Saturday, April 30, 2011

BOKU TO GHOST "Ghost and I"



Boku to GHOST ("ghost and I") is a one-shot comic created to take on portfolio reviews to editors at comic publishing companies while I was in Japan for a month in fall 2010.

story summary:
Takuya died before he was able to experience the adolescence he really wanted...
so he comes back as a ghost and forces his childhood friend Hideto to experience it for him.
but their ideas of what is important in life turn out to be just a little different...
(Smackjeeves.com description of "Boku to Ghost").

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

~*~Click Here To Read~*~

{I, the reviewer, give Boku to Ghost, 7 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Rainysidewalks is the mangaka for an ongoing manga entitled Farewell Feeling (now on it's third revamp). This oneshot was created to show some publishing companies for review while in Japan. Though a webmanga, it's pretty authentic, to say the least, as you can tell that it was originally written in Japanese, but translated into English for the online version.

The story is about two childhood friends, Takuya and Hideto. Takuya has had a heart condition for a long time, so for a good portion of his life has always been confined to a hospital bed. One day, he tells Hideto that he wants him to experience the "youth" that he could never have. Shortly after that statement, he passed away. However, Hideto never expected that his now passed best friend would now huant him as a ghost, practically ordering him to live life like in the comics!

This was a rather entertaining read. Obviously, Takuya is a major otaku. Alot of the things he wanted Hideto to "experience" for him was rather typical and cliche in alot of shoujo manga, but that made it all the more fun. The humor had perfect timing, the screentone was well placed, and the art is rather eye-pleasing. Though I wouldn't call her art the most distinctive, it's different enough where you know who's drawing it. You know that rainysidewalks developed her own style. If you liked the art in Farewell Feeling, then you should like the art here.

Though there could have been more added to this comic, such as a few more "like in the comic" moments Takuya wanted Hideto to experience, it was a nice, entertaining read. It's a fun comic and I am sure most manga lovers would enjoy it! I certainly got a kick out of it.

Recommend?
It's a fun read and would be enjoyed mostly by manga readers, due to the kind of life Takuya wants his friend to experience. I suggest giving it a try, it'll bring a smile to your face ^.^

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Everything is innocent.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There's a part where Hideto gets beaten up by a girl, but it's for comical reasons.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
When Takuya dies, he comes back as a ghost and won't pass on until Hideto experiences the kind of "life in the comics" he didn't get a chance to.

*CHAPTER LIST*
(this is a oneshot)

WHO I AM


Comic made for my friend's church... <3

About being Christian... General stuff all sects(Catholic, Protestant..etc.) believe in...

Comments and critiques appreciated.^^
(Smackjeeves.com description of Who I Am)

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

~*~Click Here To Read~*~



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

COMMENTS

"Who I Am" is a short, 9-page webmanga that the mangaka made for her friend's church. It starts off with a girl being chased in the night by a group of guys. She finds herself in a dark alley, trapped, and at knife point. The reason? One of the guys say because her gospel preaching ticks them off. She then pushes the knife away and starts to say what it means to be a Christian.

This comic, though so simple, was beautifully done. The way she poetically states what it means to be a Christian was cute and elegantly done. The nameless character states how being a Christian doesn't mean you're saying you're clean, strong, perfect, but that you're dirt, weak, and full of flaws, and that is why we need God so much. And I totally agree with that. Being a Christian is like being a living testimony of God's mercy and grace, a testimony of how Jesus saved you and changed your life. I also love how the comic ends and the final page having a verse from Psalm 23.

The art was very well drawn. I loved the screentoning and character designs, as well as the backgrounds that were there. If you've been looking for an inspiring comic to read, then this is a good choice!

Recommend?
YES! Especially for the Christian manga fan!

I certify this *MANGA NEWCOMER WORTHY* as it goes Western-style and is a simple story.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
1 harsh version of "ticked".

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
None.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
These guys chase the girl down the street and one of them puts a knife to her neck, threatening to harm her.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
This is a Christian comic that talks about being a Christian, nothing objectionable for the Christian reader ^.^

*CHAPTER LIST*
(this is a oneshot)

Results for Poll #1

Sorry I am late on this, but now is the time to announce the poll results! Out of the 6 of you that voted, 5 items from the poll was voted on. "Kiki's Delivery Service" got 2 votes, making it our winner. I will be sure to watch it again and start to get a review of that one up soon. I've never watched it in it's original Japanese audio, so in order to post an analysis on both the English and Japanese audio, I will watch it in Japanese (because I've watched it in English so many times, I already know it's amazing).

The other 4 items (all anime) which got a vote each were; Fullmetal Alchemist: Season 1 Part 2, Black Cat: Complete Series, Summer Wars, and Rozen Maiden. I shall be sure to be working on the reviews for them soon as well (and on "Summer Wars" when I actually get a chance to rent it or buy it!). Also, one persom who didn't vote commented how she would like to see more reviews of webmanga. Well, as an avid webmanga reader I whole-heartedly shall do so. I will actually be posting a review for a one-shot called "Boku to GHOST" by rainysidewalks, the same creator of the webmanga "Farewell Feeling" (which is now on it's third version), as well as a manga called "Royal Icing" that has been self-published, as well as many more. I have to say, probably most of my manga reviews are of the non-professional kind. It's nice to review little known titles and get it out there.

I'm not sure if "Kiki's Delivery Service" will be the first of the voted items to be posted, but it will be posted none-the-less, and due to the demand, the selected titles will get top priority. But a good review can take time, and the nature of the poll was to see what my readers are eager to see because I was curious. Thank you for voting! The second poll will be up shortly! I just need to think of a good topic :P

Monday, April 11, 2011

THE LAST AIRBENDER


Experience the thrilling live-action adventure based on the hit Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Join Aang, an extraordinary boy with incredible “bending” powers, as he journeys through an exotic land filled with magical creatures and powerful friends. As the Avatar, he is the only one who can end the age-old conflict between the four nations: Air, Water, Earth and Fire. An inspirational journey, The Last Airbender is exciting entertainment for the entire family!
[Amazon.com description of The Last Airbender]

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Based on: Avatar: The Last Airbender (Book 1: Water)
Studio: Paramount
Rating: PG

{I, the reviewer, give The Last Airbender, 1 out of 10!}

Often times, anime or any animated series, is tainted by a live-action adaption. Of course, there are always exception to these rules (such as the Transformers), but for the most part, they fail. Why do they fail? It's not really the fact that it has cheesy special effects, but mainly when they utterly butcher the story and get things wrong. Unfortunate to say that M. Night Shyamalan's live-action adapation of the popular Nickelodean series Avatar: The Last Airbender (shortened to just "The Last Airbender") is one of those butchered adapations. Anime and anything like it is sacred, and should not to tainted by live-action. This movie is a good example why. Let me warn you - this review is has some spoilers for those who have not watched the first season of the animated series, as well as this movie. (If you want, just skip to content if that's what you're worried about).

I can't even begin to describe how much they got wrong in this movie. After I had read all of the 1 and 2 star slams at Amazon, I was simply just expecting the film to have actors who don't fit the characters and the storyline to be a bit off from the animated series, with some lovely visual effects. But it was worse than I had anticipated. The costumes were completely wrong. Everyone looked like a bunch of cosplayers. In fact, if you would have hired cosplayers to star in this movie, it probably would have been better 'cause they look much more accurate and believeable then the people in this movie. And the visual effects? Oh, come on! Appa looked like a monster, the bending wasn't all that great....and speaking of bending, it takes them FOREVER to bend an element! The bending forms weren't as elegant and quick as they were in the animated series. Not only that, but they made the Fire Benders weaker than weak! They made it like they can only bend fire that was there, which they can, but they can also MAKE their own fire by using the heat from their bodies! How could a nation that cannot create fire from their fingertips have all the other nations trembling in fear for 100 years? Not only that, but they got so many things wrong! I know you can't fit an entire season into one movie, but this was WAY too condensed that if you haven't seen the series, you would be totally confused. And the guy they chose for Fire Lord Ozai?? Not intimidating at all, PLUS his face wasn't even supposed to be revealed 'till book 3! But you see him in this film! And Admiral Zhao wasn't intimidating either. Wasn't his firebending supposed to be out of control? Which reminds me, Aang's first firebending teacher, Jong Jong, was cut from this movie!

Too many things were cut and done differently, making this film NOTHING like it's animated counterpart (the superior counterpart). And not only is the humor totally sucked out of this movie, leaving it to be WAY too serious, but even the emotion and passion entirely was also sucked out, leaving this film dry and passionless. Where is Zuko's scar? Oh, they did show the flashback of how he got the barely noticeable mark around his eye. There was alot of emotion in Zuko's backstory, where you felt really bad for him in the animated series, but in the movie, you feel nothing. In fact, you feel nothing for any of the characters. When Aang finds out all of his people were destroyed, you feel nothing, while in the anime, you feel Aang's overwhelming saddness. Then there's the relationship between Sokka and Yue. You honestly feel no attachment or sympathy for these characters at all throughout the entire thing. For only an hour and 30 minutes, this film drags. And the scene where Yue gives back life to the moon spirit is TOTALLY screwed up in this film. It was originally an emotional scene where she makes the decision to give up her life. When she "dies" and falls into Sokka's arms, her body vanishes and then she becomes the moon spirit, where she and Sokka have their final kiss and she tells him goodbye and she'll always be with him. In this movie, however, though there's a final kiss between her and Sokka before entering the water, there's no emotion at all. As you watch, it's like "meh, whatever". And she goes into the pool, and then when her life is gone, her hair returns to black. She doesn't become the moon spirit, she just...dies. That totally ruined the beauty and elegance, and not to mention the emotion in the final of book 1. This scene which brought me to tears in the anime had me full of outrage at how they ruined it! They even cut the part about Princess Yue being in an arranged marriage, just like their GranGran (oh yeah, Kana's 'arranged marriage' wasn't mentioned, either!).

I can go on and on about several other things. Such as Zuko's missing passion (he doesn't yell at all in this movie!), several beloved side characters not making an appearance, the fact that a stupid dragon spirit replaces Aang's spirit journey with Avatar Roku (actually, Avatar Roku is NOT EVEN in this film!) And they also cut out Ko, The Face Stealer, that really scary creature that, when I first saw it, sent chills up my spine! Also, Aang could not have a family? That's not true! And where did Sokka's sarcasm go? Where did Katara's encouraging speeches of hope go? Where did Uncle Iroh's wisdom, love for tea, and care for his nephew go? Where did Aang's childness go? What happened to the awesome bending battles? They even cut Master Paku and Katara's epic water-bending battle, where she was angry how the Nothern Tribe doesn't allow women to bend! Also....they made it like Katara had ease learning waterbending and Aang had trouble, IT WAS THE OTHER WAY AROUND! And worst yet...WHERE were the Aang and Katara moments? In the series, he fell into her arms and it was practically love at first sight, but in this film they just found him and nothing sparked between them. There's so much more I can say...but I don't think I have enough time to rant on and on about it, nor do I think you guys really want to read all that....heheh.

Final thoughts? This was a disaster. It was like the entire film was based on only a description of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I mean, you just can't get THAT many things wrong! If you've ever watched Mystery Science Theater 3000 where they make fun of cheesy movies, I'm sure you'll recall alot of those movies and wonder how does stuff like that even get made! And The Last Airbender looks like a movie that could be on that show! It's like a weird mix of high budget and low budget. It was a high budget film that looked low budget. O.O
And I thought Masters Of The Universe, the live-action adaption for He-Man was bad. At least that was amusing. This was just a pain to watch. To fans of the series, spare yourself the pain and agony of trying to stomach this film and stick with the cartoon, and for those who have never seen the cartoon, stay far away from this film and check out the cartoon. There's action, adventure, light romance, depth, emotion, awesome bending, friendship, character developement...and a solid story! Everything this film lacked.

Recommend?
I didn't want to hate this film, but it butchered one of my all-time favorite animated series and turned it into a dark, emotionless disaster. The special effects couldn't save it 'cause even that fell short. If you want a real story, then watch the animated series which this film was supposedly based on. You and your family will have alot more fun watching that than this.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
This film hardly had any music it seemed, and even when it was there, it's nothing very memorable.

[SUB VS. DUB]
This film was always in English, but the acting was pretty bad.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
There's like a cine-manga type comic for the animated television series.

[RELATED TITLES]
"Avatar: The Last Airbender" animated series and yet to be premiered follow-up "Avatar: The Legend Of Korra".

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
There wasn't any,

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

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Clear of this.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There's alot of fighting, but all of them bloodless. In a flashback of Zuko, it is implied he was burned by his father. When Aang, Sokka, and Katara are at one of the air temples, they find the skeletons of the Air Nomads that were killed by the Fire Nation.
(SPOILER! Princess Yue gives her life back to the moon spirit by going into the sacred pool. Her hair just returns to black and she floats, dead).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
There are those with the ability to "bend" one of the four elements. The Avatar is the only one who can bend all four elements. There is the Avatar Cycle, where when the Avatar dies, is then reincarnated into the next nation in the cycle. Princess Yue was a still born, but the moon spirit gave her life. When Aang enters the spirit world, he speaks to this dragon spirit.

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

Saturday, April 9, 2011

FIRST POLL UP: What review are YOU looking forward to?

Hey guys!! I listed a few titles that can be found in my "Coming Soon" page of this blog in a poll. I am curious to see what YOU GUYS, the readers, are interested in seeing posted soon on this review blog. This is the first poll I have ever staged here, and I plan to post more up. Every time a new poll is up I will make a new post to let you know it is there and then when the poll closes I will make a post of the results!

So, of course, this question deals with tallying what the readers really want to see on this blog. I picked titles that I felt people may be more curious about, such as Fullmetal Alchemist annd Avatar: The Last Airbender, as well as newer titles such as Kimi Ni Todoke and Sakura-Hime. I am curious to know what my readers have been looking forward to on my blog. If none of the titles you are looking forward to reading a review for that is on my 'coming soon' page is not on the poll, feel free to drop a comment below of what title you are looking forward to seeing a review for.

I can't wait to see what the results will be!! The poll is located at the VERY BOTTOM of the blog (basically, underneath the last of the recently posted). Have fun and God Bless!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

HIGURASHI: When They Cry: Cotton Drifting Arc, Volume 1


You've already met Keiichi Maebara and his mischievous friends in the Abducted by Demons Arc. But Oyashiro-sama's curse is poised to strike anew in Hinamizawa village. When Keiichi spots tomboy Mion working at a maid café, he can hardly believe his eyes! But it's not Mion after all - it's her identical twin sister, Shion. Keiichi's never heard of this "twin sister" before and suspects it's just another one of Mion's pranks. But through Shion, Keiichi is able to see a quieter, more feminine side of his best friend, even if it is all an act. As Keiichi spends more time with Shion, however, Rena grows more accusatory...
(Barnes & Noble description 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, 6 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

After I had read the second volume of this particular arc of the story, returning it to my friend, she then lended me the first volume. Yes, it's a bit odd to read in backwards order, but I wasn't confused at all when I read the second volume. However, the first volume helps you to get to know the characters, so it's probably best to read this one first so you can really feel the horror of the tragedy. Because this volume only serves as an introduction to the characters (though weird and slightly disturbing things do happen in this volume), the really frightening and dark stuff won't happen until you proceed on with the next volume.

I have to admit, this volume was a rather fun read, with several humerous parts. You really got to know Keiichi and his friends. It was fun to see them having fun with each other and making memories. You can tell that his friendship with these girls mean the world to him. Mion is a total tomboy and appears to be the leader of the group and Keiichi would never expect her to be really feminine. However, when he and his father go to Angel Mort and sees who appears to be Mion in a revealing, girly outfit, he decides to make fun of her to get her back. However, this girl claims to be a girl named "Shion", the identical twin sister of Mion. Keiichi doesn't buy it, but despite that, seems to play along, as he likes seeing this side of her. But does Shion actually exist? Also, Rena seems to be hinting at something. And also, there's something strange about this town and it's people.

I can tell this is a very well executed series. Although this volume isn't dark and terrifying as the second volume, it does drop hints that something strange is stirring. This volume only serves as an introduction of the characters so you can know them and care for them, so whatever happens, you try to wish the best outcome for them. That is brilliant storytelling, I'm telling you. My favorite part is when Keiichi and his friends defended "Shion" at the Angel Mort from those guys harrasing her. However, my only disappointment was how much sexual content was in it, especially the scenes at the Angel Mort. I actually was NOT expecting that, and that has caused me to lower my rating a bit. But I still enjoyed reading it and will probably eventually end up buying my own copy and add it to my little "manga library". But it can be hard to looked passed, though. If I had gotten this volume first, I'm not sure if I would of even continued reading it, but since I got the second one, well, it's kind of hard to detatch myself from it now. So if you're planning to read this arc, be warned of the inappropriate content. Otherwise, if you're looking for a good horror/supernatural with less of that, then I suggest either "Ghost Hunt" anime or "xxxHOLiC" (believe it or not) manga and anime.

Recommend?
This is a bit tricky, but if you can look passed that stuff, then yes, it's a pretty entertaining read. The storytelling is excellent and you really get to know the characters in a fun way!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
I remember some minor swearing, nothing too harsh, if I remember correctly.

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

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Well, well. On the first page, you see both Mion and Shion naked, but it's undetailed (like a Barbie Doll). Keiichi ended up getting the penalty game, and the penalty was for him to wear a Maid's Costume. At a resteraunt called Angel Mort, the uniforms are a bit revealing. Keiichi ends up seeing who he thinks is Mion (but claims to be her twin, Shion) and decides to embarras her, and one of them is he says how the outfit really shows her bust. When these guys come and harras "Shion", one of them seemed to have purposely spilled some of his food on his crotch area and asked her to wipe it off.
(SPOILER! After Keiichi found out that Shion is Mion, and the real twin Shion shows up, there's a scene where Shion lifts up her shirt to show she and Mion wear identical bras).

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
The only violent part I remember is seeing a dead body. There's blood and his head is detatched from his body.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
The people in the town act really weird and strange, and you can see it in their eyes when they act so weird. There's also the talk of the Cotton Drifting festival and the Saiguden temple. (See my review for the second volume of this arc for more detail).

*CHAPTER LIST*