Category Archives: Reccomendations

Tomino Yoshiyuki Q&A at Japan Expo 2019, July 6

if you haven’t read it yet, here’s the article with my impressions on the first G-Reco compilation movie and the July 5 Q&A.

You can find other Tomino related events or interviews I translated in the past on this page.

Director Tomino held an around 30 minutes long Q&A on July 6, the third day of Japan Expo 2019. When he stepped on stage along with the MC and the translator, they explained how this was supposed to be a panel. What happened is, Tomino told Japan Expo’s staff beforehand how it’s his first time visiting France, so he doesn’t feel like talking about himself or his career, etc. Instead, he wanted to hear the audience speak. He wanted to hear our opinions on his works, answer our questions and chat with us. So they decided on holding a Q&A instead.

There were so many questions, I wouldn’t have been able to listen to all the answers if I concentrated on taking notes. So I just wrote down everything in my head. As such it’s possible I forgot certain parts or merged certain answers together. And I’ll update the post if I remember more.

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Gundam G no Reconguista 1st Compilation Movie Premiere and Director Tomino Q&A at Japan Expo 2019

(Needless to say, the feature image is a screen from the TV series version. I like Ringo a lot, though that doesn’t mean anything in a series where every character is awesome)

The first G Reco compilation movie had its world premiere at Japan Expo 2019 on July 5. Director Tomino Yoshiyuki also participated in a Q&A after the movie. He answered questions from the audience and revealed more on the upcoming movies.

Note that there’s another panel with Director Tomino happening on July 6 which I’m planning to cover as well.

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Thoughts on Various Manga, Mobage, Isekai and Characters with Gacha Addictions

I strongly dislike gacha mechanics and most mobage who use them. Even if an IP I’m super into, like Pretty Series, gets a mobage, I don’t play their games if they have gacha mechanics, satisfying myself with story summaries, videos, and screenshots. Despite being strongly interested in SNK’s characters and the Days of Memories series, none of which I’ve tried yet, I won’t be playing King of Fighters Girls when it releases for the same reason.

Seeing the popularity of gacha mechanics in Japan, following hits like Pazudora in the early 2010s, it was natural to see more and more characters in manga playing mobile games and even being addicted to gacha. And for some reason, it really pisses me off.

I wouldn’t say I consider gacha “gambling” as it’s something very different. I do believe it’s pretty dangerous and can be even more dangerous than gambling on certain individuals. Funilly, seeing other things in manga which can be problematic or are definitely problematic, doesn’t piss me off as much, probably because I’m not used to seeing gacha yet. For example, stalking being used as a joke in a manga probably never angered me as I’m used to it. (Even if it don’t myself think a certain element is problematic, it doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily keep reading a manga which uses certain issues as a joke depending on certain criteria. It’s a case by case thing, too personal and complicated to explain here).

What irritates me the most is when recent isekai manga have gacha mechanics and characters addicted to them.

I’m saying “recent” since as you already know isekai isn’t a new genre and always existed with works like Dunbine, Escaflowne, Rayearth, 12 Kingdoms, Ima Soko ni Iru Bokutachi, etc. What I call “recent isekai” are the ones that sprung forth following the boom of the genre, also in early 2010. This is when most people started calling these “isekai” too. This boom ended up having many isekai web novels getting light novels, manga and anime adaptations, to the point of saturation. There’s a huge problem with quantity over quality, most isekai being bad, with different issues plaguing most of them. I’d even go as far as to say that “trash isekai” is a pleonasm.

Nowadays most anime adaptations are only one cour long, speeding through content, and are even more ads for the original source material than in the past. Meanwhile, a lot of manga adaptations tend to be very slow paced. In my opinion, this will create an interesting situation in a few years when the isekai boom will end, the popularity of the genre will drop, and multiple long-running manga adaptations will end up getting canceled before finishing adapting not even half of the original’s story.

With that said, not all isekai are bad. I don’t think I’ll ever take the time to write a specific article on how to find good works in the vast ocean of Isekai, unless I’m paid. However, if you want to read good things, the easiest and quickest way is to simply pick Isekai with female protagonists instead of male protagonists.

I’ve even seen one Isekai actually talk about this saturation issue: Gal Tensei, one of the best Original manga I read in 2018. It ended up getting canceled after two volumes, even though it was a particularly refreshing, genuinely funny, clever story and a commentary on social media. In the final chapter, through one of the characters, the author Sasaki Masahito shared their thoughts on the current state of the industry with the isekai boom, and it’s pretty much the same as what I’ve just said. In any case, You should definitely get Sasaki Masahito’s manga on Kindle and support really talented and nice mangaka like him. He even made me a drawing, seen above, when I praised his manga on Twitter. His new manga, Hachuurui-chan Wa Natsukanai, started this June 2019 and the first chapter is available on Shonen Jump Plus.

I wouldn’t go as far as say that I look down on people who play mobage with gacha mechanics. However, I do have a hard time understanding it. One convenient thing about mobage is how short play sessions can be, so it’s ideal for lifestyles with tons of commuting and when we don’t have time to play on consoles. At the same time, if you pile up the small amount of time put into a mobage every day, you’ll probably end up with way more time than what would have been spent on a console game.

I also strongly disagree with the idea that mobage players only ever play mobage, or that console/handheld console players all look down on mobage. This seem extremely obvious to me, but it’s possible it’s actually not the case. For example, Cygames Festival 2018 had Cygames reveal Granblue Fantasy Versus. One of the reasons behind the game they stated then is that they want more mobage players to try out console games and see how fun they are too.

I also recently started reading a manga called Gamers!, which is the adaptation of a novel of the same name by Aoi Sekina. Reading it is weird because it initially seems to believe exactly what I described above: that there’s a strong opposition between mobage players and console players. Most notably, that only console players can become (good or bad) hardcore players or bad elitists, which irked me a lot. However, I’ve only read a few chapters of Gamers! as of now, so I’m unsure yet if it’s only the characters thinking that way and that they will be corrected later, or if the author himself think that way and that this idea will stay in the story.

Gamers! is a pretty nice and original story. It’s about various high schoolers, their romances, and their different game-related habits, including game development. It has one big problem though, its lack of subtility. Maybe I have a bit too much otaku experience and it’s just that the target audience isn’t me, but the first chapter has the initial protagonist rejecting a girl’s invitation to join her gaming club. (Each chapter tend to follow a different character’s pov). The scene is done in a grandiose way as if it’s supposed to be shocking, while it was obvious he wouldn’t join. This lack of subtility was actually also a problem I had with Seitokai no Ichizon, a previous work also by Aoi Sekina, and it’s a bit frustrating to see it’s still there. Even if I probably can’t write a novel, this kind of stuff makes me think “even I could write this, it’s unfair.” At the same time, it’s nearly not as bad as childish stuff who think being dark is deep and mature, such as Akame Ga kill and its literal “wow look a character will die in this chapter, isn’t my story so mature and cool?” moments.

Another thing which makes me pretty reluctant to start playing mobage is the fact that the games have no end. Some can have interesting stories, though FGO and Granblue are probably the only mobage I’ve heard people praising their story regularly. At the same time, I can’t get invested in a game if I know the only way to end it is either to get bored of it or for the servers to close down. The servers closing down also means forever losing what you’ve put into the game, and I can’t stand that. It’s a different feeling than erasing your save yourself, losing it for some reason, or not caring about your save anymore once you’ve done everything you’ve wanted in a game.

If you’re looking for a never-ending experience and short play sessions, I think considering getting into fighting games is a much better choice than getting into mobage. While getting in touch with your fighting games’ community, you will definitely make some friends along the way too. This might be hypocritical on my part as I don’t play fighting games anymore because of multiple reasons, such as lack of time (saying it that way makes it seem as if I was ever a strong player).

In any case, there are multiple reasons I believe why most current isekai stories are bad. Most of the time it’s because of a sort of laziness. It’s not like I could write a novel myself so I feel bad criticizing authors, but most recent isekai are originally web novels, meaning they were written by people who didn’t necessarily practice how to write beforehand. And while the light novel adaptations, the manga adaptations and the anime adaptations will go through editors, you just can’t change the story’s core. Using the isekai boom means you can make a story by following the same mold as many other isekai and as such avoid shaping and explaining the world yourself. It’s a fantasy setting with goblins because that’s what people expect of Isekai. There’s an evil church. There are RPG mechanics and menu windows. There are demon lords. And in my opinion, one of the worst among worst choices is “there are gacha mechanics because that’s easy to explain since most teenagers already know about it”.

A quick tangent to wrap this up: while I dislike SAO for multiple reasons, I also like some parts of it, like Its deep worldbuilding. That aspect is one of its strong points, and works as a quick and strong indicator of how it was initially written in the early 2000s, long before the isekai boom.

I could go more in detail on certain points I’ve brought up, but this will end up getting too long and time-consuming for what it’s worth.

でびるち / Devil-chi

Online publication

Described as a love comedy in its official summary, Devil-chi is one of the few where it’s actually funny and with actual love elements. It’s similar to Seto no Hanayome, where the male main character is in love with a non human girl, but instead of going for comedy it goes for more serious themes and feelings. Like with most manga with “angels” and “devils” they’re more like aliens than religious related, with their own world and cultural differences. As such, after a few chapters it starts focusing on societal themes like poverty, racism, bullying etc. Unlike the usual where the main character ends up getting a harem of girls, here each character has a lot of focus on them and their feelings, which aren’t necessarily love. With currently 82 chapters out, the manga quickly goes out of the rabucome mold and doesn’t really fit in anywhere. You’ve got some slice of life chapters, some shoujo like love stories and misunderstandings(while never making you angry at the characters) and  shounen like fights. The strong selling point is definitely the characters, which will all make you feel empathy for them with their backstory and problems.

Currently weekly published on Ganma!. There’s no furigana for the kanji but it’s fairly easy to read. I recommend reading on your smartphone as the reader sadly doesn’t have a zoom function. Ganma! leave all the chapters online even when volumes releases, which is great. Instead of making you pay to read older chapters, you can pay to read the newest chapter earlier, which I think is pretty clever. Too bad we’ll never see the site’s sales numbers because I bet this works better than other paywall forms. If I get in a manga company or something one day and they want to start a online reader I’d definitely suggest this system.

明日(あけび)ちゃんのセーラー服/Akebi chan no Seera Fuku

Online prepublication on Tonari no Young Jump

The art is extremely good and very enjoyable if you enjoy clothing. Small details like creases and folds are extremely detailed. There a few amounts of random sexual fanservice, which makes you realize it’s a manga hugely into school uniform fetishism. This can be creepy considering the schoolgirl molestation problems. If you like that, or if you don’t like that but can get past it, it’s a very fun manga about a girl called Akebi who has a uniform different from everyone else in her school and tries to make friends. It’s also written in an uncommon way, not caring about the reader and just unfolding Akebi’s life. During her first day of school, she meets all of her classmates, and that’s when you meet them all as well and expected to remember their names, using the classroom seats distribution sheet. There’s no introduction for each character, though there’s some chapters slightly more focused on a classmate, to make it easier to remember them. There’s no furigana for the kanji, but it’s very easy to read, and there’s a lot of pages without text.
Volume 2 comes out 19 October 2017, so at that date they’ll remove chapters 8-13 or so from the online publication, so you should try reading them before then.
Would buy digitally if I had the money.
Would love translating if I could work at a French manga editing company.

ReLIFE

relife tfw kids these days duno about mds anymore relife ch 46

(I think I heard once MDs got removed from circulation pretty fast so I guess it’s true japanese high schoolers these days don’t even know about them. This sure felt weird reading this though. and funny. I didn’t expect MDs of all things in a manga. This brings back memories.)

Are you reading ReLIFE yet, it’s really great. Basically GTO but Onizuka is a high school student, without the occasional fighting and more shoujo. It starts as an hilarious comedy and then it gets even more hilarious and has pretty interesting insights too. The main character keeps comparing work life and school life in Japan, but never falls into “glorious nippon high school is the best moment of your life” territory either. Stuff like always being compared to others, bullying, female discrimination at work, how Japan pretty much worships work and how you have no value if you can’t find a job etc. It’s really interesting and deals with these subjects without too much drama or too much seriousness. Also it’s written by a woman and you can tell because of how well she displays the characters emotions and stuff. A lot of things like female discrimination are probably things she experienced herself. I just hope she never experienced some when working on ReLIFE and meeting staff from Comico or editors, this would be too sad and ironic.

It’s not super hard to follow too, so if you can’t wait and get addicted you can read it directly in Japanese. It’s published every Fridays. Just finished reading today’s chapter as I’m typing this and really looking forward to next week. It’s super popular in Japan and it’s getting justifiably quite popular on the English speaking side now too. I myself only found out about it two weeks ago or so. They also just announced an anime for 2016. Will probably be a short.

Haru no Houtai Shoujo

haru no houtai shoujo ch 14 cover color

They released some color illustrations of the manga on the publishing site.

When Break Blade switched to online publication on Comic Meteor website around 3 years ago, I checked out most manga they publish and I saw Haru no Houtai Shoujo.  I thought it would be axed back in 2013, because after November 2013 there was no new chapter, until april 2014. Maybe the author was sick or something. Around that same time, Break Blade had no updates for a very long while too, and Break Blade chapters releases have been scarce that way until the end of 2014. It taught me that online published manga can have really weird publications schedules. At least on Comic Meteor. I’m not a specialist.

While I’m on the subject, I especially dislike Comic Meteor’s holder Holp Shuppan. 3 years ago, when they bought up Flex Comix which used to publish Break Blade, they stopped every international publications. Because of that, Break Blade stopped being published in France and everywhere else but Japan, and volume 10 is the last one that was released here, since 2012. The french publisher even already translated volume 11 before that decision was made, and they were unable to publish it anyway. This also means all the great manga on Comic Meteor like Don’t become an Otaku Shinozaki, or the new Crest of the Stars manga remake, won’t be published here either.

Anyway, Haru no Houtai Shoujo was a really good manga. I wish it was longer though. That could have just been the end of an arc and continuing on something else. There’s also how it got published for more than two years, but in the end we only got 1 year and a half worth of chapters, because of the hiatus I wrote about above. I’m pretty butthurt Seo Kouji is rehashing Suzuka for a third time, while good manga like this ends fast. Hopefully the author’s next manga will be just as good too.

Comments on Batoto or Bakaupdates are saying it got axed, but I haven’t seen any actual evidence, and the ending wasn’t rushed, so I don’t think it is the case. If someone knows the truth I’d appreciate it if you’d let me know. Then again I don’t know how you can find evidence of that.