Comic/Graphic Novel Manga: 3 am Dangerous Zone
Author and Artist: Nemu Youko
Alright, it is a manga but it is still in that category. Anyway, I am dumbfounded how much I totally forgot about this manga. Well, to give you a bit of a background. This manga was recommended to
me (scratch that) whole class by my professor in Sequential Art for a class. Thankfully, I stumbled upon it again.
I just have to say this: I just simply fell in love with the art style (specifically the cover arts of the mangas). They have that simplicity but readability where the focal point is. Even though the only present are the line art and a few colors it speaks of the mood.
The color choices are just spot on! Very calming in the eyes and appropriate to the feel of the concept. Don’t you just looooove theeeem!
It was well drawn layout wise. All the lines are going to the direction where the artist’s want the reader to look at which is the focal point of everything, Momoko. Even the choice of color and where it should place did not become a hindrance for the reader to look at her. They were just a tool for you to feel what Momoko feels!
I think these works are just superbly done! So lovely! 😀 What do you think?
Unfortunately, the summary didn’t quite give the final kick after seeing the gorgeous illustrations. It didn’t have that umph! thing I was looking for. It was actually a simple story but my professor did recommend me to read it, so I just went and dug in.
I am actually liking the genre “josei” in the manga world. To give you gist, mangas have different kinds of categories for different age groups. So, to name a few, there are shoujo for young girls, shonen for young boys, seinen for adult boys and this manga is josei for adult girls. (Just to give you a heads up! It’s not what you think “Adult” more of a mature, interesting stories for young adults and beyond.) And this specific manga is off that bat!
It may seem very slow but I quite like it. Compared to a shoujo manga, by the first chapter the main protagonist, Momoko, would have a love interest but this manga deals with women in their young adult problems. For Momoko, we are introduced to her in the first chapter that she is in a relationship. Not only dealing with romantic problems but real post college dilemmas… JOBS! And those nagging questions “When will I do my dream job?” “Do I have to keep doing this job I don’t really strive to be in the future?” “Suckie job V.S. Great people to work with?” “Am I ever gonna get some sleep or even get home?”
These constant question and the the ever growing numbers of them as you go through life are the main topics discussed in the manga.
You’d notice as you keep reading that you’re not reading anymore a shoujo manga because there are several chapters talking about other than romantic life. If you haven’t read any shoujo, most of it would be lovey dovey problems of a high school girl. You can tell that you’re reading one when the protagonist is just thinking about the guy and isn’t even showing signs of studying or worrying about exams or her family. Just pretty much all about her love life. (Though, I am not saying ALL of shoujo mangas are like this. There are actually quite a few that are amazing! 😉 I shall share them one day!)
I actually liked one chapter because it discussed what a life of a post art student. You see, Momoko’s major was Illustration and would love to have a career in the illustration industry but got a job in a design company for Pachiko. And even though she has plans to resign and finally do what she loves, she just couldn’t because of the pile of work and there were no right timing. Eventually, out of frustration from quarreling with her co-worker, she shouted she will quit because the work is purposeless. Suddenly the boss went up to her and frankly (and scarely) said: “Then quit!” After that Momoko faced embarrassment and constantly conscious of what she is doing. She felt guilty and bad about what she said and had done. For the whole time she kept contemplating and have that constant stress and felt she didn’t deserve to stay. At the end, she didn’t want to quit and the boss did that for her to realize that, that even though her current job isn’t her dream job- treat it with respect.
I just love how Youko brought that up. I don’t usually see that in any manga. She not only dealt with the anxieties of a post art student graduate but deal how to overcome and especially commented to “respect” a job. It doesn’t have to be you’re dream job that you work hard for. It has to be any job. Because this is still a job and some people taking these jobs seriously. You cannot possibly just take it as a joke, it is disrespectful to your co-workers.
And she showed how that art student reacts to it. That feeling of devastating feel of paranoia and stress from embarrassment was spot on. Anyone who is a post art student could relate to that. Maybe not even them but for someone who was splashed with cold reality. And for me that was just gold. Beautifully done! 🙂
For the romantic aspect. It was nicely put. As I said above, Momoko was introduced in the beginning to be in a relationship. It is an interesting take because even though this is a josei, the author could readily made the character single and while managing work, find love as well. Yet, she did not. I found that quite refreshing and an interesting tool for story telling.
It dawned on me, she did this because really, the main focus is her dream to be an illustrator and it’s a josei. We are waaaay past from the “lovey dovey this guy is the only thing I am going to think about or our relationship” stage.
What she did was, introduce the relationship briefly and talk about work and her dream. And as the work piled up we see she isn’t paying attention to the relationship. And that my friend is the reason why Youko “briefly” introduced the relationship. She wanted the audience to feel what Momoko feels.
To be honest as I was reading it, I didn’t quite understand their relationship. I thought they were siblings, or childhood/best friend who she just hangs out with. And that, is what she wanted. For you, readers, to be confused!
Isn’t that a genius move?
And the amazing part is, for Momoko’s new love interest… do you know how Youko introduced him? It is when she misses a familiar, warm touch of a person. Not in a romantic way BUUUUT, in a way, a lonely person who has been working non stop, never have the spare time to go home, and never seen a familiar and warm person. And when they connected…it was platonic!
That my friend is genuine and sincere.
And this is how a real relationship happens. Not the love at first sight, or the first time he saw you, or the first time you bumped into each other. Relationship takes time. And here at that time, it was developing! It starts platonic or just a simple “I miss people” in general and then as the chapters keep going they get closer.
That bit, is beautifully done! 🙂
The manga isn’t don’t yet but I am in a lookout! 🙂 If you guys find it interesting, english scans are up on mangafox or mangareader. Just type the title! 🙂