Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas! (1 year of reviews)

My first post on this blog was wishing a "Merry Christmas!" along with some upcoming reviews. I created this blog awhile ago, but didn't start officially using it until Christmas, so going by that, it's been 1 year of reviews! And the stuff I listed last year, some are still on the waiting list XD!! But once again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Here's a list of upcoming reviews...

[ANIME]
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Vol.2: Seeds Of Revoltuon
xxxHOLiC: First Collection
Fullmetal Alchemist: Season 1 Part 2
Cardcaptors Vol.3: Misdirections
Cardcaptor Sakura: The Sealed Card
Haibane Renmei Vol.1: New Feathers

[MANGA]
Kimi Ni Todoke, Vol.1
Cardcaptors Cine-Manga 4
xxxHOLiC, Vol.2
Thunderkid, Vol.1
Turbulence
Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol.2
Dream Saga, Vol.1

[MUSIC]
Tsubasa Chronicles: Future Soundscape Volume 1

Thank you to all who read my reviews, I hope they've been helpful. Here's to another year of future reviews! God Bless and Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

ROZEN MAIDEN: Ouverture [OVA]


This two-episode Rozen Maiden special was aired on December 22 and 23, 2006 on TBS in Japan. It is a brief prequel to the events of the TV series. Ouvertüre (オーベルテューレ, ōberuchiyūre), German for "overture", is set at some point during Träumend (most likely between episodes six and seven) and answers critical questions about Suigintou's past, particularly those pertaining to the rivalry she holds with Shinku. The majority of the two-episode special is told by Souseiseki and takes place as a flashback to the nineteenth century in London. Ali Project once again lends its talents for the opening song. As with the series, Kukui sings the ending theme.
(Wikipedia description of Rozen Maiden: Ouverture)
[NOTE: Since there is no DVD release here, I used this image of Rozen Miaden: Ouverture that I found and saved from Photobucket]

Original Japanese Title:
Dubbed by: Undubbed.
Animation:
Manga adaption?: Yes, "Rozen Maiden" by Peach-Pit.
Rating: Not rated.

{I, the reviewer, give Rozen Maiden: Ouveture, 10 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

This OVA takes place somewhere in Traumend and is a flashback of how Shinku met Suigintou. It first begins with Jun trying to give Shinku a broach, and she utterly refuses. This makes Jun very angry at her, because all he wanted to do was give her something nice. However, Souseiseki pulls him aside and tells her the whole story, not only of why she won't accept the broach, but also why Suigintou hates Shinku.

Suigintou remembers waking up incomplete without any clothes on. She remembers "Father" holding all the Rozen Maiden. She also remembers a long haired blond doll with a red dress whom he seemed to love and embrace the most. Despite being in pieces, her love for "Father" was so strong, she pulled herself together and dressed herself in clothes. Suigintou comes through the mirror into Sara's room, Shinku's current medium. Shinku is shocked when this poor, crying doll introduces herself as "Suigintou, the first Rozen Maiden."

To avoid any spoilers, so you yourself can find out the story, I'll just leave the description at that. But I loved this OVA because it explained so much about why Suigintou has so much hate towards Shinku, and when you watch it, it's very understandable why. You get to see the fragile side of her, realizing she never was a sadistic doll, but only wanted to be embraced and loved by "Father" like all the other dolls. The animation this time around is extremely beautiful, much better than the previous two seasons. The music is pretty much the same, but still beautiful and fitting for the series. You can easily watch both seasons and never need to watch this OVA, but if you'd like to go deeper and find out more about Suigintou, then you'll wanna watch this.

Recommend?
If you wanna learn more about Suigintou, you have to watch this OVA!

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
The opening and ending pieces are rather nice, and the musical score is the same, beautiful score as the series.

[SUB VS. DUB]
You can only watch this in it's original Japanese fansubbed. But I will say the Japanese voice cast did an excellent job!

[MOVIES/MANGA]
"Rozen Maiden" manga series by Peach-Pit.

[RELATED TITLES]
"Rozen Maiden" and "Rozen Maiden: Traumend".

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
If I remember correctly, nothing more harsh than "h" and "d" in the first episode.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Suigintou was an incomplete doll, and when we see her lying in pieces, she was not yet clothed. However, you don't see anything. Even if for a moment, it was probably fast, and undetailed.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There's battles between Shinku and Souseki, but they're dolls, so injuries are bloodless.
(SPOILERS!! Souseki cuts Suigintou in half, but she's a doll so there's no blood and gore).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Well, they're Rozen Maiden, living dolls who fight to become "Alice", the perfect girl. They make "covenants" by giving their masters rings from which they can draw energy from. Each doll has a "Rosa Mystica" inside of them, it's like a magical spirit of their energy.

*EPISODE LIST*
1. Eternity
2. Vanity

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Avatar The Last Airbender: Water, Vol.1


The Avatar returns to the world searching for excitement, adventure and a good time! New friends, celebrity status, and the ruthless Fire Nation on his tail...can Aang face his destiny to save the world?
(From the backcover of Avatar The Last Airbender: Water, Vol.1)

Original Japanese Title: There isn't one.
Dubbed by: English is the original audio.
Animation:
Manga adaption?: No, this is an original show.
Rating: Not rated.

{I, the reviewer, give Avatar The Last Airbender: Water, Vol.1, 9 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

If there was ever such thing as an American anime, "Avatar The Last Airbender" would be it. With beautiful animation and an engaging storyline, it's one of the best American-made cartoons I have seen in awhile that has an anime quality to it, which is why I have allowed myself to review it here!

It's a story about four nations: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. They all once lived together in peace, until the Fire Nation decided to attack. A war broke loose, lasting years upon years. What's worse is the Avatar, the only one who can control all four elements, vanished. A hundred years later since the war started, a brother and sister named Sokka and Katara from the Water Nation find a boy named Aang frozen in an iceberg. He is an Air Bender, and apparently the last of their kind. But not only that, they later find out he is the new Avatar, wielder of all elements, destined to save the world! Of course, being just a kid, he's still got alot to learn and training to do before he can do that. Not only that, but Prince Zuko from the Fire Nation, who has been looking for the Avatar for 2 years, has finally discovered him!

This is something the whole family would enjoy watching. It's extremely clean that has enough humor and fun to keep younger viewers happy, but an engaging storyline deep enough for older viewers to get into. It serves as a good alternative to alot of anime that is too violent and/or confusing, or the horribly dubbed edited versions of anime. Anime puriests would look at me as crazy to even call this "an anime", but whether or not it's a true anime, it's still an amazing animated series with lots of action and fun that people of all ages can enjoy. Plus the animation is actually beautiful, unlike most of the modern "cardboard" looking series we have today with lame or random, disgusting storylines. Give this one a try; I think you'll like it!

Recommend?
Yes, yes, and did I say yes? If you're looking for an amazing anime-quality series that the whole family can enjoy, watch this!! You won't regret it!

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
It has a pretty good musical score that fits the show nicely.

[SUB VS. DUB]
This show was originally in English to begin with. The acting is done pretty well. Where there were parts where the acting could of been better, for the most part it's excellent. It also comes in French and Spanish dub, but I cannot comment since I have not watched it in those languages.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
The live-action movie based on the animated series entitled "The Last Air Bender".

[RELATED TITLES]
None that I can think of, other than the live-action movie.

[DVD EXTRAS]
"Behind The Scenes Kung Fu" Featurette

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
Nothing.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
In the fourth episode when Sokka asks for some female warriors to teach him how to fight, they agree as long as he agrees to follow ALL their traditions, which includes wearing their warrior outfit and make-up, which obviously is for girls only. This is for comical purposes, however. Other than that, nothing. The most revealing clothing gets is when someone is swimming (in swim clothes) or when two male fire benders fight shirtless.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There's some fighting, but no one gets seriously hurt. There are mentions of events where people have gotten killed, such as the exstinction of the Air Benders and Katara's mother. The worst it gets is at the Air Temple when Aang finds out the Fire Nation did attack and sees the skeleton of one of his friends (and I think there were other dead bodies, but not extremely graphic).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
There are four nations: Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. Within these nations are people called "Benders" those who can "bend" a certain element, meaning control it and use it. The Avatar is someone from either one of these nations who can wield all four elements. There's something called the "Avatar Cycle" where the Avatar is reincarnated into the next nation in the cycle. This time, the Avatar was reincarnated as a boy named Aang who is an Air Bender.

*EPISODE LIST*
1. "Chapter 1: The Boy In The Iceberg"
2. "Chapter 2: The Avatar Returns"
3. "Chapter 3: The Southern Air Temple"
4. "Chapter 4: The Warriors of Kyoshi"

Angelic Layer: Complete Series


From Shojo manga superstars Clamp comes an anime classic. 12 year old Misaki builds her own Angel, a robot competitor for the hit arcade game Angelic Layer. She soon begins winning battles where will and determination count far more than size and strenth. It's a heartwarming story with a message-and a great low price collection!
(Amazon.com description of Angelic Layer: Complete Series)
[NOTE: There are two boxsets of the complete series, this image is one of them, but I have a different boxset with different cover art, but it's probably the same thing].

Original Japanese Title:
Dubbed by: ADV
Animation: BONES
Manga adaption?: Yes, "Angelic Layer" by CLAMP.
Rating: 13+


{I, the reviewer, give Angelic Layer: Complete Series, 8 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

This title was one of my recommendations when I asked people for a good clean anime series. Plus, it was available for streaming in full, for free, on the Anime Network's YouTube channel in English, so I thought "Might as well try it out! The worst that could happen is I won't like it". And the worst did not happen, I absolutely really liked this anime!

Based on yet another CLAMP manga, and in the same universe as Chobits, "Angelic Layer" is about a 12-year-old girl named Misaki Suzuhara who comes to Tokyo to attend school there and live with her Auntie Shoko. For awhile, she's been living with her Grandparents in the country while her mom was always away at work in Tokyo, so she hasn't seen her since Kindergarten. As far as her dad is concerned, it's not mentioned in the anime, but in the manga it is mentioned he had passed away. When Misaki arrives and leaves the station, on a huge TV she sees Angelic Layer, instantly falling in love with the pretty white angel that won, even though she was small! Then a strange guy in a lab coat appears who calls himself Icchan and he introduces her into the world of Angelic Layer, where she can her very own angel!

Throughout the series, Mr. Icchan helps Misaki with how to play Angelic Layer. After winning a non-official match at Piffle Princess without any experience or practice, Mr. Icchan sees potential. After she learns how to practice and wins yet another unofficial challenge, he gives her an angel card, and there she enters the Official Games of Angelic Layer, where she's up against some tough players! Every angel has their own special patent ability. For example, Suzuka's "Rolling Thunder", Ranga's "Dance Of Death", and Blanche's "Hyper Mode". The little miracle kindergartner, Hotoko, also helps Misaki, and they made a promise that Misaki would lose to no one but her. And Hotoko teaches Misaki to believe in herself and Hikaru (her angel) too, and that age and size does not matter in Angelic Layer. And besides the drama of the games, Misaki longs to see her mother. Little does she know her mother is closer to her than she thinks!

I simply loved this anime. The character developement and lessons learned was really well written. You see Misaki make friends, even with rivals, and her longing for her mother, as well as wanting to meet the white angel she saw in battle. It gets even more emotional as the series comes to a close, with alot of things unfolding and Misaki getting closer to finding out where her mom's been all this time. Watching the battles are also intense, and you'll be rooting for Hikaru all the way! Even when it seems impossible, there is always a way! I have watched this series 3 times straight! The first time by myself, the second with my mom, and the third with my brother. I'm even planning on running it through again for the fourth time! The characters are loveable with their own personalities, the "angels" amazing with their special skills, and the storyline and ending quite satisfying. I wish this was a real game! I mean, an angel doll that is controlled by your thoughts to battle other "angels" on the layer? That would be so cool to play! I've even drawn a design of my own angel if I could ever play in real life! But anyway, highly good series with great animation, story, and characters!

Recommend?
Totally! If you're looking for a really good anime that's relatively clean, has some action, and character developement, watch this! You'll wish Angelic Layer was a real game, too!

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
The music fits the series perfectly! Nothing I would call spectacular, but perfect for the show. The opening "Be My Angel" is cute and the first closing "The Starry Sky" is beautiful. The second ending is a nice piece, but not as good as the first.

[SUB VS. DUB]
I've seen little of the sub, and what I saw was OK, but I'd have to watch more of it for a better analysis. The dub starts out OK, but gets better as the episodes progress and the voice actors start to really get into their characters.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
"Angelic Layer" by CLAMP.

[RELATED TITLES]
"Chobits" and "Kobato"

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Nothing objectionable. (Based on the dub translation).

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
There's a scene where Shoko is drinking an alcoholic beverage, but this is shown once, maybe twice in the whole thing.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
When Misaki first opens the angel egg, she does it in the bath, but is submerged in the water, so you don't see anything. The same goes for Kaede and her angel. Both Misaki's aunt and Tamayo makes jokes about marrying her, however, they are only joking. Ogata has accused Mr. Icchan of being a pervert, but of course is incorrect. There's a scene where Mr. Icchan is looking at how well designed Misaki's angel is, including looking underneath it's skirt, but he tells her he was just analyzing it scientifically. Ogata accidently bumps his bottom against a female co-worker's when they are trying to fix the layer, and she accuses him of sexual harrasment. When a hamster goes missing, Kotarou goes to look for it and Misaki tackles him 'cause he was going into her room, and Hotoko says what a dirty boy he is for trying to go into a girl's room. Other than those few minor incidents (most of them more comical if anything), it's rather a clean series.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Angelic Layer is a fighting game where one's "angel" battles it out on the layer. There's alot of the dolls getting injured and thrashed around, but since they're dolls, it's nothing serious.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Other than the dolls being called "Angels", none.

*EPISODE LIST*
1. "How Do You Do? My Very Own Angel!"
2. "Let's Try Our Best, Hikaru! The First Fight"
3. "Who Are You? Misaki's Nervour Lesson"
4. "The Day The Angel Descended"
5. "I Don't Want To Lose! I'm Believing In Hikaru!"
6. "Light-Speed Suzuka! Hotoko's Declaration Of Rivalry!"
7. "Fight To The Limit - Misaki's Last Chance"
8. "Misaki vs. Misaki? A Dangerous Classmate"
9. "Sing Misaki! Is The Dues An Idol?"
10. "Mean Sisters! Hikaru The Target"
11. "The Match! Hikaru and Mao Really Fight"
12. "Misaki and Kotaro - Exciting Date"
13. "Pure White Blanche - Kaede's Smile"
14. "Never Give Up! An Angel Was Born"
15. "Shirahime vs. Suzuka! Secret of The Ice Machine"
16. "The Final Match! Hikaru's Last Attack"
17. "I Choose You! The One Misaki Selected"
18. "Many Formidable Opponents - The National Games Of Everyone's Dreams"
19. "System Down? A Battle On a Ship In a Storm!"
20. "Icchan, the Enemy? The Puzzling Second Game"
21. "Summertime At The Sea! Someone's In Love With Someone"
22. "Suddenly Just The Two Of Us - Secret Double Dates"
23. "Break The Magical Wall! Misaki vs. Oujiro"
24. "Reach Out To Misaki! This Feeling Goes Over The Rainbow"
25. "Fateful Reunion - An Angel Soaked With Tears"
26. "Angel Wings! Please Guide Me and Hikaru"

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Silver Kiss


Zoe's life is falling apart, her mothers in the hospital with bone cancer and her best friend is moving away. Then one day mysterious beautiful Simon shows up with almost the same loneliness as Zoe and a friendship between the two is form.
What Zoe doesn't know yet, is that Simon is a 300 year old vampire who wants to avenge his mothers death and is trying to find this serial killer who's been murdering people around town. No matter what he is Simon is the only thing that Zoe can hold on to when everything else is falling apart.
(SmackJeeves description of The Silver Kiss )

Manga-Ka: Story by Anette Curtis Klause, Art by XXPAXX.
Distributor: Online exclusive.
Format: Left-to-right
Rating: Not Rated
~*~Click Here To Read~*~

{I, the reviewer, give The Silver Kiss, 8 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

This is an unofficial manga adaption of Anette Curtis Klause's novel entitled "The Silver Kiss". This adaption was actual a school project of XXPAXX's, and thus in order to get it finished in time, she had to omitt several part from the actual book. Whether or not she got a good grade on this project is uncertian, since she never tells us, but she has it uploaded at SmackJeeves for our enjoyment. Now, as someone who has never read or heard of this book, I cannot make a fair comparison to the original. However, according to the fans who were reading this, it sounds like it stayed true to the book it was based upon.

It's about a teenage girl named Zoe going through alot in her life. She's mostly alone all the time at home. Her mother's in the hospital and isn't allowed to see her that much. To make matters worse, her best friend tells her she's moving to Organ. And now...there's a string of strange murders happening. Can things get any worse? She then meets a strange guy named Simon, who later reveals to her he's a vampire and that the killer that is on the loose is the same one who killed his mother. Zoe decides to help Simon in catching this killer.

At only 84 pages, this was a really emotional story, it actually made me shed tears as I read it. You really felt for Zoe as she went through so much pain. The art in here is absolutely beautiful, though because of the mangaka needing to get this project done before the due date, had several pages that was nothing but screentone and dialogue. Despite that, it was an excellent read and makes me actually want to pick up the book and read the full version! The ending was bittersweet, however, but yet beautiful, especially Zoe's line on the final page. I'm usually not a huge fan of vampire stories, but I seriously enjoyed this one and I think you will, too!

Recommend?
I extremely recommend this! Even to those (like me) who have not yet read the actual book, but I am sure people who have read it would enjoy it more.

I certify this *MANGA NEWCOMER WORHTY* because it is a manga adaption of a novel you may have actual read or heard of, and it's easy to understand the plotline.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
3 "d", 1 "h", 1 "b", 1 other "b" word, and God's name taken in vain once.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Nothing more than a kiss.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There's a string of murders going on. The actual murder is not shown, however, there is a little bit of blood.
(SPOILER! Zoe kills Simon's brother, but it is not shown.Simon decides it's his time to die, so he and Zoe waits for the sun to come up. He vanishes, but we don't see him actually burn).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Well, there's vampires in this story, beings who live forever and never age.
(SPOILER! Simon's brother is killed by the cross necklace Lorraine gave to Zoe).

*CHAPTER LIST*
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

Friday, December 17, 2010

HEROIC AGE: The Complete Series


Long ago, the advanced Tribe of Gold vanished from the vast universe. In the void left by their departure, the tyrannical Tribe of Silver ascended to rule, forcing mankind – the Iron Tribe – to the brink of extinction.
Now humanity wanders the cosmos in search of a savior. Prophesy has foretold of one who will labor for their freedoms, and on a planet of ruin, a champion is found. A feral boy named Age holds the destiny of their species in his hands and the untold power of the Tribe of Hero within.
(Amazon.com description of Heroic Age: The Complete Series)
[NOTE: This cover image is not of the complete series box set, but of the part 1 of 2 boxset].

Original Japanese Title:
Dubbed by: Funimation
Animation: XEBEC
Manga adaption?: No, this is an original anime.
Rating: TVPG


{I, the reviewer, give Heroic Age, 10 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

If you're an Amazon.com customer, I'm sure you're aware they often give you recommendations based upon the things you purchase. Well, my discovering "Heroic Age" was actually because it was recommended to me via based on my anime purchases or viewing. The premise of the show sounded interesting, people gave it good reviews, and it appeared to be relatively clean content wise. With that said, I decided to give "Heroic Age" a shot and so I streamed it on Funimation's YouTube Channel. And since then, I've been in love with this anime!

"Heroic Age" is an epic space opera about four tribes; Silver, Bronze, Iron, and Heroic, who answered the Golden Tribe's call. Once they had answered, this tribe left our universe for another. The Iron (humans) discover the fifth Nodos, who ends up being a boy named Age raised by The Golden Tribe. He must carry out the 12 labors, a binding contract with the Iron Tribe to defend them.

A Nodos is a person who carries within them one of the last five surviving mecha race known as The Heroic Tribe. These five survivors were punished by the Golden Tribe because of how powerful they were and destructive they were, destroying entire worlds. And so, they were put into a chosen five, to carry out whatever labors they are contracted with to a certain tribe.

This anime is both extremely intense and engaging, as well as very emotional. The battles scenes and action sequences are so epic, you'll be gasping. Like when Dhelianelia's brothers plan to blow up a planet within their own solar system, when a Nodos goes into a "frenzy" because they fought too long and become so consumed in their maddness they become more powerful and destructive, when several fleets are under enemy fire! And as far as the emotional side of it goes, there were several times in this anime I've actually cried! This show is never too over-the-top with it's emotion, it is done very well and believeable. I don't think I ever remember a cheesy moment that would make you roll your eyes and go "oh brother".

At 26 episodes, it was an intense ride, one I'd like to experience over again. The animation is crisp, clear, bright, and beautiful. The voice acting on either audio track is done breath-takingly well. The story is well written, never seeming as though it's trying too hard. Plus the ending was rather satisfying, it doesn't leave you feeling cheated or disappointed. This is an anime that sure deserves more recognization, I almost feel like I have found a rare gem among all the anime that is out there. Okay, maybe not a "rare gem", but a gem none-the-less. You'll gasp at Dhelianelia's idiot brothers, agree alot with Mobeeto and Nilval, cry or feel sad when Dhelianelia is, and even laugh or smile at Age's goofiness at times. And of course, cheer on our heroes as they strive to claim their destiny and move towards the future!

Recommend?
Looking for a good space opera with lots of action, a good plot, mecha, hints of romance, emotion, and intensity? Then go...watch this...now! It's absolutely amazing.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
The opening "Gravitation" is energenic and the closing "Azurite" is beautiful, both wonderful fitting songs for the show. The actual score is rather nice, a bit repetitive at times, but hard to get tired of.

[SUB VS. DUB]
Equally great! It's an excellent dub, but the original Japanese is also done well.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
No movies. This is an original anime series. However, I have heard of a manga adaption of it. Whether it is licensed is unknown.

[RELATED TITLES]
None.

[DVD EXTRAS]
I watched this at Funimation's website, so for the moment I cannot comment.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
The words "d" and "h" are used a few times in many of the episodes. In the first few, God's name is also taken in vain a few times, but only in the first few episodes it seems. In the sub, I remember one "s" word.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None that I remember.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
It seems Dhelianelia and Age have feelings for each other, but it's very cute and innocent, nothing objectionable happens. There are two characters very well-endowed and the top they where is quite revealing, you can see down the whole cleavage line, but that's about it. Alot of the women wear skin-tight uniforms, but it is conservative. There's one scene where Age and the female twins Mail and Tail are in the shower together, but their clothes are still on (they are just washing off paint).

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There's practically a space battle between the tribles of Bronze, Iron, and Silver in every episode. Mostly just lasers and explosions. Also, the Nodos get into battles quite a bit (so much they have a high risk of getting into a "frenzy"). It's bloodless until about the final few episodes. When a Nodos squeezes Belcross' arms, some blood squirts out. In the battle between Kervious and Belcross, Kervious really gets damaged and it's hard to tell if there's an unrealistic amount of blood splatter or if it is just it's black-hole making power going heywire ('cause it is also dark red). Rom Ror, when crashed on a planet, has blood on his face.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
It's about 4 tribles; The Silver (humanoid-looking emotionless people), The Bronze (insect race), The Iron (humanity), and The Heroic (mecha race) answering the call of The Golden Tribe. This "Golden Tribe" is said to have the powers to create worlds, so it's almost like they're some sort of gods. The 3 of the 4 mentioned tribes are seeking the lost power of The Golden Tribe. There are 5 people called Nodos, each from a different tribe (not all tribes answered the call so there is more than just 4), that have a "Hero" inside them (a living mecha), whom they can turn into at any time for battle, and they all have "labors" goals they must carry out for the tribe they have a contract with. Belcross, Age's Nodos, is known to be the most powerful. There's a Nodos who can jump time and space, one who can heal, one who can create black holes, etc.!
(SPOILERS! Age tells the other "Nodos" that they are all Nodos so they can give the Hero inside them a heart. Each Nodos represents something; Life, Existence, Time, Light. There's a portal they need to open to the other universe that the Golden Tribe left to, Kervious is the Door and Belcross is the Key).

*EPISODE LIST*
1. The Ruined Planet
2. The Forgotten Child
3. The Tribe Of Hero
4. The Planet Titarros
5. The Nodos
6. The Cemetery Belt
7. The Agreement
8. The Flashing Nodos
9. The Return
10. The Hero Of Solitude
11. The Star Of Brilliance
12. The Torch Of Destruction
13. The Battle In The Space-Time Continuum
14. The Raging One
15. When The Lights Fall
16. Overcoming the Fates
17. The Retributive Troops
18. The Victorious Day
19. The Invansion Between the Planet Systems
20. The Nodos of Darkness
21. The Planet Codomos
22. The Agreemnt of Death
23. The Four
24. Elysium
25. The Final Labor
26. Age

MOONLIT DEAD LOVE


Magical girl finding love again even if they are dead......Yay! 8D I fail at descriptions like mad crazy. >__>
(Smackjeeves description of Moonlit Dead Love)
Manga-Ka: Marshmellow Muffin
Distributor: Self-published
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: All Ages





{I, the reviewer, give "Moonlit Dead Love", 8 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

After you have finished reading volume 1 of the printed version of Muffin-sama's "The World Stops!" you will then come across a bonus one-shot story called "Moonlit Dead Love". An interesting thing to note is this one-shot was drawn all in one week, concluding at 17 pages in length.

It's about a magical girl named Moonlit whose mission is to light up the night sky. Sky Stone, a revived dead person with modifications, was brought back so he could stop her. However, when he sees Moonlit's alter-ego visiting a grave of someone she loved who died, Sky soon realizes why he's been unable to hurt her this entire time!

Despite how short it is, it was a cute love story. I actually almost cried at the part when Moonlit talks about Kith and her true feelings for him. Even though it was all drawn within a week, the art is as nice as ever and was a lovely bonus story to be included with "The World Stops!". Is it over for magical girl Moonlit's adventures? Well, Marshmellow Muffin is already in the works of "Moonlit Frail Love" the prequal to this one-shot, that shows what happened before Sky Stone showed up. So stick tight and be on the lookout for that one!

Recommend?
If you're looking for a quick short, but sweet, clean shoujo magical girl story, you might like this ^.^

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
I don't remember any.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Nothing.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Sky Stone is a revived dead body that's been modified, similiar to the Frankenstein monster. There's a scene with the mad scientist guy adding more modifications on him, and you see him lift his head off, but it's not gross or gory. In Moonlit's final battle with Sky Stone, she gets injured, but nothing serious.
(SPOILERS! With Moonlit's magical beam, the mad scientist vanishes, but it isn't graphic).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Well, like I said before, Sky Stone is a revived dead person with modifications, something sort of like Frankenstein. Moonlit is a magical girl who fights anyone stopping her from lighting the night sky.
(SPOILERS! Sky Stone gets his memory back and remembers he is Kith, Moonlit's friend whom she was in love with that died. Some readers may not like the fact it seems Moonlit and Kith will be together again, considering his condition of being formerly dead and all.)

*CHAPTER LIST*
(Chapterless, it's a oneshot).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Joseph & Yusra: Volume 1


After Yusra lost her parents in a military conflict in the Middle East, she was sent to America to live with her aunt. It was there that she found Joseph, a Jewish boy. They discovered that they were able to talk through telepathy and through that they were able to stay close friends.. However, there is something more to them than just telepathy..or their friendship.
(Lulu.com description for Joseph & Yusra, vol.1)
[NOTE: This cover art is for the webcomic version and is not the cover for the printed version of vol.1]

Manga-Ka: Monique Blaize
Distributor: Self-published
Format: Left-to-right
Rating: Not rated.

{I, the reviewer, give Joseph & Yusra, 6 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Joseph & Yusra, a complicated friendship. And it's a very complicated friendship indeed. I saw this comic at SmackJeeves advertised, and since it was uploaded there, I decided to give it a try. Something about it drew me in, even though the plotline may seem a bit controversial. Despite that, I was surprised how much I ended up liking it. Once I started reading it, it became very hard to stop.

It's about two friends, a Jewish boy and a Muslim girl named Joseph and Yusra. The first chapter focuses on when they first met as children. Yusra lost her family in an attack in the Middle East and yet it was as if by some miracle she was protected and lived. She is then sent to America to live with her aunt. One day, when her aunt takes her to the playground, she is on the swing feeling sad. That is where she meets Joseph. However, at this time Yusra couldn't speak English, yet they were still able to converse. How? Through telepathy. And they made a pinky promise to be friends forever, and because of their telepathy, they were able to stay friends. But as they grew older, it only started to become more difficult.

Then there's Joseph's long lost cousin Mary. She happens to be a Catholic...who is training to be a nun! Nothing wrong with that, HOWEVER! She's no ordinary nun. She's a bit....psycho. No, actually she's completely insane. When Mary is at a bakery to buy Joseph something, there's a robber who storms in! Mary tries to "convert" this man to give his heart to the Lord, and he of course refuses and points a gun at her. That's when she becomes a psychopath. She takes the gun and points it at him and continues to try and convert him. Almost like a "Jesus or die" situation. This entire scene made me so on edge that I almost stopped reading, I was debating on dropping this comic. This scene disturbed me so much that even the cute relationship between Joseph and Yusra almost wasn't enough to redeem it. Everything in this comic concerning religion on all three ends seemed to be handled well until she showed up. However, according to the author, Mary has "mental issues" which is said to be more revealed down the line. Well, that explains it!

The story is pretty light-hearted until you reach near the end of volume 1, where it begins to take a dark turn once you hit the carnival arc. There's a secret organization involved in "observing" the two because they detect supernatural powers from them. It's a mystery who they are. The man Yusra's aunt is dating goes into such a violent fit he starts to become violent. By this time, you get so engaged in the story you can't help but want to keep reading and stick with the series to find out more about what's going on. Of course, this is only volume 1 and the second is yet to be created.

Overall, it's a start to a rather interesting story about love and friendship and faith. Though this isn't a "Christian" comic, there have been times when the characters talk about how important prayer is and that God is love, which was nice to see. However, Mary's act in the bakery has forced me to drop some points on how much I liked this comic. I'm still debating on whether I want to own it as part of my manga collection. But I won't lie; I still want to follow the story, as I am curious to where it leads, and how Joseph and Yusra's friendship will endure. The art is absolutely adorable and the storytelling is done well. Let's just hope we won't have any more scenes like the bakery in later volumes.

If you decide to start reading this, you'll probably be instantly drawn in. Even after the Mary incident, you might be so pulled in you'll continue it anyway. Though that scene was almost enough to make me stop reading it. What is it about this story that just pulls you in? Is it Joseph and Yusra's complicated friendship? Wanting to know more about these strange powers? Seeing how each of them will endure and if they can make it to a happy ending? Whatever the reason is, I hope for our two main characters to have a happy ending when the time for the story's climax.

Recommend?
If you can overlook Mary the crazy nun and just focus on the cute relationship between Joseph and Yusra, then you might enjoy this ^.^'

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
There was a few "h" used and about 3 or 4 "a".

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None i can remember.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
The worst it gets is this one scene in the bakery when Mary tells the robber how jail is a "pain in the butt" and she meant it literally. Other than that, none. The relationship between Joseph and Yusra is cute and doesn't go far. There's a scene where her hijab is blown off in the wind and we see her hair, then she quickly puts it back on and tells Joseph "you didn't see anything!" but it's more comic relief, if anything.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There's an attack in the Middle East and we see an explosion, but not the aftermath. When Mary is at the bakery, a robber comes in with a gun. Mary then takes the gun and points it at his head.
(SPOILERS! When Joseph and Yusra are on the Ferris Wheel, Mary who works for the secret agency, snipes at them and they fall. The man dating Yusra's aunt punches Joseph, and he starts bleeding from his nose. When this same man tries to harm Yusra by smashing her guitar on her, Joseph comes to the rescue, and in this conflict becomes badly hurt and there's quite a bit of blood).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Religion plays a huge part of the story, since Joseph is a Jew, Yusra a Muslin, and Mary a Catholic. The only thing that would set readers on edge might be Joseph and Yusra having "supernatural powers" such as their ability to communicate through telepathy. But that's all pretty tame compared to Mary the nun. In the bakery she literally puts a gun to someone's head to "accept Jesus". Though I heard the author saying "Mary has mental issues" so it doesn't appear to be the author saying all who believe in God are insane, but it is hard to look over. Also, when Yusra is at school during "the Christmas gift exchange" her name was not put in the box because they assumed since she was Muslim she did not want to participate in a Christian holiday. Despite all that, there have been positive parts of the story promoting prayer, faith, devotion, and God being love, which was nice to see in a story like this.

*CHAPTER LIST*

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

DEATHBED


[NOTE: There is no cover for this manga, so the image is of the first page]
A man is brought to the LORD on his death bed. (ChristianManga description of Deathbed).

Manga-Ka: Calbhach
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: PG
~*~Click Here To Read~*~



{I, the reviewer, give Deathbed, 8 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

After hearing that Calbhach had decided to cancel her ongoing series, "Heaven Bound", I felt quite disappointed, as Cal-sama appeared to have great manga-making talent and I was hoping to see more from her. Then one day, logging onto the CM site, she posted a quickly drawn, 10-page oneshot entitled "Deathbed".

Now when I say "quickly drawn" I do mean quickly. You can tell the art looks a bit rushed and that ot was inked digitally, as there are many lines that haven't been cleaned up. But art aside, at 10 pages, this is a very moving manga. It's about a man in the hospital about to die, his wife had died before him. A pastor comes in to tell him about the Lord and how he can be saved. The last page of this almost made me cry, it was a beautiful, short piece.

An interesting thing to note is that this was all made in one day. Cal-sama had said it just hit her that morning, and she knew she had to draw it all out on paper. The world needs more Christian manga, even if they are just short pieces such as this. Though Heaven Bound has been canceled and whether or not it'll ever be resumed is uncertain, I hope Cal-sama will continue to contribute more to the manga world with great Christian-themed pieces such as this one.

Recommend?

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
Other then mentioning it, not at all.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Zero.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
The man is in the hospital, why is never mentioned, other than he is dying.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
It's a Christian manga, and I don't think you'll find anything offensive.

*CHAPTER LIST*
(This is a one-shot, chapterless)

OSHIETE KUDASAI "Please Teach Me"


Sara Uehara is a girl who really hates studying and depends on her father's money. One day she noticed some guy working for a delivery company early in the morning when she went to school. Later in school she met a guy really similar to the one she saw earlier, but with a different hair colour and style. She also found that her school does not allow students to work part time jobs. Sara followed the guy, who is the president of the Students' council and discovered about his secret...
(From the SmackJeeves description of "Oshiete Kudasai")

Manga-Ka: Ki Hiwatari
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: Not rated
~*~Click Here To Read~*~

{I, the reviewer, give Oshiete Kudasai, 7 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

"Oshiete Kudasai" (Japanese for "Please Teach Me") is Hiwatari's most recently finished one-shot manga (or at least, most recently uploaded). It is a 52-page story about a girl named Sara Uehara who absolutely hates homework and goes to a school for rich kids. They're class system is rather unique, to say the least. The class you are in is determined by how good your grades are, so they have classes from A to F. Naturally, Sara is in the F Class. She meets a boy named Shin Kitashima and asks him to privately tutor her for 1500 yen an hour, so he takes the job.

There is more to the story than Shin tutoring Sara. Shin's having problems at home, for instance, her mom being engaged to a man he absolutely hates, and that man's daughter, Hanaka, is quite an annoying one. Though Hanaka doesn't come into the story much, so there really isn't any character developement with her at all, in fact, she seems to disappear without mention as the story reaches it's conclusion. Her presence is more in the first half of the story, though I will admit those were the most entertaining scenes in the entire manga. And despite this manga being called "Please Teach Me" the actual tutoring sessions between Shin and Sara are more of a side story, in fact, we only see their study session once throughout the whole story. But, being a one-shot, there is only so much you can show on your limited amount of pages.

Though I wouldn't say this is Hiwatari-sama's best one-shot, it was a rather decent read, with splendid art as usual. And as always, when the story is finished, we get a look at some draft pages and beautiful color artwork. It's obvious Ki Hiwatari has an amazing skill at shoujo slice-of-life one-shot stories with some kind of interesting theme.

Recommend?
If you want a quick amusing read that's free of objectionable content, this should help you pass the time.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Other than the stronger version of "ticked", none.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
None.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Hanaka slaps Sara across the cheek, and there is mention of someone dying in a car accident.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Nothing.

*CHAPTER LIST*
(Oneshot, chapterless).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST [Season 1 Part 1]


Under stormy skies, Edward and Alphonse Elric exploited the clandestine science of Alchemy in attempt of the forbidden - To resurrect their dearly departed mother. But every art form has its taboos and every science its laws not to be broken. The tragic failure of the young brothers unleashed an unholy reaction that ripped their bodies apart and their innocence asunder. Four years later, an evil lurks behind the false face of freedom, its growth unchecked. A lone State Alchemist combs the countryside in search of a mythological stone. If found, the stone could amplify natural talents and harness a power equal to the restoration of things once held precious, now lost. If found, the stone would also allow the State Military to senselessly obliterate countless more in the ongoing struggle. The youngest State Alchemist in history is soon faced with the harsh truth: The power to create is but a breath away from the power to destroy.
[From the backcover of Fullmetal Alchemist: Season 1 Part 1]

Original Japanese Title:
Dubbed by: Funimation
Animation: BONES
Manga adaption?: Yes, "Fullmetal Alchemist" by Hiromu Arakawa.
Rating:TV PG

{I, the reviewer, give Fullmetal Alchemist: Season 1 Part 1, 10 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

When this was highly recommended to me, I first picked up volume 1 of the manga and fell in love with it. After that I knew I had to try out the anime. I ended up watching it with one of my online friends Steena-chan. The first 4 episodes were up at Funimation's official site in English, and we both had decided to watch it together. So we set up a time, logged onto Gmail to chat, started the episode at the same time, than discussed it afterward. Sadly, in the middle of ep1, the power decided to go out for a few seconds, but thankfully Funi remembered close to the spot I was kicked off of, so I was only about 11 minutes behind Steena-chan.

Both of us enjoyed the first episode, and I decided to continue and go ahead and watch the other 3 episodes. After that I picked up volume 2 of the manga and fell in love with it even more, because the second volume did better than the first. After that, I finally decided to purchase the first half of season 1 boxset and continue on with the anime (though I still intend to follow the manga).

The anime did an excellent adapting job to the manga so far from what I've seen. They did a good job at expanding on some of the arcs, and the filler episodes were written very well and enjoyable to watch. I also liked how the arc with the Sewing-Life alchemist was expanded, because you got to get more attached to the little girl Nina and more of a relationship is built between her and The Elrics. We are introduced to many characters that it becomes hard to pick a favorite because they're so loveable and well-developed, each with their own unique personalities and ways of interacting with others.

Why not talk a little about what the anime is about, shall we? It starts off on a stormy night, back when the brothers were young boys, using alchemy to bring their mother back from the dead. But as it fails, Edward screams in horror. Not only is his brother gone and left leg taken, but he sees the thing that he and his brother had created and screams in horror again. Then we're in their present time when Ed is 15 and Al is 14, and they find a desert village who follow a prophet named Cornello of the Sun God Leto. He is said to do miracles, even bring the dead back to life! Of course, that says "bad news" to The Elrics and they investigate, and find out Cornello's true intentions. When this arc ends, we rewind back to when The Elrics were kids. You get to see their relationship with their beloved mother, Winry's pain when she loses her parents in the war in Ishbal, and Ed's detest for his father who walked out on them when they were very small. When their mother dies, we see in more detail what happened on that stormy night when they attempted Human Transmutation.

Alphonse wakes up to find himself just a soul trapped in a suit of armour and his brother bleeding where his right arm should be. He has sacrificed it in order to save his brother's soul and trap it in that armour. After that, Ed's on a mission to become a State Alchemist, and despite some obstacles, becomes the youngest State Alchemist in history, being only 12 years old. After the coal-mining arc, we are back to when Ed is 15 and Al is 14. Still seeking the Philosopher's Stone, it would seem they have reached another dead end, until they meet a small-town doctor who might be the one who knows how to make the stone! That's when things really start to get intense. Especially when the killer Scar, who thinks he's doing God's will by killing alchemists who have "strayed from the path" shows up again.

An interesting aspect about the story is how Edward openly admits he's an agnostic (it's only really mentioned in the first arc). You'd think an anime that follow a character who openly proclaims that would make Christian viewers feel a bit uneasy, but you may be surprised how well it is handled. I think it was handled even more well than how it was presented in the manga. There is a scene where Alphonse says "Maybe there is something more out there, something we don't understand". Ed mutters to himself "don't count on it", of course. However, what's interesting is in one of the episodes, Ed says "I gave up believing in that stuff a long time ago" which seems to give the idea that Ed used to believe in something, but probably because of all that pain and suffering he and his brother went through, doesn't anymore. So, I see Edward as someone who is agnostic because of all he's gone through, not just because he's a prodigy scientist. Although what he says in the first arc is a bit bothersome, you never ever hate Edward, in fact, you'll probably find yourself caring and feeling bad for him because of everything that's happened.

As you watch the anime, you will feel the pain and sorrow The Elrics feel when they lose their mother, and the horror of what happens to them in their attempt to bring her back from the dead. With them you will be horrified and disgusted at what some alchemists do, root for them when they engage in fights, and laugh whenever Ed goes on his rants whenever someone calls him short or mistakes Alphonse as the "Full Metal" alchemist. This is a brilliant story that can easily become an anime legend someday. It has an equal balance of serious and hilarious moments, and they can easily switch off almost seemlessly, never cheapening the moment. Whether you're a veteran anime addict or new to the scene, you should totally check this out!

Recommend?
This is a masterpeice, and despite it being grusome at times, it's an amazing experience you should totally see!

I certify this *ANIME NEWCOMER WORTHY* because the plot's easy enough to understand and since they don't have Japanese names you don't have to worry about mispronouncing anything.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
The soundtrack is excellent and fits the show perfectly. The first OP and END are good, but the second OP and END sequences are even better!!

[SUB VS. DUB]
I'm gonna have to say dub on this one. The dub is amazing, with perfect voice acting that matches the characters. The sub isn't bad, but I don't feel that Ed's voice really matched (maybe 'cause he was played by a girl in Japanese?).

[MOVIES/MANGA]
1 movie "Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror Of Shamballa". Manga series "Fullmetal Alchemist" by Hiromu Arakawa.

[RELATED TITLES]
"Premium OVA Collection" for the first series, and the remake "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood".

[DVD EXTRAS]
Textless Songs, Production Art, Japanese Commercials, Image Gallery, Character Profiles, L'Arc-en-Ciel music video "READY STEADY GO", Tofu Records Commercial - L'Arc-en-Ciel, and Bonus Anime "Spiral" episode 1. The guidebooks this thing comes with are awesome!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Lots of "h" and "d" used throughout, but not too overdone. God's name taken in vain about twice. (This is based on the dub translation, I think it's a little worse in the sub).

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
Havoc is always seen with a cigerette in his mouth. In the coal-mining arc episode, the Inn serves alcohol. Roy and Maes sometimes have conversations in a bar.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Lust usually wears clothes that show her cleavage line. The worst it gets is in the "Phantom Thief" episode when Edward accident grabs one of Psiren's breasts (not on purpose, he's not used to pinning down female enemies). She also unzips her top to reveal her alchemy on her chest (as revealing as a bikini).

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There's quite a bit of violence and blood in this anime. In an attempt to bring back their dead mother, Alphonse body is completely "taken" (not bloody though). Ed loses a leg and you see blood where it used to be. When Alphonse wakes up in an armour body, he sees Ed holding his hand where his right arm used to be with alot of blood (he gave it up to save Al). Scar is a guy who kills State Alchemists by blowing them up from the inside (not really any gore, but there's blood splatter). Twice it is implied Gluttony eats someone alive (it just blanks out and you hear the chewing).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Edward and Alphonse Elric try to bring back their dead mother with the use of alchemy, however, it failed and learn that what they did was wrong, so throughout the series, bringing the dead back to life and human transmutation is looked down upon and ridiculed. Alphonse is just a soul trapped in a suit of armour. "Alchemy" is a scientific art form that has the appearance of magic. You can view it as either magic that uses science or science that looks like magic. They use "transmutation circles" and it looks similiar to hexagrams. In the first arc, there is a false prophet Cornello, so-called prophet of the Sun God Leto, who is said to do miracles. Ed says how he doesn't believe in God, so he's agnostic. However, it appears Alphonse may feel there is something more. There are enemies named after the seven deadly sins (Lust, Gluttony, Envy, and so forth). "Scar" is an Ishbalan killer who kills alchemists who have "strayed from the path of God". The Ishbalans believe in one God; Ishbala. Despite Scar's character, it doesn't seem like they are saying those who believe in a god are psycho killers, he's just a character who "thinks" he is doing God's will, and though he doesn't admit it, seems out for revenge. In the "Phantom Thief" episode, there's one instance when Psiren becomes a nun to save a church (this is for comic relief because she's such a con, and is in no way offensive because she's an obvious fake).

*EPISODE LIST*
1. Those Who Challenge The Sun
2. Body Of The Sanctioned
3. Mother
4. A Forger's Love
5. The Man With The Mechanical Arm
6. The Alchemy Exam
7. Night Of The Chimera's Cry
8. The Phiosopher's Stone
9. Be Thou For The People
10. The Phantom Thief
11. The Other Brothers Elric (Part 1)
12. The Other Brothers Elric (Part 2)
13. Fullmetal vs. Flame
14. Destruction's Right Hand
15. The Ishbal Massacre
16. That Which Is Lost

TSUBASA ALBuM De REProDUCTioNS [Artbook 1]



In celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the phenomenon known as CLAMP---a prolific collective of four female artists who are now among the most popular manga creators in the United States---here's a deluxe, gorgeously designed book featuring more than one hundred pages of color art, plus a five-page original Tsubasa manga that will appear only in this book!

[From the backcover of Tsubasa Album De Reproductions]

Artwork For: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles [Manga]
Artist: CLAMP
Extras: 5-page Omake and Illustration Comments

{I, the reviewer, give Tsubasa Album De Reproductions, 10 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

"Tsubasa Album De Reproductions" is the first of 2 artbooks for CLAMP's mega-crossover Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles. This book features a little over 100 beautifully illustrated color artwork for the series! There's even a bonus 5-page one-shot and comments on each image and where they first appeared.

Each illustration has it's own theme and story behind it. You can tell that CLAMP spent alot of time and effort into drawing these. You can't help but stare at one picture for a long amount of time, just analyzing it, seeing all of the wonderful little details. Some illustrations are simple, but beautiful, and there are others with incredible detail and elegance. There's an image of Syaoran and Sakura during summer time playing with a water hose, which is simple, yet one that could easily be called a favorite. There's an elegant picture of Ashura with an instrument with flowers everywhere, full of incredible visual detail. There's heroic pictures, such as Kurogane protecting Princess Tomoyo from a rain of arrows with his cape! There's mystical illustrations, such as Syaoran seeing the other "Syaoran" as his reflection, or the one where he's holding a scale with fire and Sakura's feather with a bird surrounding it's wings around him. There's action or energenic pictures, such as Kurogane, Fai, and Syaoran with weapons, or Syaoran jumping really high in the air. Then there's somewhat romantic pictures, where Syaoran and Sakura are holding hands. And also, "family pictures", such as the gang looking like they're about to go to a party, or when they're all in the car exploring and Kurogane is looking at the map in frustration as if they're lost, or when Sakura is fishing with Kurogane.

Though this artbook is a bit pricy, it's well worth the money! My brother and I really get a good use out of this book, we've went through it I don't know how many times. Every time you go through it, you notice some wonderful little detail. And also, be sure to read CLAMP's commentary on each illustration. They talk about their idea for the drawing, special care they took, and even mention some of the detail they put into the illustration or tried to. For example, there is an image of our travelers sitting on tree branches watching shooting stars. By reading the comments I learned that the clouds they drew in the illustration were made to look like wings coming out of their back. I had never noticed this before, so I turned the page to it and found that they indeed did look like wings! By noticing this, it added more beauty to the illustration. As an added bonus, we have a really funny 5-page omake called "World Of The Untold Story #8" exclusive only to this artbook where the guys have to find a gift for Yuuko as a returning favor for Valentine's Day. It's a really cute and funny story, despite it being short, and seeing each one show their gift and to see if Mokona approves or not.

Overall, this was worth the buy! Whether you want to stare at it and admire the lush detail and heart CLAMP has put in their artwork, or to have references pictures to draw fanart, don't pass this artbook up! Even if you've never read Tsubasa, if you enjoy detailed, elegant, beautiful manga illustrations, you're sure to appreciate this book.

RECOMMENDED?
Every fan of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles should have this! In fact, if you enjoy seeing beautiful and lush manga-style art, you should get this book!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Bonus comic contains none.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
In the illustration of Yuuko, she's holding that smoking pipe she always has. There's also an illustration of Kurogane relaxing, and there's a bottle champagne.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
There's a couple of pictures with Kurogane's shirt unbuttoned. An illustration of Yuuko, she's in a bit of a sexy pose, but it's actually very tame.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There's many action illustrations where it looks energenic, but no battles are seen engaged (the closest would be Kurogane blocking arrows with his cape to protect Princess Tomoyo). Weapons are present, but no fighting.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Several illustrations there are magic staffs present, but actual magic use is not shown. In the illustration of Syaoran holding a scale, CLAMP mentions he holds the scale like Justice from the tarrot cards. In the illustration of Tomoyo standing in water of lotus flowers, CLAMP said they wanted to make her look god-like.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

AMAZING AGENT LUNA [OMNIBUS 2]


Agent Luna has been undercover at Nobel High School for most of the school year, and as the year nears an end, her assignment takes on added complications. Her Control agent is now her science teacher, the gym teacher knows her secret, her friend Oliver's father works for the evil Count Von Bruken, and Von Brucken's son Jonah may be Luna's greatest hope. With her secret on the verge of being exposed, Luna begins a dangerous alliance with Jonah--who may also turn out to be her first boyfriend! And when Luna's friend Francesca decides to make some new friends of her own, she discovers Von Brucken isn't the only villain at Nobel High!

Manga-Ka: Story by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, art by Shiei.
Distributor: Seven Seas Manga
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: All Ages

{I, the reviewer, give Amazing Agent Luna [Omnibus 2], 7 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

In the two-volume conclusion of Luna's first year at Nobel High, things start to get more complicated. Luna is having nightmares about the man she had to kill in order to protect the secret of her identity. Her crush, Jonah, also the son of the enemy, has always known that the ninja girl's true identity was Luna. Oliver's dad has been hired by Von Brucken to steal some important files. Not only that, but there's a raging girl on the loose who looks exactly like a famous movie star!

While the first 3 volumes was more light-hearted, the story starts to get deeper here. No, it doesn't become dark or anything, but these 2 volumes are alot more serious than the previous 3. It's very interesting and engaging, and very hard to put down once you pick this up and start reading it. The action scenes are rendered alot better than the previous volumes, but the flow could of been alot better. The art is still as great as ever, very impressive for a profressionally published American made manga. The character devlopement is done quite well; we learn of Francesca's feelings for Oliver, however he doesn't seem to notice because he's too busy being ticked off at Jonah for always hanging around Luna. We don't see too many of the popular girls, but they do make an appearance, and it was nice to see Francesca stand up for herself and her friends. The relationship between Dr. Andy and Control start to get a bit uneasy. Control appears utterly obsessed with the mission, almost what seems above Luna's feelings, and Dr. Andy almost can't take it anymore. We also learn about Von Brucken's plans and the reason for the owl cloning. And at the end, we learn the identity of where Luna's DNA came from.

Overall, I enjoyed it very much. The ending, however, was a complete cliff-hanger, leaving you with an unsatified feeling and wanting more. I also felt really bad for Oliver. However, the creators said they did that on purpose to leave it open for a possible continuation, starting with Luna's second year. And apparently, they already started, because I saw Volume 6 up for sale at Amazon.com! Let's hope the second year was as engaging as the first!

Recommend?
If you read the first 3 volumes, you'll want to read the next 2.

I certify this *MANGA NEWCOMER WORTHY* 'cause for an American made manga, it has good art and plotline, and is a good introduction for new manga readers into the wonderful world of manga!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
2 "d" and God's name taken in vain about 10 times.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
I don't remember any.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Nothing beyond a kiss. There was a scene when discussing Project Scion you see an undetailed naked body. Also, Dr. Andy hangs out with Oliver's mother at the dance. Even though he and Control aren't really married, they play married for the mission and so it looks as if he's cheating on her.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There's alot of fighting, most of them without serious injury. However, there is an instance in one fight scene when Luna's gives another ninja a cut on the face and there's just a little bit of blood. Also, the rampaging clone coughs blood on her hands.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
As stated for the first omnibus, Luna was genetically enhanced to be the best secret agent. There are these two boys who takes a hair strand from a movie star so they could clone her as a date for the Spring Dance. This clone ends up going on a violent rampage.
(SPOILER! Project Scion is all about cloning Nobel High students and replacing them with clones that have their minds switched with an agent of Von Brucken's.)

*CHAPTER LIST*
File 17: Bad Hair Day
File 18: The Perfect Mate
File 19: Clone Wars
File 20: Doctor's Orders
File 21: Twists and Turns
File 22: A New Direction
File 23: Two Weeks Later
File 24: Family Secrets
File 25: Project Scion
File 26: The Big Dance
File 27: Epilogue

FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: Volume 1


Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world; something between magic, art, and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in this power to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost and arm and a leg...and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living steel. Now Edward is an agent of the government, a slave of the military-alchemical complex, using his unique powers to obey orders...even to kill. Except his powers aren't unique. The world has been ravaged by the abuse of alchemy. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philosopher's Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are...
(From the backcover of Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol.1)

Manga-Ka: Hiromu Arakawa
Distributor: Viz Media
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: Teen

{I, the reviewer, give Fullmetal Alchemist (Volume1), 9 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

I remember asking for manga recommendations at a certain forum. I listed what kind of manga I was looking for and what sort of content I don't want. This was one of the titles recommended to me, despite it not exactly fitting the content system. However, I am glad that I gave it a chance, because this has become one of my ultimate favorite series!

It's about two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who are seeking a way to restore themselves back the way they were. What happened to them exactly? When their mother died, they tried to bring her back to life with the use of alchemy---but the resurrection failed, and it left the boys torn apart. Edward lost his leg, and to save his younger brother as his whole body is taken, he gives up an arm to trap his soul in a suit of armour. Now they are on a quest for The Philosopher's Stone, a special gem that is said to boost alchemical power so you can bypass the law of the equivilent exchange.

The first arc is in a desert village, where the people follow a so-called prophet of the Sun God Leto, a priest named Cornello, who is said to do miracles. They meet a girl named Rose who is a faithful follower of Cornello and is seeking him to grant her a miracle, her dearest wish - to bring her boyfriend back from the dead! Edward, the main character, states he is an agnostic and says he doesn't believe in unproved theories such as God. One might think that a manga that follows an agnostic character might put Christian readers on edge, but I was quite surprised at how well it was presented. It doesn't feel like the mangaka is trying to down believing in a higher power. To me, I see Edward as just a character who happens to be agnostic, and probably is that way because of all the pain he's gone through. And despite not believing in God, when he shows Rose what happened to him when they attempted human transmutation, he says "This is what happens when you trespass God's domain". It's interesting he would say that, considering he claims to be agnostic. The mangaka did a really good job at how she presented Edward and the situation, and how the first arc is handled.

The story really gets engaging by the coal-mining arc. The brothers try to stay at this Inn at a coal-mining town that is being overtaxed by a man named Yoki. Edward is thrown out of the Inn because they don't like anyone who is apart of the state. I felt this was the most entertaining and fun to read! And the third arc deals with the brothers on a train that is suddenly high-jacked! At the end of this volume, we are introduced to another State Alchemist, Roy Mustang, also known as The Flame Alchemist. And after the story, there's three funny 4-koma strips as an added bonus and a preview of the volume 2.

I loved this volume! I had so much fun reading it. It's written so well with amazing characters, an engaging plot that is very deep, and it also has so many hilarious moments! You won't be bored at all in any section of this manga! This is probably one of the best manga ever written that is bound to become a classic! Now I see why so many people love it! I am now one of them.


Recommend?
You should totally check this out! You should go read it now!

I certify this *MANGA NEWCOMER WORTHY* because even though it is an authentic Japanese manga from Japan, it is not set in Japan and the names used are simple names common to us (but forgeign to the Japanese), so you don't have to worry about unfamiliar names you're not sure you're pronouncing right. Plus, the plot is very deep and engaging, but it's not hard to understand.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
The words "d" and "h" said multiple times throughout. The worst it gets is one word is completely censored, so feel free to imagine whatever it is.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
In the coal-mining arc, the Elrics are at an inn that serves alcohol. There was even a scene where they try to get Edward to drink, but you see him push the cup away saying you shouldn't give alcohol to minors ('cause he's 15).

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
The character Lust wear an outfit where you can see some cleavage.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
On the first page we see Edward calling for his brother and you see him without one of his legs and it's bleeding where the limb should be. There's alot of fighting and punching and smacking around, with some blood. At the end of the first arc, Lust kills someone by having her fingernails extend and go right through his head. Gluttony then eats his dead body, but that is not shown.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
This series has alot to due with an art known as "alchemy", however, it is presented to be more science than it is magic because, unlike magic, there is the law of "equivilant exchange", meaning to obtain something of equal value must be lost. So it's scientific in a way that you can't make things appear out of thin air. So it's more like "science that looks like magic" or "fantasy magic that is scientific" however you wish to view it. Also, the "transmutation circles" look a little bit like hexagrams. The two brothers, when they were younger, attempted to bring back their dead mother, but it failed. In the manga's first arc, the brothers come to a town that worship the Sun God Leto and follow a priest named Cornello who is said to perform miracles (however, it's just alchemy). The main character, Edward Elric, states that he is agnostic and a scientist like him doesn't believe in unproved theories such as God. However, despite this belief, when he reveals his automail limbs to show the price of human transmutation, he tells Rose "This is what happens when you trespass into God's domain!". There are villains in here who are named after the Seven Deadly Sins (Lust, Gluttony). Ed's brother, Alphonse, is a soul trapped in a suit of armor.

*CHAPTER LIST*
Chapter 1: The Two Alchemists
Chapter 2: The Price Of Life
Chapter 3: The Mining Town
Chapter 4: Battle On The Train

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The World Stops! Vol.1


Getting thrown into an unknown world and stopping time to gain time to start other worlds? Nothing out of the norm if you are Liz, who barely knows how to use her time power. To add to this maddness, Liz has some new "friends" who also have strange powers to help stop time in other worlds. Things get more question-full when Liz forgets which world she's from. Oh...WOW...what?! Weird things are coming out of Liz's head?!
(From the back cover of The World Stops!, Vol.1)
[NOTE: Cover art image is not the actual cover art of this volume, this is the splashpage for chapter 4].

Manga-Ka: Marshmellow Muffin
Distributor: Self-published.
Format: Right-to-left.
Rating: All Ages.

{I, the reviewer, give "The World Stops!" vol.1, 10 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Just as CLAMP's "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles" is a treat for fans of all their work, so is "The World Stops" a treat for those who are fans of Marshmellow Muffin. Of course, one does not need any knowledge of Muffin-sama's work to enjoy this manga, but if you've read her stuff you'd enjoy it to it's fullest. Now unlike Tsubasa, the worlds visited in the Muffin-Universe are not alternate versions of familiar characters, but more like a crossover type feature....they are landing in the actual world of that manga, meeting the actual characters!

The plot of this manga? Stop time in some worlds for other worlds to gain time. Erm...what? Are you confused? It's nothing to worry about; so is Liz, a 12-year-old girl who suddenly wakes up in the World Of The Stolen (from Muffin-sama's "Stealers" manga) and meets a guy with leaf-wings who happens to be the keeper of that world! He makes her into a Time-Keeper and explains to her how to stop a world and that she needs to freeze this world. Of course, Liz just wants to go home, but she does this, and everything stops. Then a girl, Candy, appears, and as she was about to stop this world, she finds Liz already has. Liz begs Candy not to leave her there, all she wants is to go home, and Candy tells her "I wouldn't dream of leaving you, we need you!". Thus Liz learns she was not meant to return home, because destiny has something else in store for her! She meets alot of strange people with powers, and everytime she runs into them, she only gets freaked out more! A girl who can shape-shift into anyone, a boy who can only speak to you through his mind with the use of telepathy, a girl who can switch one item for another, a talking staff named Dust, and a guy who can sumoon things from other worlds....and she's a Time-Keeper??!! It's alot for poor Liz to take in!

Well, everything is explained, and Liz understands to the best of her ability, and her first mission is with Candy to Muffin World. If any of you enjoyed her one-shot "Muffins FTW" we get to see a slight continuation as Liz meets up with that sad little muffin who is now the Muffin Princess, who's quest is to make everyone happy! Liz also somehow gets sent off to "Dream Academy", a place with very powerful students. This world doesn't entirely belong to Muffin-sama, but the whole team of DREAM Manga where alternates of their characters attend. Here Liz meets alternate versions of Algot and Hermosa, who originally from Muffin-sama's "1WishRoses". Alot of crazy things happen, can Liz handle it?

Despite a few typos and grammer mistakes (it's still better than the online version), this manga is really amazing! I've read it several times through already! It's cute, funny, full of fantasy, and just really fun! The art is also really good, too! It's unique and distinctive; you know it's Muffin-sama drawing it! It's very heavily screentoned, though. Not that this is a bad thing, but I've never seen a manga with so much screentone before. However, it provides a nice mystical effect and makes things look interesting! It's currently being sold at Etsy, so you don't have to worry about not getting a copy if you weren't at AnimeExpo AX2010. Also, this comes with a few extras after the story! It includes a 17-page one-shot called "Moonlit Dead Love" which was all drawn within 1 week! (A separate review for this will be provided later). There are also four 4-koma stories as well.

Recommend?
HIGHLY! This manga is really unique and good clean fun! It's a light-hearted adventure with an interesting plot that is deep enough to delve into! Also, being very clean, you don't have to worry about your little brother or sister reading it! It's something you can read over and over without getting sick of it!

I certify this *MANGA NEW COMER WORTHY* 'cause it's a fun, enjoyable read, and despite the plot being a bit confusing, it's OK 'cause Liz doesn't get it either XD!!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
Zero.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Non-existent.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
In the world of Stealers, a guy tries to steal Liz's hair. We learn that Time-Keepers are sought out to be killed for being Time-Keepers. In the world of Dream Academy, Algot threatens to shoot Liz if she doesn't become his friend. There was also an instant where someone got shot in the arm and there's a little bit of blood. The violence in here is very mild.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Liz wakes up, finding herself in a completely different world and meets this "leaf guy" as she calls him who makes her a Time-Keeper, someone who's job is to stop time in some worlds and try to give time to other worlds that need it. She meets other people with powers; Candy is known as "The Lost Dreamer" and has the power to forsee in dreams, her wand "Dust" can talk, Novel has telepathy and mind control, Domina can make herself look like anyone, Fair can "switch" one item for another, Hector can travel and someone things from other worlds. There are these people called World Keepers who stay alive throughout the ages of that world and know everything about that world. In "Muffin World", Liz meets a muffin who turns into The Muffin Princess (so it's like food turning into a person). "Dream Academy" is a school where their students are magical are are very powerful. There's this weird girl who seems like she's being controlled (either that, or she's just weird). Liz's "staff" comes alive and turns into an alter-ego of herself.

*CHAPTER LIST*
Chapter 1: The World Of The Stolen
Chapter 2: Needed
Chapter 3: How Does That Work?
Chapter 4: Muffin World
Chapter 5: The Beginning Of The Dreams
Chapter 6: Mislead
Chapter 7: Let The Sparks Fly
Chapter 8: New Friends
Chapter 9: One Step Closer To Truth
"Moonlit Dead Love" One-Shot

Monday, October 11, 2010

Muffins F.T.W.


So sad the muffin just wanted a friend on her birthday. Lucky for her the Muffin queen took pity on her. Best birthday gift ever…….I think. @_@;;
(SmackJeeves comic description)

Manga-Ka: Marshmellow Muffin
Distributor: Online exclusive.
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: All Ages



{I, the reviewer, give "Muffins F.T.W.", 8 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Marshmellow Muffin is the manga-ka of such titles as Stealer, 1WishRoses, and her latest project, The World Stops. This is, from what I know of anyway, her first and only one-shot.

"Muffins F.T.W." begins with a sad muffin named Muffin. She is sad because Pencil did not show up, and is spending more time with Cupcake. Suddenly, the Muffin Queen appears, and turns Muffin into The Muffin Princess! Now as the Muffin Princess, she goes to look for Pencil to confess her true feelings. That's all I can say for now, or I'll spoil it ^.-

At 20 pages, it was a fun read! This was a really sweet, cute shoujo-style manga. It's unique in every way, I doubt you'll find another manga like this. Muffin-sama's artwork is really beautiful and unique. The story may seem really weird and odd, but overall amusing and an enjoyable read. I especially loved the ending and what Muffin says. The best part is that it's really clean and so all ages can read it. There was some spelling and grammer mistakes in the dialogue, and the first few pages the text is blurry (but legible). But don't let that stop you from reading it! Is this the end of our Muffin Princess' adventures? Well, Liz from "The World Stops" pays a visit to Muffin World, so if you liked this story, be sure to read that one, too!

Recommend?
I really recommend this for someone looking for an interesting, unique story that is cute and fluffy and clean, with adorable artwork!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
One use of the "a" word.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
Clear of this.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
People may find it weird for a pencil and a muffin to be in love, but other than that, nothing.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There wasn't any violence.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
There is magic use in here. "Muffin" is a living, talking Muffin who is sad because "Pencil" seems to be hanging out with "Cupcake" more. So we have living inanimate objects. The Muffin Queen has magical powers (she's human), and turns Muffin into the Muffin Princess (so she looks human, too.) At the end...
(SPOILER!!!!!! I think Cupcake was turned into the Cupcake Princess by the Cupcake Queen? Well, in the end, Muffin stays as the Muffin Princess and makes Pencil humanoid, too, I think.)

*CHAPTER LIST*
(No chapters, it is a one-shot)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Higurashi When They Cry: Cotton Drifting Arc, Vol.2


Twins Shion and Mion have Keiichi seeing double. But as he grows closer to Shion, their flirty relationship has Mion seeing red. When Shion and Keiichi trespass on sacred ground the night of the Cotton Drifting, a string of gruesome murders and disappearances follow. Are the legends of Oyashiro-sama's curse true? Is there a demon in Hinamizawa?
(From the backcover of Higurashi When They Cry: Cotton Drifting Arc, Vol.1)

Manga-Ka: Story by Ryukishio7 & Art by Yutori Houjyou
Distributor: Yen Press
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: Older Teen

{I, the reviewer, give Higurashi When They Cry: Cotton Drifting Arc (Vol.1), 8 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

So today my friend lended me Volume 2 of The Cotton Drifting Arc from the manga series Higurashi When They Cry. It's one of her favorites, so she wanted me to give it a read and return it to her next week. She and her sister told me it's REALLY SCARY! So at sundown, I decided to give it a read....

Now let me warn you that this story is NOT for the faint of heart. It can be very brutal and very disturbing at times. They were right when they told me it was scary. To think a bunch of still images could literally make you almost jump! Despite it being the second volume of this particular arc, I wasn't really lost in the story at all. You are immediately pulled in once they enter the Saiguden, a place forbidden to enter. The lady tells them the story behind why they have the "Cotton Drifting" festival right there in the darkness of the Saiguden. It's a chilling, gruesome tail about man-eating demons. It seems that every year, during the "Cotton Drifting" festival, a person dies and another disappears. And the lady who told them the legend said that they are "the most likely victims to Oyashiro's curse!"

Now I can't put much here in the comments without giving away any spoilers, but let me tell you, this manga will put you on the edge of your seat! It can seem a bit confusing, but it IS a mystery story after all. A horrifying mystery story, at that. Not all is as it seems, especially when Keichii keeps getting asked the strange question: "Have you seen Takano-san, Tomitake-san, and Shion?"
The art in this manga is really fantastic! It's beautiful and lush looking, but also can be creepy at times as well. The story is very engaging, and you will find yourself sucked in, wondering what's going to happen next! It is very intense; so intense that you may even hesitate to turn to the next page, because this manga may literally make you jump, despite it only being still images. And if you do not jump, you will be at the edge of your seat!

I'm actually surprised at how much I enjoyed this manga. I will admit; I do love scary stories. And what surprised me is, that it wasn't as violent as I thought. Of course, I'll need to read more volumes before I can officially judge (perhaps other volumes are more gruesome?). And I'm not saying it WASN'T graphic, I mean, there were quite a few graphic scenes that made me hesitant to even finish the story, but the violent scenes were handled very well. Even the most gruesome are heavily screentoned so it's very dark and not explicitly detailed. Sadly, I will have to return this manga to my friend, but now that I got a taste of it, I'm probably going to end up going to my favorite book story and buy this volume to keep in my collection. In fact, I may even continue with this series. Who knows? That is...if later volumes don't scare me away....XD!!

Recommend?
If you like horror stories, then you'll really get a kick out of this one. Especially if you like mystery-type ones.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Nothing more harsh than the "d" word.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
In separate encoutners with Mion and Shion, he notices that they were drinking when they were at the festival.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
There is a scene where Rena is naked, but her chest is covered by her arms, and her other private part by a towel.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Well, well. We already see blood and gore on the first few pages. It's not too bad, it's heavily screentoned to look very dark, but you can see blood from dead bodies. There's another of those "heavily screentoned scenes" with a man with his hands on his throat (apparently, he clawed at his own throat) and there's blood, and a woman's dead body burnt. Both had a look of horror on their faces. This story revolves around an old legend of the town about half-human, half-demon people who once a year, at the Cotton Drifting, eat humans.
(SPOILERS! Mion has Keiichi strapped down to a metal table where she threatens to nail him down so Shion can "hear his screams of torment" before she kills her. Apparently, she lets Keiichi go, but later she comes back and stabs him, and there's quite a bit of blood. In the hospital, he is told that Shion fell off the balcony, and in another "heavily screentoned scene" you see her, blood splat everywhere, and we also learn about the bodies in the well and that Mion died in the well, too, so how could she have stabbed him if she was already dead? Also, some humanoid creature that might be Mion crawls over on his bed, and she is covered in blood).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Keiichi, Shion, and 2 others break into the "Saiguden", a place much like a sacred temple for the god Oyashiro. The legend of the "Cotton Drifting" festival is about these demons that attacked the village, but then a god name Oyashiro-sama came down, gave the demons human forms, so that they may all live in harmony. The humans and demons mixed, creating half-breeds. However, these "demons" are man-eaters, so the dormant demon blood with the thirst for humans sometimes awakens, and they go after the human townspeople. The festival is a "man-eating banquet", so they won't eat all of them, they will accept a sacrifice by Oyashiro's permission.
(SPOILER!!! We learn that Mion has demon blood running through her. This "demon" takes over Mion, so she is no longer Mion anymore).

*CHAPTER LIST*
Chapter 6: The Saiguden
Chapter 7: The Fifth Year's Curse
Chapter 8: Demoned Away
Chapter 9: Disappearance
Chapter 10: Phone Call
Chapter 11: Demon
Final Chapter: The Last Wish