Manga Giveaway: A Variety of Vertical Comics Winner

Devils' Line, Volume 1Flying Witch, Volume 1
Mysterious Girlfriend X, Omnibus 1Nichijou: My Ordinary Life, Volume 1

And the winner of the Variety of Vertical Comics manga giveaway is… Michelle Gauthier!

As the winner, Michelle will be receiving the first volume of four manga series released by Vertical Comics: Ryo Hanada’s Devils’ Line, Chihiro Ishizuka’s Flying Witch, Riichi Ueshiba’s Mysterious Girlfriend X, and Keiichi Arawi’s Nichijou: My Ordinary Life. Since this giveaway focused on Vertical Comics, I asked participants to tell me a little about their favorite Vertical manga, too. Check out the giveaway comments for everyone’s detailed responses, and check out below for a list of some of Vertical’s manga.

Manga from Vertical Comics:
Arakawa under the Bridge by Hikaru Nakamura
Blame! by Tsutomu Nihei
Chi’s Sweet Home by Konami Kanata
Devil’s Line by Ryo Hanada
Dissolving Classroom by Junji Ito
Dream Fossil by Satoshi Kon
Flying Witch by Chihiro Ishizuka
The Flowers of Evil by Shuzo Oshimi
FukuFuku: Kitten Tales by Konami Kanata
The Garden of Words written by Makoto Shinkai, illustrated by Midori Motohashi
A Girl on the Shore by Inio Asano
The Gods Lie by Kaori Okazaki
Helvetica Standard Bold by Keiichi Arawai
Immortal Hounds by Ryo Yasohachi
Imperfect Girl written by Nisioisin, illustrated by Mitsuru Hattori
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa, illustrated by Tomofumi Ogasawara
My Neighbor Seki by Takuma Morishige
Mysterious Girlfriend X by Riichi Ueshiba
Nichijou: My Ordinary Life by Keiichi Arawi
Ninja Slayer written by Yoshiaki Tabata, illustrated by Yuuki Yogo
Prophecy by Tetsuya Tsutsui
She and Her Cat written by Makoto Shinkai, illustrated by Tsubasa Yamaguchi
To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts by Maybe
Tokyo ESP by Hajime Segawa
Witchcraft Works by Ryu Mizunagi

The above list only includes the manga that have been released (or will be released very soon) under the Vertical Comics imprint which was launched in 2014, but Vertical began publishing manga well before then. (I’m fairly certain that Vertical’s first manga was Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha back in 2003, but I could be wrong.) Even before specifically devoting an imprint to manga and anime-related titles, Vertical has always had a strong catalog of titles which are well-worth reading. Thank you to everyone who shared your particular Vertical favorites with me! I hope you’ll all participate in the next giveaway, too.

Manga Giveaway: A Variety of Vertical Comics

It’s nearly the end of August which means it’s time for another giveaway at Experiments in Manga! Earlier this month I celebrated the blog’s seventh anniversary, and I’d like to continue that celebration by offering you all the chance to win not one, not two, not three, but four volumes of manga. In this particular case the first volumes of Ryo Hanada’s Devils’ Line, Chihiro Ishizuka’s Flying Witch, Riichi Ueshiba’s Mysterious Girlfriend X, and Keiichi Arawi’s Nichijou: My Ordinary Life, all of which have been published in English by Vertical Comics. As usual, the giveaway is open worldwide!

Devils' Line, Volume 1Flying Witch, Volume 1Mysterious Girlfriend X, Omnibus 1Nichijou: My Ordinary Life, Volume 1

I’ve been a big fan of Vertical releases for years, not only of its manga, but its prose works, too, both fiction and nonfiction. (Two of my younger sisters also greatly enjoy Vertical’s puzzle books, although I think it’s been a few years since the last one was published). In 2014, Vertical launched Vertical Comics, an imprint specializing in the publisher’s manga and anime-related titles. Since then, Vertical Comics has continued to expand and offer more and more manga of a wide variety–there seems to be a little bit of something for just about everyone. And I’m always happy to give just about any manga a chance when it’s released by Vertical Comics.

So, you may be wondering, how can you win a variety of Vertical Comics?

1) In the comments below, tell me a little about your favorite manga that has been released by Vertical Comics. (If you don’t have a favorite, or haven’t read any, simply mention that instead.)
2) If you’re on Twitter, you can earn a bonus entry by tweeting, or retweeting, about the contest. Make sure to include a link to this post and @PhoenixTerran (that’s me).

And it’s as easy as that! Giveaway participants can earn up to two entries and have one week to submit comments. If needed or if preferred, comments can also be sent to me at phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com and I will then post them here in your name. The giveaway winner will be randomly selected and announced on September 6, 2017. Best of luck to you all!

VERY IMPORTANT: Include some way that I can contact you. This can be an e-mail address in the comment form, a 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: A Variety of Vertical Comics Winner

My Week in Manga: May 1-May 7, 2017

My News and Reviews

Last week at Experiments in Manga, the winner of the Queen Emeraldas manga giveaway was announced. The post also includes a list of some of the manga available in English which are at least partially set in space. Otherwise, it was a fairly quiet week. I’m still very busy at work, training for the new job, but things are largely going well on that front. Later this week I’ll be leaving for a long weekend in Toronto for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, so hopefully I’ll still be able to remember everything that I’ve been learning when I get back.

Elsewhere online, Brigid Alverson recently reported back on manga at the C2E2 conference for Publishers Weekly. The Anime Feminist continues to host interesting features on manga; most recently freelance translator Jenny McKeon took a look at yuri manga. The San Diego Comic-Con is fast approaching which means that this year’s Eisner Award nominations have been announced. As usual, most of the nominated manga are found in the Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia category (Goodnight Punpun by Inio Asano, Orange by Ichigo Takano, The Osamu Tezuka Story by Toshio Ban, Princess Jellyfish by Akiko Higashimura, and Wandering Island by Kenji Tsuruta) but Takeshi Obata’s artbook Blanc et Noir was also nominated for Best Comics-Related Book.

Quick Takes

Cigarette GirlCigarette Girl by Masahiko Matsumoto. Although touted as the first collection of Matsumoto’s work in English (which may technically be true), Cigarette Girl is actually the second volume of manga by Matsumoto to be translated. Granted, Cigarette Girl was likely to be the first licensed (it was first announced by Top Shelf back in 2010), but it didn’t end up being released until 2016, two years after The Man Next Door was published by Breakdown Press. Matsumoto, like Yoshihiro Tatsumi (who provides the introduction to Cigarette Girl), worked in the gekiga tradition of manga. Cigarette Girl collects eleven of Matsumoto’s short gekiga manga, originally created for several different magazines in the early 1970s. Most of the stories could be considered romances of one sort or another. While an exploration of love isn’t necessarily the focus of the volume, the manga are all about relationships between people and often those relationships between men and women have a romantic bent to them. The stories in Cigarette Girl tend to be fairly quiet and focus on the everyday life of everyday people, but they’re also rather quirky and surprisingly funny, too. I enjoyed Cigarette Girl a great deal and would definitely be interested in reading more of Matsumoto’s work.

Kiss and White Lily for My Dearest Girl, Volume 1Kiss & White Lily for My Dearest Girl, Volume 1 by Canno. Lately, most of the yuri and other lesbian-themed manga translated in English are currently being released by Seven Seas, but other publishers have been starting to explore (or re-explore) the genre as well. One of Yen Press’ most recent yuri offerings is Canno’s Kiss & White Lily for My Dearest Girl, an ongoing series about the lives and loves of the students at an all-girls school. So far two main couples have been introduced and the short manga between chapter breaks implies that most of the background characters are in one way or another paired off together as well. As for the lead couples, first there is Ayaka and Yurine, the school’s top students. Ayaka is used to being first academically but finds that no matter how hard she tries, Yurine’s natural genius is tough to beat. Yurine, bored with how easy everything is for her, is delighted to finally have someone that she can consider a rival. While Ayaka and Yurine currently have something of a love-hate relationship going on, the affections of the second main couple are much sweeter and more clearly romantic–Ayaka’s tomboyish cousin Mizuki has been in a close relationship with Moe for years.

Nichijou: My Ordinary Life, Volume 1Nichijou: My Ordinary Life, Volumes 1-2 by Keiichi Arawi. I’ve heard great things about Nichijou, both the original manga and it’s anime adaptation and so I was fully expecting to enjoy the series. But while I tend to like absurd humor, for whatever reason the offbeat comedy found in the first two volumes of Nichijou just didn’t work for me. Or at least not consistently. While many of the gags fell flat, there were definitely individual bits that I found to be extremely funny. Some even made me laugh out loud. I was frequently amused by the manga as well as delightfully bemused. But as a whole, Nichijou seems to lack real substance. Granted, that’s not necessarily a bad thing and may very well be part of the point. The series mixes the mundane with the strange and completely unexpected,  but that randomness can be difficult to follow at times. On top of the nearly nonexistent narrative logic, action and movement isn’t always conveyed clearly by Arawi’s artwork. As a result, the series’ humor can be difficult to interpret. Even so, Nichijou is admittedly silly and entertaining. But I was very surprised to discover that I didn’t enjoy the manga more than I actually did; it seems like it should haven been a series I loved.

Sweetness and Lightning, Volume 3Sweetness & Lightning, Volumes 3-5 by Gido Amagakure. As I’ve mentioned many times previously, I love food manga and Sweetness & Lightning is no exception. The series is an absolute delight. There’s the food, of course, which I find appealing, but perhaps even more so I enjoy the manga’s focus on friendship and family. Granted, all of this is all tied together in the story–food is what brings people together, creates connections, and deepens relationships. Preparing and sharing a meal is shown as a way of expressing love for another person. Food can also help keep memories alive. Inuzuka keenly feels the loss of his wife and their daughter Tsumugi misses her mother dearly. But as they learn to cook together, recreating family dishes and traditions, they can still be close to her even though she is gone. There are moments of intense sadness but there is also a tremendous amount of joy in Sweetness & Lightning. Amagakure’s illustrations are very expressive, finding an easy balance between these moods. In addition to more exaggerated expressions, the artwork also captures subtle changes. As Tsumugi grows older, for example, her character design matures slightly as well. Sweetness & Lightning is a wonderful series.