Tag Archives: manga

[X] X-men: Misfits #1 by Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman

28 Apr

I’m shaky on X-men canon*, so I can’t speak for how closely this version follows it, but what was surprising for me was how well it adapted into a manga. If it hadn’t been for the names and the setting, I would have thought that it was just another regular reverse harem (one girl with a lot of guys) manga.

In fact, I kept trying to read from right to left and getting confused because since this is an original English-language manga, it reads from left to right. There were also a lot of Japanese sound effects mixed in with English sound effects. I’m used to the Japanese ones, but it’s definitely made for people who are used to reading manga, not traditional American comic books.

I actually didn’t realize it was a reverse harem when I picked it up (since I mainly got it to fill the “X” spot for the A to Z challenge), but with there generally being more male superheroes than females, it kind of makes sense. I’ve just never seen anyone else work that angle before, so that was interesting for me.

I think I liked it as a retelling of a familiar story (like how I like fairy tale retellings), but as a story, the main character annoyed me about as much as other reverse harem main characters (a lot). It’s obvious who the good guys and bad boys are, and of course the main character has to go for the bad boys before she can settle down with the good guys, but I just don’t have much patience for those kinds of stories.

There was potential for the second volume as (according to the preview) it starts to stray from the reverse harem story into a more typical daily life at school story with the introduction of another girl to the cast, but that wasn’t enough to make me want to read it. Which is unfortunate because I really enjoyed Raina Telgemeier’s original graphic novels, Smile (which I almost used for “S”) and Drama. So, I’m not surprised that the second volume was cancelled, but it sounds like the cancellation had less to do with the content and more to do with Marvel asking for a lot of money for their franchise and people pirating the book.

Although critics seemed to enjoy it for its “newness,” for me, it just felt like another typical shojo-esque story. Overall, it was an interesting addition to the world of X-men, but not really my cup of tea.

X-Men: Misfits #1 is written by Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman with illustrations by ANZU.

This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter X.

 

————————————————–

*I’ve watched all the movies and a lot of the animated series when it was on TV, but for someone who likes to read as much as I do, I’m very auditory and do much better with TV and movies than with comics. (See my note above about how I get easily confused with comic book layout.) This is true for both English and Japanese, although I read tons of webcomics back in college and like to collect comics and manga for series that I like… I tend to treat manga as tools for language learning rather than reading material. (Also, looking at my notes from that post, I seem to always be doing the “X” posts last minute. ^^;)

 

 

[X] xxxHolic Vol. 1 by Clamp

27 Apr

In the first volume of xxxHolic, Kimihiro Watanuki, a high schooler with strong spiritual powers, walks into a strange shop that grants wishes. He ends up working for the owner of the shop, who goes by the name of Yuko, in order to have his wish to get rid of those powers granted. While he’s working at the shop, he meets a few of Yuko’s customers and watches as she grants their wishes. Some parts are creepy, and the customers are kind of “monster of the week”-type stories, but Yuko is sarcastic and cool enough and Watanuki plays the grumbling assistant well enough for the series to be entertaining. Clamp’s art is amazing, as usual, especially their designs of Yuko and her various outfits.

The manga was localized by Del Rey, and the translation generally stays true to the feel of the original Japanese (at least what I remember of it). There one or two places where the English didn’t quite flow right, and one place where the Japanese characters were left in unexplained (they were translated right after, but it wasn’t clear that the next line was the translation), but I am probably just being picky because I work in the industry (though on the anime side mostly, these days). There were also some uncommon Japanese words that were left in untranslated and romanized that seemed like they would have been confusing to non-Japanese speakers, but there were notes in the back explaining everything. I’m not used to reading manga in English and I wasn’t paying enough attention to the table of contents, so I didn’t see them until the very end, but it seems like something readers used to reading Del Rey manga would figure out sooner.

The first thing I saw when I opened up xxxHolic was that it crossed over with Tsubasa (another manga by Clamp) volume one. Even though I’d read xxxHolic volume one before in Japanese (and seen the anime, where I remember the crossover), I’d forgotten that the crossover happened in the first volume of both. I happen to own the first volume of Tsubasa (Reservoir Chronicle) in Chinese, and when I flipped through, I saw that I’d stopped reading right when the crossover with xxxHolic started. I’d bought the first two volumes in Chinese on a trip to Taiwan during college, when I was taking Chinese and wanted to practice reading, but I hadn’t even heard of xxxHolic then, so I think I had gotten too confused and stopped in the middle of the first volume. (I’d gotten them because it was the sequel to Cardcaptor Sakura, which I liked from watching “Cardcaptors” on TV. I owned a bunch of the DVDs so I could watch the Japanese versions, but Tsubasa was so different that I thought I’d gotten a Chinese rip-off at first…)

The crossover doesn’t happen until the end of volume one, so I picked up where I left off in Tsubasa after I finished reading xxxHolic. My Chinese is super rusty, but with my newfound kanji knowledge from learning Japanese (my Chinese had been better than my Japanese when I bought Tsubasa, but now my Japanese is way better) and more context from the xxxHolic anime and manga, I was able to get through the crossover scene in Tsubasa and understand more of what was going on than I did before. I still prefer the original Cardcaptor Sakura series to both xxxHolic and Tsubasa, but at least xxxHolic is funny. Even though Tsubasa is the direct sequel to Cardcaptor Sakura, it’s really serious, so I’ve never liked it as much as the other two.

Anyway, all this to say that while the story of the manga wasn’t new to me, it was my first time reading it in English. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I don’t read a lot of manga in general, and even less in English, but since I’d been requesting so many books for my youth literature class anyway, I thought I’d add the English version to the queue and give a proper review.

This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter X. (It took me so long to get through the Chinese that this post is pretty much written in real-time, i.e., not scheduled in advance, but posted at exactly 27 minutes after midnight because it’s Day 27 of the challenge.)

[Y] YuYu Hakusho by Yoshihiro Togashi

28 Apr

I wasn’t planning on doing any more manga for this challenge, but I’m cheating (again) with Y because I didn’t realize until just now that my original ‘Y’ book actually started with the letter ‘I’ until just now as I was getting ready to write this post… (In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Betty Bao Lord). So instead of scrambling around trying to find and read a book starting with the letter Y in 2-3 days (I’m still writing these in advance) and then write the post, I’m doing a series that haven’t actually read (I’ve only Netflixed the anime), but at least this time the manga and anime are both available in English.

幽☆遊☆白書, a.k.a. YuYu Hakusho, Ghost Files, or Poltergeist Report, is a classic shonen (remember, shonen = boys’) manga that pretty much everyone in Japan has heard of. Most young(ish) professionals read/watched it when they were growing up, and older adults probably remember their kids watching it on TV. I don’t know about the younger kids these days, but I do know that if I go to karaoke with a Japanese person and sing a theme song from this series, they will most likely recognize it.

This series is basically a series of tournaments where the main characters get stronger and stronger until they have to fight guys from another world to even break a sweat. Typical shonen stuff. I love action and tournaments, though, so this was a lot of fun to watch. Definitely a series aimed at young boys, but that doesn’t usually deter me with books or with manga (don’t know what that says about me, though…).

Hiei and Killua

Fanart that's pretty close to how I imagine what Hiei (left) and Killua look like in my head. Click on the image to go to the original site (Japanese).

I was confused for years because one of the main characters from this series, Hiei, was very similar in personality and appearance to a character from another successful series, Hunter x Hunter, named Killua (see image).

There were a lot of other similarities, like the number of main characters and their personalities, and for a long time, I thought that whoever wrote Hunter x Hunter had copied the ideas off of the person who wrote YuYu Hakusho. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that both manga had been written and drawn by the same person…

Togashi-sensei’s other famous series (that I’ve watched), Level E, is a science fiction comedy (aimed at adults, I think) that is completely different from the two battle manga series he is known for but still pretty enjoyable, if a bit strange.

Also for all you shojo (girls’ manga) fans out there, Yoshihiro Togashi is married to the creator of Sailor Moon, Naoko Takeuchi (according to Wiki, where I try to confirm all the information in my head that I’m not sure about before posting it online).

This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter Y. 

[K] Kimi to Boku by Kiichi Hotta

12 Apr

Okay, so this is actually a manga, and to my knowledge, it’s not available in English… But the anime is streaming on Crunchyroll (free) with subtitles under the name “You and Me” (a translation of the title 君と僕).

I love this series because 1) the covers are pretty, 2) it’s easy to read, 3) it’s funny and cute. It’s also the only manga that I still keep up with now that I don’t live in Japan anymore so it’s harder/more expensive to buy.

Kimi to Boku manga shelf

My shelf of manga on top of my bed. See how pretty the 君と僕。ones are?

The series is about five high school guys, but it’s meant for a female audience, so it’s more like what girls think it would be cute for guys to do in their free time. Most of it is fluff, but there are some parts that are somewhat bittersweet later in the series, like when one of the boys finds out the girl he likes is engaged (not knowing that her little sister likes him). Most of it is cute and fluffy, though, which is just how I like it.

The anime starts off kind of slow, but the first episode of the second season starts off with one of my favorite chapters in the manga, when the boys have a sleepover. I learned the word for telescope in Japanese (望遠鏡 – bouenkyou) while reading this chapter in the manga.

I think that’s one of the things I love about reading–being able to learn vocabulary in the context of an interesting story. Since most of the books I read in English are for my students, I don’t usually find  words that I don’t know anymore. But there’s still a lot of vocabulary in Japanese that I don’t know or am not too familiar with. I like reading at about the level of Kimi to Boku because it’s not so hard that I don’t get the context without a dictionary, but it’s not so easy that I already know all the words.

The tall book in the picture is the Kimi to Boku Fanbook with art, interviews, and scripts inside (the first, probably only fanbook I will ever buy). The other manga on this shelf are all pretty good, and some (the linked ones) are available in English:

  • Gintama - A comedy series about what would happen if aliens invaded Japan during the Edo Period. Contains samurai, ninjas, aliens, and a lot of potty jokes.
  • The Prince of Tennis - One of the first series I tried to read in Japanese. I like a lot of Shonen Jump series, even though it’s supposed to be for boys (shonen = boy).
  • Jump Ultimate Stars – This is actually a book of postcards that came with the DS game when I bought it.
  • Gangan Comics Anthologies – I got these anthologies because there were some stories by the author of Kimi to Boku in them.
  • NadePro!! - A somewhat fantastical take on the lives of seiyuu (Japanese voice actors).
  • Souko no Book Guide – I found out about this manga while I was searching for information about Japanese libraries for an MLIS class, and they happened to have it at my local Japanese  used bookstore, so I got it for slightly cheaper than it would have cost me (new) in Japan. It’s about a girl named Souko who loves books and draws detailed book guides for classics (like Robinson Crusoe) to help others grow to love them, too.  

I don’t actually read as much manga as it may seem, but I always feel like I should be reading more to increase my Japanese reading speed. I do translate occasionally for Sugoi Books, but that’s about all the manga I’ve been reading lately…

This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter K. 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 91 other followers