Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Swan Manga Review! The best shojo manga?




Could this woman be any more beautiful?

You know who's awesome? Karen Kain. That woman has done tremendous things for Ballet in Canada. When I was in grade 3, we had to dress up as someone we wanted to be and looked up too. I had no idea what to do for this so my mom told me to be her. I put on my ballet costume and pretended I knew how cool she was. Obviously I had no idea back then.

I've really been reading up on ballet's fascinating history of dancers. I thought it was so cool she used to dance with ballet superstar Rudolf Nureyev.
It helps I've found what has to be one of the best shojo manga's ever written, "Swan" at the library. Regardless of your interest in ballet, this manga will totally surpass your expectations.
For a manga made in the 70's, I feared it would be cheesier then the fluffy story lines constantly being released. The story behind Swan is empowering. This manga should strongly speak to anyone who passionately goes after their dreams. The Author Kyoko Ariyoshi has the vocabulary and knowledge of a professional ballerina. I'm unaware if she herself danced but with the amount of love she expresses for ballet in the story I can only hope she did. Ariyoshi adds even more depth to the storyline by using actual ballet star of the time with Alexei Sergeiev as a main character. Tons of other great dancers are mentioned and make guest appearances. The manga also has a very international feel in terms of multiple settings.
The characters are drawn in a romantic, oldschool and dreamy fashion. The way artist Kyoko Ariyoshi manages to capture every single element of a perfectly executed pirouette brings her artwork to a whole different level. With her pencil she demonstrates perfect posture and technique. From what I could scarcely find online, Mrs. Ariyoshi seemed to be very influential in shaping the modern day shojo genre. I find it sad that this is perhaps the only manga I have read for along long time that doesn't circle around complex love triangles or over sexualized cat transforming preteens. Don't get me wrong, thoes stories are great for what they are but in the longterm have just been discrediting artists like Ariyoshi who have the ability to deleiver a strong, inspiring storyline without excessivly sexualized characters.




At first I was kinda put off of by the pointed noses and outdated hairstyles. You just need to accept it as a different kind of shojo though! This manga seems incredibly hard to find. Like mostly everything I want to read now, it's out of print. My local library however apparently has all the volumes. The librarian said they have awesome suppliers that hunt down series but still, WOW. Would it be legal for me to scan and upload this for people? I totally don't understand how that stuff works but people need to read this! I can't wait to get time to read the rest! SOOO ADDICTIVE! My problem is actually improving my own dance and not reading about characters getting better at it! Black Swan wasn't exactly a great story but it has sparked a large mainstream interest in ballet. I hope people will want to check this out!
I just want to throw my pointe shoes on so bad right now. Ballet was super fun last night. Me and huma have still not given up hope that we will one day find an amazing place to intensely train our "old" unexperienced butt's off at.

1 comment:

Amara Tenoh said...

Have you read the whole thing?? I have only read up to volume 15 and I can't find the rest! But I'm dying to know what happens! If you have it is there any way you could send me some of the pictures from the volumes? Just seeing the pictures would be great!' :)