Tag Archives: Viz

PR: Viz gets ‘em while they’re young!

With the start of the 2008 Book Expo America, Viz has announced a new addition to their Vizkids line, a sadly neglected line if you ask me. But today, they announced chapter books about who? Why, everyone’s favorite ninja, Naruto! They’re older brother are reading the manga, they’re watching the anime, with their Leaf Village Headbands. Those young ‘uns should be able to read about him too! And now they can. And I know this will sell. Taking my own kids to the bookstore always had them drifting toward the books with TV and movie character they knew. This will be no different.

Press Release after the break

Continue reading PR: Viz gets ‘em while they’re young!

Krissy's Korner: Magical Pokemon Journey #1


Magical Pokemon Journey Volume 1: How Do You Do, Pikachu?
by Yumi Tsukirino
Publisher: Viz Media

Rating: All Ages
Genre: Game

Price: Only available used

Rating: ★★★★☆

What is the story about?

A new trainer named Hazel that started without a pokemon. Soon, she goes into the grass and finds a Pikachu. She trys to draw Pikachu but fails.

What did you like about the story?

I liked it when Hazel yelled at the Ekans. I loved how they drew the pokemon. I also loved how they made the Clefairy act.

What did you dislike about the story?

I hated when Pikachu was knocked out. I also hated the way Hazel drew Pikachu.

Would you recommend the story to kids your age?

Yes

Making the Tough Calls

It was really hard getting through Previews this month. In the catalog, May is Manga Month, so along with all the regular series, there were new ones coming out that had to be evaluated. Top that with a weakening economy, and you get some really tough decisions to be made with this month’s order.  More after the cut.

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Jenny's Journal: Dragon Drive Volume 4

Dragon Drive Volume 4
By Kenichi Sakura
Publisher: Viz Media

Genre: Fantasy
Rating: All Ages
Price: $7.99

Rating: ★★★★★

Storyline

The three heroes are in Yaudim, the most dangerous place in Rikyu, eating. Reiji is ready to go into the first round in the tournament when they meet Taiyo. He’s the Reigning Champion Sun Wols, and he’s waiting in the second round. After saving Maiko, they head back to their hotel. The next morning, a team of rookies have beaten Taiyo. Reiji gets extremely pumped.

Review

This one was awesome. I liked Taiyo and the way Reiji and Hikaru battled. Rokkaku was also funny, how he loved to drink and party. The flashbacks got me looking at them again and again.

What I liked about it

It was cute. Rokkakku’s flashback was so funny as his friend picked on him. Taiyo was pretty good as well.

What I didn’t like

Not even uno. (one, for those who can’t read Spanish.)

What you could do to make it better

Nada. (nothing)

Is this suitable for children?

There’s blood in it, but yes, yes it is.

Eagle: The 2008 Election Edition Volume 1

Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American PresidentEagle: The Making Of An Asian-America President Volume 1
By Kaiji Kawaguchi
Publisher: Viz Comics
Genre: Political Drama
Age Rating: Teen+ (16+)
Price: $19.95
Rating: ★★★★★

With the 2008 Election coming up, I thought it would be interesting to read Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President and see how the Japanese view of our election system stacks up to the real thing while it’s going on. It’s turned out to be an interesting comparison with the way the Democratic side has shaken out.

Eagle follows the Senator Kenneth Yamaoka, a democrat from New York, as he decides to throw his hat into the ring before the New Hampshire Primary. Takashi Jo, our protagonist, has been asked by the Yamaoka campaign to be the Japanese correspondant, and follow the campaign. This volume follows Yamaoka from his declaration to Primary night. There is some drama involved in this as well, and I’ll get to that in a moment. What I want to do first is to look at Yamaoka as compared to the current Democratic candidates, particularly Barack Obama.

Kenneth Yamaoka and Barack Obama are both young senators of mixed heritage. Yamaoka is a Japanese-American, and Barack is an African-American. Both are very charasmtic, both in person, and with their speeches. Both emphasis uniting the American people, and helping the underprivileged. Both became lawyers. These comparisons are superficial on the surface, but it’s interesting to note, that the mangaka, Kaiji Kawaguchi would create a character with these characteristics to go up against an assumed shoe-in for the Democratic nomination, Albert Noah, the current Vice President (and veiled reference to Al Gore). Hillary Clinton was assumed to be the shoe-in candidate just a year ago, before Obama entered the race.

Kawaguchi spends a lot of time talking about the way the American political system works, specifically, how much the media plays a role in it. The first thing Takashi learns when he arrives in Washington DC, is that politicians call journalists “scorps”, short for scorpions. Make an enemy of media, and you’re sunk. Throughout this first volume, we see that over and over again. First, rumors are leaked to the press about the politician in second place in the polls, about him having an affair with a staffer. This is enough to make his poll numbers drop and give Yamaoka a chance to scoop them up. Next, an informal “discussion” and impromptu chess game with Noah gets Yamaoka’s name tied to Noah’s in a front page newspaper headlines in lieu of a debate. TV ads are made to counter Noah’s “information superhighway” issue. Finally, Yamaoka tried to steal Noah’s thunder by having a press conference about the exact same thing as Noah, but gets trumped because of the power difference between a Senator and the Vice President.

We see this same kind of usage in the present campaigns. Stories are “leaked” constantly about a candidate’s religious affiliation, the character of the people he/she surrounds themselves with, anything that might affect the poll numbers. And as we see in Eagle, we see now how easily the media goes along, not only helping, but seeming to enjoy the chaos their coverage can bring.

But there’s more to this story than just the politics. It begins with Takashi Jo, a journalist in Fukushima, Japan. His mother has just died from a gas leak in her old Okinawa home. While he is taking care arrangements for her, he receives a call from his Office that he is to go to Tokyo. He has been asked specifically by the Yamaoka campaign to come and cover the campaign, but no ones why Takashi. He doesn’t have any experience with politics, especially not American Presidential campaigns. He gets his answer when he finally meets Yamaoka. Yamaoka claims to be his father, the US Marine on a stop over to Viet Nam that stood in a picture with his mother, that she kept. Takashi’s mother never told him who his father was, promising to do so only when he got married.

This is the personal drama that runs parallel to the political drama. As Yamaoka is working to get name recognition and exposure in New Hampshire, there is also the personal conflicts of Takashi wondering if what Yamaoka said was true, and why he was choosing to tell him now, like this. Takashi immediately suspects Yamaoka is up to something and doesn’t trust him. There’s’ some real bitterness in Takashi now, as he sees the new family that Yamaoka has created, and the poor conditions his mother had to endure raising him alone.

Then there are the Hamptons, the Kenedyesque family that Yamaoka has married into. Patricia, his wife and sister to Charles, Yamaoka’s college buddy, who also wondered who Takashi was, and had him investigated. She knows Takashi’s true identity, but not Yamaoka’s motives. Their son Alex, who is always competing with this father, feeling he has to prove himself in some way, and Rachel, their adopted daughter, who believes in her father’s dream.

By the end of this volume, we have met all the players, but there are still a lot of questions left hanging. Why has Yamaoka chosen to reveal himself to Takashi in this way? Why did Takashi’s mother not tell him in the first place? Why is it so important for Yamaoka to become president, a goal he’s apparently had since his time in Viet Nam? What does Yamaoka really have in mind? With the way Kawaguchi portrays the characters, these are questions you really do want to know the answer to. They are very realistic. Patricia’s desire to protect her son over Takashi. Takashi’s bitterness toward Yamaoka. Alex’s determination to win approval from this father. The story is masterfully crafted to get the reader emotionally involved with all the drama; the personal as well as political.

At the end of the compilation volume that Viz put out and this review is based on, there is an Postscript by the editor of this title, Carl Horn. In it, he talks about the 2000 election, which was going on at the time. It didn’t relate as well then, as there was no challenger to Al Gore on the Democratic side, and the candidate was decided not long after New Hampshire. But today, as we move into April, and most of the primary’s have come and gone, there is still no definitive choice. The internet, still a sort of “wild west” was ignored by candidates in 2000. In 2008, debates are being held for Youtube viewers. And John McCain, who Horn mentions as someone people wished to beat the front runners in 2000, actually did in New Hampshire of this year and rode that wave to become the defacto Republican candidate.

It will be interesting to see how future volumes continue to hold up to the current campaigns, and if race will ever become an issue. As of this first volume, it isn’t so much about race as it is about the “haves” vs the “have nots”, a core issue for Democrats. But, the subtitle of this title is The Making of an Asian-American President, so I’m curious to see if/how that will play in. Just like now, there’s still a long road ahead to the White House. It will be interesting to see how Yamaoka continues, just as it has been to watch Obama.

J-Pop goes Shojo Beat!

The January issue of Shojo Beat wasn’t really anything exciting. The preview of Be WithShojo Beat Jan 2008 You didn’t do anything for me. Haruka felt kind of disjointed, like panels were missing as the characters made huge leaps in time and space. On the plus side, Absolute Boyfriend is on it’s last chapters, so with the end of that comes some relief. But I am still stuck with Vampire Knight, which was as predictable as ever. I’m liking Crimson Hero as long as they say on the game and Norbara’s continued development. Honey and Clover had the obligatory Christmas chapters, and Sand Chronicles didn’t make me cry this time. I did like the fortune telling feature. That was fun to check out. And the featurette on Japanese disaster movies. I really like those kinds of movies, and will have to try and find some of them such as the new Japan Sinks!

The February issue was a lot better. I loved the preview of Monkey High! Give me those snarky shojo protagonists! I liked Haruna, and Macharu is cute. I can’t wait to read the whole volume!

Shojo Beat Feb 2008

My faith in Haruka is restored after a moment of doubt with the last chapter. Lots of demon-y evil and priestess purity may get Akane to stop the swooning over the demon, especially since she’s got some many bishonen surrounding her.

The waffling still isn’t over with Absolute Boyfriend. Even after making her choice, Riiko can’t stop being selfish and wanting both. I am so glad next issue is this title’s last.

After some more good game play with Nobara and Ryo face off against two foreign Pro players, she seems to have finally found her groove in Crimson Hero. But it looks like the drama’s coming back with the boys team. It seems they all missed Nobara will she was gone. Oh well, I guess it couldn’t last forever.

It’s melodrama overload in Vampire Knight, with twins Zero and Ichi now becoming sworn enemies, Yuki *still* trying to save the worthless Zero, and Kaname has a “heart wrenching” talk with Shizuka. Why is this so popular again?

Honey and Clover focuses on Mayama’s unrequited love for and Hanamoto’s past with Rika, while the rest of the gang is up to their usual antics at a hot spring and the zoo. The story of Hanamoto and Rika’s past was especially good. It was very touching.

In Sand Chronicles, Ann learns the difficulty of long distance relationships, as she and Daigo try to keep in touch. Ann meets up with her friends from before going to Shimane and Fuji. With her birthday coming up, everyone is asking what she wants, and all she really wants is to she Daigo. While not enough to bring me to tears, these chapters are still very good, and the Fuji subplot is starting to go somewhere.

The February issue’s focus was on J-pop, a style of music I’ve only just gotten into over the last few years. While I would listen to the openings and endings of anime shows, I never really paid attention to the who the artists were. It was the attention that Puffy Ami Yumi got for doing the Teen Titans theme that made me start looking deeper. So, of course Puffy is now one of the groups I like. They remind me of Ushiroyubi Sasaregumi, who did most of the opening and endings for an anime called High School Kimengumi (very funny, will never be licensed).

The first opening for the Bleach anime, * Asterisk by Orange Range got me interested in them. I still haven’t gotten tired of listening to that song, so to me that says good things about them. I’ve also checked out High and Mighty Color and Uverworld, who also did Bleach openings. But, if I had to choose a band that consistently puts out songs, anime related or not, that I really like, it would be L’Arc en Ciel.

I didn’t really take notice of this group until they did the 2nd opening for Full Metal Alchemist, Ready, Steady, Go. After becoming addict to the song, I started looking into their discography. They’ve been around for over 10 years, so there were a lot of albums available. The lead singer, Hyde, seems to be a big draw, and I will admit I do love his vocals. It’s part of the reason I enjoy their music so much. They also get around quite a bit. As well as FMA, they have done the themes for the FMA Movie (Lost Heaven is my favorite), an ending for Rurouni Kenshin, the opening to Seirei no Morobito (Shine. Why won’t they put out a single for this?!?!?), and the first opening to the current Mobile Suit Gundam 00 anime, Daybreak’s Bell. There’s just something about the music and vocals, and the way they come together, that I can listen to their songs over and over, and never get tired of them. They definitely get my vote for best group. Ever.

Jenny's Journal: Dragon Drive Volume 3


Dragon Drive Vol 3

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

Rating: All Ages

Grade: B

Storyline

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

Review

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

What I liked about it

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

What I didn’t like

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

What you could do to make it better

Nothing.

Is this suitable for children?

Yes.