Sesho's Anime And Manga Reviews (general)
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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  • Pocast Episode 214: Biomega Volume 2 Podcast manga review of Biomega Volume 2 by Tsutomu Nihei. Translated by John Werry. Adapted by Stan! Originally published in Japan by Shueisha. Published in the US by Viz Signature, $12.99, Rated M for Mature.

    From the back cover:

    "In Tsutomu Nihei's nightmare vision of the future, the N5S virus has swept across the Earth, turning most of the population into zombie-like drones. Zoichi Kanoe, an agent of Toa Heavy Industry, is humanity's last hope, and he's not even human! With the help of Fuyu, a digitized intelligence built into the computer system of his heavy dual coil motorcycle, Zoichi's search for the key to salvation will take him on a journey across surreal landscapes and hurl him into battle against mind-bending evil. Prepare yourself for the ultimate trip-- Prepare yourself for the world of Biomega.

    After capturing Eon Green, DRF forces are amassing around Toa Heavy Industry headquarters and have taken Dr. Kurokawa and his daughter into custody. Zoichi must attempt a rescue--Dr. Kurokawa's laboratory may yield critical information on Eon Green. Elsewhere, Toa Heavy Industry agent Nishu Mizunoe searches for Kozlov Grebnev and the secrets he knows about  the DRF's research, origins and their apocalyptic plan for the entire human race!"


    My Grade: A


    Direct download: Episode_214--_Biomega_2.mp3
    Category:general -- posted at: 4:19pm CDT

    About 3 years ago, I got a membership with Rentanime.com because my local anime/manga store, Anime Avalon, closed its doors. It's weird to think at that time there was hardly any anime online (ok, legal anime). If you were lucky, you might get to watch the first one or two episodes of a series. IF you were lucky. So I had no other way to watch anime besides buying or renting. I'm sure I wasted hundreds, if not thousands of dollars because you had to buy anime dvds without ever seeing the show. How the times have changed, huh? Was Crunchyroll around then? If it was, it was a bootleg site, and now its one of the major players.

    I still get sad when I think about Anime Avalon. But you know, even if somehow it had survived, it would surely have closed by now. Just because it could never compete with the big stores like Best Buy. It could only sell anime at list price. They did have a vast rental collection, but even mainstream rental places like Hollywood Video and Blockbuster are closing more and more stores. I think all the Hollywoods in my city are now closed. And there's ONE Blockbuster left.

    I wonder if a store specializing just in manga could make a profit?

    I still have quite a few dvds I bought at Anime Avalon during its last few weeks of being open. They were selling all their dvds for $5 apiece. I probably spent around $500 that last month it was open. So I always think about it when I play or see those dvds, almost like remembering a dead relative.

    But let's say it had stayed open somehow. It would have closed for the same reason I'm cancelling my Rentanime membership. Why are you going to rent when you can watch everything and MORE online for free. The only reason I've hesitated is because Rentanime has older dvds but now even those are looking less and less tempting. Especially due to the fact that they have a lot of holes in their inventory because a lot of people buy those out of print titles instead of returning them.

    Another positive outcome of cancelling is the fact that with that $20 I save each month I can BUY some anime dvds.

    So anyways, it's goodbye to you Rentanime.

    Direct download: rentanime.gif
    Category:general -- posted at: 10:46pm CDT

    Living In Neverland

    Goodbye CMX. It was nice knowing you. But I come here not to mourn the passing of this slightly oddball shojo publisher. I come here to honor it. Yeah, just when I was getting into their Flex titles (which i vastly preferred to their shojo), the company ups and croaks. But we all know that CMX should and would have survived had it not been for the devilish plots of their parent company, DC.

    Oh, DC, I spit at thee from the mouth of Hell! So what if the CMX imprint wasn't making any money and losing your company hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars a year. It was your god-given duty to crank out volumes of manga, whether they were any good or not! I don't want to hear the lame excuse that nobody was buying them! The fans that wanted them printed that didn't buy them are your customers, and its a well-known and truthful cliche that the customer is NEVER right.

    In my often ignored except when people bitch at me twitter account I stated that I didn't know if I really felt sorry for the CMX employees that lost or are losing their jobs. I stand by the statement. I was raised in a blue collar family and when people lost their jobs they didn't want family and friends, much less complete strangers, to pity them. They just looked for another job. Who wants to be PITIED?

    What I really meant was that anyone working at a manga publisher in this day and age should NEVER feel that their job is safe. They and their employers have been riding on the crest of a fad that has slowly, in some cases, quickly, evolved into a job threatening blood-letting. Who in their right mind would think they could be a manga translator for the rest of their life? Or work in the manga business as a career? I doubt if Viz or Tokyopop or Yen or Del Rey's manga imprint will be around 10 years from now. Or if they are,  it will be more like Viz was in the 90s with very few and more expensive titles and not many positions.

    Why are so many of the "manga media" and fans so SURPRISED by the death of CMX? That's what really ticked and continues to tick me off. Where are these manga bloggers, "critics", "experts" and "fans" living? Neverland? Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory? I just cannot explain why they didn't see this coming. I've seen it for some time.

    I don't mean CMX in particular but more the End of Days for manga publishers. Manga space getting smaller in the bookstores like Borders and Barnes and Noble was one sign. (oh, can I insert here that Borders sucks?). The big sign of things to come for me was seeing all the local comicbook stores getting rid of their manga in the past year. (oh yeah, when they ripped the covers off their returns, where did all the unsaleable manga go? Into the garbage most likely)They only carry the most popular titles like Shonen Jump titles and some Dark Horse. Manga in comic stores is relegated to the pariah space of just maybe two shelves with Archie and kid titles now. Not to mention the closing of my ONLY local anime/manga store back in 2007.

    Was the fading into oblivion of multiple manga publishers in the past 2 years not a sign? Wasn't the number of discontinued titles by companies like Dark Horse a sign (Dark Horse, where is Reiko, Octopus Girl, Eden? Get off your asses please. Reiko, don't go into the light! I have rightly surmised that I will be in a senior citizen home, or dead, by the time Eden is completed).

    When Viz slashed 40% of its staff, I knew it was pretty much over. They have the strongest selling titles of any publisher with their Oprah Book Club-like Shonen Jump imprint (stick that label on anything and its gonna do ok for a time). When they cut back, you knew the industry was in deep doo-doo. And by the way, where the hell is Kodansha? What the F was with their cheap-ass parlor tricking reprints of Ghost in the Shell and Akira? Get out of the market. Stay out of the way. You're just making things worse. I am the Amityville Horror House---GET OUT!

    What is the cause of all this calamity, all these people losing their jobs, of fans bitching, of bloggers running from a falling sky?

    PEOPLE ARE NOT BUYING MANGA. ACCEPT IT. ITS NOT POPULAR. IT NEVER WILL BE EXCEPT IN A FAKE FAD KIND OF WAY. ACCEPT IT.

    The true fans buy it and love it. But there's not enough of us. It doesn't make me angry. It's just a fact. Do I wish everybody could get into it like I do? Yeah. Is that going to happen? No. I don't understand why some "fans" almost wet themselves when a volume of manga gets into the USA Today top 200 books. They seem to think that "This is just the beginning. Manga is popular now. We will take over the world. We're making progress. Next time, we'll make it to #198 for a week! Viva Le Manga Revolucion!" Get real. We're not making progress. We're in decline. No, we're not gonna die, but we have to live in reality.

    Is the decline due to fans or publishers? Or the booksellers even? On the publishing side, I think all of them are complete failures. Have I ever opened a mainstream magazine and saw a manga ad. Never. The marketing strategies of these companies suck. There is so much potential for manga to become popular, but I think the problem is that publishers are run by nitwits or controlled by the Japanese who don't know how to appeal to American markets. There are manga franchises that could make just as much money in movie form as Iron Man, Spider-Man, or Batman, if handled right. But instead we get 60 year old Keanu Reeves in Cowboy Bebop. Come on, Cameron and Speilberg, please succeed with Battle Angel Alita and Ghost in the Shell. DiCaprio, make Akira.

    Can you imagine the change in the manga market if Battle Angel Alita made as much money and got as much press as Avatar? A sea change.

    And what is up with the publisher's slow on the take reaction to the potential of online manga?Ok, Viz is in the forefront of it right now, and Tokyopop is doing it in their typically mediocre manner, but where were they when manga was at its highest popularity? They should have struck while the manga was hot. Netcomics had the right idea but had no hit titles. It took the majors almost a decade before they started getting serious about putting books online. Didn't they see what happened when the record industry failed to capitalize on the download debacle earlier in the decade. It's being repeated all over again.

    Are the publishers picking the right titles to print? No. Or they would be making more money and they wouldn't be in the state they are in.

    I have to love Viz though. I just do. They are putting out not just popular titles but more mature and experimental ones that don't always fit into what Americans consider "manga". I also love the balls they have to publish Japanese sci-fi. I've bought every Haika Soru title that has come out. I see the way they are handling their brand and titles as the key to the future. They seem to be merging the facets of their anime/manga/novel business pretty well, and with some forward looking vision.

    I think Tokyopop will be the next to fall if their Priest film is as crappy as I imagine its going to be. Im thinking B-movie all the way.

    Yen seems to be pretty healthy as long as it can suck on the neck of Twilight and somehow make money off lame series like Maximum Ride and Night School, which are pretty horrible. And just when OEL had finally been flushed down Tokyopop's toilet.

    Another one of the many causes of the manga decline? Generation Cake. A generation that wants its cake, wants to eat it too, and then regurgitate it for their friends to eat for free. Manga companies target most of their titles at kids. And guess what? They're not buying.  They're spending their money on other things. Phones. Videogames. Ipods. Music. Clothes. Girls. Guys. Movies. A lot of kids hate to read now. They think its boring. Or maybe their families don't have enough money to buy them manga. Again, this doesn't anger me or anything. They just don't like manga. They'd rather spend their money on things they get more enjoyment out of.

    I think the problem that manga faces is the opposite of the US comic market. American comic readers skew older, but they fail to bring in new readers because of so much backstory. They also fail most horribly with girls and women. Manga has no problem getting new readers, including of the female variety, but fails to keep them. If you start reading Marvel and DC when you're a kid, you keep reading them even when you get older. Manga readers tend to start young but the majority cast the hobby off as they age as more of a fad than a lifelong love.

    Another problem is that booksellers now encourage you NOT to buy books. You can go into Borders or Barnes and Noble and just read every book for free if you want. You can't go five feet without stubbing your toe on a couch or comfy chair and table. Bookstores have become so faux European. Like throwbacks to bookstores back in the 18th and 19th centuries where the intelligentsia met to discuss philosophy, literary works etc. Now, you just get lonely bums that don't want to buy anything. It's pretty disgusting. Throw all the furniture out of the bookstores!

    In the end I think the decline of the manga industry is from a combination of factors, but I think the economy is the most insignificant. It was in its death throes (or at least death wiggles) before any of this mortgage crisis was even a blip on the radar. In the end, it's simply supply and demand.

    The market for CMX titles was too small. There is no way DC would have shut them down if they were profitable. They were obviously losing money. The market for manga is too small. Not enough people like it. Face it. Me and you, we are the chosen few. Yeah, it could get better, but it will be a sham better. The core remains. Me and you.

    PS. And were people really CRYING over CMX closing up shop? Actually PHYSICALLY CRYING? Man up! Or in some cases, Woman up!

    PSS. If you notice I never brought up scanlations as a problem. I believe that people that read scans would never buy a volume of manga anyway, so they are a non-factor. But it DOES bring up another point. I hear all the time about hype and buzz for scan titles. "Hotly anticipated" is a cliche I see the most often. But who is doing the hype? Who is getting hyped? Manga media types who get their manga for free? Who cares. Scan readers who don't buy manga? Who cares. You need to get people that actually spend money on manga to get excited to buy a title or see it printed.  I remember seeing on a manga blogger's site that they were upset that a "hotly anticipated" CMX title, well at least hot on the scan sites, wouldn't be published. I was thinking, yeah, you wanted them to print another title that nobody would buy.

    PSSS. Whoa, CMX doesn't even have a website anymore? All that comes up is DC Comics. No mention of CMX. At least let them have a send-off DC! You know there were about 5 (or was it 5000?) people that wanted to post "You suck DC!".  You killed my Misery!

    Direct download: diamond.jpg
    Category:general -- posted at: 8:43pm CDT

    My Apology to Tezuka and His Fans

    Just because someone is important doesn't mean they can't suck. I recognize Tezuka's importance and influence, but yeah, what I've read by him sucks. Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn is seen as the Great American Novel and he is seen as the Great American Writer, but you know what? I think that book was boring and I find his humor unfunny and that it is a tragedy that he represents the US. Do you have to like Elvis to enjoy current pop and rock? Or can you just laugh and point at him because he is so ridiculous? In other words, he sucks. My point in writing my blog entry was that it's ok to think Tezuka's work is worthless. In fact, hate it because it IS deemed important by so-called authorities.

    I'm trying to read Dororo right now and am encountering the same stumbling blocks I encountered with his other works:

    1) Boring character designs. Everyone pretty much looks the same. Cartoony and lazy. Tezuka's art never seemed to evolve beyond a daily cartoon feel as though he didn't have much time to spare. Or that he was more interested in telling a story with words and action than with making his characters have any visual appeal. And anytime an animal comes in, bring in the Walt Disney copyright for anthropomorphic animals!

    2) Spacing and pace reign triumphant. I will say this. Tezuka is an expert at pacing his panels and also how he spaces the action and characters within each one. But again, the actual ART inside them is really unimaginative. He never evolved. You could say the same thing about Rumiko Takahashi but she tells much better stories.

    3) Vertical continues the questionable translation of Dark Horse. What do I mean by this? The inclusion of current slang and catchphrases (and outdated ones as well). Do Japanese people actually use words like "Yowza" and "Yoiks"? "Doofus"? "Bro"? This is exactly why I couldn't get into Buddha. The Buddha walked around talking like he was at a New York Mets game. Ok, the vocabulary is already out of context because the book is set in Japan hundreds of years ago. But then putting in odd Americanisms, some from the 1920s, is even more jarring.

    4) Tezuka is a clumsy storyteller. To me, Tezuka never seemed to solve the problem of juggling comedic and dramatic elements. I think part of this lies in the translation, but most of it has to do with Tezuka himself. He can't get out of the way of the story. His ego was too important. Early on in Dororo, he even includes himself in all his goofy beret glory getting hit by a hail of rocks as he tells about Hyakkimaru's childhood. It totally ruins the flow. It's like having Oprah putting her ugly mug on everything she does or M. Night Shymalan inserting himself forcefully in every movie he makes. It smacks of ego trip. Or Osihii's bassett hounds. Look at a master like Hiromu Arakawa. She is able to balance humor, great character designs, drama, and real to the bone human interactions. Or Hiroki Endo, who takes it to even a higher level. Tezuka is a baby compared to them.

    5) His pulp sci-fi explanations. Back in the old days sci-fi writers didn't have to explain things. But people are smarter now. Even if it's magic fantasy, audiences demand at least a cursory explanation of how an imaginary world works.  Because Tezuka is so old school, he hardly ever throws the reader a bone. Hyakkimaru has no eyes, but he can "see" intuitively? How does that work exactly?

    So hopefully, this entry clears up things as to why I think what I do about Tezuka's work...up to this point (I'm still attempting to appreciate him). Just because Japanese manga artists are AWARE of Tezuka doesn't mean they are influenced by him. The anime/manga establishment makes it seem that EVERY SINGLE person in Japan loves Tezuka and that any American fan has to recognize his deification. I say you don't. It's all a myth. In my opinion there are much more important and talented manga artists at work today in the here and now. Even a title like Death Note, with all its improbabilites and flaws, is far better than anything I've read by Tezuka so far. Whatever issues he took on back in the day, there is someone doing it better.

    Direct download: Astroboy.jpg
    Category:general -- posted at: 7:23am CDT

    Why I Don't Give a Crap About Tezuka

    Today when I was in the Barnes and Noble manga section I noticed a book about Osamu Tezuka that kinda pissed me off when I saw the title. The book was titled The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga . It was written by Helen McCarthy. The part that stuck in my craw was the whole “God” thing. I admit I am not much of a Tezuka fan. I TRIED to read the first volume of the Dark Horse Astro Boy, but found it so incredibly dumb I couldn’t finish reading it. I also tried reading Metropolis with similar results after I enjoyed the anime. Unfortunately, the manga had almost nothing to do with the anime. Tried reading Buddha, but was put off by the odd New York Bronx accents being spoken by Asians thousands of years ago.  The only work by Tezuka that I have actually liked is his Phoenix saga. I think the guy is overrated. From what little I have read, he seems to have produced a lot of crap titles and and a few really good ones.

     

    Maybe I’m just overreacting to McCarthy’s implication that there can never be anyone as good as Tezuka. Thinking like that disgusts me because if you buy into it, there can never be any progress in the manga field. It rankles me as much as Tom “The Sanctifier” Brokaw saying that the soldiers that fought in WWII were “The Greatest Generation” as though no other soldier ever fought for higher stakes or ever will again. I guess I hate it anytime someone says an artist is “definitive”. Because it is an attempt to put up a wall to block the course of the future. McCarthy’s book is a polar opposite apologia for Chip Kidd’s Bat-Manga, in which the manga artist wasn’t even given credit for his work on the front cover as though he were a leper. Now we have a second rate manga dude being compared to a divine being. Come on. He isn’t Christ.

     

    You can judge Tezuka’s impact on American culture by the whopping box office take of the Astro Boy movie. Nobody was interested. Tezuka no longer matters. If he ever did. He’s just been pumped up by the older generation of manga and anime elitists over the past 20 years. I say screw Tezuka and his pseudo French intellectual beret. Give me Kishimoto, Endo, Arakawa, Tanaka, Tatsumi. Give me the future. And when the hell is someone going to start printing Leiji Matsumoto’s manga works? He is much more important to anime and manga than Tezuka.

    Direct download: ArtofTezuka_500.jpg
    Category:general -- posted at: 10:06pm CDT

    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: 9:57pm CDT

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

    Tokyo Timelapse from nubero on Vimeo.

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

    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 CDT

    Kairi-Moon, A Great Talent

    I've started a new category on the side panel, "Artists", where I will post links to artists that I like. I've put a link to Saelee Oh over there, but there's also another artist I'd like to bring your attention to. Kairi-Moon was featured in the February issue of Neo Magazine. Her real name is Karen Yumi Lusted. She's half Japanese and is in her final year of Animation study. She's currently learning Japanese so she can talk to her family back in Japan and has plans to teach there (she currently lives in England). She would like a job in animation but would enjoy any job where she could be involved with art.

    You can find her webspace with more art and info at:

    http://kairi-moon.deviantart.com/

    Here's a link to some previews for a comic (manga) she did for Itch Publication, entitled "Final Blossom":

    http://www.itchpublishing.com/news/final-blossom/

    Direct download: Music_from_the_Heart_by_Kairi_Moon.jpg
    Category:general -- posted at: 2:52pm CDT

    Check Out Saelee Oh's Art

    I've been meaning to link to to some Asian and Asian-influenced artists for some time now, but have just never got around to it. Giant Robot features one every issue. So I'm taking the plunge with Saelee Oh, who was featured on the magazine a couple of months ago. Of Korean descent and hailing from California, Saelee isn't one of those moody types that likes to stew in solitude. She even likes to invite friends over while she's working, even though she might not be very attentive. She also likes to collaborate with other artists. Her art is very beautiful, with a childlike whimsy mixed with the danger of the adult world, surreal without being unnatural or inorganic. Her art is inviting and makes you smile. Saelee doesn't stay in one place long, preferring a free life, moving among cities. You can check out her blog and more art at:

    http://saeleeoh.blogspot.com/

     

    Direct download: CatchHerBeforeSheFalls.jpg
    Category:general -- posted at: 1:56pm CDT

    Well, hopefully, my feed is running smoothly again. I was having a bit of trouble getting Itunes to upload my newest podcast, #140.  As I mentioned in the blog a little bit ago, Feedburner was migrating its accounts over to Google without the permission of its users and somehow mine was getting lost in the shuffle. It pissed me off that they were mucking about with my feed. So I just took Feedburner out of the equation. And now it seems that my latest show has finally appeared on Itunes. It shouldn't affect your feed if you subscribe to my show, but if it does, again, my feed is:

    http://sesho.libsyn.com/rss

    I would say steer clear of Feedburner if you're looking for a site to get stats about your downloads, because those faceless phantoms could care less about the people that use its services.

    Oh yeah, I guess it's about time that I came up with an illustration to put up for my show on Itunes. Right now its that oddly disturbing upside down ice cream cone with a ball on top of it. I've gone for over a year now without putting up a picture for my show. So maybe it's something I can work on during the holidays.

    Category:general -- posted at: 8:45pm CDT

    I just added my XBOX 360 gamertag to my webpage. Surprise, its "Sesho"! Can you believe it? I have a ton of 360 games but I only play a few of them at any one time. Lately, I've been playing COD 4 and SoulCalibur 4 and I play a lot of Arcade games.  I've been meaning to review the excellent 360 Naruto: Rise of a Ninja game for some time now. It's just beautiful-looking. And the cool thing is that the actors in the anime do the voices for the game. You can hear the Japanese audio track too, if you're like me and hate the dub. When you are playing it feels you like you are really there in the Leaf Village. Plus, all the music from the anime is there as well. Awesome, Awesome, Awesome.

    Anyway, if you ever want to play a game, send me an invite or a friend request. But when you do, tell me or write me that you know me from my show or site. I don't add just anyone. But if you listen to my show, you must be pretty cool. Even though I'm not.

    Oh yeah, just to clear something up. Yes, my name comes from Inuyasha's brother, Sessho-Maru, and YES, I know it's spelled wrong. When I first registered my XBOX 360 gamertag back in 2006, Sessho was already taken, so I just modified the spelling. So that is where the Sesho name started and I liked it, so I used it as my nickname on my website as well. But over the past year, many people pointed out to me that Sesho was misspelled. This is just to let you know that I am not slow.

    Category:general -- posted at: 9:42am CDT

    Hurricane Ike Well, I went to sleep last night around 11pm and thought I might not even wake up when Ike came through. Boy, was I wrong! I woke up around 5am with no power and the sound of cyclonic winds hitting my apartment. I've never been through a tornado but the winds were so strong and so loud that I quickly got all of my stuff like flashlights, radio, and batteries into the bathroom. I called my brother and mother and learned that this had been going on since around 2am, so it was nothing new to them. So when I figured out I wasn't going to die right at that moment I felt a little relief. But not much. I laid down on the floor away from the window (which I had barricaded with boxes of books) and tried to get some rest. But it's kinda hard when you're listening to a radio which is declaring that your city hasn't even seen the worst of the storm yet.

    It was pretty harrowing to sit in the dark and hear just all kinds of weird and unsettling noises like trees splitting, windows shattering, and then you hear the weird ghost sound of something rolling back and forth on top of your roof. And this wasn't a flat roof either. It was sloped and something kept rolling back and forth, back and forth. Who the hell knows what it was. I don't really say "I'm scared" but early this morning I have to admit I was. The last hurricane that hit Houston full blast occurred back in 1983 and I was here for it, but I was a kid and I didn't remember much about it. The really scary thing is that Ike was only a Category 2 storm. I can't even comprehend the damage it would have done if it was a Category 5.

    With the sunrise, you could really get a sense of the devastation of the storm. My apartment was fine (I had a little water drip from the ceiling), except no power and no running water. But some of the other apartments in my complex suffered a lot of damage. Chimneys had fallen over, entire walls had been ripped off, windows had been shattered. The worst damage was to the roofs. The parking lots and walkways are covered with shingles that blew off during the night. I think the last estimate was something like 3 or 4 million people had no power in the Houston area. Cities closer to the coast suffered even more severe damage.

    Now I'm at my mom's place. She's the only one among my friends and family that has power and running water. And I've talked to many people in different areas of the city. My workplace has been closed since Friday and is also going to be shut down on Monday. Who knows when I'll get power and water back. But you know what? I count myself lucky. Because a lot of people have lost houses, cars, valuables, and sometimes even their lives. What is my minor inconvenience compared to that?

    I did manage to read a little manga today on my patio. It kinda helped my get my mind off things. So hopefully, I'll be posting a review later on tonight. Text only, mind you. I didn't bring my microphone.
    Direct download: ike.JPG
    Category:general -- posted at: 6:51pm CDT

    This is the start of my manga review index page covering titles that start with M-Z. Simply click on a title and it will take you to the review. Reviews that are in podcast form will say podcast. Otherwise, the reviews are text. If a review is a podcast, you can click on the pod button or click on the direct download located underneath the show notes.

  • Maison Ikkoku Volume 13
  • Maison Ikkoku Volume 14
  • Mar Volume 15
  • Monkey High! Volume 1 (podcast)
  • My Dearest Devil Princess Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Naruto Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Naruto Volume 2 (podcast)
  • Naruto Volume 3 (podcast)
  • Naruto Volume 4 (podcast)
  • Naruto Volume 5
  • Naruto Volume 14 (podcast)
  • Naruto Volume 22 (podcast)
  • Naruto Volume 28 (podcast)
  • Naruto: Innocent Heart, Demonic Blood
  • Negima! Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Negima! Volume 2
  • Orfina Volume 1 (podcast)
  • The Other Side of the Mirror Volume 1 (podcast)
  • The Outcast Volume 1
  • PhD Phantasy Degree Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Pick of the Litter Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Psycho Busters Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Psycho Busters Volume 2
  • Pumpkin Scissors Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Puri Puri Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Puri Puri Volume 2
  • Rose Hip Rose Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Rose Hip Rose Volume 2
  • St. Lunatic High School Volume 1
  • Samurai Commando Volumes 1-2
  • Sand Chronicles Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Shiki Tsukai Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Shinshoku Kiss Volume 1
  • Sorcerer Hunters Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Sorcerer Hunters Volume 2
  • Sorcerer Hunters Volume 3
  • Sorcerer Hunters Volume 5
  • Space Pinchy (podcast)
  • Strawberry 100% Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Strawberry 100% Volume 2
  • Street Fighter: Sakura Ganbaru! Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Sunshine Sketch Volume 1
  • Tetragrammaton Labyrinth Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Tetragrammaton Labyrinth Volume 2
  • Togari Volume 2 (podcast)
  • Togari Volume 3
  • Uzumaki Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Welcome to the NHK Volume 4
  • Wild Ones Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Yen Plus, August Issue, Part 1 (podcast)
  • Yen Plus, August Issue, Part 2 (podcast)
  • Yggdrasil Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Yotsuba&! Volume 5 (podcast)
  • Zombie-Loan Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Category:general -- posted at: 9:28pm CDT

    This is the start of my manga review index page covering titles that start with A-L. Simply click on a title and it will take you to the review. Reviews that are in podcast form will say podcast. Otherwise, the reviews are text. If a review is a podcast, you can click on the pod button or click on the direct download located underneath the show notes.

  • 10,20, and 30 Volume 1 (podcast)
  • 10,20, and 30 Volume 2
  • Ai Yori Aoshi Volume 17 (podcast)
  • Alice on Deadlines Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Alive:The Final Evolution Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Angel Cup Volume 5
  • Arm of Kannon Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Atelier Marie and Elie Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Batman: Death Mask Issues 1-2 (podcast)
  • Chibi Vampire Volume 5 (podcast)
  • Chunchu the Genocide Fiend Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Color of Rage (podcast)
  • Coyote Ragtime Show Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Cromartie High School Volume 12
  • Eden Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Dance in the Vampire Bund Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Dark Metro Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Dragon Eye Volume 2 (podcast)
  • The Drifting Classroom Volume 7
  • The Drifting Classroom Volume 8
  • Eden Volume 9
  • Elemental Gelade Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Gakuen Alice Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Gantz Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Gon Volume 2 (podcast)
  • Gon Volume 3
  • GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka Volume 1 (podcast)
  • GTO:Great Teacher Onizuka Volume 6
  • GTO:Great Teacher Onizuka Volume 7(podcast)
  • GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka Volume 8
  • Guardian Hearts Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Gunslinger Girl Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Gunslinger Girl Volume 2
  • Gunslinger Girl Volume 3
  • Gunslinger Girl Volume 4
  • Gunslinger Girl Volume 5 (podcast)
  • Gunslinger Girl Volume 6
  • Harukaze Bitter Bop Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Harukaze Bitter Bop Volume 2
  • Heavenshield Volume 1 (podcast)
  • High School Debut Volume 1 (podcast)
  • I, Otaku Volume 1
  • In Odd We Trust (podcast)
  • Inuyasha Volume 22
  • Kashimashi Volume 4
  • Kashimashi Volume 5 (podcast)
  • Koi Cupid Volume 1 (podcast)
  • The Law of Ueki Volume 8 (podcast)
  • The Law of Ueki Volume 9
  • Love Attack Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Category:general -- posted at: 9:22pm CDT

    This is my anime dvd review index page of titles starting M-Z. Simply click on a title and it will take you to the review. Reviews that are in podcast form will say podcast. Otherwise, the reviews are text. If a review is a podcast, you can click on the pod button or click on the direct download located underneath the show notes.

  • Mar Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Maria Watches Over Us Season 1, Episodes 1-3 (podcast)
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Mushi-Shi Volume 1
  • Naruto Uncut Box Set 3 (podcast)
  • Peach Girl Volume 4 (podcast)
  • Phoenix Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Red Garden Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Red Garden Volume 2 (podcast)
  • Rescue Me: Mave-Chan
  • Simoun Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Solty Rei Volume 2
  • Step Up Love Story Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Tekkonkinkreet (podcast)
  • Tokyo Majin Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Tweeny Witches Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Venus Versus Virus Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Welcome to the NHK Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Witchblade Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Witchblade Volume 2
  • Witchblade Volume 3 (podcast)
  • Xenosaga: The Animation Volume 1 (podcast)
  • xxxHolic Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Yo Yo Girl Cop (podcast)
  • Zegapain Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Category:general -- posted at: 9:15pm CDT

    This is the start of my anime dvd review index page. Simply click on a title and it will take you to the review. Reviews that are in podcast form will say podcast. Otherwise, the reviews are text. If a review is a podcast, you can click on the pod button or click on the direct download located underneath the show notes.

  • 009-1 Volume 2
  • 009-1 Volume 3 (podcast)
  • Ah My Goddess: Flights of Fancy Volume 3 (podcast)
  • Air TV Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Air TV Volume 2
  • Air TV Volume 4
  • Appleseed: Ex Machina (podcast)
  • Aquarion Season 1, Part 1, Episodes 1-5 (podcast)
  • Aquarion Season 1, Part 1, Episodes 6-9
  • Area 88 Volume 1
  • Batman: Gotham Knight (podcast)
  • Beck Volume 2 (podcast)
  • Best Student Council Volume 5
  • Black Cat Volume 6
  • Bleach Volume 7: The Entry
  • Buso Renkin Box Set 1, Episodes 1-4 (podcast)
  • Buso Renkin Box Set 1, Episodes 5-8
  • Buso Renkin Box Set 1, Episodes 9-13
  • Eureka Seven Volume 7 (podcast)
  • Flag Volume 1
  • Galaxy Angel AA Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Glass Fleet Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Gunbuster 2 Volume 3 (podcast)
  • Guyver Volume 3
  • Hell Girl Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Innocent Venus Volume 1 (podcast)
  • Innocent Venus Volume 2
  • Category:general -- posted at: 7:38pm CDT

    Magazine Review: Future Anime Magazine a Big Ripoff

    Oh, Future Anime Magazine, of thee I blog, What piece of trash is this that hovers before my eye. What crap on yonder rooftop gleams? Could it be Future Anime Magazine? Yes, it is, quite so.

    Let me just start with a simple imperative sentence. Do not buy this magazine. I will explain why shortly.

    First, its pedigree. It is published by Future, US, Inc. If you dont know, Future is also the publisher of such castrated magazines as Nintendo Power, Playstation: The Official Magazine, and the Official Xbox Magazine. All these magazines are barely disguised, if not completely naked, mouthpieces of three huge and bloated companies. Yet all the writers of these magazines say how impartial they are and how their respective companies can't tell them what to like or not to like. That is, until they fire them for being too critical and they find themselves on the street. So you always have to take their coverage and reviews with a grain of salt. Kinda like a presidential news conference.

    Then there's the editor's note in the opening pages of the magazine where Gary Steinman bitches at anime and manga fans. Bitching about what, you ask? Over the fact that anime and manga fans are no longer buying anime and manga. Instead, they are downloading anime and reading manga in the bookstore aisles. The mistake that Gary makes is that he never qualifies that SOME fans are doing this. Not all. He also probably doesn't realize the failure of both industries to keep their fanbase as they get older. Theoretically, as fans of manga and anime get older, they should be getting better jobs and be able to spend more money on books and dvds. If they kept their fanbase, both mediums should be EXPANDING, not CONTRACTING. I think a lot of kids now that are otaku will leave it behind when they go to college and start families. It's more like a cool fad. There's a difference between passionate, fleeting love for these artforms and passionate, longterm love. Unfortunately, I think the former describes the current state of these markets. I guess before I get any more pretentious I should shut my blog. But sometimes I worry if anime or manga will still be around in 10 years. Hey, I guess I might not be either!

    Anyway, if you're not familiar with Gary, he used to be Editor-In-Chief of Newtype (which has since folded to be replaced by the already folded PIQ), which was a ventriliquist's dummy for ADV (which could be folding, and whose manga line might be folded....so many foldeds, like a blanket of failure.....) and who is the executive editor for the aforementioned lackey Playstation Magazine. So do you see how this magazine might have some issues?

    Ok, now for the insides, the primal guts, the meat in the tamale of this magazine. First of all, the entire anime section of the magazine, except for the Gurren Lagann cover story, are written by one person, Lesley Smith. Well, I wouldn't say written, I would say summarized. The anime stories are almost identical to the format that Newtype used, with big anime photos, a tiny blurb summary, and then a more fleshed out summary with very little if any critical response to the show in question. Just like Newtype, this magazine never finds a series it doesn't like. The fact that the entire section of the magazine is written by one person flagrantly throws the fact that this is going to be boring and one dimensional flatly into your face. Even the Gurren Lagann cover story is written by David Smith, who I strongly suspect is Lesley's husband. Maybe Lesley used Shadow Clone Jutsu to write all these articles?

    Then there's a summer manga guide, written by.........Guess who?.....David and Lesley Smith! Surprise!

    It also includes 12 "sizzling posters". Now if two page posters are your cup of tea, more power to you. But I don't really want to put up posters with a fold and staple holes in them....owww, they're hot!

    Once you've gotten past the pyrotechnic display of the posters, you get to the game section, which was such a ripoff, it almost made me lose my cookies. Why? Well, all the games are supposed to be anime related, even though some aren't. They're conveniently renamed "anime-inspired", which means they "look" animeish, but aren't based on any anime properties. So, anyway, they "ask" the editors of Playstation: The Official Magazine to give them their favorite picks. First up, what the hell is wrong with the Wii and the XBOX 360? You could've found plenty of real anime games from all three systems instead of Gary being lazy and relying on his own POM staff. What makes the reviews of the games even more insulting is the fact that they are almost all lifted word for word from the original Playstation Magazine reviews. Some paragraphs or wording has been changed, but very little. They even use the some screenshots, although they not so cleverly reorient and resize the pictures.

    So in the end, what do I think of this magazine. Is it worth $9.99? Let's just put it this way, if this magazine was thrown on a koala bear, it would turn into a raging bloodthirsty beast. It is a blatant attempt by Future to cash in on a market that doesn't need any more pretenders to be cluttering up shelf space. In fact, you should use the $9.99 you would spend on this litter basket refuse to buy the manga volume that Gary scolded you in his opening statement. In fact, every issue of this magazine that sells does an equivalent exchange for a volume of manga so Gary is just contributing to the problem

    My Grade: F

    Direct download: futureanime.jpg
    Category:general -- posted at: 6:14pm CDT

    Naruto Fangirl and Sesho Confer With Haruhi Suzumiya

    Ok, so I'm really horrible at making headlines. Please forgive me. I haven't posted any reviews in a couple of days. I've been too busy completing an online Defensive Driving course for a speeding ticket I got a couple of months ago. Yep, I got caught burning nitrous on the city streets. Drifting on the roof of the Astrodome. Most of the course is actually text you read in small segments but as soon as I'm done I want to get off the computer. And then there's the rapid impending death of summer coming up on Monday when I return to work after a long vacation. But I have been watching anime and reading manga all the while. I plan to do text reviews of Rose Hip Rose Volume 2, Tetragrammaton Labyrinth Volume 2, and and a podcast for Code Geass Volume 1 (the manga) by weekend's end. Also, an anime text review of Bleach Volume 7.  I guess it could be worse. I coulda not had a vacation at all.

     


     

    Me and my best friend went to a comic store today, and then Borders where I picked up a manga or two. A manga bum that was there actually moved when I wanted to look at the manga! It was incredible! There were also two girls there talking about Yaoi, something about the guy that was on top and the guy that was on bottom (the exact Japanese terms for these positions escapes my mind at the moment....thankfully).  My friend wanted to go into Best Buy so I of course went straight to the anime section. I was standing there looking for about 3 seconds when this girl who looked about 13 or 14 asked "Are you a fan of anime?" I usually don't talk to strangers but we got into a pretty animated discussion about Naruto. She had been watching fansubs of the Naruto Shippuden anime while I had been reading fansubs of the Naruto manga.

    Yes, I admit that. I have bought all 30 volumes of the manga so far and I will continue to buy them as they come out. But I love that series so much that I don't want to wait another two years to read what the Japanese already have. I also have to admit that this is the only series that I've ever sought out online. We talked about some things that would be spoilers for people that haven't read farther than the current releases....way farther, so I won't go into that. I asked her whether she thought Naruto and Sakura would end up together in the end. She said she thought they would. I think he will end up with Hinata. We also talked about whether in the end, Naruto and Sasuke will become friends again. She emphatically said they would. I think they will too, but I think there will be a lot of tragedy before it happens.

    I soon found out that she was trying to figure out a way to butter up her mom to buy her a volume of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya! About that time her mom showed up and I heard her say "Mooooom" in a way that kids do when they ask their parents for something that they know there is a chance they could get......"Moooooom, can I get......" I'll never know if she got that dvd or not.....hopefully she did.

    Speaking of Haruhi, that's a series I need to go back and finish. I own the first volume and that is the only one I have watched. I liked it but for some reason never carried on with it. Now you can get it in a boxed set so maybe I'll wait and save for that.

    Direct download: haruhi.jpg
    Category:general -- posted at: 12:17am CDT

    EGM Does Japan, Naruto, and an Angry Suicide Woman

    Electronic Gaming Monthly is doing a 38 page Special on Japanese videogames and features Soulcalibur 4 on the cover. The game was released yesterday. The cool thing about the next-gen consoles, at least Xbox 360 and PS3 (Wii doesn't count), is that you usually have the option to change to the Japanese voice acting with subtitles on a lot of the titles developed there. It's always cooler to me to play an RPG in the original language. Right now I'm playing Naruto: Rise of a Ninja on 360 and it's cool because you have the option of playing it with the English dub actors or the original Japanese actors from the anime. Speaking of, that will probably be the first videogame review I do for this site. There's another Naruto game in development for the PS3 as we speak (or sorta speak).

     I got Soulcalibur 4 yesterday and have been playing it a bit. It features an online element as well as a custom character option where you can modify existing models of characters. There was a thread on the 360 forums asking whether anyone had tried making any Inuyasha characters. There wasn't any replies so I guess that was a no. But it got me thinking.....

     There was an article in the Houston Chronicle, you know, just one of those little throwaway stories in a far column. It said that a woman had flipped out at a train station in Hiratsuka, about 43 miles southwest of Tokyo. Apparently, she tried to cut her wrist with an army knife, but when she was trying to do it, someone bumped her, and she got pissed, so she stabbed seven men before a crowd held her down. For once it was good that a Japanese train station was crowded! Or was it? I mean she didn't kill herself because she got bumped, but if she had been alone, she wouldn't have stabbed anyone. I think if you try that type of thing in a crowded place, you want to be stopped.

    On the lighter side of things the second Naruto movie came out yesterday. The cheapest I saw it for was $17.99. I was wondering why it was so expensive but it comes with two dvds in a hard case, almost like a hardback book. Pretty cool. Ok, I'm a Naruto nut but I'm a bit behind on the anime. I've read all the manga volumes and also some that have been translated. I've bought all of the uncut boxed sets as they came out, but I think I've only watched through the fourth set. So, yeah, even though I have both movies, I haven't watched either. Maybe I will watch one tonight.

    Direct download: egm.bmp
    Category:general -- posted at: 7:38pm CDT

    Gurren Lagann Beats Batman

    Well, I had put in my order for the Dark Knight Blu-Ray dvd from Amazon, but after reading some negative reviews online, it just did not seem like a safe bet to buy it sight unseen. So I cancelled my order. I'm going to rent it before I put down money on it.

    But I did find an unknown quantity to buy today. I bought the first volume of Gurren Lagann at Best Buy for $19.99. It's quite a good deal from Bandai Entertainment, which seems a complete antithesis of Bandai Visual with its overpriced monstrosities. Bandai Enter has always had very reasonable prices for its anime dvds. This first volume of Gurren actually has two dvds comprising episodes 1-9. You can't beat getting 225 minutes of anime for that price. Thank you Bandai Entertainment! I've never seen the show, but Gainax is doing it so it can't be that bad. (Even though I pretty much despise Evangelion, I like FLCL, Abenobashi). So, hopefully, my money will be worth it and I will enjoy it.

    Direct download: Gurren.jpg
    Category:general -- posted at: 5:18pm CDT

    Ok, I grew up and still live in the South, so trust me, I know all about rednecks, but my experience at Best Buy tonight took the prize. I had went there to buy the boxed set of Noein that was on sale for half price, and picked it up and was browsing the other anime dvds. These two guys with hick accents (its ok, I can say that, since I have a hick accent), came down the aisle and one chuckled and said "Hey, look, it's aniporn!" as he looked at the anime dvds. The other guy, in a similar hick accent replied "Huh? What du ya mean? Are those videogames or something?" Then Hick #1 says back "Nah, these are like porn stuff, they're aniporn". Then they walked off.

    Suffice it to say I was amused by the whole thing, and actually ticked off. It was funny because they were such dumbasses. The thing that pissed me off was the fact that even after all these years, there are people out there that still think all Japanese cartoons and manga involve pornography. And I mean, come on, does anyone really think that Best Buy is going to be carrying porn of any kind? I'll have to do an dramatic reenactment of the conversation on my next podcast.

    Best Buy is selling the box sets of the following series for half price through 4/5/08:

    Complete Series Box Sets

    Tokko $12.49

    Elfen Lied  $15.99

    Noein  $17.49

    Mars Daybreak  $19.99

    Evangelion Platinum  $28.99

    Robotech $37.49

    Samurai Deeper Kyo $29.99 (also includes GBA game)

    Dragonball Z Season 4 $19.99

    Fullmetal Alchemist Season 2 Part 2  $19.99

    Elfen Lied is a great show and Fullmetal Alchemist is as well. I would definitely recommend those two.

    Category:general -- posted at: 9:41pm CDT

    Seven Seas Light Novels Spotted

    It seems the light novels promised by Seven Seas have finally arrived in bookstores, along with some new volumes of manga. I was surprised to see the light novels. They're a bit smaller than regular manga, measuring 10.5 cm x 15cm, containing about 290 pages and costing $7.95. The two volumes I saw were Volume 1 of Pita-Ten and Volume 1 of Strawberry Panic. I'm not a fan of Pita-Ten. Well, I've never read a volume of the series is what I mean.

    I have the first volume of the Strawberry Panic manga but haven't read it so I felt buying the first novel would be a little dumb....even though I did pick up the second volume of the manga while I was there. I find that Seven Seas books are pretty hard to find so I feel compelled to buy them when the going is good. If I like the manga, I'll get the novel. It had some nice presentation with lots of color plates and information about all the main characters. I almost started to get it, but just by reading a bit of it, the novel seem geared to a very VERY young audience in spite of its subject matter and it didn't seem written very well.  Lots of sound effects written out in the text. Like, instead of writing "She hit him in the face" it was "She hit him in the face. BAM!" or "She was eating her lunch" became "She was eating her lunch. MUNCH MUNCH". (Violence disclaimer--nobody gets hit in this manga...that I know of)

    I am waiting for some of the more interesting light novel titles like Ballad of a Shinigami and Gun Princess...or at least more interesting to ME. I know there are a lot of Pita-Ten fans out there. I did pick up volume 5 of Kashimashi. Also picked up Volume 2 of Gakuen Alice and High School Debut.

    WHERE IS BOOGIEPOP!!!???

    Direct download: light_novel.jpg
    Category:general -- posted at: 4:14pm CDT

    I was surprised to see an article entitled The Fangirl's Crush this week in The Houston Chronicle, our one and only newspaper (actually I just moved to a suburb of Houston for cheaper rent and a bigger place). The columnist writes about her daughter's crush on Sasuke, one of the main characters in Naruto. Her daughter seems a little embarrassed about it, to the point that she doesn't want her mom to use her real name, and instead uses the nickname, Mojo. Mojo reads and gets caught with manga at school, watches anime on YouTube, and even writes her own fan fiction about the characters she likes. Interestingly, on the site Fanfiction.net, Naruto has the largest number of stories next to Harry Potter. The writer goes on to comment about the power of girls in the anime and manga buying world. The link for the full article is:

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/moms/5611220.html

    Category:general -- posted at: 3:04pm CDT

    I haven't really mentioned this on my website or on my podcast but I actually started watching and reading anime and manga because I had such an awful job at the time. Going to work was so dreadful back in 2004 that I was looking for something new to occupy my mind. It started with Cowboy Bebop and just ballooned from that point on. Then I started reading manga as well, starting with GTO. I truly believe that without anime and manga that year I probably would have quit my job. The stories were just so interesting and the characters of the type that try to get through the trials in their lives through thick and thin and never give up.

    I finally made the move to a new apartment yesterday and Saturday and what a horrible experience it has been. When I got to the new one, the door key did not work, the A/C was not working, and the phone was not working. The A/C was later fixed. I am just now able to get online after a AT&T technician came earlier today. I was supposed to get $200 of the first month's rent but they tried to say it was only $100 which is still not resolved. We rented a UHAUL truck and when we took it back, the manager said that the moving dolly that was in the truck was not theirs and that I would have to be charged $75! For an item you could buy in a store for 10-20$.  Even though it was the one that was in there when we picked it up. I have boxes stacked everywhere. Man, what a mess. I'm actually going to start getting my manga out of my boxes as a first act on the long road back to sanity. I have been really run ragged this last week or so, so I apologize for not updating my blog/podcast show. I did manage to watch Volume 4 of Air Gear last night, but I just couldn't concentrate and enjoy it fully with so many things on my mind and getting adjusted to a new place. I have also started Volume 1 of the Pumpkin Scissors manga.

    I still have a few items left to get from my old place which I have to formally move out of by Friday so hopefully once that is done I can get a little calmer and less stressed.  This new place just doesn't feel like home right now.  Moving is a pain in the butt....unless you have the money to pay someone to do it for you. I hope to do a podcast and write some text reviews very soon. I feel like I'll be reading and watching more anime and manga in the days to come just to get my mind off things.

    Category:general -- posted at: 7:25pm CDT

    Newest L'Arc~en~Ciel Truth Album Available on Itunes

    The newest Album by L'Arc~en~Ciel, entitled "Truth", is now available for download in the Itunes store for $9.99. It has been out in Japan since November but in the US you can only obtain the physical cd by getting an import. Amazon has it listed for around $40. I'm sure you can find it pretty easily through your favorite Japan store but who can beat $10? As far as I can tell, the only other L'Arc album on Itunes is "Dune" for $11.99.

    Truth features a remix of "Link", the opening song of the Fullmetal Alchemist movie.

    The tracks are as follows:

    1. Seventh Heaven

    2. Pretty Girl

    3. My Heart Draws a Dream

    4. Sunadokei

    5. Spiral

    6. Alone en La Vida

    7. Daybreak's Bell

    8. Umibe

    9. The Black Rose

    10.  Link (Kiss Mix)

    11. Yuki no Ashiato

    12. Hurry Xmas

    Here is the link to Itunes:

    http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=269187920&s=143441

    Category:general -- posted at: 1:43pm 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

    Speed Racer Movie Trailer

    Here is the link for the new Speed Racer Movie Trailer due out next summer and directed by the Wachowski Brothers:

    http://movies.aol.com/movie/speed-racer-2008/28066/main

    You can download it in standard format or you can see it in hi-definition, 480p, 720p, or 1080p. Watching the trailer made me go out and buy the Speed Racer manga. There's only one volume and it is out of print but my comic store has a lot of out of print titles. A boxed hardcover set of the Speed Racer manga is due out in February of next year from DMP for 40$. It's called Speed Racer Mach Go Go Go Box Set. You can pre-order at Amazon.com.

    Speed Racer was the first exposure I had to anime like when I was 6 or 7 even though at that time I had no idea what anime was. Then it was on to Battle of the Planets and the rest is history. So it's cool to see the franchise getting such star treatment. You can really see the anime/manga influence in the trailer, best evidenced by the side shot of Speed racing with motion lines running past his head instead of scenery. It looks a bit too videogame-like to me but I trust the Brothers since they made one of the highest intensity car chase sequences in film history in the Matrix Reloaded. Should be exciting. Looks like it will have a lot of color and more humor than you usually see in their movies.

     

    Category:general -- posted at: 3:47pm CDT

    Well, I've developed a bit of a cold so for the moment my voice sounds like that of Darth Vader crossed with a prepubescent gopher so I probably won't make any podcasts for the next couple of days....but I will post some written reviews.

    I should be posting a review for the 1st volume of the anime FLAG tomorrow, but in the meantime, I would advise not wasting your time watching it. It is pretty awful. More on that later.

    Just to mention two websites, or actually two retailers that I've been using ever since my only anime/manga source in Houston, Anime Avalon (See podcast Episode 10--The Death of Anime Avalon) went out of business about 2 months ago:

     www.rentanime.com

    I've been renting anime from them the past two months are so. They're kinda set up like other mail order rental places like netflix, but they specialize in anime. You pay like 20$ to have 3 dvds out at a time, and after a period of around 90 days you can upgrade to 5 dvds for 30$. It's pretty cool and saves a ton of money. I used to buy anime dvds all the time, but a lot of the time I wouldn't like them and it would be money down the drain. Now I can rent, then buy the titles I really like.

    Another problem I had after Anime Avalon closed was trying to buy manga from one retailer. I still haven't found one store where I can buy ALL my manga but

    www.justmanga.com

    is the closest to fulfilling that role in my life. They discount almost all their manga but the only drawback is that your order has to total $39.99 for you to get free shipping. Actually sometimes, the discounts pay for the shipping even if you order less than that. I was glad to see that Seven Seas had finally released the second volumes of Venus Versus Virus, The Last Uniform, and Tetragrammaton Labyrinth today and ordered them very quickly. I find that the podcasts I do about Yuri titles are the most popular for some reason. The biggest ratings for my podcasts have been for The Last Uniform Volume 1 and Simoun Volume 1....and Hayate the Combat Butler Volume 4 (That's not Yuri, but I'm glad so many people like Hayate...brilliant lovable comedy, like Hare + Guu) The cool thing I like about Justmanga is that they always put a written message like "Thanks for the order" on the receipt in the box and they put a piece of Japanese candy in there too. It just seems a bit more personal than dealing with Amazon or another online retailer.

    Hey Seven Seas! Where the Hell are the rest of the Boogiepop novels??!! Is Amazing Doofus Luna really more important?? And what happened to the rest of the Light Novels you were bringing out?

    Speaking of Anime Avalon, I had kinda put off going by the place after it was closed, but sometimes felt I should go lay a wreath at the doorway or something. I drove past it a couple of weeks back after visiting a nearby bookstore and the windows are tinted so you couldn't even see inside it. It's still kinda sad.

    Maybe the fact that it was freezing cold here in Houston (well, cold for Texans anyway, it was like 39 degrees) and my workplace didn't even turn the heat on, didn't really help my health the past two days.  It was actually colder inside the building that it was outside. Or was it perhaps due to the fact that I was outside of Best Buy on Friday around 4:30am with a light misty rain that was a bigger factor? No, it HAS to be my cold job! Yeah, that's the ticket!

    Category:general -- posted at: 10:02pm CDT

    Just wanted to post the links for the Mangacast and Mangablog sites:

    http://community.livejournal.com/mangacast/

    http://www.mangablog.net/

     

    I highly recommend these sites for news and views on manga. You can also find the Mangacast podcast on Itunes as well.

    Direct download: Sesho_Episode_1__Space_Pinchy.mp3
    Category:general -- posted at: 3:52pm CDT


    If you want to hear one of the podcast episodes, don't click on the title of the episode to download it. Instead, click on the word "Pod" to the left of the episode title. I just thought it might confuse people because the title lights up when you pass the cursor over it. Or you can click on direct download under the shownotes. I'm also now officially on Itunes as "Sesho's Anime and Manga Reviews" so you can always just subscribe to the podcast portion of my page there.


    I just wanted to say hello to everyone and give a thank you to Ed Chavez over at Mangacast for graciously mentioning my fledgling podcast show and website I just started two days ago. I guess it was about a year and half ago that I got my first Ipod mini (it was a hand me down) and discovered the world of podcasting. Of course the first thing I looked for were podcasts about anime and manga. There were some about anime, but they were boring. They mostly consisted of people talking about anything BUT anime, or they were just reading a review they had pre-written.  I subscribed to a couple of shows but after a few weeks I cancelled all of them. As for manga the only show was the Mangacast. Imagine my relief when I actually found a living, breathing person that was not reading from a script in a dull monotone and a person that was passionate enough about manga that his words could come from the heart instead of a script. Listening to his show made ME want to talk about manga as well, but when it comes to the nuts and bolts of technology, I'm pretty much a nitwit!  So it took me this long just to scrap up the resources, the knowledge, the time, and the will to make a show happen. After going through making just a couple of podcasts, I have even more respect for what he and Jack are doing over there at the Mangacast. It takes time and effort to make these things, and also a bit of courage.  I'd also like to give a shout-out to Brigid over at Mangablog.net for getting interesting and important information about the manga community out almost each and every day. I'm a big fan of her site.


    I will be doing podcasts on manga AND anime but I really don't have any predetermined quotas on how many of each I'm going to do each week.  My site will also be a mixture of podcasts and written reviews. Don't know how often I'll be doing shows either. I'm on summer vacation right now so I can almost do a show every day, but when I go back to work in about three weeks, I imagine I'll do at least two podcasts per week and maybe a written review or two as well. So check back often. As for subject matter in anime and manga, I pretty much read and watch everything except yaoi, so other sites will have to do that duty. It's just not my thing. I'll also be looking at manhwa and world manga from time to time, though I haven't found many non-Japanese manga titles I like yet. I have high hopes for Hollow Fields though, which should be coming in the mail this week.


    So thanks everybody for checking out my website and podcasts. Some of the stuff up for review soon are two manga titles: Gintama 1 and Tetragrammaton Labyrinth 1. Also dvd reviews for Galaxy Angel AA Volume 1 and the last volume of Speed Grapher. If you want to contact me you can email me at:   seshos@hotmail.com

    Category:general -- posted at: 4:02am CDT