March 31, 2005

No. 5

No time to really blog tonight, but if there's one thing worth mentioning, it's the winners of Tokyopop's Rising Stars contest.

Grand Prize
"Mail Order Ninja," Joshua Elder and Erich Owen
Second Place
"Baggage," Roald Muñoz
Third Place
"Can I Sit Here?" George Alexopoulos
Runners-Up
"Pop Star," T Campbell and Amy Mebberson
"Chibi Zombies," Ashley Cope
"Seed," Morgan Luthi
"Modus Vivendi," Andrew Yi and Jeong Mo Yang
People's Choice
"Blue Phoenix: No Quarter," Michael Shelfer

I'm sure everyone's dying to find out TP's justifications for their choice of winners once the book comes out ...

March 30, 2005

Viz strikes again

Chris @ 212 checks out TCJ's manga special, and just to get y'all going, he's posted an excerpt from Bill Randall's article on Why Unflipped Manga Is Dumb.

The fallout from Viz's edit of I''s begins to pick up steam: here's Gump with his open letter to Viz, and as Love Manga notes, Descendants of Darkness Vol. 4 got edited too -- an entire character being erased, that is.

On the more HAPPY! side, Davd @ LM also links to an interview with Steady Beat creator Rivkah Greulich as she talks about the artistic process and being on the forefront of English-language manga. Now this will floor you: "Heck, I didn't start drawing comics/manga until August 2003."

Behold, the sheer power of determination if you want to be good at something. Inborn talent? Fah! LOTS AND LOTS OF PRACTICE.

As AoD notes, it will NOT take a year between now and the next volume of Gunslinger Girl; Vol. 3 will ship from ADV Manga on June 6th. (Assuming they keep their schedule.) The first volume of Yotsubato! also ships the same day.

March 29, 2005

"Am I looking at the cover of a porn video?"

AH! My eyes! Love Manga picks up on something that I wish were a joke, but it isn't: Viz's release of I''s contains OMGtehboobies! -- which they have blocked out with stars. Seriously. Stars. Over the nipples. Chris Beveridge at AoD responds in kind.

PoMoBa catches up on manga, with concise reviews of some recent (and not-so-recent) releases.

Oh, and Kotonoha updated again with some new titles: the supernatural Coo's World and the manga-based-on-a-nonexistent-manga-from-a-movie Dead Flowers. Fire up those downloads.

March 28, 2005

Telegram style

Hm. The debate on male-female relationships in manga continues. Elin Winkler of Radio Comix weighs in.

David @ Love Manga found some spiffy manga coverage from TCJ, including work from the blogosphere's very own Adam Stephanides, who seriously deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Frederick L. Schodt, Matt Thorn, and Carl Horn, if he isn't already.

Some opinions on manga solicits for June -- as always, these are all opinions, so get in on the action at Dorian's comments thread (which is getting pretty lively).

The Honolulu Star-Times stumbles upon an old Viz anthology of shoujo -- and yeah, I think a reprint of this would be very cool, along with, say, Secret Comics Japan and Short Cuts. More short stories!

Infinity Studios, manwha specialists, signs with Diamond -- so now they won't just be at bookstores (where I saw, like, one volume of Peigenz but didn't feel compelled to pick it up).

Oh, and I finally got to read Murikuri. Yep, it's ridiculous. I recommend this comic to nobody. It should not be read by anyone, ever. Save your 5 minutes for something better.

March 26, 2005

Silly Americans, mangas are for Japanese!

David @ Love Manga has plenty of wise words about original English-language manga. I'm trying to avoid the term "American manga" because that's unfair to folks like Queenie Chan, who is Chinese-Australian, and the predominantly Filipino art staff at Seven Seas. David himself admits it:
If Korea can run off and create their own Manwha style, and be successful not only in their native country but over here in the translated market, then there is no reason why the west cannot create something similar. With this new wave of original Manga hitting the shelves throughout 2005/2006, hopefully to some resounding success, all that is left now is to pick a name which is slightly more inclusive then just American Manga.
So with that said, I've definitely got my eye on works like Bizenghast and Steady Beat that are not only approaching the level of Japanese craftsmanship, but in some ways even exceed it. Heck, with Johanna's stamp of approval, you know you can't go wrong. And the best part is, getting in touch with these comickers and getting to know them is a lot easier than with Japanese manga-ka, who have a natural language barrier. Queenie, Rivkah and Marty (erp -- that's M. Alice LeGrow on the author page) are all regulars at Pseudome, one of the premier thinktanks for English-speaking manga artists. Well, it's also the main discussion forum for TP's Rising Stars of Manga contest, so it's built up quite a fine reputation.

March 25, 2005

It's about girls

Danger danger! Chris @ 212 stumbles upon a cautionary polemic on how some shoujo titles are chipping away at contemporary Western morals in male-female relationships. "He's possessive, and you're happy. He's dominating, and that's the way you like it. You two live happily ever after." Chris responds with nods of agreement, noting that American comics haven't been much more helpful. "... but the folks writing [Tenjho Tenge] off as just 'rape comics' (PARTICULARLY GIVEN HOW AMERICAN COMICS HAS TREATED FEMALE CHARACTERS IN THE PAST 6 MONTHS*) was galling." However, Johanna @ CWR sees plenty of holes to poke in the argument: "I think the authors of these 'bad books' have more faith in teenage girls than the writers of this essay, who seem to see them as empty vessels mindlessly accepting as role models whatever's put before them."

About halfway through that essay, it began to feel a lot like those "Oh NOEZ! Violent videogames/comics/cartoons/movies will make our kids evil!!1~" articles. Except here, it's essentially saying that our enjoyment of ridiculously-dominant-male/pathetically-passive-female shoujo is like approving the idea of girls letting themselves be completely used in a relationship. Not quite. Just because I'm into something as twisted as Hot Gimmick doesn't mean I condone Ryoki's abusive treatment of Hatsumi. And speaking as a reasonably eligible straight male, this manga has not caused me to believe that I'm entitled to having my way with any doormat of a girl! In fact, manga in general reflects a lot of "dangerous" attitudes, but I'm sure the readers who are old enough to read these titles also know well enough not to use them as a Guide To Life. Seriously, how many kids do you know who traipse into high school and then proceed to challenge everyone on campus to over-the-top fistfights? And do you really think there are that many guys frantically dialing phones in hopes that a "goddess" picks up, or rummaging through the trash looking for hot underaged robot girls? (Okay, there are some, but let's not talk about them.) And let's face it, I don't see a whole lot of teenagers running sideways through the forest with a sword and sending 15 people to the first-aid line at Anime Expo. Most of us understand that manga, while enjoyable, is far from being a reflection of reality.

So here's my point: shoujo manga isn't real. I like to think that most girls (and boys) know that. In fact, I'm sure lots of people like to read it for the same reason TV viewers follow soap operas: because those exciting but dangerous lifestyles are fun to watch, but not to live in. Maybe they even say to themselves: "I'm glad my life's not like THAT!" Yeah, there's a lot of disagreeable subject matter in manga, but the fact that it's enclosed between those 5" by 7.5" covers is what makes it okay: it's all just a story.

Oh yeah, news ...

Funnily enough, here's yet another article on how tweens and teens are getting into manga, and drawing it too, although I must take umbrage at the idea of "saucer-eyed, dainty-nosed characters with big heads, luxuriant hair and spectacular figures." Read any Crayon Shin-chan lately?

AoD has a handful of release dates, including 9/30 and 12/30 for DMP's Antique Bakery.

Now for something that IS dangerous, at least to your physical health: fashionable judo girls! Yawara Ch. 2 is now available.

March 24, 2005

His and Her Conclusions

Ausgezeichnet! Tokyopop Germany wins the industry award for Newcomer of the Year.

Gasp! ANN reports that Kare Kano will cease serialization in Japan this April. Who knows what dramatic ending Tsuda has planned ...

Speaking of ANN, they're still looking for a manga reviewer.

On Animania, we find out that Yahoo! Japan offers manga previews on their comics page. As the blog notes, however: "Many of the manga listed there are getting out of date, so the younger fans might not have interest in them. But it really is helpful." Being able to read Japanese would also be helpful.

David @ Love Manga draws up everyone's favorite charts. Well-established, popular manga titles continue to rule the Direct Market ... with Tokyopop and Viz duking it out as always.

AoD has an advance look at Noodle Fighter Miki, which I still think is a great name for a manga, but according to the review, the jokes get old really fast.

March 23, 2005

The House of (Manga) Ideas

Isaac Lew, the mastermind behind DMP/Akadot and one of manga fandom's liveliest personalities, will be providing a manga-flavored renovation on next week's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. "Sunday’s program will focus around the 'extreme' remodeling of the Leomiti-Higgins Family home, and one family member just happens to be an aspiring manga artist." Looks like a major publicity coup for DMP and Copic Marker stationery, too.

PreCur wants to know: Why does Fruits Basket sell better than Cheeky Angel? (Probably for the same reason crappy superhero books fly off the shelves ... it's all fandom-driven.)

Tokyopop has announced the medium-to-high-fantasy Scrapped Princess manga for August 9th.

First TCJ does a shoujo manga issue, now Silver Bullet Comics reviews Doll? Y'alls are crazy.

If you want to get a taste of the style that'll populate Range Murata's robot anthology, head to Inane Manga and look for Yoshitoshi ABe's "White Rain" one-shot under the Downloads section.

March 22, 2005

GAAAAN! DOKI DOKI! You know the drill.

Heh heh, I can always count on Love Manga to help catch up on the news while I'm out ... The Comics Journal is doing a manga feature, and they mean business. As David says so succinctly in the comments section: "The Comics Journal is concentrating on manga. The manga The Comics Journal is concentrating on is targeted at girls. The manga targeted at girls examined by The Comics Journal is popular and commercially successful." They managed to get an interview with Moto Hagio, the inventor of the Boy's Love genre, with Matt Thorn leading the discussion, and then it's the rest of the editorial staff giving shoujo a good shakedown from multiple angles.

On a less encouraging note, LM also reports that ComicsOne/DrMaster has dropped Bride of Deimos and are putting Crayon Shin-chan on hold. But hey, Iron Wok Jan is still cookin'! (Pardon the terrible pun.)

AoD has a pile of solicitations from Viz, although nothing really caught my eye this time around except for Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 2 and Full Moon wo Sagashite Vol. 1 (both for July 5th).

And just in case you couldn't get enough of a Paradise Kiss fix from Ai Yazawa's five volumes, a Paradise Kiss anime series has been slated for Fuji TV. I wonder how well they can stick to the art style and character designs, since that's such a distinctive part of the manga.

LATE BREAKING NEWS: Thought Balloons has more info on Tokyopop's "Manga After Hours" initiative, with details from TP publicity director Susan Hale.

March 21, 2005

CLAMPholic

Also missed this on the first go-round: CLAMP No Lumiere has started scanlating Kobato (Temporary), CLAMP's latest project. (I dunno, ladies, maybe you should finish up X/1999 and xxxHOLiC and Tsubasa first?) It's standard fare for the four-strong team -- a naïve young girl named Kobato must "heal the ailing hearts of others" in order to fill up an enchanted bottle with their feelings, accompanied by a grumpy blue dog who orders her around and could get annoying really quickly. Art-wise, it's a close cousin of Tsubasa, but with finer linework that brings back echoes of Cardcaptor Sakura. (EDIT: Who am I kidding? It's actually a lot like Suki.) Hardcore fans will note that this is set in the Angelic Layer/Chobits universe, as evidenced by the cameo of Hideki's landlady (back when she was still married) and the Piffle Princess logo on a teacup.

Only the yaoi fans know

DMP wants to know if readers are interested in the Only the Ring Finger Knows novel. "The genre of Boy's Love novels is well known in Japan but is almost unrepresented here in the United States. Now that the growing trend towards publishing yaoi is occurring in the translated manga market, we would like to bring one of our most popular yaoi titles to our readers in its original form." If this works well, we could be seeing other fandom-driven novels like Maruma, which spawned the intensely popular (at least among girls) anime fantasy-comedy Kyo Kara Maoh!.

Would you like a sneak peek at Tokyopo's upcoming titles for 2005? Well ... if you live in the US, too bad! TP's Europe division is offering a manga sampler for UK residents. The book is "available right now from a range of booksellers, including Waterstones and Ottakars. This full-sized book is labelled 'Tokyopop Sneaks 2005 Volume One' and provides ten to fifteen page previews of fifteen Tokyopop releases:-" ... followed by a list of titles that are all well-established already in the States, although they're also getting an advance look at the not-even-on-shelves-yet Bizenghast.

And, I really wanted to check out Murikuri, which is billed as "all the characters and ideas rejected by CLAMP's editors." Apparently it's about "a popular pig, a pervert santa claus and his highschool girlfriend, nice aliens and many more..." or, basically, stuff that's more original than what passes for CLAMP's standard repertoire. Sadly, the file isn't available right now because there's a page missing.

March 19, 2005

And twenty years from now, middle-aged Americans will be clamoring for Ultimate Naruto

As noted by Thought Balloons, Love Manga and Franklin's Findings: DON! GURU GURU! Japanese comics aren't for kids anymore?! Asahi Shimbun reports that "the market has been sustained by people in their late 20s and those in their 30s. Members of that age group have been a driving force for the comics market, and publishers target them with revised versions of comics they read when they were young." But Japan's manga market operates much like any other consumer-goods-producing industry sector, so it's most likely just a business cycle. However: "The Research Institute for Publications attributes the sluggish market to the fact that many comics-inspired animation programs aired on television last year failed to become hits." Translation: most of last year's anime sucked. Cross-marketing is crucial in selling manga targeted at younger readers, and if the anime isn't there to nudge these kids into buying the manga, then you've got trouble. The blockbuster show of 2004 was Fullmetal Alchemist, and everything else beyond that was very ordinary.

And then ... it turns out that the writer for Tokyopop's homegrown title Sokora Refugees is also the graphic novel buyer for Borders and Waldenbooks. That's definitely the kind of thing that makes people go "HMMMM," and makes Tokyopop go "well, it was based on the quality of the book." What I really want to know is whether people ever buy these titles for any other reason than sheer curiosity about the latest "Americans doing manga."

March 18, 2005

Sakura saku

Johanna @ CWR/CD has a nice roundup of the latest manga chatter, and there sure has been a lot this past week ...

As Active Anime and Love Manga have noted, Tokyopop has just picked up the Sakura Wars manga. The steampunk-ness is kinda neat, but it is a manga based on an anime based on a video game. A video game that's part strategy, part dating sim. One of those things you get into, or you don't.

LM also found a link to Osamu Tezuka's manga adaptations of Disney's Bambi and Pinocchio (1951 and 1952, respectively). Now that's some cool stuff, and I think I echo everyone's sentiments in hoping that this makes it to English-speaking shores.

It's another meaty sixty-minute manga column at PCG as Bill reads Nausicaä and reminds us that, in addition to his career as a master animator, Hayao Miyazaki rules all at comics.

AoD has an advance look at one of Viz's highly anticipated shounen releases, Hunter x Hunter.

March 17, 2005

20th century boys ... and fashionable judo girls?!

Har har har. Tokyopop takes a cheap shot at the manga-publisher-who-shall-not-be-named. Gee, TP, maybe you should just tell us how terrific Blame! is. Let the comic sell itself.

Speaking of comics that sell themselves, I still think charts are awesome! Sin City is getting a big push due to the movie, but Hot Gimmick is still holding strong, and holy crap, is that Imadoki at No. 2 over Fruits Basket (No. 4)?! Looks like the onigiri has some competition from the dandelion!

Some more news on ADV's layoffs -- "It turns out that the layoffs were made back in the fourth quarter, at a time when ADV, Tokyopop and other manga publishers told ICv2 that, in contrast to the robust increases in number of titles in previous years, they were holding steady or reducing the number of manga releases in 2005." So it's not that bad. Also, I was rather down on them in the previous post, but they've got some promising manga releases coming out this year: Cromartie High School (which I can't stop pimping), Full Metal Panic! Overload, and Yotsubato!. Interestingly, these are all (more or less) comedy titles.

Keep an eye out for ALC publishing: the yuri manga publisher has signed a deal with Diamond, meaning that we may actually get to see their stuff on the shelves now (honestly, I didn't even know they existed until this article). "ALC Publishing was founded in 2003 to create and disseminate high-quality yuri manga to the worldwide English speaking audience. ALC is a division of Yuricon, a celebration of yuri and shoujo-ai in anime and manga." The perfect counterpoint to DMP, if I do say so myself.

And today's special reading material: Dual Translations has started work on Yawara!, by 20th Century Boys creator Naoki Urasawa. The cover of the manga sums it up better than I ever could: "Lovely and cute Miss YAWARA INOKUMA is a fashionable judo girl!"

March 16, 2005

Rising Stars of blogging!

Dave @ YACB makes note of a bookstore owner's personal observation that "normal book" retailers aren't necessarily so hot for manga these days. Yep, kids still read the books at the store all the time -- but as he says, "the sales continue to increase while I fine tune the selection and the word gets out that we stock them."

From Thought Balloons: ADV lays off "as many as 40 employees, with possibly about 25 from its manga division." Well, it's not like they were doing so hot anyway, taking an entire year between volumes of Gunslinger Girl ...

PreCur and Love Manga are picking out their favorites in TP's Rising Stars contest, and "Can I Sit Here?" looks like it could be the People's Choice winner. Ask actual RSOM contestants and would-be contestants, though, and for them it's "Baggage" as the top contender. Comic bloggers versus comic makers: WHO WILL WIN?!

You know, I get tons of searches directed to this site looking for "pictures." Of ... stuff, and whatever. So here, Love Manga has pictures of DMP's new yaoi releases. Enjoy!

March 15, 2005

For your bedtime reading

A special post to note that Kotonoha has just updated with new material: "Extracurricular Lessons" from the Comic Cue 1-shots, the next chapter of Milk Closet, and another one of Mohiro Kitoh's short stories. (I'm utterly hooked on Kitoh's stuff after reading the first five ... )

I think I'll call him ... Freddie.

I stand corrected re: the manga-style Josie; the promo image was not done by Tania del Rio as she will only be writing for the series. In fact, the promo image wasn't even done by the penciler either. A closer look at the signature reveals that it was drawn by editor Nelson Ribeiro, who thankfully will not be doing any of the art in the actual comic.

In Japan, even the video-games-based-on-comics are more diverse: IGN has a first look at Nana for PS2, based on the hit shoujo series.
The game puts you in control of a person who lives next to the two Nanas, in room 707. The purpose of the game is two fold. You get to experience the storyline featured between volumes 5 and 8 of the original comic, meeting up with characters like Len, Takumi and, of course, your two next door neighbors. In addition, you also get to experience life in Tokyo, making a schedule, taking on part time jobs, buying clothes and furniture and setting up your own room.


Dave @ YACB becomes something like the 27th person on the blogosphere to review Worst, but he also delves into the wonderfully absurd Cromartie High School, a satirical send-up of badass fighting manga. (Come on, what's not to like about a comic where Freddie Mercury is a recurring character?)

AoD has an early look at Baron: The Cat Returns, the fairytale-like manga that inspired the Studio Ghibli film of the same name.

March 14, 2005

Legal Drag

Now this is odd. Studio Plug'n Play, an English-language yaoi doujinshi circle, got shut down by Shogakukan. That's right, it wasn't the American licensors that went after them, it was the original publishers themselves. From the site: "Because of our recent legal trouble with Shogakukan, Inc. over illegal use of their Inuyasha property and the subsequent fine we must pay, Studio Plug'n Play will not be making doujinshi in 2006."

Does this spell trouble for other American fans who may be profiting off manga-based fancomics?

So the preview image for Tania Del Rio's "manga-style" Josie and the Pussycats is up, and is it just me or did she have an artistic brainfart on this one? I thought her style in Sabrina was pretty cute, and this is certainly more of the same, but it feels like it got worse. Erm, Josie's head is inexplicably huge, for starters, and her hair is ... off-center. Let's hope this was just a bad pin-up day and the rest of the comic meets the levels of Del Rio's previous work.

On AoD, a list of new DMP release dates. Highlights include Antique Bakery and Bambi and her Pink Gun on 6/20, Cafe Kichijouji de, Jazz and La Esperança on 10/20, and the much-anticipated robot on 7/20, which will be $24.95 due to its being big and pretty and in color. (Oh, hey, here are some preview pages from the Japanese edition.)

And no week can start out right without another installment of Yuuto!

Hemisphere

Everyone decided to blog at once, so today I make a separate post just for linkage.

A couple of interesting fresh articles from Thought Balloons: a dust-up about libraries stocking 'racy' manga in Portland, Maine (yeah, like Tokyo Mew Mew is soooo going to corrupt young girls), and interestingly it's a student speaking out against manga this time. Keromaru responds with insights on cultural differences.

Across the Atlantic, UK-based Gollancz has acquired several manga licenses through Viz.

Key manga releases of the last few weeks (mostly for continuing series) get updated in the CWR review section.

Meanwhile, Chris @ 212 has a few reviews of his own, looking at a host of Vol. 1s -- mostly Viz's new shoujo releases and then some action titles.

And then, Johnny B checks out Bambi and her Pink Gun and likes it!

March 11, 2005

"Manga these days have become segmented and cater to specialized markets. But I think entertainment is something that can be enjoyed by all."

DMP announces a slew of new titles, with a strong yaoi concentration. Let's Draw Manga: Bodies and Emotion seems like an interesting choice of topic, but for once can't they come out with a how-to book on Paneling and Pacing? I mean, with modern manga being rooted in "cinematic" storytelling (as developed by Tezuka), it seems silly to miss out on such a vital technical aspect.

James @ Reading Along checks out Doubt!!, and this looks like a good one.

And this year's Shogakukan Manga Award goes to! ... Osamu Akimoto, creator of Kochikame (which apparently has run in the Japanese Shônen Jump for 28 years). "The series marked its 1,400th installment with the Feb. 28 issue of Shonen Jump. The popular series has been compiled into 143 comic books, with accumulated sales topping 130 million copies. The comedy centers on lovable Ryo-san, a burly cop at a police box in the Kameari area of Tokyo who tends to get into trouble."

143 volumes!

And you thought you'd get away without another mention of The CMX Release That Shall Not Be Named? Nice try!

March 10, 2005

Guess what I'm going to blog about, it starts with a T and ends with a fandom howl of rage

Franklin Harris offers his take on Tenjho Tenge. CMX continues its silence.

On CBR (scroll down), Steven Grant reminds us that Hot Gimmick rocks your buttocks. Best manga ever? Maybe not quite -- but still damn good. (Thanks to Johanna for the link.)

TP's Rising Stars of Manga judging starts tomorrow, and this time it's important, because for the first time, readers will also get to vote for their favorite piece of imitation hackwork.

And hey! More charts! WHY YES, HOT GIMMICK OWNS YOU.

March 9, 2005

We can't stop blogging!

Even Publishers Weekly takes note of the Tenjho Tenge insanity. Kevin also graciously rounds up related links! Chris @ 212, meanwhile, gives DC the what-for (and boy does he EVER), touching on the fact that CMX has no idea how to cater to a fandom that's, well, actually run by the fans. The main demographic of manga readership has no nostalgia for titles and characters of days gone by, because they weren't even alive then. Thus, rather than settling for substandard work, they demand good publishing quality and good manga NOW, because there is no such thing as a "manga was good back when I was a kid" mindset. Chris sums it up eminently: Apparently you can't just slap any old editor from a failed publishing line in charge of your spiffy manga production and shovel product out the door, huh?

And the longer CMX keeps their heads in the sand about this, the sillier they look.

More updates on Tokyopop's latest news tidbits: David @ PreCur weighs in on Manga After Hours, pointing out wisely that the supposed chick-lit/josei manga overlap may not be all that great. Immelda @ LM reports on what Tokyopop Takuhai actually contains -- basically it's a home-delivery version of the TP Sneaks volumes that normally go out at cons and certain bookstores.
The quarterly, 160-page magazine will contain 5-10 previews of Tokyopop titles (versus 15 in Sneaks), creator interviews, additional art, a feature called "Evolution of a Manga" (focusing on Princess Ai in the first volume) and other editorial content.
Insert your own jab at Courtney Love here.

Miyazaki fans will be happy to see Nausicaä in the theaters.

And finally, the Daily Yomiuri gets caught up in the CLAMP 15th Anniversary back-patting and reviews the museum exhibit at Kawasaki.

March 8, 2005

Manga mags

Love Manga reports that Tokyopop is offering a new manga magazine, Tokyopop Takuhai. Sounds like they're planning to break into the periodicals market once more ... and to sweeten the deal, it you get the first issue free if you subscribe early.

Why yes, Paradise Kiss is awesome. Man, I can hardly wait until NANA comes out!

Mainichi Daily News' "WaiWai" section isn't exactly known for stellar, ground-breaking journalism, but here's a feature on manga cafes in Japan.

Meanwhile, the AnimeBoston convention (April 29 - May 1 this year) has announced Chrono Crusade creator (try saying that three times fast!) Daisuke Moriyama as a guest of honor.

March 7, 2005

To be the best! ... loser.

Hey, remember back when Tokyopop asked to speak with some older female readers? Thought Balloons has found out why. It's time to promote titles like Happy Mania and the Sakurazawa books as summer reading!

PreCur has a warm fuzzy shopping-for-comics story, as well as offering a well-thought-out response to the Tenjho Tenge scandal.

Think you're the biggest Japan-fanboy or fangirl ever? Then prove it in Pop Japan Travel's Otaku contest, where the winner gets to be a character in the PJT manga. Yes folks, those years of hoarding ridiculous pointless merchandise and sacrificing hygiene for fandom are finally going to pay off! Not sure if you have what it takes to be the "#1 Otaku"? There's an exhibit at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography that can give you a rough idea.

And hey, it's another update day at Kotonoha, so check out Smuggler -- an action series about a hapless man who becomes a corpse carrier for Japan's crime syndicate -- and Chiruru, the Girl With Supernatural Powers, a silly little one-shot.

March 6, 2005

And here's some stuff that's not, like, censored or whatever

Just a couple of good things to report. Animation Insider looks at new manga releases for March, and if you scroll down all the way, you'll see Doubt!! making the case for being one of those manga titles that you buy just for the cool cover.

Do you like Ted Naifeh? Of course you like Ted Naifeh! And now the Courtney Crumrin auteur joins Seven Seas to produce his newest work, Unearthly. It's high school love ... with aliens! (Thanks to Adam Arnold for the tip.)

And if you want to know what else to read, just ask David.

March 4, 2005

Fight! Fight!

The Tenjho Tenge firestorm continues to grow. Shawn @ Worlds Within Worlds does a fine job of rounding everything up and I'm particularly amused that Jake Tarbox's DC/Wildstorm/CMX headquarters is right in my own backyard (La Jolla, CA). Hell, I could stroll down there and give him a piece of my mind in person if I wanted to. With ICv2 reports on the censorship as well, iterating most of what's been said in various places. The newly formed FIGHT: DC CMX website establishes itself as "the unofficial campaign site to convince DC CMX to release the manga as originally released in Japan, with no censoring or edits made to the artwork."

Well, congrats, CMX. Looks like you've finally made your big splash in the manga world. Though probably not in the way originally intended.

And here's what would normally be a first-paragraph news item: a man being arrested for importing child-porn manga. ANN also has some of the coverage from the Edmonton Journal: "[the Internet Child Exploitation team in Edmonton] searched a house on Edmonton's south side on Feb. 10 and found 78 books containing thousands of pages of explicit pictures, commonly known as anime.... anime has been given a black eye from a perverted offshoot of the industry called Hentae[sic]." To which I say, journalism has been given a black eye by writers who still can't tell the difference between manga and anime.

Love Manga trots out more awesome charts! It's remarkable that American-made Megatokyo is holding such a high position against is Japanese kin. Do people seriously think the comic is all that good, or are they just driven by the whole Piro fandom thing?

Tania del Rio, who brought "manga style" to Archie comics via Sabrina the Teenage Witch, will take on Josie and the Pussycats for her next project. I guess that makes this manga experiment a success.

March 3, 2005

Where fighting is okay, but boobies are NOT!

ListerX catches every single edit made in CMX's release of Tenjho Tenge Vol. 1. ANN picks up the news and the forums throw a very justified conniption. Honestly, I'm disappointed in CMX. Why not just do what all the other publishers do for mature titles -- shrinkwrap?!

I like to support new resources for comickers, so here's Comic Foundry, a site where creators and would-be creators can mingle, pick up tips, and generally discuss the fine art of comic-making.

ANN notes that, not surprisingly, most manga is sold through bookstores and not the direct market. But it looks like Tokyopop is now going to make a push for the DM. As Immelda @ LM notes, "Surely if Manga can live in both markets, we could see comics break back out of it's secluded market into the clear light of day...... ?" And who knows, a better manga presence at direct market stores could also cause some manga readers to cross over into non-Japanese material, which can only result in a better, more balanced comics readership overall.

Thank God it's yaoi Thursday! Courtesy of PoMoBa.

And from MNS (no permalink), Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo -- which was adapted into the headache-inducing anime series Gankutsuou -- is now going to be a manga too.

March 2, 2005

100% authentic editing

Love Manga notes that CMX has made edits to the boobs-and-fighting series Tenjho Tenge. AoD forumites are up in arms, for truly, a manga without front-cover pantyshots is scarcely a manga at all.

I'm truly curious as to what this BECK videogame is going to entail. Does Yukio go around beating up rocker villains with a guitar ... ? (Anyone, please feel free to give me a rough translation.)

March 1, 2005

March Lions

ICv2 reports that graphic novel sales were up 25% for 2004. You get three guesses which subsection of graphic novels grew fastest, and the first two don't count.

Publisher eigoMANGA declares March to be "Manga Month," or apparently, "direct market month."
With the partnership with Diamond Distribution during "Manga Month", eigoMANGA will supply an exclusive line of its manga publications, RUMBLE PAK and SAKURA PAKK only to comic book stores as well as encouraging manga fans to form relationships with their local comic book retailers as well as empowering them with the ability to request and order their favorite manga publications through comic book retailers.
CEO Austin Osueke makes grandiose proclamations about the media chain-store market vs. the direct market. David @ Love Manga picks apart aforementioned proclamations.

Just so you know, I saw eigoMANGA's "Rumble Pak" No. 4 at Tower Records a while back, and it still looks like some guy is printing them right off his inkjet and stapling them together at home. You can even see the pixelation!

From Manga Jouhou comes a brief history of manga, and while this one's not on the Frederick L. Schodt level, it's surely a good way to kill 10-15 minutes.

Florida-based Metrocon, an anime, manga & Japanese pop culture convention, has secured Lupin III creator Monkey Punch as a Guest of Honor. Now there's a cool guy if there ever was one.

I would get the Nickelodeon Mag "All-Comics Issue" for the names alone. Shouldn't be too hard to find it in the supermarket ...