Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast: A Final Farewell

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A week ago today marked the end of the Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast. Quite often, posts continue to trickle in even after a Feast is technically over. Here are a couple for your enjoyment.

Connie of Slightly Biased Manga reviews the second volume of Furuya’s No Longer Human, noting that the series is powerful, but hard to read:

You know that Yozo isn’t going to have a happy ending. There’s nobody left to help him. And he alienates those that try. It’s a self-destructive circle, and both the story and art do a good job of portraying the utter despair that permeates absolutely everything in this story.

Over at Otaku Ohana, Jason S. Yadao provides “a between-MMF snack” and takes a look at Genkaku Picasso:

The sketches Hikari draws of the scenes he sees within people’s hearts are the perfect canvas for Furuya’s imagination to run wild, whether it’s something as simple as a mecha standing over a crystal, as complex as a giant rabbit keeping watch over a melancholy baby, or as mind-numbingly surreal as a giant rose hovering over Tokyo Tower in the rain with a rapidly rising sea.

Thank you again to everyone who did their part to make the Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast a success!

Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast: An Epilogue

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The Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast is drawing to a close. It’s been a great week with some great contributions. Here are the most recent submissions.

At Experiments in Manga, I posted a review of No Longer Human, Volume 1. Furuya’s adaptation of Osamu Dazai’s original novel was one of my most anticipated releases for 2011. I wasn’t disappointed.

Connie of Slightly Biased Manga brings us a license request for Palepoli, which includes great examples from the manga showing off the tremendous range in Furuya’s artwork:

Every single one of his books is interesting to look at. He’s constantly using unusual imagery and a plethora of styles to convey the story visually, and there’s nobody quite like him when it comes to this. It’s fine art in manga form, and I wish like nobody’s business that more of his work would be licensed.

Manga Connection participates in the Manga Moveable Feast for the very first time and uses the opportunity to take a look at Furuya’s No Longer Human, noting how easy it is to dislike Yozo and yet still relate to him:

Yozo is a manipulator and takes advantage, no doubt, but how many of us acknowledge it like he does? Does that make him any better or worse that us — no longer human? These are questions I could mull over a long time.

Terry Hong of BookDragon, a part of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, only recently discovered the Manga Moveable Feast and joins in for the first time, reviewing the final two books of Genkaku Picasso:

Picasso’s closer friends finally begin to wonder how he knows so much about their lives. Questions, then accusations fly, sending Picasso off on a soul-search of his own … and Chiaki must guide him through one more challenging adventure.

Genkaku Picasso is also the subject of All About Manga‘s Daniella Orihuela-Gruber’s delightful article Usamaru Furuya’s Genkaku Picasso & Why It’s Currently the Only Shounen Manga on My Shelves which looks at the series from the perspective of someone who’s not generally a fan of shōnen manga:

Genkaku Picasso, on the other hand, has enough creativity to attack unconventional issues and goes so far as to mock the generic shounen formula it does take. Not to forget the manga’s shounen roots, the ending will probably make you cry a single, manly tear. I couldn’t think of a better shounen title to read right now.

As always, if I’ve missed something relating to the Feast, please let me know so that I can add it to the archive. While today was the official end of the Feast, I know there are still some contributions out there being written. Maybe you wanted to participate but for one reason or another weren’t able to during the Feast. Don’t let that hold you back! I will be posting one last, final farewell sometime later this week. Please let me know if you plan on submitting something and I’ll be sure that you are included.

I have already mentioned this several times during the Feast, but this was the first time that Experiments in Manga hosted the Manga Moveable Feast. It was a lot of work, but it was a great experience for me. I’m very glad that I volunteered. I sincerely hope that I was able to serve an adequate host. (Actually, I really hope that I was good host, but I’ll settle for adequate.) But, more importantly, I hope that you enjoyed the Feast.

I would like to thank everyone who participated in the Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast, especially those who contributed reviews and articles. I would also particularly like to thank everyone who helped spread the word about and link to the Feast; Experiments in Manga is a newer and not particularly well-known manga and Japanese literature blog, so I really appreciated the assistance. Thank you also to everyone who took time to comment on the various posts. And all of you lurkers who wandered around reading but not saying anything? I’d like to thank you, too. The Feast would have been unrewarding if no one showed up to appreciate it. Thank you all for making the Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast a success.

I hope you’ll all join us again for February’s Feast, hosted by the magnificent Kate Dacey of The Manga Critic. Scheduled for February 19-February 25, we’ll be celebrating Osamu Tezuka and exploring his works together. Bring a friend!

Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast: Roundup Three

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We’re nearing the end of the Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast, so here’s the third roundup to help you catch up with what’s been going on these last couple of day!

I posted two reviews here at Experiments in Manga. One for the first volume of Short Cuts, which I thought was hilarious, and one for the first volume of Genkaku Picasso. Personally, I find Genkaku Picasso, Volume 1 to be one of Furuya’s weaker manga, but it’s still intriguing and the next two volumes in the series do improve.

At A Case Suitable for Treatment (now a part of the Manga Bookshelf network), Sean Gaffney reviews both volumes of Short Cuts, his first exposure to Usamaru Furuya’s work:

It takes on a lot of funny subjects, especially the kogal movement in Japan, but it’s never mean about them. You get the feeling that Furuya likes these girls, and is rooting for them. And we do as well.

Lori Henderson of Manga Xanadu returns to the Feast, this time with a review of Genkaku Picasso, Volume 1, having first read a preview in Shonen Jump, but only now reading the entire volume:

What makes Genkaku Picasso work so well are its characters. Furuya has created a quirky lead with a cast of characters to match. Hikari Hamura, aka Picasso, so named for a spelling error and his love of drawing, is a fun yet endearing lead.

Kristin Bomba, writing for Comic Attack, takes a look at Furuya’s No Longer Human, Volume 2:

Furuya has a wonderful ability to illustrate the human condition, in particular the darker parts of it, making No Longer Human an excellent read.  I can’t say it’s for everyone […] but if you want a good story that is so fantastical it feels absolutely real, a story of one person’s struggle to do more than exist, then be sure to check this series out.

Melinda Beasi and Michelle Smith also discuss No Longer Human as part of a regular feature at Manga Bookshelf, “Off the Shelf”. They have a marvelous conversation addressing Furuya’s artistry and the women in Yozo’s life among other topics:

Disaster is clearly just around the corner, in the same sure way as you’d expect in, say, a Dickens novel. Yoshino is doomed just as it seems Oba is truly doomed, and nobody’s even trying to hide it. Furuya makes the most of this, too.

And there we have it…for now! Tomorrow is the final day of the Feast and there will be one last wrap up post before it’s done. Please let me know of any Feast content that I might have missed so that I can include it in the archive. Please enjoy the rest of the Feast!

Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast: Roundup Two

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We’re about halfway through the Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast, so it’s time for the second roundup!

Here at Experiments in Manga I posted a review for Secret Comics Japan, a manga anthology that includes excerpts from Furuya’s debut manga Palepoli. The review is for the volume as a whole, but I do briefly mention Palepoli in it. The last Wednesday of every month I run a manga giveaway. In order to coordinate with the Feast, January’s giveaway is for Genkaku Picasso, Volume 1. All you have to do to enter is tell me how you were introduced to Usamaru Furuya and his work. My giveaways are always open world-wide, so I hope you’ll enter! I also made a (shocking!) confession: I volunteered to host the Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast before I had even read any of his manga.

Jim Hemmingfield was kind enough to contribute a guest post for the Feast at Experiments in Manga. (This is a first for the site, so I was particularly excited about it.) Jim provides a terrific overview of Furuya’s manga, including works that have yet to be licensed in English. Furuya is one of Jim’s favorite mangaka. It’s a long post, but worth reading. To quote briefly the end of the article:

Usamaru Furuya is a unique and visionary artist; probably one of the finest artists you will find working in comics today and I hope this feast helps to spread the word.

Over at Manga Xanadu, Lori Henderson reviews the first two volumes of No Longer Human. Lori didn’t originally plan to read the series, but found it to be a manga worthy of recommendation:

I wasn’t going to read No Longer Human. I’m one of those people who hears “literary classic”, and my brain shuts down. I’ve never been big on the drama and tragedy that usually permeates these kinds of books, but I’m making an effort to “expand my horizons”, so I decided to at least give the first volume a chance. What I found was a compelling human drama that didn’t feel like homework at all.

Linda of Animemiz’s Scribblings takes time to reflect on having a limited exposure to Usamaru Furuya and his works. Linda briefly looks at Lychee Light Club and Sion Sono’s film Love Exposure, in which Furuya plays the role of the leader of the Zero Church cult. In the post, Linda makes the following comment, which I couldn’t agree with more:

If there were any live action movies adaption that would reflect the vision from my limited exposure to Furuya works, then Shion Sono should be the right candidate.

At Completely Futile, Adam Stephanides reviews the first two volumes of Furuya’s The Children’s Crusade which just recently finished serialization in Japan. It hasn’t been licensed in English yet, but I sincerely hope that it will be!

The characters’ lively, expressive faces as drawn by Furuya contribute substantially to the characterizations. And the art in general is excellent, both in visual storytelling and page design, and is frequently cinematic in scope and detail. Furuya isn’t particularly well known for his action scenes, but the ones here are dynamic.

The Feast is well under way and there have been some wonderful contributions. If you can’t wait for the next roundup, be sure to keep an eye on the archive page—I update it as soon as I learn about a new article or review. And if I’ve missed something, please let me know!

Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast: Roundup One

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It’s the first roundup for the Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast!

On Sunday I posted an introduction to the Feast, which includes a brief biography of Usamaru Furuya and an overview of what to expect at Experiments in Manga this week. Yesterday was My Week in Manga, a regular feature here at Experiments in Manga. I took the opportunity to present quick takes of most of Furuya’s manga available in English as well as some the films in which he has been involved.

Justin of Organization Anti-Social Geniuses wins the prize for being the first and only person other than myself to contribute to the Feast, so far. (At least, that I know of.) Thanks, Justin! Justin reviews No Longer Human, Volume 2, noting that Yozo is a difficult character to really like, but that Furuya’s work is still compelling:

There’s no doubt however that panel after panel [Furuya] continues to make the characters stand out in a way where you will feel a powerful emotion, whether it is dislike or sympathy, and that of course makes the work a solid read every time, along with following Yozo’s story.

The Feast may be off to a slow start, but it is still early in the week. I have high hopes that things will pick up as the Feast progresses. If you know of any Feast content that I have missed, please let me know! I’d like to keep the archive as up to date as possible.