From the Pile: Amefurashi vol. 1

August 5th, 2009

From the Pile is (what hopefully will be) a regular feature in which we profile something at random from our large pile of yet-to-be-reviewed anime and manga. Believe us, we’ve been in this game for several years now and have had only limited space in the print edition to share all our thoughts, so there’s quite a bit of catch-up work to do on our backlog. So without further ado …

Amefurashi 001Today’s profile: Amefurashi: The Rain Goddess vol. 1
Publisher: Del Rey
Suggested age rating: Teen 13+

From Atsushi Suzumi — the creator of Haridama: Magic Cram School and Venus Vs. Virus, two other series that ought to get “From the Pile” treatment sometime down the line — comes this story of a village’s legend that springs to all-too-real life for twin siblings Mel and Mil and their older brother, Gimmy. That legend states that within the nimbus tree on which a rare flower blooms dwells Amefurashi, the rain goddess who provides water to the otherwise parched village in exchange for an offering.

It seems that Amefurashi has been easily placated as of late, though. All she asks for are new dolls, and the village is more than happy to oblige. But when Gimmy is asked to do the honors this particular go-round, he struggles to come up with even an adequate design. Seeing Gimmy’s struggles, Mel and Mil secretly pose as dolls and get boxed up, taken to Amefurashi’s altar and accepted as a worthy offering by the goddess herself. And once Gimmy discovers that his siblings are missing, he shrugs, chalks them up as a lost cause and carries on with his daily life as if nothing happened.

… oh, come on. You know that would never happen (although it would be cool if someone actually did pull off that story someday … but anyway). Of course Gimmy takes up arms (and legs and rest of his body) and sets off to make a deal with Amefurashi in hopes of getting back Mel and Mil. Unfortunately for him, Amefurashi is not a goddess from the Oh My Goddess! Belldandy/Mamotte Shugogetten Shaorin school of subservient goddesses. Instead, it’s Sora, a sassy teen girl who loves dolls and particularly adores Mel and Mil … so much so that she’s willing to have the clouds suck up the rain again if Gimmy doesn’t let her keep them.

And so you have your standard “sassy girl versus henpecked boy” story, mixed in with a “fish out of water” story as Sora bumbles around in the natural world trying to make sense of it all (here’s an apple! there’s a chicken! ooh, stay away from them, they’re thieves!) with a couple of cute kids wandering off into trouble every now and then. From there Suzumi starts piling on new story elements, and that’s where the book starts getting a bit muddled. Sora, who you think at first is the rain goddess, turns out to be just a rain goddess, as we discover when a new rain goddess, Ciel — who just happens to be older and more scantily clad than Sora — comes in, wreaks havoc and renders pretty much¬†everything that was carefully set up earlier in the book moot.

The hook factor: I’m lightly-to-borderline-moderately hooked on this one — I’m just curious enough to get the second volume to see what Suzumi will do with her now-homeless cast. If this turns out to be another “roam the ends of the planet encountering and challenging other rain deities” quest manga, though, I’m tuning this out faster than another Haruhi Suzumiya “Endless Eight” episode. Please, I already have Naruto, One Piece, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles and Bleach on the pile; I don’t need¬† to add any more “quest” series.

2 Responses to “From the Pile: Amefurashi vol. 1”

  1. William "Doc" Grant Jr.:

    Aloha Jason!

    Hope you’re enjoying your well earned rest! Thanks for all your hard work over last year! And tthe heads up on another kitschy manga. Oddly, looks like it may be kinda fun in an irritating way. (I sometimes lose patience with stories like this, kudos for hanging tough bro!)

    Did you get the HSMP Kawaii Kon Special #0 I dropped off for you? If not I’ll run another one by for you. Or ask Tammy Fasi, she should have other one I left at the SB.
    Take care and drop us a line once in a while!!

    Doc m@m

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