My Week in Manga: May 23-May 29, 2016

My News and Reviews

Last week, I was rather preoccupied with my move. The rest of the family and I are now successfully living in the new house, but we aren’t through with moving and there’s still plenty left to do. However, amidst all of the chaos, I was able to post this month’s manga giveaway and there’s still time to enter for a chance to win a copy of Paradise Residence, Volume 1 by Kosuke Fujishima. (The winner will be announced on Wednesday.) Although I wasn’t online much at all last week, there were still a few things that I heard about. Digital Manga announced a new imprint, PeCChi, which will focus on ecchi manga of various types, starting with The Secret Devil-chan by Emu as well as Me and the Impish Devil by Hideaki Yoshikawa. Digital Manga’s most recent Kickstarter project will be released under the Pecchi imprint if it succeeds—Kaworu Watashiya’s controversial Kodomo no Jikan which was previously licensed by Seven Seas but never published. And, completely unrelated, the third part of “The Sparkling World of Shojo Manga,” which focuses on Riyoko Ikeda and The Rose of Versailles Manga, was recently posted at The Lobster Dance.

Quick Takes

Fairy Girls, Volume 1Fairy Girls, Volume 1 by Boku. Hiro Mashima’s Fairy Tail has inspired a fair number of spinoff manga  and adaptations, several of which have been released in English relatively recently. Fairy Girls, featuring four of the most popular female characters from the Fairy Tail guild—Erza, Juvia, Lucy, and Wendy—is one such spinoff. The series takes place immediately following the Grand Magic Games arc in the original series, but for the most part doesn’t actually require the reader to know much at all about Fairy Tail to follow along. Actually, those who are familiar with Fairy Tail and love these characters might end up more frustrated than not with Boku’s version. Fairy Girls almost reads like an unfunny parody, but I don’t think that was at all the intention. I wanted to like the manga much more than I actually did seeing as the basic premise had such promise. Many of the women in Fairy Tail are great characters, but in Fairy Girls they come across as extremely shallow versions of their true selves. The fanservice in Fairy Girls is somewhat odd, too. Without going back to check the entire volume page-by-page, I believe Boku has managed to completely avoid any panty shots (almost conspicuously so) but the manga does frequently seem to be fairly boob-focused.

LDK, Volume 2LDK, Volume 2 by Ayu Watanabe. I know a few people who really enjoy LDK and so I want to like it, too, but at this point in the series I find it to be more infuriating than anything else. Maybe the manga gets better as it goes along, but I can’t say that I’m particularly interested in finding out since there is very little about the first two volumes that I actually enjoyed. Probably my biggest issue with LDK is that the series’ leading man, Shusei, shows absolutely no respect for Aoi, the series’ heroine, despite supposedly having feelings for her. The second volume of LDK introduces a romantic rival who, likewise, doesn’t actually seem to care about Aoi’s feelings. And I still remain unconvinced that any of the people involved legitimately love or even like any of the others. I believe LDK is intended to be a romantic comedy, but it just doesn’t seem to work as one for me, probably because the characters have failed to win me over. Even though some of the scenarios and situations in LDK are admittedly ridiculous and over-the-top (though not especially original), for whatever reason the humor just isn’t very funny as a whole and the balance between it and the manga’s more serious aspects is off.

Tramps Like Us, Volume 6Tramps Like Us, Volumes 6-9 by Yayoi Ogawa. As the series progresses, the basic premise of Tramps Like Us doesn’t really become any easier to explain without making it sound stranger than it is. Takeshi Gouda is a brilliant dancer trained in classical ballet who is trying to break into modern dance, but he is also Momo, the pet of Sumire Iwaya, a successful journalist who is under a lot of stress in both her love life and career. Their relationship is a very complicated and curious one but it’s very important to them both, which is why it’s concerning for them when it begins to change and they slowly begin to realize that their feelings for each other are less platonic and more romantic. Occasionally Tramps Like Us does feel a little directionless in these particular volumes, as though Ogawa is starting to lose narrative focus or trying to stretch the series longer than it necessarily needs to be. Some of the more stand-alone chapters, while still enjoyable, tend to come across as filler or bonus manga rather than being crucial to the story proper. Even so, I love the characters of Tramps Like Us (Sumire, Iwaya, and all the others) so am glad to be able to spend as much time as I can with them. I am enjoying Tramps Like Us immensely and look forward to reading the final third of the series.

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  1. I backed the Kodomo No Jikan Kick Starter (first Kickstarter I have ever backed) just on the basic principle of free speech. I’d alway thought if it was made available for a Western audience I’d buy it. On top of the few strong points in the series in it. I honestly feel if I have a discussion with someone who doesn’t like it I should just give them a link to In Defense of Disgusting Speech by Robert T. Miller since he makes my point better than I ever could.

    Speaking of Disgusting I read the Corpse Party Manga. The writing is good at capturing the mood of dread and abject terror when the characters are taken from their comfortable familiar environment.

    While the are is good with the gory bloody bits but has this stereotypical cute look for the girls. Stil not a bad pulp horror series.

    • Ash Brown says

      I’m less inclined to back Digital Manga’s Kickstarters these days not due to the content (I’ve no problem with Kodomo no Jikan being published) but because I’m not sure it’s a particularly healthy business model. At this point I am still glad that fans are getting the manga they’re interested in released at all, though.

      The Corpse Party manga had completely slipped off of my radar! It might be something I should look into. I’m not especially familiar with the game it’s based on, but I do like a good horror manga.

  2. I gave LDK four volumes and did not like it at all. Aoi also gets stupider. And there’s 20 volumes of this?!

    Kodomo no Jikan…it’s absolutely not a series I would read, but censoring and, in some countries, having it be illegal is a dangerous slope. I mean, Cardcaptor Sakura has an elementary school girl getting engaged to a teacher. I just wish companies would give some of my most-wanted series a chance on Kickstarter…

    • Ash Brown says

      Twenty volumes and still ongoing?! I hadn’t realized the series was that long. I don’t think I could take it unless there’s some sort of drastic shift in the narrative at some point. Hearing about the development of Aoi’s character in the next few volumes isn’t encouraging. It’s too bad, I actually really liked her for the first several pages! >_<

      Personally, I’m more interested in the controversy surrounding Kodomo no Jikan than I am in the manga itself. I absolutely agree that censorship and banning of materials (manga and otherwise) can be a very dangerous and slippery slope; I feel very strongly about supporting freedom of expression. Also, obscenity laws are often a mess.

      • i think the big difference between Kodomo no Jikan and Cardcaptor Sakura’s take on the the teacher/student .. is “how explicit”
        in ccS, you only see the cute conversation happening out in public, she isn’t flashing her panties at him or making lewd moves or outright threatening rape charges

        • Ash Brown says

          That is quite a difference! Most of what I know about Kodomo no Jikan is entirely second-hand, so I wasn’t confident that I could accurately make a direct comparison.

  3. I’m interested in this PeCChi thing; I liked The Secret Devil-chan in serialization even though it is as dumb as a box of bricks, and it’s a “cute crossdressing dude in a m/m relationship story for straight guys” title from Waaii!, which gives me hope that DMP might pick up other titles along those lines from that magazine, some of which were a lot of fun.

    • Ash Brown says

      I’m interested in it, too! Although, I’ll have to admit I’m starting to lose confidence in Digital Manga as a publisher with it’s over-reliance on Kickstarter, scheduling delays, distribution issues, and habit of not finishing series. But, assuming it’s actually released, I do plan on picking up The Secret Devil-chan. I’m also curious about the imprint’s potential yuri offerings since I don’t believe Digital Manga has released any yuri before.

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