Manga of the Month: Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer (パ惑星のさみだれ) by Satoshi Mizukami

hisui_icon_4040_round The title of manga is often the series first foot forward. Much like a beautiful cover or a striking character design the title has the ability to catch a reader’s imagination in an instant. Most titles are functional with maybe a little hook. Just looking at the top manga on My Anime List you find titles like Berserk,  Fullmetal Alchemist,  Monster, One Piece, Slam Dunk that are all slightly descriptive and mildly intriguing but rely much more on their art work and plot description to draw people in. None of those titles hurt their respective series but they also don’t do any sort of heavy lifting. Then you have the infamous super lengthy light novel title that spells out the premise in almost press release levels of detail. I just linked to an article about some of the longer ones because body has time for a list of four of them. Those titles are the very essence of does exactly what is on the tin.

 In contrast Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure almost demands that you pick up the series just to see what it is about. It only gives you the vaguest idea what the series is about and piques all but the dullest curiosity. Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer is one of those titles as well. You have a Judeo-Christian fallen angel and a device for making mochi. Not two things you normally associate with each other. It is a title that invites anyone who see a volume at least a reason to give it a second glance. You probably want to at least know the general plot if nothing else.

I had actually heard about Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer several years back. It was generally one of those titles that had a small but vocal fanbase that usually would throw it out as a series that needed to get licensed. The passion of the fans mixed with the memorable title definitely kept it as something I should remember. When I saw that my local library had the complete series I felt it was finally time to see what everyone had been talking about. I truly think that if the title has been less memorable I might have not had anywhere as strong an inclination to read this series which would have been quite the shame.

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Manga of the Month: Giant Killing

Giant Killing by Masaya Tsunamoto and Tsujitomo

narutaki_icon_4040_round Ah, to return to Giant Killing is quite a thrill! And one I never expected to have for a long (43 books and counting) serious soccer manga.

I say serious not because the manga is terribly gritty but because Giant Killing is about more than just the players vying for a championship. The story tackles characters in every facet of the sport: coach, player, manager, owner, PR coordinator, reporter, fans young and old. This panoramic view of the soccer scene is what makes the series so intriguing.

Giant Killing’s basic plot sounds like a classic: washed-up team is revitalized by new unconventional coach who previously betrayed the team many years before when he was their star player. Coach Tatsumi brings a lot of baggage and drama into the lives he upends by returning to his former team. But he is good at what he does, is smart, and has enough charm to make it work.

Shifting the focus to the coach already makes Giant Killing feeling a little bit different from many other sports manga we’ve had the chance to experience in English. Then the series does one better and spreads the focus to so many other characters which makes it a standout.

~ kate

Manga of the Month: Paradise Residence

Paradise Residence (パラダイスレジデンス) by Kosuke Fujishima

hisui_icon_4040_round I want to do something a little different with this Manga of the Month. Normally we use this spot to bring a little attention to a series that we think is very good but maybe is not getting the attention it deserves. Or maybe we just want to gush about a series that we love. With the large amount of manga that comes out, it can be a very valuable to have someone to curate a manga library for you and we try to make some important sections. But that can be a very passive presentation. I wanted to try to try to engage everyone’s critical brain this month but also adding a bit of a project alongside my pick.

This month’s pick is Paradise Residence by the author of Oh My Goddess!Continue reading