Manga Olympics for Bloggers (Shojo/Josei Round 2): Nodame Cantabile and When Endings Don’t Matter

I had been a fan of the Nodame Cantabile manga for a good 2 years when, in 2010, the manga unceremoniously ended for health reasons of the author. When this happened, I raged. I had had so many hopes for where the manga was going, what it could do with all the characters and the relationships still underdeveloped, to say nothing of the fact that the main couple had yet to perform together on an international stage together. All this potential greatness was being wasted. And I stewed on that for a while, and I realized that it didn’t matter.*

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Manga Chapter of the Week: Natsu no Zenjitsu Chapter 17 (Hanami)

Yoshida Matoi’s Natsu no Zenjitsu is a fantastic work about artists and art with the best actual artstyle I’ve ever seen. Unlike a lot of artists with exceptionally good art, though, Matoi also knows storyboarding and the finer points of manga. The result is a consistent barrage of scenes that convey emotions and sensations as only manga can. This chapter, featuring a main character feeling what’s best described as “complex distress” is full of such scenes.

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Scenes that, I’m sure, left the Good! Afternoon guy in charge of ink crying his eyes out

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Manga Olympics for Bloggers (Shonen/Seinen Round 1c): Mid-Major Manga and the Merits of a Struggling Artist Set [Slightly] Free

I’ve been writing about shonen for the past 2 weeks of this competition, and Keima only knows if I’ll make it out of the first round, so I might as well use the freedom I’ve got to coin a term that’s been percolating in my head for a while and talk about seinen (and some shonen, as well) while people are listening. I’ve taken to calling some manga Mid-Major because they’re great in a way that screams “improbable” and “unsustainable”, but because of that are even more fun to watch than consistently great ones. Clearly not top-tier, but clearly blessed with enough potential to make a little legend, like Dunk City FGCU demolishing Georgetown in this year’s NCAA Tourney.* There’s an appeal to watching the little engine that could suddenly transform into a giant robot and dropkick a galaxy, and nowhere (other than sports) does this phenomenon happen more often than in the world of monthly manga.

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Manga Olympics for Bloggers (Shojo/Josei Round 1): The Best at [More Than] Romance

This post represents the second of three entries our blog is submitting to the Manga Olympics for Bloggers. Voting begins on June 16th, so just enjoy the article for now. Or check out our illustrious competition.

Maybe it’s because I have fewer female anime/manga fan friends than male ones, but there’s no demographic of manga I see misconstrued more often than shojo. The idea that it’s synonymous with sparkly, tween-appeal school-life romance seems to show up at least once a week in conversations I have. Fortunately, there’s one very easy way to dispel this misconception; look at some of the shojo manga that actually exist.

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Manga Olympics for Bloggers (Shonen/Seinen Round 1): Shonen Manga and Redefining Manliness

This post represents the first of three entries our blog is submitting to the Manga Olympics for Bloggers. Voting begins in a few days on June 16th, so just enjoy the article for now. Or check out our illustrious competition.

Shonen manga, as literally defined, are manga marketed towards young boys. There are several implications of this definition, but I’m going to zero in on one in particular for the moment. Because shonen manga is popular with and being marketed towards younger boys, it must to some degree adhere to their notions of manliness, but still holds a unique opportunity to redefine what they see as cool, manly traits to aspire to. Let’s dive right in and take a look at some of the many shonen manga that subtly teach kids life lessons.

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Final Review: Dusk Maiden of Amnesia (9/10)

Dusk Maiden of Amensia is a fusion romance/mystery show about a guy and a ghost girl trying to solve the mystery of her murder, with really awesome backgrounds. Am I the only one who thinks romance series and pretty background art go well together? If I’m not the only one, read on to find out why I liked this show as much as I did.

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Exhibit A

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Final Review: Mysterious Girlfriend X (8/10)

Full disclosure: Mysterious Girlfriend X is a show about a couple that swaps spit on a daily basis. If you’re the type of person who rejects shows on premise, you probably won’t give this one any more of a chance than reading the plot summary. Once you get past that one hurdle, though, the show is a decent romance which gets a lot of extra punch from an ominous, quirky soundtrack and an approach that treats the characters with dignity.

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