Manga Before Flowers
A week from now from I leave for L.A. & the mother of all Anime convetions — Anime Expo.
This will be my third anime convention ever. The first was ACEN (Anime Central) a large-ish regional convention held in Chicago each May (attendance last year 12,000), and the second AnimeIowa (attendance last year 2,300), a much smaller regional con held in, you guessed it, Iowa!
According Anime Expo’s own calculations, 41,000 people attended last year’s con. Even if that number is really, really inflated that is a helluva lot of people in once place, attending one single event. This year’s schedule alone is enough to give me a panic attack — so, why am I doing this again?
This post is too remind myself why I do it and maybe even why I shouldn’t.
Nothing gets me more excited about manga than working on my previews order — the excitement of anticipation (i.e. “Is that new title going to kick as much ass as I think it will?” or “How much more can NANA break my heart?”) is really what makes previews so much fun and occasionally nerve-wracking (“dear god, how many titles am I ordering this month?”).
And so, on to June Previews, the manga edition!
This is a quick news round-up of recent shake-ups in the world of manga publishing and my usual column will probably appear later this week….
Just wanted to update with a pointer to a very interesting post by David Welsh over at his blog Precocious Curmudgeon. He draws together two discussions occuring on the manga blog-o-sphere happening right now — the Tokyopop “Pact” & the issue of fan translations of anime & manga — in a very smart, and very significant, way here.
For the record, in my original discussion of fan translations I tended to be fairly positive about both the role of fans *and* U.S. media corporations but David’s post has me re-examining some of that positivity about translated fanworks (obviously, the whole Tokyopop “Pact” mess made re-think my positivity about the other side of it as well). Maybe next week I’ll continue my discussion of fanworks in light of these new developments (i.e. “I’m getting something. A headache with pictures….” / “An idea?” / “Uh…Yes!”)
Okay, so the fact corporations suck is not surprising…but since I just spent this morning giving both fans and U.S. media corporations a fair shake, as it were, in my column, I’m feeling rather chagrined when I blog-hop this afternoon and find that Lea Hernandez is reporting on the latest (& truly hideous) Tokyopop contract with creators here.Â Christopher Butcher weighs in here, and Bryan Lee O’Malley takes a stand here.
The long and short of it is that Tokyopop wants to swindle young, impressionable comic-book creators out of their creative property and also manages to insult the French for having IDEAS. You know, ideas that influenced modern jurisprudence. Dear lord.
I don’t like to be negative, in general, in this forum, but man. This whole thing just reeks.
This week I really wanted to discuss two anime series that started up this spring in Japan which I’ve been following week-to-week thanks to the efforts of two fansub groups who subtitle episodes of each series in English within days of their release in Japan. (My justification for discussing anime on a comic book blog was that both anime series I’m watching are based on manga originals and we often discuss film or animated adaptations of comic books. Turnabout is fair play, right?) But I stopped when I felt it was a little dodgy, ethically speaking, to discuss material only available in fansubs — since wouldn’t I be encouraging, you know, the complete and total disintegration of the anime market in the U.S.?
Even though I clearly am participating in that ethically dodgy behavior.
Oh dear. This is going to get…icky isn’t it? Continue Reading »
So I’ve been thinking about how much I love shojo, how I’ll give almost any shojo title a chance no matter how ridiculous its concept, how amateur its art, or how shallow its emotional content may be. I may not like every shojo title I pick up (and will often rail against the stupidity of the dull-cookie-cutter-plots I may encounter) but shojo always feels like “home” to me.
Right now I’m reading primarily for comfort as frequent headaches are keeping me from picking up anything too complex visually or intricately-plotted right now (headaches are also my excuse for late column this week, sorry folks!). Today I discuss the titles that are just plain enjoyable to read and fulfill the first order of the comic book form … entertainment!
The nice thing about comfort reading is that it doesn’t have to be “great art” only great medicine … and that is what the following titles became for me during the past two weeks. Continue Reading »
Like the title says…short-(ish) reviews of the manga volumes that I found the most memorable and / or enjoyable from the recent stack. The following are my general impressions and reactions to these titles, although I do try to expand upon my initial take on new series since those reviews are always the most useful to the manga-buying crowd.
Finally, I want to note that I will be released from my busy semester schedule soon and I’m excited I’ll have more time for leisure reading and this column. My plan is to start posting few manga reviews a week *in addition* to my weekly column this summer. (Meaning, I might actually have time to both read manga and produce in-depth commentary on manga! Woohoo!)
You know, I really thought I was going to get a column out of New York’s Comic Con. Somehow, even after all the licensing announcements have been made and new graphic novel initiatives revealed I’m feeling very, very uninspired.
Sure, I will want to pick the Haruhi manga and light novels (snatched up by Yen Press) or check out the releases of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (licensed by Del Rey). And I do love me some manga anthologies — Yen+ put out by guess who! — so that goes on the “must-have” list for sure.
(Random aside: DMP predicts Flower of Life volume 4 will come out in Spring 2009. Gawd, people, really? Thank you, bloger Gia, for asking that all important question!)
But otherwise? Wow, not much seemed to happen manga-wise.
Which leaves me in the awkward position of having very little to discuss here this week.
And yet somehow, in spite of life’s difficult obstacles, I manage…
This seems like a good week to discuss Yen Press’ manga title, With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child by Keiko Tobe, as Comedy Central just held a benefit for Autism Education this past Sunday. While the Comedy Central benefit really emphasized the stars’ performance, they did show short educational clips between skits, musical numbers, and stand-up sets, but after watching that benefit one would only know that having an autistic child costs a lot of money and there isn’t a great deal of support for parents trying to raise their children as best they can.
It leaves a funny taste in my mouth to simply call With the Light – a comic, after all — educational. The book is a great deal more than simply educational, it is also very good entertainment, even if feels strange to declare a comic capturing the everyday life of a family struggling to raise an autistic child entertainment.
I’m delaying this week’s column a bit (I hope to get some manga reviews out later this week), but in the meantime, a little poll for my manga-readers out there.
Do you also read U.S. comics and if so what titles are you currently following?
I’m currently “following” (this might mean I’ve read the latest issue or it might mean I have three or four months of books waiting for me, either way I’m certainly buying these comics to be read at a later date. That date perhaps being when the day is extended to 30 hours or something or I stop needing sleep. Either way):
Buffy Season 8, Casanova, Criminal, Ex Machina, Scalped, Scott Pilgrim (technically Canadian, I suppose?), Serenity: Better Days, Teen Titans: Year One.
I used to buy Spirit & Y: the Last Man, but well, one ended and now I just pretend the other did as well.
So, for folks out there who consider themselves manga readers first, what U.S. titles make it into Wednesday’s shopping cart?
Well, usually I’m all for being a responsible fan but since today happens to be my birthday, and I also happen to be sick (still, sigh, so not cool on one’s birthday) I’m going to make unreasonable demands of the manga industry. Because the good folks here gave me a blog and by god I’m going to use it to further my own self-interest!
Or is that not what a blog is for? Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get it right one of these days…in the meantime, feel free to chime in with your demands wishes for the manga industry.
There is no column this week (I worked all weekend in my local comic bookstore and haven’t been feeling so hot yesterday and today) so instead I’m sending everyone to read Mely’s brilliant explanation of why adult women who should know better still enjoy the teenage-angst-ridden (or is that whole statement redundant?) antics of Vampire Knight (beware spoilers for volume 4!) here.
I seriously *heart* Vampire Knight, I don’t care how ridiculous the whole thing is. And now I can wave away the last of my shojo-shame, as I’ve stripped bare in front of you all and revealed my crippling lack of taste.
Here Manga Recon covers other manga releases (but what could you possibly need to buy after romantic-looking male teenage vampires and doltish-but-pretty teenage girls have brightened your otherwise, one assumes, lackluster day?).
See you all next week where I hope to have something brilliant to say…or I might just complain about recent manga publishers shenanigans! (Perhaps even not so recent shenanigans….)
Now that I have my own column (thanks go the good folks here at Comics Should Be Good) I’ve discovered list-making is so addictive – the following are my top five shojo (i.e. for girls! girly! girl-a-licous even! Have I scared the guys off yet?) manga currently being published in English. Actually, this list is probably close to my top five shojo manga of all time, which just goes to show how much good shojo is being published in the states.
Shojo, by the way, is not another name for “romance” — the titles below emphasize *people* and how they interact with each other and what they *feel* — about each other, themselves, the word they live in. Which means, yes, sometimes these titles are about sex and love and all those things…but first and foremost, these stories are about *us*.
Also, please note I’m still figuring out how to deal with images on this site — so forgive me, if they appear a little “off” on this post. Maybe one day I’ll get it right….
Now let’s get to it….