Sunday, August 19, 2012

Commentary: Dengeki Bunko

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

Dengeki Bunko (Lightning Attack Book Collection), 720 yen, 530 pages
Monthly Dengeki Bunko is unusual for a manga magazine in that it's actually 70% short and serialized stories.  Produced by ASCII Media, it's been around since 1993, and is mainly a forum for new and established light novelists.  In this sense, it's something of a waste of money for those of us unable to read Japanese quickly.  It's also kind of expensive for the page count, but it does have some freebies that sort of make up for the cover price. Although, the paper is higher-quality magazine stock, usually not found in weekly or monthly "zasshi".

The first 75 or so pages consist of write-ups of different anime and figures for series like Sword Art Online and My Little Sister Can't be this Cute, plus a couple of interviews and photo spreads of voice actors.  Then it's almost non-stop text with stories from Shakugan no Shana and @Home.  Fortunately, there's a bit of color since most stories have a splash intro page.

(Accel World)

The majority of the manga looks to be aimed at a slightly younger audience, with an average art style and more cartoony, character designs.  There's nothing that really stands out for me, but there's nothing really bad, either.  Mainly fantasy and video game-related storylines.  Some 4-koma gag strips.  I haven't seen any of the manga fan scanilated, but Accel World and Sword Art Online probably have some presence in the U.S.  Otherwise, the only other manga in here are the two 4-komas, Akucheru World and the self-named parody Sword Art Online, plus the 2-page Boku-tachi no Minami-chan (also a gag strip).

(Akucheru World, a parody of Accel World)

(Sword Art Online)

The two freebies this time are Accel World's Kuroyuki Hime in a swimsuit and carrying a white shirt or robe, and a 2' x 3' poster of the three main girls of My Little Sister (pictured on the cover of the magazine above)  Overall, though, I can't recommend Dengeki Bunko to anyone that can't read Japanese fluently.  There's just too much text and not enough manga.  If you do like Sword Art Online, or Accel World, save your money and buy the the tankobons when they come out.

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