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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  • Rescue Me: Mave-Chan  Anime DVD Review

    Fighting Fairy Girl Rescue Me: Mave-Chan, Bandai, $9.98, 25 minutes. Director: Takeshi Mori (Stratos 4, Vandread, Gunsmith Cats, Otaku No Video)

    Rei Sugiyama wins a ticket to a Yukikaze/Stratos 4 convention. He's grown up in a small town and he's never been away on his own before so his parents are very reluctant to let him go to the big city. While Rei is being overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people at the convention, he goes through a doorway that leads to another world. He finds himself in a desert where the jets of the anime Yukikaze have taken the form of five cute young girls and women. There's the ditz fighter Mave, the big boobed Super Sylph, the mother hen Sylphide, and the always disrespected duo of One-chan and Two-chan. They are fighting against a super-sized villain named Forgettor. The world that Rei has entered into is the world of the imagination created by the love of the show's fans. But Mave and the other girls exist only as long as the fans interest is not diverted to other anime shows. This lack of attention is embodied in the Demon of the Oblivion, the monstrous Forgettor!

    If you're not familiar with the anime series Yukikaze or Stratos 4 you might be missing the boat by buying this very brief, almost inconsequential one episode dvd. If you don't know, Yukikaze was about an inter-dimensional gate that opened at the South Pole. Groups of highly advanced fighter craft were sent through the gate to battle aliens. I have watched all of the Stratos 4 series, but have only viewed the first volume of Yukikaze. Even if you are a huge fan of those two shows, there's nothing really here to write home about. While the animation is done quite well, there is not enough time to do anything with the characters and the cheezy storyline is so bad that its really not even worth mentioning. This dvd seems like an overlong promo clip to be shown at conventions to slavering otaku fans who would love any cute girl in military fatigues. For a regular fan of anime, it's simply a waste of money. This should be sold with Freedom Volume 1 as a double rip-off special. Ok, actually this one episode of Mave-chan was Oscar-caliber compared to the HD-DVD release of Freedom Volume 1. At least we're not being charged 40$!

    My Grade: D-

    Direct download: mavechan.jpg
    Category:Anime DVD Reviews -- posted at: 9:42pm CDT

    Episode 48: Zombie-Loan Volume 1 by Peach-Pit

    Podcast Episode 48: Manga Review for Zombie-Loan Volume 1 by Peach-Pit. Translated by Christine Schilling. Originally published in Japan by Square Enix in 2003. Published in US by Yen Press, $10.99. Rated Older Teen.

    Michuru Kita does not have much to live for these days. Her aunt and uncle, who are caring for her after her parent's death, have no love for her and see her as a hindrance and a financial burden. They only take care of her in the hopes of getting some of Michiru's inheritance. At school, her uncaring attitude about life makes her the unofficial gopher of the other girls. Her life would have stayed pretty bland, but she runs into two bishonen, Chika and Shito, who happen to be undead zombie hunters. The two guys hunt zombies for money to buy their humanity back from the Zombie Loan shop. And they want to use her Shinigami Eyes, her ability to see those who should be dead,to make their job easier.

    My Grade: C-

    Direct download: Episode_48--Zombie_Loan_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:32pm CDT

    Innocent Venus Volume 2: Blood of Betrayal

    Anime DVD review for Innocent Venus Volume 2: Blood of Betrayal, ADV Films, $29.98, 100 minutes, Episodes 5-8.

    Jin, Joe, Sana, and Gora are still on the run from Phantom but they manage to find at least a temporary respite from the pursuit by hiding out at the dojo of a man named Chikura. A man who just happens to be Sana's grandfather. He is training rebels for the growing insurgeny against the Logos. He also has a lot of the scientific research left behind by Sana's father, which Jin is mightily interested in. Mysteries deepen when Sana reacts very strongly to particular musical notes as she and Jin play a piano piece, causing her to faint and lose consciousness. But our heroes can't stay in one place for long before Phantom and government forces arrive to root them out. Jin and Joe and the others hook up again with the pirate leader and former Phantom member Toraji Shiba as he transports them to his home city of Satsuma, a city which prides itself on equality and peacefulness. A city, by the way, that is priming a secret war fleet to strike against the Japanese government.

    Volume 2 of this series really upped the ante in terms of quality as the plot became more clear and the writers came up with some very good character twists. While Volume 1 was good, with all the action and emotional baggage the characters had, the viewer had a hard time making sense of the world of Innocent Venus. Now that we've settled into the show a bit, it's a little easier to understand everything that is going on. The animation of this show is incredible. Even during the fastest battle sequences, the show never uses cheap stills or motion lines to imply action. The mecha battles, which are done with CG, still do not blend extremely well with the rest of the show, but it is less blaring because most of the fights occur at night. Be prepared for a cliffhanger at the end of this volume.

    Extras are pretty skimpy. Only includes clean opening/closing.

    My Grade: A-

    Direct download: innocent_venus2.jpg
    Category:Anime DVD Reviews -- posted at: 10:48am CDT

    Episode 47: Welcome to the NHK Volume 1 Anime DVD

    Podcast Episode 47: Welcome to the NHK Volume 1 anime DVD review. ADV Films, Episodes 1-4, $29.98.

    22-year-old Tatsuhiro Sato has a big problem. He is an Hikikomori, a recluse who refuses to leave his apartment except for extreme neccesities like food. He has deluded himself into thinking his problems are all caused by a vast conspiracy being perpetrated by the NHK, a Japanese broadcasting company. Sato believes that by airing so many good anime shows, the NHK has a plan to turn everyone into Hikikomori. Sato does not see any way to change his life until he meets a cute girl named Misaki, who promises to cure him if he will sign a contract with her. He also becomes involved in making an ero game with his next door neighbor in a bid to return to the normal world and to prove to Misaki that he is not a complete loser.

    My Grade: A

    Direct download: Episode_47--Welcome_to_the_NHK_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:52pm CDT

    Episode 46: He Is My Master Volume 2 by Mattsu and Asu Tsubaki

    Episode 46: Manga Podcast Review for He Is My Master Volume 2. Story by Mattsu. Art by Asu Tsubaki. Translated by Beni Axia Conrad. Adapted by Janet Houck and Bambi Eloriaga. Originally published in Japan by Square Enix in 2004. Published here by Seven Seas, $9.99. Rated Older Teen (16+) even though there is no nudity or fan service whatsoever. Compared to other Older Teen titles, Master is quite tame and harmless.

    Yoshitaka is a young 14-year-old who is filthy rich after his parents die in a car accident. Not knowing how to take care of himself, he hires three girls to be his maids: The two sisters, Izumi and Mitsuki, and Anna. Yoshitaka intends to spend his money indulging all his wildest fantasies, which mostly consist of creating awkward innuendo filled situations with the three girls. But he's not the only pervert in the mansion. Mitsuki's pet alligator, Poochi, has a thing for Izumi, and so does Anna, even if she is a girl too!  A good and goofy episodic comedy, if a bit mindless.

    My Grade: B+

    Direct download: Episode_46--He_Is_My_Master_2.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:53pm CDT

    Episode 45: Xenosaga the Animation Volume 1

    Episode 45: Anime DVD Pocast Review for Xenosaga the Animation Volume 1, ADV Films, $29.98. Running Time: 100 minutes, Episodes 1-4

    4,000 years after humanity has left Earth and colonized the galaxy, we are at war with an alien race known as the Gnosis. Normal weapons are ineffective against them because the Gnosis can dematerialize at will a la Kitty Pryde and let weapons pass through them. Only an attack known as the Hilbert Effect can make them become solid enough to destroy. Shion Uzuki, an engineer for Vector Industries, has helped develop a beautiful anti-Gnosis android weapon named Kos-mos to help in the battle. In addition to being surrounded by 30,000 Gnosians, she is also on the ship that has the Zohar, a mysterious golden monolith that not only attracts aliens but also various human factions that want a slice of its power.

    My Grade: B+

    Direct download: Episode_45--Xenosaga_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:02pm CDT

    The Drifting Classroom Volume 6 by Kazuo Umezu

    Manga Review for The Drifting Classroom Volume 6 by Kazuo Umezu. Translated by Yuji Oniki. Published by Viz in June 2007 under their Signature imprint. Originally published in Japan by Shogakukan in 1974. $9.99, Rated "M" for Mature.

    Boy, do the kids of Yamato Elementary School have it rough. Not only have they had to deal with murderous teachers, bullies, starvation, dehydration, a giant insectoid monster born out of a student's nightmares, a swarm of flesh-eating miniature insectoid monsters, but now they face an outbreak of the Black Plague. Yep, that's bubonic plague for people in the know. The student body has turned on each other with the infected being boarded up in a school building and in danger of being burned alive by the rest of their classmates. Sho and a small group of his friends must devise a way to rescue them. The only way to stop the plague is to get a vaccine but it's not like there's a slight shortage of medicine in the wastelands. Sho is still able to contact his mother telepathically somehow but where could you possibly place the medicine so it will be safe for decades, or possibly hundreds or even thousands of years? And how is she going to get her hands on it? Nobody but her can hear Sho's voice and her husband is starting to think she might be going a bit crazy.

    The Drifting Classroom is a good read, don't get me wrong, but some of the things that happen in this sixth volume go beyond even the widest range of possibility. Sho tells his mom to put the medicine in a mummy he found in the basement of a ruined hospital but what are the odds that same mummy is going to be in the exact hospital at the exact time that his mother searches for it. And how is medicine going to stay good for years and years through a nuclear war or whatever led to the world that Sho and the others are living in? Medicine has expiration dates for a good reason. Also, the lineup of afflictions that are assailing Yamato Elementary are almost Biblical in proportion and are getting to be quite sadistic. I'm HOPING that all this is going to have a point. Right now, I'm just trying to enjoy the series without thinking too much how it's all going to end. It seems that the kids haven't figured out that their thoughts are having a great effect on the environment. Maybe they should just all chant together "There's no place like home" and they will magically wake up in their own beds in their own homes.

    My Grade: B

    Direct download: drifting_classroom_6.jpg
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 8:33pm CDT

    Episode 44: Dark Moon Diary Volume 1 by Che Gilson and Brett Uher

    Episode 44: Manga Podcast Review for Dark Moon Diary volume 1. Story by Che Gilson. Art by Brett Uher. Published by Tokyopop, $9.99, Rated T for Teen Ages 13+.

    After her parents die, 15-year-old Priscilla does not have any other family to live with except her Aunt Lilith in the European town of Nachtwald. Little does she know that the town is inhabited by all kinds of weird creatures and supernatural beings such as vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and witches. Her aunt and uncle turn out to be vampires! Priscilla seems to be the only normal human in town. This is not only a social problem as her cousin, Kitten, refers to her as a lowly entree, but a matter of survival as well. The only things to eat in the area are items such as severed toes, raw meat, spiders, and other stomach turning unpalatable refuse. This light-hearted horror comedy is a good read to get into the Halloween mood but falls way short of measuring up to Japanese shojo manga. I DID like it better than St. Lunatic High School though, a Japanese manga that was very similar to this world manga

    My Grade: C

    Direct download: Episode_44--Dark_Moon_Diary_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:57pm CDT

    Mar Volume 15 by Nobuyuki Anzai

    Manga review for Mar Volume 15 by Nobuyuki Anzai. Translated by Kaori Inoue and adapted by Gerard Jones. Published September 2007 by Viz for $7.99  Rated "T" for Teens. Originally published in Japan by Shogakukan in 2003.

    The War Games are over after Team Mar defeated the last Chess Pieces but there is unfinished business still left. Princess Diana kidnapped Snow and is holding her at Lestava Castle. And just because they defeated the Chess Pieces doesn't mean Phantom and the other surviving members are just going to lay down and play dead for Ginta and his pals when they enter the castle. Dorothy still has some unfinished business as well. Even though Diana is her sister, she has sworn to kill her because of all the evil she has done. But Diana's plans extend not only to Mar Heaven but to our world as well. Yeah, that's right, she wants to conquer Earth as well. And what about the KING of the Chess Pieces? Wait till you get a load of him! Will Ginta and the others be able to defeat the King and Queen and will Ginta be able to return to his own world after it's all over? You'll have to read this last volume of Mar to find out.

    The amazing thing about Mar is that it has been able to keep my attention for 15 volumes without boring me. The wispy plot of the series reduces every moral choice to a battle of the most physical kind. If someone is evil, you fight them, not with words or kind deeds, but by beating the crap out of them until they are either dead or unable to fight. In a series of this type might always makes right, and we're just lucky that the good guys (and girls) seem to be stronger most of the time. That's not to say that there were no moments of reasoning or rational dialogue between combatants or appeals to the better side of humanity. These did occur but only in the midst of beating the snot out of each other. I really liked these characters and their overwhelming drive to not only make themselves better but to also save their world from being destroyed. The artwork by Nobuyuki Anzai was excellent throughout the series but it would be cool to see him team up with a great manga writer to produce something with a bit more complexity and less pummelling. I'm gonna miss this series.

    My Grade: B+
    Direct download: mar_15.jpg
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 5:36pm CDT

    Episode 43: Kamiyadori Volume 3 by Kei Sanbe

    Episode 43: Manga Podcast Review for Kamiyadori Volume 3 by Kei Sanbe. Translated by Ray Yoshimoto and adapted by Mike Wellman. Published by Tokyopop for $9.99. Originally published in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten in 2005.

    Jillald, Vivi, and other members of their Scudra team are sent, along with a new character, a sexy Right Arm named Kismee, to investigate a research lab where a mysterious red snow has fallen. It is a place with some very bad karma. 16 years ago, at a village near the site, a villager went crazy and slaughtered 30 of his people. Then, 4 years ago, during a red snowfall, a military officer named Clevort went on his own killing spree at the lab and killed 60 scientists. Imagine the team's surprise when they find out Clevort is one of their fellow team members!  Website: www.sesho.libsyn.com email: seshos@hotmail.com

    My Grade: C+

    Direct download: Episode_43--Kamiyadori_Volume_3.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:43am CDT