I read another manga magazine!
This time it was 月刊！スピリッツ, which it seems is a monthly companion to the weekly ビッグコミックスピリッツ.
I picked this one because after Dungeon Meshi, the currently-running manga I’d be most excited to read a new chapter of would probably be 映像研には手を出すな！- and while that’s partly just because it’s one of the few series I read the volumes of recently enough to say I’m keeping up with it regularly, I do also really like Eizouken in both show and manga form!
Ironically though, because it’s surprisingly difficult to tell which chapter is in a magazine until you buy it… this particular issue’s Eizouken is the last one I’ve already read, not the first one I haven’t read that I was aiming for. Oh well!
In any case, I thought I would do the same rundown I did for ハルタ, in case anyone here is curious.
come eat the vibes waffle
What's in 月刊！スピリッツ 2020年3月号
I talked a bunch a few days ago about manga, magazines, and the “seinen” classification. And I have to admit, this feels more “seinen” than ハルタ - both because it wears it on its sleeve more (I think I caught it in some interviews or magazine copy), and because the overall tone is slightly… rougher I guess?
It’s hard to explain, but it doesn’t feel as… airy? As Harta?
Like, the slice of life stuff is a little less sumptious, the emotions a bit more neurotic.
But there’s definitely exceptions and I still think it’s pretty gender neutral at the end of the day. You be the judge.
重版出来！ by Naoko Mazda
I read this one and then paused for a pretty long time before reading the rest in a big burst, so I don’t remember it so well, sorry! It’s a manga about publishing. Seemed straightforward and a bit mundane so it was hard for it to leave an impact without getting to know the characters from the beginning.
うどんちゃん by 河合克敏
It’s a very cute gag comic about yokai made from noodle dough and their fellow forest denizens! Here they hold a sports festival.
映像研には手を出すな！ by Oowara Sumito
Eizouken’s great! If you ever want something in the “just girls hanging out and doing stuff” genre where the girls are emphatically not sexualized or made for moe and just seem like real, fun people who are fun to hang out with and enthusiastic about their interests, Eizouken’s a good fit!
The main difference from the anime adaptation to the manga is they played up the actual anime production parts in the show, and also it’s easy to miss the life the voice actors have to the characters (although they did such a good job I can practically hear them in my head). But the manga makes up for it by going in some really fun directions after where the show left off!
へんなものみっけ！ by Sawara Tomo
This one I didn’t follow super well (it’s 41話) but it seems like it’s an archaeology/ethnology manga!
It seems like it goes pretty hard into those kinds of areas if that’s your thing.
プラネットガール by Oishi Hibi
One thing I noticed is that this magazine is a lot more thorough with the recap annotations added to the manga than Harta.
Which is good, because I probably would have missed that the cute child in this one is an alien, and there’s a big-overarching sci-fi plot of some kind, because it’s pretty much a “characters with simmering romantic tension take a cute child to the festival” chapter in form and content. It’s fun, but I am curious about the sci-fi…
なおりはしないが、ましになる by カレー沢 薫
semi-autobiographical work about trying to figure out one’s mental health situation and trying to recover from crisis and joblessness. This chapter includes summary explanation of things like ADHD and autism as the protagonist seeks a diagnosis.
三日月のドラゴン by 長尾謙一郎
It seems like next chapter he’s gonna have to rescue his girlfriend with karate.
こころのナース夜野さん by 水谷緑
(semi-)non-fiction (?) case study accounts from a nurse in a 精神科病院, talking through situations with parents to get to the bottom of a situation in an empathic way.
きまじめ姫と文房具王子 by 藤原 嗚呼子
A little bit of romance, and a LOT of enthusiasm for stationary. This seemed fun to me!
デカニアラズ by Kenji Hayakawa
At this point in the magazine, I thought the magazine’s niche was “boring, but in a good way slice-of-life.” But then this is a cop/yakuza thriller about murder and revenge.
I confess, I’m not really a fan of the art style.
グッバイ、ノーベル！ by 竹充 ヒロ
A young author is possessed by the ghost of an established writer who suddenly died.
Hikaru no Go but for literature?
It sounds like this was the penultimate chapter.
君の背に青を想う by 薄場圭
All of the one-shots are at the back in this one, and with these, the magazine gets significantly more explicit and more emotionally fraught.
This one covers puberty, abusive parents, and coming of age, through the lens of tattooing. The art style is interesting - sort of reminds me of Scott Pilgrim.
I think there’s a moment or two in here that are really great, and it’s an interesting complete work, but I’m really 100% into it otherwise…
君の曖昧 by 文野 紋
So this one-shot is pretty much Wandering Son, but in high school.
A high school girl contemplates her feelings after finding out her boyfriend’s blonde wig.
It actually plays out really sweetly! It’s sexually explicit, but in a fumbling, real-feeling sort of way. It’s only a brief one-shot in an otherwise unrelated magazine, but it might be an interesting one to seek out, especially if Wandering Son is your thing.
ギブ子ちゃん by 鈴木夏菜
This one is a lot of fun and has a really nice art style, but it does play around a lot with teasing teacher/student romance, stopping juuuuuust short of leaning all the way into it. Not 100% sure how I feel about that, but it is a fun one-shot.
Student pesters teacher to take care of her in her arm-cast after he accidentally knocks her down a flight of stairs.
海月 by Kawakami Hiroto
This is another very gender-y one-shot, but I kinda don’t like this one…
It’s a love-triangle where a straight boy cross-dresses (and awakens/questions complicated gender feelings) because of a crush on a lesbian girl, and meanwhile a gay boy has a crush on the cross-dressing boy.
It isn’t handled awfully, and I appreciate the messiness of the whole thing… but it feels to me like a situation where they came up with the contrived love triangle first, and worked backwards from there, rather than exploring emotions that were close to them, you know what I mean?
想像シェアハウス by 土屋光太郎
This one’s pretty silly! An orphan and a sad old man share a house together?
Overall, I’m not hugely enthusiastic about the magazine from this one issue, but I don’t regret the time I spent, and I’ll probably read more issues at some point (if only because it would feel a little silly to buy it for Eizouken and then not get any new Eizouken…).
I’d say the biggest advantage it has is it really does feel like anything could feel at home in there - it reminds me a bit of American indie comics, in that a lot of these would feel at home on a library shelf with D&Q or Top Shelf or whatever. The one-shots also felt like whole works, rather than try-outs or vibe checks, which I enjoyed.
But I probably don’t need to mention which magazine remains my favorite (so far)…