I remember when I first discovered Miki Yoshikawa. I randomly stumbled on Yankee-kun to Megane-chan and I started reading it on the name alone. I really grew to love her comedic sensibilities, sexy characters of both genders, and ability to keep her series feeling fresh and vibrant. I was a little disappointed to learn that despite being an assistant to Hiro Mashima she did not really have a fanbase in the English speaking world. Jump ahead to 2015 and her latest work, Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, had its own TV anime, a US manga license, and enough of a fanbase to get Cruchyroll to bring her over for Anime Expo. In honor of the new found love for this manga-ka I decide to shine the spotlight on one her overlooked short works that people might have missed.
Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category
Prophecy (予告犯) by Tetsuya Tsutsui
Prophecy is a cat-and-mouse story of the vigilantly group Paper Man and the cyber-crimes unit of the Japanese police. Those Paper Man targets escalates from people spewing vitriol on messageboards to politicians in a complex plan of revenge and retribution.
Paper Man broadcasts videos prophesizing who they will dole out vengeance on. They frequently target those whose crimes are either unable to be punished by the law or those who have skirted it. With each passing act becoming public, more people tune-in and champion Paper Man. The path that led the men to form Paper Man unfolds over the course of the first volume as we watch them gain traction in the public eye of the present.
As the same time, we are following the newly formed police unit that focuses on the Internet-related crime as they try to take on the growing Paper Man threat. The team, lead by Ms. Yoshino, are quick thinkers with resolute determination but even they can’t fully keep themselves from becoming fascinated by Paper Man’s story.
Prophecy explores Internet fame and anonymity, power, and romanticizing the vigilantly in the new world of cyber-crime. Tetsuya Tsutsui presents a suspenseful story that deftly tackles a current-world technology but the heart of this tale of revenge is quiet and simple.
It really seems like there has been a Lupin renaissance lately. Lupin has always been popular. That is not in question. It has become staple of the anime landscape. Much like Doraemon or Sazae-san it is institution that always has some sort of yearly presence. The Castle of Cagliostro is still considered to be part of the essential part of the anime canon, the three Lupin TV series are fondly remembered classics (Lupin Part III less so), and the movies have been getting some extras heavy releases from Discotek Media. At the same time Lupin was increasingly been seen as a property whose best days were behind it. While old school fans had a distinct fondness for the series it was almost all nostalgia. The recent crop of TV specials are generally considered mediocre and Green vs. Red is almost universally reviled. Lupin seemed to be moving forward mostly thanks to momentum more than anything else.
Then came Lupin the 3rd: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. It was smart, sexy, challenging, and unpredictable. (Much like Fujiko herself.) It took the characters and reintroduced them in a manner closer to the original Monkey Punch manga while updating the overall style and storytelling. Not everyone loved The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. Some people did not like the ending, other people felt they changed Zenigata too much, whereas others felt the feminist message was a bit muddled. But the thing is people were talking again. Lupin was an active part of the English-speaking otaku conversation. It was no longer a museum piece or a Japanese oddity like Kochikame. When the new TV series was announced to come out this year it was anticipated like it was hot new property.
In between The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and the 2015 series was the film, Lupin the 3rd: Jigen’s Gravestone. It is not a full sequel to The Woman Called Fujiko Mine but more of a side story set in the same timeline that just happens to be set after the TV series. As it just started streaming on Hulu we decided to see if this is a worthy follow-up to Fujik or if it is something you should ignore until the full adventures of the blue jacket Lupin is unveiled.
Truth be told, I like Lupin the 3rd but I haven’t seen a whole ton of the catalog. I am familiar with the big stuff like The Castle of Cagliostro and I have seen a few specials and TV episodes over the years. I’ve also watched the Lupin the 3rd VS. Detective Conan installments because of course! And I fell in love with The Woman Named Fujiko Mine. I just dip my toe into the Lupin franchise now and again and usually enjoy myself.
It was only a mater of time before I got a proper Type-Moon manga in the Manga of the Month. (I did Take Moon but that is a total joke manga). The only problem is most of the manga based on Type-Moon properties are lesser adaptations of the works they are based on. The Tsukihime manga is far better than the infamous anime but that is faint praise indeed. I enjoy the various Melty Blood related manga but I’m not sure I would put any of them in this section any time soon. Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA is Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA. Yeah. So it is nice to get a full-fledged Type-Moon related manga in here without any guilt.
I will admit that I have only read the first chapter as of writing this post but given Fate/Strange Fake’s pedigree, what I saw of the chapter that has been translated, and the additional information I know let me be fairly confident in making it a Manga of the Month. Just in case it does all fall part in the end I will apologize in advance but so far so good.