Episode 32

Attention and Hear Ye!

OtakuCon 2010

I will be a guest at OtakuCon this July! I am very excited and honored that the organizers take me seriously. I know that I don’t.
So you should all come to see me if you can. I will be captaining a vendor table the first day, selling used manga from my back stock at the store. My uncirculated stock. Fresh old stuff, if you will. I will also have Japanese import candy and soda, and whatever else strikes my fancy.
The second day, I’m told I will have a panel at 11ish. I will bring a notebook if you bring your reading recommendations. Just keep in mind that if I’m going to review anything for the podcast, then it must be currently in print and available. I love to read new things, but I don’t want to be recommending things that are only available on scan sites.

As a run up to the con, I am reading and reviewing more manga than is strictly normal  for me.  I’m having fun, reading some things that I would not normally have time for.

Afterschool Charisma Art and Story by Kumiko Suekane
I was going through my shipment a couple of Wednesdays ago and I was struck by how much I liked the artwork.  I flipped through the volume, eyeing the clean lines and graceful fluidity of the action panels.  Then I read the synoposis.  A highschool full of the clones of famous people?  Scientists, musicians, politicians and mad despots?  Sci-fi intrigue with just a hint of adolescent angst? I thought to myself “I am so on board”,  and I was not disappointed.  The story told is a really basic fish-out-of-water, coming of age story starring Shiro Kamiya, son (biologically and everything) of the school’s head scientist.  All of the other students at the school are clones, like Marie Curie, Sigmund Freud, Napoleon Bonaparte, and well, Adolf Hitler.  All of the clones are being trained to live up to the lives of their originals, and Shiro is thrown into the mix as an outsider.  Most of the students are nice enough to him, but treat him with a certain distance.  When armed guards are seen patrolling the halls, it definitely feels as though things are not as they seem.

This book is a solid first volume and I really enjoyed reading it.  There are some moments of dark foreshadowing, and a surprising amount of booby for a teen book, but I had a great time and I look forward to volume 2.
Kingyo Used Books Art and Story by Seimu Yoshizaki

Next I read the Kingyo Used Books.  This one hit close to my heart, because at its center it’s a story about how important books and stories are to us, and how they shape us and our relationships.  It collects a handful of short stories that all take place in and around the Kingyo Used Book shop.  Friendships are reaffirmed, childhood’s remembered, and inner peace found (through archery in the stacks, but still).  This volume is melancholy and sweet, and served well to remind me why I am so happy selling comic books.

Emotion aside though, Kingyo is also a guide book to Japanese manga, including detailed footnotes on books mentioned within the story.  I am sad that the footnotes are all for the Japanese versions of the stories, as a lot of the series mentioned are either out of print in the US, or have not seen print here yet.  I really like the idea though, that if the sweet story of the bored housewife and her shojo make you want to read more, then the information is right there.

In non-manga news, Matt has made me promise to read Scott Pilgrim.  I have been avoiding it because it is so stereotypically  a “girl comic”, but with the movie coming soon I’ll give it a shot.  He is loaning me the first one right now, so fingers crossed.

Don’t forget to come see me at Otakucon.  You can still preregister online at the OtakuCon Website, or you can by early tickets at Uncles Games in the Valley Mall.

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