Category Archives: Articles

Stories and musing about specific manga titles or manga in general.

Cross Stitch Geekery

While bouncing around Google, I stumbled on Anime Stitching, a site for cross stitch patterns for anime characters.  This site is dedicated to patterns of sprites, SD-like characterizations of anime characters that can be animated or static.  And they’re really cute!  If you’ve wanted to cross stitch actual, licensed manga characters, these fan created patterns are as close as you are going to get.

This site also has links to other sites that include patterns for other geeky interests such as video games and comics, and one site, by Littlemojo, has some great pokemon patterns and another site with some really nice Fullmetal Alchemist patterns.  I really liked the Hohenheim of the Light pattern.  The 1337xstitch site also has a forum for talking about works in progress and completed, as well as patterns you’re looking for.  These sites are some great resouces. Check them out!

It's Censorship

I don’t get upset about many things.  I tend to go with a “live and let live” policy.  If what you’re doing isn’t against the law, and isn’t hurting anyone, then as a rule, I don’t have a problem with it.  I may not agree with it, but I’m not going to tell you you can’t do it because I don’t like it.  But one of the things I have little tolerance for is censorship.

And that’s exactly what these two library workers colluded to do.  Cook can dislike League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier all she wants, but that DOES NOT give her the right to keep a book from circulation because she believes a child might find it.  It’s not her job to police the library and decide what’s proper for other people’s children to read.  It’s for the parents, and the parents ALONE.  The library makes this responsibility clear to parents when they sign for library cards for their children.  Cook challenged the book, as was her right, but acted like a sore loser when her challenge was denied and chose to keep the book to herself.  To protect the children. Who cares about any of the adult patrons who might be interested in the book.  They don’t have the right to the book either.  But:

Cook says that she never wanted the book taken off the shelves so adults couldn’t see it.

“I’m an adult. I do not want you telling me what I can read,” she says adamantly when you ask.

Can anyone else see the hypocrisy here?  She doesn’t get her way, so she takes the book herself.  Yeah, that’s a mature way to deal with the situation.  I’m glad Cook and her cohort got fired.  They violated everything that a public library stands for.  They imposed their own moral standards on the whole community, invaded a patrons privacy and conspired to keep a book out of circulation.  These are the WRONG people to have in an institution that is all about making books available to THE PUBLIC.  It is not their responsibility and especially NOT their right to decide what other people, or their children, can or can not read.

As for getting “their reputations back”, it’s too late.  They’ve already proved they can’t be trusted.  Cook has essentially stolen the book from the library as she is keeping it with no intention of returning it.  They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  Well, these women have paved one long road.

Read It If You Want It

Viz’s SigIkki website isn’t just an experiment in manga for mature readers.  Going to the site does more than let you read some great manga.  You, the reader, can make a difference in which manga will get published.  Your clicks and reviews can make all the difference in the world for a title seeing print.

In Japan, the fate of a manga is decided not just by circulation, but also by what the readers say.  Survey cards are checked and titles can live or die by what readers say in these.  Viz has taken this idea and applied it to the web.  The titles at SigIkki are not guaranteed to see a print edition unless enough people show interest through page views and reviews that readers can leave.  While this is a good idea for a small market as these Ikki titles will attract, that also means that your favorite title manga get a print edition unless YOU do something.

Just like pre-ordering, this is putting your money were your mouth is, just without so much of the risk.  Going to the site and reading chapters is easy, but if you really love a title, so much so that you want to see it in print, then put in a good word.  The editors give a lot of weight to reviews and comments left for titles.

And, just because a title gets a future solicitation, as many of the SigIkki titles seem to have at Amazon, that’s not really a guarantee of publication.  Ask Tokyopop about that.

I Can Has My Cat Loki?


Recently over at Anime News Network, artist Bettina Kurkoski was featured in their The Gallery column.  I read this, as I like Bettina’s work.  I really enjoyed her OEL manga, My Cat Loki, buying the volumes after reading the first volume on line.  Yes, I like it that much.  In the article was of course links to Bettina’s home page and Deviant Art page.  Of course I had to check those out.  In the updates of the Deviant Art page at the time, Bettina was asking about KA-BLAM, a printer that specializes in comic books.  She is doing this so her fans can finally get the rest of My Cat Loki.


I think this is so awesome, that Bettina is looking for ways to finish My Cat Loki for the fans.  Even though Tokyopop is giving some fans a chance to read the end of their favorite titles with their Wednesday online comics, it’s even cooler when the creator does this.  She’s already put out some MCL works with sketchbooks for sale at cons (that I can’t go to), but seeing this title complete would be the best.  It’s such a wonderful and touching story that it really deserves a proper ending.  It’s too bad that Tokyopop didn’t give it the time and attention it deserved.

I do hope the final volume of My Cat Loki sees the light of day somehow.  Bettina has at least one guaranteed sale right here.

Let Your Earthlight Shine

Earthlight 3If you’ve been following Tokyopop’s Boys of Summer online releases, you’ll notice there hasn’t been an update for a couple of weeks.  No, I don’t know why.  All Tokyopop has said is that it “won’t be back up for several weeks.” What I want to bring attention to though is the title they’ve moved up to fill in.  Earthlight.  This wasn’t supposed to be going up until January 2010, but now it’s been pushed up to this Wednesday, October 21.  So, if you’re one of those rare sci-fi manga fans, and had given up on this series (like a friend of mine), take heart!  You’ll finally get the finish of your series!

Manga in the Pub

I was listening to the Doctor Who podcast Podshock, and the hosts were talking with a con organizer about some informal one night get-togethers he organized to build up interest in the con.  They featured a guest of some sort and were held in a pub-like setting, allowing the guest and fans close and informal interactions.  And I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if manga publishers did something like this?

I’m not going to suggest doing this with Japanese guest, but for the creators here in the US.  Writers and artists of OEL manga as well as the editors, translators, and more out spoken personalities of manga publishing could be potential guests for these events.  Right now, most of these people are just names on a book or a press release, and a few show up at cons, accessible only at panels.  How cool would it be to be able to just sit down, have a drink (alcoholic or non) and just talk (or listen) to these people?  Ask them questions and hear inside stories about the production of our favorite titles, I think that would be totally cool!

By their very nature these gatherings would be small and limited, but that’s the point.  More can be said in intimate settings, and people tend to open up more.  And I think some of these people that work so hard behind the scenes deserve the recognition.  It could also help to engage fans with each other, and by giving them a real life glance into all that goes into making the manga they read, maybe get them appreciate it just a little more.

Trading Manga for Scanlations?

I’ve written before about how much I enjoy manga trading.  It’s a great way to try out a series or find volumes of older titles.  I’ve been fairly active on Mangatude and usually check for new trades every week or so.  While doing my usual check this week, there was a trade offer titled “Manga series on cd many rare ones.”  Yeah, scanlations.  This didn’t really feel right.  When I go looking to trade, I’m looking for same to same.  It might seem like a great deal, to get a bunch of different manga for one print volume, but it seems to violate the spirit of the site.

Anyone can go out and find scanlations, download them, and burn them to a CD.  It’s not the same as going out, finding and buying a manga volume.  Getting a CD full of titles doesn’t seem to have same value.  It becomes a bunch of  files that can get tossed to the wayside.  Because no work went into getting them, there’s no real value in reading them.  With trading, there’s the offer and counter trade, sometimes working out, sometimes taking more work, so even a trade that ends just costing the amount in postage has more worth.  And physical copies stare back at you, demanding you read them.  They aren’t hidden away on a disc of in a file folder to be forgotten.  I really hope this doesn’t become a trading trend.

Let The System Work

dragon-ball-1I have mixed feelings about this. Dragon Ball is being reviewed for it’s content in a Maryland school district because a 9-year-old checked it out of a elementary and middle school library. I think people are oversensitive in general and especially towards manga.  I’ll agree that Dragon Ball doesn’t really belong in the hands of a fourth grader, but I think it’s fine for a middle school student.

The first Dragon Ball series is a comedy that does contain some sexual innuendo.  The first volume does have a few questionable scenes, but I wouldn’t go so far and the Councilman from Wicomico did to describe them.  I might be able to see the “sexual innuendo between an adult and child”, with Master Roshi wanting to seen Bulma’s panties, but there is in no way anything sexual between Goku and Bulma.  Bulma is more like a big sister to Goku.  And Goku is too dense to get any kind of innuendo.

So I can see a parent getting upset at their 9-year-old bringing it home to read. So that doesn’t bother me so much.  What does is the way it was presented.  The mother of the offending 9-year-old didn’t go to the school library to complain or challenge the book, and let the school’s review committee take over the matter as it is designed to.  Nooooo, she asked to be anonymous and went to her Councilman and let him publicly decry the book with the moral indignation that only a politician can.  And the Principal, who just happened to be at the meeting for another matter, jumped in to say the book would be removed ASAP.

Why was this necessary?  Books are challenged all the time.  Why did this particular book have to get the attention of a Councilman and be publicized at a County meeting?  Does the mother and Councilman not trust the system put in place by the school to review offending books? Review committees were created to handle these issues.  They are there to make sure the whole community is served, and not just a small, vocal minority.  Let the system do it’s job.

Refining Age Ratings

This was brought up as a comment on twitter, but was also something I’d been thinking about.  Books rated All Ages aren’t necessarily meant for All Ages to read.  This really hit me as I was reading ChocoMimi, an all ages title in the Viz Kids line.  While there is nothing objectionable, or violent in the the title, it definitely wasn’t something I would chose to read as a 40-year-old.  On the flip side, Project X: Challengers: Seven Eleven is also rated all ages, for not having any objectionable material or violence, but wasn’t something anyone under the age of 20 would really care about reading.

Continue reading Refining Age Ratings

Why OEL Adaptations Matter

Back in 2008, I wrote a post about subtitles helping my younger daughter to read.  While the subtitles did help her reading improve, it didn’t do anything for her desire to read.  She still preferred playing video games and watching DVDs (granted she did much of this with subtitles/closed captions on, just because I guess), but getting her to read was still a chore.  We got her titles she showed interest in, but they never lasted.  Then, something happened over the summer.

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Astrono-manga

iya_logoThis 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.

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