Medieval’s Manga Recommendations for February

Here is the first article to derive from my Candlemas Resolutions.  You might expect the article on C. S. Lewis’ The Discarded Image soon, which shall meet another of these resolutions.  By the way, comment not only on the manga, but if you feel like there’s a better way for me to write these recommendations.  I’d like to make these posts as interesting as possible now that I’ll be doing them on a monthly basis.

Hachi Wan

1) 81 Diver by Shibata Yokusaru

You can read my thoughts on the series in this post.  (Incidentally, it seems like that post influenced D. M. Dutcher to do his own version of Quick Takes.  Click here for his post.)  Unfortunately, a Japanese person uploading 81 Diver was arrested.  If he was the only one, who knows if more chapters shall ever be released.  Actually, looking at the copious numbers of Japanese arrested for this crime is appalling.  Check out all the links under that article too!!!  Almost makes me want to stop reading manga online.  At least, Crunchyroll has a decent selection of legal manga.

cerberus-cover

2) Cerberus by Fukui Takami

This stands as the only horror anime on my list.  Certain elements of the manga remind me of Bleach, but it has a darker mood than that popular show.  Evil demons/monsters/youma/youkai/whatever-you-prefer named kuzure (Never heard of them before) are intent on devouring human beings.  Our hero, Kei, and a childhood friend suffer the misfortune of meeting one of these monsters while exploring a grave site.  But, within that graveyard is a grave protector named Yukifusa, with whom Kei makes a contract in order to save the life of his childhood friend.  Now, Kei becomes tasked with the mission of destroying kuzure lest his powers deplete, which will cause his demise.

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Freeloader on Facebook

My long time readers know how enthusiastic I am about the upcoming cartoon based on Sean Bishop’s The Freeloader.  After all, I’ve written about the comic on four occasions (The Freeloader to be Animated, A Little Review of The Freeloader, Retractio Tabulae Proximae, My First Foray into a Con) and mentioned its creator on one other occasion.  For my hard work, Sean Bishop and his writer, Clover SH, have decided to make me administrator of the comic’s Facebook page.  I encourage anyone who has an interest in American cartoons–particularly cartoons influenced by anime–to like the page and take a look at some of his fine artwork.

Yes, you read that right.  They just flat out and named one of their characters Mary Sue.

Yes, you read that right. They just flat out and named one of their characters Mary Sue.

Retractio Tabulae Proximae

Well, tabula is the closest Latin word I can think of for “post.”  Also, before anyone thinks I’m about to do something as horrible as take back all I said in praise of The Freeloader, let me note here that retractio means “reconsideration” rather than the English word it most nearly relates to: “retraction.”  St. Augustine, for example, was famous for writing multas retractiones, both during and especially near the end of his life.  That most humble of Church Fathers had a great desire for the exact truth as well as a thorough knowledge of human ignorance and errancy.  However, I wonder how many people read his retractiones, which must make his other writings that much more clear?

st-augustine-of-hippo

What I need to reconsider is my error in not including an important figure in the development of The Freeloader.  If you guessed the writer, you’d be right.  Writers are the most ignored people in Hollywood, but is it not deplorable that a fellow writer should be guilty of the same fault?  For shame!  A most literate young woman by the name of  Clover SH is responsible for putting The Freeloader into cohesive form.  Sean Bishop actually asked me to place her name in the article, but it slipped my mind as I delved into the possibilities of the series.  Having read the treatment of the first episode and other documents, Mr. Bishop is most fortunate in having Clover SH on his team.  Good luck to the both of them!

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The Freeloader to be Animated

Well, the happiest result of me visiting the Baltimore Comic Convention was to learn about Sean Bishop’s The Freeloader comic, which I have since reviewed here.  We struck up an internet friendship, and I have been learning of Sean Bishop’s adventures and efforts to publish The Freeloader ever since.  With eager ears, I learned that he pursued his dream to the Golden State, where he met many people in the animation industry.

Here's some older designs for the Freeloader.

Here’s some older designs for the Freeloader.

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But, why I am speaking of the animation industry?  After all, Mr. Bishop is a comic artist.  The reason lies in that he is trying to make his comic into a cartoon, which pleases me to no end.  Modern American cartoons have rather paled in comparison to those of the good old days and now are relegated to the extremes of children’s cartoons and the vulgar fare intended to adults.  The sole exception to this recently has been Avatar and The Legend of Korra–both profoundly influenced by Japanese animation and wonderful examples of the potential for American cartoons to be great again.  Mr. Bishop is well versed enough in American comics and cartoons as well as anime to create a truly unique story featuring the best of both animation cultures, and his comic, as well as the information Mr. Bishop has shared with me, gives every indication that it shall.

Remember how I noted that Sean Bishop was influenced by Japanese anime?  Here's the original design for Aegea.

Remember how I noted that Sean Bishop was influenced by Japanese anime? Here’s the original design for Aegea.

The original Aegea and the Freeloader.  I really hope that he can use these designs one day.  They're beautiful!

The original Aegea and the Freeloader. I really hope that he can use these designs one day. They’re beautiful!

For example, sarcasm is rampant in American cartoons, which is funny on occasion, but tends to sicken the viewer when used with much frequency.  Avatar stands as an example of a cartoon which was sincere in its aims and eschewed overdoing the sarcasm.  The Freeloader‘s humor more relies on slapstick (tsukkomi and boke, actually), and one sees that same sense of sincerity found in anime.  The plot concerns a rather screwy kid trying to make a living as a bounty hunter.  He captures a woman named Aegea for breaking curfew, who turns out to have a criminal record worth a $50,000 bounty.  The officer in charge gives her the option to work off the bounty by helping Freeloader, Aegea’s nickname for her new cheapskate partner, in hunting criminals.  Unfortunately, Freeloader’s methods anger the powerful, and he soon gets into trouble with both sides of the law.

freeloader-illustration-1freeloader page 13

This will make for a great story.  I can hardly contain myself as I wait for a studio to announce that it has accepted his story.  I’ll be sure to keep you all posted when it happens!  For now, here is a link to the author’s website: http://freeloader4hire.blogspot.com/p/legend-of-freeloader.html.

A Little Review of The Freeloader

It’s been a while, hasn’t it, dear readers?  Classwork and all the activities which happen at my university have kept me away from writing for a while, but take solace that you are not the only ones with whom I’ve lost touch: my family rarely hears from me, my friends from college never do, and one of my pet cats still looks longingly out of the window as it awaits my return.  But, this article will at least reach those who are in the first two groups–my cat will have to wait until I visit home next weekend.

As some of you may have noticed, the artist whose comic I marked at the Baltimore Comic Con, Sean Bishop, commented on my article and kindly offered to give me a free signed edition of his work.  (I tell you, as surreal as it was for him to see his work blogged about, it was even more so to see one of my writings produce an effect in the physical world.)  His generosity even extended to him sending two posters–one in color and the other in black and white–of his Rurouni Kenshin drawing, which may be seen in the prior blog post.  Both of these are exquisite to behold; though, I find myself gravitating to the one in black and white, which no doubt shows to how full an extent I have immersed myself in Japanese culture.  As I promised him, here’s a little review of his work.

The story concerns a criminal with a $50,000 dollar bounty on her head, who finds herself forced to cooperate with a lowly bounty hunter in order to work off her debt to society.  This female misfit, named Ms. Aegea (An interesting name.  Make me wonder whether I’m supposed to compare the character to Queen Aegea of the Amazons or King Aegeus of the Athenians–but that’s just my classical mind at work), was captured by the bounty hunter for staying in a park past curfew–this bounty hunter had no idea of the bounty.  Judging from the scenes which show them working together, the two make a great pair.  We’ve yet to learn the bounty hunter’s proper name.  Since he makes Ms. Aegea pay for everything, she just calls him “freeloader.”  The bounty hunter pair, in which we have one rather gung-ho character and another who is laid back, reminds me of Black Cat.  I’m expecting some interesting things from the story.  I’m especially curious what the freeloader’s background is, which will probably be revealed along with his name.

One of my favorite series.

This style of drawing seems to be a pleasant mixture of the kind found in Japanese-style manga and American Sunday Comics.  This allows the characters to be very expressive, increasing certain scenes’ comedic impact.  However, one does wish that the backgrounds held more detail, but the characters draw in the reader’s attention sufficiently to render this defect negligible.

Yet, this comic book has one flaw which makes me almost prompts me to break out into Juvenalian indignation.  That Mr. Bishop realizes also it makes my complaint more justified: he committed the great and nearly unforgivable sin of making this comic too brief.  I want to know what happens next!  In particular, the final scene abruptly ends with a dark figure bombing a mailing facility as the freeloader says “That guy just…jaywalked across the street!”  The desire to know how this scene continues practically makes the reader want to scream!

Another infamous bomber. If you haven’t seen Full Metal Panic Fumoffu, you really need to.

So, Mr. Bishop is writing a wonderful comic, which I encourage everyone to either buy or eagerly wait for its page length to increase before getting it.