Inuyashiki, Vols. 1 – 10

June 3, 2020 Leave a comment

Cover to Inuyashiki, Vol. 1Inuyashiki, Vols. 1 – 10
by Hiroya Oku, translation by Stephen Paul
Rating: 16 +

Inuyashiki is an ailing, middle aged, office worker who’s ignored and looked down upon by colleagues and family alike. Diagnosed with fatal cancer and unable to muster up the emotional strength to tell his family, he instead takes a fateful nighttime walk which changes his life and the course of human history in an instant. The victim of an interstellar hit and run, Inuyashiki the man dies in the park and is reborn in the form of an advanced alien combat robot. Fed up with injustices he sees around him, Inuyashiki sets about helping and defending the people of Japan. However, he soon realizes he was not alone in the park that night, and finds himself on a collision course with the second victim of the interstellar hit and run, one who has a very different perspective on life than he does. From Hiroya Oku, creator of Gantz, comes the ten volume, sci-fi, superhero series, Inuyashiki!
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The New Gate, Vol. 1

April 13, 2020 2 comments

Cover to The New Gate, Vol. 1The New Gate, Vol. 1
Manga by Yoshiyuki Miwa, original story by Shinogi Kazanami, original book design by ansyyqdesign, original character design by Makai no Jumin.
Rating: Not Rated

For decades now, anime and manga have churned out story after story about people becoming trapped within a virtual reality world, and their adventures as they seek an escape from their digital prison. Numerous series have been built upon this premise, including the classic .hack franchise, but also more contemporary works such as Real Account. Fans of the genre can now add The New Gate—Yoshiyuki Miwa’s adaption of Shinogi Kazanami’s novel of the same name—to this ever growing list. What sets The New Gate apart from the others, is how it repurposes the endgame of many of the series into a starting point and the potential for it to delve into the aftermath of such events.
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Ryuko, Vols. 1 + 2

March 4, 2020 Leave a comment

Cover to Ryuko, Vol. 1 by Eldo YoshimizuRyuko, Vols. 1 + 2
by Eldo Yoshimizu, translated by Motoko Tamamuro and Jonathan Clements.

Titan Comics
Rating: 15 +

Ryuko, Vols. 1+2 tells a complicated story spanning decades and continents. From small villages in Afghanistan during the conflict with the Soviets, to the modern day streets of Tokyo, the sprawling story is one of international espionage, crime rings, and attempts by those trapped in that lifestyle to escape it’s never ending cycle of violence. Created by Eldo Yoshimizu, a contemporary fine artist, Ryuko represents his first foray into manga/comics and merges his background in fashion and design with an apparent fondness for so-called Pinky Violence films. It’s a combination which results in an ambitious, but deeply uneven, read.
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Rusty Brown

February 2, 2020 Leave a comment

Cover to "Rusty Brown" by Chris WareRusty Brown
by Chris Ware
Pantheon Books, 356 pp.
Rating: Not Rated

Chris Ware’s latest work, Rusty Brown, is a collection of separate but interconnected tales depicting the lives of three residents in a small Midwestern American town. The work bares all the hallmarks of Ware, ranging from an obsession with minutiae of everyday life, the painful loneliness of modern existence, and his signature blue-print like page layouts. The result is a deceptively simplistic looking comic, which carries a deeply powerful emotional punch as we watch the various character live, love, lose, and stumble their way through their everyday lives.
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The Little Blue Kite

November 8, 2019 Leave a comment

The Little Blue Kite
Written by Mark Z. Danielewski, art by Regina M. Gonzales
Pantheon Books, 96 pp.
Rating: Not Rated

From Mark Z. Danielewski and Regina M. Gonzales, comes the illustrated children’s (??) book, The Little Blue Kite! Perhaps best known for works like The House of Leaves and Only Revolutions which push and pull at the novel form through visual layouts, and structure of a text, Danielewski now turns his skills towards the illustrated children’s book format. Through a combination of surprisingly expressionistic artwork, and a story that can be read in three different ways, Danielewski and Gonzales lead readers through an emotional story of loss, letting go, and finding’s one place in the world which can be read and enjoyed by readers of all ages.
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Kaijumax: Season 4, #1-6

August 9, 2019 2 comments

The cover to "Kaiju Max: Season 4, #1"Kaijumax: Season 4, #1-6
by Zander Cannon.
Oni Press
Rating: Teen +

For the past four years, Zander Cannon has quietly been creating one of the best comics on the shelves today. Kaijumax envisions a world which is part giant monster movie, part prison drama, and follows the lives of its ensemble cast of giant monsters and those who guard them, as they struggle to cope with prison life. Drawing inspiration from documentaries, prison dramas, kaiju (giant monster) movies, and live action Japanese superhero TV shows, Cannon has created a series which deals with questions revolving around the prison system, punishment vs. redemption, racism, drug addiction, and the fallibility of humanity. While the previous three “seasons” of the series have been focused on the male branch of the titular prison, Season Four shifts its lens to the women’s prison, while continuing story arcs for several of the guards from previous seasons.
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To Your Eternity, Vols. 3 + 4

August 1, 2019 Leave a comment

Cover to "To Your Eternity, Vol. 4"To Your Eternity, Vols. 3 + 4
by Yoshitoki Oima, translated by Steven LeCroy.
Kodansha Comics
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

As Fushi—a bizarre shape shifting being of unknown origin—makes their way through a fantasy laden world, absorbing information and likeness from those it encounters, it slowly begins to grow and develop a sense of self-awareness and individual identity. Yet, what will this sense of self bring to Fushi? How will the time it spends with the abandoned, mutilated, masked, servant boy known as Gugu shape its world view? Yoshitoki Oima’s moving exploration of humanity and existence continues with To Your Eternity, Vol. 3 + 4!
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Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vols. 1 + 2

July 9, 2019 Leave a comment

Cover to Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vol. 1Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vols. 1 + 2
by Akiko Higashimura, translated by Steven LeCroy.
Kodansha Comics
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

From Akiko Higashimura, creator of the absolutely amazing Princess Jellyfish, comes a series about the pressures faced by Japanese women in their 30s as they attempt the navigate the tangled web of their own personal desires and those society places upon them. Rinko, Koyuki, and Kaori all seek happiness, but are living in a world where youth is at a premium, and as they move deeper into their 30s, they find themselves wondering if the romantic life has passed them by as they chose to focus on their careers. Is it truly to late to find love and passion? Are they destined to live with the lingering questions of “what if…?” as the titular tarareba suggests? What if they had lowered their standards? What if they said yes? What if they accepted domesticity over careers? Or, can they prove the world wrong and find both the internal happiness to silence their doubts, and the external happiness they seem to seek? These are just a few of the questions explored in Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vols. 1 + 2, with the wit and emotional honesty that made Princess Jellyfish so beloved.
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Battle Angel Alita: Deluxe Edition, Vols. 2 + 3

June 16, 2019 Leave a comment

The cover to "Battle Angel Alita: Deluxe Edition, Vol. 2"Battle Angel Alita: Deluxe Edition, Vols. 2 + 3
by Yukito Kishiro, translated by Stephen Paul.
Kodansha Comics
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

Picking up immediately were the first volume left off, Battle Angel Alita: Deluxe Edition, Vols. 2 + 3 continue to follow Alita on her attempts to create a better life for her ad-hoc family. Unfortunately, after tragedy strikes, familial bonds are tested as Alita seeks to unlock the mysteries of her past, and determine the truth behind her existence by throwing herself onto the path of violence. A path that leads her beyond the Scrapyard, and to the brutal sport known as Motorball. Yukito Kishiro’s cyberpunk classic continues, mixing high speed violence with questions of identity, and what it means to be human.
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Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection

May 12, 2019 Leave a comment

The cover to "Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection."Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection
by Junji Ito, Translation by Jocelyne Allen, “Frankenstein” originally written by Mary Shelley, “Frankenstein” English Adaption by Nick Mamatas.
Viz, 408pp
Rating: Older Teen

Junji Ito has had a presence in the American manga scene for nearly two decades, starting with Viz’s Uzumaki in 2001, which tells the disturbing tale of a town haunted by a shape; and Gyo in 2003, a bizarre tale about an invasion of walking fish. While both series were well received, companies struggled to really market his work in the U.S. Publishers such as Dark Horse and the defunct ComicsOne attempt to bring more of Ito’s work to stateside, with various anthology collections of his works, but each attempt petered out by the third volume leaving fans hungry for more. That all changed in 2013 when Viz re-released Uzumaki and Gyo in affordable hardcover editions. The combination of cheap hardcovers and Junji Ito’s horrific tales turned out to be a hit, and since then Viz has rolled out a new collection of Ito’s work on a near annual basis. Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection, released in 2018 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s original novel, combines Ito’s adaption of “Frankenstein” with several original short stories, including the “Oshikiri” cycle, to create a must have volume for horror fans.
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