Tag-Archive for ◊ Tokyopop ◊

• 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...

• Sunday, October 26th, 2008

This is where someone would say sorry for the lack of blogging, but it’s best to blog instead. Just a series of unhelpful events and uncertainty of life. There’s been a lot of good things this year.

Moon Boy returns – Yen Press took off as it announced many new series along with the manhwa picked up from ICEkunion. One of them being this adventure of rabbit and wolf people. Volume four had a September release and it can be found on Amazon for a fairly cheaper price.

The basic idea of the story is that these rabbit like people once lived on the moon, but were forced off and came to earth. It’s either that or be eaten. These people fit in society like normal, but many have no knowledge of this or their power. Myung-Ee Joo is the (loud…) main character who’s…okay stop. She’s not really the main character. The story pretty much drags her along with it.

Back to the basic idea. You have these loose rabbit people along with a fighting force called Rabbit Tribe who helps Myung-Ee Joo and protects Yu-Da Lee. Their goal is to save Yu-Da Lee from the foxes who believe they’ve completely wiped his mind and surround him everyday. Both sides are able to form swords either from fox claws or by the will of a rabbit.

Each volume comes with a small folded poster, the art is always styled, and the series gets straight into the fun and drama. There’s not really any character development minus learning about what one capable of and their different ways of not being serious. Publishers Yen Press and Orbit are now under one roof so now there’s going to be volumes of the Moon Boy series with three different logos and companies on it…

ADV and Tokyopop – Tokyopop licensed Mirai Nikki as Future Diary with the first volume in May 11, 2009. Other than that ADV and Tokyopop have been more of a pain than good. Tokyopop dropped Lagoon Engine, Beyond the Beyond, and others. ADV dropped Sergeant Frog and gave up after releasing 5 Centimeters per Second.

More? Yes and who knows what ADV Manga will do when and if volume two of Lagoon Engine Lagoon Engine Einsatz comes out. With Yotsuba&! being on hold and the big list of canceled manga from ages ago…Gamerz Heaven, The First King Adventure, and Rise R to the Second Power as examples. ADV tossing out both the profiting Newtype USA and the poorly thought PiQ anime magazines.

Mirai Nikki from Tokyopop? No thanks.
Kaiba was a crazy adventure, Yozakura Quartet is animated, Kyo no Gononi has a new series, a cosplay magazine comes to the US with a large massive hard cover, and Soul Eater became popular.

Where’s the hard cover of Q Ko-chan volume two, though?

Next year maybe Geneon will return, Lolifox the web browser will make a come back, Letter Bee has a TV series announcement, and more Japan based comic publishers will cross the sea themselves to other countries. Guess this entry serves more of what to expect in future writings (but hopefully easier to read and coherent).

• Friday, July 11th, 2008

Lagoon Engine

Tokyopop has just announced they cancelled Lagoon Engine. No volumes six and seven. Someone should stick it to them by making the manga crazy popular even though it’ll go unfinished in English.

Lagoon Engine stars two brothers who can’t reveal their real names. They go by Yen and Jin Ragun and their duty is to defeat spirits called maga. Yen is focused, calm, and rational while his brother is implusive and fine with running into a fight that he might not win. To defeat maga they have maga of their own. Yen’s is Koga (of a type able to gather information) and Jin’s is Sora (all power and no brain).

The battles in Lagoon Engine are special. A barrier must first be created to make it so both sides cannot see each other and neither side knows the others name. Once a side guesses or discovers the other sides name they can see them and be able to wipe out their opponent. As the story develops there are people who don’t fight maga, but have other uses for them. Along the way you come across other beings and family members of the Ragun brothers.

Lagoon Engine is worth much for its subtle hints and the many battles. At least DNAngel volume twelve is coming, as it was released in Japan June 16th. Maybe.

• Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Tokyopop a while back did something pretty risky, they started translating and publishing anime themed light novels in the US. Volume one of Kino no Tabi was released in 2006, but it seems after the long wait Tokyopop has dropped it along with Scrapped Princess. No reason except a problem with its licensing. The seris will now be marked as out of print. It’s unlikely that the series will ever be completed in English, as there won’t be much of an outcry. Guess reading is too much work.