Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why the Manga World needs more Usawasa Naoki mangaka and more PLUTO

Now, I have not made it a secret that I love Urasawa Naoki and everything he has ever written and drawn. It is hardly surprising that with his complex characters and story lines he is harold as the next Tezuka Osamu. The sheer amount of complexity he put into Monster and 20th Century Boys is beyond what most mainstream mangaka have been putting out in the last couple of years. While all the genres have their good points and bad points, most manga geared for the adult crowd are riffled with hobby niches, porn, or sports. There have not been many good suspense manga in my opinion, which is where Urasawa comes into the picture and completely takes the crown as king. He doesn't need the beret to draw attention to himself. All he has to do is rely on his name and his amazing story telling skills.

I have just finished PLUTO, the Urasawa manga based on the most beloved character is Japanese popular culture, and I'm not talking about Doremon. I'm talking about the boy robot himself, Atom. Urasawa makes a masterpiece out of a masterpiece while still keeping the integrity of the original and Tezuka's memory. All I can say, is that Urasawa is a genius pure and simple.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tanemura Arina and Ribbon Magazine


So previously, I explained a little about the manga industry and how it is kinda failing on one side but also gaining ground on another. On the magazine side, there are numerous manga magazines that are aimed at certain age groups and genders. Those who read scanlations online might not know the complete workings, but they understand that Naruto and One Piece come out of Shōnen Jump magazine. While Jump is aimed at young kids from elementary school to middle school, any age can and does read it. I saw a middle aged man reading Jump on my train to Kyoto last week and I couldn't help but chuckle a little. It does look pretty funny.

The main publishers; Kodansha, Shogakukan and Shueisha have manga magazines for every age group and gender. Some are more popular than others, but they all compete against each other. In the shōjo scene there is Ribbon, Sho-comi and Nakayoshi. They all fight each other to the death over sparkly eyes, cool guys and slightly sensitive girls.

Today, I will be focusing on a mangaka that has only appeared in Ribbon, Tanemura Arina. Those of you may remember her from Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne and Full Moon Sagashite. They were both pretty popular in both the 90's and 2000's. I remember my friends and I huddling around the compter for the new episode of Full Moon when fansubs were just starting to take over the internet. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Thoughts on the Manga Industry

In the last couple weeks, I have been thinking about the manga industry and how publishers are trying to fight against illegal pirating of digital material. What follows are my thoughts and I would love to hear what others have to say.

I've got an actual mangaka update, but I'll post that later.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chrno Crusade and Slips in Time

Sophomore year of college I spent a lot of time in front of my laptop enjoying the massive amount of anime that was at my finger tips via the world wide web. One of those small treasures that landed in my harddrive was Chrno Crusade. I could expand on how slightly fan-girl I went on the show, but I'll just leave that to your imagination. At the time, I had no idea that there had been a manga until after I had finished the series.  Goggle opened my eyes to the fact that the anime and the manga have rather different endings.

Yet, the manga was not yet completely scanlated at the time, so I put it out of my mind. Except for the part that there were spaceships involved in the manga. That part stuck with me for a while. It IS very different from the anime in that regard.

I was at Junkudo a couple weeks ago when I saw the Chrno manga on a random shelf. Never mind that I have most likely walked down that same aisle numerous times before and never noticed it, but that time I did. I stopped and just started laughing. I'm sure the staff and any Japanese person around me stopped and edged away from the crazy foreigner laughing at the far end of the aisle. Needless to say, I went home and discovered that Chrno had finished being scanlated almost 5 years ago and that it was actually kinda short. I finished it in a day.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cross Game - The end of the Adachi Marathon

I have finished my Adachi marathon and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it. The mix of sports and comedy and romance is blended so well in all his works and it was entirely too easy to just keep hitting the next button on my computer until all hours of the morning. Cross Game is one of my favorites and I did stay up still morning to finish it. Then I moved on to the anime and found it just as satisfying even with some of the additions the producers and writers made.

Adachi continued balance of numerous genres in his works is always something that I am continuously impressed by. While one genre is always constantly in the foreground the others move sometimes silently but with purpose in the background. This leads to a slow build-up that doesn't seem rushed, but can also seem to be impossibly slow at the same time. It also leads to the quite importance that slowly builds until both parties are able to come to terms with it.