Sunday, February 26, 2012

Never Encountered Encounter

When Raijin Comics was first founded at the start of the millennium, it introduced a wide range of Mangas, none of which really clicked with their intended audience. Like so many anthologies, it failed from an attempt to appeal to every possible demographic, and as a result, wound up alienating their customers. Their results were too scattershot instead of focussed, and could've benefited from a more consistent theme throughout their titles.

But all this has already been mentioned before. It recently got a memoriam from Jason Thompson, which outlined much of the history and their bizarre competition with Shonen Jump and trying to get the attention of the typical comic-book audience. My favorite part is the description of Grappler Baki, "a martial arts Manga so bizarre it's beyond my ability to describe without contorting my body into a pretzel-like shape with a sickening crunching sound." That's pretty much what trying to copy any of the double-page spreads in the Manga are like.

However, there was one particular Manga that was given a 4-page preview in a Raijin Manga supplement issue that caught my eye. Most of the other titles were mentioned, such as Revenge of Mouflon, First President of Japan, Slam Dunk, and even the much-loathed Bomber Girl. This title certainly got my attention with the second page which... well, I'll let the page below speak for itself.

Basically, any story that has a rash of unusual suicides and inexplicable deaths is certain fertile grounds for being a page-turner. However, despite it's strong premise, it never wound up showing up in the pages of the magazine. There also were single-page ads for Bow Wow Wata right next to Wild Leaguer (a Seinin baseball Manga by Watanabe Yasuhiro) Maybe the rights fell through? It's disappointing that there's never been any word of a follow-up, let alone an explaination for Encounter's disappearance from the Raijin lineup.

Apart from the Manga having won an International Manga award (with a cash prize of 100 million yen) and being part of a wife/husband team, I can't find anything else out about the story. Konohana Sakuya (the pen name of Nishino Megumi and Nishino Kohei) claimed to be breaking new ground with their releasing their Mangas simultaneously on the internet, but this is laughably out-of-date nowadays. Amusingly enough, their Cyber-Manga page opens up with the sentence, "Bland-new CYBERMANGA for you". They have a webpage, but very little information on what their Mangas are about. There's not even a scanlation of it, when pretty much everything else has been given a shot. Sure, I could look it up on a wiki page, but getting the plot summary in text form loses some of the magic somewhat.

If there was a Gutsoon title that deserved more attention, this would probably be it. The closest we ever got to a Manga like this was Alive the Final Evolution, which started out strong, but fell into mediocrity. Hopefully, Encounter didn't meet this same fate.

1 comment:

  1. the rights fell through along with wild leaguer. I asked J.Tarbox.