Manga Monday – Week 20

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 2o (US Release): “Moyashimon: Tales of Agriculture – Volume 1” by Ishikawa Masayuki

Title: “Moyashimon – Tales of Agriculture: Volume 1”

Author/Artist: Ishikawa Masayuki

Translation Company/US Publisher: Random House/Del-Rey/Kodansha USA

Genre: Seinen, Humor, Magical Realism, Educational, Slice-of-Life, AWESOME

Publication Date: November 24, 2009 (North America)


Tadayasu is a new, fresh-faced university student hiding a bizarre secret: He can see germs with the naked eye. Between the machinations of an eccentric professor determined to unlock the power of the microbial world and the doomed agricultural experiments of his fellow students, will Tadayasu ever find the cool college atmosphere he so desires?

Usagi’s Take: One of my all-time favourite manga, hands down! Not only is this manga hugely funny, but it’s really enjoyably educational! And it’s based in part in reality – Tokyo Nougyou Daigaku (Tokyo Agricultural University) is a real place. I’ve never been there, but I definitely want to go now! This story has something for everyone, and the magical realism aspect is awesome. I don’t know why Del-Rey stopped translating this after three volumes (it’s up to volume 11 or 12 in Japan by now), but I hope that they either start translating it again or the original license is scooped back up by its original owners, Kodansha USA.  There’s also two seasons of anime (the second of which is airing now on Japanese television) and one season of a live action television series – so it’s pretty popular. I highly recommend this one for everyone of all ages!

Week 20 (Japanese Release): “Swingin’/Easy goin’ Girls Love (Yuruyuri): Volume 1” by Namori

Title: “Yuruyuri (Swingin’/Easy Goin’ Girls Love): Volume 1”

Author/Artist: Namori

Genre: GLBT, shoujo-ai/yuri, humor, slice-of-life, coming-of-age, AWESOME

Publisher: Ichijinsha

Publication Date: 2008

Summary: Right after starting middle school, Akari Akaza joins the Amusement Club which is composed solely by her two childhood friends, Kyouko Toshinou and Yui Funami. Chinatsu Yoshikawa, Akaza’s classmate, becomes a member after finding out about the dissolution of the Tea Club.

The Amusement Club, situated at the tea room facility since the Tea Club disbanded, has no clear purpose, being free for the girls to do whatever they want.

Usagi’s Take: This one took me awhile to get into (there are a LOT of puns and gags), but once I did, I’ve had such fun with it. “Yuruyuri” (a pun on swinging, easygoing and girls’ love all in one word) is lighthearted, shameless, and utterly undignified – but that’s what makes it great. It doesn’t take itself seriously. Those who aren’t into the girls’ love genre may not like it right away, but you’ll probably get sucked right in, just like I did.  I’ve only read the first volume but I’m definitely eager for more. There are two seasons of the anime out so far – season two is running on Japanese television right now. Those who are fans of “Azumanga Daioh” and “Lucky Star” will LOVE “Yuruyuri”. Definitely recommended if you need a bit of cheering up or humor in your life.

EDIT: Thanks to friend of the blog Rosa Chinensis, I have legitimate intelligence that the first volume of “Yuru Yuri” will be out from JManga in legal digital format (usually Japanese + English) this Thursday, August 23, 2012! Google “JManga” and check it out, because they’re great translators and this is a great series.


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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