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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Manga Review: Stepping On Roses GN 9

Stepping On Roses volume 9
Author: Rinko Ueda
Viz Media/Shojo Beat
200 pages
Sumi tries to get Soichiro’s company back for him, but she doesn’t realize that he’s about to embark on a life-changing opportunity. Meanwhile, Nozomu is hellbent on marrying Sumi regardless of any consequences. Can anything stop Nozomu at this point? Or will Sumi and Soichiro find a way to be together? (Source: Goodreads/Viz Media)
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the entire Stepping On Roses/Hadashi de Bara wo Fume manga series.
It's the end of Stepping On Roses, one of Shojo Beat's most entertaining series to date, and it's an ending well earned. Despite being melodramatic soap opera shojo, Rinko Ueda's Edo-era romance series has gotten plenty of dedicated fans - myself included - who have been waiting forever to see if Sumi and Soichiro's relationship will win out in the end. Will this be a happily ever after or a doomed love affair?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Fujoshi O'Clock (6/28/13)

What time is it? It's . . . Fujoshi O'Clock, the biweekly feature at Nagareboshi Review, when I bring to you the latest fujoshi-related news and reviews and various shiny BL-flavored things. Why? Because rotten girls need love too!

This week on Fujoshi O'Clock:

Reviews:
  • Leroy at I Reads You reviews Blue Morning volume one by Shoko Hidaka, and its angle on romance makes it interesting enough to keep reading.
  • Experiments in Manga reviews Manly by Dale Lazarov, an Original English Language manga about very masculine men that borders on bara. Warning: book cover is NSFW.


Am I missing your blog? Got some awesome fujoshi-related news and reviews you think deserve a shout-out? Poke me with a link and a bit of description over at my Twitter: @theseventhl. I'm always on the look out for more BL love!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Story So Far: Bleach (Karakura Town Arc)

Bleach volumes 35-48 (White Invasion/Battle of Karakura Town)
Art/story by Tite Kubo
Published in English by Viz Manga/Shonen Jump

The plot continues to show the fight between Soul Society's group of Soul Reapers against Sōsuke Aizen's army of Arrancar, with the former defending Karakura Town, and the latter planning to use Karakura to invade and destroy Soul Society. The story will continue the fight between Soul Society's Soul Reapers and Sōsuke Aizen's Arrancar army as the former defends Karakura Town from the latter's invasion, while Ichigo and his group fight the arrancars in Hueco Mundo to rescue Orihime Inoue. (Source: Wikipedia)
Spoiler warning: Post contains spoilers for pretty much all volumes following the Soul Society arc. Read with caution!
Having recently finished the 50th volume of the Bleach manga with The Lost Agent story, I thought it apropos to reminisce about the latest story arc in the series, which covers the showdown between shinigami and Arrancar in Karakura Town, both fake and real. There was a lot of fighting and a lot of screaming and a lot of shiny bone masks, and in the end the good guys saved the day. Err, right?
A lot - okay, 95% - of this arc was fights. Either fights between a Soul Society shinigami and an Arrancar or between Ichigo Kurosaki and someone from Hueco Mundo, whether it be Ulquiorra or Grimmjow or Aizen Sosuke, the man who seemed to be set up as the final boss of the series. And if you get super jazzed about reading battles and seeing characters' various abilities and powers on display, than this arc was totally up your alley.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June News/Blog Round-Up Post

Like an Internet magpie, I gather up all the shiny interesting things and bring them to you. So, is this post like my nest? I suppose so!

  • Yuri ni Boke shares about the yuri webcomic Princess Princess, in which a crossdressing princess rescues her fair maiden princess and they go on an adventure. It sounds like a great series! I already have the Princess Princess wallpaper; these girls are so cute!
  • Ponta Abadi at Ms. Magazine points out what should be obvious but apparently isn't: women make up about half of all gamers. You never would have guessed if you had seen the Microsoft presentation at E3, which was dude central. Compare that to Nintendo, whose latest slew of video games had a wide variety of female protagonists (and oh my God, Wii Fit lady is already Pixiv-famous). Warning: post contains offensive slurs/language.
  • One of my favorite blogs, Organization Anti-Social Geniuses, is looking for writers! They are especially looking for people who can blog about currently airing anime series.
  • The Anime Nation News Blog has a brilliant idea for an anime series. It's got my tech nerd heart all a-flutter. I'd watch the heck out of Black Hat: The Animation.
  • Lastly, the oldest surviving Japanese anime production has been recovered. It is called Mole's Adventure, it was originally aired on TV in 1958, and runs just under nine minutes. You can see screenshots of the short here.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Manga Review: Cross Game GN 6

Cross Game volume 6
Author: Mitsuru Adachi
Viz Media/Shonen Sunday
373 pages (2-in-1 omnibus edition)

Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the series so far. Read with caution!

The arrival of a new year brings Ko's last shot at Koshien closer at hand. But Akane Takigawa and her striking resemblance to Wakaba cause Ko's heart to stir. Meanwhile, something happens to make Azuma and Aoba grow closer. Young feelings wax and wane in Ko's third year of high school. And to top it off, the Seishu baseball team gets a new coach?! (Source: Goodreads)
It's been almost two years since I've spent quality time with Ko and the Seishu team but once I dove into the sixth omnibus edition of Mitsuru Adachi's manga, it did not feel like such a long time as much as a brief weekend away from good friends. In the last volume, people were wondering if ghosts could age as new girl in town Akane walked into their lives, striking more than a passing resemblance to the deceased Wakaba. In this volume, we explore more of Akane's character and see what happens when another eligible young woman comes into the sphere of Ko Kitamura.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bizarre Music Post Of The Day

Major hat tip to the Livejournal community contemode for sharing this story!

Via Japan Today: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu to sing theme song for Japanese release of 'Star Trek Into Darkness'. The latest Star Trek film by Fringe director J.J. Abrams will hit Japanese theater screens on August 23rd., during which film-goers will hear a Japan exclusive track by Kyary.

From the article: "[J.J. Abrams] said he chose Kyary Pamyu Pamyu because she perfectly fits the song’s image, Sankei Shimbun reported."

I'd really like to hear this song, half out of morbid curiosity and half because she might actually do a good job. Kyary is an artist whose music is very hyper sugar-fed pop with a psychotic twist, which doesn't really fit into the foreboding tone of the film or its score - although her bizarre PV outfits would fit in nicely in an episode of the original series!

Monday, June 17, 2013

PR: Viz Media At 2013 Licensing Expo This Week

VISIT VIZ MEDIA AT LICENSING EXPO BOOTH #A137

VIZ MEDIA SHOWCASES WORLD’S HOTTEST ANIME TITLES AT 2013 LICENSING EXPO

ACCEL WORLD, BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC TRILOGY, ‘K’ And NARUTO SHIPPUDEN, Among The New Titles To Be Showcased

San Francisco, CA, June 17, 2013 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, returns to Las Vegas for the 2013 Licensing Expo with a robust catalog of some of the world’s top anime properties. The 2013 Licensing Expo is the world’s largest and most influential licensing industry event and takes place June 18th-20th at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. VIZ Media will be located in Booth # A137.

The annual Licensing Expo (www.licensingexpo.com) is the licensing industry's premier trade event for leveraging properties and brand equity to develop merchandise, Licensing Expo attracts more than 400 exhibitors representing more than 5,000 brands and properties in entertainment; sports; fashion and apparel; publishing; art and design; automotive; animation/anime; home and housewares; and lifestyle. Attendees from more than 80 countries represent the world's leading retailers, licensees, manufacturers, distributors and licensing agents.

Anime properties VIZ Media will highlight at 2013 Licensing Expo include:

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN (Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens)
NARUTO has become the hottest animated series across North America and is one of VIZ Media’s most successful manga and animated properties in terms of sales. NARUTO has aired on TV since 2005, and is currently the most watched anime program on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block. On HULU, the 500+ subtitled episodes have reached over 200 million views. In addition, digital downloads are available on all major platforms including iTunes, Xbox, Amazon, Google and Xbox. NARUTO’s continuous popularity has brought more than 1000 consumer products to the U.S. market, including video games from Namco Bandai (7 million copies sold), graphic novels from VIZ Media (127 million copies sold), and trading card games from Bandai America (10 million packs sold).

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Manga Review: Tegami Bachi GN 13

Tegami Bachi volume 13
Author: Hiroyuki Asada
Viz Media
200 pages
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the Tegami Bachi series so far. Read on with caution!
While Lag and his fellow Bees fight a desperate battle against the Gaichuu Cabernet, the dark secrets of Amberground come to light. What unspeakable things did Garrard, director of the Beehive, see in Amberground’s capital? And why has former director Largo Lloyd joined the rebel organization Reverse? The answers lie in the top-secret district called Kagerou… (Source: Goodreads)
Tegami Bachi is pulling a Bleach and doing a far better job than Kubo could hope to do: it's sidelining their main protagonist and hero, Lag Seeing, and putting the focus on other key players in the current battle against Cabernet. By shifting away from Lag's narrative, Tegami Bachi frees itself to expand on the stories of characters like Largo and Garrard and Connor. What comes of this shift of focus is a series of monumental revelations that add to the world of Tegami Bachi as well as set the stage for an inevitable all-out conflict between Amberground and its detractors.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fujoshi O'Clock (6/13/13)

What time is it? It's . . . Fujoshi O'Clock, the biweekly feature at Nagareboshi Review, when I bring to you the latest fujoshi-related news and reviews and various shiny BL-flavored things. Why? Because rotten girls need love too!

This week on Fujoshi O'Clock:

Reviews:


Am I missing your blog? Got some awesome fujoshi-related news and reviews you think deserve a shout-out? Poke me with a link and a bit of description over at my Twitter: @theseventhl. I'm always on the look out for more BL love!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Manga Review: Library Wars GN 9

Library Wars volume 9
Authors: Kiiro Yumi, Hiro Arikawa
Viz Media/Shojo Beat
192 pages
There's a groper in the library and Library Force members Iku and Shibazaki are sent in as bait! Iku's undercover outfit makes her vulnerable...will she be able to defend herself if the pervert targets her? Later, Library Force members are required to take a test that involves reading stories to a group of rambunctious schoolkids. Coming from a big, unruly family, Iku definitely has the upper hand! (Source: Shojo Beat)
If you're a shojo fan and you're not reading Library Wars, one of the star titles of the Shojo Beat imprint, then you are missing out on one heck of a series. Nine volumes in and it's still the mixture of action and drama that has kept readers glued to the page, as well as the unresolved romantic tension that keeps shippers writing thousand word ship manifestos on Livejournal. In this volume, we see Iku and Dojo's relationship take a dramatic turn, Iku show why she deserves her position at the library, and watch Tezuka slowly come out of his shell thanks to the charm of children.

Monday, June 10, 2013

What Happened To Bilingual Manga?

Don't worry, I'll keep this quick. So if Chihayafuru is getting a bilingual language edition in Japan and Kodansha Comics still seems to be publishing the odd volume of Japanese & English language manga, where are they in America? I can't exactly walk into Barnes & Noble and buy a copy of Chobits that is both in Japanese and English. You can possibly buy them through J-List, but that doesn't mean they're intentionally for a North American audience. The ones I've found on Amazon are out of print - and painfully expensive.

Honestly, I'd love to learn to read Japanese but my local community college isn't offering the course right now. Should I just grab a Japanese language edition of Naruto GN 1, the Viz Media edition of the same volume, and a basic guide to Japanese written letters and figure it out that way? I'm not even sure if that would work; translation is not an exact science. As for the method itself - well, I'm an autodidact but that's a bit nonsensical, even for me.

Please feel free to correct me on this, of course. But where is the bilingual manga in America? And why can't I find any of it?

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Story So Far: Axis Powers Hetalia

Axis Powers Hetalia volumes 1-3
Art/story by Hidekazu Himaruya
Published in English by Tokyopop & Right Stuf

Think of it like WWII, except every country is a pretty boy instead. A hilariously stereotypical pretty boy. America loves burgers, Russia is into the vodka, and China has pandas and a wok. It is centered mostly around Italy, who has both a North and South character. The Hetaria portion of the name is probably mocking Italy, as Hetare means 'Useless'.

(Source: MangaUpdates)

Axis Powers Hetalia is a divisive series and it's pretty much everywhere nowadays. Readers either love it to death or hate it with a burning passion. This series has dominated anime conventions, flooded Tumblr, invaded the cosplay and fanfiction communities, and made Funimation and Tokyopop mucho dinero. There's something about all these young men representing foreign countries that make the fangirls go absolutely crazy.
 It certainly helps that for the most part, all the characters in Hetalia are bishonen (I don't know about Turkey, though, having never seen him without his mask; he seems to be the Kakashi of Hetalia) or bishoujo. And history becomes 100% more interesting when pretty faces are involved.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

PR: Viz Sets Release For Rinne no Lagrange on DVD/Blu-Ray

VIZ MEDIA DELIVERS THE NORTH AMERICAN
DVD AND BLU-RAY RELEASE OF
LAGRANGE: THE FLOWER OF RIN-NE SET 1

Kinetic Action/Comedy Sci-Fi Anime Series Created By
Production I.G. And Studio XEBEC Features A Sexy Cast And
A Sleek Robot Arsenal Designed By Nissan Motors

San Francisco, CA, June 4, 2013 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, has announced the release of Set 1 of the spirited sci-fi action comedy – LAGRANGE: THE FLOWER OF RIN-NE – on DVD and Blu-ray on June 11th. The 2-disc set, featuring the first 12 episodes of the series, is rated ‘TV-MA’ for Mature Audiences and will carry a DVD MSRP of $44.82 U.S. / $43.24 CAN; Blu-ray MSRP of $54.97 U.S. / $66.15 CAN.

Bonus features include Production Art, Clean Opening & Ending sequences, as well as 6 extra “Omake” shorts (the "Kamogawa Drama”) about the main characters’ day-to-day life in Kamogawa City. The set features both original Japanese (with English subtitles) and dubbed English dialogue options.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Brief Update

I apologize for not having updated in a while - and for the fact that I may not update for a little while longer. I live in Saint Louis, which has recently been hit by really terrible storms, so I currently have no power and don't have access to the materials I was planning on posting about this week. In fact, I've spent most of my weekend just trying to find a place to crash and charge all my electronics and what-not until my power finally comes back on at home.

Which is not to say anyone should feel bad, because when it comes to storm damage, I came out better than others! But I'm just letting you know that Nagareboshi Reviews is still around, it's just sleeping a little bit - an unplanned brief hiatus from regular programming. Just don't try to knock it off its perch, you'll see it's nailed to it...