Friday, June 23, 2006


The second part of my 2005 manga circulation post is coming soon, I promise. But yesterday I made a day trip to Chicago, and while it was still fresh in my mind I wanted to mention a few things I bought or noticed at the Asahiya up there.

I didn't buy the next volume of CUTExGUY, as I'd threatened to, because it wasn't in stock. But I did get volume 20 of Fruits Basket, the most recent to appear (yay!). I also got volumes 2 and 3 of Boku to Kanojo no XXX (My and her XXX) by Ai Morinaga. This is yet another gender-bending comedy, though this one is either shounen or seinen (ComiPress lists the magazine in which it's serialized, which is usually how you determine the category, as both). ADV released the first volume here under the title Your and My Secret, but then abandoned the series for some reason. (I still see the first volume on the shelves in stores, so it can't be that terrible a seller.) I also bought volume 2 of Tokumu Houkoukan Yumihari (Special Task Force, the Battle Ship Yumihari) by Hitoshi Tomizawa, who also did Alien Nine and Milk Closet; I already own the first volume, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. (The rate at which I buy Japanese-language manga is greater than the rate at which I can read it, so my pile of unread manga steadily grows.) And I got a couple of other things which I may eventually get around to writing about.

Some stuff I noticed: the Chicago Asahiya now has a boys'-love section, albeit a small one (about fifty volumes, more or less), for those who are fans of the genre. You'll find it in one of the bookcases touching the case containing new manga releases: it's back-to-back with the case for Full Metal Alchemist products. As with virtually all the manga at Asahiya, the books are all untranslated and shrink-wrapped, though there's an opening at the top enabling one to take a discreet peek at the artwork. The books are mainly from Be-Boy and Biblos, if I recall correctly (the spines of the Be-Boy books have a very distinctive look, which is what drew my attention to the section in the first place). I don't know enough about the genre to say how they compare with what's been brought over here.

I was looking at the cover to a different book (not boys'-love) and I noticed that there's a Japanese-language manga anthology, Comic High, whose slogan is "Girlish comics for boys and girls." Interesting, isn't it, that in the U.S., where sex roles are supposedly less restrictive, it's hard to imagine any sort of popular culture product being advertised with a slogan like this. To be sure, the fact that the slogan is in English, which many Japanese understand imperfectly, may provide some cover.

Continuing the unconventional-gender-roles theme, I noticed that there was an issue of Comic Yurihime on sale. This is an anthology magazine featuring yuri -- i. e. same-sex romantic relationships between girls or women -- and from its appearance it seemed to be targeted at female readers. I considered buying it just out of curiosity, but decided to leave it for someone who might really need it. (I'll admit that the fact it would have cost over twelve bucks played a role in this decision.)

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