Manga Giveaway: Yumi Tamura Giveaway Winner

Chicago, Volume 1: The Book of SelfChicago, Volume 2: The Book of JusticeAnd the winner of the Yumi Tamura Giveaway is… Olivia!

As the winner, Olivia will be receiving a complete set of Yumi Tamura’s shoujo action thriller Chicago as published by Viz Media back in the day. I came across Chicago because Tamura was also the creator of Basara, a series that I love. And so for this giveaway, I asked that participants tell me about the mangaka whose work they always make a point to read. Check out the giveaway comments for the detailed responses, and check out below for the list of mangaka mentioned in addition to a selection of their works that are available in English!

The Angel of Elhamburg
Utahime: The Songstress

Moyoco Anno
In Clothes Called Fat
Sakuran: Blossoms Wild
Sugar Sugar Rune

Cardcaptor Sakura

Usamaru Furuya
Genkaku Picasso
Lychee Light Club
No Longer Human

Kyoko Hikawa
From Far Away

Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima
Lone Wolf & Cub
Path of the Assassin
Samurai Executioner

Mitsukazu Mihara
The Embalmer
IC in a Sunflower

Setona Mizushiro
After School Nightmare
Black Rose Alice

Jun Mochizuki
Pandora Hearts

Kaoru Mori
Anything and Something
Bride’s Story

Takeshi Obata
All You Need Is Kill
Death Note
Hikaru no Go

Yayoi Ogawa
Tramps Like Us

Atsushi Ohkubo
B. Ichi
Soul Eater
Soul Eater Not!

Eiji Otsuka
The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service

Yumi Tamura
Wild Com.

Arina Tanemura
Idol Dreams
Phantom Thief Jeanne
Sakura Hime: The Legend of Princess Sakura

Jiro Taniguchi
A Distant Neighborhood
The Summit of the Gods
The Walking Man

Osamu Tezuka
Message to Adolf

Yana Toboso
Black Butler
Rust Blaster

Naoki Urasawa
Master Keaton

Yu Yagami
Go West!
Hikkatsu!: Strike a Blow to Vivify
Those Who Hunt Elves

Fumi Yoshinaga
Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy!
Ôoku: The Inner Chambers
What Did You Eat Yesterday?

For the sake of space, I’ve limited the lists of works to up to three releases each in English, but many of the creators have other manga available in translation, too. And hopefully we’ll continue to see more of all of these mangaka! Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in the giveaway and share some great mangaka with me. Hope to see you all again for the next giveaway!

My Week in Manga: August 24-August 30, 2015

My News and Reviews

Last week was a bit slow at Experiments in Manga as I decided to take it a little easy on myself, but I did still post a couple of things in addition to the usual My Week in Manga feature. The most recent manga giveaway was posted, for one, and there’s still time to enter for a chance to win a complete set of Yumi Tamura’s shoujo action thriller Chicago. I also posted an in-depth review of Minae Mizumura’s award-winning A True Novel which I absolutely loved. In part it’s a reimagining of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights set in postwar Japan, but it’s not at all necessary to have read Brontë’s novel to appreciate Mizumura’s work.

Elsewhere online, Mangabrog has posted a translation of an interview of Parasyate‘s Hitoshi Iwaaki from 2005. Justin interviewed Sekai Project for Manga Bookshelf about the company entering the manga market. In licensing news, Kodansha Comics has picked up some Fairy Tail and Noragami side stories and Vertical Comics confirmed its acquisition of Maybe’s The Abandoned Sacred Beasts. Also of note, Humanoids will be releasing an anthology in 2016 called The Tipping Point which will include contributions from mangaka Katsuya Terada, Naoki Urasawa, Taiyo Matsumoto, and Atsushi Kaneko in addition to other comics creators from Europe and the United States.

Quick Takes

Dorohedoro, Volume 13Dorohedoro, Volumes 13-16 by Q Hayashida. Even though I love Dorohedoro, it’s been a while since I’ve read the series; I like to save up a few volumes to read all at once. The manga is now entering what I believe will be its final story arc. Granted, Dorohedoro tends to be all over the place with all sort of plot lines weaving in and out, so its difficult to identify distinct story arcs, but Hayashida is now bringing it all back together again. She’s even tying in what initially seemed to be extraneous side stories from earlier in the series more cohesively. Dorohedoro is such a bizarre manga, somehow managing to be sweet and charming at the same time it is disgusting and grotesque. Hayashida’s artwork is marvelous, creating horrific, nightmare-inducing images and an atmosphere that’s dank, dirty, and dingy. But the series is also fun and funny, with a quirky sense of humor and a peculiar fixation on food. At this point, though there is still comedy, Dorohedoro is actually getting pretty serious and dramatic. En’s dead and the rest of the family is currently homeless and on the run; the Cross-Eyes have taken over, but they seem to be losing control of the extremely deadly situation.

Evyione: Ocean Fantasy, Volume 1Evyione: Ocean Fantasy, Volume 1 by Young-Hee Kim. Back in the day, Udon Entertainment had a line of manwha which, sadly, didn’t end up going very far. Tragically, only the first volume of Kim’s twelve-volume series Evyione: Ocean Fantasy was translated and released. It’s admittedly disappointing that there isn’t more, but the first volume of Evyione serves as a sort of prologue and is well worth checking out even though the rest of the story will likely never be translated. The manhwa is in part inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid except that in the case of Evyione, it’s the king of the sea who has fallen in love with a human princess. The artwork in the series is stunningly gorgeous. The ocean scenes and merfolk are beautiful, sensuous, and slightly disconcerting. There’s a touch of horror to the king’s transformation into a human, keeping with the darker aspects of the original story. On land, Kim pays particular attention to the characters’ clothing and attire, the dresses especially are intricately detailed. Although Evyione is obviously based on The Little Mermaid, it’s not a simple retelling and incorporates political and court intrigue as well as additional plot elements.

Say I Love You, Volume 9Say I Love You, Volume 8 by Kanae Hazuki. I continue to really enjoy Say I Love You. Hazuki’s forthright portrayal of teenage sexuality in particular tends to be handled quite well. After focusing on some of the series’ supporting characters, the eighth volume of Say I Love You largely turns its attention back to Mei. Most of the volume is dealing with a popularity contest being held as part of the school festival that thrusts Mei into the spotlight when she becomes a finalist—some students voting for her because they like her, and some students voting for her in hopes that she will utterly embarrass herself. Yamato is a participant in the contest as well and out of all of the boys he’s expected to win, meaning he’ll be going on an arranged date with whichever girl receives the most votes. All together, this is a very challenging situation for Mei. She doesn’t really want all of the attention and yet she feels compelled to try to win. Hazuki avoids the pitfall of a makeover suddenly changing a person into someone completely unrecognizable. It’s not so much that Mei’s outward appearance is drastically altered, it’s that she’s starting to overcome some of her insecurities and reclaim her femininity for herself.

A True Novel

A True NovelAuthor: Minae Mizumura
Photographer: Toyota Horiguchi

Translator: Juliet Winters Carpenter
U.S. publisher: Other Press
ISBN: 9781590512036
Released: November 2013
Original release: 2001
Awards: Yomiuri Prize for Literature

So far, only two works by Minae Mizumura have been translated into English. The first was the Yomiuri Prize-winning A True Novel. Originally published in Japan in 2002, A True Novel was selected for translation as part of the Japanese Literature Publishing Project. The novel was ultimately released by Other Press in 2013 with an English translation by Juliet Winters Carpenter. Other Press’ edition of A True Novel is a lovely two-volume box set retaining the black-and-white images taken by Kyoto-based photographer Toyota Horiguchi scattered throughout the pages. Mizumura’s second work to be translated, her treatise The Fall of Language in the Age of English, was published in early 2015. It was the release of The Fall of Language in the Age of English that reminded me that A True Novel had been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for quite some time. My excuse was that I wanted to make sure that I had the time to devote to the novel that it deserved—A True Novel is a massive work well over eight hundred pages in length.

Taro Azuma immigrated to New York from Japan in the 1960s, finding a position as a personal chauffeur. Not much was known about the enigmatic young man and he was reluctant to talk about his past, but he did very well for himself in America, eventually becoming an extremely successful, wealthy, and respected businessman. It’s only after he made a name and a fortune for himself that he began to return to Japan on occasion. Growing up Taro was an orphan raised in a poor and abusive household. His fate was changed when he was taken in as a helper by the well-off Utagawa family, becoming remarkably close with their youngest daughter Yoko. But as time passed, the differences between Taro and Yoko’s social classes became more pronounced and more problematic for the Saegusas—Yoko’s high-society relatives—especially after a series of “indiscretions.” This was what prompted Taro to initially leave the country, but his destiny had already become intrinsically connected to those of Yoko and her family.

In part, A True Novel is a retelling of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Mizumura moving the setting of the story from nineteenth-century England to postwar Japan. While someone who has read Wuthering Heights will be able to appreciate the parallels between the two narratives, A True Novel stands completely on its own as a separate work. It’s been a long while since I’ve read Wuthering Heights, but I must say I think I actually prefer A True Novel. The structure of the novel has several layers that build upon one another. The story opens with an autobiographically-influenced prologue long enough to be its own novel which outlines Mizumura’s life growing up in America and her impression of Taro when she meets him there. A True Novel continues with a young editor named Yuske Kato relating to Mizumura his later encounter with Taro in Japan and the story told to him by Fumiko Tsuchiya who at one point in her life was a maid to the Utagawas. It is these two stories that Mizumura weaves together to form the main narrative of A True Novel.

Each of the three nested stories—Mizumura’s, Yusuke’s, and Fumiko’s—draws the reader closer and closer to the heart of A True Novel. The work is tragically romantic, Yoko and Taro born into circumstances where their love for each other is all but impossible to realize, their hopes for happiness dashed by the expectations of society and matters of privilege and class. The characters and their relationships in A True Novel are marvelously complex with love and hate, redemption and revenge all playing a role. At times they can actually be infuriating, but that’s part of the reason A True Novel is so compelling and engaging—the characters are believably flawed individuals navigating (not always successfully) a world that is inherently unfair. A True Novel is a tremendous work, the story tracing decades of family history and drama and the dynamics of complicated and shifting relationships. The novel may be lengthy, but it never felt overly long. If anything, while I was immensely satisfied I was still sad to see it end. A True Novel may very well be one of the best works of literature that I’ve read.

Manga Giveaway: Yumi Tamura Giveaway

It’s almost the end of the month which means it’s yet again time for another giveaway at Experiments in Manga. This month I’m offering up an entire series: Yumi Tamura’s two-volume shoujo action thriller Chicago! The series was released in English by Viz Media a decade or so ago, but is now out of print. This month’s giveaway will give you a chance to snag a complete set of the manga. And, as always, the giveaway is open worldwide!

Chicago, Volume 1: The Book of SelfChicago, Volume 2: The Book of Justice

Chicago probably wouldn’t have come across my radar if it wasn’t for the fact that it was created by Yumi Tamura. Tamura is also the mangaka of Basara, a series that I absolutely love. Back when I was trying to track down some of the harder-to-find print volumes of Basara (the print edition is going out of print, but a digital version is now available), I discovered that Tamura’s Chicago and Wild Com. had also been translated. And so, simply because I enjoyed Tamura’s work so much on Basara, I picked them up. There are other mangaka whose work I will read no matter what it is, too, including but certainly not limited to Moyoco Anno, Usamaru Furuya, Fumi Yoshinaga, and Takeshi Obata. It can be interesting to see both the similarities and differences among the manga created by the same person; some mangaka have an incredible range.

So, you may be wondering, how can you win Yumi Tamura’s Chicago?

1) Are there any mangaka whose work you enjoy so much that you make a point to read anything they create? If so, tell me a little about them and what you like about their manga in the comments below. (If not, you can 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 you go! It’s as easy as that. You all have one week to submit comments and each person can earn up to two entries for this giveaway. If you have trouble with the comment form, or if you would prefer, entries can also be sent directly to me at phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com. I will then post the comments here in your name. The giveaway winner will be randomly selected and announced on September 2, 2015. Good luck to you all!

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: Yumi Tamura Giveaway Winner

My Week in Manga: August 17-August 23, 2015

My News and Reviews

Last week Experiments in Manga reached its fifth anniversary, so I wrote a somewhat lengthy post about what I’ve been up to online and offline over the last year. Thank you again to everyone who has shown support and encouragement for Experiments in Manga over the years. Apparently, people actually want to see another five years, so I guess I better get to work on that. With that in mind, have two more in-depth reviews! Last week I took a look at Rikao Yanagita’s surprisingly entertaining The Science of Attack on Titan, one of the two non-manga books that Kodansha Comics has released so far. (The other one was related to Attack on Titan, as well.) I also reviewed Baku Yumemakura and Jiro Taniguchi’s The Summit of the Gods, Volume 5, which is the final volume in one of my favorite series. The writing and artwork in The Summit of the Gods is superb; I’m so glad that the entire manga is now available in English.

A few other things caught my eye online last week. Mangabrog has translated an article from 2013 that provides a tour through Inio Asano’s workspace. More information has been revealed about Kodansha’s digital efforts and the publisher is aiming high: digital editions of two thousand volumes translated into English by the end of 2017. Occasionally manga makes its way to NPR (which I believe is how I actually first learned about and became interested in Death Note). Most recently, one of NPR’s contributors featured a few great romantic manga: Kaoru Mori’s Emma, Ichigo Takano’s Orange, and Ai Yazawa’s Nana. I haven’t had a chance to read Orange yet, but considering the quality of Emma and Nana, I’m now looking forward to Seven Sea’s upcoming print release of the series even more. The game of manga tag continues to make it rounds, this time Narrative Investigations’ Helen tackles the questions.

Quick Takes

Castle Mango, Volume 2Castle Mango, Volume 2 written by Narise Konohara and illustrated by Muku Ogura. While I liked the first volume of Castle Mango, I really enjoyed the second and final volume of the series. Castle Mango is an unusual boys’ love manga; most of it doesn’t have anything to do with romance. The close relationship between Yorozu and Togame begins with a terribly manipulative lie, but it eventually develops into something real for both of them. In the first volume, the two men frequently seemed to have an almost father-son sort of vibe, but by the end of the series I was slightly more convinced by their intimacy as boyfriends. It does take a little while to get there though; they spend a large portion of the second volume apart. Togame is trying to give Yorozu space, feeling that it’s in the younger man’s best interest, but he doesn’t really go about it in the best way. Unfortunately, this is happening at the same time that Yorozu is struggling to take care of his little brother and his family’s business (a love hotel) when his mother is hospitalized. Yorozu is in the process of shedding the last of his immaturity and makes some terrible decisions in the process. In many ways, Castle Mango is more about Yorozu’s growth as a person than anything else.

Give to the Heart, Volume 1Give to the Heart, Volumes 1-4 by Wann. After a long period of silence, about a year ago Netcomics quietly began publishing books in print again. Give to the Heart was the first manhwa to be released after the publisher’s hiatus. I was interested in reading the series because I wanted to support Netcomics, but also because it was created by Wann. (I had previously read and thoroughly enjoyed Wann’s collection of short manhwa 9 Faces of Love.) At first Give to the Heart seemed like it was going to largely be fantasy fiction, but as the series progresses, more and more science fictional elements are introduced. The ongoing story is about Sooyi, a young woman who became the wife of Ganok, the demon king who controls all water, but who is now attempting to escape him. Not only that, she is trying to find a way to kill him as well, or at least cause him as much pain as possible even if that means sacrificing her own life in the process. Though it is implied that Sooyi and Ganok were at one point content and happy as a pair, their current relationship obviously has its problems. Actually, considering the extreme imbalance of power between them—Ganok being a cruel god and Sooyi being a human with a strong will—that’s been true from the very beginning.

My Little Monster, Volume 9My Little Monster, Volume 9 by Robico. So, Haru and Shizuku are now officially a couple, although not much has actually changed in their relationship. But now that that has been settled, the other romantically interested parties are more or less able to move on with their lives. As a result, the plot of My Little Monster is now able to move along as well. This particular volume includes summer vacations and festivals, which is fairly standard for a high school romance, but Haru’s family drama is starting to come to the forefront of the story again. Underneath the humor of My Little Monster there seems to have been something ominous lurking waiting to be revealed. Haru’s brother Yuzan isn’t as terrifying as he once was, but there is definitely something going on between him and Haru and with Haru’s reluctance to interact with the rest of his family. Haru is trying to keep Shizuku from finding out the details, though eventually he’s really going to need to come clean with her and explain his situation. But, while Shizuku is still in the dark, at least readers get to learn a bit more. I continue to enjoy My Little Monster, especially the series’ quirky characters, and I’m happy to see the manga continue to gain some forward momentum.