Manga of the Month: 87 Clockers

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.

Continue reading

A Chapter a Day Keeps the Doctor Away Bonanza: Pimp My PC

chday_titlecard

hisui_icon_4040 A Chapter a Day Keeps the Doctor Away is my little video series were I look at a chapter of manga everyday and give a few thoughts on what I read. This is a roundup of what I have recorded this week on the blog so you can just pick what you want to listen to from a convenient list.

A Chapter a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: Introduction

This week’s selections:

87 Clockers Ch.001
Claymore Ch.146
Hayate the Combat Butler Ch.435
March Comes in Like a Lion Ch.001
Zettai Karen Children Ch.369

Ongoing Investigations: Case #202

narutaki I checked out the new WSJ USA title World Trigger. In it our world has come in contact with another dimension which spills out monsters (known as “neighbors”) who begin wreaking havoc. But an organization named Border suddenly appears with the technology to fight them claiming they’ve been training for this for years. The world settles into a routine of monster attacks but with relative normal life surrounding it.

Osamu, a high school student who is picked on, lives in the city which Border headquarters resides in. He befriends the new and odd transfer student Yuma. As you might imagine Yuma has something to do with Border. He has a rather carefree attitude and doesn’t shy away from the bullies at school.

Yuma reminded me a bit of Allen from D.Gray Man with his look, his power manifestation, and his pet. Osamu did surprise me a bit at then end which gave the story a boost.

I found the first chapter a bit unremarkable otherwise. The fight nor the monsters nor the powers have distinguished themselves yet. But it certainly seems worthy of following to see where it leads for at least a little while.

sep-manga

The first 2 chapters of 87 Clockers reinforces the idea that you can make a manga about anything if you are clever enough. This time Tomoko Ninomiya’s is tackling the topic of overclocking PCs. Which after writing Nodame Cantabile it is a bit of an unexpected change in subject manner. That is not to say that Ninomiya has completely forgotten about classic music because the main character is a violinist. I have to wonder if the protagonist is a violinist because Ninomiya is just that much of a musical aficionado or because she wanted to create a link for her fans to a rather obscure subject with a hook that ties into her blockbuster title. Not that the answer would make or break my enjoyment of the series. I’m just glad to see Ninomiya writing a new manga. It is just an interesting question.

87 Clocker centers around Kanade Ichinose who is an amazingly passive guy. He is currently studying the violin and is good enough to get by with great grades but nothing in his life has sparked his interest. He goes out of his way to avoid conflict so he has never really lost but at the same time he has never done any better than marginally better than acceptable. But when he meets a strange girl named Hana standing barefoot outside in the cold he unexpectedly finds himself seduced both by her beauty and drawn into her world of overclocking.

You don’t get much geekier than a manga about modify computer hardware to make it go faster in a competitive setting without making a manga about abacus tournaments or Star Trek trivia contests. So far the first two chapters mostly introduce the idea of the manga and don’t get too much into technical talk. But I can feel the pages wanting to explode out like a particularly wordy chapter of Initial D. When Kanade and Hana go to Akihabara the hardware talk starts to get serious but so far it is not a tech manual packed into a single page but more just color for the story of the characters. How long that continues is something to be seen.

The main thrust of the story seems to be Kanade’s growth from a herbivore male to someone with passion and ambition. The fact that he is perusing Hana romantically at all is a sign that there is still something left in side him that can change. Presumably getting into the world of overclocking will show him his inner strength. At first he is totally gung-ho about Hana when he thinks she is this wilting flower that needs to be saved. Then he is nearly heartbroken when he thinks she is dating her roommate.  But then Hana says that Mike is not her boyfriend Kanade is reinvigorated. Part of me wants it to be revealed that her roommate, is her fiancée or husband. I think a forbidden romance would be wonderful. Just not enough scandalous romances in manga.

Hana is a strange character. At first she seems like Mike’s clueless assistant. Sort of the girlfriend who participates in her boyfriends hobby but is hardly an expert. But the second chapter reveals that Hana is just as knowledgeable as Mike. I really hope that Hana grows as a competent female character. One of the best parts about Nodame Cantabile was that Nodame was a genius. She was always very odd but her talent was undeniable. Hana has the ability to be just a great. I hope her potential as a character is more than just a love interest.

The only problem with 87 Clockers is that is pretty much licensing poison. If the infinitely more assessable Nodame Cantabile was bomb in English I can’t see this burning up the charts. Maybe someone like JManga would give it a shot but I would not hold my breath.

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching and reading outside of our main posts on the blog. We each pick three things that we were interested in a week and talk a bit about them. There is often not much rhyme or reason to what we pick. They are just the most interesting things we saw since the last Ongoing Investigation.

Continue reading