Dec 31, 2013

2013 Crimson Flower/ Omari's Sister Retrospective

2013 was a tremendous year at Crimson Flower.  Thank you to everyone who volunteered, purchased stuff from our store, and participated in our community! Let's get straight to the data!

New Series Begun in 2013
  • "Kyuuketsuki no Uruwashiki Kekkon" ("Lovely Vampire Weddings")
  • "Kanojo ni Naru Hi"
  • "Kanojo ni Naru Hi -- Another"
  • "Many"
  • "Nanatsu no Kururi"
  • "Ao no Souyoku" ("A Pair of Blue Wings")
  • "Magical Change"
  • "Baraou no Souretsu"
  • "Kisu ni Renzoku"
  • "Lip Smoke"
  • "LLLL"
  • "Haikyo Shoujo"
  • "Kerberos in the Silver Rain"
Series we Finished in 2013
  • "Many"
  • "Kyuuketsuki no Uruwashiki Kekkon" ("Lovely Vampire Weddings")
  • "Kanojo ni Naru Hi"
  • "Kemono Kingdom -- Zoo"
  • "Furou Kyoudai"
  • "LLLL"
  •  "Hakamori Majo Bianca"
  • "Haikyo Shoujo"
  • "Lily"
  • "Fushigi no Maria"
  • "Boku no Hitsugi de Bansan o"
  • "Detarame Mousouryoku Opera"
Top 10 Releases of 2013
  1. "Kanojo ni Naru Hi" Chp 1
  2. "Lovely Vampire Weddings" Story 1
  3. "Lip Smoke" Chp 1
  4. "Lovely Vampire Weddings" Story 2
  5. "Eikyuu Shoujo"
  6. "Lovely Vampire Weddings" Story 3
  7. "Mayonaka ni Binetsu"
  8. "Netsugen wa Koko"
  9. "Magnolia" Chp 33
  10. "Piano Lessons for a Adult"
(Looks like 2013 was the year of the oneshot for us.)

Top 10 Visiting Countries
  1. US
  2. Canada
  3. France
  4. Germany
  5. Australia
  6. Indonesia
  7. Philippines
  8. Malaysia
  9. Italy
  10. Spain

My Favorite Unlicense Shoujo and Josei Manga of 2013

This seems like a pointless list for me to make because most of the unlicensed manga I love I make into Crimson Flower projects. So I thought I'd talk about some of those and a few titles that are on my radar. I'm limiting this list to shoujo and josei since the only non-shoujo/josei title I bought was "Kerberos in the Silver Rain". All right, so lets get on with it!

Favorite New Series/Oneshot Compilation of 2013
  1. "Baraou no Souretsu" by Aya Kanno
  2. "Kanojo ni Naru Hi" by Akane Ogura
  3. "Haikyo Shoujo" by Tsukiji Nao
  4. "Lip Smoke" by Mai Nishikata
  5. "Hanaibara" by Mio Kawahara (currently being worked on for CF) 
  6. "Kanojo ni Naru Hi -- Another" by Akane Ogura
  7. "Boku no Hitsugi de Bansan o" by Nari Kusakawa
  8. "Kisu ni Renzoku" by Yuu Toyota
  9. "Honjitsu, Akane Hiyori" -- Today's Weather is Akane by Yui Sakuraba (planned for CF in 2014)
  10. "Jinrou Chronicle" by Lay Mutsuki
Notes:

"Hanaibara" -- An illustrator, Hassuku Yanase,  moves into a country house his eccentric grandfather left to him.  Living in the house are an erotic fiction writer, Soyogo Muro,  and his younger sister, Kanako Muro, who he uses as his model for his works.  Yanase decides to be the illustrator for Soyogo's latest work. (Okay, technically this is seinen since it ran in Avarus).

"Today's Weather is Akane" -- Akane promises to marry Shu when he returns from abroad. Akane is expected to continue on her father's traditional Japanese restaurant, but when Shu returns, he wants to open a Western style restaurant instead.  Meanwhile, Akane's father bought Natsuhiko, who is ALWAYS irritable, into the family business for the obvious reason... heh-heh... It's a typical historical shoujo love triangle, but it's very done well while keeping the drama to a minimum. This is a wonderful easygoing short series that I hope CF will bring to you all in 2014.

Honorable Mentions:
  • "Anniversary" bu Yu Uemori
  • "Bread and Butter" by Hinako Ashihara
  • "Princess Ledahlia" by You Higuri

Favorite Oneshots of 2013 (Translated this year)
  1. "Boushi no Ue no Oka" by Nao Tsukiji
  2. "Puzzle" by Morie Satoshi
  3. "Tosagare Renren" by Nari Kusakawa
  4. "Blushing Boy MacArthur" by Lammy Uchimiya
  5. "Kutsunashihime" by Akanatsu
The most fun project I worked on this year -- "Lovely Vampire Weddings". The artwork was too lovely and the stories were infectiously sweet.

I know many of your have the chance to read a lot more unlicensed titles that I did, so please share some of the glorious finds on you favorite list.

Dec 30, 2013

My Favorite Licensed Manga of 2013

Here's the list the licensed manga from this year I read and I liked the most.  This isn't a best manga list. I feel in no way capable of making those kinds of judgements, nor do I read much of anything that experts would consider "best".  Actually, I was hard pressed to name any new licensed manga I really liked this year, so these are the works I sorta enjoyed, but I can't say I'm cheerleading for any of these series.  The ongoing and other manga I read, though, I loved.

I decided to separate licensed manga from unlicensed manga, so I'll start with licensed stuff first.  The lists are in alphabetical particular order.

My favorite new manga of 2013
  • "Another" by Yukito Ayatsuji and Hiro Kiyohara
  • "Ayako" (the super spy half of story) by Osamu Tezuka
  • "Heart of Thomas" by Moto Hagio
  • "Inu x Boku SS" by Coco Fujiwara
  • "Utsubora" - The Story of a Novelist by Asumiko Nakamura
  • "Vinland Saga"by Makoto Yukimura (Hubby's pick)

Disappointing new manga of 2013
  • "Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz" by QuinRose and Mamenosuke Fujimaru
  • "Are you Alice" by Ikumi Katagiri and Ai Ninomiya
  • "Crimson Empire"by QuinRose and Hazuki Futaba
  • "Knights of Sidonia" by Tsutomu Nihei
  • "Midnight Secretary" by Tomu Ohmi
  • "Pink" by Kyoko Ozaki
  • "Sweet Rein" by Sakura Tsukuba"
  • "Wolfmund" by Mitushisa Kuji
 Favorite ongoing and other manga I read in 2013
  • "Blank Slate" by Aya Kanno 
  • "Bride's Story" by Kaoru Mori
  • "Olympos" by Aki
  • "Skip Beat" by Yoshiki Nakamura
  • "The Betrayal Knows my Name" by Hotaru Odagiri
Series I dropped in 2013
  • "Attack on Titan" by Hajime Isayama
  • "Dawn of the Arcana" by Rei Toma
  • "Dengeki Daisy" by Kyousuka Motomi 
  • "Kamisama Kiss" by Julietta Suzuki
  • "Oresama Teacher" by Izumi Tsubaki
  • "Vampire Knight" by Hino Matsuri

Dec 28, 2013

"LLLL" Chapter 4 (End) + Extras!!!

(W00t! Another series completed!!!!)
Here's the final chapter of "LLLL"!  Again, many thanks to Aricania for marathon typesetting.  She did a beautiful job.  Also thanks to the Peonine for her wonder translation, Zenny for script editing, and Akire, Julia, Silver Lunar, Lucy, Kumiko, and Ichigo Stars for cleaning and redrawing the series.

This was such a lovely series and the extras topped it all off. I really liked the gentleness of the story and the artwork. I would love to see a live-action or animated adaptation of this short series. Because I liked this series so much, I'm looking into other works by Tei Ataru.  I hope we can feature more of her works in the future.

If you like this series, please consider purchasing it!  The tankoubon is lovely! It includes several color pages and extras.

Amazon JP/ YesAsia

And now onto the release!

2013 Shoujo Manga Trends and 2014 predictions

Let's talk about some of the trends we saw in shoujo manga this year! Admittedly my scope is limited since I don't read the major shoujo magazine from Shueisha, Shogukukan, and Kodansha (Margaret, Sho-comi, Cookie, Cheese, Betsucomi, Ciao, Ribbon, The Dessert...etc...). Please feel free to inform about trends I didn't catch in the comments section.  Anyhow, here's what I noticed (in no particular order).

  • Bakeries and Patissiers! There's the latest one I love "Bread & Butter", the newest from Maki Minami -- Komomo Confiserie and countless other oneshots and short series. This is also a trend I noticed in josei.
  • Bromances -- There were lots of short series about guys in none BL relationships like: "Danshi Gurashi", "Dansui", and "Ore Ore".
  • Age Gap Romances (Oyaji-moe) -- "Ojikoi", "Lip Smoke", and the debut of Oyajism magazine are examples of this trend.
  • Desert Themed oneshots and short series -- There were quite a few in the Hakusensha publications in the second half this year.  We'll start releasing some of those in 2014
  • Princes -- this is something I saw rising this Fall.  There were a bunch of Prince themed oneshots and short series in the Hakusensha publication, and Prince magazine started a new section of Princess magazine call "Prince" that will appear quarterly.
  • Hakusensha has been on a tear this year introducing new shoujo publications that would appeal to women over 20. The new publications are Ane Lala and Bunkei Shoujo.  I've also noticed the content in the Lala Specials (Themed Lalas) and The Hana to Yume are becoming more mature.
  • Oneshot furoku! Betsuma was the magazine to get in 2013 if you like oneshots. As part of their anniversary they include Betsuma Two, which included some very inventive oneshots and short series. Asuka and a few of the other shoujo mags also had nice oneshot compilation freebies.
  • Long Form oneshots! I can't tell whether this is something that being done more or whether I'm just noticing them more.
2014 Predictions!
  • As publishers grope to find create new fads and subgenres, I expect to see more experimental short series and oneshots.

Dec 26, 2013

My Ten Favorite Anime Series of 2013

It's the end of the year, so it's time to make summary lists! Here's my list of my 10 favorite anime series of 2013. It's too hard for me to rank them, so I'll just put them in alphabetical order.

  1. Arpeggio of Blue Steel -- I thought this was going to be some brain dead moe harem show, but I really fell in love with all the ship/girls personalities and Gunzou.
  2. Blast of Tempest -- The endless string of twists kept me on the edge of my seat to the end. I loved the bromance and the romances too.
  3. Gargentia -- Chamber!!!! Enough said.
  4. Hataraku Maoh -- I love all Maoh show. This one had the best mix of humor, romance, and adventure of all the Maoh shows this year.
  5. Kyoukai no Kanata -- Despite the crap ending, I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of series. I hope there's a manga that explains the ending better.
  6. Red Data Girl -- This was my favorite low key show.  I like the gentleness of the characters and the romance.
  7. Servant x Service -- All of the characters in this series were golden.
  8. Silver Spoon -- It was funny and I learned a lot about farming. Too bad the first season was only 11 episodes. I think we annoyed the neighbors the most laughing at this series.
  9. Unbreakable Machine Doll -- Raishin!!! Enough said. (Nobody wins the "Raishin" drinking game.)
  10. Valvrave -- The best animated space opera train wreck ever. It was the next "Lelouche". I wonder what will be the next "Valvrave". L-Elf forever.
I can't do a worst list because there are countless anime that I could not get past the first episode.

What I just Read: "Inu x Boku SS" Volume 1

Title: Inu x Boku SS
Mangaka: Cocoa Fujiwara
US Publisher: Yen Press

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

First Impressions:
I really like the anime, but I wonder will I get bored retreading the same story. Nope, I'm not bored at all.  I still love these characters.  I'm not comfortable with the garter belts. Why did the mangaka have to do that?

Breakdown:

Artwork -- B: It doesn't especially standout. The story feels more shoujo-ish than shounen, so I guess the garter belts are needed to add a moe touch??? I don't like how the teenage girl's faces are drawn to make them look like 6-year-old children.  But again, this must be the moe thing. But taking the artwork as a whole, I'm neither offended or impressed, so I guess it's good enough.

Presentation -- B-: The presentation doesn't really stand out either. If I hadn't watched the anime, I would have never bought this book because the cover makes it look like moe manga with borderline questionable content.  I imagine marketing this is tough because you want to catch those guys into moe, but the story clearly is more geared to a female audience. (Personally, I would have pushed the shoujo aspects.) Moving on... the translation reads smoothly, but there are no color pages and there's nothing special about the format of the book.  Considering this, I wonder why the book is priced $10.99. It's not a good value. I recommend looking for a discount.

Story -- A: This first volume is more about establishing the characters and the setting.  The two main characters, Ririchiyo and Miketsukami, are very well introduced.  Ririchiyo is rich girl who isolates  herself with cruel words rather than suffer repeated hurt from being prejudged only by her family's reputation, and Miketsukami is very manipulative man in the guise of a masochist.  He acts like he unconditionally loves Ririchiyo, but there are hints that something's fishy, especially in Miketsukami's past. The interaction between Miketsukami and Ririchiyo puts me on edge in a good way.  I want Ririchiyo to have a true friend, but Miketsukami sometimes seems like the crazed-stalker type. The other characters are interesting too.  They are an assortment of weirdos that we quickly see have the potential to be a makeshift family for one another.

Overall -- B+: Don't let the cover fool you. This series has heavy shoujo elements.  I don't understand the minds of moe lovers, so I can't say whether this would appeal to those readers.  However, for people who are strictly into shounen, this is probably not for you.  Shoujo lovers, you must get this!  It's got all the master and servant goodness you love!

Dec 24, 2013

"LLLL" Chapter 3

With help from Aricania and Ichigo Stars, we are jamming through the rest of "LLLL".  The final chapter will be out soon after Christmas Day.

This chapter centers around Oregano's relationship with her brother Ginger. I kinda want to see this played out some more, but this was good.

And now onto the release!

Dec 22, 2013

What I Just Read: "Sweet Rain" by Sakura Tsukuba

Title: Sweet Rein / Yoroshiku Master
Artist: Sakura Tsukuba
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

First Impressions:
I could have sworn I read this.  I've even translated a couple of chapters, yet I don't remember any of these stories.  Hmm... that's not a good sign. Ugh... not the magical boy who loves his master on sight unconditionally for no good reason thing again...

Breakdown --
Artwork -- B: I've read too much Sakura Tsukuba, so all the artwork looks very familiar.  All of her male main characters have the same face.  The sameness is boring, but I do like the fluidity of the lines and the pages aren't overwhelmed with screentones and sparkles.

Presentation -- C:  There are a ridiculous number of ads at the end of the book. Setting that aside,  the translation reads smoothly, though I did catch a couple of typos. Most of the sounds effects are complete gibberish (VUP, VUM, VHM, PWOFF... and so on...), which drove me nuts. I longed for the Japanese sound effects so I wouldn't have to look at this nonsense.  I really would have loved some color pages, because as you can see by the cover, Tsukuba's color artwork is gorgeous. Also, I hate the title localization. It makes it sound like some bad bondage story.

Story -- C: This series started as infrequent oneshots in Lala DX. If I remember correctly, it became a regular series that ran in Lala DX at or after chapter 3. This is evident in the first two chapters. The magical boy who unconditionally loves his master trope is getting old for me. Along with that, the characters are quite bland.  Kurumi is a good girl who's lonely and that's it. Kaito is happy and hyper and that's it (he is the personification of a dog.). When I first read this 6 or 7 years ago, it was fresher to me because I hadn't read that much manga yet, but since I don't remember much about the story, it must have not left a strong impression on me the first time. Rereading it, I understand why it didn't stick. There are no surprises in this story.  The beginnings of a story start in chapter 3, and it seems to simply be an exploration of whether Kaito actually loves Kurumi of his own freewill or is his love hard-coded because of the master and servant relationship they have. It's not like we don't know the answer to the question, which makes the question pointless. This manga is pure sugar, which is fine if that's what you want. But for me, all sugary good and no evil is very boring.

The oneshot at the end, "Sweet Bite Mark", is more interesting than the series, but the ending is disgusting.  I don't know why it had to go there other than for shock value. Yuck...

Overall -- C:  This is another thoroughly mediocre manga series, but I think it would be an excellent starter series to introduce shoujo to new manga readers.  I also think if you like troupy cotton-candy-fluff shoujo, you'll love this.  If you've read too much shoujo like I have, you may want to skip this. I feel this stands no where near Tsukuba's other series "Land of the Blindfolded" and "Penguin Revolution". (Honestly, it's like night and day.)

Dec 21, 2013

"Wild Wing" Chapter 2

It's been well over a year since we released the "Wild Wing" oneshot.  This is one of those oneshots that unexpectedly became a series.  Rest assured, we'll have the third and final chapter out very soon (hopefully within the next two weeks).

Anyhow, the continuation of this series is pretty good.  I think this chapter is better than the first chapter.  There a bit of cliffhanger at the end, so I'm eager to get to the final chapter too.

A big thanks goes out to Silver Lunar for cleaning and redrawing this beast (with a little help from Ichigo Stars). Also thanks to Aricania for some last minute typesetting.

Dec 20, 2013

"LLLL" Chapter 2

While we have typesetters available, I decided to change the schedule and release the rest of "LLLL" and "Wild Wing" since they are already translated and cleaned. In the background we are working on our regular monthly releases, so January should have a bunch of releases.  Next week we may not have any releases because of the Christmas holiday, but we will make an effort to finish these two series by the end of the month.

We continue on with "LLLL". This story is so nice and pleasant, but at the same time quite moving in places.  I also feel some underlying the tension building.  The nuance on page 17 is pretty amazing -- YIKES! I had to take a triple look before I caught what going on. And then there's the foreshadowing with Miss Carla. I hope Oregano and Raven will be all right.  *fretting* Haha!  Anyhow, we'll try not to leave you in suspense too long.

And now onto the release!

Dec 17, 2013

What I read Last Week: Manga Reviews!

I did quite a bit of pleasure readying last week, so I have four books to write about now.  I'll do full reviews for two book and quick review for the other two as they are follow on volumes to series I've been reading on an ongoing basis.

Title: Summer Wars, Part 1
Artists and Story:  Mamoru Hosoda and Iqura Sugimoto
US Publisher: Vertical
ISBN: 9781030130150
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

First Impression:  The cover makes it look like slice-of-life. I don't like slice of life, but this is Vertical, so I bet this cover totally misrepresents the actual train wreck of a story inside.  Whoa! What?!  This isn't a trainwreck?!!! It's actually a nice slice-of-life story with sci-fi elements.  I really like this!

Breakdown:

Artwork -- A: It's nice and simple.  The facial expressions are telling, the characters look distinct, the characters actually look their age, and backgrounds are nicely detailed. The color pages are really pretty (it helps that I love sunflowers).

Presentation -- B+:  I love the front and back covers. They are very telling of the story -- this is a slice-of-life story with sci-fi elements.  The color pages are gorgeous and the translation reads smoothly.  The drawback is the lettering. It looks amateurish.  I don't like manga with cased fonts used for the main dialog.  On top of that, the line spacing is too wide on some pages.  I think the inconsistency of line spacing is what bothered me the most.

Story -- B+: This is a typical loser-boy pursues a girl who he thinks is out of his league shounen story.  The main character is a loser even though his math skills are second in the nation, and the girl is just pretty and popular.  What's best about the story in this part is the interaction of the main character, Kenji, and his love interest's grandmother. The grandmother is the star of this part, and I wish there was some back story about her.  The sci-fi elements involve computer hacking in a virtual world. I just accepted the representation of the mechanics of this world because if it were realistically represented, it would be boring.  Anyhow, on the whole the pacing is good and Kenji and Wabisuke's interaction with the grandmother are quite interesting.

Overall -- B+:  This is a pleasant read with enough mystery to keep the reader wanting more. I highly recommend this title to Crimson Flower readers.
-------------------------------------------------
Title: Crimson Empire
Story and Artist: Quinrose and Hazuki Futaba
US Publisher: Seven Seas
ISBN: 978-1937867232
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

First Impressions: Meh... it looks like typical Quinrose.  The first chapter is really interesting. Can we continue with Sheila's back story, please? Meh... who are all these bishies that are being thrown into the story? What the heck is going on? Where did these bishies come from? @_@

Dec 12, 2013

Where to read manga online LEGALLY

I've been stewing on this post for a while, but RL and excitement at MU got in the way.  Finally I have time!  This post is mostly going to be about Japanese websites, but I'll throw in the few English websites I know about first.

English websites

Mangabox --

This is the newest free manga websites.  As of now it hosts manga from Kodansha JP (not the same as Kodansha USA). New titles and chapters are available multiple times a week.  The translation quality is generally good.  The title that are available now are shounen and seinen. Here are the series that interested me:
  • District Hakkenshi [T-8]
  • Araidoki
  • The Chronicle of Ayoka
I'm still exploring the series on this site.  I'll Tweet the title when I happen upon something I like. This site is also available in Japanese. The Japanese site has more titles.

Crunchyroll --

This site has a paid option and a free option, and as of now, only has Kodansha JP shounen and seinen titles.  If you can't afford to pay, then you can only read the latest chapter of the titles they have available.  The backlog will not be available.  There are many popular shounen titles available like "Attack on Titan" (the back catalog is not available for subscribers), "Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches", and "The Seven Deadly Sins".  I have a subscription to the service, but none of the current titles interest me. The translation quality on this site varies.

Various --

All of the US manga publishers have some sort of mobile app, flash-based browser viewer, or presence in online bookstores.  In the apps and on the websites the first chapters of all of the series are free to read.


Japanese Websites

This is only a listing of the few Japanese websites I visit often. I'm sure there are many more. Most of these websites have both PC and mobile versions of their readers.

  • Polaris Comics -- SHOUJO!!!! But not typical shoujo. Polaris has a variety of shoujo series and oneshots, most of which I've been loving. I have been buying the tankoubons as they come out.  This is where "Kisu ni Renzoku" runs.
  • Comic Meteor -- This is primarily shounen (it's like Polaris' twin brother), but most of the series would also appeal to females.
  • Hana to Yume Online -- Lots of shoujo favorites are there like "Ojikoi". There are also early chapters of many popular Hana to Yume and The Hana to Yume series.
  • Lala Melody Online -- This has original and content that has also appeared in Lala, Lala DX, Ane Lala and Melody magazines. Right now, there are some nice oneshots to read.
I will add to these lists as more websites launch (I'll add the links to one of the columns of this blog). Lucky for us, Japan is launching more and more legal online manga websites every month, and a few of them offer English versions.  If you know of other LEGAL websites to read manga, please leave the name of the website and a text version of the URL (not a link) in the comments sections.

Repost: Manga Rambling

First of all, I hope everyone in the US had a tasty and safe Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was small here with just me, my husband, and Omari. We fried turkey legs and had all the usual sides -- mashed potatoes, yams, southen style collards, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.  Everything was insanely tasty. (I will admit to being proud of my home cooking. My grandmother taught me well.) Hopefully our leftovers will last us through the weekend.

Onto to the manga rambling! I've been having some evolving thoughts as I've been exposed to more kinds of manga and reading bits and pieces about manga licensing in the US.  I've always been on the fence about scanlation, but I think I'm moving off that fence. In face of the knowledge that all but a very few series and oneshots are ever going to get licensed in the US, I now believe scanlation has its place in spreading manga love. I still have problems with money not going back the original artist directly by way of scanlation. And I still hate manga aggregators and people who post Japanese raws to the public Internet. They are horrible parasites that are killing the manga industry and they need to go away. But let's not beat that dead horse further.

I've come to the conclusion that as a customer, I should support what I want more of with my dollars.  Supporting US publishers for stuff I don't want out of obligation or "pity purchases" does not get me what I want. Instead the US publishers take it as that content is what readers want more of and then publish more of that. Since the kind of shoujo and josei I like are considered poison to the US publishers, it makes no sense for me to put my money into the seinen, shounen, moe, high school love train, and low quality smutty shat that the US publishers are offering in order to get what I want. Rather my money would be best spent on encouraging the Japanese publishers. And so this is what I've decided to do. I am now almost exclusively buying Japanese manga. I'm still buying Skip Beat and checking out some of the special hardcover editions of classic manga, but otherwise there is no other content I'm interested in.

I know the vast majority of you can't read Japanese. As part of getting off the scanlation fence, I'd now say go read scanlations if you have no access to the a licensed version in your language.  HOWEVER if you read the scanlation, please let the Japanese publishers know that you want more content that you like by purchasing as many of the Japanese manga that you can afford.  It's okay if you can only afford one volume of your favorite series. Just make the gesture and own a piece your favorite series.  Let the publisher and the artist know that you like what they are doing and you want more.  I also think that if you want localized manga anywhere near the extent of a manga aggregator, it's gonna come from Japan and not a US publisher.

Buying Japanese manga is easier than ever, and now with the weakened yen, Japanese manga is now cheaper than localized manga, and this includes shipping! Here are some websites to purchase Japanese manga:
I use Amazon JP and YesAsia for online purchases, and I go to Sanseido, Kinokuniya, and Bookoff physical bookstores.

Anyhow those are my current thoughts on manga. Go out and enjoy scanlations, but let the US and Japanese publishers know what you want more of by voting with your dollars. (In other words "Princess Jellyfish" lovers, go read the scanlations without guilt, but at least buy a few volumes of the Japanese manga to let the Japanese publisher know that you want it and to let the mangaka know that her work is loved.)

Dec 7, 2013

Manga Updates Link Removal Update

If you're following the matter, MU posted an update on the group link removal issue: LINK. I guess it is a legit complaint.  I don't know enough about copyright law to say whether what happened was valid or not, but it's clear to me the link removal request only benefited the manga aggregators. It's is clear that the publishing organization that made the DMCA complaint does not understand the manga scanlation world, and as a consequence drove eyeballs to to the entities that they are trying to curb.  Not that any of this is going to help. Honestly, publishers need to focus on publishing and offer potential customers something better than scanlation. If they want to beat the manga aggregators, then they need to become  manga aggregators with an ad-free subscription service and free with ads.

That said... scanlators need to stop translating series when they become licensed. Granted I'm guilty of starting scanlation with Arakure and Ouran, both of which were licensed at the time. At the time I justified my activities by saying the publishers were 2 years behind the Japanese releases. At the time I believed most people were like me and bought the licensed releases when they became available and were using the scanlations to keep current with Japan.  That may have been more the case 6 or 7 years ago, but I'm not so sure that's the habit of folks who came into manga exclusively through the manga aggregators.

Still, even if scanlations for licensed series weren't available, I'm not sure licensed readership would improve.  The truth is, many of us simply don't have the extra cash to spend on manga. And given the overhead cost involved with bringing manga to the US, it makes me wonder whether selling manga is a viable business outside of the blockbuster shounen and moe manga series in this down economy. I know none of the series that are and were done for this this blog have enough readership to justify the cost of licensing outside of J+K, which was licensed.

Anyhow, this is all of great interest to me because I've always believed that the publishers should ally with scanlators to spread the manga love profitably. But old media is old media, and because there are so many lawyers involved, all they know how to do is sue rather than innovate. It's sad, but that's the current reality. Fear not, though, it looks like we'll eventually get what we want from the Japanese publishers. If you haven't already, please check out Mangabox. I'm still evaluating Crunchyroll. So far they have 12 series that I don't care for and haven't added more to their roster. I also do not trust that their old media owners have readers in mind, but rather are more interested in serving their true customers which will be advertisers, which makes the readers the product they are selling and not the manga. If Crunchyroll becomes as useless as Hulu, I will be sad.

Dec 6, 2013

Recruitment: Crimson Flower Needs You

Winter Break help is needed for winter projects. You can volunteer temporarily for a few days or weeks, or you can stay on longer if you like.  Here's what we need!

  • Redraw artists for "Ore to Atashi no Kareshisama", "Pochamani", and oneshots.
  • Typesetters for "LLLL", "Wild Wing", "Magical Change", and oneshots
  • Skilled Proofreaders or copy editors for all projects.
  • Japanese to English Translators / Translation QC -- for oneshots (QC for all projects)
People who are interested in being a redraw artist or a typesetter, please have examples of past work ready.  Translation folks be ready to be tested. If you are interested in volunteering for any of these positions, please contact me, Kuroneko003, using the link at the top of the right hand column of the blog.

Dec 5, 2013

"Lip Smoke" Chapter 3

It's slow going now that we are into the holiday season. Hopefully we can get some extra help during the second half of the month for January and February releases.  For now, though, we'll go along at a leisurely pace. I've got some real life to deal with and hubby and I keep fighting seasonal colds and stomach flus T_T.

This is the Seta Porn chapter. That is all.

Onto the release!

Dec 4, 2013

News: Links to Scanlators Websites Removed from Manga Updates

Update:  Fix on Github (Install Greasemonkey to fix Firefox) -- LINK

Manga Updates has removed links to scanlator websites from their listings.  Here's a link to the explanation: Link

It is not clear who made the request and I don't understand how one entity can claim copyright over the entirety of mangadom.  I have my suspicions, but I'll keep quiet on it. For me it comes down to considering who benefits from the link removal.  Still, I don't think this will make much difference, since the lazy leechers already go to manga aggregators (cough) exclusively, and those who want to go to the scanlator's website already are and have set up bookmarks and feeds accordingly.

Fortunately, Manga Updates retains the links to groups' Twitter feeds and Facebook, so in our case, readers will have more direct access to the release posts through Twitter. In light of this, instead of Tweeting the Tumblr posts, I'll now Tweet the link to the release.  We will continue not having a Facebook presence.

Here are other ways you can keep up to date with our releases:

  • Crimson Flower's RSS Feed (LINK)
  • You can join the Crimson Flowers site using the "Join this site" link in the right column.
  • You receive email update for Bakeneko's Lair by subscribing on the website (LINK)
  • Bakeneko's Lair RSS (LINK)
  • Twitter: @CrimsonFlowerRe, @Bakenekos_Lair
  • Release Only Tumblr (LINK), Kuroneko003's Tumblr (LINK)
I'll format the Release Only Tumblr today, and start posting notifications there with the next release. I am also added project pages to this Tumblr page.

Hopefully this will not be too much of an inconvenience. And please, join us in one of the alternative routes like Twitter and Tumblr.

Dec 2, 2013

Dec 1, 2013

New Series: "Kisu ni Renzoku -- Kneel, and Obey a Kiss" by Yuu Toyota

Let's get December started! I've been waiting for seemingly FOREVER for this series to come out in tankoubon form.  It's been out as a free online comic for about a year, but the image quality is not what we like for our translations (and I don't like breaking DRM).  With that in mind, if you must spoil yourself, volume 2 is available in Japanese on the Polaris Comics website (LINK). Updates are never on time, so it's best to subscribe to the series RSS feed to keep up with the latest chapters.  If you would like to own you own copy of volume 1, which comes with extras and color pages not included in the webcomic, here are some purchase links:

Amazon JP/ YesAsia/ Honto

The tankoubon is really nice, so I encourage purchase if you really like this series.  Show Yuu Toyota some love!

Non-English Language Partners:
  • Spanish -- La Noche de los Caidos
  • Portuguese -- Neko Otaku

Anyhow, let's get on with the release of this cute series!

Nov 26, 2013

"Baraou no Souretsu" Chapter 2

Real life is dominating this week, so instead of three releases, I think we'll only have this one.  I'm cooking a small Thanksgiving for three this year and baking some mini-pies to give to folks.  I'm also leaving the house to do fun things with my husband and friends... so whee! Manga will have to wait until next week when the Thanksgiving holiday is over.  Honestly, I was itching to get out Lip Smoke and our new Toyota Yuu series because they are so good.  I have a lot Lip Smoke feelings to express.

Anyhow, here's the second chapter of "Baraou no  Souretsu". I had the chance to watch the 1950's Sir Lauren Olivier version of "Richard III" on Netflix. The production was pretty bad, though Olivier was fun to watch. Anyhow, the events in the manga now take place before the events in the play. Just as the play is, a lot of this is fictionalized for dramatization -- obviously, since Richard is gender bent. But still there are some historical facts that underlie the events in this chapter.

And now onto the release!

Nov 19, 2013

"Kerberos in the Silver Rain" Chapter 2

And now, for a change of pace, we have the next chapter "Kerberos in the Silver Rain". This chapter has a brief adult moment, but I don't think it'll do any permanent damage given what's shown on US television these days.

In this chapter our highly skill commandos head into Forbidden Zone 03 to take on the infiltrators! This is one of the few action mangas that I can follow the action in the drawings. I love the drawing and sound effect style. Page 27 is especially nice :3.

A big thanks goes out to Ichigo Stars for beautifully completing the two page stitches.  They really make the chapters look special.

And now onto the release!

Nov 16, 2013

Time to Start thinking about Best of 2013 Lists

We're heading toward the end of the year, so it's about time to start the end of the year summaries.  I honestly don't have much time to read manga outside of what we translate for Crimson Flower and Omari's Sister, so I look to the readers for advice about what was good from 2013. So please take a little time to list in the comments section your favorite new manga series and oneshots from 2013.

My two favorite new series are "Kanojo ni Naru Hi" and "Baraou no Souretsu". Nothing stands out on the tip of my mind with respect to oneshots.  Most of them were very good, so it's hard to choose. I'll have to give it some more thought.

Anyhow... I'm eager to see what the readers recommend and to have the discussion about 2013. Personally, I think it was a very good year for shoujo and josei.

Nov 15, 2013

Oneshot: "Junketsu Diablos" ("Pure Dialblos") by Chie Shimada

This is a oneshot we've been slowly completing for at least 2 years. It feels like the pilot for a longer series that never happened.  Not sure how that would work, seeing as how one of the suitors in the love triangle is a Catholic Priest.  But... it's not like Catholicism is understood in Japan.  Anyhow... what happened to the cats is kinda disturbing, and beyond that, this oneshot is honestly kinda mediocre. I think a clearer distinction should have be drawn between the priest and the demon. I think the oneshot's shortcomings are probably due to a cultural mismatch and misunderstanding.

Anyhow... onto the release! Give it a try! You might like it. The artwork is VERY NICE and it's an enjoyable read if you turn off your brain.

Nov 13, 2013

Short Oneshot: "Hime Koi" ("Princess Love") by Hisaya Nakajou

Here's another short concept oneshot from Hisaya Nakajou. This one cruelly teased me because I love Butler-Mistress manga.  I want a longer oneshot or a short series, and I'm crying because all I got was this little nibble T_T.

Well... enough tears, let's get on with the release!

Nov 12, 2013

Short Oneshot: "Sayonara Kodomotachi" ("Farewell Children") by Satoshi Morie

Continuing on with our releases, here's a new oneshot from Satoshi Morie. I don't want to say much about it, other than I found it shocking and incredibly sweet at the same time.  I like Satoshi Morie's oneshots a lot, so look out for more of them in the future.  Hopefully we will release her latest oneshot toward the end of the month.

And now onto the release!

Nov 11, 2013

New Series: "Kanojo ni Naru Hi -- Another" Chapter 1 by Akane Ogura

Here's the sequel to "Kanojo ni Naru Hi".  This time we have a new boy, Sagara, who becomes a girl.  This story takes place in junior high, so unless there's a time skip, I don't expect this series to be as racy "Kanojo ni Naru Hi".

This series runs in Lala DX, which is a Bi-monthly (once every two months) publication, so expect bi-monthly chapter releases.

I don't want to say anything about where this story is going, so I'll just get on with the release!

Nov 10, 2013

New Short Series: "LLLL" by Tei Ataru

Update 12/21/2013: Updates terms "shades" and "dark lamps" to be consistent the rest of the chapters.
----------------------------------

We've been stewing on this series for a while. The chapters are all translated and the pages are cleaned and redrawn (for the most part >_>).  It's just been that extra push to finish the chapters that's eluded us.  Hopefully now that we've launched the series, we'll get the next 3 chapters done soon.

As I said in the title this is a short series.  There are only 4 chapters that ran in Avarus magazine (Mag Garden), and they are compiled into one volume.   I'm not sure what to say about this manga without spoiling it, so I'll say it's a very gentle and pleasant read.

If you would like to purchase your own copy of this series here are some links: Amazon JP/ YesAsia
The volume has a beautiful dust cover, colored pages, and some extras at the end. If you like this series, I recommend you pick up a copy because it's such a pretty book presentation.

And now onto the release!

Nov 6, 2013

October 2013 Stats and November 2013 Activities

I have a lot to get through in the post, so hang in there with me to the end :).

October 2013 Stats

Top 10 Visiting Countries:
  1. USA (CA, NY, MA, MI, WA)
  2. Canada
  3. France
  4. Australia
  5. Indonesia
  6. Germany
  7. Malayasia
  8. Spain
  9. Philippines
  10. Italy

Top 5 Releases
  1. Attack on Titan -- The Birth of Levi Prologue
  2. Oneshot: Tasogare Renren
  3. "Magnolia" Chp 36
  4. "Magical Change" Chp 2
  5. Oneshot: Jinrou Chronicle
CF Subscription Information
Since we've been introducing some new series lately, I though I'd post a list of the magazines I subscribe to and their frequency.

Twice a month:
  • Hana to Yume

Monthly:
  • Lala
  • Princess (Baraou no Souretsu)
  • Avarus
  • Asuka
  • Princess Gold (Surprise series)
  • Betsuhana (Yukarism)
  • Aria (Magnolia)
  • Mystery Bonita
Bi-Monthy (Every two months)
  • Lala DX (Kanojo ni Naru Hi)
  • Wings
  • Princess Petite
  • Itan
  • Lala Special Editions
  • Zerosum Ward
 Quarterly
  • Ane Lala
  • Haruca (A Pair of Blue Wings)
  • The Hana to Yume (Lip Smoke)
November Announcements

Retranslation -- We are not accepting any new translation partners for a few months. I, Kuroneko003, am currently overwhelmed and cannot handle the flood of requests while continuing to manage and work on projects for CF. We will continue working with our regular Spanish, French, Italian, Vietnamese, and Portuguese partners, though.

Oneshots -- Our theme continues to be horror and psychological. There will be a few other surprises too!

Nov 5, 2013

What I Just Finished Reading: "Ayako" by Osamu Tezuka

Title: Ayako
Artist/Author: Osamu Tezuka
ISBN-10: 1935654780

First Impressions:
Holy crap! This book is thick! It's starts off as a super cool spy story with horrible artwork and then turns into some hillbilly incest train wreck of the likes of the worst reality television show. There is way too much incest in this manga... ugh... why????  The super spy story portion is quite enjoyable. The hillbilly incest story is ... well, if you like this sort of thing it's good. Personally, I don't like the subject matter, but it's told well. However mixing a super spy thriller with an hillbilly incest train wreck drama is like someone taking a crap in my ice cream.

Artwork -- B: I do not like Tezuka's drawing style, but I understand that was the style of the time. I found it confusing because it looks like old Popeye or Disney comics, but the drawings depict serious drama and include sexual situations. It also feels like the character designs are horribly racist.  But again, that's me imposing my modern sensibilities.  However, the backgrounds are detailed and the pages that narrate the historical context are lovely.

Presentation -- A:  It's a nice looking book even though it's a tome. The lettering is easy to read and the translation reads well, even though the simulated hillbilly speak was kinda hard to parse at times.  But if you've ever been to a town in the deep South, you'd know that it sounds like the townsfolk are speaking a foreign language (first hand experience).

The Story -- B:  This is kinda tough because I loved the spy portion of the story, but got tired of the incest hillbilly story. And then combining the two together was almost unbearable for me.  I understand how they tie in, but I think the country part of the story needed to be toned down or maybe less time should have been devoted to it. Either way, it was too much for me.

Overall -- B+:  Taking my preferences out of it, this was a nicely drawn expertly spun story. The pacing was good and there was never a time when I was bored.  I also learned a little something about Post War II Japan. Inserting my preferences, I loved the super-spy story and could have done with a lot of less of the stuff that happened in the country. I think it would have been far more interesting to have Ayako arrive in the story without us knowing a thing about her and then having the past events explained in short flashbacks.  Should you buy it?  If you wanna read some classic manga because you're curious, go for it!  If a spy thriller mixed in with a hillbilly incest drama sounds interesting to you, go for it! If you like your nice and safe shoujo bubble, skip this, put it out of your mind, and go back to your sparkling bishounens. Me? I've got one more Tezuka book on my shelf and after I read it, I'm done with Tezuka. I don't need to read anymore because so far I've found Tezuka's manga to be unpleasant.


Nov 3, 2013

New Series: "Baraou no Souretsu" ("The Rose King's Funeral Procession") by Aya Kanno

Update 11/3/2013:  Please download the latest version. There were a bunch of typos in the first version. We apologize for the errors.

I happened to see this advertised while browsing the Princess magazine website last month.  I thought to myself "my Dark Prince!", and then I read the short preview. That was when I knew we had to take this series on as a project!

This is Aya Kanno's latest series, and it's based on William Shakespeare's play "Richard III".  So if you want spoilers, go read the play or watch one of the many versions of the play on Netflix, Amazon, or what ever streaming service is available to you.  Many of you know of Aya Kanno from "Otomen".   Baraou is more like the other Kanno series, while "Otomen" is outlier -- albeit it a very successful outlier.  Personally, I prefer the darker works ("Blank Slate" is quite good.)

For those of you worried about the impending hole in your life that will be left by the premature ending of "Magnolia", fear not! This should fill all of your gender confusion and messed up family drama needs.  Needless to say, I'm looking forward to translating this series.

A big thanks goes out to Ichigo Stars for cleaning up the title page spread.  And a big thanks to Lucy for helping me clean and redraw this first chapter.

And now that I've rambled and rambled, let's get on with the release!

Nov 2, 2013

"Happiness Lawn -- Mastering Tricks"

As promised, here's our second Ojou-sama short.  We will be doing more regular releases of this now that Peonine and Silver Lunar are dedicated to the project.  The next two shorts will by about Sato's cat :3.  As usual, I'll just post the images here.


Nov 1, 2013

"Happiness Lawn -- Ojou-sama is in Danger"

Ojou-chan is back! Since these are gag shorts, I'll just post the images here instead of having files to download. There will be another short tomorrow, so look forward to it!


"Boku no Hitsugi de Bansan o" Short Story Compilation by Nari Kusakawa (Batch Files)

By popular request, here's are batch files containing all the oneshots in the "Boku no Hitsugi de Bansan o" compilation by Nari Kusakawa.

  • Boku no Hitsugi de Bansan o ("Dinner in my Coffin" or "Shall we have Dinner in my Coffin?")
  • Tasogare Renren
  • Hoshi wa Akatsuki no Kage
  • Shinobigoto
If you would like to purchase your own copy of "Boku no Hitsugi de Bansan wo", here are some links: Amazon JP / YesAsia ($6.99 at YesAsia! Shipping is $3.99 or remember, there's free shipping with purchases over $25!)

Oct 31, 2013

Halloween Oneshot 2: "Hoshi wa Akatsuki no Kage" (The Stars are the Dawn's Shadow) by Nari Kusakawa

Happy Halloween everybody! If you're going out trick-or-treating or taking your kids out trick-or-treating, please stay safe. Take a flashlight and stay on the sidewalks.

Here's our Halloween oneshot! It's the final part of Nari Kusakawa's Vampire Trilogy! This has been a lovely journey through time.  I hope some other mangaka do some related stories like this and "The Lovely Vampire Weddings" trilogy.

This story is about Aurelia, the vampire who bit Ashleigh and Kiriko.  It's kinda sad to see how she was compared to how she is in "Tasogare Renren".  It kinda makes me wonder about Kiriko's future.

Anyhow, onto the release!

Oct 30, 2013

Halloween Oneshot 1: "Kaeribana no Kanojo" ("The Return of the Flower Girl") by Meca Tanaka

It's already Halloween for some parts of the world, so let's get on with the Halloween cuteness. This is a short oneshot that came out in Shiro Lala 2012. Get out a hankey, because I bet this little oneshot is gonna cause some tears.

Oct 29, 2013

"Magnolia" is ending November -- Let's Look at it Readership on Crimson Flower/Omari's Sister

According to the Aria website, "Magnolia" is ending in the next issue. I still haven't received the current issue, so that means for us, we have two chapters left.  I don't want to speculate on whether this is a planned ending or not, but I will say, I thought that there were at least 2 or 3 volumes more of story left... or so in my imagination.  Be that as it may, I have been noticing over the past year a rapid drop off in "Magnolia" readership on this blog.  So speaking only for this blog, let's look at some numbers.

First of all, I normalized the data because I don't want to give actual numbers. In this case, throwing out the first chapter (first chapters always have abnormally high readership), I chose to compare readership of each chapter to the chapter that was read the most, Chapter 12. The number for chapter 12 is a bit of an estimate because a chapter of Lily was released in the same post, so I subtracted the average readership of Lily to get that number. But... to give you some perspective on its popular at its height, "Magnolia" readership was about half that "Ouran", our most read series. 

Digging deeper, the series highest plateau was during chapters 8 - 17. Chapter 12 is the Ayato/Sui incestuous shower scene >_>...  Other events during this period include: Nagi struggles with sexy-Ayato fantasies, Sui teaches Ayato archery, some lovely red-hot Ayato and Hugo quality time, Lily introduces Arthur to everyone,  the introduction of the Black Twins, and the beginning of the tea party. The next peak is chapter 20 -- OMG! Alexandra is a DUDE! And... the last gasp at chapter 29 -- Sui, why you leaving hickies on Ayato? Dat's gross! Dat's your brother! It looks like the big slide happened during the chapters that continuously retread the letter from Ayato's mother. Honestly, while translating that, I felt like I was doing half of the previous each chapter. Those chapters were TEDIOUS, and I understand why readers would give up.

Anyhow... that's a peek into the "Magnolia" stats for Crimson Flower/Omari's Sister.  Sadly the same thing is happening to "Pochamani", but at more compressed time scale. But it appears for now to be going strong in Japan, so I don't expect it to end any time soon. If you would like to see stuff like this in the future, let me know. I was a little hesitant to post this because I was worried I'd number-nerd out... Haha! I was tempted to do more analysis... but I think this enough for this forum.

Anyhow, go out there and support "Magnolia" and Naked Ape through purchasing the books and Drama CDs.  Links to purchase are available on the "Magnolia" project page (LINK).  And let's keep our fingers crossed, and hope that "Magnolia" gets an ending it deserves in the last two chapters.

(Thanks, EvilNemesis)

Oct 23, 2013

Planning for 2014 -- Thanks for your Input

Thanks to everyone who gave us feedback through the survey and especially to those who took the time to write thoughtful comments.  We understand that the readers of this blog want more josei, while not neglecting shoujo. We understand that you come to this blog to read something different than the typical middle school and high school shoujos.  And we got the message loud and clear that you like oneshots and short series.

First of all, we still have some typical shoujos in the pipeline.  We will complete these projects and then move on. These projects include:

  • "Ore to Atashi no Kareshisama" (7 more chapters to complete)
  • "Megane no Incubus-kun" (3-chapter short series)
  • "Aoi Tsumeato" (oneshot)
  • "Funjunbatsu" (oneshot)
After chapter 11 of "Pochamani" we will be putting the series on hiatus. This series started as a oneshot that was expanded to 3 chapters, that was expanded to a volume, and then to a never-ending shoujo. I keep up with series, so I know what happens. After chapter 11, the story starts to jump the shark -- including some biker dude and another heavy girl who wants to become Tsumugi's disciple. I think from our perspective, we don't want to take on never-ending series unless they are interesting and appeared to be planned.  I would like to take a wait-and-see period to see where the series is going and to see whether the series is truly going to be never-ending (This is a danger when taking on series from Hana to Yume). We will make a clear announcement if we decided to drop the series.

We are still working on other series that have ended in Japan.  We are currently doing periodic mass releases of "Rex Fabula".  After we finish that, we will move onto to finishing "Ore to Atashi no Kareshisama" and "Yuurei Apaato Kanrinin". The next batch of "Rex Fabula" will come out next month, and we'll release a chapter of OtoA and YAK each too. Thanks to everyone helping us with Rex. This series has tough redraws so it's been slow.  The same applies to OtoA, so we apologize for our pace.  YAK...>_>  (subconsciously I don't want that series to end... it's not particularly difficult to release.) We will also clear out all the oneshots and short series that are in some state of completion regardless of theme.  Haha! We've got a lot of them!

Okay... onto new stuff. Three new series will be debuting very soon. One is a series I've been waiting for to release in tankoubon form for nearly a year.  It's by an mangaka that's near and dear to my heart (and you readers too), so look out for it soon.  The next series smacked in the face hard with gloriousness.  We're nearly done with the first chapter, so look out for it next week. And the lastly the sequel to "Kanojo ni Naru Hi". We are continuing one with the other new series we've introduced.  The series from Haruca and Itan are on a very slow release schedule in Japan (once every 2 - 6 months).  We have no influence over that...so...oh well. But this give us a lot flexibility in our schedule to take on many projects from these publications.  Also! We are working on a variety of short-series (1 volume) and oneshots.  I, Kuroneko003, am personally now working 50% on series and 50% on short-series and oneshots. Typesetters willing, a flood of oneshots is coming soon as we complete a bunch of already translated works.  Please check the release schedule to see what we're up to! I'm looking forward to launching the new series.  Most of what we've got going on now series-wise will fill out 2014. We will take up new short series as we finish short series.

Current and Upcoming Themes!
  • November - mid-December: Supernatural, Horror, and Pyschological
  • December - February:  Fairytales

Please feel free to give us some more feedback on what you would like to see in 2014.  Please no specific series though. We aren't taking specific requests, but do give us some theme ideas. Also, Pochamani fans, please be gentle with me.

We need typesetters and redraw artists, so if you want more faster releases, please volunteer to help us. Contact me using the contact link at the top in the right side column if you are interested.

Planning for 2014 -- Your Feedback is Wanted

NOTE:  WE AREN'T DROPPING ANY SERIES. WE ARE DILIGENTLY WORKING ON UNFINISHED SERIES. THEY WILL GET DONE.
 
2013 is winding down, so it's time to start planning for 2014! This year we started making an effort to only take on short series and more oneshots. This summer we started exploring josei. We will continue the transition to short series and more oneshots in 2014.

As a translator, I've found working on long-form oneshots to be very fulfilling. The stories are focused, deep, and have a definite arc, and an end. Not many long-form oneshots are published, so pickings are slim.  Also, they tend to take a long time to scanlate. Nevertheless, I would like to do more of them, so I'm keeping an eye out for them.

To help me refine the direction of next year, I'm want to gather suggestions from the readers of this blog. And I don't mean to suggest specific works, because I don't want to narrow things down that much. What would you like to see more of? What would you like to see less of? What have you really liked from 2013? What didn't you like?  What aren't other scanlation groups doing? What are other scanlation groups doing too much of?  Would you like more non-scanlation content -- reviews, general discussions, news... ? Or you comment about whatever you like manga-wise.  Anyhow, I want to keep things fresh and I don't want us to be like any other shoujo or josei scanlation group.  So please suggest any themes, subgenres, mangaka, or whatever you're interested in. Also, there's a handy dandy poll at the top of the right column.

Oct 20, 2013

"Magnolia" Chapter 36

Here's "Magnolia" Chapter 36.  I thought this was going to be an arc about the King and Ayato, but I guess it isn't.  Rather, it's just follows Ayato and his buddies through the aftermath of the masquerade party. To my surprise, Hollier is a hardcore shipper.  I was laughing heartily at the panels where she appears.  Hollier is a good girl. I wish the best for her. Alexandra owns my heart. I really like him. Go with your heart, you beautiful man!  Ah Hugo... Hee! Finally, the drawing of him I've been waiting for and it's cute! Hee! There's hope that the story won't go down the expected path, so I 'm very happy and looking forward to the next chapter.  Hee!

On to the release!

Oct 18, 2013

Long-Form Oneshot: "Tasogare Renren" ("Longing for Dusk") by Nari Kusakawa

This oneshot originally appeared as the feature oneshot in Aka Lala last year.  We've been sitting on it for a while and finally got up the courage to take it on a couple of weeks ago.  It helped that the oneshot was released in the "Boku no Hitsugi de Bansan wo" ("Shall we have Dinner in my Coffin") short story compilation.  Having the tankoubon version saved us a lot of time cleaning.

On a side note, included in the short story compilation are "Boku no Hitsugi de Bansan wo" and "Shinobigoto", both of which we have already translated. Please check them out! The remaining oneshot in the compilation is the pre-sequel to "Tasogare Renren", which we will release next week!

If you would like to purchase your own copy of "Boku no Hitsugi de Bansan wo", here are some links: Amazon JP / YesAsia ($6.99 at YesAsia! Shipping is $3.99 or remember, there's free shipping with purchases over $25!)

Moving on!  This is a lovely oneshot! It got high praise from the proofreaders, so I hope you will enjoy it too.

And now on to the release!

Oct 17, 2013

What I Just Finished Reading: "Tropic of the Sea" by Satoshi Kon

Title: Tropic of the Sea
Artist/Author: Satoshi Kon
Publisher: Vertical
ISBN:  9781939130068

Purchase:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

First Impressions:  Oh, the cover is pretty!  The story is pretty meh. There's nothing particularly good or bad about the story or the artwork. This manga is thoroughly mediocre.

Artwork -- B:  It's functional. Many pages are intricately detailed, but nothing ever caught my eye, so I didn't pause very long to see what was going on the panels.  It's very draftmen-like -- it's not pretty, nor is it ugly;  it's just there. The only illustration that stands out to me is the cover.

Presentation -- A-: The cover is gorgeous and promises a lot more than what's inside. The translation reads smoothly and the wording seems true to the lackluster characters. Not having access to the Japanese now, I don't know whether the blandness was intended or whether there's more color to the characters in the original Japanese.  The afterword being in English reading order was a little jarring. I was very confused at first (you have to flip the book backward).  There are some nice extra illustrations at the end.

The Story -- C:  The story is like "Goonies" without the fun and wonder.  It's a coming of age adventure and the last hurrah for some young adults before their small town gets mowed down and turned into a tourist resort destination.  The townspeople are good and believe in their local mythology. The developers are bad and only after money. And, of course, the main character's father is the one who sold the town out. YAWN.  Sooo as a fun exercise, if I write the words "Teenagers" "Mermaid Egg Legend" and "Land Developers", what complete story flashes across your mind? That half-second mental construction is the story.  That's it. There's nothing to anticipate. Boo...

Overall -- C: This manga is thoroughly average. Nothing out of the ordinary happens in the story. The artwork is draftmen-like. It's very mechanical in construction and so consequently there is no "heart" or passion in this story or the artwork. It just lies there like unflavored gelatin. For me, this is worse than being bad, because at least it's interesting to see how bad something bad can get. I recommend buying this if you wanna buy it for the "Satoshi Kon" name.  Otherwise skip it, because what you imagined in half of a second was probably a lot more interesting than this manga.

Oct 15, 2013

"Magical Change" Chapter 2

Continuing on with Lord Phantom's pursuit of Hiromi, we have "Magical Change" Chapter 2! Honestly, I don't know where this manga is going, but Lord Phantom seems like a nice enough guy. I am suspicious of Garnet Red now considering what's going on with Hiromi's little brother.

Onto the release!

Oct 14, 2013

"Pochamani" Chapter 9

And now we begin the Valentine's Day arc!  The thing I didn't want to happen happens, but it's handled with typical Tsumugi kindness.  The chapter ends with a question we thought was already answered, but... let's just say in the next two chapters, the full answer to the question is something I didn't expect, and I imagine a few of us will have a spirited conversation in the comments sections after chapter 11. Anyhow, this is a very interesting arc and I hope we all find some truth after reading it.

We still need a dedicated typesetter for this series.  Until then, I'll be taking over again, which will slow releases down a little in general.

And now onto the release!

Oct 12, 2013

NYCC Manga License Announcements

Lots of good manga license announcements were made at Comic-Con in New York over the past two days.  For a full listing of the announcements please go of Anime News Network:

Vertical: Announcement 1/ Announcement 2
Kodansha USA: Announcement 1/ Announcement 2/ Announcement 3
Viz
Yen Press

This blog posting will only cover licensing announcements that matter to Crimson Flower Readers.

Vertical:
  • "Attack on Titan: Before the Fall" Light Novels
  • "Clothes Named Fat" by Moyoco Anno
Kodansha USA:
  • "Attack on Titan: Before the Fall" Manga
  • "Attack on Titan: No Regrets" (the Levi Spinoff)
  • "Attack on Titan: Junior High
 Viz:
  • "Black Rose Alice" by Mizushiro Setona
Yen Press:
  • "He is my Only Vampire" (Junketsu + Kareshi) by Aya Shouoto
  • "Demon from a Foreign Land" (Iki no Ki) by Yuki Kaori
We got a lot of great licenses, 3 of which were former Omari's Sister projects! Please buy the English releases and support manga licensing in the US.  I have a feeling that new batch of licenses will boost the industry and we'll see a lot more manga in 2015. A bright manga-filled future is ahead!

Note: All licensed materials have been removed from the blog and the servers. The blog posts are still there to read the comments, but the links are not active.

Oct 11, 2013

Manga Review: Voice Over! Seiyu Academy

Title: Voice Over! Seiyu Academy
Artist/Author: Maki Minami
Publisher: Viz (Shoujo Beat)
ISBN:  9781421559704

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble (Also Available Digitally)

Initial Impressions:
I approached this skeptically because I'm tired of reading "I wanna become an idol" manga. I only picked it up because Holanio and Sora from Tumblr seemed to be really excited about it.  The first chapter was lackluster, but I kept reading. The second chapter -- yeah, yeah, senpai notice me... But by the 4 chapter I was hooked once the manager character showed, and I became curious about what his plans for Hime are.  So... I guess I'll get the second volume, but only if it's on sale.

Artwork -- B: It's typical Maki Minami.  Lots of screentones and all the females look like 5-year olds. I don't particularly like the female character designs because they look like elementary school kids, but I can read the expressions and distinguish the characters from one another.

Presentation -- A: The redrawing and typesetting are superb. Also the translation reads easily and they dropped the honorifics (san, chan, kun, sensei, sama, etc...) I wish there were color pages, but that's a nitpick.

Story -- B-: It took 3 chapters for me to get into the story. It starts as a typical "I wanna become an idol" story (she's not a good voice actress in the roles she wants, senpai doesn't notice her, she's grouped together with handful of eccentric losers,... etc.) The end game is obvious, and I kinda wish she'd say "screw it" and embrace her natural talent rather than chasing after something she isn't. In this respect, the story is tedious. The characters are forgettable. I had to look up Hime and I can't tell you any other characters' name.  That's just how generic this is. What's got me interested in this series is how the industry rep plans to use Hime.  Will the story get creative in this respect?

Overall -- B: This is a generic idol shoujo cotton candy. If you like idol-shoujo, go for it.  If you like Maki Minami, go for it. If you're new to shoujo and like the little you've read so far, this is a must read.  If you've read a ton of shoujo and have grown tire of idol-shoujo, you can skip this title and miss nothing. I'm gonna get the second volume to see if the story detours from the generic idol story, though.

The Attack on Titan Levi Spinoff is now Licensed by Kodansha USA -- W00t! WE ARE DROPPING!

YES!!!!!  We are dropping the series immediately and I will be retiring the prologue NOW.  THIS IS A GREAT DAY!!!!

Oct 10, 2013

Long-Form Oneshot: "Jinrou Chronicle" Part 2 (and Batch File)

Title: Jinrou Chronicle
Artist/Author: Lay Mutsuki
Publisher: Kadokwawa Shoten
Publication: Asuka
ISBN:  978494128113

Purchase: Amazon JP/ YesAsia ($8.99 and Free Shipping with $25 purchase)
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I made this into a combined project page since Blogger only allows 20 pages. Isn't the cover pretty?

If you enjoyed this oneshot, I encourage you to buy the book. It's only $8.99, and if you buy $25 worth of stuff from Yes Asia, the shipping is free! It's a wonderful opportunity to purchase books from some of the series you've read on this blog and directly show your appreciation to the original artists. You can search both Yes Asia and Amazon JP with the ISBN. Please contact me (crimsonflowerscans@gmail.com) if you need help with either website.

Here's the final part of this long-form oneshot. A big thanks to Peonine and Jade for helping me with the translation, Ichigo Stars for some very nice redraws, and the proofreaders for slogging through 152 pages of my typos.

I really enjoyed this oneshot. I'm glad it was given the chance to be told in 150+ pages, which allowed for deep character development and rich storytelling.  I really love Chihiro and Naoyuki.  They are wonderful brothers and their bond is beautiful. There were many panels from this oneshot showing beautiful brotherly love. I really liked how they weren't afraid to comfort each other through this awful ordeal.  Their father... he's a character I want to punch -- HARD. But I'm glad he stayed true to his character even though the end of the story. A wolf is a wolf is wolf...

And now onto the release!