Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Love★Com Volume 1

Overall Rating: A
Summary: Also known as Lovely Complex, this shōjo romantic comedy is created by Aya Nakahara, and follows Risa, a tall girl, and Ōtani, a short boy. The pair are in high school together, and because of their height differences they are called the "All Hanshin Kyojin" (which is apparently a popular Japanese comedy duo with a similar height diference). The story starts with the two constantly at each other's throats (a sure sign they will be involved in a romance plot), and to make matters worse they're both such bad students that they have to go to summer school.

The first day of summer school, Risa falls in love with a tall boy in her class, Suzuki, and Ōtani proves he's not such a bad guy when he proposes to set her up with him. In exchange, he wants Risa to set him up with her shy friend Chiharu. Of course, hijinks and romantic entanglments ensue! Will Risa and Ōtani end up together, or will they end up with their crushes?

I can't help but love this manga already. It's got the kind of cute awkwardness that I love to see in a shōjo, because it feels more realistic. I spent the first volume hoping Risa and Ōtani would get together, but clearly I will have to keep reading as they aren't there yet. A great manga for the shōjo lover in all of us, and I plan to check out the live action movie soon.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Overall Rating: B+
Summary: Loosely tied to the anime "Blood: The Last Vampire", "Blood +" follows seemingly normal schoolgirl named Saya (the main character of B:tLV was also named Says) who suffers from amnesia. However, we quickly learn that she is far form normal when she is attacked by a creature called a chiropteran. A mysterious (and totally hot) man named Haji comes to her rescue and they make out. Actually Haji is giving her some of his blood (I think) and gives her a wicked looking sword, Saya's eyes turn red, and she becomes a bad ass.

Apparently, Saya's blood is the only thing that can destroy chiropterans, and so she must join up with the Red Shield (an organization set up to fight the chiropteran threat.

Blood + is a great anime if you're in the mood for a pretty intense adventure/supernatural series. The characters are interesting, and the plot is engaging (though it feels a bit epic). The first volume is 25 episodes long and aired on Cartoon Network and is now out on DVD.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hikkatsu! Strike a Blow to Vivify Volume 1

Overall Rating: B
Summary: In this comedy/science fiction series created by Yu Yagami, Shota is a young man trying to make a living with his "Repair Blow". The manga is set in a future where geomagnetic abnormalities have made everyday appliances come alive, and Shota has spent the last several years learning how to smack an item just right to fix it. Unfortunately, with his strength, he usually just destroys it. Early on, he runs into Momoko, who was raised by pigeons, who has lost her last 200 yen to a ramen vending machine. Shota promptly uses his "Repair Blow" to "fix" it, and Momoko falls in love with him...clearly she was raised by pigeons. Can Momoko's love help Shota master his "Repair Blow"? Did Momoko really learn "Pigeon Martial Arts" from her foster family? We'll have to read more to find out.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this one, but it's a fun read. If you're looking for a light Shōnen plot that's funny, then this is a good choice. However, if you're looking for detailed characters or a deep plot, you probably want to pass this one by.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Dragon Head Volume 1

Overall Rating: A
Summary: Created by Minetaro Mochizuki, the series is a psychological horror seinen manga. Dragon Head follows Teru Aoki, a school kid, who wakes up in a wrecked train. He had been traveling home with his classmates after a school trip, and just before entering a tunnel he saw something strange on the horizon. Some catastrophe has occurred, and now most of his classmates and teachers are dead, the tunnel is oddly hot, and is caved in on both sides.

The only other survivors are Nobou Takahashi who is going insane, and Ako Seto who was wounded in the accident. They have to find a way to survive, and escape the tunnel, but what awaits them outside?

Dragon Head and Metro Survive are similar in that they both involve train accidents where you don't know what the extent of the damage is to the outside world. Both also do an excellent job of keeping you in suspense and wondering what's going to happen next. I enjoyed the different perspectives though, and I find Teru a little more interesting as a main character. I'm excited about getting my hands on Volume 2, and I hope the series keeps up the excitement for the 10 volume run, which was recently released.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Metro Survive Volume 1

Overall Rating: A
Summary: Created by Yuki Fujisawa, the series follows Mishima, who is trying to make a living working as a repairman for Exopolis Tower, a business and entertainment building that is supposed to be the new hotness. Unfortunately, in an effort to get the building completed as quickly as possible, it was shoddily made, and so being a repairman takes up a lot of time. Mishima promises to be home in time for his son's birthday, but his boss is an ass who forces him to take overtime (after threatening to fire Mishima if he doesn't agree. The work ends up taking all night, and on the morning subway train heading home, a massive earthquake strikes and collapses both Exopolis and its underground train lines. Mishima has to survive the disaster along with the other passengers and find a way to get out. Fortunately, his experience as a repairman comes in handy, but can they survive the dangers? Why haven't they received any communication from the surface, and who is that woman on the cover?

Metro Survive is one of those manga that draws you in and then grabs you. When I finished the first volume, I wanted the second one to be out, so I could read more of what happened. I highly recommend this one!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Honey and Clover Volume 1

Overall Rating: A
Summary: A Comedy/Drama/Romance shōjo manga series created by Chika Umino, which follows three students at a fictional art college in Tokyo. The students, Yūta Takemoto, Takumi Mayama and Shinobu Morita, all live in the same apartment complex. Takemoto is the youngest, and is the shy artist-type one would expect to find at an art school. Mayama is the most reasonable of the three, and is a stark contrast to Morita, who is still in college because he can't wake up in time to go to classes. Morita works a mysterious job where he is gone for days at a time, comes back with lots of money and food, and then crashes for 48 hours.

Enter Hagu, an adorable 18 year-old girl who appears, and often acts, like a small child. She's also one the daughter of one of their professor's cousins (I think that's like 1st cousin once removed or something, but I was always bad at that stuff), and is an extremely skilled artist, particularly with pottery. Takemoto and Morita both immediately fall in love with her, and the love triangles commence (oh yeah, there are lots).

The first volume is primarily focused on introducing the characters, and what their lives are like, as well as establishing some of their relationships.

I admit it, this one sucked me in right away. I am a sucker for good shōjo and this is an excellent example of one. The characters are well-developed, and the romantic entanglements are interesting. I don't want to give too much away here, but it's already drawing me in with the first volume. I will say that the image below is of Morita trying to get Hagu to pose as a "koropokkur" (faerie). <3