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News, reviews and features with a focus on manga, self-published works and a Canadian perspective. Enjoy fulfilling your Kuriousity!

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The Coast: January – March 2012

The Coast Manga Reviews

Shannon Fay and I have had a few more manga reviews published in our local free newspaper, The Coast over the past couple of months. The majority have been to their website so for a couple thumbs-up titles we shared with our local readers, you can check out the links below:


About Love
The Drops of God (Vol.01)


Codename: Sailor V
Only Serious About You (Vol. 01)

The tricky part is always deciding what to review next. It’s interesting writing reviews that are not only considerably shorter than we’re used to for Kuriousity, but also in a way that bears in mind that the majority of The Coasts’ readers likely don’t read manga – or perhaps even comics – on a regular basis, if at all.

Chi’s Sweet Home’s Konami Kanata Announced As Guest at TCAF 2012

Konami Kanata To Be A Guest at TCAF 2012

After a couple days of teasing, Toronto Comic Arts Fest has officially announced that the creator of Chi’s Sweet Home, Konami Kanata, will be a special guest at this year’s TCAF! Her visit to the Toronto-based event, marking her first trip to North America, is being arranged with the support of Vertical Inc who is publishing Chi’s Sweet Home in English.

“Konami Kanata will appear at TCAF on Saturday May 5th and Sunday May 6th 2012, at Toronto Reference Library. She will have a signing session each day at the Vertical Inc. booth, and will participate in programming each day. In addition, Ms. Kanata will be participating in a special event supporting the Tohoku Region, on the evening of Saturday May 5th, with details to follow.” – TCAF Press Release

The Toronto Comics Art Festival is a free-to-attend event that brings in comic creators from around the world to display their works and interact with readers. Last year the event had two special manga guests – Usamaru Furuya and Natsume Ono. I’ll be attending the event again this year to stock up on amazing comics and prints, plus now hopefully be able to share a Konami Kanta spotlight as well. See you in Toronto this May, fellow TCAF-ers!

PR: Announcing Konami Kanata at TCAF 2012

The Beguiling and Vertical Inc. present

Konami Kanata at TCAF 2012
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival welcomes the renowned creator of Chi’s Sweet Home manga!

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2012
At The Toronto Reference Library,789 Yonge Street
Saturday, May 5th, 9am-5pm
Sunday May 6th, 11am-5pm
Free Admission


TORONTO, Ontario– The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) is excited to announce that internationally renowned manga creator Konami Kanata, author of the New York Times Bestselling Manga Chi’s Sweet Home, will appear at TCAF 2012 on May 5th and 6th! Kanata will make her first-ever North American appearance at TCAF 2012 in support of Chi’s Sweet Home, and she will be on panels, signing books, and participating in a special benefit fundraiser for the Tokhoku Region of Japan, still hard-hit following the great earthquake and tidal wave in March of last year. Kanata appears with the support of her North American publisher Vertical Inc., and TCAF sponsor The Beguiling Books & Art.

“Kanata-sensei’s work is really wonderful,” says TCAF Director Christopher Butcher. “While Chi’s Sweet Home is, on the surface, a series about an adorable kitten, in Japan it runs in a somewhat-edgy magazine aimed at adult men and women. The stories have a surprising resonance. While kids have immediately taken to this cute little Japanese cat, Kanata-sensei’s skill really makes these stories unique, and even occasionally profound. It will be an honour to meet her.”

Konami Kanata is a 25+ year veteran of Japan’s manga industry, with dozens of volumes of work that have sold millions of copies, and the characters of Chi’s Sweet Home alone have been adapted into two daily animated TV series, a number of merchandise lines, and even video games! Chi’s Sweet Home was also nominated for the Best Youth Comic Award at the Angouleme Festival in 2011. 8 volumes of Chi’s Sweet Home have been published in English by Vertical Inc., 7 of which are New York Times Bestsellers.

“Ms. Kanata was interested in coming to TCAF to meet all of her many North American fans, and to speak in support of the devastated Tohoku region of Japan,” continued Butcher. “This is also a very important cause to me personally, and so we are planning a number of initiatives including a special evening event to help raise funds on the weekend of TCAF.”

Konami Kanata will appear at TCAF on Saturday May 5th and Sunday May 6th 2012, at Toronto Reference Library. She will have a signing session each day at the Vertical Inc. booth, and will participate in programming each day. In addition, Ms. Kanata will be participating in a special event supporting the Tohoku Region, on the evening of Saturday May 5th, with details to follow.

Read more…

Manga Is Not A Crime: Canadian Crown Drops Charges In Customs Case

Manga Is Not A Crime

Some of you may have noticed the Manga Is Not A Crime banner on my sidebar during one of your visits and the story of Ryan Matheson is a prime reason for my support of the work the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund does. Back in 2010, he was arrested trying to cross the border from the US to Canada when Canadian Customs official searched his laptop and found anime/manga imagery that they deemed child pornography.

CBLDF announced yesterday that all the charges against Ryan Matheson have since been dropped, which comes as fantastic news. Of course he’s not out of the woods yet with legal fees and some very unpleasant memories to follow him but it’s a big relief to see his immediate fight has finally ended.

Speaking out for the first time, Matheson says, “I’m glad to finally put this awful ordeal behind me. Ever since the beginning I knew I had committed no crime, so I was never willing to accept a plea to any criminal charge. The entire legal process is very traumatizing, and the overzealous bail conditions imposed on me were very difficult to endure. Although my defense was extremely strong, all trials are inherently risky and I value my life too much to risk a potential minimum mandatory sentence. I am very grateful for the spectacular work Michael Edelson and his team put into my case, and to all the generous people who supported me and contributed to my defense. I was able to stand up to the very last day and fight for something I believe in.”

As a Canadian, I have immense pride in my country as a place that values peace and equality. There’s no where in the world I’d rather live and I get homesick quick ever being off Canadian soil. Unfortunately nowhere is perfect and the pit in my stomach I feel crossing the border from trips to the US on my way home is a stern reminder of that. That I could be arrested for my bags full of comics is terrifying – it’s scary because it’s unfair for material that hurts no one, it’s scary because it could happen to anyone at anytime and it’s scary because if it happens, as Ryan Matheson’s case shows, there’s nothing you can do should someone else decide that what artwork you choose to look at is wrong.

MangaBlog’s Brigid Alverson has a really informative write-up on the case along with some history of other similar occurrences over at Comic Book Resources. It’s well worth a read and I hope gives you a good idea why supporting a group like CBLDF is such an important thing to do for comic readers everywhere.

Kuriousity Reviewers In and On The Coast

The Coast

The Coast is a local free paper published weekly here in my home-city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It’s “independent and locally owned”, publishing every thing from local news, editorials, reviews and entertainment schedules, not to mention a bevy of ads that I love for always letting me know about fun local businesses I wouldn’t otherwise discover.

Recently I began writing reviews for the paper and my first was published in this week’s edition. The Coast is available to read digitally with its full print layout online and in blog-like format, where you can directly read my review of Osamu Tezuka’s Princess Knight. Writing in the shorter format has been a great exercise and I’m eager to share more of my favourite titles with fellow Haligonians.

Fellow Kuriousity writer, Shannon Fay, has been writing and reviewing for The Coast for a couple years now. Her reviews have recommended plenty of great manga titles to our local comic-loving populous. You can read her reviews online at The Coast’s website as well:

GoGo Monster
Saturn Apartments (Vol. 01)
Black Blizzard
Peepo Choo (Vol.01)
Not Love But Delicious Food Makes Me So Happy!
A Drunken Dream
No Touching At All
La Quinta Camera: The Fifth Room
A Bride’s Story(Vol. 01)

Bakuman and Wandering Son also made her picks for Top 11 Books of 2011.

From now on I’ll be doing occasional round up of reviews by Shannon and I as they’re published in The Coast. If you’re in the Halifax area, I hope you pick up copies of the print edition and enjoy all the local literary flavour!

PR: NEC BIGLOBE Android App, SUGOI, Now Available in Canada

Now Available in Canada!

Tokyo, November 8, 2011 – NEC BIGLOBE, Ltd. (BIGLOBE), one of Japan’s leading Internet service providers, announced today that its digital bookstore Android app “SUGOI BOOKS” has begun offering manga titles, both in native Japanese and translated into English, in Canada.

SUGOI BOOKS expands its service into the Canadian market with a library of more than 500 titles, featuring authentic manga books translated into English, and English-language comic books by IDW Publishing. Titles include: “Appleseed” by Masamune Shirow, “STOP!! HIBARIKUN!” by Hisashi Eguchi, ”Kaze No Jin” by Hiroshi Motomiya, the “TRANSFORMERS” series, the award-winning “Locke & Key” series, and the “True Blood” series. Original manga such as “Hell of the Girl”, “Rashomon”, “Hachiko”, “Portrait of Hell”, and “The Setting Sun” are also available.

To commemorate its service launch in Canada, BIGLOBE will give away 300 free tickets that can be used to buy manga chapters through Thursday, December 1 at midnight (PST) to anyone in Canada and the United States, who downloads the app and registers an account on SUGOI BOOKS.

BIGLOBE intends to achieve an annual sales of 10 billion yen in the year 2013, by expanding its manga library to 50,000 books at the end of 2012, continuing to grow global distribution by launching its bookstore around the globe, and by providing its service on multiple platforms including iPhone, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry.

Read more…

PR: Animaritime 2011 A Sunny Success With 1200+ Attendees

Moncton, NB, July 21, 2011 – With 2011’s event behind them, Animaritime’s staff is excited to announce it was another successful year of anime, gaming and cosplay. The three day event held over Canada Day weekend saw over 1200 individuals in attendance and raised thousands for the IWK Health Centre.

The event broke single-day records from past events with over 800 attendees processed within a couple hours of the convention opening early Friday afternoon. By the time doors closed on Sunday the organizers greeted 1268 anime and gaming fans.

“We couldn’t be happier with this year’s turnout and the money raised for the IWK. All the staff, volunteers, guests and attendees were amazing – we’re lucky to always work with such a fantastic group here in the Maritimes!”

Read more…

Swag Bag: Animaritime 2011 Edition!

Swag Bag: Animaritime 2011 Edition

We survived! Another year of Animaritime is behind us, bringing with it some much needed relaxation and a heavy sadness. I miss all the staff and chatting with the attendees and even that constant hectic mental state you get in when you’re running back and forth from 8am-12am everyday. Amazing times! If you’re curious to see some pictures or read some comments, our Facebook page is very lively this year.

Special thanks to Vertical Inc‘s Ed Chavez who attended as a guest and held several great manga panels. I loved being on a panel with him and Andre for our Manga Industry panel (my first time participating in a roundtable panel) and I learned a lot from Ed’s Manga Licensing panel (for the love of manga support our publishers!).

Though most of my attention stays as a staffer, I always make time to visit the vendors. I was really happy to see there was even more manga than usual this year and came back home with a satisfying stack of goodies.

Descendants of Darkness (Vol. 02)From the vendor Gamezilla (whose recently revamped store location I visited after the con ended) I got some great discounts on hard to find titles. My largest purchase was volumes 2-11 of Descendants of Darkness which I’ve been itching to reread – a supernatural story that teeters on the edge of being a boys’ love story. The switches between humour and really dark content is as strange as I remember it.

Having enjoyed the complete random of the last volume I read, I also bought Gatcha Gacha (Vol.06-07) and on some recommendations, Suppli (Vol. 02-03). Going for something newer, I bought the third volume of Afterschool Charisma.

Strange Adventures (always the Halifax store of choice!) returned as a vendor and had a bunch of manga to sift through. From there I found three volumes of Rumiko Takahashi’s One Pound Gospel, volumes 4 and 5 of Itazura na Kiss and A Drifting Life (so I can finally leave the library copy for someone else!). Lastly, despite a lacklustre feeling from the first volume, I gave Saturn Apartments another chance by buying volumes 2 and 3.

Other random purchases included two pretty art books by names I can’t read the Kanji for (thus sadly can’t tell you who they are), and a stack of old Mixx magazines because I got them for pennies and enjoy the nostalgia factor.

So yay for convention weekend! Animaritime is always a blast and somehow manages to out-do itself every year. More memories, more manga – it’s all a win-win! So what was in your swag bag this week?

Mangatime at Animaritime 2011

Animaritime 2011

The pre-con Kuriousity blank periods are upon us – sorry for the blip of blog-silence there! At least it’s the best reason for missing writing time – East Coast Canada’s anime/manga/gaming convention Animaritime 2011 is only two weeks away! As a staff member, I join the rest of the small but dedicated crew as we put the final touches on the 3-day event before it hits on Canada Day this July. The event takes place in Moncton, New Brunswick.

This year’s event has a great manga line-up including the appearance of one of our special guests – Vertical Inc‘s marketing director, Ed Chavez! I hope he has fun at our humble but lively convention; we’re very happy to have him :)

For the manga-fans, here’s a sneak-peek at our manga-related line-up this year:

Read more…

Trigun Badlands Rumble In Canadian Theatres on June 22nd

Trigun Badlands Rumble In Canadian Theatres

Prepare to get nostalgic or witness why so many people are proud to have the story of a gun-toting pacifist as one of their first anime – Trigun: Badlands Rumble is officially coming to theatres across Canada!

“Vash the Stampede is a gunslinging, red-trenchcoat-wearing drifter with a giant bounty on his head. His biggest threat, however, may not be law enforcement, but an outlaw by the name of Gasback. Twenty years ago, Vash accidentally interefered with one of Gasback’s robberies, and now the villain’s back with a score to settle. Gasback has come to Macca City in hopes of stealing one of their major installations, and Vash has just coincidentally arrived at the same spot. Also involved in this caper are a beautiful lady with a grudge, a couple of insurance agents, and Vash’s old buddy Wolfwood. At first it seems that Gasback has succeeded, but one can never underestimate Vash’s legendary abilities—not to mention the secrets that his allies have up their sleeves.” – Cineplex

The movie will be a special one night only event on June 22nd at 7pm, local time.

Empire Theatres has confirmed with Animaritime organizers that the movie will have Japanese audio with English subtitles. Tickets through Empire Theatres will go on sale on their website tomorrow and tickets are currently available to purchase on Cineplex’s website.

You can see the full list of Canadian theatres below:

Read more…

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