Archive for October, 2008

Super-belated event report: Comitia 85

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Or as one of the circle cuts put it, “doesn’t it feel like we were just here?” 85. Comitia opened its doors this time around just one week after C74, on the upper level of Big Sight, so basically it was just a big ol’ PTSD-inducing funfest for me. I decided I’d only get there an hour early and brave out the line, and pick out whatever circles I wanted to hit up on the trip to the event. Actually, I had already decided on one circle to visit. In fact, the main reason I was making the trek out to Odaiba yet again was primarily to pick up huke’s Black Rock Shooter Visual Works, which apparently sold out in a matter of minutes at c74.

Some people (especially those who have read about the event elsewhere) may realize that this is a really rotten reason to go to Comitia, since the point of the event is that it’s all original (as opposed to parody/derivative) comics, and you’d have a very tough time convincing me that the girl in the BRS video is not Hatsune Miku. Anyway, I got to Big Sight a little less than an hour before doors and was greeted by big signs for… the JAPAN HAM FAIR 2008. I was actually more excited at the prospect of an all-you-can-ham lunch than buying some comic books, but quickly realized that the event was not about the delicious kind of ham, but rather about the “60 year old nerds fiddling with radios walking around aimlessly” kind of ham. This was a fairly disappointing turn of events, but I did not let that deter me.

I got up to the top floor where all the folks with dollies of boxes of comics were going, and suddenly realized that the line that I had planned on sitting in didn’t actually exist in any form beyond “a small handful of folks playing ds on the benches outside the halls.” Turns out that the trend of original works tending towards higher quality but lower sales continues in this case as well! A modest line formed without me noticing, a whopping 100 people or so, and I made my way in and realized that there were already multiple thousand people inside buying things. (circle tickets!! :argh:) Compared to basically any other doujin event I have been to, the feeling of the place was incredibly laid-back. No shoving, no running, no screams of pain. I spent a good hour or so just browsing, especially around the area that huke was located, since that was more illustration gallery-style doujins, since I don’t trust doujin narratives.

comitia haul

Ended up with a very modest haul, especially since I skipped out on Range Murata’s offerings. BRS Visual Works is every bit as excellent as I hoped it would be, and moe zombie/amputee gag manga is always an added bonus. Interestingly enough, Pop Japan Travel had a presence there in the form of an industry booth, and I believe they had also unleashed one of their very well-mannered tours onto the convention. I have to say that they are definitely doing the smart thing taking a tour to Comitia over Comiket, since doing otherwise would seem akin to dropping a group of tourists interested in Korea into Pyongyang. I tried to make small talk to them while frantically looking for the best oel manga but unfortunately I did not see it for sale at the table.

All in all, Comitia was a very enjoyable event, and I’m definitely going back if I’m in the area, though I can’t say I’ll be making any comiket-style pilgrimages there. It’s probably also a great event to show to friends what a doujin convention is like, since that way they won’t think that you’re insane.

Review: Shimada Humikane Art Works

Monday, October 27th, 2008

This review is a horrible idea because it will probably brand me as a pedophile for the rest of my life, but I cannot help but love Shimada Humikane. I’ve been following his stuff since early 2004 right before the moe tidal wave broke, and finally with the advent of Strike Witches coming out, he at long last has his own artbook. I have to admit that since I only buy artbooks done by guys that I really love (ABe, Okama, Nihei Tsutomu, basically everything that triples in price a year after it gets released) I am apt to give gushing reviews of basically any artbook I own, but “cool indifference” or “critical distance” are phrases unknown to the brave new blogosphere!

Anyway, the book is fairly evenly split down the middle between Strike Witches-related images and non-SW related stuff, which consists of some licensed works but mostly original works. There aren’t really many new images in here, but there’s an interview and a “how I draw this heavily-armed girl wearing panties” how-to photoshop section to be read if you can decipher moon runes. It’s printed on big ol’ A3 pages and the illustrations all stand up to being both large and professionally printed, shockingly enough. The SW stuff is split between promo art (magazine covers, etc) and other official art (eyecatches, character design sheets, chichikurabe), and the non-SW part of it is either “official fanwork”-ish stuff (Rider?? but her breasts are so large!!) and doujin/hp illusts. Of course, all the artwork for the Mechamusume figure series is found in here, so plenty of girls who are presumably not embarrassed by their not panties for you guys out there into that kind of stuff.

I have some poorly-taken digital camera pictures of the book, which in a perfect world would make you want to go out there and give Humikane-san your money, but 1) anime fans don’t spend money and 2) joke’s on you, this shit sold out in less than half a week! I am assuming that Kadokawa will do another printing, since the companies seem to have slowly realized that creating more supply to meet demand = more money, so when they do, make sure to throw your money at them! akibablog also has better pictures than I do, so make sure to click those too!






quote of the day

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Hi, everyone. I’ve decided to do my MA thesis on Manga being a form of literature and the cultural impact it has had on the west. There are a few questions that I should be asking, apart from these two but I have no idea what.
The books that I have chosen to do my study in are Death Note, Count Cain, Kino’s Journey and Fullmetal Alchemist. Can you tell me if there are any secondary sources on these books? Also, where can I find the links to similar scholarly works on my topic? Thanks!

instant review: some crap I bought because akibablog and zepy talked about it

Saturday, October 25th, 2008


Saint Young Men, Nakamura Hikaru (Kodansha/Morning 2), vols 1+2 – Jesus and Buddha come back to the world as cute bachelors living in Tokyo. That alone is normally enough to get me to drop 552 yen but incredibly enough the execution is pretty spot-on too. The chapters are all pretty stand-alone barring the occasional joke that draws on a previous issue, but generally they are one-shots in the form of “Jesus and Buddha go somewhere normal (amusement park, matsuri, the lake, Akihabara) or do something normal (give each other haircuts, celebrate the holidays, live like poor bachelors), and the jokes just go from there. While the jokes all stem from the premise (Jesus is Jesus, Buddha is Buddha), Nakamura digs deep enough to keep them fresh, quoting scripture and Akutagawa short stories like it ain’t no thang. Artwork is solid but nothing to write home about, but that’s really not why you’re buying this, anyway. This seems to be selling like hotcakes, I’m seeing it on a lot of store special racks and in a lot of maid cafes. (zepy has some pictures for you to look at here)

Mozuya-san Gyakujou Suru, Shinofusa Rokurou (Kodansha/Afternoon), vol 1 – Manga about a small girl who happens to suffer from the recently discovered tsundere personality disorder, written by a professed otaku. I am fairly certain that between that description and this image you will know if you will want to read this manga or get really mad about it running in Afternoon and not something that starts with “Dengeki.”

Mudazumo-naki Kaikaku, Oowada Hideki (Takeshobo/Kindai Mahjong), one-shot – Basically the best manga to have ever been published. Former PM Koizumi solves issues of national diplomacy and security through mahjong. Find out which is stronger, Koizumi’s Rising Sun (Kokushi Musou) Tsumo, or Papa Bush’s Apocalypse Now (half flush Chi-Toitsu) Ron! Can Taro Aso save Koizumi from Kim Jong Il’s sinister plots, or will the Tepo-Dong get the better of Japan? How can you beat a 40 yaku hand? With a 105-yaku hand, of course. I didn’t think that the guy behind Dai Mahou Touge could actually write anything this good, but apparently he can, and Japan seems to agree with me, since this damn thing has had to have three printings in the first month it was out. Anyway, a must-read for anyone into mahjong or who enjoys parody manga in general. (akibablog-san talks about this a lot: 1, 2, 3, 4)

Nichijou, arawi keiichi (Kadokawa/Shonen Ace/Comptiq), vol 3 – I’ve gushed shortly about this manga in the past, though I couldn’t really get into volume 2 when I was reading scans of it, I’m not quite sure why. Vol 3 keeps up the trend of solid gags and impeccable comic timing. Basically, while Saint Young Men’s episodes are basically stories that use new settings to facilitate character-based jokes, Nichijou episodes are giant self-sustaining jokes or buildups to a punchline, which is the style of humor that gets me actually laughing out loud as opposed to smiles and chuckles in the case of Saint Young Men. This is basically on my permanent will-follow list unless it pulls a DMC on me or something.

Yo nimo Kimyou na Man☆Ga Taro, Man☆Ga Taro (Shueisha/Business Jump), vols 1-3 – More gag manga, kind of. I use the phrase “nightmare fuel” cautiously, but jesus christ I should not be reading this at night. Basically it is semi-avant-garde grossout horror gag manga, but all of the humor is either extremely dark or just so twisted that the punchline is “old terrifying wrinkled fat naked woman sprays fecal matter on someone and dies”. I couldn’t really bring myself to enjoy the majority of these stories since they seem to be going for not a whole lot more than pure shock value on a number of levels, but there were a few stories that I did find entertaining – the fourth story in vol 1, “Super Meitantei”, about a young amateur detective who loves detective manga who stumbles upon a horrible axe murderer driven to his obsession by horror manga, seemed especially clever to me (especially the last frame punchline), and more or less got me to buy vols 2+3 on its strength alone, a purchasing decision that I now regret on at least some level. I mean, that money could have been better spent on some Horihone Saizo or something. is apparently getting a moving picture adaptation.

regarding the recent hiatus

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

I haven’t been posting recently for the following reasons:


Here is a pile of things I hope to blog about now that I finally have a reprieve from unlimited home works:


stay tuned!

Instant review: some crap I bought

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

In order:

Touhou ~ Silent Sinner in Blue (ZUN x Aki Eda) – I was going to complain that this has really bad art, but then I went back and checked the magazine scans and they actually look way better. Maybe they took out all the halftones because they couldn’t afford good printing or something??

magazine -> 30 seconds of photoshop scan

By ch9 the art really is bad though, pretty much none of the pages have backgrounds. ZUN should’ve got flipflops to do it instead :(

Touhou ~ Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red (ZUN x some dudes) – This has pages from other better artists, but pretty much all of it is already available translated. There’s a long article in the back about the design of Touhou (lol) which I haven’t seen anywhere else yet, but I haven’t really looked.

Roman (Sound Horizon x Yukimaru Katsura) – The best manga adaptation of a concept album I’ve ever read. This one covers tracks 1 (Asa to Yoru no Monogatari), 9 (Yorokobi to Kanashimi no Budoushu), 5 (Hoshikuzu no Kawahimo), 7 (Tenshi no Chouzou), and 3 (Miezaru Ude, best track) in that order.

The text of the first two chapters is pretty much copied from the lyrics sheet, which means all the scanlators probably read the first chapter and gave up since every line is a nonsense metaphor with random furigana abuse. This also produces some strange effects since the conversations have choruses in them. After ch3 someone else starts rewriting it, which I think hurts it – the last two chapters have huge walls of text for narration, and it turns out the ending of Miezaru Ude is really stupid when you fill all the details in. The art has nice moustaches though and it’s cheap, so you might as well get it if you liked Roman. Seriously considering translating it (= making kransom translate it).

Ark isn’t actually a Sound Horizon manga, it just has the same name and plot as one. I haven’t read it yet but the main character apparently wears complicated gothloli outfits all day and night and is kind of hot. Also her friend looks like Souseiseki except is a man and has yandere eyes. I don’t remember why I bought it…

UPDATE: I’m told Ark, the Sound Horizon song, does have a manga adaption. But I don’t know where to find it, sorry!

THE MOST SKILLED SURGEON looks good – ch2 introduces the American stereotype as a giant bodybuilder surgeon named Ashton Kenneby – but I’m too lazy to look up all the heart surgery words to keep reading right now.

Is it me or does WP not let you change thumbnail sizes? I’ll make some bigger ones by hand sometime.

More like ef – a tale of mammaries

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008