Tag Archives: review

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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Himeyuka & Rozione’s Story

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.

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Wolf God vol 1 and Fafner: Dead Aggressor vol 1

Wolf God vol 1

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By Ai Tenkawa ♦ Digital Manga Publishing ♦ Teen ♦ Supernatural ♦ $12.99
Rating: ★★½☆☆

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.

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La Corda d’Oro Volume 1

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?

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Tena on S-String Volume 3

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!?

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By Sesuna Mikabe
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Fantasy/Romantic Comedy
Price: $10.99
Rating: ★★★½☆

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.

Karakuri Odette Volume 1: Manga Movable Feast

Odette is an android created by the young talented scientist Dr. Yoshizawa. Wanting to find the ultimate difference between humans and his android, Odette decides to persuade Dr. Yoshizawa to enroll her in a local high school. Follow Odette’s adventures as she ventures through high school, in search of the true meaning of being a human.

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