Manga Giveaway: Devils and Realist Giveaway Winner

Devils and Realist, Volume 1And the winner of the Devils and Realist Giveaway is… Hanna!

As the winner, Hanna will be receiving the first volume of Madoka Takadono and Utako Yukihiro’s Devils and Realist as published by Seven Seas. For this giveaway, I asked that participants tell me a little about their favorite manga that featured devils or demons. Black Butler by Yana Toboso was mentioned quite frequently, but there were some others named, too. Check out the giveaway comments for all of the responses!

Some of the manga in English featuring devils or demons:
Angel Sanctuary by Kaori Yuki
Berserk by Kentaro Miura
Black Butler by Yana Toboso
Blood Blockade Battlefront by Yasuhiro Nightow
Blood Lad by Yuuki Kodama
Bloody Cross by Shiwo Komeyama
Blue Exorcist by Kazue Kato
Cat Eyed Boy by Kazuo Umezu
The Demon Ororon by Mizuki Hakase
Demon from Afar by Kaori Yuki
Demon Love Spell by Mayu Shinjo
The Devil Is a Part-Timer by Akio Hiiragi
Devil Survivor by Satoru Matsuba
Dorohedoro by Q Hayashida
From Far Away by Kyoko Hikawa
Gaba Kawa by Rie Takada
High-School DxD by Hiroji Mishima
Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahashi
Jiu Jiu by Touya Tobina
The Monkey King by Katsuya Terada
Love in Hell by Reiji Suzumaru
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan by Hiroshi Shibashi
The Sacred Blacksmith written by Isao Miura, illustrated by Kotaro Yamada
Seraph of the End written by Takaya Kagami, illustrated by Yamato Yamamoto
Seimaden by You Higuri
Stray Little Devil by Kotaro Mori
Wish by CLAMP

The above list is by no means exhaustive, but it does provide a wide range of manga for anyone looking for a devilish or demonic read. Seinen, shoujo, shounen; comedy, drama, horror, romance… all sorts of variations on the theme! As always, thank you to everyone who took time to share your favorites with me. Hope to see you again for the next giveaway!

Manga Giveaway: Devils and Realist Giveaway

The end of September doesn’t just approach, it’s here! And because it’s the end of the month, it’s also time for another giveaway at Experiments in Manga. This month you all will have the chance to win a copy of Devils and Realist, Volume 1 written by Madoka Takadono, illustrated by Utako Yukihiro, and published in English by Seven Seas. And, as always, the giveaway is open worldwide!

Devils and Realist, Volume 1

I always find it interesting when manga incorporates Western settings, religions, and mythologies. In some cases they aren’t used as much more than an aesthetic (I’m looking at you X), but in other cases the mangaka have clearly done their research. Legends surrounding angels and demons seem to be a particularly rich source of inspiration. Series like Devils and Realist take that inspiration, but then spins the stories and their interpretations to create something entirely different. The results can often be entertaining.

So, you may be wondering, how can you win Devils and Realist, Volume 1?

1) In the comments below, tell me a little about your favorite manga featuring devils or demons. (Don’t have one? Simply mention that.)
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! Everyone has one week to submit comments and can earn up to two entries for this giveaway. If needed or preferred, comments may also be sent to me directly at phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com. The comments will then be posted here in your name. The giveaway winner will be randomly selected and announced on October 7, 2015. Good 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: Devils and Realist Giveaway Winner

My Week in Manga: September 14-September 20, 2015

My News and Reviews

Two in-depth manga reviews were posted last week! As part of my monthly horror manga review project, I took a look at Yuki Urushibara’s Mushishi, Volume 5. I still love this series tremendously and wish it wasn’t out-of-print, but at least it’s available digitally from Kodansha Comics now. The second review last week was of Masayuki Ishikawa’s Maria the Virgin Witch: Exhibition, which is a collection of side stories, both prequels and sequels, focusing on the characters of Maria the Virgin Witch. For fans of the original series, it’s a very nice addition. The volume probably won’t appeal to or make much sense to anyone who hasn’t read the main manga, though.

There were a ton of interesting articles, reviews, and news announcements that I saw last week. Deb Aoki has been busy at Anime News Network with a two part interview with various Kodansha folk, mostly focusing on the Kodansha Advanced Media digital manga efforts, as well as an interview with those involved with the new Ultraman manga series, including the creators Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi and Mike Montesa from Viz Media and Ai Shimizu from Hero’s Magazine. Over at Publishers Weekly, she takes a closer look at Tokyopop’s most recent efforts. Elsewhere, Kristin of Comic Attack interviewed Arina Tanemura at Anime Fest; AM Cosmos writes about the different perspectives of bullying found in A Silent Voice and Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto; and Organization Anti-Social Geniuses concludes its Advice on Manga series with advice on manga editing from manga editors.

In licensing news, the fine folk of MASSIVE will be working with Koyama Press to translate What Is Obscenity?, the comic memoir of sculptor and mangaka Megumi Igarashi (aka Rokudenashiko). In addition to the three original short manga, the English-language edition will have additional content, such as a new introduction by the artist and an interview between Rokudenashiko and Sion Sono. Yaoi Con was held over the weekend and there were some other licensing announcements made. SuBLime Manga picked up Rihito Takarai’s Ten Count, Bohra Naono’s Midnight Stranger, and Yonezou Nekota’s Don’t Be Cruel. (I’m especially looking forward to Ten Count, but am always happy to see more of Naono’s work translated.) As for Digital Manga, the Juné imprint is adding twenty-four new titles… except that they’re all digital, no print. (Interestingly, Project H’s recent license announcements were all digital-only as well, which really makes me wonder about DMP, especially as it’s starting to gear up for its next Tezuka Kickstarter.) And speaking of yaoi and BL, Kathryn Hemmann’s academic article “Queering the Media Mix: The Female Gaze in Japanese Fan Comics” takes a look at BL doujinshi based on CLAMP’s works.

Quick Takes

Devils and Realist, Volume 3Devils and Realist, Volumes 3-4 written by Madoka Takadono and illustrated by Utako Yukihiro. Sometimes the two major aspects of Devils and Realist (it’s humor and it’s drama) mesh well and sometimes they make the manga seem like it’s trying to be two entirely different series. Despite the demons that have become students in order to be closer to him, William’s school life remains fairly mundane, though humorous. That part of the story isn’t so different from any other school-based manga. What makes the series more interesting is the drama, politics, and intrigue surrounding the selection of the next ruler of hell. Heaven is getting involved now, too. Not only does William have to deal with demons vying for his attention, and in some cases his life, angels are beginning to make their presence known, causing even more problems for him. Also, angels can be just as big of jerks as their fallen brethren. Although I’m not in a rush to find out what happens next, I am still enjoying Devils and Realist; the art and character designs are pretty and I generally find the series to be entertaining.

King CityKing City by Brandon Graham. The first half of King City was initially published by Tokyopop but the series, like so many of the publisher’s other original English comics, was left unfinished. However, unlike all but a very select few of the series that met that particular fate, King City found a new home and was able to be completed, in this case thanks to Image Comics. Although there are some dramatic battles and rescues in King City, there really isn’t much in the way of a plot. What there is a bizarre futuristic city filled with some very strange residents. The comic focuses on Joe, his friends and acquaintances, and Earthling, his extremely intelligent and multi-talented cat. Joe is a Catmaster—with a little help from an injection, Earthling can turn into or do anything. What I love most about King City, besides Earthling and the rest of the cats, is that it is absolutely crammed with wordplay and visual puns. It’s worth taking time to thoroughly examine every page because Graham has incorporated so much humor in the small, seemingly inconsequential details. King City is very strange, but it’s the kind of strange that I tend to enjoy.

Pandora Hearts, Volume 1Pandora Hearts, Volumes 1-3 by Jun Mochizuki. I know so many people who absolutely adore Pandora Hearts that I’ve been meaning to try the series for a while now. To be honest, After reading the first volume, I wasn’t so sure about the manga—I found it to be extremely chaotic and confusing, and almost nonsensical (maybe I just wasn’t reading closely enough)—but after the second volume it started to click for me and by the third I was completely hooked on the series. Mochizuki’s artwork is pretty great, too. I definitely plan on reading more of Pandora Hearts. I’ll admit, I’m still not entirely sure what’s going on yet, but that mystery is part of the point. Most of the characters don’t understand everything, either, and those who do know at least part of the truth aren’t necessarily sharing that information anyone else unless it serves their own purpose. Tragedy and psychological trauma are major components of Pandora Hearts. There is violence and horror, betrayals and lies, but also obsessive loyalty and kindness. The characters are struggling with loneliness and the intense desire and need to belong and feel wanted.

My Week in Manga: September 22-September 28, 2014

My News and Reviews

Last week unintentionally turned into an Osamu Tezuka Week at Experiments in Manga…sort of. First of all, this month’s manga giveaway features Tezuka’s Triton of the Sea. Tell me a little about the merfolk you’ve encountered in manga for a chance to win the first omnibus of the series. (The winner will be selected and announced on Wednesday, so you still have a little time!) I also reviewed Dororo, Volume 3. Out of all of Tezuka’s manga that has so far been released in English, Dororo is one of my personal favorites. It’s currently available from Vertical in an omnibus edition which contains the entire series, however it may not be reprinted. I highly recommend picking up a copy sooner rather than later if it seems like a series you’d be interested in. And then for something completely different, over the weekend I reviewed the tenth-century classic The Tale of the Cavern (also known as The Tale of the Hollow Tree) which has absolutely nothing to do with Tezuka, but everything to do with music, love, and Heian-era court life.

In other news, the second volume of Lianne Sentar’s Tokyo Demons is now available for purchase as an ebook from the Sparkler Shop, which means the print edition will be released in the near future as well! (If you missed my early review of the novel, I loved it.) And speaking of Sparkler, the membership drive is still going on. If Sparkler Monthly doesn’t get at least 1,000 subscribers it most likely won’t be able to continue beyond its second year, which would make me extraordinarily sad. Please consider supporting Sparkler Monthly, if you can!

Elsewhere online, Shonen Jump is soliciting questions for Takeshi Obata, who will be a guest at New York Comic Con this year. If, like me, you can’t make it out to NYCC, Obata’s panel will thankfully be streamed live online. (Hopefully it will also be recorded.) In London, the Cartoon Museum is currently showing the exhibit Gekiga: Alternative Manga from Japan. To coincide with the exhibition, The Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain wrote a brief introduction to gekiga. Finally, Vertical released a particularly interesting post on its Tumblr account about manga’s English-language market and specifically about the pricing of books.

Quick Takes

Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, Volume 19Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, Volume 19 by Yukito Kishiro. Last Order was my introduction to the Battle Angel Alita universe. It’s probably best described as an alternate ending to the original series. While I was never as taken with Battle Angel Alita as much as other people seem to be, there were parts that I really enjoyed: interesting characters and character designs, martial arts, great action scenes, and so on. But the plot just never seemed to pull together in a way that satisfied me. I didn’t realize or expect that the nineteenth volume would be the final volume of Last Order. It’s also one of the most frustrating volumes as Kishiro seems to rush through the story in order to bring everything to some sort of conclusion and, in my opinion, fails to do so. Even more disappointing is the fact that Alita doesn’t even really make much of an appearance in it. Apparently there is yet another Battle Angel Alita series that will soon be starting in Japan, but I have no idea how it relates to Last Order. There was certainly enough left confused and unresolved in Last Order that there’s plenty of material for Kishiro to choose from.

Devils and Realist, Volume 2Devils and Realist, Volume 2 written by Madoka Takadono and illustrated by Utako Yukihiro. Although I mostly enjoyed the first volume of Devils and Realist, I was unsure how far I wanted to pursue the series and so decided to read at least one more volume. After reading the second installment, I can say that I’ll probably be reading even more of Devils and Realist in the future. Generally stronger than the first volume and more even in tone, the second volume takes a slightly more serious and dramatic turn. The series’ humor is still present though, interspersed among the more life-threatening events of the manga and the story’s other dangerous mysteries. Yukihiro’s artwork and character designs are very attractive, and as a whole there are some definite homoerotic undertones to the manga as well. Readers’ enjoyment of Devils and Realist will probably largely depend on how well they like the lead and his personality. I, for one, am greatly amused by William’s refusal to believe in the supernatural despite it staring him in the face as he stubbornly tries to come up with any other possible explanation for the strangeness going on in his life.

Fairy Tail, Volume 40Fairy Tail, Volumes 40-42 by Hiro Mashima. I’ve only read two series by Mashima—Fairy Tail and Monster Soul—but out of those two, I find that Fairy Tail is the better manga. The long Grand Magic Games tournament arc has now finally reached its conclusion with the fortieth volume. While I did find some of the Games enjoyable, for the most part I’m happy to be moving on to battles that actually have some real purpose and meaning behind them beyond securing bragging rights; I tend to enjoy Fairy Tail more when it feels like there’s something at stake. I’m glad to see the beginning of a new story arc that promises just that—things are starting to get a bit more serious again. (Granted, there was the whole dragon invasion during the Games arc; the possibility that the world will be destroyed is a pretty big deal.) It also looks like Gray will be getting some significant page time, too, which I’m not going to complain about. The Fairy Tail Guild’s latest mission requires Gray to confront his painful memories and past tragedies. It isn’t a pleasant experience for him, but he is also able to draw incredible strength from it.

Hetalia: Axis Powers, Volume 6Hetalia: Axis Powers, Volume 6 by Hidekaz Himaruya. Perhaps by this point I should no longer be surprised, but I always seem to unexpectedly learn something new whenever I read Hetalia. Sometimes it’s a historical tidbit, and sometimes it’s actually something more closely related to current events. This particular volume of Hetalia features micronations and Molossia makes an appearance among several others. (I had never even heard of Molossia before, and it’s in Nevada!) The Nordic states are also an important part of the sixth volume, which includes Iceland. (Ever since writing a report on Iceland in the sixth grade, I’ve always been interested in and fond of the country, so I did get a kick out of that.) Often the humor in Hetalia does require some familiarity with or prior knowledge of world history and politics to really appreciate it, so in the process of trying to make sense of some of the jokes I find that I’m learning about all sorts of interesting things. Admittedly, Hetalia frequently makes use of stereotypes as part of its gags, which some people may find offensive and has generated a fair amount of controversy.

My Week in Manga: May 19-May 25, 2014

My News and Reviews

After a week full of random musings comes a week full of reviews. Well, that is if you consider two reviews “full.” Either way, there were two reviews posted at Experiments in Manga last week. First up was Lucy Birmingham and David McNeill’s Strong in the Rain: Surviving Japan’s Earthquake, Tsunami, and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. Originally released in 2012 as a hardcover, it is now available as a trade paperback. The volume is very approachable and makes an excellent overview of many of the aspects of the March 2011 disaster. As promised, I also reviewed the first omnibus of Takashi Ikeda’s yuri manga series Whispered Words. So far, I’m really enjoying the series (it even has karate in it!), but One Peace Books’ edition is rather disappointing in regards to quality control. Check out the review’s comments for more specific details.

As for other interesting things online: Oishinbo has certainly made some political and social commentary in the past, but the manga recently managed to get suspended amidst nuclear furor. The latest ANNCast features the return of the super manga pals Deb Aoki and Rebecca Silverman. The Gay Manga tumblr has a great post about how language impacts the way that sexuality is thought and talked about, looking at the terms “bara” and “gei” among other things. (The discussion reminded me quite a bit about my random musings on translation and queer theory.) Another fantastic post (well, series of four posts) is Revealing and Concealing Identities: Cross-Dressing in Anime and Manga over at The Lobster Dance. So far, Part 1 and Part 2 have been posted.

Quick Takes

Bunny Drop, Volume 10Bunny Drop, Volume 10 by Yumi Unita. Oh, Bunny Drop. I love parts of the series while other aspects frankly piss me off. I personally don’t mind incest plotlines in my fiction (and technically there’s no incest in Bunny Drop), it’s just that it was handled so incredibly poorly. It’s been a while since a manga has gotten such a visceral reaction from me. But even though Bunny Drop left me seething, I was still looking forward to reading the tenth volume—a collection of short side stories as well as an extensive interview with Unita about the series and its anime adaptation. Most of the volume is devoted to when Rin and Kouki were small (including the story of how he got the scar on his forehead), which I enjoyed. I also rather liked the story that focused on Rin’s mother and the man who would become her husband. However, the final story takes place sometime after Rin and Daikichi are married—a development that I continue to be completely unconvinced by, a sentiment this final story does nothing to alleviate.

Carciphona, Volume 1Carciphona, Volumes 1-4 by Shilin Huang. Another splurge purchase from TCAF, Carciphona is a self-published manga-style series of graphic novels which are also available to read online. It was Huang’s spectacular artwork that caught my eye. (Her artbook Toccata is simply gorgeous.) Though the interior art isn’t as stunning as the series’ covers, it is still excellent. Huang considers herself more of an illustrator than an comics artist; though it was fairly strong to begin with, her storytelling improves greatly from volume to volume. Occasionally Carciphona falls prey to infodumps in order to establish the setting, especially early on in the series, but the worldbuilding and characters are interesting. Carciphona is high fantasy with magic and religion, assassins and political intrigue, and tension between races. The story follows Veloce Visrin, a young, powerful sorceress living in a world where common magic—magic which relies on demonic spirits—has been prohibited. Her life has not been an easy or happy one, so she’s a bit surly (and understandably so), but she is also very loyal and protective of those who become her friends.

Devils and Realist, Volume 1Devils and Realist, Volume 1 written by Madoka Takadono and illustrated by Utako Yukihiro. William Twining comes from a prestigious family and has done everything he can to meet, and surpass, all expectations so as not to disgrace his family’s name. He’s brilliant and at the top of his class…and recently lost most of his wealth due to his uncle’s bankruptcy. Perhaps even more problematic is that he’s somehow also responsible for selecting the next ruler of hell, despite being scientifically minded and refusing to believe in the demons right in front of him who are trying to bribe him. The artwork in Devils and Realist is attractive, though the more action-oriented sequences, while pretty, can be somewhat difficult to follow. It was amusing to see many of the demons introduced become transfer students at William’s school, but personally I’d like to see the story focus less on school antics and more on the struggle for control of hell. Then again, I actually did enjoy the sillier aspects of the manga. Devils and Realist has some potential; I’ll probably be giving it at least one more volume to see which direction it takes.

I've Moved Next Door to YouI’ve Moved Next Door to You by Fuhri Misasagi. There were two things that particularly appealed to me about I’ve Moved Next Door to You and which led me to pick up Misasagi’s boys’ love one-shot: the somewhat “reversible” nature of the characters and their polyamorous relationship. At least it’s described as being a polyamorous relationship—it’s really more of a pseudo-love triangle. Sadly, neither of those things could save this manga for me. With the aid of his secretary Kamoshida (who is in love with him), Takumi has recently moved into a rundown apartment after leaving his company. Up until now he’s led a very privileged and sheltered life and so has no idea how to live on his own. However, his new neighbor Renji is more than happy to help him out, which apparently also includes sexually harassing him any chance he gets. Even though the manga is supposed to be a comedy, tragic backstories are also added to the mess of unbelievable characters and plot. I’ve Moved Next Door to You isn’t sexy or romantic, and it’s not even very funny, though it does try very hard to be all of those things. I can’t say that I enjoyed the manga much at all.

Sengoku Basara: Samurai KingsSengoku Basara: Samurai Kings, Season 1 directed by Itsuro Kawasaki. A little to my surprise, I enjoyed the Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends manga so much that I decided to track down more of Sengoku Basara. I still haven’t gotten around to playing any of the video games, which is where the franchise started, but I have been happily watching the Samurai Kings anime. Sengoku Basara is based on the actual historic figures and events from Japan’s Warring States period, but it is delightfully irreverent and over-the-top with its portrayals. Honestly, Sengoku Basara is ridiculous and doesn’t at all take itself too seriously, but because of that it’s also a tremendous amount of fun. I mean, it has literal battle auras, impossible feats, absurd amounts of damage, nearly indestructible warriors, epic battles, and constantly shifting alliances, not to mention a healthy dose of improbable technology and anachronisms. I get a kick out of it all, though, and find Sengoku Basara to be highly entertaining. Samurai Kings might not be a series that I’ll watch over and over again, but I’ll definitely be checking out the second season.