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Brave 10, Vol. 4

November 26, 2014 1 comment

Welcome to this pre-U.S. Thanksgiving edition of my midweek manga reviews! This week I’ll be looking at Brave 10, Vol. 4 by Kairi Shimotsuki and published by DMP. But first, some news!

With the news out of the way, it’s time for this week’s review of Brave 10, Vol. 4!

Brave 10, Vol. 4Brave 10, Vol. 4
by Kairi Shimotsuki
DMP/Emanga.com, 208 pp
Rating: Young Adults (16 +)

The fourth volume of Kairi Shimotsuki’s historical fantasy, Brave 10, furthers the continuing adventures of Saizo, Isanami, Sarutobi Sasuke and the rest of the warriors who comprise Yukimura Sanada’s Ten Braves, as they attempt to fend off attempts by rival warlords and their minions to capture Isanami and the mysterious power of the Kushitama. This volume features crazy monks, mysterious ninjas, internal rivalries and Saizo excerise a surprising amount of self awareness as the plot thickens and one of the Braves takes his leave.
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Kimagure Orange Road, Vols. 2 + 3

November 12, 2014 1 comment

After last weeks small delay, I’m back on track with my midweek manga reviews! This time around I’ll be taking a look at Kimagure Orange Road, Vols. 2 + 3, but first some news…

And now, onto this weeks review of Kimagure Orange Road, Vols. 2 + 3..

Kimagure Orange Road, Vol. 3Kimagure Orange Road, Vols. 2 + 3
by Izumi Matsumoto
DMP/Emanga
Rating: Teen (13 +)

Izumi Matsumoto’s classic 80s teen romance manga series continues with Kimagure Orange Road, Vols. 2 + 3! These volumes are full of the romantic comedy hijinks you’d expect, as missed signals, misunderstandings and more plague Kyosuke as he wrestles with his feeling for Ayukawa despite his ongoing relationship with her best friend, Hikaru. While the first volume felt a bit flat and bland, the humor and development in these two volumes helps with that problem tremendously, as does Matsumoto’s decision to grow out the supporting cast with in the form of Ayukawa’s boss at a restaurant, and by the introduction of Yuu, a childhood friend of Hikaru and Ayukawa’s who’s got designs on winning Hikaru’s heart.
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Kimagure Orange Road, Vol. 1

October 15, 2014 2 comments

Welcome to another midweek manga review! This week I’ll be looking at 1980s romantic comedy, Kimagure Orange Road, Vol. 1, but first, there’s quite a bit of news out of New York ComiCon from this past weekend…

And now, the midweek manga review of Kimagure Orange Road, Vol. 1!

Kimagure Orange Road, Vol. 1Kimagure Orange Road, Vol. 1
by Izumi Matsumoto
DMP/Emanga, 176 pp
Rating: Teen (13 +)

Originally created in the mid 80s, Izumi Matsumoto’s Kimagure Orange Road blends psychic powers, high school life, and teenage romance into a series that, as Jason Thompson put it in his House of 1000 Manga column, “was THE archetypal shonen rom-com”. Now, thanks to DMP and Emanga, this classic series is available for the first time in the US, and we’re finally able to take a look at the romantic misadventures of the love triangle made up of the secret psychic Kyosuke, the energetic tom-boyish Hikaru, and her best friend, the cool and aloof Ayukawa!
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Brave 10, Vols. 2 + 3

October 1, 2014 1 comment

Welcome to another midweek manga review! This week I’ll be taking a look at Brave 10, Vols. 2 + 3. It’s been a bit of a slow news week, but there were still a few items that caught my eye.

And now, onto this week’s review of Brave 10, Vols. 2 +3!

Brave 10, Vol. 2Brave 10, Vols. 2 + 3
by Kairi Shimotsuki
DMP/Emanga.com, 192 pp
Rating: Young Adults (16 +)

Historical fiction is a genre that manga and anime seems to excel at. Of course, they tend to be pretty liberal with the fiction aspect, and Kairi Shimotsuki’s Brave 10 is no exception to this. Loosely based upon historical events and a group that may or may not have existed, the series follows the ninja Saizo Kirigakure, as he gets caught up with Isanami, a temple maiden who’s the sole survivor of a Tokugawa ninja attack upon her temple. Together the two find themselves caught up in the tumultuous events of the era. After the events of the volume one, the two find themselves aligned with the warlord, Yukimura Sanada, as he attempts to uncover the reasons behind the attack on Isanami’s temple and the secret behind the strange power she seems to wield.
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One-Punch Man, Vols. 1 + 2

July 23, 2014 3 comments

Despite the San Diego Comicon begin right around the corner, the reviews just keep on coming! This week I’ll be taking a look at One Punch Man, Vols. 1 + 2, but first a rather anemic look at news stories that caught my attention this past week. No doubt next week’s line up will be more robust in the wake of the con.

With that brief interlude done with, it’s time for this weeks featured review of One Punch Man, Vols. 1 + 2!

One-Punch Man, Vol. 1One-Punch Man, Vols. 1 + 2
Story by ONE, Art by Yusuke Murata
Viz
Rating: Teen (13 +)

ONE and Yusuke Murata’s superhero comedy, One-Punch Man, is something of a critical darling. It’s garnered high praise from many anime and manga fans, but despite this has yet to really breakthrough into the larger anime/manga community. The series tells the tale of Saitama, a young man who’s trained himself to become a nigh unbeatable superhero capable of defeating any foe with a single punch. Unfortunately such training and power has led him to nothing but incredible boredom, and a seemingly unending hunt for a challenge. Lovingly skewering both Western superhero conventions, shonen manga tropes and tokusatsu shows, One-Punch Man has the potential to be a break out hit, appealing to American comic book fans as well as manga readers.
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Categories: emanga Reviews, Manga Reviews, Reviews Tags:

Skullman

October 21, 2012 1 comment

SkullmanSkullman
By Shotaro Ishinomori
Comixology 94 pp
Rating: 15 +

Shotaro Ishinomori’s manga classic, Skullman, is available for the first time in the US thanks to the fine folks at Comixology! This singe volume story tells the tell of a dark, masked avenger carrying out a war against a massive, secret organization that seemingly controls the world. Unlike his spiritual brothers in the Kamen Rider franchise, Skullman presents a rather grim take on the concept.

This is something I’ve been wanting to read for a while now and there’s something of an urban legend feel to it’s creation. The story goes that Ishinomori was asked to create a new hero for a kids show Toei was putting together. He presented them with this, Skullman, a dark, grim and possibly insane man waging a war against a secret organization. Reportedly the executives rejected it as being too violent and scary, so Ishinomori went home and after a few days he tweaked the concept and thus was born Kamen Rider. Indeed it’s hard to look at Skullman and not see quite a bit of Kamen Rider present in it. But make no mistake, the executives were right on this account; Skullman is surprisingly dark and he’s definitely not a knight in shining armor, he’s not even a knight in slightly tarnished armor, he’s a driven man who seems to take sadistic glee in the lives he takes and at one point even claims that genocide is an acceptable means to his ultimate end.

Shotaro Ishinomori’s artwork is lovely and effective. His action scenes are easy to follow but exciting and he does a fantastic job at conveying motion, speed and energy throughout the book. At times the cartoony style does seem to clash with the grim nature of the story and there are a few moments which lose a little impact because of it. In addition there’s another small issue with Skullman when it comes to visuals, namely… Skullman himself. His costume is fine, the all black clothing and the jacket that is vaguely evocative of some kind of military dress suit and the cape all work wonderfully together. It’s the helmet that really threw me a loop though. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the recent Skullman anime series, but Skullman’s helmet in this just doesn’t scream scary or skull to me. It’s a large, white helmet which covers most of his face, leaving his mouth and jaw exposed, with two giant red eyes. It’s not terribly skull-like and actually made me think of Riderman rather than.. a scary, skull like monstrosity. Still, despite this and the odd cartoony style I did love the book and it has some absolutely gorgeous moments. The opening with the giant bat in particular is visually impressive and memorable.

I’m incredibly glad that this is finally available in the US and I’m very thankful for both Ishinomori Productions and Comixology for getting it out to us, along with several other series of his that I’ve been interested in. While I did have some minor issues with the visuals as I mentioned above, and the ending feels a bit sudden and anti-climatic, I did enjoy reading this and I can see myself going back to it again and again in the future as well. Fans of classic manga, tokusatsu shows like Kamen Rider or the Power Rangers, and superhero fans in general should definitely give this a look.

Skullman is available now from Comixology.

Hush A Bye Baby

September 12, 2012 1 comment

Hush A Bye Baby
By Yuriko Matsukawa
DMG, 198 pp
Rating: 13 +

Hush A Bye Baby is a collection of three short stories from Yuriko Matsukawa, each focuses on a young woman and the man she loves. The title story is about a young woman working at an all night store who ends up handcuffed to a former member of a biker gang who’s out to clear his name. The two stories that follow it, “No Saint of Soupe” and “Professional Passion” take place at a French restaurant called Poete and focus on romances involving it’s two French chefs.

The three stories are rather run of the mill romances and follow the same formula, a young woman finds herself flustered by a pretty boy only to eventually realize that she has feelings for him. In “Hush A Bye Baby” this budding romance is set against the young man’s fight to clear his name for murder, while in “No Saint of Soupe” it’s set against the young man’s attempt to prove himself as a chef to his older brother and in “Professional Passion” it’s set against a young woman’s struggle to prove herself as a reporter. They’re not terribly memorable and all three male leads and female leads felt awfully alike.

Yuriko Matsukawa’s artwork is rather forgettable and unmemorable. There’s no stand out scenes and it all feels like the stereotypical shojo manga style, pretty boys, borderless panels, sparkles and toning scattered about. There’s little panel to panel flow and at times I had trouble following the flow of dialogue as the word bubbles were often accompanied by bubbleless internal dialogue scattered about, narration boxes and more. In addition to this none of the characters look particularly amazing, memorable or impressive and often look eerily similar to each other at times. Most of the book is composed of talking heads and upper body shots floating against white, grey or minimal backgrounds, giving the whole thing an oddly ungrounded feel.

Hush A Bye Baby ultimately did nothing for me whatsoever. None of the stories were particularly interesting and the book didn’t do much to make me want to seek out further works by Yuriko Matsukawa. I get that I’m not the target audience for shojo, but surely there are better and more memorable romance stories than this out there. Itazura Na Kiss, springs immediately to mind. At any rate the bland artwork and bland stories resulted in a wholly forgettable read.

Hush A Bye Baby is available now from Emanga.com. Digital review copy provided by the publisher.

Categories: emanga Reviews, Reviews Tags: , ,
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