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!
About a week ago, I was held up in a hospital. It was nothing serious, and the doctor said that the ink lines on my eyeballs should fade away with time. Unfortunately, during this experience at the hospital I had no laptop to read manga with. Complicating matters was that fact that my printed-text related eye infliction forbade me from bringing any of my physical copies of manga with me. To top it off, I had to stay awake for approximately forty eight hours, which I spent watching the game show network because all the other channels were crap. The point to this long winded rambling intro is that our game shows are boring and need better entertainment, a la Battle Royale. Sadly, my attempts at creating hobo chess with patients was ruthlessly put to an end by the crack team of night shift nurses at the 36th hour.
Not because they operated their invalids like chessmasters, thereby trouncing all my blitzkrieg strategies. Well played, ladies of the bedpan.
As I laid there in my bed, waiting for that glorious 48th hour, my mind came up with more brutal reality game show ideas – ideas that in retrospect could only be won if you were Rambo. Strangely enough, a particular manga came to mind – one where the challenges were both deliciously ironic and filled to the brim with blood and gore. That manga was Kamisama no Iutoori – where children’s schoolyard games meets The Running Man.
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.
The folks over at FUNimation have given us a lot this year. I'm sure a good portion of our readers can attest to that. I'm looking at you, subscribers! At their panel at New York Comic Con this year, they definitely did not disappoint!
Did a random stranger just step on your cosplay - the same cosplay you spent a year and a half making?
Did you wait on line for hours for that ONE panel only to be turned away by staff because it was filled up?
Did you stalk that one item at that one booth for the majority of the con, only to find it sold out the moment you go to buy it?
If you're angry, mad, or if you want to babble incoherently while in a white-hot rage, then look forward to leetNEET's new con segment - RAGE @ THE CON!
Armed with a camera, a tripod, a mic and a Youtube account - the editors of leetNEET will give you your fifteen seconds of fame as you rant, rave, and regurgitate all the anger you've built up at the New York Comic Con!
You've got something to say in a voice that would the Hulk whimper like a little girl? Then, RAGE out at leetNEET's RAGE @ THE CON!
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!
You sigh after paying the cabbie an outrageous sum get to the airport. Your boss has commanded you to go to Narita to save the floundering business proposal, of which your vacation pay is completely dependent on. Lucky for you there is a space on a non-stop flight about to leave. Dropping the cash, you fight your way past tourists, beat down terrorists and vault over security agents to successfully make it to the gate. The gentle smile and heartfelt greeting the Fuji flight attendant gives you as you board the plane makes it all worthwhile – until you learn you're in the economy class, stuck between two obnoxious high school students. Halfway through the flight, you have convinced yourself that this is the first flight you've contemplated murder on. The students have been a horror: disturbing the peace, flouting the rules, overwhelming the flight attendants with their crude antics. All is lost till a new face appears to deal with the twin terrors…
….who, with a wink and a smile, pulls two simultaneous sleeper holds on the rambunctious punks. As blissful silence fills the air, you can’t help but look at the female wonder as she attends to the needs to the other passengers. Even the other flight attendants watch in awe as she works her magic. You ask one of the other attendants who this woman is. “She’s Chief Attendant Hanazono Hinako,” the flight attendant replies. “She’s the best of the best. No matter what, she ALWAYS makes sure that the passengers have the best flight they can.” Unbeknownst to you, you have just experienced part of the great legend among cabin attendants – the female known as the Bucchigiri Cabin Attendant!