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Yikes! And here I was hoping we would gather some momentum after the time-out, but since I can’t seem to catch a break at work, things will continue to be sluggish for a while. Then again, Kotonoha being fast would be like Porsche being cheap. I’m pretty sure it would wreck our brand. Nevertheless, I vow to update the site more often. As always, there’s a lot of work to be done, and we do have two more great 1-volume projects waiting in the wings, so let’s not waste any time getting down to the post’s nitty-gritty:
- Snow Blind (1-shot)
Surprise! This has to be our first one-shot release in like two years. To think that we used to crank them out like popcorn. Those were good times, my friends. In any case, with the help of our guest translator Utagaibukai, I hope to revive this tradition at least a few more times. Meanwhile, check out this hilarious, Tarantino-esque story about a boy who makes a rather memorable encounter on his way to cram school.
- All-Rounder Meguru V6 Ch48-49
It’s the beginning of a new volume, and this one will finally wrap up the Kanto tournament. I still can’t believe the whole thing is supposed to only last one day. Felt like months to me. At least Endō managed to give us some good fights, so it’s all good.
- Gunjo V1 Ch9
One more chapter until the first volume is done. Do I finally sense some sort of rapprochement between the two protagonists?
- Happy-Go-Lucky Days V2 Ch15 (End)
Yep, that’s the last of it. I’m missing Takako Shimura already. It seems to me like we have always been working on something from her. Now that it’s no longer the case, it feels like something is missing from our line-up.
- Ran to Haiiro no Sekai V2 Ch7
While the first volume of this magical comedy is a nice introduction, the second volume is where the story really starts to spread its wings. Expect more interesting characters, more magic, more transformation hijinks, and a lot more action. Unfortunately, our joint partner for this project shut down recently, so we’re now forced to carry on alone. The good news is, Kalendel has agreed to stay on as translator, so hopefully Ran and her family will stick around a while longer.
- Soil V7 Ch51
I know it sucks that this series is being released so slowly. At least you can console yourself with the idea that the next chapter will most likely confuse you even more than you already are. Therefore, we consider it our responsibility to make sure you have enough time to process all the mind-blowing developments before plunging you deeper into the madness. You’re welcome!
As we are arriving at the end of the first volume of A Girl by the Sea, things are getting hard and heavy. We’ve always sensed that something is wrong with Isobe, but it’s not until chapter 9 that we get to witness with our own eyes what a disturbed young man he really is. I continue to be impressed by Asano’s restrained story telling. Maybe it has to do with the lack of his narrative voice, or maybe it’s because he decided to root everything firmly in reality. Either way, this manga already feels quite different from the author’s other works and I can only hope the second volume will build on this strength.
- All-Rounder Meguru V5 Ch47 (End of volume 5)
And with that, we are back with some long overdue releases. To be honest, most of those got done weeks ago, but since I was practically never home during summer, they were sort of just sitting there. In any case, today we are releasing the first batch. More will follow during the week. Enjoy!
Updated with the second batch:
To address the most obvious concern: no, I’m not dead yet, just incredibly busy. Between work and some pressing family matters, there was little time left for scanlating. Things still get done, albeit at a much slower pace than usual. To get the ball rolling again, we’re going to release the finished chapters individually until we can get back to the regular schedule. So, here we go:
- Sadness of the Heart v1 ch1-7
It might surprise you to know that God’s Child is not a typical Nishioka Siblings manga. Their works can be dark and disturbing, but very rarely are they sadistic. In that respect, God’s Child occupies a rather unique spot within the duo’s oeuvre. If I have to choose one book that is most representative of their style, it would be Sadness of the Heart. Composed of 12 short stories published between 1998 and 2001 in AX, the collection showcases the siblings’ “softer” side. That is not to say the stories here are less strange or unsettling. The Nishiokas wouldn’t be the Nishiokas without their cryptic narration and bizarre visions. Heck, the stories probably won’t even make sense to you upon first (or second) reading, but that’s because they are not meant to be fleshed-out stories. Instead, they are more like dream fragments—visualized ideas, emotions, memories—whose real meaning remains obscure to everyone but the dreamer themselves. Nevertheless, for those with an open mind and a fertile fantasy there’s a lot to discover in this unique book.
- All-Rounder Meguru v5 ch39-41
You have waited patiently, now it’s time for us to deliver. The chapters 39-41 wrap up the match between Meguru and Ogasawara, and what a match that was. Despite the close call, Meguru has shown beyond doubt that he’s the kind of underdog fighter who can overcome great odds against a stronger opponent. But will his determination and creativity be enough for the rise to the top? As the tournament gets to the final rounds, we’re bound to find out soon.
By the way, am I the only person who looks forward to reading Endo’s hilarious, barely coherent ramblings? He has always been known for his lengthy, often thoughtful afterwords, but in Meguru‘s case they are getting more bizarre with each volume. No way did he come up with this stuff while being sober.
- A Girl by the Sea v1 ch1-3
Time for a new Inio Asano project. When it was first announced that he would start a serial in Manga Erotics F, I was positively excited about the prospect of Asano and Naoki Yamamoto (he is the magazine’s editorial supervisor) working together. The result turns out to be both surprising and unsurprising. On the one hand, A Girl by the Sea (Umibe no Onna no Ko) features a familiar Inio Asano setup with its focus on teenage characters who are struggling to grow up. The main character is a girl named Koume Sato who lives in a sleepy seaside town. After getting used and dumped by the boy she likes, Koume decides to start a sexual relationship with Isobe, an introverted boy from her class. It’s supposed to be a no-strings-attached kind of deal but of course things get more complicated quickly.
Obviously, the explicit sexual display will take those aback who expect something more along the line of Solanin, but what I find more striking is the distinct lack of Asano’s signature narrative voice. Gone are the black panels plastered with text telling you stuff you’re supposed to see (at least in the first volume). I suspect this is one of Yamamoto’s influences. Without his beloved tool to inject his world view into the story, Asano now has to completely rely on the dialogs and pictures to tell the story, which results in a more atmospheric experience. Love it or hate it, this manga might turn out to be the most interesting work Asano has done since Nijigahara Holograph.
The news from Japan is still pretty grim, but at least it looks like the worst is behind us. While the foreign media has been obsessed with what’s happening at the Fukushima power plant (a story that has been ridiculously sensationalized), it should be noted that the real crisis is taking place in the north where hundreds of thousands of people are still lacking food, water, and shelter. When faced with a situation like this, where there’s not much we can do (aside from donating) I’d like to concentrate on things we do have control about. In our case, it means providing you with some reminders why we heart Japan.
So, here we go:
- God’s Child ch8-11 (end)
While the conclusion of this amazingly twisted story is hardly surprising, it’s still quite satisfying. I don’t think I will forget the last page very soon.
- Gunjo v1 ch7
Often, emotional violence leads to physical abuse. Which is exactly what happens in this chapter. You can tell both women are standing on the edge of a precipice and it won’t take much for them to completely fall into darkness. Ironically, as toxic as their bond is, it’s also the only thing that still gives them a purpose and keeps them sane.
- Happy-Go-Lucky Days v2 ch12
Gunjo is too much for you? Here is a happier yuri story to cheer you up. It’s been so long since the last chapter that I already forgot why we put this project on hiatus in the first place. But no matter, with only three chapters left we should be able to finish this one pretty quick.
- Paranoia Street v1 ch5
I missed working on this series. Even though its formula is pretty obvious by now, it’s still interesting to see how Kago comes up with new ways to turn a familiar concept on its head. This chapter’s subject: shame.
- Soil v6 ch48
We have reached the end of the volume, which means we are now past the series’ halfway mark. I wish I can say we are nearer to the answer to the mystery, but that’d be a lie. Maybe the story’s second half will be more enlightening? One can only hope.
We had more releases planned for today, but in light of the latest news out of Japan I felt like we should keep things on the brief side for now. So, enjoy the new chapters of God’s Child and Ran to Haiiro no Sekai and check back next week for more Gunjo, Soil, Paranoia Street, and Happy-Go-Lucky Days. Hopefully, the worst will be over by then.
Some of you might have noticed that we recently added the category Alternative to our demographic selections. Given our tagline one would expect this section to be fairly crowded. Sadly, that’s not the case. One of the reasons why Kotonoha never fully embraced alternative manga is because I wasn’t sure if scanlation is the right medium to promote this kind of manga, which tends to be disproportionately more appreciated in book form than on any computer screen. On the other hand, maybe this is one of the instances where you have to build an audience for it first. Which is why I intend to beef up this new division with some “uniquely interesting” projects just to see if my assumptions were right.
We already invited you for a stroll through Usamaru Furuya’s Garden, today we’d like to introduce you to God’s Child, the latest work from the enigmatic Nishioka siblings. It tells the twisted and gruesome life story of a sociopath and serial killer. Usamaru Furuya himself called this book “supremely terrifying and beautiful” which should be reason enough for you to check it out. Keep in mind, however, that this is a very mature manga that has some deeply disturbing scenes. Imagine the main character as Dexter Morgan without a conscience and a moral code and you have a vague idea of what awaits you.