Kingyo Used Books Vol. 4 by Seimu Yoshizaki (a J!-ENT Manga review)

June 4, 2013 by  

Nostalgic, informative and delightful… “Kingyo Used Books” is recommended!

© 2005 Seimu Yoshizaki/Shogakukan. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Kingyo Used Books Vol. 4 (金魚屋古書店)

STORY AND ART BY: Seimu Yoshizaki (芳崎 せいむ)



RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2011

A disaffected boy searches for something to put a spark in his tedious life… and finds a manga that puts the fear of the devil in him. A guy and girl can’t find anything they have in common – until they discover a mutual love of a certain gender-bending martial arts manga. After a schlubby nerd loses his cool at the handsome manga freaks at Kingyo, a classic horror manga teaches him that beauty is only skin deep.


Natsuki’s search for her missing mother takes her to a manga museum that has special meaning for her parents. Someone is setting fire to used bookstores, and Kingyo may be next – unless two mismatched manga fans can stop the arsonist!

What happens when a young boy discovers “Devilman”.  What happens when Sudo, a casual manga reader falls for Kinko, a hardcore manga reader.  How will he be able to win her heart, when she is hardcore into manga and he’s not?  And what happens when a not-so-handsome man loses his cool when he sees handsome men talking about manga?

Find out in volume 4 of Seimu Yoshizaki’s “Kingyo Used Books”

What is “Kingyo Used Books”?

Nostalgic, informative and delightful…”Kingyo Used Books” is a unique manga series that focuses on how manga has changed or influenced the lives of people.

I’m sure there are forms of entertainment that have inspired people, may they be movies, animated shows, books, etc. But when you think about the culture of Japan, manga (Japanese comic books) are a big part of their culture. Before I became interested in manga back in the early ’90s, I grew up reading Marvel, DC and other independent comics from other publishers but at the time, the stigma of American comic books are of titles that people grew up with as a child and read and discarded when they grew older.

Things have changed today as these comic books now target the same audience that grew up with them and reflect that demographic but because of today’s distribution and availability, it only attracts a niche audience who seek it.

While in Japan, there is manga for everyone. Men, women, children… featured in magazines, featured in newspapers and it’s a big part of the culture that people have grown up with them and unlike the US, it’s everywhere. Go into a store and you can see many people reading manga, walk down the street and you can find a used-manga store, pick up a newspaper or magazine, you will see manga featured. Manga is a big part of that culture in Japan and I can easily say that it’s been part of my life for over 20 years.

Recently I have read “Kingyo Used Books” (known in Japan as “Kingyoya Koshoten”) by mangaka Seimu Yoshizaki (creator of “Aka-chan to Tenshi”, “Tekekinesis Yamanote TV Cinema”, “Ugokashiya”, “Dekaguru”). She began “Kingyo Used Books” back in 2004 and with ten graphic novels currently published in Japan, two volumes of the English translated manga have now been released in the US courtesy of Viz Media as part of their Viz Signature line.

The main storyline of the manga series revolves around a used bookstore known as “Kingyo Used Books” and how manga has influenced the lives of those who visit the store. Each chapter is a different storyline featuring different characters but with the staff of the book store remaining the same, as they try to help their customers.

Here is a spoiler-free synopsis of each chapter:

  • CHAPTER 22: Devil Power – Naoaki tries to help a young boy with a manga selection and introduces him to Go Nagai’s “Devilman”.
  • CHAPTER 23: A Man Ahead of His Time – A story of two older adults who run into each other many years later and discuss their lives and how one was ahead of his time.
  • CHAPTER 24: A Common Language – Sudo is a casual manga fan but not like Kinko, a hardcore manga fan that he likes.  How can he have something in common with her?
  • CHAPTER 25: Beautiful People – What happens when a not-so-handsome man blows up in Kingyo Used Books after overhearing handsome men discuss manga in the store.
  • CHAPTER 26: The Kingyo Diaries (The Shiogama Episode) – Natsuki’s father calls and tells her that her mother is missing.  Natsuki must travel to Sendai and find her.
  • CHAPTER 27: An Odd Couple  – What happens when the boy (from chapter 22) and the man (from chapter 25) try to find an arsonist who is trying to burn used book stores.
  • CHAPTER 28: Tomorrow’s Visitor – How will a magician entertain the elders at the senior center?  Would manga work?
  • A 21st Century Gift (Bonus Manga) – Billy and his grandfather are interviewed by a TV reporter and discuss Shogakukan’s logo.
  • Kingyo Used Books Notebook – A section in which each manga that is featured in each chapter is further explained and how they are popular among manga collectors.

I have talked about why I enjoy the manga series, “Kingyo Used  Books”.  I enjoy manga and to find a manga series touching upon the nostalgia of manga, how it has influenced people but to also give information of these classic manga and its availability at used book stores and such, that was pretty awesome!

Mangaka Seimu Yoshizaki has used “Kingyo Used Books” as a way to introduce people to manga, especially hard-to-find and collectible manga, but he has also found a way to create a story around manga, a used book store and its customers.

In volume four of “Kingyo Used Books”, we learn about how a guy who doesn’t read manga, falls for a girl who reads a lot of it.  While he has a hard time communicating with her because he’s not into manga like she is, he starts to learn that by discussing manga he read at a young age, such as “Ranma 1/2”, may lead him to communicating with her.

You have a boy who is disaffected and wants to read a manga that will captivate him, and you have a nerdy man who gets upset that handsome people are reading manga.  It’s a very interesting volume, not as emotional or captivating like the stories of vol. 1 and 2 but Seimu Yoshizaka finds a way to introduce manga titles to readers and possibly have them go out and find these manga for themselves.

While a total of 14 volumes of “Kingyo Used Books” have been released in the United States, only four have been released by Viz and I’m not sure if they are planning to release anymore titles, which would be a shame.

I pretty much have enjoyed titles such as “Oishinbo” and “Kingyo Used Books” because they are smart, entertaining and manga that you can actually learn from.  So, if this is the final volume to be released in America, it was a good run, even if it was short.

Overall, “Kingyo Used Books” continues the storylines of how manga has helped or changed the lives of people. And for me, manga has had an influence in my life and to read this series was so delightful and enjoyable and I know it has influenced the life of many others, not just in Japan, but for people all over the world.

Nostalgic, informative and delightful… “Kingyo Used Books” is recommended!

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