29 July 2011

Some Thoughts About Good Manga 1

Even though this site is technically a blog, it’s been awhile since I last did a blogpost about my opinions (I guess the older ones are now lost since fluffypress is dead) but I had the sudden urge to do one since I recently realized randomscans had scanned all 3 volumes of Genkaku Picasso that was done by Viz. Hope I don’t come off as too pretentious like many bloggers often do, so feel free to tell me if I do. Oh, and very minor spoilers ahead.

When I first heard that Furuya Usamaru started a manga serialized by Jump SQ, the magazine in which Claymore and D. Grayman run under, I went “What the fuck?” considering that this was the guy whose debut work in Garo had scat, bdsm, S&M, incest, gore, and… did it have necrophilia? Well the point is that it was unusual but I guess not too much so since he tread similar territory in Chronicles of the Clueless Age along with Otsuichi. And speaking of Chronicles of the Clueless Age, I always wondered just how much Furuya actually contributed to the storymaking process (since Otsuichi is more known for being the writer) but after reading all 3 volumes of Genkaku Picasso (quite hefty volumes, all 250~300 pages in length), it seems the answer is obvious as this series felt like a nice spiritual successor to Chronicles. I don’t mean that just because the theme and contents are similar (common teenhood concerns such as first love, social pressures, worries about personal future) but also because usage of creative surrealism is present in both works.

To clarify, manga like Genkaku Picasso and Chronicles of the Cluess Age is direct proof that execution triumphs over content. It’s how you tell the story that’s important and not the content of the story itself. Why tell mundane teen-drama Degrassi-style (do Americans even know about Degrassi?) full of awkward dialogues and the like when you can do it with the style of a Dali painting? Of course, that’s not to say that the surrealist approach is good in all cases, since there’s a time and place for everything (to quote Professor Oak), but I’m merely trying to make the point that otherwise mundane drama can be made interesting through the style of execution.

For example, in Chronicles, a chapter about falling out with a friend is shown through the protagonist wandering a maze-like school controlled by a creepy mother mainframe. In Genkaku Picasso, a chapter about self-hate is conveyed with a great Eva-parody with the protagonist fighting off ange- I mean, girls (now if only this scene had a Mitsuo Iso-animated adaptation…). 

On a slightly different note, is anybody a little bothered by the change in Furuya’s art since Lychee Hikari Club? He seems to have picked up the full red lips a la Maruo Suehiro’s art (not actually sure if Maruo was the first one to do that but I’m sure he was the one who definitely influenced Furuya). I don’t mind the full red lips on females but when it’s used for males and present in stories that aren’t characterized by eroticism, it gives an out-of-place homoerotic vibe. Not that I mind homoeroticism. Mind you that I’m an avid fan of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures. It just feels a little… odd. I do think it’s an apt fit in his most recent manga, Teiichi no Kuni, however.

All in all, Genkaku Picasso is fucking great and Viz did a great job with it, including extra stuff with Furuya Usamaru and everything, though they did omit a few colour pages. Nonetheless, it’s good enough that I’m ashamed to have read it through not-so-legal scans. But I will be definitely buying it so I hope you guys do the same if you either like Furuya Usamaru or just happened to like this manga. 

Oh, and I haven't seen the raws for Zero yet so please do be patient if possible. It's hard for me to wait too. Never mind, it's out and scanlated now.

28 July 2011

Franken Fran Double Release

Special double release of Fran, chapters 52 and 53 for you all today! Since this covers all the chapters contained in v7, the v7 extra is also included in c53. However, the usual omake chapter isn't included this time, since its slot was replaced by the phase 20 oneshot (previously scanlated). Usual thanks goes out to Amuro and Vexed. The most recent issue of Fran in Japan was actually a double release as well (c54-55) so Amuro and I'll try to have that done by next week. So stay tuned for more Fran.

Franken Fran c52:   Mediafire
Franken Fran c53+v7 Extra:   Mediafire

12 July 2011

I LOVE YOU FUKUMOTO (last updated Aug 16)


As if you couldn't already tell from the picture above, Gambling Emperor Zero is back from hiatus! I won't give out any spoilers but next week's chapter cannot come out any faster. Since Zero actually has fast pacing unlike 99% of all Fukumoto manga (I would assume the editors of Kodansha Weekly Shonen are responsible for that because it needs to appeal to a younger demographic), I think waiting for the regular volume scans to be out will be a little slow. So, even though I'm technically on a summer break, I'll try my best to keep up with this manga on a weekly basis. That's all for now, folks.

Slight Notice: I won't have access to a computer until 21~22nd so I'll do the next Zero chapter then.
And chapter 2 is finally out. For those who're wondering, new scanlated chapters should normally be out on Tuesday evenings (pacific coast time).
New chapter's finally out. I can't believe I didn't see this coming.
c4 is out.

c5 is out (there was no chapter released last week so I'm still fully caught up)

Gambling Emperor Zero Part 2 c001:   Mediafire
Gambling Emperor Zero Part 2 c002:   Mediafire
Gambling Emperor Zero Part 2 c003:   Mediafire
Gambling Emperor Zero Part 2 c004:   Mediafire
Gambling Emperor Zero Part 2 c005:   Mediafire

10 July 2011

Waters v1-2 (Complete)

Alright, here it is. Roughly a year and half since the first chapter was serialized in Afternoon magazine, Waters is fully scanlated in English! Much thanks goes out to Illuminati-Manga and Scantily Clad for their collaboration on this project. I'd imagine most of you would've forgotten about this series by Urushibara of Mushishi fame since it's been awhile since the last release so here's a brief synopsis:

In the midst of a blazing hot summer beset by water shortages, middle-school girl Chinami faints from heat exhaustion. Upon waking up, she finds herself in a mysterious town by a beautifully pristine river whose waters hide many secrets...

The writing is unmistakably Urushibara-esque, by which I mean slow but deliberate pacing with an enchanting atmosphere/setting and mature themes. Even though I myself realize that terms like shounen and shoujo are merely demographic markers, this is the type of manga that comes to my mind when hearing the term, "seinen manga." I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

Waters v1:   Mediafire
Waters v2:   Mediafire