What are you Reading?

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What are you Reading?

Post by Daniel » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:21 am

I figured that this might be a nice ice breaker, so here is the obligatory "what are you reading" thread. :)

Feel free to make posts whenever you read any manga so that we can all know what you're up to, and hopefully find some things to discuss as well! If you've got a lot to say about a manga that you're reading, feel free to make a separate thread.



As for me, I just finished Dr. Slump, which I'll probably make a thread about sometime soon. I've just started Sakigake!! Otokojuku (魁!!男塾 - Charge!! Man School), which I'll also probably start a thread about sooner or later.

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Re: What are you Reading?

Post by greg » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:30 pm

I recently finished reading Otaku no Musume-san on an online scanlation site. It provides some interesting insight into modern otaku culture and shows how truly pathetic they can be. They've painted themselves into a corner by being complete retards so that no woman would be interested in them, so they fill that void in their hearts with anime girls. Unfortunately, some of them become obsessed with young girls (pedophiles, basically) because they view older women as those who reject them and their hobbies. They think they can relate more to little girls, and value their innocence and lack of cynicism. This then becomes rather disturbing. Anyhow, it's a story of how an otaku finds out that he's actually a father when his daughter comes to live with him. His best friend is a pedo, so those jokes get old after a while. But the story was still an interesting one.

I have a Japanese nerd friend in Tokyo who tells me that there has steadily risen a new form of anime fan, one that is obsessed with cool stuff, yet they act more like a normal person and are not prone to childish antics like Japanese otaku are. This new crowd may fit more into the "geek" or "nerd" category, rather than the type who buys full body pillows with pillowcases featuring little girls in their underwear, etc. Japanese pop culture seems to be shifting a bit for the better in this regard.
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Re: What are you Reading?

Post by Brain Trash » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:05 pm

That sort of "fanboy psychology" never ceases to fascinate the living hell out of me. That analysis of modern otaku culture not only makes tons of sense, its also incredibly sad. Good lord, those people... ick.

Also that "new wave" of fans coming up in Japan sound awfully familiar. They sound in fact kinda like what anime fandom more or less started out as in the first place. :lol: One can only hope for the best in whatever the future may bring, but it'd certainly be worth a forehead slap (or thirty) if we basically went though the kinds of idiocy we went through the last ten or so years only to just come right back around full circle again to where we began as a subculture. As utterly ecstatic and giddy as I'd be to see that come to pass, if only so that I can once again look forward to more than a tiny handful of good titles on the horizon, not to mention self identify as an anime enthusiast once more without the need for a truckload of caveats and a burlap bag over my head, sweet Jesus what a thoroughly pointless detour through creepy manchildsville this would mark.

Anyhow, as for me I've been following a bunch of online scanlations for some time, though of course most of them either peter out early or just continue at a snail's pace. To say nothing of the countless many that have never happened at all and likely never will, ever. Seriously, I'd LOVE nothing more than to see somebody just stop flirting with it, bite the damn bullet, actually scanlate the entirety of the Violence Jack manga before I'm an Alzheimer ridden 90 year old. I've basically given up all hope long, long ago that anyone will ever touch Hello Hedgehog, I Ueo Boy, Kabuto, Auction House, or X-Western Flash in this lifetime, not to mention anyone finishing the last remaining four volumes of Mephisto or last remaining two volumes of Left Hand of God Right, Hand of the Devil.

And there's still of course that pesky 4 volume gap smack in the middle of Guyver's original (and long, looooong ago abandoned like an unwanted bastard stepchild) Viz license and the current crop of ongoing scanlations that, after well over a decade and a half, I'm beginning to get the funny feeling will never be filled in any time soon, if ever. Then again, Hokuto no Ken had the exact same problem and that was miraculously resolved (VERY recently, as of like last year), so who knows. And come on, would SOMEBODY just pull the trigger on finishing Dr. Kishiwada's Scientific Affection already? That's such a criminally underrated gem, basically the seinen answer to Dr. Slump, but with way better art. Mad Bull 34 also continues to be that great exploitation manga that the entirety of modern anime/manga fandom seems far too pussy to even go near. And at the rate Heat's progressing, it'll probably be all done roughly 30 to 40 years from now. Come on internet, that series won a fucking Shogakuhan award! Would it kill the scanlation community to at least pretend it has some smidge of respect for prestige? Who am I kidding, of course it would.

On the flipside, some lovely soul out there went ahead and quietly plowed through all 33 volumes of Ushio & Tora under pretty much everyone's noses and threw it out there out of the blue fairly recently. Now all I need to do is scrounge up some hard drive space to fit all of it. Definitely one of the better shonen titles out there. City Hunter's most recent effort is also (finally and far too many years later) progressing along at a decent enough clip. Yet another manga I've long, long hoped to actually see all done in English before I start graying. And hey, the lovely folks over at Hokuto no Gun have picked up Osu!! Karate Bu, easily one of my hands down favorite bosozoku titles ever (basically my gateway title into the genre as a lad). I'm incredibly psyched to see them at the very least get as far as the Battle for Osaka arc, if not somehow actually finish off the damned thing. Fingers crossed.

And as recently as this past July, all 40 volumes of 3x3 Eyes are FINALLY AND AT LONG BLESSED LAST available in English. Between the original Dark Horse licensing from the early/mid-ish 90's that crapped out by the early 2000's and nowhere near finished, and the Sazan-Quest scanlations, I've literally been following this manga's English language progression (and the vast majority of its Japanese progression for that matter) for roughly almost about as long as I've been an anime/manga fan. Which, as my very presence here might indicate, is a long, long-ass time. But it's done. It's all done. As of 2011. More than 20. Years. Later. Egads. I think that merits some kind of lifetime achievement award.

I look over all the titles I've been following and I just find it a shade ridiculous that its been like 20+ years, and I find myself still waiting on the completion (or even starting) of pretty much close to all the same titles that I spent the entirety of my youth pining to see brought over in English, with only some of them finally getting their due completion as of absurdly recently. Maybe if roughly 70% of the internet weren't seemingly so single-mindedly devoted to scanlating the newest Japanese chapters of Naruto, One Piece, and Bleach (titles which are of course already licensed in very, very wide circulation, and will probably have those same exact chapters on American bookstore shelves within roughly the next few months after) the absolute millisecond that they hit print in their homeland, there might be some shred of manpower amongst scanlation groups to devote to... basically anything else in the the entire rest of the medium. Seriously I think those titles have something like half a dozen different groups EACH (and I could very well be low-balling that estimate) that are dedicated to just jumping immediately on top of the newest chapter the very day it lands, and if even a quarter of those groups actually redirected all that youthful energy and vigor towards another series, ANY other series, we'd probably see a tremendous increase in the amount of untouched manga that actually gets taken care of.

In the meantime, I've been meaning to re-read something I actually DO own in my native tongue recently, but I'm stumped as to what. Still pondering. And admittedly, my collection (both physical as well as digital) has grown very large over the years. For all the myriad of titles that have gone so many decades untranslated, I'm certainly more than thankful for the numerous assortment of great manga that HAVE been given their due (be it officially or unofficially). It can certainly be just frustrating as all hell though seeing so very many others that are just as deserving being left languishing in neglect and obscurity for so long.

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Re: What are you Reading?

Post by greg » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:16 pm

Yeah, my very favorite manga I was collecting, Gundam: Ecole du Ciel, fell apart when Tokyopop died. Back in April of this year, Tokyopop announced that they are quitting the publishing business for North America. The founder of Tokyopop issued a statement that totally skirted the issue of why they're calling it quits, and yet claims that the "manga revolution" has been won. To an extent he's right, since Tokyopop has paved the way for other publishers. Plus, they were the first publisher to make the decision to publish all of their manga without reversing the images. For that I am grateful, since seeing so many left-handed Japanese people and cars driving on the right side of the streets was so weird. What is strange is that Tokyopop is maintaining their publishing in Germany. So, I have no idea if this will pose a barrier to any other publishers picking up series where Tokyopop left off. Since Kodansha had decided to cut their ties with Tokyopop and release their titles through Del Rey Manga (and now directly under the Kodansha name itself, such as the popular Suzumiya Haruhi series), along with the bankruptcy of their largest retailer in the US, Borders, Tokyopop couldn't go on further. So we've seen the demise of ADV Manga and CPM manga because their respective companies are gone, and other great manga publishers like Comics One, CMX, and Broccoli Books are gone too. Viz is still going, as well as Kodansha, Go! Comi, DrMaster, Vertical, and maybe a few others out there.

I went ahead and started collecting the Japanese issues of Ecole du Ciel and will try tackling these as reading practice, but I'm hoping that the scanlations will catch up to where Tokyopop left off with the series. As far as I'm concerned, scanlations of titles that aren't available commercially in English doesn't hurt anyone, since the English-only audience wouldn't be buying the Japanese-only books anyway.
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Re: What are you Reading?

Post by Daniel » Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:53 pm

greg wrote:I recently finished reading Otaku no Musume-san on an online scanlation site. It provides some interesting insight into modern otaku culture and shows how truly pathetic they can be.
Interesting. A modern Otaku no Video?

Brain Trash wrote:Then again, Hokuto no Ken had the exact same problem and that was miraculously resolved (VERY recently, as of like last year), so who knows.
What exactly was missing?

The second main part of HnK wasn't all that great, I thought, so if something from that was missing maybe that's why?

Brain Trash wrote:And come on, would SOMEBODY just pull the trigger on finishing Dr. Kishiwada's Scientific Affection already? That's such a criminally underrated gem, basically the seinen answer to Dr. Slump, but with way better art.
Hm, I just finished Dr. Slump and I thought it was pretty good. Could you please expand on this?

Brain Trash wrote:And hey, the lovely folks over at Hokuto no Gun have picked up Osu!! Karate Bu, easily one of my hands down favorite bosozoku titles ever (basically my gateway title into the genre as a lad). I'm incredibly psyched to see them at the very least get as far as the Battle for Osaka arc, if not somehow actually finish off the damned thing. Fingers crossed.
How does it compare to the anime version?

Brain Trash wrote:I look over all the titles I've been following and I just find it a shade ridiculous that its been like 20+ years, and I find myself still waiting on the completion (or even starting) of pretty much close to all the same titles that I spent the entirety of my youth pining to see brought over in English, with only some of them finally getting their due completion as of absurdly recently.
There are two options:

1) Learn Japanese, which will both give you access to all the untranslated titles, as well as give you the full effect of reading something in its original language. I think that, especially when going from Japanese to English, you'll always lose a lot in the translation, especially what one might call the "flavor" of what's being said.

2) We could start up an old school fansub/scanlator group and do it ourselves.

:)

greg wrote:Gundam: Ecole du Ciel
How is it?

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Re: What are you Reading?

Post by Brain Trash » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:08 am

AnimeSennin wrote:What exactly was missing?

The second main part of HnK wasn't all that great, I thought, so if something from that was missing maybe that's why?
Nope it was from very early on: volumes 5 through 8. Those volumes went untranslated for a LONG time until just last year.
AnimeSennin wrote:Hm, I just finished Dr. Slump and I thought it was pretty good. Could you please expand on this?
Kishiwada has a very similar basic premise as Slump: genius, but scatterbrained and loopy inventor creates all manner of wacky robots and bizarre devices while interacting with a large, motley cast of even more demented supporting characters. Very minimal to no plot whatsoever and tons of farcical non-sequitur humor and pop cultural references all over the place.

Where Kishiwada differs is its goofy humor comes with a much more edgy, cynical tang to it than Slump, which is far more innocent and fluffy in comparison (which makes sense: Slump is clearly aimed at very young children, while Kishiwada is very clearly aimed at adults, albeit adults with an incredibly deranged and off-kilter sense of humor).

Also as much as I do unabashedly love a great deal of Toriyama's artwork, much of Slump's art is far from his best work by a long shot and Tony Takezaki's incredible, painting-esque art in Kishiwada blows Slump away with a cannon. There's just no contest there at all whatsoever. One is Toriyama simply dicking around (as Toriyama is often want to do by his own admission), the other is Takezaki seriously putting forth some astounding images that reaffirms why some of us fell in love with manga art in the first place.

Don't get me wrong: I appreciate Slump (at least from a historical standpoint anyway) and its impossible to deny that its important and iconic as all hell. But lets be real here, its ultimately just a collection of dick and fart jokes aimed at a 3rd grade level at most. That's perfectly fine, few people ever argue its anything more than that (least of all Toriyama himself) and it of course had tremendous cultural impact, and I would never even dream of arguing that Toriyama isn't disgustingly talented and borderline peerless as an illustrator (because let's face it, he is)... but the best of what was to come from his pencils and inks for my money was decidedly elsewhere (and I don't just mean Dragon Ball either, though it goes without saying that that of course qualifies).

Kishiwada offers something similar to Slump but with a few shades more sophistication. Its criminally under-read and under-appreciated.
AnimeSennin wrote:How does it compare to the anime version?
The anime is merely an appetite whetter for the manga. Simple as that. I like it fine for what it is, but it doesn't even pretend to scratch the surface of how good the manga gets (except for maybe the 4th and final OAV, which is something of a huge tease for the era in the manga where things really get kicked up a notch).

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Re: What are you Reading?

Post by Daniel » Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:46 pm

Brain Trash wrote:Nope it was from very early on: volumes 5 through 8. Those volumes went untranslated for a LONG time until just last year.
Oh wow. That's surprising.

Are you the same as me in thinking that the earlier part of HnK, before everyone grew up, is the better part? I think it should have ended after that first part, or maybe even earlier. It's been way too long since I read it for me to give any particular details, though. I remember something about long lost brothers, and things like that. Have you heard any comments from Buronson or Hara as to why they went this route?

Brain Trash wrote:Kishiwada has a very similar basic premise as Slump: genius, but scatterbrained and loopy inventor creates all manner of wacky robots and bizarre devices while interacting with a large, motley cast of even more demented supporting characters. Very minimal to no plot whatsoever and tons of farcical non-sequitur humor and pop cultural references all over the place.

Where Kishiwada differs is its goofy humor comes with a much more edgy, cynical tang to it than Slump, which is far more innocent and fluffy in comparison (which makes sense: Slump is clearly aimed at very young children, while Kishiwada is very clearly aimed at adults, albeit adults with an incredibly deranged and off-kilter sense of humor).
Very interesting. Thanks for letting me know. I'll pile it on to my to-read list, although since I read stuff in Japanese it takes me forever to get through anything :x

Brain Trash wrote:Also as much as I do unabashedly love a great deal of Toriyama's artwork, much of Slump's art is far from his best work by a long shot and Tony Takezaki's incredible, painting-esque art in Kishiwada blows Slump away with a cannon. There's just no contest there at all whatsoever. One is Toriyama simply dicking around (as Toriyama is often want to do by his own admission), the other is Takezaki seriously putting forth some astounding images that reaffirms why some of us fell in love with manga art in the first place.
I'll agree with that. Toriyama can make really beautiful and imaginative artwork when he tries, but the artwork wasn't why I was reading Dr. Slump. I did like a lot the art that he made for the cover pages, however.

And as for dicking around, well, it may be better to say that he preferred to use a simpler style. As much as I love gekiga, it doesn't have to all be like that.

Brain Trash wrote:Don't get me wrong: I appreciate Slump (at least from a historical standpoint anyway) and its impossible to deny that its important and iconic as all hell. But lets be real here, its ultimately just a collection of dick and fart jokes aimed at a 3rd grade level at most. That's perfectly fine, few people ever argue its anything more than that (least of all Toriyama himself) and it of course had tremendous cultural impact, and I would never even dream of arguing that Toriyama isn't disgustingly talented and borderline peerless as an illustrator (because let's face it, he is)... but the best of what was to come from his pencils and inks for my money was decidedly elsewhere (and I don't just mean Dragon Ball either, though it goes without saying that that of course qualifies).
Indeed.

And you know you can't get away with saying that you like other things from Toriyama besides Dragonball and not tell me what and get away with it :P Just what are you thinking of here?

Brain Trash wrote:The anime is merely an appetite whetter for the manga. Simple as that. I like it fine for what it is, but it doesn't even pretend to scratch the surface of how good the manga gets (except for maybe the 4th and final OAV, which is something of a huge tease for the era in the manga where things really get kicked up a notch).
Another one to pile on top of my to-read list. You should start reading stuff in Japanese to, so I will be able to go faster than you and catch up to everything you've read :P

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Re: What are you Reading?

Post by Brain Trash » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:56 am

AnimeSennin wrote:Are you the same as me in thinking that the earlier part of HnK, before everyone grew up, is the better part? I think it should have ended after that first part, or maybe even earlier. It's been way too long since I read it for me to give any particular details, though. I remember something about long lost brothers, and things like that. Have you heard any comments from Buronson or Hara as to why they went this route?
Nah. I like (most of) the latter parts of HnK plenty. I mean granted it still has its issues: Kenshiro no longer really has as strong of a personal stake in the plot during the later story arcs as he did earlier on when he was up against Shin and his corrupt brothers with a clear mission, instead taking on something of a more aimless vagabond archetype similar to a Zatoichi-type of character. Which to me isn't really all THAT bad of a development for the series honestly... it just means that it loses some degree of “focus” for some people I guess. Doesn't bother me: wandering warrior stories are some of my favorites, and with Fist of the North Star's whole Mad Max post-apocalyptic universe its hardly an out of place or ill-fiting concept in the slightest.

Bringing back Bat and Lin as adults was something of a double edged sword: on the plus side, they're now WAY more interesting characters. As kids, they were kinda just Ken's little cheerleading squad, and aside from some tragic back stories (which due to the very nature of the Fist's setting is something of a dime a dozen), there's not really a whole lot to them as characters, outside of getting a few harmless and generally non-irritating bits of comic relief. As adults they actually get to DO things and be proactive and effect major change in the plot, and there's a lot more depth to them and their characterizations in comparison to when they were just child refugees tagging along with Ken. Bat actually gets a frigging character arc for god's sake.

On the quasi-negative-ish side, they sorta come back mainly as a means to instill in Ken a much more personal reason for assisting the Hokuto Army and getting involved in their fight against the Tentei army and the Kingdom of Shura. The way its done makes perfect sense granted: the entire shtick behind the Hokuto Army in the first place (people who've been saved by Ken banding together and standing up for themselves against further wannabe despots in the name and memory of both the man and his martial art style that had single-handedly saved all their asses time and again) makes tons more sense with established characters like Bat and Lin, who'd been friends and traveling companions with Ken for years and had gotten to know him far better than your typical faceless wasteland survivor, leading the way.

But all the same, Ken's status post-Raoh as your standard wandering warrior going around helping people and righting wrongs as he comes across them in order to help instil at least some semblance of justice to a deeply fucked up world (something he was pretty much already there at even before anyhow) didn't really need the extra incentive provided by Bat and Lin returning. If the Hokuto Army were simply some random bunch of rebels fighting against Jakoh's tyranny, Ken would've all but certainly thrown his lot in with them and helped them out anyway, simply because he could and that's the kind of person he is. Having Bat and Lin brought back in to make the situation more closely connected to Ken, while not really all that big of a deal either way, feels sorta unnecessary and perhaps belaboring the point a bit.

Or rather at least that's how it comes across to me: like I said before, there are those who feel that the series was stronger when it had a clearer through-line of Ken searching for Yuria, getting revenge against Shin, and settling his rivalries with his adoptive brothers, and I suppose that throwing in Bat and Lin as leaders of the Hokuto Army in the latter arcs was done to continue to give Ken that kind of personal stake in the story (not that it helped matters much for those same people anyhow). I think that the first half of the series works beautifully for all the same reasons that most everyone else does, but once Raoh's out of the picture, if you're gonna continue the story further beyond that point you gotta change things up a bit. I love the harsh, brutal world of the series enough that I have no problems whatsoever continuing to follow Ken through it and meeting more psychotic, malevolent dictators and tyrants and other assorted colorful freaks and barbaric killers along the way, purely for the sheer joy of it.

And I'm ultimately really not bothered all that much by Bat and Lin returning either way. Really I'm just nitpicking there. I mean I don't find them entirely necessary to give Ken motivation, but with that being said, it'd have probably been pretty stale and boring to just have Ken helping this group just because. Something a bit more than that would probably add at least some extra dimension to the scenario. I'm not sure if that something extra should've been Bat and Lin necessarily, but honestly there are probably far, far worse alternatives. And I do like their adult character designs a lot, as well as how much their characters are expanded on and developed...

…up until the way more problematic manner in which the whole “love triangle” aspect of Bat and Lin returning is handled. The concept, on paper, is perfectly sound and makes total sense. Lin, like Bat, had been hero worshiping Ken since she was little, and had something of an innocent little crush on him back then. Combine that with all the times he'd saved her skin over the years, and it totally follows that later on in adulthood her feelings for Ken might grow into some sort of lonely, misguided romantic longing for him. Basically almost the same exact dynamic that Nancy Callahan had with Hartigan in Sin City. Where things differ from that however is here you have Bat thrown into the mix who himself had over the years grown to develop feelings for Lin, and of course when factoring in Ken's ridiculous martial arts abilities, Bat's gonna have some inadequacy issues comparing himself to Ken.

Right so all of this is perfectly fine, totally logical, and makes for a pretty decent and totally painless enough little love triangle subplot. Except during the very last leg of the manga (a portion that's totally missing from the anime which stops smack at Kaioh's defeat), there's a whole boatload of nonsense involving Lin getting amnesia and almost marrying Bat and Bat getting killed and revived and... honestly I'm not even gonna go into it. Its all pretty damned stupid and painfully embarrassing and just thinking about it gives me a headache. This part is EASILY the single worst thing in the entire damned manga by a long shot, and the one and only thing that even kinda redeems it in any way whatsoever is that Hara's art is (of course) utterly gorgeous and drool-worthy as always. But the resolution of the love triangle here is so convoluted and soapy it honestly doesn't deserve the magic of Hara's pencils making the whole thing look WAY better than it in any way deserves to.

Well the art, and of course the gore levels, which are as off the hook as you'd expect it to be for HnK, but you know... :P Point being, that part of the manga sucks and should never have gotten past the “random idea spitballing” stage, plain and simple.

The “long lost brothers” thing you're thinking of is two major reveals; the first is that the last major villain of the series, Kaioh, is actually the biological brother of Raoh. The common complaint against that is basically that Kaioh is a thinly veiled repeat of Raoh himself flogged out to sorta have the fan favorite antagonist back again (at least in spirit) without actually somehow resurrecting him from the dead in some contrived way... which in and of itself in the manner that its done (bringing out a suspiciously similar brother) is just as contrived anyway.

While I mostly agree with this, to me its offset by the fact that Kaioh doesn't really become an important factor until way, way late into the proceedings; there are a whole veritable slew of other, perfectly good villains who take up the spotlight for gigantic swathes of the latter half of the series (Falco, Jakoh, the Gento fighters, Han, etc.) and who are boatloads of fun in their own various, over the top ways. Its not like we go immediately from the death of Raoh and then straight to his long lost, groan inducingly similar brother; there's a LOT of material in between Raoh's final defeat and the reveal of Kaioh as a prominent threat, so that by the time he really comes in the whole Hokuto Army storyline has had a whole lot of breathing room to endear itself to the reader/viewer before something of an eye rolling development turns up near the very end.

The other is Hyo who turns out to be the biological brother of Ken himself. This is far less of an issue than it is with Kaioh because Hyo is a way more original, unique character who I've never really had a problem with either way. He's not some weird clone or cheap knockoff of anybody (the way that Kaioh ultimately is of Raoh, more or less), and his interactions with Ken provide some good moments (and some kickass fights too of course). The only real problem with Hyo is that when combined with the Kaioh thing, it definitely feels like one long lost brother too many which sorta cheapens the effect Hyo might have otherwise had.

Basically I agree that the second half of the series has a lot more problems than the first half does, but honestly when all's said and done its still tons of fun in spite of its issues. Some misgivings about Kaioh aside, its got a bunch of cool villains (and new allies like Ein, who's just so ridiculous you can't help but love him), plenty of great fights, more weird Hokuto techniques, copious helpings of gore, increasingly fucked up atrocities committed against random innocents, heated rivalries and blood feuds, and more than enough stoic badassery to spare. Essentially all the things that make Fist of the North Star what it is.

I mean I totally understand and even completely agree with the main point of issue here regarding the second half: Ken's story is finished with the deaths of Raoh and Yuria. The entire goal of the series has been accomplished. Where else do we really need to go from there? Well I'm personally rather fond of the point that the second half of the series was driving at; that even with all his own feuds and personal battles settled, Ken is still stuck alone surviving out in this hellhole of a wasteland and his life, like all the rest of the nuclear survivors, is going to be one never ending series of conflicts and hardships.

Even though his personal battle is over, the fight to survive out in the ruins of civilization will never, ever be over, and there will always be power hungry madmen ready and willing to fill the voids left by people like Shin, Souther, Jagi, and Raoh and so forth, while good people like Toki, Mamiya, Shu, and Rei are hopelessly overmatched and outgunned in comparison (for all their bravery and heroism, they have a tendency to get killed and all), and that Ken will probably spend the rest of his life protecting what sad, tiny little pockets of humanity is left against them. Basically even though its over, its never really over. Its suitably downbeat and bittersweet, and that's the essence of Fist of the North Star: finding those tiny little specs of hope within an endless abyss of nihilism.

True, all of this is very much implied throughout the whole series anyhow, so with the Raoh and Yuria dead, we probably didn't need to see any more and could safely infer what the rest of Ken's travels on his own would be like, which basically relegates the second half of the series to essentially wheel spinning... but the thing is, its mostly FUN wheel spinning. Really, really fun.

Far as I'm concerned, if you can't at least smile at stuff like Ken twisting Bask's entire freaking arm from wrist to shoulder into a mutilated, grotesque corkscrew, you might need be blood tested for fun deficiency.
AnimeSennin wrote:I'll agree with that. Toriyama can make really beautiful and imaginative artwork when he tries, but the artwork wasn't why I was reading Dr. Slump. I did like a lot the art that he made for the cover pages, however.

And as for dicking around, well, it may be better to say that he preferred to use a simpler style. As much as I love gekiga, it doesn't have to all be like that.
I never said that. Toriyama's done an occasional piece here and there that might almost, quasi-straddles the line into gekiga, but 95% of the time his work is as far removed from that as you can get, even when he goes for maximum detail, and I still love much of it plenty. What I meant was that the vast bulk of Slump's interior art is way below the full capacity of what Toriyama can do as an artist. Which makes sense as its simply just a cute little gag manga he made just for shits and grins (that just happened to take off into a runaway success amongst the tykes and in the wider Japanese pop culture of the early 80's).

But like you said, he can and has done much, much better in terms of detailed art. Slump's certainly not the kind of manga where the art NEEDS to be shaded and detailed to perfection, but when comparing it against something like Kishiwada, it just doesn't hold up since Kishiwada's art is comprised of Tony Takezaki (who is mostly every bit as good of an illustrator as Toriyama) totally on his A game and giving it his all. Slump is a great manga for small children, but Kishiwada is a great manga for adults... and between those two options, I will always prefer and take the latter over the former.

I do agree however, that lots of the random cover and assorted promo art that Toriyama had done for Slump is much more up to scratch.
AnimeSennin wrote:And you know you can't get away with saying that you like other things from Toriyama besides Dragonball and not tell me what and get away with it :P Just what are you thinking of here?
Go!Go! Ackman, Sand Land, and a gigantic slew of Famicom and Super Famicom RPG art that he's done would most assuredly fall under favorites of mine. Dragon Quest and Chrono Trigger are the obvious ones there, but his art for the first Torneko no Daiboken (which is a Dragon Quest spinoff) is another one I actually really like. And of course Tobal No. 1 because you know... Tobal is just awesome in general. :D

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Daniel
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Re: What are you Reading?

Post by Daniel » Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:59 pm

Brain Trash wrote:Nah. I like (most of) the latter parts of HnK plenty...
I see, I see. Your points are well taken. It's honestly been way, way too long since I last read/watched HnK, and I don't have the kind of memory for this stuff as you do, so I'm afraid I can't be a terribly engaging conversation partner here. But what you're saying certainly makes sense.

Aside from the love triangle thing, is there anything about HnK that you would have done differently?
Brain Trash wrote:I never said that.
Ah, my apologies; I misread you.

Brain Trash wrote:What I meant was that the vast bulk of Slump's interior art is way below the full capacity of what Toriyama can do as an artist. Which makes sense as its simply just a cute little gag manga he made just for shits and grins (that just happened to take off into a runaway success amongst the tykes and in the wider Japanese pop culture of the early 80's).
Could he have done better if he wanted to? He was already seriously overworked as it was when he was doing Slump. (Then again, I've read that he at least occasionally also was doing things like going to the movies on days where he needed to pull all-nighters, so... :P )

Brain Trash wrote:Go!Go! Ackman, Sand Land, and a gigantic slew of Famicom and Super Famicom RPG art that he's done would most assuredly fall under favorites of mine. Dragon Quest and Chrono Trigger are the obvious ones there, but his art for the first Torneko no Daiboken (which is a Dragon Quest spinoff) is another one I actually really like. And of course Tobal No. 1 because you know... Tobal is just awesome in general. :D
Ah, yes. :)

Do you have any artbooks for those works?

I've recently been taking a look at Toriyama's Maru Saku Gekijou. Have you read these?

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Re: What are you Reading?

Post by kndy » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:33 am

Currently, I am reading "Cross Game", "Slam Dunk", "Psyren", "Bleach", "Tenjo Tenge", "Naruto", "Rin-ne" and my favorite title right now is "20th Century Boys".

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