Monday, November 19, 2012

PARA SIEMPRE


Manga-Ka: Written by Katie Kahalewai. Illustrated by Inkhana.
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: PG-13

{I, the reviewer, give Para Siempre, 9 out of 10!}

~*~Click Here Tio Read~*~

COMMENTS

This is the latest from Katie Kahalewai (aka Sparklie Foxie, the mangaka of Advocate Voice), illustrated by Inkhana (Game Plan!). The story follows a young woman named Lily, who has finally laid her pain to the cross, and finally forgiven a certain guy after what he did to her. However, despite, she can still feel the pain linger, until God uses it to help another one like her.

I really enjoyed this story. It was balanced with the right kind of emotion and had a simple message. It never felt too preachy and was executed quite naturally. I also loved the artwork from Inkhana and can't get over how beautiful the front cover looks!

My only disappointment with this story is it could of been fleshed out more. Though you basically know what had happened, it's only shown in glimpses, and not very informative glimpses either. I really think they should of had a sort of flashback glimpse, at least for 2 pages which is enough for a oneshot like this.

Other than that, I really enjoyed this story, the artwork, and the message came across quite effectively.


Recommend?
Very much so ^.^

I certify this *MANGA NEWCOMER WORTHY* as it's a simple story, and gives you the proper dose of expressions, emotion, and slice of life storytelling you'd expect from a manga.


[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
When talking about biology class, Lily says how she'll throw up if she has to see a chart of the "female you-know-what" again. Though never shown or fully explained, you know that Lily made the mistake of giving herself away to a guy. (SPOILER! She meets another girl like this, but all she says is that she feels so dirty).

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
None.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
This is a Christian manga.

THE JESUS STORE

Desperate to hear about the forgiveness of sins, a young man goes to "The Jesus Store" to find Jesus, but all he finds are cheap imitations of him...
(Christianmanga.com description)

Manga-Ka: Joshua Spell
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Left-to-right
Rating: PG

{I, the reviewer, give The Jesus Store, 8 out of 10!}

~*~Click Here To Read~*~

COMMENTS

From the mangaka of the ongoing webcomic The Messenger, is this interesting oneshot entitled "The Jesus Store" about a young man who is looking for Jesus and searches for Him in the title store. Of course, he doesn't find Him there at all!

This manga will make you feel a bit uncomfortable, but in a good way. It's sort of satire has an "offensive" overtone you could say, yet also is done only to prove a point (by "offensive" overtone, I mean the different Christs they show really would be offensive, and reminds me how some shows mock Christianity, but this manga is the total opposite). Instead, it shows how Christianity almost seems like it has become another market, and people are painting their own personal pictures of him, as if to customize The Word to their liking.

My initial thought reading this was "that's a terrible store!" but then the next feeling I got was something similar to how I feel in a Christian bookstore. I love Christian bookstores, so I can find Christian material, naturally, however...sometimes I feel some of the stuff you could find, I always had the feeling of "are they trying to make God into merchandise?". This manga brought up a pretty good point. It even reminds me of the church trying certain things to bring people in, but is that really a good idea? Yes, being more open is a good thing, but you must tread carefully as well. Don't forget we're here to help people, not just to rack in more people. That's not gonna save anyone, and is pretty heartless.

Overall, this manga made me think, which is a good thing, and sort of pointed out something that has always been on the back of my mind. Wherever there is imitation, you know it's only a terrible ripoff from the genuine....and what we need and long for is the genuine. I enjoyed reading this and was satisfied with its ending.


Recommend?
Very much so! It will make you think. Perhaps even remind you of something you have been seeing done lately.


[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
None.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There is one panel seeing one version of Christ punching another version, and then another panel showing genuine Christ on the cross.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Though this is a Christian manga, the Jesus store is pretty offensive, however that's actually the whole point of the manga, to be offended by all the imitations.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

HER LIFE IN PETALS

A short comic about a girl who is an abusive relationship with her boyfriend and how she overcomes both the abuse and her hate towards flowers.

Manga-Ka: Odette_1218
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Left-to-right
Rating: Not rated

{I, the reviewer, give Her Life In Petals, 9 out of 10!}

~Click Here To Read~*~

COMMENTS

She got nothing but pain from this relationship. And the flowers of reconciliation became a disgust to her. A feeble attempt at an apology, when in reality she knew the abuse would never stop. It was control, but she feared to walk away. These flowers were like a "leash" to her.

This comic was really well done, and touched the subject of an abusive relationship rather nicely. We follow a young woman, who narrates the story, about her relationship with an abusive man. She began to hate flowers. But soon, in the end, she learned to love them again.

The art for this is rather sketchy, but has a unique charm to it and distinctive flavor. I look forward to how this artist will continue to grow and cultivate her style to perfection. Though there is no dialogue, the woman's narration is well written and captivating. The story's ending is also very fascinating.

Overall, a meaningful story, and the artist's very first webcomic. I'd say it was an excellent debut.


Recommend?
Yes, totally!

I certify this *MANGA NEWCOMER WORTHY* as the story is simple and goes western-style.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
There is a brief depiction of sex in one panel, but it's only his hand shown on her naked torso (stomach only, no private parts are shown).

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There is violence, only in one panel, where you see the abusive. He's pulling on her hair. Nothing explicit.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
None.

*CHAPTER INDEX*
(oneshot)

THE SEARCH FOR COFFEE


Once upon a time, there was an average girl living an average life. One day, she meets a magical rabbit, who tells her she's not just some ordinary girl. In fact, she's the one who is destined to save the world from a terrible monster, who has been plotting underground for some time.

Fated to face this terrible foe, the girl sets out on an amazing journey where she'll make some wonderful friends, learn more about her past, and perhaps find love along the way. But most importantly, will she save the world...?

Actually, no, that's not at all what this story is about. I guess you're going to have to read it.
[Smackjeeves description of "The Search for Coffee"]

Manga-Ka: firefly376
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Left-to-right
Rating: 10+

{I, the reviewer, give The Search for Coffee, 8 out of 10!}

~*~Click Here To Read~*~

COMMENTS

When first reading the synopsis, this sounds like it's going to be another typical shoujo manga where an average girl meets some magical bunny and has to save the world for some reason. Haha, screw that! As the final sentence states, the synopsis was a lie, you have to read it to find out what this "epic" story is about!

To preserve the synopsis, as blindly reading it is the best way to go, I will say only this - our nameless hero meets a cute bunny, that part of the synopsis is true. Also, there involves a search for coffee, as the title states. This will be one of the most random adventures you'll experience.

The art for this was done extremely well. It looks very professional, with a smooth toning and shading job. Our "average heroine" has a rather lovely look to her, and the bunny really is adorable!

Overall, this was a rather entertaining story that made me smile, and even laugh a little!

Recommend?
If you're looking for something random to laugh at, you'll love this. It's relatively clean, super cute, and very funny!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Our heroine seems to want to marry the bunny, but this is obviously for hilarious purposes.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Not really anything.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
*SPOILER* When the bunny creature drinks the coffee, he turns into a Godzilla like creature to terrorize the town.

*CHAPTER INDEX*
(oneshot)


ONE LEAF CLOVER


Taru has horrible luck, and it tends to affect his relationship with his girlfriend, Souka. But why is Taru so unlucky?
[Smackjeeves description of One Leaf Clover]

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

{I, the reviewer, give One Leaf Clover, 6 out of 10!}

~*~Click Here To Read~*~

COMMENTS

"One Leaf Clover" is created with a program called ComiPro! so you might of seen this style before (I believe it is the same program that was used for aother manga I have review here,Strange Japanese School Days: Sibling Maniac). The 22-page oneshot is about a girl named Souka, who is dating a boy named Taru who has incredibly bad luck. He asks if she can take her out on her birthday, but she refuses. However, with the help of his friends, she is finally convinced to do so.

The premise of the story is rather cute, and despite being made with a program (the author did not draw them herself), for the most part the models were used appropriately. There were just some scenes where they seemed a bit on the stiff side. The dialogue was executed very well, though there seems to be a feel of something missing, like there could be more. However, the story is likely to give you a smile by it's end.

While not perfect or awe-inspiring, this was a cute little story, with a satisfying ending.


Recommend?
It's worth a quick peak.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
One use of "d".


[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
None.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
You see little Souka get hit on the head by something.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
*SPOILER* Taru has really bad luck because of a one leaf clover he has, which he took from Souka when they were kids to free her from bad luck.

*CHAPTER INDEX*
(one shot)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

ONE AFTERNOON


Luna is an ordinary High School girl on a day out shopping with her best friends. What could possibly go wrong? With 4 different endings, you'll find that more often than not it won't be the most happy ending for all of them. This is my first publicly released VN and my first attempt at creating a VN with different endings. It's more of a little project to practice writing my own VN.
(Renpy.org description)

Developers(s): ForgottenVision
Rating: All Ages

{I, the reviewer, give One Afternoon, 4 out of 10!)

COMMENTS

You play a girl named Luna, who is at the mall with her two friends, Jessie and Tessa. Tessa is there to try and decide on what new phone to buy, and it's taking awhile. Luna's first decision of either staying or ditching will dramatically alter her best friend (Jessie's) mood.

This was a very short visual novel, and at times, way too dramatic. There isn't much plot, other than the fact there is this boy that both Luna and Jessie likes. Your interaction while at the mall will effect Jessie's mood towards you and whether or not you argue about it or let her have him. Also, I didn't really feel much for the characters. Both Jessie and Luna seemed mean and annoying, and it made me wonder "how are they best friends?!" the only character I really felt for was Tessa, and her ending was the one that'll probably get to you most.

Overall, this was ForgottenVision's first visual novel. It wasn't that bad per se, but it could stand to be a bit longer and have a more fleshed out plot.

RECOMMENDED?
This is one easily skipped.

I certify this *VISUAL NOVEL NEWCOMER WORTHY* as it is a very simple and short novel.

PLAYER'S COMFORT

[MUSIC]:
Simple music that fit the game well enough.

[ARTWORK]:
The backgrounds were real-life photos and the characters were from a sprite-building doll that is well known among Ren'Py users. They were customized nicely, though.

[INTERACTION]:
There were about 4 (maybe 5?) choice menus throughout the entire game. Basic choices. I did not like some of the choices you had, 'cause it just made Luna look like a jerk.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
On one path, there is several uses of the "b" word and on another path, several uses of the harsher term for harlot (the "w" word).

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
When Jessie wants to buy a certain top, you have the option of saying she'd look like a slut.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
*SPOILER* One ending, Tessa gets hit by a car, and though not shown, it is described that she hit her head against a rail and had brain damage. Another ending, Luna gets hit by a car and dies (also not shown).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
None.

ADVENTURE ON THE OTHER SIDE


On a fine summer day, FL gets a call from a friend, Ritsuka. As persuasive and cunning as she is, Ritsuka manages to drag FL to the cemetery. Upon getting lost and separated, now it's time to help FL escape the night. But which way will you take?
(Renpy.org description)

Developers(s): FlawedFlare
Rating: Not rated

{I, the reviewer, give Adventure on The Other Side, 7 out of 10!)

COMMENTS

You take the role of a girl named FL. Your summer vacation has began and you wonder what to do. That is, until your phone rings and your friend Ritsuka demands you over by the lake. You don't really wanna go, but hey, you got nothing better to do. You then learn she wants you to come with her to go ghost hunting. Her mom won't let her go to the cemetery unless you're with her. So you give in. However, Ritsuka does something that causes you to black out! Now you're trapped in the cemetery....and Ritsuka's missing.

"Adventure On The Otherside" is a simple, short visual novel where you have to find a way out. You either look for the exit yourself and try to find Ritsuka. I have to say, for the developer's first visual novel, this was actually pretty good! It's a fun little story with fairly well-written dialogue. I instantly loved the characters personalities and was intrigued when Ritsuka did something to cause getting stuck in the cemetery.

However, not really much happens on your adventure. You either look for Ritsuka, then fidn the exit, or you leave her behind. There were about 3 (maybe 4?) endings, which actually did give you just the slightest of chills. However, if you do not reach any of those ends, you reach the end of....PART 1! This is not the full story, and whether a part 2 will be made is uncertain. The story really seemed to get interesting at that point and I enjoyed it enough to be genuinely curious enough to know what will happen to these girls.

I have very little complaints, except for the fact that some of the choice menus only consisted of one choice (so it seemed pointless to have the button) and when getting on a similar path, there was a mess up I noticed. Even when declining to help a goblin in one scenario, she still mentions "having to help a goblin". But this being made by a first-time visual novelist, I can understand the slip up.

Other than that, I fairly enjoyed the game, even though it was quick. It was a simple, slightly creepy story that I hope to see finished.

RECOMMENDED?
Sure. If you're looking for something quick to read and enjoy paranormal stories, I think you'll like this.

I certify this *VISUAL NOVEL NEWCOMER WORTHY* as it's a very simple story, simple gameplay, easy to understand.

PLAYER'S COMFORT

[MUSIC]:
The music used was very befitting for the creepy feel of the game.

[ARTWORK]:
The character designs are rather cute.

[INTERACTION]:
Very simple, all just your typical choice based menu that alters the path of the game. Though there were many instances in which you only had one choice, so it felt rather pointless to have the button in the first place.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
No language.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
A goblin asks if FL's friend is a hottie or not. Yeah, nothing really.


[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There is mention of possibly getting eaten, but other than that, no.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Ritsuka wants to take FL to the graveyard to go "ghost hunting". You meet a goblin along the way who asks for your help. *SPOILER* later in the story, you find out she had this device called a Spirit Weakener, which weakened paranormal walls that got them transported to that plane of the cemetery. There is an ending where FL's relationship with FL is erased, where shadows surround them, when abandoned Ritsuka comes back from the other side....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ONLY ONE WISH


MAKE A WISH-IF YOU DARE!

It's easy: Just send a text to a certain address and a dark angel will appear and grant your wish--but only one! You can wish for your crush to fall in love with you, for revenge against those who have wronged you, or even for the dead to be brought back to life. But choose your wish carefully--sometimes a dream come true can be a nightmare!

Manga-Ka: Mia Ikumi
Distributor: Del Rey
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: 13+

{I, the reviewer, give Only One Wish, 8 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

"It's up to you to make me an angel or a devil. Come on, tell me your wish."

There are many ways to come across it. Finding a text address on a mirror, found at a non-existent staircase in school, or a cell phone falling mysteriously from the sky! No matter how you find it, the rumor is the same; use it to contact the angel, and she will grant you any wish---but only one!

"Only One Wish" is a single-volume oneshot manga that consists of four stories, involving teens contacting the angel for their wish. Most of them is focused on love, or tied to it somehow, but is done differently each time. It explores the different consequences and results of the wish made. Friendships broken, love found, lessons learned, and the ability to grant your own wish.

The first story is about three close friends. One of them likes a guy, and knowing the rumor about the angel, they look for the mirror and one of them makes a wish for that friend. This one had just a slight horror feel to it. The second story is about a girl who just realized she died, but doesn't remember, and makes a wish to have her life back--but the angel gives a condition; if she can kiss the boy she likes within 24 hours, she'll be alive again. The third wish, a girl who has a crush on this boy, who often fantasizes about him shrinking and carrying him around, and she gets to do so! And lastly, a boy and a girl accidentally grabs each other's cell phones and tries to find each other.

While the idea of the story sounds very dark, only the first story really has that theme. The others are pretty light hearted, sweet, maybe a bit touching at times, as well as fun! It explores well enough for it's page limit that sometimes the wish you so desire isn't as lovely as you had imagined. Sometimes a lesson is learned, a wish truly achieved, or nothing is learned and a vicious cycle continues. Sometimes the wishes are made unknowingly, other times totally on purpose. Also....is the dark angel truly evil? To be honest, she stands at a sort of gray level.

Artwork wise, while not extremely unique, is well done. I like how the eyes are drawn, and how the inking is done, and the use of thick lines.

All in all, I highly enjoyed this story, and wished there were more! It'd be neat to see other wishes be made and watch how it all pans out. Also, this could make a pretty good anime, in my opinion. Most likely an anime movie if it ever got animated. If you're looking for a quick story that's well written enough, I think you'll like this.

If you're a fan of Ikumi-sama's Tokyo Mew Mew, this contains a bonus short story in that universe, also related to Only One Wish at the end of the story.

Recommend?
If you enjoy stories with the concept of wishes, I think you'll like this one! Even though many of them have some sort of romantic tie, I think many would be interested in the different outcomes of each person's wish. Also, it's surprisingly VERY CLEAN!


[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.


[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.


[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Really nothing more than a kiss. In Wish 2 (SPOILER! When the main girl is brought back to life, you see her appear with some undetailed nudity....like a doll).

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
In the first story, two of the girls almost get eaten by a creature. The second story involves a girl who had died, which later (SPOILER! We found out she drowned, and briefly you see her struggling in the water, but no actual drowning is seen). Briefly, beginning the fourth story, a girl begs for her wish to be taken back (her wish wished away her teacher) and he reappears (but I think he's dead, and there may have been a little blood).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
This is about any wish being granted (even to become alive again in one case). It is said that if you find this cell phone and make your wish, a dark angel will answer and grant it. The dark angel isn't really evil, she just grants the wishes and stands by to watch. How the wisher deals with it, or what they wished for are the ones who make it either a dream or a nightmare. In the second story, one character is a ghost and wishes for life again. In the third story, the girl imagines her crush being pocket sized and says "If God would allow...." and when that wish is granted, says "Thank you, God!".

*CHAPTER INDEX*
1. Wish 1
2. Wish 2
3. Wish 3
4. Wish 4
Tokyo Mew Mew Bonus Story

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

WEBCOMIC CRAZY!!!

As you all know, I LOVE reviewing webmanga! Well, there's a lot of interesting completed One-Shots out there on SmackJeeves! So.....EXPECT LOTS AND LOTS MORE REVIEWS TO COME!!!! Who knows? You might discover a new, awesome manga to follow this way! I also have my normal anime and manga reviews coming up (Kimi ni Todoke vol.3, Gate 7 vol.1, Ramen Fighter Miki (Complete Series), etc.!) so also be on the look out for that!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

STRANGE JAPANESE SCHOOL DAYS: SIBLING MANIAC


A high school girl starts finding the guy she likes to ask him out to lunch but accidentally asks 3 of his brothers who look just like him.
[Smackjeeves description]

Manga-Ka: Eevee Nicollie
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: (not rated)

~*~Click Here To Read~*~

{I, the reviewer, give Strange Japanese School Days: Sibling Maniac, 7 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

This is a rather interesting little comic I discovered on SmackJeeves. It's completely in full color, and has a very visual novel like feel to it. It's about a girl named Hanabi who likes a boy named Kai, however, she does not know he has THREE LOOK-ALIKE BROTHERS! When she attempts to ask Kai out to lunch, she keeps getting ONE OF THE BROTHERS! There's the flirty Kei, the nerdy Ken, and the "scary" Kou. Finally, she actually runs into Kai, the guy she REALLY wants to have lunch with.

This is probably one of the silliest manga I have ever read in my life! Hanabi is completely confused and frustrated, wanting to be with Kai, yet ends up being caught up with all his look-alike brothers. The interesting thing, however, is Kai is not focused on much at all, even though that's who she really wants. Actually, the spotlight is probably mostly on Kou, the mysterious one always wearing a surgeon mask. I have to admit, he's definitely the fan favorite (and I like him as well). Sadly, though, the other brothers do not get as much spotlight as I wish they would have.

Another neat feature was the visual novel segment, where Eevee-sama made it look like you were playing a visual novel, and if you were a reader during the comic's run, you get to vote for one of the choices and see the route! It was a very interesting segment, though a bit odd. However, it really made me wish that this was an ACTUAL visual novel you could play! I would totally take Kou's route. But I'd also like to learn more about Ken, too, since he'd be my second choice as Hanabi's love interest.

Most of this story is 4-koma, however, and very cute. Though, like I said before, mostly focused on Kou (but I can't complain too much, since i think he's awesome). The coloring for this story was done really well. Normally I am not a huge fan of full color manga, but I have to admit I really liked the digital coloring for this. Also, I really liked the expressions, as well as character designs.

Of course, no story is perfect, and there are a couple major things that bring my score down. One, the sister. Besides Kai's three look-alike brothers, he has a younger sister as well who is kinda creepy. She's a bit...clingy to Kei, and in one of the 4-komas, it almost seems like she's kind of in love with her brother Kei, which creeped me out. However, the author said she purposely created her for you to hate. Well, job well done! Thankfully she is only seen like twice throughout the whole story. Also, the abrupt ending. Nothing is resolved AT ALL, and it has a VERY INCOMPLETE feel. However, the author promised in her latest comic a Hanabi and Kou look alike, so I admit to looking forward to that.

While this comic has it's problems, I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it. For the most part it was adorable, and very amusing. If you like randomness with a ridiculous story, this is something that I think you'll have fun reading.


Recommended?
If you're looking for a cute, silly read, why not? Some of the weird stuff I mentioned can be easily skipped, since it's not vital to the story.


[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
The younger sister of the brothers seems a bit too enthralled with her brother Kei (in fact, in one of the 4-koma strips she says something, and it's bleeped, so what she said is left to the reader's imagination). Also, in the fake visual novel segment on Kei's path, there is a scene where they are on the rooftop and he is on top of her, looking like he was about to "make a move". This is the worst it gets.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
First time Hanabi runs into Kou, there's blood on his surgeon mask.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
None.

*CHAPTER INDEX*
1. Sibling Maniac
2. Extra
3. Afraid of Kou
4. Relationships
5. Unexpected Encounters

Friday, March 2, 2012

AN INTERVIEW WITH ASUKA NEKO

So our second victim---er, um, guest is aspiring mangaka, as well as writer, Asuka Neko. You may know her as the mangaka of titles such as Square, Etsu!, Bitter Sweet, the doujinshi The Anti Squee!, as well as many other in-the-works titles. In this interview we talk about her feelings on yaoi, rabid fangirls, and making manga--especially Square. Prepare to enter the whacky mind of Asuka Neko!!

1. State your name, your mission, and whether or not you're a rabid fangirl.

My name is sometimes Asuka, sometimes Blue, and in the real world, it’s Beth. My mission is to become a better artist and to always continue developing my talents and using them for God’s glory. I am not really a rabid fangirl, even for as much as I like to talk about my favorite characters in my blog.

2. Have you actually ever met a rabid fangirl in real life? If so, what was she (or they) like?

Like a yaoi fangirl? I’ve met a few at anime club. Usually, they just sit in the corner and look up weird stuff on deviantART on laptops. A lot of them are really sweet though… if they would stop trying to show me random yaoi, I would probably get along with them better.

3. If anyone else were to meet a rabid fangirl, your advice to them would be...

There have been times when someone has been like, “oh, look at this yaoi, it’s my favorite picture ever!” and I just kind of nod my head and try not to look. My advice would be to be genuine, and to love them even though they may be a little crazy at times.

4. Okay, now let's get serious. What got you hooked to anime and manga?

I’ve been into anime and manga for as long as I can remember. Yep, I was one of those kids who was totally obsessed with Pokémon when I was little! What really got me completely into it was +Anima. It was the first manga I read and still one of my absolute favorites!

5. What do you find attractive about anime as opposed to American cartoons?

I like how beautiful the art can be, and the story lines are my favorite part. A lot of the time, anime story lines are more complicated and interesting than those in American cartoons (even though anime still has its clichés). I’ve also been attracted to anime art style for my whole life; I think it’s gorgeous!

6. If I were to ask you "which came first, the anime or the manga?", you'd say...

Usually, the manga comes first and the anime is based on it. There are some weird exceptions, though. But I would say the manga came first (and in general speaking, manga was invented before anime, I think).

7. Which is better, anime or manga, and why?

I typically like manga better because I can stop and look at art for as long as I want! With anime, you’d have to pause it to do that. It is cool seeing the characters from my favorite mangas in motion, though.

8. Now I remember an interesting fact about you is that you're left-handed. Does this make it easier for you to draw in the authentic manga direction of right-to-left as opposed to right-handers?

With traditional art, it does! I actually have to draw right-to-left to avoid getting my hands covered in lead and smudging my pictures. Now that I do most of my comics digitally, it doesn’t really matter, though.

9. Your "official" web page's link title is the name of one of your old manga, Black Glass. Whatever happened to that?

I tend to start a lot of projects and never finish them. It’s a bad habit of mine! Black Glass had an extremely complicated plot and way too many characters, so I lost track of it easily.

10. Have you ever considered reviving this project?

I have considered it a number of times, but if I was going to revive one of my old projects, it probably wouldn’t be Black Glass. This is mostly because I can’t remember anything about what was happening in it.

11. I recall that Etsu was a minor character in Black Glass. When did you decide to give Etsu her own manga?

Etsu was too much fun! I loved the parts with her, and when I decided not to continue Black Glass, I had to write something with Etsu! I also wanted to put her in the modern world.

12. Speaking of which, how is "Etsu!" moving along? Have you dropped it, or is it just on hiatus?

Etsu! is going more slowly than I would like (mostly because of Square), but I’ve been going back and redoing some of the older pages. I’m planning on revamping the script for it in the future, too. Etsu! is one of the projects I would like to work on more when Square finishes.

13. Your current series, "Square", where in the world did you come up with the idea for it?

Square happened because I wanted to write about boys! All of my other comics had been about girls, even though I really enjoy drawing boys, so I wrote Square.

14. Is there any particular challenge in creating 4-koma strips, compared to regular manga?

The hardest thing is being able to fit everything into four panels! Sometimes I come up with ideas where I feel like if I had five panels, I could fully express what I want to, but I have to limit myself. In other ways, it’s easier, especially in Square, because the strips are all independent of each other.

15. Do you have an intended volume run for "Square", or is it just gonna end when it's gonna end?

I would like to end it after the boys graduate. I’m thinking of doing something really big for their graduation, but with my own at the same time, I’m actually getting started on that now. I will probably do a summer arc, too.

16. Since we're on the subject of manga making, when did you decide you wanted to make your own manga, and why?

Ever since I started reading manga, I always wanted to make my own. I wrote a lot before I drew manga, and I thought it would be awesome to draw

17. Has anyone ever critisized your art harshly?

Yes, a couple times, especially when I was younger and didn’t really know what I was doing. It was especially hard because it was online and they didn’t actually know how old I was at the time. I’ve also had people give me criticism on art that’s really old, but I feel like that just shows me how I’ve improved.

18. Did this ever make you contemplate giving up on art?

No, not really, it just made me give up Gaia Online. Good critique actually helps me to improve my art. I once heard someone say that critique is the highest form of a compliment an artist can get, because it means someone else looked very closely at your art and wants to help you with it. But outright flaming and overly harsh criticism isn’t the same.

19. As a Christian, has your faith ever effected how you view anime and manga? If so, in what way?

Yes, definitely! Even though there are a lot of great things about anime and manga, there are also a lot of nasty ones. I think I’m more careful about what I watch and read than most people, and I don’t tolerate a lot of things that others just go along with.

20. Does your faith effect whether or not you'll view a series, and why?

Between my faith and the fact that I’m terrified of blood and violence, the animes I watch are actually quite limited. If something goes against my faith, I try to stay away from it, even if it’s a really popular series.

21. Have you ever considered creating a Christian manga?

I have! I want to make a manga version of the story of Esther someday. And even though the mangas I’m working on now are mostly humorous and not necessarily Christian, I try to keep my values clearly displayed. There are a lot of things people just accept in mangas, especially independently created ones, that I wouldn’t include in my own.

22. Have you ever seen a "glimpse of God" in anime or manga, and why? For example, something that makes you think of Him or strengthens your faith in some way.

There have been times when I’ve found great Christian mangas, and that definitely strengthens my faith. It’s good to see other people sharing their faith through their art.

23. Many attempts at Christian manga (such as "Serenity") have been known to fail miserably. Why do you think that is?

I think it might be because so many people in the manga community aren’t very receptive to Christian beliefs. I think they have to be more subtle than a lot of artists do, mostly because if you start preaching to someone, it tends to turn them off. Christian mangas tend to have narrower audiences, just because they only appeal to Christians. Also, a lot of attempts at manga fail miserably (I’ve seen it with my own), so it could just be part of that.

24. What do you think would make an excellent Christian manga? What would you like to see, and not to see?

I think an excellent Christian manga would be one with characters that draw me in, good art, and a story line that I find interesting, which happens to be everything I look for in a regular manga. The best part about a great Christian manga is that in addition to all of this… it’s a Christian manga! But, like I said earlier, even I don’t want to read a manga that is just condemning all beliefs that aren’t Christian or that has no real conflict and all of the characters seem fake and perfect. Real Christians struggle, so the characters need to as well, in order to make it relatable.

25. Do because of me, you've become a fan of "Game Plan!" Tell us what you like about it.

I love Game Plan because it has all of the characteristics that I think make a great Christian manga! I love the characters and I can relate to them. I also like that there are characters in it who seriously doubt, because someone who was doubting their faith could relate to them.

26. Have you read any other Christian manga besides GP? If so, what are your thoughts?

I can’t think of any other Christian manga I’ve read besides GP (except some others by the author of Game Plan). There is actually a manga version of the Bible at my library, but I haven’t read it because I don’t like the art style. I have, however, read other mangas by Christian artists, and it really depends on the artist whether I like them or not.

27. Getting back to creating manga, what usually inspires your stories and why?

It’s a mix of real life and dreams, really. I actually pull a lot of information for my stories from my dreams, which is kind of weird, but since I have really vivid dreams, it works. The entire end of For the Sake of Convenience (which I never got to, sadly) came from a dream. Square is mostly inspired by real life, though.

28. As a mangaka, do you feel it is your duty to provide an entertaining series for readers? If so, do you find joy in doing just that?

I do like to entertain my readers, but I don’t think that is the only reason I write my manga. If it was, then I would write shonen-ai, because most people find that more entertaining than weird teenage guys just being kind of strange. I do try to do things that I think my readers will find interesting, though, because if readers aren’t entertained… they don’t read the comic.

29. What do you hope to accomplish by creating manga?

My manga, like most art, is an outward expression of my feelings, and so I hope to share who I am through it. Right now, though, I would just like to get an entire manga finished!

30. You're known to openly dislike yaoi and shounen-ai. Is there any particular reason why?

Well, aside from the obvious (it going against my beliefs), I really dislike the fact that it’s basically taken over the internet. Also, a lot of yaoi fangirls tend to say that they like it because it’s ‘different’, but when every single yaoi manga out there has basically the same plot, I don’t see how. And the main reason I dislike it is because I don’t find it attractive at all.

31. I remember you conducting a survey to get a better understanding of why fangirls either like or dislike yaoi and shounen-ai. You were even planning to make it into a book. How did that project turn out?

Unfortunately, the replies I got didn’t turn out very well. I couldn’t really write anything from it, but I did find it interesting.

32. What made you decide to conduct that survey in the first place?

This was actually an attempt to understand what I don’t about fangirls. I wanted to get some opinions other than my own for it as well.

33. One of your complaints of "yaoi fangirls" is that they tend to attack other fangirls just because they don't ship BoyxBoy pairings. Would you respect them more if they respected the non-yaoi fangirls shipping the pairings that they like?

I probably would, actually. In fact, strangely enough, I don’t really mind the kind of people who just pair up everyone with everyone else, because I just read/look at the pairings I like and ignore the rest. I don’t like when everyone starts arguing about parings, and I try to stay out of the arguments as much as possible, but being so opinionated… it’s kind of hard.

34. As a fellow Tsubasa fan, what is your opinion on the number of KuroxFai stories on FanFiction.Net?

There are a TON. I don’t usually read fanfiction about Tsubasa anymore because of that. It doesn’t help that this is one of my least favorite pairings, so I really don’t like it.

35. By any chance, is the mega-number of yaoi fanfics the reason you created the doujinshi "The Anti-Squee"?

Yes, that and the fanart all over the place is why I created it. Also, I wanted to just have fun while pointing out that some pairings really are ridiculous.

36. Any upcoming plans for "The Anti-Squee", or is it a dead project?

I have wanted to do a new one for some of my favorite video games for a while now. I have done one already, but I’d like to do some more someday. I think if I make another Anti-Squee, I’m going to focus on the pairings that we really have no idea where they came from. Like pairing Kurogane with Fei Wang Reed.

37. Time for the most unoriginal anime/manga question! What's your favorite anime and/or manga, and why?

It’s actually a tough question to answer! I enjoy a lot of CLAMP manga because their characters and their storylines are amazing, but there are some mangas that I will just always love. +Anima is one of those. Even though I read it a long time ago, it’s one of my absolute favorites!

I am going to have to say Tsubasa, though, just because I love it so much and I can finally actually understand it.

38. Before we end this, did you enjoy this interview? Any favorite or difficult questions to answer?

I did enjoy this interview! It was a lot of fun. I guess the questions about the survey I did were hard, because I kind of did it on impulse a while ago, so I actually don’t really know what brought it on.

39. I think we've gone on enough. Any last words?

There is no coincidence, only inevitability.

I’m kidding. Actually, I have nothing interesting to say.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

BAKUMAN, VOL.1


Is becoming a successful manga artist an achievable dream or just one big gamble?

Averange student Moritaka Mashiro enjoys drawing for fun. When his classmate and aspiring writer Akito Takagi discovers his talent, he begs Moritaka to team up with him as a manga-creating duo. But what exactly does it take to make it in the manga-publishing world?

Moritaka is hesitant to seriously consider Akito's proposal because he knows how difficult reaching the professional level can be. Still, encouragement from persistent Akito and motivation from his crush push Moritaka to test his limits!
(From the backcover of Bakuman, vol.1)


Manga-Ka: Tsugumi Ohba (writer) and Takeshi Obata (artist)
Distributor: Viz Media
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: Teen

{I, the reviewer, give Bakuman volume 1, 8 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

"The mystery behind manga-making revealed!"

I remember the first time I ever purchased an issue of Shounen Jump magazine at the grocery store one day. I've always wanted to read a manga magazine and to get an idea of how to start my own (I really want to make my own magazine at the time, and so I was hoping to get some ideas). Now of course, I'd probably be WAY behind many of the series that were currently running. However, lucky me got to see a new series just start in that issue, the entire first chapter of Bakuman. Now I know that this series comes from the same creators as Death Note, however, that is not what caught my interest (I've actually never read or seen Death Note). What caught my immediate interest was the fact that this manga was about BECOMING A MANGAKA! As an aspiring mangaka myself, I'm sure you know how excited I was to see this. A manga talking about how to become a professional mangaka. How interesting!

The first chapter pulled me in. I really like how it was written, as well as the art style. I can remember reading it while I sat on the sidewalk, sun beating down on my head as my mom and I awaited for Dad to come pick us up. I remember finishing the story when we got home, and deciding this is something I should keep up on. Unfortunately, I never did get the chance to continue it in Shounen Jump (I hadn't had the chance to purchase an issue since), and for awhile I was a bit reluctant in purchasing the first volume when it came out. However, not too long ago, a good friend of mine decided to lend me the volumes of the series she had on hand, and today I finally got around to reading it.

Once again, I was pulled in. Lately I have been struggling with being lazy, messing around more on the computer instead of focusing on my art. I even recently missed my DREAM Manga deadline because of it. This manga really spoke to me, in a way, despite being geared more towards boys, but I think aspiring female mangaka could still get a lot out of this series. The cool thing about this series is it provides very vital information of professional manga-making while also providing an entertaining story to go along with it. We have an aspiring writer, Takagi, who discovers Mashiro's talent and begs him to team up and create manga. Well, Mashiro's first reaction was as if this guy was crazy, that dream's too big! Not only that, he later finds out his crush, Azuki, wants to become a voice actress!

Now here's where the story gets a little crazy. It is offered to her that if they're manga becomes an anime, would she play the voice of the heroine? Of course she accepts, sparkles in her eyes, and without realizing it Mashiro asks to marry her! Azuki runs back inside, totally embarrassed, but then speaks to them again through the speaker and agree to the proposal, under this condition; let's reach our dreams first. To be honest, that seems downright out there and cheesy, but then again, it's what makes this manga such an entertaining read. I also love the focus on dreams. I think it's better for us young people to strive for crazy dreams, rather than sit around and be dedicated to nothing, going through the motions. At least with the motivation of dreams, a person has something driving them, something they can be dedicated to and productive with, rather than just being someone taking up space, contributing nothing. At first, Mashiro was accepting the fact he'd end up as that kind of person, but with the support from both Takagi and Azuki, he finally has some ambition!

This story also shows all the hard work. Manga-making isn't all fun and games. In fact, it can be very stressful. I'm just an amatuer, and even I understand how stressful it can be with just the little work I'm required to do! Imagine meeting deadlines, being subjected to editors...yeesh. Takagi has to learn how to make storyboards while Mashiro has to learn how to draw with a G-Pen. It can be difficult to get out of your comfort zone and learn new things in order to be successful. And all the sleepless nights...whoa. And Mashiro's just practicing! I remember I had stayed up 'till around 4 AM in the morning finalizing almost ALL my pages I needed to submit to DREAM (cleaning, toning, typesetting) because the deadline was ON THAT DAY. Our main characters' goal is to have a series run in Jump (which I assume is short for Shounen Jump), and I can't even imagine how much worse it would be when submitting to an actual publisher with stricter deadlines that I could even imagine. I can't help but cheer these two dreamers on and their ambitions, as it's so inspiring, and I can somehow relate and connect to them just with my experience as an amateur.

Overall, while the story can seem a little crazy at times, it's an entertaining behind-the-scenes look at the world of manga-making. And this is only the beginning of the journey! I think anyone with dreams of becoming a manga artist would enjoy this, especially those who have already started trying. You'll be able to relate to the characters in at least one way another. I look forward to seeing how it all pans out.

Recommended?
Sure! I think all aspiring mangaka should give it a try, or anyone who interested in the behind-the-scenes of manga making.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Surprisingly, I don't remember anything, unless you consider the "c" word language.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
When Azuki's mother was offering Takagi and Mashiro something to drink, she mentioned some alcoholic beverages.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Takagi briefly mentions something about manga with sex, pregnancy, and abortion in it. Besides that, I don't think I remember anything worth mentioning.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
None.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Takagi quotes a saying from someone who said "Heaven does not create one man above the other" and he doesn't agree with that saying.

*CHAPTER INDEX*
1. Dreams and Reality
2. Dumb and Smart
3. Pen and Storyboard
5. Time and Key
6. Top and Bottom
7. Smile and Bashful

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

TWELVE GATES: ISSUE 1: January 2012



The debut of the new online bi-monthly manga magazine Twelve Gates! This issue includes chapter 1 of the following series (not in order);

Angels Among Us
Infinite Dreams
Love, Grim
Masquerade
Open Hands
Revival Psalm
Sisterella
The humanBEing
The Sparrow Cafe

~Check Out Twelve Gates~



THE REVIEW

I discovered the magazine a bit on accident. One of the mangaka apart of it, Sai Reba, had a link to it on her deviantart, so I decided to check it out. She is the mangaka of such titles as Two Kingdoms and FireWire, which runs in the onlime magazine DREAM. In this magazine, however, she has a third title under her belt entitled the humanBEing. What really caught my interest, however, was what kind of manga this magazine carries; positive/Christian!

As part of my effort to give exposure to not only webcomics, but Christian and/or positive manga, I've decided that I will review each issue of Twelve Gates that are released, giving short comments about all the stories that are inside! So the way I review them will be slightly different and more condensed than usual. Thinking of it more of an overview. I will point out what I like and not like in each story, and which ones I am more apt to follow (though for everyone's sake, I will read through them all!). Due to a multitude of stories, I shall begin reviewing them one by one (not in order of appearance in the magazine).

Sisterella by Cali Mica. Rated G.
DESCRIPTION: The tale of Cinderella with a twist. This story focuses on the step sisters of Cinderella, mainly Betia, who hopes to find her true love.

I found this story to be adorable in it's own right. The art of this story is probably the most amatuerish and rough compared to all the others, but cute none the less. It sort of reminds me of selenaloong's style, which I like, and with more practice, I'm sure Cali will get better as the story progresses! So, obviously, it's a twist on Cinderella. It actually seems like a whole different story entirely, with inspiration from the original tale, but that's also why it is interesting. Our main character girl, Betia, wishes to have a BIG FAMILY, and she likes babysitting children as it's "good practice". In this chapter, she and her sister fear to return home due to the mom and sister making them clean until midnight! S

Interest? High.
If I were a normal reader, I would follow this regularly.

Open Hands by Mushi. Rated PG-13.
DESCRIPTION: In the land of Diyro, racism against beast-men is becoming more acceptable. Although most beast-men have fled, some half-bloods like Hwro and Fel managed to blend in with men. But when their secret is found out, their life of leisure is taken from them as they are forced to flee like the ancestors before them.

I have to admit I have mixed feelings about this one. Obviously, it's a fantasy manga. On the other hand, it's a Christian manga. Is it well blended? Not exactly. In my opinion, it just seems sort of odd when talking about the God in our world in a fantasy setting. Unless you refer to God differently, or give Him another name for that world (since the events in this world obviously did not happen in their world), it can seem a bit out of place. Hwro and Fel have the ability to shape shift, and they are on the run from Jin's assassins. There also seems to be a side-plot coming into play about a girl named Aya dating a jerk who treats her badly. The art in this pretty good, but still very rough.

Interest? Curious.
If I were a normal reader, I would probably glance back at this from time to time.

Love, Grim by H.E. Hinze. Rated PG-13.
DESCRIPTION: When told she has 2 months to live, Ainsley's shocked. But as time passes, she learns she needn't be concerned with herself, but someone else; that there may be more to life than rolling with the punches, more to others than their past, and that people may choose to suffer a fate worse than death for the one they love.

Now this one is a rather interesting story! I like how it's a bit on the dark, supernatural side. We are first introduced to this guy, he's kind of like a Grim Reaper. He works for a demon who (obviously) works for the devil. His job? To take souls down to Hell. Well, the demon gives him a new assignment; there's a girl who has 2 months to live. So for these 2 months he has to follow her until it's time to take her soul. However, she's stated that her soul belongs to God, and trusts in His mighty power. The art in here is a bit rough, but has a nice, distinctive flavor I feel fits the series well.

Interest? VERY HIGH
If I were a normal reader, I'd be an instant fan.

Revival Psalm by Scumash. Rated PG-13.
DESCRIPTION: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

This was another interesting one, although I admit to being fairly confused to what the heck is going on, but all the more interested in it. Our main character is all alone, and there's mentioning of the other people disappearing or getting eaten by their own shadows, and have become apart of...trees and stuff? It's actually really creepy. I'm not sure if I really understand everything, but I am curious to see how this story unfolds. The art, though pretty good, is still a bit rough around the edges. The shading looks to be done traditionally, which gives for a more pencil-sketch look, but all the same pleasing to the eyes.

Interest? High and Curious
If I were a normal reader, I'd follow this regularly.

the humanBEing by Sai. Rated PG-13
"A story about friends and enemies; love and hate; forgiving and forgetting; holding on and letting go. A story about being human, and being MORE..." Follow the story of ten friends as they survive college, friendship, love, and life in general. No matter who we are, what we know, or what we believe, we are all HUMAN.

This story comes from the same lady who does Two Kingdoms and FireWire. If any of you have heard of her, and may be a fan, you'll definitely like to see this. It has her distinctive art style and great story-telling skills. I really like how she does comic relief moments! This chapter serves more of an introduction to our main characters, and so what it's main premise will be is still a bit vague, but it's still enough to draw you in. Characters make a story, so introductions are of upmost importance. I like how the characters have their own personalities, and it's fun to watch them.

Interest? VERY HIGH
If I were a normal reader, I'd be an instant fan.

Infinite Dreams
DESCRIPTION: Freddy is beginning to worry about what the future holds for him after high school, causing him to have so much anxiety that he begins having trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality. Freddy cannot run from what is in store for him. He must go on towards the future, the slowest way possible

This is most likely the oddest story in the group. And the way it was written was hard to follow. The art is pretty rough, though not too bad. What I found odd was, okay, he's in school and admits to not listening to the teacher and so forth. Then there's this hamster in a shirt that shows up? Somehow this is suppose to lead to an epic adventure. While I am curious, the delivery of this introduction was a bit on the poor side and not enough to hold my interest. However, I am curious to see the artist's growth in skill as more chapters are released.

Interest? Low
If I were a normal reader, I'd probably pass.

Angels Among Us by Erika Bias. Rated PG-13.
DESCRIPTION: After the death of her older brother, Rin Kisagi is living alone in a dangerous world. Rescued from those responsible for his death, she finds herself in the company of two young warriors, Ryo and Taro, as she is pulled into the secret world of the ninja! Will Rin trust them with her life, when there’s no one else to turn to?

Now this manga has the most eye-pleasing art out of all of them! Just by looking at the beauty full-color illustration of the first chapter I wanted to take a look! This is based in a somewhat alternate, modern day Japan. Rin Kisagi is our main character. It begins with showing her coming home, to an empty home, as she lives alone with no family. She is still pained by the death of her brother, who was killed by a bunch of attackers. The city is not safe. She has two caring friends who are willing to take her in, but kindly refuses as she wants to remain in the house that she's always lived in...with her family. This is an action story, and it has ninja in it. The delivery of this first chapter was great, and the art is very good! This is probably the most professional-looking series in the whole magazine thus far!

Interest? VERY HIGH
If I were a normal reader, I'd be an instant fan.

The Sparrow Cafe by Alison Varela (aka The Lady Dove). Rated PG-13.
DESCRIPTION: When Jenny learns that she and her family are moving to Mexico – her entire world is turned upside down! From culture shock, missing her friends, and the icy glare from Micah, nothing will ever be the same for her.

This was a pleasant surprise! I had been reading this manga at the website Christianmanga.com, and for awhile it wasn't updated. It was not only nice seeing this again, but this appears to be an entirely NEW version. The art is a little better, but still with the same, distinctive touch. In the old version, Jenny discovers that her family is moving to Mexico via her friend, but this time her parents tell her directly. This chapter focuses on her finding out and saying goodbye to all her friends. However, I kind of wish that the redone version was like the old version, but I will give this new version a chance. It was a bit short, and not enough to really judge, so I'll be hanging on.

Interest? Medium
If I were a normal reader, I would follow this from time to time.

Masgquerade by bbqbert. Rated PG-13.
DESCRIPTION: Life sucks. Life sucks worse when you’re doing it alone. Elias learns the hard way that falling down can be devastating without friends. And getting up after falling down is never easy. Unless, of course, you’re not alone anymore.

This is another one of the more professional-looking ones. The delivery of the first chapter is a bit messy. I found too much going on, and it was a rush introduction of some of the characters. It had a good prologue, though. Obviously, it's setting up for an interesting story. My interest was mostly peeked at the end however. What was said on the last page convinced me I have to see the next chapter!

Interest? Medium, but Curious.
If I were a normal reader, I'd probably follow this often.

And there you have it! My first impression of the debut of Twelve Gates! They have quite an interesting variety of both Christian and positive stories. I'd highyl recommend this magazine to anyone looking for an alternate to some of the manga out there. Each manga is rated appropriately to what is obviously there, or what is to come. Be aware of content based on the ratings (they have a list of what the ratings mean, and what the manga could contain if so rated). Some of the manga contains violence (including a little blood), disturbing images, and minor language. Watch the rating to see if the story is okay for you!

Until the next issue coming in March!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

AN INTERVIEW WITH ROCKLOBSTER

My first vic---I mean, guest, for this interview series is rocklobster, blogger of Lobster Quadrille. We talked about reviewing, anime openings, faith, and Thundercats!

1. How long have you been an anime fan?
I've been an anime fan technically since I was nine, when Voltron first aired in USA. But it wasn't until Ronin Warriors came out that I started to slowly become an anime fan. By the time Dragonball came out, I was hooked.

2. Any series you are fond of, anime or American, from your childhood?
Anime=Voltron, even though I saw the Japanese version and it's better, I still like it for the nostalgia.
American=Transformers and all the cartoons Bruce Timm and Paul Dini made out of the DC characters.

3. What is it that you like about anime, and do you like it better than American cartoons?
I like anime better because most of the time when I watch American cartoons, I feel as though they are taking the audience for granted. Just because people will watch anything doesn't give you a license to make utter garbage.

4. Mecha. If you could drive one of these, what would you do with it?
I'd probably figure out some way to control it with a wristwatch like Roger Smith in Big O.
5. You are highly known for recommending anime to anyone who will listen (especially if they are reviewers). Any reason for that?
With Cartoon Network deciding that anime isn't that profitable anymore, the Internet's really the only venue left for anime other than DVD's. As reviewers, we are the ones who are now promoting the anime.

6. Do you recommend stuff simply out of kindness or is there an alterior motive? (Muahahaha!)
I know if there are more viewers, a show becomes more popular.

7. The earlier reviews on your blog, "Lobster Quadrille", are often very short. Is it because you like to keep things "short but sweet", or you just don't have much to say about it?
To be honest, I wrote the blog to practice for CAA back when they had the old review system. It got to the point that I got so uptight with the mods rarely updating their review page that I stopped caring. Now that they have a new system, I've been remedying that by making longer reviews.

8. How would you describe your current reviewing style?
I try to watch and/or review an anime on paper by starting it at least two months before I actually want to post my review. I figure out about how long it will take to watch the show and give myself a temporary deadline. While I watch the show, I take notes.

9. As a reviewer, what important points do you like to convey to your readers?
I want people to realize that just because Japan's culture is different from ours doesn't mean you shouldn't watch anime. I call attention to the offensive material because I want my readers to know what to watch out for.

10. Have you ever come across a series that you can simply say "Do. Not. Watch" and leave it at that?
Yes. FLCL, or Fooly Cooly as it's also known. It's just 6 episodes of utter garbage. Do not watch it. I don't care how popular it is.

11. Would you consider yourself an otaku?
Yes.

12. Are you an avid reader of manga?
No, manga is harder to come by for me. My library has trouble getting it and the nearest bookstore is too far away. I also don't have the space for it.

13. Which is better, anime or manga, and why?
Anime, because it takes a shorter time than most manga to tell its story.

14. I notice on your review entries, you love to link up to the intros and endings. Would you consider yourself a person who loves to sit through the opening and ending sequence of a show just 'cause it's cool or has an awesome song (maybe both)?
Yes, I consider the intro like an advertisement for the actual show. That's why I think they're so important.

15. What are some of your favorite opening and ending sequences?
I'll narrow it down to five openings and five endings:
For openings: .hack//sign, Trigun, Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments Lain, and Gundam Wing's 1st opening.
For closing: Cowboy Bebop, Mr. Stain on Junk Alley, Rahxephon, Azumanga Daioh, and Spirited Away.

16. When you are watching an anime with favorite said intro, do you get excited each time an episode starts?
Cowboy Bebop, Lain, and Trigun got me pumped up all the time.

17. Have you ever discovered an anime with an awesome intro but terrible storyline, and/or vice versa?
Bad, intro, but good story: Big O and Berserk
Good intro, but bad story: Tenchi Muyo GXP

18. Being a Christian, has your faith ever effected how you view anime and manga?
Yes, I found Chrono Crusade very enjoyable because they portray the Catholicism so well, even with the liberties taken in the story.

19. Has your faith ever been the reason for deciding whether or not to view a series?
Yes, for a while, I was very reluctant to watch Neon Genesis Evangelion because I'd heard it was anti-Christian. I eventually watched it on Adult Swim, and found it very enjoyable in spite of that.

20. Have you ever seen a "glimpse of God" in an anime or manga before? For example, something that either strengthened your faith or made you think of Him?
Yes, in Haibane Renmei, we meet angelic creatures called Haibane. In one episode, Rakka, the protaganist is talking with an elder Haibane, who tells her that sin traps us in a circle and that the only way out is to acknowledge our weakness.

21. What is your opinion on Christian attempts at manga?
I like the idea, but I have reservations because I find that many Christian writers tend to spend too much time preaching to the choir.

22. Have you read any attempts at Christian manga?
I've read a little bit of Shelter of Wings.

23. Why do you think many Christian manga fail miserably?
Secularism is more inviting in the long run. We need to stop thinking that we are going to change the world. It's God's job to change hearts, not ours. We merely plant the seeds. I think most Christian writers and/or artists don't realize this. As an EWTN priest once said, "God's in management. We're in sales."

24. If you had the chance to direct a Christian anime, what would it be about and who would be involved?
I'd make a series of movies based on Madeliene L'Engle's Time Quintet. I think every Christian who likes good fantasy or a good story period should check out her books. I'd get either Paul Dini and Bruce Timm or Walden Media, the people behind the Narnia movies.

25. Let's discuss a little more about your blog. When did you decide you wanted to start a review blog?
I started it because I got tired of CAA not updating their reviews quickly enough. I wanted to get my thoughts out there, so I thought a blog would be the best route.
26. Have you ever reviewed a recommendation? If so, what was it and did you enjoy it?
I've reviewed four recommendations so far: Rahxephon, Mushi-shi, Gosick, and Ouran High School Host Club. I'm in the process of reviewing two more recommendations: The World God Only Knows and Romeo X Juliet.

27. I notice you like a few old school anime. What are among some of your favorites?
Galaxy Express 999, Captain Harlock, Astroboy, Speed Racer, and Beast King Golion.

28. What differences do you notice most between newer and older anime?
Older anime is looser because the technology we have today didn't exist back then.

29. Several series in the 1980's had an obvious anime-style to it because it had Japanese animators. What are some of these American series you would almost like to consider anime, and why?
Transformers, because some of the writing on it was actually quite profound for a kids show. I remember an episode where Beachcomber had a Pyrrhic victory defending a forest from the Decepticons. At the end of the episode, he's standing in the now smoldering forest and says very sadly "We won" because he's realized the cost of his victory--the forest is now dead. I also remember the episode where the Decepticons turned almost the whole population of Earth into their supporters with a "hate plague". That one was really heavy stuff!

30. Thundercats: New vs. Old - the winner, and why?
New.

31. What do you like and not like about the old and the new series? What are some of the pros and cons of the two?
The new show has better story and animation. However, I hate the fact that there's no opening, and that the Thundercats practiced slavery.
The old show had a great opening and I still think it would entertain a child who'd only seen the new version.

32. Time for the random question of the day; Lion-O vs. He-Man. Who would win?
Lion-O, because Lion-O actually managed to defeat Mumm-ra without the Sword of Omens.

33. Before we end this, did you enjoy this interview? Any questions you liked or disliked answering?
Yes, but I didn't like the manga questions. I don't read manga, so I couldn't answer those very well.

34. Recommend something. Then run away.
How about I recommend more than one title?
Anime:
Slayers--all 5 seasons. (I haven't watched seasons 4 or 5, but I have a feeling they'll be just as good. You can watch it on Hulu, FUNimation, or Youtube. Here's the order you should watch each season: Slayers, Slayers Next, Slayers Try, Slayers Revolution, and Slayers Evolution-R.
Erin--this is a great coming of age story. I really enjoyed this one. You can watch it on Crunchy Roll
Mr. Stain on Junk Alley--want to see what you can do in seven minutes with no dialogue? Check this out!
Manga:
The only manga series I'd recommend is Maison Ikkoku.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A special upcoming segment - Interviews with anibloggers and aspiring mangaka!

I would just like to announce to you all that I am conducting a special segment for Breaking Metal Windows in which I wlll interview anibloggers and aspiring mangaka and discuss things like what they like and not like about anime and manga, some questions that pertain only to them, as well as how their faith might effect how they view anime and manga.

Here are those who have agreed so far (in no particular order);
- Sweetpea (author of the review blog "Paper Chimes" and "Going in Blindly")
- rocklobster (author of the review blog "Lobster Quadrill")
- AngelicAlchemist93 (author of the FMA fanfiction "Truth Within All Truths" and aspiring artist/writer)
- TWWK (author of the blog "Beneath The Tangles")
- Asuka Neko (mangaka of "Square", "Etsu!", and the doujinshi "The Anti-Squee")
- Marshmellow Muffin (mangaka of "The World Stops!" and "1WishRoses")
- Ayu Sakata(writer and aspiring voice actress for the visual novel team sakevisual)
- SteeKira (mangaka of the oneshot "Broken" and hiatus "Impossigirl")
- Inkhana (mangaka on "Game Plan!" and unfinished "Steelblood")
- Lady Rushiya (author of the blog "Caught Up In The Rush")
- Sparkle Foxie (mangaka of "Advocate Voice")

Look forward to these in the future! I hope you will enjoy these interviews, as well as learn something new about some of your favorites if they are on this list ^.^

Saturday, January 21, 2012

SEND ME AN ANGEL: VOL.4: FROM THE CORAZON



Manga-Ka: Christina
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Left-to-right
Rating: Unrated

{I, the reviewer, give Send Me An Angel, Vol.4, 9 out of 10!}

~*~Click Here To Read~*~

COMMENTS

The fourth installment of Send Me An Angel deals with an issue probably a lot of us Christians fell at one point; feeling inadequate, like we're not good enough. April's church is going to a mission trip to Costa Rica, to help with construction and the children's VBS. Micah, as well as April's other friends, are extremely excited that they get to use their God given talents to spread the gospel in another country. April, however, is a bit nervous, not being to a foreign land, but most of all...she feels as though she's nothing special compared to everyone else.

This feeling of inadequacy effects her performance greatly. Everything seems to be going wrong while she's down there. And worst yet? A beautiful girl, Adela, has her eye on Micah, and her ambition is to "steal him away". What's worse? All the teens are matched up with volunteer housing, and guess who's family April and her friend gets to bunk with? Adela's!

What I liked about this chapter, is it explored all of April's feelings of inadequacy, and even a little jealousy. April begins to compare herself to this other girl, feeling as though she was inferior to the gorgeous and fun Adela. Nothing she seems to do feels good enough, and she feels as though Micah is slipping away from her. And most of all, she feels utterly useless, like God can't use her for anything. Basically, April feels worthless.

Many people can somehow relate to how April is feeling. I myself can admit to feeling like I'm not worth anything, like I'm nothing special, how can God use me? I mean, I've even had my own art literally insulted with a blunt "it sucks!" and almost feeling like "Why am I doing this? Will I ever get better? Am I ever going to reach someone?" So I can totally relate to how April is feeling, and I loved the Author's Notes at the end of this chapter explaining how she herself has felt inadequate, and saying such is an insult to God, for he does not make junk!

I absolutely loved how this chapter ended. It may have not been perfect, and some might find some of the dialogue a little cheesy, but all in all, this was an honest chapter straight from the heart. In fact, that's what this chapter is called, since "corazon" means "heart". It helped remind me that God loves me, and that I am not junk. Just let God step in, and He can use you to do amazing things!

Overall, this was an excellent chapter that, once again, is honest and talks about issues even Christian experience.


Recommended?
Highly recommended! If you've enjoyed the last 3 chapters, or have ever felt inadequate like April, I think you'll enjoy this!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Adela tries to "steal Micah" away from April. Also, another guy seems to be hitting on her. But that's basically it.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
The worst it gets is when April is hit in the face with a charging soccer ball, but no blood or injury is really shown.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
This is a Christian comic.

*CHAPTER INDEX*
Chapter 4: From The Corazon

Thursday, January 19, 2012

MILLENNIUM ACTRESS



Original Japanese Title:
Dubbed by: This is undubbed, but licensed by Dream Works.
Animation: Madhouse
Manga adaption?: No, this is an original movie.
Rating: PG

{I, the reviewer, give Millennium Actress, 10 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Millennium Actress is an epic masterpiece that blends past experiences and movie cutscenes so seamlessly, that at times it is hard to decipher the real from the fake. This movie's unique aspect is that it's like a documentary, but this is unlike any documentary you've ever seen. Genya Tachibana is thrilled he finally gets to interview legendary actress Chiyoko Fujiwara. With him is the camera guy, Kyoji, who does not understand Genya's fascination with this "old woman".

When they reach her house, Genya is ecstatic to finally be in her presence, and even brought her something special he found of hers - a key. Now this key is very special, and will play a major part in Chiyoko's life. Now, when Chiyoko begins to tell her story for their documentary short, both Genya and Kyoji, are instantly pulled into the scenes as if it were actually happening!

The amazing thing about this experience is sometimes you don't know whether or not you're witnessing one of Chiyoko's memories, or a famous scene from one of her movies. Her life and her movies blend so well together, it's almost impossible to tell the difference, unless the time period is different. You will witness Chiyoko's happy moments, sad moments, intensity, and hopefulness as she recaps everything she's experienced. You might even be pulled in yourself, just like Genya and Kyoji, who are constantly thrown in different scenes and memories without warning!

Another thing to note is that the art and animation for this film is simply gorgeous. It's a little bit more on the realistic side in charachter designs, and the colors are just lovely and befitting for the theme. The music is just as emotional as the scenes they are backdrops of, really setting the mood for the kind of emotion that you are suppose to be experiencing.

The only problem I found with this film is that there were a couple of things left unexplained and unresolved. The ending wasn't completely satisfying. While there really wasn't much left to go on, I wish the ending could feel a bit more satisfying than it was, but it's not particularly a terrible ending, as it still works for this film. All in all, despite thoses things, it does not hinder the film enough to take away points, leaving it with the perfect score of ten.

Will you join Genya and Kyoji on Chiyoko's journey through her memories and her movies? It may not always be so pleasant, and sometimes can be painful, but it's nevertheless and amazing experience!

Recommend?
HIGHLY. This is a truly artistic and beautiful film with brilliant story telling that is rather unique, in my opinion. If you do not like sad stories, then I am afraid this is not for you. But if you don't mind shedding a few tears, and experiencing something that's sad but beautiful, you'll love this!

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
I really liked the music! It fit perfectly with the film, and was the [perfect backdrop for the emotion you were suppose to feel during the scenes.

[SUB VS. DUB]
This is only subbed. The Japanese acting was perfect. Everyone fit their characters.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
None.

[RELATED TITLES]
Other titles by Satoshi Kon.

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Some "d" here and there.

[TOBACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
I think there was a little bit of smoking.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
The man Chiyoko seems to be in love with she met when she was a girl, so obviously he's much older than her, but other than that, there's really nothing to worry about.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
When Chiyoko first meets the man and he runs off, there's some blood in the snow. In some of her films, there are fight scenes, some involving death, but never graphic. The worst it gets is one scene where Chiyoko plays a Princess, and she points a sword to her own neck about to commit suicide (but she ends up not doing it).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
There is one scene when Chiyoko goes to see a Fortune Teller. Also, there's this creepy ghost-like woman who curses her in one of the actress' movie scenes. However, this seems to haunt Chiyoko throughout the rest of her life.

*EPISODE LIST*
(this is a movie)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

THE TRUTH WITHIN ALL TRUTHS

THE TRUTH WITHIN ALL TRUTHS
A Fullmetal Alchemist fanfiction by AngelicAlchemist93 (Rated K)

Ten years after The Promised Day, Edward continues to wonder about the nature of the universe. Can an ancient religion give him any answers? - FanFiction.Net description.

~*~Click Here To Read

REVIEW (10 out of 10)


I must commend AngelicAlchemist93 for her boldness of faith to write this fanfiction entitled The Truth Within All Truths. What makes this fanfiction so unique compared to most fanfiction you find out there on the Internet? It's the fact that this one could actually be labeled a Christian fanfiction. What's ironic? It's based on Hiromu Arakawa's masterpiece, Fullmetal Alchemist. Yes, this is a series where many Christians have problems with, so many different opinions and views. Some stay far away from it, others enjoy it, and (surprisingly enough) some of us (and I'm admittedly one of them) finds a glimpse of God and faith in it. Obviously being the latter of the three, AngelicaAlchemist93 brilliantly visualizes this concept in words.

For those who have seen the anime or read the manga, we all know that Edward Elric has openly proclaimed to being an agnostic. The redeeming value of Fullmetal Alchemist is many of the Christian themes in it, such as making things right, defeating enemies with the names of the 7 Deadly Sins, and showing mercy. However, AngelicAlchemist93 takes it a step further. This happens after the series' ends, so if you haven't seen it yet, stop reading this review....

Okay, so you know how it ends? Good. On to the review! Ed and Winry are married with two adorable children. Alphonse right now is excavating and restoring the ruins of Xerxes and would every so often send Ed stuff. Lately, Ed has been thinking about life, if there is more. He receives a package from Alphonse with a letter to read to the whole family, and a section that is only meant for his eyes. Al has been onto something big, and he wants to share it with Ed. What he has discovered might be the answer to what Ed has been pondering on lately.

I applaud the author for being brave enough to even write this, and more so, not failing at providing a beautifully told story. The writing style as simple, yet has it's own sense of elegance. The message weaved into the story flows so naturally, this almost feels like the true ending of Fullmetal Alchemist. Nothing feels out of place, the characters remain in character, and it shows that anyone is capable of finding God and the peace that comes with it.

Overall, this was a brilliant story that was bold enough to exist, and the scenario was executed beautifully. Once again, I applaud AngelicAlchemist93 for producing such an amazing story that has obviously came straight from her heart, as well as showing some love for Hiromu Arakawa's awesome tale. I recommend this to any Christian FMA fan, as well as those who may be curious to the angelic alchemist's intergration of Christianity and the Full Metal.

RECOMMEND?

Highly. This is a must-read for any Christian anime fan of Fullmetal Alchemist, and may also be enjoyable by other fans as well who are curious as to whether or not they feel the writer suceeded in how she wove the story.

[CONTENT CARD]


[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Ed and Winry briefly show affection to each other, but it's completely innocent; nothing more than a kiss.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
None.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Fans of Fullmetal Alchemist are aware that the story is about alchemy, but alchemy is not the focus on this story, nor is it described being used. This story talks about God, and He is shown in a postive light.

*CHAPTER INDEX*
(one-shot)

Monday, January 2, 2012

RE:ALISTAIR++


Merui loves video games, especially her favorite MMORPG, Rivenwell Online. Merui also has a very short temper, so when some JERK named Alistair steals a rare item from her, she's determined to exact revenge on him. Unfortunately, she has no idea who he is in real life. But hey, that's never stopped anyone, right?
Take control of Merui and make new friends, balance schoolwork and fun, go shopping, search for the culprit, and maybe even discover a new romance.
(sakevisual description of RE:Alistair++)

Developers(s): sakevisual
Rating: All Ages

To play, download for free here: Click Me!

{I, the reviewer, give RE:Alistair++, 10 out of 10!)

COMMENTS

RE:Alistair++ is the re-released version of the original Alistair++ visual novel that is refined, resolved crashing issues, and added more story. Thankfully, by the time I discovered this game, it was this lovely new edition. And the best part is? It's part of sakevisual's line of free games!! When you play this, it's actually hard to believe it's free. The artwork is spledid, the CGs gorgeous, you can raise stats and buy stuff, and there's even an e-mail system! With a total of 5 endings, which you need to see to unlock all the CGs, bonus scene, and character profiles, you'll get a lot of use out of it!

Our story begins with our heroine, Merui, on the battlefield with her friend, FionaWings, against this boss. She's nearly clobbered it, and with one more swipe that Blessed Stone would be hers! Unfortunately, right at the last minute, another player suddenly swoops in and steals her kill, claiming the precious item for herself. Naturally, our short tempered Merui gets angry, demanding it back. In fact, she even challenges him to a dual for it! He accepts, but then....server crash! Now we're back in the real world, where Merui furiously bangs her fists on the desk in front of the school computer during lunch break!

During the rest of the school, we are introduced to 3 male character, these three being our possible obtainables in the story. At the end of school, you (Merui), head back to the computer lab to log back on Rivenwell Online to make sure that jerk Alistair wasn't hacking away at poor RuiOfTheSword (your knight avatar) if it wasn't a clean disconnect. FionaWings is there and wonders what happened. Evidently, Alistair as well is gone, which makes Merui think; what if their connections both dropped because they were on the same network? This is later confirmed to be true when Merui and Fiona are face to face with Alistair again, then making a bet - "If you can find out who I am in real life in a month's time, I'll give you your Blessed Stone. If not, you must fork over all the gold you make for a month!"
And with that said, you accept his challenge. Four people were on the network during the crash at lunch; you of course, Travis (Computer Games Club president), Shiro (your partner for a school project), and Derek Nevine (School Vice President). You know one of these guys has to be Alistair, and by the end of a month, you have to confront one of them as being Alistair.

I found this game to be really fun! I actually was lucky enough to guess who Alistair was right off the bat! I really enjoyed the game play. When you're at the mall, there's three stores you can buy all kinds of stuff with the money you get from allowance or the school's work program. These items can increase or decrease states, so be sure to read descriptions carefully. Every night, you get to check your e-mail, and raise one of your stats by either studying, watching television, or surfing the net. At school, you can have lunch in three areas, and in each area you're most likely to run into one of the three guys. How you spend your time, or how much time, you spend with any of the guys will determine whether or not you fall in love, or you may obtain neither of them.

Overall, I LOVED this game! It's my very first stat-raising Dating Sim that's free, beautiful graphics, lots of things to do, and a fun storyline! My favorite ending was Shiro's Endings, and due to spoilers, I won't say why, other than the fact he's so sweet! Another cool thing about this game is that it's super clean, which is an excellent plus. So if you're girl who's never tried or dating sim, or looking for a fun and clean storyline, you'll love this! If you fidn yourself stuck in getting all the endings, the RE:Alistair++ sakevisual page has a detailed walkthrough on how to obtain them.

RECOMMEND?
Highly! It can be difficult to find clean visual novels that have beautiful graphics, a good storyline, and not to mention FREE.

I certify this *VISUAL NOVEL NEWCOMER WORHTY* as it introduces you into the world of stat-raising dating sims. It's not that long of a game (and you can save anytime anyway), so it shouldn't take you too long to finish.

PLAYER'S COMFORT

[MUSIC]:
The music is very fitting for the game. The songs used when you play RivenWell Online suits the mood perfectly, it really feels like you've logged onto the game! The rest of the music is not exactly memorable, but works for it. I really like the song that's played when you discover who Alistair is and have obtained one of the two other guys.

[ARTWORK]:
Beautiful! I love the colors and character designs iboth the in-game and out-of-game world. The CGs are vibrant and gorgeous. The backgrounds fit and don't look odd when the sprites are in front of them.

[INTERACTION]:
There's a lot of interaction in this game, aside from your typical choice menus. You can raise stats when you study, watch TV, or surf the net. You can earn money by gonig to the school's work project. You can buy stat-raising items at three different stores in the mall. You even can receive e-mail!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
No actual language in the story. The only time there appears to be language is when Merui first meets Alistair on Rivenwell Online. It is shown she typed in cuss words in the chat, but it's complety censored, so whether or not the words are harsh or tame is up to your imagination.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
There is none.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
There's one scene when Merui accidently falls on Shiro, but it's mainly a scene of embarrasment. If you get close enough to Shiro, there's an instance when you invite him to your room to work on the project, and since he feels uncomfortable you tease him saying "were you planning to do something bad?". Another scene involving Travis is where he pins you to a wall, but it's nothing sexual (he's just telling you to get over this Alistair stuff, but I felt it's worht mentioning considering how it may look). There's also (depending on the ending) a kiss or a hug, but that's it. Very clean and sweet. Oh, and...
(SPOILER! If you obtain Shiro, you'll learn that on Rivenwell Online, he plays a girl, your friend FionaWings! If you play MMO's, a guy playing a girl is quite the common occurence, and so it shouldn't be very shocking)

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
On Rivenwell Online, the beginning of the story you try to take down this huge boss (but no fighting is shown). There's once instance where Merui goes to have lunch while watching the guys practice basketball, and she gets hit with a basketball. It's not really shown, though. Also, Merui accidently falls on Shiro in another instance (but no one is hurt, just embarrased).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Other than Rivenwell Online being a fantasy game that include killing strange creatures and including classes such as Angels and Demons, none.