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Today in Awesome

Attack on Titan Creator, Publisher On Character’s Gender

Manga artist and writer Hajime Isamaya created Attack on Titan, a manga and anime that is beautiful, dark, and complex…and also extremely popular.  It also features a character named Zoë Hange who, despite their female first name, is consistently not gendered in the course of the manga or anime.  Isamaya has clearly done this deliberately, as he’s repeatedly avoided giving Hange (or Hanji as the name is often written) a specific binary gender. Publisher Kodansha has now gotten in on the discussion via their Tumblr account and is attempting to keep the Attack on Titan manga as close to Isamaya’s vision as possible.


Things We Saw Today

Things We Saw Today: Celebrate Christmas With the Hogfather

Discworld‘s Mort Death as the Hogfather as a cake. By Jo Orr of Ciccio Cakes. (That’s Nerdalicious)


om nom nom

Dramatic Manga Plates Will Make Your Meal Way More Exciting

You’re never too old to play with your food, right? These plates are available on the Japanese site Comicalu, and they’re guaranteed to bring the drama.


Bloody Good Fun

Guillermo del Toro Is Working With A Doctor Who Writer to Adapt a Manga for HBO. So Much Geekiness In One Sentence.

I can’t even joke about Guillermo del Toro picking up tons of projects anymore. It’s too easy. The new addition to his slate is the manga Monster, which del Toro is TV show-ifying for HBO.

(Game of Thrones. A Guillermo del Toro-helmed manga adaptation. Dang, HBO. So geeky. Keep it up.)


Power Grid

10 Feminist-Friendly Manga You Should Read

Are you interested in reading manga, but don’t know where to start? Are you an avid comics fan looking to bulk up you feminist-friendly reading list? Much like anime, good, feminist manga is often difficult to find, especially when you’re relying on reading titles that are legally licensed in the United States. It’s often a very thin line that separates manga that pokes fun at sexist tropes, and manga that regularly utilizes sexism to advance its plot, and even if you can find that rare-as-a-unicorn story, there’s no guarantee the story will be compelling and worth $10 a pop. But don’t worry: we’re here to help. Hit the jump for 10 manga series you should totally throw your money at!



Polish Naruto Fan Becomes Winning First in “Japanese Chess” Competition

Okay, so when we say “Japanese chess,” we mean shogi, but “Japanese chess” is the most succinct way to explain the two thousand year old strategy game based on a gridded board filled with pieces representing kings, generals, chariots, and soldiers. Naruto, the series of manga, anime, and movies, features characters playing shogi not-infrequently, being set in a fantasy version of Japan. It’s no wonder that someone might become interested in the game after watching the series. After all, it’s a real game with real rules, not like some we could name.

In fact, 20-year-old Karolina Styczynska‘s road to shogi championship began with Naruto, and this weekend she achieved something of a global milestone.


Cautiously Optimistic

Despite Statements to the Contrary, James Cameron still has time for Battle Angel Alita

A few days ago James Cameron told the New York Times that he was, for the foreseeable future, going to be doing two things: making documentaries about the deep ocean, and making Avatar movies. He says he shut down the development arm of his production company and is no longer accepting scripts to produce. He’ll make two to three more Avatar movies, and then he’s out of the fiction film business for good.

Among those who follow Cameron’s work, however, this left one question: What about Battle Angel Alita, the manga and feature animated film adaptation thereof, that Cameron has been working on for several years and owns the American license to? According to Ain’t It Cool News, Alita may still be on the table.



Is Manga Obscene? Canada and Amazon Seem to Think So

Things aren’t going so well for graphic novel and manga publishing. In March of 2011, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund issued an advisory about transporting comics and graphic novels across international borders. Two months later a comics fan named Tom Neeley was detained at the Canadian border, and his copy of the comic anthology Black Eye confiscated by customs. CBR reported then that Canadian censorship seemed particularly aimed at Japanese comics and gay-themed material.

Last week Comics Alliance reported that criminal charges of child pornography possession had been dropped against U.S. citizen Ryan Matheson, who, in 2010, “entered Ottawa on vacation with a laptop that contained comics images that Matheson described as ‘anime illustrations from art books’ and ‘drawings of fictional anime and manga characters.’”


And So It Begins

Take A Deep Breath Everyone: Akira‘s Been Greenlit Again

According to Variety, the long suffering and controversial-before-even-finishing-the-casting-process remake of Katsuhiro Otomo‘s animated adaptation of his epic manga Akira, is back on track at Warner Bros. On the one hand, Otomo himself is one of the movie’s executive producers. On the other, Variety says that Garrett Hedlund, of Tron and Troy fame, is a front runner for either Tetsuo or Kaneda.

Many fans were incensed last time around at Warner Bros. apparent willingness to ignore Akira‘s origin as a distinctly Japanese work of art with a distinctly Japanese setting, an excellent opportunity to bring some diversity to American cinema by casting Japanese, or at the very least Asian actors in the movie’s lead roles.


Vital Information for Your Everyday Life

Robert Ben Garant Will Adapt Tuxedo Gin Into a Screenplay

Robert Ben Garant, who wrote and starred in Comedy Central‘s Reno 911! and penned the script for both Night At the Museum movies with fellow Reno star Thomas Lennon, has signed on to adapt the manga Tuxedo Gin for the big screen. Weirdly enough, it delves into slightly familiar territory, as far as non-human things taking on the personalities — or in this case, souls — of humans. The movie will be a Disney release with the title Tux, and will hopefully fare better than The Zookeeper aka Night At the Zoo (especially if it’s being written by Garant, who I may or may not trust with my life when it comes to comedy).