Tag Archives: Manga

Persona 4 Main Manga Licensed by Udon Entertainment

persona4-manga-vol1Persona is a video game franchise that has built quite a following here in the west. It has also received quite a few manga adaptations, most notably for Persona 3 and Persona 4. Kodansha recently licensed the manga adaptation of the 3DS game adaptations Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth P3/4 which crosses over the two incarnations. But there are also adaptations of the original games. This is what Udon Entertainment announced picking up.

Persona 4 follows a group of high school students in the rural town of Inaba who start out forming a group to investigate a series of grisly murders. As they work to uncover the truth and stop any more murders from happening, they discover they might be connected to an urban legend of about a paranormal television phenomenon called the “Midnight Channel.” Their simple investigation turns dangerous, as they go on an action-packed journey of self discovery that crosses two worlds, and dark truths will shake our heroes to the very core, while helping them discover an inner strength they never had.

My daughter was really into Persona for a while, and told me most of the video game’s plot. If the manga is a faithful adaptation, then the series will be filled with plenty of suspense, horror, comedy and drama. I’m really curious to check this out, after hearing so much about it. I’ll never play the game, so this is the next best thing.

There are currently 10 volumes of Persona 4 out in Japan. Udon Entertainment will begin their releases in September, and the series will come out bimonthly. Maybe if this series does well, we will see the manga adaptation of Persona 3, done by the same artist, Shuji Sogabe, which was teased as ending with volume 9 back in March.

 

 

PR: Viz Media’s Panels and Booth Activities for SDCC 2015

Didn’t I just write about this last week? Oh, wait, that was for Anime Expo! SDCC usually doesn’t come this early, and it leaves fans and companies with barely any down time before they’re packing up for the next show. At least it’s only a 2 hour drive between LA and San Diego. With SDCC being the bigger of the two cons, Viz has more activities planned for SDCC, with more giveaways at their booth, more panels and some con exclusives that SDCC is becoming just as known for. Badger a friend who’s going to get you some.

Continue reading PR: Viz Media’s Panels and Booth Activities for SDCC 2015

PR: Viz Media to Bring Ultraman Manga Creators to SDCC 2015

When Viz Media announced the license of the new Ultraman manga, it was a big deal by itself. But this new announcement that they are bringing the creators of the manga to SDCC just levels the awesome up a notch. The new series, which will be available for purchase early at the con along with a collectible Ultraman figure, will have its own panel, and there will be plenty of opportunities to have that early release manga signed with several autograph sessions. It’s too late to try to get into SDCC now, but if you know someone going to the con, badger them incessantly to attend these events for you, and live vicariously through them!

Continue reading PR: Viz Media to Bring Ultraman Manga Creators to SDCC 2015

Weekly Top Ten – July 4, 2015

Weekly Top Ten Manga

Every week, the New York Times and Amazon posts the top ten bestselling books. The New York Times gets their numbers from print sales from retailers, while Amazon and Vizmanga.com calculates their own numbers. Once a month the Nielsen Bookscan posts their top twenty graphic novels of which manga is included. Offered here is a listing of these books with their status this week compared with the previous week, and some way-off analysis of the activity.

NYTBS

 

New York Times Bestseller List for the Week Ending June 27, 2015

  1. Mobile Suit Gundam 10Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Vol 10     
  2. Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1      ↓ 1
  3. Naruto Vol 70     ↓ 1
  4. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↑ 2
  5. Deadman Wonderland Vol 9     ↵ 2
  6. Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon Vol 1     ↓ 1
  7. Seraph of the End Vol 5      ↓ 4
  8. Noragami Vol 5     
  9. Assassination Classroom  Vol 4     ↓ 5
  10. Big Hero Six Vol 1     

A new title debuts this week as Vertical Comics’ Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Vol 10 takes the top spot, pushing Viz Media’s Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1 and Naruto vol 70 down one each. Deadman Wonderland Vol 9 makes a return while Shonen Jump titles Seraph of the End Vol 5 and Assassination Classroom Vol 4 both take steep falls, 4 and 5 places respectfully. Kondansha’s Noragami Vol 5 debuts at #8 while Yen Press’ Big Hero Six Vol 1 continues to just hold on, digging in at #10. Is it seeing the last of its days on the top ten after 14 weeks, as it seems Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past seems to have?

Amazon

 

Amazon.com for the Week Ending July 4, 2015

  1. TokyoGhoul-GN01Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1    
  2. My Hero Academia Vol 1     
  3. Sword Art Online Progressive Novel Vol 2     ↑ 3
  4. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↓ 2
  5. Naruto Vol 70     ↓ 1
  6. Assassination Classroom Vol 5     
  7. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Vol 10     ↓ 2
  8. Naruto Vol 71     ↓ 1
  9. Nisekoi Vol 10     
  10. Bleach Vol 64     

Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1 holds onto the top spot at Amazon, but several pre-orders make their debut. My Hero Academia Vol 1 and Assassination Classroom Vol 5 join Naruto Vol 71 for an August release date, while more recent pre-orders Nisekoi Vol 10 and Bleach Vol 64, set to come out next week, debut at the bottom. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Vol 10 falls 2 but stays on the list while Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past also falls 2 but stays in the top 5. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past shows it has a bigger online audience than in stores, while Attack on Titan Vol 1 has a stronger track record in stores than online.

∗ = New Release
↑ = Title moved up specified # of spots
↓ = Title moved down specified # of spots
↔ = Title didn’t moved from previous week
↵ = Title returned after dropping off list with total # of weeks (when available)

Prophecy Volume 2

As Paperboy starts to issue video warnings of crimes they plan to commit against ever-larger targets of internet outrage, Lieutenant Yoshino and the Anti Cyber Crimes Division attempts to get on step ahead of the newspaper-masked terror group. But even as they contend with the authorities, the greatest threat to Paperboy’s master plan may come from a totally unexpected place–within…

Prophecy Volume 2
Prophecy 2By Tetsuya Tsutsui
Publisher: Vertical Comics
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Thriller
Price: $12.95
Rating: ★★★★½

I really enjoyed the first volume of Prophecy and found it hard not to want to cheer on Paperboy over the ACCD who were trying to catch them. It seems they are always one step ahead of the police as they play a long game where the goal is still unknown, and they continue their mast manipulation of social media to reach it.

Once again, I am finding myself sympathizing with the antagonists of this series, Paperboy. They take on an environmentalist group called “The Sea Guardians”, who target Japanese fishing boats in the name of the environment, but are made up of some really slimy people. Like the “justice” they administered in volume 1, Paperboy’s vigilantism feels wholly appropriate and well deserved. But this act, along with their previous acts, are just more social engineering. Their huge success with “The Sea Guardians” creates copycats that then creates a backlash against an open internet. But the question remains, to what end?

“Gates”, the leader of Paperboy, shows himself to be a master strategist as well as programmer. He has been planning this for three years, and while he couldn’t predict the details, he has predicted what certain people would do and how they would react to their incidents. This leads up to the surprising announcement at the end of the volume. While I have no doubt “Gates” would do it, I’m still left wondering what their endgame is, because I can’t believe it is that.

Trouble is stirring in the ranks of Paperboy as one of their members, “Nobita”, starts to have second thoughts and essentially wants out of the plan. Some of this background is shown as is what he’s been going recently, that seems to be fueling his change of heart. He makes his move at the end as well.

ACCD continues to try to piece Paperboy together. Yoshino tries to resign when who she thinks is the wrong Paperboy is caught in her sting. Ichikawa has the completely wrong read of Paperboy, making him dismissive of them. It’s Okamoto, the non-techie, who starts to see behind the social media flash, and that Paperboy’s motives are not all about notoriety. He also has dogs at home that he cares for, so that up his estimation with me. It would be even higher if they were cats.

Prophecy Volume 2 is a good middle volume that pushing both plot and character forward while retaining the hook that makes volume 3 a must have. Paperboy seems to have legitimately good reasons for doing what they are doing, but it is the endgame that will show if the end actually justifies the means. “Gates” seems certain. “Nobita” does not. I’ll just have to wait to see who is right. Prophecy continues to be a great thriller and a must read.

Review copy provided by publisher.

This Week’s Manga: 2×4

This Week's Manga

PandoraHeartsCauscusRaceIt’s like Noah’s Ark this week, as publishers march out their new releases 2×2 just before Anime Expo. Kodansha Comics releases the final volume of Maria The Virgin Witch. I’ve seen mixed reviews on this series, so it’s hard to tell whether this is good or bad. Fans will know either way this week. Also out from Kodansha is their Science of Attack On Titan reference book. This one might be interesting for new information about the world of Attack on Titan. Seven Seas debuts a new series, Non Non Biyori, a slice of life comedy about city girl Hotaru Ichijo and her having to readjust to a slower, rural life style. This series looks like it would fit in with the likes of Yotsuba& and Barakamon.

Just in time for Anime Expo, Veritcal Comics releases the art book of creator Makoto Shinkai, Sky Longing For Memories. He is both a film director and manga artist. Vertical released his manga 5 CM Per Second, which also has an anime adaptation. The series has done extraordinarily well for Vertical. Other anime of his include Voices of a Distant Star, The Place Promised in Our Early Days, and Garden of Words, which Vertical also released the manga adaptation of last year. Yen Press has another highly anticipated life novel out this week. Pandora Heart Caucus Race is a short story collection that delves deeper into the four great houses, and features not only new facts about the world, but also manga shorts by Jun Mochizuki, the title’s creator. I liked Pandora Hearts well enough that I’m looking forward to this novel.

Full List per Diamond Distributors:

KODANSHA COMICS
Maria The Virgin Witch Volume 3 GN, $10.99
Science Of Attack On Titan MMPB, $10.99

SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
Centaur’s Life Volume 6 GN, $12.99
Non Non Biyori Volume 1 GN, $12.99

VERTICAL COMICS
Sky Longing For Memories The Art Of Makoto Shinkai SC, $34.95
Witchcraft Works Volume 5 GN, $12.95

YEN PRESS
Pandora Hearts Caucus Race Novel Volume 1 SC, $14.00
Sword Art Online Novel Progressive Volume 2 SC, $14.00

Shigeru Mizuki’s Kitaro Returns with 7 More Volumes

kitaro_coverssmBack in 2013, Drawn and Quarterly introduced Western readers to Kitaro, a yokai boy who grew up in a grave yard and is the last of the Ghost Clan. Kitaro is the creation of Shigeru Mizuki, the mangaka who is credited with the yokai boom that started back in the 1960s. The 400+ volume was a collection of some of Kitaro’s best stories and was named as one of YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens in 2014.

Drawn Quarterly has now announced that they will be releasing 7 more volumes of Kitaro, and packaging them in more “kid-friendly” size and price. Kitaro follows the adventures of an inhuman boy who straddles the line between the world of the living and the supernatural. He helps both humans and yokai, who are troubled by either other humans and yokai. The first volume announced is “The Birth of Kitaro”, and features stories about Kitaro’s origins, introduces popular recurring character Neko Musume, a girl who turns into a cat when she is hungry or angry, as well as drawing heavily on Japanese folklore. Kitaro will have to take on legendary yokai like Nopperabo and Makura Gaeshi, as well as recurring villain Gyuki.

The first volume will be out in March 2016, with successive new volumes coming out in the spring and fall through 2018. The other six titles have been announced as:

  • Kitaro Meets Nurarihyon
  • The Great Tanuki War
  • Kitaro’s Strange Adventures
  • Kitaro the Vampire Slayer
  • Kitaro’s Yokai Battles
  • Trial of Kitaro

Each volume will be about 150 pages and will retain for $12.95. It appears each volume will be a collection, collecting similar stories to create a theme. The stories will all be translated by Zack Davisson, who also translated the first volume, and who is a big avocate for Kitaro and Shigeru Mizuki. Critics have wondered why Drawn and Quarterly would release more Kitaro after the first volume didn’t sell as well, but the first volume was designed for older fans and collectors that can afford a higher price point for a thicker volume. By making the books smaller and at a lower price point, it can attract younger fans who have been discovering yokai their other manga like Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan and Black Bird, and may be looking for similar titles. And you know it’s not just teens that will be picking up these books. Older fans have been clamoring for more Kitaro, and finally their wish has been granted.

PR: Viz Media’s Panels and Booth Activities for Anime Expo 2015

It’s the 4th of July next week, so that means just one thing; it’s time for Anime Expo! I’ve never been to Anime Expo, with my diverse interests and limitation of one convention a year being taken up by Wondercon, but it seems I’ll have plenty of time to plan to possibly attend since it’s been announced AX will be staying in LA for the next 5 years. Viz Media likes to come down for the con, and they’ve got plenty of things planned, including pre-street manga, exclusive Yu-Gi-Oh cards, raffle for Shojo Beat’s 10th Anniversary, panel and autograph session with mangaka Julietta Suzuki and a day just for Sailor Moon! Start making your plans now if you intend on attending.

Continue reading PR: Viz Media’s Panels and Booth Activities for Anime Expo 2015

PR: Twin Star Exorcists From Viz Media to Debut

Despite my growing finickiness with shonen titles, this one sounds like it might be fun. I naturally gravitate toward supernatural titles, and with both action and romantic elements, it sounds like it might not be too bad. I do enjoy titles where the couples are competitive, so I hope these two get strung along for a while, but please don’t let it turn into a harem like Nisekoi.

Continue reading PR: Twin Star Exorcists From Viz Media to Debut

Weekly Top Ten – June 27, 2015

Weekly Top Ten Manga

Every week, the New York Times and Amazon posts the top ten bestselling books. The New York Times gets their numbers from print sales from retailers, while Amazon and Vizmanga.com calculates their own numbers. Once a month the Nielsen Bookscan posts their top twenty graphic novels of which manga is included. Offered here is a listing of these books with their status this week compared with the previous week, and some way-off analysis of the activity.

NYTBS

 

New York Times Bestseller List for the week ending June 20, 2015

  1. TokyoGhoul-GN01Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1     
  2. Naruto Vol 70     ↓ 1
  3. Seraph of the End Vol 5   
  4. Assassination Classroom  Vol 4     ↑ 1
  5. Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon Vol 1     ↑ 2
  6. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↑ 2
  7. Seraph of the End Vol 1 ↵ 2
  8. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↑ 2
  9. Death Note Black Vol 1     ↵ 6
  10. Big Hero Six Vol 1     ↓ 1

After so much stability last week, things really get shaken up this week. There is a new top title as Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1 debuts at #1, pushing Naruto Vol 70 back down to the #2 position. Seraph of the End Vol 5 debuts right behind Naruto, bringing Vol 1 back with it as well. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past, Attack on Titan Vol 1 and Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon Vol 1 all take two steps up in their respective positions. Death Note Black Vol 1, the 2-in-1 re-release of the series makes a notable return, just cracking the top ten at #9. Viz strongly dominates this week, holding 7 spots, leaving Yen Press and Kodansha to split the last three 2-1 respectively.

Amazon

 

Amazon.com for the week ending June 27, 2015

  1. TokyoGhoul-GN01Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1    
  2. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past    
  3. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↑ 1
  4. Naruto Vol 70     ↓ 1
  5. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Vol 10     
  6. Sword Art Online Progressive Novel Vol 2     
  7. Naruto Vol 71     
  8. Fragments of Horror     
  9. Attack on Titan Vol 16     
  10. Uzumaki 3-in-1     ↓ 2

Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1 and Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past hold their positions in the top two spots this week. Attack on Titan Vol 1 and Naruto Vol 70 merely switch places, making Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Vol 10 the only new comer to the top 5. Junji Ito’s horror short story collection, Fragments of Horror cracks the top 10, coming in at #8, while the pre-orders for new volumes of Naruto and Attack on Titan take their place on the list. I always find it fascinating when a pre-order for a title, especially one so far into the future like Naruto Vol 71 is, appears on the list. Was the cliffhanger in Vol 70 really that good?

Viz Digital

 

Vizmanga.com for the week of June 16, 2015

  1. Tokyo Ghoul 2Tokyo Ghoul Vol 2
  2. One-Punch Man Vol 7
  3. Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1
  4. Rosario+Vampire Season II Vol 14
  5. Girls Bravo Vol 4
  6. Naruto Vol 69
  7. Dragon Ball Z Vol 1
  8. Dragon Ball Vol 1
  9. One-Punch Man Vol 2
  10. Grenadier Vol 2

Viz makes a surprise return to the weekly top ten. It’s been quite a few weeks since last we saw a top ten from them. Topping their digital only list is Tokyo Ghoul Vol 2 which has gotten an early digital release, and is followed by the newest One-Punch Man Vol 7. Dragon Ball and it’s sequel/continuation series Dragon Ball Z return with both their Vol 1s charting. Also charting are two titles from their digital Select line, Girls Bravo and Grenadier, both previous Tokyopop print titles. Also coming soon is another Tokyopop Alumni, Aion, the follow-up series to Chibi Vampire by Yuna Kagesaki. I didn’t think it was as good, but that’s just me.

∗ = New Release
↑ = Title moved up specified # of spots
↓ = Title moved down specified # of spots
↔ = Title didn’t moved from previous week
↵ = Title returned after dropping off list with total # of weeks (when available)

Sparkler Monthly Kickstarts Year Three Campaign

Sparkler Kickstarter

I’ve made no bones about my support for Sparkler Monthly, the online monthly female-gaze magazine that started two years ago. I loved the idea of getting books, comics and audio dramas that were marketed directly for me, and I’ve been a subscriber since the 4th issue. Sparkler Monthly is a subscriber supported magazine, and for Year Two, they did a subscription drive to try to up membership to increase material in the magazine as well as advances to the creators. The drive is currently at 231 members, having made it past the first two tiers. But for the magazine to really be self-sustaining, a minimum of 1000 subscribers were needed for Year Three to go forward. While the move to 231 was quite an improvement, it wasn’t really enough. But instead of throwing in the towel or downsizing, the resourceful women at Chromatic Press, the publisher of Sparkler Monthly, have put together a Kickstarter campaign to help fund Year Three.

Over 40 days, Chromatic Press is looking to raise $15,000 to put out 12 issues of the magazine as well as new surprises in bonus content, as well as experimenting with different formats and distribution. There are plenty of reward tiers, most of them relating to the magazine. Basically, a pledge to the Kickstarter is like paying a subscription, but with a few more benefits. They are set up in groups, letting backers choose how they want their content; serial, eBooks, or print. The lower tiers feature eBooks and/or paperbacks of the backers choice. At the $50 tier, the magazine subscriptions kick in, with eBooks and download access to the previous two years, as well as their adult line Cherry Bomb becoming available.

For fans of either the stories or creators, there are also special tiers that include commissions by the creators. Starting at the $170 tier, backers get all the benefits of a VIP subscriber, as well as a commission from the following creators: Kaiju (Art; The Ring of Saturn, Mahou Josei Chimaka), Alexis Cooke (Art; Dinner Ditz, For Peace), Onorobo (Art; Dusk in Kalevia), Jen Lee Quick (Art; Off*Beat, Gatesmith), Jenn Grunigen (Story; Skyglass), Lianne Sentar (Story; Tokyo Demons, Shut In, Shut Out), Romy-Chan (Art; Tokyo Demons). All of the creators have volunteered to make these tiers possible. There is also one tier that is sponsored by a fan of the magazine.

The people behind Sparkler Magazine are really amazing, and I’m glad to see them continuing to push to keep the magazine going. They are great with their time, willing to interact with both fans and prospective creators not only through the forums, but in social media as well. To be honest, I was a little worried when I saw how slow the subscription drive was going, and that things might get cut back. If I was better off financially, I would totally go in for the $165 I WANNA READ THIS AS A MAGAZINE: YEAR 1-3 COMPLETE VIP TIER so I could get eBooks of the stories that started before the magazine. I don’t mind reading on a computer screen, but I don’t want to be restricted to being online. Let me download them and read them at my own pace! But for now, I will have to suffice with being a monthly subscriber and show my support as one of the 231.

I recommend people check out the Kickstarter and pledge if they’re interested. All of the back issues are available to read for free at Sparklermonthly.com, so you can try before you buy. I’ve read all of the comics that have run so far, but have fallen behind on the novels and audio dramas. It just means I always have something to look forward to. I highly recommend Orange Junk, a recent comic addition. I also really enjoyed the short comic Shut In, Shut Out. Knights-Errant, Witch’s Quarry and Windrose have been great reads as well. As of this writing, the project is at 30% after only 3 days, with several of the commission tiers already gone, or nearly gone. Hopefully this bodes well for the project and the magazine reaches new audiences.

Demon From Afar Volume 1

An imperial capital in an era of splendor and romanticism… Orphaned in an earthquake, Sorath is taken in by Baron Kamichika, the lord of “Blood Blossom Manor.” There, he pledges eternal friendship with Garan, the Baron’s heir, and Kiyora, Garan’s fiancée. But their friendship turns grisly by events none of them could foresee. The tender feelings each secretly harbors, the machinations of Baron Kamichika and his strange and seductive female companion, and a fateful encounter with a young girl with bizarre powers…all draw them to the Walpurgis Night and the nightmare’s climax!

Demon From Afar Volume 1
Demon From Afar 1By Kaori Yuki
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Supernatural/Horror
Price: $18.00
Rating: ★★★½☆

In general, I’ve enjoyed more of Kaori Yuki’s works than not. Her blend of bishonen characters with elements of horror and a touch of humor usually appeal to me. In Demon From Afar, all of the elements are there, they’re just not striking the right chord for me.

Sorath, the protagonist, is a boy with no memory of his past and is saved by Garan, the heir to Baron Kamichika, after a terrible earthquake strikes the capital. There really isn’t anything remarkable about Sorath. He is devoted to Garan, taking responsibility for anything Garan might get punished for, and always holding himself back to make Garan look good. He acts as a bodyguard to Garan and his fiancée Kiyora. But beyond that, nothing seems to motivate him. He is content in his role, not interested in finding the meaning behind the symbol on his hand or learning about his past. He’s the character we are supposed to be most invested in, but there’s nothing interesting about him.

Garan and Kiyora aren’t much better. Kiyora seems more like comedy relief with her inept social skills and love of eating. Of course, she is more interested in Sorath than her fiancée, and Garan is oblivious to the differing feelings. Baron Kamichika is about as one-dimensional as the paper he’s printed on. The evil villain who care about no one but his own ambitions, not even his own heir. Everything and everyone is a tool for him to use to reach his goal; immortality. I didn’t really hate him as much as I hated his shallow motives. His demon servant Liece/Mephistopheles wasn’t much better, playing along, but helping to betray the Baron at the end.

What I did like was some of the horror elements. The belief by locals that the spider lilies that surround the Baron’s manor are red from soaking up human blood was made all the more creepy by the discovery that Sorath makes when he finally starts investigating what the Baron is up to. I also like the idea of the yin/yang miko, with the darker one becomes, the more pure the other. The way Noella was restored wasn’t what I was expecting and definitely one the disturbing side.

I didn’t dislike Demon From Afar, but it didn’t hook me either. This first volume feels like a prologue. It’s setting up the background and characters before getting to the real story. It feels more like it’s just spinning its wheels as it doesn’t set Sorath up with any kind of goal or motivation. The higher price for this volume is because it is printed in hardcover with a dust jacket. There is one color plate. More would have been better. Overall, it is a nice presentation and worth the extra dollars. I’ll give this series another chance and check out the next volume, but something had better happen soon.