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:

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:

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.