Sesho's Anime And Manga Reviews (news)
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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  • $10 Off Nausicaa Blu-Ray/DVD Coupon

    I was looking on the Disney Rewards site to print out a coupon for the new Bambi blu-ray release coming out this week and was very surprised to also see an offer for Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind as well. So the deal is this: If you own ANY Studio Ghibli film (I assume only those put out by Disney), you can enter the UPC code on the Disney site and get a coupon good for $10 off the March 8 release of the Nausicaa blu-ray/dvd combo.

    You have to register with Disney Rewards, which is free. I bet Disney ends up doing this with all upcoming Miyazaki blu-ray releases since it's called an "upgrade" offer. You can only print out one coupon. The added bonus is that Disney usually gives you a $10 off coupon for almost every new release of their films if you are a member.  

    Here's the link to the offer:

    http://www.disneymovierewards.go.com/promotions/special-offers/nausicaa-upgrade

    Category:News -- posted at: 7:36pm CDT

    Play Magazine Big Anime Giveaway

    Play Magazine, my favorite literary game mag, is having an anime giveaway contest in which 5 entrants will win the following 4 anime dvds and sets:

    Claymore: The Complete Series

    Evangelion 1.0 (You Are Not Alone)

    Blassreiter

    Dragonaut

    Plus a copy of Girls of Gaming 7


    Entries must be received by December 10, 2009. You can submit an entry at:

    http://playmagazine.com/index.php?fuseaction=SiteMain.Contest&conid=39

    Direct download: clay.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 9:31pm CDT

    Making Bento Into Art

    A couple of years ago, Japanese mother Makiko Ogawa's son found kindergarten a traumatic experience. He hated school and every time she took him there he would cry himself silly. In order to comfort him, Makiko started making special "charaben" lunches for him.

    "Bento" is a Japanese term for a boxed lunch, which can be homemade or bought in a store. "Charaben" means character bento. In other words, Ogawa shapes and decorates the food to look like anime characters or cute little animals, etc.

    Ogawa is so good at making charaben that she has fans all over the world. She has even been approached by corporations that want to commission her work. While she is flattered by the attention she still sees her charaben primarily as a show of love for her children. She has a blog in Japanese:

    http://cuteobento.blog43.fc2.com/

    If you just want to see pictures of her bento she also has a Flickr site that has English captions:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuteobento/

    I will be adding her Flickr page to my website under "Japanese Sights & Sounds". She says she updates it about every two weeks. She encourages you to leave comments in English.

     

    Direct download: bento.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 9:11pm CDT

    Reunion of WWII Texas Soldiers and Japanese American Combat Team

    Tomorrow at a Houston hotel, members of the 1st Battalion, 141st Regiment, 36th Infantry Division (based out of Texas) will reunite with the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The 442nd was composed almost entirely of 1st generation Japanese American soldiers. The 141st was surrounded by German forces in France in October 1944 and would have either been killed or taken prisoner but the Japanese American 442nd managed to break the lines and rescue them, suffering an almost 50% casualty rate. The 442nd became one of the highest honored units in the war, earning 21 Medals of Honor and 9,486 Purple Hearts. They were even called "The Purple Heart Batallion". Around 50 vets are expected to attend the banquet at the Hyatt Regency Houston. The public can buy tickets to attend at:

    www.njamf.com

    Ok, I consider myself educated and well versed in history and World War II, but I have to admit I didn't even know the 442nd existed. I don't think I've ever seen an American of Asian descent fighting in a World War II movie. I'm so used to seeing the big white guy shaking his tommy gun like John Wayne. Mainly because the movies back then were made by white guys. This story really intrigued me. I also found out that no Japanese Americans were rounded up in Hawaii like they were in the mainland US, mainly because there were just too many of them. Almost half of the Hawaiians were of Japanese descent. I still can't believe we rounded up people like that. It was a big blot of blatant racism.

    The poignant thing of it all is that this might be one of the last times these guys get together, as WWII vets get older and older. I really honor what the 442nd did, fighting for a country that was violating the very rights they were sacrificing their lives for.

     

    Direct download: japamerica.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 7:57pm CDT

    Best Buy Massive Anime Blu-Ray Sale

    I was at Best Buy to buy Scribblenauts for $19.99 and had it in my hand when I started browsing through the Blu-ray section. I saw Ghost in the Shell 2.0 and was surprised to find that it too was only $19.99. After I thought about it for a little bit, I decided to put Scribblenauts back. At checkout, I was pleasantly delighted to find out that GITS was on sale for $13.99. Upon further investigation online, I discovered that Best Buy is having a "Massive Blu-ray Sale". As far as anime, there are 44 Blu-ray titles in the sale (I say 44 but I think that is every anime title currently ou on Blu-ray).  Here is a small sample of the sale:

    For $13.99 each: Afro Samurai Season 1, Blood The Last Vampire (movie), Kitaro (live action)

    Final Fantasy VII Advent Children: $20.99

    One Piece Movie #8: $12.59

    Akira: $24.49

    Dragonball Z (6 different titles): $17.49 each

    Samurai 7 (Complete Series), Tsubasa Season 1: $34.99

    Tekkonkinkreet: $19.59

    Click on the link below to go to the anime title sale page:

    Best Buy Massive Blu-ray Sale

    Direct download: ffviibluray.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 7:28pm CDT

    New York Times Manga Bestsellers: October 9, 2009

    Here are the bestselling manga volumes for last week:

    1) Chibi Vampire 14

    2) Vampire Kisses 3

    3) Naruto 46

    4) Fullmetal Alchemist 20

    5) Naruto 45

    6) Bleach 28

    7) Shugo Chara 7

    8) Yotsuba 6

    9) Negima Neo Magister 3

    10) Vampire Knight 7

    It's nice to see Tokyopop grabbing the two top spots instead of the ever-present Viz. Sadly, for Tokyopop, it's the last volume of Chibi Vampire. I remember buying the first volume of that title a couple of years back, before all the current vampire fad had started. I bet Tokyopop never had a clue that it would become one of their top sellers. I read the first couple of volumes but drifted away from it for whatever reason. I guess now that it's ended, it would be a good time to pick it back up. I also need to check out the Vampire Kisses series. While I'm on the topic of blood suckers, Vampire Knight is another series I need to begin again. There's just so many books out there and so little time.

    I would surmise that because only the sixth volume of Yotsuba has charted, I would then think Yen might have gambled and lost by relying on Yotsuba fans to pick up their re-released editions of volumes 1-5. I know I didn't get any of them, only buying the new volume 6. I have all the old ADV versions and do not have an extra $60 laying around to buy something I already have.

    I'm still waiting for a callback or email from the New York Times. I thought that joining in during the "disrespect for manga" controversy that I could insinuate that I could do a better job writing the little manga blurbs for the books than their current writer. I even told them that I was willing to work for Nike shoe factory wages, but still no response. I know other bloggers have written secret emails lobbying for the job, but I'm straight up about it, so stay out of the way!

    (The subliminal point of the above parody was to state my opinion that some in the manga world wanted to work for the New York Times and that they overreacted simply through a repressed desire to work for the very monster they were getting angry at.)

    "LEAVE YOTSUBA ALOOOONNEEE!"

    (Oh yeah, by the way, I DO want to work for ADV manga too. PLEASE ring me back!)

    Direct download: chibi_14.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 10:04am CDT

    Dark Horse, Give The Eden License Back To Kodansha!

    So I finally got the newest volume of Eden, Volume 12, in the mail today from Amazon. It appears that Dark Horse has the title on a seven month schedule, which to me is totally unacceptable. What the hell, Dark Horse? You've only released FOUR volumes of this series in TWO years! I find it hard to accept that it's not doing well. Volume 11 was on the NYT bestseller list. People lose interest in a series when there's so much time between releases, or they forget what was going on. At least include a recap.

    Better yet, with the fickle Kodansha going into business for themselves, give the license back to them. I'm sure they'll treat it with respect. Just witness how they treated fans of their Tokyopop titles, throwing them into limbo. They're awesome too, just like you. YEAH KODANSHA! Release the titles we really want! Restored copies and overpriced editions of Akira and Ghost in the Shell! YES, bring back the 80s, the 90s! THEY'RE OLD, KODANSHA! Let go! Ghost in the Shell has become the Stargate of manga. How many ultimate uncensored editions do we need? I haven't bought any of 'em.

    I guess what I'm saying, Dark Horse, is that you are rapidly becoming the new ADV manga in my mind. Not only because of Eden, but Reiko the Zombie Shop and Octopus Girl. Yes, I guess it made marketing sense back in the day to try to shortsightedly cash in on The Ring and The Grudge Japanese horror fad (oh, and Dark Water) and all that, but when it was over you cancelled the titles. Don't start what you can't finish. That's all I'm saying.

    What got in my craw to get me to write this? Two simple words on the back of Eden 12. "Eden returns...". ADV tried this inane tactic back in the day too. "Gunslinger Girl. Back in Action!" or "Yotsuba's Back!". What pisses me off about blurbs like this is that the companies publishing them make it seem like the series had been lost in a monastery fire back in the Middle Ages and that the books have just now been recovered. "Eden Returns...". Uh, it's been out of circulation because you weren't printing it. You should be printing an apology to its fans instead of playing coy. "We're sorry for taking such a long time to print the 12th volume, but..." and give a reason why it's taking so long between each installment. Or at least a letter from the editor inside about it.

    I happen to think that Eden is the greatest manga work I have ever read. You should treat the title and its fans with a little more respect. Look at Vertical or Viz Signature and learn. Or for that matter, Udon's Silent Mobius Complete Edition. This should be a prestige title, not an afterthought.

     

    Category:News -- posted at: 4:46pm CDT

    Wicked City Novel Published

    I was at Border's tonight and picked up Zoo by Otsuichi. Now the only Haikasoru title I haven't bought is Usurper of the Sun. I haven't read any of the titles yet, but when I do, I'll be doing podcast reviews for sure.

    I knew about the Haikasoru books, but the real surprise tonight was finding a copy of Wicked City: Black Guard, a novel by Hideyuki Kikuchi, in the manga section. Kikuchi, of course is the author of the best-selling Vampire Hunter D series. It's being published by Seven Seas and goes for the nice price of $9.99. I didn't even know it was coming out. I'm walking into the franchise naked, having never seen the anime or the live action movie. But I like that. I'd rather read the novel first instead of seeing the usual crappy Japanese special effects in the live action version, or old school anime style.  I'd much rather use my imagination to see Kikuchi's world.

    Direct download: wickedcity_vol1_full.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 9:51pm CDT

    New Inuyasha Anime to be Simulcast in US

    Inuyasha: The Final Act, the new anime series which will be adapting the final volumes of Rumiko Takahashi's Inuyasha manga will be simulcast on Hulu.com and ShonenSunday.com/anime beginning October 3, 2009.

    I watched the entire Inuyasha anime on DVD except for the last volume and am still currently reading the manga (I think I'm on like volume 27). I guess now would be a good time to watch the final volume. I hope this really brings back Inuyasha as a franchise in a big way. At times he seems a forgotten entity even though it was Inuyasha, along with Cowboy Bebop that really busted the US market open in the late 90s and early 2000s.

    If you've never watched the show please give it a try. It has great characters, adventure, action, comedy, and romance. You can watch the entire run of the original series at www.hulu.com. Watch the first episode below:

    Direct download: inuyasha.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 12:10pm CDT

    Fate Stay Night Game for PSP Releases 9/2

    A new Japanese fighter game based on the Fate Stay Night franchise is coming to the Playstation Network on 9/2 from Capcom under the moniker Fate/Unlimited Codes (What a boring title). Originally starting out as a Type Moon PC game, the franchise soon moved on to forays in anime, manga, arcade, and the PS2. As Sony is moving to a non-UMD format for its PSP game system, this is a downloadable-only port of the Japanese PS2 and arcade titles, with some modifications. From what I've seen it's more of Soul Calibur/BlazBlue type game rather than Street Fighter, using the Fate Stay Night characters. It seems to be flying under the radar. I wouldn't even have known about it except for seeing a review of it in the October issue of Game Pro that I got in the mail today (They didn't even mention the anime or manga facets of it).  No word on how much it's gonna cost.

    I guess I really should get back to the anime. I watched through volume 4 but never finished the series. Now I have the box set so there's no excuse anymore.

    You can view the trailer of the Japanese PS2 version below:

    Direct download: fate_unlimited.jpg
    Category:News -- posted at: 3:01am CDT