Friday, January 6, 2012

Freestyle's "Best Manga 2012"

明けましておめてどう!Happy New Year everybody! I hope that everybody had a wonderful holiday and New Years filled with lots of rest and relaxation, I know I did.

I have something a little different for you guys today. While I was on vacation in Tokyo I ran into a Maruzen to check out manga titles and to see if I could find any books on manga essays and the like. I love bookstores, no matter what country I'm in and I tend to spend hours in them when left to my own devices. This Maruzen had a lot of posters for different manga and anime that are great for looking for new titles. (I've always wanted to work at those stores cause they always have first dibs on the posters)

I was actually on my way out when I spotted a poster on one of the shelves that proudly declared the title "The Top Manga of 2012!" This naturally made me what to read it to see what made it #1. I asked the slightly harassed clerk that I had been bothering the whole time I was there where it was. There proceeded to be phone calls made and within 5 minutes I had in my hands not the actual manga, but the magazine that claims it's the top. This was better than I had hoped for because when I opened up the magazine, Freestyle, there was not just a top 10 list, there was 152! 152 titles for me to look for and read and pretend like I have enough money to afford.

Freestyle is a pop-culture magazine in Japan and manga is heavily represented and discussed in it. I particularly enjoy it because they often have interviews with the mangaka themselves and those are always interesting. This list of the Top Manga 2012 was actually conducted through dozens of manga critics and who I believe are mangaka themselves. Not based on retail volumes sold or anything of the like as far as I can tell. I felt like you guys would be interested in hearing what the Top 10 titles are at least. I'll post up more a little later I think!

 #1 I [アイ] I [アイ] Igarashi Mikio Outline -> "Why was I born?" Masahiko, the son of a doctor, has always been troubled with the meaning of his own existence since he was small. On the other hand, Isao; who's Father has disappeared, Mother died during childbirth, and his Uncle has just passed away, has no living relatives, was living along the banks of the river alone. After being hospitalized for malnutrition, Isao moved into Masahiko's house. When their middle school teacher was on the verge of dying, Isao saw his teachers soul being possessed by a mysterious power. Masahiko saw how attracted Isao was to this, and the day of their entrance examination for high school the two decided to leave on a journey. 
 # 2 25 Hour Vacation [25時のバカンス] Ichikawa Haruko Outline -> Continuing from her first volume of one shots, "Mushi to Uta", that reached #1 in [Read these manga! 2011], the eagerly awaited second volume. 

    • A genius scientist on duty in a deep sea Biosphere Lab -> Nishi Otome(?)  takes a vacation to her brother Kotaro, who she hasn't seen in a while. Kotaro was left with only one eye after a childhood accident, but now is an active cameraman. At a sanatorium with a lighthouse,  Otome told Kotaro that she wanted him to take pictures of her at 25 o'clock. What Kotaro saw there with his camera on night setting, was Otome being worn away by the shells.
#3 The Ground is a garden in my pocket [地上はポケトの中の庭] Tanaka Ai

  # 4 The Wandering Island [冒険エレキて島] Tsuruta Kenji Outline -> A woman pilot who transports goods by air to a solitary island with her Grandfather -> Okura Mikura found a clue to the existance of the "Wandering Island" when her Grandfather died. In his records, Mikura's Grandfather says that the "Wandering Island" is like the Pacific's Ukishima, a moving island. By chance, Mikura was able to get close to the island once, but she failed to reach it. She wants to be able to reach the island that her Grandfather couldn't. With her biplane, beloved cat, Mikura's adventure to find the phantom "Wandering Island" begins.
       #4 Mamagoto [ママゴト] Matsuda Hiroko Outline -> A mother who always snacks was unable to be free after her child past away from a mistake she made. One day, one of her co-workers, who was a single mother, left her 5 year old son Taiji with Eiko (?) and disappeared. Eiko didn't want it, but this is how their real mother-son relationship started. But, jaded and warped Eiko saw that she was changing while living with Taiji. With Apentai, an elementary school girl from Southeast Asia, and a loan shark father a good taste comes forth. 
#6 Allen's War [アランの戦争] Emmanuel Guibert / Noda Kensuke (International Manga)
 #7 The Secret Creation of Black Jack [ブラックジャック創作秘話] Miyazaki Katsu (Writer) and Yoshimoto Kouji (Artist) 
 #8 That Manga from That Day [あの日からのマンガ] Shiriagari Kotobugi 
#8 The Dragon School is on top of the Mountain [竜の学校は山の上] Kokonoi Ryouko
 #10 Poor Mayumi-san [かわいそうな真弓さん] Nishimura Tsuchika 

Any Outline translations were done by me, so if they end up sounding strange, I'm sorry. If you use them, please e-mail me and let me know! I'll be adding the outlines as I go along, but you get the list first! 

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