Tag Archives: Viz

This Week in Manga 5/1-5/7/10


Shopping Alert!

Deep Discount.com is having a sale on some manga titles in their book section. As well as discounting the books, they are doing a “buy 3, get 1” free promotion on certain titles. This is a comparable deal as Amazon, and better than Borders “buy 4, get 1 free”. Their shipping is free, and the books are discounted as well. The best discounted deals are on D. Gray-man from Viz, Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi from Yen Press, and later volumes of Black Jack from Vertical. Also included in the sale are several of the VizKids titles such as Pokemon; Adventures and Diamond and Pearl, Leave It to PET, and Legend of Zelda, as well as Udon’s Big Adventures of Majoko. Vampire fans can pick up most of Vampire Knight, you can catch up on the latest volumes of Skip Beat!, or pick up most of Record of a Fallen Vampire which just finished this month. BL fans can get Junjo Romantica and Loveless. If you’ve got some spare cash, definitely check out this sale.

How Bad Is It?

Via Twitter. Builder, a ZDNet Japan blog, has posted the second part of an interview with Misaaki Hagino, President and CEO of Voyager, a e-book developer.  Hagino talkes abou the problems with DRM and getting manga on Apple devices, because of the strict restrictions Jobs and Apple has put on content, and the arbitrary way in which it’s enforced. The interview talked mainly with Hataraki Man (Working Man), a senien manga about a woman working in the publishing industry, which was rejected because of some nudity, but it also mentions that up to 30% of the titles submitted to Apple is rejected. ANN discusses the article, and added more info about iTunes from Twitter comments. This is precisely why I have a problem with Apple and Steve Jobs. I don’t believe they, or anyone else has the right to decide what anyone else can read or watch on their own personal hardware. I don’t care how pretty the hardware or software is. There are some lines that just can not and should not be crossed for any reason. Censorship is one of them.

The End is Near!

While there hasn’t been any official word from Arakawa or Square Enix, the director of the Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime has stated on his twitter account that Arakawa has an ending for FMA ready to go and that he and his staff are in the process of animating it. This is both good and bad news. It’s good that the anime ending will match the manga ending, as FMA:B has (for the most part) been following the manga really well up until now. But it’s sad that FMA will be ending. It’s been quite a 5 year ride with this manga, and I’m going to miss Ed and Al dearly. Since Irie has spilled the beans, I wonder how long it will be until there’s a confirmation/announcement from the publisher? I’m sure they don’t want to the series to end either. UPDATE: Sighting on Twitter of confirmation.

We Need More Of This…

And not necessarily for the reason you’re thinking. US comic publishers got together, and with the FBI’s co-operation, got a pirate comics site shut down. What’s probably the most amazing thing about this is that comic publishers got together and made something happen. On twitter there was some buzz about it and how manga publishers should get together and do the same thing to manga aggregator sites that feature licensed titles. Simon Jones of Icarus Publishing (NSFW) has some suggestions for scanlators who want to avoid this fate. While I do believe sites that host licensed titles should be forced to take them down, what I would really like to see, and I’m sure many others would too, is comics and manga publishers coming together to create aggregator sites where people can legally go to get their fix. But that’s probably not going to happen any time soon, is it? It’s easier to destroy than create.

The End is Here!

The dog manga, Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs, has ended it run in the May issue of Young Jump this last week. It will complete at 22 volumes, and was one of the few dedicated dog manga available in the US. Inubaka isn’t a bad title, and might have taken off better if it wasn’t for the fan service that pushed its rating up to a Teen+. Dog lovers will need to go somewhere else not for their fix of cute dogs and girls taking care of them. Viz will have published 16 of the volumes in July, and will hopefully complete it’s run for US fans.

NYT Best Seller List

It’s a serious shift on the list this week! First, Twilight continues to hold on at #2 on the Hardback Comics list. Then over in manga, Yen Press dominates the list while Del Rey takes back the top spot. At #1 is Tsubasa vol 26. One of the few Viz titles (wow, I don’t think I’ve EVER said that!) is Naruto vol 47 at #2. Yotsuba&! vol 8 falls back one to #3 while last week’s #1 Rosario Vampire Season II vol 1 falls back three to #4 . Black Butler vol 1 stays in the top 5 at #5 while Tokyopop returns with Fruits Basket: Banquet, a primer for the series at #6. Yu-Gi-Oh! R vol 4 stays at #7 while Spice and Wolf vol 1 falls 4 to #8. Nightschool vol 3 falls back one to #9 and Soul Eater vol 2 hold on to #10. All the big players make it this week.  Yen Press and Viz continue to show they have the strongest catalog while Tokyopop and Del Rey stick to one-hit-title-wonders. Just like in investing, it’s diversify or die, guys.

Manga For Your Ears

Manga Out Loud

This Week at Manga Village

What I’m Reading

  • Shonen Jump June 2010
  • Pig Bride vol 1-3

Rin-Ne Volume 4

This volume starts off with a new arc about Rinne’s family, specifically his father. The truth behind Rinne’s constant debt is revealed, as is more about the criminal shinigami organization, the Damashigami, and Rinne’s connection to it. And there’s some tidbits thrown out about Rinne’s and Sakura’s relationship, and for once, it’s not what you’d expect from Takahashi.

By Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Supernatural/Comedy
Price: $9.99/Free Online (Chapters 29-38)
Rating: ★★★★☆

I’ve been disappointed by the previous volumes of Rin-Ne so far. It’s been so much “been there, done that,” but this volume is different. The quality went up for the chapters covered in this volume, to what I expect from a Takahashi series.  The weak start made getting this far difficult, but I’m glad I waited it out.

This volume introduces Rinne’s father, Sabato Rokudo. He is key to a lot of the problems in Rinne’s life, specifically his debt and the Damashigami.  Sabato is a dead beat dad in every since of the word. He left Rinne with his parents after his wife (Rinne’s mom) disappeared. He is constantly withdrawing money from Rinne’s bank account using a forged stamp. He’s unlike any dad seen so far in a Takahashi series. None of them have ever been this bad. Genma and Ranma always fought, but there was still a feeling that Genma cared about Ranma. Inuyasha’s father left a legacy to his half-demon son so he could survive as well. Sabato doesn’t seem to care about Rinne except how he can use him to his own benefit. Conflict between fathers and sons are nothing new, but the level of animosity introduced between Rinne and Sabato is. One thing that is still cliche for a Takahashi series is Rinne’s mother “disappearing”. She did it Ranma 1/2, and I’m just waiting for something similar to happen again here.

The truth about the Damashigami is revealed in this volume as well. Rinne finds out he’s connected to them in a way he never would have expected, and it just makes him all the more determined to stop the organization. I’m looking forward to more confrontations with the Damashigami. The battles that were seen in this volume reminded me why I enjoy her titles so much. It’s the action and fighting that she does so well. They are imaginative and fun, and it’s what this series has been lacking. So I hope there’s more to come.

There’s also an interesting twist in the relationship between Rinne and Sakura that is shown in this volume. For once, it’s not the girl chasing after the uninterested guy. Rinne is shown to be the one developing feelings for Sakura, while she just thinks of them as friends. She’s not falling for him at all. I think this is a great change from all the girls-chasing-guys that always shows up in shonen titles, and might make the series more interesting to follow.

This volume of Rin-Ne turned out to be surprisingly strong. It had a lot of good action and fighting sequences, as can be expected from a Takahashi series. Sabato is incredibly annoying. I really disliked him, but that’s what makes him a good antagonist. I want to see Rinne beat him now. If Rin-Ne can keep this moment going, then it will turn out to be a really good series. The potential from the beginning is finally starting to pay off. I just wish it hadn’t taken so long to get here.

This Week in Manga 4/17-4/23/10


Who’s Going Down?

ICv2 reports that manga sales will drop to below 1000 volumes for 2010.  The drop in sales was seen more in bookstores than in the direct market, and they speculate that shojo fans getting older, distracted by other things (Twilight) and lack of hit shonen anime is hurting sales more than scanlations.  Some of these elements make sense.  I can see the drop in sales from bookstores being more, since ordering through the direct market through Previews can often net you a 30% discount on many titles.  It’s my preferred way to buy.  And fans, male or female, have priorities shifts as they get older, especially in the 20’s, where kids become adults and must establish themselves in the real world.  I know that’s where I stopped collecting comics and watching anime.  Work and starting a family became much more important.  I wonder though how much the “Cartoon Network” effect really drove sales.  I can see it driving the sales for first volumes, but like the anime that they are based on them, once a series hits a lather, rinse, repeat cycle, no amount of TV promotion will keep a series selling.  Personally, I’m not concerned about the drop in available volumes.  There was too much coming out in 2007, and most of it was mediocre.  We’re just seeing the reaction to that as fans put their money with the good series.  I am concerned about some of the mid-level publishers who have gone silent.  They provide a good alternative to all the mega long, mega his titles.  I hope they can weather this economic storm.

Don’t Hold Your Breath

C2E2, a new comics and entertaiment convention in Chicago was this last weekend.  There weren’t any manga panels, but Brigid Alverson caught up with Dark Horse comics and asked about the CLAMP Mangaettes that were announced at SDCC 2007, and have yet to materialize.  The word?  They are “on hold”, while Dark Horse builds up their association with CLAMP through reprints of several of their older titles.    So if you were hoping for some new CLAMP, you’ll have to go elsewhere.  You won’t find it at Dark Horse any time soon.

Yen Plus Goes Paperless

Found via Twitter.  Yen Press announced it first through its twitter feed.  Yen Plus, their anthology magazine would be going digital.  Details are still sketchy, but the gist of it is that the last print issue of the magazine will come out in July, and then go to a digital distribution.  Current subscriptions to the print will be refunded, but there’s speculation that digital version will require a subscription, and not be free like the Viz Signature line from Ikki Comix.  This is an understandable move by Yen Press.  Manga magazines are more about promotion than making money, and going digital takes out a lot of the risk.  But I’m with a lot of the commentors on the blog post.  I prefer to read on paper than digital.  Digital just isn’t portable enough yet.  I can pick up a magazine and take it anywhere to read.  A digital version will need a device to read it on, and could greatly limit the audience that can read it.  We’ll just have to wait for more details.

More Scanlations on the iPhone/iPad

With the release of the iPad, software like Manga Rock is getting more and more attention.  This software for the iPhone/iTouch (and by default, the iPad), let’s you not only read scanlations from Onemanga.com, it keeps track of what your reading, where you left off, and let’s you download it to read later.  This isn’t the first app to appear on the Apps store as both Jason Thompson and Brigid Alverson have pointed out, and probably won’t be the last.  Publishers (US and Japanese) have to come to terms about digital distribution and get their official work out at reasonable prices before these apps become too entrenched.  One interesting thing I noticed about this Manga Rock app though.  It doesn’t allow access to some of the bigger release titles.  Commentors on the iTunes store have mentioned that there’s no Naruto or Bleach or Shaman King.  That makes me wonder.  Are these guys blocking licensed manga, or are the more popular manga reserved for the paid, “full version” of the app?  Any one with an iPhone/iTouch/iPad wanna drop the $1.99 to find out?

NYT Best Seller List

I didn’t think it would last.  Last week the list was dominated by One PieceThis week, nary a sign of the Straw Hat Pirates. Not one volume survived.  Oh well.  Let’s check in on Twilight.  Still #1 on the Hardback Comics list?  Yup.  There’s at least one thing you can count on.  Another? That Viz will hold the top five, starting with Rosario Vampire Season II vol 1 at #1 again.  Naruto vol 47 retakes it’s #2 spot, and Gentleman’s Alliance Cross vol 11 moves up to #3, while Yu-Gi-Oh! R vol 4 falls back two to #4.  New Viz Signature title Dogs vol 3 debuts at #5, while Black Butler vol 1 moves back up to #6.  Inuyasha vol 47 debuts at #7, and Vampire Knight vol 9 returns at #8.  The only other non-Viz title, Soul Eater vol 2 returns at #9, and Bleach vol 30 rounds things out at #10.  Viz still dominates the list with 8/10 titles, but it’s not too surprising that it was a Yen Press title that helped keep them from taking the 9th again.  Yen doesn’t have the behemoth catalog that Viz does, but it’s got some titles with sticking power.

Manga For Your Ears

Sesho’s Anime and Manga Reviews

This Week At Manga Village

What I’m Reading

  • Legend of the Five Rings: The Crane Scroll 3
  • Mushishi Vol 1

This Week in Manga 4/10-4/16/10


More Simon and Schuster Sightings

The sharp eyes of Michelle Smith of Soliloquy in Blue has spotted some more manga listings on Simon and Schuster from Viz.  Two of them we already knew about; Grand Guigol Orchestra and Cross Game.  But then four new titles showed up scheduled to come out at the end of the year.  Kurozakuro is scheduled for November, and the rest, Kamisama Kiss, Psyren, Itsuwaribito are scheduled for December. I can’t say any of them really inspire me, but I’ve been surprised before.  I am saddened by the news of no sign of Story of Saiunkoku.  I loved the anime, and am so dying to read the manga!  Hopefully the new Kaori Yuki title, Grand Guigol Orchestra, will help to pass the time.

Del Rey Ousts X-Men: Misfits & Wolverine: Prodigal Son

The weekend ended with a bit of downer as news and confirmation of the cancellation of first X-Men: Misfits and then Wolverine: Prodigal Son came out on Twitter. This seemed to be surprising news as X-men: Misfits seemed to have sold fairly well, hitting the New York Times best seller list for a few weeks.  But the creators of both series say Del Rey cited poor sales as the reason for pulling the plug.  While I wasn’t all that impressed with the first volume of Wolverine, it was more from Wolverine overkill than poor writing or art.  Others have speculated that the Marvel/Disney buyout may have affected the licensing fees for the titles and made them unfeasible for Del Rey to continue with.  But, wouldn’t the contract remain in effect for the whole series?  Could the fees really be changed because of a change in owners?  Who knows if we’ll ever know the truth.  It’s not like Del Rey cares about the fans or anything.

Speed Up Done Right

Found via Twitter.  It seems Yen Press is joining the Speed Up Releases Race.  Volumes of Goong, a popular manhwa title will start coming out as two-volumes-in-one as of volume 9 (the next scheduled release).  This is a boon for fans of the series.  Volume 8 just came out while in Korea they are up to volume 18.  By doing the 2-in-1 omnibus speed up, Yen Press can catch up the series faster (presumably to reduce the need for scanlations), and fans can keep up with it with out the major payout of money and shelf space.  The 2-volume omnibuses will be less than buying two volumes regularly.  This is a responsible way to speed up a series without leaving so many readers being and in the dust.

DMP on your PSP

Digital Manga Publishing has teamed up with IDW to put their manga on the PSP, starting with their Vampire Hunter D manga.  I think this is terrific news.  The more platforms publishers reach out to the better.  And while the PSP hasn’t been the stellar gaming platform that Sony hoped it would be, fans of the platform has been putting comics on their devices for a while now.  And while DMP is the first to put manga in the official Sony Playstation store, Seven Seas has several preview chapters of their original titles formatted for the PSP.  You can direct download them from Seven Seas.

Sometimes It’s Nice to Just Be Asked

Last month there was a lot of talk/debate about scanlations and their effects on the manga industry.  Well, the Japanese have finally spoken out on the subject.  In the latest issue of Weekly Shonen Jump, there was a message to the fans, asking them to stop scanning its manga. A full translation of the message is available at the link.  One site has responded.  It’s a US site that provided raws.  Now whether they closed down because of a sudden change of heart or because they feared legal repercussions we’ll never know.  But, it is nice to see a company appeal to the fans better nature instead of heading straight to the lawyers to deal with a problem.

NYT Best Seller List

Here is a first for the NYT list.  And it’s not just about dominance.  Viz holds 9 of the 10 slots on this weeks list, and 5 of those belong to one series: One Piece.  That is quite an accomplishment for a series that usually only makes it to the list occasionally.   It’s also exceptional that all but two of the titles on the list are debuts.  But first, Twilight once again holds the #1 spot of the Hardback list.  Over in manga, Rosario Vampire: Season II vol 1 debuts at #1.  Yu-Gi-Oh! R vol 4, featuring the original cast, debuts in at #2. Naruto vol 47 stays in the top five by falling to #3, while another newcomer, Gentleman’s Alliance vol 11, the final, comes in at #4.  Spots 5-9 all belong to One Piece, in the order of Vol 40, Vol 39, Vol 41, Vol 43, and Vol 42.  Rounding off the list is that black suited gentleman of Yen Press, Black Butler vol 1 holding on to #10.  This is quite a nice surprise.  Naruto waves may have appeared on the list, but they were only three at a time.  One Piece is pushing five.  But it is also supposed to be an amazing arc, these volumes, all about Nico Robin.  Perhaps people are finally realizing how great One Piece really is.  It’s about time!

Manga For Your Ears

Manga Out Loud

  • Episode 6 Part 1 and Part 2 – Pluto Series Discussion with spoilers and special guest


Spiraken Manga Reviews

This Week at Manga Village

What I’m Reading

  • Bunny Drop
  • Legend of the Five Rings: Unicorn: The Second Scroll

And Friday was my Dad’s 74th Birthday.  Happy Birthday Dad!

This Week in Manga 4/3-4/9/10


Anime Boston/Wondercon Roundups

Two comics/manga related cons occurred this last weekend.  On the West Coast was Wondercon, the smaller, younger brother of SDCC, located in San Francisco.  While more comics based, it seems Hollywood is taking every opportunity to jump on the popculture bandwagon.  Manga related, Viz Media had a booth, as did CMX, Last Gasp, and EigoManga.  Deb Aoki of Manga.About.com has an overview of the con as well as links to other coverage.  Over on the East Coast, Anime Boston took place.  While mostly an anime con, many manga bloggers attended and even held panels.  Vertical, Inc. had a panel, and Ed Chavez, marketing director for Vertical as well as creator of Mangacast hosted a panel of manga bloggers.  The big news from the Vertical panel was the license of a title from a mangaka once published by Viz Media.  Calling it “Manga Series R” the clue is that the “R” refers to either the mangaka’s name or manga’s title.  I voting (hoping) its Leiji/Reiji Matsumoto.  Brigid Alverson has a full rundown of the Vertical panel at Robot 6, and you can hear the audio from the Manga Mania panel by scrolling down to the Ninja Consultant’s like in the Manga For Your Ears section of this post.

iPad Thoughts

Let’s get the elephant in the room out-of-the-way.  The iPad was released this weekend.  Yes, it sold 300,000 units.  But I believe that Apple’s entry into the tablet/e-reader market isn’t the be all/end all that people are making it out to be.  The iPhone was a surprise hit (even to Apple), and hardware developers have been working hard to catch up, and you can say the Google Nexus One is a good if not better competitor.  And as Matt Blind so wonderfully points out (don’t let all the numbers weigh you down), the iphone is only a small percentage of the cellphone market, and the iPad will be as well, especially with more hardware and software makers throwing their hats into the e-reader/tablet ring.  He also links to an article by Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing that makes a very good point (whether you agree with the rest of his argument or not), that publishers shouldn’t put all of their e-books in one Apple basket.  Then Rob McMonigal of Book Stew lays it all out on why he’s not getting any e-book readers right now.  My personal opinion, after listening and reading about iPad first impressions is to wait.  There are so many e-readers/tablets in the wings, that committing right now just doesn’t seem like a smart thing to do.  As much as I love the “pretty-shinnies” this just isn’t the time for what could be tossing money to the wind.

Final Nails in the Coffin?

Some of the smaller manga publishers have been quiet, implying that they’re not weathering this tough economy very well.  Aurora has been especially quiet, with they last release being some time last year, and books sold at fire sale prices.  Another nail in their coffin, the titles they had up on Netcomics.com are being pulled down next Wednesday, April 14, 2010.  It could be that they tried online with Netcomics and it didn’t work.  Or it could be a sign of something worse.  Then, from Icarus Publishing, comes news that a “Manga Publisher in the Southern California area” was up for sale.  This seemed to fit Aurora to a T.  Digital Manga is located in SoCal, but they don’t seem to fit.  Go Comi! is as well, and could be a possibility.  ANN has been researching the story, and say Aurora denies they are for sale, but I wouldn’t be so sure.  They’re Ladies Comics line never really took off, and their BL didn’t get much attention.  But it’s all just speculation at this point.

Shonen Sunday Cross Over

Word came in March through a Simon and Schuster listing that Viz was going to be releasing the baseball manga Cross Game.  Finally official word has come that Viz will not only release the manga, but will also preview it on  their Shonen Sunday website starting in May.  I think this is a good move on Viz’s part.  Cross Game has a visual style that may not appeal to readers at first, enough to buy the first volume.  Letting them read it online first, especially 5 months in advance of the first volumes release could really build up some hype for the title, beyond the mangasphere.

Two New Rescues from the Seven Seas

Seven Seas Entertainment has announced they have rescued two manga titles from two different publishers that were also fan favorites.  Gunslinger Girl was first published by ADV Manga, who over 5 years released 6 volumes.  Seven Seas will be re-releasing this 6 volumes with new translations and lettering in an omnibus format, and then beginning releasing new volumes starting at volume 7.  Blood Alone was released by Infinity Studios, with 4 volumes released over 2 years.  Seven Seas will release the first 3 as an omnibus edition with the 4th volume to follow soon after.  These titles will be available in 2011.  I was never too interested in Gunslinger Girl (Ed Chavez of the MangaCast is if you want more info), but I heard some good things about Blood Alone.  It’s good to see these titles return.

Manga as Eisner Nominees

The Eisners were announced this week, and manga made quite a showing, and not just in the Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia.  Best Continuing, Best Reality, Best Graphic Album, Writer/Artist, Lettering, and Comics-Related Book all had nominees from manga.  Of course, most of those are from Naoki Urasawa for Pluto and 20th Century Boys, but that because it’s most definitely deserved.  A Drifting Life and A Distant Neighborhood also got nods.  It’s good to see manga stretching out from the International category, and into more general comics related categories.  Now, if only we can get a win.  I know Pluto blows out a lot of its competition.

NYT Best Seller List

Once again Twilight: The Graphic Novel vol 1 rules the Hardcover roost.  But why isn’t it considered manga? Robin Brenner of Early Word and Librarian Extraordinaire looks at just that question.  Warriors: Clan in Need vanishes from the list completely after only 1 week, allowing Naruto vol 47 and Bleach vol 30 to return to their #1 and #2 spots. xxxHolic vol 15 is pushed back one to #3, and Black Butler vol 1 moves back into the top five to #4.  Soul Eater vol 2 falls into step at #5 and Vampire Knight vol 9 falls back another spot to #6.  Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi vol 5 moves up one to #7 while Fairy Tail vol 10 falls back two to #8.  Alice in the Country of Hearts vol 1 switches with vol 2 to come back in at #9, and the only debut title of the week is Trinity Blood vol 12 at #10.  It’s good to see Del Rey hold some traction and stick around for this week.  I do think it’s odd that last week’s #1 would vanish so quickly, but this isn’t the first time, and surely won’t be the last.  The ratio remains at a good level with no one company dominating.  This is the way I like to see the list.

Manga For Your Ears

Manga Out Loud

Ninja Consultants

Sesho’s Anime and Manga Reviews

Spiraken Manga Review

This Week at Manga Village

What I’m Reading

  • Honey Hunt vol 4
  • My Darling! Miss Bancho vol 1
  • Calamity Jack
  • Cirque du Freak vol 4

Manga Drive-By: Shonen Jump April-May 2010

So, I fell behind on Shonen Jump.  It’s been an eventful month or so.  But, I’m caught up now, and ready to share by insights on the last two issues.  The magazine has some new features, but no new permanent series to replace Yu Yu Hakusho.  I really hope they don’t keep this trend going.  One Piece, Naruto, Bleach and Ultimo are not enough to hold my attention for an extended length of time.  I’d rather go to waiting for GNs for the few titles I want than to continue to sludge through some of these chapters month after month.  One thing of interest I noticed as I was tossing the insert subscription cards.  Shonen Jump is now offering 6 month subscriptions, just like Yen PlusSJ‘s are less expensive, obviously, but with the current SJ line up, the Yen Plus subscription definitely feels like the better deal right now.

Continue reading Manga Drive-By: Shonen Jump April-May 2010

Wish List: Appare Jipangu!

AppareJipangu_vol1One of the fun things about writing this blog is the little surprises that pop up unexpectedly.  I stumbled onto this title while researching Yuu Watase for my Noted Women of Manga postAppare Jipangu! is a short series, only 3 volumes long.  It was published straight to tankoban form instead of being serialized in a magazine.  It ran from 1998-2003, at about the same time as Watase’s more popular series Ayashi no Ceres (Ceres: Celestial Legend).

Yusura was abandoned as a baby and was found under a cherry tree with the Kogoumaru, a staff that turns blue when it is around people who are sad.  Fifteen years later, Yusura is now known as the Hikeshiya, or “extinguisher of sorrow”.  She wields the Kogoumaru to take away people’s sorrow and redirect it at the people who caused it.

What make this series sound so appealing to me is that it’s a lighthearted adventure with the romance secondary to the story the story.  The characters might seem typical for a manga.  Yusura is hot-headed and tomboyish, and Samon, a guy she rescues from assassins, is practically blind with out his glasses, often mistaking objects for Yusura.  But the whole set up sounds like a lot of fun, and with the more shonen style romance, there’s no melodrama over their relationship.

With Arata, Watase’s first official shonen coming out in the US, this shorter, similar in style series would make a great companion to it, as well as contrast with all of her shojo already available.  So how about it Viz?

This Week in Manga 3/13-3/19/10

Hollywood, Here Comes Netcomics!

Netcomics, the Korean publisher that puts all their titles online for a per-chapter fee, is producing a film of their manhwa X Diary.  There’s not much news out yet, other than Variety’s report which includes the names of the writer of the script, one cast member and the producer from Netcomics.  But the news itself isn’t too surprising.  Ever since Hollywood started coming to SDCC, and they’ve found that there’s an audience for comics based books, practically every comic company has been looking to get a title into production.  Though, the premise of X Diary does make it a good candidate.  It’s about a cartoonist and musician who break up as a couple, but try to make it as friends.  It’s a topic that surpasses culture and could very well appeal to non-comic/manhwa readers.  We’ll have to wait and see how production goes.  Lots of titles get started only to stall not far into the process.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 3/13-3/19/10

Lucky Charms

St. Patrick’s Day is a decidedly American holiday that really isn’t celebrated or even mentioned outside of the US.  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any good manga you can enjoy with your green beer and corn beef and cabbage.  Now, admittedly, some of these titles are a stretch, but in the spirit of good fun, here are some titles you might find in a pot of manga gold.

Continue reading Lucky Charms

Noted Women of Manga

Women creators in manga isn’t as an unusual thing as they are here in the US.  Over here, publishers have special events to show that women can create comics, while in Japan no one even bats an eye at the idea.  With March being Women’s History month, I thought I would highlight some of the women manga creators who have been influential in the medium in Japan and the US.

Continue reading Noted Women of Manga

This Week In Manga 3/6-3/12/10

One Piece Exceeds 3 Million

The print run for the newest volume of One Piece has been reported to be 3 MILLION copies.  That’s right, 3 million.  As the post points out, that’s even more copies than the Japanese edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which previous held the record for largest print run of a first edition.  That’s quite an accomplishment, especially for a comic.  American publishers can only dream of print runs like this.  What’s really sad though, is how under appreciated One Piece is in the US.  It should on the NYT list ever week with Naruto and Bleach!  Viz is doing a good job of making the manga available with their 3-in-1 for the early volumes and the catch-up to the Japanese releases.

Continue reading This Week In Manga 3/6-3/12/10

Digital Review: Rin-Ne Volume 3

This set of chapters starts out stumbling under the weight of more “been there, done that”, but manages to shake some of it off by the end, leaving a volume of work that is at least palatable.

By Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Supernatural/Comedy
Price: $9.99/Free Online (Chapters 19-28)
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Buy This Book

Chapter 19 starts out with another typical shtick of Takahashi’s; the rival love interest. Every one of her romantic comedies has one, all the way back to Urusei Yatsura, and Tsubasa Jumonji is right out of that boiler plate.  He tries to look cool and in control, but in reality he’s just a bumbling fool.  He’s ineffectual as a exorcist, his soul dust only causing people and spirits to cough, but not get rid of them.  Of course, he fell in love with Sakura when they were children.  Sakura was nice to him after he transferred to her school for a few days, and it was enough that now he’s declaring his love for her, and treating Rinne as his rival.

These chapters also introduce the damashigami.  They are rogue shinigami that take the life of a person who isn’t meant to die to fill their quota.  I found them to be an interesting development.  I prefer there to be some sort of antagonist outside the group rather than the infighting that usually runs through Takahashi’s romantic comedies, or a new random ghost-villain every few chapters.  It’s good to have a reason for all the rivals to come together and fight a common foe rather than each other all the time.

I still get a “meh” feeling about this series.  The introduction of the rival is another typical plot device that feels very tired to me.  Tsubasa just screams Mendo to me so much, it’s not even funny.  However, I did enjoy the stand alone stories in this volume, especially the final one with the “ghost” haunting the art students.  These chapters play out as a nice little mystery, with an ending you might not expect.  The quality of the stand alone stories are improving, and if a plot other than Rinne’s poorness is introduced, it could break up the “ghost of the week” feel the first two volumes had.  It’s enough for me have hope for further improvement of the series as a whole, and to keep reading.