Fanart A Week: Ooku! ... and some more FMA.
Iemitsu and Arikoto from vols 2 and 3 of Ooku by Fumi Yoshinaga, SADDEST COUPLE IN ALL OF MANGA. They kill me with their devastatingly sad relationship OMG why can you two kids just be happy? D: Ooku is a really interesting series, an alternate history of Japan's Edo period where a disease has wiped out about 3/4ths of the male population. Since there are so few males, women must step into positions of power, something which goes against the tradition of the country. Ooku's a pretty fascinating read. Yoshinaga writes brainy, damaged characters very well, and does a great job portraying a country in the midst of a potentially world-ending crisis. I'm always very impressed when an author can portray smart, desperate characters without, well, TELLING the reader that these characters are smart and desperate. I hate it when authors spend a lot of time telling me how smart some character is, and then the character goes off and does something dumb. Argh. Show don't tell, people. It's that simple.
And on the Fullmetal Alchemist front, here's Scar and Mai.
I'm a bit of a fan of the "giant muscley violent guy and tiny badass girl team up!" thing. And also, frankly, Scar was really dumb before he met up with Mai. I kind of hated him. I can't stand characters who yammer on about how they're on a mission from God and then murder their way through a bunch of people. UGH. If I wanna read about that shit, I'll read Hellsing. Scar even looked really stupid the first time he showed up, wearing some ugly jacket that got pulverized in the next volume (thanks, Gluttony! That thing was hideous), and as Arakawa's artwork refined as she drew later vols of FMA, Scar's character design was the only one that radically changed. He doesn't even look like the same guy from volume 3 or wherever he first showed up. So, y'know, I'm assuming Arakawa noticed how dumb he looked and adjusted accordingly. Yay!
On another "Fullmetal Alchemist is freaking great" note, I've never felt so conflicted about a character than I do about Scar. He's a pretty serious asshole. The jerkface killed adorable Winry's parents, bringing about the SADDEST PANEL IN ALL OF MANGA, and, like Winry, I find myself pretty unwilling to forgive him for that, even as he continues an impressive redemptive arc over the course of the later FMA volumes. I like that a lot about FMA: its got good people who've been corrupted into bad people by the horrors of war, bad people who discover the good person inside of themselves, and good people who complicity take part in horrible things. With the possible exception of Ed and Al (and Mai), everyone's ruined in some way. It's pretty amazing to read that level of complexity in a comic book made for teenage boys. I really hope someday I'll be able to confuse the shit out of the emotions of a reader, as I've been confused over the course of reading Fullmetal Alchemist.
In conclusion, here's a random drawing of Roy, who broke my damn heart in volume 15 of FMA. ;_;