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.