What with Thanksgiving being this week, it seems the mangasphere has taken the week off, so it’s going to be a short edition of the news. So we’ve got shopping advice, eating until you explode, OOP and doujinshi digital manga in Japan, podcasts and the Manga Village roundup, all after the bread…err…break.
Thanksgiving is a traditionally US holiday. It’s a harvest festival that has roots in a religious celebrations of family, friends and a bountiful harvest. It has since moved away from those beginnings, and today, Thanksgiving is seen as a time for families to get together, to eat lots of turkey, and to watch football. If you’re not into all of that, but still want the day to have a Thanksgiving feel, here are some manga that can put you into that Turkey-Day mood.
Bread is a staple of most American meals, so no Thanksgiving can be complete without some hot rolls. And of course, there’s the stuffing for the turkey, and the weeks of turkey sandwiches afterwards. So we start with Yakitate! Japan, a battle manga about bread. Kazuma Azuma wants to create the national bread of Japan. The series starts with him going to Tokyo to work at Pantasia, and then follows his exploits with his co-workers. originally, Yakitate!! Japan explains a lot about bread making the baking industry, but as the series goes on, it gets heavily into gags, especially puns, of which the title is included.
There are plenty of dishes to go with the main course at a Thanksgiving dinner. Finding the right combinations for a family isn’t easy. In the world of Hunter x Hunter, Hunters are people who specialize in finding rare and/or difficult things. One such Hunter is the Gourmet Hunter, who specializes in rare ingredients to create a special meal. Gon, the protagonist of this title, as part of his Hunter exam, must satisfy two Gourmet Hunters in order to move on. This turns out to not be easy, as they are very picky, but Gon and his friends to finally succeed. This part of the exam can be found in Volume 2
The main course, is of course, the turkey, whether it’s roasted or fried, or however else you like to cook your turkey, no Thanksgiving can really be complete with that golden bird on the table. Toriko is another title that goes for the meat. Toriko is a Gourmet Hunter in the same vein as Hunter x Hunter. In his world, gourmet food is all the rage, and hunting the best and most rare beasts is left to Hunter like him. Toriko himself is also after the ultimate dinner course with only the best of the best ingredients making it up. Komatsu, a timid chef joins Toriko in his hunts and search for perfect ingredients. This title is very over-the-top, with lots of time spent eating, sometimes leaving the characters in an overstuffed stupor, also a common occurrence at Thanksgiving.
If you’re not into the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, there are other options. Oishinbo is about Shiro Yamaoka’s search for the ultimate menu for the 100th anniversary of Tozai News newspaper. In the a la carte series Viz released, you can enjoy Japanese Cuisine, Fish, Shrimp and Sashimi, Ramen, Rice and even Saki. There lots of different dishes in each volume, and the stories present them in a way that makes learning about the food and it’s preparation interesting. Yamaoka is a great character to follow, though the battles with his father can be a little tedious, the dishes they feature more than make up for it.
For dessert, check out my Themed Manga post Trick or Treat and scroll down to check out titles Antique Bakery and Kitchen Princess, both of which feature lots of pies and cakes to finish off your Thanksgiving feast.
Now that you’ve stuffed yourself and are in a Turkey coma, it’s time to move on to the other Thanksgiving tradition; football. There’s only one manga that can satisfy this need; Eyeshield 21. It’s about Sena Kobayakawa, who after entering Diemon Private Senior High School, is spotted by the captain of the American Football team, Yoichi Himura. He isn’t big or power, but he is fast and agile, skills that land him as the teams running back. Because Yoichi is afraid some other team might try to recruit him away, he has Sena wear a helmet with a green-tinted eyeshield, so no one will be able to see his face. The Diemon team then goes on to face several different school teams as they struggle to go to the Spring and then Fall tournaments. The teams are a little wacky, with plays that sound more like shonen attacks, but the series is a lot of fun, and if you keep from taking the sport too seriously, you will really enjoy this title.
So, whether you enjoy Thanksgiving for the food and family, or are just spending a quiet night at home, this list will hopefully get you through the day.
Sometimes it feelings like time has just flown by, and sometimes it feels like I’ve been doing this forever, but today marks the 3rd anniversary for Manga Xanadu. Yeah, three years of reviews, ranting and maybe just a little real information imparted. I started this blog to share my love of manga and technology and point out the places where they can/should intersect, and it’s been a lot of fun. There have been some bunpy spots along the way, but I’m happy to say I’ve weathered them, blog and me intact.
As Manga Xanadu goes into its fourth year, I’ll be keeping to the routine I’ve been going with, as it’s comfortable and works well for me. I’ll try to keep the mix of reviews and articles up, as inspiration hits. I’ve also discontinued posting about other fandom on this blog. Manga Xanadu will remain for manga and e-reading technology only. I’ve created a new blog, Fangirl Xanadu, where I will occasionally post my thoughts and reviews of books, movies, TV and comics. It won’t be updated as regularly as here, as this is my main blog. But I wanted someplace to post my other fandom musing without alienating the readers here. It’s a work in progress, but does have thoughts on Doctor Who, movies, toy collecting, and general life in my corner of So Cal.
I hope you’ll stick with me as I move into this next year. I’m really gonna try and start writing shorter reviews and revive the Mini-Musings reviews I used to do. I have a large pile of to be reviewed, almost as big as my to be read pile, and I do want to move these faster. I may also revive Confessions of a Mangaholic as I work through the process of letting go of titles I probably won’t read again. As much as I would love to have a giant library of nothing but manga, that’s just not feasible. And as much as I talk about it, I really need to change the talk into action. What really makes me sad to think about, is that there are titles that I thought I would never want to let go of, but as I look at my severely dwindling shelf space, I realize how quickly they can be replaced by newer titles that excite me now. And how these newer titles will probably be replaced as well. What strategies do you use to reduce your manga collection? I don’t mean what to do with them, but how do you convince yourself to let them go? How to you tell yourself it’s okay to say goodbye to a series that had once brought you lots of joy? Or is it a problem for you? I’d really love to hear what you think.
After Moritaka and Akito collaborate on a manga together, they venture to publishing house Shueisha in hopes of capturing an editor’s interest. As much potential as these two rookies have, will their story impress the pros and actually get printed?
Story by Tsugumi Ohba; Art by Takeshi Obata
Publsiher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Teen
The boys have their first final draft down and meet with an editor from Weekly Jump. Hattori is impressed with potential and encourage them to bring their work to him. They submit for the next Tezuka award, and make it to the final eight but aren’t chosen for an award. They are still encouraged to go ahead and try to get a one-shot in Akamasu Jump, a quarterly special magazine. In the meantime, they have graduated middle school and applied and started high school. Moritaka and Miho have started talking, first through notes in class and then through email. Akito has gained a girlfriend too, Miho’s friend Mayashi.
I liked this volume better than the first one. It focuses on the process of getting a manga into a publisher and much of the hierarchy of the Weekly Jump offices. In their talks with Hattori, Moritaka and Akito learn how stories are chosen for the monthly contests, what publishers and judges look for in the Tezuka contest, and the biggest hurdle of all, placing in the reader survey. I found all of this information fascinating. Watching the boys process the information and adjust accordingly in the manga creation really drew me in. I really liked Hattori, the editor at Jump who talks to the boys. He is very grounded and straight-forward with them. He doesn’t pull punches with either his criticism of their work, or their chances. He wants to take them on a slow and steady course while they boys are looking for fast and furious. This will no doubt lead to difficulties later.
This volume also finally introduces Eiji Nizuma, the “once-in-a-decade” genius manga creator. He is not what I expected. He is shown always drawing manga, as if he can’t stop. He has a very juvenile attitude, calling out sound effects as he draws. His condition for coming to Tokyo to start a weekly series, is to have the ability to cancel any series he personally doesn’t like. I found him dislikable from the beginning, and hard to believe he could create anything really great. Entertaining yes, since he seems to have the same mentality (or lower) as his audience, but nothing that could reach beyond it. He is obviously being set up at Moritaka’s and Akito’s rival, so he is probably not meant to be liked, but I don’t think I would like him even if he wasn’t.
There was no blatant anti-woman message in this volume, though there was one scene that is borderline, if you think about it. After Akito is suspended for fighting, Iwase and Miyoshi come to visit him. The “smart” girl, Iwase, is portrayed as the more unreasonable of the two. She assumed after shaking hands with Akito in their freshman year that they were going out (a stupid assumption since they never interacted). She has the “normal” person reaction of telling Akito he was making a mistake by trying to become a manga creator and that he will regret the choice. So, what was the point of this scene except to show how “dumb” (by Akito’s standards) Iwase was. At least it was short and more subtle this time.
Overall, this volume was an improvement over the last. I really liked all the Weekly Jump references that were seen all over the book, especially in the Jump offices. There are posters all over featuring Jump titles, and even the cover has Akito holding Naruto, One Piece and Bleach volumes, all very clear what series they are. I’m actually looking forward to the next volume, to see if the boys can come up with a more Shonen Jump character and story and really get on their road to serialization.
It’s been awfully slow in the news department lately. Maybe everyone is busy with holiday preparations. But fear not! All is not lost as the news this week features unexpected licenses as well as confirmations of some found in the wild. Half confirmations of rumors, and trying to reach out to the casual manga fan join regular features of best sellers, podcasts and roundups.
So what’s a girl to do with the power of an immortal god? it’s a tough decision, especially with the fate of Ouri’s homeland at stake. She and Father Olivier are going to fight an ancient battle all over again. And if they win? It just might mean that everyone–from the gods all the way down to Olivier himself– will find what they’ve been searching for. If they don’t… well, one way of the other, their journey is coming to a spectactular conclusion.
by Yun Kouga
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Teen+
Buy This Book
It’s been a while since I read a volume that was a total let down, especially with being the final volume, but Gestalt managed to do just that. With the world doomed to end and powerful gods descending to earth to battle it out over said doom, you’d expect more exciting fight scene, and really, just more fighting! Instead we are treated to a lot of selfish talk and inward reflections, and a instead of ending with a bang, the titles goes out in a whimper.
Ouri, Olivier and friends have reached Gestalt, the island where the great beast is said to lay. It is also Ouri’s homeland. He goes in search of his father to tell him he has the great beast inside him, and has for years. But, it seems Ouri was mistaken, as his father informs him, and reveals to him the truth. Meanwhile, everyone else is fighting a seemingly resurrected Father Messiah. Black Olivier is in charge, while Olivier is buried deal in his subconscious, facing the truth of his past and coming to accept Father Messiah’s death. Everyone tries to fight Messiah and fails until Ouri arrives, in sexy underwear to save the day. True identities are revealed, and the world is saved. Yup. Pretty much just like that.
I was really hoping for more from this final volume. But all anyone does in this supposed action-fantasy is talk. The battle scene that takes up about half of the volume is mostly Olivier, as either himself or Black Olivier talking to Messiah, telling him he’s going to stop him. There is some magic thrown around that stops Shazan, but the most exciting part of the battle is when Ouri’s father joys the fray and gets thrown across the room and makes an imprint in the wall. And the final confrontation between Gestalt and Salsaroa? Non-existent. Well, that’s not completely true. They do confront one another, but the best Salsaroa can manage is to threaten the body he inhabits, which is already did. And then poof, they’re gone. And no one cared. It was just “huh, they’re gone,” and move on to the end. I couldn’t believe this seemingly big build up to the confrontation would just go **poof**.
The characters that I had liked in volume 6 weren’t so great in this volume. Ouri showed himself to be selfish and self-centered, something that I probably would have gotten if I had read the series from the beginning, but seeing it now, when the end of the world is nigh doesn’t work so well for me. It was probably completely in character for his whole problem with letting Gelstalt in was that he didn’t want to lose himself, and he still had things he wanted to do. Well, if the world ends, you won’t get to do those things anyway. And it went on for pages, his whining like a kid. Any of the good I saw in volume 6 was sucked out in this one.
The ending of Gestalt seems to at least be consistent with the rest of the series. The scene cuts are badly done, especially with the fight scenes. If Kouga didn’t want to draw fights, she shouldn’t have done a fantasy series with a lot of confrontations. It seems every time she has a fight, she flashes over to some else for a while, and then returns to the fight, mostly at the pauses in the action. I can’t really see anyone other than fans of Kouga really enjoying this title. I think the initial premise was good, but the execution was not.
Hello, I have learned that my daughter is getting on a site and reading manga when she is on the computer. She is almost 13, and I need to please know that the manga that she is reading is not sexually explicit. I just really want to know how far they go and I have a list for you. Legendary Kang Do Gekkano Kimi Innocent World Kindai Renai Mahou Sensei Wegima! The Prince Who Fell In Love Full Contact Psychic Academy Mucha Kucha Daisuki Prism Palette She was on some of these for many pages, and others just for one or two. Please let me know if there are specific ones she should not be reading. Thanks so very much. Mom.
Thanks for the question Mom! A cursory glance at the list of titles says that most of these are not officially licensed, but that these are scanlations, fan created scans that your daughter is reading. These have been a gray-area for a long time, but are not technically legal in the US. But, information about these titles can be found online.
Legendary Kang Do-Young – This is a Korean manhwa. It’s a romantic comedy about a boy and girl who both want to be the leader of their school, where for the boy, it’s love at first sight, but not for the girl.
Gekka no Kimi – This is a seven volume romantic comedy with supernatural and historical elements. The son of an Emperor want his father’s newest wife. He searches for a woman to replace her, ends up committing a terrible sin and is reborn 1000 years later, now afraid of women.
Innocent World – This is a one volume slice of life. All the students in a classroom are dealing with issues such as divorce, complexes and kissing, but they still manage to shine.
Kindai Renai – This is a collection of short stories that touch on romance, drama and the supernatural. These stories are on the older teen to mature side.
Mahou Sensei Negima! – This series is available in the US from Del Rey Manga/Kodansha. It’s a fantasy, action-adventure harem (one boy surrounded by lots of girls). Negi is the youngest graduate from magic academy and is sent to Japan to teach at an all-girls school. Much hilarity ensues.
The Prince Who Fell In Love – This is another collection of short stories. These are mostly drama and romance.
Full Contact – This is a six volume sports manga. A fifteen-year-old boy decides to train in karate after a girl who says she likes strong guys dumps him.
Psychic Academy – This is an eleven volume series that ha been licensed by Tokyopop, but is also out of print. It is a supernatural action-adventure title. Ai Shiomi is the younger brother of Zero, “The Man Who Stopped the Demon Lord”. Now attending Psychic Academy, it is believed that he too is destined for greatness, a belief he doesn’t really share.
Mucha Kucha Daisuke – This is a 4 volume high school romance. Aoi’s parents are moving to Tokyo, and she has to got with them. A chance meeting with playboy-type Tokyoite Tsuyoshi results in a kiss that carries unexpected meaning for both of them.
Prism Palette – This is the first publication of popular mangaka Peach Pitt and is based on a ero-game. It’s a harem comedy about a boy who spends his days at school surrounded by beautiful girls.
Most of these titles are appropriate for a 13-year-old girl. There is no explicit content from what I can tell from the descriptions. A few of the titles might be a little old for her though. Gekka no Kimi might have some questionable content at the beginning. Kindai Renai was written for young adults and might be too mature for her, and Prism Palette was based on a dating sim game, so the manga probably reflects that in the art and characters. Mahou Sensei Negima! is a border line title with an Older Teen rating from Del Rey, but it’s more suggestive than anything actually happening. This is typical of harem manga, as much of the humor comes from the uncomfortable situations. The rest of the titles I think are fine. Keep in mind, I haven’t read any of them, and my standards as a parent might be different from yours. I wouldn’t object to my daughter reading most of these titles, only to the ones I mentioned here.
Depending on which titles your daughter spent a lot of time on, which she only gave a few pages should give you an idea of her reading habits. I see a definite trend toward the drama and romance that are found in most stories written for girls, with some action thrown in for variety. I would suggest discouraging the reading of licensed manga online from a questionable source, such as sites like Mangafox, which has continued to put up scanlations even after promising to take them all down. There are places online where manga can be read legally or for a modest price, such as Shonen Sunday from Viz. The manga there is free. NetComics has Korean manhwa of different genres and chapters only cost .10-.25 each. There is also promise of more on the way with Square Enix launching a new site soon as well a manga portal from 37 different publishers in the Spring of next year.
I hope this helps!
In the news this week: manga print on demand, more details on DMP’s Digital Manga Guild and the changes in Shonen Jump, a possible manga portal for English readers, news stories from Japan, and all the rest of the usual features. Continue reading This Week In Manga: 11/06-11/12/10
Ah, Pocky, that tasty treat, the preferred snack of otaku everywhere! November 11th, or 11-11 is Pocky Day! Can you guess why? This “holiday” was started in South Korea, with their version of pocky, Pepero, where it is similar to Valentine’s Day. Pocky Day hasn’t taken off in Japan like Pepero has in Korea. I heard about it from the SciGuys podcast. I like the idea, so here are some manga titles that give a heads up to that biscuit cookie dipped in chocolate (or an assortment of other flavors), Pocky!
There are a lot of manga titles where characters are seen nomming on a stick of pocky. Card Captor Sakura, Gravitation, Tramps Like Us (Kimi Wa Pet), Harlem Beat, Nodame Cantabile and The Wallflower (Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge) all feature scenes of characters loving their pocky! But here are five titles I’d like to focus on where pocky gets more of a spotlight.
Onegai Teacher – This was originally an anime that was adapted to a manga and light novel series. Mizuho is half-alien, half-human. She has been sent to Earth by the Federation to watch over it and keep humans from making the same mistakes. Mizuho is seen eating pocky a lot. Her father died when she was young, and her only memory of him is related to a pocky box, so she eats pocky to be reminded of him. There are two volumes of this manga available, that were published by the now-defunt ComicOne, but you can probably find copies on trading sites or at used bookstores.
Zatch Bell (Kojiki no Gash) – In this shonen battle manga, every 1000 years, 100 Mamodo come to Earth to battle out for the title of King of the Mamodo. To do battle, Mamodo need a human partner to read the spells they use. Zatch Bell is one such Mamodo, and is the hero of the series, with his human partner Kiyo Takamine. Volcan 300 is Zatch’s cardboard toy robot friend, made out of an empty box of pocky and some disposible chopsticks. There have been several versions of the Volcan 300, but you’ve got to empty though boxes first, before you can make a new one! Viz Media released 25 of the 33 volumes of Zatch Bell before discontinuing the series.
Dramacon – This is a 3 volume OEL series created by Sveltana Chmakova. The series is about fledgling writer Christie Leroux and her first experiences at a big anime convention. In this series, we see pocky used as comfort food. Christie celebrates being at the con by buying lots of pocky, as well as drowns her sorrows by buying lots of pocky. This is the best, and probably most realistic portrayal of the use of pocky by most anime and manga fans in the US. Dramacon was released by Tokyopop and is among the few celebrated titles of OEL manga. You can get the whole series in one omnibus volume.
Lucky Star – This title is a 4-koma, or 4 panel series, much like the comic strips in American newspapers. It follows 4 Japanese girls as they go through high school. There is no real ongoing plot and the strips are mostly about the girls daily lives. The leader of the group is Konata Izumi, a smart and athletic girl, but who would rather play video games and read manga than study or compete. But for this article, we want to look at Kagami Hiiragi, the older of the Hiiragi fraternal twins. Like Konata, Kagami likes to play video games, and she reads light novels. She also indulges in that more favorite to Otaku treats, pocky! She can often be seen munching on pocky sticks. Lucky Star has eight volumes, and is being released by Bandai Entertainment.
Vampire Knight – When I asked for suggestions on Twitter for titles with Pocky in it, this series kept coming up, so I’ll include it. Vampire Knight is about Yuki Cross, the adopted daughter of the Headmaster of Cross Academy and her run-ins/relationships with the Night Class, a special class for Vampires to learn how to co-exist with humans. Shiki Senri is a member of the Night Class and is apparently “Pocky mad”. He is seen eating it several times throughout the manga. Vampires eating pocky. I wonder, does he stick the pocky in his mouth and pretends he has reaaalllllyyyy long fangs? Just kidding. Viz Media releases Vampire Knight and there are currently 10 volumes out. Thanks to @ShroudDancer, @aicnanime, @girlg33k_Kris and @PhoenixTerran for their suggestions and help!
These are just a few examples of pocky in manga. For more, and/or to find pocky in anime, check out these sites, which were I also used for several references:
Know of a series with scene I missed? Leave a comment about it!
It’s been a tough last few years for the manga industry. Companies have either stopped publishing manga or have disappeared altogether. For us fans, the thing we tend to lament most is the loss of titles, and the pleading to the remaining companies that they pick up them up so we can keep reading them. But there are other things lost when a company goes under, namely the people who worked there and put so much into their love and passion for manga. Most of the time, we don’t know who these people are, as they often go unnamed, just one of a number of people who have to find new employment now, in an industry that is shrinking. So, I think it’s worth pointing out when one of those people who reached out to the manga community then finds work again with a manga company.
I am of course speaking of Asako Suzuki, formerly of CMX Manga, and who has recently joined Tokyopop as a Manga Line Editor, according to ICv2. Essentially she will be handling the majority of Japanese licenses, including acquisitions. This really is fantastic news. Asako was very active on Twitter, engaging fans and finding out what they liked, and keep everyone up to date about releases and new titles. Tokyopop did good in snagging up Asako. At CMX, it was her choice of titles that turned me around about the imprint. Until then, CMX was a company I skipped over when looking at manga titles. But in its last few years, CMX came out with a lot of fun, quirky titles. They really appealed to me in ways many of the more popular, mainstream titles did not. And a lot of these titles were appropriate for tween/middle schoolers, which is a difficult age to find books for. I know from experience. It was nice to have a publisher that filled that gap with books that could appeal to them but to older audiences as well. I know Asako will do well at Tokyopop and will continue to find us good, fun books to read again.
ICv2 also spoke with Lillian Diaz-Przybyl, the Senior Editor at Tokyopop about rescuing some of the CMX licenses. She brought up the hit and miss record Tokyopop has had with license rescues and some of the issues associated with it, such as dealing with retailers and what to do about translations. While I can see these things being an issue with some of the incomplete, long running titles such as Swan and Eroica With Love, but CMX has a batch of licenses that had either just started coming out, or never got the chance. If Tokyopop wanted to look at rescues, this is the place to start. I’d love to see Tokyopop beef up its tween titles again, since so many of them went OOP when Kodansha took their licenses back. My Darling Mis Bancho and Stolen Hearts were fun and charming tween titles that only had 1-2 volumes released. I know this is my wishful thinking, but I’d love to see these continue.
Other titles that I think would fit in with Tokyopop’s catalog are 51 Ways to Save Her, Nadeshiko Club, and Nyankoi!. 51 Ways to Save Her has that disaster/post apocalyptic vibe that fits with some of their older titles. And it’s only 5 volumes complete, so it’s a small investment. Nadeshiko Club is a crafty title like VB Rose and is only 7 volumes. NyanKoi! is the title I think is most like Tokyopop’s catalog, being a harem title with cat gods,cat allergies and curses. It’s only 3 volumes so far and is ongoing, but would be a perfect fit.
While I would really love to see these titles rescued, I also can’t wait to see what Asako will be bringing us in the future. She has such a knack for picking the cute, quirky and fun titles, I know she’ll be finding some great hidden treasures. I might even start buying Tokyopop titles regularly again!
The previews that have been running in Shonen Jump have been intriguing. At least there aren’t any moe girls in this art title. Find out more after the break.
Did everyone have a good Halloween? Get lots of treats from Trick or Treating, or from your kids, as in our case? This week we have “big” announcements, digital manga, con reports, new licenses, new initiatives, and OEL manga.