Sunday, March 18, 2012

Commentary: Weekly Manga Times

Back in December, I commented on Manga Times Special. Well, a week ago I was going through one of the convenience stores, looking for the magazines that "conbini" generally carry, and I found Weekly Manga Times, the sister title to Special. It's getting harder to find magazines I want to review, in part because I've done them already. My main consideration is finding ones with freebies that I want to collect, and only a few magazines actually have any. Those that do tend to have the same kinds of things - figures, pens or clear files, and I don't really need another clear file. A secondary factor is cost - the remaining monthly magazines are between 600 and 900 yen ($7.50 and $11 USD) an issue. If there's absolutely nothing in a specific issue I want to read, it feels like a waste of money to get it just to write up a comment. So, I've been going to the various conbini (7-11, Sankus, Cocos, Family Mart) every couple of days to see if there's something cheaper that I've missed up until now. A third consideration is "time and place". Each magazine comes out on a fixed day, like every Monday, or every second and fourth Thursday. Then, there are those mags that everyone has, like Shonen Jump and Shonen Sunday, versus those that can only be found in a conbini, or only in the big stores like Kinokuniya and Maruzen. As mentioned before, there's a good 60-70 mags aimed at just young and adult males, so there's a lot I haven't covered yet, but because of time and place, some of them aren't on the shelves when I'm at Kinokuniya looking to buy one. It's becoming something of a catch-as-catch-can.

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

Weekly Manga Times, every Friday. 300 yen, 260 pages.
According to the wiki article, Times first started in 1956, making it one of the longest-running, if not THE longest-running weekly manga magazine (Shonen Sunday and Shonen Magazine both started in 1959, and are much more popular now). There is a long list of titles that had previously appeared in Times, but there's nothing I recognize just from the title. And in the current issue, there's no story or artist I recognize, either.

(Kowashiya Gen (Roughly translates to "Dissectionist Gen").)

I'd say Times is aimed at older office workers (i.e - salarymen). Genres include fishing, Edo-era drama, salaryman slice-of-life, hospital drama and cooking. The cover story, Tsuki yaaranu is just starting up in this issue, as an Edo-era court drama. The artwork is not bad, but there is a very explicit sex scene where the main character enters the court and seduces one of the higher-ranking women in the family. None of the other stories this time are all that sex-oriented, or particularly violent.

(Tsuribune Misaki Maru ("Fishingboat Misaki").)

Some of the stories are a bit unusual, as compared to what shows up in other magazines. One is set on an open sea fishing boat, another on an ostrich farm, and a third in a train station coin locker room - Coin Locker Monogatari. (There's Barista, about a bartender/coffee vendor, and Nichiyobi wa, neko gohan (Sunday is Cat's Meal), about a couple and their furrball cat.) On the whole, the artwork is about average with nothing really standing out. The stories are fairly sedate, with a soap-opera feel. If I had to pick something that I liked, it would have to be neko gohan, for it's mild What's Michael? appeal.

(Nichi-yobi wa, Neko Gohan)

Bottom line, though, is that Weekly Manga Times isn't going to appeal to the casual western fan. Probably best worth avoiding.

(Coin Locker Monogatari)


Dates for 3/19 to 3/26:

Birthdays (16):
Richard Francis Burton, 3/19/1821
Moms Mabley, 3/19/1894
Pamela ("Earthseed") Sargent, 3/20/1948
Johann Sebastian Bach, 3/21/1685
Werner Klemperer, 3/22/1920
Ross Martin, 3/22/1920
Chico Marx, 3/22/1887
William Shattner, 3/22/1931
Marty (comedian) Allen, 3/23/1922
Akira (Film director) Kurosawa, 3/23/1910
H. Beam ("Paratime") Piper, 3/23/1904
Louie Anderson, 3/24/1953
Robert Carradine, 3/24/1954
Harry Houdini, 3/24/1874
Richard O'Brien, 3/25/1942
Leonard Nimoy, 3/26/1931

Died (7):
Edgar Rice Burroughs, 3/19/1950
Arthur C. Clark, 3/19/2008
Isaac Newton, 3/20/1727
Peter Lorre, 3/23/1964
Elizabeth Taylor, 3/23/2011
Jules Verne, 3/24/1905
Ludwig van Beethoven, 3/26/1827

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