Tag Archives: Yen Press

New Durarara!! Manga Announced

I asked for it and I got it!

durararanewmangaWith the end of the “Yellow Scarves Arc” manga in Japan, I recently lamented that with no new announcement, there weren’t any more DRR manga to look forward to. Square Enix fixed that as they announced a new DRR title would be starting in the December issue of GFantasy Magazine. The series will get a new artist Aogiri. It will continue to chronicle the adventures of our favorite characters in our favorite area of Tokyo, Ikebukuro. The ward is thrown into chaos again with authority from shady places, assassins from overseas, delinquents from Saitama and a underclassman who knows Mikado’s secret. All the while Izaya Orihara watches over the chaos, laughing.

I really hope this is an adaptation of the 4th light novel. I can’t tell, but if Square Enix continues to follow suit, then it should be. I’m also not so sure about the change in artists. I really like Akiyo Satorigi’s work in the last three series’. But, at least he gets on last hurrah, as GFantasy as also announced that Satorigi will be doing a special chapter also in the December issue. This one shot is tentatively titled “Durarara!! Gaiden” and occurs right after the end of the “Yellow Scarves Arc”.

I’m really happy that Square Enix is keeping this series going.  And until the light novels are licenses, I hope Yen Press continues to get the manga. Getting both would be a real boon!

Yen Press Busts Out the Manga Licenses


Yen Press has been pushing out the licenses hard and fast this year. Their last big license announcement a month ago featured mostly light novels for their Yen On line. This last weekend at New York Comic Con it was time to spotlight the manga. Nine titles were announced, most of them being new, with one surprise/not so surprising license rescue.

A Certain Magical Index MangaAs Yen has been want to do, two of the manga titles are adaptations of light novels they have already announced. A Certain Magical Index light novel series got a lot of cheers from fans for Yen with its license, and now its manga adaptation is joining the party. This adaptation started a while ago, back in 2007, and there are 13 volumes so far. It follows Touma Kamjou, a boy made remarkable by his complete lack of ability in a city filled with super powered students. Touma just wants to keep a low profile, but when a nun named Index stumbles into his life, things get more complicated and dangerous than ever! I’d give this first volume a shot.

dungeon MangaIs it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is another light novel series adaptation. It’s only 5 volumes so far and follows Bell Crane, an adventurer trying to make it in the world. His world however is an enormous dungeon filled with monsters below a city run by gods and goddess with too much time on their hands. A roll of the random encounter dice has him meeting the girl of his dreams, a brilliant swordswoman he hasn’t got a chance with,  and possibly even awakening the jealousy of the goddess who sponsors his solo missions. I wasn’t sure about this series based on the title alone, but this description makes it sound interesting enough that I might try the manga.

Trinity 7The first new manga license is Trinity Seven from Kadokawa. It has nine volumes so far, and is a title that fits into Yen’s wheel house well. It’s a harem title that follows Arata Kasuga, a boy who transfers to the Royal Biblia Academy. He wants to solve the mystery of the destruction that is ravaging the world and find his cousin who has been stolen from him by it. Helping him are seven beautiful (and big-breasted) girls who each have mastered a magical art. Just the cover is enough to turn me off from this series.

chaikaChaika – The Coffin Princess is based on a light novel series of the same name. It is 4 volumes so far and runs in Kadokawa Shoten’s Monthly Shonen Ace magazine. It is about Tooru Acura, a soldier having a hard time adjusting to the 5 year peace after 200 years of war. After he saves Chaika Trabant, a silver-haired sorceress with a coffin on her back, he and his sister are hired by her to accompany her on a death-defying journey. Yen seems to like titles that feature characters carrying coffins on their back. This is a series I’d be willing to give a try. The creator, Shinta Sakayama, also created Strait Jacket, an anime OVA I enjoyed.

Prison School 1Prison School is one of three new titles Yen Press has gotten from Kodansha. This ongoing series started in 2011, and currently has 14 volumes out. It won the Best General Manga Award in Kodansha’s 37th  Annual Manga Awards this year. It follows Kiyoshi Fujino, a boy who has enrolled in Hachimitsu Private Academy. Hachimitsu had been an elite all-girls school, and this is the first year boys are being admitted. To Kiyoshi’s dismay, he learns he is only one of five boys who have enrolled in the school, where they are wildly outnumbered. Will it be heaven or hell for the boys? I’m not sure about this title. The description has the a lot of potential for being so not for me. First and foremost it screams “harem”, but with a bunch of girls outnumbering the guys, things will no doubt get weird fast.

First Love MonsterFirst Love Monster is another Kodansha title, this time from Aria magazine, one magazine Kodansha doesn’t seem to mind other publishers pulling from. It’s only 3 volumes so far and follows Kaho Nikaido, a fifteen-year-old who leaves her sheltered home for the first time to live in Tokyo high school dormitory. Nearly hit by a truck, she is saved by Kanade a boy who she falls instantly in love with. As luck would have it, he is the son of her landlord, but–he is also only in the 5th grade! Yeah, this is another series with an iffy/icky premise as far as I’m concerned. I don’t mind wide age ranges for couples, but I’d at least like for both of them to be out of puberty. Unless this series does something amazing in the first volume, it’s probably gonna get a pass.

Alice in Murderland 1Alice in Murderland is a license that shouldn’t be of any surprise for two reasons; 1) it’s by Kaori Yuki and 2) it has Alice in the title and a character dressed like the Disney Alice from Alice in Wonderland on the cover. Members of the elite house Kuonji, a clan with influence all over the world, must meet monthly. At the most recent meeting, the nine siblings are given horrific news straight from their own mother. They must fight to the death to decide the next head of the family. As chaos erupts, the fourth daughter Stella, loses it and a whole new Stella is born, blonde hair and blue dress and all! I like a lot of Kaori Yuki’s work, but this one has me on the rails. A fight to the death for control? Really? This one better really wow me with the first volume, especially since there are only two out so far.

Emma 1The big surprise announcement of the Yen Press panel was a license rescue, something Mr. Hassler said he hates to do. But I’ll let that pass for this rescue. Emma is a 10 volume Victorian Romance by Kaoru Mori that was originally published by CMX and a series that fans have been clamoring to get back.  Set in Victorian England, it is about the romance of William Jones, a young aristocrat, and Emma, the maid of his former Governess. While the couple are drawn together slowly but surely, society means to keep them apart. Mori’s beautiful artwork and charming characters make this a series that well deserved to be back in print. Yen will release the series as 2-in-1 omnibuses. You can be sure this will be on my must have list.

The final series is an original story by Svetlana Chmakova. Awkward is about shy transfer student Penelope-Peppi-Torres who just wants to fit in and not stand out from her fellow students. But when she bumps -literally- into geeky-but-quiet Jamie Thompson, she is branded “The Nerder’s Girlfriend.” Peppi’s first reaction is to push away, but afterwards, she feels guilty and wants to apologize, but she always ends up chickening out. Peppi gets another chance when they bump again -figuratively- but will these two opposites ever attract? I like Svetlana’s original work. I liked Dramacon and loved Night School so I will definitely check this series out. No word on volume count though. It could be one, or it could be three. Who knows?

There were no release dates given for any of these titles, but sometime next year, maybe late in the year is a good bet. This was quite a list of licenses, and including all the titles announced all the back to Sakuracon, that’s a lot of books coming out next year.

PR: Yen Press Announces New Licenses

Yen Press continues its pattern of licensing manga of light novels and vice verse. Along with these crossovers are some surprises that will make almost every fan happy. Read on for the good news!

Yen Press Announces New Licenses at New York Comic Con

YenPress_logoNEW YORK, NY (October 10, 2014) – At its panel at New York Comic Con today, Yen Press announced a number of highly anticipated forthcoming manga publications.

The light novel series Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? and A Certain Magical Index were already on the new Yen On list, specializing in translated light novels. Today, Yen Press announced the acquisition of the manga series as well. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is by Kunieda; the original story is by Fujino Omori and the character design by Suzuhito Yasuda. A Certain Magical Indexis by Chuya Kogino; the original story by Kazuma Kamachi and the character design by Kiyotaka Haimura.

Also announced were Emma by Kaoru Mori, author of the acclaimed A Bride’s Story and Kaoru Mori: Anything and Something, also published by Yen Press; and Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova, author of Nightschool and illustrator of James Patterson’s Witch & Wizard, both also published by Yen Press.

The other announced publications were:

Trinity Seven, by Kenji Saitou and Akinari Nao;
Chaika, The Coffin Princess (manga) by Shinta Sakayama, original story by Ichirou Sakaki, character design by Namaniku ATK;
First Love Monster by Akira Hiyoshimaru;
Prison School by Akira Hiramoto; and
Alice in Murderland by Kaori Yuki.

Yen Press is an imprint of Hachette Book Group’s Orbit division, dedicated to publishing graphic novels for adults and young readers.  Yen Press’ focus is primarily on licensed manga, but also publishes across the wide spectrum of the graphic novel market, including, but not limited to: original manga publications, original American comics/graphic novels, webcomics, licensed adaptations, and children’s graphic novels. For more information, visit www.yenpress.com

Hachette Book Group is a leading trade publisher based in New York and a division of Hachette Livre, the third-largest trade and educational publisher in the world. HBG publishes under the divisions of Little, Brown and Company, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, Grand Central Publishing, Orbit, Hachette Books, Hachette Nashville, and Hachette Audio.

Durarara!! Yellow Scarves Arc To End

DRRRYellowScarvesArcV1_TP.jpgJust this week, Yen Press released the first volume of Durarara!! The Yellow Scarves Arc. This is an adaptation of the third light novel and continues the outrageous story of Mikado, Shizuo, Izaya, Celty, Anri, Kida and more. However, in the October issue of Square Enix’s Monthy G Fantasy magazin that came out in September, it was announced that the manga will end in the November issue out next month. The final chapter will feature a color page, and it looks like the series will be three volumes total.

Seems Yen Press picked the perfect time to pick up this series, as it’s just started. But with their first two volumes coming out in quick succession, there’s no tell when the last volume will be out. I hope it won’t be long. I hope even more that Yen Press will license the Durarara!! light novels soon. This is the last manga adaptation. How will I get my Shizuo fix after this?!


This Week’s Manga: It’s a Yen World

This Week's Manga
Manga makes its triumphant return this week, and it’s all thanks to Yen Press. While Seven Seas Entertainment does have some titles coming out, it’s Yen that getting a cut of my paycheck. After far, far too long, we finally get the next Durarara!! series. Yellow Scarves Arc is the third manga series and is based on the third light novel. So why hasn’t Yen licensed the light novel series again? It’s gonna be hard to read this first volume, because I will then have to wait for the rest!

Spice and Wolf is another series I’ve come to love, so getting a new volume is always exciting. This week’s it’s volume 9, and even though the light novels are further ahead in volumes, I’m happy to wait for the manga. I love the art, and the interactions between Holo and Lawrence. I will read the light novels someday, but for now the manga has my full attention. I’m also curious about Void’s Enigmatic Mansion volume 1. I get a comeuppance vibe from it, with a tag live about granting one’s greatest wish and it not what you expected. I do enjoy those kinds of stories and it’s getting to be that season again where the scary and creepy step out of the shadows and jump off our bookshelves!

DRRRYellowScarvesArcV1_TP.jpgSpice and Wolf 9VoidsMansion_vol1

Sword Art Online: Aincrad

In the year 2022, gamers rejoice as Sword Art Online–a VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) like no other–debuts, allowing players to take full advantage of the ultimate in gaming technology: NerveGear, a system that allows users to completely immerse themselves in a wholly realistic gaming experience. But when the games goes live, the elation of the players quickly turns to horror as they discover that, for all its amazing features, SAO is missing on of the most basic functions of any MMORPG–a log-out button. Now trapped in the virtual world Aincrad, their bodies held captive by NerveGear in the real world, users are issued a chilling ultimatum: conquer all one hundred floors of Aincrad to regain your freedom. But in the warped world of SAO, “Game Over” means certain death–both virtual and real…

Sword Art Online: Aincrad
SwordArt_Aincrad1_mangaArt by Tamako Nakamura; Original story: Reki Kawahara
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Drama/Game
Price: $20.00 USD
Rating: ★★★★☆

Sword Art Online: Aincrad manga is based on the first two light novels from a series of the same name, and belongs to a genre that become popular lately; players of an MMORPG become trapped in the game world and must fight the game to get out. I’ve never been interested in this genre, but I was still curious enough about it to at least read the manga, an omnibus of the two-volume series. I did enjoy the story as a whole, but there are still a few spots that felt lacking.

The story centers around Kirito, a teenager who was a beta tester for Sword Art Online and became trapped along with the 10,000 other players on the game’s first day. It is two years later, and there are only 26 levels to beat before reaching the final boss, the creator of the world Akihiko Kayaba. The players have settled into their new life in Aincrad, fighting, getting stronger and clearing levels. There are towns with tradesmen and farmers, and guilds to organize everyone. The strongest of these guilds is Knights of the Blood. Returning to a town to trade and heal, Kirito runs into Asuna, a commander in the Knights of the Blood. She wants to recruit Kirito for the next level they are about to take on, but Kirito and Asuna make a deeper connection, and the story becomes just as much about their romance as their battles.

As the two main characters, I did like Kirito and Asuna. Kirito was a loner, also known as a Beater. Beta testers were also considered cheaters to new players because of their greater knowledge of the game. He isn’t unfriendly, just reluctant to make connections. Asuna is his opposite in many ways. She is cheerful and outgoing, also known as a celebrity in the game. They work well together, a feeling that translate on and off the battlefield. Their feelings for each other becomes a focal point of the story, but I didn’t see the chemistry between them. Their romance felt rushed, as if getting them together was just a formality for the rest of the story. I just didn’t feel any emotions between them. We were told rather than shown how they felt about each other and that lessened the effect.

The supporting cast was a pretty interesting bunch. Klein, a fighter, and Agil, a shopkeeper were friends of Kirito and Asuna. They help out the couple both off the field and on. They also brought some of the lighter moments to the story. Klein getting flustered around Asuna made for some fun moments. Agil’s honesty about joining the 75th floor battle was refreshing.

The story moved at a quick pace, slowing down only for some character development for Kirito, or some development for Kirito’s and Asuna’s relationship. References to the world being a game were fairly constant, and players had to keep it in mind even as they came to accept it as the real world. I did like that the manga dealt with PK, or Player Killers. Kuradeen, an evil man who joins the Knight of the Blood to be near Asuna, turns out to be one these players. Kuradeen makes some references to Kirito that killing him make Kirito a murderer, even though he just did the same thing for the sake of returning to the guild as the “lone survivor” of a trial. These references just get left hanging.

This was the biggest problem I had with the volume. It felt more like bullet points being hit on the page than a cohesive story. The scenes didn’t flow well and changed abruptly. The characters seem to know things without there being any or very little groundwork laid for it. With the manga having only two volumes to cover two novels, it felt like a lot was left out. The story had to be compressed so much that only major points could be hit, leaving out a lot of development.

Overall Sword Art Online: Aincrad is an entertaining read. While the art is rather generic, some characters such as Klein and Kuradeen did stand out. If you’re interested in the plot and don’t want to take the time to watch the anime or read the original light novels then this adaptation will serve well. A lot is being missed with just this manga adaptation, and I am considering reading the light novels to see what was dropped. A third volume would have made a big difference in the character development. If nothing else, this manga is a good gateway to the light novels.

Review copy provided by publisher.




Yen Press Adds Another Two Titles

Yen Press has really been piling on the licences lately, both in manga and light novels. One of each was just announced and confirmed in the last couple of weeks.

KarnevalThe one manga was announced on Twitter. Karneval follows the mysterious young boy Nai, who knows nothing but his name and Karoku. With only Karoku’s bracelet from “Circus,” he goes in search of Karoku. He is helped by an older boy Gareki and after an incident, they are recruited by the National Defense Agency Circus. As they travel, searching for Karoku, they meet new people and find new opportunities along the way. A lot of people were excited for this license when it was announced. There was an anime that aired last year, which was streamed and licensed by Funimation. I’m not really seeing anything from the description that excites me, but that’s nothing new. This is a title I will have to wait and see. It is currently 13 volumes and is scheduled for release in March 2015.

So I can't HAdding to their YenOn imprint is So, I Can’t Play H!, a romantic comedy light novel series. This one follows Ryuosuke Kaga, a high school student who is both a hopeless romantic and hopelessly perverted. One day he meets a beautiful girl in the rain and invites her back to his house. He offers her anything she needs; dry clothes, help changing out them…but the girl, Lisara Restole has other plans. She stabs him in the chest. Lisara is a shinigami, and Ryuosuke has thoughtlessly offered his essence to allow her stay int he world, and the part of his she seems interested in taking is his lecherous side. Yeah, can’t say I’m surprised Yen Press got this series. It fits in perfectly with their other heavy male-gaze titles. Which makes it another title I will let pass by. There are currently 11 volumes of this series out, and Yen Press will release the first one in English in April 2015

More Madoka Spin offs from Yen Press

Yen Press has confirmed, thanks to some Amazon listings, that they have two more Puella Magi Madoka Magica spin-off titles: Puella Maki Oriko Magica: Extra Story and Puella Magi Tart Magica: The Legend of Jeanne d’Arc. This news makes me very happy since I’ve really come to enjoy the Magica spin offs.

orika-spinoffI didn’t like Puella Magi Oriko Magica initially, but the second volume redeemed any doubt I had at the beginning. Oriko’s story gets to continue now with a  “what if” side story. This new story asks, what if Oriko had met Yuma Chitose before she gained her vision of the end of the world? Would she still have used and manipulated the girl in order to reach her own ends of trying to stop the end of the world? I didn’t find Yuma interesting in the main series, but I am curious to see what Mura Kuroe, the artist of the main Oriko series, comes up with this time. The series is one volume and is scheduled to be released in March of 2015

jeanne-darcPuella Magi Tart Magica is a spin-off from the main series, and takes tidbit that was thrown out, that Joan of Arc was a magical girl, and turns it into a full-blown series. Kyubey is trolling for magical girls even in the Fifteenth Century and finds Jeanne d’Arc, a girl with extraordinary leadership and strength of character. With the help of her three friends, Liz, Eliza, and Melissa, she fights to push back the English occupiers of France. But she might soon have an even greater enemy to fight. I’m a sucker for historical fantasy/drama. While I think Joan of Arc gets overused in Japanese media, I think this use it actually a good one. The series is still ongoing with only one volume out so far. I look forward to getting my hands on this one in April 2015.

Yen Press Ends Summer with New Licenses

Over the Labor Day weekend that traditionally ends Summer for most kids (though may schools start in August now), Yen Press announced several titles for both their new Yen On imprint of light novels and their regular manga line. Included in this license bonanza was both the manga and light novel series of Log Horizon and The Devil is a Part-Timer, the light novel series No Game No Life, Pandora Hearts Caucus Race, and the manga version of the Disney movie Big Hero 6.

Log Horizon LNLog Horizon started in 2010 and follows the very familiar premise of 30,000 Japanese gamers being trapped in a fantasy online game world called Elder Tale. The story follows Shiroe, Naotsugu and Akasuki, three friends, as they band together to survive their new reality. Yeah, this screams Sword Art Online to me. But it seems to be doing well enough as it now has seven volumes out and 2 manga adaptation. Yen will publish the first light novel in March 2015. And speaking of manga series, Yen did announce the manga adaptation, just not which one. Though best bet would be on the straight adaptation Log Horizon. No date were announced for the manga. Like most of the light novel adaptations from Yen lately, I will probably be more likely to read the manga over the light novel, unless the manga really impresses. So I will most likely at least check out the first volume of the manga.

Devil is a Part-Timer LNThe Devil is a Part Timer has another familiar premise, but one that I think I’d like more. A demon king named Satan is about to conquer his alternate world when he is transported to Tokyo in our world. To make ends meet, he ends up working in a fast food restaurant. but he hasn’t given up on his world-dominating. His first step in taking over Tokyo is to go from a freelancer to an actual employee! He is also pursed by heroine Emilia, who has followed him to Tokyo. There are currently 12 volumes in print, and an anime adaptation was also released here by Funimation. I expect this series to do well with an anime already available. This series sounds a lot more appealing to me, and it has a manga adaptation as well, that Yen Press has also licensed. Again, I’ll probably read the manga before the light novel. The first volume of the light novel series will be available in April 2015, but no date for the manga was announced.

No Game No Life LNNo Game No Life centers around siblings Sora and Shiro, reputed to be brilliant NEET hikikomori gamers on the net. They are so immersed in gaming that they treat life as just “another crappy game.” One day they are summoned to an alternate world by a boy named GOD. In this world, war has been outlawed and all disputes are decided by playing games. Humanity has been driven back to one city, and need Sora and Shiro to save them from losing everything. This series has just started with one volume out so far. It also has an anime that Sentai Filmworks has just licensed. The manga adaptation was licensed by Seven Seas Entertainment, with the first volume scheduled to be released in October. I’m not as interested in this series either. I do like gaming manga in general, but the premise of this series just doesn’t intrigue me. I’m just not that interested in NEET or hikikomori. The first volume of the light novel from Yen Press will be out in April 2015.

Pandora Heartscaucus_racePandora Hearts Caucus Races is a series of short story collections about the manga series Pandora Hearts that Yen Press also publishes. There are currently 3 volumes available, the last of which came out in May of 2013. The manga has only one more volume left, so this series will be a good way for fans to keep their Pandora Hearts fix going just a little longer. I’ve found Pandora Hearts strangely addictive. I didn’t really care for it at first, but the second half of the series has been filled with twists and surprised that I’ve just loved! I will give the first volume of this collection a look, though there was no release date given for it.

Finally, Yen Press announced they would be releasing the Japanese manga adaptBig Hero 6ation of the Disney movie Big Hero 6. The movie is scheduled to come out in the US in November, and Japan in December. It is about Hiro, a boy who lost his older brother Tadashi in a mysterious accident and the robot Baymax who was built by Tadashi, and takes place in San Fransokyo, a fictional city that combines Tokyo and San Francisco. This series is a prequel to the movie, and a first for a Disney movie adaptation. I wondered why Yen Press got this, since Big Hero 6 started as a Marvel comic, and is where Disney got the property from. Why wouldn’t Marvel or even Disney do an adaptation? This Bleeding Cool article gives some reasons why. As a writer for kids comics blog, I have an interest in this series, but beyond that, I’m not so sure I would pick it up.


Puella Magi Oriko Magica Volume 1-2

Oriko is a magical girl with foresight. She is struck with a terrible vision of the future-of the devastation to be caused by one powerful witch. She decides she must do something about it, and she is willing to use, and if necessary sacrifice, anyone to stop this threat. But what will she do when her unstoppable force hits an immovable object determined to protect the very one Oriko seeks to destroy?

Puella Magi Oriko Magica Volume 1-2
OrikoMagica_V1Story by Magica Quartet; Art by Mua Kuroe
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Fantasy/Magical Girl
Price: $11.99
Rating: ★★★★½

I didn’t care of Oriko Magica when I read the first volume. I didn’t like Yuma, and didn’t see where the story was going, until I read the second and concluding volume, which not only put everything into perspective, made the series a fantastic read.

Oriko Magica is set in an alternate universe to the main Madoka Magica universe. In this world, Kyouko save a young girl Yuma, and takes her in. But Oriko, with her foresight, has seen that she has the potential to be a magical girl and manipulates both Yuma and Kyubey into making her a magical girl. Meanwhile, Mami learns of another magical girl, a black magical girl, that is hunting other magical girls. These distractions allow Oriko to get close to her target; Madoka, but Homura is there to protect her, and final, climatic battle ensues to decide the fate of both Madoka and the world.

When this series began, I struggled with the differences in the characters. I had read the main Madoka series, and knew the characters. This series is a slightly different take on them, with Mami living past the first few chapters, and Kyouko being more willing to help out others. She takes in Yuma, and does her best to protect her, both from danger and Kyubey. I really enjoyed seeing Mami in action. She gets an extended battle with Kirika, the black magical girl, where her power and intelligence really shines. Homura only really shows up for the final battle and Madoka and Sayaka are more side characters despite Madoka being everyone’s target.

OrikoMagica_V2_FINALSince it is a Puella Magi * Magica series, the characters have to have tragic back-stories. In these two volumes we only get Oriko’s, Yuma’s, and Kirika’s, but they hit pretty hard on the tragic scale. There is child abuse, bullying and neglect, and even some self-hatred, but they all fuel each girl’s reason to become a magical girl, and each fulfills their wish in the end.

Oriko’s wish and motive didn’t seem obvious, even though she made it very clear from the beginning. She wanted to protect her world. As the story unfolds, and we learn more about Oriko’s past and her present target, things start to make sense. It’s really interesting that the two people who most want to stop Madoka’s transformation have a form of time manipulation as their magical power.

What really sold me on this story was the twist at the end. I have to admit it blew me away. It wasn’t until I saw that scene and made the connection to the main series that it all clicked and the title went from being “meh” to being awesome. What ever you do, don’t read this series without reading the main Madoka Magica series first! The twist at the end is all the more powerful when you know what Homura’s been trying to do.

Puella Magi Oriko Magica is a fantastic side story to the Madoka Magica story. It still holds the ray of hope against the despair the magical girls face when they learn their eventual fate. It’s also fun to watch Oriko play with Kyubey. A little “turnaround is fair play” isn’t a bad thing. It can easily slip into the main Madoka story-line and feel perfectly in place. This title is a must for Madoka Magica manga fans.

Review copies provided by publisher.

Sumomomo Momomo Volume 6-12

Having defeated Tenga Koganei of the Tiger clan and recovered from the poison, Koushi and Momoko continue to face challengers to their engagement from other clans. Koushi, seeing how much his friends go through to help, decides to start training seriously. While makes good progress, the Monkey clan makes their move and usurps the Inuzuka claim to lead the Eastern army. Koushi’s only hope to save the clans and regain his engagement to Momoko is to master the Myriad Seal and face Yuusuke in battle to the death.

Sumomomo 6By Shinobu Ohtaka
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Action/Comedy
Price: $11.99 ea
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Sumomomo, Momomo was one of the debut titles in Yen Press’ Yen Plus magazine. It was also a title I despised. The art was bad, and the story was worse. I never dreamed I would ever read another chapter of it, but I had these review copies, and no one else seemed interested in reviewing them, so I decided to see if it had improved at all. I will admit, these later volumes weren’t as painful to read as the earlier ones, but the systemic problems of the series kept it from being memorable.

Sumomomo 7There were several things I despised about this series, the chief among was Momoko. I hated her. She was annoying with her obsession with wanting to bed Koushi. Koushi’s pathetic attitude was just as bad. It’s not a good sign when the two main leads are so unlikable. This starts to change by volume 6. Momoko seems to have settled down some what. She still wants to bed Koushi, but it’s not her focus. It’s become something that just comes up every once in a while, with Momoko trying to trick Koushi into agreeing. She is still a gungho fighter, and has no problem with coming to Koushi’s defense.

Sumomomo 8While watching Momoko fight Koganei, Koushi starts to realize he can’t let everyone else fight his own battles, and decides he needs to train seriously. This becomes his main arc to the end. Both his father and friends try to help him, but it’s only once he understands the seal his mother put on him and he trains alone in the jungle that he finally finds his strength. Even before the last volume, I was finding Koushi to be less annoying, as he stopped cowering and starting stepping up to take responsibility for himself.

Ultimately, that was the theme of the story; to make your own decisions and walk your own path. Koushi didn’t become a real fighter until he found his own way, and even in his final battle with Yuusuke, he chose when and how to use the Myriad Seal despite what others thought. He used words first to try to beat this idea into Yuusuke, but in the end his had to use the Seal to end the duel mercifully for both him and Yuusuke. It was actually a decent ending.

Sumomomo 11There were also parts in the middle that were decent. I liked Iroha’s journey to try to resurrect her clan and regain their respect. Despite the betrayals of those she considered closest, she never gave up hope. She continued to fight and help Koushi against the Endou until the very end. I felt sorry for Sanae. Her power was just humiliating, and her grandmother had no sympathy, putting her on parade even to her friends.

And here is where things start to head downhill for me. I didn’t care for the whole love polygon around Koushi that started with Iroha and Sanae, and soon added Shintarou, the daughter of the Inoue clan who was raised as a boy. The dip into harem territory didn’t work for me at all, and actually felt distracting from the growing tension from the Endou clan’s machinations. The humor didn’t do much for me either. The getting into bed, Sanae’s humiliation, the other boys’ jealousy of Koushi, none of these things ever seemed funny to me, and the humor fell flat every time.

Sumomomo 12Sumomomo, Momomo worked best when it was being a martial arts fighting series, and was “meh” at best at being a high school harem comedy. There were some good character arcs, and the final message of putting yourself and your own will ahead of conflicting obligations was a good one. The final volume was the best, with this message and showing how everyone not only went their separate ways, but took paths that they chose on their own. I can’t say I liked Sumomomo, Momomo, or that it was a good series overall. But it did have its moments and an ending worth reading. So borrow this from the library or a friend if you’re curious.

Buy Volume 6                         Buy Volume 7                          Buy Volume 8                          Buy Volume 9

                       Buy Volume 10                        Buy Volume 11                        Buy Volume 12

Review copies provided by publisher.

Manga Dome Podcast Episode 61: Yen Press Surprise Package

Manga Dome header

This week I have a short Weekly Wish List, a couple of new stories In the News, the Top Ten Department, and the I look at the new licenses announced by Yen Press on Friday.

Continue reading Manga Dome Podcast Episode 61: Yen Press Surprise Package