Tuesday, November 15, 2011

DMP Starts a Bring Back Osamu Tezuka's "Swallowing the Earth" Kickstarter

According to their website, manga publisher DMP has started a campaign via Kickstarter in order to be able to reprint Osamu Tezuka's "Swallowing the Earth".

Over two years ago, DMP sold "Swallowing the Earth" as a large omnibus. However, it had a small print run and has been in high demand by fans ever since. DMP wishes to print the book again but cannot afford a new print run. They have turned to the fundraising site Kickstarter to get the book back out to fans.

With Kickstarter, users pledge money to the campaign over a 30 day period. If the goal is met by the end of the 30 days, then the project is funded. By pledging different amounts, users can gain different rewards. Awards include a copy of the book when it's printed or even a package that not only includes the book, but many other manga titles as well.

DMP stated that if the campaign is successful, they will be looking to reprint other titles, or even bring new titles this way in the future.

DMP's Kickstarter page

Source: DMP

*Note* This was my news story on myanimelist.net

My thoughts?

I actually own a copy of the book from the first time DMP printed it. It's an interesting piece. It's certainly not Tezuka's best work, but is a very interesting transitional piece. During the gekiga movement in the 1960's Tezuka wanted to start writing more mature works. The thing is there a few transitional works where you can tell he is trying to write a more mature story but still feel really cartoony. Silly faces, over exaggerated gags, and such. But the story tends to be dark and the characters often have poor morals. It can be really odd. So, it's interesting to see Swallowing the Earth compared to something a few years later like MW (which is one of his most serious and dark titles).

I also like the idea of a Kickstarter campaign to get titles reprinted. I understand companies can't always take the risk of reprinting some titles and this can take the risk out of it. I think this a great way to see some of those now costly titles reprinted (like Flower of Life volume 4).

DMP also even mentions that if this goes well they will look into publishing niche titles this way. I could think of so many great titles I could get this way. I hope it all works out.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Scanlation Get: Mazinger Z

So, this year at Otakon I ran a panel on the man himself Go Nagai. In doing so, I wanted to catch up on some of his anime and manga works. I managed to watch a ton of (pretty terrible) anime adaptations of his work, but didn’t get around to much manga. I started and recently finished Mazinger Z though. This ending up being pretty interesting because while I had known of Mazinger Z the only related series I had seen was Mazinkaiser and Mazinkaiser SKL. So, I went into this title pretty fresh.

Kouji Kabuto and his younger brother are living with their genius scientist Grandfather after their parents died in a lab accident. Over all they are still an upbeat family living a good simple life. One day Kouji on the way to school experiences a major earthquake. He hurries home to see if his elderly Grandfather is alright. What he finds is a giant hole in the garden which has opened up a path to his Grandfather’s secret lab. Here he finds is the giant robot Mazinger Z and his dying Grandfather after some rubble crushed him. Right before he dies Gramps lays some heavy shit on Kouji that Mazinger is his and can be use to “save the earth or destroy it” it’s up to Kouji to decide.

Shortly there afterwards Kouji takes Mazinger Z out, only to find he can’t control it and it goes on a rampage. During this he has a run in with another piloted robot, Aphrodite A, created by Professor Yumi and piloted by his daughter Sayaka. After a short fight Kouji gets things under control and just in time when a third robot shows up and starts attacking the city. Kouji and Sayaka join forces to fight the evil Dr. Hell and his mechanical beasts.

Mazinger Z moves at a breakneck speed. Events tend to just roll right into another. I really enjoyed that aspect even if it just seems that sometimes I just had to accept stuff. Boss has a robot now? Sure why not?

The villains in this were a lot of fun too. Dr. Hell himself comes off kind of generic, but his henchmen are all kinds of crazy. Baron Ashura is (in the most literal sense) half man and half woman. There was back and forth panels as the female and male side exchanged dialogue. It’s a lot of fun, though I could have passed on the bizarro shower scene at one point. Was that supposed to be sexy or funny (either way let me stab myself in the eyes)? Count Brocken is also another winner. A headless man in Germen military gear who often carries around his head (but it can float too!) often flies in on some sort of hover pad and threatens Kouji. The levels of ridiculousness of this can be mind blowing, watch out!

This title was just a lot of fun to read. It was said Go Nagai wrote this to blow off some steam after working on Devilman and you can tell he is writing to have a good time. I really liked that, I could just feel fun coming off of the pages. I also enjoyed a lot of small things like the fact Kouji and Sayaka just like each other and there isn’t any tsundere bull. I also like that Sayaka is a strong brave female character, it was a shame though that she ended up being mostly useless.

My only complaint really is after what is the “ending” to the series there is a number of short one off stories. The ending has been a really intense point. I think leaving off with these short stories really hurt the impact of the ending.

In terms of fan service and gore Mazinger Z comes out like a baby kitten compared to a lot of other Go Nagai works. There are bits where Kouji or Boss get a look at a naked woman but it never really goes past that to the whole other level some of his titles go (I’m looking at you Cutey Honey and that statue licking scene!). There is some violence but for the most part it’s pretty mild and doesn’t focus much on it.

As in my past reviews on Go Nagai the art is well very Go Nagai. I’m starting to not notice how awkward the art is any more. Though man, the pilot outfits sure are freaking goofy looking. Over all, I’d say the art was better than Cutey Honey’s but had less interesting panel layout then Devilman.

This is a summer popcorn flick of manga, it’s a lot of fun and full of action but, nothing to deep going on. I do recommend it though if you like Go Nagai’s other works, or if you are just looking for something fun to read.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Scanlation Get: Pansy

I know it’s been a while, I have been busy (mostly playing Fallout: New Vegas…) but I’m going to try and get back on the wagon again. This time I bring you a title I just finished recently called Pansy by Mariko Okumura. It’s a historical fiction (though starts to drift a little into light fantasy by the end) shoujo title from the late 80s. Pansy is a feral girl, recently found in Africa, living in the wild being raised by chimpanzees. Mark Animal the young man, who found her, takes her back to his European-esque home country of Roland to study her. Pansy meets a slightly older boy than herself named Edo (who in one of the more obvious turns in the story is the prince of the country) who loves her free spirit. Upon hearing the Traumerei played memories of her past start to awaken. Quickly though events start to roll changing Pansy’s life even further. The story of Pansy quickly turns into one of high adventure and political intrigue.

At first it’s just something small as Mark’s fiancĂ© being jealous of Pansy and having a local reporter take photos of the girl acting like a monkey. Soon she is embroiled in the affairs of the royal family as the throne is being usurped by Edo’s jealous cousin Wirald. Something is always happening to Pansy and new people are always coming in and sometimes old characters come back for a surprise. It is what really made this manga really enjoyable though was I never really knew what was going to happen next. So much crazy crap happens, but because Pansy just rolls with it all it just seems to work. She gets lost, becomes a maid, and might be from a noble family. Then when everything looks like it might work out just fine, BAM! everything she has is destroyed. Pansy ends up doing a little bit of everything and ends up in trouble a whole lot but she remains a strong lead through it all.

The writing is kind of odd, while there are story arcs and they have a somewhat normal structure the overall story isn’t so structured and it kind of rambles on into the series next event. Also while most of the story would be considered historical fiction towards the end the story introduces a country where the nobles worship Satan (at this point I gave a hardy WTF?). This apparently grants them some magic powers like staying young and seeing through a crystal ball like a security camera. It’s kind of odd but at that point so many other barmy things had happened I just kind of rolled with it. I also have to note that the scanalations of this series are from different language from the original Japanese. So, it is a translation of a translation and early on it really shows. In the first few chapters the wrong forum of various pronouns are used. Thankfully over the course of the scans the translation gets better.

The art is well done but pretty typical of 80s shoujo so looks a bit dated today. Thankfully, it’s a period piece so it isn’t as dated as some other titles of the time. The art is well drawn and a lot of the formal clothes have very nice details to them. These are drawing you can see that some care went into creating them. I’d also say the screen tone used in this title is very well done, not too much and done with care.

I got to say I enjoyed this title way more than I thought I would. I finished off all eleven volumes in just a couple of days. It was almost like playing Civilization expect instead of one more turn it was one more page just to see what crazy thing would happen next.