Tag Archives: Viz

Review: Zombie Powder Volume 4


Zombie Powder Volume 4
By: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media/Shonen Jump Manga
Genre: Action
Ratng: T+ (Older Teen)
Price: $7.99
ISBN: 1-4215-1122-3
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Wolfina fights a solo battle for her brother’s life as Emilio, his body fused to a locomotive racing across the desert, faces a fate worse than death.  Luckily, Gamma and C.T. Smith manage to stop the train just before it plows into Alcantara and we get a happy ending and an obvious way for the story to continue…

Continue reading Review: Zombie Powder Volume 4

Review: Zombie Powder Volume 3

Zombie Powder Volume 3
By: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media/Shonen Jump Manga
Genre: Action
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Price: $7.99
ISBN: 1-4215-1121-5
Rating: ★★★½☆

We open with Gamma Akutabi, Elwood, C.T. Smith and Wolfina Lalla Getto hot on the heels of circus-master Balmunk who has kidnapped Wolfina’s comatose brother Emilio, hoping to recover the mysterious Ring of the Dead which has been fused inside of his body.

As they face off against Balmunk, he calls upon his minions to fight against them, aiming to fight a personal battle against Gamma, with whom he apparently has a mysterious past.  Who was Gamma and what link does he have with Balmunk?  Can they overcome the deadliest circus performers of them all?  And how can Gamma save Emilio and recover the Ring of the Dead at the same time?

Continue reading Review: Zombie Powder Volume 3

Spoiled Rotten

I talk a lot about buying manga on this blog.  Living on a budget means that I have to make every manga dollar count, and get the best deals I can to keep up on the series’ I enjoy.  This is why I subscribe to Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat, watch for sales at Bookcloseouts.com, Deepdiscount.com, very occasionally search eBay, wait for 4-for-3 deals on Amazon.com, and trade.  So it’s no surprise, that the bulk of my collection is from Viz, because they have provided the best deals with tiered pricing that let me get more than the other publishers.  This fall, that’s all changing.

Continue reading Spoiled Rotten

Manga Moms – An Update

I know it’s a little late for Mother’s Day, but as long as it’s still May, I figure I can sneak this in.  Last year, I wrote a post about the roles moms can play in manga.  I picked out manga I had read and broke them down into categories; Mom affecting the characters, Mom as support, Mom’s absence affecting the character, Mom’s absence affecting the story.  I’ve read and/or more titles have come out that can be added to the list.

Continue reading Manga Moms – An Update

Eulogy for Shojo Beat

The rumors started yesterday, but David Welsh of Comics Reporter  confirmed it today with Viz’s Evelyn Dubocq via Twitter that the rumors were trueShojo Beat is being cancelled.

sbcover01The manga magazine that started in 2005, about 2 years after it’s older brother Shonen Jump, took over from another Viz publication, Animerica.  I know this very well, since I had just subscribed to Animerica after taking a hard look at the anime/manga magazines at the time.  One month after my first issue, I got the news that it was switching to Shojo Beat.

At the time, I wasn’t reading any shojo.  I think the only shojo series I had read any of was Ceres Celestial Legend.  I’m not into too many chick things, and being told my magazine of choice was going to be replaced with one about “fashion, cooking and beauty” didn’t make me too happy.  I thought I would hate the magazine.  But I decided to get the first issue and check it out.  Much to my surprise, I actually liked the titles that premiered.  Godchild and Nana sucked me in.  Kaze Hikaru and Baby and Me entertained, while Crimson Hero and Absolute Boyfriend passed the time.

sbcover47Over the last 4 years, Shojo Beat has changed it’s titles a few times, some for better (Sand Chronicles, Honey & Clover), some not so better (Vampire Knight), but it was always a fun read.  Even some of the articles were interesting.  The Video games and the DIY crafts usually caught my eye.  I couldn’t see trying to cook, let alone eat some of the recipes, but then, I’m not very adventurous with food.  The manga spotlights were good too, as there was a lot of shojo I hadn’t read.  The previews that they ran also got me into other titles like La Corda d’Oro.

So, it is with great sadness that I bid farewell to Shojo Beat.  I never regretted reading any of it’s titles even if not all of them thrilled me.  The magazine opened me up to a whole new world of manga that I probably wouldn’t have taken a chance on before.  So thanks Shojo Beat for all the girly stuff you brought into my life.  You will be sorely missed.

How’s That Supposed to Work?

Along with the announcement that Funimation would begin streaming the One Piece anime simultaneously with the Japanese showing, waaaaayyyy down at the bottom of the announcement, tucked in the About One Piece section, it was also announced that the US edition of Shonen Jump would start running the manga in line with the Japanese releases.  Just like Naruto.

Huh?  How are they going to do that?

Naruto‘s catching up seems to be doing well for Viz and Shueisha, if the Japanese publisher has agreed to this.  But, Naruto took two years and a mass release of 22 volumes in order to get caught up with the Japanese releases.  One Piece, which missed it’s bus thanks to 4Kids raping it and it taking a few years for Funimation to do a proper anime release of it, has a lot further to go.  Volume 53 was just published in Japan, and volume 21 will be released here in June.  That’s a 32 volume jump.  And Viz plans to have the new chapters start in Shonen Jump in the fall of this year!

There is no way they will be able to publish and sell 32 One Piece volumes!  Not unless they plan to release nothing else!  Or are they going to release a special volume of Shonen Jump to “catch up” to the current chapters?  I just don’t see any way they can do this in a minmum of 4 months.  Even going with a BIG format, that 11 of those to get out.

While I love One Piece, and I’m all for catching manga up to current releases in Japan, this is just insane!  This is not the way to stop scanalations, because there is NO WAY a normal person could catch up to this.  Not with this economy, and especially not in California!  I thought Viz was nuts to do another Naruto wave in February.  I’ve can’t wait to see how they think they are going to manage this.

Dub vs. Sub: Buso Renkin

I was channel surfing last weekend, and happened upon the first episode of Buso Renkin on the Funimation Channel.  I like to see manga I’ve read as anime.  Reading static action scenes are okay, but seeing them move can really bring it to life.  So, I try to at least see some episodes of an anime.  I stopped to check out the first episode and see how Viz did with it.  I have a habit of hoping for the best  about these things.  Sometimes I’m rewarded, sometimes not.

The opening started as a good sign.  It was the original Japanese opening “Makka Na Chikai” with subtitles.  I liked the opening song, and the animation was well done.  I especially liked at the end of the opening with Kazuki and Tokiko holding the Sunlight Slasher, and it switching from color and then to black and white with speed lines.  Like a switch between anime and manga.

Continue reading Dub vs. Sub: Buso Renkin

Reactionary

I’ll jump on the band wagon and give some of my reactions to Rin-ne, Rumiko Takahashi’s new manga.

I’m not completely sold on this one yet.  It was a good introduction to the two main characters, but it didn’t really grab me.  I like supernatural stories, so I’m hoping she’ll take the Shinigami concept into a different direction, though that is how it appears with her emphasis on reincarnation.  It seems to have more of a Buddhist take on the afterlife, which is more interesting to me than Bleach‘s.  I did like the ghost Chuhuahua.  The buggy eyed dog.  LOL.

Takahashi really likes red-headed protagonists too, doesn’t she?

I’m going to keep reading, and see how things go.  It fits perfectly into my lunch 1/2 hour.

On the Inuyasha VIZBIG new:

YES!  THEY GOT IT!!  THEY FIGURED IT OUT!!!

Okay, I feel better now, and little vindicated.  I am so glad that Inuyasha is coming out unflipped finally.  What I have to figure out is how to justify buying 32 volumes all over again…

Now, all we have to work on is getting Ranma 1/2 and Urusei to get the same treatment.

Want! Want! Want!

majin_tantei_nogami_neuro_volume_1ANN has reported that the Japanese supernatural mystery manga, Majin Tantei Nogami Neuro will end this month.  Starting in 2005, it’s racked up 21 volumes.  The only thing I want to know, is WHEN ARE WE GONNA GET THIS?!

I’m a professed lover of supernatural and mystery manga, so where there’s one that combine these two great tastes, I want to taste them together.  I’ve seen some of Nogami.  The anime was fansubbed, and being a mystery series, I had to check it out.  And I loved it.  Neuro is a demon who eats mysteries.  The stranger the mystery, the better the taste.  He teams up with (enslaves more accurately, he is a demon after all) a high school girl Yako Katsuragi.  She loves to eat, and has an unsolved mystery about the death of her father.  Neuro will help her solve the mystery if he can eat it.  Neuro uses Yako as his “public face”.  He solves all the mysteries, and she takes the credit.  They are joined by Godai Shinobu, a yakuza who is roped into working for Yako and Neuro after he wins a bet and takes over the Yakuza’s small office, and Akane, a disembodied braid of hair who is a wiz on the computer.

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The characters ranged from quirky to downright weird to disturbing.  Neuro can switch from gentle to psycho in .01 seconds!  He is just awesome in both his human and demon form.  He constantly refers to Yako and Godai as worms, and looms over them ominously if they don’t do as he says immediately.  Yako loves to eat, and seen most of the time downing several bento boxes.  Though any time it comes to her father’s death, she gets serious and meloncholy.  Godai was just funny as he’s forced to do Neuro’s bidding, and complains about it the entire time, but doesn’t mind help Yako.  Kind of the Yakuza with a good heart.

Neuro is actually a good detective, much the chagrin of the police officers who’s cases he and Yako always solve.  The mysteries were interesting, and the plot got more serious as the series went on.  Don’t know if it’s the same as the manga, since liberties can and often are taken, but I still love the characters and mystery, and that’s all I need.

So, someone, ANYONE that can bring out the full series, (Viz, Yen, Del Rey, I’m talking to you), please license this in the US!  It’s too good of a series to be passed up.  There just aren’t enough fun mystery titles to read!  It would make a great SDCC announcement/gift.  **wink wink**

Finally Some Real Evolution

Shonen Jump v77 May 09I was reading the latest issue of Shonen Jump (May 2009), and though I may despise it, I do read Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo.  Don’t ask me why, it’s there, so I just do.  So, I’m coming to the end of the chapter, and at the bottom is says next issue will be Bobobo’s final chapter in the magazine.  Hurray!

Finally Bobobo is leaving!  There is really nothing funny about this manga.  It’s the embodiment of “Stupid is as stupid does.”  But then real question here is, what’s going to replace it?  There hasn’t been any announcements (that I’m aware of) of any new titles going in.  Tegami Bachi was just added, and nowhere in the issue is there any indication of what will be replacing it.  Will they try to squeeze in another manga that will get only one chapter a month (like Yu-Gi-Oh! GX), or will this space just be filled with more Naruto?

In order to keep pace with the Japanese releases of the manga, Viz will have to up the chapter count in Shonen Jump, or take Naruto out of the magazine and so they don’t have to wait.  I don’t see the latter happening though.  Naruto is one of SJ‘s anchor titles.  To take it out of SJ could mean the loss of many, many subscriptions, something I’m sure Viz doesn’t want.

Well, at least it won’t be too long a wait to find out.  Sometimes falling behind on issues isn’t too bad a thing.  I really hope this does turn into an Evolution for SJ.  More Naruto isn’t necessarily bad, and if it means no more mass volume releases, then I’m all for it!

UPDATE: Deb Aoki of About Manga helped solve this little mystery for me via twitter.  Apparently at NYCC, it was announced that Ultimo would be joining Shonen Jump in the July 2009 issue.  Scroll down past the Takahashi news.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I seemed to have thought about this, but at 3am, I wasn’t going to push it.  Next time I’ll just tweet the question.  (Thanks Deb!)

I have to say I’m a little ambivelent about this.  I didn’t care too much for the preview of the first chapter.  It just felt…bleh to me.  Maybe it was too much superhero, and not enough manga.  But I’ll give it a chance.  I’m gonna read it anyway as long as it’s in SJ (see above).  I think I would have preferred more Naruto though.  Those chapters can be so addicting!

I Heard a Rumor

John Jakala found the Inuyasha VizBig Edition on Amazon and noticed something that I didn’t see on Simon and Schuster; it says it will be left to right, just what I DIDN’T want.  Greg McElhatton commented on that blog post saying he heard a rumor that all Takahashi manga was contracted for left to right reading.  As stupid as that sounds, I wouldn’t be TOO suprised if it was true.  But this brings up a new question.  Will Takahashi’s new manga, to be released simultaneously with the Japanese be flipped as well?

If Viz does have this all-encompassing contract with Takahashi that keeps all her manga in L to R, then the simultaneous release will do nothing about scanalations (if that’s their reason for it).  There will still be scanalators putting out the manga in it’s correct R to L orientation.  And there will still be people reading them because THAT’S HOW THEY WANT THEIR MANGA! And don’t try and tell us “that’s the way Takahashi wants it”.  No it isn’t.  Any creator wants their work recreated as close to the original as possible, while still being sellable.  R to L sells just fine.  Don’t assume that just because it’s by Takahashi it’s going to get tons of sales automatically.

Come on Viz, try and think of the fans and your readers, just once.  Please say when you negotiated for Rin-ne, that you got it in its proper orientation, and that you got all the other manga to go R to L as well for the BIG Editions.  Please, don’t let us down.

Brian’s Spot: Gimmick Volume 1

Gimmick! Volume 1
By Youzaburou Kanari
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: T+ (Older Teens)
Genre: Action
Price: $9.99
ISBN: 1-4215-1778-7
Rating: ★★★★☆

In 1986, the movie F/X, starring Bryan Brown as special effects maestro Rollie Tyler and Brian Dennehy as Lt. Leo McCarthy came out, followed by F/X 2 in 1991.  It was so popular that they made a TV series out of it in 1996 which ran for 40 episodes.  Now we get the manga adaptation… wait, it isn’t?

Could have fooled me.

Gimmick is the story of Kohei Nagase and his crew at Studio Gimmick, a small special effects house that seemingly does work for just about everyone.  Kohei is a makeup wizard that can do just about anything with his silver spatula and people come to him from far and wide for his expertise.  Kohei and his sidekick, stuntman Kannazuki, move from job to job, and rescue the odd actress along the way, as Kohei tries to become the ultimate special effects man.

It’s really impossible not to compare Gimmick to F/X, especially when in the back of the manga, Youzaborou Kanari tries desperately to take credit for the whole idea.  He says he came up with the idea in 2003 and was afraid someone would use the idea before he could find an artist.  You’re about 15 years too late for that, pal.  I wouldn’t say, but your stories come almost entirely from the TV series.  Kohei is working on a theme park house of horrors?  Rollie Tyler did effects on a movie being filmed in a theme part house of horrors.  There’s nothing particularly original about this idea, Kanari can give up claiming that there was.

That said though, Gimmick is actually pretty good.  Yes, Kohei’s effects are really pretty silly and teetering dangerously close to magic, if I had a dime for every time he did something that is ridiculously unrealistic, I’d be rich.  F/X showed, at least in the movies, that effects are a matter of lighting and viewpoint and if you aren’t careful, the whole house of cards comes down. Kohei and his amazing spatula whip up things that can pass any amount of muster in seconds and there are times when you’ll be fighting to maintain your credulity at his magic.

Fair warning, this is an older teen title which means there is a fair bit of gratuitous fanservice, nudity which has no other reason than to make guys living in their mother’s basements drool.  It’s pointless and unnecessary and I was unable to find a single nude shot in the book that actually had to be there for story purposes.

If you’re looking for something silly for a quick read, Gimmick fits the bill.  If you’re looking for a good story about special effects saving the day, just go straight to Best Buy and pick up the two F/X movies.  You’ll be glad you did.