I've been meaning to post about this story for a while and this article seems like a good place to start. A book on manga has been pulled from a some California libraries because it *gasp* has some naughty pictures in it.
Paul Gravett's Manga pulled from library shelf
One of the best books ever written on the subject of manga, Paul Gravett's Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics (Harper Design International) has been removed from the shelves of the San Bernadino County Library System after a parent complained about illustrations depicting sex acts. Her sixteen-year-old son had checked the book out and was disturbed by the graphic nature of some of the material presented.
After the Victorville branch initially declined to remove the book from its holdings, which was shelved appropriately with the adult holdings, Bill Postmus, Chairman of the San Bernadino County Board of Supervisors, intervened on the family's behalf. County library officials obligingly led Postmus through the library's reconsideration process that led to the book’s removal. Gravett's book will still be available to county patrons via inter-library loan. [Comic World News: Flipped]
It's so nice to see censorship alive and well.
Recently the New York Times ran an article about Manga for Girls. In other words: shoujo manga. Even though I might nit-pick on a few points, it's a pretty solid article.
Shojo - the word means girl in Japanese - frequently involves a lovelorn teenager seeking a boyfriend or dealing with situations like entering a new school, being bullied or trying to break away from a clique. There are also action stories featuring girls in strong roles as scientists and samurai warriors. (The shojo genre has been called "big eyes save the world," after the characteristic drawing style of girls with saucer-shaped eyes who are sometimes endowed with supernatural powers.)
But parents and teachers, who are sometimes happy to see teenagers reading just about anything, might be caught off guard by some of the content of the girls' favorite books. Among the best-selling shojo are stories that involve cross-dressing boys and characters who magically change sex, brother-sister romances and teenage girls falling in love with 10-year-old boys. Then there's a whole subgenre known as shonen ai, or boy's love, which usually features romances between two impossibly pretty young men. [NYTimes: Manga and Girls]
DC comics recently got into the manga biz with their CMX imprint. I'd been kind of excited as they were picking up two titles I was really interested in getting: GALs and Tenjou Tenge. TenTen was just released and already it sounds like a disaster.
TenTen is a fighting manga. It tends to be quite violent and has quite a bit of fanservice. In japan I believe it had a Mature rating. CMX, which uses the slogan "Pure manga -- 100% the way the original Japanese creators wanted you to see it," chose to edit the series and release it as a teen title. Needless to say the manga community isn't thrilled. Many bloggers and comics news sites have already posted about it. It will be interesting to see if DC has any response.
I'm also posting about it because it hits one of my biggest peeves with some manga releases these days. The habit of tweaking art so that they remove things that might be inappropriate for whatever age group they are targeting. One of my favorites is Hikaru no Go. Where at the end of the first volume we have someone putting a blob of gum down on the center of a Go board. In the actual manga, it's a cigarette. Of course this leads to the second volume where someone is upset about the character "putting out his dirty gum on the Go board." Please, just translate, don't start tweaking things like this. If there is content that isn't appropriate for an age group, don't market it to them.
I made the mistake of going into Borders today and walked out with a stack of manga. They need to stop releasing so many things at once! Today's purchases:
- Negima! 3
- D.N.Angel 4
- XXXHolic 3
- Hikaru no Go 2
- The Wallflower (aka Perfect Girl Evolution) 1
I'm most psyched about the last one. I've been waiting for it to come out since I heard Del Rey picked it up.