Tag Archives: shojo

Fushigi Yugi’s Final Priestess Gets Manga

byakkohen01Shogakukan’s Monthly Flowers magazine announced in its March issue that Yuu Watase will be launching a new manga in the Fushigi Yugi universe. Fushigi Yugi: Byakko Ibun, or Fushigi Yugi: The Curious Tales of Byakko, will start in the next issue due out at the end of February. It will have a color first page and will be featured on the cover.

Little is known about the story, other than it is about the Priestess of Byakko, the White Tiger of the West, and the only Priestess whose story hasn’t been told. While the announcement said the chapter in February would “begin” a new series, Yuu Watase said on her blog that the manga wasn’t going to be a full story. This implies that it will either be a one-shot or a short story containing several chapters. I hope it’s the latter, for two reasons; 1) A one shot will only tell a sliver of the Priestess of Byakko’s story, and 2) several chapters can become a volume and more likely to get licensed and released. I don’t want to see a one-shot end up in a volume of Arata, assuming it starts up again. I don’t need one volume of a series just for the one-shot. I’ve been lucky so for that most of the one-shots I’ve wanted have been in volumes of titles I collected anyway.

In any event, this is a series I’m interested in reading, and with Watase’s continued popularity here in the West, I’m sure Viz Media will figure out a way to get it out for fans to read.

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:

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

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

SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
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

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

Viz Licenses Shojo Titles Old and New

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Viz Media has announced several licenses, with a bit of “something old, something new” to them. Three of the titles are Tokyopop rescues for the Viz Select line, and two are brand new licenses from mangaka who have already had titles released in the West to quite a bit of success.

The_One_I_Love_GN1 From Tokyopop, Viz Media continues their CLAMP releases with two of their titles returning; The One I Love and Wish. The One I Love is a one-volume collection of 12 short stories that tell stories about the many sides of love.  All of the stories are told from a woman’s perspective, and deal with the doubts, insecurities and ultimately the joy of love. It sounds like a fun series, though perhaps best taken in smaller doses. The romance may get monotonous, even for romance lovers. It will be released February 10th.

Wish_GN1 Wish is a four volume series that follows Shuichiro, who after saving an angel, Kohaku, from a tree one moonlight night, is offered a wish as a reward. Shuichiro refuses the wish, saying he can get what he wants on his own. But he and the angel soon find out there are some wishes that can not be granted on their own. This series is a typical bitter-sweet romance that has a happy ending of sorts, but the kind that Western readers are used to. The first volume will be released February 17th.

somedaysSomeday Dreamers is a two-volume series, and is not done by CLAMP. It is about Yume, a girl who wants to follow in the footsteps of her mother, and become a magic user. She practices her magic by helping people she finds in need; a struggling soccer player, the wrongly accused, and a student who wants to share a lunar eclipse with his teacher on cloudy night. While the story is about Yume working to be a full mage, there is a current of romance that is left unresolved. The art is as gentle as the story, and is one I’ve considered picking up several times. The first volume will be released February 24th.

qq-sweeperThe two brand new titles have not gone completely unnoticed. The first title, QQ Sweeper, is by Kyousuke Motomi, the creator of Dengeki Daisy. It was almost exactly a year ago when this new title was announced in Shogakukan’s Betsucomi magazine. The cleaning and sweeping of the series’ title seems to have a supernatural bend. Kyutaro Horikita is the cleaning expert of Kurokado High. The tall, dark, and handsome cleaner meets transfer student Fumi Nishioka, where he shows her how to clean the spirits from the school and also maybe her heart. I was already interested in this series because it was from Motomi, but the addition of a supernatural element only makes it more appealing to me. The first volume will be released in October.

idreamIdol Dreams is by Arina Tanemura, a very popular shojo artist. Viz Media has already published at least 7 of her titles. This series turns the premise of some old school magical girls on their ear. Chikage Deguchi is a 31-year-old office worker who feels she’s missed out on her chances for love and success. She wishes she could go back to a time when she was young and popular, and is given that chance when she takes an experimental drug that changes her appearance to that of a 15-year-old. She takes the opportunity to re-do things in her life, including becoming and idol. Besides changing up the old school magical girl formula, Idol Dreams appears to borrow from Case Closed, though that series doesn’t hold the license on getting younger, it’s just the first thing that comes to mind. I’ll check out this first volume if I get a chance when it comes out in November.

These were some good titles for Viz to pick up. I’m happy to see the new Motomi title. I was really hoping it would get picked up. Idol Dreams is new to me, and has my attention by starting the series with a mature woman as the lead. It will be interesting to see how her older self deals with the younger problems of a new generation. I’m looking forward to this round.

 

This Week’s Manga: Time to Say Goodbye

This Week's Manga

Nura 25All good things must come to an end, and several of the titles on this week’s list are doing just that. Viz Media has a huge catalog of titles, and most of those titles have an end. This week, we see four of them. Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan has been following third generation Yokai Yakuza Rikuo, and with volume 25, we see his story come to an end. It took a while for me to get into Nura, but I really started to enjoy the story at around volume 8. I’ll have to get back to finish it some day. High School Debut gets to end a second time, as the 3-in-1 omnibus editions roll out with Volume 5 which includes volumes 13-15. This series had its moments, but was never a favorite for me.

Happy Marriage 10Viz is also one of the few publishers taking a chance on josei titles, and two of them end this week as well. Honey Blood is a short-lived vampire romance series, but this volume, Tale Zero is filled with short stories that may (or may not) help the abrupt ending of the original two volumes. Happy Marriage!? finally comes to an end at volume 10. It’s a series I’m following, albeit slowly, and really need to do the long overdue review of the first two volumes I read ages ago. Maybe I’ll try for Valentine’s Day. This year.

Also worth checking out is the first 3-in-1 of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! I was a naysayer for the anime series, but really enjoyed the first 7 volume arc. This volume is the first three, and covers more than just the Duel Monsters card game that became the focus of the second arc. It was the variety and really the shadow games that made this first arc so much fun.

Full list per Diamond Distributors:

DARK HORSE COMICS
Gantz Volume 34 TP, $13.99

KODANSHA COMICS
Heroic Legend Of Arslan Volume 2 GN, $10.99

PERFECT SQUARE
Pokemon Black And White Volume 20 GN, $4.99

SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
Centaur’s Life Volume 5 GN, $12.99
Haganai I Don’t Have Many Friends Volume 10 GN, $12.99

VIZ MEDIA
Assassination Classroom Volume 2 GN, $9.99
Black Rose Alice Volume 3 GN, $9.99
Bleach Volume 63 GN, $9.99
Deadman Wonderland Volume 7 GN, $9.99
Dendera SC, $15.99
Food Wars Shokugeki No Soma Volume 4 GN, $9.99
Happy Marriage Volume 10 GN, $9.99
Hayate The Combat Butler Volume 25 GN, $9.99
High School Debut 3-In-1 Edition Volume 5 TP, $14.99
Honey Blood Tale Zero GN, $9.99
Magi Volume 10 GN, $9.99
Nura Rise Of The Yokai Clan Volume 25 GN, $9.99
One Piece 3-In-1 Edition Volume 11 TP, $14.99
Spell Of Desire Volume 3 GN, $9.99
Tiger And Bunny Volume 6 GN, $9.99
Toriko Volume 26 GN, $9.99
Voice Over Seiyu Academy Volume 9 GN, $9.99
World Trigger Volume 4 GN, $9.99
Yu-Gi-Oh 3-In-1 Edition Volume 1 TP, $14.99
Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal Volume 6 GN, $9.99

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!

This Week’s Manga: Say I Love My Story

This Week's Manga

Say I Love You 5It’s a new year with plenty of new manga to check out. There is a nice mix of titles this week in both shonen, shojo and the young reader demographics. Dark Horse releases the first volume in the sequel/continuation of the CLAMP series Legal Drug with Drug and Drop omnibus coming out. Viz’s kid imprint, Perfect Square has new Pokèmon, Adventures and Black and White. I’ve only just caught up with Vertical Comics’ What Did You Eat Yesterday Vol 4-5, and now I’ve got 6 breathing down my neck! Kodansha has the fifth volume of a shojo series I really enjoy, Say I Love You. I have vols 3-4 stacked up, so with vol 5 I can indulge in another binge read. This is always good and bad. I love getting big doses of my favorite titles, but then it’s a long wait for the new volume!

My Love Story 3This is Viz Media’s big shonen and shojo week, but it’s not as big usual. The Akira Toriyama One-shot Jaco the Galactic Patrolman finally makes it’s digital and print debut. Joining it is the new shojo title Meteor Prince Vol 1. I wasn’t wowed by the premise of Meteor Prince but those who have reviewed it so far have enjoyed it. The third volume of My Love Story is out, and having finally read vol 1, I’m in agreement that it’s a really cute story. Since I’m getting it digitally, I will have to try to catch up with Viz’s digital sale. I’m also looking forward to checking out World Trigger, the second volume of which is out this week. I hope it’s better than Seraph of the End.

Full List per Diamond Distributors:

DARK HORSE COMICS
Drug And Drop Volume 1 TP, $10.99

KODANSHA COMICS
Fairy Tail Volume 45 GN, $10.99
Say I Love You Volume 5 GN, $10.99

PERFECT SQUARE
LBX Volume 3 Artemis Begins GN, $9.99
Pokemon Adventures Black And White Volume 6 GN, $9.99
Pokemon Adventures Volume 26 GN, $9.99

VERTICAL
What Did You Eat Yesterday Volume 6 GN, $12.95

VIZ MEDIA
07-GHOST Volume 14 GN (not verified by Diamond), $9.99
Bleach 3-In-1 Edition Volume 10 TP, $14.99
Jaco The Galactic Patrolman GN, $9.99
Kiss Of The Rose Princess Volume 2 GN, $9.99
Meteor Prince Volume 1 GN, $9.99
My Love Story Volume 3 GN, $9.99
Naruto 3-In-1 Edition Volume 10 TP, $14.99
Nisekoi False Love Volume 7 GN, $9.99
One Piece Volume 73 GN, $9.99
World Trigger Volume 2 GN, $9.99

PR: New Chika Shiomi Manga Yukarism Set to Debut

I’ve been looking forward to Yukarism ever since it was announced back in February. But then, I’m always looking forward to a new Chka Shiomi title. I love her works Yurara and Rasetsu from Viz, and Canon from CMX. While the premise of gender-bending and past lives doesn’t thrill me, I’ll trust Shiomi to provide a title I’ll enjoy.

TRAVEL BACK TO EDO-ERA JAPAN WITH THE LAUNCH OF THE SEXY NEW SHOJO MANGA SERIES YUKARISM FROM VIZ MEDIA

 Dreamy Historical Romance Depicts A Teenage Writer’s Extraordinary Past Life As A Courtesan In Edo-era Japan; New Series From The Creator Of YURARA And RASETSU Debuts In Print And Digitally!!

Yukarism_GN01_3D San Francisco, CA, November 19, 2014 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, entices shojo manga (graphic novel) readers with the print and digital launch of the new series – YUKARISM – on December 2nd.

The nostalgia-tinted historical romance comes from creator Chika Shiomi, who is widely known among manga fans for her series YURARA and RASETSU (both available from VIZ Media). YUKARISM will be published under the Shojo Beat imprint and is rated ‘T’ for Teens. Print MSRP will be $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

A digital version of YUKARISM, Vol. 1 also debuts on December 2nd for $6.99 (USD/CAN) from VIZManga.com and through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones. Digital volumes of YUKARISM can also be purchased through the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay stores. Future editions of this 4-volume manga series will be released in-print and digitally on a quarterly basis.

YUKARISM introduces readers to Yukari Kobayakawa, an accomplished author at the age of 17 who writes with amazing accuracy about historical Japan. As it turns out, he has the ability to slip into his past life in the Edo period – as a beautiful, renowned courtesan named Yumurasaki!

“YUKARISM is a sexy romance about past lives and gender-bending reincarnation that will captivate readers with its exquisite artwork, cute male characters and suspenseful plot,” says Amy Yu, Editor. “Creator Chika Shiomi weaves an enticing story that links each of the main characters’ past and present lives and generates some potent sexual tension as readers learn more about Yukari’s past. The gender-bending aspects also offer plenty of hilarious moments!”

Creator Chika Shiomi debuted with the manga, Todokeru Toki o Sugitemo (Even if the Time for Deliverance Passes), and her other notable works include the supernatural series YURARA and RASETSU. Her hobbies include reading manga, traveling and listening to music; favorite artists include Michelangelo, Hokusai, Bernini and Gustav Klimt.

For more information on YUKARISM, or other Shojo Beat manga titles published by VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan.  Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and ONE PIECE, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages.  VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products.  Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.

PR: Kiss of the Rose Princess Shojo Manga Launches

Indulge your love of supernatural romance with this new series from Viz Media. I wasn’t too keen on the license when it was originally announced back in February, but I’ve been wrong before. Keep reading to see if you feel it’s a must get next week.

VIZ MEDIA LAUNCHES NEW PARANORMAL SHOJO MANGA SERIES KISS OF THE ROSE PRINCESS

 A Mystical Girl Brings Forth Four Magical Knights To Help Her On A Quest To Save The World From The Forces Of Evil

KissOfTheRosePrincess_GN01San Francisco, CA, October 22, 2014 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, announces a thrilling new paranormal shojo manga (graphic novel) adventure with the launch of Aya Shouoto’s KISS OF THE ROSE PRINCESS on November 4th.

The new series will be available for the first time digitally as well as in print under the Shojo Beat imprint. KISS OF THE ROSE PRINCESS is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will carry a print MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

A digital version of KISS OF THE ROSE PRINCESS, Vol. 1 also will debut on November 4th for $6.99 (USD/CAN) from VIZManga.com and through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, as well as through the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay stores. Future editions of the 9-volume series will be released in-print and digitally on a bi-monthly basis.

Anise Yamamoto has been told that if she ever removes the rose choker given to her by her father, a terrible punishment will befall her. Unfortunately she loses that choker when a bat-like being falls from the sky and hits her. Anise is granted four cards representing four knights whom she can summon with a kiss. But now that she has these gorgeous men at her beck and call, what exactly is her quest?!

“Aya Shouoto uses her stunning artwork in KISS OF THE ROSE PRINCESS to bring us a tale of a modern princess and her four handsome knights in this reverse-harem series,” says Nancy Thistlethwaite, Editor. “Our reluctant but fearless heroine must pledge herself to save the world from the Demon Lord, but what will happen if she falls in love with one of her knights? Don’t miss the start of this exciting new series in November!”

For more information on KISS OF THE ROSE PRINCESS, or other Shojo Beat manga titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan.  Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and ONE PIECE, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages.  VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products.  Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.

Sona-G Series Volume 1: Heaven is Not Needed

Sona-G is one of the most popular bands on the scene with a strapping vocalist and a hunky guitarist! Masumi, on the other hand, has all the trust in the world with her technical skills on the guitar, but she’s just been dumped and the world looks grey indeed. Then one day, Masumi finds herself playing second guitar for Sona-G! What’s going to happen to her decision not to fall in love…? This volume also features another two wonderful stories!

Sona-G Series Volume 1: Heaven is Not Needed
Sona-G Series 1By Yuriko Matsukawa
Publisher: Digital Manga Guild
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Romance
Price: $7.95/eBook only
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Sona-G Series is a one volume anthology featuring three stories by creator Yuriko Matsukawa. The stories are all romances featuring girls finding love when they aren’t looking for it. While all three stories are entertaining and even fun reads, none are really compelling.

“Heaven is Not Needed” is the main story of this anthology as well as giving it its name. It is about high school girl Masumi Murakami who is asked by the wildly popular duo Sona G to play acoustic for them on a big gig coming up. But because her crush left her because of her skills on the guitar, she has quit playing. She is tricked into agreeing and joins Ayase and Hiroshi for the concert. Masumi is a good female lead. She has a strong personality, and doesn’t put up with a lot of Ayase’s sharp tongue, as he likes to bait her and use her pride against her. Hiroshi isn’t as brash as Ayase, but he’ll resort to a trick or two to get Masumi to play. The story takes a turn for the dramatic when Ayase’s young niece is kidnapped with the ransom being that Sona G cancel the concert. While the kidnapping did make a nice change of pace for the drama to be external, it also felt tacked on and rushed. There is no explanation given for the kidnappers wanting to stop the concert. The resolution of the potential love triangle between Ayase, Hiroshi and Masumi didn’t work for me either. I didn’t feel the connection between Masumi and her chosen one. This story tried to do too much and ended up feeling lacking in the end.

“Flower Garden” is about high school student Karin who is studying for college entrance exams. Her distant cousin Toshisada has come to live with her family while he takes entrance exams as well. But there is something weird about Toshisada; he is up at all hours of the night in the family garden doing odd things. He eats flowers and he never seems to be studying. His activities become distracting to Karin who gets mad at Toshisada until he reveals to her what he’s been doing and why. The writing for this story was much tighter and made for a better read. It didn’t seem like a love story at first as it focused on Karin’s indecision about her future, and Toshisada’s strange behavior. Everything comes together at the end, even though the romance is left up in the air, which I think is a good thing.

“Onions, Onions Everywhere” has another high school student, Mariko, living in her aunt’s apartment complex while her parents are working overseas. After a misunderstanding with her neighbor Mr. Miwa, a strange man who is always wearing sunglasses, she become friends with him and they trade sweets in a friendly competition. Mr. Miwa works in a sweets shop and after learning that Mariko hates onions tries to convince her of otherwise. Onions are a kind of strange topic to use to bring two people together, and an even stranger ingredient for a cookie, but it ends up working somehow. Mariko is pretty unwavering in her dislike of onions, but not unreasonable. Miwa’s reason for always wearing the sunglasses is unexpected, but still humorous. I wouldn’t try it myself, but I would be interested to know if anyone tried the recipe for Onion Cookies used in the story.

The art of Sona-G Series is very 90s-2000s, in both style and in the character designs. I don’t consider this a fault for the series, but not everyone may appreciate the sharp lines and spiky hair.

Overall, Sona-G Series was an entertaining read, but not one I would call a must read. The stories are light, and the romance doesn’t always seem to be the focus, which is an element I enjoyed. It helps to set the volume apart from other teen shojo titles. The girls here aren’t mooning over the men in their stories, but also aren’t unwelcoming when the feelings come, and those are romances I can ultimate appreciate.

Moonlight Kreuz Volume 1

Gen Tsukiomi appears to be a normal high school student but there is more to him than meets the eye. So when his old caretaker asks him for help in protecting his current charge, Hikari Kuze, Gen wonders what is going on. Besides being a ditzy junior high school student, is Hikari like Gen, with a secret of her own? In what often feels like a comedy of errors, Gen tries to figure out who is after them while struggling to maintain his quickly dwindling control over the situation. As if that wasn’t enough, a new romantic rival appears! But which one of them is he actually after?

Moonlight Kreuz Volume 1
Moonlight Kreuz 1By Yasumi Hazaki
Publisher: Digital Manga Guild
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Fantasy
Price: $7.95/eBook only
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Moonlight Kreuz had an interesting sounding premise with romance, comedy and werewolves. But the first warning was there, with the female leading being described as  “ditzy.” And though I keep trying romantic comedies, I’ve yet to find one I really enjoy. This volume wasn’t a bad read, but neither was there anything that made want to pick up more.

The lead characters, Gen and Hikari, needed first and foremost to be interesting to me. Unfortunately, Hikari is exactly the kind of female lead I dislike. She has two forms; her human form which is small, clumsy and ditzy, and her werewolf form which tall, hot and powerful. She is much more powerful than Gen and is always coming to his rescue even though he’s supposed to be protecting her. I actually don’t mind that so much, and it’s nice that he doesn’t seem to mind, but he ends up comes off as rather bland. I don’t feel any real personality from him, while Hikari has too much.

The supporting characters are just as hit and miss. Hikari’s grandfather and Gen’s old Master is the typical lecherous, old man. His grandson Shino is the quiet ninja type who is always dressing in female disguises to help protect Hikari. Gen’s father is a powerful corporate executive who has an eye for the ladies. Only Hikari’s mother, who works overseas teaching Japanese, seemed the most grounded.

The villains aren’t much better. The volume starts with a bunch of horny werewolves who want to mate with Hikari so they will stop turning into wolves and be more human like Gen and Hikaru. They are mostly bumbling misfits who Hikari defeats easily. The tables do get turned as Gen also becomes the target of both the Wolf Association, and of an English werewolf named Claude who doesn’t care which of them changes gender, as long as he can get with Gen.

I know these characters and situations are supposed to be funny, but none of them really got much of a laugh from me. Hardly even a smile escaped my lips. Hikari’s and Gen’s relationship fell as flat as the humor. I just didn’t buy it, especially with Hikari looking more like a little kid trying to get her big brother to notice her. The art has a 90s feel to it, which I don’t mind at all. The wolf-form werewolves were given a moment to look scary, but were quickly turned much more humorous. You can understand the female werewolves wanting to get a human form since their wolf form is far from flattering.

On the whole, Moonlight Kreuz Volume 1 just didn’t work for me, which is really a shame because I was hoping it would. It was nice to see a supernatural romance with some creature other than vampires. The series is only three volumes long, so I wouldn’t mind reading the other two volumes to see if it improves, but this is a series I’d rather borrow than buy.

Review copy provided by publisher.

End in Sight for Library Wars

Library Wars 1This news item seems rather timely. I’ve been catching up on my backlog of Library Wars: Love and War over the last few days. Banned Books Week is next week and I wanted to try to review them for it. I have a love/hate relationship with this title. The story is well written and I love the characters, but I can’t handle the dystopian future it portrays. The censorship, hardball tactics by the Media Betterment Committee, the push to destroy books that some disagree with for the “betterment of society”  just leaves an empty pit in my stomach, and makes it a difficult series for me to enjoy all the time and re-read.

It seems it won’t be a struggle for me for much longer. The November issue of Hakusensha’s LaLa Magazine announced that Library Wars: Love and War would be ending in the next three chapters. This would put the series finale in the February issue due out in December. There are currently 13 volumes out in Japan, and Viz Media, the US licensor of the title, just released volume 12 in print and digital. The series is based on a light novel series that went 4 volumes, and resulted in other spin-off media such as an anime, and a live action movie.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. I love the story and characters, but I don’t think I would want a world like Library Wars to go on. The situation is posits is too realistic. It’s too easy a slope for any country to slip down and never find its way back up. This is what makes the series great sci-fi. It makes you think about the possibilities, and by making you care about the characters, it brings it closer to home, and a little harder to dismiss. I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue the series, but with a prospective 5 volumes left, I think I’ll see it to the end, no matter how bitter that path becomes, because the subject matter is important. It makes me uncomfortable, but maybe that’s all the more reason for me to keep reading.

Say I Love You Volume 1-2

Mei Tachibana has always been a loner. In her 16 years, she has never had a friend or a boyfriend. She doesn’t talk to anyone at school, and is teased mercilessly. All that starts to change when she catches the eye of the popular Yamato, who decides she will be his girlfriend. Mei doesn’t know what to think of Yamato, or if she can trust him, but she does think she might be falling in love with him.

Say I Love You Volume 1-2
Say I Love You 1By Kanae Hazuki
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Romance
Price: $10.99USD
Rating: ★★★★½

Say I Love You has the all too familiar premise of the popular boy taking a liking to the most unpopular girl, but this series succeeds with its quirky yet relatable characters and a realistic look at the problems teens face in high school.

Mei Tachibana is a loner. Betrayed by those she thought were her friends in elementary school, Mei turns her back on friends and friendship, and relies on herself. She is strong-willed and speaks her mind when she thinks it’s called for which can get her into scuffles. Her dislike of her fellow students and the cliques they get into makes her the target of bullying, but she suffers them with complaint or even little thought. She doesn’t believe anyone will come if she calls for help, so she never tries.

She meets Yamato when his friend Nakanishi teases her and she roundhouse kicks Yamato instead. This attracts his interest in her and he starts to pursue her. Yamato is popular for both his looks and personality. He is friendly with everyone, but isn’t seeing anyone. He doesn’t like the bullying that goes around at the school, so most of it happens when he’s not around. Mei doubts Yamato a lot at first, especially as she hears the rumors about him, but he keeps trying to prove his sincerity and always comes when she calls for help.

Say I Love You 2Along with Yamato comes new friends for Mei. Asami is a girl with large breasts who hangs around Yamato. He doesn’t tease her or make her feel self-conscious about her breasts, so she really likes him. She and Mei become friends as Mei hangs around more. Yamato’s friend Nakanishi takes a little longer to come around, until Mei helps him get with Asami, who he has had a crush on for a while. Mei’s first real rival is Aiko, a girl Yamato knew in middle school. She used to be overweight, and after a bad breakup asked Yamato to sleep with her and he agreed. Aiko has serious body issues and crush on Yamato, but he doesn’t reciprocate. She tries to warn Mei off, but she doesn’t scare so easily.

Say I Love You shows Mei’s journey to going from a loner to finding first love, but it also shows a lot of the problems teens face physically and emotionally. Asami and Aiko both have problems with their bodies, and it affects the way they interact with others. Asami just wants to be accepted for who she is, not what she has. Aiko can’t accept who she’s become with Yamato validation even though she has Masashi who does accept her. Another of Yamato’s friends, Hayakawa, has a lot of “friends with benefits” but no real connections. He has to get put into the hospital before he realizes how empty his life has been and what he really needs to fulfill it. The series also doesn’t beat around the bush about teen sex, as a lot of characters do it or talk about it. This is treated realistically as well, and even Mei and Yamato get a moment, though nothing happens.

Say I Love You has plenty of drama and a budding romance that is a lot of fun to read. The realistic ring to the characters and situations makes it more interesting and stand out from the shojo crowd. You may think you’ve read manga like Say I Love You, but it’s really nothing like anything other series out there.

Review copies provided by publisher.