Lyn Jensen's Blog: Manga, Music, and Politics

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Location: Anaheim, California, United States

Regular contributor ("Carson City Limits" and other content) for Random Lengths (circulation 56,000) in San Pedro, CA, 2001-present. Manga reviewer: LA Alternative (circulation 150,000), 2005-2006. Some manga reviews also ran in NY Press around this time. Entertainment reporting: Music Connection (circulation 75,000), 1983-1906. Travel writing: Oakland Tribune (1998) and Life After 50 (2006). Other bylines: Goldmine, Star Hits, Los Angeles Reader, Los Angeles Times, Long Beach Press Telegram, Blade, BAM, Daily Breeze, LA Weekly. Specializations include community news reporting, writing reviews (book, theater, concert, film, music), copywriting, resumes, editing, travel writing, publicity, screenwriting, lecturing, and content development. Education: B. A. Theater Arts, UCLA. Post-grad work, Education, Chapman University.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Random Lengths: Mother's Day at Elise's Tea Room (May 5-16, '18)

As an example of one of my seasonal stories (and one of my restaurant reviews), here's the link to a review of Elise's Tea Room in Long Beach, California, for Random Lengths, timed to coincide with Mother's Day:

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Link to Random Lengths News: "Carson Mayor Ordered to Leave Water Board, Refuses"

Link to my latest report on the Carson beat for Random Lengths News, about the legal issues of Albert Robles, "Carson Mayor Ordered to Leave Water Board, Refuses." The street date for this issue is 5/3/18-5/16/18:

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Senior Reporter, March 2018: Long Beach Museum of Art

Link to Senior Reporter, Mar. 2018, my "Life in Long Beach" feature about the Long Beach Museum of Art is on p. 21:

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Manga Review: My Neighbor Seki

My Neighbor Seki by Takuma Morishige (Vertical Comics 2011 to the present)
by Lyn Jensen
Just like any other type of comics, manga works across a range of demographics, from adults-only material to subjects suitable for family newspapers. The latter includes the very popular My Neighbor Seki, which Vertical Comics is continuing to make available in America. The series started in Japan in 2010, was first published in the USA in 2011 and--last time we checked the Vertical website--was up to ten volumes and counting. In Japan it's inspired two TV series--one live action and the other animated.
Think of Seki as a little like a Japanese Peanuts--although that comparison is a considerable stretch. Like Peanuts, it's about schoolchildren, living in a children's-eye world where adults almost never intrude. The kids in Seki are a little older than the Peanuts gang--they're probably in junior high or middle school. To read the manga is to go along with the Seki and classmates on juvenile flights of fancy, yet the characters remain students and the settings remain everyday scenes of educational life.
Seki contains very little dialog, mostly being played out internally in the mind of the main character--who's not Seki, but rather Seki's "neighbor" at the next desk, a nice quiet schoolgirl named Rumi who doesn't approve of Seki's antics. Through her eyes we see and laugh about what her troublesome classmate is doing in episode after episode.
Morishige, the creator/artist/author of Seki, is the younger brother of a very popular female manga-ka, Akiko Higashimura, who's probably best-known in America for Princess Jellyfish. In 2015 she created a controversial short-lived manga called Himozairu. Its concept was that young men might train themselves at domestic chores so that their lady friends might find them more likely prospective husbands. So many Japanese men found it so very offensive that it didn't last long.
Websites for more information:

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Manga Review: Aegis

Aegis by Jinha Yoo (six printed vols. Netcomics 2001-2005)

Schoolboys who are also warriors and warriors who are also schoolboys are the central characters in Aegis, one of many Korean manga ( or manwha in Korean) that the Korean-American publisher Netcomics made available to the English-language market in the early twentieth century. The innocent-looking schoolboy depicted on the cover of Aegis vol. 1 is Jino, while his "brother" (as in, like a brother) Izare wears a military uniform along with the flowing locks of a legendary warrior. The marketing campaign compared the manga to Lord of the Flies, perhaps because both works deal with schoolboys in a savage social environment that's rapidly breaking down.
Since Aegis deals partly with attraction--or at least affection--between the leading males, yaoi (aka shonen ai) fans may be expecting boy-boy action, but what readers get is six volumes of violent sci-fi warfare in which Jino and Izare live with only the distant memories of the brotherly affection they once shared before the brutality of war tore them apart.
Any male-male sexual implications are subjugated to the theme that war destroys the innocent, where any trace of tenderness runs contrary to survival. The convoluted plot flashes forward and back over ten years or more, between Korea, America, the Middle East, and outer space, from the time Jino and Izare are two very young orphans, kidnapped and forced to become child soldiers, until long after they've survived all manner of abuse and savagery, and matured into elite officers embroiled in some space-age invasion. Jino flees rather than serve, passing himself off as a mild-mannered Korean-American schoolboy on earth. Izare, who's still the age of a schoolboy, fights the interstellar conflict aboard dangerous space stations, but his motives are all about protecting his missing friend--maybe.
That's where we are in vol. 1, and that's still where we are in vol. 6, as sub-plots come and go and characters--and whole cities and whole space stations--get bumped off. Supposedly the premise is that one day Jino and Izare will be reunited--but after six volumes' worth of plot twists and still no resolution looming, we can't even be sure of that.
At least in the available English-language edition, the series and story remain unfinished, meaning fans will never learn the ultimate fate of Jino and Izare amid all the other tragedies anyway. Netcomics published print editions of the first six volumes between 2001 and 2005. The Korean-American publisher made the seventh, eighth, and part of a ninth volume available online--but the latest posting is dated 2009.
The site lists Jinha Yoo as the same artist for Aegis and another Netcomics title, Totally Captivated but that information appears to be inaccurate. The Totally Captivated artist has a slightly different name, Hajin Yoo, and the art for the two series doesn't look similar.
Anime News Network lists vols. 7 and 8 with 2008 publishing dates, but the print versions apparently never saw retail, at least not for any English-language editions. Whether the series is still being published in South Korea, or is concluded, or was discontinued without reaching a conclusion, is information beyond the reach of a simple Google search.