Manga Giveaway: Barakamon Giveaway Winner

Barakamon, Volume 1And the winner of the Barakamon manga giveaway is… Joseph!

As the winner, Joseph will receive Satsuki Yoshino’s Barakamon, Volume 1 as released in English by Yen Press. As the fall and winter holiday season has arrived, I was beginning to feel a little nostalgic for my childhood home in the country. So, for this giveaway, I asked that entrant’s tell me a little about their favorite manga with countryside and rural settings. Check out the giveaway comments for everyone’s complete responses, and check out below for a list of manga!

Some of the countryside manga available in English:
Barakamon by Satsuki Yoshino
Brilliant Blue by Saemi Yorita
Can’t Win with You! written by Satosumi Takaguchi, illustrated by Yukine Honami
The Flowers of Evil by Shuzo Oshimi
A Girl on the Shore by Inio Asano
Kamikaze Girls by Yukio Kanesada
The Legend of Kamui by Sanpei Shirato
Mermaid Saga by Rumiko Takahashi
Moyasimon by Masayuki Ishikawa
Mushishi by Yuki Urushibara
Non Non Biyori by Atto
NonNonBa by Shigeru Mizuki
Popcorn Romance by Tomoko Taniguchi
Sand Chronicles by Hinako Ashihara
Summer Wars written by Mamoru Hosoda, illustrated by Iqura Sugimoto
Tropic of the Sea by Satoshi Kon
Vinland Saga by Makoto Yukimura
Wandering Island by Kenji Tsuruta

As usual, the above list isn’t comprehensive, but it hopefully presents a nice selection of manga from which to choose. Thank you to everyone who shared you’re favorites with me! I hope to see you all again for the next giveaway as well.

Manga Giveaway: Barakamon Giveaway

October has been a busy month at work for me, so I’m glad to see it wrapping up, but even better is the fact that it means it’s time for another manga giveaway here at Experiments in Manga! This month you’ll all have the chance to win a copy of Satsuki Yoshino’s Barakamon, Volume 1 as published by Yen Press. And, as always, the giveaway is open worldwide!

Barakamon, Volume 1

I grew up in a rural area and, for the most part, have fond memories of living in a small village in the countryside. Currently I live and work in a small city, which certainly has its benefits, but occasionally I find myself yearning for less people, more green, open spaces, and a somewhat slower pace of life. In part because of this, I find particular enjoyment in manga series like Barakamon which largely take place in the country; they remind me of living “back home.” There don’t seem to have been very many of these manga translated, so I especially appreciate them when I do happen to come across one.

So, you may be wondering, how can you win Barakamon, Volume 1?

1) In the comments below, tell me about your favorite manga that has at least one countryside or rural setting in it. (If you don’t have one, simply mention that.)
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).

It’s as easy as that. You all can earn up to two entries for this giveaway and have one week to submit your comments. Comments can also be sent to me directly at phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com if you have trouble with the comment form or if you prefer. I will then post your entry below in your name. The giveaway winner will be randomly selected and announced on November 4, 2015. Best of luck to everyone!

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: Barakamon Giveaway Winner

My Week in Manga: March 30-April 5, 2015

My News and Reviews

An interesting variety of things was posted last week at Experiments in Manga. First of all, I had the privilege and opportunity to announce one of Sparkler Monthly‘s most recent additions, Kôsen’s Lêttera, a three-volume comic that was originally published in Spain. The winner of the Yukarism giveaway was announced last week as well. The post also includes a list of manga that feature reincarnation. As for reviews, I took a look at Akira Arai’s debut novel A Caring Man which shared the inaugural Golden Elephant Award grand prize with Fumi Nakamura’s Enma the Immortal. Whereas Enma the Immortal is historical fiction with fantastical elements, A Caring Man is a contemporary crime thriller that by and large is very believable. Finally, over the weekend I posted March’s Bookshelf Overload, which features a slightly less absurd amount of manga than most months.

Elsewhere online, Organization Anti-Social Geniuses has been posting some great manga-related content, including recording of a panel with manga editor and letterer Abigail Blackman from the Castle Point Anime Convention and a quick interview with editor Brendan Wright about Dark Horse’s upcoming release of Makoto Yukimura’s Planetes. (I’m very excited for this license rescue! I already own Tokyopop’s edition of the series, but Dark Horse’s sounds like it will be great, so I’ll most likely be double-dipping.) And speaking of Dark Horse, the final volume of Hiroaki Samura’s Blade of the Immortal was released last week. Robot 6 has an interview with Philip Simon reflecting on the manga’s end. Chic Pixel has a guide on how to import manga cheaply from Amazon Japan. Throughout March, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund posted a series of articles, Women Who Changed Free Expression, the last of which focused on the influential 24 Nengumi, or the Year 24 Group, as the female progenitors of shoujo manga.

Anime Boston took place over the weekend. Both Yen Press and Kodansha Comics had some pretty exciting announcements to make. Yen Press has licensed thirteen new manga, some of which will be digital-only releases. The two print releases that particularly caught my attention were the omnibus edition of Yowamushi Pedal, particularly surprising since it’s a sports manga that’s nearly forty volumes lone and still ongoing in Japan, and the yonkoma Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun which, if it’s anywhere near as good as the anime adaptation, should be fantastic. As for Kodansha’s announcements, Attack on Titan, Volume 16 will have a special edition. New licenses include Ninja Slayer Kills, two video game-related manga—Persona Q and Devil Survivor—and Junji Ito’s Cat Diary, which is the one I’m personally most excited for. Also revealed was the status of Vinland Saga, which had temporarily been suspended. Basically, only two more volumes are guaranteed to be released unless sales for the series improve. Vinland Saga is magnificent; if you haven’t already given it a try, this would be the time to do it!

Quick Takes

Barakamon, Volume 2Barakamon, Volumes 2-3 by Satsuki Yoshino. While I largely enjoyed the first volume of Barakamon, I wasn’t particularly blown away by it. Still, I was interested in reading more of the series. I’m glad that I did, because it’s really starting to grow on me. Barakamon does have a little bit of a story to it—the once successful and respected calligrapher Seishuu has moved to a remote island to regain his composure and maybe find some inspiration—but mostly the series is about its characters and their interactions with one another. Even though he’s still a city-boy at heart, Seishuu has started to settle in on the island and isn’t nearly as out-of-place as he once was. The humor seems to now be a little less about the differences between country folk and people from more urban areas (although there still is plenty of that, especially when a couple of Seishuu’s friends and admirers from Tokyo show up) and more about the characters’ individuality and quirkiness. I am glad to see Seishuu relax somewhat and lose a bit of his arrogance from the first volume. In general he’s becoming a much more likeable character, which is probably part of the point of the series.

Cage of Eden, Volume 17Cage of Eden, Volume 17 by Yoshinobu Yamada. Finally! The monsters have returned! Well, technically it’s only one monster (not counting the absolutely terrible people), but it’s a pretty big deal. The dinosaurs and creatures are some of the only things I actually like about Cage of Eden; they’ve been largely missing from the last few volumes, so I was glad to see them back in such a dramatic way. Most of the seventeenth volume is devoted to an intense, and most likely deadly, battle against a man-made, genetic monstrosity. Probably best described as a chimera, the creature is formidable and extremely dangerous. The students make some extraordinarily bad decisions when it comes to confronting the beast, which really makes me wonder how they’ve managed to survive for so long. (Granted, the body count in Cage of Eden is pretty high.) The fight hasn’t concluded by the end of the volume, though I suspect it won’t last too much longer. One of the good things about Cage of Eden suddenly focusing on action is there is less opportunity for the more obnoxious fanservice to interrupt the story. Some of the girls even get to put up a decent fight. (At least at first.)

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer, Omnibus 2Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer, Omnibus 2 (equivalent to Volumes 3-4) by Satoshi Mizukami. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer and reading the first omnibus didn’t help much with that, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sadly, I wasn’t nearly as taken with the second omnibus. I still enjoyed it, and I still plan on reading more of the series, but Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer seems to have lost a little of its spark for me. Maybe I’ve just gotten used to its strangeness, but at the same time that’s also what I enjoy most about the series. Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer is just so marvelously weird. At times the manga can be surprisingly dark, too, which I also appreciate. In the second omnibus, a slew of new characters are introduced as the identities of the rest of the Beast Knights are uncovered, although some of them are discovered to already be dead. All of them are rather eccentric with pasts that have some significant pain or sadness to them. The mage who plans on destroying the planet makes several appearances as well, and to some extent his motivations are explained, too. Much like the rest of the series, he’s not quite what one might expect.

Virtuoso di AmoreVirtuoso di Amore by Uki Ogasawara. I was primarily drawn to Virtuoso di Amore for two reasons, the role that music plays in the boys’ love manga and the fact that it was created by Ogasawara. I enjoyed parts of her short and very smutty series Black Sun, currently the only other manga of hers available in English. (Techincally, Chronicle of the Divine Sword was at one point licensed, but I don’t think it was ever actually published.) Virtuoso di Amore follows Kenzo Shinozuka, a failed classical pianist (mostly due to his volatile temper), who has been hired by an aristocrat to live in his manor and play for him every night. His patron is Lorenzo Carlucci who, it turns out, used to attend the same music school as Kenzo. Lorenzo is determined to help Kenzo remake is name as a musician. I really liked the basic premise of Virtuoso di Amore as well as its dark ambiance and fervent drama, but Ogasawara’s storytelling is unfortunately disjointed and occasionally difficult to follow. For example, Lorenzo and Kenzo fall in love, or at least in lust, very suddenly, which makes me think their relationship at school must have been much more involved than is implied elsewhere in the manga.

My Week in Manga: November 17-November 23, 2014

My News and Reviews

Two reviews were posted last week at Experiments in Manga, and a little something else as well! The first review was for the second part of Boogiepop Returns: VS Imaginator, the third volume in Kouhei Kadono’s Boogiepop light novel series. Boogiepop is a rather peculiar series, but I’ve really been enjoying it. And speaking of series that I enjoy, I also reviewed the fifth omnibus of Vinland Saga by Makoto Yukimura. Vinland Saga is an epic work of historical fiction, and one of my favorite manga series currently being released in English. And, as promised, last week I also posted a poll so that readers of Experiments in Manga can help pick my next monthly manga review project. I’ve narrowed the choices down to five horror manga options, and now it’s up to you to vote. The poll will be open through the end of November.

A few things of note that I encountered online last week: It was brought to my attention that Akino Kondoh’s collection Nothing Whatsoever All Out in the Open is now available to order. Publishers Weekly has a great list of 12 Awesome Comics about Outer Space compiled by Matt White which includes Makoto Yukimura’s Planetes, Chūya Koyama’s Space Brothers, and Yukinobu Hoshino’s 2001 Nights, which are all excellent choices. Finally, Johanna Draper Carlson has a nice recap of the recent Digtial Manga Tezuka Kickstarter debacle/failure over at Manga Worth Reading.

Quick Takes

Angel Sanctuary, Volume 6Angel Sanctuary, Volumes 6-10 by Kaori Yuki. Halfway through the series, and I still find Angel Sanctuary a bit frustrating and confusing. It’s difficult to follow because there is so much going and and there are so many characters, with even more being introduced in these volumes Angel Sanctuary is incredibly ambitious, but I’m afraid that Yuki has bitten off too much to chew; the series would be stronger with a little more focus. Even though it seems like Yuki is making things up as she goes along, her author’s notes would seem to indicate that she actually does have a plan and even the major plot twists were developed well in advance. To the reader, though, it feels like they come out of nowhere. If anything, it should be very clear by this point in the series that you really can’t trust any of the characters. They all have their own ambitions and motivations, so it’s almost impossible for any of them to be considered allies for a long period of time. I can’t deny that Angel Sanctuary is extraordinarily dramatic, and a string of betrayals continues to up the stakes. And even though the story is all over the place, I do still really enjoy Yuki’s gothic artwork.

Barakamon, Volume 1Barakamon, Volume 1 by Satsuki Yoshino. Seishuu Handa is a young, award-winning calligrapher who, after handling a critique of his work quite poorly, has been encouraged by his father to at least temporarily retire to the remote Gotō Island. Thus begins Barakamon, a fairly low-key comedy that’s part slice of life and part gag manga. Much of the humor either revolves around Seishuu, a city boy, being so out-of-place in the countryside, or Naru, a young, energetic troublemaker who’s grown rather attached to “Sensei.” Though generally amusing, Barakamon is never quite as funny as I actually want it to be. I’ll admit though, since I grew up in a rural village myself, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit satisfied when Seishuu gets shown up by the island’s residents, especially because he thinks so little of them to begin with. I can appreciate Seishuu’s struggles as an artist, too, though I can’t say that I like him very much as a person, yet. But, I suspect that’s what Barakamon is in part about—Seishuu becoming a better person after some much-needed self-reflection. While no means exceptional in art or story, I did largely enjoy the first volume of Barakamon and plan on continuing the series for a least another few volumes.

Smut Peddler 2014Smut Peddler 2014 by Various. After being revived in 2012, Smut Peddler is back again in 2014 with a second collection of short, erotic comics. Some of the contributors are new to Smut Peddler while others are returning to the series. Smut Peddler 2014 includes twenty-five comics from thirty-two artists and writers. Although some of the individual comics are phenomenal, overall I think the first collection is the stronger of the two. Even so, Smut Peddler remains one of the best series for diverse, sex-positive, lady-friendly, queer-friendly, kink-friendly erotic comics. There’s straight sex, and queer sex. There’s modest sex and flamboyant sex. Sweet sex and spicy sex. Sex with humor and sex with solemnity. And there’s everything in between, too. With the inclusion of a few science fiction and fantasy tales, there’s also alien and inter-species sex, which is always fun. I was particularly pleased to see how many transgender and/or nonbinary narratives were included in the 2014 edition of Smut Peddler. The sheer variety of genres, styles, characters, and stories found in Smut Peddler is one of the highlights of the series. The fact that the creators are just as diverse as their comics makes it even better.