Saturday, August 31, 2013

Upcoming Reviews: A Little Light Reading

I feel bad for not posting more regularly - or with more reviews! With school and work taking over my free time . . . well, I can make excuses as much as I can, but they are still excuses.

Since I don't have any solid posts coming into view yet, I thought I'd update y'all on what reviews are coming up sooner than later. Good news: it's all manga! And all manga readily available in English. Even a bit of BL for my fellow fujoshi!

(Although at this rate, Kickheart and the first Little Witch Academia OVA will be reviewed in short time as well. As well as the Accel World EX OVAs - after starting Sword Art Online through it being aired on Toonami, I've really started to miss Accel's Kuroyukihime and Hiroyuki, who live in the same 'verse as SAO's Asuna and Kirito.)

  • Library Wars volume 10 by Kiiro Yumi and Hiro Arikawa
  • Rohan at the Louvre by Hirohiko Araki
  • Genshiken Season 2: volume 1 by Shimoku Kio
  • Attack on Titan volume 2 & 3 by Hajime Isayama
  • Off*Beat volume 1 & 2 by Jen Lee Quick
  • Barbara by Osamu Tezuka

Of course, if you have any recs for manga I should be reading, feel free to drop them in the comments!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kill la Kill PV Now Online

I don't usually say if I'm going to blog about an anime series months before it airs, but it's a safe bet I'll be watching and blogging about Kill la Kill, the first original production from the Trigger studio. Kill la Kill is scheduled to start airing October of this year. 

It looks like a hell of a good time, full of action and groovy artwork. People are already calling it 'Gurren Lagann 2.0', probably spurred in part by the involvement of Hiroyuki Imaishi, director of the TTGL anime series. The Kill la Kill anime has already been licensed by Aniplex. It seems very likely that Crunchyroll will simulcast it, although no such announcement has been made.


Hat tip to Crunchyroll for the video!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

License Line: Saint Tail Steps In

What is License Line? Put simply, it's a semi-regular feature on Nagareboshi Reviews in which yours truly posts about a certain anime/manga series that truly, desperately needs to be licensed and put on my shelves ASAP - from the obscure but well-deserving manga to the stream worthy but not yet DVD licensed anime.
At Japan Expo 2013, Viz Media did its usual release of licenses, both anime and manga. At their Shojo Beat panel, one of their license announcements was of a series already familiar to English readers: Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, an Arina Tanemura series previously published by the now-defunct CMX. Viz pretty much has become the authority on Tanemura's manga past and present.
But why should Maron and company be the only magical thieves who get a license rescue these days? There's another series, a Tokyopop series from the early days, that is worth getting a second look. This is Mysterious Thief Saint Tail/怪盗セセイント・テールby manga-ka Megumi Tachikawa, also known as Saint Tail to U.S. readers. Tokyopop marketed it as Robin Hood meets Sailor Moon, which isn't a bad comparison, but that might be selling the series short.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Crime Within The Walls: Sword Art Online 5

A player has been killed inside the safe zone and not by the known means. Asuna and Kirito take it upon themselves to find out how and why this is happening. (Source: Crunchyroll)
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the first five episodes of Sword Art Online. Please, no spoilers beyond the Toonami broadcast!
Let's just call this fifth episode of Sword Art Online for what it is: the one in which Kirito is immensely clueless, and Asuna is not that better off. "Why do you say that, Sarah?" cry SAO stans across the country. Gosh, could it be because Kirito makes a series of decisions that make no sense and end in tragedy and stupidity for everyone involved? Yeah, I'll say that's it. And Asuna gladly tags along for the ride down the rabbit hole. Apparently, player killers make everyone lose their mind in one way or another.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

News: Yen Press Makes Reki Kawahara Fans Happy

It feels like just a few days ago, I was gripping about the lack of Sword Art Online print material available in English - and I know that last year, I was saying the same about Accel World's source material. Funnily enough, the one manga company I didn't mention has come in and saved us from a Kawahara-lacking existence. Thank you, Yen Press! Should I start sending them Christmas cards now? Ones with Kuroyukihime on them?

Ahem. So, while at Japan Expo, Yen Press dropped a few license acquisitions onto their eager readers, including another Madoka Magica manga and - yes! - the manga for Sword Art Online as well as the light novels for Sword Art Online and Accel World. Considering that light novels aren't exactly big sellers in North America, this is truly a great sign from Yen Press that they have faith in SAO/Accel World fans to support their favorite series with their wallets.

(And speaking of Yen Press' light novels, pick up Spice & Wolf and Kieli while you're pre-ordering Reki Kawahara's works! Let Yen Press know otaku will buy light novels so they'll license more series! Hey, you do want Durarara!! light novels - right?)

You can find release dates of the SAO/Accel World books at the ANN article. Sorry, nothing is coming out until 2014!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fujoshi O'Clock (8/24/13)

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:

  • ふう子 at Hazukashii Kedo reviews Aniya Yuiji's Mic & Neo, a two volume series featuring amnesia, temples, suicide attempts, and complicated relationships. Some images NSFW.
  • Brain Vs. Book reviews Raito BL e Yokoso: Ownsha, a guidebook and overview of BL manga up to a certain point in recent history.
  • Anna at Manga Report reviews Red Blinds The Foolish by est em, which everyone should read right now it's a classic come ooooon.
  • Lissa at Kuriosity reviews Body Guard by Kimiyoshi, which is described as "pretty darn bad" - so not so much a recommendation.

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, August 21, 2013

Manga Review: Tegami Bachi GN 14

Tegami Bachi volume 14
Author: Hiroyuki Asada
Viz Media
192 pages
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the Tegami Bachi series so far. Read on with caution!
As Bees and ex-Bees alike gather in Yuusari, the rampage of the unstoppable Gaichuu Cabernet continues—and heart attacks only seem to make it more powerful. As it absorbs the attacks, Cabernet keeps morphing into stranger and more sinister forms. Meanwhile, a tragic accident triggers a different kind of transformation in Niche… (Source: Goodreads)
Perhaps it's a bit of exaggeration on my part to say that this is the volume of Tegami Bachi in which everything changes. Okay, not everything changes but this is indeed a book in which some very important characters go through some irreversible changes that will decide the further direction of this series. After taking a bit of a back seat to the bigger drama in Amberground, Lag and Niche are once again at the heart of the action - and it's their own hearts that are in question as Tegami Bachi rolls through its fourteenth installment.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The World Of Swords: Sword Art Online 1-4

In the near future, a Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called Sword Art Online has been released where players control their avatars with their bodies using a piece of technology called Nerve Gear. One day, players discover they cannot log out, as the game creator is holding them captive unless they reach the 100th floor of the game's tower and defeat the final boss. However, if they die in the game, they die in real life. Their struggle for survival starts now... (Source: Crunchyroll)
Spoiler alert: Post contains spoilers for the first four episodes of Sword Art Online. Please do not share spoilers for episodes beyond this point!
When Toonami announced that their latest addition to their line-up of anime was Sword Art Online, I was pleasantly surprised. SAO is a title I had been meaning to look into since it initially aired last year, simulcast on Crunchyroll as it aired in Japan. Although I've heard that Sword Art Online's second cour is a veritable train wreck, what I've seen so far of it's first cour has been rather impressive. Considering it shares the same 'verse as personal favorite Accel World, it's gotta be good to impress me - and it is.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Micro Review: Redshirts Chapters 1-4

Redshirts: Chapters 1-4
Author: John Scalzi
Tor Books
32 pages (E-book edition)

They were expendable . . . until they started comparing notes.

I'm tagging this as Star Trek because gosh darn it, it's the closest thing you can get to a Star Trek novel without actually being one. There might not be any characters named Spock or Kirk or McCoy, but you can tell who their counterparts are by the end of the prologue. If anything, Redshirts is a perfect pastiche of the Star Trek uniform, a love letter to the poor red shirt wearing security details who never survived the end of the episode.

Ensign Andrew Dahl is the latest arrival on the star ship Intrepid, and he is only starting to get settled into his new position when he realizes that life on the ship isn't as wonderful as it first seemed. Their captain is an arrogant blowhard with a melodramatic street, his lieutenant a cold-hearted non-human who is not as smart as he thinks he is. Naturally, when the shit hits the fan, it is Dahl and his fellow redshirts that get turned into cannon fodder for the sake of their superiors' well being. Sound familiar?

In four chapters, John Scalzi has already done some tremendous world-building, albeit on the back of a world meant to mirror the Trek!verse, created a diverse cast of characters, and set up the main conflict on which the rest of the novel will hang. There's a Narrative to be followed and those who don't adhere to it end up losing their lives in the process. How will Dahl escape the fate of so many redshirts before him? I'm looking forward to finding out.

The best thing about the first four chapters of Redshirts is that it is available for free, without DRM, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Tor website. So most of y'all don't have any excuse not to check this one out!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sword Art Online: You Can (Not) Log Out

I've been watching the Toonami broadcast of Sword Art Online and - well, a more thought out post will come soon, but let me say I'm actually quite impressed with the first three episodes. I know, however, that things apparently get worse eventually. I've heard the series be compared to a trainwreck, which never bodes well for any anime. But I'll keep watching it, especially since it takes place in the same universe as Accel World, which was one of my favorite anime last year. And for some reason, I like Kirito! (And please, no spoilers!)

Below are some of the latest news connected to the Sword Art Online anime. I wonder if there will be a second season?

An extra edition of SAO will air in Japan on December 31st. It will summarize the series and also include some new footage exclusive to the extra edition. According to Aniplex, this latest episode will be Japan-only (unless Aniplex changes its mind and releases it digitally between then and later in 2014).

Aniplex USA, speaking of, has stopped shipping the first DVD set of Sword Art Online. This is due to issues in the duplication process, which ended with some discs having incorrect content on them. For those who own these discs, Aniplex is working to make sure they get replacement discs with the correct material.

Extra note: The anime has been licensed by Aniplex. The various manga versions and the light novels seem to have gone unlicensed for now. Anyone? Vertical? Viz? Seven Seas? If Attack On Titan can explode across the North American otaku scene as much as it has, I don't see why Sword Art Online can't do the same!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Manga Review: Black Butler GN 14

Black Butler volume 14
Yana Toboso
Yen Press
192 pages
The veil of mystery cast over the Aurora Society’s “absolute salvation” is torn away, and the true mastermind behind the scheme steps forward at long last. In the ensuing battle, Earl Ciel Phantomhive looks on in horror as Sebastian, his infallible manservant, is struck down by the death scythe of an unforeseen combatant. Devil though he may be, even Sebastian is not immune to the blade of a reaper’s scythe. As Sebastian’s cinematic record spills forth, the tale of how a devil became a butler to a little lost lord flickers to life in shades of sepia, blood, and ash… (Source: Goodreads)
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the Black Butler/Kuroshitsuji series so far. Read on with caution!
The best part of Black Butler's fourteenth volume is not the main story. Let's be real for a moment. We all know this boat is going down and everybody is dying like Yana Toboso is reenacting the Red Wedding on the water. No, for me, what makes this volume stand out from the others is our trip down memory lane through Sebastian's cinematic record, invoked thanks to a certain shinigami's scythe. It is seeing how Sebastian and Ciel became what we know them as: the Earl of Phantomhive and 'one hell of a butler'. It's an origin story that has been books and books in the making and now it is finally here and it is great.

Monday, August 12, 2013

On Air: Making The Anime Connection

This might come as a surprise to - well - most of you, but over the past month or so, I've been the co-host of a most delightful geeky radio program. Every Tuesday at 2:30 in the afternoon, me and my man Jazz-Hands come on air at KCFV-FM 89.5 The Wave on our show The Anime Connection.

What's the Anime Connection about? Well, for one, anime! But really it's a geek/nerd related program. We've talked about a whole slew of things - Comic Con, Digimon, Star Trek, giant robots vs monsters, Bleach, and so on. It's lots of fun and me and Sam are always keeping it interesting, no matter what we're talking about.

This week is our last summer show, and one of the things Anime Connection is tackling is the latest show to hit the Toonami schedule: Sword Art Online. Exciting! You can listen to us live via KCFV streaming radio - or if you're in the area, grab a radio and tune in manually! And tell me what you think of our show!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Manga Review: Seven Days: Friday → Sunday

Seven Days: Friday → Sunday / セブンデイズ
Author: Venio Tachibana
Artist: Rihito Takarai (Illustrator)
Digital Manga Publishing
Kindle Edition

Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the Seven Days series. Read on with caution!

What started out as a personal dare on a Monday becomes a little awkward on Tuesday, but quickly turns warm and comfortable on Wednesday. Now, could it be that love begins to blossom on Thursday? Of course, there's a catch. While Seryou does go out with the first girl who asks him out on a Monday morning, by the end of the week, he will break up with that person. With three days remaining in the week, will Touji continue with his routine or are his feelings for Yuzuru reason enough to break the rules? (Source: Goodreads)
The first yaoi title I ever reviewed for this blog was the first half of Tachibana and Takarai's Seven Days series, in which Shino first asked Seryou out and they began to date, only to find out their week of courtship is more complicated than they thought. After a mess of emotional issues and ex-girlfriend problems, the fate of Shino and Seryou was still up in the air. Just in time for the 801 Manga Moveable Feast, it's time to revisit their story and see how they week ends - and whether it ends with them together or apart.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

PR: Viz Kicks Off End Of Summer Sale

by Nana Haruta/SHUEISHA Inc.

Sale Offers 20% Off All Manga Available On Barnes & Noble NOOK© Tablets and VIZ Manga Platform

VIZ Media has announced a special “End of Summer” digital manga sale on ALL titles currently featured on and available for digital download through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, and also for NOOK tablets and devices.

Beginning today and running until Thursday, September 5th, the VIZ Media “End of Summer” sale will offer fans a prime opportunity to catch up on favorite series and dive into new ones with up to 20% off the MSRP on over 1,500 digital manga volumes across more than 100 different series (Reg. MSRP starts at $4.99).

Also don’t miss the North American digital debut of 8 additional new manga series this month including AISHITERUZE BABY, BEET THE VANDAL BUSTER, BOYS OVER FLOWERS, HANA KIMI (Single and 3-in-1 Editions), LA CORDA D’ORO, SKIP BEAT, VIDEO GIRL AI and YUYU HAKUSHO.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

#801MMF: My Favorite Yaoi/BL Manga

In my last 801 MMF post, I think I made it rather clear that I've been a rotten girl - a fujoshi - for quite some time. Therefore, I've read quite a lot of yaoi/BL manga!

Above: A panel from Same Cell Organism by Sumomo Yumeka.
Let me tell you, it hasn't been easy reading so much. The fact that there is so much yaoi manga out there actually makes it harder to pick out something to read. I don't just read anything. I try to read works that interest me, that have a unique aesthetic, or at the very least have a fascinating story. But I do have favorites, and I'd readily recommend them to any of my fellow rotten folks looking for something new to read.

Below are some of my favorite boys' love manga . . . at the moment. My favorites are subject to change at any time! I kept my list to works readily available in English, since I know most of my readers are English readers and buy their manga in said language. Support the industry; buy more BL (the smuttier the better)!

Monday, August 5, 2013

News: The Clock Strikes Twelve For Doctor Who

On Sunday evening in England, the BBC announced which actor would be replacing Matt Smith during the Christmastime special of Doctor Who, set to air at the end of this year. It was a big event and had Twitter exploding in geeky heated tweets as soon as the name was dropped.

If you want to stay unspoiled on the Twelfth Doctor's actor until Christmas, don't read on past the TARDIS image!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

#801MMF: I Am Fujoshi!

Fujoshi (腐女子, lit. "rotten girl") is a self-mockingly pejorative Japanese term for female fans of manga and novels that feature romantic relationships between men. (Wikipedia)

Hello, my name is Sarah and I am a rotten girl! My first exposure to yaoi/BL fandom was through fanfiction, specfically slash fanfiction (thank you,!). My first fandoms in which I read M/M relationships were Zoids, Gundam Wing, and Dragonball Z - naturally, all anime with male-dominated series. Of course, shonen series proved to be a perfect place to explore male/male relationships through fanfiction.

The first yaoi manga I read was a scanlation of either a Youka Nitta or a Kazuma Kodaka manga, hosted on a now-defunct scanlation website. And it was dirty. And I don't think I was old enough to read those kinds of things yet! (Ssh, I'm 23 now, it's okaaaay!) The first yaoi manga I ever bought with my own money was But I'm Your Teacher! by Row Takakura, a Media Blasters title which is sadly now out of print. I've bought my fair amount of yaoi manga over the years, but when your mum has three bookcases worth of yaoi books, one's collection seems sparse in comparison!

I was a staff member at the Midwest's first yaoi convention, Bishiecon, and was even interviewed by the Riverfront Times during Bishiecon's first year. We went strong for several years and I made some great friends there as well as memories that I will never forget. In other words, yaoi has been a part of my life for years. I am, and always will be, a rotten girl. That is just a part of who I am!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Graphic Novel Review: Artifice

Author: Alex Woolfson
Artist: Winona Nelson
AMW Comics
112 pages
Artifice is about Deacon, a prototype android soldier so advanced he is referred to as an "artificial person." On one of his first missions, Deacon was ordered by his corporate masters to eliminate a team of scientists who knew too much—and he has failed spectacularly. Not only did he let one of the targets live, he attacked the team sent to retrieve him. Now the Corporation wants answers and they bring in the brilliant robopsychologist Dr. Clarice Maven to get them—giving her the power to make sure Deacon never fails the Corporation ever again. (Source: Goodreads)
Once upon a time, Alex Woolfson had a dream. And that dream was to make a kick-ass science-fiction story about LGBT folk that could entertain everyone it came across. Okay, maybe not in those exact words, but that is what happened when he and Winona Nelson came together to create the web comic Artifice. I've been blogging about Artifice since I first stumbled across the Yaoi 911 website and not only have I become a big Woolfson fan, I even helped fund his Kickstarter to put Artifice into print. Naturally, for the 801 MMF, I had to represent Artifice somehow, thus this article ("Oh, but Sarah, it's not technically manga!" To which I say: meh!).
So now that one of the best English language BL web comics can be held in my hot little hands without a computer to do so, does the print live up to the hype? Were all the stretch goals and fundraising worth the final product? And most importantly, do Deacon and Jeff get their happy ending after all?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fujoshi O'Clock (801 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!

It's 8/01 yet again (here's a reminder of what 801 Day is about), so enjoy a very special edition of FOC! ♥

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!