MeruPuri is a short, sweet, funny romantic comedy that ran in LaLa magazine from 2002 through 2004, and has recently released its final volume in North America. It was written by Hino Matsuri, also known for her popular Vampire Knight series, which is currently running in LaLa as well.
The story is the fairy-tale romance of Hoshina Airi, a high-school girl with great expectations for the romance she hopes to someday have, based on the events of her favourite TV drama. Airi doesn’t know, however, that she is descended of a traitorous royal bloodline from the alternate-universe kingdom of Astale. When the prince of that world comes tumbling through Airi’s heirloom mirror seeking sanctuary, Airi doesn’t know just what she’s gotten herself into.
Worse, little Prince Aram has been beset with a curse – when in dark places, he ages into a teenager and loses his magic powers, and he requires a kiss from a maiden of his choosing to return to normal. Airi is unwilling to comply at first, but she finds herself being more and more drawn to the mysterious prince…
MeruPuri features some beautiful colour artwork as well as omake material from the artist, and is a bit predictable at times, but is overall a sweet story that features a few new concepts. Look for it the next time you need a quick shoujo boost!
Shojo Beat Official Website
Good news! Kobato, the latest manga series from powerhouse team CLAMP (xxxHolic, Card Captor Sakura, Magic Knight Rayearth) is coming to Newtype USA starting in the June 2007 issue. According to their press release, the series will run for a total of twelve months, with an installment in each monthly issue and plenty of colour illustrations. Kobato is still ongoing in the Japanese-language version of the magazine, as of this writing.
Kobato is sweet and perky, but also extremely naïve about the world around her. Her “mission” is to fill a mysterious bottle of hers with the suffering from people’s hearts. Among the hearts she heals, there will be a boy she will work for and bring happiness to, but she is forbidden to fall in love with him.
(Summary Source: Wikipedia)
It seems it’s already featured several crossovers from CLAMP’s other works, including Chobits and Tsubasa. Check out an issue of Newtype to see what it’s all about!
Okay, I admit it – this manga (and its corresponding anime) are the reason why I’ve been so terribly distracted. They swallowed me whole. I guess I’m not the only one, because it’s consistently been on the top sellers’ lists both in Japan and North America, with the animated version making TV Asahi’s polls on the top shows of all time. Who’d have guessed that a story about a host club of all things (not at all like real host clubs supposedly are, by the way; these are high schoolers) would do so well?
Mangaka Hatori Bisco has penned nine tankubon of these to date, with the English adaptation by Viz one month behind and no end in sight. It runs in LaLa magazine as well as Shoujo Beat on this side of the pond and has been going since 2003. This is not Hatori’s first title, but the humourous style of Ouran is a far cry from her previous works.
Fujioka Haruhi is a scholarship at Ouran Academy, an elite school for the very wealthy. After happening across the eccentric and incredible Host Club, a group of six boys with plenty of money and time to waste, Haruhi breaks a vase and, unable to pay for it, ends up in servitude to the Club, who exist to entertain affluent schoolgirls with too much time on their hands.
The problem – the Host Club, taking in Haruhi’s tomboyish appearance, believe her at first to be male, and after a makeover she finds herself in the dubious position of attracting customers to the club. When they do find out, they’re not sure – are they willing to out her and let her be noticed by the rest of the student population…or keep her for themselves?
This crazy romantic comedy manga will have you laughing out loud, especially with the special omakes included at the end of the volumes, and the hilarious captions scattered throughout. If you read anything this year, let it be this!
Hakusensha’s Official Site (Japanese)
Shojo Beat Official Site (English)
For Richer Or Poorer (Fansite)
Anime On DVD reported a few days ago on something that caught my eye – eBook manga. It seems are though some English Tokyopop titles are going to be offered in a format compatible with Sony’s eBook Reader. In fact, there’s a whole section of manga/graphic novel titles, many of which seem to have been product of the Rising Stars of Manga contests, along with Princess Ai and some of the Harlequin Pink series. The prices are good, too – worth checking out if you’ve got the hardware to read them!
Ohisashiburi! Looks like I’ll be back to posting starting this month, and since the comments on the D.N. Angel blog entry have just been piling up and volume 11 is newly released in English, that seemed like the most logical thing to update first.
Tokyopop put out the final volume of the series on August 23, 2006, a full eight months after the release of volume 10. Even if you’d given up hope, you should be able to find it by now! Unfortunately, that is the final book in the series – for now - and the anime (which has been licensed by ADV and is available in a subtitled box set) is long since finished. The series does end with a bit of a cliffhanger, unfortunately – mangaka Sugisaki Yukiru is currently working on a series for Shounen Ace called EDEN, and the last time D.N. Angel ran in ASUKA magazine was August 2005. It’s not known when or if the storyline will continue, but if I obtain any new information on it I’ll be sure to post here. It doesn’t look like the novels or the animation-manga will be translated into English either at this point.
In any case, someone asked for a link to buy the English volume 11 online; perhaps you found the book by now, but if not you can pick it up on Amazon. Someone else inquired about buying the sountrack; for that I’d recommend trying CDJapan or Amazon Japan (search “D.N. Angel” in English). Both offer international shipping and English navigation to some extent. A link back to the D.N. Angel sheet music article is here for those who haven’t seen it. And I can’t give you guys any info on where to download the manga, which is what some people are commenting and asking for – wouldn’t you rather buy it and have a copy you can take anywhere? Support the industry, especially if you all love D.N. Angel as much as you say you do!
Feel free to ask any other questions you have, and if they’re within my power to answer, I’ll make a post or update with the info!
Yakitate!! Japan (”Baked Fresh!! Ja-pan”) is a manga serialised in Shogakukan’s Shonen Sunday, by Takashi Hashiguchi. 21 graphic novels have been released as of January 2006, and has been licensed for English distribution by Viz. The series won the 2004 Shogakukan Manga Prize for best Shounen Manga.
The story focuses on Kazuma Azuma, a boy on his quest to create Ja-pan, a national bread for Japan itself. He initially heads to Tokyo to expand his bread-making horizons at the bread-making chain Pantasia; the story continues with Azuma’s exploits with his other coworkers.
The title of this series itself is a play on words; Yakitate translates to “freshly baked”, but Japan has a double meaning. Besides referring to the country of Japan, “pan” is the Japanese word for “bread” (a borrowed word stemming from Portuguese “pão”). Ja-pan is a pun for this series. This mimics the style of the names of other varieties of bread in Japanese, such as “furansupan” (French Bread), “doitsupan” (German rye-based bread), “itariapan” (Italian bread), etc..
Besides the desire to create his Ja-pan, Kazuma also possesses the legendary Solar Hands. These hands are warmer than normal human hand temperature, and allow the dough to ferment faster. This gives him some advantage at the beginning of the series, but his innovation and many Ja-pans are what really shine through.
Although the story has baking as its main theme, the parts that generate the most interest are the outrageous puns in the story. Especially notable are the “reaction” based puns made by the judges, who go to great lengths to prove a single point about the bread that they tasted. The series in general also pokes fun at the shounen genre’s tendency to be melodramatic over mundane tasks.
A 69-episode anime was produced by Sunrise, and was broadcast on TV Tokyo and other local stations from October 2004 through March 2006.
Shounen Sunday Website
English Manga Preview
The Prince of Tennis (テニスの王子様, Tennis no Ōjisama) is one of the most popular manga and anime titles in Japan. It is written by Takeshi Konomi, who has also written a manga called Cool. The manga is published in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump in Japan, and is published in English in North America by VIZ Media. The anime showed its final episode in 2005 on TV Tokyo in Japan, though supposedly another 15 episodes worth are in the works, set to pick up where the original series left off. . The series has also produced a half-hour weekly radio show, over 100 music CDs, several games, multiple live-action musicals and a large selection of merchandise, and a live-action movie is also planned for 2006.
The manga is primarily set in Tokyo. Ryoma Echizen, a tennis prodigy, attends Seishun Academy Middle School, or Seigaku, in short, a school famous for its strong tennis club and talented players. Ryoma quickly defeats numerous upperclassmen shortly after entrance to secure himself a spot on the regulars team. In pursuit of their ultimate goal of winning the all-Japan junior high tennis championship, members of the team make new friends while learning and mastering increasingly complex techniques.
Even if you don’t like tennis, this manga is really interesting. Maybe it’ll even make you want to play – I got into Go from reading Hikaru no Go, after all!
TV Tokyo Site
Shounen Jump Site
Prince of Tennis Domain (Fansite)
×××HOLiC is a manga series planned and presented by CLAMP. It has been serialized in Kodansha’s Young KC Deluxe periodically since 2003 and currently published in the United States by Del Rey Manga.
The series’ protagonist, Watanuki Kimihiro, is a high school student who is continually plagued by supernatural monsters which are magically attracted to him. The creatures are invisible to all but himself, and as a result he feels extremely burdened by them. When he quite literally stumbles into a shop that grants wishes, everything in his life changes drastically.
Within the shop is the seductively beautiful Yūko Ichihara, a witch of many names and esoteric renown. The seemingly all-knowing witch soon gets right down to business: she offers to grant Watanuki’s wish to be rid of his ability to see spirits. However, a price equal to the power required to grant the wish must be paid. Yūko also discovers that Watanuki is very skilled with his hands. As a result, Watanuki soon finds himself forced to perform housework and odd jobs for Yūko until he has done enough work for his wish to be granted.
Fans of the anime/manga series Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE will already be familiar with Yūko, who crosses over into that series periodically. It and ×××HOLiC are famous for their numerous cameos from other CLAMP works.
×××HOLiC has recently been made into an anime series as well, the second episode of which aired just previous to this writing. It’s worth taking a look at, and is already licensed for English distribution by FUNimation.
Del Ray official site
Anime series official site
The nominations for the 2006 Eisner awards (for material released in 2005) have been announced.
The only two manga to have been nominated are Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha (vols. 5-8), published by Vertical, for “Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books” and Eiji Nonaka’s Cromartie High School, published by ADV, nominated for Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material.
Buddha, which has won Eisners for the past two years running, is up against the following nominees: Absolute Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons; The Contract with God Trilogy, by Will Eisner; DC Comics Rarities Archives, vol. 1; and Fantastic Four Omnibus, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Cromartie High School will compete with these titles for the Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material award; Dungeon: The Early Years, vol. 1, by Joann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim, and Christophe Blaine; Ordinary Victories, by Manu Larcenet; The Rabbi’s Cat, by Joann Sfar; and Six Hundred Seventy-Six Apparitions of Killoffer, by Killoffer.
Read the rest of the article here!
Saiyuki, known as Gensōmaden Saiyūki (幻想魔伝最遊記, “Romanticized Tale of a Journey to the Extreme”) in Japan, is a popular manga series created by Kazuya Minekura and loosely based on the famous Chinese novel Journey to the West (Xī Yóu Jì). It has been turned into an anime series by Studio Pierrot as well.
Gensomaden Saiyuki deals with the fortunes of four fighters – the monk Genjyo Sanzo (transliterated Genjo in the anime and Singapore English manga), the monkey deity Son Goku, the half-demon Sha Gojyo (sometimes spelled Gojou), and the demon Cho Hakkai, who have been dispatched by the Sanbutsushin (The Three Aspects of the Buddha) to India to investigate the reasons behind the recent insanity among the demons. Demons, who have formerly coexisted peacefully with humans in Shangri-La, are going berserk and turning against them.
The manga is published in English in North America by Tokyopop, and in Singapore it is published in English by Chuang Yi. The original anime series is produced in North America by ADV Films. Sequels Saiyuki Reload and Saiyuki Reload Gunlock are licensed by Geneon in North America. The prequel manga, Saiyuki Gaiden – which takes place 500 years before the first series – is currently published in the quarterly Japanese manga magazine Zero Sum WARD.