April marks the 10-year anniversary of Enterbrain
, a Japanese publisher of magazines, video games, strategy guides, and just about anything else that you can think of. For this anniversary I thought I'd provide an ode in the form of 10 items from Enterbrain that I'm thankful for.
One of the best historical manga I've ever read-- and I'm a historical fiction nut --Kaoru Mori's attention to detail is rivaled only by her ability to create a solid, relatable, but gripping romantic plot. A beautiful two-season anime was made based on the manga, and I highly recommend checking out either or both...if you're interested in a romance story, anyway.
A monthly seinen manga anthology "for the comic freaks!," Comic Beam is well-known for featuring strong original content, including Emma, the recent award-winning time travel comedy Thermae Romae, the manga that inspired the anime Desert Punk, and many others-- including King of Thorns, whose upcoming anime film looks fantastic.
If you've been paying attention to the news, then you know that Fantagraphics is starting a line of awesome alt manga, including a work by shoujo manga pioneer Moto Hagio and a more recent manga called Hourou Musuko, to be released as Wandering Son. The series revolves around a boy and a girl who want to be a girl and a boy, respectively, and how they deal with all the normal tensions and trials of daily life with this added difficulty.
Although the reputation Famitsu holds for video game ratings has diminished as they gave more and more perfect scores, Famitsu is still a force to be reckoned with in the Japanese gaming world...for now. At the very least they can be a great source of screencaps for games that won't be out in the US for a year or two.
A popular visual novel-turned-manga-turned-anime (TOKYOPOP
is releasing the English version), KimiKiss manages to quietly stand out from many similar franchises by having characters with fairly realistic personalities, motivations, and reactions to one another.
I remember first playing with RPG Maker when I was in high school-- it's exactly what it sounds like, a PC program where you can use the graphical interface to build your own top-down 2D RPG. It has built in sprites, monsters, attacks, and all that good stuff, and you could also download tons of alternate art, or make your own, and the program would compile the game for you when you were done. It wasn't easy, though...
When I originally wrote this description of the popular PS2 dating sim, I predicted that it was following the same path as KimiKiss-- both went from game to manga, and I suspected eventually we'd get word of an Amagami anime as with KimiKiss ~pure rouge~. I did not expect that announcement to come out while I was writing this piece! Amagami revolves around a young man who has some trauma associated with Christmas-- a big date night for young folks in Japan --but is determined to ask out one of the girls at his high school. Rather than tying them all together in one story and selecting a particular heroine, the anime is going to feature each girl's story, which sounds cool to me!
Pretty much any anime geek who also games on occasion will know of Famitsu, but fewer are familiar with B's Log. And no small wonder: there's so little attention paid to all the video games for girls out there! B's Log is devoted entirely to games for girls, particularly otome games-- the female version of the standard dating sim, in which the player's goal is to establish a romance with one of the many male characters --and BL games (hence the initials of the mag's title).
You guys probably already know I'm a fan of Junko Mizuno's work, since I've talked about it before, and Enterbrain is responsible for publishing a couple of her books. Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu was actually serialized in the aforementioned mag Comic Beam, and was recently released in English by Last Gasp. It revolves around a fluffy alien named Pelu who wanders the earth falling in love with different women-- but it's more like a fusion of My Little Pony and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, with occasionally an extra dose of horror, than like a porno.
Why is this manga not yet licensed!? Winner of this year's prestigious Manga Taishou Award, Thermae Romae is a comedy revolving around a man from ancient Rome named Lucius who can time-travel from Rome to modern-day Japan...via a bath tub. See, Japan is rather fond of its bath houses and onsen and whatnot, and Romans were equally at home in large public tubs. This sounds too awesome to pass up, but no one has announced it for English release yet...sniff, sniff.
So there you go! Hopefully now you're as grateful for Enterbrain's 10 years of existence as I am. And if I missed anything-- or you particularly agree or disagree with one of the items I included --let me know in the comments!