Manga Giveaway: Hikaru no Go Giveaway Winner

And the winner of the Hikaru no Go manga giveaway is…Alessandra!

As the winner, Alessandra will be receiving a new copy of Hikaru no Go, Volume 1 written by Yumi Hotta, illustrated by Takeshi Obata, and published by Viz Media. For this giveaway, I asked entrants to tell me about manga that sparked an interest in something new for them. I received some great responses, which I will be excerpting here, but I hope you’ll take the time to check out the full comments as well. Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway. I really enjoyed reading all of your stories. I hope you’ll come back for next month’s contest, too!

Matt identified Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto as a source of intellectual stimulation:

After reading Pluto by Naoki Urasawa, I thought a lot about artificial intelligence and the questions that come with that subject. Is there an essential difference between human intelligence and artificial intelligence? Can a machine have a mind and consciousness?

Pluto is actually one of my favorite manga series and it helped to trigger my current obsession with manga. I particularly enjoy manga about androids and AI because they can be so thought provoking.

Callie was brave enough to share with all of us the influence Miyuki Kobayashi and Natsumi Ando’s Kitchen Princess had:

I always feel a little embarrassed admitting it, but ‘Kitchen Princess’ got me into baking; I started trying some of the recipes in the volumes, and found that I really enjoyed it. It’s quite funny, I’ve never been one for cooking in a form, and now I’m the family baker!

I think this is marvelous and you shouldn’t be embarrassed at all! Kitchen Princess is an award-winning series after all, and who could complain about mastering such a delicious hobby as baking?

Bakuman, which is written by Tsugumi Ohba and happens to be illustrated by Takeshi Obata (who also illustrated Hikaru no Go) was actually mentioned by two people—Arlen and Voldie Moldie—as playing a part in their desire to start creating manga of their own. Kim was also inspired to draw because of manga. Similarly, Alessandra was encouraged to become a better writer because of favorite characters who are also writers, such as Shigure Sohma in Natsuki Takaya’s Fruits Basket. (Shigure is my favorite character in the series, too!)

And finally, Courtney takes after my own heart, appreciating manga influenced by legends and mythology:

I discovered that manga with strong mythological, folklore, or religious aspects actually made me want to read and study up on what it was based on or drew influence from. […] To be honest any manga that has derived something from folklore, mythology, or religion fascinates me. It’s a shame a lot get passed up on, especially the ones with strong mythological roots. […] While a tend to not dig too deeply into studying such things I do enjoy reading even just the surface of it all. It adds an extra layer of sprinkles on top of my reading experience.

I hope everyone continues to be inspired and encouraged by the manga that they read!

Library Love, Part 4

Support manga, support your library!

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Eden: It’s an Endless World, Volumes 6-8 by Hiroki Endo. This seems to have become a completely different story from where the series began. It is still interesting, with great writing, but I do find I miss the heavier and more integral science fiction and post-apocalyptic elements. I also hope some of the earlier characters, like Kenji, make a reappearance. Elijah is becoming a very complex character—he makes mistakes and pays for them; Endo does not take it easy on his characters. The art is still great, especially in action sequences, although the body proportions seem a bit off on occasion.

Godchild, Volumes 3-5 by Kaori Yuki. I’m starting to like Cain much better than I did previously, but he can still be a whiny brat at times. The story is getting kinda dark and heavy and is much less episodic than when the series first began. I still don’t understand Cain’s father’s motivations or the purpose of his secret organization Delilah—maybe because I didn’t read the previous series. Despite this, the plot is starting to be more coherent. I’m particularly interested in learning more about Cain’s brother Jizabel who gets center stage for a bit in these volumes. Yuki’s artwork is rather gothic and her costume designs in particular are great.

Hana-Kimi: For You in Full Blossom, Volumes 18-19 by Hisaya Nakajo. The Sano family drama has been mostly resolved and the networking track meet has finished up. We get some more dorm vs. dorm craziness (I love when RAs get mad at each other and drag the rest of the school into it), and Nakajo seems to have remembered there’s supposed to be some romantic comedy going on, too. Dr. Umeda makes a couple of appearances which makes me happy since he’s my favorite character and hasn’t been seen much lately. There aren’t many more volumes left in the series, but it doesn’t seem to be heading anywhere in particular anymore.

Kitchen Princess, Volumes 8-10 written by Miyuki Kobayashi and illustrated by Natsumi Ando. Mizuno turned out to be a much better character than I expected and I’m glad. There is a lot of over-the-top melodrama going on in Kitchen Princess, but I enjoyed the series anyway, especially the delicious, delicious food. It’s a cute series, and I’m happy with how things turned out. I particularly liked the ending side-story/epilogue between Mizuno and Akane. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Fujita’s story, who I adored, but oh well. Apparently Kitchen Princess won the Kodansha Manga Award for a children’s series in 2006, which I wasn’t aware of while I was reading it but I think the series deserves it.

Library Love, Part 2

Support manga, support your library!

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Dragon Ball, Volume 5 by Akira Toriyama. Dragon Ball is an extraordinarily popular manga and I will admit, I’m really enjoying it. The series is very, very loosely based on the classic of Chinese literature, Journey to the West. The fifth volume sees the conclusion of the Strongest Under the Heavens tournament after which Goku takes off to track down the Dragon Ball his grandfather gave him. During his search Goku runs into the Red Ribbon Army who are trying to collect the Dragon Balls. Toriyama’s action and fight sequences are great and easy to follow. The humor is rather silly, but overall this has been a fun series so far.

Eden: It’s and Endless World, Volume 5 by Hiroki Endo. This volume starts with an interesting character study of Sophia that I really enjoyed but then spins off into a plot line that I only have vague recollection of. I was a little confused and it made me feel like I had skipped a volume.The fourth volume mostly focused on Kenji’s past (probably my favorite character in the series), so perhaps it’s just been too long since I’ve read the third. Endo’s art can be a rather busy at times, but it’s great in conveying horror and violence.

Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden, Volume 5-6 by Yuu Watase. So, there’s some sort of “forbidden love” storyline going on here between Limdo and Takiko, but for the life of me I couldn’t tell you why they have to keep it a secret. I usually enjoy Watase’s art (she draws very pretty boys), but these couple of volumes seemed really inconsistent to me. However, it’s nice to see a female Celestial Warrior join the group. I’m also looking forward to seeing where Urumiya’s story is going to go.

Kitchen Princess, Volume 7 written by Miyuki Kobayashi and illustrated by Natsumi Ando. I was rather surprised when Kobayashi killed off a main character in the sixth volume. I also feel somewhat cheated that Mizuno looks exactly like Sora. But I primarily read Kitchen Princess for the food anyway, so I won’t complain too terribly much. Najika and Mizuno face off with a madeleine competition and later on in the volume she goes to various restaurants to earn money by entering eating challenges. Every time I read this series it makes me hungry.