February 28, 2005

Into the future

AoD reports a ton of new solicitations and release dates (scroll down) for the next few months. I'm not going to list them all, but some of the highlights include:
CMX - Gals! Vol. 2, 06/01. Haven't even checked out the first volume yet, but I hear this is a highly lauded shoujo comedy.
Del Rey - The injury of CLAMP's primary illustrator doesn't seem to have slowed things down much, as Tsubasa Vol. 7 is slated for 10/25 and xxxHOLiC Vol. 6 for 09/27 (remarkable since I'm not even aware of how soon that same Vol. 6 comes out in Japan).
DR Master - Iron Wok Jan like the crazy (04/11, 06/10, 08/12) and my personal pet favorite that isn't actually a very good comic, but is just plain cute: Stellvia* Vol. 1 on 07/11.
Tokyopop - Blame! Vol. 1 on 08/05; there's been some buzz about this one.

Help out a fellow blogger: publishers and those in the know about the industry, lend Franklin some expert opinions as he writes a manga column for his newspaper.

ANN chats with Range Murata, the man behind the highly-anticipated Robot anthology. He actually only discusses his work on the Last Exile anime, but you can get some insight on his approach to character design, and, well, just being an artist.

And YES! Next chapter of Yuuto!

*Scanlators AnimeWaves, who were working Stellvia until it got licensed, have been nice enough to finish up the first volume so you can at least get a preview -- but you'll need IRC to get the later chapters until they make it downloadable via other means. And remember, if you like what you see, be sure to buy the actual Vol. 1 when it comes out.

February 25, 2005

Googlefights: Manga Edition!

Advance!

Think you've got the skills to review manga (and aren't already doing so on a regular basis)? Anime News Network is looking for a manga reviewer in the Montreal area (that's where their HQ is based).

With some help from AoD's prying eyes, Love Manga spots a bunch of new releases. Viz continues their complete and utter mastery of shoujo by promising Ultra Maniac, by Marmalade Boy creator Wataru Yoshizumi, and Tokyo Boys and Girls by Hot Gimmick creator Miki Aihara. Del Rey has cover art up for Genshiken and Nodame Cantabile.

Some interesting things off Thought Balloons today: a manga thief who tried to sell the stolen volumes at used bookstores, and a wide-eyed look at the Tokyo branch of Mandarake. I would like to politely request that no one ever take me there lest I bankrupt myself.

It looks like Cognitive Dissonance and AoD are both of a negative mind about Taiyo Matsumoto's Blue Spring. While I didn't necessarily dislike the book, I found that it didn't live up to the praise that was being thrown around about Matsumoto in general. The squishy art and exaggerated characters were intriguing for their sheer "what the hell" factor, but the storytelling was too disjointed -- an ordeal in itself. Maybe I should try Black and White or No. 5 and give him another chance.

But, what the heck. You could go to Mangascreener and read Me and the Devil Blues, about blues guitarist Robert Johnson. Or Mohiro Kitoh's short stories -- manga about schoolkids who are far more ordinary, but just as captivating.

February 24, 2005

At the store

Who likes charts? I do! Love Manga has parsed Diamond's Top 100 GN sales to determine how well manga sells. Although it doesn't dominate the top spots, there's a strong undercurrent in the 50-100 positions. Further explanations at the site.

Calling all retailers! David @ Precocious Curmudgeon is gathering up info for a future Flipped column and wishes to know, from first-hand experience, how well manga sells.

Polite Dissent might enjoy this one: according to MNS, a manga called Dr. Koto's Clinic "has been responsible for a recent medical themed manga boom in Japan."

February 23, 2005

Never in doubt

Ah, what would we do without Viz's shoujo releases? PreCur checks out Doubt!!, an ugly-duckling-turned-swan comedy.

Love Manga catches some potential new releases from Viz, including:
Full Moon wo Sagashite (magical girl ... with cancer)
Cain (ties in with Godchild, one of the new Shôjo Beat titles)
Ouran Host Club
Genbu Kaiden
And yeah, like Immelda said, this wouldn't be the first time that Viz titles suddenly pop up on online retailers without the publisher formally announcing it. It's annoying when they do that!

"Westernized manga" isn't everyone's style, but it's Nathan Maurer's, as the Comic Book Bin interviews the winner of Tokyopop's 3rd "Rising Stars of Manga" contest and creator of Atomic King Daidogan.

Oh noez! Japanese manga retailer Mandarake is turning into the manga equivalent of a fanboy comic book store.
In the flagship stores in larger cities it focuses on the extreme Otaku market, stocking a large number of doujinshi, cells and premium items, while its stores in other cities focus on more mainstream items. Overall the stores sales of books and other publications is decreasing, while its "otaku" sales have increased.
That's sad.

February 22, 2005

Goodbye to Goku?!

Jagged*Team notes that the US edition of Shônen Jump will cease serialization of Dragonball Z after this latest issue. The rest of the series will be published as bimonthly graphic novels.

Also from J*T (and through Love Manga) comes a list of new releases from DR Master (formerly ComicsOne):
888
King of Fighters 2003
(based on videogame. Title pretty much says what it's about)
Category Freak
Hinado Girl
Mani Girls

Stellvia (All the charm of Cardcaptor Sakura, all the boarding-school antics of Harry Potter ... IN SPACE!)
Tori Koro
Tsukihime
(Vampires! High schoolers! Where's the TV show? oh, it's being released by Geneon.)

Actually, just go read everything on Love Manga right now, they've got a bunch of reviews up.

Wow, a MNS news bit that I can actually link to! Here's an interview with Yukito Kishiro, creator of Battle Angel Alita / Gunnm. And yes ... of course the first thing on everyone's mind is James Cameron.

Here's Completely Futile with more manga rarities. Dude, I'd go for anything with a title like Oingo Boingo Brothers Adventure ...

February 20, 2005

Linking to Time and Newsweek? What's this world coming to?

Newsweek checks out the book/manga/movie/phenonmenon Densha Otoko and muses on Japanese geek culture (okay, otaku, but I'm still ambivalent about the connotations of the word). "Japan's 2.8 million otaku spend $2.7 billion a year on DVDs, comics and fantasy figures modeled after anime characters. Their Internet literacy and networking habits make them hugely influential, beyond mere purchasing power."

Brill Building thinks about it too, with an American perspective.

Meanwhile, Andrew Arnold, he of Time.comix, goes to the oldest of old-school and reviews The Four Immigrants Manga.

And there's another chapter of Yuuto available! (It's a weekly series, so expect frequent updates.)

February 18, 2005

Even more boys making out with other boys

Everyone's talking about DMP's new releases -- certainly, I wasn't expecting anyone to license Robot, a manga anthology headed by illustrator extraordinaire Range Murata. (It's okay Murata-sensei, we won't talk about your odd predilection for 14-year-old girls in leather bikini tops.) But seriously folks, this one's gonna be pretty if nothing else.

Also, more yaoi!

TCR has the scoop on the Honey Room adult manga obscenity case. (Verdict: guilty.) Where's CBLDF Japan when you need them?

Love Manga rounds up the Bookscan Top 10 so that I don't have to. (just kidding, I love you really!) Interesting that Gravitation and Legal Drug have both cracked the top five. It's boy's-love season all around!

More advance copies! Precocious Curmudgeon checks out Hinako Ashihara's SOS next, and finds that short story shoujo is awesome.

February 17, 2005

Economic flutter

A couple of companies shut down, the big players ease off on their releases, and The Beat calls it a "manga correction." I call it part of the natural business cycle -- and something that, in any other industry, would hardly be newsworthy except as a brief on the financial pages. It's a sign of a healthy manga market that there's now enough influence to make booksellers stop and think about what they're ordering. And for all the historical comparisons that one might try to draw, remember than nobody ever bought a copy of Some Random Manga Title Vol. 1 because "it might be worth a lot later on." (Except for those weirdos who ask for manga bags-and-boards, maybe...)

AoD has the schoolyard shoot-'em-up drama X-Day at the Bottom of the Pile for this month.

And hey, check out the Flipped forums! Some good, and decidedly non-fanboyish, comictalk going on in there. And this cool little link that offers some straight-out-of-Japan takes on Viz's Shôjo Beat offerings.

February 16, 2005

Addendum

If you're interested in checking out The Music of Marie but don't have Bittorrent capability, there are also direct HTTP downloads from Myran-san's site. Now there's no excuse not to be reading the best manga that no one else seems to be reading*. (Did that make sense to anyone?)

*Hard disk space and internet speed notwithstanding.

Hikaru On Ice

Tokyopop has preview pages for their upcoming homegrown title, Bizenghast. How delightfully elegant. And gothic.

Plus, you just gotta check this out ... Hotta Yumi, the writer of Hikaru No Go, has just started Yuuto -- a shounen series about speed-skating! And not surprisingly, it's running in the Japanese Shônen Jump. What sport will they think of next?

February 15, 2005

Love Love

And here's the 101st thing I love about comics: Love Manga has just made its debut on the Comic Weblogs update list, providing a counterpoint of opinion and commentary to my news and notes! A much-welcomed addition to the 'sphere.

For those who like to stay on top of things, Precocious Curmudgeon gets an advance look at Happy Hustle High, one of Viz's latest shôjo offerings.

I try not to place too much emphasis on anime news, but these two are too important to ignore: Watch out for Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the transcendent film based on the manga of the same name. Also, ShoPro/Viz's bajillion-dollar merger has paid off as they go down in history as the company that licensed Naruto.

CPM's upcoming release Angel Shop sounds like a Chobits in reverse gone horribly wrong. Intriguing.

Scanlation fans, start your downloads! Kotonoha has a number of new releases. Some one-shots from an anthology called Comic Cue -- "When I woke up, I found I had turned into a fridge and was in an unknown apartment..." Tell me you wouldn't want to read a story that starts out like that. There's also more The Music of Marie and Flower Cookies.

February 11, 2005

Where the boys (making out with other boys) are

Some interesting yaoi discussion going on at Cognitive Dissonance. Definitely not my field of expertise, but I have quite a few friends who are very much into "boy's love." Suffice to say it's one of those fandom-driven phenomenons where, if you don't "get" it, you don't get it. I don't get it. (The artwork's usually too spindly and sparse for my tastes.)

Since Del Rey is still a few volumes behind Japan with Tsubasa and xxxHOLiC, few English speakers may be aware that both titles were put on hold due to a CLAMP member taking ill. Fortunately, she's back now, but we don't know yet what impact it may have on the publishing schedule for these series.

February 10, 2005

Playing Catch-up

Hot on the heels of Viz's Shôjo Beat announcement, Tokyopop announces six new titles for summer. Nice try, TP -- BECK sounds pretty interesting, and I've heard Heat Guy J is cool, but ... the other guys have a shoujo anthology!

Speaking of The Other Guys, one correction to the previous entry: Viz's release of Baron: The Cat Returns will actually be on May 3rd, the same day as Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 1.

And that's all for today, folks.

February 9, 2005

... to the hip hip hop and you don't stop

Anime Expo, the premier anime convention on the West Coast, announces that they will have a 24-hour manga library during AX 2005. Over 2,000 volumes will be available, from all major publishers including Viz, Tokyopop, and other "companies to be announced." Great, now I'll have no reason at all to get a good night's sleep during the con ...

The Boston Globe takes a look at the interplay between hip-hop and manga, name-dropping titles like Tokyo Tribes, Worst, Blokhedz and @Large.

Through AoD (no permalink), a handful of new release dates from Viz. Notable titles include: Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 1 on May 3rd -- it's an anime! It's a video game! It's a series of action figures! It's a bubble bath! And finally you can read the manga it's based on! More off the beaten track is Baron: The Cat Returns on March 1st, the basis for Studio Ghibli's lighthearted caper The Cat Returns, which Disney will be releasing on DVD on February 22nd. (Trust me on this one. As far as anthropomorphic characters go, Baron is about as suave as they get.)

The Manga Mover anthology is now discounted to £3 if you order from their website.

And finally, a scanlation I would actually recommend! Otenba releases the 6th chapter of Read or Dream.

February 8, 2005

Marching to the Beat

Of course, it's my busiest night of the week, so that's when all the big news comes out: Viz announces the titles to be serialized in the Shojo Beat anthology. Highlights include Nana by Ai Yazawa, creator of Paradise Kiss, and Zettai Kareshi (Absolute Boyfriend) by Yuu Watase. That faint sound you hear is me plunking down subscription money for this.

Thought Balloons caught this one: Dallas Middaugh, co-founder of Seven Seas and their "world manga" project, leaves the company to join Del Rey full-time. Now why would someone leave a company which is still on its way up and whose first books are due out in just over a week? Maybe because Del Rey is also on the way up, and with a higher profile. But abandoning your baby just like that ...

And what's up with CPM? Laying off employees and cancelling/postponing a slew of titles ... this is rather disconcerting.

On the bookselling front, Borders and Waldenbooks have started selling volumes of untranslated, imported manga. Unfortunately, they'll be costing around $12-$13, which is about twice the price that they normally go for among Japanese bookstores and online sellers. Here's a list of the titles available, while a PR rep from Borders announces that it's a limited nationwide test. Not all stores will have them. For now.

February 7, 2005

Dead dead dead.

Sorry, I'm just too tired and out-of-time to round up links today, but this freaks me out.

(And that's why, in Japan, you're supposed to throw out your monthly manga anthologies after you're done with them!)

February 4, 2005

Suddenly I'm slow on the uptake ...

More plaudits! ICv2 2004 Manga Awards hail Viz as the top publisher of the year (let's face it, the one series that can drag me to the store on its release date is Hot Gimmick), Del Rey for best new publisher, and Rurouni Kenshin and Fruits Basket as the top titles ( ... in sales, I suppose). I have no clue how they pick what the "Phenomenon of the Year" is.

So, I missed it the first time through in this awkwardly-written article from the L.A. Times (registration required, but don't bother, really) -- Viz is planning to "simultaneously launch a monthly anthology and line of graphic novels, both under the Shojo Beat moniker." Looks like that little survey on the Viz website didn't go to waste.

iComics looks over xxxHOLiC Vol. 4 and finds that it's just so much cooler when they're not trying to gussy things up with some silly Clow Reed continuity junk. (Or trying to "cross over" with Tsubasa, for that matter.)

... Speaking of which, NHK's website for the anime adaptation of Tsubasa has just gone up, featuring a rather lanky Sakura and Syaoran.

Pop Culture Gadabout's review of Peach Fuzz Vol. 1 comes with a picture of an actual ferret! (But no, the blog entry does not smell of peaches. Or ferrets.)

And Completely Futile finds some translational issues with Tokyopop's release of Fruits Basket, but it's still better than the scanlation.

February 3, 2005

I don't think it means he hunts actual cities ...

Hey kids! Korean comics! " ... the Korean comic book industry is no longer an extra on the international scene, but stands as a star of the Asian industry, although it was only a few years ago that Korean comics (manhwa) were considered a generic version of the Japanese manga."

Scanlation portal Manga Jouhou is now starting to feature in-depth articles on creators, publishers, historical manga events, and trends ... this week it's Tsukasa Hojo, best known for creating the action-comedy series City Hunter.

From MNS (once again, no permalink): Shonen Jump makes waves in Europe too, having already launched in Germany and Sweden and set to invade Norway in March.

February 2, 2005

Figaro Figaro Figaro.

If the UK Guardian reports it, does that make it almost-true? Looks like a Scott Pilgrim movie may really be in the works. (Guys, at least let Mal finish the entire series! ... Who knows if there may be vital plot elements later.)

Shawn @ Worlds Within Worlds runs into an anecdote about manga adaptations of opera. I wonder how many volumes it would take to cover all of Wagner's Ring cycle ...

And just some advice from YACB, note that Viz's second edition (unflipped) of Maison Ikkoku contains some extra stuff. This wouldn't be the first time it's happened -- Dark Horse cut out several chapters of Oh My Goddess! during its original publication in order to get Urd into the series faster and reach a story arc that was moderately interesting.

February 1, 2005

The Final Frontier

Today's top article for AoD (no permalink) mentions Bandai's upcoming release of the anime adaptation of Planetes. (Insert blogosphere's collective "oooooh.") Features on the DVD will include commentary from the Japanese director and cast, interviews with the English cast, and even interviews with NASA's space debris staff.

AoD also does a year-in-review rundown for ComicsOne, the company that's synonymous with Iron Wok Jan.

Manga publisher Studio Ironcat -- probably best known for releasing Hanaukyo Maid Team -- has shut down.

And once again Completely Futile does what it does best: reviewing manga that's outside of the publisher and scanlator consciousness. Cool.