Tag Archives: Viz

Twelve Manga of Christmas: Sixth Day

“On the Sixth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a Six Girl Volleyball Team,”

Tomboy Nobara Sumiyoshi has one passion in life; Volleyball.  Her mother, however, wants her to be the girlish hostess of the family’s ryotei (Old fashion Japanese restaurant).  Nobara runs away from home to try and fulfill her dream, but her mother tries to stop her, going so far as to try and force Nobara’s younger sister to take Nobara’s place.  The three make a deal; Nobara will play Volleyball until she graduates, when she will take over the ryotei, until then her younger siste will help out.  In the meantime, Nobara has to bring back the Girl’s Volleyball team at her chosen High School, Crimson High, and get the minimum required 6 girls to form a competitive team, all while playing dorm mother to the Boy’s Volleyball team.

This is another series I found through Shojo Beat.  I wouldn’t be reading shojo manga if it wasn’t for Shojo Beat. I didn’t really like this title at first.  I’m not much for sports, and all the romantic drama that was thrown out at first didn’t really interest me.  It wasn’t until the title got into some serious drama around Nobara trying to improve her playing that I started showing some interest.  While I’m not a Volleyball fan, the development of the Girl’s team and the characters that make it up make for some good dynamics.  They have lofty goals, but show to have the determination to reach them.  It’s a title to definitely look at for good sports drama and melodramatic romance.

Five Bronze Knights!
Four Friends in Winter
Three Sibling Cards
Two Girls named Nana
And a One Piece for the Pirate King.”

Twelve Manga of Christmas: Fifth Day

“On the Fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Five Bronze Saints!”

Long ago, the ancient Greek goddess Athena, had an army of warriors known as Saints.  They were young boys who trained to control their Cosmo, a power within, that allowed them to perform supernatural feats.  Thousands of years later, Athena has been reborn, and a new group of knights are training to earn cloths, or armor, and gain the honor to be one of her saints.  Seiya is one of these saints, who has one the Pegasus cloth and returns to Japan to compete for the prestigious gold cloth of Sagittarius.  But to win it, he must defeat the other returning bronze saints.  Shun, Shiryu, Hyoga and Ikki start out as rivals and enemies, but they soon become friends, and Athena’s staunchest protectors.

Saint Seiya is an old passion from my first getting into manga and anime in the eighties.  There were no translations of either at the time, so when Viz announced the release of it in English, I had to have it!  I just had know what was going on in these stories!  Saint Seiya is a basic shonen fighting manga, with our 5 protagonists getting ridiculously strong with each story arc.  They are only bronze knights, the lowest of Athena’s saints, but by the end of the first arc, Seiya is already handling gold cloths, that only the most powerful of saints can handle.  But I love mythology and the constellations, and this manga has plenty of both, as all the enemies are from Greek mythology, gods who are reborn just like Athena.

There’s only one thing I don’t like about this title, and half isn’t the title’s fault, is Saori, the reincarnation of Athena.  She’s supposed to be a powerful goddess, but she’s always getting herself kidnapped, or arrows stuck in her chest, so that the bronze saints have to get their butts kicked, and faces dragged through stone to save her.  It gets tedious after a while.  And then, for some mystifying reason, Viz changed Saori’s name to Sienna, but no one elses’.  Why?  What was the point of doing that?  Dumb.

Anyway, Saint Seiya is a great action manga.  So many other mangaka that are big today credit it as an influence on them.  Study your manga history properly and pick up this title!  There are only 4 volumes left until the end…

Four Friends in Winter
Three Sibling Cards
Two Girls named Nana
And a One Piece for the Pirate King.

Twelve Manga of Christmas: Fourth Day

“On the Fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Four Friends in Winter,”

Ann Uekusa and her mother move back to her mother’s home town Shimane from Tokyo.  Her parents have divorced, and they have returned to live with Ann’s grandparents.  They arrive in the winter, before Christmas.  Ann becomes close friends with 3 kids; Daigo, Fuji, and Shiika.  Not long after returning, Ann’s mother commits suicide, leaving Ann with her grandparents.  Ann makes a life for herself in Shimane, and she and Daigo become a couple.  Then her father comes back from Tokyo offering to take Ann back to Tokyo.

Sand Chronicles is another series I started reading through Shojo Beat.  I don’t think I was hooked instantly, but it certainly didn’t take long for it grow on me.  Sand Chronicles also holds the special honor for making me cry not once, not twice, but three times over the same scene!  It’s rare that a title can do that to me.  Once maybe, but hardly ever twice.  So much care is put into the characters that the dramatic scenes with them hit that much harder.  Most of the story so far has been following Ann’s teen years, when things are the most melodramatic, but it isn’t annoying, which is what I find most teen shojo manga to be.  Sand Chronicles seems to avoid it by being more rooted in reality.  The difficulty of long distance relationships, holding on the first love, balancing family with friends, these are all things anyone can relate to.  And that just makes it easier to get to you emotionally.  This is definitely a “chick” manga, but I love it!

“Three Siblings Cards
Two Girls named Nana
And a One Piece for the Pirate King”

Twelve Manga of Christmas: Second Day

“On the Second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Two girls named Nana.”

Nana Osaki and Nana Komatsu are two girls going to Tokyo to realize their dreams.  Nana O. is looking to put together a new band and make it big, with Nana K. is going to join her boyfriend with whom she hopes to find love and happiness.  From a chance meeting on the train to sharing an apartment, the lives of these two girls become entwinded as they strive to make their dreams come true.

I didn’t think I’d like Nana when I received my first volume of Shojo Beat.  I didn’t think I’d even like Shojo Beat, with all the emphasis Viz was putting on it being a “girls” magazine about romance and fashion.  But, when I got to those first chapters, which actually told all of Nana K.’s story in that volume, I was hooked.  I hadn’t read much shojo before SB, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t what Nana turned out to be.  The characters were realistic, with real flaws and real problems.  Ai Yazawa’s art is mostly realistic with a touch of manga comedy makes the funny scenes funnier and the dramatic scenes more serious.  Nana is a great series for fans of music, drama, romance, and just good story telling.

And a One Piece for the Pirate KIng

Twelve Manga of Christmas: First Day

It’s the holiday season, so that means, shopping, Santa Claus and christmas carols.  For me, it means combining manga with christmas carols!  This year, I’m doing the most obvious of carols, The Twelve Days of Christmas.  From now until Christmas, I will post one line, featuring a manga that I hope goes with the song.  So, here goes!

“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, A One Piece for the Pirate King.”

Monkey D. Luffy has the lifelong dream of finding the One Piece, the treasure of the Gold Roger, the former Pirate King, and claim the title for himself.  As a child, he ate the Gum-Gum Devil Fruit, and gained the power of elasticity, but lost the ability to swim.  Undaunted, he set out on his journey, gathering a crew who have come to believe in Luffy’s dream because of his determination and friendship, as well as believing in their own dreams, and Luffy’s abiltiy to make them all come true.

One Piece is one of those titles I discovered by reading Shonen Jump.  I was familiar with the name from the interwebs, but once I started reading it, I really enjoyed it!  It’s a lot of fun to read.  Eiichiro Oda has created some unique and entertaining characters.  At no point in last 18 volumes have I once felt bored reading it.  There is plenty of action and adventure, as well as comedy and even a little drama.  It’s a great title for teens and adults.

Viz does it again

I want to cut down on the manga I buy, I really do.  But Viz just keeps making it harder!  Six new licenses have been found for the publisher, 2 of which I’m going to have to get.  While all the attention seems to be going to Detroit Metal City and Ooku, Rasetsu no Hana and Black Bird are the ones that are taking mine.

Rasetsu no HanaRasetsu no Hana is a kind of sequel to the Viz Shojo Beat title, Yurara (Yurara no Tsuki).  It features Yako, the water using medium that was attracted to Yurara’s spirit guardian.  He joins a “ghostbusting” company and meets their medium, Rasetsu, who is said to be cursed by an evil spirit, and just happens to be the spitting image of Yurara’s spirit guardian.  I really enjoyed Yurara, and had hoped that Viz would get this one too.  It’s already at 5 volumes and is still ongoing, already surpassing the series that spawned it.  It looks like it’s going to take a while for Yako to get this girl.

Black Bird is a supernatural high school series by the creator of Backstage Prince.  Misao hasBlack Bird a special power that lets her see the “mysterious things” that exist in the world.  One day, she is attacked and nearly eaten by goblins, but is saved by Kyo, a boy from her past who seemed to have the same ability as her.  Turn’s out, Kyo is actually a goblin, and Misao has been targeted as goblin food.  Can she trust Kyo?  Will she still marry him just like they promised as children?  And what will her school life be like now that Kyo’s become Misao’s homeroom teacher?  I really liked Backstage Prince, and was disappointed that it was only two volumes.  I hope this one is just as good.  This title is currently at 6 volumes and ongoing.

Now, these titles won’t be coming out until Summer of 2009.  Rasetsu is due in June, and Black Bird in August.  I can only hope by then, most of the other titles I buy will have finished, and I don’t take on more  (Like that’s gonna happen).  And of course that these titles really are as good as I hope they will be.

Another Evolutionary Jump to the Side

In the December issue of Shonen Jump, there is a short announcement.  Another manga will be joining the pages of the magazine.  Tegumi Bachi, a title announced at SDCC, will start running in SJ starting in the March 2009 issue (out in February 2009).  It comes from the pages of Jump SQ, and appears to be another soon-to-be big property in Japan.  An anime special has already been created for it for the Jump Super Anime Tour event.  Usually at these events, only popular titles from the Jump magazines are spotlighted.  Dragon Ball/Z, Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece have all had specials created for these tours.

Continue reading Another Evolutionary Jump to the Side

Eagle: The 2008 Election Edition Volume 3

Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President Volume 3
by Kaiji Kawaguchi
Publisher: Viz Comics
Genre: Drama/Politics
Age Rating: Teen+ (16+)
Price: $19.95/used
Rating: ★★★★☆

Volume 3 picks up where Volume 2 left off, at the New York debate, with every waiting with baited breath for Yamaoka’s answer to Noah’s accusation of waffling on an environmental issue.  It is here that we see how much of a work of fiction this title can be.  Yamaoka gives a straightforward and honest answer.  He is human and made a mistake.  There is no way any politician that was looking to get votes would ever give an answer like this.  But, with Yamaoka being our protagonist, he not only gets away with it, but turns the tables on Noah, and wins not just the debate, but the primary.  Now the next big hurdle he must overcome is Texas.  In order to win in Texas, he must win over Don Taylor, a democrat in charge of a large food corporation who holds sway over most of the farmers and ranchers not just in Texas, but in most of the South.  But it won’t be easy, as Taylor doesn’t believe either Yamaoka or Noah has a chance of winning against the prospective Republican candidate, and won’t support either.  Yamaoka’s got to change his mind.

Continue reading Eagle: The 2008 Election Edition Volume 3

San Diego Comic Con: Day 1

Well, we survived the first day of the Con.  It was crowded, as I predicted, and it’s only the first day!  Moving through the Exhibit Hall was difficult at times and nearly all the panels had a minimum 1 hour wait, and you still weren’t guaranteed to get in.  We ended up missing the Doctor Who/Torchwood panel, so instead we spent most of the day in the Exhibit Hall.  We took lots of pictures, and I’ll be posting some throughout the weekend.

I stopped by most of the manga publishers tables, and I have to say, I’m pretty disappointed.  Especially Viz.  Last year, they had lots of manga for sale, so I could catch up on titles that I had fallen behind on.  Heaven knows no one brings manga to a comic con.  Who would want to buy comics at a Comic Con?  This year, they decided to just push certain titles (Black Lagoon, One Pound Gospel, Vampire Knight, Bleach Collector Edition and the Shonen Jump Fifth Anniversary Collector’s Edition).  It was a real letdown.  They had other things going on at their booth.  There was wall for people to post post-its with messages for Tite Kubo, a basketball hoop shoot to promote Slam Dunk, and a preview of a download service for manga that’s only available in Japan.  Bring it out here!  And for the DS!!

Yen Press bummed me out too.  I was so sure they would have issues of Yen Plus available for sale at the con.  I came out yesterday after all.  What better place to push the magazine than at San Diego?  Instead, there’s just some previews of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi.  No Yen Plus anywhere.  (Nowhere else at the Con either).  So I was denied twice.

The smaller publishers I stopped by had a much better selection and actually had books for sale!  Digital Manga was across from Viz, and had their books out front (the non-yaoi titles) for easy perusal and purchase.  Udon, who was down by Video Game row, not only had books for sale, but was providing autographs and sketches for customers.  It felt like a much more fun atmosphere.  The way a con should be.

Tomorrow I will be stopping by Del Rey and Aurora/Broccoli Books, as well as going to the Viz Media Panel (hopefully).  San Diego has become a great Con for making contacts, and meeting guests, but as a convention in the traditional sense, it’s failing miserably.

Eagle: The 2008 Election Edition Volume 2

eagle-2.jpgEagle : The Making of an Asian-American President Volume 2
By Kaiji Kawaguchi
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Drama/Politics
Rating: Teen+ (16+)
Price: $19.99/used only
Rating: ★★★★☆

In this second volume of Kenneth Yamaoka’s campaign to be come president, more time is spent on his past, and what could have make him the person he is now. The politics takes a backseat for the first third of the volume as Takashi meets with Yamaoka’s sister, getting a touching, sentimental image of the Senator. Yamaoka quickly squashes that image with stories from Viet Nam. Takashi’s doubts about Yamaoka killing his mother return. The importance of family starts to become a major theme with this volume, as Takashi struggles to figure out how he fits in. He has strong feelings for Rachel, and finds common ground with Alex, but Yamaoka’s intentions are still a mystery.

Continue reading Eagle: The 2008 Election Edition Volume 2

Muhyu & Roji's Bureau of Superntaural Law Volume 2

Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation Volume 2
By Yoshiyuki Nishi
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Supernatural/Action
Rating: Teen
Price: $7.99
Rating: ★★★★★

Muhyo and Roji head to the Magic Law Association for Roji’s promotion exam, where a series of bizarre incidents turn out to be the handiwork of Muhyo’s old nemesis, Enchu!

New characters and information about Muhyo’s past and his connection to Enchu are revealed in this volume, setting the conflict for the first major arc of this series.

Continue reading Muhyu & Roji's Bureau of Superntaural Law Volume 2

Jenny's Journal: Pokemon Diamond & Pearl Adventure Volume 1

Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure! Volume 1
By Ihara Shigekatsu
Publisher: Viz Media

Genre: Action/Adventure
Rating: All Ages
Price: $7.99

Rating: ★★★★★

Hareta, a ten-year-old boy who has been living in the wild for four years, starts his journey with Mitsumi, who is Rowan’s assistant. Hareta accidentally woke a sleeping Onix and sends out Piplup, though not in a ‘friendly’ action. Onix calmed down after many attempts to stop Onix without Piplup. Then, the day after, it seems that Hareta has reached Piplup’s heart with his attempts to stop the same Onix, who seems to be under a spell. After bringing it to it’s senses, Hareta, Mitsumi and Piplup start their journey to reach the legendary Pokemon, Dialga!

What I liked about it:
Everything about it, actually. The way Hareta was eating Piplup on accident was funny and, all the chapters after it were hilarious, as Hareta throws Piplup’s ball far off, into trees, into a lake, and possibly more. Also, in the second chapter, “Hareta’s Very First Pokemon Battle!!”, he flings it into an uncomfortable spot for both the camera man and Piplup. It was pure funny, especially because of the fact that it’s on TV.

Could you make it better:
No, the manga is right on, there isn’t any mistakes. The drawings and the dialogue are what make this manga so hilarious.

Which chapter is my favorite:
Chapter two: “Hareta’s Very First Pokemon Battle!!”, because, as explained above, Hareta throws the Pokeball into an uncomfortable spot for both the camera man and Piplup, making Piplup very embarrassed and depressed. Also, his first actual battle was with Roark, and he also won it, winning his first badge (although it didn’t taste very good).