December 24, 2004

Let's take it a little easy

Just some nice tidbits off the blogosphere today ...

Reading Along shares some thoughts on Rurouni Kenshin and Planetes ...

Precocious Curmudgeon rounds up some end-of-the-year goings-on so that I don't have to. >:D

And with that, I'm going to close down until New Year's as I spend the week recharging. And catching up on my reviews for ANN. To all manga distributors and publishers: Don't make any big announcements until I get back. plzkthxbye!

Happy Holidays! Dash away, dash away, dash away all.

December 22, 2004

If J.K. Rowling had been a manga-ka ...

Courtesy of Thought Balloons: Looks like we have insider confirmation from Viz on the licensing of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. Plus, more ani-manga are on their way.

Looks like another story of the North Korean abductions, "Megumi," will be adapted into a manga in Futabasha's Manga Action anthology.

Tokyopop has just added homegrown title Van Von Hunter to their website.

And today's random shoujo silliness comes in the form of Gakuen Alice (Alice Academy), a bubblegum romp that's something like X-Men or Harry Potter in its premise of a "school for kids with special powers." But, of course, with lots more sparklies in the background. Fans of Kodocha might go for this one.

December 21, 2004

Sometimes, manga readers come from the American comics.

Cool, the blogosphere's very own David Welsh has started a manga column at Comic World News. (Link swiped from Thought Balloons.)

And no other notable news besides that! :D

December 20, 2004

One Jump Ahead

It could take a few years, but man, kids are going to kill for this Shonen Jump video game if it comes to US shores.

And on a similar note, Viz has announced Shonen Jump Advanced, "a new imprint under the company's SHONEN JUMP brand that will present the latest cutting-edge manga stories offering titles with progressive storylines and characters to older teens and young adults." Translation: Now we can sell OTHER graphic novels besides the fighting-by-proxy kiddy ones for $8! Haha!

Among the new ADV Manga licenses -- some of which are old news, some of which are new -- Full Metal Panic! OVERLOAD might be interesting (is this the one that's all super-deformed?) and Noodle Fighter Miki just has a terrific title. (You get three guesses what the premise of the story is, and the first two don't count.)

Lastly, behold! Taiyo Matsumoto's Blue Spring is now a comic book movie too! And a live action one, at that.

December 19, 2004

Comickers like us

CWR checks out the surprisingly insightful Tramps Like Us.

Bill @ PCG investigates CMX's proclivity for licensing older manga titles -- namely, From Eroica With Love -- and finds that old stuff doesn't turn out all that bad sometimes.

Okay, seriously, where can I buy a copy of Ikki? Or Garo, for that matter? For all the diversity of manga, it seems that the Japanese bookstores in my area don't stock the artcomix end of it.

So, Korea is getting into comic-book movies too.

And in the Kansai region of Japan, you CAN major in manga when you go to college.

December 17, 2004

[Select] [Start]

OH. MY. GOD.

(Thank you, Chris.)

Can you draw an owl? If so, enter the CWR Owly Contest. Seriously. This has GOT to be easier than that stupid bear-or-pirate art test.

If the Japanese canon doesn't satisfy you, take heart: Koreanimation comes to theaters in the guise of Wonderful Days.

Sadly, Viz has canceled its Animerica Extra magazine. (ANN; no specific link). Well, it had gotten kinda dated anyway; starting out as a manga anthology mag long before Shonen Jump ever showed up on US newsstands, Animerica Extra -- aimed at more mature manga fans rather than tweeners -- was recently converted to shojo-only after SJ started running and now I guess it's all over. (Most of the stuff on Extra was doing better in GN format anyway.)

December 16, 2004

New stuff. Always with the new stuff.

VIZ announces Legendz and Dr. Slump for their Shonen Jump line. Still no official word on Fullmetal Alchemist, though.

New titles from CMX ... CPM (I have to say, KUNG FU JUNGLE BOY is like, the greatest four-word string ever conceived) ... on-screen adaptation of Santa Inoue's Tokyo Tribes picked up by MTV and Inoue wants Dr. Dre to do the soundtrack ... yes I'm being lazy because I ran a lot of errands today and I don't care. :P

And for today's scanlation off the beaten path, head to Doujinshi Corner for another dose of Cardcaptor Sakura as told by amateur comickers.

December 15, 2004

Previews Postviews

Fine, fine, since everyone else is snarking up Previews, here are some new manga releases that caught my eye for the first few months of 2005 (courtesy of AoD's list):

ADV Manga:
Cromartie High School Vol. 1. Already adapted into a well-liked anime series, this one is a raucous comedy that parodies those ridiculously macho "tough guy" titles (like the one DMP can't stop pimping, Worst). Also, Freddie Mercury is a character in it.

Tokyopop:
CLAMP No Kiseki Vol. 1. I already looked over the Japanese edition of this, and now readers will have the English-language version that you can actually find in bookstores.

RG Veda Vol. 1. If Tokyo Babylon and Legend of Chun Hyang didn't clue you in, yes, Tokyopop is apparently going through CLAMP's back catalog in reverse chronological order.

Um ... that's about it Yes.

And ... c'mon folks, there's no reason anyone should have to buy a Yu-Gi-Oh card for $25000.

December 14, 2004

Fullmetal Press Release

BIG NEWS OF THE (coming) YEAR. It seems that Andrew Arnold, he of the Time.comix column, has inadvertently gotten Viz to leak what might be the most important manga licensing announcement for 2005:
[corrected for minor typography]
FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST
By Hiromu Arakawa
A long awaited 4-volume* manga series that tells the story of young brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric who attempt to use the science of alchemy to bring their mother back to life, with life changing and action packed results. (June)

*huh? This has just reached Vol. 9 in Japan and is slated to run for 20 volumes. I'm not sure if this is a misprint, confused facts, or what.

It may sound like a fairly conventional shonen adventure from the premise, but believe me, FMA is surprisingly touching, amusing, and deep, sometimes all at once. Don't be surprised to see it topping the Bookscan charts (especially since the Cartoon Network run of the anime series will be about halfway through when the first volume comes out).

Viz announces four new shoujo titles due in March 2005. Interesting that they're branching out into short story anthologies. It's just as well, since trying to keep up with multiple ongoing series is hard. Especially if they're really addictive ...

Never one to turn down a cross-media marketing opportunity, Tokyopop announces manga/DVD bundles of Fruits Basket (Vol. 6 manga, Eps 1 and 2 DVD) and Initial D (Vol. 1 manga, Vol. 9 DVD).

The Japan Forum on International Relations advises PM Junichiro Koizumi to promote the awesome aspects of Japanese culture -- but c'mon guys, "Gross National Cool" just sounds silly.

Japanese parents are growing concerned about sexed-up shoujo manga. " ... topics once even taboo among adults, think of incest and pack rape, pop up in little girl's comics." I guess TP had better start stocking up on the shrinkwrap if they plan to license any of these. :p (Why didn't the article cite any titles, though?)

December 13, 2004

Stray Rabbits and Fighting Rabbits

YACB does quick manga reviews and finds some comics not really worth reading.

Reading Along looks at CMX's release of Swan and finds a charming ballet comic, though it could've been printed better.

Malaysia's The Star profiles Sonny Liew, that oh-so-gifted penciler of My Faith in Frankie, Malinky Robot and others. Yes, I suppose Frankie is vaguely manga-esque, but it's also so much more. :D

If you try just one scanlation this week -- or possibly month -- please, PLEASE read Flower Cookies from Kotonoha. It's the most delightful little story about a stray rabbit that gets adopted by an elementary school class, and the artwork is a far cry from what you may be used to in domestic releases.

Also corrected the previous post about manga in France, after I got some help from an actual French speaker. ^^ Thanks Audrey!

December 11, 2004

Grave Matters

Lea Hernandez, you are awesome. (Much thanks to Cognitive Dissonance.)

And that's all for today, folks.

December 10, 2004

"Les mangas" makes it sound so ... elegant.

The Orlando Sentinel notices that graphic novels and manga make kids read.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer notices that webcomics make syndicated newspaper comickers wary.

Animaxis notices that Nana, the wildly popular manga by Paradise Kiss creator Ai Yazawa, will be adapted into a live-action movie.

ICv2 notices that Del Rey has announced two new manga titles, Basilisk (which I recall was some sort of horror-ish adventure tale? don't quote me on this) and A Perfect Day for Love Letters, an anthology of short stories about ... love letters.

And for the Francophones among us, Le Monde has a special section on various manga titles that are currently being published in France. Wish I could read the article, but the series they're profiling along the nav bar have page previews you can look at.

NOTE: Edited for correction about the Le Monde article.

December 9, 2004

Policy Change

Okay, here's a thought, I'm going to quit linking to every single review I see because a lot of them are just routine. And some aren't all that fun to read (not naming names). If it's a review I find particularly pleasing, or someone does a really good in-depth analysis, or simply hocks up a gigantic stack of reviews in one go, then I'll consider it newsworthy. Hopefully this'll make my blogging a little easier and I won't be clogging this place up with so many links.

Fans of Tokyopop's Ragnarok manwha can get to play a free trial of its online RPG incarnation. Because, yeah, if you ever get sick of City of Heroes or World of Warcraft ...

The San Antonio current notices that suddenly, comics (particularly in graphic novel form) matter. Longish article, but Thought Balloons has the Cliffs Notes version.

James @ Reading Along explains why Hot Gimmick rocks so hard. Yes, and also, it has the best side-story couple EVER. Subaru + Akane = ROBOT LOVE. <3

December 8, 2004

Lumos!

Here's something interesting I found off Aku-Tenshi: Harry Potter doujinshi, i.e., fan-comics by amateur manga-ka set in the HP world. Check it out for a Japanese take on an exceedingly British phenomenon.

Tokyopop announces a screencap collage cine-manga of The Incredibles, and no one is surprised.

Dark Horse announces an April 27th release date for Hipira: The Litte Vampire, written by Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo. Be nice if we had some preview pages; the cover looks somewhat interesting.

Thought Balloons got to it first, but yeah: It's Hikaru No Go's fault that everyone is playing Go these days.

AoD has a review of Bride of Deimos Vol. 2, an intriguing anthology of shoujo horror tales.

December 7, 2004

Big news day!

Thought Balloons wonders: Why isn't CMX as awesome as we hoped it would be? Personally I think that part of the problem is the Big Manga Publishers (you know who you are) already have a lot of the really good licenses in the most popular genres. What CMX needs to do is go hunting for unexpected hits (may I recommend Beck or Yakitate!! Japan?) and not try to pick up third-tier shoujo and action titles. We've got enough of those. Then there's the issue of them being linked to DC, so of course, everyone has such high expectations of them just because they're affiliated with a huge, huge name in comics.

In the beginning, and in the end, there will always be ... Sgt. Frog.

The Long Beach Press-Telegram interviews Jimmy R. Vann, one of Tokyopop's Rising Stars of Manga 4 winners.

Bookslut finds alternative manga, yay! And you get Awesome Points for name-dropping Secret Comics Japan (one of the few books I could read over and over).

Pressing even further beyond, there's a contemporary Japanese art exhibit at the Galeri Petronas in Malaysia.

Seven Seas enters the final stage of its Manga-fy Me! Contest. Yes folks, it's time to pick the most talented artist in the Wannabe-Manga But Not Really idiom.

And of course, what would a day be without an AoD review? This time it's Hanaukyo Maid Team Vol. 2, chock full of ... maids ... and fanservice. 'Nuff said.

December 6, 2004

The world of comics is DOOMED! ... or not.

Year-end recap from Publishers Weekly, Thought Balloons has it first: In case you hadn't noticed, only manga can save the comics industry now!

(Well ... not reeeeally ... but mostly.)

AoD braves the shores of ridiculous cuteness and comes out unscathed with kind words for Di Gi Charat Theater - Dejiko's Adventure.

AnimatedBliss goes for a double-dose of CLAMP with positive reviews of Tsubasa Vol. 3 and xxxHOLiC Vol. 3.

And, since enough people think Hayao Miyazaki is that important, here's an insightful review of Howl's Moving Castle from Midnight Eye, which also manages to pass commentary on the typically nearsighted American outlook on Japanese animation.

December 5, 2004

Slower news day

This week's Right Turn Only is up, with all the manga recommendations you'll ever need.

A couple of interesting discoveries:

From Deph comes Hareluya, about the Son of God (serious! I am not making this up) who happens to be an irresponsible brat. So God sends him to modern-day Earth for re-training ... and weird funny stuff ensues.

For something a little more down-to-earth (ahahaha), there's Shiba-O from The Sylphs, a short tale of a dog who goes around unexpectedly changing fortunes.

December 4, 2004

Slow news day

Here's something just a bit unsettling: a manga adaptation of the real-life North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens.

AoD reviews the manwha Hard Boiled Angel Vol. 2, a good, serious police drama.

December 2, 2004

Rare events

Believe it, folks! Yoshitomo Nara is coming to St. Louis. Self-conscious, nonconformingly alike J-pop-culture hipsters ensue.

But not to be outdone, we are reminded that La Monnaie de Paris has just opened the Miyazaki-Moebius Expo, which may very well violate the laws of physics by having way too much comics and cartoonery talent in a single place.

SeqTart takes a nice long look at the romantic implications of Kizuna: Bonds of Love Vol. 1.

AoD goes double-dipping today, with the sword-slashing snoozefest Yongbi the Invincible Vol. 2 and yet another boy-meets-way-too-many-pretty-girls title, DearS Vol. 1.

December 1, 2004

Yes, we have no space-time witches

Okay, okay! Because it's just SO important, AoD has picked up the news on CMX's Jan/Feb '05 offerings: Vols. 1 of Gals! and Tenjou Tenge, and Vols. 2 of From Eroica with Love, Madara, Musashi No. 9, and Swan.

Watch out, folks: a young wave of Chinese artists who have no recollection of the Communist era are emerging as a pop-culture force in their own right: "the Cartoonist Generation."

Enough with the hemming and hawing, it's real this time! CLAMP's hit series Tsubasa will be adapted into an anime starting April 2005 in Japan. Yes ... no more rumors or kidding around, swear to honest.

And jumping right into serious matters, AoD reviews Nambul: War Stories Vol. 2.