Tag Archives: Beck

2011: A few manga and blog-related resolutions

Man, when was the last time I did any resolutions? I can’t remember, but I mostly thought they were for suckers waiting to be disappointed. Still, there are a few goals I’d like to set for myself this year and this is the traditional time of year to set goals for yourself, so here goes…

1. Get new glasses: OK, this isn’t a goal so much as a necessity, but considering my insurance doesn’t include eye care any more, it’s somewhat of a financial goal. This will not only improve my eyesight, it will also help make my career easier since now I have to stare at a computer screen to edit all of my manga. At least I have health insurance at all. I know many freelancers don’t and that makes me incredibly lucky. (In an odd way, because the reason I have insurance at all is because I was born with a congenital heart condition.)

2. Get more freelance work, a full-time or part-time job (in comics, preferably): Mostly, I just need to make more money to support myself. I don’t want to rely on my family forever and I’m pretty sure they don’t want to support me forever either. I’d love to get a part-time job working in a bookstore (comic book or just one that sells some comic books). In the mean time, I’ll just have to learn how to be better with the money I do have.

3. Start Japanese or Korean language classes: I’ve been putting this off because I frankly can’t afford it, even with a tax write-off. I’d love to be able to reach a point financially where I can start learning again because I think both languages will be a huge boost to my career.

4. Move the blog over to it’s own domain: I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile, but I have no idea how! No one I know (or, at least no one I know who can come over and teach me) seems to know how to do it. I’ve seen how WordPress-powered blogs work from only a contributor’s perspective, not from that of one who runs the entire look and feel of a site, not just the content.

5. Join an affiliate program: I spend so much time on blogging and I do get a lot back from it, but it would be nice if this blog was a small financial support as well. Even if it just paid for one manga a month, it would relieve my wallet some and I’d be happy. Think about it this way, you’d not only be supporting me, but the industry I work for. Hey now!

6. Write better posts: 2010 was a great year for All About Manga and I’ve figured out how to write posts people want to read on topics that people want to discuss. That part’s the easy part. It’s the continuing to write engaging posts on a regular basis that’s hard. So, of course, I’d like to improve my writing, especially as I don’t review much or really participate in what others call comics journalism. (I just like to comment on the news.) Any suggestions that spring forth from your mind are welcome.

7. Read more out-of-print manga: While there are plenty of fantastic titles out these days, I feel that I missed some of the excellence of manga publishing’s yesteryears because I was simply too cash-strapped and close-minded when I began as a manga fan. I’ve gotten the pleasure of reading some great stuff like Eagle, Beck, Princess Knight and others, but I want to catch up on what I missed!

So those are my goals for this year. Fairly simple. All things I really do want to do. What are your goals for the next year and how do they involve manga, anime or other passions?

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My Manga Birthday Wishlist

As I’m sure none of you know, my birthday is fast approaching and I looooove getting presents. (I can be so spoiled, I know.) But instead of getting me things I’m just going to get myself eventually like a nice, long massage or a puppy, I’d rather get people get me something both easily obtainable and relatively cheap: MANGA!

Now, this July is shaping up to be an excellent month of fantastic manga releases, so why don’t we start with some of the hottest titles about to hit shelves?

First we’ll start off with the manga-influenced Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, which hits stores July 20th. Actually, I’m just going to pin this one on my boyfriend since he so lovingly got me the first five volumes as my Valentine’s Day gift two years ago. Tamar, I’m expecting a copy of Scott Pilgrim and a pair of tickets for the movie adaption with a nice dinner to accompany it. (Don’t ever say I don’t tell you what I want!)

Next up on the list is a bunch of stuff from Vertical, which has a whole BUNCH of awesome manga, including the ones coming out this month. Peepo Choo comes out this month, but I’m probably going to get it for myself so Felipe Smith can sign it at Comic-Con, so skip that and head onto Chi’s Sweet Home and Twin Spica (vol. 1 & 2 because I haven’t gotten to pick up volume 1 yet!) If you really love me, then you’ll throw in a copy Buddha vol. 2 as well.

The next manga publisher that will automatically get me to love your birthday present to me is CMX. I spent a whole day at Anime Expo looking for From Eroica With Love volumes 12 and 13, despite the fact that I had 14 and 15. I’d also love a copy of Stolen Hearts vol. 2, My Darling, Miss Bancho and the first two volumes of The Name of the Flower. There are some other titles that I’d love certain volumes of, but that would make the list too  complicated! (Apothecarius Argentum volume 9!)

Other than that, I’ve been into collecting old TOKYOPOP series like Beck, Planetes and Queen’s Knight (volumes 2, 2 and 11, respectively.) I’ve also been collecting copies of Nextworld (Dark Horse Manga, volume 3, please), Club 9 (Also Dark Horse Manga, volume 2) and Chicago (Viz, volume 2 as well.)

If that doesn’t give you an idea what to get me, then just go find a Borders and hook me up with a nice gift card.

Giving me a birthday gift really is as simple as that.

Oops! I forgot about Mushishi vol. 8! Definitely looking forward to that one!

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The Manga Cliche Review: Musical Talent Part 2

I meant to talk about Beck in the last installment of this blog. I just couldn’t bring myself to write a good transition from my admiration of musicians to Beck, to be honest. My brain was kind of focused on getting homework done and I basically used that first TMCR entry as homework, so…

Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad

Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad


Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad! As far as I know it is a really good anime. I haven’t gotten to read the manga because, despite working at Tokyopop all summer, I did not get the chance to read it. Plus, it is one of the licenses Tokyopop lost because of Kodansha. BUT the anime is pretty damn good. It pretty much follows one young man’s discovery of rock music (pretty important stuff when you’re a teenager.) Honestly, I think it’s a good anime because it doesn’t just cover the surface of the music industry, but how music is important to the characters. (Or at least the main ones, anyway.)

But, unfortunately, I have to take this blog away from the good and into the bad…

The Bad: La Corda d’Oro by Yuki Kure, Viz Media

La Corda d'Oro

In addition to being a video game and a manga, La Corda d'Oro is also an anime. As you can probably tell from this picture, there is a slight male harem theme.


It’s never really a good thing when a story starts with a deus ex machina. In this case, La Corda d’Oro starts off with the main character, Kahoko, being visited by a fairy who pushes her to accept his magic violin and enter the school’s extremely tough music competition. There’s only one problem, Kahoko has never played a musical instrument in her whole entire life. This is all solved by the magical violin being, well, magical and allowing Kahoko to play beautiful music as long as she knows the tune and plays with heart. Of course, with her school’s music department being fiercely competitive and very separated from the general education school (where Kahoko is a student,) the whole idea of her butting into the competition doesn’t sit well with lots of people. Conflicts occur left and right and Kahoko must gain new skills in order to continue playing the magical violin.

I can sympathize with Kahoko, I know very very little about music, and being thrust into the musical world with huge expectations would probably make me cry like a baby. I would probably need years of practice to play the violin decently and even then I would be kind of crap at it because I just don’t have a good ear for music, which is pretty crucial. The problem I have with La Corda d’Oro, which is based off of a video game,  is basically that it takes something that takes years and years of training and reduces it to magic and putting your heart into it. No wonder so many people in the music school don’t like her, she got a free ride and now she’s taking the spotlight when they’ve worked their asses off to be so good!

Then the story relies on you sympathizing with Kahoko (easy enough, since she’s a classic self-insert character) to make you dislike most of the other characters you come across because they’re just BAD PEOPLE for being so gosh-darned competitive. Clearly, you should not be such an over-achiever because raw, untrained talent and magical instruments given to you by fairies is what you truly need to succeed in the musical world. Gag me, please.

Basically, I could accept the magical violin bullshit and turning every other character into a bad human being, if Kahoko spent the majority of the time practicing her ass off and achieving some epic revelations as to how good music works via the stuff musicians do to train themselves. Instead, she practices hard off-screen and we only see her dallying around with the other contestants learning random things about music from them and getting embroiled in serious, but rather petty dramas. Instead of being a strong character, Kahoko is the victim of anything and everything and really only triumphs with the usually indirect help of others.

It just makes me sad that what could be a very good manga about being thrust into the world of  competitive classical music is so pathetic. I mean, in real life, classical music is a world with a lot of passion and intense drama. Would that really have been so hard to purvey in both the manga or the game it was created from? No. So why not pursue that angle on the story? Because making it a light drama more about interacting with the other characters than actually winning the competition and gaining skills wouldn’t have sold quite as well. Ugh. Why did I spend my money on this series again?

See who does it better next time!

Part 3: The Classic: Nodame Cantabile

Review copies paid for by the blogger.

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