krpalmer: (anime)
“Soon to be an anime” announcements do catch my attention every so often, but “soon” is a relative term, and when the chance to watch those series arrive at last I seem lucky to feel a vague “I think I’ve heard about it” push towards picking up on them. However, two announcements close together on Anime News Network, both declaring manga series I’ve read in the last little while will get anime adaptations, did seem to pack a bit more impact than usual in their combination.
Astra: Lost in Space )
To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts )
krpalmer: (anime)
With a few cautions still in mind, I did flip into the third “RWBY Anthology” manga volume in the bookstore just to make sure the art didn’t look altogether depressing. After buying it, though, I wasn’t fast at getting around to reading it. When I did open up the volume at last, the first piece looked surprisingly good; I had to go a bit further for things to seem closer to the norm, but there were still compensations.

In the early part of the story these anthologies are set during, Blake Belladonna does seem to have the most going for her beyond “action” with a number of secrets not only to be revealed but dwelt on afterwards. (There’s an afterword from her character designer, who admits “I’m not quite sure” how Blake’s weapon works.) As inconsequential as the manga pieces have to be in the story, I was able to keep reading.

There’s one letter left in the title, one main character, and one volume of this series to go. I’ll still have to see just what Yang’s instalment looks like inside (there were a few pieces in this third volume where, with everyone in their school uniforms, I kept confusing Yang for Weiss), but the thought “I’ve gone this far already” can hold as much risk for me as any other. Reading through the volume did remind, me, though, that the latest series of RWBY’s computer animation hasn’t been made available on Crunchyroll, and I haven’t yet tried sorting out what watching it via its creators’ official site will mean. There is the thought it’ll eventually be available on Blu-Ray like the previous volumes, even if I can fall victim to “don’t look up what anyone else is thinking about it, now or later; that can only cause problems.”
krpalmer: (anime)
Some manga series I read each new volume of as it appears in print over here, and try my best to get up to speed again with what’s happening (although the pauses between volumes can get longer as I get further into series and they have to wait for chapters to be compiled over in Japan). Other manga series I manage to pile up and push through in more of a marathon, although I’ve wound up interspersing volumes of different series in between with the thought this will feel less overwhelming. I suppose that second way of doing things makes it easier to comment on a series as a whole.

It somehow feels like it’s been a good while since I heard about an anime series called “Mysterious Girlfriend X,” talked up at the time with much glee about “drool.” In the end, it was just one more series I couldn’t find the time to watch streaming, but when Vertical licensed the manga it had been adapted from I did get that second chance that shows up every so often. However, I also noticed the two-volumes-in-one omnibuses showing up in the area bookstore without starting to buy them. Then, a third chance appeared when the series was bundled at the online store Right Stuf, and this time I bought it. It did take me a good part of last year to get around to starting into the stack of six omnibuses even so, but I had spent a lot of that time going through stacks of Skip Beat! and Princess Jellyfish.
Much glee about drool indeed )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
News of Stan Lee's death got onto the front page of my newspaper, if "below the fold." Mulling over that, even if that also meant remembering how I'd felt intimidated by their already existing continuities when young to the point of taking only the smallest nibbles at Marvel superhero comics and for whatever reason don't watch their steady stream of movies now, lasted me though the day. While I was doing that, though, I picked up on reports of a death that wouldn't reach quite as far but still had me aware of "one thing after another" coincidences. Fred Patten, one of the earliest North American manga and anime fans, had also died.

Most of my connection to Patten came from having bought his book Watching Anime, Reading Manga from a local comics shop over a decade ago. I happened to say something about that book here just this summer, commenting that beyond its historical tidbits the thought of Patten having kept commenting about anime and manga for three and a half decades to that point was encouraging at a moment when fans much younger than him on some message boards I hadn't quite backed away from yet were exuding impressions of burnout. With that said, beyond reports that Patten had kept going to conventions in a wheelchair I don't quite know what his most recent opinions on "drawn entertainments from Japan" were. That he was also a "furry fan" can provoke a strange thought or two, but I suppose I'm positive about a few things I'm also cautious about certain potential responses to myself.
krpalmer: (anime)
With "I like the way it looks" a simple explanation (at least at first glance) for why I've stayed interested in anime and manga for so long, there's some significance to a belief I've developed that when looking at manga series and the anime adapted from them, the manga will have better-looking character artwork. Colour, motion, and sound in all forms do add something to the experience for me, but most often if I start reading a manga before hearing it's to be turned into anime I'll stick with that version in print, and if I do start with the anime I'll keep from looking at the manga until its adaptation is over and I have to continue the story in a new media, so as to "not diminish that first experience while I'm having it."

Having admitted a big part of why I took interest in the beach volleyball anime Harukana Receive was "beach volleyball seems a better excuse than many to have its young female characters in swimsuits" (although I wouldn't say that wound up the only reason I kept watching it), knowing the manga it had been based on was starting to be published over here in synchronicity with the "simulcasts" stuck in my mind. When the first volume didn't show up in the local bookstore right when I was expecting it to, I made a special order; however, once I had the volume I put it aside to wait until the anime was finished. As I waited, though, I happened to see a review of the manga on Anime News Network, and then one in Otaku USA magazine, that both criticized the manga's art and suggested the anime looked better in this case.
Forming my own opinions )
krpalmer: (anime)
I'd felt a bit stung by a "RWBY anthology" manga, but instead of just swearing off the three volumes I supposed would follow I did go so far as to say I'd look into the next one in the bookstore and see if the art seemed any better. The chance for that showed up, and some quick page-flipping did have me thinking things looked a bit more appealing. As I bought the second volume, however, I still had a few thoughts things might feel unfortunately different in total...

All in all, though, the short pieces about the haughty heiress Weiss Schnee did seem more pleasant to get through than the last time around. I checked the table of contents afterwards to see not all of the pen names were the same (although the artist who'd provided the "four-panel strips" that had somehow looked particularly good among everything had returned). I did get to thinking, too, that Weiss has a bit more in the way of complications built into the most obvious levels of her character than Ruby, which makes it easier to make short pieces about her interesting. At the same time, aware of what details have been added to her character in the last two series made me aware of how the pieces stuck with what had been presented in the "first story arc," even if that sometimes included her competent and successful older sister Winter. With that in mind, I can at least hope the upcoming volume featuring Blake, who has a complicated past of her own, might also show some similar strengths (if requiring the same glance through beforehand), although I'm wondering about the volume featuring Ruby's brash older sister Yang.
krpalmer: (anime)
Getting to a representation of a budding same-sex relationship I have fewer acknowledged hangups about (although maybe no more qualified to say anything about without unknowingly embarrassing myself), I turned to the fifth volume of Bloom Into You. This time, I seemed able to pick up the story on the fly; there have been times when even eagerly awaited and swiftly devoured volumes of manga, if in series that have run long enough over here the gaps between volumes have opened to the same lengths as in Japan (where it ought to be easier to follow their stories serialized, even with all the anxious reports crossing the Pacific of manga magazines folding in this age of smart phones), can be a little hard to get back up to speed with.
Beyond the blurb )
krpalmer: (anime)
On finishing a first cautious effort at trying some "boys' love" manga, I'd supposed I would then get to the lone other title in the genre I'd made previous plans to read and that would be all for the moment; to make too big a deal of this here or anywhere, anyway, seems sort of ridiculous at the very best. The cover illustration of another "Pick of the Week" on Manga Bookshelf then managed to catch my eye, though, in a way that just might have got me thinking "I wonder if it is..." before looking at the description itself and seeing "That Blue Sky Feeling" did seem aligned with boys' love as well. Sean Gaffney's follow-up review had me thinking I could take a chance on reading this manga as well. It took a bit of looking to find a copy in my nearest bookstore, though, as it had been shelved out of alphabetical order.
Getting to know you )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
As I started taking in the light novel-manga-anime franchise A Certain Magical Index a few years ago, I'd picked up from somewhere an impression it was "like superheroes, but without the costumes." While I was soon to wonder about how "fetishy" the outfits of certain of its female characters seemed, I can now also acknowledge the superpowers of various justifications jumbled together in a world that's seemed able to stretch without breaking to feature them. Since I started that story, I've noticed several other manga-anime series that seem "superheroes with the costumes" rise to prominence among English-speaking fans, although I have to admit I've left off reading the One-Punch Man manga where its anime adaptation came to an end with the impression a continued adaptation will show up one of these days and I just haven't found the time to get started on My Hero Academia. As I continued to plug through A Certain Magical Index, though, in just the last little while I got to wondering if I could identify another personal "superhero universe" resonance, in that I was half-concerned the story was beginning to escape my grasp...
Reach exceeding grasp? )
krpalmer: (anime)
I read a lot of the "girls' love" manga released over here, but it just might be that each volume read is another nudge towards facing how I've sidestepped what might seem a related category in "boys' love." "The heterosexual male who takes a voyeur's interest in representations of lesbianism (however exploitatively distant from realism) but recoils from the mere thought of male homoeroticism" does seem a cliche.

Eventually, though, I did get to thinking that even if I've got my hangups I could surely face something not explicit, on one side of the line between "boys' love" and "yaoi," perhaps. I couldn't suppose it would signal any sort of virtue or shift me much more in any direction, but it would be something. One title among many did catch my attention somehow as presumably not explicit and perhaps even talked up a bit, and I ordered it and a follow-up online. They were part of a considerable bundle of other things that wouldn't be assembled for a while, though, and as I was waiting (and just happened to read the second volume of "Wotakoi," where the secondary main character Hanako finally needles her uptight boyfriend Taro into sampling some "boys' love" manga), the cover illustration heading one "Pick of the Week" on the Manga Bookshelf site caught my eye. Following up on that, I looked at Sean Gaffney's review of the manga, which led off with "I try not to be one of those 'girl on girl is hot, but guys ew!' fans," and that did get my attention as well. When I did see it in the area bookstore, I bought a copy of "Go For It, Nakamura!"
Going for it )
krpalmer: (anime)
I liked the "magical school" anime series Little Witch Academia enough that when I heard the manga based on it was being licensed over here, I took some interest in that spinoff as well. This might have had something to do with the anime's "streaming on Netflix" situation adding to some personal uncertainty about whether it'll ever be available for sale on disc here, though (short of the conspicuous consumption of importing from Japan, of course). I'm a bit prone to repeating a stock potential criticism of "manga based on anime," and might have thought a bit about "rolling the dice" again.
How things rolled out )
krpalmer: (anime)
Well before my copy of the anime series Skip Beat! arrived as a Kickstarter pledge reward, I understood in a general way it was to be continued in the original manga and had started ordering that as well, in three-in-one collections to save a little money. By the time the set did arrive, I had thirteen of those thick volumes stacked up, and I will admit to a few thoughts there was the outside chance I might not like the series as much as those whose enthusiasm at the thought of it getting a release over here had first got my interest.
A more fortunate outcome )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
Reading an official, "made in Japan" manga of the American "anime-esque" production RWBY more or less left me thinking of that old, acquired-through-experience suspicion that "manga based on" get assigned to artists who can't manage original works of their own, the that much more unfortunate flip side of the undercurrent of criticism of anime made from manga. Hearing right around then a "RWBY Anthology" would follow, though, did have hope springing eternal once more. I bought the first volume (supposing there'd be three more to feature the other main characters who make up the other letters of the title), eventually read through it, and wound up facing the wry question "when will I ever learn?"

Many artists contributed to the anthology (with a lot of them using one-word apparent pen names), but as I went from one brief, not quite consequential character piece about the earnest team leader Ruby Rose to another I kept thinking there was a new sort of hard-to-explain awkwardness to the art. I suppose one set of "four-panel strips" late in the book did look better to me, and looking back as I write this I might be a little more charitable towards some of the pieces, able to pick out a few action pieces as well. Too, with the pieces being set in the first plot arc of the series there was something to the occasional appearances of the characters who didn't make it past the end of that arc to demonstrate there were consequences after all to the story.

I suppose I've already seen enough proof of RWBY attracting some attention on the other side of the Pacific, a counter perhaps to the possibility of it being "neither fish nor fowl," appealing to those over here who might not know any better. If I do happen to see another volume of the anthology at the bookstore, I'll look into it rather than judging it by its cover.
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
The bookcases where I now stack the volumes of manga I've bought and read are almost full. There could yet be space elsewhere in my place to knock together a few more bookcases and start filling them too, but I know this just puts off the problem. Even as I remember that with the way new series keep coming out that I read with interest I don't have much opportunity to return to old series and try to grapple with the thought of getting rid of, one way or another, at least some old manga I might not have wound up quite as enthused about even at the time, I've been contemplating whether any of the series I'm now reading I might be able to stop without too many regrets.
Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku )
Akame ga Kill )
krpalmer: (anime)
I do read a lot of the "girls' love" manga that's licensed and translated over here, although often commenting here about personal impressions of a lot of it dividing between "charming fluff" and "exploitative" might admit to two not completely dignified reasons for taking an interest in it. When a title does seem to steer in between those two poles, though, it stands out. "After Hours" might have caught my attention to begin with because it could be seen as Viz edging into a field Seven Seas has occupied a lot of space in; that its main characters weren't even "high school girls" but twenty-something also distinguished it (although I suppose that perhaps means having to shift to a term with slightly different meanings loaded into it, "yuri manga"). Emi and Kei waking up together at the beginning of the first volume after meeting at a dance club cut through the usual nervous dawnings that can seem to weigh down series with younger characters, and in some ways I was interested in the feeling of "a series where the same-sex relationship doesn't dominate everything" as Emi gets further into Kei's DJ scene. However, it was also possible I got to thinking "a same-sex relationship, that's one thing; characters deep in the club scene, that's really outside my personal experience."

At the end of the second volume, though, the personal problems that had been flaring up between Emi and Kei got nicely resolved, and I did get to contemplating again whether, as much as some of the comments that get tossed around anime series where it's just a matter of "no boys in sight" can seem a little over-eager or overdone to me, I could at least begin to sense things felt a bit different than I could imagine them being presented in a "shoujo romance" (or even a "joisei romance" aimed at adult women), to say nothing of some of the accusations tossed at "male-targeted titles" (with mixed-sex hookups in them, anyway). I do remember seeing a comment once of the wide reach "girls' love" and "yuri manga" can manage. There does seem to be another volume implied by the end of the second, anyway, although I've seen similar series wrap up in three if not two volumes.
krpalmer: (anime)
The tenth double-thick, hard-covered volume of Makoto Yukimura's Viking manga Vinland Saga went a ways towards assuaging all those old worries the series was forever balanced on a knife-edge of "too good for our English-language market" and might be cut off at any moment, even with certain comments over the years that all long-running series show a decline in sales over time. The thought of being left forever guessing how the story might continue (or at least left searching for "scanlations" and wondering how well they might read), though, does feel in some ways no rougher than worrying if the protagonists will make it out of the latest part of the story available. While the brutality of the action has a sort of "not 'fantastic,' yet 'realer than real'" feeling to it, it can certainly leave me thinking there are no certainties of safety.

The action in this volume, as harrowing as it could get, did have something of a "decompressed" feeling to it, not a lot of time seeming to pass but playing out in detail. In a way, too, I did get to wondering if a possible end of the series (other than "consumed by accident and history," anyway) was now in sight, as much as I might miss the thought of Thorfinn and company not getting all the way to Byzantium via the Viking trade routes along Russian waterways or even the dark old thought of "trying to escape only carries the story's universal problems with them." I suppose I could wonder if "the everpresent violence isn't altogether innate, but learned" was played up a bit, and in fact I did think a bit back to the story that (eventually) let me in through the gates of anime and manga, reflecting on a subplot in Robotech, borrowed from Macross of course, about "warriors-and-nothing-else trying to become something else." (I can think back as well to how I interpreted this being presented in the Robotech novelizations, and if, however unwittingly or unconsciously, I brushed against assumptions that can be fallen into about "them" as opposed to "us.") In any case, there seemed a certain amount of dark humour mixed in with the violence in this volume. I again don't know how long we'll have to wait until I might have to worry about the next volume showing up again, but the cliffhanger this time around has Thorfinn in a new predicament that might even be sort of interesting.
krpalmer: (anime)
It still managed to surprise me a bit when I once more managed to make the quick decisions to watch a reasonable number of new anime series this season the way "everyone else" says they do it these modern days, via official online streaming. However, I was a little aware all of these "new" shows had been given a bit of a boost in being the latest instalments of established franchises. Even the series I was adding to my schedule in my own fashion off of Blu-Ray discs were similar extensions upon already experienced properties. A thought or two of the "domestic movie franchises" and "sitcom revivals" I only sometimes look into did come to mind. As for what altogether new anime series did defy that possible contemporary trend I've just alluded to, some of them did get my attention, but in such a way as to have some negative opinions push me away at the same time. One historical action series seemed to include some interesting concepts, but the first reports of it mentioned some unappealing-looking animation, including modern tricks dismissed as "gratuitous" or "lazy," regardless of whether computer animation is actually "cheaper" than "drawn" stuff.

The anime series, though, was part of a more old-fashioned (and therefore seemingly more acceptable) sort of "franchise" in that it was an adaptation of an existing manga. Going straight to the source, the "program-length commercial" having done its work without actually having been watched at all, I sought out a manga series I hadn't really noticed before in the discussions of which I do follow and bought the first volume of Golden Kamuy. When I started reading it, I got through the whole volume a lot faster than it cam take me with manga (which can be read a chapter at a time and therefore doesn't demand the deliberate time expense of anime), and went back to the bookstore for the next one.
Into the snowy wild )
krpalmer: (anime)
I've mentioned before how I seem ready to accept anime piles up faster than I can watch it but, convinced I can at least keep even with the manga I buy if I work at it, I don't often go back and read it over again. The most obvious exception to that is when a title I've read is licensed over again with promises of a new translation and perhaps improved production values. Vertical releasing a new edition of the "Voices of a Distant Star" manga did get my attention, but I suppose the not quite articulated respect I have for that company's licensing choices and presentation of which had to be weighed against knowing the manga was an adaptation of an "original anime," and the impression I've long had those adaptations are assigned to artists who can't quite manage titles of their own because the people in Japan too cheap to buy expensive disc releases don't deserve anything better. I still bought the manga anyway.
An impressively powerful cell phone )
krpalmer: (anime)
After nine volumes of manga about an eccentric university club of manga, video game, and anime fans, two anime series adapting a fair part of the story and including some OVAs of its "story within the story," a disreputable spinoff anime making changes to the show-within-the-show that did include some OVAs adapting a bit more of the main manga, and a short manga version of the disreputable spinoff, Genshiken came to a close. With picky manga-buying habits when that happened (mostly because of the constant scandals ginned up over various companies retouching the art to water it down for North American sensibilities, something Del Rey Manga, the company releasing Genshiken, had made a point of saying it wouldn't do), I did wonder about how to fill the space taken up by a standout title. Then, though, to what seemed the surprise of others too, Kio Shimoku started the Genshiken manga again, with new characters added to continue the story.
A long, strange trip from there )
krpalmer: (anime)
Amid the constant uncertainty whether its official translations would keep being released or I'd be reduced to hunting down "scanlations" (however stilted) should things leave off on an unsatisfying stopping point, I suppose Makoto Yukimura's Viking manga Vinland Saga getting an anime adaptation had been very far from my mind. Seeing a news item mentioning that was a fair surprise.

The studio mentioned in the notice that will be producing the adaptation seems to have built something of a pedigree in the last little while for works like this one, although I was able to remember old thoughts that "manga can go places anime can't" and balance an apparent counter-example with contemplations of just what might yet get toned down. Too, I'm wondering how far into the manga the production might get; I can imagine things could stop at the end of one plot arc fairly soon into the story, but it wouldn't be close to a happy ending. At the same time, though, I can at least be philosophical and think of other cases where, having started with the manga, I've left anime adaptations alone and been fine with that.

February 2019

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