The Seinen Alphabet: V

December 29, 2010

“V” is for… well, not very much, when you make a conscious choice to ignore “Vampire” and “Virgin,” but that’s just how I roll.

Vagabond (Viz), written and illustrated by Takehiko Inoue. This is one of those Japanese comics that’s highly regarded both by manga devotees and by comics omnivores, though I think that’s generally true of all of Inoue’s work. Vagabond, which is still running in Kodansha’s Morning, though I believe it’s on hiautus, tells the tale of the “quintessential warrior-philosopher.”

Mizu Sahara adapted a one-volume manga of Makoto Shinkai’s animated film, The Voices of a Distant Star. The manga was originally published in Kodansha’s Afternoon, and it was later published in English by Tokyopop.

Lots of people would love for someone to publish Makoto (Planetes) Yukimura’s Vinland Saga, myself included. This sprawling tale of Vikings is still running in Kodansha’s Afternoon.

“V” is also for Viz, obviously, still barreling along as North America’s major manga publisher. It’s jointly owned by Shogakukan and Shueisha, and Viz makes a great deal of seinen manga available for free online in the form of its SigIKKI initiative.

And nobody should ever overlook Vertical, which initially made its manga name by focusing on classic works by Osamu Tezuka and Keiko Takemiya, but has recently begun publishing more contemporary (but still excellent) works, in addition to its prose fiction and non-fiction catalog.


On Twitter, Scott Green reminded me of Voyeurs, Inc. (Viz), written and illustrated by Hideo Yamamoto. It follows the misadventures of a group of surveillance experts. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Young Sunday.

The Seinen Alphabet: U

December 22, 2010

“U” is for…

Let’s just get it out of the way: Ultra Gash Inferno, Suehiro Mauro’s legendarily disgusting collection of erotic grotesque tales that was published in English about a decade ago by Creation Books.

Junji Ito’s Uzumaki (Viz) is also kind of disgusting from time to time, but it’s much more conventional horror, though beautifully drawn and very creative at points.

I’ve never read Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy (Viz), by Yoshinori Nakai and Takashi Shimada under the pen name Yudetamago, though Viz has made it through 27 of the title’s 29 volumes and that it was originally serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Playboy, which is an awesome name for a manga magazine.

Shueisha also publishes Ultra Jump, a monthly seinen magazine that’s been home to licensed series like Dogs (Viz) and Hayate x Blade (Seven Seas).

On the unlicensed front, I’m not finding a lot that really grabs my attention. Sensha Yoshida’s Utsurun Desu sounds kind of interesting, offering apparently abstract gag manga (which might not translate at all). It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits.

There are also some very fine creators in this letter, starting with the adorable, possibly insane Kazuo Umezu. Cat-Eyed Boy (Viz) is one of his seinen works that’s been published in English, and The Drifting Classroom (Viz), while shônen, was packaged like seinen, probably for its insanely high body count. Nobody loves Umezu as much or as well as Same Hat!

You thought I’d start with Naoki Urasawa, didn’t you? He’s great and all, but he didn’t make The Drifting Classroom, so he’s automatically second. Sorry. He has created a lot of excellent manga that’s been or is being published by Viz, like Monster, Pluto, and 20th Century Boys.

Yuki Urushibara only has one series available in English, but it’s an awesome one, Mushishi (Del Rey). I would love to read more of her work.

Tochi Ueyama is one of those manga-ka I’ve never heard of before putting together one of these entries, but he’s creator of the 100-plus volume Cooking Papa, which has run in Kodansha’s Morning since 1984. It’s a cooking manga, as the title strongly suggests, so I want it, in spite of the fact that it’s ridiculously long.

The Seinen Alphabet: T

December 15, 2010

“T” is for…

Well, first and foremost, it’s for some amazing creators.

Many would argue that there wouldn’t be much of a manga alphabet of any sort without the efforts of Osamu Tezuka. Instead of trying and failing to capture his scope, I’ll just point you to his official site and to the invaluable resource, Tezuka in English. Oh, and I’ll note that the excellent Kate (The Manga Critic) Dacey has begun “Tezuka Appreciation Week.”

Tezuka actually appears in the autobiography of Yoshihiro Tatsumi, A Drifting Life (Drawn & Quarterly). Tezuka was initially an inspiration for Tatsumi and later a sort of rival as Tatsumi tried to invest comics with mature themes as he led the development of gekiga. Drawn & Quarterly has made a number of his comics available in English, the most recent example being Black Blizzard.

A great deal of manga published by the gifted, meticulous draftsman Jiro Taniguchi has been made available in English thanks to publishers like Viz (Benkei in New York, Hotel Harbour View) and particularly Fanfare/Ponent Mon, which has published The Walking Man, A Distant Neighborhood, The Ice Wanderer and Other Stories, Summit of the Gods, and…

The Times of Botchan, written by Natsuo Sekikawa and based in part on the life of Soseki Natsume, premiere novelist of the Meiji Era.

Akira Toriyama, best known for shônen hits like Dragon Ball (Viz), has also dabbled in seinen with works like Jiya, serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump.

Kei Toume is probably best known to English-reading audiences for her Lament of the Lamb (Tokyopop), which originally ran in Gentosha’s Comic Birz. Other seinen works include Kurogane (Del Rey), Momonchi (Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits Special), and her current series, Mahoromi – Jikuu Kenchiku Genshitan (Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits).

I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Kan Takahama, even if that’s only her collection of short stories, Kinderbook, and a contribution to Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators, both from Fanfare/Ponent Mon.

In addition to being the creator of much-loved shônen fantasy-adventures, Rumiko Takahashi also creates sophisticated seinen comedy like Maison Ikkoku and unique pieces like One-Pound Gospel. Viz also published some outstanding collections of her short stories, Rumic World Trilogy and Rumic Theater, both of which are unfortunately out of print.

There are probably very few mangaka quite like Yoshiharu Tsuge, who was profiled in The Comics Journal Special Edition 2005. Tsuge’s Screw Style was published in The Comics Journal #250.

Moving on from creators, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Tokyopop, one of the foremost English-language publishers of comics from Japan. They’ve published loads of seinen in their day.

Like Tokyopop, French publisher Tonkam has released a ton of seinen over the years.

While less known for manga, Top Shelf did make quite the splash with last year’s collection of alternative manga, AX, and a solicitation for a follow-up has been uncovered.

Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (Last Gasp), written and illustrated by Fumiyo Kouno, is one of the finest manga ever to be published in English. It originally ran in Futubasha’s Weekly Manga Action.

Tokyo Zombie (Last Gasp), written and illustrated by Yusaku Hanakuma, is not one of the finest manga ever to be published in English, but it’s stupid in a fun way and an interesting specimen of the “Bad, but Good” school of manga. It originally ran in Seirinkogeisha’s AX.

Tenjo Tenge (CMX), written and illustrated by Oh! Great, is notorious enough that I really don’t need to go into any detail, do I? It’s been rescued from limbo by Viz. It originally ran in Shueisha’s Ultra Jump.

Translucent (Dark Horse), written and illustrated by Kazuhiro Okamoto, is a lovely tale of a young woman with a disease that makes her disappear from time to time. It’s on hiatus, but many of us hope to get more volumes of the series. It originally ran in Media Factory’s Comic Flapper.

Comic Flapper is also home to Twin Spica (Vertical), written and illustrated by Kou Yaginuma. It’s a lovely look at trainee astronauts and easily one of the best new releases of 2010.

Tekkon Kinkreet: Black and White (Viz), written and illustrated by Taiyo Matsumoto, is an amazing comic that follows the tragic-absurd adventures of two homeless kids who function as superheroes in a crumbling urban landscape. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits.

Big Comic Spirits was also home to 20th Century Boys (Viz), written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa. This may be my favorite Urasawa title, which is saying something.

I know I left some licensed, translated titles off of this list, but surely I hit the high points, right? I’ll be equally cherry-picky with the unlicensed ones, because this is getting ridiculously long.

You know how you always hear how there’s this tonnage of manga about mahjohng? Well, one of those titles is Ten, written and illustrated by Nobuyuki Fukumoto. It’s about a great player who helps out his friends by subbing for them in important matches, then letting the people he defeated beat him up to help vent their disappointment. It ran in Takeshobo’s Kindai Maajan Gold for about 13 years and was collected in 18 volumes.

I’m always interested in seeing more examples of romance comics targeted at adult men, and Fumi Saimon’s Tokyo Love Story sounds like a good example. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits.

And while it’s probably completely unmarketable in North America, I think I would possibly kill for someone to publish Tetsuko no Tabi, written by Hirohiko Yokomi and illustrated by Naoe Kikuchi. It’s “based upon the real life hobby of Hirohiko Yokomi, a travel writer in Japan who has visited every train station in Japan over the past 15 or so years.” It ran in Shogakukan’s IKKI and was collected in six volumes.

What starts with “T” in your seinen alphabet?

The Seinen Alphabet: S

December 8, 2010

Deep breaths, everyone.

“S” is for…

Shogakukan and Shueisha, publishers of a great deal of seinen (among other kinds of manga and all kinds of books in general) who also co-own Viz Media.

Signature, Viz Media’s high-end imprint, which is where a great deal of the publisher’s seinen output can be found. You can read a lot of it at the SigIKKI site, which allows you to read titles from Shogakukan’s IKKI magazine. (When will we get a site that focuses on one of Shueisha’s seinen magazines? Does Shueisha have an IKKI equivalent?)

Among those SigIKKI titles is Saturn Apartments, written and illustrated by Hisae Iwaoka. It’s about the people who wash the windows of an orbital residential complex, and it’s one of the best new series of the year.

Kumiko Suekane contributes another SigIKKI title, Afterschool Charisma, which is kind of dumb but fun. It’s about clones of famous historical figures who all go to the same boarding school.

Sexy Voice and Robo (Viz), written and illustrated by Iou Kuroda, and one of my favorite manga. It was the topic of the very first Manga Moveable Feast. It originally ran in IKKI.

Short Cuts (Viz), written and illustrated by Usumaru Furuya. It’s Furuya’s take on the cultural obsession with schoolgirls. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Weekly Young Sunday.

Short Program (Viz), written and illustrated by Mitsuru Adachi, isn’t all seinen, but a lot of it is, and Adachi’s Cross Game is so brilliant that I had to mention it, even though Viz only published two of the title’s four volumes, and that was a decade ago. Here’s a breakdown of the stories and their sources.

solanin (Viz), written and illustrated by Inio Asano, which offers a memorable take on aimless twenty-somethings. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Weekly Young Sunday.

I’ll readily confess that I don’t know anything about Saikano (Viz), written and illustrated by Shin Takahashi, except that it was originally serialized in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits and that it involves characters who have “been engineered by the Japanese Self Defense Force to transform into the Ultimate Weapon!” Please feel free to speak to its many virtues, if you are qualified and inclined to do so.

Finishing up on the Viz front, how tragic is it that Secret Comics Japan is out of print? It’s a collection of edgy, alternative manga that is a bookshelf highlight for me.

Drawn & Quarterly published Imiri Sakabashira’s fever dream of a graphic novel, The Box Man, which was originally published by SeirinKogeisha, who also published seminal manga magazines Garo and AX. Sakabashira’s work was also included in AX, the collection from Top Shelf.

Drawn & Quarterly also plans to publish Oji Suzuki’s A Single Match next year. It originally ran in Garo.

Summit of the Gods (Fanfare/Ponent Mon), a great tale of mountain climbers written and illustrated by Jiro Taniguchi. It originally ran in Shueisha’s Business Jump.

Taniguchi created the one-volume Samurai Legend (Central Park Media) with Kan Furuyama. It originally ran in Akita Shoten’s Young Champion.

For seriously seinen-y manga, you could turn to Dark Horse for Samurai Executioner, written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Goseki Koijima. It was originally published by Kodansha.

Or you could turn to Dark Horse for half of Satsuma Gishiden, written and illustrated by Hiroshi Hirata. The six-volume series was originally published by Nihon Bungeisha; Dark Horse put the title on hiatus after publishing three volumes. I very much enjoyed the first volume, which I read rather belatedly, and plan to pick up the other two while keeping my fingers crossed that the hiatus will prove to be temporary. Long, but temporary.

Yen Press has a few four-panel titles that start with “S.”

There’s Satoko Kiyuduki’s excellent Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro, which originally ran in Houbunsha’s Manga Time Kiara. Sunshine Sketch, written and illustrated by Ume Aoki, originally ran in Houbunsha’s Manga Time Kiara Carat. And there’s Negi Banno’s S.S. ASTRO: Asashio Sogo Teachers’ ROom, which was also from Manga Time Kiara Carat.

Yen also offers Kazuto Okada’s Sundome, which was memorably discussed in this Manga Out Loud podcast. Sundome was visited upon the world by Akita Shoten’s Young Champion.

I should theoretically do a number entry for this alphabet, but I think I can avoid that without too many omissions. To start, there’s 7 Billion Needles (Vertical), an excellent sci-fi title from Nobuaki Tadano, inspired by Hal Clement’s classic novel, Needle. It originally ran in Media Factory’s Comic Flapper.

Two examples of seinen magazines include…

Shogakukan’s Sunday GX

And Shueisha’s Super Jump.

Because this letter has felt virtually endless, I’ll just go with a small handful of promising-sounding unlicensed titles.

Everyone wants someone to publish Hiraku Nakamura’s Saint Young Men, serialized in Kodansha’s Morning. It has just been picked up for publication in French by Kurokawa.

A Spirit of the Sun, written and illustrated by Kaiji Kawaguchi, originally serialized in Shogakukan’s Big Comic.

What starts with “S” in your seinen alphabet?

Updates: Sound the klaxons! I have made a glaring omission that must be corrected. Fuyumi Soryo may be best known to some for her outstanding shôjo works like Mars (Tokyopop), but she’s also equally admired by fans of seinen titles like ES: Eternal Sabbath (Del Rey) and the yet-to-be-licensed Cesare, a meticulously researched look at the life of a notorious Italian nobleman.

Glaring omission the second! The Strange Tale of Panorama Island, Suehiro Mauro’s adaptation of a work by Edogawa Rampo, is due from Last Gasp in 2011. It was originally serialized in Enterbrain’s Comic Beam.

And glaring omission the third! Felipe Smith is living the dream, having started his career as a manga-ka with MBQ at Tokyopop, moving on to the three-volume Peepo Choo, serialized in Kodansha’s Morning Two and published in English by Vertical.

The Seinen Alphabet: R

November 24, 2010

“R” is for…

Real (Viz), written and illustrated by Takehiko Inoue. Why not start with this best? This gorgeous, moving tale of wheelchair basketball players is one of the very best Japanese comics being published in English. It’s running in Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump.

Red Colored Elegy (Drawn & Quarterly), written and illustrated by Seiichi Hayashi. This gekiga title originally ran in the legendary Garo magazine and follows aimless youths as they try and navigate social turmoil and new sexual freedoms. It’s one of those books that I’m glad are available in English without really having any fondness for them.

Red Snow (Drawn & Quarterly), written and illustrated by Susumu Katsumata. This gorgeous collection of short gekiga stories takes a bleak, magical-realist look at rural life. I believe many of them ran in Garo.

Reiko the Zombie Shop (Dark Horse), written and illustrated by Rei Mikamoto. This 11-volume series about a nubile necromancer for hire hasn’t been published in English in its entirety. It originally ran in Bukansha’s Horror M. Correction: Reiko is actually a josei title. Someone remind me when I get to “R” in The Josei Alphabet in some misty, far-flung future era.

R.O.D.: Read or Die (Viz), created by Shutaro Yamada based on the light-novel series by Hideyuki Kurata. It’s about the agents of the British Library’s Special Operations Division. It originally ran in Shueisha’s Ultra Jump. The anime adaptation is gorgeous. Even my husband likes it. I love that there are comics about action librarians, but I generally wish I liked them better.

R.O.D.: Read or Dream (Viz), written by Kurata and illustrated by Ran Ayanaga. It’s a prequel related story to Read or Die about the Paper Sisters Detective Company, and it also ran in Ultra Jump.

Robot is a Range Murata-curated anthology of experimental color comics, originally published by Digital Manga Publishing, then picked up by Udon. Update: Udon stopped publishing the series after the fifth issue, apparently.

Remote (Tokyopop), written by Seimaru Amagi and illustrated by Tetsuya Koshiba. It’s about a new detective in the Unsolved Crimes Division, Special Unit B, and originally ran in Kodansha’s Young Magazine.

On the unlicensed front, I’m most interested in Rideback, written and illustrated by Tetsuro Kasahara. My interest comes mostly from the fact that it was originally published in Shogakukan’s IKKI, which has generated a lot of interesting manga.

Rainbow: Risha Nokubo no Shichinin, written by George Abe and illustrated by Masasumi Kakizaki, also sounds promising as it won a Shogakukan Manga Award. This period tale of reform school boys spent most of its run in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits.

I’m perfectly aware that there are other titles that start with this letter that have been licensed and published in English, but looking at their covers makes me tired. Feel free to mention them in the comments.

What starts with “R” in your seinen alphabet?

The Seinen Alphabet: Q

November 17, 2010

“Q” is for…

The Quest for the Missing Girl (Fanfare/Ponent Mon), written and illustrated by Jiro Taniguchi. It’s great to see Taniguchi fuse two of his frequent interests – burly outdoorsman activity and gritty detective pulp. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Big Comic.

Q-Ko-Chan: Earth Invader Girl (Del Rey), written and illustrated by Hajime Ueda. It looks great, but it’s almost completely incomprehensible to me. It’s a sort of meta-mecha thing that originally ran in Kodansha’s Magazine Z.

Qwan (Tokyopop), written and illustrated by Aki Shimizu. This fantasy series ran in Media Factory’s Comic Flapper.

I’m not quite sure if La Quinta Camera, written and illustrated by Natsume Ono, counts as seinen. It ran in Penguin Shoubou’s Comic SEED!, which seemed to straddle the shônen/seinen border. But I’ve seen Quinta most often referred to as seinen, and I like mentioning it, so there you go. Danielle Leigh was telling me that all of the characters are gay, so this will be like stealth yaoi from Viz.

And while it’s kind of a cheat, I’ll mention Q Hayashida in this letter, since I think I forgot her in “H.” She’s the creator of Dorohedoro (Viz).

What starts with “Q” in your seinen alphabet?

The Seinen Alphabet: P

November 10, 2010

“P” is for…

Hitoshi Iwaaki’s Parasyte, originally published by Tokyopop, then published again by Del Rey, because it’s just that good. It’s about a teen whose hand is taken over by a creature that would normally take over the kid’s whole body by replacing his head. Other members of the creature’s invading species are not amused. It originally ran in Kodansha’s Afternoon.

For some classic, high-end ninja action, there’s Path of the Assassin (Dark Horse), written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Goseki Kojima. The 15-volume series was originally published by Kodansha.

Felipe Smith’s Peepo Choo (Vertical), which offers brutal satire of cross-cultural misconceptions and fetishes. Smith started his career with MBQ for Tokyopop, then hit the big time by creating Peepo Choo for Kodansha’s Morning 2.

Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto (Viz), which re-imagines a classic tale from Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy (Dark Horse) in an introspective, adult way, which kind of makes it Japan’s answer to Watchmen (Vertigo), I guess. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Original.

Speaking of Urasawa, I think Pineapple Army, written by Kazuya Kudo, was one of his first works. It originally ran in Big Comic Original.

Makoto Yukimura’s Planetes (Tokyopop), a generally magnificent look at the people who keep Earth’s orbit safe by picking up trash. I’m not going to claim that this book is perfect, but it really is one of my favorite science-fiction series. It originally ran in Kodansha’s Morning.

Did Media Blasters ever publish all of Pilgrim Jäger? I don’t think so. It’s a six-volume series, written by Tō Ubukata and illustrated by Mami Itō, originally serialized in Shōnen Gahousha’s Young King Ours.

I’m guessing on this one, or at least relying on possible questionable sources, but I think Hideji Oda’s A Patch of Dreams (Fanfare/Ponent Mon) originally ran in Kodansha’s Afternoon. But even if it isn’t seinen, it’s an attractive and interesting book.

It’s technically gekiga, and I’ve never really heard anyone say outright that gekiga is a subset of seinen, but I’d feel remiss if I didn’t include The Push Man and Other Stories, an amazingly bleak collection of the work of Yoshihiro Tatsumi from Drawn & Quarterly.

I’ve liked everything I’ve read that was created by Taiyo Matsumoto, so I see no reason why I wouldn’t also enjoy Ping Pong, which originally ran in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits Special.

On the publisher front, the only Japanese one that comes to mind is the defunct Penguin Shoubou.

So what starts with “P” in your seinen alphabet?


A couple of glaring omissions for the week:

The Seinen Alphabet: O

November 3, 2010

“O” is for…

Old Boy (Dark Horse), written by Garon (Astral Project) Tsuchiya and illustrated by Nobuaki Minegishi, won an Eisner Award in 2007. The eight-volume series originally ran in Futubasha’s Weekly Manga Action.

Oh My Goddess!, written and illustrated by Kosuke Fujishima, has been a staple at Dark Horse forever. The 40-plus-volume series is running in Kodansha’s Afternoon.

Dark Horse is releasing two seinen series written by Eiji Otsuka, The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service and MPD Psycho.

Ohikkoshi (Dark Horse) collects an interesting mix of shorts stories written and illustrated by Hiroaki (Blade of the Immortal) Samura. The stories originally ran in Afternoon.

Sensible people all wish Viz had released more of Oishinbo, written by Tetsu Kariya and illustrated by Akira Hanasaki and still running in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits. It’s a sprawling look at food culture through the eyes of rival father-and-son gourmands.

Viz did publish all four volumes of Rumiko Takahashi’s One-Pound Gospel, originally published in Shogakukan’s Weekly Young Sunday. It’s about a boxer and a nun.

Viz has also published some of Natsume Ono’s seinen works, not simple and House of Five Leaves. Some yet-to-be licensed works include COPPERS, Danza, and Tsuratura Waraji from Kodansha, La Quinta Camera from Penguin Shobou, and Tesoro and Ometura from Shogakukan.

Yen Press has done the manga world a great service by picking up the license for Kaoru (Emma) Mori’s Otoyomegatari, originally published in Enterbrain’s Fellows!, though I’m not sure about its release date here.

Fanfare/Ponent Mon has published Hideji Oda’s A Patch of Dreams and included Oda’s work in Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators.

And while it’s not my favorite of his crazy seinen titles, I am very fond of Osamu Tezuka’s Ode to Kirihito (Vertical), about a doctor whose career is threatened by a mysterious disease and the schemes of the medical establishment. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Big Comic.

What starts with “O” in your seinen alphabet, particularly on the unlicensed front?


Scott Green reminds me of Toru Yamazaki’s Octopus Girl (Dark Horse). I thought it was shônen for some reason.

The Seinen Alphabet: “N”

October 27, 2010

“N” is for…

Neko Ramen (Tokyopop), written and illustrated by Kenji Sonishi, is a gag manga about a cat who works in a noodle shop. It originally ran in Mag Garden’s Comic Blade.

Viz released five two of eight volumes of Taiyo Matsumoto’s No. 5, which was widely reported to be one of the publisher’s worst-selling titles of all time. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s IKKI.

NOiSE (Tokyopop), written and illustrated by Tsutomi Nihei, is a prequel to that creator’s Blame! (also published by Tokyopop). Both NOiSE and Blame! ran in Kodansha’s Afternoon. Nihei is also the creator of Biomega (Viz).

Natsume Ono’s not simple (Viz) originally ran in Penguin Shobou’s Comic Seed!, then ran again in Shogakukan’s IKKI. It received some of the most vigorously mixed reviews I’ve ever seen for a title, which made for very interesting blog reading.

While Neon Genesis Evangelion (Viz), written and illustrated by Yoshiyuki Sadamato, originally ran in a shônen magazine, it’s been calling Kadakowa Shoten’s seinen magazine Young Ace home for the past couple of years.

Maybe the best-known manga-ka from this corner of the seinen alphabet is Go Nagai, who has had a very prolific career that includes a number of seinen titles.

Of all of the yet-to-be-translated titles that start with the letter “N,” I’m most eager to see someone publish Iou Kuroda’s Nasu, which originally ran in Kodansha’s Afternoon.

And while it seems rather unlikely that anyone is going to publish a 36-volume series about sumo wrestling, it’s nice to imagine a world where such a fate might be possible for Tetsuya Chiba’s Notari Matsutaro, originally published in Shogakukan’s Big Comic.

Who or what starts with “N” in your seinen alphabet? Fill in my gaps, please!

The Seinen Alphabet: M

October 20, 2010

“M” is for…

Well, it’s for lots of stuff, so I won’t even try and be comprehensive. I’ll just hit the highlights.

Technically, this could fall under “N,” as Viz insists on putting “Naoki Urasawa” in front of all of that creator’s titles, but I’ll just stick with plain-old Monster in this case. It’s about a brilliant surgeon who unknowingly saves the life of a deranged killer. Oops!

On a much lighter front, we have Rumiko Takahashi’s Maison Ikkoku (Viz). It follows the start-and-stop romance of a somewhat aimless young man and his widowed landlady. They also have crazy neighbors who are pretty funny.

On an arguably much more horrible front, we have the often fervently disliked Maria Holic (Tokyopop), written and illustrated by Minari Endou and originally serialized in Media Factory’s Monthly Comic Alive. It’s not all wrongly accused neurosurgeons and romantic comedy, kids.

On an interesting but commercially shaky front, we have Me and the Devil Blues: The Unreal Life of Robert Johnson (Del Rey), written and illustrated by Akira Hiramoto, who added some supernatural elements to the life of the legendary blues musician.

Sticking with Del Rey, we have Yuki Urushibara’s excellent Mushishi, which was the topic of a Manga Moveable Feast.

Also from Del Rey and also focused on the microscopic is Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture, written and illustrated by Masayuki Ishikawa, which is in limbo since the Kodansha shake-up.

Viz just launched March Story, written by Hyung Min Kim and illustrated by Kyung-il Yang, and originally published in Shogakukan’s Sunday GX magazine.

One could theoretically do the Tezuka Alphabet, you know? In the seinen category, one of my favorites of his works is the deeply crazy MW (Vertical).

On the creator front, we’d certainly have to start with Taiyo Matsumoto, known best here for his brilliant Tekkonkinkreet and GoGo Monster and perhaps less so for his out-of-print Blue Spring and No. 5, all from Viz.

Viz has also published Motoro Mase’s Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit.

Lots of people have loved the work of Kaoru Mori, including Emma and Shirley from DC’s lamented CMX imprint. But we can look forward to her Otoyomegatari from Yen Press.

Minetaro Mochizuki’s Dragon Head (Tokyopop) enjoyed critical if not commercial success when it was published here.

Few creators are capable of the kind of tightly-controlled crazy delivered regularly by the brilliant Junko Mizuno, most recently of Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu (Last Gasp) fame.

Some of my favorite comics have come from Kodansha’s Morning magazines.

And way back in the day, Tokyopop published a little magazine known originally as MixxZine, which featured seinen titles like Parasyte and Ice Blade.

I wouldn’t even know where to begin with the unlicensed seinen titles that start with “M,” so please feel free to contribute your suggestions in the comments. And of course, I’m curious as to anything that starts with “M” in your seinen alphabet!


I don’t know how I forgot MPD Psycho (Dark Horse), written by Eiji Otsuka and illustrated by Sho-u Tajima. It could be that the series is a little gross for my taste and I prefer Otsuka’s Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, which he creates with Housui Yamazaki, who created Mail, also from Dark Horse. I like Mail a lot, but I left it off this list because I thought it was originally published in a shônen magazine (Kadokawa’s Shônen Ace). Can I have a ruling?