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.

This Week in Manga 12/26/09-01/01/2010

Honey Hunt goes on Hiatus

Honey Hunt, one of the last manga to be added to Shojo Beat before Viz canceled it, is going on hiatus in Japan.  Mangaka Aihara has decided to take a break from Honey Hunt and is debuting a new manga in the same magazine.  This is both good and bad for fans of Honey Hunt.  It’s good, because it will make catching up with the manga easier.  The 6th volume just came out in Japan, and the 4th volume won’t come out in the US until March.  Viz apparently is keeping the long time between release days which means it may be another year before we get to the 6th volume.  But it’s bad since there no indication as how long the hiatus will be.  It could be a long stretch before Aihara picks it up again, and then a while after that before another volume comes out.  Ask Hunter x Hunter and D.N. Angel fans about that.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 12/26/09-01/01/2010

Review: Heaven's Will

Heaven’s Will
By Satoru Takmiya
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Supernatural/Romance
Price: $8.99
Rating: ★★★★½

Sudou Mikuzu has a very special talent – she can see ghosts.  And because of this predisposition, she’ become a magnet for all sorts of unwelcome monsters.  Luckily for her she’s just met Seto, a friendly, cross-dressing young exorcist.  Sudou needs protection from all the creepy phantoms bugging her, and Seto needs to practice his exorcism skills.  consequently, the pair decides to team up and help each other.  In return, Sudou promises to back a cake every time a ghost gets zapped!

At first glance, Heaven’s Will appears to be a typical supernatural romance title with a cross-dressing twist.  Once you start reading though, you’ll find that it’s actually the start of an interesting that should have been given more of a chance to develop.  The characters really grown on you, and the story, which has some sad twists to set it up, could have gone on to do so much more.

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Christmas Haul

Well, the most stressful part of the holiday season is over!  Christmas has come and gone, and all that’s left are wads of wrapping paper, stray bows and lots and lots of manga!  At least that’s how my Christmas turned out.  Check it out!

Christmas Manga

How’s that for a good haul?  In fact, I missed a few!  Pig Bride Volume 2 as well as Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 20-21 should have been included in that picture too.  12 volumes in all.  Woo Hoo!

Now, while manga is nice and all, and I do appreciate getting the books I did, what I really loved wasn’t something that was purchased but that was made.  My husband works with wood, and he made me these four wooden scroll puzzles, all from oak in different finishes.  Aren’t they awesome?


So, what’s you get for Christmas?

This Week in Manga 12/20-12/25/2009

More On Translation

Shannon Garrity over at The Comics Journal weighs in on the translation issue.  She brings to focus the whole issue of literal vs literary, which is really a fan vs professional debate.  Fans take a more literal approach, which can be claimed to be more authenitic, though it could also be that they don’t have the writing sense to make the translations smoother.  Good writing isn’t something that comes naturally, as the internet has shown.  But, then again, sometimes trying to make a title more “friendly” to western audiences can backfire.  Whether too much or not enough, it’s still a no-win situation for publishers and professional translators who want to please both the current otaku fanbase and try to attract new readers.  But here’s my concern.  How will manga ever reach more general audiences if it continues to keep clunky translations?  Who’s going to take it serious or for being more than a niche genre if it keeps catering to the niche fanbase?  You’ve got to cut the cord someday.  I’ll take a good read over a literal read any day.  Just don’t westernize the names.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 12/20-12/25/2009

7 Underrated Tokyopop Titles

Tokyopop has been under fire a lot recently, some times rightfully so.  But their catalog of titles shouldn’t be.  For whatever reason, some of their really good and entertaining titles haven’t gotten the love and attention they deserve.  I want to rectify some of that now.  Unfortunately, some of the titles in this list are out of print, and incomplete.  But they may still be available through online retailers and places like eBay or

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Review: Comic Volume 7-8

Comic Volumes 7-8
By Ha SiHyun
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Romance
Price: $10.99
Rating: ★★½☆☆

Comic is a manhwa that is very much the typical high school romance. It’s stuffed full of melodrama, which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. It’s the fact that none of the characters are likable enough to carry it off  and the story veers too far of it’s tracks that makes it bad.

Continue reading Review: Comic Volume 7-8

And We Have a Winner!

Yes, my first manga giveaway has ended, and we do indeed have a winner. After the cut off of Friday evening, there were 8 contestants for the prize. My youngest daughter, bewildered when I called her to stick her hand in a pot and pull out a folded piece of paper, drew the name and made Lee the lucky winner! Congratulations!

I want to thank everyone that participated. I got some great feedback and will be implementing most of the suggestions I got. So expect to see more reviews, and I will continue with the Shonen Jump/Yen Plus Drive By reviews. And just so you know Lee, my husband does contribute reviews to my blog. They are prefaced with “Brian’s Spot” and are marked in the Review Archive with a (BS). :-)

I also want to thank First Second and Good Comics for Kids blog for helping to make this happen.

This Week in Manga 12/12-12/18/09

The End of Time in Japan

Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ manga series will end serialization with the January issue of LaLa DXHaruka, which was licensed by Viz and was serialized in Shojo Beat until the magazine’s cancellation, is a reverse harem manga and based on a playstation game.  The series, which started in 2000 will end at 16 volumes.  Here in the US, Viz has released the first 6 so far.  Haruka was a series I enjoyed in Shojo Beat, but found the collected volumes to be less interesting.  It remains to be seen if the series can continue without the support of Shojo Beat.  I think it will be on a long release schedule.  It’s not a bad title, but it’s not a great one either.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 12/12-12/18/09

Digital Manga: 2009 Year in Review

For a long time digital manga has mostly been in the realm of scanlation, but publishers have slowly been moving online.  Tokyopop had been putting it’s OEL manga up as chapter previews and some full volumes for promotion, and Netcomics has always had it’s chapters available for a fee.  This year though, we’ve seen an explosion of digital manga online and in e-book form.  Let’s take a look back at what 2009 has brought us.

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Review: Bakegyamon Volume 3

Bakegyamon v3
BakéGyamon Volume 3
By Mitsuhisa Tamura
Publisher: Viz Media/Vizkids
Age Rating: All Ages (8+)
Genre: Game
Price: $7.99
Rating: ★★★★☆

The battle begins in earnest as the final 32 contestants are paired up tournament-style.  With the playing field a mock Tokyo Tower, there’s only one way to go…up!  Sanshiro will now have to use his battle skills against the very people he wants to befriend!

This volume falls into the tournament style of fighting that most shonen titles eventually get to.  But unlike those shonen titles that become tired and uninteresting in their constant need to power up, this volume doesn’t fall into that trap.  Sanshiro remains true to himself, and while his goal is now to win the game, he won’t sacrifice his monsters or having fun to do it.

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Manga Drive By: Yen Plus December 2009

Anthology18A-211x300I wasn’t impressed with the initial release of Yen Plus when it debuted last year, but the last couple of issues of the second volume has really started to turn me around.  I really enjoyed this latest issue, quite a bit more than the latest Shonen Jump.  The issue starts off with an editorial about light novels and how and why the covers have been different than the original releases.  It’s a reason that makes perfect sense for a publisher; appeal to a wider audience.  Pure and simple.  Maximum Ride was missing again this month.  The artist, NaRae Lee, has been sick.  I don’t mind Maximum Ride. It’s a good title, just not for me, so I didn’t miss it all that much.

Continue reading Manga Drive By: Yen Plus December 2009