My family always had a strong connection to France. Every year we go there for our holidays and even if I won’t stay with my grandparents for the whole time, it’s always great to just go down there and enjoy a week with lots of sun and good food. When you’re following my site you probably noticed that I love books and comics. I’m not that much into novels, but really appreciate well made books about design, architecture or food. And France is a perfect place to be at when you like beautiful books like me.
Early in the 20th century most books in France were just a collection of papers which you could then take to a bookbinder and get a proper leather binding done. And judging from all the second hand book shops in France which sell a large amount of beautifully bound books, a lot of people actually did that. This love for books seems still to be part of the French culture judging from the diversity of topics to which books are dedicated and the passion which clearly went into a lot of publications. A couple of weeks ago, on my birthday to be precise, I went to Strassbourg and found a great book about the Super Nintendo. Not just a couple of pages long but a really big one, containing all the games ever released for the system. Including the Japanese ones. And they did a great job for the available pheripherals as well. Everything was in there. From the Super Famicom disc system to early downloadable games which were just a available for a specific time each day and only for a couple of hours. The title of the book La Bible Super Nintendo is more than fitting and is one of these book gems which I sometimes find strolling through big, French bookstores.
When I praised WaniKani yesterday, I already told you that I’m a huge sucker for all manga by Naoki Urasawa. So far I’ve read Pluto, 20th Century Boys and Billy Bat (which is still ongoing), but am always on the lookout for more translated books by him. His stuff which fits perfectly in the Seinen category never disappointed me and mostly because all his stories are deeper and more “adult themed” then one would think at the beginning. There is always a twist and several stories which are interesting enough on their own but are even greater when the big picture unfolds. Honestly, I have no idea how he can write these super complex stories with lots of different characters and story arches without losing track of everything sometimes. Everyone seems to be messing up their stories when they get this huge but not Naoki Urasawa. He has to be a genius, that’s the only explanation. Nuff’ said.
What’s great about manga in France is that not only the selection is nearly perfect but that the publishers always try to replicate the Japanese covers and look and feel of the books. For example, the Japanese 完全版 of Master Keaton looks exactly the same as in Japan. The same goes for the Dragonball and Dr. Slump complete editions. As to my knowledge there is no other country where these complete editions are available. Once I have the opportunity, I’ll try to make some comparison pictures for you. But if you’re interested in some great French manga you should check out the publisher Kana which has most of the quality titles.