Welcome to Giga Town!
An update on a brand new manga from Mangasplaining and Udon Entertainment, coming in print in Spring 2023
Hello, everyone! On behalf of all of us here, thanks so much for your continued support of MSX: Mangasplaining Extra.
We Have A New Project To Announce!
Our next Mangasplaining Extra manga project will be: Giga Town: Manpu Zufu (A Catalog of Manga Symbols), by Fumiyo Kouno (In This Corner of the World), published originally in Japanese by the good folks at Asahi Shimbunsha.
Giga Town is a 1-volume collection of 4-panel comic strips that feature the animal characters from the mid-12th-century Japanese picture scroll (emakimono) “Choju-jinbutsu-giga” to explain “manpu” or the visual iconography of manga. The word “giga” in Giga Town is a reference to this scroll, and in Japanese, “giga” 戯画 = “caricature” or comic drawing. Note that the “ga” kanji ( 画 ) is the same “ga” that means “picture,” as in “manga” / 漫画 and “eiga” / movie 映画.
The Choju-jinbutsu-giga is a National Treasure from Japan that’s often cited as one of the roots of manga. Manga artist Fumiyo Kouno takes these frolicking frogs, bunnies, and other animals from the Choju-giga through gently humorous situations manga to demonstrate the usage of “manpu” or visual symbols in manga that express actions, emotions and more.
If you’ve read the British Museum’s awesome MANGA exhibit and book that came out a few years back, you may be familiar with some of these comic strips! That’s where Deb first discovered it, and pushed for it to be a Mangasplaining Extra project!
Did you ever wonder what those sweat drops or plus signs on manga characters’ foreheads were all about? Giga Town explains that and so much more!
This book will be an excellent resource for every manga fan, a funny book to read for all-ages, and a true bit of “Mangasplaining” for folks interested in the unique visual language of manga.
Fumiyo Kouno is a favourite creator of the Mangasplaining team, as she is the creator of the powerful Hiroshima memoir Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (Last Gasp), and the longer WWII story In This Corner of the World (Seven Seas Entertainment). She’s a legend, and we’re so excited and grateful to be co-publishing her work in English with our partners at UDON Entertainment and Manga Classics. The book will arrive in stores in Spring 2023 and it will be ready for you to pre-order later this year. We’re also thrilled to announce that the translator for this 1-shot manga is our friend, the awesome Ko Ransom (Invitation From A Crab, Raw Hero).
Giga Town is different from the manga we’ve licensed so far, because it won’t be serialized weekly on the Mangasplaining Extra newsletter.
Due to licensing restrictions, the kind of digital-first serialization that we did for Okinawa on MSX just couldn’t work out for Giga Town. However, from the moment that we licensed this title, both UDON and MSX agreed that the work was really important and worthwhile to publish, even if the digital serialization we wish we could offer to our subscribers just wasn’t possible at this time.
So here’s how it will work: UDON will be the official print publisher of Giga Town, and the MSX team will be doing editorial, creative, marketing and much more to support the release of this one-shot manga to make this book a success! We’re so excited to be partnering with UDON on this (and other upcoming titles), just as we are partnering with Fantagraphics for the print edition of Okinawa, which is coming in Spring 2023.
To make up for it, we’ll actually be writing a lot ABOUT Giga Town, and Kouno-sensei’s work in general, leading up to the print and digital publication of Giga Town in Spring 2023. If you ever wanted to go behind the scenes on how a manga is made, from licensing through translation, lettering, and more, well, get ready to have it Manga-splained to you. ;)
It’s because of your support, especially from our paid subscribers, that we’re able to do this work—thank you so much! Your support helps us bring manga that we think is good and important to bring to readers in English.. The MSX Newsletter gives us unique ways to talk about these works and show them to readers that will hopefully translate into greater sales successes than they might otherwise be able to achieve in an otherwise crowded North American manga market. We’re truly grateful for your ongoing support, as it makes it possible for us to bring you even more manga in the very near future.
That’s right! There IS more manga coming soon to MSX!
Even before we started this Substack newsletter, we’ve been working on licensing new, never-before-published in English manga to be serialized through our newsletter. One thing we’ve learned is that manga licensing… well, it takes time. Establishing new business relationships, building trust, creating partnerships, and explaining our passion for manga and what we’re trying to achieve… all of this requires time, and sometimes, it takes much longer than we hope or expect it will.
Giga Town is our second MSX manga title, rest assured, it’s not our last! We’re currently in various stages of the manga licensing process with six (!) more manga titles. Some are still at the “handshake-agreement” stage, while others are in the “the final contract is in the mail” stage, and everything in between. We’ll talk about this in future as part of the newsletter (thanks again for subscribing!). It’s been a fascinating, enlightening process, and we hope you’re ready for much, much more manga coming from us soon!
While you wait for more new manga from us, we’ll be posting a whole bunch of new, original articles on the newsletter soon.
Expect to see more exclusive Mangasplaining content, like our Akane Torikai interview, original manga like Kaz Ichikawa’s intro to how and why he creates gay manga doujinshi, more general interest articles like our Taste of Food Manga overview, and even some deep-dives like our upcoming work on Giga Town. It’s the kind of long-form, in-depth articles about manga that we’ve always wanted to write, but haven’t had the place to showcase them until now.
Thanks again for your ongoing support of Mangasplaining Extra. We’re so excited for what’s just around the corner, and can’t wait to share it with you soon.
Deb, Chris, and Andrew
P.S. We’d love to hear from you — Please share your comments and questions about this announcement below! And if you’re not yet a paid subscriber to Mangasplaining Extra, we sure would appreciate your support so we can keep bringing you even more great manga and articles about manga. There’s more to come!
I am always interested in manga about the creation of manga. Looking forward to this one!
Awesome news! The moment I saw Fumiyo Kouno's name I was sold: In This Corner of the World is one of my favorite anime films, and I'm currently reading her original manga version and loving it. The manga was a bit of a challenge to come by; it wasn't available new from any retailers and I had to buy a used copy off Ebay. I'd really like to see more of her work in English, and this sounds like a fun one!