I always look forward to participating in challenges and readathons, especially when it’s a manga and/or comic related event. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to call Mangahorder & Shelf Space Fleeting’s Manga Readathon an event. Those that participate are extremely active and passionate about the manga they’re reading and that’s awesome! I really love the community aspect of this relatively new readathon, and look forward to participated every year for the foreseeable future~!
So, what did I read this year? Not much… lol Seriously, I only completed one volume of manga and one 2 chapter “flipped-floppy” Viz reprint. I guess the positive here is that what I did manga to read, I really enjoyed!
1. Kingyo Used Books By Seimu Yoshizaki
This series was one that I anticipated as soon as I saw Laura recommend it to anyone that loves manga! This series really is a series made for manga fanatics. There are so many series mentioned this this manga and footnotes about each one! I really, really loved volume one for what it was; a simple yet touching slice of life story about the everyday lives of people and how they relate and/or find inspiration from manga. Yoshizaki’s artwork is quite good, and I find it especially admirable how well the other styles of mangaka are captured and subtle the character’s expressions are drawn. I could easily see this series making an amazing J-drama series. I’m looking forward reading the rest of the series that I own in English, but it’s disappointing that once again this series was never fully released in English. I’m not sure why, but I’m assuming it had to do with sales, since that’s normally the main reason for these situations. What’s really sad about this not doing well in the American manga market is that this is a series all about the human experience with the medium of manga. I found this manga very accessible and fascinating but I can see how perhaps if you’re only mildly interested in manga this title could be considered “boring” but still, I feel like this first volume really does a great job establishing the characters and tone of the series.
The first volume of Kingyo Used Books contains eight chapters. The stories are paced very well and the chapter that I really enjoyed the most was the second chapter, titled: “Hokusai Manga. “ The main character in this chapter is a struggling art student, and I find it easy to relate to characters in that situation. I have a degree in Graphic Design and I suppose like most artists there’s often a struggle between my mind and my hand when it comes to drawing what I’m imagining. This struggle is only a bit of the complex emotions the characters in this chapter are dealing with and along with the concept of what it means to idolize an artist. Is it healthy to put another human being on a pedestal because of their accomplishments? If so, how do you turn that idolization into something that will motivate yourself? Overall, this chapter made me think a lot. I really enjoyed it and would actually love to re-read it sometime soon.
2. Bastard!! Heavy Metal Dark Fantasy By Kazushi Hagiwara
(Wizard Part 1 & Part 2, Basically The first 4 chapters released as monthly flipped floppy comic. According to MAL: “Bastard!!: Ankoku no Hakaishin was first published in English as Bastard!! Heavy Metal Dark Fantasy by VIZ Media, who published the first 19 volumes from August 5, 2002 to September 8, 2009, before dropping the license.” I guess if I want to finish the series I’ll have to step up my Japanese studies and buy the Japanese volumes, I doubt this would have furigana.
The artwork here was fantastic! As a fan of the short OVA, and not having any nostalgia involved, I was very excited to read the first chapter of this manga. The large format of Viz’s first release of Bastard was actually pretty awesome for seeing all of the detail Hagiwara inked in. I also really enjoyed the large format because it made it easy to read this while I was doing an elliptical workout.
Based on the first two chapters, I would recommend this manga to anyone that’s not too bothered by a bit of male and/or female character fanservicey artwork and is looking for a fantasy story that’s heavily inspired by heavy metal music! There are SO MANY hilariously awesome references to heavy metal in this series already, I’m looking forward to reading more and seeing what else Hagiwara has in store. Once I’ve finished reading the series, I’ll have to make a list of my favorite metal references in Bastard. Which, to be honest, I might be missing something but why is this series called Bastard? Personally, I think that calling Dark Schneider would be cooler, but who knows, perhaps it’s explained later of it’s an extremely obscure metal reference I’m not getting.
And finally, here’s my #Mangabingo card this time around.
I got one bingo, and as always I had so much fun with this manga scavenger hunt! I loved seeing what other people were finding in the manga were reading. It was great way to share the joy of manga together as a community of fans.
I’m very happy to be part of such an awesome community and hope to get back into writing more often and creating some new content for my art and mangatube channel soon. I’m always looking for new mangatubers and bloggers so if you have recommendations or would like to plug your content feel free to do so in the comments. If you participated in this years manga readathon link me to your stuff, I’d love to check it out~!