Rakuen Le Paradis Volume 18 (楽園 Le Paradis), is an example of a magazine that has hit it’s stride. And there is both good and bad in that. I know what I’m getting, and it’s all extremely high quality…but.
What I am getting is both exceptional art and storytelling by unusual, prolific, stylish and not-typical artists. There’s never any doubt in my mind that the artists are writing for people like me – adult women, who are not rejecting school stories but really would like to enjoy some time in adult life.
And the magazine gives readers tremendous variety, from the stylish slice-of-life stories by Nishi UKO-sensei to Samura Hiroaki’s funky, dense violent/scifi-ish work, with room for Kumeta Koji’s oddball social commentary and Mizutani Fuuka’s romance. I especially love Unita Yumi’s fantasy “Nemurime-hime,” and find it both interesting and disconcerting to see Ume Aoki’s story be so straight an incest-y. There’s BL from Nakamura Asumiko and Yuri from Sengoku Hiroko and all manners of adult heterosexual relationships. This magazine spans a tremendous range of story-telling style and art. It has fully spread it’s wings and begin to fly on it’s own, confident in the risks it takes…and now I’d like to see it take a few more new risks. Let’s see where this can go. ^_^
Overall – 8
I always look forward to the next volume. It’s consistently one of the most fascinating and challenging Japanese magazines I read. Quirky, weird and bizarrely human.