My Week in Manga: November 13-November 19, 2017

My News and Reviews

Last week was a very quiet one here at Experiments in Manga with nothing posted other than the usual My Week in Manga feature. However, I did manage to make some progress with my next in-depth review, so that should (hopefully!) be posted later this week. While not much was happening here at the blog, the North American manga publishers were all keeping pretty busy last week with a variety of license announcements, made either online or while at Anime NYC.

Starting with the online licensing spree from Seven Seas: The Bride & the Exorcist Knight manga by Keiko Ishihara; The Bride Was a Boy manga by Chii (an autobio comic by a transwoman–I’ll definitely be picking this up!); the Claudine manga by Riyoko Ikeda (I am absolutely thrilled by this license); teh Fairy Tale Battle Royale manga by Soraho Ina; the Harukana Receive manga by Nyoijizai; the How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom light novels by Dojyomaru and Fuyuyuki (previously released digitally by J-Novel Club); the My Solo Exchange Diary manga by Nagata Kabi (a follow-up to My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness); the Ojojojo manga by coolkyousinnjya; the Plus-Sized Elf manga by Synecdoche; the Space Battleship Yamato manga by Leiji Matsumoto (I’m so happy more influential classic manga is being translated); the True Tenchi Muyo! light novels is written by Masaki Kajishima and Yousuke Kuroda; the Versailles of the Dead manga by Kumiko Suekane; and the Wonderland manga by Yugo Ishikawa.

At Anime NYC, Kodansha Comics announced that it would be releasing Yasushi Baba’s Golosseum manga and Vertical Comics revealed that it would be publishing Tsutomu Nihei’s Aposimz. As for Viz Media, the publisher announced that it would be releasing a print edition of Hideyuki Furuhashi and Betten Court’s My Hero Academia: Vigilantes manga (currently being released digitally) in addition to a brand new license, Okura and Coma Hashii’s That Blue Sky Feeling manga (I’m really looking forward to this one).

Yen Press has picked up quite a few things as well: Sanzo’s Caterpillar Girl and Bad Texter Boy manga; Tsukikage and Bob’s Defeating the Demon Lord’s a Cinch (If You Have a Ringer) light novels; Kazushige Nojima’s Final Fantasy VII short story collection; Natsuki Takaya’s Fruits Basket Another manga; Yoh Yoshinari’s Little Witch Academia manga; Hiroumi Aoi’s Shibuya Goldfish manga; Yusaku Komiyama’s Star Wars: Lost Stars manga; Gao Yuzuki’s The Strange Creature at Kuroyuri Apartments manga; Keiichi Sigsawa’s Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online light novels; Soichiro Yamamoto’s Teasing Master Takagi-san manga; Mito Aoi’s Tsuno no Gakuen manga; and Akira Kareno’s WorldEnd light novels.

 Quick Takes

Land of the Lustrous, Volume 2Land of the Lustrous, Volumes 2-3 by Haruko Ichikawa. I found the first volume of Land of the Lustrous to be pretty, but perplexing; Ichikawa’s artwork can be absolutely stunning even while the plot remains somewhat impenetrable. Even so, I was and remain intrigued by Land of the Lustrous and its peculiar charm. The second and third volumes continue to explore the world that Ichikawa has created. Largely following Phos, who has been charged with writing a natural history (providing an excellent excuse to show readers around), more is slowly revealed about the Lustrous, the Lunarians with whom they battle, and the larger environment in which they live. The manga still seems to be primarily concerned about finding opportunities to display exquisite visuals–and there are certainly plenty of those–but the series’ underlying symbolism, themes, and mythologies are starting to coalesce and crystallize as well. Land of the Lustrous can be surprisingly philosophical even while being strange and surreal. I may not always understand exactly what’s going on, but I am captivated by the manga’s allure.

Void's Enigmatic Mansion, Volume 1Void’s Enigmatic Mansion, Volumes 1-2 by HeeEun Kim. It seems as though there are fewer manhwa being translated into English these days, but Yen Press still publishes some. The fifth and final volume of Void’s Enigmatic Mansion was released earlier this year which made me realize that I hadn’t actually gotten around to reading any of the series yet. JiEun Ha is credited as the creator of the original, but I haven’t been able to determine if that means there’s another version of the story out there in a different medium or if Ha simply developed the basic manhwa’s premise. In either case, Kim is the series’ adapter and artist. The titular mansion is a seven-story building, most of which the owner rents out. The mysterious Mr. Void hasn’t been seen yet (as far as readers know), but a number of his tenants have, none of whom live particularly happy lives. Void’s Enigmatic Mansion tends to be fairly episodic although there are also threads tying all of the characters and their unsettling stories together. Kim’s full-color illustrations can be quite beautiful, but they are also punctuated by shocking moments of blood and gore befitting the series’ horror.

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  1. I’m debating if I want to jump in and try Land of the Lustrous or not (the library didn’t seem to have it, unfortunately). I need more than just pretty, after all! Reading something and being in pure confusion isn’t much fun for me. I know I found the first volume of Requiem of the Rose King confusing, but that’s probably because an editor should have said something like “hey, we’re suddenly changing scenes to this location with all new characters for the first time, you should put a note saying “House Lancaster” or something there”, but upon a second read, it made a lot more sense.
    Right now, LoL is on sale at RightStuf for their holiday sale, so I’m not sure if I should jump in or not.

    I quite enjoyed Void’s Enigmatic Mansion. It definitely falls into that genre of “episodic situational vaguely horror”, but it’s one that I like when done well. And I do like having the full color art here because it is gorgeous. 5 volumes does feel about right for this series though. And I do wish we could get more manhwa like this in the states. I’ve kind of always wondered if maybe Tokyopop ruined manhwa’s reputation because I always looked at their manhwa offerings as being “fake manga”, much in the same way that their OEL titles came off as (it didn’t help that a lot of their OEL and manhwa titles weren’t super good). Threads of Time was a really good one though, so I’m glad they brought that over.

    I know Seven Seas is publishing Witch Buster right now, and Netcomics publishes some things too (that are harder to find because it’s Netcomics), but I can’t think of many more manhwa titles coming out anymore. A shame, there are gems out there.

    • I plan on sticking with Land of the Lustrous for at least a little while longer. The series intrigues me and I’m curious to see how it continues to develop. (And it’s certainly hard to beat some of RightStuf’s holiday prices!)

      I don’t recall off the top of my head if I’ve actually ever read any of Tokyopop’s manhwa releases, but I have picked up a few over the years. I think Korean webtoons have been somewhat successful in translation, but not much manhwa is being released in print anymore. Drawn & Quarterly published Uncomfortably Happily earlier this year, but that might be the only new print title I know of other than Netcomics’ sporadic releases.

  2. Both Land of the Lustrous and Void’s Enigmatics Mansion sound so interesting! The latter especially. I do like beautiful work, but I also like being able to grasp it and connect to the characters. But I’ve fallen for more art-focused manga before, so I may have to check both out!

    I’m so excited about The Bride Was A Boy and My Solo Exchange Diary!! I like the cover art for Versailles of the Dead – pretty interested in checking that out, too.

    Thanks for shining light on series I may have otherwise missed (or worse, underestimated!!)

    • You are very welcome! And thank you for reading; I really do enjoy sharing what I come across. ^_^

      Seven Seas has been announcing some really interesting and phenomenal licenses lately! Versailles of the Dead is definitely another one of the manga I plan on giving a try, too (even if I am a little burned out on zombies). It wasn’t that long ago that it seemed like Seven Seas was about ready to fold, but it’s turned around spectacularly in the last few years. I’m very happy for the publisher’s success!

      • Only one out of that whole bunch I’m really excited for is Claudine, but the excitement level of that is pretty high. Like Banana Fish getting an anime high (pretty close to that). Especially since it seems Udon is just going to sit on that Rose of Versailles license forever and do nothing with it at this point. Even without the Ryoko Ikeda being the mangaka, super excited for Claudine either way (and I hope this convinces them to get like, Swan and finish that or other old shojo and stuff). One volume series can be nice sometimes, too.

        • I was absolutely stunned that Claudine was picked up! Definitely the license out of this bunch I’m most excited for, although I’m very happy to see more queer autobio comics, too.

          The lack of official updates regarding Rose of Versailles is tremendously frustrating. However, I do know one of the translators assigned to the manga, so I can confidently say that work is actively being done on the series. Who knows when it will actually be published, though. >_<

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