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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  • Podcast Episode 164: The Prince of Tennis Box Set Volume 1

    Podcast anime review of The Prince of Tennis Box Set Volume 1. Episodes 1-13. Directed by Takayuki Hamana. Published by Viz. List Price: $39.98.

    From the back cover:

    He may be the son of a celebrated tennis player, but when tennis prodigy Ryoma Echizen joins the elite Seishun Academy's tennis team, he'll have to back up his famous genes with raw skills on the court. Based on the popular manga, PRINCE OF TENNIS follows Echizen as he strives to earn his teammates' respect and defeat his far older opponents on the court, including Viper and the nefarious Inui Sadahara.

    My Grade: B

    Here's a cool video with scenes from the entire series:

    Direct download: episode_164--The_Prince_of_Tennis_Box_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:23pm CST

    Podcast Episode 163: Maid Sama! Volume 1

    Manga Podcast review of Maid Sama! Volume 1 by Hiro Fujiwara. Translated by Su Mon Hanr. Adapted by Karen Ahlstrom. Originally published in US by Hakusensha. Published in US by Tokyopop, $10.99, Rated T 13+.

    LISTEN TO THE PODCAST FOR A CHANCE ON HOW TO WIN A COPY OF MAID SAMA! VOLUME 1!

    EMAIL ME AT: seshos@hotmail.com

    Last day to send an entry= July 5, 2009.

    From the back cover:

    The class president has a little secret she's keeping from the sexy bad boy in school...


    As President of the Student Council, the overachieving feminist Misaki really socks it to the guys in a n attempt to make the former all-boys' school attract a more female student body. But what will she do when the sexiest boy in class finds out Misaki's after-school gig is in a maid cafe?!

    It's love at first fight in this shojo romantic comedy-- with a whole new look at the battle between the sexes!

    My grade: A

    See below for a free chapter of the manga:

    Direct download: Episode_163--Maid_Sama_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:51pm CST

    Manga Review: The Law of Ueki Volume 14

    Manga review of The Law of Ueki Volume 14 by Tsubasa Fukuchi. Translated and adapted by Kenichiro Yagi. Originally published in Japan by Shogakukan. Published in US by Viz, $9.99, Rated T for Teen.

    Ai Mori has finally figured out what her power is and its only taken her till the third match of the third round of the King tournament. A LITTLE late if you ask me! I'm not going to spoil it for you, but trust me, her power is just as goofy and apparently useless as every character's in this series is. Even if Ai is able to defeat her opponent, Team Ueki still has to deal with Infernal Hanon, the strange being that has possessed Robert and is intent on making Ueki's path to the final round as difficult as possible. He sabotages their rematch with Team Capucho and is also in league with Ueki's next opponents, the extremely powerful and mysterious Team Barrow.

    As usual, this series is quite the guilty pleasure for me, seeing as it hits upon almost every tournament manga cliche you've ever encountered. The trick is that Fukuchi makes the journey to the end battle over 16 volumes very funny. His writing is firmly tongue-in-cheek and you sense that he's not taking any of this very seriously. The themes that have come to the surface in my reading are that you have to fight for justice even when you get punched, socked, knocked into the air, kicked across a room, and maybe even burned to a crisp by various superpowered enemies. Ueki is like a priest of right and his sermon to his team and to readers is that you can never give up...on yourself or the people around you. Of course, we have the whole "train until you get more powerful" motif running through the work as well. But the comedy is good and the moral values worth fighting for. Two more volumes to go. I'll be a bit sad when it's all over.

    My Grade: A-

    Direct download: ueki_14.jpg
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 5:35pm CST

    Podcast Episode 162: Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 1

    Podcast manga review of Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 1 by Hiromu Arakawa. Translated by Akira Watanabe. Adapted by Egan Loo. Originally published in Japan by Square Enix. Published in US by Viz, $9.99, Rated T for Teen.

    From the back cover:

    Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world; something between magic, art, and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in this power to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg...and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living steel. Now Edward is an agent of the government, a slave of the military-alchemical complex, using his unique powers to obey orders...even to kill. Except his powers aren't unique. The world has been ravaged by the abuse of alchemy. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philosopher's Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are...

    The original manga behind the hit anime and video game series!

    My grade: A+ 

    Direct download: Episode_162--Fullmetal_Alchemist_Volume1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:41pm CST

    Podcast Episode 161: Welcome to Wakaba-soh Volume 1

    Podcast manga review of Welcome to Wakaba-soh Volume 1 by Chaco Abeno. Translated by Hiroya Yamazaki. Originally published in Japan by Houbunsha. Published in US by Yen Press, $10.99, Rated Older Teen.

    From the back cover:

    In the throes of his first love, Kentarou Sawai can't even count on beginner's luck to get him closer to Karen Toguin, the girl of his dreams. When he spontaneously enrolls in Karen's high school just to be closer to her, his hopes are crushed when it turns out she's on a leave of absence! Now poor, luckless Kentarou is stuck in a dorm full of girls who aren't Karen and insist on pushing Kentarou to the brink of insanity! Can Kentarou hold on to his love for Karen, or will his new living experience make him swear off all women for good?!

    My Grade: C

    Direct download: Episode_161--_Welcome_to_Wakabah-soh_Vol_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:14pm CST

    Podcast Episode 160: Trigun Volume 1

    Podcast anime dvd review of Trigun Volume 1: The $60,000,000,000 Man. Directed by Satoshi Nishimura. Published by Geneon/Pioneer. List Price: 19.99 (Amazon has used copies for around $2). Episodes 1-4, Rated 13+.

    From the back cover:

    In the distant future...on a desert planet...there is a legendary gunman. His name is Vash the Stampede.

    A gunslinger so dangerous, a $60 billion reward has been placed on his head! Vash, also known as "The Humanoid Typhoon", has been credited with the destruction of several towns, but miraculously, there is no record of him ever taking a life. However, only two things ever happen to those who catch up to Vash- they either crawl away wounded (mostly from self-inflicted damage), or they stagger away in disbelief that such a dork could possibly be the man they are looking for!

    My Grade: D+

    Here is the clean opening of the anime:

    Direct download: Episode_160--Trigun_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:33pm CST

    Podcast Episode 159: Hoop Days Complete Collection

    Podcast anime DVD review for Hoop Days: The Complete Collection. Directed by Susumu Kudo. Published by Bandai, Episodes 1-26, Running time: 650 minutes, Rated 13+. Spoken Languages: English, Japanese, English subtitles. List Price: $49.95

    From the back cover:

    Do you have what it takes to win the high school national championships? Kazuhiko Aikawa does, and at 5' 8" he can slam dunk that ball like there is no tomorrow. But winning the national championships isn't enough for Kazuhiko. He soon transfers from his old school at Tendouji HS to his new school at Mizuho HS so he can better his game... except there's no boys' basketball team!

    A one year suspension was given to the team when Fujiwara, a star player, knocked out the former coach. The team has dwindled to just 4 players, and with Kazuhiko the team can be whole again, but for some reason no one wants to play. Kazuhiko needs to take this team to the next level as he shows off his mad basketball skills as well as be his talkative, charming self!

    My Grade: B+

    Direct download: episode_159--Hoop_Days.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:33pm CST

    Podcast Episode 158: Animal Academy Volume 1

    Podcast manga review of Animal Academy: Hakobune Hakusho by Moyamu Fujino. Transated by Alexis Kirsch. Adapted by Ysabet MacFarlane. Originally published in Japan by MAG Garden. Published in US by Tokyopop, $10.99, Rated 10+.

    From the back cover:

    Can you pledge secrecy when you are... a human being?

    When Neko Fukuta finds herself enrolled in the mysterious Morimori Academy-- a secret school for animal-human shape shifters-- she soon realizes she must pretend to be a magical cat and not allow any of the other students to find out her real identity... But as she struggles with the trials and tribulations of a new school and new friends, Neko's just-discovered feline side might bring out the true human spirit in all of her animal classmates!

    My Grade: C-

    Click below for a free preview of the first chapter:

    Direct download: Episode_158--_Animal_Academy_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:51pm CST

    Podcast Episode 157: Kurogane Communication Box Set

    Podcast Anime DVD Review of Kurogane Communication: Memories of Earth Box Set. Episodes 1-24, 360 minutes, Rated 13+. Published by Anime Works. List Price: $39.95

    From the back cover:

    In the ruins of Japan, Haruka lives with no recollection of what happened to her or her parents. Found by five robots, she finds a new life with them as the last human on Earth. This unique family faces the hardships of a war torn world and must protect each other from the legions of war machines that are still being produced in automated factories. Haruka sets out in search of her past and the desperate dream of human companionship.

    My Grade: A-

     

    Direct download: Episode_157--Kurogane_Communication.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:36pm CST

    A cool time lapse video of the sights and sounds of Tokyo:

    Tokyo Timelapse from nubero on Vimeo.

    Category:general -- posted at: 10:29pm CST

    Tokyopop, The New Paper Sucks!

    Ok, it appears that maybe this has been an issue for months, and other people have already made some comments about it, but the new paper that Tokyopop is using for their manga books sucks!  I just noticed it for the first time when I read Future Diary Volume 1. Are they getting it from a toilet paper company? And the nerve they have to raise the price of their books by a dollar??!! Decrease quality and increase price? At least keep the paper the same. This mess about how they have to buy it from a certain mill is just mess. Felt like I was reading the newspaper.

    Viz. What can I say. I love the company. But they want to raise prices too. Want? They ARE raising prices. Why? 

    “VIZ Media made the decision to stay consistent with the pricing in the marketplace for this industry, which in some cases might be a slight increase from previous years."

    So what they are saying is that they are raising prices simply because they CAN. Not because they NEED to. Greed. That's what this is about.

    I guess we should thank Del Rey for starting all this about 5 years ago when they were the first to start selling their books for $10.95. They started us down this road. But I have to admit that they operate on a higher level than the other publishers in terms of presentation so I really can't complain. I cannot picture them using this sorry paper. They are too high class for that.

    Hopefully, the rest of the industry will stay away from the Tokyopop model of costcutting even though it has been reported that other graphic novel publishers are thinking about using this paper as well. I bet it's CMX. The other companies are probably waiting to see the fan reaction before they convert over. Please let Tokyopop know if you're upset about this issue.

    There's a good article over at Sporadic Sequential about the issue:

    http://sporadicsequential.blogspot.com/2009/06/gee-thanks-for-more-expensive-lower.html

    Direct download: charmin.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 9:59pm CST

    Podcast Episode 156: Future Diary Volume 1

    Podcast manga review of Future Diary Volume 1 by Sakae Esuno. Translated by Yuya Otake. Adapted by Clint Bickham. Originally published in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten. Published in US by Tokyopop, $10.99, Rated 16+.

    From the back cover:

    Yukiteru is a lonely student whose only hobby is the daily diary he keeps on his cell phone. But Yukiteru has a secret that nobody knows about...his cellphone can tell the future! Now a vicious game of survival is about to begin among twelve future diary holders-- with the winner crowned god of a new world!

    Sakae Esuno's chilling shonen masterpiece is a relentless adventure that will have you questioning the boundaries of time and space-- and hoping for the slightest glimmer of hope in a dark, desolate world that may look suprisingly familiar to all of us...

    My Grade: B-

    Look below for a free preview:

    Direct download: Episode_156--Future_Diary_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:29pm CST

    X-men Go Shojo in X-men: Misfits

    Del Rey is releasing Volume 1 of X-Men: Misfits on July 28. A cross between X-men and Fruits Basket is what they're calling it. Wolverine is not going to be in it. I guess Del Rey doesn't want to crowd its other Wolverine title. The scary thing is the writers they have tapped for the project. First, there's Dave Roman, editor of Nickelodeon Magazine. Helping him is Raina Telgemeier, the artist behind The Babysitter's Club series. My question is, what do these people know about the characters in the X-men? It just seems like Marvel would have wanted some highly qualified writers to take over the reins of one their most important franchises. Also, with the recruitment of these writers, it seems like maybe they are focusing on a demographic that is too young to be reading shojo manga. When I think Babysitter's club, I'm definitely thinking elementary school. Hopefully, the series will be good. I really liked the reboot of Wolverine: Prodigal Son. But I don't have very good expectations.

    Click this link for an interview with Roman and Telgemeier:

    http://www.shojobeat.com/features/48/010.php

    Direct download: xmen_misfits.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 9:29pm CST

    Podcast Episode 155: Otomen Volume 1

    Manga Podcast review of Otomen Volume 1 by Aya Kanno (Soul Rescue, Blank Slate). Translated and adapted by Lindsey Akashi. Originally published in Japan by Hakusensha. Published in US by Viz Shojo Beat, $8.99, Rated T for Teen.

    From the back cover:

    Asuka Masamune is a guy who loves girly things - sewing, knitting, making cute stuffed animals and reading shojo comics. But in a world where boys are expected to act manly, Asuka must hide his beloved hobbies and play the part of a masculine jock instead. Ryo Miyakozuka, on the other hand, is a girl who can't sew or bake a cake to save her life. Asuka finds himself drawn to Ryo, but she likes only the manliest of men! Can Asuka ever show his true self to anyone, much less to the girl he's falling for?

    My Grade: B+

    Click this link for a free preview of the manga:

    http://www.shojobeat.com/manga/oto/om.php

    Direct download: Episode_155--_Otomen_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:15pm CST

    Paul "OtaKing" Johnson of Sheffield, UK is currently working on a Dr. Who short as filtered through his love of Japanese anime of the 1980s. He envisions it as a parody of what Dr. Who would have looked like as an anime if it had aired in mid-80s Japan. Right now he just has screen shots up at:

    http://mightyotaking.deviantart.com/

    Or you can simply click on the picture below to take you to his gallery. He currently has about 40 or so images up. Here's a sample:


    Doc Who anime scene 20 by ~MightyOtaking on deviantART
    Category:News -- posted at: 7:50pm CST

    Podcast Episode 154: The Sky Crawlers

    Anime Podcast review of the Blu Ray version of The Sky Crawlers. Directed by Mamoru Oshii. Animation by Production I.G. Published by Sony Pictures. List Price: $34.95 (Amazon has it for $22.99). Based on the novels of Hiroshi Mori.

    From the back cover:

    From Mamoru Oshii, the world-acclaimed director of Ghost in the Shell, comes an award-winning story of an exciting but endless war with heroes too young to understand the meaning of their battles.

    A group of eternally young fighter pilots known as Kildren experience the sudden loss of innocence as they battle the enemy in astonishing dogfights above the clouds. With his only childhood memory consisting of intense flight training, the fearless teenage pilot Yuichi's dogfights coexist with his struggle to find his missing past.

    When his beautiful, young female commander Suito is reluctant to discuss the fate of the pilot that Yuichi is replacing - or the strangely perfect condition of that pilot's former aircraft - Yuichi's curiosity becomes heightened.

    Special Features: The Sound Design and Animation of The Sky Crawlers, Animation Research for The Sky Crawlers, Sky's the Limit: An Interview with Director Mamoru Oshii.

    Spoken Languages: English, Japanese, English subtitles.

    My Grade: A-

    Here's the opening dogfight (There's a bit of blood):

    Direct download: Episode_154--_The_Sky_Crawlers.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:33pm CST

    Podcast Episode 153: Geneshaft Complete Collection

    Podcast anime dvd review of Geneshaft Complete Collection. Published by Bandai. Directed by Kazuki Akane (Heat Guy J, Escaflowne). 13 episodes on 4 dvds. It is currently out of print but you can find it at Amazon and Ebay for about $20.

    From the back cover:

    Witness A New Era of Science Fiction Animation...

    From Kazuki Akane - Director of Escaflowne!
    In a final attempt to save the human race, a genetic engineering program was initiated in hopes of creating a new breed of human beings with special skills and abilities to benefit all of society. Successful, the Earth begins to enjoy a new era of peace…until the appearance of a mysterious artifact of unknown origin enters between the Earth and the moon. A group of enhanced humans have been selected to investigate the orbiting visitor. Armed with a prototype ship known only as 'Shaft', this strike team may be the only thing between continued peace and the total destruction of the Earth!

    My Grade: B-

    Watch the trailer here:

     

    Direct download: Episode_153--Geneshaft.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:37pm CST

    Podcast 152: Chance Pop Session Collection, Episodes 1-5

    Podcast Anime DVD review of the first 5 episodes of the Chance Pop Session collection. Directed by Susumu Kudo. Series Composition by Kazuhiko Soma. Rated 13+. Right Stuf. com has it for $18. You can also watch the show for free on Joost.

    From the back cover:

    Three young girls, strangers to each other, share an instinctual passion and talent for music. Brought together from distinctly different worlds, they meet by chance at the concert of their idol. The concert strikes a chord in each of their hearts and unites them with a common dream of stardom.

    The girls each enroll in the same music school and are brought together again in a special class for exceptional talent. As their voices come together in harmony, the girls realize that they share more than just a passion for song. A mysterious blue stone, a hauntingly beautiful melody... What do these traces of the past have to do with the uncertain future of this gifted trio?

    My Grade: D

    http://www.joost.com/search?q=chance+pop+session#

    Here's the opening of the show:

    Direct download: Ep_152--Chance_Pop_Session.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:07pm CST

    Queen Gets Gold Plated Wii

    Gaming company THQ, after hearing that Queen Elizabeth of England was a big fan of the Nintendo Wii, has made her a gift of gold plated Wii. Some sources are reporting that it's a promotional stunt for THQ's new game, Big Family Games. I would be curious as to how she responds to the present. Maybe the Queen should become a videogame reviewer? Here's the link to the article:

    http://videogames.yahoo.com/events/plugged-in/the-royal-wii/1316670

    Direct download: golden_wii.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 12:27pm CST

    Summer Is Here!!

    School is out and summer is in session. I'm looking forward to taking it easy and not dreading Mondays for about 2 months. I also hope to catch up on a lot of reading and dvds. And I'm not just talking about manga and anime. Of course, I will be podcasting and reviewing much more now that I have a lot of free time. In the Houston area, the weather is perfect to hit the beaches down in Galveston!

     


     

    Electronic Gaming Monthly is making a comeback. In exactly what form is anyone's guess. The founder, Steve Harris, has bought the rights to the magazine and plans to relaunch it. Here's the link to the article on 1up.com:

    http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3174453

    It was the most honest game review and news magazine out there until it got cancelled. I was under the impression that part of the reason it got cancelled was because they dared to say negative things about sorry games. I remember they would have an award each month called something like "stinker of the month" and it would should show a little pile of poo with flys buzzing around it. It was pretty funny. Now a lot of the mags are afraid to even put a rating like a number or a grade for fear of reprisals from the game companies. But they mask it behind an elitism that says they are above giving a simple qualitative and easy to understand rating.  A lot of the time, you read a review and then are left wondering, "are they saying this is a good game or not?" There was no doubt with EGM, whether it was negative or positive.

     


     

    Also, I've added a Twitter link over there on the right side column under my XBOX tag, so feel free to follow me. I'm trying to beat Oprah. I like to start small, so right now I only have 3 followers. I just created a Twitter account about a week ago, and tonight was the first time I really started exploring it, mainly finding people I would like to follow, mainly in the fields of manga and anime. Lori over at Manga Xanadu had an article with links to many manga bloggers and publishers in an article at this link:

     http://manga.jadedragononline.com/?p=917

     

    Direct download: resize_jessica.jpg
    Category:general -- posted at: 12:35am CST