Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ami (from Puffy AmiYumi) Recommends...

According to the Puffy blog, written by Ami herself, Kuragehime is the comic you should be reading. Well, she didn't exactly put it that way. She was waxing poetic about jellyfish she saw recently at an aquarium and was reminded of Higashimura Akiko's hit manga series, Kuragehime. That's Princess Jellyfish to you and me, Russ. I don't know what Kuragehime is about. Perhaps it has to do with a princess who's a jellyfish. Or a jellyfish who's a princess. Or maybe that's just her name. Ami digs the art, story and pacing and declares it to be, "Just how I like my comics."

Ami's not alone in thinking so. According to Brad Rice at the Japanator blog, Kuragehime was the fourth most popular comic for women in 2009. Or fourth most popular women's comic. I'm not sure how they correlate the numbers-- are they based on purchases by gender or by intended audience? Because One Piece is the second most popular comic for men, but I know plenty of women who read it and love it. I don't know what kind of gender crossover between intended readers exists in Japan. Nana, my current favorite, is ostensibly shojo manga, meaning "girl's manga," yet I read it unashamedly and recommend it to all our students to help with their English skills; some of the high school dudes I teach cock an eyebrow at me when I tell them I love Nana, but that's fine by me. And with 176 million copies of One Piece in print, I can't imagine all those have been stockpiled by guys alone. A high school girl recently told me she'd been reading Slam Dunk, the basketball manga. I haven't read it, but I'm guessing from its title and subject matter it's supposed to be shonen manga, or a boy's comic.

Vive le difference, I always say.

So will I take Ami's advice and give Kuragehime a try? More than likely, if it's translated into English. It takes me two or three days to translate a single page of Japanese-language comic into romaji so I can begin figuring out what's happening. But looking at Higashimura's artwork definitely makes me believe Ami's onto something here.

I just like knowing Ami can occasionally be found reading comic books. Now I'm wondering what Yumi reads. And do they swap books back and forth like we used to do in study hall in junior high?

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