License request day: Doubutsu No Oishasan

January 29, 2010

There’s been a feline fixation among manga fans lately, and we all know what’s driven that bus. But cats aren’t the only adorable animal in the world. Just ask Viz. I’m pretty equal-opportunity as far as cats and dogs go, so my ears perked when Deb Aoki mentioned a 1990s shôjo title that seems designed to please animal lovers in general.

It’s Noriko Sasaki’s twelve-volume Doubutsu No Oishasan, which was serialized in Hakusensha’s Hana To Yume. A blogger known as Rei describes it thusly:

“Neither stereotypical action-adventure-sex nor sugar-sweet-romance-tragedy, Doubutsu cuts a bold swath through the under-appreciated field of plain old good daily-life fiction. You won’t find deep tragedy, deep philosophy, heavy romance, nor fast-paced beat-em-up-action: instead, just lots of funny situations, quiet compassion, memorable characters, and an overall great read. The hero is a young man with a dog (the aforementioned ‘Hamuteru’ and ‘Chobi’); the setting is a veterinary college in relatively spacious Hokkaido (the northernmost of the main Japanese islands). The situations and the stories are funny, enlightening, informative, and (mostly) believable, all at the same time.”

I don’t know about you, but in my household growing up, All Creatures Great and Small, the BBC adaptation of James Herriot’s novels, was destination television. We may have missed Sunday service from time to time, but we did not miss All Creatures Great and Small. And when Deb confirmed for me that, yes, Doubutsu No Oishasan captured some of that property’s feeling, plus it was shôjo of a certain vintage, plus Sasaki drew all kinds of animals faithfully and well, plus it was set in Hokkaido, it automatically entered the license request hopper.

I didn’t have any luck finding any page samples from the interior of the book, but I find the covers pretty persuasive or at least enticing. And Hakusensha properties are pretty much fair game to any interested publisher. And trust me when I say that a lot of kids want to be veterinarians when they grow up. I think there’s an audience out there.

Special guests

January 29, 2010

Deb Aoki has been running some great reviews by special guests over at About.Com:

  • Kevin (BeacoupKevin) Church on Jiro Taniguchi’s A Distant Neighborhood (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
  • Christopher (Comics212) Butcher on Natsume Ono’s not simple (Viz)
  • Erica (Okazu) Friedman on Stan Lee and Hiroyuki Takei’s Ultimo (Viz)
  • Danica Davidson on Mia Ikumi’s Only One Wish (Del Rey)
  • Shaenon K. Garrity on Inio Asano’s What a Wonderful World! (Viz)
  • Ed (Manga Worth Reading) Sizemore on Jin Zhou Huang and Hiromu Arakawa’s Hero Tales (Yen Press)
  • Melinda (Manga Bookshelf) Beasi on Jason Thompson and Victor Hao’s King of RPGs (Del Rey)
  • Garrity on Svetlana Chmakova’s Nightschool (Yen Press)
  • Garrity on You Higuri’s Ludwig II (Digital Manga)
  • Garrity on Rumiko Takahashi’s Rin-Ne (Viz)
  • Brad (Japanator) Rice on Mobile Suit Gundam 00 and Mobile Suit Gundam 00F (Bandai Entertainment)
  • Garrity on Yana Toboso’s Black Butler (Yen Press)
  • Beasi on Jason S. Yadao’s The Rough Guide to Manga
  • Garrity on Jiro Taniguchi’s Summit of the Gods (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
  • Eva Volin on Yuki Midorikawa Natsume’s Book of Friends (Viz)
  • Garrity on Atsushi Ohkubo’s Soul Eater (Yen Press)
  • Butcher on Hinako Takanaga’s Little Butterfly (DMP)
  • That should help you while away a Friday.