Category Archives: Family Reviews

Reviews written by my daughters & husband

Krissy's Korner: Gon Volume 1

Gon Volume 1 at Amazon.comGon Volume 1

by Masahi Tanaka
Publisher: CMX
Rating: Teen
Genre: Action/Adventure
Price: 5.99

Rating: ★★★☆☆

What was the story about?

It was about Gon and other animals. Gon sees a hyena, coyote, bob cat, lion, bears, fish and beavers.

What did you like about the story?

I liked the second story when Gon shares with the lion. I also like how Gon made his mansion.

What did you dislike about the story?

I hate it in the story with the baby eagles, when Gon can’t fly, because he is a dinosaur. I also hate Gon’s violence.

Would you recommend this story to kids your age?

No. There is too much violence

Brian’s Spot: Project D.O.A. Volume 1

Project D.O.A. Volume 1Project D.O.A. Volume 1
By Jeffrey Nodelman & Wagner Fukuhara
Publisher: Tokyopop
Genre: Action
Rating: 13+
RRP: $9.99

Rating: ★★★★½

Reviewed by Brian Henderson

I’ll do this review, even though I don’t really consider Project D.O.A. to be a manga. To me, and some may disagree, it needs to be written and published initially in Japan in order to be a manga. Graphic novels that come from Korea or China or France or the United States, while they may be generally modeled after the manga artform, are not manga, any more than animation that comes from anywhere but Japan is not anime.

That said though, Project D.O.A. is from one of the minds that brought you the wonderful Cartoon Network show Venture Bros.and in a lot of ways has that kind of vibe. In other ways, it strikes me as similar in feel to Buckaroo Banzai and maybe a little bit like Crusher Joe although officially, Jeff Nodelman attributes his inspirations to films like Indiana Jones, Flash Gordon and the works of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. In any case, it’s a not-quite-serious romp around the world, adventure-style.

Meet Dr. Dylan Oliver (also the name of Jeff Nodelman’s real life son) and his team of scientists and adventurers. Like Buckaroo Banzai, they seem to be doing science because it’s fun, not necessarily because it’s profitable. Unlike BB however, they’re not fabulously wealthy where they can just do whatever they want with no thought of the consequences, there’s a lot of worrying about the money. Luckily, Dr. Oliver always has a plan, some cockamamie scheme for finding lost treasure in some far-off locale that will give them enough cash for their short-term scientific schemes.

As the book opens, an experiment goes horribly awry and one of his team, Lilly, loses her life when she’s trapped in the same room as an unshielded nuclear reactor. Wracked with guilt, Dr. Oliver thinks that maybe he can find a way to bring her back to life but his plan will be expensive and dangerous and the only way he can figure to fund his little experiment is to drag the whole team around the world in search of a lost temple hidden inside an active volcano on a deserted island. Of course, there are Nazis involved. Why does it always have to be Nazis? Read the volume and find out.

Project D.O.A. really is a sort of fun, mindless romp through campy adventure-film tropes but it’s clear that Nodelman not only recognizes them as tropes, but he tips them on their heads often enough that what happens is unexpected. In fact, a lot of the fun is trying to figure out where the various ideas, from the giant-gorilla-filled temple to the Amazonian warriors, come from. It’s not all that deep, it won’t keep you in suspense, it certainly won’t win awards for realistic artwork, but it all comes together into something that’s fun to read and interesting enough to hold your interest and make you look forward to the next volume. I recommend it.

Krissy's Korner: Gon Volume 2

Gon: Volume 2
By Masashi Tanaka
Publisher: CMX
Genre: Action/Adventure

Rating: Teen
Price: $5.99

Rating: ★★★★★

Storyline:

Gon meets many animals, which were a Giant Tortoise, a Shark, Buffalo, a Hard Tick, a Warthog, Baboons, an Elephant, a Hedgehog, a Squirrel Monkey, a Tamandua, an Ocelot, and a whole bunch of Penguins!

What I liked:

I liked it when Gon chased the squirrel. I liked how angry Gon was drawn. I also liked how Gon played with the Penguins.

What I didn’t like:

I hated it when Gon gave one piece of a banana to the Shark and how he behaved. It was a bit violent.

Would you recommend this to kids your age?

Yes. It’s not too violent and Gon is cute!

Jenny's Journal: Dragon Drive Volume 4

Dragon Drive Volume 4
By Kenichi Sakura
Publisher: Viz Media

Genre: Fantasy
Rating: All Ages
Price: $7.99

Rating: ★★★★★

Storyline

The three heroes are in Yaudim, the most dangerous place in Rikyu, eating. Reiji is ready to go into the first round in the tournament when they meet Taiyo. He’s the Reigning Champion Sun Wols, and he’s waiting in the second round. After saving Maiko, they head back to their hotel. The next morning, a team of rookies have beaten Taiyo. Reiji gets extremely pumped.

Review

This one was awesome. I liked Taiyo and the way Reiji and Hikaru battled. Rokkaku was also funny, how he loved to drink and party. The flashbacks got me looking at them again and again.

What I liked about it

It was cute. Rokkakku’s flashback was so funny as his friend picked on him. Taiyo was pretty good as well.

What I didn’t like

Not even uno. (one, for those who can’t read Spanish.)

What you could do to make it better

Nada. (nothing)

Is this suitable for children?

There’s blood in it, but yes, yes it is.

Brian’s Spot: Phantom Volume 1

Phantom Volume 1
By Ki-Hoon Lee/Seung-Yup Cho
Publisher: Tokyopop
Rating: 13+
Genre: Action/Mecha
RRP: $9.99

Rating: ★★★★½

Reviewed by Brian Henderson

K is a mech pilot for the Neo Seoul Police, chasing down terrorists in his TC (Tactical Costume) in the near future. This is after the deadly “Meteo Rain” that showered the Earth, toppling governments and bringing about the rise of the mega-corporations that now rule the planet. K has never really given much thought to his job but when an arrest goes horribly wrong, he’s trapped in a world that wants him dead and forced to side with the terrorists against the megacorps at the helm of a new type of TC, controlled by the AI Cerebus which identifies K as it’s sole pilot.

Continue reading Brian’s Spot: Phantom Volume 1

Jenny's Journal: Dragon Drive Volume 3


Dragon Drive Vol 3

by Keiichi Sakura
Published by Viz Media
Genre: Fantasy, Gaming

Rating: All Ages

Grade: B

Storyline

After a battle against Rokkaku, he joins Reiji and friends to compete in the Dragonic Heaven. As time goes on, Reiji meets two small children, Lyn and Sue, abusing a small water dragon, along with Chibi. Reiji battles their dragons and defeats them. Time goes on, his team meets the same two children, engulfed in darkness. After Reiji recovers from anger, He tries to save the children AND go to the next round.

Review

A new character! Okay but seriously, a new “fun” character to the series! In Volume 3 of Dragon Drive, we see Reiji and a powerhouse of Chibi, fueled with anger. There’re some mysterious people creating a dark aura. The tournament looks like quite a challenge. And the rest will be revealed.

What I liked about it

Angered Chibi looked really awesome. Huge teeth stuck out of his mouth and there was some pretty huge muscles. I also liked the suspense the manga held. I think it was pretty cool.

What I didn’t like

Berserker Reiji and Chibi kind of freak me out, even if they look cool.

What you could do to make it better

Nothing.

Is this suitable for children?

Yes.

Brian’s Spot: Junk: Record of the Last Hero Volume 1

Not to be left out, my husband Brian is contributing reviews of the manga he reads as well. The infection is spreading…


Junk: Record of the Last Hero Volume 1
By Kia Asamiya
Publisher: DrMaster Publications
Rating: 15+
RRP: $9.95
Rating: ★★★★☆

Reviewed by Brian Henderson

Hiro is a troubled high school student who has refused to go to school ever since he had a terribly traumatic fight with the school bullies. One day, he happens across a website looking for a monitor for a revolutionary new product called only “JUNK”. Once he receives his “JUNK” though, his life will never be the same. JUNK turns out to be a super-powered suit of armor that allows Hiro to do things beyond his wildest dreams. Just one problem, his dreams turn out to be anything but heroic, in fact his dreams are very selfish and self-serving, causing problems not only for the people in the city where he lives, but for those closest to him. Add to that the mysterious appearance of another JUNK suit who isn’t too happy with his he’s chosen to live his new life…

My biggest problem with most superhero comics these days is I find them ridiculously unrealistic. Yes, I know that looking for realism in a comic book seems a bit silly, but I do find it really nonsensical that so many teenagers, when given super powers, automatically become selfless superheroes, dedicating their lives to saving the world without a moment’s thought to what they might get out of all this power.

JUNK isn’t like that. JUNK portrays things the way I’ve always thought they’d realistically be. If you took your average teenager and gave them powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, do you seriously think that they wouldn’t abuse those powers? Heck, if Superboy was real, he’d be peeping at girls in the school showers, showing off in front of the guys and making himself look good to the cheerleaders. That’s how teenagers think and act and that’s exactly how Hiro acts when he gets his JUNK suit. Without question, he’s a messed up kid, he hates authority, he’s got a vendetta against the bullies who beat him up, he’s obsessed with an idol singer, at no time does the idea of fighting for truth, justice and the Japanese way ever occur to him and that’s the way it should be!

Volume 1 deals with Hiro’s first tenative steps out in his new JUNK suit. Being an impulsive teen, he ignores the manual and just goes for it, stumbling around and learning as he goes, never once thinking about the consequences of his actions. By the middle of this volume, he’s taken bloody revenge against the bullies, is being hunted by the police, he’s considered a public menace, his entire life is falling down around his ears and it’s all his fault. Then he meets the second JUNK suit and it’s operator is not impressed with the way that Hiro has been handling his responsibilities. Hiro is unstable, liable to fly off the handle at the smallest provocation and isn’t concerned in the least about how his actions impact others. He has a long, long way to go to learn how to be a hero.

In the end, perhaps the only negative to the story is that it’s all way too convenient. He’s in the right place at the right time to get the right suit so he can learn the right lessons and do the right thing. Yes, it’s a set-up, but you have to struggle at times to suspend your disbelief. While we haven’t seen anything about the company that made the suits, you have to wonder why they haven’t done anything about their monitor trashing downtown with their proprietary JUNK suit although I’m sure that will come into play somewhere down the road. For now, you have the media wondering just where these amazing suits came from and why they keep knocking down buildings and causing destruction wherever they go.

If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary in the superhero genre or you’re jaded by the four-color spandex concept, check out JUNK, it gives a much more realistic view and plenty of action to keep any fan happy. 9.0

Krissy's Korner: Let's Find Pokemon!

Let’s Find Pokemon! Special Complete Edition: Find Pokemon SP ED

Art by Kazunori Aiha
Published by Viz Media/Viz Kids
Genre: Game

Rating: All Ages

Grade: A+

Can you catch all your favorite Pokemon hidden in the pages?

Review

I really liked all the drawings. I like the mazes. I liked the way they turned the pokemon upside down to make it harder to find. I liked the pokemon stories at the end.

The “Showdown on Blastoise Island” and “Pikachu Forest” was hard. I want to see more pokemon in the next book.

Jenny's Journal: Dragon Drive Volume 2

Dragon Drive Volume 2

by Keiichi Sakura
Published by Viz Media
Genre: Fantasy, Gaming

Rating: All Ages

Grade B

Storyline

Reiji, recalling the events from last battle, wants to train so he does so in a secret training room that Agent L, the female associate that watches the battles and presents who is in the game, shows him. He trains there, determined not to give up. Soon he starts using class time for naps, and also starts avoiding Yuniko. Yuniko is starting to get worried when she sees Agent L and Reiji walking together down the halls. She gets jealous and follows with Hagiwara being dragged away by her. When they enter, a crazy dragon appears and attacks them. Reiji simply defeats the dragon, leaving his friends in amazement. Later, they’re having Summer Vacation when a mysterious girl comes and takes them from Dragon Drive to some place mysterious.

Review

Reiji and Chibi train and sync together so much, Reiji is able to control Chibi’s power. Then comes a surprise which twists the story up. It keeps the reader going, giving them motivation to read more. It’s happening to me right now. My brain is telling me “Read more Dragon Drive!”I simply CANNOT wait for more.

What I liked about it

I liked how Reiji could easily control Chibi’s power. He could take down a dragon in a few simple hits! Amazing, it was simply amazing.

What I didn’t like

Absolutely nothing. I cannot think of ONE THING that it does not have.

What you could do to make it better?

Look up one statement.

Is this suitable for children?

Yes. The most simple answer, yes.

Jenny's Journal: Dragon Drive Volume 1

Dragon Drive Volume 1

by Keniichi Sakura
Published by Viz Media
Genre: Fantasy, Game

Rating: All Ages

Grade: A

Storyline

This high-schooler, named Reiji, is a video game player. He’s late to his school most of the time and his friend, Yukino, scolds him for it. One day she shows him this awesome game called Dragon Drive, a virtual game where the player is chosen his dragon and will fight other dragons for points to level up their character. His dragon is a sleepy, lazy one. He eventually calls him “Chibi” in a sudden match with this guy named Hagiwara, who seems to love Yukino. When in a situation where he would lose, he links with Chibi and Chibi levels up, and knocking out the opponent. The girl saying who’s in suspects he’s “special” and something will come out from this.

Review

Dragon Drive is a funny manga. The character’s personalities and the drawings are nice. Chibi, the little dragon, is quite funny, not obeying Reiji’s commands. Even though he just wants to be cool, he can’t get his act together. But this is when the cool part happens; he and Chibi can synch together in tight situations. It’s a good manga, I can’t wait to read more.

What I liked about it

The cuteness factor. Chibi is.. well, chibi and the funny scenes with Reiji drooling over the point of being ‘cool’ make me laugh. It’s funny overall and it makes the reader want more. I also like the suspense of when it ends a chapter and the reader will want more. After amazing battles, Reiji wants more out of being cool with Chibi. No one believes him though, which makes it even more funny.

What I didn’t like

In general, nothing. But if I was to get picky, I’d say that Chibi leveled up too quickly, but that’s just me. Other than that, there’s basically nothing wrong about it, from my eyes anyways.

What could make it better?

Let the proccess of Chibi leveling up quickly… go a bit slower. Just a teensy bit. Even though the factor of Reiji losing 30 times levels it.. I still say make it go slower by a bit.

Is this suitable for children?

Yes, there is no mature content, no cussing, no references to sexual content. There isn’t any PG content as far as I can see, if there is, I don’t see it.