Monday, 26 August 2013

Free! Episodes 1-7 review

Free! Episodes 1-7 Directed by Kiroko Utsumi, Produced by Kyoto Animation

Haruka loves to swim and one day when his childhood friend turned rival, Rin, returns to town the wheels of fate start rolling. With the help of his friends Haruka starts a swim team at his school. As the team prepares for the coming swimming competition, will they succeed or fail in the challenge to come?

Free! is a lot of fun to watch. The animation in this show is gorgeous as expected of Kyoto Animation. And, despite the large amounts of fan service, the show has a decent plot. The rivalry between Haruka and Rin is the heart of the show.

The cast of characters are surprisingly well fleshed out though the show never takes itself too seriously for long. The fan service itself is truly well done. In conclusion Free! is a fun, well-crafted show worth checking out.

Rating: 7/10

Free! is streaming on Crunchyroll. 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Twin Knights Review

The Twin Knights Story and Art by Osamu Tezuka

Separated from her twin brother Daisy at birth, Violetta must masquerade as her brother lest the royal secret be exposed. As time goes one, however, Violetta must undergo a perilous journey in search of her brother. Will she find him? What dangers await her on her quest?

Serialized in the shojo (girl) comic anthology Nakayoshi over half a century ago, The Twin Knights is the sequel to Princess Knight though features a largely new cast of characters and can be read without having read Princess Knight. This book does away with the “heart of a boy” and “heart of a girl” thing which made the original a little uncomfortable to read. The manga itself is almost Disney-esque in its art style which is often seen in Tezuka’s works.

The Twin Knights is a fun, tightly written read with an almost fairy tale like atmosphere. The story itself is simple as the intended audience was younger but the work should definitely be read for those interested in Tezuka’s large catalogue of titles. All-in-all this book is one which will be remembered for some time to come as easily one of this reviewer’s favorite Tezuka works.

Rating: 9/10

The Twin Knights is published in North America in print by Vertical.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Dire Hearts chapter 1 review

Dire Hearts chapter 1 Story and Art by Christy Lijewski

As Rose carries out her daily life at Vector Magical Academy she recollects memories that have certain blank spots. After conversing with her teacher and partner she still just is not quite certain what it means to be herself. Will Rose solve all the mysteries or will she not?

Serialized in the monthly mixed media Sparkler Monthly, Dire Hearts is not without flaw. The art is awkward at times and the story thus far does not have much of a hook. That having been said the title is a fun read and is a light one too. The first chapter does a decent job of establishing the world and characters.

The art also deserves credit for being distinct and at times nice to look at. The heroine is not the most compelling character thus far. In conclusion the first chapter of Dire Hearts is somewhat lackluster but shows promise. I look forward to subsequent installments!

Rating: 6/10

Dire Hearts is published by Chromatic Press. 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013



8 Most-Loved Shonen Jump Manga Series Including BLUE EXORCIST, BLEACH, NARUTO, NISEKOI, ONE PIECE And More Debut Today In The U.K. On Barnes & Noble’s NOOK® HD and NOOK® HD+ Tablets!

San Francisco, CA, August 12, 2013 – VIZ Media continues to expand its digital publishing presence in the U.K. with the launch of several of its bestselling manga (graphic novel) titles in the Barnes & Noble U.K. NOOK Store. VIZ Media will debut all currently available volumes for eight popular series from its Shonen Jump imprint, which will be available starting today to U.K. NOOK customers with the award-winning NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ tablets, as well through the Free NOOK Reading Apps for iOS and Android.  Pricing for these digital volumes will be £4.99 each.

The following manga titles are available today:

BLEACH Vols. 1-57 Rated ‘T’ for Teens
BLUE EXORICIST Vols. 1-10 Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens
DRAGON BALL Vols. 1-16 Rated ‘T’ for Teens
NISEKOI: FALSE LOVE Vols. 1-4 Rated ‘T’ for Teens
NARUTO Vols. 1-62 Rated ‘T’ for Teens
ONE PIECE Vols. 1-67 Rated ‘T’ for Teens
TORIKO Vols. 1-17 Rated ‘T’ for Teens

“This is the first time these series will be available digitally anywhere outside of North America and we're extremely excited to work with NOOK on this groundbreaking partnership to bring some of our best-loved Shonen Jump manga titles to avid manga readers across the United Kingdom,” says Gagan Singh, Executive Vice President and CTO. “Moving forward, all new volumes for these series will also debut digitally in the U.K. NOOK Store on the same day that they come out in print in North America!”

“NOOK is committed to offering customers the very best in digital reading from across all genres, and we are pleased to be the first platform to bring digital Viz Media manga titles to the UK,” said Jim Hilt, Managing Director, Barnes & Noble S.à r.l. “More and more readers are looking to access the best in manga and digital graphic novels, and through strong relationships with publishers like Viz Media, NOOK is well positioned to continue to deliver the leading selection of this unique and popular content.”

Viewing manga on NOOK is an authentic experience thanks to NOOK’s innovative technology that formats manga in its original right-to-left reading order. Manga fans can access their favorite graphic novels on the award-winning NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ tablets, which feature stunning HD displays that enable customers to fully enjoy the artwork and compelling storytelling that brings this genre to life. Viz Media manga titles will also be available on the Free NOOK Reading Apps for iOS and Android devices, available for download at

For more information on VIZ Media manga titles, please visit

For more information on NOOK U.K., please visit

About VIZ Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan.  Owned by three of Japan's largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and INUYASHA, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages.  VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products.  Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at

About NOOK Media LLC NOOK reading and entertainment products make it easy to Read What You Love, Anywhere You Like with a fun, easy-to-use and immersive digital reading experience. With NOOK, customers gain access to the expansive NOOK Store® of more than 3 million (US) and 2.5 million (UK) digital books, plus periodicals, comics, apps, movies and TV shows, and the ability to enjoy content across a wide array of popular devices through Free NOOK Reading Apps and NOOK Video Apps, available at NOOK owners receive Always Free NOOK Support in any of Barnes & Noble’s nearly 700 bookstores. Find NOOK devices in Barnes & Noble stores and online at, as well as leading retailers including Best Buy, Walmart, Target and many others. NOOK products are available in the United Kingdom through and leading retailers.