I’ve been away from the comics scene for a while now. Indeed, I just dumped most of mine into my storage unit because I hadn’t opened the boxes in years and had other uses for the space. I still wander into a comic shop once every few months, but there’s very little that I want to buy.
This, however, I could not pass up. Death of The Endless, already the cutest goth chick in the known universe, in a breezy manga-styled graphic novel. And it’s as good as it sounds.
As expected, Keanu Reeves as Hellblazer’s John Constantine is going to suck. Even if you manage to get past the fact that they’ve made him an American and set the movie in Los Angeles.
So I was randomly googling for a quote from a twenty-year-old comic book (easier than digging through a pile of boxes to find it…), and I discovered that Grimjack is no longer tied up in red tape. Great news, and I hope to see a series of graphic novels soon. I’m not a big fan of the later “GrimJim” stories, but the early stuff was gold.
Oh, the quote? Approximately, it was “the laws of physics are powerful motherfuckers; always got to have them on yo’ side”. It’s from the Night of the Killer Bunnies story, if I recall correctly.
There’s a new teaser trailer for Constantine, the extremely loose adaptation of Hellblazer that stars Keanu Reeves as an American occult investigator in Atlanta. Who carries some kind of gold cross-shaped shotgun-thingy with a rotary magazine, that he occasionally lights with an eldritch Zippo.
I’m going by the teaser here, because I refuse to have anything to do with this turkey. It’s not a question of “will it suck?”, but “precisely how much will it suck?”. Based on the sub-Keanu-grade acting in the teaser, I think it’s going to be the worst comic-book movie yet. And it may hold the title for several years.
…only outlaws will have Captain America, I suppose. Cartoonist Scott Kurtz just discovered the hard way that a lot of the Left-leaning people who’ve been accused of hating America really do hate America. Even Captain America.
Last night, after the day started to wind down I logged into my favorite virtual world for some escape time. The City of Heroes game has been my online diversion of choice as of late. I really enjoy the game a lot.
I’ve tried just about every character type and I’m settling on my favorites. Last night, for fun, I decided to make myself a Captain America type hero…you know, go the whole patriotic route.
The typical reaction when his red, white, and blue hero appeared in public? “Ugh. I hate our country.” “How can you wave a flag of a country that kills other countries for oil we already have.” “Bush is an idiot.”
Kurtz’s response? A series of macros to quickly counter the reflexive anti-Americanism he’s running into. My favorite?
“I defeated Hitler’s reanimated body to defend your freedom to say that.”
Take an ordinary teenage girl. Bright, clever, slender and pretty, with a pleasant but not exaggerated figure. Now shrink her down proportionally until she’s about four feet tall, then stretch her vertically until she’s back to her original height. Perform the usual big-anime-eye surgery, and reshape the rest of her face until she has a chin that could cut glass. Throw in a haircut that further enhances her resemblance to a puppy-dog, and finish with one of the goofiest-looking dresses ever. You’ve now created Maia Mizuki, heroine of Daphne in the Brilliant Blue.
With that out of the way, she’s the star of an action/comedy series, so set the tone by putting her through The Worst Day Ever. Go wild here; we want her to be about ten minutes away from peddling her cute little ass on the street in exchange for a stale ham sandwich and a dirty patch of floor to sleep on.
In the second episode, we’ll start introducing the rest of the cast, consisting primarily of a conveniently color-coded set of gun-toting women with lush figures and fashion sense that rivals Maia’s. Don’t worry, their chins are razor-sharp as well, so Our Heroine will fit right in. Which one’s Daphne? Well, none of them, actually; we figure that will be covered on disc 6, which comes out next January. You didn’t realize that we’re releasing each of the seven discs two full months apart? Sucker!!!!
Now, for the fan-service, we want to do something a little different. Boobs are great, and we’re always glad to show that our girls have them, but we want to stand out from the crowd, so this show should be all about the ass. No, not the panty-flashing thing, everybody does that. Cheeks. Bare cheeks. Bare cheeks in the water, bare cheeks on land, bare cheeks in combat, cheeks, Cheeks, CHEEKS!
Why? Well, it’s for the fans, really. It catches their eye when they’re changing channels or walking through the video store, and the promise of more cheeks will keep them watching while we set up the plot. It’s not for me, certainly; I’m not one of those, y’know, ass-otaku. Okay, maybe a little. Or a lot. Just don’t ask me why I lock my office door when I’m “reviewing” the storyboards.
Moment of sanity: yes, I’ve now seen the first four episodes of this show, and I’m sufficiently amused that I’ll pre-order disc 2. The character designs grow on you, and the cheeky fan-service is something that just blends in after a while, helped by the fact that no one else ever notices it. Seriously. Maia and Shizuka casually walk through a crowded casino while carrying huge pistols and wiggling their bare asses, and it’s like they’re invisible. Until Shizuka starts shooting up the place, that is.
In vaguely related news, the English translation of the Tenjou Tenge manga has been chopped to bits by a publishing company that’s terrified of sexual references and exposed nipples. Um, hello, did you actually look at the product before you licensed it? Did anything about this series say “kid-friendly”? Did no one mention to you that the sexy girls are pretty much the primary draw, here?
Based on the ham-fisted editing they’ve done with volume one, I don’t even want to think about what they’ll do to the Chiaki/Aya bathing scene in volume two. If they feel the need to draw in bras and delete sexual references in the dialog, they’re going to really butcher a lesbian seduction that shows one girl sucking on another’s tit. And as for the dialog that goes with that scene, brrrrr.
[update: I picked up the Japanese version of volume one today and examined the pages in question. The folks at ListerX underplay some of the edits, neglecting to mention that they’re changes to a rape scene. I’m not a fan of using rape to show that villains are villains, but from the description, it sounds like the edits attempt to reduce the severity of his crime, which leads to more edits as the characters react to what happens, etc, etc.
Either way it’s not critical to the story, but this kind of tinkering tends to snowball. It’s the same sort of “mother/editor knows best” attitude that led Eric Flint to “modernize” elements of James Schmitz’s Telzey/Trigger stories when he assembled the new editions (because, after all, modern audiences would be blasted right out of their immersion by the concept of a man offering a woman a “friendly cigarette”, and in an aircraft, of all things!). At least Flint was trying to guess what the audience wanted to see; DC is apparently trying to guess what the local Soccer Moms Against Fun committee will complain about.
If the only thing they’d done was downgrade a violent rape to a violent assault, I’d be able to understand their reasoning, but I’d still be annoyed by it. It’s not that I want to see Chiaki shriek and cry while some leering clown slams her into the wall and gets off on her pain; no, not at all. I’d much rather see her smiling and laughing in the arms of her loving boyfriend, but they hacked up those scenes, too. Because her tits were showing.]
[Update: Adding insult to injury, someone pointed out this statement on the DC/CMX web site: “And it’s pure manga — 100% the way the original Japanese creators want you to see it.” What a shame they don’t read their own press releases…]
…but I don’t think Christian manga has much of a chance in the current market.
Admittedly, putting a cute girl on the cover with the subtitle “bad girl in town” will pull in some eyeballs, and it’s a good time to release anything called “Serenity,” but the interior art is crap. Perhaps if you’d hired the person who drew the cover?
If it shows up at local bookstores, and it’s not shrink-wrapped, I suppose I’ll look inside to see if it’s done well, but I have a hunch the writing is heavy-handed and the art is weak, a sure way to sink this new venture.
I rather like the webcomic Misfile. The art and writing aren’t as polished as some others, but both are improving over time. The pacing is pretty good, and sometimes it just rings true:
It doesn’t appear that the Mai-HiME manga has been licensed for the US market yet, despite the expected popularity of the anime. Pity, really, because I’m curious how the usual hack translators would deal with the last page of the first volume. A Strange Cute Girl (one of many) has just entered Our Hero’s dorm room, stripped off her panties, and pushed him to the ground. The volume ends with a full-page panel of her straddling him, speaking the line:
Our Hero seems more shocked than excited by this statement, but it’s understandable, since he’s still discovering just how peculiar his new school (and its girls) are. Unfortunately for him, I’ve seen enough spoilers from the (very different…) anime to know that neither shock nor excitement is the right response to a bold invitation from this girl. “Fleeing in terror with his manhood protected by a sturdy shield” just about covers it.
My other response to this scene was “hey, I just read that, and only had to stop and think about one of the kanji” (鍵, which I haven’t gotten to in my writing practice yet; I know the word, and they provided furigana that made it clear). Okay, the others are extremely common, basic kanji, but the point is that I was reading rather than deciphering.
The names given to Japanese bands are often peculiar. The folks at Hello!Project have a good track record in this regard, with their 2005 “shuffle” projects having the names セクシーオトナジャン, エレジーズ, and プリプリピンク.
Despite the use of katakana in the names, only one of these is a true loanword, “Elegies”. The other two translate to, respectively, “Sexy Grownups?” and either “Angry Pink” or “Stinky Pink”. They may not be angry, and they probably smell nice, but they’re definitely pink.
But that’s not the puripuri I’m writing about today. I tripped across a completely different use of the word this morning at Kinokuniya. PuriPuri – The Premature Priest:
Five volumes (so far!) of Catholic-school fan service. I don’t see a catgirl, but there’s a meganekko witch on the cover of volume two, and volume three apparently features The Three MusketeersLust-a-teers.
Recently, Steven said:
After you’ve finished watching Misaki Chronicles, what becomes clear is that the story tellers had a really good story to tell, and knew they did – but didn’t think they could sell that story on the merits, either to their studio or to an audience. So they had to hide it, disguise it, attach things to it. Like huge boobs.
In the interests of clarity, I want to say that when it comes to the new manga series HEAVEN, creator Aoi Nanase has not gratuitously added large breasts and panty-flashing in order to market a serious story about the nature of good and evil.(Continued on Page 2748)
Steven has declared a unit of measurement. Sometime during the blur that was my vacation in Japan, I found something that I think measures up:
In addition to her high-school uniform, she enjoys busting out of a yukata, a miko outfit, frilly western dresses, and lacy lingerie. She’s the oldest of four sisters, and their Parents Are Traveling Abroad. And Our Hero has just moved in with them, having been Sent Down From The Mountains by his father to Become Stronger in the ways of the samurai.
She’s his new teacher.
Less than an hour after moving in, he manages to get into a Compromising Position with all three of her younger sisters at the same time.
Second sister is a bleached-blonde modern girl who’s sensitive about her small bust. Third sister is a sexually aggressive busty meganekko Gal doujin manga artist and junior high-school student. Fourth sister is a fourth-grader, who doesn’t appear to be a harem loli, fortunately, even if she does get dragged into the Wacky Hijinks.
Apparently Dr. Master Productions has been around for a while, publishing translated manga, but I’ve never heard of them before. Quite by accident, Amazon just recommended their English version of the Catholic schoolgirl fan-service comedy Puri Puri, which I commented on a while back.
They’ve been around for quite a while, and they’ve got some well-known titles, but I didn’t even know that anyone had licensed Puri Puri, much less that they were up to volume 4 already. I have no idea how good their translations are, but at least in this case the story mostly depends on how hot the girls are, so I can recommend it anyway. :-)
A frequent annoyance for manga and anime fans is the inevitable loss of information in translation. Little things like the use of -san, -chan, -sama, -dono, et al can be simply left in or explained once, and if you’re watching the subtitled version, you can pick them out of the original dialogue.
Often, though, cultural context means that a single line of dialogue can’t be fully understood without half a page of explanation, but sometimes it can’t, or shouldn’t, be explained. One of the dumbest things I’ve seen a fansub group do was fill the entire screen with a detailed explanation of a very small joke that added almost nothing to the story.
What we see a lot of today, though, especially with the insane pace of manga translation, is information lost because the translators didn’t have the context themselves; either they’re not native speakers who grew up in Japan (as pointed out in this Amazon review), or they’re not reading an entire story before translating a chapter (too many to list…).
So, here’s my tiny joke of the day, courtesy of a manga volume I spotted in Kinokuniya: 酒のほそ道. It’s the story of a salaryman who loves to drink; I can’t tell you any more about the story, because it’s entirely lacking in furigana, and I didn’t buy it anyway. It’s popular enough to have 22 volumes out, though.
Anyone familiar with classic Japanese literature will get the title immediately, and wonder just where the author is going to go with it. “Sake no hoso-michi” translates literally as “the narrow road of sake”, but it’s really a reference to “Oku no hoso-michi”, a very famous book written by the haiku poet Bashō.
In today’s Megatokyo strip, the Tokyo Police Cataclysm Division learns of a previously-unknown Magical Girl (whose power level and mood are identified with the coolest Fluke meter in the known universe). She’s powerful, and she’s near meltdown, so Inspector Sonoda gives the order to evacuate every building in a 200 kilometer radius.
Just for amusement, I drew that out in Google Earth, and that covers the entire Kantō region of Japan, with room to spare. So, unless it’s a typo and he meant meters, this MG is an imminent threat to over 40 million people.
I suspect her first move will involve Tokyo Tower…
While idly browsing the recommendations on Amazon Japan, I found the latest volume in the apparently-popular Moe yo! Tank School series. The uniforms are decidedly non-regulation, but what really caught my eye was the mascot on their tank.
I had my hopes up for a moment, but sadly, it looks like a generic angry bunny-head, not the one true Max.
Amazon Japan just informed me that the third volume of Makino and Tsutsui (A Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar) is now in stock. I’ll put it in my next order, because now that I’m fumbling through light novels, I’m running into things not covered by the previous two volumes.
While I was there, of course, I went through their recommendation list. I can’t imagine anyone who’d be interested in something like this…(Continued on Page 3015)
Our story begins with the Phantom Legion, a gang of armored (and, oddly enough, cat-tailed) villains, creating a huge explosion. Later, they gather in front of a vidscreen to receive the praise of their faceless master for bringing him the pleasure of human screams. Singled out for praise is the leader of the strike force, Volken, an armored devil in a trench-coat. The Legion is encouraged to keep up the good (aggressively destructive) work.
The next morning, perfectly ordinary high-school student Toichi Tenkawa listens quietly as his fellow students discuss the explosion, wondering if it was once again the work of the Phantom Legion. Foolish humans, he thinks, how terrified they’d be to discover that the Phantom Volken has taken human form and lives among them.
Lost in thought, he’s surprised when the other boys go wild at the sight of their new transfer student, Kokoro Maishima, a busty blonde who’s also loud, rude, and not the least bit interested in these pathetic boys. Naturally, she’s assigned to the empty seat next to Toichi. Despite her outburst, he politely greets his new classmate and offers to help her out if there’s anything she doesn’t understand. She rebuffs him with a blunt “omae, urusai zo”, shocking and angering him.
Later, Volken and his Phantoms lie in wait to begin their latest act of evil, hijacking a pre-school bus. As they move into position, they’re interrupted by a mysterious and quite curvy figure: The Angel of Judgement, Mighty Heart. Volken/Toichi is stunned to recognize his new classmate, and even more surprised as she leaps into the fray, and is instantly defeated by his minions.
Tied up, Our Heroine’s feminine charms are well-displayed in her skimpy costume, and one of the minions politely suggests a way to deal with their prisoner: they want her to join the gang. Surprised, Volken demands an explanation, and he explains that having a girl around would “enhance” their all-guy family. Volken nixes the plan, so the outspoken minion settles for a little fun, groping his way toward her breasts and commenting on how soft they’ll feel, and if she were to join the gang, she’d be vigorously groped like this all the time.
Our heroine is distressed, and to his surprise, Volken is also distressed, and moves to intervene, ordering them to act like professionals. Unfortunately, he trips on a rock, and catches himself with both hands on her ample breasts. The minions cheer (“Sasuga Volken-sama!”), but Volken is embarrassed, and tries to reassure the crying prisoner that it was an accident, and he was just trying to stop them from molesting her.
Too late. With a mighty explosion, Volken and his minions are defeated, and our sobbing heroine walks off into the sunset. Her true strength, it seems, is buried deep, and only moments of extreme shyness can allow her to call forth her Mighty Beam.
(end chapter one)
Coming from Shonen Champion Comics (publishers of Puri Puri, Zokusei, Hanaukyou Maid Tai, Mai-HiME, and Penguin Musume, among others), I expected Mighty Heart to live up to the “chotto ecchi” part of the back-cover blurb “chotto ecchi-na dokidoki kindan love comedy”. Certainly the cover art suggested as much:(Continued on Page 3042)
I’m skimming the story, and only translating dialogue occasionally, but it’s actually turning out to be pretty good, enough that I’m going to go back and read it properly. It doesn’t seem to have much of a fanbase, so I’ll have to pull out my scanner to get a few nice character pictures.
I’m also going to spend some time reading the wiki page and the author’s blog, because this really doesn’t look like someone’s first work. I’m suspecting a history of porn comics under another name or as part of a doujin circle.
My latest order from Amazon Japan arrived today, and one of the things I threw in was the Miko Moe comic it recommended to me a while back. In case you missed that post, here’s the cover again:
The only way that this is not representative of the actual comic is that the girls are large-breasted and sexually aggressive. Our Hero is a teenage boy helping out at the shrine, and he gets some action in every chapter. It looks like the bluette is Miss Right, but at the moment she’s Miss Alittletootight. Fortunately, the other girls are, um, “filling in”.
[note that I’m not shocked that it’s porn; I was expecting it to at least be ecchi, and wouldn’t have complained if it had been a yuri-fest. I just have to wait until I get home tonight to really look it over.]
And, yes, I’m quite certain it’s porn. I’ve seen samples of the mangaka’s work.
I’ve been reading Girl Genius since the first issue came out (on actual paper!), and it’s easily Phil Foglio’s best work. I knew he’d done a lot of design and plotting work before starting the comic (some of which can be seen in the very entertaining card game), but until yesterday, I hadn’t really appreciated how far it went.
I’d read the whole thing several times over the past few years, without ever realizing exactly what happened in this scene. Oh, my.
Stolen Pixels takes a very gentle look at fighting games. I’m pleased that the deep meaning of the dialogue was faithfully translated.
The punchline in today’s Darths & Droids is painfully good. And the screencap works perfectly.
Every once in a while, I’d visit the old Radioactive Panda site and see if there was any word on Eric Johnson’s next comic. The answer was always no (in the form of deafening silence, unless you visited the forums), but he has now returned with an official update, revaling a new start date and the reason for his three-year absence: respectively, “August 2009” and “World of Warcraft”.
Yeah, I can see that.
…in Japan. Not precisely safe for work…(Continued on Page 3361)
Just noticed that a translated version of the Asu no Yoichi manga has been released, under the title Samurai Harem.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
Meanwhile in Japan, volume 10 is about to hit the street.
Once again, WoW gets the blame, but Eric has updated the site for the first time since July to say that he’s on the last page of the first issue.
A werewolf in a dress? Of course she’s an engineer!
Sadly, engineering goggles currently look stupid on worgen, and it takes a long time to reach the point where you can build your own flying machine, but a wolf’s gotta have dreams.
Stinz is still in issue 1, before the war, but the Peach is all the way up to issue 21.
Lots of good stuff, but watching The Desert Fox hang ten is still one of my favorite bits.
Cruella De Vil has never looked better.(Continued on Page 3755)
Outsider resumes with a bit of understatement. :-)
No, seriously, this is what girl-power comics have come to. Amusingly, the two sidekicks drop into standard gender roles without hesitation.
Officially, I mean. Fred Gallagher used Kickstarter to raise $20,000 to make a Megatokyo game, with a modest collection of stretch goals. Naturally, it was funded before he’d managed to write the announcement on his site, and has just cleared the $100,000 mark. There are only two goals left: Part 3 at $150,000, which advances the story beyond what has appeared in the comic (in a few years the boys may even overstay their 90-day visa!), and “Excessively Romantic Content” if they manage to reach the $500,000 mark.
Miho/Mugi? Miho/Ping? Ping/Junko? Perhaps he should write in some more “detailed” stretch goals…
Let’s just say that it goes downhill from there.
Yes, I know the marketing mouthpieces are insisting that replacing male Thor with a woman isn’t just a gimmick, but yeah, it’s just a gimmick. If it weren’t, they wouldn’t have spent so much PR money to build buzz on it.
So, since it’s a gimmick, and there’s plenty of evidence of what real-life women think a female Thor should look like, I think the most important question is: will she have a thing for Sif and/or Jane Foster?
Most interesting result in that image search: Pikachu Thor.
[Update: …and in another diversity-pandering press release, Captain America will be black. Next week, I’m guessing they’ll announce that the Iron Man armor will be passed to a Thai ladyboy.]
So, the old Radioactive Panda site is mostly dead, but, as promised, Stone Clouds is back, this time on its own domain, starting with a re-release of the old material, with cleanup and color.