My Week in Manga: December 19-December 25, 2011

My News and Reviews

This past week I posted two in-depth reviews, neither of which were for manga. Courtesy of a review copy sent to me by Digital Manga, I reviewed Hideyuki Kikuchi’s novel Yashakiden: The Demon Princess, Volume 2. I think it improves upon the first volume and will most likely continue reading the series. The second review I posted was for Math Girls by Hiroshi Yuki. If you love math, you should really check out the novel. Math Girls also happens to be the first book to be released by the new publisher Bento Books. I’m really looking forward to seeing what else they’ll bring to English-reading audiences.

On to fun things online! SuBLime manga’s website is now up and running. They also announced a new license for their digital line (Yebisu Celebrities written by Kaoru Iwamoto and illustrated by Shinri Fuwa) and their newsletter. Lissa Pattillo of Kuriousity has thrown together two lists of manga that were published in 2011. One is organized by month and one is organized alphabetically by title. I love lists, and these are very useful, so I had to share.

The Sailor Moon Manga Moveable Feast is this week, hosted by Sean Gaffney at A Case Suitable for Treatment. For my contribution, I’ll be posting a review of the first volume of Naoko Takeuchi’s Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon later on in the week. I’ll also be giving away the first volume of the series for this month’s manga giveaway (which will start Wednesday). In preparation for next month’s Feast, which will be hosted right here at Experiments in Manga and will feature Usamaru Furuya, I’ve created a new page—Manga Moveable Feast Archives. The page was in part inspired by the MMF Archive page at The Manga Critic.

Quick Takes

Aqua Bless by Yamatogawa. Although I have read more since, Aqua Bless was my introduction to hentai manga. Fortunately for me, I managed to pick a good one. It probably goes without saying, the artwork is very explicit and the title is certainly for adults only. I’ll admit though, it’s a nice change of pace from the “cones of light” that predominate most of the other mature manga that I’ve read. I like Aqua Bless because the characters all have actual personalities and there’s a bit of story to go along with all the sex. Some of the stories are intentionally silly, ridiculous, or over the top, but most have an lighthearted, quirky charm to them. Aqua Bless is a fun volume.

F*X*T Magazine, Issues 1-2 edited by Fawn Lau. F*X*T was the first Kickstarter project that I ever supported and I am very pleased with how the magazine has turned out. Each issue is printed in beautiful full-color and contains chapters from continuing stories, a one-shot comic, an in-depth interview with an artist/creator, and a gallery of illustrations inspired by a particular theme. The individual issues are wonderful, oversized volumes on good paper which show off the artwork very nicely. Contributors to F*X*T come from all over the world. I enjoyed the first issue, but I liked the second issue even more. The magazine was planned to be quarterly, but I’ve only seen the first two issues so far. I really hope to see more volumes of F*X*T published in the future.

Seiho Boys’ High School!, Volumes 1-2 by Kaneyoshi Izumi. Unlike most other all boys schools that I’ve seen portrayed in shoujo manga, the students that attend Seiho Boys’ High School tend not to be as idealized (although they all do still happen to be rather attractive). They’re teenage guys acting like teenage guys, and yes they can be quite crass at times. I actually found it to be rather refreshing. In the first volume, the main character’s three closest friends are featured, each having a chapter or two devoted to them. The second volume is almost entirely about Maki’s backstory. The first volume is generally goofy while the second is more serious, so I’m not really sure which direction Izumi plans on taking the series.

Yawara!: A Fashionable Judo Girl, Episodes 22-40 directed by Hiroko Tokita. I’ve really been enjoying the Yawara! anime, so I’m rather sad that only the first forty episodes of the one-hundred-twenty-four episode series are available in English. But even though the boxset from AnimEigo ends abruptly at the start of a new story arc, I still think it’s worth checking out. I really enjoy the mix of martial arts, personal growth, and romantic comedy in the series. I find most of the characters to be extremely likable, even when they happen to be jerks (sometimes that’s what makes them so entertaining). The only exception is Kuniko, who annoys me to no end. She is a newer character, though; with time I suspect she might grow on me. I really do like the series.