Sunday, March 24, 2013


Recently, I was up in Chicago, and I bought some manga at Sanseidoh in Arlington Heights. I haven't had time to read any of them yet, but I thought I'd share some of my impressions upon looking at them. These aren't the only manga I bought, but I'll put these up to start with.

Swan vol. 11 by Kyoko Ariyoshi: Swan, a classic shoujo manga from the 1970s about a Japanese girl who becomes an internationally recognized ballerina, was published in the U.S. by CMX, but despite good reviews it never caught on. When CMX shut down it was left unfinished, and it seems unlikely to be rescued. In Japan, however, it remains popular, with two editions in print, of which this is one. Because this edition groups the series into only fourteen volumes, this volume doesn't correspond to CMX's volume 11. Instead, its first half contains most of what was in CMX's vol. 15 (the last volume it published), while its second half carries on from the end of that volume, for 149 more pages. Looking through this volume, there doesn't seem to be a lot of dancing, which is too bad, because those are the best parts. Swan vol. 11 is published by Akita Bunko and costs 562 yen. Its ISBN is 9784253171670, and its amazon.co.jp page is here. If you want to pick up where CMX left off, make sure you buy this edition of vol. 11; the other Japanese edition groups the series into fewer volumes than this one, so that edition's volume 11 will be later on in the story.

Incidentally, in the Japanese original Masumi and Leon work not with the fictional choreographers Bilanovsky and Bronstein, but with the real and renowned choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and the dance they work on with Robbins in not "Morning of a Satyr" but "Afternoon of a Faun." The Japanese guest dancer, as well, is not Yuko Kamimori but Youko Morishita, a real and internationally known ballerina.

Subete no Jidai o Tsuujite no Satsujinjutsu [Murder Methods of All Eras] by Shintaro Kago: This is Kago's latest tankouban, having come out late last year. The jacket proclaims it to be a collection of horror stories. You might ask how that differs from Kago's usual stuff. Based on looking through the volume, the answer seems to be "not much," although there may be more emphasis on violence and less on sex than usual. At any rate, Kago hasn't lost his obsession with adolescent girls, although there are male victims as well. Subete no Jidai o Tsuujite no Satsujinjutsu is published by Kubo Shoten and costs 1200 yen. Its ISBN is 9784765930284, and its amazon.co.jp page is here.

Hataki vol. 2 by Eiji Nonaka: Hataki is an animal which is described on the cover as a "very pretty and very very mysterious pet." Actually, it's pretty ugly and looks something like a pig's head with short legs. I bought this on a whim, because it's by the guy who did Cromartie High School (with his art style unaltered) and because I was curious about the pig-thing. Looking at it, I can't even tell whether it's a comedy or not, although at one point there's an invasion of anthropomorphic pig paratroopers. I guess it wasn't that popular in Japan, since it was published in 2009 and is already out of print. Hataki vol. 2 is published by Kodansha under the Evening [Ibuningu] label, and costs 533 yen. Its ISBN is 9784063522570, and its amazon.co.jp page is here. Or if you want to start with the first volume, its amazon.,co.jp page is here, although it's also out of print.

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