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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  • Manga Review: Sorcerer Hunters Volume 10 ​Manga review of Sorcerer Hunters Volume 10. Story by Satoru Akahori. Art by Ray Omishi. Translated by Anita Sengupta. Adapted by Mike Wellman. Orignal Publisher: Media Works. US Publisher: Tokyopop, $9.99, Rated OT 16+.

    The opening of Volume 10 is an exercise in meta-fiction as the cast of the series tries to decide what genre of manga fans this installment will cater to. Will it be shojo, shonen, magical girl, etc? After these few brief arguments the rest of the book tells a story about Carrot and Marron's parents, Onion and Apricot. From what I can tell, its set about 20 years before the current storyline. In fact, Onion and Apricot aren't even married. They're just fellow Sorcerer Hunters. Even Lord Sacher, the Hunter's main nemesis for much of this series, is still a good guy, though he's already showing some Anakin-like moments.
    Apricot is having second thoughts about being a Hunter, even if the sorcerers she's hunting deserve to die. For instance, the one she kills at the beginning of this tale was hunting parsoners for sport and murdering them in cold blood. Apricot feels there has to a better way to handle the problem and voices her concerns to Mother. In response, Onion and Apricot, along with Haz Knight Mille Feuille are sent to the valley of Galna-Galm, with no idea of what their mission is, but it might have to do with the mysterious origin of the Sorcerer Hunters.

    The best description of Ray Omishi's art is economical. He doesn't waste a lot of time drawing things that are unneccesary to the story he's illustrating. Don't get me wrong, Omishi is a good artist, but for instance, while his characters have a lot of detail, his mostly absent backgrounds seem to fit more in the shojo style. He can flip from chibi-style comedy to drama to action at the drop of a hat. This makes him well suited to illustrate Akahori's manic and sometimes bi-polar writing. Again, don't get me wrong. Akahori has no problem transtitioning among all the different moods of the work. When the characters interact in a comedic way you laugh, but your heart also goes out to Apricot as she struggles to reconcile killing sorcerers with her notions of what is right and wrong.

    Tokyopop orignally published this series in those old huge $17 manga editions flipped. It wasn't until later that they started re-releasing Hunters in the smaller unflipped editions. Unfortunately, out of 13 volumes, they stopped printing the new editions with this volume, which was printed 2 years ago. So I doubt Tokyopop will ever finish putting the other 4 books out. So you're left to your own devices finding the original versions.

    My Grade: A
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 10:51am CDT

    Pocast Episode 214: Biomega Volume 2 Podcast manga review of Biomega Volume 2 by Tsutomu Nihei. Translated by John Werry. Adapted by Stan! Originally published in Japan by Shueisha. Published in the US by Viz Signature, $12.99, Rated M for Mature.

    From the back cover:

    "In Tsutomu Nihei's nightmare vision of the future, the N5S virus has swept across the Earth, turning most of the population into zombie-like drones. Zoichi Kanoe, an agent of Toa Heavy Industry, is humanity's last hope, and he's not even human! With the help of Fuyu, a digitized intelligence built into the computer system of his heavy dual coil motorcycle, Zoichi's search for the key to salvation will take him on a journey across surreal landscapes and hurl him into battle against mind-bending evil. Prepare yourself for the ultimate trip-- Prepare yourself for the world of Biomega.

    After capturing Eon Green, DRF forces are amassing around Toa Heavy Industry headquarters and have taken Dr. Kurokawa and his daughter into custody. Zoichi must attempt a rescue--Dr. Kurokawa's laboratory may yield critical information on Eon Green. Elsewhere, Toa Heavy Industry agent Nishu Mizunoe searches for Kozlov Grebnev and the secrets he knows about  the DRF's research, origins and their apocalyptic plan for the entire human race!"


    My Grade: A


    Direct download: Episode_214--_Biomega_2.mp3
    Category:general -- posted at: 4:19pm CDT

    Podcast Episode 213: Zoo Podcast review of Zoo by Otsuichi. Translated by Otsuichi. Translated by Terry Gallagher. Originally published in Japan by Shueisha. Published in US by Viz Haikasoru, $13.99.

    From the back cover:

    "A man receives a photo of his girlfriend every day in the mail...so that he can keep track of her body's decomposition. A deathtrap that takes a week to kill its victims. Haunted parks and airplanes held in the sky by the power of belief. These are just a few of the stories  by Otsuichi, Japan's master of dark fantasy."

    My Grade: B+

    If you look below you can see that I have added a new audio player where you can listen to the episode automatically. Just hit that > button and it will start playing. In addition you can make it full screen. If you look over to the left on the player where it says "menu", you can click on that and you can share the episode with other people via email, embedding, or twitter. Through the subscribe option you can get the RSS or subscribe via Itunes. The really cool thing is if you click on "Episodes", you can scroll up and down by dragging on the gray bar on the right edge of the player. This will allow you to see all my reviews. Just click on one and it will start playing. The player is a bit of a work in progress. I'm still trying to get it exactly how I want it. But try it out. My episodes will also post to Itunes as usual.



    Direct download: Episode_213--Zoo.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:08pm CDT

    Manga Review: Happy Mania Volume 4 Manga review of  Happy Mania Volume 4 by Moyoco Anno. Translated by Shirley Kubo. Adapted by Leah Ginsberg. Originally published in Japan by Shodensha. Published in US by Tokyopop, $9.99, Rated Mature 18+.

    Kayoko Shigeta has been dumped by her latest screw buddy, but is anybody really surprised? Goro, the ceramic artist she liked, has taken off for China, leaving Shigeta in a depression. Well, she always has Takahashi to fall back on...but wait, she catches him in her apartment about to have sex with a former university classmate. And then he has the nerve to ask Shigeta to marry him? It's a pretty crazy situation, but that's usually how it is around this girl. Adding to the chaos is the fact that Kayoko is 4 months behind on her rent, her phone and electricity has been cut off, and she's also lost her job! There's only one thing that can solve all of these problems. That's right, it's time for her to fall in love again. Or at least find a hot-looking guy to have sex with!

    I would call Happy Mania a tragic-comedy on the level of a Shakespearean play. In order for a hero to truly have a tragic flaw, that hero/heroine must NOT be aware of their flaw. Because if they were, they could change, they could evolve. It seemed for a time that Kayoko was going to have some sort of epiphany and figure out what she's doing wrong. And I think given time in a nunnery, she probably could come to terms with herself. But as long as she is anywhere in the vicinity of handsome unattainable men, she is doomed to repeat herself over and over. She still thinks that having sex is a method of making a guy fall in love with her, instead of seeing that a truly decent dude would like and love her before she pulled out that card. And poor Takahashi, he is probably a good match for her. He's a nice guy. Too bad, subliminally, Shigeta believes that happiness and marriage are not meant to coexist. Is this girl ever gonna straighten up?

    My Grade: B+
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 5:05pm CDT

    About 3 years ago, I got a membership with Rentanime.com because my local anime/manga store, Anime Avalon, closed its doors. It's weird to think at that time there was hardly any anime online (ok, legal anime). If you were lucky, you might get to watch the first one or two episodes of a series. IF you were lucky. So I had no other way to watch anime besides buying or renting. I'm sure I wasted hundreds, if not thousands of dollars because you had to buy anime dvds without ever seeing the show. How the times have changed, huh? Was Crunchyroll around then? If it was, it was a bootleg site, and now its one of the major players.

    I still get sad when I think about Anime Avalon. But you know, even if somehow it had survived, it would surely have closed by now. Just because it could never compete with the big stores like Best Buy. It could only sell anime at list price. They did have a vast rental collection, but even mainstream rental places like Hollywood Video and Blockbuster are closing more and more stores. I think all the Hollywoods in my city are now closed. And there's ONE Blockbuster left.

    I wonder if a store specializing just in manga could make a profit?

    I still have quite a few dvds I bought at Anime Avalon during its last few weeks of being open. They were selling all their dvds for $5 apiece. I probably spent around $500 that last month it was open. So I always think about it when I play or see those dvds, almost like remembering a dead relative.

    But let's say it had stayed open somehow. It would have closed for the same reason I'm cancelling my Rentanime membership. Why are you going to rent when you can watch everything and MORE online for free. The only reason I've hesitated is because Rentanime has older dvds but now even those are looking less and less tempting. Especially due to the fact that they have a lot of holes in their inventory because a lot of people buy those out of print titles instead of returning them.

    Another positive outcome of cancelling is the fact that with that $20 I save each month I can BUY some anime dvds.

    So anyways, it's goodbye to you Rentanime.

    Direct download: rentanime.gif
    Category:general -- posted at: 10:46pm CDT

    Podcast Episode 212: Biomega Volume 1

    Podcast manga review of Biomega Volume 1 by Tsutomu Nihei. Translated by John Werry. Adapted by Stan! Originally published by Shueisha in Japan. Published in US by Viz Signature, $12.99, Rated Mature.

    From the back cover:

    The N5S virus has swept across the earth, turning most of the population into zombie-like drones. Zoichi Kanoe, an agent of Toa Heavy Industry, is humanity's last hope, and he's not even human! With the help of Fuyu, an artificial intelligence built into the computer system of his Heavy Duty Coil motorcycle, Zoichi's search for the key to salvation will take him on a journey across surreal landscapes and hurl him into battle against mind-bending evil.

    Zoichi Kanoe plunges into the depths of 9JO - an island city in the middle of the Pacific Ocean - in search of Eon Green, a girl with the power to transmute the N5S virus. He's not the only one looking for her, though... Agents of the Public Health Service's Compulsory Execution Unit are also in hot pursuit. Zoichi and his transhuman allies have no time to waste; the countdown to the zombie apocalypse has begun!

    My Grade: A

    Check out www.Vampybit.me 

    Direct download: episode_212--Biomega_volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:02pm CDT

    Podcast Episode 211: Culdcept Volume 1

    Podcast manga review of Culdcept Volume 1 by Shinya Kaneko. Editorial Supervision by Omiya Soft. Translated by Takae Brewer. Adapted by Jay Antani. Originally published by Kodansha. Published in US by Tokyopop, $9.99, Rated Teen 13+.

    From the back cover:

    In the magical land of Bablashca, card-shaped relics have been scattered far and wide. They are part of the ancient Culdcept, a book that created the universe. Whoever collects all the cards will have the power of gods, but only special people, called Cepters, can control the cards, and thus, control the universe....

    The mysterious Black Cepters begin destroying city after city in search of the precious cards. The fate of Bablashca rests in Najaran, an apprentice Cepter who sets out on an improbable journey to conquer the Black Cepters before they discover the hidden relics!

    My Grade: A-

    This manga is based on a videogame series from Japan. Two games have been released in the US to date: Culdcept for PS2 and Culdcept Saga for Xbox 360. The best site for info about the games is www.culdceptcentral.com Here's the trailer for Culdcept Saga:

     

    Direct download: episode_211--Culdcept_vol_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:17pm CDT

    Manga Review: Negima! Volume 6

    Manga review of Negima! volume 6 by Ken Akamatsu. Translated by Toshifumi Yoshida. Adapted by Trish Ledoux. Originally published in Japan by Kodansha. Published in US by Del Rey, $10.95, Rated OT Ages 16+.

    Volume 6 of Negima is full of surprises as Negi, accompanied by Setsuna, Asuna, and Konoka, finally gets to deliver the letter from the headmaster of Mahora Academy. His mission was to hand deliver it to the leader of the Kansai Magic Association, called "The Elder of the East". The Elder also happens to be the son-in-law of the headmaster, which in turn makes him Konoka's dad. Of course, Negi had an ulterior motive in coming to Kyoto, which was to see if he could find any info about his missing father. But there are some that do not want to see the Kanto and Kansai Magic Associations getting along. Just when Negi thinks he's reached a safe haven Chigusa Amagasaki and her minions attack the Kansai temple and kidnap Konoka.

    Well, somehow, Akamatsu found a way for Negi's students to fight on equal footing with Negi against high-level magicians and even brutish demons. In the context of Negima, this actually doesn't strain the limits of believability. I didn't even blink when some of his students started breaking out sniper rifles or using Naruto-like martial arts attacks. It just made sense in this world Akamatsu has created. The art is great as usual and the fan service is plentiful. Some might say TOO plentiful. For instance, in battle, Asuna blocks a petrification spell that does not harm her but turns her clothes to stone and then they shatter, leaving her naked. She is then tickled by multiple tentacled arms made of water which seem to be groping in all the wrong places. Later, when she gets another set of clothes, she forgets to put on her panties, and so every battle she fights her butt is blowing in the wind. Literally. And what would a volume of Negima be without some sort of bath scene? Still, I find the characters interesting and the humor works most of the time, even though the series tries to be an softcore ero-manga at times.

    My Grade: B+

    Direct download: negima6.jpg
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 2:32pm CDT

    Podcast Episode 210: All You Need Is Kill

    Podcast novel review of All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Translated by Alexander O. Smith. Originally published in Japan by Shueisha. Published in US by Viz Haikasoru, $13.99.

    From the back cover:

    When the alien mimics invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor called a Jacket and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to be reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On his 158th iteration, he gets a message from a mysterious ally-- the female soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she the key to Keiji's escape or his final death?

     

    My Grade: B

     

    Read an excerpt from the book and get more info at:

    http://www.haikasoru.com/all-you-need-is-kill/

     

     

    Direct download: Episode_210--All_You_Need_Is_Kill.mp3
    Category:Novel Reviews -- posted at: 2:19pm CDT

    Podcast Episode 209: Scans of the Devil

    In this episode I talk about the news that OneManga is one of the top 1000 sites being visited on the internet and what this means to the manga publishing world. Also, comments about manga bloggers that blame scan sites for everything and see them as evil minions of Satan. Ok, I don't quite go that far.

    Direct download: Episode_209--Scans_of_the_Devil.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:02pm CDT