggestion?
Oh Tokyopop. You were such ditzes, but you had such good stories. I'm glad that Viz picked up Loveless, but I wish someone would do the same for sensei's various series.
theskywasblue was kind enough to give me the letter T, for which I now have to name five favorite characters whose names start with that.
I have here four manga characters and one lonely person from mainstream fiction. (Actually, it's amazing that I'd have anyone from mainstream fiction!)
Tracy (real name: Eustacia) Quinn is the shy, brainy modern-day heroine of Rumer Godden's China Court, a romance in which the most prominent character is really China Court, the Cornish house in which the Quinn family have lived for the better part of a century. Tracy's only happy memories from childhood were the few years that she lived at China Court with her grandmother. The very ending is problematic, but I have always sympathized very much with Tracy's shyness and her love of the house and the garden.
Tenpou Gensui (Field Marshall Tenpou) is an ancient Chinese god who ends up on the wrong side of a political struggle in Heaven, in Katsuya Minekura's manga Saiyuki Gaiden. He's a brilliant man but also a slob and a bit of a space cadet. He has a keen sense of justice and right. In Minekura's main series Saiyuki (with its continuations: Saiyuki Reload and Saiyuki Reload Blast), Tenpou is reborn as Cho Hakkai. His lover Kenren Taishou (General Kenren) is reborn as Sha Gojyo.
Tokine Yukimura is the female co-lead of Yellow Tanabe's manga series Kekkaishi. She is a teenaged 'barrier master," the current heir of one family of skilled magicians who can protect others from demons by creating magical barriers. Tokine is intense, loyal, studious, and skilled, but the series constantly contrasts her finesse with her male opposite number's magical strength.
Tokito Minoru is a troubled and brash young man with a strange clawed and furred right hand and hardly any memory of his past. In Kazuya Minekura's Wild Adapter, he becomes the friend - and likely more - of the nihilistic young criminal Kubota Makoto. Together, they are trying to find out the secret of the strange drug Wild Adapter, which may have something to do with Tokio's weird hand. Tokito is frank, almost fearless, down-to-earth, and fiercely loyal to the very few people he trusts.
Taki Tooru is a middle school girl in Yuki Midorikawa's manga series Natsume's Book of Friends (or Natsume Yuujinchō). She is able to draw a magic circle that will allow her and others to see youkai, spirits/monsters that are usually invisible to most. She becomes one of the closest friends of Natsume Takashi, a lonely boy who has been tormented by his ability to see youkai. Taki (usually referred to by her family name, as are all the school-age characters in the story) is remakably brave. At first she is quiet and withdrawn as a result of a curse that was placed upon her; later, she becomes lively and more talkative.
Let me know if you would like me to give you a letter too! (It may not be until tomorrow morning, though.)
This entire volume is a flashback. We get to find out what happened right after Kubota picked up his "stray cat" at the end of volume 1 and learn how they became the odd but close couple we saw in volume 2 and thereafter. The story is told mostly in first person, from the viewpoint of young Iizuka Shouta, Kubota's next door neighbor. I don't recall seeing this viewpoint used much at all in the manga I've read thus far - it's rather interesting.
Shouta is a solitary child who doesn't get along with his classmates, doesn't play sports, and doesn't belong to any clubs. Both parents work, and his afternoons are usually spent alone in the family apartment, playing videogames and writing and drawing manga- and anime-influenced adventure stories . When his neighbor Kubota shows up one afternoon with another young man slung over his shoulder, unconscious, Shouta's life gets a lot more interesting. For one thing, the comatose guy has a hand that looks like an animal's paw, furred and clawed. For another, Kubota needs Shouta's help when the new arrival wakes up: he doesn't trust Kubota, but he's much less on the defensive with a child.
Minekura is good at portraying kids, and when Shouta's going off into his fantasies about what's really going on with his next-door neighbor, the story has a rather Neil Gaiman-esque feel to it. And although Shouta certainly learns a lot from this strange interlude in his life, Kubota and Tokito get a few lessons as well.( Read more ... with spoilers! )
Oyceter's write-up on this (with spoilers)
I guess Wild Adapter is right on schedule for a manga series ... vol. 4 is about when both Saiyuki and Samurai Deeper Kyo really got going.
When Kubota is running an errand for the Chinese herb doctor, Kou, he ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time and is taken into police custody on suspicion of involvement in a grave crime with some peripheral connection to the Wild Adapter drug situation. Meanwhile, Tokito, whom Kubota had warned away from their apartment, is roaming homeless, desperately searching for clues about what happened to his only friend. While Kubota maintains a stubborn silence, Tokito manages to force himself to seek help from Kou and from reporter Takizawa Ryouji, as well as from a mysterious young woman with a long-ago connection to Kubota.
The overall plot of the series isn't any more coherent at this point, but the relationships are starting to gel. Kou and Takizawa both seem to be emerging as proper parts of an ensemble cast, and Kubo and Tokito's partnership is becoming both stronger and more clear. There are some very affecting scenes in this one, especially near the end.( Read more ... with spoilers! )
As this noir-ish urban tale opens, we see a young man with a strangely furry right hand apparently escaping into the streets of Tokyo. It's perhaps typical of this intriguing but frustrating series that we won't encounter him again until the end of the volume. The scene next shifts to Yokohama, where we meet Makota Kubota, an extremely cool-headed, disaffected young man who isn't attending school or working for a living or doing much of anything except playing mahjong. It's mentioned that he's the bastard son of someone important - the name rang no bells for me - and one of the city's leading detectives is his uncle. His personality and lack of occupation attracts a local Yakuza gang leader, who recruits him to be the head of the gang's youth division.
Kubota's utterly impassive personality is a source of much consternation to a number of people in this underworld community, from young gang members who are offended that this outsider has been placed over them to the prostitutes who are meant to serve as his incentive and reward. But they - and the police - have other things to worry about. Foremost among these is the strange new drug known as Wild Adapter, which has been killing people and leaving the victims with strangely animal-like features. Soon things are going seriously wrong in the gang, and Kubota wants out - but you can't just quit the Yakuza.
This is an odd series. To me, a huge Saiyuki fan, most of the characters look unnervingly like members of the Saiyuki cast. (Kubota, especially, looks like Hakkai's slightly younger brother.) There's almost as such violence as in Saiyuki, but it's played far more seriously. There also isn't much of a plot, thus far: Kubota, eventually accompanied by his strange friend Tokito, wanders about nosing into things that probably ought to be let alone, most of which offer up only tiny clues about the Wild Adapter drug. It may be that like many manga series, it's suffering from a slow start. I miss the camraderie of the Saiyuki boys: Kubota and Tokito can't really carry the whole thing on their skinny shoulders themselves, and although there a couple of other recurring characters, they're definitely not part of the main action.( Read more ... with spoilers! )
Most of them are images I've found elsewhere, and a lot of them are from the anime (ugh!), but there are better versions of the Gaiden chibis than I've seen previously, and there are some very nice Sanzo pix I hadn't seen before and a couple of good Kougaijis and one very nice Dokugakuji.