Category Archives: Family Reviews

Reviews written by my daughters & husband

Jenny's Journal: Twilight: The Graphic Novel Volume 1

When Isabella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret…

Twilight v1By Stephenie Meyer;
Art & Adaptation by Young Kim
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Supernatural/Romance
Price: $19.99
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Buy This Book

The book I’m reviewing now is called Twilight: The Graphic Novel Volume 1. I think I regret reading this, and I may never touch it again after setting my eyes upon it. But hey, as long as I’m allowed to bash it for what it is, I’m cool. Anyways, let’s talk about what the story is about.

Continue reading Jenny's Journal: Twilight: The Graphic Novel Volume 1

Review: Deka Kyoshi Volume 1

Deka Kyoshi 1
Deka Kyoshi Volume 1
By Tamio Baba
Publisher: CMX
Age Rating: Teen Plus
Genre: Drama/Suspense
Price: $9.99
Rating: ★★★★½

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.

Continue reading Review: Deka Kyoshi Volume 1

Property Taste Test

A few days ago on Twitter, @debaoki mentioned she liked Animal Academy, an all ages title from Tokyopop, and thought that kids would like it.  She mentioned she thought the books based on properties, like Disney were boring, but ended by saying, she didn’t know, since she wasn’t the target audience.  Well, I have a daughter that’s in the target audience range, and both Animal Academy and Disney’s Kilala Princess.  So, I gave both books to my youngest daughter Krissy and asked her to read them.  When she finished, I asked her questions about the books.

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Brian’s Spot: Broken Blade Volume 1

Broken Blade Volume 1
By Yunosuke Yoshinaga
Publisher: CMX/Flex Comics
Rating: T+ (Older Teens)
Price: $9.99
ISBN: 978-1-4012-1882-9
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Rygart Arrow is a man with a problem.  He’s one of the tiny minority, perhaps one in a million, who cannot charge the quartz crystals that power all of the machines in his world.  He cannot drive vehicles, he cannot use machinery, he’s what is known as an “unsorcerer”.  However, he is well educated and old college friends with the King and Queen of Krisna, who are facing an incursion from their neighboring nation of Athens.  When they learn that the Athen army is led by Zess, the final part of their college foursome and he’s marching on their borders, they call on Rygart in their time of need.  Can he figure out how to operate the Under-Golem, an ancient magic-less machine in time to save his friends?

Continue reading Brian’s Spot: Broken Blade Volume 1

Krissy’s Korner: Pokemon Adventures Volume 1

Pokémon Adventures Volume 1
By Hidenori Kusaka
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: All Ages
Genre: Game/Action
Price: $7.99
Rating: ★★★★★

Red doesn’t just want to train Pokémon, he wants to be their friend too. Bulbasaur and Poliwhirl seem game. But independent Pikachu won’t be so easy to win over!

What was the story about?

This story is about a 10 year old trainer named Red.  He goes through many adventures.

What did you like about the story?

I loved the part when Bill was picked up by Fearow.  I just couldn’t stop laughing at Mr. Director.  I love the part when a Pidgey poops on Professor Oak.  I think the pokemon Red chose were great because they help him.

What did you dislike about the story?

I just hate Blue for hurting the Kangaskhan and it’s young.

Would you recommend the story to kids your age?  Why?

Yes, because pokemon are so loveable!

Brian’s Spot: Gimmick Volume 3

Gimmick! Volume 3
By: Youzaburou Kanari & Kuroko Yabuguchi
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Action
Age Rating: T+ (Older Teens)
Price: $9.99
ISBN: 1-4215-1780-9
Rating: ★★★★☆

Gimmick! is the story of Kohei Nagase, an up-and-coming young makeup and special effects artist who loves his work and is capable of amazingly intricate work.  If you ever saw the movie F/X, starring Bryan Brown and Brian Dennehy, you get the idea.  If you didn’t see it, go out, rent the movie and watch it right now.  Go.  I’ll wait.

This volume finishes the “Over the Rainbow” story started in the last volume, plus most of a second story, “TB Confidential” and a one-shot.  There aren’t any spectacular reveals in “Over the Rainbow”, it’s obvious it was simply room that prevented it from being printed in the previous volume and it’s a bit disappointing to have waited a couple of months for what is essentially wrap-up.  At least this time, “TB Confidential” ended on a cliffhanger, but I can’t help wondering why they didn’t just put the complete story into this volume and move the one-shot elsewhere?

Continue reading Brian’s Spot: Gimmick Volume 3

Brian’s Spot: Gimmick Volume 2

Gimmick! Volume 2
ByYouzaburou Kanari & Kuroko Yabuguchi
Publsiher: Viz Media
Genre: Action
Rating: T+ (Older Teens)
RRP: $9.99
ISBN: 1-4215-1779-5
Rating: ★★★★☆

Volume 2 opens with the continuation of the Alien Panic storyline, Kohei and his partner Kannazuki are hot on the trail of the criminals who tricked him into constructing a complex alien animatronic creature in the last issue.  Now they’re using the prop as a diversion while they commit crimes and Kohei is none to happy about it.  What’s worse, the criminals have framed Kohei for their crimes!  Next, in The Mask of Del Fuego one-shot, Kohei helps a famous actor disguise himself from a stalker, only to find that she’s not the only one out to get him.  Finally, in the beginning chapters of Over the Rainbow, a young woman named Mone is convinced that Kohei killed her father.  He has to find the truth and discovers it’s closer than he thought.

Honestly, all I can say is if you liked the first volume, you’ll enjoy this one as well, it’s more of the same entertaining stories.  Kohei comes up with an endless array of nifty gadgets and gizmos, most of them pretty over-the-top, to save his never-ending list of clients.  I’ll have to admit, however, that the “oh no, the police are after me” started to run very thin as time wore on in Alien Panic.  Also, I have to wonder where Kohei gets the time to create some of these masterful appliances, does he always wear a blood squib chestpiece, just on the off-chance he might get shot?  Some stories are a bit long on the “ooh, ah” factor, a little short on the logic.

That’s not to say these aren’t fun, light-hearted manga, the character of Kohei is wonderful, Kannazuki is fun to read about, and seeing how they get out of the various jams is always interesting, so long as you don’t think about it too hard.  Just accept that whatever happens, happens, don’t wonder why, don’t try to figure out how, it just does.  If you can do that, you’ll have a good time and blow some time chuckling.

Review: Zombie Powder Volume 4

Zombie Powder Volume 4
By: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media/Shonen Jump Manga
Genre: Action
Ratng: T+ (Older Teen)
Price: $7.99
ISBN: 1-4215-1122-3
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Wolfina fights a solo battle for her brother’s life as Emilio, his body fused to a locomotive racing across the desert, faces a fate worse than death.  Luckily, Gamma and C.T. Smith manage to stop the train just before it plows into Alcantara and we get a happy ending and an obvious way for the story to continue…

Continue reading Review: Zombie Powder Volume 4

Brian’s Spot: Gimmick Volume 1

Gimmick! Volume 1
By Youzaburou Kanari
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: T+ (Older Teens)
Genre: Action
Price: $9.99
ISBN: 1-4215-1778-7
Rating: ★★★★☆

In 1986, the movie F/X, starring Bryan Brown as special effects maestro Rollie Tyler and Brian Dennehy as Lt. Leo McCarthy came out, followed by F/X 2 in 1991.  It was so popular that they made a TV series out of it in 1996 which ran for 40 episodes.  Now we get the manga adaptation… wait, it isn’t?

Could have fooled me.

Gimmick is the story of Kohei Nagase and his crew at Studio Gimmick, a small special effects house that seemingly does work for just about everyone.  Kohei is a makeup wizard that can do just about anything with his silver spatula and people come to him from far and wide for his expertise.  Kohei and his sidekick, stuntman Kannazuki, move from job to job, and rescue the odd actress along the way, as Kohei tries to become the ultimate special effects man.

It’s really impossible not to compare Gimmick to F/X, especially when in the back of the manga, Youzaborou Kanari tries desperately to take credit for the whole idea.  He says he came up with the idea in 2003 and was afraid someone would use the idea before he could find an artist.  You’re about 15 years too late for that, pal.  I wouldn’t say, but your stories come almost entirely from the TV series.  Kohei is working on a theme park house of horrors?  Rollie Tyler did effects on a movie being filmed in a theme part house of horrors.  There’s nothing particularly original about this idea, Kanari can give up claiming that there was.

That said though, Gimmick is actually pretty good.  Yes, Kohei’s effects are really pretty silly and teetering dangerously close to magic, if I had a dime for every time he did something that is ridiculously unrealistic, I’d be rich.  F/X showed, at least in the movies, that effects are a matter of lighting and viewpoint and if you aren’t careful, the whole house of cards comes down. Kohei and his amazing spatula whip up things that can pass any amount of muster in seconds and there are times when you’ll be fighting to maintain your credulity at his magic.

Fair warning, this is an older teen title which means there is a fair bit of gratuitous fanservice, nudity which has no other reason than to make guys living in their mother’s basements drool.  It’s pointless and unnecessary and I was unable to find a single nude shot in the book that actually had to be there for story purposes.

If you’re looking for something silly for a quick read, Gimmick fits the bill.  If you’re looking for a good story about special effects saving the day, just go straight to Best Buy and pick up the two F/X movies.  You’ll be glad you did.

Krissy's Korner: Case Closed Volume 1

Case Closed Volume 1

By Gosho Aoyama
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Teen+
Genre: Mystery
Price: $9.99

Rating: ★★★★★

Parental Note: Yes, this title is rated for older teens, and yes, it has a lot of death and blood.  However, this title is written for a younger audience in Japan, and is closer to an all ages in terms of characters and plot.  That’s why I let my younger daughter read this when she asked if she could.  I don’t have a problem with the blood and death if she doesn’t.

What is the story about?

It’s about a teenage detective that is turnded into a kid, and names himself after famous detective authors.  He solves all the cases the adults can’t.

What did you like about the story?

I like it when Rachel does Kung Fu.  I also like when the dad, Richard Moore would get drunk.  The dog in the girl kidnapping story was cute but also ugly.

What did you dislike about the book?


Would you recommend the story to kids your age?  Why?

No, because of the blood and deaths.

Krissy's Korner: Mail Order Ninja Volume 1

Mail Order Ninja Volume 1

Story by Joshua Elder; Art by Erich Owen
Publisher: Tokyopop
Age Rating: 8-12 (Youth)
Genre: Comedy, Action
Price: $5.99

Rating: ★★★★☆

What is the story about?

It is about Timmy ordering a ninja from a catalog named Jacques Co. Industries.

What did you like about the story?

I like the drawings.  I also like the ninja.  And I like the comic ad for Jacques Co. Industries.

What did you dislike about the story?


Would you recommend the story to kids your age?


Jenny’s Journal: Warriors: The Rise of Scourge

Warriors: The Rise of Scourge

Written by Erin Hunter and Dan Jolley
Art by Bettina Kurkoski
Publisher: Tokyopop (Harper Collins)
Age Rating: Y (10+)
Genre: Fantasy
Price: $6.99

Rating: ★★★★★

Tiny, a small kit with a loving mother and two siblings that dislike him, at one point, visited the forest. He was attacked by the patrol from Thunderclan (Tigerstar attacked him) and Bluefur pulled them away. Tiny went to the city in fear of being thrown into a river. He then stuck a dog tooth into his coller, and told a lie, which made him change his name to Scourge.

I liked this side-issue. It completely changed how I thought about Scourge. Before, I thought of him as an ugly cat with hatred but from this manga, I learn that it was his bad past that shaped him and he’s actually kind of cute.

Did I like it:
100% sure. I definitely like it, Scourge is cute, but his past shaped him into what he had become. He may be small, but he proved his littermates wrong. He killed Tigerstar nine times over and Tigerstar deserved it.

Could there be anything changed:
Nothing, not from my eyes. The manga is as good as perfect, from what I see.

Is this for children:
There is a bit of death, and some blood. As far as I’m concerned, it might be for children if they can handle cats dying.