A Step Towards an American Manga Canon

Shaenon Garrity has posted her list of Ten Defining Manga as a way of suggesting titles that any manga enthusiast should be familiar with. She cheats, too, which means you’ll learn about more than just ten books. I was impressed with the way she selects them to represent categories, to give an idea of the scope of what’s available translated in the U.S, and mentions others in the same groupings.

One of the biggest issues her list identifies, but doesn’t explicitly discuss, is how many of these classic must-reads are now out of print, including A, A’ (which I’d like to read), Four Shojo Stories, Swan, and surprisingly to me, some of Maison Ikkoku. Am I fostering conspiracies or just recognizing a market difference if I point out that these are works of more interest to or aimed at women and girls?

(Note that the sole commenter misses the point, that the piece is covering works that are available in translation.)


  1. (Note that the sole commenter misses the point, that the piece is covering works that are available in translation.)

    Obvious manga snob there, so not much of a surprise – one rarely sees Rose of Versailles mentioned by its Japanese title to begin with!

  2. Yeah, as soon as I didn’t recognize the books mentioned, I knew we (the commenter and I) were part of two different audiences.

  3. Is Maison Ikkoku going out of print? The volumes I checked were all still available via Amazon (at least the 2nd edition versions). I’m holding out hope for a “VIZBIG” edition of Maison Ikkoku so news that the single volumes were going out of print would make me hopeful that the omnibus format was forthcoming. (I’m also hoping for omnibus editions of Urusei Yatsura and Ranma 1/2, but given the scaling back Viz is undergoing I’m thinking it’s a long shot at this point.)

  4. Of the 15 volumes I checked right now, Amazon no longer sells directly 1, 6, or 8 (which I read as out of print), and several of the others are listed as having a 9-10 day delay, which indicates supplies may be iffy from them. An omnibus rerelease would be a spiffy idea!

  5. Shannon’s list is pretty chill, but the word “canon” makes me bristle! Canons were meant to be destroyed! by.. CANNONS!?

  6. PS: Not sure where you guys live, but random volumes of Maisson Ikkoku is one of those super-easy to find books at half-priced and used book shops in my area :) As an alternative tactic

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.