Gimmick! Volume 3
By: Youzaburou Kanari & Kuroko Yabuguchi
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: T+ (Older Teens)
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
Eagle: The Making of an Asian American President Volume 4
By: Kaiji Kawaguchi
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Teen+ (16+)
I know it’s been a while, but I’ve only go 2 volumes left of this series, and I’m determined to finish it! Okay, so this volume ends the cliffhanger from the last about Yamaoka possibly having an affair, and that Rachel was the result. Takashi helps clear that up, as he had a personal stake in the possibility. Then it’s on to the National Convention in Chicago. Here we see Bill Clinton step in, trying to get his wife “Ellery” the vice-president nomination. He goes to Noah first, who turns him down outright, so it’s off to Yamaoka, who seems more receptive. With the political weight of the Clintons behind him, Yamaoka takes the nomination, but instead nominates Noah for VP. With the Democratic players in place, the campaign can move to the national front, and we finally meet the Republican Candidate Richard Grant. He’s a Lt. General in the Air Force Reserve, former Astronaut and Senator from Colorado. He is also very much a flag-waving republican and supporter of the military complex. Yamaoka starts off a controversy at a Remembrance Ceremony at the Vietnam Vets Wall, denouncing the war. After some uproar, Yamaoka clarifies his statements by declaring he wants the US to stop being the world police and build up the UN to do it. He does this by courting his former CO, General Kerrigan, who is Special Advisor to Peacekeeping Forces to the UN. The volume ends with a trip to Seattle to see Yamaoka’s family and meet the next hurdle, the unions who represent the military and aerospace workers.
Continue reading Eagle: The 2008 Election Edition Volume 4
Gimmick! Volume 2
ByYouzaburou Kanari & Kuroko Yabuguchi
Publsiher: Viz Media
Rating: T+ (Older Teens)
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.
Project X Challengers: Seven Eleven
Writer: Tadashi ikuta Artist: Naomi Kimura
Age Rating: All Ages
In a time when giant department stores and supermarkets dominated the Japanese retail industry, two businessmen, Toshifumi Suzuki and Hideo Shimizu, discovered a new type of small retail store flourishing in America – the Seven Eleven. Called a “convenience store,” it was a concept new to the Japanese. Intrigued by this new idea and convinced that it would succeed in Japan as well, the two men put together a project team of fifteen members, all virtual novices to the retail trade, to bring this venture to their land. Staking his entire livelihood, young store owner Kenji Yamamoto volunteered to convert his family-owned liquor store into the first Seven Eleven in Japan. The hardship of negotiations, the oil shock, the struggle to cope with inadequate space were all met with resolve and innovation, culminating in what is now call the retail revolution!
Project X Challengers: Seven Eleven is not your typical manga. There are no powered up heroes, or pretty boys, or magical girls. Instead, it’s about real people facing real life challenges. While the average teen might find these stories boring, adults with an interest in business, history, or just a good story of a team of underdogs struggling against all odds, will enjoy this title.
Continue reading Review: Project X Challengers: Seven Eleven
I just read the first issue of Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers, and I have to say, I really liked it. I wasn’t sure what I was in store for when I first ordered it, but I can safely say, it was $3 well spent.
Throg (Frog Thor) is really the character that really made this issue. He is the first “teammate” that Lockjaw goes to after he finds one of the Infinity Gems. Apparently Lockjaw has decided that animals are better for finding the gems than the humans. Throg’s whole backstory is just what you’d expect from a Marvel Universe origin. Bad things happen to a good man who is then rewarded with superpowers; after being turned into a frog. Throg himself is just great. He speaks for Lockjaw, jabbering on with the other animals as he convinces each of them to join the cause and journey to find the gems. Just like Thor, he speaks with lots of “thee”s and “thou”s, and “wouldst”s and “dost”s.
Continue reading Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1 – First Look