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Monday, September 30, 2013

The Fight Against Bamboo, Corruption, and Social Awkwardness

This Monday, I'll be tackling the latest episodes of Digimon Fusion, Korra, and Soul Eater. They're all pretty plot-advancing episodes and righteous on their own. Spoilers for each series up to this point are within! And because I'm following the American broadcast for both anime series, try not to spoil me in the comments, pretty please? (And no, saying MORE DIGIMON FUSE TOGETHER AHAHAHA is not a legit spoiler.)
PS - Did anyone else catch that Nickelodeon apparently aired the wrong episode of Digimon Fusion on Saturday, in the same time slot usually reserved for new episodes? Hey, that's cool Nick, reair the first episode and still call it "new" and don't let any DVRs know the difference. Sigh. As I said on Twitter, someone please wrestle the broadcasting rights for the Digimon francise away from them and give 'em to someone more deserving. Even Disney XD would be better!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fujoshi O'Clock (9/29/13)

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!

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Dance of Black and White: Sword Art Online 8

After 2 years, people have gotten used to living in SAO. With a dwindling front line, it might just be up to Kirito and Asuna to continue the change. (Source: Crunchyroll)
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the eighth episode of Sword Art Online.
There have been two moments in Sword Art Online that have really hit me where it counts when it comes to the impact of Aincrad's grip on its players. The first moment came at the end of SAO's first episode, when it is stated how many players have already died by the end of the first month and yet no one has cleared the first level. The second moment comes in this eighth episode, where it is declared in the same matter of fact tone that players have been stuck in Aincard for two whole years.
That's real time, y'all. One can only imagine how many users have died in two years. And yet, in the war to clear the game and defeat the final boss (and in turn, rejoin the rest of the world outside SAO), it seems that ennui threatens to take over the front lines and stop the battle in its tracks.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Story So Far: Soul Eater

Set in the Shinigami technical school for weapon meisters, the series revolves around 3 groups of each a weapon meister and a human weapon. Trying to make the latter a "Death Scythe" which is the highest title for a weapon and thus fit for use by the Shinigami, they must collect the souls of 99 evil humans and 1 witch. (Source: MAL)
Spoiler Warning: Review discusses up to episode 30 of Soul Eater, per the Toonami broadcast of the series.
Apparently, I have been harboring this illusion that I had been blogging about my Soul Eater anime experience for the past year or so. Manga, yes (although thanks to Yen Press' advanced releases, I'm hideously behind on that). Anime? Big no. Which is silly, because I've been watching the Toonami broadcast since the beginning and have been enjoying what has been, so far, one of the best shonen anime in the past decade. 
And no, it's not just because Soul Eater actually has an ending, clocking out with a modest 51 episodes (well, modest for a show of its genre). It's because Soul Eater is a legitimately enjoyable program that deserves every bit of praise it gets.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

PR: Shojo Beat To Premiere New Maki Minami Manga

SEIYU KA! © Maki Minami
2009/HAKUSENSHA,Inc.
VIZ MEDIA TAKES MANGA FANS BEHIND THE MICROPHONE FOR THE LAUNCH OF 
VOICE OVER!: SEIYU ACADEMY


Dive Into The Competitive World Of Anime Voice Acting As A Talented Girl Rises To The Top Of The Industry In This New Shojo Manga Series From The Creator Of S•A

San Francisco, CA, September 24, 2013 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, takes readers on a journey into Japan’s burgeoning anime voice acting industry with the release of VOICE OVER!: SEIYU ACADEMY on October 1st. The new manga (graphic novel) series by Maki Minami will be published under the company’s Shojo Beat imprint, is rated ‘T’ for Teens, and will carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

VOICE OVER!: SEIYU ACADEMY will also be available digitally for $6.99 (U.S / CAN) from VIZManga.com and for digital download through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, and also for NOOK tablets and devices.

Hime Kino’s dream is to one day become a voice actor like her hero Sakura Aoyama from the Lovely Blazers anime, and getting accepted to the prestigious Holly Academy’s voice actor department is the first step in the right direction! But Hime’s gruff voice has earned her the scorn of teachers and students alike. Hime will not let that stand unchallenged. She’ll show everyone that she is too a voice acting princess, whether they like it or not!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Initial Thoughts: Legend of Korra Season Two

The series is set in a fictional universe where some people can manipulate, or "bend", the elements of water, earth, fire, or air. Only one person, the "Avatar", can bend all four elements, and is responsible for maintaining balance in the world. The series follows Avatar Korra, the successor of Aang from the previous series, as she faces political and spiritual unrest in a modernizing world. (Source: Wikipedia)
Spoiler warning: Post contains spoilers for season two of Legend of Korra, up to the end of Civil Wars, Part 1 - as well as spoilers for how season one ended! Read on with caution!
Don't worry. For the first time, I'm gonna keep this short. I'm actually more interested in what everyone else has to think that hearing myself talk. I'd especially like to hear from people who, for them, Korra is their first exposure to the Avatar verse. Speak up!
So the first season of Korra ended pretty well for the young Avatar. She had defeated Amon, airbended for the first time, got herself a hot new boyfriend, and saved Republic City from certain destruction. Certainly, things can only go up from there. Right? Eh, not so much. As we rejoin the new Avatar Gang six months later, we see that Korra still has a lot to learn about being a proper Avatar. Aang must be sighing heavily in the spirit world.

Signal Boost: Princess Mononoke Fan Film Kickstarter

I have a particular soft spot for the Hayao Miyazaki film known as Princess Mononoke. It was my first exposure to Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli; I believe I still own the VHS from whence I saw it, purchased for dirt cheap at a church yard sale. So, anyone paying homage to that anime will always get love from me.

This is why I'm representing the latest anime inspired Kickstarter campaign to hit my radar: Wolf Girl, a live action. Princess Mononoke fan film by truly dedicated Miyazaki otaku with a passion for Mononoke-hime and film. You gotta check this out: the visuals look amazing, the technology behind it is ace, and it sounds like they are planning a great love letter to one of Miyazaki's best films. Plus, the rewards are super cute!

Right now, Wolf Girl has six days to reach its initial funding goal. And boy, does it need all six days. So, um, get to funding! If Kick-Heart and Academia can make it, why not Wolf Girl?


Friday, September 20, 2013

Manga Review: Barbara

Barbara
Author: Osamu Tezuka
Digital Manga Publishing
432 pages
Wandering the packed tunnels of Shinjuku Station, famous author Yosuke Mikura makes a strange discovery: a seemingly homeless drunk woman who can quote French poetry. Her name is Barbara. He takes her home for a bath and a drink, and before long Barbara has made herself into Mikura's shadow, saving him from egotistical delusions and jealous enemies. But just as Mikura is no saint, Barbara is no benevolent guardian angel, and Mikura grows obsessed with discovering her secrets, tangling with thugs, sadists, magical curses and mythical beings - all the while wondering whether he himself is still sane. (Source: DMP)
If your first thought when you hear 'Doctor Osamu Tezuka' is children's manga and Astro Boy, cheerful robots and visual gags and colorful fantasy worlds fit to explore through, you would do best to set all those thoughts aside. Once you open up Barbara, it's obvious that there are two Doctor Tezukas - the man best known for his creations like Astro Boy and Kimba who appeals to all age groups especially kids, while there is also the man who wrote Barbara, the man who explores the depths of human psychology in all its dark terrific details.
Barbara is, put simply (if possible), the story of one man's fall through the shadowy pit of the human psyche as he loses his mind, and the woman who takes him there. It is not so much a children's story as it is a cautionary tale for non-cautionary adults. It's a naughty fairy tale that breaks taboos, bends reality, and blurs the line between dream and nightmare.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Temperature of the Heart: Sword Art Online 7

A trip to get a new sword leaves Kirito battling a dragon and his fears. (Source: Crunchyroll)
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the seventh episode of Sword Art Online. Remember - no spoilers beyond the Toonami broadcast!
Meet Lisbeth. Apparently the best smith around, and arguably the most adorable smith in all of Aincrad. In her shop at the 48th floor, her customers include members of the assault team. Her hand-crafted swords are second to known. 

She is about to get sucked into the whirling lone wolf maelstrom of emotions and pouting that is Kirito. Let us form a prayer circle for dear Lisbeth; she is going to need it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Open Thread: Legend of Korra


I know, you were probably expect a post on the latest Toonami broadcast of Sword Art Online. Surprise, this is not that post. Sorry! Come hell or high water, that post will come tomorrow. I've been sick the past couple of days, but excuses aren't worth much, are they?

So let's take and break and talk about Avatar - specifically, the Legend of Korra series. Now that season two has started, I want to hear your thoughts on the show as a whole. Love it or hate it, drop your truest feelings about the latest Avatar and her gang here.

And please be sure to mark your spoilers, somehow! Not everyone has been able to catch the premiere of Korra's second season yet!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fujoshi O'Clock (9/14/13)

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!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Graphic Novel Review: Off*Beat GN 1

Off*Beat volume 1
Author: Jen Lee Quick
Chromatic Press Inc.
173 pages
Christopher "Tory" Blake is a little too smart for his own good. His flights of fancy can whisk him away to odd places, but none so odd as those involving his mysterious new neighbor, Colin Stephens. Quiet and unassuming, it's obvious that Colin is up to something - but what? And when it turns out Tory's instincts may actually be on to something, he discovers he's got just as much to figure out about himself as he does about his new "friend." Is Colin just a curiosity or something more...? (Source: Chromatic Press)
Once upon a time, Tokyopop performed a great experiment in which prodigious manga-ka of American origin were courted for their manga-inspired works, an attempt to become the publisher of OEL (Original English Language) manga in North America. Much like the company itself, it eventually failed, but several stellar titles ended up rising from the group, redeeming OEL manga from the role of "lesser manga".
One of these titles, all thanks to the crowd sourced power of Kickstarter, is enjoying a reprint renaissance thanks to a brand new comic press - and that is Jen Lee Quick's Off*Beat, one of the best OEL manga you're not reading. And now you can, again!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

PR: DMP Pushes September Switch Promo For eManga

Gardena, CA. (September 11, 2013Digital Manga, Inc., one of the manga industry’s most progressive and innovative publishers is proud to present our September Switch promotion on eManga.com With over 1000 digital titles and growing, eManga is the one-stop shop for downloadable manga to read and keep.  Don’t like to read online, only read on Android phones, or addicted to your iPad? No worries! eManga offers 7 different file types optimized for every device—rest assured your purchases can travel with you, internet-free.  
Fall’s just around the corner and you know what that means: it’s back to school season! Whether you’re headed to class or to the office, it’s an excellent time to rediscover the power of books. We here at eManga want to foster that joy of reading with our Free Fall Books promotion. Starting from September 11th to October 13th, eManga is offering this promotion for all ebook devotees to make the switch to eManga.comfor all your digital manga needs, turning your past purchased ebooks from other ebook retailers into FREE eManga titles!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Stepping Over Hato-Kun's Legs

A Few Thoughts on Genshiken Season 2's First Volume
Club president Chika Ogiue now has to manage a fresh-faced trio of yaoi fans (one of whom dabbles in cross-dressing), a surly American transfer student with a penchant for obscure anime quotes, and her own rising career as a professional manga artist. Can she actually find time to draw her own vanity project for Comic-Fest? (Source: Kodansha Comics)
Spoiler alert: Spoilers for the Genshiken series so far can be found in the post below. Read with caution!
Hello, my name is Sarah and I have an emotionally complex relationship with Shimoku Kio's series Genshiken. Genshiken is that one series I can always go back to when I want to rekindle my love for anime and manga culture or want to be inspired to do my own creative creations or simply wish to be entertained by nerdy folk who are a lot more funny and pleasing than myself. If it weren't for knowing Genshiken, I might have never joined my college's anime club with the same name.
It is a series I've been following for years and was heartbroken to finish - so the fact that there is a second season? Oh, hell yes.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Illusionary Avenger: Sword Art Online 6

Kirito has figured out the how and now he has to figure out the why. (Source: Crunchyroll)
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the sixth episode of Sword Art Online. Please, no spoilers beyond the Toonami broadcast!
Crunchyroll, congratulations. You couldn't have possibly give this episode a more vague description. Still, Kirito is one hell of a detective, isn't he? This week on SAO, Kirito is able to deduce some amazing information from a disintegrating sandwich. Also, judging by the thick text being laid down, everyone is gonna get married in this game. Everyone! 
At least this contrived murder mystery has finally been put to rest. Ouch, sorry about the pun.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Initial Thoughts: Digimon Fusion

Spoiler alert: Review contains spoilers for the first episode of Digimon Xros Wars/Digimon Fusion.
A new Digimon series has started airing on Nickelodeon, although the usual press release churning media machine of Nick's that crows about such series as Korra and Sam & Cat has stayed awfully quiet about it. Its Japanese name is Digimon Xros Wars, but in the grand tradition of the franchise, Nickelodeon has changed it to something much more simpler and on the nose: Digimon Fusion
(Guess what kind of Digi-evolution goes on this series? You get three hints, and the first two don't count.)
And so the first episode of Digimon Fusion aired this afternoon with little fanfare. So, what might be going on in the Digital World since the last series?

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Story So Far: Pandora Hearts

Pandora Hearts volumes 1-17
Art/story by Jun Mochizuki
Published in English by Yen Press

The air of celebration surrounding fifteen-year-old Oz Vessalius’ coming-of-age ceremony quickly turns to horror when he is condemned for a sin about which he knows nothing. He is thrown into an eternal, inescapable prison known as the Abyss from which there is no escape. There, he meets a young girl named Alice, who is not what she seems. Now that the relentless cogs of fate have begun to turn, do they lead only to crushing despair for Oz, or is there some shred of hope for him to grasp on to? (Source: Yen Press)
"This world is like a dark night that swallows everything."
Pandora Hearts, despite what some might think, is not some Black Butler pastiche gone wrong (hell, the plots aren't even that similar). It's not an Alice In Wonderland-inspired Gothic tale in the vein of, say, Alice In The Country Of Hearts. Pandora Hearts may live within a realm of Alice inspired references but it is not limited to Lewis Carroll's 'verse. This is a bloody, dark hearted kind of fairy tale where safety is an illusion, everyone is a lie, and back stories are meant to be blown wide open by the terrible truth.
Honestly, if you get up to volume seventeen in Pandora Hearts - the most recent release by Yen Press - and you don't find yourself cursing out Jun Mochizuki and her deliciously deceitful ways, you might want to read something else. To love Pandora Hearts is to love having your heart pulled out and stomped on on a regular schedule, and enjoy it. I can't remember reading a volume which didn't have me at the end of it stomping my feet, frustrated that I didn't have the following volume already in my hands.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Manga Review: Rohan at the Louvre

Rohan at the Louvre
Author: Hirohiko Araki
NBM Publishing
128 pages
Rohan, a young manga-ka, meets a beautiful mysterious young woman with a dramatic story. Seeing him draw, she tells him of a cursed 200 year old painting using the blackest ink ever known from a 1000 year old tree the painter had brought down without approval from the Emperor who had him executed for doing so. The painting meanwhile had been saved from destruction by a curator of the Louvre. Rohan forgets this story as he becomes famous but ten years later, visiting Paris, he takes the occasion to try and locate the painting. (Source: NBM)
Have you ever read a graphic novel that, as you reached the end, you sat back and was overwhelmed by the sheer quality of it? Hirohiko Araki's Rohan at the Louvre qualifies as one of those graphic novels for me. It is a visually stunning love letter to the most famous art museum in the world, the Louvre, as well as the manga medium in general. If this is just a sample of what Hirohiko Araki can do, it boggles my mind that more of his work isn't available in English. Or shall we be doomed to be limited to Jojo's Bizarre Adventures and this?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

PR: Viz Media Releases New Volume Of Mameshiba Comic

MAMESHIBA © Dentsu INC.
MAGIC IS IN THE AIR, AS MAMESHIBA RETURN FOR THEIR LATEST SPELLBINDING ADVENTURE IN MAMESHIBA: ENCHANTED!

VIZ Media’s Perfect Square Imprint Delivers New All Ages Adventures Featuring Japan’s Irresistibly Cute Sensations

San Francisco, CA, September 3, 2013 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga, graphic novels and anime in North America, announces the return of the whimsical Japanese character sensations – MAMESHIBA – for a brand new original graphic novel adventure in MAMESHIBA: ENCHANTED!, featuring stories by James Turner and artwork by Jorge Monlongo.

MAMESHIBA: ENCHANTED! is rated ‘A’ for All Ages and debuts today from VIZ Media’s Perfect Square imprint with an MSRP of $6.99 U.S. / $7.99 CAN. A digital version of MAMESHIBA: ENCHANTED for the Apple iPad® and iPad® Mini is also available for download from the Perfect Square App for $4.99 U.S. / CAN.

In ENCHANTED--the third graphic novel featuring the cute bean-dogs from Japan--there's magic in the air! Cranberry Bean is under a spell, Edamame's kitchen is haunted, and Sword Bean is protecting the newest members of the Mameshiba family: Babyshiba! It’s all fun and games until someone upsets a magic tortoise! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Manga Review: Library Wars GN 10

Library Wars volume 10
Authors: Kiiro Yumi, Hiro Arikawa
Viz Media/Shojo Beat
200 pages
The Media Betterment Committee has censored an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Iku’s hometown! Iku’s top-ranked Library Forces team must train the local troops to defend the freedom of speech using any means necessary…but the librarians there resent her position and aren’t shy about making their feelings known. Soon Iku’s parents catch wind of her secret life as a member of the Library Forces, with disastrous results! (Source: Shojo Beat)
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the Library Wars manga so far.
In the last volume, we saw the Media Betterment Committee lose their mind over an article that dared to use the word 'barber' - and that a citizens' group sued them for their censorship efforts. The battle against silencing speech has only started, though, as another fight starts as another ends, all in the conflict between MBC and the Library Forces. And as the Library Forces get heated in Ibaraki, poor Iku can't help but get heated over Dojo and the possibility of her parents finding out what she really does every day. What's a girl in uniform to do?