Hello Manga Bookshelf readers! Between a sudden wave of blogger/contributor illnesses and Kate’s recent departure, we’re running a bit lean on the Manga Bookshelf roster this week. So let’s chat amongst ourselves, shall we?
As 2012 begins to wind down, a blogger’s thoughts are filled with one thing and one thing only: end-of-the-year lists and roundups. Here at Manga Bookshelf, we can (and probably will) jabber on about our favorite this and our top ten that, as thoroughly and as often as possible.
Looking back in preparation for the roundup onslaught, I can see that I spent my year reading BL at JManga, test driving the DMG, questioning Apple’s content policies, falling unexpectedly in love with Eikichi Onizuka, finally reading Loveless, indulging in hatred, saying tearful goodbyes to Fullmetal Alchemist and 13th Boy, fawning over old shoujo, experimenting with video, and geeking out on CLAMP.
But as I ponder my fannish activities over the past year, I have to admit it’s pretty insular. With such a wide variety of voices available both here and in the wider manga blogosphere, I’m free to let my tastes drive my own content—and it’s clear that they do. So with that in mind, I find that what I’m most interested in now is what you’ve been doing in 2012.
What have been the fannish highlights of your year? Profound moments? Favorite fandoms? Favorite fans? We can talk anime, manga, western comics—If you’ve had a fannish year, I want to hear about it!
Come forth and share!
CJ saysNovember 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm
It can mostly be summed up with one series: Twin Spica.
First off, the series ended in March in the US. I went over to Facebook to gush to Vertical for how awesome they were for getting and finishing this series, only to get the news that it sold poorly and would go OOP in the near future. This wasn’t just the best series I’d read in 2012, but in quite some time, it instantly tied with Hikaru no Go for my third favorite manga of all time! So I spread the word and got at least 6 other people to trust my judgement and blind buy the series, only for every one of them to come back and tell me how awesome I am for telling them to buy it! And come this time this year, volume 11 is already going for $70+ on Amazon and the other volumes are dropping like flies. It’s just such an injustice that Black Bird sells well.
I know the series was well received with the critic community, it’s just such a shame that it didn’t translate to the general public. It was one of those series I thought I would never see in the US, and after finishing the anime years back (which ended with no real conclusion as the manga was still ongoing), I always wanted to read the manga. Though with a series this awesome, you don’t just read it, you experience it, and it is a fantastic experience at that! That future generations probably won’t be able to experience while Black Bird will stay in print.
Angela Eastman saysNovember 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm
Oh, Twin Spica. Bookstores near me stopped carrying it, so I began ordering it online. The new book would come in and I would just sit down on the nearest clear spot and not move until I was done. I keep it proudly on my shelf. I wish everyone would read it.
Myrah saysNovember 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm
I am deeply regretting not buying the series as it came out now. I have the first half, but those last six look like they are going to be expensive.
cathy saysNovember 9, 2012 at 9:13 pm
Lol, well if anyone lives in Toronto some of the Indigo stores still have random volumes. WBB does for sure, though not a complete run. It’s actually sad to see it on the shelf and not really be able to recommend it to people because the beginning and very end of the series is missing.
I jumped on the Twin Spica train just as the last volume was published. (I admit I waited until the series was almost over because I’m tired of getting burned by companies dropping titles.) Had to go to 3 comic stores for one or two volumes but I’m really really happy that I got them when I did. And my buying went along the lines of: “oh there’s a sale so I’ll get the first five.” Next day: had to go back for all my comic store had. Next day: trolling Toronto finding the missing few volumes. Then I sat down and read it and cried like a little girl. :)
Angela Eastman saysNovember 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm
For me, my fannish highlight isn’t a manga or a comic, it’s a cartoon. Adventure Time. Oh man. I’ve loved this show since it before it started, and the constant hints about a wider plot kept me invested, but for the first year and a half-ish it didn’t really matter much to me if I missed episodes. Then around this time last year they had the Fionna and Cake episode, and I was in complete shock (delighted shock) that an American children’s show was having fun with gender-bending. It was fantastic.
Then this year the show just poured out episodes with so much plot and character development—Fire Princess, Marceline and her dad, Lady and Jake’s babies. Then “I Remember You” aired. It completely blew my mind and shot my fan love for the series through the roof. Thanks to this past year I am officially obsessed with this series.
CJ saysNovember 8, 2012 at 2:09 pm
I’m late to the party on this one, I only really discovered it in the past year, and haven’t seen many eps for season 1 and 2 (though I did buy the DVD for season 1), so I probably jumped in on the tail end of season 3. and it is just so awesome to see the plot slowly unfold! I love how something will happen, then part will happen like 5 eps later (like with young Princess Bubblegum), I feel like most series would put all parts 1 and 2 together, but not Adventure Time, and it’s part of why it’s so awesome! And watching season 1 for the first time, I’m seeing that snail and the worms everywhere, and they didn’t do anything until seasons 3 and 4! But I’m behind, I don’t think I’ve seen “I Remember You” yet.
Angela Eastman saysNovember 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm
“I Remember You” is one of the more recent episodes, it aired a few weeks ago. It ties in with some things that you learn in “Holly Jolly Secrets” and, if you’re paying attention, “Memory of a Memory”.
One of the things that’s actually pretty spectacular about rewatching the first couple of seasons is seeing all of the things that they hinted at without being obvious that they were hinting at it. So many things came up in passing, just a picture or one sentence in a whole episode, that really build up to the big plot reveals that have been coming lately. For example, pay attention to mentions of the Mushroom War.
Travis saysNovember 9, 2012 at 3:04 am
Yes omg! Adventure Time is so great! Though Gravity Falls is my favorite new cartoon. (Actually, it’s my favorite new show, period. It is so awesome. *_*)
Angela Eastman saysNovember 11, 2012 at 7:30 pm
I love Gravity Falls, too. I don’t think it has the same amount of depth that Adventure time secretly has, but I love it’s weirdness and crazy jokes that just barely push the line. Hopefully Disney Chanel proves to be a good home for it and it doesn’t get itself cancelled…
Myrah saysNovember 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm
Fannish highlight of the year for me was getting to take Introduction to Fandom Studies in Spring term and hang out with all the other geeky kids on campus. As an added bonus, I got to write an ethnography on the very interesting Nabari no Ou fandom.
This was also the year I finally got a Tumblr, so there’s that too.
Oh, and FMA finishing its run in the US was super exciting for me. I love seeing it all on my shelf. This was also the year I FINALLY finished buying all of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster. Now I need to try to get the second half of Twin Spica before it ALL becomes $70+ on Amazon.
Angela Eastman saysNovember 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm
Try Alibris, too, I think most of the books are going for a not ridiculous rate: http://www.alibris.com/
Lee saysNovember 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm
1) DRM-free options. As a BL reader, I think the biggest/best thing this year has been to see SuBLime, and more recently DMI, come out with DRM-free PDF options (or maybe “DRM-lite” would be more accurate, since they are watermarked). This seems like a groundbreaking development in a climate where readers across all genres are beginning to understand and react against the severely restrictive nature of DRM and platform limitations in e-reading.
2) Timely access to current manga. I’m thrilled that something like the second volume of It Started With a Kiss will be released in English only 6 months after the Japanese tankoban. It’s not same day releases, but it’s better than the usual lag-time of years we’re accustomed to — and hate — in BL.
3) Something for the older audience. It seems like more titles for sophisticated and mature (i.e., older) BL readers are being released. Off the top of my head I’m thinking Punch Up from Sublime, and Ike Reibun’s Hide and Seek from DMG. Future releases include Embracing Love, and works from Nishida Higashi and Matsuo Maata. (And ok it’s bara, not BL, but I’m really looking forward to Picture Box’s Tagame release). In Japan BL is like for tweens/teens, but it’s been around so long now that some readers are outgrowing the kawaii middle school stories (not that some of those aren’t great too), and it’s nice to see publishers keep up.
My biggest disappointment is that ANOTHER year has gone by without Setona Mizushiro’s Cornered Mouse/Carp books being licensed. Like Tagame, they’ve been published in several European languages. Since they were originally published as josei, maybe there’s no clear publishing home for them in the US? I have no idea, but I guess there’s always hope for next year.
cathy saysNovember 9, 2012 at 9:07 pm
I love Sublime! I have most of what they’ve put out. I bought a tablet specifically to read more graphic novels electronically, but I’m not jumping through hoops buying points and I’m not spending money on anything I need to be online to read. It’s on my computer or I don’t pay. So I’ve been paying attention to what’s been happening with companies like JManga, but I’m not jumping in just yet.
Lee saysNovember 10, 2012 at 7:34 pm
I feel the same about SuBLime! I’m not into points, and hate having to be online to read, also was not happy with the one DMI title I bought for kindle (and de-DRMed). I’m also really not interested in a bunch of different apps to read different companies’ manga.
DMI’s PDFs, currently available through WOWIO and a couple other places, are alright, but a little pricier and not as good quality as SuBLime’s. I saw a twitter conversation where they said they hope to present higher-quality PDFs when they revamp emanga, so we’ll see.
Travis saysNovember 9, 2012 at 3:10 am
I think my favorite new discovery this year was Arakawa Hiromu’s Silver Spoon. I knew for some time that she had a new series out, but despite being a huge FMA fan, I was very meh about this new series. A farming school in Hokkaido? Eh, not for me. Or so I thought! When I finally decided to give it a try, I was immediately hooked! It’s both hilarious and heartwarming, and of course the art is wonderful. At this point, I think I may actually like it more than FMA. Or maybe just differently. While FMA had humor and heartwarmingness, sure, it was mostly action and mystery. Silver Spoon, on the other hand, is a slice-of-life school story.
Considering how popular FMA is in the US, I’m hopeful this will get licensed, too, even if slice-of-life school stories are not usually a big genre here.
Melinda Beasi saysNovember 9, 2012 at 11:19 am
I am really hoping Viz will bring this out (since it’s Shogakukan). I don’t know how well Shonen Sunday titles do over here, but I’d like to see this one more than any other.
Travis saysNovember 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm
Well, most of Takahashi Rumiko’s stuff is Shonen Sunday, as is Case Closed, but I’m not sure about anything else. It’s not a magazine I tend to read too much from myself. I think the biggest factor Silver Spoon has going for it is author name recognition, though the fact that it’s a totally different genre is a point against it. Still, I think it has a better chance than it would if it were a lesser known author.
Angela Eastman saysNovember 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm
That’s good to hear! I love FMA, but I couldn’t get hooked on Hero Tales. I would be very surprised if this didn’t get printed in English.
Sara K. saysNovember 9, 2012 at 10:12 am
I think it’s pretty obvious to anybody who reads ‘It Came From the Sinosphere’ what my fannish exploits this year have been. I think I’ve read exactly one book in English this year, and it was non-fiction (and the only comics I read in English these days are webcomics).
Seriously though, actually being able to read/listen to Chinese well enough to seriously sink myself into Chinese-language media is like discovering a whole library full of wonderful little gems I had no idea existed before (not that everything is a gem … but that’s life).