I decided to steal an idea from Bully and start a regular Saturday morning cartoon feature. To kick things off, let’s go back a few years and appreciate the gloriousness that is found in the ending credits to FFLCL. I saw this anime some time ago, so it is just a jumbled mess in my head of robots, vespas, aliens, and an inexplicable giant iron. One of the most memorable things about this show was the sound track, provided by The Pillows. I don’t think you can listen to “Ride On Shooting Star” and not feel a little bit happier by the end of the song.
Since I have drunk the iPad kool-aid, I am enjoying reading online comics on it using Comixology. So I was psyched to see that Tokyopop is offering a sample chapter of the next Hetalia chapter on Comixology on Oct 24th. Here’s the link provided for the download.
I wonder if Italy will be waving his surrender flag again. Oh, that wacky Italy!
I threw together a poll about manga on hiatus over on Manga Views and thought the results were interesting. I didn’t include every stalled manga series that I knew of because I was trying to represent a few different publishers. So it was interesting to see from the small section of the mangasphere that voted that the love for Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga remains so strong. I also had no idea how fervently people missed Nodame Cantible. I read the first few volumes of that series but lost steam a little bit. There were some good additions in the comments with votes for some horror and seinen manga, which tend to not be on my radar very much.
I miss many of the series listed on the poll, but I voted for Crown over Swan, just because Crown is so goofy, and I’m determined to just buy the rest of Swan in Japanese sometimes and at least enjoy the pretty pictures even if I can’t really tell what’s going on. Swan is one of those series that is so visual in its storytelling I think I’d enjoy reading it even in the absence of a translation.
Harelequin manga might be a little bit on the disposable side – I don’t know if I’ve read any that I know I’d want to reread but I’m just getting over a cold and there is really no better manga to read while you have a stuffy head. So here are quick takes on two Harlequin manga that have the word Cinderella in their titles. One manga was good, and one was not so good.
Cynthia has worked as the personal secretary to the patriarch of a rich family, Alfred Wingate. She’s engaged to his womanizing grandson Graham, but decides that she has to call the engagement off because Graham is a pathological cheater. Things get complicated when Alfred dies and leaves his mansion to Cynthia, along with the qualification that she can’t give the mansion back to the WIngate family. If she doesn’t take it, it has to go to charity. Graham’s long lost brother Rick shows up for the reading of the will, and promptly decides that Cynthia is a scheming woman who got close to his family in order to grab her share of the Wingate fortune.
The quality of these Harlequin manga can be erratic. Sometimes they are good in a brain candy type of way, but other times they really seem rushed. Some of the transitions between scenes in The Cinderella Inheritance seemed a little jerky and the plot elements were introduced randomly, without a real connection to the character’s emotions or backgrounds. I’m never entirely sure if these execution problems are due to issues with the adaptation or the source material because let’s face it, we’re talking about harlequin romance novels here. Of course, Rick and Cynthia fall in love with each other while she’s jugging the expectations of the Wingates that she marry Graham so the mansion will stay in the family. Of course she’s just a good girl who is working her way for college, and while Rick is initially suspicious he finds himself falling in love with her despite his better judgment. I didn’t find Ito’s character designs very appealing, and the art was static. The characters just seemed like paper dolls put through the paces to satisfy a fairly predictable plot.
This title is skipable, but I enjoyed the other Harlequin Manga with Cinderella in the title much much more.
The Cinderella Solution by Kyoko Sagara and Cathy Yardly
Charlotte and Gabe are best friends. She’s a bit of a tomboy and she goes along with Gabe to all of his typical guy-like activities like poker and football games. He even takes her out to a bachelor party right before she’s supposed to be the maid of honor at his sister’s wedding. They constantly compete with each other by making stupid bets. Charlotte has a bit of a psychological complex where she thinks of herself as unfeminine, which is absolutely ridiculous because Sagara draws her as a classic shoujo heroine with shining eyes and glossy hair. I guess the thing that signals that she isn’t very girly is the fact that she always has her hair pulled back in a ponytail.
I’ve decided that I enjoy these Harlequin manga the most when the art is extra super-girly and this manga didn’t disappoint in that category. Take a look at the cover where our cute couple is surrounded by both roses and weird blobby sparkly things. The character designs are cute, with bee-stung lips and perfect hair. The only odd thing is that Sagara tends to draw her men with extra long eyebrows, which sometimes gave Gabe a vaguely insectoid appearance. But, unlike the flat personalities in the previous manga, The Cinderella Solution really takes the time to establish the bickering relationship between Gabe and Charlotte. She’s in agony performing her bridesmaid duties at the wedding and Gabe is the master of casually cruel comments like “Do you think Charlotte is the wife type? She’ll be just fine single for the rest of her life.” Goaded beyond her limits, Charlotte bets Gabe $1000 that she’ll find someone to propose marriage to her in a month. She embarks on a makeover campaign, and soon finds a potential suitor when an eligible bachelor moves next door. Gabe is surprised by his growing feelings of jealousy as he sees other men notice his best friend. Charlotte uses the bet as a way of gaining more self confidence, and Gabe is soon confronted with the decision that he might have to give up platonic friendship for romance or lose her forever.
The Cinderella Solution was an enjoyable read simply because the characters were more fully developed, so I was interested in seeing the conclusion of their story. I tend to like romances more when some funny moments are incorporated, so I appreciated Charlotte inadvertently introducing herself to her neighbor while wearing a mud pack on her face and Gabe’s unique approach to formal wear when he goes to spy on Charlotte and her wanna-be boyfriend at a party. This was definitely a better than average Harlequin manga title.
Access to electronic copies provided by the publisher
The Dreaming Complete Collection by Queenie Chan
I’d read the first volume of The Dreaming before and enjoyed it, but I hadn’t read the last two volumes of the series. I thought looking at the new omnibus edition would be a good pick during October. This was one of Tokyopop’s more successful titles out of their big OEL push several years ago, and the collected edition features several color pages, bonus stories, and an author interview.
Identical twins Amber and Jeanie arrive at a boarding school called Greenwitch Private College placed far in the Australian bushlands. Their Aunt Jessie is headmistress at the school, but after getting the twins settled she takes off on an extended trip, leaving them alone to get adjusted. They soon find that the school isn’t what it seems. The vice principal Mrs Skeener has a pathological aversion to twins. There’s a mysterious locked room down one corridor that’s been ineffectively disguised by wallpaper. Paintings in the school seem to tell the story of something horrible happening to girls in the Victorian era. Jeanie is the more outgoing twin, and she sets herself the task of unraveling the mystery behind the strangeness at the school. Amber is more sensitive to her surroundings and has horrible dreams, taking refuge in sleeping pills and the hope that she won’t remember the details of her dreams when she’s awake.
As befitting a manga called The Dreaming, Jeanie gradually gets a full picture of the school by piecing details of different stories together. She shares frightening dreams with her sister, where they are lost in the bush wearing victorian dress, trapped under trees that rain blood. Other students share details that allow her to gradually get a full picture of the school’s history. Girls have gone missing before in the past, and when the ringleader of an ill-fated seance in the present day goes missing it looks like the disappearances are starting to happen again. The only criticism I have of the book is that it sometimes seems a little referential. There’s the crazy older spinster character in the person of Mrs Skeener. Characters frequently refer to “odd rumors” and if you’ve ever seen a scene of girls trying a seance in a horror movie, you know that when Jeanie and Amber’s classmates stage one it isn’t going to turn out well. Still, if you’ve enjoyed gothic novels and episodes of the Twilight Zone in the past, there’s a certain amount of pleasant nostalgia invoked in the reader by The Dreaming.
Queenie Chan creates a suitably gothic atmosphere for her book. The wide shots of the school surrounded by dense bushland look incredibly claustrophobic. There’s plenty of detail included in the school’s interior and the Victorian costumes of the phantoms that come to haunt the current students. Setting the story in Australia provides an interesting source of local ghost legends to draw from as well. I especially appreciated the feeling of the epilogue, which evoked the spirit of Daphne du Marier’s opening line in Rebecca “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again,” as Jessie revisits her own history with the school.
I liked all the bonus content included with this omnibus. There’s an extra story included at the end that shows how Greenwitch Private College will endure even after the twins’ history with the place has ended. Omake episodes called “The Haunted Linen Cupboard” are included at the end of each volume, giving Chan the opportunity to make fun of some of the horror conventions that she uses in The Dreaming. Overall, this series provided old-fashioned horror fun with plenty of spooky dreams, evil old women, Australian spirits, and the occasional axe.
For more about Queenie Chan, visit her website.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Story of Saiunkoku Volume 1 by Sai Yukino and Kairi Yura
I’ve been looking forward to reading this manga series. Story of Saiunkoku is a light novel series in Japan which has spinoffs like an anime version and this manga version. I’ve watched a few episodes of the first season of the anime and enjoyed it very much, but I think that the manga stands on its own. You don’t need to be familiar with the anime to enjoy the manga, you’d just need to have an appreciation for strong female heroines and Chinese-like fantasy world settings, and who doesn’t like those things?
Shurei Hong is a young noblewoman whose family has fallen on hard times. Her mother is dead and she lives in a dilapidated mansion. Her father’s salary as court archivist doesn’t provide enough money to fix up the house or even afford a daily ration of rice. Shurei spends her time teaching the village children. Her ambition when she was young was to become a civil servant, and her father encouraged her in her studies even though as a woman she wouldn’t be permitted to take the exam. Shurei is helped by Seiran, who came to the house originally a a servant but functions like an adopted older brother. Shurei’s life changes when an adviser to the court comes to her with a proposition: Shurei will enter the court as the royal consort and try to push the emperor Ruyki into stepping up and leading his country. Ryuki appears on the surface to be a dissolute noble but it soon becomes clear that he has reasons for acting the way he does. He grew up as the youngest son in an abusive household, and his indifference functions like a kind of armor. Shurei has seen the way the people of the country suffer, and she won’t stand for an emperor who will do nothing to help them.
One of my favorite things about Story of Saiunkoku was Shurei. Having a heroine in manga who places such a high value on education is rare, and she genuinely cares about her students and the people who don’t have all the advantages of nobility. She’s not stuck-up, and is quite capable of indulging in a bit of whining to Seiran about being forced to eat barley instead of the glorious rice that she craves, but she soon stops feeling sorry for herself and focuses on other people. Her main motivation for entering the court is the fee that she’s promised if she manages to prod Ryuki into action. When she gets there she’s astounded by the amount of waste as the nobles surround themselves with expensive trinkets while the common people go hungry.
If Ryuki was just sulking because he’s a poor little rich boy, he wouldn’t be an appealing character. But Shurei’s arrival causes him to start opening up to other people. He notices that Shurei’s hands don’t look like they belong to a noble lady, and she explains about how hard she’s had to work to build a home for her father and Seiran. He shifts from being closed off to expressing enthusiasm when Shurei gives him a present because no one had ever given him anything before. Seiran thinks that he’s “An emperor as pure as a blank page…He seems almost unnaturally untainted and has no affectations. I’m sure he’ll be able to change himself immensely from here on.” The first volume of the manga was mostly concerned with Shurei and Ryuki getting to know each other, but I’m hoping that more attention gets paid to the supporting cast in future volumes. Seiran is a self-contained martial artist of great skill who just happens to share a name with Ryuki’s exiled older brother. Ryuki is helped by the advisers Koyu and Shuei, and the archives that Seiran’s father runs serve as a convenient place to escape all the court intrigue that surrounds the emperor.
Yura does a good job portraying the Chinese-influenced setting of Saiunkoku. The streets and wagons of the world outside the palace contrast with the overly manicured gardens of the court. One thing I liked about the adaptation of this manga is the way Ryuki’s overly formal speech is presented in contrast with the more natural way that everyone else talks. It serves as a reminder of the way he’s held apart from everybody else by his status. Ryuki asks Shurei to call him by name by saying “It’s unfair that only we don’t get to be called by name. Our name is so neglected – don’t you feel sorry for it?” Story of Saiunkoku has plenty of humor to contrast with the more touching moments portrayed in the manga. Seiran hugs Shurei when she breaks down thinking about the way she’s teaching students to become good civil servants instead of taking the exam herself, saying “My Lady, you’ve really worked hard, haven’t you?” The directionally-impaired scholar Koyu is only able to meet the emperor and start tutoring him after Shurei intervenes, and he yells “From here on I shall no longer hold back. Please do prepare yourself” while throwing down stacks of books.
I think this series will appeal to anyone who enjoys fantasy shoujo. The heroine surrounded by a group of handsome men might appeal to fans of Fushigi Yugi. The emphasis on geopolitics and learning to rule a country would also appeal to anyone who’s read the novels or seen the anime Twelve Kingdoms. I’m happy to find a new fantasy shoujo series to follow just when some of my current favorites might be ending in the next year.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Note: this piece originally appeared on The Bureau Chiefs as part of my Anna Reads Manga feature.
It is easy to find plenty of manga about intrepid boy ninjas or vampire boarding schools on the crowded shelves of your chain bookstore, but it is sometimes difficult to distinguish manga titles aimed at adults. This column will provide an overview of the best manga out there featuring characters in their twenties.
Ohikkoshi by Hiroaki Samura (amazon)
This is a single volume of short stories by the creator of the sprawling samurai saga Blade of the Immortal. Samura uses the short story form to indulge in writing humor and as a result the episodes included in this book have a slightly manic edge.
Sachi is the hapless protagonist. He and his friends hang out at horrible battle of the bands shows and skip their college classes whenever possible. He’s hopelessly in love with Akagi, a woman whose boyfriend has just left to work overseas. Now is his big chance to ask her out, which he does in such an oblique stammering way it is easy to feel sorry for him. Sachi’s friends conclude “Our pale-faced friend is drunk with the turmoils of youth!”
Other stories in the collection include an epic tale of manga artist tribulation as a woman takes her editor’s advice, loses her comics gig, works in a coffee shop, becomes a kept woman, manages to attain mastery at the game of mah-jong, and ends up apprenticed to a mafia boss in a few short years only to finally become a manga master. A half-Italian half-Japanese teacher decides take revenge on Japan by sleeping with the country’s women until he meets two girls who are immune to his charms. Some of the elements in Ohikkoshi will appeal to fans of Brian Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series. Characters break the fourth wall and comment directly at the reader. When Akagi and Sachi go on a horrific zoo date, information about the animals is listed in game stat format. Samura will often shift into alternate art styles for a panel or two. Ohikkoshi has a bit of a rough and frenetic feel, but it is hard not to be captivated by Samura’s sense of humor.
Office Ladies Need Love Too
Josei (manga aimed at adult women) is probably the scarcest manga genre translated in English, which is why I cherish any title that portrays the life of a post-college woman instead of a starry-eyed high school girl.
Suppli by Mari Okazaki (amazon)
Minami is 27 years old. Her relationship with her boyfriend is going nowhere. Every morning she gets dressed for work feeling as if she’s putting on battle armor. She heads into the office on a Sunday only to find all of her co-workers already there. Minimai is paralyzed by the thought of ending up like her boss – a single woman in her 40s. When her boyfriend dumps her, she throws herself into work, trying to prepare new presentations and socializing with her co-workers. She tries to avoid being alone in her trashed apartment, but she lives so much in her own head that she doesn’t pick up on the crush one of her co-workers has on her. Okazaki frequently interposes nature symbolism like water, fish, or grass with Minami’s urban office environment. Suppli has a melancholy feel that reflects the anxieties of its main character. Sometimes Minami’s only connection with another person is sitting with a co-worker in a break room at the office, watching the sun rise.
Tramps Like Us by Yayoi Ogawa
This fourteen volume series is sadly out of print but it is well worth tracking down. Sumire maintains an intimidating presence at her workplace. She reacts coolly when her boyfriend breaks up with her and her co-workers are afraid to comment to her about it due to her bitchy reputation. As she returns to her apartment after a long day of work she finds an injured boy sleeping in a cardboard box. Sumire takes him into her house and feeds him. She jokingly offers him a place to stay if he’ll be her pet, which means following all her orders. He accepts. She names the boy “Momo” after her childhood dog. Having somebody else to care for eases Sumire’s tension from work.
Momo is just as ambitious as Sumire, except he’s pursuing his studies as a modern dancer. Sumire and Momo enjoy domestic life together but things may change when Sumire gets a new boyfriend who miraculously fulfills her requirements for height, salary, and education. She seesaws back and forth between portraying her idea of the perfect career woman and indulging in wrestling TV shows when she’s at home with Momo. Tramps Like Us balances a light and fluffy chicklit quality with a sensitive portrayal of an unconventional but evolving relationship.
Asano comes by his emphasis on aimless twentysomething characters honestly; he was in his early 20s when he started publishing his stories.
What a Wonderful World by Inio Asano (amazon)
Toga has always been “the reliable one” among her group of friends, but she drops out of school and struggles with the idea of reactivating her musical ambitions. A schoolgirl engages in a dangerous contest to win social capital. A man briefly visits his daughter and ex-wife in a park. Aimless ronin studying for their college entrance exams have a memorable encounter with a basket case they meet in the street. Some of the characters are seen again briefly in other stories, making the lives of the different people in What a Wonderful World seem interconnected.
While reading about the lives of people who haven’t figured out what they want to might seem like an invitation to wallow in ennui, this manga lives up to its title. Asano captures the small moments that people use to define themselves. A change in hairstyle, the realization that the reliability of a relationship can be a comfort, and the loss of an apartment each contribute to a moment of reflection that lets someone move on with their life. As I was reading the manga and enjoying the combination of the prosaic and surreal in Asano’s art I realized that I was especially struck by the pacing and paneling. There was frequently a small jolt or surprise right before I’d turn the page to read the conclusion of a story, and this lent a dynamic feel to the manga even when some of the stories were just short sketches.
Solanin by Inio Asano (amazon)
A later work than What a Wonderful World, Solanin shows what Asano can achieve with more maturity. Meiko works at a job she hates. She’s crushed in the subway on her way to work, and has difficulty listening when her boss yells at her because she’s distracted by his hideous nose hairs. When she goes home, she’s greeted by her boyfriend Taneda. He works part-time and aimlessly pursues his dream of music. Meiko’s horrible job pays well, and she’s saved up some money. One day she abruptly decides to quit.
She lazes around and tries being domestic, but quickly realizes that too much free time can be boring. Taneda can’t deal with the idea of being the breadwinner, and their relationship begins to suffer from the strain. Meiko encourages Taneda to pursue his dream of making music. Although Meiko is the unifying character, Solanin frequently makes narrative detours that show readers the inner worlds of other members of Taneda’s college band. The shifting point of view is a literary device that I enjoy in novels, and it definitely contributed to the depth of character development in this manga.
Small details in the way the characters’ interacted with their environment made their world seem surreal. Bunnies with Xs for faces appear on key chains and Taneda’s CD. Meiko watches a bizarre bear attack training news story on TV. Taneda has a “me summit” where all the aspects of his personality wear a different slogan on their t-shirts to comment on his life. Towards the end of Solanin Meiko begins to come into her own in an unexpected fashion. She’s still supported by her group of friends, but the conclusion is bittersweet. Solanin captures the restless feelings many people have as they move into adulthood.
Note: this piece originally appeared on The Bureau Chiefs as part of my Anna Reads Manga feature.
Online manga can be a little difficult to track down if you are trying to avoid the many sites that exist to host scanlations (fan translations), or in the most egregious cases, hosting scans of the American manga editions. Fortunately in recent months more American publishers are putting manga online for free sampling or to make it easy to subscribe for electronic access. I’ll give an overview of some of the places you can go to read manga online legally.
FREE ONLINE MANGA
Viz Media caused a stir when it started serializing manga chapters on its sites Shonen Sunday and Sigikki. This is the place to go if you are looking for quirky seinen manga, as the parent Japanese magazine Ikki tends to specialize in the obscure. There’s a wide variety of stories and art styles on display. Chapters gradually rotate off the site as the print volumes are published.
Here are capsule reviews of my three favorite Sigikki series:
Afterschool Charisma – This series takes place in a school filled with clones of famous people from history. Napolean seems to be in the middle of a growth spurt, Mozart is an arrogant jerk, Marie Curie wants to play the piano instead of studying radium, and Freud is a creepy teen with a pageboy haircut. The ordinary boy Shiro Kamiya, whose father is in charge of the school and the cloning project, attends school along with the clones. Shiro innocently asks his father to help Marie with her musical ambitions, but what happens to her is not what Shiro intended. Will Shiro find out the truth behind the school? The art in Afterschool Charisma looked the most shoujoish to me out of all the Siggiki series. Sometimes it was difficult to tell apart the female characters, but the male characters were a bit more individual and had more personality. Teen-clone-Freud is hilarious.
House of Five Leaves – Masanosuke is a poor masterless samurai with a personality defect: He falls apart when he attracts attention. Thus he does a poor job of acting intimidating and keeps getting fired from his bodyguard jobs. Yaichi hires him for a day’ work. Masanosuke is struck by Yaichi’s confident air. But it turns out that Yaichi is a member of the criminal group the House of Five Leaves. Will Masanosuke continue to work for kidnappers in the hopes that Yaichi’s calm demeanor will wear off on him? I enjoyed the art of this series, as Ono has a loose and fluid style of drawing which serves to highlight Masanosuke’s defeated body language and his eyes, which look hollow eyes of someone who isn’t eating very well. Most samurai stories feature a main character who is more of a traditional bad-ass type, so I thought this twist on the genre was interesting.
Children of the Sea – Children of the Sea is as beautiful, deep, and mysterious as the ocean that the characters inhabit. Ruka is a young girl who gets in trouble at school for violently retaliating against a teammate at sports practice. She decides not to go home and goes on a quest to see the ocean. She travels to Tokyo at night and reaches an ocean view. A mysterious boy makes the pronouncement “The sea in Tokyo is kinda like a broken toy” and leaps over her into the sea. Ruka runs down to rescue him. Umi was raised in the ocean along with another boy named Sora by dugongs. They maintain their connection to the sea, and their skin becomes unbearably dry if they aren’t submerged in water very long.
Mysterious ocean animal disappearances have started to plague scientists. Animals seem to become spotted with light before they vanish like ghosts. Ruka’s father works in an aquarium where Umi often hangs out. As Ruka tries to escape her troubles in school she spends more and more time in the aquarium, meeting Umi and Sora’s foster father Jim. He’s a foreigner with mystical tattoos who loves to surf. Sora is sickly and spends a lot of time in the hospital. He’s suspicious of Ruka even though Umi says that she “smells like them.” Ruka sees Umi and Sora occasionally glowing with the unearthly light that the ocean ghosts emit. Are they going to be the next to disappear?
Shonen Sunday is a companion online manga site aimed at the younger set. Viz uses it to serialize new series like Rumiko Takahashi’s Rin-Ne and Yuu Watase’s Arata, but it also serves as a way to sample some of Viz’s lesser known backlist titles like the excellent monster hunting series Kekkaishi.
Kekkaishi – The hero of the story is Yoshimori. He’s young and weak and struggles with his training to become the successor to his family’s long-standing demon hunting tradition. His secret friend is the older girl next door Tokine, who belongs to a rival demon-hunting clan. Both Yoshimori and Tokine are aided in their demon hunts by demon dog sidekicks, who provide comic relief and guidance. Yoshimori isn’t very savvy about hunting demons. Tokine saves him and is injured in the process.
The story picks up again when Yoshimori is 14 and Tokine is 16. She criticizes his lack of refinement when demon hunting and counsels him to save his power. He doesn’t want to see anyone get hurt in front of him anymore and is determined to become a better fighter. Their school is conveniently located above a reservoir of power and at night they pursue the hunt. The manga blends action and humor as Yoshimori tries to fulfill his cherished ambition of making the perfect cake and dodges his grandfather’s training attempts. There are darker forces at work behind the sacred site that Yoshimori is sworn to protect. The story lines and character development are more complex than a typical fighting manga, which makes for a rewarding reading experience for those who like manga with a little bit of monster fighting and slapstick comedy.
Other major manga publishers like Tokyopop and CMX do tend to put up sample chapters of their manga, but I think Viz’s decision to set up separate online magazine sites with highlighted content gives their content greater prominence. I wish that in addition to the shonen and seinen sites Viz would put up an online magazine where readers could sample shoujo manga, especially after the demise of Shojo Beat magazine. Shonen Jump will soon be the only manga anthology magazine on the newsstands in the US. Yen Plus recently announced plans to discontinue their print magazine in favor of going digital instead. I think the next few years will hopefully give publishers a chance to experiment with digital manga magazines.
PAYING FOR MANGA ONLINE
This is an area where some of the smaller, more experimental publishers have more developed sites.
This is the online publishing arm of Digital Manga Publishing, which is probably best known for their yaoi titles, although back in the day they put out editions of some wonderfully weird stuff like Bambi and Her Pink Gun and Project X – Nissin Cup Noodle, a manga about the invention of noodles in a cup. While a casual reader might expect the titles on eManga to be only yaoi, there’s actually more variety there, with plenty of manga adaptations of harlequin romances and the shoujo classic Itazura Na Kiss. Reading manga there operates on a points system, where $10 will get you 1000 points, and online access to selected volumes may be priced anywhere between 200-400 points. If you follow digitalmanga on twitter, they’ll often give away free online access to selected volumes.
Netcomics is mainly a specialty publisher of Korean comics, or manhwa. They’ve used their online platform to publish American manga style comics and Japanese manga as well. Paying for manga on this site works on a chapter by chapter basis, with each chapter costing 25 cents. Single chapters from most titles are available for preview as well. Titles are sorted by genre, so it is easy to find series that might fit your mood, if you are looking for romance, comedy, or science fiction manhwa. Some of Netcomics’ titles that had print editions for the first few volumes have the later volumes only available online. I hate it when series are dropped, so while someone wanting to collect print copies of an entire series might be disappointed, it does seem like a good way of making slow-selling titles available to readers.
I can’t say that we’ve reached a level of mature development with the legal manga that’s available for readers. It would be nice if other publishers also followed Viz’s Sigikki model. But at least a handful of sites is available for fans who want to do the right thing and avoid scanlations. Hopefully the next few years will have more manga publishers experimenting with their online presence.
Gardena, CA (October 14, 2010) – Digital Manga, one of the manga industry’s most unique and creative publishers, is proud to announce an online collaboration with TOKYOPOP, a leading manga publisher and pop-culture digital entertainment company. The partnership will launch with the addition of twelve new titles from TOKYOPOP’s BLU Manga yaoi imprint to eManga’s online library.
The BLU Manga yaoi will be available for purchase through eManga’s online manga service, emanga.com, which streams content through an Adobe Flash player, allowing readers to access their library wherever they have an internet connection. Originally sold for $14.99 in print, the BLU volumes will be available on eManga.com for $5.99, making it more affordable than ever to read old and new favorites.
The first twelve BLU titles will include: Liberty Liberty! by Hinako Takanaga, Calling by Miu Otsuki, Croquis by Hinako Takanaga, Cute Devil by Hiro Madarame, Isle of Forbidden Love by Duo Brand, Blood Honey by Sakyou Yozakura, Love Knot by Lemon Ichijo, Madness volumes 1 & 2 by Kairi Shimotsuki, Scarlet by Hiro Madarame, Secretary’s Love by Tohko Akiba and Stray Cat by Halco.
For more information about our eManga system and to begin reading right away, visit www.emanga.com and click on the TOKYOPOP tab under “publishers”.