My Week in Manga: June 20-June 26, 2016

My News and Reviews

Not much news to report in regards to Experiments in Manga this past week, though I would like to take to the opportunity to thank everyone for the kind words, encouragement, and support as I work to find some life-work-blog-etc balance. (In case you missed it, I went into more detail in last week’s My Week in Manga.) Currently I’m working on an Adaptation Adventures feature for Mushishi for my horror manga review project, but it’s been delayed (yet again) as I needed to get my DVD player working in order to watch the live-action film. Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish the post up soon!

Elsewhere online, Libre responded responded to Digital Manga’s rather unprofessional announcement that the publishers were parting ways. (Apparently there was a breach of contract; from how Libre’s comments are phrased, I’m assuming it was on Digital Manga’s part.) Digital Manga will stop selling manga that were licensed from Libre on June 30th and posted a list of the discontinued titles on Twitter. Justin at The OASG interviewed Ajani Oloye, one of Kodansha Comics’ manga editors. In licensing news, Bruno Gmünder’s catalog for Fall 2016 lists two new collections from Mentaiko Itto in its Gay Manga line, a poster book and the manga The Boy Who Cried Wolf. (I highly enjoyed Itto’s previous English-language manga collection, Priapus, so this is good news for me.)

Quick Takes

Forget Me Not, Volume 2Forget Me Not, Volume 2 written by Mag Hsu and illustrated by Nao Emoto. While the catalyst behind Forget Me Not is the mystery woman who helped to save Serizawa’s life after he was in a motorcycle accident, so far the series spends most of its time exploring Serizawa’s past and lost loves. One of the most touching incidents in the second volume (at least for me) actually had nothing to do with Serizawa’s erstwhile romances—a classmate confesses to Serizawa that he’s gay and that he has feelings for him. Serizawa handles the situation remarkably well, especially when considering the social disasters so many of his other relationships end up becoming. But even those failed relationships are important for Serizawa’s growth as a person and show that good things actually can come about as the result of struggling with rejection. Serizawa is a much more interesting character than I initially gave him credit for. He’s a believably and realistically flawed person who makes stupid mistakes but isn’t generally acting out of malice. Serizawa does occasionally act like a complete jerk, but for the most part it’s unintentional. I like that the series shows how he matures, and in some cases doesn’t, over time.

Your Lie in April, Volume 3Your Lie in April, Volumes 3-7 by Naoshi Arakawa. It was the series’ emphasis on music that first brought Your Lie in April to my attention, and it’s still one of the thing that I like best about the manga. As a musician, I appreciate the characters’ efforts to express themselves through their art, though as a composer I can’t completely agree with the amount of disregard some of the characters show towards the original score. The more I read of Your Lie in April, the more I realize that while music is an important aspect of the series, at it’s very heart the manga is about messy and complicated love of varying types. Kosei’s relationship with his  mother is deeply intertwined with his relationship to music and everything else in his life stems from that. Everyone in the series seems focused on Kosei. It can all be very melodramatic and at times Your Lie in April narrowly avoids becoming overly sentimental. But then I, too, believe in the power of music. Kosei’s return to playing the piano is traumatic, but ultimately healing for him. Realistically, however, it music shouldn’t be a complete replacement for the emotional and psychological support that he needs to recover from years of abuse and the death of his mother.

Yowamushi Pedal, Omnibus 2Yowamushi Pedal, Omnibus 2 (equivalent to Volumes 3-4) by Wataru Watanabe. I’ve seen a fair amount of the Yowamushi Pedal anime so I know exactly what’s going to happen this early on in the original manga, but I still find the series incredibly enjoyable to read. I think that part of that has to do with the artwork; I really like Watanabe’s style in Yowamushi Pedal. The art is not at all what I would call pretty—in fact many people might even consider its roughness and angularity ugly—but it is very dynamic, energetic, and thrilling. Story-wise, the second omnibus is almost entirely devoted to the inaugural race of the first year members of the road racing club. Most of the team are experienced racers but Onoda, the lead of Yowamushi Pedal, most definitely is not. Since Onoda himself is learning the rules and techniques used in road cycling for the first time, Watanabe is able to take advantage of the opportunity to introduce the same concepts to readers who likewise might not be familiar with them. From time to time it does interrupt the flow of the narrative, but Yowamushi Pedal generally moves along at a good pace. I find the series very entertaining and I’m really looking forward to reading more.

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  1. Oh, Digital Manga. I really appreciate how they’ve made more of Yamashita Tomoko and Nakamura Asumiko’s work available, among others, but I do wish they could be just a tad bit more professional.

    • Ash Brown says

      Yes, indeed! I know some wonderful people who work for the company, and I love some of the titles Digital Manga has/had, but over the last few years it seems like the company as a whole is in the midst of a slow crash and burn. It’s very unfortunate all around.

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