The New Gate, Vol. 1

April 13, 2020 Leave a comment

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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