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Posts Tagged CMX

Travel the CMX and Tokyopop Timelines with ANNCast

ANNCast - CMX & Tokyopop

ANNCast is always a must-listen for me over at AnimeNewsNetwork but they’re most recent two shows have been especially interesting for manga readers. I highly recommend listening to both:

ANNCast – Tarboxed and Feathered

“Justin and Zac shoot the breeze about some ANN business, and then it’s all awful blurays and the winter 2011 movie season. Then our guest shows up – longtime industry veteran Jonathan “Jake” Tarbox tells the story of his career up to this point, including his stint at Raijin Comics and DC Comics’ short-lived manga imprint CMX, and then takes your questions via Twitter. You can’t go wrong! “

ANNCast – Guy Kiley

“Former Senior Vice President of Tokyopop Mike Kiley is our special guest this week, and he runs us through his long and storied career at the shuttered publisher. We cover it all – the heady early days, the not so heady later days and the company’s untimely downfall. You’ve been waiting for this one!”

The manner in which DC handled choosing licenses for CMX was both fascinating and terrifying. It says a lot about the problems they faced over their years as a manga publisher and makes me more thankful than ever for the great titles we did get from them, some I know we’d never have gotten from anyone else (Key to the Kingdom – I love it, but really?). Knowing it was mostly done via a method akin to a dartboard shows how lucky we were for some. You could really tell things were tightening up over at CMX in its final year for selection and marketing though. It’s so unfortunate it was the beginning of the end.

This week’s ANNCast has Zac and Justin sit down to talk to Mike Kiley, Senior Vice President of the now no-longer-publishing-manga-until-I-see-otherwise, Tokyopop. He shares a lot about his experience with the company from the day it began up until his final days in their office. He’s a terrific guest and speaks very well with a lot of interesting info to offer. I was especially interested in hearing which series sold well and reasons for others not continuing, such as Kino no Tabi. I regret no one, myself included, thought to ask about Tokyopop’s boys’ love imprint, BLU, but it’s a minor quip in an otherwise great look at TP’s life start to finish.

Swag Bag: Sunshine Surgeons and Flopping Fantasies

Swag Bag - August 12

It’s been a little while I’ve had a Swag Bag column. In a very disorganized way it suits the current state of my apartment, where I keep finding books I’d forgotten I bought! Upside is I always find something new to read, inadvertently stopping myself from simply reading everything the moment I get home.

So what goodies have I been ‘finding’ over the last couple of weeks?

Starting off with some shoujo, I picked up the fourth volume of Kobato. It’s not my favourite CLAMP series but I’m still enjoying it’s cute-factor. I reviewed this volume earlier in the week and really liked the cameos from CLAMP’s other series. For something less fantasy and more kooky, I bought Dengeki Daisy (Vol. 05) – which I recently learned is created by a male manga-ka (the more you know!) Edit: Or not? See comments below!. For a story darker than those two put together, Arisa (Vol. 03) fit the bill perfectly continuing to deceive anyone I show with its cutesy covers.

Dengeki Daisy (Vol. 05)After drawing a lot of attention back when it was first announced by Viz Media, volumes one and two of Pokemon Black & White have hit comic store shelves (they were in most big chain bookstores a couple weeks back). The size of them is interesting – more square shaped than Viz’s standard books and considerably thinner, more similar to the way they used to publish Pokemon Adventures during its first graphic novel run. I love reading a manga with the Pokemon from the new games and they’ve got no shortage of attitude based on what I’ve flipped through so far.

The second omnibus collection of Full Metal Alchemist offered me something substantially larger in regards to page-count. Having finished this, I’ve now read the equivalent of six volumes of the original run, and it’s official – I’m hooked. So good! It’s going to be hard not to rush out and buy the rest of the series in singles. At first the omnibus paper quality bothered me (it’s noticeably thinner than the single books) but it really doesn’t make much of a difference when you’re reading as long as you don’t try to hold your book up by a single sheet (and why would you do that in the first place?).

High quality publishing from Viz Media are two books from their Viz Signature collection – Ooku (Vol. 06) and La Quinta Camera. I openly admit that I can barely grasp who is who and what’s going on half the time in the grand scheme of things in Ooku but Fumi Yoshinaga makes every scene so potent with drama and expression that I’m completely engrossed all the time anyway.

From Vertical Inc, I bought the newest volume of Black Jack (Vol. 15) – always an absolute must-have! This volume comes in sunny shades of yellow, an eye-catching but somber reminder that sun is something we’ve seen very little of this summer here in Nova Scotia! Ah well, a new volume of Black Jack can always chase away the rainy day blues.

Deltora Quest (Vol. 01)Looking to try a new series, and get a fantasy-fix in the process, I picked up Deltora Quest (Vol. 01) from Kodansha Comics. The plot sounded super generic but that’s not always a bad thing. Unfortunately the art style, which has already had my roommate and I in giggles over some of the super awkward panel choices and character designs, has me questioning the purchase. We’ll see how I feel about it as a whole when my review goes up early next week.

And finally, to fill in some empty spots on my bookshelf, I bought Tale of an Unknown Country (Vol. 02) from the now non-existent CMX and Natsume’s Book of Friends (Vol. 05), which is a random volume mid-series I somehow managed to miss purchasing.

What was in your swag bag this week?

Swag Bag: Squeaky Clean Exorcists and Pocket Monsters

It was so nice outside today! It’s great to be able to shed off the winter coat and boats and head downtown for some new comics wearing a light hoodie and a comfy pair of sneakers. I didn’t come home with a huge pile of stuff but that makes them all no less awesome.

I bought three books from Viz Media this week – Pokemon Adventures (Vol. 12), Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan (Vol. 02) and Blue Exorcist (Vol. 01). Upon flipping through Pokemon Adventures, I’m most excited to read this volume – there’s a whole bunch of previous characters returning such as Misty, Brock and Sabrina so I’m really to see why and under what circumstances. Blue Exorcist (Vol. 01) caught my eye with its shiny cover and I’ve heard a lot about it lately because of its upcoming anime release. It’ll almost be like I’m up to date on anime playing these days!

One title from Tokyopop this week as I start up another new manga series – Clean Freak: Fully Equipped (Vol. 01). My first impression is that the art is really rough and rather unappealing but hopefully the rather quirky sounding plot can overcome that. We shall see! It’s about a boy with a huge germophobe problem and the friends he makes who help him overcome it.

Topping off my purchases with a trip to the discount bin, I purchased From Erocia With Love (Vol. 14). I only own the first three volumes and honestly didn’t like them very much. But I’ve heard lots of good things about the series so we’ll see how a random dip in the middle fares!

Lastly, and though not manga, I’m also going to mention my purchase of Bone (One Volume Edition). For a mere $20, I was able to buy the entire Bone graphic novel series in a single book! I’ve never had an opportunity to read the entire series before so I was really happy to find this book for sale.

Now I’m off to read! What did you purchase this week?

Year in Brief Review – Manga Favourites of 2010

It’s New Years Day! And that means the end of 2010 has come and gone – the end of the first decade of the 2000s’, the end of another year of fantastic comics (upon other many wonderful things).

Just for a little living in the past on this first day of 2011, what better time to look back at 2010 with some favourites, surprises, disappointments and neat website tidbits. Sure it would’ve made more sense to have posted yesterday but who has time with all those celebrations going on… right?

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Super Savings: RightStuf Battles DC Denial with CMX Sale

DC Comics may’ve done their darnedest to wipe their manga imprint off the face of the internet after shutting it down, but the knowledge of the books and the love of the imprint’s offerings still lingers with its fans. Now thanks to RightStuf the lovers and newly curious alike can scoop up some more of the now out-of-print books for their bookshelves with this week’s sale:

From now through August 19, the “your price” listed is the price you pay – no coupon code required – and these new prices represent a savings of at least 33% OFF the retail prices of all titles from DC Comics and CMX Manga! (This includes items that are in stock, on order and special order!)**”

Lots to choose from and with a certain added sense of urgency since these remaining pockets of stock may not last long. Of those I’ve read, I’d highly recommend Key to the Kingdom, Kiichi and the Magic Books, King of Cards, Land of the Blindfold, Oh! My Brother, and my favourite – Stolen Hearts.

Going through the lists just reminds me how many other series I have yet to finished or start that I’ve meaning to though. Eep, time to start budgeting for some extra manga spending this month…

Swag Bag – Culture-Shock, Doctors and Yuri

My local comic shop Strange Adventures is having a 20% off everything sale this month – hopefully that means lots of new books in the coming weeks!

While there this week I picked up a few different books:

Peepo Choo (Vol. 01) – This book was insane. I read it on the way home on the bus (for which thankfully I was sitting in the back because this is not the kind of book you want to think people are reading over your shoulder). Very 18+ material and pretty mean too. I liked it over all because of the sheer amount of ridiculous energy but the creator is definitely out to make a statement by being pretty insultive. But though over-emphasized, it’s still based on nerd-dom truths so you can’t hate it for that. The stereotypical anime fans versus comic fans scene is pretty entertaining and hits the nail on the head. The amount of sex and violence really surprised me though but I did very much find myself wishing it’d stick to those parts and leave the ‘weeabo’ drooling, shiney-eyed main character behind.

Black Jack (Vol. 12) – One of the series that I just cannot wait to pick-up – when I know it’s out, I must have it! This volume continues the trend of never disappointing. I do find each time I read a new volume I always think ‘this is darker than before’ in regards to how the stories end but since I have that thought every time, I think it just proves how much continuing good shock value some of the stories have, not that they’re actually getting more grim or serious over time.

And from the wonderful bargain bin I picked up volume four of Me & My Brothers and volume two of A Tale of an Unknown Country. I haven’t read either of the series before so reading through these volumes should give me an idea of if I’d like to hunt out the rest of the volumes.

And arriving in the mail for me this week was two volumes of Yuri Montogari which are really uniquely varied stories of lesbian-love stories (some with definite twists in some stories) and a copy of Moto Haigo’s Drunken Dream and Other Stories from Fantagraphics Books. I was really surprised to see Drunken Dreams is a large-trim, hardcover book with glossy decoration work.

And as a little birthday present for myself I picked up an artbook by Ken Mizuki titled Sarasa. It’s a pretty small artbook compared to the others in my collection (small page count) but the cost was cheap and the art inside still very pretty. I think this artist primarily does doujinshi so while I’ve never read any of their manga, it was neat to see some artwork in here that I remember seeing scattered across fan-forums back in the days of Gundam and Saint Seiya fandom.

And lastly, thanks to the public library, I’ve been reading the Manga Guide to Statistics. It’s admittedly weird reading something that makes me feel like I’ve been dropped back in high school yet at the same time I really have to give the book credit for being such a good teaching tool. I had to reread some parts a few times to grasp the more involved stuff yet the fact that it makes me want to learn this stuff enough to do so is impressing me in itself. I’m definitely planning on reading the other books in this series.

Review: Stolen Hearts (Vol. 02)

Reviewer: Lissa Pattillo

Manga-ka: Miku Sakamoto
Publisher: CMX Manga
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: July 2010

Synopsis: “It’s the holidays and Koguma and Shinobu plan to spend all of their time together. Unfortunately, both have to work on Christmas, but they have special New Year’s plans to look forward to. However, all of the romance and fun might come to a startling halt when Koguma’s older brother Miki takes an interest in Shinobu. Even though Shinobu’s heart belongs to Koguma, she keeps getting caught in compromising situations that quickly raise Koguma’s jealously flag.”

The height-odd couple return for another, and sadly last, volume of Miku Sakamoto’s Stolen Hearts. The tall and kind Kogamu and the short and sweet Shinobu continue their spend their days together happily, helping out of the kimono shop and slipping in some time for just the two of them. Things are moving pretty slowly – will the two ever have their first kiss? – but it’s all so fluffy we’re more than content to let them wade in the romantic shallow end to their heart’s content. But, still what’s a shoujo without some love triangle drama?

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Review: The Battle of Genryu (Vol. 02)

Reviewer: Andre

Manga-ka: Shouko Fukaki
Publisher: CMX Manga
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: March 2010

Synopsis: “A mysterious society is stalking Jin because his father and sister, Toko, betrayed them in the past by removing Jin before he could further their cause. At the same time, long-lost brother Soichiro tries to warn Jin’s friend Fusano that Toko and their father are not the good guys they appear to be. Fusano’s not buying it and leaves with Toko, a decision she may come to regret.”

In my previous review, I recommended The Battle of Genryu as a fun martial arts manga with an intriguing plot. That remains to be true, but it’s a little difficult to recommend now with CMX’s closure. If you don’t mind not getting an ending to your manga, you might still want to check this series out, since it sports some great art, and will hopefully be revived someday.

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Review: My Darling! Miss Bancho (Vol. 01)

Reviewer: Andre

Manga-ka: Mayu Fujitaka
Publisher: CMX
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: March 2010

Synopsis: “Souka and her recently divorced mother move to a new place to start over. In looking for a school to enroll in, Souka decides to leave her preppy, private high school behind and transfers into a technical high school. To her surprise, she’s the only girl student in the entire school! The first day of school is nothing like she ever imagined — boys crashing through the window, fighting for all they are worth. One day, the school’s current “Bancho” (a term for a gang leader) ambushes Souka. What Souka didn’t know was that when someone takes down the class’ leader, you became the leader of that class. This wasn’t a role she was expecting for herself, but will she be able to relinquish it?”

After all the recent goings on regarding CMX, namely its demise, reviewing this volume was a little sad. However, while the series might go unfinished, My Darling! Miss Bancho’s first volume still has a lot to offer its readers. A decidedly off beat take on the generic Cinderella “guys transform plain girl into campus princess” genre, Souka finds herself the unwanted leader of an entire school of goofy, unrefined young men.

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Review: Deka Kyoshi (Vol. 01)

Reviewer: Lissa Pattillo

Manga-ka: Tamio Baba
Publisher: CMX Manga
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: February 2010

Synopsis: “Toyama, a tall and beefy detective, goes undercover as a fifth-grade teacher. The previous teacher was discovered on the ground outside of her condo and rumours say she jumped… or was she pushed? Toyama is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, but it seems like he has a more pressing task at hand: his rowdy students. One student, Makoto, is a little strange and his eccentricities make him a prime target for billies. Makoto can actually see the demons inside people, which manifest themselves as visions of horrible monsters. Will this strange student be able to help Toyama?”

The premise of Deka Kyoshi is a little odd, or at least not as clearly established as perhaps it should be. Toyama is a police officer who has gone undercover as a homeroom teacher at an elementary after his department has reason to believe the students are being targeted. How they come to this conclusion isn’t exactly established but it does come on the heels of a teacher’s suicide. Toss in a kid with some kind of psychic powers and a string of strange but socially-grounded occurrences with the kids, and you have a series that doesn’t feel like it’s got the best grasp on its audience but still has some substance for a variety of readers.

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