Tuesday, February 17, 2004


I was at my local Borders today, browsing the manga section to see if there was anything new and interesting out. I didn't buy any manga, but I made a few observations.

1) Manga (and manhwa, its Korean counterpart) is continuing to expand at the expense of Western comics. A few weeks ago manga, which already occupied more than half the total space in the graphic novel section, took over two-and-a-half shelves from Western comics. Today another shelf which had been occupied by Western comics was empty, and it's not hard to guess what will occupy it. Apparently in some chain bookstores the graphic novel section consists entirely of manga. My Borders isn't close to that point yet, but it's getting nearer.

2) The first volume of the Fruits Basket manga from Tokyopop is out. I didn't buy it, so I couldn't make a side-by-side comparison with the Japanese edition, but from looking at it in the store it appears that Tokyopop did as lousy a job of reproducing the art as they did on vols. 2-4 of Kare Kano (that's when I stopped buying it). I've been intending for a while to write a post on reasons to read manga in the original Japanese; Tokyopop's editions of Fruits Basket and Kare Kano are good reasons in themselves (but far from the only reasons).

3) I own the Japanese vol. 2 of CLAMP's manga Suki dakara suki (I love you because I love you), and there's a fan translation of it on the web. Reading it, I concluded that the main character is the most idiotic heroine in all manga and anime, not excepting Miaka from Fushigi Yuugi. Now Tokyopop has come out with its edition of vol.1, which it calls simply Suki; and browsing through it confirmed this belief. (Incidentally, I don't understand the point of Tokyopop's title change. If they're going to keep the title in Japanese, why not keep the original title? If they're going to change the title, why not change it to one most readers will understand?)

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