Discovering Manga: Podcasts, Part 2

Not quite a year and a half ago I wrote the post Discovering Manga: Podcasts which continues to be fairly popular (or at least has frequent page views). I’ve always had the intention to write follow up posts as I had the opportunity to discover and listen to more manga podcasts. As I mentioned in the original post, podcasts devoted exclusively to manga are actually rather difficult to find. Often the subject of manga is only touched upon in podcasts that normally devote themselves to anime or Japanese pop culture in general. The purpose of this post is to point out some podcasts that regularly feature manga, even if it isn’t always the main focus. If you know of any podcasts that I have missed or that I should check out, please let me know! Hopefully, I’ll be able to write more followups in the future (and not take so long to do so this time).

The first podcast I would like to mention is Reverse Theives’ The Speakeasy Podcast, which is a part of the Anime 3000 network (and a personal favorite of mine). Although there are plenty of bonus episodes (S.W.A.T. Reviews and Crime Scene Investigations), The Speakeasy itself is a monthly podcast that began in January 2010. Kate (aka Narutaki) and Alain (aka Hisui) are the delightful hosts. (I will be absolutely heartbroken if they ever get into a fight and don’t make up; I want them to be friends forever.) Occasionally they will have guests, but more often than not The Speakeasy is just the two of them having intelligent conversations about anime and manga. They both have their own viewpoints but also allow each other to disagree. The Speakeasy isn’t a review podcast. Although they may tackle a particular title or show during an episode, their approach is much more “meta,” addressing larger, overarching themes and concepts. The show notes are also fantastic and very thorough with lots of links.

Next up is Manga Pulse, a weekly manga-centric spin-off from Anime Pulse. This is not a podcast to listen to if you’re afraid of your favorite manga being trashed. The hosts, Weltall and Tim, are very opinionated and do not hold back. It can be entertaining, but they can be pretty harsh. I actually appreciate their ability to rip into a title and tear it apart and then turn around and admit that there were still parts they enjoyed. Their taste in manga is often quite different than mine, so personally I don’t always agree with their analyses. Manga Pulse started out as a manga review podcast way back in September 2007, but more recent episodes seem more like a personality show to me; the manga reviews have become a much smaller part of the whole. Personally, I prefer the earlier episodes which focused more on manga. If you give Manga Pulse a try and their rating system confuses you, simply listen to the first episode and all will be explained.

Finally, I would like to bring your attention to Anime News Network’s ANNCast which began in August 2009. As might be expected, ANNCast tends to focus quite a bit on anime. However, since September 2010 it has regularly featured episodes with “Super Manga Pals” in which the focus is on manga. Even when it isn’t the main subject, manga frequently comes up as a topic on ANNCast. Episodes generally begin with a news section after which the guest (or guests) joins in. The show ends with them answering questions sent in from Twitter. Guests range from contributors to Anime News Network to people involved in all levels of the anime, manga, and other Japanese pop culture industries (fans, publishers, distributors, translators, editors, etc.) I am rather fond of Zac Bertschy as the main host. He’s knowledgeable, holds and defends his own opinions, and is not afraid to ask guests tough questions. He’s willing to at least listen even if he doesn’t end up agreeing with them. There are usually three or four ANNCast episodes each month, although there may be more.

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  1. Thanks for a second part of this; I really liked the first part.

    My favorite manga podcast is by far Manga Out Loud which you mentioned in the first piece. In a perfect world we could have a new episode every week, lol.

    The Speakeasy podcast looks interesting, so I’ll have to add that to my “to listen” pile. I tried listening to some of the Manga Pulse episodes, but you’re right in that it comes across like more of a personality show. Nothing wrong with that, I just like the analyis/roundtable vibe of MOL better.

    I was surprised at how much I enjoy ANNCast, since I don’t keep up with alot of the recent anime nowadays. I really like Zac as the host, and they have some good discussions.

    • I’m glad you found the podcast posts useful! If you come across some good manga related podcasts, please let me know. I’d love to write another followup.

      Personally, I prefer the conversation style podcasts too, which is why I like Manga Out Loud and The Speakeasy so much. Except for the purposes of writing this post, I don’t really listen to Manga Pulse. There are a lot of in jokes that make it difficult for newcomers to jump in.

      ANNCast brings in some really fascinating and knowledgeable guests. I find myself engaged even when it’s not a subject I’m particularly interested in.


  1. […] Discovering Manga: Podcasts, Part 2 ANNCast: Updating weekly Manga Pulse: Updating weekly The Speakeasy: Updating monthly […]

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