Category Archives: Reviews

Mermaid Saga Volume 1-2: Manga Movable Feast

Yuta was a simple fisherman until a fellow fisherman brought some special meat to share. It was the flesh of a mermaid, said to grant eternal youth and longevity. But it can also be a deadly poison. For Yuta, it was the former. Hundreds of years later, Yuta searches for a mermaid that might be able to help him return to normal.

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With the Light Volume 1

To new mother Sachiko Azuma, her baby boy is the light of her life. Accordingly, she names him Hikaru, Japanese for “to be bright.” Eager to raise her son, Sachiko gradually begins to notice that Hikaru seems a bit different from other children. He is reluctant to be held or hugged, and his growth and development appear slow. Sachiko’s suspicions are confirmed when it is suggested that Hikaru, at a year-and-a-half, may be deaf. A specialist, however, reaches a different diagnosis: autism.

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One Fine Day Volume 2-3

With No-Ah’s childhood friend/tormentor added to the mix, all sorts of new adventures are brewing at the green-roofed house. Nanai the dog, Guru the cat, and Rang the mouse have cooked up even more fun this time around: visiting the library, searching for treasure–and tailing Rang on her first date?! But life isn’t always strawberries and cream — it’s all kinds of experiences that make happy times taste even sweeter.

By Sirial
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: All Ages
Genre: Fantasy/Slice of Life
Price: $10.99
Rating: ★★★½☆

New and more permenant characters open up the story opportunities as Aleriu becomes a regular, Rang gets a suitor in the form of a stray cat, and No-Ah takes on a renter, the just-as-poor girl Lili. Even with all the new friends, Nanai, Guru and Rang still find all kinds of fun and adventures to go on their own.

The days continue to roll by in these next, and last, two volumes of One Fine Day. Aleriu, who was introduced in the first volume, now lives with No-Ah and the animals. Aleriu has a knack for finding (or creating) trouble. A magician like No-Ah, he is better skilled and tends more toward the dark side. He like to place curses on people, which has become his livelihood, and has a dark shadow living in his room that is always laughing. While his pranks in the first volume were annoying, Aleriu is toned down, with more threatening looks and less actual follow through. Captain, the gray cat who takes a liking to Rang, is very soft-hearted for a street cat. He likes cute things, so of course he falls for Rang. This human form is a tall, rather bishonen man, making walking and holding Rang’s hand rather difficult.

The last new addition is Lili, who is introduced in volume 3. She seems to be as poor as No-Ah, though we never see if she has a job. She moves in to the green-roofed house since it’s the cheapest room she can find, despite discouragement from the real estate company. She takes the weirdness of No-Ah’s house and roommates fairly well, and even ends up not minding finding Aileru in her bed. I really didn’t see a point to adding her to the cast so late, unless the series ended sooner than expected. Lili only appears in three stories, and only does anything in two.

There are some very enjoyable stories in these two volumes. “Night with the Moon” has a fairy tale feel to it, where the animals try to help the moon and a star return to the sky. “Talking About You” is funny as the animals all complain about Aleriu. “Mabrit’s Treasure” and “Home Sweet Home” have an innocent magic to them, as the animals go on a treasure hunt set up by No-Ah and Aileru, and we finally hear from the house they have all been living in. The dancing furniture was fun and the what the house had to say was sweet. “Little Voyage” tells of Rang’s past and is a real bittersweet tale. “Summer Explorer” shows the animals exploring the woods near their home and getting into general trouble. “La Vie En Rose” is another magical tale of everyone working together to fix up a doll for a little girl. My favorites are “Mabrit’s Treasure”,”Summer Explorer” and “Home Sweet Home”.  The ending of “Summer Explorer” was especially heart-warming.

Overall One Fine Day is an enjoyable series. There is nothing objectionable in it, and the simple, straightforward stories make it great material for younger readers. The art is cute, and the kids are especially so when they are in their animal forms. The stories are fun and light, and makes a good pick-me-up after a stressful day.

Tena On S-String Volume 4-5

Now in France at one of Arun’s family’s homes, Kyousuke starts trying to control his new tuner abilities, but things don’t go so well. The group goes to find Tena’s teacher Kokyuu for help, but are attacked by Bell Lyre Ricercare, who turns out to Mezza’s sister as well as head of the 5th Ochestra and Tuner Intelligence. Escaping her traps, the group is then caught be Lord Chord who locks them up while the Tuner Headquarter’s plan is finally put into action. A revolution within the Tuner organization stops the plans, and the truth about Kyousuke’s past is finally revealed.

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Aria Volumes 1-2: Manga Movable Feast

One-hundred and fifty years after its terraforming, Aqua, the planet formerly known as Mars, is now almost completely covered in water. A young girl named Akari Mizunashi lives in the city of Neo-Venezia, an exact replica of the old Italian city of Venice, where she works as a gondolier tour guide. While giving people tours of her beautiful city, Akari learns to appreciate her city when she helps an elderly tourist find his daughter, teaches a friend some history about ancient Venice and discovers the secret behind Aqua’s unusual sun showers.

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The Dark Hunters Volume 2

Kyrian is an immortal Dark-Hunter who just lost his Dark-Hunter powers and along with it, his immortality. Now he is faced with the chance to regain not only his humanity, but his very soul. The problem is that it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Desiderius is closing in, and if Kyrian and Amanda are going to save humanity, Kyrian must take the war to his enemy–or it may be too late.

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Chi’s Sweet Home Volume 3-4

Chi’s adventures continue as she meets the Yamadas friend from Hokkaido and their very active daughter Juli, goes hunting with Blackie and nearly gets caught by the super. But salvation comes in the form of a billboard that advertises apartments that welcome pets. So it’s an all new adventure for Chi to move, get comfortable in a new place and meet a variety of new friends.

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Speed Racer vol 1-2 and Project X: Cup Noodle

Speed Racer: Mach GoGoGo volume 1-2

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By Tatsuo Yoshida ♦ Digital Manga Publishing ♦ Teen ♦ Action ♦ $39.99
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Speed Racer is the son of famous race car engine builder “Pops” Racer. Speed wants to be a race car driver. Pops thinks it’s too dangerous. Speed decides to enter races anyway with a car Pops designed and build for him, the Mach 5. With the help of his girlfriend Trixie, best friend and mechanic Sparky, and some interference by his little brother Spridle and his pet/friend Chim Chim, Speed enters dangerous races to prove to Pops and the world that he is the best race car driver in the world.

This title is an unabridged printing of the original Mach GoGoGo manga, and was published to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the series. The stories in the manga involve Race participating in some dangerous race where his skills as a driver are tested, and he always defeats the villain. most of these were animated in the cartoon, and reading them was like going back in time to my childhood. It was very nostalgic. I could almost hear the voices from the cartoon as I read the chapters, fast talking and all. I really enjoyed the trip back to my childhood.

There were some problems though. First and foremost, these two volumes were more Speed Racer than Mach: GoGoGo. All the names in the stories used the localized, goofy American names, such as Inspector Detector. I really wanted to see a more accurate translation, with the characters using their Japanese names. This was a big disappointment. Also, Tatsuo Yoshida took some serious short cuts, reusing not just panels, but entire pages of art and dialog. In the chapters with Racer X, “Challenge of the Masked Racer” and “Most Dangerous Race”, the exact scenes with Speed and Racer X meeting are used, with the same dialog, to the point that I thought it was a printing error.

Overall, Speed Race: Mach Gogogo is a great piece of nostalgia for people in their forties, who remember sitting in front of the TV, sometimes without their parents knowledge or permission, and watching the cartoon. The hardback binding gives it a prestigious look. But that’s all it’s really worth; a piece of childhood to look back on and remember fondly.

Review copy provided by publisher

Project X: Cup Noodle

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By Tadashi Katoh ♦ Digital Manga Publishing ♦ All Ages ♦ Educational ♦ $12.95
Rating: ★★★★½

In the early 1970s, the Instant Ramen industry was like a war zone with many companies competing for market share and profits. Momofuku Andou, director of Nissan Foods Corporation had an idea for a revolutionary product to make instant ramen fast, convenient and portable. He assembled a team of researchers to come with this product, starting with the container, through noodle frying and condiments. Despite the many hurdles they had to get over, Andou remained resolute and finally created and sold a product that is known the world over; Cup Noodle.

Project X: Cup Noodle tells a fascinating tale of determination and ingenuity. Unlike Project X: Seven Eleven, this title really focuses on the people as well as the product. Not only do we see the research team working on the problems of coming up with a new container or taste testing the noodles, but we also see how the work affects their personal life. We see Masahiro Sasaki having nightmares of being buried in containers, and how troubled Toshiko Matsumoto was that her new husband Kunio wasn’t eating her cooking. These moments really made the title more personable, and the reader care more about the people and their project. The director of Nissan Foods, Momofuku Andou is shown as a real driving force for the project, but also as a fatherly figure to the research team. He always had some bit of advise, or would ask questions that would get the team’s mind working. Sometimes he had to taunt a little, but everything he did motivated the team to create the product he envisioned. He wasn’t idle either. Andou led the sales promotion on the “Pedestrian Paradise” in Ginza, and was just as enthusiastic there as with his team.

Project X: Cup Noodle is not only a story that is educational, it is also entertaining. The story moves at a good pace, never lingering too long on a problem. The team members are alway seen doing something such as experimenting with new techniques, and not just sitting around discussing the issues. I really enjoyed the epilogue, which listed all the disaster relief efforts that Nissan Food has contributed to with servings of Cup Noodle. I would recommend this title whether or not one is interested in business. It’s a good story filled with strength and determination that succeeds despite the odds.

Review copy provided by publisher

Barefoot Gen Volume 1: Movable Manga Feast

This harrowing story of Hiroshima was one of the original Japanese manga series. New and unabridged, this is an all-new translation of the author’s first-person experiences of Hiroshima and its aftermath, is a reminder of the suffering war brings to innocent people. Its emotions and experiences speak to children and adults everywhere. Volume one of this ten-part series details the events leading up to and immediately following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

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