Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mangaka Musings - Momoko Tenzen

Looking at my gigantic pile of manga that needs to be reviewed I’ve noticed that there is one artist that has prominent showing. That mangaka happens to be Momoko Tenzen. To kick off what I’m calling Momoko Tenzen Week I'm going to share my thoughts about this very cool mangaka. Momoko Tenzen is one of my favorite artists of all time. I have kind of a weird way that I rank my favorite mangaka. Because there are many artists that I really like I struggle with ranking them in order of favorites. When I rank them it turns out that they seem to fall into groups of three. Let me give you an example. If I had to choose my number one favorite artist I have three that I can’t choose to put on top, so my number one mangaka features three artists. It continues that way down the list. Momoko Tenzen falls into the spot of favorite mangaka number two (along with Yugi Yamada and You Higuri).

Initially I didn’t have much desire to pick up anything by Tenzen-sensei (I’ve noticed that there is a trend, I don’t have much of a wish to read something but due to boredom I pick it up anyway and end up loving it). I had picked up almost all of the explicit titles that Juné had released and I was looking for more BL. All that was really left were the two Momoko Tenzen-sensei titles (at least at the time). I decided to grab The Paradise on the Hill. Initially I thought that the two characters on the cover were not all that attractive due to the pointy-ness of their chins. I know that’s a bizarre way to decide whether you should read a title but at the time I didn’t really know how to go about choosing my manga. Yet once I opened the book I discovered how much I really loved this title. It was sweet, romantic, and simply beautiful. The art and the story worked so well together that I was immediately enraptured that I couldn’t put it down and knew that I was going to have to read more by this artist.

Tenzen-sensei is extremely talented. Her artwork is gentle and sparse but very detailed. That detail is present in every aspect from character design, costuming, and even backdrops. Her lines are delicate and thin and has a very classy feel to it. Her use of screentone is appropriate and lends itself to give it a very clean look. The faces may seem to be somewhat angular but that just makes them that much sexier. She gives her characters full lips, long limbs, and gorgeous heads of hair. Because her work tends to be on the more dramatic side of the spectrum she doesn’t use chibis very often (hyper-mutation to characters used often in comedic moments) but when she does they are rather adorable.

Her stories are sweet and romantic. I’ve heard some refer to them as boring but I find them to be touching and subtle. She seems to like the school setting and features tales that reflect that atmosphere. Her men seem sophisticated yet have an everyman air about them. Her stories tend to be more dramatic but she isn’t afraid to have a moment or two of comedy. Her characters vary in personality. But they all are caring and considerate in their own way.

Her tales often fit into the stereotypical yaoi mold and like I mentioned earlier some people find her to be boring or a regular run of the mill mangaka but to me she takes a regular story and applies her beautiful artwork and weaves a magical spell that entrances. Feel free to share any opinions about the talented Tenzen-sensei in the comments section. Also, if you’re interested you can check out my reviews for A Paradise on the Hill, Manhattan Love Story, and Suggestive Eyes.

1 comment:

lore13 said...


love, lore