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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Manga Review: Bleach GN 57

Bleach volume 57
Author: Tite Kubo
Viz Media/Shonen Jump
192 pages
Out of Bloom: With Ichigo trapped in Hueco Mundo, the Soul Society comes under attack by a mysterious group of warriors calling themselves the Vandenreich. The Soul Reaper captains valiantly stand up to the invaders, but this is a battle they might not be able to win! (Source: Viz.com)
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the Quincy War story arc so far.
I have no idea why Byakuya is on the cover. I mean, I know why because he's handsome and fangirls love him and wail every time a sword gets close to his face, but I would argue that his story in this volume is heavily eclipsed by others and is not the heart of the book. No, I would give that honor to everyone's favorite old man Shinigami, Yamamoto, Commander of Soul Society and GQMFer of Seireitei. It is Yamamoto who single-handedly moves this series forward at a time when our resident hero is currently unable to perform his duties.

Monday, July 29, 2013

"Has it been two years already, dear readers?"

Original art here at Zerochan.
Somehow, between summer college classes and work and reviewing manga and keeping the blog updated, I missed my own blog's birthday. It was actually early July but better a belated birthday post than nothing, right? So happy birthday, Nagareboshi Reviews! Welcome to surviving your second year of being online and active! The third year will probably be the hardest yet but I'll do my best to keep it going!

I'd like to once again thank all the people who visit my site, regularly or not, and enjoy the content that I post on here. I promise I'll keep the content as fresh and entertaining as possible, and that I won't be boring. Please let me know what you think about my blog so far! Drop me a line at Twitter via @theseventhl and give me your honest opinion of Nagareboshi Reviews.

Please stay with me for my third year! It's gonna be fantastic!


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Manga Review: Naruto GN 57 & 58

Naruto volume 57 & 58
Author: Masashi Kishimoto
Viz Media/Shonen Jump
192 pages (v.57) & 208 pages (v.58)
Madara of the Akatsuki joins the fray on the battlefield. His powerful attacks, and a secret plan, take their toll on the Allied Shinobi Forces. Naruto and Bee rush to help their friends, but the leader of the Cloud Village will do anything to stop Naruto from risking his life—even if he has to fight Naruto to do it! (Source: Goodreads)
Spoiler warning: This review contains spoilers for the 57th and 58th volumes as well as the current story arc of the Naruto manga. Read with caution!
It's the Fourth Great Ninja War and Naruto has started to look like Bleach in the sense that the bodies are hitting the floor at a rapid pace and every corner of the ninja world is part of this struggle. Even as the various villages have allied together to fight the Akatsuki, it's not looking good for our protagonists. That is, until Naruto finally joins the fray. Finally! In these two volumes, Naruto takes back the spotlight and once again rules his own series.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Attention: New poll is now up!

Hey, look! For those who don't obsessively visit this blog on a regular basis and thus have the front page memorized, I'd like to point out I have a new poll up for voting on at the bottom of the page. Please give it a look and a click!
Art by ~aspergersgirl @ Deviantart.

This time, I'm asking how much do you care that manga reviews mention the art style? I know I haven't been on top of talking about a manga's aesthetic during reviews, but considering some of the reviews I've been writing have been for series which are over 30 volumes long, it seems redundant. I will bring it up if the art style is particularly unique or interesting or if this particular volume has some truly striking art. I'm also the kind of person who will overlook mediocre art work if the story and writing is superb.

What do you think? Is art a major factor in reading manga? Do you need reviewers to talk about a manga's look, even if the series is long-running and the style well established (unless it's D.Gray-Man, kol kol kol)? Let me know!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Manga Review: Bleach GN 56

Bleach volume 56
Author: Tite Kubo
Viz Media/Shonen Jump
192 pages
When a mysterious group of warriors calling themselves the Vandenreich attacks, Ichigo heads to Hueco Mundo to help his friend Nel. And when the Vandenreich takes the fight to the Soul Society, an all-out war between Soul Reapers and Quincies breaks out! (Source: Viz.com)
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the events of Bleach's 55th and 56th volumes.
I thought the 55th volume of Bleach was bloody. No, y'all haven't seen bloodshed like this volume - oh no, it's a straight massacre going on. People are dying in the hundreds and the only thing standing between the Quincies and the death of all Shinigami is a certain orange haired Deputy Shinigami with the impossible ban kai. In a book split between Soul Society and Hueco Mundo, the bodies are falling and every Shinigami is on call to protect their home in the afterlife from extermination.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Treks Into Darkness

The PV for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's song for the Japanese release of Star Trek: Into Darkness has been released! The song "Into Darkness" actually features her and Yasutaka Nakata, best known as the genius behind the Japanese electro-pop group CAPSULE. You can watch the PV for Kyary's song below:


As some YouTube comments point out, it sounds very much like a CAPSULE song; Kyary's vocals seem more restrained than usual, less genki girl and more electropop princess. I wouldn't be terribly upset if Kyary and Nakata dropped an EP together! I'm still interested as to how this song sounds in full and how it plays into the latest Star Trek film.

Monday, July 22, 2013

News Round-Up: San Diego Comic Con Edition

For those who couldn't make SDCC 2013, here's a good idea of some of what went down and what you may have missed.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Manga Review: Loveless GN 9

Loveless volume 9
Author: Yun Kouga
Viz Manga
184 pages
Seimei is very much alive and has torn through the Seven Voices Academy like a whirlwind. As Septimal Moon struggles to right itself and keep its secrets from spilling out, a new enemy takes center stage: the unit named “Bloodless” wages a crippling psychological war, ending battles without spilling a single drop of blood. Yet Ritsuka and Soubi must emerge victorious against them—or lose Kio. (Source: Goodreads)
Spoiler warning: Spoilers for Loveless up to volume nine of the manga series. Read on with caution!
Oh, Loveless. It's been so long! The last time I had a chance to read this series, Tokyopop had just published the eighth volume, back when it was still a viable, relevant publisher of manga. Getting back in the groove with Ritsuka and Soubi and the others is like revisiting friends, albeit seriously screwed up friends with problems one cannot think of fixing, ever. Good thing Yun Kouga is so good at making oddly fascinating characters worth reading.

Friday, July 19, 2013

PR: Viz's Haikasoru Imprint Announces Several New Titles

HAIKASORU ANNOUNCES LATEST ACQUISITIONS, INCLUDING ALL YOU NEED IS KILL GRAPHIC NOVEL AND ‘REMASTERED’ BATTLE ROYALE NOVEL

ALL YOU NEED IS KILL Graphic Novel, Based On The Book That Inspired Upcoming Film EDGE OF TOMORROW;
BATTLE ROYALE: REMASTERED Novel Features New Translation; New Non-Fiction THE BATTLE ROYALE SLAM BOOK Explores The Novel’s Impact On Pop Culture;

San Francisco, CA, July 18, 2013 – VIZ Media’s Haikasoru literary imprint previewed an exciting trio of brand new publishing acquisitions slated for debut in Spring 2014 during the company’s panel at the recent 2013 Comic-Con International, the nation’s biggest comic book, science fiction and pop culture event.

The acquisitions include the imprint’s first original graphic novel: ALL YOU NEED IS KILL, based on the hit science fiction novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. The release will coincide with the upcoming film Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, also based on the ALL YOU NEED IS KILL book. Haikasoru’s other new acquisitions include BATTLE ROYALE: REMASTERED, featuring a brand new translation of the smash hit dystopian action/adventure story, and the BATTLE ROYALE SLAM BOOK: Essays on the Cult Classic Novel by Koushun Takami, both debuting on the 15th anniversary of the novel’s first debut.

Haikasoru publishes some of the most compelling contemporary Japanese science fiction and fantasy stories for English-speaking audiences, and is the first imprint based in the U.S. dedicated to Japanese science fiction and fantasy in translation.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The World (Of Hack) Has Been Saved!

Breaking news: Funimation has made it Christmas in July for Dot Hack franchise fans! Their license rescues include the original .hack series, the Roots series, the Twilight series, and the G.U. trilogy. Before today, the only Hack title they had in their library was the Quantum series, which came out last year.

If these titles do well, Funimation might very well license other titles in the Hack franchise. I hope they somehow wrangle the rights to the Limitation OVAs that were originally bundled with the games. What Hack titles are you looking forward to getting?


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Manga Review: Bleach GN 55

Bleach volume 55
Author: Tite Kubo
Viz Media/Shonen Jump
198 pages
The peace is suddenly broken when warning sirens blare through the Soul Society. Residents there are disappearing without a trace, and nobody knows who's behind it. Meanwhile, a dark shadow is also extending itself toward Ichigo and his friends in Karakura Town . . . (Source: Viz.com)
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for some events of Bleach's 55th volume.
Bleach is back in the swing of things: new arc, new antagonist, same Ichigo and friends. But this time, this may be the last battle for Kurosaki and the whole of Soul Society. A new group of dangerous warriors have descended upon the various realms of Bleach, intent on wiping out those who won't join them. 
The name of this story is the Thousand-Year Blood Arc, and as Tite Kubo sets the stage for the series finale, the body count is already steadily rising. It's the beginning of the end for this shonen superstar and it still manages to demand your full attention as ever before.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Manga Review: Cross Game GN 7 & 8

Cross Game volume 7 & 8
Author: Mitsuru Adachi
Viz Media/Shonen Sunday
376 pages (omnibus 7) & 376 pages (omnibus 8)

Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the entire Cross Game manga series.

With his final summer in high school approaching, Ko and the rest of the team are right in the thick of the regionals to qualify for Koshien. They manage a win in their first game, but the next round pits them against Kurokoma, led by none other than Seishu’s infamous former coach, Daimon. Seishu is cautious because they know Daimon would really hate to lose to the “Portables” twice. And as the team battles its way toward Koshien, Akane Takigawa is dealt a blow to her health and is hospitalized. (Source: Goodreads)
On the anime website MyAnimeList, the highest rating you can give a manga is a 10 - a masterpiece, quite a weighty label to give any piece of fiction. A masterpiece carries the airs of some perfect art, untouchable by flaws and utterly undefinable by any modern standards. When I rate something a 10, I don't do it lightly. The work being rated has to evoke in me an undeniable emotional reaction, a need to be in this fictional world as long as possible, and a mixture of melancholy and satisfaction when I finally reach the end of the story. Naturally, I've given Cross Game a rating of 10. To me, it is a masterpiece.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fujoshi O'Clock (7/12/13)

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!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Manga Review: Sakura Hime GN 10

Sakura Hime volume 10
Author: Arina Tanemura
Viz Media/Shojo Beat
184 pages
Rurijo captures the smitten Hayate and uses moon spring water on him. Princess Yuri, betrothed to Lord Fujimurasaki, seeks the private company of another man. And Princess Sakura is taken hostage by the emperor... (Source: Viz.com)
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the latest English translation of Sakura Hime.
If volume nine of Arina Tanemura's latest manga Sakura Hime was a departure into the more shojo-style romantic sphere of the series, volume ten brings us crashing back into the conflicts that propel the manga forward. Sakura's ancestry and curse of immortality once again comes into play, as does Hayate and Rurijo, two supporting characters caught in the web of Enju's machinations. Tanemura is bringing the danger and the drama back to Sakura Hime and it creates one of the strongest volumes of the whole series.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Manga Review: One Piece 62 & 63

One Piece volume 62 & 63
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Viz Media/Shonen Jump
200 pages

Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for these two volumes of the One Piece manga, and small spoilers for events leading up to them.

Luffy and the Straw Hat crew board their trusted ship and head under the sea towards Fish-Man Island. However, getting in their way will be fierce pirates, underwater volcanoes, and a humongous sea creature! (Source: Viz Manga)
The Fish-Man Island arc is like a calming, lovely breath of fresh air after the dire blood-soaked events of the war between the World Government and the greatest pirates on the sea. Well, I didn't say it was particularly uneventful, as even under the sea things aren't what they seem. 
But the Straw Hat Gang is back together after a multi-year time skip and once again having oddball adventures in their ship. Oh, and Sanji keeps having noxious nosebleeds that threaten to wipe him out.

Monday, July 8, 2013

PR: Viz's Neon Alley Expands And Adds New Anime Series

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES WEB INTEGRATION FOR NEON ALLEY DIGITAL ANIME CHANNEL AND PREMIERES NEW CONTENT FOR SUMMER AND FALL

Mac And PC Users Now Have Access To Innovative 24/7 Anime Channel; New Anime Series “K” Launches This Summer, Followed By The Debuts Of PUELLA MAGI MADOKA MAGICA And MAGI In The Fall

San Francisco, CA, July 8, 2013 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, has expanded the interoperability of its Neon Alley anime channel to give members seamless online web access from Mac and PC devices beginning July 5th. Mac and PC users can now enjoy 24/7 anime content with the same functionality and features that have been available to Neon Alley members on the Xbox 360® and Xbox LIVE® and the PlayStation®3 (PS3™) gaming system and the PlayStation®Network.

VIZ Media also continues to expand the programming offered on Neon Alley with the announcement of several new shows that are set to debut on the channel beginning this summer. The new anime action series, “K,” will premiere on Friday, July 12th, along with new ONE PIECE episodes (starting with Episode 53). These will be augmented by the Neon Alley premiere of NARUTO SHIPPUDEN THE MOVIE 4: THE LOST TOWER on July 28th and the highly anticipated broadcast of TIGER & BUNNY THE MOVE: THE BEGINNING on August 11th.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Story So Far: Bleach (Lost Agent Arc)

Bleach volumes 49-54 (Tale of the Lost Agent)
Art/story by Tite Kubo
Published in English by Viz Manga/Shonen Jump

Spoiler warning: Post contains spoilers for the entire Lost Agent arc and events leading up to it.

The Tale of the Lost Agent is a major conflict detailing Ichigo Kurosaki seventeen months after Sōsuke Aizen's defeat, completely devoid of any spiritual power or awareness at all. Following his friend Uryū Ishida's attack, Ichigo decides to regain his lost Shinigami powers. He enlists the help of Fullbringers calling themselves Xcution. (Source: Bleach Wikia)
Tite Kubo could have easily ended Bleach with volume 48. He could have had Ichigo ride off into the Karakura sunset, having said goodbye to Rukia and in turn his abilities and the world of Soul Society and shinigami and spirits. He could have ended the series with Ichigo as a human, back in 'normal' society with his friends, forever changed by his experiences but unable to return to that place.
But, naturally, Bleach makes too much damn money for the folks behind Shonen Jump, and so once again we return to Ichigo Kurosaki's world, in which the young man is determined to see a return of his shinigami abilities as well as his abilities to see the spirit world, the ones that had previously made his adolescence a terrible experience. Plus, it wouldn't make narrative sense to leave Ichigo alone after all he's been through. Thus, in usual shonen fashion, we are treated to a time skip before joining a very human Ichigo and his new life in Karakura post-Aizen.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Birthday, America!

Again, Nagareboshi Reviews - an American based blog - is posting on the Fourth of July, that one holiday in the United States where we celebrate our independence from England with loud fireworks, grilling, and lots of alcohol (and apparently a Twilight Zone marathon, if you're the programming director at SyFy).

Last year I was posting about my top five American characters in anime, and number one was Alfred F. Jones a.k.a. America from Axis Powers Hetalia. And today is his birthday yet again! He's looking pretty good for being around 230 years old. You can read more about his character on his Hetalia Archives page, or watch his antics with his fellow countries at the YouTube channel for Hetalia: World Series.


Geez, Alfred's character songs are so annoyingly him, aren't they? And really catchy! Which is no surprise since Katsuyuki Konishi (America's VA) is a pretty good singer. Hamburgers and UFOs for everyone!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hentai Review: Happy Girls

Happy Girls
Author: Zukiki
Digital Manga Publishing/Project-H
200 pages
Don't hold back if you want it that bad and let your inhibitions run wild! Let these impulsive beauties take the reins and help you to experience pleasure like never before! Come and have some fun with the four lovely sisters-Haru (Spring), Natsu (Summer), Aki (Autumn), and Fuyuko (Winter)-and experience all of their love. This book is packed with 10 sexy stories that will definitely make you happy all year long! (Source: Goodreads)
Content warning: The following post is a hentai review, covering a manga meant for 18+ audiences. Although hentai reviews will not include images, they will be about materials that involve explicit scenarios and may go into detail about certain H scenes. Please read with caution!
First of all, forgive me: how does one review a hentai manga? I suppose like any other manga - but hentai's main purpose is to get one's rocks off, and I usually don't review materials like that. Still, for Project-H and the efforts of manga-ka Zukiki, I shall do my best!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Micro Anime Review: Ghost in the Shell Arise - Another Mission

The premise of the story: "Snatch the rebel elements' secret data using the Surface! There is a leak saying that the giant coporation Ishimiya Industry will commit an act of international terrorism, and Motoko Kusanagi and the Armored Riot Police head out to seize the plug data!" (Source: ANN)


Let's be real: it's a promotional video for Microsoft's Surface tablet. But for a promo, it's pretty darn shiny and entertaining, a lot more entertaining than the idiotic dancing adverts they keep showing in the States. And it's a decent refresher on who will be appearing in the latest Ghost In The Shell series, featuring everyone's favorite folks from Section 9 doing what they do best: hacking and kicking ass.

The story itself is pretty simple - get the info, stop some terrorists - that is given a extra veneer of importance due to the constant usage of the Surface device, which literally is thrown around from member to member in the course of the three minute promo. Honestly, I'm not bothered by the product placement, because it has got me officially ready to start diving into Arise and the adventures of a pre-GITS Kusanagi. And I'm pretty sure that was the point the whole time. Well, aside from selling tablets.

Ghost In The Shell: Arise has been licensed by Funimation for North American digital and home release; there's a page for Arise on the Funi site, but no release information seems to be available at this time.