Have you outgrown your childhood? Have you at least outgrown teenhood? It appears I have because manga just isn’t what it used to be.

During February, also known as Manga Month by me and me alone, I sampled a little of this, a little of that, and found the manga wasn’t as tasty as it used to be. It might not be fair to pit these pulp graphic novels against classics from DC Comics, but the little nerdling in me had to protest somehow. The manga I more or less read were Black Butler and Are You Alice.

Black Butler, Vol. 01 (Black Butler, #1)Are You Alice? 1巻

At my library, the first is listed under Teen and the second is listed under Adult. When you read the first volume of each, you can tell which belongs to which age group. Black Butler is riddled with interjections from bit characters about how the main character is sooooo cuuuuuute, while Are You Alice shows some more disturbing images in terms of affection, romantic and otherwise. The latter also kept (and continues to keep) an air of mystery as this adaptation of Alice in Wonderland is told from many character perspectives. Black Butler is about, er, a butler. One butler who (spoiler!) happens to be the devil incarnate or somesuch.

Maybe I would have liked that tall, dark, and handsome anime star in high school. Maybe I wouldn’t have been as annoyed by the other servants in his household and been appalled by their inability to walk a single step without breaking an entire room of fine china. How did they get these jobs anyway? Oh, right. Because the household is run by a literal freaking child. I prefer my fiction to be believable, even if that believability is set in Wonderland, a place of arcane rules and confusion surrounding anyone’s role in this story.

Maybe I chose the wrong books. Maybe I’ve outgrown all manga. Better luck next time.

I’ll definitely continue reading Are You Alice. It’s quite good if you like trying to find a plot that’s been left in the dark.