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Worlds Without End Blog

SF Manga 101: The Voices of a Distant Star & A, A’ (A, A Prime) Posted at 12:32 PM by Glenn Hough


Glenn Hough (gallyangel) is a nonpracticing futurist, an anime and manga otaku, and is almost obsessive about finishing several of the lists tracked on WWEnd. In this series on SF Manga Glenn will provide an overview of the medium and the place of science fiction within it.

As the lights dim and the previews end, it’s time to settle back with a favorite snack for a double feature.  Since these two mangas are far shorter than normal, we won’t be here as long.


The Voices of a Distant Star was initially created by Makoto Shinkai who is one of those people anime otaku pay attention to.  He’s not a newcomer anymore.  Voices, as an anime, was one of the works which cemented his status in Japan and around the world as someone to watch.  Mizu Sahara, which is just one of several pen names that Sumomo Yumeka uses, adapted the anime to manga.  And finally, on my ninth blog, the gender bias in SF manga cracks.  Yumeka is our first women.

I’m afraid we must acknowledge a gender bias here.  Lady mangaka seem to write infrequently in the pure SF manga genre.  If I was writing about magical realism, fantasy or high fantasy, I already would’ve talked about several efforts by both manga gods Rumiko Takahashi and the CLAMP quartet.  But I’m doing SF.  The ladies own other genres in Japan and seem to make infrequent forays into SF.  And then, of course, the publishing houses here only want the best, or what will sell the best (that’s really the key) so this shrinks the available pool of possible SF by women even more.  Add my own biases and lack of funds, and that shrinks the pool further.  So, I’m neither dismayed nor surprised that it’s taken until the 9th blog to get to two female voices in SF manga.  It’s really a matter of knowing that the bias is there, so specifically seeking out the exceptions, is the only real way to counter it.

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