Finally committed myself into reading further more Year 24 Group stuff, alongside other titles which I have picked up many years ago from a local run-down book store that sold plenty of “old treasures” (otherwise known as “pirated junks”)….
So here are my thoughts:
1. I have tried my best; I REALLY have.
It is one thing when a piece of, well, whatever, is being rated as “masterpiece”, it is another when one would whether or not truly appreciate and fall in love with it!
Without mentioning the titles and their author(s), despite of my mammoth-scale of efforts, I have concluded that a complicated sci-fi kind of story will unlikely to be my cup of tea, ever. It was not the case when I started to become a shoujo-manga bookworm when I was little; it is still not the case as I have grown up to be a more mature shoujo-manga bookworm… and I doubt it will ever be in my foreseeable future.
Anyway, my conclusion is this: I would never mind an SF-theme story, nor a story with some complicatedly-twisted character(s) in it, SO LONG it can get us, the readers, directly to the point (of the story). I am just feeling very grumpy and fed up now, having spent an hour/book x 10-20 books for a lengthy series and yet, still pondering on what the HACK the story was about by the end of it!
Well, at least I tried….
2. Orpheus no Mado (or “Window of Orpheus”)
First of all, I have been waiting for >;2 decades until I could finally manage to finish reading its complete series (…there was another long story behind it!) So just imagine my excitment and enthusiasm when I could finally lay my hands on the books as they arrived at my doorsteps….
But I found my enthusiasm on OnM fading away instead, as I read the series again and again.
I would still rate OnM as one of the best/ one of most classic amongst all othe shoujo manga. I like its narratives in terms of its depth and details; I enjoyed the experience of reading it as it captured my attention and attraction to the history of Europe pre WWI. Riyoko IKEDA, the author of OnM, has once said she wanted to develope the storyline of OnM on the (Russian) revolution with more details as opposed to what we have seen in her previous Versailles no Bara, in which (the story of) the French revolution was idealised.
In the respect of above, Ikeda has clearly succeeded in showing us a beautiful story through OnM using the Russian revolution and Europe in its tubulence times as the backdrop….. Nonetheless, it did not stop my disappointment on OnM.
OnM reminded me of the times when I watched Gone with the Wind or when I read War and Peace, both epic and rated masterpiece by many. Despite of the superbly written storylines, however, I disliked the characters of the female protogonists so much that I stubbonly refused to watch/read them for the second time….. Unfortunately I discovered the same applies to OnM; the weakness of Julius (female protogonist of OnM) was so noticeable to the point of unbearable for me to look away.
I know I am being unfair to OnM, as I have been unfairly benchmarking it with its predecessor (Versailles no Bara). See? This is exactly the problem as I built my excitment and expectation over the course of >;20 years after reading Versailles no Bara; it would be hard not to compare the two in anyway.
Going back to Julius of OnM; to be fair, the pressure and mental distress which Julius had to undergo since she was litle was indeed a lot for anyone to bear. Through her relationship with Isaak and her growing feelings for Klaus, Julius demonstrated her emotions irrationally at times, as if it was an escape for her to relieve her mounting pressures. As the story continues, it illustrated Julius’ insecurities and dependency further, hence exposing the weakness of our female protogonist in greater scale, i.e in a stark contrast to Oscar of Versailles no Bara in many ways.
In a nutshell, Versailles no Bara is a story with all the traditional shoujo-manga conventions, whilst OnM not.
If I had not built my over-20years worth of expectations on OnM purely based on my reading experiences of Versailles no bara, I am convinced that I would have enjoyed the series far more for what it is deserved. But for now, I would most likely leave it in my manga bookshelves for a long time, until that childhood nostagia and VnB-based expectations will fade away…..