My Week in Manga: October 10-October 16, 2011

My News and Reviews

Last week I posted a couple of reviews. One was for the third book in Kaoru Kurimoto’s The Guin Saga, The Battle of Nospherus. It’s certainly not perfect, but I’m liking this series more the more I read. I also posted a review for Love Hina, Omnibus 1 by Ken Akamatsu as part of the Love Hina Manga Moveable Feast. The Feast is usually a monthly occurrence, but this October we’ll be having two! Starting next week, the Horror Manga Moveable Feast will be hosted by Lori Henderson at Manga Xanadu.

This past weekend was the New York Comic Con/New York Anime Festival. I didn’t go, but I did keep an ear out for announcements. I was particularly excited to hear about the some of the manga that Vertical will be releasing next year. First off, they rescued Osamu Tezuka’s Adolf, which happens to be the first manga I ever read. It’s been long out of print and I don’t own it, so I’ll definitely be picking up Vertical’s new edition. I’m also really excited that Moyoco Anno’s Sakuran was licensed, too. Finally, I was happy to find out that Viz will be picking up Yun Kouga’s series Loveless with volume nine. Tokyopop published the first eight volumes. And speaking of Tokyopop…it looks like the company is trying to get back into the manga publishing game. I got to watch the drama unfold on Twitter. It will be interesting to see how things develop.

Oh, and one last thing. Many of you know that I like to make lists. Well, someone has made a great one for me (well, not really for me exactly). Paul Gravett, who edited the soon to be released 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die, has a mini companion site. You can browse by all sorts of things including country, so it’s easy to figure out all the awesome comics from Japan that made the list.

Quick Takes

Maoh: Juvenile Remix, Volumes 1-2 by Megumi Osuga. I’m not sure what I was expecting from Maoh: Juvenile Remix, but I think I was hoping for better. It’s not that the series is bad per se, there were some parts I really liked, but there was a huge plot hole in the first volume that threw me out of the story and made it hard for me to enjoy the rest of it. I wouldn’t turn away future volumes, but at this point I don’t think I’ll be seeking them out, either. The series is based on Maoh, a novel by Kotaro Isaka and I believe that Grasshopper, another of his novels, is also an influence. I’m actually more interested in reading these than I am the rest of the manga; unfortunately, they haven’t been translated.

MBQ, Volumes 1-3 by Felipe Smith. For the most part, MBQ didn’t work for me. For much of the series I found myself wondering what the point of it all was. The story lacks focus, particularly early on, and many of the scenes seem tangential. MBQ is chapter after chapter of over-the-top, in your face, unflinching absurdity. This is definitely not a comic for kiddies, folks. That being said, the series was frequently entertaining and Smith’s artwork is extremely well done. It’s very dynamic and bombastic and fits the story, if you can find it, very well. Occasionally, MBQ does come across as a bit self-indulgent. Personally, I prefer Smith’s later series Peepo Choo, which is just as graphic but more coherent.

Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture, Volumes 1-2 by Masayuki Ishikawa. I really hope that Kodansha will continue publishing Moyasimon in English, because it’s a great series. Moyasimon is both educational and entertaining, whether it’s exploring the usefulness of microbes or relating the antics of the students and professors at the agricultural university. Ishikawa draws great facial expressions and the microbes, which one of the characters can see with his naked eye, are adorable. I also love seeing the clouds of germs and the characters’ reactions. Moyasimon has a tendency to get a little text-heavy on occasion, easily explained away by Professor Itsuki’s inclination to launch into lectures, but it’s an enjoyably quirky series.

Teahouse, Chapters 1-2 by Emirain. I have been reading Teahouse ever since it started as a weekly webcomic the March of last year. I don’t remember where I first learned about it, but I eagerly await each page. The printed volumes include scenes (generally explicit) not found in the online version as well as additional bonus material. There’s a lot of sex, but there’s a story, too. The Teahouse is a brothel with both male and female courtesans serving both male and female clientele. But as a yaoi comic, Teahouse focuses on the male pairings. The art is great and looks even better on the printed page than it does online. I like seeing pretty guys with some actual muscle definition.

Giant Killing directed by Yuu Kou. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a huge sports fan, but I really enjoyed Giant Killing. Takeshi Tatsumi has been brought in to coach the league’s worst soccer team to victory. All the footballers have strong personalities both on and off the field. It’s fascinating to watch them try to find balance between themselves as individual players and as a team. As far as I know there are currently no plans for a second season, but the conclusion is fairly open and there are enough loose ends that there’s room for at least one more. I would certainly watch it! As a bonus, I absolutely love the opening music “My Story” by The Cherry Coke$.