Monday, September 29, 2008
Summary: A Drama/Alternate History series featuring mecha, the anime is set in the near future. In 2010, the Holy Empire of Britannia has conquered more than one third of the world, and sets its sights on Japan. They defeat the Japanese forces easily with the help of their Knightmare Frames (bad ass mecha), and rename Japan Area 11.
The Japanese people, now referred to only as 11's are forced to live in ghettos in the still destroyed areas of Japan while the citizens of Brittania live in the reconstructed areas. However, there are small groups of rebels still fighting against the Empire.
The series itself focuses on Lelouch, the son of the Emperor of Britannia. After the assassination of his mother, and his sister was left blind and crippled, Lelouch swore vengence on the Empire, and has been looking for ways to accomplish that goal. Seven years after the invasion of Japan, he becomes accidentally involved with a group of rebels and runs into a strange green-haired girl named C.C. who gives him the power of Geass. With it, Lelouch can control the minds of others, and he has the power to seek revenge for the death of his mother and to destroy Britannia and rebuild the world into his idea of utopia.
I heard a lot about this series leading up to its debut on Adult Swim, but I kept missing episodes, and so I wasn't able to watch it when it came out. Now it's out on DVD, and so I ordered it from Netflix. I have to say, it's really good, especially when compared to some of the other space opera-esque/mecha series that have recently come out (Aquarion, I'm looking at you). The only issue I had with it was that it's a pretty involved series, so if you zone out, you're likely to miss something important, but it also drags in a couple of places, so it's easy to zone out. However, for the most part I was interested in the characters, and enjoyed the alternate history, and plot intrigues. I definitely recommend checking this one out.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Overall Rating: B+
Summary: A Romance/Fantasy/Comedy shōjo series created by Matsuri Hino, which follows average high school girl Airi Hoshina. Airi wants only three things in life - to meet a nice boy, get married at 20, and have an ordinary, loving family. Unfortunately for Airi, her life is about to become a lot more complicated when she drops the strange hand mirror that has been in her family for generations.
When Airi goes back to find the mirror, a 7-year-old boy named Aram is waiting for her with it. The boy acts like nobility, which is to say kind of like an ass, but that might be because he is...in another dimension. Oh snap! Aram's uncle (or something, I think it was his uncle) is trying to take his magic powers away from him and age him prematurely. To escape, Aram has travelled to our dimension, but if he stays in the dark too long he will rapidly age about ten years. The only way to restore his youth is the kiss of his true love, and Aram decides his true love is Airi! Hijinks ensue as Airi tries to help Aram while still going to school and trying to find the normal boy she wants to marry, but what if Aram (17-year-old!) is who she really wants?
MeruPuri is another Shōjo series by Matsuri Hino, who also created Vampire Knight and Wanted. I picked this one up, because I enjoy her other work (and love Shōjo). This one didn't disappoint. It's only four volumes long, but it's a fun story. I particularly enjoy when Aram ages ten years in appearance, but acts like a seven-year-old. I recommend this one to anyone who enjoys Shōjo series and particularly Matsuri Hino's work.
Check out an online preview of the manga here.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Overall Rating: D+
Summary: Created by Lay Mutsuki, this seinen series is set "in the near future, and online gaming is all the rage!" Apparently, that's an important distinction, since no one plays online games these days. In the "near future" the same company that produces the most popular online game also produces the most popular OS and the two are shipped together. Luckily for Koki Tachibana, his father works for the company! Koki has been doing testing for his dad since the game started, and now he has two characters. One who is a pretty standard character and one that's the most powerful character in the game. Unfortunately for Koki, someone has hacked his account and is playing with the god-like character.
Now Koki's has to find out who's been logging into his account before they cause any major problems.
"Yggdrasil" sounded kind of interesting, so I gave it a shot, but I was pretty disappointed. The plot is pretty interesting, but so far none of the characters have much depth. Also, it was billed as being supernatural/fantasy, but so far the only aspects of the story that has been along those lines have been in the online game. Hopefully the series will improve in later volumes.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Overall Rating: B
Summary: A one-shot Shōjo manga created by Matsuri Hino, which follows a young orphan girl named Armeria. The story is set in the 17th-century, and Armeria belongs to a music group that sings for work. While singing for the Governer-General at his mansion, she meets Luce Lanceman, the Governor-General's nephew, and falls in love with him after he gives her an Armeria flower. The same night, Luce is kidnapped by the crew of the notorious pirate, Skulls.
Armeria vows to find Luce and rescue him from Skulls.
Eight years later, we find Armeria disguised as a young man, and she has managed to join Skulls' crew. However, joining a pirate crew isn't all she bargained for, and she quickly ends up over her head. Now she has to figure out what happened to her beloved Luce, and make sure she survives the experience.
Matusuri Hino is also the creator of Vampire Knight, a series I love, so I was excited to see something new from her. On top of that, the story was a vampire romance! What more could a boy ask for? The story is pretty solid, but it's also kind of derivative. It reminded me of a manga version of Princess Bride, which isn't actually that bad a thing. Overall, I enjoyed the characters, and I would have rated it higher if it weren't for the fact that I felt like I had already read parts of the book before. It was still a lot of fun though, and I definitely recommend it to fellow Shōjo lovers.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Overall Rating: C+
Summary: a Shōnen comedy created by Jirō Suzuki, which follows Sota, your average highschool guy. He's pretty popular, and has an attractive girlfriend, but Sota has a secret life as an otaku. Particularly, he is obsessed with a character called Papico, and he will cancel all of his plans for the chance to buy new collector's items for the character.
This leads to the bulk of the plot when one day he can't find the latest Papico release, the Ultra Limited Edition Wonder Digital Dokidoki Doggy Papico figure. As a result, Sota ends up in a store called Otakudo, where the owner (Mano Takuro) has the hard-to-find item. However, in order to buy the item he has to admit that he is an otaku. Somehow, Sato's girlfriend, Eri, has shown up at the store after following Sota, and Sota ends up confessing his obsession to her. Hilarity ensues.
I picked this one up, because I saw some of myself in it. When I was in high school, I wasn't that popular, hadn't even kissed a girl, and hadn't figure out A) my hair, B) black is a good color on me and B) women like men in eyeliner. I looked like a preppy kid who was trying too hard. I was also hiding my geekiness in the desperate hope that I could become popular. By hiding it, I meant I only played Magic: the Gathering before school in the science classroom and in front of the band room (I wasn't in band, but I was a geek). All of this is to say I really wanted to like this manga. The series seems to focus more on being a parody of otaku than on the trials of being a closet geek. I still enjoyed it, but the characters aren't very deep, and the plot mostly focuses on the small group of otaku and their hijinks. If you're looking for a fun, light read, then this is worth checking out, but if you want a plot and interesting characters, then I recommend you pass.
Check out a preview here.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Overall Rating: B
Summary: A supernatural seinen (18+) written by Saki Okuse with art by Sankichi Meguro, which follows Misaki Saiki, a normal 19-year-old woman who is holding down two jobs to make ends meet. However, her jobs are a bit...odd. Misaki works as a dominatrix and as a necromancer. Working for the Livlihood Protection Agency, she uses her ability to see and speak with spirits to help them find peace and move on.
Misaki works with Souichiro Kadotake, an agent for the LPA, who is a martial artist and afraid of ghosts. To add more zany hijinks to the series, Misaki is an albino and a virgin. Crazy!
I liked the sound of this manga from the blurb, so I decided to pick it up. Honestly, it was about what I expected. It's going for the same kind of dark humor that Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service does so well, and adds a bit of sex appeal. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, Ghost Talker's Daydream doesn't quite pull it off. For me, it's the sex appeal, which is used too often in unnecessary crotch shots and bad jokes. I think if the series went with less fan service and more dark humor, it could be as good as Kurosagi. As is, it's just okay. If you're 18+ and in the mood for a mature supernatural manga, then check it out, but be prepared. Check out a preview here: http://www.darkhorse.com/Books/Previews/14-972?page=0