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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy Birthday, Miku Hatsune!

Is it weird to celebrate the 'birthday' of a computer created Japanese pop idol whose voice is drawn from a synthesized voice bank? Oh, well. Considering how VOCALOID music is a popular staple of anime culture, and that Miku Hatsune's popularity has soared in the past couple of years, there's nothing wrong with celebrating it.


Hatsune-san first hit shelves in 2007 on this day, making her program seven years old, although technically her outer persona is permanently sixteen years old. I know that Miku Hatsune is a polarizing figure - she's not a real person, although her voice bank was created by an actual voice actress, fandom's adoration of her can get overwhelming at times, and some people find her songs grating. Not me. Miku Hatsune was my first exposure to VOCALOID culture and I've enjoyed what fandom has created with her voice bank since then.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fujoshi O'Clock (8/30/14)

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. There is also a focus on trans and bisexual anime/manga. 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, August 29, 2014

Manga Review: Bleach GN 61

Bleach volume 61
Author: Tite Kubo
Viz Media/Shonen Jump
192 pages
With the true identity of his sword finally revealed, how will Ichigo take the next step forward? Will his new Zanpaku-to be enough to stop the invading Quincies? And just where does Uryu stand in all of this...?
I think I've reached the outer limits of how much mercy I can grant Tite Kubo for this series. It's a series that has run for over sixty volumes, and some of Kubo's tricks are getting tiresome to read. Of the main Weekly Shonen Jump trio of titles currently running, Bleach is easily my least favorite of the bunch, and it's because of chapters like these.
This isn't a terrible volume, since it does advance the Quincy/Soul Society war into a new stage and has a few good moments, but some mishandling of essential characters and a flood of new Quincies drag the whole book down. Not every book of Bleach is going to be a winner, but a lot of this seemed phoned in even by Kubo's own standards.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Washed Right Out, Chapter Four

Another Wednesday, another brief! I know this series isn't the usual thing I post on Nagareboshi Reviews, but I hope y'all are enjoying it so far. Anyway, here's the next part!
Washed Right Out, Chapter Four. Prompts used: use fairy dust in some way. Chapter one, two, and three are also up.
Riley had thought nothing could shift his mind away from the disaster of a love life hed left at home, and his boyfriend Jojo, who was probably worried sick over his precious Riley. Perhaps he was pacing the floors of his own apartment, wondering what Riley was doing and where he could be. The thought gave Riley a jolt of pleasure, followed by a low gut reaction of guilt.
Still, even if Jonathan had guessed for a hundred years, he probably wouldn't have guessed that Riley was now spending his evening with Karen, playing video games and making cakes. Hell, even Riley wouldn't have guessed the making cakes part.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Manga Review: Black Butler GN 17

Black Butler volume 17
Author: Yana Toboso
Yen Press
176 pages
Following the outcome of the annual cricket tourney and due in no small part to Sebastian, his uncommon butler, Earl Ciel Phantomhive finally has earned a seat at the Midnight Tea Party hosted by Weston's enigmatic headmaster. As moon-pale petals bloom on the lapels of the students who have been granted a place at his table, the man who holds all authority at the college reveals himself to his guests. Will his appearance shed light on the fate of the missing students or conceal the path to the truth in yet more darkness?
Don't be fooled by the official synopsis. A good chunk of this volume—about half of it, really—is dedicated to the end of the cricket tourney. It's a ridiculous, farcical take on the English sport but it's so darn Kuroshitsuji I can forgive it. The whole book is very Yana Toboso, from the elaborate outfits to the unexpected plot twists and the cameos from favorite characters, and it pushes us through into the final act of the Weston College mystery arc.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Manga Review: Millennium Snow GN 3

Millennium Snow volume 3
Author: Bisco Hatori
Viz Media/Shojo Beat
200 pages
Toya still can’t shake his blood aversion, even though Chiyuki would happily share hers with him, and the malnutrition is starting to take its toll. Chiyuki tries to supplement his diet with solid food, but that’s just barely enough to keep him alive. Can Chiyuki find a way to support her vampire when he refuses the help she knows he needs?
Between the second and third volumes of Millennium Snow lay years in which Bisco Hatori never inked a single page for the series. She had taken a hiatus and put her energies to another series, a little shojo manga known as Ouran High School Host Club. The Bisco Hatori that returned to Millennium Snow years later is an older, wiser, and more skilled manga-kaand it shows on every page. 
If you tired of the typical shojo comedy antics that filled the first two volumes, let the third reassure you that this series is worth following.

Friday, August 22, 2014

PR: Viz Media Releases New WSJ Print Edition Jump Pack

© 1996 KAZUKI Takahashi
© 2011 NAS • TV TOKYO
© 1999 Masashi Kishimoto
Latest Jump Pack Features 100+ Pages Of Manga Content, A 3-Month Digital Subscription And An Exclusive YU-GI-OH! Collectable Trading Card

VIZ Media’s WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP manga magazine has released its third and latest edition of the WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP Jump Pack. The new issue is now available in-print throughout the U.S. and Canada, exclusively from retailers serviced by Diamond Comic Distributors and also from the leading online anime/manga retailer Right Stuf. The WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP Jump Pack 2014, Issue 3 is rated ‘T’ for Teens and carries an MSRP of $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN.

The latest Jump Pack issue features individual manga chapters from a sampling of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP’s fan-loved, smash-hit continuing series including the paranormal exploits of BLEACH, the ongoing ninja saga of NARUTO, the high seas adventure of ONE PIECE, the apocalyptic vampire thriller SERAPH OF THE END: VAMPIRE REIGN, and the kinetic action of YU-GI-OH! ZEXAL.

The latest issue features a special promotional code for a 3-month weekly digital subscription to the magazine and also includes a limited edition Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Evening Twilight YU-GI-OH! trading card. This card is exclusive to Jump Pack Issue 3 and Weekly Shonen Jump annual subscribers.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

While Reading Millennium Snow Volume 3

I don't usually comment on books I'm still reading, but I felt like I could comment a bit on Millennium Snow's third book before the end of it. I'll have a full review of the book up either tomorrow or Saturday.

The remarkable thing about the third volume of Millennium Snow by Bisco Hatori is that the manga-ka started it up again after a long, multi-year hiatus.

During this hiatus, of course, Hatori started up and finished a whole 'nother series: Ouran High School Host Club. Not a small series by any definition, and it quickly became her defining series. When she eventually came back to Chiyuki and Toya, one can imagine the set of fresh eyes and new perspectives she brought to the page.

Right now, the difference between the last couple of chapters in book two and the opening chapter of book three, pre-hiatus and post-hiatus, are like night and day. The art has improved, there is less squawking and contrived drama, and Toya and Chiyuki seem more mature in their interactions with each other. There is a significant shift from supernatural rom-com to supernatural drama, although still with rom-com elements.

It's kind of amazing to see this kind of change in a manga-ka's storytelling and art style between series. It seems that recently, many popular manga-ka get locked into long-running series and we don't often see how they skills shift and mature between different titles. But Hatori was not only able to bring Ouran to its own deserved end but got to return to Millennium Snow to give it a proper conclusion (volume three is not that conclusion, though!) and now readers get to see the new Hatori in her old stomping grounds, and that's something both long-term fans and new fans can appreciate.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

This Song Is Now Stuck In Your Head: Everything Is Awesome!!!

Always behind everyone else in terms of pop culture, I spent today waiting for a cable technician to fix my DVR box and, in the meantime, watching the Lego Movie. I remember when the trailer came out, no one I knew in real life wanted to watch it. Which meant I was out of luck to see it in theater until now! Thank God for Netflix.

But wow, it was so much fun. I found it charming and humorous and the ending - which I imagine split audience opinion over whether it fit or not - really drove home the message of the whole film, especially if you grew up with Legos and making your own models from the pre-set kits. Plus, a lot of really good voice acting, especially from Chris Pratt and Will Farrell.


But yeah, I think we all can agree one of the best bits was the music. Then again, the score was composed Mark Mothersburg and "Everything Is Awesome!!!" has Tegan and Sara and the Lonely Island (that's not a typo, the official track name has THREE EXCLAMATION POINTS). I'm too lazy to link to it, but Batman's mixtape for Wyldstyle cracked me up, too.

Seriously though, why did I wait so long to watch this? It was, well . . . awesome. (Awesome!!!)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

From DWMA To The Moon: Soul Eater 21 and Soul Eater Not! 3

Spoiler alert: Post contains spoilers for recent events in Soul Eater's 21st volume and Soul Eater Not!'s third volume.
It's interesting to read these volumes back to back, as the newest volumes of Soul Eater and Soul Eater Not! share a bit of overlap between them. It's not just the usual crossover that appears between a main canon and spin-off, either. One volume introduces a character than another does away with.
Both series are currently dealing with black blood, madness, witches, and working in teams. But one is more serious in its approach while another one is much more humorous, and you can probably guess which series is which.
Soul Eater volume 21: Crona’s crimes have become too terrible to ignore, and the troubled youth is added to Shinigami’s list. Hoping to reach her friend first, Maka extends her soul perception ability to engulf the entire planet. But the sweep delivers even more than she had bargained for-the location of the Kishin’s hideout!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fujoshi O'Clock (8/16/14)

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. There is also a focus on trans and bisexual anime/manga. Why? Because rotten girls need love too!

This week on Fujoshi O'Clock:


Reviews:

  • Reverse Thieves reviews One Is Enough by love as part of their Ongoing Investigations series. This manga-ka is new to me; I'm looking forward to seeing more from them.
  • Naru at OASG reviews Doukyuusei/Classmate by Kiyo Ueda, a school-centered BL manga involving a tennis club senpai/kohai relationship as well as two other separate stories.
  • AnimeNation reviews GEN Manga's This One Is Plenty. I dunno, this review is incredibly patronizing towards manga fans and yaoi fans and assumes that "homosexual romance stories" automatically have sex scenes which . . . ugh.

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, August 14, 2014

PR: Viz Media Bringing New Naruto Film To Canadian Theaters This Fall

O Canada! Watch out, friends to the North, it looks like the Naruto movie spree is now heading in your direction.

VIZ MEDIA AND ELEVEN ARTS ADD SCREENINGS OF ROAD TO NINJA – NARUTO THE MOVIE FEATURE FILM TO MORE THAN 35 CITIES IN CANADA THIS SEPTEMBER

San Francisco, CA, August 14, 2014 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, in partnership with Los Angeles-based film distribution company ELEVEN ARTS, will hold special Canadian theatrical screenings of ROAD TO NINJA – NARUTO THE MOVIE (dubbed) on Sunday September 7th and Thursday September 11th. These are in addition to the U.S. theatrical screenings starting August 29, 2014.

The sixth feature film in the massively popular NARURTO SHIPPUDEN series will debut in over 35 cities across Canada, including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, and more. Tickets are now available, and additional information and a complete list of U.S. and Canada theatre locations are available at: http://www.elevenarts.net/th_gallery/naruto-roadtoninja.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Washed Right Out, Chapter Three

Another week, and another Wednesday Briefs is upon us. I hope you've been enjoying this Washed Right Out story - chapter one and two are online as well - so please enjoy chapter three!
Washed Right Out, Chapter Three. In which Riley runs from his problems and we met Karen. Prompts used: a character play a video game, pizza, time to take a walk.
Riley turned and ran out of his own apartment building...
"Wait, what?" Sonia stared.
"What?"

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sing A Happy Song With Miku Hatsune

I don't know about y'all, but in light of current entertainment news and the passing of an iconic comic actor, I think we could use a happy, optimistic song and a smile right about now.


Being an anime fan can sometimes be an isolated, introverted kind of life, and sometimes we get so wrapped up in it that we forget to reach out and connect to other fans. For some anime fans, those connections can be life saving.

That's why we have forums and online communities, why we get excited about dressing up and going to conventions, why there are anime clubs at colleges and libraries and video game tournaments and cosplay meet-ups and so much kindness to draw upon when things get tough. We have the power to get together and, to paraphrase a well-known Doctor Who quote, add to someone's pile of good things. Let's keep doing that, now more than ever. Be kind. That's all.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Manga Review: Magi GN 2

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic volume 2
Author: Shinobu Ohtaka
Viz Media/Shonen Sunday
192 pages
Aladdin and Alibaba have entered the Dungeon of Qishan hoping to find hidden treasure—but danger's found them! A horde of slimes closes in on them, while Lord Jamil and his slaves head into the dungeon looking to intercept Aladdin and grab any riches he may have found! But these rivals have more to worry about than each other, and new friends, new enemies and amazing riches are yet to be discovered!
Some spoilers for the Magi series so far are in this following review. 
I did not love Magi's premiere volume. I found a lot of it really obnoxious and annoying and I wondered what the point of this series would be. But, for some reason, I vowed to continue reading it. Its second volume didn't blow me away, but it entertained me in a way the first book never did, and the last chapter has me actually looking forward to the next part of the story of Alibaba and Aladdin.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Link Spam For Those Of Us Not At Otakon 2014

Listen, I wish I could be at Otakon with the rest of y'all but I can't. And that sucks! But in the mean time, I'll share some cool blog links and articles I've come across in the past month. Enjoy the fruits of my wandering eyes.

Source: Storenvy.com
  • Manga Therapy wrote about the manga series Stretch, a slice-of-life story about daily exercise, especially stretching. As someone trying to work more fitness stuff into my day-to-day routine, I'd love to read it eventually. I'd hope that someone would eventually publish it in English, but considering the sales reputation of sports-and-fitness manga in North America, I'm not holding my breath.
  • I believe this has been on sale at recent major comic conventions, but you can officially buy the FUJOSPORTS! Comic Anthology online: "six sports-themed comics injected with a distinctly female gaze". Do want! And it's only thirteen bucks per copy.
  • Organization Anti-Social Geniuses has a great post up on what they learned from starting a blog after entering its third year. So many great points for anime and manga bloggers, if not bloggers of all stripes, are in that OASG post. The idea that blogging is dying is a worrisome one, but I don't see it as a death knell - more like a challenge to do better.
  • Just in time for con season, Reverse Thieves has uploaded a podcast on how to run a panel. Even if you've been running panels forever, this episode of the Speakeasy is an invaluable resource for the kind of geek who finds standing in front of total strangers and pontificating about anime a cool thing to do (damn, I miss running panels!).

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Manga Review: Pandora Hearts GN 21

Pandora Hearts volume 21
Author: Jun Mochizuki
Yen Press
208 pages
"I want you to be 'happy'..." With these parting words, one man sacrifices himself to save Oz and his companions, who have been chased into a corner. That sentiment succeeds in awakening Oz's heart, long held captive in the depths of his own soul, as though breaking all the chains that bind him... But when Oz learns of the heavy price of his revival, can his resolve withstand it?
Spoiler alert: Review contains spoilers for previous volumes and the current 21st volume.
Mochizuki really isn't giving us a break at all with this series. We keep hopping between one tragic event after another without a proper breather, but that's okay—it keeps the plot at a fast pace as it speeds towards the series' end. While this series has focused on the tragic events of Oz's life, the twenty-first book takes a deeper look at Rufus Barma, the one man whose recent actions have thrown poor Oz and Gil for a big loop.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Washed Right Out, Chapter Two

I usually give my Wednesday Briefs posts cute little names, but it's time I highlighted the fact that this is a series! An original flash fiction series! And it'll be going on for who knows how many weeks, but long enough to make it fun, that's for sure.

Hopefully, you read chapter one (and if not, you can read it here). If so, please enjoy the second part of this ongoing series of broken hearts and hair products.


Washed Right Out, Chapter Two. Prompt used: when in doubt, panic.
"It happened last week. I broke up with Jonathan."
Last week.
Riley had had an absolutely miserable day. It had started with waking up late and nearly missing the bus, rolled into a long morning of nothing but complaints and mix-ups at his office, punctuated by a lunch break that turned into an emergency meeting, topped off by a hot lengthy commute back home, made longer by multiple road accidents en route.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Open Thread: Guardians of the Galaxy

It seems like recently the only movies I bother to see in theaters are Marvel films. Case in point! I got to see Guardians of the Galaxy this weekend, specifically Sunday morning in a packed theater room, which should prove that Marvel films still have the power to fill seats no matter what time it is.

It's the oddest film so far in MCU's Phase Two: it doesn't have any clear connection to any of the other films outside of the Collector, who was in the after-credits scene for an earlier Marvel film. Plus, there are a lot of comic continuity heavy references - not too many to confuse newbies, but it definitely keeps comic books readers in a good mood.

It wasn't the greatest Marvel film to date - I thought Karen Gillan's turn as a super-villain was wasted, I wanted more Gamora, and my mom wants to know who Star Lord's dad is (I know but ssssshhh comics) - but it was loud, colorful, fast-paced, and fun to watch. I described it to my sister as Marvel meets Space Dandy with a better soundtrack, and I stand by that comparison.

And yes, you must stay until the end of the credits. You don't want to miss the Easter egg Marvel stuck on this one! And, of course, keep an eye out for an in-film cameo from Stan Lee, but that's to be expected at this point.

So if you're not yet totally talked out about GOTG, drop your feelings in the comment section! And I hope you're not, because didn't it just come out this week? Personally, if GOTG follows the most recent comics, I can't wait to see them hanging out in space with Tony Stark.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Manga Review: Toradora! GN 2

Toradora! volume 2
Authors: Yuyuko Takemiya, Zekkyo
Seven Seas Manga
192 pages
It’s taken time, but Ryuji and Taiga have slowly found some common ground and can at least tolerate each other. The problem is everyone in Ryuji’s class is now convinced that he and Taiga are dating—even Minori! To make matters even more embarassing, Minori has given Ryuji and Taiga her blessing. How’s Ryuji ever going to win Minori's heart now?!
Spoiler notice: Some spoilers, although none major plot points, for Toradora up to volume 2 are in this post. Read on with caution.
I know that I was incredibly apprehensive when I first started Toradora's manga. I thought that the series was too wrapped up in Ryuji and Taiga to make things interesting. I didn't think that the series could effectively grow beyond their oddball master-and-servant hijinks. I was wrong, and I am glad I was wrong, because the warmth and emotional depth of this volume proved that Toradora has a heart worth exploring.

Friday, August 1, 2014

And A Merry 801 Day To You, Fellow Fujoshi!

Above: a bunch of my yaoi/BL collection!
It's hard to believe it's 801 Day already. August seemed to creep up on this blog out of nowhere, and over half the year is gone in the blink of an eye. One of the first proper posts on this blog was about 801 Day, which shows you the BL roots that Nagareboshi Reviews has come from and is still proud of.

801 Day, for those who need a reminder, is also known as Yaoi Day, mainly because in Japanese, 801 can be read as yaoi. You can look at my first ever 801 post for more background information, currently sitting pretty on the left hand sidebar as it is my most popular post to date. Good job, fellow rotten girls and boys!

I thought it would be nice, this year, to share some important resources for yaoi fans that are in English. Hopefully, yaoi fans can use this post as a reliable list of places to read, buy, and learn about the boys' love genre.

Fujoshi O'Clock (8/01/14)

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! Note: This is not my 8/01 post for today! My yaoi day post will come later tonight!

This week on Fujoshi O'Clock:


Reviews:

  • Naru at Organization Anti-Social Geniuses reviews est em's Age Called Blue and is pulled in by the wonderful story, although taken aback by the similar character designs.

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!