Many Westerners feel a bit puzzled by Japanese comics — the subject matter, the art style, the pacing, etc. Koom has been trying for some time to grasp what he’s not “getting” about manga. Meanwhile, manga translator Kumar is about done with “explaining” Japanese comics to people, but he makes an exception for Koom (and the podcast). They discuss I Am a Hero by Kengo Hanazawa, and A Distant Neighborhood by Jiro Taniguchi — both translated by none other than Kumar!
An old camera found in a shop in Kathmandu starts up a sometimes exasperating, but ultimately engrossing, story of climbing Mt. Everest, with one of the most satisfying endings you’ll ever see. Kumar (who translated the story into English for Fanfare/Ponent Mon’s edition) and Tim discuss Baku Yumemakura and Jiro Taniguchi’s The Summit of the Gods.
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Attack on Time
- 00:00:28 – Introduction
- 00:02:25 – Catching up after Thanksgiving
- 00:05:18 – A Distant Neighborhood: Complete Edition
- 00:54:48 – Attack on Titan Anthology
- 01:46:53 – Wrap up
- 01:47:44 – Contact us
For the month of November, Shea and Derek get together to discuss to two recent manga publications, although the first text they cover is not entirely new. Jiro Taniguchi’s A Distant Neighborhood: Complete Edition brings together the two-volume English editions originally published by Fanfare/Ponent Mon in 2009. (The original Japanese was published in Big Comic magazine between 1998 and 1999.) It’s the story of Hiroshi Nakahara, a 48-year-old salaryman with an uninspired life, and who finds himself mysteriously transformed — or transported? — into his 14-year-old self. This is the same period of his life when his father abandoned his family. The guys discuss A Distant Neighborhood as a quasi-time travel narrative, but definitely not science fiction. In fact, Derek reads this text through the lens of the romance tradition, à la Horace Walpole and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Shea enjoys to story, but he feels that the premise may be a little too loaded and that Taniguchi at times relies too much on telling and not showing.
Next they turn to a very different kind of book, Kodansha Comic’s Attach on Titan Anthology. This is similar to a text that the guys discussed last month, Neo Parasyte F, an anthology of new works based on and inspired by a previous manga property, in this case Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan (which began in 2009). However in contrast to the Parasyte homage, this collection is made up of work written and drawn by a variety of Western creators. Although the collection resonates differently with each — Derek tends to like it, as a whole, better than Shea — both of the guys can agree on some of the anthology’s highlights. These include Ronald Wimberly’s “Bahamut”; Asaf and Tomer Hanuka’s “Memory Maze”; Rhianna Pratchett, Ben Applegate, and Jorge Corona’s “Skies Above”; and Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer’s “Attack on Attack on Titan.” But really, every contribution to this collection is worth reading. As the guys point out, one of the beauties of this anthology is that its eclectic styles reflect the broad and diverse readership to which Isayama’s series appeals.