hymnia: (Shuurei blushing)
I'm cross-posting my Amazon.com review of the first volume of the manga adaptation of Story of Saiunkoku, because I dearly wish for this series to receive more love, especially from English-language readers. Even if you are not a manga fan, if you like stories about political intrigue and/or period romances, you might consider trying this one out. My review is currently at the top on the Amazon.com listing, or you may read it below:

I fell in love with this story when I first encountered the anime adaptation several years ago and I'm so pleased that the graphic novels are finally being published in English. Now if VIZ or another worthy publisher would only publish a translation of Sai Yukino's original light novels, which are the source material on which both the anime and graphic novels are based, then I would be truly satisfied! But for now I'm happy to read this version of the story and to enjoy Kairi Yura's beautiful artwork on every page.

Set in Saiunkoku, a fantastical version of Tang-era China, this series follows the adventures of Shuurei, a protagonist reminiscent of Jane Austen's heroines in that she is young, intelligent, strong-willed, and of noble birth--but has very little financially. One day a highly revered advisor to the emperor makes her a tempting offer: become a courtesan and tutor to the aimless nineteen-year-old emperor and convince him to fill his proper role in the government, in exchange for a hefty sum of gold and the chance to greatly influence the most powerful man in the country. Thus her introduction to the complex workings of government and political intrigue--and the even more complex affairs of love and courtship--begins.

This first volume only covers the very earliest chapters of a convoluted but engrossing tale. As the series progresses, Shuurei will continue to encounter many more opportunities and challenges, as well as a fascinating cast of supporting characters. I look forward to following her on her journey for the second time, and I hope this review will encourage others to take a trip to Saiunkoku as well.

hymnia: (Default)
Rightstuf.com--a fantastic online anime/manga store and licensing/distribution company with a great record for customer service--has a brief (7 questions) survey aimed at fans of shojo anime/manga, especially former Shojo Beat subscribers. If you're into shojo, I highly recommend making your voice heard: http://www.rightstuf.com/rssite/main/shoujo/

My answers below the cut )

hymnia: (Default)
Publisher's Weekly has an article about Viz Media's launch of a new online manga magazine featuring mostly seinen (men's) manga, which comes on the heels of the cancellation of Shojo Beat, their print manga magazine aimed at teen girls/young women. I'm a subscriber and huge fan of Shojo Beat, so I was deeply disappointed by the news that it would be canceled after only one more issue. Also, while I enjoy a wide variety of manga and anime, I have a special love for shojo (girl's) manga. It is probably the genre of manga that I enjoy the most; I find that I tend to enjoy almost anything shojo that I pick up, whereas I'm more picky about the other genres.

From the above article:

The IKKI launch comes hot on the heels of the news that Shojo Beat, Viz’s premier magazine for girls and young women, will be folding this summer. While shojo (girl’s) manga has been the bedrock of the company - and of manga’s entry into chain bookstores and rise in popularity in the U.S.--it’s notorious for its limitations in merchandising. Few shojo manga grow into the massive anime, video game, feature-length movie and sequel franchises that are common of shonen (boy’s) manga like Naruto or Death Note.

Seriously? Seriously?! Is this why my favorite magazine is being tossed aside? Because it doesn't sell enough merchandise?! ARGH!!! This is the sound of my inner feminist snarling with rage! Don't get me started on how few josei (women's) manga series even get licensed for English-language adaptations. Now shojo--despite being "the bedrock...of manga's entry into chain bookstores and rise in popularity in the U.S.", and despite the fact that in recent years female anime/manga fans have begun to outnumber males--is somehow not good enough for Viz to continue to "place [its] resources" toward a monthly magazine featuring it!

It's not that I don't enjoy some good shonen or seinen series, but watching Viz putting more effort into its shonen and seinen publications at the expense of shojo and josei disgusts me, and it makes me feel a strong urge to avoid its shonen and seinen offerings. While I wouldn't go to the point of discontinuing the series I currently read (Bleach and Fullmetal Alchemist), I do feel strongly that I won't be switching my subscription to Shonen Jump (which is rumored to be one of the refund options for Shojo Beat subscribers), and I won't be checking out IKKI, the new online seinen magazine.

Sorry, Viz. You don't feel you can allocate the resources to cater to my demographic? Then you lose my business.


P.S. JACON was fun, although I was still sick with a cold I've had all week. Baka Rose Makeup (my cosplay group) won Animusical Idol (an anime-themed lip synch competition) with the song "Forget About the Boy" from Thoroughly Modern Millie. I'll try to post more on the con (including pics) later this week.


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June 2013

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