manga bookshelf

Off the Shelf: Ayako

Welcome to another edition of Off the Shelf with Melinda & Michelle! I’m joined, as always, by Soliloquy in Blue‘s Michelle Smith. This week, Michelle and I take a break from our regular format to focus on a single title, Osamu Tezuka’s Ayako, published in English by Vertical, Inc. MELINDA: So, Michelle, read anything incredibly […]

7 Short Series Worth Adding to Your Manga Bookshelf

I like getting lost in a long, twisty story as much as the next person, but I often lose interest in a manga around the five- or ten-volume mark. As a service to other people afflicted with Manga ADHD, therefore, I’ve compiled a list of seven shorter series that enjoy pride of place on my […]

Black Jack, Vols. 12-13

In the mold of Kate and David’s recent co-review of Salvatore, Kate takes the lead along with David and Melinda, in a collaborative look at Tezuka’s Black Jack. Black Jack, Vols. 12-13 | By Osamu Tezuka | Published by Vertical, Inc. | Buy at Amazon KATE: One of the things that strikes me most about […]

Tezuka: A Bibliography for English Speakers

For the English-language reader interested in learning more about Osamu Tezuka, there’s a growing body of scholarship exploring his life and work. Frederik L. Schodt, who was a personal friend of Tezuka’s, has done more than just about anyone to introduce Tezuka’s manga to Western audiences, writing in an accessible style that eschews academic formality […]

Manga Artifacts: Princess Knight

What Osamu Tezuka’s New Treasure Island (1946) was to shonen, his Princess Knight (1953-56) was to shojo. Both were long-form adventure stories that employed the kind of camera angles, reaction shots, and action sequences that suggested a movie, rather than an illustrated novel or a comic strip. Neither could be said to be the “first” […]

Ayako

Ayako is an odd beast. Structurally, it resembles a Russian realist novel, using a once-powerful family of landowners to embody the political and economic upheaval caused by America’s seven-year occupation of Japan (1945-52). Temperamentally, however, Ayako feels more like a John Frankenheimer movie, with subplots involving a Communist organizer, an assassin who stashes orders in […]

Black Jack, Vols. 1-2

Black Jack practices a different kind of medicine than the earnest physicians on Grey’s Anatomy or ER, taking cases that push the boundary between science and science fiction. In the first two volumes of Black Jack alone, the good doctor tests his surgical mettle by: Performing a brain transplant Separating conjoined twins Operating on a […]

The Best Manga of 2010: The Manga Critic’s Picks

For all the upheaval within the manga industry — the demise of CMX, Del Rey, and Go! Comi, the layoffs at VIZ — 2010 proved an exceptionally good year for storytelling. True, titles like Black Butler, Naruto, and Nabari no Ou dominated sales charts, but publishers made a concerted effort to woo grown-ups with vintage […]

My 10 Favorite Spooky Manga

Whether by accident or design, the very first manga I read and liked were horror titles: “The Laughing Target,” Mermaid Saga, Uzumaki. I’m not sure why I find spooky stories so compelling in manga form; I don’t generally read horror novels, and I don’t have the constitution for gory movies. But manga about zombies? Or […]

Short Takes: The Art of Osamu Tezuka and Korea As Viewed by 12 Creators

I’m taking a break from shojo romances and seinen shoot-em-ups in favor of two books aimed squarely at older comics connoisseurs. The first is Helen McCarthy’s The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga (Abrams Comics), an award-winning biography of Japan’s best-known manga-ka. (Her book just nabbed a Harvey in the Best American Edition of […]

Apollo’s Song, Vols. 1-2

Apollo’s Song may be one of the strangest sex ed manuals ever written. It begins with a textbook Tezuka scene, at once lyrical and goofy: millions of anthropomorphic sperm race towards a comely egg. After one lucky soul pants and claws his way to the front of the scrum, the sperm and egg dissolve into […]

5 Underrated Shojo Manga

Earlier in the week, I sang the praises of Kaze Hikaru, my all-time favorite shojo manga (and one of my all-time favorite manga, period). Today I shine the spotlight on five great titles that haven’t garnered as much favorable notice as they deserve. Sadly, all but one are officially out of print or will be […]

The Best Manga You’re Not Reading

On Saturday, June 26th, Brigid Alverson, Robin Brenner, Martha Cornog, and I gave a presentation at the American Library Association’s annual conference called “The Best Manga You’re Not Reading.” The goal of our talk was to remind librarians about all the weird, wonderful, and diverse offerings for older teens and adults. Recommendations ran the gamut […]

Ode to Kirihito, Vols. 1-2

“When he heard his cry for help, it wasn’t human” — so went the tagline for Ken Russell’s Altered States (1980), a bizarre fever-dream of Nietzchean philosophy, horror, and mystical hoo-ha in which a scientist’s experiments result in his spontaneous devolution. That same tagline would work equally well for Osamu Tezuka’s Ode to Kirihito (1970-71), […]

Osamu Tezuka’s MW

Invoke Tezuka’s name, and most readers immediately think of Astro Boy, Buddha, and Princess Knight. But there’s a darker side to Tezuka’s oeuvre that dates back to 1953, the year in which he brought Dostoevsky’s tormented Raskolnikov to life in a manga-fied version of Crime and Punishment. It’s this side of Tezuka — the side […]