Manga Giveaway: Sherlock Bones Giveaway Winner

Sherlock Bones, Volume 1And the winner of the Sherlock Bones manga giveaway is…Serene!

As the winner, Serene will be receiving a copy of Yuma Ando and Yuki Sato’s Sherlock Bones, Volume 1 as published by Kodansha Comics. Because Sherlock Bones features a rather unusual detective—Sherlock Holmes reincarnated as a puppy—for this giveaway I was interested in learning more about other people’s favorite detectives and unusual crime solvers. Check out the Sherlock Bones Giveaway comments for all of the responses. And, as usual, I have taking this opportunity to compile a list!

Manga in English featuring detectives and/or other crime solvers:
888 by Noriko Kuwata
Black Butler by Yana Toboso
Case Closed by Gosho Aoyama
City Hunter by Tsukasa Hojo
Clamp School Detectives by CLAMP
Death Note written by Tsugumi Ohba, illustrated by Takeshi Obata
Fake by Sanami Matoh
Future Diary by Sakae Esuno
Goku: Midnight Eye by Buichi Terasawa
Ice Blade by Tsutomu Takahashi
Kamen Tantei by Matsuri Akino
Kids Joker by Maki Fujita
Kindaichi Case Files written by Yōzaburō Kanari, illustrated by Fumiya Sato
Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service written by Eiji Otsuka, illustrated by Housui Yamazaki
Lupin III by Monkey Punch
Monster by Naoki Urasawa
MPD-Psycho written by Eiji Otsuka, illustrated by Shou Tajima
The Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok by Sakura Kinoshita
Petshop of Horrors by Matsuri Akino
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney written by Kenji Kuroda illustrated by Kazuo Maekawa
Pluto by Naoki Urasawa
Remote written by Seimaru Amagi, illustrated by Tetsuya Koshiba
R.O.D: Read or Dream written by Hideyuki Kurata, illustrated by Ran Ayanaga
Rose Hip Zero by Tohru Fujisawa
Sherlock Bones written by Yuma Ando, illustrated by Yuki Sato
Skyscrapers of Oz by written by Yoshino Somei, illustrated by Row Takakura
Steam Detectives by Kia Asamiya
Young Miss Holmes by Kaoru Shintani
Yellow by Makoto Tateno
Zodiac P.I. by Natsumi Ando

The above list isn’t comprehensive by any means, but it’s probably not a bad place to start if you’re looking for some detective or mystery manga to read. Thank you to everyone who shared your favorites with me. I hope to see you again for the next giveaway!

Manga Giveaway: Sherlock Bones Giveaway

The end of October is fast approaching, which means it’s time for another manga giveaway at Experiments in Manga! I’m not entirely sure why, but my review of the first volume of Yuma Ando and Yuki Sato’s manga series Sherlock Bones is by far one of the most frequently visited posts at Experiments in Manga. It’s been more than a year since Kodansha Comics published the volume in English, but the review still gets plenty of page hits. And so, for this month’s giveaway, I decided that I would give people the chance to read the actual manga. As always, the giveaway is open worldwide!

Sherlock Bones, Volume 1

I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed Sherlock Bones. The premise is inherently silly—Sherlock Holmes reincarnated as a puppy—but perhaps in part because of that, the series can be a lot of fun. Sherdog is tremendously smart, despite occasionally being distracted by his more canine tendencies, and he’s cute, too. But probably most important for a detective and mystery series like Sherlock Bones, the crimes and how they are solved are consistently interesting. Additionally, readers who want to have a more interactive reading experience can actually search for and find the clues needed to solve the crimes within the pages of the manga.

So, you may be wondering, how can you win a copy of Sherlock Bones, Volume 1?

1) In the comments below, tell me a little about your favorite or the most unusual detective/crime-solver that you’ve encountered reading manga. (If you 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! Each person can earn up to two entries and has one week to submit comments for this giveaway. If preferred, entries can also be sent via e-mail to phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com. Your comments will then be posted in your name. The giveaway winner will be randomly selected and announced on November 5, 2014. 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: Sherlock Bones Giveaway Winner

My Week in Manga: June 9-June 15, 2014

My News and Reviews

I posted two in-depth manga reviews at Experiments in Manga last week. The first was of Baku Yumemakura and Jiro Taniguchi’s The Summit of the Gods, Volume 3. It’s the middle volume of a five-volume, award-winning series and is a critical turning point for the story and characters. The Summit of the Gods is my favorite Taniguchi collaboration as well as one of my favorite manga series in general. And if manly mountain men don’t interest you, perhaps my review of Mari Okazaki’s out-of-print josei collection Sweat & Honey might entice you to track down a copy for yourself. The short manga included in the anthology focus on the close and often complicated relationships between women. The post is a part of my Year of Yuri monthly review project and makes the seventh installment. Only five more reviews to go!

Elsewhere online there were plenty of interesting things to read. Yen Press has a new set of license announcements. Organization Anti-Social Geniuses had two posts last week that I particularly liked: an interview with Cho, the founder of the site English Light Novels (which is an incredibly useful resource that I was previously unaware of), and a look at some of the reasons why people tell publishers they read illegal version of manga. Otaku USA has a nice interview with Helen McCarthy, whose newest book A Brief History of Manga will be released soon. The Lobster Dance has posted Revealing and Concealing Identities: Cross-Dressing in Anime and Manga, Part 4, with at least one more part to come. Lastly, the second manga studies column at Comics Forum is now available, focusing on the history of manga and Kitazawa Rakuten.

Quick Takes

A Centaur's Life, Volume 2A Centaur’s Life, Volumes 2-3 by Kei Murayama. The more I read of A Centaur’s Life, the more I like the series. It can be incredibly sweet and adorable, and Murayama’s world-building is fascinating. Not all of that world-building makes it into the series proper (at least not yet), but the extra material between chapters and at the beginning and end of the volumes. Is interesting, delving into the politics, history, and mythology of A Centaur’s Life. It’s obvious that a lot of thought has been put into the series to make it as realistic as possible; Murayama takes into account even the smallest details of everyday life and how things like cars, furniture, and buildings have to be modified to accommodate races with completely different anatomies. A Centaur’s Life is fairly episodic, but more and more recurring characters are introduced as the series progresses. These two volumes in particular frequently feature the youngest generation of centaurs and other folk. Like any kids, they can be hellions but they can be super cute, too.

Same Cell OrganismSame Cell Organism by Sumomo Yumeka. Much like Yumeka’s later manga, The Day I Become a Butterfly, Same Cell Organism tends to be fairly quiet and subdued. Yumeka’s artwork is lovely, with a light, airy touch to it, though her character designs from one story to the next are similar enough to cause some brief confusion from time to time. Same Cell Organism is a collection of some of her earliest boys’ love manga. It’s a somewhat uneven volume, mostly do to the fact that one of the stories, “To Make an Angel” was never actually completed. All of the set up is there, but then it suddenly ends with no real conclusion. However, I absolutely adored the titular story “Same Cell Organism” and its subsequent chapters. The story follows two young men in high school who might seem like unlikely friends because their personalities are so different: Yokota is loud, enthusiastic, and outgoing while Nakagawa is much quieter and reserved and has a more difficult time expressing himself. However, their relationship develops naturally and is delightfully loving and sweet.

Say I Love You, Volume 2Say I Love You, Volume 2 by Kanae Hazuki. I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed the first volume of Say I Love You and so was very interested in seeing how the characters’ stories and relationships continued to develop in the second. I particularly like the leads, Mei and Yamato. Mei especially is marvelous; she’s confident enough in herself to avoid bad situations involving other people, which made me very happy to see. Yamato obviously cares for Mei and is very respectful of her. However, many of the other characters aren’t likeable at all, and much of the second volume is devoted to them. Hayakawa is a womanizer and an absolute asshole. His story arc in this volume is a bit uncomfortable—he gets his comeuppance, but he also gets the girl. (I worry about her, so I truly hope that his colors have changed having been redeemed by love.) Aiko, who apparently used to be a lovely young woman, is simply not a nice person at all anymore. She has her reasons, but she’s still not sympathetic. Say I Love You deals very honestly with sex and its emotional repercussions at such a young age. Some of the relationships in the series aren’t at all healthy, making the budding romance between Mei and Yamato refreshing in comparison.

Sherlock Bones, Volume 5Sherlock Bones, Volume 5 written by Yuma Ando and illustrated by Yuki Sato. Sherlock Holmes reincarnated as a puppy is still a rather silly premise, but I’ll admit that I’ve largely been enjoying the series. Occasionally there’s an unnecessary flash of underwear, but generally that’s fairly easy to pass over. The mysteries in the series are interesting with some very clever, though sometimes outlandish, twists. The artwork provides clues for readers to pick up on if they’d like a more interactive story experience, too. One of the things that I actually liked best about this particular volume of Sherlock Bones is that the story moves from Takeru being a high school student to his entry into the workforce. Unsurprisingly, coming from a police family and considering his recent work solving crimes with Sherdog, Takeru becomes a patrol officer. Already it’s proving to supply even more cases for him and Sherdog to investigate, and a few new characters are introduced as well. Sherlock Bones continues to be an entertaining series, and I look forward to reading the remaining two volumes.

My Week in Manga: March 10-March 16, 2014

My News and Reviews

I managed to post three in-depth reviews last week, and two of them were for manga! First up was my review of Mieko Kanai’s delightful novel Indian Summer. Technically, it’s the third book in her Mejiro series, following Oh, Tama!, which I also recently read and enjoyed. However, Indian Summer was actually her first novel to be translated in English. As part of my Year of Yuri review project, I took a look at the omnibus edition of Milk Morinaga’s manga Kisses, Sighs, and Cherry Blossom Pink. So far it has been my favorite yuri manga by Morinaga to have been released in English. It’s very cute, sweet, and romantic. And to wrap things up, over the weekend I posted the next review in my “Manga March Madness” project which focuses on Takehiko Inoue’s wheelchair basketball series Real. It was the third week in March, so I reviewed Real, Volume 3. I still think that Real is one of the best comics currently being released in English.

Quick Takes

HeartHeart written by Blair Butler and illustrated by Kevin Mellon. At one point Oren “Rooster” Redmond was a run-of-the-mill office worker. Bored with his job, he decides to take control of his life. Following in the footsteps of his older brother he starts by becoming an amateur MMA fighter. After months of grueling training he finally has the opportunity to go pro, but that’s when the hard work really begins. Heart follows the rise and fall of Rooster and the sacrifices that he makes. There’s too much face punching, blood, and machismo to call Heart sentimental, but it is a very human story. Rooster’s fights both in the cage and internally with himself are also representative of anybody’s struggle to accept themselves for who they are. Sometimes, no matter how hard someone tries or how much they improve, it will simply never be enough. It’s how someone deals with that fact that really determines who they are as a person. Heart is a great comic and one that I personally found to be inspirational, and not just because I’m a martial artist.

Prince of Cats, Issue 1Prince of Cats, Issues 1-4 by Kori Michele Handwerker. Prince of Cats is an ongoing webcomic that is free to read, however the print edition of the series includes some bonus content not available online. I knew going into Prince of Cats that the comic was a queer love story, but what I didn’t realize is that the series also features a transgender character, which I was rather pleased to discover. Handwerker hand paints each page of the comic and the watercolors are beautiful. The story itself is also lovely, focusing on the relationship between Lee and Frank who were once very close but who are starting to drift apart. Despite the high school drama, Prince of Cats tends to be quiet and subdued but very realistic (with the exception of talking cats, of course.) I could easily empathize with the characters and the portrayal of growing up in a conservative, rural area. It’s hard enough trying to fit in to begin with, let alone while also being a member of a minority (of any sort). I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of Prince of Cats.

Sherlock Bones, Volume 4Sherlock Bones, Volume 4 written by Yuma Ando and illustrated by Yuki Sato. In previous volumes of Sherlock Bones the answer to the various mysteries were known from the beginning. The challenge was simply to find evidence to prove who was guilty. However, in the fourth volume Sherdog and Takeru actually have to do some legitimate investigation and sleuthing. Granted, in all but one case the readers are already aware who the culprit is. I’m still enjoying Sherlock Bones more than I expected I would. The silliness of the premise is a bit at odds with the seriousness of many of the crimes (homicide, accidental and otherwise, is the one that is most frequently encountered), but for the most part it somehow works; Sherlock Bones can be unexpectedly entertaining. I would like to say that I will be extremely disappointed if Meowriarty doesn’t make another appearance in the series. As if Sherlock Holmes as a small puppy wasn’t ridiculous enough, Moriarty as a bruiser of a cat is marvelously absurd. Also, Sherdog needs an arch-nemesis.

Stone Collector, Volume 1Stone Collector, Book 1 written by Kevin Han and illustrated by Zom-J. Stone Collector is Gen Manga’s first manhwa series, but it reads from right to left, which is a little odd. I was rather surprised when I saw the first volume of Stone Collector; I’m used to the smaller trim sizes used by Gen Manga and hadn’t realized that Stone Collector was going to be so much larger. The oversized format shows off Zom-J’s artwork, which is very clean and fairly dynamic with great facial expressions. Frequently, I found that I was vaguely reminded of Kohta Hirano and especially Hellsing. Some of the battle sequences in Stone Collector are a little difficult to follow, and the lack of backgrounds often made it seem more like a storyboard than a fully realized comic. More attention is given to the fights and monsters than is given to a completely comprehensible plot or well-developed characters. However, it is a quickly paced, action-packed series. I could see a film adaptation of Stone Collector actually doing quite well.

My Week in Manga: February 10-February 16, 2014

My News and Reviews

Not one, but two in-depth manga reviews were posted last week at Experiments in Manga. It wasn’t intentional on my part, though it did make me happy, but both manga deal with queer themes. The first review was for Takako Shimura’s Wandering Son, Volume 6. Even though it can be a somewhat difficult read for me personally since the subject matter often hits very close to home, I’m still absolutely loving this series. The seventh volume of Wandering Son is currently scheduled for release in August, which feels like a long ways off right now. As part of my “Year of Yuri” review project, last week I also took a closer look at Kiriko Nananan’s Blue, the only example of her long-form manga available in English. It’s a sweet and melancholic story of first love which follows the relationship of two young women who are classmates at an all-girls high school. The artwork in particular is very striking.

I’ve come across plenty of interesting reading and news over the last week. Brigid Alverson attended the Angoulême International Comics Festival this year and has been writing several reports on the experience. One of those explores the current state of the French manga market. In other festival news, The Guys with Pencils podcast interviewed Christ Butcher to talk about the fantastic Toronto Comics Arts Festival which he co-founded in 2003. Justin Stroman recently wrote two articles that I found to be particularly interesting: The Great Tumblr Industry Experience for Organization Anti-Social Geniuses and The Legal Manga Reading Sites You Don’t Know About for Manga Bookshelf. Finally, there has been some more movement on the licensing front. Yen press announced three new manga titles (Übel Blatt by Etorouji Shiono, Barakamon by Satsuki Yoshino, and Hiroyuki Aigamo’s adaptation of Accel World), as did Vertical (Gamon Sakurai’s Demi-Human, Ryū Mizunagi’s Witchcraft Works, and Midori Motohashi’s adaptation of The Garden of Words).

Quick Takes

Mister Mistress, Volume 2Mister Mistress, Volume 2 by Rize Shinba. It’s been quite a while since I read the first volume of Mister Mistress, but I did enjoy it enough that I made a point to track down the now out-of-print second volume. (Happily, both volumes are now available digitally from SuBLime, though I don’t believe there are currently any plans to continue the series.) Mister Mistress works best for me when it sticks to being a comedy. Shinba introduces a somewhat tragic backstory for Rei in this volume, but fortunately it doesn’t take too long for this to be turned around and played for laughs. The series’ strength really isn’t its plot, but its humor. Fujimaru is a bit of a goofball who can’t quite decide what to do about Rei. He halfheartedly attempts to exorcise the incubus several times, but on occasion he actually appreciates having him around. Though I’m not entirely convinced by their developing feelings for each other, it can be rather convenient for a horny teenager to have a personal incubus to aid in the realization of his sexual daydreams. As such, the sex scenes in Mister Mistress tend to be a little unusual.

Sherlock Bones, Volume 2Sherlock Bones, Volumes 2-3 written by Yuma Ando and illustrated by Yuki Sato. I wasn’t sure after reading the first volume of Sherlock Bones, but after reading the second and third volumes it appears as though the series will be mostly episodic. Which is just fine and works pretty well. After the basic premise of the series has been established—Sherlock Holmes reincarnated as a mix-breed puppy—the mysteries tend to be fairly self-contained. I was pleasantly surprised by the first volume of Sherlock Bones and, if anything, I think these two volumes are even better than the first. Sherdog seems to always be present when a murder is taking place, so Sherlock Bones isn’t really a “whodunit.” Instead, the series focuses on outwitting the criminals and finding ways to reveal their attempts to cover up what they have done. For the most part this means relying on circumstantial evidence and pressuring the killers into confessing. Although murder seems to be the crime du jour, Sherlock Bones features some more lighthearted and silly investigations as well which take advantage of the fact that Sherdog is adorable.

Stone, Volume 1Stone, Volumes 1-2 by Sin-ichi Hiromoto. In 2004, the editor of the English edition of Hiromoto’s short manga series Stone called it a “tribute to all of the fantastic sci-fi/action/fantasy films of the past thrity-odd years.” That seems to be a fairly accurate description of Stone. Hiromoto borrows and remixes elements from many films and franchises along with his own creations to devise something entirely his own. I was frequently reminded of Waterworld and to some extent Dune, and I definitely caught nods to Hellraiser and Star Wars. I get the feeling that there were references that I completely missed, too. Stone is a quickly paced manga with plenty of action set in a post-apocalyptic world in which the planet has been covered in a literal sea of sand. My favorite parts of Stone are the nightmarish sand creatures that Hiromoto has designed. Zizi, a fiesty young woman and the series’ lead, is also pretty great. I did prefer the series’ beginning over its end. As the manga becomes increasingly chaotic as the story progresses. The artwork remains visually interesting and engaging, but the plot makes less and less sense as it goes along.

Two Flowers for the Dragon, Volume 5Two Flowers for the Dragon, Volumes 5-6 by Nari Kusakawa. I have now reached the point in this series where I must lament the fact that the final volume wasn’t able to be released in English before CMX folded. These two volumes form the climax of Two Flowers for the Dragon and include some extraordinarily significant plot developments and betrayals. The direction the story has taken was definitely foreshadowed, but that doesn’t make it any less heart-wrenching to see play out. I thought it was all very well done. One of the things that I like the best about Two Flowers for the Dragon is how well-developed and complicated the main characters are. They all have their strengths and their weaknesses, flaws as well as redeeming qualities. The supporting cast is likewise well-rounded, though at this point the series’ true villain unfortunately seems to be less so. The characters and their interactions are a highlight of Two Flowers for the Dragon, but I’m really enjoying the story as well. I like the mix of action, fantasy, romance, and intrigue. So much so, that I’m tracking down a copy of the last volume in Japanese. I want to know what happens!