Moyoco Anno Manga Moveable Feast: A Final Farewell

© Moyoco Anno

We have now officially reached the conclusion of the Moyoco Anno Manga Moveable Feast!

As a sort of bonus review, I took a look at Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators which includes Anno’s short manga “The Song of the Crickets.” I’m calling it a bonus because I reviewed the volume as a whole as opposed to focusing on Anno’s contribution. “The Song of the Crickets” is a mere six pages long, but it’s a beautifully illustrated period piece.

At All About Manga, Daniella Orihuela-Gruber has a great post about Moyoco Anno’s Study of the Bitch, looking at Anno’s portrayal of women in Happy Mania, Sakuran, and Sugar Sugar Rune:

There is something about how Moyoco Anno portrays women in her manga. Put simply, each and every female character is a bitch. While this may seem like a derogatory way to say it, it is simply how Anno sees all women. To her, women are fierce, fighting bitches, not simpering little things who take life as it comes.

This week’s My Week in Manga video from Melinda Beasi at Manga Bookshelf is a special edition focusing on Moyoco Anno’s work. It’s just a little over ten minutes long and well worth a watch/listen. Melinda discusses Anno’s approach to love and romance (or lack of romance) in her manga and specifically how Sugar Sugar Rune fits into that approach and how it compares to her other works.

Anna at Manga Report gave Happy Mania a second chance for the Feast, and discovered a new appreciation for the series:

Shigeta’s antics didn’t really sit very well with me the first time I tried this series, but in the intervening years I’ve read a bunch more manga, and right now I find a manga about a woman finding unhappiness through her pursuit of men much more interesting than a more typical manga that is going to head towards a happy ending after a series of wacky misunderstandings.

Last but not least, Sarah at Nagareboshi Reviews digs into Sakuran and finds it to be a great introduction to Anno’s work: 

Sakuran is a beautiful heartbreaking manga. It is open in its depiction of life in Yoshiwara and the character of Kiyoha is someone readers will both despise and admire, often at the same time. That’s good; polarizing figures are often the most interesting to read about. Add to that Anno’s matchless artistic style and it’s clear we have yet another fantastic release from the people at Vertical Inc.

If I have missed any contributions to the Feast, or if there are still posts being written, please do let me know. This may be the last roundup, but I would be happy to include links to any and all remaining contributions on the archive page.

And finally, I would like to everyone again: those who helped spread the word about the Feast, those who contributed posts, and those of you who quietly enjoyed the Feast from the sidelines. (Readers are important, too!) I couldn’t have pulled of the Moyoco Anno Manga Moveable Feast on my own. I hope you all enjoyed the Feast as much as or even more than I did hosting it.

Please join us all for February’s Feast which will be hosted by Organization Anti-Social Geniuses between February 17 and February 24. The focus of the Feast will be on Naoki Urasawa and his work. Urasawa is one of the reasons I became obsessed with manga, so I’m particularly looking forward to the upcoming Feast.

Moyoco Anno Manga Moveable Feast: Roundup Three

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Welcome to the third Moyoco Anno Manga Moveable Feast roundup!

As promised, I posted two reviews since the last roundup. I took a look at Sakuran: Blossoms Wild, the most recent of Anno’s manga to be published in English, as well as the first volume of Sugar Sugar Rune, the series which won Anno the Kodansha Manga Award for best children’s manga.

Both manga have strong-willed and saucy leads, but other than that they are very different. Sakuran is a period piece taking place in Yoshiwara, the pleasure district of Edo, while Sugar Sugar Rune is a fantasy in a more contemporary setting. Sakuran was serialized in a seinen magazine aimed at an adult male audience while Sugar Sugar Rune was shoujo created for girls between the ages of six and twelve. However, both manga have tremendous crossover appeal and show just how versatile a creator Anno can be.

Although not technically written for the Feast, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Melinda Beasi’s wonderful interview with Moyoco Anno on behalf The Beat which was recently posted—Interview: Moyoco Anno “I really don’t like women that much!”. The entire interview is worth reading, but I was particularly struck by Anno’s response when she was asked what she would like to see more of in comics for women:

So I think what I’d really like to see is comic books for women who are older–forty, fifty, or sixty–I don’t think that means you can’t write about romance anymore. You can still write about that theme, but I would love to see people writing for an older female audience–continue to write things like romance, but in a realistic way. That would be nice to see.

Today is technically the last day of the Feast, but I’m hoping to see more contributions before it ends. I will be posting one more roundup and a final farewell late tomorrow, so there’s still plenty of time to participate! Please let me know of any contributions that I might have missed and I will make sure to include them in the final roundup as well as in the archive. Please enjoy the rest of the Feast!

Moyoco Anno Manga Moveable Feast: Roundup Two

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Today is the second Moyoco Anno Manga Moveable Feast roundup!

Except, it appears as though the only new Feast content was posted here at Experiments in Manga. I took a look at the first volume of Happy Mania, which was the very first manga by Anno to be published in English. I also posted a review of Flowers & Bees, Volume 1, which was the first seinen series that Anno created as well as the second of her series to be translated into English.

Although the two series are definitely their own works, they do share many similarities: rude and raunchy humor that can be a little harsh, absurd and ridiculous characters and situations, and protagonists who both have terrible luck when it comes to love, just to mention a few. I enjoy both series immensely, but I can more closely identify with Komatsu from Flowers & Bees than I can with Shigeta from Happy Mania. Interestingly enough, Anno mentioned in an interview that Komatsu was the character of hers who most closely reflected her own personality and experiences.

So, that’s where things are with the Feast at the moment. I have posts planned for the rest of the week, but I’m looking forward to reading others’ even more. And if I’ve missed any contributions, please let me know so that I can add them to the next roundup and to the archive!

Moyoco Anno Manga Moveable Feast: Roundup One

© Moyoco Anno

Welcome to the first Moyoco Anno Manga Moveable Feast roundup!

Here at Experiments in Manga, I kicked things off with an introduction to Moyoco Anno and the Feast. I followed this up with my usual My Week in Manga column, featuring quick takes of all of Anno’s manga currently available in English.

I was also thrilled to host an excellent guest post written by Erica Friedman of Okazu (among other places)—How a Non-Manga Fan Got Me Into Sakuran:

It was [Kiyoha’s] anger that appealed to me most. That white-hot rage against the universe and all the people in it. Recently I was involved in a discussion about how tediously psychopaths were written these days in fan media. Kiyoha’s genuine hatred for every single person around her read more realistically to me than anything I’d seen in ages.

Over at Manga Xanadu, Lori Henderson also took a look at Sakuran. I was particularly happy to see Lori’s comments on the relationship between Kiyoha and Seiji; it’s an important relationship that is often left out of the reviews of Sakuran that I’ve read:

But beyond the usual lover/client relationships, Kiyoha has a deeper one with Seiji, a clerk who has worked at Tamagiku since she first arrived as a child. He has watched her grow, and seen her through all of her trials. There was never anything actually said between the two of them, other than Kiyoha’s sniping and Seiji’s retorts, but just through expressions and actions, a strong connection can be seen between Seiji and Kiyoha.

And that’s what we have so far! If I’ve missed your or someone else’s contribution, please let me know so that I can add it to the archive. I’ll also make sure to mention it on Thursday during the next roundup. Until then, please continue to enjoy the Feast!

Moyoco Anno Manga Moveable Feast: An Introduction

© Moyoco Anno

Welcome, everyone, to the Moyoco Anno Manga Moveable Feast!

The first Manga Moveable Feast of the year begins today, January 20, and will end on Saturday, January 26. The Feast gives the manga blogging community an opportunity to examine together a particular creator. This month we will be focusing on the mangaka Moyoco Anno and her work. Experiments in Manga will be hosting this Feast.

Who is Moyoco Anno? 
Moyoco Anno was born in Tokyo, Japan on March 26, 1971. Her uncle who lived with her family was a mangaka, and so Anno became familiar with the industry at a young age. Anno herself began submitting manga to magazines at the age of fifteen before making her professional debut in 1989 with her work “Totally Funky Guys.” For a time Anno was an assistant to the influential mangaka Kyoko Okazaki, but she has since become a successful mangaka in her own right. Several of her works have been adapted into film, anime, and television dramas. In 2002 she married Hideaki Anno of Neon Genesis Evangelion fame.

Anno took a long hiatus from story manga due to health reasons in 2008. However, she continued to create essay manga and manga for newspaper serialization. Happily, Anno returned to story manga again in 2011. Anno is a versatile creator, but her works often share some similarities: they explore themes of love (but not always romance), they feature strong characterizations (and frequently feisty women), and they have an appeal that extends beyond their primary audiences. Anno is also a fashion writer and fashion is an important element in her manga as well.

Website: Moyoco Anno Official Site
Twitter: @anno_moyoco

Anno’s Manga in English
Moyoco Anno was introduced to English-reading audiences ten years ago in 2003 when Tokyopop released the first volume of her eleven-volume series Happy Mania. The eleventh volume of Happy Mania was released in 2004. Happy Mania was one of the first, if not the first, josei manga—manga created with an adult female audience in mind—to have ever been published in English.

Later in 2003, Viz Media released the first of seven volumes of Anno’s first seinen series—manga for a primarily male audience—Flowers & Bees. Viz would finish releasing the series in 2005. Also in 2005, the now defunct Del Rey Manga began publishing Sugar Sugar Rune, the shoujo series that earned Anno the Kodansha Manga Award for best children’s manga that same year. The eighth and final volume of Sugar Sugar Rune was released in 2008. Anno’s work was featured in the exhibition “KRAZY! The Delirious World of Anime + Manga + Video Games” at the Vancouver Art Gallery, also in 2008.

After six years of non-stop Anno, it was four long years until any more of her works were released in English. Vertical thankfully ended the drought by publishing Sakuran: Blossoms Wild in 2012. Anno was also a spotlight guest at the New York Comic Con in 2012. And here we all are in 2013, ten years after Anno was first published in English, examining and celebrating her and her work for the Manga Moveable Feast.

At the time of this Feast, only two of Anno’s works are currently in print in English: Flowers & Bees and Sakuran. (Three, if you count the anthology Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators which includes Anno’s short work “The Song of the Crickets.”) Happy Mania is still fairly easy to find, but some of the later volumes of Sugar Sugar Rune getting to be a little pricey. Fortunately, there’s promise that we’ll be seeing more Anno from Vertical in the future, although no details have yet been released. Regardless, I’m very excited.

Feasting at Experiments in Manga
If you were around last year for the Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast, you should already have a pretty good idea how I’ll be running things. There will be new content relating to the Feast every day at Experiments in Manga. Once again, my focus will be on in-depth reviews—I’ll be writing about Sakuran and the first volume of each of Anno’s series available in English, as well as the anthology Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators. And, like last year, I also have at least one guest post lined up!

There will be three roundup posts during the Feast (one on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.) The Feast ends on Saturday, but I’ll be writing a final sendoff post on Sunday. The roundups will highlight other participants’ contributions to the Feast. Throughout the Feast I will also be updating the archive page (which has already been populated with pre-Feast content.)

It will be a very lonely and boring Feast if I’m the only person posting content, so I encourage you all to take part. I would love to see as many people participate as possible. Please notify me of any contributions by e-mail at phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com or via my Twitter account (@PhoenixTerran). I’ll will include any posts that I know about in the roundups as well as in the archive. And, if you’re on Twitter, I’m encouraging the use of the #AnnoMMF hashtag for this Feast.

All right everyone, that’s enough from me for now. Please dig in and enjoy the Feast!