My Week in Manga: October 31-November 6, 2016

My News and Reviews

Last week at Experiments in Manga the winner of the Sweetness & Lightning manga giveaway was announced. The post also includes a list of some of the manga available in English that feature notable fathers or father figures. As for more in-depth features, I’m (still) currently working on some random, but rather personal, musings about Ichigo Takano’s manga series Orange. Progress on that post is a little slower than I would like it to be, but hopefully I’ll have something to share in the relatively near future.

As for interesting things that I’ve recently found online: The Honolulu Museum of Art recently hosted a series of lectures and discussions called Manga in Japan, Hawai‘i, and Throughout the World; many of the recordings can now be watched online. The proceedings of the Manga at a Crossroads symposia are available to read or download from The Ohio State University. Anna Madill has also posted the slides from her 2016 Comics Forum keynote address–Genre, genealogy, and gender: Reflecting on Boys’ Love manga–which includes some interesting results from her BL Fandom Survey. And speaking of boys’ love, Digital Manga’s Juné imprint is seeking the print rights for Asumiko Nakamura’s Classmates (Doukyusei).

Quick Takes

Haikyu!!, Volume 3Haikyu!!, Volumes 3-5 by Haruichi Furudate. The new Karasuno team has made it through its first game, but the members still have some practicing to do before they can completely shed the nickname of the fallen champions. But considering their tremendous talent and potential, that might not take them too long. With these volumes, a few more Karasuno veterans are introduced, as are their rivals, before the series quickly moves from training to tournaments. Although there are some very exciting moments, I actually find the games to be the least interesting part of Haikyu!!, which may (but not necessarily) present a problem in the long run for what is primarily a sports manga.  Some of the action was a little difficult for me to follow until I got used to Furudate’s visual language, probably because I’m not actually all that familiar with volleyball gameplay. Growing up, my family’s anything-goes backyard games followed vastly different rules; Haikyu!! is actually teaching me how volleyball as a sport is really played. However, I am still enjoying Haikyu!! immensely. I particularly love the series’ focus on teamwork and even more so its unflagging positivity. Haikyu!! manages to be competitive without being mean. I also really like the distinctive personalities of the characters, and Furudate’s sense of humor and comedic timing is great. The manga continues to be great fun.

Neo-Parasyte fNeo-Parasyte F by Various. Hitoshi Iwaaki’s series Parasyte happens to be not only one of my favorite horror manga, but one of my favorite manga in general. That’s probably the main reason I was so excited that the Parasyte shoujo tribute anthology Neo-Parasyte F was licensed, but the list of contributors is exciting in and of itself, too. I was especially happy to have the chance to read more of Asumiko Nakamura’s work, but there are other creators that English-reading fans will likely recognize as well, such as Ema Toyama, Kaori Yuki, and  Yuri Narushima among others. Neo-Parasyte F collects fifteen short manga that in one way or another pay tribute to Parasyte. Some of the stories take place within the same world as Parasyte–Shinichi and Migi, the main characters of the original series, even make a few appearances–while others are set completely apart. Many of the manga are still horror-themed, but there are a surprising number that actually take a more humorous approach. Ever wonder what Parasyte would be like as an otome game? Neo-Parasyte F presents one possible interpretation of just that. Overall, the volume is a great anthology containing an excellent variety of genres and styles. Neo-Parasyte F will likely appeal most to readers who are fans of or at least familiar with Parasyte, although a few of the contributions can stand completely on their own.

The Prince in His Dark Days, Volume 1The Prince in His Dark Days, Volume 1 by Hico Yamanaka. In Japan, Yamanaka is probably better known for her boys’ love manga, but that’s not all that she’s done. For example, The Prince in His Dark Days, Yamanaka’s English-language debut, does not fall into that particular genre. However, it is poised to explore gender and sexuality in interesting ways, which is what first brought the series to my attention. The story follows Atsuko, a high school student from a broken and abusive family who is struggling to make ends meet. She is more or less coerced into becoming the stand-in for Itaru, the wealthy heir to a major corporation who has gone missing. Very possibly he ran away due to some of his own unfortunate circumstances. Until Itaru is found, Atsuko will be taking them on in his place. Although she’s not exactly leading a life of luxury–parts of Itaru’s own life are less than ideal–at least she’s no longer quite as miserable as she once was. The initial setup of The Prince in His Dark Days is a little rough and feels a somewhat forced, but it does establish understandable reasons for everything that follows. Admittedly, the whole situation is rather strange, but once Atsuko has adopted her new role she devotes herself completely to it. In the process, she begins to create meaningful if somewhat peculiar relationships with the people around her. I’m not entirely sure where The Prince in His Dark Days is heading, but I do know that I want to find out.

Princess Jellyfish, Omnibus 3Princess Jellyfish, Omnibus 3 (equivalent to Volumes 5-6) by Akiko Higashimura. I am still incredibly pleased that Princess Jellyfish manga series is being released in print. I thoroughly enjoyed the anime adaptation and was left wanting more after it ended, so I’m thrilled to finally have the chance to read the original manga. The anime began around the same time that the sixth volume was originally being released in Japan, so from this point on more and more of what is seen in the manga will either be new or significantly different. It has been a while since I’ve watched the anime so I may be misremembering parts of it, but already I can identify where notably different choices were made as to plot and characters. However, the heart of both the manga and the anime are definitely the same. Despite the various romantic and relationship dramas, Princess Jellyfish is largely a comedy. Serious matters like familial and social expectations are addressed and explored in the series, but Higashimura primarily does so through humor, sometimes more successfully and sometimes less so. Princess Jellyfish is an energetic manga that can be over-the-top and ridiculous, but it can also be very touching. As the women of Amamizukan search for a way to save their beloved home they are finding new ways to express themselves through skills and talents that they never realized they had, slowly coming out of their shells in ways they never expected.

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  1. I was in no way expecting to like it, but I rented Yowamushi Pedal from the library, and found it surprisingly awesome. I wasn’t sure how I’d like a sports manga about bicycling (I do not personally have a very favorable opinion on bikes, I really don’t like biking), maybe having the main be a massive otaku helped somehow? I’m still not sure if I should buy, but I will be renting this from the library for a bit.

    • Ah, Yowamushi Pedal is great! :D (Which reminds me, I still need to read the most recent omnibus. Maybe I’ll just wait for the next one at this point and read them together…) I really like the energetic, not typically pretty artwork and the otaku elements are a nice touch. :)

      I don’t remember, have you read any of Eyeshield 21? It’s worth checking out for the tremendous illustrations alone (the artist is Yusuke Murata, who is currently working on One-Punch Man), but the characters are fun and somewhat ridiculous and over-the-top, too. I ended up enjoying the series, and I don’t even really like American football (despite my many years of marching band).

      • I’ve not read Eyeshield 21 before, no. I’m not big on sports manga, I can pretty much name all the ones I’ve read:
        Real-possibly my favorite, and I like that there’s not much sports in it, lol
        Hikaru no Go-kind of a sports manga? It follows the same pattern, but like Real, it also doesn’t spend a lot of time on the games themselves. This and Real are among my most favorite manga ever though
        Slam Dunk-I read it because it’s by Takehiko Inoue, but after reading Real, SD was rather disappointing and spent way too much time on the games themselves. And I wasn’t a fan of the lead, he’s a jerk and a bit infuriating to read. Basketball is one of the few games where I do know the rules to at least some degree
        Cross Game-I only read the first omnibus (3 Japanese vols) of this one, but I really didn’t like it. I think it spent too much time on the game and being sad and depressing, so while I know everyone else adored it, it didn’t do much for me.
        Big Windup-I still don’t know anything about baseball, but I did see season 1 of this series. I enjoyed it a lot, though I don’t think I’d watch it again. I’m surprised I did like it, it spent a lot of time on the games themselves.
        Welcome to the Ballroom and Swan-I’ll read these at some point, lol, I’d also like to read Subaru since that is by the Firefighter Daigo guy
        The whole thing reminds me, I still have that Inazuma 11 game on my 3DS that I haven’t played because it’s sports, lol, but I mostly seem to want ones that don’t spend a lot of time on the sports itself, but more on the characters.

        • I’m completely with you on Real and Hikaru no Go! They’re some of my favorite series as well. Though not an ultimate favorite, I might even put Swan up there pretty high, too. Shockingly, I actually haven’t finished reading Slam Dunk, though I’ve been meaning to. Likewise, I mostly picked it up because it’s by Inoue. I do like all the delinquents, though.

          Cross Game slowly grew on me. I liked the first omnibus well enough, but I wasn’t nearly as taken with it as so many other people seemed to be. I tried the manga again after watching some of the anime adaptation and eventually the series resonated with me quite strongly. However, it does stay pretty sad throughout.

          I haven’t seen any of Big Windup yet, though I know a lot of people who love it. (And Right Stuf keeps tempting me by putting it on super sale.) I haven’t read Welcome to the Ballroom yet, either, although coincidentally it’s on my list to read this week!


  1. […] releasing the Neo Parasyte M manga anthology (a sort of companion volume to Neo Parasyte F which I greatly enjoyed). In other licensing news, although an official public announcement hasn’t been made, The […]

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