Manga Giveaway: Nausicaä Giveaway Winner

And the winner of the Nausicaä manga giveaway is…Stephanie!

As the winner, Stephanie will be receiving the first seven issues of the original English translation of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Over the years, Nausicaä has been published in English in five different formats, which got me to thinking about the various ways that manga is released. And so for this giveaway, I asked entrants to give me their opinions on the different formats of manga. I’ve excerpted some of the responses here, but there’s plenty more in the Nausicaä Giveaway comments. I enjoyed reading about everyone’s preferences—there was a nice variety—so thank you for sharing!

The magazine format was nice while it lasted (since it introduced me to a number of titles I otherwise would’ve ignored), but with Shonen Jump‘s demise and Viz’s rush to make everything popular digital (good luck with that), there’s no manga magazine currently in existence stateside, which means, sadly, this format is now obsolete.
~Ben Jonas

Single Issues!
For some reason I’m very partial to English single issues of manga, such as Sailor Moon and the Pokemon manga, but I’ve never been a fan of collecting the monthly Japanese “phonebooks,” really.

Individual Volumes!
I prefer individual volumes of my favourite manga so that I have a choice of beautiful cover art to show off in my room, almost like an accessory to the overall design! […] However, I don’t just let the volumes sit around for looks… I find sitting down with an actual physical copy of a book so much more relaxing and easy on my eyes than viewing manga in digital formats.
~T. Gantt

I personally prefer my manga in as close to the Japanese release as possible, so standard sized graphic novels/collections are best…but I also kind of like slightly oversized ones because you get to see all of the artwork larger and more close-up. (I’d much prefer oversized than the teeny pocket-sized books some companies have released over the years.)
~Dawn H

Personally, I prefer my manga in omnibus hardcover format. A hardcover lasts much longer and feels much better to hold and read, and omnibuses allow for getting series faster and cheaper too.

Box Sets!
I definitely have a soft spot for box sets and hardcovers, though those aren’t as common, so I don’t have as many of them. I also love volumes that have a slipcover or colored pages. The fancier, the better, I guess.

I’ve found digital manga sites like J-manga to be another regular haunt and why not – with the sheer volume of titles coming out in japan on a yearly basis, it simply wouldn’t be possible for manga companies to release all of them in the west and get any kind of return from them […] and so for me the only way to legally see many of these titles with out learning the language is via this route.
~Chou Dori

And that’s it for the  Nausicaä Giveaway! There was a great turnout this time around; I hope to see you all again for November’s giveaway!

Manga Giveaway: Nausicaä Giveaway

It’s the last day of October, so I guess it’s about time I get around to this month’s manga giveaway! This month I have something for you all which I think is pretty neat: the first seven issues (out of twenty-seven) of the original English-language release of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. The first issue even includes a poster by Mœbius! These comics are a cool manga artifact. The larger page size means Miyazaki’s artwork has plenty of room to breathe, too. As always, the contest is open worldwide!

(Apologies for the poor image quality…)

Nausicaä has had an interesting publishing history in English. It first showed up as a twenty-seven issue comic series beginning in 1988. Later, Viz would collect the story in seven graphic novel volumes and then again in four “perfect collection” volumes before once again publishing the series in seven volumes, but this time unflipped and with a smaller trim size. Finally, in November 2012, Viz will be releasing Nausicaä in a two-volume, hardcover box set.This got me to thinking about the different formats in which manga has been released in English.

Early on manga was often published similarly to American comics, first as individual floppies before being collected into larger volumes. Sometimes the individual issues were never collected and the comics are the only format in which they were released. Except in those cases (such as parts of The Legend of Kamui), I personally never collected manga in the comics format. I like my manga in book-sized chunks. But book-sized collections that I can actually read—I’m not a big fan of Dark Horse’s tiny Lone Wolf & Cub volumes, for example. For longer series, I appreciate multi-volume omnibus releases. Actually, I like shorter series collected as a single volume, too. Box sets are also fun and often come with additional content and artwork. At the moment, my favorite manga format is Fantagraphics’ oversized hardcovers. Yen Press and Vertical both have some nice hardcover manga, too. And while I’m glad to see digital manga becoming a more viable option, I still prefer my manga in print.

So, you may be wondering, how can you win the first seven issues of Nausicaä?

1) In the comments below, simply tell me which formats of manga you prefer to read and why. (Magazine serialization, individual volumes, multi-volume omnibuses, box sets, hardcover, digital, etc.)
2) 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).

So there you go! For this giveaway each person can earn up to two entries. As usual, there is one week to submit your entries. If you have trouble leaving comments, or if you would prefer, feel free to e-mail me your entry at phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com. I will then post the comment in your name. The winner will be randomly selected and announced on November 7, 2012. Good luck to you all!

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: Nausicaä Giveaway Winner

My Week in Manga: September 19-September 25, 2011

My News and Reviews

All right! Another week! And what sorts of goodies did I have for you all? First off was my review for Spice & Wolf, Volume 4. Isuna Hasekura’s light novel that is. (It also happens to be the 100th review posted on Experiments in Manga!) I haven’t delved into the manga version because I’m happily content with the novels. I also posted a review for Natsume Sōseki final novel and masterpiece Kokoro. I’ve been meaning to read it for over a year now. Fortunately, it was chosen as the September/October 2011 selection for the Japanese Literature Book Group. I’d also like to mention a review for Diana Wynne Jones’ novel Howl’s Moving Castle that I posted over on my book review site Experiments in Reading. If you’ve only seen the anime adaptation, which I have a quick take for below, you’re missing out on some great stuff.

And, as promised, a few interesting things that I’ve recently come across online. I don’t know much about the dance performance TeZukA other than the fact that I would really like to see it. Helen McCarthy, author of The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga, has a few things to say about it on her blog—TeZukA: bridges and doors. The BBC also has a few photos of the production which just make me want to see it eve more—In pictures: Manga meets contemporary dance in TeZukA. Over on Tofugu I came across a nice, concise introduction to the Takarazuka Revue, another performance group that I would love to see—Gender Bending Thespians Confuse and Amuse. Finally, the Young Adult Library Services Association had a great post over on their blog—Graphic Novelists You Should Know — Manga Edition. I heartily support their choices and recommendations.

Oh! If you happen to be in the Southeast Michigan area this coming weekend, Sunday is the Japan Festival in Novi. I went as a visitor last year and had a great time. This year I’ll actually be performing with my taiko group! The event is free and a lot of fun.

Quick Takes

Les Bijoux, Volumes 1-5 written by Jo Eun-ha and illustrated by Park Sang-sun. I really liked the conceit that the characters and their personalities and powers were based on various precious stones. I also liked that the main character changes between genders, although I don’t think it was handled as well as it could be. I get the impression that the series had to end earlier than the creators intended; it shows as they have to cram too much plot into the final volumes. Had they been given the chance to thoroughly explore their world and characters, I think Les Bijoux could have been great. As it is, the narrative is too choppy and requires the reader to fill in too many blanks. I did like the art though, and the men are very, very pretty.

Library Wars, Volumes 3-6 by Kiiro Yumi. I really wish this series was better than it actually is. I do still like it, though. Dojo by far is my favorite character. We get to see a bit more of his backstory in these volumes, which made me happy. It’s been obvious to readers (and to most of the other characters) since the beginning that he’s Iku’s prince although she hasn’t realized it yet. I’m starting to warm up to Iku a little, but it frustrates me that her passion often makes her look so damned incompetent. Her constant need to be rescued by Dojo makes for extremely repetitive scenes which is unfortunate. Although, it does mean Dojo gets more appearances which I’m always okay with. I’d really like to read the original light novels.

Love Attack, Volumes 1-2 by Shizuru Seino. Chiemi’s about to be expelled for fighting when her teacher makes a deal with her. If she can get her classmate Hirata to shape up, her record will be cleared. One flying kick to the face later, he’s in love and the two become the scariest couple in school. It’s the first serious relationship either of them have been in, and they are delightfully awkward with each other. I loved the first volume of Love Attack but didn’t like the second one nearly as well. The second volume was very silly and, while entertaining, the tone of the story just changed too much for me. The series is up to thirteen volumes in Japan and is still ongoing; Tokyopop managed to publish the first six.

Cross Game, Episodes 23-50 directed by Osamu Sekita. Even though I don’t really consider myself a fan of basball, I got incredibly caught up in and anxious over the games in Cross Game. I think I may have even cheered out loud on several occasions. The series keeps you guessing right up until the end whether or not the team will make it to Kōshien. I could honestly see the story going either way. Despite the palpable intensity of many of the baseball games, Cross Game is not a fast paced anime by any means. The plot and character development is slow and deliberate and yet it remains engaging throughout. The series is very good. Even if you’re not a sports fan, I’d still recommend giving it a try.

Howl’s Moving Castle directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Howl’s Moving Castle is loosely based on a novel of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones. Sophie has been cursed by the Witch of the Waste—although a young woman, she now appears to be ninety—and must seek the aid of the Wizard Howl to break it. While the basic premise, plot, and characters are very similar, Miyazaki takes the story in a very different direction. One of the most noticeable changes is the emphasis given to the war in Miyazaki’s version (he’s not very subtle about it at all.)  Howl’s Moving Castle is nowhere near my favorite film by Miyazaki, but I still found it to be enjoyable. I particularly liked the look and feel given to the castle itself.

Summer Wars directed by Mamoru Hosoda. I enjoyed Summer Wars immensely and am not at all surprised by the number of awards it has received. It has a great soundtrack, too. The Jinnouchi family is fantastic. Sure, there’s plenty of conflict, but they care for each other and are able to pull together when they need to. They all have distinct personalities, but good luck keeping everyone straight (there’s a lot of them.)While the anime’s not always very realistic, I didn’t really care and was thoroughly entertained. On the other hand, some of the problems caused by what basically amounts to “breaking the Internet” are very real. Visually, Summer Wars is a feast; it just looks great. The differences in style between the OZ network and real life are handled especially well.

My Week in Manga: November 29-December 5, 2010

My News and Reviews

Last week was the One Piece Manga Moveable Feast. This was the first time I was able to participate in the Manga Moveable Feast and for my part I wrote a review of One Piece, Volume 1: Romance Dawn. This also counts as my second in-depth manga review for the month of November, meeting my goal! Now let’s see if I can do it again for December. January’s Manga Moveable Feast will be hosted by Anna of Manga Report and focuses on Karakuri Odette by Julietta Suzuki. I’m really looking forward to reading the series and participating in the Manga Moveable Feast again. My other posts for this week included the Bookshelf Overload for November and the announcement of the Feast of Firsts manga giveaway winner.

Quick Takes

Eerie Queerie, Volumes 1-4 by Shuri Shiozu. The first volume of this series is definitely the strongest. Mitsuo is supernaturally sensitive and discovers to his dismay that ghosts can easily take advantage of him and possess his body. This can be a bit awkward when the spirits are women who want to make a few last memories with his male classmates before moving on. After the first volume though, things kinda fall apart and Shiozu tends to lose focus on the supernatural aspects of the story. The manga is goofy and amusing, but I wasn’t really convinced by most of the relationships or romance. And then it just ends and I was left wondering what the point of it all was.

House of Five Leaves, Volume 1 by Natsume Ono. I absolutely adored the anime adaptation of House of Five Leaves (I really hope it gets a DVD release) and I was very excited to discover that the manga had been licensed. The manga is also very good. Ono’s artwork is a bit unusual but the droopy lines seem fitting and are effective in conveying the emotions of the story. Most of the time I just want to give Masa a huge hug (which would probably freak him out, the poor guy). He’s a rōnin, a masterless samurai, that due to his timid nature and odd personality finds it difficult to hold down a job. Masa ends up falling in with a group of kidnappers that go by the name of House of Five Leaves, fascinated by the mysterious and charismatic leader Yaichi.

Lupin III, Volumes 1-5 by Monkey Punch. Lupin really is a cocky bastard. The humor is lewd and crude, the characters are foul-mouthed, and Monkey Punch frequently breaks the fourth wall—I quite enjoyed the humor. Unfortunately, I found the manga itself somewhat difficult to follow and the characters, especially the women, hard to tell apart most of the time. There isn’t so much of a coherent plot to Lupin III in these first few volumes, instead each of the short chapters is more of a vignette. Occasionally an episode might continue over several chapters and there are several recurring characters in addition to Lupin although their roles might change significantly from story to story. The more I read of Lupin III the more I liked it.

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki’s Lupin is a much more noble, family-friendly character than the Lupin from the original manga (although some of the strong language still remains). With marvelous visual gags and plenty of humor, The Castle of Cagliostro is a fantastic anime and a lot of fun. It’s definitely a movie that I would watch again, probably repeatedly. After it turns out the huge haul they lifted from a casino was completely counterfeit, master thief Lupin and his right-hand man Jigen search for its source in Cagliostro hoping to strike it big. Things get a bit complicated when Lupin gets involved with the Lady Clarisse, though.

Monster, Episodes 12-27 directed by Masayuki Kojima. The anime adaptation of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster continues to follow the manga very closely although some scenes have been abbreviated or lengthened. The anime does lack some of the subtlety of the manga and some of the more dramatic scenes come across as too overly dramatic. Overall though, it’s still quite good. I particularly appreciate the efforts gone into the casting of the voice actors for the English dub—even the secondary characters that only show up in one episode have been chosen well. As far as I can tell, only the first fifteen episodes have been released on DVD, but the full series is available streaming through Hulu.

My Week in Manga: November 1-November 7, 2010

My News and Reviews

I had a very busy week and wasn’t home much which means I didn’t get much manga reading in, either. However, I did manage to clean my room and completely reorganize my bookcases, getting all the manga that’s been accumulating in boxes onto actual shelves. (Except for Ranma 1/2—I’ve a box it fits in perfectly and being the longest series I own it takes up too much space otherwise.) Granted, they’re all stacked at least two deep but at least now they’re alphabetized and I know where everything is.

This past week featured October’s Bookshelf Overload, which I now know at least one other person enjoys, as well as a book review for Nahoko Uehashi fantasy novel Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit. I really enjoyed the book, so I hope more people will check it and its sequel out. Maybe then Arthur A. Levine Books will publish the rest of the series!

I hit a bit of a technical snag while updating the Resources page and lost a bunch of links and my backup was a bit outdated. Fortunately, I think I’ve managed to recover most if not all of them. And now, like I’ve been promising, there’s a section for podcasts! I’ve only got eight so far—if you know of any others, specifically those manga related, please let me know. My post on podcasts will probably appear sometime next week. That’s the goal anyway.

Completely unrelated to manga, but I’m still excited about it—I was able to attend Jake Shimabukuro’s concert on Thursday night! It was a fantastic performance. Jake is an amazing musician and has a wonderful stage presence, too.

Quick Takes

Black-Winged Love by Tomoko Yamashita. I am in love with this collection. I had previously read Yamashita’s Dining Bar Akira and enjoyed it, but Black-Winged Love is even better. The manga collects seven boys’ love stories plus some fun bonus material. The stories are mostly serious in tone, but each also exhibit a quirky sense of humor. While there’s very little actual sex, the manga is still sexy and smart (I mean, we’ve got references to Yukio Mishima and others in here). I keep changing my mind about which story is my favorite; I liked them all and reread the book several times. I’m setting this manga aside to do a more in-depth review in the future.

Parasyte, Volumes 1-8 by Hitoshi Iwaaki. I spent most of my Saturday reading through this entire series, it’s that good and addicting of a story. It’s fascinating to not only see Izumi change and grow as a person through the series, but to see the Parasites develop and evolve as well. And his relationship with Migi—the Parasite that took over his right arm after failing to take over his brain—is simply great. The two of them must learn to work together and coexist in the same body, but they are definitely both individuals. There’s a lot in the manga that explores human nature, and sometimes it’s the Parasites with their straightforward logic that appear to be the more humane creatures.

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, Episodes 1-12 directed by Kenji Kamiyama. As I mentioned above, I recently read and adored the novel this anime series was based on, so I was very excited to watch it. The first few episodes follow the book very closely, but the middle section has been greatly expanded while still holding to the spirit of the original story. The attention to detail in the animation is wonderful, not only for the characters (the eyes in particular are gorgeous and expressive) and beautiful backgrounds, but even the clothing and weaponry. Occasionally though the CG used does feel a bit out of place. I look forward to watching the rest of the series.

Princess Mononoke written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Although I have enjoyed just about every Miyazaki film that I’ve seen, I think that Princess Mononoke is probably my favorite. And at over two hours, it is also one of the longest animated films ever made. I think the thing I love most about this anime is the complexity of the characters and the situations they find themselves in. There’s man versus nature, and man versus man, and it’s not always easy to pick a side and say who is right. With lovely animation and accompanying soundtrack, it is is a wonderful movie and has been adapted well for English speaking audiences.