Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kuuki's history with anime

You may be surprised, two posts two days in a row, such an achievement considering my tendancy to blog once and then forget it for weeks, or maybe I'll just stop posting tomorrow alltogether, anyway if I'm blogging today it's because of Nopy's project : my history with anime
What is it you ask? 

Easy, the project is to make you write about how you discovered anime, when, with which serie and everything that has to do with your personnal history with anime. The interesting thing is, when you read about everyone's story, that everyone shares similarities all over the world but somehow every story is different. 

Anyway, all of that to say hey hello, I'm jumping on the bandwagon but when I was 3 this was airing on TV :

So I am indeed a victime of Sailor Moon as well as millions of other people in the world. In the same TV show aired things such as Hokuto no Ken, City Hunter, Cat's Eyes, Dragon Ball and so on. Unfortunately, when I was 3 the show stopped airing due to political pressure "this is too violent, it shouldn't be broadcast to kids" and stuff like that, but somehow these are still vivid in my memory, 19 years later, they made a great impression on the little girl I was (and no it didn't turn me into a violent girl, or so little ^^)
Later on, throughout my elementary school/middle school/high school years there were some timid attempts at putting it back on TV so I saw Captain Harlock, Captain Tsubasa (somehow, it seems less original when you put these names together), Cardcaptor Sakura, Pokémon, Digimon and Gundam Wing
Everytime it made a big impression on me, but well the internet didn't exist and I live(d) in a tiny village, I watched what was on TV, bought a few toys related to them and that stopped there I barely even knew the word manga though somehow I knew about the yakuza (don't question this, ever, I always had an interest for the underground and hidden things in general ^^)

And then came the internet. 
As strange as it may seem I discovered visual kei first, through a CD given away with some rock magazine I bought at the time, I listenned to it and liked the song, looked it up on the internet, found more bands, more songs, thought they were great to study on since I didn't understand the language. 
The more I dug into it, the more I was interested in Japanese culture, started to look at the fashion pics, then discovered the cosplay pics and somehow asked a friend of mine which manga she'd recommend for a newbie to read. 
She said I would love Death Note and that I should definitely read it. I did. I loved it. Marathoned the manga between two studying session for my graduation exam. I was 18 years old. 
After that I got interested and started to read the most popular stuff like Naruto, One Piece and Bleach, well the mandatory things for all manga fans because they were the most accessible things on the French internet. 

Then I discovered OneManga and it marks one really important turning point in my fangirlism. 
It was awesome, there were so many different manga on there, so many genres, and it was so active, I was in awe. 
There was one problem though, English, yeah that was the time I realized the world was much easier for English speakers. My level wasn't horrible but it still took me more than 5min for a single page when I need mere seconds for a page of a French book. I thought, screw it, I'm too lazy to look for all these manga in French, there's a high chance they're not even translated, I'll learn English even if it has to kill me. 
In the next months I read pages and pages, slowly, very slowly, until I gradually became faster and faster. 

One day I was looking for a new manga to read and came across the word "mafia" on a summary, that's the second turning point, this day I discovered Katekyo Hitman Reborn and I didn't even know what the hell that was about. 

I loved it, not a single manga I read before made me fangirl as much as this one did. When I had finished to read everything I thought : NEED MOAR. 
Looked all over the internet, found a message board, they had pretty pics and goodies, and they seemed to have a lot of fun. I had good memories of online communities before it turned into a battle so I joined and tried again. I loved it, then started to watch the anime
That was my first involvement in an online anime community, I met people, we recommended stuff to each other and I started to realize that animes were airing weekly. 
At the same moment I had a few penpals and my English was getting better and better, good enough to write it without much thoughts. 

One day, after browsing the internet looking for something I came accross LiveJournal, some stuff were member locked so I joined and joined some communities. That's the third turning point. 
Then I slowly discovered a few more things, got interested in following anime weekly when 07 Ghost started, I was so happy, it was one of the first manga I read on OneManga so I started to dwelve into streaming websites, trying out other on going series. 
In the meantime I started to be more active on LJ, I just didn't follow communities I started to write in there, in English. Started to buy figures, started to buy mangas, discovered the goodness that are seiyuu, made more and more friends from all over the world thanks to anime and progressively became fluent in English and my brain transfered all fandom activities to English. 

At this point in time, nearly 22 years old, I can say my anime addiction lasted all my life, I'm blogging nearly daily on LJ since 1 year and a half, I have so many mangas I can't even count, fandom taught me English, fandom brought me friends I wouldn't have known otherwise and it even recently gave me the push I needed to start writing again. 
Damn, that was quite the long post /shot

Friday, February 25, 2011

Prepublication in France

You may or may not know (or care) but I'm French, as French as one can be (if you except the fact that I do blog in English, am blogging about Japanese things and that half of France think I'm German, indeed ^^).
My point was just to show you a bit of what happens in France in terms of manga publishing, today's topic is : prepublication.

You all know it, but, aside from a few mangas, all of them are published in various magazines before being published in legitimate books. Most popular is of course Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump, but well the purpose of this article is not to tell you how mangas are done, if you want to know about that go read Bakuman.

As I was saying, prepublication magazines which is supposed to be a Japanese thing are starting to produce little babies and spread throughout the world, if I recall correctly there's an American Jump but since I've never got my hands in one I can't talk about that experience, what I can talk about though are French BExBoy and the newest one Akiba Manga.

First, these are the only experiences I know of, at least in France, so yeah, it's still rare. Second, I shouldn't even compare them since they're VERY different. Now you know about let's dive.

I'll start by the nearly 2 years old BExBoy, a "creation" of Asuka

You may have guessed judging from the cover, this one is yaoi, as I don't care much about yaoi I read only when a kind soul lend it to me, which like, happened once in my life.
This one is based on the Japanese BExBoy and it features mangas already published in Japan and translated to French, mostly as a teaser of the future releases of the editor, they publish a few chapter and then if you want to read what's next go buy it. Except for Viewfinder, which is apparently running in the magazine since the very first issue (I'm still wondering how the hell no one ever complained their children are reading this, more often than not there's no special warning or anything and it's fucking kinky, more than most thing, hentai and yuri included, I ever read)
On the other hand this one is really thick, nearly as thick as a Jump, it's definitely worth your money if you're a girl into yaoi that is.

Now the big one, or the most Japanese one as you may say, and this article is already pretty long, well I hope you'll bear with me. This one is called Akiba Manga and has a special website you can find HERE. This one is edited by our own version of Square Enix, meaning they're everywhere, games, magazines, original mangas, translation of existing mangas, music, figures, an anime and now this.
This one is closer to what you can see in Japan, original mangas and then people vote for their favourite manga which will continue and apparently if one is last 4 months in a row it gets cancelled and if it lasts long enough it'll be released in tankobon format. Simple, especially since there's only 7 series, but it also means the chances for something getting cancelled are extremely low.
But I like that, makes the user feel  involved in the process. They also publish photos of the mangaka's desks and interviews on the website, it's totally a marketing strategy but it works.
As for the quality of the mangas themselves, all of them are collaboration between a French story writer and a Japanese mangaka, which I like and dislike at the same time, don't really know how to explain it, but there's something disturbing, like they just asked them to draw to say "Hey it's Japanese buy our magazine" you see what I mean?
Anyway, there's a lot of different genres, well shonen, seinen and shojo (or so they say but well it opens on a suicide scene so I don't really know about this), the drawing styles are all very diversified too (see the website for this) which is something I really appreciate.
Don't really know what to add, the cover is pretty, glossy, not a lot of text, emphasis on the (gorgeous) Hime, they also added a small "manga review" part, half of them dedicated to their publications (not that they're bad, don't misunderstand but well, come again for an objective review), there are articles on Japan too and recipes.

All in all I will continue to read because despite everything I like these mangas and I want to support the idea, if only to get more magazines with more specialized content. And because I'm totally supporting Agent Suicides /shot