krpalmer: (anime)
Bloom Into You remains a manga I’m interested in following, but when I bought the sixth volume I did have something of an “I’ll get to it in due time” feeling. So far as “girls’ love” manga goes I was finishing Sweet Blue Flowers, and after that I read Kase-san and Cherry Blossoms, fifth in the “Kase-san and...” series and, so I seemed to sense, its possible conclusion. Its two main characters did graduate from high school and move off to university, and there was a consummation scene, although there was also a last page promising the story would continue in university.
For Bloom Into You, though... )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
I’ve dabbled a bit in legitimate purchases of “digital manga” before, some titles only being available that way in official translation, but have been thinking of late I could turn a bit further towards that (although one reason why is how overstuffed my bookcases have become with printed volumes of the stuff). Looking at the Kobo online store, I did happen to see titles from a publisher that doesn’t seem to have much of a presence in print, and I have to admit the “fanservicey” cover of a volume from one series caught my eye. The volumes weren’t as expensive as from other publishers, though, so as something of a test I bought the first volume of Tohru Uchimizu’s “The Love and Creed of Sae Maki.”
Sae-ism within )
krpalmer: (anime)
Having made it through three volumes of the “RWBY Anthology” manga did make “finishing the set” seem a little more inevitable. I glanced inside the fourth volume when I saw it in the bookstore, but I suppose it was only a “glance before buying it anyway”; I was still a bit uncertain as I started reading. That the “four-panel manga” that had seemed one of the few really good-looking pieces in the somewhat unfortunate first volume returned quite near the beginning of the fourth wasn’t quite encouraging, somehow.

I was ready to suppose Yang Xiao Long wasn’t that complicated a character in the first part of the animation these pieces are set during, a swaggering, hard-punching, big-sister type. There are a few jokes spun from the unfortunate complications that build up for her near the end of the first plot arc (and that did help make what I’ve managed to see since more interesting), and one piece does invoke the very end of that arc in a more serious way. Still, I got through the volume even with a comment or two at the very end speculating about doing something similar for the villains and supporting heroes. My own thoughts for the moment are just wondering when I might have the chance to see the animation that has been released but not on Crunchyroll; if it is going to get on Blu-Ray the same as the five previous parts, that might be as good as anything for me.
krpalmer: (anime)
When I started watching the anime series Planet With, I’d been pulled in by hearing the manga creator Satoshi Mizukami was involved in its production, having already found his manga “Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer” interesting. Over the three-month course of that complicated, intriguing, and personally satisfying series, I happened to see a comment Mizukami had produced another manga now being published over here, one that had managed to escape my attention before. Making up for that, I started buying the volumes of “Spirit Circle” from the area bookstore. By the time I began reading them, I understood the series to be complete in six volumes, shorter than Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer. The six volumes packed plenty of interest for me, though, even if I’m again left wondering about “giving things away to others about something I didn’t know much about beforehand.”
With that said... )
krpalmer: (anime)
Back on the upslope of last decade’s anime and manga boom in the English-speaking world, I did feel tickled at the first reports of series being optioned for Hollywood motion pictures. It’s been a while since then, though (including a bust that might not after all have amounted to “complete retrenchment to a handful of obsessives for all time”), and as some productions got lost in a maze of development and some did show up to reactions at most unimpressed among “fans in the know” and a general slide into obscurity, I suppose I fell back to “the original work isn’t diminished for me.” I can also ponder whether I’m more content than some with “drawings” and less requiring “the legitimization of live-action,” aware as well of live-action manga adaptations made in Japan that I don’t take too much interest in either, even if I’m also aware of snickers about “detachment from three-dimensional reality.” There might be a connection between that and how, while I don’t take a lot of interest in “live-action superhero movies,” I did go see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse at the movies after noticing the enthusiasm of others, then indulged myself watching The Lego Batman Movie on Netflix.

When it worked its way around to release at last, though, one more live-action adaptation of a manga that had been in production for a long time did seem to produce some positive reactions from people with their own solid interest in anime and manga. They seemed positive enough I even started wondering about taking my own chance on the movie. While I couldn’t see it during its opening week, on its second weekend I went to see Alita: Battle Angel. I was wondering a bit about this being one franchise I’d been aware of without ever quite managing to take it in, having missed out on previous releases and then supposing Kodansha Comics’s latest version did seem a bit over-produced for me as large-format hardcovers. As I watched the movie, though, I did get to thinking that while I wasn’t distracting myself “comparing it to the original,” that didn’t seem the only thing keeping up my interest in it.
An uncomplicated appeal )
krpalmer: (anime)
Of late I’ve taken some note of domestic manga publishers other than Seven Seas dabbling in “girls’ love” manga as well. Viz has put out two series I’ve bought, and Yen Press offered an “anthology” of short pieces by a number of artists. Now, Kodansha Comics has begun publishing a series the title itself of which seems a signal, Yuri Is My Job! I’ll admit that after that got my attention I wondered on general principles whether I was “starting too many manga series of late,” but also have to admit buying its first volume in the end.
Welcome to Liebe Girls Academy! )
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 )

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