MICHELLE: There’s a lot of good stuff coming out this week, but since I only get to do this once a year… my pick of the week goes to volume 21 of Kaze Hikaru. Even though this particular volume disappoints me just a little (see today’s briefs column!) the series still ranks among my favorites.
ANNA: If someone else hadn’t picked Kaze Hikaru, I would have gone with that! So I will pick the first volume of Happy Marriage?! because I am always ready to celebrate new josei titles.
SEAN: It’s gotta be Kitaro for me. Ever since I first saw an anime adaptation at Otakon in 1999, I’ve been fascinated by this series. Kitaro, the mostly stoic boy hero; his father, who is an eyeball with legs; his not-quite-girlfriend Neko Musume, and most importantly, Nezumi Otoko, the worst friend ever. Creepy yokai galore. It’s gonna be great.
MJ: This is a tough week, for sure. I do like to applaud endings, so it’s difficult to pass on the final volume of Bakuman, especially now that I’ve begun to care about its primary romance, and I’m interested in all the titles listed here, as well as the second omnibus edition of Lone Wolf and Cub. But I’ll give my vote to volume four of Tsutomu Nihei’s Knights of Sidonia, out this week from Vertical. It’s got everything I could want in a mecha series, which is to say, everything I could want in any series—action, complicated characterization, heartbreak, and truly stunning artwork. I’m all in for Knights of Sidonia.
What looks good to you this week?
Aaron saysAugust 5, 2013 at 9:29 am
Going with the second Kanokon omnibus
AshLynx saysAugust 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm
I’ve only gotten two volumes into Kaze Hikaru (mostly since I needed to make sure that I did indeed want to buy the rest at Otakon) but can already see why people enjoy this series! I do indeed plan to get the rest! I’m finally starting to get used to the extra dictionary I need to read these sorts of Japanese historical series in this case.
Michelle Smith saysAugust 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm
Yeah, as I was reading volume 21, it occurred to me that the translation/adaptation team is probably grateful for the year between releases, since there’s so involved in translating it. Even France, who seems to have so much manga that we can’t get here (sniff), doesn’t have Kaze Hikaru, and it might be due to its complexities.
AshLynx saysAugust 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm
But it can’t possibly be as much work as Ooku is, with its Fakespeare. The difference here is that Ooku only gets a volume like once every 8 months in Japan and we caught up a while ago, they have an excuse for why they can’t rush ahead and they only release one volume a year now. But Kaze Hikaru has like 33 volumes out, but we’re only up to 21. I was looking at release dates on the first few volumes, seems they did twice a year for a while (probably because it was running in Shojo Beat at the time), but it averages out to that some years, they must’ve done three volumes. Maybe if it ends, they’ll speed up releases, like what happened with Kekkaishi. For a while, they were doing 3 a year, then it ended in Japan, and they jumped up to 6 a year. No idea how close Kaze Hikaru is to ending in Japan though.
AshLynx saysAugust 5, 2013 at 3:51 pm
Also, I might’ve just spoiled something for myself by looking up Okita Soji on Wikipedia (once I found out he was a real person that is, I’m none too familiar with the Shinsengumi). Depends on how closely the story stays to history (for example, I am watching Rose of Versailles right now and do not expect it to end well for Marie Antoinette)
lys saysAugust 7, 2013 at 9:53 am
Oops! Yeah, I did that pretty early on too (it’s just too hard not to, once you realize the historical basis). But now you’re prepared and can enjoy the 30+ volumes leading up to the eventual conclusion… I figure it’s okay to have a rough idea of what’s going to happen, since Japanese readers would be expected to have some amount of familiarity with the Shinsengumi/Japanese history. And whatever happens, I trust Taeko Watanabe to make it entirely satisfying.
AshLynx saysAugust 8, 2013 at 1:37 pm
I did accomplish my 3 volumes before Otakon goal, just to make sure I did indeed want more, and I do! I actually bled a little into the fourth volume because that quick conversation at the end of 3 with Okita and Hijikata clearly demanded it. It was then that I realized “wouldn’t this story have normally been adapted for a seinen?” Yes. The answer is clearly, yes. Much like Rose of Versailles though, I do like the idea of inserting your own character into history. Sure, the plot is kinda already laid out (ie the French Revolution happens), but I feel like it lets the creator be more free in telling it and making the historical characters their own by having them interact with their new character.
Unless those people are making animated Titanic movies in which everyone is saved by magic dolphins in the end or a rapping dog appears (sadly, I am talking about two different animated Titanic movies here, apparently the rapping dog and claiming there were plenty of life boats for everyone wasn’t insulting enough, so someone else decided to make one where dolphins save everyone and there’s anti-whaling messages thrown in only slightly better than Birdemic’s global warming messages), so actually following history is another key ingredient (or at least not outright insulting the ever loving hell out of it)
Michelle Smith saysAugust 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm
Yay, I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. Wait ’til you get to volume eleven.