Tag Archives: seven seas entertainment

This Week’s Manga: Ancient Magus Legend

This Week's Manga

LegendOfZelda-LinkToThePast-3DMost of the manga that comes out is rated Teen and up, but there are still some titles that are rated for all ages. Perfect Square is Viz Media’s imprint for all such titles, and this week sees the release of one of the most anticipated of the year. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past is an adaptation of the Nintendo Game Boy Advance game of the same name. It was serialized in Nintendo Power magazine, and has seen print since 1993. It’s been on Amazon’s best-selling manga list since it first announced in February as a pre-order. How will it do as an official release? Also from Viz is the deluxe edition of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1 Phantom Blood Vol 2 which follows the adventures of the first Joseph Jostar. It’s pretty amazing the third part of this series, thought to be the best, barely sold 10 years ago, but the first part is not only selling incredibly well, it’s doing it as a hardcover at twice the price!

Ancient Magus Bride 1Two of Seven Seas Entertainment’s new titles are coming out this week. Ancient Magus’ Bride is one that a lot of fans have been looking forward to, including me. It’s a supernatural shonen romance and was nominated for the Manga Taisho award this year. The first has me interested, but the second has me excited to read it! Evergreen is by the creator of Tora Dora, also published by Seven Seas. It’s another shonen rom-com. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a plug to What Did You Eat Yesterday Vol 8 from Vertical Comics. This series is filled with such a sweet, honest relationship, it’s hard to not want to pick up the newest volume. Don’t let all the food porn scare you off.

Full List per Diamond Distributors

Tsubasa Omnibus Volume 4 GN, $19.99
Yamada Kun And The Seven Witches Volume 2 GN, $10.99

LBX Little Battlers Experience Volume 5 New Hope GN, $9.99
Legend Of Zelda A Link To The Past GN, $19.99
Pokemon Adventures Volume 28 GN, $9.99

Ancient Magus’ Bride Volume 1 GN, $12.99
Evergreen Volume 1 GN, $12.99

What Did You Eat Yesterday Volume 8 GN, $12.95

Black Rose Alice Volume 4 GN, $9.99
Bleach 3-In-1 Edition Volume 11 TP, $14.99
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1 Phantom Blood Volume 2 HC, $19.99
Kiss Of The Rose Princess Volume 4 GN, $9.99
Millennium Snow 2-In-1 Edition Volume 2 TP, $14.99
Naruto 3-In-1 Edition Volume 11 TP, $14.99
Nisekoi False Love Volume 9 GN, $9.99
Rosario+Vampire Season II Volume 14 GN, $9.99
Spell Of Desire Volume 4 GN, $9.99
Yu-Gi-Oh 3-In-1 Edition Volume 2 TP, $14.99

This Week’s Manga: MangaHOLiC

Weekly Top Ten Manga

xxxHolic Rei 3 Kodansha and Seven Seas Entertainment is getting the lion’s share of releases this week. Kodansha releases more of their newer titles with Maria The Virgin Witch Vol 2 which seems to have a lot going on under the surface. Noragami: Stray God has been doing well, so I expect to see vol 4 hit the NYT bestseller list in the next few weeks. The third volume of xxxHolic Rei is released just as it is announced in Japan that CLAMP will resume work on the series. Good timing for Kodansha. Dark Horse got stuck with the still on hiatus series Gate 7, but then, with Dark Horse’s sometimes glacial release schedule, who would notice?

Certain Scientific Railgun 10Seven Seas releases a new Alice in the Country of title; Alice in the Country of Clover: The March Hare’s Revolution. Elliot has done pretty well in the Alice pairings. How many does this make now 3? 4? 5?? A Certain Sceinetific Railgun Vol 10 is released this week, catching the series up with its Japanese counterpart. It’s a good thing Yen Press has the main series, A Certain Magical Index coming out in both light novel and manga formats to tide fans over until the next release. Vol 6 of Dragonar Academy is also coming out this week, and is sure to hit the NYT bestseller list at least for its first week. The monster girl fans are really supporting their releases. If you’re not interested in monster girls, Viz has vol 15 of Dorohedoro, which has a completely different kind of monsters, but is also really fun. Or if drama is more your cup of tea, Vertical Comics has their very successful deluxe release of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Vol 9. Excellent writing and art.

Full List per Diamond Distributors

Gantz Volume 35 TP, $13.99

Attack On Titan Junior High Volume 3 GN, $16.99
Maria The Virgin Witch Volume 2 GN, $10.99
Noragami Stray God Volume 4 GN, $10.99
Say I Love You Volume 7 GN, $10.99
xxxHOLiC Rei Volume 3 GN, $10.99

Alice In The Country Of Clover The March Hare’s Revolution GN, $13.99
Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 10 GN, $12.99
Devils And Realist Volume 5 GN, $12.99
Dragonar Academy Volume 6 GN, $12.99

Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin Volume 9 HC, $29.95

Dorohedoro Volume 15 GN, $12.99

Sword Art Online Novel Volume 4 Fairy Dance SC, $13.00

This Week’s Manga: April Showers

This Week's Manga

Clay Lord 1 Lots of titles debuting this week. Kodansha starts out with two new titles. Let’s Dance A Waltz is by Natsumi Ando, the mangaka of Kitchen Princess, and the recently ended Arisa. I have yet to read an Ando title, though Kitchen Princess is on my “someday” list, but I’ll definitely give the first volume of this series a try. Your Lie In April was Kodansha’s last announced license of 2014. It’s a music title that has been compared to Nodame Cantabile, which was only partially published by Del Rey back in the day. I’m looking forward to giving this volume a try as well. Seven Seas has two debuts as well. 12 Beast is another monster girl title, and is by the same mangaka as their runaway hit Monster Musume.  I expect this title to do just as well, I just won’t be experiencing it first hand. Clay Lord: Masters of Golems is much more my type. It’s a fantasy with plenty of adventure and competition.

DevilIsAPartTimerV1_Prose_TPYen Press is the serious player this week with four new light novels and 2 new manga debuting. Yen On gets a big push with Devil is a Part-Timer, Kagerou Daze, No Game, No Life, and Log Horizon all debuting their first volumes this week. No Game No Life and Log Horizon has seem a bit of hype from fans, but Devil is a Part-Timer is the one I’m most interested in. I don’t know why but the thought of a demon lord working in fast food just sounds really funny to me. Of the new manga, the title I’m looking forward to the most is of course Puella Magi Tart Magica. This time it’s a magical girl from the past, so I’m looking forward to how the historical setting works. Also out this week is the final volume of Tena on S-String. I never thought this title would ever be finished. Before its return in December, the last volume was released in 2010. That volume finished well enough that it could have been the end, but there is a proper ending now, which I’m looking forward to reading.

Full List per Diamond Distributors

Let’s Dance A Waltz Volume 1 GN, $10.99
Your Lie In April Volume 1 GN, $10.99

12 Beast Volume 1 GN, $12.99
Clay Lord Masters Of Golems Volume 1 GN, $12.99

Witchcraft Works Volume 4 GN, $12.95

Vagabond Volume 37 GN, $9.95

Akame Ga Kill Volume 2 GN, $13.00
Barakamon Volume 4 GN, $15.00
Devil Is Part-Timer Light Novel Volume 1 SC, $14.00
Inu X Boku SS Volume 7 TP, $11.99
Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon Novel Volume 2 SC, $14.00
Kagerou Daze Volume 1 GN, $13.00
Log Horizon The Beginning Of Another World Light Novel Volume 1 SC, $14.00
No Game No Life Light Novel Volume 1 SC, $14.00
Puella Magi Tart Magica The Legend Of Jeanne D’Arc Volume 1 GN, $13.00
So I Can’t Play H Volume 1 GN, $13.00
Spice And Wolf Novel Volume 14 SC, $13.00
Sword Art Online Progressive Volume 2 GN, $13.00
Tena On S-String Volume 7 GN, $30.00

Seven Seas Goes Scientific Again

sevenseaslogoOn their Twitter account this week, Seven Seas Entertainment announced a new manga license after dropping some hints for followers to try to guess.

acceleratorA Certain Scientific Accelerator is another spin-off manga of the light novel series A Certain Magical Index. It follows Accelerator, the most power esper in Academy City. He starts out as an antagonist in both the main series and the spin-off manga A Certain Scientific Railgun, until he is defeated by Touma Kamijou, the protagonist in Magical Index. Accelerator’s story starts after this defeat and at the beginning of his journey to be more “heroic” in the story. The series is currently at 3 volumes and is ongoing. The first volume is set to be released in October of 2015, with volume 2 following up in January 2016.

Seven Seas already publishes A Certain Scientific Railgun, so adding another Scientific title makes perfect sense. Yen Press holds the license to the main series A Certain Magical Index, both the manga and the light novel. I liked the first two volumes of Railgun that I’ve read, so I may consider this series as well. Stories with redemption arcs are popular right now so this could do well for Seven Seas, especially as Magical Index comes out and more of the story is available.

Seven Seas Announces Two New Licenses for 2016

This last Wednesday, Seven Seas Entertainment announced two new licenses on their twitter feed for calendar year 2016. Both titles fall into their wheelhouse, though one doesn’t so too bad.

New TestamentThe Testament of Sister New Devil is an adaptation of the light novel series. It is about Basara Tojo, a high school student who suddenly gets two new sisters when his father announces he has decided to remarry, and then promptly leaves for an overseas trip, leaving the trio alone. But Basara’s new step sisters, Mio and Maria are not what they seem. They are actually a novice Devil and Succubus. After trying to get Basara into a master/servant relationship with a Mio, an error occurs and Basara becomes the master, throwing him into all kinds of erotic situations. On top of all this, Mio is being hunted by both monsters and heroes. This series doesn’t interest me at all with its harem, male gaze elements, but it does fit perfectly in Seven Seas’ catalog. There are four volumes so far, and an anime adaptation is being streamed by Crunchyroll. The first will be available here in February 2016.

My Monster SecretMy Monster Secret is a romantic comedy that follows Asahi Kuromine. He has a crush on Yoko Shiragami, a cute but mysterious girl at his school. Asahi can’t keep a secret, but everyone has them, including Shiragami. Asahi learns her secret, that she is a vampire, but he is determined to keep it for her. This is another “monster girl” series, but doesn’t fall into the heavy male gaze category thankfully. It does seem to make the harem side, but it sure seems shonen rom-coms can’t be successful without it. The art looks cute though, so I might be willing to check out a volume or two. It currently has 10 volumes available, and the first volume will be released in January of 2016.

Seven Seas has been making some interesting choices with their licenses, and have been sticking with some genres that sell. These titles certainly do fit with their male gaze/monster girl categories, but at least with My Monster Secret appear to be looking to mix it up with the latter category. It’s something to look forward to in 2016.

Seven Seas Announces Fall Licenses

On Wednesday, Seven Seas Entertainment announced on their Twitter feed several new licenses set to be released in October and November of this year. Four titles were announced, all either having an anime adaptation, or are an adaptation of a light novel series, a trend that is continuing from last year.

 riddleAkuma no Riddle: Riddle Story of Devil follows Haru Ichinose, an ordinary student at an all female boarding school filled with assassins. She is the target of the other students; “The Hare.” Tokaku Azuma, an assassin who transfers into the school to join the hunt, but after meeting Haru, is drawn to her, and begins to protect her. The series is published in Kadokawa Shoten’s Newtype and is currently 3 volumes. It has a 12 episode anime adaptation that has been licensed by Funimation. This description doesn’t move me, but it doesn’t sound bad either. It was written by Yun Kouga, the creator of Loveless and Gestalt, neither series that I had much interest in, but a lot of other people have. It also has a lot of elements that make it fit the Seven Seas library.

golden-timeGolden Time is a light novel series by Yuyuko Takemiya, the creator of Toradora. It follows Banri Tada, a college student who lost his memories after graduating High School. He goes to a private law school in Tokyo and meets Mitsuo Yanagisawa and Kouko Kaga. Kouko and Mitsuo are childhood friends, and as children promised to marry. Mitsuo seems to have second thoughts and goes to the college to escape Kouko, but she has followed him and enrolled as well. This romantic comedy follows them and their friends at the college. It is published in Monthly Comic Dengeki Daioh, and there are seven volumes out. An anime adaptation was licensed by Sentai Filmworks. This series seems to lean toward male-gaze and romantic comedies rarely appeal to me, so I don’t see this series calling to me.

mermanMerman in a Tub is a 4-koma slice of life series. Tatsumi is a high school student who lives by himself. Wakasa is a handsome merman who moves into Tatsumi’s bath tub. Wakasa is a cute but self-centered, while Tatsumi is the cool but caring busybody. The series offers a peek into their life together. It is published in Comic Gene, and the collected volumes by Media Factory, and there are currently 5 volumes. Crunchyroll streamed the anime adaptation last season. I like the sound of this one. It looks like it will have a lot of humor, and I’m certainly not against seeing hot mermen.

joblessMushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation is a fantasy series based on a light novel series. It follows a 34-year-old virgin NEET who is kicked out of his house. Penniless, he comes to regret the decisions he’s made over his life. While saving some high schoolers from a speeding truck, he is killed . He is then reincarnated into another world of sword and magic. He resolves to live his new life to the fullest and use his knowledge from his previous life. He is joined by a small girl who is a magic tutor and a beautiful quarter-elf with green hair. The series is published in Comic Flapper, and the first volume was just released in November. This series has some potential, but it can easily fall into harem territory. I’ll just wait and see.

This is a good Fall line-up for Seven Seas.  It will appeal to a variety of readers, as well as their core. I’m happy to see this list even if they aren’t all titles I’m personally interested in.

Seven Manga in Seven Days

At the beginning of October, Seven Seas Entertainment touted that they would announce seven new licences over the next seven days. Starting on October 1st, Seven Seas posted the announcements to Twitter first, stirring up fans with some surprising and not so surprising titles.

Non non biyori     The first title announced was Non Non Biyori. This rural slice of life comedy follows Hotaru Ichijo, who has just moved from Tokyo to the countryside, where the nearest bookstore is 20 minutes away by bike, a certain popular manga magazine comes out Wednesdays instead of Mondays, and the video store is 10 stations away. Helping Hotaru adjust to the slower life in the country are her new classmates Natsumi, Komari, Renge, and Komari’s older brother Suguru. There are currently seven volumes available in Japan. It had an anime which was shown last October and a second season is in the works. Crunchyroll streamed the first season, and Sentai Filmworks will be releasing it on DVD. The first volume will be available here at the end of June 2015. I might be interested in checking out this series, though I haven’t had much luck with slow titles that feature cute girls. I’ll wait and see.

Ancient magus Bride The second title was The Ancient Magus’ Bride. This supernatural series is about Hartoi Chise, a 15-year-old orphan who has no relatives, no means and no hope. A chance meeting with a Magus, who appears more demon than human, buys her, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse. This series has only just started in Mag Garden’s Monthly Comic Blade last year when it stopped publication. It moved to Monthly Comic Garden, and now has 2 volumes available. Seven Seas doesn’t have a publishing date yet. This title looks like one I would enjoy. It’s got a lot of elements I enjoy in a supernatural manga, and even though it is shonen, it looks to have some romantic elements, so I will be looking out for this one when it’s released. Can’t wait.

Pandora of the Crimson ShellThe third title was Pandora of the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn by Masamue Shirow and Koushi Rikudou. This sci-fi title is about Nene Nanakorobi, who is a zenshin, a person who has replaced her entire body with machines. She heads to a man-made island resort where a new life of terrorists running rampant and weapons of mass destruction await her. There are four volume available, and the work is divided up as Shirow doing the writing and Rikudou doing the art. Shirow is best know in the west for such titles as Ghost in the Shell, and Appleseed. Rikudou is the creator of Excel Saga. This title is announced for release in July of 2015. This is another title I’m gonna sit on the fence about. I like both creators, but the story doesn’t sound like something I’d be interested in. It’s another wait and see.

SakamotoThe fourth title was Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto. This high school series follows Sakamoto, a boy who transfers into a new high school and immediately attracts the attention of not just his classmates, but the entire student body. Every thing he does just makes him look cool. Boys jealous of him try to play tricks on him and bully him, but they all back fire, making him look even cooler! I first of heard of this title when it was nominated for the 7th Manga Taisho awards, but it was also nominated, and won the best “male-oriented” award from Da Vinci, and the Comic Natalie Grand Prize. I’m really curious about this title now, and can’t wait for it to be released in August of 2015.

bodacious space piratesThe fifth title was Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace. This two-volume series is based on an anime and adapts the film of the same name. The series follows Marika Kato, a third year student at Hakuho Girls’ Academy. Marika’s days are busy between her studies, club activities, a part-time job, and being the captain of a space pirate ship. She gets a job to rob a high-class passenger ship, and learns one of the passengers, a boy named Kanata Mugen has a “galaxy pass.” It becomes a race hyperspace between the boy and the pirates. Seven Seas will release the first volume in August 2015. If I was interested in the anime this series came from, I might be interested. But since I’m not, I’m giving this series a pass.

Magika SwordmanThe sixth title was just what you’d expect from Seven Seas. Magika Swordsman and the Summoner is the manga adaptation of a light novel series of the same name. The story follows Kazuki Hayashizaki, a master swordsman who receives a mysterious sign from a god-demon that uses summon magic. He enters the magic department of the national knight academy where he takes a magic class with all girls as well as learns the Hayashizaki sword technique as its successor. The first volume will be out in July 2015. Just looking at the cover, I can tell this is a series I won’t want to pick up. The description doesn’t help. This is another pass.

FreezinglThe seventh and final title was Freezing, by Korean creators Dall-Young Lim and Kwang-Hyun Kim. This action series is about Kazuya, a boy who lost his sister in humankind’s fight against being from another dimension. He enrolls in a military academy to learn to fight the dimensional beings and learns of the all girl group Pandora, preparing to fight an unknown enemy. This series has been running for a while now. It has 25 volumes and has inspired two anime. Seven Seas will publish the series as 2-in-1 omnibus starting in June 2015. Dall-Young Lim is already know in the US for his title Black God that he wrote and was published by Yen Press. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I’ve found with manga that features women with impossibly big and round breasts, that I usually can. I’m passing on this one too.

Well, Seven Seas was doing okay for a while there with two Can’t Waits and two Wait and Sees. But then at the end they hit with three passes, two of which are purely based on the heavy male-gaze elements in the art and story. But that isn’t too bad for me. I can’t afford to follow everything that comes out, so I’m glad to only have a few to look forward to, especially since they look like very strong titles.

This Week’s Manga: Arpeggio of Witchcraft

This Week's MangaIt’s another slow manga release this week. While Kodansha and Viz Media do have titles coming out, only Veritical and Seven Seas Entertainment has anything I’m actually interested in.

Arpeggio 2 Seven Seas continues to be a hit or miss publisher with me. Their licenses lately have tended to rely too much on the male gaze fan service, but it’s hard to fault them that since those are the titles that make it onto the New York Times Bestseller List. Hopefully, the more skeevy titles will continue to fund manga like Arpeggio of Blue Steel. Volume 2 comes out this week, and I’m still looking forward to it even through volume 1 is still sitting in my Amazon shopping cart.

Witchcraft Works 1Witchcraft Works is the first manga to come out under the Vertical Comics imprint, which was just announced at New York Comic Con earlier this month. It’s a romantic comedy, but I still am interested in checking out volume 1. Vertical has steered me wrong yet, so I’ll trust if they say it’s good and funny. An anime of the manga has already been streamed by Crunchyroll earlier this year, so it’s got a built-in audience, and it seems to be selling since it’s already a bestseller on Amazon on the Romance Manga top ten. No easy feat I’m sure.

The the full list per Diamond Distribution:

Animal Land Volume 10 GN, $10.99
No. 6 Volume 9 GN, $10.99
Sankarea Volume 9 GN, $10.99

Alice In The Country Of Diamonds Bet On My Heart Volume 1 GN, $13.99
Arpeggio Of Blue Steel Volume 2 GN, $12.99
Dance In The Vampire Bund Secret Chronicles Volume 1 GN, $14.99
Haganai I Don’t Have Many Friends Volume 9 GN, $12.99
No Game No Life Volume 1 GN, $12.99

Witch Craft Works Volume 1 GN, $12.95

Black Bird Complete Box Set, $149.99
Monster The Perfect Edition Volume 2 GN, $19.99
Princess Mononoke The First Story HC, $34.99
Sunny Volume 4 HC, $22.99
Vagabond Volume 36 GN, $9.95

This Week’s Manga: Almost All Shojo

This Week's Manga

This week is a good week for shojo readers. Kodansha releases the 4th volume of Say I Love You, their new shojo Say I Love You 4title that I was surprised I not only liked but also managed to distinguish itself from other titles by taking a more direct approach to teens, their relationships and feelings. Viz Media has a lot of shojo titles I like, and this week releases three that are high on my list. My Love Story is a new series that I’m hoping will end my bad luck with romantic comedies. Volume 2 is out this week. Natsume’s Book of Friends is a title I would call a comfort manga. It’s relaxing story and engaging characters is perfect to relax to after a rough day. Volume 17 is out this week. Happy Marriage?! is a shojo for a more mature crowd. I’ve enjoyed watching Chiwa’s and Hokuto’s relationship get over the bumpy spots and grow. It’s sad that the series is almost done with Volume 8 now out, but I’m looking forward to a Happy Ending.

It’s not all shojo this week, as the title of this post says. Seven Seas Entertainment releases a title that has me curious but I’m not so sure I’m excited about. Magical Girl Apocalypse takes the next step in the deconstruction of the Magical Girl genre and moves it further into the horror genre. I liked the darkness in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, but I’m afraid Magical Girl Apocalypse may go a step too far. Vertical also has a brush with horror with their new title Ajin. It  is also being streamed digitally on Crunchyroll, but for the best translation and presentation, go with the Vertical edition.

My Love Story 2Natsume Book of Friends 17Happy Marriage 8Magical Girl Apocalypse 1Ajin 1

Crunchyroll Corner: Stirring Up Trouble

KippoCrunchyroll has been really been working hard to become the legal streaming site for manga. Their “all you can read” plan puts a lot of titles at readers fingertips for one monthly price, and they are adding new titles all the time. Recently, they added two new titles, The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer and Kippo. Kippo is a new title to western readers. It is by Hiroshi Tanaka and runs in Shonengahosha’s Young King magazine. The story is about some boys whose family life is anything but happy, and the people they meet in their “spot”, who become more family than their own. When disaster strikes, it’s these people who come together to protect what is important to them. The first chapter is available for anyone to read, while the rest of the first and only volume published so far is behind the subscription wall. It’s violent and disturbing at times, but does appear to have potential for some real drama.

The Lucifer and Biscuit HammerThe Lucifier and Biscuit Hammer is not a new title to western readers. Jmanga started releasing it and got out 5 volumes before they closed up. Crunchyroll has been rescuing a lot of Jmanga’s titles, and hope they continue to do so, but not everyone is happy about this license. Print publisher Seven Seas Entertainment already announced this title for print. They will be releasing 2 volume omnibus editions starting in November. There was a bit of a brouhaha on Twitter after Crunchyroll made the announcement, as some say it as stepping on Seven Seas’s toes. There seems to be some resentment among fans, and possibly publishers (though they’d never say anything openly) over Crunchyroll licensing and releasing titles digitally, often well before the print licensers can get theirs out, and possibly undercutting sales. They did it to Vertical with Ajin, and are now doing it again with Seven Seas. Crunchyroll has the whole series around up for premium members to read a whole  month ahead of Seven Seas’s first omnibus. The possible good/bad thing about this is that there are different translators for each project, but that can be a whole different can of worms.



World War Blue Volume 1

In the continent of Consume, an endless war rages between bitter rivals: the Segua Kingdom vs. the Ninteldo Empire. Upon his dinosaur steed, the stern Emperor Marcus has led the Ninteldo Empire to near victory. Now, with the majority of Consume under its control, Ninteldo has Segua up against the ropes.

Enter a fleet-footed lad named Gear, who seeks vengeance against Ninteldo for his brother’s death. After joining Segua’s Army, Gear is enlisted in the Special Forces to put his preternatural speed to good use. But will the inexperienced, impulsive youth be ready to face the realities of war?

World War Blue Volume 1
wwb_vol1_fullStory by Anastasia Shestakova; Art by Crimson
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Action/Game
Price: $11.99
Rating: ★★★☆☆

When I first heard the premise of World War Blue, I was intrigued. I’ve always been interested in the console wars, and seeing them brought to life sounded like a fun idea. In practice, I found the execution problematic, though the story isn’t without it’s merits.

World War Blue starts by introducing three characters; the fleet-footed Gear and his friends Tial and Nel. They are the only survivors of a Ninteldo attack five years previous, on their village of Marcthree. When Ninteldo soldiers return, Tial is killed, which spurs Gear to join Segua’s Army. But Gear’s extraordinary speed isn’t the only thing special about him. He is what is called a “Killer”, warriors that possess great power. Along with fellow Killers Opal and Tejirov, Gear trains to become stronger before going on a mission to save the Segua Army’s leader, General Alex.

There were a lot of things I liked about this volume. I liked Gear. He’s pretty much how I would imagine a human version of Sonic the Hedgehog to be. He is very much the shonen hero, with the tragic loss that sends him on his journey, his direct attacks and reliance on pure strength. He’s confident in his abilities, but also willing to learn more. He makes a good lead, and that seemed like a good start.

I also liked how the video games were translated into characters. All the characters in this story are based on Sega video games. Gear and Tial is obvious. Nel is based on a character from Fantasy Star Online, a popular RPG back in the day. Ramses, a Lt. General in the Segua Army is based on the game Columns. Her roots aren’t so obvious. Opal has a better connection to her game, Fantasy Zone, in both her name and power. Seeing Nintendo’s Mario as the big, buff armored Emperor Marcus was kind of weird. Tejirov is a mercenary from the neutral country of Lorgue, and is based on Tetris. This is fairly obvious as he obsesses over the number 4. Shestakova did a good job creating their characters and integrating the important traits from their games to make them recognizable, but not glaringly so.

In between each chapter there were short talks about the history of video games and the “war” between Nintendo and Sega. I loved these sections. They tell about the hardware, focus on some of the games, and tell of the fall of Atari that led to Nintendo and Sega’s rise. Shestakova integrates these elements into the story as well with great success.

Since I likes so much of the title, you may be wondering what it was I didn’t like. It was all the male gaze. The women are mostly big breasted and in short skirts. The artist Crimson spared no time in getting in upskirt shots and nearly nude moments for them. Most of that I can handle, but Tejirov is the straw that breaks this manga’s back. His not so subtle inudendo bordered on annoying as was his groping. It really broke what I thought was an otherwise enjoyable story.

World War Blue is a title that won’t appeal to everyone. It’s focus on an older time in video game history may not be of interest to newer gamers who only know the next-gen systems; Playstation, Game Cube/Wii, and XBox. But for those who are interested, or those of us old enough to remember playing Tetris on the NES, or buying a Genesis just to play Sonic the Hedgehog, this is a great series. If you can get past the male gaze.