Tag Archives: Viz

Hopping Manga

My how time flies!  I can’t believe Easter is already upon us!  Ah, that springtime holiday where everyone buys big, flowery hats, kids color eggs and get baskets from the Easter Bunny.  So, in honor of this spring holiday that’s never on the same day every year, here are some rabbits in manga.

Alice 19th – This is a shojo series by Yuu Watase.  Set in modern times, it’s about Alice, a girl forever alice-rabbit-2living in her older sister’s shadow.  During a fight over a boy, Alice’s sister, Mayura disappears.  She is a Lotus Master, someone who can use the power of words to enter the inner heart of others.  Alice has accidentally sent her sister to the darkness, and must now master her power to save her.  Alice is told all this by Nyozeka, a white rabbit she saves at the risk of her own life.  This is a relatively short series at 7 volumes.  It’s the only modern-day setting manga by Watase that I like.  I really like the idea of using the power of words to either help or hurt others.  While not a great series, it’s an enjoyable one and worth the time to read.

Dragon Ball – Ah, Akira Toriyama’s masterpiece manga.  And I mean the first 16 volumes only.  At the beginning of the series, as Goku, Bulma, and Oolong search for the dragon balls, they bossrabbitcome to this town that is being terrorized by a most unusual boss.  Monster Carrot rules the town with his gang, The Rabbits.  Anyone that gets in Monster Carrot’s way gets a taste of his special power.  One touch and they are turned into a carrot!  For fun action and comedy, read only the Dragon Ball saga.  It really is good, and when people say they hate Dragon Ball, this isn’t what they are talking about.  This is Toriyama at his best.

Fruits Basket – This is an incredibly popular shojo manga, just setting to complete here in the US.  Tohru Honda is an orphan, after losing her mother in a car accident.  She lives in a tent in the forest that happens to be on the land of the most popular boy in school, Yuki Sohma.  The Sohma family is cursedmomiji-rabbit by the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.  When they are hugged by a member of the opposite sex that isn’t part of the curse, they turn into the Zodiac animal.  Tohru comes to live in the Sohma house, where she shows them that not everyone will be repelled by the curse, and give them hope of breaking the curse.  Among the Chinese Zodiac is the rabbit.  Momiji Sohma is possessed by the spirit of the rabbit.  He is a cute, cheerful boy with an androgynous appearance.

Happy Happy Clover – This is an all ages manga written for kids.  Clover the Bunny lives in Crescent Forest, and ishappy-happy-clover always making mischief with her friends.  It’s filled with cute, furry animals and follows their adventures.  The stories are cute, with Clover learning something new in every one.  Getting along with her friends, dealing with disappointment and finding that there are consequences to her actions, all good lessons for kids.  While this is very much a girl’s manga, younger boys (4-6) may appreciate the cute animals and their fun adventures.  There’s only one volume out so far, with the second set to come out in June.

Captive Hearts Volume 1

Being carried around everywhere and having handsome Megumi act like a slave may seem ideal, but Suzuka just wishes he would stop.  Can anything be done about Megumi’s captive state?  Or is Megumi doomed to see Suzuka as his master…forever?

Captive Hearts 1Captive Hearts Volume 1
By Matsuri Hino
Publisher: Viz Media – Shojo Beat
Age Rating: Teen (13+)
Genre: Romance/Comedy
Price: $8.99
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Long ago, a thief named Kuroneko-maru stole a family heirloom of a samurai family, the “Scroll of the Rising Dragon”.  When he tried to read it, the guardian dragon appeared and cursed Kuroneko and all of his descendants to a life of servitude to the Kogami family.  Megumi Kuroishi, a descendant of Kuroneko, has lived most of his life not knowing about the curse, as the Kogami family was believed dead in China while on a trip.  But, the daughter of the Kogami, Suzuka, appears and returns, and the curse kicks in, making for much comedy and the stirrings of some romance…maybe?

Captive Hearts is first and foremost a comedy.  Megumi’s sudden “Manservant fits” can be funny, hitting him suddenly, and making him obsess over Suzuka even when he’s not with her.  Reverting him back to normal usually takes some kind of violence.  So the comedy is mostly physical, and works pretty well.  But this can only last so long.  There are only so many times Megumi can sweep Suzuka off her feet or burst through her classroom window to protect her before it get old.  So, let’s through some romance into the mix.

When I say romance, I’m being kind.  There really isn’t any setup for Megumi and Suzuka.  Megumi spends most of his time struggling with the curse, so there’s little indication that he has any feelings for her until the end of the first chapter when he goes to China to bring Suzuka back because he “wanted” to.  But doubt lingers, and Suzuka spends most of the volume fretting over this to the point of trying to jump off a building in hopes of breaking the curse and freeing Megumi.  This is melodrama taken way too far, and really feels forced.

Another problem I have with this volume is that the main story only takes up half the volume.  The rest is filled with short stories by Hino.  One is about a middle school girl student who is in love with her teacher and the other is about two siblings trapped in a snow storm waiting for a bus.  This second story is very angsty, reminding me of Vampire Knight.  This was a real disappointment for a first volume.  I can understand wanting to pad a volume at the end of a series, or after a big story arc, but just as the story is beginning?  This doesn’t bode well for the rest of the series.

The art isn’t as polished as other Hino titles, but that’s not bad.  There is just enough detail to look good without being overwhelming.  Characters faces are actually visible, and not hidden until long, scraggly locks.

Captive Hearts started out with a lot of potential.  The balance of comedy to romantic elements seemed even, with the melodrama nowhere near the levels of a series like Vampire Knight.  If the title can keep this balance, it will definitely be worth following.

Takahashi – Unflipped and Supersized

Viz has been a great supporter of manga in the US. They were among the first companies to bring translated manga here in the form that would best reach it’s audience; flipped (read left-to-right), and in floppies. They were also smart enough to snag one of the most popular manga artists to translate; Rumiko Takahashi. Viz’s Urusei Yatsura was among the first manga-comics I ever bought. I missed out on the comic versions of Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha, as I wasn’t reading comics at the time, but when they started to collect them as graphic novels, I gave them a serious look. The biggest problem I had, and still have, is that these titles continued to come out as flipped after they discontinued the floppies. All their other books were coming out unflipped. Dragonball and Dragonball Z, titles that also came out as floppies first, got second edition reprints as unflipped. Why not Ranma and Inuyasha?

Michelle Smith, blogger for soliloquy in blue, in her twitter feed, pointed out an entry at Simon and Schuster website for a VIZBIG edition for Inuyasha, scheduled for November 2009.  All I can say is, ABOUT TIME! I dropped Inuyasha, even though I was enjoying the story, partly because it’s still published flipped.  I haven’t gone beyond Ranma 1/2 volume 5 for the same reason.  I want my Takahashi manga in it’s correct format!  I was calling for VIZBIG editions for Inuyasha right after they announced the format, so I’m really glad they are finally getting to Inuyasha.  Hopefully at SDCC or  in 2010 we’ll get an announcement for Ranma 1/2 in the same format.  What I would really love to see, but we probably won’t in this economy, is Urusei Yatsura as a VIZBIG, complete and uncut.  I’d dedicate a whole bookshelf just to VIZBIG Takahashi volumes.  Wouldn’t that look awesome?

Come on Viz, give us Takahashi fans a complete library!

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

Previews Waffling

I haven’t done this for a while, and last month’s Previews had some tough choices for me, so I thought I’d talk about it a little.  There were a lot of titles I collect/want that were up for ordering last month.  It’s very hard to keep my numbers down when publishers do this to me.  (Yes, I do think they are all out to get me.)

It isn’t that publishers had a lot coming out.  There were just a lot of publishers that had titles I wanted.  Bandai, CMX, Del Rey, Tokyopop, Viz and Yen Press all had an average of 2 books.  Well, except Viz who always has at least 5-7 alone that I want.  Doing a quick tape of everything (less the Naruto wave I already said I would have to pass on), if I had ordered everything I read, it would have come to over $100, and that with my 30% discount!  Even in a good economy, that’s a lot for one month!  15 titles in all!

Continue reading Previews Waffling

Wonder(Con)ing

An announcement arrived in my inbox today saying that Viz was going to have a booth at Wondercon this weekend (2/27-3/1/09).  They will be pushing their Viz Signature and Vizkids line.

Now, I’m glad Viz is putting some time and effort behind these two lines.  They certainly can use them, being the newest and smallest of the Viz books.  Among titles mentioned for the Vizkids line were Pokemon, Legend of Zelda, and their new line of Chapter books for Naruto and Dragonball DEvolution.  I can’t be there, so if some one who reads this is, can you ask them something for me?

What happened to all the Pokemon manga?  There are like, only 6 or so volumes you can buy (we have them all).  But back in the early 2000’s, Viz had two floppies of Pokemon; Pokemon Adventure and Pokemon: Magical Journey.  Why haven’t we gotten volume releases of these?  Pokemon is still a hot property, at least if my kids are any indication!  They would both love to read more Pokemon!  My youngest would just devour the Pokemon Magical Journey!  We were able to find two floppies around the cover price, and she loved them.  What is wrong with Pokemon for girls?  And why can’t they put out more than just two volumes of Pokemon Adventure?  That thing has like over 30 volumes!  Viz has two hot sellers and they are just letting them languish!

Some people may bemoan media based properties, but they have their place.  And it’s not just to sell more toys/games.  Both my daughters love pokemon to the point that they draw their one and come up with stories about them.  If there is something that will stimulate their imagination like that, you can be sure, that as a parent, I will be buying more of the books.  We already get every Sonic the Hedgehog title because of that.  Pokemon would easily make that list too.

It just really, REALLY irks me that these titles get just the barest of coverage in manga, while TV and toystores blitz the kids.  If they are going to exposed to these things so much, at least make them read for some of it!

Why I Hate Con Season

Even though most of the big Cons are in the summer, Con Season gets its official start now in February with the New York Comic Con, and I’m really getting to hate it.  Why?  Because of all the license announcements!  I am really, REALLY trying hard to cut down on the amount of manga I get.  I’ve done a brisk bit of trading at Mangatude (which I still highly endorse), and have caught up on several series, and I’ve got more complete series ready to go up on eBay.  I go through Previews, and am happy when I see titles completing.  Another couple of titles I don’t have to buy.  But then, con season rolls around, and the list of titles I have to get suddenly goes up again!

Continue reading Why I Hate Con Season

Review: Hunter x Hunter Vol 16-18

Hunter x Hunter Volume 16, 17, 18
By Yoshihiro Togashi
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Genre: Action
Price: $7.99
Rating: ★★½☆☆

These three volumes finish up the Greed Island arc (thankfully), though in retrospect it wasn’t as bad as it could be.  Volume 16 continues “The Bomber” arc within Greed Island that was started in Volume 15.  Genthru and his team has 96 and only need 4 more to win the game.  Several teams of hunters, including Gon’s gather to come up with a way to stop Genthru.  They decide to get a card no one else has and keep it from them.  By creating a team of 15 they can activate the quest.  After gathering the requisite number (including Hisoka), they reach the challenge of a killer dodgeball game.  Volume 17 finishes the game, and starts the war between Genthru’s team and the winners of Plot of the Beach card.  There’s more training for Gon and Killua while Tsezguerra’s team buys them time to come up with a strategy to beat Genthru.  Volume 18 is the final three-on-three battle between Genthru’s team and Gon’s, and the end of the Green Island arc.

Continue reading Review: Hunter x Hunter Vol 16-18

January 2009 Previews

Just a few comments about this month’s Previews catalog:


Marvel/Del Rey collaboration: I have two words for the Wolverine manga; Emo Logan.  Does the world REALLY NEED more emo Logan?  I mean, honestly…  The art looks great, I’m not gonna knock that.  The Marvel catalog had some pictures of pages, and they did look nice.  But this isn’t going to win anyone over from one side of the manga vs. comics camp, and really hope it was never meant to.  If anything, this will probably fan the flames, but that seems to be the way Marvel likes it.  Not that they want to come up with anything original…

Continue reading January 2009 Previews

Twelve Manga of Christmas: Eighth Day

“On the Eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Eight Dragon Priestess Guardians,”


Akane Motomiya is walking to school, when she hears a voice calling to her from an old well.  When she goes to investigate, she is sucked into the well by Akuram, the oni leader who wants to control Akane and take over Kyou, a land that greatly resembles Kyoto of the Heian period.  Akane, it seems, is meant to be the Priestess of the Dragon God, and is given powers and eight Guardians to protect her.  Along with two her friends Shimon and Tenma, who were sucked in as well, she must protect Kyou from Akuma and his oni before they can return to their time.

Yes, Haruka, Beyond the Stream of Time, another Shojo Beat title.  I really like this title, mostly because it happens in the Heian period.  I love the history and the costumes.  It also has dragons and other legendary creatures, which is another thing I love.  This title has gotten a lot of flack for being so derivative of Fushigi Yuugi, the title that originated the “girl goes back in time and is surrounded by a ton of bishonen”, but that didn’t affect me when I first read it, since I haven’t read Fushigi Yuugi.  The characters are a little one dimensional, and Akane seems rather useless other than to constantly need saving, but I’ve still enjoyed the stories as a guity pleasure.  It’s one of many I read.

Seven Dragon Balls,
Six Girl Volleyball Team,
Five Bronze Saints!
Four Friends in Winter,
Three Sibling Cards,
Two Girls named Nana,
And a One Piece for the Pirate King.”

New Viz Chapter Books

I guess Viz has faith in their chapter books line. In the Naruto line, they already have 4 books out with more scheduled for release. And honestly, as reading material for young ages 5-8, the books haven’t been bad. They have stayed true to the manga, adding embellishments that are appropriate for young ages and uses panels from the manga for illustrations. I know this probably irks older readers who don’t like to see their favorite stories “dumbed down”, but with Naruto, and now this new series I’ve found, I don’t think it’s bad, especially as a parent.


As I was searching Amazon for links for my previous post, I found this listingDragon Ball (the first, actually good, half of the series) is getting made into Chapter books.  It’s not scheduled until August 2009, and there were at least 3 more set to follow this one.  Those didn’t have any cover pictures though.

While Dragon Ball Z got all the hype, Dragon Ball, the part of the series that made it popular in the first place hasn’t gotten nearly the attention it deserves.  The manga started here in the US when Viz was publishing floppy comics, before the graphic novels became popular.  This last year Dragon Ball has returned through the VizBIG compilations, but it’s got a Teen rating.  A little overly conservative in my opinion.  So I think it’s good to see it coming out for the audience that should read it most; young kids.  Dragon Ball follows Goku’s adventures when he’s young, and I think will appeal to the young audiences much more.  And there’s an actual story to follow in Dragon Ball, so the pages wouldn’t be filled with POW! BAM! SPLURT! as Dragon Ball Z would, no doubt.

Dragon Ball is a classic in every since of the word, and I applaud Viz for making this one available to the proper audience, even if it has to be in an altered form.

Twelve Manga of Christmas: Seventh Day

“On the Seventh Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Seven Dragon Balls,”


Goku is a strange boy with a tail and super strength living by himself in the mountains.  One day, a girl named Bulma finds him while she is searching for a legendary object: a dragon ball.  If you collect all seven and call forth the dragon, he will grant you one wish.  Goku has one of the balls, left to him by his Grandfather.  He agrees to let Bulma borrow it, but wants to go along with her on her journey to make sure the dragon ball remains safe.  The pair then embark on a strange and exciting journey to collect the rest of the dragon balls, but they seem to have some competition.

Dragon Ball (the original series, not Z) has the distinction of being the first manga I ever bought, in English or Japanese.  I was into Dragon Ball well before it became the phenomenon it did here.  And I never like Z.  I stopped picking up the manga when they started heading off into space.  The first 16 volumes are all I need.  Goku was cute and fun, with his clueless innocence.  I’ll always like him best small and with his tail.  I liked Dragon Ball when it was an action comedy.  It still had the typical shonen issues of Goku having to fight bigger and stronger foes, but Toriyama did it in a way that it didn’t get boring or repetitive.  The fights didn’t drag on in the beginning, and there was more going on than just fights.  Dragon Ball is another classic that everyone should check out, but feel free to stop after volume 16.

Six Girl Volleyball Team,
Five Bronze Saints!
Four Friends in Winter,
Three Sibling Cards,
Two Girls named Nana,
And a One Piece for the Pirate King.”