The news broke Tuesday that Tokyopop had gone through another round of layoffs, which this time included long-time editor Lillian Diaz-Przybyl, another editor Troy Lewter, and Line editor Asako Suzuki. The Manga tweet-verse was abuzz about the news mostly with sympathy for the folks laid off, and a lot of wonderment of what Tokyopop was thinking to let go of some great people. Most of the speculation for the lay-offs was that is was a desperate cost-cutting measure. With Borders going under, Tokyopop seems to be losing a big outlet, that also owes them money. But a lot of people
Ageha, a young shinigami girl with a serious grudge against the evil Damashigami Company, searches for her missing sister with Rinne’s help. Ageha is head over heels for Rinne, but he’s got Sakura Mamiya on his mind. And how does Sakura feel about this odd ghost-busting love triangle?
One hundred issues that is. Man, that’s a lot of issues. I should know. I have EVERY SINGLE ONE! I even have some duplicates. They take up 3 long boxes so far. But there are some great bonuses in this issue, so even if you aren’t a regular reader of SJ, pick up this issue. You won’t regret it!
Chi’s adventures continue as she meets the Yamadas friend from Hokkaido and their very active daughter Juli, goes hunting with Blackie and nearly gets caught by the super. But salvation comes in the form of a billboard that advertises apartments that welcome pets. So it’s an all new adventure for Chi to move, get comfortable in a new place and meet a variety of new friends.
It’s the valentine’s issue, with pink cover and all, but there isn’t a lot of loving going on. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to love about the chapters. Gossip Girl takes a break, and instead we get a short story from the artist, HyeKyung Baek. I certainly don’t mind the switch-up. On to the manga.
The countdown to issue #100 is almost complete! This issue starts out with the usual anime ads, though I’d like to point out the newest addition to Vizanime: Neuro. It’s based on a manga about a demon who eats mysteries. He comes to the human world after devouring all the mysteries in the underworld. He teams up with a human girl Yako who loves to eat and has a mystery of her own to solve. The anime is good, but what I really want to see is the manga licensed. So show your support and watch the anime! Maybe we’ll get the manga then!
Speed Racer: Mach GoGoGo volume 1-2
By Tatsuo Yoshida ♦ Digital Manga Publishing ♦ Teen ♦ Action ♦ $39.99
Speed Racer is the son of famous race car engine builder “Pops” Racer. Speed wants to be a race car driver. Pops thinks it’s too dangerous. Speed decides to enter races anyway with a car Pops designed and build for him, the Mach 5. With the help of his girlfriend Trixie, best friend and mechanic Sparky, and some interference by his little brother Spridle and his pet/friend Chim Chim, Speed enters dangerous races to prove to Pops and the world that he is the best race car driver in the world.
This title is an unabridged printing of the original Mach GoGoGo manga, and was published to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the series. The stories in the manga involve Race participating in some dangerous race where his skills as a driver are tested, and he always defeats the villain. most of these were animated in the cartoon, and reading them was like going back in time to my childhood. It was very nostalgic. I could almost hear the voices from the cartoon as I read the chapters, fast talking and all. I really enjoyed the trip back to my childhood.
There were some problems though. First and foremost, these two volumes were more Speed Racer than Mach: GoGoGo. All the names in the stories used the localized, goofy American names, such as Inspector Detector. I really wanted to see a more accurate translation, with the characters using their Japanese names. This was a big disappointment. Also, Tatsuo Yoshida took some serious short cuts, reusing not just panels, but entire pages of art and dialog. In the chapters with Racer X, “Challenge of the Masked Racer” and “Most Dangerous Race”, the exact scenes with Speed and Racer X meeting are used, with the same dialog, to the point that I thought it was a printing error.
Overall, Speed Race: Mach Gogogo is a great piece of nostalgia for people in their forties, who remember sitting in front of the TV, sometimes without their parents knowledge or permission, and watching the cartoon. The hardback binding gives it a prestigious look. But that’s all it’s really worth; a piece of childhood to look back on and remember fondly.
Review copy provided by publisher
Project X: Cup Noodle
By Tadashi Katoh ♦ Digital Manga Publishing ♦ All Ages ♦ Educational ♦ $12.95
In the early 1970s, the Instant Ramen industry was like a war zone with many companies competing for market share and profits. Momofuku Andou, director of Nissan Foods Corporation had an idea for a revolutionary product to make instant ramen fast, convenient and portable. He assembled a team of researchers to come with this product, starting with the container, through noodle frying and condiments. Despite the many hurdles they had to get over, Andou remained resolute and finally created and sold a product that is known the world over; Cup Noodle.
Project X: Cup Noodle tells a fascinating tale of determination and ingenuity. Unlike Project X: Seven Eleven, this title really focuses on the people as well as the product. Not only do we see the research team working on the problems of coming up with a new container or taste testing the noodles, but we also see how the work affects their personal life. We see Masahiro Sasaki having nightmares of being buried in containers, and how troubled Toshiko Matsumoto was that her new husband Kunio wasn’t eating her cooking. These moments really made the title more personable, and the reader care more about the people and their project. The director of Nissan Foods, Momofuku Andou is shown as a real driving force for the project, but also as a fatherly figure to the research team. He always had some bit of advise, or would ask questions that would get the team’s mind working. Sometimes he had to taunt a little, but everything he did motivated the team to create the product he envisioned. He wasn’t idle either. Andou led the sales promotion on the “Pedestrian Paradise” in Ginza, and was just as enthusiastic there as with his team.
Project X: Cup Noodle is not only a story that is educational, it is also entertaining. The story moves at a good pace, never lingering too long on a problem. The team members are alway seen doing something such as experimenting with new techniques, and not just sitting around discussing the issues. I really enjoyed the epilogue, which listed all the disaster relief efforts that Nissan Food has contributed to with servings of Cup Noodle. I would recommend this title whether or not one is interested in business. It’s a good story filled with strength and determination that succeeds despite the odds.
Review copy provided by publisher
Over on her blog, The Manga Critic, Kate Dacey talks about how she’s moved away from reading longer manga titles, that now she has a “fear of committment” for titles more than 4-5 volumes long. Johanna Draper Carlson of Manga Worth Reading sympathizes with Kate and talks about some longer titles that she’s lost interest in as well. Reading these two posts made me think about how I look at the titles in my collection. I have several titles that go well beyond 10 volumes. In fact, I think I might have MORE titles that go over 10 than not. Is it because I’m really committed to these titles? Not so much.
I’m a collector. I love to collect things. Books, comics, toys, if I have an interest in it and it’s part of a series, I’m probably gonna get it. All of it if possible. And in a lot of ways, that how I’ve treated my manga. It’s become something I collect more than something I get to read. Just like the toys on the shelf and the comics in boxes, manga has become in many ways something with holes to fill in and a lined shelf of different colored spines to look at. I don’t even always read everything I collect. I have a run of The Wallflower from 1-15 and I haven’t read a volume of it yet. For a while, I was getting the volumes to keep my collection complete, and ready for the day I would start reading it. (That day still hasn’t come yet, but I sense it’s not too far away.)
I don’t shy away from long titles, and even though I don’t read everything I buy immediately, I can’t say I’ve lost interest in too many titles because of length. I suffer more from the same ADHD as Kate does. My problem is to not stop buying even when my attention has drifted to other titles. I know I’m just filling in holes when I buy or trade for manga. But you know what? I’m okay with it. It makes me happy to find a volume that fills a spot that’s been empty for long time. Sales and trading is a great way to feed this since they don’t happen often, and the discovery is more exciting than just going out and buying the missing volumes. I didn’t think I enjoyed the chase of collecting, as a discussion with my husband revealed is what he enjoyed about it. He’s a hunter. I seem to be more of a stalker. I’m happy to just watch and wait, and then strike when the time is right. I still get the thrill of collecting, I just spread it out.
This harrowing story of Hiroshima was one of the original Japanese manga series. New and unabridged, this is an all-new translation of the author’s first-person experiences of Hiroshima and its aftermath, is a reminder of the suffering war brings to innocent people. Its emotions and experiences speak to children and adults everywhere. Volume one of this ten-part series details the events leading up to and immediately following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Kiri’s friend Kanako gives a present to one of the members of the Scissors Project. Her act of kindness is interpreted as a bribe to get a makeover, and they reject her out of hand for being too ugly. Kiri decides to help Kanako and give the boys a lesson in what true beauty is.
Fourteen-year-old Kisaki Tachikawa has psychic powers. She works for PSI, a secret government agency that fights aliens. She’s in love with her partner Giniro, but PSI won’t allow operatives to get involved. Just when Kisaki thinks she may be getting closer to Giniro, she finds out she’s going to be transferred to California!
Intent on being an independent young woman, high schooler Himeyuka lives on ther own inan unremarkable apartment complex in a corner of the city. But one day, she discovers her ordinary building has turned into something extraordinary. Her beloved “castle” is covered in childish scribbles–both inside and out! And waiting for her at the end of this rainbow-colored mess…is the perpetrator of the crime-a little boy name Rozione. Is he just someone’s lost child, or is there a greater mystery behind his appearance. In this collection, Sumomo Yumeka presents four charming, melancholy vignettes that explore the trickling of time and the machinations of the heart.