manga bookshelf

TOKYOPOP shuts down US publishing

Having just entitled a post “WTF Friday,” it was tempting to name this “The REAL WTF Friday.” And as I find I have little stomach for reporting this news, I’ll do it as simply as possible. Reported by Heidi McDonald at The Beat this afternoon: End of an era: Tokyopop shutting down US publishing division […]

Butterfly, Vol. 1

Reading Butterfly won’t change your life, make you a better person, or cause subtle but significant changes to South American weather patterns, but it may just restore your faith in Tokyopop’s ability to suss out smart, entertaining series that quietly subvert genre conventions. The genre in question is what I call “seeing dead people,” in […]

3 Things Thursday: TOKYOPOP

It’s been a rough week in the blogosphere for TOKYOPOP, whose latest round of layoffs has inspired quite a bit of talk about the company’s less positive history, including this frank commentary from Brigid Alverson at Robot 6 and this ongoing round-up from Johanna Draper Carlson at Manga Worth Reading. My own history as a […]

The Best Manga You’re Not Reading: Qwan

I have a bad habit of falling in love with commercially doomed series. Satsuma Gishiden, for one: Dark Horse published the first three volumes of this manly-man samurai manga, only to put the series on ice in 2007. Duck Prince, for another: Ai Morinaga’s awesomely weird comedy also bit the dust three volumes into its […]

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 […]

Eensy Weensy Monster 1 by Masami Tsuda: B

From the back cover: Nanoha Satsuki, an average, plain-Jane high school student, comfortably spends her time in the shadow of her two beautiful, popular friends. But new guy Hazuki Tokiwa, with his snobbish, arrogant demeanor, has a way of getting under Nanoha’s skin, and releasing her inner monster! Is this the beginning of an ugly […]

Let’s Get Visual: Tricks of the Trade

MICHELLE: It’s time for another installment of Let’s Get Visual, a monthly feature in which Manga Bookshelf’s Melinda Beasi and I work to expand our artistic horizons! This month’s column is inspired by a recent TOKYOPOP release, How to Draw Shojo Manga. Instead of simply offering tips on drawing faces, poses, or cute little animals, […]

LIVES, Vol. 1

Everything you need to know about LIVES is summed up by the following category tags: “big breasts,” “meteor,” “stranded,” “strategically torn clothing,” and “survival.” (Kudos to the Baka-Updates moderator who felt the need to give “strategically torn clothing” its due as a category. But what, no “hungry predators”?) Plot-wise, LIVES resembles Battle Royale, Gantz, and […]

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 […]

Demon Sacred, Vols. 1-2

Demon Sacred is shojo manga’s answer to the everything bagel, substituting hot scientists, dragons, pop idols, twins, secret government research facilities, and time-traveling aliens for garlic chips and sesame seeds. That such an unlikely combination of ingredients proves complimentary is nothing sort of miraculous — it’s hard to imagine how rock stars and rifts in […]

TOKYOPOP & comiXology launch digital Hetalia

Announced today, manga publisher TOKYOPOP and digital comics publisher comiXology have teamed up to present the first simultaneous print/digital release the industry has yet seen (check out Comics Worth Reading for a little clarification on that claim). The title chosen for this collaboration is Hetalia Axis Powers, a popular Japanese webcomic by Hidekaz Himaruya that […]

Hetalia: Axis Powers, Vol. 1

To say that Hetalia: Axis Powers has a devoted fanbase is like saying that Cookie Monster is partial to Oreos; it’s the kind of series that inspires fans to write their own Hetalia stories by the truckload (there are over 14,000 posted at FanFiction.net), dress up as their favorite countries, and debate the virtues of […]

The Qwaser of Stigmata, Vol. 1

Though I frequently grouse about fanservice , I have a grudging respect for those artists who make costume failures, panty shots, and general shirtlessness play essential roles in advancing their plots. Consider Pretty Face, the story of a teenage jock who undergoes reconstructive surgery after a bus accident, only to end up looking like the […]

Short Takes: Manga Hall of Shame Edition

I have a special fascination with bad manga. And when I say “bad manga,” I’m not talking about stories that are merely cliche or derivative of other, better series — for better or worse, manga is a popular medium, and popular media survive, in part, by giving audiences what they want, even if that means […]