My Week in Manga: April 18-April 24, 2016

My News and Reviews

As I recently mentioned, for a while here I’ll be down to one review a week or so at Experiments in Manga. And so, last week’s review was of The Inugami Clan by Seishi Yokomizo, a popular Japanese murder mystery from the early 1950s that has sadly gone out of print in English. Currently, the novel is the only work by Yokomizo that has been translated, but I enjoyed it a great deal. It vaguely reminded me a bit of Edogawa Rampo’s work, which I don’t at all consider to be a bad thing.

Elsewhere online: YALSA’s 2016 Great Graphic Novels for Teen was recently announced, which includes a fair number of manga, as were the 2016 Eisner Award Nominees. Forbes interviewed Yoshiki Tanaka, the author of The Legend of the Galactic Heroes (a series I hope to find time to actually read sooner rather than later). At du9, Adrian Tomine was interviewed about editing Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s manga for Drawn & Quarterly. And in licensing news, Dark Horse will be releasing Ontama’s Hatsune Miku: Mikubon.

Quick Takes

Forget Me Not, Volume 1Forget Me Not, Volume 1 written by Mag Hsu and illustrated by Nao Emoto. I knew very little about Forget Me Not before reading the first volume. In fact, I didn’t even recall that it had been licensed until the release was in my hands. Forget Me Not is about Yusuke Serizawa, a young man who seems to have terrible luck when it comes to romance, but it’s the sort of bad luck that he’s partly responsible for. The first volume alone features his attempts at three different relationships with three different loves that he had between middle school and high school. Most of them have their sweet moments, but there are also moments that Serizawa will intensely regret for years. He blames himself for the relationships ending in ruin, and in some cases rightly so. The reason that Forget Me Not focuses on Serizawa’s past and the women in it is that one of them recently helped to save his life after he was in a motorcycle accident. Except that he isn’t sure exactly who it is. He’d like to meet her, but he’s also certain that whoever it is he’s done her some great harm, which may explain why it seems like she’s toying with him by keeping her identity secret.

SnackiesSnackies by Nick Sumida. I had a fairly good idea that I would enjoy Snackies, but I don’t think I anticipated just how much I would end up enjoying it. Snackies is a slim volume containing short comics which are at least semi-autobiographically inspired. Many of the comics stand on their own or aren’t necessarily connected to one another, but others are part of short series which become increasingly ridiculous and bizarre, such as the set of comics in which Sumida spies fellow passengers on mass transit who initially seem attractive, but who then turn out to have a really bad haircut or just so happen to be an alien that would aesthetically belong in something like Parasyte. And then there are the comics that seem to come completely out of nowhere. Though at times fairly cynical, playing on the angst and self-deprecation of a young artist, Snackies is very funny. It also has a queer bent to it which I especially enjoyed and appreciated. Snackies doesn’t take long to read, but it gives enough of a taste that I hope to see more of Sumida’s work in the future.

Tramps Like Us, Volume 1Tramps Like Us, Volumes 1-5 by Yayoi Ogawa. I’ve been meaning to read Tramps Like Us for quite some time. It really is a shame that it took me so long to get around to it, because so far I’m absolutely loving the manga. Sumire is highly accomplished, attractive, and well-educated career woman, which unfortunately intimidates her fiancé who feels inadequate in comparison and leaves her for someone else. As a result, Sumire is determined to only date men who are paid more, are better educated, and are taller than she is. Around the same time, Sumire gains a “pet,” a homeless twenty-something ballet dancer that she takes in off of the street and calls Momo. Sumire’s peculiar but earnest relationship with Momo is marvelous. Though they have their disagreements and their communication isn’t always the best, both of them find great comfort in the other. He’s the only person she feels truly at ease with. But then Sumire is reunited with an old flame who she still loves and who happens to meet all of her dating requirements, but their relationship is strained. It’s a strange sort of set up and love-triangle, but all of the varied emotions are convincingly real.