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Tammy Lee : First off I have to throw Kudos at the members of this studio for their unique marketing plan! First off I have to throw Kudos at the members of this studio for their unique marketing plan! I bought my copy of Doujisoup at this year's Animethon. How could I resist? The people selling copies had paperboy-esque shoulder bags and signs attached to them advertising the book! Their slogan. "Got Soup?" It was very cute and very personal! However, this style of sales works only if you have a very durable comic.

I'm not sure where Doujisoup printed their book but I'd love to have the number of the printers! This book has style! It is approximately 5" x 8" and 182 pages with either perfect or glue binding! It fits easily into your hand and the colour cover is printed on what feels like a thicker cardstock, but more flexible than cardstock.

The cover itself is reminiscent of the 70's with its orange colour and stylized vegetables, each drawn by a different artist. As cute as the cover is, I feel there could have been more done with it. I do know how hard it can be to make a composite cover/image and especially with a first book out it can be hard to decide who gets to do the cover. However, as unfortunate as it may seem, many people do judge a book by its cover and quite often the cover is what will sell your book for you. They might have been better off choosing one person to do the cover the first time, and have someone else do the cover the next etc. However, after having said that I do have to point out that many of the stories DID get a colour insert page to introduce them. That was a very happy surprise for me!

The interior layouts are very consistent and professional looking and I really like how they did the pagination! (001 - 182) The borders around the comics themselves are consistent as well, which is pretty impressive if you consider that meant getting seven artists to all agree to a size of page to work with.

The stories:

"Isobel Caramel and Pancakes" - Kim Hoang

Very cute and very shoujo! Isobel and Kai's parents have gone out of town and Isobel must do the cooking. However, her cooking is so bad her poor brother gets sick! Their neighbor, Miss Milady, takes pity on Kai and the two of them concoct a scheme to convince Isobel she shouldn't be cooking. The idea of a manga female being bad at cooking isn't anything new (see Akane Tendo from Ranma 1/2 and various others) but this is so cute and has a twist ending that I find myself rather amused! The art is cute and somewhat stylized, but I can't help but feel tones would have been nicer than some of the hatching. However, the artist did a good job with using hand drawn patterns in the place of tones. I thought Kim's style was super cute and her story was paced very well. She also includes a pancake recipe in her bio at the end of her story! YUM! I do love pancakes!

"Cold Night" - Jaclyn Harmon

Tall, skinny dude finds short, skinny dude collapsed in the 'Deathsnow' and brings him to a tent for shelter and recovery. After all the layers are removed we find out they are elves and possibly the last of their kind! This story really feels like it is a lead-in to something bigger and it did leave me wanting more. Painfully so. There almost wasn't enough story to keep my attention! I feel this story would have been better if it were the introduction to a larger manga instead of just standing on its own in a collection. The art was very good and highly individualistic. It was consistent throughout and I found the skinny bodies with big eyes to be appealing and very aesthetic. The toning looks like it was done with watercolour or a computer and my only caution is that sometimes toning in such a manner doesn't reproduce well. In this instance, it reproduced excellent well so I have no complaints!

"-ningen- Human" - Fernando Perez Pena

Can a cyborg have a soul? This story is about two cyborgs with different views on the matter. The first destroys the American continent and flees to another dimension. The second follows after him on a mission to destroy him, and discovers an essential truth for himself. The story was self-contained and a little rushed in places but overall good. The fight sequences were very well done, something that sometimes suffers in doujinshi! This story had a real 'shonen' feel to it and the art style is a little reminiscent of Dragon Ball. I understand why the artist chose the font they did, but it would have been nice if ALL the letters weren't capitalized. It made reading the story a little difficult. The little girl was obviously a prop and seemed really disconnected from the rest of the story. It would have been nice if she connected better with the main character. All in all, this was a good shonen story with great fighting! As a note, the picture Fernando includes with his bio is amazing! I really liked it!

"Nice to Meet Yaseppochi!" - Joseph Dagsaan

Nooo! Evil bread! They're after my magic carrot! I shall steal a watermelon and live in a mushroom and make friends with an Earth girl! HOW else can I possibly explain the amusing-ness that is Yaseppochi? The language in this story is very childish and appropriate for someone like Yaseppochi and at first I was a little annoyed by it. However, it really grew on me and I found myself laughing out loud at some of Yaseppochi's exploits! The art is very primitive but somehow appropriate to the story. I have to say, I find myself rereading this story often!

"The Adventures of Eli" - Jordyn Bochon

"I eat potatoes... Potatoes do not talk." A young man finds himself in a realm with an endless red carpet. He follows the carpet for ages then suddenly decides to make his own path and step off of the carpet. Thus begins a journey of self-discovery...only Eli doesn't really want to know. Would you? The story starts slow but hits it stride mid-way and becomes rather silly and funny and a nice read! The art is very stylized and I love the varying line widths, so heavy and black, that are used! A little more focus for a tighter story would have been great, but it was still a good read! Her bio talks about a 'mental blockage' and hoo-boy I know about that, so my sympathies!

"my heart belongs to roman shobu" - An Nguyen

Pure, undiluted shoujo! A girl's fannish obsession with a movie star leads her and a friend to an out of the way theatre for the opening night of his new movie. But wait! This isn't just a movie is it, because suddenly she's inside the movie and is one of the characters! Is this a fan-girl's dream come true? Or a nightmare? The story borders on horror and is very well written! The art style reminds me of late eighties shoujo manga and while still rough has the potential to become very, very pretty!

"Thistledown" - Alaina Harmon

An exiled lord seeks the help of a mysterious and elusive tribe to help him find one of his lost wards. The premise is very simple and quite elegant. This story impressed me greatly with the storytelling ability, art, layout...everything! The world shown to us is distinctive and by the end of the comic you have a good feeling of who the characters are and what they are like. I really empathize with Master Hunter who is not having a good day at all! The toning looks like it is water colour or CG grayscale, the same as in "Cold Night" and the use of the word 'betweener' to refer to a person in both stories makes me wonder if these sisters also share a world as well as artistic ability? The colour title page for this story was beautiful! I am not one to be swayed only by pretty pictures. If the story isn't there I usually don't buy the book, but I would love to read any further stories by this doujinshika! Especially if they further the tale of Parable of Thistledown Keep.

Overall this book was very enjoyable and well worth the money to buy! IF there are any left to buy!



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