For any readers not in the know, “manga” is pretty much Japanese for comic book, but fans in the West like to use that word to describe Japanese comics and comics done in the perceived Japanese style. It’s not superior in my opinion; it just means it comes from a different culture. The week I originally planned to review these was the week that the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, and since I’m both getting rid of them and hoping someone can point me to a place where I can find out how much they are worth I didn’t feel right doing it then. Now, however, I am prepared to go through my untranslated (also referred to as “raw” from what I can tell) manga.

Why did I buy comics in a language I can’t understand? A combination of enough money and space alongside naiveté (I actually thought I could translate them myself for fun, unaware at the time that Japan uses a different grammar system than we do) or occasionally not knowing that they weren’t in English, the curse of poor solicits when ordering. I also have a bunch of Spider-Man manga that’s untranslated, but for some reason I want to hold on to those. The ones seen above, however, are fair game.

Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon #11

Published by Kodansya Comics and written and drawn by Naoko Takeuchi, Sailor Moon follows the adventures of Japanese schoolgirls who learn they are reincarnated warriors sworn to protect the Earth from evil. You may know it from the anime (animated series) that was based off of it. I picked this up because I was curious what the original version looked like, and if the solicit mentioned it was in the original Japanese I missed it. From what I can tell the story involves the talking lady cat Luna falling for a human that is currently being targeted by the enemy while Sailor Mercury (in her human identity) gets to ride the Space Shuttle. Why a Japanese teenager has permission to ride in a NASA space shuttle I can’t say.

One Piece #13

If you follow anime and manga, you’re already familiar with Monkey D. Luffy and his band of adventurers who think they’re pirates. The dub by children’s television producers 4Kids Entertainment had earned them the everliving hatred of anime fans due to numerous changes to fit Western kids TV, and the hatred (in my opinion) often borders on overboard to the point that they are thrilled the company is currently suffering financial problems. Personally, I don’t think there are enough kids TV shows on regular channels, but that’s a rant for my other blog.

The creation of writer/artist Eiichiro Oda, the characters are searching for the “Grand Line”, the key to a lost pirate treasure known as One Piece, hence the title. Interestingly, this is the only raw manga I have that didn’t come with a bookmark, something the others do. (Manga are released similar to a digest-sized graphic novel, only with a lot more pages; more like a regular book, really.) I obtained this as a grab bag at a convention last year, and was never a fan of the show or the manga. Jump Comics still publishes the series, which has been around since 1997. This issue sees the gang fighting some guys who may be fop royalty or something, someone named “Mr. 5″ (that’s actually written in English, although the rest is still in Japanese) and I think a transsexual. They take on a new member and then go on a jungle adventure. I wouldn’t have been interested if it was in English, but like I said it was a grab bag gift.

You see, they read right to left in Japan.

Mazinger Z #’s 2 & 3

Some of you may know this by a different name.

Mazinger Z is the story of a young man who must pilot a giant robot to battle the robotic monster army of an evil organization. It also had a cartoon counterpart, known in the US as Tranzor Z. This one I think I knew was in Japanese but I really wanted to see the origins, as I’m a giant robot fan. The anime was rather tame compared to Go Nagai‘s stories, with many naked people (including something akin to the “fembots” of the Austin Powers movies years before said movies came out) and a lot more violence. There’s even a scene where the half man – half woman character (like one of those old carnival sideshows) is in the shower (thankfully from the waist up). I ordered these two and a third book that turned out to be a compilation of all three volumes. Unlike the other two, these are a series of relatively short stories so I can’t list all of the plot in this article. While I’m keeping the compilation (at least for now) I really don’t have any need for these two books.

So if anybody knows where I can find a price guide or a dealer in Connecticut that won’t cheat me, please let me know. I don’t have any need for these and they’re just taking up space in my collection.

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