2019 Manga Reading & Collecting Project

In my goals I mentioned one of the ways I was going to construct my TBR over the year – and part of that was to include at least 1 book mentioned in the “1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die” book, edited by Paul Gravett.

1001 comicsNow, this book encompasses a lot more comics than it does manga, but it goes much further than your standard list of “comics to read” list by including over 150 books by Japanese authors (not all manga). Most of which are or have been available in English.

At the base level of my goals, the plan for this year is to read at least one book mentioned in it every month. But more than that, I want to be actively collecting and reading what I can until I reach the end of my project, even beyond 2019.

To pick what I will read over the year, I am using a TBR jar. Hopefully this will help me focus on the titles specifically for this project. I’m not only reading manga from this book, but it is certainly going to be front and center.

Picking what I buy will be a bit more difficult. I’ve already placed a rather embarrassing order through a number of online second hand vendors… partly because I knew my budget for this year was going to be quite a bit tighter. Going forward into 2019, I’m going to have to be more strategic in how and when I pick up the remaining titles. But, at least at this point I have a large collection to work from!

I do have a longish video up on YouTube about this project where I list:

  • All of the books I own completely, and have read
  • All of the books I own completely, and have started reading
  • All of the series I don’t own completely, but can begin reading some of
  • And, All of the series I don’t own completely, but can’t read any until I buy more

For some reason that just worked to divide the titles up that way! I didn’t include a list of titles that exist in English, but I have not collected yet.

If you want a complete list of the titles, I’d recommend picking the book up for yourself, or checking out Paul Gravett’s website: (http://www.paulgravett.com/1001_comics/index/). He provides a list, but you only get the text descriptions in the book.

I’m looking forward to a very good year of reading!

 

Manga Reading Plans for 2019

Another new year has begun, and another year to neglect this blog!! ^ ^

But, seriously.

I am hoping to make a little more content over here, and I have a few plans to do that over the course of the year. I like to make myself a ton of New Year’s goals, because I know that the more goals I have, the more likely I’ll accomplish one of them. Let’s hope that “posting more regularly on my blog” is one of them.

In addition to that, I have a few goals which may affect what I post on this blog, so let’s look at them:

ONE. READ 500 VOLUMES

I’ve set my GoodReads goal to 500 books, but I’m actually expecting to read more than that. I’m not counting prose nor comics in this total, but I am expecting to read some. I want this 500 books goal to be comprised entirely of manga. I’ve had a bit of a slow start already, but am anticipating more free time to read this year. Last year I read about 420 manga. This year will be a bit of a stretch, but I’ve done it in the past, and I know I can do it again.

TWO. PICK A MONTHLY TBR

I’ve got a bunch of reading plans which require me to do a little bit of more structured reading. I can, of course, still pick what I want to read but, every month I am going to create a TBR (to be read) pile that I’d like to accomplish.

The categories I’ll be using to construct this TBR every month are:

  1. At least 1 title from the “1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die” book
  2. At least 4 titles from my #readmanga19 challenge. This includes a combination of prompts and reading books that start with certain letters of the alphabet. (you can find a description of this challenge in the drop-down menu above)
  3. At least 1 title from “the Closet” (this is where we store all of our BL/yaoi/yuri and box set manga… I don’t pay enough attention to this part of the collection).
  4. At least 1 title from the “Oversize Shelf” (this is where most of our gekiga and alternative manga live. Again it is fairly ignored).
  5. At least 1 title from my single issues collection
  6. And, Only 1 title from my list of OOP (out of print) releases that I finally finished collecting last year.

The point in making a TBR is partly so that I pick up a variety of different things, but it’s also to give me a focus to talk about. I’m turning some of these categories, like the #readmanga19, into video series on YouTube, but I’m hoping to talk about all of my TBR related reading both here and on my channel.

THREE. REDUCE MY MANGA SPENDING!

This may or may not affect what you see on this blog. I’m still going to be spending a lot of money on manga, but my budget is, in effect, being cut in half for the next year. I’m saving for a few personal projects, and also repaying some debt accrued from taking classes.

I’ve actually decided to take a break from university (and any other payed-for classes) for the next year, to help me pay off the debt from frequently taking classes. This is a VERY new thing for me: I don’t think I’ve ever been out of school for more than a couple months at a time in over 35 years! Ack!

What will I do with all this free time?!

I’m assuming the answer is “read” and maybe even “blog”. So, I have a little less money to play with, but I have a lot more free time. That in itself should make a huge difference for this hobby…probably.

I, of course, have a bunch of other goals for the year, but these are the three big ones that will affect this space.

Even though it feels a bit late to say:

I hope everyone has a kind, peaceful, and joyous 2019!

And, a fantastic year of discovering new manga!

Happy New Year!!

I Was On The Radio! (talking about manga)

So, my sister and I have been fans of anime and manga for over 20 years now. And because of our loooong history being fans, we’ve had strange opportunities to “nerd-out” in public!

Our first chance was when we visited Japan in 2009. We went on a tour for fans, and our tour was subsequently interviewed by a local English-language newspaper. We were sadly misquoted in the piece, but it was still pretty exciting at the time to see the online engagement by Japanese fans with our words. Particularly my sisters’s (at the time) obsession with MatsuJun.

A few years later, we were asked to be interviewed by a photographer for a local magazine. She had been commissioned to do a photo essay about collector’s in the city. My name was passed along by a colleague who is very involved in the local art-scene. So a few weeks later, we were interviewed, and a large portrait of ourselves in front of our collection appeared in this magazine. I heard that this year the magazine has now ceased. But still, it was a cool (albeit an embarrassing) experience.

Because of that photo essay we’ve been contacted a few times for different opportunities, all of which were turned down. But, the latest phone call was from a local radio show “CBC : The Homestretch” requesting an interview. This was for a program series they were doing about ‘passionate hobbyists’, so they have a wider berth than just “collectors”.

We agreed to the interview. A few weeks later we had a knock on the door, and our interviewer came in with her microphone on and ready. And a few more weeks after a surprisingly awkward and unprepared interview, that left us both feeling emotionally anxious, we were on the radio.

Because the interview was quite awkward (on our end), I was especially nervous to listen to the program. I couldn’t do it live. I waited a day and listened to the broadcast online. It’s not bad. But there are some things about it that aren’t awesome which I need to address, before I share it with you…

  1. The in Japanese introduction is unfortunate (I’m not sure I’m confident this was written by a Japanese speaker). Do you really say, “aishimasu” toward inanimate objects? I would say “manga ga suki desu”. Not “watashi wa manga o aishimasu”. So that sounded weird to me… and the off-the-cuff remark “That’s Japanese for, ‘I love manga,’ or close enough”. Ummm…. No. There’s no “close enough” about it. Granted, he probably didn’t know what he was saying and was actually just remarking on his pronunciation. But, still… it comes off as an excuse for not doing your homework. Almost as bad as saying, “Ai rabu manga” in a Japanese accent and calling it “close enough” …urk.
  2. The Japanese koto/shamisen playing over our discussion of why we like manga was sooooooooo wrong! Why! Why did that have to play? Yes, we were talking about how much we like Japan, but we aren’t Japanese. It came off (to me) as orientalism. Which I… no…just no!
  3. The way the interview was cut is very good. Some of the worst parts of the interview that I was dreading to hear were removed. But, some context may have inadvertently been removed as well, which makes me sound like I approve of reading scans.  I state that we started buying manga because the only way to read manga at the time was to buy it. But, that was more a comment on (at the time) small library collections, and just the lack of availability of titles in regular book stores… not scans. So, no, I still do not approve of scanslations or scans reading. Please don’t take that message away from this.

Okay, so now that I’ve prepared you for the worst… it’s actually really not that bad. I may be reading more into it than I should (because that’s what I do). And, I certainly don’t think any mistake made was malicious in any way.

Plus, I had fun doing it. It was a good experience. And, I’d probably do it again.

So, here we are! Click the radio to listen, if you’re interested!

radio

 

Manga Reading Wrap-Up | Apr 2018

It’s the May 2-4 long weekend here in Canada (aka Victoria Day) so I’ve got a bit of time to myself for once! I’ve been working a bit on planning our upcoming Manga Readathon, will be working a bit on some blog posts, I’ve got a long list of videos I’d like to film…(but probably won’t) and then after that I better get outside and finally start planting my vegetable garden. But maybe I’ll leave that chore until next weekend… Ah, adulting.

So, until then, let’s catch up with some blog posts, shall we? Today, I’m wrapping up everything I read in the month of May.

★★★★★ 5 Star Reads:

Akira / by Katsuhiro Otomo (translation and English-language adaptation, Yoko Umezawa, Linda M. York, Jo Duffy). You have to read this. It’s so beautiful. The Kodansha box set. Beautiful. The story. Beautiful. The art. Beautiful. I have a video, where I talk more extensively about this manga. But, really, as a manga reader, this is about as good as it gets!

Magic Knight Rayearth II / by CLAMP (translator, Anita Sengupta ; English adaptation, Jamie S. Rich). Basically, this is a continuation of Rayearth (which is sort of a magical girl series). Rayearth is about a magical land, Cephiro, that three jr. highschool girls are summoned to to save the pillar who is the support for the land. In this title, the girls return to Rayearth, because now without a pillar, Cephiro is at risk. Powerful magic users from all around are coming to compete to become the new pillar (not understanding what the role really means).

This features CLAMP’s trademark gorgeous art, a fairly compelling story in three-short volumes and a somewhat surprising twist that really went above my expectations for this title. I’ve owned it for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve actually read this part of the series.

Itazura na Kiss / by Kaoru Tada (translation, Sachiko Sato.). Easily one of my favourite shoujo manga. Itazura na kiss is the standard scenario – dumb but upbeat girl falls in love with the intelligent jerk. After she confesses her feelings, and he completely humiliates her publicly, a family tragedy (her house falls down) forces them to live together in the same house.

Oh, the drama. Oh, the comedy. Oh, the revenge studying.

The scenario is so predictable. The situation is so overdone in shoujo manga I sometimes want to scream. But this manga just seems to get it right. The art in it isn’t perfect, but there are some perfect situations that I’ve never encountered in another shoujo manga. These two volumes are the best in the series, in my opinion.

The series doesn’t complete, and leaves you at a tantalizing cliff-hanger due to the untimely demise of the author. But, because of her health struggle, and because much of this story deals with the nursing/and doctoring professions feels so much more poignant. I absolutely love this one!

★★★★ 4 Star Reads:

Magic Knight Rayearth I / by CLAMP (translator, Anita Sengupta ; English adaptation, Jamie S. Rich). The beginning of this series has the girls meeting for the first time in Cephiro, gaining their warrior abilities, and fighting to save the pillar. But, in true CLAMP style things aren’t as rosy as they appear. This is a surprisingly effective series in 3 very short volumes.

Yes, I did rate 1 volume of Akira only 4 stars. Shock!

★★★ 3 Star Reads:

Mink / by Megumi Tachikawa (Translated by Michele Kriegman ; Adapted by Darcy Lockman). Another incomplete title by Tokyopop, but I have a faint memory that I also haven’t collected everything that’s available. This is a cute magical girl series that involves a computer program who turns our main character into an idol singer. It’s fairly stock. But, the characters, and the art are completely adorable.

*Edit: Mink, as I have learned, is complete in English. I guess that just means it’s just incomplete in my collection. But, knowing that I can collect the full series is VERY good news! Thanks, Krystallina, for the info!

Pixie Pop / by Ema Toyama. Another magical girl series. This one, the girl accidentally drinks the magical “grow up” juice of the drink fairy. Now, whenever she drinks something she transforms (or gains a special ability or personality trait relating to that drink). I think it’s a fairly cute series, but definitely geared for a much younger audience than I am.

QQ Sweeper (translation, JN Productions ; adaption, Bryant Turnage) and Queens Quality (translation, JN Productions ; English adaptation Ysabet Reinhardt) / both by Kyousuke Motomi I was worried about this one, I must admit. I wasn’t terribly fond of the first series (QQ Sweeper) when I originally read it. I did like it a lot better this time.

The problem is that the ideas, characters, and even story felt like something I’d already read by Kyousuke Motomi. It wasn’t new or fresh. But, thanks to the move to a new magazine, and a new direction for her manga the continuation in the title, Queens Quality, looks like it’s taking her other ideas to another level. There is a dark mystery about this title that is super compelling. I can’t wait to see where this series goes!

platinum garden 7

Platinum Garden, 7 / by Maki Fujita  (Translated by Egan Loo ; English Adaptation by Sarah Dyer). I did it! I found volume 7. I have already written a fairly complete review for this series from volumes 1-6, and I was missing this final book. Luckily found it at a recent sale.

Unfortunately, despite now having the entire thing it is still far from complete. This is a title that started as drudgery, and ended up achingly compelling. It takes some time for this series to “get going”, and ends on the most frustrating cliff-hanger. I really hope someone will rescue and re-translate this series.

★★ 2 Star Reads:

Pink Innocent /  by Kotori Momoyuki (translated and adapted by Joshua Weeks). Another series in my collection that’s not complete, but I believe it is completely available in English… I think. This one is a story of a very wealthy young lady who has a crush on one of her classmates, and so pursues him to the extreme. Her personality is obnoxious but sweet – and so, of course, has completely won him over. This actually reminds me of another title (Flower in a Storm by Shigeyoshi Takagi) except that the roles are reversed… I also rated it 2 stars. I don’t like to read about this particular kind of domineering/obnoxious relationship.

★ 1 Star Reads:

Nothing! Hurray!

And there you have it. That’s everything for the month of April. Now, I can finally move onto May, which apparently will be ending any minute…

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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Manga TBR Shelf #40 | from Pi to Ra

I mentioned in my previous TBR shelf post that I’m creating a monthly TBR (to be read) by randomly selecting shelves from my manga room. This month, I’ve chosen shelf number 40! This contains regular sized manga from Pi to Ra.

This is one of those strange shelves where many of the series are incomplete. Several of these incomplete titles like Pieces of a Spiral are actually fairly new to the collection. They were picked up in the hopes that someday we’ll eventually be able to collect all of the volumes, and then eventually read them. But we’re not in any hurry.

I may decide to read a couple of the volume 1’s from these series, but when there are big gaps in the middle, I don’t force myself to continue.

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10 Most Anticipated New Manga : Spring – Summer 2018

My most anticipated new releases for Spring/Summer 2018 (April 2018 to August 2018). Release dates are subject to change without notice.

These first 5 titles are ones I’m most interested to hear reviews of. I’m probably not going to pick them up right away, but they are the ones I’m most intrigued by:

Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction by Inio Asano (Viz Media / Released: April 17) 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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The Power Couples Book Tag

I was tagged by Raquel at RADIODDBOOKS about a month ago. Go and check out her answers to this tag. She’s also participating in my #ReadManga18 challenge, and I’ve been super excited following her progress!

This is technically a Valentine’s Day tag, so the questions are “couples” related. If romance is not your thing… umm… then this is going to be a disappointing read!

ONE. A couple that share big passions and goals

Naoki and Kotoko from Itazura na Kiss by Kaoru Tada. This is a classic shojo relationship featuring a dynamic couple with completely opposing personalities and skills. Ditzy Kotoko has fallen for the Genius Naoki. When Naoki realizes he might have a passion to pursue medicine, Kotoko pursues Naoki all the way to nursing school. Though they get into medicine difference ways, they end up finding a common passion, and a dream to work together after graduation.

sitazura

TWO. A couple that love and respect each other

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