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This blog is a storage space for various thoughts, observations and musings centering on shōjo manga (少女漫画, Japanese comics for girls), josei-oriented manga (Japanese comics for women) and manga created by women (in the widest sense). Topics from other fields of relevance, such as music, art, literature and film may be discussed here as well.

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For the most part, Japanese names appear in their original order - surname first, followed by the given name.

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Viewing all posts with tag: decade: 2010s



[Manga News] Limited Edition of Final Volume of Izumi Kaneyoshi’s Joō no Hana announced

cover image for vol. 1 of Izumi Kaneyoshi's Joou no hana published by ShogakukanIzumi Kaneyoshi’s long-running historical manga Joō no hana (The Flower of the Queen) officially came to end with its last installment published at the end of last year, in the 1/2017 issue of Shogakukan’s Betsucomi. The final comic volume, the 15th of the series, will come out in about three weeks on March 24. Besides the regular edition of the tankōbon (463 yen), Shogakukan has announced a special limited edition for 850 yen that comes with a memorial fan book containing lots of illustrations, character analyses and famous phrases, and the alternative ending of the manga published as a furoku in Betsucomi 2/2017. It’s already up for preorder at most online book sellers. This sounds like an absolute must-have for any Joō no hana fan, even the casual one!

Joō no hana started back in 2008 in Betsucomi. It received the 60th Shogakukan Manga Prize in the shōjo category. A French translation (titled La Fleur millénaire) is being published by Kazé Manga, while Ever Glory Publishing has licensed it for publication in Taiwan.

cover image for vol. 12 of Izumi Kaneyoshi's Joou no hana published by ShogakukanSet in a fictional world inspired by the China of the Warring States period, it tells the epic story of Aki, the daughter of the king of the powerful state of A and of the princess of the small state of Kō, and Hakusei, a young slave with blonde hair and blue eyes who swears eternal loyalty to Aki because she doesn’t treat him like a lower class human being and keeps defending him from discrimination. The two of them often talk about the myth of the “Queen’s Flower”, a very rare flower that only blooms once every thousand years. It is said that a legendary queen a long long time ago wanted this flower to bloom on her grave because it possessed the mysterious power to grant any wish…

cover image for vol. 14 of Izumi Kaneyoshi's Joou no hana published by ShogakukanAlong with Hakusei and the mysterious merchant Seitetsu who supports them, 14-year old Aki has a long journey ahead of herself during which she’ll have to prove that despite being a young woman, she has the tactical abilities, the talent and the strength to rule over the country of A. Through the years she’ll experience loss and betrayal from people she trusted. Her development from a girl seeking revenge for her mother’s death to someone worthy being called a queen has captured many readers over the years, not just thanks to its gripping story but also because of the romance between her and Hakusei, of course ;) This is a shōjo manga after all, a pseudo-historical one, yes, but rest assured this doesn’t drown you with dry facts and terms. It does explain some strategic elements during the conflicts and wars between A, Kō, Do and Sō but it’s all easy to follow and helps keep up the tension of the story. The final comic will be the 15th volume of the series which means it’s been a long journey for both Aki, Hakusei and the reader, but I haven’t experienced a single boring moment during my time reading it, so I have the highest of hopes for the ending!

Information for volume 15 of Joō no hana and the limited edition:
Title: Joō no hana 15 (女王の花 15 & 女王の花 15 スペシャルファンブック付き限定版)
Author: Izumi Kaneyoshi (和泉かねよし)
Publisher: Shogakukan
ISBN: 4091391249 (regular ed.) & 409941888X (limited ed.)
Format: Tankōbon, 463 yen (regular ed.) & 850 yen (limited ed.)

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Categories: Manga.
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Posted on Mar 3, 2017 (Fri, 7:03 pm). .

[Manga News] Start of Nishi Keiko’s new series in Nakayoshi

The ever-busy Nishi Keiko has a new series out and it’s called Kisu suru machikado ~Himitsu~ (The Streetcorner Where They Kiss ~Secret~). The first chapter of it is featured in the March issue (3/2017) of Nakayoshi (Kodansha). This means Nishi-sensei’s back to writing something primarily targeted at a younger audience again – just like her hit series Koi to gunkan (Love & Battleships) which also ran in Nayakoshi and managed to capture a very wide readership age-wise, both female and male.

Colour illustration for the title page of chapter one of Nishi Keiko's Kiss suru machikado in the March 2017 issue of Kodansha's NakayoshiThe preview image and sample pages have a certain calm retro charm to them, with the most prominent visual feature being the exaggerated huge round eyes of the main character, a young middle-school girl called Koharu. And yes, I’m very much aware of the irony of stating the obvious for shōjo manga but – to readers familiar with Koi to gunkan and its heroine Kana, the character design is pretty similar here – the forehead and eyes of the younger characters, especially the heroine’s, are pretty large even by comparison with other titles running in Nakayoshi.
The story starts with Koharu having to stay at home instead of going on vacation with her family for the spring break because she wants to take care of her sick grandmother. Koharu happens to find two old letters addressed to her grandmother which were both sent from abroad… The series promises both the usual romance (with kissing/kisusuru the serie’s proclaimed theme) and dokidoki with secret adventures so chances are high this is going to be as much of an exciting rollercoaster ride as Koi to gunkan. I think the grandmother’s past may play a huge part in the plot and one can already sense quite a bit of heartbreak just from the teaser pages.

Preview image for Nishi Keiko's Kiss suru machikado starting in the March 2017 issue of Kodansha's NakayoshiFrom a more formal point of view, Nakayoshi is calling this a shiriizu (シリーズ) instead of the usual rensai (連載) for longer works, so if I’m interpreting this correctly the story around Koharu might not become as epic as the 8-volume Koi to gunkan and the cast of main characters might change sooner than later. Either way, I’m not expecting the first tankōbon to be released before the end of the summer. It’s going to be a long long fight with my impatience until then as I can’t wait to read what adventures Nishi Keiko has prepared for her characters this time!

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Posted on Feb 18, 2017 (Sat, 5:12 pm). .

[Manga News] Asahi Prize 2016 awarded to Hagio Moto & Poe no Ichizoku back in Flowers magazine

Hagio Moto is one of the recipients of the Asahi Prize (Asahishō) for the year 2016. Since its establishment in 1929, the Asahi Shimbun Company and the Asahi Shimbun Foundation have been awarding the prize to individuals and groups for outstanding achievements in fields such as the humanities and natural sciences and for extraordinary contributions to cultural and social progress in Japan. Hagio Moto is only the third manga artist honored for her achievements after Tezuka Osamu in 1987 and Mizuki Shigeru in 2008. She has most recently been awarded the prize of the Japan Cartoonists Association and the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2011, the Medal with Purple Ribbon by the Emperor of Japan in 2012 and the Sense of Gender Prize in 2013.

The cover for the July 2016 issue of Shogakukan's flowers magazine featuring Hagio Moto's Poe no ichizokuThe artist, born in 1949 and referred to by many as the ‘mother of shōjo manga’, was honored for revolutionizing shōjo manga in the 1970s, when she brought a high degree of literariness to shōjo manga with works such as Poe no ichizoku (“The Poe Family”) and Thomas no shinzō (The Heart of Thomas) by combining poetic language and elegantly flowing images to represent love torn apart over the course of time, and the pain and conflicts of adolescent boys, the jury said in their statement. They also honored Hagio’s long dedication to the Poe series which originally ran from 1972 to 1976 but which she started to continue to work on in 2016.

The cover for the March 2017 issue of Shogakukan's flowers magazine featuring Hagio Moto's Poe no ichizokuLast summer, the July issue of Shogakukan’s flowers magazine sold out in record time and had to be reprinted due to popular demand when it featured the beginning of a new story arc of Poe no ichizoku called “Haru no yume” (“A Spring’s Dream”). It was definitely one of the biggest events for shôjo manga fans of the past year and I felt super lucky to manage to get a copy of the first run of the magazine. The second chapter of the new arc can now be found in the current (3/March 2017) issue of flowers (it also comes with a Poe ticket holder as furoku!) and the series is going to be continued in regular installments from now on. Good news for fans of the Poe series, bad news for fans of Hagio Moto’s second ongoing series, Ōhi Marugo – La Reine Margot which is published in Shueisha’s YOU magazine but is currently on hiatus in favour of the continuation of the former series.

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Posted on Feb 17, 2017 (Fri, 6:54 pm). .




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