Welcome! I’m Brent, and I run this site, which is dedicated to intelligent analysis of anime, manga, and their industries.
I post reviews, news, and primers about anime and manga.
This is a manga about the appreciation of manga. That should explain the extent of its potential appeal.
While readers from other cultures can certainly grasp the concept, Kingyo Used Books relies on the uniquely Japanese experience of growing up surrounded by manga. In America, many kids read comics, but they generally aren’t exposed to the breadth of subject matter available to kids in Japan.
This first volume of Kingyo tells several disconnected short stories about people reconnecting with their childhood love of manga. This works because each person has a favorite manga in a particular genre. A sports manga series will teach different lessons than a shoujo story.
Kingyo Used Books centers on a manga bookstore (of the same name as the title) that also hides a secret that is appropriately improbable: beneath the store lies a massive manga library. Kingyo Used Books‘ employees all love manga and, just like the titular character in Bartender recommending drinks that resolve customers’ problems, they recommend manga titles to customers that suffer from emotional crises.
On the one hand, the overall thrust of the manga feels pretty heavy-handed at times: manga is wonderful, and can help you solve life’s problems! On the other hand, manga could use the defense in a world that sees comics as temporary, disposable pop culture.
The art is clean and easy to parse, avoiding lots of close-ups or odd viewing angles. There are enough backgrounds to ground you in a location, but long dialogue scenes omit backgrounds where they’re unnecessary (avoiding the strong sense of reality in, say, Akira or Ghost in the Shell).
Those looking for a complex, long-form narrative or incredibly complex characters should look elsewhere. Kingyo uses manga as a crystal to reflect a rainbow of stories and emotions evoked by an idiosyncratic medium.
Kingyo Used Books volumes 1–4 are currently in stock at U.S. retailers like Amazon and RightStuf.
A guilty pleasure is defined in this thread as ”a particular series, [even though you know] it´s considered bad or sub-par by the vast majority of the community.” That’s a helpful starting point.
This starts with my mystification with terms like “bad” and ”good” when they’re applied to a work of art. The larger artistic world has long since abandoned those terms as subjective at best and meaningless at worst. Who decides what’s “good?” The community? The community’s been wrong before.
“Sub-par” means that most people think that the work is unworthy of the effort. It’s below expectations. Well, many great works of art have been under-appreciated by most people at different times. Citizen Kane languished in relative obscurity for years.
Why don’t we just take pleasure in anime? Whatever it is, we can enjoy it. We can enjoy it for what it is. We should certainly be aware of how much time we’re spending on anime, and seek balance. But if you’re going to watch anime, watch it with joy.
This is an in-depth look at the packaging of U.S. anime DVD and Blu-Ray releases. This episode covers:
- The Secret World of Arrietty (a.k.a. The Borrower Arrietty) released by Disney/Buena Vista
- Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 released by Maiden Japan
- Digimon season 02 released by Flatiron Film Company
This week: chocolate chip peanut cookies. Take the classic Toll House chocolate chip recipe, and add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 2/3 cup peanuts.
Here’s what they look like:
And here’s the video:
The latest anime and manga news, courtesy of http://www.animenewsnetwork.com and Secret Weapon Vincent.
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Way too many stories to link here; just head over to http://www.animenewsnetwork.com for all the news.
Would you like to know more about the actual job of animation in Japan?
There’s an amazing Community on Google+ called Japanese animation from the inside. Several of its members (like Bahi JD and Eddie Mehong) are animators who are working on current anime series or have worked on recent anime projects (Basquash, Kids on the Slope, Macross Frontier, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine). They answer questions about their experiences working in the anime industry.
A few interesting revelations:
Most animators are freelancers working from home. As such, meetings are often the only time you get a chance to actually see your co-workers, so folks like Shoji Kawamori often use meetings more as chances to chat with friends than anything else.
Animators usually follow directors or projects, rather than studios. Some are more tied to a favorite studio, but if you want to work on a Shinichiro Watanabe show, you can find a way to work at whatever studio he’s working for on that show.
Your reputation quickly establishes which kinds of shots for which you’re most suitable. Shots aren’t assigned from on high as much as they’re collaboratively distributed according to skill. (This is a textbook Japanese business approach, incidentally.)
Beginners typically work 12–16 hours a day to learn the ropes. Established animators work 8–12 hours a day. Because all animators are freelancers, you can choose your hours, but you compete with many animators producing high quantity and high quality animation.
A 13- to 26-episode TV series will be animated in 6 to 9 months.
The industry is small enough that you’ll usually see animators you worked with on past projects in future ones. It’s a pretty chummy industry in that way.
Overall, the animators actually working in the industry write quite positively about their experiences. It sounds similar to Silicon Valley tech companies or movie making: you may put in a lot of hours, but if it’s your passion, you’ll enjoy yourself.
Japan has a long tradition of ”sentai” shows, which we in America got a taste of with the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.
What’s important to remember is that Japanese viewers remember sentai shows with the same fondness we reserve for the shows of our youth.
And boy, what a parody.
A taste: the heroes are otaku hired by a mysterious organization, who transform with the aid of a cute girl figurine–that transforms into a gun–and by shouting “Grand Delusion!” They then enter a delusional world where they fight as suited rangers…but in the real world, they’re standing in the middle of a sidewalk, miming all the jumps and attacks while amused crowds watch. One villain wants to spread host clubs throughout the otaku-focused Akihabara, at which point the hero shouts proudly, “Akihabara is a place for those with no romantic skills!”
The show also throws a lot of anime jokes at the audience: there are at least two Gundam references, and one villain is trying to ”rid Akihabara of the infestation of moe.” Every side character and even trivial characters like security guards are played by famous voice actors or sentai actors.
Even better, since this is produced by Toei, it’s got all the martial arts and special effects of a full-scale sentai show. (They even parody their lack of effects outside of this, but I won’t spoil that.)
However postmodern or however much of a parody you can imagine a show being, Unofficial Sentai Akibaranger is more postmodern than that. Wow. Much of the show’s joy comes from experiencing the parody within the plot twists, so I won’t spoil them. Suffice to say they stunned me, and I frequently had to pause the video because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t pay attention.
I’ve seen only bits and pieces of sentai shows, besides a few episodes of Power Rangers, so the fact that the show blew me away, and I finished watching it in under a week, is impressive enough.
The first season is available via torrents (note that the final episode is a clip show, and yes, that’s a parody as well), and the second season is coming soon.
This is a monthly show looking back at the anime and manga released and licensed in North America in March 2013.
All license and release news courtesy of http://www.animenewsnetwork.com and Secret Weapon Vincent.