Firefighter academy student Nanase Takemine is a promising rookie fire investigator who is haunted by her parents’ fiery death. Three years ago, she saved a man from a burning building. But he was no innocent victim–he turned out to be the arsonist responsible for the death of her parents. Now this serial fire-starter has started help her solve fire-related crimes. His intentions seem good, but how can Nanase reconcile his willingness to help with his role in her own personal tragedy?
Yurei is the Japanese word for “ghost.” They are the souls of the dead unable-or unwilling-to shuffle off this mortal coil. Just as in the West, some yurei haunt a specific place; others tend to foam freely. But the similarities with foreign ghosts end there. The yurei are driven by emotions so uncontrollably powerful that they have taken on a life of their own: Rage. Sadness. Devotion. Revenge. Or even the simple belief that they are still alive.
Leo Aoi looks like a crazy animal with wild eyes–and no one at his new high school will go near him! he does seem to have a special connection with animals though, which intrigues overzealous animal lover Yuiko Kubozuka. In reality, Leo isn’t as frightening as he appears, but Yuiko find out that he goes berserk whenever he sees blood! Will Yuiko be able to get through to Leo during these violent fits? Or will Leo’s ferocious side eventually devour her?
Kenji and Shiro continue on their journey of discovery and acceptance as Shiro leans why Kenji fell for him, Kenji finally meets Shiro’s parents, they take a vacation to Kyoto together, and the pains of parents and themselves growing old sneak up on them. And through it all, Shiro continues to cook inventive yet simple-to-make dishes as well as adding new ones to his repertoire.
Kazumi, a teenage girl, wakes up in a suitcase without any clothes or memories. She soon learns that she is a magical girl, and part of a team know as the Pleiades Saints, who fight to protect their town Asurano from witches. But something about the Pleiades seems off and as Kazumi learns the truth about them, magical girls and herself, will anything be right again?
For five years, Eren Yeager has nursed a grudge against the Titans. Now he’s about to enter junior high with these massive creatures as classmates, and he won’t let his chance for revenge go to waste! Watch as your favorite trainees take on the Titans…in class, music club and dodgeball!
Attack on Titan Junior High Volume 1
By Saki Nakagawa
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Age Rating: Older Teen
Attack on Titan has had a lot of spin-off titles. Some have been serious, like No Regrets and Before the Fall, adding to the mythos of the world. Junior High is not that kind of spin-off. Following a trend that seems to have become popular, it takes the characters from the main series and drops them into a high school setting so the hilarity can ensue. It is an irreverent take that is meant to be funny, but is more hit and miss with its humor.
Once Shinji didn’t care about anything; then he found people to fight for–only to learn that he couldn’t protect them, or keep those he let into his heart from going away. As mankind tilts on the brink of the apocalyptic Third Impact, human feelings are fault lines leading to destruction and just maybe, redemption and rebirth.
Neon Genesis Evangelion Volume 1-3
By Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Older Teen
Price: $19.99 USD
Neon Genesis Evangelion is an anime from the 1990s that defined a generation, and changed the mecha genre. I was never able to watch more than a few episodes of the anime, so I thought reading the manga adaptation would be a better way to go. Nope. My first instincts were correct. These first three volumes are slow and boring with a protagonist that you spend most of the time wanting to slap silly.
On her sixteenth birthday, orphan Himari Momochi inherits her ancestral estate that she’s never seen. Momochi House exists on the barrier between the human and spiritual realms, and Himari is meant to act as guardian between the two worlds. But on the day she moves in, she finds three handsome squatters already living in the house and one seems to have already taken over her role!
Demon Prince of Momochi House Volume 1
By Aya Shouoto
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Teen
I was really looking forward to reading the first volume of Demon Prince of Momochi House, and was lucky enough to get a friend to pick it up for me as SDCC (along with one of Viz’s con bags). I read it the same night it arrived, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I was let down by the stale characters and a story that didn’t seem to go anywhere.
Once a loner, Hikari “Picasso” Hamura has helped so many people that he finds himself surrounded by friends! Picasso’s going to need them as he faces his most difficult “portrait” yet. It’s easy to deal with other people’s problems. But it’s another story when you have to face your own…
Back when I read volume 1 of Genkaku Picasso for the Usamaru Furuya Movable Manga Feast, I said I was definitely going to be picking up the last two volumes, which I did, but didn’t get around to reading. Have I mentioned I can be a bit of hoarder when it comes to books? Anyway, I finally decided to read the final volumes, and I am really glad I did. The classmates they help and the problems they deal with are both timely and poignant. The final volume has one of the best twists I’ve ever read in a book, and just elevates this series to a whole ‘nother level.
Haruka and Mamoru finish off the invisible enemy and its operator, the hit man Fang. Sierra is injured and is off the case for a while, leading to the introduction to the abrasive Juliet, who Haruka doesn’t get along with. Turus ups the ante by offering a bounty on Haruka and Mamoru that draws in killers from around the world. Mamoru becomes the bait for them while Haruka has an adventure of her own with some friends from school. Meanwhile, Wiseman, one of those attracted by the bounty makes his move, finding Mamoru’s weak spot, setting up a trap meant to take care of the blind swordsman for good.
Once again, there is a lot going on in these two volumes of Until Death Do Us Part, but not much happens. Mamoru and his sword still dominate the action, but there are a few shining moments here and there that keep me just interested enough to keep reading.
As Paperboy starts to issue video warnings of crimes they plan to commit against ever-larger targets of internet outrage, Lieutenant Yoshino and the Anti Cyber Crimes Division attempts to get on step ahead of the newspaper-masked terror group. But even as they contend with the authorities, the greatest threat to Paperboy’s master plan may come from a totally unexpected place–within…
Prophecy Volume 2
By Tetsuya Tsutsui
Publisher: Vertical Comics
Age Rating: Older Teen
I really enjoyed the first volume of Prophecy and found it hard not to want to cheer on Paperboy over the ACCD who were trying to catch them. It seems they are always one step ahead of the police as they play a long game where the goal is still unknown, and they continue their mast manipulation of social media to reach it.
Once again, I am finding myself sympathizing with the antagonists of this series, Paperboy. They take on an environmentalist group called “The Sea Guardians”, who target Japanese fishing boats in the name of the environment, but are made up of some really slimy people. Like the “justice” they administered in volume 1, Paperboy’s vigilantism feels wholly appropriate and well deserved. But this act, along with their previous acts, are just more social engineering. Their huge success with “The Sea Guardians” creates copycats that then creates a backlash against an open internet. But the question remains, to what end?
“Gates”, the leader of Paperboy, shows himself to be a master strategist as well as programmer. He has been planning this for three years, and while he couldn’t predict the details, he has predicted what certain people would do and how they would react to their incidents. This leads up to the surprising announcement at the end of the volume. While I have no doubt “Gates” would do it, I’m still left wondering what their endgame is, because I can’t believe it is that.
Trouble is stirring in the ranks of Paperboy as one of their members, “Nobita”, starts to have second thoughts and essentially wants out of the plan. Some of this background is shown as is what he’s been going recently, that seems to be fueling his change of heart. He makes his move at the end as well.
ACCD continues to try to piece Paperboy together. Yoshino tries to resign when who she thinks is the wrong Paperboy is caught in her sting. Ichikawa has the completely wrong read of Paperboy, making him dismissive of them. It’s Okamoto, the non-techie, who starts to see behind the social media flash, and that Paperboy’s motives are not all about notoriety. He also has dogs at home that he cares for, so that up his estimation with me. It would be even higher if they were cats.
Prophecy Volume 2 is a good middle volume that pushing both plot and character forward while retaining the hook that makes volume 3 a must have. Paperboy seems to have legitimately good reasons for doing what they are doing, but it is the endgame that will show if the end actually justifies the means. “Gates” seems certain. “Nobita” does not. I’ll just have to wait to see who is right. Prophecy continues to be a great thriller and a must read.
Review copy provided by publisher.
An imperial capital in an era of splendor and romanticism… Orphaned in an earthquake, Sorath is taken in by Baron Kamichika, the lord of “Blood Blossom Manor.” There, he pledges eternal friendship with Garan, the Baron’s heir, and Kiyora, Garan’s fiancée. But their friendship turns grisly by events none of them could foresee. The tender feelings each secretly harbors, the machinations of Baron Kamichika and his strange and seductive female companion, and a fateful encounter with a young girl with bizarre powers…all draw them to the Walpurgis Night and the nightmare’s climax!
Demon From Afar Volume 1
By Kaori Yuki
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Teen
In general, I’ve enjoyed more of Kaori Yuki’s works than not. Her blend of bishonen characters with elements of horror and a touch of humor usually appeal to me. In Demon From Afar, all of the elements are there, they’re just not striking the right chord for me.
Sorath, the protagonist, is a boy with no memory of his past and is saved by Garan, the heir to Baron Kamichika, after a terrible earthquake strikes the capital. There really isn’t anything remarkable about Sorath. He is devoted to Garan, taking responsibility for anything Garan might get punished for, and always holding himself back to make Garan look good. He acts as a bodyguard to Garan and his fiancée Kiyora. But beyond that, nothing seems to motivate him. He is content in his role, not interested in finding the meaning behind the symbol on his hand or learning about his past. He’s the character we are supposed to be most invested in, but there’s nothing interesting about him.
Garan and Kiyora aren’t much better. Kiyora seems more like comedy relief with her inept social skills and love of eating. Of course, she is more interested in Sorath than her fiancée, and Garan is oblivious to the differing feelings. Baron Kamichika is about as one-dimensional as the paper he’s printed on. The evil villain who care about no one but his own ambitions, not even his own heir. Everything and everyone is a tool for him to use to reach his goal; immortality. I didn’t really hate him as much as I hated his shallow motives. His demon servant Liece/Mephistopheles wasn’t much better, playing along, but helping to betray the Baron at the end.
What I did like was some of the horror elements. The belief by locals that the spider lilies that surround the Baron’s manor are red from soaking up human blood was made all the more creepy by the discovery that Sorath makes when he finally starts investigating what the Baron is up to. I also like the idea of the yin/yang miko, with the darker one becomes, the more pure the other. The way Noella was restored wasn’t what I was expecting and definitely one the disturbing side.
I didn’t dislike Demon From Afar, but it didn’t hook me either. This first volume feels like a prologue. It’s setting up the background and characters before getting to the real story. It feels more like it’s just spinning its wheels as it doesn’t set Sorath up with any kind of goal or motivation. The higher price for this volume is because it is printed in hardcover with a dust jacket. There is one color plate. More would have been better. Overall, it is a nice presentation and worth the extra dollars. I’ll give this series another chance and check out the next volume, but something had better happen soon.