From the wintry north

January 19, 2007

I’m usually at a loss to figure out how Amazon’s recommendation system works, because it seems like many of my purchases indicate I would enjoy books I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. An entertaining “Six Degrees of Separation” game could probably be developed to try and figure out how my purchase of, say, the ninth volume of Bleach leads Amazon to believe that I’d like the latest crappy thriller from James Patterson.

The latest suggestion to wind up in my in-box actually sounds pretty promising. It was for Mechademia: An Annual Forum for Anime, Manga and the Fan Arts, published by the University of Minnesota Press. There are only so many times you can re-read Schodt and Gravett (though I haven’t found the number yet), and more academic (or even quasi-academic) writing on the subject is always welcome.

Between this and the exhibition catalog for the Shojo Manga! Girl Power! show that Dirk Deppey reviewed the other day, it looks like I’ve got a couple of interesting books about manga to add to the pile of actual manga waiting to be read.

Tezuka on demand

January 19, 2007

There are so many intriguing things about this item at ComiPress that it’s hard to pick where to start.

  • I think on-line, user-compiled anthologies are a great idea. As Chloe noted at Shuchaku East, “Let’s be honest, when was the last time you picked up a copy of Bleach and thought that hey, Bleach was good , so I’ll probably like and subsequently buy the 23 other series in this label too!” Imagine if readers could build their own anthology out of Shonen Jump or Shojo Beat or Shonen Jump Advanced?
  • It’s interesting to see rival publishers collaborating on this kind of initiative, but maybe it’s just the power of Osamu Tezuka. (And by the way, I’d never seen Kodansha’s English site before. It seems to have been designed almost specifically for potential licensing entitites.)
  • It’s nice to see that, even almost 20 years after his death, Tezuka is still driving innovation in the manga industry. (It could be argued that the Netcomics site already essentially offers an on-demand, online anthology.)
  • I’d love to know more about how the serials are packaged and delivered — if there are any bells and whistles or supplementary content that come with the selected serials.
  • I hope this is just the first in a wave and that it becomes popular enough that a U.S. publisher picks up the idea. Somebody pick up the Magnificent ’49ers next! I swear I’ll try and learn Japanese if you do!