Tag Archives: Reviews

Manga Drive-Bys

These are just quick impressions of manga I read during the week.  I’ll come up with full reviews some day.  The Rating scale for these quickies are as follows: Must buys, Would trade for, or Good way to waste an hour or so.

Fairy Tail Volume 5 – Gray’s past is revealed and Ezra, who came to retrieve Natsu, Lucy and Gray instead ends up helping them.  There is some awesome battle action as Natsu tries to save the villagers, Gray and Lyon continue their grudge match, and Lucy goes against a giant rat and her goth-loli owner.
Must Buy.

Rave Master Volume 2 – Haru arrives at Punk Street to find Musica the Blacksmith to fix his sword.  Demon Card is there and in control, of course, and he has to not only battle them, but figure out who the real Muscia the Blacksmith is.  This second volume seems rather bland as typical shonen fighting.  But what really made if hard to get through was the translation.  What is up with the constant cry of “Snap!”?  This book was painful to read, even though it shouldn’t have been.
Would Trade For
Translation: Epic Fail

Continue reading Manga Drive-Bys

The Pitfalls of Being a Reviewer

Being a reviewer isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Sure, anyone can write “That manga sucks”, or “This manga totally rules!”.  But to thoughtfully read a book and then put down into words not just your feelings about the book, but do it in an interesting and intelligent way that people will want to read is a lot harder than it sounds.

Being too subjective: Yes, I am writing a review and giving my personal opinion about the title.  But at the same time, I don’t want to go all “fan girl” either, and just go on and on about how much I like the title.  I want to give enough information for readers to have a basic idea what the title is about, while at the same time expressing my likes and dislikes.  If I really like a title, I will go on more about what I consider it’s good points, but it’s hard some times not to become a cheerleader for a title.  That’s appropriate for a blog post, not a review.

On the other side of the coin…

Continue reading The Pitfalls of Being a Reviewer

This Week at Manga Village ** 12/12/08

It’s a new week, and a new round of reviews from the Manga Village.  Charles Tan starts things with a big dose of reality with Real Volume 1 from Viz.  Alex Hoffman balances the reality with some fantasy with Stray Little Devil Volume 1 from DR Masters.  John Thomas brings a Samurai Classic back with Lone Wolf and Cub Volume 1 from Dark Horse.  Katherine Farmar wants to Close the Last Door Volume 1from DMP/June.  I check out Record of a Fallen Vampire Volume 2 from Viz.

We’ve got our weekly picks up for last minute shopping (only a week and a half left until Christmas…) and our Manga of the Month for November.  Over at Good Comics for Kids, I have my weekly All ages comics and manga list, and Esther Keller has a review of Yen Press’ only all ages title, World of Quest.

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This Week at Manga Village ** 11/28-12/5/08

Had enough of turkey leftovers and Black Friday news?  Need to shop for that manga fan in your live?  Let the Manga Villagers help you make that shopping list!  The first week features the reviews debut of our newest reviews Justin Colussy-Estes and Alex Hoffman.  But Dan Polley starts the week with Pastel Volume 12 from Del Rey Manga.  Charles Tan shows off Puri Puri Volume 6 from DR Masters.  John Thomas cuts into Black Jack Volume 2 from Vertical.  Justin Colussy-Estes isn’t bugged by Mushishi Volume 3 from Del Rey Manga.  Alex Hoffman starts the holiday weekend with Ral Ω Grad Volume 1 from Viz Media.

December starts with my review of Nightmares For Sale Volume 1 from Aurora.  Dan Polley reviews a rare science fiction title Gankutsuou: The Count of Monty Cristo Volume 1 from Del Rey Manga.  Alex Hoffman brings us a Yen Press title, Kieli Volume 1.  Katherine Farmar makes a Manga Village first with the lowest score for the BL title World’s End from DMP/June.  Justin Colussy-Estes has a different kind of horror with Hansel & Gretel from Viz Media.

We make our weekly picks for 11/26/08 and 12/04/08.  Over at Good Comics for Kids I have my picks for all ages comics for 11/26/08 and 12/04/08.  I also have a review of the Doctor Who Classics comic series, and Brigid Alverson interviews Bryce Coleman of Tokyopop about their new color manga Orange.

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Review: King of Cards Volume 3

King of Cards Volume 3
By Makoto Tateno
Publisher: CMX
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Price: $9.99

Rating: ★★★★½

Are Manami’s grades slipping because of her dedication to her favorite card game?  Her math teacher thinks so and threatens to tell her mother — unless she can beat him in a Chaos match!  Also, a seemingly unbeatable player who actually hates Chaos is gunning for Manami.  What’s this girl’s connection to Manami’s card-playing cousin Tamotsu?

In this volume, there is plot development in two different directions.  The first half of the volume continues the love triange between Manami, Tamotsu and Misa, with a revelation relating back to the last volume that makes this a true triangle.  The second half returns to a plot point not seen since the first volume revolving around the Sahgan card.

Continue reading Review: King of Cards Volume 3

This Week at Manga Village ** 11/21/08

Well, it’s been quite a week at Manga Village.  You might see some new faces as you look around, but I’ll get to that in a little bit.  Let’s start with our reviews for this week.  Charles Tan starts things off with another season-appropriate sports title, Eyeshield 21 Volume 22 from Viz.  Dan Polley has quite a tale with Fairy Tail Volume 4 from Del Rey.  Katherine Famar gets aquainted with You and Harujion from Deux.  I take a new Viz title for a walk with Nora: The Last Chonicle of Devildom Volume 1.   John Thomas gets his learn on with Style School Volume 3 from Dark Horse.

We make our weekly picks this week as usual, with just one minor change.  We have a new villager!  Yes, Alex Hoffman from the blog Manga Widget has joined the crew and starts out with giving a pick with the rest of us.  Hopefully we’ll have reviews going up from him real soon!  Good Comics for Kids has been pretty busy this week too.  Not only do I have my weekly all ages list up, but I also have a review of the first new Naruto Chapter book, Naruto, The Boy Ninja from Viz.  Should your younger kids read it?  Go find out!  Sabrina Fritz has a review of the Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, both the manga and the novel.

This Week at Manga Village ** 11/16/08

It’s another round of reviews from the Villagers, with this week leading off in a gentile way with A Gentleman’s Kiss from Deux by Katherine Famar.  A true Gentleman needs a butler, so Charles Tan serves us a new Hayate Combat Butler Volume 8 from Viz.  And since butlers always need some little kid to look after, Dan Polley brings the cute Mao-Chan Volume 1 from Del Rey.  But where will they all live?  How about the Magic Lover’s Tower Volume 1-2 from DR Masters reviewed by me?  And who will guard the tower?  Inukami! Volume 1 of course from Seven Seas Entertainment reviewed by John Thomas.

Over in our columns, we’ve got our picks for the week, as well as our top manga for the month of October.  It was another close run again this week.  Check out what we liked.  And then over at Good Comics for Kids, I’ve have the latest All Ages list, and check out the review of Avalon: Web of Magic by Ester Keller.

Review: Hellsing Volume 8

Hellsing Volume 8
By Kohta Hirano
Publisher: Dark Horse
Age Rating: 13+
Genre: Horror/Action
Price: $13.95

Rating: ★★★★★

London is already bathed in blood, its citizenry almost entirely slaughtered by vampiric, reborn Nazi soldiers. And marching through the rivers of blood–thousands of extreme Catholic warriors in creepy cloaks. But the focus of this chaotic either volume is the return of Alucard, the slave-paladin of the British Protestants, who’s just piloted an aircraft carrier up the Thames to join the fray. It’s a crazy face-off between three gory armies and their primary killers, and if you think that sounds nuts, wait until you dive into the crimson-stained new volume of Kohta Hirano’s creepy-cool Hellsing manga series.

Now, I generally don’t read blood-spilling horror manga, but for Hellsing, I make an exception. My husband started getting this series originally, but, having nothing to read one day I picked it up, and was instantly hooked. This volume is a good example why.

We are still in the middle of a battle that started back in volume 6 with first the vampiric Nazis and then the invasion of the Catholics to take back Protestant England. It was not a good day to be a Londoner. England’s protectors, Hellsing, is down to three warriors, but one is really all they seem to need: Alucard. He makes a grand entrance, and holds control for the rest of the volume. It is all about him. Literally. We learn who Alucard really is and see his past, as he defeats one enemy after another on the ground. This also leads to another battle with Alucard’s arch rival, Father Anderson. This volume goes non-stop from beginning to end, with only short moments catch your breath with some plot teasing. This fight still isn’t over.

The art is as bold as the story telling. Thick black lines really give the characters definition, and the blood runs so thick, that some pages seem almost completely black from it all! And Alucard is hot in all of his incarnations!

Hellsing is a title that totally lives up to it’s hype. The art is fantastic, and the story strings you along just enough to keep you coming back for more. And Hirano-sensei’s zany extras are enough to want to buy the volumes alone! They makes the long wait between volumes worth it.

This Week at Manga Village ** 10/17-10/24/08

I guess I’ll be doing this every other week from now on.  That seems to be the pattern I’m falling into.  Not intentionally mind you.  Last weekend I was sick, and spent most of it on the couch.  It just seems to be something comes up every other weekend.  I guess that’s better than every weekend.  Anyway…on to the reviews!

I start things out with a look at Togari Volume 6 from Viz.  Charles Tan checks out an older series with Warcraft: Dragon Hunt Volume 1 from Tokyopop.  Katherine Farmar goes into a Freefall Romance from DMP/June Manga.  John Thomas takes a virtual trip to Japan with The Akiba: A Manga Guide to Akihabara from Kondansha America.  Does Dan Polley object to Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Case Book Volume 1 from Del Rey?  You’ll have to click the link to find out.

Week 2 starts with  Charles Tan has more football antics with Volume 21 of Eyeshield 21 from Viz.  Katherine Farmar is back with a Deux title this time with Future Lovers Volume 1.  Dan Polley spreads his wings with a look at a new Del Rey title, Papillon Volume 1.  John Thomas ends the week with an old school series rereleased by Dark Horse Comics, Astro Boy Volumes 1 & 2.  Also check out a double dose of our weekly picks for 10/15 and 10/22.

Over at Good Comics for Kids at School Library Journal, I’ve got my newest All Ages Comics and Manga List for 10/15 and 10/22.  And while it’s not strictly manga, Sabrina Fritz has reviews up of Pendragon GN Volume 1 and Korgi GN Volume 1.  Then, just in time for the spooky holiday coming up, I have a review of Cowa! from Viz.

This Week at Manga Village ** 9/26/08

Another week gone, and another week of reviews from the Manga Village crew!  The week starts off with a book that should have gone up last Friday, had a remembered it was International Talk Like  Pirate Day, as Charles Tan takes us back to the beginning of One Piece Volume 1 from Viz.  Just in time for it’s new release, John Thomas has the diagnosis on Black Jack Volume 1 from Vertical.  Katherine Farmar checks out a different kind of hybrid with the BL title Hybrid Child from DMP/June.  Dan Polley isn’t quite ready to give up his soul to Hell Girl Volume 3 from Del Rey.

We’ve got our weekly picks and for the first time ever I think, we are all in agreement for one title.  The September Manga of the Month may be a forgone conclusion…  At Good Comics for Kids, I’ve got the new releases for the week.  There’s also a lot of interesting roundups about the end of DC’s Minx line.  Head on over there to check them out.

Manga for your ears

I few years ago, I got into podcasts.  I like to listen to things while I work, and the radio and music got boring, so I started searching through podcasts.  One of the great things about podcasts, is that you can find something on just about any topic, since anyone with a computer, a microphone and some software can record one.  The first topics I searched for: anime and manga.

The anime was easy to find.  Anime podcasts are a dime a dozen, and I tried out a lot before I settled on a select few.  Podcasts for manga, well, that was a lot harder to find.  Some of the anime podcasts I got also do manga, but I really wanted to find something that was only manga.  Those are fewer and very far between.  But, I have found a few.

Continue reading Manga for your ears

This Week at Manga Village ** 9/04-9/10/08

Yeah, I know, I did it again.  I missed a week.  And I’m not going to try to make any excuses.  I’m just going to go straight into the reviews.  The first week of September started off with the newest member of our Manga Village Commune, Katherine Farmar.  She’s bringing the BL with her review of Lover’s Flat from DMP/June.  Charles Tan is ready for the return of Monday Night Football with Eyeshield 21 Volume 6 from Viz.  I check out High School Debut Volume 3 from Viz.  John Thomas gets Real Volume 1 from Viz.  Dan Polley gets his ninja on with Naruto Volume 30 from Viz.  Then check out our picks for the week.  They might be a Slam Dunk, or they might not…

This week picks up with Katherine Farmar works some magic with the DMP/June title Spell.  Charles Tan doesn’t run from Cat-Eyed Boy Volume 1 from Viz, nor does Dan Polley from I, Otaku Volume 2 from Seven Seas Entertainment.  But we lose John Thomas to MPD-Psycho Volume 6 from Dark Horse.

Over in our columns, we’ve got two you have to check out!  First is our usual picks of the week.  See if you can be as “tactful” as John was about it.  Then check out our Manga of the Month for August, with a new banner by Lissa Pattillo!  We’ve spiffed things up a bit, and tightened the format.  Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

Meanwhile, over at Good Comics for Kids, I’ve got the new All Ages Comics list for 9/4/08 and 9/10/08 up for your perusal.  Sabrina Fritz also has a review up there for Bizenghast: The Novel (yes, it’s okay to read something with more text than pictures every once in a while).