Archive for the ‘Manga of the Month’ Category

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Manga of the Month: GTO – Paradise Lost

September 2, 2014

GTO – Paradise Lost (GTO パラダイス・ロスト)
by Tohru Fujisawa

hisui_icon_4040 He’s back because there are always new delinquents that need a lesson from teacher.

Tohru Fujisawa’s career really took off with Shonan Junai Gumi. (Unless Adesugata Junjou Boy was some sort of critically acclaimed masterwork that no one ever talks about in the US.) In Shonan Junai Gumi we find Eikichi Onizuka and Ryuji Danma as two rough and tumble bikers trying to lose their virginity while fighting the worst delinquents in Japan. The series was popular enough that it got spun off into a sequel series, called GTO, where Onizuka becomes a teacher and Danma makes some guest appearances. While Shonan Junai Gumi was popular it never even dreamed of being the smash hit that GTO was. Since GTO ended Tohru Fujisawa has drawn other manga like Rose Hip Rose and Animal Man, just been the writer on manga like Eyaminokami – The Plague Princess and Shonan Seven, and even tried to spin-off other Shonan Junai Gumi characters into stand alone manga like Danma and Saejima Despite all of that in the end it seems like the character he always come back to is Onizuka.

If you remember GTO Shonan 14 Days was a Manga of the Month on the blog all the was back in 2011 but it was technically not a sequel. It is actually a side story that improbably takes place in two of the weeks between the penultimate and final chapter of the original GTO manga. But this time we get the true continuation of Onizuka’s mythos.

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Manga of the Month: The Heroic Legend of Arslan

August 4, 2014

The Heroic Legend of Arslan (アルスラーン戦記)
by Hiromu Arakawa and Yoshiki Tanaka

narutaki_icon_4040 Finally, the first volume is coming out in print in August! So it is a perfect time to talk up this epic fantasy from the creator of Full Metal Alchemist, based on the novel series from the author of Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

Young Prince Arslan, adept with a sword but more of a thinker, is the son of an undefeated warrior king. The king and queen look upon their son with coldness and disappointment. But when the country is overtaken by a neighboring theocracy after a disastrous battle, everyone’s fate is in Arslan’s hands as he and a few loyal retainers plot to retake their homeland.

Much like in Legend of the Galactic Heroes, the rivals in this series are more of tacticians than soldiers. And much like LotGH there is a huge cast of fascinating characters, many more bad-ass than the next.

The story is based in part on Persian myth which gives a twist on the typical fantasy setting we’re used to seeing.

Ms. Arakawa’s precision in action and anatomy really shines in this series. From grandiose, and graphic, battle scenes to the horses character’s ride, her artwork is perfectly suited to pages of intrigue and war.

Politics and action blend together in Heroic Legend of Arslan to create a sweeping fantasy everyone should be reading.

~ kate

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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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