The Manga Concierge

Anne Ferrero is one of my favorite creators of video content (Branching Paths, Toco Toco TV) and she has just launched yet another series you can watch on YouTube called The Manga Concierge. As the title suggests, each episode takes a look at a few manga series. The first episode is themed on games, and includes the titles Banjo no Polaris (about chess), Final Re:Quest (inspired by Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, with art that looks like an 8-bit game), and Gutshot (about poker).

Pied Piper House

Pied Piper House was a famed record store in Tokyo during the 70s and 80s, that has been revived as a temporary pop-up shop in Tower Records (until July of this year). They’d already released a compilation record, Best of Pied Piper Days, selected by the store’s original owner, and now they have a Vol. 2 out as well. You’ll find more details in this post over at Tokyo’s Coolest Sound.

Ping-Pong Club

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Along with the new anime I’m watching, as with Macross and Queen Millennia, I’ve been diving into some old stuff as well, and that includes Ping-Pong Club. I’d watched some of it years ago (and read some of the manga), and have always loved the craziness of it. It’s a comedy series set within a high-school ping-pong club, but absurdly so, and might even be too intense for some — it gets a bit graphic at times, but in hilarious ways (one of the students wins exchanges with a special move that is basically him showing off his balls, to disorient his opponent). I’m having a blast watching the series again, and even I had forgotten just how silly and ridiculous it gets.

Popularity of Historical Manga

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The latest Monocle Minute newsletter talks about how there’s currently a resurgence in the popularity of educational manga, like the series covering Japanese history pictured.

Japanese publishers, ever on the lookout for the next big thing, have alighted on an unlikely boom: educational manga. A spike in sales of history comics was kick-started in 2013 by a bestselling novel about a school dunce who is transformed into a top student in record time. Keen readers spotted a reference to publisher Shogakukan’s 23-volume manga series on Japanese history and sales promptly rocketed. When the book became a hit film – Biri Gyaru (or Flying Colours as it’s called in English) – sales doubled. Other publishers have now got in on the act, rereleasing old editions with fresh covers and adding new titles to the genre. Kadokawa has sold more than two million copies of its Japanese history manga series in just over a year while Shueisha’s history series has been given a makeover with new artwork and will go on sale in October. Sanseido, a venerable bookshop in Tokyo’s Jimbocho district, reports that grandparents have been buying multiple volumes of manga for their grandchildren.