Pets project

While looking through the Flipped archives, I’m starting to worry that I’m leaning too heavily on my personal pet titles. Actually, Dave Carter’s wonderful Undiscovered Gems contest planted that seed, which was then watered by Jarred of MangaCast who pointed out not one but two cooking mangas that had completely escaped my notice.

As a result, I’m hoping to expand my horizons a bit, with your help. Is there a manga title you’re really enjoying now that doesn’t seem to have a seat at the cool kids’ table? That never seems to get reviewed or name-checked in the general discourse? (I’d like to stick with things that are currently and widely in print. As much as I love finding obscure manga, it can be frustrating to see someone talk about a book and have to search high and low for it.)

I can’t guarantee I’ll love it as much as you do, but I promise to give it a shot. Just post the book in the comments section or send me an e-mail at DavidPWelsh at yahoo dot com, and I’ll do my best to work it into the rotation.

9 Responses to Pets project

  1. danielle leigh says:

    Skip Beat! published by Viz.

    After reading the second volume I was sure — this isn’t shojo I’m used to.

    Johanna (from Comics Worth Reading) didn’t like the first volume but I think all the things she didn’t like about it are what make it an unusual shojo title.

    For me, the point of the series is not that the “heroine” (if you can call her that) is unlikable or selfish so much as she’s lost her way and bizarrely decides to try show business (by the end of volume one) as a way to recover herself.

    The second volume made me laugh a lot and but it also made me feel something for the characters in spite of the “rapid changes in mood” Johanna refers to her in her review (http://comicsworthreading.com/2006/06/25/skip-beat-book-1/) and which I agree probably do plague the first volume.

    So yeah. I like this title a whole lot. I think by the third volume it may be love.

  2. Jarred (MangaCast) says:

    A great idea! And of course, I have no issues with adding more strain to your wallet. 🙂

    I’ll give you five, and I’ll try to spread the love amongst the top 4 publishers.

    Kekkaishi (VIZ) – With each volume, I just become more and more enamored with this coming-of-age story. The spirit-hunting premise may sound a bit overdone, but its laid back, understated execution is fabulous. I get a retro, old timer feel when I read it; something very Adachi or Tezuka about this title.

    Old Boy (Dark Horse) – When the Korean movie hit US shores, it created quite the ripple effect amongst my film friends. I would have thought we’d hear more chatter about this original manga when the first volume recently came out, but it’s been pretty quiet. A very personal, more sophisticated approach than the balls-out intensity of the movie adaptation.

    Firefighter!: Daigo of Fire Company M (VIZ) – This is one of Ed and I’s favorite titles. Newest volume (16) came out this week, so you can read my thoughts in our weekly picks thread.

    ES ~Eternal Sabbath~ (Del Rey) – I’m really surprised that the same people who are clamoring over Monster and Death Note aren’t also talking about this great title from famed shoujo create Fuyumi Soryo (MARS). A good mix of hardboiled, seinen sci-fi with the whole battle of the minds aspect that people enjoy in Death Note.

    BECK (TOKYOPOP) – Another coming-of-age story surrounding a boy who finds his “voice” while learning how to play guitar and joining a rock band. Harold Sakuishi’s art style is very distinct, and his sense of humor absolutely quirky and bizarre. If you were that kid hanging out at shows at local clubs growing up, you’ll love this title. A very interesting picture also painted surrounding the local music scene in big city Japan.

  3. Lyle says:

    I mentioned Yellow yesterday and it is one of the few standout YAOI titles for me.

    Did you every check out Pet Shop of Horrors? I don’t recall you mentioning it and it’s a solid series.

  4. shannon says:

    Doubt!- a plain and nerdy girl becomes a beauty, and has to deal with her insecurities. Good art style.

  5. carlo-26 says:

    You have a great site here, I’m sure there are a lot of people with similar interest visiting your blog. I would like to recommend putting some pictures and illustrations since most of the topics here are about manga and comic books. Thanks.

  6. David Welsh says:

    Danielle – Skip Beat sounds very much within my comfort zone. Thanks!

    Jarred – And “thank you,” too. 😉 Beck was actually one of the first books that came to mind.

    Lyle – I haven’t read PSoH yet, but it’s like Beck… I keep hearing good things from people that collect in the back of my mind, but there hasn’t been the critical mass to push me into trying it. (Until now, obviously.)

    Shannon – I read the first couple of volumes of Doubt! ages ago, and thought it was okay, but kind of standard. Maybe the PR for the title, which made it sound more satirical or out of the ordinary, set up the wrong expectations. I’ll go back and give it another look.

    Carlo – Thanks for the suggestion. I’m incredibly lazy, so I’ve never really looked into the illustration aspect of it. When I talk about a book, I always try to provide a link where people can look at cover images and (if possible) sample pages, but adding images to the blog would help, I agree.

  7. Estara says:

    Re: Skip Beat – if you also take scanlation recommendations may I recommend Tokyo Crazy Paradise by the same author. It’s finished at 17 volumes and it’s one hell of a ride, with just as weird and strong a heroine and heroes as Skip Beat – only set in a slightly futuristic Tokyo.

    Doubt!! was good until Volume 5 when they threw the previous storyline in the bin and then it got Hot Gimicky, what a waste.

    However for slightly off school romance which is also well drawn I think Beauty is the Beast doesn’t get enough of a spotlight. The main heroine is very out of it in a good way. (I wish we could get Sensei – nicely done if typical teacher-student shoujo- or, even better, Kokou Debut – formerly sportfanatic ex-middleschool girl desperately wants a high school love life and gets herself a coach in how to be attractive to boys, seeing as she has no clue – both by Kawahara Kazune).

    There are loads of older titles now released that are under the weather and the most important of those Mangaka to me is Kyoko Hikawa and her From Far Away. I reviewed it here: http://www.bookish.net/2006/07/12/189/

    I guess I better stop there, I’ll go on for pages otherwise 😛 ^^.

  8. David Welsh says:

    estara: I tend to stay away from scanlations and fansubs, not because I have any objections to the practice (particularly when they go with the “fair use” approach — scanlate away until someone licenses it), but because I’m kind of a fogey when it comes to reading comics online. I really should get over my aversion, if only so I can get a better sense of what licenses I should be begging for.

    But thank you for the recommendations! That was a really effective review of From Far Away, as it immediately made me want to read it. Fiend.

  9. Estara says:

    Hehe, do go and read From Far Away (and Beauty is the Beast) – both are my licensed recommendations.

    From Far Away is shoujo fantasy whose plot and characters don’t let up (even the quiet parts are perfectly placed) at only 14 volumes complete, of which 12 are out already, and it really needs someone with clout to review it to get more Kyoko Hikawa out in the west, I think.

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