Archive for the 'manga' Category

Scott on Tokyopop

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

The Anime Almanac takes on the issue of the Tokyopop. Since I almost do not follow the manga at all, the article contained one eye-opener for me. I knew about the Tokyopop’s big OEL push. I knew that something was fishy with it when things like Van Von Hunter began to be manufactured from scratch with an “exit strategy” of getting a Tokyopop release. But I thought that it was brought about not by Del Rey’s success, but by Tokyopop execs observing how the market for localized works is bigger than that for exotics. Consider the success of Afro Samurai: Samuel Jackson sold more than twice over Aya Hirano. It was self-evident that the key to leapfrog the competition was to create a similar hybrid (even if Afro Samurai did not exist when Tokyopop searched for their breakout).

However, many fans of Japanese manga do not like OEL titles because they lack those exotic novelties that made Tokyopop huge in that “100% Authentic” revolution.

Psychoanalyse it however you like, but let me tell you, I am outraged every time I see fake manga. The feeling of betrayal is just burning.

Now let me just say that just because a manga is created by a Westerner for a Western audience does not mean that it is a bad comic. The aforementioned Fred Gallagher and Bryan Lee O’Malley both produce two phenomenal series. I’m even planning on writing a post about Scott Pilgrim in the near future because it’s so good. Even looking at Tokyopop’s OEL titles, you will find a fantastic gem called Dramacon by Svetlana Chmakova. These series are light years beyond most Japanese manga, and they should not be overlooked simply because they’re not Japanese.

See the fallacy? Scott takes the best of OEL and compare it with the average of manga. How about comparing the “most” of OEL with the “most” of manga? Or pit Miss Chmakova against Mr. Azuma?

Apropos Fred Gallagher, it’s hard for me to understand just how he became a celebrity cartoonist. I never liked his strip. Still, he may have a few good ideas:

The company first received some flack when it was revealed that the terms of the contract to their potential Original English Language (OEL) manga artists granted the company fall “moral rights” to the artist’s works. The contract was immediately blasted by Fred Gallagher and Bryan Lee O’Malley, two highly successful OEL creators not on Tokyopop label, which generated an outcry from the community.

The two names mentioned above may not have much weight with me, but Scott Kurtz, who is an authentic American cartoonist, wrote about it twice (notice that he gives credit to Bryan Lee O’Malley for raising the rouble).

BTW, Kurtz tried to valtz with anime a few times. The last one was just embarrassing. Unfortunately, I don’t have a link saved.

UPDATE: Sixten e-mailed with the core question — do we judge by content or creator — only framed against himself:

Would you consider mine and Jason’s project, or any of Hinano’s doujins, as an “outrage” or a “betrayal”?

I’ll tell you what… If you use a fake Japanese pen name, if you produce crap in Inkscape just to milk another OEL crash program, why yes, I will!

Starlight does not pretend to be what it’s not.

J.P. Meyer‘s did not register offence on behalf of Hinano, maybe because he knows what the issue is. He pointed me to Penny-Arcade compic of 2004. Look who stands in the Megatokyo line.

He also added the following tidbit:

I think, THINK that part of the deal with OEL manga was that it appealed to people that didn’t even consider manga or comics, period. I am fairly certain that Viz got some OEL manga (which they attached the Shojo Beat label to anyway) into Cosmo Girl, for example.

UPDATE NEXT DAY: We woke Omo. Too much to quote, just read it.

UPDATE in 2013: It is anime now!

Andrew Cunningham on OEL manga

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

The famous translator and internet personality (read “uses the word “fuck” a lot in his LJ“) found a fault in OEL. And the fault is not that it’s disgustingly fake, but that it makes the definition of the manga too narrow.

Not a new topic, but an interesting twist; a valid complaint, although skirts the main issue.

Gia on Azumanga

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Gia’s article at AnimeVice reminds us about the 10th anniversary of the original manga run. It’s going to be three long years until the anniversary of anime.

Azuma’s manga upon which it’s based is a 4koma comic strip, and in my opinion helped pave the way for later such strips to be made into anime (Lucky Star and Sunshine Sketch, anyone?). Okay, admittedly, it’s not like it was the first– Sazae-san, whose anime adaptation started in ’69, was a 4koma, as did Di Gi Charat, but still.

It’s a common knowledge that Hiroshi Nishikiori’s seminal work essentially created the genre, but as Gia’s hedges show, things are rarely that simple. Did he, or did he not? I think he did, if we just look at sheer numbers of Azumangesque series before and after, in just few short years. Fair or not, from 2002 on series like Aria and Sketchbook are judged against the Azumanga yardstick. Even Shinbo was unable to repeat the accomplishment, although certainly Hidamari has a lot going for it.

UPDATE: Oh god, Omo Omo Omo. Who does, indeed? The first hit on google is the infamous hater of good anime Charles Solomon:

Although Akari can be a bit of a klutz at times, her existence is so tame and wholesome, it makes “The Bobsey Twins” feel like life in the fast lane. Some critics complained that the popular Azumanga Daioh, like Seinfeld, wasn’t about anything. But the girls in that high school cast acted like real individuals; Akari and her friends behave so well they suggest throwbacks to a ’50s juvenile novel.

Before you tell me that Solomon has no clue, the question was not about the validity of comparisons, but about the certain frame of reference that Azumanga has introduced. Solomon does not build a feature table with checkboxes, he just refers to a part of common knowledge. His message is: you want to understand Aria, watch Azumanga. Which is bogus, since the latter is harder to understand properly than the former. Nonetheless it’s a common way to drive the critique.

In any case, let’s see what Scott VonShilling says about it when he lands Mr. Solomon’s former job.

UPDATE: Answering J.P.Meyer’s question, Charles Solomon is the MSM’s to-go guy for anime. Here’s a blurb of his interview on NPR “Why Is ‘Naruto’ So Popular?” of January 26, 2009:

Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto is one of the most popular manga series in the U.S. Madeleine Brand talks with animation expert Charles Solomon about what led the Japanese series to top USA Today’s bestseller list.

Among bloggers, the foremost anime expert in America found his fame with the hate he piled on beloved classics like Shingu in reviews on Amazon. It goes a while back and I may not remember the precise details. It may be his review of Haibane Renmei I’m thinking about. I expected everyone to know who Solomon was, since he’s so odious.

Maybe it’s the way blogs displaced the traditional media, or maybe it’s just our isolated “submarine” living on the blogs, that resulted in VonSchilling being better known than Solomon.

A READER’S TIP: Don publishes Solomon’s Best (including the “languid gay instructor” who IIRC is the one who’s traumatised by the death of his wife). Don is on my blogroll, but I forgot about that post.

SDS on Hinata

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

He warns against spoilers, but the article at OGIUE MANIAX is actually rather tame by comparison with real spoilers that Hinano piles on us. Anyway, he says:

Hinata, before anyone else, was the first to realize Naruto’s true character, and it’s only natural that her admiration would turn into romantic affection.

Naruto is rife with great characters and of course Hinata is right there with the best, despite starring in worst episode of the classic series.

As for the ch.437, I think that Kishimoto is aggravated by the ridiculous move that anime gave Hinata in the filler ep.146 and decided that the only solution is to kill her off (or at best retire her like Lee before surgery).

Azu(manga) to be reprinted

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

According to Tiamat (via), Yen Press is going to re-issue Azumanga Daioh. The interview was dated before April 1.

The ADV release is the only translated manga that I have, so I’m not likely to buy the reprint. But I’m wondering how successful it’s going to be, if the paper is going to be any better (the difference between the quality of the Japanese version and ADV’s print was quite pronounced) and most especially if it’s going to be re-translated.

Sunshine Sketch

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Came across Yen’s Sunshine Sketch yesterday. Two things:

First, the wide faces that did so much to sour me on the anime are 100% taken from the manga. The whole style was extremely faithful, actually. The difference is, in the manga the wide faces are used sparingly to underline the moments of fooling around. In anime, it’s a major shortcut. BTW, I was not alone, see the “WIW/WIE/WIG” picture at Danbooru (NSFW ads).

Second, remember the ridicule pros heaped on fansubbers for “JUST AS KEIKAKU” and so on? Now Miyako says “OKAERI”.

New Azu(manga), new chapters?

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Oh goodie. Zepy reports:

Azuma Kiyohiko will be doing three all new chapters for the new monthly magazine by Shogakukan called Gessan (short for Monthly Shounen Sunday). These new chapters will also be in the Shogakukan special re-release version of Azumanga which will be recompiled to 3 books instead of 4.

On Mr. Azuma’s own blog, I can only see the mention of republication, but nothing about any new chapters.

Dear Azuma-sensei: you know how much I hate milking and how much I love Azumanga. Quit these enabling violations already, for my sanity. Also, if you keep it up, an OVA cannot be far behind.

Robert on sales of manga in 2009

Monday, October 5th, 2009

In an unusually long post, Robert essentially discusses what’s going to happen to manga market now that it goes out of print so quickly. This phenomena was known to DVD buyers for years, it’s nothing new. Buy it now, or buy it never. Manga readers? Welcome to my world.

It used to be that thinpacks lingered on shelves, but it’s all going away now.

We may yet have a respite if DTO takes traction, since publishers and retailers don’t have to keep physical stock with it, but signs are not good. Publishers are more interested in pushing streaming and letting purchases wither on the vine.

My fabulous anime club

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

I’m back from a club meeting, which would not be all that remarkable if Saturnine didn’t share a whiny post on the topic, written by a guy with nickname suspiciously similar to his own.

I paid my $5 duties and received new and shiny membership card for the term, which is good for 20% discount at local Sonic, among other things (such as access to the club library). We also carried out elections of club officers. Pictured above is the presidential debate between the incumbent (left) and the challenger (right).

That library access is going to come handy, since we have some pretty nice additions. Look at this sensational English edition of GA:GADC manga. Kyouju! In color! I have to say, Yen Press beats the pants off anything Tokyopop and ADV ever offered (albeit at 2x the price — inflation, I guess). Two other interesting mangas I noted were Kara no Kyoukai / Garden of Sinners and Haruhi-chan. The latter features a full-sized Ashakura, I almost keroed over. Also, all kanji are accompanied by furigana.

The standard programming included Fruits Basket, Samurai Champloo, and Kampfer. Plus, I made folks watch Marko & ShowZ.

BTW, I can see how people like Champloo. It seems to me a rendition of Bebop with limiter released, and swords. Basically it’s all about pumped-up violence. I know some folks really go for that stuff.

And then I also made it to a meeting of a local LUG. A socal day, it was. Now I’m going to watch Kampfer 07 (raw) and roll over. And Owen? Plz share something more interesting next time, kthx.

UPDATE: Thomas e-mailed me that the pictured manga is not actually from the library, which is too bad.

Petit Idolmaster Master Book

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

A souvenir came from Japan yesterday: an odd kind of a promo book for all things IM@S, althogh most of the manga content is dedicated to “Puchi Maa”: a manga about Potemayo-type blob versions of idols coexisting with normal idols. The book includes sample strips and kickass manga-style re-imaginings of idols (the picture is of Yukiho).

Aside from managa, there’s a lot of other material, such as interview with seyuus, transcripts of radio shows, and lots of ads for things like DLC and Im@s Mobile.