Tag Archives: Reviews

It is Armageddon!

The apocalypse is nigh, the end of the world is near, the impossible has happened. My local Barnes and Noble actually had a decently stocked manga section! (Cue dramatic chords).

This weekend I decided to go out and see if I could find a physical copy of King of Cards Volume 2. I’m not getting this one again sight unseen. My youngest was going to a birthday party, so I thought after dropping her off, we could drive down to the nearest Borders, which is about 20 minutes away. A check of their stock online said they might have it in stock. I had already written off Barnes and Noble. The one by us always has really lousy selection and the shelves are badly maintained. But, on a whim, I checked out the B&N website, and they said our local one might have it as well.

Well, B&N was on the way home, and a whole lot closer than Borders, so I decided to take the chance. (And, I had a gift card for B&N, just in case.) So, we stopped and went to the back of the store, and to my utter surprise, the shelves were full! OMG! (as my kids would say) I was stunned for a moment that not only were the shelves stocked, but I could see them! No manga-cows were blocking the shelves! I could’t believe my eyes.

I immediately went to the other side (our manga section is a single four shelf, standing alone in the back) to the K’s. Shock again! Not only did they have some CMX titles in stock, but they had King of Cards Volume 2! And, it didn’t have printing error that I had already been hit with twice! There was something wrong. Things never go this right for me. It had to be a sign. A sign that the end was coming.

I now have my working volume, and am working at getting a credit for my printing error copy from the store I bought it from. I want to thank Johanna Draper Carlson of Comics Worth Reading, for trying to get the word out about my problem. But, apparently I AM the only person who will admit to reading this series.

I will be posting a review of this second book. Before the world ends.

King of Cards Volume 1

Manami doesn’t know a thing about “Chaos”, a popular trading card game at school. Wanting to learn more about the game, she purchases a beginner’s set that contains “Sahgan the Sorcerer”, rarest of all Chaos cards. Now, not only does every fanatical Chaos player around challenge her, but she also starts having visions of Sahgan himself!

King of Card Volume 2King of Cards Volume 1
By Makoto Tateno
Publisher: CMX
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Age Rating: Teen
Price: $9.99/OOP
Rating: ★★★★☆

There are a lot of manga titles about games available, but this series differentiates itself from the rest by relying more on its characters than on the mechanics of the game.

Manami just wanted to learn to play “Chaos,” so she could play with her cousin Tamotsu. But things become more complicated when her beginner’s set come with the rarest card in the game, Sahgan the Sorcerer. And as you might expect from a game series, she is then beset with challenges from players that all want to win Sahgan from her. And like all those other manga, she wins all the challenges. But what makes this series different is that Manami stays true to why she started playing Chaos; to have fun.

Being a beginner means she doesn’t get all the nuances and strategies for the game. I could really relate to Manami as she has her doubts about being able to get the hang of all the rules and card abilities. Despite these feelings, Manami keeps going, because she really likes the game. Her feelings start to rub off onto the more experienced players that have become jaded about the game. They are more interested in getting strong cards and winning than having fun. Manami is able to rekindle those feelings by her pure love of playing and respecting the game. She even goes so far as to risk Sahgan in game to help her cousin get back into the game, who quit after losing his prize card, Angel of Destruction, to a couple of guys that overwhelm their opponents with cheap monsters. She doesn’t want Tamotsu to quit because she wants to play with him, and it won’t be fun playing without him.

This series is billed as a fantasy/romance, though there’s been more fantasy than romance, unless you consider Sahgan appearing in Manami’s dreams as romantic, though they’ve been anything but. He never speaks, and only gives her clues to winning the current match. There isn’t any real tension at the matches, since, as I said, there isn’t as much emphasis put on the game itself. They are still fun to watch, and the game play is mildly interesting. This is definitely a shojo series as the characters take precedence over the game and Manami starts to build relationships with her fellow gamers.

King of Cards doesn’t really offer anything new to the shojo or gaming genre. But it is a fun read with characters that are interesting and easy to relate to.

This Week at Manga Village ** 3/19/08

Come Visit Manga Village!

Another week, and another round of reviews. What have we got? John Thomas teaches us Death Note: How to Read Vol 13 from Viz. Then Lissa Pattillo satisfys that BL desire by casting a Crimson Spell Vol 1 from Kitty Media. I blast off for one last trip to Andromeda Stories Vol 3, for the end of this sci-fi classic from Vertical, Inc. Dan Polly also takes a trip, this time to Miki Falls: Winter Vol 4 for the conclusion of the teen romance from Harper Collins Publishers. Charles Tan gets a part time job with Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Vol 1 from Dark Horse.

Then, we make our weekly picks from this week’s manga. It’s a smaller list, but the distribution between publishers is more even. There are still some good books coming out, including two novels translated by our reviewer John Thomas! So come get your read on with us!

Review: Zombie Loan Volume 1

Zombie Loan Volume 1
By Peach Pit
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Supernatural/Action
Rating: Older Teen
Price: $10.99

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Michiru Kita’s a weak-spirited girl who has a hard time saying what’s on her mind. One day, she notices mysterious, ring-like markings around the necks of two of her classmates, Chika Akatsuki and Shito Tachibana-two boys who miraculously survived a horrible accident six months ago. Michiru, possessing the rare ability to see these rings, knows that they warn of impending death. Thinking that, perhaps, she can do something to save her classmates’ lives, she approaches them…but it seems the boys have already make a different kind of deal and garnered themselves a heavy debt.

Shinigami eyes, black rings that appear around necks that foretell of impending death, zombies that eat human flesh, two hot guys, one with a sword and the other with a gun, that hunt the zombies and release their souls. Sounds like an exciting story, right? Too bad this volume didn’t play out that way.

Continue reading Review: Zombie Loan Volume 1

This Week at Manga Village ** 3/12/08

Come Visit Manga Village!

This week at Manga Village, we’ve got another batch of reviews for you. John Thomas is getting small with is review of Minima Volume 1 from Del Rey. Things aren’t looking so divine to Dan Polley with his review of My Heavenly Hockey Club Volume 3 also from Del Rey. Charles Tan, on the other hand, kicks it with Eyeshield 21 Volume 2 from Viz. I’d like to flip mine off though, with Volume 1 of Switch from Viz. Don’t “hulk out” until you read the review of it though.

We’ve also got our picks from the new releases this month. There’s shojo, shonen, a touch of seinen with a sprinkle of old school, and a side order of BL, so come check them out!

Bride of the Water God Volume 1

When Soah’s impoverished, desperate village decides to sacrifice her to the Water God Habaek to end a long drought, they believe that drowning one beautiful girl will save their entire community and bring much-needed rain. Not only is Soah surprised to be rescued by the Water God-instead of killed-she never imagined she’d be a welcomed guest in Habaek’s magical kingdom, where an exciting new life awaits her! Most surprising, however, is the Water God himself…and how very different he is from the monster Soah imagined.

Bride of the Water God Volume 1
Bride of the Water God 1By Mi-Kyung Yun
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Rating:Teen
Price: $9.99
Rating: ★★★★½

It’s a journey through Wonderland, Korean style, as we follow Soah’s adventures in the land of the gods. Will she find happiness with her new husband, the Water God Habaek, or does a worse fate await her?

As serious as all that sounds, Bride of the Water God is a good mix of comedy and drama. Although the romance hasn’t really started yet, you can see it in filtering through slowly. Habaek and Soah are essentially strangers that have been put together in this “arranged” marriage. There are plenty of missteps and misunderstandings, some humorous, others not. But, despite outward appearances, there is an undercurrent that Habaek does have feelings for Soah. The potential for a real romance is there, if Soah can break through the emotional wall Habaek seems to have around him.

The characters are well-developed, and we learn about them through their actions. There aren’t any descriptions or inter monologue about anyone. What you see is what you get, and that really draws you into the story. You have to really look at the characters to pick up the subtle cues that are put in to define them. Habaek, which seems cold and brooding, also has a warm and tender side that only shows when he is watching Soah sleep. Despite being Gods, all the characters have their humanistic qualities that make them easy to relate to.

Mi-Kyung Yun’s art is absolutely gorgeous! Her characters are beautiful with lots of delicate line work. Their clothing has the look and feel of ancient Korea, with lots of intricate designs. The care she puts into her work really shows, and just adds to the overall feel of the book.

The only thing I didn’t like about this volume was the disjointed way the chapters were fit together. Splash pages were the only way to really tell you were moving from one chapter to another, and at one point, I had to go back a re-read a transition because I thought I’d missed a page or two. While only a minor distraction, it did leave me wondering.

Bride of the Water God is among Dark Horse’s first foray into the world of shojo, and it does so with great success. The art, writing and characters all come together to make a wonderful story that any girl would love to read.

Brian’s Spot: Phantom Volume 1

Phantom Volume 1
By Ki-Hoon Lee/Seung-Yup Cho
Publisher: Tokyopop
Rating: 13+
Genre: Action/Mecha
RRP: $9.99

Rating: ★★★★½

Reviewed by Brian Henderson

K is a mech pilot for the Neo Seoul Police, chasing down terrorists in his TC (Tactical Costume) in the near future. This is after the deadly “Meteo Rain” that showered the Earth, toppling governments and bringing about the rise of the mega-corporations that now rule the planet. K has never really given much thought to his job but when an arrest goes horribly wrong, he’s trapped in a world that wants him dead and forced to side with the terrorists against the megacorps at the helm of a new type of TC, controlled by the AI Cerebus which identifies K as it’s sole pilot.

Continue reading Brian’s Spot: Phantom Volume 1

This Week at Manga Village ** 3/06/08

Come Visit Manga Village!

This week we’re cooking up the sweets at Manga Village! Dan Polley is serving up some shojo with Kitchen Princess Vol. 5 from Del Rey Manga. Charles Tan is ready with a cure if you eat too much with Death Note Vol. 2 from Viz. Or you can hit the streets to work off some of that good eating with John Thomas and his review of Tekkon Kinkrete from Viz. Pass the time running with some Andromeda Stories Vol 2 from Vertical by me.

Then, check out our latest picks from the manga coming out this week. As usual, we have an all-you-can-eat buffet of picks to satisfy your manga hunger.

This Week at Manga Village ** 2/27/08

Come Visit Manga Village!

We’ve got another week of “something for everyone” at Manga Village! For the Manly Man, Dan Polley shoots out a review of Golgo 13 Vol 12 from Viz. For some sweet shojo goodness, Lissa Pattillo goes to the Yume Kira Dream Shoppe from Viz. Charles Tan continues the horror with Uzumaki Vol 2 from Viz while John Thomas takes a flight on All Nippon Airline: Paradise at 30,000 Feet for some Yaoi comedy from Digital Manga Publishing. I’ve got some good anti-hero action in Togari Vol 5 from Viz. 4 out of 5 reviewer prefer Viz Media this week.

Over in the columns, we give our Picks for the week, and then Charles Tan explains Why he Loves Sports Manga. Come check out these and our other columns and reviews. Everyone’s welcome at Manga Village.

Jenny's Journal: Dragon Drive Volume 3


Dragon Drive Vol 3

by Keiichi Sakura
Published by Viz Media
Genre: Fantasy, Gaming

Rating: All Ages

Grade: B

Storyline

After a battle against Rokkaku, he joins Reiji and friends to compete in the Dragonic Heaven. As time goes on, Reiji meets two small children, Lyn and Sue, abusing a small water dragon, along with Chibi. Reiji battles their dragons and defeats them. Time goes on, his team meets the same two children, engulfed in darkness. After Reiji recovers from anger, He tries to save the children AND go to the next round.

Review

A new character! Okay but seriously, a new “fun” character to the series! In Volume 3 of Dragon Drive, we see Reiji and a powerhouse of Chibi, fueled with anger. There’re some mysterious people creating a dark aura. The tournament looks like quite a challenge. And the rest will be revealed.

What I liked about it

Angered Chibi looked really awesome. Huge teeth stuck out of his mouth and there was some pretty huge muscles. I also liked the suspense the manga held. I think it was pretty cool.

What I didn’t like

Berserker Reiji and Chibi kind of freak me out, even if they look cool.

What you could do to make it better

Nothing.

Is this suitable for children?

Yes.

Brian’s Spot: Junk: Record of the Last Hero Volume 1

Not to be left out, my husband Brian is contributing reviews of the manga he reads as well. The infection is spreading…


Junk: Record of the Last Hero Volume 1
By Kia Asamiya
Publisher: DrMaster Publications
Rating: 15+
RRP: $9.95
Rating: ★★★★☆

Reviewed by Brian Henderson

Hiro is a troubled high school student who has refused to go to school ever since he had a terribly traumatic fight with the school bullies. One day, he happens across a website looking for a monitor for a revolutionary new product called only “JUNK”. Once he receives his “JUNK” though, his life will never be the same. JUNK turns out to be a super-powered suit of armor that allows Hiro to do things beyond his wildest dreams. Just one problem, his dreams turn out to be anything but heroic, in fact his dreams are very selfish and self-serving, causing problems not only for the people in the city where he lives, but for those closest to him. Add to that the mysterious appearance of another JUNK suit who isn’t too happy with his he’s chosen to live his new life…

My biggest problem with most superhero comics these days is I find them ridiculously unrealistic. Yes, I know that looking for realism in a comic book seems a bit silly, but I do find it really nonsensical that so many teenagers, when given super powers, automatically become selfless superheroes, dedicating their lives to saving the world without a moment’s thought to what they might get out of all this power.

JUNK isn’t like that. JUNK portrays things the way I’ve always thought they’d realistically be. If you took your average teenager and gave them powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, do you seriously think that they wouldn’t abuse those powers? Heck, if Superboy was real, he’d be peeping at girls in the school showers, showing off in front of the guys and making himself look good to the cheerleaders. That’s how teenagers think and act and that’s exactly how Hiro acts when he gets his JUNK suit. Without question, he’s a messed up kid, he hates authority, he’s got a vendetta against the bullies who beat him up, he’s obsessed with an idol singer, at no time does the idea of fighting for truth, justice and the Japanese way ever occur to him and that’s the way it should be!

Volume 1 deals with Hiro’s first tenative steps out in his new JUNK suit. Being an impulsive teen, he ignores the manual and just goes for it, stumbling around and learning as he goes, never once thinking about the consequences of his actions. By the middle of this volume, he’s taken bloody revenge against the bullies, is being hunted by the police, he’s considered a public menace, his entire life is falling down around his ears and it’s all his fault. Then he meets the second JUNK suit and it’s operator is not impressed with the way that Hiro has been handling his responsibilities. Hiro is unstable, liable to fly off the handle at the smallest provocation and isn’t concerned in the least about how his actions impact others. He has a long, long way to go to learn how to be a hero.

In the end, perhaps the only negative to the story is that it’s all way too convenient. He’s in the right place at the right time to get the right suit so he can learn the right lessons and do the right thing. Yes, it’s a set-up, but you have to struggle at times to suspend your disbelief. While we haven’t seen anything about the company that made the suits, you have to wonder why they haven’t done anything about their monitor trashing downtown with their proprietary JUNK suit although I’m sure that will come into play somewhere down the road. For now, you have the media wondering just where these amazing suits came from and why they keep knocking down buildings and causing destruction wherever they go.

If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary in the superhero genre or you’re jaded by the four-color spandex concept, check out JUNK, it gives a much more realistic view and plenty of action to keep any fan happy. 9.0

This Week at Manga Village ** 2/20/08

Horror, fantasy, ninjas, cars and some BL are all waiting for you at the Manga Village! This week, Charles Tan gives his take on Uzumaki Vol 1 from Viz. Dan Polley, another new addition (Yay!) brings the tale of ninjas in love with Tail of the Moon Vol 8 from Viz. Lissa Pattillo has some sweet boy lovin’ with You and Harujion from June/DMP.  Finally, it’s me with some magical land romping in Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden vol 6 from Viz.

Over in our columns, John Thomas throws his hat into the debate and asks “What is Manga?” Check it out, and then tell us what you think in the comments section. We love to get comments. Then we give our Weekly Picks in Pick ‘n’ Mix, and a little news in our new News column.

Thanks for dropping by and enjoy your stay!