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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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My Hero Academia, Vol. 1

August 18, 2015 1 comment

My Hero Academia, Vol. 1My Hero Academia, Vol. 1
by Kohei Horikoshi
Viz, 192 pgs
Rating: Teen

Superhero comics have long been a staple of the medium in the United States. Arguably they’ve dominated sales and the public conscious more so than any other genre in the American comic book scene for over half a century. Japan, on the other hand, not so much. That said, Japan certainly has had their own superhero tradition, one look at the long running live action franchises like Super Sentai or Kamen Rider is proof of this. Over the last few years, Viz has shown interest in tapping into America’s love of the superhero with several superhero manga titles. Tiger & Bunny, One Punch Man and now… Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia.

The latest in Viz’s small wave of superhero manga My Hero Academia, Vol. 1 introduces us to a world where superpowers are the norm and the road to becoming a hero is an academic one. Enter Izuku Midoriya, a middle school student who stands out from the rest of his powered classmates by virtue of not having any powers. With nothing but a dream and determination, he sets out on his quest to become a hero… but can he?
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Fragments of Horror

June 22, 2015 1 comment

Fragments of HorrorFragments of Horror
by Junji Ito
Viz, 224 pgs
Rating: Teen + (16 +)

For the first time in nearly a decade, Junji Ito returns to the horror genre with Fragments of Horror, a new collection of short stories of the macabre, bizarre and horrifying. Best known for his horror masterpieces, Uzumaki and Gyo, Junji Ito is one of the most well known creators of horror manga in the U.S. Will Fragments of Horror live up to the expectations and reputation of the previous works of his released here?
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Jormungand, Vol. 11

September 17, 2014 Leave a comment

It’s time for the midweek manga review, here at Sequential Ink! This week I’ll be taking a look at Jormungand, Vol. 11, but first… the news!

 

 

 

 

Without further ado, this week’s review of Jormungand, Vol. 11!

Jomrmungand, Vol. 11Jormungand, Vol. 11
by Keitaro Takahashi
Viz, 192 pp.
Rating: Mature Readers (18 +)

After ten volumes Keitaro Takahashi’s manga about war, arms dealing and more comes to its conclusion. Koko’s ultimate plan to end war stands revealed, but the fact that it’ll cost 700,000 people their lives causes Jonah to question it’s implementation.
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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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Battle Royale: Angel’s Border

June 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Welcome to the latest review at Sequential Ink! This week I’ll be taking a look at Battle Royale: Angel’s Border, but first some news items and things that caught my eye during the week.

 

 

And now onto the featured review of Battle Royale: Angel’s Border!

Battle Royale: Angel's BorderBattle Royale: Angel’s Border
Written by Koushun Takami (with N-Cake), Art by Mioko Ohnishi and Youhei Oguma
Viz, 280 pgs
Rating: T + (Older Teens)

Created in 1999, Battle Royale was the debut novel of Koushun Takami. It’s a brutal tale set in an alternate authoritarian version of Japan which holds a yearly contest known only as “The Program.” Once a year a 9th grade class is picked to take part in “The Program” which forces the students to fight to death until only one remains. Now, for the first time in nearly a decade, Koushun Takami returns to his international sensation with Battle Royale: Angel’s Border. This single volume manga’s a collection of two short stories set around the events of the original Battle Royale novel. In Episode I, Toushun explores the friendship between Yukie and Haruka, the two girls who helped organize the all girl group that hid inside the lighthouse in the original novel. Episode II likewise takes a character from the all girl group, Chisato, and expands upon her relationship with the athletic computer genius, Shinji Mimura.
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Rurouni Kenshin, Vol. 6 (Viz Big Edition)

September 5, 2012 1 comment

Rurouni Kenshin, Vol. 6 (Viz Big Edition)
By Nobuhiro Watsuki
Viz, 584 pp
Rating: T +(Older Teens)

Rouroni Kenshin’s epic Kyoto arc comes to a head! For the past several volumes Kenshin and his allies, the brawler Sanosuke Sagara, former Shinsengumi member turned cop Saito Hajime and the rest have clashed with the forces of Shishio from Tokyo to Kyoto and now the battle comes to its conclusion with the final showdown between Kenshin and Shishio! But as one threat fades another rises as more figures from Kenshin’s past emerge from the shadows.

It’s been a while since I’ve read Rurouni Kenshin but one of the things that impressed me is how easy it was to get into the story even after a break of a year or more from it. As mentioned above this volume finishes off the Kyoto arc which is probably the best known and most well regarded arc from the series. I saw it years ago in anime form on Toonami and it’s lovely to see it in it’s manga incarnation. Everything that comes after it though, that’s all new material and uncharted territory for me. I’m rather interested in it all since finding out more about Kenhin’s history is always welcome. That said I’m a little worried that Watsuki’s repeating himself here. Shishio’s arc was pretty heavy with Kenshin being forced to face and deal with his violent past and judging from the second half of this volume it looks like we’re heading there again. At least it looks to be a little more personal this time around though.

Visually Watsuki’s art is pretty fantastic. While we get the odd hit or miss character design in this volume when he gets it right he gets it right in a big way. Shishio is an incredibly memorable figure as are most the cast involved in the final showdown with him. The new group doesn’t look quite as good at this point but we haven’t seen much of them yet but at least one character is noticeably anachronistic and another is the fourth or fifth X-Men we’ve seen so far. Watsuki’s action scenes are intense and full of splash pages that feel like they’re ready to explode off the page. While they’re lovely to look at I found myself wanting some more back and forth in the fight. Some smaller moments between the big moves and supposed one hit kills would have been nice and I think the final battle with Shishio which dominates the action in the volume really would have warranted them. It’s also worth mentioning that thanks to the paper quality of the Viz Big line Watsuki’s art looks absolutely fantastic and beautifully sharp and detailed. Whether it’s the line work indicating speed and force or just the quiet Kenshin gives Shishio it all looks crisp and amazing and as good as anything coming out today.

I’m still digging the hell out of the series even if the final battle with Shishio wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. It carried a nice emotional punch though and the following arc certainly seems to be something I’ll be interested in reading. Hopefully this time I won’t wait a year or so in between tracking down the Viz Big volumes.

Ruouni Kenshin, Vol. 6 (Viz Big Edition) is available now from Viz.

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