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 1/2-1/8/10

Walk Down Memory Lane

With most of the Year-in-Reviews done, it’s time to move on to the Decade-in-Review.  The first of these comes from a conversation that started on Twitter about the most important moments in manga over the decade.  Deb Aoki of Manga.about.com collects the suggestions and posts them as 25 Manga Milestones. I jump on this bandwagon to, looking back at the past decade of manga through my eyes and experiences.  It’s interesting to look back at something of these things and think it’s only been 10 years for things that seem like they’ve been around forever.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 1/2-1/8/10

Manga: A Decade in Review

Even though the decade isn’t technically over, the years that we call the “aughts” are, so this review is my look back at the aught years, 2000-2009.  And if you had to say anything about manga in these years is that it found itself on the rise.

When the new millennium began, manga was in the same place it had been in the last century.  It was a niche of a niche.  Trying to appeal to comics fans, most titles were published as floppies, their content flipped.  Titles such as Ranma 1/2, Inuyasha, Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z, Ceres: Celestial Legend, and Pokemon started this way, and then were collected into trade paperback sized books and priced around $15.  Comics fans treated manga as the red-headed step child and manga fans  didn’t like the price or format.  I know I didn’t.  As much as I wanted to read the Galaxy Express 999 volumes Viz had brought out, the $16.99 price tag was too much for me.  But that all changed in 2002, when Tokyopop literally started off a revolution.

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Review: Black God Volume 2

Black God 2
Black God, Volume 2
Story by Dall-Young Lim, art by Sung-Woo Park
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Action
Price: $10.99
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Balancing a normal existence and an unbreakable pact with a divine being is anything but easy. Much to his chagrin, Keita is discovering this the hard way. Try as he might to distance himself from recent events, Keita can’t shake Kuro, the mototsumitama who saved his life. But when the stakes get higher and another human-mototsumitama pair comes looking for a fight-one with Keita’s childhood friend, Akane, as the prize-Keita is forced to reevaluate his attitude and stand by both his old and new friends. Who will emerge victorious?

Several different plot lines pick up in this volume.  Keita and Kuro starting training, beginning with Kuro, and growing to include Keita working with her.  Keita’s game coding start to take off with a company showing an interest in both the game and Keita’s skills, and the group that is searching for the doppeliners continues to reduce the thirds down to the root.  I get the feeling that these three plot lines are related, but it’s hard to tell how.

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Another Nail in Privacy's Coffin?

Having a wireless connection on an e-reader has been touted as the make-or-break deal for devices coming out.  Amazon’s Kindle, which started it all, has been favored because of the ease of purchasing books from Amazon and downloading to the device.  But, what are you really giving up for that privilege?  A lot of your privacy it seems.  As reported on BoingBoing, the EFF, the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, took a look at e-reader terms of service  for some of the most popular devices, and has made a chart showing who wants what, and what you’re giving up for that digital books online.

Google seems to be the worst of the privacy invaders, requiring users to have a google account so they can be tracked though Web History, and requires “opt-ing in” for sharing personal information with Google.  Amazon the next one down, doesn’t sell you books as much as it licenses them to you.  And they give themselves a lot of room for keeping track of users use of the Kindle, including their interaction with the device and service as well as conent.

Devices such as the Sony e-Reader, which doesn’t connect wirelessly (yet), has no such use agreements, leaving the user free do and put on their device what ever they want without fear of being tracked or spied on.

If privacy is a concern for you, you’ll want to look more closely at this report and read the user agreements carefully before you press that buy button.  Privacy is already under attack for some many other sources.  You shouldn’t have to worry about your books spying on you too.

This Week in Manga 12/26/09-01/01/2010

Honey Hunt goes on Hiatus

Honey Hunt, one of the last manga to be added to Shojo Beat before Viz canceled it, is going on hiatus in Japan.  Mangaka Aihara has decided to take a break from Honey Hunt and is debuting a new manga in the same magazine.  This is both good and bad for fans of Honey Hunt.  It’s good, because it will make catching up with the manga easier.  The 6th volume just came out in Japan, and the 4th volume won’t come out in the US until March.  Viz apparently is keeping the long time between release days which means it may be another year before we get to the 6th volume.  But it’s bad since there no indication as how long the hiatus will be.  It could be a long stretch before Aihara picks it up again, and then a while after that before another volume comes out.  Ask Hunter x Hunter and D.N. Angel fans about that.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 12/26/09-01/01/2010

Review: Heaven's Will


Heaven’s Will
By Satoru Takmiya
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Supernatural/Romance
Price: $8.99
Rating: ★★★★½

Sudou Mikuzu has a very special talent – she can see ghosts.  And because of this predisposition, she’ become a magnet for all sorts of unwelcome monsters.  Luckily for her she’s just met Seto, a friendly, cross-dressing young exorcist.  Sudou needs protection from all the creepy phantoms bugging her, and Seto needs to practice his exorcism skills.  consequently, the pair decides to team up and help each other.  In return, Sudou promises to back a cake every time a ghost gets zapped!

At first glance, Heaven’s Will appears to be a typical supernatural romance title with a cross-dressing twist.  Once you start reading though, you’ll find that it’s actually the start of an interesting that should have been given more of a chance to develop.  The characters really grown on you, and the story, which has some sad twists to set it up, could have gone on to do so much more.

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Christmas Haul

Well, the most stressful part of the holiday season is over!  Christmas has come and gone, and all that’s left are wads of wrapping paper, stray bows and lots and lots of manga!  At least that’s how my Christmas turned out.  Check it out!

Christmas Manga

How’s that for a good haul?  In fact, I missed a few!  Pig Bride Volume 2 as well as Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 20-21 should have been included in that picture too.  12 volumes in all.  Woo Hoo!

Now, while manga is nice and all, and I do appreciate getting the books I did, what I really loved wasn’t something that was purchased but that was made.  My husband works with wood, and he made me these four wooden scroll puzzles, all from oak in different finishes.  Aren’t they awesome?

Puzzles

So, what’s you get for Christmas?

This Week in Manga 12/20-12/25/2009

More On Translation

Shannon Garrity over at The Comics Journal weighs in on the translation issue.  She brings to focus the whole issue of literal vs literary, which is really a fan vs professional debate.  Fans take a more literal approach, which can be claimed to be more authenitic, though it could also be that they don’t have the writing sense to make the translations smoother.  Good writing isn’t something that comes naturally, as the internet has shown.  But, then again, sometimes trying to make a title more “friendly” to western audiences can backfire.  Whether too much or not enough, it’s still a no-win situation for publishers and professional translators who want to please both the current otaku fanbase and try to attract new readers.  But here’s my concern.  How will manga ever reach more general audiences if it continues to keep clunky translations?  Who’s going to take it serious or for being more than a niche genre if it keeps catering to the niche fanbase?  You’ve got to cut the cord someday.  I’ll take a good read over a literal read any day.  Just don’t westernize the names.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 12/20-12/25/2009

7 Underrated Tokyopop Titles

Tokyopop has been under fire a lot recently, some times rightfully so.  But their catalog of titles shouldn’t be.  For whatever reason, some of their really good and entertaining titles haven’t gotten the love and attention they deserve.  I want to rectify some of that now.  Unfortunately, some of the titles in this list are out of print, and incomplete.  But they may still be available through online retailers and places like eBay or Half.com.

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Review: Comic Volume 7-8


Comic Volumes 7-8
By Ha SiHyun
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Romance
Price: $10.99
Rating: ★★½☆☆

Comic is a manhwa that is very much the typical high school romance. It’s stuffed full of melodrama, which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. It’s the fact that none of the characters are likable enough to carry it off  and the story veers too far of it’s tracks that makes it bad.

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