Attack on Titan Conquers All

I wrote a roundup of the current manga scene for SLJTeen newsletter, with notes on publishing trends (omnibuses, license rescues) and some recommended series.

CBR has more details on the Attack on Titan/Marvel crossover, including where it’s going to run: In the Japanese culture magazine Brutus.

Lori Henderson looks at this week’s new manga at Manga Xanadu.

The Manga Bookshelf team discusses next week’s new manga, and Melinda Beasi has some pix of the new Pandora Hearts art book.

Attack on Titan creator Hajime Isayama was named “Tourism Friendship Ambassador to the ‘Beautiful Riverside Location of Hita,'” his home town in Oita Prefecture. Isayama came back to his hometown for a two-day cultural event, “Shingeki no Satogaeri” (Attack on Returning Home), and during a talk show that was part of the event, he said that the landscape of the area was his inspiration for the setting of Attack on Titan.

Three volumes of Attack on Titan make the BookScan best-seller list, which tracks graphic novel sales in bookstores; just like in the old days, the latest volume of Naruto tops the list, and vol. 19 of Vampire Knight is there as well.

Naruto comes to an end next week, but it’s not really going away: Next week’s issue of Shonen Jump includes an announcement that a new mini-series will launch in the spring, and a couple of novels are already in the works. What’s more, something called the “Naruto Shin Jidai Kaimaku Project” (Naruto’s New Era Opening Project) has a countdown for a big announcement on Monday. So stay tuned!

Kadokawa launched its Book Walker app this week with an array of titles, some old, some new.

Laura looks at the series currently running in BetsuHana magazine.

Reviews: Sean Gaffney and Anna N. look at some new releases from Viz, Seven Seas, and Vertical in the latest edition of Bookshelf Briefs. Ash Brown looks back at the week in manga at Experiments in Manga.

Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Barakamon (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Ein Gamagori on vol. 2 of Food Wars (The Fandom Post)
Anna N. on vol. 1 of Kiss of the Rose Princess (Manga Report)
Sarah on vol. 12 of Library Wars (nagareboshi reviews)
Kory Cerjak on vol. 8 of Magi (The Fandom Post)
Erica Friedman on vol. 1 of Mebae (Okazu)
Matthew Warner on vol. 5 of Nisekoi (The Fandom Post)
Ash Brown on vol. 9 of No. 6 (Experiments in Manga)
Sakura Eries on vol. 17 of Oresama Teacher (The Fandom Post)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 1 of Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire (ANN)
Sarah on Sword Art Online: Aincrad (nagareboshi reviews)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 0 of Übel Blatt (A Case Suitable for Treatment)

Marvel Universe to Invade Attack on Titan

AoT Marvel Crossover

Marvel editor CB Cebulski Tweeted some startling news yesterday:

Not a joke, folks. Attack on Titan and the @Marvel universe are crossing over!

And then he posted the sample art above.

ANN collected all CB’s Tweets about the crossove, and Steve Sunu has a bit more at CBR, but the Marvel folks haven’t said much beyond the original Tweet. We know the crossover is happening in Japan, but presumably they will be bringing it over to the U.S. as well.

Reaction on Twitter and the CBR boards has been mostly positive; it may be that the Marvel and Attack on Titan audiences are already crossing over, and the story is just following them.

Naruto Goes Out with a Bang

Here’s the word on the final episode of Naruto, which is coming very, very soon: It will be two chapters long, with the second chapter in color, and it will be “astonishing.”

New Seven Seas title No Game, No Life tops this week’s New York Times Manga Bestseller list, followed by the latest volumes of Naruto and Food Wars.

The Manga Bookshelf gang take a gander at this week’s new manga arrivals.

How would you like to receive college credit for reading manga? That offer sounded appealing to hundreds of students at Taiwan’s National Cheng Chi University, who vied for one of 120 seats in Professor Cai Zeng Jia’s class “Japan Through Manga.” On the syllabus: Sanctuary, Dragon Zakura, and The Drops of God. 

Variety critic Peter Debruge shares his thoughts on Parasyte: Part 1, which recently debuted at the Tokyo Film Festival.

The Tezuka Museum is sponsoring a retrospective of manga-influenced drawings and paintings by Kiyoshiro Imawano, Japan’s “King of Rock.”

Weekly Shonen Jump editor Jean-Baptiste Akira Hattori’s advice for anyone wanting to break into the manga biz? Read widely, and don’t limit your interests to manga and anime.

Erica Friedman rounds up the latest yuri anime and manga news at Okazu.

Melinda Beasi shares three of her favorite sequences from Heart of Thomas, Please Save My Earth, and xxxHolic.

In case you missed it: the ladies of Women Write About Comics list their five favorite feminist horror series. Two manga–Rumiko Takahashi’s Mermaid Saga and Kyoko Okazaki’s Helter Skelter–make the cut.

Time is running out for you to purchase a Humble Horror Book Bundle. Among the goodies you’ll receive are volumes 1-3 of Knights of Sidonia. Proceeds go to benefit one of our favorite causes: the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

News from Japan: Artist Lalko Kojima (Hoshikuzu Drop/Stardust Drop) has had to cancel an autograph session scheduled for the Animate Girls Festival due to a threat. Go Nagai’s new series, Devilman Saga, will launch on December 25 in Big Comic, while Ayumi Komura (Mixed Vegetables) will begin a new manga in January 2015 in Margaret. And speaking of foodie manga, Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki’s Food Wars will be making the leap from page to screen in 2015.

Reviews: Shaenon Garrity takes a look at the horror and romance tropes in Midnight Secretary in her House of 1000 Manga column at ANN.

Joseph Medina on vol. 1 of Ajin (Joseph Medina)
Sean Gaffney on Alice in the Country of Diamonds: Bet on My Heart (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Kristin on vol. 1 of All You Need Is Kill (Comic Attack)
L.B. Bryant on vol. 1 of Barakamon (ICv2)
Sakura Eries on vol. 1 of Barakamon (The Fandom Post)
Megan R. on Crimson Cross (Manga Test Drive)
Ken H. on vols. 1-2 of Doubt! (Sequential Ink)
Jared Nelson on vol. 11 of The Flowers of Evil (Ani-Gamers)
Erica Friedman on vol. 1 of Hayate x Blade 2 (Okazu)
Evan Minto on Helter Skelter: Fashion Unfriendly (Ani-Gamers)
Mad Manga on vol. 1 of Honey Blood (Cartoon Geek Corner)
Angela Sylvia on vol. 15 of Kamisama Kiss (The Fandom Post)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 1 of Kiss of the Rose Princess (Comic Book Bin)
Mad Manga on Legal Drug Omnibus (Cartoon Geek Corner)
Kate O’Neil on vol. 19 of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (The Fandom Post)
Sarah on vol. 67 of Naruto and vol. 72 of One Piece (nagareboshi reviews)
Naru on No Longer Heroine (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Matthew Warner on vol. 72 of One Piece (The Fandom Post)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 17 of Oresama Teacher (Comic Book Bin)
Megan R. on Petshop of Horrors (Manga Test Drive)
Rebecca Silverman on vols. 1-2 of Raqiya (Anime News Network)
Tony Yao on Ruroni Kenshin (Manga Therapy)
Matthew Warner on vol. 2 of Seraph of the End (The Fandom Post)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 7 of Sherlock Bones (Anime News Network)
Ash Brown on Uzumaki: Spiral Into Horror (Experiments in Manga)
Laura on vol. 19 of Vampire Knight (Heart of Manga)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 19 of Vampire Knight (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Matthew Warner on vol. 6 of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5DS  (The Fandom Post)

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)