Bookmarked! 10/29/14

Welcome to another edition of Bookmarked, our weekly feature in which Kate and I, and an invited guest, discuss what we’re reading this week. These are not formal reviews—they are more like works-in-progress, and we totally claim the right to have opinions about manga we haven’t finished yet. Our guest this week is Justin S, founder of Organization Anti-Social Geniuses. Take it away, Justin!

Justin: Last week, Deb and Kate ended up choosing My Love Story!! as titles they’ve been reading recently. Brigid chose Barakamon. Both are titles I’ve also read in the past week and probably would have chosen for this column had they not been covered already. I’m only bringing this up because I just want to say you should definitely be checking out those works as they’re both pretty great.

But I think I have a fairly solid backup to those two titles, and while it’s been finished for a while now, it still manages to chill me every time I turn the page: Monster!

Monster 2

For Vol 2 of the Perfect Edition of Monster, the search for cold blooded killer Johan is on for Tenma and Anna, while they both have to deal with their troubles: Tenma’s been framed for murders he didn’t commit, while Anna has to delve into the seedy backgrounds of Frankfurt and avoid getting into unnecessary trouble. During their search, the past of Johan—how he got himself into the situations he did as a child, the people involved with him, his true personality, or personalities—are uncovered, and this discovery only leads the two to conclude one thing: They must stop him, at any cost.

Monster is always going to be a weird beast for me. I’ve read this story a couple of times, yet each and every time I read it again, it feels like something new happens and I’m taken aback. In this omnibus format, the experience of seeing seemingly minor characters like Heckel the thief and Schumann the doctor (who lives in a remote area) and how they influence the story this time around is exciting and fresh! Yeah, we know who the story really revolves around and those guys ultimately are the focus, but I find that in re-reading some works, sometimes the other things, like the supporting characters, take your attention that makes you appreciate the ongoing journey. In this case for example, just seeing a regular nurse treat a kid that Tenma, who is wanted for murder, gives to her and has to leave for some time, and then watch her give the kid to someone else—that someone else happened to be abusing the kid—even though rationally, she is supposed to give the kid up because he’s the guardian and has no knowledge of how he’s been treated, makes me angry. Predictable, probably, but being predictable can be a good thing if everything else is set up properly. That is one of the reasons Monster still continues to be so great even despite time passing by, and I can only thank Viz enough for re-releasing it in this brand new version.

GTO Paradise Lost

Another manga that’s gotten my attention is on Crunchyroll. It has something to do with “delinquent, former gang leader” “Teacher” and “immature schoolkids with a host of problems.”

That practically sums up Fujisawa’s latest GTO iteration, Paradise Lost. As the sequel to GTO, it’s still grounded in the same roots that’s made the series popular: Onizuka is not the normal teacher, most of his co-workers are out to get him fired, and he has to deal with problem kids… that also are out to get him fired. This time however, he has to deal with students who are also idols, which means they bring their stardom (and their fans), along with their sense of superiority and arrogance, to the classroom. Needless to say, Onizuka doesn’t stand for that, especially if that means treating the lesser classmates that may not be stars but have an importance nonetheless, like trash.

I knew going in that I was probably going to like this new version of Onizuka, but I’m surprised I like it as much as I do. It’s still the same as all the others, but the angle of working with a former model, teaching a bunch of kids that are destined to be famous, and seeing how he does it considering how they act inside and outside of school has been neat. It’s gotten pretty crazy recently with one idol who can’t stand Onizuka, to the point where he decided it’d be cool to let one of his stalker fans kill Onizuka. But as always, Onizuka finds a way to survive it, though whether he’ll have success teaching him a lesson…well, he probably will eventually, but it’s still too early to say. Anyways, while the art still remains somewhat of a distraction, this is still classic GTO, and hard to turn down.

Well, the art does have its good moments.

Kate: I had a similar experience re-reading Monster this summer: I found myself more interested in the subplots and supporting characters than in Tenma’s quest to find Johann. I often feel like Urasawa does his best work on the periphery of the main story, populating it with memorable people who feel truer-to-life than his lead characters. He also does a better job of wrapping up these brief story arcs; much as I love Monster, Pluto, and 20th Century Boys, Urasawa can’t end a series to save his life.

Zipang

Speaking of older gems, I’ve been reading the first volumes of Kaiji Kawaguchi’s time-traveling thriller Zipang. Kodansha published a bilingual edition in 2002, and while they didn’t translate the whole series, it’s still a good read. The premise is uncannily similar to The Final Countdown (1980), a cheesy Martin Sheen-Kirk Doulgas flick in which an American aircraft carrier is accidentally transported back to 1941. The crew then must decide whether to use their superior weaponry to thwart the bombing of Pearl Harbor or allow history to follow its textbook course. Zipang tells a similar story from a Japanese perspective: the crew members of the Mirai, a state-of-the-art destroyer, find themselves deposited in the Pacific theater on the eve of Midway. You can guess what happens next: characters debate the ethics of altering the space-time continuum while engaging in some good old-fashioned sea battles. This time-traveling gimmick has been done to death, but I have a terrible fondness for hyper-serious manly-man manga, especially when the pacing and artwork are as crisp as Kawaguchi’s. I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to read the whole series–at 43 volumes, it’s easy to guess why no American publisher would touch it—but can’t help but wish that Crunchyroll would license it.

Brigid: I also have been reading My Love Story!!, and I especially enjoy the art and the way that Aruko uses patterns and screentones to express emotion—every time Yamato does something that Takeo finds unspeakably cute, his profile is filled with streaks of lightning. It’s totally over the top, but that’s what makes it so funny.

I’ll weigh in on Monster as well: I agree with Kate about Urasawa’s endings. The end of Monster made me want to throw the book across the room. It’s a shame, because Urasawa is a master storyteller, and I love following all the story threads, so it’s disappointing when the series just goes “pfft” at the end.

Noragami 1

I started a couple of promising series this week. One was Noragami, a comedy about a homeless god, Yato, who makes up in attitude for what he lacks in tact. The book begins with Yato somewhat reluctantly helping a bullied girl—as so often happens in manga, the chief culprits are not her jerky schoolmates but supernatural creatures called ayakashi. Yato slashes them to ribbons with the help of his shinki (“divine weapon”), a girl who becomes a knife at his command, but then his shinki leaves. Perhaps this is one of those manga that started as a one-shot chapter in a magazine, because this first chapter stands completely apart from the rest of the story.

What happens next is a bit confusing: A girl named Hiyori is hit by a bus and almost dies, or has some sort of near-death experience, and while she seems to have recovered, she keeps slipping out of her body. She attaches herself to Yato, and it looks like maybe she will become his new shinki, but noooo, some other dude shows up at the end. So I’m not sure where the Hiyori thing is going. There’s plenty to like about this book anyway, though, with lots of humor in this book (including the fact that Hiyori is a closet wrestling fan) and just enough action. Adachitoka lays on the screentones with a heavy hand (and not as skillfully as Aruko), which makes the art hard to look at sometimes, but the characters themselves are well drawn and well defined. I’ll be on board for at least one more volume of this one. Bonus points for the extensive translation notes in the back!

World Trigger 1

I thought that World Trigger might be something special, as Viz released the first two volumes at once, but it seems pretty average. It’s your basic Shonen Jump story about teenagers protecting the world (or in this case, Mikado City) from invaders from outer space, the Neighbors. The group of protectors is called Border, and they have the usual tightly fitted uniforms and cool weapons (they get a special battling body when they fight, which minimizes damage to the actual body). There are a couple of twists in the book: The main character, Osamu Mikumo, is a low-level trainee who isn’t much of a fighter. However, he is a very ethical guy who won’t allow a classmate to be bullied or allow one of the bullies to be eaten by a space monster that pops up out of nowhere. The bullied classmate is the new kid in town, who seems a bit more clueless than he ought to be. It’s hard to say more without giving the plot away, but there is a bit more to it than your average fighting-the-monsters story. If you like a book with a lot of battles, this is one to try, but by the beginning of volume 2, I had had enough.

Margaret Turns 50; Alt-Manga Pioneers

news_large_margaret01To mark the fiftieth anniversary of Margaret and Bessatsu Margaret magazines, Shueisha helped organize an exhibit featuring its most popular series, from Riyoko Ikeda’s The Rose of Versailles to Io Sakisaka‘s Blue Spring Ride. Erica Friedman files a report from Tokyo.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee and block off an hour for manga scholar Ryan Holmberg’s essay on  the development of gekiga.

Over at the Hooded Utilitarian, Josselin Moneyron profiles Breakdown Press, a London-based company that specializes in alt-manga artists such as Sasaki Maki.

After DMP announced a Kickstarter campaign to fund six previously unlicensed manga by Osamu Tezuka, fans took to social media to voice concerns about the cost. DMP responded with a video explaining why this campaign was more ambitious than previous ones, but reaction was mixed. Alexander Hoffmann offers his own cost analysis.

Scholar Kathryn Hemmann examines the unconscious bias against female manga artists in Helen McCarthy’s A Brief History of Manga.

Tony Yao explores the connection between teen employment and the American manga market.

Aussie otaku take note: the University of Wollongong will be hosting Manga Futures: Institutional & Fan Approaches in Japan and Beyond, a three-day conference focusing on the current state of manga scholarship.

News from Japan: If you just can’t get enough Durarara!!, you’ll be pleased to hear that Sylph magazine will be launching a new spin-off series Durarara!! Relay in November. Also debuting next month: a new installment of Akiko Higashimura’s Princess Jellyfish, and a new Gakuen Heaven series penned by You Higuri.

Reviews: Jason Thompson embraces his inner guitar god with an in-depth essay on Detroit Metal City, while Seth Hahne reviews The Flowers of Evil.

Sakura Eries on vol. 6 of A Bride’s Story (The Fandom Post)
Anna N. on vols. 1-2 of The Clockwork Sky (Manga Report)
Kamen on The Flowers of Evil (trenchkamen)
James on vols. 1-10 of Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit (Kotaku)
Rebecca Silverman on In Clothes Called Fat (Anime News Network)
Mad Manga on vols. 2-8 of Knights of Sidonia (Cartoon Geek Corner)
Laura on vols. 1-7 of Midnight Secretary (Heart of Manga)
Khursten Santos on The Night Beyond the Tri-Cornered Window (Otaku Champloo)
Khrusten Santos on Nino no Mori (Otaku Champloo)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of No Game, No Life (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Danica Davidson on vol. 1 of Raqiya (Otaku USA)
Megan R. on vols. 1-6 of Reiko the Zombie Shop (Manga Test Drive)
Matthew Alexander on vol. 7 of Triage X (The Fandom Post)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 7 of Voice Over (Comic Book Bin)

Top manga franchises, NYCC interviews

ICv2 looks at the graphic novel market in general, noting that women and children are becoming a larger slice of the audience, and then lists the top 25 manga and the top 10 shoujo and shonen franchises.

In an interview done at NYCC, Justin talks to Viz vice president of publishing Leyla Aker about her work, her gateway anime and manga, and what has surprised her the most at her job. He also chats with Shonen Jump editor Andy Nakatani about the direction he thinks the magazine is heading in and with Danika Harrod, brand manager for manga at Crunchyroll.

Also from NYCC: Here’s a video of Takeshi Obata drawing Death Note sketches.

The Manga Bookshelf team discuss next week’s new manga, and also on the site, Melinda Beasi discusses problematic relationships in three different manga in her Three Things Thursday post.

Something to look forward to in January: Image will publish Ken Niimura’s Henshin. Zainab Akhtar explains why that’s awesome.

Tiffany Pascal writes about “Spiritual Gender-Bending in Solanin.” Warning: Spoilers!

Previews shows off all the October manga.

Just so we can remember why we like this, David Brothers picks out a great example of Tite Kubo’s storytelling from chapter 601 of Bleach.

Comicosity has a preview of the latest chapter of Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga, the Batman manga that DC is releasing digitally.

Paul Gravett dusts off a 2013 interview with Junko Mizuno, who is in the UK at the moment for a couple of appearances.

Here’s a look at the Manga Hof manga cafe in Dusseldorf, Germany, where you can read all you like for five euros an hour.

A UK man, Robul Hoque, has been convicted on 10 counts of possessing “prohibited images of children,” all of them manga depicting young girls in a sexual way. While the judge acknowledged that these were drawings, not photographs, and therefore no children were harmed in the making of them, he said, “This is material that clearly society and the public can well do without. Its danger is that it obviously portrays sexual activity with children, and the more it’s portrayed, the more the ill-disposed may think it’s acceptable.” This is the prosecution of this kind in the UK involving manga, and Hoque’s lawyer pointed out that many of the images in his possession were legally available on legitimate websites, saying, “This case should serve as a warning to every Manga and Anime fan to be careful. It seems there are many thousands of people in this country, if they are less then careful, who may find themselves in that position too.” Negima creator Ken Akamatsu had some thoughts on the case as well.

Here’s this week’s New York Times manga best-seller list.

News from Japan: MariaHolic will end in November. Shonen Ace magazine celebrates its 20th anniversary with a special video. Here’s the latest Japanese comic rankings.

Reviews

Melinda Beasi on Antique Bakery (Manga Bookshelf)
Sarah on vol. 24 of D.Gray-Man (nagareboshi reviews)
Guy Thomas on The Flowers of Evil (Panel Patter)
L.B. Bryant on vol. 1 of Honey Blood (ICv2)
Manjiorin on Legal Drug (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Magical Girl Apocalypse (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Manga Dogs (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Catie Coleman on Monster (Women Write About Comics)
Ken H. on vol. 2 of Monster Soul (Sequential Ink)
Matthew Warner on vol. 2 of Monster Soul (The Fandom Post)
Matthew Warner on vol. 1 of Noragami (The Fandom Post)
Matthew Warner on vol. 3 of Say I Love You (The Fandom Post)
G.B. Smith on vol. 2 of The Seven Deadly Sins (The Fandom Post)
Ash Brown on vol. 4 of Summit of the Gods (Experiments in Manga)
Laura on Sweet Rein (Heart of Manga)
AJ Adejare on Time Killers (The Fandom Post)
Lori Henderson on vols. 1-3 of Urameshiya (Manga Xanadu)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 2 of Whispered Words (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 2 of World Trigger (The Comic Book Bin)

Bookmarked! 10/22/14

A few weeks ago, we promised that we’d be introducing some new features to complement our regular link-posts. Today we’re launching the first of those columns, Bookmarked! Every Wednesday, Brigid and I will discuss what’s sitting on our nightstands, and invite someone from the mangasphere to join the conversation. Our first guest is Deb Aoki, who’s been a force in manga journalism for almost a decade. Deb was the editor of About Manga from 2007 to 2013, and is currently a contributor to Publisher’s Weekly. She also runs her own website Manga Comics Manga, which offers a mixture of reviews and commentary.

all_need_killKate: First up for me is Takeshi Obata’s adaptation of All You Need Is Kill. The premise is equal parts Ground Hog Day and Stormship Troopers: a soldier dies on the battlefield, only to relive the same day over and over again. Naturally, he takes advantage of this time-loop to learn more about his alien foes, honing his hand-to-tentacle combat skills with each ill-fated mission. Though it’s a boffo premise for a story, the execution–in manga form, at least–is mediocre. The combat scenes are rendered with gory zest, but the aliens themselves aren’t terribly frightening; if anything, they look like irradiated dust mites. The manga also suffers from a bad case of Explanation-itis, with too many text boxes filling gaps in the story. My verdict: skip the manga and read Hiroshi Sakurazawa’s original novel instead.

I’m also reading My Love Story!! a new-ish shojo title that’s been getting good buzz around the web. The key to its success, I think, is the artwork. Though most of the characters conform to shojo norms—button-cute faces, artfully tousled hair—Takeo, the hero, looks like a graduate of Cromartie High, a big bruiser with a gorilla’s face. His size and fearsome appearance are, of course, played for laughs, but artist Kazune Kawahara also plays against type, revealing Takeo’s gentler (and nimbler) side through brief but hilarious vignettes involving treed cats, imperiled children, and falling i-beams.

What I like best about My Love Story!!, however, is the friendship between Takeo and Sunakawa, his impossibly handsome, cool friend. Sunakawa finds Takeo’s social cluelessness exasperating, but remains staunchly loyal to his buddy. As someone who’s had her fill of cocky shonen characters, I found it refreshing to see Takeo discuss his anxieties to Sunakawa so openly; younger female readers may be pleasantly happy to discover that boys worry about their looks and “it” factor as much as girls do, even if it isn’t socially acceptable to admit such fears. And if that last sentence made you say, “Holy Phil Donahue, Batman!” rest assured that Takeo and Sunakawa’s exchanges are blunt and funny, not touchy-feely; Sunakawa never sugar-coats his advice to Takeo. (He’s a big proponent of the “She’s just not that into you” school of keepin’ it real.)

Yoshino_Barakamon_V1_TP

Brigid: Barakamon is the story of an up-and-coming calligrapher, Seishuu Handa, who retreats to a remote island after putting his career in jeopardy by getting physical with an expert who calls his work “highly conformist.” There’s a lot of city-slicker-goes-to-the-country humor, with the locals invariably getting the better of Seishuu—especially the children, who have turned his rented house into their own clubhouse and have no intention of letting it go. The chief miscreant is a very young girl named Naru who is cute and inquisitive but suffers from the irritating habit of referring to herself in the third person. Manga-ka Satsuki Yoshino has a weak sense of anatomy—the characters often look like a pile of clothes with no structure underneath, and the parts of the body are frequently out of proportion—but she also does a good job of evoking the open, rural area and the playfulness of the children. This is a charming book with broad humor and a nice sense of atmosphere.

My Love Story 2

Deb Aoki
My Love Story!! Vol. 2: Spring has sprung, and now that cute, sweet and petite Yamato and huge, big-hearted hulk Takeo are officially GF/BF, things are headed toward their happily ever after, right? Well, KINDA. Now Yamato wants to introduce her super cool boyfriend to her friends via a group date, and has a bit of a rude awakening when her friends are less than impressed with his uh, “gorilla-like” appearance. Will their love survive when friendship gets in the way?

My Love Story!! was one of my picks for best new manga at San Diego Comic-Con this year, and that was based on only one volume! Now that the second volume is out, the question is, can Kawahara (the creator of another fave shojo romantic comedy, High School Debut) and Aruko keep the ball rolling on what basically seems like a one-joke-wonder? Based on what I’ve seen in volume 2, it looks like they’re just getting started.

I don’t want to spoil the laughs, but there are several scenes in My Love Story!! vol. 2 that made me genuinely guffaw. Seeing Takeo wearing a skimpy apron as he works at a “Bro Café” and listening to his matter-of-fact interactions with his mom (who unsurprisingly, was a former pro wrestler) reminded me that this ensemble of quirky characters still has lots of comedy left to mine, I hope they keep it comin’.

What Did You Eat Yesterday? Vols. 4 & 5 : I was down with the whole concept of What Did You Eat Yesterday? almost as soon as Vertical announced that they licensed it for publication in English—but somehow, volumes 4 and 5 really sealed the deal for me.

Written and drawn by Fumi Yoshinaga (Ooku, Antique Bakery, Flower of Life, All My Darling Daughters, and more BL than you can shake a stick at), What Did You Eat Yesterday? seems at first like just a foodie-centric slice of life story about couple in Tokyo who just happen to be gay. Kenji is a hairdresser, who’s basically out, while Shiro the lawyer keeps his sexual preferences under wraps for professional reasons. What they have in common (besides their love for each other) is their shared love of good food. And not super fancy food either—Yoshinaga focuses on simple recipes that are inexpensive and relatively easy to make.

While the first few volumes set up the basic premise for the series and introduces us to the characters, volumes 4 and 5 make it very clear that being gay in Japan is not as simple as boys love manga would have you believe.

Kenji and Shiro deal with the everyday issues that remind them that their lives, while happily domestic, can be somewhat complicated. There are little moments that bring this point home to the reader, particularly as we observe Shiro’s discomfort as he’s forced to consider his relationship with Kenji and his relationship with his gay-ness. Shiro feeling self-conscious while they’re dining out with another gay couple or purposely standing apart while riding the subway together. Shiro enduring being cheerfully greeted with “Hey, it’s the gay guy!” by his well-meaning neighbors. Getting a request from a gay friend to help arrange the adoption of his long time partner, so his estranged family won’t automatically inherit his estate. Talking about wanting or not wanting kids, and how it’s not so easy when you’re gay in Japan. Turning down an offer to be on a TV show because it would be too difficult to maintain one’s privacy. After years of seeing fantasized M/M manga romances in BL/yaoi manga, it’s eye-opening to see the realities of gay life in Japan depicted in such a matter-of-fact way.

Mind you, there’s still a lot of witty, gentle humor in these books, so it’s not preachy or dreary. Yoshinaga is too skillful a storyteller and too funny to let things get too heavy-handed. I hope that there’s still more volumes of this manga planned for publication—but that may depend on more people getting turned on to its subtle, quirky charms. So go pick it up, why don’t you? I’d love to read volume 6 and beyond, and every additional reader who buys this manga will certainly help ensure that this will happen.

Manga Dogs 1

Manga Dogs, vol. 1: Kanna Tezuka is a high school girl with a secret: She’s a published professional manga artist, albeit one whose first series is near the bottom of the popularity rankings in her magazines—but hey, it’s still better than the three hunky but clueless schlubs who are her classmates in her manga art class.

The trio, Fumio Akatsuka, Fujio Fuji, and Shota Ishinomori have big dreams of manga superstardom, but very little actual talent. When the trio discover that they have a pro in their midst, they beg Kanna to be their manga mentor. Can she keep making manga, hit her deadlines and not go nuts listening to her classmates’ delusions of comics grandeur?

A quirky satire of manga making by the creator of I Am Here! and Missions of Love, Manga Dogs is kind of like the goofy younger sister of Bakuman. It definitely doesn’t take comics creation as a career as seriously as Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s manga about making manga, but come on, does it have to?

Manga Dogs has loads of manga in-jokes for hardcore fans (for example, Shota Ishinomori’s name is a play on “shota”, a word used to refer to underage boys and Shotaro Ishinomori, the legendary comics creator of Cyborg 009 and Kamen Rider), and enough general-purpose slapstick to make it a fun read. A very nerdy read with filled with excruciating mishaps for the heroine, and several pages of translation notes to clue readers into its many in-jokes, but fun anyway. Not for everyone, but for the manga obsessed, this new shojo comedy delivers lots of light-hearted. goofy fun.

Brigid Talks to Takeshi Obata

I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interview Death Note manga-ka Takeshi Obata at New York Comic-Con. On our agenda: Bakuman, Hikaru no Go and, of course, Death Note.

Kodansha will be reissuing an oldie but goodie: Hitoshi Iwaaki’s body-snatching classic Parasyte.

In other licensing news, DMP will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of six Tezuka titles including Rainbow Parakeet, The Three-Eyed One, and The Vampires.

Justin Stroman of Organization Anti-Social Geniuses interviews Robert McGuire of GEN Manga, which started out publishing serialized manga in digital and print format and is now focusing on print graphic novels.

Spooky Pokemon designs by Junji Ito? Yes, please!

Over at Nagareboshi Reviews, Sarah examines the horror element in Tezuka’s beloved medical drama Black Jack.

Reviews: Shaenon Garrity sings the praises of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service in the latest House of 1,000 Manga column, while Adam Stephanides investigaes Shintaro Kago’s Superconducting Brain Parataxis. Here at Manga Bookshelf, Sean Gaffney and Michelle Smith post brief reviews of the latest VIZ volumes.

Lori Henderson on vols. 1-7 of Attack on Titan (Manga Xanadu)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 52 of Case Closed (Comic Book Bin)
Sean Gaffney on The Garden of Words (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 1 of I Am Alice: Body Swap in Wonderland (Anime News Network)
Matthew Warner on vol. 4 of Inu X Boku S.S. (The Fandom Post)
Matthew Warner on vol. 12 of Library Wars: Love & War (The Fandom Post)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 1 of Manga Dogs (Anime News Network)
John Rose on vol. 3 of Neon Genesis Evangelion Omnibus (The Fandom Post)
Kate O’Neil on vol. 21 of Pandora Hearts (The Fandom Post)
Sarah on vol. 22 of Soul Eater (Nagareboshi Reviews)
Anna N. on vol. 2 of Spell of Desire (Manga Report)
Jocilyn Wagner on vol. 1 of Sweet Blue Flowers (Experiments in Manga)

Attack on Titan Boosts US Manga Market

Sales of Attack on Titan have helped reinvigorate manga publishing in the US.

Over at Publisher’s Weekly, Deb Aoki files a lengthy report on the state of manga publishing. The good news: Attack on Titan has attracted thousands of new readers to manga, just as Naruto did ten years ago. As a result, manga publishers across the industry are reporting stronger sales for 2014 and licensing more titles for 2015.

Does Crunchyroll’s practice of “simulpublishing” harm print sales of series such as Ajin and Attack on Titan? Alexander Hoffman investigates.

Nike Taiwan will be launching a shoe line inspired by Takehiko Inoue’s Slam Dunk.

Dark Horse announced a smattering of new titles for 2015, including the final volume of Oh! My Goddess. (That would be number 47, in case you’ve lost track.)

The Japan Times explores the growth of digital manga magazines, from NHN PlayArt’s Comico to Shueisha’s Shonen Jump+.

Reviews: Butt-kicking heroines unite! Megan R. posts a lengthy appreciation of Sailor Moon, while Ash Brown reviews Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Adolescence of Utena.

Theron Martin on vol. 19 of Battle Angel Alita: Last Order (Anime News Network)
Jenny Ertel on vols. 1-4 of Blue Morning (No Flying No Tights)
Lesley Aeschliman on vol. 2 of Dengeki Daisy (Lesley’s Musings on Anime & Manga)
Seth Hahne on vols. 1-4 of From the New World (Good Ok Bad)
Seth Hahne on In Clothes Called Fat (Good Ok Bad)
Matthew Warner on vol. 8 of Is This a Zombie? (The Fandom Post)
Ken H. on vol. 1 of Kimagure Orange Road (Sequential Ink)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 8 of Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic (Comic Book Bin)
Helen on vols. 1-3 of Paradise Kiss (Narrative Investigations)