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Friday, November 29, 2013

Fujoshi O'Clock (Black Friday Edition)

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, November 27, 2013

Manga Sprites: Of Demons And First Love

Some times, you have time to write a 1,000+ word review of a single book. Some times, you just don't. For those times, we have Book Sprites, our latest semi-regular manga feature, with compact book reviews for the discerning reader with no time to lose. No major spoilers lie here!

Today, I'm tackling Black Butler, Strobe Edge, and Blue Exorcist. It's a Yen Press and Viz bonanza!

Black Butler volume 15 by Yana Toboso: This week on Kuroshitsuji - Ciel in a high-class school uniform and Sebastian in fancy dress and glasses and cravat! If you are already salivating over these images, you are Black Butler's target demographic and this arc is going to be your favorite. This latest mystery involves students disappearing in a posh boarding school and naturally only Ciel can go undercover to figure out what is going on.

Naturally, Ciel stumbles across the strangest boarding school in the country. The younger students fight to be completely subservient to the older students, an eclectic bunch of upperclassmen rule the student body, the head of campus is never seen by average students, and backstabbing and treachery abounds in every hallway. Oh, and they start their school day at six o'clock in the morning. Ugh. Ciel really has to watch his bag lest he blow his cover.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Day of the Doctor Is Here...


"I've been running all my lives... through time and space. Every second of every minute of every day for over nine hundred years. I fought for peace in a universe at war. Now the time has come to face the choices I made in the name of the Doctor. Our future depends on one single moment of one impossible day. The day I've been running from all my life. The day of the Doctor."

All right then. Let's hear what everyone thought of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special! Personally, I found it was exciting, thrilling, controversial, emotional, memorable, engaging, humorous and just ace all around. And, of course, I loved all the nods to Classic Who.

Spoilers in the comments, of course!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Kirito In The Land Of The Fairies

Kirigaya is adjusting to his life outside of the game, but he hasn’t forgotten about Asuna. A recent visit to her in the hospital, he meets Sugou Nobuyuki. | A new MMO allows users to fly and encourages player killing. Kirito has joined this new game in search of Asuna and is pleasantly surprised with what he finds. (Source: Crunchyroll)
Spoiler warning: Post contains spoilers up to episode 16, "Land of the Fairies".
What is reality? How can we say that our lives in the digital, virtual reality is less real than in 'reality' when those in the VR have fallen in love, created families, started new lives? This is a dilemma that has haunted the Aincrad world since the beginning, especially since many members initially started out to break free from SAO and Akihiko's maniacal grips. Now that Kirito is outside of SAO and returning to the other world, the 'reality' of his old life, how can he be expected to forget the years spent inside Aincrad?
Stuck between two worlds, Kirito may have to do the unthinkable to take back the life he had made for himself in the digital walls of SAO: jump back into the ever-expanding 'verse of MMOs, for love and for family. For the second time in his life, Kirito must become the hero - only now it's for someone else's life, not his own.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

PR: Haikasoru Debuts New Title By Miyuki Miyabi

Apparitions: Ghosts of Old Edo (AYASHI) 
by MIYABE Miyuki
© 2000 MIYABE Miyuki
All rights reserved.
VIZ MEDIA’S HAIKASORU IMPRINT RELEASES AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR MIYUKI MIYABE’S APPARITIONS: THE GHOSTS OF OLD EDO

Edo, Birthplace Of Japan’s Modern Age, Is Also Home To Vengeful Ghosts Of The Past In A Gripping Horror Collection By Acclaimed Author Of BRAVE STORY And ICO: CASTLE IN THE MIST

San Francisco, CA, November 19, 2013 – VIZ Media’s Haikasoru literary imprint is proud to announce the North American release of famed Japanese author Miyuki Miyabe’s chilling collection of ghost stories – APPARITIONS: THE GHOSTS OF OLD EDO. The new release carries an MSRP of $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN.

An eBook edition is also available for $8.99 (U.S. / CAN) for the Amazon Kindle, Apple’s iBooks Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Book Store, and the Kobo eBooks Store.

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.

In old Edo, the past was never forgotten. It lived alongside the present in dark corners and in the shadows. In these tales, award-winning author Miyuki Miyabe explores the ghosts of early modern Japan and the spaces of the living world – workplaces, families, and the human soul – that they inhabit. Written with a journalistic eye and a fantasist’s heart, APPARITIONS brings the restless dead, and those who encounter them, to life.

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's The Most Wonderful Time For Some News

I scream, you scream, we all scream for a good link spam. This one is strictly manga flavored!
  • Digital Manga Publishing is having an autumn sale on select eManga titles until the 25th (although their promo banner says the 20th?). These titles will be 1/4th off the original price, and include a whole lot of boys' love goodness. Also, they've added new titles to their digital catalog, including some H-manga and Brave 10.
  • Vertical Inc.'s latest news is all about sushi - they are hitting shelves with a new sushi book just in time for Christmas shopping. Sushi Simplicity is filled with tips on making really good looking and tasty sushi. They have also licensed the Cardfighter!! Vanguard manga, which is an ongoing franchise that also includes a trading card game and several anime series.
  • Viz Media is also kicking off holiday shopping with a wide variety of new releases, including Pokemon and Hello Kitty, two high selling imprints of theirs. Also, Mameshiba! Who doesn't love talking beans filled with obscure factoids?
  • Fantagraphics Books, who publishes the manga Wandering Son, is holding a Kickstarter so readers can directly support their favorite titles. With 16 days to go, it's already reached it's target goal. And yes, Wandering Son (volume seven) is an option for funding!
  • Yes, Hayao Miyazaki is retiring from anime - but he's spending his time away from the Ghibli studios to work on a samurai manga. His title will focus on Japan's 'warring states' period in history. Can we all just agree that Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most adorable people on the planet? Cos it's true.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dig Those Jazzy Jams, My Good Hotman

(Is that Fire Nation reference too A:TLA for this post? Meh. Still not half as zany as something Varrick would say!)

As I'm watching the latest hour-long episode of Legend of Korra - spoiler alert: it's a great one! - I realize that I've yet to talk about one of the strongest aspects of the series. That is, the music! The soundtrack is one that Korra fans had to fight for so Nickelodeon would sell it commercially, since there had been issues with money and the score's release possibly not making enough sales to make it worthwhile. But the original score that was crafted for Korra and made it to the TV screen was deemed worthy of throwing our money at gladly.

It made a good series great, adding that audio layer of depth to a colorful visual series. I can't imagine Legend of Korra sounding the same as the original Avatar series! Some shows just really need a good jazz ensemble to get things started.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fujoshi O'Clock (11/14/13)

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!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Graphic Novel Review: Off*Beat GN 2

Off*Beat volume 2
Author: Jen Lee Quick
Chromatic Press Inc.
176 pages
Christopher "Tory" Blake finally feels like he's gaining ground in his quest to learn more about the introverted Colin Stephens. But can he really discover what makes his new neighbor so fascinating through study dates and a few shared lunches? And when Tory's flatmate almost loses his computer to a virus protecting the secrets of something called "The Gaia Project," Tory gets a glimpse of just how deep Colin's mysteries go. What is the Gaia Project, and more importantly, is it what's causing Tory's heart to race whenever he sees Colin...? (Source: Chromatic Press)
Oh, Tory, baby. You have so much to learn about the human heart. Oh, and not stalking the boys you have secret crushes (that are so secret even you don't know it's there) on. In this volume of Off*Beat, the closer Tory gets to Colin in order to learn more about the Gaia Project, the more Tory gets to realizing that it's more about Colin that anything else. He also starts realizing that his actions have consequences - and those consequences hurt. It's yet another wonderful volume of Off*Beat that has me eagerly awaiting the publication of the third.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Signal Boost: Hana Doki Kira Kickstarter

I love shojo comics. I also love OEL manga and the great titles they have given us over the year - Bizenghast, Off*Beat, Dramacon, et cetera. So this Hana Doki Kira Kickstart campaign is the best of both worlds, a print/digital anthology featuring a variety of art styles that all celebrate shojo as a genre worth exploring. I'm not terribly familiar with the contributing artists, but I'd love to read and become acquainted with their works. Plus, any group that draws upon the legendary Year 24 Group is awesome by me.

As of today, they've reached their initial funding goal, but with 19 days to go and so many stretch goals yet to reach, why not help them out more? After all, more money means more cool additions to the finished product! After all, who doesn't like a book with a shimmery foil cover?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Open Thread: Thor 2

Spoilers for the Marvel Cinematic Universe series in the comment section, probably!

I saw Thor 2: The Dark World this morning and if this is how Phase 2 is going to be rolling out, with this and Iron Man 3 to start, than Phase 2 might end up being stronger in storytelling and character development than MCU's Phase 1. I also love the look of Asgard in this latest film, especially the Rainbow Bridge which seems less shiny and more plausible, if that makes sense.

So let's talk about all the great things that made Thor: The Dark World a blockbuster film!

  • Heimdall, who was awesome!
  • Sif and her Warriors Three, who were also awesome!
  • Thor, who stood up for his girlfriend and has clearly developed since The Avengers!
  • How amazingly funny this movie is, given some of the plot twists and that the war between Asgard and the Elves isn't exactly bloodless.
  • JANE FOSTER AND THE POWER OF SCIENCE. Also, lovable Darcy and Dr Selvig, who is lovable in an entirely different way. Can we have Jane/Darcy/Selvig spin-off?
  • The Dark Elves, which were actually interesting villains - and the main Elves were played by the Ninth Doctor from Doctor Who and Mr Eko from LOST, making them that much cooler. Although I can only imagine what a pain it is to sit for all that make-up every day.
  • L O K I
  • Stan Lee cameo!
  • And yes, stick around for after the credits - both times!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Story So Far: Korra Book Two

The Legend Of Korra - Book Two: Spirits: Six months after the end of Book One: Air, Korra believes she has has mastered airbending, Mako works as a policeman, Bolin fares poorly in pro-bending with the new "Fire Ferrets", and Asami tries to keep Future Industries afloat. With Tenzin, the friends visit Korra's and Tenzin's family in the Southern Water Tribe. After Korra's uncle and tribal chief Unalaq easily repels an angry spirit's attack, Korra chooses him instead of Tenzin as her spiritual teacher. (Source: Wikipedia)
Spoiler warning: Contains spoilers up to "A New Spiritual Age", which aired November 8th.
For a series that was initially never going to continue beyond its original first mini-series of a season one, Korra's season two is doing a solid job of showing that an Avatar: The Last Airbender sequel series can center around someone that isn't Aang and still be wildly successful. Audience reaction to Korra as an Avatar has always been divided, but she still draws in viewers, and in recent episodes, she has grown beyond her usual "punch first, question second" persona from Book One.
Add in a lot of political intrigue, industrial espionage, and trips through the Spirit World, and Book Two: Spirits is a winning entry in the greater Avatar 'verse.

Friday, November 8, 2013

PR: Naruto Shippuden Returning To US Screens Via Toonami


(OP Note: As of today, Naruto Shippuden is currently at fourteen seasons and 337 episodes, according to Wikipedia. That's a lot of catching up to do, Toonami! Assuming they start at the beginning, that is...)

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN ANIME SERIES ON
ADULT SWIM’S TOONAMI IN 2014

VIZ Media has announced the debut of the NARUTO SHIPPUDEN anime series on Adult Swim’s Toonami programming block beginning in January 2014. North American fans can catch dubbed and uncut adventures featuring the world’s most popular ninja from the beginning with a new episode airing each week. Check local listings for specific airtimes and channel availability.

Adult Swim (AdultSwim.com), launched in 2001, is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.’s network offering original and acquired animated and live-action series for young adults.  Airing nightly from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. (ET/PT), Adult Swim is basic cable’s #1 network with persons 18-34 and 18-49, and is seen in 99 million U.S. homes.

Created by Masashi Kishimoto, NARUTO was first introduced in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan in 1999 and quickly became that country’s most popular ninja manga properties. The manga series (rated ‘T’ for Teens, in print and digital editions) and animated counterpart (NARUTO and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN rated ‘TV-14’) are some of VIZ Media’s most successful titles and have captivated millions of fans across North America, Europe and South America.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Sprites: Natsume, Shugo Chara Chan, Blue Exorcist

Some times, you have time to write a 1,000+ word review of a single book. Some times, you just don't. For those times, we have Book Sprites, compact book reviews for the discerning reader with no time to lose. No major spoilers lie here!

Shugo Chara Chan! volume 2 by Peach-Pit: If you liked the first volume of Shugo Chara Chan! - surprise, it's more of the same! Amu's guardians take a antic-filled trip through the various seasons and their respective holidays, and in their usual fashion, make a mess out of everything. It was cute and fluffy and ultimately forgettable. Thank goodness for the Kodansha Comics' habit of giving us end notes because this volume is swimming in Japanese cultural references, ones that entire jokes hinge upon understanding.

The crossover chapters with various manga titles like Arisa and Hell Girl were entertaining enough. Maybe we'll get lucky and get a crossover with Yuu Watase... Or is she even Kodansha? Hrm.

Blue Exorcist volume 5 by Kazue Kato: I can see where the anime deviated from the manga, because this is a piece of action sorely missing from the animated adaptation. We're seeing the repercussions of revealing Rin's devilish heritage, and the affect of it on his classmates are very palpable in this book. We also see more of the Rin/Yukio brotherly dynamic, as Yukio continues to fight to become a better exorcist and go against his own blood. The hunt for a demonic eye with terrible powers takes Rin and his group to Kyoto and into even more family drama, only with Bon and Shiwa.

Looking forward to how Bon will deal with his personal issues before the fight to regain the eye commences. Also, damn Yukio, you even make an oversized Hazmat suit look good. Ah, Cross Academy, how we love your attractive glasses-wearing instructors.

Natsume's Book of Friends volume 11 by Yuki Midorikawa: This week on Natsume Yuujinchou - YOUR HEART CRYING AND BURSTING INTO A THOUSAND PIECES. So, typical Midorikawa! In this volume, we see Natsume grow as a character as he spends time with his friends and returns to his childhood home, going back into a painful and melancholy past. It's wonderful to see Natsume open up to his friends more and more, although he still has things he must hold back because they hurt too much. Natsume's utter selflessness continues to break my heart. Take care of yourself, Natsume!

Also, it's too cute to see Nyanko-sensei insist that he's only hanging around Natume for the Book of Friends when it's clear that the great spirit has become protective of Natsume and genuinely cares for the boy. Oh, Nyankichi! I can't blame Taki for her initial reaction to seeing Nyanko-sensei; I would want to cuddle him, too!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The End of Aincrad As We Know It

Edge of Hell's Abyss: While enjoying a fishing tournament, Kirito receives an urgent e-mail from the leader of the guild requesting their return.
The End of the World: Game Over. (Source: Crunchyroll)
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the thirteenth and fourteenth episodes of Sword Art Online.
I couldn't put it more plainly or more to the point than Crunchyroll does for its episode summary of 14: Game Over. End of game. No save point, no restart, no expansion pack. It's win or die, a Game of Thrones MMORPG that our heroes have been stuck in for several years, literally putting their lives on the line with every virtual fight they involve themselves in. Kirito has become Aincrad's best hope in clearing the game, defeating the final boss, and getting everyone out alive. Here it comes: the final countdown! The great battle! The duel to end all duels! But first, fishing!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Manga Review: Voice Over! GN 1

Voice Over! Seiyu Academy volume 1
Author: Maki Minami
Viz Media/Shojo Beat
208 pages
A new series by the author of the best-selling SA! Hime Kino’s dream is to one day do voice acting like her hero Sakura Aoyama from the Lovely Blazer 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!! (Source: Viz Media)
Even though my exposure to the behind-the-scenes world of Japanese voice acting is limited at best, I've always imagined it to be a rather cutthroat world where only the best will do and everyone is fighting for a limited number of roles, an impression given by such series as White Album and Sakende Yaruze and REC. The latest title by Maki Minami, best known for Special A, takes an academic twist on a voice actor drama with her fictional Holly Academy's Voice Acting Department, where only the brightest and best voices can rise to the top of the class.
So far, after one volume of school hijinks and voice actor intrigue, Voice Over! is endearing and cute shojo title with a dramatic flair that will easily entice Minami's fan base and more.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Walking Breasts: Thoughts On Highschool of the Dead

A mysterious, lethal disease is on the loose worldwide, resulting in a catastrophic death rate of humanity, and the increasing rise of attacks, caused by the living dead. In Japan, several high school students and a school nurse have banded together to escape Fujimi High School shortly after it was attacked by zombies. The group now attempts to figure who or what was responsible for this plague, and in the meantime, attempt to survive the present apocalypse. The story is initially narrated through the eyes of Takashi Komuro, one of the students who had survived in the initial outbreak. (Source: MAL)
Note: Due to HSOTD's content and the fact that their promo photos reflect all of its bloody, bosomy glory, this post is NSFW. Scroll with caution!
So all of Japan, and indeed the world, is undergoing the zombie apocalypse. The entire planet is going to hell in a hand basket. People are getting bitten left and right, including major players in the institutions that shape civilization. World governments are crumbling with no one left to control them. It's an unholy bloodbath of chaos and civil disobedience and this all happens within the first 36 hours.
But no. Here you are, one of the main characters of Highschool of the Dead, and you are more concerned about whether the main protagonist might see your panties. Despite the high risk of being infected due to contact with a zombie, your breasts (which are comically huge and bouncy) are pouring out of your exposed bra like foam over the rim of a pint of beer. If this were a real zombie throw down, you and your gang of like-breasted friends would be walking dead bait in the first hour. But this is HSOTD's territory, where common sense and inner universe zombie continuity are eschewed in the name of melodrama and fanservice.

Friday, November 1, 2013

PR: Shojo Beat To Release New Sakura Tsukuba Title

YOROSHIKUMASTER © Sakura Tsukuba
2005/HAKUSENSHA, Inc.
VIZ MEDIA GETS IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT WITH THE LAUNCH OF THE NEW SHOJO MANGA SERIES SWEET REIN

A Girl Takes On The Role Of Santa Claus With A Cute Boy Who Also Happens To Be An Enchanted Reindeer In A New Magical Romance

San Francisco, CA, November 1, 2013 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga & anime in North America, delivers a nod towards Christmas with the release of SWEET REIN Volume 1 on November 5th. The new manga (graphic novel) fantasy series by creator Sakura Tsukuba arrives from the Shojo Beat imprint in time for the start of holiday season, is rated ‘T’ for Teens, and will carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

SWEET REIN Vol. 1 will also debut digitally on the same day 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. The title will also be available for purchase through the iBook, Kindle, NOOK, and Kobo stores.

Sad at the thought of spending Christmas alone, Kurumi Sagara goes out for a walk. While she’s crossing the street, a boy bumps into her, and a rein suddenly appears that binds them together. The overjoyed boy tells her she’s his master and that she’s a Santa Claus. Kurumi dismisses him as a crazy person, but then he transforms into a reindeer?!