krpalmer: (anime)
There was another long wait for the last chapters to be drawn and collected, a wait for that final volume to be translated and available in print (it was released "digitally" months earlier, but as I already had the thirteen previous volumes on a bookshelf I decided I could wait out the extra months and avoid "buying it twice"), a wait to see if the local bookstore would get copies in, and at last a wait for the copy I ordered to arrive at the bookstore, but approaching two decades after I first heard about the anime I had the concluding instalment of the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga... and as I started into it, I was wondering if, with the way the penultimate volume had been shaped, after all the interesting and perhaps sometimes even "more positive" changes rung over the manga's full length on the original anime things would converge after all on one ending that had long seemed oppressive and bleak and I'd just have to deal with it.
Beginnings and endings )
And the manga's ending, too )
krpalmer: (anime)
The anime series "From the New World" caught my attention and kept my interest when I saw it streaming. There seemed a good deal of "world-building" complexity to the future society of psychics elaborated in it, and its story had some suspenseful developments. I wound up hearing it had been adapted from a science fiction novel (as opposed to the more familiar adaptations of less involved "light novel" series), which in itself did keep me thinking how English-language written science fiction has seemed to me inclined since the 1970s or so to step away from presenting "psychic phenomena" as if abandoning it to the "visual SF" its fans then turn around and dismiss as much less thoughtful and reasoned. As much as I'm inclined to skepticism about "the paranormal" in the real world and aware that even the most reasonable and non-conspiratorial "psychic SF" of the 1950s might amount in the end to invoking phenomena without plausible mechanisms, the whole subject getting narrowed down to "superpowers" does sometimes seem to miss new opportunities for storytelling, opportunities that just might have been presented in the anime series.
Differences in adaptation )
krpalmer: (europa)
Even if the specific post I saw the news in did include one of those gratuitous slams on The Phantom Menace all the more unappealing for trying to make a light joke of it, it still caught my attention that the manga adaptations of four of the Star Wars movies have become available again, in electronic comic form now as Marvel Comics gets its hands on what Dark Horse Comics used to have. (That does include a great many other comics, in any case.) They're still divided up into four (or two in the case of the one I didn't buy for thinking it would "feel rushed") segments, are still mirrored from the Japanese art to "read the right way" (and put things like the Millennium Falcon's cockpit on the other side), and are still without adaptations of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, but it's kind of nice to know that other people have the chance to read them too. While I suppose I'm doubly biased on the subject (and have little to compare them against but the original Marvel versions), they were interesting takes on the subject for me. I did notice their covers now have the "Legends" banner being applied to the old novels; my first reaction to that was to wonder just what an adaptation of the actual movies has to do to not get that (beyond having been made under new management), but I then happened to remember they were based on the 1997 Special Editions, which aren't quite current now either.
krpalmer: (anime)
I do seem more likely to watch an anime series about sports than to take in an actual game; the thought that I have enough things going on that I don't have the time in a single day to watch an hours-long game (save for, I suppose, a once-in-four-years playoff or final) does seem to have something to do with that. Out of the sports anime I've managed to watch, a good number of them just happen to be about baseball. That the sport has long been significant in Japanese high schools seems the reason why there are plenty of those series to start with; as for my personal interest in that particular sport, I do wonder if the casual convictions floating around that since "kicking"-based sports are bigger in certain markets than they once were baseball is therefore to be condemned, dismissed, and consigned to the historical dustbin just provokes the peculiar sympathy that can hit me in other contexts.
From anime to manga over five years' time )
krpalmer: (anime)
A while ago now, as Kodansha Comics was just getting really started selling manga over here, they began promoting a new title called "Attack on Titan," as I recall pushing it pretty hard so far as manga goes in this market. It was easy enough to pick up on the general storyline of "people trapped inside walls by monstrous giants start fighting back." However, it also happened that at that time they were attracting a lot of negative attention for "getting off to a cheap start," and in particular I remember seeing one picky fan proclaim he wouldn't buy the manga because he'd been offended by the bonus pages being left out of the back of a late volume of Negima. (He since seems to have vanished into that ether that claims anime and manga fans consumed by disdainfulness of the "localization industry.") I can't say that was the sole factor in my not buying that manga either, but stay away from it I did even as I recall happening to overhear a major "spoiler" about the cliffhanger ending of the first volume.
After a few more volumes, though... )
krpalmer: (anime)
"This actually ends" is a comment I remember being made about manga, pointing to thoughts of superhero comics running for decades as their copyright holders hand them from one creative team to another. It may also apply to anime series and the old-fashioned type of unceremoniously cancelled TV shows. Just as there's been a rise in "plot arcs" on this side of the Pacific, though, I've also come to notice criticism about "you'll just have to go to the original source material now" last episodes, undemanding manga series that run on and on so long as they're selling, and dark mutterings about other series that go in creepy, awkward directions to definitely outstay their welcome. In the case of anime I suppose I just shrug that first point off, but when it comes to manga I've called arbitrary halts in some cases and avoided some other lengthy series altogether. On reading my way through the fortieth volume of one particular series, though, I happened to think back to how struck I'd been by the thought of reading through its thirtieth volume, and then back a bit further than that...
A brief and specific history )
krpalmer: (anime)
I concluded around the beginning of the year that having bought both the anime and the manga of particular titles, I would have to at last devote the time to get through the anime first and only then move on to the manga on the chance it would "have more character to its character art" or "feel less toned down" even before they might continue beyond where the anime had had to leave off. That I would be "returning to something I'd seen before" hadn't really registered on me, perhaps, until I was actually doing it.
Highschool of the Dead )
Mardock Scramble )
Wolf Children )
krpalmer: (anime)
Looking through a big remaindered-and-used book store, I happened to notice a wrapped-up package on an upper shelf near the back issues of comics on the top floor. Recognising what was inside the plastic got me thinking back to university, where I'd been in the science fiction club for a while. The club was neither large nor very active, but it did have an office crowded with old books. One day in that office, I found on the shelves something somewhat between a black-and-white "floppy" comic book and a thick, "respectable" graphic novel, an artifact from the early days of trying to sell manga over here, one instalment of a "post-apocalyptic dystopian science fiction action" series called Grey. At the time, though, it still wasn't that dissimilar from the way what manga could be found over here was presented; I suppose I must admit what really made it stick in my mind was the scene where the titular Grey's female companion goes to take a shower just before another attack starts, leading to the memorable exchange "You fight better without your clothes." "Because I don't want to die naked!"
Now, long years later... )
krpalmer: (anime)
I wondered a bit about the second of two volumes of follow-up manga to the K-ON! franchise in advance of its release. Caught somehow in between fans who talk about it with what seems effusive praise yet elusive specifics and those who levy the dread term "moeblob" against the whole thing, I was thinking all the same of how I'd managed to put together not just a post on the second anime series but the first of the follow-up manga volumes, and about whether this might even have set a pattern that could be carried through to the end. With "K-ON! High School," though, I was quite aware of how it would be all about the characters more or less in "supporting roles" in previous instalments, which does bring to mind thoughts of "wearing thin."
Once I started reading the volume, though... )
krpalmer: (anime)
I did very much enjoy the manga adaptations of the old Star Wars movies Dark Horse brought across the Pacific a number of years ago now (enough so to wish they would reissue them in thicker, non-mirrored versions, and that there would be adaptations of comparable length of the new movies done over in Japan), but I suppose I've grown aware that to wish for all your personal favourites to be presented in "anime style," or even "manga style," has a certain first resemblance to certain attitudes of overenthusiastic fans slapped with somewhat rude names.

After the small diversion of noticing some Pacific Rim fanart, though, one little bit of news caught my attention. It seems there's been a manga adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels. I do sort of flip-flop between "the licensing costs would be higher" and "maybe a manga publisher over here can squeeze in one more prestige project, and haven't those novels been read by a younger demographic in the past?" In any case, I was at least able to ponder the cover art. I assume the central figure ought to be Hari Seldon (before the "rather inconvenient paralysis" that put him in a wheelchair when he recorded his messages for the future), but I do wonder who everyone else is. That might tie into the whole sense of the novels being driven by dialogue, though, something that may have also aided in another adaptation across another ocean, radio plays from Britain.
krpalmer: (anime)
I suppose one sign I was liking K-ON!! was that in the last few episodes there did seem some amount of "it'll be sad to say goodbye" mixed in with the usual anticipation of what anime series to start watching next. I even went so far as to seek some reassurance in the thought there was still a movie to watch. So far as the larger franchise went, though, there was also the thought I already had a new volume of the manga, one started after the four-volume series had wrapped up with the four main characters graduating from high school to all go to the same college. At the same time, though, I did remember noticing comments that this attempt to pick up something concluded hadn't seemed to have been a real success over in Japan, as opposed to Genshiken, say (the "second series" of which is airing as an anime series as I write.) A volume of manga isn't a major time investment for me, though, so after taking note of how it had been licensed for release over here I went ahead and bought it.
Character types )
krpalmer: (anime)
"Other people are talking about it" is of course a familiar enough reason to take in something for yourself. Every so often I get around to that myself, and of course there's always the chance I'll like the recommended work too. Growing to understand some of the more notable posters to the "Anime on DVD"/"Fandom Post" forums took their "screen names" from one particular manga series, I bought the omnibus volumes of it. With lots of other series to work through, though, I'd never quite got around to reading them until now, when at last I opened up "Hayate x Blade" (or "Hayate Cross Blade"). Perhaps I'd been a little too sure of what I'd find in the series, but as it turned out there were some surprises.
Cross blades ahead )
krpalmer: (anime)
After everything else I'd already heard about it, I was quite interested to hear Vertical would be publishing the Gundam the Origin manga over here. As with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's Evangelion manga, having the original anime's character designer Yoshikazu Yasuhiko draw the work seems to have placed it quite a cut above the usual quickly dismissed manga based on anime, and I suppose I was remembering seeing the old "album"-sized volumes Viz had published but not buying them; still, so far I know the complete manga wasn't released over here back then.
Here it began, and here it stirs once more )
krpalmer: (anime)
Now, it turns out the Jmanga official online manga site is closing down, and those people who aren't lamenting how it was a chance to compensate creators for offbeat and niche-interest stuff (short of importing untranslated volumes, of course) are making knowing comments about the whole "you can only read your purchases while the site is still in operation" angle. I never quite got around to getting over that hurdle myself; I took note early on of how there were listings for Macross Frontier manga volumes on launch (and there still are as I write this), but the option to buy apparently never developed, and I also took note later on of promises that some of the titles cut short when Del Rey's manga arm was turned into Kodansha Comics would be made available, but again the titles I was particularly interested in didn't seem to be among them. That does sort of limit what I can say on the topic; I'm inclined to muse a bit on my "not quite getting into manga as much as some others have." Whether something giving more of a sense of possession can come along is a question, but there's also the troubling possibility of "taking their ball and going home."
krpalmer: (Default)
A little while ago, I admitted that every so often I start to agree with the criticisms of "older translators" about the ostentatious inclusion of Japanese terms in anime and manga translations, and named Frederik Schodt and Matt Thorn as those translators. It was only on hearing a piece of unfortunate news that I thought I could have mentioned a third name, that of the just-deceased Toren Smith. I hadn't thought of him, perhaps, because he'd made his criticisms a while ago, drawing back from the manga industry. With a bit of thought, though, I was able to remember one of the very first manga paperbacks I bought had been worked on by his Studio Proteus, back when I thought of it as "poor man's anime"; it was the best way I could think of to get to better know the anime referenced in a significant MSTing I'd come across early on.

It is possible Smith's more far-ranging criticisms were easier to disagree with than a simple "isn't it better to appreciate stories and visuals than to dwell on their foreignness?", and there certainly seemed to be advantages to the new era Smith drew back from. Still, the thought "it was too soon" outweighs just about everything else.
krpalmer: (anime)
I've been dwelling a good bit of late on the manga volumes I've bought faster than I can read them, but over the holidays I did find the resolve and the opportunity to go back and re-read one series from start to end. There hadn't been much question about what I would go back to, and it was a good experience, even if I discovered a certain shocking realisation along the way...
Reaching for the stars )
krpalmer: (anime)
It's been quite a while since I first bought the first volume of the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga, back when anime came on VHS tapes (and they seemed too expensive for a university student like me, especially given I'd have to buy thirteen of them to get the whole series) and manga came in trade paperbacks, art mirrored and retouched to make it more like comics as everyone thought of them. Since then, I've managed to get all of the anime series on DVD and bought the first volumes of the manga over again when they were reissued to match more modern, cheaper ways of publishing the stuff, but the manga is still unfinished even with the latest volume just out.

Of course, with the manga's artwork by the character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto himself, the manga can't be easily dismissed one of those knocked-off adaptations of an original anime meant for the cheapskates who won't buy it on home video. It's also been different enough to seem distinct from the anime, even if there I'm always left admitting MSTings of ridiculous Evangelion fanfics have left me willing to handle less extravagant departures from the hard truths of the series. With the previous volume having moved into adapting The End of Evangelion, though, I am left to face my uncertainties about that movie that, while the original television episodes may have confronted people with the series really being about the built-in problems of the characters and not just their struggles against external forces, the movie leaves me with the hard-to-shake feeling that the characters are belittled by forces they weren't aware of before and aren't capable of stopping in the slightest.
Things are given away within )
krpalmer: (anime)
Vertical may have become one of the major reasons why I'm still reading manga instead of just imitating others and fulminating about how I can't trust the publishers over here but perhaps adding the stuff they're putting out wouldn't be worth reading any way. With that awareness, even though I have the feeling I'm now buying manga as well as anime faster than I can get through it, I picked up the first volume of a new series from them not too long ago.

While I'd heard about various "disaster manga," I'd never quite got started on them until Limit. Instead of a "post-apocalyptic" story, it seems more in the subgenre of "separated from society, things start going badly between people..." There did seem to be one surprise for me in that I'd imagined the main character on the front cover to be in something of a "neutral position" at most before things started going wrong and the downtrodden started taking a disturbing revenge; instead, she was one of the "in crowd."

As things progressed, I suppose I did start wondering a bit if the translation was getting a bit stiff or overwritten for the characters as they'd been established earlier. Still, things left off with enough of a cliffhanger that I suppose I'll be continuing the series.
krpalmer: (anime)
In thinking about making a post or two to my journal about manga, I remembered I had been thinking about the topic before but not got around to saying anything. Well before that, I did take note of how the Genshiken continuation was going to be released in English, but had to balance my interest in that with the complaints of others about how Kodansha comics, since taking over from Del Rey, seemed uncaring about the quality of its work. Things were that much stickier in that I'd happened into reading "scanlations" of the manga chapters as they were released, translated by a fan who could make the dialogue lively instead of leaden. Buying a "localised" release (and not reading it) in an attempt to make up for sticking with fan translations doesn't seem to be talked about quite as much as importing the Japanese originals (to be read or not). Still, I did try to hope.

When the first volume of the continued series did show up in my local bookstore, I bought it and started into it with just a bit of uncertainty. Soon enough, though, it did seem to be winning me over. The dialogue was good in its own way, and didn't seem to be glossing things over for whatever reason; I even stopped worrying about the dire breath of possibility the art just might be retouched...

I suppose that in comparing the two translations, I wound up with something of a "six of one, half a dozen of the other" feeling as to what I preferred. At the same time, seeming to prefer the fan translation for the last chapter in the manga volume might have left the faintest of shadows. Still, I'm interested in seeing the next volume when it comes out, to continue the story of the new fans and the old fans (some of whom have taken on larger roles in the latest fan-translated chapters, to be certain...)
krpalmer: (anime)
There continues to be a fair bit of criticism of the manga releases of Kodansha Comics. It seems production values are sloppy enough to hint there aren't many people working on the English-language versions, and since the company has next to no online presence that just seems to back up those accusations. Something about all of this does trouble me. For some reason, I can't just brush off the whole deal and stop buying their manga as I seem to have with a number of other companies in the past; as much as I can wonder if any of the titles I buy from them are ones I really, really want to read (although that just might be the case with most of the manga I buy; the last title that seemed to really, really grab me was "Twin Spica" from Vertical), maybe I have some long-rooted attachment to what used to be the Del Rey manga releases from back when they seemed to be just about the only company that hadn't offended one particular message board I read.

However, as much as this might run the risk of "joining in" at last, I do have to now admit that some of the lettering in Kodansha's new "Love Hina" omnibuses can get very small. This does seem to match the artwork, but it can be a strain on the eyes. One of the things hopefully provoking some sympathy for the character Naru Narusegawa (comedically violent and a virtual type specimen for "there's a softer side under the frightening exterior") is that she tries to hide bad eyesight developed from studying too much. With my own eyes swimming after having to take off my glasses and get close to the pages, I wondered if we're meant to sympathise with her in more ways than one...

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