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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  • Manga reveiw of chapter 2 of Arata The Legend by Yuu Watase.

    Last we saw of Arata, he was being swallowed up by a forest and Kannagi was stating that he would have to come back as an entirely different person. Chapter 2 opens in modern Japan with another Arata getting ready for his first day at high school. On the way to school he helps catch a butt grabbing pervert on the train and instantly becomes a celeb to his classmates. He ends up making friends pretty easily until a month later a guy named Masato Kadowaki shows up. Apparently, he bullied Arata during middle school and made his life a living hell until he was treated like a leper. Surely, Arata thinks, this school is different. He has true friends here that won’t betray him.

    I am still amazed by Yuu Watase’s complete shift in art styles to meld better with the shonen genre. If I knew nothing about her and had scenes from Arata and Ceres next to each other, there is probably no way I would guess they were by the same artist. I was also impressed with the writing of chapter 2. Watase really won you over to the protagonist’s side very fast. Towards the end of the chapter, we see how this new Arata is going to interact with the plot of the earlier storyline. Shows a lot of promise.

    My Grade: A

    Manga Review of Hyde & Closer Chapter 2 by Haro Aso:

    Shunpei Closer is able to convince himself that the events of chapter 1 were all a bad dream until he walks in on his mom cooking breakfast for Hyde, an enchanted stuffed teddy bear. His mom doesn't seem to have any problem accepting all the unusual happenings. In fact, she thinks it's kinda cool and wants to tell all the neighbors! Meanwhile, another "Death Curse" is sent out to steal Shun's heart and this time he's gonna have to learn how to fight some of his own battles...or Shun is going to find himself a lifeless corpse.

    I'm still having a hard time seeing this title as anything but mindless entertainment, but the bizarre surreal humor is starting to grow on me. It reminds me of another goofy title, The Law of Ueki. The battles between ridiculous toys lends the whole thing an over the top quality that makes you giggle. It's still too early for the Death Curse of the week to wear on your nerves. Relax and have a bit of fun with this series.

    My Grade: B+

    View chapters 1&2 of both series for free at:

    www.shonensunday.com

    Direct download: arata.jpg
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 10:52 PM

    A new Japanese fighter game based on the Fate Stay Night franchise is coming to the Playstation Network on 9/2 from Capcom under the moniker Fate/Unlimited Codes (What a boring title). Originally starting out as a Type Moon PC game, the franchise soon moved on to forays in anime, manga, arcade, and the PS2. As Sony is moving to a non-UMD format for its PSP game system, this is a downloadable-only port of the Japanese PS2 and arcade titles, with some modifications. From what I've seen it's more of Soul Calibur/BlazBlue type game rather than Street Fighter, using the Fate Stay Night characters. It seems to be flying under the radar. I wouldn't even have known about it except for seeing a review of it in the October issue of Game Pro that I got in the mail today (They didn't even mention the anime or manga facets of it).  No word on how much it's gonna cost.

    I guess I really should get back to the anime. I watched through volume 4 but never finished the series. Now I have the box set so there's no excuse anymore.

    You can view the trailer of the Japanese PS2 version below:

    Direct download: fate_unlimited.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 8:01 AM

    Julian Casablancas, lead singer of The Strokes, is putting out a solo album, entitled "Phrazes for the Young" on 9/29/09. If you're in Tokyo on Monday you're in for a special treat as Julian will be performing his new songs at the Shibuya Duo Music Exchange on 8/31/09. He will be backed by a 6 piece band (it would be funny if it ended up being The Strokes). Not to worry, The Strokes have not broken up. They are currently working on songs for a new album. Oh yeah, the concert in Shibuya is sold out. You can get more info at:

    www.juliancasablancas.com

    Here's a preview video of the Phrazes album. Unfortunately, it doesn't feature any vocals, just instrumental music, but it sounds pretty cool and the visuals match the retro futuristic vibe:

    Direct download: julian.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 7:41 AM

    Notable Anime DVD releases this Tuesday:

    Genshiken 2 Volume 1

    Naruto Uncut Box 15

    Mushi-Shi: The Movie (Live Action)

    One Piece Season 2, Second Voyage

    Pumpkin Scissors Box

    Welcome to the NHK Box

    When They Cry Box

    Direct download: genshiken_2.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 8:13 PM

    Amazon currently has the Devil May Cry: Complete Series anime Blu-Ray edition on sale for $33.99. Weirdly enough, this is $6 cheaper than the regular dvd release, which is going for $39.99!

    I also saw some other upcoming Blu-Ray anime releases as I was browsing the site so I thought I'd share:

    Oct. 20 -- Escaflowne: The Movie

    Nov. 3-- Witchblade: The Complete Series

    Dec. 1-- Gunslinger Girl: The Complete Series

    Dec. 15-- Basilisk: The Complete Series

    Direct download: devil_may_cry.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 8:06 PM

    Usually Viz has its head screwed on bright and tight but they are on the verge of doing something dumb that flies in the face of recent anime dvd history. I was looking on Amazon and saw that the Naruto Shippuden anime series is going to be released in individual volumes instead of box sets. It looks like they will be releasing a dvd containing 4 episodes each month costing $25. So it will take them about a year to put out the first season on approximately 12 volumes. That's a bilking of about $300 for the first season!

    Are they insane? No, just greedy.  But it's nothing new in the context of Viz's recent behavior. Witness their encroaching higher manga prices that were never justified except by stating that everybody else was charging more, so Viz was just joining the club.   

    It appears that Viz is blatantly trying to take money from its customers by milking these dvd releases with 4 episodes apiece. I know, this is Naruto, and Viz's behavior will be reinforced with strong sales. But you know what, Viz? I'm not playing this game. I refuse to buy these volumes. If you were going to release box sets, I would have pre-ordered it today. Please don't try to rip me off. You'll be lucky if I even buy the inevitable box sets now. I can do fine with just the manga.

    My ideal would be for Shippuden to be released like the uncut Naruto sets with 13 episodes on each. Down the individual volume path lies madness.

    Direct download: naruto_shipp.gif
    Category:News -- posted at: 7:35 PM

    Podcast anime dvd review of Heroic Age: The Complete Series Part 1, Episodes 1-7. Directed by Takashi Noto. Series Composition by Tow Ubukata. Music by Naoki Sato. Published by Funimation. List Price: $59.98, Rated 13+.

    From the back cover:

    Long ago, the advanced Tribe of Gold vanished from the vast universe. In the void left by their departure, the tyrannical Tribe of Silver ascended to rule, forcing mankind - the Iron Tribe - to the brink of extinction. Now humanity wanders the cosmos in search of a savior.

    Prophesy has foretold of one who will labor for their freedoms, and on a planet of ruin, a champion is found. A feral boy named Age holds the destiny of their species in his hands and the untold power of the Tribe of Hero within.

    My Grade: A

    You can watch the first twelve episodes online for free at the Funimation website:

    http://www4.funimation.com/video/?page=show&b=179

    You can watch the trailer for the series below:

     

     

    Direct download: Episode_180--Heroic_Age_Part_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:18 PM

    Well, today was my first time back to Borders bookstore near downtown Houston since they moved their manga section upstairs to be sandwiched between the young adult and kid section. First up, they blundered big time. Lazy bastards like myself might not even go up to the second floor. I really had to think about it before I walked up there. The only reason I usually go to the second floor at all is to use the restroom.

    The first thing I noticed about the manga section was that it was kinda isolated in a corner, which would make it prime bait for stinky manga bums and other remora life forms that suck off revenue. Especially surrounding it with four armchairs. The second thing that I noticed was that the books were in such disarray it reminded me of a Walmart toy section. Like little punks had gotten the books off the shelf and stuck them back wherever. The selection sucked as well. But the many points of suckiness of Borders have been well documented on this site so I won't dwell on it here.  Nonetheless, I still go by on a weekly basis. Kinda like buying Otaku USA, I guess it's just a habit that no longer has any meaning.

    I was greeted by an even more depressing sight at Nan's Comics and Games right down the road from Borders. They have their manga at the back of the store, but I would say 1/3 of their stock had been moved to make way for comic books. There was even manga stacked haphazardly on top of the comic boxes. To add insult to injury they didn't have any lighting in the manga section. They really never have. They rigged up a flourescent light tube that hangs from the ceiling by chains but it wasn't on. The only other light is a desk lamp sitting on one of the shelves. A DESK LAMP? Come on!

    I could have told the managers of the comic store and Borders that their manga sections sucked, but what would it have mattered? Borders is a dying dog anyway. And Nan's, well, it's just the typical attitude of American comic store owners towards manga.

    Category:general -- posted at: 2:57 AM

    Podcast novel review of Real World by Natsuo Kirino. Translated by Philip Gabriel. Originally published in Japan by Shueisha in 2003. Published in US by Vintage, July 2009, $14.00.

    From the back cover:

    In a crowded Tokyo suburb, four teenage girls indifferently wade their way through a hot, smoggy summer. When one of them, Toshi, discovers that her nextdoor neighbor has been brutally murdered, the girls suspect the killer is the neighbor's son. But when he flees, taking Toshi's bike and cell phone with him, the four girls get caught up in a tempest of dangers that rise from within them as well as from the world around them. Psychologically intricate and astute, Real World is a searing, eye-opening portrait of teenage life in Japan unlike any we have seen before.

    My Grade: A

    On Amazon.com, you can read the first 8 pages of the novel:

    Click here to read pages 1-8

    Direct download: Episode_179--Real_World.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:41 AM

    Manga review of The Prince of Tennis Volume 2: Adder's Fangs by Takeshi Konomi. Translated by Joe Yamazaki. Adapted by Gerard Jones. Originally published in Japan by Shueisha. Published in US by Viz Shonen Jump, $7.95, Rated A for All Ages.

    Ryoma is facing his first real challenge in the Seishun tennis team ranking tournament in which the top 8 players will rise to the top and become starters. These 8 players will represent the school at all tournaments for the season. Ryoma's challenge comes in the form of Kaido, one of the current starters whose nickname is "Viper". Why Viper? Because not only are his physical mannerisms and menacing personality like that of a dangerous serpent, he has a special shot called "the snake".  He is able to hit the ball with such intense spin that when it touches the opposite court it bounces away from his opponent. His plan is to make Ryoma run back and forth trying to hit balls until he is exhausted. You don't think Ryoma is just going to let Kaido's strategy unfold without a challenge, do you? And waiting in the wings for the winner is Inui, also a starter, whose keen analytical mind makes him a tennis playing version of Shikamaru from Naruto.

    Two reporters from the magazine Pro Tennis Monthly, Mamoru and Saori, show up to see the Ranking tournament. Their hope is to discover a new talent that will ignite the tennis world. We also get first wind of a school that has almost as high a standing in the tennis world as Seishun: Rikai Junior High. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before these two titans collide.

    Ryoma Echizen is quite a unique protagonist than the usual Shonen Jump hero. Usually, the main character starts off relatively weak or clueless or has to go through constant battles, get defeated, train intensely, kick butt for a while, get defeated, retrain etc. Repeat ad infinitum. But Ryoma appears in this series to be a total finished product. He is already highly skilled, has already trained for years, has already experienced all kinds of adversity. Ryoma perfects new moves just by briefly reading about them. He appears to be at the top of his game and is able to beat all comers. So who is gonna stop this kid? Somebody is, I'm sure. If Ryoma just kicks everyone's butt, how can there be any progression in the story? So far, I haven't seen him get too worried about anyone he's played. He's always calm and cool. But I think his hubris is going to catch up to him somewhere in the next couple of volumes. So maybe we're just delaying the training cycle? Another one of Ryoma's weaknesses is his lack of people skills. He only cares about tennis. He tends to blow off people, especially absent minded Sakuno. It will be interesting to see if this aspect of his personality changes and he softens up a bit.

    My Grade: A

    Hear my podcast review of Volume and view Chapter 1 of the manga for free at:

    http://sesho.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=511162

    Direct download: tennis_2.jpg
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:29 PM