'Rough Guide to Manga' heads to retail shelves


POSTED: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I must confess that I'm usually not one to toot my own horn, preferring to stay in the background while others spread the word about what I write every week.

But last week, while I was putting the finishing touches on an “;Astro Boy”;/”;Pluto”; dual profile, my editor, Gary Chun, stopped by my desk and noticed a certain book sitting there.

“;So, Jason,”; he said. “;When are you gonna talk about your book?”;

That book would be “;The Rough Guide to Manga,”; the primer to all things manga written by your humble lil' “;Cel Shaded”; columnist. I'm happy to announce that it officially went on sale last Monday and should be available anywhere books are sold.

To review, “;The Rough Guide to Manga”; is the end product of what I learned over two years of research. It looks at the history of manga, what makes manga what it is, and the key people, publishers and resources in the industry. The centerpiece of the book is the Canon, my picks for 50 must-read series that are sure to stir healthy debate. (I haven't received any hate mail blasting me for including one series at the expense of another, so at least I have that going for me.)

Right now, I understand that only Barnes & Noble has it in stock locally—I've seen it in both the Ala Moana and Kahala stores, and felt my heart flutter both times. Truth be told, I actually had to stop my mom from buying up all the copies at one of the stores, so that there would be some available for others to buy. You have to love parental pride.

If you'd like to see it sold anywhere else—a certain large chain with a name that rhymes with the phrase “;toward hers”; comes to mind—have a chat with your friendly neighborhood store manager and encourage him or her to stock it. There also weren't that many copies at Barnes & Noble, but I'm sure they'll restock it if demand is high enough. Hint, hint.

Oh, and remember that Amazon sales ranking I pointed out back in August, where it was comfortably nestled at 1,693,294th place on the Web site's best-seller list? I'm pleased to report that as of Sunday afternoon, it had risen to number 424,902. That means it's doing better than all 12 volumes of the “;Eiken”; manga.

For that, dear readers, I commend you for your impeccable taste. If my book sold worse than “;Eiken,”; a series that has no redeeming qualities whatsoever and actually received a rating of zero stars in Jason Thompson's “;Complete Guide to Manga,”; I'd be quite depressed. Instead, I'm rather satisfied with how it's doing so far. And if you find entertainment or informative value in what I've written, I'll be even happier.


Halloween update

A few days after my column about Halloween-related events was published—check hsblinks.com/13m, if you missed it—Kell Komatsubara of Oahu Anime Explorer passed along a tip about another event: a costume contest being hosted by Tenkaippin Ramen and Scott Suzui and the gang with the “;Ultimate Japan”; TV show. A Japanese-themed costume is required to enter the contest, but no real swords or weapons, please.

The event starts at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Shack Waikiki (2255 Kuhio Ave.), with the $500 grand prize being awarded around 11:45 p.m. There will be live entertainment, and drink specials will be available all night—probably a good sign that this event isn't for the kiddies. Komatsubara also will be taking some group members over to the event around 11 p.m., which promises to be fun.