Manga Giveaway: Hikaru no Go Giveaway Winner

And the winner of the Hikaru no Go manga giveaway is…Alessandra!

As the winner, Alessandra will be receiving a new copy of Hikaru no Go, Volume 1 written by Yumi Hotta, illustrated by Takeshi Obata, and published by Viz Media. For this giveaway, I asked entrants to tell me about manga that sparked an interest in something new for them. I received some great responses, which I will be excerpting here, but I hope you’ll take the time to check out the full comments as well. Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway. I really enjoyed reading all of your stories. I hope you’ll come back for next month’s contest, too!

Matt identified Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto as a source of intellectual stimulation:

After reading Pluto by Naoki Urasawa, I thought a lot about artificial intelligence and the questions that come with that subject. Is there an essential difference between human intelligence and artificial intelligence? Can a machine have a mind and consciousness?

Pluto is actually one of my favorite manga series and it helped to trigger my current obsession with manga. I particularly enjoy manga about androids and AI because they can be so thought provoking.

Callie was brave enough to share with all of us the influence Miyuki Kobayashi and Natsumi Ando’s Kitchen Princess had:

I always feel a little embarrassed admitting it, but ‘Kitchen Princess’ got me into baking; I started trying some of the recipes in the volumes, and found that I really enjoyed it. It’s quite funny, I’ve never been one for cooking in a form, and now I’m the family baker!

I think this is marvelous and you shouldn’t be embarrassed at all! Kitchen Princess is an award-winning series after all, and who could complain about mastering such a delicious hobby as baking?

Bakuman, which is written by Tsugumi Ohba and happens to be illustrated by Takeshi Obata (who also illustrated Hikaru no Go) was actually mentioned by two people—Arlen and Voldie Moldie—as playing a part in their desire to start creating manga of their own. Kim was also inspired to draw because of manga. Similarly, Alessandra was encouraged to become a better writer because of favorite characters who are also writers, such as Shigure Sohma in Natsuki Takaya’s Fruits Basket. (Shigure is my favorite character in the series, too!)

And finally, Courtney takes after my own heart, appreciating manga influenced by legends and mythology:

I discovered that manga with strong mythological, folklore, or religious aspects actually made me want to read and study up on what it was based on or drew influence from. […] To be honest any manga that has derived something from folklore, mythology, or religion fascinates me. It’s a shame a lot get passed up on, especially the ones with strong mythological roots. […] While a tend to not dig too deeply into studying such things I do enjoy reading even just the surface of it all. It adds an extra layer of sprinkles on top of my reading experience.

I hope everyone continues to be inspired and encouraged by the manga that they read!

Manga Giveaway: Hikaru no Go Giveaway

Another month has passed, which means its time for another manga giveaway! This month’s giveaway is a new copy of Hikaru no Go, Volume 1 written by Yumi Hotta, illustrated by Takeshi Obata, and published by Viz Media. The contest is open world-wide, and Hikaru no Go is a fantastic series, so I hope you’ll take the time to enter!

Often, I read a manga because I’m already interested in what it’s about. Occasionally, it happens the other way around and I become interested in something because of the manga I read. Such is the case with Hikaru no Go. I don’t even remember why I first picked it up, but I loved it from the very first volume. One of the great things about Hikaru no Go is that even if you are completely unfamiliar with the game of Go, the series is still enjoyable. But, much like the titular character, I discovered that the more I read, the more I wanted to know about Go. And so I learned how to play. I’m pretty terrible at it, and I don’t get to play very often, but it’s mostly thanks to Hikaru no Go that I picked up the game in the first place.

So, you may be wondering, how can you win Hikaru no Go, Volume 1?

1) In the comments below, tell me about a manga that has inspired you to try a new hobby or become interested in a subject that you weren’t familiar with before. Or maybe you’ve never had that experience? You can simply mention that.
2) If you’re on Twitter, you can earn a bonus entry by tweeting about the contest. Make sure to include a link to this post and @PhoenixTerran (that’s me).

You can earn up to two entries in this giveaway and you have one week to get your comments in. If you have any trouble leaving comments, or if you would prefer, you can e-mail your entry to me at phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com and I will post it. The winner will be randomly selected and announced on October 5, 2011. Good luck!

VERY IMPORTANT: Include some way that I can contact you. This can be an e-mail address, 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: Hikaru no Go Winner

Library Love, Part 6

Support manga, support your library!

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Banana Fish, Volumes 14-17 by Akimi Yoshida. Yoshida has really ratcheted up the action and plot with these four volumes. There are only two left in the series and I have no idea how she’s going to wrap everything up! I’ve really been enjoying Banana Fish; the deepening relationship between Ash and Eiji is simply fantastic. Things are getting really dangerous for them and their allies and it’s hard to see how they’re going to pull through. Eiji in particular is a very changed person, although he has had a significant influence on Ash as well. I want to see the both of them happy but it’s going to be difficult with multiple crime syndicates and mercenaries gunning for Ash.

Hikaru No Go, Volumes 4-7 written by Yumi Hotta and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. I really didn’t expect Hikaru to become as serious as his is now about Go. It’s fascinating to see him grow as both a person and a player. Sai is as adorable and earnest about the game as ever and is happy to see Hikaru take more interest. Although, it does mean he doesn’t get to play as much as he would like. More and more characters are being introduced as Hikaru moves on from his school’s Go club to being accepted as an insei, hoping one day to become a professional Go player. Even though it’s heading in a different direction than I originally thought, I’m loving this series and can’t wait to read more.

Real, Volumes 4-6 by Takehiko Inoue. Damn this series is good! It can be a little emotionally exhausting and intense at times. We get a bit more of Togawa’s back story, Nomiya’s struggle to find his direction in life, and Takahashi’s discord with his family. These are real people dealing with real issues that aren’t always pretty. The attention given to the un-idealized portrayal of disability, physical therapy, recovery and the effects they have on people is stunning. I highly recommend this series even if you’re not into sports manga because it really is about so much more than basketball. Real amazes me.

Yotsuba&!, Volumes 2-3 by Kiyohiko Azuma. Jumbo is still my favorite character and I love seeing the trio of him, Yotsuba, and her father hanging out together. Yotsuba still manages to be adorable without being annoying, completely confounding her friends and neighbors. I’m actually surprised by how much she manages to get away with; the others put up with her antics with amazing tolerance. Perhaps it’s just that she’s such a good-hearted kid even when she’s getting herself into trouble. It’s really a delight to watch as she experiences and enjoys things in life for the first time.

Library Love, Part 3

Support manga, support your library!

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Banana Fish, Volumes 12-13 by Akimi Yoshida. I am really enjoying watching Eiji and Ash’s relationship develop and deepen. By this point it’s fairly well established, but these volumes show just how far they are willing to go for each other. Particularly interesting is Eiji, whose innocence and naiveté finally seems to have been tainted by the chaos and violence around him. In some ways it does seem like variations of the same thing keep happening over and over and there are still six more volumes to go. There are a lot of open plot lines right now, so it’ll be interesting to see how everything ties together.

Hikaru no Go, Volumes 2-3 written by Yumi Hotta and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. I had a feeling this was going to happen, but now I really want to learn to play Go. Fortunately for me, these early volumes actually cover the basics of the game both in the context of and apart from the story. Sai consistently makes me smile over how obsessed he is with the game and it’s nice to see Hikaru becoming more serious about playing. I’m really liking this series so far and will definitely be reading more.

Real, Volume 3 by Takehiko Inoue. Typically, I’m not into sports manga, but Real is fantastic. I picked up the series because I wanted to read something by Inoue (his art is wonderful) and Real was the only manga of his currently available at my library. It’s about wheelchair basketball and tough guys having to deal with tough issues in a very realistic way. Much of the third volume focuses on Takahashi who is struggling to accept the fact that he will never walk again. He’s always been a bit of an asshole, but I still care about him. The emotions, from anger to despair, are intense.

Vampire Knight, Volume 8 by Matsuri Hino. I waited too long between reading the seventh volume and the eighth. Fortunately this volume is mostly a huge reveal of up till now missing back story. There’s some crazy stuff introduced—some of which didn’t really make much sense or just wasn’t thoroughly explained. I will admit didn’t get all of what was going on. Still, there were some interesting plot developments and it’s nice to have some questions answered. The series has definitely taken a very serious turn and it’s missing some of the humor that could be found in the earlier volumes.

Library Love, Part 1

Support manga, support your library!

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Godchild, Volume 2 by Kaori Yuki. I’m pretty sure that Cain is supposed to be this angsty romantic figure, but so far I think he comes across as an ass most of the time. He does truly care about his half-sister and Riff, though. I also like the fact that he collects poisons—something that fascinate me. This volume loads on more Hargreaves family mystery but doesn’t really go anywhere yet. The introduction of Japanese characters in the first story of this volume seemed out of place to me. But, I do enjoy Yuki’s costume designs quite a bit.

Hana-Kimi: For You in Full Blossom, Volumes 16-17 by Hisaya Nakajo. I enjoyed this series much more than I was expecting to, but I must admit that it’s now starting to feel like it’s dragging on and on. These volumes return to one of the series roots: high-jumping. There’s less silly antics and more Sano family drama going on. I think I’m supposed to be worried about the developing love triangle between Sano, Ashiya, and Nakatsu but the intensity just isn’t there.

Hikaru No Go, Volume 1, written by Yumi Hotta and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. I hardly know anything at all about Go (I should really fix that), but that didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying the first volume of Hikaru No Go. I know Obata’s work from Death Note and while the designs are definintely different here, the art is still excellent. Sai is very pretty and Hikaru is fairly adorable. Their interactions are fun to watch although the humor can be rather juvenile at times. Even from reading only the first volume I can understand how this series sparked a Go craze. Now, if only we could get some of those mahjong titles licensed…

Skip Beat, Volume 2 by Yoshiki Nakamura. I don’t really care about show business, but the revenge plot is great and isn’t something I’ve seen much of in shōjo manga. This volume sees the creation of the somewhat bizarre “Love Me Section” which, as far as I can tell, Kyoko is the only member. The story gets a bit silly at times, but I love Kyoko’s over-the-top reactions, even when she manages to keep them in her head. She’s spunky and can be very enthusiastic to say the least.