Tag Archives: Viz

This Week in Manga 2/20-2/26/10

Coded Licenses

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.

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Super-size Me!: Angel Sanctuary

I was late in discovering Kaori Yuki’s work.  It wasn’t until Shojo Beat and Godchild, which was one of the debut titles, that I learned how great her work was.  But before Godchild and it’s prequel The Cain Saga, another series by Kaori Yuki was released in the US.  That was Angel Sanctuary.  This 20 volume series was first released by Viz in 2004 and completed it’s run in 2007.  The story is about Setsuna Mudo, the re-incarnation of the Organic Angel Alexiel.  Alexiel rebelled against heaven and as punishment was sentenced to be re-incarnated as a mortal and to live a life filled with pain and suffering.  Setsuna is discovered to be the latest re-incarnation and is pulled into the war between heaven and hell.

I’ve only read the first volume, and wasn’t quite ready for her style of writing then.  But after reading her other titles that are available in English, I would like to try this series again.  I was bothered by the incest introduced in the first volume of Angel Sanctuary, but now realize that is a common theme in her titles.  My only problem now is, the series is 20 volumes long!  20 volumes is a lot to track down, and take up a lot of space.  This is what makes Angel Sanctuary the perfect candidate for the VizBIG format.  It’s complete and it’s been so for a while, like several of the other titles we’ve seen come out.  It’s length makes it difficult to find in the individual volume format and will take up a lot of space.  9 volumes are a lot easier to handle and collect than 20.  And with several other of her titles out, it’s the perfect time to reintroduce her most influential work to a new audience, as well as the growing interest in titles for older readers.  While it’s rated Older Teen, it’s rating could go up, as other of her titles have.

Angel Sanctuary has all the making of a great addition to the VizBIG line.  Hopefully Viz realizes this and will re-release this series soon.

Year of the Tiger

This week begins the Chinese New Year.  This traditional Chinese holiday is based on a lunar calendar and is associated with an animal in the Chinese Zodiac.  This year’s animal is the Tiger.  So, I went looking for manga with tigers in them.  Surprisingly, I couldn’t find a lot.  I extended it to any of the big cats, and that make the list grow some, but it’s really surprising how few manga have tigers in them.

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This Week in Manga 1/16-1/22/10

Ikki Takes a Holiday

You might have noticed that the Ikki Comix website hasn’t had any updates for a while.  Well, that’s because they’re taking the holidays off.  There’s no word about when the updates will return, and hopefully this is just what they say, just an intermission and not a break that becomes a hiatus.  Ikki’s got some great titles that deserve the exposure that the website gives them.  So take this as an opportunity to get caught up!

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This Week in Manga 1/9-1/15/10

Some Advice for Bloggers and Reviewers

Brigid of Mangablog first lists some good tips on how to make you blog more user friendly and possibly improve your Google ranking! Many of them are the same that I’ve heard on the tech podcasts I listen to, so you can be sure the advice is sound.  And then found via Twitter, Deb Aoki of About.Manga blog has some sound tips for manga reviewers:

  • manga reviewing tip #1: “Did you like it or not? I should have some idea whether it’s worth buying or not after reading your review”
  • manga reviewing tip #2: “grab my attention in the first 1-2 paragraphs & give me a reason to keep reading, or I’ll just click away.”
  • manga reviewing tip #3: “write like you’re having fun, not writing a term paper.”
  • manga reviewing tip #4: “yes, by all means tell me what the story is about — but can you skip the rehash of the entire book?”

Solicitations made the next day has brought the count from 4 to 19.  You can check Deb’s twitter feed for them all.  There are a lot of good suggestions, though not all are practical for a short review of a title.  But I was glad to see that readers do want to see ratings on reviews.  Other bloggers have professed an aversion to them, but as I reader I appreciate them, which is why I include them with my own.  I hope people find my ratings consistant, as that is something I strive for.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 1/9-1/15/10

Manga Drive By: Shonen Jump February 2010

86_largeThere are a lot more changes coming to Shonen Jump, according to this latest issue.  The issue starts with the first of a three part preview of the new manga Toriko.  It’s a food manga done shonen style, so everything is exaggerated to the extreme.  It is the Gourmet Age, with man is constantly striving to find best ingredients to make the ultimate menu.  Toriko is one such man.  He is a gourmet hunter.  He travels the world catching the most delicious and dangerous foods, since, of course, the best tasting food is in the form of giant monster-like animals.  And in best shonen tradition, he is also the best at it.  In the first chapter he is hired to catch a Garara Gator.  It’s very over the top, with Tokiro looking like a character out of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.  He’s all upper body muscle.  He also eats.  A lot.  I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve read the other two parts before rating it.  But for now, it feels kind of average.

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This Week in Manga 12/26/09-01/01/2010

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.

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This Week in Manga 12/12-12/18/09

The End of Time in Japan

Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ manga series will end serialization with the January issue of LaLa DXHaruka, 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

Manga Drive By: Shonen Jump January 2010

85_largeThis month’s Shonen Jump, January 2010 marks a lot of changes for the manga magazine.  Yu Yu Hakusho, one of the few remaining titles from the magazine’s launch (One Piece is the only other one left), finishes it’s 7 year run.  It was quite a ride, and I will miss Yusuke and friends, but not all that much.  Yu Yu Hakusho has become a typical fighting manga with characters I lost interest in.  I was glad to see none of the big demons won in the last tournament, but in the end I was just “meh” about it.   The series ends with a whimper instead of a bang.  The last few chapters were actually kind of a let down and really pointless (IMHO).  It seemed like they were just thrown together to tie up loose ends.

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20th Century Boys Volumes 1-5

In the last years of the 20th century, a cult has been growing in power and popularity, led by a mysterious man known only as “Friend”  This has little bearing on convenience store owner Kenji, until a childhood friend of his seemingly commits suicide.  A closer look into it reveals that there may have been more to it, and it could have something to do with the cult.  As Kenji looks further in, he finds that the cult and it’s leader is following a story he and his friends wrote when they were just kids, about an evil power trying to take over the world and the heroes who stop them.  Kenji decides to try and stop The Friends with only the help of his childhood friends.

By Naoki Urasawa
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Price: $12.99
Rating: ★★★★☆

[May contain spoilers]

20th Century Boys is a mystery/thriller story, something of a specialty for it’s creator, Naoki Urasawa.  The story spans 45 years, from 1969 to 2014.  These first five volumes cover mostly the 1969-1997-1999, and only touch on 2014 at the end of the fifth.  The story isn’t told linearly.  It jumps from 1969 to 1997 and all around 1997 to 1999.  The scenes in 1969 sow the seeds of the story, telling the beginning.  In 1997, the Friend’s plot is uncovered and this is where the investigation starts.  1999 becomes the race to stop The Friends, but is far from the end of the story, as the sudden jump 15 years to 2014 shows.

The story starts out strong.  It introduces the characters as they were kids, in 1969.  We see what they were like, what they did, and how their friendships were made.  In the 1997 present, we see how their lives turned out.  Most, like Kenji, didn’t get to live out their dreams.  They married, took salary-man jobs or took over family businesses.  While the characters are being established, clues about the mystery are starting to be dropped.  Everything we see in the 1969 scenes have some bearing on the clues dropped in 1997.  Kenji and his friends built a clubhouse in an overgrown grassy field where they could listen to the radio and read manga.  While hanging out there, they created the story, The Book of Prophecy, that starts to come true in 1997.

The first three volumes is spent building up the mystery of the Friends and their connection to Kenji and their childhood.  An elementary school reunion gets the ball rolling, and one person’s memory sparks another and another as they begin to piece everything together.  They become a rag-tag group of heroes fighting against a huge, evil organization bent on world domination.  Just like in their story.  It’s easy to get behind Kenji and his group, the underdogs fighting for right.

It was in volume 4 that I started to have a problem with this series.  The time jumping narrows greatly to between 1997 and 1999.  It becomes very difficult to keep these time jumps apart, and left me scratching my head, and having to go back and re-read sections to figure out what was going on.  A mystery is about pitting your wits against the author, not fighting to just read the story in the first place.  This really pulled me out of the trance their first three volumes had cast on me.  I became less engaged with the characters that I had really started to like.  It was a big let down.

Volume 5 didn’t do anything to improve this.  It’s 1999 now, and Kenji and his group, now branded terrorists, go to fight against the terror they have seen coming for the last 3 years, but are still unprepared for.  As they race away into the night, the story suddenly cuts to 2014.  We never hear any details of what happened, but enough clues are dropped that it probably didn’t go well.  Even as I read the last half, I still spent a lot time wondering “What happened?”  While this and other questions should have kept me enthralled and dying to read more, it didn’t really.  It actually left me more frustrated, and not in a good way.  I’m curious, but not that I’m counting down the days to the next volume.

Urasawa has quite an ability to start a story, and build up the mystery.  He drops hints judiciously, leaving clues for the readers to connect in the next chapter, volume or even several volumes later.  A few chapters in volume 2 that seemed to have little relevance suddenly take on a whole new light in volume 5.  He is also very good at misleading the reader.  One scene that is seen several time throughout  these five volumes takes on a completely different meaning at the end of volume 5 than you would think from seeing it in volume 1.  I was impressed with that.  It was a great turnaround.  But volumes 4 and 5 lost the momentum that volumes 1-3 built up for me.  I’m not quite as excited as I was to read this title.  I’m still intrigued by the mystery, and I do want to know what happened and what’s to come.  There are still 17 more volumes in this series, so I expect a lot more twists and turns.  But I don’t know if it can regain the momentum it had at the beginning.

This Week in Manga 11/14-11/20/09

No Manga Love from the New York Times…Again

This week the New York Times released their holiday gift guide for graphic novels, and it should come as no surprise to anything that follows the NYT’s blog that manga doesn’t get any love from the writers in charge.  This list was no different.  David Welsh of the Precious Curmudgeon blog decided to take matters into his own hands.  He announced on Twitter that he would be doing his own holiday gift guide for manga, and invited other manga bloggers to join him.  Watch for David’s list on Thanksgiving, and other lists from Kuriostiy, Okazu and Manga Bookshelf blogs next week just to name a few.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 11/14-11/20/09