Christopher Butcher: "Usamaru Furuya is just awesome. He did a series for VIZ called Short Cuts a couple of years ago. Anything with his name on it, I actually buy in the original Japanese just because his art is so good. He’s so, so talented as an artist. So if you just like really, really pretty pictures of girls… like really pretty pictures of girls, then this is the book for you. It’s going to be good."
Shaenon Garrity: "He has gorgeous illustrative style and a sick, sick, sick sense of humor. It is nauseating. It’s like amazingly pretty pictures depicting the most horrible things that he apparently thinks is funny."
Jason Thompson: "Moto Hagio created They Were 11. She drew A, A'. She's also drawn a lot of amazing manga that hasn't been translated into English yet. She’s one of the artists who made shojo manga good in the early 1970’s. Before artists like Moto Hagio, men drew shojo manga, thinking "Girls will like stories about falling in love with cute boys." But she did stories with sci-fi and more emotionally complex plotlines."
Shaenon Garrity: "Moto Hagio and her roommate Keiko Takemiya basically invented boys love manga as you know it today, and for that, you all should be grateful!"
Christopher Butcher: "This is an amazing book. There’s like a depth and an emotional resonance in these stories that’s really good."
Deb Aoki: "This is a hilarious, delicious slice-of-life book about a manga artist who enjoys lots of wonderful meals with her friends. Americans love to eat good food, but American comics just don't offer enough stories about food. Manga does."
Christopher Butcher: "Yeah, I’d read that."
Carlo Santos: "It’s a sports manga, but it’s also manly and sweet at the same time. It's about a teenage boy who loses his first love at a young age. It has baseball in it, so there's action for the guys, but its romantic angle and its focus on the main character's childhood crush gives it a lot of heart."
Shaenon Garrity: "I love Mitsuru Adachi, he’s one of my favorite artists. He’s fantastic."
Christopher Butcher: "If you’ve been shopping in comics for a while, you’ve seen Last Gasp import these like beautifully sick art books from this guy who draws really pretty people getting dismembered. This is his manga. It’s shockingly good. It’s an adaptation of an Edogawa Rampo novel."
Jason Thompson: "This is a fantastic, fantastic one-volume book coming out this fall from Last Gasp."
NOTE: Last Gasp has posted an 8-page preview of The Strange Tale of Panorama Island on their website.
UPDATE: Publication for this book has been pushed to 2011.
Most Wanted: Drops of God by Tadashi Agi (Kodansha)
Christopher Butcher: "Drops of God (a.k.a. Kami no Shizuku or Les Gouttes de Dieu) is a famous manga about wine. It's been featured in the Washington Post and the New York Times, and they still haven’t translated it. I don’t get it."
Deb Aoki: "It’s about a famous wine expert who dies and stipulates in his will that his multi-million dollar wine collection will go to either his biological son, who turned his back on the wine world, or his ruthless protegee if either can find the 12 wines that represent the 12 disciples of Christ. It's hugely influential in the wine world, because real wines that are featured in this manga become bestsellers throughout Asia."
Most Wanted: Saint Young Men by Hikaru Nakamura (Kodansha)
Shaenon Garrity: "Saint Oniisan is about Jesus and Buddha as twenty-something guys taking a break from being Jesus and Buddha by sharing an apartment in Tokyo. So they do stuff like go to Tokyo Disneyland, and when they're on the train, girls stop Jesus and ask if he's Johnny Depp. It's pretty funny."
Jason Thompson: "Hm. I'm noticing a Jesus theme in our unlicensed manga picks…"
Most Wanted: The Bride's Stories by Kaoru Mori (Enterbrain)
Jason Thompson: "The Bride's Stories (Otoyome Gatari) is a lovely manga by the creator of Emma. But instead of a Victorian romance, she has set this story in the Middle East in the 1800's."
Deb Aoki: "It's about a young woman who is sent from another village to marry a boy who is 8 years younger than she is. It's really beautifully drawn, full of human drama, action and slice-of-life charm."
NOTE: The day after this panel, Yen Press announced that they would be publishing The Bride's Stories in 2011.
Most Wanted: The Music of Marie by Usamaru Furuya (Gentosha)
Carlo Santos: "Who likes Miyazaki? (lots of cheers) This is Miyazaki on LSD! The Music of Marie (Marie no Kanaderu Ongaku) is very imaginative. It's an epic fantasy but with added layer of Furuya's insane art and imagination. I don't know why no one has licensed this one in America."
Most Wanted: Atagoul in the Cat Forest by Hiroshi Masumura (Media Factory)
Shaenon Garrity: "Nobody else has heard of this damn manga, but it's my favorite. I picked up Atagoul wa Neko Mori at a Mandarake store when I was in Tokyo last year. I brought it with me to this meeting I had at Studio Ghibli. I brought it out and they all said 'Oh yeah! Atagoul!!'"
"It’s very deeply abstract story and it's sort of creepy. It’s a fantasy set in a world of talking cats because the artist is good at drawing cats; he can't draw people all that well? The cats are great, the fantasy landscapes are great and the adventures are really cute, sweet and imaginative as well as being really disturbing and wrong. Actually, none of this guy's work has been translated into English, although he's done some pretty major stuff."
Most Wanted: Rose of Versailles by Riyoko Ikeda (Shueisha)
Deb Aoki: "Yeah, you could dream the impossible dream, but I don't think we'll see this in English anytime soon."
Shaenon Garrity: "Rumor has it that the reason why this hasn't been translated yet is because the artist is, very rightly, asking for a lot of money to license this title."
Christopher Butcher: "Rose of Versailles is available in three really big volumes in French. So if your high school French is good enough, you could read this. It’s got gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous production and it's easily available to buy online -- if you read French. Hey, I'm from Canada, so I can!"