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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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
  • Hulu.com 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

  • AnimeCons.com
  • 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
    Quantcast

    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
  • Kimonobox.com
  • Muza-chan's Gate to Japan
  • Shibuya 246
  • TokyoFashion.com
  • Tokyo Mango
  • Tokyo Times
  • Figures

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

  • Grrl
  • Haikasoru
  • StarWars.com
  • Videogames

  • Activision
  • Aksys Games
  • Amanda Kay
  • Atlus
  • Audrey Cleo
  • Beefjack.com
  • Bioware
  • Bungie
  • Capcom
  • Electronic Arts
  • Epic Games
  • Final Fantasy XIII.net
  • Frag Dolls
  • GameTrailers.com
  • Hi Krista
  • Infinity Ward
  • IGN.com
  • Ignition
  • Jessica Chobot
  • Kotaku.com
  • Lucas Arts
  • Major Nelson
  • MelonieMac.com
  • Natsume Inc
  • NikoleZ.com
  • NinjaBee
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  • Obsidian
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  • Raychul.com
  • Ripten
  • RPGFan
  • RPGamer
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  • Set on Stun
  • Siliconera
  • Square Enix
  • Tale of Tales
  • Ubisoft
  • Warning! A Huge Podcast
  • Worthplaying.com
  • Xbox.com
  • XSEED
  • American Comics

  • Aspen Comics
  • Babs's Blog
  • Boom Studios
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  • DC Comics
  • Dynamite
  • IDW
  • Image
  • Marvel.com
  • Oni Press
  • Radical
  • Top Cow
  • Just wanted to mention the fact that if you look on the right column beneath my reviews index, I've added a category called "Free to View Anime" where I've included links to sites where you can watch anime episodes for free and it's all legal. So check em out! Funimation has stared its BETA version of its own video channel, similar to Hulu. Since they publish practically everything now, this is good news for anime fans, especially since it's hard to make a $40 investment in these box sets they're putting out now without ever seeing an episode.
    Category:News -- posted at: 9:49pm CDT

    Podcast Episode 143: Darker Than Black Volume 1

    Podcast anime dvd review of Darker Than Black Volume 1. Episodes 1-5. Directed and written by Tensai Okamura (Naruto Movie, Project Blue Earth SOS, Wolf's Rain). Animation by BONES. Music by Yoko Kanno (Cowboy Bebop). Published by Funimation, Rated 17+, $29.98.

    From the back cover:

    A new and deadly breed of covert agent walks the streets. Known as Contractors, these assassins and spies wield bizarre supernatural powers to carry out the dirty work of others. They thrive in the underworld, between rumor and reality, their loyalties always in question. One among these operatives is more mysterious than the rest; the masked killer BK201, the Black Reaper. His true identity and intentions remain unknown, but as his path weaves through the shadows and alleys of Tokyo, blood is spilled on both sides of the law. It's a new age of confusion, and the rules of engagement have changed.

    My Grade: A

    Visit the official website to watch the first 3 episodes for free:

    http://www.funimation.com/darkerthanblack/

    Here is the trailer:

    Direct download: Episode_143--Darker_Than_Black_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:Anime DVD Reviews -- posted at: 9:09pm CDT

    Anime DVD Review: Maria Watches Over Us Season 1, Episodes 7-9

    Anime DVD review of Maria Watches Over Us, Episodes 7-9. The first season is available as a boxset from Right Stuf for the list price of $49.99, rated 13+.

    The big deal going on in these three episodes is the arrival of Valentine's Day at Lillian Girls' Academy and the dilemma of what kind of chocolate Yumi should make for her bouton, Sachiko. Yumi goes around asking all the other girl's advice but noone seems to be able to help her. In fact, they worsen it when one of them tells her that Sachiko is beseiged every year with tons of chocolate from adoring students, but that she usually refuses to receive any of them. Based on this and other disparaging comments that Sachiko makes about chocolate giving, Yumi begins to wonder whether she just hates chocolate or is just disgusted with the whole idea of Valentine's Day. There is also a accelerating breakdown in communication between Yumi and Sachiko as Yumi's consternation about the chocolate combines with the fear that she will be put aside as Sachiko takes on more responsibilities with the Yamayuri Council as its senior members leave for college. The problem is that Yumi keeps all of her anxieties to herself even though Sachiko can sense that something is troubling her and wants to help. Further complications enter the picture when Sachiko is forced into participating in a school contest whose top prize is a date with a bouton. We also meet Mifuyu Uzawa, who wants to replace Yumi as the object of Sachiko's affections.

    I really like this show so far, even if Sachiko is borderline anal retentive. Actually she IS anal retentive. The original contest as first conceived was about students finding hidden handmade chocolates scattered about campus. Sachiko was instantly against it because she thought it was unseemly and just too unclean to leave food (chocolates) lying around. You get the impression that her room is completely white and germfree and that she is constantly washing her hands. Sachiko needs to get out and deal with the real world instead of stagnating at Lillian with all of her flunkies. She probably wouldn't even be able to change a lightbulb without putting on white gloves, goggles, and a surgical mask! Ok, I could go on hating Sachiko, but I'm gonna call off the dogs. When you get past the mannequin creepiness of the character designs, there's actually quite a heartwarming story of friendship and love here, even if the souer relationships sometimes border on that of slave/master dynamics or platonic lovemaking. If nothing else, the girls of Lillian always seem elegant, even when they're bawling their eyes out. In fact, the series sometimes seems like one long tea ceremony...a tea ceremony you're sharing with a close and engaging friend.

    My Grade: A

    You can listen to Podcast 124 for an audio review of Episodes 1-3:

    http://sesho.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=368094

    The official website for the show is:

    http://maria-sama.rightstuf.com/

    Direct download: maria_watches.jpg
    Category:Anime DVD Reviews -- posted at: 8:53am CDT

    Podcast Episode 142: Aria the Animation Disc 1

    Podcast anime DVD review of the first 4 episodes of Aria the Animation. the first season is available as a box set from Right Stuf, list price: $49.99. Directed and written by Junichi Sato (Kaleido Star, Sailor Moon, Princess Tutu), Rated 13+.

    From the back cover:

    Akari Mizunashi, at the age of 15, has left everything behind to travel to a sparkling planet covered in water, Aqua. More than anything, Akari wants to be an "undine" - a female gondolier who navigates the canals of the Aquan city of Neo-Venezia. As she begins her training with the prestigious Aria Company, will she be up to the challenges that await her on the path to achieve her dream?

    My Grade: A

    (I didn't notice until I completed the podcast that every character's name on this first disc starts with an A!)

    Direct download: Episode_142--aria_1-4.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:14pm CDT

    Otaku USA Lowers Price, Gets Rid of DVD...Sorta

    I was at Barnes and Noble this morning and was looking through the magazines when I spied the newest issue of Otaku USA. I instanty noticed that it wasn't in plastic so I knew something was up. I hesitated on buying it because money isn't exactly falling off trees these days, but when I picked it up I was pleasantly surprised to see that the price had been lowered to $5.99 instead of the usual $9.99. It even has a little blurb by the price heralding "New CHEAP Price!". I thought it was kinda funny that "CHEAP" is in all Caps. I really enjoy the magazine even though the writers sometimes engage in excessive tips of the hat to each other, as though they are writing the articles to give a wink to their clique instead of to anime and manga fans. And the fact that it can't go an issue without comparing at least one anime to a role playing board game gets quite old. Aside from these minor complaints, it blows away the insipid Anime Insider, with its imaginary battles of Naruto versus Ichigo and "Dream" live action movie castings of anime shows with actors about 20 years too old to play the roles.

    So anyway, to get the price down, Otaku USA got rid of the DVD that came with each issue. Apparently, you can still watch the cyber DVD at the Otaku USA website with a code inside the magazine. Of course, that means you can access the content without buying the magazine, but I imagine a lot of people find the content for free on the internet on their own anyway. I have never watched any of the Otaku USA dvds. They're just sitting in a stack collecting dust. When I accumulate enough, I give them to a kid I know that likes anime. So losing the DVD is no loss to me. It's a smart move to cut costs what with the crappy economy we have right now. I wouldn't even have bought this issue if the price had been the usual $9.99. But I wonder if the price point has anything to do with the fact that they're not selling enough magazines? 

    Sorry for not updating my site lately. I've been exhausted with work. But now I'm off for two weeks for Christmas and I look forward to posting some reviews, both text and podcast.  

    Category:News -- posted at: 3:14pm CDT

    Funimation Needs Comments on Sgt. Frog Episode 1

    Funimation needs your comments about its working print of Sgt. Frog Episode 1. They have the first episode up on Youtube.com. Here's the link (the click here picture to the right doesn't work):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQ5mQPVQmZ8

    I don't like dubs so I didn't even watch it. I simply posted the comment that they should also put up the subtitled version as well. It seems like this show has been languishing in the dark and disgusting depths of ADV for years now.

    Direct download: sgt._frog.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 11:36am CDT

    Anime DVD Review-- Ah! My Goddess: Flights of Fancy Volume 5

    Anime dvd review of Ah! My Goddess: Flights of Fancy Volume 5: "That Old Black Magic". Directed and written by Hiroaki Gohda. Published by ADV Films. Episodes 17-20, Running Time: 100 minutes, Rated 13+, List Price: 29.98.

    Last volume, Marller suceeded in seprating Urd into her two composite halves, demon and goddess. The two bodies were rejoined into one but there are still some imbalance problems between the two personalities. Because her soul is out of sync, one of the personalities will be lost...unless Belldandy and company can find a higher power than themselves to help Urd. They rule out asking the "Almighty", or God, because Belldandy is afraid that he will get rid of her demon side entirely. That leaves only one other entity with the required power...Hilda, the queen of Hell, and the ruler of all demonkind!  She also happens to be Urd's mother.  She and Urd don't really talk much because Urd fears her corrupting influence. Of course, Hilda would like nothing more than for Urd to give up her Goddess life and come live with her. Hilda tells Urd that she will help her in exchange for a unknown favor. Urd agrees as long as the future favor will not conflict with her role as a goddess. Hilda becomes a new character that goads on the ever ineffectual Marller to continue to get out of her depth in an effort to strike a blow for demons everywhere. Marller even sends a magical ninja to take out the goody-two-shoe band of friends. Ironically, as befits Marller's small mind, the ninja is the size of a mouse.

    It was cool to see Urd's mom, who seems to have been married to the Almighty at some point. Now, that's weird... the queen of Hell sleeping around with God? Does that mean that the Almighty is Urd's dad? Ah My Goddess is a series that is at its least when it tries to get too serious, for instance, when Urd or Belldandy lose control of their powers or are possessed. It is at its best when it moves the story along with lightheartedness, humor, and a mood that almost strikes one as langorous. If you've gotten this far into the second season you should know the characters pretty well so they almost seem like old friends. The show is good at adding new twists and new characters like Hilda, which keep the story fresh and funny. Highly recommended.

    My Grade: A

    The six individual volumes of this series were published by ADV Films and you can pick them up at www.Rightstuf.com for $5 each.

    Funimation has the license now and just came out with the box set this week. Here's the official website:

     http://www.funimation.com/ahmygoddess/

     

    Direct download: ah_my_goddess5.jpg
    Category:Anime DVD Reviews -- posted at: 10:18am CDT

    Podcast Episode 141: Hayate Cross Blade Volume 1

    Podcast manga review of Hayate Cross Blade Volume 1 by Shizuru Hayashiya. Translated by Adrienne Beck. Adapted by Ed Chavez. Originally published by Media Works in Japan. Published in US by Tor/Seven Seas, $9.99, Rated OT 16+.

    The all-girls boarding school Tenchi Academy isn't just known for its quality academics--it's also known for training the top sword fighters in the country. Students in the special "Sword Bearer" program compete in a school-wide battle known as the Star Stealing, striving to win both money and fame.

    Enter Kurogane Hayate. With her sister Nagi recovering from a lingering injury, the spunky and cheerful Hayate must take her place at the Academy until Nagi is well enough to return. When Hayate learns of the mountain of debt her old orphanage, the Dandelion Garden, owes to Yakuza loan sharks, she decides to become a sword-bearer and win the Star Stealing.

    There's just one problem...she needs a partner to compete and the one girl Hayate has her eye on wants nothing to do with her!

    My Grade: B+

    You can view a free manga preview of Hayate Cross Blade at:

    http://www.gomanga.com/manga/hayatexblade.php

    Direct download: Episode_141--Hayate_Cross_Blade_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:02am CDT

    Manga Review: Negima! Volume 4

    Manga review of Negima Volume 4 by Ken Akamatsu. Translated by Douglas Varenas. Adapted by Peter and Kathleen O'Shea David. Originally published in Japan by Kodansha. Published in US by Del Rey, $10.95, Rated OT Ages 16+ for Mature Audiences.

    Most of the third volume of Negima was taken up with Negi's battle with Evangeline McDowell, a vampire who had been cursed by Negi's dad, the Southern Master, and trapped in the body of a young girl. Evangeline believed that his father was dead but Negi tells her the story of how the Southern Master was the one who gave Negi his staff. Negi wants to find him but has no idea of where to look. Evangeline suggests he look in Kyoto, where his dad used to live. In a bit of a selfish act, mixing business with pleasure, Negi proposes that his class go on a field trip there. That way, he won't have to miss work. The headmaster of the school agrees to let them go to Kyoto but he also has a task for Negi to perform. Apparently, Kyoto falls under the territory of the Kansai Magic Association, which has a running dispute with Negi's Kanto branch. In an effort to smooth out the relationship between the two organizations, the headmaster appoints Negi as an ambassador of sorts and gives him a letter to be delivered only into the hands of the leader of the Kansai wizards. Unfortunately, there are elements of the Kansai group that do not want peace with Kanto and want to keep Negi from fulfilling his mission.

    As always, the first thing that jumps out at you with Negima is the excellent art in which Ken Akamatsu cleverly combines cuteness, comedy, realism, sexiness, and and great layout to create a very unique style. The story is where this book could get a bit muddled. I mean how many times can we stomach someone's clothes getting blown off at least once a volume, if not more, without it becoming a cheap parlor trick? Well, the answer for now is...a lot more! This series hasn't worn out its welcome yet, seeing as how we know so little about the 31 girls in Negi's class. In this volume the spotlight focuses on Miyazaki, who is pining to declare her love to Negi, and Setsuna, a sword bearing student  who is a bit of an enigma. She seems to be obsessed with Konoka, but Negi has to figure out whether she's trying to protect Konoka, or working for the Kansai faction.

    My Grade: B+

    Direct download: negima4.jpg
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 12:24pm 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