Manga Giveaway: Shojo Beat Giveaway Winner

And the winner of the Shojo Beat Giveaway is…Jenn!

As the winner, Jenn will be receiving a copy of Mayu Shinjo’s Ai Ore!, Volume 1, one of Viz Media’s Shojo Beat titles. For this giveaway, I was interested in learning about other manga readers’ favorite Shojo Beat manga. There are more than eighty different series published under the Shojo Beat imprint, so it’s nice to have a little direction about which ones to track down first. For everyone’s full responses, please check out the Shojo Beat Giveaway comments. And, because I like compiling lists, I have also included a list of recommended Shojo Beat manga here.

Some Shojo Beat fan favorites:
Baby & Me by Marimo Ragawa 
Blank Slate by Aya Kanno
Dawn of the Arcana by Rei Toma
Dengeki Daisy by Kyousuke Motomi
Full Moon by Arina Tanemura
Honey and Clover by Chica Umino
Kaze Hikaru by Taeko Watanabe
Nana by Ai Yazawa
Natsume’s Book of Friends by Yuki Midorikawa
Otomen by Aya Kanno
Sand Chronicles by Hinako Ashihara
Skip Beat! by Yoshiki Nakamura

Thank you to everyone who took time to share some of your favorite manga with me! I hope to see you all again for next month’s giveaway.

Manga Giveaway: Shojo Beat Giveaway (Ai Ore!)

It’s the end of September, so it’s manga giveaway time! In honor of the Shojo Beat Manga Moveable Feast, which was held last week, this month I’ll be giving away a new copy of Ai Ore!, Volume 1 by Mayu Shinjo as published by Viz Media (which means it’s an omnibus!). As always, the giveaway is open worldwide!

One thing I enjoy about the Manga Moveable Feast is that I’m often exposed to manga that I haven’t read. The Shojo Beat Manga Moveable Feast was fun for me because, while I do read and have read some Shojo Beat titles, I’m not very familiar with the imprint as a whole. In addition to Ai Ore!, Viz Media publishes more than eighty different manga under the Shojo Beat imprint. Of those I’ve personally read at least part of eighteen different series but so far only four in their entirety. My personal favorite is Hinako Ashihara’s Sand Chronicles, but I’m also quite fond of Kyousuke Motomi’s Dengeki Daisy and Aya Kanno’s Otomen, among others. I’m curious to learn about other readers’ favorite Shojo Beat manga in order to discover other titles that I might be interested in reading.

So, you may be wondering, how can you win a copy of Ai Ore!, Volume 1?

1) In the comments below, tell me which Shojo Beat title is your favorite and why. (Never read any Shojo Beat manga? Simply mention that.)
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).

There it is! For this giveaway, each person can earn up to two entries. You have one week to submit your comments. If you have trouble or if you would prefer, entries can be sent to me at phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com. The winner will be randomly selected and announced on October 3, 2012. Best of 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 contact you and you win, I’ll just draw another name.

Contest winner announced—Manga Giveaway: Shojo Beat Giveaway Winner

My Week in Manga: June 11-June 17, 2012

My News and Reviews

Last week I managed to post two reviews. The first was for the second issue of the English-language edition of Monkey Business, a literary journal that originally started in Japan. I’ve really been enjoying Monkey Business; it’s introduced me to a lot of creators, many of which I probably wouldn’t have come across otherwise. It also includes manga! The second review is a part of my Blade of the Immortal project. I’ve managed to review one volume of the series each month for the past four months. It looks like this is a completely reasonable pace for me, even considering the other two in-depth manga reviews I write every month. (For some reason, writing manga reviews is more difficult for me than writing other kinds of book reviews.) Anyway, Hiroaki Samura’s Blade of the Immortal, Volume 10: Secrets is my latest review.

Also last week, I mentioned that Drawn & Quarterly had licensed Shigeru Mizuki’s GeGeGe no Kitaro. It seemed like it would be a “best of” collection but, if D&Q’s Twitter account is anything to go by, it looks like the release will be starting at the beginning of the series. I hope the title does well for them; I’m really looking forward to it. Elswhere online, Brigid Alverson has an excellent interview with JManga’s business manager Robert Newman about JManga’s Evolving Digital Subscription Service over at Publishers Weekly.

Several months ago, I reviews Haruki Murakami’s excellent oral history Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche. A couple of weeks ago Naoko Kikuchi, one of the Aum Shinrikyo members associated with the attack who was still at large, was arrested. With the arrest of Katsuya Takahashi just last week, the final member that remained has now been found. According to The Asahi Shimbun, his weakness for manga may have helped lead to his capture.

Finally, June’s Manga Moveable Feast will be starting on the 24th! This month we’ll be taking a look at the works of Takehiko Inoue who is a phenomenal mangaka. For my part, I’ll have a quick take on the first couple of volumes of Slam Dunk and an in-depth review of the second Vagabond omnibus.

Quick Takes

Ai Ore!, Volume 1 by Mayu Shinjo. The basic premise of Ai Ore!—a girl who’s often mistaken for a boy and a boy who’s often mistaken for a girl fall for each other—appealed to me quite a bit. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed. Supposedly, Ai Ore! is intended to be a romantic comedy, but I didn’t find it particularly funny. In fact, I didn’t really enjoy much of the first volume. I’ve been told that the series improves, but at this point I have no desire to continue on to find out. Probably the biggest issue I have with Ai Ore! is that I don’t like the male lead at all and I’m obviously supposed to. I can handle manipulative bastards and unhealthy relationships in my fiction, but Akira is just not working for me.

Hikaru no Go, Volumes 17-20 written by Yumi Hotta and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. These volumes are a turning point in Hikaru no Go. With the seventeenth volume, the series could have easily found a natural place to stop. However, I wasn’t disappointed that it continued since I enjoy Hikaru no Go a great deal. The eighteenth volume features six side stories which are not directly related to the main plot or that show previous scenes from a different point of view. It might be a bit of a filler, but it’s a fun volume nonetheless. I still only barely understand the finer points of go, but the characters’ passion for the game is obvious. It’s thrilling to see how intense they become when playing. With three more volumes to go, I’m looking forward to seeing how Hotta wraps things up.

One Thousand and One Nights, Volumes 1-5 written by Jeon JinSeok and illustrated by Han SeungHee. Changing the female Scheherazade into the male Sehara does defeat some of the purpose of One Thousand and One Night‘s framing story, but I will admit to enjoying the boys’ love overtones it lends to the narrative. Each volume features one of Sehara’s stories in addition to developing the plot and characters of the framing story. JinSeok doesn’t limit himself to tales found in the original One Thousand and One Nights; he draws from other world literature and folklore, as well. The selections do tend towards the unhappy, but I’m a sucker for tragic love stories, so I’m not going to complain too strenuously.

Gin Tama, Collection 2 (Episodes 14-26) directed by Shinji Takamatsu. At this point I still prefer the original manga, but the Gin Tama anime adaptation is steadily growing on me. I prefer the series when it finds new ways of approaching the material instead of strictly adhering to the manga’s version. I also really like the casting. Daisuke Sakaguchi in particular does a fantastic job of voicing Shinpachi; he has an incredibly dynamic range from cool and collected to frantic and freaked out. Gin Tama is a series with humor that often relies on the viewer being familiar with other series to fully appreciate, but there’s still plenty of ridiculousness that can be enjoyed regardless. I know for a fact that I’m missing many of the references, but I still get a kick out of the series’ absurdity.