Saturday, November 22, 2014

Manga Review: Black Butler GN 18

Black Butler volume 18
Author: Yana Toboso
Yen Press
176 pages
Their elaborate schoolroom deception at an end, Earl Ciel Phantomhive and his peerless manservant, Sebastian, finally hit upon the truth behind the incident of the vanished students at Weston College. Just what tragic steps did the elites of the school, spurred on by their overwhelming sense of justice, take to stamp out the bullying running rife in the halls of their institution?! What began as a seemingly simple case of missing persons goes round and round, spinning out of control into a great menace, one capable of perplexing even a devil...
After finishing the latest volume of Black Butler, I spent a good five minutes trying to nitpick the contents of it, looking for a major flaw or distraction. I found none. Maybe it needs more old man Tanaka? Okay, every book could use more Tanaka, so that doesn't count as a valid nitpick.
In this collection of chapters, Yana Toboso has packaged together a perfect combination of her signature stylish art, madcap action, thrilling plot twists and screwball humor for the conclusion of the Weston College story arc. Amid the eighteen volumes of Black Butler released so far in English, the newest one is truly among the top of the crop.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Novel Review: Sword Art Online - Aincrad LN 1 & 2

Sword Art Online: Aincrad 1 & 2
Author: Reki Kawahara
Yen Press/Yen On
200 pages approx. per volume
In the year 2022, gamers rejoice as Sword Art Online opens its virtual doors, allowing players to take full advantage of the ultimate in gaming technology: NerveGear, a system that allows users to completely immerse themselves in the game world by manipulating their brain waves to create a wholly realistic gaming experience. But when the game goes live, the elation of the players quickly turns to horror as they discover that, for all its amazing features, SAO is missing one of the most basic functions of any MMORPG-a log-out button. (Source: Yen Press)
Having just finished up the tepid, lackluster Sword Art Online manga adaptation of the Aincrad arc (my displeasure with this omnibus has already been spelled out on this blog), I went into the SAO original light novel duology for Aincrad with lowered expectations. Somehow, it managed to surprise me in a refreshing way, and does things in a way that the manga and anime never could.
In the translated words of Kawahara, Asuna gains depth, Kirito gains sympathy, and the world of SAO reveals a depth only prose can give it. The story still has some fundamental issues but in the realm of canon sources, the light novel series stands firmly alongside the popular anime and way ahead of its manga counterpart.

Monday, November 17, 2014

PR: Viz Brings Doraemon Products To The U.S. For The Holidays

Ayyy, look at all these Doraemon things I'm gonna buy! Although, naturally, no Missouri shops are on the list :|

VIZ Media Partners With Hot Topic To Offer Exclusive DORAEMON T-Shirts And Highlights Collectables Available Now From The Official U.S. DORAEMON Product Website

VIZ Media gives DORAEMON fans a fun way to display their love of the hit anime adventure comedy that currently airs on the Disney XD channel. The company has announced it is teaming up with pop culture and alternative apparel retailer Hot Topic to offer the first-ever officially U.S. licensed DORAEMON t-shirts.

Shirt designs offered by Hot Topic include “Many Doraemon” and “Doraemon Waving,” available in distinctive men’s and women’s styles, as well as “Doraemon Eating Dorayaki,” available exclusively in women’s sizes. Shirts are available now at 30 Hot Topic store locations nationwide as well as online at:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Initial Thoughts On Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni Episode 1 VN

The village of Hinamizawa serial murder incident... Every year on the same day in June, someone died and there was a mysterious disappearance. This death is intertwined in the conflict surrounding a gigantic dam project. The resurrection of a mysterious case hidden during the Showa era. Conspiracy, chance, or a curse... (Source: MangaGamer)

Having watched the first season of the anime and read the first story arc of the manga, I didn't think that playing the Onikakushi-hen arc of the Higurashi No Naku Koro ni/When Cicadas Cry visual novel could surprise me. Although I haven't delved far enough into it to talk about the murders that will soon plague the claustrophobic village of Hinamizawa, what I've seen so far is an interesting deparature from how Higurashi is experience through its anime and manga adaptations.

For those of you wishing to join me in exploring the Higurashi VN, the first episode is currently available for free via the Kindle Fire and MangaGamer. It seems like the game is a bit of a battery drainer and it takes approximately one hour to download the game data even after you install the app. Luckily, once all that is done, you can jump directly into the game.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Washed Right Out, Chapter Eleven

Here comes yet another Wednesday, which means the latest edition of Wednesday Briefs! This week, Washed Right Out continues as an unusual promise is made between our protagonist Riley and his co-worker Eren. Are dangerous deeds on the horizon for our hapless hero? Perhaps, if I have anything to say about it.

Washed Right Out, Chapter Eleven. Prompts used: biscuits and gravy, the longer you leave something the harder it is to fix.
I'm in. I'll help you get rid of him.”
Before Riley could respond, Eren stood up. "We can text about it later. Or Skype, or whatever. Just remind me before you leave for the day."
"I might not answer right away." Riley shook his head. "Uh, I have plans this weekend. Sort of."