Manga Before Flowers
One of the things I first did when I joined the blog (after introducing myself, of course) was make a three-part post of manga recommendations for adults (assuming, of course, that would be of greatest interest to this crowd). But that was a while ago and I figured since I’m always telling MarkAndrew what to read (we live in the same town which has a library with an insane gn / manga collection) and very often he even likes the books I tell him about! (Sometimes he reads manga titles I don’t tell him about, and while I don’t recommend not listening to me, he’s stubborn, that one).
Since the whole conversation has come up again about getting your “special lady” to read the comics *you like* (based on the assumption only men read comics), instead of the comics women might like, I’d thought I’d turn the tables and see if I can make recommendations to folks who need a new manga title to read, or would simply like to try out manga out for the first time. (See commentary by manga bloggers about this issue of “tricking” your girlfriend into liking your comics here, here, and here).
So, tell me anything — you like stories that focus on x, you don’t like stories that have y. Actually, if you can, go ahead give me three key words. And I’ll try my best to give you a recommendation or two that suits your taste. Or you can claim that you’ll never like manga, EVER!!!!!, no matter what I do, get off my lawn you damn kid!, and I’ll still try to find something for you. Because I’m nothing if not singleminded when it comes to manga.
I somehow “missed” August previews. And by “missed” I mean, I was apparently too lazy (perhaps “uninspired” if I’m being kind?) to cover them. Anyway, August Previews was the month of xxxholic. Del Rey offered both volume 14 and as well as the xxxholic: Official Guide.
Moving on to *this* month’s offerings….
Okay, MarkAndrew, this month’s previews reveal that your wish has finally been granted!
This month is a little light on interesting manga releases, but there are still a few gems to be found in the new and fairly trim version of previews.
A lot of things are currently happening with Viz and I thought it was time to do a little news round up for this blog. Below I remark upon 1) end of Shojo Beat magazine this summer, 2) the creation of an on-line seinen manga mag IKKI, following in the footsteps of the long defunct mag PULP, and 3) end of year price hike on all Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat books.
As far as I’m concerned there really is just one book coming out in August (although, yes, I’m sure I’ll buy more. I always do).
Oh, Previews. Why do I love you so? You’re not as fat as you used to be but you still bring me to a state of anticipatory joy. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Okay, it’s probably been too long since I’ve done a previews pick post but honestly, previews are one of my favorite things about reading comics and being part of the whole Wednesday-crowd experience. A good healthy list of manga titles I’d want to buy — even three or four months in the future — makes me happy. Maybe there is something particularly fun about the way previews builds anticipation…and after all, if you’re disappointed with the actual product, well, every month there are new previews to keep you hooked occupied.
If I’ve followed the calender correctly, today should be the one year anniversary of my joining the blog with the Manga Before Flowers column. Thanks to MarkAndrew to bringing me on board and Brian for being so welcoming and supportive. I’ve had wonderful experiences here, as I’ve tried to learn how to review manga for a diverse audience but also share my thoughts on manga fandom in the U.S.
I still love manga as much as I did a year ago and I think I’ve definitely broadened my horizons — I’ve come to really enjoy seinen titles like Berserk, Real, and Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service and have found much joy in wacky-shonen titles. Reborn and Gintama probably being my favorites, but re-release of Slam Dunk has also convinced me shonen can rock in so many different ways. I also learned how to appreciate *and* love Tezuka’s work. (I think I appreciated the man’s craft but this was definitely the year I stopped worrying about the legend and learned to love reading Tezuka as entertainment). I’m definitely not just a hardcore shojo-lover anymore.
I’ve also stayed true to my own very beloved corner of manga fandom — I’ve tried to mention Fumi Yoshinaga (my particular manga goddess), Kyoko from Skip Beat (my favorite manga heroine of all time), or After School Nightmare (one of the best shojo titles currently available in English) at least once a week. I may not have succeeded but god knows I certainly tried….
At times, I vented my frustration with companies who aren’t doing so well with communicating with their fanbase or even publishing manga, perhaps a little unfairly. I’ve also tried to spot light under-appreciated companies that often put out amazing titles that can be neglected on-line or even in the bookstore (CMX, CMX, CMX!)
I’ve meet or electronically conversed with awesome manga bloggers, who write and produce wonderful reviews and commentary on-line (Deb Aoki, Melinda Beasi, and Michelle Smith) and continued to enjoy and try to emulate the work of others from afar (Brigid Alverson, Matt Brady, Kate Dacey, Johanna Draper Carlson, David Welsh).
I didn’t get to contribute as many reviews or columns as I wanted to but found this forum a great place to share my love of manga. Thanks to everyone who read, commented, gave suggestions or just helped me mind my p’s and q’s. I look forward to another year of discussing great comics that just happened to be published “backwards”!
One of the joys of manga is that most series have definitive end-points. There is pleasure in being able to say a proper good-bye to favorite characters or good riddance to the ones that made you curse and throw the book across the room. Go! Comi recently finished releasing two of its best series, After School Nightmare and Her Majesty’s Dog.
Today I want to say good-bye to these series by giving a quick overview of the last volumes of each (ASN vol 10 and HMD vol 11). I’m going to avoid as much spoilers as possible and try to talk more generally about the role these volumes play in wrapping each series up.
Thanks to everyone who advertised our little poll (special thanks to Melinda at there it is, plain as daylight, Brigid at Mangablog), as a result we got a nice mix of seinen junkies and shojo lovers to balance out the votes. Blackjack is the clear favorite from both reader-types, as it was not only in many people’s top three, it often was listed as their first choice. (Taking a page out of Brian Cronin’s book, people’s first choice received 3 points, second choice 2 points and third choice 1 point). More discussion to follow in the coming days as we examine the incredible range of manga people voted for.
But tonight, here are the results:
TOP THREE NEW MANGA OF 2008
1. Blackjack – Total Points 23
2. High School Debut — Total Points 16
3. Real — Total Points 14
TOP THREE CONTUINING MANGA OF 2008
1. NANA — Total 20 Points
2. xxxholic — Total 15 points
3. Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service — Total 12 points
I’m amused to note that my top three choices for new manga ended up being the top three for the entire group, albeit arranged in a slightly different order.
I love end-of-year-lists. Particularly when I don’t have to make them.
So why don’t you all step up and tell me your TOP THREE picks for:
1) Best NEW manga of 2008 — “New” meaning a series that debuted for the first time in English this year.
2) Best CONTINUING manga of 2008 — “Continuing” meaning a series that debuted before 2008 and was released at least once this year.
Comment here and next week I’ll add up the responses and see what titles you all thought deserved to be declared the “best.” (One shots published in 2008 are eligible to be declared the “best” as well).
Then we can argue relentlessly about the answers. Sounds like fun, right?
Time to come clean — 21 shocking, true confessions after the cut!
The last few weeks, I’ve been sadly AWOL from the blog, so in order to remind myself why I love anime and manga I’m stealing a page from OtakuUSA and doubling their usual “Otaku Top 5″ for a list of 10 manga and anime-related things that have brightened my day recently. Feel free to list your top 5 picks as well….
With the cancellation of DC’s MINX line, Dirk Deppey at journalista asks if we should start a “deathwatch” for CMX and I thought I would see what you all think — is the death of CMX a real possibility?
CMX launched in 2005 (a year before MINX was announced I believe) and their books aren’t known for pulling great sales figures. Recently, though, it seems as though their releases have slowed (less books are getting put out each month and certain titles like From Eroica with Love and Swan have been delayed almost 9 months or even a year, which is not cool). Obviously the slowing economy could be playing a factor, but so could bad sales in general. The death of CMX would mean the cancellation of a great many and very special shojo titles and that would make some us very, very sad.
Of course, every time I mention CMX on this blog someone notes they never even knew the imprint even existed…which tells you quite a bit about DC’s marketing “strategy.” Also the whole “DC edits Tenjho Tenge” controversy has been done to death so let’s skip it if all possible, shall we?).