Knights of Sidonia Vol. 8-11: Manga Review

Volumes 8-11 of Knights of Sidonia are where Nihei steps firmly into New Battlestar Galactica Territory. We had a bit of that in the earlier volumes, but here there’s the level of internal political dissension I associate with that show.

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Silent Mobius Vol. 1-5: Manga Review

As part of this COVID-19 world, I’ve been trying to get through some of the manga titles on my reading list. One of the ones I’ve been working on is Kia Asamiya’s urban fantasy Cyberpunk opus, Silent Mobius.

(Note: For the purposes of this review I am reading the Viz Media release – the Udon release is incomplete, and the Manga Planet release hasn’t come out yet).

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Manga Review: Maison Ikkoku Vol. 1 (Re-Release)

In what feels like decades since the last release of Maison Ikkoku, Viz is re-releasing the manga, using the 10-volume format that the series received in Japan, instead of the 15-volume release they used for the previous version, and with a new translation. Since I didn’t get particularly far in the manga with the previous release, I figured now is a pretty good time to start over from scratch.

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Cover of Genshiken Second Season vol. 1

Genshiken Second Season – Vol. 1-8: Manga Review

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.

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Laid Back Camp: Vol. 1 – Manga Review

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.

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20th Century Boys: Manga Review

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.

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Ultraman cover art from volumes 1 & 12

Ultraman (Manga): Thoughts on Vol. 1-4

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.

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Manga Review: Delicious in Dungeon Volume 1

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.

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Manga Review: H.P. Lovecraft’s The Hound and Other Stories

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…)

Manga Review: Blame!

Blame! (pronounced like the onamonapia “Blam”) is the first outing by Tsutomu Nihei, the mangaka who would go on to do Biomega and Knights of Sidonia, and it’s an incredibly strong start to what has become an extremely impressive career.