Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Here's something I started writing a couple months ago, and never finished. I'd intended to describe all the Japanese-language manga I'd bought on what was then my most recent trip up to Chicago (I've made two since then), but I ran out of steam midway through. It occurred to me that I might as well post what I wrote, since by now I've forgotten what the other books I bought on that trip were. I haven't read any of these yet.

I bought two manga by Shungicu Uchida. The first, Watashitachi wa hanshoku shite iru: reddo ("We are reproducing now: red") is the fourth in a series based upon Uchida's own experiences as a mother. (The first three volumes are "yellow," "pink," and "blue.") This volume depicts the birth and infancy of Uchida's third child, and how she copes with both the baby and her two other small children. Its format is primarily a series of four-panel strips. The second Uchida I bought, Kare no bataanaifu ("His butter-knife"), also consists mainly of four-color strips, this time about sex, of which the protagonist has quite a lot. The back-cover copy (probably not written by Uchida) has the protagonist proclaim that she is "a nasty girl who only thinks about sex," and concludes that the comic will "heat up your butter and your [male] lover's butter knife!" I found both of these in the literature section of the bookstore, not the manga section (as is the case with all of Uchida's works carried by that store).

Also in the literature section was Tenohira douwa ("Palm-of-the-hand nursery tales") by Yuuko Ohnari. This is a collection of short two-color stories, mostly about children, and apparently of a fantastic or whimsical nature. The art, which resembles Debbie Drescher's or Megan Kelso's a bit, is very nice. Ohnari has a website here.

Kinecomica by Tori-Miki is also a collection of short two-color stories, in this case take-offs on famous movies, both American and Japanese. As far as I can tell, they're not so much Mad-magazine style parodies, as skits which use the movies as take-off points for goofy, sometimes absurdist humor: for instance, the Seven Samurai meet Snow White, while Excalibur becomes a quest to remove a Q-tip embedded in a woman's nose.

Then I bought the first two volumes of Jimihen by Tatsuya Nakazaki. These seem to be collections of an ongoing humor strip, each installment of which is exactly fifteen panels long. The humor (assuming that's what it is) appears to be realistic, rather than absurd, as with most of the other humor manga I own. Actually I'm not sure now why I bought both volumes that were in stock, but it was cheap.

I bought Yunbo-kun vol. 3 by Rieko Saibara. I reviewed Saibara's Chikuro Kindergarten a while back, comparing it to Bushmiller's Nancy. Yunbo-kun also has a somewhat Bushmilleresque style, with a protagonist who resembles Sluggo, but this book appears to take a much gentler approach. At times Saibara's brushwork is reminiscent of traditional Japanese art.

Finally for now, I bought the first volume of "Comic Coji-coji" by Momoko Sakura, whose Chibi Maruko-chan I reviewed a while back. Unlike Chibi Maruko-chan, Comic Coji-coji is a whimsical fantasy set in the land of Marchen [i. e. fairy tales; there should be an umlaut over the a]. Coji-coji him/herself is a "mysterious creature" of indeterminate sex: as Sakura explains (in English), "Yesterday, I asked COJI COJI 'Are you a boy or a girl?' Then COJI COJI answered with a smile, 'I don't know, but I don't care. Because I'm my self.'"

I`m a Japanese student.
I read Coji-Coji and Tatsuya Nakazaki manga too.

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