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Posts Tagged Light Novels

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.

Review: Cold Fever

Cold Fever

Author: Narise Konohara
Manga-ka: Nanao Saikawa
Publisher: June Manga
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: February 2011

Synopsis: “Tohru lost his most of his memory in an accident. He can’t remember anything that happened from the past six years. Struggles, but with time, he slowly recovers his memory. He feels as if he is a different person now, and he hates “the other guy” – the “himself” from six years ago… And thinking, Fujishima was his friend, felt like he was being watched over like a guardian angel but in the end he’s betrayed. Miserable and emotionally drained, Tohru is trying not to relive in the shadow of his past. He is trying to move on with his new life… but harder he tries, he finds himself being pulled in by Fujishima.”

I wanted to make sure this book had real impact. I wanted to portray a couple who were in love but not happy.” – This is a quote from the author in her afterward, and there is no doubt she has accomplished her goal with Cold Fever. This was a very hard book to read.

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Review: Only The Ring Finger Knows (Vol. 02)

Reviewer: Jaime Samms
Only The Ring Finger Knows (Vol. 02)

Manga-ka: Satoru Kannagi (Author), Hotaru Odagiri (Artist)
Publisher: June
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: July 2006

Synopsis: “After all the studying he did for his exams, sacrificing time with his boyfriend Yuichi, Wataru gets a measly C-average on his summer prep test. Yuichi’s college classmate Asaka offers to tutor him, and he eagerly accepts. Wataru finds Asaka’s cool beauty and attitude strikingly similar to that of Yuichi’s, and subconsciously becomes vulnerable to his advances. For the first time in their relationship, Yuichi becomes enraged. Will they be able to overcome this new obstacle?”

When I started out reading this second volume of Only the Ring Finger Knows, I expected more tension between Asaka and Yuichi. Throughout the story, I kept expecting Asaka to step up and try to win Wataru’s affections. It seemed so obvious this is where the author was headed with this story. Instead, she spends a great deal of the book endearing Asaka not only to Wataru, but to her readers as well.

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Swag Bag – Finding One Thousand Nights in the Twelve Kingdoms

Thursday again already? Where does the time fly! Under a few feet of snow in some places it seems. We got a good blizzard here but not as much snow as some places, that’s for sure. None the less it was a great time to settle back with some good books and I was happy to finally get an Amazon order with just that in it.

While I haven’t gotten to pick up this week’s new manga releases yet, I nabbed a few titles on my ‘must-have’ backorder list thanks to Amazon.ca. First to be pulled from the box was the eleventh and final volume of One Thousand and One Nights. I love this series so the fact it’s taken so long to get the last book still boggles my mind; perhaps I was just avoiding the end! I adore the cover on it, that dress-vest and collared shirt looks fantastic on Sehara.

One Thousand and One Nights (Vol. 11)Also criss-crossing time and fashion-space is the second book of the light novel series, The Twelve Kingdoms. The first book blew me away as a detailed and believable fantasy story about a girl ripped from her world and dropped into one of demons, Gods and people hatched from egg-fruit.

Lastly, I bought the first two volumes of Ayano Yamane’s Finder series. I have what was released in English already by BeBeautiful but I’d heard too many good things about Digital Manga‘s version to pass up a revisit. While I like to think I’d care enough to check the differences between the two editions, I’m sure I’ll just be enjoying the eye-candy and the shiny new design work on the covers.

Oh, and though not a new volume of anything, I did finally purchase a one-year Got Anime? membership. A couple purchases a year from RightStuf at at least $150 a piece and it seems more than worth it to me.

Review: Only the Ring Finger Knows (Vol. 01)

Reviewer: Jaime Samms
Only the Ring Finger Knows (Vol. 01)

Author: Satoru Kannagi
Manga-ka: Hotaru Odagiri
Publisher: June
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: March 2006

Synopsis: “It’s the ultimate expression of love to wear matching rings with your significant other, showing the world that you are a couple. High school student, Wataru Fujii, also wears one even though he is single. When he accidentally switches rings with a popular and handsome senior, Yuichi Kazuki, they discover that their rings pair up! Since that moment, Kazuki – who is known for being kind to all – becomes strangely harsh to Wataru. They alternate between hot and cold, as in between clashes they begin to sort their feelings for one another. Are Wataru and Kazuki the worst of enemies or are they actually soulmates?”

This is most assuredly your typical boys’ love high school romance, with the harsh seme protecting his feelings by trying hard to hide them and the confused uke denying he even has them. What isn’t typical about Only the Ring Finger Knows is the way in which Kazuki secretly falls for Wataru and all out stalks him long before they ever even meet.

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Viz Media Adds New Artbook, Natume Ono and Omnibus

Though news of Viz Media’s license-rescue of Tenjo Tenge stole the spotlight from yesterday’s press release, there was some other new titles slotted in there as well.

Blue Excorist and Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan confirmed licenses previously revealed with more solid release dates while Natsume Ono’s La Quinta Camera is a fresh license from the creator of previous Viz Signature series, not simple and House of Five Leaves:

“A charming suite of linked stories from the acclaimed author of not simple and House of Five Leaves, set in an apartment in Italy. In four of the rooms live four single men with singular personalities. Into this peculiar ménage steps an exchange student, the new tenant of the fifth room. Brought together by chance, friends by choice, they pursue their dreams together as the days drift gently by.”

Icing on the cake of these licenses comes the reveal that Viz Media will be releasing the Vampire Knight artbook in English, similar to its previous art book releases for series such as Angel Sanctuary and Neon Genesis Evangelion. The book will be hardcover and presumably have the same large cut size as Viz Media’s previous art book releases.

There’s also some new releases to see on retail sites this week. Under Viz Media’s sci-fi novel imprint, Haikasoru, are two new books – Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights (src: AAAAnime) and Cage of Zeus (src: AAAAnime). They’re also listing the novel edition of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriot (src: AAAAnime)

Also listing on said-retail sites are several more Shonen Jump series getting the omnibus treatment: Bleach, Naruto and Kekkaishi. Viz Media has already re-released several of its popular series in omnibus format, typically being 3-in-1, including One Piece, Dragonball and Fushigi Yugi. Each book will cost $14.99 putting the content at a fraction of buying them individually. I can speak from personal experience to say these are perfect for those looking to start these series from the beginning but are intimidated by the high book counts. (src: AAAAnime 1/2/3)

On the omnibus note, I continue to find it exciting just how many publishers are embracing omnibus editions – Viz Media, Tokyopop, Yen Press, Dark Horse, Vertical, DelRey (RIP), Seven Seas, Digital Manga – nearly the entire crew! It was near-exactly a year ago today we were contemplating their role in the future of manga and here we are now with such a strong mix of the two printed formats. While sometimes carrying a 600+ page book around isn’t the most feasible thing in the world, saving half-off the cost of buying them separately and getting triple the content still garners no complaints from me.

Review: Cold Light

Reviewer: Jaime Samms
Cold Light

Author/Manga-ka: Narise Konohara
Publisher: June
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: August 2010

Synopsis: “Fujishima’s wound he suffered from protecting Tooru has healed and he’s finally been released from the hospital. Their life together starts again once more. Tooru wants them to live together as lovers, but Fujishima refuses, saying “I have no intentions of loving you.” Is Fujishima afraid of Tooru remembering something in particular if he regains his memories? The bonds of the past are finally becoming clearer…”

Konohara has taken a lot of chances in this second book of the Cold Sleep series. She might easily have stepped over a line with her character, Fujishima. This book is written entirely from his point of view, detailing his past and how he knows Tohru. There are not many pleasant memories in this poor man’s past, let me tell you. He is deprived of a father’s love, smothered in reprehensible and down right abusive ways by his overbearing and frightening mother, and reviled by Tohru for things he did that he shouldn’t have.

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Review: Cold Sleep

Reviewer: Jaime Samms
Cold Sleep

Author/Artist: Narise Konohara
Publisher: June
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: August 2006

Synopsis: “After losing his memory in a car accident, Tohru Takahisa is taken in by Fujishima, an older man who claims to be his friend. But the taciturn Fujishima refuses to reveal anything about Tohru’s past! Despite the gulf between them, a strange and awkward tenderness grows, even as they are held apart by the tragic events of Tohru’s forgotten past! Dramatic, heart-wrenching romance and tragedy combine in a gripping story where the past and present are intricately entwined.”

Cold Sleep is a different sort of yaoi novel. It delves a deeper into the psyche of the characters and, though we still have just the typical one point of view, the lead isn’t your run-of-the mill yaoi character. He’s a blank slate, sure, but still a thinking feeling man who isn’t afraid to go after the answers he needs.

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Review: Fevered Kiss

Reviewer: Jaime Samms

Author: Arika Kuga
Manga-ka: Taishi Zaou
Publisher: DokiDoki
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: November 2009

Synopsis: “On the night of the year-end party, in high spirits and under the influence of the party’s free-flowing alcohol, Satori ends up sleeping with Asou. Since then, every day that Asou comes over, he does nothing beyond kiss Satori over and over, and as much as it perplexes him, Satori is unable to resist his advances. But one day Satori hears a nasty rumor that Asou has a girlfriend!”

This is the first boys’ love novel I’ve read that isn’t a June publication, though it is published by another Digital Manga imprint, Doki Doki. I enjoyed it – for some reason, it had a different feel to the prose. It maybe sounded a little less like it had been translated from Japanese than the June novels tend to do, and a little more like the English you might expect from a native speaker. I don’t know that either style is necessary better, or even that I like one or the other better. They’re just different.

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Review: The Lonely Egotist

Reviewer: Jaime Samms

Author: Hikaru Masaki
Manga-ka: Masara Minase
Publisher: June
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: March 2009

Synopsis: “Minami has gotten a hot start as a young interior designer. In fact, he’s just been chosen as the primary designer of a new luxury hotel. When Minami enthusiastically goes out to meet his client, Asakura, the hotel owner turns out to be a dazzling, sexy man. On top of that, the overwhelmed Minami finds his contract is actually for a love hotel! Seeing as how Minami lacks experience in this particular area, Asakura promises to show him the ropes. But is it really necessary to try out ALL the beds…?!”

To start off with, I have to share a bit of a personal preference. I’m not a huge fan of forced ‘seduction’. I know, it’s an often-used device in uaoi, and a legitimate plot within the genre – it’s just not one of my favourites. So, that said, now let’s now put my personal preference aside and talk about the book… it’s good.

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