Tezuka Bio, Kishimoto Interview, New Taniguchi!

Lots of big manga news this week!

First of all, my interview with Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto is up. He was a real delight to talk to, and I particularly liked his description of the very first manga he ever created, when he was in middle school. He was very relaxed in the interview, and we had a good time. Please check it out! [Publishers Weekly]

The Osamu Tezuka Story - A Life in Manga and Anime by Toshio Ban and Tezuka Productions Translated by Frederick L. Schodt

Stone Bridge Press has a big announcement about a big book: They have licensed The Osamu Tezuka Story, a 900-page graphic biography of the Godfather of Manga, by Toshio Ban and Tezuka Productions.

Not only will readers get to see how Tezuka got his start and first successes, but they will follow him all the way through his amazing career, and in so doing will see how manga and anime developed from almost nothing in a devastated postwar Japan to the enormous commercial juggernauts they have become today. The story of Tezuka is truly the story of comics and animation media in Japan.

Frederick Schodt, who translated many Tezuka works and knew him personally, will be the translator. The book is due out in July. [Stone Bridge Press]


If you want to get a jump on the bio, Ryan Holmberg has presented a defense of his argument that Tezuka’s early work was inspired by Disney, and the article includes links to his earlier work on the topic. [The Comics Journal]

COVERLAYOUT.inddMeanwhile, NBM has announced its spring 2016 list, and it includes Jiro Taniguchi’s Guardians of the Louvre. This is part of their ongoing translation of The Louvre Collection, which also includes Rohan at the Louvre by JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures creator Hirohiko Araki. [NBM Publishing]

As of this week, Yen Press is publishing new chapters of Black Butler on the same day they are released in Japan. They are available in a variety of e-book formats for $1.99 each. [Yen Press]

Erica Friedman talks to the brass at BookWalker and then takes it out for a test drive herself. [Okazu]

The Manga Bookshelf team seem a bit dubious about their latest Pick of the Week. [Manga Bookshelf]

With sports manga making a comeback (Yowamushi Pedal, Haikyu!!, and Kuroko’s Basketball have all been licensed recently) Vernieda Vergara takes a look at five currently licensed titles worth checking out. [Panels]

Pandora Hearts creator Jun Mochizuki is at work on a new series, Vanitas no Carte (Memoir of Vanitas), a steampunk/vampire tale set in Paris in the 1800s. [Anime News Network]

Also in the works: A new Lupin III manga, based on the anime. [Anime News Network]

Gone but not forgotten: Laura lists her top ten out-of-print shoujo manga. [Heart of Manga]

Time to buy more manga? Check out the big Yen Press sale at RightStuf. [Yen Press]

Reviews: Ash Brown takes us through a week’s worth of manga reading and reviews at Experiments in Manga. There’s plenty of romance and a bit of magic in this week’s edition of Bookshelf Briefs at Manga Bookshelf.

Lesley Aeschliman on vol. 6 of Assassination Classroom (WatchPlayRead)
Connie on vol. 18 of Bakuman (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 3 of Black Rose Alice (Slightly Biased Manga)
Lesley Aeschliman on vol. 2 of The Demon Prince of Momochi House (WatchPlayRead)
Matthew Alexander on vol. 3 of Gou-Dere (The Fandom Post)
Connie on vol. 10 of Gravitation (Slightly Biased Manga)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 1 of Kiss Him, Not Me! (Comics Worth Reading)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Kiss Him, Not Me! (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
James Ristig on vol. 1 of Ninja Slayer Kills! (The Fandom Post)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 11 of Nisekoi: False Love (The Comic Book Bin)
L.B. Bryant on vol. 1 of Puella Magi Suzune Magica (ICv2)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 1 of QQ Sweeper (Anime News Network)
Erica Friedman on vol. 18 of Rakuen Le Paradis (Okazu)
Matthew Warner on vol. 29 of Toriko (The Fandom Post)

Kodansha, Kishimoto, and more!

Masashi Kishimoto live-sketching Naruto at his New York Comic Con panel

Masashi Kishimoto live-sketching Naruto at his New York Comic Con panel

This was the most manga-heavy New York Comic Con I’ve been to in years; the presence of Masashi Kishimoto and the announcement of the Attack on Titan anthology were both huge, but there was a lot of other stuff going on as well, some of it behind the scenes.

I was fortunate enough to be one of the 2,200 or so people at the Masashi Kishimoto panel, which was amazing. The crowd was totally amped up, but Kishimoto was totally relaxed and looked like he was having a good time. [Comic Book Resources]

Here’s my writeup of the Kodansha Comics panel, where Noragami editor Yohei Takami did a great show and tell about how a manga goes from thumbnails (name) to inks. This was the panel where Kodansha announced two new licenses, I Am Space Dandy and Spoof on Titan, as well as the news that Faith Erin Hicks will do a gag manga for volume 7 of Vinland Saga. [Comic Book Resources]

Attack on Titan manga-ka Hajime Isayama talks about his influences and his struggle to find a publisher in a video interview. [BBC News]

A student in a Nashua, New Hampshire, high school is in trouble after officials found a “Death Note” notebook. [Anime News Network]

The Manga Bookshelf team discusses their Pick of the Week. [Manga Bookshelf]

Erica Friedman posts the latest edition of Yuri Network News. [Okazu]

If you read French, here’s a treat: An interview with Blood Lad creator Yuki Kodama. [Manganews]

I can’t say I agree with this article, but I’m posting it anyway so you can read his arguments for yourself: Justin discusses when and why he reads scanlations. [Organization Anti-Social Geniuses]

In the opposite corner is Zach Logan of the One Piece Podcast, explaining how scanlations actually can ruin your manga reading experience. [The One Piece Podcast]


Ash Brown on vol. 6 of After School Nightmare (Experiments in Manga)
Connie on vol. 3 of Alice in the Country of Joker: Nightmare Trilogy (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 3 of The Betrayal Knows My Name (Slightly Biased Manga)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 2 of Emma (Comics Worth Reading)
Lori Henderson on vols. 1-4 of Fire Inspector Nanase (Manga Xanadu)
Matthew Alexander on vol. 2 of Gou-Dere Sora Nagihara (The Fandom Post)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 5 of High School Debut (3-in-1 edition) (Comics Worth Reading)
Connie on vol. 7 of Junjo Romantica (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vols. 14 and 15 of Kamisama Kiss (Slightly Biased Manga)
Kory Cerjak on vol. 1 of Komomo Confiserie (The Fandom Post)
Matthew Alexander on vol. 3 of Maria the Virgin Witch (The Fandom Post)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vols. 3 and 4 of My Neighbor Seki (Comics Worth Reading)
Connie on Olympos (Slightly Biased Manga)
Kristin on vol. 1 of Rose Guns Days (Comic Attack)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 2 of Secret (Comics Worth Reading)
Johanna Draper Carlson on Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan (Comics Worth Reading)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 7 of Tiger and Bunny (The Comic Book Bin)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Tokyo ESP (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vols. 2 and 3 of Yukarism (Comics Worth Reading)

The Manga Revue: The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home and Tokyo ESP

The theme of this week’s column: New(ish) Titles from Vertical Comics. Up for review: The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home, an omnibus treatment of Konami Kanata’s beloved cat comic, and Tokyo ESP, a new series about mutant teens with superpowers who want to save the world.

chi_complete_v_1The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home, Part One
By Konami Kanata
No rating; Suitable for all ages
Vertical Comics, $24.95

When I first reviewed Chi’s Sweet Home in 2010, I described it as “a deceptively simple story about a family that adopts a wayward kitten.” I argued that “Chi is more than just cute kitty antics; it’s a thoughtful reflection on the joys and difficulties of pet ownership, one that invites readers of all ages to see the world through their cat or dog’s eyes and imagine how an animal adapts to life among humans.”

Revisiting Chi’s Sweet Home five years later, I stand by my original assessment. I still found Chi’s behavior adorable — or should that be adowable? — and her family’s amused and exasperated reactions true to my own experiences as a cat owner. At the same time, however, I appreciated the opportunity to read more of Chi’s story in one sitting, as Konami Kanata does a fine job of recreating the day-to-day rhythm of living with a kitten or puppy, from the obvious — accidents, clawed furniture — the to subtle — mastering the art of jumping onto a table or chair, examining strange new objects. As an added bonus, the Complete edition includes a sprinkling of chapters from Kanata’s first big hit, FukuFuku: Kitten Tales, and a larger trim size that gives Kanata’s playful, charming watercolors more room to breathe.

The verdict: Chi is an indispensable addition to any animal lover’s bookshelf. Look for Part Two (which collects volumes 4-6) on January 16, 2016.

tokyoesp_v_1Tokyo ESP, Vol. 1
By Hajime Segawa
No rating; Suitable for older teens
Vertical Comics, $15.95

On paper, Tokyo ESP sounds like The X-Men or The Fantastic Four: a group of Tokyo residents begin manifesting cool new powers — teleporting, walking through walks — after exposure to a supernatural phenomenon. Some ESPers embrace the criminal possibilities of these gifts, while others vow to use them for good, pitting the two groups against each other in epic fashion.

Perhaps mindful of the similarities between his creation and Stan Lee’s, Hajime Segawa makes a game effort to individualize his creation with an abundance of quirky details: a flying penguin sidekick, a night sky filled with glowing fishes. As a result, long stretches of Tokyo ESP feel more like a spaghetti-throwing exercise than genuine world-building; the reader is never certain if there’s an underlying logic that would explain what we’re seeing, or if Segawa is making it up as he goes along. By the end of volume one, you may remember the flying penguin more clearly than anything that actually happened in those first nine chapters, as the plot is standard shonen fodder: super-powered teens saving the world.

The verdict: Your mileage may vary; some readers will undoubtedly find the sleek character designs and out-of-left-field plot developments appealing, while others will find the storytelling too frenetic to be engaging.

Reviews: Sean Gaffney takes a fond look at the final volume of Oh! My Goddess, which arrived in stores this week. Over at Comics & Cola, Zainab Akhtar reviews the fifth and final volume of Taiyo Matsumoto’s bittersweet Sunny.

Sarah on vol. 2 of The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Anime UK News)
Lori Henderson on vol. 1 of Assassination Classroom (Good Comics for Kids)
Matt Brady on vols. 2-4 of Assassination Classroom (Warren Peace Sings the Blues)
L.B. Bryant on vol. 6 of Assassination Classroom (The Otaku Review)
L.B. Bryant on vol. 1 of Black Bullet (ICv2)
Justin Stroman on vol. 1 of Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Connie on vol. 8 of Cross Game (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 16 of Dengeki Daisy (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 11 of Dorohedoro (Slightly Biased Manga)
Helen on Fuuka (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Ash Brown on vol. 3 of Hide and Seek (Experiments in Manga)
Ian Wolf on vol. 1 of Komomo Confiserie (Anime UK News)
Austin Lanari on vol. 10 of Lone Wolf and Cub Omnibus (Comic Bastards)
Megan R. on Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days (The Manga Test Drive)
Steve Bennett on vol. 1 of One-Punch Man (ICv2)
Dustin Cabeal on vol. 2 of One-Punch Man (Comic Bastards)
Anna N. on vol. 1 of QQ Sweeper (The Manga Report)
L.B. Bryant on vol. 1 of Rose Guns Days: Season One (ICv2)
Jocelyn Allen on vol. 1 of Shashinya Kafka (Brain vs. Book)
Sean Gaffney on Showa 1953-1989: A History of Japan (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Alice Vernon on Sword Art Online: Progressive (Girls Like Comics)
Erica Friedman on vol. 4 of Tsuki to Sekai to Etoile (Okazu)

News Round-Up for NYCC 2015

haikyuuGood news for manga readers: 2013-2014 was the first time since the mid-2000s that the industry enjoyed two consecutive years of sales growth. While the manga market isn’t as red-hot as it was in Tokyopop’s heyday, publishers released almost 800 new volumes in 2014, up 25% from 2013. [ICv2]

At its Friday panel, VIZ Media unveiled a diverse slate of titles that ran the gamut from shonen (Black Clover) to josei (Everyone’s Getting Married). Among the most interesting licenses were two sports manga: Haikyuu!, which focuses on a volleyball team, and Kuroko’s Basketball. VIZ also confirmed that it will be publishing Seventh Garden, Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter, and fan favorite Yona of the Dawn. [Crunchyroll]

Yen Press announced five new manga at NYCC, including an adaptation of Space Dandy and a new series by Yuji Iwahara (Cat Paradise, King of Thorn) called Dimension W. Also joining the Yen line-up in 2016 are Scumbag Loser, a cautionary tale about lying to your peers; Corpse Party: Blood Covered, another entry in the teens-fight-to-the-death-in-an-alternate-universe genre; and Unhappy Go Lucky!, a comedy about a group of unlucky middle-school students. [Anime News Network]

Yen isn’t the only company on the Space Dandy bandwagon: Kodansha Comics will be publishing I Am a Space Dandy!, another manga spin-off of the popular anime. Kodansha also revealed plans to publish the 4-koma Spoof on Titan. [Anime News Network]

At the Crunchyroll panel, the company introduced fans to its newest offerings, which include Arakawa Under the Bridge, a drama by Saint Young Men creator Hikaru Nakamura; Gugure! Kokkuri-san, a comedy about a little girl who inadvertently summons a fox demon; and Cuticle Detective Inaba, a supernatural comedy-thriller about a detective who’s half wolf, half man. (The “cuticle” in the title refers to the character’s pronounced interest in hair. Oh, manga…) [Anime News Network]

In a further sign of manga’s global reach, two companies announced that they would publish comics inspired by a signature title in their catalogs. Kodansha’s Attack on Titan and Dark Horse’s Lone Wolf and Cub 2100 projects will feature original stories by Faith Erin Hicks, Gail Simone, and other creators active in the American industry. [A Case Suitable for Treatment]

Although Vertical Comics did not announce any new manga acquisitions, it did give con-goers a sneak peek at an intriguing new project: audio light novels with music, sound effects, and voice acting. Look for the product line’s debut in spring 2016. [Crunchyroll]

Tokyo Ghoul, One-Punch Man, and Attack on Titan are fighting for the top spot on this week’s New York Times Manga Best Seller list. [New York Times]

Reviews: Michelle Smith and Sean Gaffney post a new set of Bookshelf Briefs, with short reviews of Assassination Classroom, He’s My Only Vampire, and QQ Sweeper.

Lori Henderson on vols. 1-2 of Beast Master (Manga Xanadu)
Terry Hong on The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home: Part One (Book Dragon)
Richard Gutierrez on vol. 2 of Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (The Fandom Post)
Wolfen Moondaughter on vol. 23 of Kaze Hikaru (Sequential Tart)
Kat Stevens on vol. 1 of L-DK (AiPT!)
Terry Hong on vol. 1 of One-Punch Man (Book Dragon)
Amy McNulty on vol. 72 of Naruto (Anime News Network)
Megan R. on Neon Genesis Evangelion (The Manga Test Drive)
Jordan Richards on vol. 6 of Noragami: Stray God (AiPT!)
Sheena McNeil on vol. 1 of QQ Sweeper (Sequential Tart)
Kate O’Neil on vol. 1 of Rose Guns Days: Season One (The Fandom Post)
SKJAM on Sanctuary (SKJAM! Reviews)
Wolfen Moondaughter on vol. 6 of Seraph of the End (Sequential Tart)
Rebecca Silverman on vols. 1-3 of Servamp (Anime News Network)
Anna N. on vol. 3 of So Cute It Hurts! (The Manga Report)
Plutoburns on Terra Formars (Pluto Burns)
Richard Gutierrez on vol. 1 of Tokyo ESP (The Fandom Post)
Garrett Gottschalk on vol. 1 of Ultraman (No Flying No Tights)
Ken H. on vol. 6 of Vinland Saga (Sequential Ink)
G.B. Smith on vol. 7 of Witchcraft Works (The Fandom Post)
Lori Henderson on Yurei Attack! The Japanese Ghost Attack Survival Guide (Manga Xanadu)

*Indicates YouTube review



Naruto app

This is a big week for Naruto fans, as the 72nd and final volume of the series comes out in print, the the one-volume sequel Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring is released in digital, and creator Masashi Kishimoto appears as a special guest at New York Comic Con, where the film Boruto: Naruto the Movie also gets its North American premiere.

Viz is also launching a dedicated Naruto app for iOS and Android devices that will feature a new chapter of the manga every day for free (each chapter stays up for seven days). The app syncs with their VizManga digital service, and for the month of October, Viz is offering discounts on Naruto volumes, with the first five volumes going for just $1.99 each. They also have some sweet bundles, and any purchase will get you an e-book of digital extras, including Kishimoto’s original pilot that ultimately turned into Naruto.

Here’s Kishimoto-sensei’s New York Comic Con schedule—and stay tuned for update and reports from the show:

Masashi Kishimoto NYCC

The Manga Revue: Say I Love You

This week, I’m catching up with Say I Love You, a shojo romance that’s been garnering strong reviews here and elsewhere since Kodansha began publishing it last August.

sayiloveyou3Say I Love You, Vols. 1-3
By Kanae Hazuki
Rated OT, for older teens
Kodansha Comics, $10.99

Back in the 1980s, filmmaker John Hughes peddled an intoxicating fantasy to thirteen-year-old girls: you might be the class misfit–the kid who wore the “wrong” clothes, listened to the “wrong” music, and had the “wrong” friends–but the hottest guy in school could still fall for you. Better still, he’d like you for being a “real” person, unlike the two-faced girls who inhabited his social circle. You’d have a bumpy road to your happily-after-ever, of course, since his friends felt compelled to say that you weren’t in his league, but in the end, your sincerity and quirkiness would prevail.

Say I Love You reads a lot like a manga version of Pretty in Pink or Some Kind of Wonderful, right down to the meet-cute between Mei, a moody loner, and Yamato, the most popular guy in school. In an only-in-manga scenario, Mei mistakenly believes that Yamato tried to peek up her skirt, and responds with a powerful roundhouse kick. Though Yamato’s friends demand an apology from her, Yamato is intrigued by Mei’s display of bravado and asks her out.

Mei is initially bewildered by Yamato’s courtship: why would someone as outgoing, handsome, and well regarded find her interesting? As Mei soon discovers, however, Yamato’s dating history is more complicated than she assumed; his good looks belie an earnest, thoughtful person who lost his virginity before he met someone he really cared about. Small wonder he puts up with Mei’s tearful, angry outbursts and mixed signals.

And speaking of mixed signals, Say I Love You is refreshingly honest in acknowledging the full spectrum of teenage desire. Some characters embrace their feelings in healthy ways; others use sex to fill a void in their emotional lives; and still others are just beginning to explore their sexuality. Though many of the sexual encounters in the series are ill-advised, the teenage logic that underpins them rings true; an adult may feel an uncomfortable pang of recognition while reading Say I Love You.

The series’ greatest strength, however, is that author Kanae Hazuki is unusually generous with her supporting players. We’re privy to both Mei and Yamato’s thoughts, of course, but Hazuki also pulls the curtain back on other characters’ interior lives. In volume two, for example, mean girl Aiko becomes the temporary focus of the story, narrating her own transformation from a plump, pretty girl to a skinny, angry young woman who is furious that Yamato doesn’t like her. Her blunt self-criticism and body hang-ups remind younger readers that everyone wears a mask in high school; even students who seem outwardly blessed with good looks or talent are wrestling with the familiar demons of self-doubt and self-loathing.

If I had any criticism of Say I Love You, it’s that the plot twists are a little too by-the-book, with beach visits, Valentine’s Day agita, and misunderstandings of the “I saw you kiss her!” variety. In volume three, for example, Hazuki introduces Megumi, a model who’s hell-bent on making Yamato her boyfriend. When a direct approach doesn’t work–Yamato, of course, rebuffs Meg’s initial proposition–Meg transfers schools and ropes Yamato into becoming a model himself. I realize that “model,” “celebrity,” or “singer” epitomize a thirteen-year-old’s dream job, but the artifice and obviousness of diving into the modeling world feels like an unnatural direction for such a finely observed romance.

Perhaps the best compliment I could pay Say I Love You is that it has all the virtues of Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful: it’s got a proud, tough heroine who’s skeptical of popularity, a sincere hot guy who can see past her bluster, and a veritable Greek chorus of peers who chart the ups and downs of their relationship. All it needs is a killer soundtrack.

Reviews: At Brain vs. Book, Joceyln Allen sings the praises of Takehiko Moriizumi’s Mimi wa Wasurenai, an untranslated short story collection. “It’s okay if you don’t read Japanese,” she explains, “you can just stare at the beauty on every page. Moriizumi makes manga like nothing I’ve ever seen before.” Go see for yourself!

Saeyong Kim on vol. 1 of 21st Century Boys (No Flying No Tights)
Jessikah Chautin on Awkward (No Flying No Tights)
SKJAM on vols. 1-2 of Captain Ken (SKJAM! Reviews)
Kat Stark on vol. 1 of Devil Survivor (AiPT!)
Jessikah Chautin on vol. 1 of Durarara!! Yellow Scarves Arc (No Flying No Tights)
SKJAM on Gimmick! (SKJAM! Reviews)
Kat Stark on vol. 1 of Kiss Him, Not Me! (AiPT!)
Ian Wolf on vol. 1 of the Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Omnibus (Anime UK News)
David Brooke on vol. 1 of Ninja Slayer Kills (AiPT!)
Anna N. on vol. 2 of Requiem of the Rose King (The Manga Report)
Ian Wolf on vol. 2 of Requiem of the Rose King (Anime UK News)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 1 of Rose Guns Days, Season One (Anime News Network)
Marissa Lieberman on vol. 1 of Seraph of the End (No Flying No Tights)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 11 of Umineko: When They Cry (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Ash Brown on vol. 2 of Wayward: Ties That Bind (Experiments in Manga)
Ken H. on vol. 3 of Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches (Sequential Ink)