krpalmer: (anime)
2017-08-10 06:04 pm
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A Two-Way Followup

In acknowledging news of a new and "different" Robotech comic had sharpened a personal interest hardly dulled to oblivion before, I went so far as to say that should I happen to see some of the more amusing alternative covers at a local comic shop, I might go so far as to buy the first issue. It was raining on "new releases day," so I didn't get to the shop until a day later. Once there, I just saw a few of what I gather to be the "regular" cover, perhaps not quite "photorealistic" but a long way from the "anime-esque" variants that had looked more amusing in the previews. I can't say rarer covers hadn't been picked over the day before, but it is easy to suppose there weren't many issues ordered to start with. Even as my previous thoughts bumped against a lack of options, though, with an awareness of disdain from slices of whatever was left of the series-specific fandom and an assumption of unrelieved hostility from the anime fandom just "outside," the thought of buying a copy to form my own independent opinion did wind up unshakeable.
From one comic to another )
krpalmer: (anime)
2017-07-22 03:45 pm
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Manga Thoughts: Vinland Saga 9

After all the dire portents and seemingly narrow escapes just in the English-language publication of Makoto Yukimura's Viking manga Vinland Saga, every new volume's become a relief in itself to see. What with the cliffhanger the eighth volume had ended on, the ninth was that much more welcome. Where I'd just been intrigued before by the introduction of the threatening bear huntress Hild, though, the revelation she'd been an inventor to begin with and had rigged up a circular saw did have me thinking all over again of "anachronism"; the author's note midway through, mentioning a Swedish children's book series that had been animated in Japan and had just happened to include the same invention in its own Viking times, did manage to offer a bit more perspective.

That plot arc's flashbacks, in invoking the violent past the manga's protagonist Thorfinn keeps trying to find a way to leave, did have me thinking we were being reminded of significant parts of the story. Those thoughts strengthened as more old characters returned and Thorfinn got deeper into trouble, although I could begin to wonder if this might end up being turned into a way to keep the story from having to travel all the way through Russia to Byzantium and back before the presumable endgame of heading for Vinland. With the English releases now seeming to be quite close to the Japanese ones, the feeling "this could go on for quite a while yet" was hard to shake. I wouldn't say I'm "weary" of the impressive-looking manga by any means, but the constant tension between Thorfinn's ideals and the reality he's stuck in and the toll that exacts on him can be harrowing in itself.
krpalmer: (anime)
2017-06-10 05:37 pm
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Sixty Volume Addendum

A few years ago, I mused a bit about how I'd managed to keep reading one long-running manga series for a full forty volumes. With that point made, every volume of Fairy Tail that followed did register on me; at the fifty-volume mark I did wonder a bit about making another post before putting the thought off. Now that I've reached the sixty-volume mark, though, I have managed to put words together.

It's simple enough to say the appeal of the series remains uncomplicated with its brawling guilds of eccentric magic-users, battles made a big deal of and then resolved through raw determination, and dashes of cheesecake, and that simplicity is what keeps me reading. I seem to have avoided wishing for "greater depth" or any of the other things that might amount to "frustation a story isn't what you first imagined it to be," even if I get back into every volume a bit fuzzy about where everyone's come from in the tall stack of past chapters. In the past few volumes, I have been wondering if an impression the story is working towards drawing a final line and ending is exaggerated, and then seeing the author's afterwords mentioning that very thing. That it does seem there's not going to be an eighty-volume mark at the moment, though, is easy enough to accept. It does, however, get me thinking of how I made a Kickstarter pledge to get the Skip Beat anime released over here, then decided I'd continue the story from there, and have now piled up thirty-six volumes of the manga (in three-volume paperback re-releases) without having read any of it yet...
krpalmer: (anime)
2017-06-04 09:24 am
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Manga Thoughts: Bloom into You 2

Seeing interpretations of another "girls' love" manga Seven Seas was beginning to publish in English that looked at the very slow build of the feelings of one of its main characters and dared to bring up the word "asexual" was enough to give me a particular interest in "Bloom Into You." As the second volume showed up, though, I could keep supposing the inevitability of its central character Yuu "warming up" and not just accepting but reciprocating Nanami's feelings, and the interpretations becoming just an intriguing memory.

As the second volume got under way, though, a character who'd been sort of in the background before just happens to pick up on Nanami kissing Yuu again, and reacts with "I'd rather sit in the audience and watch the story play out on stage." If the manga is really all about less-familiar takes on love, this would seem to be another, even if I can ponder whether this would be more familiar and less seemingly inexplicable, even if more seemingly condemnable with dark allusions to "there are too many substitutes for the risks and rewards of actual human interaction." Anyway, for all the subtle nudges at Yuu over the course of this volume she still seems to end it in a sort of "it would be nice to change" mood. I've also been supposing the art has "smoothed out" a bit, perhaps better in service to the story now.

The other girls' love manga from Seven Seas in my crowded manga reading list of late do seem to divide between "charming fluff" and "exploitative," which makes the different path "Bloom Into You" is taking of particular interest. That interest may have ticked up a bit with a little more uncertainty of just how things will play out to the end, although "it was a long road to a familiar happy ending" remains a definite possibility, and one that perhaps wouldn't even be unsatisfying now with the path treated as having "unusual challenges" along it.
krpalmer: (anime)
2017-03-20 05:32 pm
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Manga Thoughts: Secret of the Princess

When deciding to take a chance at last on beginning to read Milk Morinaga's "Gakuen Polizi" manga (only to surprise myself discovering it really was complete in two volumes), it's at least possible I was thinking ahead to news another one of her "girls' love" titles was going to be published in English. I did understood "Secret of the Princess" was complete in one volume (with a larger page size than normal), but perhaps I was still wondering how this one would turn out.
It did wind up with one advantage... )
krpalmer: (anime)
2017-03-08 06:37 pm
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Manga Catch-up: Gakuen Polizi

After taking much interest in two of Milk Morinaga's "girls' love" manga series, I was more than ready to start reading another one, and one Seven Seas was now publishing in regular-thickness volumes as well. As I bought the first volume of "Gakuen Polizi," though, I did notice a few comments that the flirty, slashy preliminaries seemed less undeniable to start with, and I suppose I decided to wait until I had the second volume as well for a bit more impact. Once that had been published, I didn't quite get around to the series right away, and then I realised there weren't any more volumes being solicited...
One day, though... )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
2017-02-02 06:14 pm
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Manga Thoughts: Arpeggio of Blue Steel 9

There are problems and problems, and "starting to feel a bit lost getting deep into a manga series" seems pretty far down the list. As I read through the ninth volume of Arpeggio of Blue Steel, though, I did wonder if my thoughts on this matter were becoming articulated enough to solve the different problem of "coming up with one more post," even if that's pretty far down the list too.

I must admit the general idea of "battling strange, superpowerful vessels that just happen to resemble Second World War ships and just happen to be personified by cute anime girls" got my attention. Hearing the anime turned over not just the "mechanical" but all of the "character" animation to computers, though, became an unfortunate sticking point; as much as there seemed some slight disagreement as to whether this series or Knights of Sidonia was mired deeper in the "uncanny valley," I'd gone for the outer space mecha series (and that after beginning to read its manga). Hearing the Arpeggio of Blue Steel manga was being published over here now, however, seemed to give me my easy way out.
Things drew me in well enough to begin with... )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
2017-01-28 04:30 pm
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Manga Thoughts: Vinland Saga 8

Makoto Yukimura's Viking manga Vinland Saga has been through enough "this volume had better sell" squeezes staying published in English that hoping the story's next instalment will arrive can feel as harrowing as reading through some of its "Dark Ages" action itself. At the end of the seventh double-thick volume, I did react with some extra relief at the story's long-enduring protagonist Thorfinn closing a painful circle that had opened at the tale's very beginning. That relief, though, might have led to the thought that if things did have to leave off there, it would at least not have to face the question of whether Thorfinn's hard-gained resolve to build a new and better world by sailing west would only carry what he was now trying to escape with him.
When I heard there'd be an eighth volume published, though... )
krpalmer: (anime)
2017-01-12 03:28 pm
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Manga Thoughts: Bloom into You volume 1

I've bought a pretty good number of the "girls' love" (or "yuri," to use the more in-the-know term) manga that Seven Seas publishes, and as I began picking up they were about to begin another series I supposed I'd take a chance on "Bloom into You" as well. The reviews I read as part of that process, though, made it of particular yet perhaps peculiar interest to me.

"I just don't seem interested in boys" might might seem obvious enough leading off one of these series. When the viewpoint character Yuu's attempts to find the best way to turn down the confession made to her just before she moves from junior high to high school happens to get her acquainted with the slightly older Nanami, though, whose also turning down a boy's interest makes Yuu think she's found a kindred spirit, Nanami soon tells Yuu "I think I might be falling in love with you," and the younger girl's reaction remains pretty much "shouldn't I have more of a reaction?" Nanami kisses Yuu a few chapters later to show just what she mean by love, and Yuu keeps thinking to herself "I'm not even excited." The Anime News Network review suggested there was something asexual about Yuu, a strangely intriguing interpretation for me. I'm aware of all the times I see other fans willing to play along with the game of "shipping" characters and I just sort of suppose that with no definitive (much less daring) commitment in the story we get I'm content to push thoughts of "this fictional character must get paired off for their own happiness (to say nothing of my own satisfaction)" to outside the story and pretty much outside my mind.

With that said, one of the things that appeals to me about "girls' love" manga is the definitive commitment or even the promise of that, and Yuu in no way tries to turn Nanami down over the course of this first volume, willing at one point to mull over a comment from one of her friends (the supporting characters, although they have minor roles in the story, do manage to stand out a bit at points) that time may be all that's needed even in unusual cases. While I seem to find a subtle, hard-to-define peculiarity about the artwork (the closest I can come is to say the faces look a little "elongated," or "sharp," perhaps), I am interested in seeing where things will go.
krpalmer: (anime)
2017-01-07 04:34 pm
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Manga Thoughts: GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class

It's a lot easier to start buying a manga series than to come to its conclusion (save perhaps for "reissues"), and thinking of that has begun to place a certain weight on picking up first volumes at the bookstore these days. However, I did manage to come to one conclusion just lately, and almost by surprise.

Seeing preview listings for a seventh volume of GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class sparked some fresh anticipation for a four-panel manga series that's managed to hang on in my thoughts despite its not seeming to have quite the same general impact as some other four-panel series also published over here by Yen Press; with GA still shelved next to my eight volumes of the series they publish as "Sunshine Sketch" where I've relocated K-ON! to much more out of the way, I could think "it wasn't that far behind," and that its paper quality hadn't changed halfway through the long run the way Sunshine Sketch's did (although the price per volume did climb). Not that long before that seventh volume was to show up, though, I heard it would be the final instalment in the series. That seemed to concentrate and clarify my thoughts that much further.
Some of those thoughts )
krpalmer: (anime)
2017-01-01 02:30 pm

Manga Revisited: Planetes

Buying anime faster than I can watch it, in large part through the penny-wise, pound-foolish desire for "free shipping" turning most every casual interest into another title stored away here or there, does seem to have brought me to the point where every so often I just shrug off "getting through it" and go back to watch a series over again. The fair number of manga titles I buy haven't quite amounted to that yet, but that in turn has seemed to mean I never quite want to spare the time to go back and read a series again. When an older title that seemed to have attracted some lasting attention after all is licensed over again and released with promises of an improved edition, though, that can manage to get past my resolution.

Makoto Yukimura's Planetes got my attention near the start of the "cheap and fast manga paperbacks" era, and its science fiction tale of orbital garbagemen, collecting space debris and delving through layers of "resolve to exist beyond normal limits" to simple human connections in the end, left me with a "will anything else measure up to it soon?" sort of feeling. While his following work Vinland Saga has got through some risk-of-being-discontinued spots over here, it did get my attention again when I heard Planetes had been licensed once more, now by Dark Horse Comics. I did my best to buy both of the enlarged new volumes as soon as they were released, but it did take a bit longer to get around to reading them, specifically the Christmas holidays. Once I'd started reading them, though, I got through them with the speed of fresh interest.
A few new things, but one old thing too )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
2016-12-02 09:30 pm
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Manga Thoughts: Monster

Naoki Urasawa's manga was respectable. At the time I'd started hearing that, it was also being translated into English and published in a specific order, with promises of some works that sounded particularly interesting only to follow other series. I more or less accepted that and started buying "Monster," about a Japanese neurosurgeon who just happens to be working in Germany, where he jeopardizes his career by operating on an injured boy instead of the mayor, only for that boy to reappear in his life years later as a serial killer... I was only three volumes into that series, though, when a few panels in another manga Viz was also publishing at the time were retouched in an another apparent attempt not to offend the moral, and in the second fit of pique that had gripped me over that I stopped buying all Viz titles (save, that is, for the occasional appearances of the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga).
That was it for a while, but... )
krpalmer: (anime)
2016-04-09 09:06 pm
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One Further Horizon, Then

Not interminable limbo, then, or even that broken at last only by final dismissal, but news of another tomorrow. It is nice to hear there should be an eighth omnibus published in English of the Viking manga Vinland Saga, even with the temporizing I did at the end of the seventh that "this wouldn't be the worst place to leave off." I'll just have to wait and see where and how things go.
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
2016-03-22 04:53 pm
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The Tricky Disagreement

A short online manga about a fan whose enthusiasm for a franchise is crushed when an acquaintance goes on a tear complaining about its movie attracted a fair bit of attention, including my own. I did take some slight notice of some people appearing to resist the manga's conclusion, which could be taken as condemning criticism as a whole. At times, they seemed to insinuate "Japan" "doesn't have the stomach" for "necessary judgments." (I can at least contrast this particular facet of the English-speaking fandom against other, more "Japanophilic" insistences.) My own thoughts were more that the situation presented in the manga would be impolite in more than one culture, but I did wind up thinking past that to suppose that like all works of art, the manga arranged things to make the strongest possible case.

Beyond that in turn, though, I was pondering whether I've been relatively resistant for a while now to being "complained away" from things when I started wondering whether I had to admit to something else. There might be something after all to complaints that "some people just want 'criticism' to validate their own opinions " in contemplating how every so often I do manage to think some particular work "disagrees with me" without being told that ahead of time, only to then feel something an awful lot like annoyance when stumbling on certain more positive evaluations of it... A certain number of "reviews," I suppose, can seem to be just as much about something else, and holding up one thing as if just to put something else down doesn't seem very pleasant to me. Still, there's more than one way to "take things too personally." Whether this amounts to a work of art managing to point out an unexpected personal truth is a question in itself.
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
2016-01-09 05:45 pm
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If This Must Be

When Kodansha Comics announced they'd be publishing Makoto Yukimura's Vinland Saga manga in English, another "if only you could see this too" title got ticked off the list. A number of years ago now, I had been quite impressed by his Planetes manga, one of the first to leave me with a wistful "now what else can live up to this?" feeling on finishing it; hearing he had moved from the future to the past and was working on a manga about Vikings did get my attention. Time passed without a licensing announcement for it, though, and after enough time, when it was mentioned it was on that metaphorical list I just mentioned.
Ups and downs )
krpalmer: (anime)
2015-11-29 01:00 pm
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Adventures in Obsolete Manga

A while ago, I stopped thinking too much about the stacks and stacks of anime DVDs and Blu-Rays I've bought over the years to now just take out when I have the chance what I've been thinking about watching, which includes series I want to watch again, but I do still tell myself I can at least keep even with the manga I buy. That does seem to mean I haven't returned to any favourites for a while now (save for when titles are "license-rescued" and reprinted in nicer editions), but just lately I did manage something with a faint resemblance to that when, once more having read all of the new volumes of the series I keep up with (with eagerness to dutifulness), I looked at the volumes that pile up unread for one reason or another and started two old series I've had sitting around for a while.

They were both adaptations of "anime originals" from now more than a few years back. I've long been aware how easily those manga series in general can be dismissed as journeyman efforts offered to those people in Japan who don't deserve anything better because they won't pay for the expensive discs over there, but every so often I come up with a fresh reason, however slim, to buy one of them.
RahXephon )
My-HiME )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
2015-10-09 05:35 pm
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On Mattering and Counting

The "Monster Musume" girls looking out from the magazine racks at the nearby bookstore meant another issue of Otaku USA magazine had arrived. I buy it regularly, "I can start at the beginning, so I will" having led straight into "it's the last English-language North American anime magazine--might as well do my bit for it." It could also be, though, that just what it covers and how seems a "known quantity." As I pulled a copy out, however, one of the cover blurbs caught my attention.

"Do We Matter?
Geek media is huge, but what about anime?"

This was something different. Getting to the article "Do We Count?" by Daryl Surat about how "As 'geek' culture assimilates, 'otaku' remain outcasts," I spent some time mulling it over, and as I did I just happened to see an online piece (on a site that does at least try to mix in some coverage of manga, and even an occasional piece on anime, in with its "comics" news) making a similar point about manga, one pointed out in a few other places afterwards.
I was interested in what Surat would say, but... )
krpalmer: (anime)
2015-09-15 05:32 pm
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Getting Around to Ranma 1/2: A Bigger Dose

Ranma 1/2 was popular. That much seemed clear as I started picking up on anime. One odd added proof of its martial arts-cursed transformations-comedy action's popularity, though, seemed to be my university's anime club not showing it, as if the executive figured we'd all seen it already. For myself, though, short of the money to buy anime on videotape and slow to figure out just where in the city to rent it, I was stuck trying to piece together secondary sources. There was an uncommon amount of fanfiction about it in the archives, but starting with plain text and a wall of other peoples' assumptions was somehow a difficulty. Its manga did catch my eye at a time when I thought of manga as "poor man's anime," but even there I might have dwelled on how many volumes there were, and didn't commit. At some point, I seemed to just accept Ranma 1/2 as one of those things too big to get into, which might have wound up applying to all of Rumiko Takahashi's works.
More than one second chance )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
2015-07-31 07:47 am
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Manga Thoughts: Akira

At some point early in the 1990s, in a way now obscured by time, I became aware of an animated movie called Akira. It took about a decade for me to see that movie from Japan, and until now to read all of the manga it had sprung from. While I know I'm slower than some at getting around to certain much-mentioned works, this particular gap of time does stand out. A few things might have affected it, though.
History up to the moment )
krpalmer: (anime)
2015-06-20 06:41 pm
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Manga Thoughts: Girls & Panzer

When I got around at last to watching the Girls und Panzer anime, I already had two volumes of its manga waiting to be read, a sort of "doubling down" on the risk of a particular "cross-platform story" not quite agreeing with me I do seem to be taking every so often these days. However, in this case I did grow to feel and enjoy a sense of lighthearted, straightforward absurdity to a tale of cute high school girls in live-fire tank competitions, and I wound up ready to head to the manga. The only wrinkle there was knowing the story was an "anime original": while it's familiar enough to see anime series adapted from manga criticised for "inventing their own endings" or for "stopping abruptly," not to mention for "leaving things out," "not looking as good," or just "getting the pacing wrong" too, manga series adapted from anime can leave me with the suspicion they've been assigned to artists who can't handle series of their own because the cheapskates who won't buy the actual home video releases don't deserve any better.
The tanks roll again )