May 15, 2006

Honey and Brimstone

Now, what was I saying about the manga culture's influence on Southeast Asia yesterday? Thailand's first maid cafe has just opened, as part of the new Japan-entertainment store Akiba. Also interesting is the interchangable (or perhaps substitutional) use of "cartoon" where they probably mean "comic," although I guess this would be in the wider sense of "cartoon" being simplified representational drawings.

Interesting, those little nuances of English usage.

And here's some more listmania: Fresh off the latest Oricon Style is a ranking of Japan's most popular shoujo/josei series, as voted on by "hardcore shoujo manga fangirls." Full translation of the article can be found on NANA-NANA.net, which might just clue you in as to which series ranked No. 1 ...

Sailor Moon!

No, I'm kidding.

1. NANA
2. Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers)
3. Honey and Clover
4. Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai (I'm No Angel!)
5. Lovely Complex
6. Ren Ai Catalogue
7. Bokura ga Ita (anime adaptation just announced*)
8. Paradise Kiss
9. Ouran High School Host Club
10. Nodame Cantabile

Says Oricon:
Popular works by mangaka Ai Yazawa continue to leave deep impressions on the rankings. "Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai" took in 4th place, while "Paradise Kiss" stood proudly in 8th. It shows that Ai Yazawa can not only succeed with "NANA," but will continue to appeal to the female audience in the future.
I think we can safely crown Ms. Yazawa the shoujo queen. And holy crap you guys, when are they going to license Honey and Clover?! The series is just HUGE right now, with a live movie and 2nd season in the works, and practically everyone who's seen the anime loves it. Are we going to have to wait for the entire Fruits Basket generation to grow up (which might take another five years) before seeing this in English-speaking bookstores? Don't answer that; it's a rhetorical question. H&C's balance of mature, character-driven storytelling with delightful whimsy -- a lot like Nodame Cantabile, I guess -- could very well be the "killer app" that gets the North American josei audience going like everyone says it ought to be. Cute and accessible enough for teens, smart enough for grown women. It's right there, ready to break the market open, if Viz (most likely -- it's a Shueisha title) would just bring it over. Hell, you could even place it quite neatly under the Shôjo Beat umbrella!

Which I guess is my long way of saying I reeeeeally want to see Honey and Clover licensed.

*Oh, and there's a Death Note anime in planning, too, which is surely being met with a resounding hurrah.

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