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Manga Round-Up

September 8, 2014

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I read manga. I used to be pretty voracious. I’ve actually read stuff like Hunter x Hunter, Naruto, Bleach, Death Note, Hikaru no Go, Hajime no Ippo and so forth way before their anime came out. So yeah, while I don’t always dig the anime version of these titles, I did read hundreds of manga chapters of said titles. Heck, I used to read hella lots of shoujo manga (I stopped once the mysoginy in said manga got too much even for me).

But as time progressed, while I DO like the shounen genre, particularly of the Shounen Jump style, my tastes have expanded. I dig seinen stuff but it’s more about interesting or engaging story telling than genres y’know? Anyway, here are a few series I’ve been reading or have recently read and I think y’all should read ’em too.

First up is something I’ve just read.

21671
Hoshi no Ponko to Toufuya Reiko or the translation, Ponko of the Stars and Reiko of the Tofu Shop. Here’s a link to the first chapter.

It’s a pretty cute manga about a winged fox/cat thingy from space named Ponko, who collapsed after arriving on earth. She’s found by Reiko and her kid brother, whose parents run a 3rd generation tofu shop. Naturally, Reiko saved her, and Ponko reveals herself to be a saleswoman, from space. And she’s got gadgets for sale, from space.

She’s sort of an incompetent Doraemon.

Anyways, it’s a pretty amusing 1 shot. The ending does feel a bit forced, presumably so it could get its hook in; in the hopes of being picked up. But hey, don’t take my word for it, here’s a testimonial:

[16:17] updatedude: can you read this?
[16:18] Landon: yeah
[16:44] updatedude: heh
[16:54] Landon: OK
[16:54] Landon: That was awesome

10700Next up we’ve got Teppuu. Found here.

Right, so the story is about this chick who excels in everything she does without even trying. And now she’s gotten into Mixed Martial Arts aka MMA. Now, there are some pretty decent MMA series out there, such as All Rounder Meguru, which I’ll talk about some other time. But where Teppuu differs is that the main character is a bitch.

She’s an evil bitch antagonist and the chick she’s chosen as her rival is a Shounen Jump style main character. It’s like, she’s fighting Luffy or Natsu Dragneel or something.

But yeah, I dig Teppuu. It’s not a mind bending twister of a series by any stretch, but at least it’s not a cookie cutter main guy. She’s not “untalented”, whose super power is “hard work” like the dude from Baby Steps. The main girl in Teppuu is the antithesis of such characters, and that’s enough for me.

9358Finally, Nickelodeon. ‘Nuff said, read it, ye fools! Here’s a link to get you started.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2014 12:00 PM

    That Ponko thing was some straight-up Mohiro Kitoh-ish shit. Ending is kind of eh, but I would definitely read more of it.

    • September 8, 2014 12:28 PM

      Yeah, ending seems to be an attempt to get picked up for a second chapter or an actual series. Kinda forced with Ponko’s situation.

      • September 8, 2014 2:27 PM

        Spoilers.

        The latter 1/3 of the manga starting with the little brother’s death and ending with teen Reiko pissing in a bottle and swearing vengeance was freaking awesome. Up until that point where Ponko reveals her true nature, I didn’t think it would go anywhere very interesting. It really does a good job of setting up the reader to expect it to go in a light-hearted direction about youthful hijinks and get-rich-quick schemes involving wacky alien gadgets and shit. Maybe they’ll develop a loving bond with this extraterrestrial visitor. Then it’s like getting hit by a bus AFTER looking both directions of the road.

        Since it’s a one-shot, the actual serialization probably would have been structured better and maybe adjusted a few things, as is the case with most one-shots leading into serializations. But this is from, what, 2013? If it hasn’t already been serialized, then we’re likely to never see a continuation.

        Why can’t we have nice things?

  2. September 8, 2014 2:43 PM

    Do you plan on doing more of these comics/manga recommendation posts?

    Back when I consumed more manga than anime, my tastes were pretty different. I was into shit like Beelzebub and To-love ru and Rosario Vampire. I no longer have high opinions of a lot of the manga I read back then, but I’ve read some legitimately good manga like Uzumaki and Litchi Hikari Club. I’m assuming you’ve already read those, but if you haven’t, you’ll probably like them. Especially Litchi. I read Kyou kara Ore wa!! back then too, and I still like it. It’s an old school gag manga about two guys who decide to make their high school debut as delinquents. It busted my gut back then and I still find it funny now.

    This probably belongs on the comics post, but I’ll just include it here. I’m also into the MLP comics and Superior Foes. I’m into a lot of other comics, which you can tell if you recognize who the guy in my avatar is (Orion from Jack Kirby’s New Gods).

    • September 8, 2014 7:50 PM

      I might do more manga stuff. I’ve cut down on reading a lot of manga, but there’s still a few I follow and I’ve been reading more here and there lately.

      I probably won’t do too many comics save as round-ups. For one thing, there’s only a handful of genuinely good comics running at the moment. For another, it’s a tad harder to get older comics than it is the new stuff. Also, considering a lot of comics change writers, and I never bother seeing who’s run a comic is.

      But yeah, back to manga, I read a lot. I liked Beelzebub. It wasn’t the best, but it was decent. It got better over time as the main dude and the baby started behaving the same. I’ve stopped reading stuff like To-Love Ru and Rosario Vampire since a long long time ago. I can’t remember, I think since the days of I’s or somethingsomethingStrawberryDayswhatever? Basically, the kind of harem comic that involves a tragic main love interest (although her tragedy may sometimes be really petty for someone who’s been in the REAL world, but hey, the manga’s there to hook school kids).

      Haven’t read the others you mentioned either, although I might have caught the first chapter of Kyou Kara Ore Wa!!

      Here’s the thing, I bet a buncha Mecha Guignol readers don’t think we give stuff like Death Note a fair shake. But me, I’ve read Death Note way before the anime came out. I’ve finished Hikaru no Go, and I’ve read the Death Note one-shot that even had a Death Eraser, and I was super excited when there was a serialized Death Note coming out. And I read a lot of it and I know Landon read it too, since I introduced it to him. And when the anime came out, we were both excited. And we both agree that the anime did a good job by going totally over the top with stuff like the bag of potato chips.

      BUT.

      To say that Death Note is some DEEP study of right and wrong and other bullshit like that? In the words of the Iron Sheik, “FUCKING BULLSHIT!”. Death Note’s fun and all, but we DO know the material and it is NOT in any way DEEP.

      Naruto, Bleach, Full Metal Alchemist, Hunter x Hunter (Hell, I was reading the Chimera Ant arc in Hunter x Hunter when the guy was literally just drawing squiggles)… I’ve read the manga for all these, and they’re good. And the anime are good adaptations of the source material, since the Japanese style is USUALLY to copy things directly rather than take artistic license.

      Buuuut while they’re all fun series, there’s a reason why they ain’t in our top whatever lists. And that reason is simply that there are better anime out there. We just watch waaay too much of this crap, so we know there’s more to anime than just adaptations of shounen series. There’s plenty of mainstream and underrated and obscure series out there for the watching.

      It’s not that shounen adaptations can’t be good or on our “best” list. For instance, I still follow Claymore the manga, but the anime’s better because it actually ENDED. The manga seems to be winding down and is doing so in a fairly decent manner, but damn if there wasn’t a HUGE fuckton of typical shounen filler before we got here.

      Anyways, point is, yeah, perhaps readers might find it somewhat surprising that we actually give stuff like Naruto and Bleach and Death Note and so forth a fair shake… they still WON’T get on our “best of” though. Suck it!

      • September 8, 2014 8:41 PM

        Yeah, judging by the stuff you and Landon have written, I didn’t think our tastes would be as compatible when it came to comics. I’m one of those guys who likes particular writers and artists and looks for comics to read from whatever Age of comics. Like, right now I’m reading Jack Kirby’s Fourth World and will soon move onto his OMAC. Those are comics from the early 1970’s. Aside from that, I like Watchmen and I know how much Landon hates Watchmen. I think it’s well-written and well-drawn, I may not agree with most of it, but damn is it a fine comic. I like reading a really wide variety of comics and I’ll try to dissect the books that interest me the most to find out why I like this comic and what it means to me. I also just like reading comics that are fun like MLP and Superior Foes. So, yeah, I’m a comic book guy more than I am an anime or manga guy.

        Also, I read Teppu and I’m already caught up to chapter 28. I like how it isn’t that ecchi fighting shit that’s made to appeal to the male gaze and desire to watch violence, like that anime that aired a while ago. Teepu is no Air Master, but it’s good stuff. I don’t really care for the parts where they explain the MMA techniques and stuff. Those are the most boring. Chapter 23, The End of the World, or Natsuo vs Sanae is the best chapter so far. Up until then it had been building up towards something big, and the shit that we see in the chapter is worth it. And, damn, that chapter was illustrated so well. Natsuo looked hottttt. The quality of the art isn’t consistent, but when it looks good it looks really good. Especially Natsuo. She should totally make out with Sanae.

        • September 9, 2014 1:25 AM

          I’ll probably do a seminal comics round up post soonish, maybe. I’ll probably include Watchmen in there. So I won’t give my thoughts here.

          Yeah, Teppuu started with a certain art style. I wouldn’t say it’s inconsistent, but rather, it evolved. I like the MMA explainations actually, although if you’re not into those, then I wouldn’t recommend All Rounder Meguru to you. But back to Teppuu’s art, it starts of okay but yeah, it turns into muscle-fetish porn by the time we hit her and Sanae’s fight.

          I also like how the Shounen Jump girl’s treated. I mean, in series like Dragonball, Fairy Tail etc, where the main dude stays happy, positive and doesn’t give up; it’s normally treated as a virtue. At worst, like Goku and Natsu, they might be called “monsters”, but it’s kinda complimentary. But here, they just call the girl Creepy.

  3. September 8, 2014 9:54 PM

    Dang, it turns out Nickelodeon was cut short because the magazine it was published in is out of business. I’d read the first two volumes (Red and Green) before being reminded of it by this post. Just finished volume 3 (Blue) and I’m disappointed that we won’t be getting more.

    Seriously, why can’t we have nice things?

  4. September 9, 2014 6:36 AM

    If you like Teppu, that’s enough reason for me to check out your other recommendations. Stuff I’ve been digging lately includes Spirit Circle (starts like any shonen magical-girlfriend plot but OH MAN does it develop), Choujin Gakuin (supernatural outcasts open school for same; similar in tone to Law of Ueki), and Aho Girl (4-koma; there is a girl who is very stupid and somehow every chapter entertains; author is great with non sequitur punchlines

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