All posts by Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is the writer and reviewer for the manga blog, Manga Xanadu. She also keeps a personal blog at Fangirl Xanadu, and a writing blog at Muse of Xanadu. She contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. As the mother of two teen daughters, she needs all the escape she can get, which reading and writing about manga gives her.

This Week in Manga: 8/7-8/13/10

Too Much Good Stuff!

Deb Aoki of continues posting her coverage of panels from SDCC. This week she adds an entry for the Best and Worst Manga panel including comments from the panelists. There are more Best and Worst and a whole page dedicated to Most Anticipated. It’s interesting that Twilight made the Best list, but Maximum Ride got put in the Worst. Both make tons of money for Yen Press, so yah there. And the cat manga Chi’s Sweet Home and Cat Paradise both definitely deserve to be in the Best list. I don’t know what I would add to this list. I have hard time saying something is the Best or Worst. Except One Piece. That’s definitely a Best!

Also added to her coverage is a complete transcript of the Online Piracy Panel. It’s NINE PAGES. The front page to it give the topics covered in the discussion, but getting the full transcript is almost the same as being there! Definitely thank Deb for her hard work in getting this up for everyone to read. This is a very relevant topic right now as fans and publishers bash heads over the best way to get comics and manga online. It’s going to continue to be a bumpy road for a while.

Del Rey: Will They or Won’t They?

News of more cancellations of books has people once again questioning Del Rey’s commitment to publish manga. Brigid Alverson over at Robot 6 put the question to Associate Publisher Dallas Middaugh. Middaugh’s response sounds a lot like a non-denial denial. He defends Del Rey by say they are publishing the same number of pages a year, but at the same time pushes their OEL titles, which isn’t what most fans want to here. They are supposed to have a panel NYCC, so we’ll have to wait and see if they make any announcements then.

Pet Peeves #1: Publisher Web Sites

As a blogger, fan and parent, trying to get information on publisher websites can sometimes feel like pulling teeth, when there is anything to find in the first place. Apparently, I’m not the only one to feel this way. Brigid Alverson expresses her own displeasure over at Robot 6 in a wonderfully worded rant that hits all the problems I and from the comments others have with publishers. The big question is, will it do any good. We can hope, but I’m not holding my breath. I’d like to add one more problem I have, mainly with Marvel and relates to the search and links. When I finally do find the link for the comic I’m looking for, usually a new release on the front page, it should send me to a page with information and age rating on the issue and not A BLANK PAGE! For heavens sake, you’ve had months to get the page ready, or worse, if it’s a coding issue (which is probably more likely considering how convoluted that page is already), then you’ve got some major problems.  FIX THEM! I want to read your comics, but if you can’t get me the information I need easily, then I don’t need to read your stuff!

Pet Peeves #2: Scanlations Sites ≠ Libraries

With the demise of OneManga, people are still whining about it being gone and trying to justify that reading manga there is the same as checking out a manga from the library. Librarian Robin Brenner has something to say about that. Four somethings actually, as she explains why libraries are not just relevent, but also why they are legal for reading manga for free, and Scanlations sites are not. Most of the commentors to the post are in answer to Deb’s request for a list of 10 manga every library should carry, but one (#21) argues:

The manga world is changing. We can keep up with it or fall behind trying to desperately keep the copyright alive.

While there is an argument for digital manga, it shouldn’t, and doesn’t have to be at the cost of copyright.

NYT Best Seller List

Wow! What a change in the list this week! Two OEL’s make it to the list this week, including one to take the top spot! Ravenpaw’s Path vol 3, an original story in the popular Warriors series takes the #1 spot. Never underestimate the power of cats! Rosario Vampire Season II vol 2 debuts at #2. Never underestimate the power of cute vampire girls either. Black Bird vol 5 debuts as well at #3 and the OEL series Return to Labyrinth vol 4 debuts at #4 and finishes the series as well. At #5 is Negima! Magister Negi Magi vol 27, hanging one through its second week, and Bakuman vol 1 charts at #6 on its first week. Naruto vol 48 finally makes its appearance at #7 while D.Gray-Man vol 18 debuts at #8. Fullmetal Alchemist vol 23 sadly falls back to #9 and the rare shojo title sans vampires makes its appearance with Skip Beat vol 23 coming in at #10. This is quite a turmultuous week with 7 debut titles. Tokyopop takes 2 of the top 5 spots with its debuts with Viz sandwiching 2 more debuts in between. Del Rey keeps a space on the spot, but Yen Press has been ousted completely. It’s nice to see some OEL chart though, especially an adaptation. I would like to see more adaptations, but for the older crowd. Cozy mysteries anyone?

NYT List: Second Opinion

Matt Blind’s chart for the top 10 sellers from Rocket Bomber looks very different from the NYT, but not so much so from last week:

1. Negima! 27
2. Naruto 48
3. Fullmetal Alchemist 23
4. Vampire Knight 10
5. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle 27
6. Black Bird 5
7. Ouran High School Host Club 14
8. Maximum Ride 1
9. Rosario+Vampire Season II 2
10. Shugo Chara! 9

Only four titles changed hands on Matt’s list from last week; Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, Black Bird, Rosario+Vampire Season II and Shugo Chara! replaced Hellsing, Bleach, and second volumes of Maximum Ride and Naruto. But compared to the NYT list, only two of the debuting titles match up; Black Bird and Rosario+Vampire Season II. Check out his full post for all the specifics.

Broader Best Sellers

Matt is now taking requests for analysis on titles as he compiles his weekly lists. Follow him on Twitter at ProfessorBlind to make your request. This week he got a request for Viz’s Signature line, which he provided, and went ahead and did a few other popular genre: manhwa and global manga. Check them out to see what are the best sellers in these categories.

Manga For Your Ears

Sci-Guys Podcast

Sesho’s Anime and Manga Reviews

This Week At Manga Village

What I’ve Been Reading

  • Tena on S-String vol 3
  • Mixed Vegetables vol 7
  • Black Jack vol 8
  • Gentleman’s Alliance Cross vol 11
  • Alice the 101st

Shonen Jump September 2010

It’s a new month, so that means a new Shonen Jump. Too bad there’s nothing new inside the pages of this mag. There was nothing new announced at SDCC, which was disappointing to say the least. I was so sure Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan would have been announced as a new title. Oh well, maybe at NYCC. It was hinted that changes may be coming at the end of the year. I sure hope so. The page count is slightly up this month with a Spotlight chapter on Shaman King, a graduate from these very pages.

The issue starts off with a better organization of their promotion of all the anime titles playing of the SJ properties. It’s now divided up by Streaming, TV Broadcast and DVDs. The Naruto TCG and video game info-ads are at the beginning as well, so you don’t just skip them after reading the manga. No, if you’re like me, you skip them to get to the manga.

This issue starts out with Naruto, and continues the battle between Sasuke and Danzo. It’s a lot of sharingan one-upmanship,right up to the very end. Sasuke takes his jutsu to the next level of Susano’o during the battle, and shows his dark side at the end. Honestly, there wasn’t anything interesting in this battle as Sasuke and Danzo keep trying to outdo each other. This is the very thing I hate about battle tournament manga. It’s also what keeps Naruto on it’s downward spiral.

Bleach then steps up with even more prolonged battles. Renji and Uryu are still fighting Szayelaporro. Only now they have to fight duplicates of themselves. Yeah. That’s original. Ichigo continues his fight Nnoitora, which is basically him being a punching bag again. This is so Nel can return to her old espada self. While I’m interested in finding about Nel’s past, I can’t say I have hope it will help the series as a whole.

The shining light in this mostly dark magazine is One Piece, and it really shines this time! Luffy and the escapees from Impel Down interrupt the battle momentarily as they every one regroups and takes on new opponents. The exchange between Luffy and Whitebeard is especially fun, with Luffy being himself as he stands next to the most powerful pirate in the world and telling him not ot get in HIS way. It’s just great! There is just too much going on to even explain. You have to read it to believe it! It all ends with Luffy facing off against Hawkeye, a Warlord of the Sea.

Ultimo surprisingly didn’t disappoint me this time. Ultimo awakens in time to save Yamato, which turns into a battle between him and Jealousy. Murayama appears to hold them off so that Yamato and Ultimo can go back in time, to the 12th Century to find out what really happened back in that time. Finding out about everyone’s backstory has me more interested in the title now. I don’t really care about their current reincarnations, but the glimpses to the past have been the most interesting parts of this title so far, so I’m hoping a marked improvement with this jump back in time.

The spotlight title this month is Shaman King. The chapter comes from volume 30, which is nearing the end of the title. It only went 32 total, so hopefully the fight gets resovled before the title does. Though, with talk of a second round starting, that’s probably not going to happen. This is a typical hot spring chapter, with everyone wandering about in just towels (no girls in this chapter, btw), including Hao, who pops in to enjoy the spring as well. Yoh, in his typical, laidback fashion, isn’t bothered by his rival’s appearance. It’s a nice filler chapter, and makes me want to catch up on Shaman King.

The issue ends with it’s usual Yu-Gi-Oh! free card and strategy article, video game article and brain teaser. For next issue, the spotlight will be on new series Genkaku Picasso, a title some in the mangasphere has been looking forward to. It’s drawn by the same mangaka as the ill-fated 51 Ways to Save Her that people were also looking forward to from CMX. That’s at least something to look forward to, other than just One Piece.

Yen Plus: 2 Years Later

It was starting to become a tradition for me. Going to San Diego Comic Con and by Saturday afternoon, stopping by the Yen Press booth and picking up the anniversary issue of Yen Plus. I didn’t go to SDCC this year, and by the same token, Yen Plus wasn’t given out this year. It had gone digital, with a free preview available until September 9th, so I am still able to do my annual One Year Later post.

So, what’s changed in the move from print to digital? First off, the August/Preview issue has no Japanese-licensed titles in it. It’s all Korean/OEL manga. Compared to the last two years, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I didn’t care for the Japanese offerings in the premiere issue, but there was definite improvement by the 1st anniversary (namely Black Butler and Hero Tales). But the Korean/OEL side still held sway over me, so having this issue be mostly that didn’t bother me.

One of the things about going digital that might not be as Yen Press planned is how much easier it is for me to skip over the titles I don’t want to read. In print form, I would generally start at the beginning and read through all the chapters, whether I really liked them or not. I’m going through every page, whether I’m actually reading them or not. I’ll skim the things I’m not all that interested in, but that usually ended up with me reading the whole chapters anyway. This meant I gave titles I wasn’t too interested in more of a chance, because I’d at least read them. With the digital version, I had no problem just skipping past Maximum Ride, a title I have read chapters from and didn’t really care for, and Gossip Girl, one I haven’t even tried to give a chance.

Actually, my reading of the this issue had me skipping all around, something I don’t think I’m going to do again. The way the digital magazine is set up is identical to the print version, with articles and ads interspersed between chapters, and as I prefer to read print, this made the flow of the digital version much easier to get into. It felt like the print magazine on the screen which is an experience I prefer. So, let’s take a look at the chapters I did read.

This title continues to be a strong anchor for the magazine. Even though I haven’t read vol 3 yet, reading this chapter made me want to go out and get it. The sohrem and their hosts, Alex and Ronee had been captured and nearly had the power sucked from them by Night Lords, but they are rescued by Marina also a sohrem host, and some of the Hunters. The person responsible their capture is also responsible for breaking their seal. He is caught when things don’t go according to plan and turns out to have an interesting connection to Mr. Roi, who had sealed the sohrem away in the first place. Very good chapter that kept the action and story going.

This is a new title based on another series by James Patterson. It’s got a sci-fi feel to it. As this was the debut of the series, we get to chapters to introduce Daniel and his special powers. He can change his shape as well as create people and things out of thin air. And not just holograms, real, flesh and blood people with independent thought and memories. The story has Daniel going after Most Wanted #6, Ergent Seth, who is currently in Malibu, CA, working in the film industry. Daniel enrolls in a local high school as a cover and is distracted by a girl, Phoebe. Meanwhile Ergent Seth strikes, and there’s a cat in his house. The story has me intrigued, so I’ll keep reading it. The characters are interesting too, and the art is really nice. I’m taking to this one much better than Maximum Ride.

This story is a one shot by Madeliene Rosca, the creator of Hollow Fields, a OEL series published by Seven Seas. It’s about a young girl, Catherine, who is learning to be a Ghost Hunter, like her father. One night when he goes out to work, the police come looking for her father, but Catherine decides to take on the haunting herself. With her book, lantern and bell, she pieces together what’s really going on. It’s a cute story with a funny ending. I don’t know that I’d want to see more of these characters, but more from Rosca would most certainly be welcome!

This is a color 4-koma, or comic strip, series. It’s about a rich, spoiled young man who decides to become a pirate. His only crew is Robin, a guard from Aron’s estate that will do anything for money. He is a good fighter, and quickly increases the crew after a show of force when another pirate ship tries to take them over. It’s cute and funny, in the way that clueless leads who beleaguer their smarter subordinates can. It’s good for a quick read, but it’s not anything I would want to keep for the long run.

I’ve read the first three volumes of this title and it’s still just as awesome. This is the best of the manhwa titles. Baek-On Ju is a traveling exorcist who is accompanied by Ho-Yeon Won, his bodyguard. The tales in this title are mostly episodic, with Baek-On being presented with a problem, and him solving it without making a bit of trouble for Ho-Yeon along the way. The overarching stories in this title have to do with the main characters past. This chapter relates to a past wrong Baek-On committed and can’t forgive himself for. It’s an emotional chapter as are most of the chapters dealing with him. It’s an excellent read, and a series that is easy to jump into at any time.

Not a great title, but one of the originals from the magazine’s beginning. Jack Frost is a horror title that likes lots of gore and panty shots, but not so much on plot. This chapter has the North side recouping from an attack from the South Side and Helmina and Jack scheming for more fighting. And a new character Avid decides to going to battle to take on Jack Frost for title of most powerful in Amityville. I’m not sure why I keep reading Jack Frost, for all the lackluster writing and characters and fanservice, but I think I’m being hopelessly optimistic for a real story to come out. Well, since it comes with the magazine, I guess I’ll keep following it. Just on the off-chance it surprises me.

The reading experience wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. I’ve tried Yen Plus out on three different monitors. My 19″ LCD at home, 17″ CRT at work and my 4.3″ HTC HD2 phone. All the regular manga chapters looked good on all three screens. Yes, surprisingly, even the HD2 was readable. The popout window made everything crystal clear, and zooming on the HD2 worked well. The only problem I had was with Aron’s Absurd Armada. The only way to be able to clearly read this title was by going Full Size in the popout window, and even then I was scrolling up and down and back and forth on the screen, especially on the 17″ monitor at work. It’s enough to give one carpel tunnel! So Yen, even if it’s on a desktop computer, Zoom is a necessary option, especially with a 4-koma where the windows are smaller and the text gets lost in the background. The reading experience needs to be at least as good as the print, in that it shouldn’t feel like work for me to read the pages. If I have to get closer because of my eyesight, that’s one thing, but if it’s blurry even then, then the problem is on your end.

Other issues I had were also minor, such as a page “sticking” in Daniel X. The previous page appeared twice, but after going out and going back it fixed itself. And some screentone just doesn’t work online. If you want to go blind, just view the Jack Frost chapter. The plaid screentone used through most of it is painful.

I like the navigation bar on the side for chapters and the pulldown menu at the top that also lists the articles. The side bar is only available in main browser window. If you go to the popout window, you will have to use the pulldown menu. There is a minor page turn animation as you flip through the magazine which you can do with a click on the page. It will take you back and forth through the magazine, though jumping chapters was easiest with the side bar. There are arrows at the top that will also control page turns, but the most ideal would be arrow keys on the keyboard.

And as for archiving, I don’t think that’s necessary. The digital magazine is for marketing. To make an archive available would be the same as saying “Don’t buy the books, just read your manga here for super cheap”, and I don’t think that is Yen Press’ intention. Now, I could see them selling digital copies of the books when they come out at a discount for Yen Plus subscribers. Maybe as a bonus for being a subscriber. But I don’t see a reason for Yen archiving the issues themselves. I did once, but with years of Shonen Jump and the thought of digging them out to read One Piece doesn’t make it worth it. I would rather buy the collected books than try to read a series through the mags.

Overall, this first version of a digital Yen Plus isn’t bad. Neither is the price. At $2.99 a month, I don’t mind paying to read even just the three titles I enjoyed the most.  It’s still a good deal as far as I’m concerned.  And with more on the way, Yotsuba!& has been hinted at, there is a lot of potential here. I think I’m going to stick it out this time and see how it progresses.

This Week in Manga: 7/31-8/6/10

And the Con Goes On

It’s been two weeks since Comic-Con, but reports are still coming out with video and transcripts from the manga panels that were held that. While that might be bad (and stressful) for the writing and transcribing them, it a bonus for those us of who couldn’t go! Deb Aoki posts about the manga events on Friday and takes a closer look at the Yen Press announced titles. Comics Journal has video of the Manga for Grown-Up panel and Carlo Santos from Anime News Network talked with guest Moto Hagio. And yes, there will be more links coming. But if you couldn’t make it to the con, they will be worth it.

Stuck in SDCC’s Shadow

One week after SDCC was Otakon over on the East Coast, in Baltimore, MD.  There wasn’t a huge manga presence there in either publishers or journalists. Ed Sizemore of the Manga Worth Reading blog not only held his own panel on Anime Journalism, but he also did writes up on Manhwa at the con for Manhwa Bookshelf, and days Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Audio from his panel can be found here, a transcript from Anime Diet here, and a report from Animemiz on it. Otakon also had a spin-off con: Baltiport. Comprised of Otakon attendees who were stuck in the Baltimore Airport, the 5 hour impromptu gathering also resulted in a license announcement. Bandai Entertainment will be releasing the Code Geass spin-off manga A Record of the Strange Tales of the Bakumatsu Era: Code Geass. You just never know when or where a new con will pop up.

Digital Manga Roundup

Yen Press’ move of their magazine Yen Plus to the digital world has really had people talking. Deb Aoki had a Q&A session JuYoun Lee, the Senior Editor about the changes in the magazine and some readers concerns. Brigid Alverson of Robot 6 then took on Kurt Hassler, the Editorial Director and pressed for more, specifically about whether any of the Japanese titles such as Black Butler would be returning…. OneManga did indeed do what they said they would, and pulled all manga from the site by Monday morning. Manga Fox is still going strong as of this writing… BL Manga Kindle readers can rejoice as Animate USA puts up another round of digital manga from Broccoli and CPM’s former catalog. I’ll have my own review of the new Yen Plus this week, but let me just preface it by saying thank you Yen Press for making your site readable on mobile devices. I will be more likely to keep up with your releases than the others you use flash.

NYT Best Seller List

So, what does the New York Times list have in store for us this week? Starting with the hardbacks, the sparkly-vampires are getting their butts beat by guys with sparkly rings as Twilight vol 1 remains at #9, well behind several Green Lantern books. Over on the manga list, there’s been quite a shake up! Del Rey finally decided to release some books and 3 of the 5 top spots are filled by them. Negima! Magister Negi Magi vol 27 debuts at #1. Right behind it is the CLAMP title Tsubasa: Resevoir Chronicle vol 27 debuting at #2. Naruto vol 48 at least keeps a top 5 spot by coming in at #3, followed by Fullmetal Alchemist vol 23 at #4. Shugo Chara! vol 9 takes up the #5 spot with Ouran High School Host Club vol 14 falling another three to #6. Vampire Knight vol 10 takes #7, staying ahead of Megatokyo vol 6 which is now at #8. Debuting at #9 is vol 2 of the Spice and Wolf manga, and the apocalypse is averted as Black Butler vol 2 returns at #10.

NYT Best Seller: Second Opinion

The manga rankings have gone up over at Rocket Bomber. Let’s see how the top ten stack up:

1. Naruto 48
2. Fullmetal Alchemist 23
3. Ouran High School Host Club 14
4. Vampire Knight 10
5. Maximum Ride 1
6. Hellsing 10
7. Negima! 27
8. Naruto 47
9. Maximum Ride 2
10. Bleach 31

Only 5 of the 1o titles between the two lists are consistent. Four of the Viz titles and 1 Del Rey. Once again, the NYT list features more of the newly released Del Rey titles than RB. If you remove the Del Rey titles then the NYT would match RB’s top four. RB does have Negima charting, but it’s the only Del Rey title to make it to the list.  Maximum Ride and Hellsing continue to hold on in RB’s list, but not Black Butler or Spice and Wolf. They don’t show up until 22 and 48 respectively. If the RB list only gets its data from the three biggest sellers online and retail (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders), where is the NYT data coming from to skew their list so far toward new releases?

Manga For Your Ears

Sesho’s Anime and Manga Reviews

Spiraken Manga Review

This Week at Manga Village

What I’ve Been Reading

  • Paradise Kiss vol 2
  • One Piece vol 43-44
  • Natsume’s Book of Friends vol 2
  • Himeyuka and Rozione’s Story
  • My Cat Loki vol 2
  • Yen Plus vol 3 issue 1
  • Shonen Jump  September 2010

20th Century Boys Volume 9

The year is 2014, and Neo Tokyo is completely under the control of the Friend. Kanna has decided to stand up and avenge Kenji-will she be able to muster up enough support for her cause? Kanna makes her way to a mafia-operated casino and quickly finds herself at a high stakes table. Is she lucky (and smart) enough to turn the odds in her favor at the bizarre and fast-paced game of Rabit Nabaokov?

While Kanna marshals her forces, Koizumi Kyoko experiences true horror at the reeducation camp known as Friend Land. Going back in time in their “Virtual World”, she meets Kenji and his pals as boys in 1971 and sees something that is strictly taboo: the Friend’s childhood face! Will she live to report back on the Friend’s identity?

By Naoki Urasawa
Publisher: Viz Media – Signature
Age Rating: Teen+
Genre: Thriller
Price: $12.99
Rating: ★★★★☆
Buy This Book

The more Urasawa reveals in 20th Century Boys, the less we know about what’s really going on. What seemed obvious a couple of volumes ago now gets turned on its head, making you doubt everything you’ve seen up to now.

In this volume, Kanna, who Kenji and Shogun believed to be “the last hope”, decides it’s time for her to take matters into her own hands and steps out into the spotlight. Back at the beginning of the series, it was set up that Kanna had an uncanny ability, possibly a psychic power to guess what people were thinking. We finally get to see this come into play as she goes to a mafia-run casino to try to enlist more people to the cause. Showing some amazing leadership skills, she is able to bring together warring factions of Chinese, Thai, and Japanese gangs and get them to agree to work together for her cause. When she’s speaking to the gang members, she seems to be more charismatic than usual. This other side to Kanna makes her a more interesting character than just the rebellious, hot-headed teen looking for revenge for her uncle that she appeared to be in previous volumes.

But, in usual Urasawa fashion, he shakes things up and they many not be what they seemed at the beginning. A New Book of Prophecy is introduced in this volume. One of the prophecies from it tells of a public meeting in a church in 2014 where the “savior” will be killed. Every sign points to Kanna and her gathering of the gangs. But, by the end, you’re left feeling not so sure about Kanna and her role. Everything we’ve been led to believe up to now may be completely wrong. It’s an eerie feeling have the rug seemingly pulled out from under you after 9 volumes.

This is one of the things that makes Urasawa’s titles so compelling. The ease with which he turns the whole story on its head and leaves you wondering “What now?”, just increases that need for the next volume to find out what’s gonna happen next. It’s his ability to keep the mystery going even when he’s giving up more information, such as with the Friend’s identity. More information was given about who or what he might be, but there are many reasons to doubt the source of the information. But then again, there are just as many reasons not to. Koizumi did see the Friend’s face, but also suffered brain damage when she was pulled from the virtual world. Can we believe what Koizumi saw? I’m inclined to think so, but there’s just enough uncertainty that I can’t say for sure. This uncertainty is what makes the story so infuriating, but at the same time, addicting.

Overall, this volume of 20th Century Boys was a great read. Seeing Kanna in action at the casino made for some very compelling scenes, and there was a lot of anticipation built over Kanna’s biggest gamble, whether anyone would show up the next day. This is the kind of drama I enjoy. The end of the volume created some real shock and awe as characters and readers alike are informed of the return of a surprise character that up until now has only been seen in memories or flashbacks. Oh, and Shogun is still cool. I’m really looking forward to the next volume now.

Straight Up Great Titles

I was sorely tempted by the last Rightstuf sale of Viz titles, but RL is kicking my checkbook with back-to-school stuff for the kids. Their newest sale is on Vertical titles, and even though I can’t really dive into this sale either, that doesn’t mean I can’t try to convince the rest of you to spend YOUR hard-earned money!

Veritcal has really been doing a good job of building a quality and diverse selection of titles. Sci-fi, action, horror, drama and even cuteness can be found in their growing selection. Here are just a few of my favorites that I would gladly recommend.

Andromeda Stories – I really enjoyed this sci-fi story, that one the surface appears to be a story of man vs. machine, but by the end becomes something different. The first volume can seem a little slow and without direction, but once you get into volume 2, the ride really starts bringing you to a satisfactory end in volume 3.

Black Jack – You hear people say how great this series is (including me) but you really don’t get it until you read it. There’s just something about the rogue doctor that’s really appealing. Whether it’s the comeuppance that he likes to deal the legitimate medical community, the rights he wrongs or the hard-as-steel surgeon with a heart of gold, Black Jack is a great character and the stories Tezuka puts him in makes any volume of this series a great read.

Dororo – Staying with the Tezuka theme, Dororo is an action series that is criminally short at 3 volumes. It easily could have gone 10.  Hyakkimaru’s and Dororo’s adventures in feudal Japan are filled with action as Hyakkimaru battles demons to regain his stolen body parts and some of the usual Tezuka examination of the human condition.

Chi’s Sweet Home – One of Vertical’s newest titles, Chi is one of the funnest titles you will read, all the more if you’re a cat lover. Flipped and in color, watch as Chi first wins the hearts of the Yohei and the Yamada family and then as she wins yours! The stories are short, but can be laugh out loud funny. Kanata’s art is cute without being cutesy. One of the best new titles of the year.

Cute Dogs/Cute Pups – These are part of Vertical’s craft line. Both books feature cute dogs and puppies, and even accessories for them that you can make on your own. The designs are fairly simple and everything is hand-sewn. Kids 10 and up can enjoy making these as well as the crafty dog lover.

Guin Saga/The Seven Magi – If you miss fantasy stories with big burly men with leopard heads than the Guin Saga is for you! The original novels tell a sweeping story of Guin and the two twins he is protecting from the evil Mongauli empire. The manga, a side story set sometime after the first five novels has some great art, and a fast-moving story that can feel a little daunting without knowing much about the world, but still enjoyable none the less.

Twin Spica – This coming of age space story has some strong characters and great drama. It looks at the realities of becoming an astronaut with Asumi, and upbeat and earnest girl who has dreamt of going to the stars ever since she was little. The first volume really draws you in and a great story and some flashback short stories that have tragic elements without become melodramatic. I can’t NOT recommend this title highly.

These are just a few of the titles from Vertical that I’ve read and have enjoyed. What are some of your favorites, or are you looking forward to buying?

This Week In Manga: 7/24-7/30/10

San Diego Comic Con Con’t

San Diego Comic Con wrap-up dominated the news this week. But this shouldn’t be too surprising considering the size and breath of the con. Friday night ended with the Eisners, where manga may have had great representation in nominations, but in the end, it was only Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life that was able to take away anything, and saw Naoki Urasawa shut out once again.  A Drifting Life won for Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia as well as Best Reality-Based Work. While I’m happy for Tatsumi and Drawn And Quarterly for their win, I think Pluto deserved more recognition than it got, and the Eisners need to look beyond tradition comic publishers for good titles.

Saturday brought the Tokyopop and Viz Media: Shonen Jump panels, the only other two publishers to have panels at SDCC. Tokyopop’s panel was filled with lots of announcements, including a new title from Min-Woo Hyung, the creator of the Priest manhwa, called Ghostface. They will be making more of their titles available digitally, including through Zinio and Overdrive. They announced three new licenses, Sakura no Ichiban, Pavane for a Dead Girl and Mr. Clean: Fully Equipped as well as providing more information on other titles previously announced/discovered. It’s good to see Tokyopop getting back into the swing of things, and I have to say I’m interested in all the new Yuna Kagesaki material. I really enjoyed Chibi Vampire.

The Viz Media: Shonen Jump panel didn’t have any new licenses to announce, which quick frankly surprised me. I was sure there would be an announcement for Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan. Maybe they’re saving it for NYCC. Most of the panel seemed to be about SJ branding and tie-in products which is disappointing to me. I want SJ to be more than just a marketing tool for things OTHER than manga. There are supposedly changes coming to the magazine, but none of them sound all that great. I don’t need more information on anime tie-ins. New, better manga would be nice. The panel also covered already announced titles, and announced a new omnibus edition of Death Note. Hiroyuki Takei, creator of Shaman King and Ultimo, made a surprise appearance. No Stan Lee at the panel. I’m disappointed in the SJ panel, but that isn’t really any surprise. I have been excited by an SJ panel since the first one. The mag just isn’t exciting to read anymore. It’s probably because I’m not their core audience.

Another license announcement to come out of the con, though they had no panel was from Drawn & Quarterly. They announced two titles from Shigeru Mizuki, the creator of GeGeGe no Kitaro. Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths is a semi-autobiographical story of the final days of World War II, and NonNonBa is about a young boy being introduced to the world of Japanese folklore by an old neighbor woman. Considering one of their license choices took an Eisner as well as getting a lot of acclaim, these are probably titles to watch out for.

The only other panel of interest in manga fans was the Comics and Digital Piracy on Sunday. The panel included prominent manga bloggers Deb Aoki and Jake Forbes. They discussed the problems of piracy and how it affects both comics and manga as well as digital manga in general. The Q & A brought up many of the same arguments we’ve been hearing from scanlators. The panel is interesting if you haven’t been following all the piracy posts lately, which considering the SDCC audience, probably don’t, so it’s good to see these things being talked about in another open forum.

After the con is over and everyone has recovered, that’s when the individual reports start going up. Deb Aoki of Manga.About has reports from Preview Night, Thursday, specifics of the Viz Kids panel and a roundup of manga at SDCC (so far). Also at the con looking at kid’s books was Eva Volin for the Good Comics For Kids blog. Anime Diet had a man on the floor that live blogged the Best/Worst Manga, Yen Press and Tokyopop panels. Daniella of All About Manga writes up about her first two days, and Heidi MacDonald of The Beat has her own coverage of the Piracy panel. Keep watching for more about people find time to write and upload their thoughts and reactions.

Sharp-Dressed Fan

While not strickly manga, but manga-related, is the Scott Pilgrim series. The Monday before SDCC, the final volume in the series was released, and at SDCC, there was heavy promotion for the movie. Now you can go to the movie, which will be released August13 with this contest being sponsored by Daniella of the All About Manga blog. Just tell her your favorite scene from the comic for a chance to win one of three t-shirts from the Mighty Fine t-shirt company. Run, don’t walk to the nearest computer and enter now! (Ad sponsored by Doctor Who SDCC 2010 con exclusive toy and Viz bag. Thank you Daniella! Again!)

Manga Movable Feast: Kissing Up to Paradise

Just as SDCC ended the Manga Movable Feast for July started up. Held this week at the Soliloqy in Blue blog run by Michelle Smith, this month’s title was Ai Yazawa’s Paradise Kiss. You’ll find the introduction to the series here, and an archive of all the links here. This seems to have been a slower Feast than some of the past ones, though it’s hard to tell if it’s because of the material (Paradise Kiss is out of print and not as easy to get a hold of) or because it’s coming on the heels of such a big event as SDCC. But there are still two days left, so keep watching for more entries and for the announcement of the next Feast.

NYT Best Seller List

The list for this week starts out as a truly dark day. Twilight: The Graphic Novel has been pushed not just from its top spot, but from the top 5 all the way down to #9 by mostly Green Lantern: Blackest Night tie-ins. What will Team Jacob and Team Edward do? Happier news awaits on the manga list as Fullmetal Alchemist, one of the best reads out there, debuts and takes the #1 spot with vol 23, pushing Naruto vol 48 back to #2. Ouran High School Host Club vol 14 subsequently falls back to #3 with pal Vampire Knight vol 10 at #4. Alice in the Country of Hearts vol 1 returns to the chart at #5 with the only survivor of CMX (which really doesn’t count as far as I’m concerned, since they were forced into the imprint and not really made for it) Megatokyo vol 6 at #6. The 8th volume of the VizBig edition of Vagabond debuts at #7 while Naruto vol 47 returns again to #8. The VizBig edition of Dragonball Z vol 8 debuts at #9 and Yu-Gi-Oh! R vol 5 ends the list at #10 and the series as well. This is an odd list indeed. The appearance of the VizBig editions are unusual in and of themselves, but to have two at the same time? That’s really weird! Some of the returning titles are odd too, though nothing is more odd that then complete disappearance of Black Butler, a staple to the list for so long. Can this be a sign of the apocalypse?

NTY Best Sellers: Second Opinion

Matt Blind over at Rocket Bomber has something different to say about this week’s top 10 list:

1. Naruto 48
2. Ouran High School Host Club 14
3. Fullmetal Alchemist 23
4. Vampire Knight 10
5. Hellsing 10
6. Maximum Ride 1
7. Naruto 47
8. Maximum Ride 2
9. Bleach 31
10. Alice in the Country of Hearts 1

Notable differences: Matt has no VizBigs on his list. Hellsing, Bleach and Maximum Ride continue to persist on his list while they are no where to be seen on the NYT list. There’s no Yu-Gi-Oh! R and Fullmetal Alchemist didn’t make it to #1 on Matt’s list. This week’s list is a little more consistent with titles, if not with places, with 6 in common. It really makes me wonder what is going on with the NYT numbers that Maximum Ride doesn’t show up, but a lot of Viz new releases do.

Manga For Your Ears

Sesho’s Anime and Manga Reviews

This Week at Manga Village

What I’ve Been Reading

  • Swallowing the Earth
  • Yokai Doctor vol 1
  • Jack Frost vol 3

A Year With Out a Comic-Con

This is probably the first time in 12 years straight that we didn’t attend Comic Con. It had been a tradition with us. Every year we would find a way, even if it was just for a day, even just Sunday, to get down to the Con and see things. But not this year. It was a decision we made early, and we didn’t even register for the con. The costs in time and money vs the benefits turned out to be far too much. Last year over the 3 days we saw 6 panels, which is only about 1/2 of what we wanted to see and sat through at least 3 we didn’t just to make sure we got to see the ones we DID want to see. When a con becomes all work and almost no play is when it’s time to call it quits. This is my vacation time I’m taking to do things I enjoy. I already get enough stress at work. I don’t need it following me on my vacation. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss it.

As Comic Con approached, I did find I felt a small twang of regret of not being able to wander the exhibit hall and catch sight of some new item, or find some toy or book I’ve been looking for at a great discount. Yes, I know you can surf the internet and find some cool things at low prices, but it the joy of discovery and being able to get right there and then that makes a con so much fun. And the panels. There is such synergy that happens at them, that hearing about them or even seeing them later online just doesn’t compare to see the things live. But, what’s done is done, and I was stuck at work Thursday and Friday, and home on the weekend.  Thank goodness for Twitter and live blogging.

Thursday, when I should have been writing or doing my Japanese course at, I was instead watching the Twitter updates on Google (my work has Twitter blocked). I got to hear about the Tron: Legacy panel and ADR at the end the paintball challenge from the Burn Notice writers to the White Collar writers, and Bruce Campbell handing out money again this year. Friday was back to work, but as I started checking things out online, I wasn’t seeing anything to really get excited about.

In manga, there were some license announcement. Tokyopop and Yen Press had the most with 3 and 5 respectively. Viz had some announcements for their Vizkids line, but no one really covered it, and they sure aren’t excited about it. I was really expecting to hear that Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan would be licensed, since Viz announced the streaming of the anime, and that a prerequisite to be a licensed Shonen Jump title, right? I thought for sure all the signs pointed to it, but instead, all Viz announced was a new edition of Death Note, in black.  Whoo. The Yen Press announcement about Yen Plus going online did sound cool, but then the thought of dueling online services who will all want me to subscribe to read chapters of their manga damped the excitement. I’m not as thrilled as a lot of people about The Bride’s Story, but then, I have not read Emma, so I’m not already a fan of Kaoru Mori. Tokyopop’s announcement of Sakura no Ichiban by Chibi Vampire/Karin mangaka Yuna Kagesaki was good news though. I enjoyed Chibi Vampire, and the cover of Sakura no Ichiban looks interesting. I’m not a big fan of alternative/gekiga manga, so the small press announcements didn’t excite me either. And Del Rey didn’t even bother with a panel, and laying off Ali Kokmen to boot doesn’t fill me with a lot of hope for them as a manga publisher. It was pretty much a low-key con this year.

On the TV side, there wasn’t much either. One of the reasons we had for going to SDCC is now gone; Stargate. The SG-1 and Atlantis teams always had great rapport and it was fun to watch them. From reports of the Universe panel, it was no fun at all. And it doesn’t sound like SGU will be improving anytime soon. Just more of its Battlestar Galactica cloning. Burn Notice it sounds like is only worth going to to see Bruce Campbell. Now granted that is reason enough, but when no one else from the show’s cast shows up? I guess either they don’t like each other or the fans. Or both. The panels that sounded like the most fun were Psych, Bones and Castle. We just started watching Psych, and now I really regret not staying around for their panel last year. That’s a cast to see live! They have a lot of fun on the set, and that usually translates to the panel. Bones and Castle have two veteran fandom stars, David Boreanaz and Nathan Fillion, both of whom know how to please the crowd. I was happy to hear on Bones, Booth would be returning to season 6 with a love interest, and not happy that Bones and Booth will eventually end up together; unless it was the last scene of the series finale. Then I would be fine with it. Though nothing of great interest came out about season 3 of Castle, I would have liked to have seen the panel. It sounds like it was just as much fun as Psych.

This year was the first time that all 5 Mythbusters appeared on stage at the same time at SDCC.  While the clips reel is tantalizing, the reason to go these guys is for the Q & A session. They are just a blast to listen and talk to. Rifftrax did another live reading at their panel, but no new riffs were announced. It was fun nominating movies to be riffed by the team. This year it seems like you can try to get a line in a new riffing of Reefer Madness. I was disappointed that I couldn’t find anyone who really covered those panels. Youtube has a video of their live riffing, and the twitter feed for Mythbusters had pictures of their panel, but no one really reporting on them, which is sad. These guys really deserve more attention.

I might have reconsidered braving the crowds if I had none Danny Elfman was going to be there as a guest and have his own panel. I’ve been a fan of Elfman’s since his Oingo Boingo days, and it would have been cool to see him when he’s not performing. had a live blogging of that panel at least.

I read somewhere though all my clicking for SDCC that they could just change the name of Comic Con to Movie Con and no one would notice. And that is sadly true. Genre TV has always been a part of the con. Before Stargate, the panel to go to was the Babylon 5 panel for the blooper reel and the stories on set from JMS. Now, TV and movie trailer/hype have taken over the show. It’s all Dog and Pony and very little con. More companies are going to SDCC to try to get optioned for a Hollywood blockbuster than talk with fans or show off their latest wares. And while it’s cool that some of the businesses are finally getting into the spirit of the con, Syfy themed restaurants and Hooter girls dressing up as super heroes, the businesses that really matter, the hotels, still don’t see con-goers as an asset, but as someone they can drain for money. The city has been fighting with hotels to get more rooms at better rates, and it’s only with the threat of the city loosing millions of dollars that they started to give in. But when I hear one con-goers say that the hotel she is staying at is still charging her $30 at day to park her car, that tells me that the SD hotels don’t really want comic con anymore.

I know there’s no really good option for leaving San Diego. Anaheim provides some additional space, and has Disney pushing for that move, while the rest of Hollywood wants to see the con in Los Angeles while Las Vegas is probably the only place on the West Coast that could really handle the crowds, but no one wants to got there, and Vegas doesn’t need Comic Con. So what does this mean? That we probably won’t be going to SDCC anymore or until things improve. I hear Wondercon has promise…

Manga Movable Feast: Paradise Kiss Volume 1

Yukari wants nothing more than to make her parents happy by studying hard and getting into a good college. One afternoon, however, she is kidnapped by a group of self-proclaimed fashion mavens calling themselves “Paradise Kiss.” Yukari suddenly finds herself in the roller coaster life of the fashion world, guided by George, art-snob extraordinaire. In a glamorous makeover of body, mind and soul, she is turned from a hapless bookworm into her friends’ own exclusive clothing model.

By Ai Yazawa
Publisher: Tokyopop
Age Rating:
Genre: Romance
Price: $9.99 (OOP)
Rating: ★★★★½
Buy This Book

When Paradise Kiss first came out, I passed on it, thinking it wouldn’t be a series I would be interested in, and quite frankly, I was turned off by the cover art. This was before I knew how awesome Ai Yazawa and her work was. Paradise Kiss is about a group of fashion design students trying to make their own line with normal exam student Yukari as their model, but this first volume is more about the relationships of this group of new friends than fashion, and as is typical of a Yazawa manga, the relationships are anything but simple.

Yukari Hayasaka is a high school student preparing for exams for college. She walks around with her nose in a book, goes to prep-school, and just generally worries about doing well and getting into a good school, just like everyone else around her. In Yukari’s world, your rank in school equals your rank in life. She doesn’t have any dreams or ambitions beyond getting into college. Her whole world revolves around this single goal. Until she meets the members of Paradise Kiss.

As one would expect for a group of art-school students, Paradise Kiss is filled with some eccentric characters. Arashi looks and speaks like a British punker, complete with safety-pin piercings and slang. Miwako looks and acts like a little girl, often referring to herself in the third person. Isabelle is a tall, male transvestite who also likes to cook, and takes any opportunity to make rice balls. And then there’s George, the leader of Parakiss.

George is a mysterious character. He always has a straight face, making it difficult to tell what he’s thinking, or when he’s being serious. He’s impossible to read or predict. The members of Parakiss are used to him and can just go with it, but Yukari becomes intrigued with George. He starts out playing with her, to get her to come back to the studio and convince her to be their model, but she gets completely caught up in him and his games. Yukari’s thoughts become dominated by thoughts of George, but she also wonders if he’s just playing with her. In the end, she can’t stop herself from falling for him.

Yukari also becomes friends with Miwako, who is a childhood friend with a boy in Yukari’s class that she’s had a crush with from afar, Tokumori. Without getting into the whole tangled mess of that relationship, it’s Yukari and Miwako’s friendship that plays a big role in Yukari finally deciding to help them. Through Miwako she has come to understand what Parakiss is trying to do. They have dreams and goals, and aren’t just the slackers she thought of them at first. She is able to see past the surface, and is even a little envious of the group. They have a dream they are working to achieve, while Yukari is just going through the motions. By choosing to become their model, she has taken the first step toward her own freedom, and making her own decisions for her life.

The art of Paradise Kiss doesn’t seem very different from Nana, Yazawa’s current manga series. I can see a lot of Nana O. in Yukari. The fashions Yazawa comes up with are sometimes outrageous, but always fitting of the character. Her realistic style works well with the fashions, but I do still enjoy the comedic faces she comes up with. Though I hope to never see one of them on George. It just wouldn’t feel right.

Just like with Nana, I was pulled into this series from the first chapter and hooked by the characters. Their complex relationships really draw you in, as does the enigmatic George. It’s easy to get just as caught up in his games as Yukari does. Like Yukari, I made the mistake of judging this title by its outward appearance. I’m glad the MMF gave me a push to check out this series. I’m now looking forward to reading more and seeing the fashion come into play, as well as where George and Yukari’s relationship will go, or if it will last.

PR: Yen Plus Goes Online


NEW YORK, JULY 27, 2010 – It was announced Friday at San Diego Comic-Con that Yen Plus, the monthly manga anthology from Yen Press, is now available online at And for a limited time, Yen Press will offer free access to the August issue from now through September 10th.

Yen Publisher Kurt Hassler said: “It’s no secret that there is a huge demand for the digital delivery of manga content.  Our responsibility as publishers is to grow and change both with the industry and the readers to meet that demand.  Relaunching YEN PLUS in a digital format is our first major step in that direction, and as we look at expanding the selection that the magazine has to offer in the coming months, we look forward to not only hearing from our existing readers but reaching out to new audiences as well.”

Each issue of Yen Plus includes the latest installments of popular manga such as Maximum Ride, Daniel X, Nightschool, Time And Again, and more. A new online edition will appear on the first Tuesday of each month.

Subscriptions will cost $2.99 per month (sales tax may apply), and members will have access to the two most recent issues of the magazine. Each month the oldest issue is removed and a new issue is added, so readers always have access to fresh new manga.

Yen Press, founded in 2006, is the manga and graphic novel imprint of Hachette Book Group. For additional info, visit

This Week in Manga: 7/17-7/23/10

Twitter This

The week started out with a bang, and just kept on going! Seven Seas started it off with license announcements on Twitter in anagram form with one clue. All three were guessed correctly by ANN and confirmed by Tuesday, the day of the last announcement. The three titles are ToraDora, Amnesia Labyrinth, and A Certain Scientific Railgun. Two of these titles have anime tie-ins, with ToraDora having already released its first disc earlier this month, and Funimation just announcing the license of A Certain Scientific Railgun at this past Anime Expo. Amnesia Labyrinth also has ties to a previously published work. Nagaru Tanigawa, who is the author of the Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi light novels, is also the author of this series. Most of these titles came from ASCII Media Works, which Seven Seas seems to be mining. I’m definitely interested in Amnesia Labyrinth, and not just because it’s by the author of the Haruhi books, which I’ve enjoyed the manga of, but it’s also a mystery. And we can’t get enough of those!

One Manga Down, 1000 Manga To Go

Wednesday, One Manga, the top scanlation aggregator site on the web announced it would be taking down ALL manga, not just titles licensed/owned by coalition members. This was quite a surprise as visitors were greeted with a pop-up message explaining the situation before they even got to any titles. They intend to keep their forums up and running, but it remains to be seen if anyone will still come around with all the manga gone. Reactions to the shut down have been varied and quite frankly extreme in some cases, as a perusal of the comments section of the article shows:

I have not stopped crying since i heard about this yesterday.. what am i going to do from now on?.. my reason to live from one Friday to the next is now gone.. i am deeply saddened.

What am i gonna do with the 36 series’ that I’m curetly reading right now? Im addicted. At 13 I fail to see anything more important than manga right now.. I seriously feel like someone close to me has a fatal disease, and that person is slowly crawling to their death.

Yeah…okay. I love manga too, but it’s not the be all, end all of my life. I was disappointed when some of my favorite titles were cancelled thanks to Kodansha yanking them from Tokyopop, but the world didn’t end because of it. And the world won’t end now without One Manga or 1000 Manga, or any of the other aggregators that may go down. I know teens like to be melodramatic and all, but sheesh! It’s just manga guys!

What Goes Down Must Come Up

The same day that One Manga announces its demise, Square Enix announces a new digital manga store for NA and France.  The site will go live in the Fall, but a preview with the first chapters of Fullmetal Alchemist, Black Butler, Soul Eater and O-Parts Hunter (666 Satan) are available right now for download. They are also running demos at their booth at SDCC. This is an interesting development, since Square Enix doesn’t license to just one company here in the US. The four titles mentioned are split between Yen Press and Viz, but both manga publishers have said they are working with Square Enix in this endeavour. No price has been set yet, but it is nice to another publisher not only making titles available online, but to also be portable.

SDCC is Here!

That right, the San Diego Comic Con started this week. And it started off at a run. Wednesday is dubbed Preview Night, where the exhibit hall is open in the evening, and Vertical wasted no time in announcing a license and the first official one of the con. They will be releasing Lychee Light Club, by Usamaru Furuya, who is also the author of the highly anticipated 51 Ways to Save Her, which was announced at last SDCC by CMX, and cancelled before the first volume could be released. It’s a single volume and is about some students at an all boys school who create a robot to find beautiful women but run into a problem when the robot become sentient.

The first official day of the con brought more licenses. At the Bandai Entertainment panel, Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens was announced. Not too surprising, since it was a cult hit on the internet and the anime has already been released. Top Shelf, a comics publisher announced it would be releasing Cigarette Girl, a collection of short stories from an early artist of the gekiga movement, Masahiko Matsumoto. There were several manga related panels that ANN covered; Manga For Grown Ups, Best and Worst Manga 2010, and Manga: Lost in Translation.

Friday brought the Yen Press Panel, which had more new licenses to announce. Aron’s Absurd Armada, High School of the Dead, Higurashi: When They Cry: Demon Exposing Arc, and Otoyome-Gatari: The Bride’s Story. High School of the Dead is another no brainer as its anime was licensed and announced at Anime Expo. Fans were happy to hear about Otoyome-Gatari. It’s the new title from Kaoru Mori, the mangaka of Emma. It sounds like it with get the Twilight treatment with a hardback, larger size treatment.

Yen also finally revealed the fate of Yen Plus. It has its own website which has gone live with a beta. Most of the titles up right now are Yen’s original titles; Maximum Ride, Nightschool, Gossip Girl, and the first 2 chapters of Daniel X. Two Korean titles from the print magazine are there now, Time and Again and Jack Frost, and a special short story, Haunted House Call from the creator of Hollow Fields, Madeleine Rosca. There are no Japanese titles at the moment, but if you go back up one story you may see why for at least two of them. The cost will be $2.99 a month, paid by Paypal subscription, and will keep the last two recent issues available.  This is looking like a good deal and the reader on the computer isn’t bad. It’s not flash-based, so the reader may be friendly for mobile devices. Some have said that teens will be left out because of the online payment, but any parents who refuse their kids a $2.99 investment for them to read is doing them a great disservice.

Manga related panels included The Future of Manga with Jason Thompson and Dallas Middaugh was on Publishing Comics representing Del Rey. Del Rey didn’t have a panel at the show this year and with the news of Ali Kokmen, the marketing manager who did a lot of to get Del Rey Manga going being laid off, makes more real the speculation that Del Rey is winding down their manga division. Sony held a panel on their adaptation of the Tokyopop published manhwa Priest, and Moto Hagio had a focus panel where she was also presented CCI’s Inkpot award.

NYT Best Seller List

It’s that time again, so let’s look at what’s going on with this week’s list of  best sellers. And a check of the Hardback list shows…What?! No Twilight at #1? Who’s this green dude that’s taken the first three spots, leaving Twilight to come in at #4? Bahhhh.  Over on the manga list, Naruto vol 48 retakes it’s #1 spot from Ouran High School Host Club vol 14, which falls to #2. Vampire Knight vol 10 moves back up to #3 with Black Butler vol 2 right behind at #4. New comer Black Lagoon vol 9 debuts at #5 while The Last AirBender falls another 2 to #6. Black Butler vol 1 moves back up one to #7 while another debut, Inuyasha vol 50 arrivals at #8. Soul Eater vol 3 is another newbie arriving at #9 while One Piece vol 54 holds on but falls 7 to #10. Viz hold a majority of 6/10 on the list with Yen Press’ strongest titles holding 3/10. Black Lagoon is a surprise as a more adult title, but is very welcome addition. It would be nice to see more adult titles taking on the massive teen machines of Naruto and Vampire Knight.

NYT Best Sellers: Second Opinion

A lot of people question the New York Times Best Seller List for its accuracy. They never full explain where they get their numbers from, so there’s plenty of doubt about how real they are. One person to not only feel that way, but does something about it Matt Blind of Rocket Bomber. He compiles his own list and explains exactly where the numbers come from. So, here’s a comparison of the this week’s lists:

  1. Naruto vol 48                                                                                              1.  Naruto vol 48
  2. Ouran High School Host Club vol 14                                                    2. Ouran High School Host Club vol 14
  3. Vampire Knight vol 10                                                                              3. Vampire Knight vol 10
  4. Black Butler vol 2                                                                                       4.  Hellsing vol 10
  5. Black Lagoon vol 9                                                                                    5. Maximum Ride vol 1
  6. Last Air Bender                                                                                          6. Naruto vol 47
  7. Black Butler vol 1                                                                                       7. Maximum Ride vol 2
  8. Inuyasha vol 50                                                                                          8. Bleach vol 31
  9. Soul Eater vol 3                                                                                          9. One Piece vol 54
  10. One Piece vol 54                                                                                      10. Negima! vol 26

It’s an interesting comparison when seen side by side. The top three are the same, but Maximum Ride is missing from the NYT, and Black Butler is missing from RB. Interesting exchange, but from same company. Viz still holds 6 spots, while Yen is down to 2. Adult comics still get their representation on th RB with Hellsing, but there’s no Last Air Bender. It will be interesting to continue to do these comparison and see if/how things change between them.

This Week At Manga Village

What I’m Reading

  • Black Butler vol 2
  • Fairy Nagivator Runa vol 1
  • Dramacon vol 3

Review: Gestalt Volume 6

Ouri and Father Olivier are together again, but they’re not about to live happily ever after quite yet. Olivier’s nemesis Ender is back, and even the deadliest dark magic may not be enough to slow him down. he’s determined to bring Olivier back to his Order and force him to face up to the crimes of his past, but Olivier himself has another plan in mind. his best chance at redemption may be hidden somewhere in the forbidden realm of G.

By Yun Kouga
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Teen +
Genre: Fantasy
Price: $9.99
Rating: ★★½☆☆
Buy This Book

Gestalt is an average fantasy/D&D-esque story complete with a group of adventurers that include a priest, a sorcerer, a dark elf and a knight. They are on a quest to find the realm of G. They are being chased by their nemesis and have to fight monsters along the way. It’s a very generic plot that did make it easy to jump into the series at volume 6, but doesn’t do much to make for an overly interesting story.

Fortunately, the characters make up for it. I got to like most of them. Like the plot, the characters aren’t very complex but definitely entertaining. The interactions between Ouri, the hero/heroine and Suzu the dark elf were fun. Ouri was angsty for about half of the volume, but it was a tolerable angst, since he wasn’t totally bemoaning his fate and trying to do something about it. Father Olivier is the very generic kind, gentle priest with a dark side, but I found I liked both sides, though Dark Olivier does win out slightly.

It’s mainly these three characters for two-thirds of the volume. Shazan, the knight, goes on a side quest and makes the jump suddenly in the middle of a fight between Ouri, Suzu and Dark Olivier against Ender. Shazan is searching for the Book of P and goes to a dungeon to face the Wings of Death to try to get the book. For two chapters we go through the whole story of Wings and Shazan helps the ghost Mifa to save Wings and retrieves the book. While I really enjoyed these two chapters, almost more than the main story, the transition to it and then back to the battle were not done well at all. They are very abrupt, especially interrupting a fight just as Dark Olivier comes out, and they are just as abrupt coming back, not even picking up where the battle left off, and just starting in a completely different place, with new characters just wandering in from the street (literally)! I also didn’t care for the gender-bending/BL aspect of the title. I don’t care for either and to have both thrown out at the same time, made for some less than appealing moments.

The art isn’t bad. Everyone is bishie, especially Father Olivier. Everyone, male and female has long, flowing hair, but it isn’t difficult to tell the boys from the girls, as the women are all dressed in skimpy outfits and have ample breasts. This is of course part of the fan service that this volume serves up, but it’s not as blatant as it could be, so I can take it or leave it. I did like some of the monsters. Kouga came up with some fairly cool designs for them. I especially liked Wings, with the large eyes on her head.

Overall, Gestalt is an average title. There’s nothing new in the story or characters, but they are entertaining enough to kill some time, and you won’t feel it’s been wasted. This isn’t a must have title, unless you are a fan of Kouga’s work and/or a completest.