Category Archives: Articles

Stories and musing about specific manga titles or manga in general.

Crossing Over

I really enjoy Matsuri Akino’s manga.  Pet Shop of Horrors is what hooked me.  Then I checked out the other titles by her available from Tokyopop, and I got a wonderful surprise when I read Genju no Seiza.  In volume 4, Count D from Petshop of Horrors made a cameo appearance!  I loved the cross over.  It worked perfectly with Count D being friends with Sohki, the mythical Kirin.  I really enjoy stories with shared/extended universes, as long as I can read ALL of the stories.

So now, I’m reading Pet Shop of Horrors: Tokyo, and I get to volume 3.  The last story in the volume, Dalsegno, features a cat named Femto who comes to stay at Count D’s Pet Shop for a few days.  While there, he meets another cat, a Sphynx named Amon.  Count D explains to Amon who Femto is, and in that frame is the charactiture of Akino, a kappa, holding a sign saying “Please read the details in the Reisha manga series.”  AHHH!  There’s another Akino series in the PSoH universe?!

The full title of the series is Reikan Shouhou Kabushikigaisha, or Psychic Business Corporation.  It’s about Kanenari Tokiwa, a man that deals with the spirit world.  He exorcises spirits, convincing them to move on to the next world.  Femto is Tokiwa’s cat.

It sounds like a great series, and I can only hope that will be licensed eventually.  Perhaps when Genju no Seiza is complete, and if Tokyopopo is still around, we might see it.

Sometimes a Rose is Just a Rose

Anime News Network has an article about Viz Media having to restructure and layoff some employees in this difficult economy.  In the comments to that story, of course, someone has to drag out the dead horse of piracy.  Every economic problem that a manga or anime company has is not always related back to piracy.  Can we get over this please?

This is a tough economy right now, and things aren’t going to be getting any better any time soon.  Don’t fool yourself.  If Google, the giant of the online world has to lay off people, then you know this is a widespread problem.  And Viz, despite it’s hugely popular properties is not immune to it.  In fact, it may be hit harder than other companies.

Look at Viz’s releases and schedule.  They are about the only company that has several titles that come out every other month.  When money gets tight, you start looking for places to cut corners, and let’s be honest, manga is a luxury item.  If you have to cut down your manga order, you’re going to go for the titles you like most, and that’s not always going to fall in Viz’s favor.

This economy will weed out the men from the boys, both in companies and in titles.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of the “C-listers” start to get longer releases times, if not disappear completely.  Viz night not be able to afford Saint Seiya or Detective Conan, since Naruto and Bleach will have to cover themselves more.

Piracy and/or scanalations are not the cause of Viz’s problems here.  It’s people (me included), having to make choices about what they can continue to afford to buy, and what they truly want to keep reading.  Titles that people bought just for fun aren’t going to be making it onto ordering/shopping lists.  It’s just going to be those that they absolutely, positively have to have.  And it might be surprising to see that alot of Viz titles don’t always make it on the have to list.

Sometimes a rose is just a rose, and a drop in sales is a drop in sales, and not because of piracy.

Manga Doctor Who

Found via AiCN.

Gia of Anime Vice has put together a collection of fanart pictures of the Doctor, manga style.  Most of the pictures are cute, and I really like the strip art on the far right with the companions.  Very funny.  The art features the current 10th Doctor played by David Tennant.  He’s young, cute and very action oriented.  He’d be the perfect subject for a manga adaptation.  Especially as a bishonen, as this rendering shows (credit needed).

Now would be the perfect time for the BBC to captialize on this and allow an OEL manga of the Doctor to be made.  The announcement of the eleventh doctor, Matt Smith, has led to a lot of speculation, with the one that makes the most sense to me is that he will be going goth.  Yes, we’ve had Victorian with the 1st and 8th Doctors, but speculation I’ve heard and seeing what he’s done in the past makes him perfect for the goth style.  And it’s what’s popular with the teenage girls, a demographic Doctor Who hasn’t quite captured yet.  Russell T. Davies has already given the Doctor lots of angst in his 4 year run.  This just seems to be the next natural step.

Doctor Knight anyone?

January 2009 Previews

Just a few comments about this month’s Previews catalog:


Marvel/Del Rey collaboration: I have two words for the Wolverine manga; Emo Logan.  Does the world REALLY NEED more emo Logan?  I mean, honestly…  The art looks great, I’m not gonna knock that.  The Marvel catalog had some pictures of pages, and they did look nice.  But this isn’t going to win anyone over from one side of the manga vs. comics camp, and really hope it was never meant to.  If anything, this will probably fan the flames, but that seems to be the way Marvel likes it.  Not that they want to come up with anything original…

Continue reading January 2009 Previews

Twelve Manga of Christmas: Twelfth Day

“On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Twelve Ecliptic Zodiac Keys,”


Lucy Heartphilia has always dreamt of joining the  guild of mages known as Fairy Tail.  While searching for the guild, she meets up with Natsu Dragonil and Happy, a blue talking cat.  They are both members of Fairy Tail, though Lucy doesn’t know it at first.  They have a few adventures together, where Lucy shows him her magic.  She is a Stellar Spirit practitioner.  She collects keys that allow her to summon spirits from another world and make contracts with them.  The rarest of these keys are the gold Ecliptic Zodiac keys.  At the start, Lucy already has two; Aquarius and Taurus.  Natsu then invites Lucy to join the Fairy Tail guild, where the two are often paired together for assignments.

Fairy Tail is a new series this year, and one I was hooked on from the first volume.  It’s a great action adventure title with lots of comedy as well.  Natsu is very much like Luffy or Goku.  He doesn’t care about a lot of things, but the things that he does, he cares a lot.  Lucy is very outgoing and determined.  The spirits she contracts with in her keys can be pretty entertaining too, talking back, and even refusing to help without some concession from Lucy.  Of course, having a blue talking cat that can grow wings and the promise of dragons doesn’t hurt either.  I really enjoyed this title and it’s quickly become a must have.  If you like stories with fun, action and adventure, then Fairy Tail is the one title you must get!

Eleven Band Member Battle,
Ten Inukami,
Nine-tailed Fox Spirit,
Eight Dragon Priestess Guardians,
Seven Dragon Balls,
Six Girl Volleyball Team,
Five Bronze Saints!
Four Friends in Winter,
Three Siblings Cards,
Two Girls named Nana,
And a One Piece for the Pirate King.”

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The Twelve Manga of Christmas: Eleventh Day

“On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Eleven Band Member Battle,”


Rin Amami has a dream of becoming a singer like his mother, but it’s an impossible dream.  He has the voice of a frog.  He has all but given up on his dream until a chance meeting with a new boyband, the Beatmen and their manager rekindles his hopes.  He may possess the legendary Dragon Voice.  He begins training with the Beatmen, his abrasive personality causing problems, but some how they keep on climbing up the charts.

Dragon Voice is a series I was late coming to, but I’m really glad I did!  A “male version of Jem and the Holograms” doesn’t even come close to doing it justice.  The characters have great personalities that don’t always mesh well, which only increases the fun.  The situations are a little outrageous, but with some of the Tokusatsu shows that have been seen recently, could a Voice Rangers really be that far out?  Dragon Voice also has one of the best volumes I’ve ever read.  In volume 7, there is a big battle of the bands between three groups; The Beatmen, Privee, and Baby Naked.  They are competing for the right to play at Koshien, the big High School Baseball Tournament.  All three bands perform at once, with the audience deciding who’s the best throughout the show.  There are twists and turns as the bands struggle to keep a lead, increasing the tension with every chapter.  I was just WOW’ed by the end.

Dragon Voice has been greatly underrated by both Tokyopop and the fans.  It’s a fun music based title that doesn’t take itself too seriously, so the reader can have fun with the characters.  If you’re a fan of music or Tokusatsu then definitely pick this up.

Ten Inukami,
Nine-tailed Fox Spirit,
Eight Dragon Priestess Guardians,
Seven Dragon Balls,
Six Girl Volleyball Team,
Five Bronze Saints!
Four Friends in Winter,
Three Siblings Cards,
Two Girls named Nana,
And a One Piece for the Pirate King.”

Twelve Manga of Christmas: Tenth Day

“On the Tenth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Ten Inukami,”


Keita Kawahira is from a family of Inukami tamers, people who contract with dog-spirits to vanquish evil, but he is considered a failure since he couldn’t make a contract with one.  One day, his grandmother and head of the clan, tells Keita that there is an Inukami that is willing to contract with him.  He goes to meet Yoko, a beautiful girl with green hair and a big, bushy gold tail.  He’s thrilled at first, until he finds out how difficult Yoko is to handle.

Inukami is based on a series of light novels, and has only one volume out from Seven Seas so far, but I have high hopes for the manga after having seen the 2006 anime (in fansub only).  Inukami is not a harem manga.  It is closer in relation to a series like Urusei Yatsura.  It’s a romantic comedy about Keita and Yoko’s relationship.  She wants to be his girlfriend, but he has a roaming eye.  None of the other females want anything to do with Keita, not that Yoko will let him be with anyone.  She can shoot fire from her finger and teleport anything, though mostly it’s Keita, sans his clothes.  So there’s plenty of comedy, but there are some more serious moments, as Keita and Yoko work out their relationship.  The first volume is just about the creation of this relationship, though at the very end, there is the introduction of Kaoru Kawahira, Keita’s cousin, and his ten female Inukami, all of whom are completely devoted to him.  If you wanted a harem label for this series, pin it on this character.

I really enjoyed this first volume.  The balance of comedy to drama is just right, and the fanservice is evenly metted out as well.  Seeing Keita trying to find his clothes makes up for all the Yoko shots.  It’s definitely more for the older teen audience, at 16+, but it’s definitely worth the read if you like romances that involve denial and pain.

Nine-tailed Fox Spirit,
Eight Dragon Priestess Guardians,
Seven Dragon Balls,
Six Girl Volleyball Team,
Five Bronze Saints!
Four Friends in Winter,
Three Siblings Cards,
Two Girls named Nana,
And a One Piece for the Pirate King.”

Twelve Manga of Christmas: Ninth Day

“On the Ninth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Nine Tails Fox Demon,”


Naruto Uzumaki is a boy that lives in the Hidden Leaf Village.  He is a trouble maker and class clown at the Ninja academy he attends.  Even though he isn’t very good at ninjitsu, he is determined to become the best Ninja in the village and become it’s leader, Hokage.  But Naturo is shunned by the people of the village.  When he was a baby, a demon fox with nine tails attacked the village.  The demon was stopped and sealed inside of Naturo, but not before many people, including the then current 4th Hokage, were killed.  Naturo continues not only towards his goal of becoming the greatest ninja in Hidden Leaf Village, but to also overcome people’s prejudices toward him.

Naruto is a wildly popular manga and anime.  I started reading it in Shonen Jump, though I’d seen it talked about over the internet for a while before that.  After reading a few chapters, I saw why it had garnered such a following.  It is a really well-written story.  There’s good character development, and even though this is a shonen fighting manga, the plot melds it in seamlessly.  There doesn’t need to be convoluted reasons like some villain wants to take over the world.  Animosities from the past seem to drive most of the action, and give them more credence, than the “next strongest villain of the week” that most Shonen titles suffer from.  As Naruto has gone on, it has become more interesting, where even a chase through the forest can be riviting.  And I don’t think it’s bad that it’s central theme is about friends and friendship.  There’s nothing corney about that.  Ignore all the nay-saying about this title.  It deserves the praise it’s received.  Every manga fan should read this.

Eight Dragon Priestess Guardians,
Seven Dragon Balls,
Six Girl Volleyball Team,
Five Bronze Saints!
Four Friends in Winter,
Three Siblings Cards,
Two Girls named Nana,
And a One Piece for the Pirate King.”

Twelve Manga of Christmas: Eighth Day

“On the Eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Eight Dragon Priestess Guardians,”


Akane Motomiya is walking to school, when she hears a voice calling to her from an old well.  When she goes to investigate, she is sucked into the well by Akuram, the oni leader who wants to control Akane and take over Kyou, a land that greatly resembles Kyoto of the Heian period.  Akane, it seems, is meant to be the Priestess of the Dragon God, and is given powers and eight Guardians to protect her.  Along with two her friends Shimon and Tenma, who were sucked in as well, she must protect Kyou from Akuma and his oni before they can return to their time.

Yes, Haruka, Beyond the Stream of Time, another Shojo Beat title.  I really like this title, mostly because it happens in the Heian period.  I love the history and the costumes.  It also has dragons and other legendary creatures, which is another thing I love.  This title has gotten a lot of flack for being so derivative of Fushigi Yuugi, the title that originated the “girl goes back in time and is surrounded by a ton of bishonen”, but that didn’t affect me when I first read it, since I haven’t read Fushigi Yuugi.  The characters are a little one dimensional, and Akane seems rather useless other than to constantly need saving, but I’ve still enjoyed the stories as a guity pleasure.  It’s one of many I read.

Seven Dragon Balls,
Six Girl Volleyball Team,
Five Bronze Saints!
Four Friends in Winter,
Three Sibling Cards,
Two Girls named Nana,
And a One Piece for the Pirate King.”

Twelve Manga of Christmas: Seventh Day

“On the Seventh Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Seven Dragon Balls,”


Goku is a strange boy with a tail and super strength living by himself in the mountains.  One day, a girl named Bulma finds him while she is searching for a legendary object: a dragon ball.  If you collect all seven and call forth the dragon, he will grant you one wish.  Goku has one of the balls, left to him by his Grandfather.  He agrees to let Bulma borrow it, but wants to go along with her on her journey to make sure the dragon ball remains safe.  The pair then embark on a strange and exciting journey to collect the rest of the dragon balls, but they seem to have some competition.

Dragon Ball (the original series, not Z) has the distinction of being the first manga I ever bought, in English or Japanese.  I was into Dragon Ball well before it became the phenomenon it did here.  And I never like Z.  I stopped picking up the manga when they started heading off into space.  The first 16 volumes are all I need.  Goku was cute and fun, with his clueless innocence.  I’ll always like him best small and with his tail.  I liked Dragon Ball when it was an action comedy.  It still had the typical shonen issues of Goku having to fight bigger and stronger foes, but Toriyama did it in a way that it didn’t get boring or repetitive.  The fights didn’t drag on in the beginning, and there was more going on than just fights.  Dragon Ball is another classic that everyone should check out, but feel free to stop after volume 16.

Six Girl Volleyball Team,
Five Bronze Saints!
Four Friends in Winter,
Three Sibling Cards,
Two Girls named Nana,
And a One Piece for the Pirate King.”

Twelve Manga of Christmas: Sixth Day

“On the Sixth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a Six Girl Volleyball Team,”


Tomboy Nobara Sumiyoshi has one passion in life; Volleyball.  Her mother, however, wants her to be the girlish hostess of the family’s ryotei (Old fashion Japanese restaurant).  Nobara runs away from home to try and fulfill her dream, but her mother tries to stop her, going so far as to try and force Nobara’s younger sister to take Nobara’s place.  The three make a deal; Nobara will play Volleyball until she graduates, when she will take over the ryotei, until then her younger siste will help out.  In the meantime, Nobara has to bring back the Girl’s Volleyball team at her chosen High School, Crimson High, and get the minimum required 6 girls to form a competitive team, all while playing dorm mother to the Boy’s Volleyball team.

This is another series I found through Shojo Beat.  I wouldn’t be reading shojo manga if it wasn’t for Shojo Beat. I didn’t really like this title at first.  I’m not much for sports, and all the romantic drama that was thrown out at first didn’t really interest me.  It wasn’t until the title got into some serious drama around Nobara trying to improve her playing that I started showing some interest.  While I’m not a Volleyball fan, the development of the Girl’s team and the characters that make it up make for some good dynamics.  They have lofty goals, but show to have the determination to reach them.  It’s a title to definitely look at for good sports drama and melodramatic romance.

Five Bronze Knights!
Four Friends in Winter
Three Sibling Cards
Two Girls named Nana
And a One Piece for the Pirate King.”

Saint Transformers!

As you can tell from my last post, I really like Saint Seiya, and not just the manga.  Saint Seiya also has an anime, and it’s where I was first introduced to the story.  One of the things that really pulled me into the series was the opening animation and music.  Here it is:

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Being a child of the eighties, I also really loved watching Transformers (G1 of course).  Apparently, other people share my loves, and one person, with a lot of talent (and time on their hands) has taken these two great things and made them great together!  I give you Saint Transformers!

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