Pick five

November 24, 2009

Some people are surprised by the complete exclusion of comics from Japan from the A.V. Club’s list of the best comics of the ’00s. In the midst of all of the semantic discussion of when decades begin and end in the comments over at The Beat, the Club’s Noel Murray explains:

“There’s no manga largely because most of us only dabble in manga (at best), and if we even tried to acknowledge it we’d likely come off underinformed. (I did consider DRIFTING LIFE, though.)”

Moving on.

So for fun, why not pick five manga titles you think merit inclusion in such a list? Don’t overthink it. Just toss out the first five that pop into your head. I’ll start:

  • Sexy Voice and Robo by Iou Kuroda, Viz
  • MW by Osamu Tezuka, Vertical
  • Swan by Kyoko Ariyoshi, CMX
  • Antique Bakery by Fumi Yoshinaga, DMP
  • Planetes by Makoto Yukimura

  • Upcoming 11/25/2009

    November 24, 2009

    Time for a look at this week’s ComicList:

    CMX expands its line of endearing shôjo with the debut of Asuka Izumi’s The Lizard Prince. It’s about the complications that arise when a princess falls in love with a prince who occasionally turns into a lizard, and I really enjoyed the review copy that CMX sent. It’s one of those romantic series that’s more about sustaining a relationship in the face of obstacles than the advent of a romance. Strong-willed Princess Canary and softie Prince Sienna know they love each other; it’s just petty details like her reptile-averse mother, his mysterious background, and his not-entirely-controllable transformations that keep their happiness from being absolute. Part of the charm of the series is that Canary and Sienna really seem to enjoy tackling problems and working through them. Izumi’s art is very attractive, and she’s got a cheerful sense of humor that makes the stories breeze by.

    This one’s been in bookstores for over a month, but if you confine your graphic novel purchases to specialty shops, this is the week you can pick up Masayuki Ishikawa’s Moyasimon (Del Rey). Country boys Tadayasu and Kei enroll in agricultural college in the big city, where weirdness awaits. Tadayasu can see and speak to bacteria (or at least hear their chirpy prattle), making him an object of particular interest to the professor and handful of fellow students who know of his ability. Hard science and low comedy combine as Tadayasu and Kei learn about the power of bacteria and their sometimes disastrous impact on the digestive system. The series gets off to a solid if not riotous start, and I’ll certainly stick around to see how it develops. [Update: Johanna Draper Carlson has a theory on why it took so long for this book to reach shelves, along with a review.]

    Fanfare/Ponent Mon delivers two titles this week. There’s the second and final volume of Jiro Taniguchi’s A Distant Neighborhood, which I reviewed here. It’s very likable stuff, beautifully drawn by Taniguchi.

    There’s also the English-language debut of Willy Linhout’s Years of the Elephant. It’s about the aftermath of a young man’s suicide and the devastating impact on his family. According to the publisher, “The book was initially intended as self therapy to help Linthout deal with the loss of his son however, the originally modest project unleashed a flood of reactions and therapists now use the book as a recognised aid for coping with grief.” I picked it up at SPX, and I will duly move it to the top of the pile of things to read.

    Tokyopop makes me really happy by continuing its slow-but-appreciated roll-out of new volumes of Ai Morinaga’s Your and My Secret, in this case the fifth, a license originally held by ADV then left to limbo. It’s more mistaken-identity comedy about a horrible girl and a meek boy who switch bodies and alternately recoil at or revel in the consequences. For bonus points, this volume features a school trip to Hokkaido, one of my very favorite settings for manga and a place I hope to visit someday.

    I’m intrigued by This Ugly Yet Beautiful World just based on its title. It’s a manga adaptation by Ashita Morimi of an apparently popular anime by Gainax/Konomini Project. It sounds like your standard “dweebs meet amnesiac space princess” fare, but it’s got a great title. (Seriously, does Japan have an agency that deals with amnesiac space princesses? They could use one.)