My Week in Manga: September 6-September 12, 2010

My News and Reviews

I’ve more or less gotten back on schedule after my vacation. Not much news to speak of, although I have some fun things in store for all of you out there. An interesting story about my third volume of Challengers: I went to read it only to discover that it was volume two hiding in the dust jacket of volume three. I have never seen something like this happen before, but the folks at Akadot Retail (from whom I ordered the books several months ago) were marvelous to work with in fixing the situation.

I did review Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s Slum Online this past week which I’m pretty sure was a light novel. If you like video games, you’ll probably enjoy it, and if you don’t, you might still enjoy it. There is also another As Seen Online post with links to all sorts of interesting things.

I’ve added a few more sites to the Resources page. I don’t remember how I stumbled across Kathryn Hemmann’s Contemporary Japanese Literature, but it was a very happy accident. The blog features book reviews for everything from nonfiction to manga. I’ve also added Manga Worth Reading, which is a part of Comics Worth Reading sites, A Feminist Otaku, which explores gender issues in manga and anime, and the news and review site Manga Xanadu.

Quick Takes

Challengers, Volumes 3-4 by Hinako Takanaga. The third volume is probably my favorite in the entire series. While there is still plenty of humor and goofiness going on—it is a romantic comedy after all—the last two books take a slightly more serious turn. Though, I do giggle every time I read the phrase “Satan’s rape demons.” Anyway—we get a showdown between Kurokawa’s mother and Souichi, Morinaga admits to Souichi that he’s gay, a female coworker is out to rehabilitate Kurokawa, and Tomoe is given the opportunity to work in America. Challengers is followed by the series The Tyrant Falls in Love which focuses on Morinaga and Souichi.

Dining Bar Akira by Tomoko Yamashita. The first thing I want to say is that I absolutely adore the cover of Dining Bar Akira; it really does a great job of capturing the feeling of the story. Despite having fallen for one another, Akria and Torihara piss each other off so much. They’re complete opposites and it’s hilarious in a very realistic way. Yamashita’s art reminds me a little of est em’s which is not at all a bad thing. In addition to the main story there are also two shorts, “Foggy Scene” and “Riverside Moonlight.” The dialogue is a little hard to follow at times, but I really enjoyed this one-shot.

GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka, Volumes 15-20 by Tohru Fujisawa. I do like this series, I do, I do. At this point, most of the material is completely new to me and doesn’t show up in the anime. The craziness, inappropriateness, and well intentioned insanity continues. While Onizuka has won over most of his students by now, he still has plenty to work out with their parents, other teachers, and the school administration. Now my only problem is that I haven’t been able to track down affordable copies of the last five books in the series. I’ll be keeping my eyes open, though.

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie The Cowboy Bebop series was one of the first anime that I ever saw and remains one of my favorites. I don’t think the movie is quite as good, but it’s still pretty fantastic. It’s hard to go wrong with awesome music and awesome characters. Apparently, the movie is rated R for violence, which I hadn’t realized until now. The movie doesn’t seem to have the same sense of urgency as the series does, but granted the creators have almost two hours to explore one plot arc as opposed to under a half hour. Still, the movie is pretty great and even if you haven’t seen the series you should still be able to follow everything.

My Week in Manga: August 30-September 5, 2010

My News and Reviews

I was away on an extra-long-weekend-mini-vacation this past week. I didn’t do much but read, play video games, and enjoy the outdoors of northern Michigan, including walking across the Mackinac Bridge—the third longest suspension bridge in the world. So, not really much news-wise other than my posting schedule is going to be a little off while I catch up.

Before I left, I did manage to get my review up for the first volume of Saemi Yorita’s Brilliant Blue. Also posted this past week was my first Bookshelf Overload, featuring my empty wallet and acquisitions for August.

Quick Takes

Challengers, Volume 1-2 by Hinako Takanaga. Challengers is Takanaga’s debut manga series. I am quite fond of Takanaga’s work, particularly her art, so it’s interesting to get to see her early style. Challengers is a cute, romantic, boys’ love comedy. I like the characters, and while the main couple (Tomoe and Kurokawa) is endearing, it’s really the secondary characters that make the series so much fun. My favorite is probably Isogai, Kurokawa’s meddling office-mate and best friend, although Tomoe’s violently homophobic brother Souichi is pretty fantastic as well.

GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka, Volumes 8-14 by Tohru Fujisawa. I took a huge stack of GTO with me up north and it was pretty much all I read while I was up there. So far, the series and the anime have stuck pretty close together, but it’s nice that a few chapters and story arcs unique to the manga are starting showing up. I really do enjoy Onizuka’s crazy antics and enthusiasm for what he calls being a teacher. He may be a little unorthodox to say the least, but his students definitely learn something from him even if it’s not on the standard curriculum.

Brave Story: New Traveler (PSP) I recently read and enjoyed Miyuki Miyabe’s Brave Story so I figured I’d give one of the video games based on the story a try. Brave Story: New Traveler is your pretty standard random-encounter RPG. It has a nice fighting system with animations unique to each attack. However, the monsters can get repetitive (as can the battle music). The thing I really enjoyed is how the game incorporated elements and characters from the original story—you even have the opportunity to play Wataru and his friends at one point. The main quest is very similar to the book’s plot but different enough to be interesting.