Manga Giveaway: A Cache of Kodansha Comics Winner

Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, Volume 1Kigurumi Guardians, Volume 1
Land of the Lustrous, Volume 1Love and Lies, Volume 1

And the winner of the manga giveaway for a cache of Kodansha Comics is… Dawn!

As the winner, Dawn (whose terrific Anime Nostalgia Podcast also happens to be hosting a giveaway right now) will be receiving the first volumes of Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju by Haruko Kumota, Kigurumi Guardians by Lily Hoshino, Land of the Lustrous by Haruko Ichikawa, and Love & Lies by Musawo, all of which debuted in English from Kodansha Comics this past year. In addition to its print releases, Kodansha Comics has also had a particularly good showing in 2017 digitally. And so for this giveaway, I asked participants to tell me a little about their own reading habits and preferences when it comes to print versus digital manga. The responses were really great, so be sure to check out the giveaway comments!

Kodansha Comics’ 2017 Print Manga Debuts
Aho-Girl by Hiroyuki
Appleseed Alpha by Iou Kuroda
Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card by CLAMP
Clockwork Planet by Kuro
Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju by Haruko Kumota
Fairy Tail: Rhodonite by Kyouta Shibano
Fairy Tail: S by Hiro Mashima
Frau Faust by Kore Yamazaki
Ichi-F: A Worker’s Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant by Kazuto Tatsuta
Kigurumi Guardians by Lily Hoshino
Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight by Rin Mikimoto
Land of the Lustrous by Haruko Ichikawa
Love and Lies by Musawo
Neo Parasyte M by Various
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime written by Fuse and illustrated by Taiki Kawakami
To Your Eternity by Yoshitoki Oima
Toppu GP by Kosuke Fujishima
Waiting for Spring by Anashin
Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty by Megumi Morino

Kodansha Comics’ 2017 Digital Debuts
Ace of the Diamond by Yuji Terajima
All-Out by Shiori Amase]
All-Rounder Meguru by Hiroki Endo
Altair: A Record of Battles by Kotono Kato
Aoba-kun’s Confessions by Ema Toyama
Ayanashi by Yukihiro Kajimoto
Beauty Bunny by Mari Yoshino
Black Panther and Sweet by Pedoro Toriumi
Blame! Academy and So On by Tsutomu Nihei
Chihayafuru by Yuki Suetsugu
Cosplay Animal by Watari Sakou
Days by Tsuyoshi Yasuda
Deathtopia by Yoshinobu Yamada
Domestic Girlfriend by Kei Sasuga
Drifting Dragons by Taku Kuwabara
Drowning Love by George Asakura
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life written by Hinowa Kouzuki, illustrated by Waka Miyama
The Full-Time Wife Escapist by Tsunami Umino
Giant Killing written by Masaya Tsunamoto, illustrated by Tsujitomo
Grand Blue Dreaming written by Kenji Inoue, illustrated by Kimitake Yoshioka
GTO: Paradise Lost by Toru Fujisawa
Hotaru’s Way by Satoru Hiura
House of the Sun by Taamo
Hozuki’s Coolheadedness by Natsumi Eguchi
I Want to Hold Aono-kun So Badly I Could Die by Umi Shiina
I’m in Love and It’s the End of the World by Taamo
Kasane by Daruma Matsuura
Kokkoku: Moment by Moment by Seita Horio
Koundori: Dr. Stork by You Suzunoki
Love’s Reach by Rin Mikimoto
Lovesick Ellie by Fujimomo
Magical Sempai by Azu
Museum by Ryousuke Tomoe
My Brother the Shut In by Kinoko Higurashi
Our Precious Conversations by Robico
Peach Heaven by Mari Yoshino
PTSD Radio by Masaaki Nakayama
Rave Master by Hiro Mashima
Real Girl by Mao Nanami
Shojo Fight! by Yoko Nihonbashi
A Springtime with Ninjas by Narumi Hasegaki
Tokyo Tarareba Girls by Akiko Higashimura
Tsuredure Children by Toshiya Wakabayashi
Until Your Bones Rot by Yae Utsumi
Wave, Listen to Me! by Hiroaki Samura

Assuming that I didn’t miss any (I’m sure I have and some of the digital titles probably haven’t even been revealed yet), Kodansha Comics had twenty print debuts last year (most if not all of which are also available digitally) and forty-five digital debuts (a few of which will eventually be released in print, too). By the end of the year, Kodansha Comics will have debuted more than sixty-five new titles in addition to its other continuing series! It’s great to see how much is being published in English these days in print and digitally, and not just by Kodansha Comics. Thank you to everyone who shared your reading preferences with me! Both digital and print manga have their pros and cons, so I found all of your responses very interesting. I hope to see you again at the end of December for one last giveaway here at Experiments in Manga!

Manga Giveaway: A Cache of Kodansha Comics

November is nearly over which means it’s time for the usual monthly giveaway at Experiments in Manga! As has become tradition, November’s giveaway features a whole feast of manga rather than a single title. This month, everyone participating has the opportunity to win not one but four volumes of manga released (in print!) by Kodansha Comics in the last year: Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, Volume 1 by Haruko Kumota, Kigurumi Guardians, Volume 1 by Lily Hoshino, Land of the Lustrous, Volume 1 by Haruko Ichikawa, and Love & Lies, Volume 1 by Musawo. As usual, the giveaway is open worldwide!

Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, Volume 1Kigurumi Guardians, Volume 1Land of the Lustrous, Volume 1Love and Lies, Volume 1

Although many manga publishers have started to release more and more titles digitally, Kodansha Comics in particular has been making tremendous strides in the digital realm over the last year or so. Personally, I much prefer a physical volume that I can hold in my hands, but I am still very happy that so much content is being officially translated and released. Even if it’s not in my preferred format, at least it’s available. But while I lament the digital titles that for one reason or another will likely never be published physically, there are still plenty of interesting and intriguing manga being released in print to keep me occupied.

So, you may be wondering, how can you win a cache of Kodansha Comics?

1) In the comments below, tell me a little about your manga reading preferences and habits when it comes to print versus digital debate.
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).

There it is! Participants in the giveaway can earn up to two entries and have one week to submit comments. If needed or preferred, comments can also be sent to me via email at phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com which I will then post here in your name. The giveaway winner will be randomly selected and announced on December 6, 2017. Best of luck!

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 Winner: A Cache of Kodansha Comics Winner

My Week in Manga: November 13-November 19, 2017

My News and Reviews

Last week was a very quiet one here at Experiments in Manga with nothing posted other than the usual My Week in Manga feature. However, I did manage to make some progress with my next in-depth review, so that should (hopefully!) be posted later this week. While not much was happening here at the blog, the North American manga publishers were all keeping pretty busy last week with a variety of license announcements, made either online or while at Anime NYC.

Starting with the online licensing spree from Seven Seas: The Bride & the Exorcist Knight manga by Keiko Ishihara; The Bride Was a Boy manga by Chii (an autobio comic by a transwoman–I’ll definitely be picking this up!); the Claudine manga by Riyoko Ikeda (I am absolutely thrilled by this license); teh Fairy Tale Battle Royale manga by Soraho Ina; the Harukana Receive manga by Nyoijizai; the How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom light novels by Dojyomaru and Fuyuyuki (previously released digitally by J-Novel Club); the My Solo Exchange Diary manga by Nagata Kabi (a follow-up to My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness); the Ojojojo manga by coolkyousinnjya; the Plus-Sized Elf manga by Synecdoche; the Space Battleship Yamato manga by Leiji Matsumoto (I’m so happy more influential classic manga is being translated); the True Tenchi Muyo! light novels is written by Masaki Kajishima and Yousuke Kuroda; the Versailles of the Dead manga by Kumiko Suekane; and the Wonderland manga by Yugo Ishikawa.

At Anime NYC, Kodansha Comics announced that it would be releasing Yasushi Baba’s Golosseum manga and Vertical Comics revealed that it would be publishing Tsutomu Nihei’s Aposimz. As for Viz Media, the publisher announced that it would be releasing a print edition of Hideyuki Furuhashi and Betten Court’s My Hero Academia: Vigilantes manga (currently being released digitally) in addition to a brand new license, Okura and Coma Hashii’s That Blue Sky Feeling manga (I’m really looking forward to this one).

Yen Press has picked up quite a few things as well: Sanzo’s Caterpillar Girl and Bad Texter Boy manga; Tsukikage and Bob’s Defeating the Demon Lord’s a Cinch (If You Have a Ringer) light novels; Kazushige Nojima’s Final Fantasy VII short story collection; Natsuki Takaya’s Fruits Basket Another manga; Yoh Yoshinari’s Little Witch Academia manga; Hiroumi Aoi’s Shibuya Goldfish manga; Yusaku Komiyama’s Star Wars: Lost Stars manga; Gao Yuzuki’s The Strange Creature at Kuroyuri Apartments manga; Keiichi Sigsawa’s Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online light novels; Soichiro Yamamoto’s Teasing Master Takagi-san manga; Mito Aoi’s Tsuno no Gakuen manga; and Akira Kareno’s WorldEnd light novels.

 Quick Takes

Land of the Lustrous, Volume 2Land of the Lustrous, Volumes 2-3 by Haruko Ichikawa. I found the first volume of Land of the Lustrous to be pretty, but perplexing; Ichikawa’s artwork can be absolutely stunning even while the plot remains somewhat impenetrable. Even so, I was and remain intrigued by Land of the Lustrous and its peculiar charm. The second and third volumes continue to explore the world that Ichikawa has created. Largely following Phos, who has been charged with writing a natural history (providing an excellent excuse to show readers around), more is slowly revealed about the Lustrous, the Lunarians with whom they battle, and the larger environment in which they live. The manga still seems to be primarily concerned about finding opportunities to display exquisite visuals–and there are certainly plenty of those–but the series’ underlying symbolism, themes, and mythologies are starting to coalesce and crystallize as well. Land of the Lustrous can be surprisingly philosophical even while being strange and surreal. I may not always understand exactly what’s going on, but I am captivated by the manga’s allure.

Void's Enigmatic Mansion, Volume 1Void’s Enigmatic Mansion, Volumes 1-2 by HeeEun Kim. It seems as though there are fewer manhwa being translated into English these days, but Yen Press still publishes some. The fifth and final volume of Void’s Enigmatic Mansion was released earlier this year which made me realize that I hadn’t actually gotten around to reading any of the series yet. JiEun Ha is credited as the creator of the original, but I haven’t been able to determine if that means there’s another version of the story out there in a different medium or if Ha simply developed the basic manhwa’s premise. In either case, Kim is the series’ adapter and artist. The titular mansion is a seven-story building, most of which the owner rents out. The mysterious Mr. Void hasn’t been seen yet (as far as readers know), but a number of his tenants have, none of whom live particularly happy lives. Void’s Enigmatic Mansion tends to be fairly episodic although there are also threads tying all of the characters and their unsettling stories together. Kim’s full-color illustrations can be quite beautiful, but they are also punctuated by shocking moments of blood and gore befitting the series’ horror.

My Week in Manga: July 10-July 16, 2017

My News and Reviews

Things are more or less back on regular schedule here at Experiments in Manga which means last week I posted the Bookshelf Overload for June. It was a relatively small month, especially when compared to other recent months, but I was still very excited about the various manga, comics, and other books that I picked up. Since I’m back on schedule, later this week I’ll be posting my long-overdue review of Tomoyuki Hoshino’s novel ME. Like the rest of Hoshino’s work available in English (I’ve also reviewed We, the Children of Cats and Lonely Hearts Killer in the past), the novel is challenging but I think worth the effort it takes to read.

Speaking of things that I’ve reviewed in the past, Yeon-sik Hong’s Uncomfortably Happily was a manhwa that I greatly enjoyed. The translator, Hellen Jo, was recently interviewed about her work on the comic and how she personally related to Hong’s story. Manga podcasts seem to be making a comeback these days, and I don’t see that as a bad thing. Last week saw the release of the first episode of Manga in Your Ears, a podcast featuring a few of the manga bloggers that I particularly admire, so I’m very excited to give it listen. Another interesting development that I caught wind of last week was Digital Manga’s most recent crowdfunding campaign. Juné Manga is attempting to raise funds to reprint some titles (A Promise of Romance by Kyoko Akitsu, Endless Comfort by Sakuya Sakura, and Secrecy of the Shivering Night by Muku Ogura) directly through its website rather than through Kickstarter.

Lately, I’ve been somewhat remiss in mentioning the Kickstarter projects that have caught my eye, so here’s a quick list of some of the comics campaigns that are currently running: Lucy Bellwood’s 100 Demon Dialogues is a collection of wonderful short comics exploring themes of anxiety and self-doubt; Elizabeth Beier’s autobiographical comics about bisexuality are being collected together in The Big Book of Bisexual Trials and Errors; the comics anthology Immortal Souls, which focuses on queer witches and dark magicis the followup to the excellent Power & Magic; the third and final volume of Speculative Relationships brings together a variety of science fiction romance comics; Tim’rous Beastie has a great lineup of creators whose comics take inspiration from works like RedwallThe Rats of NIHM, and Watership Down; and finally there’s We’re Still Here, an anthology bringing together fifty-five trans comic creators in what should be phenomenal collection.

Quick Takes

Land of the Lustrous, Volume 1Land of the Lustrous, Volume 1 by Haruko Ichikawa. Despite the frequently heavy-handed and detailed exposition present in the first volume of Land of the Lustrous, I can’t say that I necessarily understand everything that’s going in the series yet, but I am most definitely intrigued. If nothing else, Ichikawa’s illustrations are incredibly striking and I would be happy to read more of the manga for no other reason than the artwork. Twenty-eight crystalline lifeforms known as the Lustrous, each with their own unique qualities and abilities, battle for survival against the enigmatic Lunarians. Phosphophyllite wants nothing more than to fight but, being such a fragile gem, is instead given the task of writing a natural history. Though it’s said to be a vitally important job, Phos isn’t particularly pleased but comes to realize that many of the other gems aren’t wholly satisfied with their lots either. The first volume’s theme is “searching for purpose” which at this point seems to apply both to the series itself as well as to its characters. At first the narrative feels somewhat directionless, generally serving as a vehicle for stunning visuals and not much else, but once the peculiar world and characters have been thoroughly established, a tantalizing potential for greater drive and meaning begins to coalesce.

Sacred HeartSacred Heart by Liz Suburbia. Sacred Heart is Suburbia’s debut graphic novel, a completely redrawn version of her webcomic by the same name. When Ben Schiller comes across the dead body of someone she knows very early on in the comic–a moment that is acknowledged but passes with surprisingly little excitement or comment–it’s one of the first clues that something is off about the town of Alexandria. Eventually it’s revealed that all of the adults have left, supposedly to return, but no one knows when that will be. In the meantime the teenagers have the run of the place, waiting for their parents and distracting themselves from their predicament by spending their time partying and hooking up. But that can only last for so long–tensions are high and more and more people are dying under peculiar circumstances. While there is an underlying and marvelously ominous unease pervading the story, Suburbia also shows a great sense of humor in the comic. The very end of Sacred Heart was a bit abrupt and not everything is completely explained (which admittedly isn’t necessary), but for the most part I really enjoyed the comic and would be interested in reading more of Suburbia’s work. Fortunately, it seems that Suburbia has plans for three more volumes to follow Sacred Heart as sequels.

Whispered Words, Omnibus 2Whispered Words, Omnibuses 2-3 (equivalent to Volumes 4-9) by Takashi Ikeda. While I enjoyed Whispered Words from its very start, I do feel that it’s a series that gets even better as it progresses. Though there is still a fair amount of humor, Ikeda largely moves away from the over-the-top ridiculousness found in the early series in favor of a more mature exploration of Sumika and Ushio’s changing relationship. It’s extremely unfortunate then that the quality of One Peace Books’ edition somehow manages to get even worse as it goes along. Probably most problematic is that partway through the third and final omnibus a page was skipped. The series is still readable, but the flow of the manga and the two-page spreads are completely ruined as a result. Ikeda has a tendency to develop the story by simultaneously exploring the character’s feelings and experiences from multiple points in time. It’s a technique that can be quite effective, but the printing error can make the transitions between the flashforwards and flashbacks jarring. I do believe the publisher corrected the issue of the missing page in later printings, so it’s something to be aware of and look out for. Quality control aside, Whispered Words is generally a pretty great yuri series. (It also gets bonus points from me for being about karate, too.)