Brian’s Spot: Gimmick Volume 2


Gimmick! Volume 2
ByYouzaburou Kanari & Kuroko Yabuguchi
Publsiher: Viz Media
Genre: Action
Rating: T+ (Older Teens)
RRP: $9.99
ISBN: 1-4215-1779-5
Rating: ★★★★☆

Volume 2 opens with the continuation of the Alien Panic storyline, Kohei and his partner Kannazuki are hot on the trail of the criminals who tricked him into constructing a complex alien animatronic creature in the last issue.  Now they’re using the prop as a diversion while they commit crimes and Kohei is none to happy about it.  What’s worse, the criminals have framed Kohei for their crimes!  Next, in The Mask of Del Fuego one-shot, Kohei helps a famous actor disguise himself from a stalker, only to find that she’s not the only one out to get him.  Finally, in the beginning chapters of Over the Rainbow, a young woman named Mone is convinced that Kohei killed her father.  He has to find the truth and discovers it’s closer than he thought.

Honestly, all I can say is if you liked the first volume, you’ll enjoy this one as well, it’s more of the same entertaining stories.  Kohei comes up with an endless array of nifty gadgets and gizmos, most of them pretty over-the-top, to save his never-ending list of clients.  I’ll have to admit, however, that the “oh no, the police are after me” started to run very thin as time wore on in Alien Panic.  Also, I have to wonder where Kohei gets the time to create some of these masterful appliances, does he always wear a blood squib chestpiece, just on the off-chance he might get shot?  Some stories are a bit long on the “ooh, ah” factor, a little short on the logic.

That’s not to say these aren’t fun, light-hearted manga, the character of Kohei is wonderful, Kannazuki is fun to read about, and seeing how they get out of the various jams is always interesting, so long as you don’t think about it too hard.  Just accept that whatever happens, happens, don’t wonder why, don’t try to figure out how, it just does.  If you can do that, you’ll have a good time and blow some time chuckling.

Manga On Demand

With the manga market getting tighter, we as readers will start to see some of our favorite titles get longer times between volume releases, if at all.  Slow seller are always the first to go.  Despite the cries of protest from it’s small but loyal fan base, companies need to stay in the black, or else we’ll have no manga to buy at all.

But, we’re not helpless in this situation.  Fans can show companies what titles they want to keep coming out.  The easiest way is of course through pre-orders.  Whether it’s through Amazon, Rightstuf or Diamond Distributor’s Previews, ordering a title ahead of time gives publishers a good idea on the demand they can expect for a title.  The lives of titles can be saved or extended through pre-orders better than all the ranting and raving on blogs and forums.  We as fans have to put our money where our mouths are.

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I Hate Being Good

When times get tough, and bank accounts become lean, that’s when you have to start slashing the non-essentials from the budget.  As much as I hate to say it, manga is one of those non-essentials.  With not much hope for recovery in the next six months, or if the state will be solvent (I live in California), that’s meant I’ve had to cut down on the manga I pre-order.  In happier, healthier times, my average order is 7-10 volumes, depending on who has what (ie Viz doesn’t flood me) or if there are title for others in the family (Husband and kids).  With pre-order discounts, that averages around $70 a month in manga.

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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…

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Review: Dragonball Evolution Junior Novel

dbm_jrnovel_cover_final__scaled_300Dragonball: Evolution Junior Novel
Adapted by Stacia Deutsch & Rhody Cohon
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: All Ages (9-12)
Genre: Action
Price: $5.99
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Goku thought he was a normal high school student until he found out he’s actually a martial-arts whiz with all kinds of powers.  Now he and his fellow teen warriors are on a quest to find all the Dragon Balls before they fall into the wrong hands.  But they may already have!  Goku must battle the evil madman Piccolo with all he’s got to save the planet Earth!

Taking the title and character names from a manga does not make it “based on”, as it says on the front cover of this book (in very small letters).  Not even the description from the back cover has much to do with the story inside.  This story takes only the barest of elements from Akira Toriyama’s original manga and weaves them into a generic and boring story that has none of the charm or fun of the source material.

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Those Wacky Dads

For Mother’s Day, I wrote a post (and updated it) about Moms in manga and how they can affect the main characters or the story.  Now, with Father’s Day fast approaching, it’s Dad’s turn.  I’ll look at Manga Dad in the same context, whether they appearance/absence affect the characters and/or the story.  But Dad is going to get an added level, as they seem to break down into 3 categories: Driven, Overzealous, and Creepy.

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More Wishful Thinking

The sudden loss of Shojo Beat has left a real void in my manga reading.  Even if I didn’t get to read it as soon as it arrived, I knew it was there, and had it to look forward to.  Why Shojo Beat was canceled is still a bit of a mystery, since, for me at least, it did exactly what it was meant to do.  Get me to read more Viz titles.  While I didn’t love all the titles in Shojo Beat, I enjoyed most of them, and through previews found titles I wanted, or wanted to avoid.  It really was a great marketing tool, since I could sample a lot of different titles for a low cost.  Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a way to do that electronically (and legally)?

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Paper Thin

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the new paper Tokyopop is using for their manga.  Most of it has been bad.  I had a few recent printings of some of their manga and decided to check it out for myself.  I pulled out Pet Shop of Horrors: Tokyo volume 4, NG Life volume 1 and Animal Academy volume 1.  I then pulled out Pet Shop of Horrors: Tokyo volume 3, which was printed on the old paper for comparison.  After getting sucked into both Pet Shop of Horrors: Tokyo volumes, I actually got down to the comparison.

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Liars!

dragon-voice-11-amazon

This title has not been solicited in Previews!  I’ve been watching!  Waiting!!  It’s the last volume!!!  Aw, come on Tokyopop!  You got my hopes up by putting up this late last year, and now…what?  Will it come out, or won’t it?  Why do you enjoy torturing me like this?! I don’t care what kind of paper it’s printed on.  I don’t care if it’s only available to read online.  Just tell me the truth!  Can you or can’t you?  Will you or won’t you?  Why do you continue with these teasings?  Why are you so cruel?!?!??!   WWWWHHHHHHYYYYYYY?????!!!!!!!

What Would It Take?

kindle 2.0What would it take to get you to buy a Kindle?  Amazon’s ebook reader seems to be selling okay (not that we’ve seen any numbers), but there are a lot of people who haven’t taken to it, or any other e-book reader device.  And why should they?  Books work just fine, and buying them is cheaper than the electronic gadget.  Amazon boasts to have thousands of ebooks, but very, very few that would interest readers of this blog, namely manga.  What if Amazon tried to sweeten the deal?  Would you go for it?

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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?

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Games Tokyopop Manga Play

Manga based on video games has practically become a genre, with both import and OEL titles, and Tokyopop has been at the head of the pack with releasing and creating new titles.  All of the manga included in this post are titles that were video games initially, and were then adapted into manga.

Let’s start out with the .hack series.  These had been publishing fairly regularly, matching pace with the anime releases.  These titles were crafted to enhance both the video games and anime.  The stories enrich each other, a novel concept at the time it was introduce, but really makes sense when you think about it.  It’s also a great marketing strategy.  There are currently 5 separate .hack titles available.  Legend of the Twilight, XXXX, G.U.+, AI Buster, and Another Birth.

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