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
  • Nintendo
  • NIS America
  • Obsidian
  • Playstation.com
  • Playstation Lifestyle
  • 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
  • Comic Book Resources
  • Comic Vine
  • DC Comics
  • Dynamite
  • IDW
  • Image
  • Marvel.com
  • Oni Press
  • Radical
  • Top Cow
  • Is Shojo Beat Cleaning Up Its Covers?

    I bought a couple of manga today at Barnes and Noble, including two Shojo Beat titles, the first volumes of Kimi Ni Todoke and Black Bird. It just struck me that they looked different than the usual Shojo Beat books. Neither of them had those giant ugly volume numbers in the bottom right hand corner nor the boring author font with "Story and Art by" stamp on the left bottom corner and border on the bottom edge. I've never been a fan of the generic design of any of Viz's "line" manga, like Beat and the Shonen Jump titles. To me, they make the books look boring and take away from the beauty of the covers. But I guess they do make them instantly recognizable as belonging to a certain genre. But the Shojo Beat titles in particular suffer. A machine just stamps every cover with no regard as for how it's going to affect the art. If you're lucky Viz tries to change the color of the volume number or the author info to blend in better with the colors in the cover art...if you're lucky.

    But with these two titles, Beat seems to be de-emphasizing the Shojo Beat brand, especially with Kimi Ni Todoke. "Shojo Beat" is nowhere to be found on its front cover. Instead of the humungoid volume number on the right there is a stylized 1 at center bottom. Even the author's name is given a more personalized font that fits the feel and style of the manga. You do have the Shojo Beat website and UPC code on the back bottom just like usual but no huge banner at the top.

    Blackbird has a more traditional Viz design but again does not crowd its cover with Shojo Beat insignia, borders, and unsightly font. Instead it has ethereal, airy blacks and reds with a smaller author credit and warmer volume number that fits in with the cover. On the back you do have the Shojo Beat banner at the top but the web address has been left off, hopefully to not cut across and cover up the art.

    I hope Viz starts treating all their Shojo Beat title cover designs like these two titles. You need to bring attention to the ART, not to the volume numbers and product line. The original artists designed the art on the covers for a reason, to catch the eyes of browsing readers, not to be distorted or even erased. It makes the Beat titles look much more attractive. It's fine to keep generic looking spines, but show the covers more love.  

    Direct download: kimi_ni_todoke.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 6:59pm CST

    Manga Review: Hayate Cross Blade Volume 3

    Manga reveiw of Hayate Cross Blade Volume 3 by Shizuru Hayashiya. Translated by Adrienne Beck. Adapted by Ed Chavez. Originally published in Japan by Media Works. Published in US by Tor/Seven Seas, $9.99, Rated Older Teen 16+.

    Well, we finally find out why Mizuchi wants to beat Ayana so bad. Mizuchi asked Ayana to be her sister-in-arms two times, but was rejected on both occasions. It doesn't help that Ayana doesn't even remember Mizuchi when she sees her, adding insult to injury. They finally get to rumble at the beginning of this volume as Ayana and Hayate take on Mizuchi and Sou in a Hoshitori match to move up to Rank B. The real meat of Volume 3 concerns a fighting pair of swordbearers named Jun and Yuho. Jun happens to be Ayana's roommate and might even be a better swordsgirl than her. But she's not at the top of her game right now because she picks battles with weak opponents. Yuho, her sister-in-arms, is very sickly, and Jun doesn't want to push her too far physically by fighting against strong pairs. Yuho's condition has been deteriorating and her mom is coming to check on her, which might even lead to Yuho being withdrawn from the school. Before she gets even sicker, Yuho wants to set up a final duel with her and Jun taking on Ayana and Hayate.

    I did write a review for volume 2 of this series, but right before I saved it, there was a big lightning strike near my house and my electricity went off for a minute. So the review was lost. What I did write about it was pretty negative and I actually considered not even reading volume 3. It mostly had to do with two things, one of which seems to have been solved in this volume. The biggest fault of the series is that the character of Hayate is a complete wash. All of the other characters work as real people, but Hayate comes off as a one joke comedy skit, almost becoming a cancerous growth on Ayana. You can always count on Hayate to never take anything seriously, and Hayashiya never fails to draw her in a deformed, almost "Scream-like" style, overemphasizing her already over the top behavior. Since you can't take her seriously as a person, she tends to ruin every scene she's in. But thankfully, the other characters are more interesting and have actual motivations and emotions beyond wanting to straddle and marry their sister-in-arms.

    The other fault of volume 2 was that Hayashiya took up a serious issue, physical abuse of women, and turned it into a ridiculous insult of abused women. There was a girl that was beating and hitting her sister-in-arms (not in a comedy way like Hayate and Ayana) and the abused sister refused to leave her because she thought they would make a good comedy act! It was just horrible writing on the part of Hayashiya that showed she wasn't clever or sensitive enough to insert a dramatic element into the series at that point. She seems to have turned this around in volume 3.

    I know the "bed-ridden sickly friend" character has been done to death. In fact, all we needed was for Yuho to be blind and amnesiac to meet all the manga cliches. But Hayashiya handles some of the more serious dramatic implications of Yuho's condition quite well. She's not trying to invoke pity, but is a character that is forcing her friend to OVERCOME her pity and take on a foe that will push her to her limits and even higher. While I don't think this title will ever overcome its major fault, Hayate, it does find ways to redeem itself in other ways.

    My Grade: B+

    Direct download: hayate_blade_3.jpg
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 6:09pm CST

    Japanese Develop Baseball Playing Robots

    Japanese researchers are working on baseball playing robots. Don't let your imagination run wild. The robots are basically just arms. One throws a ball and another swings at pitches with a crude looking rod. But who knows, will we someday have fully articulated running humanoid robots running bases? My question is, who would want to watch something like that? My other question is, why develop baseball playing robots in the first place? It's a typical Japanese otaku quest. To pursue technologies and products that will have no real world interest or market. Beyond that of marketing, actually. I can already see a Japanese bat or glove making company (do they exist?) buying a baseball robot, "Ball-chan", or something, and using it as a mascot. Maybe different baseball clubs could each have a robot and they could battle to the death at the end of the season, gladiator style! Here's the link to the video of the robots:

    http://gmy.news.yahoo.com/vid/14828813/

    Direct download: baseball_robots.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 9:57am CST