Manga Giveaway: Yumi Tamura Giveaway Winner

Chicago, Volume 1: The Book of SelfChicago, Volume 2: The Book of JusticeAnd the winner of the Yumi Tamura Giveaway is… Olivia!

As the winner, Olivia will be receiving a complete set of Yumi Tamura’s shoujo action thriller Chicago as published by Viz Media back in the day. I came across Chicago because Tamura was also the creator of Basara, a series that I love. And so for this giveaway, I asked that participants tell me about the mangaka whose work they always make a point to read. Check out the giveaway comments for the detailed responses, and check out below for the list of mangaka mentioned in addition to a selection of their works that are available in English!

The Angel of Elhamburg
Utahime: The Songstress

Moyoco Anno
In Clothes Called Fat
Sakuran: Blossoms Wild
Sugar Sugar Rune

Cardcaptor Sakura

Usamaru Furuya
Genkaku Picasso
Lychee Light Club
No Longer Human

Kyoko Hikawa
From Far Away

Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima
Lone Wolf & Cub
Path of the Assassin
Samurai Executioner

Mitsukazu Mihara
The Embalmer
IC in a Sunflower

Setona Mizushiro
After School Nightmare
Black Rose Alice

Jun Mochizuki
Pandora Hearts

Kaoru Mori
Anything and Something
Bride’s Story

Takeshi Obata
All You Need Is Kill
Death Note
Hikaru no Go

Yayoi Ogawa
Tramps Like Us

Atsushi Ohkubo
B. Ichi
Soul Eater
Soul Eater Not!

Eiji Otsuka
The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service

Yumi Tamura
Wild Com.

Arina Tanemura
Idol Dreams
Phantom Thief Jeanne
Sakura Hime: The Legend of Princess Sakura

Jiro Taniguchi
A Distant Neighborhood
The Summit of the Gods
The Walking Man

Osamu Tezuka
Message to Adolf

Yana Toboso
Black Butler
Rust Blaster

Naoki Urasawa
Master Keaton

Yu Yagami
Go West!
Hikkatsu!: Strike a Blow to Vivify
Those Who Hunt Elves

Fumi Yoshinaga
Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy!
Ôoku: The Inner Chambers
What Did You Eat Yesterday?

For the sake of space, I’ve limited the lists of works to up to three releases each in English, but many of the creators have other manga available in translation, too. And hopefully we’ll continue to see more of all of these mangaka! Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in the giveaway and share some great mangaka with me. Hope to see you all again for the next giveaway!

Manga Giveaway: Yumi Tamura Giveaway

It’s almost the end of the month which means it’s yet again time for another giveaway at Experiments in Manga. This month I’m offering up an entire series: Yumi Tamura’s two-volume shoujo action thriller Chicago! The series was released in English by Viz Media a decade or so ago, but is now out of print. This month’s giveaway will give you a chance to snag a complete set of the manga. And, as always, the giveaway is open worldwide!

Chicago, Volume 1: The Book of SelfChicago, Volume 2: The Book of Justice

Chicago probably wouldn’t have come across my radar if it wasn’t for the fact that it was created by Yumi Tamura. Tamura is also the mangaka of Basara, a series that I absolutely love. Back when I was trying to track down some of the harder-to-find print volumes of Basara (the print edition is going out of print, but a digital version is now available), I discovered that Tamura’s Chicago and Wild Com. had also been translated. And so, simply because I enjoyed Tamura’s work so much on Basara, I picked them up. There are other mangaka whose work I will read no matter what it is, too, including but certainly not limited to Moyoco Anno, Usamaru Furuya, Fumi Yoshinaga, and Takeshi Obata. It can be interesting to see both the similarities and differences among the manga created by the same person; some mangaka have an incredible range.

So, you may be wondering, how can you win Yumi Tamura’s Chicago?

1) Are there any mangaka whose work you enjoy so much that you make a point to read anything they create? If so, tell me a little about them and what you like about their manga in the comments below. (If not, you can simply mention that.)
2) If you’re on Twitter, you can earn a bonus entry by tweeting, or retweeting, about the contest. Make sure to include a link to this post and @PhoenixTerran (that’s me).

There you go! It’s as easy as that. You all have one week to submit comments and each person can earn up to two entries for this giveaway. If you have trouble with the comment form, or if you would prefer, entries can also be sent directly to me at phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com. I will then post the comments here in your name. The giveaway winner will be randomly selected and announced on September 2, 2015. Good luck to you all!

VERY IMPORTANT: Include some way that I can contact you. This can be an e-mail address in the comment form, a link to your website, Twitter username, or whatever. If I can’t figure out how to get a hold of you and you win, I’ll just draw another name.

Contest winner announced–Manga Giveaway: Yumi Tamura Giveaway Winner

Chicago, Volume 2: The Book of Justice

Creator: Yumi Tamura
U.S. publisher: Viz Media
ISBN: 9781569318294
Released: May 2003
Original release: 2001

As part of the Yumi Tamura Manga Moveable Feast, I decided to take a look at the first of her works to be released in English—a short, two-volume series called Chicago. The second volume of Chicago, The Book of Justice, was initially serialized by Viz Media between 2002 and 2003 in its monthly shoujo manga magazine Animerica Extra and was subsequently released as a trade collection later in 2003. The volume was first published in Japan in 2001. Tamura is probably best known for her series Basara; I have seen almost nothing written about Chicago despite the work being her first official introduction to English-reading audiences. The two volumes of the series are now also out of print in English. I read the first volume of Chicago, The Book of Self and was intrigued enough by it to track down the second volume as well.

Operating out of a bar called Chicago in south Shinjuku is a privately organized team of agents who take on rescue missions that the police won’t or are afraid to touch. Originally Rei and Uozumi were a part of the Self-Defense Force’s Rescue Squad Four, a rescue team that was wiped out after the Great Tokyo Earthquake. The only survivors of the squad, Rei and Uozumi have been recruited by Chicago, joining the reserved but talented gunman Shin and Zion, a pilot who seems happier making gyoza than he does flying. The members of Chicago’s rescue squad might need to work a bit on their teamwork, but there is no denying that they are all very good at what they do. As the team takes on more rescue missions a troubling pattern emerges: they all appear to somehow be connected to the demise of Squad Four and Rei and Uozumi’s pasts. Rei and Uozumi are determined to uncover the truth, but digging any deeper may very well end up costing more than just their lives.

Much like the first volume of Chicago, The Book of Justice is filled with outrageous but entertaining and engaging action sequences as the team members carry out their rescue missions. It’s great fun even when it’s not particularly believable. What is more believable are the characters themselves and their complicated and frequently antagonistic relationships with one another. I enjoyed watching them interact (and get on each other’s nerves) a great deal. Sadly, since not much is revealed about Shin other than a few ominous comments and implications, he largely remains a mysterious, handsome stranger. However, The Book of Justice does reveal more of Rei and Uozumi’s history, including how they met and came to work together and why they’re so close. Even Mika, Uozumi’s boyfriend, is given a chance to briefly take center stage in The Book of Justice.

Because Chicago has so much going for it—an intriguing mystery, great action scenes, interesting character dynamics—it’s particularly disappointing and frustrating that Tamura ended the series just as things were pulling together so nicely. The second volume of Chicago is much more even and focused than the first; Tamura seemed to be hitting her groove with the story and characters. Unlike in the first volume, all of the character and plot elements serve a distinct purpose and the more awkward attempts at humor are missing. Tamura ties up most of the major plot points in The Book of Justice, but the series is still brought to an abrupt and rushed close. She assures readers that Chicago wasn’t cancelled—she just felt that it was time to move on, which I find almost worse. It’s a shame Tamura decided to end the series after only two volumes. Chicago had great potential and I would have liked to have seen more.

Chicago, Volume 1: The Book of Self

Creator: Yumi Tamura
U.S. publisher: Viz Media
ISBN: 9781591160410
Released: November 2002
Original release: 2001

Although Yumi Tamura is probably best known for her post-apocalyptic epic Basara, her later two-volume manga series Chicago was her first work to be officially released in English. Chicago, Volume 1: The Book of Self was released in 2002 by Viz Media after serializing the manga in the monthly shoujo magazine Animerica Extra between 2001 and 2002. The collected volume was originally published in Japan in 2001. Chicago is now out of print in English but still fairly easy to find at reasonable prices. Because May 2013’s Manga Moveable Feast focused on Tamura and her work, I decide to track down the short series. I’ve actually been meaning to read Basara for what seems like ages now, but I thought it would be interesting if my introduction to Tamura’s manga would be through her introduction to English-reading audiences.

Rei and Uozumi are the only remaining survivors of the Japanese Self-Defense Force’s Rescue Squad Four. The rest of their team members died in Bay District D while on a rescue mission after the Great Tokyo Earthquake. The official press release described the deaths as an accident, claiming that the squad was caught in a fire after the quake. Rei and Uozumi know differently and because of that their lives are still in danger. Down on their luck and barely scraping by, the two partners are approached by a mysterious man looking to recruit them for a rescue mission of a different kind. A young, aspiring photojournalist has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom. At first it appears to be a case of mistaken identity but it may in fact have ties to the annihilation of Squad Four in Bay District D. Looking for answers, Rei and Uozumi agree to take on the job despite their misgivings.

Rei is a pretty kick-ass heroine. She’s a competent fighter with top-notch knife skills that are more than a match for those who would try to do her harm. She doesn’t take crap from anyone except maybe for some good-natured ribbing from Uozumi. Rei also seems to have some vague supernatural powers, such as the ability to sense danger and an odd intuition that leads her to be in the right place at the right time, allowing her to prevent several tragedies in The Book of Self before they can happen. She and Uozumi also share a very strong bond with each other that borders on ESP. Rei is actually in love with Uozumi and he obviously cares for her as well. However, he already has a lover and as is revealed towards the end of The Book of Self, there are other reasons why Rei has no chance with him. That doesn’t make the pain and frustration of her heartbreak any less, though.

So far, Chicago is a rather odd series even if it does have some great action scenes and a quirky charm to it. Much of the story relies on convenient coincidences, but these incidents may be attributed to Rei’s intuition or some other sort of fate. Tamura does include some seemingly strange character details in The Book of Self. Some, like fellow rescue agent Shin’s apparent abhorrence of celery, add a weird bit of humor to the story. Others, like Rei’s work as a model, seem an unnecessary distraction. Still others appear to be innocuous at first only to play an important role later on—Uozumi’s extensive knowledge of classical music actually ends up saving his life. Chicago can be a little over-the-top, ridiculous, and unbelievable, but ultimately I found the first volume to be a fun read. I have no idea what’s in store for the second volume, The Book of Justice, but I look forward to finding out.