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Read & Discover: Diamond Girl Vol. 1

I finally got to read some manga.

 You've got to give it to the girl. She knows how to accessorize. 
 You've got to give it to the girl. She knows how to accessorize. 

Many of you Anime Vice lunatics have been asking me to read some manga for the site. Wouldn’t you know it? Whiskey sent me a copy of CMX’s DIAMOND GIRL Vol. 1 a while back and I finally got a chance to peruse it. Before I get to anything else, I want you all to clarify something for me. Clarify it emphatically. Is this shojo? Because I never get these gender/age classifications right.

Story wise, this is pretty light stuff. You’ve got a teenage girl with superhuman baseball abilities who absolutely doesn’t want to step back on the pitcher’s mound. - - not even if the team’s dying to have her join them, not even if she’s got the potential to be the best in the world. Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but I was really tickled by the inversion of the typical reasoning for a “girl joining the boy’s club” like this. It’s not like, say, JUST ONE OF THE GUYS. The prospect of cross-dressing isn’t there for her to prove some point about gender equality. Rather, the team wants her to pretend to be a boy so she can get around pesky school rules and single-handedly win the season for them. Go figure. 

So how did this read?

I’ve voiced my difficulty with un-flipped manga in the past. Here, I found the best solution was to read this as fast as I could - - to think less about it. I found that was actually best for the experience in general, actually.  As I mentioned in my mini-essay about international comics, manga’s distinguished by “decompressed” storytelling and that was very much true here. I don't think you're meant to linger on any of this. It really felt like reading an anime on paper and I couldn’t help but take note of how much visual vocabulary anime and manga share. The speedlines, the super-deformity, the humor that comes in both whispered asides and spontaneous shouting… it’s all there on the page, so much so that I could practically hear the soundtrack in my head. 

Actually, the fact I could read this so quickly is a compliment to the strength and readability of its storytelling. I was an earnest passenger on this DIAMOND GIRL's roller coaster, feeling every bump, flip and twist exactly the way Takanori Yamazaki wanted me to, exactly when I was supposed to. I pay high respect to the level of craft in production here (although that's probably best direct to the assistants, right?) I was consistently amazed at how much expression they were able to get out of the gray tones and pattern films. Maybe this was done practically, maybe it was done digitally. If it's the former, than I really wish more creators would take some pages from this, state-side. 
 
Will I continue to Read & Discover manga? Will this become a regular feature? I don't know. It depends on whether some happens to come my way. I'd certainly like to read more. Keep your eyes peeled!

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of  HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here.

FrozenCrowon Sept. 4, 2010 at 4:30 a.m.
Interesting.
FoxxFireArt moderator on Sept. 4, 2010 at 5:20 a.m.
I'm just pleased to see this wasn't a VIZ title. Though not being much of a manga reader, I doubt you would really grasp the depth of the amount of edits. I recently heard something about an edit VIZ did in Fullmetal Alchemist. Something about how a character was pretty much crucified on a  cross, but VIZ edited the artwork so it wouldn't look similar to a cross. They seem to be hyper sensitive to religious themes.

I've never heard of the publisher CMX before. I don't know what to make of them. This is my first time hearing of this series, as well. Sounds interesting enough. I like the promise of a character excelling in something, but not actually interesting in using that talent.
rubberluffy is online on Sept. 4, 2010 at 9:31 a.m.
@FoxxFireArt: 
The censorship of that scene isn't that big of a deal (I am against censorship though), as it doesn't change the story or anything.  The real problem with VIZ's FMA is name inconsistency, switching between Ling/Lin, calling Xerxes Cselkcess, Riza/Liza, etc.  I believe sometimes the inconsistency shows up in the same book.
 
About Diamond Girl...I've never even heard of it, but I have heard of CMX.  They released Tenjo Tenge with heavy censorship.  And according to wikipedia, CMX went defunct this past July.
lizcaton Sept. 4, 2010 at 10:33 a.m.
Clarifying emphatically: Diamond Girl is shonen. It's a FlexComix series, and I looked at their website, and it's classified under their shonen imprint, FlexComix Blood.  
 
About CMX (which was DC's manga line): aside from the Tenjo Tenge controversy, they had a reputation for publishing some really good stuff, and generally doing it well. They were shut down this summer, which made a lot of manga people sad and pretty angry at DC. Series like Diamond Girl were kind of left in limbo, with the first volume published but no more on the way.  
 
All I can say is that this is a really strange pick for a first "Read and Discover," even if someone just sent it to you. There's almost no information about it online in English beyond a few mildly positive reviews. But whatever.... I hope this feature continues. 
FoxxFireArt moderator on Sept. 4, 2010 at 11:22 a.m.
@rubberluffy: 
For as many people keep saying they don't like censorship. They always seem to make a lot of excuses for it. Censorship is censorship. I am just curious why people are fine with VIZ bringing their religious values to the alteration of manga?
 
I do agree about those inconsistencies. It's as if they have an Alzheimer patient as an editor. Isn't is just sad that scanlation people who do it for the fun are far better than the people VIZ pays? Why do people defend them? All the evidence shows they are bad at what they do?
 
@lizcat said:
" All I can say is that this is a really strange pick for a first "Read and Discover," even if someone just sent it to you. There's almost no information about it online in English beyond a few mildly positive reviews. But whatever.... I hope this feature continues.  "
Well, understand that Tom is fairly new to manga. The same way with anime. He was sent that and chose to run with it. Seem perfectly valid to me. It would get expensive to expect him to start buying numerous manga volumes for this segment.
I don't know if he reads all the comments, but I would recommend checking out his local library. I know mine has a manga section. Be a lot easier than trying to buy a bunch of random series or wait for things to be sent to him.
 
Though, that's one of my few complaints about Anime Vice. Most of the regular staff writers seem to be more casual or new fans of manga/anime. GodLen is a major fan of series, but who else? New fans are just as welcome as old. Though, the other Whiskey Media sites' staff writers seem filled with people who are quite gung-ho and filled with knowledge on the series they cover.
lizcaton Sept. 4, 2010 at 1:27 p.m.
@FoxxFireArt: Of course, of course. I'm not blaming him for reading something he was sent, and I was actually excited to see anything about manga at all. It's just that an obscure series that almost no one else has read with only one volume out from a defunct publisher would not have been my pick for a column like this.  "Watch and Learn" has generally followed accessible, popular series so that lots of people can discuss and help out the newbie. No one here knows anything about Diamond Girl, so we can't have the same sort of discussion. 
sotyfan16on Sept. 4, 2010 at 2:16 p.m.

I hope this new segment about manga continues. I haven't heard of CMX but I have heard of Diamond Girl. I suggest checking out the Claymore manga as there is enough material for a second season of the anime but coincidentally there was not enough material when the anime was made so the ending was made-up.  

P.S. Boo censorship! I want all the glorious language, violence, themes, and sex as it meant to be read/watched.

Gaseroon Sept. 5, 2010 at 1:40 p.m.
CMX was recently shut down. If they were publishing this series its probly not a good idea to continue Read & Discover with it.
 
Also, since manga isn't colored like Western comics tend to be there is less to follow. For me it makes the action harder to read when speedlines are everywhere, for others it helps them read the action faster. I prefer at least a little color (or shading).
dvorakon Sept. 8, 2010 at 1:18 p.m.
I actually read through this a few months ago and enjoyed it alright. Too bad that CMX shutting down means that there will probably never be a volume 2 in English.
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