Well, it finally happened. After all the hype over the last few months, Apple finally announced the device that has been touted as a game changer; the savior of print; the e-reader to end all e-readers; the iPad. Yeah.
Ikki Takes a Holiday
You might have noticed that the Ikki Comix website hasn’t had any updates for a while. Well, that’s because they’re taking the holidays off. There’s no word about when the updates will return, and hopefully this is just what they say, just an intermission and not a break that becomes a hiatus. Ikki’s got some great titles that deserve the exposure that the website gives them. So take this as an opportunity to get caught up!
I’ve decided that Fridays at Manga Xanadu will for now on be Tech Friday! I’ll post all my tech/gadget type stories on this day from now on. To inaugurate this, let’s take a look at the newest story about the Kindle; it’s getting apps.
That’s right. You can’t have a device that connects to the net anymore without having some sort of app store to go with it. And the Kindle is apparently no different. With CES just recently past, and the Apple iMyth–err iSlate to be announced next week, Amazon has to do something to keep to not only stay competitive, but keep their e-Reader on top, with a wave of new devices threatening to wash them away. And apps is the new, hip thing.
Some Advice for Bloggers and Reviewers
Brigid of Mangablog first lists some good tips on how to make you blog more user friendly and possibly improve your Google ranking! Many of them are the same that I’ve heard on the tech podcasts I listen to, so you can be sure the advice is sound. And then found via Twitter, Deb Aoki of About.Manga blog has some sound tips for manga reviewers:
- manga reviewing tip #1: “Did you like it or not? I should have some idea whether it’s worth buying or not after reading your review”
- manga reviewing tip #2: “grab my attention in the first 1-2 paragraphs & give me a reason to keep reading, or I’ll just click away.”
- manga reviewing tip #3: “write like you’re having fun, not writing a term paper.”
- manga reviewing tip #4: “yes, by all means tell me what the story is about — but can you skip the rehash of the entire book?”
Solicitations made the next day has brought the count from 4 to 19. You can check Deb’s twitter feed for them all. There are a lot of good suggestions, though not all are practical for a short review of a title. But I was glad to see that readers do want to see ratings on reviews. Other bloggers have professed an aversion to them, but as I reader I appreciate them, which is why I include them with my own. I hope people find my ratings consistant, as that is something I strive for.
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.
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.
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.
The End of Time in Japan
Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ manga series will end serialization with the January issue of LaLa DX. Haruka, which was licensed by Viz and was serialized in Shojo Beat until the magazine’s cancellation, is a reverse harem manga and based on a playstation game. The series, which started in 2000 will end at 16 volumes. Here in the US, Viz has released the first 6 so far. Haruka was a series I enjoyed in Shojo Beat, but found the collected volumes to be less interesting. It remains to be seen if the series can continue without the support of Shojo Beat. I think it will be on a long release schedule. It’s not a bad title, but it’s not a great one either.
Getting to Know You
Manga Views, the website that brings manga reviews all together in one place has started a feature about the people putting up the reviews. They will be posting profiles of manga bloggers. Just answer a few questions and the whole world will know about you! The first has already gone up. It’s Ed Sizemore of the Manga Worth Reading Blog. Check it out and all the other great things going on there!
Yu* Must Go
The January 2010 issue of Shonen Jump USA marks another change in the magazine. Yu Yu Hakusho, one of the first 5 titles to debut with the magazine ends in this issue. This makes it the only other title from the debut line up to complete it’s full run. Sandland, a single volume title by Akira Toriyama was the other. Yu-Gi-Oh GX “graduates” from SJ this month as well, going graphic novel only now. So much for “there’ll always be a Yu-Gi-Oh title in Shonen Jump.” And of course, the long awaited One Piece jump starts in this issue. I haven’t cared for some of the changes to SJ in the past, but a natural end like Yu Yu Hakusho is the way it should be.
Pop Japan Tours – The Artists Editon
Deb Aoki of About.com:Manga blog went to Japan through Pop Japan Tours with several other artists to participate in Comitia and do the tourist thing. They put together an anthology called Journeys to sell there. Deb has chronicled two of the days so far with photo galleries and more days to come. Check out her extensive posts for that “living vicariously” feeling!
It’s hard to believe, but this week marks Manga Xanadu’s second anniversary. I hope everyone has enjoyed reading my posts from the last year. I set myself a schedule of 3 times a week, Monday, Wednesday & Friday, and with the addition of the This Week In Manga, one on the weekends, and have actually kept with it! I’m rather proud of that. It can be hard to be consistent, especially with RL and other commitments. But, I’ve done my best and I hope you’ve been able to take away something from all my random ranting.
Over the past year, I think I’ve fallen behind on reviews for this site, concentrating on more commentary. E-books and related technology have gotten a lot of coverage and remain among my most popular hits from search engines. I will continue to cover this ever-evolving topic. There is a definite future in e-books, one we shouldn’t ignore. Searches for All Ages books have also remained high on the list. Hopefully more teachers, librarians and parents are looking at manga as another avenue to get kids reading. Manga is still misunderstood, and people still need to be educated about it. Libraries have been under fire, especially in the last few months. They need our support, and I am more than happy to give them any and all I can.
There have been some changes to the site, though no major overhauls. I’ve started to add more personal things to the site, with my personal twitter feed and my other hobby, cross-stitch. I may be adding some non-manga reviews int he future as my reading of audio books expands, as does my desire to share the good ones.
I’ve been keeping up with my other projects, Manga Village and Good Comics for Kids, surprisingly. But it helps to work with a great group of people, which I do at both. Having gotten into a good groove, I hope to continue with it, and that you’ll continue with me.