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.


Manga Reviews
Anime DVD Reviews
Novel Reviews
Anime Review
Magazine Review
Blu-ray Reviews
Streamed Anime Reviews













October 2007
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31


Sesho Maru

Create Your Badge

My Review Index By Title

  • My Anime Reviews A-L
  • My Anime Reviews M-Z
  • My Manga Reviews A-L
  • My Manga Reviews M-Z
  • VAMPYBIT.ME - The official Linda Le Weblog

    Free To View Anime

  • Anime News Network
  • Aniplex on Youtube
  • Bandai on Youtube
  • Crunchyroll
  • Funimation
  • Anime
  • Viz Anime
  • Free Online Manga

  • Shonen Sunday
  • Viz Ikki
  • Free Online Games

  • Alteil
  • Battlefield Heroes
  • Combat Arms
  • Dungeon Fighter Online
  • Games Campus
  • Mabinogi
  • Maple Story
  • Neosteam
  • Ragnarok
  • Shin Megami Tensei
  • Anime and Manga Blogs

  • Anime Vice
  • Anime Genesis (podcast)
  • Astronerd's Anime and Manga Blog
  • Comics 212
  • Emily's Shoujo Manga
  • An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla
  • Flipped
  • I Heart Manga
  • JapanBlogLink
  • Japanamerica
  • Kuriousity
  • Madeleine Rosca
  • The Manga Critic
  • Manga Recon
  • Manga Xanadu
  • Mangablog
  • Ninja Consultant
  • PopKissKiss
  • Precocious Curmudgeon
  • R5 Central (Podcast)
  • Rocket Bomber
  • The Shooting Star Project
  • Simplicity
  • Sporadic Sequential
  • Tangognat
  • Tiamat's Manga Reviews
  • News

  • Anime News Network
  • Anime On DVD
  • Ars Technica
  • ComiPress
  • The Japan Times Online
  • Rumic World
  • Sankaku Complex
  • Music

  • AnimeNfo Radio
  • Hikaru Utada
  • Japan-A-Radio
  • L'arc En Ciel
  • Artists

  • Kairi-Moon
  • Saelee Oh
  • SigmaRue
  • Stella Lai
  • Magazines

  • Asian Cult Cinema
  • Comics Buyer's Guide
  • Gamefan
  • GamePro
  • Giant Robot
  • Neo
  • Otaku USA
  • Wired

  • EPK

    Manga & Anime Companies

  • Aniplex
  • Bandai
  • Dark Horse
  • Del Rey
  • DMP
  • Drawn and Quarterly
  • DrMaster
  • Fantagraphics
  • Funimation
  • Go Comi!
  • Infinity Studios
  • Media Blasters
  • Netcomics
  • Ponent Mon
  • Right Stuf
  • Seven Seas
  • Tokyopop
  • Udon
  • Vertical
  • Viz
  • Yen Press
  • Japanese Sights & Sounds

  • Akiba Blog
  • CuteoBento
  • Danny Choo
  • Muza-chan's Gate to Japan
  • Shibuya 246
  • Tokyo Mango
  • Tokyo Times
  • Figures

  • Good Smile Company
  • How A Girl Figures
  • Yamato USA
  • Science Fiction

  • Grrl
  • Haikasoru
  • Videogames

  • Activision
  • Aksys Games
  • Amanda Kay
  • Atlus
  • Audrey Cleo
  • Bioware
  • Bungie
  • Capcom
  • Electronic Arts
  • Epic Games
  • Final Fantasy
  • Frag Dolls
  • Hi Krista
  • Infinity Ward
  • Ignition
  • Jessica Chobot
  • Lucas Arts
  • Major Nelson
  • Natsume Inc
  • NinjaBee
  • Nintendo
  • NIS America
  • Obsidian
  • Playstation Lifestyle
  • Ripten
  • RPGFan
  • RPGamer
  • RPG Site
  • Set on Stun
  • Siliconera
  • Square Enix
  • Tale of Tales
  • Ubisoft
  • Warning! A Huge Podcast
  • American Comics

  • Aspen Comics
  • Babs's Blog
  • Boom Studios
  • Comic Book Resources
  • Comic Vine
  • DC Comics
  • Dynamite
  • IDW
  • Image
  • Oni Press
  • Radical
  • Top Cow
  • 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 CST

    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 CST

    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 CST

    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 CST

    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 CST

    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 CST

    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 CST

    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 CST

    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 CST

    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: email:

    My Grade: C+

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

    Mushi-Shi Volume 1 Anime DVD Review

    Mushi-Shi Volume 1 Anime DVD Review. Director and Series Composer: Hiroshi Nagahama. Funimation, $29.98. Volume 1 contains Episodes 1-5 and runs about 125 minutes.

    Mushi are the oldest lifeforms in existence, even below microorganisms and fungi. They evolved so long ago that most humans cannot even see them in their true form. Most of the time they appear as floating, almost plankton-like organisms drifting through the air and effortlessly passing through anything material in their way. Some can even take human form. Mushi are neither good nor evil. They simply are. But on occasion the very presence of mushi can lead to problems for humans. For example in one of these episodes, a girl becomes extremely sensitive to sunlight and has to stay in the dark all the time with a cloth over her eyes because mushi have taken up residence there. When mushi are involved, using the standard problem solving procedures such as doctors and such meets with very little success. No, someone with special abilities has to be called in. Enter the unassuming and serenely calm Ginko, a travelling Mushishi who tries to end any negative consequences caused by the interaction between humans and mushi. A lot of the victims of the mushi tend to be young such as a girl following a moving swamp which is actually a collective mushi. Or a boy whose drawings come to life and another who has grown extremely sensitive to noise and has grown horns!

    The problem that keeps Mushishi from being a great show is its single-minded devotion to the mushi. Because of its monster of the....I mean mushi, of the week, the show can get a bit repetitive. Kinda like Inuyasha's over-reliance on Naraku as the main antagonist which can suck the life out of any original ideas. I mean the writers had to somehow turn every episode of Mushishi into a hunt for mushi. I will admit that they did a good job making us sympathize with all of the supporting characters. If you don't care for the people Ginko is helping out, you must be really emotionally remote. I haven't read the manga but the director of the anime, Hiroshi Nagahama took very careful steps to keep the anime version as close to the manga as possible and was a big fan of the series before he got involved with the anime version. Really, the show reminded me a bit of Sergio Leone westerns in which a lone gunfighter comes to town and straightens out the world temporarily. I look forward to finding out more about this mushishi in the next couple of volumes. The manga the anime is based on is currently being published by Del Rey with two volumes out so far.

    My Grade: B

    Direct download: mushishi.jpg
    Category:Anime DVD Reviews -- posted at: 9:33am CST

    Episode 42: Chibi Vampire Volume 5 by Yuna Kagesaki

    Episode 42: Podcast manga review for Chibi Vampire Volume 5 by Yuna Kagesaki. Translated by Alexis Kirsch. Originally published in Japan by Fujimishobo in 2005. Published in the States by Tokyopop for $9.99. For Older Teens 16+.

    A introduction to new readers of the Chibi Vampire series, then on to a review of Volume 5. Karin is fighting against her love for Kenta because she doesn't know if a relationship between a human and a vampire has any hope of working out. During a brief earthquake her grandmother, Elda Marker, awakes from a deep sleep, eager for the taste of blood, and even sees Karin's classmates as her prey as the gather for the school cultural festival. She also has an passionate hate of humans and a desire to keep the vampire race pure. So there's no telling what she'll do if she finds out Karin is in love with Kenta. A funny comedy with tinges of darkness.

    My Grade: A

    Direct download: Episode_42--Chibi_Vampire_Volume_5.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:19pm CST

    Episode 41: The Key to the Kingdom Volume 1 by Kyoko Shitou

    Episode 40: Podcast manga review for The Key to the Kingdom Volume 1 by Kyoko Shitou. Translated and adapted by Sheldon Drzka. Originally published in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten in 2003. Published in US by CMX, $9.99. Rated T+.

    The King of Landor and his eldest son, Winslott, have been killed in an ongoing civil war that has waged off and on for 300 years. The next in line for the throne is thirteen-year-old Prince Astarion, or Asta, as he is called by his friends. Actually, a lot of the nobles and common people call him Cowardly Prince Ass because he's always been more interested in books and music and looks on fighting as savagery. In a bid to gain more time for him to become worthy of being king, the widowed queen proposes a quest to recover the Key to the Kingdom, a mythical object that would make its possessor king of the world and make the land flourish. Asta and Badd, a Landorian military captain, set out to find it, along with other seekers of royal blood, even as rumors of a Dragon Man being sighted in Landor comes to light. Dragon Men are immortal beings connected to the Key.

    My Grade: A

    Direct download: Episode_41--Key_to_the_Kingdom_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:41pm CST

    Air TV Volume 2

    Air TV Volume 2 Anime DVD Review. Released 9/25/07 by ADV Films, 100 Minutes, List Price: $29.98.

    Yukito's quest for the winged girl beyond the clouds takes second priority as the girls around him face large problems that could threaten their lives. Misuzu is getting weaker and weaker as her dreams increase in frequency and intensity. He gets angry with Misuzu's mother for being insensitive about her daughter's plight. But then he remembers that his mother told him about a girl that suffered like Misuzu before she passed away. She had the same kind of dreams and a bizarre and frightening condition. The closer the girl becomes to people, the sicker she became. Eventually, she died. Ironically, Yukito comes to believe that his proximity and emotional ties to Misuzu are the very things that are endangering her life! Meanwhile, there's something weird going on between the quiet and introverted Minagi and her best and only friend, the crazy Yukito-bashing Michuru. When Yukito walks Minagi home, he is shocked when Minagi's mom calls her by the name of Michuru which leads to the revelation of a mental illness of Minagi's mom and and an explanation of why Minagi is so withdrawn. Then we go back in time about a thousand years to learn about this famous winged girl named Kanna that everybody's been talking about for the past seven episodes. Kanna is pretty much incarcerated by priests and carted around the country to bless various things because she is seen as a messenger to the gods, even though she can barely fly. Instead of being a divine messenger, she is really just a young girl who is feeling increasingly entrapped in a role she does not feel she is suited for. Two of those near to her, her guard, Ryuya, and her servant, Uraha, plan a daring escape to free her from the shackles of religion and superstition.

    I must admit that I had a bit of reservation about this second volume because it seemed at first to be more of the same as Volume 1 without any plot progress. But as I got drawn more and more into the strange tale of Minagi and Michiru, I was intrigued by the subtle layering of the story which at times seems strange and at times creepy. The last episode, which began to tell of the events a millenium ago was like a breath of fresh air into a show that was beginning to drag a bit. Hopefully, we'll get some answers in the past that will explain what is happening in the present. Even though I'd like the mysterious atmosphere and strange occurrences to stay in place a little longer. While this show can be a tad too sentimental at times, it has a very quiet beauty and an ethereal feel that can draw you to another time and space that you might not want to come back from.

    My Grade: B

    Direct download: airtv2.jpg
    Category:Anime DVD Reviews -- posted at: 4:05pm CST

    Maison Ikkoku Volume 14: Welcome Home by Rumiko Takahashi

    Manga Review for Maison Ikkoku Volume 14: Welcome Home by Rumiko Takahashi. Translated by Mari Morimoto. Adapted by Gerard Jones. This is for the first American edition printed in May 2000 by Viz in a flipped and slightly larger trade paperback size which sold for $16.95 which is out of print but still readily available used. The Maison Ikkoku series was reprinted unflipped in the now standard tankoban format by Viz with the addition of a fifteenth volume due to the differences in the page counts of the two editions.

    Rumiko Takahashi is known for letting the relationships between her romantic leads drag on for years or even decades without them ever evolving or being consummated (see Inuyasha), but as the last and concluding volume of Maison Ikkoku opens, Godai and Kyoko enter a love hotel. Godai should be in heaven, right? I mean, this is what he's always wished for. But things become a bit awkward when Kyoko says that she is thinking about Soichiro. Godai thinks she's talking about her dead husband, but Kyoko corrects him and says she meant her dog, which happens to have the same name. Is that the truth? Suffice it to say, Godai suffers from impotence at the moment of truth. Things get even more complicated when his ex-girlfriend, Kozue shows up wanting to talk about their relationship. She had already told him a guy proposed to her but she didn't want to say yes because she didn't want to hurt Godai's feelings. On top of all this Godai is going to find out how he did on the teacher certification exams. The only way he can ask Kyoko to marry him is if he passed, so there's a lot riding on the results.

    I have been reading this series off and on for a little over two years now and I have to admit I got a little misty eyed when I came to certain sections of this last volume. Simply because you never wish good things to come to an end. I used to have that experience a lot with anime and manga series, but it has become rarer lately, probably because there is so much product coming out that you don't have time to lament the end of one before you start another. Instead of just centering a review on this one volume, I'll just make some comments about the series as a whole because in terms of quality they were all about the same. The central conflict of the manga that lasted through the first to most of the last volume was the lack of courage Godai had to make Kyoko his. He bumbled his way through a relationship with Kozue and some childish competition with Mitaka the tennis coach but he was just never aggressive enough to pursue Kyoko with a single-minded determination. He was too wishy-washy. Kyoko too suffered a lot because she wanted to be pursued, hunted, and caught by an alpha male. While this kind of thing makes for a lot of heartache and tragedy in real-life, in the manga world it's the perfect tried and true setup for comedy. And boy was Maison Ikkoku funny!  One of the best comedies I've ever read. I've still never figured out how Takahashi was able to make such a masterpiece from such simple materials and operating mainly with character interaction rather than plot. To me, that's the hardest story to write. Making the lives of everyday people interesting and fun. It's also great to experience a relatively long manga series that has true resolution and ends on an upbeat and happy note. A great manga work.

    My Grade: A+

    Direct download: welcome_home.jpg
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 12:43pm CST

    Hayate the Combat Butler Volume 4 by Kenjiro Hata

    Episode 40 gives an introduction to Hayate the Combat Butler for those who have not read any volumes of the series and then focuses on Volume 4. Hayate Ayasaki is a teenager who has had hard luck since the age of nine because both parents are gambling addicts. They owe $156 million yen to the Yakuza and have donated Hayate's organs to pay it off. The problem is that he is still alive and the Yakuza are going to kill him to get the parts. Hayate decides to kidnap a young rich heiress named Nagi Sanzenin and ransom her for the money. But he ends up saving her from some other kidnappers and becoming her butler after Nagi pays off the Yakuza, even though he will have to work for 40 years to cancel the debt. In this fourth volume, Hayate must fight off one of Nagi's relatives that wishes to claim the family fortune for himself, a relative who just happens to be piloting a giant robot. Then when Nagi starts attending an exclusive school for the rich and talented, Hayate begins to miss his own school a bit. This is a hilarious and good hearted comedy manga.

    My Grade: A

    Hayate the Combat Butler Volume 4 by Kenjiro Hata. Translated by Yuki Yoshioka and Cindy H. Yamauchi. Adapted by Mark Giambruno. Originally published in Japan by Shogakukan in 2005. Published in the States by Viz, for Older Teens, $9.99.  

    Direct download: Episode_40--Hayate_the_Combat_Butler_4.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:23pm CST