Ageha, a young shinigami girl with a serious grudge against the evil Damashigami Company, searches for her missing sister with Rinne’s help. Ageha is head over heels for Rinne, but he’s got Sakura Mamiya on his mind. And how does Sakura feel about this odd ghost-busting love triangle?
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.
Speed Racer: Mach GoGoGo volume 1-2
By Tatsuo Yoshida ♦ Digital Manga Publishing ♦ Teen ♦ Action ♦ $39.99
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
By Tadashi Katoh ♦ Digital Manga Publishing ♦ All Ages ♦ Educational ♦ $12.95
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
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.
Kiri’s friend Kanako gives a present to one of the members of the Scissors Project. Her act of kindness is interpreted as a bribe to get a makeover, and they reject her out of hand for being too ugly. Kiri decides to help Kanako and give the boys a lesson in what true beauty is.
Fourteen-year-old Kisaki Tachikawa has psychic powers. She works for PSI, a secret government agency that fights aliens. She’s in love with her partner Giniro, but PSI won’t allow operatives to get involved. Just when Kisaki thinks she may be getting closer to Giniro, she finds out she’s going to be transferred to California!
Intent on being an independent young woman, high schooler Himeyuka lives on ther own inan unremarkable apartment complex in a corner of the city. But one day, she discovers her ordinary building has turned into something extraordinary. Her beloved “castle” is covered in childish scribbles–both inside and out! And waiting for her at the end of this rainbow-colored mess…is the perpetrator of the crime-a little boy name Rozione. Is he just someone’s lost child, or is there a greater mystery behind his appearance. In this collection, Sumomo Yumeka presents four charming, melancholy vignettes that explore the trickling of time and the machinations of the heart.
Wolf God vol 1
By Ai Tenkawa ♦ Digital Manga Publishing ♦ Teen ♦ Supernatural ♦ $12.99
Kyounosuke will have to become the alpha of the Inugami clan unless his older brother Kokuyou returns. Believing his brother is more deserving to lead, Kyounosuke follows his scent to Tokyo where he meets Koyuki, a girl with no direction for her life, who helps Kyounosuke and unwittingly has a connection to Kokuyou. Kyonosuke will stop at nothing to find his brother, no matter the cost to him personally.
While the question of good and evil was at the heart of the first volume, these next two look at fate and the roles people play in the world. Is there a master plan and everyone has their role to play in it? Or is it all coincidence and free will that is shaping the world?
It’s a new month, so that means a new issue of Shonen Jump! Do the changes I liked last month hold up? Let’s dive in and see! The issue starts with the usual features/ads. This month adds a full-page for the Viz app on the iPad. **yawn** Call me when I don’t have to worship at the altar of Steve Jobs to read manga digitally. There is also a one page column written by Stan Lee that basically pimps the new Marvel movies coming out and Ultimo. The video games feature which used to be at the end of the issue is now at the beginning. And I notice the brain teasers that used to be at the back are gone. I guess no one really cared about them.
Psyren starts off the issue with all the newbies taking off toward the sound of a siren that they think is where the gate is. They ignore Ageha’s warnings of monsters and leave him with the still unconscious Sakurako. They are thinking of only the reward or going home. They are going to find out how wrong they are. Ageha, the delinquent with a heart of gold, after learning where the gate really is from Sakurako, runs off after them with her on his back. This title is still establishing itself, but I think it’s still on the right track. What happens next issue where we will hopefully see Ageha in a fight here, should really set the tone for what the series is about.
This issue prints the first chapter of Yura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, which was online last month. I gave my impressions of it in last month’s post. I’ll go into the next chapters of Nura after I’ve finished the print chapters.
One Piece sees the end of White Beard, as he continues to stand up against the navy, to give his men more time to escape. A hint is dropped as well about what the “One Piece” that Gol D. Roger left behind might be. Black Beard and his pirates appear and show off a new ability. Inazuma continues to try to kill Luffy. He and Jimbei are saved at the last-minute by Crocodile and Buggy (who is just trying to escape as well), and taken in by Trafalgar Law, one of the 11 meteor rookie pirates. It’s another great ending for a character with the way White Beard goes out, and the momentary flashback he gets. The scene with Gol D. Roger has really sparked my curiosity about what the One Piece really is. Whitebeard seems to have known. I have my suspicions, and can’t wait to find out more.
Naruto surprised me this month. Naruto faces his dark side, and fails against him. He talks to Motoi to find out more about Killer Bee, and after some thought, he makes a decision. He is able to face his dark side and defeats him this time. Killer Bee then agrees to help Naruto get control of Nine-Tails. What surprised me about this month’s chapters is the decision Naruto came to, and where I really hope it leads him. If he can stop the sulking and go back to the way he was (in some ways) before the time jump, then I think Naruto might become a series I enjoy reading again. Only time will tell at this point.
Yamato finally makes it to Sayama’s party in Ultimo, but things don’t go quite as smoothly as he hoped. Rune makes his move as he now remembers who he was in the past and seems to have designs on Yamato, and it’s really creepy. Jealousy seems to be having second thoughts about being able to defeat Dunstan, and Vice continues his rampage with Eco getting it, again. I’m starting to get a really bad feeling about where this series is heading. I could be completely wrong, and it’s nothing to make me want to keep reading to find out if I’m right, but it’s in the mag, so I’ll keep reading it.
Mayuri seems to be at the mercy of Szayelaporro in Bleach, but Mayuri was just faking it. He’s too meticulous to ever be caught so easily by an enemy. The battle then becomes a series of one-ups as each tries to outdo the other in power. Mayuri seems to have the upper hand as the chapter ends, but I’m not believing it until I see his end with my own eyes. The healers get to work as Rukia and Chad are brought back, and Ichigo sends Orihime to heal Nel instead of him. There is still one fight left, with Kenpachi against Nnoitra, and of course the big battle that Byukyua hints at. I really hope this all means that the Hueco Mundo is almost over. It’s gone on far too long, and hasn’t seem to do much but show how powerful espada are and how much more powerful Soul Society captains are, things we already knew.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5DS starts up Yusei’s battle with the Skeleton Knight, where the ante isn’t Sect, but Yusei’s soul. It becomes a typical battle, with the Skeleton Knight getting the first points and Yusei making a comeback. The chapter ends with the Skeleton Knight preparing his next big attack. I’m still liking this series, at least more than Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. If you don’t like hearing card abilities and stats shouted out as part of the story, this title might not be for you, but as a gamer-inclined reader, I actually find those parts interesting. So far.
For online exclusives, there were three chapters of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan and an extended preview of volume 3 of Toriko. Nura has Rikuo reunited with an old friend from his childhood, Zen, the head of the Zen Group. He has come to try to convince Rikuo to accept his role as the Third. Rikuo still refuses, but when Zen is betrayed by his own men, “Other Rikuo” appears and defeats them, once again proclaiming his intention to be the Third, which he promptly forgets when he returns to human form. Then a new character is introduced. Yura Keikain is a new student, who also happens to be a Omyoji, an exorcist of yokai. She has come to Ukiyoe on a training mission to banish yokai. Kiyotsusu then proclaims the start of the Kiyojuji Paranormal Club, and Nura gets to be a charter member. This is seriously starting to look like the original Yu-Gi-Oh! with yokai instead of cards, and it’s really not impressing me. Rikuo is really more annoying than anything else. If there was more of his yokai form, then I might be okay with it. There were some classic funny moments with Rikuo seeing the yokai emerge from the doll when no one else did, but it’s not really enough to save this series.
The extended preview of Toriko had Toriko with another Gourmet Hunter Coco catching and trying to prepare a puffer whale, a difficult task. Komatsu gets directions from Coco and after a successful preparation, they are all treated to a heavenly meal. A creature then appears that puts Coco and Toriko on high alert, but it ignores them and moves on. It is apparently a robot sent by a rival corporation against IGO, so the “Four Kings” including Toriko and Coco are called to a Biotope to try to stop the next attack. I’m still not impressed with Toriko, though Komatsu has definitely moved up in my estimations with the skill he shows cutting the puffer whale.
It’s more of the same to look forward to next month, with just a preview of the upcoming Death Note omnibus edition. And it looks like I’ll be fighting my youngest for the magazine again as it has another Yu-Gi-Oh card in it. But things seem to continue to be looking up with the changes. Sadly, as I suspected, online chapters from the previous month are not available to read, which really sucks. I was hoping they would at least keep the online chapters up until the print volume came out, like they do on Ikki and Shonen Sunday. I mean, the viewership is restricted as it is! Why not leave the chapters up longer? At least Yen Press lets you read the previous issue along with the current.
Kohako is a normal student in the General Education department with absolutely no musical skill, but all that changes when she catches a glimpse of an elusive fairy who lives on campus. The fairy grants Kohako a magic violin, and before she knows it, she’s nominated to participate in the school’s music competition with five very attractive boys. Will she win love and fame, or will bitter rivalry rule the day?
As Kyousuke and Tena go about their contentious daily lives in Japan, they’re blissfully ignorant that something’s afoot at the tuner headquarters in France. And whatever it is, it’s starting to make the world a much more dangerous place for Kyousuke with his sought-after soul score! Though he’s managed to avoid detection by other tuners, like Arun, thanks to the gadget bestowed upon him by Mezzo and Sopra, it’s not long before his good luck charm runs out, landing him in a whole mess of trouble with tuners he’s never seen before! Will Tena be able to save him from a life as a tuner test subject, or will Tena need saving too!?
By Sesuna Mikabe
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Fantasy/Romantic Comedy
This volume is a marked improvement over the last one. There is a lot less emphasis on Tena, and more attention given to the Tuner plot and Kyousuke.
The focus of this volume is on Kyousuke. His musical abilities goes beyond technical skill. He can read people and see what kind of music they may need. When he, Tena and his students go to a hospital for some musical therapy for the patients, Kyousuke changes Tena carefully planned mellow score to a more upbeat one, cheering the patients up rather than just entertaining them. More is revealed about Kyousuke and his “viral” notes as well. As expected, he loses the ring that Mezza gave him to hide his viral notes. He soon learns though, that he has a tuner power like Tena. He is a Life Tuner. He can drastically change a life score, not just adjust it as most tuners do. Somewhere in his past, his power was suppressed. Now, Kyousuke wants to find out about his power more than ever.
The Tuners and their “grand finale” plot is on the most as well. More of the High Command of the tuners is revealed, but there was still very little information given on what is going on. Why are tuners needed all over the world WITHOUT knowing anything other than notes need to be captured? There is a very conspiratory feel to this plot. The High Command is planning something the rank and file know nothing of. The tidbits of information leaked in this volume only adds to my curiosity.
Kyousuke gains a harem of sorts, with many of the women seeming to have a relationship with the higher-ups. We already know about Arun being the sister of Lord Chord, but in this volume we learn that Mezza has a sister who is the head of covert ops for the tuners, and has been spying on Mezza. Arun’s connections come in handy though, when the group has to leave Japan, and head to France.
The biggest problem with this volume is again Tena. She is jealous of “elites” like Arun and hates them all. She has a serious chip on her shoulder against them for some reason. She throws a tantrum when Arun is impressed with Kyousuke’s ability to make good food on a budget. She came real close to giving Kyousuke up to some tuners that found him in exchange for the recognition she would get from the higher-ups. It was just another reason to NOT like her.
Overall, this was a better volume of Tena on S-String with more story and less Tena being a brat. Arun is still more interesting and makes a better lead to Tena as far as I’m concerned. I am curious to find out more about Kyousuke’s power and past, so I will give this series one more volume.