VS Aliens (GEN Manga)

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Rating: 3/5 – The Prettiest Girl in Class is an Extraterrestrial?
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow.

We talk a lot about so-called “Indie” comics. Indie of course for Independent, even though those books may be published by a pretty good-sized company with an advertising budget and the ability to go on convention junkets to promote their titles. Gen Manga, then, is a company attempting to do the same thing with titles direct from the Tokyo underground. If manga has an indie scene, Gen Manga is the company providing it to us on this side of the Pacific. Titles come directly from the author to the publisher, where they’re translated, adapted and put out on the shelves for us to read.

This lends a certain charm to titles like VS Aliens. The DIY ethic behind the creator (and the publisher) makes an attempt to bridge the gap between amateur and polished professional, and winds up somewhere in-between. A scattering of typos and poor grammar threaten to derail the book a couple times, but the artwork and fun nature of the story itself pulls the book back from the brink.

Kitaro meets Aya, considered by some to be the second prettiest girl in school, who tells him that Sana, considered to be the prettiest girl in school, is actually an alien. When facts begin to show up to counter Kitaro’s disbelief, he finds he must take Aya seriously. Even Sana herself begins to question her very humanity, or if she’s human at all. At its heart, this is a love story, venturing close to harem manga territory without going over the line (the cast of characters is kept mercifully short, and the story itself is in one self-contained volume).

Manga readers are accustomed to seeing and expecting certain things out of their books and creators. It’s refreshing, then, to see a title like VS Aliens show up, with a simple tale told (in a not-so-simple manner) by one of Tokyo’s numerous independent mangaka. And to think, you didn’t even have to travel to Comiket (Japan’s independent version of ComiCon) to pick it up!

Reviewed by: Al Sparrow – al@comicspectrum.com
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