Meanwhile, back at ENERGY! Along with its fellow Shonen JUMP serialized title ONE PIECE, NARUTO is leading the way in the high-energy-comics sweepstakes! Every illustration and emotion leaps off the page, making for some bloody visceral comics reading. It’s interesting to compare-and-contrast with North American Comics’ best-selling “High Energy” title, THE ULTIMATES. Last week’s ULTIMATES issue featured Thunder Gods tearing space ships out of the sky, lightning strikes and robots and all that. Very pretty, very BIG stuff. But it was all… It was very much as if you were looking at the motion as a series of stills from a movie. Lovely, impressive, even dynamic to a certain degree, but it was only screen-captures of what must be a hell of a movie. Something like NARUTO or ONE PIECE, the characters dance across the page. There’s speed and motion and energy, you’re watching the movie, you’re playing the videogame, you ARE the protagonist, that barrier is removed. It’s a hell of a big difference and I think it’s phenomenal, and I think that’s one of the primary reasons that manga’s rising-popularity in North America is so popular. We’ve got big-budget-blockbuster movies already, we don’t need to see single-frames from them blown up and turned into a comic. What we need is comics that use being comics to their full advantage, and it seems the vast majority of the books delivering on that are coming to us from overseas.I felt the same way when I read Akira not too long ago: This was how to convey kinetic, high-energy action. Naruto, while not one of my favorite serials from Shonen Jump, definitely succeeds in capturing a similar sense of motion.
The women of Club 9 have real-life sensuality to them, something that is missing in a lot of comics, whether North American or Japanese....The women that work in the club are not your stereotypical manga women. Sure, they have the wide eyes but these women are pleasantly plump and curvaceous, not muscled, long-legged and disproportionately endowed in boobs.No wonder I'm so drawn to this manga: I'm being subtly seduced by the charming, non-conventional beauty of Makoto Kobayashi's characters!