January 31, 2005

Well, maybe the superheroes should threaten them right back.

So it looks like another Gaaan! Doki doki! Comics aren't just for boys anymore! article is going around, and let me just make a grammatical point of note: "manga" and "shoujo" are generally considered to be collective terms, so sticking an "s" at the end of either word -- while not technically illegal -- does sound like a rather clunky way of attempting to pluralize them.

Even NPR is getting in on the manga phenomenon, but given the mixed response to Peter Carey's Wrong About Japan, is he really the guy to be talking about the Japanese pop culture explosion?

Akira Toriyama, the legendary creator of Dragonball, is now also the designer of a cute little electric car.

And finally, the back-patting for CLAMP just doesn't stop, as a museum exhibit in Kawasaki City opens this month.

January 29, 2005

As long as someone doesn't start a Death Blog ...

Well, the Five Favorite Manga meme sure is getting around. Shawn @ Worlds Within Worlds rounds up the results of AoD Forums vs. the Comics Blogosphere and reveals that there's something of a disconnect between manga readers with an anime background as opposed to those with a Western-comics background. But hey, as long as people are reading comics that they like, I'm all for it.

Johanna @ Cognitive Dissonance, meanwhile, continues to do the totaling for The blogosphere, and adds new material to the reviews at Comics Worth Reading.

And an interesting tidbit from MNS: merchandise from the manga Death Note has been causing a stir in China lately ... those familiar with this title know that the premise centers around a notebook called a "Death Note," where the user writes the names of people that they wish to kill. Actual notepads with the header "The Person's Name Written Here Will Die In 40 Seconds" is getting pretty popular with students writing names of teachers they don't like. Hrmmmm.

January 28, 2005

Silly schoolgirls, tricks are for wizards!

Broccoli Books, manga's kingpin of production values, releases the first volume of Until the Full Moon, a boy's-love romance with werewolves. And vampires. Throw in some angst and you're set.

Miracle of miracles, Dorian reviews manga @ PoMoBa! Good stuff all around.

AoD looks at Negima Vol. 4, which promises plenty of fanservice and some terrific action.

January 27, 2005

Pilgrimage

Weekly Toronto periodical eye has a feature on Bryan Lee O'Malley, also known as YOUR GOD, I mean, the creator of Scott Pilgrim. Movie deal, you say? Hmm ... even better if it's animated. (but not CGI plzkthx.)

Chris @ 212 has some stern words for would-be Tokyopop creators. Remember kids, if you're talented enough, there are plenty of places that would love publish your comics rather than just the OMGJAPANESE! one.

AoD launches a new column, Bottom of the Pile, focusing on underrated and overlooked manga. With input from the review staff and AoD forumites, this month's installment looks at the Firefighter! series.

MNS has the latest Top 10 titles in Japan:

1. Fruits Basket Vol. 16
2. Great Detective Conan Vol. 48 (aka Case Closed)
3. RAVE Vol. 31 (I'm assuming this is known in my neck of the woods as Rave Master?)
4. Golden Gouache Vol. 19
5. BECK Vol. 21 (Just licensed!)
6. SAMURAI DEEPER KYO Vol. 30
7. GetBackers-Recapture Ya- Vol. 28
8. KATSU! Vol. 15
9. Empty Of Duck Vol. 5
10. D-LIVE Vol. 9

January 26, 2005

Blue House

So it looks like the first couple of pages of Seven Seas' Aoi House are up online ... and let me be honest, this is not the impression that English-speaking "manga" ought to be making on the comics world. Anything that references Chobits on the first page as some kind of life ideal -- even jokingly -- is in dire danger of turning into fanboy wank along the lines of "AHAHAHAHA WE ARE ANIME NERDS." Now, I'm not the type to automatically dismiss a comic based on two pages (unless they're really BAD pages), so I'll give Aoi House the benefit of the doubt for now. I sincerely hope that it'll become good, character-driven situational comedy, and not a series of stilted anime references that are only funny to the joke-teller.

The whole point of good manga is to tell imaginative and unexpected stories that soar past the clichés already set forth in the artform. Let's leave the self-referential snark to some other crappy medium, like blogs. ;)

ICv2's latest Retailer Guide to Anime and Manga is out, including a report on the state of the manga market. It's interesting to note that anime, which exploded at the turn of the century with the rise of the DVD, is now tapering off. Using that as a model, perhaps we can expect the manga "bubble" to reach steady-state at around ... 2009?

January 25, 2005

The Five Comics You Read in Heaven

This just in from ANN: Liann Cooper covers the manga highlights of 2004, including newcomers to the industry such as Del Rey and CMX, the manwha effect, and of course, a whole lot of yaoi.

Cognitive Dissonance kindly rounds up the latest manga goings-on. Most notable is that Viz has merged with Japanese company ShoPro (part of the Shogakukan media empire) to form ONE REALLY GIANT ROBOT. I mean, one really big manga/anime/randomJapanesegoodies distributor.

And since everyone else is doing it, my top five currently running manga series:

1. Hot Gimmick
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion (if only we could get Sadamoto to draw faster ... )
3. xxxHOLiC
4. Oh My Goddess!
5. Midori No Hibi / Midori's Days (okay -- I cheated and this is actually in some weird limbo between being finished on the scanlation circuit but not yet released in the US -- but it's just so cool I have to plug for it anyway, and it WILL be current within a few months)

From Otenba (Bittorrent only; sorry folks) comes another chapter of Read or Dream, the action-comedy that makes bibliophilia cool.

January 24, 2005

Made to hit in America!

Apologies for the site being down ... it would appear that my hosting provider went on its regularly-scheduled fritz (coughcough).

It would appear that Tokyopop has licensed BECK, the rock 'n' roll manga about a 14-year-old boy who finds direction in his life by taking up guitar and joining a band.

Tokyopop also has plans to animate a couple of original titles that, quite honestly, aren't really all that popular. Or anything. I don't know.

Seven Seas, that champion of the cause of "world manga," announces a new online-only series, Aoi House. (They say webmanga, I say webcomic, let's call the whole thiing off.) Aoi House "follows the trials and tribulations of two down-on-their-luck college boys who join an anime club dominated by crazed fangirls." Hardly original, but I can sympathize all too well with the "crazed fangirls" part. Yeowch.

From Manga News Service comes a listing of Shogakukan's 50th Manga Sho award winners. Winning titles that have already been licensed in the US include Keroro Gunsou (that's Sgt. Frog to Anglophones) in the children's category and Bleach in the shounen category.

And does the world really, really need a collectible card game based on Case Closed?

EVERYONE BE HAPPY Kotonoha has put up another chapter of The Music of Marie. Now go download! :D

January 21, 2005

Today's snark allotment

Somewhere, someone is masturbating to this.

NARUTO vs GOKU!!

January 20, 2005

Takahashi rides again

See, I need something like this to trick me into learning Japanese. Then everything would be awesome. And it looks like I'd get a sampler of many as-yet-unknown manga titles too.

Through MNS: Big Comic Original magazine announces the launch of a new Rumiko Takahashi series, Permanent Love. Couldn't read the summary, but I did pick out the word "salaryman" ... which suggests that the new work will have little similarity to Inu-Yasha. ;)

And look! Manga Jouhou got a face lift.

P.S. Here's a thought for this week: instead of a Demo scriptbook, why not a Demo sketchbook? I, personally, would totally pay for a book of Becky Cloonan's scribbles as she worked on the series.

January 19, 2005

The awesomeness of Kudo

According to Diamond Previews and AoD (no link -- scroll down), Viz may possibly have licensed 20th Century Boys? That would ROCK.

And just for random interest. MNS has the rankings for the top manga in Japan this week:

1. Great Detective Conan Vol. 48 (that's Case Closed to you Amerikaners)
2. Useless Cantabile Vol. 11 (aka Nodame Cantabile -- due out from Del Rey in April)
3. Prince Of Tennis Vol. 27
4. Golden Gouache Vol. 19
5. Sacraran High School Host Part 5
6. Shaman King Vol. 32
7. Back Peach Girl Vol. 1
8. Mask Of The Glass Vol. 42
9. Strawberry 100% Vol. 14 (more commonly known as Ichigo 100% among scanlation circles)
10. ARIA Vol. 6

January 18, 2005

Light Up

I doubt there's much time to get started now, but a note to all aspiring comickers: Tokyopop's 5th Rising Stars of Manga contest ends on Feb. 15! New in this contest is a "People's Choice Award" where manga fans can look at the 20 finalists' entries on the TP site and vote for their favorite.

AoD has an advance review of the gothlolitastic Alichino Vol. 1.

Translated through the MNS: But is there too much smoking in boys' manga? "There were some 8.7 smoking scenes on average in boys' comics magazine examined by the survey. ... There were only 0.2% of smoking scenes containing a message cigarette were bad for the body." Hmmm.

January 17, 2005

The best things in life are $10 apiece

Courtesy of Cognitive Dissonance, now's a good a time as any to get on the Imadoki! and Sgt. Frog trains. Assuming you aren't already, of course.

MNS points out the webpage of Kazuo Umezu, a horror manga-ka who is "generally considered as the godfather of the horror manga genre, authoring Orochi: Blood*, Drifting Classroom, Baptism of Blood and Left Hand of God, Right Hand of the Devil."

*This one is available in the U.S., I'm pretty sure.

Today's scanlation of choice, should you choose to accept it, is Usamaru Furuya's The Music of Marie, a gorgeously rendered tale that somehow manages to out-Miyazaki Miyazaki in its construction of fantasy worlds and sweeping landscapes. From Kotonoha: " ... A world in which men are watched over by the mechanical goddess Marie who at times appears in the sky. Marie's music brings people happiness and harmony. Their life is free from advanced technology and the longing for progress. The main story centers around Kai, a young man who develops a deep affection for Marie. His quest for enlightenment leads him inside Marie's mechanical body where he learns the unbelievable truth about her and his own world."

January 14, 2005

Harem Potter rules all

In what is hardly a surprise, Negima Vol. 4 dominates the start of the year. What is a surprise is that the book was listed under BookScan's "Children's" category ... HUH? Meanwhile in the rest of the graphic novel section looks like:
1. Rurouni Kenshin Vol. 10
2. Fruits Basket Vol. 6
3. Imadoki Vol. 3
4. Hellsing Vol. 5
5. Rurouni Kenshin Vol. 9
6. DNAngel Vol. 5
7. Yu-Gi-Oh the Movie Ani-manga
8. Naruto Vol. 5
9. .hack//Legend of the Twilight Vol. 3
10. Saiyuki Vol. 6
11. Wallflower Vol. 2
14. Othello Vol. 2

Gaaaan! Doki doki! Comics aren't just for boys anymore! (Sorry, it had to be said. We seem to be getting an influx of these "ZOMG! Girls read manga!" articles lately.)

AoD reviews Samurai Executioner Vol. 2, the much-lauded prequel to Lone Wolf and Cub.

January 13, 2005

Taking stock of Tokyopop

Tokyopop is planning an IPO later this year ... but on the Japanese stock market.

Manga-ka and other writers in Japan are growing increasingly concerned about the rise of manga rental stores, which make things cheap for the reader but swipe the royalties out of the creators' hands.

And yay, I reviewed my favorite!

January 12, 2005

Of things to come

Active Anime looks at the new alt-manga anthology, Manga Mover -- a product that has its ups and downs.

ADV makes a really cool offer with their Cromartie High School floor display: Vol. 1 the CHS manga comes with a mini-DVD containing episodes 1 and 2 of the corresponding anime series. Let's hope the guys at my Local Comic Shop buy into it ...

The Comics Journal finally cries uncle and covers manga in the TCJ Special Edition. But c'mon guys, if the best name-dropping you can do is Suehiro Maruo and Hideshi Hino, maybe a visit to Kotonoha is in order.

For more mainstream tastes, there's King of Wolves coming out from Dark Horse pretty soon, written by the creator of Berserk and illustrated by the creator of Fist of the North Star. With a manly combination like that, it's got to be top-of-the-line hard-hitting adventure fare.

EDIT: Actually, it's the creator of Berserk doing the illustrations and the creator of Fist of the North Star writing.

And, holy crap you guys. FLIGHT VOL. 2.

The ONE PIECE of news that matters

Sorry, I've been busy tonight, so I haven't had time to go link-hunting, but the launch of Manga News Service is definitely the one thing that matters today. (And will probably render my blog useless.)

January 10, 2005

Short and semi-sweet

PreCur has some nice, snappy capsule manga reviews, and the comment section's gotten pretty interesting too. ;)

Dark Horse brings a typically American sales approach to manga with a 25-cent comic about Trigun's cross-toting antihero, Wolfwood.

January 9, 2005

Bullet-time News Day

AoD has a nice double-review of the complete X-Day (only two volumes long). And honestly, if the first thing you thought of was "huh? is that a Marvel title?" ... I don't know what to say.

Newly relaunched TokiDoki has an encouraging review of Yakitate!! Japan. "There are manga about bread making in which Brad Pitt and Péle make cameo appearances. And George W. Bush eats giant pretzels." I think that says it all.

January 7, 2005

Ferreting around

So, Peach Fuzz (the one about the ferret) is out, and it's been getting good buzz so far ... score another one for Tokyopop's homegrown titles.

Cool. ANS reports that the Gaten manga anthology will publish a series about various fields of employment, Gaten Michi Icchokusen -- basically career advice for high schoolers.

And I'm going to actually edit this post just to include a recently-posted article on Hideshi Hino.

If I lived in the Bay Area, I'd go to this Japanese pop culture discussion just to meet the co-editor of Giant Robot.

And if you thought Sgt. Frog was funny ... download Honey Bunny and see what happens when an alien invader occupies the body of the hottest guy in school! ("It'll be educational.")

January 6, 2005

New Year Gimmick

Well, this isn't THAT much of a surprise ... a Negima video game. Who wants to bet it'll play out like some freaky-deaky Harry Potter dating sim?

And moving along from the mainstreamest of the mainstream, it's a short hop with Completely Futile to go into the underground. With links to sites where you can read the manga online!

As mentioned on many sites already, DMP has extended their distribution deal with Diamond to include educational manga, how-to-draw books, and yes ... yaoi. Always more yaoi.

AOD does a year in review for Broccoli Books, that small-time publisher whose manga properties can be counted on the fingers of one hand, yet when it comes to production quality, they're the best $10 deal you can ask for.

Today's recommendation: Head over to Virtual Infusion to pick up more chapters of School Rumble! I will say nothing of the recent downloading-comics flap, except that, well, does that Site They Mentioned have scanlations? :p

And ... I just wanted to share this. The January issue of Betsucomi magazine had a mini-calendar giveaway, and guess what the image was for March/April? Hot Gimmick! Oh yes. (Also seen in this picture: old con badges, XXXHolic pencil board; postcard illustrated by Rising Stars of Manga 4 winner Amy Reeder Hadley, and Bottle Fairy figurines. Oh, and there's Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist lurking in the top right corner. Hee.)

January 5, 2005

Mobile Suitors

Slow news day ...

Who likes contests? Win a free copy of Yoshiyuki Tomino's Gundam novel ... not a graphic novel, an actual "prose" novel. Hey, it's practically the Star Trek of Japan! A cultural touchstone! And yes ... pushing the merchandising angle waaay too far. Henh.

Okay, fine, one more article: a Newtype USA contributor complains about how the magazine edited his review. Resulting in a pretty big discussion over on ANN. Comics reviewing sure is interesting work, innit?

January 4, 2005

...

Well, we all know what happened today. I'll spare myself the attempt to link to everything ... I'm blank. What's there left to say about Will Eisner? BEST. COMICKER. EVER. And I mean it.

Dreamwave Productions closes down, ending their mildly successful venture with adapting 80's-nostalgia properties (Transformers and Megaman among them).

See if you can figure this one out: ComicsOne is transferring its manga releases to Asian publisher DrMaster. But they'll still keep making comics. Or something. I dunno. The folks on the forums are equally bewildered.

As Bookscan and other fellow bloggers have duly noted, Rurouni Kenshin and Fruits Basket kicked tail in bookstore GN sales for 2004.

Manga licenses headed to Australia: Slam Dunk, Fruits Basket and Love for Venus.

And I promise you ... if you scroll down on this page, I swear it's there ... next volume of Princess Ai comes out in June. Soon to be followed by another rash of messageboard discussions where people get into a bigger argument about the merits of Courtney Love than the actual book itself.

If you happen to have 600 MB to spare on you computer ... do pick up the complete Kimagure Orange Road scanlation. This is one of the few manga series that I would officially deem "seminal." Almost every modern romantic comedy in manga has its roots in this one.

If you have a little less room, go for She Got Off the Bus At the Peninsula, a delightful little one-shot. Who'd have thought a ghost story could be so sweet?

January 3, 2005

Awesomeful Days

As if to finally catch up on the CMX books that everyone must've looked at and reviewed by now, here's what Active Anime has to say about the matter.

CBG is awesome for doing this huge feature on Naoki Urasawa (Monster, 20th Century Boys).

And here's something a little tangential, a review of the newly released Korean animated feature Sky Blue (aka Wonderful Days). Still kinda hedging on whether to call it "anime," since in standard US parlance, that's considered to mean animated works of Japanese origin ... what's Korean for "cartoons" anyway?

January 2, 2005

Ready, Steady, Blog!

And I am back from the dead!

Sequential Tart just can't get enough Hot Yaoi/Boy's-Love action. "Yaoi isn't about 'gay' couples — it's about the idealized relationships with men that women would like to have," says one reader in a quote. Touché.

Once again, Completely Futile challenges us to look into manga outside of the "mainstream" (as imposed upon us by the likes of TP, Viz, et al). Adding Shigeru Sugiura to my Kinokuniya shopping list ...

Dark Horse's Junko Mizuno stationery looks like a fun addition to the all-too-sparse catalog of Mizuno products available Stateside.

Coming soon in Japan: not just one, but FOUR manga adaptations (in different styles) of a messageboard thread. Yes. They comickized a story that started out as a messageboard thread. Maybe Fanboy Rampage will pick up on the concept.

Is this old news? I have this niggling feeling that Marvel's hiring of Tokyopop editor Mark Paniccia as Senior Editor was announced a while back -- or maybe that was another guy. In any case, "Paniccia will be developing original graphic novels for teens, and recruiting new talent." Shouldn't be too hard, seeing as he was the guy who ran the first few iterations of Tokyopop's highly successful Rising Stars of Manga talent contest.

Finally, here's a nice AoD editorial recap of Del Rey's jump into the manga pool. Ah, memories of the Negima dust-up ...