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Dolls Vol. 1
Author/Artist Yumiko Kawai
Price $9.99 (£6.50-£6.99)
Dolls is another title by Viz under the "shojo" range. Unfortunately, and not to discredit Viz's choice of titles in any way, it just really doesn't fit into any genre. Its a little drama, a little sci-fi, a little horror and a little of almost anything in between.
Y'see, its a set of short stories centred around some dolls. These aren't just any dolls mind you, they're "Plant Dolls" - like big doll shaped tamagochis. They select their own owner though, whether the person can afford the (implied) ludicrous prices or not. Then things get weird - if not nurtured properly the dolls will "wilt" (die) or grow up (normally into something bad).
The stories are on the whole dark and slightly disturbing, however their downfall is the author doesn't follow through, instead opting to add a little ill-judged humour into each story's ending. While at first this may sound great it really ruins the book, and it would have been a high 8/10 had the author not felt the urge to inject rather unfunny comedy into it.
Artistically it is mostly fantastic, in a kinda 80's retro way. Nevertheless, it's well detailed and drawn, each picture seamlessly melded into the story almost perfectly. It is clear yet detailed, the foregrounds and backgrounds clear and distinguishable.
In the end Dolls is a good manga. It's a great idea marred by too many bad jokes. The idea and theory is definitely top notch but in the end its just another slightly above average manga. Definitely not essential but a fun read and worth a look for any curious in the creepy side of dolls.
Note: Not to be confused with the Tokyopop series "Doll"
High quality to a certain extent but lacking in some areas, particularly readability