The Seinen Alphabet: Z

“Z” is for…

Zipang, written and illustrated by Kaiji Kawaguchi, serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Morning for 42 volumes. This series is about a modern Japanese defense vessel that gets thrown back in time to the Battle of Midway of World War II. The revision of history ensues. It won the Kodansha Manga Award in 2002. Kawaguchi’s A Spirit in the Sun tied for the Shogakukan Manga Award in 2006, so Kawaguchi is clearly a big deal in terms of yet-to-be licensed mangaka. Zipang is being released in French by Kana, and I want to say it’s made the finalist list either at Angoulême or in the Prix d’Asie, though I can’t find a reference to confirm that.

Zetman, written and illustrated by Masakazu (Video Girl Ai) Katsura, originally serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shônen Jump, then moved to Young Jump. It’s about rival heroes who fight monsters, and it ran for a total of 14 volumes. Tony (Manga Therapy) Yao said on Twitter that it has a Dark Knight kind of feel, which is certainly an improvement on the Ultimo vibe I get off of the cover.

Zenyasi, written and illustrated by Tobira Oda, serialized in Kodansha’s Morning Two. It’s about a sculpting competition at a grade school that ends in tragedy, and it ran for a single volume.

Zero, written and illustrated by Kei (Lament of the Lamb) Toume, serialized in Gentosha’s Comic Birz. It’s about a middle-school girl who wants revenge against everyone, and it ran for a single volume.

Zashiki Onna, written and illustrated by Minetaro (Dragon Head) Mochizuki, serialized in Kodansha’s Young Magazine. It’s about a college student who gets stalked by a creepy woman with horror-appropriate long hair. It ran for a single volume.

Zansho, written and illustrated by Mohiro (Bokurano: Ours) Kitoh, serialized in Shogakukan’s IKKI. This is a single-volume collection of short stories from a 20-year span in Kitoh’s career.

Zôkan Young GanGan is a seinen magazine published by Square Enix.

What starts with “Z” in your seinen alphabet?


Taiyo (Gogo Monster) Matsumoto is one of those creators who fall into the “I’ll read anything by this person” category, even if the comic is about a subject that doesn’t interest me even a little bit. So thanks to Matthew (365 zines a year) Murray for mentioning Zero, a two-volume tale about a boxer that originally ran in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits. The title refers not to the protagonist’s aptitude but to his loss record; he’s at the top of his game, but he’s getting older.

The Seinen Alphabet: Y

“Y” is for…

The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan (Del Rey), written and illustrated by Masaki Segawa, based on a novel by Futaro Yamada. This super-violent revenge tale is a sequel to Basilisk (Del Rey), also by Segawa, based on a novel by Yamada. It ran in Kodansha’s Young Magazine. Other manga adaptations of Yamada’s work include Yagyuujuubee Shisu (with Ken Ishikawa) and Yama Fu-Tang (also with Segawa).

Yubisaki Milk Tea (Tokyopop), written and illustrated by Tomochika Miyana, originally serialized in Hakusensha’s Young Animal. It’s about the life and loves of a young cross-dresser.

Yakushiji Ryōko no Kaiki Jikenbo, written and illustrated by Narumi Kakinouchi, based on a series of light novels by Yoshiki Tanaka, originally serialized in Kodansha’s Magazine Z, now in Afternoon. It’s about a talented police detective who investigates cases related to the paranormal.

Yama Onna Kabe Onna, written and illustrated by Atsuko Takakura, currently serialized in Kodansha’s Evening. It’s about two women, co-workers who become friends in spite of their different personalities and breast sizes. No, seriously, it is. The title apparently translates to “Mountain Woman, Wall Woman.”

Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl, written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa, originally serialized in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits. It’s about a naturally talented martial artist who initially hates judo because of her grandfather’s pressure to excel in the discipline.

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikô, written and illustrated by Hitoshi Ashinano, originally serialized in Kodansha’s Afternoon. Pretty much everyone in the world wonders why this slice-of-life science-fiction tale hasn’t been published in English.

Yugo, written by Shinji Makari and illustrated by Shuu Akana, originally serialized in Kodansha’s Afternoon. It’s about a master negotiator and mediator who travels the world to defuse tense hostage situations.

Yume Tsukai, written and illustrated by Riichi Ueshiba, originally serialized in Kodansha’s Afternoon. Honestly, this sounds like a seinen answer to Sailor Moon. It’s about a group of “Dream Agents” who fight physical manifestations of nightmares born of the darkness in human hearts. I couldn’t find a satisfactory cover image for it, to be honest.

Speaking of much-desired titles that have yet to be licensed, and moving on to mangaka, there’s always Fumi Yoshinaga’s first foray into seinen, What Did You Eat Yesterday?

Ryoko Yamagishi is one of the members of the Year 24 Group who has worked in the seinen category in addition to shôjo. Her seinen works include Hakuganshi.

Hideo Yamamoto is the creator of Homunculus, which is about a person who gains extra-sensory powers after a hole is drilled in his skull.

Yoshikazu Yasuhiko has had a rangy career, from early works like Dirty Pair to examinations of Joan of Arc and Jesus.

Mitsuteru Yokoyama is quite an influential mangaka, who has worked in virtually every category, from shôjo to seinen. He was a Tezuka contemporary who is credited with breaking ground in the giant robot and magic girl categories.

There are also seven million magazines whose titles start with “Young.” These include:

  • Kadokawa Shoten’s Young Ace, home to the great Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.
  • The aforementioned Young Animal, which has hosted both wonderful and terrible manga.
  • The aforementioned Young Magazine, which seems much more traditionally seinen than Kodansha’s Afternoon, Evening and Morning.
  • And Shônen Gahosha’s Young King OURs, which seems to favor action/adventure/fantasy titles.

And “Y” is for Yen Press, which hasn’t published a ton of seinen yet, but they’ve already picked at least one potentially magnificent title in that category (Kaoru Mori’s A Bride’s Story).

What starts with “Y” in your seinen alphabet?

The Seinen Alphabet: X

“X” is for…

xxxHOLic, written and illustrated by CLAMP, originally serialized in Kodansha’s Young, now wrapping up its run in Bessatsu Shonen Magazine, and published in English by Del Rey. It’s a fairly complicated series to describe, but it’s ultimately about a young man who can see troublesome spirits and falls into the circle of a gorgeous witch.

X-Western Flash, written and illustrated by Masashi Tanaka, serialized in Kodansha’s Afternoon and Morning, three volumes total. I can only guess what it’s about, but Tanaka created Gon (CMX), so how can you not at least be curious?

Xavier Yamada no Ai no Izumi, written and illustrated by Yamada Xavier, published in four volumes by Shueisha, though I’m not sure which magazine was home to it. Again, I have no clue what it’s about, but I liked the cover.

Xenos, written and illustrated by Mio Murao, originally serialized in Akita Shoten’s Young Champion, four volumes. It’s a mystery about a reporter whose wife disappears. Murao also did a four-volume sequel, Xenos 2: Room Share, for Young Champion.

What starts with “X” in your seinen alphabet?

The Seinen Alphabet: W

“W” is for…

Wandering Son, written and illustrated by Takako Shimura, originally serialized in Enterbrain’s Comic Beam and due for English-language release from Fantagraphics. This tale of gender identity is easily one of the most anticipated books of 2011.

What a Wonderful World!, written and illustrated by Inio Asano, originally serialized in Shogakukan’s Sunday GX and published in English in two volumes by Viz. Interconnected short stories that are sometimes very lovely and sometimes kind of predictably mope-y, but Asano is undeniably talented, and I’ll certainly read any of his work that’s published in English.

What’s Michael?, written and illustrated by Makoto Kobayashi, originally serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Morning, then partially serialized in English in Dark Horse’s Super Manga Blast. It’s about cats. That’s all I really need to say.

Wolf’s Rain, written by Keiko Nobumoto and illustrated by Toshitsugu Iida, originally serialized in Kodansha’s Magazine Z and published in English by Viz. It’s a two-volume adaptation of a popular fantasy anime.

Wounded Man, written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Ryoichi Ikegami, originally serialized in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits and published in English by Comics One. I think this might be the most violent Koike manga to be licensed. I certainly remember people cringing at the thought of it.

Working!!, written and illustrated by Karino Takatsu, serialized in Square Enix’s Young Gangan. It’s a comedy about quirky people working in a family restaurant. I have a weakness for manga of that type, so I suspect I would be pleased if someone published it in English.

What Did You Eat Yesterday?, written and illustrated by Fumi Yoshinaga, serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Morning. I mentioned this previously, but I’ll mention it again, because I’m desperate for someone to publish it in English. It’s about a food-loving gay couple.

What’s the Answer?, written and illustrated by Tondabayashi, originally serialized in Shogakukan’s IKKI, appears very intermittently on Viz’s SigIKKI site.

“W” is also for “Weekly,” a modifier that often appears before the title of various Japanese manga magazines to indicate the frequency with which they are published. Please peruse this list at your leisure for examples.

What starts with “W” in your seinen alphabet?


And the glaring omission klaxon sounds! I inexcusably forgot Daisuke (Children of the Sea) Igarashi’s Witches, originally serialized in Shogakukan’s IKKI, which means it seems like fair game for the SigIKKI site. I’ve already given this one the License Request treatment, which I’ll take this opportunity to reaffirm.

Update 2:

This omission is even more inexcusable, as Jiro Taniguchi’s The Walking Man (Fanfare/Ponent Mon) is one of my favorite comics of all time, and I read it over and over again. It’s title is entirely accurate; it’s about a middle-class guy who goes for walks in his suburban neighborhood, enjoying everyday wonders, and it’s quite unlike almost anything else you’re likely to find in a comic shop. It originally ran in Kodansha’s Weekly Morning and was later reprinted by Shogakukan.

On the creator front, there’s the hilarious Kiminori Wakasugi, whose Detroit Metal City (Viz) continues to delight and offend.

The Seinen Alphabet: V

“V” is for… well, not very much, when you make a conscious choice to ignore “Vampire” and “Virgin,” but that’s just how I roll.

Vagabond (Viz), written and illustrated by Takehiko Inoue. This is one of those Japanese comics that’s highly regarded both by manga devotees and by comics omnivores, though I think that’s generally true of all of Inoue’s work. Vagabond, which is still running in Kodansha’s Morning, though I believe it’s on hiautus, tells the tale of the “quintessential warrior-philosopher.”

Mizu Sahara adapted a one-volume manga of Makoto Shinkai’s animated film, The Voices of a Distant Star. The manga was originally published in Kodansha’s Afternoon, and it was later published in English by Tokyopop.

Lots of people would love for someone to publish Makoto (Planetes) Yukimura’s Vinland Saga, myself included. This sprawling tale of Vikings is still running in Kodansha’s Afternoon.

“V” is also for Viz, obviously, still barreling along as North America’s major manga publisher. It’s jointly owned by Shogakukan and Shueisha, and Viz makes a great deal of seinen manga available for free online in the form of its SigIKKI initiative.

And nobody should ever overlook Vertical, which initially made its manga name by focusing on classic works by Osamu Tezuka and Keiko Takemiya, but has recently begun publishing more contemporary (but still excellent) works, in addition to its prose fiction and non-fiction catalog.


On Twitter, Scott Green reminded me of Voyeurs, Inc. (Viz), written and illustrated by Hideo Yamamoto. It follows the misadventures of a group of surveillance experts. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Young Sunday.

The Seinen Alphabet: U

“U” is for…

Let’s just get it out of the way: Ultra Gash Inferno, Suehiro Mauro’s legendarily disgusting collection of erotic grotesque tales that was published in English about a decade ago by Creation Books.

Junji Ito’s Uzumaki (Viz) is also kind of disgusting from time to time, but it’s much more conventional horror, though beautifully drawn and very creative at points.

I’ve never read Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy (Viz), by Yoshinori Nakai and Takashi Shimada under the pen name Yudetamago, though Viz has made it through 27 of the title’s 29 volumes and that it was originally serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Playboy, which is an awesome name for a manga magazine.

Shueisha also publishes Ultra Jump, a monthly seinen magazine that’s been home to licensed series like Dogs (Viz) and Hayate x Blade (Seven Seas).

On the unlicensed front, I’m not finding a lot that really grabs my attention. Sensha Yoshida’s Utsurun Desu sounds kind of interesting, offering apparently abstract gag manga (which might not translate at all). It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits.

There are also some very fine creators in this letter, starting with the adorable, possibly insane Kazuo Umezu. Cat-Eyed Boy (Viz) is one of his seinen works that’s been published in English, and The Drifting Classroom (Viz), while shônen, was packaged like seinen, probably for its insanely high body count. Nobody loves Umezu as much or as well as Same Hat!

You thought I’d start with Naoki Urasawa, didn’t you? He’s great and all, but he didn’t make The Drifting Classroom, so he’s automatically second. Sorry. He has created a lot of excellent manga that’s been or is being published by Viz, like Monster, Pluto, and 20th Century Boys.

Yuki Urushibara only has one series available in English, but it’s an awesome one, Mushishi (Del Rey). I would love to read more of her work.

Tochi Ueyama is one of those manga-ka I’ve never heard of before putting together one of these entries, but he’s creator of the 100-plus volume Cooking Papa, which has run in Kodansha’s Morning since 1984. It’s a cooking manga, as the title strongly suggests, so I want it, in spite of the fact that it’s ridiculously long.

The Seinen Alphabet: T

“T” is for…

Well, first and foremost, it’s for some amazing creators.

Many would argue that there wouldn’t be much of a manga alphabet of any sort without the efforts of Osamu Tezuka. Instead of trying and failing to capture his scope, I’ll just point you to his official site and to the invaluable resource, Tezuka in English. Oh, and I’ll note that the excellent Kate (The Manga Critic) Dacey has begun “Tezuka Appreciation Week.”

Tezuka actually appears in the autobiography of Yoshihiro Tatsumi, A Drifting Life (Drawn & Quarterly). Tezuka was initially an inspiration for Tatsumi and later a sort of rival as Tatsumi tried to invest comics with mature themes as he led the development of gekiga. Drawn & Quarterly has made a number of his comics available in English, the most recent example being Black Blizzard.

A great deal of manga published by the gifted, meticulous draftsman Jiro Taniguchi has been made available in English thanks to publishers like Viz (Benkei in New York, Hotel Harbour View) and particularly Fanfare/Ponent Mon, which has published The Walking Man, A Distant Neighborhood, The Ice Wanderer and Other Stories, Summit of the Gods, and…

The Times of Botchan, written by Natsuo Sekikawa and based in part on the life of Soseki Natsume, premiere novelist of the Meiji Era.

Akira Toriyama, best known for shônen hits like Dragon Ball (Viz), has also dabbled in seinen with works like Jiya, serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump.

Kei Toume is probably best known to English-reading audiences for her Lament of the Lamb (Tokyopop), which originally ran in Gentosha’s Comic Birz. Other seinen works include Kurogane (Del Rey), Momonchi (Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits Special), and her current series, Mahoromi – Jikuu Kenchiku Genshitan (Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits).

I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Kan Takahama, even if that’s only her collection of short stories, Kinderbook, and a contribution to Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators, both from Fanfare/Ponent Mon.

In addition to being the creator of much-loved shônen fantasy-adventures, Rumiko Takahashi also creates sophisticated seinen comedy like Maison Ikkoku and unique pieces like One-Pound Gospel. Viz also published some outstanding collections of her short stories, Rumic World Trilogy and Rumic Theater, both of which are unfortunately out of print.

There are probably very few mangaka quite like Yoshiharu Tsuge, who was profiled in The Comics Journal Special Edition 2005. Tsuge’s Screw Style was published in The Comics Journal #250.

Moving on from creators, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Tokyopop, one of the foremost English-language publishers of comics from Japan. They’ve published loads of seinen in their day.

Like Tokyopop, French publisher Tonkam has released a ton of seinen over the years.

While less known for manga, Top Shelf did make quite the splash with last year’s collection of alternative manga, AX, and a solicitation for a follow-up has been uncovered.

Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (Last Gasp), written and illustrated by Fumiyo Kouno, is one of the finest manga ever to be published in English. It originally ran in Futubasha’s Weekly Manga Action.

Tokyo Zombie (Last Gasp), written and illustrated by Yusaku Hanakuma, is not one of the finest manga ever to be published in English, but it’s stupid in a fun way and an interesting specimen of the “Bad, but Good” school of manga. It originally ran in Seirinkogeisha’s AX.

Tenjo Tenge (CMX), written and illustrated by Oh! Great, is notorious enough that I really don’t need to go into any detail, do I? It’s been rescued from limbo by Viz. It originally ran in Shueisha’s Ultra Jump.

Translucent (Dark Horse), written and illustrated by Kazuhiro Okamoto, is a lovely tale of a young woman with a disease that makes her disappear from time to time. It’s on hiatus, but many of us hope to get more volumes of the series. It originally ran in Media Factory’s Comic Flapper.

Comic Flapper is also home to Twin Spica (Vertical), written and illustrated by Kou Yaginuma. It’s a lovely look at trainee astronauts and easily one of the best new releases of 2010.

Tekkon Kinkreet: Black and White (Viz), written and illustrated by Taiyo Matsumoto, is an amazing comic that follows the tragic-absurd adventures of two homeless kids who function as superheroes in a crumbling urban landscape. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits.

Big Comic Spirits was also home to 20th Century Boys (Viz), written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa. This may be my favorite Urasawa title, which is saying something.

I know I left some licensed, translated titles off of this list, but surely I hit the high points, right? I’ll be equally cherry-picky with the unlicensed ones, because this is getting ridiculously long.

You know how you always hear how there’s this tonnage of manga about mahjohng? Well, one of those titles is Ten, written and illustrated by Nobuyuki Fukumoto. It’s about a great player who helps out his friends by subbing for them in important matches, then letting the people he defeated beat him up to help vent their disappointment. It ran in Takeshobo’s Kindai Maajan Gold for about 13 years and was collected in 18 volumes.

I’m always interested in seeing more examples of romance comics targeted at adult men, and Fumi Saimon’s Tokyo Love Story sounds like a good example. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits.

And while it’s probably completely unmarketable in North America, I think I would possibly kill for someone to publish Tetsuko no Tabi, written by Hirohiko Yokomi and illustrated by Naoe Kikuchi. It’s “based upon the real life hobby of Hirohiko Yokomi, a travel writer in Japan who has visited every train station in Japan over the past 15 or so years.” It ran in Shogakukan’s IKKI and was collected in six volumes.

What starts with “T” in your seinen alphabet?

The Seinen Alphabet: S

Deep breaths, everyone.

“S” is for…

Shogakukan and Shueisha, publishers of a great deal of seinen (among other kinds of manga and all kinds of books in general) who also co-own Viz Media.

Signature, Viz Media’s high-end imprint, which is where a great deal of the publisher’s seinen output can be found. You can read a lot of it at the SigIKKI site, which allows you to read titles from Shogakukan’s IKKI magazine. (When will we get a site that focuses on one of Shueisha’s seinen magazines? Does Shueisha have an IKKI equivalent?)

Among those SigIKKI titles is Saturn Apartments, written and illustrated by Hisae Iwaoka. It’s about the people who wash the windows of an orbital residential complex, and it’s one of the best new series of the year.

Kumiko Suekane contributes another SigIKKI title, Afterschool Charisma, which is kind of dumb but fun. It’s about clones of famous historical figures who all go to the same boarding school.

Sexy Voice and Robo (Viz), written and illustrated by Iou Kuroda, and one of my favorite manga. It was the topic of the very first Manga Moveable Feast. It originally ran in IKKI.

Short Cuts (Viz), written and illustrated by Usumaru Furuya. It’s Furuya’s take on the cultural obsession with schoolgirls. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Weekly Young Sunday.

Short Program (Viz), written and illustrated by Mitsuru Adachi, isn’t all seinen, but a lot of it is, and Adachi’s Cross Game is so brilliant that I had to mention it, even though Viz only published two of the title’s four volumes, and that was a decade ago. Here’s a breakdown of the stories and their sources.

solanin (Viz), written and illustrated by Inio Asano, which offers a memorable take on aimless twenty-somethings. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Weekly Young Sunday.

I’ll readily confess that I don’t know anything about Saikano (Viz), written and illustrated by Shin Takahashi, except that it was originally serialized in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits and that it involves characters who have “been engineered by the Japanese Self Defense Force to transform into the Ultimate Weapon!” Please feel free to speak to its many virtues, if you are qualified and inclined to do so.

Finishing up on the Viz front, how tragic is it that Secret Comics Japan is out of print? It’s a collection of edgy, alternative manga that is a bookshelf highlight for me.

Drawn & Quarterly published Imiri Sakabashira’s fever dream of a graphic novel, The Box Man, which was originally published by SeirinKogeisha, who also published seminal manga magazines Garo and AX. Sakabashira’s work was also included in AX, the collection from Top Shelf.

Drawn & Quarterly also plans to publish Oji Suzuki’s A Single Match next year. It originally ran in Garo.

Summit of the Gods (Fanfare/Ponent Mon), a great tale of mountain climbers written and illustrated by Jiro Taniguchi. It originally ran in Shueisha’s Business Jump.

Taniguchi created the one-volume Samurai Legend (Central Park Media) with Kan Furuyama. It originally ran in Akita Shoten’s Young Champion.

For seriously seinen-y manga, you could turn to Dark Horse for Samurai Executioner, written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Goseki Koijima. It was originally published by Kodansha.

Or you could turn to Dark Horse for half of Satsuma Gishiden, written and illustrated by Hiroshi Hirata. The six-volume series was originally published by Nihon Bungeisha; Dark Horse put the title on hiatus after publishing three volumes. I very much enjoyed the first volume, which I read rather belatedly, and plan to pick up the other two while keeping my fingers crossed that the hiatus will prove to be temporary. Long, but temporary.

Yen Press has a few four-panel titles that start with “S.”

There’s Satoko Kiyuduki’s excellent Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro, which originally ran in Houbunsha’s Manga Time Kiara. Sunshine Sketch, written and illustrated by Ume Aoki, originally ran in Houbunsha’s Manga Time Kiara Carat. And there’s Negi Banno’s S.S. ASTRO: Asashio Sogo Teachers’ ROom, which was also from Manga Time Kiara Carat.

Yen also offers Kazuto Okada’s Sundome, which was memorably discussed in this Manga Out Loud podcast. Sundome was visited upon the world by Akita Shoten’s Young Champion.

I should theoretically do a number entry for this alphabet, but I think I can avoid that without too many omissions. To start, there’s 7 Billion Needles (Vertical), an excellent sci-fi title from Nobuaki Tadano, inspired by Hal Clement’s classic novel, Needle. It originally ran in Media Factory’s Comic Flapper.

Two examples of seinen magazines include…

Shogakukan’s Sunday GX

And Shueisha’s Super Jump.

Because this letter has felt virtually endless, I’ll just go with a small handful of promising-sounding unlicensed titles.

Everyone wants someone to publish Hiraku Nakamura’s Saint Young Men, serialized in Kodansha’s Morning. It has just been picked up for publication in French by Kurokawa.

A Spirit of the Sun, written and illustrated by Kaiji Kawaguchi, originally serialized in Shogakukan’s Big Comic.

What starts with “S” in your seinen alphabet?

Updates: Sound the klaxons! I have made a glaring omission that must be corrected. Fuyumi Soryo may be best known to some for her outstanding shôjo works like Mars (Tokyopop), but she’s also equally admired by fans of seinen titles like ES: Eternal Sabbath (Del Rey) and the yet-to-be-licensed Cesare, a meticulously researched look at the life of a notorious Italian nobleman.

Glaring omission the second! The Strange Tale of Panorama Island, Suehiro Mauro’s adaptation of a work by Edogawa Rampo, is due from Last Gasp in 2011. It was originally serialized in Enterbrain’s Comic Beam.

And glaring omission the third! Felipe Smith is living the dream, having started his career as a manga-ka with MBQ at Tokyopop, moving on to the three-volume Peepo Choo, serialized in Kodansha’s Morning Two and published in English by Vertical.

The Seinen Alphabet: R

“R” is for…

Real (Viz), written and illustrated by Takehiko Inoue. Why not start with this best? This gorgeous, moving tale of wheelchair basketball players is one of the very best Japanese comics being published in English. It’s running in Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump.

Red Colored Elegy (Drawn & Quarterly), written and illustrated by Seiichi Hayashi. This gekiga title originally ran in the legendary Garo magazine and follows aimless youths as they try and navigate social turmoil and new sexual freedoms. It’s one of those books that I’m glad are available in English without really having any fondness for them.

Red Snow (Drawn & Quarterly), written and illustrated by Susumu Katsumata. This gorgeous collection of short gekiga stories takes a bleak, magical-realist look at rural life. I believe many of them ran in Garo.

Reiko the Zombie Shop (Dark Horse), written and illustrated by Rei Mikamoto. This 11-volume series about a nubile necromancer for hire hasn’t been published in English in its entirety. It originally ran in Bukansha’s Horror M. Correction: Reiko is actually a josei title. Someone remind me when I get to “R” in The Josei Alphabet in some misty, far-flung future era.

R.O.D.: Read or Die (Viz), created by Shutaro Yamada based on the light-novel series by Hideyuki Kurata. It’s about the agents of the British Library’s Special Operations Division. It originally ran in Shueisha’s Ultra Jump. The anime adaptation is gorgeous. Even my husband likes it. I love that there are comics about action librarians, but I generally wish I liked them better.

R.O.D.: Read or Dream (Viz), written by Kurata and illustrated by Ran Ayanaga. It’s a prequel related story to Read or Die about the Paper Sisters Detective Company, and it also ran in Ultra Jump.

Robot is a Range Murata-curated anthology of experimental color comics, originally published by Digital Manga Publishing, then picked up by Udon. Update: Udon stopped publishing the series after the fifth issue, apparently.

Remote (Tokyopop), written by Seimaru Amagi and illustrated by Tetsuya Koshiba. It’s about a new detective in the Unsolved Crimes Division, Special Unit B, and originally ran in Kodansha’s Young Magazine.

On the unlicensed front, I’m most interested in Rideback, written and illustrated by Tetsuro Kasahara. My interest comes mostly from the fact that it was originally published in Shogakukan’s IKKI, which has generated a lot of interesting manga.

Rainbow: Risha Nokubo no Shichinin, written by George Abe and illustrated by Masasumi Kakizaki, also sounds promising as it won a Shogakukan Manga Award. This period tale of reform school boys spent most of its run in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits.

I’m perfectly aware that there are other titles that start with this letter that have been licensed and published in English, but looking at their covers makes me tired. Feel free to mention them in the comments.

What starts with “R” in your seinen alphabet?

The Seinen Alphabet: Q

“Q” is for…

The Quest for the Missing Girl (Fanfare/Ponent Mon), written and illustrated by Jiro Taniguchi. It’s great to see Taniguchi fuse two of his frequent interests – burly outdoorsman activity and gritty detective pulp. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Big Comic.

Q-Ko-Chan: Earth Invader Girl (Del Rey), written and illustrated by Hajime Ueda. It looks great, but it’s almost completely incomprehensible to me. It’s a sort of meta-mecha thing that originally ran in Kodansha’s Magazine Z.

Qwan (Tokyopop), written and illustrated by Aki Shimizu. This fantasy series ran in Media Factory’s Comic Flapper.

I’m not quite sure if La Quinta Camera, written and illustrated by Natsume Ono, counts as seinen. It ran in Penguin Shoubou’s Comic SEED!, which seemed to straddle the shônen/seinen border. But I’ve seen Quinta most often referred to as seinen, and I like mentioning it, so there you go. Danielle Leigh was telling me that all of the characters are gay, so this will be like stealth yaoi from Viz.

And while it’s kind of a cheat, I’ll mention Q Hayashida in this letter, since I think I forgot her in “H.” She’s the creator of Dorohedoro (Viz).

What starts with “Q” in your seinen alphabet?