Sunday, July 8, 2012

Commentary: Young Ace

I think one of the biggest mistakes manga magazine publishers make is to flood the market with similar-looking titles under related brand umbrellas.  Shonen Jump, Young Jump, Miracle Jump, SQ Jump... Sure, there are lots of artists trying to make their livings, and there needs to be a large enough outlet to give them a chance, but at some point, readers just start giving up on all of these magazines and end up spending all their time reading them for free at the convenience stores.  There's just too much *stuff* on the shelves, which is one reason some of these brands go belly up after a few years.

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

This is the impression I get when looking at Young Ace.  690 yen, 900 pages.
Started in 2009, the person that created the English wiki page for this magazine couldn't be brought to do more than list the stories running at the time. It's a pretty glossy publication, with above average artwork that kind of all just blends together.  However, there's an emphasis on reviewing various anime in the first 34 pages, plus lots of giveaways.  Which I think is the main pull. Freebies include a special edition manga cover for The Vanishing of Yuki Nagato-chan, and the 3"-tall Asuka Evangelion figure.

(Spec Ou)

There are quite a few titles here that western fans will recognize, starting with the overly-promoted Fate/Zero.  I've lost count of how many different magazines the "Fate/" franchise has appeared in.  Other titles are:

Blood Lad
Black Rock Shooter
Drug & Drop
Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service
Gunbuster - Aim for the Top
Last Exile

Other titles worth noting:


Vermillion, by Satoh Atsuki.
New story starting in this issue.  A human guy and demon girl are trying to find out who's opening up gates to the demon world to let in monsters. Solid artwork, cute character designs.  Eventually, there'll probably be an explanation for why the girl always keeps her right eye closed.


JA, art by Naru Narumi, written by Kou Karakemi.
JA is usually the abbreviation for Japan Agriculture, but here, it's "girls doing agriculture".  A girl's father remarries, and she suddenly finds herself living on a farm with 3 new sisters.  In this chapter, the inventor sister fails at attempts to make useful hand tools, and the group is eventually forced to do things the hard way. Light line work, and standard cute manga character designs.

(Fushigi no Umi no Nadia Anthology)

Fushigi no Umi no Nadia Anthology.
A series of parody gags lampooning Nadia, Secret of Blue Water.  Just started in this issue.

As mentioned above, one of the freebies is the Asuka figure.  It stands 3" tall, making it one of the larger figures to be packaged with a manga magazine, and it looks really good.  Definitely worth the price of the publication.  The manga special cover is only good if you like The Vanishing of Yuki Nagato-chan, which didn't grab me right away.

(Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service)

Summary: Young Ace is a pretty slick magazine, but so much of the stuff in here seems to be all the same.  Evangelion used to run in here, and even that never really interested me much, either in manga or anime form.  I do like Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Drug & Drop, and Black Rock Shooter, and I'm intrigued by Vermillion.  So, it's not a complete waste of ink for me.

Some reader service and the occasional naked breast.  Maybe PG-17 at best.

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