Tag Archives: Manga

12 Days of Manga: Day 10

“On the Tenth day of Christmas, Tokyopop gave to me…more avatars!”

By popular request it seems, Tokyopop has created two more of their holiday avatars.  These two are from Dramacon and Fools Gold.  You can grab them know at the Tokyopop website along with the previous avatars.  Collect the whole set!

Once again, these will be available for the weekend.  Check back again Monday, after 5pm PST here or Tokyopop.com to see the next gift.  We’re down to the last two days.  Let’s hope Tokyopop makes them worth it.

Golgo 13 in To Love-Ru – Trouble -?

ANN has reported that two new anime series’ for the spring have been announced that are based on manga; Golgo 13 by Takao Saito and To Love-Ru -Trouble- by Saki Hasemi and Kentaro Yabuki.

golgo-13.jpgManly men can rejoice that one of their idols is finally getting his own series. Golgo 13 is about an amoral assassin that takes on assignments from all over the globe. This series started in the 1960’s, and is still published today. It’s 147th volume was published on December 5 in Japan. Duke Togo, code name Golgo 13, is a crack shot and a magnet for the ladies. He can pop off a target in one panel and then score with a beautiful woman in the next. Few men are more manly than Golgo 13. But for all his manliness, Golgo 13 has never had his own series. He’s only had a live action movie and 2 animated movies. Finally, he gets to come into his own. Viz Media has published 12 volumes of Golgo 13’s adventures under their Viz Signature line.

to-love-ru.jpgTo Love-Ru -Trouble- is a sci-fi romance comedy drawn by Kentaro Yabuki, best known here for his Black Cat series, also being published by Viz. It just started publication last year, shortly after the Black Cat series ended and has 5 volumes out. It is about Rito, who can’t get up the nerve to tell Haruna he loves her. So, while he’s in the bath, an alien named Lala appears before him, so begins the classic love triangle of boy, girl he loves, and alien who loves him. This series is slightly risque, so if it were to be licensed by Viz (after Black Cat is complete) it would probably be in their Shonen Jump Advanced line. With an anime coming out for it now, I wouldn’t doubt if Viz started to take a series look at licensing this manga. And being a fan of Urusei Yatsura, I would definitely take a look at this series.

12 Days of Manga: Day 8

“On the Eighth day of Christmas, Tokyopop gave to me…Pantheon High vol 1!”

pantheon.jpgYeah! More manga! I read the first chapter of this, and have been wanting to read the whole thing! Now I can! And you can too. But just until 5pm PST. Check it out, and then check out vol 2 which comes out in January. Something to spend your Christmas money on!

Check back here or at Tokyopop.com for the next gift.

12 Days of Manga: Day 5

“On the Fifth day of Christmas, Tokyopop gave to me, Biiiiizenghast Vol 1!”

For the whole weekend you can read Bizenghast vol 1. I’d really encourage people to checkBizenghast Vol 1 out this series. It’s very good, involving riddles that must be solved to put spirits to rest. I enjoyed it anyway.  And it also goes over the usual 3 volume model of most Tokyopop OEL!

Check back here Sunday night/Monday or go to Tokyopop.com for the next gift!

12 Days of Manga: Day 1

Fools Gold Vol 1“On the first day of Christmas, Tokyopop gave to me…Fools Gold Vol. 1!”

For the holidays and in honors of it 10 year anniversary, Tokyopop is making available full volumes of their original manga through their manga reader. Starting today until 5PM PST, you can read the first volume of Fools Gold by Amy Reeder Haley, a previous RSoM winner. Every weekday after, a new volume will be available to read.

This is a good time to check out some of the OEL manga that Tokyopop’s been doing without risking your pocketbook. The manga reader is easy to use, and works in both IE and Firefox. And how can you say no to free manga? I know I can’t! And you never know, you might actually find yourself liking a title! So keep checking here or the Tokyopop website for updates!

Beginnings and Endings

Five and a half years ago, Viz put out a sampler at the San Diego Comic Con for a new manga anthology; Shonen Jump. Anchored by Dragonball Z and Yu-Gi-Oh!, Shonen Jump introduced us to new titles such as Naruto, Shaman King and One Piece at only $20 for 12 issues. Ah…those were the days.

The December Issue featured some important milestones. Besides heralding in the 5thcover60_new1.jpg year of the magazine, it had the first Naruto story Masashi Kishimoto wrote. This Naruto and his world was very different from the one we know now. A “Proto-Naruto” is you will. Instead of being a ninja-in-training with the spirit of the 9-Tails Fox Spirit in him, Naruto is the son of the 9-Tails Fox. He has been raised by the last living warrior that fought his father, who is also a Yokai. Naruto has not been able to make any human friends, as he has been a mean-spirited trickster to them. The warrior sends Naruto from the mountain temple where they have been living, and tells him he can not return until he has made a human friend and brings him back to the mountain. The rest of the story is following Naruto as he makes his first journey into the outside world, one that is like ours in many ways.

I really enjoyed this story, and this version of Naruto. While I do like the Naruto he became, the 9-Tails fox Naruto was a lot of fun too. The two are very similar, except that the proto-Naruto didn’t have the stigma Naruto has. He bears no grudge, and has nothing to prove to anyone. It seemed if the story had continued it would have been about Proto-Naruto’s journey of discovery as he meets new people, makes friends, and presumably fight some foes. I really like stories like Dragonball by Akira Toriyama and O-Parts Hunter by Seishi Kishimoto (Masashi’s twin brother), which have the same premise. I would have enjoyed following the Proto-Naruto’s adventures. I’m glad Viz gave us this glance into Naruto’s past.

The other big feature in this issue was the final chapter of Yu-Gi-Oh!. While not completely serialized in the magazine, (the entire Duelist storyline was published in graphic novels only), it did run uninterrupted for the 5 years to end here. When Yu-Gi-Oh! was announced for the magazine, I immediately wrote it off. I’d only seen and heard about the Duelist storyline which is the one that animated. Imagine my surprise when I actually started reading it, and found the first arc to be really good! The stories and use of situations to come up with Shadow Games was really entertaining. I will gladly recommend the first 7 volumes of this series.

Admittedly, I wasn’t too happy with the sudden jump to Millenium World, but enough was explained about Duelists’ end that I could still follow along. Millenium World was also good, as it was spent mostly in the Ancient Egypt of “Other Yugi”‘s memory. The final battle of the series pits Yugi against “Other Yugi”, the pharaoh Atem. The Endgame would decide the fate of the Pharoah’s soul; to remain in the real world, or move on to the next. It was hard to chose who to root for in this story. I didn’t want Atem to leave. I liked him better than Yugi. I wanted him to remain undefeated. But at the same time, I wanted to see Atem move on as he should to the next world. It was a satisfying ending anyway. When it’s not only about the Duel Monsters game, Yu-Gi-Oh was a good story with a compelling plot and interesting characters. It’s worth the time to read it.

Other notes; The preview of Slam Dunk was nice, but I think I’m passing on this one. In Hikaru no Go, the pro test is finally over. The nail biting tension that the writer created was intense. It was an excellent read. This series is another must read. Bleach‘s second full issue gives us some background on Ichigo’s dad, and where Ichigo’s powers may have come from. I’m still not happy with it being moved to serialization… In One Piece, Luffy and the others are still on Drum Island, but that arc seems to be wrapping up. Yu Yu Hakusho has felt very tired to me lately. After the long fight tournament, it’s time to jump right into another fight. Fighting manga’s not my favorite. Yu Yu Hakusho has become a prine example of why. With Yu Gi Oh gone, we are left with GX. This series hasn’t done anything to endear itself to me. But it’s still better than Bobobo-bo-bobo. I don’t even want to think about that…

All in all, the December issue of Shonen Jump was a good one for not only the stories, but the milestones that it hit. Here’s hoping for another 5 years.

Never Judge A Book By It’s Cover

Whatever happened to this old adage? It tells us that looks can be deceiving, and by making a judgment based on what’s on the outside will make us miss what’s on the inside, which is what really counts.

ANN has just reported a story from South Carolina about a mother that complained to aAbsolute Boyfriend Vol 1 Books-a-million store about a manga being the children’s section based solely on the cover. What makes this a story is that the bookstore acquiesced to the parent’s complaint and is now moving the manga section away from it’s core audience. All because ONE parent complained. The book in question, Absolute Boyfriend vol 1 by Yuu Watase, feature a boy in a gift box. The only parts of the boy that can be seen are his chest and knees, with the nudity only implied.

What galls me about this story is that it was the mother that was offended. The mother of a boy, that came in to shop for her son. She wasn’t offended after her son picked up the book and she looked at what he picked. No boy would pick up a series called Absolute Boyfriend. And once again a rush to judgment is made that the book is pornographic without actually reading any of the book. The mother makes that judgment as does the writer of the article. Absolute Boyfriend is a title written for teenage girls, and it rightfully belongs in the section where teenage girls will find it. And as the mother of 2 girls I know what’s best for them better than the mother of a boy. But then, for the bookstore to move ALL of it’s manga based on one complaint without regard to audience or rating is really bad judgment and bad business.

This just shows how much is wrong in this country, where the minority can make decisions that affect the majority. It’s not up to this one mother of a boy to decide how all mothers of girls should regulate what their daughters are reading or make them search all over the store to find their books because she was offended by what she saw. It’s this kind of sheer ignorance that keeps our culture from maturing.

Seven Seas + Tor = ?

It’s time to play Matchgame! Let’s meet our contestants!  Seven Seas Entertainment has teamed up with big publisher Tor books according to this press release. The company will release licensed, and original manga as well as light novels under the Seven Seas imprint beginning in March 2008.

Of course, this alliance is nothing new in the manga world. Big “respectable” publishers seems to be looking for ways to get in on the manga revolution. Tokyopop and Harper Collins made a mutually beneficial deal. Del Rey created it’s own division, as did the Hachette Book Group, which created Yen Press.  All these pubs license manga of course.  But there seems to be more going on here.  Both Del Rey and Yen Press will be publishing original manga as well. Tokyopop, of course, led the way for OEL. By teaming up with Seven Seas, which initially started as an original content only publisher, Tor can jump into this market with a ready made imprint.

Is this a new trend now? Do publishers see a future in original content manga? Del Rey announced a new series based on the popular novel series “Odd Thomas”. Yen Press has promised to premiere an anthology of original and licensed content by the next San Diego Comic Con. Tokyopop hit it big with their Warriors manga based on the young adult series by Erin Hunter, and has another hit with Vampire Kisses, also based on an YA series. Is adapting novels to manga finally catching on here?  I hope so. Despite what so many other people think, I like OEL manga, and do want to see more.  It will be interesting to see what Tor has in store.

Also, if this means Seven Seas will start getting more of their books out (I’m talking to you Jason DeAngelis. Finish Captain Nemo!) then I’m all for any alliance!

Manga via Nintendo

The Japanese are doing it again. According to ANN, am3, a maker of data cards with anime movies of them for the Gameboy Advanced and DS in Japan, has announced a new system that will allow DS owners to download anime, manga and other content to SD cards and beDSvision adaptor card viewed on the DS. This new system, to be called DSvision will include a starter kit consisting of a micro SD card, micro card adapter for the DS, and USB card reader. There will also be an online store that will start with 300 titles at start up in March of 2008, that will be expanded to 10,000 by 2010. And, unlike other addons for the DS, this one is the first approved by Nintendo, and the first to have an online store tied to it.

This is definitely an interesting idea. The DS is already well established as an entertainment machine, and users have been coming up with their own hacks to put their own games and other applications on the DS. I can actually see reading manga on it as being more plausible than on an iphone. The DS has 2 LCD color screens, each 3 inches in size. This is only just slightly smaller than the iphone, but with the dual screens, full page spreads across them would be possible. Holding it on it’s side (which is how I would image reading manga on it) would also duplicate the book reading experience, something that seems to be keeping ebooks from really succeeding here in the US. Only the imagination could limit what else could be done with the dual screens and touch pad. But best of all, the DS is a LOT less expensive. Only $129 new compared to the iphone’s $299.

Of course, there’s no word yet on how much the content will be, if it will be DRM’ed, or what kind of reformatting will have to take place to view it. But manga in some sort of digital form is the future for manga. Even though print sales have been falling in Japan, online sales have been rising. So, this is a smart move by Nintendo. Even though they emphasize the gaming aspects of their hardware, it good to also recognize what the users want. And it’s becoming increasingly obvious that users want to be able to take their anime, manga and music anywhere. Adding these to a great gaming platform makes the DS what Sony wanted the PSP to be. The ultimate portable entertainment system.

Now, let’s just hope that, if the DSvision is successful in Japan, Nintendo will think it’s worth the chance to bring it here. With the hardware already established widely here, it may be easier to get people to try reading on the DS. It wouldn’t be a single use gadget, and the impulse to try would be great. I know I would. At least once.

Viz! Rescue City Hunter!

Some company needs to step up to plate and rescue the City Hunter manga from license hell.

This series, written and drawn by Hojo Tsukasa, ran in Shonen Jump from 1985-1992, and has a total of 35 volumes. It’s about Ryo Saeba, a sweeper, or gun for hire, working inCity Hunter Vol 1 Tokyo. He is known as The City Hunter, the best shot in the Underground World, where he worked as an assassin for my years before becoming sweeper. Now, he works with a partner, Kaori Makimura, who is the younger sister of his former partner, Hideyuki Makimura. Hideyuki died, and asked Ryo to take care of Kaori. Together, they take on work to help people as body guards or private detectives. And even though he is wanted by the police, he sometimes helps out Saeko Nogami, a pretty detective wtih Tokyo Metro Police. There is alot of action in this manga, and lots of sharp shooting from Ryo, making nearly impossible shots to save the day. Ryo is a well muscled, good looking man, and the women are all shapely beauties. Sound like a typical shonen series? Well, it isn’t! This series is freaking hysterical!!

What makes City Hunter so funny? Ryo, for all his cool looks and serious demeanor has one weakness: beautiful women. When he sees a beautiful woman, he looses all control and his homones completely take over. The manga is more graphic about this, with Ryo getting a very visible erection, but in the anime, (which is what I’ve seen), but just acts goofy. But it’s not how Ryo acts that’s so funny. It what the women around him do to him. Most notable is Kaori, who is able to pull out a large mallet (min. 100 lbs.) to hit Ryo with. Not that other women don’t get him in their own way, usually with them just moving out of Ryo’s way so he hits a wall or something hard. If anyone said women shouldn’t watch this because of the womenizing, doesn’t realize the pure pleasure we can get from a man getting hit with a huge mallet engraved with the words “National Shame”.

This manga was brought to the US by Gutsoon! Entertainment, a company now bankrupt. Only 5 of the 35 volumes of City Hunter were ever released, and they are incredibly hard to find now. No word has come out about what became of the licenses they held, but Viz was able to acquire another series once held by Gutsoon!, Slam Dunk, and will start releasing it next year. Why should City Hunter remain in License Hell, never to see the light of day? This is a series that could so easily find a loyal core audience. If it is marketed right, it could even pick up some women fans! With an excellent balance of drama and comedy, both men and women can enjoy it.

Why do I call on Viz to do this? They have the connections to make this happen. Shueisha, the original publisher of the manga is a partner in Viz. They also have the money to subsidize a slower selling series. The Viz Signature line would be a perfect place for it, balancing against the mindless sex and violence of Golgo 13, and disturbing drama and horror of Monster and Drifting Classroom.

Viz, do the right thing! Rescue City Hunter from the darkness! Let him see the light of day again!!