GUESS WHAT!? Korean publisher to the US, ICE Kunion, will be releasing this gorgeous manhwa
in English! *clutches heart with joy* Han Seung-hui has such exquisite artwork...!
*nod nod* So I'm happy. On my bedside table, I have both cheap entertainment from Viz Media and titles so good that only a few years ago I never thought that they would ever make it to the US...Antique Bakery
Vol.1 by Yoshinaga Fumi
Ask me how much I love Seiyou Kottou Yougashiten
, now forever to be known as Antique Bakery
in the US? Go ahead. ^_~ This is yet another A5 release complete with dustjacket from DMP, and, once again, though the dimensions are bigger, the picture quality is noticably worse than the original Japanese tankoubon. But, in any case, there's a bit of added whimsy here in the form of a scratch and sniff strawberry on the cover. That *almost* compensates for the failure on DMP's part to reproduce the color insert in color. Anyway, this is a story about three (eventually four) guys who run a Western-style dessert shop. Tachibana is the swarthy playboy who decides to do this to get girls, Ono is the acclaimed gay chef that's afraid of women, and Eiji is the boxer-turned-apprentice. The key here is that back in high school, Ono confessed his love to Tachibana--who blew him off in a very cruel way. Now, 14 years or so later, they are grown up and have, at least so it seems, left the past behind them. I heartily recommend this story to almost everyone; though the story seems episodic in the beginning, all of the chapters are there for a reason that will become clear by the final and fourth volume. The English adaptation once again left a lot to be desired, especially in relation to Ono. (We all know what "to hold" is a euphemism for, right? ^_^; ) This is one manga that will capture both your heart and your imagination, as Tachibana and Ono finally complete what was left unresolved since high school.Rurouni Kenshin
Vol.17 by Watsuki Nobuhiro
The conclusion to the Kyoto arc--AT LAST! God, I didn't know really if I was gonna make it through to the end or just give up. (Me wonders if I'm gonna be giving up after this, though. How many more volumes, again? Eleven? *sighs*) So the next volumes are about Kenshin's past? Oh, can't wait. *sighs* Well, anyway, Shishio ends up burning out during battle with Kenshin--literally--and his two closest compatriots decide to follow him down to Hell, the Final Frontier(tm). As for the rest of the Juppongatana, they either get co-opted by the Meiji government or are left to their own devices, whether in prison or the wilderness. Is there a subtle criticism of Imperial Japan here? I think there is. Shishio's philosophy was that the strong survive by steamrolling the weak, and that's what Japan would later do in the events leading up to WWII. Watsuki offers an alternative doctrine of living on to protect loved ones. Now, this manga was published in Japan well over a decade ago, in the fallout of the economic bubble. In recent times, Japan has started to recover economically, and what with the rise of China and the nuclear threat of North Korea, revived militarists in Japan are calling for an army which, like that of the US, reserves the right for pre-emptive strikes. Is the politically-correct doctrine advanced in Rurouni Kenshin
still kosher in Japan? Or are people once again thinking perhaps it is a good idea to lash out with strength in order to survive? Given the popularity of the vigilante hero of Death Note
, I can't help but suspect...