Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dramacon, Volume 2

This second book in the three-volume Dramacon manga series picks up exactly one year after the first book ended. Aspiring manga writer Christie returns to the very same manga convention of the previous book. This time she she has a different collaborating artist (as a result of events in Volume 1), Bethany, who is very talented - her design is on the con's official t-shirt.

At the end of the last book (skip this paragraph to avoid some minor spoilers), Christie has broken up with her boyfriend not only because of his horrid behavior, but because she is very attracted to Derek, a handsome young man she met at the con. He never did ask her for her phone number, but as they left the convention, Derek's sister gave her his. When Christie finally got up the nerve to call, a girl answered, and she panicked and hung up. So she's very excited to see him again. And she's just as attracted to him as ever - even when she discovers, to her shock and dismay, that he has a girlfriend. And of course she is tall and blond and beautiful.

All the expected complications and hijinks ensue, in a delightful combination of action, character development, and hilarious dialogue. The idea of each of these volumes taking place at the same convention, after a year's time has passed, is a very effective way of showing the characters' growth. They look different, have grown up a bit, have different (or more focused) goals - and the reader catches up on their lives along with old friends as they meet up again. The romantic element is certainly the main part of the book, but there are lots of other things going on as well, including Christie's dream of becoming a successful manga writer and Bethany's issues with her mother, who is vehemently against the impracticality of trying to become a professional artist.

The artwork is a perfect accompaniment to the text, using manga conventions (such as the chibi characters) to their full extent, creating vivid (and often humorous) pictures of all kinds of vivid emotions and drama. It will be interesting to see what kinds of changes Christie's next convention, one year later, will bring to her life in the third and final book of the series.

Books in the Dramacon series:
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3

Dramacon, Volume 2 by Svetlana Chmakova (Tokyopop, 2006)

Also reviewed at:
A Chair, a Fireplace and a Tea Cozy: "LOVED IT. I cannot wait to read the entire series. And I'm adding it to my Best Books of 2006 list."
The Shady Glade: "Despite the fact that the book mostly centers on characterization as opposed to plot, it was extremely engaging and very hard to put down."

2 comments:

  1. I do love the premise for this series and I look forward to reading your review of the final one in the series. Don't forget to link the review when you have time.

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  2. I really need to review #3 soon before I forget it! I'm so behind in reviews because of being gone for a week. I think I linked to this already, but I'll doublecheck. I think you'll like this series if you decided to read it. It's cute and funny but has a nice realistic undercurrent as well.

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