Lots of links for New Year’s Eve

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.

At Okazu, Erica Friedman lists her top ten yuri manga of 2008. Salimbol of The Chocolate Mud Wyvern Presents gives a rundown of the top manga and anime of 2008.

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.

God Len posts this week’s new releases at Japanator. Also: DIY Pocky!

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!

ICv2′s top manga for fall 2008

ICv2 has posted their list of the top manga properties for fall 2008, and the chart makes interesting reading. Naruto continues to rule at the top of the charts, but Fruits Basket has been displaced from the number two slot by Vampire Knight. This is interesting as I think Vampire Knight appeals to a slightly older reader than Furuba. Bleach is number four, then comes Queenie Chan’s In Odd We Trust. Despite the fact that the series ended a while ago, Death Note is number six. Overall, the chart has a good mix of titles—everything from Beauty Pop to Berserk. In terms of publisher share, Viz dominates with 12 series, while Tokyopop and Del Rey have five titles each, Dark Horse has two, and Yen brings up the rear with just one, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, at number 25.

ICv2 projects fewer releases; Ultimo series to launch in Japan

The new ICv2 Guide to Anime and Manga is out, and the number-crunchers there are predicting a 10% drop in manga releases in 2009:

In the ICv2 manga survey at the end of 2007 publishers indicated that they planned to publish 1,731 volumes of manga, an 18% increase over the 1,468 volumes released in 2006, but the actual number of manga released in 2008 appears to be around 1,356 as publishers cut titles during the second half of the year. The total from ICv2’s 2009 Manga Survey indicates that publishers are planning to release 1,224.

Watch this space, as the guide also lists the top 25 manga properties, but that link isn’t up yet.

Ultimo, the one-shot manga created by Stan Lee and Hiroyuki Takei (creator of Shaman King) will begin its run as a full-blown series in the Japanese Jump Square magazine in February. No word yet on when it will make the leap to the U.S., but both ANN and Gia think it will be soon.

David Welsh looks at some promising titles from the latest Previews at Precocious Curmudgeon.

Alex Hoffman posts his 2009 wish list at Manga Widget.

Casey Brienza discusses what moe creators could learn from Broadway musicals.

Things may be slow in the rest of the world, but Erica Friedman still finds some yuri news to report at Okazu.

At ComiPress, Matt Blind analyzes online sales and calculates the top manga for October.

News from Japan: In his latest MangaScope, Ed Chavez looks at some best-of lists and some promising new manga, including a new title from Love Roma creator Minoru Toyoda. Ed also posts the Toranoana doujin rankings for your edification. ANN reports on a new manga from the illustrator of Slayers, Rui Araizumi, and the demise of both Sakura Taisen and the magazine that carries it, Magazine Z.

Reviews: Martin Butler reviews Junji Ito’s Uzumaki at his new blog, Mono no Aware. At Precocious Curmudgeon, David Welsh enjoys vols. 1 and 2 of Cross X Break but feels compelled to ask

Is there a name for the manga category that can be described as shônen-y shôjo done by boys’-love creators who don’t entirely abandon their primary category?

Lissa Pattillo checks out Seduce Me After the Show, vol. 6 of One Thousand and One Nights, and vol. 2 of A Gentlemen’s Kiss at Kuriousity. Julie reads vol. 5 of Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation at the Manga Maniac Cafe. Andrew Wheeler warms up with three sexy manga, Object of Desire, Red Blinds the Foolish, and vol. 4 of Sundome, at ComicMix. Wilma Jandoc of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin takes a look at two short series, Lagoon Engine and Omukae Desu. Michelle Smith reviews vol. 3 of Time Stranger Kyoko and vol. 4 of Venus in Love at Soliloquy in Blue and is disappointed by vol. 1 of Phantom Dream, by Fruits Basket creator Natsuki Takaya, at Manga Recon. Justin Colussy-Estes, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoys vol. 1 of Go West! at Comics Village. Ed Chavez posts an audio review of vol. 2 of Black Lagoon at MangaCast. Casey Brienza gives You Higuri’s one-shot Angel’s Coffin a mixed review at ANN and reviews Gentle Cage at her LJ. Tiamat’s Disciple weighs in on vol. 6 of Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning, vol. 3 of Croquis Pop, and Y Square Plus. Julie is not too impressed with vol. 2 of Kitchen Princess at the Manga Maniac Cafe. Kris takes a look at Red Blinds the Foolish, Anima, and vol. 1 of Kyo Kara MAOH! at Manic About Manga. At Slightly Biased Manga, Connie posts reviews of vols. 9 and 10 of Let Dai, vol. 3 of With the Light, vols. 1 and 2 of Human Club, vols. 2 and 3 of Ikebukuro West Gate Park, vols. 16 and 17 of Boys Be…, and vol. 3 of Time Stranger Kyoko. New at Boys Next Door: Shards of Affection, White Brand, and vol. 3 of Hero Heel.

Boxing Day news and notes

Here’s your worthwhile read for the day: At Yaoi 911, Alex Woolfson analyzes a survey of readers of translated yaoi and points out some interesting conclusions drawn from both the questions and the comments section.

The MangaCast team picks the best of this week’s new releases.

Among the missing: Ed Chavez updates his list of manga that are cancelled or simply in limbo and notes who he would like to pick up the licenses. Kris follows up with a wish list of her own at Manic About Manga.

The retrospectives are coming! The retrospectives are coming! At The Anime Almanac, Scott VonSchilling takes a look back at manga and anime in 2008 and hazards a few predictions for 2009. David Welsh lists his favorite continuing series of 2008 at Precocious Curmudgeon. Deb Aoki gives her best continuing series list as well at About.com, and she throws in her nominations for best magazine and worst manga, winding up with this trenchant comment:

Can someone tell me who are these hordes of mysterious “fans” who are clamoring for more Princess Ai, while I’m left waiting in vain for Suppli Volume 4? Siigh.

Word!

Christopher Butcher read all 18 volumes of Monster in one sitting, and he has some comments and some questions at Comics212.

In what may be an ominous sign, Johanna Draper Carlson reports that one publisher is cutting back on review copies.

The Telegraph takes a look at office-themed manga.

Yamila Abraham of Yaoi Press reflects on her decision to go with Diamond Book Distributors as YP’s distributor.

Matt Blind runs the numbers at Rocket Bomber, with a look at the top 500 manga (online sales), new releases and pre-orders (with a note that it’s awfully confusing out there right now as to what is coming out when), emerging trends report, and the rankings summary.

Translator Tomo Kimura enjoys her first taste of mahjong manga.

News from Japan: At Anime Vice, Gia reports that Suzumiya Haruhi-chan no Yuutsi, a chibi gag manga based on The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, is outselling the original. ANN reports on new launches by Minoru Toyoda (Love Roma), Yuki Tanaka (Jinja no Susume), and Tsutomu Nihei (Blame!). Here’s another one: Mai Nishitaka, creator of Venus Capriccio, has a manga in the works called Cyboy, about an attempt to create the perfect male. And in the city of Sakai, the public library has reversed a decision to restrict circulation of boys-love manga that was made after a library user complained that allowing the books to circulate freely was harmful to children and somehow constituted sexual harassment and a burden on the taxpayers as well. ANN also lists last week’s comics rankings.

Reviews: Ed Sizemore thoroughly enjoys vol. 1 of Mao-Chan at Comics Worth Reading. Ed Chavez has a podcast review up of Red Blinds the Foolish, the latest manga from est em, at MangaCast. Alex Hoffman gives vol. 1 of My-Hime a low grade but Lori Henderson gives thumbs up to vol. 1 of Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning at Comics Village. Connie posts reviews of vol. 14 of Hikaru no Go, vol. 10 of Monster, vol. 17 of Fullmetal Alchemist, vol. 3 of Category: Freaks, vol. 4 of Variante, and vol. 1 of Sounds of Love at Slightly Biased Manga. Erica Friedman critiques vol. 2 of Day of the Revolution and Clover at Okazu. Tangognat checks out Castle of Dreams, a thick collection of short manga by Masami Tsuda, the creator of Kare Kano. Emily’s randomness generator turns up Himitsu no Oniisan at Emily’s Random Shoujo Manga Page. Kethylia reads the light novel Passion: Forbidden Lovers. Matthew Alexander gives a good review to vol. 1 of Vagabond (the VizBig edition) and Adrianne Hess enjoys vol. 1 of Burst Angel at Mania.com. Bill Sherman wraps up a long-running series with his look at vol. 27 of Iron Wok Jan at Blogcritics. Michelle Smith reviews vol. 4 of Monster at Soliloquy in Blue. Tiamat’s Disciple has a one-word reaction to vol. 1 of Higurashi: When They Cry: Awesome! However, he does elaborate a bit after that. Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlante reviews vols. 9 and 10 of Love*Com and posts short takes on a number of other books at Manga Life. Lissa Pattillo checks out vol. 2 of Blank Slate and guest reviewer Marsha Reid takes a look at vol. 7 of Angel Diary at Kuriousity. Julie reads vol. 4 of Parasyte and Make More Love and Peace at the Manga Maniac Cafe. Kris reviews the Dany & Dany artbook Dark Dreams as well as Black Sun and Object of Desire at Manic About Manga. At Stop, Drop, and Read!, Diana Dang gives her take on Ultimate Venus, After School Nightmare, and Bound Beauty.

Catching up and looking back

As the year winds to a close, Katherine Dacey takes a year-end snapshot of the manga industry at Good Comics for Kids. Amazingly, the news isn’t all bad. Kate also makes a big announcement at Manga Recon: She’s moving on from her senior editor post and turning over the reins to the very capable Michelle Smith. While I’m delighted, because this leaves Kate more time to write for GC4K, I will miss her Manga Recon posts; she has definitely left the place in better shape than she found it.

Roland Kelts alerted me to this article in The Christian Science Monitor about the surging popularity of Japanese pop culture in the U.S.; naturally, as one of the go-to guys on the topic, he is among those quoted. The article has plenty of interesting nuggets, including an interview with the creators of The Kindaichi Case Files and the news that Sarah Palin’s glasses were Japanese.

David Welsh takes a look back at the year in manga at Precocious Curmudgeon, with lists of the best series debuts and conclusions of the year.

Deb Aoki lists her picks for the top manga of 2008 at About.com.

Matt Blind posts the top manga rankings for September 2008 at ComiPress.

At the MangaCast, Ed Chavez takes a look at the demise of Manganovel. His diagnosis: Not enough buy-in from the Japanese publishers, and as a result, not enough compelling series to draw in the readers. Ed also posts the manga list from the January Previews for those who like to plan ahead, and Simon Jones highlights upcoming manga from Previews Adult. In his New Year’s Wish List, Simon suggests breaking up Previews into several different genre-based catalogs, which strikes me as a good idea, actually.

God Len lists this week’s new releases at Japanator.

Lissa Pattillo finds a few new items on Amazon, including a possible unannounced new title for Go!Comi, and another from Kitty Media at RightStuf.

Lori Henderson finds an interesting example of supply and demand at Manga Xanadu: A back issue of Yen Plus goes for over $100 on Ebay.

Meanwhile, at the Icarus blog, Simon Jones wants to know how price-sensitive yaoi readers are. Read the comments for some responses.

PingMag, a Japanese online shopping magazine, has an interesting interview with 1960s-era mangaka Eiko Hanamura, who didn’t set out to be a manga artist but ended up having the knack.

LJ’er lynkemma links to two literary essays on Death Note at Manga Talk.

Matt Blind is highlighting some interesting manga finds at Rocket Bomber. Go take a look!

Here’s an interesting story from November that I found while cleaning out my in-box: the German government is using manga to turn Muslim youth away from extremism. Because nothing gets to teenagers like government-sponsored propaganda!

Your super-global manga moment for the day: Manga in Gaelic, drawn by a Brazilian artist.

Job board: Viz is looking for interns. (Hat tip: Charles Tan.)

News from Japan: MangaCast posts the Dec. 22 manga rankings from Taiyosha.

Reviews: The Manga Guide to Statistics gets the once-over at Slashdot. J. Caleb Mozzocco weighs in as well at Blog@Newsarama, and Mark C. Chu-Carroll focuses on the math content in his review at Good Math, Bad Math. Carlo Santos ushers in the holidays with a look at Yokaiden, Rosario+Vampire, and Beet the Vandel Buster, among others, in his latest Right Turn Only!! column. Edward Zacharias is finally inspired to write a review of vol. 19 of One Piece, after following the series all this time. Read all about it at Animanga Nation. Dale North reviews the Genshiken Official Book at Japanator. Ed Chavez podcasts his thoughts on Object of Desire and Mangamaniac Julie reviews Today’s Ulterior Motives at MangaCast. At the Manga Maniac Cafe, Julie goes in a different direction with a look at vol. 2 of Gantz. Tiamat’s Disciple checks out vol. 3 of Kaze no Hana and vol. 4 of Alice on Deadlines. Lissa Pattillo reads Color of Rage, vol. 4 of Freak: Legend of the Nonblonds, Shards of Affection, and vol. 5 of Moon Boy at Kuriousity. Charles Tan checks out vol. 6 of Chinese Hero at Comics Village. New at Active Anime: Scott Campbell on vol. 2 of Ghost Talker’s Daydream, Holly Ellingwood on vol. 8 of Kitchen Princess, and Rachel Bentham on Secret Moon. At Manic About Manga, Kris reads vol. 1 of breath (from new kid on the block Yaoi Generation), vol. 4 of Star Project Chiro, and The Lily and the Rose. Snow Wildsmith takes a good look at vol. 1 of breath as well at Fujoshi Librarian. Mania is making their site a bit more user-friendly by posting lists of recent reviews; recent entries include Greg Hackmann on Solanin, Robert Harris on vol. 15 of The Wallflower, Matthew Alexander on the adult title Aqua Bless, and Danielle Van Gorder on A Capable Man (another 18+ title), vol. 13 of Nana, and vol. 6 of Black Sun, Silver Moon. New at The Star of Malaysia: Shaun A. Noordin on vol. 1 of Ghost Slayers Ayashi and Kurogane on vol. 1 of S.S. Astro and vol. 1 of Nui. Alex Hoffman reads vol. 1 of Stray Little Devil at Manga Widget. Leroy Douresseaux reviews Junior Escort, vol. 1 of Princess Ai: The Prism of Midnight Dawn, and vol. 1 of Black Sun at The Comic Book Bin. AnaKhouri is not too impressed with vols. 1 and 2 of Dark Metro at Yellow Menace. At Slightly Biased Manga, Connie checks out vol. 3 of Suppli, vol. 2 of Time Stranger Kyoko, Dear Myself, vol. 1 of Croquis Pop, vol. 6 of Bastard, vol. 3 of Aria, and vol. 8 of Let Dai.

Manga for a winter day

ICv2 has Diamond’s top 300 graphic novels for November chart.

David Welsh looks back at Five Memorable Moments in Manga for 2008 in his latest Flipped column. Back at Precocious Curmudgeon, he puts in the good word for Suppli, a josei manga that may be in jeopardy.

I predict this will be a memorable moment of 2009: First Second, which is known for their high-quality graphic novels, will be publishing their first manhwa, The Color of Earth.

ANN updates its list of new manga expected in 2009.

At Okazu, Erica Friedman rounds up the week in yuri, provides a sneak peek at Yuri Monogatari 6, and launches her consulting service specializing in Microniche Marketing, that is, getting the word out to a niche within a niche.

John Thomas writes about end-of-the-year traditions and offers some gift ideas at Mecha Mecha Media. Also getting into the holiday spirit are Lori Henderson, who is counting down the Twelve Manga of Christmas at Manga Xanadu, and Ed Chavez, who is looking at Japanese Christmas manga covers at MangaCast.

Jonathan lists the German manga releases for December at Manly Manga and More.

News from Japan: ANN lists the top-selling manga in Japan last week (part one, part two) and notes a couple of new manga launches: Mirai Nikki: Paradox, by Sakai Esuno, in Kadokawa Shoten’s Ace Assault, and Asuka@Mirai-Kei, by Kazuhiko Shinamoto, in Shogakukan’s Monthly Sunday GX. Sensual Phrase creator Mayu Shinjo will relaunch Ayakashi no Koi Emaki in the Jan. 5 issue of Margaret.

Reviews: Here’s a new find: Stop, Drop, and Read, where teenager Diana Dang posts brief reviews of what she’s been reading lately, including vol. 1 of Koi Cupid and Japan Ai: A Tall Girl’s Adventure in Japan. At Comics Village, Katherine Farmar reads one of my favorites, vol. 1 of ES: Eternal Sabbath. Michelle Smith is unimpressed by vol. 25 of Bleach but looks more favorably on vol. 13 of Monster and vol. 2 of Cat Street at Soliloquy in Blue. Mangamaniac Julie reviews Today’s Ulterior Motives at MangaCast and Object of Desire and vol. 2 of Blank Slate at the Manga Maniac Cafe. At Okazu, Erica Friedman continues her look at vol. 14 of Yuri Hime and also checks out vol. 2 of Girl Friends. Greg McElhatton reviews vol. 1 of Yokaiden at Read About Comics.