Manga of the Month Readership Circle

Post about anime's sister, manga in here. Manga reviews accepted in here as well.

Postby uc pseudonym » Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:33 am

goldenspines wrote:So yes, ]
Read the first chapter when it came out, still reading the new ones. For the usual reasons I couldn't reread the first volume of this series, so I'll limit my comments to general participation.

My interest in the series started low but has increased over time. The plot points like the government and the sun have me interested more than anything in Naruto ever did. It is a nice change of pace once a month, but it won't ever be among my favorite series. To explain, I'll quote again...

goldenspines wrote:Tegami Bachi is meant to tug at your heart strings and show strength and courage under any circumstances, even if all hope seems lost.

This is a good description of the series. So if you know me, you understand.
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Postby Fish and Chips » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:17 am

Manga of the Month - April 2011
[SIZE="4"]Yokohama Kaidashi Kiko[/SIZE]
Story and art by Hitoshi Ashinano

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Genre: Soft science fiction, slice of life, scenery porn, post-apocalyptic feelgood
Age: 13+
Content: There's a feral woman who lives in the forest who doesn't fancy clothes too much. It's played about as inoffensively as possible. Also, robots in the future will apparently exchange large packets of information by briefly kissing.

From the some country that brought us Akira. Somehow. The end of the world is an unsurprisingly popular subject in fiction (now, as ever), but perhaps no other work approaches it from quite the same direction as YKK. The Earth slowly suffering under the effects of a vaguely alluded to environmental disaster, humanity is largely resigned to its fate, content to spend their twilight years among the company of family and friends, as witnessed by Alpha, a robot who runs a small cafe by the coast (it's all by the coast now) that rarely receives visitors. It's a calm collection of stories, and a welcome change of pace from the usual Mad Max fare.

Yokohama Kaidashi Kiko is completed at fourteen volumes.
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Postby Sapphire225 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:56 pm

Hey, I have heard of that manga before but never read it. Count me in!
"Because the World isn't as cruel as you take it to be." ~ Celty, Durarara!!

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
~Deuteronomy 31:6



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We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality. ~ Iris Murdoch
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Postby Maokun » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:28 pm

Mr. Hat'n'Clogs (post: 1460753) wrote:So, apparently someone needs to restart this thread, so let's see if I can create a decent writing on my thoughts of the series, despite my status as a dumb teenager.

So let's start with the fights, the bread-and-butter of many a shonen manga. When I first heard that the main enemies were golems, I expected them to mostly be cannon fodder to the more talented heroes, who would then be extremely outnumbered. Instead, each golem proved to be a huge threat to whoever it happened to be fighting. Our heroes had to pit all of their strength to defeat every single one(and at what cost?) I mean, our protagonist starts out unable to even injure a golem, and I believe it's not until the third that he manages to make a scratch(using all of his power!) So all the fights are great as we see our heroes struggle to not all be killed.

So, characters would be next, I guess. We haven't been introduced to too many of them, just Yuuhi, Samidare and her older sister, and I guess you just met Hangetsu. Yuuhi is just beginning his growth from apathetic college student to proud knight and champion of Samidare, which is one of the really awesome parts about this series. Samidare was actually really refreshing as a character. She's insane, but not in a randomly slaughtering everyone for the lulz or the lolsorandom sort of insanity we see in Johnny Depp characters. She's a really fun lead, and it's great to see all the crazy and awesome things she does. I also like the split she has between her dream and conscious self. Samidare's sister is okay, I guess, and Hangetsu will prove to be one of my favorites in the second and maybe third volume. Anyone who introduces himself as an Ally of Justice when you first meet him is a pretty great guy.

So, my final thing to praise for the first volume is how much I love the art. I compare tLaBH to FMA quite a bit, and I'll have to mention that I love the art in the same way I love FMA's art. The mangaka has a distinct style that still keeps an "manga"-ish quality to it. This isn't like Urasawa's art that is completely different from the norm, but it has its own charm to it that differentiates itself from the more traditional art styles.

So, in conclusion, if you haven't read this manga yet you definitely need to.


I read the first chapter and really disliked the art :/ Found it amateurish and plain ugly. It didn't help that the premise seemed painfully cliché (random guy is suddenly interrupted in his bland life by magical animal who enlists him against his will in a world-saving quest by showing him how to awaken his hidden power,) the main character is an unlovable jerk with no redeeming qualities, the fighting scene was bland and emotionless and the whole thing betrays an overall lack of heart.

I understand by your review that it gets better later, but good shounen manga can't afford to have such bad starter chapters. Compare to the first chapter of One Piece, Naruto or, I don't know, Muhyo and Rouji and this one totally fails to grab any attention.

YKK is on the other hand, an excellent suggestion.
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Postby blkmage » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:44 pm

It's not shounen, though. It's seinen with deliberately cliche shounen characteristics. The main character isn't some upstart kid out to save the world or with amazing dreams, it's a regular guy going through college who suddenly finds himself in the middle of this ridiculous setup. There's a lack of heart because people are like that by the time they're in the middle of college. The mood of the main character has far more in common with Asano Inio's characters (melancholy, meandering through life) than any shounen protagonist.
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Postby Maokun » Thu Apr 21, 2011 2:36 am

Hmmm, seinen, you say? I guess that gives me at least a different angle to approach the whole thing, though my main complaint remains: if it's that so, the first chapter did a really poor job of conveying it. I guess it tried to lampoon so much shounen trappings that it actually passed as (a bad) one of them. I imagine I'm used to more introspection in my seinen.

I'll check a few more chapters to see if it manages to sell me the idea. I just wish it was easier on the eyes.
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Postby Fish and Chips » Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:32 am

Maokun (post: 1473401) wrote:the main character is an unlovable jerk with no redeeming qualities
How is this a complaint from anyone who liked Haruhi Suzumiya enough to take an avatar from it?
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Postby ich1990 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 2:47 pm

Maokun (post: 1473488) wrote:Hmmm, seinen, you say? I guess that gives me at least a different angle to approach the whole thing, though my main complaint remains: if it's that so, the first chapter did a really poor job of conveying it. I guess it tried to lampoon so much shounen trappings that it actually passed as (a bad) one of them. I imagine I'm used to more introspection in my seinen.

I'll check a few more chapters to see if it manages to sell me the idea. I just wish it was easier on the eyes.


FYI, I wasn't sold on it until volume three. So, I guess if you are looking for the hook I should warn you that I feel the series doesn't get interesting until much later.

Of course, I didn't mind the art and loved the protagonist, so my opinion might not be worth much to you.

Finally, welcome back! I haven't seen you around for quite some time.
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Postby Maokun » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:43 pm

Fish and Chips (post: 1473497) wrote:How is this a complaint from anyone who liked Haruhi Suzumiya enough to take an avatar from it?


Hey! She at least... I mean... She is... And well... You know... And the concert! She was nice there!... Alright, alright, it's ok because she's cute, happy?

ich1990 (post: 1473575) wrote:Finally, welcome back! I haven't seen you around for quite some time.


Thanks! I wasn't sure people still remembered me, but apparently they do!

EDIT: Alright, read a few chapters more of LatBH and I was already sold by the second chapter. They really needed to call that chapter "1b" and not "2"! It really sets the true premise of the story and it was unconventional and surprising in each way that the first chapter seemed trite and predictable. I'm in now.
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Postby ich1990 » Wed May 04, 2011 5:43 pm

Apparently the Peaceful Dystopia genre isn't all that popular.

I read the first volume of YKK and thought it..... good. Not really interesting or spectacular, but a sort of wholesome good. I might read more sometime.
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Postby Atria35 » Wed May 04, 2011 7:24 pm

...I admit it, I've been out. I don't want to flunk out my university, so I've been studying, studying, and .... doing more studying. I will read this the moment my classes are over (next Thurs afternoon).

I want to read this desperately. Right now I just don't have the time.
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Postby Mr. Hat'n'Clogs » Thu May 05, 2011 2:40 pm

Welp, I guess I've been procrastinating writing up on this for too long.

I read the entirety of YKK over the month, which might be cheating but oh well. I really liked it, but that's all I can say about it. The visuals were something that stuck out to me, but I can't say much besides that it is a really solid manga.
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Postby blkmage » Thu May 05, 2011 5:36 pm

YKK is absolutely beautiful. The art, especially the landscapes, is fantastic, but it's the atmosphere of the world that gives it that transience that lingers throughout the entire thing and makes it beautiful on a deeper level. The characters then give it warmth that it needs and boom, there's a great manga.
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Postby Fish and Chips » Fri May 06, 2011 7:20 pm

Manga of the Month - May 2011
[SIZE="4"]Steel Ball Run[/SIZE]
Story and art by Hirohiko Araki

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Genre: Action, adventure, America, superpowers, rock music, horse racing, cowboys and dinosaurs, high fashion
Age: 17+
Content: Did that guy's arm just bend backwards to shoot himself with his own gun that's what how is that possible. Also, language and other assorted violence.

There is no one else in comics today quite like Hirohiko Araki; frankly, I'm not convinced there ever was or ever will be again. The man has taken something and made it wholly and uniquely his, which is what brings us to Steel Ball Run. Unofficially officially yet another chapter in Araki's long-running work JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (serialized longer than I have been alive), Steel Ball Run is something of a fresh starting point for new readers, though familiar fans will notice more than a few old hooks. In an alternate 1890s America, a government-sponsored horse race across the continent has begun as men and women from around the world compete for the grand prize of $50,000,000. However, with the discovery of a mysterious corpse known only as The Saint, strange events begin to envelop the race as men develop unthinkable powers beyond their imagination.

Absolutely everything in SBR is classic Araki refined and distilled. The women are beautiful, the men are beautiful, everyone dresses like David Bowie and Lady Gaga and everyone - everyone - is a living music reference, contending with impossibly fantastic powers; men turn into dinosaurs, an assassin breathes explosives into the air, a hermit gunslinger turns back time, and sound effects come alive off the page to wreck havoc in the "Real world." There is nothing else in manga that reads, or looks - or feels - like Hirohiko Araki.

Steel Ball Run is completed at 24 volumes. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is currently serialized at 104 volumes.
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Postby goldenspines » Fri May 06, 2011 7:45 pm

It seems Fish is on a trend of mangaka with the initials H.A.

That aside, I had always thought that Steel Ball Run was a manga that couldn't be understood without having read Jojo first (Jojo's series length intimidates me, but I do need to read it). But, since SBR seems like it can stand on its own two feet, that gives me incentive to check it out.
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Postby Mr. Hat'n'Clogs » Fri May 06, 2011 7:49 pm

Fish and Chips (post: 1477204) wrote:Genre:high fashion
Sounds great.
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Postby Fish and Chips » Fri May 06, 2011 7:59 pm

goldenspines (post: 1477211) wrote:It seems Fish is on a trend of mangaka with the initials H.A.
How did I not notice this ever.
goldenspines (post: 1477211) wrote:That aside, I had always thought that Steel Ball Run was a manga that couldn't be understood without having read Jojo first (Jojo's series length intimidates me, but I do need to read it). But, since SBR seems like it can stand on its own two feet, that gives me incentive to check it out.
SBR is something of a soft reboot for the series, but because of Stone Ocean (the previous part)'s ending exists both as a complete retcon AND ALSO a direct continuation of the series proper simultaneously because Araki is insane and made that work somehow.
Mr. Hat'n'Clogs (post: 1477212) wrote:Sounds great.
See, you think that's a joke, but—
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Postby ich1990 » Sat May 07, 2011 9:24 pm

I don't know what to say about JoJo that won't become readily apparent to the reader within the first few chapters. So let it suffice for me to say this: if you value my opinion in the slightest, go read a volume or two of Steel Ball Run. It is worth the risk of time just for the chance that you might like it.
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Postby Maokun » Sat May 07, 2011 10:32 pm

Fish and Chips (post: 1477204) wrote:JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is currently serialized at 104 volumes.


This little factoid blew my mind off. I've been always afraid of Jojo's length, so it's good to know there's a shorter way to approach that author's ouvre.
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Postby GeneD » Sun May 08, 2011 10:17 am

Once one finishes Steel Ball Run, what is the likelihood that one will get into any of the other 80 volumes?
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Postby ich1990 » Sun May 08, 2011 12:16 pm

GeneD (post: 1477558) wrote:Once one finishes Steel Ball Run, what is the likelihood that one will get into any of the other 80 volumes?


If you stick with SBR for the entirety of its 24 volume run, it is because you like Araki's insanity. And if you like Araki's insanity you will read the other volumes.

SBR was my gateway drug; when I caught up with the scans, I went back to the beginning and started to read the series proper. I imagine you will too. Or you will be put off in the first volume or two and never read it again. That is okay also. The JoJo fanbase is small, but we have very few posers.
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Postby GeneD » Sun May 29, 2011 1:09 pm

About 2 weeks ago I started reading Steel Ball Run and stopped myself after the second volume. I knew if I continued reading I wouldn't stop until I am finished and I really want to finish 20th Century Boys first.

It's hard to formulate my opinion of it. I was pretty drawn in and on the edge of my seat during the last parts of the (first stage of the) race. I will admit that sometimes I find the action hard to follow, but I guess this will get easier the more I get used to the style of drawing and presentation. Overall it feels like the tip of an iceberg. I mean I know it is, being part of a long series, but it's more than that. The feeling is conveyed so well that I know that the rest of the iceberg is going to be pretty fantastic. I am looking forward to it.
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Postby Mr. Hat'n'Clogs » Sun May 29, 2011 1:10 pm

GeneD (post: 1481827) wrote:About 2 weeks ago I started reading Steel Ball Run and stopped myself after the second volume. I knew if I continued reading I wouldn't stop until I am finished and I really want to finish 20th Century Boys first.

It's hard to formulate my opinion of it. I was pretty drawn in and on the edge of my seat during the last parts of the (first stage of the) race. I will admit that sometimes I find the action hard to follow, but I guess this will get easier the more I get used to the style of drawing and presentation. Overall it feels like the tip of an iceberg. I mean I know it is, being part of a long series, but it's more than that. The feeling is conveyed so well that I know that the rest of the iceberg is going to be pretty fantastic. I am looking forward to it.
Oh look I already posted.
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Postby Fish and Chips » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:59 pm

Manga of the Month - June 2011
[SIZE="4"]A Bride's Story[/SIZE]
Story and art by Kaoru Mori

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Genre: Historical, romance, slice of life, Arabic culture, ornate tapestry, horseback archery
Age: 17+
Content: A married couple spends the night together. There's a bit of nudity. Better hide the kids.

Why aren't you reading this already.

Let's take another scenic stroll outside of Japan, this time to Central Asia. On the heels of Kaoru Mori's previous work Emma, a romance of the British class system, A Bride's Story focuses on the lives of a simple nomadic family, told from the perspective of their newest member, the arranged bride of one of their younger (much younger) sons. Although arranged marriage isn't typically depicted in a positive light nowadays, the couple spring to life as genuine people, and we can understand how they have come to care for on another. The vistas are beautiful, the art is intricate and lifelike, and the characters warm and believable. If you have a fireplace, read this by it.

A Bride's Story is currently serialized at three volumes.
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Postby Atria35 » Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:35 am

YES! One I own before the MoTM for it happens! *happy dance*

Okay, this has both a similar and different feel to it than Emma. What do I mean? I mean the circumstances around the characters is very different, and yet it's so calm and peaceful like Emma was in the beginning.

The artwork is stunning, as expected, and I could look at the pictures all day!

What wasn't quite expected was the storyline- a girl of the age of 20 being married to a 12 year old boy. What was nice is that their relationship is fairly innocent. Even when they're in the tent together, while it does have some sexual undertones because evenutally they are expected to have children, it seemed at that point more like a mother-son relationship from the commentary that went on. I'm not even sure anything happened.

I enjoyed how the mangaka decided to get us into the flow of life in the family before bringing in the conflict. That made me really get into the characters and little peculiarities that I might not have enjoyed otherwise.

BTW- Bada** Grandma. I. Love. Her. It seems that history might be repeating itself a bit. Showing that in such a clear way was awesome. While it's fine if they don't show more of her story, I think it would be cool to have some scenes from it or something.
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Postby Kaori » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:31 am

YKK: I didn’t have a very strong reaction to this. The tidbits of information about the ecological disaster that left the world the way it is are interesting, and the flying fish that are used like hunting falcons are pretty cool. On the other hand, the character art took some getting used to, there was no conflict, and I also found it unrealistic in that everyone only acts in complete goodwill and kindness, with no hint of anything less than good in human (or robot) nature.

I read a full three volumes and thought it wasn’t bad , but I also wasn’t particularly drawn in by it. It may be that it failed to meet my expectations because I came in to it expecting too much, or it might be the complete lack of conflict, or it might be that iyashikei is just not my thing. Most likely it’s a combination of all of the above.

Steel Ball Run: Well, this one at least has a plot with conflict.

So, the characters quite frequently break the laws of physics, which I guess is part of the point. When it’s Gyro using his gyrating steel balls, I just accept it as being basically magic in disguise, much like FMA’s “alchemy.â€
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Postby ich1990 » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:53 pm

Otoyomegatari is simple (in story) and peaceful in all the ways I thought YKK would be (but wasn't). On top of that the artwork is insane.

It is a picturesque view of the nomadic Mongolian lifestyle. How often do you get to read a manga about that?
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Postby Mr. Hat'n'Clogs » Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:55 pm

Like pretty much everything I've bought recently(Patlabor: The Movie, Hidamari Sketch), A Bride's Story has far surpassed my already high expectations. Commenting on how ridiculously detailed the art is would be beating a dead horse, so I won't go into that, but what really blew me away was the scene where Amir chases down the rabbit. The way Kaoru Mori did that was intense for such a calm series, and it felt fast even though I was reading it rather than seeing it.

The attention to historical details was pretty cool, and I really liked each of the stories. The grandmother ended up being as awesome as the grandma from Summer Wars, which was cool, but I like the effort that was put into each family member. I especially like the portrayal of the relationship between Amir and her husband, which was really interesting to see them simultaneously have a romantic relationship and a kind of siblingish relationship, where you could see them really care for each other. The plot about Amir's family wanting her back looks to be really interesting as well, though each of the sidestories was worth reading multiple times, especially the one about woodwork.

I really liked it.
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Postby Fish and Chips » Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:59 pm

If you're wondering where this month's manga is, I had a computer failure earlier in July, and it took sometime to replace it. By then I figured rather than give you guys only half a month to track it down, I'd just push everything on the schedule back one space.

Look forward to July's manga in August!
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Postby goldenspines » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:16 pm

Sorry to hear your compy died. :< I look forward to what the manga will be for August!
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