Tag Archives: out of print

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?

5 Comments

Filed under manga, opinion

A Rare Review: Planetes vol.1

I got this volume of Planetes by Makoto Yukimura through Ed Sizemore of Comics Worth Reading via my Anime and Manga Blogger Letter Exchange. It actually wasn’t the first time I’d come across Planetes as my (really ridiculously awesome) college anime club showed the anime last year. I’d also gotten a chance to read vol. 1 while at TOKYOPOP, which is probably the one of the few remaining places to have a complete set. Sadly this manga will not be returning to print as it is an old Kodansha title and the two companies don’t do business together anymore.

Planetes (the manga) is about a team of debris collectors working in space 58 years into the future. Their job is to be the space-age garbage guys, except it can get pretty dangerous. The debris can ruin space ships and kill people, which we learn right at the beginning of the manga, as well as make it difficult for ships to pass between Earth and space.

This first volume shows us the lives, ambitions and motivations of the three main characters, Hachimaki, Fee and Yuri. Each chapter and arc carefully shows us each character’s normal lives in the most authentic way possible, despite the (relatively) unrealistic setting. Hachimaki has big plans for himself, but keeps getting hurt on the job, Yuri has deep emotional reasons for being a debris collector and Fee just wants a smoke every once in awhile in order to help her relax after a stressful day.

This attempt at showing us how life is in space is my favorite part of this manga. There is no pioneering some ridiculous new space mission, just what life would be like if you had a job as a debris collector in a time when humans were living in space like it was not a big deal. Drama comes from real issues like eco-terrorism,space-related diseases, families separated by jobs in space and the serious damage that space debris can do if left unchecked. If this isn’t what real life would be like up in space in the future, I don’t really know what life WOULD be like because Yukimura has done such a good job in painting a realistic scenario. He also uses the current history of space exploration as a means of creating this world, which is a nice touch. It certainly shows to me that Yukimura loves the idea of living in space and knows his stuff.

Planetes is all about the story-telling for me because the art just doesn’t really do it for me. That isn’t to say that the art isn’t serviceable or doesn’t have it’s good points, but overall, I cannot get very excited about it.  It’s plain old seinen art that has decent-looking characters and incredible technical detail and way too much dark tone. I don’t know if this is JUST me, but a page filled with various shades of super dark tones make things a little hard to read for me. I applaud the skill it takes to draw this well, but it’s not the most eye-appealing art out there either.

Now for the comparisons to the anime!

I have to say that I like the anime a little better. It starts off from the perspective of Ai Tanabe, a character who we don’t see in vol. 1 of the manga, but I am certain joins the cast in later volumes. She plays an important role in the anime of introducing the rest of the debris team to us through the eyes of someone completely new to life in space and to the main characters. Because of this, we get to learn as she learns instead of just being thrown into this new society in space at a very dramatic flashback in the manga.

While Ai’s importance as a main character lessens in the anime over time, she also provides us with a bit of levity when it’s needed. In comparison, the manga is just a huge chunk of heaviness. I missed Ai even though the first volume was chock with some of my favorite stories, because Ai would come in with her cluelessness and cheerfulness, the audience has something to smile about. There’s no character in this first volume like her that allows us to do that. She makes the pacing a bit better in the anime and does wonders for people who aren’t that into seinen,or serious moods as well. She’s the reason why a girl like me has no problems sitting down to watch or read this series in the first place.

I can see why this manga wasn’t as popular as it should have been. It’s hard to digest, the art isn’t that terrific and it came out at a time when the majority of Americans as manga consumers weren’t quite ready to accept something with ridiculous depth and not much else. It makes me sad, but I can’t help it.

I would like to recommend this manga, but I feel that it’s a little hard to recommend it ALONE and JUST after this first volume. This volume alone isn’t enough to hook me on the series (assuming I was reading it before I’d seen the anime, that is)  so I would give it another few volumes.  If you’re able to get your hands on copies of Planetes, go find a store that sells the anime too.  Watch the anime first and THEN dive into this manga. You will enjoy the anime a lot better, but you will also enjoy the manga little bit better than if you would alone or before watching the anime. I would most certainly recommend the anime ANYTIME because it is quite fun and is of a higher quality than your average futuristic space anime out right now.

Thank you again to Ed Sizemore for giving me this copy of Planetes. I certainly enjoyed it IMMENSELY, but for the sake of this review I had to be truthful. I do rather hope that all of you buy both the anime and manga because I feel it’s worth it.

6 Comments

Filed under manga