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

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  • Episode 39: The Fall of Geneon and a Review for Witchblade Volume 1

    First up, some thoughts on the continually expanding mess that is Geneon... Hmmm.....rhymes with Enron...hmmmm...then it's on to a review of the first volume of the Witchblade anime from Funimation.

    Six years ago Masane Amaha and her daughter Rihoko were found at the epicenter of a giant earthquake that reduced most of Tokyo to rubble and even submerged areas in the sea. She had no memories of her life before that moment when she woke with a child she had no recollection of in her arms. If not for medical records, the authorities would not have known Rihoko was her daughter. Over the past six years Masane has grown to love Rihoko and will not allow the Child Welfare Department to take her away. While languishing in a jail cell, she is attacked by a mysterious organic machine called an Ex-Con, which triggers the sentient Witchblade, an ancient weapon born to destroy and fight.

    My Grade: A-

    Direct download: Episode_39--Witchblade_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:49pm CDT

    Street Fighter: Sakura Ganbaru! Volume 1 by Masahiko Nakahira

    Manga Review for Street Fighter: Sakura Ganbaru! Volume 1 by Masahiko Nakahira. Translated by Michelle Hayashi and Rie Shibazaki. Adapted by Jim Zubkavich and Matt Moylan. Published by Udon for $12.95, size: 8.1 x 5.8 inches. Originally published in Japan by Shinseisha.

    15-year-old Sakura Kasugane has a secret life outside of school that she doesn't want her parents to know about. She is a street fighter being trained by a martial artist from Hong Kong named Dan Hibiki. He  originally came to Japan to study martial arts but he has become more and more intrigued by Sakura's natural talent when it comes to studying fighting techniques. All he has to do is show her a move and she can not only mimic it but incorporate her own personal styles to compliment it. Another student at her school, the heir to the vast Kazuki business empire, Karin Kazuki, is also a street fighter. Her ancestors were great warriors who lived by the motto "In all things, be victorious!" She has translated this belief into becoming the greatest street fighter in the city. She has no equal until she encounters Sakura, and then she sets all her energy into defeating her.

    I was never a big fan of the Street Fighter videogames, even though I remember when it was strictly a stand up arcade game. There was a time when Street Fighter 2 coming to the Sega Genesis was the biggest news this side of Halo 3. I bought the game and was decidedly underwhelmed by the experience, perhaps because my best friend could beat me easily. But I like the IDEA of the videogames and the design of its characters and I like a bit of fighting manga so I decided to give Sakura Ganbaru a shot. First up, the art is awful. Nakahira's characters all look a bit plump and the two main female leads look the opposite of feminine. Even when there's a panty shot, it feels like you're looking at a guy in his underwear because of Nakahira's lack of knowledge or total denial of the female body. I would even call the art a bit primitive. While the fights should have plenty of money shots, they mostly consist of blurred drawings with what look like small explosions signifying impacts. You really shouldn't have an artist that does poor fight panels doing a manga like Sakura. The personalities of the characters were interesting, if a bit colorless, but the art was just way too ugly. Has six color plates and some bonus pages taken from the Street Fighter Alpha manga showing how Sakura met Ryu.

    My Rating: C

    Direct download: sakuraganbaru.jpg
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 11:14pm CDT

    Episode 38: Hikaru No Go Volume 7 by Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata

    Podcast #38 of Sesho's Anime and Manga Reviews. A few comments on Xbox 360 failures and Naruto videogame, a manga writing relative of a co-worker, and the rudeness of ANN, then it's on to a review of Volume 7 of the Hikaru No Go manga.

    Hikaru No Go Volume 7. Written by Yumi Hotta and drawn by Takeshi Obata of Deathnote fame. Translated and adapted by Andy Nakatani. Published by Viz as part of their Shonen Jump line. Originally published in 1998 by Shueisha in Japan. $7.95, For all ages.

    Hikaru is currently ranked 18th in the Insei B League and does not appear be moving up in the ranks at all. It is three months until the Young Lions Tournament in which Insei play against rookie pros. If Hikaru hopes to play against Akira Toya, he has to at least be ranked 16th in the A League. He has his work cut out for him and the fear in his heart is keeping him from making any progress towards his goal.

    My Grade: A+

    Direct download: Episode_38--Hikaru_No_Go_7.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:47pm CDT

    St. Lunatic High School Volume 1 by Majiko!

    Review for St. Lunatic High School Volume 1 by Majiko! Translated by Alethea and Athena Nibley for Tokyopop, $9.99. Originally published in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten in 2004. For ages 13+.

    Niko Kanzaki and her brother Atchan have fallen on hard times. They live alone and are behind on their rent and sometimes there are barely able to keep from starving. But Fate seems to cast a favorable eye on them when Atchan gets a job as a nightschool teacher at the prestigious and elite St. Lunatic High School. The ad that he responded to said the position came along with free housing including a private bath, toilet, and garden. When they arrive on the school grounds they are shocked to discover that they will be living in a hellhole shack even worse than the ratty apartment they were in! The bath and toilet they were promised turns out to be the school restroom facilities that all the students use. The garden just turns out to be the school's landscaped grounds. As an added bonus, Niko is allowed to attend night classes with her brother as homeroom teacher. The aspect of this manga that pushes it from normal school life to the realm of the bizarre and strange is that the students that attend St. Lunatic at night are all DEMONS! And most of them are pretty funky looking. You have skeletons, human sized frogs, pumpkinheads, a walking Easter Island statue, and a penguin that looks like it fell out of Disgaea. There is one fellow student that looks human, a handsome boy named Ren-kun, but even he is a demon who can fly with the use of bone-like wings. Being the only human in the class, Niko faces a lot of discrimination from the demon children but she's trying her best to get along with them and learn at the same time.

    St. Lunatic High School was a manga that Tokyopop originally offered for sale only on their website, a fate that some titles were subjugated to because of low sales expectations. It turns out that the lack of belief in this title was justified. Relative to the writing and concept, the art was the standout of this first volume. Majiko's style and character designs reminded me a bit of Takeshi Obata's work on Hikaru No Go but with less attention to detail and backgrounds. The writing is where this book suffers the most. First of all, the concept of a demon night school, while not the most original in the world, could've worked if the characters had been anything more than voided lumps of flesh with no personality. The comedy aspects of the book were also flat and humorless. There just wasn't anything interesting going on in this manga and it became rather boring. If you read this book on a Monday, by Friday you won't remember much about it.

    My Rating: D

    Direct download: st.lunatic.jpg
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 11:11am CDT

    Episode 37: The Law of Ueki Volume 7 by Tsubasa Fukuchi

    Podcast review for The Law of Ueki Volume 7 by Tsubasa Fukuchi. Translated and adapted by Yoshiko Tokuhara and Filomila Papakonstantinou. Originally published in Japan in 2001 by Shogakukan. Released in the states by Viz for $9.99. Rated T for Teen.

    Ueki has whittled Robert's 10 down to 2 but these last two members might just be the most powerful. First up is Taro Myojin, who is a cheater because he has TWO powers: the power to change whistles into laser beams and the power to change cards into saws. Then a King Candidate named Inumaru reveals that his champion, Seiichiro Sano is the last member of Robert's 10 and that he wishes to save him from the evil influence of Robert Haydn. At this point it's not clear whether Sano joined of his own freewill or he was somehow forced. Ueki and friends proceed to a showdown in Robert's underground hideout, Dogra Mansion.

    My Grade: B+

    Direct download: Episode_37--The_Law_of_Ueki_7.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:02pm CDT

    Episode 36:Ah My Goddess Season 2, Flights of Fancy: Volume 3

    Reunited And It Feels So Good. After a brief overview of this series, it's on to a podcast review of the third volume of the second season of Ah My Goddess. Keiichi has his hands full when a fourth goddess, Peorth, arrives on the scene to fulfill his hidden desires. She sets about doing anything to get him alone in order to seduce him into uttering his wish. But even Keiichi is at a loss as to what that wish is. Then an ex-member of the auto club comes to town, and is shocked to see how much the club has changed since she left. Her and Keiichi hit it off and agree to race tiny motorcycles. Urd has her own romantic entanglements as an old lover called the Troubadour returns after years or centuries of questing for the mythical Golden Nightingale.

    ADV Films, $29.98, 100 minutes.

    My Grade: B

    Direct download: ah_my_goddess.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:52pm CDT

    Best Student Council Volume 5: Special Talents, Crazy Times

    Pucchan isn't the only puppet on the block anymore. Izumi finds a puppet named Lance in a box in an alley that has the same abilties of sentience as Pucchan. Lance actually knows Pucchan as well. It seems they are old friends and both used to serve Rino's mom back in the old days. His arrival ushers in the fact that Rino has a far more important role to play at the school than was previously thought, even though it's pretty mysterious at this point. There are many mentions of her awakening that leaves the viewer a bit confused as to what Rino is. Rino's friend, Ayumu, takes centerstage when she is enlisted to become a pop idol, being marketed under the slogan My ordinariness is what makes me special. It brings some unwanted attention from her ninja clan family who see her as a traitor because she turned her back on the martial arts in the pursuit of a normal life. Her brother is sent to bring her back or kill her! The last episode concerns a Yu-Gi-Oh type trading card game which uses the Best Student Council as its characters. Most of the students play it and it's also a big revenue source. But some of the Council are not happy with their stats on the cards and want to revise them to be more flattering.

    This is one of the weaker volumes in an otherwise very funny series. The addition of Lance to the cast for a brief time is the prize catch in my view. When he first meets Pucchan, they engage in a slow motion Matrix-like battle that is hilarious. The great thing about Best Student Council is that beneath the humor and zaniness, the characters have depth. For example, Ayumu's battle with her brother ninja is a little goofy on the surface, but the emotional context of it is a very human thing. She wants freedom to do what she wants and her family is stifling her. Even the whole pop idol facet of it is a satire of a Japanese industry that takes young girls and uses them for a time and casts them aside when they are no longer hip. That's the trick for this kind of show. To not only make you laugh at and with the characters, but to make you care for them as well. A funny and sometimes surprisingly touching anime.

    My Grade: B

    Category:Anime DVD Reviews -- posted at: 11:40am CDT

    Episode 35: Kamiyadori Volume 2 by Kei Sanbe

    Episode 35: Manga Podcast Review for Kamiyadori Volume 2 by Kei Sanbe. Translated by Ray Yoshimoto and adapted by Mike Wellman. Published by Tokyopop for $9.99. First published in Japan in 2004 by Kadokawa Shoten. For Ages 18+.

    Vivi and Rady are trapped in the Deep Isolation Temple, unable to move against Yotsume and the Infected Liberation Front because they have no weapons. That doesn't keep Vivi from assaulting them kamikaze style, exposed rear end and all. The whole thing appears suicidal because Yotsume seems to have the power of a Right Arm, which no human can beat. Meanwhile, Jillald and the other Scudra forces try to force their way into the complex to help Vivi and Rady before it's too late.

    My Grade: A

    Direct download: Episode_35--Kamiyadori_Volume_2.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:36pm CDT

    Episode 34:Pick of the Litter Volume 1 by Yuriko Suda

    Podcast review for Pick of the Litter Volume 1 by Yuriko Suda. Translated by Alethea and Athena Nibley. Adapted by Kristin Bailey Murphy. Published by Tokyopop. First published in Japan in 2004 by Kadokawa Shoten. $9.99

    Riku Fukagawa has no memory of ever having a family. He was discovered walking the streets alone five years, knowing only his name. He lived in orphanages for the next couple of years and it was there that he decided his life would be spent helping others. Now, he's living in school dorms and is heavily involved in student life. That's when some weird street vendors show up claiming that he is their lost brother and that Riku was not even born in this world! Maybe that's why one of his brothers has rabbit ears? They take him back to their land through a dimensional gateway to see if it will jog his memory.

    My Grade: C-

    Direct download: Episode_34--Pick_of_the_Litter_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:07pm CDT

    Episode 33: Togari Volume 2 by Yoshinori Natsume

    Togari Volume 2 by Yoshinori Natsume. Translated by Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt. Published by Viz. First published in Japan in 2001 by Shogakukan. $9.99. Rated T+ for Older Teens.

    Tobei has been roasting in Hell for around 300 years, ever since he was executed at the young age of 16 for innumerable crimes. In those 300 years of torture and pain he has never once renounced his crimes or felt remorse. Now Lady Ema, the overseer of Hell, offers him a deal. If he can destroy 108 sins, called Toga, in 108 days, he can get out of Hell. He is given a wooden sword called Togari and sent to Earth. One of his guards, Ose, also accompanies him, mainly staying in the form of a dog. If he even thinks about committing a sin, his old execution wound opens. He is also not allowed to hurt the human host of a Toga. If he does, his head is in danger of falling off his body! Will human kindness be able to turn him away from his dark past of killing and stealing?

    My Grade: A-

    Direct download: Episode_33--Togari_Volume_2.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:19pm CDT