A Certain Seven Seas License; Aya Kanno Coming to TCAF

A Certain Scientific Accelerator

Seven Seas announced yesterday that it has licensed A Certain Scientific Accelerator, one of the many manga spinoffs of the light novel series A Certain Magical Index (which has been licensed by Yen Press).

Aya Kanno, creator of Otomen, Blank Slate, and Requiem of the Rose King, will be a guest at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) in May.

I wrote about the life and work of the late Yoshihiro Tatsumi at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog.

At The Guardian, Jennifer Allan writes about what she learned from Tatsumi’s works.

Justin talks to Ken Niimura, author of Henshin, at Organization Anti-Social Geniuses.

The Manga Bookshelf bloggers discuss their pick of a very good week and what we can expect next week. Lori Henderson looks at this week’s manga at Manga Xanadu.

Hiroya Oku says his Inuyashiki manga, which Kodansha will start publishing in the U.S. in August, will run to 10 volumes.

The Japanese anti-piracy project Manga-Anime Guardians reports some results:

In the five month period between August and January, MAG deleted 447,096 manga files and 264,601 anime files from various video sharing, online reading, torrent and other sites. For manga, that represents a 60% delete rate, while for anime, that’s a 89% delete rate, though it’s not clear whether these results include English-language sites.

I don’t go to scanlation sites, but I haven’t noticed any decrease in the frequency with which they show up in Google results, but maybe MAG is hitting Japanese-language sites harder. They also note that 12% of Japanese readers and 50% of U.S. readers use bootleg sites.

Crafty Lori Henderson looks at some sewing manga. I didn’t even know that was a thing!

13th Dimension has a preview of Jiro Kuwata’s Batmanga #38.

News from Japan: The Naruto spinoff mini-series Naruto Gaiden: Nanadaime Hokage to Akairo no Hanatsuzuki will start running in Shonen Jump with the April 27 issue. Shigeru Mizuki is bringing his autobiographical manga Watashi no Hibi to an end in the next issue of Big Comic. Princess Jellyfish creator Akiko Higashimura has won the Manga Taisho award for her series Kakukaku Shikajika. Children of the Sea manga-ka Daisuke Higarashi has a new series in the works, titled Designs. ANN has the latest Japanese comics rankings.

Reviews: The Manga Bookshelf team files their report on some recent releases in the latest edition of Bookshelf Briefs. Ash Brown recaps the week’s reading at Experiments in Manga.

Matthew Warner on vol. 1 of Akame ga KILL! (The Fandom Post)
Kate O’Neil on vol. 14 of Attack on Titan (The Fandom Post)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 15 of Attack on Titan (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Sean Gaffney on vols. 1 and 2 of Captain Ken (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Toshi Nakamura on Inuyashiki (Kotaku)
Steve Bennett on vol. 1 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (ICv2)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 3 of Kokoro Connect (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Erica Friedman on Kono yo ni tada Hitori (Okazu)
Justin on Maria the Virgin Witch (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Lori Henderson on vol. 1 of Master Keaton (Manga Xanadu)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 2 of Master Keaton (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Alice Vernon on Milkyway Hitchhiking (Girls Like Comics)
Kristin on vol. 3 of My Love Story (Comic Attack)
Manjiorin on vol. 1 of My Neighbor Seki (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 47 of Oh My Goddess (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Drew McCabe on Our Reason for Living (Comic Attack)
Anna N on vol. 1 of Requiem of the Rose King (Manga Report)
Helen on Spirit Circle (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Ash Brown on vol. 6 of What Did You Eat Yesterday? (Experiments in Manga)

Review: Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 1

tokyo_ghoul_viz_coverTokyo Ghoul, Vol. 1
By Sui Ishida
Rated T+, for Older Teens
VIZ Media, $8.99 (digital edition)

Tokyo Ghoul opens with the mild-mannered Ken Kaneki impulsively deciding to go on a date with a beautiful stranger. As Kaneki soon discovers, Rize isn’t even a person–she’s a ghoul, a violent predator who feeds on human corpses. A freak accident spares Kaneki from becoming Rize’s next meal, but he has a new problem: the ER doc who saved his life used a few of Rize’s organs to do so. Within days, Kaneki begins craving flesh, too, forcing him to decide whether he’ll succumb to his ghoulish impulses or cling to his humanity.

The first chapter is the strongest, thanks in part to manga-ka Sui Ishida’s crack pacing. In less capable hands, the introduction might have been a dreary information dump; Ishida, however, is sparing with details, allowing us to learn about ghouls through the natural unfolding of the story. Ishida also demonstrates considerable skill in creating suspense. Throughout the first chapter, he artfully manipulates light and shadow to amplify the contrast between well-lit, “safe” spaces such as the cafe where Kaneki likes to study, with the dark, remote areas where Rize likes to hunt; you’d be forgiven for screaming “Run away!” every time Rize steers Kaneki toward a quiet, empty street.

What should have been chapter one’s most dramatic moment, however, is executed clumsily. Ishida piles on the speed lines and close-ups, but it’s almost impossible to determine what Rize looks like in her true form. The individual panels lack the detail that would convey a sense of where the action is unfolding–a shortcoming that becomes painfully obvious near the end of the scene, when a pile of I-beams falls on Rize and Kaneki. The artwork never hints at this potential outcome, leaving me to wonder if that’s how the scene originally ended.

Kaneki’s transformation is handled in a similarly pedestrian fashion. We see Kaneki sweat, cry, scream, and vomit like Linda Blair, but his moral crisis is painted in such broad strokes that it’s hard to feel genuine sympathy for him. When Kaneki faces a terrible choice–eat his friend or starve–Ishida resorts to a deus ex-machina to save his hero from the indignity of snacking on someone he knows. Although this plot twist makes Kaneki seem more human, it blunts the true horror of his dilemma by making him too likable; our allegiance to the hero is never really tested.

Any pretense that Tokyo Ghoul might be a character study is shed in the the final pages of volume one, when Ishida introduces a secret ghoul organization. This plot development feels like the first step towards a more conventional battle manga pitting demons against humans. More disappointing still is that Ishida seems to think that splattering the reader with entrails is scarier than pausing to ask the question, What really makes us human? Kaneki’s liminal status between the human and demon worlds makes him a natural vehicle for exploring this dilemma, but Ishida shies away from the tough ethical or moral issues posed by Kaneki’s new dietary needs. The resulting story reads like a low-cal version of Parasyte, stripped of the complexities and conflict that made Hitoshi Iwaaki’s body-snatching manga so compelling.

Volume one of Tokyo Ghoul is available in ebook form now; the first print volume will be released in June.

Sparkler Monthly, New Licenses, Manhwa, and More

Orange-Junk-cover2-571x800

At Robot 6, I interviewed Lianne Sentar of Chromatic Press, who is serious about publishing manga-influenced comics for a female audience. Their flagship publication is Sparkler Monthly, and if you’re curious, check it out now, because the archives are available for free. And Melinda Beasi breaks another bit of Sparkler Monthly news at Manga Bookshelf: They have just picked up the series Orange Junk, which formerly ran on Inkblazers.

Yen Press announced that it has licensed the Irregular at Magic High School (Mahōka Kōkō no Rettōsei) light novels and the spinoff manga Mahōka Kōkō no Yūtōsei (The Honour at Magic High School).

Sean Gaffney rounds up all the recent license announcements and tells us a bit about each title.

ICv2 declared last week Manga Week, and their coverage included interviews with Mike Richardson, Carl Horn, and Mike Gombos of Dark Horse, who said their manga line is doing well and they have plans to expand this year with more titles and omnibus editions of older works; Kevin Hamric of Viz, who also says sales are good and notes that sales of shoujo manga have gone up in comics shops; and Matt Lehman, owner of Boston’s Comicopia, who talks about selling manga in the direct market. ICv2 also analyzes last year’s manga sales, which appear to be up for the second year in a row.

A treasure trove of manhwa in an abandoned storage locker has been donated to the University of Washington, where librarian Yi Hyo-kyoung is organizing then, putting together a symposium featuring Misaeng creator Yoon Tae-ho—and reminiscing about reading manhwa on the sly when she was a child.

The Manga Bookshelf team discusses this week’s new manga and their picks of the week.

Erica Friedman updates us on all things yuri at Okazu and at Manga Bookshelf, she looks at Mangatime Kirara ☆ Magica, a Japanese magazine dedicated entirely to the Puella Magi Madoka Magica franchise.

At Heart of Manga, Laura looks at the shoujo manga that have been licensed over the past two years, notes some recent trends, and shares her own list of series she would like to see licensed. And then explains the shoujo trope of kate don.

News from Japan: The Japanese government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs has awarded Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto their Rookie of the Year award; apparently he qualifies because Naruto is his first series, although it ran for 15 years. Attack on Titan took the top slot in the manga category of the Sugoi Japan Grand Prix, in which readers voted on the manga and anime they thought should be shared with readers outside Japan. The mayor of Yokote, in Akita Prefecture, is planning to beef up the collection of the Yokote Masuda Manga Museum to turn it into a “manga mecca” with a collection of over 100,000 works of art. A new Cardfight!! Vanguard series is in the works.

Reviews: Khursten Santos reviews Sayonara, Sorcier, a manga about Theo Van Gogh (Vincent’s younger brother) which, sadly, has not been translated. Somebody grab this one! Ash Brown rounds up the week’s manga news and offers some quick takes on new titles at Experiments in Manga. The Manga Bookshelf team check in with some short reviews of recent releases in their latest edition of Bookshelf Briefs.

Laura on vol. 2 of Attack on Titan: No Regrets (Heart of Manga)
Kristin on vols. 2 and 3 of Black Rose Alice (Comic Attack)
Lori Henderson on vols. 1-5 of Bloody Cross (Manga Xanadu)
Ollie Barder on Gundam: The Origin (Forbes)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 25 of Hayate the Combat Butler (The Comic Book Bin)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Maria the Virgin Witch (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Dave Ferraro on vol. 1 of Meteor Prince (Comics-and-More)
Ash Brown on vol. 2 of Mushishi (Experiments in Manga)
Helen on Orange (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 18 of Oresama Teacher (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 2 of Prophecy (Comics Worth Reading)
Ken H. on vol. 2 of Prophecy (Sequential Ink)
Kristin on vol. 1 of Requiem of the Rose King (Comic Attack)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Servamp (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Laura on Strobe Edge (Heart of Manga)
Erica Friedman on Wakemonaku Kurushikunaruno (Okazu)
Erica Friedman on vol. 3 of Whispered Words (Okazu)
Ken H. on vols. 1 and 2 of xxxHolic Rei (Sequential Ink)
Justin on Zone-00 (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)

Remembering Yoshihiro Tatsumi – Updated

Fallen Words

Manga-ka Yoshihiro Tatsumi has died at the age of 79. Paul Gravett broke the news on his blog, saying that he got an e-mail from director Eric Khoo, who directed a documentary about the artist, saying simply, “Sensei is dead.”

Tatsumi was a pioneer of manga for adults, which he called “gekiga,” or “dramatic pictures,” as opposed to “manga,” which means “whimsical pictures.” During the course of his long career he won numerous awards, including the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize (Japan), the Angouleme Prix Regards Sur le Monde (France), and numerous Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz awards (U.S.). Drawn and Quarterly has published six of his works in English: The Push Man and Other Stories, Abandon the Old in Tokyo, Good-Bye, Black Blizzard, A Drifting Life, and Fallen Words.

As word of his death spread, several people shared their stories of meeting Tatsumi.

Peggy Burns of Drawn & Quarterly, Tatsumi’s publisher:

I was lucky enough to spend two weeks with him and his wife on his two trips to North America, two of the most fulfilling times of my career. He was gentle, sweet and kind and would always get me to tell him stories about my kids. Anne Ishii and I spent two days with him stock signing in NYC, where he would do the most ornate drawings in each books, over hundred of books received this special treatment. We kept trying to get him to speed up, and tried to tell him he didn’t have to do such ornate drawings. He told us: If when in his twenties, when he was broke and trying to make it as an artist that in his 70s, he and his wife would be flown to the USA, the very least he can do, is a drawing for each of the people who will buy the books.

Alex Cox

Alex Cox remembers meeting Tatsumi and his wife when they visited his Brooklyn comics shop. At that time, Tatsumi was only beginning to realize how popular his early works were in this country:

As Tatsumi left, I had no idea how to address him, unaccustomed as I am to Japanese etiquette. I bowed and said “Arigato, Tatsumi-Sensei,” hopefully using the correct honorific (and pronunciation) to address a master of his craft. He stalled momentarily before shaking my hand warmly.

Closing in on age 70, he was still getting used to the idea that he was considered Sensei by thousands of people on the other side of the world.

Adrian Tomine, Tatsumi’s editor at Drawn and Quarterly:

It didn’t take long for me to discover that, despite differences of age, geography, history, etc., Tatsumi-sensei reminded me very much of all the other great cartoonists I’ve had the fortune of becoming friends with. He could be taciturn and occasionally inscrutable, but in the right circumstances, he’d open up with humor, inquisitiveness, and an unflagging excitement about the process of making comics. I’d studied and learned from his work since I was a teenager, but I think Tatsumi’s humility, generosity, and artistic determination were as inspirational to me as any of his stories. I had several occasions–usually when one of us was dashing off to catch a plane–to offer my best attempt at a bow and to say “thank you,” but I always felt that I hadn’t been clear or emphatic enough, and that he was too modest to fully accept all that I was thanking him for.

Here’s a handful of other links about Tatsumi; post your favorites in the comments and I’ll add them here.

Deb Aoki’s 2009 interview with Tatsumi
Ryan Sands covers Tatsumi’s 2009 appearance at TCAF
The Toronto Star’s 2009 interview with Tatsumi
Dwight Garner’s review of A Drifting Life in the New York Times

Update: Here are some more posts and tributes that have appeared in the week after Tatsumi’s death:

Jocelyne Allen, who was Tatsumi’s translator at TCAF and also the translator of Fallen Words, shares some memories and discusses his short story collection Kessakusen
Ryan Holmberg’s obituary at The Comics Journal, a detailed account of Tatsumi’s life that also puts his accomplishments in context
Gary Groth’s very in-depth interview with Tatsumi, first published in 2007
Bruce Weber’s obituary in the New York Times
Elaine Woo’s obituary in the Los Angeles Times

The Shojo Beat Goes On… With New Licenses

Before we get to this week’s news round-up, we have news of our own: Manga Blog turns ten this month! Brigid has some anniversary features in the works, so stay tuned and help her celebrate a memorable decade of blogging. Now for the links…

Bloody-Mary

Shojo lovers rejoice: VIZ has just licensed Akaza Samamiya’s vampire drama Bloody Mary and Amu Meguro’s romantic comedy Honey So Sweet. The former drops in December 2015, the latter in January 2016. Also joining the VIZ line-up are several digital-only offerings: Calling You, Girls Bravo, Ratman, and Someday’s Dreamers: Spellbound. All four series debut this month, alongside the first volume of Tokyo Ghoul.

Seven Seas unveiled two new acquisitions this week, The Testament of Sister New Devil and My Monster Secret. Both series are scheduled for publication in early 2016.

That’s Life When You’re a Woman, a candid look at what it’s like to be a single, 31-year-old woman in Japan, is now available via the free Manga Box app.

Three manga crack the BookScan Graphic Novel Bestseller Chart for February 2015. Spoiler alert: one of them is Attack on Titan.

Akame ga KILL! tops this week’s New York Times Manga Best Seller list.

Kodansha Comics is looking for summer interns at their New York office.

Over at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, Brigid Alverson shines a spotlight on March’s most exciting new manga releases.

Jiraiya, whose work was featured in Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It, will be visiting Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York this month to meet with fans.

TCJ columnist Joe McCulloch pays tribute to Golgo 13 creator Taiko Saito, one of the last “living connections to the early gekiga generation of Japanese comics.”

Deb Aoki reports from Tokyo on the symposium following the Manga Translation Battle Awards; she breaks it down into a couple of topics, then sums up the discussion of each one (localization, manga sales in Japan vs. the U.S., what makes a good translation) in a series of Tweets and responses from translators and others. Deb also compiles an excellent Storify post on Mahou Shounen Breakfast Club, a webcomic that, as Heidi MacDonald explains, triggered a fierce debate about authenticity, appropriation, and the “white gaze.”

News from Japan: Shiro Amano is bringing Kingdom Hearts II to an end with the 10th volume. Monthly Newstype will be publishing manga adaptations of two Project Itoh novels: Harmony and the impossible smutty-sounding Genocidal Organ. Both novels have translated and published in English by VIZ’s Haikasoru imprint.

Reviews: Shaenon Garrity dedicates this week’s House of 1000 Manga column to one of my favorite manga, the weirdly wonderful Apocalypse Meow. Manjorin and her fellow Anti-Social Geniuses discuss what they read last month, while the Manga Bookshelf team posts brief reviews of Cage of Eden, Magi, and One Piece.

Megan R. on The All-New Tenchi Muyo! (The Manga Test Drive)
Ken H. on vol. 3 of Attack on Titan: Before the Fall (Sequential Ink)
Lori Hendrson on vol. 2 on Attack on Titan: No Regrets (Manga Xanadu)
Wolfen Moondaughter on vol. 3 of Black Rose Alice (Sequential Tart)
Wolfen Moondaughter on vol. 10 of Happy Marriage?! (Sequential Tart)
Ash Brown on vol. 1 of Hide and Seek (Experiments in Manga)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Anna N. on vol. 1 of Meteor Prince (Manga Report)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 8 of Nisekoi: False Love (Comic Book Bin)
Ash Brown on Oishinbo A la Carte: Vegetables (Experiments in Manga)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 2 of Prophecy (Manga Worth Reading)
Sean Gaffney on vols. 13-14 of Ranma 1/2 (A Case Suitable for Treatment)

The Newcomer’s Guide to Attack on Titan

Just discovered Attack on Titan? Wondering what all the fuss is about? Brigid Alverson has you covered with an in-depth article discussing the characters, settings, and numerous spin-off products inspired by this world-wide phenomenon.

ICv2 lists the ten best-selling manga properties of the fall 2014/holiday season. Not surprisingly, Attack on Titan tops the list. What is surprising: the continued popularity of Death Note, which finished its North American print run in 2007.

DMP successfully raised the money to publish Osamu Tezuka’s 1970 thriller Alabaster. Backers can expect to receive both volumes in September 2015.

The forecast for next week’s new manga releases: light rain, with scattered omnibuses and final volumes from Dark Horse and VIZ.

Casey Baseel lists the ten most common shojo manga scenarios.

Kristina Pinto interviews VIZ editor Hope Donovan about licensing, lettering, and translating manga.

Paste Magazine explores the history of Fantagraphics’ manga imprint, from Sake Jock to Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It.

YALSA just released its 2015 list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens. Manga makes a good showing on this year’s list, with titles as varied as All You Need Is Kill and My Little Monster getting a nod from librarians.

News from Japan: When Rakuyo Technical High School and Fushimi Technical High School decided to merge, they hired manga artist Zakuri Sato (Taihen Yoku Dekimashita) to design the new uniforms.

Reviews: Jason Thompson dedicates this week’s House of 1000 Manga to Aya Kanno’s Otomen.  Over at Heart of Manga, Laura posts brief reviews of ongoing series in Japan, from Yayoi Ogawa’s Ginban Kishi to Touko Minami’s ReRe Hello.

Ash Brown on vol. 2 of Ajin: Demi-Human (Experiments in Manga)
Ken H. on vols. 7-8 of Brave 10 (Sequential Ink)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 53 of Case Closed (Comic Book Bin)
Megan R. on Happy Mania (The Manga Test Drive)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 10 of Happy Marriage?! (ANN)
Matthew Alexander on vol. 11 of Knights of Sidonia (The Fandom Post)
Charles Solomon on Jaco the Galactic Patrolman (Indie Wire)
Allen Kesinger on vols. 1-2 of Monster Musume (No Flying No Tights)
Sakura Eries on vol. 6 of My Little Monster (The Fandom Post)
Lori Henderson on vol. 1 of Prophecy (Manga Xanadu)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Requiem of the Rose King (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
A Library Girl on Vampire Academy (A Library Girl’s Familiar Diversions)
Erica Friedman on World Canvas (Okazu)
Sheena McNeill on vol. 4 of World Trigger (Sequential Tart)