My Week in Manga: February 27-March 4, 2012

My News and Reviews

Last week was my usual set of posts for the end/beginning of the month, which means it was a slightly slower week. February’s Bookshelf Overload was posted as was Experiments in Manga’s monthly manga giveaway. You still have a couple of days to enter for a chance to win King of Thorn for Keeps. Also posted last week were some random musings about the Manhwa Creator Bank, a campaign being coordinated by Korea’s Seoul Animation Center and Netcomics.

The next Manga Moveable Feast is coming up in a couple of weeks and will be held from March 18 to March 24. Manga Worth Reading will be hosting and this time we’ll all be taking a look at the work of Jiro Taniguchi—Jiro Taniguchi Topic of Next Manga Moveable Feast. I’ve got a couple of thing planned for the Feast, including an in-depth review of Taniguchi’s most recent release in English, A Zoo in Winter.

Now it’s time for some interesting reading that I’ve found online recently! Anime News Network has an interview with Tomomi Mochizuki, the director of the House of Five Leaves anime adaptation which just finally had a Region 1 DVD release. (I’m absolutely thrilled about this release and preordered the set the day it was announced.) Over at Robot 6 is another great interview: Felipe Smith talks manga — and life. Finally, and on a much less happier note, I’d like to direct your attention to a post over on Manga Bookshelf: Apple censors still targeting LGBTQ content? What Apple has been and is doing continues to piss me off, and Amazon is guilty of similar actions, too.

Quick Takes

Demon Diary, Volumes 1-7 written by Lee Chi-hyong (volume 1) and Lee Yun-hee (volumes 2-7) and illustrated by Kara. Raenef has been declared to be a demon lord, but with his innocent and kindhearted personality he doesn’t really seem to be cut out for the job. It’s up to the demon Eclipse to show him how things are done. About halfway through the series, the story changes significantly in tone. While there is still humor and comedy to be found, Demon Diary becomes much more serious and dramatic. Almost everything that does end up happening was at least hinted about, so at least the developments don’t come out of nowhere. I think I preferred the more overt silliness, but I did find later volumes to be interesting, too.

Library Wars: Love & War, Volume 7 by Kiiro Yumi. I like Library Wars best when library policy becomes a more integral part of the story. The last few volumes seemed to stray from that a bit, focusing on some of the characters’ personal lives (which makes them come across as high schoolers rather than grown adults), but the seventh volume brings library issues to the forefront again. A couple of new characters have been introduced, including a new antagonist, so things should continue to become more interesting. I’m still frustrated by Iku’s incompetence, but that seems to have been downplayed somewhat in this volume, which I appreciated. While I haven’t really been blown away by Library Wars, for the most part I have been enjoying the series and will continue to follow it.

No Longer Human, Volume 3 by Usumaru Furuya. I have been both dreading and really looking forward to the final volume in Furuya’s adaptation of Osamu Dazai’s novel No Longer Human. Dreading because it is such an intense and dark story, and looking forward because Furuya has done such a phenomenal job with the series. Having read the original novel I knew where things were heading, but it doesn’t make it any easier as a reader. Yozo finally experiences and has a chance at true happiness only to have it torn away from him as he slips back into darkness. The back cover calls it a “devastating finale” which is very apt. The changes that Furuya has made from Dazai’s original have worked really well.

Purgatory Kabuki, Volume 1 by Yasushi Suzuki. I wanted to like Purgatory Kabuki. I really, really did. I mean, the cover art is absolutely gorgeous and flipping through the volume reveals some stunning illustrations as well. But, that’s really all the manga has going for it. Unfortunately, Purgatory Kabuki lacks coherence, even in its artwork. Had I not previously read a summary, I would have had no idea what was going on in the story. Actually, even after reading a summary, I still didn’t really know what was happening. Something having to do with demons and swords and hell…I think. It is pretty, though. Originally, Purgatory Kabuki was intended to be three volumes long, but as far as I can tell only the first volume ever reached publication.

Cromartie High School directed by Hiroaki Sakurai. While for the most part I can say that I prefer the original manga series (although, that might just be because I read it first), the anime adaptation of Cromartie High School has some things going for it, too. It doesn’t stray much from the original material, but it does have the advantage of sound—Mechazawa’s smooth voice, the music that accompanies most of Freddie’s appearances, etc. Hayashida’s hair has a life of its own. Even though I already knew what all the jokes were going to be, they still made me laugh. There are twenty-six episodes, but each one is only about twelve minutes long. It’s a ridiculous series with an absurd sense of humor.