Yonkoma, the four cell manga

Everyone saw this post coming, because I have been talking about it for ages—yonkoma, the four cell manga.

Yonkoma is a popular format of Japanese manga, which originated in the beginning of last century. It was inspired by American comics, namely Frank Arthur Nankivell’s and Frederick Burr Opper’s works, which both influenced the father of yonkoma (and Japanese manga in general), Rakuten Kitazawa.

As the (quite literal) translation indicates, yonkoma is a comic strip with four panels or windows. Here are three examples.

All of the yonkoma above are stand-alone mini stories. A plot can begin and end in those four panels. But in the case of all three of these, there is more. They are all parts of manga series, that are made up of hundreds of yonkoma with the same characters and themes. Most yonkoma series belong to the slice-of-life genre or something similarly light. Continue reading

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こみっくがーるず | Comic Girls: 10-12 [END]

We have finished Comic Girls! Here are my notes on the last three episodes and also my final thoughts on the series as a whole. It ended up being another long one. I have a lot of notes.

Episode 10: Christmas in Japan is not a family holiday like in Christian countries. It’s a normal workday on which couples go on romantic dates. Kind of like Valentine’s Day. People throw parties, eat red-and-white cake and exchange small presents. Ruki’s problem with this holiday is that she doesn’t have a boyfriend to spend it with. Of course, she could just have a party with the girls and the matron, but as a romance manga author, she seems to not be content with that.

あこがれ (orange line) means “admiration (for couples)”

And so, her motivation to work (blue line) plummets and she hides from the world in her futon. Which is something I totally understand. Continue reading

こみっくがーるず | Comic Girls: 7-9

We’re 75% done with Comic Girls. The last episode was a little weak, but other than that we’re still loving every second. I definitely plan on reading the manga for comparison. Even though manga creation is on the sidelines, while slice-of-life is shooting, I am still enjoying it very much. Let’s get started!

The seventh episode focuses mainly on developing Kaos-chan. It opens with Koyume-chan getting serialized. With everyone else in the dorm being serialized, Kaos-chan feels even less worthy. (The way she always puts herself down reminds me of someone…)

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Somehow, my husband was more fascinated with the convenient censoring than Koyume’s declaration that Kaos will always be her main character. Continue reading

こみっくがーるず | Comic Girls: 4-6

I’m back with more Comic Girls. We watched three more episodes and there were some moments I’d like to point out. As always there will be spoilers for episodes 4 through 6. (Read my notes on episodes 1 to 3.)

The fourth episode focuses on Ruki—first her deadline is coming up and then she scores her first signing. The rush up to the deadline while going to school tires Ruki out and there’s some fanservice based off that. Continue reading

こみっくがーるず | Comic Girls: 1-3

Comic Girls is a yet another cute-girl-doing-cute-things anime. This time the topic is manga. The main character is Kaos-chan, a budding 漫画家 [まんがか, mangaka, Japanese comic artist]. Following her failures as a yonkoma (I swear that post is coming) 漫画家 her editor suggests she moves into her publisher’s dormitory for fledgling female artists.

From the left: Ruki, Koyume, Kaos and Tsubasa

As always I’m not only looking for something to soothe my soul. I’m hoping to learn more about manga creation, as I’m interested in all things art. Continue reading

Hashikko Ensemble: New Shimoku Kio Manga?!

I totally missed the memo back in November. Quoting from the ANN news post:

[…] January issue of Kodansha‘s Afternoon magazine announced three new manga series and a long one-shot manga […]

[…] Genshiken‘s Shimoku Kio will launch a manga tentatively titled Hashikko Ensemble in the April issue on February 24. The story takes place at a technical high school. The protagonist, who has a voice complex, is approached by a classmate who wants to start a choir club.

Shimoku Kio is my favorite mangaka; I have read all of his manga and own all the Genshiken manga that has so far been published in English. Somehow I missed this though. Fortunately, an even bigger Shimoku Kio fan, Carl of Ogiue Maniax, brought the news to my attention. Thank you!

I hope it’s good!

Anime Adaptations 2009-15

After looking at the most recent anime adaptations, I am going to look a little bit further into the past and analyze adaptations from 2009 to 2015.

The methodology is the same as in my first article:

I’m researching only nonH TV series (no OVAs or movies) that started that season (no continuing anime, like One Piece, but I count second seasons).

As to why I chose 2009 (and not the nice round start of the decade) creating a rather lopsided interval, I have a number of reasons. For North Americans, the main milestone would be Crunchyroll going legal and thus bringing about the beginning of the legal anime streaming era. And that’s a pretty big deal.

Elsewhere around the world, we relied on less legal sources to watch anime. In 2009, a number of what will someday become classics or at least time-tried paradigms of quality came out. In Spring Season 2009, K-ON! aired. I’ve collected a number of reason why that would be a turning point in the fandom – some call K-ON! the peak of moe culture; it’s a milestone of the cute-girls-doing-cute-things genre, as well as the directorial debut of Yamada Naoko, the lady who went on to direct Tamako Market (and Tamako Love Story) and Sound! Euphonium.

And that’s not all! The second season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, which contains the legendary Endless Eight, came out. The first season of Bakemonogatari started airing. From movies, 2009 brought us Summer Wars (highly recommended). And if you like girls falling in love with other girls, then you can be grateful for Sweet Blue Flowers (青い花 [あおいはな, aoi hana, blue flowers] in Japanese) and Whispered Words (aka Sasameki Koto). Continue reading

Winter 2018 Preview I.

I would like to watch eight anime series from the 48 airing this winter. (I’m excluding 18+ titles.) I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to keep up with all of them, because of other responsibilities (aka school and work), but I sure am going to try.

Today I will go over three of them – their source manga (it just so happened that all six are manga adaptations), synopsis, promotional videos and art et cetera. Cutting to the chase, today you can read about: Mitsuboshi Colors, Kokkoku and Dagashi Kashi 2. Continue reading

Where do anime adaptations come from?

A fellow blogger was so bold as to proclaim that light novels are some of the most common sources of anime adaptations today. That got me thinking, is that really true? My husband didn’t think so. And so a new research post was born. (While researching this I found another post claiming almost every anime is adapted from manga. I’ll disprove that along the way.)

First of all, let’s look at anime from 2016 and this year. The aforementioned claim is from October 2016, which nests nicely in the middle of my interval. Regarding my methodology: I’m researching only nonH TV series (no OVAs or movies) that started that season (no continuing anime, like One Piece, but I count second seasons that started after a pause).

In total I have 393 anime series. 104 of those were not adaptations, also known as originals. In percentages, 26.5% of TV series were originals and 73.5% were adaptations. To disprove the parenthesized claim about almost every anime being a manga adaptation — 160 of 393 series were manga adaptations, which rounds to 40.7%. It is a high percentage, but nowhere near “almost every anime.”

Below I put together a graph of the adaptations, so my results excluding originals. The total is 289. As you can see manga takes up more than a half of the pie (55.4%) — this includes regular manga, yonkoma and webmanga. Orange light novels come to 13.1%. It would be the second highest percentage, if I didn’t add the two green slices – games and visual novels – together, totaling 50 series and 17.3 percent. I must concede that in either situation light novels are “some of the most common sources of anime adaptations.” Still, they do not make up a large part at all. In addition, a great number (19 out of 38) of those light novel adaptations come from 2017, that is after the claim was written.

Anime Adaptations 2016-7

To complete the circle, regular novels make up 6.6% of anime adaptations and the rest is anything that didn’t fit into my categories. For example anime adapted from pachinko machine commercials or illustration books (I’m talking about Honobono log).

That’s settled. My curiosity has been quenched, but another question arose – was it always like that? I think it’s pretty (about 100%) likely that it wasn’t. I’ll try to delve into that some other day. So look forward to that!