Friday, March 18, 2011

SPIRIT SONG






~*~Click Here To Read

Manga-Ka: Selenaloong
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Left-to-right
Rating: Not rated

{I, the reviewer, give Spirit Song, 6 out of 10!}



COMMENTS

Selenaloong as one of the mangaka who submits to DREAM who is the artist and author for two ongoing series, Historian and Tales Of Riona. She's also helping me on one of my own projects, being the artist for my story entitled Amina-hime. This one shot "Spirit Song" was a contest entry, but sadly did not win.

It's a 10-page story that starts out with an exploration team. The main character finds a legendary plant and goes to sketch it in his book until he hears a beautiful melody. Following this melody, he finds a girl singing it, and she tells him it's called "Spirit Melody".

It was a rather well-done piece for only 11 pages. Though not much is explained, it seems best told that way, as it seems the mangaka wanted it to remain mysterious. The art is toned very well, and though is a bit sketchy, you can tell she put her heart into this. The panels are a bit crooked, however, and there were a few typos. Backgrounds need a bit of work, and the character designs need some tweaking, but overall it was a good one-shot.

Selena-sama has alot of interesting ideas and I'm sure as she continues she'll become an amazing mangaka someday. I look forward to watching her grow and read more of her stories!

Recommend?
It's one of Selena's less confusing, simplier stories, and if you'd like to get a taste of her work, this is a good place to start.

I certify this *MANGA NEWCOMER WORHTY* as it's really not all confusing to understand and the art is cute and would probably be appealing to young kids.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Zero.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Zilch.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
(SPOILER! Though it's never explained, the girl Kingsley met just suddenly vanishes without a trace, perhaps implying she was some kind of forest spirit).

*CHAPTER LIST*
(one-shot)

COUTURE


Nakita Williams is a talented young fashion designer who likes creating clothes for men. She transfers to a private school to take advantage of their top-rated design curriculum. While there she meets Hayden, the son of a popular fashion designer that Nakita admires. Their relationship starts out well, but beneath his smile is an ulterior motive. And when Nakita finds out, things seem to fall beyond repair.
(Smackjeeves description of Couture)

~*~Click Here To Read

Manga-Ka: Arcadia
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Left-to-right
Rating: Not rated

{I, the reviewer, give Couture, 6 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Arcadia is the mangaka of a currently ongoing webmanga entitled Mascara which you may have seen run in the monthly online manga magazine DREAM. While Arcadia-sama's ongoing series is about make-up, this one-shot is about fashion design.

It's about a girl named Nakita who designs clothes for men. However, she tranferred schools and wanted to have a broader clothes line by learning how to design clothes for women. She meets Hayden, the son of Katie Grace, a famous designer that she admires. And later...Hayden and Nakita start going out. But then she finds out that the designer whom she admires is using her son to keep her less focused on her work, that way she can do well in the fashion show instead of Nakita.

Though this is explained, the story actually starts after all this occured. It flashes back to when Nakita listens in on Hayden and Katie's conversation, and she is heartbroken. As I read this story, I found Hayden's mother to be real cruel and horrible, and it made me even more mad that her name is "Katie" 'cause that's my name, too! But that aside, I did not like her at all. And why did Hayden let his mother use him like that?

The story has a pretty much satisfying conclusion, though it sort of leaves you wanting. Not that the story didn't deliver, but more like it'd be nice if it had maybe a few more pages. Plus, it didn't really go into much detail of the times before she found out about what Katie was up to, which in itself would of made a good story. The art is rather unique and distinctive, and is drawn very well. Though it's still a bit on the rough side, it's pretty much almost professional level. If you've read Arcadia-sama's ongoing manga, Mascara, and liked the art and story, then you'll probably also like this.

Overall, it was a pretty well written story, but a little too short and with lack of character developement. Though I know you can only do so much in a one-shot, I wish the story could of been fleshed out more, like show a quick flashback maybe of when she first met Hayden and then maybe narrate their time together before. Though I am usually not into manga about fashion, I kind of enjoyed this manga and am curious to see more of Arcadia's work in the future.

Recommend?
If you'd like something to read as a past-time, this is a pretty good story.

I certify this *MANGA NEWCOMER WORTHY* as it's not a confusing story, reads Western-style, and uses names you're probably more used to.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None that I can remember.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Nothing really.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Nakita violently stabs the sewing mannikin and says to Hayden "this could be you!" but that's all.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
None.

*CHAPTER LIST*
(None, one-shot)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

THE HOUSE WITH BUTTERFLIES


[NOTE: This did not have cover art, so this image is the first page of the manga]

Manga-Ka: MoonLover
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: Not rated

~*~Click Here To Read~*~

{I, the reviewer, give The House With Butterflies, 7 out of 10!}



COMMENTS

Upon searching for some completed webcomics, I came across this 16-page manga entitled The House With Butterflies. I thought the title sounded interesting and since it was only 16 pages in length, it wouldn't take that long to finish. Though the art is still on the beginner's side, and there's alot of negative space, the character designs are rather cute.

The story is about two friends, a boy and a girl that who's names are never mentioned. The story is through the boy's perspective and there is very little dialogue, most of it is the boy narrating the story. In the story his friend tells him she has cancer. It follows the times he visits her in the hospital and times they spent after the hospital. It's a really cute, innocent love story, but with a heartbreaking ending.

Though I absolutely loved this story and found it well written, I still found the way it ended seemed....rather unfair. But even so, I still liked this comic and found it to be sorrowfully beautiful. I especially loved the last page and how the girl always kept smiling despite what was happening to her.

Recommend?
It's a beautiful but sad story, but if you don't mind the possibility of shedding tears, then it's worth a look at.

I certify this *MANGA NEWCOMER WORTHY* since it is a very simple story.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Completely innocent.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
It's about the boy's friend suffering from cancer.
(SPOILER! The girl just suddenly dies at the end)

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
There's a story about when a butterfly lands on your hand and flies away smoothly, you'll have a good life, but it's the opposite if it flies away and then flinches.

*CHAPTER LIST*
(This is a 16-page one-shot)

xxxHOLiC - A Midsummer Night's Dream


Invited to a wealthy client's mansion, time-traveling witch Yuko and her companions arrive to find a group of collectors assembled to participate in a mysterious auction. And the mystery only deepens when the collectors go missing one by one. As more guests disappear and strange occurrences abound, Yuko and her friends realize they must solve the mystery before they vanish as well.
(Netflix description of xxxHOLiC: A Midsummer Night's Dream)
(NOTE: This cover is ONLY of the xxxHOLiC movie. However, both the xxxHOLiC and Tsubasa movies are sold together as a dual-pack called CLAMP Double-Feature).

Original Japanese Title: xxxHorriku: Manatsu no Yoru no Yume
Dubbed by: Funimation
Animation: Production I.G.
Manga adaption?: Yes, "xxxHOLiC" by CLAMP
Rating: PG

{I, the reviewer, give xxxHOLiC: A Midsummer Night's Dream, 8 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Now I'm a huge fan of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles, and of course I heard it was crossed over with xxxHOLiC, the series in which Dimensional Witch Yuuko resides. I actually never really planned on watching it, but my mom seemed to want to (she thought the concept of a wish-granting shop sounded cool). Of course, eventually I got into xxxHOLiC when my mom started to watch the anime, and I enjoyed the series even more when I picked up the manga.

This 1-hour movie of xxxHOLiC entitled "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was actually my first taste of xxxHOLiC. I had gotten the CLAMP Double Feature which has both of these movies in it, and of course, since they tie in together, I watched this as well. I read a review on Amazon.com saying you should watch this first, and so I decided to give this a shot before putting in Tsubasa. It was...a whole new experience for me, to say the least. Upon first impression, I found this anime to be kind of strange....no, not kind of, just totally weird and creepy. But then again, that's the whole point. Plus, I got to see Black Mokona, who is MUCH more hyper than White Mokona! And I got to see a side of Yuuko you don't see in Tsubasa. While she's very professional in conducting business when it comes to wish-granting, she actually isn't all that serious. She's actually pretty loose, fun-loving, and also overdemanding. And on top of that...she eats alot....and drinks alot. Never expected that!

Our story begins with a typical Watanuki day. He just takes a normal afternoon stroll and suddenly a whole horde of creepy spirits engulf him. Of course, they dispel when Doumeki, the guy who just irritates him to the core, shows up. But that all seems to melt away when his beloved Himawari shows up. Of course, he won't get to see her that much....he'll not only have his hands full with working for Yuuko, but it's summer vacation and they usually only get to see each other during school. When he goes to Yuuko's shop to begin his day of work, there's a strange invitation for Yuuko. It's an invite for collectors to go to this mansion and saying something about completing their collection. Also, a girl comes to her shop with a wish to return to her home. She has the key, but it won't work so she can't get inside. Strangely enough, this is the same place the mysterious gathering of collectors are happening. So, Yuuko decides to go to this gathering....dragging Watanuki and Doumeki of course. Strange things begin to happen, as their "mysterious host" never is visibly present, and the collectors begin disappearing one by one.

This movie creeped me out the first time I watched it. It also seemed a bit confusing at first, but I began to appreciate this movie the more and more I watched it, and eventually I just fell in love with it. It's now one of my favorite anime movies of a series. It's about twice as long as it's sister movie, Tsubasa Chronicles - Princess Of Birdcage Kingdom, and they both tie in at the end by Syaoran contacting Yuuko. As you know of the anime series, all Tsubasa references and contacts were completely cut, so it was nice to actually see the crossover in action. This was a perfect xxxHOLiC movie, even if it was only an hour long. It's more of a mystery than it is horror, but it can get a little creepy. The music in here matched the mood well, setting the right feel for a scene and was elegant and beautiful in a haunting way. The animation is amazing, the style looking like the characters literally peeled off the pages of the manga! If you're a xxxHOLiC fan, or even if you've never heard of this series, if you're looking for dark anime that has mystery, creepiness, even some humerous moments, as well as beautiful art style and haunting soundtrack, I think you'll like this!

Recommend?
Sure! I think all xxxHOLiC fans would appreciate this short 1 hour feature, and even if you haven't seen xxxHOLiC, if you just enjoy a good supernatural mystery story, this is worth a try!

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
The music in here is absolutely gorgeous! It fits the film perfectly, giving the right feel for the scenes. I really loved the piano piece that played when Doumeki and Watanuki saw all of those collections.

[SUB VS. DUB]
I've only watched it dubbed, but it's an excellent dub!

[MOVIES/MANGA]
It's sister movie "Tsubasa Chronicles: Princess Of Birdcage Kingdom" and the manga "xxxHOLiC"

[RELATED TITLES]
The anime series "xxxHOLiC" and "xxxHoliC Kei", the OVAs "xxxHOLiC Shunmuki" and "xxxHOLiC Rou", the sister to this movie "Tsubasa Chronicles: Princess Of Birdcage Kingdom" as well as the anime series "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles" and the OVAs "Tsubasa Tokyo Relveations" and "Tsubasa Spring Thunder". Also, "Kobato" as Watanuki makes a small appearance.

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Minor swearing, such as "h" and "d" here and there.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
Yuuko is seen drinking sake, as usual, in the beginning of the film. There's also some smoking.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
When they arrive at the mansion and Watanuki complains about Doumeki coming, Yuuko then says "were you wanting to be alone?" and lowers one of her straps, but Watanuki says "you know that's not what I meant!". Yuuko's outfit is a little revealing, showing her cleavage line.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Violence is very little. It seems to be implied that two of the collectors die when the roof sinks lower and lower and you only hear them scream. Strange giant objects start attacking, but no serious injuries.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
As you know from the regular series, Watanuki is haunted by spirits and Doumeki drives them away, and Yuuko runs a shop that grants almost any wish for a price. The film begins with a horde of spirits surrounding Watanuki, but dispeling when Doumeki comes around. Yuuko is invited to a strange mansion, among others, about completing their collection and many weird things start to happen.
(SPOILERS! When they finally discover the owner of the mansion, it seems to be implied that he is a ghost since Watanuki could see him but it appeared Doumeki could not. This guy was collecting the souls of the collectors).

*EPISODE LIST*
(this is a movie, so none)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tsubasa - The Princess Of Birdcage Kingdom


Experience magic, mystery and intrigue in this anime adventure. In the enchanted Birdcage Kingdom, Syaoran -- a brave young archaeologist who also happens to be a martial arts whiz -- and his companions find the land in the grip of an evil king. Determined to set things right, the group resolves to free the people from oppression, as well as help a mute bewitched princess regain her voice.
(Netflix description of Tsubasa Chronicles: The Princess Of Birdcage Kingdom)
[NOTE: This image is ONLY of the Tsubasa movie. Both the Tsubasa and xxxHOLiC movie are sold dogether in a dual-pack called CLAMP Double Feature).

Original Japanese Title:
Dubbed by: Funimation
Animation: Production I.G.
Manga adaption?: Yes, "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles" by CLAMP.
Rating: PG

{I, the reviewer, give Tsubasa Chronicles: The Princess Of Birdcage Kingdom, 9 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

I remember how excited I was when I finally got to see this movie. I had already finished the first season of the anime, so I was already pretty much a pretty big fan of the series already. When the CLAMP Double Feature arrived in the mail, I quickly unwrapped it and was ready to watch with my brother. I first popped in the xxxHOLiC Movie, and once finished, we started on what we were really looking forward to...Tsubasa!

Now, the way they did this movie, if you have not already seen the series, you could probably still watch this with little confusion. The movie begins with a flashback of when Syaoran first came to Yuuko's shop, begging for her to help him save his princess. This scene is done differently than in the series, so it's a fresh experience. However, they only go into Syaoran's price and reason for travel, while with Fai and Kurogane, you hear no reason for their wish to travel and only get a glimpse of their price as you see it float about Maru and Moro's hands.

After that flashback, the actual movie begins. Syaoran, Sakura, and Mokona get separated from Fai and Kurogane. A boy discovers Syaoran and Sakura, and later takes them to Princess Tomoyo, who the villagers have hidden from her evil uncle, the king, who wants to use her power to release the cage of darkness. Fai and Kurogane, on the other hand, run into the royal guard and defeat them all. However, they later get captured, and spend most of their time in separate cages.

The animation in this movie is beautiful, done by Production I.G. (the same people who animated xxxHOLiC). It looks alot closer to the manga style, only they got Syaoran's hair color wrong (they made it WAY too light, but at least Sakura's hair color was corrected from the series!). What I also like about this movie is how fast paced it is. You don't have to wait too long for something to happen. Though that also leaves little time for character developement and world exploration, and only a brief explanation of the world's situation.

My only major complaint about this movie is that it's only 35 minutes long, so it's more like an OVA than a movie. I honestly wish it was longer, like the xxxHOLiC movie (which was an hour). This is the only thing keeping me from giving this film a perfect score of 10. Despite how short it was, I found it to be a rather enjoyable, exciting adventure. Also, at the end it ties in with the xxxHOLiC movie, showing their side of contact to Yuuko.

Recommend?
YES! If you love Tsubasa, you'll enjoy this movie. It may be a short adventure, but you'll love every minute of it!

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
Done by Yuki Kajiura. It's virtually the same as the series, aside from a couple new pieces and a song by KINYA at the beginning and an ending song by Sakura's seiyuu Yui Makino at the end. It's still pleasant to listen to, and fits the movie well.

[SUB VS. DUB]
I almost like the sub just slightly better than the dub, because Miyu Irino really puts alot of passion into his role as Syaoran, as well as whoever played Tomoyo's uncle. However, the dub is excellent and it seems they put alot of heart into it, and I like Jason Liebrecht's "battle scream" better than Miyu's.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
It's sister movie "xxxHOLiC: A Midsummer Night's Dream" and the manga "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles"

[RELATED TITLES]
It's sister movie "xxxHOLiC: A Midsummer Night's Dream", the manga "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles" and it's sister "xxxHOLiC", the anime "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles" and "xxxHOLiC", the OVA "Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations" and "Tsubasa Spring Thunder" and it's sister "xxxHOLiC Shunmuki". Also, "Kobato" due to episode 20.

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
There is none in the dub, but the sub has 1 use of the "d" word.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
There's a scene where they hide in barrels to secretly go down the river, and when they go down a waterfall, Syaoran ends up on top of Sakura and blushes in embarrasment. The scene is portrayed innocently though, and is in some ways, kinda cute.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
When Princess Tomoyo gives Princess Sakura her ring, she has a vision and sees the sillouette of a couple men being killed. When battling some of the evil king's men, Syaoran gets injured (nothing major, just punches).
(SPOILER! When Syaoran defeats the evil king's bird, it sort of goes inside out and dissolves as a fleshy mess. It also seems he killed the evil king, as you see his foot on his head with the thing on his head split open.)

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Tomoyo's uncle stole her voice. She has a ring that has magical powers, and she gives it to Sakura, who later gives it to Syaoran and he uses it at the end of the battle. The evil king uses Tomoyo as a "key" to open the cage of darkness so he can take over the birdcage kingdom.
(SPOILER! After Syaoran defeats Tomoyo's uncle, a feather falls out of his head. Also, he dies in a strange way...turning into a bat then disappearing.)

*EPISODE LIST*
(This is a movie, so none)

STRAWBERRY LOLLIPOP


Angela is crazy about sweets. One day, she got a package with three pieces of candy. She got it for a month every morning. One day she met with the sender Greg, who offered her a job in his parents confectionery. She accepted and start to work with Greg. She fells in love with him but she's not sure in her feelings...
(SmackJeeves description of Strawberry Lollipop)

~*~Click Here To Read

Manga-Ka: Konohana
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Left-to-right
Rating: Not rated

{I, the reviewer, give Strawberry Lollipop, 4 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Out of curiousity, I decided to finally give this comic a try. I've seen this particular webcomic for some time at SJ, and have hesistated to read it, but when I saw that it was completed, I thought I'd try it out for the sake of review here.

Well, the premise of the story was interesting enough. It's about a girl named Angela who loves sweets. One morning, she gets a package in the mail with 3 pieces of candy in it, and it's the best she's ever tasted. And she begins to receive this package every morning, until finally the sender asks to meet her. When she goes to meet her, it's a boy no older than her, and his reason for asking her to come is:
To ask her to work at his parents confectionary. Well, that shattered her fantasy about being asked out, but she takes the job nonetheless.

This comic was interesting to say the least. The art was rather cute and done quite well, and it's your typical shoujo-style of sparkly eyes and lots of screentone. I wouldn't call the art anything rather spectacular, but it is cute and pleasing to the eyes. There were times on certain pages when I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on, though. I found myself totally confused during the entire read of this comic. However, that might be due to the fact it is highly possible that the mangaka's primary language is not English. I suspect this due to the many Hungarian references, and it didn't seem like the mangaka was bad at grammer, but perhaps just had problems with English.

Despite that, it was a cute story. It had an interesting premise, but the writing could use a little work, as well as how everything was portrayed. Sometimes certain things that happened in the story seemed totally random and without a purpose, and sort of ruins the focus of the story, making it more confusing and harder to understand. It was a good attempt, to say the least.

Recommend?
Not really. It's a cute idea and all, with adorable artwork, but it's really not a "must read" and you'll find yourself a bit confused as to what's going on sometimes.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Minor swearing, such as "h" and "d" and the harsher version of "ticked". Also, God's name taken in vain about 3 times or so...

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
There was a scene of these chibi angels, and one was a naked male but his private part was covered with a leaf. After Angela tells her friends at school about the 3 pieces of candy she's getting, one of them comments saying he bets it's a peverted old man (of course, he was wrong). When Angela goes to work at the confectionary, Greg's mother comments on Angela's small breast size and Greg says that they're perfect. Also, a girl named Viola is mentioned to have alot of boyfriends.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There's a scene where Angela punches a guy and you see blood. Also, Greg's mom injures him. Though a bit violent, it's meant for comical purposes.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
None.

*CHAPTER LIST*
(1 chapter, it's a oneshot)

THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME


Something strange has happened to Makoto Konno. Time has suddenly stopped and moved her backwards. With her newly discovered ability to literally leap backwards in time Makoto finds that tests become a piece of cake, embarrassing situations are corrected and she can have her favorite food anytime she wants. Unfortunately her carefree time traveling has adverse effects on the people she cares for. With every successful leap Makoto somehow alters the fate of those around her. This was not supposed to happen and as she races back in time to fix everything, she notices that her abilities are not limitless but with every successful jump she is one step closer to discovering the most wonderful secret in her young adult life.
(Amazon.com description of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time)

Original Japanese Title: Toki o Kakeru Shōjo
Dubbed by: Bandai
Animation: Madhouse
Manga adaption?: This is based on a novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui.
Rating: PG

{I, the reviewer, give The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, 7 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

If you had the power to turn back time, what would you use it for? Would you try to prevent a major life-changing event, or try not to be late for class? Would you use it wisely or foolishly? What exactly would you change? And what sort of consequences would you experience due to your meddling?

Makoto Konno is a girl.....who literally "leapt" through time. Her day begins with her rushing to school, barely making it on time. In cooking class, she ends up falling backward due to oil splatter. Also, a student ends up getting thrown on her. And...her sister ate her pudding! Not a fun day. However, when she was at school, she hears someone in one of the rooms and goes to check it out. On a chalkboard is written "time waits for no one". She slips on something, and when she hits the groudn....well, she experiences seeing a bunch of weird things flash before her eyes, almost like a strange dimensional jump. And then she finds herself on the floor and all the books she was carrying falls on her.

After school, when she's riding on her bike downhill, she finds that her brakes won't work! A train is coming, and she can't stop! When her bike hits, and she flips over to what was supposed to be her death....time rewinds. She discovers she has the power to "leap through time" back to any moment she wants. She's able to get to her pudding before her sister does, arrives to school early, avoids the cooking accident, and doesn't get smashed against the tree. Whenever she needs to fix something, she just leaps through time and does it all over again. Then she discovers...a number tattooed on her arm. It seems everytime she makes a leap the number goes down.

For a movie where very little happens, it was quite intense, mainly near the end. The movie starts out pretty slow, but starts to pick up speed when she time leaps multiple times. The film starts to become a bit dark towards the end, and there was even a twist near the end I didn't see coming. The animation is different, to say the least. I was surprised that it was by Madhouse, as this style of animation looks different from other works I've seen by them (Cardcaptor Sakura, Kobato). Personally I don't find the animation anything special, but it was still pretty good and unique. It leans a bit more towards a realistic style of anime, sort of like Studio Gibli does. Due to the beginning slow pace, I have lowered my score on the movie a few points, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't watch it. If you can get past the slowness at the beginning, I'm sure you'll find yourself enjoying this film more than you'd expect.

Recommend?
Yes! I totally recommend this movie! Despite it's slow paced beginning, the film gets pretty deep and emotional by the end, which makes watching this movie worth it. Plus, it's something to watch with the family if you have kids/siblings about 8 and up.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
The music fits the movie quite well. Nothing extremely special, but there are a few pieces which give the right feel for the scene. Also, the lyrical song that plays at the end of the film (or was it near the end?) is, in my opinion, gorgeous.

[SUB VS. DUB]
I have yet to see the sub, but I can say that the dub was done quite well (though they pronounce "Makoto" weird). There were a few stiff moments, but overall well done.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
This is based on a novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui. I heard there's a manga adaption of this movie, but whether it is licensed I do not know.

[RELATED TITLES]

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
I think I remember some minor swearing, but nothing harsh. (Based on the dub)

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

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
There's a scene of Makoto taking a bath, but she's totally submerged in water, so nothing is seen.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Not too far in the film, Makoto was suppose to die by being hit by a train, but she unknowingly rewinds time before it happens. Whenever she time leaps, she tends to always hit her head. One of the students in her school gets bullied, and then he decides to fight back. He ends up throwing a fire exstingushier, and someone gets injured.
(SPOILER! Makoto lets one of her friends barrow her bike to take an injured girl to gte her leg checked out, and she remembers her brakes were broken. When she tries to stop them, she gets injured with bruises and cuts, and she's too late...however, time is then wound back and stopped to prevent that).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Well, there's time travel. Makoto somehow has the ability to leap through time to any moment she pleases.
(SPOILER! We later find out her friend, Chiaki, is from the future. He had lost his time device and that's how Makoto got charged with it and gained the ability).

*EPISODE LIST*
(this is a movie so none)

KIMI NI TODOKE "From Me To You" Volume 2


Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine...for a horror movie. With jet-black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor, she's often mistaken for Sadako, the haunting movie character.

Rumors start flying about Sadako's new friends claiming that Yano's been around the block and Yoshida's a former gang member. And the source of all this tattle? Sadako herself! Will Sadako retreat to her former life as a loner because of a simple misunderstanding?!
(From the backcover of Kimi Ni Todoke volume 2)

Manga-Ka: Karuho Shiina
Distributor: Viz Media
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: Teen

{I, the reviewer, give Kimi Ni Todoke vol.2, 10 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Due to all of the rumors about Sawako (nicknamed "Sadako") being able to summon ghosts and cast curses, she had gotten used to being alone. However, ever since Kazehaya, Yano, and Yoshida reached out to her, she's been overwhelmed with happiness. The people she highly admires most are being friendly toward her. However, ever since then Yano and Yoshida are now suddenly being attacked by vicious rumors...and everyone's saying Sadako said all of that!

It's interesting to see how far a misunderstanding can go. Yano and Yoshida, at first, highly doubt Sadako would even be capable of starting a rumor since she doesn't talk to very many people. However, when they catch her in the hallway talking to someone who asks if she's friends with Yano and Yoshida, she says "We're not friends". But before they can hear the whole conversation and what she meant by that, "Pin" interrupts them and drags them away to deliver a schedule to Ryu. Later they tell Sadako they like her, and ask if she likes them. She says "Like isn't...rather than like..." but they never let her finish, and assumed she didn't like them.

Then Sawako later hears classmates talking about Kazehaya, and that if he keeps hanging around with Sadako than he might lose his popularity. Already she's not sure what's up with Yano and Yoshida, and whose really spreading the rumors, and now Kazehaya might lose popularity just by Sawako being near him? She never wanted to be the cause of harm or saddness to people who were nice to her, and so then she starts avoiding all three of them. It's really emotional to see after so many good things have happened in the previous volume, and then in this volume everything seems to go wrong for Sawako. And it's all due to a misunderstanding. I really felt for Sawako when she started crying, realizing she had forgotten what it's like to be lonely. And then Yano and Yoshida, who realize they had become friends with Sadako.

This is one of my favorite volumes, so far, of Kimi Ni Todoke. I really love the character developement and the emotion, it was all very well written. It just goes to show you that everything is not always as it seems. This whole mess would of probably been avoided if they only heard what Sawako meant by "we're not friends" and "like isn't..."
The drama in volume 1 is nothing compared to the drama in volume 2. In fact, there really wasn't much drama in the previous volume as there is in this one. So if you've been waiting for something major to happen, then I think you'll enjoy this volume much more than the first one.

Recommend?
This has got to be one of the best volumes in the series so far! If you liked the first volume, then you'll probably enjoy this one even better!!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None that I can remember.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
Pin tells Kazehaya about how he saw "little men" when he was drinking sake (Japanese rice wine).

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
One of the rumors is that Yano went out with a hundred guys in MiddleSchool. Also, there's a scene of Sawako taking a bath, but she is completely submerged in water so you don't see anything.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Nothing really serious. Sawako gets pushed to the ground in the girls' restroom and the rumor about Yoshida is that she beat up alot of people.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
There's of course the rumor about Sawako able to summon ghosts and cast curses, which is untrue.

*CHAPTER LIST*
Episode 4: Rumors
Episode 5: True Intention
Episode 6: Resolution
Episode 7: Friends

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

LOVE STRING


A short work about a young girl who can see the red strings that bind soul mates together.
(Smackjeeves description of Love String)

~*~Click Here To Read~*~

Manga-Ka: FatHobbit
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Left-to-right
Rating: Not rated

{I, the reviewer, give Love String, 10 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

For such a simple, 12-page story, I was fascinated and intrigued. The art, though it looks a bit sketchy, is done so beautifully. I think the story's simplicity is it's strong point. You never see anyone's faces, which gives the story an almost dark and eery effect on it. The only color you will see is the "red string of fate" which binds soul mates together.

The story follows a nameless girl with the ability to see the red string that binds someone to their true love, their soul mate. There is no real dialogue, just the girl narrating as she goes throughout the story, explaining some of the experiences she has when seeing these red strings. The story is told very well, although somewhat makes you feel a bit sad. Then we reach the story's conclusion, where the girl talks about her red string of fate. The ending was unexpected and marvelous, completely satisfying.

Some may wish for it to be expanded and longer, and go into more detail of what happens afterward, but I actually like how the story ended. Even though you never see the girl's face, you could feel her expression on the last page. This is probably one of the best one-shots I have read in awhile, totally unique and almost flawless. I honestly doubt you'll find a manga quite like this anywhere else, go give it a try!

Recommend?
This little masterpiece deserves at least one read. Give it a try!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
There's one random character with a slightly skimpy outfit, but not too revealing.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
None.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
The main character girl has the ability to see the "red string of fate" that binds soul mates together.

*CHAPTER LIST*
(none, just 12 pages)

MOONDARELLA


It's a one-shot manga version of the classic fairytale "Cinderella" under the particular vision of the author.
(Smackjeeves description of Moondarella)

Manga-Ka: KawaiiDream
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Left-to-right
Rating: Not rated

~*~Click Here To Read~*~



{I, the reviewer, give Moondarella, 3 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Seeing a unique spin on a classic fairytail is always fun to see. That's why I gave "Moondarella" a try, as it's suppose to be a spin on the story of Cinderalla. However, I found myself very disappointed as I started reading through this 16-page oneshot.

For one, the grammar is really bad. Sometimes I couldn't even understand what was going on in the dialogue because of this. Also, there's an instance where the main character Usako walks in on two people having sex which really had no place and doesn't even fit in the story at all. The whole act was completely random and pointless. Another thing is, the story doesn't even seem close to Cinderella at all. Aside from all that, the art is rather cute. Even though it seems a bit beginner-like at times, but getting close to professional. The screentone is nice, and I like the design of the clothes. But that's this manga's only strongpoint, as it seems weak everywhere else.

Aside from the cute art, the storytelling was poorly developed and it was hard to understand what was going on. I think KawaiiDream has potential though, but she really needs to work on her storytelling and developement, as well as grammar.

Recommend?
I'm sorry to say that I do not, due to so many weak points and a random inappropriate scene. It's best that you skip this one.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
One "d" and God's name taken in vain once.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
There's a seen where Usako walks in on Ookaru and some girl having sex. It only lasts for one panel, but it is shocking as it's so abrupt. The random girl you see her breast cleavage line and Ookaru only his bare back.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
None.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Nothing.

*CHAPTER LIST*
(this is a one-shot, so no chapters)

WISH AWAY


It's a OneShot I entered in the Manga Contest during SacAnime Summer 2009.
It didn't win but I still wanted to post it ^ ^
(Smackjeeves description of Wish Away)

Manga-Ka: Nikkiecole
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: Not rated

~*~Click Here To Read~*~



{I, the reviewer, give Wish Away, 5 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

I really love one-shots, no matter how long or short they are. It's interesting to see a story conveyed within a limited amount of pages and the mangaka's skill in cramming all that in. "Wish Away" is a 12-page one-shot that was Nikkiecole's entry for SacAnime Summer 2009.

The story is about a girl named Aki who spots a strange bird. This bird actually has a somewhat humanoid form and gives her a gift; an airplane with a genie-in-training inside. The bird-creature (who's name is Hayato) said she can have as many wishes as she wants. So the bird leaves and Aki is stuck with this airplane, and when she summons out the genie, she introduces herself as Tsume. She tells Aki the more magic she uses, the closer she is to becoming a full genie!

This manga was cute, to say the least, but underdeveloped. We only get to see Aki make one wish, and of course, Tsume grants it. But it would of been nice to see Aki make more wishes and Tsume use her power, as well as maybe somewhere in the future becoming a full genie. Whether or not Tsume and Aki become close friends is never explained, as it ends pretty abruptly. The art is pretty much beginner quality, but still rather cute. I really did like the way the eyes were drawn and the character designs, but the backgrounds could use some work.

Overall, it was a pretty good attempt. I'm sure if the mangaka practices more, I'm sure we'll see some better titles come from Nikkiecole. I actually look forward to see what else she can come up with, so this little oneshot entry is a good start. It just needs to be fleshed-out more and lengthened.

Recommend?
It's a very clean manga, so if you have any little brothers or sisters, they might like it.

I certify this *MANGA NEWCOMER WORTHY* as it's rather short and simple, as most people are familiar with the concept of genies.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Tsume wears a typical female genie costume wear her midriff is exposed.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
None.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
It's about a genie-in-training, so there's some magic use.

*CHAPTER LIST*
(This is a one-shot, so none.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

SAKURA NO NEGAI "Wish Of The Cherry Blossom"


You told me that we would never be apart...so long as this cherry blossom tree blooms every spring...
(SmackJeeves description of Sakura no Negai)
~*~Click Here To Read~*~

Manga-Ka: Cherriuki
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: Not rated






{I, the reviewer, give Sakura no Negai, 8 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

I had discvoered this comic by browsing the favorites of one of my friend's SmackJeeves account. The title and the beautiful artwork is what drew me into checking it out. The coloring of the front cover was lush and beautiful, and the black and white pages (though sometimes a bit sketchy) were also quite beautiful.

It's about a boy named Kentaro meeting a girl named Sakura under the cherry blossom tree. This one-shot is about the times they spend together throughout the entire week the tree is blossoming. It's not shown in much detail, but it's cute how they act around each other. But then the week comes to an end, and Sakura has to tell Kentaro something.

It was a beautiful manga at only 55 pages in length. I only wish what they did together throughout the week was shown in more detail. This could of easily made at least a 3-5 chapter manga, but despite the limited amount of pages, the story was told pretty well. As I reached the final pages, I was almost brought to tears. It's a bittersweet story, to say the least, yet sorrowfully beautiful (if that makes sense). Yes, the ending is probably this manga's strong point, as it's presented so emotionally and artistically, I can almost call it a masterpeice! My only complaint is all the manga pages have the DeviantArt watermark, which sort of takes away from the mystical effect, but it isn't too annoying and is understandable, as it's obvious the artist does not want her work stolen.

This comic is well worth your time, with lavish art, and it won't take you too long to complete. Hopefully someday this short manga will come into print. I look forward to see what else Cherriuki-sama will create in the future!

Recommend?
If you like cute romance stories, I think you'll like this! But be prepared...you might shed a few tears!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Lots of innocent blushing, but that's all.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
None, really, but...
(SPOILER! It appears Sakura dies at the end, but she fades into cherry blossoms, so nothing violent or disturbing).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
(SPOILER! It's very vague, but it almost seems to be implying that Sakura is a spirit, and it was forbidden for her to fall in love again. After a week when the blossoms started to die, she too faded away, and the tree never blossomed again).

*CHAPTER LIST*
(this is a oneshot)

SHELTER OF WINGS: Volume 1: The Master's Bench





Manga-Ka: Story and art by JinLi
Distributor: Gold Plum Studio
Format: Left-to-right
Rating:








{I, the reviewer, give Shelter Of Wings: The Master's Bench, 9 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Good Christian manga is very hard to find, especially titles that have traditional black-and-white style art and that looks professional and visually stunning. Not only that, but it's hard to find a Christian manga that actually has a really good, engaging storyline, that touches the heart and doesn't try too hard. With most good Christian titles being done by amatuer artists, are there any among the few titles that exist like that? Well, Lisa's "Shelter Of Wings" is among those manga that actually seem to meet these expectations. Nothing at all feels forced here. And you don't have to worry about the story being too serious, as there is comic relief that is seems properly placed and handled well, not at all ruining the moment. Also, the message of this manga is clear and simple, presented not to sound all complicated, but where the reader can easily understand, and it's very inspiring.

It's about a young girl named Jenna who lost her mother in an accident. She's been in alot of pain and despair due to this, but she has been given the gift of artistic ability. A gift which one day she'll use to heal broken hearts. Both angels and demons are aware of this, and little known to her, there are demons trying to sabatoge her, but then she comes face to face with her guardian angel who has sworn to protect her and guide her. The story seems to focus alot on one's purpose, and how our pain and misery can be used to our advantage, how it can be used to minister to others. I noticed that most of the story seems to focus on the spiritual realm, where we see what the angels are up to, and what the demons are up to. It's interesting to see the difference in personality. The demons tend to fight among each other and always constantly insulting each other, while the angels have better choice of words, are encouraging, and love to praise the Lord. So a large chunk of the story is mainly focused on them, while it seems Jenna, her brother Sam, and her grandparents aren't as spotlighted in this volume. But it does not at all take away from "our heroine" Jenna, as it shows that even the "smallest of saints" is not ignored, and that all of Heaven and Hell takes notice of us, whether we feel unimportant or not!

The art in this manga is extremely beautiful! I was just in awe as I went through the pages on the official website. It's in black and white, like traditional manga, and inked traditionally. The characters are all rather unique, with their own personalities and design. The way characters are drawn kind of reminds me of the art in "Manga Messiah" but the lush, visually stunning art and detail in the outfits of the angels reminds me of lush and beautiful art in various CLAMP works. The battle scenes are a bit confusing at times, sometimes I'm not even sure what happened (which reminds me of how CLAMP sort of draws their battle scenes). That's this manga's only major weak point. This story has alot going for it, and I can't wait to see how it developes! It's hard to believe this is Lisa's very first manga. I really felt the story spoke to me personally, as I am an aspiring artist myself and I too want to reach people with my creative works. So, I must say, this manga has personally inspired me, and I'm sure it has the power to speak to many other people who read it as well.

Recommend?
I STRONGLY recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good, deep story with a positive message, that has beautiful, lush artwork!

I recommend this *MANGA NEWCOMER WORTHY* since it goes Western-style of left-to-right, but has the beaitful and lush black-and-white art style of traditional manga. The story is easy to understand and rarely feels confusing.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Jenna is warned to keep her heart in check around Zach. Other than that, none.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There's alot of battle scenes, most of them are bloodless, and some are comical. There is a scene where Jenna gets hurt and there's some blood on her face. The most graphic scene is seeing a demon missing one eye, but it's not as bad as it sounds.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
This whole manga is about angels and demons. As a Christian manga, there's probably nothing you really need to worry about in here, as God is shown in a positive light through and through. Some people may not like some of the personalities of the angel and demons, as they almost seem to have human traits, but the writer said not to take the characteristics of them as bibically sound, since most of these characters are purely fictional.

*CHAPTER LIST*
Chap 1: The Chosen Vessel
Chap 2: Evil Devices
Chap 3: Messenger Of Hope
Chap 4: A Higher Calling

Monday, March 7, 2011

CARDCAPTOR SAKURA: The Sealed Card


Never before seen on TV! Sakura Kinomoto has finally captured and converted all the Clow Cards into Sakura Cards and now faces her biggest challenge yet. How is she going to tell Shaoran that she loves him... To make matters worse, some of her magical cards are missing . Apparently, someone or something is stealing them away and is erasing vast parts of town including people she cares about! Now Sakura has to find out who is behind this if she is ever to find her friends again...
(From the backcover of Cardcaptor Sakura: The Sealed Card)
[NOTE: This review is based on the regular edition, not the special]

Original Japanese Title:
Dubbed by: Bang Zoom
Animation: Madhouse
Manga adaption?: Yes, "Cardcaptor Sakura" by CLAMP.
Rating: 13+

{I, the reviewer, give Cardcaptor Sakura: The Sealed Card, 7 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

I was probably only one of the few people who got to see part 2 of the series finale "Revelations" of Cardcaptors, the edited and dubbed version of Cardcaptor Sakura, on Kids WB (thought now I've watched all 70 dubbed on YouTube....lucky Canadians!!). I always thought it was sad that Li had to leave, and you got to see how much Sakura really cared and had feelings for him, and with her own tears, she created a card of her own. I always had wondered if they would ever show her use that. And now, years later, I discovered that they had a second movie which concludes the story! However, the unfortunate thing was that a new company had taken over, which meant a totally NEW dub cast. This version is not edited, it's an uncut dub...which is all fine by me, BUT I seriously COULD NOT stand some of the voices! As I watched this, I kept thinking how much I missed the old voices. I wish they had come back to reprise their roles, but alas, just gonna have to deal with them. That's my only major complaint, now let's move on to the story...

The movie begins with an epic battle sequence of Cardcaptor Sakura and her guardians, Keroberos and Yue, up against a strange monster in Penguin Park. Of course, we discover it was another home video of her best friend, Tomoyo Daidouji. It was a completely made-up story this time around, since after she had transformed the cards, there hasn't been anything strange going on, so Sakura didn't need to use her powers which left Tomoyo with nothing to film. After the credits finished rolling, there's still some old recordings that didn't get recorded over. It was of her and Syaoran capturing "The Bubble" and seeing that reminded her of how much she had missed him. It has already been about 2 months since he had left, and she still hasn't responded, she still hasn't confessed her true feelings.

Eriol's house had been torn down after he left to build an amusement park. When Tomoyo and Sakura go to this amusement park that has yet to be opened, she feels a strange, but familiar presence....A Clow Card?? But that's impossible! She captured them all, right?? Could she of missed one?? While running frantically to try and find where this strange feeling is coming from, she bumps into...Syaoran!! Oh, and Meiling is here, too! Sakura and Meiling talk to each other on the swing, and she tells her that Syaoran broke off their engagement and despite that, he's still a cousin most important to her. I have to admit, that part made me cringe, since it's like an incest relationship. In "Cardcaptors" they were changed to just childhood friends. But hey, Meiling was an anime-only character anyway, so....
But both Tomoyo and Meiling have a plan...to help Sakura in telling Syaoran how she really feels! This, of course, leads to some hilarious situations.

There's also a play going on at Sakura's school, and she is playing the role of the princess! With all this stress of practicing for the play and trying to tell Syaoran she loves him, what else could go wrong? Well, some of her cards starts to go missing, and a strange girl is stealing them! Not just any girl...a Clow Card! Eriol phones her and tells her about this mysterious card, and that she must capture it and turn it into a Sakura card before it's too late! However, when she captures it, the card must take away a most precious feeling. She asks what feeling the card will take, and of who, but Eriol says "The card will decide".

The animation for this movie is extremely beautiful, a major and noticeable improvement from the original anime series. It's alot smoother and clearer. Plus, I really loved the story's plotline, though it does take awhile for things to start happening, as the movie's main focus seems to be on Syaoran and Sakura. This is, by no means, an action film. There's one big battle at the end, but that's it. However, it is displayed rather well and is probably the best sequences in the whole entire movie. Despite my passionate dislike for most of the new voice cast, well, I can't just give it a low rating! I just can't! It;s because the animation, the story, and the fact that it's still "Cardcaptor Sakura"...I DID very much enjoy this movie, but it is hard to rewatch due to having to stomach the voices, but I've gotten pretty used to it...sort of. So bad dub voices aside, this is an excellent movie with beautiful animation and a really good story. And the ending is satisfying, bringing the story to a pretty good conclusion.

But is this the end of Sakura's adventures? In this dimension, yes. In another dimension called Clow Country, paralell teenage versions of Syaoran and Sakura in "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles" begin an epic-size adventure, in which Syaoran travels far and wide across worlds looking for Sakura's lost memories, all in the name of saving her life! So if you enjoyed Cardcaptor Sakura, you'll probably enjoy Syaoran and Sakura's new, paralell adventures, in which instead of Sakura being the heroine, Syaoran will be the hero! Just thought I'd mentioned that so you have a related series to look into after you're done with this movie.

Recommend?
I'm sure if you're a fan of the original uncut version, you'll probably lvoe this movie, but even if you're a fan of the edited dub version, if you'd like to see this story's conclusion, you'll really want to watch this because it IS a really good movie and storyline despite the new dub.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
There were times when the music seemed absolutely cheesy, in my opinion, but there were a few good pieces, such as the piano one that played when Sakura was running in the rain.

[SUB VS. DUB]
The new dub voices are absolutely terrible! There were a few decent ones, but most of them sounded rather annoying, mostly the girls sounded like adults who don't know how to sound like a kid! I do admit, though, that Meiling's voice sounded VERY CLOSE to the other actress who voiced her in the first dub, and so did Eriol, which was nice. I have no comments on the sub, as I have not watched it yet.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
"Cardcaptor Sakura" manga by CLAMP and the first movie "Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie".

[RELATED TITLES]
"Cardcaptor Sakura" (original uncut anime series), "Cardcaptors" (edited dub), "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles", "Kobato", and "xxxHOLiC".

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
1 "d" and 1 use of the stronger version of "ticked". (Based on the dub translation)

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Meiling is Li's cousin, and there is a mentioning of them being engaged, however Meiling tells Sakura he broke it off. The Windy card is naked, and you really notice it when Sakura uses her to blow the cards back, but it's undetailed nudity.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
The mysterious 53rd card makes people vanish, but it's not violent. There's some battles, but not serious injury.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
As a magical girl story, you have your expected magic. Such as the Sakura Cards being magical spirits that have their own unique power. Syaoran also can use magic to summon the elements. Sakura uses an incantation to turn her key into a staff, and a magic circle appears beneath her feet. This movie is about a 53rd card, which is negative, while the other cards are positive. If I remember correctly, it had something to due with balance, sort of like Ying and Yang, and Clow had sealed the card under his house due to this particular card being too dangerous. It's power is to turn everything into void, nothingness.
(SPOILER! At the end of the movie when Sakura captures the card, it chooses to take away Syaoran's most precious feeling, which was his feelings toward Sakura. However, the card then combines with the unnamed card Sakura had created when Syaoran left, and it then becomes "The Hope" and the feelings she took are given back).

*EPISODE LIST*
(This is a movie, so none)

KIMI NI TODOKE "From Me To You" Volume 1


Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine...for a horror movie. With striking similarities to a haunting movie character--jet black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor--she's mistakenly called Sadako by those around her. But behind her scary facade is a very misunderstood teenager. Too shy to fit in, all she wants to do is make some friends. But when the most popular boy in class befriends her, she's sure to make more than just that--she's about to make some enemies too!
(From the back cover of "Kimi Ni Todoke" Vol.1)

Manga-Ka: Karuho Shiina
Distributor: Viz
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: Teen

{I, the reviewer, give Kimi Ni Todoke "From Me To You" (vol.1), 8 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

I remember this being one of the manga someone had recommended me when I was on a searcj for relatively clean manga. And at AX, at the "Manga Cafe", I decided to pick up and give it a read. Now, I only had time to read the first chapter, but since then I had fallen in love with this series! And not too long afterward, I ended up purchasing the first volume of Kimi Ni Todoke to continue from where I left off!

Do you remember that horror movie "The Ring" which was an American remake of the Japanese horror film "RingU"? Well, that character is whom everyone says Sawako Kuronuma resembles! No one knows her real name, and thus people simply call her the name of the horror movie character "Sadako". Everyone at the school has spread rumors that she can summon spirits and see ghosts and if you stare into her eyes for more than 3 seconds you'll be cursed! She really does appear to be freaky and dark sometimes, but in reality, she's a shy, smart, sweet girl who's motto is to do one good deed everyday. All she wants is to have a few friends, but no one even wants to approach her. However, Shota Kazehaya, always says "Good Morning" to her and treats her like everyone else--a normal human being. Because of this she has high admiration for him because he is extremely nice and well loved by everyone. And because of this, she starts to open up and appears to be making friends.

This manga is extremely cute, and Kazehaya and Sawako make a cute couple. It's obvious from the start that they like each other, and this series seems to be free of those annoying love triangles where there are two guys and the girl needs to decide which one she'll love >.<
Ahhh....none of that here! And it's nice to see a story about fellow classmates being nice and friendly towards "an outcast". Sawako starts out so lonely, and then suddenly she becomes very happy. It's a very encouraging story that can make you cheer up on a gloomy day! Though from how this volume was ended, this series has some serious drama to come!

The art in this manga is rather beautiful. It's not a real typical sort of shoujo style with really large, sparkly eyes and overly cute faces, as well as glittery screentone. Though it's still manga-ish, it almost has a slightly more realistic look toward it (sort of like Studio Gilbli films) but not quite. It's amazing how Sawako can look from really creepy to really beautiful. And she has a really cute, dumbfounded chibi mode as well! I don't really have too many complaints about this volume, other than Sawako saying "they're so nice!" and "I'm so happy!" a little bit too much, but it's really not that irritating and it's there to emphesize how overwhelmed she feels that people are actually treating her like a normal girl.

For a simple slice-of-life story, it really pulls you in. You really feel bad for Sawako when people are scared of her, and are moved by when Kazehaya, Chizu, and Ayane talk to her and appear to be building a friendship. This series was originally just going to be a one-shot (which is why the firts chapter is "episode 0" because that was the original one-shot) but Shiina-sama could not think up another manga and decided to just continue this story. I'm glad she did, because this is a wonderful, cute story that's one of the cleanest series in my manga collection! So if you're looking for an innocent shoujo story, then this is for you!

Recommend?
Highly!! If you've been looking for a sweet, innocent shoujo slice-of-life story, then you'll want to read this!!

I certify this *MANGA NEWCOMER WORTHY* since this story could relate to anyone who might feel outcasted, and it shows how much just saying "Good Morning" and treating everyone nicely can make all the difference in a lonely person's life!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
One "h".

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Nothing beyond innocent blushing. There is a panel when Kazehaya says to Sawako "I'm not nice" and in his thoughts he says he's your average horny guy, but that's it.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
None.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
There's rumors that Sawako can see and summon spirits as well as if you stare into her eyes more than 3 second you'll get cursed, but of course that is untrue.

*CHAPTER LIST*
Episode 0: Prologue
Episode 1: Seating Change
Episode 2: After School
Episode 3: Smile

Sunday, March 6, 2011

BLACK CAT: Vol.18


Train Heartnet, also known as "Black Cat", was an infamous assassin for a secret organization called Chronos...until he abandoned that cold-blooded existence to live life on his own terms as an easygoing bounty hunter. But is Train's past as far behind him as he thinks?

Train and Eve are drawn into a bizarre illusory world controlled solely by the Doctor's warped imagination. Train finds himself confronting dopplegangers of Kyoko and Saya. When the two women that should love him the most try to kill him, Train is left in a terrible predicament!

Manga-Ka: Kentaro Yabuki
Distributor: Viz
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: Older Teen

{I, the reviewer, give Black Cat Vol.18, 7 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Wait, why am I starting all the way on volume 18?? Well, yesterday I was at a certain local bookstore, a really, really small one, and they had a very small, puny section of manga, and with Black Cat they only had volumes 11, 18, and 19. I chose this volume 'cause it sounded the most interesting, the cover art looked really cool, plus I had watched all of the anime, so I couldn't be that confused, right?

Well, this volume kicks off where Train wakes up, on a train, with Kyoko standing there. He's not sure what happened, since the last thing he remembers was being in Creed's hideout. Kyoko seems a bit odd, too. When he rejects kissing her, she goes insane, using her Tao ability she had promised to stop using. Later on, Saya also comes into the picture, ready to kill him. Eve is also lost, looking for Train, and is attacked by giant toy dolls and a memory of herself! They are trapped in the doctor's imagination, Warp World. His goal? To capture Eve and dissect her, to learn everything about how she ticks.

I felt the battle scenes seemed a bit too quick sometimes, but mostly were rendered pretty well and easy to follow. The art is pretty good, alot of inking I can tell for dark areas. The character designs look a bit different compared to the anime. In the anime, they looked slightly better in my opinion, but they still look well drawn here. Also, this volume was rather entertaining, to say the least, and something I can read several times over without getting sick of it (I already read it through like 2 or 3 times already). Also, this particular arc WAS NOT in the anime at all, and I wish it was. It would of been amazing to see these scenes animated and in color, plus the battles would look much cooler in motion.

The ending of this volume only makes you more eager to pick up the following, to see how Sephira's battle with Creed concludes. I was surprised at the lack of language that was in this volume, and wondered why it was rated "Older Teen" (which suggest 16 and older) rather than "Teen" (13 and older). The battles weren't at all that grusome and there was only one minor swear word throughout the whole thing (the anime had more of this). Then again, it could be possible other volumes might be more viocious compared to this one, but this volume was rather tame. Honestly, Tsubasa Chronicles manga is more bloodier than this. Not that I am complaining, it's nice to see a volume of manga not too high in the objectionable content. However, before I can fully judge my opinion on the rating, I'd have to read more of the series, and then maybe I could see why it was rated so high.

But anyway, great volume, great series, awesome characters, one of my favorite shounen series! It's worth looking into, and I can't wait to see how the battle ends between Creed and Chronos Captain Sephira in volume 19!

Recommend?
Of course I recommend it! Very good volume, it's re-readable!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Only one use of the "d" word.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
There was a seen where the doctor was going to cut off Eve's clothes to dissect her, but he never got to finish the job.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Lots of action, such as battles, explosions, and beating up. There is some blood, but nothing major. Such as the doctor bleeding from the mouth, Creed's soldiers when they get defeated, and even an instant where Creed licks the blood from his own wound.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
With the power of Tao, Train and Eve were stuck in the doctor's own imagination. There's a scene where Saya's spirit helps Train and Eve. The soldiers of Creed look like they have pentagram like star on their mask, only right-side-up and without a circle.

*CHAPTER LIST*
Chapter 159: Nowhere World
Chapter 160: Room Of Fear
Chapter 161: Captive World!
Chapter 162: Hurry To The Other Side!
Chapter 163: Guidling Light
Chapter 164: The Tao Copy
Chapter 165: Shaolee's Technique
Chapter 166: Collision In The White Snake World
Chapter 167: Creed vs. Sephira

Thursday, March 3, 2011

WHISPER OF THE HEART


From the creators of the Academy Award(R)-winning SPIRITED AWAY (Best Animated Feature Film, 2002) comes a tale based on the screenplay from the legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki. During summer vacation, a schoolgirl named Shizuku, who longs to discover her true talents, observes an ordinary-looking cat riding by himself on the train. Intrigued, she decides to follow him. This chance encounter leads her to the mysterious Seiji, a boy who is determined to follow his dreams, and The Baron, a magical cat figurine who helps her listen to the whispers in her heart. Soon, Shizuku's exciting adventures carry her far beyond the boundaries of her imagination. Featuring extraordinary storytelling, enchanting animation, and an all-star voice cast, this 2-disc set will inspire dreams and warm hearts of all ages.
(Amazon.com description of Whisper Of The Heart)

Original Japanese Title:
Dubbed by: Disney
Animation: Studio Gibli
Manga adaption?: Not that I know of.
Rating: G

{I, the reviewer, give "Whisper Of The Heart", 10 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

I don't know what it is, but despite how simple this movie was, I was enchanted. It just goes to show you that you don't always need an epic-sized plot where alot is going on, like the world falling apart, massive wars, characters with dark pasts....while I love stories like that, "Whisper Of The Heart" was a nice little change from all that. Simple, but artistic. In fact, I think it's simplicity was why I fell in love with it so much!

It's about a young girl named Shizuku who loves to read books. She often spends time in the library and reads fairy tales, though spending too much time in this has caused her grades to slip a little. She meets a boy in her grade that seems a bit jerkish. When she is on an errand to deliver lunch to her father, on the train she meets this cat. When the train stops, the cat leaves, and she decides to follow it. From there she discovers a strange shop and meets the kind old man who lives there. Later on she finds out that the store owner is that jerk boy's Grandfather! However, she learns more about this boy and starts to get to know him. He likes to make violins and his dream is to become a master violin maker. Amazed at how he's already decided what he wants to do, she then decides to take up writing. She's read enough fairy tales, why not create her own?

As a writer/dreamer myself, I felt I could really connect with Shizuku as she strived to finish her story in a specific deadline she set herself. It sort of made me think about how I am. I feel as though an artist sees the world differently. There's constant inspiration, and I often find myself visually imagining my stories as I create them, kind of like Shizuku does. I guess that's another reason why I fell in love with this movie, 'cause it was about a young aspiring writer, and I felt I could relate to that. I guess it was also comforting to me, too, since I feel not everyone I know really supports my goals and dreams, and this film inspired me to keep improving myself as an artist.

Not much going on, yet it's still so magical! The animation style is wonderful (like all Gibli films), the story is enchanting, and it's so simple! Plus it's clean, so the whole family can watch! I'm not usually into much slice-of-life stuff, but this is one of those anime that despite it's simplicity, it just draws you in. I especially loved the scenes where you got to see into Shizuku's story as she visually imagines it! The story she writes would make an awesome movie in itself, and it made me wish I could read it. So, if you're looking for an anime that's easy to understand, something that's free of objectionable content, or would like to relax and take a break from the more intense stories, then I think you'll love this!

Recommend?
It may not be an action film, but it's simplicity is what makes it so enchanting! And if you like other works by Studio Gibli, this will NOT disappoint you! Plus, it's one of the cleanest anime I have seen in awhile!

I recommend this *ANIME NEWCOMER WORTHY* since it's a simple anime with a simple story, not hard to understand!

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
The music fits the series very well. While I wouldn't call it a masterpiece, the music is rather good. I especially loved the part when Shizuku sings while some people with instruments accompany her.

[SUB VS. DUB]
I haven't watched the Japanese version yet, but the English dub was pretty good. I felt a few parts seemed a bit stiff, but for the most part it was a great dub!

[MOVIES/MANGA]
None that I know of.

[RELATED TITLES]

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
Not that I can remember.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Clear of this.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
None.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Nothing in the actual story. When Shizuku is writing her story, she imagines the events in her head, and there's some magic in her story. All just fantasy.

*EPISODE LIST*
(This is a movie, so no episodes, just chapter selection)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tsubasa Spring Thunder Chronicles [OVA Series]


[NOTE: Both "Tokyo Revelations" and "Spring Thunder" are being sold together, but this is a separate review for the second of the OVA series, hence why the cover image is of "Spring Thunder" only].

Original Japanese Title: Tsubasa Shunraiki
Dubbed by: Funimation
Animation: Production I.G.
Manga adaption?: Yes, "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles" by CLAMP.
Rating: 14+

{I, the reviewer, give Tsubasa Spring Thunder, 9 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

If you're wondering if you can continue the Tsubasa story without having to read the manga, with Tokyo Revelations you can, but NOT with Tsubasa Spring Thunder because these two series are separated by a 2-arc gap, Infinity and Celes. So before you pop this in, you might want to pick up volumes 18-21 to fill in that gap. With that said, for those who have filled in that gap, it's on to the review...

After Fai had killed Sakura in Infinity because of the curse he was under, her body was sent to Fai's cold homeworld of Celes, while her soul entered dreams where a feather resides, and she awaits Clone Syaoran. "Tsubasa Spring Thunder" kicks in right after Kurogane had killed King Ashura and the world begins to collasp. They had already retrieved Sakura's body, so now it is time to jump across dimensions. The next world they land in? Kurogane's homeworld of Japan. Meanwhile, the princess is inside the world of dreams, and she meets up with a teenage boy named Watanuki, who is also visiting the world of dreams, and so they begin to converse (their complete conversation is shown in the xxxHOLiC manga and the sister OVA series "xxxHOLiC Shunmuki").

In this arc, we have an epic battle within the world of dreams between Syaoran and his clone. The battle is for Sakura's feather, who the real Syaoran currently has a hold of. But at the end of this battle, the clone ends up doing something that seems to snap him out of his "psycho" mode, realizing what he has just done! And in this process, the princess reveals to both Syaorans a secret about who she really is!

The animation for this is beautiful as ever. Though this OVA isn't as good as Tokyo Revelations, it's a very IMPORTANT story arc. Also, the voice acting on both audio tracks are amazing, especially the dub. As far as action is concerned, only 2 battles take place, one in each episode. The first being the real Syaoran up against Seishiro, a battle for the feather. This happens at the second half of the episode. The next battle being probably the best sequences, Syaoran and his clone, which makes up about the first half of the second episode.

It's a very shocking OVA, to say the least, especially when the princess reveals some secrets of her own. And despite being full aware of what Clone Syaoran has done to retrieve feathers (in the manga, though not shown, you get the idea he's killed alot of people to get his hands on the fragments) you never at all hate him or think he's evil. In fact, by the end of this arc, you'll actually feel very sad for him. Your hate actually will boil more towards Fei Wang, the man pulling the strings (remember the clone doesn't really have a mind of his own and is only being manipulated by Fei Wang's wish).

I do admit, I feel a little unstatisfied at it's cliff-hanger ending. But it was done that way so you can literally continue on with volume 24 of the manga. However, when you are done you'll only find yourself begging for more. We can only hope that someday maybe they'll animate some aspects of the Clow Arc, Tsubasa's climax. But for now, enjoy "Spring Thunder", and if you want to finish the story, pick up volumes 24-28, and the story is ended.


Recommend?
Title will be released January 4, 2011. I suggest you pick this OVA collection up if you are a fan of the manga or anime!

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
Yuki Kajiura's same music score for the animated series, but still beautiful and fitting. Also, remember that one song "Once Upon a Time There was You and Me" that was on the fourth soundtrack but never appeared in the actual anime series? Well, it is finally used once near the end of the first episode of Spring Thunder! Also, the opening sequence song is nice, but the ending song is probably the best!

[SUB VS. DUB]
The dub....based on Jason Liebrecht and Monica Rial's performance alone! Don't get me wrong, the seiyuu in the original Japanese audio did a fantastic job, especially Miyu Irino and Yui Makino. But the emotion that both Jason and Monica put into Syaoran and Sakura, in my humble opinion, even surpasses Miyu and Yui's performance in this particular OVA. Especially at the end of the battle between the two Syaorans...oh man, just breath-taking! And all the other actors in both audio did extremely well!

[MOVIES/MANGA]
"Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles" by CLAMP. "Tsubasa Chronicles: Princess Of Birdcage Kingdom" movie and it's sister "xxxHOLiC: A Midsummer Night's Dream".

[RELATED TITLES]
"Cardcaptor Sakura" (uncut Japanese version), "Cardcaptors" (edited English version), "Kobato", "xxxHOLiC Shunmuki", the anime series "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles", the first OVA "Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations".

[DVD EXTRAS]
All the episodes have a commentary (and the commentaries on these episodes are really hilarious and worth watching!)

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
I think there was "h" and "d", but that's all. No language in the dub.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
None.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
We experience violence almost when it starts. Fai coughs up blood when his magic is completely spent. In order to save Fai and to move to the next world, Kurogane is told by Princess Tomoyo to cut off his arm, and he does. Not very bloody, but disturbing as his arm flies by Fai's head in slow motion. When Kurogane wakes up, Fai punches Kurogane in the face (more comical, if anything though). When Seishiro appears he grabs Fai by the neck. Real Syaoran challenges Seishiro to a fight, and in their battle Seishiro twists Syaoran's ribs and he coughs up blood. In a memory of King Ashura, we see the king with blood all over his hands and he is surrounded by dead bodies. There is also a flashback of Kurogane shoving his sword through Ashura and there's some blood splatter. In another memory, we see Fai with his twin brother dead on the ground. When Clone Syaoran appears in the dream world, there is an epic battle, but wounds aren't very serious.
(SPOILERS! Clone Syaoran wounds Sakura with Hien by slightly shoving it in her arm and there's blood. Clone attempts to kill Sakura, but stops before it slices her in half. When both Syaorans try to get the feather, Sakura is caught in between and Clone Syaoran's sword is the one who stabs through her and there's blood. Sakura fades away as Sakura petal, it's not violent but a bit disturbing when you first view it.)

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
There's magic use, of course. Such as Tomoyo's ability to talk to people in their dreams, Sakura's soul being separated from her body by being trapped in the dream world, her feathers are magical, and a protective barrier put up as a fighting ground. In order to escape the previous world, Fai had used up all his magic. Fei Wang's intentions is for the crumbling of the world's logic, as to grant his wish of bringing the dead back to life.
(SPOILER! Sakura reveals that she is just like her Syaoran, that she too is a clone. However, unlike the Syaoran clone which was a souless image, Sakura was cloned body and soul so her feathers would be the same as the original's).

*EPISODE LIST*
Part 1
Part 2

INVERLOCH: Volume 1


The top-ranking, fan favorite webcomic comes to print!
Meet Acheron, an innocent young pup from the horned wolf-life race the "da'kor". After a chance encounter with a beautiful elf, Acheron sets out on a seemingly innocent quest -- trying to locate another elf who has been missing for the past twelve years. Together with his newfound companions, Acheron quickly learns that the world is not the peaceful place he believed it to be, embroiled in prejudice, hidden danger, and unexpected mystery!
(From the backcover of Inverloch: Volume 1)

Manga-Ka: Sarah Ellerton
Distributor: Seven Seas
Format: Left-to-Right
Rating: All Ages

{I, the reviewer, give Inverloch: Volume 1, 6 out of 10!}

I remember discovering this comic at Kidjutsu and falling in love with it. The story is enchanting and the art is rather beautiful. Sort of like a combination of American and Japanese style of comic art. All of the pages are fully illustrated in color and have a sort of screenshot look to it, almost as it they were screenshots of an actually show (but of course, clearer). And I mean that in a good way! You could easily imagine this as a great animated series.

However, after buying the first volume in print, I had forgotten how slow paced the first 5 chapters are. The story begins with showing what happened twelve years ago, when two little elven children Kayn'Dar and Shiara are out in the woods. This scene is totally different from the online version, as it was redrawn and revised, so it happens a bit differently from the original. Anyway, he is taken away by some magic force, and 12 years later Shiara still has not given up hope. A Da-Kor, Acheron, ends up running into Shiara, and they start to meet together at a certain place in the woods. But he could tell something is wrong, as she never really smiles. Later, Shiara tells Acheron the story and he then vows to find out what happened to Kayn'Dar. However, he hopes that maybe someday she'll have the same feelings for him as he does for her. His mother appears to be hiding something from him, but she feels it's better for him to find out on his own.

Despite it being a rather slow introduction to the series and very dialogue-heavy with little to no action, as someone who has finished the entire series online, I will say that even though this isn't the best chapters of Inverloch, it's well worth sticking to and finishing, as it starts to get more interesting and more exciting as the story rolls on and draws closer to it's conclusion. So I highly suggest giving it a chance and keep reading. The weird thing is, the two "omake" strips at the end (though are funny), uses a couple characters that haven't even appeared yet in this volume. However, probably the author assumed that most of the people who'd be buying this would of been the people who were fans already of the series and have read it online, which is understandable.

Anyway, even with it's dialogue-heavy, very slow start, please stick with it! These chapters are still very important to read, as they are the first chapters and contain important information and clues as to what's to come. Plus it's a relatively clean series; no intense violence, no language, no fanserive! If you lvoe fantasy, then you'll probably enjoy this series!

COMMENTS

Recommend?
Though this volume is rather slow, I recommend finishing the story, 'cause the later chapters are well worth the read!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
There's a seen of Acheron drinking a pint of mulled wine.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Acheron takes his shirt off before bed, but since he's an animal-like creature, it's hardly worth mentioning. Acheron appears to have feelings for the elf Shiara, despite she's more humanoid and he's more like an animal.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
When Kayn-Dar is taken by magic, it seems there's a bit of a struggle with an invisible force. When out hunting, Acheron shoots a creature for dinner with an arrow and there's some blood splatter.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
The "da-kor" are a race of animal-like beings who have supposedly been around longer than the elves and humans. The elves can use magic, though it's not shown that much. The worst it gets in magic-use is when Kayn-Dar is mysteriously taken, and there's some weird spell-chanting.

*CHAPTER LIST*
Chapter 1: Fateful Encounters
Chapter 2: A Past Revealed
Chapter 3: All That Is Left Behind
Chapter 4: Journey's Beginning
Chapter 5: Distrust and Suspicion