Manga Chapter of the Week: Natsu no Zenjitsu 18 (A Day at the Beach)

Scans for this chapter apparently came out a long time ago. I can’t not talk about this series. The art is too good, the characters too engaging, the storyboards too crisp. This chapter follows the lead couple, Tetsuo and Akira, on a date to the beach as the former is recovering from some weird but very profound depression and makes good use of shading to show that off.

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This chapter doesn’t contain that much in terms of raw plot. Its entirety consists of 3 scenes: Tetsuo arriving at Akira’s apartment late and without the canvas he had discussed bringing along, the two on the train with Tetsuo acting increasingly awkward, and the two at the beach. The first two scenes serve to show Akira noticing how off Tetsuo is, and the third scene is about Tetsuo swimming out into the depths before eventually coming back to Akira and just lying there. It’s a relatively simple premise for a chapter packed with emotional nuances that lend it a ton of depth. It’s harder to go into more detail without simply breaking it down panel-by-panel, but the manga does a particularly excellent job this chapter of illustrating Tetsuo’s improving mood by dramatically shifting the shading from dark to light as he swims back towards Akira. This dynamic results in a number of very touching, tranquil pages like the one below, pages that make the manga a very easy one to read over and over.

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Manga Chapter of the Week: Hajime no Ippo Chapter 1008 (Heated Comrades)

Some time ago, I ragequit on George Morikawa’s long-running boxing series Hajime no Ippo. It had been on a low streak for a long time, and my favorite character of the series had just gotten cold-cocked in just about the cruelest way possible. I was angry, and, more importantly, kind of just tired. So I closed the book on what was then one of my 5 favorite manga.*

Ippo-1005-10It looked something like this

Recently, with the announcement of a third season for the anime, I resolved to get back to it. Last night, I actually did. Suffice to say it was a 45-chapter marathon session that left me eff-all motivated. Chapter 1008 was the high point of that session, reminding me why I like the main character of this series as much as I do.

One of the big appeals of this marathon is that I got to watch an intense title fight by Vorg Zangief, while watching the main character Ippo and rival Sendo get worked up over it. That’s where the picture above comes from. Now, chapter 1008 picks up after the fight is done and Vorg has taken the title with some very impressive heroics. So what do Ippo and Sendo do to cool off? If you guessed “fisticuffs”, you’d be on-target.

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There’s just something really appealing about guys who love what they do enough that watching something exciting motivates them to get right to work. Welcome back to my weekly lineup, HnI.

*Since then, Natsu no Zenjitsu pushed it just out of my top five. It’s still a fantastic manga.

Lists Are Fun to Make: Mangaka Off the Top of My Head

I thought it’d be a fun little exercise to try and pull out as many mangaka names as I could without relying on references. This is that list, written on lockdown mode and complete with the reasons why I remember them.

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Manga Chapter of the Week: Natsu no Zenjitsu Chapter 16 (Being Touched)

Yoshida Motoi is an irregular manga artist who makes up for his bi-quarterly release pace with the best aesthetic concepts this side of Yusuke Murata and a detail-fixated, thorough art style.* It’s fitting, then, that the manga he’s currently drawing, Natsu no Zenjitsu, deals with art itself.

As the title suggests, this particular chapter focuses on the male lead’s sense of touch, and aims to convey how it factors into both his life and his paintings to the readers. Part of that goal is accomplished in conventional means via the script, but the chapter also provides a clinic of how to incorporate the sense of touch into seemingly flat pages of manga. Nor does it just run an art clinic; these depictions are intimately related to a growing and somewhat contradictory set of emotions in the manga’s male lead.

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Let’s Make a List: Explaining my Lack of Excitement Over Sequels to my Favorite Anime

Please Teacher is a show memorable to me for sublime use of natural scenery and subtle characterization overcoming a really dumb plot. It’s also one of my all-time 50 favorite anime. So this show ostensibly has a sequel or some other big franchise project (if I were a betting man, I’d put most of my funds on “anime movie version”) on the way for its tenth anniversary. This is notwithstanding Ano Natsu de Matteru, the spiritual successor it got last January.

Am I excited about this news? Well, slightly. See, I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with my favorite anime getting sequels, and I’d really have to know more than what fictional universe it’s taking place in before I get excited.

Note: Since my tastes are somewhat idiosyncratic, and I’ll be talking mostly about shows I’ve seen and loved, feel free to disagree.

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