My Week in Manga: April 10-April 16, 2017

My News and Reviews

Last week at Experiments in Manga was relatively quiet, but I did post the Bookshelf Overload for March. As mentioned in that post (and I think sometime prior to that as well), I’m currently in the process of changing jobs, so I’ve been a bit preoccupied to say the least. (If you follow me on Twitter, this largely explains my sporadic appearances there.) This week is my last week in my current position, so I’m understandably pretty busy with meetings and tying up loose ends and such. I still plan on finishing up and posting my review of the first volume of Nagabe’s The Girl from the Other Side sometime this week, but it will probably be towards the end.

Over the last week, Seven sees announced a couple more new licenses: Yoshikazu Takeuchi’s Perfect Blue novels (which were the basis for Satoshi Kon’s anime film of the same name) as well as Jin and Sayuki’s manga series Nirvana. Yen Press also had a slew of announcements: Natsume Ono’s ACCA 13 (probably the one I’m most excited about), Kudan Naduka and Nakoto Sanada’s Angel of Slaughter, Matoba’s As Miss Beelzebub Likes, Rihito Takarai’s Graineliers, Afro’s Laid-Back Camp?, Mufirushi Shimazaki’s The Monster Tamer Girls, Koromo’s A Polar Bear in Love, Matcha Hazuki’s One Week Friends, Fuse’s Regarding Reincarnating as Slime light novel (Kodansha Comics has licensed the manga), both the light novel and manga of Carlo Zen’s The Saga of Evil Tanya, Okina Baba’s light novel So I’m a Spider, So What?, Keiichi Shigusawa and Tadadi Tamori’s Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online, Abec’s Sword Art Online Artworks artbook, Reki Kawahara and Shii Kiya’s Sword Art Online: Calibur, Mai Tanaka’s Terrified Teacher at Ghoul School, Kakashi Oniyazu’s Though You May Burn to Ash, and Ryousuke Asakura’s Val X Love.

As for crowdfunding efforts, Digital Manga will be launching its most recent Juné Kickstarter sometime later today in an effort to publish print editions of some of Psyche Delico’s manga which were previously only released digitally. (This is in addition to recently announced print licenses of Psyche Delico’s Even a Dog Won’t Eat It and Choco Strawberry Vanilla.) Another Kickstarter project to keep an eye on is Retrofit Comic’s Spring 2017 collection which includes Yuichi Yokoyama’s Iceland. (In general Retrofit Comics releases some great books, but this will be the publisher’s first manga to be translated.) Finally, the wonderful people behind Queer Japan are currently raising funds for the film’s post-production as well as some of the non-profit organizations featured in the documentary.

Quick Takes

Dawn of the Arcana, Volume 7Dawn of the Arcana, Volumes 7-13 by Rei Toma. I enjoyed the first part of Dawn of the Arcana a great deal and so was looking forward to reading the rest of the series. As the manga progresses it becomes less reliant on the standard fantasy tropes that form its base, although it never escapes them entirely. However, even considering this, Dawn of the Arcana is still a satisfying and enjoyable series. The story’s most dramatic plot twist I guessed at long before it was actually revealed, but there were still developments and directions that the story took that managed to surprise me. At times it felt like Dawn of the Arcana was only scratching the surface, as if the manga was only providing a summary version of a much more complicated narrative. The characters and story have depth to them, but not everything is thoroughly and completely explored, much of the more nuanced interpretations being left to the readers to form. I really liked Dawn of the Arcana. It can be heartbreaking–the characters’ struggling with circumstances that have no easy resolutions–but also thrilling as they find ways to take control of their own fates.

Murciélago, Volume 1Murciélago, Volume 1 by Yoshimurakana. I was forewarned about the violence, gore, and otherwise explicit nature of Murciélago, so I was well aware of what I was getting myself into by picking up the manga. Murciélago is ridiculous, absurd, extreme, over-the-top, and a great deal of fun if someone doesn’t have a problem with the series’ aforementioned blood and brutality. Interestingly, the risqué lesbian sex scenes which both open and close the first volume, while being deliberately lewd, scandalous, and outrageous are also entirely consensual and in a way are bizarrely one of the more wholesome aspects of the manga. The lead of Murciélago is Kuroko Koumori, a dangerous, murderous, and lecherous woman who has been sentenced to death for her crimes. Kuroko is a monster and is portrayed as such. (She’s an awful person, but I really like her as a character.) The only reason that she’s still alive is that the police have indefinitely postponed her execution in order to take advantage of her impressive skills as an assassin. So, yeah, Murciélago definitely isn’t a series for everyone, but I certainly plan on reading more of it.

Triton of the Sea, Omnibus 2Triton of the Sea, Omnibus 2 (equivalent to Volumes 3-4) by Osamu Tezuka. It has been a very long time since I read the first half of Triton of the Sea. So long ago in fact that I had forgot that I hadn’t actually finished the series yet. Fortunately, the manga was pretty easy to pick up again. I seem to like Triton of the Sea best when the story centers its focus on family. In the first omnibus, it was Triton’s relationships with his human family that really captured my attention and in the second it was his experiences as a new father that most delighted me. (It probably didn’t hurt that the baby merfolk were super cute.) Triton of the Sea is also a story of revenge. Triton is determined destroy the Poseidon clan for the sake of his people who have been nearly driven to extinction, his desire for retribution blinding him from seeing other courses of action that might allow the two clans to establish a lasting peace. This of course only serves to continue the cycle of violence that puts him and his loved ones in danger. Triton of the Sea isn’t Tezuka’s strongest or most notable work, but I did appreciate the themes that Tezuka was exploring with the series.

Wandering Island, Volume 1Wandering Island, Volume 1 by Kenji Tsuruta. The premise of Wandering Island is fairly simple: Mikura Amelia is a pilot for an air delivery service based in the Izu Islands that she and her grandfather established together. When he unexpectedly passes away, she understandably takes it pretty hard. While in mourning she discovers package among her grandfather’s belongings with an address on it that shouldn’t exist, leading Mikura to become obsessed with a search for a mysterious, disappearing island. Although there are some wonderful scenes of Mikura in flight, there’s not really much action in Wandering Island. Instead, the manga is rather leisurely paced with a contemplative and melancholic feel to it. Wandering Island is also beautifully illustrated, Tsuruta’s artwork being one of the series’ highlights. I love how Tsuruta is able to capture a sense of place and the people who live there. I’m not sure when or if the second volume of Wandering Island will be published in English (the Japanese edition itself isn’t even scheduled to be released until next month), but I would definitely like to see it translated.

Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains PureHorses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure: A Tale That Begins with Fukushima by Hideo Furukawa. Fukushima has been on my mind lately which reminded me of the fact that I had yet to read Furukawa’s Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure, one of the first major literary responses to the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters associated with March 11, 2011. The work is rather curious, but it’s also worthwhile and powerful. In part it’s a sequel of sorts to Furukawa’s novel Seikazoku (The Holy Family), which hasn’t actually been released in English. However, familiarity with that earlier work isn’t at all necessary. Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure also delves into the history of Fukushima as a whole, both before and after 2011. But perhaps most importantly, it’s an incredibly personal memoir. Though he was away at the time, Furukawa was originally from Fukushima. Soon after the disasters struck, he traveled back to the area in order to witness the aftermath of the events himself. A fair amount of the volume is devoted to Furukawa’s profound experiences while on that trip, combining fiction, history, and biography in a compelling way.

Manga Giveaway: Triton of the Sea Giveaway Winner

Triton of the Sea, Volume 1And the winner of the Triton of the Sea manga giveaway is…Haley S.!

As the winner, Haley will be receiving a copy of the first omnibus in Osamu Tezuka’s series Triton of the Sea. About a year ago, I came to the realization that I had read quite a few manga that featured merfolk of one sort or another. And so for this giveaway, I was interested in learning about all of the mermaids and mermen that other people had come across while reading manga. I’ve complied a list below of manga that feature merfolk, but be sure to check out the giveaway comments for more details on some of them.

Some of the manga in English featuring merfolk:
Castle of Dreams by Masami Tsuda
Children of the Sea by Daisuke Igarashi
A Centaur’s Life by Kei Murayama
Berserk by Kentaro Miura
The Earl and the Fairy by Ayuko
Legendz written by Rin Hirai, illustrated Makoto Haruno
Mermaid Saga by Rumiko Takahashi
Monster Musume: Everyday Life with Monster Girls by Okayado
Moon Child by Reiko Shimizu
One Piece by Eiichiro Oda
Pichi Pichi Pitch written by Michiko Yokote, illustrated by Pink Hanamori
Princess Mermaid by Junko Mizuno
Selfish Mr. Mermaid by Nabako Kamo
Triton of the Sea by Osamu Tezuka
Tropic of the Sea by Satoshi Kon

I was a little lenient with the definition of merfolk above (mostly because I wanted an excuse to include Daisuke Igarashi’s Children of the Sea) and I’m certain that it’s not a comprehensive list, either. But, it should be a good place to start if you’re looking for some mermen or mermaids in manga. Thank you to everyone who participated in this month’s giveaway; I hope to see you all again for the next one, too!

Manga Giveaway: Triton of the Sea Giveaway

The end of the month is almost here which means it’s time for another manga giveaway at Experiments in Manga! For this giveaway, participants will have the chance to win a copy of the first omnibus in Osamu Tezuka’s Triton of the Sea as published by Digital Manga. (The omnibus contains the first half of the series!) And, as always, the giveaway is open worldwide.

Triton of the Sea, Volume 1

I think it was when I finished Satoshi Kon’s Tropic of the Sea that I realized just how many manga I had read that included merfolk of one sort or another. Triton of the Sea is just one of many. Every creator seems to have a slightly different take on mermaids and mermen, which I find to be particularly fascinating. Some draw upon Eastern traditions, some are influenced by Western legends, and some freely incorporate elements from a variety of different sources, including their own personal imaginings.

So, you may be wondering, how can you win a copy of Triton of the Sea, Omnibus 1?

1) In the comments below, tell me a little about the merfolk that you’ve encountered while reading manga. (Never come across mermaids or mermen in manga before? 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).

And there it is! Each person has one week to submit comments and can earn up to two entries for this giveaway. If necessary, entries can also be sent via e-mail to phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com which I will then post in your name. The giveaway winner will be randomly selected and announced on October 1, 2014. Good 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: Triton of the Sea Giveaway Winner

My Week in Manga: August 5-August 11, 2013

My News and Reviews

The Boys’ Love Manga Moveable Feast came to an end last week. Khursten at Otaku Champloo did a fabulous job as the host and posted some great content. Sadly, it may be the last Manga Moveable Feast to be held, at least in the foreseeable future. I did have one last offering for August’s Feast before it ended: I announced the 801 Manga Giveaway Winner. The post also includes a wishlist of boys’ love manga. (And speaking of manga giveaway winners, the winner of the Umineko giveaway from a few months ago created a video of the unboxing of her prize.)

Last week I also posted two in-depth reviews. The first was for Suehiro Maruo’s The Strange Tale of Panorama Island. I have literally been waiting for this manga for years and am thrilled that it is finally available in English. Last Gasp has done a beautiful job with the release. The manga is an adaptation of Edogawa Rampo’s novella Strange Tale of Panorama Island which I reviewed earlier this year. The second review that I posted last week was for Isuna Hasekura’s light novel Spice & Wolf, Volume 8: Town of Strife I. Although I had previously enjoyed the series, with this volume Spice & Wolf has finally lost its charm for me.

I also updated the Resources page, adding a couple of sites. Last week I mentioned Deb Aoki’s new site Manga Comics Manga which is definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already. I also recently discovered Seth T. Hahne’s review site Good Ok Bad. I really like the site which includes reviews of manga in addition to other comics and graphic novels.

On to other interesting things found online! has the very interesting article Urasawa Naoki Talks with Top European Artists. The most recent Speakeasy podcast at Reverse Thieves is about American comics recommended for manga readers. Reverse Thieves also posted a review with Melissa Tanaka talking about her work translating Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin. (I loved the first volume of the series and my review of the second should be coming soon.) If you’re interested in what Viz Media is up to these days, ICv2 has a two part interview with Leyla Aker and Kevin Hamric and Comic Book Resources has an interview with Ken Sasaki.

Also last week was Otakon. Sean Gaffney at A Case Suitable for Treatment takes a quick look at some of the recent manga announcements. Vertical has licensed Fumi Yoshinaga’s What Did You Eat Yesterday? which I am extremely excited about. Viz Media is bringing Naoki Urasawa’s Monster back into print in a deluxe omnibus edition. I already own the series and probably won’t be double-dipping, but I’m very happy to see this re-release. Finally, Seven Seas will be publishing Milk Morinaga’s most recent yuri series Gakuen Police. I really enjoyed Morinaga’s Girl Friends and Kisses, Sighs, and Cherry Blossoms Pink, so I plan on picking up Gakuen Police, too.

Quick Takes

Animal Land, Volumes 1-4 by Makoto Raiku. I’m not sure why I was so reluctant to read Animal Land but after repeated urging from a few fans of the series I decided to finally give it a try. And I’m very glad that I did. It took me a volume or so to really settle into the story, but I definitely want to read more. Taroza is a human who was abandoned as a baby only to be rescued and raised by a young female tanuki in a world of animals. The art in Animal Land is kind of strange, mixing realism, anthropomorphism, and just plain goofiness even within the same species. Despite its cuteness, the story in Animal Land can be very dark. It’s also not particularly subtle, but it is engaging. Animal Land surprised me; so far it’s a great series.

Ichiro by Ryan Inzana. Ichiro is a young man living with his Japanese mother in New York City after his American father dies. When her work takes them both to Japan, Ichiro has the chance to get to know his grandfather who he’s never met and learn more about the country’s history and culture. One night he unexpectedly stumbles into an even stranger world. I did find the sections dealing with Ichiro’s real life to be much more compelling than his adventures in the land of the gods and immortals. However, I really liked the blend of story, mythology, and reality in Ichiro and I loved the artwork. Inzana smoothly shifts his style of art and use of color throughout the graphic novel depending on the tale being told in a very effective way.

Limit, Volumes 5-6 by Keiko Suenobu. Limit has been very hit-or-miss for me. Overall, I did like it, but I had a few problems with the story. There weren’t plot holes per se, but significant suspension of disbelief is required. (I’m still trying to figure out how Usui’s bandage ended up on the ground and why no one seemed to hear the helicopters.) But the series had some truly great moments and intense, dramatic group dynamics. The fear that the characters deal with as they struggle to survive is almost palpable. I liked most of the fifth volume which revealed some great plot twists, but found the final volume to be rather unsatisfying. Everything is tied up too neatly and nicely and there’s a fair amount of moralizing.

Triton of the Sea, Omnibus 1 (equivalent to Volumes 1-2) by Osamu Tezuka. I was delighted when Triton of the Sea was licensed as part of one of Digital Manga’s Kickstarter projects. Although I don’t have a particular affinity for merfolk, I have always enjoyed stories involving oceans and other bodies of water. Triton is a merman, one of the last of his kind when his clan is wiped out by Poseidon, the king of the sea. Unaware of his true nature, Triton is adopted by a human family. As he grows older he is drawn into a fight against Poseidon. Triton of the Sea isn’t as strong or as innovative as some of Tezuka’s other manga, but it’s still a solid adventure story. I particularly enjoyed Triton’s relationship with his family and his interactions with humans.