Comics Alternative, Manga: Finishing Up Monster, Othereworld Barbara, and Other Manga Series

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:26 – Introduction
  • 00:02:33 – Setting up the episode
  • 00:04:17 – More listener mail!
  • 00:06:49 – Completing Monster
  • 00:49:03 – Completing Otherworld Barbara
  • 01:14:28 – Completing other manga series
  • 01:26:25 – Wrap up
  • 01:27:47 – Contact us



On this episode of the monthly manga series — the April show, actually, albeit late — Shea and Derek revisit some of the titles that they had previously discussed. They talk about these series now that they have more volumes under their belts, and in some cases, have completed the entire series. The first of these that they discuss is Naoki Urasawa’s Monster (VIZ Media), a title that they first discussed in their July 2015 episode. The last volume of the English-language Perfect Editions was released in summer of 2016, and both Shea and Derek explore their experiences finishing up the series. As they reveal, Urasawa has a penchant for vast, multi-leveled narratives, filled with a wide cast of characters, and the guys discuss this style of storytelling, its thrills as well as its challenges.

Next, they turn to the completion of a story they first discussed on the September 2016 manga episode, Moto Hagio’s Otherworld Barbara (Fantagraphics). The second volume of this series was published in August of last year, and the guys revisit Hagio’s storyworld and its wrap-up. As they mentioned on their earlier episode, this is a complex, even vertiginous, narrative that involves dreamscapes, multiple narrative levels, and time interplay. Both of them appreciate Hagio’s conclusion, although at times they wonder about the story’s lapses into sentimentalism, and if the various narrative threads may not be a bit unwieldy.

Finally, the guys discuss other manga series that they’ve been keeping up with, even completing, individually. For Shea, that includes ONE and Yusuke Murata’s One-Punch Man and Yusei Matsui’s Assassination Classroom, both published by VIZ Media. Derek waxes enthusiastically about Inio Asano’s Goodnight Punpun (VIZ Media), Kengo Hanazawa’s I Am a Hero (Dark Horse Manga), and Akiko Higashimura’s Princess Jellyfish (Kodansha Comics).

Deconstructing Comics #502: “One Punch Man”

One Punch ManOne Punch Man was originally a crudely-drawn Web comic by a guy calling himself “One”. But then the story, with art by slick manga artist Yusuke Murata, was picked up for publisher Shueisha’s Young Jump Web Comics website in 2012. It subsequently became an anime, and the manga is available in English from Viz.

This week, Tim and Kumar take a look, to discuss whether the story is really served by Murata’s typical manga art, and the good and bad points of the comic as it exists.

Deconstructing Comics site

Comics Alternative, Manga: Reviews of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Omnibus 1 and One-Punch Man, Vol. 1 & 2

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Death Punches

KurosagiCorpseOmnibus1For the September episode of the manga series, Shea and Derek discuss two very different titles, although both heavily invested in popular genres. They begin with Eiji Otsuka and Housui Yamazaki’s The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Ominibus 1 (Dark Horse Books), a different take on both horror and detective narratives. Although the English-language releases of this title began in 2006, Dark Horse has just this month published the first of the omnibus editions, one that collects the first three volumes of the series. The guys begin by describing the premise as a cross between supernatural horror and Scooby-Doo, where you have a bunch of young investigators, each with a particular set of skills informing their unique form of “detecting.” (Derek also compares Otsuka’s storylines to The Rockford Files, another series featuring an unlikely investigator constantly down on his luck.) Both enjoy the title well enough, although OnePunchMan1Shea is less impressed than is Derek, feeling that the routine becomes formulaic rather quickly and that the individual characters are never fully realized, at least in the segments featured in this initial omnibus edition. Next, the Two Guys turn to the first two volumes of One-Punch Man, a satiric series by the pseudonymous One with art by Yusuke Murata (VIZ Media). This began as a webcomic by One in 2009, but then Murata helped to remake the series a few years later, and VIZ Media’s recent release of volumes 1 and 2 are the first print versions in English (although originally serialized in the digital Weekly Shonen Jump magazine). Both of the guys love One and Murata’s humorous spin on the superhero and shonen formulas, although Derek wonders if the premise may soon wear thin (an inverse of what the guys felt about Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service). However, it is Murata’s art that solidly captures the guys’ attention. As a result, both Shea and Derek are interested in seeing how this series develops, especially if it continues to bring the keen genre-deconstructing insights found in the first two volumes.