Quote of the day:
I have had my fill of nihilistic manga and anime. Story after story shows how messed up the human race is, how prone to casual violence, how unable to connect with each other, how short-sighted, how pathetic. Religion can’t save us, and in fact usually just exacerbates these problems. And love is impossible. In most of the stories it’s less that love doesn’t exist, and more that human beings can’t trust each other enough to really be open to love. Some of these stories, like End of Evangelion, are works of genius. But man are they bleak. And the creepy misogyny doesn’t help any either. I always feel like I have to wash my eyes out after viewing these things. I’m just reaching my limit.
—Nick Mullins, who then proceeds to recommend a bleak, nihilistic manga.
At Comixology, on the other hand, Kristy Valenti has had too much of sanitized, overly inspirational biographies, and the edu-manga bios of Anne Frank, Helen Keller, and Albert Einstein that she read recently didn’t make her feel any better.
The Manga Life team collaborates on a best of 2008 roundtable. One side note that I found interesting is that pretty much everyone there is working on manga in some professional capacity as well as reviewing it. Also, Fruits Basket translators Alethea and Athena Nibley reflect on the past year in their column.
Deb Aoki is looking forward to the most anticipated new manga of 2009 at About.com.
If your resolution is to try something new in 2009, Gia has some suggestions for manga for comics readers and comics for manga readers at Anime Vice.
There’s some new blood at Heisei Democracy, which had been lying dormant for a while, and Seiya has an interesting piece on manga cafes in general and the manga cafe MIKA in particular. Be warned before you click, though, that there’s a lot of eroge/figures stuff so the site is quite NSFW, particularly if the people at your workplace don’t get the figures thing to begin with.
Weirdly, the Icarus blog is quite SFW at the moment, and I suggest you head over there to read the lengthy comment thread on yaoi pricing (which ends up touching on more general issues of manga pricing and quality as well).
A former fan expresses her disappointment with Tokyopop.
News from Japan: The Asahi Shimbun has an article on the National Diet Library, Japan’s national library, that touches on this problem:
Another challenge facing the institution is the preservation of manga comic magazines, which attract the interest of many overseas researchers.
The ink on manga magazines tends to smudge rather quickly, causing the pictures to blur. Under current copyright rules, preserving manga publications in digital form for wide availability requires permission from various parties concerned. It would be a tall order and require tremendous clerical costs.
I like the bit about the magazines being of interest to “overseas researchers”—aren’t Japanese researchers interested? Meanwhile, here’s a nice little piece about Glass Mask, which I would love to see translated over here. ANN has lots of manga news: Gatou Asou, who designed the characters for the Moribito anime, is launching a new manga, Tokyo Bardo, in Young Gangan magazine; seven of the series that moved from the defunct Young Sunday magazine to YS Special are ending; and High School Debut creator Kazune Kawahara is treating readers to a one-shot follow-up in the March issue of Deluxe Margaret.
Reviews: At MangaCast, Ed’s latest podcast is on vol. 8 of School Rumble (in which they finally get around to having the school fair—comedy gold!). Alex Hoffman posts an expanded version of his earlier review of vol. 1 of Croquis Pop at Manga Widget. Plenty of action but not enough story is Jason Van Horn’s verdict on vol. 33 of Naruto at The Hachiko. Connie reads Red Blinds the Foolish, vol. 4 of Ikebukuro West Gate Park, and vol. 6 of Go Go Heaven at Slightly Biased Manga. Holly Ellingwood reviews vol. 3 of Toto: The Wonderful Adventure and vol. 3 of Yozakura Quartet at Active Anime. Dave Ferraro checks out vol. 1 of Daemonium at Comics-and-More. Michelle Smith enjoys vol. 5 of Monster at Soliloquy in Blue. Tanuki at Sgt. Tanuki’s Lonely Hearts Club Blog writes about a Japanese historical manga, Hi izuri tokoro no tenshi, that buries a decent story in too much history. At Mania.com, Danielle Van Gorder reads vol. 1 of Vampire’s Portrait and Erin Jones finds the sound of a wrist being crushed to be the most interesting part of vol. 4 of Kanna. Erica Friedman finds a few things to like about vol. 1 of My-HiME, despite a “nasty edge” to the fanservice, at Okazu. Julie reads vol. 1 of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and vol. 1 of Go West! at the Manga Maniac Cafe. Lissa Pattillo reviews Y Square Plus and vol. 2 of Cross x Break at Kuriousity. Tiamat’s Disciple likes vol. 2 of Very! Very! Sweet better than vol. 1, which is the opposite of my opinion, but he brings up some interesting points. At Manga Life, Barb Lien-Cooper reviews vol. 2 of Ghost Talker’s Daydream and Park Cooper gives his take on vols. 1 and 2 of Black Jack. Carlo Santos checks out vol. 3 of Black Lagoon at ANN. Billy Aguiar reviews vol. 1 of St. Dragon Girl at Prospero’s Manga. James Fleenor posts his impression of vol. 2 of Warcraft Legends at Anime Sentinel. Snow Wildsmith reviews Red Blinds the Foolish at Fujoshi Librarian. Charles Tan enjoys vol. 7 of Chinese Hero at Comics Village. And the Manga Recon team rounds out the year with Chloe Ferguson’s review of Angel’s Coffin and a flurry of Manga Minis.
Happy New Year, everyone! See you in 2009!