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.

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Is E-Ink Worth It?

kindle 2.0This year is being touted as the year of the slate computer.  CES was filled with announcements of new computers that are like over-glorified e-book readers.  Of course, e-book readers are also being announced right and left.  This Christmas was Amazon’s biggest year for the Kindle so far, and claimed that on Christmas day sold more e-books than print.  But the worth of e-readers like the Kindle and Sony’s E-Reader are being questioned.  Well, more specifically, the E-Ink technology they use is being questioned.  E-Ink techonogy is one of the main reasons prices for e-readers remain high.  So, is E-Ink worth the price?

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Review: Princess Resurrection Volume 1

Princess Resurrection 1
Princess Resurrection Volume 1
By Yasunori Mitsunaga
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Supernatural
Price: $10.95
Rating: ★★★★☆

Werewolves, demons, monsters, vampires – all these ferocious creatures are afraid of the same thing: the beautiful Princess Hime, an awesome warrior who fights the forces of evil with a chainsaw and a smile.  Not only does she look great in a tiara, she has magical powers that allow her to raise the dead.  She’s a girl on a mission, and with the help of her undead servant and a supercute robot, there’s no creature of darkness she can’t take down!

Take a Princess with a chainsaw, an androids in maid costume and a bit of a loser student who gains semi-immortality by accident and throw them into a battle with monsters out of a drive-in double feature and you have the first volume of Princess Resurrection, a series that balance’s campy horror with a more serious fight to become the King of Monsters.

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Honey and Clover Volume 8

Ayu still can’t give up on her love for Mayama, even though his relationship with Rika seems to be deepening.  Nomiya’s growing interest in Ayu might be a balm to her broken heart, but he’s moving to Tottori for six months! Is Ayu cursed to suffer hopeless love affairs forever?

By Chica Umino
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Romance
Price: $9.99
Rating: ★★★★★

This volume is all about the love polygon of Mayama, Ayu, Rika and Nomiya.  Ayu seems to be deliberately torturing herself by working with Mayama and Rika, and seeing their relationship grow.  Rika is preparing for the Valencia Art Museum Annex, a project she and her late husband submitted for and won, and seems prepared to also make it her last, something Mayama’s not prepared to let Rika do.  And Nomiya, the player, finds himself doing something he never thought he would, falling for Ayu.

There’s a lot of drama going on in this volume, especially with Rika.  She still haven’t been able to get over her husband’s death, no matter what kind of face she puts on.  A flashback from Hanamoto shows what a difficult time she had after the accident, and how she became a ghost of herself, like part of her was lost with Harada.  Mayama seems to sense that too, as he watches over Rika, even to the point of invading her privacy by reading her emails.  But it doesn’t feel like he’s trying to be controlling or possessive.  He senses that she doesn’t want to keep living and fights to keep her alive, despite her.  It’s this that seems to make a stronger impression on her than his feelings for her.

Ayu’s drama isn’t any less than Rika, but it isn’t quite as serious either.  Her problems are dealt with a lighter tone.  Though we see her suffering, her way of dealing with it is by eating.  A lot.  And when Nomiya gets involved, the humor really ramps up, as Ayu is shown to be surrounded by unicorns, intent on protecting Ayu’s virtue.  Very aggressive and mouthy unicorns.  It’s a really good balance of humor to the some of the tenser moments in the volume.  The unicorn appearances are my favorite scenes.

Honey and Clover continues to be a good romance that balances the drama without going over the melodramatic cliff, and makes a really good read for older audiences.  The relationships are realistic, making you want to laugh and cry.  This volume picks up right where Shojo Beat left off, so if you were following it in the magazine, this is a must have.  Even if you weren’t, Honey & Clover is a title anyone who loves a good story should be reading.

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 1/2-1/8/10

Walk Down Memory Lane

With most of the Year-in-Reviews done, it’s time to move on to the Decade-in-Review.  The first of these comes from a conversation that started on Twitter about the most important moments in manga over the decade.  Deb Aoki of collects the suggestions and posts them as 25 Manga Milestones. I jump on this bandwagon to, looking back at the past decade of manga through my eyes and experiences.  It’s interesting to look back at something of these things and think it’s only been 10 years for things that seem like they’ve been around forever.

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Manga: A Decade in Review

Even though the decade isn’t technically over, the years that we call the “aughts” are, so this review is my look back at the aught years, 2000-2009.  And if you had to say anything about manga in these years is that it found itself on the rise.

When the new millennium began, manga was in the same place it had been in the last century.  It was a niche of a niche.  Trying to appeal to comics fans, most titles were published as floppies, their content flipped.  Titles such as Ranma 1/2, Inuyasha, Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z, Ceres: Celestial Legend, and Pokemon started this way, and then were collected into trade paperback sized books and priced around $15.  Comics fans treated manga as the red-headed step child and manga fans  didn’t like the price or format.  I know I didn’t.  As much as I wanted to read the Galaxy Express 999 volumes Viz had brought out, the $16.99 price tag was too much for me.  But that all changed in 2002, when Tokyopop literally started off a revolution.

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Review: Black God Volume 2

Black God 2
Black God, Volume 2
Story by Dall-Young Lim, art by Sung-Woo Park
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Action
Price: $10.99
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Balancing a normal existence and an unbreakable pact with a divine being is anything but easy. Much to his chagrin, Keita is discovering this the hard way. Try as he might to distance himself from recent events, Keita can’t shake Kuro, the mototsumitama who saved his life. But when the stakes get higher and another human-mototsumitama pair comes looking for a fight-one with Keita’s childhood friend, Akane, as the prize-Keita is forced to reevaluate his attitude and stand by both his old and new friends. Who will emerge victorious?

Several different plot lines pick up in this volume.  Keita and Kuro starting training, beginning with Kuro, and growing to include Keita working with her.  Keita’s game coding start to take off with a company showing an interest in both the game and Keita’s skills, and the group that is searching for the doppeliners continues to reduce the thirds down to the root.  I get the feeling that these three plot lines are related, but it’s hard to tell how.

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Another Nail in Privacy's Coffin?

Having a wireless connection on an e-reader has been touted as the make-or-break deal for devices coming out.  Amazon’s Kindle, which started it all, has been favored because of the ease of purchasing books from Amazon and downloading to the device.  But, what are you really giving up for that privilege?  A lot of your privacy it seems.  As reported on BoingBoing, the EFF, the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, took a look at e-reader terms of service  for some of the most popular devices, and has made a chart showing who wants what, and what you’re giving up for that digital books online.

Google seems to be the worst of the privacy invaders, requiring users to have a google account so they can be tracked though Web History, and requires “opt-ing in” for sharing personal information with Google.  Amazon the next one down, doesn’t sell you books as much as it licenses them to you.  And they give themselves a lot of room for keeping track of users use of the Kindle, including their interaction with the device and service as well as conent.

Devices such as the Sony e-Reader, which doesn’t connect wirelessly (yet), has no such use agreements, leaving the user free do and put on their device what ever they want without fear of being tracked or spied on.

If privacy is a concern for you, you’ll want to look more closely at this report and read the user agreements carefully before you press that buy button.  Privacy is already under attack for some many other sources.  You shouldn’t have to worry about your books spying on you too.

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.

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

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