Is it that time of year already? Time flies when you are poring over stacks of doujinshi. And where did all these stacks come from?? This is supposed to be the 2017 edition of this annual tradition, in which, as we all now know, I discuss various doujins I picked up in 2016 because I like to make things difficult. And I did indeed pick up some of these last year at Comitia or J. Garden or Mandarake or just directly from the author in weird happenstance. But I came across doujin from 2003 in this pile! So, uh, clearly, the round-up devolves yet again into basically just some stuff I read lately that may or may not be recent or even attainable anymore by the casual doujinshi reader. Sorry. I feel like I’m supposed to be getting better at this book-reading thing after writing here for the last six years now, but clearly that is never going to happen. So let’s all dial our hopes to anything but up and just look at some books already! Continue reading
Although I bought and read all these doujinshi in 2015, I’m still calling it the 2016 edition because, like last year, I am writing about them in 2016 and it feels plain weird to call it the 2015 edition. Plus, there is already a 2015 edition from last year when I wrote about doujinshi I bought in 2014. And so, like the centuries and the years they contain, I will always be one number off in the rounding up of doujinshi. I apologize for the confusion.
What’s done is done, however, so let’s just get to the books.
Despite the fact that I was in Japan for a really long time last year (almost five months!), I spent a large part of that time on Cat Island. And Cat Island does not have doujinshi fairs. Unless the elderly farmers that populate the island were keeping something from me. (And now that I’ve thought of it, I hope they were! I love the idea of secret elderly farmer doujinshi!) And once I got to Tokyo, I was busy as usual with the horde of Canadians that descended upon the city to show their wares at the Tokyo International Comic Festival and Design Festa. Not to mention meetings with people to convince them to keep hiring me to read books and all those books they’ve already hired me for! So I didn’t really get to dig around in the world of doujinshis as much as I would have liked to. (I missed J Garden, for instance.) But the goods I did get are full of awesome, so I’m chalking this one up in the win column.
First off, I’m calling this the 2015 edition of the doujinshi round-up—which has previously included the people I know edition and the random edition—because I’m writing and posting it in 2015. But I bought all the doujinshi here today last year because that’s when I was in Japan. Also, I didn’t read most of them until 2015 because the box of doujinshi I sent to myself way back in December only arrived last week. Still, it feels weird to call it the 2014 edition when it is 2015, so here we are.
So! What doujinshi was I fortunate enough to happen upon in my rounds of the doujin events/shops this fall? Some pretty great stuff, actually! High fives to you, independent manga makers! You are doing great things. The independent manga maker I was most pleased to run into again was the author of Mahoshojo Musashi, the first volume of which I enjoyed immensely last year. So naturally, I bought everything else she had written in the series, all while gushing about how much and how unexpectedly I enjoyed the first collection. She took it all like a pro, nodding appreciatively and thanking me while she took my money. And that is how it should be. Continue reading
You guys! How come no one told me about this book? I feel like I am the last person to the party and everyone’s walking out the door just as I’m walking in. I picked this up on the strength of the cover alone (a frequently used book buying method; don’t let anyone tell you not to judge a book by its cover) although I was a little apprehensive about it. Because I have seen covers that have this kind of more artistic style, but then the manga inside is all sharp lines and standard style. Plus, given the young face looking a bit dirtied up against that knife, I worried that it might end up being some children battling it out in an apocalyptic future. And sure, I could’ve read the jacket to find out if either of these concerns would prove to be true, but I try not to read book jackets. I like to be surprised by stories.
And this story surprised me in many pleasant ways and got me all excited and ready to cry for its publication in English (to be translated by me, obviously). But before I came here to rant and rave, I wanted to learn more about this incredible artist who I have never heard of before, so naturally I turned to Google. And discovered that this book was published in English. Nearly four years ago. And it won a major Japanese manga award. And Shirai is the woman behind Wombs, which was serialized in IKKI and is one of those series I always see in the bookstore and wonder if I should pick up before getting distracted by something shinier. Continue reading
Given that I spent some time talking about the random doujinshi I have encountered on this trip to Japan, you might well expect that there was some non-random doujinshi involved in my reading lately, and in that, you would be correct. I have indeed been reading the doujinshi of people who are, in fact, known to me, as I hope they are to you. And if they’re not, I would suggest you check out the non-doujin works of these artists because they are six kinds of awesome and they could use your support. Oddly enough, they’ve all been published in English, so if you have manga dollars to spend, these would be a good place to put them.
You know that I basically cannot spend anytime in Japan without picking up something by Brain favourite est em. She is just so prolific and her work is just so worth talking about. And for some reason, Mandarake was practically overflowing with her doujinshi work the last time I was there. Did someone sell off their collection? Did she herself decide to replenish their stock? I have no answers, only smutty doujins. Smutty, horsey doujins.
Because of course, I picked up some of her centaur phase work. Both Equus and Equus/Duo contain stories collected in the Equus book published by Shodensha. I don’t have Equus here to compare these doujin versions with the mainstream version, but from my memory, they are pretty similar, if not essentially the same. Continue reading
I have been buying a lot of doujinshi these last few weeks. I don’t usually buy so much doujinshi, mostly because I always forget about the many doujin events that happen here in the big city and I can never find anything that I want when I go to the bookstores. But this year, I have been to not one, but two doujin events! And the bookstores have been offering up unexpected goodies. It’s a doujin miracle!
Some of the unexpected goodies are by artists I know and love, and some are by random artists that I came across at Comitia (which hosted the Kaigai Manga Festa where I was the OFFICIAL INTERPRETER for TCAF) or J-Garden (which is incredibly weird, limited to JUNE parody works or original BL stories. On a sad side note, Takako Shimura was apparently there, but we missed her.). So I figured why not divide them up along those lines? Here then, is the first official doujinshi round-up: the random stuff. And it is very random.
The most random and the winner of all the gold stars in the world is Mahoshojo Musashi (Magical Girl Musashi) by 387. Musashi is a 35-year-old, chain-smoking high-school janitor and magical girl. Yes, it is exactly as wonderful as it sounds. Continue reading