Archive for the ‘Manga of the Month’ Category

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Manga of the Month: 87 Clockers

July 4, 2014

87 Clockers (87超频者) by Tomoko Ninomiya

hisui_icon_4040 There are several web sites devoted solely to telling you if Abe Vigoda is alive or not. He has been reported as dead by several major news sources over the years to the point that is has become a running joke. In a way I feel 87 Clockers needs the same sort of treatment. I swear I keep thinking this series is getting canceled. When Nanatsuya: Shinobu’s Jewel Box was announced I assumed it was because 87 Clockers was over. It turns out  Tomoko Ninomiya is just doing two monthly manga at the same time. Then recently that Jump Kai, the magazine that 87 Clockers runs in, was announced to be ending in October. 87 Clockers will probably be moved to another Shueisha magazine but that is still something that was me worried. Overall it is not a series I ever hear anyone talking about so it is easy for me to assume it has gone the way of the dodo. With the latest Jump Kai scare I decided to talk a little about the series in hopes of changing that.

If nothing else 87 Clockers stands out in the realm of competitive sport manga. And this is a field that has titles like Chihayafuru and Yakitate!! Japan it is not simple to do.

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Manga of the Month: A Silent Voice

June 20, 2014

A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima

narutaki_icon_4040 How long should one punish themselves something they did as a child?

Ishida is an ex-bully, who became bullied himself during elementary school, who has now isolated himself as he drifts through high school life.

Shoko is the girl Ishida and his classmates bullied due to her hearing impairment.

Ishida seeks Shoko out, all these years later, in order to apologize before ending his life. But when he does, he suddenly finds himself making a meaningful human connection and that snowballs into another connection and another and another all which change his outlook.

Despite how serious all of that sounds, and by all means A Silent Voice is thoughtful in the burdens all of its characters carry, the series creates people who aren’t simply downtrodden.

The beginning of the series is an angering and painful few chapters as you watch Ishida and his friends bully Shoko. It is kind of hard to believe that you will empathize, believe in, love Ishida.

But you will.

This series is lovely and brilliant; poignant and surprising. There is light and hope in the series in such unexpected ways. Each character has darkness lurking, but the series creates fully realized characters that are more than a sum of their problems. The ability to connect so fully with Ishida is testament to the writing. The people from Ishida’s past, and his mistakes and how he deals with them, are incredibly complex. It isn’t so easy to dismiss people or to rebuild your life, and it is doubly hard for a boy who doesn’t truly believe he deserves better.

A Silent Voice is a hopeful, buoyant story about changing, forgiving, and accepting yourself and others that doesn’t runaway from creating characters with very real problems.

~ kate

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Manga of the Month: Yurikuma Arashi

May 1, 2014

hisui_icon_4040 On a certain level I think most of us enjoy the idea of being an early adopter when it comes to any form of entertainment. You want to be the person who learns of a title first so you can show all your friends what is cool. It also lets you present them with a title that is free from a good deal of preconceptions that fandom can attach to a property while making sure a title does not have a backlog to get through to be caught up on. The biggest barrier to hooking anyone on One Piece is the 745+ chapter/643+ episode Mount Everest sized wall to climb to gain entry alongside all the fan baggage that comes with that. It can be a hard sell.

Now recommending a new title that is still in production has its own flaws. We have all been burned by a concept that starts off with seemingly unlimited possibility that degrades into an utter mess. That is a risk with putting forth any bleeding edge ongoing title. No one wants to champion the series that dies in a horrible death spiral.

But when everything works out in that wonderful high risk/high reward formula you seem like a hero. So I’m giving you the chance to be a hero in your little section of fandom by telling you about Yurikuma Arashi before it hopefully explodes. There is only one chapter out so you can be right on the ground level for this series. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Manga of the Month: Orange

April 1, 2014

Orange (オレンジ) by Ichigo Takano

narutaki_icon_4040 This was the first title on the Crunchyroll Manga subscription that was on my “most wanted” list. It takes off from a common idea: what if you could tell your high school self some important information and change the future. In this case, Naho receives a mysterious letter in the mail from her future self which quickly proves itself to be real by predicting the events of that day perfectly. A new student arrives, Kakeru, who instantly becomes a part of Naho’s group of friends. But the letter warns Naho that Kakeru will not make it to his 18th birthday and begs her to prevent this from happening.

“From here on in, please make Kakeru happy
as often as you can.

I’m sure that’s what will save him.”

There is a darkness, a sadness, in Kakeru after his mother’s suicide, which we learn happened on his first day of transferring to the new school. He hints at his pain and his smile is always melancholy but he never opens up. That is he doesn’t in the past that Naho is reading about, but slowly she starts to gain the confidence to ask Kakeru about his life and his feelings. Along with her friends she might just be able to pull him back from the brink.

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