Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, Joyous Hanukah and good tidings to you and whatever deity, belief, mindset, waifus and/or eldritch abomination you celebrate during this holiday season (I’m looking at you, Dungeons & Dragons cultists). This time of year is not just an opportunity for everybody to give that old commercialism itch a good scratch – it is also a time of goodwill and good feelings. And what better way to experience this than within the presence of your loved ones?
Even the holiday spirit can give new meaning to ritualistic sacrifice. Don’t ask me how, but it can.
Even your own lowly ManagHermit was able to pull himself out of the realm of parchment and ink to spend the holidays with the family. Regaling stories, trading jokes, sharing gifts, trying to convert the young ones from educational TV to comic books – just your usual, heartwarming family gathering. Family is the theme of today’s manga selection as we check out the life of the Honda family in the manga Yoningurashi!
In the future, the Earth is invaded by entities from another dimension. Nobody knows where they have come from or why they have chosen Earth at their target. What everybody learned was that they were pretty damned good at destruction. These beings are called “Novas”, and fore every waking moment they are on Earth, they spend it by wiping out humanity. As par for the course, none of mankind’s conventional weapons were able to do damage to this new threat. But adversity pushes innovation and a new technology was produced – one that proved to be the edge humans needed to take the fight to the Novas. Uniquely manufactured tissue called “Stigmata” had the ability to create weapons and techniques that could damage Novas when implanted into a human body. This led to the creation of the Pandora and Limiters- human weapons able to counter the ever increasing Nova threat. Naturally, only the best of the best were selected to be implanted with these Stigmatas - after all, the fate of humanity lies on their shoulders. And since this is a manga the “best” consist of numerous teens that are...a bit off in the head.
WHAT. No Navy Seals, Spentsnaz, or British SAS!? Not even NATO!? WHAT THE HELL WERE WE SMOKING WHEN WE GAVE A BUNCH OF HIGH POWERED TECH TO A BUNCH OF TEENAGERS RIGHT OUT OF PUBERTY!? THIS ISN’T POWER RANGERS, GOD******!
BlackJack. Dr. Asada Ryutaro. Dr. David Nott. What do these three characters have in common? Aside from the fact that they are crazy awesome, they are crazy awesome doctors. These three gents are but a fraction of what real-life practiced medicine should strive itself to be. Hell, Dr. Nott is a real live doctor; if all doctors had a fraction of his awesomeness I don’t think we would need Medicare anymore. Sadly, the world of medicine is not perfect. For every good thing you can find in the medical world, there is more than enough crap to balance it out: malpractice suits, greedy pharmaceutical companies – how can the realm of medicine grow and become the best it can be when for every step of progress it makes, irresponsible medical personnel make it take two steps back? What do we do with these dangerous doctors?
Eliminate them, of course.
Readers, I’m just going to jump into this week’s awesome manga. No flowery introductions, no introspection - nothing of the sort. I’m not going to waste time, because missed time means missed opportunities. Goals left incomplete. Dreams left unfulfilled. Less decapitated bodies.
Welcome to another edition of MangaHermit! I know that the lot of you are psyching yourselves up for the New York Comic Con, but THAT momentous occasion isn’t until next week. Hopefully, today’s manga’s suggestion will tide you over till then…or make you hunger for the convention. Today we’ll be looking at Unita Yumi’s Usagi Drop, translated as Bunny Drop. Making its debut in 2005 Shodensha’s Feel Good magazine, it is a complete slice of life series that spans ten volumes.
Daikichi Kawachi is a thirty-year old bachelor who is called back home in order to pay his respects to his dearly departed grandfather. Once there, he learns two disturbing truths: he’s the spitting image of his grandpa in his younger days and that said grandfather has been raising six year old child that nobody in the family knew about. The family doesn’t know whether to be shamed or disgusted (or amazed) at little Rin and the actions of the patriarch. Nevertheless , the funeral continues on, up to the part when they decide the fate of the illegitimate child. Fed up with the family’s tactless handling of the girl, he decides to become her guardian.
The first half of the story plays out in the obvious fashion – a focus on Daikichi and Rin as they grow together to become a family. Family milestones such as planting commeration plants and buying Rin’s elementary school supplies together are treated as vignettes that help to show the growing familial bond between the two. The second part of the story fast forwards several years into the future where Rin is now a teenager and Daikichi is well, older. It is around this age that more info is revealed to Rin about her past, which influences the choices she makes at the conclusion of the series.
What can I say? Otaku no Musume San, My Girl – I guess the theme of unsociable males being thrown into parenthood by and watching them succeed just appeals to me. Or I’m subconsciously telling myself that this is what would happen if I don’t protect myself during sex. Subliminal messaging aside, Usagi Drop’s art isn’t really eye catching, a sad weak point. Unita has an art stlyle that makes her works unique and recognizable. There is something about the way Unita draws facial expressions that just seems to be at home in Usagi Drop, but that is the only artistic point. The rest of her art just doesn’t seems to resonate with the story in general. Usagi Drop’s real appeal comes from the ability to relate to the characters. Daikichi strikes a chord in everybody – when he first chooses to be Rin’s guardian he’s in way over his head. This aspect of his parenting is one that sticks with him throughout the entire series. It is that hapless portrayal that makes his character development so much more plausible. With Rin, we see the little girl underneath the mature demeanor once she is able to be herself.
Usagi Drop, aka Bunny Drop is being printed in English by Yen Press. Check out your local bookstore if you’re interested!
Hello, Hello, Hello and welcome to another edition of Manga Hermit! I hope you aren’t one of the few internet surfers that have become fused with their chair. Because in this week’s edition we are going to get some physical activity mixed in (Don’t worry – no puking is necessary). Of course we are talking about sports manga; a genre that mangaka have a strange knack of producing awesome stories in. I’m sure that a good portion of you have heard of Slam Dunk or Eyeshield 21. Today’s sport of choice isn’t basketball or football – it is tennis. Specifically, Kachiki Hikaru’s Baby Steps!
Hello readers and welcome to another gut-busting installment of Manga Hermit. And what an action filled column it will be! For today I’ll be reviewing the martial arts manhwa The Breaker!
Shi Woon Lee is your average high school student, one among the masses that will be back at the books once September comes. He’s quiet, shy, and secular to a fault. His looks are nothing special, and his physical aptitude makes an otaku look like a bodybuilder. He has parental units that disappear from home for such long periods of time that he’s left to fend for himself. At least he’s caught the eye of one of his school’s resident hotties, Sae Hee. Now if it wasn’t for all the constant bullying, Woon would rightly be enjoying his high school days. Instead he has to deal with Chang Ho and his posse constantly demanding money from him and the subsequent beatings. When Ho threatens Sae Hee though, Shi Woon finally fights back…and promptly gets his ass handed to him. Luckily for him the new substitute teacher (which he discovers is actually an experienced fighter despite acting like an arrogant flirt) Chun Woo Han sees his battered body and patches him up.
(Because you reap what you sow when you try to get it on while a student contemplates suicide no less than 20ft away from you.)
Realizing his inherent weakness, Shi Woon pleads Chun Woo to teach him martial arts. Yet, nobody could have foreseen the future that these two individuals would have the moment Chun Woo agreed. That decision would lead to an upheaval in the martial arts world the likes of which no one has seen in decades.
Written by Jeon Keuk-Jin, The Breaker is an action manhwa that follows master Chun Woo Han and disciple Shi Woon as their training brings them into the hidden and rigidly brutal world that is the Murim-in. Part politics, part ass-kicking, 100% foot-to-face brutality, the Murim-in and Chun Woo have no love lost between them. It doesn’t help that every action that the master and/or apprentice take are irrevocably bringing both sides to an explosive confrontation – especially when it is (predictably) revealed that Chun Woo is more than just an experienced martial artist. The story which starts out (relatively) innocently enough becomes darker and more serious as it moves to this conclusion. The lack of humor towards the end is but one of the more obvious signs that things were moving into Serious Business territory.
(Demon eyes; steam wafting from mouth; ground disintegrating with every step? Yep – shit just got serious.)
The Breaker is filled with a multitude of characters that are revealed as more of the Murim-in is introduced. The characters fulfill the traditional archetypes, with no one individual really breaking the mold. Strangely enough, the presence of the Murim-in helps to keep the characters from being forgettable, mainly because the existence of the Murim-in, and the action of its members are hinted to be more complex that what is actually perceived. Art wise, Keuk-Jin blends sharp contrasts with brutal gore to give us a world that at first seems fine, but is actually waiting to burst. I wholly recommend The Breaker and its sequel The Breaker: New Waves.
Salutations, readers! I have returned from my impromptu four week hiatus. But alas, we have already been making our way to the end of summer! Come September, overstuffed book bags, back–breaking textbooks and an extremely bland curriculum awaits the majority of you (unless you’re heading to Hogwarts). Sounds like a good reason to transfer/leave, but where would you go? What would you do if I told you of a school that tailors to exceptional individuals? Not the rich and famous per se, but students that had abilities and powers that regularly broke the laws of physics? Well, prospective students, if you don’t mind a life filled with the worst luck imaginable, then you can enroll at CHOUJIN GAKUEN!
Written and drawn by Kokuzawa Yousuke back in 2009, Choujin Gakuen is a quirky shounen manga about a group of misfits who have decided to band together and make a place for themselves – a place where all the supernaturals of the world can call home. The genius (and I use that term loosely) behind this grand scheme is one Alex Shinjou – whose special power is bad luck. Aside from being alive and healthy, everything that can go wrong will go wrong when you’re near this boy. His demon girlfriend/fiancé/stalker Oska L. Duke doesn’t seem to care much about any of that though. Together the two begin to gather other outcasts, such as the dual–wielding hitman Tarou Yamada and the ex-police dog/human morph Hachi. Together these four make up the students of Choujin Gakuen!
Salutations, readers! Once again, MangaHermit is here to deliver to you another issue of manga goodness. Today’s manga takes us back to the realm of detectives. I know that a majority of you already know about high school students moonlighting as private eyes, Detective Conan being the most obvious one of the whole lot. But what if all was not as it seemed? Conan, Kindachi, the teens from Detective School Q – what if all of them were hiding a truth so mind-blowing, it would effectively create a completely different storyline? One manga asks the question: What if these teen detectives were (in reality) middle-aged, highly experienced detectives and/or police officers? Shibitora would like you to believe so!
Hello fellow Anime, Manga & Gaming fanatics. Welcome back to another issue of MangaHermit, where I’ll be shamelessly pandering to you as usual. After all, we all love our fandom and we all choose to express it in different ways. Cosplaying, collecting memorabilia, confusing reality with fiction – all perfectly healthy ways of showing the world “Hey! This is what I enjoy!” As a hermit by proxy I’m poor, but I would plaster my house with wall-to-wall mangas if I had the chance. I would have a house made out of comic books, if the entire idea wasn’t practical or good for my books. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing though, which is the hard lesson we all have to learn as fans. You know what I’m talking about – that one time where you tried going Super Saiyan to take down a bully, only to receive an asskicking for your trouble. Take this seemingly innocent Japanese office worker from Ganota no Onna, for example.
Look at the poise, the power walk, the looks of admiration, the light shining down on her from Kami. She is truly the epitome of the 9-5 office elite.