manga


With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child

Review by Matthew Nielsen

With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child by Keiko Tobe is a manga series about a mother, Sachiko, raising her autistic son, Hikaru, while also exploring the lives and challenges faced by the other family members and their friends. The story is what some would call “edutainment,” a mix of entertainment and education; not enough of one to be purely informative but not enough of the other to be purely for show, a mix of practicality and performance. An example of this is, while the story does have comedic and dramatic moments, there is also frequent dialogue that emphasizes awareness and facts regarding autism, even to the point where some elements feel like tiny PSAs. This is not necessarily bad, but it can feel a little jarring from a purely storytelling perspective. However, it also makes the story highly informative for the most part. The story has taught me many things. Not just about autism, but also about Japanese culture in general thanks to the culture/translation notes sections at the end of each book.

The volumes are quite down-to-earth and focus on relatable real life problems. From English volumes 1-8 we see Hikaru grow from a newborn baby into a junior high student. The growth is quite gradual and many obstacles must be overcome. As the series progresses and Hikaru matures, we begin to focus less on him as his problems either have already been addressed with counter-measures put in place, or we’ve already seen it all before. Instead, the narrative begins to look more on subplots of other characters, with their own potentially relatable issues.

Tobe has written an honest, informative and dedicated work. Many of the ideas on, not just autism, but parenthood in general, that are put forward in this journey, seem most agreeable and healthy. I’ve seen many parents, and children, who could have really done with a book like this in their life, if only they had the interest to read it and the knowledge of its existence. An interesting feature in With the Light is how Tobe deals with antagonists. Instead of them being designated simply as “villains,” the reader is often given the chance to see the antagonist’s point of view and motivations, and thus is able to empathize with their problems. The main characters work towards cooperation and many of the antagonists become either neutral parties or even allies in the journey.

As someone with Asperger’s syndrome, and someone who loves learning via comics, this book was ideal for me. It is perfect for anyone else out there who enjoys both manga and has a keen interest in learning about autism.  I truly learnt a lot about myself, as well as what my parents had to go through raising me, and also about my autistic peers. That is why it immensely saddened me when I found out, half way through English Volume 8, that Keiko Tobe passed away during the course of writing the series. I only realized it when I landed on the last completed chapter. It was followed by two very rough layout chapters, and the rest was bonus material. I am sure that if Tobe had been able to complete the manga, we would have seen Hikaru grow up to have become a productive working adult, but now that day shall never come. However, despite the series being unfinished, I still recommend With the Light to anyone interested in both comics and parenthood and in autism in general. I just wish Tobe could have stayed with us longer and had the opportunity to tell us even more wonderful stories. Thank you very much, Keiko Tobe, for the journeys you gave the world.

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The TradeWaiters 47: “Battle Angel Alita” Vol. 1 & 2 by Yukito Kishiro

It today’s episode Jam, Jeff, Jon, and Kaye read the first two volumes of Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro. Join us in the bleak, dystopian future of this nineties manga where robot bodies are cheap but freedom is not. Spoiler alert: one of the Tradewaiters didn’t like this book, and another doesn’t like movies.

Also, you are cordially invited to the LIVE recording of our fiftieth episode at VanCAF this weekend! Admission is free (and VanCAF is awesome), so come watch us talk about comics in person at 3:30 on May 19th in the panel room at VanCAF at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown, Vancouver.

Also mentioned in this episode:
Space Oddity and Aqua Knight, also by Yukito Kishiro.
Altered Carbon produced by Laeta Kalogridis
Dragon Ball Z by Akira Toriyama
The Wicked and the Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
The Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin, George Perez, & Ron Lim
Serial Experiments Lain directed by Ryutaro Nakamura
The Wolf-Birds by Willow Dawson
and Eden’s Outcasts by John Matteson

And our own projects:
Phobos and Deimos by Jonathon Dalton
Crossroads by Jeff Ellis
Lunar Maladies by kgros
and Jam’s website

Music by Sleuth.

Our next episode will be on The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang.

You can also follow the TradeWaiters on Tumblr, Soundcloud, Twitter, iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

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The TradeWaiters 41: “Princess Jellyfish” Vol. 2 by Akiko Higashimura

Welcome back for part two of our look at Akiko Higashimura’s Princess Jellyfish. Jam, Jeff, and Jon have a lot to talk about for Volume 2 of this series, including our theories, hopes, and worries about where the story might be headed next. Also there’s an anime of this? But none of us have watched it, so our spoilers only cover Volume 2.

Also mentioned in this episode:
Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto
Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks
M.A.S.H. by Larry Gelbart
The Rose of Versailles by Riyoko Ikeda
Cat Rakham by Steve Wolfhard
Jessica Jones by Brian Michael Bendis and Micheal Gaydos
Dorohedoro by Q Hayashida

And our own projects:
Phobos and Deimos by Jonathon Dalton
Crossroads by Jeff Ellis
and Wasted Talent by Angela Melick.

Music by Sleuth.

The book for the next episode is currently TBD!

You can also follow the TradeWaiters on Tumblr, Soundcloud, Twitter, iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

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The TradeWaiters 40: “Princess Jellyfish” Vol. 1 by Akiko Higashimura

On today’s episode Jeff, Jam, and Jon dive into the first volume of Princess Jellyfish by Akiko Higashimura. This is the first half of a two-part look at the world of the Amars otaku and the gender-bending “stylish” who invades their lives. It’s pretty hard to be compulsively obsessed with jellyfish (or trains or kimonos or old men or BL manga or The Three Kingdoms) when the outside world keeps busting down the door. Join us from the safety of your hikkikomori nest!

Also mentioned in this episode:
Kisakae Yuka-chan, Kakukaku Shikajika, and Fruits Komori also by Akiko Higashimura
Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo
Sphere by Micheal Crichton
The Big Bang Theory by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady
Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong
Sweetrock by Melanie Gillman
The Wicked and the Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
and Toward a Hot Jew by Miriam Libicki

And our own projects:
Phobos and Deimos by Jonathon Dalton
Crossroads by Jeff Ellis
and Wasted Talent by Angela Melick.

Music by Sleuth.

Our next episode will be on the second volume of Princess Jellyfish by Akiko Higashimura

You can also follow the TradeWaiters on Tumblr, Soundcloud, Twitter, iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

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Shonen Jump’s Universal Manga Contest

Shonen Jump, the phenomenally popular manga magazine, is recruiting top talent from all over the world to guide Jump into the future! They are currently holding a contest for new manga to be featured in their magazine. Grand prize is ¥1,000,000 and serialization in Shonen Jump (Print or Digital), while the runner-up receives ¥300,000 and serialization in Jump Plus or in a special edition of Jump. The manga submission must be a one-shot story of no more than 55 pages and can be in any genre.  Deadline for all submissions is January 5th, 2018. For more information, check out Jump‘s Universal Manga Contest.

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Writer looking for an Asian-Canadian comic artist 2

Writer Tetsuro Shigematsu is looking for an Asian-Canadian comic/manga artist for a paying comic project. The artist would preferably be based in Vancouver but location is not a deal breaker. The comic project will likely be published in book form with a possible tie-in to CBC. If interested, please contact Tetsuro Shigematsu as soon as possible at [email protected], applications are still open.

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Observations on the American Manga Market 1

by Aliena Shoemaker

There was a time when the local Borders was the only store in my city that carried manga (Japanese comics) in the trade paper back format. The titles the store carried were limited to a grand total of about five. The titles included had either been readily available to the North American audience for multiple years via their on-screen adaptations (such as Dragonball Z) or they were the most popular titles in Japan at the time (mostly titles by the group CLAMP such as X and Chobits). Selection was limited, and if you did not live in a large city with a China or Japan Town, it was practically impossible to find anything other than what was available for mass market purchase. Some random paper issues could be located in specialty comic stores from time to time but they were often badly-translated and hard to collect due to bad distribution.

Rise of American Manga

Fast forward ten years.

Now one may walk into any bookstore of a decent size and find a manga section that takes up from one to four rows. Some comic stores have whole floors dedicated to the translated comics. Some sci-fi and fantasy fans had been watching badly subtitled VHS tapes of anime (Japanese animation) such as Gundam that they dug up in Chinatown since the 80’s. So why the (relatively) sudden boom in anime and manga in America?

(more…)

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