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Velveteen & Mandala Paperback – August 30, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Velveteen & Mandala feels wrong in the best sense of the word. It’s a creepy, gross little monster of a book, the type that is going to crawl inside your brain and throw up on your frontal lobes… The strongest scenes come from the extreme cruelty that lurks behind high school life or the way that people—and I mean regular people here, like you and me—are casually insensitive to each other in deeply cutting ways… The exact manga you need if you’re a fan of Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit, Charles Burns’s Black Hole, or seeing some good old-fashioned gross action.” —Comics Alliance

Velveteen & Mandala is as disturbed as its protagonists, and maybe that’s because it manages to be both fun and sad… Just like the way Mandala obsessively shouts ‘Tape recorder!’ at the top of her lungs, Velveteen & Mandala will stay in your head and beg to be reread. Here’s hoping Vertical, or an equally gutsy publisher, pumps out more material like Matsumoto’s in the direction of an otherwise unsuspecting North American audience.” —Otaku USA

“It is funny, but in the black, ghastly way that something like Catch-22 or M*A*S*H (the original film, at its most embittered) was funny: you laugh, along with the storyteller, that you may not cry… The most significant development over the course of V&M is how it slowly trades the outré, non-sequitur black humor of its opening chapters for something a lot sadder and more expansive. There’s a surprising amount of emotional punch in the conclusion, enough that it invites a second reading of the book…” —Genji Press

"The key in appreciating this genius manga would be to just look deeper. The manga gives focus on how harsh life can be that people would be forced to sacrifice what they have. While this manga isn't recommended for teens, as it contains a lot of disturbing content, it definitely should be read." - Review Stream

About the Author

Jiro Matsumoto was born on August 20, 1970. A graduate of the Mushashino College of the Arts with a major in sculpture art, Matsumoto quickly turned his focus on the comics world upon receiving his undergrad degree in 1992. That year he took the top honor in Kodansha's prestigous Morning/Chiba Tetsuya New Comic Artist Award. His debut work Little Field blew the judges away with its fast pacing and unhinged art-style.

While Matsumoto has penned numerous short-stories over the past two decades his first major success was the sci-fi thriller FREESIA. Published by Shogakukan's IKKI magazine since 2001, FREESIA would come to redefine indie comics in Japan when it was adapted into a live action film in 2006.

Velveteen & Mandara will be Matsumoto's first book in English.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Vertical (August 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935654306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935654308
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First off, this book is not for children or those with a weak stomach. But if you're an adult with a strong constitution and an open mind, then by all means, check this little gem out. It has terrific artwork, which reminds me of Hiroaki Samura and a storyline that will keep you guessing until the end. The summary on the back of the manga describes the story as Miyazaki meets Evangelion. To me, it felt more like the spiritual brother of Tekkonkinkreet - only more extreme.

Velveteen, the protagonist, lives by the riverside and from the get-go it's unclear if she's alive or dead and if the world that we see through her eyes even exists. She and her frenemy Mandala trek through a microcosm of spirits, the undead, vicious high school girls, and air raids.

I'm not particularly drawn to stories with violence and nudity (which Velveteen and Mandala has in spades), but have a weak spot for things that are unique. Velveteen and Mandala are not the typical moe school girls that pop up again and again in manga. They are apathetic, strong willed, cruel, addicted to drugs, and literally insane. I like that the writer didn't pull punches. He created two twisted heroines who live in the underbelly of Wonderland.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the description I expected this to be a light-hearted romp involving school girls, a tank and zombies, what I got instead was something different. Quite different. Which is not to say it wasn't good, but readers should know what they're getting.

Velveteen and Mandala are two high school girls in a surreal post-apocalyptic Tokyo where B-52 bombers drop zombies, imps stalk the ruins and everyone, including our heroines, is insane.

It's not a book for kids, there is nudity, sex, rape, scatology and violence. There are some disturbing images and ideas.

It's very well done but I'm not quite sure the surreality and horror added up to a point.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bizarre, creepy, disgusting, fascinating! Wonderful blend of horror, paranormal, paranoia, isolationism and survival as told by a teenage girl all alone in a Walking Dead type world with a twist and her weird, autistic friend. Once you've reached the end you'll want to reread it again to pick up on all the little surreal clues that have shaped the world the characters are living in. I'm an avid collector of manga and this book is one of the most daring and intriguing and the whole story is contained in one book, not dozens like most manga. NOT for children.
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Format: Paperback
Dark, violent and full of unexpected turns, this book is definitely worth reading if you are a fan of twisted gory horror. The artwork can put some people off because of how loose it is, but I would recommend you read it anyway. The plot is told from the point of view of the main character Velveteen. Right away you can tell there is something severely unright with her, but given the crazy world she lives in it's hard to tell if what is happening is just all in her head or if events in her world have completely spiraled completely out of control. The pace is excellent, with an ending that is really unexpected and punchy.
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