Battle Angel Alita ended – sort of – on an interesting note. Due to health issues, the mangaka, Yukito Kishiro, somewhat rushed the manga’s conclusion, quickly moving the story into the floating city of Zalem, before blitzing through the city coping with the revelation that everyone in the city has computer brains – and Alita ultimately ending up in control of the city. The sequel, Last Order, starts there, before going into an oddly different direction.(more…)
When a creator revisits an old creation, it can be interesting from a reader’s perspective, as we see how changes with time influence that work, whether it’s the Eva Rebuild movies, or Chris Clairmont returning to the X-Men, Timothy Zahn returning to Star Wars, or what have you. With the revival of Genshiken – Genshiken Second Season – the manga elects not to pick up right where the old manga did, and instead skips forward, to a new generation of otaku and a look at how fandom has changed with time, with some interesting results.(more…)
So, at last I’ve now gotten caught up on Hayate the Combat Butler – at least the official English release of the manga, so I might as well get through these last 5 volumes at one big whack!(more…)
A while back I reviewed the anime adaptation of the manga Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family. At that time the video review went out, the first volume of the manga had come out, and I’d read it and enjoyed it, and since then two more volumes of the manga have come out since then, so it’s time to give this a proper review.(more…)
I enjoyed Laid Back Camp a lot. Between its informative depictions of going camping in Japan, it’s interesting travelogue sequences, and it’s generally chill tone, it ended up being one of my favorite anime, and one where I was kind of sad to see it end, and glad to see the show get a second season. After hearing that the manga had been getting an English release, I decided to check out the first volume of the manga.(more…)
If I was going to describe 20th Century Boys in a high concept manner to someone in an elevator, I’d describe it as It meets The Stand. It’s a story that takes place over a vast scope of time, almost 30-40 years, with multiple time skips, and an apocalypse in-between, with a fundamental premise of a group of childhood friends being forced to face a great evil as adults. The difference is, the evil in It is a clearly supernatural, unearthly evil. The evil in 20th Century Boys is very, very human.
There are some spoilers below the cut.(more…)
When I reviewed Today’s Menu for Emiya Family, I was impressed not just by the charm of the story, but how well the anime depicted the act of cooking – how well it showed its work. It was a manga about family meals. This wasn’t just represented by the choices of food prepared in the work, but on how the series depicted eating. However, Food Wars Volume 1, which I’m reviewing today, kicked off a sort of boom of cooking anime and manga that lead to series like Emiya Family, and Food Wars could not be more different.(more…)
Over the past few years off and on, I’ve read the first 13 volumes of Oh! My Goddess, and I’ve written about them on various other places (including Bureau42), but never on my blog. Having finished the 13th volume of the manga, now is as good a time as any to give some general thoughts about the series.(more…)
If you think about it, superheroes have been a part of Japanese pop-culture ever since the post-war period, and in particular the 60s and 70s. Astro Boy is Pinocchio with Super-Powers. Characters like Shotaro Ishinomori’s Android Kikaider and Kamen Rider featured protagonists fighting a supervillain organizations and their superpowered minions, and so on. And, of course, there is the tokusatsu classic – Ultraman from Tsuburaya Productions.(more…)
In time for the conclusion of the new Boogiepop anime series, I have a review of the first omnibus volume of the Boogiepop novels from Seven Seas.(more…)
Battle Angel Alita is a truly unique work of manga – on par with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in terms of being something that visually stands out from the rest of the medium. While it’s narrative it has some stuff in common with other works of SF, it’s also a manga that I haven’t seen much like.(more…)
When I was younger, there were a couple things that grabbed my imagination when it came to dungeon fantasy – there were the Monster Ecology articles in Dragon Magazine, and the descriptions of monsters in Hackmaster and KODT Magazine. The Monster Ecology articles envisioned a fleshed out dungeon ecology, where every monster, even ones created by coked out wizards like the Owlbear, had a life cycle and found a way to fit into an ecosystem – indeed, the articles presented the idea of a Dungeon Fantasy setting as an ecosystem that the monsters fit within.
Short little manga review this time.
As I mentioned in my overall review of the Golden Week arc, that was an arc that was begging to be animated, and sadly was not. It also thoroughly smashed the existing status quo with a literal and metaphorical nutcracker, with Nagi giving up her fortune and her house to save Hayate.
There comes a point in any manga where the status quo, as it exists, can no longer stand. Where if things stay as they are, the work will stagnate. In Battle Angel Alita, it is in the leadup to the Motorball arc. In Hayate the Combat Butler, that arc is the Golden Week arc.
A few weeks ago (as of when I write this in October) I came to learn that the most popular tabletop RPG in Japan right now was neither D&D nor a homegrown RPG like Sword World, but Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu. Also, I learned Dark Horse Comics had released a collection of adaptations of the works of H.P. Lovecraft by artist Gou Tanabe and had announced a planned release of Tanabe’s adaptation of At The Mountains of Madness. Thus, it seemed appropriate to read the first of Tanabe’s adaptations and get a feel for his take on Lovecraft’s work. (more…)
Last month I was finishing up the trilogy of films adapting the Golden Age Arc of Berserk. Previously I’ve also done a Where I Watch thread on the show at RPGnet and reviewed it at Bureau42. Going though this arc again, I was reminded a bunch about the issues I have with this arc and how it treats the character of Casca. (more…)
I’m re-watching Akira again, for the first time after having seen the first part of Megazone 23. It’s interesting to compare Megazone 23 Part 1 and Akira. Both came out within 3 years of each other – Megazone 23 in 1985, the year I was born, and Akira in 1988. Both have similar leads – biker punks who get in over their heads with sinister government conspiracies. Both series have hawkish military figures who overthrow the elected government in a coup, and both figures are certainly antagonists. However, it’s interesting to see how in Megazone 23, the military figures are clearly evil, while in Akira, the Colonel’s actions are given a stronger justification.
This is kind of a spoiler for Megazone 23, so don’t read further if you’re worried about having the story spoiled:
I have a manga review that’s actually topical for Valentine’s Day next week.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Whenever I’ve had a rough day, and I feel like I can’t remember the last time I laughed, one of the manga or anime I turn to, in order to lighten my spirits is Hayate the Combat Butler. The blend of oddball comedy and reverentially referential humor, along with a willingness to just chip away at that fourth wall blends together well to make an enjoyable comic, and the fact that the characters are incredibly likable really helps to keep me coming back in a way that TV shows like Family Guy, which also relies on referential humor, fails to do. (more…)