Manga Monday- Banana Fish

Banana Fish is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akimi Yoshida. Serialized in Shōjo Comic from 1985 to 1994 and adapted into an anime television series in July 2018, the series follows Ash Lynx, a teenage gang leader in New York City. It takes its name from the J.D. Salinger short story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.

Banana Fish was first published in May 1985 in a supplementary issue of Shōjo Comic, and ran until April 1994. The series was collected in Japan as nineteen tankōbon and eleven bunkobon published by Shogakukan, who also published an official art book titled Angel Eyesas well as Rebirth: The Banana Fish Official Guidebook.

North American publisher VIZ Media licensed two editions of an English-language translation. The first, published from 1999 to 2002 and spanning the first seven volumes, features flipped artwork and censors some expletives. The second, published from 2004 to 2007 and spanning the full 19 volumes, is printed in the original right-to-left format and includes a re-translated script. The series was additionally printed in both of Viz’s now defunct manga magazines, Pulp and Animerica Extra. In 2018, shortly after the release of the anime adaption of Banana Fish, Viz announced plans to reprint the series.

Side stories

A total of five side stories were published. In Japan, these stories were collected in a single bunkobon titled Another Story, while the 19th volume of the VIZ Media English-language translation includes Angel Eyes and Garden of Light.

Fly Boy in the Sky

Originally published in 1984 — a year before Banana Fish was first published — Fly Boy in the Sky tells the story of how Ibe and Eiji met. During a high jump competition, Eiji attempts and fails a complicated jump. Ibe, watching a televised broadcast, is impressed by the performance but notices that Eiji appears to be depressed. Ibe seeks out Eiji to interview him, and to photograph his jumps for an exhibit.

During the interview, Eiji opens up about how he has fallen into a professional slump. When Ibe asks Eiji about why he looks sad when he competes, he responds that it is because he feels nothing when he jumps. Upon viewing the photos Ibe has taken of Eiji’s jump, both men observe that what Eiji is really feeling is a sense of weightlessness; Ibe remarks that the bliss on Eiji’s face looks like a “home run ball up in the sky.”

Ura Banana

A comedic fourth wall-breaking story, where Ash and Eiji discuss fan mail the series has received with creator Akimi Yoshida.

Private Opinion

A prequel that tells the story of how Blanca and Ash met. Golzine, seeking a private tutor to break Ash’s rebellious streak, blackmails Blanca into taking Ash under his tutelage. Initially, Blanca is convinced that Ash is too violent and unruly to be trained. When he encounters Ash after he has been beaten and sexually assaulted by one of Golzine’s men, Blanca decides that he will protect Ash by teaching him how to fight. Blanca concludes that Ash’s ruthless streak stems from having been deprived of love and that only through finding love will his true potential be unlocked.

Angel Eyes

A prequel that tells the story of how Ash and Shorter Wong met. Ash is admitted to juvenile prison when Golzine refuses to post his bail, where he is made cellmates with Shorter. Shortly after Ash’s arrival, rumors begin to circulate that Arthur has placed an assassin in the prison. Shorter suspects the assassin to be Ash, after observing him single-handedly fighting off Ricardo and Frankie, two prisoners seemingly targeting Ash for prison rape. Ash tells Shorter that he knew Frankie was an assassin sent by Arthur to kill him; knowing that being under the protection of another inmate would complicate any attempt on his life, Ash had sex with Ricardo to force Frankie to make a move. When Shorter tells Ash that his manipulation makes him no better than the people he hates, Ash lashes out, though the incident prompts him to open up to Shorter. When Shorter is released from prison several months later, Ash happily bids him goodbye as a friend; Shorter notes that it was the first time that he ever saw Ash laugh and that Ash’s face when he smiled was “angelic.”

Garden of Light

A postscript set seven years the events of Banana FishGarden of Light follows Akira Ibe, the niece of Shunichi Ibe, as she visits New York City. She stays with Eiji, now an accomplished photographer living in Greenwich Village, as he prepares for a major gallery show. Eiji has remained close friends with Sing, now a student at CUNY who continues to run the Chinese mafia with Yut-Lung. While viewing Eiji’s photo albums, Akira notes that there are multiple missing pictures marked with the letter “A”. Akira learns that these are photos of Ash, and is told the story of Ash’s death and his relationship with Eiji. Eiji takes his photographs of Ash out of storage and places a portrait of Ash in his gallery show.

Plot

The main story of Banana Fish consists of six parts, published across 19 volumes:

  • “Prologue” (volume 1)
  • “The Mystery of Banana Fish” (volumes 1–6)
  • “Ash’s Counterattack” (volumes 7–11)
  • “The Return of Golzine” (volumes 12–14)
  • “The Final Battle” (volumes 15–18)
  • “Epilogue” (volumes 18–19)

Part 1: Prologue

During the Vietnam War in 1973, American soldier Griffin Callenreese fires on his own squadron in a dazed frenzy. He is subdued when Max Glenreed, a friend and fellow soldier, shoots him in the legs; as Griffin collapses, he speaks the words “banana fish.”

Part 2: The Mystery of Banana Fish

12 years later, Griffin — now severely mentally handicapped — is cared for by his younger brother Ash, the leader of a gang of street kids in New York City. One night, Ash encounters a mortally wounded man who gives him a vial of an unknown substance and an address in California; the man utters the words “banana fish” before dying.

Ash begins to investigate “banana fish,” though he is impeded by Dino Golzine, a Corsican mob boss who had groomed Ash as a sex slave and heir to his criminal empire. In the course of his investigation, Ash acquires several allies: Eiji Okumura and Shunichi Ibe, who have traveled from Japan to report on street gangs; Shorter Wong, a gang leader who controls Chinatown; and Max Glenreed, who Ash encounters in prison while detained on a false murder charge. When Griffin is shot and killed in a fight with Golzine’s men, the group sets out to solve the mystery of “banana fish” together.

Ash and his allies travel to the address in California, finding a mansion occupied by a man revealed to be Yut-Lung Lee, the youngest son of China’s largest crime family. They later encounter the home’s true occupant: a doctor who informs them that “banana fish” is an untraceable drug that brainwashes its users. Golzine intends to sell the drug to the United States government, which seeks to use it to overthrow communist governments in South America. The group is subsequently captured by Golzine’s men, who inject Shorter with banana fish and instruct him to kill Eiji. When Shorter begs Ash to kill him in a moment of lucidity, Ash fatally shoots him.

Part 3: Ash’s Counterattack

The group, with assistance from Ash’s and Shorter’s gangs, escape Golzine’s compound. Ash uses stock manipulation to destroy the value Golzine’s legitimate businesses and withdraws $50 million from their accounts, making it appear as though Golzine has embezzled the money. Golzine is forced to leave the United States to answer to his superiors in France.

In the power vacuum created by Golzine’s absence, Ash secures promises of neutrality from Cain Blood, the boss of Harlem’s street gangs, and Sing Soo-Ling, who has taken over the Chinatown gang. He begins to methodically take out the Corsican-affiliated street gangs, emerging victorious but gravely wounded in a final battle. He is placed in a psychiatric facility for treatment, which is revealed to be funded by the Unione Corse, who fake Ash’s death so they may use him as a test subject to observe the effects of banana fish on a live brain. Ash is able to escape from the facility, just as Golzine returns from Europe to reassert control of the Corsican mob.

Part 4: The Return of Golzine

Yut-Lung, having used banana fish to put his older brother in a vegetative state, enters into an alliance with Golzine. Yut-Lung eliminates Golzine’s co-conspirators in the banana fish project, while Golzine eliminates the other members of the Lee family syndicate, making the two men the de facto leaders of the Corsican and Chinese mobs.

Golzine and Yut-Lung contract Blanca, a retired assassin who trained Ash, and threaten to kill Eiji unless Ash returns to Golzine and ends his investigation of banana fish. Ash agrees to their terms, accepting that he cannot defeat Blanca, and is reunited with Golzine as his advisor and legally-adopted son. At a party thrown by Golzine, Ash is rescued by Eiji, with the support of Sing’s, Cain’s, and Ash’s gangs.

Part 5: The Final Battle

Ash retreats to the American Museum of Natural History, though Eiji and multiple members of Ash’s gang are captured in the ensuing chase. Ash captures Yut-Lung and releases him in return for the freedom of the hostages.

Ash and his allies later repel an assault by Eduardo Foxx, a mercenary hired by Golzine, though multiple members of their gang are captured. The group tracks the prisoners to the psychiatric facility where Ash was previously imprisoned. In a climactic battle, Foxx and Golzine are killed, and all evidence of the banana fish project is destroyed.

Part 6: Epilogue

Max publishes an investigation of Golzine’s child sex ring in Newsweek, prompting a massive scandal in Washington that implicates multiple politicians.

Sing convinces Yut-Lung to end his pursuit of Eiji and Ash. The two agree to work together to reassert control of Chinatown.

Ash, wracked with guilt over the violence he has exposed Eiji to, ceases contact with him. Eiji and Ibe return to Japan, though just before his departure, Eiji entrusts a letter for Ash to Sing. In the letter, Eiji says that while he understands why they can no longer see each other, “my soul is always with you.” While distracted by the letter, Ash is stabbed by Lao Yen-Thai, Sing’s lieutenant who never forgave Ash for killing Shorter Wong. Ash dies, smiling and clutching Eiji’s letter.

 

Advertisements

Manga Monday- Sorcerous Stabber Orphen

Sorcerous Stabber Orphen is a series of Japanese fantasy adventure novel and manga, two anime television series (Sorcerous Stabber Orphen and Sorcerous Stabber Orphen 2: Revenge), and a video game.

Manga

The manga adaptation was created by writer Yoshinobu Akita and artist Hajime Sawada. The first volume was released stateside by ADV Manga in March, 2005. It tells us about Azalie, Orphen’s foster sister and best friend from six years ago, much sooner than the anime does. In the first manga, we are told almost exactly what the eighth episode (titled “Azalie”) of Sorcerous Stabber Orphen tells us about her. The story in the manga follows the anime but more the Novels almost exactly, except for information coming up earlier, or later.

The Sorcerous Stabber Orphen manga was created by Yoshinobu Akita and Yuuya Kusaka. The manga is split into two separate series: Majutsushi Orphen Haguretabi, which is six volumes long so far, and the two volume side story known as Majutsushi Orphen MAX. The first volume of the manga series was released in 2005 by ADV Manga.

There is also a special manga that was released called “Sorcerous Stabber Orphen Special Parody,” or “Majutsushi O-fuen Haguretabi Spesharu Paarodi.” It is a collection of doujinshi of Orphen put into one volume of Orphen.

A new ongoing manga adaptation based on the main novels (or “Stray” arc) was created and released by Yoshinobu Akita and illustrator Muraji in March 2017. In July 2018, Seven Seas Entertainment announced their acquisition of the manga’s license for English distribution.

In August 2018, a manga adaptation based on the light novel spin-off series, “Sorcerous Stabber Orphen: Reckless Arc” or “Majutsushi Orphen: Mubouhen”, was released. It will be written and illustrated by Yu Yagami (The author of Those Who Hunt Elves).

Synopsis

Krylancelo Finrandi once attended the most prestigious school of sorcery on Kiesalhima continent, the Tower of Fang. He was sent there as a young child from an orphanage, along with another orphan girl called Azalie. Throughout the years, the two were very close, with Azalie becoming more and more powerful and Krylancelo looking up to her as a sister/mother figure and a best friend. It isn’t until one day, Azalie’s thirst for knowledge and extracurricular experimentation backfire, and she is horribly transfigured into a hideous creature, a dragon-like beast that departs the Tower in an animal fury, leaving Krylancelo behind. The Fang Tower, however, is unsympathetic. They promote the belief that Azalie is dead in order to cover the grievous error that resulted in her unimaginable transformation, a terrible scandal that would surely destroy the school’s reputation and authority. People whom Krylancelo thought were his friends suddenly seem as though they are strangers, even enemies, going along with the Tower’s pretense rather than challenge their authority. Furious that they will do nothing to help her and are instead determined to track down the Bloody August and destroy it before the truth can come to light, Krylancelo renounces his former self, declaring Krylancelo to be dead and that he is, instead, Orphen.

After five years, he finds himself living in the quiet town of Totokanta and taking on a student – Majic Lin, his landlord’s son. Life is quiet and fairly lazy until the day Cleao Everlasting comes home from boarding school, and stumbles into Orphen’s quietly laid plans for the sword that sits on her family’s mantle: the Sword Of Baltanders. It turns out that the sword is actually one of three magical artifacts that Orphen will need if he is to save Azalie, and, in fact, was the very sword Azalie used in her experiment that ended with her unfortunate transformation. Before he can obtain it, however, the Bloody August assaults the town looking for the sword, and soon after, Tower’s forces show up as well.

To find the other Baltander’s relics, Orphen sets off with his apprentice, little miss Everlasting and two short-statured misfits, but at all times they need to stay ahead of the Tower of Fang and its sorcerers, who all believe that bringing Azalie back to her former state would reveal their oversight in containing her increasingly dangerous magic, a mistake so great it could bring the Tower down – and, of course, ahead of Azalie herself who, as the dragon is more powerful than both Orphen and the Tower. Orphen is driven solely by the need to transform Azalie back into her human self at even the cost of his life. But restoring Azalie ends up being only the beginning…

 

Manga Monday- Loveless

Loveless is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yun Kōga. It is serialized in the Japanese magazine Monthly Comic Zero Sum by Ichijinsha and collected in thirteen tankōbon as of July 2017. Kōga plans to end the manga at fifteen volumes. The most immediately noticeable aspect of the story is that many characters are kemonomimi—cat-like features (in this case, ears and tails) are universal from birth, so there are as many catboys, including the protagonist, as there are catgirls. People in the Loveless universe lose their animal features when they lose their virginity. Those who no longer have animal features are differentiated by society as “adults”.

Plot

In his first day at his new school, a then twelve-year-old Ritsuka Aoyagi meets a mysterious twenty-year-old male named Soubi Agatsuma. Soubi claims to be a good friend of Ritsuka’s brother, Seimei, who was murdered 2 years earlier. Upon the inspection of Seimei’s abandoned computer files, Ritsuka discovers that an organization called ‘Septimal Moon’ was responsible for Seimei’s death.

As Ritsuka quickly discovers, Seimei and Soubi acted as a pair involved in spell battles invoked by carefully selected words. Now Soubi is Ritsuka’s ‘sentouki’, or Fighter Unit, and Ritsuka is his ‘Sacrifice’. Together, they challenge Septimal Moon to find out the truth behind Seimei’s murder and the reason for Ritsuka’s amnesia, and form an intimate bond as they unravel the mystery.

Tokyopop licensed Loveless for an English-language release in North America. The first volume was published on February 7, 2006 and the eighth was released on September 1, 2008; Tokyopop then went out of business. In October 2011, Viz Media announced that they had acquired the license and would continue publishing the series from volume 9. Volume 13 is available for pre-orders online and is set for a June 12, 2018 release. The series is also licensed in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment, in France by Soleil Manga, in Germany by Egmont Manga & Anime, in Italy by J-POP, in Russia by Comics Factory, and in Brazil by NewPOP.

 

Manga Monday- Nana

Nana is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa. It was serialized in Cookie magazine from July 2000 until June 2009 when it went on indefinite hiatus, with its chapters collected into 21 tankōbon volumes published by Shueisha. The series derives its title from the name of the two main characters, both of whom are called Nana. Nana Komatsu is a small town girl who goes to Tokyo to follow her boyfriend and college friends, with the hope of having her dream life. Nana Osaki was in a popular punk rock band in her hometown. She goes to Tokyo with the goal of making it big as a singer. The two Nanas meet on the train ride to the city. Later, they run into each other again when they happen to check out the same apartment, and the girls decide to become roommates. The series chronicles their friendship and their lives as each chases her dreams.

Written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa, Nana premiered in Cookie in 2000 where it ran until June 2009, when the series was put on hiatus due to Yazawa falling ill. Yazawa returned from the hospital in early April 2010, but has not specified when or if she will resume the manga. The individual chapters have been collected and published into 21 tankōbon volumes in Japan by Shueisha.

Nana is licensed for English-language release in North America by Viz Media. It was serialized in Viz’s manga anthology Shojo Beat, premiering in the July 2005 debut issue and continuing until the August 2007 issue. They published all 21 collected volumes as of July 6, 2010.

Plot

Nana Komatsu has a habit of falling in love at first sight all the time, and depending on other people to help her. When her friends, and then her boyfriend, leave for Tokyo, she decides to join them a year later after having saved enough money at the age of twenty.

Nana Osaki, the other Nana, is the punk-styled lead vocalist of a band called Black Stones (BLAST for short). She had lived with her boyfriend, bassist Ren Honjo since she was 16, but when Ren is offered a chance to debut in Tokyo as a replacement member of a popular band called Trapnest, Nana chooses to continue on with BLAST and to cultivate her own career instead of following Ren, as she has too much ambition to be relegated to a rockstar’s girlfriend. She eventually leaves for Tokyo at the age of twenty to start her musical career.

The two Nanas meet on a train by chance, both on their way to Tokyo. After a string of coincidences, they come to share an apartment. Despite having contrasting personalities and ideals, the Nanas respect each other and become close friends. While BLAST begins to gain popularity at live gigs, the two Nanas face many other issues together, especially in the areas of friendship and romance. The story of Nana revolves heavily around the romance and relationships of the two characters as one seeks fame and recognition while the other seeks love and happiness.

 

Manga Monday- Maison Ikkoku

Maison Ikkoku is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. It was serialized in Big Comic Spirits from November 1980 to April 1987, with the chapters collected into 15 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan. Maison Ikkoku is a bitter-sweet comedic romance involving a group of madcap people who live in a boarding house in 1980s Tokyo. The story focuses primarily on the gradually developing relationships between Yusaku Godai, a poor student down on his luck, and Kyoko Otonashi, a young, recently widowed boarding house manager.

Written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi, Maison Ikkoku was serialized in Big Comic Spirits as 162 chapters between 1980 and 1987. The chapters were collected and published into 15 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan from May 1, 1982 to July 1, 1987. The series has since been re-released in several different editions. A 10 volume wide-ban edition was released between September 1, 1992 and June 1, 1993, 10 bunkoban from 1996 to 1997, and 15 shinsōban throughout 2007.

North American publisher Viz Media originally released the series, adapted into English by Gerard Jones, in a monthly comic book format from June 1993. This release was collected into 14 graphic novels. The images were “flipped” to read left-to-right, causing the art to be mirrored, and some chapters were out of order or completely missing. Four of the five missing chapters were published in Animerica Extra Vol. 3 Number 1 and Vol. 3 Number 2. Viz later re-released the series in its original format and chapter order across 15 volumes. These were released between September 24, 2003 and February 14, 2006.

Maison Ikkoku has over 25 million collected volumes in circulation. Jason Thompson claimed that while Maison Ikkoku was not the first men’s love-com, it is “almost certainly the best” and definitely Rumiko Takahashi’s best work. He also stated that because the main character is a university student, Maison Ikkoku is “slightly more sophisticated” compared to Kimagure Orange Road. Anime News Network (ANN) gave the manga an “A” for its story and an “A-” for its art, stating that the series shows off Takahashi’s skill; “with a clear cut and rather simple plot, she is able to concentrate on the characters, using them to drive the story, while at the same time ensuring the proper reader reaction intended for each scene.” They remarked that the story focuses on Yusaku and Kyoko’s relationship, with the other characters used only “to create conflicts, exposition, and comedic relief.”

Plot

The story mainly takes place at Maison Ikkoku, a worn and aging boarding house in a town called Clock Hill, where 20-year-old college applicant Yusaku Godai lives. Though honest and good-natured, he is weak-willed and often taken advantage of by the offbeat and mischievous tenants who live with him: Yotsuya, Akemi Roppongi and Hanae Ichinose. As he is about to move out, he is stopped at the door by the beautiful Kyoko Otonashi, who announces she will be taking over as manager. Godai immediately falls in love with her and decides to stay. Godai and the other tenants find out that despite her young age, Kyoko is a widow who had married her high school teacher, who tragically died shortly thereafter. Godai empathizes with Kyoko and endeavors to free her from her sadness. He manages to work up enough courage to confess his love to her, and it begins to look as if a relationship between them might appear. However, Kyoko meets the rich, handsome and charming tennis coach Shun Mitaka at her tennis club. Mitaka quickly declares his intention to court Kyoko and states that he is very patient, and can wait until her heart is ready.

Godai, not willing to give up, continues to chase Kyoko. But through a series of misunderstandings, he is seen by Kyoko and Mitaka walking with the cute and innocent Kozue Nanao. For the rest of the series, Kozue is mistakenly perceived as being Godai’s girlfriend (by Kozue herself as well). Angered by this, Kyoko begins to openly date Mitaka. Despite the misunderstandings, Kyoko and Godai clearly have feelings for each other, and their relationship grows over the course of the series. Godai eventually manages to get into college and, with the help of Kyoko’s family, he begins student-teaching at Kyoko’s old high school. Almost mirroring Kyoko’s meeting of her husband, Godai catches the attention of precocious and brazen student Ibuki Yagami, who immediately begins pursuing him. Her outspoken approach stands in stark contrast to Kyoko, which helps Kyoko come face to face with her feelings for Godai.

Meanwhile, Mitaka’s endeavors have been hindered by his phobia of dogs, as Kyoko owns a large white dog named Soichiro in honor of her late husband. He eventually overcomes his phobia but, when he is about to propose to Kyoko, his family begins to goad him into a marriage with the pure and innocent Asuna Kujo. Feeling the pressure, Mitaka begins to pursue Kyoko with increased aggression. He slowly realizes that she has decided on Godai and is waiting for him to find a job and propose. Mitaka is completely pulled out of the race when he ends up thinking he slept with Asuna and her later announcing a pregnancy. Taking responsibility, he proposes to Asuna, but finds out too late that it was her dog who was pregnant, not her.

As things begin to really go well for Godai, Kozue Nanao makes a reappearance in his life. Kozue tells Godai and the other Ikkoku tenants that she is thinking of marrying another man, even though Godai had proposed to her (which is another misunderstanding). Kyoko, feeling foolish and betrayed, slaps Godai and demands that he move out. When Godai refuses, he wakes up the next morning to find her gone and her room empty. Godai tries to explain himself by visiting Kyoko every day, even though she won’t answer the door. After she calms down a bit, Kyoko checks on the house and runs into the other tenants. They try to convince her to return.

The seductive Akemi, sensing that Kyoko is still hesitant, threatens to seduce Godai if Kyoko doesn’t want him. She later tells the other tenants that she only said that to threaten Kyoko into coming back. This backfires when Godai is spotted leaving a love hotel with Akemi (he was only there to lend her money). It results in Kozue resolving to marry the other man. As Kyoko is about to return to Ikkoku, she learns that Godai has ended it with Kozue, but she thinks he slept with Akemi. She insults him, tells him that she hates him, and runs away. Godai follows her explaining that she doesn’t trust him and that, despite the other girls, she never considered one important thing: Godai’s own feelings. He passionately tells her that he loves only her: From the first moment he saw her and forevermore, she is the only woman in his eyes. The two spend the night together. Having cleared his last barrier of getting a teaching job, Godai proposes to Kyoko and, with the blessings of both families, they get married. The story ends as Godai and Kyoko arrive home with their newborn daughter, Haruka, and Kyoko tells her that Maison Ikkoku is the place where they first met.

 

Manga Monday- Land of the Lustrous

Land of the Lustrous is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Haruko Ichikawa and published from 2012 onwards. It is published by Kodansha in Monthly Afternoon magazine and eight volumes compiling the chapters have been released so far. Set in a world inhabited by “jewel people,” it chronicles their efforts to find the place where they belong and defend their way of life.

Synopsis

In a place inhabited by jewels that take the form of people, Phosphophyllite (Phos) is weak (with one of the lowest hardnesses) and considered useless by their peers. Phos asks their aloof but wise colleague Cinnabar for help after they receive an assignment to create a natural history encyclopedia, thus beginning their friendship and personal growth. Meanwhile, the “jewel people” are at war with the Lunarians (Moon people) who want to take advantage of their luxury value.

Manga

The Land of the Lustrous manga began serialization in Kodansha’s Monthly Afternoon magazine on October 25, 2012. The first tankōbon volume was released on July 23, 2013, and the most recent volume, volume 8, was released on November 22, 2017. Volume 4 was released in two editions, a regular edition and a special edition, which included a card game. Volume 6 and Volume 7 were also released in two editions, with volume 6 being released with an additional limited edition, and volume 7 being released with an additional special edition.

Kodansha Comics announced during their 2016 New York Comic-Con panel that they have licensed the manga in North America in English. The first volume was released on June 27, 2017.

Volume 1 reached the 47th place on the weekly Oricon manga chart and, as of July 27, 2013, has sold 21,204 copies; volume 2 reached the 35th place and, as of February 2, 2014, has sold 44,511 copies;[ volume 3 reached the 30th place and, as of August 31, 2014, has sold 56,765 copies.

It was number 10 on the 2014 Kono Manga ga Sugoi! Top 20 Manga for Male Readers survey. It was number 48 on the 15th Book of the Year list by Da Vinci magazine in 2014. It was nominated for the eight Manga Taishō in 2015.

 

Manga Monday- Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi is a Japanese light novel series written by Midori Yūma and illustrated by Laruha. Fujimi Shobo have published seven volumes since 2015 under their Fujimi L Bunko imprint. A manga adaptation with art by Wako Ioka has been serialized in Enterbrain’s josei manga magazine B’s Log Comic since 2016. It has been collected in four tankōbon volumes.

Viz Media announced at their Anime Central 2018 panel that they had licensed the manga.

Plot

Aoi Tsubaki is a college student who has the ability to see Ayakashi, a trait she inherited from her deceased grandfather. One day, when Aoi walks past a torii shrine, she sees an Ayakashi sitting there who announces that it is hungry. However, after giving it food, Aoi is kidnapped by the Ayakashi, an Ogre named Odanna. He takes her to the Hidden Realm, a world where all the Ayakashi live. He tells Aoi that her grandfather owed him a debt, and as compensation, she must marry him. Aoi negotiates with the Ogre instead, asking to work at Odanna’s inn, the Tenjin’ya.

Characters

Aoi Tsubaki

A human girl who inherited the ability to see Ayakashi from her grandfather, Shiro, who also taught her how to cook from a young age. She has a caring personality but has shown she can be stubborn and brave, preferring to work to pay her grandfathers debts rather than marry Odanna. Her greatest regret is that she was unable to share a final meal with her grandfather and that his last meal was poor quality hospital food.

Ōdanna

An Ogre who runs the inn Tenjin-ya in the Hidden Realm. He is known to be cold and merciless but is also loved and respected by his servants because of his kindness and large heart. He knew Shiro, Aoi’s grandfather, for many years and considered him a friend. As a result of Shiro owing him almost 100 million yen Odanna accepted Shiro’s offer of marriage to Aoi as payment. Other Ayakashi refer to him as either “Ogre God” or “Master Innkeeper”.

Ginji

A Nine-tailed fox Ayakashi who was the first Ayakashi in the Hidden Realm to show Aoi real kindness. He can shapeshift into any of nine physical appearances including a handsome man, a young boy, a beautiful woman and a baby fox with nine tails. He runs a small restaurant in Tenjin-ya’s annex building but does not receive many customers. He asks Aoi to take over the restaurant after tasting her human style food. He has a closer relationship with Odanna than the other servants, close enough that he is able to use his adorable young boy form to trick Odanna into buying him treat.

 

Manga Monday- Get Backers

GetBackers is a Japanese manga series written by Yuya Aoki and illustrated by Rando Ayamine. The series was serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Shōnen Magazine from 1999 until 2007, totaling 39 volumes. The plot follows the “GetBackers”, a group that retrieves anything that was lost. The team is primarily composed of Ban Mido, a man born with the illusionary technique “Evil Eye”, and Ginji Amano the former leader of a gang called “The VOLTS”, a powerful group in the dangerous territory called the Infinity Fortress in Shinjuku.

Manga

The GetBackers manga series is written by Yuya Aoki and illustrated by Rando Ayamine. The series was serialized and published by Kodansha’s Weekly Shōnen Magazine from 1999 in its 17th issue until its 12th issue from 2007, totaling twelve story arcs with the name of “Act” and a short number of side stories labelled as “Interlude” and “Birth”. The manga consists of 39 tankōbon with the first released on August 17, 1999, and the last one on April 17, 2007, while some of the last were also released in special editions. On February from 2009, Kodansha published a one-shot chapter from the series in their Magazine Special journal. An artbook of the manga titled G/B was released on March 15, 2005 by Kodansha. Additionally, a manga guidebook titled GetBackers The Last Piece was released on April 17, 2007 containing information about the series’ plot, characters, and popularity polls.

GetBackers is licensed for an English language release in North America by Tokyopop, who first announced it in the Anime Expo 2004 in July 2003. Tokyopop divided the manga in two parts: GetBackers featuring the first twenty-five and GetBackers: Infinity Fortress the following ones. GetBackers was published from February 10, 2004, to July 7, 2008. However, only the first two volumes of Infinity Fortress were released. On August 31, 2009, Tokyopop announced that they would not be completing the series as their licenses with Kodansha expired and Kodansha required that they immediately stop publication of all previously licensed series, including GetBackers. Because of this, the series is now considered to be out-of-print.

Plot

The series tells the story of Ginji Amano and Ban Mido, a pair of super powered individuals known as the “GetBackers”. The duo operates a freelance repossession service out of one of the seedier areas of Shinjuku, Tokyo. For a fee, they will recover any lost or stolen item for a client with “an almost 100% success rate”. The GetBackers’ job often leads them into bizarre and dangerous situations in order to “get back what shouldn’t be gone”. Their targets range from lost video games to misplaced components of an atomic bomb. The plot mostly revolves around their adventures, often complicated by the pair’s convoluted, individual pasts and a mysterious place known as the Infinity Fortress.

A conglomeration of disused, condemned buildings clustered together to form a self-contained habitat, Limitless Fortress is subdivided into three specific tiers – Lower Town, the Beltline and Babylon City. Lower Town is the lowest in altitude, with several layers extending below ground level. The Beltline, the most dangerous area of The Limitless Fortress, is ruled by Der Kaiser, Ban’s father. Babylon City, the upper most level of the Limitless Fortress, is said to be where the Brain Trust resides, and is the home of Ginji’s mother. In actuality, Babylon City is what one might consider the real world, with everything else being a virtual reality creation. Only those who have won the Ogre Battle may enter Babylon City and when that happens, they can change the world as they see fit. Both Ban and Ginji go to the Fortress with Ban wishing to rescue a kidnapped Himiko from Kagami, and Ginji finding a possibility to meet his mother. Going to the Beltline, the GetBackers encounter various warriors taking orders from a being known as Voodoo King from Babylon City. The Voodoo King seeks to obtain three “keys” which will help him unlock the gates from Babylon City sealed by Ban’s grandmother several years ago. After finding the three keys: Shido’s chimera spirit, Himiko’s mirror and the GetBackers, the Voodoo King is faced by Ginji, Thunder Emperor alter-ego attacks him in a clash which destroys the Voodoo King and making Raitei disappear forever as he existed to balance the scales. With Voodoo King gone, Raitei’s purpose was fulfilled and he disappeared forever. Following this, both Ban and Ginji face each other in Ogre Battle with Ban giving up, impressed with Ginji’s will. Ginji goes to Babylon City where he meets his mother from a parallel universe, who explains how she created the Fortress and its surrounding world. Following a discussion between the two of them, the Fortress’ world remains unchanged except that the virtual people living become real beings. Ban and Ginji continue their retrieval job, ending the series when requested to go on a mission that will lead them to meet Ban’s mother.

The plot of the anime adaptation of GetBackers follows the manga’s closely until the first season’s ending. The second season features various stand alone episodes focused in the GetBackers’ missions, while also two story arcs, the second ending the anime series with an open ending.

 

Manga Monday- Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time

Harukanaru Toki no Naka de is a Japanese shojo manga series written by Tohko Mizuno who also worked on the video game of the same name, which was developed by Ruby Party and published by Koei. The manga was serialized in LaLa DX magazine from July 1999 to January 2010, and published by Hakusensha in 17 volumes.

Setting

Although an exact time period is not given for Akane’s arrival in Heian Kyou, it seems likely that the story is set in the earlier part of the era, when families such as the Tachibana-ke, Fujiwara-ke and Minamoto-ke were all in some prominence. Though the Fujiwara-ke and Minamoto-ke continued to hold significant position through until the Genpei war, the Tachibana-ke faded out of favor during the 9th and 10th centuries. This suggests that Harukanaru Toki no Naka de is set sometime in the 9th or 10th centuries. This would also fit with later continuations of the Harukanaru Toki no Naka de plot, since Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 2 is set a century later, and features prominently once more the Fujiwara-ke and Minamoto-ke, as well as the Taira-ke. The third installment, Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3 is set in the period of the Genpei War, which came to an end in 1185. If it can be considered that the third installment is set a century on from the second, this would indicate that the original Harukanaru Toki no Naka de storyline is most probably set in the latter half of the 10th century.

Plot

On her walk to school, ordinary Kyoto High school student Motomiya Akane hears a voice calling to her from an old well in an abandoned historical estate. The voice is that of the oni leader Akuram, and Akane finds herself summoned into another world that resembles the city of Kyoto during the Heian Period (approx. 800-1200). Here she is asked to be the Ryuujin no Miko, a legendary figure who possesses the power of the gods. Akane is told that she must defend this world, called Kyou, from the encroachment of the Oni Clan before she can return home. Fortunately, her school friends Tenma and Shimon are on hand to help her out and along with six Kyou natives they become members of the Hachiyou, a group of specially chosen men who act as the Miko’s protectors.

 

Manga Monday- The Promised Neverland

The Promised Neverland is a Japanese manga series written by Kaiu Shirai and illustrated by Posuka Demizu. It has been serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump since August 1, 2016 with the individual chapters collected and published by Shueisha into eight tankōbon volumes as of January 2018. The story follows a group of orphaned children in their escape plan from a farm. Viz Media licensed the manga in North America and serialized The Promised Neverland in their digital Weekly Shonen Jump magazine.

Set in year 2045, Emma is an 11-year-old orphan living in Grace Field House, a small orphanage housing her and her 37 siblings. Life had never been better; with food that tasted gourmet, plush beds, snow-white uniforms, the love of their “Mom” and caretaker Isabella, and the litany of daily exams that Emma always aced with her two best friends Ray and Norman. The orphans are basically allowed to do whatever they want, except to venture out of the compounds or the gate that connects the house to the outside world.

On a fateful night, another orphan named Conny is sent away to be adopted, but Emma and Norman follow her after noticing that she had left her stuffed rabbit toy Bernie back at the house. Sneaking out, they find Conny dead and the truth of the existence of this supposed orphanage to be a farm where human children are raised as food for demonic creatures. Worst still, Isabella is in allegiance with the demons, ripping away at everything the two ever thought they knew. Determined to break out of Grace Field House, Norman and Emma partner up with Ray to peel away at the façade of the farm and find a way to escape with all their other siblings.

Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu launched The Promised Neverland in issue 34 of Shueisha’s shōnen manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump on August 1, 2016. It is Shirai and Demizu second collaboration; their first series was Popy no Negai. On July 25, 2016, Viz Media announced that they would digitally publish the first three chapters of the series on Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. Thereafter, they will publish the manga’s new chapters simultaneously with the Japanese release. The first printed volume in North America was released on December 5, 2017.

The manga was nominated for the 10th Manga Taishō awards in January 2017, and gets 43 points from the “Executive Committee” of Manga Taishō awards and it was also nominated for the 11th edition of the Manga Taishō awards in 2018 and it received 26 points in total. As of August 2017, the manga had 1.5 million in print. By October 2017, the number had increased to 2.1 million. As of April 4, 2018, the first 8 volumes had 4.2 million copies in print. Anime News Network’s Rebecca Silverman enjoyed the first manga volume and gave it a A-, saying, “Tense pacing, interesting literary connections, art and story work well together, strong plot and foreshadowing.” In January 2018, the manga won the 63rd Shogakukan Manga Award in the Shōnen category.

As of May 28, 2018, the manga had 5 million copies in print worldwide.