Thursday, 18 December 2014

Terra Formars volume 1 review

Terra Formars volume 1 story by Yu Sasuga, Art by Yu Tachibana Review

From the publisher: “After humanity’s first manned mission to the Red Planet was lost, a second expedition arrives. The explorers prepare to exterminate the cockroaches that were used to transform the Martian environment, but are shocked to discover that the insects have mutated into giant, aggressive humanoids with one overriding goal—exterminate the humans! However, this crew of explorers has each undergone the “Bugs Procedure,” terrifying experimental surgery designed to make them more than human…”


If you ever wondered what a Hollywood movie would look like as a manga than this is probably it. That is not a compliment. Dripping with uncomfortable racism and constant numbing gore, this series is probably not for those with weak stomachs. It isn’t clever enough to be challenging either it really is a big dumb action flick in comic format. I really have nothing good to say about this. They actually have someone who has a big cigar in their mouth at all times. The one Chinese character is little more than a stereo type. I’m not kidding when I say that everyone is a cliché. At the very least the book moves along at a steady clip so I was out of my misery sooner. In conclusion I would say skip Terra Formars; it’s racist mindless garbage. 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Witchcraft Works volume 1 review

Witchcraft Works volume 1 story & art by Ryu Mizunagi Review

From the publisher: “There is something unusual about the Tougetsu Academy. While on the surface it may seem like just another private Japanese high school; hidden amongst its student body, though, are a few youngsters with some unique abilities. One of them is Honoka Takamiya. He may not know it yet, but inside him lurks something very powerful. And it is the job of the school’s idol, Ayaka Kagari, to protect Takamiya from anyone, or anything, wishing to capitalize on his innate abilities.

Dare to harm her “Princess”, and watch out— you’ll get burned!”

                The first volume is mostly character introductions and some world building. With that being said the comedy is ramped up to 10. The book also boasts stellar artwork. The plot is moving glacially. We see our first major plot development only during the final pages of the book. Pacing issues aside, this is a fun first volume. The humor seldom falls flat. In conclusion I would as perhaps loan this from a library before deciding whether it is for you. It has little reread value and will not be to everyone’s liking but if you enjoy something delightfully mindless this might be up your alley.


Review copy provided by the publisher.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Diary of Ochibi Chapters 1-37 review

The Diary of Ochibi Chapters 1-37 Story & Art by Moyoco Anno Review

From the publisher: “I can help you laugh, but I can't take away the tears you've shed." In Mametsubu-cho, a town somewhere in the ancient Japanese city of Kamakura, Ochibi lives a relaxed, easy life. With his friend Nazeni the dog, Jack the naughty kitten, and Pankui the hungry dog, Ochibi's year in Mametsubu-cho is filled with encounters and new discoveries! Flower-viewing in spring, swimming in summer, collecting leaves in fall, and eating yummy food in winter. The changing seasons are drawn with a”

             
   The Diary of Ochibi may very well be the most adorable series you’ll ever read. Anno put a lot of detail into the gorgeous full color artwork. This series is radically different in tone and stylistically from any manga I’ve read before. Honestly I found the protagonist was a character I was able to sympathize with quite a bit. Ochibi is a very easy character to like and the series as a whole is genuinely heartwarming. There really is not overarching narrative per se. The series mostly functions as a series of one page vignettes. IN contrast it becomes apparent that not much effort was put into translating it with dialogue frequently going out of the bubble. In conclusion I would say read Ochibi if you enjoy series which are cute and innocent.  

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Salty Studio Chapters 1-26 review

Salty Studio Chapters 1-26 story & art by Omyo Review

From the publisher: “Togeun used to work for his father’s company without any passion, so he quits his job and moves out from his parents’ house in order to follow his dream in drawing. At the homecoming party (reunion party), Togeun begs Sonagi, a great illustrator, to teach him how to draw.”


Salty Studio has, if nothing else, really nice artwork. Its biggest flaw is the molasses like pacing. The series takes a long time to go from plot point to plot point. Instead the series opts to coast on nostalgia. To be fair the series uses its slow pacing wisely: often having character development mixed in between gags. Which brings me to the humor which is far more miss than hit. In conclusion Salty Studio has a number of flaws whether one is in search of Josei comics might very well be a deciding factor on whether or not they will pick this series up to read.

VIZ MEDIA KICKS OFF CLASS WITH THE STELLAR NEW COMEDY SERIES ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM

VIZ MEDIA KICKS OFF CLASS WITH THE STELLAR NEW COMEDY SERIES ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM

A Class Of Misfit Students Must Save Mankind From A Destructive Alien Invader Who May Also Be The Best Teacher They Ever Had; New Action Series To Launch In Print And Digitally

San Francisco, CA, December 2, 2014 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, delivers to domestic readers today one of the most popular new manga (graphic novel) series currently sweeping Japan – ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM.

This high school alien-teacher in the classroom action comedy by creator Yusei Matsui is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens and debuts in print under the Shonen Jump Advanced imprint. ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM Vol. 1 will carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. Subsequent volumes for the continuing series are scheduled for print release on a bi-monthly basis.

The digital edition of ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM will also debut on December 2nd for $6.99 (U.S./CAN), across all platforms serviced by VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga App. The free VIZ Manga App continues to be the top application for reading digital manga and features a massive library of the most popular series in the world. The digital edition will be similarly available on digital storefronts for the Kindle, iBooks, GooglePlay, Kobo, ComiXology, and Nook.

A humorous and action-packed story about a class of misfits who are trying to kill their new teacher – an alien octopus with bizarre powers and super strength! The teacher has just destroyed the moon and is threatening to destroy the earth – unless his students can destroy him first. What makes things more complicated is that he's the best teacher they've ever had!

“ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM is an over-the-top, action thrill ride that readers will definitely want to put on their manga hit lists,” says Annette Roman, Editor. “The series has drawn widespread acclaim in Japan where it is one of the top titles featured in Shonen Jump magazine. We invite readers to spend their winter semester at a high school unlike any other with a zany class of misfit students upon whom rests the future of humanity!”

Manga creator Yusei Matsui was born in Saitama Prefecture, Japan and has been drawing since elementary school. Some of his favorite manga series are Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, and Ultimate Muscle (all published in North America by VIZ Media). Matsui honed his talents working as an assistant to manga artist Yoshio Sawai, creator of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo. In 2005, he debuted his original series, Neuro: Supernatural Detective, in Weekly Shonen Jump. In 2007, Neuro was adapted into an anime series. ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM began serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump in Japan in 2012. An anime adaptation based on the manga series is set to debut in early 2015.

For more information on ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM and other manga titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.


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 and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and ONE PIECE, 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 www.VIZ.com

Lumberjanes issues 1-6 review

Lumberjanes issues 1-6 Review

From the publisher: “Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together...and they’re not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! Not only is it the second title launching in our new BOOM! Box imprint but LUMBERJANES is one of those punk rock, love-everything-about-it stories that appeals to fans of basically all excellent things.”


For an all ages comic about being a scout this is maddeningly addictive! The artwork is gorgeous. The LGBT subplot is well executed. The plot becomes nonsensical at times though which can be a major problem. This is probably to appeal to a younger audience but it still feels a touch forced. The series works mostly because of the group dynamic between the loveable cast of characters. In conclusion I would say read at the very least the first issue to see if this is up your alley. If you enjoy series with LGBT elements and a strong core cast this series will be hard to beat!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Takujo no Ageha Chapters 2 & 3 review

Takujo no Ageha Chapters 2 & 3 Story & Art by Itsuki Furuya Review
               

                These chapters basically bring to the forefront Furuya’s knack for comedy. I was bursting into fits of laughter every other page. This series excels in every aspect a shonen series can: comedy, artwork, action, etc. While Ageha makes for a compelling protagonist the supporting cast is equally if not moreso entertaining. It is worth noting that this series will not be to everyone’s liking: the series has rampant problems with sexism. That being said the manor in which it handled makes it easy to forgive to a certain degree. In conclusion I would say read these chapters. The comedy is miles above most Japanese comics’. I sincerely hope we see more of this series in the future in the west.

Gakyu Hotei: School Judgement Chapter 1 review

Gakyu Hotei: School Judgement Chapter 1 Story by Nobuaki Enoki, Art by Takeshi Obata Review

                From the publisher: “The world is experiencing an "era of educational collapse"! In order to combat it, the government has introduced a revolutionary new system into grade schools called the School Judgment System! A system of the children, by the children, and for the children. Students can take each other to court with real-life consequences! One of the toughest lawyers just started school, and he's going to find out just who cut up the classroom pet—a super cute fish! Get ready for some serious courtroom action in the classroom drama!”


                Great artwork? Yes! Entertaining? Most certainly! Well written? Thus far it is impossible to tell. There is so much nonsense going on and it is only the first chapter. I have no idea whether this series is trying taking itself seriously or not. It is clear a lot of effort and passion went into this chapter though. It is awful hard for me to not compare this to the artist’s past successes and how those at least had some grounding in reality. If one is looking for something truly unique and a breath of fresh air in a medium that is known for its overuse of tropes and clichés I’d say read this for those who are huge fans of the artist’s darker work I would say stick with those for the time being. For myself there is no way to avert my gaze from this oddity.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Tawara Cat Chapters 30-35 review

Tawara Cat Chapters 30-35 Story & Art by Torako Hidaka Review


The comedy connects more often than not in this set of chapters. Tawara Cat is one of the more bizarre series I’ve read in execution at least. Visually the series is appeasing with really nice full colour artwork. The colours are subdued enough that it is not eye popping yet not dull either. What little plot there was in earlier chapters seems to have evaporated though. In conclusion I would say the comedy and artwork make these chapters worth at least a glance through. The series may not be to everyone’s taste but it is a pleasant quirky read regardless.

Space Brothers Chapters 188-240 review

Space Brothers Chapters 188-240 by Chuya Koyama Review

With each span of chapters the series improves upon its already excellent base. It excels in every aspect. One thing I had not noticed before was just how varied the character designs look. Each character in the cast is distinct in both visual and personality ways.  Koyama’s artwork is really gorgeous and detailed and seems to keep improving still. The only issue I have at this point is the pacing which drags a touch which may be off-putting to some. That being said this is a rather trivial problem and Koyama makes the pacing work to the comic’s advantage.


What really shines in these chapters is the character development and growth of both the main and ever expanding supporting cast. This is something the series as a whole is great at but I have only really come to appreciate the full breadth of it recently. Is the fight to save the ISS. It really drives home the message about the power of true friendship and is anchored by the lingering subplot about Sharon’s deteriorating health. It brings out a wide range of emotions in the reader. In conclusion I would say Space Brothers is a pleasure to read and is well worth the time investment. 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Intersect issue 1 review

Intersect issue 1 Review

From the publisher: “Blood rains from the skies. A hypnotic voice trills over the airwaves as bodies shift and grow in horrifying new directions. Are you ready for the new world? RAY FAWKES, acclaimed creator of One Soul and writer of Constantine and Batman: Eternal, launches a terrifying monthly odyssey of madness and warped flesh in this lush, fully painted debut issue!”


If one derives enjoyment from Intersect it would most likely visually rather than plot. Visual wise it is like nothing I have ever seen before. The comic’s layout makes it a confusing read. Matters are not helped with the fact that the story begins midway into what appears to be the plot. The audience is thus forced to weave their way between the poor panel planning and piecing together the narrative. That said the artwork is gorgeous it is clear a lot of effort was put into the painted artwork. In conclusion I would say purchase this issue for its artwork as it is really something special. There really is little point in attempting gain an understanding of the plot though. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

E-Robot Chapter 1 review

E-Robot Chapter 1 story & art by Ryohei Yamamoto Review

From the publisher: “Yuuki's got a crush he's just dying to confess his love to. There's just one problem, he can't do it! Every time he tries, he freezes up! But his life really takes a turn when he bumps into, or gets clobbered by, a robotic girl with a most impressive set of "features." Her name is Ai Roborovskii and she's the world's first Erotic Robot!”

This might be the most putrid thing I’ve ever read. None of the jokes connected and the whole affair was so shameless I honestly had to force myself to keep reading on to the next page. I could go on all day about the sexism. While another recently started title in the magazine this runs in was at least campy enjoyment (which is admittedly a guilty pleasure for me) this series is not even that. With each failing gag that passed had me feeling more and more uncomfortable. In conclusion I would say skip this series there is next to nothing to recommend here.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Winter Woods Chapter 0 review

Winter Woods Chapter 0 Story by Cosmos, Art by Van Ji Review

From the publisher: “A few thousand years has passed since an alchemist created Winter. He is now living with Jane learning what it means to be alive as a human.”


In this premiere chapter the artwork when visible is truly stunning however, perhaps because of the grim nature of the story, little artwork is shown. Yet Winter Woods truly is captivating. The actual plot proper for the series isn’t giving much away in the prologue. The series seems to being paying homage to Frankenstein or at the very least derives from it. In conclusion if you enjoy horror I would say read this chapter. It is a quick and engrossing read though it should be noted it is rather dark so keep that in mind.

Investor Z Chapter 2-10 review

Investor Z Chapter 2-10 Story & Art by Norifusa Mita Review

Any concerns I had about the series dipping in excitement after its first chapter were washed away in this group of chapters. The premise is far more compelling than I initially thought and the series is filled with twists and turns. The character designs still fell off. That being said the background art is gorgeous though perhaps not quite on par with creators such as Kazue Kato. The series seems to be playing with the question on the morality of money and the wealthy though it is only brought up in imagery from time to time. In conclusion if you are like me and enjoy series that take a potentially dull subject matter such as the stock market but manage to make it fascinating I would say give these chapters a read. 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Investor Z Chapter 1 review

Investor Z Chapter 1 Story & Art by Norifusa Mita Review

From the publisher: “Mita Norifusa, whose "Dragon Zakura" started a revolution in Japan's world of entrance exams, now brings you another school-drama manga about stock investments! Zaizen Takashi passes his entrance exams at the top of the heap, and starts his first year in junior high school at Dojuku Gakuen, a 130-year old super-advanced institute of higher education. The day after the entrance ceremony, "the secret" of the school is revealed to him, which concerns the existence of an”


What begins as a rather tensionless awkwardly drawn premiere chapter gradually escalates into a much more compelling plot about investing. I am curious to see where the manga goes from here. The artwork is not without issue: characters frequently go off model. That being said the potential for the plot not to mention the excellent writing make at the very least sampling the series a must!

One-Punch Man Chapters 37.4-39 review

One-Punch Man Chapters 37.4-39 Story by ONE, Art by Yusuke Murata Review


With these chapters the conflict begins to deescalate momentarily only to rise even further by the last chapter of the group. Murata’s artwork is gorgeous as per usual. The only problem I had was the lull between arcs which diffused some of the tension. The plot is also gradual as the series is more art based. It was nice seeing development of a side character however. Really there are far more positive than negative aspects to the series. It was also cool to see an old face from the earlier chapters return as well. In conclusion I would say read these chapters; the art and plot make it well worth the read!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Hi-Fi Cluster Chapters 9-10 review

Hi-Fi Cluster Chapters 9-10 story & art by Ippei  Goto Review

For fans of battle manga Hi-Fi Cluster is comfort food. These chapters continue that trend. Complete with ridiculous (in a good way) antagonists and slick action scenes. The series seems to be unfortunately barreling towards the final battles as what appears to be the big bad is introduced this chapter. Peta proves to be of little use at this point (if he ever was). The supporting cast continues to be the primary reason to continue reading this series. A colorful group which seems largely ignored outside of our other lead in this battle. In conclusion I would say read these chapters as they are the series at its most compelling. 

Nisekoi Chapter 147 review

Nisekoi Chapter 147 story & art by Naoshi Komi Review


Nisekoi continues being a mosquito bite with this week’s chapter. Initially it was just annoying but over time after scratching it so much it began to hurt. Yui’s and Raku’s creepy relationship continues to develop with this week’s chapter. This series leaves such little impact on me. It continues introducing characters and adding padding. It’s sad when the source material is roughly 30% filler. This week isn’t so bad but others much moreso. All this to delay the series’ conclusion which because of Yui could probably have been reached by now. This is pretty much typical indulgent male romance fanasties barring the decreased fan service. In conclusion I would say skip this week’s chapter of Nisekoi. It concentrates on the series’ creepier facets and is the series at its most indulgent. 

World Trigger Chapter 83 review

World Trigger Chapter 83 Story & Art by Daisuke Ashihara Review


This chapter is essentially an epilogue to the battle introducing yet another character and bookending the arc yet also introducing plot elements that should propel the series forward in the future. It was nice seeing some more character development and fleshing out the relationships of the core cast. This chapter really is devoid of much tension though. I feel it is also worth noting that though I read this series each week I find details slip from memory within a day or two. In conclusion I would say read this chapter if only for the development for the cast. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Food Wars! Chapters 93-95 review

Reviews of the earlier chapters will come later down the road.

Food Wars! Chapters 93-95 Story by Yuto Tsukuda, Art by Shun Saeki Review


These chapters of Food Wars! are remarkably fan service free. They also contain a wealth of information on food. For me they were a great read. As a lover of food it is fun reading manga about it. The series has its issue: it can be a touch dull at times with little to no action. That being said, the characters are bright and colorful and the art is surprisingly slick.  Also of note in these chapters is the tension despite little actual conflict actually ensuing on the page. The pacing has some issues though. The series seems to be at a hault presently. A far cry from the first volume which had a more rapid fire pace. In conclusion I would say read these chapters if only for the information on food. The series itself is, like the best of food, highly addictive.

Takujo no Ageha Chapter 1 review

Takujo no Ageha Chapter 1 Story & Art by Itsuki  Furuya Review

From the publisher: “If you had any doubts about a ping pong manga, you can table your doubts because this one's got a hilarious spin. It'll have you bouncing from laughter one minute then slam you with intense competition the next. Get ready to be served some hilarious manga and have a ball! Just had to get all those ping pong puns out of the way...now onto the actual manga description. Ririka Otsuka's the hottest chick in school, but she has a secret—she lives at a table tennis center! And her grandpa's nuts about the sport, but she could care less! Enter Ageha Hanazono, a table tennis genius who shows zero interest in sexy Ririka, much to her chagrin. These two couldn't be more different, but their paths are linked as they both find out the hard way!”


Despite, or perhaps due to, the subject matter the first chapter of Takujo no Ageha is a delightful read! That’s not to say it is perfect; it has its issues. Namely the poor characterization of the female lead as boy obsessed. This is not even beginning to cover the fan service which is mercifully kept to a handful of pages. That being said, the action scenes are slick and the series has enough of a plot to maintain itself for quite some time. The art is also a positive. This series looks really nice thus far. It is clear a lot of effort was put into this debut chapter. So in all I would say read Takujo no Ageha even if you have an aversion to fan service this series has plenty to offer!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

For Peace Chapter 1 review

For Peace Chapter 1 Story & Art by Alexis Cooke


For Peace’s first chapter excels in every aspect and proves itself to be a fantastic LGBT comic along with Cooke’s previous work Dinner Ditz. The artwork differentiates itself from the majority of other comics while still being accessible. The character designs are far more human than any work I have seen to date. As with Dinner Ditz, the first chapter of For Peace is rather rose-tinted; a welcome change as the majority of LGBT media seems to go for a more gritty approach. Cooke is quickly proving to be an author I will anticipate the future works of. Again as with Dinner Ditz my only complaint is that the series is not full-length as it is very refreshing in the current media landscape to see genuine warm positivity. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Windrose Chapter 3 review

Windrose Chapter 3 Story & Art by Studio Kosen Review


Windrose’s art continues to be its biggest selling point. It really is gorgeous visually. Narrative wise it is nice to see some character development and world building. While this may be the weakest of Sparkler Monthly’s comic offerings it is only in comparison to their other series. I find I am far more invested in the series now than I was at the beginning as we start to get into the grander plot. While I still feel the protagonist is not a terribly strong character the morally ambiguous supporting cast is really compelling. In conclusion I would say read this chapter as it really highlight what makes the series great thus far.

Gatesmith Chapter 3 review

Gatesmith Chapter 3 Story & Art by Jen Lee Quick Review


Gatesmith is quickly growing into one of my favorite series period. The level of imagination in it is high and I found the characters are growing more and more on me. This chapter sees some interesting plot developments. I really have no complaints about this chapter. The series continues to be original in execution and tone. Quick’s artwork is really slick as well. In conclusion I would say read this chapter as this series continues to prove to be truly great! 

Monday, 10 November 2014

Dinner Ditz Parts 1, 2, and Halloween Special review

Dinner Ditz Parts 1, 2, and Halloween Special Story & Art By Alexise Cooke Review

                From the publisher: “Peregrine, a divorced dad, is a disaster in the kitchen. He’s a threat to himself and all those around him, including his beloved daughter, Lottie. So it’s up to Otho, a recent victim of Peregrine’s cooking chaos, to step in and show him how it’s done, so he can wow Lottie instead of terrifying her the next time she visits!”


                Dinner Ditz is an adorable LGBT comic. It left me wanting more even after the very last page. It is refreshing seeing an LGBT comic about compelling family dynamics. That’s not to say the romance is bad by any stretch. It is easily my favorite part of the book! The series also has a different art style which is refreshing in an industry where artwork tends to lean towards homogenous. In conclusion, Dinner Ditz is a great if brief read. If you are looking for a different kind of LGBT media this will not disappoint!

World Trigger Chapters 80-82 review

World Trigger Chapters 80-82 Story & Art by Daisuke Ashiahara Review

                After many MANY months the biggest battle in World Trigger to date draws to a close and it ends on a resoundingly great note! It is nice to see the protagonist fleshed out more in the final of this set of chapters. The battle had actual casualties which is surprising for such an early point in a Jump series. World Trigger continues to prove it is more interesting than it initially appeared and has grown into a compelling narrative. I am super excited to see what future chapters have in store!

Seraph of the End Chapter 27 review

Seraph of the End Chapter 27 Storyboard by Daisuke Furuya, Story by Takaya Kagami, Art by Yamato Yamamoto Review


                Seraph suffers from dull characters thus far. This has become increasingly apparent over time. The novelty has started to wear off and the series has started to show its flaws. This is not helped by the inevitable plot being ground to a hault. We must suffer through dull banter for much of the chapter before seeing an exposition dump clumsily thrown in. Only in the final pages do we get to see some action with a stock villain with clown make-up. This not even getting into the offensive undertones with his character. In conclusion, I would say you could probably skip to the end of this chapter unless you are truly fascinated with this world. 

Blue Exorcist Chapter 62 review

Blue Exorcist Chapter 62 Story & Art by Kazue Kato Review


Remarkably this chapter is even more resonant than the previous one. Kato’s artwork is at its peak. The plot continues to be touching and it is nice to see that the arc is drawing to a close quite well. Blue Exorcist continues to be a delight each month being one of my more anticipated series. It is worth noting though that the antagonist suffers from a lack of characterization being more cartoony and hammy than even I care for. So, in conclusion, I would say read this chapter! It features some key character development and draws the arc to its climax quite nicely. 

Nisekoi Chapters 144-146 review

Nisekoi Chapters 144-146 Story & Art by Naoshi Komi Review

Nisekoi really flexes its harem muscles in these chapters that is to say being as trite and cliché as ever perhaps even moreso. In fact, the series is almost insufferable at times. The one respite at this point is that there is a whole week between chapters giving plenty of time to recuperate. And by that I mean it is constant pain! The comedy seems to have shriveled up for the most part. It really seems as if the series is just on autopilot now. In conclusion if you have not enjoyed past chapters of Nisekoi you will find little here to change your mind. 

Hi-Fi Cluster Chapters 4-8 review

So in honour of a certain long running hugely successful manga series ending I thought I would honour it by reviewing something completely unrelated to it!

Hi-Fi Cluster Chapters 4-8 Story & Art by Ippei Goto review


These chapters of Hi-Fi Cluster see the plot proper begin to develop as well as some rather dull by comparison but still compelling chapters of character introductions. There is some clumsy exposition dumps in these chapters. Something I’m not sure I mentioned in my previous reviews. The protagonist continues to be the least compelling character and I feel was likely just included in the series for the target demographic to identify with. So all-in-all Hi-Fi Cluster is an interesting read thus far and I cannot tell express how excited I am for future chapters. 

Monday, 27 October 2014

Legal Drug Omnibus review

Legal Drug Omnibus Story & Art by CLAMP Review

From the publisher: “Kudo Kazehaya’s name evokes the wind, which is given to warn him that one day he, too, might disappear. He almost thought his time had come—until he was rescued by the dark, handsome, and equally mysterious Himura Rikuo. Now they both reside where Rikuo works, the Green Drugstore, a place that dispenses not only medicine but the secret powers of both Rikuo and Kazehaya, as the pair embark on missions into the paranormal at the bidding of its strange proprietor, Kakei.”

                Dripping with fan service, Legal Drug proves to be well worth the purchase. Few pages will go by (especially in the final third) without the book dripping in gay subtext. Apart from that though, Legal Drug has plenty of CLAMP’s trademark imagination. Though it is disappointing that by book’s end no subplots were concluded.


                Thankfully there is a sequel on the horizon. Instead the book opts to introduce several new characters and disregard the main narrative altogether in the final third. The first two thirds of the book have plenty to offer as well though. Each character in the core cast is compelling in their own respect. Although notably missing in the final third is the two characters providing most of the fan service (not to mention the most interesting characters). All-in-all CLAMP’s Legal Drug was a fun read that is easy to recommend.

Honey Blood volume 1 review

Honey Blood volume 1 story & art by Miko Mitsuki Review

From the publisher: “When a girl at Hinata Sorazono’s school is attacked by what seems to be a bloodsucking vampire, everyone is on edge and wonders who’s next. Hinata refuses to believe that vampires even exist, but then she meets her new neighbor, Junya Tokinaga, the author of an incredibly popular vampire romance novel. Dressed in a kimono with an old-world air about him, Junya has a taste of Hinata’s blood and tells her it’s sweet... Hinata can’t help but be drawn to Junya, but could it be that he’s actually a vampire—and worse yet, the culprit behind the attacks?!”

Retreading several ideas from the supernatural romance subgenre, Honey Blood manages to be both dull and forgettable. It introduces no new ideas and is subpar with the already existing ones. That said the final pages bring with them some promise. However as this series has one other main volume left (the third is supposedly just one-shots and other extras) I do not foresee there being much payoff.


The problem romance novels face is giving the audience a reason to care about their characters and this one gives little. Both leads are rather standard of the genre with little about them being compelling especially the heroine. The male lead also falls into several tropes. All-in-all Honey Blood is a boring read and offers nothing new and will most likely be forgotten moments after being read. 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

elDLIVE Chapters 2 & 3 review

elDLIVE Chapters 2 & 3 Story & Art by Akira Amano Review


Seeing as this may very well be the last review I do for elDLIVE I might as well do nothing remotely different with it. Kidding (?) aside I enjoy reading this series each week. My one complaint is that this length of a read on a weekly basis is difficult to keep up with. That being said the artwork is gorgeous! Akira Amano makes use of colour to superb effect.  It is nice to see a potential overarching narrative for the series. The art feels a touch rough at times though. All-in-all elDLIVE has been a pleasure to read and I hope we get to see more in the future!

World Trigger Chapters 77-79 review

World Trigger chapters 77-79 Story & Art by Daisuke Ashihara Review
The most notable aspect about this set of chapters is the chapter with unfinished artwork. This sort of threw the series off balance for me. After much dragging in the plot we have finally reached a turning point for the series! I feel it is worth noting that the cast of thousands aspect of the series continues to make it frustrating to follow. This should be a pivotal moment but I’ll be darned if I can keep track of characters at this point!

Nisekoi Chapters 141-143 review

Nisekoi chapters 141-143 story & art by Naoshi Komi Review

Little continues to be accomplished for the majority of this set of chapters. Though in the third of the group Onodera and Raku’s romance progresses slightly. Truthfully despite the relative progress in a side plot the series is rather unrelenting with just how little it accomplishes despite being given so much time to do it. It’s almost depressing. Nisekoi continues to be a painful read in this clump of chapters if you see a glimmer of hope in this like me you may want to continue otherwise perhaps just wait until the series finishes and skip the extraneous filler chapters to finish it up. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

My Kitty and Old Dog Chapters 1-25 review

 My Kitty and Old Dog Chapters 1-25 Story & Art by Cho Review

From the publisher: “Nang-Nak, an old poodle with blurred eyesight, and an adorable kitten, Soondae, love their owners whom they are loyal to. Here are the episodes of the mature dog and the energetic young kitten that always wait for their owners to give them love and affection.”
               

My Kitty and Old Dog is basically a series of vignettes about pets and their owners. Some are tragic, others are heart-warming. The chapters are very short even given the nature of the content so even sampling a chapter would not take too much time. Some of the more tragic stories feel at odds for the potential audience this would appeal mostly too. The art when applicable is nice. The webtoon plays like a sort of biography. So in conclusion My Kitty and Old Dog is off to a decent start and I am curious to see where it goes.

Blue Exorcist Chapter 61 review

Blue Exorcist Chapter 61 Story & Art by Kazue Kato Review

This chapter is gorgeously drawn. It has become increasingly clear how talented Kazue Kato is as an artist. Content wise this chapter has more substance than the previous. Culminating in a psychological battle which in turn leads to a poetic, if tragic, conclusion. That is not to say the last chapter was not necessary as it emotionally built up the tragedy which unfolds. It is just that this is probably the better of the two chapters visually as well as emotionally. If I could make one complaint it is that this arc’s villain is a cartoon even by cartoon’s standards and is not terribly compelling. Otherwise this chapter was fantastic!

The Wheel of Life Chapters 1-13 review

The Wheel of Life Chapters 1-13 Story & Art by Kuranishi Review
From the publisher: “Tokumaru Tokuda is a medical student who is taking a leave of absence from school and spending every day lazily. To search for his big brother who went missing after sending an e-mail saying "Help me", Tokumaru ends up going to "Western Tibet". Using the photo that his brother sent as a hint, Tokumaru and two male guides, Sonam and Namgyal head toward a certain valley. However, it's a valley that not even the locals go near since it is said that the valley brings disaster on anybody that comes near… The three men embark on their long journey on foot in Western Tibet, the land high above the world.”


                The art in this series is the main reason I chose to include it in the column, different from most of the manga I have seen (stylistically at least) Wheel of Life is gorgeous to look at. Content wise, Tokumaru is a rather dull protagonist. The setting is what establishes this series apart from other shojo comics. Set in Tibet it is a breath of fresh air in a medium with often very standard settings. It is clear effort went into drawing this. In conclusion, I would say Wheel of Life is an engrossing read. I cannot wait to read more!

Tawara Cat Chapters 1-29 review

Tawara Cat Chapters 1-29 Story & Art by Torako Hidaka Review

From the publisher: “Kotori was a normal girl who had always been tempted down the wrong path. As she lived her normal, boring, everyday life, trying so hard to follow her dreams, a bold chubby straw-bale cat walked into her life. Will this cat be a god of luck for her? Or will it become a god of misfortune, and lead Kotori down the wrong path...? A fluffy fat cat opens up the door on this story of a woman's struggles through everyday life!”


                Serialized in Manga Box, Tawara Cat is a fun read! The comedy may not be hard hitting but the art is really nice and the series is, if nothing else, amusing. As far as josei (geared towards women) manga go it is nice to see the romance secondary. The heroine is decently developed as a character. Really it’s those around her which make this series infinitely more interesting than it may have been. A colourful bunch of misfits each with their own quirks and eccentricities they are. So I’d say Tawara Cat is worth the read if you enjoy pretty art and a fun supporting cast.

Space Brothers Chapters 9-187 review

Space Brothers Chapters 9-187 Story & Art by Chuya Koyama Review


                Over this (admittedly large) chunk of chapters, we have seen series’ protagonist Mutta grow leaps and bounds as a character. The cast as a whole continues to grow and each character is lovable in their own way. This series is an enjoyable,  if slow-paced, read and Mutta is a fun character whose easy to cheer on. The arc Hibito has undergone is perhaps the most compelling part of the series though it is often put in the background. In all I’d say if you enjoy character driven science fiction you really cannot do better than this.

Gatesmith Chapters 1 & 2 review

Gatesmith Chapters 1 & 2 Story & Art by Jen Lee Quick Review
From the Publisher: “Morning in the desert...a million lives, from the smallest insect to the largest creature, all struggle for survival in a harsh but beautiful environment. Enter Morgan, a mysterious woman with an even more mysterious task to perform in this strange new world. Over her travels she will meet friends and foes, and some important allies in her quest to change the land around her for the better.
                                          
Jen Lee Quick, author of Off*Beat, Witches' Quarry, Soul Union and more brings readers a thrilling and inventive new take on the Old West!”

Wildly imaginative and filled with slick action scenes, Gatesmith was a fun read. It should be noted though that the series is holding its cards closely though as we know little about the world and characters thus far. Chapter 1 served mostly as a means to draw the reader in (which it succeeds quite well at!) while chapter 2 fills in some of the blank spots and is more world building. As I said earlier the series has a LOT of creative ideas and I am on the edge of my seat (so to speak) at this point!

Windrose Chapters 1 & 2 reviews

Windrose Chapters 1 & 2 Story & Art by Studio Kosen Review
From the publisher: “It's the 17th Century, and the powers of Europe are struggling violently for dominion over the oceans. Danielle, daughter of a Spanish lady and a French merchant, flees her constrictive upper-class life when she receives a disturbing letter from her father, entrusting her with a strange miniature astrolabe. But on her way from Barcelona to Marseille, her life is threatened, she nearly drowns, and she is befriended by a handsome pair of travelers...but Angeline and Leon are definitely not what they claim to be.

By acclaimed comic creation team Studio Kôsen, Danielle's journey from the palaces of Western Europe to the heart of the Ottoman Empire will prove to be more dangerous, and more thrilling, than she ever could have imagined!”

Serialized in Sparkler Monthly in North America, Windrose  is gorgeous to look at. That being said there is some awkward exposition in the first 2 chapters. There are plenty of action scenes to be found though and each character is equally compelling. The setting sets the series apart and thus far there has been little signs of romance which is nice. It has a kind of a YA adaptation feel. Make of that what you will. So in all Windrose is off to a decent if a touch rocky start it will be interesting to see where the series goes from here.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Memoirs of a Cartoon Geek Entry 1

Memoirs of a Cartoon Geek Entry 1

So this is going to be the place where I review currently airing Japanese animated shows. No schedule really. It’s going to be limited to 5 or 6 shows at a time. No rankings (same for March of the Manga Man) So with that in mind let’s dive in!

Orenichi no Furo Jijo Episodes 1 & 2 Directed by Sayo Aoi, Produced by Asahi Productions Review

From the publisher: “A hot boy mermaid named Wakasa has taken over the bath of a teenage boy named Tatsumi! This cute but selfish freeloader is a perfect match for the cool but tender and caring Tatsumi. Let's see how they get by together!”

                As fan service shorts go this one is off to a decent start. The opening is jarring in contrast to the rest of the show which is light fun with some creepy overtones. It failed to produce any laughs though it did make me smile. It is worth noting that while Wakasa is a colourful character, Tatsumi is rather dull as a protagonist.  So in conclusion the first 2 episodes are decent. There are much better shows this season but one could certainly do a lot worse.

Sailor Moon Crystal Episodes 1-8 Directed by Munehisa Sakai, Produced by Toei Animation Review

From the publisher: “Based on Naoko Takeuchi’s legendary manga series, Sailor Moon Crystal retells the story of Sailor Moon as she searches for her fellow Sailor Guardians and the Legendary Silver Crystal to stop the dark forces of Queen Beryl.”

With this first set of episodes Sailor Moon Crystal is off to a great start! A gorgeous adaptation that somehow manages to establish itself separate from the first television adaptation and is all the better for it! More faithful to the original comic and more tightly written than the previous anime, Crystal is poised to be one of the best anime of 2014 if it continues this level of quality. The CG transformations are nicely rendered certainly better than much of the Japanese CG animation I have seen though still awkward. All-in-all Sailor Moon Crsytal is a great watch and comes highly recommended!

Hi-sCool! Seha Girls episodes 1 & 2 Directed by Sota Sugahara, Produced by TMS Entertainment and Jinni’s Animation Studios Review

From the publisher: “Dreamcast, Sega Saturn, and Mega Drive reimagined as girls who have just enrolled in SeHaGaga Academy at Tokyo’s Haneda Ōtorii station. They are given an assignment needed to graduate by a suspicious teacher. To clear this requirement, the girls must enter the world of Sega games to graduate without incident.”

Surprisingly, Hi-sCool is a good show… in a guilty pleasure sort of way. I went into this series with LOW expectations but found myself thoroughly entertained. The show is bright, colorful mindless fun. A particularly funny gag is in episode 2 where a character defeats even the most difficult foe with a head-butt. The CG looks awful though unfortunately. Characters move through things on occasion. This is N64 quality CG. In all, this is a series I would recommend to fans of “so bad it’s good” shows. Otherwise you probably will not gain much from this series.

Tribe Cool Crew Episodes 1-3 Directed by Masay Fujimori, Produced by Sunrise Review
From the publisher: “Haneru Tobitatsu is a middle school student who loves dancing! He can even dance to the rhythm of the chalkboard in class. One day, Haneru meets Kanon, a shy girl who is practicing at a secret dance place. The two learn the joy of dancing together and find happiness in their dance moves.”

Haneru makes for an excellent protagonist! It is impossible not to like this series with the infectious beats and offbeat character designs. The show has a nice, relaxed pace and is a touch shorter than the majority of standard length anime making it quick watch. Probably my favorite part of this set of episodes is Kanon’s arc as a character going from more nervous to outgoing. I cannot wait to see where the series goes from here I will follow it every step of the way!

Mushishi Next Chapter season 2 episode 1 Directed by Masaya Fujimori, Produced by Artland Review

From the publisher: “They are creatures only known as ‘Mushi,’ whose abilities range well into the supernatural. While their existence and appearances are unknown to the humans around them, there are a few like Ginko who is a ‘Mushi-shi’ that travels around to investigate and find out more about the ‘Mushi.’ During the course of his discovery and understanding, he helps those who are troubled by the Mushi themselves…”
                Reviews of the previous parts will follow at some point In the future. Continuing the trend for this column for offbeat shows: Mushishi is probably one of my favorite animated franchises. Period. This episodes does not disappoint. The series is almost therapeutic  a welcome change in an industry wrought with hyper-activeness. It is always nice peering into Ginko’s own past and it is some nice character development for him. If you have enjoyed the franchise thus far this episode does not disappoint!

When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace Episodes 1 & 2 Chief Director Masahiko Otsuka, Produced by Studio Trigger Review

From the publisher: “A group of five boys and girls suddenly acquire supernatural powers. Ready to fight in galactic battles to defend human cause… they are struck by the realization that there are no wars, no conspiracies, no evils empires, no nothing in their high school life. They instead decide to idly have fun by wasting their powers away.”


                Heretofore referred to as Battle because again I am lazy, this series is a lot of fun! This should come as no surprise for those familiar with the studio animating this. Trigger despite being rather new is rather well adept at making shows lively and enjoyable with this series being no exception. Despite it’s questionable origins. Battle is pitch perfect when it comes to comedy. The drama in the latter half of episode two does nothing but hold the show back. High school drama is NOT Trigger’s strong suit. Such fare has been done to death at this point. Otherwise this a fun series and I cannot wait until the next episode!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

BB; Sickness Unto Death volumes 1 & 2 review

BB: Sickness Unto Death volumes 1 & 2 Story by Hikaru Asada, Art by Takahiro Seguchi Review

From the publisher: “The sickness unto death is what Kierkegaard calls despair and in this comic despair is manifested in form of a young woman named Emiru. Emiru is a beautiful young woman from a rich family and plenty to aspire to. Unfortunately she is consumed with grief. She does not align herself with God or God's plan for her and needs guidance.

So when she meets a young psychology student named Futaba she gives herself to him. In this way she loses herself to him. Kierkegaard defines humanity as the tension between the "finite and infinite", and the "possible and the necessary", and in this case Emiru as we come to know her will eventually end under Futaba's guidance. But who will take her place? And how will she and Futaba go through the balancing act between these opposing personalities as their relationship builds.”

                As a psychological thriller Sickness Unto Death succeeds, as a romance not so much. Both the protagonist and the heroine are compelling characters and technically it is a unique relationship but the whole thing comes across as uncomfortable. The books also leaves a lot of major plot threads unresolved which is rather frustrating. The supporting cast has little time to be developed which is also grating.

                That being said, the books are well written and compelling reads it’s just they have their flaws. The artwork is rather standard for Japanese comics there is not much to comment on in that regard. The reason for the discomfort is the unethical nature of their relationship which poses problems even within the book. So in conclusion, despite my groaning here, Sickness Unto Death is an interesting read. The core cast is compelling and it has some poetic moments.

Review copies provided by the publisher.

BB: Time Killers review

BB: Time Killers Story & Art by Kazue Kato Review

From the publisher: “Explore fantastic realms of imagination in this stunning collection of short stories by Kazue Kato, creator of the smash-hit manga series Blue Exorcist! With Kato’s amazing and distinctive art leaping from the page, Time Killers includes her first work, Boku to Usagi (Me and the Rabbit), and features the stories and character designs that would become her breakthrough series, Blue Exorcist. Take off on a flight of fantasy with Time Killers!”

Time Killers is perhaps more fascinating in seeing an artist’s progression over time than it is as a book. The stories feel day and night different from one to the next. That is not to say they are bad individually it is just to say… I didn’t find an overarching theme or some connection between the stories. The stories themselves are gorgeously drawn and, more often than not, are compelling reads. Kato states in the back that it is meant to waste time (hence the name) so it succeeded in that respect.


I wish some of the stories had been longer as it would have been nice to see them in more detail. The book itself has a really high quality pages and the colour pages really bring Kato’s artwork to life. So in conclusion I would recommend this book to at the very least fans of Blue Exorcist and fans of Kato’s artwork. It makes an excellent companion work!

BB: Secret Daughter review

BB: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda Review

From the publisher: “In a tiny hut in rural India, Kavita gives birth to Asha. Unable to afford the 'luxury' of raising a daughter, her husband forces Kavita to give the baby up--a decision that will haunt them both for the rest of their lives.

Halfway around the globe, Somer, an American doctor, decides to adopt a child after making the wrenching discovery that she will never have one of her own. When her husband Krishnan shows her a photo of baby Asha sent to him from a Mumbai orphanage, she falls instantly in love. As she waited for adoption to be finalized, she knew her life would change. But she was convinced that the love she already felt would overcome all obstacles.

In a braided narrative that unites the stories of Kavita, Somer and Asha, SECRET DAUGHTER, the debut novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, explores the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss and belonging. As the story moves between the two families, one struggling to eke out an existence in Mumbai, the other grappling with the challenge of raising a brownskinned child from another culture, Gowda poignantly parses issues of culture, identity and familial loyalty”

For once it is a novel and not a graphic novel that is being reviewed here. Technically it is ink on paper and… yeah, I’m stretching it. Anyway Secret Daughter, for the most part, is a solid book. I will not go into detail about the ending but… let’s just say it undermines pretty the entire book and renders it pointless. The book also has some odd messages about India. If it is attempting to positively portray the country it really fails in that regard. Despite it’s futile attempts to make Kavita’s husband sympathetic later on he is by far the least likeable member of the cast.

His mentality is pretty much the standard for the people of India at least in the context of this book. To be fair the majority of the cast is difficult to like and we spend little time outside India aside from some brief chapters with Somer who herself is rather unlikable. It may just be the author is incapable of creating sympathetic characters Kavita aside. Also worth noting several subplots are never resolved and the book fails to actually tie its plot threads together. The book as a whole comes across more as a series of vaguely related vignettes which I am pretty certain was not the original intent. So in conclusion Secret Daughter is not a very good debut novel. It has several good moments and for the most part is well written but it fails to create cohesive hole in the end.

BB: No Matter How You Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular volume 1-3 review

BB: No Matter How You Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular volume 1-3 Story & Art by Nico Tanigawa Review

From the publisher: “Tomoko Kuroki naturally assumed she’d be popular when she got to high school…but then cold, hard reality swooped in for the attack! Turns out all the popularity points she’d racked up in her video game dating sims are worth squat in real life, and Tomoko’s far from prepared to navigate high school! How can she possibly hope to impress her classmates when she can’t even talk to them?! A new high-school heroine is born (maybe?)!”

Heretofore referred to as Watamote in this and future reviews (because I am lazy), this series leaves me torn: on the one hand bits of the humor are legitimately funny, on the other, much of the time I spent with the books was uncomfortable. I get the feeling we are meant to laugh at Kuroki’s misfortune which feels largely unwarranted. Not that she is a great person by any stretch of the imagination but her external crippling anxiety was all too familiar for me. The times where the humor works are when it is not poking fun at her in such a mean spirited manor.

The moments when the humor works are the true to life moments not mocking people who are odd. In this case the comedy simply does not work for me. Otherwise the book is rather dull though there are occasionally some wistful moments which I enjoyed. In conclusion the only people who will likely enjoy this are those who derive enjoyment from watching other’s in misery. That is the punchline for this entire series thus far. I am not one of those people so this series has little to offer.

BB: Knights of Sidonia volumes 2-8 review

BB: Knights of Sidonia volumes 2-8 Story & Art by Tsutomu Nihei Review

Since my last review of the series the manga has since spawned an anime adaptation. I will tackle that another day.  In the meantime the question remains: is the source material worth reading? To that I must say a resounding maybe. If one enjoys mecha series you might find this to be an enjoyable read. However, you have to be willing to play detective and put the pieces together yourself because the series spends little time explaining itself.

Instead it divides its time between romantic comedy antics and truly spectacular giant robot battles. The former is grating while the latter is the series highlight. The problem is how jarring the contrast between them can be. Make the situation depressing is the knowledge that this series is essentially a mainstream sellout on the part of the author. His previous works suffer from similar problems but lacked the grating aspects this series has. So, in conclusion, I would say this chunk of volumes of Knights of Sidonia is very much continuing the trends of the first. Those who enjoyed the early volumes will certainly enjoy these but they will not be changing anyone’s minds.


Review copies of various volumes provided by the publisher.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

BB: In Clothes Called Fat review

BB: In Clothes Called Fat Story & Art by Moyoco Anno Review

From the publisher: “From the pen of Moyoco Anno comes a stunning tale of self-image and self-loathing. In Clothes Called Fat details the lives of young women earnestly revealing the struggles women may have with their bodies and sexuality.

Noko appears to be living a great life, she's got a good job and a loving boyfriend, but beneath a thin veneer is a young woman who is struggling with her self-image and self-confidence as she fights to keep her weight down. To Noko, being 5 pounds overweight means being miles away from happiness in her lovelife and in her work-place.

Originally serialized in a major weekly newsmagazine for adult women (Shukan Josei, the first of its kind to be launched in Japan), this early gem from graphic novel megastar Moyoco Anno may be her most searing work to be published in English yet, closer in spirit to some of the best stateside indie comics—ironically, given its mainstream pedigree—than to most translated manga. In Clothes Called Fat is an indispensable addition to your rowing library of sequential art for mature readers.”

Despite my love of the author’s work this is not her strongest piece. The publisher has it (accurately) framed as a black comedy and they are certainly correct in that categorization. Of course the problem with black comedies and stories in general is that you need at least one character you can sympathize with on some level. That is not the case with In Clothes Called Fat. It really is not funny either as opposed to Happy Mania.

It’s just uncomfortable. The characters keep pointing out how horrible the protagonist is… she is nowhere near as unlikable as the rest of the cast until she is driven into the world of weight loss. At book’s end she has become as vein as the rest of them. Really the book functions best as a commentary on how looks obsessed society is. Unless that was the goal from the beginning in which case it succeeded magnificently.  So in conclusion I would say this book is an absolute enigma to me. It is compelling in completely different ways then it was intended to be so… make of that what you will.


Review copy provided by the publisher.

BB: Sweet Rein volume 1 review

BB: Sweet Rein volume 1 Story & Art by Sakura Tsukuba Review

From the publisher: “Sad at the thought of spending Christmas alone, Kurumi Sagara goes out for a walk. While she’s crossing the street, a boy bumps into her, and a rein suddenly appears that binds them together. The overjoyed boy tells her she’s his master and that she’s a Santa Claus. Kurumi dismisses him as a crazy person, but then he transforms into a reindeer?!”

                Sweet Rein is, if nothing else, a fun read. That said, the story is rather standard for a romance. This series is definitely for people who enjoy cheesy romances and will not likely find much of an audience outside of said reader base. There is a rather odd romance one-shot included at the back which was uncomfortable.
               

                The book as a whole is decent though there are no color pages to be found. The art is nice if not in need of a bit of refinement. If you are a fan of good in a bad way stories this will not disappoint. The book is filled with hilariously awful ideas that left me grinning from ear to ear. So in conlclusion volume 1 of Sweet Rein is a fun read if you come in with a certain mindset, others might be best skipping over this one.

Monday, 6 October 2014

MotMM+: B-Ball Goddess Chapter 1 review

MotMM+: B-Ball Goddess Chapter 1 Story & Art by Keyaki Utiuti Review
From the Publisher: “Miyuki Nimi (15) has suffered the biggest embarrassment of her life! Now she’s moved as far away as she can get - to the rural prefecture of Shimane. But the wheel of destiny begins to turn as she meets the beautiful basketball player Shou Sakomizu! Watch as an average daydreaming girl challenges herself and the world! Laugh and cry with her in this Mangabox-original sports drama!”

This series has one gimmick and it milks it for all it’s worth. The protagonist is clumsy. That’s basically all I gathered from this first chapter. The comedy does not work unless you find that one gag hilarious. If you are looking for good sports manga look elsewhere as this series art is not inspired either and of the pages which make up the first chapter, most of them are dedicated to this joke.

MotMM+: BLACKOUT –The Engimatic Game Chapter 1 review

MotMM+: BLACKOUT –The Engimatic Game Chapter 1 Story by Ransuke Kuroi, Art by Kazuo Maekawa Review
From the publisher: “Day laborer Kazuya Shibuya is feeling frustrated with his boring, day-to-day life when a mysterious game called “Blackout” is delivered to him out of the blue. Not knowing what is going on, he starts to play the game, only to find out that what is inside surpasses anything he could have ever imagined. No one has ever managed to beat this game shrouded in mystery. Is “death” awaiting him at the end...? The battle-filled fantasy novel popular on website Everystar is now a manga!”
Bland and forgettable as can be, Blackout is probably better off forgotten. It basically follows the formula Sword Art Online, Log Horizon, BTOOM!, and many MANY other series follow. The primary difference being that It starts on an uncomfortable note. The first chapter is rather short and really does a poor job of establishing the plot. None of the characters are terribly interesting.

Book Britches: Cardfight!! Vanguard volume 1 review

Book Britches: Cardfight!! Vanguard volume 1 Story &Art by Akira Itou Review

From the publisher: “Timid teen Aichi Sendou was never one for making a statement or even defending himself. But when a precious trading card of his is stolen, Aichi, who has never played Vanguard before, is set to face an acquaintance who should be an insurmountable adversary...Kai. With the support of his favorite card and some cherished memories, the unlikely warrior is ready to stand up for himself and to change his life for the better.

Inspired by the hit trading card game and the basis for the beloved anime, Cardfight!! Vanguard is poised to stake its claim among shonen manga's elites.”

                Cardfight!! Vanguard is, if nothing else, a painful read. We are only seeing a potential plot being set in motion in the final pages of the book. The first volume is mostly set-up establishing the core cast and how all their problems can be solved by a card game. Without a fundamental understanding of the game (one which I lack) or prior investment this series gives little reason to compel the reader to continue.
               
                Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I am perfectly content watching and reading children’s marketing vehicles. The problem is that at this point there are small stakes. Thus why should we, the readers, care about the book? I really do not get the appeal of Cardfight!! Vanguard thus far. To be fair the antagonists are compelling characters and the imagined action scenes are fun but otherwise this series has little to offer to those beyond its target demographic though I feel even they deserve better.


Review copy provided by the publisher.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

World Trigger Chapter 76 review

World Trigger Chapter 76 Story & Art by Daisuke Ashihara Review


With Osamu and Chika’s lives continuing to be in the balance, one of the most important battles in the series to date takes place. The entire affair plays out with much imagination and excitement. This chapter was very well done. It showcases Ashihara’s great artwork and it is nice to see some character development however brief for series’ mascot Replica. In conclusion, despite having gone on for roughly half a year, this arc continues to be well worth reading. 

Nisekoi Chapter 140 review

Nisekoi Chapter 140 Story & Art by Naoshi Komi Review


Instead of creating any actual tension or plot developments, as per usual, the series decides to waste the audience’s time by resolving the chapter with a wacky joke. The problem with Nisekoi is that, at any given time, the plot could be so easily resolved.  Yet the series chooses to drag on carrying the audience with it. Also of note the princess who had been at the centre of the series for a full month is notably missing this chapter. So in conclusion Nisekoi’s most recent chapter accomplishes little if anything as per usual; make of that what you will.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Sporting Salt Chapter 2 review

Sporting Salt Chapter 2 Story & Art by Yuto Kubota Review


                As a protagonist Shioya makes for an entertaining lead the problem is the rest of the series which is mediocre at best dull at worst. I feel it is worth mentioning the main cast from chapter 1 does not even appear in this chapter. The problem with this chapter and I fear will be for the series as a whole is that we are given so little time and reason to care about the story. The formula is already starting to wear thin after just a few chapters. So in conclusion, you could probably skip this series. 

Hi-Fi Cluster Chapter 3 review

Hi-Fi Cluster Chapter 3 Story & Art by Ippei  Goto Review


                With the mechanics of the world out of the way we now finally get to see the first character in the series colorful supporting cast. The protagonist is still as dull as ever but the world and other cast members make the series worth a read. The action is slick in this chapter showing a marked improvement over the first two chapters. So all-in-all the series seem to improve with each passing chapter and is a lot of fun.

elDLIVE Chapter 1 review

elDLIVE Chapter 1 Story & Art by Akira Amano Review

Thought of as crazy by all his classmates, Chuta‘s life turns upside down one day when he meets a little blue alien. Forced to choose whether or not to become a space police officer, Chuta chooses the former but first he must pass a test that further warps the world he thought he knew. Will he succeed?

elDLIVE is a great read! The protagonist is decently compelling; the comedy works more often than not, the ideas are interesting, and the series is poised to be a fun read. Amano’s art is probably the greatest point about the series. It is gorgeous, full color artwork that really grabs the eye. I really have no complaints about it.


It has plenty of potential and begins to show it near the end. Okay, I suppose I have one complaint, before the plot kicks into full gear the school life was rather dull. Otherwise, elDLIVE is an easy to recommend read!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Seraph of the End Chapter 25 review

Seraph of the End Chapter 25 Story by Takaya Kagami, Art by Yamato Yamamoto, Story Boards by Daisuke Furuya Review


                This chapter is largely forgettable. It serves mainly as a start of a pointless and out of nowhere battle between Yuichiro and his superior along with the friends they both have. It feels rather odd as they are currently waiting on an impending attack by the vampires. What I am trying to say is this fight serves little purpose than to increase the series page count and delaying the battle between humans and vampires which the series has been building up for several chapters. The art is slick as per usual but this plot thread could have been cut altogether and no one would be the wiser.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

One-Punch Man Chapters 37.2 & 37.3 review

One-Punch Man Chapters 37.2 & 37.3 Story by ONE, Art by Yusuke Murata Review

                These chapters exhibit the series’ best points namely its cool art and slick action scenes. One-Punch Man makes for a great read on a regular basis. It is mindless fun. It really is a shame they were rather short chapters though as at times it feels insubstantial. In conclusion, these chapters of One-Punch Man are well worth reading and make for a pleasant diversion.

Blue Exorcist Chapter 60 review

Blue Exorcist Chapter 60 Story & Art by Kazue Kato Review


                This was a rather nice chapter. It was great seeing character development for the supporting cast and having the majority of the chapter dedicated to it was a nice touch. The artwork was gorgeous and it ended on a neat 2 page spread which really brought out my favorite point in the series: Rin’s powers. So, in conclusion, great chapter that is worth reading!