Archive for March, 2009

Yen+, March Issue Review

March’s Yen+ features the return of Maximum Ride, complete with several colored pages and a wonderful interview with Narae Lee, the illustrator.

The interview was definitely interesting. It provided a good insight into how manga- and manhwa-ka are born. Though Narae Lee’s story is far from typical, it’s inspiring none-the-less. She’s a very talented artist, especially for being so young, and I don’t think I’m alone in expecting some really great work from her in the future. I think it was interesting for many to realize that though the story is American, the artist lives in Korea. Speaking of the story, it would have been nice to see an interview with James Patterson, to see how the story was formed, and not just art and character design.

Many of us Yen+ readers were frustrated that rather than picking up with Maximum Ride where January’s issue left off, a chapter was actually skipped. To be honest, it doesn’t sound like Narae Lee took a month off to me, but rather that Yen Press wanted to force us to pick up volume one of Maximum Ride to read that last chapter. I don’t know this for a fact, but several other readers share this opinion with me. However, Yen Press did give a little present with a few full color pages to open up the chapter. I wonder if these will also appear in the second volume of the manga? We won’t find out for a while.

Another full color surprise was the fanart section. There’s a really great picture of Jack Frost that I think fans of the comic will really enjoy. I’m a little disappointed in some of the selections the Yen Press crew makes, as I’m certain they must get some really great pieces that get left out. In the future, I really hope that keep up with the colored fanart section.

This issue also featured a new little blurb called “Otaku Pimp,” which is apparently written by a friend of the editor’s. Hmm… At any rate, I was far from impressed. It was really a waste of paper in my eyes. It was merely the ramblings of some guy who likes Japan, wants to be a pimp, and think’s he’s pretty awesome. You could find that guy in just about any comic book store. Maybe the section will get better, but if it continues to be exactly what it was in this issue, I’ll simply be skipping over it in the future.

The preview of Goong is getting a little old. It appears for its third installment in this issue, which seems a bit ridiculous. I love that Yen Press decided to implement previews, and I plan on buying Legend due to its preview a few issues back, but it’d be nice to see more variety. Perhaps much of my ill-will towards it lies in my not liking Goong (the art irks me and the story doesn’t do much to make up for it to me), but even if this were something I liked, I would be getting tired of it. I wish that if YP were going to practically serialize volume one of something, they could at least stick in another preview in the third issue. On top of this, instead of previewing something new next month, it looks like we won’t be getting a preview at all.

Chapter Spotlights
Pig Bride
was interesting. We got to see a side of Doe-Doe that we haven’t seen much of. I’ve been looking forward to see more of that harshness, more of who she really is.

Time and Again is seeming pretty interesting so far. Like a lot of the stuff that’s come over from Korea so far,  it has a nice historic, traditional basis. The characters seem to have quite the backgrounds from this month’s chapter. Can’t wait to see more of that!

In Nabari no Ou, we’re being shown more about how the secret world works, which I definitely love. I like the way in which they’re presenting that, rather than having explained it all from the beginning. It gives us a chance to really feel like we’re in Miharu’s shoes. I imagine we have quite a lot to expect from this one, since it’s been in serialization for about four and a half years in Japan now.

I think my favorite chapter from this month was Soul Eater. A lot of plot development is going on (something I didn’t really expect to see here), but the flavor of comedy is still totally there. I’m anxious to see where this goes.

All in all this was a pretty good issue with some great chapters. However, there was room for improvement (like not skipping a chapter of something!).


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Canon, Series Review

I’m so sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted. I’ve been sick and had a lot going on with school. I have another post about half-written, so I should definitely have something for Tuesday. But if anyone would like to volunteer to write something, that’d be great!

Author: Chika Shiomi
Release Dates: ’07-’08
Genre: Suspense, Vampires
Publisher: CMX Manga

Seven months ago, a classroom of high school kids was found dead. 39 lifeless bodies were found with no visible wounds, and autopsy reports found no cause of death. One student escaped this mysterious fate, Canon Himuro. The man that had killed her classmates had decided to leave her alive, as a vampire. Now Canon lives a life of returning newly created ‘servant’ vampires back into humans, always searching for the man with the silver hair and blue eyes that had slaughtered her friends. She then meets Sakaki, a half-human, half-vampire that appears to share her hatred of the man with silver hair and blue eyes. But the world of vampires is a world of deception. Everyone is telling her that Sakaki is at fault for her fate, but she remembers seeing the silver haired, blue eyed vampire kill her classmates. Who should Canon trust?

A while back, I picked up the first volume of a manga about vampires. I never read it, but after seeing it on my shelf, a friend bought me the rest of the series – a whopping three more volumes – for Christmas. When I began writing a story about vampires a couple months ago, I thought it might be a good idea to give that vampire manga a shot, if only for research. What I didn’t expect was to be drawn into the amazing world of Canon.

Canon is no newbie. Though the series only came out in the US during 2007 and 2008, it was first serialized in Japan from 1994 to 1996. At first, the 90s style of speech and clothes stuck out to me, the way it does when I watch something like Saved by the Bell. By the end of the first volume, though, I was completely sucked in. The older look of the art reminded me of the anime I watched as a kid, and it’s a style you don’t often see anymore. It’s comparable to the Sailor Moon manga, especially in the cover art.

The story isn’t particularly unique. A girl is saved from her terminal illness by a vampire with a weakness for humans, and then another vampire turns her into a vampire to fight for him. Despite how cliche it may sound, the twists and deceptions are what really make Canon a fantastic story. I’m usually pretty good at pacing myself with manga, but it was very, very hard here. I just had to know what was going to happen next. Shiomi-san spaced the story out just about perfectly. It’s on the shorter side at only four volumes, but after finishing the series, I don’t think I’d have wanted it to drag much longer. Honestly, I would have liked if it had moved a little more slowly, because there were times when I couldn’t keep up with all that had happened.

In the end: If you like vampires, check out this manga. Don’t expect it to be filled with romance like Twilight, and it doesn’t have nearly as much plot as does Vampire Knight. This is a short, casual read. If you use a manga rental service, it’s definitely a rental, though I think it is well worth the money to buy. If you’re not into the vampire trend, this won’t hold much for you, as very, very little takes place that doesn’t involve vampires.

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Hey guys. I’m having a mono relapse right now, and I can’t really concentrate at the moment. If anyone wants to write a review or two in my place while I’m sick, let me know, alright?

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