Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fujoshi O'Clock: Favorite BL Titles of 2013

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 - well, this being the final Fujoshi O'Clock of the year, I'd like to highlight some of my favorite titles that I've read over the past year. 2013 was a good year for reading yaoi! Hopefully, 2014 will bring even more quality BL titles in English for the fujoshi folk in North America, where BL publishers have been in a state of flux for the past couple of years.

The BL manga I read and reviewed in 2013:

If you want more yaoi/BL reviews, the following blogs are very good at providing them: Otaku Champloo; the manga habit; Manga Worth Reading; The Beautiful World; Kuriosity; The Fandom Post; Brain Vs Book.

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! See you in the new year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Manga Review: Naruto GN 63

Naruto volume 63
Author: Masashi Kishimoto
Viz Media/Shonen Jump
189 pages
World of Dreams: With the help of Kakashi and Guy, Naruto seems to have found a way around Tobi's invincible abilities. But why do Tobi's techniques seem to mimic Kakashi's so closely? And when Tobi's mask is finally torn off, will the revelation shock the ninja world?! (Source: Viz Media)
Spoiler alert: Post contains spoilers for the various plot twists in Naruto's 63rd volume. Read onward with caution!
In this ongoing Great Ninja War, it's hard to remember that those involved are human beings, with lives and aspirations and personal histories. This is especially true when said people are the antagonists of the story. This volume explores the past of the man we know as Tobi and his true self, as well as why he's fighting the way he is. 
Even though the main battle doesn't progress very much in this book, the sheer amount of Tobi-based flashbacks and plot twists make it one of the most essential reads in the series.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Manga Review: Blue Exorcist GN 7

Blue Exorcist volume 7
Author: Kazue Kato
Viz Media/Shonen Jump
190 pages
Mamushi and Todo now have both eyes of the Impure King and are headed for the temple that was once the center of the Myodha sect. Mamushi wants to seal the eyes away, but may be too late to realize Todo’s true purpose—the awakening of the Impure King! Meanwhile, Rin learns more about Father Fujimoto’s connection to Tatsuma and the origin of the Koma Sword. Rin will need the weapon and all of his strength to face the terrible power of the Impure King!(Source: Viz Media)
Oh, Blue Exorcist. Stop making me feel things about bald monks with heroic complexes and overwhelming supernatural burdens! Also, priests that are super hot and super unorthodox, i.e. Fujimoto-san and his ever-present cigarette. This volume of Ao No Exorcist is full of plot stuff, character development, friendship, odd demon-fueled family drama, and Mephisto being Mephisto and putting everyone else to shame in terms of dramatic entrances. As Rin confronts his own personal demons, actual demons are coming towards the Impure King with less than pure intentions...

Friday, December 27, 2013

Book Sprites: Loveless, Heartless, Laughless

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!
In this post, we have a triple threat with volumes of Loveless, Strobe Edge, Shugo Chara-Chan!, and Blue Exorcist/Ao No Exorcist.
Loveless volume 10 by Yun Kouga: In this volume, our protagonists are reeling from the latest series of events regarding Seimei as well as Kio's kidnapping and subsequent rescue. Just when Ritsuka is getting back into the groove of things, Youji and Natsuo end up transferring into his class and causing trouble for him. Plus, the team known as Moonless moves into action to pit Ritsuka against Seimei, whom he still loves despite what has been going on in the past couple of volumes.
I was ready to think lowly of this volume with the first half, which involves a lot of "I still love Seimei, that jerk!" apologia and Youji/Natsuo being absolute asses to Ritsuka and Yuiko for no reason. I honestly am not a fan of Youji and Natsuo as characters. They are obnoxious and rude and it's played off as "oh, those boys!" far too often for my liking.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hey Hey, It (Was) Knishmas!

Art by doujin circle getsumen-spiral.
So yesterday was Christmas and I'm sure many otaku's dreams were made true with what they found under the tree (or wherever Madokami dropped their gifts this year). Perhaps you spent your Christmas watching anime or drinking with friends or pretending to enjoy the company of your extended family or fighting robots in Tokyo. Personally, I spent yesterday playing Pokemon on the DS and watching Adventure Time and Mel Brooks films - because why have a traditional Christmas if it's not gonna be fun, right?

I've got a picture of my Christmas loot here - funny enough, the only anime-related item I got was Pokemon Black for DS, which I've since started and geez. Three-on-three battles? The Pokemon Center and Mart have merged? First battle of the game is in your bedroom? And it wouldn't be Pokemon without a crazy cult of villain types determined to change the Pokemon world, usually for the worst. And I've met N, who seemed to be Pokemon fandom's personal favorite for the longest time.

Share what you got for Christmas/Giftmas in the comments! Bonus if you provide pics :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Getting Hype for Space Dandy

It's the day before Christmas, and all through the house - blah blah blah, whatever. I'm more looking forward to next year and the premiere of Space Dandy on Toonami! And what's not to love? It's directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, who also directed Cowboy Bebop, and animated by Studio Bones, who is behind such series as Soul Eater, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Wolf's Rain.

Space Dandy may be the second coming of Cowboy Bebop, but it has an aesthetic all its own. It's shiny and slick and there's robots and spaceships and animal sidekicks and so much fan service. So much fan service.

You can watch a trailer for Space Dandy below:

Space Dandy is set to air in 2014 on January 4th, as part of [as]'s Toonami anime block. It will then air in Japan the next day.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Manga Review: Natsume's Book of Friends GN 12

Natsume's Book of Friends volume 12
Author: Yuki Midorikawa
Viz Media/Shojo Beat
192 pages
Natsume meets a kindhearted yokai who has found a ruined letter he desperately needs to read. There is another yokai who has power over paper who might be able to help him. But this yokai's name is sealed in the Book of Friends... Will it be willing to help the grandson of the woman who bound it?! (Source: Viz Media)
It is officially the perfect sort of weather to read Natsume Yuujinchou: when the world is cold and blustery, and you need sweet, warm stories to wrap yourself around and get lost in. If any series would be my top choice for such treatment, it would be Natsume's. This twelfth volume is yet another reason why Natsume's Book of Friends continues to be the best supernatural/slice-of-life series running with Shojo Beat.
Also, Nyanko-sensei is truly the best sidekick - although the walking maneki neko would probably lose his mind if he heard himself being referred to as such. Ha!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fujoshi O'Clock (12/19/13)

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:

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, December 18, 2013

Manga Review: Strobe Edge GN 2 & 3

Strobe Edge volume 2 & 3
Author: Io Sakisaka
Viz Media/Shojo Beat
200 pages (v.2) & 192 pages (v.3)
What is love, anyway? Ninako Kinoshita’s friends tell her it’s one thing, but Ninako wonders what this mysterious feeling really is. When she meets Ren Ichinose, the handsome, enigmatic guy that all the girls worship, her life takes an unexpected turn. With just a few words and a smile, he changes her world... Once Ninako realizes that she’s fallen for Ren, she confesses her feelings to him even though she knows he has a girlfriend! Meanwhile, a new semester brings an outgoing guy called Ando into Ninako’s life—is Ando just an outrageous flirt or will he turn out to be Ninako’s savior? (Source: Goodreads)
Strobe Edge is determined to not be a typical shojo comic. How? Ninako confesses her feelings to the object of her affection at the end of the first bloody volume. There's no ifs, ands, or buts about it, and the series doesn't shy away from the fallout from Ninako and Ren's relationship shifting moment. If anything, Strobe Edge is like a more mature, smarter version of Peach Girl, except people are more honest about their feelings and Ninako's female friend isn't a terrible person. Where Peach Girl fell apart, Strobe Edge succeeds.
And, as an added bonus, each volume of Strobe Edge doesn't end with me wanting to throw said volume against a wall in frustration because the characters are acting so stupidly and refuse to talk to each other. Awesome!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

PR: Pokemon Manga Makes Digital Debut With Viz

© 2011 Pokémon.
© 1995-2011 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
TM, ®, and character names are trademarks of Nintendo.
(Poster Note: As a Kindle Fire user and Pokemon fan, this is pretty great news. I just hope they follow them up with other digital releases - I'm holding out hope for Magical Pokemon Journey and The Electric Tale of Pikachu!)


30 Volumes, Including The Latest Series POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE, Launch In iBooks And GooglePlay Stores As Well As For The NOOK, Kindle, And Kobo Digital Tablets

VIZ Media delights young readers and also the young-at-heart as it announces the North American digital debut of four acclaimed POKÉMON manga (graphic novel) series for NOOK, Kindle Fire, and Kobo ereaders, as well as the launch of these titles from the venerable kids property in the iBooks and GooglePlay Stores. This is the first time that POKÉMON manga titles will be available for these platforms.

The new series that are available now include: POKÉMON ADVENTURES Vols. 1-14, POKÉMON DIAMOND & PEARL ADVENTURE! Vols. 1-8, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: DIAMOND & PEARL/PLATINUM Vols. 1-4, and POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE Vols. 1-4. POKÉMON manga series are published in North America by VIZ Media’s Perfect Square imprint. All volumes are rated ‘A’ for All Ages and will be offered with an MSRP of $3.99 to $4.99 per volume.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Manga Versus Anime: Soul Eater

In which Stein's madness grows, Crona's will shrinks, and Black Star is, well, Black Star.
Having just finished the Brew/Mosquito/Eibon mini-arc and dived into the "traitor in our midst" mini-arc featuring BJ and Crona, it's nice to take a step back and see who does it best, the manga or the anime. Naturally, I'm going to say manga - but it's a slim margin between the two. Why? Because Soul Eater's anime takes the best parts of the manga and makes it colorful and musical and fast-paced, and Soul Eater's manga highlights the more character-driven, slower-moving scenes and pushes a lot of suspense and emotion into scenes in ways the anime simply can't.
I'll readily admit this: I enjoy reading about older characters in manga. No, not in the 'hot oyaji-san' kind of way . . . okay, yes, I love me some sexy oyaji but I'm not talking about them in this instance (tho Doctor Stein easily qualifies as such). I enjoy reading about the 30-and-older characters who are often left by the wayside in most stories, the parents and teachers and mentors and civil servants who fill up the pages but usually don't get into the action like their younger counterparts. Soul Eater's manga easily bucks this tradition.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Retrospective Review: Card Captor Sakura

Cardcaptor Sakura omnibus v.1-4
Author: CLAMP
Dark Horse Comics
Each volume is approx. 550 pages

Fourth grader Sakura Kinomoto finds a strange book in her father's library -- a book made by the wizard Clow to store dangerous spirits sealed within a set of magical cards. But when Sakura opens it up, there is nothing left inside but Kero-chan, the book's cute little guardian beast . . . who informs Sakura that since the Clow cards seem to have escaped while he was asleep, it's now her job to capture them! (Source: Goodreads/DHC)

Spoiler warning: Retrospective reviews contain spoilers for the books they discuss as well as later events in the series. Read on at your own peril!
Once upon a time, Tokyopop (remember them?) sold Card Captor Sakura manga by the issue, doling out the story chapter by chapter every month to a ravenous, maho shojo starved fanbase whose thirst had been partially slated with Sailor Moon and various similar releases. If Sailor Moon was the magical girl to rule them all, Card Captor Sakura was her high-spirited little sister who fought just as hard and would eventually gain the same massive audience (especially when the Cardcaptors fans high on Nelvana/Fox Box realized their favorite anime actually came from an earlier manga).

Friday, December 13, 2013

Return From Hiatus: You Can (Not) Reblog

Finals + campus paper production + real life shenanigans = no time to blog? That's what it seems like around Nagareboshi Reviews, which has resembled a deserted town populated by tumbleweeds over the past couple of weeks. And with no official notice of hiatus, it must have seemed desolate indeed...

Don't worry; the blog is back! My hiatus is over and I've come to start blogging about manga and anime yet again! And in case you think I may be lacking materials to cover, look upon my current To Be Read manga stacks and despair. Despair, I say!

Above: I've got several hentai titles wedged between Twin Spica and
Children of the Sea. Cognitive dissonance for the win.
Note: this doesn't even cover the library lent manga I also have, which may equal one of those stacks. Let it be known: there shall be manga reviews! And they shall be awesome! I really love blogging so I'm ready to get back into the groove of things.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Signal Boost: 9DKP Anime Project Kickstarter

"An ancient stone randomly gives shape shifting powers to 9 different people to battle against a zombie army. Cats vs Zombies!"

The tag for the latest anime Kickstarter project sounds like a winner. With sixteen days to go, 9DKP Anime Project by Erick Scarecrow is the Kickstarter currently burning up the Internet. 9DKP stands for 9 Deadly Killer Pussies; there are even character blurbs/sketches for the nine characters with the shape shifting abilities as well as the rest of the supporting cast. The goal is an episode that is twenty minutes long, that will be hand animated by Asahi Production and dubbed in English - and this will all cost $160,000 in the end.

This crew clearly has a good idea of what they want to do. They have a plan, a cast of characters, concept art, and an accomplished production team behind them. And having Asahi Production on board is nothing to sneeze at, being the studio behind titles such as Fairy Tale and Attack On Titan.

I've seen bloggers wonder if Kickstarter will be the savior of anime. I don't know about that, but crowdsourcing directly from the wallets of otaku, as well as projects that are not directly tied to a major studio, is leading to innovation in anime. Projects being funded are the new and unorthodox, from Kick-Heart to Little Witch Academia. 9 Deadly Killer Pussies looks like a fun, colorful anime and I hope it reach its funding goals.

PR: Viz Media's Digital Manga Stocking Stuffer Sweepstakes


Each Manga Title Purchased On VIZ Manga Digital Platform Grants An Entry To Win A Ton Of VIZ Media Prizing

VIZ Media announces a special holiday Manga Stocking Stuffer Sweepstakes. Starting Monday, December 2nd, and running until Thursday, December 19th, every digital graphic novel purchase on VIZManga.com will grant the buyer one entry into the Stocking Stuffer Sweepstake with three substantial Stocking Stuffer Manga Sweepstakes prizes valued at over $400. Each package will include:

  • An Amazon Kindle Fire HD (8 GB) configured with a VIZ Manga App account pre-loaded with 30 free volumes of top-selling VIZ Manga series
  • A 6-month membership to the WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP, a digital manga magazine that features simultaneous same-day release as the Japanese counterpart
  • A VIZ Media Custom Zero Messenger Bag from Rickshaw Bags with more manga, anime and merchandise inside!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Five Anime For Your Post-Black Friday Blues

This one's for the American otaku out there. Sorry, international readers, but last weekend was kind of a big deal in the U.S. of A. We spent Thursday eating and drinking until our pants popped opened collectively while watching football and various parades (and for some of us, kicked off a once-in-a-lifetime holiday known as Thanksgivukkah), then woke up in the wee hours of Friday to tackle Black Friday, whether in person at the malls or online while stalking Amazon's hourly specials. Saturday was spent either in a holiday-induced food coma or braving the stores yet again for amazing deals thanks to Small Business Saturday (anyone else get a cute free tote bag?) across the country.

We have all (over)eaten our share of food, endured more contact with extended family than we'd ever care to voluntarily admit to, and a good portion of us can now claim to have witnessed the first musical Lady Gaga x Muppets meet-up in pop culture history (not counting the Kermit dress, natch). If ever there was a time for otaku to unwind and relax with anime, this is definitely it. I've got five titles that will wash away all your post-Thanksgiving/shopping blues.

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:


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.

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:


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 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


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?!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Surprise Hiatus

The screen for my netbook - my main means of blogging - has been severely cracked, therefore this blog will have to be on hiatus until the problem is fixed. I'm sorry! Normal blogging should hopefully resume sooner than later.

This song by Super Junior seems apt, given the situation.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Manga Review: One Piece GN 68

One Piece volume 68
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Viz Media/Shonen Jump
192 pages
Pirate Alliance: As the adventures continue on Punk Hazard, Luffy decides to strike up an alliance with Trafalgar Law. But can he convince the rest of the Straw Hats to go along with it? And will this new team be formidable enough to take down Caesar Clown? (Source: Viz Media)
This latest volume of One Piece is all about team work. W-wait, don't click away just yet! It's team work in the sense that a bunch of people who wouldn't normally be caught dead in the same room must now work together if they want to survive the experience. That's exactly what we have when the Straw Hats find themselves in alliance with newly made warlord of the sea, Trafalgar Law, and they all end up having to work with Smoker and Tashigi and their fellow Navy cronies.
The reason for all of this? Caesar Clown, a maniacal morally lacking scientist whose experiments with deadly gases threatens to destroy all life on Punk Hazard once and for all. His gas robe makes him look like the heavily mascara-wearing cousin of a certain smoke monster, and his killer gas makes other One Piece villains look like kindergarten class goons. In other words, Luffy and his crew have their hands full saving Punk Hazard from CC's scientific antics.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Anime Review: Recorder to Randoseru Mi

The series is mainly about the Miyagawa siblings: Atsushi—an elementary student whose build and appearance is the same as a typical adult man; and Atsumi—his sister and a high school girl whose appearance is like an elementary student. They live everyday encountering misunderstandings and misadventures, most to be blamed to their ironic age/looks. (Source: ANN)
Recorder to Randoseru has always been one of those odd, quirky five-minute episode series that really shouldn't be as enjoyable as it sounds. On the surface alone, it's loli/shota bait disguised as a height difference gag series. Atsushi is in fifth grade but looks like an adult! Atsumi looks like a little girl but is in high school! For the first two seasons, RtR managed to rise above the cheap jokes, for the most part. 
Yet somewhere in the development of its third and final season, that concept of fun times with mismatched bodies got lost. Everything got a little weird - and not in a positive way. Still, it was good while it lasted.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Yui's Heart: Sword Art Online 12

Yulier, second in command of the Liberation army, has approached Kirito and Asuna for help saving her friend and the guild. (Source: Crunchyroll)
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the twelth episode of Sword Art Online.
We are now halfway through Sword Art Online, and spoiler alert: no one has cleared the game or reached the top level yet. Naturally, on the road to the final boss, many obstacles got in the way of our main protagonists, Kirito and Asuna. These obstacles have included a murder mystery, romance, betrayal, marriage and now a child in the form of Yui. But Yui so far has been more of a question mark than a character, a surrogate child for the newlywed warriors as well as another riddle to be solved in the world of Aincrad.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Manga Review: Sakura Hime GN 11

Sakura Hime volume 11
Author: Arina Tanemura
Viz Media/Shojo Beat
184 pages
Kohaku follows Hayate into the woods and finds him there with Rurijo. Enju also witnesses the clandestine meeting and confronts Rurijo about her betrayal. Rurijo, now abandoned by Enju, vows to kill Princess Sakura... (Source: Viz Media)
Sakura Hime makes my heart hurt in so many ways, it should be punishable by law. Tanemura has created a cast of characters with conflicting relationships and she's bringing them together in some very explosive ways. As volume eleven opens, the Kohaku/Rurijo/Hayate love triangle is coming to an apex but Enju isn't far behind, still determined to bring Princess Sakura back to her side. That is, if Rurijo's sudden vengeance quest against the princess doesn't get her killed first.
Funnily enough, there is not a ton of Sakura in this volume, despite Tanemura's noting it being a Sakura/Rurijo heavy volume. It does center around them, yes, but the narrative is heavy mostly on Rurijo and her issues and her relationship with Hayate. Aoba is notably absent from the main story, flitting in and out when he can manage to justify his existence. He's not the romantic male lead in this volume; Hayate has taken this role, atypical as he is to it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Arachnophobia vs Medusa!, Or Rumble At The DWMA

Spoiler warning: Post contains spoilers for Soul Eater up to volume 9/chapter 35 (or, in anime canon, episode 34/35).
After reading volumes eight and nine of Soul Eater, it's clear we've got a battle of wicked women brewing. In one corner, we have the super web-slinging goddess of spiders, Arachne. In another corner, we have the vector arrow-flinging controller of snakes, Medusa. In a series where the big baddie, the First Kishin, has been set aside while he re-cooperates, these two young women have taken control of the evil count in DWMA and are battling for control of the position of number one antagonist against Lord Death.
The real question is, which one of these women has the guts and the gall to go all the way? Will Arachne or Medusa become the number one baddie in the Kishin's absence? At this point, it is anybody's game – and they are both playing to win.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fujoshi O'Clock (10/20/13)

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:


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, October 18, 2013

The Girl Of Morning Dew: Sword Art Online 11

The newly married couple is enjoying their time away from the front line. But a new guest will take them all the way back to the beginning. (Source: Crunchyroll)
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the eleventh episode of Sword Art Online.
This is going to be a quick and dirty post. No, I mean, the content won't be dirty, it just won't be as long-winded as my other Sword Art Online posts. Which works, because this episode is more of a prelude to grander things on the near horizon and not many actual events occur within "The Girl of Morning Due". However, it is the first episode featuring our newly married couple, Kirito and Asuna, who are clearly enjoying their honeymoon at their secluded little cottage far from the action on the front line. But as their guild leader reminded them, they won't be able to stay away from the battle for much longer...