More global doujinshi: The Witches of the Sphinx vol. 2
We presented the first volume on this blog when it was released in April at COMIC1. Volume 2 was released at Comiket 78 a couple of weeks ago, and like the first, is available for purchase right now from Manga Pal, an online store specializing in the international distribution of doujinshi.
Since I left Japan back in May, I wasn't able to make it to Comiket this summer (when C78 opened, I was actually getting a glimpse of the otaku scene in Mexico City, which is interesting in its own quirky way, but that's a matter for another post). As such, I haven't got my hands on this second volume yet: ordering my copy now. It will not be available from doujinshi stores in Japan until the end of next week, by the way, so lucky Comiket-goers aside, we international fans are actually served first!
Like volume 1, this issue consists of another chapter of the original manga by Nogami Takeshi, and a short story by Suzuki Takaaki. No review from me at this point, obviously, but Dan Kanemitsu, who handles the translation of the Firstspear releases (as well as many distinguished otaku-targeted works), has a lengthy blog post presenting the project, that lets you sample several pages of both the manga and the short story.
If you haven't read volume 1 yet, it is still available from Manga Pal as well, and you can find reviews and impressions online from a number of English-speaking readers: omo, Catacyst, and er, myself.
The Witches of the Sphinx series, and Firstspear releases in general, are quite unique among doujinshi in general in the way they embrace their international readership. If this is something you would like to see more of, don't hesitate to pick your copy too.
Speaking of Strike Witches, by the way, let me mention in passing that the anime is a strong show in an otherwise unimpressive season, and my clear summer favorite. Episodes have been consistently entertaining blends of light-hearted humor, rendered PEWPEW in healthy amounts (including genuine WWII anti-air weaponry), and heart-rending challenges that the witches only overcome through the power of FEMALE FRIENDSHIP (of which we get to see effusive displays). My feelings towards the show largely mirror 2DT's, as expressed in this lovely post.
It also seems from the above list that Strike Witches has all the elements you would find in the sort of shows robot fans worship, except perhaps pretty boys, huge phallic implements and a general sense that bigger is better. Draw your own conclusions about the robot fans who decry Strike Witches...
(OK, there might also be a lesser emphasis on overarching plot; if that's your main concern, you should definitely give the doujinshi a shot).