Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 In the Rear View Mirror & Holiday Giveaway Winner

First of all, let me announce the winner of this year's Annual Holiday Giveaway.  The $25 RightStuf gift certificate will be going to...KIM P.!

Requiem of the Rose King is my favorite new manga since it's drawn by Aya Kanno and the story is based on Shakespeare so it's full of plot twists!

Congratulations Kim!  You can claim your prize by either contacting me on Twitter at @brainchild129 or by sending a quick email to  Also, I'm glad you're enjoying Requiem of the Rose King, as it continues to just get better and better.  For me, it's easily Kanno's best and most ambitious work.

I doubt I'm going to surprise anyone when I declare that I'm glad to see 2016 go for reasons that are too many and (mostly) too political for this blog.  That's really saying something considering that two very big and very happy events happened to me: I got married and I finally got to travel overseas, to Japan no less.  It was also still a very good year for manga overall.  The big shonen hits just kept on selling, and the market overall is still healthy and growing.  We saw the debut of a lot of great shoujo and josei works, including the print debut of stuff like Orange and Princess Jellyfish.  Seeing so many comments calling that their favorite of the year made me truly happy inside.  It also makes me all the more regretful that I wasn't able to fit Princess Jellyfish into this month's lineup.  I already had so many Kodansha titles!  Choices had to be made!  Even ongoing series like Requiem, The Ancient Magus' Bride, and My Love Story managed to just get better and better with each new volume.

The world is a big question mark as far as 2017 goes, but I do at least have hope that the world of manga will only continue to get more interesting and diverse.  There's already a lot of interesting manga titles that will be turned into anime this year, and I'm eager to see how they go over with a wider audience.   There's some interesting cult titles on the horizon, along with what I sincerely hope will be the breakout year for yuri in the US.  Seriously, we've got nearly a dozen titles on the way from 3 different publishers, along with who knows how much more yet to come.  At least one of them HAS to make an impression.  Hell, maybe this year Udon will finally get around to putting out The Rose of Versailles.  After all, what could be more appropriate for this upcoming year than a classic manga that ends in revolution?

The Manga Test Drive will be coming into its fifth year of existence, and as always I'm glad for all of you that have come along for the ride.

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