What Is It About Manga?

What is it about manga that appeals to you?

Librarian Nancy Pearl AFThis question was spurred on by a “Nancy Pearl”  TEDx talk from a few years ago (Below). If you don’t know Nancy Pearl, she’s basically the superhero of librarians… complete with her own action figure! She was recently visiting my city to talk about reading (I was unable to attend, so satisfied myself with her old TEDx).

While I don’t really think it’s the best TEDx talk I’ve watched, and think her ideas about recommending books to people may be a bit idealistic, she also suggests her own theory about why people enjoy the books they like.

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What Kind of Collector Are You?

I’ve been doing a bit of reading of academic journals lately. Partly because I’ve been working on a handful of scripted videos for my YouTube channel… and partly because I like reading academic journals.

But, in doing so, I’m coming across topics I want to talk about that don’t fit into the other things I’m doing. I think, I am going to start talking about them here.

So, today I am going to ask you, “What kind of collector are you?”

I was reading this article:

Belk, Russell W., et al. “Collectors and Collecting.” Advances in Consumer Research, vol. 15, no. 1, Jan. 1988, pp. 548-553.

There is quite a robust discussion of collecting behavior in it – which touch on some of the topics that I’m looking at adding to some videos. I won’t go into everything this article talks about, but the main point that I found interesting was how collectors were categorized.

Type A Collector: Continue reading

Manga Review: Platinum Garden (vol. 1-6) / by Maki Fujita

platinum garden 1Platinum Garden, volumes 1-6  / by Maki Fujita

Translated from the Japanese by Egan Loo. English Adaptation by Sarah Dyer.

Published in English by Tokyopop, 2006

First published in Japanese by Akita Publishing Co., 2001

1598163612 (volume 1)

Rated: 2.5/5 Stars


From GoodReads:

When Kazura is sent to live in Mizuki’s house, she learns that she’s really there to become his wife! Furious, Kazura tries to leave, but discovers that she was given as payment for her deceased grandfather’s debts. But things aren’t what they seem to be in this household–Mizuki can call back people’s souls, and Kazura wants him to bring back her grandfather! Maki Fujita’s shojo comedy is filled with delicious family secrets, dreamy high school romance, and plenty of spirited fun!


I picked up Platinum Garden to read because it’s on the next shelf that I’ve picked for my monthly bookshelf tours (video will go up beginning of April). My sister owns this series, and neither of us have finished reading it. Which I guess is okay, considering how it was dropped at the half-way point. There are still 7 volumes which never got an English release. She owns the first 6 volumes, which is what I’ll be discussing:

I remember picking up the first volume years ago… probably when she started buying it (in 2006) and being too bored to continue. I thought it would be a good time to try this again.

It was. I was pleasantly surprised by how good this title was. Was it great? No. It’s pretty average. But it’s better than I remember… and everything from story, art and translation improves as you progress into the later volumes.

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Manga Mysteries #MangaMonday Recommendations

There are a whole bunch of manga mystery stories. Here are a very small selection that I think you should check out if you have the chance!

The Kindaichi Case Files by Kanari Yozaburo and Sato Fumiya

Kindaichi

This is wildly out of print, but because most of the stories are self contained within each volume, it’s well worth picking up if you find a volume here and there. This is essentially a series featuring the young detective Kindaichi who solves murder mysteries; very much scenarios like you’d find in Agatha Christie novels. Kindaichi is an unassuming youth, but has great powers of perception. The stories are more about the mysteries, than they are about the characters, so if murder mysteries are something you like to read I would definitely recommend checking this one out. Published by Tokyopop.

Utsubora: the Story of a Novelist by Asamiko Nakamura

Utsubora

This is a recently in-print manga, so you should still be able to get your hands on it. This is a beautifully illustrated josei series about a novelist who has some relationship to a young woman who has recently commit suicide by jumping to her death. The mystery is subtly woven in an art house style manga. After you’ve read through it and revealed all of the secrets, you will definitely want to pick it up again. This is one of those mysteries that you get more out of every time you pick it up — which says a lot for a mystery! Definitely would recommend checking this title out. Mature Content. Published by Vertical.

Young Miss Holmes by Kaoru Shintani

Young Miss Holmes

This is exactly what it sounds like, a series about a “miss” Holmes. This miss is the niece of the famous detective, who like her famous uncle has a nimble mind and keen observation skills. This is normally a type of series that I don’t like, so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. For one, the art in it is beautiful! I would recommend it for that alone. But also, this takes on the concept that miss Holmes is not her uncle’s helper, but her uncle’s competition. She is a tenacious child who wants to best her uncle at solving crimes. They often appear simultaneously at the conclusion, but have come to the correct conclusion in a different way. It’s a delightful read, but recently out of print, so pick it up when you have a chance! Published by Seven Seas.

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Quick Thoughts On : Ajin Demi-Human (vol. 1-8) / story by Tsuina Miura, art by Gamon Sakurai

ajinAjin Demi-Human, volume 1-8 (ongoing) / story by Tsuina Miura, art by Gamon Sakurai.

Translated from the Japanese by Ko Ransom.

Published by Vertical, 2014

Originally published as Ajin, in good! Afternoon magazine (Kodansha, Ltd.), 2012-

9781939130846 (volume 1)


From GoodReads:

High school student Kei Nagai is struck dead in a grisly traffic accident, but immediately revives to learn that he may not be like every other human. Instead, he may be a mysterious, almost immortal being, granted not only the powers of rejuvenation, but the abilities to see supernatural beings. Scared, he runs away, and is aided in his escape from society by his friend. Unfortunately for Kei, the manhunt is on and he will soon be caught within a conflict between mankind and others like him as they prepare to fight a new war based on terror.  Continue reading

Manhwa #MangaMonday Recommendations

Funny, how despite being the person who sets up these themes, they seem to spring up on me! Ack!

Today’s #MangaMonday recommendations are for manhwa. So, not manga at all… this really should have been called #ManhwaMonday. Manhwa in its simplest definition are comics coming out of South Korea. There’s more to that definition, but I’ll talk about that at some later point.

I actually have a pretty size-able collection of manhwa in my collection, but it’s something I pick up rarely to read. I think I only read 2 or 3 titles last year. And, I rarely buy manhwa. I used to pick it up because I didn’t notice the difference between it and manga, plus it was published and promoted as manga… so as a new reader, the difference wasn’t clear.

But now as a seasoned reader, I will say that because manhwa can look so much like manga that it actually shows its differences more clearly. It comes from a completely different country, so of course the stories, art, scenarios, and iconography will be different. In my opinion, this difference is one of the main reasons you or I as a manga reader should be reading them. It challenges, and hones your understanding of another comic form.

So, here are a few titles that I recommend you check out:

Pig Bride by Kook Hwa Huh and SuJin Kim.

pig 1This is a short 5 volume manhwa that I would equate to a shojo fantasy romance. At the tender age of 8 a young boy, and son to a powerful family, finds himself lost in the forest. He is found by a girl in a pig mask, who’s mother threatens not to let him leave if he doesn’t marry her daughter. He is forced into this marriage, and then sent back to his family. But, at the age of 16 this girl which he remembers from his dreams now has appeared and is ready to start their married life together.

At 5 volumes, this series is packed with unexpected twists and turns, and is a treat to read. Plus, because it’s so short, it shouldn’t be too hard to collect. Continue reading

Manga Review : Alice 19th / by Yuu Watase

alice 19Alice 19th, Volumes 1-7 (complete) / by Yuu Watase

Translated from the Japanese by Lance Caselman

Viz, 2003-2004.

Originally published as “Alice 19th”
by Shogakukan, Inc., 2001

9781591162155 (volume 1)


Verso (volume 1):

Alice Seno is a seemingly shy and meek girl who always seems to be outshined by her older sister Mayura. One day, Alice has an encounter with a mysterious and magical rabbit girl, and her life is turned upside down. Alice discovers that certain words have power, and that she has the potential to be master of a set of sublimely powerful words called the Lotis Words. But power always comes with a price, and the price may turn out to be Alice’s sister Mayura.

*also, I copied this image off of GoodReads. My copy has the correct spelling of “story” (not “sroty”) on the cover. If you’ve got a first edition of this manga, I’d love to know if it was sent out with this spelling error… because that’d be hilarious! Continue reading

Gaming Manga #MangaMonday Recommendations

Today’s topic is “Playing Games in Manga.” It’s a popular and frequent topic in manga. Not only that, it is also a popular hobby for many manga readers.

I grew up playing games. And though, I wouldn’t call myself a gamer, I still end up playing games with friends and family on an almost weekly basis. As for video games, I think my first experience was when my father bought me my own game for the Atari 2600. Which game? Only the Best game ever!!

Okay, so maybe this is a good example of when games are better left inside the pages of comic books… [I still like it though]

Here are my recommendations for game-centric manga! Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Manga #MangaMonday Recommendations

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

This week’s #MangaMonday Recommendations topic is about Valentine’s day, I of course could do nothing else but recommend *shōjo manga. I’m following up from last week where I recommended short shōnen manga, by including short shōjo series in this post!

Besides being extra short, these series also feature the cutest pure-love-type boy-girl relationships. Whether you’re in love, or not, these series are sure to make your heart go doki doki!

Several of these titles are out of print, so might be a bit harder to locate. But, since they are short, shouldn’t take much to complete!

 

The Heiress and the Chauffeur, volume 1-2 by Keiko Ishihara

Set in Taisho era Japan, an heiress and her servant must never cross the boundaries of their station in life. They can never touch. And they certainly can never fall in love! Continue reading

Light Novel Review : Genshiken : Return of the Otaku / by Iida Kazutoshi & Kio Shimoku

genshikenGenshiken : Return of the Otaku / by Iida Kazutoshi & Kio Shimoku

Based on the manga by Kio Shimoku

Translated from the Japanese by Katy Bridges, 2010.

Del Rey Manga/Kodansha Trade Paperback Edition, 2010

Originally published in Japan as Genshiken : Hairu Ranto no Yabo~Return of the Otaku, 2008

223 pages

978-0345516275

Stars: ★ / 5


From GoodReads:

The deafening whack-whack-whack of a helicopter above campus is the first indication that the balmy tranquility of the Genshiken Club is about to be disturbed. The chopper brings handsome Ranto Hairu: transfer student, scion of a powerful Japanese conglomerate, and newly named chairman of the on-campus club organization committee.

Hairu has strong ideas about the kind of clubs that deserve to survive (earnest, industrious) and the kind that don’t (arty, frivolous), and he’s a big fan of brute force. For Madarame, Kousaka, Ohno, and the others, the idea of losing their cherished club is the ultimate nightmare—but it’s only the first of many.
 
Fortunately, the Genshiken boys and girls have a few tricks of their own, including a certain swordfighter summoned from ancient times who could prove very handy Continue reading