You’re Not Reading Enough Japanese Comic Books: Guest Post by mcmanus-sensei

by Belle Waring on April 7, 2014

Ha, just kidding! Sorry, sensei! It’s actually me, your friendly yet irreverent and over-enthusiastic Belle Waring. I read so much manga, dudes. So much. In Singapore, we use the metric system and everything, (which is way more rational, except for acres which are totes intuitive and based on a meaningful connenction to the land) so I know for certain I read a metric f$^Kton of manga. There are just piles around, and John is like “we’re reading Black Butler now?” Me: “Mmmmmaybe. Zoë said she was going to stop reading it at volume VIII. [For free, online at mangareader.net (since we only own I-V) which, OMG it’s gonna kill the print business! But no, because it bitens the ween.] There were about to be zombies (she’s scared of zombies). 1hr 15 minutes later she said the zombies weren’t as bad as she thought. Sebastian’s hot, so.”

The truth is that we never acquire great amounts of anything until a) John has already bought the full (iff sub 20, for he is an frugal Oregonian) run. Then, slowly, like a hopeful NYC resident of his new summer house in Bridgehampton feeding corn to deer, he coaxes us out by telling us that these are, in fact, excellent manga such as normal people read, and we all ignore him and say things like “you bought the hardback edition of Lois Lane: Superman’s Girlfriend, which is like a moving, 12-minute-long youtube-tribute-to-Paul Walker supercut of the Fast and Furious movies, except of superdickery—we don’t believe a word you say, man. Saying you wanted to read the entire thing to us aloud over a series of like 20 f&c*#ng nights ironically is not a valid objection.” And you shouldn’t feed the deer because they are adorable vermin and they eat every single thing you have every planted that is not actively poisonous to deer (don’t think this isn’t a bigass section at at the nursery). That’s why we haven’t read 20th Century Boys, despite owning the books. Or b) the other way we get stuff is I start to like it (this is the win scenario for my children). When I started reading Naruto, we had volumes 1-23. We now have volumes 1-66, roughly 8 weeks later. Why am I reading thousands of pages of comics about ninjas? Oh, golly, I thought you’d never ask!

When I began to think about this, I intended to write a series of posts of declining seriousness, starting out by telling you to read the greatest manga series/graphic novel OF ALL TIME Pluto, and then descending by stages until I cajoled you around to reading cheesy shojo manga like Kamisama Kiss. (You can watch the anime for free on youtube also—of everything. Strangely pleasing/boring/soothing when they follow the book frame for frame—it being more or less storyboards if you think about it—irritably fascinating when they introducing new elements.) OK, for serious, I don’t think I have read a better work of literature published since 2000 than Pluto, drawn and written by Urusawa Naoki. It is so gut-wrenching that I can’t think about it sometimes. The fractal flip when the previously disparate elements resolve is among the most sickening I’ve read. Not in a tedious Hannibal Lecter way—but kinda?—but no that’s not it, it’s sickening like you flew into clear air turbulence and the plane dropped over a thousand feet and you had the time to glance involuntarily over to your child as your stomach rose into your lungs and her frightened gaze stabbed yours, and you even still had time to notice the blue-white of her eyes, nothing like the stained ivory-colored whites of adults’ eyes, and yet more transparent bluish just around her iris—but with a few tiny red veins drawn on with the finest line, when as an infant she had none…and still the plane fell. Just a bit more. Only a few seconds. The drawing is superb, the layout is superb, the writing and translation is superb.

AND THERE’S A TRICK! It’s a re-telling of a super-classic, well-known, Tezuka Astro-Boy story (which itself is only perhaps 30 pages long?). Like, four things have been modified, max, and those are character or place name changes. So my experience reading it was quite different to that of most Japanese readers or, say, Zoë. I didn’t know what was going to happen, or who it was who wanted to destroy the 8 strongest robots in the world, or what sort of thing Pluto even was. For everyone else it was, how will he do it? Like a magic trick in which you know the desired result, or an elaborate set-up for a joke where you know the punch-line. For you, the presumptive-non-Tezuka-reader, volume 2, in which reluctant warrior North No. 2 must abandon his peacetime profession as the house steward to a great composer in France in order to fight Pluto, is a small Iain M. Banks tragedy, and a very delicious one, that needs savoring, as so few will come our way again. Read Pluto. Give yourself a treat.

Hey, wait, this worked! I can’t possibly even tell you all the myriad reasons why you should read Pluto, much less why I had a personal tragedy befall me unlike any outside childhood when I learned that the US publisher/translator of Gakuen Alice A had gone out of business after putting out vol. 16. I was actually distraught, you can ask John. I was wandering around the house muttering, “I care so much more about Mind-Reader-kun and Mikan-chan than these assholes in Game of Thrones. Autumn may continue fair, and he can kill each and every single ever-loving blue-eyed one of those incestuous fricksticks at a wedding 300 pages from now: I. Don’t. Care. What’s going to happen to Persona? Will Natsume-kun die before he finds Aoi-chan?! AAAAAACK!” The free manga reader peeps helped me out for real, there, ganky, ad-laden page layout from 1998 or no. [Also, shout-out to Stephenson-quoter-kun—I love you man! Keep your nym 4 lyfe!]

Useless final para full of totally irrelevant details that I cannot think of any other place to mention: I will have to explain later why that reveal on whether you can get mangekyo-sharigan eyes (which let you torture people by looking at’em sideways—after being first born into the Uchiha clan natch (so you prolly totally suck BTW)—or, conceivably, getting someone else’s eye-balls/s (so prolly ditto—but hold that thought!)) without killing your best friend was socruce in Naruto 27. (I caused my 20-something employees to fall out laughing recently by declaring that it was a serious problem that the handle/cut-outs on some of these mango-wood and steel chairs were missing, because “the handles are totally cruce!” Cruce rhymes with douche obvs.) OK, next in my string of incomprehensible thoughts, you can have fox-fire, right? Kitsun-ebi? Blue-white flames that play on stuff? You have this if you are a fox yokai (demon) in Japan, so it’s fox-fire, sure. Why do we think it’s fox-fire tho? Given the utter inability of foxes to make any flames whatsoever AFAIK? Right, and if you’re an Uchiha (we’re back in the fictional universe of Naruto here) and you have all this badass ocular jutsu you can get to having ameratsu, which is black flames that go everywhere (until you stop them) and cannot be put out. If you are me you let them keep this /tsu/ phoneme as part of their flame nature (NO ur doing it rong) and think of them as black bitter flames. Maybe like coffee before life-giving condensed milk has been added? Which is known as kopi O in Singapore? CRUCE CORRECTIONS ADDED PER HELFUL COMMENTER JIM HARRISON, CONTRA UNHELFPUL NOTE WRITER. OR POORLY TRANSLATED NOTE WRITER. But it’s because Ameratsu is the sun kami (god)! Her brother is Susanoh-oh, who slew the 8-headed monster serpent that was naturally threatening the world’s happiness. (Like how they allus’ do, serpents. When they aren’t being drafted as ropes to churn the ocean of milk to release the elixir of immortality, and Laxmi, and lots of hot babes. And possibly condensed milk; Indian people may have worked this out, I’m not sure.) I wanted to save you from this tragic lexico-disassociative confusion before you got to Naruto volume 50-something mumble something. This is also why susano-o is a yet further, more awesome stage of ocular jutsu in which you don impenetrable armor of chakra in a form peculiar to you (vengeful, vengeful you), about 100-ft high, that can wield a terrifying sword or (more appropriately?) be an archer—rather than susano-o being a form of ninjutsu peculiar to Louisiana-bound, banjo-duelling ninjas. (If you see what I mean.)

My initial inclination was to put the Zep song “Whole Lotta Love” song here, inviting you to pretend that it says “made a whole lotta sense” and apply that to my post. But then I recall there is a drum solo, so I’ll put a song about kamisamas that is about Ameratsu, and which obliquely suggests that you should not have a fox mononoke to be the guardian (shinshi) of your shrine, pace Kamisama Kiss. (I say this because the fox shinshi look very as if they are going to eat the other shinshi (maybe starting with those goofy raccoon goober dudes) and then all the nommable chibi kami themselves.) Final thought: they have/had wolves in Japan, right? Why everything gotta be about foxes? Wolves are all cool and shit, right?

{ 39 comments }

1

Brett 04.07.14 at 7:11 am

Woh, totally lost following that train of thought. But I like Naruto too!

I also read from the scanlation sites, but I assuage any sense of nagging guilt by paying for the Shonen Jump Alpha subscription even if I never actually read chapters there because they’re always behind the scanlation sites.

2

Belle Waring 04.07.14 at 7:23 am

It was non-followable. Thanks for trying!

3

Belle Waring 04.07.14 at 9:28 am

My daughters point out that the wolf mononoke in “Princess Mononoke” were pretty awesome.

4

bob mcmanus 04.07.14 at 10:25 am

Why everything gotta be about foxes?

I always hesitate. Rice. And rats etc. Foxes (they also like snakes and cats, oh, they like cats) help guard the rice. Kitsune (zenko) protecting inari-okame, with red bibs. Neat scene in Totoro at the catbus stop, where the little one spies a hidden shrine.

Not much into manga yet, vastly prefer the anime versions, because color, layering, and negative space among other things. I did a longish comparison after I watched Maison Ikkoku, which indeed was near using the manga as storyboard, except one of the things I noticed was that in order to get to 23 minutes they would add shots of walking down the hill, Otonashi-san sweeping, landscapes and interiors, hold reaction shots longer, etc. I like a lot of space and context and I like it sloooow.

OTOH. After watching the series Aria, and hearing “Manga was so much better,” This was a revelation. All sudden I snapped to the way a change in frame or page layout, and an abrupt switch in a compressed format can create emotion. Last page.

And shojo is great! And important. Especially the radical and innovative shojo of the 70s. Riyoko Ikeda (Rose of Versailles, Oniisama e…) and the Year 24 Group. Clamp in the 90s. For breaking frames, layering, and interiority. blue by Kiriko Nananan is a recent example of shojo innovation that I love. Too many links, google “blue manga” it’s out there and free.

We may have somewhat different tastes.

5

bob mcmanus 04.07.14 at 10:28 am

3: Wolf’s Rain is in many anime lover’s top twenty all-time. I place it higher, cause Ztianity + Buddhism + kill everybody, I mean everybody. And flowers.

6

Belle Waring 04.07.14 at 11:05 am

Somewhat humorously, I read manga waaaaaayyyy more slowly than I do anything comparable. Way more slowly than I read merely printed text, it goes without saying, but also much more slowly than my children read it. They have to find out what happens! I like to look at the panels. If you haven’t read the part of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics that’s about different types of transition you should. Western comics almost only ever switch one thing at a time: locations, or characters, or times, and in a very boring way, one in which the same amount of the panel is nearly always occupied by the same scale of objects. Japanese manga switch by time, place, characters and location at once, and also have pretty frequent panels that are the equivalent of a really far-away pull with a camera. Location shots from far away that aren’t prettified at all and show the characteristic above-ground power-and-telephone lines for example.

John’s comments on this: “that was an…interesting…stream of consciousness thing that you did. I think people are going to say you should dial back on your meds or something.” Hmph. I’m all about confusing stream-of-consciousness, people! And all these things are [reviews potential truth status of claims] true? Ish? Insofar as I was thinking them? Clearly I’ll need to post a better review of Pluto.

7

bob mcmanus 04.07.14 at 11:06 am

Oh. And why I prefer anime?

Collaboration. Cause manga can’t give me Kanno Yoko. Cowboy Bebop, Vision of Escaflowne, Sakamichi no Apollon, GitS:SAC. Wolf’s Rain may be her masterpiece.

8

Belle Waring 04.07.14 at 11:42 am

No collaboration between voice actors and artists, but between writers and artists…

9

bill benzon 04.07.14 at 12:12 pm

It’s about time CT got around to manga & anime.

Kanno Yoko rocks! Youtube has clips of her, including with the big band that did the music for Cowboy Bebop.

So does Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics & it’s good for things other than understanding comics.

As for Astro Boy, Astro’s origin story is suspiciously like Pinocchio, w/ Astro being a replacement for a human child, and getting spirited away to the circus and all. Did you know that Kubric had wanted Tezuka to art design 2001 but Tezuka declined because he didn’t want to take a year off? So anyhow that maybe tells us something about Spielberg/Kubric’s A.I. which is also about a robot replacement for a human child & involves a whole carnivalesque sequence & then ends up under water with the Blue Fairy, which was probably a Spielberg addition to Kubric’s original and unfinished plan.

On foxs, foxes are also shape shifters.

10

Random Lurker 04.07.14 at 1:43 pm

I can only reply thusly:

http://youtu.be/-7-5G_jVx9E

Plus: I love manga too!
But I feel compelled to say that the best works of Urusawa Naoki, IMHO, are “Monster” (a psycho triller set in post-unification Germany) and Happy (a humoristic but basically Dickens-sad story of an extra poor girl who is a genius at tennis).

11

garymar 04.07.14 at 3:21 pm

On foxs, foxes are also shape shifters.

Belle, when next you get a few days in Japan, take a quick Shinkansen ride down to Odawara (or just take the Odakyu line from Shinjuku) and go to the museum inside Odawara Castle. On the 4th or 5th floor is a display of Odawara Lanterns. The display there explains that Odawara Lanterns are different in 3 very special ways:
1. They are collapseable.
2. The ribs are flat, giving more surface for the glue to stick to the covering paper, which helps to resist peeling.
3. Since they are partially made with wood from the sacred groves of Saijoji temple on Mount Daiyu, they will never transform themselves into an evil badger or fox.

12

Dave Maier 04.07.14 at 3:23 pm

Thanks for this, I was stuck on Death Note. I look forward to checking these out!

13

Jim Harrison 04.07.14 at 4:15 pm

Ameratsu is a woman, the kami of the sun who in primeval times was lured out of the cave by the sound of divine laughter, thus restoring light to the world. I don’t mean to be pedantic about such things, but I love that particular myth.

14

shah8 04.07.14 at 7:13 pm

Mangareader for people who like Belle Waring…

In rough order…
Ran To Haiiro No Sekai (beautifully drawn, tolerable to good magical girl trope, lots of interesting Japanese shinto/buddhist concepts)
Qualia the Purple (one of the better hard sci-fi, with a more or less Ahab protagonist, who really really wants her girl)
Saturn Apartments (drawing, pace of life)
Switch Girl (fun, earthy, sophisticated in a real way)
Koe No Katachi (narrative is much like Youkai Apato…, but without paranormal elements)
Youkai Apato no Yuuga Nichigo (kind of a struggle of the mind, and of empathy)
Spice and Wolf (famous enough)
Yondemasu Yo, Azazeru-san (demon summoner, makes good use of narrative to be perverse in an interesting way, there is a notch above in drawing facial expressions)
Mikake No Nijuusei (it’s a bit unusual, closer to Donnie Darko than anything else)
Zettai Karen Children (sort of like X-men)
Gun and Stamps (military/history/geekdom, pretty realistic/cynical about how things don’t work to expectations)
Teppu (kind of interesting, women’s MMA, lots of female six-packs)
Espirit (pretty normal, but I think well executed)
HelenESP (pretty normal, well executed)
Seto No Hanayome (It’s pretty funny, with lots of references)
Butterfly (paranormal, with a twist of fake, oddly compelling for me)
Choujin Gakuen (kind of funny, excess in every way)

Don’t forget about mangakas like
Svetlana Chmakova…I enjoyed Night School, or Madeleine Rosca, who’s known for the excellent Hollow Fields trilogy.

15

shah8 04.07.14 at 7:19 pm

I will always prefer the manga, because the story generally has more integrity. I always get pretty pissed when I remember how PlanetES was butchered in the anime version to appeal to certain…attitudes. Much like how Alan Moore’s work is carefully defanged for the movie version.

16

Straightwood 04.07.14 at 8:26 pm

I dearly wish David Foster Wallace were still alive to apply the desperately needed Halon extinguisher to Belle’s manga passion flames. Belle is so far past the line between critical enthusiasm and OCD that she merits a personal DSM entry.

17

bob mcmanus 04.07.14 at 8:46 pm

14: Most manga readers do. The usual complaint is editing, compression, or bowdlerization.

I have been thinking about this again today. And I do need to read Understanding Comics, altho there are other books. Will Eisner. Ano, I am not qualified, so just an amateur’s thoughts:

“The gentleman entered through the open door, handed his hat and coat to the attendant, and placed his gloves and card on the small table.”

Is the image in your minds-eye Edith Wharton or…Dr Seuss?

Fictional text never gives you enough visual information to recreate a character or scene. You do it yourself, filling in the blank space. A lot of various kinds of blank space.

A lot of the blank space is in the narrative, we don’t follow everyday between the Shire and Rivendell.

I could link to the storyboards from Vertigo here, they’re really good, a quality manga on their own. What are the differences between those storyboards and the final product, the film? There is quite a lot on those storyboards, they are more for the cinematographer and backstage crew. Shots, lighting, shading, framing. In what sense do the storyboards give you the narrative, the story in what way different from the widescreen technicolor film with actors and Hermann soundtrack? What is left out in the storyboards for the reader to fill in?

Two different cognitive experiences. My guess is that manga readers are somewhere between novel readers and anime/cinema fans, and that they feel somewhat empowered by their habit of filling in the space between the frames.

And then of course there is the art. I saved my link for this.

Image Googling Clamp XXXholic manga

The anime version made a good faith attempt, kept the bodies distorted and elongated for instance, but didn’t even wave at the density of detail, the cognitive difficulty, of the Clamp line drawings.

18

bob mcmanus 04.07.14 at 9:00 pm

As you might be able to tell, story and narrative are fairly low down on my list of pleasures, like third or fifth. I do not know what degree of overlap there is between anime fans and cineastes, but as I was watching Fassbinder’s Beware of a Holy Whore the other night my constant wow moments were about the tableaus and colors.

Screw story, there are what, three? Boy meets girl, little tailor…

19

roy belmont 04.07.14 at 9:13 pm

Possibly unexpected fact of my aesthetic is liking to hear people talk about something I don’t know anything about. Even foreign language conversations, as long as there’s a reasonable metabolic okayness (not starving and having to negotiate indecipherable menus etc.). So fine great manga v. anime learning. But then, oh dear me:

Not in a tedious Hannibal Lecter way

Are we conversant, really, here?
Not the movies, the books.
Thomas Harris, author of, creates a villain, Verger, who lives just outside the Beltway in DC, fabulously wealthy, who literally drinks the tears of pre-puberty ghetto kids? Whose face Hannibal has hypno-convinced him at an earlier date, to surgically remove, because fun, and then cook it on the little french table-stove, with nice seasonings and sauce and, quite happily at the time, eat it? His own face?

Tedious.

20

Collin Street 04.07.14 at 9:53 pm

> And shojo is great!

Some of it, sure. Right now I’m reading something called “yurara no tsuki”, which fits so neatly into the “nerdy girl meets two boys, one of whom ignores her and the other gropes her all the time” setup with so little left over that it’s really not very interesting or even appealing at all.

OTOH, Kamisama kiss has the same basic setup, so it’s all in the execution. But a lot of execution is bad.

[same in the boy’s stuff: Love Hina manages to sell its core relationship because it shows exactly what the problems with it are and how the leads overcome them, but there’s an endless parade of super-gormless-lad-meets-tsunderella that follows. But, zenbu no kyuu-wari wa gomi na no desu yo~ [oniichan], as theodore sturgeon would say.]

21

Andrew Smith 04.07.14 at 11:54 pm

I read kiddie manga to my daughter in Japanese as a way to keep my reading practice up. So far it’s been 90% dragon ball, which she is into.

I will say that all imperial units have some connection to some human experience, which means that some of them are more natural than metric units. It’s one of the reasons that many metric cookbooks still use cups and teaspoons, and even “metric” pubs still use pints and schooners.

22

Niall McAuley 04.08.14 at 12:03 am

I don’t think I have read a better work of literature published since 2000 than Pluto

Wow, that is a strong claim. I don’t index stuff I read by date, so I couldn’t immediately say if any of my favourites are after 2000 – but a working backwards, yes:

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell 2004
The Scar 2003

The Book of the Short Sun might squeak in 1999-2001.

I think this is more a reflection on my reading habits than anything else, not very literary. My most recent favourite is not literary at all, it’s The Martian by Andy Weir, which is a kind of Arthur Clarke/Stephen Baxter novel by someone with a sense of humour.

23

Alan White 04.08.14 at 1:38 am

This thread is a semantic kaleidoscope to me. Dazzling, fascinating, but I can’t get a handle on what the gell is going on. And I mean “gell”.

24

PJW 04.08.14 at 2:24 am

The bit about the airplane and the eyes is very nice indeed.

25

Chris 04.08.14 at 2:34 am

(Facebook Conversation with 17 y.o. son…Manga Fan..Japanophile…Currently into the boxing genre)

Dad:Check out this article on this blog I read

Son:She has horrible taste in manga

Son:>Black Butler

Son:>Naruto

Son:>Shoujo manga at all
(Aside to Belle–I think the >signs mean something..not good)

Dad:some kinda academic

Dad:she is funny though and has kinda cool taste in music

Dad:lives in thailand i believe

Son:Thailand

Son:Ok

Son:but she has horrible taste in manga and must therefore be by extension a horrible person

Son:#logic

Dad:seems legit

Belle–I got a good laugh outta him tonight..thanks!

26

Belle Waring 04.08.14 at 3:00 am

13: see, I was confused about that; that’s why the song is about Ameratsu. But then one of my favorite manga wrote me a long pointlessly false note? In which they meant to explain, what exactly, the fuckers?

27

Belle Waring 04.08.14 at 3:08 am

OK, hm, fine, Ameratsu is the sister, fine Tsukuyomi is the asshole brother husband Ouranos, Susanoh-oh the other asshole brother who gets kicked out of heaven for being a PITA but redeems himself by killing the 8-headed serpent with an important sword nicked in the process (and used in my manga to kill someone else, on loan to the war kami) but luckily finds a sword in the body of the snake as well, grass-cutter, OK fine I knew about this part.

28

Belle Waring 04.08.14 at 3:14 am

roy belmont: that second is a very memorable book in its way, but tedious because the means of shock are…manufactured. It’s also poorly written and kinda racist. The paper with which Lecter impresses everyone and is universally acclaimed the candidate out of nowhere who is put in charge of the papers of Dante in his museum in Florence is laughably juvenile. Also, is this how elite Italian institutions work? I THINK NOT. I don’t mean to imply elite Italian organizations are unusually prone to intrigue, gossip and insider scheming. I think even small fruit-sellers are the same, probably; I just don’t know as much about them. However I’ll retract tedious? I dunno. OK retracted. Um, “needling and irritating.”

29

Joseph Brenner 04.08.14 at 4:13 am

I don’t understand, what was so hard to follow about it? (If you
can follow the physical action in manga, you can follow
anything– I sometimes think they all need to read the complete
works of Jack Kirby– but then, what’s really going on in manga
is an emphasis on different things– American super-hero outfits
are incredibly boring (so as to be easier to draw, and presumably
to symbolize public nudity) and it’s exteremly difficult to go
back to them after you’ve been reading the Black Butler, Skip
Beat or One Piece — and what kind of wimp Otaku would balk at
issue 20? You can’t even get through “Hikaru no Go” in 20
volumes.)

Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics” lost me early on because
he kept harping on sequence when he needed to talk about
narrative– for which sequential images are just a tool, not any
transcendent breakthrough on their own (a single panel “Far Side”
is not a radically different form than a multi-panel one).

And as for Wolves, yeah obviously there’s “Wolf’s Rain” (a tad
dull, but a Yoko Kanno soundtrack cures all ills, except perhaps
with “Earth Maiden Arjuna” which collapses under the weight of
bad 3D and is best listened to in audio-only form).

But what’s wrong with “Kamisama Kiss”, anyway? (Though I confess
that I’ve just been watching the anime, but then it’s one of the
interesting cultural puzzles of J-culture, the anime only rarely
differs much from the manga). Anyway, I see you and raise you
“Fruits Basket” (though that has no wolves in it either, though
rats are prominent).

It is interesting to see Crooked Timber ramping up it’s coverage
of otaku-fodder– it may seem a little late to the game, but it
does put it way ahead of the rather musty-and-fusty New York
Review, for example. I look forward to the inevitable Serious
Coverage of topics such as moe and pedophilia, implicit racial
issues, reactions to post World War II trauma– and an
interesting question with me: is shoujou anti-feminist (or
perhaps pre-feminist) or is it groping toward it’s own alternate
conception of feminism?).

And how about the thesis that the cooperative,
non-individualistic nature of Japanese culture lending itself to
an incremental, evolving creativity– a review of Azumi’s
“Japan’s Database Animals” might make a convienient frame.

Though one might use that as a lead-in to the increasingly
self-referential nature of manga/anime where otaku, maid cafes
and cosplayers are increasingly likely to appear in the narrative
(Sket Dance, Steins Gate).

30

bob mcmanus 04.08.14 at 5:20 am

The Azumi is very good. A chapter has been reprinted in Japan’s Visual Culture which is good. Fred Patten and Frederick Schodt have published article collections.

And Mechademia, edited I think by Frenchy Lunning at the University of Wisconsin is available in print or kindle at Amazon. You can get some names of scholars in the field from the table of contents of it and the above. Lamarre. Napier. Translated articles.

ToC Mechademia 6

31

shah8 04.08.14 at 6:05 am

Shouldn’t crows be more involved in this discussion?

32

Belle Waring 04.08.14 at 6:26 am

shah8. So fucking true. Just tells you you’re in the tsukuyomi, in Naruto, or that you’re a tenggu otherwise I guess. My children are convinced David Bowie is a tenggu. (An androgyne pop star named Kurama is in Kamisama.)

33

Belle Waring 04.08.14 at 6:38 am

Joseph Brenner: Nothing’s wrong with Kamisama Kiss or I wouldn’t read it so much!
I love it! I just thought it’d be a tough sell. There’s a lot of lame shojo manga. 90% of everything is crap, of course; I think comics in America are skewed to male readers they think comics skewed to female readers are lame. American “comics” like “I’m telling a thrilling story with a fight” ALL SUCK. There are excellent American graphic novels, but there’s not Naruto. Or Fruits Basket. (My proposal for a Fruits Basket book event bogged down for whatever reason.) As to whether they are pre-feminist, my baby feminists daughters want to know why, in any given story, the asshole of the two male protagonists gets the girl cough*Kyo*Kyo*cough? (Zoe: “he seems like the kind of person who would be abusive. I think they moved to Hokkaido to get Tohru away from Hana and Ouo.”) Sometimes, the non-asshole guy has already got the girl but doesn’t ever say anything like “hey, I like you!” Cough*Yuki. Then he ends up with defective Tohru.2 (buggy). This isn’t always the problem though. Mizuki is the real bad guy of Kamisama but is being allowed to hang around anyway because we’re supposed to feel sorry for him. No, Mikage is the real bad guy.

34

Belle Waring 04.08.14 at 6:41 am

And if you were a tenggu you would have this adorbs box-like hat! not like the togu hats which look idiotic on everyone. we call them that at my house, I guess they’re Heian nobleman hats generally but they mostly pose a problem when you try to give a shit about anyone in Princess Sakura. Prince Aoba, could you take that hat off so I could stop laughing long enough to decide if I can deal with this drawing style? Mifune makes one look terrifying, as we know, but…

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shah8 04.08.14 at 6:36 pm

Now, you’re reminding me of Machi de Uwasa no Tengu no Ko! Of course, I read that manga because the love triangle is a girl flitting between two guys who have different virtues, not good boy and bad boy. Even with the upper and lower class division, it’s inverted. Love triangles annoy me, and I try to avoid harem stuff. I usually avoid comics that have been going on forever. I ground down on Gakuen Alice and abandoned that series after a hundred, and even when I know I want to read Narue No Sekai, the amount there is, is intimidating before I get all caught up.

That’s an awesome hat! Here, want some kappa soup? No, not Kappa Kappa Gamma, those are too stringy and bitter, the water kind! /jägermonster (spoken without the lisp)

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Random Lurker 04.08.14 at 10:36 pm

Hey, I want more comments on manga related threads!
These are the mangas that I really, really loved (beware, many are “highbrow” manga”):

Ikkiu, by Sakaguchi Hisashi. No english edition but it was translated in french, spanish and italian. The life of the monk Ikkiu, a sort of japanese zen version of saint Francis. With deep reasonings on zen and the meaning of life – really cool!
This is a volume from the italian edition:
http://www.fumetto-online.it/it/comic-art-ikkyu-ikkiu-c26866000030.php

Nausicaa of the valley of the wind. Ok, this is super famous, however the comic is WAY better than the anime! Also, I think, the only comic that was drawn by Miyazaki.

Message to Adolf, by Tezuka Osamu, probably Tezuka’s best work:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Message_to_Adolf
(many of Tezuka’s works are awesome, but I’ll stop at this).
A really complex story (both in the plot sense and in the moral sense) set during WW2.

Ghost in the Shell, by Shirow Masamune
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_in_the_shell
Very, very cool manga, though the movie is also very good and maybe better than the manga.
I also liked “Orion” a lot

Maison Ikkoku, by Takahashi Rumiko
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maison_Ikkoku
Takahashi Rumiko is probably the most famous japanese mangaka, and maison Ikkoku is likely her best work (If you don’t trust me, ask bob mc manus sensei! though I prefer the manga version).
This is a love comedy that was published for many years and, as often happens for japanese love comedies, it tracked the life of the charachters during the same years. But it has a bit more realism than the usual, so you can follow Godai’s life as a student durig his university and, at the end, his problems at finding a job (it is set in the eighties so at some point one charachter says that it is hard to find a job now that the housing bubble collapsed).

Devilman, by Nagai Go
http://www.mangareader.net/devilman
(wow this is mangareader finally).
A super violent adventure/horror that is really good and with a plot that will surprise you a lot of times.

Adachi Mitsuru – my favourite author for sport-love comedies. He is very good, but unfortunately most of his stories look the same (a love story of some 15 year old guy mixed with high school baseball). I still buy everithing I can find by him, though. But they really are always the same. the last comic re-used the same high school that he already used for another comic 20 years ago.

Horobi, by tagami Yoshisa.
http://www.amazon.com/Horobi-Yoshihisa-Tagami/dp/B0006R7PFA
(a volume of the english edition).
I really, really loved this story when I was a teenager, and I still like it. A psycho-mistery-horror, with my favourite hero ever, Zen Amako, loser for life (but in a dramatic way).

Urasawa Naoki – well he is just very good, everything he wrote is cool. My favourites, as I said uptread, are Happy! and Monster, though 20th century boys is a close third (PS: don’t be fooled- 21th century boys is not a sequel but the actual ending of the story – buy it too, Belle-sama!).

And, ok, I cheat, for teth entry I’ll use again Tezuka with Buddha and the Phoenix serie (Hi No Tori). Both are just way too good.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha_%28manga%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_%28manga%29

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Random Lurker 04.09.14 at 6:52 am

Oh, and I forgot:
Chichi no koyomi (The Almanac of My Father) by Taniguchi Jiro.
http://www.mangaupdates.com/series.html?id=1486
Very good.

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Shane 04.09.14 at 11:16 am

Tedious. Um.

I am thoroughly unqualified to comment properly on Hannibal or the works he’s in, since I’ve never been moved to sit through them/pick then up, but I agree with “tedious” wholeheartedly. I was glad to be not alone, up to Belle’s 28 anyway..

Roy Belmont, your counter example strikes me like a circus master in Rome declaring how wonderful the new Games will be for their depth and breadth of depravity. I don’t see anything there to watch *for*.

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Random Lurker 04.12.14 at 9:21 pm

Also, Mori Kaoru, A bride story, ongoing

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