topNaisho no Tsubomi Volume 3 was released on the 29th. Yu Yabuuchi's Naisho no Tsubomi is a sex-ed manga aimed at elementary school students, with a fifth-grade girl as its protagonist. The manga became extremely popular and received many praises.

However, despite Naisho no Tsubomi's success, not all manga involving sex are met with welcoming arms by the Japanese society. In fact, obscene shojo manga (smut) and lolicon manga have always been the target of various child protection groups. Recent news reports of actions taken against harmful shojo and loli manga involving excessive sexual content seem to suggest that a potential new movement is on the horizon. Below is a brief overview of current events, past "wars" and some case studies involving a breed of manga seen by many as "harmful books."

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Fujiko Mine from Lupin III was voted the most beautiful female manga character according to a new poll from Oricon taken from 1,000 men and women.

Source: Tokyograph

Are Hong Kong comics really all about kung fu? The FØØL's Progress has published an article that looks at different kinds of HK comics outside of the kung fu genre.

topWhat is plagiarism? Plagiarism is the act of claiming original authorship or incorporating material from someone else's work into your own work without crediting the original author, sometimes doing such an act unconsciously is also considered plagiarism.

When it comes to manga and plagiarism, things never end well. Sometimes manga found guilty of plagiarizing are suspended and recalled, and some authors even stop working. There are also times when people, or even an entire nation, get away with nothing. The world of manga plagiarism is full of interesting, sad, and sometimes funny tales.

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topIn an age were Japanese manga reign supreme, another form of comics is also gaining momentum in around the world - Hong Kong kung fu comics. On June 29th, the winner of the first Internation Manga Award was announced to be the 43-year-old Hong Kong artist Lee Chi Ching. Another Hong Kong artist, Kai, was one of the three runner-ups.

In 2008, an animated movie based on the popular Hong Kong comic Storm Riders by Ma Wing Shing will be released. The movie, Storm Rider - Clash of the Evils, is said to be the first animated movie created in the style of Hong Kong kung fu comics.

While the Hong Kong comics market seems to be doing better than ever, the truth is that the market has been declining for the past 10 years or so, and many people are questioning the direction the Hong Kong comics market is heading.

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With the D1 Grand Prix coming to Singapore next year, The Electric New Paper has published an article looking at how how the Japanese racing legend Keiichi Tsuchiya in turn influenced the racing Initial D, which in turn helped promote the once obscure sport.

From the Hankyoreh comes an article titled "Korean comic books win over European fans," which looks at how Korean manhwa are becoming increasingly popular among European fans:

Europe occupies up to 40 percent of the overall export market for South Korean comic books, the industry estimates, becoming the biggest market, followed by the U.S. and Asia with 30 percent each.

Via: Journalista

According to a report from the market research and consulting company Seed Planning, Japan's e-book market experienced tremendous growth in 2006 as a result of the popularity of mobile manga. The report estimates that the e-manga market will continue to grow throughout 2007, and will reach 71 billion yen by 2012.

According to the report, Japan's e-book market tripled in 2006, reaching 28 billion yen. E-manga occupied over 2/3 of the e-book market at 19 billion yen, 5 times as much as 2005's 4 billion yen.

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From Trendsspotting (via MangaBlog) comes an article that looks at the popularity of manga downloads in Japan, and whether the trend will spread to the West. Also included is a translation of the survey from Infoplant on manga downloads:

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The Star Online has published an article looking at the success of Kami no Shizuku (Drops of God), a wine manga that is taking China and Korea by storm.