October 31, 2004

Manga Worth Reading

Johanna at CWR now has a Manga Starting Guide to go with the reviews. Newly updated, too, is the Maison Ikkoku guide with Vol. 7. There's also a quick look at the structurally playful Teen Titans Go! #12.

October 29, 2004

eigoMANGA's Rumble Pak shakes things up

Rock music may have only a slight connection to manga, but it was there as eigoMANGA commemorated the mainstream release of Rumble Pak #1 through national media retail outlets. Lemme know if any of you guys spot it somewhere, because I sure don't remember seeing it at Tower yesterday.

The Go of Hikaru

Well, James is doing a much better job than I am, since he's looking at the gender-disguised Hana-Kimi Vol. 1. There's also a Hikaru No Go Vol. 1 review at ANN with a delightful tongue-in-cheek commentary on how Shonen Jump is getting soft.

Meanwhile, I still haven't gotten around to reading Demo or Blue Monday. But I'm sure no one is clamoring to hear my expert viewpoint on those comics anyway, so I'll just put it off another day. :P

October 28, 2004

Blue Wednesday

It's a good time to be in Korea, as fans of visual storytelling celebrate the nationally recognized Cartoon Day.

CWR has new reviews for the pivotal Rurouni Kenshin Vol. 7 and the amusing but confusing Here is Greenwood Vol. 1. (Can't find it at your bookstore? That's because the street date is November 9.)

And ... I was going to say something about the new Blue Monday and Demo today ... but I should probably read them first.

October 27, 2004

Going to the mattresses

From the looks of this survey, it appears that Viz might be planning a shoujo anthology similar to their Shonen Jump magazine.

Wolf's Box

Borders and Waldenbooks have cut a special deal with Viz to release a Wolf's Rain manga box set, consisting of Vol. 1, a collectible card, and -- well -- a piece of cardboard with some nice drawings on it. ("From the creators of Cowboy Bebop and Escaflowne!" they remind us.)

Interesting discussion on yaoi/boy's-love/shounen-ai, or, Why do girls love Japanese comics about boys bonking?

-during the adolescent age, girls find boys disgusting. In yaoi or any shoujo, males are portrayed as flawless pretty boys--in other words, perfect.
-they associate with the bishounen more simply because Japanese women aren't nearly as busty as women are normally portrayed in manga. They almost have more in common with an effiminate hairless male than a big breasted, curvy woman.
-homosexual men don't compete for another woman's affections and just compete for men. This would be ideal for a woman to have no competition for a guy unobtainable to any woman.
-girls relate more to the guys because it's easier to picture them as women than actual hairy men.

and lots of other stuff.

Fresh reviews on AoD: Rurouni Kenshin Vol. 7, Full Metal Panic Vol. 5, and Couple Vol. 2.

And it looks like one of Disney's many tentacles is entering the manga game: "Hyperion Books, the American publishing arm of the Disney entertainment empire, has won a bidding war with Henry Holt and will publish manga created by Misako Takashima, who grew up in Japan but currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. ... Takashima's first manga, which is tentatively entitled Ride On!, is at least a year away."

October 26, 2004

What is new mainstream?

Seven Seas Entertainment has officially launched their site, putting up a preview of their NYC-meets-Japan title Blade for Barter and, more interestingly, having an article by Tokyopop editor Jake Forbes on "What is Manga?"

Yes, manga is USUALLY faster paced than US comics*. Yes, manga layouts don't adhere to grids to the degree that Western layouts do. But for each point there are countless exceptions-and countless Western comics which have the same qualities. And can manga be boiled down into a formula? "If you have X, Y, and Z you're manga, but if the amount of Q is greater than P, then it's not..." Definitions like these are a little too cut and dry for my taste. It's like reading a dictionary entry for Impressionist painting--Sure you can catalog the qualities, but it doesn't really get across what makes it art!


*By which I think he means "faster to read." Pacing is entirely a matter of the artist's style.

Top 25 messageboard discussions of all time!

The city of Kyoto plans to open a manga museum. "Over 230,000 manga, dating from the early Meiji era to the present, will be stored in the museum. The majority of the material was donated by two collectors in the Kanto region."

Newtype USA magazine is crazy enough to think it can name the Top 25 Anime of All Time, which will undoubtedly set off a thousand angry forum threads. Good thing this blog ain't "Otaku Rampage" or we'd be drowning in forumsnark for weeks ...

AoD has a review of Madara Vol. 1, an epic fantasy that's spearheading the launch of DC's new CMX line.

There's no mistaking what time of year it is at Junko Mizuno's site. (Thanks, Shawn!)

Chapter 39 of Death Note goes up, and our two favorite boy geniuses continue trying to out-guess each other ...

October 25, 2004

Today on the intimidating manga stack!

They're reading Imadoki! Vols. 1 and 2 over at Precocious Curmudgeon, where Yu Watase lets go of the magical elements and comes down to earth, and The Wallflower Vol. 1 at Reading Along. And not to plug myself or anything, but the review for Tactics Vol. 1 is up at ANN.

October 23, 2004

I can't believe I missed this

Kazurou Inoue continues to set the standard in shounen comedy as SnoopyCool releases the next several chapters of Midori No Hibi.

Now it's my turn to get pwned

Kevin has total dish on the manga and graphic novel market as he looks over Publishers Weekly's graphic novel supplement.

Also, (and this doesn't really merit a separate entry) Broccoli Books has annouced a December 8 release for Leave it to Piyoko Vol. 1, the next entry in the Digi Charat mythos.

They're multiplying

Check out Kotonoha's latest release, "Bunnies" by Tetsu Kasabe. A mad scientist, a glimpse of the future, and ... well, I wouldn't want to give away the twist in this freaky, weird-out manga.

October 22, 2004

More hot boy-on-boy action

Active Anime reports that yaoi imprint Be Beautiful has acquired Target in the Finder and will be promoting the new title at Yaoi-con, which will be held in San Francisco on Halloween weekend.

Freelance photographer Akihito Takaba secretly investigates the mysterious Asami, said to control Japan's underworld society. Asami captures Akihito and submits him to a night of pleasure and pain he could have never before imagined. Soon thereafter, Fei Long, son of the most powerful Chinese mafia boss, comes after Akihito to demand the critical evidence he's uncovered.

Reviews Galore!

The ever-prolific AoD has new reviews for Beyblade Vol. 1 (working title: Buy our toys, ya stupid kids); Geobreeders Vol. 2 -- girls and guns, always a good combination; and Revenge of Mouflon Vol. 2 from Gutsoon, the Crossgen of manga. Well, not really, but they did go "on hiatus" due to "financial troubles" and all their releases since have been "delayed."

Also, iComics.com has a review of Del Rey's Othello Vol. 1, which may very well be the next big shoujo thing if it weren't so repetitive.

October 21, 2004

Previews snark, minus the snark

Is every comics blogger required to makes some sort of comment about the latest Previews? AoD has just noticed from the publication that ComicsOne has quietly picked up the licenses for Lunar Legend Tsukihime and Pretty Maniacs and will be releasing the titles starting in, well, January.

Goku could totally beat Spider-man

From ANN: Shonen Jump is teaming up with AOL to deliver thirteen episodes/chapters of Dragonball manga in Flash.
Each Friday for the next thirteen weeks, AOL’s RED service for teens will offer an exclusive premiere of a new episode of the popular fantasy action series at 3:00pm EST. Teens on the RED service will have exclusive access to the episode for a period of 48 hours, before it becomes available to all Internet users at www.shonenjump.com. The compelling flash manga takes storylines from the pages of Akira Toriyama’s famed graphic novel series and combines unique, full color and movement provided by Macromedia flash technology.

Cruel Angels High School

The apocalypse draws ever nearer, as Studio ADTRW has released the next chapter of Evangelion Iron Maiden 2nd, a.k.a. Eva Lite, a.k.a. Love Eva, a.k.a. The World's Only Official Licensed Evangelion Doujinshi.

Vertical Climb

From Vertical Inc.: Koji Suzuki, author of the prose versions of Ring and Spiral, will be coming to NYC and Toronto to promote his latest book, Dark Water. Schedule:

October 24 (Sun), IFOA, Harbourfront Centre,Toronto.
25 (Mon), same.
26 (Tues), Borders Books & Music, 32nd St. and 2nd Ave. NYC 7pm
27 (Wed), Barnes&Noble, 22nd St. and 6th Ave. NYC 7pm media-open

AoD, meanwhile, has a review of Kia Asamiya's Nadeisco Vol. 4.

October 20, 2004

Descendants of Conan

AoD has new reviews of Descendants of Darkness Vol. 1, considered by many to be the quintessential shounen-ai work, and Case Closed Vol. 1, considered by many to be ... a really really long series. (It's been running in Japan continuously since 1994, so those who wish to collect the complete manga series had better be in it for the long haul.)

Ignore following post

OH MY HOLY CRAP after 3 months of waiting Anime Waves has finally released the next chapter of the Stellvia manga!

This concludes my fanboy moment of the day. I would not actually recommend this title to anyone besides myself. The whole Hogwarts-in-space aesthetic is one of my guilty pleasures and holds little artistic merit or entertainment value to the casual reader.

October 19, 2004

Reaching into the barrel

AoD puts up their review of Kare First Love Vol. 1, but most interesting is the grab bag of new manga licenses that they've announced:

Tokyopop has picked up In Dream World (more of the same-old same-old magical adventures), Visitor (shoujo manwha, with supernatural powers!!11z0rs), and PhD: Phantasy Degree (about a school for demons, which seems mildly original). Of course I like the other PhD better.

Infinity Studios has picked up Cafe Occult, Popo Can and Na Na Na Na, and they really ought to update those webpages with information and synopses for the newly acquired titles.

October 18, 2004

Land of the Shoujo-oriented

Precocious Curmudgeon has a nice, comprehensive review of Land of the Blindfolded, one of the new offerings from DC's CMX line.

Also, it would appear that a new Graphic Novel Review is up. Hideshi Hino is on the masthead.

My Darling is a Manga-ka

My Darling is a Foreigner Missed this one on the ANS infodump: The Japan Times has this charming profile on the Da-rin wa Gaikokujin (My Darling is a Foreigner) series, a wildly popular slice-of-life manga detailing the existence of manga-ka Saori Okuri and her American husband Tony Laszlo. Don't expect to see the tweeners in the Borders manga aisles gabbing about it anytime soon, but it's clearly found its audience among casual readers in Japan. If it ever came to the States, it'd probably be picked up by a Japanese language and culture publisher first rather than the usual manga suspects ...

The Numbers Game

Lots of incoming news as ICv2 has September stats for comics and graphic novel sales in the direct market. You can see the Top 300 Comics for the month and Top 100 Graphic Novels (Ultimate X-Men is on top, but Hellsing Vol. 4 sold like gangbusters and the one-volume Bone is still doing well). There's also a new Retailer Guide to Manga that includes a list of the hottest manga properties. For all the talk about the impact of shoujo, only one title in the Top 10 -- Fruits Basket -- is blatantly girly; the rest have evenly divided fanbases and cross-gender appeal.

The Next-to-Last Samurai

Ever had trouble keeping up with all the name-dropping in Rurouni Kenshin or Peacemaker Kurogane? There may be hope yet, as Anime News Service reports that a quarterly e-newsletter, Samurai History Papers, will give you all the lowdown on the great samurai of the Meiji era. The catch? You'll need to pay a $25 one-year subscription in advance.

Just Another Yaoi Monday

AoD is looking at more Be Beautiful titles, including Kizuna Vol. 2 and Selfish Love Vol. 1.

October 17, 2004

The Shueisha Atrocities

ANN has a full round-up of the growing Kuni ga Moeru manga controversy:

The Japanese Protestors cite 4 greviences with respect to the manga:
1. That the Nanking Atrocities require academic study to determine what happened.
2. That the photo, attributed to the Japanese army, is a Chinese falsification.
3. That Young Jump misrepresented history and unfairly influenced youth via use of the false photograph.
4. That the presentation is hurtful to those involved at the time, as well as their families, and thus the manga cannot be excused.


And other vital information can be had at the link.

October 16, 2004

Across the Review-niverse

Johanna at Cognitive Dissonance looks into the seventh volumes of both Kindaichi Case Files and Rurouni Kenshin, while Bill Sherman is gadding about the disturbing and shrinkwrapped Arm of Kannon Vol. 1, and L.M. Tokiwa discovers the intricacies of Hikaru No Go Vol. 1 at ANN.
As in Yu-Gi-Oh, the manga’s main character Hikaru is your average boy – minus the game-smarts and with a lot less hairspray.

Best damn line in the review, right there.

Sell! Trade! Comics aren't just for kids anymore!

Wanna see how the greatest businessman of modern times did it? Apparently you can now purchase a manga biography of Warren Buffett.

For your reading pleasure

Fresh off Manga Jouhou: everyone's favorite circular guessing game, Death Note Chapter 38, is up; Kotonoha brings us the ever-intriguing Mohiro Kitoh short stories (Zansho) Chapters 4 and 5 in a bundled package, and Dragon Voice has released Wasureranai Chapter 1, a shoujo manga that starts off with a breakup, of all things.

October 15, 2004

Sandman Campus Detectives

Once again, piggybacking off Thought Balloons: Jill Thompson continues to go manga-tastic on the Sandman mythos with Dead Boy Detectives (click the link for a 5-page preview). This time, instead of simply retelling a story arc from a different angle (see At Death's Door), she borrows the characters of Edwin Payne and Charles Rowland from Season of Mists and sends them off on their own adventure. The two English boys who refused to die start up their own detective agency, get called on an assignment to the States, and then enroll in a foreign-exchange program with the CLAMP School Detectives. (Okay, so I made up the last bit, but wouldn't that be funny as hell?)

A Superior Project!


This comic looks like it's going to be SUPER fun. Yes, the world does not need another sneering superhero parody, but just look at the illustrious gaggle of comickers they summoned up for this one:

Ronnie Del Carmen
Paul Hornschemeier
Dean Haspiel
Seonna Hong
Tara McPherson
Scott Morse
Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg
Bryan Lee O'Malley
Paul Pope
Brian Wood
and that's just SOME of them. The ones I personally recognize and like.

You can see the full details on Dean Haspiel or Brian Wood's respective LJs.

Make Mine Mediocre

Dorian has a delightful guest entry at PoMoBa from a True Believer.


Anyway, kids, all they read ar these weird books that i'm suprised they even make and that nmaga stuff whuich they really shouldnt because I don't think kids should read about that kind of stuff in thos mang a books.

SPIDERMAN RULEZ111


Can I get an AMEN?!

MWP

AoD has a trio of new manga reviews: the plotless yet beautiful Aria, the plotless but cutesy World of Narue, and the plotless and just plain crap Deus Vitae.

Favorable winds for Seven Seas

Up-and-coming publisher of U.S.-grown manga Seven Seas Entertainment has signed a distribution deal with Diamond. Looks like these guys are in it for serious.

October 14, 2004

Remote Lack of Control

AoD has a review of one of Tokyopop's middle-tier titles, Remote Vol. 3, and here we learn that the books are shrinkwrapped for a very good reason.

In the shadow of TP and Viz

By way of Thought Balloons, ICv2 has this week's Bookscan stats for graphic novel sales in bookstores:

1. Fruits Basket Vol. 5
2. Rurouni Kenshin Vol. 7
3. In the Shadow of No Towers
4. Bleach Vol. 3
5. Hellsing Vol. 4
6. Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. 5
7. Negima Vol. 3 (1st week!)
8. DNAngel Vol. 4 (I'm assuming. Actual ranking not listed)
9. Inu-Yasha Vol. 19
10. Gravitation Vol. 8 (also, assumed.)
11. Persepolis 2

Meanwhile, no one is surprised.

Scott O'Malley? Bryan Lee Pilgrim? That ONE DUDE!

Rose @ Peiratikos has a terrific interview with Bryan Lee O'Malley, creator (er, "comicker") of Scott Pilgrim.

I wanted to write a comic for this generation of young people that are too fucked up to live, but not so fucked up that they can’t blog about it.


It's like he has described the very essence.

October 13, 2004

But the pig. The pig is genius.

A review of Peacemaker Kurogane, the latest entry into the ever-growing field of samurai and ninja manga, is up on AoD.

News Trawl

Thought Balloons says: Kuni ga Moeru, the manga that recently brought up the Nanjing Massacre controversy, will be suspended from the Weekly Young Jump anthology for two weeks. (Source: Japan Today) Also, we have the Philippine Daily Inquirer discussing manga. The medium is remarkably popular in the little Southeast Asian nation, especially among aspiring cartoonists and animators, who don't really get exposed to a genuinely Filipino tradition in comics (unless you've been hanging out with Gerry Alanguilan).

Extreme Makeover: Manga Edition?

ANN reports that Tokyo Tribes manga-ka Santa Inoue will be making an appearance on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Well, at least it's not Ken Akamatsu, because he would probably just plaster the walls with posters of anime chicks. Eeee.

EDIT: Ian @ Brill Building has found pictures of aforementioned makeover.

And I've heard that XXXHolic Vol. 3 is out in bookstores today, too ...

Legal Drug Vol. 1, Legend of Chun Hyang, The One I Love and Tsubasa Vol. 2 are all reviewed in a big CLAMP orgy (among other manga titles, too) at PoMoBa. Don't worry Dorian, we'll still respect you in the morning.

October 12, 2004

Gray Areas

For those who are interested in checking it out but are having trouble finding it in stores, Manga-Fiends is hosting scanlations of Taiyo Matsumoto's Black and White. This is NOT to be taken as a substitute for buying the manga, however. If you like it, order it from Amazon or Overstock or B&N. (it'll look prettier on your bookshelf than on your hard drive, anyhow.)

'Tis the season to be fanboyish

Viz is hawking their upcoming releases for the holiday season, which include a film-comic of My Neighbor Totoro and the manga adaptation of Wolf's Rain.

Great Scott!

So it looks like Yet Another Comics Blog has some less-than-stellar words for Scott Pilgrim Vol. 1. That's interesting because many other voices were recommending it at PreCur's "Name me a comic that doesn't suck" post. (Incidentally, there's a great recap of Kindaichi Case Files Vols. 2 & 3 over there.) Anyway, different people will feel different things about Scott depending on how they approach the comic. I kinda knew, from earlier reviews, that there was supposed to be this "Dragonball Z-esque fight sequence" towards the end. So when I got to that, I saw it coming, and I was in the frame of mind to see slacker-rockers duking it out with lots of speedlines. (The rhyming dialogue caught me off-guard, but that also totally rocked my face.) The thing is, the whole fight sequence throws you for a loop. For some people, it works, and for others it's just "HUHWHAT?"

Personally, I thought the fight sequence was great. It sparked up what might have otherwise been another dreary, weepy-boy comic. It was like Bryan O'Malley was standing there, saying, "Ah, look at how sensitive my character is, he is having girl issues, and OH BY THE WAY KRAKOOOM! he has to battle SOME GUY using the power of GOODNESS AND LIGHT!" It certainly delves into campy fighting manga territory, but Bryan is doing it with a knowing wink, the kind of twentysomething attitude that informs most of the 80's kiddiepopculture nostalgia these days. He's intentionally churning out cheesy material ... probably because he just felt like it.

I'm not trying to justify the shift of mood in Scott Pilgrim, I'm just guessing why the author might have done it and stating that I liked it. I can understand why the ending would be disappointing to someone who was enjoying the slice-of-life aspect of the book. However, I'm the kind of guy who likes to develop stories along weird, tangent-riding paths, so that something will happen and then something completely unrelated will happen and everyone continues about their merry lives as if this were natural. So I can sympathize with O'Malley's choice of direction, even if it does flout the principles of good storytelling. If he'd simply had Scott and Knives and Ramona get into some kind of confrontation (which I guess is what would have happened in a more conventional storyline), it probably wouldn't have left me laughing like the fight scene did.

The sci-fi samurai

I'm not sure what to think about Yanime's new release, Gintama. On one hand, it seems to be just another pedestrian swordfighting story set in samurai-era Japan. But then, we see that the city of Edo has been taken over by aliens. And then the humans who live there are happily coexisting with them, making full use of anachronistic technology. And there's that crazy kid called the "freelancer" who wields a katana and rides a motor scooter?

It's weird as all get out, and I think I may very well stick around for more chapters. The titles alone are pretty amusing.

The Illustrations Way Better Than Mine Show

The eagle eyes of Johnny Bacardi have just found more kickass art sites, and check out Brianne Drouhard's interpretation of Starfire and Raven from the CN version of Teen Titans.

Japanese D&D, Korean sword-and-sorcery, and Tokyo urban life

AoD has some rather cursory reviews for Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch Vol. 2 and Yongbi the Invincible Vol. 1. There's also a more in-depth review for Ikebukuro West Gate Park Vol. 1.

Where the Mokonas are so nice, they feature 'em twice!

Animated Bliss has a strong review for Del Rey's release of Tsubasa Vol. 2.

October 11, 2004

Empty your wallets

There's a new Right Turn Only at ANN, looking at notable manga of late. Whistle looks to be the first soccer title brought to the US, there's more boy's-love goodness with Selfish Love, get your hard-hitting vampire action fix with Hellsing and your goopy shoujo fix with The One I Love.

Azumanga Fullmetal

Because it is coming to Cartoon Network in November. And some people swear by the manga version rather than the anime, even though it is still yet to be licensed. Anime-Source has felt it necessary to translate the Fullmetal Alchemist gag strips.

October 10, 2004

CLAMPblogging


They're not the greatest innovators in the comics medium, their stories aren't the most original, and their artwork -- while distinctive -- isn't the most accomplished. Yet the four ladies of CLAMP have earned themselves one of the most vocal and active fanbases in all of manga. While their artistic merits are debatable, CLAMP is unquestioned when it comes to pulling in readers from that vital 13-24 demographic. And so it is that they've launched CLAMP No Kiseki, a retrospective on their 15-year body of work.

CLAMP No Kiseki is essentially a periodical artbook/magazine that will run for 12 issues, profiling different CLAMP titles with each issue. Volume 1 features the series that is probably CLAMP's most recognizable: Cardcaptor Sakura. Throughout the book are various reproductions of CCS color illustrations, such as this one. There's a two-page interview with CLAMP, followed by "Flashback," a capsule summary of the entire CCS manga series. Readers will get to relive Sakura's saga as the book touches on the key points of each manga volume. After the Flashback is "Portrait," a set of character profiles for the series, and "Supplement," containing various trivia and tidbits about CCS. (For example, we note that Kero-chan was reading Angelic Layer in Volume 9, page 51.)

The "Database" is probably the most useful section of the book for CLAMP completists -- there's a full listing of every Cardcaptor Sakura manga, artbook, calendar, and anime DVD ever released in Japan. (Presumably, the Tokyopop translation -- due in January -- will have the listings for all US products.) The rest of the book beyond that is mostly fluff: a fan essay, a short CLAMP comic about two anthropomorphic fairies, and some ads for more CLAMP goodies. All in all, CLAMP No Kiseki is essentially 32 pages of back-patting for the creators, but it's vital merchandise for all committed fans.

Oh, and did I mention the commemorative chess pieces that come with the package? You'll need to collect all 12 issues of CnK to get the full set, and there's also a chessboard and box for the 12 magazines that you can buy separately. The pieces are made of hard rubber and are about 1.5 inches in diameter, requiring a pretty big chessboard. There's no doubt, however, that they're totally cute and fun to look at.

The Japanese edition of CLAMP No Kiseki Vol. 1 can be ordered right now via HobbyLink Japan, but more patient souls can choose to wait for the English-language Tokyopop edition, which starts coming out in January 2005.

CWR Case Files

Johanna at Cognitive Dissonance has new write-ups for Tramps Like Us, Iron Wok Jan and Kindaichi Case Files.

Tohru Honda lays the smack on Art Spiegelman

According to the Bookscan stats for this week, the top-selling GNs in bookstores are:

1. Fruits Basket Vol. 5
2. In the Shadow of No Towers
3. Inu-Yasha Vol. 19
4. Persepolis 2
5. Imadoki Vol. 2 <-- I had no idea this was getting popular.
6. Tsubasa Vol. 2
7. Rurouni Kenshin Vol. 7

Meanwhile, no one is surprised.

The Original Magical Cat

I'm sure this is going to amuse someone somewhere: Aku-Tenshi is scanlating the Doraemon manga. (Go to their IRC channel to pick it up.)

October 9, 2004

19th Century Boys

Speaking of fanservice ... Xandria has started work on a new title, Sono Toki Heart wa Nusumareta, a yaoi quickie set in some vaguely 18th/19th century Europe.

Girls Barfo

I don't know what compelled RiSQ to release Girls Bravo Chapter 1. Perhaps it was the inexplicable popularity of its anime incarnation? After all, it starts with a bath scene, and there's this guy who is of course a perennial loser yet his childhood friend is the prettiest and most popular girl in school. Oh, and did I mention that he's "allergic" to the opposite sex? THEN he has to go and fall into a bath that transports him to another world (this is barely a step above the enchanted toilet of Kyou Kara Maou) and ends up in a town that's 90% women. OF COURSE. And it gets worse from there.

I won't even comment on the number of fanservice shots.

October 8, 2004

The title says exactly what it's about! (Unlike, say, Bleach)

Anime on DVD has a review of ComicsOne's High School Girls manga (Vol. 1).

Nanjing Massacre? What Nanjing Massacre?

From the Japan Today News:

TOKYO — A group of local assembly members has protested to the author and publisher of a manga weekly over a cartoon strip that depicted the Nanjing Massacre in a way they consider distorts history, group members and the publisher said Friday.

The group issued the protest to Shueisha Inc, a major publisher, and Hiroshi Motomiya who wrote the manga, "Kuni Ga Moeru" which is carried in Weekly Young Jump as a fictionalized serial, saying that the manga presents the Nanjing Massacre "as if it was the truth." The group sent a protest letter to Shueisha on Tuesday, claiming there is strong evidence that the Nanjing Massacre did not happen and no proof that it did.

Scaaary!

PRISMS has started working on a mature horror manga called Chairudo (join the Yahoo group to pick up the files).

Chairudo are childlike people (even when they have become adults) with each an exceptional supernatural gift, a power. Some are "firestarters" for example. The main character, Hinagata Heiji, looks like a looser, but looks are deceptive. He has the uncanny ability to bring to life every inanimate object by bringing the object in touch with his blood.

At Death's Door

From Anime News Service, a brief article on recently released comic-book-turned-anime Lady Death:

In production for over three years, the tale of a young woman’s betrayal by, and ultimately conquest of, the arch-demon Lucifer, marks the first adaptation of an American comic book character by North America’s largest producer and distributor of Japanese animation. ...

“Producing a project as epic as Lady Death was a big change for ADV,” adds ADV co-founder, Matt Greenfield, “But we’ve always been in agreement with creator Brian Pulido that this story and character were much bigger than what the motionless medium of comic-book art could ever portray. Lady Death has a unique and different look from anything ADV has released before, and I think the whole production team deserves applause for bringing this project to fruition.”

Zombies = cool, samurai = cool, therefore Zombie Samurai = UBAR!

Via ICv2: Central Park Media announces 3 new manga titles due in January.

Slayers Premium is the hilarious manga adaptation of the fifth Slayers movie in which the all-too-edible OCTOPI attempt to gain revenge on humanity in general and the voracious Lina Inverse in particular.

The Sword of Shibito Vol. #1 is the first book in a series about a zombie samurai written by Hideyuki Kikuchi, author of Demon City Shinjuku, Darkside Blues, and Vampire Hunter D.

In contrast to the dark happenings in Sword of Shibito, Over the Rainbow is a frothy comedy/romance about two clueless lawyers and their mysterious amnesiac client.


And, much as I enjoy the Slayers franchise, Slayers Premium still sounds like the name of a gasoline. :p

Passing Notes

Orange Tangerine's release of Death Note Chapter 37 is up. Check out the riotous Editor's Note on page 3. (I feel for ya, dude. If I were Raito, I'd have done the same.)

October 7, 2004

Snarktastic

Oh holy crap. Someone MSTed a David Gonterman webcomic.

I am in heaven.

Make it so

Newsarama has preview images of Tokyopop's Star Trek project, which thankfully is devoid of schoolgirl skirts and anachronistic ninjas. A more mature manga style has been adopted for this one.

The New Mainstream looks like a twentysomething girl

So, while everyone was busy reacting to James Lucas Jones' mission statement about Oni Press and building the "Real Mainstream", why did nobody bother to point out the kickass Scott Pilgrim Vol. 2 cover image??!?!!!

Bryan Lee O'Malley, I grovel at your feet! Also your stuff comes out mostly on time, unlike Chynna Clugston's.

Dem Bones, Dem Bones

Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba caught a glimpse of Newsarama's preview pages of Bone in color (for the Scholastic edition).

(See the rest of it here.)

Demo #10: Damaged

omgwtf actual content!

Blow-by-blow personal reactions:
Page 1: OMG, Becky has gone completely Paradise Kiss.
Page 3: And she's ripping Miki Aihara! (yes we all love Hot Gimmick.)
Page 5: This character looks rather shoujo-tastic but damn, if Becky had the time to enter RSOM, she would so win.
Page 6-7: Loving the 12-panel-based scattershot layout.
Page 9: During this entire monologue, I can already imagine the girl's voice. That's some pretty slick establishment of a concrete character.
Page 10: Panel 3 -- that's the closest I've seen Becky come to using chibi/SD. And comedy manga style. (note the screentoned circles)
Page 11: "Dude, I don't charge. I'm not a therapist or a hooker or anything." Brian Wood, you crack me up sometimes.
Page 14: Shut up; it's like you're talking about ME!
Page 15-16: Becky's use of rain here is a lot more controlled than the aggressive ink splatters of #5 (Girl You Want).
Pages 19 & 21: She screentones ON the inklines for that distorted effect! Brilliant!
Page 21: I believe I saw this one on Becky's DeviantArt account a while back.
Page 26: OMGOMGWOW.

There's a little bit of misdirection in here, because just when you think "Oh, I've got the superpower for this issue figured out" it slaps you in the face and goes "AHAHAHAHA fooled you!" Brian Wood admits in the letters section that he changed the script and apparently Becky Cloonan got surprised too. I recall that The Hurting brought up various faults of Demo, and yeah, I guess we're getting more of the same here. However, where #8 used manga layouts and Becky's personal character designs, #10 inverts that situation. Now we've got much more regimented panel layouts (rather like our regimented yuppie friend) but the character designs lean very strongly towards manga. My first reaction was Miki Aihara (Hot Gimmick), but looking at it again, I realize that I recognize the style of those eyes is a lot closer to Kosuke Fujishima's Ah! My Goddess. But I doubt that we'll see Becky illustrating complex mechanical devices anytime soon, seeing as she doesn't even like doing cars (Demo #3).

The photo-illust backgraounds are an interesting design choice; I normally associate these with throwaway teen manga where the artist is just too damn lazy to draw. I'm not saying Becky is lazy, though. It's clear that she put some thought in how to choose and use the photos.

I sometimes feel that Brian Wood's writing style isn't exactly suited to Becky Cloonan's art. I mean, they are doing some awesome stuff as a creative team, but I also get the feeling that Brian wants to do darker, more pessimistic stories, while Becky wants to escape to something more lighthearted and cute. Demo just happens to be the ground where they meet, and it makes for some very interesting reading no matter where they decide to go.

Now, the rest of the Comics Blogosphere can go discuss the actual story. Have at it!

October 6, 2004

90% of all crap is crap.

Christopher is wise.

And yeah, there really is no defense for Chobits. If you dig that shit, you have problems.

Now this is pathetic.

As if the convention scene didn't need even more Narutards and middle schoolers in Fruits Basket Kyo hats, ADV is now ripping Funimation's idea and putting out their own so-called Cosplay Caps.

(Hint: It isn't "cosplay" if all you do is buy a frigging hat!)

Game, set and match

Do you want to see the Prince of Tennis movie trailer? Sure you do!

Hey, we just want you to release Tsubasa faster

Via ListerX and AoD, it would appear that Del Rey has licensed a couple of new manga titles: Nodame Cantabile, about a music student who wants to Be The Best!!!11~® . . . at conducting; and Genshiken, a "peek into the world of Japanese otaku, poking fun as it follows the life of Sasahara Kanji in his drive for anime, manga, video games, and pornographic doujinshi." Yup, this one looks to be about as self-indulgent and inbred as any of the autobiographical indy comics out there. Mrhkljhgawgfrg.

Forces of Halfway Decent

Because Stefan said so:

You're all reading the new Forces of Good website, right? If not, WHY NOT?

So this alien frog soldier comes to earth and then he sees his father's ghost

The Rampaging Fanboy has noted Penguin's plans for publishing "classic literature" as "graphic novels" so that they can trick kids into reading them. (I had an old Jekyll & Hyde book in this style.) And of course, one of the projects just has to be done by a manga artist.

Oxidation-Reductionism

Via Highway 62: the Periodic Table of Comics.

Alas, there are no comics that mention the 109th element (Meitnerium) ... I think I shall go remedy that. :p

The New-Gi-Oh?

Cartoon Network plans to bring over the Konjiki no Gash Bell! anime as "Zatch Bell" (source: ICv2). This one appears to be really popular with the kids in Japan. Naturally, the manga version has also been licensed and is currently being released by Viz.

You want self-insertion wish fulfilment? I'll give you self-insertion wish fulfilment!

ShoujoMagic has just put out Pure Love Strip, a one-shot by Mayu Shinjo (better known for Sensual Phrase). Take one ordinary four-eyed girl and one childhood bully. Let stand for three years until childhood bully becomes unspeakably hot guy. Combine unspeakably hot guy with four-eyed girl in bedroom; blend in contrived sexual tension and studying for exams. Draw comic panels for about 50 pages to get racy, yet ultimately unremarkable shoujo tale.

October 5, 2004

Blogging about your own blog is sad.

But for the (one? two?) readers who may be interested, I've set up an Atom Feed and an RSS 2.0 Feed.

Looking at some search terms for this month so far:
"cheeky angel manga scanlations" -- It's LICENSED, you fool. Go buy it. Stop trying to consume media for free.
"dexter's lab doujinshi" -- I have no idea where to go for these, but that does remind me of Bleedman's Powerpuff Girls Webcomic, which is entirely derivative and anime-looking but damn if it ain't dynamic and shiny to look at.
"hot anime yaoi pictures" -- *SLAP* Bad otaku! BAD!

Meanwhile, somewhere in the South China Sea ...

Man, Gerry Alanguilan @ Komikero is awesome. Check out the sample page for his entry into the Filipino comics anthology Siglo:Passion. The Philippines deserves a lot more credit for its comics scene, if Gerry and his circle of fellow artists are anything to go by. Watch out, Japan.

Rurouni Märchen

Hooray! More quickies on unlicensed, out-of-the-way manga over at Completely Futile. I wanna read the one about Snow White and the Seven Samurai ...

They're at it again!

Anime News Service has a press release from EigoMANGA, who have proudly proclaimed October their "break-out month."

eigoMANGA will re-release Issue #1 of RUMBLE PAK to be offered for sale in Barnes & Noble, Media Play, and Tower Records stores nationwide, while expanding the title's reach to include independent bookstores throughout Canada. It will appear on magazine shelves on October 15, 2004. eigoMANGA's television program on ANIME MIX will feature original cartoons and animated shorts based off the comics featured in RUMBLE PAK as well as behind-the-scene footage of the artists of RUMBLE PAK.


Not that I want to discourage them or anything, but I've seen Rumble Pak #1. Why do I get the feeling that Seven Seas is going to totally PWN their ass when its anthology comes out?

Legal Yaoi

This morning at AnimeOnDVD: A review of Golden Cain containing the sentence: "With Golden Cain from CPM's Be Beautiful manga imprint, my yaoi cherry has finally been busted." And I think that says all that needs to be said about that title.

There are also reviews of Najica Blitz Tactics Vol.2 and Legal Drug Vol. 1, which sadly has nothing to do with crack dealers.

Rah Rah Sis Boom Wha--?

How exactly does one describe AnimeWaves' latest release, 3.3.7. Byooshi? It's about ... a male cheerleader who discovers the seedy Tokyo underworld? That's way too simplified for a story that manages to take about four crazy twists in the first chapter alone. But deep in my heart, I only wish that AW would hurry up and put out more chapters of the Stellvia manga.

Prince of Gaming

In a typical cross-marketing maneuver, Konami will bring manga into the digital world with Prince of Tennis for Nintendo DS. No word yet on whether you can get the characters to make out.

Ninjas and Pastries

Digital Manga has announced 3 new title acquisitions, and not surprisingly, one of them is boy's-love. :D

And the winners are:

Tokyopop names the winners of Rising Stars of Manga Contest #4. And now that indycomix up-and-comers like Dave Iseri and Amy Kim Ganter are winning, all hope is lost for Naruto-wanking fanboys who fancy themselves to be "manga-ka."

October 4, 2004

Come back, Stan Lee. Your country needs you.

Courtesy of Thought Balloons: Publisher's Weekly says that Marvel's Crappy Fake Anime Style Fantastic Four is ... well, crappy and fake.

Tokyopop Babylon

Dear manga fandom and industry:

PoMoBa hates you.

Love,
Discerning Comics Readers

P.S. We miss Viz's PULP imprint.

Magic Stick

Yet Another Comics Blog looks at a couple of manga titles, including Harry Potter Love Hina Negima.

In the Shadow of No Towers is the suckiest thing that ever sucked.

Ted Rall lays the hate on Art Spiegelman. Burn.

for truly it is a thing of wonder that a major publisher has the audacity to try to foist an object of such suckosity, even on the American public.

October 3, 2004

So good!

DGT has just released another chapter of So Bad, by Hot Gimmick creator Miki Aihara, on IRC (which will presumably move to Bittorrent as well after a while).

A*su manga dai ... uh, no.

Completely Futile jots down a list of Top 10 Favorite Comics, and among them are a few manga titles that you probably won't recognize, mostly because (1) they're not licensed or translated (2) they're not part of the standard "fandom." It's a big, big world out there ...

October 2, 2004

Hi Hi Imitation Anime Show #37418

Cartoon Network prospects for more Japan-inspired gold with their new show Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, based on the misadventures of J-Pop group Puffy. (Whom you all know from the Teen Titans theme song, of course ... )

Join the Collective!

Aspiring webcomickers, you might want to try signing up with the Band of Webcomic Creators as a way to get more readers. Who knows, it might really work for you!

Angelic Layers of Metaphor

Johanna at Comics Worth Reading looks into Viz's release of Tenshi na Konamaiki Cheeky Angel, which may very well have some underlying things to say about gender roles, because that's what happens when boys turn into girls. And go through puberty.

When shit hits the fans

If you read one thing about the concept of "fandom," make it Entitlement and the Modern Fandom at Websnark.

Would you like a DVD with that?

AoD looks at ADV's release of Peacemaker Vol. 1 (they dropped the "Kurogane" for the DVD), and if you buy the Limited Edition artbox you also get the first volume of the manga. Now that's clever marketing!

And the pig. The pig is genius. Simplicity in design, comical in nature and with an attitude to be a Shinsengumi as well.

October 1, 2004

Same thing we do every night

Ignore the bit about TP's new release Threads of Time. Instead, check out the delightful-sounding 1000 Steps to World Domination. I don't suppose it's what Larry Young really wants to do with all the stuff he's publishing ... ?

Pichi Pichi Pitch

So, you wanna get your comic published? Larry Young of AiT/Planet Lar has some advice on how to pitch your idea.

Blistering Barnacles!

Hergé is still awesome, as this paean to Tintin proves. (Source: Thought Balloons)

Jam tomorrow, jam yesterday, but never jam today

ShoujoMagic has just released Alice in the Underground, a one-off that remakes the Lewis Carroll tale in Gothic Lolita style. Somehow, this sounds like a very predictable thing to do, but if it intrigues you, head to their IRC channel and pick it up ...

In-depth Reviewage

Anime on DVD takes a look at the yaoi-tastic Kizuna, while Anime News Network tackles the yaoi-inspiring (check the doujinshi section of any convention) Prince of Tennis.

Into abstraction

Mae Mai and Precocious Curmudgeon are raising the level of discourse on manga, and at this point I think I'll stop. If some other retailer calls apocalypse on the industry, maybe I'll poke my head out of the meerkat-hole again.

(Oh, and check out Matt Thorn's stuff. Daunting.)

PWNED!

Actually, says ICv2, Viz has a bigger TPB catalog than Tokyopop. So THERE!

What? You mean there's stuff BEFORE Osamu Tezuka?

Not totally manga, but Midnight Eye has fascinating article on pre-WWII anime. Note the similarity to American works of that same era.

Seven Seas, ahoy

Anime News Network has more info on Seven Seas, a new publisher of U.S.-produced manga. (Or ... as close to manga as the Americans can get.) So that's why I didn't recognize any of their titles ... ha ha. Oh, by the way, the hide-and-seek navigation to their "teaser" pages is horrible. Can't we just see the stuff people are working on?