Sporadic Sequential
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Rumiko Takahashi Appreciation Week

Do you ever stop to think about how many amazing things are out there that you have no idea about, or that you might have some vague notion of but don't realize how much you'd love if you took the time to investigate them?

It's a question that's been floating around in my head ever since I "discovered" Rumiko Takahashi a couple weeks ago. How could I have been oblivious to the awesome, prolific output of this incredible manga creator for so long?

It all started back in February when David Welsh wrote a Flipped column recommending ten humorous manga series. I'd read all but two series (Maison Ikkoku and Your and My Secret) so I added those books to my "to read" list. I was able to track down the first volume of Maison Ikkoku via ILL, so that was my first exposure to Rumiko Takahashi. To be honest, I wasn't overly impressed, but there was something about her work that appealed to me.

Several weeks after that I was browsing through the manga section at the local library and stumbled upon a copy of Ranma ½ Volume 1. What the heck, I thought, I may as well give this a shot.

I was immediately hooked.

Since then, I've been adding subsequent volumes of Ranma to my request queue. (At the moment I have volumes 11 through 17 sitting on my nightstand, just waiting for volume 7 to finally arrive so I can continue consuming this delightful series.) I've also been investigating her other series available in English, but the turnaround time on ILL requests has been painfully slow. I've been hoping to do a "Rumiko Takahashi Appreciation Week" for a couple weeks now, but I was putting it off in hopes of having more of her work under my belt before beginning. However, I decided to launch the theme week today anyway for two main reasons:
  1. This week sees the launch of Takahashi's newest manga series, RIN-NE. And it's not just any old regular manga launch, either. This is a simultaneous release in both the U.S. and Japan, with the U.S. chapters being serialized online at Viz's new official Rumiko Takahashi site, The Rumic World. (Not to be confused with the wonderful old unofficial fan site, Rumic World (note the non-existent definite article).) So this week seems like a good week to celebrate Rumiko Takahashi.

  2. I realized that I have a bad habit of never getting around to once-exciting ideas that I put off too long. For example, sifting through my drafts folder, I found that I never published my "Best of 2008" post. So I decided that it would be better to forge ahead with this idea while I was still enthusiastic about it rather than risk it never happening.
So I honestly don't know what Rumiko Takahashi Appreciation Week will end up looking like in the end, especially if those copies of Return of Lum, One-Pound Gospel, and Mermaid Saga never show up. (How long can something be "in transit," fer crissakes???) But I do hope to spotlight what it is that I find so exciting about Takahashi's work. (I also hope that it's evident that I in no way consider myself an expert on Rumiko Takahashi. If you want expertise, please go read these guys, which is where I'm stealing most of my reference from anyway. I simply hope to share the enthusiasm I feel for a manga creator who is new to me as I am experiencing her work for the first time. Apologies in advance for anything I get wrong, and feel free to correct me where I misspeak, but please no outright insults for not knowing everything already.)

In the meantime, here are a couple links to get you started if you're similarly inexperienced when it comes to Takahashi:
  • Wikipedia page
  • Rumic World (Seriously, go visit this site and bookmark it now! I've barely even scratched the surface of this wonderful reference site. Check out their excellent timeline!)
Major works in English (all from Viz; dates and volumes listed are for Japanese publications):
NEXT: The perfect, Platonic ideal of a manga.

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