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Fang-tan’s Big Shoujo Jamboree

I can’t think of a more appropriate time to finally finish and post this than Valentine’s. I actually wanted to post this before Christmas but I got so bogged down that I kind of forgot about it. And good thing! Because I read a ton more stuff in that time.

There’s actually an order. My favourite to least favourite. And a separate category for stuff that is licensed and available in North America since supporting the creators and the industry is a good thing I guess yeah.
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The Mystery of Oninagi (and Final Impressions?)

Oninagi Volume 4

I’m doing a post about Oninagi after all these years not because Oninagi is particularly good or anything. No, it’s painfully average despite it’s cool artstyle. No, it’s because Oninagi is a series that Yen Press had shrouded in mystery. It’s just that I thought that I would never own volume four and even when that finally happened, it wasn’t even normal.

It was a mystery that puzzled me for years. This was around the time of Del Ray going under so I have many unfinished series in my collection now but it was always this one that was most puzzling. Why did Yen Press suddenly stop publishing it? On the last volume, at that.

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12 Days of Anime: #01 – Days Gone Bye

I went with a Walking Dead reference because I couldn’t for the life of me, think of a better reference from The Stand (I tried). The fact that this has any reason why it would NEED a reference from The Stand is reason enough alone for it to be on the list this year. Incidentally, look forward to my kickstarter in 2015 to fund an adaption of The Stand with Marina Inoue as Frances, Yuki Kaiji as Stu and Junichi Sawabe as Larry. Do you think we’ll ever see an anime with Stephen King’s name attached? That would be wild.

Anyways, The Stand only is only referenced twice in Gakkou Gurashi. Once is blatant, with one of the characters reading the actual book when they’re first introduced. The other is that a big company involved with the zombamby outbreak is called the Randall Corporation, a reference to the villain of said book. It’s not because of these things (even though I love the book and it’s the only thing I like by King) that this is on my list, however.

It’s because Gakkou Gurashi is so damn good.

Gakkou Gurashi sounds like it should be awful. It sounds like it should be some how worse than Highschool of the Dead. Cute girls doing cute things while surrounded by zombies? Yeah, how could that be good. And sure, you know what, yeah there are times when the series dips into the realm of ridiculousness by actually having the girls do cute silly activites but this only serves to make the many, many dark moments so much more striking and brutal.

There aren’t any details on when the anime is coming out (which is the whole reason I read this in the first place so many months ago) but if you don’t plan on reading it before hand, stay well away from spoilers. There are so many amazing twists and turns in this story that it would be such a damned shame to have them ruined without experiencing them in either the anime or reading them.

Discovering and reading Gakkou Gurashi was definitely a highlight of the year for me. It’s surprising, intense and full of despair. If you want a zombie story that’s more like 28 Days Later rather than The Walking Dead, one that focuses on the mental wearing down of survivors and features the rarely seen (at least in my experience) perspective of someone who became a zombie, you absolutely cannot go wrong with this fantastic series.

Teppu (chapters) 1-28

There is one sports series I really, really like. Chihayafuru. I love Chihayafuru. I haven’t yet read the manga but perhaps I will, one day, when it finishes. Assuming we’re living in the very sad world where a third season really doesn’t happen.

This is perhaps the opposite of Chihayafuru. In terms of sports and main characters.

Well Chihaya is a josei and this is a seinen so there are those differences there and even ignoring the different sports, Natsuo and Chihaya are total opposites.

But I brought that series up for a reason. I thought it was interesting that the two sports series I ended up liking feature two unconventional sports. Keep your cycling and basketball manga, I’ll take the good karuta and mma stuff.

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Mahou Tsukai no Yome (chapters) 1-9

I think I went into this expecting too much. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great. Not as great as I had hoped, anyways. As someone who has visited the 人外×少女 tag on pixiv for a long time (and as expected there is a TON of this series in it now), I thought the idea of a series that was this tag embodied would be pretty awesome! So I guess that’s just why my expectations were so dang high.

But hey I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. Nine chapters isn’t very much, after all.

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Gakkou Gurashi! Chapters 1-25 Impressions

It’s not often I write about any of the manga I read. Recently, I’ve finished Oyasumi Punpun, continued reading Koe no Katachi and started reading Inside Mari online. In real life, I finished reading the Ouran books. While I enjoy all of those in different ways, something completely unexpected caught my eye.

Bored with the selections summer and fall seemed to offer, I had a peek at the TBA section on Anichart. There were only a few things I was looking forward to (besides Girls Work because that is never coming out) and I rolled my eyes at the start of this description until I got to the zombie part. It had seemed like another “cute girls doing cute things at a vague sounding club”. Except here its with the twist that they’re survivors of a zombie apocalypse and the only ones left alive in the school.

I was amazed at such a premise! I always want more zombie anime, so much that I sat through the godawful Highschool of the Dead when it aired years ago. And so out of morbid curiosity I started reading the manga because I was just too excited (and after all, there’s very few details about the anime currently).

Though I must say that whatever I was expecting… it was not this and it was certainly not this good.

(Spoilers for the first 25 chapters)

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12 Days of Anime: #04 – The Shape of Voice

Koe no Katachi

I try to stay away from one-shot stories because sometimes they end up really good with interesting characters that you want to see more of but, well, no, that’s the end of it. Because of that no matter how interesting the story sounds (perhaps ESPECIALLY if it sounds that interesting) I don’t read them. This is an exception though since at the time, absolutely everyone was raving about it. It’s highly likely I might have even read the original Koe no Katachi one shot in 2012 but it wasn’t until the summer of 2013 that an actual series happened.

It doesn’t manage to completely evoke the emotion that the one shot did (maybe because it was so short?) but I adored the original so much that I love this one as well. It fleshes the characters out in new, unexpected ways. Ending up a little darker than I had imagined (but since Punpun ruined me, nothing to really blink at as well).

While Koe no Katachi might not be one of those oneshots that I was vying for more of, it’s still a refreshing, bittersweet story that I love. So even if it didn’t need to be continued, I’m still anticipating where these two characters might go. From what I’ve heard, the series hasn’t been doing so bad either. Would hoping for an adaption one day be too unlikely? I don’t know if I’d be able to handle that but my excitement would never end.

Yen Press licenses Madoka Magica, Soul Eater Not!

I feel the insesinant need to comment whenever Yen Press licenses something to my liking. The North American market for manga has been in a dismal state since Tokyopop closes and I found little I wanted to read anymore. (Goddammit Del Ray) So with news of Tokyopop trying to get their act together (which is, if I can be really honest, annoying and almost unwelcome from me. They already lost their licenses and so now plenty of less popular books will never be finished) and this, I am pretty impressed.

I was planning on reading Soul Eater Not after finally finishing the anime series a few weeks ago (and learning what really goes down in the manga) when I heard Not was sort of yuribait. Well yuribait is frustrating but in my stylish shounen? I’ll accept it this time. I need to start reading the actual Soul Eater manga once again (I’m only on volume two or three) but I will def be picking this one up.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica is an almost unsurprising choice. Yen Press knows what is popular in ways Tokyopop didn’t. I couldn’t really imagine TP picking this up anyways. I have read this, anyways. Say what you will about the manga but the art is great, Walpurgis’s minions being the other puella magi that Homura knew was a GREAT addition I wish they would have done in the show for MAXIMUM EMOTIONAL IMPACT, and twintail Homura at the end is the cutest thing in the world. I don’t want to meet the person who doesn’t think post-Madoka twintail-Homura is the cutest thing ever. While it is only three volumes and nearly a word for word adaption of the anime series, I will also be picking this one up. Hopefully this leads them to also release Kazumi (which I started reading and is pretty bland and stupid) and Oriko (which I haven’t read but love Kirika) or even possible the light novel adaption. There is another anthology in the works, though, and that is what I hope would be published first. Given how they milk Higurashi (so will they license Umineko when Higurashi is done) and more specifically, Haruhi, it seems that if sales are well enough we won’t really have to wonder about the Madoka spinoffs getting licensed at all.

This is where Yen Press gets clever. Alice in the Country of Hearts was a Tokyopop license that I loved they lost. Instead of releasing the volumes in order, they’re releasing three ominibuses so readers like myself can’t pick up the last book that Tokyopop didn’t have a chance to release. I’m undeiced here. I love the series but since I already have all of the Tokyopop books, I don’t want to buy them all again. On the other hand, my collection is incomplete and I’d sort of like to finish this incarnation of Heart no Kuni.

 

K-ON, Suzumiya Haruhi-chan Manga Licensed

Yen Press has announced that it has licensed the K-ON, Suzumiya Haruhi-chan, and Delicious Foods manga series along with the Bungaku Shoujo light novel series. Surprisingly, the light novel will release before each of the manga series in July. The first volume of each manga will appear in October and Novemeber (respectively).

I’m really pumped about Bungaku Shoujo. I read some of it already and thought it was great. I’m sure a lot of people are a little iffy (well if you didn’t care about the series to begin with, you probably weren’t upset) because of the whole Spice and Wolf fiasco but I have faith. My Spice and Wolf novel finally arrived from RightStuf and I am just too excited to start reading it. The dust jacket is great too. But I’m sure that the Spice and Wolf deal was a lesson for Yen Press too. What they did makes sense to me. I just talked to someone over at Tokyopop and they aren’t continuing a bunch of series because they weren’t profitable (GOSICK, luckily, will be returning this March). If the alternate cover would help the series sell then that is what everyone really wants right? The series to continue? Well I’d be more worried about releasing a series of 4komas. As far as I know they haven’t been doing that good over here. But we can hope that K-ON’s fanbase is bigger than Hidamari’s. (it is)

The Manga Guide to. . .

I thought this was too great to pass up. Like are you serious? Well we do have Moetan who teaches you English. So why not shake it up a bit?

We have here a series of textbooks (so to speak) that teach you various things such as calculus, electricity and physics. But as manga. Sorta. Now I don’t know how good these books are. From one of the reviews I read it seemed that [calculus] book’s story about the journalist was more interesting than the actual work. But of course. It’s calculus. It’s not interesting at all! Although I had to admit that the bit I read of the calculus book had me titterring.

Anyways, in the series you’ll find The Manga Guide to Calculus, The Manga Guide to Physics, The Manga Guide to Molecular BiologyThe Manga Guide to Electricity, The Manga Guide to Databases, The Manga Guide to the Universe, and The Manga Guide to Statistics.

Now I think I’ll be trying to get my hands on the Molecular Biology book (or should that be MOElecular Biology?). Which is, of course, the best of the best of science. My very favourite! So I’ll be watching out for that like a hawk.