Ep. 52: Mangasplaining Season 2 Wrap-Up Episode!

Photo from the international manga museum. A collection of images representing manga magazine covers from the early 20th century.

It’s the Season 2 Wrap-up episode! We reflect on the second 25 weeks of Mangasplaining, from A Drunken Dream to Wotakoi, and everything in between! No reading to catch up with, no spoilers (er, mostly), just a good chat with the crew. Enjoy!

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Mangasplaining Season 2 Wrap-Up
Featuring Deb Aoki, David Brothers, Christopher Woodrow-Butcher, and Chip Zdarsky

Before We Get Started: Hi, it’s Christopher. I actually didn’t write show-notes for the Season 1 wrap-up, and I thought I could get away with that again. I was wrong, as we specifically reference putting things in the show notes for this episode, multiple times. I also told Deb she could take the week off because, again, I didn’t think there’d be show notes, so, uh, sorry, just me. And also apologies in advance for my many spelling and grammatical errors. <3

00:20 HELLLLLLOOOOOOO!

01:35 This is actually episode 52. Whoopsie!

01:58: Daredevil #1 in stores in May June 2022! From Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto and Marvel Comics! Order it at your local comic shop, find one near you at www.comicshoplocator.com.

Funny, relevant story, when I typed “Daredevil #1 2022” into Google to find the cover image, it gave me the Daredevil #1 that came out already, in January. That one was Daredevil: Woman Without Fear #1 though. I was very confused for a moment, and then delighted when I realized how accurate this segment is. Gorgeous Bachalo cover though.

04:00 HIGH STAKES! FRIENDSHIPS ON THE LINE!

09:55 On Episode 33, we read Akiko Higashimura’s Tokyo Tarareba Girls, volumes 1, 2, AND 3, because volume 3 is where the advice columns started, and Chip used to be an advice columnist for a little while. I thought he’d find that part relevant. But not only did he like the series, he loved it, and he actively went and sought out more volumes, completing the entire series right through volume 9! It’s funny, because I think I said this was the first thing he went and read on his own, but I have a shit short memory, apparently, because his first self-directed, not-for-the-podcast manga, was continuing to read Way of the Househusband. Although he picked that one, and I picked TTG, so I’m putting this in the win column.

11:30 Here’s that link I was talking about, regarding Akiko Higashimura’s stuff, from a commenter on the Tokyo Tarareba Girls episode. Please be nice in the comments, thanks!

The long and the short is, comments said on a reality TV show, or made while making a manga, have a pretty big asterisk on them. I also think people learn and grow, and I’d like to believe (given her more recent work) that’s the case. Her appearance on Naoki Urasawa’s Manben was so self-effacing, so humble, that it doesn’t totally reconcile with her other TV appearances, you know? So, to each their own, but I think we all appreciate people sharing their thoughts in the comments.

Somewhat conversely, the conversation drifted a little bit and I didn’t point out one of the examples I had of people sharing things in the comments that has continued to really affect me, and that’s people sharing some of their own experiences in the comments section for our episode on Jiro Taniguchi’s Journal of my Father. It’s a bit of a heavy read, but definitely go check it out, there’s some really beautiful stuff there.

17:30 AJIN: Demi-Human, by Gamon Sakurai, coming up on Episode 1 of Season 3 of Mangasplaining. Which starts April 12th! We’ll have some bonus episodes in between then and now! 😀

26:00 Here it is, the most-commented on episodes (on the website), not counting our own comments or pingbacks: 

  1. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, by Hayao Miyazaki: 15 Comments
  2. Devilman Classic Collection Vol 1, by Go Nagai: 10 Comments
  3. Gundam: The Origin Vol 1, by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko: 9 Comments

Thanks to all of our website commenters, and everyone who comments on allll of our social media, we know that this list is neither ‘fair’ nor totally accurate. We’re very fortunate to hear from listeners after each episode via Twitter, Instagram, email, and now the newsletter too. So Maybe Devilman (which spawned a few Twitter threads) might rank higher by some metrics. Still, it’s a nice opportunity for us to thank all y’all for commenting. 😉

29:30 Here it is, who assigned WHOM the most manga this year?

  • 1st Place – Chip Zdarsky assigned us 438 pages of manga. LAZY.
  • 2nd Place – VIZ gave us 864 pages of manga to read this year (through our Manga Blind Date segments). 
  • 3rd Place – David assigned us 1980 pages of manga this year.
  • 4th Place – Christopher assigned 2140 pages of manga (one volume off David’s total!)
  • 5th Place – Deb assigned a whopping 2700+ pages of manga this year! 

So depending on how you look at it, Deb either lost, or won, but either way, it was a pretty good time.

32:47 Ah Pardonnez-Moi, David! Je suis tres désolé.

33:30 I was too much of a coward to add all the crotch shots from Raw Hero to our Social Media (no idea what we’re gonna do for the BL episodes…), but since we mention it here:

33:45 I can’t imagine a universe in which this happens. Maybe if David wins the lottery and gets a taste for truly pointless excess, we’ll have a clip-show from every episode. Here’s hoping!

35:45 We’ve glossed both Bleach and Real multiple times, you probably either know, or can pop either of those words + “manga” into Google to get the gist.


36:05 THE BREAK! It’s time for a completely arbitrary break in the action, maybe pause and get a beverage.
(Fun fact: It wasn’t arbitrary, we had technical difficulties that we were trying to sort out.)

37:00 Here’s what you’re all here for, stats! 

This season’s top translator (i.e.: The one we read the most): Is a six-way tie!

Kudos to Jocelyne Allen, Amanda Haley, Ysabet MacFarlane, Jenny McKeon, Ko Ransom, and Kumar Sivasubramanian.

This season’s top letterer (i.e.: The one whose work we read the most): Six way tie too! 

Kudos to Lys Blakesee, Nicole Docych, Evan Hayden, Grace Ly, Rina Mapa, and Walden Wong.

39:00 There are other Manga Podcasts! 

I mis-attributed the lettering roundtable episode, it was actually by the folks at Manga Mavericks! Please check out that episode (and the rest of their podcast) over at http://all-comic.com/2022/manga-mavericks-ep-187-letterers-roundtable/

The other podcast I mentioned is another great podcast that I like, Manga Machinations, and you can go listen to that one at https://mangamachinations.com/ 

39:51 Just Kidding Jocelyne! <3

42:00 For the last part of the wrap-up, we made some groups of books to talk about! 

Love & Sex: The Blood Red Boy, Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Our Dining Table, Wotakoi, Raw Hero, Blood on the Tracks

Digital Only: Dan Da Dan, Look Back, Blood Red Boy, Spy X Family

Art About Art:  Blank Canvas, Look Back, Blue Period, City, BL Metamorphosis

Classic Manga: Phoenix, Gundam: The Origin, Nausicaä, Kamen Rider, Devilman Classic, A Drunken Dream and Other Stories

Adventure!: Vinland Saga, Golden Kamuy, AKIRA, Aposimsz, An Invitation From a Crab

Interview: Shout-out to our interview subjects, Jocelyne Allen, Ben Applegate, Ed Chavez, Nick Dragotta, Ko Ransom, and Emma Rios!

47:00 It WAS comic critic Johanna Draper-Carlson, who was talking about the charms and appeal of Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku. Paraphrasing, it’s about having a group of friends, a circle of friends, that are all weebs/otaku/fanboys etc. Having grown up in a lot of those spaces, I see the appeal for sure! Check out her review here.

48:30 We’re talking about Chip’s Public Domain, serializing now at The Chip Zdarsky Newsletter!

51:45 It’s true! Two books from the digital-only category that we really liked this year, DanDaDan by Yukinobu Tatsu, and Look Back are finally getting print editions.

52:10 Man, this is the worst anecdote/joke I’ve ever done on this podcast. I can’t believe David left this in. But I stand by my take on Franken Fran

59:00 Pop Life, by Minami Q-Ta! It’s good stuff. I read it after I finished The Blood Red Boy, and it’s literally the only story I’ve ever read like this in comics. The cover art features 3 kids and a ‘pop’ cover illustration, but the actual story is about two middle-aged women who develop a supportive friendship! It’s really great stuff, and it made me happy. Go check it out from Starfruit Books, or read it on Azuki.

59:40 What is City Pop? It’s a the Japanese equivalent of yacht rock. Here’s the Wiki for a fuller answer. I’m soooo tired.

1:03:00 Big thanks to manga historians Matt Alt and Ryan Holmberg, who popped up on Twitter with some illuminating info about Shin Takarajima (New Treasure Island), Osamu Tezuka’s first full-length graphic novel. I had solely credited it to Tezuka, but it’s much more appropriately credited to Shichima Sakai and Osamu Tezuka. Here’s the exchange from Matt and Ryan on Twitter.

Matt Alt: [New Treasure Island] Is amazing and transformative, but let’s not forget it was based on Shichima Sakai’s script. His contribution often gets glossed over.

Ryan Holmberg: I’m pretty sure Sakai did the basic storyboards too. I wrote a pair of articles on TCJ eons ago about New Treasure Island. You can refer to those maybe?

Matt Alt: The rift between the two is discussed in chapter 2 of Pure Invention as well. In fact, Shin-Takarajima’s so key to Pure Invention we put it on the cover! (image)

That pair of articles on early Tezuka that Ryan Holmberg mentions can be found online at TCJ, links below. They’re very good reads, if you’re into Tezuka, Disney, and post-WWII comics in general. 

As for Matt Alt’s Pure Invention, you can buy yourself a copy wherever books are sold

1:05:20 Welcome to the world of tomorrow!

1:10:00

“Sorry, I’m just really cool.”

Chip Zdarsky

1:14:40 I dunno if I explained this well, but it’s like how for all of season 1, we kept mentioning Akiko Higashimura but didn’t read any of her work for the podcast… and then we covered her a couple weeks into volume 2 and she was a huge hit! She was a big part of the discourse, the flavour of season 1, but wasn’t actually a subject until season 2. I think, Deb makes a great point about covering some important manga creators at the end of this episode.

1:16:00 Coming up with the perfect retort days later? Seems like a good place to end these show notes!

Thanks again for listening to Mangasplaining this season! It’s been an incredible season, tons of change, an incredible year, really. Thanks so much. We’ll be back soon with new episodes!

In the meantime, you can find a comics and manga specialty retailer near you at Comicshoplocator.com. And check out your local library for print and digital lending options.

You can also check out our new publishing endeavour, Mangasplaining Extra, at http://www.mangasplainingextra.com.

And check out D.A.D.S. on Spotify, he made our cool theme music for us. 🙂

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8 Responses

  1. Mormegil says:

    I like the Season breaks. If gives you guys something new to announce and let’s people think it’s a jumping on point.

    I can’t explain it but I had a hard time getting into the podcast with season 1. The announcement of season 2 caused me to jump back in and this is podcast I look forward to the most now. Even if I haven’t read the topic material.

  2. Mormegil says:

    I meant to add. I accidentally read volume 1 of Phoenix as well (I didn’t finish it).

    City has been my new favorite thing. I’ve bought 1-6 so far and I’ve read those three times now.

  3. Eric Henwood-Greer says:

    As usual, this was a lot of fun. And I appreciate the reference to my essays (a generous term) in the comments. Honestly, it means a lot that my rambling reaction to each podcast gets read.

    As for faves (out of what I have read)–

    Love and Sex (what a category) – Tokyo Tarareba Girls, which is great though I admit I dislike some of the gender stereotypes–I mean I’ve written an MA dissertation on soap operas and never seen The Dark Knight), and Our Dining Table a much further second slot. It’s just a bit too soft for me, but I agree with Christopher (and prob every other gay guy) that they OBVIOUSLY had sex when he came out of the bathroom.

    Obviously, I’m nerdy about a lot of things–but I’ve never experienced a part of that “nerd culture” except for maybe when I was in theatre… so Watakoi didn’t really mean much to me. (But I never read volume 2…)

    I wonder how long a “runway” mangaka truly have, though? As always, I’m speaking from my knowledge of shoujo manga, but there was a brief period of time (60s-mid 70s) where they would be able to pitch a title, and then see if it took off over a few months, and risk it being cancelled–and disappearing. This was before collections were the norm. But even in the 80s, 90s, and 00s, un-established mangaka have spoken about how brutal it was to get a successful title and only *then* did they have the luxury to write a manga the way they wanted to, or to try to figure out the right direction for a manga.

    I was really pleased to read along with you guys to Kamen Rider—I’ve always wanted to read more of Shotaro Ishinomori’s work, and this scratched that itch, for now.

    No surprise—I think A Drunken Dream is great. Moto Hagio is my all-time favourite mangaka. I have heard a few other podcasters say that this is the best introduction to her work and…

    I really don’t think it is. Having re-read a number of her works during the pandemic—including the in-print Otherworld Barbara, Poe Clan, The Heart of Thomas and (not yet in English) A Cruel God Reigns, I think her strengths really shine through with long-form storytelling. They’re not ideal for this podcast, though she, mostly, keeps her stories short and tight. But, to me, her true strengths are in characterization and also an incredible way of connecting completely separate story threads into a really emotional pay off (out of her English titles, this is probably best shown in Barbara). Drunken Dream does give an idea of what she does and can do—and if you hate it, don’t bother looking into her other works– But if any of it intrigues or appeals, I really do recommend diving into one of her longer titles. (To be fair, in terms of style, Otherworld Barbara is hardly classic and is very 2000s) And there’s my pitch 😊

    Classic Manga: I admit, this podcast (sorry Christopher) made me return to Nausicaa and I realized that it’s going to be a long, long, time till I sit down and read it all again. I still love it for what it meant and means to me, but without that Joe Hisaishi film score from the anime, I can’t imagine it being something I’ll return to for pleasure again. I think I just read manga differently than I did as a teenager—where I would be happy to spend ages figuring out each page. (Also, I admit, I like there to be some element of sex or romance in what I read now—even though I don’t feel that way when I rewatch a Miyazaki anime…)

    Again, this has to do with the commercial manga market, but one reason the bulk of the Year 24 1970s Moto Hagio, Keiko Takemiya, etc manga came out (to be very simplistic) was they were up against all the blockbuster manga at Margaret Magazine–Rose of Versailles, Aim for the Ace!, etc–and Shoujo Comic Magazine editor Junya Yamamoto basically said that he would allow them a few issues to experiment with titles, to see if anything could be a success, just due to the rivalry.

    Obviously things have changed, but for *new* mangaka I doubt they have at all. And, in that way I’m not sure it’s all that different from the NA comic scene where if an established artist or writer fails they have a stronger chance of coming back than if a novice does.

    Gosh, that was an essay….

    (Blood Red Boy gets honourable mention–and I hope you all can continue to cover a few short manga titles–maybe along with the main post? Though that means more pages for Chip to read…)

    I still am not sure about reading manga online—I (obviously) spend so much time with screens, that it’s nice to have a book (yes, I’m your grandfather.) Over the last year I did read the Rose of Versailles translation—which I had previously read in French over a week—in weekly installments as it was originally published, something that reminded me of an undergrad class I took reading a Wilkie Collins serial that way, and it was a lot of fun. I actually found myself looking forward to what was going to happen next, etc (and I admit this sounds like someone just trying not to blow everything in one wad) but, depending on the manga, there’s something to be said about trying to follow the original reading format.

    Also, how very dare anyone compare City Pop with Yacht Rock. While this is prob better than City Pop—Psy.S were my fave early 90s jpop group due to a cassette left to me by an exchange student crush in high school—I only realized later that they did songs for City Hunter, ToY, etc… Still love them.

    And I wanted to add to Chip’s comment last week–I live on Van Island and was not far from the Malahat, sadly, during the truck convoy. But the Malahat is not quite the middle of the wilderness ride he made it sound… But I’m sorry he seemed to hit it during the truck convoy bullshit. I hope when he’s on the island he comes down here to Victoria, or up to Nanaimo or somewhere and checks out the comic stores here. Although one of the sellers at Curious Comics when I bought a certain book teased me so much about it that I left, dropped it on the pavement, damaged the cover and went back and couldn’t get a different copy. That book was the first hardcover of Sex Criminals. Just saying

  4. Ajin says:

    ajin has a writer changr so maybe you could talk about that. If its noticeable or not.

  5. Stephen Recker says:

    Thanks for another great season.

    Quick note to Chip: PPtAS-M #310 is easily one of the best issues of any Spider-titles and I’m really looking forward to your run in Batman, but can you please just lay off Nausicaa?

    We know it’s not your favourite, but those of us who do like it might not want to hear you slag it so often. Thanks!

    • Eric Henwood-Greer says:

      I have a feeling that this comment will just cause more slagging of poor Nausicaa. Which raises two questions–one–I know we’re using the classical pronunciation, but the manga/anime is actually pronounce “Na-USH-i-caa”, isn’t it? That’s what they say in the anime and in the infamously terrible, but catchy!, image song that was used to promote it but apparently (so I’ve heard) Hisaishi or Miyazaki refused to allow to be used for the end credits. I only bring this up because Christopher, Deb and David always seem so careful to try to get the Japanese pronunciations right

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhzDi6gSWdA

      And–Chip really slagged on the classic titles in this wrap up, yet, while he said he didn’t know who he would recommend it to, he seemed to really enjoy Kamen Rider in the actual episode devoted to it.

  6. Miguel Corti says:

    What a great wrap-up, and congrats to all of you on the completion of another amazing season. Christopher was right in that this season did go in some interesting directions for the reading material, and I’m really appreciative of that. “Invitation from a Crab” was one of my favorite reads last year, and I can’t wait to read more work from panpaya.

    I agree with Deb in that you all do an amazing job of keeping each episode self contained, and probably only the Akira episodes by dint of you working through the series itself would benefit from chronological listening. For myself I skip around minimally, with a 2-4 episode maximum range, and it’s really determined only by how long it takes me to get my hands on the reading material and then actually read it. After that, I tend not to move on to another episode until I’ve been able to read the show notes and leave a comment because I don’t want to get my feedback all discombobulated. That’s just my personal way of enjoying the show, and your production style has in no way hampered that.

    And speaking of production, I just wanted to shout out the audio quality of the show. I never have to worry one speaker will come in louder or softer than others when I listen, and I appreciate that. I also appreciate that you don’t really talk over each other or interrupt each other (except for a good joke or ribbing), and I don’t know how you manage that. You have made allusions to the recording being done over video, so I guess seeing each other helps knowing when you can jump in.

    Thank you for the shout out. I have no idea if my comments are additive in any way (certainly not as erudite as Eric’s!), but leaving comments does help me engage with the manga I read better (like David mentioned about writing essays about comics back in the day), so I appreciate you providing a place for everyone to contribute. It’s great that everyone tries to keep it positive, even when they aren’t particularly enamoured of the work under discussion, or attempts to be additive by providing background info. I’m sure the tone of the podcast and the show notes themselves contribute to the general positivity.

    Not sure what the reaction has been, but I’m all for when you discuss the behind-the-scenes process of creating and publishing manga whether in Japan or outside. I find that kind of talk fascinating, and I hope you have more to share next season.

    I really hope Katuhiro Otomo’s non-Akira manga finally gets published in English soon, because I would love to hear our hosts’ takes on it.

    Here’s to another great season–after you’ve had a proper rest!

    • Hey Miguel–Thanks so much for your lovely comment. I passed your note about the sound quality on to David, who does the audio editing for every episode. He’s doing an amazing job, and we do jump in more than you’d think, especially me. ^__^;;

      We’re actually starting with a new season in like, 18 hours. Lol. And we only had one skip week this year too!

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