Another Manga Tag Video!

If you watch manga-tubers on YouTube you’ll know that there are a lot of TAG videos going around. Basically these are video memes…and you can tag other manga-tubers to also make the same video…

This one was created by AloofDragons a few weeks ago where I answer the questions:

  1. What are you reading right now?
  2. What is your guilty pleasure manga?
  3. Have you ever cried reading a manga? Do you remember which volume?
  4. What is a manga you like in a genre you don’t normally ever read?
  5. Pick. Seinen, shoujo or shounen?
  6. What is your favorite manga world? Why?
  7. Most underrated series that you own.
  8. What is a series that you don’t own but want the most in your collection/want to start collecting?
  9. Do you have a manga with a favorite spine aesthetic?
  10. Unread series on your shelf that you’re most looking forward to reading.
Advertisements

#DIVERSEATHON wrap-up

Oops. A bit late to wrap-up… you put it off one day and all of a sudden it’s a week later. So, anyways.

I participated in #Diverseathon. This was a challenge to read as much own voices literature from diverse authors. As you may know, I decided to pick graphic novels written by Indigenous authors born in Canada.

I’m not sure I learned too much. Maybe because there are several Indigenous groups that live very closely… or, because so much of my degree was focused on the history and culture of these groups. It was pretty much as expected.

What seemed unfortunate is that the titles each had a heavy-handed focus on reclaiming the “old ways”. I take this to be because they were written for the group that they were written about, and because most of them were supported with grants from the Government of Canada… so of course would have a particular agenda. It’s not a bad position, just that 1. it is incredibly disheartening that a group needs to have this message repeated over-and-over in their own literature and 2. the repetition gets a little tiring.

I placed holds on a number of titles, but these are the ones that arrived in time, which I read during the readathon.

☆☆☆/5 Ak Skim Aan (Hunter) / Marshall Leigh George was probably the most unique comic in the pile. It was a very short story of an Indigenous Father in a dystopian future who can’t provide for his family until…he discovers the “old ways”. It was essentially posed photographs with a textured overlay to give it a science fiction feel. I personally was surprised with how much I enjoyed this short story. Plus, it was a bilingual comic in Blackfoot with English subtitles which is such a unique thing to read.

☆☆/5 A Blanket of Butterflies / Richard van Camp again is a very short story. This one was nominated for an Eisner award in 2016. It wasn’t “that” awesome unfortunately. I think the nomination made me have higher expectations. This was about a Japanese man who came to Canada to reclaim his family sword that was being held hostage by an out-of-control Indigenous man until he rediscovers the “old ways”. I didn’t find this one as meaningful. There was an emotional finale, but the connection between characters was awkward. It was just much much too short.

There was an interesting attempt at connecting the Denne culture with Japanese culture that was hinted at… I would love to see that explored more in a future comic.

☆☆☆☆/5 Moonshot: The Indigenous Collection this is a beautiful and professional production of short stories by Indigenous authors edited by Hope Nicholson. This title is worth picking up if only for the first short graphic novel/brilliant work of art “Vision Quest: Echo / David Mack” about a deaf Cherokee girl and the love of her father. Visually stunning, and beautifully moving. YES!! This story!! If I could buy pages of this to hang on my walls I would…

I wasn’t terribly interested in the rest of the compilation. But, the first title…

☆☆☆/5 The Outside Circle / Patti Laboucane-Benson is a story of a young Indigenous man surround by gangs, drugs and violence is sent to prison after fighting with his mother’s boyfriend and eventually finding his way to healing through an Indigenous rehabilitation program.

Again, a heavy-handed approach to rediscovering the “old ways” — but I think actually done to the best effect. In the end, this was thought-provoking, but also incredibly depressing. At the end one man finds reclamation but is just one man in a seeming never-ending cycle of destruction.

There is so much hurt in these cultures that it can’t help but being reflected in their literature. It’s a bit overwhelming to read over-and-over, but it is a reflection of something significant, complex, and seemingly insurmountable.  Compared to the experience of just reading about it, how much more overwhelming to live with?!

February Manga TBR

I’ve decided to participate in a new YouTuber’s channel, YuriInRealLife‘s, challenge of reading 1 manga a day for the month of February. The quantity isn’t difficult, but I’m actually struggling right now to make time every day for reading manga… This is just the challenge I needed right now to get my reading back on track!

I’m incorporating this challenge into my personal challenge/TBR jar challenge. I made 6 colour categories for manga and will be choosing books from each category every month to hopefully read and review that same month… although maybe the reviews will be postponed to the following month. I hope that this will help me to make it through some of my back log.

The 6 colour categories:

Pink: Read a longer series of 11+ volumes that you’ve read less than half of. I’m going to be drawing 2 from this category every month — hopefully this will help me get through my massive backlog.

Yellow: Read a new 2016 release that you purchased, but didn’t read in 2016.

Green: TBA

Orange: Read your bookshelves. I numbered the papers 1 t0 54 to correspond to my primary manga book shelves and will draw one number every month. I will read at least 1 series from the bookshelf to feature in an upcoming review.

Blue: Read Osamu Tezuka. I will read 1 title/series that I own by Tezuka every month… again, for an upcoming review.

This is going to be an interesting experiment — but, I’m very happy for my first month’s selections.

Top Manga of 2016!

A little late to post this, but this is a very quick run-down of all of the new manga published in English in 2016 that I also read in 2016!

What were your favourite manga last year?

New Manga I read in 2016:

  • Behind the Scenes
  • Cells at Work
  • Cigarette Girl
  • Complex Age
  • Giganto Maxia
  • The God’s Lie
  • Heiress and the Chauffer
  • Honey So Sweet
  • Kitaro the Birth
  • Kuma Miko: Girl Meets Bear
  • Kuroko’s Basketball
  • Liselotte & Witch’s Forest
  • My Monster Secret
  • My Pathetic Vampire Life
  • Nekogahara Stray Cat Samurai
  • Platinum End
  • The Prince and His Dark Days
  • School Judgment
  • Shuriken and Pleats
  • That Wolf Boy is Mine
  • The Tipping Point
  • Wandering Island

I also read “Yona of the Dawn” this year, but forgot to mention it in my video. I gave it a nice solid 3 stars!

November Manga Issue Haul

I came across a pretty cool auction on eBay that was selling 80s manga in single issues. None of the series are complete (by any means), but it was fun seeing all of these titles. I definitely will be picking up more single issue manga in the future (if I can find it!).

#Diverseathon the TBR

The #Diverseathon is a read-a-thon that runs from Jan 22-29 (Sunday to Sunday). It’s basic focus is to read “Diverse” books. That is, to read books whose authors or characters belong to a marginalized or disenfranchised group. Of course many books may be written by or include characters that belong into these groups, but this particular read-a-thon tries to focus on titles belonging to #ownvoices (titles about characters by someone who identifies as that marginalized group).

I do think that it’s important to read diversely: If only to give you compassion in your interactions with other people, and to give you a broader world view. These are things I’m always interested in developing in myself (And I hope you are too).

Obviously, I have decided to participate. And, as this read-a-thon is about stretching your perspectives and reading tastes… I don’t think manga will qualify for me.  I mean, I read ALL the manga without bias of creators or content… well, some bias, but certainly not regarding “Diversity”… I hope.

This read-a-thon also works really well with one of my 2017 reading goals. And that is to read titles by Indigenous authors from Canada. Or, authors of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit descent from Canadian lands.

The Canadian government has made it a priority to recognize the atrocities that were exacted on the Indigenous population of Canada through the recent passing of the ‘Truth and Reconciliation Act’. This is an important step for Canada that I hope a lot of Canadians will also want to be involved. And, is the reason why I’ve made reading Indigenous authors part of my resolutions for this year.

I’ve placed holds/requests on all of these books at my local library, so hopefully they will arrive before the read-a-thon next week. As far as I can tell, these are all #ownvoices graphic novels from Indigenous Peoples in Canada. I won’t be joining with the “group-read”.

My current TBR looks like this:

  • Red : A Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
  • Ak Skim Aan : Hunter and Niisoo (not depicted above) by Marshall Leigh George
  • A Blanket of Butterflies by Richard van Camp
  • Moonshot : the Indigenous Comics Collection, volume 1 edited by Hope Nicholson
  • Outside Circle : the Graphic Novel by Patti Laboucane-Benson
  • Sugarfalls : a Residential School Story by David Alexander Robertson

If you’re also interested in participating, find out more information:

My 2017 Reading Goals!

I have an ambitious goal of reading 750 books in the year 2017! Yes, that’s right, 750!

Now, that might seem crazy, but let’s just say my best reading year ever was 1420 books… Does that bring you comfort, or do I seem even a bit more crazy?

 

The Plan:

  • Read 750 books. A book is anything with an ISBN, or anything written in sequence contained between 2 covers. I will count 10 page novellas, or 2000 page omnibus as 1 book.
    • 50% have to be first time reads. I’m a furious re-reader. And if I don’t push myself to read new things, I could spend the year only re-reading.
    • 24+ must be prose (anything that doesn’t use sequential graphics to tell the story). Might include poetry or non-fiction works as well.
    • 12+ must be graphic novels from other countries. This includes Korea even though the form is very similar in Korea to Japan.

I have some additional criteria that I’m going to attempt to read. First of all, I’m creating a TBR jar. So that every month I am going to pick out 4 things that I have to read:

  • A classic novel/manga duo. I’ve chosen 12 books that I think will pair with manga and make the dual-reading experience more interesting.
  • A long(ish) manga series that I own most of, but have read less than 50% of. I’ve chosen 12 series that aren’t high priority reads for me. Because I know I wouldn’t normally pick them up to read, I want to make them a higher priority.
  • A work by Osamu Tezuka. I have a lot of Tezuka in my collection. Many of the titles I’ve read, but more I haven’t. It would be a shame as a manga hoarder to let the god of manga down by only owning his books.
  • A work that I haven’t read before from a specific bookshelf. This may seem cryptic, but I am going to number my bookshelves, and put the numbers into the TBR jar. Every month I will draw a number and read a book/series that I haven’t read before off of the corresponding shelf. I suspect there’s at least something on every shelf that I haven’t read yet.  If I’ve read everything on the shelf, I’ll read the title that I haven’t read in the longest time.

I also have some quarterly goals:

  • I have chosen 4 authors that I want to get to know better. I’m going to focus 3 months on reading all of the works that I own, and possibly purchasing the works that are available and reading them in each quarter of the year.

 

I have lots more reading goals and other types of personal goals for 2017. I like to make goals, and find that the beginning of the year is the best time to decide what you want to do with your time.

I know what I’ll be doing with my time… How about you? Any reading goals for 2017?

We Were There, vol 1-16 / Yuuki Obata

We Were There, Vol. 1We Were There, Vol. 1 by Yuuki Obata

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this series because I’d been recommended it so often, and also because I own the series, and I owe it to my money to read the manga I buy.

Unfortunately it’s not the series I had hoped it could be. Every time you were left with a hanging question about where the story would go, I predicted the outcome. It was NEVER the outcome I’d hoped for. The outcome was always convenient. Always expected. And never profound.

The characters are weak. I think this is the overall problem I have with the series. Not weak in character, but just weak characters. They weren’t developed enough — and their relationship wasn’t believable enough for me to buy into it. Actually I was thinking their relationship was more toxic than romantic, there were moments where I thought the author was aware of it too — but if she was, she certainly didn’t do anything about it!

The story itself is fine, if a little slow and predictable. The art in it is suitable (if occasionally inconsistent).

There was a surprise thrown into this series that made the beginning worth reading. It comes at the middle of the series, around volume 11. High school is over. Yano is gone. And, Nanami hasn’t seen him in 5 years.

It’s from this point onward that the series gets interesting. And it’s at this point onward that you get SOME of the much desired character development. I’m not going to say it’s a lot — and I’m not going to say it isn’t completely predictable, but I will say that you do start to have some feelings for Yano and Nanami as characters.

Unfortunately these feelings didn’t come soon enough. I’m a person who is normally easily moved. I felt stone cold-hearted reading to the end.

But, do I recommend this series?!

Maybe. I would say try the series. If you don’t buy into the characters relationship right at the beginning it’s probably not worth reading until the end. But, if you completely get behind Yano and Nanami’s relationship (if their love moves you), this will probably be one of the best shoujo dramas you’ll ever read!

It all boils down to the characters…

View all my reviews