Manga Giveaway: Devils and Realist Giveaway Winner

Devils and Realist, Volume 1And the winner of the Devils and Realist Giveaway is… Hanna!

As the winner, Hanna will be receiving the first volume of Madoka Takadono and Utako Yukihiro’s Devils and Realist as published by Seven Seas. For this giveaway, I asked that participants tell me a little about their favorite manga that featured devils or demons. Black Butler by Yana Toboso was mentioned quite frequently, but there were some others named, too. Check out the giveaway comments for all of the responses!

Some of the manga in English featuring devils or demons:
Angel Sanctuary by Kaori Yuki
Berserk by Kentaro Miura
Black Butler by Yana Toboso
Blood Blockade Battlefront by Yasuhiro Nightow
Blood Lad by Yuuki Kodama
Bloody Cross by Shiwo Komeyama
Blue Exorcist by Kazue Kato
Cat Eyed Boy by Kazuo Umezu
The Demon Ororon by Mizuki Hakase
Demon from Afar by Kaori Yuki
Demon Love Spell by Mayu Shinjo
The Devil Is a Part-Timer by Akio Hiiragi
Devil Survivor by Satoru Matsuba
Dorohedoro by Q Hayashida
From Far Away by Kyoko Hikawa
Gaba Kawa by Rie Takada
High-School DxD by Hiroji Mishima
Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahashi
Jiu Jiu by Touya Tobina
The Monkey King by Katsuya Terada
Love in Hell by Reiji Suzumaru
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan by Hiroshi Shibashi
The Sacred Blacksmith written by Isao Miura, illustrated by Kotaro Yamada
Seraph of the End written by Takaya Kagami, illustrated by Yamato Yamamoto
Seimaden by You Higuri
Stray Little Devil by Kotaro Mori
Wish by CLAMP

The above list is by no means exhaustive, but it does provide a wide range of manga for anyone looking for a devilish or demonic read. Seinen, shoujo, shounen; comedy, drama, horror, romance… all sorts of variations on the theme! As always, thank you to everyone who took time to share your favorites with me. Hope to see you again for the next giveaway!

My Week in Manga: September 28-October 4, 2015

My News and Reviews

A few different things were posted at Experiments in Manga last week. First of all, it’s time for the most recent monthly giveaway. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, so you all still have a chance to enter to win the first volume of Madoka Takadono and Utako Yukihiro’s Devils and Realist. The honor of the first in-depth review for October goes to Jim Zub and Steve Cummings’ Wayward, Volume 2: Ties That Bind, which continues to successfully meld the history and legends surrounding yokai with a brand new story. The series, which I’m thoroughly enjoying, would probably make a great entry point for manga fans who would be interested in exploring American-style comics. Finally, over the weekend I posted September’s Bookshelf Overload.

As for some of the interesting things that caught my attention elsewhere online last week: Foreign Policy has a nice piece about evolving LGBT rights in Japan and the role that manga like Wandering Son and boys’ love has played in it; Otaku USA has an interview with the (in)famous mangaka and tentacle master Toshio Maeda; it looks as though Masahiko Matsumoto’s long-awaited Cigarette Girl is currently scheduled for release in 2016 by Top Shelf; and Digital Manga, despite the trouble it seems to be having actually publishing anything in print these days, has launched its newest Tezuka Kickstarter aiming to release Wonder 3 and, as a stretch goal, The Film Lives On.

Quick Takes

The DivineThe Divine by written by Boaz Lavie and illustrated by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka. The striking color artwork of The Divine is what first caught my attention. (It looked vaguely familiar, and indeed, it turns out that Tomer created the cover art for Haikasoru’s recent Battle Royale releases.) The graphic novel follows Mark, an explosives expert, who travels to a remote Southeast Asian country on a military contract. The mission seems relatively straightforward—blowing up a mountain, supposedly to help the locals gain better access to its rich mineral resources—but Mark ends up caught up in the local civil war when he’s captured by a group of young rebels. Mixing mythology and modern warfare and the supernatural with man-made terrors, the comic is graphic in its blood and violence. The artwork is consistently great, but I found the narrative to be a little uneven and none of the characters are particularly likeable. The Divine was in part inspired by a photograph of the twelve-year-old Htoo twins from Burma, the leaders of the God’s Army guerrilla group in the 1990s. Although I did enjoy The Divine, I think I’d actually be even more interested in seeing a direct retelling of their story.

Inuyashiki, Volume 1Inuyashiki, Volume 1 by Hiroya Oku. It’s been a long while since I’ve read any of Gantz, the series that Oku is most well-known for, but I was still curious about Inuyashiki, his most recent series to be released in English. Almost unheard of in manga available in translation, which largely tends to be targeted at a younger audiences, one of lead characters, the titular Ichiro Inuyashiki, is nearly sixty years old. In fact, he looks even older than that. The first volume of Inuyashiki seems to mostly be a prologue for the rest of the series, establishing the premise of the manga and introducing the characters who will become the major players. Oku makes a point to emphasize just how sad and miserable Inuyashiki’s life is before killing him and another innocent bystander off in a freak accident. Granted, they are then both resurrected as extraordinarily powerful, weaponized cyborgs. In the case of Inuyashiki, he’s using his new-found abilities for good, and in spectacular fashion, too. As for the other victim, I don’t expect that he’ll be quite as magnanimous. Inuyashiki, as ridiculous as its setup is, has a promising start. I’m rather curious to see the direction Oku will be taking the series.

Suikoden III: The Successor of Fate, Volume 1Suikoden III: The Successor of Fate, Volumes 1-5 by Aki Shimizu. Although I am aware of the RPG series, I haven’t actually played any of the Suikoden video games. I was specifically interested in the Suikoden III manga adaptation for two reasons: the entire Suikoden series is loosely based on the Chinese classic Water Margin, and I generally enjoy Shimizu’s work (which also tends to have a Chinese influence). An overview of the previous two Suikoden stories is provided before the manga gets underway; it’s a nice, but largely unnecessary addition. The Successor of Fate seems to stand well on it own, so far. The manga doesn’t really feel like a video game adaptation, either, which I was happy to discover. References are made to past events (and past games, technically), but for the characters that history is shrouded in myth and legend. At this point The Successor of Fate hasn’t really made itself stand out from most other epic fantasy series, but its a solid beginning and, despite a few infodumps, there are plenty of things to like: a large cast of characters (including quite a few women in prominent roles), prophecies and magic, politics and intrigue, battles that rely on strategy as much as strength, and so on.

Bookshelf Overload: September 2015

Makoto Yukimura’s Vinland Saga is back! The publication of the manga’s sixth omnibus was one of my most anticipated releases for September. I was also very excited for Requiem of the Rose King, Volume 2 by Aya Kanno, which I’ve already managed to review. I was happy to see the second volume of The Ancient Magus’ Bride by Kore Yamazaki as well. September was also a successful month for me in regards to out-of-print shoujo series like Red River by Chie Shinohara. (I’m hoping to find Kyoko Hikawa’s From Far Away, next.) I stocked up on more Japanese crime and mystery novels in September, too, partly inspired by my recent reading of Yukito Ayatsuji’s The Decagon House Murders. I’m actually currently reading Another by the same author and should have a review up in the relatively near future.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Volume 2 by Kore Yamazaki
Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto, Volume 1 by Nami Sano
Love Stage!!, Volume 3 by Eiki Eiki
Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer, Omnibus 4 by Satoshi Mizukami
Master Keaton, Volume 4 written by Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki, illustrated by Naoki Urasawa
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Volume 11: A Cosmic Glow by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
One-Punch Man, Volume 1 written by One, illustrated by Yusuke Murata
Pandora Hearts, Volumes 2-3 by Jun Mochizuki
Planet Ladder, Volumes 1-7 by Yuri Narushima
Red River, Volumes 1-28 by Chie Shinohara
Requiem of the Rose King, Volume 2 by Aya Kanno
Showa: A History of Japan, 1953-1989 by Shigeru Mizuki
A Silent Voice, Volume 3 by Yoshitoki Oima
Terra Formars, Volume 8 written by Yu Sasuga, illustrated by Ken-ichi Tachibana
Vinland Saga, Omnibus 6 by Makoto Yukimura
Witchcraft Works, Volume 5 by Ryu Mizunagi
Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Volume 4 by Miki Yoshikawa
The Young Magician, Volumes 1-13 by Yuri Narushima

Monkey King, Volume 1: Birth of the Stone Monkey by Wei Dong Chen
Three Kingdoms, Volume 1: Heroes and Chaos written by Wei Dong Chen, illustrated by Xiao Long Liang

Deep Dark Fears by Fran Krause
Flutter, Volume 2: Don’t Let Me Die Nervous written by Jennie Wood illustrated by Jeff McComsey
Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
Heart in a Box written by Kelly Thompson, illustrated by Meredith McClaren
Ikebana by Yumi Sakugawa
Julio’s Day by Gilbert Hernandez
Little By Little by Guilt|Pleasure
Nanjing: The Burning City by Ethan Young
Never Learn Anything from History by Kate Beaton
Oh Joy Sex Toy, Volume 2 by Erika Moen
Peacock Punks written by Dale Lazarov, illustrated by Mauro Mariotti Janos Janecki
Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia
Step Aside, Pops by Kate Beaton
Speculative Relationships, Volume 2 edited by Tyrell Cannon and Scott Kroll
Unflattening by Nick Sousanis
The Usagi Yojimbo Saga, Omnibus 4 by Stan Sakai

Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City, Part 2 written by Ryo Kawakami, illustrated by Range Murata

Another by Yukito Ayatsuji
Honeymoon to Nowhere by Akimitsu Takagi
The Informer by Akimitsu Takagi
The Inugami Clan by Seishi Yokomizo
Patriotism by Yukio Mishima
The Tattoo Murder Case by Akimitsu Takagi
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji SHimada

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Season 1 directed by Kenichi Suzuki and Naokatsu Tsuda.

Wayward, Volume 2: Ties That Bind

Wayward, Volume 2: Ties That BindCreator: Jim Zub and Steve Cummings
Publisher: Image Comics
ISBN: 9781632154033
Released: August 2015
Original run: 2015

Ties That Bind is the second volume of the American comic series Wayward, created by Jim Zub and Steve Cummings and released by Image Comics. Anything having to do with yokai immediately catches my attention, and I had previously read and enjoyed some of Zub’s earlier work, so I was very interested in reading Wayward. I thoroughly enjoyed the first collected volume in the series, String Theory, meaning that there was absolutely no question that I would be picking up the second, too. (Well, at least that was the case before I learned that a deluxe omnibus edition was going to be released—then there was a difficult choice to be made.) Ties That Bind, published in 2015, collects the sixth through tenth issues of Wayward which were originally serialized between March and July 2015. Also included is an introduction by Charles Soule as well as several yokai essays by Zack Davisson which I especially appreciate. For this particular volume, Zub is credited for the story and Cummings for the line art while the credit for the color art goes to Tamara Bonvillain and color flats to Ludwig Olimba.

Emi Ohara’s life follows a simple, predictable routine. Without much variation from day to day she wakes up, goes to school, and returns home. But Emi yearns to have the exciting lives that the heroines of her favorite shoujo manga enjoy. Little does she know that she’ll get what she wished for, but not at all in the way that she expected—Emi discovers she has the ability to manipulate her body and the materials around her in astonishing ways. Suddenly, among other strange developments, her touch is able to melt and mold plastic and her arm can take on the characteristics of metal and glass. At first she thinks it’s all a dream, but then she is chased down by a group of monstrous kitsune only to be rescued by Ayane and Nikaido, two young people who have their own special powers and who are also the yokai’s targets. It’s been three months since the other members of their group, Rori and Shirai, disappeared during the chaos of an epic confrontation with a faction of yokai. At this point Ayane and Nikaido are welcoming any allies they can find, and that includes Emi.

Wayward, Volume 2, page 40Whereas String Theory largely followed Rori’s perspective of the supernatural events unfolding in Tokyo, much of the focus of Ties that Bind is on Emi. Some of the contrasts between the young women as two of the leads in the story are particularly interesting. Rori, who is half-Japanese and half-Irish, is often considered to be an outsider within Japanese society. Emi, on the other hand, is a “proper Japanese girl,” dutiful and obedient even though she finds that role to be increasingly suffocating. Rori is a Weaver with the ability to alter reality and change a person’s fate. (Just how incredibly powerful and far-reaching her talents truly are is still in the process of being revealed, but the continuing development and evolution of her skills in Ties That Bind is impressive.) However, Emi, who like Rori is sensitive to patterns and seems to be able to at least partially identify the course of fate and destiny, feels trapped and unable to make meaningful choices or to change the direction of those events that have already been set in motion.

At times, Wayward can be an extremely violent series. Ayane’s way of taking charge of the situation is to go on the attack, dragging Nikaido and Emi along with her. The yokai, threatened by the very existence of the supernaturally-gifted teens, are more than willing to fight back. The resulting battles are intense, bloody, and even gruesome. But the yokai aren’t united in their efforts—Ties That Bind introduces the tsuchigumo, or dirt spiders, who would seem to have their own agenda. I love that Wayward incorporates the lore and, especially in the case of the dirt spiders, the history surrounding yokai. The series’ interpretation of yokai and traditional tales is its own and is closely integrated with an entirely new, contemporary story. Wayward effectively creates a cohesive and compelling narrative that can be enjoyed by readers who are already familiar with yokai as well as by those who are not. Ties That Bind brings together new characters, new conflicts, and new plot threads while expanding and further developing those that had already been established. Wayward is an excellent series with great art, characters, and story; I’m definitely looking forward to the next volume.

Manga Giveaway: Devils and Realist Giveaway

The end of September doesn’t just approach, it’s here! And because it’s the end of the month, it’s also time for another giveaway at Experiments in Manga. This month you all will have the chance to win a copy of Devils and Realist, Volume 1 written by Madoka Takadono, illustrated by Utako Yukihiro, and published in English by Seven Seas. And, as always, the giveaway is open worldwide!

Devils and Realist, Volume 1

I always find it interesting when manga incorporates Western settings, religions, and mythologies. In some cases they aren’t used as much more than an aesthetic (I’m looking at you X), but in other cases the mangaka have clearly done their research. Legends surrounding angels and demons seem to be a particularly rich source of inspiration. Series like Devils and Realist take that inspiration, but then spins the stories and their interpretations to create something entirely different. The results can often be entertaining.

So, you may be wondering, how can you win Devils and Realist, Volume 1?

1) In the comments below, tell me a little about your favorite manga featuring devils or demons. (Don’t have one? Simply mention that.)
2) If you’re on Twitter, you can earn a bonus entry by tweeting, or retweeting, about the contest. Make sure to include a link to this post and @PhoenixTerran (that’s me).

There it is! Everyone has one week to submit comments and can earn up to two entries for this giveaway. If needed or preferred, comments may also be sent to me directly at phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com. The comments will then be posted here in your name. The giveaway winner will be randomly selected and announced on October 7, 2015. Good luck!

VERY IMPORTANT: Include some way that I can contact you. This can be an e-mail address in the comment form, a link to your website, Twitter username, or whatever. If I can’t figure out how to get a hold of you and you win, I’ll just draw another name.

Contest winner announced–Manga Giveaway: Devils and Realist Giveaway Winner