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What Kirin said. But also:

Go back to the very beginning of the comic, and Senku lays out three basic scenarios of who/how it happened. It’s never really brought up again, but if you’ve been paying attention to everything we’ve learned in the comic up to this point, it’s pretty easy for us to eliminate two of his three options with the information we’ve gained since. The Medusa-tech is just way too advanced to be man-made, and any human origin would thusly have either included time travel - which would have been an ass-pull, or involved ancient-precursors - also an asspull. Dr Stone as a comic has gone out of its way to be written with a certain amount of logical consistency/lack of ass-pulls. All of it designed to reinforce the comic’s core ethos of rationality and science. Of logical problem solving and the power of the scientific method. A lesser comic might have indulged in making Senku a secret Sayian, but Dr Stone has gone out of its way to make most of its plot devices reasonable/within the realm of plausibility, with the Medusa being the sole exception.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
I don't believe I said anything about a human origin for the petrification tech! I only predicted that his father was behind the petrification event in some way, given his absence and the way Why-Man spoke in something that sounded like Senku's voice. That wouldn't have precluded his using alien technology to do it.

EDIT: Hm, the post I was replying to is gone.
 
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou was licensed by Seven Seas. The world may be a rapidly worsening, irredeemable shithole but man a lot of good comics are coming out these days
 

Fredde

Let me rock you Chaugnar Faugn
I just discovered that all six chapters of the original "Strider Hiryu" manga, the one that was part of the weird multimedia project that included the arcade and NES games, are now fan-translated into english. For a long time, only the first three chapters had been translated (viewable here on the good old "Light Sword Cypher Mainframe" homepage), but I found a forum post linking to a Discord server where translations of the last three chapters can be found and downloaded. The only part that's not translated now is the prequel "Strider Hiryu Gaiden" chapter, but there might be some discussion on doing that on that same Discord server.

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I haven't sat down and read the manga through yet, but I'm always happy when a fascinating bit of video game culture is made available to a wider audience. Supposedly the plot of the NES game hews more closely to the manga than the arcade game.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
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I've mentioned it before, in its scanlation days, but Asaya Miyanaga's Nicola Traveling Around the Demons' World wrapped up publication last year, both domestically and in licensed and localized form, courtesy of Seven Seas. The four volumes and two dozen-ish chapters that comprise the full run are some of the best comics ever crafted, in the way that their existence delights while the hunger for more gnaws away at the senses when it's over. It's a good-hearted beyond belief travelogue of human ragamuffin Nicola and the devil salesman Simon, in their journeys through a world of demons for no particular goal at all other than the joy of travel and meeting new people. Valued media calls to mind its ilk, and in here I would (as I'm prone to) draw a parallel to Dorohedoro, because aesthetically and thematically the works share much between them: Miyanaga's art is in a word, painstaking, in a way that echoes Hayashida's mania of detailing her dimension of demons and devils, with a penciling and shading style that forgoes solid blocks of screen tone and clean, articulated lines and leans in favour of scribbled and hyperemotive texture--almost Janssonian in its effect on the atmosphere it can convey. It is a not only a character-minded illustrative focus but one concerned with their surroundings and world that carry each scene, and Miyanaga use of two-page spreads is one of the most arresting and emotionally resonant in the medium.

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The second point of comparative thought between the two is that as stories they wield the macabre and unusual as an anchor to root their explorations of heartfelt character dynamics with; in Dorohedoro Hayashida accomplishes this with the almost comically extreme explosions of violence contrasting the odd couple and squabbling family unit sitcom stylings, whereas with Nicola nothing so explicitly grim or gruesome is focused on, but Nicola's explorations of a world she does not fully know or understand act as a similar vehicle for the protagonist and her compatriots' hearts to shine when they're met with the ghoulish and superficially upsetting, and despite the subject matter being so literally devilish the most important aspect is always how imaginative any given situation that manifests is, to both authors' lasting credit. There's even a similar narrative trajectory between the two series where the earlier, establishing self-contained chapters gradually give way to a mounting serial narrative momentum of increasing urgency, without shedding the by-then in full bloom character relationships and motivations that are able to carry the parts of the story lighter on said development. And even then, for its modest scale, Nicola never falters, spins its wheels, or repeats a proven narrative beat. Everything it does in its brief run is singular and unique and essentially as perfect as any comic could ask to be.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Right now I'm reading A Clockwork Apple, an anthology of Osamu Tezuka's more mature short stories, most of them crime or science fiction. They are a lot of fun, though the title tale is a little lacking. The other ones are great punchy little tales that feel sort of like Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents and make the collection completely worthwhile.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Sometimes, I have the urge to revisit Dragon Ball, in some form or another. After learning, that Dragon Ball Super, while stopping as an Anime (at least I think it did) a while ago, the manga is still going. So I read that. It goes through all the arcs of the Anime (except for Golden Frieza, that is just mentioned in one or two panels), but is way shorter und concise. A bit of a shame - while I understand that the multi-universe tournament was really bloated, I liked how some of the really old, original DB characters like Muten Roshi and Tenshinhan got a chance to shine, at least for a bit. Still glad, that power levels have basically been thrown out of the window, giving these folks a chance to fight again. I mean, power creep is still a thing, it is still happening that one character comes, seems like he will save the day, and then the other character will get way stronger. And there, the power levels apply again, and everyone else is useless.

Anyway, unlike the anime, in the manga it seems like the whole tournament really only takes around 42 minutes, or whatever it was. It also reduces the boring, last fight to an enjoyable, short amount.

I did enjoy the following arc with Moro (even though he only lost, because he didn't use his special ability at the end - at least, I don't understand why he didn't), and like how Goku and Vegeta are finally start to develop in different ways. Still, a really bad case of "oh no, you are so much stronger than me - except no, I didn't use my real power, which makes me completely superior to you". Whatever, at least Yamcha had a moment, where he could beat someone.

The next, still ongoing arc doesn't really interest me. Too much time with new people I couldn't care less about. Also, too much focus on Gokus parents. I don't care too much about world building here, but Saiyans are supposed to be this stupidly aggressive race, where even a baby is a monster that might kill everyone on a planet. So, who is the exception? Gokus father, of course. Because our hero has got to have that really special person, the only good Saiyan, as a father, because being a good person is heredatory, I guess. Really don't like this. Also, there is so much about this guy, who thinks all Saiyans are evil, but no, Gokus father only seemed that way, but then he saved him.

I had to role my eyes a bit, when Shenlong actually could just fulfill the wish to make someone the strongest person in the universe, even if you offer something for it. Just seems really weird, the dragons powers are clearly restricted. But whatever, this is just a minor quibble, DBs worldbuilding isn't consistent, so whatever.
 
Vinland Saga feels like it's at the endgame. Recently, Hild forgave Thorfinn and it was one of the more moving moments I've seen in a comic in a while.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
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Putting out the strongest possible recommendation I can for Frieren: Beyond Journey's End by Kanehito Yamada and Tsukasa Abe, licensed and published by Viz since late last year. It's about the titular elven mage Frieren who journeyed with an adventuring party of four for a decade, culminating in the defeat of the Demon King, and now it's seventy-something years later. That's the setup for the actual narrative, which involves the millenia-old protagonist's delayed processing of grief and loss over her former comrades from simply aging and her reconciling with the fact that as functionally immortal she has never been good at relating to individuals with mortal lifespans, and becoming newly resolved to taking what she can from her memories of her friends and applying those morals and principles to her new life, travels and relationships. I was initially worried that the series might mine the manufactured sentimentality overmuch in an exploitative way, but it quickly stabilizes into more of a quiet backbone to the mundane travelogues that the bulk of the storytelling exists in, bringing out the parallel narrative flashbacks when needed as fond remembrances and not as manipulative baiting of the tearducts. It's a tone that benefits the whole massively as it's capable of adopting sweetness, tension and humour as needed without feeling like each can only occupy one compartmentalized space at a time; if anything, a sense of deadpan no-selling is inherent to all of the comic's language, both visually and textually. There aren't any flailing overreactions, no forced screaming to stress punchlines, no overemotive caricaturish face-pulling--instead everyone's kind of tired-looking with heavy eyelieds, slouching along arms dangling, a soft smile on their faces as the height of outward expression, making the bits of humour all the better for how understatedly delivered they are when they occur.

It's kind of a chameleon of a series in other ways too because while its base state is Frieren and company simply existing in their world and taking on odd jobs to fund further travels, it can segue just as aptly to do an arc devoted to magical conflict and the rules therein like any good battle-focused series might, or even a formalized team exam arc with similar genre roots and conventions. These stretches don't take away from the core appeal of the series because they're always interested in further developing the cast's relations or the quietly vibrant worldbuilding powering investment in spending so much time in it, while the increased interpersonal moments with allies and foes highlight other strengths of the tone, like the ability to depict consequential and grave violence without wallowing in the act at all for its own sake, and how the series is also functionally completely free of exploitative sexualization of its cast both in art and in the way people are written, with only the mildest and most infrequent examples of objectionable moments to be found throughout, and even those would have to be drawn from a stone. It's gorgeously drawn with an emphasis on nature and the environment, full of terrific implementations of fantasy narrative staples, and acts as practically a celebration of the very concept of an RPG party on a deeply personal level from the perspective of one of its participants and depicting the life they would lead in the aftermath. Absolutely stellar in every way.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
I mostly write and talk about media I like because on a base level it's a more fulfilling and interesting avenue of discourse and a critical skillset I want to cultivate rather than the opposite, but it's not like either exists in isolation; counterpoints and contrast are always welcome if not necessary to capture whatever it is you like about a given work, through the context of something you don't. That's part of the reason that I sometimes end up reading material that I think I have pegged at a glance from the outset--not for any expectation that it will subvert those presumptions but because a flawed work or a plain bad one can add to the understanding and appreciation of another through its own foibles. It's where I stand with something like My Dress-Up Darling, an ostensibly craft-oriented series focusing on the joys of cosplay, but which from moment one and never significantly straying from first impressions devotes its entirety to sexualizing and offering half-naked fifteen-year-olds on a platter for the reader's exacting consumption. An author who has the visual storytelling tools for committing a story of adolescent serial blushing on the page and has a subject matter apt for conveying that border between embarrassment and jubilation manages to waste their entire premise on the uncritical exploitation inherent in its presentation, which is of course not accidental because it's the selling point. I did not read it because I expected to be won over--just to confirm suspicions about what it seemed to be from the outset and ultimately was.

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Following up such drek with better work would elevate it by contrast no matter what, but Skip and Loafer is not in need of any external aids. Misaki Takamatsu's slice of life series, licensed by Seven Seas since last year, walks its own path in ways that leave premise-sharing peers scrambling to catch up to it if they cannot measure up to its style and substance. Like the counterpoint series above, it's also about high-school freshmen, also features a budding romance between its principal duo, and also stars teens who struggle to belong, as teens always will. The most basic of generalities are where the similarities end, because Takamatsu cannot and will not subject her cast to an exploitative and sexualized eye under any circumstance; it's not an inclination or reached-for goal that exists in her visual language or her writing emphasis. More than the refusal to exploit, her art and designs draw the focus toward the difference in physical forms and facial features in a stylized but realistic way that is a constant joy to witness unfold whether through the expressive comedy beats or the somber heart-to-hearts. I have not been this enamored by fabric and fashion in a modern-day fictional context since Sailor Moon in how her characters present themselves and how clothes are utilized to aid and impress storytelling further.

It's important that these points of individualization and distinction exist because Skip and Loafer's narrative strength as a school life series does not fall solely on the shoulders of the titular pair of Mitsuki and Sousuke--whose relationship while involving attraction always foremost emphasizes their great friendship--but the entire supporting cast of the piece that leaves it feeling much more like an involved ensemble than an eternal will-they-won't-they routine with an audience in tow. Every single character of recurring note has time devoted to them, to explorations of their interiority and motivations, to portraying considerable nuance in their psychological depth, because such an emphasis is necessary for a story like this that does not focus so much on manufactured social antagonism but the complexities of internally-driven and defined worries and anxieties and how they gel or clash. The characters know it too because the familiar to the genre silent stewing and simmering over misunderstandings or misinterpreted communication are often cut short by the subjects themselves, putting a stop to prolonged grievances before they have time to root and take control of the narrative. It's still a story of teenagers acting out the lived experience of that age set, but the guiding hand of Takamatsu as storyteller gently pushes people toward open communication and forgoing hollow bad-faith assumption whenever possible.

Mitsuki embodies the work's ethos the best as its most central figure, as another feather in the cap that any fictional work would be glad to enjoy in the protagonist being as compelling as their stature posits. In this case, Mitsuki comes by it through a sort of guileless confidence, equals parts a self-satisfied smuglord and buffoon and an insightful introspective with emotional intelligence to share and carry the social cues she lacks. The inquisitive goodhearted bearing she exudes is most iconically summarized in the : > smile she often wears, which is just as likely to morph into an over-the-top grimace as required, with both being uniquely her to the core. She is a character who is just plain fun to watch go about her daily life because there is a magnetism to that kind of forthright explosion of emotion. It's never a question of reducing Mitsuki into a book nerd or gendering her emotional intelligence, as all the qualities that make up who she is are allowed to craft a multifaceted persona, which rings true for all the other characters too--you simply won't find ready-made archetypes fulfilling quotas in this story, as everyone is granted depth, empathy and opportunity to interact with one another to create impressions of individual instead of caricature.

I understand if the romcom high school premise wears thin for some folks--it's a crowded genre and has been for decades upon decades. The very things that make it easy to roll eyes at also make it a comfort food of habit and reliable sustenance, formed from its conventions and cliches. Skip and Loafer is many things, and it may recall some better examples of the genre--Kimi ni Todoke, My Love Story!! and such--but I can't really put it any other way: it's the best teenagers-and-their-feelings book I've ever read in the medium. I was in love with it from the first page and it deserves no lesser evaluation for everything it is and does.
 
Climax of Golden Kamuy was this week. Next chapter should be the last. Man, what a fucking awesome penultimate chapter. So many clever yet subtle callbacks, and such a striking emotional moment. Gonna miss this one when it's done.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Oh dang, nice. I watched the whole anime adaptation but have never read the original.
 

Rosewood

The metal babble flees!
(she/her)
I've now read the first volumes of Skip and Loafer and Frieren. Thanks for the recommendations, Peklo. They are both excellent, and, well, quite different from each other.

In S&L I like how Mitsumi starts off her time in Tokyo with "in ten years I'll be a Todai graduate and high-ranking government minister," and almost immediately finds out that her ambitions won't be so easily realized as she thought. I also like how the group of friends is coming together, with its tentativeness and tensions.

I have an aversion to the prototypical Japanese fantasy setting, but Frieren has enough else going to almost make me able to overlook it. I've never seen a manga that deals with the passage of time in such a vivid way. The couple of scenes early on where Frieren cries made me worry a bit that she'd be doing that once a chapter, but those scenes were more to establish the motivation for her new journey, than an ongoing motif.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
Heck yes. Glad you're checking out and enjoying them! I'll definitely be keeping up with both series as they continue.

I hadn't realized that Q Hayashida's post-Dorohedoro series Dai Dark has been licensed since last year, so that's another one that goes on the pile.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
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This was a birthday present to myself (which was yesterday, when these volumes arrived). I have to say that I am immediately in love with these books as physical objects because they're part of the Viz Signature line like my dearly cherished Dorohedoro, which is about my ideal for softcover manga editions. The page dimensions are a little larger than standard paperbacks, but not unwieldily so, and the cover bindings protrude just a bit past the pages themselves so they're firmer to hold and store. With Dorohedoro, the cover material was shiny and glossy so Hayashida's cacophonous and arresting collages really popped, whereas here the texture is coarser, weathered and worn to the touch, reflecting the type of story and tone found within. I have not read Maison Ikkoku since I was a teenager but already this feels like the best possible way to reacquaint with it. There are three volumes left to finish the run, to be released over the rest of the year--I'll absolutely be there.
 

Rosewood

The metal babble flees!
(she/her)
I had this ten-book version of MI in the Japanese edition. VIZ did an excellent job replicating the look and feel of it. Between that and the (mostly) improved translation, I don't feel the need to keep the originals anymore.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Yeah this is another one where I have the whole original now-massively-outclassed edition. Sadly I don’t know if I’m still in love enough with MI to pay for it all over again. But it does look gorgeous.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
I'm finding it far better than any recollection of mine would've suggested, and I already considered it Takahashi's best work.
 

Balrog

(He/Him)
Does anyone else use the Libby app through their library to get digital manga? Any recommendations?
 

Rosewood

The metal babble flees!
(she/her)
I'm finding it far better than any recollection of mine would've suggested, and I already considered it Takahashi's best work.
I agree with this. Also, as I thought about it I realized that aside from MI I haven't been all that impressed with much that she's written that wasn't shonen. Well, Mermaid Forest is good, but it's still nowhere close in my estimation.

As for MI itself, I've been through the story at least five or six times in manga and anime form, so it's a comfort read/watch more than anything else.
 
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Does anyone else use the Libby app through their library to get digital manga? Any recommendations?

I've used this for American comics before and it definitely works, but I'm not sure I can recommend anything specific to Libby. The way Libby/OverDrive works is that individual libraries buy digital copies of titles that they think their patrons will like, the same way they'd buy physical books to put on their shelves. (Technically, I think they buy the right to lend certain works out X times, and then they lose their rights to it after a certain number of digital loans...) So, what's available to you in Libby/Overdrive will not be what's available to me, unless we're patrons of the same library/libraries. (This is also true for the Kanopy video service. I have Kanopy access through a few institutions, and some have much better selections than others.)

If you're just looking for general manga recommendations... what do you like and/or do you see anything at your library you're thinking about giving a shot and want some feedback about?
 

Balrog

(He/Him)
If you're just looking for general manga recommendations... what do you like and/or do you see anything at your library you're thinking about giving a shot and want some feedback about?

I didn't realize it worked that way, I thought whatever was available to me was available to everyone lol. I'll dig through here for recs. Thanks
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
If I can take a moment to shill for my own company, you can get an absolute ton of manga through the Shonen Jump manga app. Lots free, $2/mo for all of it.
 
The One Punch Man manga (the Yusuke Murata remake) is doing some weird stuff that's diverging from the original webcomic significantly. And not just in the regular way. Murata wrote an end to the Saitama/Garou fight. But then he went back, and rewrote the chapter to have the fight escalate to a preposterous level including being possessed by God, with cosmic gamma-ray burst punches, and Blast showing up to fight, and Genos seemingly killed. I wonder if Murata is trying to end the comic.
 
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