Tag Archives: Dark Horse

This Week’s Manga: Master Sakuran

This Week's Manga

Astro Boy Omni 1Things are slowly down as we hit the middle of the month. Dark Horse releases their first omnibus of Astro Boy by Osamu Tezuka, a title they seemed to have kept from DMP. It collects the first three volumes into one massive 700 page book and includes the original story “Greatest Robot on Earth,” which was the basis for Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto. Fans of either series should definitely pick this up. Seven Seas has the 12th volume of Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends, where it’s school festival time. Hit Seven Seas’ Tumblr to find out more.

Continue reading This Week’s Manga: Master Sakuran

Dark Horse at Anime Central


Comics and manga publisher Dark Horse made a surprise appearance at Anime Central, a Mid-west con held in Chicago, IL. They had an even bigger surprise for attendees as they announced four new titles to ship in 2016.

giganto-maxia Giganto Maxima is a one shot volume by Kentaro Miura, who is best known in the west for the series Berserk, which is also published by Dark Horse. The series takes place 100 million years in the future, and is about the war between the forces led by Zeus, and the Nether forces led by the giant Alcyoneus. The series is the first original work from Miura in 24 years, since the start of Berserk, and fans will either be happy or disappointed that this volume will be more light-hearted and idealistic. Dark Horse will publish this series in February 2016.

danganronpa-the-animationDanganronpa: The Animation is the manga adaptation of the TV series which is based on a video game. The series follows a group of high school students, each of whom possess a different exceptional talent. They are all locked in at school, and told that the only way to escape is to kill a fellow student without getting caught. After a student is murdered, they hold a trial to find out who is responsible while their own lives are on the line. My oldest daughter was obsessed with this series for a while, so I’m familiar with it somewhat, which just makes me more interested in reading the manga. Or at least I can say I’m getting it for her and then just read it myself. The series is complete in four volumes with the first volume set to be released in March 2016.

i-am-a-hero I Am A Hero is a bit of a coup for Dark Horse. The series is published by Shogakukan, whose titles are almost exclusively published by Viz Media. It is the company’s first Shogakukan title since they published Godzilla back in 1988. I Am A Hero is about Hideo Suzuki, a struggling manga artist who might also be mentally unstable. One night, he sees the victim of an auto collision with a twisted leg and broken neck, get up and walk away. As more of Tokyo’s dead start to rise, there are two things that allow a crazy man like Suzuki to survive; the belief that he is destined to be a hero, and something that is a rarity in Japan, a gun. The series has quite a pedigree as it was nominated for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Manga Taisho Awards, and won the 58th Shogakukan Manga Award in the General Category in 2013. I’m on the fence about this one. I’m not excited about more zombie manga unless there’s a good twist, and I don’t know if Suzuki will be enough of one to make it interesting. But all those award nominations make me think there might be more here. I might check it out. There are currently 16 volumes out, and Dark Horse will publish the series in a 2-in-1 omnibus format starting in April 2016.

rg-vedaThe final series is a CLAMP title rescue. RG Veda was CLAMP’s debut title. It was originally published here by Tokyopop ten years ago, so needless to say, it is very out of print. The story is about Yasha-o, the Guardian Warrior of the North who discovers the last child of the Ashura-o clan, Ashura. The pair go on a quest to find the Six Stars and defeat the tyrantical King of Heaven, Taishakuten. The series features elements of Vedic mythology, and takes its name from one of the four Vedas. This series was the first CLAMP manga I read that I liked enough to read to the end. It was originally published in 10 volumes, but Dark Horse is basing its release on the 5 volume omnibus version released by Kadokawa. They are further condensing the series down to 3 omnibus volumes of around 600 pages each like their editions of Cardcaptor Sakura and Tokyo Babylon. These will be killer books. The first volume will be out in August 2016.

This Week’s Manga: Heroic Panty

This Week's Manga

Panty and Stocking with Garter BeltDark Horse Comics debuts a new manga this week that has had tongues a-waggin’! Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt is a manga adaptation of the anime by the same name. The mix of mature language and situations with cute and cartoony art will hit readers with right about of shock and humor and appeal to Dark Horse’s main demographic. To appeal to a different type of reader they are also releasing Drug and Drop Vol 2 this week. A continuation of Legal Drug, it features two hot guys solving supernatural problems. Another must for CLAMP fans, and a different kind of gaze for others.

Heroic Legend of Arslan 3The title I’m most interested in this week is Heroic Legend of Arslan Vol 3. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this series initially, but I should never have doubted Hiromu Arakawa. I loved the series right from the start and torn through the first two volumes. Waiting for the next one has been difficult, but it great to have more Arakawa art to love. I would really like to get the new Ranma 1/2 2-in-1 Editions, but space has really become a concern for me. Even 2-in-1s, which don’t take up as much space are still pretty hefty when it comes to bookshelf space, especially for a 36 volume series. I really wish Rumiko Takahashi would let her titles be released digitally legally. They are already out there, being read digitally with questionable quality and translation. Wouldn’t it be better to have more control with a legal release?

Full List per Diamond Distributors

Drug And Drop Volume 2 TP, $10.99
Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt TP, $9.99

Heroic Legend Of Arslan Volume 3 GN, $10.99

Dance In The Vampire Bund Part 2 Scarlet Order Volume 2 GN, $12.99
Lucifer And The Biscuit Hammer Volume 3 TP, $18.99

Love Stage Volume 1 GN, $12.99

07-Ghost Volume 16 GN, $9.99
Ranma 1/2 2-In-1 Edition Volume 8 TP, $14.99

New License and Rescue Roundup

With Con Season is full swing, the license announcement are coming at a fairly steady rate. Whether in between cons, or publishers not planning on panels, the word of new licenses and rescues still make the steady rounds of news sites, and especially social media like Twitter and Tumblr.

Shield HeroOne Peace Books is a boutique publisher that has been dabbling in manga with such titles as Whispered Words, Aquarion Evol, and Crayon Shin Chan. This time, the publisher picked up a light novel series and its manga companion. The Rising of the Shield Hero is a light novel series that is currently at 10 volumes and ongoing. It is about Naofumi Iwatani, an otaku who is whisked away to a parallel dimension where he discovers is he one of four heroes equipped with a legendary weapon and tasked with saving the world from its prophesied destruction. Naofumi starts out as the Shield Hero, the weakest of the four, and soon finds himself alone, penniless and betrayed. He must now start his journey to become the legendary Shield Hero the world needs. The first volume will be out September 15 with the second being released October 20. The first volume of the manga, which is at 3 volumes and ongoing, will be out in November. This plot is very standard for fantasy novels, so unless it does something really interesting, I will probably skip it. I would be more inclined to check out the manga first, since I wouldn’t be as much as a time suck for me.

planetesDark Horse isn’t know for making license rescues, until it’s a CLAMP title. So their announcement that they picked up Planetes came as a bit of a surprise. Planetes was originally published by Tokyopop back in 2004, and even back that it was a difficult title to collect. It’s by Makoto Yukimura who is also the mangaka of Vinland Saga, which Kodansha is currently publishing in 2-in-1 deluxe hardback editions. Dark Horse will publish Planetes as 2 omnibus editions complete with bonus color pages. The story centers around Hachimaki, a member of a space-garbage crew, who collects everything from satellites to screws, anything that could damage a spacecraft when traveling at high speeds. Hachimaki dreams of owning his own spaceship, and decides there’s better money in joining the first manned mission to Jupiter. It’s been a long time since I last read Planetes, but it was a fun short series and very good sci-fi. The first omnibus will be out in December, just in time to put under the Christmas tree.

School LiveYen Press just popped up with two new licenses on their Twitter feed, both of which fit right into the publisher’s catalog. School-Live! is a horror/slice of life series. It follows four girls, Yuki Takeya, Kurumi Ebisuzawa, Yuri “Riisan” Wakasa, and Miki “Miikun” Naoki, who camp out at their school and end up the only survives of a zombie attack. They decide to stay at the school and make it their home. Yen has really embraced the zombie/school survival titles, starting back with Highschool of the Dead. This series appears to feature cute little girls, but the premise may have a darker edge to it. There are currently five volumes and the series is ongoing. It might be interesting to check out the first volume, which will be released in November.

The second series is Of the Red, the Light and the Ayakashi. It’s basedOf the Red. on a doujin game released in Japan back in 2011. The manga adaptation started in 2012. It is about Yue, a boy born and raised in a certain shrine on the outskirts of Utsuwa City. His close childhood friend, Kurogitsune takes him to the winter festival, where he experiences the outside world for the first time, and meets a mysterious boy. Seven volumes have been released so far. Yen Press also loves their visual novel stories, from Higurashi and Umineko. This series is a must read. I had it on my wish list at Baka-Updates Manga for who knows how long, but I enjoy titles with spiriting away themes and supernatural mysteries. This first volume will debut in December.



This Week’s Manga: Prophetic Love

This Week's Manga

Blood Blockade Battlefront 7It’s a small week for only being the second of the month. Hey, Dark Horse is still publishing manga! It’s kind of surprising considering how rarely volumes pop up. I see merchandise more often than manga, and had forgotten they were even publishing Blood Blockade Battlefront, from Yasuhiro Nightow, the creator of Trigun.  I was never interested in reading either. Volume 7 is out this week. They also have the omnibus of the re-release of Samurai Executioner Volume 4 by Kazuo Koike, who is associated with Dark Horse in the same way Naoki Urasawa is associate with Viz Media.

Prophecy 2The jewel of the releases this week comes from Vertical Comics, as can be expected. This week they have the second volume of Prophecy, the cyber crime investigation, social media vengeance title you didn’t know you should be reading. Well, you’ve now been given notice. It’s only three volumes long, and comes out of the gate punching. It’s a title that will hook you from the first chapter.

In honor of Valentines Day this week, Kodansha releases the sixth volume of Say I Love You, a teen romance filled with all the uncertainty and doubt teens feel about themselves and their feelings. And it’s a great read. Or for the male gaze-gender swap-dating sim-Alice in Wonderland lovers out there, Seven Seas Entertainment has you covered with their new releases this week.

Full list per Diamond Distributors:

Blood Blockade Battlefront Volume 7 TP, $12.99
Samurai Executioner Omnibus Volume 4 TP, $19.99

Say I Love You Volume 6 GN, $10.99
Tsubasa Omnibus Volume 3 GN, $19.99

Alice In The Country Of Joker Circus And Liar’s Game Volume 7 GN, $12.99
Dragonar Academy Volume 5 GN, $12.99
I Am Alice Body Swap In Wonderland Volume 3 GN, $13.99

Ajin Volume 3 GN, $12.95
Prophecy Volume 2 GN, $12.95

Battle of the Brides

Shokakugan’s Monthly Cheese! is announcing in their March issue out today that mangaka Rei Toma is starting a new manga titled Suijin no Hanayome, Bride of the Water God. This new title has the same name and basic premise as the Korean manhwa being published by Dark Horse here in the US. A young girl is chosen as a sacrifice to the water god by her village to appease him.

Bride of the Water God 1I’m intrigued by this announcement. There are often titles that follow the same basic premise, and Bride of the Water God really is pretty basic, but it’s rare that you get them also using the same name. Of course Toma’s title may be completely different, especially with the characters and plot beyond the premise. But the similarities are far too close to avoid comparison. I wonder if this series does well, if Viz will consider bringing it over. Viz just finished Toma’s other series, Dawn of the Arcana in September, and it certainly got a lot of buzz among fans and critics online. I don’t think Bride of the Water God has done well for Dark Horse, but that could be because of demographic, and not necessarily the title. I’ll give them credit for continuing to release it even if it is on a glacial schedule.

But I wonder if Viz did decide to pick it up, would it keep the original name? I’m sure they wouldn’t want their title to be confused with the Dark Horse title. I know this is all purely speculation, since the first chapter won’t be out until next month, but with such a similarity, I can’t help myself!

Manga Dome Podcast Episode 54: Manga at Sakura-Con

Manga Dome header

This week I check out the Weekly Wish List, a new title at Crunchyroll, double the Top Ten Department, and the new manga licenses announced at Sakura-Con from Yen Press, Dark Horse Comics and Viz Media.

Continue reading Manga Dome Podcast Episode 54: Manga at Sakura-Con

Ju-On: Video Side

This chilling tale of murder, secrets, and revenge centers on a home and the ugly events that transpired there. The place now has new owners, but there is a vile presence that permeates the building and pollutes every surface. What wickedness set off this unstoppable angry spirit? Why has its bloody grudge infected the home and its inhabitants? In the spirit of The Ring, Ju-On –Video Side– delivers a dark warning of a cursed spirit and the corrupting influence it has on the living.

Story by Takashi Shimizu; Adaptation by Miki Rinno
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Horror
Price: $9.95
Rating: ★★★★☆

While I don’t care for most horror movies in general, I do like the J-Horror movies that came out in the early 2000s. I have been on a quest to read as many of the manga adaptations that have come out as I can. So far I have read The Ring 0-3, Dark Water and One Missed Call. The manga adaptations have been hit or miss for me, so when I finally got my hands on Ju-On: Video Side, I wasn’t sure which way it would go. It’s actually a pretty good adaptation, just not of the movie as released here in the US.

Ju-On: Video Side tells the story of the Murakami family, the family to live in the house after the Saekis, who were the originators of the curse. Their story was originally told in the 2000 direct-to -video film Ju-On, or Ju-On: The Curse, and is a prequel to the theatrical movie. The story follows Tsuyoshi Murakami and his friend Mizuho, the daughter of Tatsuya Tamura, a friend of Tsyuoshi’s father, and the realtor who sold the Murakami’s their new house. Starting with Tatsuya’s mysterious dismemberment, one person after another is killed at the hands of Kayoko and Toshio’s hands. Some for doing nothing more than walking into the house.

I liked this adaptation. It didn’t follow the theatrical movies, so the story was fresher. It also told the story straightforwardly and in chronological order, so there was no trying to get your head around what was going one. I also liked a lot of the little differences that happen in the manga. Tsuyoshi’s sister Kanna isn’t killed feeding rabbits, but stray cats, which makes some sense since Toshio’s spirit is merged with a cat. The scene is very disturbing though. It’s gives a good shock too, as two police officers investigating the attack stare at something off-screen, taking about what it could be, which is inter-cut with scenes of Kanna dragging herself home. The build up is paid off in the reveal.

I also like what happened between Tsuyoshi and Mizuho. The story builds them up as not just the protagonists, but with a budding romance as well. This makes what Tsuyoshi does disturbing yet touching, even if he was under Kayoko’s influence at the time. The volume ends not on an uplifting note, but with a feeling that there could be hope. Kayoko and Toshio are shown to be just as much victims of the curse as the people who move into the house, and that adds to the overall emotion. Ju-on isn’t a personal vendetta, or mindless serial killer killing for the pleasure. It’s like a force of nature, and sweeps up anyone and everyone in its path.

If you’re interested in picking up the manga of a J-Horror, Ju-On: Video Side is a good choice. It hits different notes than the videos and movies, and hits them well. There is some blood and gore, but nowhere near as much as many western horror movies, and you can turn the page fast if it really bothers you. Just don’t read this in the dark, when you’re alone, and where there are cats. You might not get any sleep for a while.



Gate 7 Volume 1

An innocent sightseeing trip to Kyoto opens up a magical realm to shy high schooler Chikahito Takamoto. Visiting a legendary shrine, Chikahito stumbles into the mystical world of Hana and her comrades–and his immunity to their powers leads them to believe that he’s no ordinary awkward teenager! Protecting our world from violent supernatural creatures, Hana and her team welcome the confused Chikahito–who isn’t quite sure that he wants to be caught in the middle of their war!

Publisher: Dark Horse Manga
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Fantasy
Price: $10.99

This series is my third attempt to find a CLAMP series I like. The first volume of xxxHolic didn’t thrill me, but I did enjoy the last two volumes of Kobato enough to want to find the rest. Gate 7 is CLAMP’s newest series  and one I thought would have a lot of potential for me. It’s fantasy, the cover is very pretty with flowers and a pheasant, and it takes place in Kyoto. And I might still like it, but while this first volume makes the introductions, I really don’t have any idea what is going on.

Gate 7 starts by introducing Chikahito, a high schooler with an overprotective mother, who has dreamed of going to Kyoto. When he finally convinces his mother to let him go, he stumbles into a battle between a young girl and two men and some supernatural creatures. Chikahito reacts in a most realistic way. He faints. He doesn’t really understand what is going on, and the three don’t explain much either, and try to erase his memories of them, but fail. Three months later, Chikahito is back as a transfer student, thanks to some magic Hana, the young girl, pulled off. He goes to live with Hana and her partners Sakura and Tachibana. We get some history of the Toyotomi clan with a supernatural spin and the volume ends with another battle.

There is a lot said in this first volume of Gate 7, but very little is explained. “Inou” users are introduced, but it isn’t explained what they are, though through two battles it is shown what they do. Oni connected to historical figures and passed down through blood lines is actually a pretty cool concept, but it isn’t connected with the Inou users other than they can see the oni. There was a lot of information thrown out for the reader, and some of it might be interesting enough to be a hook, but it comes off as random, and left me wondering more what was going on rather than what was going to happen next.

I did like the characters. Chikahito’s confusion was not only realistic, it was understandable. I felt as lost as he did, and while relating to a character is good, I don’t think it should be to this degree in this case. His enthusiasm and preconceived notions of Kyoto were fun and cute. Hana is very child-like, and nearly borders on annoying, but fortunately doesn’t cross the line. Hana’s partners Sakura and Tachibana are typical bishonen, with personalities that match their powers. Sakura is light, so he’s more friendly while Tachibana is dark, so he’s more serious.

For now, I’m going to take a “wait and see” stance with Gate 7. I’m going to need at least one, maybe two more volumes before I know for sure how I feel about it. But at least I *want* to read a few more volumes before making a decision, unlike xxxHolic, where I was sure by the end that it didn’t interest me that much. Hopefully things will become more clear in the next volume. There are a lot of questions I want to see answered, though not all of them have to be done immediately. That’s the difference between this title and xxxHolic for me. I want to know more about this world and it’s characters.

One Missed Call 1+2

It’s an epidemic of accidental death! Multiple college students receive odd voicemails from themselves, messages from the future, and all they contain are the screams of their own deaths. A few days later, at the date and time of the message’s posting, they die in mysterious accidents, and oddly enough, each have a candy in their mouths.

Original Story by Yasushi Akimoto; Manga by Mayumi Shihou
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Age Rating: Teen+
Genre: Horror
Price: $14.95
Rating: ★★½☆☆

One Missed Call was a novel written by Yasushi Akimoto that was adapted into a movie by cult director Takashi Miike. It was received well enough that it got a sequel under a different writer and director. This manga adapts both movies into one volume. The first story is a standard, but fairly coherent j-horror. The second story feels more like a bunch of j-horror elements glued together and slapped with the One Missed Call label.

One Missed Call starts out like a fairly standard j-horror. People are being killed in what looks like accidents. The only link between the victims are contact lists on cellphones. The police don’t believe anything strange is going on. There is an intrepid reporter who hooks up with a potential victim to try to solve the mystery. There are misdirects, a connection between the female victim/protagonist and killer, and a strange clue; a piece of red candy left in the victim’s mouth.

There are a lot of murder mystery elements in the first story, which is probably why I liked it. Yumi and Yamashita make a good team as they try to race against time to save first Yumi’s friend Natsume, and then to save Yumi herself from the same fate. The misdirect with the mother is classic for a mystery. The child abuse subplot was slightly different, but the twist at the end with revelation of the real culprit was good. I liked that it wasn’t really a vengeful spirit, but a psychopath who took her action in life to the next level in death. The red candies were a nice touch. The ending is ambiguous, and is just one of the few serious flaws I had with the first story.

The second story is filled with them sadly. One Missed Call 2 has a mostly new cast with the only returning characters being the police detective, now a believer, investigating the new string of murders, and just a few mentions of Mimiko, the spirit from the first movie. Instead, a new vengeful spirit is introduced, a cursed girl from a village in Taiwan, where Mimiko’s grandfather was from. Kyoko, a woman who works at a daycare center becomes the new victim that must be saved, and between grusome deaths, she and her friends must go to Taiwan to find the source of the curse and stop it.

The plot of this story is poorly conceived, making it very confusing. There are two story lines running through it, instead of a plot and subplot. The death calls are continuing, but the telltale candy isn’t being left. Instead, coal is found in the stomach of the victims. So Mimiko’s story get’s left in the dust as the main characters go in search of this new spirit that is using the same method as Mimiko to kill her victims. This whole story line just doesn’t make sense, and feels forced into the One Missed Call world. While Kyoko and her friend struggle against Lily, the Taiwanese spirit, intrepid reporter Nozoe helps, but is haunted by the death of her twin sister many years before. These two storylines collide like two freight trains at the end, leaving the same kind of mess, and the twist at the end might have been clever, if the rest of the story hadn’t been so disappointing.

That art is fairly realistic, if not some what generic. In the second story, it’s especially difficult to tell Kyoko and Nozoe apart. It’s only through hair styles that it’s really possible. The death scenes aren’t really gory, and really don’t come off as scary.

If you are at all interested in One Missed Call, just see the first movie. It’s very atmospheric and plays up the scares well. Also, the ringtone that signifies a “missed call” is a big part of the story, and not being able to hear it, as in the manga, really reduces the tension which is a hallmark of j-horror. The manga, while a decent adaptation of the movies just can’t do them justice.

Dark Water

Inspired by the Japanese thriller, these pages hold the macabre tales of a mother’s psychological torment in a rundown apartment complex, another man’s terror upon the open sea, and a message from a watery grave. A haunting will begin, and these people will learn that no one is safe from the mysteries that lie within the murky depths of Dark Water.

Written by Koji Suzuki; Art by Meimu
Publisher: Dark Horse
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Horror
Price: $9.99
Rating: ★★½☆☆

I picked up Dark Water, expecting another single story adaptation of a novel by Koji Suzuki. This impression is really emphasized by the cover text that claims it’s the book that inspired the “major motion picture.” So I was really surprised when I discovered it was only the first story of four that “inspired” the movie. A movie that was decent, and didn’t need a Hollywood adaptation that couldn’t improve on it any.

I was actually kind of disappointed when I discovered that Dark Water was just a short story, and not a full novel like The Ring. I really enjoyed the manga adaptation of that novel, and was hoping for another experience like that. While “Dark Water” was a tighter read, it wasn’t as interesting or scary as the longer movie. It really needed more disturbing moments to make what happened hit home. It’s not a bad story, but a few more scenes could have made it better.

Of the remaining three stories, the only one with a good “creepy” factor was “Island Cruise”. It did a good job of balancing the supernatural with the non-believer, who must hold on to his non-belief at all costs, or be literally dragged down into the water. “Adrift” was the shortest and left me scratching my head about what happens in it. I’ve read it several times now, and while I think I get the idea Suzuki was trying to get across, it was lost in the manga adaptation. “Forest Beneath the Waves” really doesn’t have anything dark or scary about it. It’s a story about a son connecting to a father he never knew through the place where the father died. This story really doesn’t seem to fit in a volume that is otherwise filled with menaces coming from the water.

Dark Water isn’t a title that will keep you up at night or make you wary of taking a bath. It’s isn’t dark so much as it is murky. It wants to drag you to the bottom, but instead ends up losing its way. I really can’t recommend this book to anyone but Koji Suzuki fans.

The Ring Volumes 0-3

Somewhere in Japan there’s a cabin in which you might watch a program that will change your life…in fact, it will take your life. She will take your life. She calls out from the afterlife, from the dark bottom of a forgotten well. And if she calls you, one week is all you have left to find the answer to her curse.

The Ring Volume 0-3
Written by Koji Suzuki, Hiroshi Takahashi; Sakura Mizuki
Art by Meimu, Misao Inagaki; Sakura Mizuki
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Horror
Price: $12.95
Rating: ★★★½☆

In the late 90s to early 2000s, Japanese horror, also known as J-horror was really popular in the US, and the title to start it all was The Ring. Based on a novel, the original movie was so popular, it was remade with American actors for wide release. Of course, publishers were ready to cash in on the action with releases of manga adaptations of the novels and/or movies.

The Ring series starts off with a great creepy premise, but seems to lose steam with each volume. The first volume is a nice and thick and stays true to the novel. This first story was more compelling and didn’t make Dr. Ikuma into the villain the movies did. It has a good pace and makes the feeling of time running out seem real. The first volume was a great read, and I would recommend it even if you’ve seen the movie.

The Ring 2 follows the plot of the movie instead of the book, and isn’t nearly as compelling as first story. It recaps the first movie before replacing the lead with Takayama’s assistant Takano as she tries to stop Sadako from taking over Yoichi, Takayama and Asakawa’s son. The story doesn’t have the same creepy feeling and the art just looks bad at times. Birthday is a prequel that continues to follow the movie’s plot line and shows Sadako’s life just before she died. It’s sad but not really creepy. Spiral is an adaptation of the novel sequel of The Ring, and takes Sadako’s story in a more scientific direction. The idea behind the replication is interesting, but the overall story wasn’t.

The big problem all three of these volumes had was the constant re-telling, and re-writing of the original Ring story. The first third of The Ring 2 is a compacted retelling of the movie version of the story. Spiral completely ignores most the original characters of The Ring to tell it’s own version of Sadako’s story, and The Ring 0 goes with another modified version of the movie. All these different versions of the same story got confusing and really monotonous after the second version.

The Ring is a good, suspenseful manga, but keep your reading to the original. The rest really don’t add much to the overall story, and will leave you scratching your head more than worrying about that static-filled TV.