Discovering Manga: Podcasts

I rarely get a chance to talk about manga with other people. Part of this is my own fault since I don’t generally talk to people to begin with, but some of it is that I simply don’t personally know many people with which to have those sorts of conversations. And when I do have the chance to participate I tend to just sit there and absorb what everyone else has to say rather than speaking up much. And then I discovered podcasts, which are perfect for people like me.

There seem to be very few manga specific podcasts out there, at least that I’ve been able to find so far. The podcast that got me started trawling the net in search of such gems was Ed Sizemore’s wonderful Manga Out Loud which began in January 2010. Ed, who also writes for Manga Worth Reading, includes useful links to accompany each podcast. Usually there are a few episodes posted each month and Ed frequently has other manga lovers and experts on to participate in the discussion. I love the conversational feel and tone of the show.

Anime Today, associated with Right Stuf and Nozomi Entertainment, started in November 2005 and every single one of the episodes is still available to download. The podcast is highly integrated with the Right Stuf catalog which is useful, but it can occasionally come across as being strictly a marketing and advertising tool. However, they do include interviews, news, and customer reviews, as well as many other features not to mention copious and detailed show notes. Overall, it’s really quite good and interesting.

A relative newcomer to manga podcasting is Anime 3000 which actually has several featured podcasts. A3K Radio is ambitious in that it updates almost daily. The episodes are rather short, but it’s a great way to catch up on current news and events. 20 Questions features brief interviews with people in various parts of the manga and anime industries. Some of the questions are more serious than others so it’s both fun and informative. Finally, there’s Manga Corner. There’s only been one episode so far, but I hope there will be more.

Completely unrelated to manga, but I wanted to mention it because I love the show, is Zac Bentz’s Japanator Radio. If you’re looking for contemporary Japanese music, everything from experimental jazz to visual kei, 8-bit, soundtracks and more, this is the podcast for you. The show started in September 2007 and so recently celebrated it’s third anniversary. Last I checked, episodes 93 and later are still available for download and each show is around an hour long. That’s a ton of great music to listen to and enjoy.

Finally, I would like to briefly note a few podcasts that I’ve recently tracked down, but don’t actually know much about yet. Anime News Network has ANNCast, which if it’s anything like the rest of the site is very useful. Otaku USA has the weekly Friday ACE by Mike Dent. I enjoy the magazine, so I suspect that I’ll probably enjoy the podcast as well. And last but not least, Reverse Thieves has the Speakeasy Podcast and Otaku in Review also has a podcast.

So there you have it—that’s what I’ve been able to discover about manga podcasting up to this point. I’ve included a podcast section on the Resources page and would love to add more shows. If you know of other manga related podcasts or have more information about those that I’ve mentioned here, please leave a comment!

(Also check out Discovering Manga: Podcasts, Part 2!)

Discovering Manga: 365 Days of Manga

Starting with Yoshiyuki Nishi’s Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation and ending with Masami Tsuda’s Castle of Dreams, Jason Thompson (with the help of some of his friends) posted three hundred sixty-five manga reviews over the course of one year on Suvudu. The 365 Days of Manga project was a continuation of Thompson’s Manga: The Complete Guide, published by Del Rey in 2007, and allowed him a space to review manga that wasn’t able to be included in the book.

In conjunction with the reviews, Thompson ran a manga giveaway which I posted about earlier in 365 Days of Manga Loot. As excited as I was to win—I’m not about to pass up free manga—the real reason I was interested in the 365 Days of Manga project was for the reviews. I read every single one of them, some multiple times, and I keep referring back to them again and again. Just like Manga: The Complete Guide, I find 365 Days of Manga to be an incredibly useful resource. The reviews are short and sweet, give a basic plot summary, some brief commentary, and a star rating (the maximum being four stars).

Finding the individual entries can be a little tricky, particularly the earlier posts, but the 365 Days of Manga Archive is a good place to start. A few of the links are broken or incorrect, but the list does provide titles which can be searched on the Suvudu site. All of the posts can be found using the 365 Days of Manga tag or by searching the site for “365 Days of Manga”, but this can be rather awkward for browsing purposes.

365 Days of Manga tends to focus on manga that has become available in English within the last few years. With a wide variety of genres covered, including adult manga, 365 Days of Manga allowed me to discover a ton of manga that I wasn’t previously aware of. My reading pile and wishlist grew substantially over the course of the review series and I ended up trying things that I otherwise might not have thought to pick up.

So, I would like to offer Jason a big thank you and congratulations on the completion of the 365 Days of Manga project. It was greatly appreciated and I look forward to following the Jason Thompson’s House of 1000 Manga column which offers even more in-depth analysis and reviews of manga over on Anime News Network.