Manga chic

Manga Month may still be down the road a ways, but it seems like it’s Boutique Week on the ComicList, with welcome arrivals from smaller publishers.

Take the pick of the week, Fumiyo Kouno’s Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms from Last Gasp. The U.S. publisher of Keiji Nakazawa’s legendary Barefoot Gen offers another perspective at Japan after the atomic bomb, and I’ve heard nothing but enthusiastic responses from people who’ve read it in scanlation or Japanese.

Fresh on the heels of MangaBlog’s interview with Stephen Robson, Fanfare/Ponent Mon releases the third volume of Times of Botchan, scripted by Natsuo Sekikawa and conceived and drawn by the superb Jiro (The Walking Man) Taniguchi, and re-offers Yukiko’s Spinach, written by Frédéric Boilet and drawn by the fabulous Kan (Kinderbook) Takahama.

Gullywasher offers Danica Novgorodoff’s Isotope Award-winning mini-comic, A Late Freeze, which I really enjoyed.

Okay, CMX is an arm of DC, so it’s not really boutique-y, but Kaoru Mori’s Emma feels boutique-y, and I’m holding on to this theme with my fingernails. The third volume ships on Wednesday, and it’s lovely.

And Blu offers Hirotaka Kisaragi’s Innocent Bird, which I bought over the weekend because it seemed like it would be enthusiastically tawdry but turned out to be sort of interesting and thoughtful instead. I liked it, but I can’t say I’m not a little bit disappointed by the smut shortage. Stupid plastic wrap.

7 Responses to Manga chic

  1. John Jakala says:

    I just got a coupon from B&N so Emma (vol. 1 — I’m so behind!) and Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms are both sitting in my cart waiting to be ordered. I’m waiting to see if Akira Club will be coming out before the coupon expires. Probably not, so I’ll probably add To Terra and/or the next volume of Yakitate!! Japan to pad out my order for the free shipping. Or maybe something by Taniguchi… Gah! Now you’ve got me buying more new manga before I’ve worked through my unread stack!!

  2. ChunHyang72 says:

    I’m actually working on a review of Town of Evening Calm for PopCultureShock right now! It’s lovely, straight-forward storytelling, and it stays with you long after you finish reading it. I can’t say enough good things about it…

  3. davidpwelsh says:

    John: It’s my evil scheme to make everyone just as far behind in their reading as I am. MUAHAHAHA!

    Chun: Can’t wait to read it! (Both the book and your review of it.) You make it sound kind of like The Walking Man, which is a most excellent comparison.

  4. Huff says:

    I don’t think the “Walking Man” comparison is accurate, as “Town” is more focused on characters and emotions (though it also benifits from a strong atmosphere). Its admittingly sentimental and some have even called it sappy (which seems to be the main source of criticism) but I think the mood it evokes has more than enough appeal to most people. It definitally deserves wide-spread recognition, which probobly isn’t going to happen.
    John: I think Akira Club comes out next week in the direct market; when it’s getting put on bookstore shelves is beyond me. I’m kind of debating whether to order it from amazon and save money or pick it up the day it comes out and satisfy my need for new Otomo…

  5. davidpwelsh says:

    I hope it gets the attention it deserves. Maybe it will get embraced by librarians?

  6. […] is New Comics Day, and David Welsh, Comicsnob’s Matt Blind, and the newly shoujo-enhanced MangaCast crew give their […]

  7. John Jakala says:

    Thanks for the info, Huff. Different sites are showing different release dates — anywhere from 3/21 (Amazon) to 3/31 (Overstock) so I’ll probably place my current order so I can get my hands on Town now and order Akira Club sometime in May when it finally comes out.

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