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.