Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: Torch Song for a Night Ride

What can I say? I was inspired, somehow, despite the fact that midterms were last week and I have a paper due tomorrow morning. I hope y'all enjoy this latest Wednesday Brief piece: it's another stand alone original, and appropriately creepy, given Saturday is a creepy holiday. Sorry, no yokai in this one (although I considered it as a possibility)!

Torch Song For A Night Ride. Prompts used: a train, it's good to have dreams.

The sound of the ten o’clock express hitting the tracks was enough to wake Peter from what had been a very deep nap. He opened one eye, slowly, to see the red blinking light display the time from across the darkened room. Moonlight from the semi-opened window created a grey path that connected the foot of the bed to the faraway dresser.

It had only been about an hour since Peter lay back onto the bedspread, fully clothed, and attempted a decent nap time twice as long as he actually slept for. Papers were spread out on his desk in fan shapes, a desperate method of concentration based on the placement of objects that only worked half the time. A red pen sat on top of the mess, awaiting further instructions.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fujoshi O'Clock: The (Rather Late) September Edition

October already? Oh, dear...

Fujoshi O'Clock is a monthly feature at Nagareboshi Reviews which focus on boys' love/yaoi news, reviews, and meta. The feature also puts a spotlight on trans/bisexual/genderqueer manga/anime news and articles. For yuri/shoujo ai, see fellow bloggers Yuricon and Yuri no Boke for a more thorough examination of the girls' love genre.

Articles for September: 

Reviews for September:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Spinning A New Story Within The 'Verses of Sword Art Online and Attack on Titan

I am, for whatever reason, utterly fascinated by the choices some authors make when they decide to write spin-offs for their main (and very popular series). In particular, I've been reading Reki Kawahara's SAO light novel spin-off along with the Attack on Titan spin-off from Hajime Isayama and Ryo Kawakami. It might be comparing apples to oranges in a way, since Isayama is actually not the primary author of this particular spin-off, but ultimately the franchise origin writer chooses what stories are told in the spin-offs. And that choice is what is worth examining, especially when one spin-off explicitly marks itself as 'progressive'.

Sword Art Online Progressive (books 1-2): Kirito and Asuna are two very different people, but they both desire to fight alone. Nonetheless, they find themselves drawn together to face challenges from both within and without. Given that the entire virtual world they now live in has been created as a deathtrap, the surviving players of Sword Art Online are starting to get desperate, and desperation makes them dangerous to loners like Kirito and Asuna. As it becomes clear that solitude equals suicide, will the two be able to overcome their differences to find the strength to believe in each other, and in so doing survive?

Attack on Titan - The Harsh Mistress of the City (book 1): With Wall Maria breeched, communities within the Quinta district have been cut off from each other creating famine and chaos. A young field commander named Rita is tasked with a mission to reconnect transit across the massive district while putting her troops and residence right in the vanguard as Titans descend on her town.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: Woman Made Of Snow

It's been a while, but here's a new bit of writing for Wednesday Briefs. It's an original fiction stand alone, based on something I've been interested in recently and which I will probably get side-eyed at for writing about since I haven't studied it that intensely, and my take on the original story is fractured in places, but enjoy anyway, I guess!

Yuki-omba. The woman of snow wakes with the sun. I kinda fucked around a bit with tengu mythology, but whatevs. Prompt used: yokai.

As the sun rose and created a glaze of sharp, cold light across the ice-covered hills of the countryside, so Yuki-omba rose with the sun and prepared for the day ahead. For the thousandth time, she washed her face in the stream, weaved a new kimono out of the snow for her to wear—as stark white and crisp as the snow bank it was born from—and brushed a flower across her lips until the crushed petals turned them blue.

She climbed over the low-lying hills that covered the countryside, gliding over the crust of ice and frost as if her feet did not touch the ground at all. No arctic wind, no blast of chill could slow her descent through the rolling expanse of trees, all bare limbs and sparkling with frozen ornaments from the previous night.

The humans in the nearby village called her Yuki-onna, whispered her name with a mixture of reverence and fear, but she did not feel like a young woman anymore, not after one thousand years of winter. All she knew, from the moment she first opened her eyes and felt the ground with her hands and fell into the fresh snow with her newly born body, was the forever season of winter. In her head, she was Yuki-omba now—the grandmother of the snow. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

PR: Three New Pokemon Comics For The Fall From Viz Media



San Francisco, CA, September 10, 2015 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, expands its POKÉMON manga (graphic novel) catalog with several notable new releases forthcoming this Fall.

Set for publication under the company’s Perfect Square imprint, the POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE Box Set Vol. 3 is now available, and will be quickly followed by the October publication of POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE POCKET COMICs Vol. 2 along with the POKÉMON ADVENTURES MANGA BOX SET Vol. 4. These new POKÉMON manga and box set titles are each rated ‘A’ for All Ages.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Enjoy Everything, Yotsuba!

I've had a long, busy week so I'd like to treat y'all with a lighter subject for a blog post, one that's got some nice images in it and is about a manga I've never not laughed at or at least smiled at: Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma, a slice-of-life series about a little girl named Yotsuba and her daily activities in her new town, learning how things work, making friends, and following around her single dad who is still navigating fatherhood.

If you haven't started reading Yotsuba&! yet, you are missing out on one of the most charming and aesthetically pleasing series currently being released in English. Yeah, it's that good.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fujoshi O'Clock: August Edition

Fujoshi O'Clock is a monthly feature at Nagareboshi Reviews which focus on boys' love/yaoi news, reviews, and meta. The feature also puts a spotlight on trans/bisexual/genderqueer manga/anime news and articles. For yuri/shoujo ai, see fellow bloggers Yuricon and Yuri no Boke for a more thorough examination of the girls' love genre.

It was actually quite difficult to keep up with the reviews this month, so only articles again.

But do visit Slightly Biased Manga, as I think Connie has been the best at steadily posting yaoi/BL reviews at a good clip this past month. See also a review of the Betrayal Knows My Name series over at No Flying No Tights.

But other than those!

Here are the articles for August:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Putting Up Links On A Tuesday

I totally and completely meant to post last week but between getting ready to move into my dorm, said move into my dorm, and starting fall classes, updating the blog fell by the wayside. I hope y'all enjoy this round-up of links to pieces I've enjoyed lately as some sort of apology; this month's Fujoshi O'Clock update will come later this week!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

You Need To Read Vinland Saga, Right Now

"From the distant north... beyond the frozen sea... they come, bringing with them the black clouds of war." - Chapter 1

Sometimes, the manga market favors the popular but untalented and ignores the talented but niche. Sometimes it skews towards quality titles in their favor. Unfortunately, due to the nature of manga in America, it often does not; titles with smaller demographics are often left by the wayside, destined for cancellation or to be published in total anonymity without any press coverage or fan love. 

Vinland Saga seems destined to join the ranks of outstanding manga who never found their audience and their sales margin, and if that comes true and Kodansha pulls the series from English publication, than we should all feel bad for not supporting this series. In 2014, Kodansha temporarily suspended the Vinland Saga's publication schedule and immediately fans worried for its future.

Later news from Kodansha confirmed that the future of Vinland Saga relies on sales; if volumes six and seven do well, volume eight and onward will be confirmed for release. If not, well... that's all, folks. Say goodbye to any more new Makoto Yukimura in English.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Asuna on a Starless Night: Sword Art Online Progressive 1

Sword Art Online: Progressive book 1
Author: Reki Kawahara
Artist: abec
Yen Press
358 pages

One month after Akihiko Kayaba’s game of death began, the death toll continues to rise, two thousand players having already lost their lives to the ultra-difficult VRMMO world of Sword Art Online. On the day of the strategy meeting to plan out the first-floor boss battle, Kirito, a solo player who vows to fight alone to get stronger, runs into a rare, high-level female player. She gracefully dispatches powerful monsters with a single rapier that flashes like a shooting star in the night… (Source: Yen Press)

Every time I think I don't have time to write, I remember that Reki Kawahara is writing not one, but two, but three different light novel series concurrently: Accel World, Sword Art Online, and Sword Art Online: Progressive. I can only imagine what his daily writing regimen looks like. While the Progressive arm of the SAO franchise retreads familiar ground as it takes readers through the Aincrad arc a second time, the 'remix' aspects of it make it more of an alternate universe take on SAO's first arc, especially when it comes to Asuna and her relationship with Kirito as well as the Aincrad world itself.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 2-in-1 Edition, GN 9

Ranma 1/2 (2-in-1 Edition) Volume 9
Author: Rumiko Takahashi
Viz Manga
360 pages

Meet Picolet Chardin II, master of the très terrifying La Belle France School of Martial Arts Dining. A style of martial arts based on eating doesn't seem like it would be hard to master…but if Ranma can't defeat Picolet in La Belle France, it'll be wedding bells! Then, the unfortunately named "Pantyhose Taro" makes trouble for Ranma and the others, but who's really the target—and cause—of all the vengeance? (Source: Viz.com)

The latest Ranma 1/2 omnibus collection contains volumes seventeen and eighteen from Rumiko Takahashi's infamous martial arts comedy series. It is a ridiculous, slapstick bundle of humorous hijinks and romance and at this point, if the idea of characters literally slamming into scenes at random while oddly placed bodies of water put other characters into gender-related peril don't tickle you pink, you will probably not care to pick up the newest installment in this modern classic. But Ranma 1/2 remains a classic for a reason, one of the biggest reasons being that Takahashi knows how to keep things interesting book after book, and arcs like Picolet and Pantyhose Taro show that when this series is at its best when it gets weird.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Manga Review: Soul Eater GN 25

Soul Eater volume 25
Author: Atsushi Ohkubo
Yen Press
248 pages

Kid’s sense of order stands in sharp contrast to the unpredictable madness of the Kishin. But order and madness are two sides of the same coin. When Asura challenges the “tyrannical” Shinigami and his laws that serve to control humans’ lives, Kid can feel the tendrils of madness within himself seeking purchase. The bonds of his friendships and his faith in order are tested to their limits as Asura makes his final stand against the forces of DWMA. When the moondust settles, who will emerge as lord of this world–Shinigami or Kishin? (Source: Yen Press)

Spoiler note: Post contains some spoilers for the Soul Eater final volume (although not explicitly).

I don't think that Atsushi Ohkubo knows how to end a series, and that is okay by me. I don't demand much of a series ending but I do ask that they resolve at least the biggest plot lines and create a satisfying end based on the story and the character development up to that point. It doesn't have to be happy go lucky, it doesn't have to be one I necessarily agree with (i.e. "ugh why didn't [x] happen!"). Ohkubo, in the Soul Eater manga finale, tries to wrap up the DWMA vs First Kishin battle royale but he has clearly written himself into a corner so ends things the best way he can.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Manga Review: Shigeru Mizuki's Kitaro

Author: Shigeru Mizuki
Drawn & Quarterly
432 pages

Meet Kitaro. He’s just like any other boy, except for a few small differences: he only has one eye, his hair is an antenna that senses paranormal activity, his geta sandals are jet-powered, and he can blend into his surroundings like a chameleon. Oh, and he’s a three-hundred-and-fifty-year-old yokai (spirit monster). With all the offbeat humor of an Addams Family story, Kitaro is a lighthearted romp in which the bad guys always get what’s coming to them. (Source: D&Q)

Reviewing a yokai book, especially a Shigeru Mizuki book, is a daunting task. Mizuki is considered Japan's resident expert on yokai tales in manga; according to the book's foreward, there's an entire segment of the Japanese population who owes their knowledge of the yokai world to GeGeGe no Kitaro. It makes sense: every chapter is a field study on a different variety of ayakashi as they wreck mischief on the human world.

And at the center of the story is the mysterious boy Kitaro, the human-looking yokai with one eye whose powers with the supernatural are a thing of legend. If something goes wrong, the world calls upon Kitaro for guidance, and he works his magic to the 'ge ge ge' chorus of the beasts all around him. He dutifully serves the realm of humans but his life is fully entrenched in the yokai world, and his ability to slide between these two spheres is a major reason why both sides look up to him. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Initial Thoughts: Sword Art Online II

Sinon takes center stage, as she should.
Spoilers for the first two episodes of Sword Art Online II. All name spellings taken from Wikipedia.
One year after the SAO incident, Kirito is approached by Seijiro Kikuoka from Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Department "VR Division" with a rather peculiar request. That was an investigation on the "Death Gun" incident that occurred in the gun and steel filled VRMMO called Gun Gale Online (GGO)...Failing to turn down Kikuoka's bizarre request, Kirito logs in to GGO even though he is not completely convinced that the virtual world could physically affect the real world. (Source: Crunchyroll)
I know, I stubbornly blogged through the entirety of season one of Sword Art Online when it aired on Toonami. I should have done the same for SAO II, but time got away from me, so that by the time I was actually ready to watch it, over ten episodes had accumulated on my DVR. I am so bad at this, you guys! (I don't even want to think about all of the Kill La Kill episodes I never wrote about. Yikes. Sorry.)
The funny part is that I've been looking forward to watching the second season of SAO, based on online hype and what friends have told me. I've been promised a really great handful of arcs, including Asuna-centric storylines, which is always a plus for me. Unfortunately, two episodes into the Gun Gale Online arc that opens up season two, I haven't seen much to get excited about but I remain hopelessly optimistic.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Fujoshi O'Clock: July Edition

Fujoshi O'Clock is a monthly feature at Nagareboshi Reviews which focus on boys' love/yaoi news, reviews, and meta. The feature also puts a spotlight on trans/bisexual/genderqueer manga/anime news and articles. For yuri/shoujo ai, see fellow bloggers Yuricon and Yuri no Boke for a more thorough examination of the girls' love genre.

This month will be articles/news only.

Articles for July:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Breaking: Everything Is Legend of the Galactic Heroes

Hold onto your hats and ignore (at least for now) the cursed renaissance of Tokyopop, long may they flounder. Two license acquisitions at this weekend's AX 2015 are going to blow your dang socks off, especially if you're an old school otaku.

First: Viz Media licenses the Legend of the Galactic Heroes novel series, to be published via the Haikasoru imprint. The Haikasoru Twitter says the first three, but I imagine if sales are good enough, they will push out more to meet demand.

Second: Sentai Filmworks licenses the LOGH anime series.

This is the Moby Dick of licenses and having both of these announcements is no small miracle (although I'd like to think Viz and Sentai coordinated the affair so they would come out roughly one after the over). I've spent years thinking LOGH would never see the light of my bookshelves, but leave it to two of the top anime companies in America to prove me wrong.

After all, LOGH has a lot of strikes against it for being licensed. It's an older series, a lengthy space opera, and the art style is dated and may not appeal to newer viewers. And yet! We have it! So let us, during this holiday weekend, bask in the glow of victory at acquiring a legendary anime. I really cannot wait to acquire this series; I'll even stomach Sentai's usually high prices to get my hands on it. Hopefully, I find it worth the hype.

(Oh yeah, and Sentai rescued the license for the Higurashi anime, but we'll talk about that later. Give me a reason why not! --- okay, okay, I'll just let myself out now.)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Dear Julietta, I Have Thoughts On Your Manga

Spoiler alert: post contains spoilers for the Kamisama Hajimemashita manga up to volume 18/chapter 107.

Kamisama Kiss volume 18
Nanami’s journey to the past was a success! She found a way to break the curse and save Tomoe, and he even admitted that he has feelings for her. Now they’re both ready to enjoy life as a happy couple. Tomoe is hoping to spend some special alone time with Nanami, but instead they go on a school trip to Okinawa with the entire grade—and things go from tropical paradise to yokai nightmare in no time!

Dear Julietta Suzuki:

Julietta - do you mind if I call you Julietta? - I've been told that you will be attending Anime Expo 2015 this year, to take place July 2-5. Awesome! The company that publishes your manga in English, Viz Media, has been asking fans of your series for questions to ask you during the convention. It is no secret to anyone who reads Nagareboshi Reviews that I am a big big fan of Kamisama Kiss, especially Nanami and her relationship with Tomoe, the human kami and her protector/servant.

I would love to ask you a hundred questions on your creative process, how you draft every chapter, where the inspiration for each story arc came from . . . but after reading the most recent English graphic novel release of Kamisama Kiss, I'll have to make my questions a little more plot focused.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Fall Back Into The Spring: Nostalgia, Ranma, and Rumiko

Pictured above: a ridiculously small percentage of the Ranma 1/2 cast,
fulfilling the rule that a Takahashi manga has to have more characters than Game of Thrones.
There are few series that invoke a deep sense of fan-based nostalgia as Ranma ½, which could have easily gone down in history as Rumiko Takahashi's most popular and beloved series until Inuyasha came along and knocked it off its throne. It also helps that while Ranma and Inuyasha are both wacky fantasy-based romantic hijink programs, Inuyasha benefited from being more accessible to U.S. fans, airing on American TV, and appealing to young female viewers with its telenovela romance of Inuyasha and Kagome.

Ranma, however, is special and always will be to me. When I think Ranma, I think about renting the first VHS of Ranma 1/2's anime from the local Blockbuster, then watching it in my mom's room on her tiny television set and watching the martial arts madness fly across the screen. I never actually finished the anime – a lot of episodes plus films and movies made it a hard project to complete when the Blockbusters doesn't keep new tapes in stock – but I still have a great fondness for the animation and the opening/ending themes, which have become iconic in their own right.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Fujoshi O'Clock: The End, Except Not

What time is it? It's Fujoshi O'Clock, a regular 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: I was ready to shut the whole thing down, until I realized that 1) I rather enjoy gathering yaoi/BL news for this feature and 2) I can't think of any other blog who does a semi-regular round-up of yaoi news and reviews. For yuri, there's Yuricon, For yaoi? I don't know. 

For now, Fujoshi O'Clock will be on break. When it returns, it will be a once-a-month feature that will hopefully be more encompassing and include more BL/yaoi news as well as news/reviews of manga that is friendly towards LGBT material aside from yuri (since I'd rather not step on Yuricon's turf and she's been doing it longer than I, natch).

FOC will probably return in August or July. Until then, for the boys' love thirsty among us, here's a quick and dirty list of blogs and websites to keep tabs on for the latest info/reviews/meta:

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 a description over at my Twitter: @theseventhl. I'm always on the look out for more BL love, even when the feature is on break.

Friday, June 5, 2015

In Which An Executive Decision Is Made

Let's be real, if we can, for one moment: I don't post very often. Nagareboshi Reviews has been sliding down my list of priorities over the past two months, and not because I hate it or want to quit writing about manga. It's that when stacked up against work, school, and paying for school, along with a variety of personal stress sources, blogging for fun and no profit loses a bit of its usual shimmer and shine. Therefore, a lot of neglect has led to a lot of no posts on this platform.

I think this newest decision of mine will change that. Starting next week, Nagareboshi Reviews will be updated once a week.

Yes, Ichigo, for real. Put those eyebrows back into place.
Also, awww, look at the early Bleach art I found while Googling 'serious anime face'!

Any future guest posts will be the only exception to this rule. I hope to acquire most guest posts for later this year. I'd really like to host people without blogs, mainly because I think their voices are, naturally, unrepresented in online fandom.

That also means Fujoshi O'Clock's next edition, which will be either next week or the following week, will be its last. I can't keep supporting a regular feature which hasn't been very regular lately. If you love FOC, I will include in the last edition the essential fujoshi links so you can keep track of yaoi/BL/LGBT manga news and reviews with your own tools and time.

I'm not upset at doing this. The more I think about it, the more it will give me time to craft better, in-depth articles and reviews. Suddenly, the manga in my to-read pile doesn't seem so daunting a task when I have more time to tackle them properly. I hope that if you still read Nagareboshi Reviews with its questionable current schedule, you will still read NR when it has a more reliable posting schedule. Maybe by the end of the year, I'll bump it up to two posts a week - but that depends on a lot of factors currently out of my control.

Feel free to let me know what you think about this in the comments. I am really looking for reader feedback on this admittedly significant shift in how the blog operates from now on.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

PR: VIZ Media Participates in First Ever Bay Area Book Festival June 6-7

"MONONOKE HIME" (1980 nen Shoki Settei Ban)
By Hayao Miyazaki
© 1993 Nibariki
All rights reserved. 
© 1993 Studio Ghibli
The Largest Manga Publisher In The U.S. Will Showcase A Wide Variety Of Manga, Art Books And Other Acclaimed Titles At Literary Festival Taking Place In Berkeley, CA Next Month

San Francisco, CA, May 28, 2015 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, proudly announces its support and participation in the first-ever Bay Area Book Festival, set to take place the weekend of June 6-7, 2015 in downtown Berkeley, CA.

VIZ Media will exhibit and offer for sale a wide selection of its published titles throughout the festival, including art books, graphic novels, manga and other noteworthy releases from the Perfect Square, Studio Ghibli and Haikasoru literary imprints, as well as contemporary titles from the VIZ Signature collection.

The Bay Area Book Festival is FREE to attend and will take place from 10:00AM to 6:00PM at Civic Center Park and 12 surrounding themed blocks in downtown Berkeley. Exhibitors will include publishers, indie bookstores, literary and literacy organizations, library services, writing programs, book artists, authors, and more. A variety of indoor and outdoor activities and exhibits aimed at adults, teens and children also will be offered. More than 150 local, national, and international authors will be reading, debating, and presenting in great spaces, both indoor and outside, throughout the Downtown Arts District as well as selected venues on the UC Berkeley campus. Full details on the Bay Area Book Festival are available at: http://www.baybookfest.org.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Open Thread: Avengers Age of Ultron

We've probably all seen Age of Ultron at this point. You've probably all moved onto Mad Max (which looks and sounds amazing) and Tomorrowland (which looks amazing but sounds disappointing) by now, but I haven't, ergo this post! I saw it last weekend and I've been thinking about it a lot since. I'd like to read people's thoughts on the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's a pretty solid popcorn movie but I also think it will prove to be one of the better and often argued over entries in the current Marvel canon. Below are some starting points on the film and MCU in general.

Spoilers for all Marvel films up to now can be expected in the comments! Please, if you've seen any of the leaked set pics from the new Captain America, keep it under wraps for now. I've been trying to avoid them for the most part, although sometimes a rare small pic will slip under the radar.

  • The trailer for Ant Man
  • The seemingly controversial Nat/Bruce relationship
  • Bruce and Tony: are they wholly responsible for Ultron's behavior?
  • Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch!
  • Hawkeye's surprising back story, so surprising almost none of the Avengers knew about it.
  • Could this be the most religiously loaded Marvel film to date?
  • How do the events of this film shape the MCU and how SHIELD/the Avengers operate?
  • Tony's special big shiny suit - yeah, that one
  • Thor in the bath scene, also known as "why is this happening? am I on drugs right now?"
  • Anyone else disappointed the GOTG didn't make a cameo?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Novel Review: Sword Art Online LN 4

Sword Art Online: Fairy Dance LN 2
Author: Reki Kawahara
Artist: abec
Yen Press
204 pages
Kirito plunges into a suspicious new VRMMORPG called ALFheim Online to rescue Asuna, who never returned from Sword Art Online. ALO offers many features to entertain players in the wake of SAO: ultra-high-end graphics, action-heavy gameplay, a choice of fairy races, and a next-generation flight engine. Playing as a spriggan, Kirito heads for the location of Asuna's prison --- the top of the World Tree, the final destination of every player in the game! (Source: Yen Press)
Here is the ultimate kicker about the Sword Art Online light novel series, for people who have watched the anime and already have an opinion on Reki Kawahara's canon. If you watched the anime and hated it, the LN will not change your mind. If you watched the anime and loved it, you will love the LN. If you watched the anime and fell anywhere in between these two groups, you will find that the LN adds a substantial amount of depth and meat to the story that the anime could not provide. Fairy Dance volume two concludes the second arc of Sword Art Online's first season story-wise, and it pretty much follows the above line of thinking to the letter.
With Fairy Dance GN 2, however, there is an additional subplot not touched upon in the anime, and somehow it makes all the difference between what made it on the screen and what stayed in the book. Perhaps if the book's opening scenes had been included in an episode, I would have warmed more to the Leafa/Kirito relationship. Plus, it's just a really great scene and I wish I had seen it animated. Deviant Gods are awesome!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Another Dispatch From LLSIF World: Alpaca Edition

Is it weird that, in a game based around beautiful young female pop idols based in Japan, the in-game event award I'm most jazzed about is a furry long-necked animal mostly found in South America who is often found in petting zoos?

I am talking about, of course, the Love Live alpaca.

I still am not sure why this alpaca is such a big part of LLSIF fandom. He doesn't do anything, not really. You can't add him to your teams or level him up. All he is good for is giving another idol experience, after which he disappears into the cosmic ether of your smartphone forever. But look at him! That's an adorable alpaca! How can you not love something so fluffy?

Side note: the most recent event was really fun, if only for the fact that I got to play against other people and compare scores/look at other people's weird user names/greeting choices. I was surprised at the lack of variations on "(X Girl) is my waifu" on people's profiles, though. None of y'all married a Nico body pillow? Don't lie to yourself, it is something you considered.

I can't wait for the next event! And to see the other songs the game are releasing as b-sides for this year's anniversary date.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Authors I Really Want To Meet

There's this fun book-centric meme for bloggers via the Broke and the Bookish that runs every Tuesday called Top Ten Tuesday, and while I probably won't do it every week, I thought I'd try and break into the fray for this week as an opener. It's - wait for it - a weekly top ten list that runs on Tuesdays and each week a different topic is picked by the BATB blog runners for participants to discuss.

I used to do so many memes like this back when I ran Dangerously Cold Tea, my old book blog (wow, that takes me back...) and I promise, they are super fun. Hopefully, y'all find this as much fun as I do.

This week: ten authors I really want to meet. I'm gonna keep it split ever across prose authors and manga-ka, since this is primarily a manga blog. I'll count a few dead ones, since it's a fantastical whim and within that framework, anything could happen.

Friday, May 8, 2015

And Now, Miku Hatsune With The Weather

It's Friday, so be kind to yourself and watch this adorable as hell fan-made video of Miku Hatsune trying her hand in broadcast journalism. What more is there to say to make you wanna watch?

Hat tip to ANN for the video link, where there is also news about a new Miku album from the same artist who created the above video.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

PR: Viz Media Releases Convention Plans for ACEN 2015

VIZ Media Returns To Mid-West’s Largest Anime/Manga Convention With Exclusive Products, Advance Copies Of Upcoming Titles, Special Guest Appearances, Informative Panels And Much More

San Francisco, CA, May 7, 2015 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, has announced its participation at the Anime Central 2015 convention with an exciting weekend full of unique booth giveaways and exclusive items for sale, informative panel discussions and special guest appearances, anime screenings, and other fun activities.

Anime Central 2015 (ACen) takes place May 15th to 17th in Rosemont, IL, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare and the adjacent Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, located less than 30 minutes from downtown Chicago. ACen presents special Guests of Honor from the Japanese and U.S. sectors of the anime and manga industry, as well as gaming, cinema, and other Asian pop culture personalities. VIZ Media will be located in Booth #I-11. Complete details on Anime Central 2015 are available at: http://www.acen.org.

The VIZ Media booth will offer fans a wide variety of retail products available for purchase throughout the convention. Special exclusive products include a NARUTO manga replica ($15.00) featuring the Uchiha Brothers in a pivotal and touching moment. Be among the first to get a SAILOR MOON R Event T-Shirt ($15.00) featuring an exclusive design in both unisex and ladies’ styles/sizes! Also pick up a special advance copy of Volume 1 of the forthcoming new shojo manga series, SO CUTE IT HURTS!! ($10.00; rated ‘T’ for Older Teens) ahead of its June 2nd street date. All purchases also offer the buyer a selection of 1 of 4 exclusive VIZ Media tote bags that make for a handy way to carry convention treasures.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Manga Review: Attack on Titan GN 15

Attack On Titan volume 15
Author: Hajime Isayama
Kodansha Comics

192 pages

Hange’s interrogation of a Military Police squad has revealed that Krista (a.k.a. Historia Reiss) is the true heir to the throne. The Corps quickly moves to enthrone her as queen, but a homicidal MP leads a squad that abducts Eren and Krista and throws the Corps into disarray. With Erwin arrested and the Survey Corps on the edge of dissolution, are Levi and Hange finally out of options? (Source: Random House)

I remember not being very enamored of the previous volume of Attack On Titan/Shingeki no Kyojin but I couldn't remember why until I looked back over my review of it. It was a bit of a messy, clusterfuck bomb of a book that threw a ton of plot twists at the wall just to see what would stick, which is really no good way to construct a manga. By comparison, the fifteenth and latest volume of AoT is pretty great, even though in some ways they both share the same narrative issues. Yet, this book handles these issues so much better and puts an end to a subplot that had been threatening to drag the series into the muck for a while.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dispatches From LLSIF World: Come Back, Hanayo-san!

I truly did not want to care about the latest, biggest Love Live game event - aptly titled Why Do I Get So Hungry? - but that was before I saw the special edition of Hanayo that was up for grabs. Hanayo, not the one on the right, but in her special sailing outfit, all shiny and sparkly.

After that, all I wanted was her, and all I could think about was rice. Lots and lots of rice. You can't win the game without lots of rice, y'all. Apparently, Hanayo is hungry but her tastes aren't very eclectic. Make her a dozen riceballs and she's good.

The event ended today. I have no Hanayo to show for my efforts - for the constant song playing, occasional usage of love gems to finish hard songs, the gathering of rice for event points and those smaller, lesser awards meant to push me to the end. But the end never came. My event ranking got me two love gems for my final prize, not the adorable sailor suited idol I really wanted.

I've never been so disappointed in a video game in all my life - especially in a handheld smartphone game! Geez!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Movie Frame Of Mind: Perfect Blue

Content warning: Discussion of the rape scene, as well as stalking and major spoilers for Satoshi Kon's Perfect Blue film.

Mima Kirigoe, a member of a pop-idol group called "CHAM!", decides to quit singing to pursue a career as an actress. Some of her fans are displeased with this decision though, particularly a stalker named Me-Mania. As Mima progresses into her new career, those close to her are violently murdered one by one, and Mima begins to lose the ability to distinguish reality from fantasy. (Source: MAL) 

Somehow, I have until this month avoided watching Satoshi Kon's possible magnus opus, Perfect Blue (and I only say 'possible' because the ultimate judgment on his legacy is still up in the air as more of his works are released postmortem, even if they're all manga titles). That has been a really dumb decision on my part, since Paprika is one of my favorite anime and one of my favorite films, ever, and Paranoia Agent has been one of my top Adult Swim hits since it started. Not to mention Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfather, both terrific titles!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Eisner Noms for 2015 Yield Nods To Manga Field

The 2015 Eisner Awards Nominations have recently come out - and hey, it looks like manga is once again getting some recognition! A full list of the nominations can be found at the Comic Con website, but the most important category of nominations for manga fans can be found below:

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia
All You Need Is Kill, by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Ryosuke Takeuchi, Takeshi Obata & yoshitoshi ABe (VIZ)
In Clothes Called Fat, by Moyoco Anno (Vertical)
Master Keaton, vol 1, by Naoki Urasawa, Hokusei Katsushika, & Takashi Nagasaki (VIZ)
One-Punch Man, by One & Yusuke Murata (VIZ)
Showa 1939–1944 and Showa 1944–1953: A History of Japan, by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly)
Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki, by Mamoru Hosada & Yu (Yen Press)
I'm torn between the Moyoco Anno and the Sakurazawa/Takeuchi/Obata/ABe titles, to be honest. And then there's Master Keaton! And a Shigeru Mizuki title, from a publisher not as well known for manga as the others, which is pretty awesome. I don't think there's a dull title in the bunch.
Looking at the other titles, briefly, I see that the new Ms Marvel (Kamala Khan) got some nods too. Awesome! I've only read the first trade paperback but I adore Kamala and her series. I'm kinda frumpy over MIND MGMT not getting any nominations, but I'm hoping it has gotten some recognition through the Eisners before? I don't see how it couldn't.
Some other favorites of mine getting noms through Eisner this year: Matt Fraction's Hawkeye, Lumberjanes by Stevenson et al, Seconds by O'Malley (YOU GOTTA READ SECONDS RIGHT NOW, SCOTT PILGRIM FANS), Noto's Black Widow (which will win best cover artist if there is any justice in the universe).
I don't read as many U.S. comics as I do manga so what titles in this list should I be looking at?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: Still Alive (Part 2)

Another week for Wednesday Briefs? It must be a real banner month for me then. It's part two of my new Lost story, in which a character who should be dead is certainly not and it is causing a lot of confusion for everyone involved.

In this installation, we see a bit of how our intrepid physicist came to get off the island and perhaps understand a little more of the strange powers of the island over its inhabitants, temporary or otherwise. As before, spoilers for the series finale and the major events leading up to it.

Still Alive, part 2. Lost, AU, post-series/series 6 alt take. Prompts used: plane; long day's journey into night.

Two months ago.

Daniel Faraday ran through the jungle, grabbing at vines and branches that crossed his path, throwing them out of the way. He could hear a plane's engine starting, the mechanics crankily kicked into life. His clothes were torn, he was covered in blood, and his chest felt like it wanted to cave in with every step he took, but he kept running.

PR: Viz Media Releases Activity Book Based On Pendleton Ward Series

© 2015 Frederator Networks, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

BRAVEST WARRIORS: THINGS TO DOODLE AND DO! Features Games, Activities And Drawing Tutorials Based On Pendleton Ward’s Smash-Hit Animated Series

San Francisco, CA, April 20, 2015 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga, graphic novels and anime in North America, expands its catalog of BRAVEST WARRIORS titles with the release of a new activity book – BRAVEST WARRIORS: THINGS TO DOODLE AND DO! – on May 5th.

Set for publication under the company’s PERFECT SQUARE imprint, BRAVEST WARRIORS: THINGS TO DOODLE AND DO! contains a collection of games, activities and how-to drawing prompts inspired by the hit BRAVEST WARRIORS animated adventure series created by the Emmy Award-winning visionary Pendleton Ward.

BRAVEST WARRIORS: THINGS TO DOODLE AND DO! will be released exclusively in-print and features artist Fawn Lau, who has worked on all of Perfect Square’s BRAVEST WARRIORS titles, along with a cover illustration and select interior artwork by renowned comic book artist Alan Brown. BRAVEST WARRIORS: THINGS TO DOODLE AND DO! will carry an MSRP of $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN.

Monday, April 20, 2015

On Living the Love Live Life

Forgive me. I have fallen into a hole, and that hole is Love Love School Idol Festival. My days have now been taken over by live shows, special events and deciding which is best girl out of my current posse of wannabe idols.

Is it any surprise though? The Love Live anime and smartphone game have been incredibly popular lately; my Twitter feed has been inundated with updates on LLSIF special events, fan art of school idols and friend IDs. Everyone seems to have their favorite song and girl and understand the game so much better than I do, someone who has yet to finish a single song in Hard mode. I've been playing for less than a week, though, and I also attend school and work so it's not like I have time to play Snow Halation every hour until I beat it across all difficulty levels.

I actually thought I wouldn't be using my iPhone for games - ha! LLSIF is the main reason why I keep having to recharge my battery (well, that and the 5C has a crappy battery life out of the box). I haven't gotten very far in the story and it's been difficult training my idols - I haven't managed to unlock a single girl's storyline! - but I'm gonna keep playing and keep trying and hopefully score a Hanayo before the week is over.

Look for more updates on LLSIF as I progress through the songs! PS: Rin is best girl, obviously.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fujoshi O'Clock (4/17/15)

What time is it? It's Fujoshi O'Clock, a regular 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:


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!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: We Can Never Go Back

It feels like it's been forever since I wrote something for Wednesday Briefs. I'm gonna tick off all the readers of the Washed Right Out series when I admit that this time, it's not about original fiction. Maybe Riley will show up next time?

For the latest edition of the Briefs, I've gone back to now-familiar stomping grounds - Lost - specifically, the characters Hume and Faraday, who have become my two favorite people to write about from the Lostverse. Hopefully, y'all agree and enjoy what is the opening to a new story that will be finished sooner than later!

Spoiler alert: Spoilers for up to the season six finale of Lost. Takes place post-series, AU in many regards.

Still Alive. LOST AU. Characters: Desmond Hume, Daniel Faraday, references to other characters. Prompts used: island, shadows.
He woke up with a mouthful of dirt, clawing at what should have been the sky, desperate to be free of this prison. He was dying, now he was dead, he had just been shot, and now a man with ageless eyes was burying him underneath a tall, tropical tree—

Monday, April 13, 2015

Manga Sprites: Video Games and Time Travel

In this edition of Manga Sprites, super short reviews of recently read books, I look at the first volume of No Game No Life and the latest volumes (or near-latest) of Kamisama Kiss, Library Wars and Blue Exorcist. Spoilers for the last three series!

No Game, No Life volume 1 by Yuu Kamiya, Mashiro Hiiragi: There was an urban legend that there was a legendary, undefeated gamer called [ ], but in reality he was just a NEET brother and sister called 空 (Sora) and 白 (Shiro). These hikikomori siblings who both refer to the real world as a worthless "Kuso Game" are one day summoned to a different world by a boy calling himself "God".

I tried to enjoy this manga, since it is a favorite of my best friend, but wow it is so terrible. I found the main characters grating, especially the brother's arrogant and lack of empathy towards other human beings. There is a lot of ridiculous fanservice and the amount of panty shots, breast shots, and sexy poses in unsexy scenes had me wondering if NGNL is a h-manga in disguise. There are so many other series about people being pulled into MMORPGs and series about NEETS/hikkikomori as main characters that I don't see how NGNL can be seen as original. I'll probably not be picking up the second volume unless it drops into my lap and I'm so bored I can't help but flip through it.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

New Ebook Is Now Available Online: Did You Leave Any For Me

Good golly gosh, remember last year when my first published piece of fiction, Did You Leave Any For Me, premiered in Wayward Ink's anthology, Stranded? Now you can buy just that story in a stand-alone ebook - and it's available starting today! I am excited to share this story with an even wider audience than before, and I hope y'all are excited in turn to read it. I think you'll like it, if you like stories about second chances, bottles of champagne, and questionable bathroom etiquette. And that just covers a small part of this ebook!

Get it in as many sexy, shiny formats as your e-reader can handle, from PDF to Kindle's mobi files. Lots of purchase links are included at the bottom of the post. Further details on the story itself below!

Did You Leave Any For Me: Two ex-lovers, one hotel room, and a random act of technology. Will they fall out, or will they fall back in love? Ollie and Shay are on-again, off-again boyfriends who have performed the "one last fling" dance so many times, it's become routine. This time, however, their last fling might just become the start of something new.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

4/8/15: Happy Lost Day (Again!)

Somehow, it feels like I only recently celebrated 815 Day, which is another major day for Lost fandom. Now, we are celebrating a day that will only occur once in our lifetimes: a day when, for literally one second, the date and time become 4/8/15 16:23:42.

Those numbers, of course, are the major driving mystery of the show Lost - from Hurley's lottery ticket to the code imputed into the Swan Hatch computer and gobs more examples I can barely begin to list - so when the calendar and the clock reflects said sequence, we gotta celebrate the occasion!

Funny thing: I didn't watch Lost when it was first airing. I only started watching it seriously in 2013/2014, so I could impress my best friend who is a Lostie, the one who I now refer to as Daniel Faraday for reasons that are only obvious to me and anyone who has ever met IRL Faraday. I did not think I would love it as much as I came to do, but gosh darn it, I did. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to punch certain characters in the place (also known as why I curse at the TV screen any time William Mapother shows up in any other show, eff you Ethan you know what you did).

People Magazine has a worthwhile post on Lost Day and why it's so important in the show's canon. Now go watch some episodes!

Monday, April 6, 2015

PR: Viz and Perfect Square Acquires Yokai Watch Manga

Japan’s Massive Hit Action Series About A Boy That Can See Japanese Yo-kai Launches in the U.S. This Fall

San Francisco, CA, April 6, 2015 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, has announced the acquisition of a new manga (graphic novel) property – YO-KAI WATCH.

The supernatural comedy adventure series is inspired by the explosively popular YOKAI WATCH video game created by LEVEL-5 for the Nintendo 3DS and launched to wide acclaim in Japan in 2013. The YO-KAI WATCH manga will be published under the company’s Perfect Square imprint, written and drawn by Noriyuki Konishi under the guidance of the LEVEL-5 team. This September, the phenomenal franchise is finally coming to North America with the launch of the YO-KAI WATCH manga series, fueled as well by the debuts of anime and toy products around the same time.

Yo-kai, inspired by the yokai of Japanese folklore, are not ghosts or monsters or creatures. They can’t be seen by the human eye, but they’re everywhere, and whether they're phantoms or everyday objects discovering their higher purpose, Yo-kai personalities are distinctly humanlike!

The YO-KAI WATCH manga will be rated ‘A’ for All Ages and will be available exclusively in print on a bi-monthly basis. In Japan, the series originally appeared in Coro Coro Comic magazine, published by VIZ Media parent company Shogakukan, and won both the 60th Shogakukan Manga Award in 2015 and the 38th Kodansha Manga Award in the Best Children’s Manga category in 2014.