This week I look at some news from Japan, what’s new at the Vizmanga.com site, and I check out 9 volumes of Bleach that cover 3 story arc, and how it’s affected by missing volumes.
After the debut of their new website for manga, Bandai Entertainment puts up some license news. They’ve announced two new titles to add to their Code Geass line. Code Geass: Knights and Code Geass: Queens are both anthologies each with a slant toward a demographic. Knights is written to appeal to the girls, and Queens is for the boys. There are several short stories that are written by different mangaka. This is good news to me, since I love the Code Geass franchise, both anime and the manga. I really like that these are anthologies, giving us not just a lot of different stories with our favorite characters, but a lot of different looks as well. I’ve grown quite fond of anthologies, and getting more narrow ones like this would be great.
Day two started out with a real breakfast. Eggs, pancakes, french toast and toast. This hotel is awesome! It’s a lot better than the fast food sandwiches we usually end up with. Didn’t make it to Stargate Universe, but we weren’t looking forward to the line, and we were tired last night.
Even though this strip is 3 years old, it still describes the experience of SDCC fairly well. The only thing that needs to be added are the lines. Yes, the infamous SDCC lines were back this year and worse than ever. We got to the con at sometime after 10am and walked the Exhibit Hall for most of the morning. My husband took lots of pictures of toys, including a few for me.
When I like a magazine enough that I want to read it every month, I subscribe to it. That’s why I get both Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat. But, sometimes I don’t quite get my renewal in on time, and that happened unfortunately to me this last April with Shonen Jump. Sooo… I missed getting an issue. May 2008. By the time I realized I wasn’t getting it, It was already gone from news stands, and both my local and online comic shop didn’t have it. No big deal, I thought, it’d show up somewhere. And it did. Finally. Two weeks ago! So I have six months worth of Shonen Jump to catch up on, because I won’t read an issue without reading the preceding chapters. Silly sounding, I know, but I want the full story, in order.
This weekend I dove back into Shonen Jump with this ill-fated issue. It would figure it was the April Fool’s issue too. Boy did I miss it! After two volumes of that overstuffed and over hyped Yen Plus, I was glad to get back into some real shonen stories and battles! It started with four chapters of Naruto. Not a lot of exciting action with Granny and Sakura fighting Sasori, but it was a good start. Two chapters of Slam Dunk followed. I’m giving this series some time, but for the moment, it’s still in the take-it-or-leave-it category. Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo I can leave, but I only have to suffer through one chapter. Yu Yu Hakusho was only two chapters, but man, they were brutal! It’s chapters like these that remind me why I got hooked on the series. One Piece got three chapters of mostly flashback, but Luffy’s revelations at the end make it worth it.
Bleach got three chapters as well, but they were the most action-packed of the whole magazine. And, I just gotta say, IKKAKU MADARAME IS TOTALLY FRICKIN’ AWESOME! The three chapters are mostly just his fight with Arrancar Trece Edorad Leones, but the fight scenes here totally rule! Ikkaku has some cool poses and moves. If you’ve ever just thought he was a side character, these chapters show how wrong you were! I was riveted for the whole three chapters! Kubo-sensei’s art only added to his awesomeness!
Then, the magazine finished with a chapter of Yu Gi Oh GX, another title I can take or leave. What made this such a thrilling read wasn’t just getting back to stories I really love. It was getting back to stories that weren’t painful to read. The Japanese side of Yen Plus doesn’t have any titles like the Shonen Jump titles. None of them pumped me and or made me so excited that I didn’t want to put the magazine down, even if my family was dying of starvation. And even if there are any in that selection that can, they won’t be given the chance. Shonen Jump is half the size, yet gives double the punch. I got 16 chapters from 7 manga instead of 12 excrusiatingly short one. But the real different between Yen Plus and Shonen Jump is that Shonen Jump felt like that from the start.
It’s another Shonen Jump edition of my Mini Musings. Expect to see a lot of these, as I read a lot of Viz. I’ll try to mix it up a little with some other pubs and some Shojo. But a look at my shelves will show more SJ than Robofish. Reviews after the cut.
These mini musings are meant to be quick reviews of manga of ongoing series, mostly titles I follow on a regular basis and don’t really need the full analysis I usually give a volume. Enjoy. Reviews after the cut.
I‘m back and mostly recovered from SDCC. I was there for three days, Fri, Sat, and Sun, with my family, so I wasn’t able to hit all the panels, but I did get to go to a couple of manga related. We got to the convention center and through registration just in time for me to go to the Shonen Jump Panel, one I was looking forward to go to. Now, I’ve talked about my feelings on the changes for Shonen Jump so far here. For over a month now, Viz has been hyping the new title to be joining Shonen Jump, with Shaman King leaving, Naruto winding down to normal, and another title ending naturally. Anyone reading the magazine knew what the ending title was, Yu Gi Oh!. That was no big surprise. And Marc Weidenbaum, editor-in-chief of the magazine didn’t leave us in suspense about what the new title was going to be. As everyone has heard by now, it’s Bleach.
I was ambivalent about this announcement at first. I like Bleach. I think it’s a really fun title, and would be a good fit with the magazine. But the more I thought about it, the less of a good idea I found this to be. Yes, I know Bleach is getting close to catching up to the Japanese releases. Eight more as of June. With the current release schedule that’s still over a year away from catching up. Not a good reason to put it in the magazine, I think. If they really wanted to slow the releases down, they could go to a 3 or 4 month release schedule just as easily. I don’t take this as a good reason. The reason given at the panel was because readers has requested it. Well, readers request a lot of things, and they aren’t always good. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is a really good example.
No, what really bothered me the about this over-hyped announcement, is that it’s just recycling a Shonen Jump title already available. I was expecting something new! I was under the impression that the changing out of titles would be for something new and fresh, not something I’ve been reading for the last two years! And it’s not like they don’t have plenty of titles to choose from either. There were plenty of manga announced licensed just before and at SDCC. The Blue Dragon manga tie-in Ral Ω Grad would have been a much better choice I think. It’s been announced for a 2008 release with only two volumes out so far. They’re going to have to space out the releases anyway, may as well have a good reason to. And at least it’s NEW!
This change really feels like a veiled attempt to get more people subscribing to Shonen Jump. Bleach is enjoying a lot of popularity right now, with the anime, and toys coming out for it. It’s following the path that Naruto did. And getting two heavy hitters in the magazine is how Shonen Jump started, with Dragonball Z and Yu Gi Oh!. But this isn’t the way the get new readers in. What worked once may not work again. We need new titles to get excited about, not something we knew we’re going to get either way.
Evolution implies something new and different occuring to move forward. This is a big step backwards. There is nothing new or exciting with the change. If our ancient ancestors chose to just keep treading over the same territory instead of expanding out all over the world and evolving, you would not be reading this blog right now. Please, Shonen Jump! Start taking steps forward again!