My Week in Manga: June 27-July 3, 2011

My News and Reviews

Okay! You only have a couple more days to enter my most recent manga giveaway. We’re talking about samurai manga, so head over to Manga Giveaway: Rorouni Kenshin Contest to enter for a chance to win a new copy of the first Rurouni Kenshin omnibus. The winner will be announced Wednesday, July 6. And for those who are interested in what sort of manga and other goodies I’ve managed to recently procure, I posted the Bookshelf Overload for June. Not much else to report right now except that I’ll be going on an extended vacation pretty soon. Hopefully, there shouldn’t be any interruption to my normal posting schedule. That’s the plan, anyway; I’m still in the process of working things out.

I’ve made some updates to the Resources page. Unfortunately, Manga Views no longer seems to be running, so I’ve removed it from the list. But, I’ve also added three more resources: Manga Connection, Japanamerica, and Comic Attack. Comic Attack isn’t specifically about manga, but they do have a regular feature called Bento Bako Weekly (although it’s often more than weekly) that is worth keeping an eye on.

Quick Takes

Nightmare Inspector: Yumekui Kenbun, Volumes 3-9 by Shin Mashiba. Nightmare Inspector is mostly episodic except for the ninth volume which ties everything together and reveals the truth behind Hiruko. The final volume is just about perfect. I don’t want to spoil the ending but I will say it is highly appropriate for a series that’s all about nightmares. The series is very dark and genuinely disconcerting. Knowing each story will end with some kind of grim twist doesn’t make it any easier. Hiruko gives each dreamer what they ask for and the results can be terrifying. There are a few humorous episodes, but their tone is so different from the rest of the series that I find it difficult to consider them part of the main story.

Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy! by Fumi Yoshinaga. I found Not Love to be a charming little collection about friendship and the love of food. Each chapter features an actual restaurant in Tokyo, complete with locations, recommendations, and how much you should expect to spend for a meal. With plenty of self-deprecating humor and quirky “characters” (the manga is fairly autobiographical), Not Love is also delightfully amusing. Despite the obvious importance of food and eating, I’m not sure I would actually call Not Love a food manga. Instead it seems to me to be more about the relationships people develop around the table. And not just their relationships with the food, either, but their relationships with each other as well.

Not Simple by Natsume Ono. Not Simple is a tragic tale. A really, really tragic tale. Made worse by the fact that despite some melodramatic elements, it’s actually a fairly realistic story. Not Simple was the first of Ono’s works to be made available in English. It’s also one of her earlier works, so her distinctive art style was still in the process of maturing. The narrative is interesting in that the story is framed within another story, leaving it up to the reader to interpret the ambiguity and determine how much is true and how much has been embellished. But either way, it’s not an easy read. Ian is a very pure and innocent character. He’s a little odd, but he’s certainly not at fault for the way things turn out.

Your Love Sickness by Kuku Hayate. Okay, I’ll admit it. I picked up Your Love Sickness because it’s boys’ love and had a dragon in it (specifically, the story “Disappearing into the Dew.”) The title story features kitsune in love, or at least in devoted infatuation. And if anthropomorphism doesn’t float your boat, Hayate turns from the supernatural to the more mundane in the final two stories. “Cheeping” finds a model and the local bento shop owner locking eyes (as well as a bit more) and “Cross My Heart” sees two friends reunited only to find their developing relationship to be rather problematic since one has grown up to be a detective and the other is yakuza. Your Love Sickness is a fun collection with interesting stories with interesting character designs to fit.

Cowboy Bebop, Episodes 1-26 directed by Shinichirō Watanabe. Cowboy Bebop holds a special place in my heart. It is the very first anime series that I saw in its entirety and I frequently re-watch parts of it. I even have the opening theme song, “Tank!,” set as my ringtone. (The music, by Yoko Kanno, is actually one of my favorite things about the series.) It has been a while since I’ve sat down and watched the whole series through from start to finish, though. I’d forgotten how odd some of the episodes were—at times, Cowboy Bebop can be a rather eccentric series. But there’s also plenty of action, with dramatic gunfights and theatric hand-to-hand combat, humor, and a good overarching story.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.