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Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Category: Anime and Manga Page 1 of 4

Te Reo Māori Comes to the Marvel Universe: New Comics and Graphic Novels

If there’s one thing we love here at the library, it’s a good comic book or two (or three). Luckily, our hard-working librarians have been breaking a sweat down in the book-mines (otherwise known as our offsite collection storage facility) to make sure that we have lots of new comics to fill the shelves and keep you, our beloved readers, in good reading spirits.

Here are just a few of our favourite recent additions to our comics and graphic novel collection. Hopefully you’ve seen a few of these gracing the shelves at a library near you — if not, click the titles below to get reserving!

Te pakanga a Ngāti Rānaki me Te Ranga-Tipua
“Ngāti Rānaki me Te Ranga-Tipua – mai anō i te wehenga of Rangi rāua ko Papa ko rāua tonu ngā tauā tuahangata rongonui katoa – ka wera te umu pokapoka o te ao tukupū i tēnei pakanga turaki aorangi… He kohinga nō ngā pakiwaituhi hirahira katoa i tēnei tekau tau kua hori – e huihui mai ai a Tua Rino, a Kāpene Amerika, a Toa, a Kaiora, a Katipō, a Tama-Werewere, a Matihao, a Whatupihi, a Rangipō, a Te Autō me te huhua noa atu i tēnei pūrākau e rerekē katoa nei ō rātou āhua ā muri ake nei. A compilation of 13 graphic novels describing the battle between the Avengers and the X-Men, a battle that has continued since the separation of Ranginui and Papatūānuku. The universe is ablaze from a battle that destroys entire planets. Features: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, and Magnet.” (Catalogue)

Oksi / Ahokoivu, Mari
“Poorling is a little bear. She’s a bit different from her brothers. Mother keeps their family safe. For the Forest is full of dangers. It is there that Mana lives, with her Shadow children. And above them all, Emuu, the great Grandma in the Sky. From the heart of Finnish folklore comes a breathtaking tale of mothers, daughters, stars and legends, and the old gods and the new.” (Catalogue)

Jujutsu kaisen. 10, Evening festival / Akutami, Gege
“In order to regain use of his crippled body, Kokichi Muta, otherwise known as Mechamaru, has been acting as an informant for the cursed spirits. He’s prepared for the betrayal when he’s thrust into a battle to the death against Mahito, but is knowing his enemy enough against a cursed spirit whose powers keep growing exponentially?” (Catalogue)

Nerdy librarians’ note: this volume heralds the beginning of the infamous Shibuya arc (explored further in volumes  11, 12, 13, and 14) — to be covered in the next season of the Jujutsu Kaisen anime. If you haven’t started reading Jujutsu Kaisen yet, you should absolutely not start here: find Volume 1 at your local library instead!


Friday. Book one, The first day of Christmas / Brubaker, Ed
“Friday Fitzhugh spent her childhood solving crimes and digging up occult secrets with her best friend Lancelot Jones, the smartest boy in the world. But that was the past, now she’s in college, starting a new life on her own. Except when Friday comes home for the holidays, she’s immediately pulled back into Lance’s orbit and finds that something very strange and dangerous is happening in their little New England town.” (Catalogue)

A-Okay / Greene, Jarad
“A-Okay by Jarad Greene is a vulnerable and heartfelt semi-autobiographical middle grade graphic novel about acne, identity, and finding your place.” (Catalogue)

Whistle : a new Gotham City hero / Lockhart, E
“Sixteen-year-old Willow Zimmerman reconnects with estranged family friend and real estate tycoon E. Nigma, but after he helps her earn enough for medical treatments for her mom she is attacked by the monstrous Killer Croc and upon waking after the fight she gains powers and insight she will need to make the right choices.” (Catalogue)

Tiny dancer / Siegel, Siena Cherson
“Siena Cherson Siegel dreamed of being a ballerina. Her love of movement and dedication to the craft earned her a spot at the School of American Ballet. Siena has worked hard her whole life to be a professional ballet dancer, then makes the difficult decision to quit dancing and tries to figure out what comes next. But what do you do when you have spent your entire life working toward a goal, having that shape your identity, and then decide it’s time to move on? How do you figure out what to do with your life? And how do you figure out who you are?” (Catalogue)

I am not Starfire / Tamaki, Mariko
“Seventeen-year-old Mandy, who dyes her hair black and hates almost everyone, is not like her mother, the tall, sparkly alien superhero Starfire, so when someone from Starfire’s past arrives, Mandy must make a choice about who she is and if she should risk everything to save her mom.” (Catalogue)

Asadora! Volume 1 / Urasawa, Naoki
“A deadly typhoon, a mysterious creature and a girl who won’t quit. In 2020, a large creature rampages through Tokyo, destroying everything in its path. In 1959, Asa Asada, a spunky young girl from a huge family in Nagoya, is kidnapped for ransom – and not a soul notices. When a typhoon hits Nagoya, Asa and her kidnapper must work together to survive. But there’s more to her kidnapper and this storm than meets the eye. When Asa’s mother goes into labor yet again, Asa runs off to find a doctor. But no one bats an eye when she doesn’t return – not even as a storm approaches Nagoya. Forgotten yet again, Asa runs into a burglar and tries to stop him on her own, a decision that leads to an unlikely alliance.” (Catalogue)

Stars in their eyes / Walton, Jessica
“Pop culture-obsessed Maisie can’t wait to get to her first Fancon. But being a queer, disabled teenager with chronic pain comes with challenges. Can Maisie make it through the day without falling over, falling in love or accidentally inspiring anyone? Maisie has always dreamed of meeting her hero, Kara Bufano, an amputee actor who plays a kick-arse amputee character in her favourite show. Fancon is big and exciting and exhausting. Then she meets Ollie, a cute volunteer who she has a lot in common with. Could this be the start of something, or will her mum, who doesn’t seem to know what boundaries are, embarrass her before she and Ollie have a chance?” (Catalogue)

The Manga Behind the Best Anime of the Year

The 6th annual Crunchyroll Anime Awards took place last week, with anime fans turning out in their millions to vote for their favourite shows, characters, artists, voice actors, directors, fight scenes (!), and musical tracks from the last year of anime. Many of the category nominees and winners were spawned from manga, and as you know, we’re big on manga here at the library. So, here are the manga series you can find gracing the shelves of our libraries that are behind this year’s award-winning anime adaptations. Get in quick to reserve ’em, they won’t stay on the shelves long!

(Or if you find yourself having to wait, why not check out our full manga collection here?)

Attack on Titan / Hajime Isayama

{shōnen: action, dark fantasy, post-apocalyptic}

“For the past century, what’s left of mankind has hidden in a giant, three-walled city, trapped in fear of the bizarre, giant humanoids known as the Titans. Little is known about where they came from or why they are bent on consuming human-kind, but the sudden appearance of an enormous Titan is about change everything.” (Catalogue)

Category wins:

  • Anime of the Year
  • Best Antagonist — Eren Jaeger
  • Best Japanese VA Performance — Yuki Kaji as Eren Jaeger
  • Best Opening Sequence — ‘Boku no Sansou’ by Shinsei Kamattechan

Category nominations:

  • Best Action
  • Best Protagonist — Eren Jaeger
  • Best Fight Scene — Eren Jaeger vs. War Hammer Titan
  • Best Japanese VA Performance — Ayane Sakura as Gabi Graun
  • Best Russian VA Performance — Vlad Tokarev as Eren Jaeger
  • Best Ending Sequence — ‘Shogeki’ by Yuko Ando

Beastars / Paru Itagaki

{shōnen: coming-of-age, drama, fantasy}

“At a high school where the students are literally divided into predators and prey, it’s personal relationships that maintain the fragile peace. Who among them is a Beastar an academic and social role model destined to become a leader in a society naturally rife with mistrust?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Romance
  • Best Opening Sequence — ‘Kaibutsu’ by Yoasobi
  • Best Ending Sequence — ‘Yasashii Suisei’ by Yoasobi

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations / Ukyo Kodachi

{shōnen: adventure, fantasy}

“Naruto was a young shinobi with an incorrigible knack for mischief. He achieved his dream to become the greatest ninja in his village, and now his face sits atop the Hokage monument. But this is not his story… A new generation of ninja are ready to take the stage, led by Naruto’s own son, Boruto!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Fight Scene — Naruto Uzumaki vs. Isshiki Otsutsuki

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba / Koyoharu Gotōge

{shōnen: adventure, dark fantasy, martial arts}

“In Taisho-era Japan, Tanjiro Kamado is a kindhearted boy who makes a living selling charcoal. But his peaceful life is shattered when a demon slaughters his entire family. His little sister Nezuko is the only survivor, but she has been transformed into a demon herself! Tanjiro sets out on a dangerous journey to find a way to return his sister to normal and destroy the demon who ruined his life.” (Catalogue)

Category wins:

  • Best Film
  • Best Animation — Ufotable Studios
  • Best Score — composers Yuki Kajiura and Go Shiina
  • Best Ending Sequence — ‘Shirogane’ by LiSA
  • Best French VA Performance — Enzo Ratsito as Tanjiro Kamado
  • Best Latin American VA Performance — Irwin Daayán as Kyojuro Rengoku
  • Best Russian VA Performance — Islam Gandzhaev as Tanjiro Kamado

Category nominations:

  • Best Action

Fruits Basket / Natsuki Takaya

{shōjo: comedy, romance, supernatural}

“After a family tragedy turns her life upside down, plucky high schooler Tohru Honda takes matters into her own hands and moves out…into a tent Unfortunately for her, she pitches her new home on private land belonging to the mysterious Sohma clan, and it isn’t long before the owners discover her secret. But, as Tohru quickly finds out when the family offers to take her in, the Sohmas have a secret of their own–when touched by the opposite sex, they turn into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.” (Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Drama
  • Best Romance
  • Best Girl — Tohru Honda
  • Best English VA Performance — Laura Bailey as Tohru Honda

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure / Hirohiko Araki

{shōnen: adventure, fantasy, supernatural}

“Young Jonathan Joestar’s life is forever changed when he meets his new adopted brother, Dio. For some reason, Dio has a smoldering grudge against him and derives pleasure from seeing him suffer. But every man has his limits, as Dio finds out. This is the beginning of a long and hateful relationship!” (Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best German VA Performance — Marios Gavrilis as Dio Brando

Jujutsu Kaisen / Gege Akutami

{shōnen: adventure, dark fantasy, supernatural}

“Yuji Itadori is resolved to save the world from cursed demons, but he soon learns that the best way to do it is to slowly lose his humanity and become one himself! In a world where cursed spirits feed on unsuspecting humans, fragments of the legendary and feared demon Ryomen Sukuna were lost and scattered about. Should any demon consume Sukuna’s body parts, the power they gain could destroy the world as we know it…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Category wins:

  • Best Action
  • Best Girl — Nobara Kugisaki
  • Best Fight Scene — Yuji Itadori and Aoi Todo vs. Hanami
  • Best Character Design — designs by Tadashi Hiramatsu and Gege Akutami
  • Best German VA Performance — René Dawn-Claude as Satoru Gojo
  • Best Portuguese VA Performance — Leo Rabelo as Satoru Gojo

Category nominations:

  • Anime of the Year
  • Best Protagonist — Yuji Itadori
  • Best Fight Scene — Itadori and Kugisaki vs. Eso and Kechizu
  • Best Director — Sunghoo Park
  • Best Animation — MAPPA Studios
  • Best Opening Sequence — ‘Vivid Vice’ by Who-ya Extended
  • Best English VA Performance — Adam McArthur as Yuji Itadori
  • Best French VA Performance — Mark Lesser as Satoru Gojo
  • Best Latin American VA Performance — José Gilberto Vilchis as Satoru Gojo
  • Best Portuguese VA Performance — Amanda Brigido as Nobara Kugisaki

Overdrive coverKaguya-Sama: Love is War / Akasaka, Aka

{seinen: psychological, romantic comedy, slice-of-life}

“As leaders of their prestigious academy’s student council, Kaguya and Miyuki are the elite of the elite! But it’s lonely at the top… Luckily for them, they’ve fallen in love! There’s just one problem—they both have too much pride to admit it. And so begins the daily scheming to get the object of their affection to confess their romantic feelings first…Love is a war you win by losing.” (OverDrive description)

Category nominations:

  • Best Latin American VA Performance — Jessica Ángeles as Kaguya Shinomiya

Komi Can’t Communicate / Tomohito Oda

{shōnen: coming-of-age, romantic comedy, slice of life}

“Socially anxious high school student Shoko Komi would love to make friends, but her shyness is interpreted as reserve, and the other students keep her at a distance. Only timid Tadano realizes the truth, and despite his own desire to blend in, he decides to help her achieve her goal of making 100 friends.” (Catalogue)

Category wins:

  • Best Comedy

Category nominations:

  • Best Romance
  • Best Girl — Shoko Komi

My Hero Academia / Kōhei Horikoshi

{shōnen: adventure, fantasy, superheroes}

“Middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he hasn’t got an ounce of power in him. With no chance of ever getting into the prestigious U.A. High School for budding heroes, his life is looking more and more like a dead end. Then an encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all, gives him a chance to change his destiny…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Antagonist — Tomura Shigaraki

One Piece / Eiichirō Oda

{shōnen: adventure, fantasy}

“As a child, Monkey D. Luffy dreamed of becoming King of the Pirates. But his life changed when he accidentally ate the Gum-Gum Fruit, an enchanted Devil Fruit that gave him the ability to stretch like rubber. Its only drawback? He’ll never be able to swim again– a serious handicap for an aspiring sea dog! Years later, Luffy sets off on his quest to find the One Piece, said to be the greatest treasure in the world…” (OverDrive)

Category nominations:

  • Best Portuguese VA Performance — Carol Valença as Monkey D. Luffy
  • Best Russian VA Performance — Polina Rtischeva as Monkey D. Luffy

Re:Zero: Starting Life in Another World / Tappei Nagatsuki

{shōnen: adventure, dark fantasy, isekai}

“Subaru Natsuki was just trying to get to the convenience store but wound up summoned to another world. He encounters the usual things–life-threatening situations, silver haired beauties, cat fairies–you know, normal stuff. All that would be bad enough, but he’s also gained the most inconvenient magical ability of all–time travel, but he’s got to die to use it. How do you repay someone who saved your life when all you can do is die?” (Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Antagonist — Echidna
  • Best Portuguese VA Performance — Luísa Viotti as Echidna

Sailor Moon / Naoko Takeuchi

{shōjo: fantasy, magical girl}

“Usagi Tsukino is a normal girl until she meets up with Luna, a talking cat, who tells her that she is Sailor Moon. As Sailor Moon, Usagi must fight evils and enforce justice, in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. She meets other girls destined to be Sailor Senshi (Sailor Scouts), and together, they fight the forces of evil!” (Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Spanish VA Performance — Adelaida López as Usagi Tsukino

The Way of the Househusband / Kousuke Oono

{seinen: action, comedy, slice of life}

“It’s a day in the life of your average househusband if your average househusband is the legendary yakuza “the Immortal Dragon”! A former yakuza legend leaves it all behind to become your everyday househusband. But it’s not easy to walk away from the gangster life, and what should be mundane household tasks are anything but!” (Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Spanish VA Performance — Marc Zanni as Tatsu

Lastly, we’d like to give a special shout-out to perennial cult classic and fan favourite Cowboy Bebopwhich was nominated for Best Latin American VA Performance, for José Vilchis’ performance as Spike Spiegel. We sadly don’t have this in our collection, but we do have DVDs of the original anime series and movie as well as Rose Bridge’s excellent book for the 33 1/3 series dissecting the official soundtrack:

Yōko Kanno’s Cowboy bebop soundtrack / Bridges, Rose
“Cowboy Bebop is one of the most beloved anime series of all time, and if you ask its fans why, you can expect to hear about its music. Composer Yoko Kanno created an eclectic blend of jazz, rock, lullabies, folk and funk (to list just a few) for Cowboy Bebop’s many moods and environments. Cowboy Bebop’s blend of science fiction, westerns and gangster films promised to be “the work which becomes a new genre itself,” and only Kanno’s score could deliver.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Get Your Manga Fix at Newtown Library!

If you’ve trod the hallowed halls of our gorgeous Newtown Library recently, you may have noticed that she’s had a bit of a glow-up of late. The YA section has moved to a fetching and airy new location affording panoramic views of bustling Constable St, and its shelves are now bedecked with a plethora of new manga series freshly plucked from our collection warehouse and brought forth to the good people of Newtown for your edification and enjoyment.

An arrangement of new manga series on the shelf at Newtown Library

Ooh! Aah! So pretty! So many new books to explore!

There’s plenty here to satisfy readers new to the form as well as the seasoned panel-decipherers among you — and don’t forget you can check out the entire WCL manga collection here so you can reserve to your heart’s content. Also, if manga’s kinda your thing, we blog about it pretty often around these parts — check out some of our other posts here.

Anyway, here are the first volumes of some of the manga series you can expect to find on the shelves at Newtown on your next visit:

07-Ghost. Volume 1 / Amemiya, Yuki
“Teito Klein wants to forget his murky past as an orphan and slave and to graduate from Barsburg’s military academy with his best friend Mikage. But when an overheard state secret triggers treasonous memories, he’s forced to flee from the very empire he once sought to defend! Deliberately leaving Mikage behind, Teito escapes to the Barsburg Church. There, with the help of its three bishops, he begins to unravel his role in the story of an evil god, seven ghosts, two rival empires, and his own mysterious past.” (Catalogue)

Children of the sea. 1 / Igarashi, Daisuke
“When Ruka was younger, she saw a ghost in the water at the aquarium where her dad works. Now she feels drawn toward the aquarium and the two mysterious boys she meets there, Umi and Sora. They were raised by dugongs and hear the same strange calls from the sea that she does. Ruka’s dad and the other adults who work at the aquarium are only distantly aware of what the children are experiencing as they get caught up in the mystery of the worldwide disappearance of the ocean’s fish.” (Catalogue)

Magi : the labyrinth of magic. 1 / Ōtaka, Shinobu
“Inspired by One thousand and one nights, Aladdin, together with Ugo and Alibaba, searches in the desert for the mysterious Dungeons and their riches.” (Catalogue)

No matter how I look at it, it’s you guys’ fault I’m not popular! 1 / Tanigawa, Nico
“Tomoko Kuroki naturally assumed she’d be popular when she got to high school…but then cold, hard reality swooped in for the attack. Turns out all the popularity points she’s racked up in her video game dating sims are worth squat in real life, and Tomoko’s far from prepared to navigate high school. How can she possibly hope to impress her classmates when she can’t even talk to them? A new high-school heroine is born (maybe?).” (Catalogue)

Pandora hearts. Vol. 1 / Mochizuki, Jun
“The air of celebration surrounding fifteen-year-old Oz Vessalius’s coming-of-age ceremony quickly turns to horror when he is condemned for a sin about which he knows nothing. Thrown into the Abyss–an eternal prison from which there is no escape–Oz meets a young girl named Alice, who is not what she seems. Now that the relentless cogs of fate have begun to turn, will they lead only to crushing despair for Oz, or will Alice provide him with some shred of hope?” (Catalogue)

Sakura Hime : the legend of Princess Sakura. 1 / Tanemura, Arina
“Princess Sakura has been engaged to Prince Oura since birth. Wanting to escape a life arranged by others, Sakura runs away and finds she’s caught up to her true destiny. She is the granddaughter of a mysterious moon princess who slew demons with her Blood Cherry Blossom sword. All her life Sakura has been forbidden to look at the full moon without knowing why. Then one night, she gazes up at the moon, only to see a demon attacking her…” (Catalogue)

Shugo Chara! 1, Who do you want to be? / Peach-Pit
“Everybody at Seiyo Elementary thinks that stylish and super cool Amu has it all: But nobody knows the real Amu, a shy girl who wishes she had the courage to truly be herself. Changing Amu’s life is going to take more than wishes and dreams-it’s going to take a little magic! One morning, Amu finds a surprise in her bed: three strange little eggs. Each egg contains a Guardian Character, an angel-like being who can give her the power to be someone new. With the help of her Guardian Characters, Amu is about to discover that her true self is even more amazing than she ever dreamed. This volume of Shugo Chara! includes special extras after the story!” (Catalogue)

Library wars : love & war. 1 / Yumi, Kiiro
“In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves – the Library Forces! Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore when she was younger. But now that she’s finally a recruit, she’s finding her dream job to be a bit of a nightmare. Especially since her hard-hearted drill instructor seems to have it in for her!” (Catalogue)

Demon love spell. 1 / Shinjō, Mayu
“Miko is a shrine maiden who has never had much success at seeing or banishing spirits. Then she meets Kagura, a sexy demon who feeds off women’s feelings of passion and love. Kagura’s insatiable appetite has left many girls at school brokenhearted, so Miko casts a spell to seal his powers. Surprisingly the spell works sort of but now Kagura is after her!” (Catalogue)

Captive hearts. Vol. 1 / Hino, Matsuri
“Carefree Megumi Kuroishi was living a life of luxury until the day a girl named Suzuka Kogami walked into his life. All of a sudden, Meguni finds himself kneeling at suzuka’s feet and prostrating himself like a servant! What Megumi doesn’t know (until that very moment anyway) is that his family is cursed to follow the orders of the Kogami family. Being carried around everwhere and having handsome Megumi act like a slave may seem ideal, but Suzuka just wishes he would stop. Can anything be done about Megumi’s captive state? Or is Megumi doomed to see Suzuka as his master…forever?”” (Catalogue)

From the Vaults VI: More Manga Gems

We have already posted in this very blog series about the treasure trove of manga titles that are available for you to reserve — over 170 series or stand-alone titles, for a total of over 4,000 unique volumes to peruse. And though we’ve been buying more manga for our branch libraries so it’s easier for you to browse, there’s still a sizeable chunk of the manga collection on the shelves at Te Pātaka, our collection and distribution centre, just waiting for you to reserve it. Read on to discover some of the library’s hidden manga gems.

Bleach. Volume 1, Strawberry and the soul reaper / Kubo, Tite

What better way to start this list than with iconic shōnen series Bleach? All 74 volumes of the legendary adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki and Rukia Kuchiki can be found on the shelves at Te Pātaka, and you can reserve them to get sent wherever you like. If you’re still into doing things old-school, you can also find the Bleach anime (movies and series) on DVD on our catalogue. If you haven’t yet descended into the world of Soul Reapers and Hollows, spirits and afterlives, well, now is as good a time as any.

The drifting classroom. Volume 1 / Umezu, Kazuo

The Drifting Classroom is truly a hidden gem in our manga collection. First published in Japan in 1972 by horror mangaka Kazuo Umezu, this series won him the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award in 1974. After a supernatural tremor causes young Sho Takamatsu’s classroom to transport to an otherworldly post-apocalyptic wasteland, he and his classmates find themselves beset by nightmares, monsters, and creeping madness as they try to find a way back to their homes. Side note: this chilling and beautifully illustrated manga was adapted into the film Drifting School in 1995 — the film itself was generally poorly-received, but it did serve to kick-start the career of one Drake Bell, in the role of Kenny Smith!

A drifting life / Tatsumi, Yoshihiro

One of the more ‘literary’ sets on this list, Eisner Award-winning manga A Drifting Life is often read as an autobiographical series chronicling the life of the author, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, in the early stages of his career as a mangaka. Metafictional efforts like this can sometimes come across as a little stilted or forced (“Oh wow, another book about how much of a struggle it is to write a book”) — not so with A Drifting Life. The art is by turns sparkling and muted, the text by turns dense and sparse, as the situation demands. This is a work of art about work and art that you really shouldn’t miss. 

Magic knight Rayearth. [Volume 1] / CLAMP (Mangaka group)

A classic of both the magical girl and mecha genres, CLAMP’s Magic Knight Rayearth sits among the greats of 90s shōjo manga — a feat that is even more impressive when you consider this period contains some of the true stalwarts of the genre — we’re talking like Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura levels here. Action-packed, strong characterisations, and an epic video game-esque story treatment characterise this series. It’s little wonder it spawned no fewer than six video game adaptations in its history.

My lesbian experience with loneliness / Nagata, Kabi

Okay, okay, I know we’ve written about this incredible standalone volume before on this very blog. But look, who could blame us for wanting to highlight it again? It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s expressive, it’s relatable — you definitely won’t regret picking it up. My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness made a massive splash when it burst onto the scenes in 2017 — interestingly, for a manga title, it didn’t just have an impact in Japan, but also in Western media, where it won the Crunchyroll ‘Manga of the Year’ award, was listed among the best comics of the 2017 on both Publishers Weekly and Amazon, also picking up a Harvey Award for Best Manga.

NonNonBa / Mizuki, Shigeru

Shigeru Mizuki’s critically-acclaimed NonNonBa is rightly considered one of the finest examples of gekiga (劇画) style comics, defined by its stylised, dramatic and cinematic artistic style and more esoteric subject matter. NonNonBa is at its heart a story about Mizuki’s childhood, and his complex relationship with his grandmother, which is intersected by their explorations of the world of yōkai (妖怪), the supernatural spirits of Japanese folklore. This was the first manga title to win the coveted Angoulême Prize for Best Album, the Fauve d’Or, in 2007.
Orange : the complete collection. 1 / Takano, Ichigo

What’s not to love about Orange? This is a brilliant story that fuses elements of romance and sci-fi tropes such as time travel into a very compelling slice-of-life package that is very hard to put down. The overall mood is quite sombre in places, as the series definitely doesn’t shy away from exploring some pretty dark places thematically, but the promise of hope is never far from sight. 

Otherworld Barbara. Vol. 1 / Hagio, Moto

Okay, so this is definitely a weird one, but hear us out. This science fiction thriller really throws the whole kitchen sink at the reader. Cannibalistic, murderous nine-year-olds? Check. Eccentric clergyman who possibly holds the secret to immortality? Check. An absolutely wild ride that delivers everything it promises and more? Check. We can’t promise you won’t be a little bit disturbed, but sometimes the best art can take you far beyond your comfort zone.

Ouran High School Host Club. Vol. 1 / Hatori, Bisco

Another one we’ve promoted before in this redoubtable publication. We will never not stan for Ouran High School Host Club. We hear the anime is on Netflix now, but trust us, you’ll want to read the manga first. It’s just so great!

Sakura Hime : the legend of Princess Sakura. 1 / Tanemura, Arina

So Sakura Hime isn’t about to win any major awards for originality. It does what it says on the tin. It’s a shōjo manga series featuring all the usual tropes: cutesy characters with a (slightly bloodthirsty) taste for magical combat, man-eating demons to be defeated, a touch of romance, and a band of friends who together can surely take on any challenge. But it does it so well. And we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of the depth and nuance afforded to Sakura, our 14-year-old royal protagonist, and her friends. This is a good one — check it out if this is your kind of thing!

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Volume 1, The name’s Yuma! / Yoshida, Shin

Yes, there is a Yu-Gi-Oh! manga. Is it good? Well, you be the judge. We will definitely say that the art is amazing. Like weirdly amazing for a spinoff of a spinoff of an anime that’s a spinoff of a trading card game that’s a spinoff of yet another anime that itself is the spinoff of a manga from the mid-90s. Give it a try; you might just like it!

New Manga Series Hitting the Shelves Soon!

Manga readers — this one’s for you. The mysterious and powerful beings that dwell deep within the library’s core — yes, the very ones whose mystical and arcane energies power the growth of our collection — have turned their attention once again to manga, and are purchasing new titles and series at an unprecedented rate.

Below is a small selection of the new series currently on order — get in quick to reserve the first copies when they arrive! And don’t forget, you can find a list of all of the manga series and standalones we hold right here. Get in touch if there’s something super important you think we’re missing!

Jujutsu Kaisen / Akutami, Gege
This phenomenon of a manga probably needs no introduction. Its rise to prominence following the incredible popularity of the stunning MAPPA anime (seriously, check it out on Crunchyroll if you haven’t already) during the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing short of legendary. Now, at long last, the gorgeously-illustrated manga is entering our collection. Do yourself a favour and reserve it quickly — we can guarantee it won’t stay on the shelves for long!

Boruto : Naruto next generations / Kodachi, Ukyo
The first seven volumes of this highly-anticipated follow-up to the golden child of shōnen manga are available now on the library catalogue. Borrow and read to your heart’s content — and decide for yourselves if it’s a pale imitation of the original, or if it’s The Real Deal. As for myself, while I think  for the most part Boruto : Naruto Next Generations avoids some of the awkward filler and pacing issues that plagued the Naruto manga, and really comes into its own as a story the further you read.

Komi Can’t Communicate / Oda, Tomohito
This gem of a manga explores some issues that I’m sure will resonate with readers everywhere — social anxiety, friendship, how to bridge that gap between perception and reality. What I dig most about Komi Can’t Communicate is how the inner lives of the loveably awkward Komi and Tadano are given really full explorations on the page. We have the first 12 volumes on order for your enjoyment!

Fangirl : the manga / Rowell, Rainbow
Here’s one that I’m particularly interested in checking out when it arrives: the manga adaptation of Fangirl, a sweet coming-of-age tale of family, fanfiction, and (yes) first love from bestselling author Rainbow Rowell. I’m not familiar with the work of Sam Maggs and Gabi Nam, the team responsible for this adaptation, but at first glance it certainly seems like the premise of the novel is perfect for the manga treatment! Definitely check this out if you’re into Rowell’s work in the expanded universe of Simon Snow.

The way of the househusband / Oono, Kousuke
Regardless of your opinion on the hotly-anticipated-but-ultimately-controversial anime adaptation (streaming now on Netflix), The way of the househusband is definitely one of the more interesting manga series to have broken into the mainstream recently. The premise is simple, if a little wacky — feared Yakuza boss Tatsu (known as ‘The Immortal Dragon’ by his associates and rivals alike) retires from his life of hard-boiled crime to become a stay-at-home househusband to support his career-driven wife. The comedy potential is only too real. 

Keep your eyes peeled for more new additions to the manga collection in the coming weeks. We’ll keep it coming as long as you keep reading it!

From the Vaults I: Manga

The vast collections of the Wellington Central Library have finally found a home in the Te Pātaka Collection Distribution Centre in Johnsonville, and the extensive YA collection is now available to borrow. The process is simple — just locate the item in our online catalogue, click “Reserve Item,” enter your card number and PIN, and select which library you’d like it to be sent to.

But some things are a little more difficult now that you can’t go and browse the shelves yourself. Even if you know what you’re looking for, and even though our catalogue does a pretty good job of telling you what we have and where it is, sometimes stuff is just hard to find. So we thought we’d start a blog series — From The Vaults — highlighting some of the cool stuff you can reserve.

 'I could find all the books I need on the catalogue myself, if only there weren't so many cats in the way!'

Let’s start with manga. Manga (漫画 or マンガ or まんが) are pocket-sized comics normally originating from Japan. That’s not to say that manga can only come from Japan — many countries have their own independent industries now, from Korean manhwa (만화) and Chinese mànhuà (漫画) to manfra in France. They are usually printed in black-and-white, and read right-to-left, a feature which some say dates back to manga’s origins in 12th-century scrolls. Regardless of when it all started, manga are extremely popular today in Japan, and increasingly outside of Japan as well.

Wellington City Libraries has an extensive collection of manga series and stand-alone titles, from popular series like Naruto, Death Note, and Cardcaptor Sakura to alternative and underground works like Anomal and Iceland. As most of the books in this collection were held at Central, and are now in the closed stacks at Te Pātaka, we have produced a master list of all of the manga we hold — over 160 series and stand-alone titles, along with quick descriptions of the genres, themes, and target audiences of each manga. Sometimes, due to items being damaged or lost, you might notice that a series is incomplete. Never fear! Just get in touch with us using the Suggestion To Buy form, and we’ll move heaven and earth to locate that pesky missing volume and give you the satisfying and complete reading experience you need and deserve.

Go forth and explore! In the meantime, as it’s currently the Out On The Shelves campaign week, we thought we’d pick out some of our favourite manga featuring LGBTQ+ characters and themes.

Wandering son. Volume one / Shimura, Takako
{reps: trans*, lesbian}
Set in that period between the end of childhood and the beginning of adolescence, this gorgeous manga from arguably Japan’s greatest master of LGBTQ+ stories, Takako Shimura, Wandering Son follows friends Shuichi Nitori and Yoshino Takatsuki as they navigate school, life, and their relationships along with their growing understanding of their own gender identities. This is one of the few manga series to feature trans* characters as protagonists — and trust us when we say it’s not to be missed.

My lesbian experience with loneliness / Nagata, Kabi
{reps: lesbian}
My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is an honest and heartfelt look at one young woman’s exploration of her sexuality, mental well-being, and growing up in our modern age. Told using expressive artwork that invokes both laughter and tears, this moving and highly entertaining single volume depicts not only the artist’s burgeoning sexuality, but many other personal aspects of her life that will resonate with readers.

My brother’s husband. Volume 1 / Tagame, Gengoroh
{reps: gay}
Yaichi is a work-at-home suburban dad in contemporary Tokyo; formerly married to Natsuki and father to their young daughter, Kana. Their lives suddenly change with the arrival at their doorstep of a hulking, affable Canadian named Mike Flanagan, who declares himself the widower of Yaichi’s estranged gay twin, Ryoji. Mike is on a quest to explore Ryoji’s past, and the family reluctantly but dutifully takes him in. What follows is an unprecedented and heartbreaking look at the state of a largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture: how it’s been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it.

Pretty guardian Sailor Moon. 1 / Takeuchi, Naoko
{reps: lesbian}
Usagi Tsukino is a normal girl until she meets up with Luna, a talking cat, who tells her that she is Sailor Moon. As Sailor Moon, Usagi must fight evils and enforce justice, in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. Anyone familiar with the history of manga and anime will have at least passing familiarity with Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon — and the same-sex relationship between Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus is legendary among fans of the series.

Overdrive cover Bloom Into You, Volume 1, Nakatani Nio (ebook)
{reps: lesbian}
Yuu has always adored shoujo manga and yearns for the day when someone might give her a love confession that would send her heart aflutter. Yet when a junior high school classmate confesses his feelings to her–she feels nothing. Disappointed and confused, Yuu enters high school, where she sees the confident and beautiful student council member Nanami. When the next person to confess to Yuu is Nanami herself, has her romantic dream finally come true?

Ouran High School Host Club. Vol. 1 / Hatori, Bisco
{reps: genderfluid/genderqueer, queer}
Ouran High School Host Club is a great shōjo manga from the early 2000s that almost single-handedly deconstructs many of society’s most carefully-constructed preconceptions about gender roles, sexuality, and gender identity. Main character Haruhi is biologically female, but presents androgynously and has no hang-ups about adopting a very fluid approach to their gender. In the original Japanese, they refer to themselves almost exclusively using gender-neutral pronouns (a feature that is sadly lost in the English translation — see a nuanced discussion of gender in OHSHC here), and their parent, Ryoji, is openly queer and presents in drag most times we meet him. Read and enjoy, friends!

Cardcaptor Sakura. Book 1 / CLAMP (Mangaka group)
{reps: lesbian, bisexual, gay, pansexual, genderqueer}
When Sakura Kinomoto finds a strange book in her father’s library, the only thing left inside is Kero-chan, the book’s cute little guardian beast, who informs Sakura that since the Clow cards escaped while he was asleep, it’s now her job to capture them. Cardcaptor Sakura is revolutionary among mainstream manga for its easy and natural portrayal of a wide range of LGBTQ+ characters, including Sakura herself (pan), her best friend Tomoyo (lesbian), and a steady, loving gay couple (Toya and Yukito). Plus there’s plenty of epic fantasy elements and a great story to boot.

We Need These eManga in Our Lives (and so do you)

We understand it’s been a dark time for many manga fans. The books you were able to borrow before our libraries closed are long finished, their covers growing thick with the dust of disappointment. Your days are growing heavy with the weight of unresolved cliffhangers. Thankfully, our eLibrary is absolutely stuffed full of manga series to keep you going until you can get your hands on printed material once again. Below are some of our faves, but be sure to check out the Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga section on OverDrive/Libby for more gold.

Overdrive cover Assassination Classroom, Volume 1, Yusei Matsui (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 5 available on OverDrive.
One of the most popular manga series currently publishing outside Japan, in Assassination Classroom we join Nagisa, Sugino, Karma, Okuda, and the other would-be assassins of Class 3E as they navigate life, death, and education under their moon-killing, pseudo-octopoid, super-organism teacher, Koro-sensei. Sound weird? Well, strap in. This is shōnen sci-fi manga at its best we’re talking about here — pretty much anything goes.

Overdrive cover Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus, Volume 1, CLAMP (ebook)
Omnibus Volumes 1 and 2 available on OverDrive.
I love Cardcaptor Sakura unreservedly, and once you read it, you will too — and not just for its super awesome anime adaptation that aired in the late ’90s. This series has everything you’re looking for in a shōjo ‘magical girl’ manga — namely, an awesomely strong and compellingly-rendered magical girl to lead the cast, vicious beasts to fight, mythological dreamscapes to explore, complex characters that grow into their roles, and of course it can all be pulled together into a largely unknown trading card game from the year 2001 that I wish I owned. Some day, some day.

Overdrive cover Haikyu!!, Volume 1, Haruichi Furudate (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 8 available on OverDrive.
Okay, I admit it. I was skeptical about Haikyu!! at first. I mean, I’m not really one for the whole sportsball thing, so a manga about one boy’s drive to become the greatest volleyball player in Japan didn’t really sound like my cup of tea. With that out of the way, if you read one thing from this list, read this. The characters are expertly-drawn, both in terms of line and in terms of personality. The whole gamut of human experience is explored and poignantly rendered: hubris, ambition, disappointment, determination, loss, commitment, betrayal, hurt, unity — but ultimately it is this series’ big-heartedness that will win you over. Do yourself a favour and read it now.

Overdrive cover One-Punch Man, Volume 1, ONE (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 5 available on OverDrive.
I still remember the first time my friend showed me the One-Punch Man webcomic. Even then, in the summer of 2010, it seemed legendary, destined for greater things. And so it was — the manga remake is full of the charm, the absurdity, the inexplicable baldness, and the manic, supercharged energy of the original webcomic, but distilled, whisked, blended, and baked into the extended manga form. It’s a superhero story like no other, and we couldn’t recommend it more highly.

Overdrive cover Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 1, Sui Ishida (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 8 available on OverDrive.
Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul may just be one of the greatest tales in contemporary fantasy. The premise is simple — in the shadow of our regular human world there dwell mysterious, powerful, and cannibalistic demi-humans known as ghouls, kept at bay by the powerful but shadowy government-controlled CCG (Commission of Counter Ghoul), who will go to any length to exterminate ghouls from the face of the planet. The morals of each party? Grey. The storytelling? Immersive, dark, and intense. The characters? Deeply human and beautifully flawed, with motivations that gradually unwind as we get to know them. The result? A series you must read. Not for the faint of heart.

This is just the barest sliver of excellent manga you can find on OverDrive and Libby. If we don’t have what you’re after, you can always use the handy-dandy ‘Recommend to Library’ tool to suggest we purchase what you’re after. At the moment you can only recommend one title every 30 days, to make sure our librarians aren’t overwhelmed, so choose wisely!

Magical menagerie

This week we have a list featuring animals – magical animals, to be precise. If you just want a taster, try a short story from the collection Unnatural Creatures curated by our fave Neil Gaiman. If you know what you’re in for, try the dark tale The Knife of Never Letting Go (Manchee the dog is the comic relief here) or perhaps an interpretation of the Grimm brothers fable The Goose Girl. Whatever you choose, expect a talking dog. Or bear. An animal will probably be able to talk.

Syndetics book coverDown the Mysterly River / Bill Willingham ; illustrations by Mark Buckingham.
“Max ‘the Wolf’ is a top notch Boy Scout, so it is a little odd that he suddenly finds himself, with no recollection of his immediate past, lost in an unfamiliar wood. Even odder still, he encounters a badger named Banderbrock, a black bear named Walden, and McTavish the Monster (who might also be an old barn cat) – all of whom talk – and who are as clueless as Max. Before long, Max and his friends are on the run from a relentless group of hunters and their deadly hounds. Armed with powerful blue swords and known as the Blue Cutters, these hunters capture and change the very essence of their prey. For what purpose, Max can’t guess. But unless he can solve the mystery of the strange forested world he’s landed in, Max may find himself and his friends changed beyond recognition, lost in a lost world…” (Goodreads)

Syndetics book coverUnnatural creatures / stories selected by Neil Gaiman with Maria Dahvana Headley ; illustrated by Briony Morrow-Cribbs.
The 16 short stories in this anthology contain accounts of delightfully fantastical creatures, ranging from the familiar (werewolves, mermaids, griffins, and unicorns) to the chillingly mysterious (an ever-expanding, flesh-eating blob; a strange bird that spurs unpredictable changes to its surroundings; and even Death herself). Classic science fiction and fantasy authors Anthony Boucher, Frank R. Stockton, Peter S. Beagle, E. Nesbit, and Diana Wynne Jones are represented, as are contemporary authors such as Nnedi Okorafor, E. Lily Yu, and Gaiman himself. Who would a griffin eat? What does a phoenix taste like? What happens when you question an invisible dragon? Why are there always too many coat hangers? All of these questions, and more, are answered here.” (School Library Journal)
Also available as an Overdrive eBook!

Syndetics book coverThe princess and the hound / Mette Ivie Harrison.
“He is a prince, heir to a kingdom threatened on all sides, possessor of the animal magic, which is forbidden by death in the land he’ll rule.She is a princess from a rival kingdom, the daughter her father never wanted, isolated from true human friendship but inseparable from her hound.Though they think they have little in common, each possesses a secret that must be hidden at all costs. Proud, stubborn, bound to marry for the good of their kingdoms, this prince and princess will steal “your” heart, but will they fall in love?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDarkwood / M.E. Breen.
“Darkness falls so quickly in Howland that the people there have no word for evening. One minute the sky is light, the next minute it is black. But darkness comes in other forms, too, and for thirteen-year-old Annie, the misery she endures in her Uncle’s household makes the black of night seem almost soothing. When Annie escapes, her route takes her first to a dangerous mine where a precious stone is being stolen by an enemy of the king, and later to the king’s own halls, where a figure from Annie’s past makes a startling appearance.” (Goodreads)

Syndetics book coverThe twyning / Terence Blacker.
“Thirteen-year-old Peter, who lives in a garbage dump with his younger friend Caz, scratches out a living catching rats for the local “sportsmen” and their dogs. He also works for Dr. Ross-Gibbon, a monomaniacal scientist who wants to wipe out all of the rats in London. Efren, an impulsive young rat living in the Kingdom of elderly King Tzuriel, is restless and has trouble following orders. When Peter captures the dying King for the doctor’s experiments, Efren reports this to his superiors, leading to outrage in the kingdom; matters worsen quickly after the doctor puts his deadly plan into action.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverThe knife of never letting go / Patrick Ness.
“Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?” (Goodreads)
We also have the Bolinda eAudiobook & Overdrive eBook versions.

Syndetics book coverWinter falls / Nicole Maggi.
“Alessia Jacobs is a typical sixteen-year-old, dying to get out of her small Maine town. Things look up when a new family comes to town. But as she begins to fall for the hot, mysterious son, Jonah, her life turns upside down.Weird visions of transforming into an otherworldly falcon are just the beginning. Soon she learns she’s part of the Benandanti, an ancient cult of warriors with the unique power to separate their souls from their bodies and take on the forms of magnificent animals. Suddenly forced to weigh choices a sixteen-year-old should never have to make, Alessia witnesses two worlds colliding with devastating consequences.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe goose girl / Shannon Hale.
“Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt’s guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani’s journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny.” (Syndetics summary)
Also available as an audiobook on CD and Overdrive ebook.

Syndetics book coverPom Poko [videorecording] / a film by Isao Takahata.
A community of magical shapeshifting raccoons desperately struggle to prevent their forest home from being destroyed by urban development.

Many Studio Ghibli movies contain magical animals of some find, including Nausica’a, Porco Rosso and Princess Mononoke. Because who doesn’t love a good Ghibli film? (Hint: they are all good.)

Syndetics book coverTender morsels / Margo Lanagan.
“Liga’s life is filled with dark hearts and foul deeds. So she chooses a protective path of natural magic to find a safe other-worldly place for herself and her two daughters. But when magicked bears and mischief men break the borders of their refuge the girls must face the truth, and engage with the appeal and risk of the real raw world.” (Syndetics summary)
Also available as an Overdrive ebook.

Mahou shoujo Part 2

Since mahou shoujo is a whole subgenre of anime and manga I thought I had better tell you about our super collection of manga and anime that we have in our libraries! Did you even know we had them in the collection? I’ve chosen a few “magical girl” themed anime and manga for you all to check out that you may or may not be familiar with already.

(In case you didn’t know, manga are comics you read and anime are cartoons you watch.)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPretty Guardian Sailor Moon (manga)

If you grew up in the 90s like me, you’d probably be pretty familiar with Sailor Moon. Usagi Tsukino (Serena) is a regular girl, until she discovers she is sailor senshi Sailor Moon. Together with the other sailor scouts, handsome Tuxedo Mask and two mystical beings that appear to be sentient stuffed cats, Sailor Moon must stop the evil Queen Beryl from taking over the world.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCardcaptor Sakura (manga)

This is one of my absolute favourites! Ten year old Sakura accidentally releases a magical set of cards called the Clow Cards, and is enlisted by the guardian of the cards to capture them again. Each card has a special ability and some cards require some serious puzzle-solving to capture. It is written and illustrated by popular manga group Clamp, and it has absolutely beautiful illustrations throughout.

My-Z-HiMe (anime)

This story takes place in the distant future on the planet Earl, colonized by immigrants from Earth centuries ago. Certain girls and women aspire to be Meister Otomes – bodyguards, attendants and warriors that serve the royalty of various kingdoms. Arika Yumemiya has come to Windbloom Kingdom in search of her mother, a former Otome. Arika enrols at Garderobe Academy to train to be an Otome herself, but she must beware those who desire to use the old technologies of the Otome for destructive powers.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAlice 19th (manga)

Alice Seno is a 15-year-old girl, constantly living in the shadow of her seemingly perfect older sister Mayura. One day Alice rescues a white rabbit from the road, but it is no ordinary rabbit. It reveals its true form and informs Alice she is destined to be a Lotis Master – someone who uses the power of words and communication to enter the Inner Heart of others. Alice soon discovers this is a powerful ability which must be used carefully when she accidentally makes her older sister disappear. Using the power of the Lotis Runes, Alice must get Mayura back.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFull Moon o Sagashite (manga)

Twelve-year-old Mitsuki Koyama loves singing and dreams of becoming a pop star. Unfortunately, a malignant tumor in her throat prevents her from pursuing her passion. However, her life turns around when two surprisingly fun-loving harbingers of death appear to grant Mitsuki a temporary reprieve from her illness and give her singing career a magical push start. (library catalogue)

New Zealand International Film Festival 2014 Trailer Tuesday

The Wellington NZIFF programme launched a couple of weeks ago and there are so many to choose from – nearly 150 films are in the programme so it is absolutely chocka. Having given it some thought, I’ve picked out some I think will be hits! Check out my list and let me know what you’re excited for in the comments!

The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet (3D)

From the director of Amelie comes a tale of a prodigious young inventor of completely zany and fascinating products. His perpetual motion machine comes to the attention of the Smithsonian institute and they invite T.S. to Washington, unaware he is just 10 years old. Determined to respond to the invitation, T.S. sets out alone one night on a cross-country adventure to collect his reward for his brilliance.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

The newest film from Studio Ghibli (The Wind Rises) and eight years in the making, Princess Kaguya is a retelling of a traditional Japanese folk tale. A humble bamboo-cutter stumbles upon a tiny princess-like doll hidden in a bamboo shoot. He takes it home, and he and his wife are shocked when the doll turns into a wailing baby. When gifts of gold and silks continue to appear, the bamboo-cutter and his wife decide to abandon their humble lifestyle to raise the girl as a proper princess.

We Are The Best!

We Are The Best! is the story of 3 young misfits growing up in Stockholm, Sweden in the 1980s. Klara and Bobo are 13-year-old rebels looking for a cause. Despite having no particular musical talents, they channel their efforts into forming an all-girl punk band and enlist their shy, guitar-playing classmate Hedvig to join them. The story is based on a graphic novel by the director’s wife Coco Moodysson and fully embodies the DIY spirit of the punk movement.

Patema Inverted

Another exciting anime film, Patema Inverted is the story of young and inquisitive Patema who lives in a post-disaster underground world. While exploring one day she falls into a deep pit, but mysteriously finds herself falling upward to the Earth’s surface. However it is an upside-down surface – surface dwellers live by the opposite gravity to Patema. She is helped by a surface boy called Age, who explains that in his world “inverted” people like Patema are considered unholy sinners and she soon finds herself being pursued by secret police. Together Age and Patema must uncover the dark conspiracy lurking behind their inverted worlds.

Particle Fever

This is a documentary about the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland and the first proton-smashing experiments conducted there. It also follows closely the thrilling search for the Higgs boson, the particle that gives mass to other particles. It is a fascinating insight into the world of physics and discovering our own universe and looks to be extremely exciting!

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

This documentary follows Hayao Miyazaki and visits Studio Ghibli, which in itself looks like a Miyazaki movie. Miyazaki is working on his allegedly final film The Wind Rises, working by hand in a cluttered workspace filled with old technologies. Meanwhile, Ghibli’s other maestro Takahata Isao is working on Princess Kaguya (see above) across town in a completely different working environment. Ghibli producer and co-founder Suzuki Toshio shuttles between the two, managing their differing approaches with love and appreciation for the different challenges each film faces.

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