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Review: X2 (Times Two) by Shouko Akira

X2 (Times Two)
by Shouko Akira

Five stories, five chances at romance! X2 (Times Two) is a collection of one-shot short stories by Shouko Akira, a Japanese artist best known in the United States for her series Monkey High. In each of these stories, high school students fall in love and try to figure out how to tell the object of their affection about their feelings. The situations change – in one story a girl gains the ability to read the mind of one of her classmates, while in another story a girl has vowed to confess her feelings to the guy she likes before the can of soda he once gave her expires – but in the end, each couple finds their connection.

One-shot comics like this are generally used as filler to pad out a short volume in a continuing series; it’s unusual to see them gathered together in an anthology. Usually, when such an anthology is released, the author is pretty well-known – as far as I can tell, this was Shouko Akira’s English debut. I expected that these stories would be something special in order to garner such special treatment.

No. Not really. These stories adhere strictly to the tropes of the genre, and are the blandest sort of innocent romances. Individually, they’re pleasantly forgettable, but when they’re put together like this it becomes a little too saccharine. I guess as an introduction for a young reader to manga, this wouldn’t be too bad. But to any veteran reader the stories will be predictable and fluffy.

The art itself is decent. It takes no risks, but tells the stories in easy-to-read panels with clean, clear lines. There’s nothing exceptional to recommend it, but again – a new manga reader might find it enjoyable.

2.5 out of 5 stars

To read more about X2 (Times Two), buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Discussion Question: London Olympics & Children’s Authors
2011: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
2010: Old Spice Guys & Libraries
2009: Book Trailer: Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant
2008: Stealing Athena by Karen Essex


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