Gift guides, senseless violence, and bad translations

Four out of five reviewers recommend Oishinbo

Four out of five reviewers recommend Oishinbo

The New York Times published their Graphic Novels Gift Guide last week, but it gets no link from me because it included no manga whatsoever. It’s as if the folks at the Times didn’t know what manga was (which we suspect is indeed the case, based on the annotations to their best-seller lists.)

This could not stand, so alert manga bloggers David Welsh and Erica Friedman started a movement. A hashtag movement. On Twitter. And by the end of the holiday weekend, manga gift guides were blossoming all over the internet. David and Erica both have comprehensive posts linking to all the gift guides, so I won’t duplicate their work here, but I do want to thank them for spearheading this project and giving us something to do besides digest Thursday’s dinner. And check out those gift guides; if nothing else, you will probably find plenty of ideas for your own wish list.

Matt Thorn has some sharp words for tin-eared translators at his blog.

tsubamegashi1.JPGGottsu-Iiyan shares some memorable Takehiko Inoue art at The Eastern Edge.

At Good Comics for Kids, Lori Henderson lists the latest kid-friendly comics and manga, and at Comics Village, the reviewers pick the best of last week’s new releases.

Lori also rounds up the week’s manga news at Manga Xanadu, and Erica Friedman does the same for the world of yuri at Okazu.

David Welsh thanks publishers in advance for the awesome manga he hopes they will be licensing in 2010.

American Shonen Jump will stop carrying Yu Yu Hakusho and Yu-Gi-Oh! GX as of the January issue, although new volumes of the latter will continue to appear in book form.

Sesho discusses what he doesn’t like about Osamu Tezuka’s manga.

What were the best kids’ manga of 2009? Kate Dacey is taking a poll at The Manga Critic.

nonfatal_dragonball_225Like Wile E. Coyote, manga characters seem to be able to absorb a lot of violence without any visible damage. In his latest comiXology column, Jason Thompson explains how that works, exactly.

The latest NY Times Graphic Books Best-Seller List is up, and Vampire Knight is still at the top.

At Extremely Graphic, Sadie Mattox puts together a witty Thanksgiving manga menu.

kurosagivol9Amazon has nominated the cover of vol. 9 of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service for a best cover of the year award.

Becky Cloonan reports back on her trip to Japan—yes, the same one that Deb Aoki, Queenie Chan, Svetlana Chmakova, Dee, and a heap of other folks went on—and she has pictures, too.

Yaoi Generation is offering a 30% discount on books ordered between now and December 1; click the link for details. (Hat tip: The Yaoi Review.)

Job board: Kuriousity is looking for a yaoi light novel reviewer. No pay, but you do get review copies.

71079_200911270634645001259287551cNews from Japan: ToLoveRu artist Yabuki Kentarou will start a manga series based on the light novel Mayoi Neko Overrun. The latest volume of One Piece had a record-breaking print run of 2.85 million, while creator Eiichiro Oda mused about the eventual ending of the series. Peach-Pit is bringing Shugo Chara to a close, while Afterschool Nightmare creator Setuna Mizushiro is launching a new series. The funeral of Yoshito Usui, the creator of Crayon Shin-Chan, was held today in Tokyo.

Reviews: AstroNerdBoy has a nice overview of the entire Tsubasa series and its connections to other CLAMP series at his anime and manga blog. And the Manga Recon team has a fresh set of Manga Minis to start off your post-holiday week.

Tiamat’s Disciple on vol. 10 of Angel Diary (Tiamat’s Manga Reviews)
A Library Girl on vol. 4 of Antique Bakery (A Library Girl’s Familiar Diversions)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 8 of Apothecarius Argentum (Comics Worth Reading)
Tangognat on vol. 5 of Aria (Tangognat)
Connie on vol. 5 of Arm of Kannon (Slightly Biased Manga)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 1 of Beast Master (Comics Worth Reading)
James Fleenor on vol. 1 of Biomega (Anime Sentinel)
James Fleenor on vol. 1 of Black Bird (Anime Sentinel)
Shannon Fay on Boys Love (Kuriousity)
Lori and Krissy Henderson on vols. 1 and 2 of Choco Mimi (Good Comics for Kids)
Lissa Pattillo on Color (Kuriousity)
Michelle Smith on vols. 1-5 of From Far Away (Soliloquy in Blue)
Sesho on vol. 5 of Fullmetal Alchemist (Sesho’s Anime and Manga Reviews)
Connie on vol. 2 of Future Diary (Slightly Biased Manga)
Kris on vol. 1 of Il Gatto Sul G (Manic About Manga)
Connie on vols. 6 and 8 of Gimmick (Slightly Biased Manga)
Diana Dang on vols. 1 and 2 of Go Go Heaven! (Stop, Drop, and Read!)
Deb Aoki on GoGo Monster (
Connie on GoGo Monster (Slightly Biased Manga)
Gia on vol. 1 of Hero Tales (Anime Vice)
Tiamat’s Disciple on vol. 2 of Jack Frost – The Amityville (Tiamat’s Manga Reviews)
Tiamat’s Disciple on vol. 6 of Legend (Tiamat’s Manga Reviews)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vols. 15-19 of Nana (Comics Worth Reading)
Sesho on vol. 5 of Negima (Sesho’s Anime and Manga Reviews)
AstroNerdboy on vol. 24 of Negima (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog)
Ed Sizemore on vol. 2 of Nightschool (Comics Worth Reading)
Justin Colussy-Estes on Oishinbo: Ramen & Gyoza (Comics Village)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 1 of Rin-ne (Comics Worth Reading)
Michelle Smith on vol. 4 of Very! Very! Sweet (Soliloquy in Blue)
Tiamat’s Disciple on vol. 5 of Very! Very! Sweet (Tiamat’s Manga Reviews)
Connie on vol. 7 of We Were There (Slightly Biased Manga)
Justin Colussy-Estes on vol. 19 of Yakitate!! Japan (Comics Village)
AstroNerdBoy on vol. 4 of Yotsuba&! (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog)
Lissa Pattillo on vol. 5 of You’re So Cool! (Kuriousity)

Manga gift guide 2009

I find the whole idea of a manga gift guide a bit puzzling. Who would I be giving manga to? People who read manga already know what they like, and they probably read it as soon as it comes out. People who don’t read manga are likely to be stumped by the peculiar conventions of the medium. Imagine if your first manga was Kitchen Princess, for instance, or Higurashi When They Cry. I think those stories would be incredibly hard to understand if you weren’t already familiar with the quirks of their particular genres.

However, I can think of two groups of people who might appreciate a gift of manga, so I’m tailoring this guide to them. The first is children and young adults who like genre fiction; there’s a lot of good global manga out there that may appeal to them. The other group is curious adults who have heard about manga and would like to try it but aren’t sure where to start. For them, I picked a handful of titles that are fairly accessible in terms of style and also speak to other interests or tastes.

Children and Teens

51f1jgHc8ILDomo the Manga: Domo, the mascot for Japan’s NHK network, is like a Japanese version of the Cookie Monster: He’s big, simple-minded, and tends to let his enthusiasm get the best of him. I like this book because it is bright, colorful, and with short, simple stories, it is enjoyable for young readers and even pre-readers.
Publisher’s preview
My review
Buy it on Amazon

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Manga anthology folds

Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. readers! (And everyone else as well—what the heck.)

Objecting to the lack of manga in the New York Times’ graphic novels gift guide, Erica Friedman has rallied the troops to post their own manga gift guides. Mine will be up later this weekend, and Erica has a comprehensive list of participants at Okazu. Want to participate but don’t have a blog? David Welsh will host your selections at Precocious Curmudgeon. David’s picks are already up, and I’ll post a full list tomorrow.

Big news, but be warned the site is NSFW: The adult manga anthology Comic AG, published by Icarus Comics, is folding. Publisher Simon Jones says the magazine is breaking even, and that in a way it is a victim of its own success, having established a market that is now better served by trades. Obviously, it faced a different set of challenges than Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat, and the post is well worth reading if you’re not at work or around little kids.

The Wall Street Journal is taunting us with articles about manga and manhwa that are hidden behind a pay wall. I have never put a penny in Rupert Murdoch’s pocket, and I’m not going to start now, but Heidi has a brief summary at The Beat.

And here’s something interesting, from Graphic Novel Reporter: The independent booksellers’ graphic novel best-seller list for the past quarter. What I like about this list is that it tosses all graphic novels, manga and otherwise, together so we can see how they sell relative to each other. Also, it’s an interesting list and much more eclectic than the AV Club’s.

Even veteran translaters like Alethea and Athena Nibley get stumped once in a while; their latest column deals with how they deal with slang and other difficult terms.

Johanna Draper Carlson speculates about why Moyasimon was delayed.

Same Hat has an update on the AX anthology and some cool Yuichi Yokoyama (Travel) murals from Nike’s Harajuku shop.

Deb Aoki traveled to Japan with a distinguished circle of artists that included Becky Cloonan, Dan Hess, Dee Dupuy, Lanny Liu, Leisl Adams, Myung Hee Kim, Queenie Chan, and Svetlana Chmakova to sell their doujinshi at Comitia. She chronicles day 1 and day 2 of the trip at

Here’s a handy feature: Lissa Pattillo is posting searchable release schedules at Kuriousity.

News from Japan: ANN reports that josei favorite Erica Sakurazawa has just embarked on a new manga series, and they also post the latest comics rankings. And Canned Dogs posts pictures of shojo manga artist Shinjou Mayu’s studio.

Reviews: Settle back and enjoy Carlo Santos’ unfiltered comments on recent manga in his latest Right Turn Only!! column at ANN.

Julie on vol. 8 of Alive (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Tiamat’s Disciple on vol. 9 of The Antique Gift Shop (Tiamat’s Manga Reviews)
Erica Friedman on vol. 2 of Assistant Denki Keika (Okazu)
Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane on vol. 1 of Beast Master (Manga Life)
Kris on vol. 2 of Clan of the Nakagamis (Manic About Manga)
Lissa Pattillo on vol. 3 of Dororo (Kuriousity)
Julie on vol. 2 of Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Penny Kenny on vol. 4 of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (Manga Life)
Connie on Merry Family Plan (Manga Recon)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 1 of Moyasimon (Comics Worth Reading)
Dave Ferraro on vol. 1 of Moyasimon (Comics-and-More)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 3 of The Name of the Flower (Comics Worth Reading)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vols. 1 and 2 of Ooku: The Inner Chambers (Comics Worth Reading)
Lissa Pattillo on vol. 3 of Otomen (Kuriousity)
Julie on vol. 7 of Parasyte (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Barb Lien-Cooper on vol. 6 of Real (Manga Life)
Snow Wildsmith on vols. 1 and 2 of Sugarholic (Good Comics for Kids)
Tiamat’s Disciple on vol. 4 of You’re So Cool (Tiamat’s Manga Reviews)

Manga deemed insignificant by The Onion

David Welsh beats us all to the end-of-the-year story with his summary of everything he is grateful for (manga-wise) in 2009.

Kate Dacey, David Welsh, and Brad Rice take a look at this week’s new magna, and the Comics Village crew picks the best of last week’s releases.

At PWCW, Kai-Ming Cha talks to Yen Press honcho Kurt Hassler about his plans for manga adaptations, the place of Yen Plus magazine, and more. Also: Steve Bunche interviews Helen McCarthy about her new book, The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga. And their comics reviews include a short take on GoGo Monster (scroll down).

At Robot 6, Sean T. Collins looks at the Onion A.V. Clubs list of the Best Comics of the 00s and takes them severely to task for completely ignoring manga:

I’ll be the first to apologize if a separate, all-manga list is forthcoming. But as it stands now, the lack of a single Japanese comic on a best-of list for a decade during which such comics reached unprecedented popularity in the North American market — and during which an equally unprecedented number of acclaimed titles from nearly every time period and genre have finally seen the light of English translation and publication — is utterly egregious.

At the original post, a staffer defends the omission on about page 4 of the comments (there doesn’t seem to be a way to link to individual comments) on the grounds that he doesn’t know enough about manga. That seems rather dismissive; you can’t write about “comics” and just ignore a huge swath of the market. Either learn or hire someone. David Welsh takes steps to remedy this at Precocious Curmudgeon, where he nominates his top manga for the decade and invites others to join in.

Also at Robot 6: It’s not manga, but if you’re looking for something new to read over the long weekend, check out the webcomics buffet in my latest Unbound column.

The Yaoi Review follows its discussion of yaoi for beginners with an even more interesting question: Which yaoi manga should beginners avoid?

In Danielle Leigh’s latest recommendation post, she picks three manga based on the keywords “giant robots, adventure, and optimism.” Now there’s a challenge!

Helen McCarthy uses the British Museum as a springboard for her discussion of the work of Professor Munakata creator Yukinobu Hoshino, who actually wrote a manga about the museum, which in turn has devoted an exhibit to the manga. It all sounds very cool.

Here’s an interesting bit of dialogue-by-blog: Daniella Orihuela-Gruber posts about why she doesn’t like manhwa some aspects of manhwa at her blog, All About Comics. Tari (troisroyaumes) responds by pointing out that (1) manhwa is a medium in its own right, not an imitation of manga, and (2) the manhwa being translated is not representative of the medium as a whole in Korea. Then Danielle responds, and to her credit, I really don’t think she should apologize. I think her critique is actually pretty good, if it’s understood as a critique of translated manhwa—a lot of the stories are shallow, and anyway, there’s never any need to apologize in matters of taste. (Found via Melinda Beasi on Twitter.)

Holiday giveaway time: Melinda Beasi is giving away three boys’ love manga from Digital at Manga Bookshelf. And don’t forget that we are giving away five complete sets of the manhwa trilogy The Color of Earth at Good Comics for Kids.


Kris on vol. 1 of Close the Last Door (Manic About Manga)
Emily on Daite Daite Daite Darling (Emily’s Random Shoujo Manga Page)
Lori Henderson on vols. 5-7 of Goong (Comics Village)
Kris on vol. 1 of Hey, Class President! (Manic About Manga)
Snow Wildsmith on vol. 1 of Honey and Clover (Fujoshi Librarian)
Alexander Hoffman on vols. 1-2 of Magic Touch (Comics Village)
Edward Zacharias on vol. 44 of Naruto (Animanga Nation)
Gia Manry on vol. 1 of Night Head Genesis (Anime Vice)
Billy Aguiar on vol. 1 of Oh! My Brother (Prospero’s Manga)
Connie on vol. 8 of Wild Ones (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 14 of xxxHolic (Slightly Biased Manga)
Michael C. Lorah on vol. 2 of Yokaiden (Blog@Newsarama)
D.M. Evans on vol. 6 of Zombie-Loan (Manga Jouhou)

Live chat with Nina Matsumoto

I’m dashing off to work right now, so I won’t have today’s news up until later, but I did want to alert you to the fact that Yokaiden creator Nina Matsumoto is having a live chat today at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on All the details are below the cut.

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Deep thoughts for Monday morning

CaseClosed1At Good Comics for Kids, Robin Brenner looks at circulation statistics for the graphic novels in her library’s collection and draws some surprising conclusions—including the fact that Case Closed circulates more than Twilight. Also, Lori Henderson checks out this week’s kid-friendly comics and manga.

Also at Good Comics for Kids, we are giving away five sets of Kim Dong Hwa’s lovely manhwa trilogy, The Color of Earth, The Color of Water, and The Color of Heaven. Go, click, enter!

Once again, Lori Henderson rounds up the week’s manga news in handy digest form at Manga Xanadu.

Japan Focus has an interesting essay about two manga creators, Kōno Fumiyo (Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms) and Nishio Yuka (A Summer’s Afterimage: Nagasaki – August 9), both of whom take the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and their aftermath as their subject matter. Among other things, the essay deals with the problem of writing about atomic bomb survivors (hibakusha) when the writers themselves did not live through the bombings.

The Mainichi Daily News interviews translator Simona Stanzani—in a butler cafe.

pic_dhc_01Gina Biggs originally developed Red String as an entry in Tokyopop’s Rising Stars of Manga contest; now it’s a long-running webcomic with four volumes in print. She tells Wolfen Moondaughter all about it at Sequential Tart.

The latest New York Times graphic books best-seller list is up, and Vampire Knight tops the list.

David Welsh’s latest license request is a good one: the yokai series GeGeGe no Kitaro.

Jake Forbes posts the cover art for the fourth volume of Return to Labyrinth, which will wrap up the series, at

Tokopop’s next webinar, scheduled for November 30, will feature Stu Levy talking about the past, present, and future of the company.

Manga Jouhou is looking for reviewers.

News from Japan: Evan Miller reports in from Comitia, and he has photos. Ristorante Paradiso creator Natsume Ono has a new series in the works, while Hisachi Ichii is taking a break from Nono-chan while he recovers from an unspecified illness.

Reviews: The Manga Recon team starts the week with a fresh set of Manga Minis. Other reviews of note:

Lori Henderson on vol. 2 of 07-Ghost (Manga Xanadu)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 5 of 20th Century Boys (Comics Worth Reading)
Diana Dang on vol. 1 of Akira (Stop, Drop, and Read!)
Connie on vol. 4 of Arm of Kannon (Slightly Biased Manga)
Jason Yadao on Bat-Manga and vol. 1 of X-Men: Misfits (Honolulu Star-Bulletin)
Connie on vol. 8 of Black Jack (Slightly Biased Manga)
Gia on Brave Story (light novel) (Anime Vice)
Lissa Pattillo on vol. 1 of Butterflies, Flowers (Kuriousity)
CATPARADISE_2David Welsh on vol. 2 of Cat Paradise and vol. 4 of V.B. Rose (Precocious Curmudgeon)
Theron Martin on vol. 15 of Claymore (ANN)
Erica Friedman on vol. 1 of Dragon Sister (Okazu)
Danielle Leigh on Exotic and Delicious Fate (Comics Should Be Good!)
Emily on Himegimi to Sanbiki no Kemono (Emily’s Random Shoujo Manga Page)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 17 of Hikaru no Go (Comics Worth Reading)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vols. 1-3 of Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit (Comics Worth Reading)
Tangognat on Liberty Liberty! (Tangognat)
Lissa Pattillo on vol. 1 of Love*Com (Kuriousity)
Julie on vol. 1 of Nabari no Ou (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Melinda Beasi on vol. 1 of Oh! My Brother (Manga Bookshelf)
Zaki Zakaria on Oishinbo: Fish and Sushi (The Star of Malaysia)
Erin Finnegan and Sam Kusek on vols. 5 and 6 of Oishinbo (Manga Recon)
Julie on vol. 7 of Parasyte (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 6 of Pluto (Comics Worth Reading)
Connie on vol. 13 of Reborn (Slightly Biased Manga)
Tiamat’s Disciple on vol. 1 of Spice & Wolf (light novel) (Tiamat’s Manga Reviews)
Bill Sherman on This Ugly Yet Beautiful World (Blogcritics)
Melinda Beasi on The Way to Heaven (Manga Bookshelf)
Connie on vol. 7 of Wild Ones (Slightly Biased Manga)