Category Archives: Articles

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

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.

Continue reading Manga: A Decade in Review

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?

And We Have a Winner!

Yes, my first manga giveaway has ended, and we do indeed have a winner. After the cut off of Friday evening, there were 8 contestants for the prize. My youngest daughter, bewildered when I called her to stick her hand in a pot and pull out a folded piece of paper, drew the name and made Lee the lucky winner! Congratulations!

I want to thank everyone that participated. I got some great feedback and will be implementing most of the suggestions I got. So expect to see more reviews, and I will continue with the Shonen Jump/Yen Plus Drive By reviews. And just so you know Lee, my husband does contribute reviews to my blog. They are prefaced with “Brian’s Spot” and are marked in the Review Archive with a (BS). 🙂

I also want to thank First Second and Good Comics for Kids blog for helping to make this happen.

Contest: Win a Set of Color of Earth, Water and Heaven

Color of EarthHey!  I’m holding my first contest!  Thanks to First Second Books and Good Comics for Kids, I’ll be giving away one set of this manhwa series.  To enter is simple.  Just leave a comment on this post telling me what you like to read, or read more of, on the blog; manga news, reviews, commentary/rants, e-book and digital technology reviews, etc.  I’m looking for feedback so I can improve the site however you, the readers, would like.  And you’ll get rewarded with a set of manhwa!  Winner will be drawn randomly by my very random daughter Krissy.  Deadline is next Friday.  Good Luck!

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.