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.

Yen Plus – One Year Later

anthology13a-210x300It’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.

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This Week in Manga 9/12-9/18/09

Arrrrr.  It be the news.

Shelf Porn!

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.

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Shonen Jump October 2009

SJ82_largeI’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.

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Manga to Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist

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.

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The Prius of E-Books

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.

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This Week in Manga for 9/5-9/11/09


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  Jason will also be giving away 5 manga a day to some lucky commentor a day.  Go here for all the detials.

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Cute Dogs: Craft Your Own Pooches

Cute Dogs: Craft your own Pooches
By Chie Hayano
Publisher Vertical, Inc.
Age Rating: All Ages
Genre: Craft
Price: $14.95
Rating: ★★★★★

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.

Shonen Sunday


Viz’s second big foray into the online world of manga is Shonen Sunday.  It’s based on another manga magazine from Japan.  Several popular titles came from this magazine, such as most of Rumiko Takahashi’s works (Urusei Yatsura, Ramna 1/2, Inuyasha, Mermaid Saga), Detective Conan, Zatch Bell, and Yakitate!! Japan, just to name a few.  Now Viz has brought some titles from the magazine online.

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What's In A Name?

A short conversation came up on Twitter about whether Japanese names should be translated.  I found some of the point that were made interesting, and it got me thinking.  When you hear someone’s name, do you think about it’s meaning?  Pick up a baby book of names, and you’ll see that every name, even our English names have another meaning.  But because it’s a name, we don’t consider the meaning important.  Why should translators do the same to Japanese names?

Yes, many of the Japanese names have mundane meanings, such as Sakura, meaning Cherry Blossom, or Yuki, meaning snow.  But are you going to call someone named Mirai, Future?  Just because that is the literal translation, that doesn’t make it the best interpretation.  My name, Lori, means “laurel tree symbolic of honor and victory”.  That doesn’t mean I want to be called “Laurel tree”.  If you were introduced to someone named Sakura, you wouldn’t go around calling them Cherry Blossom, would you?  That’s not their given name.  When a word becomes a name, it transcends it’s original meaning, and becomes something more than that.

Translators that change a person’s name to it’s literal meaning are really missing the point.  When something is being translated, there needs to be more than a literal translation.  The translator has to do some interpretation to convey the meaning as well.  And just because someone’s name also means elephant doesn’t mean that’s how the people in that culture will see it.  So we really shouldn’t either.  It’s another case of just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

This Week in Manga 8/29-9/4/09

Kodansha Letting Licenses with Tokyopop  Lapse

Brigid Alverson of the Manga Blog reported on Monday something that’s been suspected for a while in the mangasphere, and has finally been confirmed by Tokyopop.  Kodansha, one of the big Japanese publishing houses, is not renewing its licenses with Tokyopop.  David Welsh provides a quick, convenient, if possibly incomplete list of the titles affected at his own blog Precocious Curmudgeon.  This news dominated much of Monday and Tuesday.  Check the Manga Blog for a full roundup of commentary.  This wasn’t an unexpected move, as Tokyopop’s relationship with Kodansha has been rocky at best.  Two years ago, Kodansha made a deal with Random House and Del Rey Manga has been reaping the benefits.  While this doesn’t come as a big surprise, it is kind of painful for those of us that were reading unfinished titles that are now left in limbo.  I’ve been beating the drum loudly for Dragon Voice‘s last volume and lamented the incompleteness of Kindaichi Case Files.  All we can do now is wait and see what Kodansha’s next move will be.  Considering how long this took, it may be a very long wait for the next one.

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Ask Manga Mom: The Taboo Edition

Static writes:

Is Taboo considered a genre that should be used as a general description for manga sites that contained taboo typed manga books?

Also, could you give me a perfect but brief (short) definition of the “TABOO” that I cold use to describe the genre if it were to be used as a general – common – genre type.

This isn’t  my area of expertise, but I thought I’d weigh in anyway.  A taboo is a strong social prohibition on activities or customs that are considered sacred or forbidden.  The term comes from Polynesia where it’s context was religious.  Most taboos have a religious connotations, they can affect dietary restrictions, sexual activities and/or relations, bodily functions, exposure of body parts or offensive language.  Taboos are not universal, but many cultures may share some, such as cannibalism and incest.  Taboos can change over time, as a society or culture changes.

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Dark Hunters Volume 1

It’s just another night on the prowl for vampires for Kyrian of Thrace when he meets the most frightening thing imaginable. And accountant. But Amanda Devereaux is much more than she seems. Hunted by one of the deadliest of vampires, Amanda is the key to our survival. If she goes down, so does he, and –no offense– he doesn’t want to die (hence the whole immortality thing). And he doesn’t want humanity dead either, which is a good thing for us since he and Amanda are all that stands between us and oblivion. Let’s hope they win.

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