A little over four months later, and I’ve finally finished my first review project: weekly reviews for every one of the 15 volumes of Swan released in English! Below are my final thoughts about the series and the project itself.
Final Series Thoughts
Prior to the review project, I’d read about 6 volumes of Swan via my local library. At the time, I knew two things: I liked the series and there was a lot of melodrama. Once I was finally able to land a full set of the series and read each volume one by one, I wondered if my enthusiasm for the series would wane. Reading one volume a week did help temper my enthusiasm, as opposed to reading them all in a mad rush.
Swan is a great series — beautifully drawn, explosive, and mostly compelling — but it’s better read in larger chucks. One thing I forgot to note in my reviews is there aren’t obvious chapters breaks throughout like in more contemporary manga, so it’s fairly easy to keep reading and reading. The series constantly runs on “Will she make it!?” but it’s easy to lose enthusiasm if you don’t stick with it. Swan is a manga where you just enjoy the ride.
As for the characters themselves, while they aren’t terribly deep individually, I really enjoyed watching them interact with and influence one another. Masumi is more of a reader stand in, giving us eyes into her world and the world of her friends. There’s healthy competition between them all, but an underlying feeling — at least pre-NYC — that everyone is in the game to put Japan on the map. The “split” mid-series is interesting then, as Masumi is forced to consider how she wants her own career to progress.
I can’t say enough how much of a shame it is that Swan isn’t completed in English, though I’m glad with got the volumes we did. To anyone curious about the series I’ll say this: Come for the art, stay for the drama.
Manga Review Project Final Thoughts
The main reason I started the review project was pretty simple: to practice writing reviews on a schedule, with a final goal. More specifically, since I’d just (re)started the blog I wanted a sort of force myself to post content. I was actually a little hesitant that I’d complete the thing, but here we are!
Still, even posting a review once a week is a challenge, especially if it’s the same series. Some weeks I just didn’t feel like talking about Swan, other weeks life got in the way and the last thing I felt like doing was cranking out a review. Admittedly, I did miss two weeks throughout the project, and reviews shifted from Wednesday postings to mostly Thursday. Still I would consider this first project a mostly success if just in perseverance!
The most important thing I’ve learned throughout the project hands down is to just get started. Literally, just start writing. The idea of having to write when I didn’t want to was, nine times out of ten, worse than actually writing. Something is better than nothing, and a jumbled mess is easier to work with than a post that takes ten hours to write because it has to be “perfect.” Just write!
Also, scheduling! I had grand dreams of writing reviews weeks in advance and scheduling them and let me tell you: that never happened. About half the reviews were written a day or so in advance at most, leaving me with a lot of undue stress for the others when I just should have written earlier. Remember: Just write!
That being said, I’m glad to say I completed the Manga Review Project: Swan! Remember, you can also refer back the intro post to find reviews for all of the volumes.
But the Manga Review Project isn’t done yet! Keep an eye out for another Review Project announcement soon!