Archive for the Category ◊ Manga Coverage ◊

• Monday, May 21st, 2012

Heroman is a story with kid who finds an abandoned robot toy from a commercial he wanted and befriends after it gains the ability to come to life and big enough to fight. Together they combat aliens and corruption to protect their friendship and lives of people. Video is a fan created mashing of the Heroman anime and the Disney movie The Iron Giant. Character roles fit and the voice overs match the animation.

Volume one and two of the Stan Lee manga Heroman are on Amazon for pre-ordering. It would be great if the manga and novel publisher Vertical would finish Heroman with all of the volumes. Vertical is still in operation and by no means do they have a reputation of canceling great manga after so many volumes, but Heroman is something that I would enjoy and that is not a good sign like the canceled manga bellow.

Alive: The Final Evolution – Del Rey
Aventura – Del Rey
Beyond the Beyond – Tokyopop
DNAngel – Tokyopop
Gamerz Heaven – ADV Manga
Kino’s Journey (novel) – Tokyopop
Momo Tama – Tokyopop
Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok – ADV Manga
Peacemaker Kurogane – ADV Manga
Peace Maker – Tokyopop
Qwan – Tokyopop
Rise R to the Second Power – ADV Manga
The First King Adventure – ADV Manga

Lagoon Engine Einsatz’s mangaka has not continued the story after the first volume and Flat never had its first volume distributed by Tokyopop, so those are left out. A lot from the list are favorites or at the very least manga that enjoyed much because of the mangaka. Heroman show no signs of having poor sales and has the big named American comic creator Stan Lee behind it, but don’t think for a moment that it is invulnerable. What I have learned is to show appreciation and to be vocal about what you love. Not doing so will could mean being bitter or broken.

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• Tuesday, May 15th, 2012


FLCL the manga is based on the same named GAINAX anime of a boy Naota in a quiet city and his life that turns upside down after a Vespa scooter rider Haruko Haruhara slams him with a guitar. Naota’s head is hit hard and leaving a large growth on his head that spits out mecha from medical equipment manufacture Medical Mechanica. Haruko is from a group called Galaxy Space Police Brotherhood and stays close to Naota for her search in finding a powerful space pirate known as Atomsk. Mega corporation Medical Mechanica is using the robots to capture Atomsk to conquer the galaxy causing a large showdown.

No question in getting this as an owner of the original Tokyopop release of FLCL and the Japanese Kodansha Box versions with silver slip covers and extras. The new omnibus by comic publisher Dark Horse sports almost all of the same colored illustrations found in each Kodansha Box version. Front cover of Naota is a full cover image that is on the back of volume two and the back is an image from the back of volume one’s Kodansha Box cover case. In the back of the omnibus is a left to right short depicting a gun fight with the characters called The Forth Studio. Each page of the short is black with author notes between the white lines of the art and English translations bellow.

My experience with FLCL was back in time when living in foothills of a big city with a small town feel and countless thriving mom-and-pop shops. The city’s shopping mall and attractive main streets were in walking distance. Bookstores would have shelves bursting for more space, myself flipping through manga for finding new reads, and floors covered with people reading.

One amazing aspect of the manga is the freedom the mangaka Hajime Ueda flaunts with abstract artwork. Panels are not always boxes, characters are illustrated for each moment, and artwork is heavily styled without too much complexity. Fans of this book will also enjoy Hajime Ueda’s other two-volume work Q Ko-chan published by Del Rey.

Forums had frequent threads about what Fooly Cooly meant, what the hell they just watched or read, and speculation on what viewers believed were symbolic or metaphors for coming of age themes. Anime and the manga had its criticism for being random and plotless by watchers and readers. Understand my FLCL fascination would require knowing my acceptance of story with little need for explaining fantasy, science, or even plot. Each anime and manga is its own world with its own laws of how technology works and social behavior. Explaining could hinder the experience much like the anime Noein: To Your Other Self episode revealing much of the science in detail to where it obstructs story while being boring and obvious. Not having expectations with story and satisfaction with spending extra time on each page’s art and subtly shows excellence. FLCL is what it is with flawless success and creates fandom discussion that debates itself even today. Its story does not follow the anime close, but remains just as faithful as a traditional adaptation and the differences make it more worth reading if one’s only experience is the anime.

Dark Horse Comics has a preview and Amazon has it for the price of a single volume of manga.

Illustration Source: Pixiv

• Wednesday, May 09th, 2012

Black Gate Tokyopop cover
Black Gate or alternatively known as Reverse/End is a Yukiko Sumiyoshi three volume manga licensed Tokyopop in an omnibus only book. Characters are very well drawn with a fresh variety of expressions to give humor from the mangaka’s experience as a creator of gag shorts. Main characters and the gang are a wonderful mix of social misfits that range from the abused, arrogant, and bossy. The pacing of the story develops without too much drag and builds up with flashbacks and well spread out hooks throughout the adventure.

The story is about gate closers known as Mitedamashi who have the job of closing bad gates and supernatural people known as Gate Keepers who manage the gates for people to pass into the afterlife. White gates are large holes that appear normally when someone is about to pass and black are the bad ones that try to create deaths, but both are only able to be seen by Gate Keepers and a limited number of humans. We start off with a Mitedamashi named Senju who was given the duty to protect a special child with hidden power to discover named Hijiri. Mitedamashi have an organizer to give them work with payment for each closed gate, how large the closed gate is, and if there are other related tasks. Sadly Senju is pretty poor despite having such an unusual career and has had to take normals jobs as supplementary income for feeding the duo. It turns out Hijiri is the last of the race of Gate Keepers that along the way helps to acquire new allies for his adventure to become useful and a leader, but it seems such great power is dangerous and wanted by those who wish to end death.

One of my favorite areas of the plot is of Senju exiting the shower and Hijiri being forced down to the ground. Hijiri’s shirt is opened as it’s decided that he’ll enter a party at a wealthy mansion as a young girl in order to find a black gate within an otherwise hard to enter location. At the mansion the rich father who owns the place is throwing a birthday party for his daughter in order to help his hurting business. During the party Hijiri makes friends with the not so thrilled daughter and is dressed up in a much more stunning outfit by her due to the slapped together appearance he entered with. It’s warming in that after the gate is closed and Hijiri’s gender is revealed the girl finally is happy despite none of her friends were allowed to be there. Instead she made a new friend with a bit of entertainment that came along with the gate closing and Hijiri’s mouthy chatter.

Certain characters remind me much of Maki Murakami’s manga Gamerz Heaven. Hijiri is like the Navigator from Gamerz Heaven’s Nata in that he’s the kiddy cute character with digital numbers sometimes appearing in his eyes and magical powers that seem technological.

Best of all Black Gate should be fairly cheap if found at a local store and can be even bought new on Amazon for a couple bucks plus shipping. Special pages by Yukiko Sumiyoshi accompany the book with drawn pages of notes, thanks, and artwork with summarization of characters as the story moves.

• Thursday, May 03rd, 2012

So in commemoration of the Avengers movie opening tonight, I decided to browse through my old blog and pull up something that is no longer relevant. Note that this was written over six years ago.

Oh, and speaking of American comics… what’s with these Original English Language (OEL) manga that’s been filling up bookshelves in the manga section? Two years ago, I took it for a passing fad, but now every comic-book publisher appears to be releasing their own versions of “Home-Made Japanese”. Some of them steal the Japanese right-to-left format (I see no reason to do this since English should be read left-to-right.) and after reading the shitty stories within some of them I’m beginning to wonder if Americans are just trying to adapt all the wrong aspects of Japanese comics…?

The Hair
To quote the Shopping Blog on the thankfully-deceased Garnier’s Manga Head advertising campaign, “Looking for a wild new hair style? Garnier suggests a new style based on the popular Japanese Manga comics.” If you’re too new to the manga scene to have missed seeing the L’Oreal line making such beautiful asses of themselves, their “Manga Head” page featured images of poorly drawn dragonball-esque characters, possibly submitted by primary school students all across the United Kingdom, all with one unique characteristic: gravity-defying hair. Accompanying these awful flashy pictures were images of real people imitating the hair style with Garnier’s Fructis Style product.

So there we have it. Clear proof that one of the defining points of manga to the ignorant west are the buoyant hairstyles. There is a bit of truth to this; it would be be nigh impossible to find a manga in any shounen publication that does not make use of the pointy hair, the floating bangs or the middle antennae. However, fans of more true-to-life artist such as Ikegami Ryoichi(MAI THE PSYCHIC GIRL) and Marita Masanori (Rokudenashi Blues, Rookies) know this to be not true. […] Still, their knowledge doesn’t seem to extend beyond the scope of the hair.

The Eyes
If you were to make a comic and you wanted to call it a manga, but your Japanese vocabulary is very limited and you couldn’t draw a decent manga setting if hell came after you… how else could you affirm its status as a manga? The answer is of course, the eyes. Apparently having the eyes take up more than 40% of the face constitutes any drawn image as an official Japanese character. Sometimes giving them Japanese names like Sora, Tsubasa, Bob and the like makes them all the more authentic.

Big eyes are definitely a Japanese drawing trait, and it wouldn’t be a lie to say that the trend of bigger white:pupil ratio is influencing the drawing styles of many new and upcoming American comic artists. What separates them from the slew of other American manga-artists is that their work is still labeled “comics”.

So where exactly is the fine line drawn? I’m sure it must be the language barrier or in the inking. Maybe it is the Japanese’s heavy usage of tones to create atmosphere and moods, made obsolete in American comics because of our preference of having everything in color, or could it be…

The Setting
OELs are interestingly enough always about silly relationships, furries, vampires and goths, geeks, all of the above, or about the actual medium itself: Japanese anime and manga. In that sense, I guess there isn’t much differentiating them between their Japanese counterpart. Well, except for one thing….

The OELs are just fucking awful. A futuristic setting with samurais and gunslingers is fine… if you’re Japanese. If you’re an American, you’re better off making a story about Jedis. At least you’re playing on your own field then. It just doesn’t seem right. I used to expect class whenever I read American works, but these OELs are just killing me.

Americans are just too engrossed with making their comic more than just a “comic”, into something called “manga”, that they overcomplicate it with silly American wisdom when what they really need is something nice and simple. They could start off by making a decent story and calling it a comic. [M]any people in America have come to expect their manga to have depth (and pretty art), maybe with a slight scattering of humor throughout every chapter in moderate amounts to prevent it from becoming all serious and no play. The American “manga” I have read either take it too far with the humor, or go nowhere with the depth. It’s overall a bland read, and I sometimes stab myself at night so that I’d never pick up any american OELs again.

Anyways, It’s 6 in the morning and I’ve gotten sleepy. I’ll check back later and this post will seem very retarded in the afternoon.

And I now leave you with a picture.

Oh, so true...

• Friday, April 20th, 2012

I don't want to watch this show again just to screencap.

I woke up from two episodes of Jormungand yesterday and went back to playing Skullgirls. So far, everything has been completely true to the manga: the characters suck, the story sucks, the setting sucks, the action sucks and Jormungand sucks.

Actually, I’m confused at why they chose to animate this series in the first place. I read the manga way back when, and determined it wasn’t worth my time; thereby objectively denying its existence. So it surprised me to find eleven volumes of Jormungand on nearly three years later. Could I… Did I make another mistake? Was it actually a better comic than I remember it being? So thanks to the Internet, I wasted no time getting my hands on the first two episodes to prove me wrong. My well-rested eyelids can attest to the fact that I was on point for a change.

For someone who wants a more concrete explanation, not that it matters, because debating over opinions is a great way to lose interest, I’ve broken it down to three simplified reasons:

  • Nobody except for fat weapons otaku from a country with strict gun control laws would be interested in watching, let alone reading, a boring action/drama about arms dealing.
  • The characters all look like snakes with their slitty eyes and narrow faces. I’m hoping that’s where the title comes from; because I really can’t see the connection between this shit and the Midgard Serpent.
  • This series is pieced together worse than a Korean manhwa. 85% of Korean manhwa is made by taking the most choice pieces from the creator’s favorite Japanese manga. This is the same idea, except it seems the yellow bastard is Japanese.

I stole one too many pictures. I don't even know where this goes.

• Thursday, March 01st, 2012


I seem to be the only one who likes Aki Sora.

I mean, sure the story went from sappy drama about forbidden love to full-blown orgies in the course of six chapters; and trust me, I was angry at how shitty the story became. Then I noticed a bulge in my pants and realized that not all anime and manga need to be good to be enjoyable. Of course, some crappy anime receive more popularity than it deserves, and that really grinds my gears, but that’s my disappointment with anime fans in general and doesn’t lie strictly with the anime.

I seem to have gone off topic. Oh yes, I masturbated to Aki Sora out of pure frustration and came to enjoy the series for its aesthetics, and how it indulges my more primal urges. After all, isn’t incest really just about getting your rocks off in Japan? My only complaint with the Aki Sora anime was that it sucked, and not in the good way. It seemed to focus too much on the boring slice-of-life bits rather than the sticky wet sex that usually accompanies Itosugi Masahiro’s artworks. I remember stroking my member to one particular chapter where Nami rapes Sora (No, I did not mix up the names) and as I climaxed I could actually feel the sorrow and regret emanating from the tears on Nami’s cum-soaked face. The sequence of events leading up to that heart-wrenching scene was a path convoluted with extraneous amounts of sex and semen, but it worked.

The ends justify the means, and since Aki Sora managed to figure out a way to pair-up the two I absolutely needed to join hips, and in a manner that wasn’t completely a waste of time, I have to give Aki Sora props. I don’t give a lot of crappy manga props, but Aki Sora deserves it. At the heart of the matter, Aki Sora is delivering fap material to young teenage boys across the globe with a story that doesn’t involve magical pixie dust that make dicks taste like candy. Very few titles can pull that off in a tasteful manner. So without further ado, I’d like to applaud Itosugi Masahiro on his most excellent Aki Sora.

Wait, what are those flesh-colored things on her chest? o.o

Japanese Lesson of the day: kinshin soukan (????) – incest

If you’re not doing it, then you’re a horrible father.