My Week in Manga: September 20-September 26, 2010

My News and Reviews

The biggest thing going on right now for me is my very first manga giveaway, the Crazy Karate Contest. I’ll be drawing the winner this Wednesday, so get your entries in. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t have more entrants, but I do realize that my manga blog is rather new and it’s a little awkward to be giving away the eleventh volume of a series. I plan on doing a giveaway every month, so be on the lookout.

This past week I posted a review of Osamu Dazai’s novel The Setting Sun. I also posted the first in my Discovering Manga series where I’ll be discussing where I learn about and discover manga. This time I look at Jason Thompson’s project 365 Days of Manga, which I have mentioned previously. Finally, I want to mention a review that I posted over on Experiments in ReadingGender Outlaws: The Next Generation. In addition to being an absolutely wonderful collection of short nonfiction, poetry, and comics focusing on transgender and queer issues, I wanted to mention it here because of Japanese-Canadian Kenji Tokawa’s fantastic essay “Why You Don’t Have To Choose A White Boy Name To Be A Man In This World.”

Quick Takes

Astral Project, Volumes 1-4 written by Garon Tsuchiya (as marginal) and illustrated by Shyuji Takeya. This is kind of an odd, psychological manga, but a very good one, too. There’s a lot going on in it and I’m not sure that I caught everything on my first read through, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I really liked the main protagonist, Masahiko. Although his love for his sister and his grief over her death is obvious, they are not the only things that define him as a person—he’s got plenty to work out in his own life. I’ll definitely be giving this series a re-read.

Cinderalla by Junko Mizuno. I have never seen anything like Mizuno’s art before, and I love it—brightly colored, psychedelic, and creepy-cute, it’s really quite stunning. The story is a strange but highly amusing retelling of Cinderella, complete with zombies, yakitori, and pop idols. I couldn’t tell you why Cinderalla has a tendency to do housework bare-breasted, but oh well. I believe that Cinderalla is Mizuno’s first full-length work made available in English and I’ll be looking into picking up her others as well.

Future Lovers, Volumes 1-2 by Saika Kunieda. I really enjoyed the realism present in this series and in Kento and Akira’s relationship. Some people might find it tedious since not much happens and the two have the same arguments over and over, but I found it to be endearing and authentic. Akira’s constant bickering with Kento’s grandfather is hilarious. I also loved that Kento blushes just as much as Akira. I liked Kento’s character design but Akira sometimes just looked really odd to me. The two are definitely great in bed together, though.

Loud Snow written by Tina Anderson and illustrated by Amelie Belcher. Loud Snow was my first foray into GloBL manga. I don’t remember who told me to buy it, but thank you. Anituk and Abalu are really cute together and the story is very sweet. It can be a little goofy at times, but also serious when needed. I think the artwork looks better in the digital versions I’ve seen—something to do with how the shading is printed, I think—but overall I liked the art and Anituk pulls some great faces and reactions. His brother makes a great side character, too.

Hetalia: Axis Powers, Season 1 I’m pretty sure I find this series much funnier than I actually should, but I really can’t help it. I will admit that it’s a little uneven—some episodes I hardly crack a smile at but other episodes make me cry because I’m laughing so hard. Hetalia definitely has the potential to be incredibly offensive, but I personally wasn’t bothered by it. I don’t mind the blatant use of cultural and national stereotypes in this case probably because nobody is safe. It’s a bizarre and silly series, and not everyone is going to be able to stand it, but it makes me grin.