More to love!

I didn’t get to do any news roundups yesterday as it was an unusually busy day, so that means an extra dose today.

Over at Digital Strips, I take a first look at scanlations for dummies—scanlations that you don’t have to download or learn IRC to read. One of the sites should be well known to MangaBlog readers: Same Hat! Same Hat!! This week, in observance of their second anniversary, Ryan and Evan have posted links to all their scanlations, which makes the reading even easier. Enjoy! (Note: This site leans heavily toward the NSFW.) I’m hoping to do more posts highlighting scanlations that are posted, as opposed to needing to be downloaded, so feel free to send in suggestions if you know of a good site.

MangaCast has the scoop on the newest publisher to enter the manga realm, Aurora Publishing. Their parent company, Ohzora, has a big library of josei manga. Check out the link—it’s in English—for some really different titles. Their first few titles sound like josei, plus a BL title from Yellow manga-ka Makoto Tateno under their yaoi imprint, Deux.

Ed also has the 411 on Broccoli’s upcoming title, Coyote Ragtime Show, and the cover designs from Vertical’s fall titles.

ComiPress translates Part 2 of “Why I Quit as a Manga Editor.”

Is Kodansha going global? They just launched Mandala, an international manga magazine, and the first issue features works by artists from six different countries. The magazine is in Japanese, though. In other comic magazine news, Hobunsha has a new title, Comic Yell, described as “a shoujo comic for boys.”

David Welsh is looking forward to the new edition of Gon.

At Completely Futile, Adam Stephanides supplies his own translation notes for vol. 15 of Fruits Basket.

Shaenon Garrity does another pre-emptive strike in this week’s Overlooked Manga Festival, with a look at the just-released Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms.

The Smithsonian is hosting a seminar on manga and anime, “Manga to Anime: From Astro Boy to Spirited Away,” on April 21. It’s part of their Japan WOW cultural series, which runs through June 9.

Police found stacks of violent manga in the apartment of a man who apparently murdered an English teacher in Japan. Simon Jones is already on this one, with links to several different accounts, not all of which mention the manga, and, in comments, more about the “otaku murderer” Tsutomu Miyazaki, whose otaku-ness was apparently exaggerated by the press.

Job board: Digital Manga is looking for a production associate and a licensing/guest relations assistant. (Via Comics Worth Reading.)

Reviews: At MangaCast, Manga Maniac Julie reviews vol. 2 of Vampire Knight. Anime on DVD’s Danielle Van Gorder reviews Digital’s one-shot, Wagamama Kitchen. At Prospero’s Manga, Miranda takes a quick look at vols. 3 and 4 of ES: Eternal Sabbath and Ferdinand finds little to like about vol. 1 of Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories.

PR: New shojo from Dark Horse

Dark Horse announced a new title today: Translucent, a shojo title by Kazuhiro Okamoto. Carl Horn himself showed me the Japanese edition of this at MangaNEXT, and it looked really cool. The heroine slowly becomes invisible, a perfect metaphor for how many of us felt in high school.

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Scoop: Yen Press new title

Kurt Hassler and editorial assistant Tania Biswas just gave me the story on the newest Yen Press title, and it’s something completely different from the usual run of manga: the Japanese title is Hikari to Tomo ni …, and they are translating it into English as With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child. The author is Keiko Tobe. “It is a fictionalized account of a family and what they go through in these circumstances, but it is something that is realy designed for parents living through a similar experience,” Hassler said. “The Japanese publisher had been receiving numerous requests from English-speaking parents of autistic children asking if this is available in an English language edition. It is something the publisher had no luck finding a home for and we immediately jumped at it.”

The story, which is up to 10 volumes in Japan, runs in Akita Shoten’s Mrs. magazine. It won an excellence prize at the 2004 Japan Media Arts Festival and was adapted into an award-winning drama.

Hassler said that the book would be marketed to parents and professionals, and he expected to see this manga in the child development sections of bookstores, not the manga section. Yen Press plans to publish it unflipped in a slightly larger format than most manga. Each volume of the English edition will contain two volumes of the Japanese edition and will run about 500 pages for $14.99.

Update: I forgot to mention that the book is due out in September 2007.

Strange news day

It’s a strange news day in the mangasphere.

First item: Artist Go Nagai does not, despite the headline on this article, come right out and say that brains are more interesting than boobs, but he is suprisingly articulate about what he draws and why he draws it that way.

“My heroines were types who would hide themselves behind the idea of masculine sexuality. That’s why I drew them as incredibly strong characters,” he says. “What I drew was not eroticism. It was all about Japan’s culture of shame. The characters want to show what they’ve got, but they’re too embarrassed to do so. It’s all about the tug of war between men and women. I wanted that embarrassment to be the eroticism of the stories.”

So: Considered social commentary. With BOOBS!! And he sees himself performing a public service in these politically correct times:

“Times have changed with society getting strict on things like sexual harassment. With men not allowed to do whatever they want anymore, I’ve made the main character, Hige Godzilla, more of a hero type,” Nagai tells Weekly Playboy. “I’d like this comic to serve as a brake for all those university professors struggling to keep control over themselves so they can read it and be satisfied instead of taking matters into their own hands. It’s not much fun if you show everything, or if you give too much information. I prefer to let loose with a little bit and let the imagination do the rest.”

I thought taking matters into their own hands was the whole point of a comic like that.

Also, check out Xavier Guilbert’s review of a truly bizarre-sounding manga, Kokumin Quiz, a 900-page tome about a game show on steroids. It doesn’t look like it’s out in English, but Google will lead you to a scanlation pretty quick.

More to follow…

Potpourri

Dirk Deppey dissents from the general consensus on the Libre/CPM dispute. And he refers us to the comments on Precocious Curmudgeon, where a lively discussion ensues.

At MangaCast, Readilbert posts about manga magazines in Indonesia.

Comicsnob’s Matt Blind explains how Osamu Tezuka got picked to be the father of modern manga.

Takeshi Miyazawa has a meeting with the folks at Comic GUM. This is interesting:

I asked whether the success of titles in the States and Europe are making them cater to different audiences. The answer was, quite frankly, no. Japan is such a big local market, they are the first readers they aim to please. In the end, foreign volumes don’t actually make them much money anyway after rights and costs, etc. so it’s considered a small bonus on top of regular J-sales.

Tak is the artist for Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, and he’s in Japan looking for work in the manga industry, so he has an interesting conversation with the Comic GUM people about foreign artists as well.

Andre trawls the Amazon listings and comes up with a handful of possible new titles.

Got a Koge-Donbo jones? Good news: Kon Kon Kokon is coming.

Elae links to some previews of German manga.

Wow, this is low: Someone broke into the office of Captain Tsubasa manga-ka Yoichi Takahashi and stole 500,000 yen. I like ComiPress’s take: “Fortunately no manga-related materials have been touched.”

Reviews: At Prospero’s Manga, Miranda figures out… the problem… with… vols. 2-5 of Kamui, and Ferdinand detects an unrealistic storyline in DJ Milky’s latest opus, Kung Fu Klutz and Karate Cool. Shocking! Active Anime’s Holly Ellingwood has been busy, posting reviews of Midaresomenishi: A Legend of Samurai Love, vol. 7 of Aishiteruze Baby, vol. 4 of The Cain Saga, and vol. 6 of Eden: It’s an Endless World, and Christopher Seaman checks out vol. 2 of Hayate the Combat Butler and vol. 8 of Nodame Cantabile. Tangognat enjoys vol. 1 of Mushishi. At Slightly Biased Manga, Connie reviews vols. 1 and 2 of Dokebi Bride and vols. 10 and 11 of One Piece.

New publisher on the horizon?

I almost missed this: Comic Book Resources reports that a company called Aurora has signed a distribution deal with Diamond. Aurora is owned by the Japanese publishing company Ohzora, and its titles include the Project X series and the Harlequin manga, according to Simon Jones, who, as always, has the background. (Link is NSFW, although a little tamer than usual this week.)