Saturday, July 28, 2012

New Josei Title - Angel Heart

Peace Pet Rental's Lag is a robotic dog. He can be pretty slow at times and can't perform tasks aside from those written in his program, but despite all this, he's everyone's favorite dog. Soon, however, he is tackling people's problems in ways not included in his program, and it seems almost miraculous... Something mysterious has awakened within his heart even though he's supposed to be a machine with no emotions. What is Lag's true nature? For those lost in despair and sorrow and those with wounded hearts comes this healing tale of love, kindness, and sacrifice.

I am a big fan of the Ghost in the Shell theme and questioning our perceptions of what is real and living. While this can be a very serious topic, Angel Heart does touch on it in a sweet, fluffy, puppy way. I'm having a hard time describing what genre Angel Heart fits in, so it might be easier if I tell you what it's not. It's not a romance. It's not an all-out comedy though it has many light-hearted moments. I suppose it's something of a drama but not in the usual ways. Sci-fi? Only because Lag's a robot.

If you want something without the usual tropes, this is a good respite. No fevers, no getting drunk and passing out, no Valentine's Day, no jealous love interest from the past, no worrying about your first kiss, etc. When you pause to really think about the story in Angel Heart, you will realize that it goes much deeper than just a cute dog visiting hospital patients. I am very interested to see what other people think, so please contact me if you're interested in reviewing this title. You can leave a comment here or use the contact link at the bottom of the page.

This was a joint project translated by V.G. Jasper from Kaedama Translations. Lettering and editing by Mia.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Update - More Ways to Read DMG Titles!

In the past month or so, Digital Manga titles have become available through several more outlets. I'm super swamped with stuff right now, but I hope to take a closer look at the quality and interface of these options soon. Gah I am such a goober. I couldn't resist taking some screenshots.

First is the most recent announcement: I had never heard of this site before, but it provides what people have been requesting for ages: DOWNLOADABLE PDF FILES. I couldn't resist and just bought Entangled Circumstances. The file rolled in at 17 MB and is comparable to Nook quality (which is good). I was going to get Rainy Day Love since I could compare it directly to my own lettered files, but I didn't want to pay for something I already have XD 


Note the watermark in the lower left corner - it's on every page. I applaud the effort, but someone who wants to post their pdf on the internet can get around that pretty easily... The FAQ says that you can read the PDFs on iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, and Android tablets, and so far I can say it looks great on my iPhone and iPad. I just emailed the pdf to myself and opened it using the native PDF reader.

Small side text looks good zoomed in on an iPad!

Also announced today was that Digital Manga titles are available on Graphicly, which has a Facebook App in addition to their online viewer. Maybe I'm just being cranky because the Graphicly website is annoying me, but their online viewer is pretty terrible if the preview pages are any indication. Quality looks fine, but the page turning is slow and clunky and it goes left to right. They have a banner saying they support damn near every format from iOS to Android to Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and beyond, but when I look at the page for a DMG title (e.g. A Truthful Picture), it says "Buying from Graphicly unlocks this book on both the Graphicly Facebook Application and the Graphicly Website." Do any Facebook users read manga on the Graphicly App? Is it better than this crappy online reader on their main website? Unless someone leaves a comment with a glowing review and happy recollections, I probably won't revisit Graphicly (also I am not a FB user, so that doesn't add any value for me personally).

Digital Manga is also on Comics Plus, which is availble on everything (iOS, Android, etc etc), though right now it looks like there are only books from the main DMP imprint (no June or DMG). I think this cross-platform super-availability is going to be more and more ubiquitous in the future, and the real question is going to be which Japanese publishers and mangaka are willing to sell a license to actually distribute on these platforms and in these file formats.

As for me personally, I'll be buying my DMP manga from DriveThruComics whenever possible. I like the idea of downloading the pdf and then choosing my own reading device. Also, I see Project H and 801 books, so one can assume there won't be a censorship problem. I hope this business model remains feasible (and the cynic in me can think of a hundred reasons it could fail), but you can be sure I will be enjoying it while I can!