Tech Friday: Doing More

Here in the US, we’re all excited about getting more devices to carry around to read books on.  In Japan, they’re taking existing devices that people are already carrying and adapting them to not just read books but to also enhance that reading experience.  They are letting the content take advantage of the platform instead of making devices to conform to the content.

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Review: The Lizard Prince Volume 1

Lizard Prince 1
The Lizard Prince Volume 1
By Asuka Izumi
Publisher: CMX
Age Rating: Everyone
Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Comedy
Price: $9.99
Rating: ★★★★☆

Canary is the princess of the kingdom of Linaria.  Her father, the king has promised her hand in marriage to Heath, the handsome prince of the kingdom of Gazania.  Canary isn’t crazy about this, because Heath has a bad reputation.  The Prince has his own reservations, and gets his brother Sienna to pose as him on their first date, convinced he’ll drive her away.  But the plan backfires when chemistry ignites between the two.  The only problem is, Sienna’s been under a spell, which turned him into a lizard.  And once he’s done posing as his brother, he reverts back to that form!  Will love really conquer all in this mixed up triangle?

The Lizard Prince is a fairy tale turned quirky romance.  It starts out much like the Frog Prince, but is able to transform itself into a funny and charming romance with wide spread appeal.

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20th Century Boys Volume 7

Out in the middle of Tokyo Bay, a man called Shogun is trying to break out of Umihotaru Prison, a maximum-security island fortress, so he can save the world. Accompanied by a frightened young manga artist, these two men are prepared to risk everything as their daring escape plan grows deadlier by the minute. However, the prison authorities will do whatever it takes to return Shogun and his reluctant companion to custody.

Shogun’s ultimate goal: Tokyo, where a girl he calls the “final hope” lives, but a murder in Kabuki-cho has triggered a chain reaction of terror. Can Shogun reveal the truth about the false peace created by the Friends? And what are the facts behind the disaster that took place in the final moments of the 20th century?!

20th Century Boys 7
20th Century Boys Volume 7
By Naoki Urasawa
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Teen Plus
Genre: Drama/Mystery
Price: $12.99
Rating: ★★★★☆


What happened December 31, 1999?  The events of that night start to unfold as both Shogun and Kami tell the tale to two young people who want to know the truth.  But will learning these facts bring us any closer to the truth?  Once again, Urasawa poses more questions than he answers in this volume.  Why are the Friends rebuilding the 1970 Exhibition?  What exactly happened on December 31, 1999?  Even as we delve further into those events, answers are not forthcoming.

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This Week in Manga 1/23-1/29/10

But Is It Contagious?

Love to love it, or love to hate it, the release of the Twilight manga is eminent. Manga fans have been expressing (mostly) their disdain for the series and a NIBY attitude about it.  Shaenon Garrity, a respected writer about manga points out that the themes in Twilight are nothing new.  In fact, the themes in Twilight are not only prevalent in shojo, a lot of it has been done before!  So quit whining about it.  In the end, it’ll do more good than harm.  Someone needs to be able to challenge Viz, and right now, it seems like Yen Press’ adaptations are the only ones with the steam power.  See the NYT Bestseller List below.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 1/23-1/29/10

And So It Begins

Late Friday night, reports started coming in about a dispute between Amazon and publisher MacMillian.  According to the New York Times, Amazon has “temporarily” pulled all books by MacMillian, including all imprints such as First Second, Seven Seas Entertainment, and Tor, because MacMillian is pushing for a raise in price of their e-book on the Kindle to $15.  The grousing between Amazon and publishers has been going on for a while now, so that this has finally happened is no surprise.  Nor is it a surprise that it happens right after Apple announced it’s iPad, which MacMillian is one of the publishers that signed on to provide books for.

To get a full range of the story, he’s some links to check out.

Johanna Draper Carlson posts about it at Comics Worth Reading.  Check out the comments for interesting information on the breakdown of who gets what in the publishing pie.

Business Insider has a look at the dispute from the Apple side of the equation.

Cory Doctorow, a big proponent of e-books, has his own take at BoingBoing.  Definitely check out his post for how the whole battle affects consumers.  He’s got some really interesting insights.

The Los Angeles Times has some quotes from publishers about Amazon’s pricing, basically defending MacMillian.

Back at the New York Times, their technology blog Bits has more details on the dispute between Amazon and MacMillian, getting the heart of the problem.

Edit: As the weekend has gone on, more people have been speaking out about this, including authors.  Here are two takes on the supply chain issue that really put the whole pricing of e-books into perspective.  If you really want to understand this issue, read Charlie Stross‘ and Tobias Buckell’s posts for detailed insights.

Review: Jack Frost Volume 1

Jack Frost 1
Jack Frost Volume 1
By JinHo Ko
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Horror
Price: $10.99
Rating: ★★½☆☆

Any high schooler on a nerve-wracking first day at a new school is apt to lose his or her head a little.  But in Noh-A’s case, she literally does!  When she wakes up in one piece with a little help from a mysterious doctor, Noh-A quickly realizes that nothing is as it seems at Amityville High, where paranormal creatures battle for supremacy.  Caught in the crossfire, Noh-A may have to rely on the unlikely (and possibly unreliable) aid of the most sinister student at Amityville…the deadly Jack Frost!

By all outward appearances, this title looks to be a pale shadow of the horror manga Hellsing.  Cracking open the book doesn’t do much to alter that appearance.  There is lots of action and decapitation, but not much in actual plot.

Continue reading Review: Jack Frost Volume 1

So Jealous!

I make no bones about it.  I love cats.  I will read just about any manga that has cat in it, even that peripherally revolves around them.  What’s Michael, Free Collar Kingdom, Cat Paradise, even Backstage Prince, Dragon Ball and Ranma 1/2 that only have supporting characters that are cats I’ll read and enjoy.  But there just isn’t nearly enough to sate my appetite for titles about the four-footed furries.  Vertical’s license of Chi’s Sweet Home is a BIG win, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Viz’s Natsume’s Book of Friends.  But then, over on Twitter, Deb Aoki had to start showing off her cat manga purchases from Japan.

Neko Mocchiri is a 1 volume collection about a 20-something and her cat, and was published in Ikki.

Junjo Ito’s Cat Diary is also a 1 volume collection, and looks cool in a weird way.

Nekoe Juubee Otogi Soushi is two volume so far and is about a painter and his yokai cat companion.

And I want to read them all!  Especially Nekoe Juubee, since I love yokai so much, and yokai cats all the more!  Ed Chavez commented:

There is a saying in the Japanese manga world… CATS SELL. Simple. Oh and always launch cat manga in the spring.

Oh, how I want the same to be said in the US!  I need more cat manga!  Come on Viz!  Get Neko Mocchiri on the SigIkki site. I Am A Turtle is not enough!  Someone, ANYONE, license the other two!  There can never be too much cat manga!  Want! Want! WANT!!

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!

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

Tech Friday: App-lying to the Kindle

I’ve decided that Fridays at Manga Xanadu will for now on be Tech Friday!  I’ll post all my tech/gadget type stories on this day from now on.  To inaugurate this, let’s take a look at the newest story about the Kindle; it’s getting apps.

kindle-indiaThat’s right.  You can’t have a device that connects to the net anymore without having some sort of app store to go with it.  And the Kindle is apparently no different.  With CES just recently past, and the Apple iMyth–err iSlate to be announced next week, Amazon has to do something to keep to not only stay competitive, but keep their e-Reader on top, with a wave of new devices threatening to wash them away.  And apps is the new, hip thing.

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Review: Princess Resurrection Volume 3

Princess Resurrection 3
Princess Resurrection Volume 3
By Yasunori Mitsunaga
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Age Rating: 16+
Genre: Supernatural
Price: $10.95
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Mummies, vampires, and a ghost ship: a typical day in the life of Princess Hime, monster slayer extraordinaire.  But when her kid sister visits, Princess Hime may have finally met her match.  Now she’s facing her toughest battle of all: sibling warfare!

The campiness we saw in the first two volumes of this series starts to get toned down in the third.  The fight between Hime and her brothers goes past simply sending hordes of monsters to something more serious.  It’s not going to be all fun and games from here on out.  It’s too bad the fan service doesn’t also take a hike.

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Review: Deka Kyoshi Volume 1

Deka Kyoshi 1
Deka Kyoshi Volume 1
By Tamio Baba
Publisher: CMX
Age Rating: Teen Plus
Genre: Drama/Suspense
Price: $9.99
Rating: ★★★★½

Toyama, a tall and beefy detective, goes undercover as a fifth-grade teacher.  The previous teacher was discovered on the ground outside of her condo and rumors say she jumped…or was she pushed?  Toyama is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, but it seems like he has a more pressing task at hand: his rowdy students.  One student, Makoto is a little strange and his eccentricities make him a prime target for bullies.  Makoto can actually see the demons inside people, which manifest themselves as visions of horrible monsters.  Will this strange student be able to help Toyama?

Sounding more like a take off of Kindergarten Cop, Deka Kyoshi is actually a title that looks at serious issues that kids are facing everyday.  It presents them in an interesting and unusual way, but CMX’s overly-conservative age rating of the book may keep it from reaching the audience it is meant and most appropriate for.

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