Cute Cats and Princess Knight: A Week's Worth of Manga News

As the holidays draw near, it's a busy time for manga lovers. Here at MTV Geek, we recently went over the week's new releases, previewed an entire chapter of CLAMP's new manga, Gate 7, and interviewed Fairy Tail creator Hiro Mashima. Here's a roundup of news from other places.

Manga Publishing

At Publishers Weekly, Danica Davidson takes a look at the popularity of manga art books, such as the Vampire Knight book we reviewed a few weeks ago.

If you're interested in what goes on behind the scenes in manga publishing, here is a bit of historical perspective. Two longtime manga editors spill the beans in Anime News Network's ANNCast podcasts: Jake Tarbox, the original editor of CMX Manga, and former Tokyopop exec Mike Kiley.

Meanwhile, Digital Manga Publishing CEO Hikaru Sasahara talks to Deb Aoki at about Digital's takeover of Yaoi-Con and the future of the Digital Manga Guild.

Digital Debuts

Digital Manga has been publishing their yaoi manga on the Kindle, the Nook, and their own eManga website—everywhere except on the iPad, it seems—until now. This week they unveiled their Digital Manga Store for the iPad, featuring a variety of yaoi and mainstream manga, how-to books, and American comics from the publisher IDW. If you're strictly a Vampire D fan, there's an app for that as well.

Speaking of the Digital Manga Guild, they are starting to get up to speed, and this week Digital announced a new DMG title, Love and Trap, which is available digitally on its eManga site.

Meanwhile, Dark Horse has added a number of new manga titles, including Trigun Maximum and Hellsing, to its online manga store and iPad app.

Read and Discuss

I admit that my brain is somewhat influenced by the many magical girl series that are already out there, but I didn’t really see much in Mew Mew that made it stand out above the pack. The heroine is cheerfully cute but clumsy, in love with a cute normal guy, and can turn into a catgirl superhero after a magical experiment gone awry. She is met by the two cute bishie guys responsible for this accident (including one who teases her constantly, and whom I suspect may be a love interest or rival later), and she must find her four other teammates, because groups of 5 magical girls as a team is nothing like Sailor Moon at all.

Sean Gaffney reviews vol. 1 of the new omnibus edition of Tokyo Mew Mew

It’s hard not to think of the princesses of Walt Disney’s motion pictures, mostly because Tezuka references them so often. Disney was an influence and inspiration to Tezuka, but Tezuka didn’t seem content to merely mimic Disney. Princess Knight seems like the best example of that. While Disney’s princesses were titular, they were never the heroine of their own story, at least with Disney at the rudder. Tezuka’s Sapphire may be pulling plot points out of a Disney grab bag, but she’s nothing like her American sisters.

David Welsh on the first volume of Osamu Tezuka's pioneering shoujo manga Princess Knight

I might have enjoyed Drops of God more if I didn’t recall Oishinbo so well, because there are a number of close similarities. Both have super-talented (due to their father’s training) pouty young men as their heroes. In both, characterization comes a far second to essay-like sections praising particular items of consumption or methods of creation or providing trivia behind the food or drink. Both lead characters are forced into using their tasting skills and food/flavor knowledge in competition with their fathers. The difference between the two is that, in Oishinbo, the father is still alive and actively annoying his son. In Drops of God, the father has recently passed on, leaving a bombshell in his will.

Johanna Draper Carlson's review of vol. 1 of The Drops of God

News from Japan

The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11 caused widespread destruction as well as disrupting the economy, affecting people in many different ways. The manga and anime industry, both in Japan and the U.S., have responded with many humanitarian efforts, from benefits and fund-raisers to simply publishing messages of hope. But I think this is a first: Kodansha has published a manga and prose anthology focusing on how the disaster affected cats. Titled What's Michael? Support for Cat Victims, the anthology features work by What's Michael? creator Makoto Kobayashi, horror manga-ka Junji Ito, Wallflower creator Tomoko Hayakawa, and Mushishi creator Yuki Urushibara, among others.

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