My News and Reviews
I've mostly recovered from hosting the Manga Moveable Feast in January and it looks like things will be getting back to a more normal schedule here at Experiments in Manga. This past week I posted January's Bookshelf Overload. There were quite a few nice deluxe hardcover releases last month. Speaking of nice, hardcover releases: I also posted the first in-depth manga review of February--Osamu Tezuka's Message to Adolf, Part 2. I am absolutely thrilled that this series is available in English again. I sincerely think it's one of Tezuka's best works. January's manga giveaway was also posted last week. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, so there's still time to enter for a chance to win Blue Exorcist, Volume 1 by Kazue Kato.
On to other fun things online! Sublime Manga, Viz Media's boys' love imprint, is celebrating its first anniversary with a great sale at Right Stuf and some fantastic license announcements. I am absolutely thrilled that Sublime will be releasing Tetuzoh Okadaya's The Man of Tango and est em's Tableau Numéro 20 in print later this year. On Twitter, Digital Manga is hinting that its next Kickstarter project will have something to do with Ishinomori Shotaro, which would be very exciting indeed. In other release news, the third issue of the English-language edition of the Japanese literary journal Monkey Business has been sent off to the printers. I really enjoyed the first two volumes, so I'm very excited to read the next one as well.
Elsewhere online, Kuriousity posted a great interview with Digital Manga's newer hentai manga imprint, Project-H Books--Handling Hentai: An Interview With Project-H. Noah Berlatsky of The Hooded Utilitarian (among other places) wrote an essay on The Ethics of Scanlation for the Center for Digital Ethics & Policy. It's a fantastic summary of some of the issues and different perspectives involved. On Facebook, Vertical shared a breakdown of its recent reader survey. Finally, the call for participation for the Naoki Urasawa Manga Moveable Feast has been posted. Justin at Organization Anti-Social Geniuses will be hosting be hosting the Feast later this month.
Girl Friends, Omnibus 2 by Milk Morinaga. As much as I enjoyed the first Girl Friends omnibus, I think the second collection is even better. The first half of the series was told largely from Mari's perspective; this time Akko's point of view has become more prominent. At this point, Mari is trying to suppress her feelings for Akko, hoping that they can at least remain friends. Akko, on the other hand, is reassessing their relationship, trying to work out the differences between friendship and love. Eventually the two young women must navigate their budding romance together. Girl Friends really is a wonderful series and certainly one of the most realistic yuri manga that I have read.
The One Trick Rip-Off + Deep Cuts by Paul Pope. If you've never read any of Pope's work, the newly released, hardcover anthology The One Trick Rip-Off + Deep Cuts is a fantastic introduction. It collects his longer work The One Trick Rip-Off (originally published by but now out of print from Dark Horse) as well as fourteen shorter comics, including the manga and manga-influenced work he created for Kodansha in Japan. The collection exhibits a nice variety of styles and genres from the more realistic to the more fantastical. The selected works span nearly a decade of Pope's career. There is an appealing quirkiness to many of Pope's characters and stories. At other times there is a sense of poetic lyricism. I loved The One Trick Rip-Off + Deep Cuts; it's a marvelous volume.
Rurouni Kenshin, Omnibus 6 (equivalent to Volumes 16-18) by Nobuhiro Watsuki. This omnibus sees the conclusion of the lengthy Kyoto arc of Rurouni Kenshin as well as its aftermath. The duels between Kenshin and his allies and Shishio and his faction continue, ultimately ending in a violent showdown against Shishio himself. Some of the duelists' techniques and powers are over-the-top and logically ridiculous, but they do make for some exciting and dramatic fights. I particularly liked how Watsuki was able to end the conflict with Shishio in such a way that Kenshin was still able to remain true to his vow. Kenshin and the others may have dealt with the immediate threat, but they haven't made it through unscathed.
Tenjo Tenge, Omnibus 1 (equivalent to Volumes 1-2) by Oh!Great. Tenjo Tenge was originally published by CMX manga in a heavily edited version which was never released in its entirety. However, the license was rescued by Viz Media and released in a non-censored, "full contact" edition. The manga is certainly deserving of its mature rating: Tenjo Tenge is violent and has plenty of fanservice. I've been told Tenjo Tenge gets better as it progresses, but right now neither the characters nor plot interests me enough for me to continue with the series. There were some really nice fighting bits, and legitimate martial arts philosophy and strategy were worked into the story, too, which I liked. There was also a hint of the supernatural. Even so, Tenjo Tenge didn't really grab me.