So, I’ve seen this feature on a few book blogs out there, and decided to make this feature my own. After suggestions from friends, Manga Mondays comes to Birth of a New Witch! I’ll try to give equal billing to manga being released both in the US and in Japan, since US licensing takes awhile and I read manga in both languages. I want to cater to other fans out there who do the same.
Confused by some of the terms I use in this feature? See Week 1 for clarification on my most commonly used terms.
And now, to this week’s US and Japanese choices!
Week 15 (US Release): “Jormungand: Volume 9” by Takahashi Keitaro
Author/Artist: Takahashi Keitaro
Translation Company/US Publisher: Viz
Genre: Adult, Crime
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Summary: Jonah is a child soldier, born amidst the chaotic conflicts that rage across West Asia, his family lost to a war fueled by weapons supplied by the so-called Merchants of Death–international arms dealers. Despite Jonah’s hatred of weapons and violence, he employs both extremely well in the service of high-flying arms dealer Koko Hekmatyar and her band of mercenaries. Their journey through the dark underbelly of the world’s arms markets may lead only to damnation, but will Jonah one day make his way back to the light? Only one thing is certain: it’s going to be a long, hard road out of hell… Koko’s team of professionals come from many different backgrounds, but each member has been handpicked for their own particular skill set. Unfortunately, while traveling through Iraq on a convoy protected by a British PMC, Koko and her squad must deal with a decidedly less than professional security force and the dangers of the road at the same time. Then Koko and Dr. Minami meet to discuss a fateful scheme, while elsewhere, Koko’s brother Kasper launches a new enterprise. Like the coils of a serpent, arms dealers encircle the world with their poisonous plans.
Usagi’s Take: I remember feeling lukewarm about this series when I skimmed it a few years back, but now I’m completely in love with it. I think watching the anime helped a bit, but wow. Once this series gets going, hold onto your hats! I love how Takahashi doesn’t hold back and completely slams you with everything he’s got in his writing arsenal – all kinds of wars, child soldiers, everything. It’s insane and not for the faint of heart, but I’ve really grown to love this series and its characters. It’s very humanizing, despite its subject matter, and I think that it’s got a little something for everyone. NOTE: YOUNG YA – DEFINITELY NOT FOR YOU. The violence is pretty graphic, so I’d recommend this for an older YA audience. I believe the Viz versions are actually sealed in plastic and they card you if you try to buy it, but I’m not entirely sure if they’re still doing that anymore.
Week 15 (Japanese Release): “Teiden Shoujo to Hanemushi no Orchestra (Electric Girl and the Winged Insect Orchestra): Volume 1” by Ninomiya Ai
Author/Artist: Ninomiya Ai
Genre: Seinen, Supernatural/Paranormal
Publication Date: 2010
Publisher: Square Enix
Summary: The foolish living things, the humans, who carry darkness in their hearts lost the light from their eyes.
Deep inside the darkness, they lose sight of the way. Crushed in their despair the humans, one day, meet the ‘hotaru’ which carries a faint, warm light. The hotaru (fireflies) provided the humans with the light, and started to live alongside them. But in this ugly and blood-stained world, the hotaru’s number started to decrease day by day. Yet, the humans wanted the light and started to hunt the hotaru. For money they would throw away the life of the hotaru.
Nemu, a hotaru who has lost her light, makes a contract with a abandoned baby, Haibane. Haibane seeks to find a way to gain back Nemu’s light.
Usagi’s Take: Actually, this series is based off of a series of drama CDs (or audiobooks) that the author released prior to the manga. Then it got a deal with GanGan Comics/Square Enix, and got published. This is a gorgeous feast of a series – it’s beautiful, touching, and yet not overwhelming with too many strong feelings. If you’ve read series like “Haibane Renmei”, “Mushishi”, and other paranormal slice-of-life sort of series, you’ll recognize the style Ninomiya used to create her narrative. I really hope that this one gets licensed soon, as it’s just too wonderful not to share with the rest of the world. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
What about you? Do you read manga? If so, feel free to participate with your own manga monday segment and link up in the comments section!