Jd Banks:

Yes! I’ve always wanted to read this CLAMP title, but I couldn’t find it in English here. Thank goodness for the internet!

Originally posted on Lesley's Musings... on Anime & Manga:

Anime News Network is reporting that Viz Media will be releasing CLAMP’s Suki: A Like Story manga digitally in North America.

The first volume will be available on September 23, 2014 on the VIZ Manga platform and Amazon Kindle.

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Topic: Stop (Cyber)Bullying Day

Manga: Worst by Hiroshi Takahashi

Bullying is something that happens everywhere: school, work, the playground, even at home. We as humans are culprits and victims to this circular action. We are bullied by our parents, relatives, so-called friends, and strangers, and to feel better about ourselves, we also bully our kids, siblings, schoolmates, and minorities. At the heart of bullies–and really, all of us–is a scared little person. We’re all capable of lashing out in trying to appease that little heart dweller, but until we recognize that we are being bullied and we get out of that situation, we’ll always be afraid.

However horrible bullying is, it’s no reason to feel down about yourself nor turn to violence. From an otaku perspective–which is, in essence, being a nerd and geek–having a bully only means that somebody else has a shorter self-esteem than you. Normally picking on others is a way of making themselves feel superior. Sometimes, it’s just a form of control that they don’t have at home or in their past.

In Hiroshi Takahashi’s Worst manga, the main character, Hana, is really strong, but he’s also very nice. He rooms with four other freshmen boys in a boarding house run by a yakuza man. Although the personality types in the house are known for bullying and fighting, it’s Hana who diffuses the tension and breaks barriers with his optimism. He strays from being a typical delinquent by keeping a clear line between good and bad which to some characters (and people, too) is strange to find in his age.

Similar to Hana, I’d have to say it’s not the end of the world if somebody does bully you. It’s never really about you and it’s never your fault. They probably feel threatened by you because they’re jealous–you seem to be in control of your life or you have some attribute they wish they had. Sometimes its just that you seem weak because you’re a child or you’re a girl or you’re a smaller person, so bullies jab at you. It’s not your fault.

As simple as this sounds, it’s not easy to just walk away and leave it alone, but it’s the best route. Getting into a fight with a bully doesn’t help anyone or anything, and sometimes, it’s exactly what a bully wants–a license to bring you down.

Just think of it this way in the long run: Geeks and nerds rule the world. Bill Gates (nerd), Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump– do you think they’re stupid? They certainly aren’t, but I bet in high school, people thought they looked like nobodies.

If you need someone to talk to about this “This Week” topic or you would like to submit a “This Week” topic, please contact me!

Jd Banks:

I should do this! I’m a person who hates scary movies and I get scared easily!

Originally posted on RocketNews24:


Calling all scaredy-cat exhibitionists! If you’re easily frightened and love broadcasting yourself to the world, you’re just the kind of person Japanese video game developer Konami is looking for!

Following on from its video series of sample-group players reacting to forthcoming horror title Silent Hills, Konami is looking for footage of everyday people playing the game and their reactions to it. Better yet, the best videos will be shown at next week’s Tokyo Game Show.

Details on how to submit your own reaction video after the jump.

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A Try in Japonism

My last project for Japanese art history was to practice the funpon, or copying the master, technique. We had to find one artwork from all that we had studied and reproduce it using any medium. Of course, I chose Utagawa Hiroshige’s Plum Orchard at Kameido Shrine (1857) from 100 Famous Views of Edo. It took me 6 days to make it because I could only work on it between classes and work.

I started with the background before painting the rest of the image so that the oil paint would set by the time I started the foreground images.

When it came to the little people in the background, I used several twigs to get the details. At the time, I didn’t have money to get really small brushes.


Vincent van Gogh also painted this ukiyo-e (on the right), renamed Flowering Plum Tree (1887), in oil paint. 7710-620x-HiroshigevsVanGogh

Hiroshige’s ukiyo-e (on the left) was considered a higher level than other ukiyo-e artists in his time. While other artists were using a traditional method of simple block coloring, Hiroshige used gradients in his work as you can see in the trees’ realistic shading and the background. If you’d like to know more about Utagawa Hiroshige, you can check out my Art Project Presentation.

If you’re a fan of ukiyo-e, you can participate in Tokyo Five‘s Book review & giveaway 3: Ukiyo-e; The Art of the Japanese Print. One lucky winner will get a free copy of this book!

Jd Banks:

That’s great! Man, the digital age sure is delivering!

Originally posted on Lesley's Musings... on Anime & Manga:

VIZ Media generates additional synergy between its English language Weekly Shonen Jump digital manga magazine and the original Japanese print counterpart with the launch of the new “Jump Start” initiative.

Moving forward, VIZ Media will simultaneously premiere the first three chapters (one chapter per week) of every brand new, first-run manga series that appears in the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump in its digital English language edition on the same day of that issue’s general print release in Japan.

The first “Jump Start” title to be featured is the high impact martial arts series – Judos – by Shinsuke Kondo, which launches September 8, 2014 in the latest issue of Weekly Shonen Jump. Hana Yanagi is just fifteen and aims to be the best judo practitioner in his village – a remote hamlet that just happens to produce the world’s most powerful fighters.

VIZ Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump is also…

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Happy International Literacy Day!

When I came home from school, my “friends” were always waiting for me. They dressed in primary colors—reds, blues, and greens—and stood at attention. As any old friend would do, they accepted me without judging me. Together, we smiled, laughed, and cried. I thought that they would stay with me forever. After I turned eleven, I never saw these friends again. We had to sell them to other children who needed them. I felt sad because we’d have to separate, but I accepted the fact that my best friends were books. There were more of them for me to find.

My relationship with books from an early age filled the void of being friendless. For whatever reason, I was too different from the other kids, so I read. I went into the books and played with the characters in a playground where everyone was accepted. I didn’t feel lonely or get angry at my situation. It was because no matter where I went, books were waiting for me.

Now as an adult, I support literacy, and I think all readers should be advocates for reading. It’s important for children to understand that they aren’t alone in a world that wants them to look like perfect images. Without that support, children fall into bad habits, destructive behaviors, and limitations. I know that if I hadn’t read books, I would’ve been a problem child who would turn into a problematic adult. Studies show that people who lack basic literacy skills are more likely to face health, financial, employment, imprisonment, and social problems in their futures (ProLiteracy,  Conference Board of Canada).  Adult readers and adults who have participated in literacy programs are generally better at getting and keeping their jobs, being unemployed less, earning more money, understanding their health problems and treatment better, and are less likely to go to jail (Lume Institute, LiteracyConnects). People can find benefits in improving their literacy skills through anything that gets them reading.

I think literacy isn’t limited to conventional trade backs and children’s books. Graphic novels, comics, manhwa, and manga are part of the reading circle. They stimulate imaginations which leads to better creative problem-solving skills that can be used in daily life. I know I exercise my creativity every day, especially since I have to make materials for Japanese kids who don’t know English. Even though I’ve left my original friends behind, they’re still inspiring me in all aspects of my life now.


Topic: Liar Liar

Manga: Itsuwaribito by Yuuki Iinuma

Whether it’s been for good or for bad, everyone’s told a lie. As humans, we’ve convinced ourselves that white lies, honest lies, and noble lies are acceptable in society. Why are we dishonest? The simplest answer is that we’re selfish. We want money, fame, kids to leave us alone, things our way, even if it means setting traps for unwilling and inquisitive souls, namely investigators and child protective services. (That’s what spam blockers, boogiemen, and fact checkers are for.) The other answer is childish–we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. The lies in which feelings are spared are seen to have good intentions while truths that lead to depression or anger because they’re honest are seen as rude or cruel. Those who can’t master lies in certain situations–“Do I look fat in this?”, “Am I annoying?”, “Was I a mistake?”– are labeled weird, rude, and immature.

itsuwaribitoItsuwaribito, which translates to “a person who lies”, is a manga that focuses on the good and bad of lying. Utsuho Azako first has trouble with lying. Not that he’s a bad liar, quite the contrary, but he doesn’t know how to use his deceitful skills. When his orphanage is raided by a pack of itsuwaribito, he realizes that lying can be used for good. Some people could look at Utsuho as a professional scammer, especially in today’s society, but I see him as K-20, an acrobatic Japanese version of Robin Hood. Utsuho takes from richlings, gangs, and other itsuwaribito and gives to the untouchables and wronged peasants.

Not only does this manga illustrate the difference between a good lie and a bad lie, it also shows that no matter what, lies have consequences. Maybe some truths can lead to a happy ending, such as in many of Itsuwaribito‘s scenes, or they can lead to hardships, as is the case in Utsuho’s past. I think that nowadays humans can’t accept the consequences because we don’t recognize the lies coming out of our mouths. How many times have we said, “You don’t look fat in that” when your friend does look fat; “You’re not annoying” when your best friend asks; and “Santa Claus won’t bring you presents” to kids when they won’t behave? Do we think, “Hey, that’s a lie”? No. We simply brush it off. Manga like Itsuwaribito reminds us that lies will never stop being lies, and we should accept our punishment for frequently using them.

The Escape!

Different kinds of lies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie#Honest_lie


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