Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

3 Things Shoujo…

October 15, 2010 3 comments

Not sure if it is as relevant for the fact that it is not posted on a Thursday, but on a Friday, but I figure this might be a bit fun, and a bit of a breaker from still updating about NYCC/NYAF on JLHLS and Anime Diet. I am not posting hyperlinks to my press, since eventually the posts I will write for those presses… will come out on Twitter.

Since I have been on a kick with reading a lot of Shoujo flavor manga from the library, my reading choices.. are not as recent or as old as other titles that I have been seeing. I am writing my list in terms of the manga I had finished devouring vs. the manga that I am still continuing to read.. But this idea for writing this type of blog is from Manga Bookshelf – Melinda Beasi’s idea, since I see other manga blogs I read also follow suit.

3 Current Faves

Monkey High
(Shoujo Beat) by Shouko Akira. In a seemingly opposites attract scenario, I am quite curious to see what will happen in this high school romance, between a cool beautiful girl and an unassuming monkey boy.

High School Debut (Shoujo Beat) by Kazune Kawahara. Haruna is a tomboy female who is determined to get a boyfriend upon getting to high school. She meets her ideal in Yoh. So what is this seemingly naive girl going to do against anyone who disapproves of her relationship?

Kimi ni Todoke (Viz) by Karuho Shiina. Sawako is feared by everyone in her class. She is a very shy girl, but eventually becomes attracted to Kazehaya, a very well liked boy in her class. I squee when I read of their relationship, god the blushing both are.. is just sooo innocent, but at times I kinda wonder about similarities with Kareshi Kanojo no Jijo!

3 Past Faves

The Gentleman’s Alliance Cross (Shoujo Beat) by Arina Tanemura. Haine, has to try to win the affection of Shizumasa Togu and move beyond her dark sad past. I really enjoy reading this series, and finding out what was what. The artwork is something I really like, and find very pretty, even though though to keep track of all the characters was at some point, confusing. It is not as bad as flipping thru some other titles I have seen though.

Wild Ones
(Shoujo Beat) by Kiyo Fujiwara. Meet Sachie who is the granddaughter of a Yakuza clan’s head. She gets assigned a caretaker by Rakuto. Of course as with any shoujo title, they fall for each other. I really enjoy the desings of this series.

Solanin (Viz)by Inio Asano is a coming of age story, that is quite bittersweet, and self-realizing. Is this considered to be a shoujo title, not sure, but with the mention of a female that is slice of life, from the nomral shoujo fluff I see. I find that the depth this story creates, leads to a good cry and an experience.

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After School Nightmare with gender questions explored…

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment

This month’s Manga Movable Feast centers on After School Nightmare published in the U.S. under Go! Comi, which is a manga company that is clearly disappearing. This is one of the few titles I have read from this publisher, and it was Eisner nominated.

Mashiro Ichijo is a student at a school, where you have to go through a trial to graduate. He is definitely a character with secrets, that is unlike Asuka from Otomen. He is actually a she or is she a he? Mashiro is the one of the few characters I have read or seen outside of hentai titles that is actually mentioned as a hermaphrodite, so by the top he is a male, but on the bottom he is a girl. I have not seen the artist draw an artistic representation of his bottom, so what to say other than from what the other characters mention, and the real self that he/she portrays in the nightmare world. If they ever show him naked, he would be totally like a Ken doll  – assexual as I seen on Snow Sakura and Japanese censorship laws placated.

There are self-gender identity questions raised in this series. Is he going to be a manly man with a cute girlfriend, or would he be a female, and give into Sou- a darker classmate of his. I just see this as a continual love triangle between the three, as it is exemplify on the book covers of this series.

My personal preference is to see Mashiro end up with Sou. After a couple of weeks of reading a lot of shoujo titles, I really really am quite happy to see the “bl” scenes that Mashiro has. Can you call them bl scenes? I just see two guys going at at, and to me, my heart started to sigh.. and I can only say “yay!” But then mentally “boo” while Mashiro refuses Sou’s affections.

Warning this title also has incest issues, so please don’t read if you don’t like that. The series makes for a good suspenseful, mystery read though. Probably other read alike would be Future Diary or Deadman Wonderland. There are relationship issues, secrets, betrayals. I cannot truly confirm if this is a gender bender type series, since it is not the lead character either concealing her gender or cross dressing. Yet the self-questioning identity crisis and  gender disassociation type manga title read a-likes would probably be for some readers some comparison to MW or Revolutionary Girl Utena.

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Hir@gana Times

August 31, 2010 2 comments

Now I first noticed this Hir@gana Times on, but then I started to find it at NYC’s Kinokuniya, so where do you think I purchase it now? Mostly at Kinokuniya, since I can always run in, and occasionally find a copy there. It is pretty cheap to get, at about $7 to $8 an issue.

Contemplating on whether or not I should put a subscription for it. It has some interesting articles, but it is fun for a Japanese learner – who knows how to read hirgana and still want to know what exactly the articles are about. In Japanese and vice-versa. There are articles on Japanese living, places… ads and while mostly aimed for foreigners living in Japan with advertisements directed at them. There are interesting Japanese living articles.

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Yotsuba&! – throwing in Chi as well ^_^

August 30, 2010 5 comments

Since I skipped last month’s MMF with Paradise Kiss – coming back with August MMF. This time the book chosen is on Yotsuba&! from Yen Press, and other related blog posts will be hosted here.  I will be talking about a bit of Yotsuba and then going onto another title for general manga reading.

Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma is a slice of life story about a little girl who move into a new house – and this is about her discovery, as with her interactions with her single father and three next door neighbors. This is a manga that is aimed for people of all ages… and has had a history of being translated in the United States by two publishers, the now defunct ADV Press and then picked up by Yen Press.

As a frequent patron of the New York Public Library, they have two different copies of volume 1 of this title.  It is a popular title as it should – since it was created by the mangaka for Azumanga Daioh and with its interesting release history in the United States. Yotsuba&! has won awards, so it is a very good title to recommend for young readers.

So far, I have only read volume 1 and decided to stop and drop this title. Manga reading is always dependent on taste, and Yotsuba&! is a title I didn’t want to pursue, based on a personal reason of taste. For the more plot driven adult readers there’s Bunny Drop that is a better title, which is also carried by Yen Press.

But that is not the aim of this MMF at all so with aspect of mentioning – Yotsuba&! and another child-friendly title. I will bring my pick and love for what is an all about general age graphic novel for kids young and old.

Chi’s Sweet Home, by Konami Kanata released in the United States by Vertical Press.

There are currently seven volumes out in Japan, and currently at the time of this post written – two books in English. There’s two anime seasons, I believe, maybe one or two seasons that is available on Crunchy Roll.

Did I have to mention that as a feverent feline lover – that Chi’s protagonist is a kitten? The manga is about Chi’s adventures with Yohei, her young owner – and her discovery of the world from a growing cat’s perspective. She enjoys life, gets into trouble – but is a fantastic discover of the world around her. Very natural!

This is a fantastic series that is adult friendly as well. I love this series, since I am a cat owner and can find relevance with how my cat grew up as well. Plus Chi is all about cute as can be! Kids can find relevance with Yohei… so as with all manga reading – it is an enjoyable read! The other day I read a comic strip, about Yohei and Chi facing Kuro Neko, that I though was very impressive and cute. Used it on my mom to only have her, only to have her snap back – that’s she’s not an animal, and should kick the heck out of me…cues my sister break out in laughter.

The Japanese manga is easy reading for Japanese learners – as it is a manga with nothing but hirigana, for the cat sounds that Chi makes, but in the fact that things happen to her, so this little kitty is thinking. When I say there are seven manga so far in Japanese, that’s how much I collected of the Japanese one.

This is my 100% choice for kids to know, read and fall in love with, so definitely read Chi’s Sweet Home – no matter what!

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[Manga] Kingyo Used Books Vol 1

July 1, 2010 Leave a comment

I was excited when I received this in the mail. I pre-ordered this book a while ago from Book Depository. People can read chapters of this books online for free, from ikki. Nothing for me beats the physical feel of a book though. So what to say about this series, it is a treasure trove of learning for readers who want to learn about popular manga titles from the land of the rising sun.

Japan has an manga industry that publishes more than the United States so far has, and mostly the United States gets its publications from translations of Korean or Japanese older titles. Still, my opinion is that getting the chance to read about works within a work is an interesting way to learn about history.

For each manga title mentioned, there is a bit of a history at the end of each chapter in terms of the ikki version or at the back of each book in the print version. Dr. Slump, Sarusuberi, Moretsu Ataro, Billy Puck, Blueberry, The Chizumi and Fujiomi-kun series, and Magnolia Sho are titles mentioned. With the exception of Dr. Slump, none of the other manga titles are translated in English, so reading these descriptions can whet the appetite for trying to learn Japanese to read some of these book titles.

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To Terra..

May 29, 2010 2 comments

As Manga Moveble Feast is underway with this month’s selection, To Terra. Anyone can check for links to the other participants here. It is a feeling of mixed bag of nuts and bolts as I revisit the world of the Mu and the Terran. On one aspect, it has all the conflicts and rage of a serious human confrontation as one can see on X-Men or Matrix, or it can be as simple as a school yard conflict with two opposing sides. I would say a song of “Kumbaya” is probably going to be regarded with a huge wave of distaste, so I can only move on, as I try to probe into this work that is To Terra.

This manga is considered to be a classic title, and for that reason, there are fans, and appreciators. My personal feeling is one of appreciation and befuddlement. Appreciation for the nuances that the series is, and befuddlement for why couldn’t the characters in this book be resolving their issues? That is pretty similar to nearly every conflict that has ended with groups wrecking genocide on the other or vice versa. There were so much extremes in this series, that it felt quite gloomy for the most part. I can see for desperate times calls for desperate measures for some people.

Art, I do agree with other MMF’s that the drawings were an art of its times, and that I grew up thinking To Terra’s art seriously looked like the read along fairy tales that I grew up in the 80’s seeing at the Chinese bookstore.

I was very surprised that this work was written by a female. That’s probably a whack to the head, but for the most part, and my lack of knowledge that I write this, since there just isn’t enough graphic novels of this scope to be translated as of yet into English or what I have read to really justify this series as being strong in my list. Volume 2 was definitely not something I really liked, I have considered moments of dropping this series, but for the sake that I read this book before this MMF, I can say that it was a one time read, that would make it justifiable.

Some character thoughts, I was annoyed with Physis’s character, from when she released Keith in the second volume, to the ending when the Terrans mentioned on letting them hold her strange hand. I was thinking whoa… hypocrisy and iconography. I can only mention that times should change from when this book was written.

One of the relatively few scenes that stood out for me int his book, was this scene.

The concept of the earth as a marble/plaything of a higher being is pretty significant. Men in Black or The Hitchker’s Guide to the Galaxy are two movie examples. I find that the series in spit of all its mostly down point, this gave a final hope, that there should be a paradox, that what is viewed as a world, maybe someone’s play thing.

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April 27, 2010 2 comments

Mushishi are the tales of Ginko, a man after mushi, a micro-organism that can either hurt or help humans. They are always there, but it is the luck or the ill fortune of humans who get involved. Always something life changing occurs. Ginko can never stay in one place too long, since he would be attracting mushi, like swarms. But various stories take place in a rural world of an agricultural based homely Japan, and each story can take place with the premises of years or across seasons.

Memorable stories for me is when Ginko visits a place where the deceased are reborn from mushis. Or when a mushi brings prophetic dreams for a man that would result in tragedy. Or what about when a mushi consumes a human’s short term memory. Then what about when a mushi lures a girl from the sky like shoe string, but she survives. Or what about when a mushi acts as a letter carrier?

If I were to say what are things I like about this manga, it is for the subtle entertainment value. Mushishi is very slice of life, as well as a life experiences. Something to get use to reading. It is definitely easy to read the book in one sitting, but to then reflect on messages of certain stories, makes for an interesting outlook. As a reader, one would always read to entertain one self, or draw similarities or whatifs. Mushishi is something that can appeal to both genders. I also do enjoy reading the various folk lore references that is explained toward the back of the story, where there are explanations of translations.

Mushishi is by Yuki Urushibara. There is an English release of the manga by Del Rey, as well there is an 26-episode anime, and a movie. Both the movie and the anime series are licensed by Funimation.

This blog post is a response to April’s Manga Moveable Fest hosted by Ed Sizemore.

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