Manga Monday – Week 17


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 17 (US Release):”Sakuran″ by Anno Moyoco

Title: “Sakuran”

Author/Artist: Anno Moyoco

Translation Company/US Publisher: Vertical

Genre: Josei, Historical Fiction, AWESOME

Publication Date: July 17, 2012 (North America)

Summary: Kiyoha may wear the fancy kimono-dresses, but she is not your every-day geisha. The hairstyle may be the same, and she may have some of the finest clientele, comparable to those of the most refined women in all of Kyoto, but she is not in the home of geisha and their maiko assistants. Instead, Kiyoha is in Yoshiwara, the infamous red-light district located in northeast Tokyo. And instead of being a respected geisha artisan, she is an oiran, a courtesan.

Kiyoha didn’t choose this life. She was forced into this world at an early age for one reason… she had spunk. A fire burned within her as a child. She would rather fight than cry, and she caused her caretakers so much grief their best solution was to give her a purpose to be strong and maybe a chance to develop a life on her own. But getting to that point would take years of heartache and misery. Kiyoha’s entire life has been in chaos, and she has blossomed in it.

Usagi’s Take: This is one of my favorite historical fiction manga out there, and there was a FANTASTIC film adapted out of it a few years back. While this isn’t a strictly correct historical take of the oiran/geisha/Yoshiwara district trade in the Edo era (there’s a lot of artistic liberties taken) but it’s absolutely lovely, the art is breathtaking and I adore Kiyoha as a heroine. If you like your heroines with sass, definitely read this one. And if Vertical’s translated it, I trust them – they do fantastic work. I just wish it’d been at least a mini-series -this is the only volume for this story!

Week 17 (Japanese Release): “Zerozaki Soushiki’s Test of Humanity: Volume 1 (Zerozaki Soushiki no Ningen Shiken: Volume 1)”

Title: “Zerozaki Soushiki’s Test of Humanity: Volume 1 (Zerozaki Itoshiki no Ningen Shiken: Volume 1)

Author: Nisioisin (original story)

Artist: Shiyomiya Iruka

Genre: Seinen, Action

Publication Date: 2011

Publisher: Kodansha

Summary: Iori is a high school girl who doesn’t know what she wants to do with her future, and tends to run away from things. One day, she is attacked by strange dead-eyed people on her way to school, only to be saved by an equally mysterious long-haired man. Later that day, her friend at school, Jion, seems to fall under the same murderous influence. To her surprise, she finds herself capable of defending herself from his violent attack. Afterward, the long-haired man she met in the morning, Zerozaki Soushiki, arrives once more, this time to invite her to become his little sister. What has Iori become involved with, and will she be able to survive this change to her life?

Usagi’s Take: This is a pretty faithful take on the novel by Nisioisin – I’m reading both at the same time and I’m really pleased at how this adaptation is going so far. This story is a spin-off of his “Zaregoto” series, but you don’t have to read “Zaregoto” to know what’s going on with this story.  This is absolutely awesome – but not for the faint of heart. Anything that Nisio does is gold, and this series is definitely one of them. Let’s hope it gets licensed soon!

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!

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