Well, it finally happened. After all the hype over the last few months, Apple finally announced the device that has been touted as a game changer; the savior of print; the e-reader to end all e-readers; the iPad. Yeah.
Jack Frost Volume 1
By JinHo Ko
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Any high schooler on a nerve-wracking first day at a new school is apt to lose his or her head a little. But in Noh-A’s case, she literally does! When she wakes up in one piece with a little help from a mysterious doctor, Noh-A quickly realizes that nothing is as it seems at Amityville High, where paranormal creatures battle for supremacy. Caught in the crossfire, Noh-A may have to rely on the unlikely (and possibly unreliable) aid of the most sinister student at Amityville…the deadly Jack Frost!
By all outward appearances, this title looks to be a pale shadow of the horror manga Hellsing. Cracking open the book doesn’t do much to alter that appearance. There is lots of action and decapitation, but not much in actual plot.
I make no bones about it. I love cats. I will read just about any manga that has cat in it, even that peripherally revolves around them. What’s Michael, Free Collar Kingdom, Cat Paradise, even Backstage Prince, Dragon Ball and Ranma 1/2 that only have supporting characters that are cats I’ll read and enjoy. But there just isn’t nearly enough to sate my appetite for titles about the four-footed furries. Vertical’s license of Chi’s Sweet Home is a BIG win, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Viz’s Natsume’s Book of Friends. But then, over on Twitter, Deb Aoki had to start showing off her cat manga purchases from Japan.
And I want to read them all! Especially Nekoe Juubee, since I love yokai so much, and yokai cats all the more! Ed Chavez commented:
There is a saying in the Japanese manga world… CATS SELL. Simple. Oh and always launch cat manga in the spring.
Oh, how I want the same to be said in the US! I need more cat manga! Come on Viz! Get Neko Mocchiri on the SigIkki site. I Am A Turtle is not enough! Someone, ANYONE, license the other two! There can never be too much cat manga! Want! Want! WANT!!
Ikki Takes a Holiday
You might have noticed that the Ikki Comix website hasn’t had any updates for a while. Well, that’s because they’re taking the holidays off. There’s no word about when the updates will return, and hopefully this is just what they say, just an intermission and not a break that becomes a hiatus. Ikki’s got some great titles that deserve the exposure that the website gives them. So take this as an opportunity to get caught up!
I’ve decided that Fridays at Manga Xanadu will for now on be Tech Friday! I’ll post all my tech/gadget type stories on this day from now on. To inaugurate this, let’s take a look at the newest story about the Kindle; it’s getting apps.
That’s right. You can’t have a device that connects to the net anymore without having some sort of app store to go with it. And the Kindle is apparently no different. With CES just recently past, and the Apple iMyth–err iSlate to be announced next week, Amazon has to do something to keep to not only stay competitive, but keep their e-Reader on top, with a wave of new devices threatening to wash them away. And apps is the new, hip thing.
Princess Resurrection Volume 3
By Yasunori Mitsunaga
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Age Rating: 16+
Mummies, vampires, and a ghost ship: a typical day in the life of Princess Hime, monster slayer extraordinaire. But when her kid sister visits, Princess Hime may have finally met her match. Now she’s facing her toughest battle of all: sibling warfare!
The campiness we saw in the first two volumes of this series starts to get toned down in the third. The fight between Hime and her brothers goes past simply sending hordes of monsters to something more serious. It’s not going to be all fun and games from here on out. It’s too bad the fan service doesn’t also take a hike.
Deka Kyoshi Volume 1
By Tamio Baba
Age Rating: Teen Plus
Toyama, a tall and beefy detective, goes undercover as a fifth-grade teacher. The previous teacher was discovered on the ground outside of her condo and rumors say she jumped…or was she pushed? Toyama is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, but it seems like he has a more pressing task at hand: his rowdy students. One student, Makoto is a little strange and his eccentricities make him a prime target for bullies. Makoto can actually see the demons inside people, which manifest themselves as visions of horrible monsters. Will this strange student be able to help Toyama?
Sounding more like a take off of Kindergarten Cop, Deka Kyoshi is actually a title that looks at serious issues that kids are facing everyday. It presents them in an interesting and unusual way, but CMX’s overly-conservative age rating of the book may keep it from reaching the audience it is meant and most appropriate for.
Some Advice for Bloggers and Reviewers
Brigid of Mangablog first lists some good tips on how to make you blog more user friendly and possibly improve your Google ranking! Many of them are the same that I’ve heard on the tech podcasts I listen to, so you can be sure the advice is sound. And then found via Twitter, Deb Aoki of About.Manga blog has some sound tips for manga reviewers:
- manga reviewing tip #1: “Did you like it or not? I should have some idea whether it’s worth buying or not after reading your review”
- manga reviewing tip #2: “grab my attention in the first 1-2 paragraphs & give me a reason to keep reading, or I’ll just click away.”
- manga reviewing tip #3: “write like you’re having fun, not writing a term paper.”
- manga reviewing tip #4: “yes, by all means tell me what the story is about — but can you skip the rehash of the entire book?”
Solicitations made the next day has brought the count from 4 to 19. You can check Deb’s twitter feed for them all. There are a lot of good suggestions, though not all are practical for a short review of a title. But I was glad to see that readers do want to see ratings on reviews. Other bloggers have professed an aversion to them, but as I reader I appreciate them, which is why I include them with my own. I hope people find my ratings consistant, as that is something I strive for.
This year is being touted as the year of the slate computer. CES was filled with announcements of new computers that are like over-glorified e-book readers. Of course, e-book readers are also being announced right and left. This Christmas was Amazon’s biggest year for the Kindle so far, and claimed that on Christmas day sold more e-books than print. But the worth of e-readers like the Kindle and Sony’s E-Reader are being questioned. Well, more specifically, the E-Ink technology they use is being questioned. E-Ink techonogy is one of the main reasons prices for e-readers remain high. So, is E-Ink worth the price?
Princess Resurrection Volume 1
By Yasunori Mitsunaga
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Age Rating: Older Teen
Werewolves, demons, monsters, vampires – all these ferocious creatures are afraid of the same thing: the beautiful Princess Hime, an awesome warrior who fights the forces of evil with a chainsaw and a smile. Not only does she look great in a tiara, she has magical powers that allow her to raise the dead. She’s a girl on a mission, and with the help of her undead servant and a supercute robot, there’s no creature of darkness she can’t take down!
Take a Princess with a chainsaw, an androids in maid costume and a bit of a loser student who gains semi-immortality by accident and throw them into a battle with monsters out of a drive-in double feature and you have the first volume of Princess Resurrection, a series that balance’s campy horror with a more serious fight to become the King of Monsters.
Ayu still can’t give up on her love for Mayama, even though his relationship with Rika seems to be deepening. Nomiya’s growing interest in Ayu might be a balm to her broken heart, but he’s moving to Tottori for six months! Is Ayu cursed to suffer hopeless love affairs forever?
This volume is all about the love polygon of Mayama, Ayu, Rika and Nomiya. Ayu seems to be deliberately torturing herself by working with Mayama and Rika, and seeing their relationship grow. Rika is preparing for the Valencia Art Museum Annex, a project she and her late husband submitted for and won, and seems prepared to also make it her last, something Mayama’s not prepared to let Rika do. And Nomiya, the player, finds himself doing something he never thought he would, falling for Ayu.
There’s a lot of drama going on in this volume, especially with Rika. She still haven’t been able to get over her husband’s death, no matter what kind of face she puts on. A flashback from Hanamoto shows what a difficult time she had after the accident, and how she became a ghost of herself, like part of her was lost with Harada. Mayama seems to sense that too, as he watches over Rika, even to the point of invading her privacy by reading her emails. But it doesn’t feel like he’s trying to be controlling or possessive. He senses that she doesn’t want to keep living and fights to keep her alive, despite her. It’s this that seems to make a stronger impression on her than his feelings for her.
Ayu’s drama isn’t any less than Rika, but it isn’t quite as serious either. Her problems are dealt with a lighter tone. Though we see her suffering, her way of dealing with it is by eating. A lot. And when Nomiya gets involved, the humor really ramps up, as Ayu is shown to be surrounded by unicorns, intent on protecting Ayu’s virtue. Very aggressive and mouthy unicorns. It’s a really good balance of humor to the some of the tenser moments in the volume. The unicorn appearances are my favorite scenes.
Honey and Clover continues to be a good romance that balances the drama without going over the melodramatic cliff, and makes a really good read for older audiences. The relationships are realistic, making you want to laugh and cry. This volume picks up right where Shojo Beat left off, so if you were following it in the magazine, this is a must have. Even if you weren’t, Honey & Clover is a title anyone who loves a good story should be reading.
There are a lot more changes coming to Shonen Jump, according to this latest issue. The issue starts with the first of a three part preview of the new manga Toriko. It’s a food manga done shonen style, so everything is exaggerated to the extreme. It is the Gourmet Age, with man is constantly striving to find best ingredients to make the ultimate menu. Toriko is one such man. He is a gourmet hunter. He travels the world catching the most delicious and dangerous foods, since, of course, the best tasting food is in the form of giant monster-like animals. And in best shonen tradition, he is also the best at it. In the first chapter he is hired to catch a Garara Gator. It’s very over the top, with Tokiro looking like a character out of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. He’s all upper body muscle. He also eats. A lot. I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve read the other two parts before rating it. But for now, it feels kind of average.