Deb Aoki reports on the upcoming launch of JManga.com, an online manga portal sponsored by a group of Japanese publishers, with a transcript of the JManga panel at San Diego Comic-Con and an interview with the publishers behind the project.
The Digital Manga Guild, an experiment in using fans to translate and localize manga, is due to release its first book this week. It's sort of like legalized scanlation, and once it gets rolling, they hope to release 50 to 100 manga a month via Digital's eManga website and other channels. I talked to Digital CEO Hikaru Sasahara, marketing director Yoko Tanigaki, and the localizer of the first book, who goes by Kimiko Kotani, about the launch of their first DMG manga at Publishers Weekly.
And at Manga Xanadu, Lori Henderson protests that Viz's digital manga service treats non-iOS users like second-class citizens.
Have you ever read a scanlation? If so, stop by Otaku Champloo and take Khursten's scanlation survey.
Manga for your ears: The Ninja Consultants have put up a bunch of podcasts in the last week or so, all well worth a listen. Check out their NYCC panel on culinary manga, their discussion of Gantz, and their 50 manga recommendations in 45 minutes panel from Genericon.
David Welsh and Kristin Bomba look over the manga offerings in the August Previews (which will reach comics shops in October). And I highlighted one very special manga: Osamu Tezuka's Princess Knight.
And Sean Gaffney preps us for next Wednesday's new manga.
Read and Discuss
Chiba is a bit of a cipher, because not only does she have these strange impulses to push Nitori into something he seems to desire but is ultimately uncomfortable with, but she also seems incredibly possessed by the notion that her actions are hurtful and sinful. There are multiple portions of the first volume where she seems taken aback when her classmates refuse or aren’t comfortable with her notions of what should happen and shouldn’t, and then she immediately excuses herself from the situations where she doesn’t get her way. About half-way through the book, she starts to feel guilty about what she is doing – but instead of just asking for forgiveness from her friends, she seems to feel the need to obtain higher intervention. She even goes so far as to become a Christian to ask for penance for her sins – for a young girl in Japan’s Shinto/Buddhist dominated culture, this is certainly an odd thing to do, especially since devout Christians are seen more on the fringe than they are in the United States.
Alex Hoffman analyzes the character Chiba, who pushes her friend Nitori to give in to his desire to dress like a girl in the manga Wandering Son.
Why can’t I quit BLEACH despite being disappointed multiple times in the story? Maybe because the series still resonates in my heart, like an ex-girlfriend who I can’t seem to get out of my mind.
Tony Yao meditates on his 10-year love-hate relationship with Bleach at Manga Therapy.
Genshiken has a great sense of its characters, who are a varied bunch. Many of them feel like “types” you would encounter at a fan convention, and their interactions has a feel of the “real” about it. Certainly the creator has spent a great deal of time hanging out with Otaku, and if you’ve done the same, you would probably smile in recognition at some of the scenes. The environments also have a wonderful sense of the clutter that such people would collect in their obsessive hunt for the right “doujinshi”, and the meeting room for the Genshiken folks is rendered in loving detail – possibly from a photo of such a meeting room in real life. The dorm rooms of its members, the shops in Otaku central Akihabara, the mass gathering-place of Otakus on their yearly pilgrimage – these are all drawn with a level of care that underscores how much of this series is grounded in the real (if not exactly reality).
Queenie Chan on why she loves Genshiken.
Also worth a look: At Manga Bookshelf, guest blogger Sara K. discusses the art of a fairly obscure but absolutely lovely manga, Evyione: Ocean Fantasy.
News from Japan
The big news, as noted in this space earlier this week, is that CLAMP is back at work on Legal Drug after an eight-year hiatus.
And last week we noted that vol. 63 of One Piece broke the record for the number of copies printed; this week, it broke the record for the number of copies sold, over 2.1 million in just four days.