A manga junkie's recommendations on titles Company B can't or won't license.
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Himawari ~ Ken'ichi Legend vol 2
2006.09.04. (Mon) | Edit |
I picked up Himawari ~ Ken'ichi Legend vol 2 (ひまわりっ~健一レジェンド) because it's by manga author Akiko Higashimura, who has a manga series called Kisekae Yuka-chan in Cookie.

I pre-order new manga when we get new order sheets from Tohan, one of the two main book distributors in Japan. So I didn't realize it until I got the actual manga, but Himawari ~ Ken'ichi Legend is actually published by Kodansha, while Kisekae Yuka-chan is a Shueisha title. It's pretty rare for manga authors to get published by different companies, although it's becoming more common now-a-days.

Anyway, Himawari ~ Kenichi Legend (I'll call it Himawari for short) is a gag manga based on the manga author's real life story.

I don't know when Akiko Higashimura started this series (I only picked up vol 2... and need to order vol 1), but I'm assuming it was after she wrote about her OL life and about her father Ken'ichi in the aftertalk sections in the back of Kisekae Yuka-chan manga.

Akiko Higashimura's story of becoming a manga author is very common. She was an OL working in a regular company, while continuing to submit manga to publishers in hopes of becoming a manga artist. Many manga artists continue to hold a regular job while writing manga, especially if they write for small publishers. Only a select few debut during high school & make it big early in their careers.

Then there's Akiko Higashimura's stories about her crazy father. The father who pours curry directly on top of the rice, even though the rice is only on 2/3 of the plate (the curry is s'posed to be poured on the 1/3 of the plate + 1/2 of the rice). The father who loves tropical fruite soooo much that he brings in a durian on the tour bus even though the tour guide warned them about bringing durian into buses & hotels.

So, Himawari is about an OL named Akiko who is very good at drawing illustrations for her company bulletins. She drew manga as a kid, but hadn't pursued it. Her father Ken'ichi works at the same company. He is a tropical fruit freak & is on a different wave length than others.

I re-read the manga to figure out a way to explain the humor of Himawari. And it's really difficult.

Akiko Higashimura likes to make her characters role-play using old drama, movie, or manga references (she does it in Kisekae Yuka-chan too). Like if other OLs see Akiko the OL talking to the gardener, they start role-playing as bully high-school girls who are talking behind their classmate's romance. Aaaah, so hard to explain!

And father Ken'ichi's silly antics are really funny in the back of Kisekae Yuka-chan. But in Himawari, you get a much bigger dose of father Ken'ichi. And while most are funny, you start to develop a feeling of frustration at this middle-aged man who has no sense of sensitivity to others & not realizing it. So he's a type of character where you enjoy his dumb-ness, but at the same time you want to beat the crap out of him.

Himawari ~ Ken'ichi Legend
Author: Akiko Higashimura
Volumes: currently up to 2
Publisher: Kodansha

Likelihood of Company B to license: -2
Not that I would recommend Company TP or Company DR to pick this manga up. It's funny, though. Almost like Atashi 'nchi (あたしンち), where if you have parents who are horribly embarrassing and can relate to the author's experience.

2006/09/04 22:04 | Gag Manga | Comment (0) | Trackback (0) | Top▲
Arakawa Under the Bridge vol 2
2006.08.09. (Wed) | Edit |
At Company B, we keep different manga in the women's restroom to read. Well, I bring in the manga. And occasionally the other women in the office read them.

Restroom reading should be kept short.
Those are the teachings of Uncle John of the Bathroom Reader Institute.

So one of the manga I keep in there is Arakawa Under the Bridge vol 2.

Arakawa Under the Bridge vol 2

It's a gag manga about a young "elite" man who has a policy of not being in debt to anyone. But he ends up owing his life to a strange girl who saves his life.

Rino, the girl, believes she's a martian & lives under the bridge by the Arakawa river. So the young man ends up living there too.

The young man is named Riku, which is short for recruit (リクルート). It's a Japanese-English word used to refer to newly recruited businessman/woman.

Oh, the person who names Riku is the mayor of Arakawa Under the Bridge, who happens to be a kappa. A kappa who has a zipper showing on his back.

There are other unique characters who keep popping up in Arakawa community. Like the man called Sister because he's a nun who wields guns. Or a guy called Hoshi (trans. "star") who has a star-shaped head.

I was searching on Amazon.co.jp when I noticed they released Arakawa Under the Bridge vol 3 in June! I completely missed it.

So time to order from Tohan, so I can buy it from Retailer AG (which is operated by Company B).

Arakawa Under the Bridge
Author: Hikaru Nakamura
Volumes: currently up to vol 3
Publisher: Square Enix

Likelihood for Company B to license: - 10
(on a scale of 1 to 10)
Maybe if Cromatie HS sells like crazy. But even then, maybe.

2006/08/09 20:49 | Gag Manga | Comment (2) | Trackback (0) | Top▲