Manga Giveaway: A Cache of Kodansha Comics Winner

Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, Volume 1Kigurumi Guardians, Volume 1
Land of the Lustrous, Volume 1Love and Lies, Volume 1

And the winner of the manga giveaway for a cache of Kodansha Comics is… Dawn!

As the winner, Dawn (whose terrific Anime Nostalgia Podcast also happens to be hosting a giveaway right now) will be receiving the first volumes of Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju by Haruko Kumota, Kigurumi Guardians by Lily Hoshino, Land of the Lustrous by Haruko Ichikawa, and Love & Lies by Musawo, all of which debuted in English from Kodansha Comics this past year. In addition to its print releases, Kodansha Comics has also had a particularly good showing in 2017 digitally. And so for this giveaway, I asked participants to tell me a little about their own reading habits and preferences when it comes to print versus digital manga. The responses were really great, so be sure to check out the giveaway comments!

Kodansha Comics’ 2017 Print Manga Debuts
Aho-Girl by Hiroyuki
Appleseed Alpha by Iou Kuroda
Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card by CLAMP
Clockwork Planet by Kuro
Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju by Haruko Kumota
Fairy Tail: Rhodonite by Kyouta Shibano
Fairy Tail: S by Hiro Mashima
Frau Faust by Kore Yamazaki
Ichi-F: A Worker’s Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant by Kazuto Tatsuta
Kigurumi Guardians by Lily Hoshino
Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight by Rin Mikimoto
Land of the Lustrous by Haruko Ichikawa
Love and Lies by Musawo
Neo Parasyte M by Various
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime written by Fuse and illustrated by Taiki Kawakami
To Your Eternity by Yoshitoki Oima
Toppu GP by Kosuke Fujishima
Waiting for Spring by Anashin
Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty by Megumi Morino

Kodansha Comics’ 2017 Digital Debuts
Ace of the Diamond by Yuji Terajima
All-Out by Shiori Amase]
All-Rounder Meguru by Hiroki Endo
Altair: A Record of Battles by Kotono Kato
Aoba-kun’s Confessions by Ema Toyama
Ayanashi by Yukihiro Kajimoto
Beauty Bunny by Mari Yoshino
Black Panther and Sweet by Pedoro Toriumi
Blame! Academy and So On by Tsutomu Nihei
Chihayafuru by Yuki Suetsugu
Cosplay Animal by Watari Sakou
Days by Tsuyoshi Yasuda
Deathtopia by Yoshinobu Yamada
Domestic Girlfriend by Kei Sasuga
Drifting Dragons by Taku Kuwabara
Drowning Love by George Asakura
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life written by Hinowa Kouzuki, illustrated by Waka Miyama
The Full-Time Wife Escapist by Tsunami Umino
Giant Killing written by Masaya Tsunamoto, illustrated by Tsujitomo
Grand Blue Dreaming written by Kenji Inoue, illustrated by Kimitake Yoshioka
GTO: Paradise Lost by Toru Fujisawa
Hotaru’s Way by Satoru Hiura
House of the Sun by Taamo
Hozuki’s Coolheadedness by Natsumi Eguchi
I Want to Hold Aono-kun So Badly I Could Die by Umi Shiina
I’m in Love and It’s the End of the World by Taamo
Kasane by Daruma Matsuura
Kokkoku: Moment by Moment by Seita Horio
Koundori: Dr. Stork by You Suzunoki
Love’s Reach by Rin Mikimoto
Lovesick Ellie by Fujimomo
Magical Sempai by Azu
Museum by Ryousuke Tomoe
My Brother the Shut In by Kinoko Higurashi
Our Precious Conversations by Robico
Peach Heaven by Mari Yoshino
PTSD Radio by Masaaki Nakayama
Rave Master by Hiro Mashima
Real Girl by Mao Nanami
Shojo Fight! by Yoko Nihonbashi
A Springtime with Ninjas by Narumi Hasegaki
Tokyo Tarareba Girls by Akiko Higashimura
Tsuredure Children by Toshiya Wakabayashi
Until Your Bones Rot by Yae Utsumi
Wave, Listen to Me! by Hiroaki Samura

Assuming that I didn’t miss any (I’m sure I have and some of the digital titles probably haven’t even been revealed yet), Kodansha Comics had twenty print debuts last year (most if not all of which are also available digitally) and forty-five digital debuts (a few of which will eventually be released in print, too). By the end of the year, Kodansha Comics will have debuted more than sixty-five new titles in addition to its other continuing series! It’s great to see how much is being published in English these days in print and digitally, and not just by Kodansha Comics. Thank you to everyone who shared your reading preferences with me! Both digital and print manga have their pros and cons, so I found all of your responses very interesting. I hope to see you again at the end of December for one last giveaway here at Experiments in Manga!

Manga Giveaway: A Cache of Kodansha Comics

November is nearly over which means it’s time for the usual monthly giveaway at Experiments in Manga! As has become tradition, November’s giveaway features a whole feast of manga rather than a single title. This month, everyone participating has the opportunity to win not one but four volumes of manga released (in print!) by Kodansha Comics in the last year: Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, Volume 1 by Haruko Kumota, Kigurumi Guardians, Volume 1 by Lily Hoshino, Land of the Lustrous, Volume 1 by Haruko Ichikawa, and Love & Lies, Volume 1 by Musawo. As usual, the giveaway is open worldwide!

Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, Volume 1Kigurumi Guardians, Volume 1Land of the Lustrous, Volume 1Love and Lies, Volume 1

Although many manga publishers have started to release more and more titles digitally, Kodansha Comics in particular has been making tremendous strides in the digital realm over the last year or so. Personally, I much prefer a physical volume that I can hold in my hands, but I am still very happy that so much content is being officially translated and released. Even if it’s not in my preferred format, at least it’s available. But while I lament the digital titles that for one reason or another will likely never be published physically, there are still plenty of interesting and intriguing manga being released in print to keep me occupied.

So, you may be wondering, how can you win a cache of Kodansha Comics?

1) In the comments below, tell me a little about your manga reading preferences and habits when it comes to print versus digital debate.
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 it is! Participants in the giveaway can earn up to two entries and have one week to submit comments. If needed or preferred, comments can also be sent to me via email at phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com which I will then post here in your name. The giveaway winner will be randomly selected and announced on December 6, 2017. Best of luck!

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 Winner: A Cache of Kodansha Comics Winner

My Week in Manga: September 25-October 1, 2017

My News and Reviews

September has ended and October has begun, but there’s still a little time left to enter the most recent manga giveaway at Experiments in Manga! The results will be announce on Wednesday, so be sure to get your comments in for a chance to win the first volume (actually, I think it may even be the first half) of Takashi Yano and Kenji Oiwa’s Assassin’s Creed: Awakening. For this giveaway, I’m interested in learning more about everyone’s favorite pirate characters in manga. Otherwise, it was once again a fairly quiet week here at the blog. It’s been a while since I’ve last mentioned any of the Kickstarter’s that have caught my eye, but Matthew Meyer’s campaign to continue his series of illustrated yokai guides launched last week. The Book of the Hakutaku: A Bestiary of Japanese Monsters will be the third volume following The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons: A Field Guide to Japanese Yokai (which I’ve previously reviewed) and The Hour of Meeting Evil Spirits: An Encyclopedia of Mononoke and Magic. I really love these books, and the artwork is fantastic.

Quick Takes

Love and Lies, Volume 1Love & Lies, Volume 1 by Musawo. In general, I don’t tend to gravitate towards high school romances, but I am a sucker for utopian and dystopian fiction, so when those two genres mix I can’t help but want to give the resulting story a try. Love & Lies is set in Japan in the near future. In response to the crisis of an extreme decline in population, the government has implemented a program which assigns marriage partners based on their genetic makeup and social circumstances so that any children born will be healthy, skilled, contributing members of society. Once both partners have turned 16, they receive a notice from the government revealing their identities to each other for the first time. Who they may or may not truly love isn’t really taken into consideration, but it also seems that program may be susceptible to corruption. I find the premise of Love & Lies to be very interesting; it has great potential to explore the nature of love and personal relationships in a dramatic and engaging way. When the entire purpose of marriage has become a government-funded reproduction program, the impact on society and its people will be tremendous. I also especially appreciate that Love & Lies includes at least one character who isn’t heterosexual seeing as a marriage program of this type would have particularly drastic social implications for a person who is queer in some way.

TaprootTaproot: A Comic about a Gardener and a Ghost by Keezy Young. I first encountered Young’s work through the ongoing webcomic Yellow Hearts which joined Sparkler Monthly‘s lineup of online comics relatively recently. Part of what I love about Yellow Hearts is Young’s gorgeous illustrations and use of color as well as the natural inclusion of queer characters in the story. Taproot is Young’s debut graphic novel and it, too, has what I’ve come to love and expect from the creator’s other comics. The graphic novel has a great amount of depth to it, more than the rather simple, straightforward subtitle would seem to imply. Hamal is young man who can see ghosts, an ability which has made it difficult for him to find acceptance from others. At least from those who are living. Many of the ghosts, on the other hand, are drawn to and quite like Hamal; Blue has even fallen in love with him, although being incorporeal presents a few challenges. But there’s an even greater problem that the two of them must face–the very existence of the local ghosts is being threatened by a frighting supernatural disturbance. There is a sense of loneliness and melancholy to be found in Taproot, but the comic is also incredibly heartwarming and endearing. Taproot is a sweet and touching queer romance with beautiful artwork, making it something that’s extremely easy to recommend.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Volume 1That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime written by Fuse and illustrated by Taiki Kawakami. There seems to be a preponderance of manga series right now with the underlying conceit of a person dying and then being reincarnated in some sort of fantasy world. I have read a few of these series, so I haven’t been completely avoiding them, but I’ve not really been seeking them out, either, having experienced genre-fatigue by proxy. However, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime still managed to pique my interest simply because it sounded like such a ridiculous spin on what has become such a well-worn story. And I’ll admit, the first volume of the That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime manga is surprisingly entertaining. The protagonist of the series also happens to be a 37-year-old man, which isn’t the most common in translated manga. Of course, as can be safely assumed from the title, he soon dies only to start life again as a slime, one of the lowliest monsters there is. Mikami accepts this turn of fate pretty quickly and focuses his attention on gaining the ability to verbally communicate with the adventurers and other creatures he encounters. What he doesn’t realize is that he’s essentially been leveling up the entire time he’s been trying to find a way to talk and has unintentionally become one of the most powerful monsters in the area, inadvertently gaining a large following in the process.

Notes of a CrocodileNotes of a Crocodile by Miaojin Qiu. So far, only two of Qiu’s long-form works have been translated into English. Last Words from Montmarte, originally published posthumously after the author’s suicide at the age of twenty-six, was released in translation in 2014 and the English-language edition of Notes of a Crocodile, described as a cult classic of queer Taiwanese literature, was more recently released in 2017. Notes of a Crocodile is also one of Qiu’s most highly acclaimed and well-known works. The novel is about a small group of lovesick and psychologically troubled queer college students coming of age in Taipei in the late 1980s. The narrative unfolds as a series of notebooks which contain a combination of diary-like entries, letters between friends and lovers, and fragments of a surreal story about crocodiles posing as humans, in part a metaphor for those who have to live hidden lives. The narrator of Notes of a Crocodile is nicknamed Lazi, a young lesbian woman with self-destructive tendencies who is struggling to come to terms with her sexuality. The women she falls obsessively in love with and their doomed romances feature prominently as do the tumultuous and fraught relationships between her and her small group of extremely close friends. Notes of a Crocodile is a beautiful work but it is also filled with pain, desperation, and longing–the novel resonated very strongly with me and I hope to read more of Qiu’s work.