With TOKYOPOP’s untimely demise this year, critics lost one of their most reliable sources of shame-worthy manga. Though I won’t miss reading J-Pop Idol, Dragon Sister, Innocent W, or Zone-00 — to name just a few of the D-list titles that TOKYOPOP foisted on fans — I will miss reviewing them, as they helped me develop my voice as a critic, challenging me to expand my litany of complaints beyond “boring,” “cliche,” and “awful.” Few of the titles on this year’s Hall of Shame list inspired the same level of creative vitriol that TOKYOPOP’s worst titles did, but they do share one important trait with Qwaser of Stigmata: no one will confuse them with such recent gems as A Bride’s Story, Stargazing Dog, or A Zoo in Winter.
So without further ado, I present the 2011 Manga Hall of Shame Inductees:
5. AMNESIA LABYRINTH (Seven Seas)
For a manga that features incest, murder, and at least one character with a split personality, Amnesia Labyrinth is shockingly dull. That dullness can be attributed to two things: the source material and the hero. As writer Nagaru Tanigawa explains in the afterword to volume one, Amnesia Labyrinth was “based on a story that, while it didn’t have enough to become a full-fledged novel, had been kicking around in my head for years” — in short, a half-baked idea. Worse still, Souji, the lead character, is so passive it’s hard to believe that he’s an athletic superstar, academic genius, and a lady killer; if anything, he seems more like a collection of cool traits than an actual person. Teenage boys may find Souji an appealing surrogate, but older readers will find the series’ main draw — the mystery — too underdeveloped to be interesting, and the characterizations too thin to inspire identification with any of the cast members. –Reviewed at The Manga Critic on 2/8/11
4. HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD (Yen Press)
This slick, violent zombie story plays like a poor man’s Dawn of the Dead, substituting sadism and sex for the social commentary of George Romero’s classic horror flick. Popular as it may be, a quick scan of volume one reveals myriad issues, from poorly staged fight scenes to tin-eared dialogue. The biggest problem with Highschool of the Dead, however, is the endless parade of panty shots and costume failures. The Satos work fanservice into as many scenes as possible, taking full advantage of every stairwell, fight, fall, and female death to expose cleavage — and poorly drawn cleavage, at that. (Hint to aspiring manga artists: large breasts do not resemble grossly distended lemons.) And when the scariest thing about a zombie story is the way the female characters’ bosoms are drawn, it’s safe to say that the creators ought to spend a little more time watching 28 Days or I Am Legend, and a little less time watching Naughty Naked Co-Eds. –Reviewed at The Manga Critic on 12/27/10
3. GANDHI: A MANGA BIOGRAPHY (Penguin Books)
This slim volume reduces Gandhi’s life to a string of four-page vignettes that do little to reveal who he was or what he believed; important episodes in every stage of his career are drained of historical nuance, preventing the reader from fully appreciating the complexity of the political situations in South Africa or India. Adding insult to injury is the script: the dialogue abounds in awkward sentences, anachronistic sentiments, and cringe-worthy typos that consistently undercut the story’s serious message. (Makes you wonder: did anyone at Penguin Books actually proofread Gandhi?) More disappointing still is the artwork: it’s plain and lifeless, relying too heavily on computer shortcuts and pre-fab backgrounds to create a genuine sense of place or time. My suggestion: skip the manga and rent Richard Attenborough’s 1982 movie of the same name. –Reviewed at The Manga Critic on 10/6/11
2. THE BEAUTIFUL SKIES OF HOUOU HIGH (DMP)
In this unfunny comedy about sexual orientation, a gay teen’s mother enrolls her daughter in an all-boys’ boarding school — mom’s idea of a “cure” for lesbianism. A more skillful storyteller might use the set-up to critique homophobia, or the idea that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, but Arata Aki takes the easy road, using Kei’s dilemma as a pretext for wacky hijinks. Though the theme of gender exploration is extended to include male cast members — several boys in Kei’s dorm exhibit stereotypically feminine behavior and interests — Aki doesn’t do anything particularly interesting with these supporting characters; their antics provide comic relief, not commentary on the fluidity of gender norms. Lame gags and confusing subplots remind the reader at every turn that Houou High isn’t concerned with real human sexuality, but in wringing cheap laughs out of a gay character’s humiliation. In a word: yuck. –Reviewed at The Manga Critic on 2/28/11
1. TENJO TENGE (VIZ)
Flipping through the first volume of VIZ’s “Full Contact” edition, it’s easy to see why DC Comics censored the original English print run of Tenjo Tenge. The story abounds in the kind of gratuitous nudity and sexual encounters that make an unadulterated version a tough sell at big chain stores like Wal-Mart and Barnes & Noble. DC Comics’ solution was an inelegant one: they re-wrote the script, drew bras and panties on naked girls, and cut some of the most offensive passages. As an advocate of free speech, I can’t condone the bowdlerization of any text, especially in the interest of a more commercially viable age-rating , but as a woman, it’s hard to celebrate the restoration of a graphic rape scene or images of naked girls throwing themselves at the heroes, especially when the plot is violent and silly. –Reviewed at The Manga Critic on 6/3/11
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So now I turn the floor over to you, readers: what titles made your Worst of 2011 list?
A tip for first-time visitors: you might want to read my Comment Policy before busting out words like “feminazi” in defense of a favorite title. Your comment is much less likely to be deleted if you’re friendly, funny, and logical, as those qualities facilitate dialogue.
Sean Gaffney saysDecember 28, 2011 at 10:17 am
SASAMEKE. Full stop. Vol. 2 alone I think took 5 years off my life.
Katherine Dacey saysDecember 28, 2011 at 10:26 am
I managed to avoid Sasameke, thanks to your review of volume one. It’s not often that you and Alexander Hoffman agree on which manga are bad, so I really sat up and took notice when you both panned it soundly!
Folks who are morbidly curious can check out Sean’s review of volume one here and his review of volume two here.
Angela saysJanuary 2, 2012 at 10:24 pm
Oh lord, I blocked that out of my head. I might have to second you on that. I can’t believe you actually read volume 2, I hated the first one far too much to even bother.
themooninautumn saysJanuary 6, 2012 at 12:30 am
I cannot understand why I kept reading to the end of the second volume. I think it was in some dim hope that something would redeem the thing. Nothing did. I want the life back that I wasted reading this series, too.
Alex Hoffman saysJanuary 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm
Oh yes, Sasameke. That book was horrendous. I have a tendency to be a much harsher critic of comics than Sean, but I knew that Sean would come around when he read it. What a wretched use of ink and paper.
Sean Gaffney saysJanuary 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm
Note I never disagreed that Sasameke was wretched at all. Our disagreement was you thought it should be cancelled because it was wretched, whereas I felt its second bad volume deserved printing (since if Yen wanted to cancel it due to that, why did they license it?). I still do feel this way. It’s just the manga sucks. :)
Alex Hoffman saysJanuary 7, 2012 at 7:50 pm
if I remember correctly, you didn’t read it until after I already passed judgement on it, so you defended it on principle. ;)
Aaron saysDecember 28, 2011 at 10:38 am
Ah yes Tenjo Tenge sorry bout defending that one their ( chock it up to youthful ignorance) deserves it’s place at number one most defiantly I’m still surprised Omamori Himari hasn’t made the list yet I mean the five page (!) “intiment healing” scene in volume three between the main character and the nine year old looking girl water demon makes it worth a dishonorable mention at least but I figure with HOSOTD on their one rotten Yen Press Title is all you could handle reviewing.
Katherine Dacey saysDecember 28, 2011 at 10:47 am
Hi, Aaron! I usually focus on new releases from the year in question, and since Omamori Himari debuted in 2010, I didn’t include it in my list. From everything I’ve read about it, though, it sounds like a *special* kind of awful.
Aaron saysDecember 28, 2011 at 11:14 am
Yes it is when I reviewed it I said it made Eiken look like a work of heartbreaking and staggering genius. but you’re right it’s not new this is also one of those titles that makes me go apoplectic at the fact that it even got licensed. I get that the publishing industry doesn’t run on rainbows and unicorn tears, but sometimes I have to shake my head and wonder “where’s you’re self respect as a publisher”. But money made is money made I guess (even though it’s still galling to me that something like that even got licensed)
Katherine Dacey saysDecember 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm
I said it made Eiken look like a work of heartbreaking and staggering genius.
I guess the publisher won’t be quoting your review on future dust jackets! Sounds like a manga to avoid at all costs.
FurrySaint saysDecember 29, 2011 at 12:35 pm
Sure they will! “Omamori Himari is “a work of heartbreaking and staggering genius.””
Manga Therapy saysDecember 28, 2011 at 11:52 am
I have many friends who watch the High School of the Dead anime and they’re trying to wonder why I’m not really interested in the series. I took a jabt at it on a Facebook status and I got people saying that HotD is awesome. As you pointed out, the fanservice is a bit too much. Maybe they just like zombie stories (regardless of how they’re told) or hot anime/manga girls.
Also, Yu-Gi-Oh 5D’s is a bad title. Granted, I don’t expect much from a card battle series, but there was little character development and backstory on EVERYTHING.
Katherine Dacey saysDecember 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm
I’ve avoided the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga (in all its various permutations) for the very reasons you mention: I have limited tolerance for series in which every weapon, power, character, and object has a backstory of Tolkein-esque proportions. That was one of the reasons I bailed on Hoshin Engi — I thought the premise was interesting, but I was exhausted from all the exposition by the end of the third chapter!
As for Highschool of the Dead, I’m kind of surprised anyone finds the character designs sexy. I understand the appeal of exaggerated, shapely figures — paging Jessica Rabbit! — but the women in HofD just look misshapen!
Manga Therapy saysDecember 28, 2011 at 12:43 pm
To quote a Japanese video game company employee on why Japanese females are designed a certain way, it’s a “Japanese thing”.
Aaron saysDecember 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm
Oh let’s not forget how hiidouslly underdeveloped as characters their basically a trip or cliche and that’s it no backstory it’s like some bad Bishojo horror game.
Melinda Beasi saysDecember 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm
I agree wholeheartedly with your list, and I’d have to add Ai Ore! on my own, though I feel like I should give it another chance after Sean’s review of its most recent volume. I never made it past vol. 2, and so far I can’t bring myself to spend money on it, even on Sean’s word.
Katherine Dacey saysDecember 28, 2011 at 5:33 pm
I debated including Ai Ore! in this Year’s list, as I had the same reaction to the story that you and David did. Houou High edged it out, since it went a step further with the wacky gender-bending hijinks. But yes, Ai Ore! was a real disappointment; when I think of what a more thoughtful artist could have done with the premise, it makes me want to weep.
Sean Gaffney saysDecember 28, 2011 at 6:16 pm
Hey, you two knew how easily pleased I was with manga when you invited me to the ‘shelf. ;D
And I still say Ai Ore, while remaining immensely frustrating, does not make my skin want to crawl quite as badly as the hugely popular Black Bird, whose heroine needs injections of ‘Hakusensha dense heroine’ stat.
Katherine Dacey saysDecember 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm
Don’t get me started on Black Bird! I had a person show up at my website to complain that feminists like me were ruining her fun by pointing out the underlying misogyny in titles like Black Bird. To which I say, you couldn’t be having much fun if one brief review on the internet spoiled a book for you!
Melinda Beasi saysJanuary 6, 2012 at 4:02 pm
The worst review-related flames I’ve ever gotten in my history of manga blogging were in response to my reviews of Black Bird! :D
ABCBTom saysDecember 29, 2011 at 11:17 am
I have to agree with putting Highschool of the Dead and Tenjo Tenge on here. I bought volume 1 of both, and couldn’t stand to finish either.
I thought Highschool of the Dead might be like Reiko the Zombie Shop, and it was not. It’s a fuzzy line between good exploitation trash and bad exploitation trash, but Reiko was competent, fun, and vaguely human-shaped. HSOD is just misanthropic, not to mention misogynistic.
I wanted to reward Viz for releasing Ten Ten uncensored, and plus, it had to be good if it was worth destroying and boycotting CMX over, right? Well, no. Worst shonen cliches and meaningless battles, plus rape.
I was glad to see that Velveteen and Mandala was not on here, as I ultimately liked that one. I wish Matsumoto had shown more restraint, as his excess is pretty unforgivable, but there were so many interesting ideas and images in that one that it was compelling in spite of itself. The other two don’t have anything to counterbalance the sexism.
Katherine Dacey saysDecember 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm
Reiko was competent, fun, and vaguely human-shaped. HSOD is just misanthropic, not to mention misogynistic.
That’s a great point. One of the things I disliked most about Highschool of the Dead and Tenjo Tenge was the authors’ complete lack of irony, detachment, or self-awareness about the material. The dialogue and the characters in HotD and TenTen are so self-serious it borders on the comic.
judi (@togainunochi) saysDecember 29, 2011 at 11:19 am
I was going to say that I hadn’t read any of your picks and was quite proud, till Ai Ore got mentioned. So, I’ll leave it at that. :)
JRB saysDecember 29, 2011 at 11:20 am
I’m gonna step up in defense of Houou High; yes, it was duller than dishwater, but it did have the one shining virtue that it had a tall, butch female lead who was completely cool with being tall and butch and did not ever angst even a tiny bit about how baaaaadly she wanted to be short and cute and girly. Of course, that’s probably because she’s lesbian, but you take what you can get…
I’m on the fence about Ai Ore; the last volume of the ShoComi part of the series (end of Viz’s V3) is finally going in the direction that I was hoping for, and if it continues to develop along those lines it may end up being a winner. But it has a bad case of ADHD, and most of the plot developments don’t stick, so on the other hand it may not. But at least it has hot chicks (I love Ai; if she was the lead I’d be all over this series).
Katherine Dacey saysDecember 29, 2011 at 11:57 am
Hi, JRB! I went back and forth about Ai Ore!. On the one hand, as someone who was tall and awkward in high school (and had a big, booming voice reminiscent of Bea Arthur’s), I could relate to Mizuki’s ambivalence about being a “prince.” On the other hand, I found Mizuki’s relationship with Akira maddening; she was so passive and easily flustered I frequently had the urge to slap some sense into her.
Does she start to develop more of a spine in volume three? I bailed out at the end of volume two, but several other folks have said that the series starts to find its footing in the third volume. I don’t know if I’d want to pay the full price for a paper edition, but it is available more cheaply through vizmanga.com and VIZ’s iTunes store.
JRB saysDecember 29, 2011 at 12:33 pm
Well, as a tall girl who has always liked being tall and was absolutely pissed when I realized I wasn’t going to break six feet, I have been annoyed by the “tall cool girl who wants to be short and girly” shoujo plot ever since I first encountered it (in Never Give Up!, which I read very early in my manga-exposure history; in fact, it was one of my first shoujo manga). I wouldn’t mind it so much if there were a reasonable number of counterbalancing stories about tall butch girls who are happy about themselves, but most shoujo female leads are noticeably short and very nearly all tall shoujo girls (outside of yuri) are hung up on not being sufficiently feminine.
Mizuki hasn’t developed a spine yet, but the focus seems to have moved off “Akira being a SOB” and onto “Akira being fanservice-bait”; he’s also figured out that the way to get Mizuki to have sexy-times is to act all cute and uke-ish so she’ll get turned on, activate female-seme-mode and jump him, which is 1000% better than his former approach. But as I mentioned, plot developments in Ai Ore usually don’t stick, so I’d maybe suggest waiting for reviews on the Asuka volumes to come in before deciding whether to pick it up again. I have some hope that the second half of the series will be better, or at least different, since her author’s notes suggest that her editors at ShoComi were preventing her from doing what she wanted to with the characters.
Rose saysDecember 29, 2011 at 8:37 pm
I agree with your list for the most part, wouldn’t touch half the titles with a ten-foot pole, but I actually like Amnesia Labyrinth.
I don’t see the main guy as a surrogate, but as an intentional void of emotion, as if he actually doesn’t feel much of anything. I might be, and probably am, giving the story to much credit, but I’m enjoying the interpretation I’m getting from it so far: This sociopath boy from a family where the is a qualification of creepy, messed up, and probably homicidal.
And as the author of Haruhi Suzumiya, there’s a girl very much like Haruhi, energetic and determined to play detective and tries to just round the male protagonist in as second-in-command, but in a bit of a subversion, she’s so obviously in over her head it’s kinda tragic in a way.
It probably isn’t as thought out or intentional as I’m taking the thing to to be (and I’m still not quite sure what the end of volume 2 was about), but there hasn’t been enough progression towards a conclusion for me to become disinterested in.
Katherine Dacey saysDecember 30, 2011 at 12:41 pm
Hi, Rose! That’s an interesting observation about Souji. I was so put off by Souji’s apathy that it didn’t occur to me that the author intended him to be a kind of void or blank slate. That puts a much more interesting spin on the material, and one that makes me wish I read Japanese so that I could compare the English translation with the original text to see if something got lost in the adaptation process.
Thanks for your comment!
Christine saysDecember 29, 2011 at 9:25 pm
I haven’t read any of those mangas you named as the worst of 2011. In fact, I’ve never even heard of any of these. At least now I know what mangas to avoid reading in the future. I’m still having a hard time getting over the concept of Ghandi’s life as a manga. I wonder who thought that would be a good idea?
I wish I had my own worst manga ever read to add, but I tend to buy stuff I know I will enjoy reading. I’m also afraid to waste a good hour or so of my life on a bad manga volume.
Katherine Dacey saysDecember 30, 2011 at 12:48 pm
Hi, Christine! If I hadn’t been sent review copies of the books on this year’s list, there’s an excellent chance I wouldn’t have purchased any of them. I try to review a wide sampling of material, rather than concentrating only material I know I’ll like, as I’m sometimes pleasantly surprised by a book; Blue Exorcist, Cage of Eden, and Oresama Teacher are all examples of manga I didn’t think I’d enjoy, but turned out to be pretty entertaining. But your point is very well taken: what I buy and what I review don’t always overlap.
As for the Gandhi title, Penguin Books bought the rights to a series of bio-manga that had previously been released in English. The series also includes profiles of Che Guevara and the Dalai Lama, both of which were pretty bad, too. If you’re morbidly curious, you can find my reviews of those books here and here.
CJ saysDecember 30, 2011 at 6:56 am
Man, I haven’t read any of those either. Don’t think I will either. I don’t know if I’ve read anything so bad this year that I’d want to fly over to Japan to punch the mangaka in the face. Sure, I rented Ai Ore from the library, and yes, it was pretty bad, but it was pretty forgettable to me too, its bad taste didn’t stick in my mouth once I closed the book and petted my cat.
However, I did rent vol 1 of Black Bird this year. I stopped there, I just had to know how bad it was, and while vol 1 wasn’t offensively terrible, I got the feeling that if I read anymore, I might be getting on that plane. But what annoyed me more was that my friend’s sister works at the library and they’re allowed to put employee recs in books. She puts slips in Ai Ore, Black Bird, and Princess Ai and not in stuff like Twin Spica, FMA, Hikaru no Go, Bone, or anything else good. So I often take slips out of garbage and move them into Twin Spica and stuff. I don’t think she knows that I’m the one doing it, I think she’s noticed a few slips move around I’m sure, but it needs to be done! People need to know to read Twin Spica! I facepalm every time I’m in the library as a result of seeing where her slips are. So if I ever do want to read something hideously bad, I know all I have to do is find a manga she likes because I honestly can’t name anyone with worse taste than her.
Katherine Dacey saysDecember 30, 2011 at 12:52 pm
Hi, CJ! My librarian colleagues at Good Comics for Kids would applaud your efforts to steer readers towards Twin Spica, Hikaru no Go, Bone and other great titles; stuff like Black Bird doesn’t need any help from the circulation staff to find an audience, especially when it’s widely available in bookstores. Keep fighting the good fight!
DeBT saysJanuary 2, 2012 at 10:50 pm
As a fellow librarian enthusiasist who gets most of their comic reading business done there, I second Katherine’s praises at your attempts at broadening your clientelle’s reading material. We need more of your kind of people who’ll go through the dreck and slip in a few literary tidbits in to make the expereince more pleasurable. Some mindless fun can be enjoyable once in awhile, but that shouldn’t be the extent of our entertainment. Why limit ourselves to the schlocky pulp reads?
CJ saysJanuary 3, 2012 at 9:43 am
I don’t actually work at the library (though I certainly mooch manga off them), just when I stop in there, I can’t help but make sure Twin Spica has rec slips in it! And since the library carries multiple copies of some stuff, she’ll literally put a rec slip in every volume of Black Bird (not just every volume 1, every volume), it makes me gag. Since they put Black Bird in the adult section (my library has three manga sections, adult, teen, and kids), I move it to other manga in that section like anything Tezuka or Yoshinaga, Drunken Dream, Wandering Son, etc.
But since her terrible tastes are so obvious to anyone who is at all familiar with the titles she’s put slips into, I wonder if moving them makes people avoid said manga, though it certainly makes them stand out on the shelf more I suppose. I’m guessing I only notice because I actually know her (she is my friend’s little sister), and that no one else actually reads the name on the rec slip. All this talk makes me want to go over to the library right now actually. She told me she gets points or something for every rec’d book that gets checked out and the slip returned, so maybe it’s in the system and someone checking out Twin Spica 1 doesn’t give her anything, but I don’t really care because she shouldn’t be rewarded for someone checking out Ai Ore.
I think she messes up every so often and puts rec slips into Natsume’s Book of Friends, Emma (yes, my library still has Emma, yay!), and other actually good stuff (I leave those alone), makes me wonder if she’s capable of liking good manga or not sometimes.
P-chan saysJanuary 4, 2012 at 2:12 am
Rather than saying your friend’s sister simply has bad taste, it seems (to this complete outsider, anyway) that she simply likes super-girly romances. It’s not my place to say anything, but it might be a better idea to introduce her to better manga in genres she (and presumably other like-minded people) would enjoy. It may not fit your idea of what “good manga” is, but it would probably be more productive than just moving the slips every chance you get.
Good titles she might enjoy: Goong, Shinobi Life, Red River, Mars
Who knows? Maybe she’ll thank you buy putting a slip in Natsume’s Book of Friends all by herself.
Katherine Dacey saysJanuary 5, 2012 at 12:24 pm
Those are great recommendations for someone who likes romances! If CJ’s friend is willing to read manhwa, I’d add Full House and Bride of the Water God to the list. CPM released the first four volumes of Full House in print before going out of business, but Netcomics rescued the license and is completing the series online.
Kris saysDecember 31, 2011 at 7:52 pm
Tenjo Tenge would be on my list as well. After suffering through two volumes of it and writing rather angry reviews, I’m now passing the volumes on to one of my writers who is a fan. And he is so very welcome to them.
Ai Ore! Love Me would also be on my list, because everything about it makes me SO ANGRY. The last volume I read of it made me physically ill; I nearly vomited.
I can’t think of anything else right now that I just outright hated. There were a handful of other titles that I found exceptionally dull, but not so horrible as to make me boiling with rage. I’m actually delighted to say that I think I was more pleasantly surprised by titles this year than I was outraged. It’s just that the couple I got outraged over…I got REALLY outraged over.
Justin saysJanuary 1, 2012 at 2:31 am
Ouch. Despite the wealth of bad titles out there that you might have read, I wouldn’t think HOTD would have made the list. I guess I was hoping for the best, but I believe it was also one of the worst manga chosen at the SDCC manga panel if memory recalls, so my hopes dashed right there O.o
Aside from that, I haven’t heard of any of these titles aside from Tenjo Tenge. I have always avoided that manga for some reason…
Justin saysJanuary 1, 2012 at 2:32 am
Katherine Dacey saysJanuary 2, 2012 at 3:55 am
Hi, Justin! I know I’m in the minority about Highschool of the Dead, so it doesn’t surprise me that fans are saying, “Hey, what gives?” When I review manga, I pay a lot of attention to the artwork and the storytelling mechanics (how characters are introduced, how key plot details are revealed), and for me, HSofD didn’t measure up in either category. I also found the fan service so prevalent that it became a distraction from the actual storyline. I could say the same for some of the other books I read this year, but HSotD left the strongest impression on me. So that’s why I included it on my list.
As for the other books, I can say with confidence you didn’t miss much!
P-chan saysJanuary 4, 2012 at 2:20 am
Black Bird, Bakuman, and a seconding for Tenjo Tenge. I thought the censored version was bad enough.
My mother and I are both big manga fans, but as I get older our tastes seem to split more and more. I still can’t get her to read Shinobi Life, and I can’t stand that something like Black Bird is getting published when Viz could be putting out more volumes of Kaze Hikaru or rescuing Silver Diamond (or heck, licensing Tokyo Crazy Paradise).
Katherine Dacey saysJanuary 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm
Hear, hear! It pains me to see such long delays between volumes of Kaze Hikaru; I know it isn’t as flashy or risque as Black Bird or Vampire Knight, but it’s such a compelling story I’m sad it still hasn’t found the large, enthusiastic audience it deserves.
I’m also glad to hear I’m not the only one who didn’t like Bakuman. I checked out after one character told his wife that men have big, professional dreams that women couldn’t possibly understand. Oy vey.
Alex Hoffman saysJanuary 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm
Bakuman is one of my guilty pleasures – I like the information and goings-on in the business enough that I stomach some of the crap in the first few volumes. After the first three volumes, the misogyny tones down (and/or is actually punished) and so things are a bit more bearable.
Aaron saysJanuary 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm
This may be a dumb question but why was that offensive? Not saying it’s not I just don’t understand why and I’ve had several peole say that bugged them and I just don’t get why maybe I’m just woefully ignorant of things.
Katherine Dacey saysJanuary 7, 2012 at 4:39 pm
Aaron, I find it offensive that a man would tell a woman that she couldn’t understand what it means to have big professional dreams simply because she’s a woman. There are millions of women who’ve done just what the male characters in Bakuman are doing: pursuing an ambitious professional goal because it gives them a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
I didn’t earn two master’s degrees because I was bored—I did it because I had specific career I wanted to pursue. It was time consuming and challenging, but well worth the time and effort, as I’m now doing what I always dreamed of doing: teaching.
Aaron saysJanuary 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm
Oh okay thanks I’m not that “up” on what is or isn’t Sexist/Chauvenistic partially because I don’t know how you define those terms. But thanks for explaining why that was offensive to you because a lot of times I can read something and not really understand why someone else found something offensive not so much out of trying to defend a work but just because I don’t understand the criticism or my personal excperances give me another perspective (i.e. my experiences with Moe) sorry if this is alittle long and ramble but I think their’s been some misunderstandings in the past (mostly my part) so I’m just laying it out here but again when you write something it’s hard to express mood or tone so something that can be said in a holding or flippant manner can be taken more seriously than it’s intended to be. And with that a good day to you sorry for the wall o text LOL
macloud saysJanuary 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm
I had to review both volumes of Amnesia labyrinth – BOTH damn it!!
And yet I still cant believe that this is from Nagaru Tanigawa – what the hell happened?
From multi million Yen franchise and anime icon to….that.
Animefan34 saysApril 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm
Of course you don’t like AMNESIA LABYRINTH, HOTD and TENJO TENGE: They are aimed at men, and you want them to conform to American feminist standards, which is ridiculous. Why should they? They were made for male Japanese readers, not American Feminists. But even then, your complains are laughable and pathetic. With “critics” so bad as you, I’ll be sure to NEVER visit this site again. “Hall of shame inductees”? What a joke. After reading this, it should be “Katherine Dacey, wall of mediocrity inductee.”
Katherine Dacey saysApril 3, 2012 at 6:35 pm
No, I don’t expect these titles to conform to my “American feminist standards.” If I did, I wouldn’t have any patience with series like Strain, Sanctuary, or Lady Snowblood, all of which are written for male salarymen, and all of which I enjoyed immensely. I expect stories to be interesting, well-drawn, and entertaining, and Tenjo Tenge, Amnesia Labyrinth, and Highschool of the Dead are not. That their creators rely so heavily on poorly drawn fanservice, rape, incest, and gratuitous nudity suggests a paucity of imagination on their part, not prudery on mine.