Post it, and it’s true

December 9, 2005

This was one of my favorite pastimes from the good old days on Usenet soap opera groups, where forum visitors would take turns posting absurd, unfounded rumors in hopes that they would eventually materialize on their television screens. (Example: “Laurel Banning will mysteriously vanish from Pine Valley forever.”)

It came to mind when I heard the announcement that “VIZ Media manga titles swept ALL Top 10 placements in the (Dec. 4 Bookscan) Adult Fiction Graphic Novel category (actually VIZ titles dominated the Top 13). A list of the top selling titles follows below for your review:

“1. NARUTO Vol. 8
2. RUROUNI KENSHIN Vol. 21
3. BLEACH: VOLUME 10
4. FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: VOLUME 4
5. HANA-KIMI: VOL 9
6. HOT GIMMICK Vol. 10
7. NARUTO Vol. 2
8. NARUTO Vol. 7
9. NARUTO: VOL. 3
10. RUROUNI KENSHIN Vol. 20
11. NARUTO: VOL. 4
12. NARUTO: VOL. 1
13. DRAGON BALL Z: Vol. 23”

and recalled Liza Coppola’s comments on the Bookscan list at ICv2.

I would now like to announce that I will have the winning numbers for Saturday’s Powerball drawing.


Second look: ANTIQUE BAKERY

December 9, 2005

In August, I read the first volume of Fumi Yoshinaga’s Antique Bakery (Digital Mang), and it was good. This week, I read the second volume, and it was much, much better.

I enjoyed many of the customer vignettes in the first installment, but Yoshinaga focuses more on her leads this time around. It results in charming workplace comedy that’s gentle, sexy, and sly.

Entrepreneur Tachibana, genius pastry chef Ono, and enthusiastic apprentice Kanada are joined by the mysterious Chikage, Tachibana’s devoted, hopelessly inept servant. It’s a nice way to reveal more of Tachibana’s background, and it gives Ono a different kind of love interest. (He even reigns in his “Gay Demonic Charm” in the face of Chikage’s guilelessness.) All of the leads get some revealing moments, particularly in a well choreographed sequence where they deal with the Christmas rush.

As with last time, Yoshinaga shows the perfect skill set as an illustrator to convey this material. Character design is excellent (especially with the varied masses buying holiday treats), and facial expressions and body language are often priceless. The food images aren’t as numerous this time around, but they’re still sumptuously detailed.

It’s official. Antique Bakery has gone from a book I like an awful lot to one I love.

(It’s also one of the titles featured in Tony Salvaggio’s latest Calling Manga Island column at Comic Book Resources, a nice run-down of the year in manga. Go, read, and find some new additions to your wish list.)