All posts by Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is the writer and reviewer for the manga blog, Manga Xanadu. She also keeps a personal blog at Fangirl Xanadu, and a writing blog at Muse of Xanadu. She contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. As the mother of two teen daughters, she needs all the escape she can get, which reading and writing about manga gives her.

Aria Volumes 1-2: Manga Movable Feast

One-hundred and fifty years after its terraforming, Aqua, the planet formerly known as Mars, is now almost completely covered in water. A young girl named Akari Mizunashi lives in the city of Neo-Venezia, an exact replica of the old Italian city of Venice, where she works as a gondolier tour guide. While giving people tours of her beautiful city, Akari learns to appreciate her city when she helps an elderly tourist find his daughter, teaches a friend some history about ancient Venice and discovers the secret behind Aqua’s unusual sun showers.

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Aqua Volumes 1-2: Manga Movable Feast

Akari Mizunashi is a new arrival in the gorgeous Martian city of Neo-Venezia. She becomes a gondolier tour guide and begins her training to become a Undine, the most coveted job on Aqua. Follow Akari’s adventures as she discovers the wonders of Aria in this prequel to the popular anime and manga series.

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Help Chi’s Sweet Home

Click for special Chi picture of encouragement by Konami Kanata

When ever there is a disaster, whether it’s an earthquake, tsunami, or both in the most recent case in Japan, calls immediately go up to donate to the Red Cross, or any of the dozens of other charity organizations set up to send relief to the people affected by the devastating event. But there is another group that is just as affected, if not more, that rarely gets any attention. Pets.

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What Ever Happened to Magical Pokemon Journey?

Recently Viz has announced a new round of releases. A lot of the titles in the announcement aren’t new. They are just release dates for titles previously announced, or running in Shonen Jump, such as Yu-Gi-Oh! 5DS, Psyren and Mameshiba. But there were some new titles announced too. One of them was Pokemon Black and White, which is based on the new Pokemon video game that was just released in the US. This really isn’t a big surprise. Viz has been releasing Pokemon in one form or another since the early 2000’s.

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The Dark Hunters Volume 2

Kyrian is an immortal Dark-Hunter who just lost his Dark-Hunter powers and along with it, his immortality. Now he is faced with the chance to regain not only his humanity, but his very soul. The problem is that it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Desiderius is closing in, and if Kyrian and Amanda are going to save humanity, Kyrian must take the war to his enemy–or it may be too late.

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Tokyopop: A Lament?

The news broke Tuesday that Tokyopop had gone through another round of layoffs, which this time included long-time editor Lillian Diaz-Przybyl, another editor Troy Lewter, and Line editor Asako Suzuki. The Manga tweet-verse was abuzz about the news mostly with sympathy for the folks laid off, and a lot of wonderment of what Tokyopop was thinking to let go of some great people. Most of the speculation for the lay-offs was that is was a desperate cost-cutting measure. With Borders going under, Tokyopop seems to be losing a big outlet, that also owes them money. But a lot of people

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Chi’s Sweet Home Volume 3-4

Chi’s adventures continue as she meets the Yamadas friend from Hokkaido and their very active daughter Juli, goes hunting with Blackie and nearly gets caught by the super. But salvation comes in the form of a billboard that advertises apartments that welcome pets. So it’s an all new adventure for Chi to move, get comfortable in a new place and meet a variety of new friends.

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Shonen Jump March 2011

The countdown to issue #100 is almost complete! This issue starts out with the usual anime ads, though I’d like to point out the newest addition to Vizanime: Neuro. It’s based on a manga about a demon who eats mysteries. He comes to the human world after devouring all the mysteries in the underworld. He teams up with a human girl Yako who loves to eat and has a mystery of her own to solve. The anime is good, but what I really want to see is the manga licensed. So show your support and watch the anime! Maybe we’ll get the manga then!

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Speed Racer vol 1-2 and Project X: Cup Noodle

Speed Racer: Mach GoGoGo volume 1-2

Buy This Book

By Tatsuo Yoshida ♦ Digital Manga Publishing ♦ Teen ♦ Action ♦ $39.99
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Speed Racer is the son of famous race car engine builder “Pops” Racer. Speed wants to be a race car driver. Pops thinks it’s too dangerous. Speed decides to enter races anyway with a car Pops designed and build for him, the Mach 5. With the help of his girlfriend Trixie, best friend and mechanic Sparky, and some interference by his little brother Spridle and his pet/friend Chim Chim, Speed enters dangerous races to prove to Pops and the world that he is the best race car driver in the world.

This title is an unabridged printing of the original Mach GoGoGo manga, and was published to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the series. The stories in the manga involve Race participating in some dangerous race where his skills as a driver are tested, and he always defeats the villain. most of these were animated in the cartoon, and reading them was like going back in time to my childhood. It was very nostalgic. I could almost hear the voices from the cartoon as I read the chapters, fast talking and all. I really enjoyed the trip back to my childhood.

There were some problems though. First and foremost, these two volumes were more Speed Racer than Mach: GoGoGo. All the names in the stories used the localized, goofy American names, such as Inspector Detector. I really wanted to see a more accurate translation, with the characters using their Japanese names. This was a big disappointment. Also, Tatsuo Yoshida took some serious short cuts, reusing not just panels, but entire pages of art and dialog. In the chapters with Racer X, “Challenge of the Masked Racer” and “Most Dangerous Race”, the exact scenes with Speed and Racer X meeting are used, with the same dialog, to the point that I thought it was a printing error.

Overall, Speed Race: Mach Gogogo is a great piece of nostalgia for people in their forties, who remember sitting in front of the TV, sometimes without their parents knowledge or permission, and watching the cartoon. The hardback binding gives it a prestigious look. But that’s all it’s really worth; a piece of childhood to look back on and remember fondly.

Review copy provided by publisher

Project X: Cup Noodle

Buy The e-Book

By Tadashi Katoh ♦ Digital Manga Publishing ♦ All Ages ♦ Educational ♦ $12.95
Rating: ★★★★½

In the early 1970s, the Instant Ramen industry was like a war zone with many companies competing for market share and profits. Momofuku Andou, director of Nissan Foods Corporation had an idea for a revolutionary product to make instant ramen fast, convenient and portable. He assembled a team of researchers to come with this product, starting with the container, through noodle frying and condiments. Despite the many hurdles they had to get over, Andou remained resolute and finally created and sold a product that is known the world over; Cup Noodle.

Project X: Cup Noodle tells a fascinating tale of determination and ingenuity. Unlike Project X: Seven Eleven, this title really focuses on the people as well as the product. Not only do we see the research team working on the problems of coming up with a new container or taste testing the noodles, but we also see how the work affects their personal life. We see Masahiro Sasaki having nightmares of being buried in containers, and how troubled Toshiko Matsumoto was that her new husband Kunio wasn’t eating her cooking. These moments really made the title more personable, and the reader care more about the people and their project. The director of Nissan Foods, Momofuku Andou is shown as a real driving force for the project, but also as a fatherly figure to the research team. He always had some bit of advise, or would ask questions that would get the team’s mind working. Sometimes he had to taunt a little, but everything he did motivated the team to create the product he envisioned. He wasn’t idle either. Andou led the sales promotion on the “Pedestrian Paradise” in Ginza, and was just as enthusiastic there as with his team.

Project X: Cup Noodle is not only a story that is educational, it is also entertaining. The story moves at a good pace, never lingering too long on a problem. The team members are alway seen doing something such as experimenting with new techniques, and not just sitting around discussing the issues. I really enjoyed the epilogue, which listed all the disaster relief efforts that Nissan Food has contributed to with servings of Cup Noodle. I would recommend this title whether or not one is interested in business. It’s a good story filled with strength and determination that succeeds despite the odds.

Review copy provided by publisher