Archive for the Category ◊ Manga Coverage ◊

Author:
• Sunday, August 24th, 2014

My reaction when...

…something I like is licensed.

Good thing that never happens since I prefer physical releases. Most anime companies of the west are very conservative when choosing which anime or manga they want licensed. They pick up what is new and prefer further what is already in great discussion online to play it safe. Most are not like Discotek Media where they prefer to re-licensed older anime or the boy-love niche company Digital Manga Publishing. Just what is easy. more…

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Author:
• Friday, June 20th, 2014

A couple days ago big news hit that Japan has made the possession of child pornography illegal. Most big countries already have such laws, however this law differs in that fiction such as animation and comics are excluded. Big media companies like CNN state the exclusion is from large powerful lobby groups that protect the interests of the anime and manga industry. The law is also much softer than most countries in where the person charged faces a year is prison or a $10,000 fine. In many countries people have much harsher penalties like Canada’s 20 years of imprisonment or public online databases.

People do not want children harmed or abused, but there is a lot of bias and assumptions floating around. Two big ones are animated or drawn depictions of children are real children and that people who like fictional characters are also attracted to real children. Comic Book Legal Defense Fund debunks the views they oppose from the CNN article linked above and what they believe what the law will do in Japan. One side accepts that fictional works are still pornographic and the other suggests there needs to be scientific evidence that such creations are harmful.

With that said the political satirist Jon Stewart from the cable show The Daily Show took a stab at the news. His views are known as liberal, but in my opinion he has always seemed “Democrat.” Someone that is on the left of center and leaning towards liberal, but not by very much since the US is not very liberal. In the video he states the new law is embarrassingly late and “How can a lobby for a harmful, destructive industry take precedence over the protection of children?” He then compares the industry lobby groups for anime and manga to be similar to The National Rifle Association in the US. They are supposedly trying to defend companies that are willing to make money at the cost of children’s lives and well-being.

I am pro-gun regulation and a fan of anime and manga, so I find his comparison of media to weapons designed to kill to be outrageous. Both have differing worlds of psychology, science, and societal factors behind what the industries produce.

Category: Anime Coverage, Manga Coverage  | Tags: , ,  | 2 Comments
Author:
• Friday, April 11th, 2014

Nijigahara Holograph
Nijigahara Holograph could be summed up as a surreal slice-of-life with sprinkles of folklore and mild darkness. Shallow characters you do not know and incoherent story telling makes me not care so hard. Here is a table with a doll for you that does not have anything to do with anything. It requires several reads or getting further in to know who is who when the characters are school kids and then adults. Let us flood the panels with Boogiepop Phantom butterflies that could give symbolism, but let us not give them any so we can give a poor attempt at abstraction and supernatural elements that will not exist. Perhaps I should not be hard on it because it is suppose to have a dreamlike atmosphere with its progression, but I will because because of regret.

Leaving much to the reader to imagine works best if there is something left for them to imagine about or at least a setting and/or characters that can stimilate imagination. With this manga the reader is forced to flip back and forth between the past and present with characters you will not care about. There is not any horror in Nijigahara Holograph despite boasting from hipster bloggers and sites that slap a genre on whatever for a lack of a better genre to classify it. The issue of not knowing which character is which and again the lack of care leads to just simple dark themed panels.

Artwork is of overall solid quality with most effort in the characters than backgrounds. Many pages and panels can either be seen as minimalist or lazy depending on expectations and preference. New chapter, so lets add a little box on a blank white page as a stronger example. Hair lacks layers and detail for characters and background surroundings are too clean and lacking mood for my tastes. Main exception for the lack of mood however is the warm and cultured summertime’y moments that may fill you with nostalgia of warm summer days outside. That of course is dependent on the time of day of reading this, your local climate, and if your school years were remotely similar.

Some of the reason for my purchase of Nijigahara Holograph is the severe lack of new manga licenses, new volumes of what little I follow, and few manga of interest. In short it was the awesome cover art, descriptions, and most of all desperation. My lesson from reading this has been not to give into impulses (pre-ordered) based on deprivation and instead look to older overlooked manga. Perhaps returning it to Amazon would have been a wise, too.

Fantagraphics gave this a wonderful hardcover like the great manga Wandering Son and it has a wonderful printed smell. I will not give much hints to the ending, however it is not original.

Author:
• Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Are we dead yet? I can never be too sure.

Stoled

As most of the Interweb is aware, Japan is animating Nisekoi. I have to wonder why I care. It is just another lame and predictable romantic comedy from the pages of Shonen Jump that I would never recommend to anyone; but try as I might, the sappy gooey mess that I hide beneath my armor of glamorous gun-wielding babes, and tank-riding schoolgirls tends to find the cracks in my defenses from which to ooze out of. What results is a person much comparable in likeness to myself, secretly downloading the mild-mannered obscenity that is Nisekoi… What can I say, it’s true.

hanami

I absolutely loved Naoshi Komi’s previous work Double Arts, which was cancelled far too early. I was hoping Nisekoi would be a worthy successor, an original idea that could compete against its predecessor in terms of potential. Instead I got a graham cracker and a marshmallow. All the fat lonely slobs of the world latched onto this bait with its promise of promiscuous bath scenes and immoral slip-ups, making Nisekoi Naoshi Komi’s longest and most successful work to date. Good for him.

I was not spared from this underhanded trap, and as much as I pretend to hate s’mores, I brought with me my stash of Hershey’s. The rest is history: this manga fried my brain. How else can I explain my unmistakable joy with each chapter, as vanilla stench takes form in black and white on my monitor screen. At any rate, now that I am fully invested in this series, and now that it has stolen my money… what could possibly go wrong?

They decide to animate it.

Nisekoi wasn’t a very well thought-out series, and I am sure even a seasoned fan can admit that aside from its cute assortment of girls, the story barely has any legging to work with. For eighty-seven chapters the only thread tying the characters together was the protagonist’s unreliable assortment of memories which seems to change details with every flashback. I am a proponent of structure, and really frown upon this style of “make shit up on the go” writing. But I like the mangaka and forgave him every time I felt the sharp sting of pain run across the right bridge of my neck whenever I chose to ignore some glaring flaw in his plot.

All of this is irrelevant because the anime has already been greenlit. I really believe they should have let the series run its course for another year before moving forward on an anime, but as my opinion has very little effect in swaying the powers that be, I did the gracious thing and stepped aside. Now I’m here to promote this shit, and hopefully at some point in the future, someone will buy the manga. Like I did.

Author:
• Friday, May 17th, 2013

Sai from G Gundam
Icon Source: rainraven
It is Sai calling someone bro as he did in G Gundam’s dubs. Dreamwidth is a fork of LiveJournal by former LiveJournal staff. There are many forks, but Dreamwidth is the most popular with their users linking between the two sites. Pixiv source no longer exists.

Fire Candy
Icon Source: reccessional
Fire Candy has amazing character art with a very wonderful rough style. Above is “manga coloring” and not official art or from a cover.

Vocaloid
Icon Source: ukemilk
Original Source: Nico Nico Douga
The icon originated from a Nico Nico Douga video with the Vocaloid Kagamine twins Rin and Len.

Aventura
Icon Source: kazimierzi
Aventura was a formally licensed and published manga by Del Rey before Kodansha took over their manga publishing. It sported some of the most dreamy and excessive character (especially hair) detail. Safe to say Del Rey had much more interesting manga choices with Q Ko-chan, Alive: The Final Evolution, and Yozakura Quartet. Kodansha’s US division is far too timid and does not bother much with manga outside big hits.

Persona
Icon Source: mensenhater
Original Source: momocan.egoism.jp (a little NSFW)
Most of my favorite avatars or what LiveJournal calls icons have action, posing, or a bit of emotion. Just a character’s face is bland and not very creative. It is Ken cross-dressing in what the blond Aigis android is known to wear in Persona 3.

LiveJournal is a giant from a long ago era where people created communities of posting user avatars. Users had the ability to upload more than one icon (avatar) and choose which they wish to use when commenting or publishing a blog entry. In a way the site is very much like WordPress.com in where it is a network of blogs, but community and networking is much more stressed. Users created communities for anyone to post entries to and used them for massive image heavy posts with often a hundred icons. The community may not be Facebook, but it remains active and worth the membership.

Author:
• Tuesday, October 09th, 2012

I was both impressed and disappointed by the first episode of, MAGI – The labyrinth of magic.

Features a little shota that’s just ASKING for it.

I understand when a series makes the leap from one medium to another, it is acceptable for there to be differences between the two. It would only make sense to allow the production studio to grab hold of the reins and present its own liberal interpretation. After all, the demographic isn’t always the same, and a certain amount of room for changes needs to be available; if not only for different tastes but to iron out any inconsistencies from the manga. One also has to take into account time constraints, since twenty-three minutes is not enough time to properly hook viewers without plenty of action. And because I understand all this, and I respect the time and effort that is placed in the animating process; I have to excuse A-1 Pictures for completely skipping the first chapter of the manga. Oops, that’s right: Spoiler.

MAGI is one of only a few shounen titles I consider worth reading these days, and as painful as it is to see them animating this I bit my tongue and watched the first episode ready to criticize at every turn. Overall, it was not bad. They decided to trek the harder route by erasing the existence of two minor characters, and then had to rewrite the script so events from the first and second chapter intertwined. It was commendable that it worked out; but in the chopping process they had to introduce unnecessary elements like a slave carriage and a character that wasn’t supposed to be in the episode yet: Morgiana.

Ali Baba tricks a naive young boy into his home with promise of candy.

Wait, let’s track back and explain the plot. MAGI stars a little boy by the name of Aladdin who travels out into the world in search of friends. On his journey he meets up with Ali Baba, a cart driver with a mysterious past, whose destiny is set in motion by his chance encounter with the magi, Aladdin. It’s a very simple plot designed to be vague for growth and development. In this world there are “dungeons” that when cleared bear high rewards in the form of treasures and powerful magical creatures known as “Djinns.” In the arcs to follow, the MAGI manga deals with a multitude of topics ranging from politics and war to even darker themes such as slavery, poverty, corruption and death. At times it makes me wonder if it’s actually intended for children. Rather than summarize the whole episode I chose to describe the subtle differences between the manga and the anime via its introduction of the characters.

Self-explanatory… I think.

Ali Baba, one of the protagonists of the series, is introduced as a weak and feeble character whose hesitation is his biggest drawback. In the manga his overall persona is roughly the same, but when push came to shove he went out of his way to make the right decision with no regard to his personal well-being. This facet of his personality is what attracted Aladdin to him and serves as the groundwork for their friendship. Yet in this first episode where he is supposed to be the hero of the story, he is more of a supporting prop. During his one moment of spotlight he is out-shined by Aladdin and Morgiana. When a little girl falls into the stomach of a Desert Hyacinth, a monster found in the desert, Ali Baba is shown hesitating to rescue her and a televised minute nearly goes by featuring his inhibition to abandon his own security. Morgiana ends up being the first to attempt helping the girl, while Aladdin does most of the dirty work later on. I think the animated version of this important scene downplays Ali Baba as a key character.

Our token under-appreciated female lead. They keep her age ambiguous.

Morgiana tends to stick out like a sore thumb in the anime, mostly due to her red hair. In manga, things are either black or white so she sort of faded into the background most of the time. That is nearly impossible now. I have to agree she looks much better in the anime, but that’s the only improvement from the manga. Let’s face the fact, Morgiana is an awesome badass in the manga. This first episode over-emphasizes on her femininity to a point where she becomes another weak female heroine that is in constant need of saving. She’s supposed to be one of the strongest characters in this series, and yet she falls into a Hyacinth and is unable to do anything? That doesn’t even make sense. I realize it is a ploy to fool viewers, and in the coming episode she will display an uncharacteristic explosive bout of power, but it’s retarded to attempt deceiving viewers when you have her kicking in the heads of giant tigers in the opening theme.

Aladdin is pretty much how I expected him to be, except they emphasize his perversity to a degree where I can’t help but feel betrayed. I have nothing more to comment on this character.

A-1 Pictures is not known for producing long series, so I imagine this will be cut short to a 13 or 26-episode series. The manga is still ongoing, so unless they are willing to change the entire content of the story I do not know how they plan to do this. I just hope they don’t decide to start writing their own thing and end the series prematurely with some half-assed scenario where all the bad guys get taken out in the last two episodes.

Here we have Zuko, the young prince of a corrupt imperial nation who must constantly battle with his own inner darkness all the while plotting plans to usurp his country’s leader. Whoops, I meant Hakuryuu. Same shit.

On another note, despite all that this series has going for it, I just can’t help but draw similarities between this and The Last Airbender sometimes. I wonder why. Magi just has more elements to bend.