CalAggie (Level 15)

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Nikaku in San Jose, CA

Last weekend, I went to San Jose to check out Nikaku Animart in the Japantown district. It was overcast and I drove through a rainstorm to get there. The store is upstairs and most of it is actually Japanese antiques and plateware. The anime & manga section is in a corner and along the register near the front. Prices on most items are what's on the cover - Japanese magazines have a predictable markup. 
 

What I ended up getting were older books, given the selection: 
  • America and the Four Japans by Fred Schodt (1994) - Fred's page about the book
  • Fresh Pulp: Dispatches from the Japanese Pop Culture Front (1997-1999) - article collection from Viz's mature-oriented late 1990s magazine
  • Anime Interviews: The First Five Years of Animerica (1992-97) - subjects include Miyazaki, Oshii, Rumiko Takahashi, Yoshiyuki Tomino
  • Tanpenshu volume 1 - short stories by Hiroki Endo of EDEN fame, published by Dark Horse
  • Junket (Japanese) - was released in English by Viz in the 1990s as Pixy Junket - Amazon listing
  • Sony Magazine Deluxe 1996-97 anime mook - Sakuya from Tenchi in Tokyo is on the cover
  •  A sakura greeting card

San Jose Kinokuniya

FROM TOP LEFT TO BOTTOM RIGHT:

  • Kenshuui Shoujo - Resident Girl vols. 1 & 2 (Kiriki Kenichi) - about a young woman in residence at a hospital
  • I am a Hero vol. 1 (Kengo Hanazawa) - Manga Taisho award nominee (ANN story), Manga Widget post
  • Summer Wars King Kazuma vs. Queen Oz vol. 2 (Yumehito Ueda)  - sidestory to Summer Wars, unsure when in overall timeline
  • Tokyo ESP vols. 1 & 2 (Segawa Hajime) - from the author of Ga Rei
  • Saigo wa Straight vol. 1 (Samukawa Kazuyuki) - baseball manga in Shonen Sunday starring complete newbie. Author's last work was soccer manga GOLDEN AGE.
  • HELL HELL vol. 1 (Azuma Jun) - seralized on Gangan Online, liked what I'd seen of the visual style 
 
 Frozen Yogurt from MoYo's
 Frozen Yogurt from MoYo's
 
I stopped by San Francisco's Japantown on the way home and though the Kinokuniya had just closed at 8pm, I was able to get some frozen yogurt from MoYo's. I got a mix of strawberry, melon and something else with mochi and kiwi toppings mixed in. I then went back the next day to get some things.

San Francisco Kinokuniya 

         
  • Crimson Hero vol. 1 - Shojo Beat manga about volleyball player who is pressured by her mother to take over her role at their family restaurant 
  • Ishiguro Masakazu short story collections 1 & 2
  • Kyoko to Tousan (Ishiguro Masakazu) - female artist has to deal with bothersome father
  • Don't Cry, Girl (Yamashita Tomoko) - oneshot from author of current Afternoon series BUTTER!!!
  • Yonamushi Pedal (Wataru Watanabe) - wimp gets into competitive cycling?    

  • Moe-tai (Sugimoto Iqura) - guy trains to lose weight & box. Sugimoto illustrated the main Summer Wars manga and wrote & drew Variante .

  • Ninkyou Hime Leira vol. 1 (Kaji Kengo, Satoshi Yonei) - girl participates in underground wrestling scene    
 
TISTA
 vols 1. & 2 (Tatsuya Endo)
 - girl assassin in New York City, French article about it

Other English books

    
I had pre-ordered Saito Tamaki's Beautiful Fighting Girl from Amazon a while ago & I got it on Monday. I got through translator J. Keith Vincent's introduction and it seems like it may be similar to Hiroki Azuma's Otaku: Japan's Database Animals, albeit with a focus on Lacanian theory in discussing otaku sexuality in a more positive sense. (University of Minnesota published both books and also produces the yearly Mechademia journal.)
 
While at the SF Kinokinuya, I decided to get Directory of World Cinema: Japan upstairs for $25 list price. You can navigate the listings for free online at worldcinemadirectory.org - the dead tree and e-book versions are really only if you want a collection to read away from a computer screen.
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~~~ Originally posted on Nigorimasen! ~~~ 

 

Last Saturday, I went to San Francisco to see the Garden of Sinners (Kara no Kyokai) at Viz Cinema. It had the feel of a promotional event - there was a sample box set unpacked in the lobby and the host reminded people a few times how many of the ten sets were remaining. Even though it was long at about 5 1/2 hours, it seemed worth the experience of seeing it with a bunch of other people.

I was about 20 minutes late for the first movie because of traffic and I came in about when Shiki was stabbing her prosthetic hand. I read the translated 1st chapter in a copy of FAUST the night before so I knew the basic structure of the 1st film, though I wouldn't mind seeing the first half to establish the main characters.

They were only showing films 1, 2 & 7, which I think was okay for one day since the runtimes were 48, 58 and 121 minutes, respectively. (Films 2 & 7 comprise the two-part A Study in Murder storyline.) I was able to follow along with the main story; however, there were some characters like Azusa and Souren who just kind of appeared & are probably better fleshed out in the other four movies. The 7th film had a creepy ending to it & a touching epilogue.

I could easily tell the music was composed by Yuki Kajiura - some of the choral tracks reminded me a bit of what I'd heard in Tsubasa Chronicle. Some of the ending themes like "Oblivious" (1st film) & "Seventh Heaven" (7th film) were good closers performed by Kalafina, who also recently performed the ending theme to Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

I enjoyed watching the films despite the mystical elements about desires from past lives and the SHIKI/Shiki dualism feeling a little much for me. I would like to see the other chapters eventually but I wasn't ready to lay down $400 for the set. All ten boxes at the event did get sold by the end and at least 25,000 have been sold in Japan. RightStuf has sold out of their allotment (about 50?) but Amazon Japan still has it in stock for 41,618 yen (~$498 USD).

Before the 7th film was shown, there was a Q&A session with ufotable producer Hikaru Kondo and Aniplex producer Atsuhiro Iwakami. Kondo remarked how difficult & hectic the production was due to the small details they tried to include and that only bad memories came back when re-watching the films, thinking about the many retakes that were done. It was hard to convey to the hundred or so staff members that they needed to quality work. Part of that effort was replicating Touko's room within the studio and having meetings within that room. Iwakami admitted the action scenes were definitely difficult but so were the quiet scenes between Shiki and Mikiya as well as the military style crawl in movie 7.

According to Kondo, screenings of 1st chapter in a Harajuku theater were standing room only for the 1st month or so, which caused the staff to get confidence to finish the rest of the production. He also reminisced briefly about how he loves good packaging, like some Laserdisc releases were in the past. Iwakami said it was great to work with TYPE-MOON's Nasu and Takashi Takeuchi & they are looking forward to doing future projects. (TYPE-MOON's upcoming game Mahou Tsukai no Yoru was mentioned but there are no current plans to adapt that. Fate/zero is one of ufotable's upcoming projects and is slated to air later this year.)

 

 ufotable's Hikaru Kondo (right) signing a recently bought box set

There was a signing session at the end with everyone getting small promo posters, like the one at the top of this post. Some of those who bought box sets at the event also had the interior signed. (I didn't switched my camera out of macro mode so the few photos I took were out-of-focus.)

Related coverage:
bonertown looks at the box set for Analog Housou
Proper reviews on ANN (Zac Bertschy), Mania (Chris Beveridge)
ufotable blog (Feb. 5th & 6th entries)

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The lot from 1st San Francisco Kino visit 
The lot from 1st San Francisco Kino visit 
It's time for another long photo post about manga I got from Kinokuniya recently. I visited both the San Francisco & San Jose stores on the same day during MLK weekend and then returned to the San Francisco store on Jan. 22nd while hanging out before seeing Evangelion 2.0 at VIZ Cinema.

San Francisco Kinokuniya 01/16/2011

Yuzuko Peppermint by Dai Sato & Masaru Gotsubo runs in Square-Enix's Young Gangan and has the following text on its cover: 

Yuzuko was left alone after her grandmother passed away. 
Shadowed by a mysterious organization, her family murdered by a psychopath, 
and with the sudden "breakdown" of the world, the missing pieces to everything is revealed, 
and the "Peppermint" inside Yuzuko activates...

Asuko March! is a josei series by Akiyama Kaori from Margaret's YOU magazine and the main character attends a technical high school.  

Matsuri Special by Yoko Kamio is from Jump Square - the main girl can take guys down with wrestling moves.
    

Dainana Jyoshika Houkou by TSUBANA runs in Comic Ryu and is a comedy where strange stuff happens around the cover girls.
 
Ateya no Tsubaki
 by Kanji Kawashita had an 18+ sticker on it since there is sexual imagery in this Edo period horror-mystery, not unusual for Young Animal magazine.
 
Sakuragawa Volley-boys
by Souko Masaki is about pretty boys playing high school volleyball and the otaku girl Satoko who follows them.

    

Cafe Detective Club by Fujishiro Takeshi was an impulse buy - turns out it's a cute girl comedy. Here's its Gangan Online page.
 
Popcorn Avatar by Koichiro Hoshino runs in Shonen Sunday. I was drawn to it by the blonde fighter who often wears cheerleader gear.
 
Prizona 6 by KOJINO & Ryunosuke Kingetsu deals with six females are stranded on an island with no memory of their pasts as part of Project Prisoner.

 San Jose Kinokuniya 1/16/2011

 Here's the lot from San Jose's Kino location
 Here's the lot from San Jose's Kino location

Le Tour! is a Shonen Sunday series by Akira Otani about a budding competitive cyclist. 
 
I'd seen Kiyoku Masashiku Utsu Kusuku (ufotable x Tartan Check) on the shelf a couple times & the one-shot 364-page is about girl's soccer.

Speedy Wonder is a horse racing manga written by Masaya Tsunamoto & drawn by Akihiro Yamane, serialized in Young Champion magazine.  
 
1/11 (Juichi bunno ichi) is a soccer tragedy manga by Takatoshi Nakamura from Jump Square (Jump SQ). 
 
Bengoshi no Kuzu
 revolves around a rosy-cheeked lawyer and the cases he takes.

Love Eighteen by Akira Miyagawa can be seen in Kodansha's Afternoon and takes place in 2018 when a supercomputer directed starts chasing main girl Naoki. The not-so-clean character design caught my eye when flipping through an issue of the magazine.

Shoujo Fight by Yoko Nihonbashi focuses on a women's volleyball team and had an anime OVA episode in 2009. Characters have a thin black outline around them. 

Ryo Atsuchi's light comedy Sofuteni is about a female "soft tennis" club and will have an anime adaptation later this year.

Here's a Sofuteni trailer from Comiket 79 and you may notice some ecchi moments:    

Back to San Francisco Kino - 01/22/2011

2nd round of San Francisco manga buying 
2nd round of San Francisco manga buying 
Sato Shio by Seiko Erisawa looks like a comedy about a design firm. 
 
Hanbijiburu
 by Hirai Takeshi is a school comedy that features Haruna, a girl who can only be seen by some people. 
 
Yuubae Sakusen
 - adaptation of a Ryu Mitsuse novel that Mamoru Oshii wrote and Tsutomu Oono drew. It was also the subject of a 1974 Japanese drama. I guess there is a time machine in it and also a basset hound (an Oshii trademark).

Femme Fatale and Darenimo Ienai, both by Kaya Shigisawa, have a black-haired glasses girl as main lead in relationship drama, though Femme Fatale looks like it has some humor. Also: Femme Fatale has French and Japanese titles for each chapter. 

Nightmare Maker by Cuvie had an 18+ sticker and for good reason: a number of sexual scenes that are part of dream/reality blurring for its high school characters.

Some English translated stuff, too

I also recently got Cross Game volume 2 (San Jose) & RATMAN volume 3 (San Francisco) as well as Book Girl and the Famished Spirit (2nd novel in the series) from Amazon.
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It seems that about once a month I visit either the San Francisco or San Jose Kinokuniya stores to pick up some manga I'm interested in and will hopefully write about in the future. I've also started to think that I should start adding many of those to the AV database since some of the titles are more obscure albeit still recent, especially the sports stuff.
 
Anyway, here's what I got from the San Jose store and some explanation of what each is about. 

 Cover of A Channel
 Cover of A Channel

 
Main Characters of A Channel 
Main Characters of A Channel 
A Channel is a 4-koma by Kuroda bb that I saw mentioned a few times on Okazu and finally bit the bullet on its $14.20 price (helped a bit by 10% membership discount). It runs in Manga Time Kirara Carat and is getting an anime adaptation soon (ANN, show website). 
 
  
 

 
Shonen Shikku volumes 1 & 2 
Shonen Shikku volumes 1 & 2 
  
 Shonen Shikku
is a soccer manga by Yuuto Tsukuda that ran in Shonen Jump for five months before ending this year. There are only two volumes but it looks like there's some wrap up panel at the end. 
 
 
 
 
 
Red Raven cover 
Red Raven cover 
Red Raven by Shinta Fujimoto started running in Monthly Shonen Gangan in May and appears to have the basic combination of a young tough girl in a dark situation. In this case, eyepatch-wearing Andy is part of Red Raven and has a crow robot partner named Sharuru. 1st chapter is available for reading on Gangan Online.
 
 
 
 
 
Kazuma of Touch Up 
Kazuma of Touch Up 
Touch Up is a baseball manga by Takuya Tazawa & Kenji Morita about a high school pitcher Kazuma Yoshizawa, whose covered up eye will be revealed in the plot. There's also his sister Luna and a sketchbook guy who get involved. 
 
Serialized in Big Comic Superior with sample first chapter available online. The title might be referring to tagging up (when a batter heads back to the base he's on before advancing on a fly ball).
 
 
 
 
Manabiya vol 1 
Manabiya vol 1 
 
Akira Kojima is currently doing two related manga after Mahoraba - Wa! and Manabiya. Set in high school and about high school freshman Takeru getting caught up in a photography group after taking a picture of the strange girl on the cover. Manabiya and Wa! are both running in Gangan Joker and the series page has a few sample chapters available for the 4-koma Wa!
 


 
 
  
Tonnura-san and Ichino
Tonnura-san and Ichino
Tonnura-san is about the three Ichinose sisters and the large cat Tonnura they have to take care of. Of course, middle sister Ichino (seen on cover) is the angry one. It runs in Comic REX and the author Ryousangata Serebi has Pixiv and Twitter accounts (@serebixi).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Time of Eve manga adaptation
 Time of Eve manga adaptation
The Time of Eve manga is an adaptation of the android-human interaction web short series that was recently reworked into a feature-length movie. Story by Yasuhiro Yoshiura and art by Yuuki Ohta. Really liked the anime when I watched it on Crunchyroll last year and this Young Gangan manga version will likely have a similar introduction but perhaps with a few more details filled in.
 
 
 
 
 
Sayonara Football 
Sayonara Football 
Sayonara Football looks like it's about a girl named Nozomi playing on a boy's soccer team. Drawn by Naoshi Arakawa and serialized in Kodansha's Magazine E-no - I think this one also ended at two volumes... :(
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 The game begins...
 The game begins...
We Are All Already Dead
(Bokura wa Minna Shin de iru) is about eight people who wake up in a mysterious facility. One of them sometimes speaks in broken English. Written & drawn by Kira and runs in Shueisha's YOU magazine for josei. (Sample chapter)  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
EDIT: Oh, I also got 7 BIllion Needles vol. 2 at Borders on the way home.
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The passing away of Yoshinobu Nishizaki got me thinking about how many anime/manga/etc. industry people have gone to the other side this year. 
 
So using a simple site-centric Google search focused on ANN, here is a list of those personalities so far: 
 
January 16 - Takumi Shibano (83), cause: pneumonia [LINK]
January 17 - Daisuke Gouri (57), cause: possible suicide [LINK]
January 23 - Jean Simmons (80), cause: lung cancer [LINK]
January 28 - Keiko Tobe (52), cause: unspecified [LINK
February 26 - Jun "Nujabes" Seba (36), cause: car accident [LINK]
April 4 -  Shio Satō  (57), cause: brain tumor [LINK]
April 5 - Amy Fortsyth (33), cause: unspecified [LINK
April 9 - Hisashi Inoue (75), cause: lung cancer [LINK
April 17 - Carl Macek (58), cause: heart attack [LINK
April 27 - Tanie Katabayashi (98), cause: pneumonia [LINK
May 25 - Junichi Ohsako (?), cause: unknown [LINK
May 27 - Peter Keefe (57), cause: throat cancer [LINK
June 1 - Robert O. Smith (67), cause: pancreatic and liver cancer [LINK
June 11 - Shunsuke Ikeda (69), cause: stomach cancer [LINK
June 15 - Tadashi Kawashima (42), cause: liver cancer [LINK]  
June 28 - Kimihiko Tsukuda (80), cause: pneumonia [LINK]
July 11 - Naoyoshi Taniyama (73), cause: multiple organ failure [LINK]   
July 12 - James P. Hogan (69), cause: unspecified [LINK]   
July 14 - Tetsuo Mizutori (71), cause: unspecified [LINK]
July 15 - Peter Fernandez (83), cause: lung cancer [LINK
July 26 - Bice (38), cause: heart attack [LINK
August 23 - Kihachiro Kawamoto (85), cause: pneumonia [LINK]
August 24 - Satoshi Kon (46), cause: pancreatic cancer [LINK
August 24 - Shojuro Yamauchi (?), cause: unspecified [LINK
September 6 - Ayao Wada (81), cause: pneumonia [LINK
October 9 - Shintaro Miyawaki (67), cause: heart attack [LINK
October 28? - Koichi Motohashi (80), cause: ? [LINK
October 28 - Takeshi Shudo (61), cause: subarachnoid hemorrhage [LINK
November 7 - Yoshinobu Nishizaki (75), cause: drowning [LINK]

I'll be updating this through the rest of the year. Also: let me know if I've missed any notable names. 
 
UPDATE: ANN posted an "In Memoriam" at the end of the year.
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