Graphic Novels & Manga

365 Days of Manga, Day 365: Castle of Dreams

CASTLE OF DREAMS • Masami Tsuda • Tokyopop • 13+
Early works from the creator of Kare Kano, Castle of Dreams collects two Japanese anthologies—Castle of Dreams and The Room Where an Angel Lives—into a single big 400-page book. The first half is fantasy stories united by the plot device of a mysterious sorcerer who grants wishes. In “In the Forest,” Sana, a girl, is summoned to the capital to become the new wife of the sultan. Initially resigned to the arranged marriage, Sana soon realizes that the sultan is a sympathetic man who still loves his dead wife, and gradually she longs to take her place in his heart. In “I am the Mermaid,” the priestess of a tropical island, who has mermaid blood in her veins, falls in love with a foreign sailor who washes up on shore. In the title story, “Castle of Dreams,” Chita, the illegitimate son of a feudal lord, comes to the castle as a servant hoping for revenge against his father, only to end up deeply attached to his half-brother, Prince Rafense. The second half of the book, except for “The Room Where an Angel Lives,” (the story of a young coal miner in 19th century England), consists of non-fantastic school stories. But whether her stories are set in fantasy worlds or the modern day, Tsuda goes places where most manga artists would never go; her stories are tales of star-crossed love and loss with excellent writing and unpredictable plots. In “Because I Have You” a girl with low self-esteem turns down a guy who loves her because she feels unworthy of him. In “I Won’t Go,” an extremely powerful tale, a girl in a long-distance relationship finds herself falling out of love with her boyfriend and into love with another man who understands her loneliness. With simple but clear artwork, Tsuda packs an incredible amount of emotion into a short space. Sometimes sad, sometimes hopeful, these stories are even stronger than her classic Kare Kano. (This review of Castle of Dreams was originally printed in Otaku USA magazine.)
*** 1/2 (three and a half stars)
Today’s winner is Andres L. of California. Congratulations, Andres!
This photo was sent by Trey M., one of the final winners of “365 Days of Manga.” As per the rules, you’re gonna get five more manga for showing yourself with your goods! Thanks for sending it in!

And now, after 12 months of manga reviews and manga giveaways, endeth the greatest manga giveaway I’m aware of having existed: 365 Days of Manga. I’ve posted some thoughts about the contest on my livejournal, A Year of Manga. It was an exciting year. In the end, I gave away approximately 2,850 manga, give or take a couple dozen (yeah, it’s not scientific), and not counting the extra manga I gave away for the King of RPGs character contest back in January.

If you received manga from me, but haven’t sent in your photo, you have till the end of September to send in your photo for five more free manga. Thanks for all your participation and enthusiasm that made me feel privileged to give my manga away to fans across the country. Finally, thanks to all the people who helped me. I couldn’t have done it without Dallas Middaugh of Random House, Camille Collette of Suvudu (extra thanks, Camille!), Eric Denny, April Flores, Kyle Munley and all the other people on the Del Rey end. And of course Carl Gnam and Patrick Macias of Otaku USA, where I am the regular Manga Editor, writing new manga reviews in every issue of the magazine.

So what next? Well, I’m working on some new projects, and reading lots of manga, of course! Keep your dice hand free for me and Victor Hao’s King of RPGs Volume 2 in Summer 2011, please check out my regular column House of 1000 Manga at Anime News Network, and visit my personal webpage for some of my own art and news about my personal projects! You can also follow me on twitter where I am khyungbird. See you around, and thanks for sticking around with me till the end!

– Jason Thompson

6 Responses to “365 Days of Manga, Day 365: Castle of Dreams”

  1. Peta says:

    Wow. The 365 days are over. Thanks for sticking with this regular feature – I have really enjoyed it and it’s helped me to muster up the courage to start reading some Manga!

  2. Jason Thompson says:

    Thanks for reading! It was fun to put up so many reviews and to see so many different manga fans from around America. (I’m sorry I couldn’t expand it to Canada, Mexico and the world in general, but shipping costs were just too high.)

  3. Measure for Measure says:

    Thumbing through my dogeared copy of the The Complete Guide, I wondered, \When will there be an update?\ Googling I see that I missed out on an entire year of reviews! Good to see that you’re still at it Jason! I’ve bookmarked this site and plan to catch up on my reviews over the coming weeks.

    Dang I like manga. Sure there’s a lot of drek — but much of it can be IDd with a casual inspection. I have to wonder what’s it like to review stuff that really isn’t up your ally. For myself, I find that shonen quality varies a lot more than shojo. A greater share of shonen are on my rave-faves list, but there’s also a great deal more that I have no interest in. Even if the shojo title is mediocre, I find that at least I can gather a little insight into the appeals of the opposing gender. Females may have a different experience.

  4. Thanks, Measure for Measure! Let me know if you have any trouble with the archive, I think some reviews may not be tagged properly making them hard to find in the search engine (my fault, of course).

    Your comment that you can almost always find something interesting in shojo manga made me laugh — I think a character in Megatokyo said something sort of like that once, how they learned all about relationships from shojo manga. ;) I think I did too, actually.

  5. Lyntha Tye says:

    Nice job Mr. Thompson! It shows that you have great commitment to completing your goals. 365 days of manga reviews and completing the giveaway process is a lot of work. Thank you for taking your time in doing the reviews. Wishing you much success in your future endeavors!

  6. Thanks Lyntha! :) Somehow, I’m even busier now that the 365 Days are over.

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