Sunday, November 28, 2010

SLIS 5420 - Module 13 - Silver Diamond

Module 13 - Silver Diamond v.1 by Shiho Sugiura

Suguira, Shiho. Silver Diamond v.1. Tokyopop, 2003. ISBN: 978-1-4278-0965-0

Rakan is a handsome, orphaned boy who lives alone in his grandfather's house. He has a talent for growing flowers, is sweet and friendly, but mostly a loner. Chigusa is a "monster" from another world who is accidentally transported to our world. When they meet, there is a confrontation, confusion and ultimately, acceptance. This is because Rakan looks like the evil prince from Chigusa's world. Another man is transported to Rakan's world, Narushige, who owns a talking snake (who can also transform into a gun). These three make an unusual, but interesting group as they start to learn about each other and the world around them.

What I Thought
While there are many series out there that have people from other worlds come into contact with each other, there is something original about Sugiura's manga. The world that Chigusa and Narushige come from is bleak. Rakan's world is bursting with flowers. When he encounters Chigusa, he accidentally causes his "gun" to grow. Later, he grows an entire "gun" tree. This is because in the other world, there are plant analogues for most technologies. Rakan is considered a "sanome" which is someone who causes things to grown. This explains Rakan's green thumb!

The ways that Chigusa, Narushige and the talking snake, Koh, experience Rakan's world are funny. It's also very touching to see the two adult characters respond to Rakan's instinctive kindness. Both Chigusa and Narushige have been "discarded" and considered "trash" in their world. Rakan values them and treats them with respect and demands respect back. Chigusa's understanding (or rather, misunderstanding) of this respect is where much of the humor lies. Chigusa is always saying inappropriate things, hugging too much and otherwise being "pervy" by accident.

This is one of my favorite manga series. I love the quiet theme of respect that underlies the story. There is a great sense of human dignity that is lightened by the silly humor of Chigusa and the snake, Koh. So far there are seven volumes available and it's worth reading. The plot gets more involved, more characters are added and more is revealed as the manga continues.

Outside Reviews

"Koh can conveniently transform into a sword, so when Chigusa discovers him they begin to duel in an extremely artistic manner with their snake-sword and plant-guns. That sums up the loopy appeal of this series. The plot elements are a mishmash, but the characters all look impossibly pretty and they fight with insanely symbolic weapons. I think Silver Diamond would be a must buy for fantasy shounen ai fans. I’m curious to see if the second volume settles down a bit since first volume spent plenty of time setting up the characters and their relationships with each other. Is Rakan the true prince of Chigusa’s world? How will he manage to go to high school while taking care of two otherworldly warrior house guests?"
TangognaT. (2008, January 11). Silver diamond volume 1. Retrieved from 

"All of the characters introduced so far are likeable and interesting. Rakan is practical and thoughtful, and though he realizes pretty quickly that his houseguests have something to do with his origins, he’s reluctant to ask questions about it, lest the normal life he wants for himself be threatened. Chigusa is enigmatic but smiles often and seems kind. Late arrival Shigeka functions somewhat as a go-between between the other two, answering questions as well as raising them, particularly where Chigusa’s true nature is concerned...On the whole, I come away with a very favorable impression of Silver Diamond and am genuinely interested to see where the story goes from here. If the purpose of review copies is to hook people on new series they might not ordinarily have investigated, then mission accomplished."
Smith, M. (2008, July 23). Manga review: silver diamond, volume 1. Retrieved from 

Using this book in the library
This manga series is a great addition for older teens. It's especially appealing to girls who love shonen-ai (boy love) mangas. This type of manga is written by women for women. It involves pretty boys hanging out with other pretty boys. All of the men (even the evil ones) in this manga are eye-candy, for sure.

For fun:
Take a sneak peek inside the mangas at the Tokyopop website. There is an interactive viewer for the story that you can also see below.

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