Artifacts from Japan, part 5: Morning #43, 2018Posted: October 22, 2018
Two years ago I already introduced another original Japanese manga magazine here, Weekly Young Jump, but I don’t want to give the impression that all manga magazines in Japan are like that. So here’s a look at a magazine that is also filed under seinen (i.e. targeted towards young adult men), but much more mature.
Price: ¥370 ($3.30 / €2.85)
Website: http://morning.moae.jp/ (Japanese)
Morning (or “Weekly Morning” according to Wikipedia, but the word “Morning” is not on the cover as far as I have seen) is not quite as widely read as Young Jump, but its circulation (well over 100,000 copies per issue) is still huge compared to Western comic magazines. In the past, Morning has run famous manga series such as Gon, Planetes, Space Brothers, and Vagabond.
The copy of the issue at hand (dated October 11, but actually published two weeks earlier) has the same dimensions as Young Jump and the same printing quality (or lack thereof), but already on the outside, the content is quite different: instead of an erotic photograph, there’s a cover image that actually refers to one of the manga inside – グラゼニ / Gurazeni by Yūji Moritaka and Keiji Adachi, a baseball series that seems to be relatively popular in Japan. Inside there is very little editorial content apart from a 4-page interview with Moritaka and film director Hitoshi Ōne.
Which brings us to the manga in this issue. There are roughly 20 chapters of 18 pages on average, and these are the more noteworthy ones apart from Gurazeni:
- コウノドリ / Kōnodori by Yū Suzunoki, a story about an obstetrician.
- サガラ: S の 同素体 / Sagara: S no dousotai by Shinji Makari and Kaiji Kawaguchi, a spy/military thriller set in Iraq.
- バトル・スタディーズ / Battle Studies by Nakibokuro, another baseball manga, but this time about high school instead of pro baseball. Apparently the author played baseball himself very successfully in high school.
- ドラゴン桜 2 / Dragon Zakura 2 by Norifusa Mita, a manga about the university entrance exams (and how to pass them).
- ハコヅメ / Hakozume by Miko Yasu, about a young policewoman.
- クッキングパパ / Cooking Papa by Tochi Ueyama, a long-running series about cooking, including recipes.
- 仕掛暮らし / Shikake Gurashi by Yoshihiro Yamada of Hyōge Mono fame, a manga with a distinctive woodcut-like art style, set in medieval Japan.
- テセウスの船 / Theseus no fune by Toshiya Higashimoto looks like a pretty intense drama.
- トントロ / Tontoro by Takuya Okada, a weird story about anthropomorphic food leftovers.
- マリアージュ / Mariage by Tadashi Agi (a.k.a. Shin Kibayashi) and Shū Okimoto, the current sequel to the Drops of God wine manga.
- イチケイのカラス / Ichikei no karasu by Rito Asami, a courtroom story.
- City by Keiichi Arawi, a slice-of-life comedy manga, at least this episode of which is wordless.
As you can perhaps see from these short descriptions, most of the manga in Morning are set in the real world rather than some fantasy or science fiction setting. Considering Morning and Young Jump alone, the vast variety of manga within the seinen demographic becomes palpable – a variety hardly represented by the few of these titles that have been published in the West.