Archives for June 2010

Big news roundup

Hey, everyone! Sorry about my untimely absence—I have been off in Washington, DC, at the American Library Association annual meeting, where I participated in panels on The Best Manga You’re Not Reading and Good Comics for Kids, interviewed Raina Telgemeier live on stage, met Art Spiegelman and got his autograph (and a personalized drawing!), and had all kinds of awesome fun observed the important issues that librarians face today. (For those of you who couldn’t be there, Tangognat liveblogged our Good Comics for Kids panel. Thanks, Anna!)

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much manga there. Random House had a few miscellaneous volumes tucked away in a bookcase full of graphic novels, but no one wanted to talk about them, and none of the traditional manga publishers were there. I did see Red: A Haida Manga at the PGW booth, and it looked awesome. And the high point was getting to flip through a galley of Moto Hagio’s A Drunken Dream, although, sadly, I had to give it back. If you’re curious, I wrote about my experiences at ALA for PWCW and Robot 6.

There was plenty going on while I was away, though! The most interesting bit of news, I think is that the staff of the recently defunct publishing company Aurora is setting up their own publishing company, Manga Factory. Aurora was the American arm of the Japanese publisher Ohzora, but now they have gone independent. They plan to launch at Anime Expo, and they are selling off the old Aurora books, as well as Deux (yaoi) and LuvLuv (teen love) titles for a limited time. And they are going digital, making Teen Apocalypse:Guilstein available for iPad and Kindle. (Note: You don’t have to have a Kindle to read Kindle books—there are versions of the software available for Mac, PC, iPod/iPad/iPhone, and I think they just launched for Android as well). ANN and Deb Aoki were way ahead of me on this one, so go check out their coverage.

The other big news of last week is not exactly news—Tokyopop is going digital, but then Tokyopop has been a pioneer in digital comics. What they have done now is partnered with the distribution service Zinio to offer their global manga for download to Mac or PC.

At PWCW, Kai-Ming Cha reports on the status of the scanlation wars: Some scans are down, but still accessible to fans, and scans pulled down in one place are popping up in others.

The art-manga roundtable at The Hooded Utilitarian wound up this weekend with posts by Ed Chavez, Shaenon Garrity, and Deb Aoki, who asks, “Can Manga Muster Up Its Maus/Watchmen Mega-Crossover Hit?” It’s all great reading, and if you haven’t had time for it so far, well, there’s a three-day weekend coming up…

Also at TCJ, the blogger Stephanie Folse (Telophase) contributes a post on the visual language of manga and comics.

Jason Thompson looks at underground comics in his latest House of 1000 Manga column at ANN.

Sean Gaffney checks out this week’s new manga. Sean has some license requests as well, and he is looking at the longest series he can find.

Erin Finnegan posts some old but good shonen fighting advice.

Johanna Draper Carlson and Ed Sizemore discuss manga with new reader Caroline in the latest Manga Out Loud podcast.

Anime Expo is this weekend, and if you’re going, or thinking of going, check out Deb Aoki’s schedule of manga events.

News from Japan: Ouran High School Host Club is entering its final story arc, according to ANN. House of Five Leaves is ending, Kenichi Sonoda is launching a new series, and a new bishoujo magazine, titled Comic Sumomo, is starting up. Cookie magazine will host a two-episode Kodocha/Honey Bitter crossover. And Battle Angel Alita: Last Order is going on hiatus and may not return after the creator had a disagreement with his editors over wording describing a character’s mental illness.

Reviews: The Manhwa Moveable Feast winds up with a podcast about The Color of Earth trilogy by Johanna Draper Carlson and Ed Sizemore and a review by Sean Gaffney.

Clive Owen on vol. 14 of Air Gear (Animanga Nation)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender (I Reads You)
Carlo Santos on vol. 9 of Black God (ANN)
David Brothers on Children of the Sea (ComicsAlliance)
Michelle Smith on vol. 1 of Chi’s Sweet Home (Soliloquy in Blue)
Theron Martin on vol. 16 of Claymore (ANN)
Lissa Pattillo on Domu (Kuriousity)
Diana Dang on Dramacon: Ultimate Edition (Stop, Drop, and Read)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 14 of Excel Saga (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Jaime Samms on Fevered Kiss (Kuriousity)
James Fleenor on vol. 1 of .hack//link (Anime Sentinel)
Connie on vol. 10 of Hellsing (Slightly Biased Manga)
Faith McAdams on vol. 13 of High School Debut (Animanga Nation)
Connie on vols. 19 and 20 of Hikaru no Go (Slightly Biased Manga)
Dave Ferraro on I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow (Comics-and-More)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 1 of Kingyo Used Books (Comics Worth Reading)
Leroy Douresseaux on The Last Airbender (The Comic Book Bin)
Kelkagandy on vols. 1 and 2 of The Lizard Prince (kelkagandy’s ramblings)
Connie on vol. 3 of Mad Love Chase (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 4 of Maid-Sama (Slightly Biased Manga)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 3 of Ooku: The Inner Chambers (The Comic Book Bin)
Connie on vol. 14 of Ouran High School Host Club (Slightly Biased Manga)
Chris Zimmerman on Romeo x Juliet Omnibus (The Comic Book Bin)
Michelle Smith on vols. 1-3 of Saiyuki (Soliloquy in Blue)
Shannon Fay on vol. 1 of Saturn Apartments (Kuriousity)
Connie on vol. 8 of Slam Dunk (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 2 of Song of the Hanging Sky (Slightly Biased Manga)

Guest Review: Hissing, vols. 1-6

hissing1Hissing, vols. 1-6
By Kang EunYoung
Rated T, for Teens
Yen Press $10.99

Review by Melinda Beasi.

High school freshman Da-Eh is an aspiring manhwa artist who carefully ignores constant cries for attention from her doting younger brother. Fellow freshman Sun-Nam, the youngest of three boys, is bound and determined to become a “bad guy.” Finally, senior Ta-Jun, the school hottie, finds himself drawn to the one girl who can’t stand him, Da-Eh. If this is where the story stopped, there would be nothing at all remarkable about it, and over the course of the first volume or so, that’s seemingly where things stand. Fortunately, both the story and Kang’s method of telling it soon become more complex.

As the three teens’ lives become further entwined, the truth of each of their circumstances begins to be revealed. It is soon apparent that Da-Eh’s coldness toward her little brother is due to her inability to forgive him for being the product of her dead mother’s affair. Similarly, Sun-Nam’s desire to be “bad” is symptomatic of his oppressive guilt over having wished his unfaithful father dead on the very day he died. Meanwhile, Ta-Jun’s infatuation with Da-Eh is little more than an escape from the much more complicated love he’s carried around in his heart for years.

The series is technically a high school romance, and as such contains plenty of the usual clichés. The “mean girl” love rival, for instance, makes a number of tiresome appearances, as do the ever-present love confessions, and even a jealous best friend. But Kang renders all of this insignificant by the middle of the fifth volume by pulling off a fantastic act of authorial self-insertion that alters the tone of the entire series.

One of the series’ most notable aspects early on is its resistance to establishing a single main character. By using a wandering POV that shifts not only between the three teens, but also to each of their family members and quite a number of their schoolmates, Kang prevents any one character from becoming the focus of the series. Then in volume four, as Da-Eh struggles to come up with something “different” for an upcoming manhwa contest, she hits upon the idea of creating a story in which every character is treated as the main character. She’s pretty excited about the idea, until Ta-Jun pipes in to complain, “But if you do that, there’s no center.”

After this, the story quickly becomes much more chaotic, finally exploding in the middle of the fifth volume, where Da-Eh discovers the true center of her world (and the world of the series as a whole) as it is thrust upon her in the wake of a single event. The result is quite moving, and not something that would have been expected based on the series’ first couple of volumes.

This is not the series’ only strength. It’s primary romance between two loners, Da-Eh and Sun-Nam, is just stilted and awkward enough to help its flowery moments read as charming rather than clichéd. And speaking of flowers, Kang’s running gag featuring a magically-appearing background of Japanese shojo-style flowers that randomly surrounds Ta-Jun serves as a clever wink to a romance-weary audience. Da-Eh, too, is refreshing as a romantic heroine whose personal interest in romance is mainly as something to be studied as a subject for her work.

Kang’s artwork is nothing special, and her male characters frequently look confusingly alike. Fortunately, she has a greater gift for drawing distinctive females. She shows her greatest strengths in the series’ later volumes, where her use of paneling genuinely shines during the story’s most dramatic moments.

Though likely unintentional, Kang’s real message for readers here is, “Good things come to those who wait.” While the series undeniably gets off to a slow start, the payoff for those willing to commit to all six volumes is significant. Patient fans of romantic manhwa would do well to check out Hissing.

Read more from Melinda Beasi at her blog, Manga Bookshelf.

Media Blasters: Missing in action?

Manga Moveable Feast update: Michelle Smith and Melinda Beasi devote this edition of Off the Shelf, their discussion column, to the Color of Earth trilogy. At The Manga Curmudgeon, David Welsh objects to the portrayal of sexuality in the story. Michelle Smith reviews The Color of Heaven at Soliloquy in Blue.

The Hooded Utilitarian’s roundtable on marketing manga to adults continues with a brief note from Peggy Burns on Drawn & Quarterly’s success with gekiga manga and a longer essay from Ryan Sands on the nature of indie manga, illustrated with plenty of examples.

Yesterday, Deb Aoki reported on the “shell game” scanlators are playing with the publishers; at Robot 6 I did a little more digging and found some supposedly deleted series on my iPod. I also daydreamed a bit about my ideal comics store, one geared more toward the tasets and preferences of women than men.

News that Media Blasters has apparently put three volumes on hold causes Lissa Pattillo to speculate about the company’s health.

Del Rey has announced that it will publish two more Odd Thomas graphic novels, bringing the total in the series to four.

Translators Alethea and Athena Nibley discuss conveying the subtleties of another language in their latest column at Manga Life.

News from Japan: A manga version of the TV anime Mobile Fighter G Gundam is in the works. ANN also has the latest comics rankings from Japan.


Deb Aoki on vols. 1-3 of Butterflies, Flowers (
Danica Davidson on vols. 5-8 of Click (Graphic Novel Reporter)
Danica Davidson on vols. 1-3 of Do Whatever You Want (Graphic Novel Reporter)
Susan S. on Fevered Kiss (Manga Jouhou)
Julie Opipari on vol. 10 of Gantz (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Kristin on vol. 1 of I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow (Comic Attack)
Snow Wildsmith on vol. 2 of Itazura Na Kiss (Graphic Novel Reporter)
Snow Wildsmith on Kingyo Used Books (Fujoshi Librarian)
Leroy Douresseaux on The Last Airbender: Prequel: Zuko’s Story (The Comic Book Bin)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 2 of Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Snow Wildsmith on vols. 1-9 of One Thousand and One Nights (Graphic Novel Reporter)
Jones, one of the Jones boys, on vols. 10-12 of Phoenix (Let’s You and Him Fight)
Nina Stone on vol. 1 of Pluto (Romancing the Stone)
Laura on vol. 5 of Shinobi Life (Heart of Manga)
Zack Davisson on vol. 1 of The Times of Botchan (Japan Reviewed)

Hidden in plain sight

tokyo_is_my_gardenThe Hooded Utilitarian is sponsoring a roundtable on marketing manga to adults this week, titled Komikusu (Japanese for “comics); Noah Berlatsky posted a brief introduction yesterday, and Erica Friedman refined the argument she made earlier at Okazu about a sustainable market that includes scanlations. Today, I offered some marketing tips and Kate Dacey adds some common-sense ideas of her own. Stay tuned, because Noah has a lot more planned for this week—and be sure to read the comments threads!

Melinda Beasi keeps us up to date on the latest Manga Manhwa Moveable Feast posts and hosts Erica Friedman’s review of The Color of Heaven. Over at her own site, Tangognat revisits her original reviews.

Scanlation wars update: While it looks like the publishers have won the initial skirmish with the pirates, Deb Aoki has a thorough article at this morning that explains that it’s not so simple. As blogger Kimi-chan explained a few days ago, both MangaFox and AnimeA claim that they have removed manga at the publishers’ request, but in fact they only blocked the links from the home page. If you find the manga via Google or if you already have it bookmarked, it may still be available. Deb had mixed results trying this herself, and it seems that as news of it spread, the admins at those sites started moving more aggressively to take down the series. This is similar to what happened a few months ago, when some internet vigilantes tried to shut the sites down by alerting Google to the fact that they run mature manga (a violation of the Google Adsense terms of service). The sites removed the links but savvy readers could still find the manga.

David Welsh and Brad Rice check out this week’s new releases.

Gottsu-Iiyan posts the first part of his translation of an interview with Takehiko Inoue and Eiichiro Oda at The Eastern Edge.

News from Japan: The baseball manga Major is coming to an end.


Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 9 of 20th Century Boys (The Comic Book Bin)
Andre on vol. 2 of The Battle of Genryu (Kuriousity)
Julie Opipari on The Clique (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Rob McMonigal on vol. 3 of Dororo (Panel Patter)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 5 of Gatcha Gacha (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Zack Davisson on Kitaro’s Heaven and Hell (Japan Reviewed)
Miriam Gibson on vol. 1 of Kobato (Manga Life)
Laura on vol. 1 of Library Wars (Heart of Manga)
Becky Fullan on Suggestive Eyes (Manga Jouhou)
Emily on Watashi ni xx Shinsai! (Emily’s Random Shoujo Manga Page)

MMF launches, the girls of shonen, and the scanner of the future

The June Manhwa Moveable Feast has begun, and Melinda Beasi starts us off with an introduction to the Color trilogy (The Color of Earth, The Color of Water, The Color of Heaven), which is the topic of this month’s MMF, while Daniella Orihuela-Gruber and Lori Henderson check in with the first reviews.

Melinda also rounds up some recent reviews of manhwa in her latest Manhwa Monday post.

In case you’re afraid you missed something, Lori Henderson rounds up the past week’s manga news at Manga Xanadu and Erica Friedman posts the latest edition of Yuri Network News at Okazu.

Kate Dacey looks at this week’s new releases.

At Manga Desu, Andrew continues his series on the girls of shonen manga with an analysis of Winry from Fullmetal Alchemist.

Helen McCarthy looks at another manga creator whose works are unknown in English, although she is very influential in Japan: Nanaeko Sasaya, a member of the Magnificent 49ers group.

Deb Aoki has the 411 on Tokyopop’s America’s Greatestui Otaku tour, which will be launching soon.

Tech talk: The IEEE Spectrum, not a publication we usually link to around here, has a story about a super-scanner that can scan in an entire book in about a minute; you just hold the book under the device and flip the pages. This would be a huge leap ahead of the old-school methods of cutting a book up and scanning in the pages one by one, and the application is obvious—too obvious:

In fact, Watanabe told me he was particularly interested in scanning manga comics. Imagine, he said, if all of Japan’s vast manga archives, at libraries, homes, and elsewhere, could be rapidly scanned and shared among manga fans around the world. That’d be nice. Alas, when he contacted one publisher, they didn’t like his idea and forbade him from using their books for testing the scanning device. Watanabe currently uses a mock book he made himself.

Reviews: Kate Dacey posts short takes on Afterschool Charisma, Bamboo Blade, and Higurashi When They Cry at The Manga Critic. The Manga Recon team presents their own short reviews of recent releases in the latest edition of Manga Minis. Carlo Santos takes a close look at some new manga in his latest Right Turn Only!! column at Anime News Network.

Michelle Smith on Adolf 5: 1945 and All That Remains (Soliloquy in Blue)
Kristin on vol. 1 of Afterschool Charisma (Comic Attack)
Connie on vol. 5 of Baby & Me (Slightly Biased Manga)
Richard Bruton on The Box Man (Forbidden Planet)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 3 of Children of the Sea (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Michelle Smith on vols. 1 and 2 of Claymore (Soliloquy in Blue)
Tangognat on vol. 1 of Flower in a Storm (Tangognat)
Connie on vol. 10 of The Gentlemen’s Alliance+ (Slightly Biased Manga)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 7 of Gestalt (The Comic Book Bin)
Sesho on vol. 4 of Happy Mania (Sesho’s Anime and Manga Reviews)
Sam Kusek on vol. 1 of Kingyo Used Books (Manga Recon)
Charles Webb on vol. 2 of Laon (Manga Life)
Shannon Fay on vol. 1 of Millennium Prime Minister (Kuriousity)
Sean T. Collins on Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka (Attentiondeficitdisorderly)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 10 of Vampire Knight (A Case Suitable for Treatment)

Monday morning roundup

The latest entry in Jason Thompson’s House of 1000 Manga series is Monster Collection, a game-based manga that does more than just put its characters through their paces.

Scanlation updates: At du9, Xavier Guilbert takes issue with the standard narrative that is shaping up regarding the effect of scanlations on manga sales. At ANN Brian Hanson, a.k.a. The Answerman, engages his readers a bit on the topic, including this nice shoot-down of the argument that the publishers had better come up with their own digital distribution:

If Warner Bros. arrests the guy in Chinatown selling bootleg DVDs, they don’t owe it to anyone to send a guy down the street corner selling new DVDs of current films in theaters for one or two bucks.

The Hooded Utilitarian is hosting a roundtable on marketing art manga; I will be contributing, along with Erica Friedman, Ryan Sands, Kate Dacey, Ed Chavez, Shaenon Garrity, and Deb Aoki. Noah Berlatsky starts us off this morning with a brief introduction.

Derik Badman visited the Garo manga exhibit in New York, and he has commentary and photos to share.

The Toronto Star is looking at the status of girls in G20 countries as part of the run-up to the G20 talks in Toronto. Since this is MangaBlog, not The Economist, we’re only going to highlight this article, which actually makes an interesting point: Girls use cosplay and kogal culture as a way to evade the rigid, old-fashioned expectations of their culture. Why yes, that is a huge generalization, but you could also argue just the opposite, that the depiction of girls and women in manga (buxom, compliant, shy, and super-sweet) reinforce those traditional mores.

The next Manga Moveable Feast is going to focus on manhwa, and Melinda Beasi has instructions for all those who want to participate.

News from Japan: Comic Bunch and Comic Yuri Hime S magazines are both ending publication, although Comic Yuri Hime S will be folded into its sister publication, Comic Yuri Hime, which will go from quarterly to bimonthly publicaton. Canned Dogs has a bit of background on Comic Bunch.

gankutsuou1Reviews: Margaret O’Connell compares two fujoshi-oriented manga, My Girlfriend’s a Geek and Fujoshi Rumi, in an entertaining essay at Sequential Tart.

Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 8 of 20th Century Boys (I Reads You)
Ken Haley on The Art of Blade of the Immortal (Manga Recon)
Kelakagandy on vol. 4 of Black Bird (kelakagandy’s ramblings)
Melinda Beasi on vols. 1 and 2 of Black Butler (Manga Bookshelf)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 4 of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Johanna Draper Carlson on Dining Bar Akira (Comics Worth Reading)
Kate Dacey on vols. 1-3 of Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo (The Manga Critic)
Becky Fullan on vol. 1 of Kurashina Sensei’s Passion (Manga Jouhou)
Leroy Douresseaux on I’ve Moved Next Door to You (The Comic Book Bin)
Connie on Maniac Shorts Shot (Manga Recon)
Eduardo Zacarias on vol. 25 of One Piece (Animanga Nation)
Lissa Pattillo on vol. 3 of Rin-ne (Kuriousity)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 3 of Soul Eater (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Lissa Pattillo on vol. 2 of Stepping on Roses (ANN)
Marsha Reid on vol. 4 of Sunshine Sketch (Kuriousity)
James Fleenor on vol. 1 of World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing (Anime Sentinel)