Based on the hit manga…

November 16, 2006

Speaking of Nodame Cantabile, it seems to be enjoying a bump from the release of its TV drama adaptation. ComiPress shares the latest Tohan Top 10, and Nodame occupies three spaces on it, with the most recent volume just ahead of the first and third. It’s like the Cartoon Network Effect, only with live actors.

And what does the Daily Yomiuri think of that program?

“[I]t displayed potential for the first 15 minutes.”

In other multi-media news, Anime News Network notes the joyous arrival of the Sgt. Frog anime in February, and that the invasion began a little early.

And last but not least, that trailer for the Death Note sequel is really, really creepy. But so is the trailer for the first one.


Around the world

November 16, 2006

Is Birmingham, England, the next big hub of the comics industry? Possibly, argues this piece in the Birmingham Post about StripSearch, an initiative for would-be cartoonists helmed by Hunt Emerson and John McCrae. The goal?

“‘We have given them the strength to break out of their nine to five hell,’ adds John ‘And throw them into comic hell…’”

There’s also a manga primer attached to the piece, and… well…

“Manga characters almost always have large eyes, small mouths, and they also usually have abnormal hair color.”

It reads like narration from a documentary on some startling genetic disorder, doesn’t it?

Still, the Midlands Comics Collective sounds like a wonderful idea, and they’ve already published an anthology. Some of the creators are also featured in The Mammoth Book of Best New Manga.

*

It’s not just Nana. Apparently, Nodame Cantabile has inspired a themed café, though how anyone could want to eat after looking at a recreation of Nodame’s room is beyond me.


B-sides

November 16, 2006

I forgot to mention the second volume of Omukae Desu (CMX) in yesterday’s run-down of new arrivals, which was negligent on my part, as it’s a quirky and appealing book. This installment is still relatively episodic, but Meca Tanaka starts building up interpersonal relationships among the employees of GSG, who assist the recently deceased in letting go of earthly concerns and moving on to the afterlife.

It’s fun stuff. Tanaka blends sentiment with off-kilter comedy, and it all goes down very easily. She also makes good use of workplace absurdity, coming up with generally endearing sight gags from GSG’s fondness for “theme months.” (There’s one in the last chapter that’s absolutely jaw-dropping.)

But the most intriguing thing about this volume was the back-up material, which includes two stand-alone stories from Tanaka. The first, Tanaka’s official debut, is called “The Invincible Heartbreaker.” The second is “Natural Centripetal Force Alpha,” something Tanaka created as an amateur when not working days in an office.

“Heartbreaker” is awful – tacky, unfocused, and barely coherent, but apparently saleable. (It’s about a young girl who expresses her crush for the local doctor by flashing him daily.) “NCFA” is a gem, tightly written, funny, and sweet. In it, a girl crushes on a comically klutzy boy but has to decide if her feelings go beyond finding him endearingly amusing.

I don’t know if there’s anything to take from the contrast of the two, though I thought it was interesting that the one done in snatched hours away from a day job was so much better than the one that actually helped Tanaka break into the industry. The weather must have me feeling cynical.