Sunday, July 10, 2011

Comment: GanGan

Looks like mediafire is STILL undergoing maintenance. Sigh.

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

When trying to decide what the next magazine that I comment on here should be, I'm torn over simply grabbing the next title available on the racks at Family Mart, or looking for something that has a freebie that I want. The problem with simply picking a title at random is that there's a good chance that there'll be nothing in it that I want to read. As for trolling for freebies, my apartment is small and there's little room for cell phone strap figures that will just sit around and collect dust. It does help if the figure is one from a manga that I actually like, but there's no point to getting a freebie that I don't want to keep.

Things became a lot easier this time. I only really follow a limited number of magazines. For a long time, it was just Afternoon, because it had the original Gun Smith Cats. More recently, it's been GanGan, with Full Metal Alchemist and Soul Eater. I especially like Soul Eater, and was kind of happy when FMA ended. However, the current issue commemorates GanGan's 20th anniversary, and there's a prequel chapter for FMA ("The Prototype") as well as the 6th chapter of Soul Eater Not! What tipped me over the edge, given that it's 580 yen for 900 pages, is that this specific issue comes packaged with a nice little Full Metal Alchemist LCD digital clock and picture frame. After I get tired of the current picture, I can easily replace it with something else.

(Sample page from Shikabane Hime (AKA: Corpse Princess).)

I expect that most western fans know about FMA, and many will like Soul Eater. SEN! is a side story that follows 3 young girls that enter the Shinigami school in the U.S, and is running concurrently with Soul Eater. I haven't been buying GanGan much lately, so I was somewhat surprised to see all of the other titles here that have gotten scanillated. On the whole, the artwork for most of the manga isn't all that great. The bulk of it is fairly cartoonish and is aimed at younger teenagers, even though the storylines may be more appropriate for those over age 18. The stories are a mix of fantasy, SF and horror, with a little comedy thrown in. The only "sports" title is Bamboo Blade B, with its emphasis on kendo. The titles that western fans may recognize are:

Full Metal Alchemist
Soul Eater
Bloody Cross
Mangaka-san and Assistant-san
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Bamboo Blade B
To Aru Majutsu no Index
Umineko no naku koru ni Chiru

(Sample page from Shinta Fujimoto's Red Raven.)

Summary: GanGan often has freebies in the form of cell phone straps, but there are other items occasionally as well. If you live in Japan and read Japanese, then you'd have fun filling in the ankets (questionnaires) to get a shot at the prizes that are offered (figures, toys, phone cards, etc.) GanGan is a monthly magazine, and it has quite a few titles that you may be interested in. It's also a massive publication, with 900+ pages per issue, giving you a lot to wade through for your money. Funny enough, few Japanese people I've met even recognize the name, so it may be more popular outside of the country. Recommended.

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