My Week in Manga: March 26-April 1, 2012

My News and Reviews

All right, so what sorts of fun things did we have here at Experiments in Manga last week? Well, the monthly manga giveaway has started. You have through Tuesday to enter for a chance two win a copy of the first volume of Mitsuru Adachi’s Cross Game and to tell me about your favorite sports manga. I also reviewed Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Demon City Shinjuku: The Complete Edition which  collects his debut novel Demon City Shinjuku and its sequel Demon Palace Babylon. If you’re a fan of Kikuchi or the Demon City setting, you probably won’t want to miss out on the omnibus.

I came across an interesting article at CNN’s Geek Out! blog by Christian Sager who looks at manga from the perspective of an American comics fan—What’s up with manga? A comics fan’s deep dive. Although he mentions some of the series that he read in the article, I would have liked to have seen a complete list of the titles he gave a try. While reading Manga Bookshelf I discovered that a Wild Adapter OVA had been announced. I’m a big fan of Wild Adapter so this makes me happy, even if we’ll probably never see it or the rest of the manga licensed. Also at Manga Bookshelf this past week was a great post about Claiming our BL biases.

Quick Takes

Absolute Boyfriend, Volumes 1-6 by Yuu Watase. I’ve mentioned before that I have a soft spot for android stories, so it probably isn’t too surprising that I’m fond of Watase’s Absolute Boyfriend. Sure the series tends to be rather silly and is fairly unrealistic, but that’s what makes it fun. Night is a love figure (yes, that is exactly what it sounds like) created by Kronos Heaven that Riiko accidentally purchased, except that she doesn’t actually have the money to cover the cost. She discovers that she likes having him around though and is determined to pay the company back. The series is mostly escapist fantasy, but its funny and endearing. Night is constantly taking off his clothes which amused me to no end.

Golgo 13, Volume 1: Supergun by Takao Saito. Viz’s thirteen volume release of Golgo 13 selects the “greatest hits” from throughout the series’ original (still ongoing) Japanese run. Supergun collects two stories, “The Gun at Am Shara” from May 1997 and “Hit and Run” from April 1979. The volume also includes a nice section for Golgo 13’s profile and history information. Duke Togo, one of the many pseudonyms for the man also known as Golgo 13, is highly skilled and feared assassin-for-hire. In case there was any doubt how much of a badass he is, Togo doesn’t even actually make an appearance in “Hit and Run” but the mere thought of him has a crime boss scared shitless. Even in “The Gun at Am Shara” he keeps to the shadows, which is certainly appropriate for his character.

Say Please by Kano Miyamoto. Say Please, like Miyamoto’s earlier work Lovers and Souls, has a bit of a melancholic air to it. I didn’t like it quite as well, though. Ryouichi works at a brothel which is how he met Sakura. He becomes captivated with the man and their relationship begins to evolve into something more complicated than client and escort. Sakura is somewhat of an enigma, generally quiet and reserved but more than capable of violence. I like that Miyamoto’s characters have histories and problems outside of the primary romance. In Sakura’s case, he’s a high school teacher that has to keep the fact that he’s gay hidden in order to keep his job. This secret impacts the rest of his life and relationships as well.

In Praise of Shadows: Japanese Avant-Garde Films of the 1990s & 2000s. I will readily admit that I’m not very knowledgeable about film, let alone avant-garde film. I’m pretty sure that a lot of In Praise of Shadows (a screening at the 50th Ann Arbor Film Festival of nine films ranging from three minutes to twenty minutes in length) went way over my head. Still, I was impressed by the amount of time, effort, and skill needed and involved in the creation of these short films. This particular selection featured films that made use of light, shadow, and exposure. While I may not have been able to appreciate them fully due to my lack of expertise, I am still very glad that I had the opportunity to see the films.

SPACE / TIME: Japanese Avant-Garde Films of the 1970s & 1980s. SPACE / TIME was another screening at the 50th Ann Arbor Film Festival, this time featuring ten short films ranging from two minutes to twelve minutes in length exploring the useage of space through movement and the passage of time. Quite a few of the selected films are very rarely seen. There was a Japanese film expert at the theater who was absolutely thrilled by the program; even he had only ever seen about half of the films before. While I enjoyed In Praise of Shadows, I think I liked SPACE / TIME even more. I was amazed by some of the filming techniques used and have no idea how some of the resulting effects were even created.