My Week in Manga: June 3-June 9, 2013

My News and Reviews

I was traveling for work for most of last week. Despite my hectic schedule I somehow still managed  to post a few things here at Experiments in Manga. First of all, the Umineko: When They Cry manga giveaway winner was announced. The post also includes a lengthy (but certainly not comprehensive) list of video game manga that have been licensed in English. I also posted the most recent Library Love feature which consists of quick takes of manga that I’ve read from my local library. Technically, if I was strictly following Library Love’s bimonthly schedule, it should have been posted in May. But then I went to TCAF and ended up writing about that instead. (It took place at a library, so that counts, right?) Anyway, expect the next Library Love to be posted sometime in July. Finally, for the first in-depth manga review of June, I took a look at No. 6, Volume 1, the first volume in Hinoki Kino’s manga adaptation of Atsuko Asano’s series of science fiction novels. I enjoyed the anime adaptation of the novels, but was disappointed by its rushed ending. I’m looking forward to seeing where Kino will take the manga adaptation. I’d love to read the original novels, but it’s highly unlikely that they will ever be licensed in English.

Because I was traveling and doing stuff for work for most of the week, I didn’t have as much time to trawl the Internet for interesting articles. (If I’ve missed any big news, please do let me know!) However, I did come across a series of reviews and in-depth analysis of Naoki Urasawa’s manga series Pluto by Jeffrey O. Gustafson of The Comic Pusher. Also, the call for participation for the Skip Beat! Manga Moveable Feast has been posted! Laura at Heart of Manga will be hosting the Feast from June 17 to June 23. Hopefully, I should have a review of the first omnibus in the series ready to go by then.

Quick Takes

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Episode 4: ¥ €$ by Yu Kinutani. Much as the name Stand Alone Complex implies, the individual volumes of the manga largely stand alone—assuming that you have at least a vague familiarity with the Ghost in the Shell universe. This particular volume adapts the fourteenth episode of the Stand Alone Complex anime, “Automated Capitalism ¥€$.” It’s been a while since I’ve actually seen the anime, but from what I remember the manga seems to be a very straightforward adaptation. I largely enjoyed Kinutani’s artwork, although some of fanservice is not at all subtle. The Major has always had somewhat questionable attire, but a few of the clothing choices in ¥€$ are particularly absurd. 

Liberty Liberty! by Hinako Takanaga. I tend to really enjoy Takanaga’s boys’ love manga. While Liberty Liberty isn’t my favorite work of hers—it isn’t particularly compelling or groundbreaking in any sort of way—it’s still an enjoyable read and a solid story. Kouki is a cameraman for a local television station who happens upon Itaru nearly passed-out drunk in a pile of garbage. Kouki’s camera is broken in the resulting scuffle and Itaru ends up working for the station in order to pay off the debt. Despite an unfortunate beginning, he actually has some useful skills to bring to the group. The romantic elements in Liberty Liberty are fairly chaste but include an adorably awkward confession of love after Itaru develops a crush on Kouki, who has feelings for another coworker.

Thermae Romae, Omnibus 2 (equivalent to Volumes 3-4) by Mari Yamazaki. It’s been about half a year since I read the first Thermae Romae omnibus, but I do recall enjoying it quite a bit. What I don’t remember is if it made me as unabashedly happy as reading the second one did. This series honestly makes me laugh out loud. Thermae Romae has just enough of the ridiculous about it to make it very funny. And, as a bonus, I end up learning about Roman and Japanese bathing cultures. The last story in second omnibus actually turns the series into a time travel romantic comedy which has yet to reach its conclusion. Unfortunately, there’s currently no release information available for the next volume.

Moyashimon, Season 1 directed by Yūichirō Yano. Sadly, only two volumes of Masayuki Ishikawa’s manga Moyasimon were ever released in English. I was excited when Crunchyroll began streaming the anime adaptation which closely follows the manga. I quite liked the manga so I was glad to have the opportunity to spend more time learning about microbes and following the strange antics of agricultural college students. Moyashimon is an incredibly quirky series with an incredibly quirky cast. It does seem as though the series can’t quite decide what sort of story it should be. Sometimes its serious while other times its rather goofy. It can be legitimately educational, but it can also be mindless entertainment. Either way, I tend to enjoy it and find it amusing.

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