Sesho's Anime And Manga Reviews
My main focus is reviewing manga and anime, but I also review Japanese literature, movies, and videogames. Basically, if it has anything to do with Japan, I'll talk about it, along with a dash of Korea and China.

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  • VAMPYBIT.ME - The official Linda Le Weblog

    Free To View Anime

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  • Episode 82: High School Debut Volume 1 by Kazune Kawahara

    Podcast Episode 82: High School Debut Volume 1 Manga Review. Story and art by Kazune Kawahara. Translated and adapted by Gemma Collinge. Originally published in Japan by Shueisha. Published in US by Viz Shojo Beat, $8.99, Rated T for Teen.

    New high schooler Haruna Nagashima spent all of her middle school years playing softball and reading shojo manga. After dedicating so much of her life to athletics she's ready to move on to a new sport. Namely, that of falling in love and getting a boyfriend. Problem is, the only experience she has with guys is what she's read in the comics. When she gets to high school, she realizes that getting into a relationship is pretty hard. She can't get any guys to notice her at all. Her best friend, Mami, suggests that she needs a coach to advise her on what she us doing wrong. She finds one in the person of Yoh Komiyama. His only condition: Haruna is forbidden to fall in love with him.

    This is the second posting of this podcast. That's why the episode number is out of order. For some reason it did not convert to the mp3 format the first time around.

    My Grade: A

    Direct download: Episode_82--High_School_Debut_Vol.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:18pm CDT

    Episode 83: Gakuen Alice Volume 1 by Tachibana Higuchi

    Podcast Episode 83: Manga Review of Gakuen Alice Volume 1 by Tachibana Higuchi. Translated by Haruko Furukawa. Adapted by Jennifer Keating. Originally published in Japan by Hakusensha. Published in US by Tokyopop, $9.99, Rated Teen 13+.

    10-year-old Mikan Sakura lives in a small village and its just gotten a lot smaller since her best friend Hotaru has gone to Tokyo. She is attending the Alice Academy, the most elite school in the city reserved for those with special abilities called Alices. Mikan runs away from her home and makes her way to Tokyo where she finds that she too has an unknown Alice ability hidden within her. But she has to find out what it is and be accepted by her classmates within a week or she will have to go back home and be parted from Hotaru again.

    My grade: B+

    Direct download: Episode_83--Gakuen_Alice_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:06pm CDT

    Tokyo Dance Trooper in Akihabara

    What can I say? This video is funny. Perhaps everyone out there has seen this video but I just saw it for the first time. I'm so out of the loop. It features a guy dressed up in full stormtrooper outfit dancing at the Akiba crosswalk to Earth Wind and Fire's "Let's Groove Tonight", where he is rapidly joined by cosplayers/maid cafe workers and assorted otaku. What's really priceless later in the video is when he is dancing on the subway and this Japanese guy looks at him in shock and then goes completely deadpan like if he just ignores him the trooper will go away. The link to the video is:

    http://gloob.tv/movies/5_tokyo_dance_trooper

    Category:general -- posted at: 6:50pm CDT

    Episode 81: PhD Phantasy Degree Volume 1 by Son Hee-Joon

    Manga Review for PhD Phantasy Degree Volume 1 by Son Hee-Joon. Translated by Sarah Kim. Adapted by Paul Morrissey. Originally published by Daiwon in 2001. Published in US by Tokyopop, $9.99, Rated 13+.

    Sang has come to Hades, the Demon School in quest of a legendary ring. But humans are not allowed inside the school she soon learns as she encounters Dev the demon, Mordicus the vampire, Lukan the werewolf, and Pannus Tyrannus, a mummy. Mordicus turns her into a vampire so she can tour the school, but there's a bit of a problem when a bully named Katana and his demon thugs begin harrassing the group. It seems that demons think that monsters like Mordicus and the others are a lower class of lifeform.

    My Grade: B

    Direct download: Episode_81--PhD_Phantasy_Degree_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00pm CDT

    Episode 80: Yotsuba Volume 5 by Kiyohiko Azuma

    Podcast Episode 80 Manga Review: Yotsuba&! Volume 5 by Kiyohiko Azuma, creator of Azumanga Daioh. Translated by Javier Lopez. Originally published in Japan by Media Works. Published in US by ADV manga, $9.99, Rated All Ages.

    Yotsuba continues her long road to understanding the world as she encounters the money powered Cardbo, a friendly robot made of cardboard, who is actually Miura. Then it's on to helping Ena's family with their housework, visiting a videostore, a planetarium, and on to a dip in the sea as the whole gang goes on a beach trip.

    My Rating: A

    The website I mention in the podcast is:

    http://www.japanaradio.com/

    It plays all kinds of J-pop and anime related music. You can listen for free or you can subscribe for better sound quality. You must download the orban plug-in on the top right corner under tune-in to be able to hear the streams. Then you just click on whatever format and speed you have. Or you can also find it on Itunes when you click on the radio icon then international.

    Direct download: Episode_80--Yotsuba_Volume_5.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:02pm CDT

    Episode 79: Newtype Dies, PiQ Arrives

    Podcast Episode 79: My thoughts and information on PiQ magazine, which is replacing Newtype magazine. Also, I talk about the positives and negatives of Newtype, Otaku USA, Anime Insider, and Protoculture Addicts.

    For more information about PiQ Magazine see Christopher Butcher's blog, Comics 212 at:

    http://comics212.net/2008/01/18/first-look-advs-new-piq-magazine-mediavendor-kit/

    Direct download: Episode_79--Newtype_Dies_PiQ_Arrives.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:39am CDT

    Inuyasha Volume 22 by Rumiko Takahashi

    The battle with the Man-With-No-Face called Muso becomes a stalemate as every signature move of Inuyasha's is tried on him, but even though the newest incarnation of Naraku is ripped to shreds, his body is able to reform. Inuyasha mutilates him again and again but no attack seems able to finish him. Inuyasha and company are shocked to learn that this mysterious enemy is actually the part of Naraku that is Onigumo, the burned bandit that gave his body for lust of Kikyo decades ago. Naraku, in a rare sign of weakness, sends out Kagura to hunt down his human half. It seems that even he cannot control Onigumo. Later, Inuyasha's band has to help rescue a half-demon girl named Shiori from the clutches of her ogre bat grandfather. A problem develops when Inuyasha realizes that in order to strengthen Tetsusaiga enough to kill Naraku, he must take the life of the kidnapped little girl.

    Volume 22 is all about characters both good and evil, accepting or rejecting parts of themselves they might not like or be proud of. Naraku is always trying to rid himself of the human Onigumo whose original body he sprung out of. Mainly because Onigumo's love, or more precisely, lust, prevents Naraku from killing Kikyo. Naraku sees this part of himself as one of the only weaknesses in his otherwise perfect demon existence. Inuyasha too, experiences some memories he would probably rather forget when he finds out how Shiori was always discriminated against by the villagers because of her half demon heritage. This happened even though her parent's relationship was what stopped the ogre bats from attacking their village for years! Sometimes the humans in Inuyasha come off much worse than the demons in terms of cruelty and baseness. As usual, this series is a great read with simplistic but iconic artwork and sitcom- like plot development that never fails to grab while not carrying any of the main characters very far from their starting place.

    My grade: A

    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 7:27pm CDT

    Episode 78: Tekkonkinkreet

    Podcast Episode 78: Anime DVD review of Tekkonkinkreet. Directed by Michael Arias. Screenplay by Anthony Weintraub. Sony Pictures, $29.95, 100 minutes.

    Black and White are two kids that have always lived on the streets using their wits and fighting abilities to survive in Treasure Town. But now their romanticized life of adventure is about to end when some Yakuza thugs arrive. Their arrival is just the beginning of a plan by Snake, a developer who wants to turn Treasure Town into a gaudy amusement park. Only Black and White stand in his way, striving to save the soul of their beloved town.

    My Grade: A+

    Direct download: Episode_78--Tekkonkinkreet.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:59pm CDT

    Episode 77: Naruto Volume 22 by Masashi Kishimoto

    Podcast Episode 77: Manga Review of Naruto Volume 22: Comrades. Written and drawn by Masashi Kishimoto. Originally published in Japan by Shueisha. Published in US by Viz Shonen Jump, $7.95, Rated T for Teen.

    As Choji and Jirobo's battle winds up, Naruto, Shikamaru, Neji, and Kiba continue their pursuit of the Sound Ninja who are desperately trying to deliver Sasuke to Orochimaru before the Third Hokage's curse kills their master. The mission of the Shikamaru team is to rescue Sasuke from their clutches but it wasn't like he was kidnapped. He made the decision to join the Sound Ninja in order to become more powerful after being beaten handily by his hated brother and seeing Naruto's skills improve faster than his own.

    My Grade: A

    Direct download: Episode_77--Naruto_22.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:27am CDT

    Episode 76: Yo Yo Girl Cop DVD Review

    Podcast review of Yo-Yo Girl Cop, a live action film based on the manga Sukeban Deka by Shinji Wada. Saki Asamiya is sent in as an exchange student at Seisen Academy to find the connection between an underground website's mysterious countdown and rumors of explosives at the school. She has 72 hours before the countdown is over. She also has something else hanging over her head. The trial of her mother on charges of espionage begins as well. If she completes her mission, her mother will be set free. Equipped only with a yo-yo, her wits, and her fighting skills, Saki prepares to enter the dangerous world of misunderstood teenagers and pompous cliques...and track down a killer.

    My Grade: B

    Direct download: Episode_76--Yo_Yo_Girl_Cop.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:24pm CDT

    Episode 75: Orfina Volume 1 by Kitsune Tennouji

    Podcast Episode 75: Manga Review for Orfina Volume 1 by Kitsune Tennouji. Translated and adapted by Sheldon Drzka. Originally published by Kadokawa Shoten in Japan 2005. Published in US by CMX, $12.99, Rated M for Mature.

    The country of Granze is on the move, invading and conquering other lands with its advanced technology and dragons. Against the swords and Middle Ages style weaponry of Cordia and other nations, Granze uses firearms such as machine guns and pistols. Fana Risol, a girl warrior, has been sent to stop the man responsible for these forbidden powers. Instead, she ends up washing up on a riverbank, half dead. She is found by King Yoguf of Cordia and is brought to his palace, where Fana finds she is the spitting image of the royal princess, Orfina. As the two young women develop a close relationship, Granze sets its sights on Caluritia, the capital city of Cordia.

    My Grade: C

    Direct download: Episode_75--Orfina_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:07pm CDT

    Episode 74: Witchblade Volume 3

    Podcast Episode 74: Witchblade Volume 3 Anime DVD Review. Directed by Yoshimitsu Ohashi. Series Composition by Yasuko Kobayashi. Funimation, Episodes 9-12, Running Time: 100 minutes, List Price: $29.98.

    Takayama is getting a bit more pressure at work in the form of his rival, a man named Wadou who is determined to see Takayama disgraced. Masane and Tozawa are continuing as a team with the scruffy photographer gathering evidence about the secret dealings of Douji Heavy Industries and the NSWF while documenting Masane's battles. Riko is feeling a bit of the strain as well as she faints in the street and has to be hospitalized. The NSWF doesn't really covet the Witchblade as much anymore as it is continuing to make a Cloneblade that is even more powerful than the original. And they already have a psycho kid named Maria to wield it.

    My Grade: A

    Direct download: Episode_74--Witchblade_Volume_3.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:57pm CDT

    Episode 73: Naruto Volume 14 by Masashi Kishimoto

    Podcast Manga Review Episode 73: Naruto Volume 14 by Masashi Kishimoto. Translated and adapted by Mari Morimoto. Originally published in Japan by Shueisha. Published in US by Viz under their Shonen Jump imprint. $7.95 Rated T for Teen.

    As the attack on the Hidden Leaf Village continues, Orochimaru prepares to battle his old teacher, the Third Hokage. But it's not going to be a fair battle. Orochimaru summons the souls of the First and Second Hokage to inhabit the bodies of two of his minions and battle against the Third. Meanwhile, Naruto, Sakura, Shikamaru, and Kakashi's tracking dog, Pakkun, try desperately to catch up to Sasuke, who is chasing Gaara's fleeing Sand team. Unfortunately, a group of 9 elite ninja warriors are on the trail of Naruto and company.

    My Grade: A+

    Direct download: Episode_73--Naruto_Volume_14.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:17pm CDT

    Naruto Volume 5 by Masashi Kishimoto

    Manga Review for Naruto Volume 5: The Challengers by Masashi Kishimoto. Translated by Mari Morimoto. Adapted by Jo Duffy. Originally published in Japan by Shueisha in 1999. Published in US by Viz Shonen Jump, $7.95, Rated T for Teen.

    Cell 7 is getting prepared for the first round of the Chunin Exam to become journeymen ninja but first things first. Rock Lee challenges Sasuke to a one on one match before the test even starts! Naruto and company are a little intimidated by the assemblage of ninja at the Exam since a lot of them are not rookies like their team. Naruto almost wets himself when he finds out the first round of the Exam is a written test. We all know and even HE knows he's not exactly the brightest lightbulb in the room. There are 10 questions with a value of 1 point each with the total points of each team being the combined score of all three members. What makes it a bit tricky is that the ninja are not told what score it takes to pass. If any team member gets caught cheating, 2 points will be deducted from each member. If you lose all 10 points you fail and will be asked to leave. Sakura has no problem with the questions since she is the smartest on her team but Naruto and Sasuke are going to have to figure out some way to get the answers from other examinees without getting nabbed.

    The reader is caught just as much off-guard as Naruto's team when you find out that the first item of business for the Chunin exam is a 10 question written test. I was expecting some sort of slam bang tournament in which fighters duke it out. What Kishimoto is able to do in Volume 5 is to give a hint of each ninja's powers without giving too much away as they use their various abilities to cheat without catching the eye of any of the proctors. Well, actually, some do get caught, but nobody worthwhile. Kishimoto also introduces two important relationships. The first is that between Sakura and Yamanaka Ino, who appear to be rivals for the affections of Sasuke (even though he hasn't shown interest in either). The second is that between Naruto and Hyuga Hinata, a shy girl that Naruto thinks is a freak, but she has an unuttered crush on him. Great character designs, art, and writing.

    My Grade: A

     

    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 8:02am CDT

    Eureka Seven Volume 8

    Anime DVD review for Eureka Seven Volume 8. Directed by Tomoki Kyoda. Chief Script Writer: Dai Sato. Bandai Entertainment, $24.98, Episodes 31-34, 100 minutes.

    The Tresoir technicians are feverishly trying to put the Nirvash together but a problem develops when Eureka tells them that it doesn't want to be put together in the same way. Nirvash tells her that he/she/it wants to "fly" so the scientists have to go back to the drawing board in terms of the body design. And who would be better to make the Nirvash a new modified board than Renton's grandpa? Now the problem is delivering it to the Gekkostate without it being captured by the military. And there's the small matter of gramp's risk of being imprisoned or even killed. The Tresoir team doesn't have all day as Dewey tests some mantle busting missles designed to stir up the Coralians. He hopes that if he coordinates them in the right places and with enough firepower, he will be able to annihilate the Coralians. Dewey isn't like Gekkostate, who are searching for some way to cohabit the planet. He wants to utterly eradicate the Coralians. When he shoots the missles into the planet, antibodies, monstrous surreal looking creatures swarm upon the nearest human cities, killing thousands. But Dewey is willing to sacrifice them if it means he can get some hard data on the missle tests. Because she is a Coralian, Eureka feels in some way responsible for the attacks and deaths of so many innocents.

    Over the course of 8 volumes, Eureka Seven has gradually worked its way up to being one of the greatest anime series of all time, at least in my opinion. Renton and Eureka are way past the whole puppy love phase of their relationship, and because of the extreme circumstances, have been forced to a very adult space...minus sex of course. They  both have to deal with seeing the horrors of the Coralian attacks and ruined cities. In earlier volumes, both of them might have withdrawn into their own little rooms of despair to suffer in silence. But now, both Renton and Eureka are ready to share not only the good times, but the bad times as well. It's really a beautiful illustration of what a healthy relationship can be. Just think how happy they could be if their world was at peace. Holland and Talho are also ready to face the music, as they quit pussy footing around their love for each other and Talho makes him finally admit that he doesn't have all the answers doesn't have to act so tough.  Of course, the animation, music, design, and writing of the show continues with a gold standard. This sci-fi opera makes Star Wars look like a fantasy from Barney and Friends.

    My Grade: A+

    Category:Anime DVD Reviews -- posted at: 5:43pm CDT

    Sorcerer Hunters Volume 2 by Ray Omishi and Satoru Akahori

    Manga Review for Sorcerer Hunters Volume 2. Story by Satoru Akahori. Art by Ray Omishi. Translated by Anita Sengupta. Originally published in Japan by Media Works in 1994. Published in US by Tokyopop, $9.99, Rated OT for Older Teen 16+.

    The Sorcerer Hunter's latest mission from Big Mama is to take out the "Crystal Magicians", evil sorcerers who play on people's weaknesses to trap them in in crystal soul jewels. There are only three of the Magicians left, but they're not exactly just walking around in the streets in plain view. Qui Shu-Rein, a sorcerer whose Parsoner girlfriend has been captured by the Magicians, volunteers to offer his aid in defeating them. Gateau, the narcissistic strong man decides he can't trust him and goes off on his own, only to be confronted by an extremely sexy mind controlling Crystal Magician named Ruby Rulan who will turn him against his teammates. Later in the volume, the Hunters finally get a day off at the beach and then they have to fight an incredibly powerful necromancer named, appropriately enough, "Death Master"!

    Sorcerer Hunters is a series very much loaded with sex comedy and eroticism, but not in an overtly pornographic way. Upstaging Tira's dominatrix transformation scenes in which she whips Carrot's animal forms, Chocolat finally shows her "true self" as well. When she takes off her outer layer of clothes, she reveals the uniform of a Nazi Gestapo officer, complete with knee-high boots, puffy pants, and a Third Reich cap. The only thing she is missing is a shirt! That's right, the only thing she is wearing above her waist is two suspender straps that just barely cover her nipples. Some might say this is bad taste, but since when has bad taste ever stopped Japanese manga artists!!??  I thought Carrot, Tira, and Marron were all siblings, but I don't think Carrot and Tira are. At least I HOPE they aren't because it's becoming rapidly apparent that Tira likes Carrot in more than a sisterly fashion, seeing Chocolat as her main competition. Her and Chocolat even write a kidnapping note to see who Carrot will rescue first, thus proving who he cares about more. The art by Ray Omishi continues to be of an extremely great quality with lots of detail and ease in drawing action sequences. The writing, while not Shakesperean by any means, suits the series, and is very funny with its fast and loose ribald humor.

    My Grade: A-

    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 8:10am CDT

    Episode 72: Love Attack Volume 1 by Shizuru Seino

    Podcast Episode 72 Manga Review: Love Attack Volume 1: Junai Tokko Taicho by Shizuru Seino. Translated by Adrienne Beck. Adapted by Magdalena Sniegocki. Originally published in Japan by Kodansha in 2005. Published in US by Tokyopop, $9.99, Rated T for Teen 13+.

    Highschool freshman Chiemi Yusa is about to get expelled for fighting. This is the third time she's gotten in trouble for punching people. Her homeroom teacher offers her a deal that will clear her record. If Chiemi can reform the biggest badass on campus, Akifumi Hirata, better known as the Deranged Devil, she will have a fresh start discipline-wise. Chiemi is perhaps the best choice for this task since she could probably go toe to toe with Hirata. After she kicks him in the face to break up a fight he is engaged in, imagine Chiemi's surprise when Hirata asks her to go out with him! What ensues is a fresh romantic comedy with a bit of fist fighting that will appeal to both girls and guys .

    My Grade: B+

    Direct download: Episode_72--Love_Attack_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:18pm CDT

    Episode 71: The Other Side of the Mirror Volume 1 by Jo Chen

    Podcast Episode 71: Manga review for The Other Side of the Mirror Volume 1 by Jo Chen. Translated by J.Y. Standaert and adapted by Kereth Cowe-Spigai. Published by Tokyopop, $9.99, Rated Older Teen 16+.

    An unemployed college graduate named Lou earns his money in drinking contests but is barely surviving on the mean streets of New York City. He gets an unlikely companion, or actually maybe she's likely, in the form of the rookie prostitute named Sunny, a runaway from an abusive father. What they have in common is their unseemly professions but perhaps together they can break out of their dead-end lives?

    My Grade: C

    Direct download: Episode_71--Other_Side_of_the_Mirror_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:20pm CDT