Manga Giveaway: Omnivorous Old Boy Winner

And the winner of the Omnivorous Old Boy manga giveaway is…Jason!

Thank you to everyone who visited Experiments in Manga and participated in the contest. Only four people entered this time, which I thought was a little disappointing. Hopefully there will be a bigger turn out next month. Although, a smaller entry pool means there’s better odds for you if you participate. Anyway. As the winner, Jason will be receiving a brand new copy of Old Boy, Volume 1 written by Garon Tsuchiya and illustrated by Nobuaki Minegishi.

Since there are some great scenes in Old Boy involving food, I asked entrants for some favorite scenes from other manga that also involve food. (See the Omnivorous Old Boy comments for more details.) The manga mentioned included two “food” manga Yakitate!! Japan by Takashi Hashiguchi and Bambino! by Tetsuji Sekiya. Understandably, there are quite a few notable scenes involving food in those two series. There’s a fair amount of food and cooking related manga available, which I think is wonderful. I love food. I love manga. The combination works for me.

There are plenty of scenes in “non-food” manga involving food that are fun and important, too. I offered up Old Boy as one example. I found it interesting that the two “non-food” series mentioned in the comments both happened to have post-apocalyptic, science fiction elements. Yasuhiro Nightow’s Trigun and Trigun Maximum have quite a few moments involving food and drink. Wolfwood and Vash fighting over spaghetti early on in Trigun Maximum amused me greatly. Also mentioned was a delightful scene from Eden: It’s an Endless World! by Hiroki Endo. I don’t remember which volume this is from (I think it’s volume eight), but I do remember the moment:

Eden: It’s an Endless World! by Hiroki Endo

Manga Giveaway: Omnivorous Old Boy

We’re nearing the end of March, and that means it’s time for another manga giveaway! So, what do I have for you this month? A brand new copy of Old Boy, Volume 1 written by Garon Tsuchiya and illustrated by Nobuaki Minegishi from Dark Horse. The contest is open world-wide, but it’s another mature title, so please only enter if you’re over eighteen.

After ten years of solitary confinement for unknown reasons, eating nothing but the same Chinese takeout day after day, one of the first things that Shinichi Gotō does upon his release is go out for sushi. It’s a memorable scene in the manga, and a very memorable scene in Park Chan-wook’s live-action film Oldboy which is based on the series. Old Boy is not a food manga by any means but food is still very important to the story, especially towards the beginning. The Chinese takeout is the only clue Gotō has with which to start piecing together why he was imprisoned and who did it to him. The act of choosing his own meal proves that he really has been given his freedom and that some amount of control over his own life has been returned.

So, you may be wondering, how can you win a copy of Old Boy, Volume 1?

1) In the comments section below, tell me about a favorite scene that involves food from a manga of your choice.
2) Also in the comments—What would be the first thing you would eat after eating the same meal over and over again for ten years?
3) If you’re on Twitter, you can earn a bonus entry by tweeting about the contest. Make sure to include a link to this post and @PhoenixTerran (that’s me).

One person can earn up to three entries for this giveaway. The winner will be randomly selected on April 6, 2011. That gives you one week to enter for a chance to win. Good luck!

VERY IMPORTANT: Include some way that I can contact you. This can be an e-mail address, link to your website, Twitter username, or whatever. If I can’t figure out how to get a hold of you and you win, I’ll just draw another name.

Contest winner announced—Manga Giveaway: Omnivorous Old Boy Winner

My Week in Manga: January 3-January 9, 2011

My News and Reviews

Not much news from me this week, but I did post my first in-depth manga review for January—Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 2. I enjoyed the first volume of the series, but the second volume is even better. I also posted the Bookshelf Overload for December 2010 which features my New Year’s resolution in addition to the absurd amount of manga I’ve recently managed to acquire. Finally, I’m getting ready for next week’s Manga Moveable Feast hosted by Anna at Manga Report and featuring Karakuri Odette by Julietta Suzuki. I plan on writing an in-depth review for the first volume as well as posting some random musings about androids because, well, I like androids. I’m looking forward to seeing what others have to say about the series, too.

Quick Takes

Cat Paradise, Volumes 3-5 by Yuji Iwahara. So, the plot might get a little convoluted and difficult to follow, and there are plenty of info dumps, but Cat Paradise is still great fun and I really enjoyed it. One of the greatest things about the manga are the cats. Each one is an individual and has their own unique look and personality. Their owners/partners, too, have some great character designs. Most of the pairs have some interesting backstories that are at least hinted at if not fully explored, but the plot gets caught up pretty quickly in the action and fighting. I did see some of the plot twists coming long before they were revealed, but there were some nice surprises as well.

From Up Above by Sakuya Kurekoshi. From Up Above was originally intended to be an ongoing series, but as far as I can tell only this first volume was ever published. It’s a nice setup, but unfortunately it doesn’t work very well on its own; many of the story elements introduced simply don’t have enough time to be thoroughly developed. I found that I was filling in a lot of the plot on my own rather than strictly depending on the information Kurekoshi was providing. I like the supernatural components of the story and I’ve always been fond of human incarnations of natural forces, but From Up Above isn’t quite able to pull it off in one volume.

Old Boy, Volumes 1-8 written by Garon Tsuchiya and illustrated by Nobuaki Minegishi. I watched the film adaptation of Old Boy before I even knew it was based on a manga series. I was very excited when Dark Horse licensed the series which then went on to win an Eisner Award in 2007. Very little violence is actually seen, instead the intense mood comes from the psychological anguish the characters experience. Minegishi’s art fits the tone of the story fantastically well. Much of the story is the characters internally confronting and searching their minds, so panel after panel may pass by without even a hint of dialogue but the art is engaging and up to the task. 

Planetes, Volumes 1-4 by Makoto Yukimura. While technically a four volume series, the fourth collection was actually split into two books for the English edition. The realism and research put into the writing of Planetes is fantastic and it extends beyond technology to the human elements of living and working in space as well. I’m a big fan of science fiction to begin with, but I particularly enjoyed Yukimura’s approach in presenting a feasible near future. I did find the storytelling to be a bit disjointed moving from chapter to chapter but I really liked the characters even if their development was a bit bumpy. Although Planetes is hard science fiction, the family and interpersonal relationships are critical to the story.

You and Harujion by Keiko Kinoshita. There’s a sort of melancholy feel to most of the story and the light, scratchy artwork captures the mood well. However, the ending seems forced to me and the sudden change in the characters’ relationship was abrupt, almost as if Kinoshita suddenly remembered that it was supposed to be a boys’ love work after all. But before that, Senoh working through his thoughts a feelings regarding Harujion was actually handled quite well. He wants to be an important person in the teen’s life and is honestly and genuinely concerned for the boy’s well-being. Harujion, who has lost both of his parents and is faced with his father’s debts after his death, needs someone close.

GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka, Episodes 35-43 directed by Noriyuki Abe and Naoyasu Hanyu. I have now read through the GTO manga series once and watched the anime twice. While I ultimately probably prefer the manga, I really enjoy the anime as well. Some stories are unique to the anime and others have been modified from the original, but they all exhibit the spirit of GTO. Granted, some of the more extreme antics from the manga have been toned down for the anime. The final two episodes of the series seem to come out of nowhere but they tie up everything pretty nicely. The story ends in an entirely different way than the manga but it works even if it is a bit sudden.

Oldboy directed by Park Chan-wook. While Oldboy isn’t my favorite of Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance Trilogy, it is still a fantastic film. I had seen the movie once before, so I wasn’t taken by surprise by some of the major plot twists that are thrown in. However, I was still able to thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the work. The basic premise is the same as that of the manga, although the ultimate reason behind the protagonist’s imprisonment is different. Despite the amount of action and violence involved in the film adaptation, the story is still primarily one huge mind game that is slowly and methodically revealed.

My Week in Manga: September 20-September 26, 2010

My News and Reviews

The biggest thing going on right now for me is my very first manga giveaway, the Crazy Karate Contest. I’ll be drawing the winner this Wednesday, so get your entries in. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t have more entrants, but I do realize that my manga blog is rather new and it’s a little awkward to be giving away the eleventh volume of a series. I plan on doing a giveaway every month, so be on the lookout.

This past week I posted a review of Osamu Dazai’s novel The Setting Sun. I also posted the first in my Discovering Manga series where I’ll be discussing where I learn about and discover manga. This time I look at Jason Thompson’s project 365 Days of Manga, which I have mentioned previously. Finally, I want to mention a review that I posted over on Experiments in ReadingGender Outlaws: The Next Generation. In addition to being an absolutely wonderful collection of short nonfiction, poetry, and comics focusing on transgender and queer issues, I wanted to mention it here because of Japanese-Canadian Kenji Tokawa’s fantastic essay “Why You Don’t Have To Choose A White Boy Name To Be A Man In This World.”

Quick Takes

Astral Project, Volumes 1-4 written by Garon Tsuchiya (as marginal) and illustrated by Shyuji Takeya. This is kind of an odd, psychological manga, but a very good one, too. There’s a lot going on in it and I’m not sure that I caught everything on my first read through, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I really liked the main protagonist, Masahiko. Although his love for his sister and his grief over her death is obvious, they are not the only things that define him as a person—he’s got plenty to work out in his own life. I’ll definitely be giving this series a re-read.

Cinderalla by Junko Mizuno. I have never seen anything like Mizuno’s art before, and I love it—brightly colored, psychedelic, and creepy-cute, it’s really quite stunning. The story is a strange but highly amusing retelling of Cinderella, complete with zombies, yakitori, and pop idols. I couldn’t tell you why Cinderalla has a tendency to do housework bare-breasted, but oh well. I believe that Cinderalla is Mizuno’s first full-length work made available in English and I’ll be looking into picking up her others as well.

Future Lovers, Volumes 1-2 by Saika Kunieda. I really enjoyed the realism present in this series and in Kento and Akira’s relationship. Some people might find it tedious since not much happens and the two have the same arguments over and over, but I found it to be endearing and authentic. Akira’s constant bickering with Kento’s grandfather is hilarious. I also loved that Kento blushes just as much as Akira. I liked Kento’s character design but Akira sometimes just looked really odd to me. The two are definitely great in bed together, though.

Loud Snow written by Tina Anderson and illustrated by Amelie Belcher. Loud Snow was my first foray into GloBL manga. I don’t remember who told me to buy it, but thank you. Anituk and Abalu are really cute together and the story is very sweet. It can be a little goofy at times, but also serious when needed. I think the artwork looks better in the digital versions I’ve seen—something to do with how the shading is printed, I think—but overall I liked the art and Anituk pulls some great faces and reactions. His brother makes a great side character, too.

Hetalia: Axis Powers, Season 1 I’m pretty sure I find this series much funnier than I actually should, but I really can’t help it. I will admit that it’s a little uneven—some episodes I hardly crack a smile at but other episodes make me cry because I’m laughing so hard. Hetalia definitely has the potential to be incredibly offensive, but I personally wasn’t bothered by it. I don’t mind the blatant use of cultural and national stereotypes in this case probably because nobody is safe. It’s a bizarre and silly series, and not everyone is going to be able to stand it, but it makes me grin.