My Week in Manga: November 12-November 18, 2012

My News and Reviews

Two reviews went up last week. The first was for Jirō Nitta’s historical novel Phantom Immigrants. It’s about Jinsaburo Oikawa, salmon fishing, Canada, and immigrant smuggling. The novel is somewhat difficult to find in print, but the translator has made a digital edition available. For the most part, I picked up Phantom Immigrants because I wanted to read more of Nitta’s work. (I read another of his historical novels, Death March on Mount Hakkōda, not too long ago.) The second review I posted was part of my Blade of the Immortal manga review project. This month I took a look at Blade of the Immortal, Volume 15: Trickster. Although I was a little disappointed with some of the fight scenes, I’m still enjoying the series.

Speaking of disappointment, Digital Manga has announced that it would be putting almost all of its print releases on hiatus (the exceptions are those works that were funded by Digital Manga’s Kickstarter projects). Digital Manga’s president Hikaru Sasahara stressed that the licenses haven’t been canceled, just that the print releases have been delayed. Digital Manga has also indicated that at least some of the titles will be available digitally before they’re available in print.

It’s a late notice, but Matt Blind has posted the call for participation for November’s Manga Moveable Feast to be hosted at Rocket Bomber later this week. It’ll be a short Feast, running from November 21 to November 25. Since the Feast will coincide with Thanksgiving in the US, we’re doing something a little different this month, focusing on manga that we’re thankful for, so do check it out!

And one last side-note: October’s manga giveaway winner Stephanie recently posted about winning at Rodeo Bucket (and said some nice things about Experiments in Manga, too)—Right-Brain Living & Winning!

Quick Takes

Battle Royale: Ultimate Edition, Volume 1 (equivalent to Volumes 1-3) written by Koushun Takami and illustrated by Masayuki Taguchi. I love Takami’s original Battle Royale novel, but it took me a while to get around to reading the manga. The loose English adaptation, which attempts to establish the program as a reality television show, is unfortunate; I wish the story had been left alone. I also wasn’t particularly fond of the more sexualized elements of the Battle Royale manga. And the manga’s program administrator is my least favorite version of that character. Taguchi’s artwork is at its best when portraying extreme violence and gore. The “ultimate edition” includes some great extras, including an interview with Takami.

Full House, Volumes 1-4 by Sooyeon Won. After reading Won’s manhwa series Let Dai, I made a point to seek out more of her work. I was looking forward to reading Full House. The first volume was okay, but I can’t say I enjoyed the series much at all except for the character designs. Even for a romantic comedy (at least that’s what I think the series is supposed to be), the plot makes little believable sense. The main character is an absolutely terrible person—she’s malicious, vindictive, and incredibly selfish for no good reason. I couldn’t bring myself to like her or to even feel sorry for her plight, which could easily be solved if she would simply be honest. Only the first four volumes of Full House were released in print in English but more are available digitally from Netcomics.

K-ON!, Volumes 2-4 by Kakifly. I’ll admit that I enjoy K-ON!. But although the first volume of the series made me tremendously happy, I wasn’t quite as taken with the rest of K-ON!. As a musician, I personally enjoy the series the most when music is somehow involved which, as it turns out, really isn’t all that often. As far as yonkoma go, K-ON! is fairly story driven which I can appreciate. Granted, there’s not much of a plot to the series. It mostly consists of a group of high school girls enjoying each other’s company; I don’t see anything wrong with that. At four volumes, I think K-ON! is just the right length. Yen Press also has plans to release both K-ON!‘s sequel K-ON! College and its spinoff K-ON! Highschool.

Secretary’s Love by Tohko Akiba. If I hadn’t picked up Secretary’s Love for a couple of bucks way back when Borders was shuttering its doors, I probably wouldn’t have gotten around to reading this boys’ love one-shot. It simply wasn’t a title that I was particularly interested in. And I was right. Secretary’s Love is incredibly boring. It could have been cute, but instead of focusing on Tanemura and Tanizaki’s relationship, Secretary’s Love seems to be more about their being secretaries. There’s not much romance to be found in the manga, mostly a few chaste kisses in the workplace and vague allusions to more carnal nocturnal activities. If it wasn’t explicitly stated, it would be hard to guess that the two men have been dating for eight years; there’s just no passion.