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Me2: Volume 1    by Sho Murase order for
by Sho Murase
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Me2 is different from any manga I have ever read. Sho Murase has a style that stands out not just among other OEL manga, but among all graphic novels. Aki's life has gone downhill since her older brother died. Unable to accept his death, she draws into herself, causing her to alienate herself from her classmates. It does not help that she now has a scar over her right cheek a scar that has lead to the unfortunate nickname of Stitches.

However, there are a few bright points in Aki's life. The hunky class president and captain of the swim team, Adrian, likes to talk poetry with her, and another swimmer, Marya, helps her stand up to the three female bullies who are determined to make her life miserable. Things begin to get really strange for Aki, though, when some objects that were her brother's, and then some clothing items she has never seen before, show up in her room. Aki thinks she has amnesia, but the reader knows that she really has a super-tough alter-ego. By the end of volume 1, Aki's school life has taken a turn for the worse, and her amnesia seems to be escalating.

While the story of Me2 is somewhat similar to Satomi Ikezawa's Othello, Sho Murase's artwork is unique. The majority of the book is in pure black and white. Shades of grey do appear in the more realistic scenes such as the swim meet or Aki's meeting with Adrian outside school but these still have a stark feel and look to them. Some black and white panels are even done to look almost like photo negatives, which really adds to the feeling of despair that haunts Aki. Many panel shots are at odd angles or are close ups of a character's body rather than the face. This gives Me2 an artsy, noir feel that ties in nicely with Aki's state of mind.

Since Me2 is so different, it may not be for everyone. However, it is undeniable that Sho Murase has talent and is a graphic novelist to watch.

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