Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Back in business after after a short lull in activity on the site, I wanted to show off some of the awesome finds we had during two trips to New York this past winter. While both SF and NYC have equally impressive Kinokuniya stores for new English manga releases, New York wins the manga arms race because of one secret weapon, nestled midtown about a block from the New York Public Library... BOOK-OFF!

BOOK-OFF is used-book chain that's pretty ubiquitous in Japan, but only a few exist in the States in LA, Honolulu and New York. For us, this shop (and more specifically, the second-floor used Manga valhalla) is a required stop whenever we're lucky enough to make it out East.

These manga stacks are actually where we've found some of the source materials for past scanlations we've done. The only downside to the place is that the second floor is REALLY HOT and STUFFY (we think intentionally to keep people from standing and reading for hours on end). So, here are some pics of recent gems... YES, this post is basically us bragging about awesome shit we got for cheap!


As some of you may know, Tezuka did tackle a few classics of Western Lit in manga form (the other most notable being Faust). Hearing about this firsthand at the Tezuka Museum in Kansai, I was both baffled and excited to hear that Tezuka had ventured to take on the canonical, existential tale of Raskolnikov. The story is really dense, even in comic form (duh) and the panel work is a weird mix of his 1950s style and more experimental layouts-- for example, holding the fixed and limited vantage point of the stairwell for pages and pages, while we know that Raskolnikov is inside killing the old pawnbroker and workmen are just down the stairs (in and out of the bottom of the panel) was an intense and interesting choice.

It's also vaguely weird and compelling to see the conflict between the detective Porfiry and Raskolnikov portrayed by Tezuka's archetypal cast of characters.

I'm not sure that Tezuka's Crime and Punishment is that hard to track down in Japan, but it seems most American fans of Buddha, Astroboy and Phoenix might not yet be aware of it. You can read more details on the Tezuka site. Please enjoy these pics... (Oh, and in case you were wondering, he DOES manage to polish off the entire novel in only 130 pages of manga!)

The insane and gross The Tale of Hardy Hendrix By Manga Taro

Kasei Rumba (Martian Rumba) by my man, Yoshida Sensha!

And perhaps the greatest find we could possibly hope for: An original, hardcover COLOR edition of UTSURUN DESU Vol.1 (伝染るんです) by Yoshida Sensha!

..and finally, LONG LIVE THE KING!!

Happy non-religious Vernal Equinox today! More manga news posts are coming soon. Regarding our scanlations, last night I finally finished the translation for Yoshida Sensha's The Young Bandit and passed the script on to Evan for touch-up and lettering. More soon, I proooooomise!


Anonymous said...

BOOK OFF is a bloody great store. SOOO much stuff for cheap but complicated to navigate if you don't know japanese. I still go there and buy alot of stuff, just for the art itself. Its fun to go, pull out books at random, and alot of times you get pleasantly surprised. I even managed to pick up that "The Tale of Hardy Hendrix" book you got there, I love the old lady comics in those.
The only problem is the store is a little out of my way so I don't go as often as I'd like. But excellent recommendation, its an easy store to miss.

Anonymous said...

Nice. I'll make sure to visit here if I'm in New York again. How much did these books cost?

Anonymous said...

Last time we were in NYC my girlfriend and I went to Bookoff as well. Great store! I bought Hanako Tanaka's "Tenshi no aku-fuzake" there, and I think something else, don't remember what though.
The crazy thing was, we actually met a friend in there whom we hadn't seen in a couple of years! You can really find anything at Book-Off! ^_^
Afterwards we all went to the Sake bar on 9th, I think it's called Decibel?

Ryan said...

Pedro: Yeah, Book Off is basically NOT TO BE missed for non-Japanese manga fans that get anywhere near NYC. The old lady comics in the Manga Taro book are really amazing (amazingly FUCKED UP, that is) and might be SLIGHTLY too gnarly for scanlation. But maaaaaybe :)

Anonymous: Actually, really cheap-- which is why we love Book Off so much :) I think the cheapest was the Tezuka for about $4 and the most expensive was the hard copy of Utsurun Desu for $8.50.

Ben: dude, Book Off brings friends and lovers closer, you are absolutely right :) Oh, and I think I walked past the Sake bar you mean, in the East Village, right? Maybe one day if we're both visiting Nate our eyes will meet on the 2nd floor and we can compare guro finds! (Seriously though... you coming to the States any time soon?)


Anonymous said...

I love Book Off! I go there lots here in Japan. I always come back with a CD or manga or two. Today I bought 10 volumes of manga for 500 yen! That's insane! It's so great. You definitely shouldn't go into Book Off expecting to find something. Since it's a used book store, they won't necessarily have what you're looking for. If you just stumble upon something you really wanted, it's that much greater because it's so cheap!

Justin De Lucia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan S said...

@Justin: It's really awesome :) To see some fan-translated gag strips from that book, just click on the Sensha label on the post and dig through the archives a little--- We did about ~25 strips from different volumes of Utsurun desu, mostly in 2005 and 2006 :)