Friday catch-up post

I’ve been off the web a lot due to an unusual amount of work and a much-dreaded session with the eye doctor. Now that my pupils have returned to normal, here’s the latest roundup plus a few things I was saving.

Same Hat continues their European tour with a look at the work of Suehiro Maruo, who is much admired in certain circles despite the fact that works are all out of print here (the SH guys have remedied this by linking to many scanlations, some of which they did themselves). Turns out he’s a big deal in Spain. Who knew? (Warning: Images are not for the squeamish.)

Shaenon Garrity continues the Overlooked Manga Festival with a look at Naoki Urasawa’s Monster. Her peek includes the one thing missing from the American editions: the English cover text. Check it out.

Christopher Butcher responds, in a lengthy post, to Queenie Chan’s complaint about the three-volume structure imposed by Tokyopop. Butcher’s main point is that if you’re writing a three-act story, you don’t have to devote an entire volume to each act; his counterexample is Ranma 1/2, in which the second act takes up the vast majority of the series’ 36 volumes. Or to put it more succinctly:

If Tokyopop is giving these creators a lemon of a format to tell their stories, I invite them to make Lemonade. Hell, make a three-course lemon-inspired meal. But don’t think that you’re duty bound to include 2 pounds of appetizers, 2 pounds of the main, and 2 pounds of desert…

Butcher admits he hasn’t read Chan’s The Dreaming, and in fact he gets her name wrong, but he does revisit his review of Fools Gold to discuss its structure further.

The title “Four Centuries of Graphic Sex in Japan” promises more than it delivers, at least as far as this website is concerned, but it’s an opportunity to look at some old Japanese prints and some new manga while listening to the curator of the Museum of Sex describe their significance. All the naughty bits are covered with scholarly bits of text, however.

Yaoi Suki was poking around the net and found some unannounced DramaQueen titles. DQ subsequently confirmed them (I’m a bit late with this) and at MangaCast, Ed has cover scans. And while the holidays may just be getting started, Ed’s getting ready for spring with a look at the latest Diamond Previews.

Lotsa reviews today: At Blogfonte, Mitch continues to enjoy Skip Beat—he’s on volume 3—but has reservations about Night of the Beasts: “it scans like Red Sonja cast against type as Jane Eyre.” Blogcritics looks at a crossover attempt, Batman: Child of Dreams, by Kia Asamiya and Max Allan Collins. At MangaCast, Ed has a podcast review of Anne Freaks, Nana, and Boogiepop Doesn’t Laugh. Active Anime reviews two volume 3’s, Kame Kaze and Never Give Up. Anime on DVD’s Megan Meinhard looks at the mature title Art of Loving. Comic Book Bin checks out the Del Rey iteration of Train Man. Manga Punk kind of likes Goofyfoot Gurl: Let There Be Lighten Up!, a Christian “manga” from Real Buzz studios (of Serenity fame) but thinks they need to start calling it “comics.” And at Comics Worth Reading, Johanna suspends disbelief and enjoys volume 2 of Yakitate!! Japan.

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  1. I wouldn’t call them “reservations”. I enjoyed Night of the Beasts quite a lot. For a standard “heroine redeems morally compromised love interest” romance-plot, it’s damned good, and the heroine’s Amazonian qualities make for an interesting complication in tone and emphasis. I’m not even particularly adverse to the weak-heroine enabled-hero schtick – From Far Away‘s one of the most stereotypical examples in American-licensed shoujo manga, but it’s still a vibrant, cheerful, sharply-drawn adventure-story in its own right.

    I just didn’t think that Night of the Beasts was the strong-fighting-heroine story that Pine was implying it was. Those are actually pretty rare in shoujo, if for no other reason than because the tough fighting-protagonist is a shounen staple. Red River is one of the few I can think of in US release, and even there, Yuri gets raped away by some early-iron-age Rochester every four chapters or so.

  2. Oh, btw: Kami Kaze. I was kind of intrigued by the idea of a comic called “Hair Wind” until I saw it was the other one. You know, sort of a supernatural-workplace comedy about the spirit who’s employed by tPtB to summon up those inexplicable winds to tousle and stir characters’ coifs in dramatic and picturesque fashion at appropriate moments. Perhaps with “teeth glint” demons and “watery shoujo-eye” goblins as wise-cracking sidekicks.

  3. “Hair Wind”: I like it! It would definitely appeal to the tween/teen girl demographic! Sorry about mis-stating your intent on Night of the Beasts—sometimes it’s hard to come up with a pithy description of each review without repeating myself. Maybe I should just do a list like Tom Spurgeon.

  4. Not a problem, you gave me a reason to go looking over those “Overlooked Manga” livejournal posts by Shaenon Garrity. I may have to go back & start reading Basara, which I passed on when it first started coming out, partially because I kept confusing it with Madara, and partially because the covers made it look a little too fey for my middle-of-the-road tastes. I think the local comix shop has a bunch of old volumes in the half-off bin…

  5. Going back over my review, I don’t think I was implying that Night was a strong-fighting-heroine story, but rather that my immediate impression of her character was a positive one. I liked her ruggedness and spitfire attitude, which immediately got me interested rather than just being introduced to the typical shoujo leads I’m accustomed to in my admittedly limited shoujo library. Instead of Aria being pummeled with hardships (like rape or other devices) and then rooting for her to build herself back up, she’s already strong, which I also find more appealing than other stuff I’ve read.

    I totally agree though that the as the volume progressed, it turned into more of the “taming of the Sakura” type of romance. But while Aria may quell the beast, she also seems to protect which I thought was more interesting.

    So yes, I agree with mostly everything you’ve said. I apologize if I lead you to believe it was that type of story. ^^;