One Piece MMF: Day Seven Links

December 5, 2010

Johanna (Manga Worth Reading) Draper Carlson has it right: while yesterday was the last “official” day of the One Piece Manga Moveable Feast, I’m absolutely open to “appendix” round-ups if people didn’t quite get their pieces in by the wire. Now, on to the updates:

The Cat Demon Spirits ask, “Can One Piece be taken seriously?”

Sam (A Life in Panels) Kusek inexplicably passes on the opportunity to draw Sanji in a ridiculous lavender bikini.

ABCBTom crafts a pitch for new readers by practicing on the ABCBTom of days gone by.

Anna (Manga Report) considers the obstacles to entry through the prism of the first two volumes. Anna will be hosting the next Manga Moveable Feast, and she’ll release more details on that soon.

David (4thletter!) Brothers rounds up some of his reactions to the series, born of long experience with One Piece.

And I cobble together a gift guide featuring comics for boys that people who like One Piece might enjoy.

MMF: The Great Shônen Manga Gift Guide for 2010

December 4, 2010

Daniella (All About Manga) Orihuela-Gruber is picking up the baton of the Great Manga Gift Guide, and I thought I’d take the opportunity of the One Piece Manga Moveable Feast to offer a shônen-flavored version that takes One Piece’s tone and content and creator Eiichiro Oda’s career arc into account. Now, many shônen series are great, but they’re just plain long, so it’s with some reluctance that I would suggest them as a gift when, if the gift is received well, it would require the recipient to spend a ton of money completing a series. That’s very “first hit’s free,” don’t you think? But sometimes that kind of recommendation is unavoidable, and since this list is conceived at least partly with the One Piece admirer in mind, I’m not going to be too rigid about it.

I will be rigid about one thing: use what you know about the recipient to guide your choice of gifts. If you know they like comics, great. If you know you want them to like comics, tread carefully, and pair the comic gift with something you know they actually like. Holidays are always creepy when they’re tinged with evangelism, I think.

It’s widely known that Oda took great inspiration from Akira Toriyama, so it seems reasonable to recommend Toriyama’s Dragon Ball, which is available in bulky, gift-worthy VizBig editions. It offers “a wry update on the Chinese ‘Monkey King’ myth, introduces us to Son Goku, a young monkey-tailed boy whose quiet life is turned upside-down when he meets Bulma, a girl determined to collect the seven ‘Dragon Balls.’ If she gathers them all, an incredibly powerful dragon will appear and grant her one wish. But the precious orbs are scattered all over the world, and to get them she needs the help of a certain super-strong boy…” Less adventure and more jokes can be found in Toriyama’s Dr. Slump (Viz). Toriyama and Oda have collaborated on a Dragon Ball/One Piece crossover called Cross Epoch.

Oda began his career as an assistant to Nobuhiro Watsuki, who was working on Rurouni Kenshin (Viz) at the time. Viz declares, “Packed with action, romance and historical intrigue, Rurouni Kenshin is one of the most beloved and popular manga series worldwide. Set against the backdrop of the Meiji Restoration, it tells the saga of Himura Kenshin, once an assassin of ferocious power, now a humble rurouni, a wandering swordsman fighting to protect the honor of those in need.” It’s also available in VizBig format.

Another of Watsuki’s assistants at the time was Hiroyuki (Shaman King) Takei, who’s currently at work on Ultimo (Viz) with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee. I found the first volume of Ultimo unsatisfyingly creepy, but Erica (Okazu) Friedman liked it when she reviewed it for About.Com, finding that the series “provides a solid reading experience with characters you want to know more about, in a situation you want to see resolved well.”

If you liked the whole “travel by water” notion and were particularly taken with the aesthetic of Water Seven, I would strongly suggest you take a look at Kozue Amano’s Aria (Tokyopop), which follows gondoliers on Mars. It’s the absolute tonal opposite of One Piece, but manga fans cannot live on crazy hyperactivity alone, and Aria and its prequel, Aqua, are really beautiful.

If the goofy humor and occasional satirical bent of One Piece are to your liking and you’d like a slightly more mature (sometimes just coarser) take on them, I’d recommend Hideaki Sorachi’s Gin Tama (Viz). It’s about a swordsman-for-hire living in a world that’s been handed over to greedy, corrupt aliens. Like One Piece, it veers from flat-out goofy to surprisingly serious, and Sorachi does some entertaining world building.

If you like Oda’s distinct, detail-packed artwork, give Yuji Iwahara’s Cat Paradise (Yen Press) a look. It’s your basic Hellmouth story – plucky young people must fend off demon invasion while keeping up with Algebra – with the bonus of helpful, heroic felines. It’s not Iwahara’s best work, but his pages are always easy on the eye.

And now we start with shônen I’d recommend under any circumstances, first being Osamu Tezuka’s three-volume Dororo (Vertical). It’s disappointingly short, as Tezuka abandoned it much earlier than he had intended, but it’s creepy, funny, sad and wonderful. The lead character’s father sold his son to demons, part by part, and the kid has to kill all of the demons to get his body back. He hooks up with a young thief along the way.

Far and away the best new shônen I read this year and one of the best sports manga I’ve ever read is Mitsuru Adachi’s Cross Game (Viz), which I reviewed here. Beyond being really good in every way, it’s a big, fat package that makes it very gift-worthy.

What if you just like stories about pirates? Well, you can’t go wrong with Ted Naifeh’s Polly and the Pirates (Oni). A proper schoolgirl is shocked to discover that she’s got a pirate-queen legacy to live up to in this completely charming, hilarious comic.

Chris Schweizer’s Crogan’s Vengeance (Oni) takes a more scholarly approach to how pirates actually plied their trade, but it doesn’t downplay the adventure in the process. It’s a smart romp, which I reviewed here.

One Piece MMF: Day Six Links

December 4, 2010

I inexcusably missed this one yesterday, but Anna of Manga Report looks at some of Luffy’s brothers in comic-book stretchiness.

Ogiue Maniax explores “The ‘Limits’ of One Piece,” few though they may be.

Sam (A Life in Panels) Kusek asserts that you would like Zolo when he’s angry.

Eeeper’s Choice enters the world of One Piece via Arlong Park and is game for a return visit.

Jason (Playback.StL) Green sees the potential in “Romance Dawn.”

MikeyDPirate (One Piece at a Time) wonders how best to swell the ranks of One Piece fans.

animemiz discusses Color Walks at Anime Diet.

You thought Water Seven was sad? Take a look at Enies Lobby, ABCBTom says.

And I wonder why someone (Viz) hasn’t published Oa’s WANTED! Answer: there is no good reason, so get on that.

One Piece MMF: Day Five Links

December 3, 2010

ABCBTom reaches the roiling surf of Water 7, but cheers up with an appreciation of Nico Robin.

David (4thletter!) Brothers launches a look at the sprawling Baroque Works saga.

Kate (The Manga Critic) Dacey gives us “3 Reasons to Read One Piece.”

Lori (Manga Xanadu) Henderson considers the anime adaptation at her blog and rounds up chatter at Manga Village.

Alexander (Manga Widget) Hoffman asks, “Why Start Now?” then answers.

Sam (A Life in Panels) Kusek thinks Nami looks great in orange.

Ed (Manga Worth Reading, Manga Out Loud) Sizemore explores the appeal of the series in comparison to another much-loved comic creation.

And I’m up to my usual shenanigans.

One Piece MMF: Day Four Links

December 2, 2010

It’s not related to the Manga Moveable Feast, but I wanted to point to this One Piece sales milestone reported at Anime News Network.

Evan (Ani-Gamers) Minto jumps into the fray with “MMF: One Piece – A Love Story in Two Acts.”

ABCBTom heads up in the air for “Skypiea and 4th Generation Warfare… in the Sky!”

Sam (A Life in Panels) Kusek enlists Franky and Brook in the Lantern Corps, but which part of the spectrum will they represent?

And I take a goofy, alphabetical approach to the series.

One Piece MMF: Day Three Links

December 1, 2010

Lori (Manga Xanadu) Henderson looks at One Piece from both directions, reviewing the first four volumes at her home blog and looking at a part of a more recent story arc at Comics Village.

Ash (Experiments in Manga) Brown reviews the first volume, “Romance Dawn,” and concludes that “it would be worth pursuing some of the later books to see if it can capture my interest.”

ABCBTom continues to examine the “Baroque Works” arc, specifically “Vivi vs. Crocodile.”

If Nico Robin could be any kind of lantern, what kind of lantern would she be? Sam (A Life in Panels) Kusek has a theory and a sketch.

The Reverse Thieves mark the MMF again by re-posting their very entertaining podcast on the series.

And Daniella (All About Manga) Orihuela-Gruber discusses the obstacles of logistics, personal preferences other obstacles to entry in “November MMF: I didn’t read One Piece.”

One Piece MMF: Day Two Links

November 30, 2010

The Reverse Thieves argue that, in One Piece, Nakama are Stronger than Justice.

Sam (A Life in Panels) Kusek continues his Straw Hat/Lantern Corps mash-up with a new look for that awesomely compassionate reindeer, Tony Tony Chopper.

ABCBTom gets political with a look at Baroque Works and Collective Action Problems.

The latest of animemiz’s scribblings contemplates matters … of epicness and greatness… Waters 7 to Thriller Bark.

Erica (Okazu) Friedman sidles up to the podium for the catchy number known as MMF: Un, Deux, Trois; the Friend’s Waltz in One Piece.

One Piece MMF: Day One Links

November 29, 2010

ABCBTom upped the game with five parts of “a paper on One Piece for the Graphic Engagement seminar on the politics of comics at Purdue University.” Here they are, with more to come:

  • Why One Piece?
  • What is shounen?
  • The Shounen Formula
  • One Piece‘s Formula
  • East Blue Arc
  • Sean (A Case Suitable for Treatment) Gaffney looked at the stories within the stories, the mini-arcs Oda sometimes creates in the chapter title pages:

  • MMF: One Piece
  • Sam (A Life in Panels) Kusek takes a fusion approach, crossing the streams of Viz and DC:

  • One Piece MMF: Introduction Piece, so you know what I’m up to…
  • In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night (Luffy D. Monkey’s Green Lantern)
  • Rob (Panel Patter) McMonigal learns a universal truth: “If I hadn’t been sold on the series by then, clown pirates hooked me.”

  • One Piece Volume 1
  • And last but not least, Khursten (Otaku Champloo) Santos takes a lovely look at the hurdles and rewards of getting into a 50+ volume series:

  • #10 One Piece by Eiichiro Oda

  • Mangoulême 2011

    November 17, 2010

    It doesn’t feel like there are as many Japanese titles nominated as usual in the various categories for the upcoming Festival International de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême, but it’s always worth a look:

    Sélection Officielle:

  • Pluto, by Naoki Urasawa, inspired by Osamu Tezuka, published by Kana
  • La Chenille, by Suehiro Mauro and Edogawa Rampo, published by Le Lezard Noir
  • Sélection Patrimoine:

  • Sabu & Ichi, by Shotaro Ishinomori, published by Kana
  • La fille du bureau de tabac et autres nouvelles, by Masahiko Matsumoto, published by Cambourakis
  • Ashita no Joe, by Asao Takamori and Tetsuya Chiba, published by Glénat
  • Sélection Jeunesse:

  • Naruto, by Masashi Kishimoto, published by Kana
  • Détective Conan, by Gosho Aoyama, published by Kana
  • (Links courtesy of The Comics Reporter, found via Deb Aoki, who just posted her own Best Manga of 2010 list.)

    Upcoming 11/17/2010

    November 16, 2010

    I read the second volume of Hisae Iwaaka’s Saturn Apartments (Viz) last night, confirming my feeling that this is one of the best new series of the year. (I feel that way about several titles in Viz’s SigIKKI program, but which one of them I like best depends on which one I’ve read most recently.) For those who need a refresher, this is slice-of-life science fiction about the people who wash windows on a satellite habitat orbiting an environmentally devastated Earth.

    Though episodic in a lot of ways, it does follow a single protagonist, Mitsu, who is following in his late father’s footsteps in a perilous, under-appreciated profession. Mitsu spends a significant portion of this volume considering his father’s legacy, or perhaps trying to construct what that legacy might look like. He talks to his father’s co-workers, now his co-workers, about how his father approached his work and, less directly, how he might have felt about it. As a neophyte, he’s also asking about the specifics of a dangerous job he still hasn’t mastered, so there’s an extra layer of intention in the question-and-answer sessions.

    I enjoy series that have a strong grounding in a particular profession, whether that profession is realistic or fanciful. The grubby-fantastic quality that Iwaaka gives to her cast’s working world is very appealing to me, and I like the ways she resists canonizing her characters as salt-of-the-earth types. While she draws them in an innocent, vulnerable style, she writes them with a bit more frankness. The get cranky, hold grudges, drink too much, work too hard, get careless… they behave credibly and recognizably, in other words.

    Other noteworthy items on this week’s ComicList include the 9th volume of Takehiko Inoue’s extraordinarily good Real (Viz). Melinda (Manga Bookshelf) Beasi named it her Pick of the Week, because she has excellent taste that way.

    The other highlight of the week has to be the second collection of Linda Medley’s Castle Waiting (Fantagraphics). The publisher describes the comics as “witty and sublimely drawn fantasy [that] eases into a relaxed comedy of manners,” which is perfectly true. It’s really a treat of a series, one that I bought in pamphlet form and will buy in its collected state, which almost never happens.

    What looks good to you?