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Shocking Pink Sky #9 by AKISATO Wakuni

Shocking Pink Sky vol. 9 cover

Shocking Pink Sky vol. 9 by AKISATO Wakuni
Rated: Teens (to which I disagree)
Publisher: Elex Media Komputindo, Indonesia


MENOU Aoi pledged to be a great stewardess (or cabin attendant?) after Hanzo—her childhood love interest—said an ugly-looking girl cannot be a stewardess. She realized that pledge, but instead of being praised as great, she is often labeled as clumsy. She serves the Tokyo - New York leg with other 10 male cabin attendants who are good looking from head to toe. One of them, James, suspiciously has a face like Hanzo.


Flight 41 - Honeymoon New Caledonia
Rika (MENOU's former co-worker in another airlines called JIL) gave Aoi a pair of honeymoon tickets from for her and James. Unlucky for Aoi that her former "old maid" seniors in JIL are plotting plans to bully her when they saw her with James.
Flight 42 - Spring is Come*
Someone mysterious sends Aoi a teddy bear. James did not want to introduce Aoi to his parents, disappointed with the situation, she didn't realize the danger of keeping the teddy bear.
Last Flight - MAN's 21st Century
Packed with air turbulence, revelation, ex-girlfriend threat, murder on board, last wish, explosion, this is a perfect daytime soap drama materials condensed into two-chapters of the airline re-branding launch.


A great ending for a crack series! What do you think unthinkable in the air crews life is put blatantly in this manga. In a way that somewhat undeniable addicting. It's not a surprise coming from the mangaka who brought us Sore demo Chikyuu wa mawatteru (Indonesian title: Bumi masih berputar, lit. The world still turns). Just name your pick of a bizzare thing, it's in here. Trust me.

I'd say: 4/5 stars.
Target readers: Adult, but the publisher publish it as for teens.

*Pea's note: I know you're all twitched when you saw that, but it's printed like that.

What Manga is Like in Indonesia - Part I

Next month mark 17 years since Candy-candy was first published in Indonesia. 17 is also the legal age to obtain an ID card in Indonesia and get married. Considering that fact, an obvious thought crossed my mind: Have the market and its fan base matured with age itself? I am going to talk about that in this series of columns starting this week. I am not sure how many parts it will be (so far it's three), it'll depend on your attention span and my urge to write and be articulate. I am not a manga expert, so you are welcome to point my mistakes.

Part I: History

In 1990, Elex Media Komputindo published its first manga titled Candy-candy. Elex is a publishing company which was widely known as a computer book publisher. Of course, Elex was not the first publisher to try their hands on manga in Indonesia, but Elex is the most persistent and consistent publisher for this type of books. Someone must have foreseen the potential of a huge market in the coming future. But, I will cover that in Part II: Issues around publishing.

1990s – An Appealing Market

With the Candy-candy success, Elex focused on targeting the younger market, as Indonesians still perceived comics (including manga) are for children. During the period of 1990s, Elex began publishing more shojo titles about young boys and girls, and their epic lives like the Mari-chan ballet series, Pop Corn (Seito Shokun!) and Rose of Versailles. Meanwhile, the boys also enjoyed titles like Dragon Ball, Akira, Chinmi series (Hakkenden) and Natane. Doraemon was also published and its anime has been broadcast in Indonesia regularly since 1990.

The success of these titles from Elex seems to inspired interest for Gramedia, a publishing company that publishes magazines and comics exclusively under the imprint name M&C. M&C had experience with comics - Donald Duck and Hong Kong kung fu comics - and they launched their manga line with AKAISHI Michiyo titles, such as Setinggi Langit dan Bintang (lit. As High as the Sky and Stars, 天よりも星よりも, Ten yori mo Hoshi yori mo) and Alpen Rose.

You may say that the mid-90s was the starting point for the manga culture in Indonesia. Many titles popped out and were snatched up from the bookstores immediately. The price range was IDR 3000 - 3500 (then USD 1.20 - 1.40) with dust covers, thus Indonesia was considered to be one of the places where readers could get some of the lowest-priced manga in the world with great packaging and sometimes excellent translation quality.

The titles Elex and M&C published around this period were carefully selected. They choose titles which would captivate most of their target readers. By publishing more mainstream manga they were able to stay clear of visually harmful content (to avoid getting censored!). The mainstream manga selections helped in establishing a faithful fan base that would continue to support the industry during the upcoming economic crisis.

1998 - Economic Crisis and Price Dive

With the arrival of an economic crisis in 1998, the manga industry was also hit severely. Manga is no longer available with jacket to cut printing costs and the price range shot up to an average of 9000 IDR. It was hard to buy manga during this period. No one could foresee what was going to happen with the Indonesian rupiah value at the time as its value kept on depreciating against the US dollar. The lowest dip was 15000, and manga publishers released fewer titles during this period to accommodate the purchasing power of their consumers.

As of today, the price range for a manga is fixed at 12.000-15.000 (USD 1.29 - 1.61). Meanwhile manga magazines are priced around 20.000 to 22.000 (USD 2.15 - 2.35). You can buy them cheaper in some places like the newsstand or manga rental. Both Elex and M&C have delivery service in major cities where they have branch offices.

2000s – Steady Growth

Since 2000, manga has enjoyed great popularity which in turn helped push many other elements of Japanese culture to be imported here. Not to mention the increase of interest in taking Japanese courses and JLPT every year. I will write about these subcultures in the Part III: Indonesians and Manga Culture.

Around 2002, businesses bounced back and people got on with their lives. And as purchasing power increased, so did the number of titles published - from 10-30 titles to nearly 70 titles per month. And after an unsuccessful attempt at a manga magazine called Candy back in the 90s, Elex braced themselves and launched Nakayoshi Gress in September 2003.

Manga themes also caught up with those who were kids in the 90s, and in September 2005, Elex hit another milestone by launching Level, an adult imprint. Advertised heavily in anime and manga communities, adult manga fans welcomed titles that were previously considered impossible to be published in Indonesia.

The manga market in Indonesia is maturing and has never been better. Publishers are also making a lot of money despite the lack of proper advertising initiatives and problems like preferences over scanlation and pirated copies of manga. These problems will be discussed more detailed in the next part.

That's it for this week, I leave you wondering with Elex enthrallment over the month of September, I am still figuring out the mystery myself. See you next week!
—Pea Rea (reapea@gmail.com)

New Manga Release List ~ Oct 24, 2007

The boss is out camping until Friday, so I'm in charge of posting this week's Comic List.

***Sensitive Pornograph GN, $15.95*** Cute Boys and Their Steamy Affairs Pick of the Week

***Cromartie High School Vol 12 #12, $10.95*** Manly Boys and Their Stupid Affairs Pick of the Week

Ghost Pirates Vs Ghost Ninjas Bride O/T Dead Sea, $2.99
Gold Digger Halloween Special 2007, $2.99

Eureka Seven Vol 1 Gravity Boys & Lifting Girl GN, $9.99

Es Broccoli Vol 4 GN, $9.99

Bride Of The Water God TP, $9.95

VS (versus) Vol 7, $9.99

***After School Nightmare Vol 5 GN, $10.99*** It's an Eisner Nominee Pick of the Week
Black Sun Silver Moon Vol 3 GN, $10.99
Night of the Beasts Vol 5 GN, $10.99
Train Plus Train Vol 4 GN, $10.99

Kanji De Manga Vol 5, $9.99

Art of Angel Sanctuary 2 Lost Angel, $19.99

Otaku USA 3 $9.99

Khursten weighed in first this week:

This will be a very manly manly week for me. :3 My picks...

Sensitive Pornograph for those cute boys and their steamy affairs. Match it with Cromartie High School for those manly boys and their stupid affairs! Yay! <3 <3

Honestly, it's not bad for a girl to mix Cromartie with BL right? *w*

I'm sure someone will also grab Eureka 7. I heard it's good... But my muscly men got me first. *w*

Then I totally totally backed her up (Erin):

I'm going to back up Khursten on this one - Sensitive Pornograph made it into anime-form, and it's available from Media Blasters. So few yaoi titles make the jump to anime that it's probably work checking out.

Cromartie also has an anime version, and although the anime is not nearly as hilarious as the manga, it is still hilarious, and it's pretty easy get non-anime watching friends to watch it.

Eva had a soapbox announcement to make:

If Kursten can pick three, so can I. Two of these I read when they were in scanlation and I'm really excited that publishers took note of their popularity and went after the licenses. (I'm even happier that the groups scanning them STOPPED once the licenses were announced -- you can't claim to be supporting the mangaka/manhwaga if you are still translating a book that's already available in English. OK, I'm off my soapbox now.) Bride of the Water God is simply beautiful. Written in the style of a folktale, the romantic artwork is a perfect fit. Sensitive Pornograph is beautiful too, but in a different way, if you know what I mean... After School Nightmare is as good as you've heard and deserving of its Eisner nomination. Check it out if you haven't already.

Finally, Julie agreed:

I cast a vote for After School Nightmare, too. It’s so bizarre. And Night of the Beasts, which doesn’t seem to be getting any love. How can you pass up hunky guys possessed by evil, blood-thirsty demons? Oh, and it’s the last chance to experience the extreme angst of the too often overlooked VS (Versus), so go pick it up!

Well, the formatting isn't quite right... but the picks are there. Where's Ed's pick, anyway? And what about Jack?


Babysitter Gin #4 by YAMATO Waki

Manga: The Complete Guide cover

Babysitter Gin! by YAMATO Waki
Rated: Adult
Publisher: Level Comics, Indonesia


Since neither the series nor the manga-ka is known in US, I'd like to introduce the story.

SHIMOOCHIAI Gin is a nanny living in the body of a guy. Throughout the series, he insist that he is straight, only that he has this urge to make all the little angels (babies) of the world smile ever after by his tender care.

He idolized Mary Poppins, hence the name for his babysitting service is Shimoochiai Poppins Club. He has a sister named Mimiko who handles the administration.

All the stories are separate chapters that can be read independently. And chapters are called Baby.


Baby 13 - Angel's Fruit
An independent girl trying to cultivate a vast land left by her late mother alone. Meanwhile her new stepmother is trying hard to be her mother.
Baby 14 - Man's Rule
An Anego has back pain, so the Kodangumi hired Shimoochiai Poppins Club for the baby Sandaime while the Anego stays in the hospital.
Baby 15 - Angel's Smile
Gin is a fan of NOMURA Ichigo and had the good luck to babysit in the household, but he is not given the assignment to take care of Ichigo.
Baby 16 - A Little Big Journey
HONDA Riku told Gin that he wants to see his grandfather and take him on the train to the southernmost part of Japan.


Warning: May contain spoiler.

The girl's character in Angel's Fruit reminds me of the attribute of another girl in a oneshot manga from the same manga-ka, but the whole story is different. Man's Rule was surprisingly funny because the focus is on the adult's childhood and not the baby. Again, the adult focus is still brought up in Angel's Smile, this time it brings out the obsessive parents who want their kids to be famous idols, common in Indonesia. A Little Big Journey touched me deeply, just like it touched Gin's heart.


YAMATO Waki-sensei still is best at surprising readers. She is popular among older manga readers in Indonesia, as a number of her works were published in 1990s. Most of the theme of her work are not related to one another. But they're filled with great stories that leave an impression in our hearts. I am sure you're going to enjoy this series if you like any of her stories. I hope the US readers will someday be able to read her work.

The Crimson Spell #1 by Ayano Yamane

The graphic novels stacks rebelled today, and several of them tipped over.  I don't know if it was due to Buu charging about the house, or the crushing weight of dust that finally scattered them about the floor.  As I tidied them up and moved the read piles into a box, I uncovered Crimson Spell.  I had purchased this at AX07, and completely forgot about it.  What a perfect time to read it!  I guess the piles need to be rearranged occasionally, so I am reminded of what's sitting, unread, in the library.

クリムゾン・スぺル Vol #1 by: やまねあやの

The Crimson Spell Vol 1 by: Ayano Yamane

Rated:  Mature

Price:  11.99

Kitty - BL - Fantasy/Romance

Review May Contain Spoilers

When demons attack his kingdom, young prince Bald is forced to take up the forbidden Crimson Sword.  The sword is cursed, and it turns its wielder into a terrible beast.  While it allows Bald to defeat the demons, he has no recollection of the battle, in which he also slaughtered innocent humans.  Now the kingdom's wizards have temporarily contained the beast, but Bald needs to journey south and beseech the wizard, Halvir, to break the curse.  Halvir is a mercenary sort, and he demands a high price for the prince's cure.  Will the cost prove too dear for Bald?


For a fun, fast-paced romp through a fantasy world, complete with drool-inducing demons and cute talking rabbit critters, grab a copy of Crimson Wind

Grade: B+

This review was written by Julie for the MangaCast. Please drop by the Manga Maniac Cafe and check out the menu.  There's always tasty reviews on display!

Empty Heart by Masara Minase


Empty Heart エンプティハート ~偽りの恋だから~ by: 水名瀬雅良

Empty Heart by Masara Minase

Rated:  Mature

Price:  12.50

DramaQueen -BL/Romance

Review May Contain Spoilers

Takumi has been secretly in love with Usami ever since he saw the older boy kiss his sleeping brother.  Now that he's a high school student, Usami is his art teacher, and he can moon after his beloved during class.  When Takumi's brother, Ryuuta, introduces him to Reiko, his fiance, he's concerned how Usami will take the news.  Sure enough, Usami goes on a drinking binge after meeting the pretty Reiko, and Takumi offers himself to Usami to help soothe his broken heart.  The spitting image of his older brother, Takumi wonders if it's Ryuuta Usami sees when he takes him in his arms, or is it Takumi?


Grade: B-

This review was written by Julie for the MangaCast. Please drop by the Manga Maniac Cafe and check out the menu.  There's always tasty reviews on display!

Onegai Twins

Onegai Twins, vol 1, by Go Zappa
ISBN: 1-58899-299-3
Price: 7.95

Review May Contain Spoilers

Raised in an orphanage after being abandoned as a child, sixteen-year-old Maiku has only one keepsake from his childhood, a photograph of himself and a girl he supposes is his twin sister, playing in front of a house. While watching a news report about a UFO sighting, Maiku recognizes a house in the background as the same house in his photograph. He tracks down the location, rents the house, and, in order to afford the rent, takes on a part-time job as a computer programmer at night, attending high school during the day.  When two girls arrive on his doorstep, each carrying her own copy of Maiku's childhood photograph, the three decide to move in together while they try to figure out which of the girls is Maiku's twin and which is a complete stranger.

A sequel to Onegai Teacher (the anime was released as Please Teacher! in the U.S.), the sight gags and naughty humor in this novelization don't translate as well to the page as teenage boys might hope. The book proceeds exactly as you would expect it to, with the three teens learning to live together amidst all the mishaps and hijinks that occur in romantic comedies of this sort. But the clichéd devices of the accidental towel drop, the accidental boobie grab, and the accidental indirect kiss all seem creepy when they take place between siblings – even when those siblings may not actually be related – and there are a few instances when a side character's feelings for his actual sister move beyond creepy and into downright disturbing. Many of the scenes are dry and often read like the author simply transcribed what he saw on the screen. This may be the fault of the editor, though, as tenses fluctuate, sometimes more than once in the same sentence, causing a normal description to suddenly jump into the present tense. Fans of the original series may be interested in Onegai Twins, as several of the characters, including Mizuho Kazami and Ichigo Morino, appear in this story as well, but new readers may want to opt for the anime or skip this title altogether. —Eva

Manga: The Complete Guide

Manga: The Complete Guide cover

Manga: The Complete Guide by Jason Thompson

Rated: Adult
Cover Price: US$19.95 (probably around US$25 in Indonesia)
Publisher: Del Rey Release Date: October 9, 2007 (Tuesday)

Personal Notes

Due to customs problem, I didn't got my review copy until August. By that time, all the other places has reviewed this book already. Naturally, the book first tentative sale date was July 10. So, what's left for me to review this book?

Every other reviews had given high praises on the book with extra details of what the book features, yet I am here to dig out my brain to give more praises.

First, let me explain that my review copy is the uncorrected proof one. It doesn't bear the cover with cute HONDA Tohru in the corner, instead it exhibits a bore white and purple cover which I assume the sole reason why the book got through customs safely.

I flipped through this book on August when I first received it, but not until September did I stay up all night until 3am, writing each page number diligently on the Content pages so I can flip through the book later easily.

Did you read the 3am part? Yes, and I started at 10pm. This book is a true addiction. Other than Ghost Hunt, nothing else got me hooked so badly that I failed to sleep before midnight at school night.

I scrupulously browsed each page, to read each entry with excitement, as most of the manga listed there are titles I have never read before, complete with star ratings! The more I read, the more envy I got over US fans. (What I did not envy is that they are also faced with problems like distasteful censorship.)

I must thank Jason for writing the Manga vs. Comics section in the beginning of the book, where he explains about the US manga market and its brief history which should be useful for my next article. Jason also wrote numerous article on each manga genre and recommend what title you should read for that genre (but only the titles that is available from US publishers)!


This is a good reference book. For manga editors, reviewers, writers on manga, librarian, and most importantly parents. I strongly urge that every parents should own this book, especially to those who don't understand manga and wouldn't want to bother reading what your kids are buying.

But, the child in me was slightly dissapointed for the lack of colored pages. And the fact that this book is a reference book made me slightly turned off to read it. Might donate it to the librarian at school later, if she smiles at me. Joking.

And I believe the mistakes on page 169 (Harlequin Pink: Jinxed entry was not in the book) and 232 (Dragon Voice typo, yes, I love dragons.) are not there anymore.

Jason and the book combined together should receive seven out of five stars. It stills hangs in my mind though, why does the book have the maximum 4 stars rating?

End Notes

Before I forget, if you're in California on October 12, consider attending the book's Launch Party, see details by the author here. Wish I can fly to the US right now.

I want to thank Del Rey for providing this review copy and naniwa for making sure I got another one after the first was missing somewhere in the Indonesian customs havoc.



It was in the 80s today! In Michigan! In October!  The humidity was a little tough to bear, but I could deal with this weather all year long!  Made it a perfect day for some hot and steamy man love!

熱情のヴィルトゥオーソ by: 小笠原 宇紀

Virtuoso Di  Amore by Uki Ogasawara

Rated:  Mature 18+

Price:  12.99

DramaQueen - BL

Review May Contain Spoilers

Kenzo Shinozuka has just landed a cushy position as wealthy nobleman Lorenzo Carlucci's pianist.  With Lorenzo's patronage, Kenzo, an under-appreciated musician, believes that he can finally make the most of his talents.  Things don't go smoothly, however, and the two clash from the beginning.  Kenzo is head-strong and temperamental, and Lorenzo is just...strange.  As Lorenzo pushes Kenzo to his full potential, the flame of desire begins to burn between them.  Will Lorenzo's dream of seeing Kenzo play in a concert hall become a reality?  Or will the two destroy themselves as their passions spiral out of control?



DramaQueen has another attractively presented release here.  The book, from it's glossy dust jacket to it's crisp pages, is a joy to read.  Too bad the story didn't quite measure up.

Grade:  C

This review was written by Julie for the MangaCast. Please drop by the Manga Maniac Cafe and check out the menu.  There's always tasty reviews on display!

Oct. 6th, 2007

RahXephon, vol 1, by Hiroshi Ohnogi
ISBN: 1-59796-000-4
Price: 7.95

Review May Contain Spoilers

Kamina Ayato is a little weirded out when everyone goes overboard to wish him a happy seventeenth birthday. Even his mother, a chronic workaholic, comes home early to make him a cake. Raised as a human, Kamina has no idea his mother's been possessed by one of the Mu, an alien race, and has been grooming him for some secret nefarious project. It turns out that seventeen is the age at which Kamina becomes ready to pilot RahXephon, a giant organic robot that can defeat the other giant robots that attacked Earth when the Mulians invaded and took over Tokyo, shutting out the rest of the world. When TERRA agent Shitow Haruka manages to break both Kamina and RahXephon out of Tokyo, Kamina's life changes forever as his beliefs in what is real and unreal are shattered.

RahXephon is a novelization of the anime by the same name. I admit I've only seen the first episode of the anime, so I have no idea how faithful the book is to the show, although the author does note in the afterward that he has added some bits. Whatever he added, the result is an action-filled plot that keeps an uninitiated reader guessing as to what will come next. Unfortunately, the number of typos and grammatical errors also keep the reader guessing. The errors are so bad at times that the reader has to go back and mentally fix sentences, either adding or rearranging words, before they make sense. Having each chapter be narrated in first-person by a different character adds to the confusion, as the character speaking isn't necessarily identified at the beginning of each chapter. 

Even with an exciting plot, the book was painful to read. As each new typo pulled me out of the story, it became harder and harder to fall back in, and I found I was starting to look forward to finding the next error more than finding out what was happening to Kamina. At the end, I'd become completely disengaged from the story. I won't be reading volume two.

Lover's Flat by Hyouta Fujiyama

1Kアパートの恋 新装版 by: 富士山ひょうた
Lover's Flat by Hyouta Fujiyama

Rated: Mature
Price: 12.95
June by DMP - BL-Drama/Romance

Review May Contain Spoilers

Kouno and his close friend, Natsu, spend a passionate Christmas together. Kouno has a secret crush on Natsu, and now he's afraid that their friendship will be destroyed because they slept together. Natsu seems to take their sudden intimacy in stride, and soon Kouno's worried that Natsu only sees him as a convenient outlet for his sexual frustrations. To add to his problems, his next door neighbor, Naomichi, is struggling with similar confusion; his roommate, Kei, has just confessed his feelings for him! Will the two be able to work through their complicated emotions and find true happiness?

Grade: B-

This review was written by Julie for the MangaCast. Please drop by the Manga Maniac Cafe and check out the menu. There's always tasty reviews on display!

Naruto: Innocent Heart, Demonic Blood

Naruto: Innocent Heart, Demonic Blood by Masatoshi Kusakabe
ISBN: 1-4215-0603-3
Price: 9.99
VIZ: Shonen Jump Fiction

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us

Review May Contain Spoilers

In honor of all the Naruto nonsense that's going on, I bring you Naruto: Innocent Heart, Demonic Blood, the light novel that retells the story told in the first four volumes of the manga. Unless you've been living in a cave for the past few years, you already have a passing knowledge of The Boy Who Would Be Ninja. But for you cave-dwellers out there, here's the scoop:

When the Village Hidden in the Leaves is attacked by a Nine-Tailed Fox spirit, the local ninja manage to defeat the demon by containing it in the body of baby Naruto. As Naruto grows up, he is universally scorned by his fellow villagers, who hold the destruction of the village against him. In a bid for attention and to prove his worth, Naruto vows (loudly and continuously) that one day he will be the leader of the ninjas. After barely passing his exams, Naruto is teamed up with Sakura, the class brain, and Sasuke, the student with the most ninjutsu skills, and given the job of protecting a bridge builder on his way back to the Land of Waves. Along with their instructor Kakashi, the three think this will be an easy task, until they're attacked from behind by unknown opponents.

Thanks to the difference in the way Japanese is written compared to how English is written (thanks, Ed, for the quick lesson in the stylistic differences), the story comes across as being told in short paragraphs, with dialog, rather than narration or description, used to propel the story. While this can be disconcertingly choppy for adult readers, in this case it works perfectly for the middle schoolers and reluctant readers who are most likely the primary audience for this book. The vocabulary hasn't been dumbed down and the English adaptation is almost seamless, with very few instances of awkward phrasing. With only one picture for every two or three chapters, the character images the reader is familiar with are there, but without the visual violence that bumps the graphic novels up out of kid-friendly range (the manga is rated T for teens). This, plus the author's decision to not dwell on each and every punch, kick, and stab, keeps the novel down in the 10+ age range (a rating I really, really wish VIZ would adopt). This would also be a great primer for parents who are desperate to know what their kids are talking about, but who don't want to sit through the anime or figure out how to read backwards.
I'm a little bit behind on this series.  Volume 2 was released way back in May, and volume 3 hit stores about a week ago.  Pearl Pink seems to be one of those under appreciated titles, and I can't figure out why.  It's cute, sweet, and funny, and you finish reading it with a big smile on your face. 

天然パールピンク # 2 by: 田中 メカ

Pearl Pink Vol 2 by Meca Tanaka

Rated:  Teen

Price:  9.99

TOKYOPOP - Shoujo - Comedy/Romance

Review May Contain Spoilers


Tamako is still trying to catch Kanji's heart and prove to him what a worthy catch she is.  While Kanji is ever ready to give her a make-over, he seems hardly affected by her undying love for him.  How can she make him stop seeing her as a kid, and start loving her in return?


Grade: B

This review was written by Julie for the MangaCast. Please drop by the Manga Maniac Cafe and check out the menu.  There's always tasty reviews on display!