Review – Gigant volume 1 (Hiroya Oku)

-art by Hiroya Oku

Gigant volume 1
Story & Art: Hiroya Oku
Originally serialised in Big Comic Superior
Published by Shogakukan, 2018
Copy purchased from eBookJapan

All I wanna do is see you turn into a giant woman, a giant woman!
All I wanna be is someone who gets to see a giant woman
All I wanna do is help you turn into a giant woman, a giant woman!
All I wanna be is someone who gets to see a giant woman
‘Giant Woman’, by Rebecca Sugar, 2014

What is it?: Hiroya Oku, of Gantz and Inuyashiki fame, returns with a brand new series, tying the science fiction sensibilities of those two hits with the sexy and dramatic stylings of his original debut work, Hen.

Yamada Yoko is the son of a filmmaker, a bit of a do-nothing wastrel obsessed with media and making his own work, when he isn’t pleasuring himself to the latest blu-ray of his favourite huge-breasted porn actress, Papiko. Through unusual happenstance he becomes friends with Papiko, real name Chiho Johansson, right before she inherits a strange device from a strangely-dressed dying man, one that allows her to increase her size at will!

[CONTENT WARNING: Gigant deals with themes of physical and emotional abuse in relationships, both romantic and familial. These subjects will come up in the review, so be duly warned going in]

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Review – Hana ni Arashi volume 1

art by Luka Kobachi

Hana ni Arashi volume 1
Story & Art: Luka Kobachi
Originally serialised online @ Sunday Webry
Published by Shogakukan, 2018
Copy purchased from eBookJapan

There’s something about you
That takes my blues away
Life’s nothing without you
I can’t get through the days
I’ll never be cynical
‘Cause you wouldn’t have it
I believe in miracles, I believe in magic
-‘Unicron Loev’, by Raleigh Ritchie, 2016

What is it?: Nanoha and Chidori are two perfectly healthy teenage schoolgirls, spending time with their friends, running a literature club, going to class and hanging out together. They’re also secretly dating, sneaking bits of public affection out wherever they can.

From this core concept we get a series of short, sweet chapters, exploring the duo’s secret relationship with warmth and humour.

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Review – The Bride was a Boy

art by Chii, design by KC Fabellon

The Bride was a Boy
Story & Art: Chii
Translation: Beni Axia Conrad
Adaptation: Shanti Whitesides
Lettering & Retouch: Karis Page
Cover Design: KC Fabellon
Editor: Jenn Grunigen
Sensitivity Reader: Casey Lucas
Published by Seven Seas
Copy purchased via ComiXology UK

I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No, I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me
-“Stand by Me”, specifically as covered by Florence + the Machine (we’ll get to why that version at the end), 2016

What is it?: Originally presented as comic essays online, The Bride was a Boy is the collected, edited, and expanded autobiographical account of Chii’s life with her boyfriend (now husband), leading up to their engagement and marriage. This is all framed around Chii’s transition, both as a matter of fact account of how she started transitioning, early dysphoria, her sex reassignment surgery, and the process of having her legal status in Japan changed to female, and as a way of educating the reader as to correct terminology and information about transitioning and the trans experience, as it is to her.

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Comics I Read: Grand Jump 2018 Edition

cover art by Yoichi Takahashi

As of writing this piece, I’ve been reading Grand Jump for 15 issues, released twice a month since September last year, and it’s been an interesting journey compared to our last highlight for these, Weekly Shonen Sunday, being a magazine aimed at a much older audience; that of older Japanese businessmen (though as with all demographic stuff, this is largely an arbitrary designation). This means that the content is aimed at a much more mature audience, and presumably a more intelligent breed, doing away with the furigana (hiragana above kanji) that’s helped me keep my head juuuust about above water when reading, and as such I’m usually up s**t creek without a paddle reading this stuff.

But I’m nothing if not stubborn, and equipped with both a decent ability to kind of work stuff out visually when my own brain and dictionary/vocab reference lets me down, and manage to read some eleven of the magazine’s twenty(ish) series on a regular basis, all of which I’m going to talk about at some short length below. The vast majority of these aren’t talked about in western comics circles, and so I really wanna shed light on what are some of my all-time favourite comics. Let’s go.

BUY GRAND JUMP HERE

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Review – Silver Spoon vol. 1

art by Hiromu Arakawa

Silver Spoon vol. 1
Story & Art: Hiromu Arakawa
Translation: Amanda Haley
Lettering: Abigail Blackman
Originally Serialised in Weekly Shonen Sunday
Published by Yen Press, 2018
Copy purchased at Amazon UK

Me and the farmer get on fine
Through stormy weather and bottles of wine
If I pull my weight, he’ll treat me well
But if I’m late, he’ll give me hell
-‘Me and the Farmer‘, by The Housemartins, 1987

What is it?: Silver Spoon is a Weekly Shonen Sunday series sporadically published since 2011, about Yuugo Hachiken, a directionless city kid, moving to an agricultural high school expecting an easy time where he’ll be able to prepare for entrance exams to a ‘proper’ college. Little does he know how badly he’s underestimated the hard-working world of agriculture, facing grueling physical activity and difficult studies in areas completely unknown to him! Along the way he reassesses his views on life, finds new friends, and maybe even a new future outside of traditional academia.

Silver Spoon is also one of the more recent works of Hiromu Arakawa, celebrated creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, Hero Tales, and the current manga adaptation of The Heroic Legend of Arslan, with a successful anime under its belt from A-1 pictures, and a live-action film. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also the quickest title to ever sell a million copies for Shonen Sunday’s parent company, Shogakukan. A big deal, then.

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