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
  • 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
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  • An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla
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  • JapanBlogLink
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  • Madeleine Rosca
  • The Manga Critic
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  • R5 Central (Podcast)
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  • Akiba Blog
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  • Podcast review of Ratman Volume 1 by Inui Sekihiko. Translated by Adrienne Beck. Adapted by Bryce P. Coleman. Originally published in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten. Published in US by Tokyopop, $10.99, Rated Older Teen 16+ .

    From the back cover:

    "Shuto Katsuragi is a superhero otaku. Only problem is, he's too short and always getting teased for his height...especially when he tries to emulate his favorite superhero! To make matters worse, Shuto suddenly get abducted and tricked into participating in some rather sketchy and super-villainous experiments! What's a shrimp to when his dreams come true in ways he never expected?"

    My Grade: A+

    You can look at a free preview for volume 1 at: http://www.tokyopop.com/product/2848

     

    Direct download: Episode_230--Ratman_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:40pm CDT

    Podcast manga reveiw of Omamori Himari Volume 1 by Milan Matra. Translated by Amy Forsyth. Originally published in Japan by Fujimishobo. Published in US by Yen Press, $10.99, Rated M for Mature.

    From the back cover:

    "Severely allergic to felines, Yuuto Amakawa spends his mornings nursing a drippy nose courtesy of his friend Rinko's cat. But on his sixteenth birthday, it's not just Rinko's pet that's riling up his allergies - to say nothing of his hormones! Appearing before him is Himari, a buxom, sword-wielding cat spirit in human guise who has sworn to protect Yuuto, now the target of vengeful spirits! It's clear that Yuuto's allergies are the least of his problems - he's gonna need Himari's help if he wants to live to see his seventeenth birthday!"

    My Grade: B+

    Omamori Himari was adapted into an anime at the beginning of this year in Japan. Here is a promotional trailer for the series:

    Direct download: Episode_229--Omamori_Himari_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:12pm CDT

    Podcast manga review of Andromeda Stories Volume 2 by Keiko Takemiya. Story by Ryu Mitsuse. Translated by Magnolia Steele. Published by Vertical, $11.95, Rated 13+.

    From the back cover:

    "The machine race known only as the "Enemy" has swiftly taken over the Cosmoralian Empire, but Queen Lilia and her son, Prince Jimsa, manage to flee. The only place to escape to, however, is the desert wasteland where the elements, predatory beasts, and bandits pose almost as great a threat to survival as the machine invaders. Prince Jimsa, growing ever stronger in the face of adversity, prepares to inherit his mantle as the Sun King, the descendant of combined Murat, Ayodoyan, and Cosmoralian legacies. It will fall upon his shoulders to turn the machines away before it's too late."

    My Grade: A

    Direct download: Episode_228--Andromeda_Stories_volume_2.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:18pm CDT

    Podcast manga review of Andromeda Stories Volume 1 by Keiko Takemiya. Story by Ryu Mitsuse. Translated by Magnolia Steele. Published by Vertical, $11.95, Rated 13+.

    From the back cover:

    Cosmoralia's Prince Ithaca is about to wed Princess Lilia of Ayodoya and be crowned Astralta III. The apparently favorable celestial bearings mean he will be no mere monarch but holy king of a new "papacy". Alas, the peaceful inhabitants of Planet Astria have no clue that they're next in line for invasion by a ruthless machine force--a threat that seems to metaphorize the inherent perils of politics and desire in this multilayered saga. The tension slowly mounts to an unbearable pitch in this ominous first volume of three.

    Following the conclusion of her award-winning and epochal To Terra..., Keiko Takemiya paired up with science fiction legend Ryu Mitsuse to create yet another milestone that was shortly made into an animated TV feature. Andromeda Stories is comics pioneer Takemiya's second work to appear in English.

    My Rating: A+

    You can read a free preview of Volume 1 at: http://www.vertical-inc.com/previews/andromeda/index.html

    Direct download: Episode_227--Andromeda_Stories_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:38pm CDT

    Manga Review: The Prince of Tennis Volume 12

    Manga review of The Prince of Tennis Volume 12: Invincible Man by Takeshi Konomi. Translated by Joe Yamazaki. Adapted by Michelle Pengilinan. Originally published in Japan by Shueisha. Published in US by Viz Shonen Jump, $7.95, Rated A for All Ages.

    Seishun is tied 1-1 with Yamabuki after losing one of their doubles matches. Now it's on to the singles as Momo takes on Kiyosumi "Lucky" Sengoku.  Kiyosumi's signature move is the "Tiger Cannon", a high serve that allows him to put the full force of his body weight behind it. Even as Momo begins to counter, he starts to suffer from movement inhibiting leg cramps. And it hasn't gone unnoticed by Sengoku, whose only interest is in winning. The second singles match features Ryoma going up against the psychotic Jin, the dude that's been bullying some of Ryoma's younger teammates and physically assaulting other tennis team members since last volume. It's pretty cool when Ryoma hits Jin in the face with the ball on their first volley to avenge his team. But the words "back down" aren't in Jin's vocabulary and he steals himself to give Ryoma all he can handle.

    I am currently in awe of the master Takeshi Konomi. Emerson and Thoreau might have been Transcendentalist writers but Konomi is a Transcendentalist manga-ka. I am constantly impressed by his work, mostly because of his constant inventiveness and control of his panel layouts. The Prince of Tennis never gets boring because Konomi surprises you with every page. He does full page layouts, 2 page splash pages, breaks up panels into interesting angles, sprawls characters across entire pages with the action as the backdrop, creating a 3D effect...wow, I'm out of breath. When I read these books, I feel alive, I feel like I'm a part of the action, almost like I'm on Ecstasy or something. When I mentioned Transcendentalism before, what I meant in reference to this book is that it almost seems alive, like you're really there in the stands watching the Seishun team play their matches. It's such an incredible accomplishment. To take static art and imbue it with such energy and kinetic movement. Konomi is a great.

    My Grade: A+

     

    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 6:07pm CDT

    Podcast manga review of One Piece Volume 3: Don't Get Fooled Again by Eiichiro Oda. Translated by Andy Nakatani. Adapted by Lance Caselman. Originally published in Japan by Shueisha. Published in US by Viz Shonen Jump, $7.95, Rated T for Teen. Show correction: I said "Jolly Roger" when I meant to say "Gold Roger". Please forgive me!

    From the back cover:

    "Sure, lots of people say they want to be the King of the Pirates, but how many have the guts to do what it takes? When Monkey D. Luffy first set out to sea in a leaky rowboat, he had no idea what might lie over the horizon. Now he's got a crew--sort of--in the form of swordsman Roronoa Zolo and treasure-hunting thief Nami. If he wants to prove himself on the high seas, Luffy will have to defeat the weird pirate lord Buggy the Clown. He'll have to find a map to the Grand Line, the sea route where the toughest pirates sail. And he'll have to face the Dread Captain Usopp, who claims to be a notorious pirate captain...but, frankly, Usopp says a lot of things..."

    My Grade: B

    Direct download: Episode_226--One_Piece_3.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:04pm CDT

    Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 Demo Ready To Download

    Just checking out the Playstation Store and was happily surprised to see the demo for the new Naruto Shippuden videogame. Definitely gotta check it out. I never got around to playing the first one. I was quite happy playing Ubisoft's Naruto Rise of a Ninja at the time and didn't see any sense in repeating myself with the same storyline. But I'm definitely excited about playing through the more mature storyline as Naruto and the Leaf Village take on the Akatsuki. The game is due out October 19, 2010. Watch the trailer below:

    Category:Videogames -- posted at: 7:42pm CDT

    Podcast manga review of Afterschool Charisma Volume 1  by Kumiko Suekane. Translated by Camellia Nieh. Originally published in Japan by Shogakukan. Published in US by Viz SigIkki, $12.99, Rated T+ (Older Teen) for boobs.

    From the back cover:

    "St. Kleio Academy is a very exclusive school. To enroll, a student must be a clone of a famous historical figure. Wolfgang Mozart, Queen Elizabeth, Sigmund Freud, Marie Curie, Adolf Hitler-- With such a combustible student body, it's only a matter of time before the campus explode! Shiro Kamiya is the only non-clone at St. Kleio, a school where his father is a teacher. Why is a regular kid taking classes at the school? Nobody seems to know for sure."

    My Grade: D-

    You can read Chapters 1 and 7-12 for free at: http://www.sigikki.com/series/afterschoolcharisma/index.shtml

    Direct download: Episode_225--Afterschool_Charisma.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:59pm CDT

    Warning! A Huge Podcast About Japanese Videogames

    Ok, I hardly ever talk about videogames on this site, not because I don't play them, but just because I've never gotten around to it. I wish I had done a review for the Naruto Xbox 360 game, which was excellent or for the Wii's Sky Crawlers, but I just never did. I hope to rectify that in the future. Because to me at least, Japanese anime, manga, novels, movies, and games all flow together as one in a symbiotic relationship.

    But I just wanted to let everybody that reads my blog know about my fantasy Japanese videogame podcast. It really is my dream come true. It would be the podcast I would do if I knew Japanese and was a hardcore gamer. The name of it is "Warning! A Huge Podcast"  and it's hosted by ex-writers from my favorite dead magazine, Play. Namely, Nick Des Barres, Casey Loe, and Shidoshi. They talk about Japanese games and while they're at it they also discuss other aspects of Japanese pop culture. To me, you don't have to like games to find the conversation fascinating. They have 7 episodes out so far. Since I just discovered they had a show, I've only listened to the latest one.

    The funny thing is I'd been hunting ex-Play writers for the longest time. No, not in a serial killer way. I just thought the crew on Play was doing the best writing about games in the publishing business and so I am always on the look-out for their work. They were always more intelligent, more eloquent, and more entertaining that the other "Official" Whore magazines. I also really admired Heather Anne Campbell's articles. She wasn't afraid to punch even the great Mario himself in the face. Really, the mag felt more like a literary journal. A thinking man's/woman's take on the industry. Play was also unique for the fact that it had a section entitled "Play Japan" that covered current and upcoming releases in my favorite island country. The thing that stuck out about Play was the fact that all the writers seemed versed in the history and mythology of games themselves. They were all-stars. So check out the podcasts at:

    http://radio.morningproject.com/

    And while I'm at it, even though Play Magazine died, its publisher, Dave Halverson, has started a new magazine called Gamefan which is currently on its 3rd issue. A lot of the staff from Play can be found in its pages. Really, its just Play by a different name. Besides games, it covers a bit of manga, anime, movies, and more offbeat US comics. The website doesn't have much up on yet, since it's so new, but you can look at a 20 page preview of the third issue.

    http://gamefanmag.com/

     

    Category:Videogames -- posted at: 8:55pm CDT

    Manga Review: Blade of the Immortal Volume 2

    Manga review of Blade of the Immortal Volume 2: Cry of the Worm by Hiroaki Samura. Translated by Dana Lewis and Toren Smith. Originally published in Japan by Kodansha. Published in US by Dark Horse, $14.95.

    Rin has decided that it's a wasted cause to track down every member of the Itto-Ryu sword school to take her revenge since they will just recruit more swordsmen to replace the ones she and Manji kill. Instead she wants to track down the leader, Anotsu Kagehisa. Even so, Rin and Manji go up against two of Anotsu's disciples in this second volume of Blade of the Immortal. The first, Magatsu Taito, bears the Chinese sword that belonged to Rin's father, a sword that means all the world to her and her family. Secondly, there's Eiku Shizuma, a 200 year old fighter that, just like Manji, also has the holy bloodworms inside his body.

    I enjoyed this second book a lot more than the first. The translation of Lewis and Smith is much more tolerable, or at least more subtle in its jarringness. There are some moments where Manji talks like a ghetto dweller with his constant use of "Shit, man!" but I guess I'm getting more used to it. Or maybe I'm understanding what the translators were TRYING to do, but horribly failing at. To make Manji a streetwise smartass bad mofo. But I think they could have done it in a different way. An awkward moment that really stood out at the end of the book was when Rin tells Manji his blood pressure is too high. Ok, can someone please tell me how the medieval Japanese knew anything about blood pressure?

    The art by Samura rises to an even higher level than in the first installment. He seems to be more adept at blending his contrasting styles of intense line work and using different edges of his pencil. Whereas before his different techniques were a bit haphazard, and at times, disconcerting, the flow is a lot better here. I'm really beginning to like the relationship between Manji and Rin. Except for grabbing her butt one time last volume, there is a lovely big brother/little sister bond forming between them. It feels very genuine. Perhaps that bond will prove more of a redemption for Manji that his task of killing 1000 evil men. That brings me back to an argument I put forth in my podcast for the first volume. Namely, who is truly EVIL in this series? Out of the three Itto-Ryu Manji has faced so far, probably given enough time, 2 of them could have been saved from the murderous lives they led. Most of them have some sort of emotional scar that has led them to their fate. But Manji isn't a psychotherapist. He lets his swords perform the twelve step program of chopping his enemies into pieces.

    My Grade: A

    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 7:52pm CDT