From out of the past: some highligts from the Inoue archive page

If you have any older posts for the Inoue Manga Moveable Feast Archive Page, please let me know! One of the fun things about co-hosting this particular MMF is being able to revisit some older posts about Takehiko Inoue from other manga bloggers. Here are a few of my favorites:

Halcyon Realms Takehiko Inoue tag is a treasure trove of articles about Inoue content from Japan. Some highlights include:
Inoue Takehiko “Drawing The Future of Manga” – A Switch Magazine Special – An overview of an Inoue article in Switch magazine and reviews of an Inoue art exhibit, Parts One and Two

Manga Critic Looks at Real – “It’s a sports story for those of us who care more about good writing and good artwork than the inner workings of a zone defense. But if you like to wax poetic about the Celtics/Lakers rivalry of yore, Real is your kind of series, too, as it will remind you just how beautiful the game can be when played with passion.”

Also, check out this review of the first few volumes of Vagabond from PopCulture Shock – “On a purely visual level, Vagabond is nothing short of stunning. The attention to detail on each page is fantastic, placing it head and shoulders above just about every other book on the shelf. Add this to Inoue’s deft retelling of a classic tale full of new twists and turns and you’ve got the makings of a classic must-read.”

Manga Therapy takes a look at the character Matahachi from Vagabond – “Ever felt like you were just stupid? Feel like you should’ve been important, but really, you weren’t? Then you might have been just like Hon’iden Matahachi from the critically-acclaimed manga series, Vagabond. Matahachi is a man who grew up with the protagonist, Miyamoto Musashi, and spends so much effort to share the same spotlight with him to the point where it literally drives him insane.”

My co-host Michelle’s review of the first volume of Slam Dunk features some bonus Robert Goulet, and it is interesting to see how her opinion of the series evolved after reading the first volume – “I know Slam Dunk is a classic of sports manga, a genre I really like, but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I thought I would. Most of that has to do with Sakuragi’s temperament, though, so I’m hopeful that as he’s forced to learn discipline and teamwork, the ignorant boasting and random karate chopping will gradually subside. The actual playing and practicing of basketball is great fun to read, another reason I assume my enjoyment will increase in future installments.”

Kicking off the Takehiko Inoue Manga Moveable Feast with your co-hosts Anna and Michelle!

Anna: I thought that it would be good to kick off the Takehiko Inoue feast with a short discussion of how we found ourselves co-hosting and why we both wanted to get involved in having an online discussion of Inoue’s manga. This has been in the works for some time, but I seem to remember a discussion of artist-centric feasts coming up on the MMF e-mail list and we both were leaping at the chance to talk about Inoue more. It seemed like an ideal excuse to host together, because I’d read many volumes of Vagabond and you’d focused more on Inoue’s sports manga. Does that sound right to you? Why did you want to host a Inoue MMF?

That’s how I remember it, as well. Primarily, I wanted to co-host an Inoue MMF simply because of my intense love for Slam Dunk. Although I am not much of a sports fan in life, I love it in manga. I love rooting for the underdog, even if he turns out to be a hulking teenage delinquent with an inflated sense of his own awesomeness, and I love watching the protagonist find something in life he or she truly cares about.

But I’ve also been collecting Inoue’s other, more serious works, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to explore those. I remember one day I had a $10 credit at Border’s and was browsing the manga aisle, trying to decide what to get. Out of curiosity, I opened the first VIZBIG volume of Vagabond. I took one look at the absolutely gorgeous art and went, “Okay, this is the one.” So, not only are there good series to talk about, there’s also amazing art to talk about!

I also wanted an excuse to explore Inoue’s sports manga, and I ended up reading the first half of Real in about a week in preparation for the feast. It is just that good. For me, I think that Vagabond is one of those series I would use as an example of the best manga has to offer in terms of both artistic and literary value. I read the first couple volumes of Vagabond in the regular editions, but I really took to the series when the VizBig editions were released. It is the type of manga the reads wonderfully when you are consuming multiple volumes in one sitting. The timing of this feast is fortunate too, because it was recently announced that Vagabond was starting up again in Japan after a hiatus. What are you hoping to see with the Inoue MMF?

Michelle: I’m very happy to see Vagabond back on the schedule! VIZ has already solicited volume 34, too (due in October)!

What am I hoping to see… Well, I guess I’m hoping to see a lot of people trying Inoue that they weren’t familiar with—either Slam Dunk fans like me trying the seinen stuff, or the seinen fans trying the shounen Slam Dunk—and falling in love with it. His art is great, but the story is where my heart lies, so if even just one person dips their toe into Slam Dunk only to wind up smitten, I would be very happy indeed.

How about you?

Anna: I’d just like to see more discussion of Inoue’s works in general. It always struck me that his manga should have a bit more online buzz among English language blogs, considering the high quality of his work. I’ve stockpiled a few volumes of Slam Dunk, so I might be one of those people trying it out for the first time and winding up smitten too!

Michelle: I hope so! I should add, though, that dissenting opinions are entirely welcome! If you try Inoue and he’s not your cup of tea, that’s fine! Don’t be afraid to submit your link to us; we’re secure enough in our Inoue appreciation to weather some criticism!

Anna: Note – The Inoue Manga Moveable Feast runs from June 24-30, 2012. Here’s the original announcement post. Send current posts for linking to Michelle ( at Soliloquy in Blue. If you have older posts that you would like featured on the Inoue MMF archive page, contact me (

New Bringing the Drama Post

Head over to Manga Bookshelf for a new Bringing the Drama discussion of the show Rooftop Prince!

Manga Moveable Feast: Viz Signature Edition personal archive

The Manga Moveable Feast this month focuses on the Viz Signature Imprint and is hosted at Manga Critic.
I hope to be able to participate with some new reviews, but I thought I’d do a mini-round up of reviews for Viz Signature titles I’ve done in the past and list some of my favorites.

Most of the recent Viz Signature titles were featured on the Sigikki website, which doesn’t seem to be as current as it once was. Still, it was a nice experiment in online comics distribution, even though as more of these volumes are available in print format the free chapters still seem to be disappearing from the site.

Natsume Ono – I’m grateful for the Signature imprint for translating so much of Ono’s work. I enjoy her quirky art style and slice of life stories.

House of Five Leaves is one of my favorite Signature titles, and my favorite Natsume Ono Series. There’s something about this story of a hapless ronin slowly being drawn into a life of crime that I find absolutely gripping. Seeing the way the characters change each other as they go about their daily tasks while dealing with being in a kidnapping and ransom gang gives a bit of a contemporary feel to the historical setting of this series.

House of Five Leaves Volume 1

House of Five Leaves Volumes 4-6

I always enjoy it when manga creators let their personal interests inform their manga, and Ono’s affection for food, Italy, and men wearing glasses is clearly shown in her manga with contemporary settings that revolve around an Italian cafe.

Gente Volume 1
Gente Volume 3
Ristorante Paradiso Volume 1

One of the reasons why I like Ono so much is because she reminds me a bit of Fumi Yoshinaga. Both authors have worked in yaoi, both have an extremely individualistic drawing style, there’s a focus on slice of life stories in their work, and both seem to be serious foodies. I’ve enjoyed the Yoshinaga books put out by Viz Signature.

All My Darling Daughters – A great introduction to Yoshinaga since it is complete in one volume

Ooku focuses on an alternate history Japan with interesting gender dynamics.

Ooku Volume 1

Ooku Volume 2
Ooku Volume 5
Ooku Volume 6

One of the fun things about the Signature imprint is that it does sometimes bring manga to the US that is absolutely crazy. I am referring to Biomega, a title that almost doesn’t need a review, because you just need to ask yourself if you are the type of person who would enjoy a manga that has as a character a talking bear with a machine gun. If you don’t find bears with machine guns enjoyable, I’m not sure if I can be your friend. This reminds me, I need to pick up some of the middle volumes of this series!

Biomega Volume 1
Biomega Volumes 2 and 3

Some of the most personal and deeply affecting titles to come from the Signature line are by Inio Asano. His works focus on that time of life in early adulthood when people aren’t quite sure what they want to become. He blends everyday but surreal images into his manga, giving his stories a dream-like quality that still manages to feel gritty and realistic.

What a Wonderful World Volume 1 – I think I only read the first volume of this title. (Unfortunately, this post is making me develop an extensive shopping list.)

Afterschool Charisma I am including in this list of favorites because I love Clone Freud so much. This series from Viz sometimes feels a bit like a high concept B-movie, due to the setting of a high school populated entirely by teenage clones of famous historical figures. Horrifically this series is now up to volume 5, which means that there is even more manga I need to order.

Afterschool Charisma Volume 1
Afterschool Charisma Volume 3

My personal shopping list after compiling this post: What a Wonderful World Volume 2, Biomega Volume 6, Afterschool Charisma Volumes 4 and 5, Ooku Volumes 3 and 4.

Aniblog Tourney

Apparently this is the first year a bunch of manga blogs have been in the Aniblog Tourney. Not being a participant before, I wasn’t sure what to expect but apparently there are already scandalous accusations of vote fixing!

Here’s my bracket, and welcome to anyone who is checking out my blog for the first time. If you’re here and you like shoujo manga, you can enter my current giveaway!

Next week I plan to review Blue Exorcist, Est Em’s manga about Centaurs, Story of Saiunkoku, and Ai Ore.