Alphabetical Index of Other Manga Reviews

Iron Wok Jan! Volume 16

As volume 16 begins, the four young chefs — arrogant Jan, frustrated Kiriko, country Celine, and goofball Takao — are competing against hundreds of others in an annual competition. If Jan doesn’t win the entire thing (Kiriko was the champion last year), he’s going to lose his job at the restaurant. First, though, they have to get through the preliminary elimination round, cooking fried rice. Celine finishes early, but Takao is in over his head, so he copies anyone he […]

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Iron Wok Jan! Volume 1

This cooking manga by Shinji Saijyo is gloriously and gleefully over-the-top, with similarities to the popular Iron Chef TV series. Jan Akiyama is a talented young chef who unfortunately knows just how skilled he is. Trained by his grandfather, a legendary “master of Chinese cuisine”, his ego is his biggest battle to overcome in understanding just what cooking is all about. He thinks it’s all a competition, demanding he always be the best. Winning is all that matters to him, […]

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Iron Wok Jan! Volume 13

Jan has been competing against a rich amateur chef in a battle focusing on liver. The amateur spends freely to obtain gourmet goodies like foie gras, while Jan faces him down with unexpected variants, including fish and chicken livers. When Jan’s food is tasted, the factor of whether or not a dish can be easily recreated becomes an important part of the ranking. It’s refreshing to see the series get back to a focus on ingredients in this volume by […]

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Doing Time

Doing Time‘s author spent three years in jail due to violating Japan’s gun possession laws, and he’s captured the time in excruciating detail. It’s very different from what one sees of American prisons in the media, since the Japanese prisoners are very regimented and well-behaved. Unfortunately, Kazuichi Hanawa, the author, shares little of his interior perceptions or feelings. There’s no insight into what brought him there or what he learned or how the experience changed him as a person, and […]

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CMX Manga: From Eroica With Love, Madara, Land of the Blindfolded, Swan, The Devil Does Exist

CMX Manga debuted in October 2004 from American comic behemoth DC Comics. The following are quick takes on five of their titles. From Eroica With Love I barely remember the 70s, but this art took me right back. Big feathered hair, Dorothy Hamill cuts, turtlenecks, rock star scarves, leisure suits, tight blue jeans, gold chains … it’s all here. Apparently, this is classic manga styling, affecting the looks of girls’ comics for decades. I found From Eroica With Love by […]

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The Walking Man

Although manga, The Walking Man is published in a form more typical to collections of art comics, with jacket flaps and thick, crisply white paper. That suits its subject matter well, positioning it to an audience who can appreciate a series of reflective encounters beautifully illustrated by Jiro Taniguchi. (Also suited to that audience, it’s been flipped, so that it reads left-to-right.) Each chapter covers one of the man’s walks, showing us what he sees. In the first, he’s just […]

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Cipher Volume 1

This is a CMX book? What happened to the trade dress with the white backgrounds and the bright-colored corners? Where’s the heavy type set on a slant? Cipher is missing any identifying imprint information at all on the cover, leaving only the title, volume number, author’s name (Minako Narita), and a nondescript picture of a couple in winter. Looking at the spine — always a problem for these titles, since the CMX letters were as big as the title, causing […]

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