Prolific manga creator Taiyo Matsumoto’s Ping Pong is, nominally, a sports manga, but it doesn’t stick to the tropes. It presents table tennis matches that take place in a small town, not at a major tournament in Tokyo; often it doesn’t even show the end of a match! In some ways it functions as a parody of the genre. Kumar and Dana discuss this fun and unpredictable manga.
One Punch Man was originally a crudely-drawn Web comic by a guy calling himself “One”. But then the story, with art by slick manga artist Yusuke Murata, was picked up for publisher Shueisha’s Young Jump Web Comics website in 2012. It subsequently became an anime, and the manga is available in English from Viz.
This week, Tim and Kumar take a look, to discuss whether the story is really served by Murata’s typical manga art, and the good and bad points of the comic as it exists.
FLASHBACK! Takehiko Inoue’s Slam Dunk is easily mistaken for a serious sports manga. Pick it up, though, and you’ll find instead a hilarious ensemble comedy that just happens to involve basketball. Still, the series is credited with basketball’s 90s popularity in Japan, and led Inoue to create several other basketball-related series. But is oeuvre isn’t all hoops; he’s also the creator behind Vagabond, a sometimes-violent but intriguing take on the life of 17th-century historical figure Miyamoto Musashi. Tim and Kumar dig into both series.
Originally published February 27, 2012
Ever wondered what it would be like to work in a manga studio in Japan? Jamie Lynn Lano got her chance in 2008 when she was hired by Takeshi Konomi to be part of his team for the Prince of Tennis sequel. Recently she’s published a book about her experience, and this week she talks about what brought her to Japan and how she got hired, cultural differences, drawing speed lines and tennis shoes, and much more.
“What?!” I hear you say. “Deconstructing Comics doing a whole show on a girls’ manga?” Ye of little faith! Have we ever steered you wrong? It may look like nothing but a sappy romance comic, but Ai Yazawa’s Nana features realistic, conflicted characters who deal with romance, infidelity, coming of age, fame, and rock & roll from all angles. It also boasts some fantastic storytelling techniques, so there’s plenty here for comics fans of all stripes to enjoy. Tim and Kory discuss.
By Kory Cerjak
Author: Naoki Urasawa
Publisher: Viz Media
Naoki Urasawa is one of the most prolific mangaka in Japan and his manga have won two Eisner Awards (specifically “Best US Edition of International Material – Asia” in 2011 and 2013 for 20th Century Boys). The award puts him alongside greats such as Kazuo Koike/Goseki Kojima, Katsuhiro Otomo, Shigeru Mizuki, and Osamu Tezuka. And the accolades for Monster aren’t just from the west. Monster has won the Excellence Prize in the Japan Media Arts Festival in 1997, the Grand Prize of the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, and won the General category in the 46th Shogakukan Manga Award. But the manga stands on its own and hardly needs accolades to prove to anyone of how good it is.
Unfortunately, the manga and anime haven’t done any groundbreaking numbers here in the US and the anime’s license has lapsed (which was stated by Viz’s own Charlene Ingram on ANNCast on July 17). Fortunately, rumors of a new HBO series helmed by Pacific Rim and Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro (comic book fans may know him as the director for Blade II and the Hellboy franchise) have kickstarted the Continue reading Urasawa’s classic “Monster” to return to print
Takehiko Inoue’s Slam Dunk is easily mistaken for a serious sports manga. Pick it up, though, and you’ll find instead a hilarious ensemble comedy that just happens to involve basketball. Still, the series is credited with basketball’s 90s popularity in Japan, and led Inoue to create several other basketball-related series. But is oeuvre isn’t all hoops; he’s also the creator behind Vagabond, a sometimes-violent but intriguing take on the life of 17th-century historical figure Miyamoto Musashi. Tim and Kumar dig into both series.
Planning a murder that you think will prevent future murders? That’s the premise — or, at least, one of the premises — of Monster, Naoki Urasawa’s 18-volume series. Set in Germany, the series focuses on the unintended consequences of Dr. Kenzo Tenma’s good deed; he saved the life of a boy who turned out to be a remorseless killer. Tim and guest reviewer Natalie Nourigat discuss.