This year, 2009, has been proclaimed the International Year of Astronomy. Four hundred years ago, Galileo Galilei first put a telescope to the sky and made many discoveries, including four of the moons of Jupiter; Io Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Stars and the planets have held people’s fascination for eons, as they appear in songs, art and books. Even manga has taken notice of the heavenly bodies. Whether it’s the stars and the constellations, the planets, or just observing them, manga covers them all in fun and imaginative ways.
September 19 was International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Did you remember to say “Arrrr” a lot and read some pirate manga?
Manga in the Classroom
Patrick Macias, Japanese pop culture aficionado, has posted the audio for a lecture he gave at the California State University at Monterey Bay last week. Called Theoretical Perspectives on Manga, Anime & Otaku, it includes some older material from a speech earlier this year at the Temple University Japan Campus as well as some new material about American fandom. I love it when this kind of material is shared, especially the academic talks. I’ve always been fascinated by the cultural aspects of fandom and I’ll take any opportunity to feed my hunger.
Amazon’s been sitting pretty so far with their Kindle 2 and Kindle DX. The competition has been fairly light, with Sony’s E-Reader being recognized as it’s only real competition. But with Christmas just around the bend (3 months away as of this writing), retailers are starting to make their announcements now, just in time for holiday shopping to begin.
Two big retailers are throwing their proverbial hats into the E-Reader ring. Verizon and Best Buy are backing the iRex, a touch screen E-Reader. Already a well known brand in Europe, the iRex is coming out in the US with an 8.1 in touch screen and 3G wireless connection provided by Verizon Wireless, and will be sold through retail giant Best Buy. The device will retail at $399.
Nephylym Volume 1
By Rei Kusakabe
Publisher: DR Masters
Age Rating: 13+
Shun has a unique power to electrically charge metal materials. A mysterious winged being named Ale picks up on his powers and chooses him to be her partner. Shun’s classmate and school crush, Sanari, finds out and reveals her winged partner, named Blissful. She explains that the beings are called Nephylym, and their chosen partners are called Answerers. Together with Sarari and Tsukasa (Shun’s rival in love and an Answerer as well), they battle along side their Nephylym against Noirs that possess human beings.
I can’t remember the last time I read a volume that was so lackluster. The story and characters are just cookie cutter cutouts of typical shonen action fare with some moe and moments of fanservice to draw in a audience that will hopefully be too enthralled by the cute little girls to notice the complete lack of a decent story.
It’s been a year since Yen Press debuted their manga anthology magazine Yen Plus. I picked up the first issue at SDCC and reviewed it in two posts, one for each side. I wasn’t thrilled with the Japanese side, and really enjoyed the Korean/OEL side. A look at the second issue re-enforced those feelings. It’s been a whole year, and at SDCC this year Yen Press had their anniversary issue, so I picked it up again. I wanted to see if the magazine had improved over the year.
Arrrrr. It be the news.
Found via Twitter. @MagicalEmi shared a picture of her manga collection. Now just think this whole thing is squeezed into a two room apartment. Not two bedroom, two room. All these bookshelves also explains how she can keep up her website Emily’s Random Shoujo Manga Page. I hope she’s got those bookshelves secured to the wall, or isn’t home when the Big One hits. Thanks for sharing! I need to take a pic of the shiny new bookcases my husband built for our books and manga.
I’m a loyal reader of Shonen Jump, and every once in a while I like to give my opinion of the current titles running. I don’t really care for the articles in the magazine. They are all aimed at teen boys, of which I am certainly not one. The Bleach anime, Naruto video and card games, the Yu-gi-oh card game, not my thing. But I still enjoy many of the SJ titles. So I’m going to do this for Shonen Jump like every 3 months or so, or if anything major happens, such as a title getting switched out, or an exciting preview.
Back in 2003, an anime was made of the manga Fullmetal Alchemist. Because the story was still ongoing, and Arakawa didn’t want to give away any of her story, this anime took a turn at about episode 29 into a completely different direction. There’s nothing wrong with the remaining 20 episodes of the anime, but it doesn’t follow the manga. With the publication of the 20th volume of FMA, Arakawa announced another anime series, this one reported to follow the story of the manga more closely. Also called Fullmetal Alchemist, this anime is available in the US from Funimation, who is streaming it subtitled on their site. But how close is this new series to the manga? I’ve read most of the manga and have been following this new anime to see how well it stays on track, and I have to say, I’m impressed so far.
Another manga publisher has jumped on the Kindle bandwagon. Seven Seas has announced that some of their titles will now be available for purchase on the Kindle. It’s good to see manga publishers embracing e-books, but I would hope they are looking not just at the Kindle/iPhone, but beyond at the other devices that are coming out. Soon.
Kumoricon, Portland, Oregon’s anime/manga/all thins J-popish was this last weekend. John Thomas, a local and reviewer for Comics Village, was there for two of the three days and gave reports on the announcements, mostly from Dark Horse, as they are also local to the area. The big announcement from Kumoricon though came from Jason Thompson. His magnum opus, Manga: The Complete Guide will continue online. Starting September 15, a new review of a series will go up once a day for 365 days (that’s one year) at Suduvu.com. Jason will also be giving away 5 manga a day to some lucky commentor a day. Go here for all the detials.
Cute Dogs: Craft your own Pooches
By Chie Hayano
Publisher Vertical, Inc.
Age Rating: All Ages
Vertical Inc is a unique publisher in the manga world. They are a boutique publisher who does more than bring manga over from Japan. They also publish novels from horror to business, Sudoku puzzle books, and coolest of all, craft books. Their newest release is Cute Dogs, which is filled with exactly that; little stuffed dogs that don’t just look cute, but look fun to make.
Cute Dogs is a thin book at just 79 pages, but it’s packed with 16 different dogs you can create on your own. Ranging from the Boston Terrier, Chihuahua, Welsh Corgi, Miniature Dachshund, to the Miniature Schnauzer, you’ll find many of the most popular dog breeds. The first half of the book is filled with pictures of each of the finished pieces, showing them from different angles so you know how they should look. They are all posed with accessories like food bowls, wagons, bowls and baskets. All the dogs have names and little sayings that give them personality. It’s fun just looking at these pictures and reading about each dog. After seeing all the stuffed dogs, we are introduced to the real dogs that worked as models. They all have wonderful personalities too.
The second half of the book gets into the crafty stuff. All the materials needed to make these pooches are pictures and described, as well as all the tools. There is also a basic sewing guide that shows all the stitched needed and how to do them. There are only three, and they are pretty simple. Then it gets into the nitty-gritty of cutting, preparing, and sewing the dogs together. It’s step-by-step, taking you from start to finish through Bob, the Boston Terrier. He’s the template. The rest of the dogs have their own variations, but the construction is the same for all. The directions are clear and concise, with pictures illustrating them, making them easier to understand.
I really enjoyed Cute Dogs. The dogs are cute, and they look to be fairy easy to make. Teens would have no problem making these, and even Tweens, with some supervision could do them! I’m definitely going to try making some of these pooches. Just paging through the book started giving me ideas of what could be done with them. Crafters and dog-lovers alike with love this book. Now, where’s the Cute Cats book?
Review copy provided by publisher.