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 Anime Reviews A-L
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  • VAMPYBIT.ME - The official Linda Le Weblog

    Free To View Anime

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  • Manga Review: Eden Volume 7

    Manga review of Eden Volume 7 by Hiroki Endo. Translated by Kumar Sivabramanian. Originally published in Japan by Kodansha. Published in US by Dark Horse, $12.95, Rated Mature, Ages 18+.

    Elijah wants revenge on Pedro for torturing Helena, which included plucking her eye out with a knife and cutting off one of her ears. But he's not going to be able to do it by himself. So he goes looking for advice from the Automater, a retired crime syndicate boss who actually got Pedro started in the business. From her he hears about the bloody rise of Pedro in her organization and how he first hooked up with Manuela, his supposed first love, and of the abusive relationship that ensued, with Pedro regularly beating her and her escalating addiction to heroin. It's up to Elijah to decide after the story whether he still wants to kill him or not.

    As I've said many times, Eden is the greatest manga I've ever read and I would even dare call Hiroki Endo manga's Shakespeare, so deep is his knowledge and insight into the human heart. Again and again, I am reminded of this when I read scenes in Eden where I say to myself "yeah, that's exactly how human beings act and react". You find yourself nodding your head as you read, thinking "this is life". No other manga I have ever read gives me the feeling of being so entwined with the human condition. This is usually a feeling relegated only to what some call "literature" such as Dostoyevsky or Proust. Eden is a horribly beautiful work that always has another layer to peel back. While it has graphic violence on full display, it also has flashes of humor, love, and a genuine passion to understand what makes a soul tick through its dense characterization. Classic.

    My Grade: A+

    Direct download: eden7.jpg
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 7:43pm CST

    Manga Review: Eden Volume 6

    Manga review of Eden Volume 6 by Hiroki Endo. Translated by Kumar Sivasubramanian. Originally published in Japan by Kodansha. Published in US by Dark Horse, $12.95, Rated Mature Ages 18+.

    Elijah's botched rescue attempt has left his mother in critical condition and his sister still in the hands of Propater. On top of that, the AI Maya seems to have joined sides with the enemy as well and Cherubim has been blown to bits. Plus, Elijah has the blood of a cop on his hands and his friends are going to be none too happy when he arrives in his jail cell. Even if he gets out alive, there is a gang war brewing on the streets between his father's men and an up and coming gangster named Pedro. Helena complicates things even further by buying the prostitute that Pedro loves to work in her brothel in an effort to save her from her destructive heroin addiction.

    As you can tell from the plot points outlined above, the world of Eden is about as far from the Biblical garden as it is possible to be. In fact, probably the closest approximation is Hell. But there is a certain elegance in the ultimate degradation, and a certain beauty in the worst violence as portrayed by Endo's highly realistic and fluid art. The writer has done a good job of moving Eden from a militaristic ultra gore action piece to a more meditative (albeit still with lots of blood) poem about the lower classes and the gangsters that control the streets. Even Pedro, who does some pretty evil things in this volume, is shown through flashbacks to have a heart and a true love for Manuela, even though his physical abuse would belie otherwise. Eden is the best manga series being printed right now. Nowhere else can you find the masterful combination of art, writing, and honesty about the human condition.

    My Grade: A+

    Direct download: eden6.jpg
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 7:34pm CST

    Manga Review: xxxHolic Volume 4

    Manga review of xxxHolic Volume 4 by CLAMP. Translated and adapted by William Flanagan. Originally published in Japan by Kodansha. Published in US by Del Rey, $10.95, Rated T for ages 13+.

    It's Valentine's Day, which in Japan,  is the day when girls give homemade chocolate to their beloved, or crush, as it may be.  In a lot of cases, the giving of the candy might be the first time that a young girl has revealed their feelings to the object of their affection. Of course, Watanuki is hoping to get some from Himawari, the girl that he likes. None is forthcoming, though, and he finds himself, instead, slaving in the kitchen making chocolate for Yuko! While this reverses the gender roles of the day he still tries to salvage things by intending to let Himawari taste it. Domeki tries some instead in his laidback manner of butting in. But all is not lost for Watanuki. There IS a girl that likes him and wants to give him chocolate, but she also wants to steal Domeki's soul. In the second story arc of this volume, Watanuki and friends get mixed up with twin sisters that have a supernatural bond centered around the power of words and negative thinking.

    I was a little let down by the writing in this fourth volume. It didn't really have any hooks. I found the Valentine's Day chapters really funny, but the storyline with the twins never paid off. They weren't creepy or scary and the climax was a bit of a letdown. I guess a large portion of the book just didn't have enough of that Twilight Zone feeling that I usually get when I read xxxHolic. Where CLAMP more than makes up for the subpar script in Volume 4 is in the beautiful, and at times, stunning artwork. There are some really nice panels in the Valentine chapters where the characters are backlit against the moon which really highlight CLAMP's mastery of solid blacks and flowing lines in this series. What a contrast to Tsubasa's rough unfinished edges.

    My Grade: B

    Direct download: holic_4.jpg
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 4:32pm CST

    Manga Review: Sorcerer Hunters Volume 7

    Manga Review of Sorcerer Hunters Volume 7. Story by Satoru Akahori. Art by Ray Omishi. Translated by Anita Sengupta. Originally published in Japan by Media Works. Published in US by Tokyopop, $9.99, Rated Older Teen 16+.

    Beginnings can be deceiving in the case of volume 7 of Sorcerer Hunters as it opens with a fan servicey romp at the beach. The mini-sized speech impeded Master Potato has concocted a potion that will make him the "hero of the story" and be a hit with the babes. Since love potions can be an iffy proposition, his butler convinces Potato to test it on someone else first. Of course, this means the Sorcerer Hunters become the lab rats. Things become more serious as the Hunters finally track down the last Platina Stone, which is the source of Lord Sachen's power. Unfortunately for them, the last guardian they have to defeat is Gateau's sister, Eclair, who goes by the new moniker of Deneb, and has no memory of her beloved brother. Since they trained together when they were young, Gateau hopes he will be able to jog her memory by fighting her, even if he has to sacrifice his own life in the process. Tira and Chocolat have their own score to settle with their adopted father, Lord Sacher, who killed almost all of their foster brothers and sisters back in the day.

    One of the strengths of this series has always been the ability of Ray Omishi to write a tale that at one point can be a totally fan servicey parody of manga conventions, and at others can be a Shakespearean family tragedy. This volume is a perfect example. Along with Akahori's art, the creative duo make fun of manga conventions from sports to shonen ai romances as each Hunter has their own fantasy of being a hero. But then, after that, we have the final showdown between father and daughters, and brother and sister. When things turn serious, Omishi's writing and Akahori's art become serious as well. When things hit the fan, you're not going to see deformed characters or stupid jokes interrupting the drama which sometimes happens with lesser creators. Definitely a series to check out.

    My Grade: B+

    Direct download: sorcerer_7.jpg
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 8:57pm CST

    Podcast Episode 148: Dojin Work Volume 1

    Anime DVD Podcast review of Dojin Work Volume 1: Pencil and Paper, Episodes 1-4. Directed by Kenichi Yatani. Approximate Running Time: 100 minutes. Published by Media Blasters, Rated 13+. Japanese with English subtitles.

    From the back cover:

    Doujin Work follows the life of a young girl named Najimi Osana and her exposure into the doujin world. She was first tempted into becoming a doujin artist after seeing how much one of her friends can make at a convention. Najimi loves to draw, but soon learns, contrary to what she expected, that this new world is anything but easy.

    As she attends more conventions and meets more people, Najimi eventually manages to find a group of very interesting friends. These friends already have some experience in the field and help her out along the way so that she can someday make a name for herself creating doujinshi.

    My Grade: B+

    Direct download: Episode_148--_Dojin_Work_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:25pm CST

    Podcast Episode 147: The Familiar of Zero Box Set, Episodes 1-4

    Podcast review of the first four episodes of The Familiar of Zero Box Set, published by Geneon, List Price: $59.98, Rated 13+. Directed by Yoshiaki Iwasaki (Best Student Council, Hayate the Combat Butler). Series Composition by Takao Yoshioka (Elfen Lied, Dears).

    From the back cover:

    In a magical land where two moons shine in the night sky, one young student in the magic school, Louise, has acquired the nickname of "Zero." Why? Her "zero" talent! With a near-perfect failure rate for her spells, the shock that Louise's summoning spell works equals the surprise of her new familiar, a human boy from Japan! When the boy begins exhibiting some unexpected abilities, why do the teachers get so nervous?

    My Grade: B+

    Direct download: Episode_147--_The_Familiar_of_Zero_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:27pm CST

    Podcast Episode 146: Naruto Volume 30

    Podcast manga review of Naruto Volume 30: Puppet Masters by Masashi Kishimoto. Translated and adapted by Naomi Kokubo and Eric-Jon Rossel Waugh. Originally published in Japan by Shueisha. Published in US by Viz Shonen Jump, $7.95, Rated T for Teen.

    From the back cover:

    Naruto is a ninja-in-training with an incorrigible knack for mischief. He's got a wild sense of humor, but Naruto is completely serious about his mission to be the world's greatest ninja!

    Sakura takes her place at the front of the fight to save Naruto. With Granny Chiyo at her side, she must battle Sasori, who can create golems from the undead. But Granny Chiyo is a puppet master too -- only it could be Sakura's strings she's pulling!

    My Grade: A+

    While the podcast is a review of the manga, here is the anime episode it corresponds with:

    Direct download: Episode_146--_Naruto_Volume_30.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:44am CST