Thursday, May 31, 2007

Buddha - Manga Review

Rating: A+

Synopsis: Following the lives of several different people from a variety of castes, the story intertwines historical lore in ancient India to tell the tale of Buddha's life. Though many of the tales involve severe violence and the crushing reality of the unfair caste system, the stories are told with child-like humor and the drawing style is lighthearted and cartoony.
The Buddha volumes were originally published 1974 - 1984, and were translated into English re-published in American 2003 - 2005.

It seems strange to review momentous books from Osamu Tezuka - the grandfather of manga. Just picking up one of the eight Buddha volumes seems to be an action laden with meaning, they are that freakin' epic. But the strange thing is how personable and light-hearted they are at the same time. Tezuka's ability to render 400 pages (per volume) of historical fiction a quick read is amazing. The little-boy humor is carefully balanced weighty situations (Chapra's mother is sold into slavery, Tatta's returns to his home to find it razed).

I did have a little trouble keeping some of the characters and situations straight, as the character grow up and change over time, but it's easy to know who they are based on their general character design and caste.

For any Hobotaku not already familiar with Tezuka's work, you'll find yourself reminded of early era Disney art style. Overall it's a great and refreshing re-telling Buddha's life story, and great for anyone learning about Buddhism.

If you're planning to read this, set aside some time to enjoy the story and awesome art. You will learn, and you will LOVE it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Overall Rating: ?
Synopsis: 10 year old child wizard/genius Negi Springfield has to teach English at an all-girls boarding school. Magic and fan-service ensue.

The reason I put a ? for Overall Rating is I have no idea what to think about this series. Both the manga and the anime seem to focus more on fan-service involving middle school girls than on plot or magic. I was tempted to rate it a D, but I have only seen the first disc of the anime, and read the first volume of manga, so maybe it gets better. I wouldn't count on it though.

Both seem to be closer to a male's first wet dream than anything resembling plot, with panty shots and barely clad schoolgirls thrown in at every opportunity. I originally picked up the series because I like magic, and I like manga, and I thought this might be along the lines of Harry Potter. It was closer to being along the lines of a bad romance novel. A bad romance novel that makes you feel like a dirty old man.

For example, one novel side-effect of Negi's magic is that it tends to eradicate clothing. When he tries to erase the memories of the female lead, Asuna, he instead erases her clothes...huh? To top it off, one can only assume Negi has a severe allergy problem, because he sneezes a lot. What relevance does that have, you might ask? Well, apparently, his sneezes cause skirts to fly up, resulting in much fan-service.

Fortunately, the manga is rated 18+, so people kind of know what they're in for, but be forewarned, do not read this in a store. The last thing most people want is to stumble over someone in a Dragonball Z shirt that's looking at middle school girls' underwear. Trust me, it's creepy, and you'll end up dying alone.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service

Overall Rating: A
Synopsis: Your body is their business! From writer, Eiji Otsuka, and artist, Housui Yamazaki, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is a manga that combines horror, and humor. The surprising thing about the series is that it does a good job at both. The story follows five Buddhist college students as they start up a unique service, one that serves the dead. Using unique skills, like dowsing and speaking to the dead, they find the dead and help them free their souls for reincarnation. Oh, and did I mention one of them speaks to aliens through the puppet on his hand?

Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service follows Kuro Karatsu, an average student at an average Buddhist college. Kuro is trying to find a job, but his grades aren't good enough to get anything good. Fortunately for Kuro, he has a skill the other students don't, he can also speak to the dead. After getting roped into some volunteer service where he meets other specialists like himself, who can find dead bodies using dowsing, speak to aliens, and an embalmer (a rare occupation in Japan), the group forms the Kurosagi (which means black crane) Corpse Delivery Service. Their job is to find dead bodies whose souls cannot move on, and help free them so they can be reincarnated. Unfortunately for Kuro and the others, apparently the reason souls can't move on is because of some fucked up shit.

For example, the first case they get involved in deals with two lovers killed by the girl's father. Apparently, the girl had been a member of the pop group, Dokkiko, and the father had been abusing the girl. When he found out about her relationship, he became jealous and killed her and her boyfriend. Even more disturbingly, he replaces her corpse with a deer's carcass and takes her corpse back to their home to further abuse. Don't worry, the case ends happily enough, with the dead lovers killing the father so their souls can be released.

So, where's the humor? Well, if people speaking to aliens through hand puppets isn't enough to make you smile, I'm fairly sure you're dead inside. Even if that isn't your cup of tea, there is lots of shit to make you giggle in the series. For example, in the same story, Numada, the bad ass Dowser, comments on the pop group the dead girl belonged to, saying that she was a pure idol, and her departure from the group broke the hearts of all her fans. The delivery is fantastic and it's this kind of humor that makes the book great. The characters in the book deal with the horror like normal people. Well, normal people who have special powers and are kind of weird.

You might think that in a book where characters can speak to the dead, that the stories would be more action focused, or at least fast-paced, but the writing is often somber, and spends a lot of time presenting different facets of death and how people deal with it. The series also does an excellent job of juxtaposing real life issues like scrapping up enough money to buy lunch, and the supernatural issues that come along with speaking to the dead. I highly recommend checking this one out, but don't read it alone at night, unless you like creeping yourself out.

Friday, May 25, 2007

God Child Volume 1

Overall Rating: C+
Synopsis: Victorian mystery starring a young, attractive count named Cain, who investigates supernatural mystery. How could I not love this? The story starts in another series called "Count Cain", but that isn't made clear until you get into the manga, it's a collection of short stories with no connection, and the characters seem shallow at best.

When I first read a description of God Child, I thought I had found a new favorite. The description read, "Deep in the heart of 19th Century London, a young nobleman named Cain walks the shadowy cobblestone streets of the aristocratic society into which he was born. Yet beneath his regal bearing lies a pained existence that haunts his very soul. Forced to become an Earl upon the untimely death of his father, Cain assumes the role of head of the Hargreaves, a noble family with a dark past. With Riff, his faithful manservant, Cain investigates his father's alleged involvement with a secret organization known as Delilah". In short, it sounded like the kind of book someone preoccupied with their appearance and a love for supernatural stuff would love, so I immediately picked it up.

That, was a mistake. First, and foremost, because it is the continuation of a series called The Cain Saga, but that isn't indicated in the summary or a quick glance inside. Then I found out the first series hasn't been translated yet, and so the released the second series first. WTF?

After I found that out, it made a little more sense, but the first volume of God Child reads like a collection of short stories featuring the same characters. Also, the author is the same one that writes Angel Sanctuary and both books have a weird fascination with incest. Another minus for me.

It's possible, that in The Cain Saga, the characters are better fleshed out and that it would make this volume of God Child more enjoyable, but as is, I didn't care about the characters at all. When Cain's sister, Mary, is trapped and could be made into a living doll, I was more interested in the girl threatening to do so, than Mary. Which leads me to the one thing I liked about the volume, the mysteries. Each short story had its own mystery and horror elements, and while the characters weren't that interesting, the mysteries were engaging. One involved a killer dressing up in a white rabbit mask and killing young girls, and one involves the aforementioned living dolls.

If you're bored and want to read something in the store, this may be one to pick up, but otherwise, I wouldn't recommend it. Though, I may try to track down the first volume of The Cain Saga when it's finally released in America to see if I like the characters. Who knows, maybe they'll surprise me, and there won't be any implications of incest. Sadly, I doubt it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Chevalier D'eon - Anime Review

Overall Rating: B+

Synopsis: D'eon Beaumont is an attractive young nobleman whose normal days of hanging out at Versailles just ended - the story starts with his sister's body pumped full of mercury, floating in a coffin down the Seine River. D'eon falls into the dangers and intricacies of his sister's spy duties as her spirit inhabits his body and assists in searching for her killer.

Far superior to the American movie Marie Antoinette, this show immerses the viewer 18th century France Versailles, and keeps it interesting. D'eon's accomplices include Robin (gunslinging pageboy), Durand (seemingly shifty swordsman), and Teillagory (master swordsman). And, lest we forget, he is also accompanied by his sister's vengeful spirit, who occasionally takes over his body during crisis scenes and commits ultra-violence (it's a lot like he goes Saiyan - his voice gets high-pitched, glowing red text appears on his sword and he's suddenly a bad-ass).

Here are the reasons you should watch this animated series:
- Awesome animation
- Well-written
- Sword fights
- Mercury-filled zombie fights

I adore well-done mysteries, and this one involves zombies, possession and did I mention cross-dressing? There's cross-dressing.

Rating Reasoning: The show has some minor localization flaws. Some of the voice acting is sub-par (which I thought was a play on stuffy noblemen at first). One of the first mystery plot points involve the word "PSALMS" and the subsequent Bible verses. Devout upper-class Frenchmen were unfamiliar with popular biblical references and had to research to discover them. I imagine this was more for the Asian audiences.

Note: This story is also a manga. It is also loosely based on historical fact - Chevalier d'Eon was a French diplomat, spy, soldier and Freemason who lived the first half of his life as a man and the second half as a woman.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hellsing - Anime/Manga/Anime

Overall Rating:
Manga - A+
Original anime series - B
New anime series - A+

Summary: Hellsing is a manga series by Kouta Hirano. Hellsing chronicles the efforts of the mysterious and secret Royal Order of Protestant Knights, Hellsing, as it combats vampires, ghouls, and other supernatural foes who threaten the kingdom of England. The main character, Alucard (Dracula cleverly spelled backwards), is used to kill other supernatural creatures, and makes Seras Victoria (a cop he shoots to kill another vampire) into a vampire early on in the series and we get to watch her deal with her new life as a blood drinker with some hilarious (and sometimes creepy results).

I love vampires, so it's not much of a surprise that I like Hellsing, a series based around vampires and supernatural organizations. So, why does the series get three separate ratings? It boils down to the fact that the first anime series is a lot different than the manga and the second series.

I was first introduced to Hellsing with the original anime series, which was based (loosely!) on the manga. At the time, roughly 2002 or 2003, I thought it was amazing. Unfortunately, the end of that series is extremely weak on plot, and feels rushed. It's like the people involved had a brain-storming session over a pile of coke, had a bunch of cool ideas, but couldn't figure out how to bring them together into a cool ending. Not to mention the fact that the concept for the final villain, Incognito, is kind of racist (from the "Dark Continent", ends up wearing little more than jewelry), and is pretty fucking lame when compared to some of the other villains introduced earlier in the series.

Later, I found out that only the first 6 episodes or so were based on the Manga, and the rest of the series was made up for the anime. That explains why it felt so rushed, because it was! So, I decided it was time to check out the manga, to see if the plot held up longer in it.

The manga blew away the anime, and now I have some trouble watching the old series. In the manga, you get more detail and more character development, and more characters. For example, Alexander Anderson is introduced in the the old anime series, but we don't meet the other members of Iscariot. Nor is there any hint of the Nazi organization, Millennium. I could go on, but the point is that the manga kicks the anime's ass. If you've seen the anime, do yourself a favor and check out the manga. If you haven't checked out either, then get your vampire loving ass out to your local comic book shop (or wherever you buy manga) and pick it up. If you don't love vampires, then I hate you. Ok, maybe not hate, but seriously what's up with that shit?

The new anime series on the other hand is completely faithful to the manga, and definitely worth watching. The production value is a lot higher, the creator is behind the series, and overall it's simply kick-ass. My suggestion is to read the manga (volumes 1-7 are out now, and volume 8 is scheduled to come out in early July), then watch the new OVA series, Hellsing Ultimate, and then watch the old anime. It's all good, but the manga and the Ultimate series are a lot better. It's like watching the season of Angel where he gets fat and then going back and watching season 2 or 3 of Buffy. No one likes a fat vampire.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hobotaku Budget Tip #1: Read Manga at the Bookstore

This is the most obvious and fundamental defining features of being a hobotaku - reading books at the bookstore. It also dovetails nicely into the other attributes of being Hobotaku:
- living in the States
- being economically unable to purchase all the manga you want to read

There are a few things you can do to make this experience more pleasant for you and others:
1. Plan the manga you're going to read for immediate pickup
2. Go with other people, that way if one of you purchases something, you won't get dirty looks (also, you won't have to sit by yourself)
3. Sit someplace out of the way, like under a table, or in the cafe section of the bookstore
4. Get a couple of manga for perusing, as soon as you're done with them, replace them back on the shelves (to benefit the store, and any other hobotaku in the area)
5. Be courteous - it is the Hobotaku way!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Gothic Sports

Overall Rating: A+
Synopsis: It's a classic tale of girl goes to new elite high school. Girl then wants to join mostly boys soccer team before tournament. Drama ensues. Girl decides to form her own team. Only a couple of her friends want to join. Girl decides to make team more interesting. Fortunately, one of her friends is a gothic lolita. Hrm... Hilarity and cute uniforms ensue. Boys join and whine about skirts. Boys uniforms are made. Team has to prove itself against aforementioned soccer team. Dun Dunnn DUNNNN!

I read the back of Gothic Sports and had to pick it up. I'm not a big sports guy, but when I read the sentence "Say hello to the world's first Gothic-Lolita soccer team!", I knew I had to check it out. I wasn't disappointed.

The manga follows Anya, the new girl at Lucrece High School, who wants to join one of their elite sports teams before a big tournament. She meets some other misfits, including the gothic lolita character I mentioned above, develops a rival, and there is a mysterious boy from her past. It isn't explained in the first volume, but apparently the cute, and mysterious Leon did something to really piss Anya off in elementary school and she still holds a grudge.

So, not only is there the pretty fucking awesome concept of gothic lolita soccer, but there are healthy doses of drama and hilarity. A fun manga for when you aren't in the mood for action or anything intense.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

YOTSUBA&! Volumes 1 - 3

Rating: A+
Synopsis: Ongoing manga by Kiyohiko Azuma (creator of Azumanga Daioh). Yotsuba is an adorable and eternally cheerful adopted girl with green hair. The manga has no plotline other than following Yotsuba around on her daily adventures to discover new things (her discovers even include things that should be familiar to children, like playground swings and air conditioners). Volumes 1 - 3 are currently available in English, with 4 and 5 shipping later this year.

Yotsuba is a five-year-old girl, and she is very curious. And very strange. She is a lot like the character GIR from Invader Zim but EVEN MORE ADORABLE. Yotsuba yells a lot, punches a goat, and is so full of wonder that you want to hug her. I think my favorite part may have been her unsolicited cicada impression - she climbs a telephone pole mid-town yelling "ZREE! ZREE!"

Though this slice-of-life manga is all ages, I really enjoyed its cuteness and look forward to reading 4 and 5 when they come out. It's a great break from other more intricate books, a palate cleanser great for summer reading.

Note: Several characters in Yotsuba&! were previously featured in a one-shot manga called Try! Try! Try! Which I'm trying to get my hands on.

Note again: "Yotsuba" is Japanese for four-leaf clover, and Yotsuba has green hair in four pigtails.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Millenium Actress - Animated Movie

Rating: B+
Synopsis: 2001 Japanese animated film. Directed by Satoshi Kon (pronounced "Cone"), animated by Studio Madhouse. A documentary director interviews a former actress, Chiyoko, about her heydays in film during WWII. Millenium Actress has the immersive ephemereal feel that Kon is an expert at.

Millenium Actress gives me that vivid meta-feeling I get when watching Charlie Kaufman's films (Adaptation especially). The story follows two documentary makers as they interview actress-turned-hermit Chiyoko and slowly become recurring characters in her stories from the past. Fiction and reality become so intertwined that it becomes difficult to tell which is which, but the recurring plotline is recognizable, and is expertly given a new twist each time it appears.

I really enjoyed Millenium Actress. The animation is beautiful, and the various WWII film stories manage to incorporate fairy tales, science fiction, and historical dramas into the plot seamlessly. I watched this movie recently in order to gear up for Kon's new film Paprika opening in the U.S. later in May. It can be a bit difficult to grasp some of the things going on in Millenium Actress, so watch it with an alert mind (be careful, Nick fell asleep during the movie, but that's mostly his fault).

Beautiful, award-winning, with a compelling story (and it's #14 on IMDB's Top 50 Animated Films) - you should totally netflix it.
Millenium Actress Trailer (Quicktime)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Monster Book of Manga: Draw Like the Experts (Edited by Estudio Joso) - Book Review

Overall Rating: D
A manga drawing instructional book. A terrible one. Like many manga drawing references, what it lacks in instruction, it makes up for in panty shots. It has dozens of images and characters, but overall, it has no reference value for an artist unless you are just planning to copy their characters and poses directly. Even the twelve pages of Photoshop coloring advice in the back aren't very good compared to the free tutorials found online.

The Monster Book of Manga makes the classic drawing book mistake - it makes artistic leaps from skeletal armature to fully-formed drawing, lacking instructional detail. Example: Little Girl with Cyberpet- the entirety of the instructions for drawing the little girl are "Give her a thin body, big feet and hands" and shows a completed girl drawing. An improvement would be details about drawing hands and feet, handshapes, placements, and relating those to the intended character's expression. Really, anything other than how to re-create the exact image on the page would be nice.

The "Little Girl" is accompanied in the book by several others, including Scantily Clad Cybergirl, Scantily Clad Ninja, and Scantily Clad Volleyball Player. These girls all share the same wide-eyed expression that is supposed to be vapid seduction. Mostly, they look sad. Sad that their book is not useful.


Overall Rating: A+
Synopsis: Written by Kio Shimoku, the manga version of Genshiken is nine volumes long. It covers the lives of a college club of Otaku, but does it in a way that makes them seem real and interesting instead of the usual stereotypes.

One of the reasons I love this series so much is the remarkable number of similarities between the Genshiken club, and the club I helped found at Guilford College, the Yachting Club. Granted, we didn't really have a Saki (who hates geeks and is only in the club because her hot boyfriend, Kousaka, is an otaku), and we had secret rituals, but otherwise very similar. What really made me fall in love with the series though was how it focuses on the lives of the otaku, and their relationships. When I read volume 8, I started running around wildly clapping (a habit I have when I am excited) until Leah read it, so I could gush about what happened. When you're that devoted to the characters, you are either insane or the book is really fucking good. In this case, it's a little of both.

Another crazy/awesome thing about Genshiken is Kujibiki Unbalance, a manga/anime made up for the series. During the chapter breaks in the manga, you learn more about Kujibiki Unbalance and its characters. Genshiken was also made into an anime, that covers the first five volumes of the manga, and you get to watch episodes of Kujibiki Unbalance as a special feature. How fucking cool is that?

If you're a geek, and if you're not I have no idea why you're reading this, pick up Genshiken now! You'll thank me.

Monday, May 7, 2007

D. Gray-man Volume 1

Overall Rating: B-
Synopsis: The plot revolves around Allen Walker, an Exorcist, in the end of the 19th century Europe. Allen is a member of the Dark Order, a group of Exorcists connected with the Vatican. Their mission is to stop The Millennium Earl, an evil ghoul intending to cleanse the world by destroying all the humans in the manner of Noah's great flood. In the first volume, we get some back story, learn that exorcists kick ass, have a clubhouse, and don't play well with others.

D. Gray-man is written by Hoshino Katsura, and shows a lot of promise. I knew I was going to like the book when I immediately began considering cosplay options for the main character, Allen Walker. In the world of D. Grayman, apparently there are ghosts, ghouls and more, and the only thing that can fight them is an Exorcist. As mentioned in the synopsis, there is a clubhouse of Exorcists who are pretty much a bunch of pricks, but they have special powers and wear cool outfits. The plot isn't bad, but I didn't feel particularly attached to any of the characters (other than because they looked cool). It also felt a little too clichéd, but I'll probably pick up the second volume to see if I get drawn in any more. They are also apparently making this into an anime, and the art at least looks top notch, so I will give it a shot once it comes stateside.

If you're itching for something new to read, check out D. Gray-man, but there is lots of better manga out there, so only check this one out if you've exhausted the obvious choices.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Ergo Proxy

Overall Rating: A
Synopsis: Ergo Proxy has it all. The main character looks like Evanescence's lead singer with awesome blue eyeshadow, there's a virus that causes robots to become homicidal, a domed city in the future, an Orwellian society, and an adorable little robot named Pino.

I can tell you this, I <3 Ergo Proxy. The why of my love is a little harder to detail. I like fake equations though, so in that sense, it breaks down as Philosophy + Science Fiction + Amazing Animation + Cosplay Potential (yes, I want to cosplay Re-L, she has a great outfit) = why I like this series. It certainly doesn't hurt that it reminds me a lot of Ghost in the Shell with a dash of 1984. So, unless you're one of those hobotaku who doesn't like to think when they watch anime, I highly recommend adding the first disc to your Netflix queue.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Avatar Fandom is a Little Fuzzier

Good news for Avatar: The Last Airbender fans - they've finally introduced the new stuffed animal versions of Appa and Momo! They're not available online yet, but you can purchase them at Paramount Parks (and they're appearing on eBay, of course).

So, if you're at one of the many Paramount Parks this summer, you can snag your own flying lemur or air bison!

Kamikaze Girls - Manga/Movie

Overall Rating: A++
Synopsis: A story about a Lolita and a Yanki who become friends despite both of them thinking the other is weird. Hilarity ensues.

Ok, this is a little complicated, but bear with me. Kamikaze Girls started out as a book by Novala Takemoto titled Shimotsuma Monogatari, which was translated to the English title Kamikaze Girls for the movie adaptation. The Manga is a series of stories set in the same world as the movie, adapting some of it for manga, adding some new stories, and even some new characters.

I haven't read the novel, but the movie is amazing. I can sum it up with the following equation: Rococo Lolita + Bikergirl Headbutts = Everything Good About Japan! A more detailed description might be "Kamikaze Girls centers around two students, Momoko Ryugasaki and Ichigo "Ichiko" Shirayuri, who are from completely different backgrounds: one is a Lolita girl, the other a Yankī," but who cares about details?

After you watch the movie, pick up the manga. It's not as brilliant and fun as the movie, but it definitely captures some of the things I love about the film, and develops the characters. If you like fun manga with cute girls in it, then check out Kamikaze Girls. If you don't, then there is something wrong with you.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Videogame Review - Super Paper Mario (Wii)

Overall Rating: B-/C (still fun, just not what I expected)

Synopsis: Not as enjoyable as its predecessor, Paper Mario 2: Thousand Year Door (GameCube).

SPM is still a good game. The gameplay is fun, and the flipping between 2-D to 3-D components rock a lot. It's just that in transitioning between to the two games, they changed some elements that changed the game noticably:

CONS/Different from Paper Mario 2:
• No more turn-based fighting: It's just jump on his head 9x or not.
• You can arrange the Pixls and Characters and become invincible: Bowser on a Hoverboard!
• So much platform, so little RPG: A couple of levels consist entirely of just jumping up, up, and further up.

• Quick/Easy RPG: A good game to ease a newb into the RPG videogame genre
• Flipping 2-D to 3-D is neat: Exploring this power is incorporated throughout the game
• Bowser on a Hoverboard: Exactly! Sometimes you want to be invincible. And on a hoverboard
• Self-referential Geekery: Lots of references to geek culture and previous Paper Mario games - as Princess Peach, you have to play through a dating sim intro to a boss battle = awesome!

All Hobotaku Reviews/Ratings

Ordered by English Title Alphabetically

** Manga **
Air Gear Volume 1: B
Avril Lavigne's Make 5 Wishes: A
Battle Angel Alita Volumes 1-9: A
BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad Volumes 1-7: A+
Black Metal Volume 1: 666 (the equivalent of an A+)
Black Sun Silver Moon Volume 1: A
Bleach: A+
Buddha : A+
Ceres, Celestial Legend : D+
Cromartie High School : Manga - B? / Anime - A-
D. Gray-man Volume 1: B-
D. Gray-man Volumes 2-5: A-
Dokebi Bride: B
Dramacon: C
Fruits Basket Volumes 1 & 2: A to the cute power
Gacha Gacha (Capsule): D
Genshiken : A+
God Child Vol. 1: C+
Gothic Sports: A+
Hayate: the Combat Butler: B-
Hellsing: A+
Hollow Fields Volume 1: B+
Kamikaze Girls : A++
King of Thorn : B+
King City Volume 1 : A
Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service: A
Loveless Volume 1: B-
ME2 Volume 1: A-
Midori Days: Rating: B-
Monster Book of Manga ; Draw Like the Experts: D
Nana Volume 1: A
Naruto Volume 1-4: A
Negima Volume 1: ?Negima Volume 2: F
Princess Resurrection Volume 1: B+
The Push Man and other stories: A
Rozen Maiden Volumes 1 - 4: B+
Shaman King: C
Shutterbox Volume 1: F
Vampire Knight Volume 1: B+
Venus Versus Virus Volume 1: A+
xxxHolic: A-
Yotsuba&! Volumes 1 - 3: A+

** Anime/Animation **
Afro Samurai: F
Azumanga Daioh: A+++
Chevalier D'Eon: B+
Ergo Proxy: A
Hellsing (original): B
Hellsing (new): A
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: A++
Millenium Actress: B+
Paprika: A+++
Paradise Kiss: A
Voices of a Distant Star: C-/D

** Videogames **
Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean (GameCube): A-
Super Paper Mario (Wii): B-/C

** Miscellaneous **
Kamikaze Girls (movie) : A++
Hobotaku Budget Tip #1: Read Manga at the Bookstore
Hobotaku Budget Tip #2: Get a Library Card
People in Manga to Know About: Rumiko Takahashi
People in Manga to Know About: Osamu Tezuka
Train Man: A+

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Hobotaku Unite!

Me doing a little dance...We've all seen them in the aisles of the local Barnes & Noble. Perhaps you've even tripped over one of them, or had to reach around them to get to the manga you were looking for. These, are the hobotaku, those so obsessed with manga that they are willing to sit on the floor of a store in order to get their fix, and the inspiration for this blog.

It all began one evening, as I stared at the hordes of tweens in the aisles, rushing to finish the latest volume of Naruto before their mom came to pick them up, I wondered if there was a better way to find out what manga was good and what was crap. I tried looking for existing sites, but all of them came up short. Then, my friend Leah and I were talking about writing reviews of manga, anime, and all things geeky that caught our attention, and we came up with the idea for a hobotaku blog where we could rave about our favorite stuff and diss the crap we hate. Oh, and argue when we don't agree. Then I did a little dance (see above). Thus, Hobotaku was born. The first reviews should be up soon, so pick your ass up off the floor of your bookstore and read this instead. We promise to hurl verbal abuse at you and tell you what to like, just like your mom.