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
Black God, Volume 2
Story by Dall-Young Lim, art by Sung-Woo Park
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Balancing a normal existence and an unbreakable pact with a divine being is anything but easy. Much to his chagrin, Keita is discovering this the hard way. Try as he might to distance himself from recent events, Keita can’t shake Kuro, the mototsumitama who saved his life. But when the stakes get higher and another human-mototsumitama pair comes looking for a fight-one with Keita’s childhood friend, Akane, as the prize-Keita is forced to reevaluate his attitude and stand by both his old and new friends. Who will emerge victorious?
Several different plot lines pick up in this volume. Keita and Kuro starting training, beginning with Kuro, and growing to include Keita working with her. Keita’s game coding start to take off with a company showing an interest in both the game and Keita’s skills, and the group that is searching for the doppeliners continues to reduce the thirds down to the root. I get the feeling that these three plot lines are related, but it’s hard to tell how.
Continue reading Review: Black God Volume 2
After my Christmas Haul, it’s time to make more space on my manga shelves, and that’s a boon for you! Here are the titles I have up for sale this week on eBay:
Buso Renkin vol 5-8
Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President vol 1-5 (Complete)
Inuyasha vol 6-10
Princess Resurrection vol 1-3
Good luck, and happy bidding!
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.
Continue reading This Week in Manga 12/26/09-01/01/2010
I’ve never written a “Best of ” list since I never thought I knew enough to make such choices, but I’ve decided to make the attempt this year. All of the titles on the list are books I’ve read at least one volume of, and most started this year. The few exceptions should be obvious.
Continue reading Best Manga of 2009
By Satoru Takmiya
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Teen
Sudou Mikuzu has a very special talent – she can see ghosts. And because of this predisposition, she’ become a magnet for all sorts of unwelcome monsters. Luckily for her she’s just met Seto, a friendly, cross-dressing young exorcist. Sudou needs protection from all the creepy phantoms bugging her, and Seto needs to practice his exorcism skills. consequently, the pair decides to team up and help each other. In return, Sudou promises to back a cake every time a ghost gets zapped!
At first glance, Heaven’s Will appears to be a typical supernatural romance title with a cross-dressing twist. Once you start reading though, you’ll find that it’s actually the start of an interesting that should have been given more of a chance to develop. The characters really grown on you, and the story, which has some sad twists to set it up, could have gone on to do so much more.
Continue reading Review: Heaven's Will
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!
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?
So, what’s you get for Christmas?
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.
Continue reading This Week in Manga 12/20-12/25/2009
Tokyopop has been under fire a lot recently, some times rightfully so. But their catalog of titles shouldn’t be. For whatever reason, some of their really good and entertaining titles haven’t gotten the love and attention they deserve. I want to rectify some of that now. Unfortunately, some of the titles in this list are out of print, and incomplete. But they may still be available through online retailers and places like eBay or Half.com.
Continue reading 7 Underrated Tokyopop Titles
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.
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.
Continue reading This Week in Manga 12/12-12/18/09