30 November 2012

Gyanki-Hen v06 Complete

And here's the complete volume. Next volume will come out spring of next year so hang tight until then.

Gyanki-Hen v06:   Sendspace
Gyanki-Hen c51-52:   Sendspace

26 November 2012

Fuck Thracians. Seriously.

And here's the chapter for this month's Historie. Just imagine what could have been had Eurydice married Eumenes.

Historie c78:   Download

22 November 2012

Gyanki-Hen v06 (last updated Nov. 28)

Change of plans. I was planning to do this in December but after reading the raws, I was in the mood for some Fukumoto (Kaiji part 3 is now fully translated too, people) so here's the first chapter of Gyanki-Hen v06!
Mountain-climbing Emperor Zero chapter 45.
Ooohh, Mr. Zero...
That's one hell of a slope you can draw there, Fukumoto.
This god bit seems more like something that Fukumoto puts in his seinen manga.
Oh, the joys of Japanese. I hope the way I translated things this chapter was still understandable for people completely unfamiliar with Japanese.

Gyanki-Hen c44:   Sendspace
Gyanki-Hen c45:   Sendspace
Gyanki-Hen c46:   Sendspace
Gyanki-Hen c47:   Sendspace
Gyanki-Hen c48:   Sendspace
Gyanki-Hen c49:   Sendspace
Gyanki-Hen c50:   Sendspace

3 November 2012

Some Thoughts About Good Manga(ka) 5

Considering both Sturgeon's Law and the fact that there's so many manga out there, buying something new to read, especially from an unfamiliar mangaka, can be risky. But at the same time, it makes it that much more satisfying when you do discover a new artist to fanboy over. This time, I owe that pleasure to the mangaka pictured above, Asakura Sekaiichi. Since I don't expect most English manga-fans to be knowledgeable with him, here's a short bio:
He graduated from an industrial design school but with no real job lined up, as is the fate of so many students. While working part-time here and there, a friend introduced him to a part-time illustrator job for an erotic-magazine. From there, the 23-year old Asakura made his debut (if you could even call it that) with a 4koma manga titled Ura Bidet no Hoshi in '88. He was then noticed by Manga Club (the same magazine that Bonobono ran in) and made a more legitimate debut with Osaru de Grazie, as pictured above. Oh, and as a sidenote, I should add Sekaiichi is merely a pen-name which more or less means World's #1.
With that out of the way, let's talk about his style and appeal. In case the above pics haven't tipped you off by now, yes, he falls in the school of heta-uma artists. For those of you unfamiliar with this term, it literally means "bad-good," referring to art that's good because of how "bad" it is. Examples would include Hanakuma Yusaku (Tokyo Zombie) or Yoshida Sensha's works (Utsurun desu). Although naysayers would only see it as a glorified excuse for having no drawing skills, I think the style is particularly well-suited for nonsensical-gag manga because what goes along better with unorthodox humour than unorthodox drawings? Until now, that was the only real appeal of heta-uma art that I could see. But along came Asakura Sekaiichi who convinced me otherwise. He showed me that it can also be quite cute.
At first, this statement seems entirely worthless. If there's one thing Japan can do, it's to make things really fucking kawaii~(。◕‿‿◕。)❤. The big eyes, small mouth, non-existent nose, blush marks, cat mouth, single fang sticking out, and you know the rest. The above-pictured cute-deformations are the tried-and-tested tools of any artist in the anime/manga industry today. However, its over-usage has rendered what was once cute into a generic and boring patent symbol. In response to this staleness, some Japanese designers have experimented with "counter-cuteness" giving birth to kimo-kawaii, a term which literally means ugly-cute or gross-cute. But a lot of these are merely ugly things ironically trying to be cute, and thus hard to accept as legitimate cuteness.
Asakura Sekaiichi, however, offers an alternate path to cuteness. Instead of trying to make things ironically cute, he displays a style that's genuinely cute, but without relying on standard cliches of Japanese cuteness. You can immediately see this just from how he draws the eyes alone, as pictured above. They don't cover a third of the face, nor do they have that...glossy/shiny-look. It's kind of like Hara Kazuo's art (Noramimi), but more unorthodox and much, much cuter. In fact, I feel almost hesitant to label him as a mere heta-uma artist because of how deliberate his style of cuteness is. If you're still unsure of what I exactly mean, go read his oneshot Nyanderful (one of his two only works scanlated in English, the other being Green Beans). The download link is here. If you can't understand how refreshingly cute and charming his style is from that oneshot, then I doubt you ever will. A real shame, but Asakura is definitely not for everyone.
At this point, I was planning to talk about the two works of his I read recently, Apollo and Debonair Drive. The former is about the daily life of a robot with heart problems while the latter is about a road trip between 4 very odd people, each tied down by their pasts. But I now realize there isn't too much that I can say about them. That isn't to imply they're not good or anything of the sort. In fact, they're fantastic reads (except Apollo's ending). The problem is that the story's appeal comes not from standard things like character depth, plot, or engaging themes, but the overall cute, funny, and light-hearted atmosphere which really can't be done justice with words. It's like trying to explain why Hirano Kouta's linework is just cool or Araki Hirohiko's poses are so fabulous. You either see it or you don't. So consider the Some Thoughs About Good Manga post this time as more of a Some Thoughts About Good Mangaka instead.