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Manga Review: Beautiful People by Mitsukazu Mihara

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A small collection of deeply inspiring stories, Beautiful People Volume 1 is a manga for those who think differently from the rest of the world. Mitsukazu Mihara (author of the TOKYOPOP manga Doll) is known for her gothic tales that really get her readers thinking. Her characters' clothes are modeled after the ever-popular Japanese cult favorite Gothic Lolita. Don't let their looks scare you away, though. Mihara-ka has a way of pulling readers into her tales. From family issues, to the realizations of what true beauty means, Mihara-ka touches everyone in some way that they can relate.

One of the stories felt like it was a retold, modernized version of Frankenstein. Although it had a great lesson and ending, I didn't care too much for the fact it wasn't original. There was another story that feels like it's familiar, but I cannot put my finger on it. A third story details the old concept of the end of the world, but it gave a new spin on survivors. The last story in the manga was a vampire tale. It's similar to a few other tales, but it has its own unique features.

Her artwork is perfect for the stories they are in. It may not be the most realistic, what with the weird hands in some panels, but her artwork is definitely appropriate. The interesting hair styles some of her characters don't defy gravity – they look like something that real gothic people walking down the street might have. The clothes designs are nicely done. The way something might ruffle here, or fit just right there, really made sense. That's if you know how clothing is supposed to fit.

The last story takes place in what seems to be Japan. People reacted differently back in the day, and she made sure to interpret that into her manga. The dialect of the male main character is more mature, which seeing how as he's a vampire, seems appropriate. The mysterious girl, in the story Beautiful People, is awkward. This doesn't surprise me, because the poor girl hasn't really had interactions with many humans.

It just shows that even people with not much human contact can still make an impact on people. The other stories use really well-chosen word choices. If it’s a young girl whining about everything or old southern folk greeting you on your return home, it’s expressed well with the wording that Mihara-ka has chosen.

Beautiful People didn’t get a full score, because some of the stories felt like I’ve already read them. Everything else was exceptional.

All in all, I'd say I rather enjoyed Beautiful People. I had trouble putting it down. Even though I'm not into the whole Gothic Lolita craze, I rather enjoyed the look and feel of the manga.

TOKYOPOP rated this manga T (Teen Age 13+).

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  • Ibitoshi

    Just want to comment on your use of “Mihara-ka”. It sounds like you’re trying to address Mihara with an honorific, but -ka suffix isn’t an honorific though; it’s a compound which when used with a profession denote a person who practices such profession. Thus a mangaka is simply an manga artist, and a chikka (create + ka) is a professional writer, and a geijuutsuka (art + ka) is a professional painter or artist in general. You can’t really use personal names with a -ka suffix.

    When denoting someone with great artistic ability with honorifics, I’d probably use xxx-sensei, or teacher. If you want to go overboard you use -sama, but that’s more for exaggeration than anything. Usually -san or -sensei will do, even if most humble Japanese artists like Miyazaki forbad others calling them sensei.

    Just FYI in case you’re not familir with it.

  • Christina Little

    Thanks, but I’ve always seen her name with -ka at the end. That being the case, I put it there. Would it be better if I took it off?