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Golden Kamuy vol. 1 – Story & Art by Satoru Noda (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

June 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

While I have only read one volume, Satoru Noda’s “Golden Kamuy” is turning out to be a fantastic, action-packed manga series worth reading!

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© 2014 Satoru Noda. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Golden Kamuy vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Story and Art by Satoru Noda

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: M for Mature

RELEASE DATE: June 20, 2017


In the early 20th century, Russo-Japanese War veteran Saichi Sugimoto searches the wilderness of the Japanese frontier of Hokkaido for a hoard of hidden gold. With only a cryptic map and a native Ainu girl to help him, Saichi must also deal with every murderous cutthroat, bandit and rogue who knows about the treasure!

“Immortal Sugimoto,” a survivor of the assault on 203 Meter Hill during the Russo-Japanese War, now scratches out a meager existence in the post-war gold rush in the wild frontier of Hokkaido. A chance encounter in the woods puts a map to a hidden fortune of Ainu gold in his hands, but Sugimoto is not the only interested party, and everyone who knows about the gold will kill to possess it!


From Satoru Noda comes his award winning manga series “Golden Kamuy”.

Written and art by Satoru Noda, the mangaka also worked with Yu Nakagawa in ensure authenticity of the Ainu language.

The manga series won the 9th Manga Taisho award and with ten volumes currently printed in Japan, the first volume of “Golden Kamuy” will be available in the United States courtesy of Viz Signature on June 2017.

The series revolves around a soldier named Saichi Sugimoto who fought in the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 and survived with savagery and toughness.  And because of his braveness, he is known as “Immortal Sugimoto”.

Because his best friend asked him before his death on the battlefield for Sugimoto to take care of his wife and children, Sugimoto hears of a story about hidden Ainu gold (the Ainu are the indigenous people of Japan).  One man killed the Ainu hiding the gold and stole around Y80,000 and buried the gold somewhere in Hokkaido.

While the man was caught and thrown into Abashiri prison, he was sentenced to death and the map of where the gold was hidden was tattooed on the backs of 24 prisoners.

This was told to Sugimoto by a drunken man.  When Sugimoto finds the man killed by a bear, he notices that he had a tattoo all over his back and that the story must be true.

But when the bear goes for an attack on Sugimoto, he is saved by an Ainu girl named Asirpa, a daughter of one of the Ainu men who was killed by those hunting for Ainu gold.

But as Sugimoto and Asirpa team up to find the gold, many dangerous hunters including the deadly 7th Division of the Imperial Japanese Army led by Lt. Tsurumi.


A soldier and an Ainu girl in search of gold stolen from the Ainu people.  The story is about a man named Saichi Sugimoto, a kind hearted man who was turned into a soldier known as “Immortal Sugimoto” during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904.

With a friend’s final dying wish for Sugimoto to take care of his wife and children, that would require money which Sugimoto doesn’t have.  But when he hears about gold that was hidden in Hokkaido, gold stolen from the Ainu people, he teams up with a Ainu girl, who knows how to hunt and also use the wild to heal people, but also her father was killed because of the gold.

Sugimoto is not interested in 50/50, just a small share and wants to give most of it to Asirpa but also to help her get revenge on the people who killed her father.

But immediately, other hunters looking for the gold, are now also hunting for Sugimoto and Asirpa .  Can these two survive?  And what will the two learn as they must take on other hunters and soldiers who are also looking for the gold?

The writing for the first volume manages to establish the primary two characters but also the dangerous environment that Sugimoto and Asirpa are thursted into.  With the two trying to find prisoners who have the map tattoo on their backs, it’s not going to be easy as gold hunters and also the 7th Division of the Imperial Japanese Army are after them.  Illustration is fantastic and manages to capture emotion but also the action.

But most importantly, it’s great that Satoru Noda is consulting with Yu Nakagawa in regards to Ainu language and culture.  For those not familiar with Ainu in Japan, they have a similar unfair treatment in society (as Native Americans in the United States) and prejudice runs rampant in various parts of Japan towards the indigenous Ainu people.  So, it takes great care of making sure to capture the culture on the pages of “Golden Kamuy”.

While I have only read one volume, Satoru Noda’s “Golden Kamuy” is turning out to be a fantastic, action-packed manga series worth reading!

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Food Wars! – Shokugeki no Soma Vol. 18 (Story by Yuto Tsukuda and Art by Shun Saeki) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

June 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

In vol. 18, can Soma save the Polaris Dorm?  “Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma” is a magnificent manga for those who love cooking, cooking competitions and underdogs faced with the challenges of taking on the top chefs at a prestigious cooking academy.  Highly recommended!

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© 2012 by Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Food Wars – Shokugeki no Soma Vol. 18

STORY AND ART BY: Story by Yuto Tsukuda and Art by Shun Saeki

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: June 6, 2017


The shokugeki to decide the fate of the Polaris dormitory nears its conclusion! Even with the judges firmly in his opponent’s pocket, Soma puts everything he’s gained from his time at the dorm on a plate, cementing Polaris’s future—or lack thereof—at the institute. Meanwhile, Central makes its move, beginning a full-scale purge of anyone daring to resist them! Will Soma survive to take on this next challenge?


The Ninth Seat Etsuya Eizan, of Totsuki’s Council of Ten has an open challenge against Ryoma and to make things interesting, Azami Nakiri who has taken over the Totsuki Institue as the new dean, has now put a wager that if Ryoma loses, the Polaris Dorm must shut down.

With judges that are loyal to Azami, can Ryoma pull out a win against Eizan.

And the Nakiri’s learn the truth of who Ryoma’s father is!

All this and more in volume 18 of “Food Wars! -Shokugeki no Soma”!

What is “Food Wars! – Shokugeki no Soma” about?

In 2012, writer Yuto Tsukuda and artist Shun Saeki created their manga series “Shokugeki no Soma” which continues to be serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump”.

The manga was voted #3 in the Nationwide Bookstore Employees “Recommend Comics of 2014” in Japan and voted #12 in the 2014 “Kono Manga ga Sugoi!” Top 20 Manga for Male Readers survey and continues to be a popular series in Japan.

With a total of eight tankobon volumes released in the U.S., Viz Media will be releasing the first manga volume titled “Food Wars! – Shokugeki no Soma” in North America in August 2014.

The series revolves around a young teen named Soma Yukihara who works for his father, chef Joichiro Yukihira, at their local restaurant.

Trained to cook at an early age and known for trying to combine various foods together as experiments, Soma has been known to cook dishes that make people feel they have tasted the best food ever to touch their tastebuds. But his goal is to someday beat his father in cooking.

But with landsharks trying to get control of the land to build condo units where the restaurant is located, one day while returning to the restaurant, everything inside is removed.

While Soma wants to rebuild, his father tells him that he will be closing the restaurant for two or three years to travel and as for Soma, he is enlisted in Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute where the elite of the elite attend and less than 10% of its students ever graduated.

But his father gives Soma a stern message, if he can’t make it at Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute, he will never beat him.

Determined to prove to his father that he can graduate as an elite cook, Soma is still looked down by his fellow students and faculty because unlike them, he is not wealthy and his family did not own a four or five star restaurant.

But Soma is determined to prove them wrong.

In volume 18, Soma finds himself in a challenge that his fellow dormmates of the Polaris Dorm are heavily depending on him.  As Soma is challenged by Totsuki’s Council of Ten’s Ninth Seat, Etsuya Eizan, Azami put the wager that if the Soma loses, the Polaris Dorm must shut down for good.

Meanwhile, this matchup opens the flood gates as Azami uses chefs from the Totsuki Council of Ten to help eliminate other cooking clubs at the academy in similar competitions.


As a big fan of manga series about food and the culinary industry, “Food Wars! -Shokugeki no Soma” is a series that I absolutely enjoy.

For one, you have an antagonist that was cooking since he was young, often experimenting on different foods, even know that all his combinations are not always successful. But he also was brought up in a family restaurant and has to attend a school of elitist who think their food is the greatest and that they are more refined because they are wealthy.

So, it’s pretty awesome to see how far these people will put him down and until they eat his food, their reaction, and probably this may be the best word to describe their reaction to his food as “orgasmic”.

With the 18th volume of “Food Wars! -Shokugeki no Soma”, Soma must take on Totsuki’s Council of Ten’s Ninth Seat, Etsuya Eiza. If he loses, the Polaris Dorm must shut down.

Knowing that the competition is rigged, as the judges are going to favor Eiza due to their relationship with Dean Nakiri, Soma must cook a dish to spectacular that it must beat Etsuya Eiza.  But can he do it?

As this matchup opens to foodgates, in order for Azami to gain complete control over the entire institute, he turns his eyes to the other research societies, seminars and other independently operating bodies with the intent of crushing them.  The Azami administration gets members from the top 10 seats to take on shokugeki matchups against these other societies to eliminate them.

Also, what happens when Dean Nakiri and also Erina learn the truth of who Soma’s father is.

For volume 18, the storyline by Yuto Tsukuda has been nothing short of enjoyable. This is a fun manga that left me craving for more and Shun Saeki’s artwork is energetic, fun and the more suggestive artwork that was seen in earlier volumes are not too extreme (in terms of fan service and sexuality).

Overall, “Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma” is a magnificent manga for those who love cooking, cooking competitions and underdogs faced with the challenges of taking on the top chefs at a prestigious cooking academy.  Highly recommended!

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Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign Vol. 12 (Story by Takaya Kagami, Art by Yamato Yamamoto, Storyboards by Daisuke Furuya) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

June 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you have invested this much time in reading the first eleven volumes of “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign”, you will no doubt want to check out this latest twelfth volume.  More action and more revelations!  Check it out!

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© 2012 Takaya Kagami, Yamato Yamamoto, Daisuke Furuya. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign Vol. 12

STORY AND ART BY: Story by Takaya Kagami, Art by Yamato Yamamoto, Storyboards by Daisuke Furuya

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: June 6, 2017


Three months have passed since the invasion in Nagoya and Yuichiro, Mika and Shinoa Squad are all on the run from both the vampires and the humans! Just as they resolve to ask Krul Tepes for help, Ferid Bathory and Crowley Eusford intercept them with a suspicious proposal to become the group’s new best friends, bringing with them a special hostage for good measure and the secret of the true purpose of the Seraph of the End project.


It was revealed that humans were experimenting on people to create the weapon known as “Seraph of the End” and Guren Ichinose is revealed to be one.

As Yuichiro and his friends are able to escape and literally become fugitives of the Army, they find themselves being wanted by both sides.

But meanwhile, two top vampires, Ferid Bathory and Crowley Eusford are trying to meet up with them.  But why?

All this and more in the twelfth volume of Takaya Kagami and Yamato Yamamoto’s “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign”!

What is “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign” all about?

In 2012, mangaka Takaya Kagami (“The Legend of the Legendary Heroes”), artist Yamato Yamamoto (“Kure-nai”, “Denpa Tei na Kanojo”) and storyboard artist Daisuke Furuya teamed up to work on the dark fantasy manga series “Owari no Serafu”.

The series which has a total of six tankobon volumes released in Japan, has been released in the U.S. courtesy of Viz Media with the title “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign”.

“Seraph of the End” began with an introduction of how an unknown virus brought the world to a sudden end. Only children under 13-years-old survived and those children were enslaved by vampires.

The story introduces us to an impulsive boy named Yuichiro Hyakuya who wants nothing more but to kill vampires. But his friend Mikaela Hyakuya is a boy who is more levelheaded and tries to get his friend to think straight and know they are not powerful enough to defeat them.

For Yuichiro, he wants nothing more but his fellow friends to escape captivity from the underground city of Sanguinem and reach the outside.

And one day, all of them decide to make their escape…but will they be successful?

In volume 2, Yuichiro Hyakuya wants nothing more but to get his revenge on the vampires who killed his friends, especially his best friend, Mikaela Hyakuya, who sacrificed his life in order for Yuichiro to escape.

Fast forward years later and as Yuichiro is wanting to become a member of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, the army responsible for fighting against the vampires, he needs to learn discipline and train for combat. But first he must go through the various tests in school which include being friends with others and being a team player, all are hard for Yuichiro to try and do.

But now is his chance to pass the test to advance, but it means having to partner with another hot-headed teen like himself, who doesn’t mind getting into brawls…Kimizuki.

Will Yuichiro, Kimizuki and Yoichi be ready for their next test?

Meanwhile, what happened to Mikaela Hyakuya after Yuichiro escaped from the Vampire lair has been revealed!

In volume 3, as the team has trained and learned to work together, Yuichiro, Yoichi, Kimizuki and Shinoa Hiragi are assigned a new leader named Mitsuba Sangu. An impulsive girl who is also the rival of Shinoa.

As the team goes on their first major mission to fight vampires in Harajuku, will they be ready or will their impulsiveness get in the way?

In volume 4, the Japanese Imperial Army are fighting in a losing battle against the Vampire nobles, a group that includes Yuichiro’s childhood friend Mika, who was changed into a vampire on that fateful day.

As Yuichiro and friends come to join the Japanese Imperial Army on the front lines, Yuichiro comes into contact with Mika for the first time.

But with Mika now a vampire and Yuichiro a vampire hunter, what will happen when these two friends see each other for the very first time since they were separated?

In volume 5, learning that Mika is alive and has been transformed into a vampire, Yuichiro wants nothing more but to help save his friend. But still, he must go through a interview to find out what happened that day he confronted Mika and if he has the resolution to slaughter vampires. Also, factions within the Japanese Imperial Demon Army want Yuichiro to join their faction.

Meanwhile, Yuichiro and crew learn more about their abilities and whether they are possession or manifestation type.

In volume 6, Yuichiro still trying to learn more about his special abilities, must find a way to get his cursed gear Asumaru to work with him.

Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes, interesting partnerships or rivalries created within the ranks of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army and the vampires.

In volume 7, the Japanese Imperial Demon Army plans to launch a sneak attack on the vampire nobles and Yuichiro’s team must be ready to go into battle.

The problem is that they continue to work as individuals rather than a team and are not taking the attack as seriously as they should.

So, will they be ready to partake in this sneak attack?

In volume 8, the Japanese Imperial Demon Army goes on the offensive. And while Yuichiro’s team fared well, the other teams lost many of their soldiers in the war against the nobles.

But in order to make a strong statement of human vs. vampires, they must now launch a battle against the Thirteenth Progenitor vampire Crowley Eusford and nobles, Chess and Horn with whatever soldiers are remaining.

But will they be enough to defeat these powerful vampires?

In volume 9, Lt. Col. Guren Ichinose and Major General Shinya Hiragi were hoping to take down the powerful Thirteenth Progenitor vampire, Crowley Eusford and vampire nobles, Horn and Chess. But they never realized how powerful a vampire he truly is.

And now Guren and Shinya are on the losing end, can Yuichiro save Guren and what bond does Yuichiro have with Guren?

In volume 10, Lt. Col. Guren Ichinose and Major General Shinya Hiragi were hoping to take down the powerful Thirteenth Progenitor vampire, Crowley Eusford and vampire nobles, Horn and Chess. But didn’t realize how powerful he truly is and now Guren has been held captive.

Yuichiro and his team tried to pull off a rescue but Crowley, Horn and Chess showed their true power. In the process, the demon inside Yuichiro came out when he saw his team nearly being decimated.

Now, his family member turned vampire, Mikaela is determined to rescue him from the humans and vampires. But with the Japanese Imperial Army surrounding him, can he save Yuichiro?

And Mikaela reveals the truth of the “Seraph of the End”!

In volume 11, despite the revelation, Yuichiro wants to save Guren, as he feels that his humanity is still in tact. Meanwhile, Ferid Bathory and Crowley Eusford are up to something.

Yuichiro and his friends plus Mikaela must team up as the battle ahead will be deadly.

In volume 12, as Yuichiro, Mikaela and friends try to find a safe spot to evade both the army and the vampires, they are unaware that two of the top vampires are homing in on them.

And as Yuichiro and Mikaela try to put up a fight, Ferid (the vampire who is responsible for killing Yuichiro and Mikaela’s family and also transforming Mikaela into a vampire) pulls out the decapitated head of his family member, Akane.

This sends Yuichiro to demon mode once again and everyone is knowing that Yuichiro is losing his humanity the more he gives into the demon power.  What will happen during and after this confrontation?


As Mikaela continues to distrust humans, with Yuichiro convincing him to fight alongside his friends, who will also be his friends and that vampire and humans can co-exist, Yuichiro’s inner-demon is starting to consume him.

We have seen how bad it could get but this time, Ferid and Crowley are toying with Yuichiro for some apparent reason of trying to bring the demon out but also trying to give them a chance to survive.

But most importantly, Ferid reveals of who was responsible for the virus nearly killing all of humanity.

An action-packed volume, the latest twelfth volume of “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign” shows us the battle between Ferid/Crowley vs. Yuichiro and friends. The storyline by Takaya Kagami is enjoyable, humorous and it has its dark, violent moments that easily drives up the ratings to “Older Teen” but for the most part, it’s not a horror manga series, nor is it too dark that it’s twisted or scary partly because of the comedy due to its hardheaded protagonist. The artwork by Yamato Yamamoto is well-done and characters are very expressive.

If you have invested this much time in reading the first eleven volumes of “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign”, you will no doubt want to check out this latest twelfth volume.  More action and more revelations!  Check it out!

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Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set by Chiho Saito (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

May 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are a “Revolutionary Girl Utena” fan, may it be for the manga or for those who only watched the anime and have never read the original manga series, will no doubt find “Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set” truly worth owning. Recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 1997 Chiho Saito, Be-Papas. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set

Story and Art by Chiho Saito

Story Concept by Be-Papas

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: April 11, 2017


The classic manga returns in a deluxe box set! Hardcover editions of Revolutionary Girl Utena and The Adolescence of Utena are included in this two-volume collectors’ set with exclusive color pages and poster.

Once upon a time, a little girl was rescued by a prince. That girl then grows up to be strong and courageous as she awaits his return. To defend a friend’s honor, she challenges a brute to a duel and wins. She is entrusted with the SWORD OF DIOS and the Rose Bride, who is the key to finding her elusive prince. But this won’t end like a fairy tale. Because Utena has the power to REVOLUTIONIZE the world.


Back in 1996, mangaka Chiho Saito created the manga series “Shojo Kakumei Utena” (Revolutionary Girl Utena).  A story based on a concept by Be-Papas.

Serialized in “Ciao”, an anime adaptation would be created in 1997 featuring 39 episodes, while only five volumes of “Revolutionary Girl Utena” were published.

So popular was the anime series that it won “Best TV Animation Award” at Animation Kobe in 1997 and the popularity spread worldwide, leading to many to discover the manga series but also leading to stage productions as many people applauded the series for its borrowed visuals from Takarazuka theater and it being a unique douseiai-style (same sex/gender love) shojo manga.

For those not familiar with this term, in Japanese, Class S refers to strong emotional bonds between schoolgirls and in Japanese culture, depicted as female crushes during adolescence and not true homosexual behavior.  Douseiai-style refers to people of the same sex.

And now the manga series including its side stories are now included in Viz Manga’s “Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set” featured in two hardback, large omnibus style books.

The story begins with an introduction to Utena Tenjou and how she lost her parents at a young age and was raised by her aunt.  Always trying to be strong for her aunt and keep a happy face, one day she nearly fell in a river but was rescued by a mysterious man.

And now as Utena is a teenager, beautiful, athletic and also bold in the fact that she prefers to wear a male outfit instead of the standard female school clothing, one day she receives a letter that says “This year, finally, we will meet” and it has a scent of roses which reminds her of her mystery man that saved her, whom she refers to as a prince.  She is also given a ring with the emblem of the rose on it.

When circumstances lead to Utena nearly falling in the same river trying to rescue a girl, once again, the mysterious man appears.  And when her good friend investigates the letters she receives each year, he finds out that the letters are a puzzle featuring a photo of Ohtori Private Academy.  And Utena makes a decision to attend the school.

As a popular athlete and beautiful student, she attracts guys and girls.  But one day, while walking through the Private Rose Garden of the Student Council, she sees a student named Saionji slapping a girl named Anthy but was stopped by the Student Council President, Touga Kiryuu.

When Saionji embarrasses Utena’s friend, Wakaba, by posting her love letter for the entire school to read, Utena is upset and he challenges Saonji to a duel.

But what Utena thought was a regular duel is actually quite complicated as the members of the Student Council are duelists and they follow the “Rules of the Rose Seal” and that is the will of “World’s End”.  Whoever is on top of the duelists, wins Anthy who is the Rose Bride and is the possessor of the Sword of Dios.

And during her duel with Saionji, when Utena wins the duel and the sword, an image of a man shows up and it is Dios and activates in Utena’s hands.

And now because Utena won the duel, others on the Student Council will be targeting Utena to duel and to win the Rose Bride but also become possessor of the Sword of Dios.

But what is the World’s End?  What is the Sword of Dios?  And why is Anthy being forced to become the top duelist’s bride?  All will be answered in “Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set”.


Back in the ’90s, I was a person who discovered “Revolutionary Girl Utena” through the anime series and I have to say that the series managed to captivate not just myself but many people who watched it as Utena Tenjou fights for Anthy’s freedom.  Not knowing why people are dueling and what the World’s End truly is or what the Sword of Dios is.  She’s doing it to be a friend and help Anthy discover her own true freedom.

There are significant differences between anime and manga.  Where the manga wasn’t too long and had extra side-stories, the anime had the opportunity to extend the story (as it lasted 39-episodes) by including four primary arcs, the first that dealt with the Student Council, while the stories involving a Black Rose Saga featuring Souji Mikage, a counselor who uses his powers of persuasion to send students to fight Utena (which is based on one of the side stories).

Also, the anime series featured Utena having to fight the Student Council who have gained new abilities until settling into a story that is in the manga series and that is the introduction to Anthy’s brother Akio.

So, for those watching the anime series and then went to the manga series, may feel disheartened that the additional stories and characters featured in the anime were not in the manga series.

As mentioned, there are side stories.  Such as ChuChu the monkey adding hot and spicy ingredients to Anthy’s cooking to make it test better for Utena.  Another story features Utena and Anthy switching bodies.

Another story features Juri’s mentor, the best swordsman in school named Ruka Tsuchiya, returning back to school.  This is an emotional story spotlighting on Juri.

A really interesting story features Souji Mikage wanting to kill Anthy and so he can install a sick boy, named Mamiya Chida as the Rose Bride in order to save him from his sickness.

And all this and more side stories are included in “Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set”.   Meanwhile, the story is captivating and the artwork by Chiho Saito is magnificent.  Also, the set comes with a slip case for both books and also comes with a poster.

Overall, if you are a “Revolutionary Girl Utena” fan, may it be for the manga or for those who only watched the anime and have never read the original manga series, will no doubt find “Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set” truly worth owning.

Recommended!

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Master Keaton – Omnibus Vol. 10 by Naoki Urasawa, Story by Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki (A J!-ENT Manga Review)

May 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

masterkeaton-10

If you love mystery, action and well-written, smart stories, “Master Keaton” is highly recommended!

© 1989 Naoki Urasawa/Studio Nuts, Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Master Keaton – Omnibus Vol. 10

STORY AND ART BY: Naoki Urasawa, Story by Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ SIGNATURE/Viz Media, LLC

RATED: OT for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: March 21, 2017


Taichi Hiraga Keaton is a busy insurance investigator who yearns to make a living as an archaeologist. Just how long does he have to continue working as an investigator? Keaton is uncertain of his future, but he does know that a string of difficult cases awaits him!


A bar keeper’s son is killed.  Who is responsible?

A woman gets close to Keaton and wants him to pretend that he is her husband.  But why?

Someone is murdering people in a smuggling ring.  But what relationship do they have with the Nazis?

A young girl’s mother is getting married, but the mother thinks her daughter Alice is defective and not a proper young lady.  She hires Keaton to teach tutor her, but can Keaton get through to Alice?

What happens when Oliver Woodworth returns, wanting to become Keaton’s assistant?

And something sinister is going on in the mysterious Landberry Village in Wales.  Can Keaton and Detective Neville find out what is going on in the village?

All this and more in “Master Keaton – Omnibus vol. 10”.

What is “Master Keaton” all about?

In 1998, “Master Keaton” was a manga series serialized in “Big Comic Original”.

Created by Hokusei Katshika and Naoki Urasawa, the series was released through 1994 and ran for 144 chapters. In Japan, a total of 18 tankobon volumes were released and in 1998-1999, a 24-episode animate adaptation was aired on Nippon Television plus an additional 15 OVA episodes were created and were once released in the United States.

In 2012, Urasawa would create the sequel to the series titled “Master Keaton Remaster” with writer Takashi Nagasaki and the series was serialized in “Big Comic Original” and was set 20 years after the original series ended.

And now, Viz Media is releasing an omnibus of the manga series which includes 12 chapters and part of the Viz Signature imprint.

The story of “Master Keaton” revolves around a man named Taichi Hiraga-Keaton, the son of Japanese Zoologist Taihei Hiraga and Englishwoman Patricia Keaton. Because his parents separated when he was young, Taichi was raised in England by his mother.

He studied archaeology at Oxford University under Professor Yuri Scott. While married, like his father, he also divorced and has a daughter named Yuriko who was raised by her mother but recently has been visiting her father now that she is a high school student.

While Master Keaton teaches archaeology at Kotozawa University and is often taking jobs as an insurance investigator with Lloyd’s of London that require his expertise. Sometimes the job can be very dangerous. But the other side of Keaton is that he was also a member of the British Army, and its SAS (Special Air Service) division…special forces. Keaton was a survival instructor and saw combat in the Falklands War and one of the team members who responded to the Iranian Embassy incident.

He skills of survival but also combat is remarkable but his knowledge of archaeology and antiques are also uncanny. And now, he must take on various jobs around the world that puts him and his clients at risk.


“Master Keaton” is an entertaining and smartly written manga series.

On the outside, you think Keaton is just a normal man but not only is he able to outwit anyone who tries to hurt him, his survival skills are uncanny. But yet, he is a man with faults and that lies more in his life as a father (he’s so busy that he hasn’t really been there for his daughter) and his concern for his ex-wife (he no doubt loves her but also too busy to be a married man).

While I won’t go so far as calling him a James Bond-ish type of character, as he isn’t actually suave, he is a survivalist and an knowledgeable about ancient history and antiques.

Not many know of his special forces training, they just know of his knowledge of antiques, and thus he goes into areas that are a bit dangerous.

In omnibus volume 10, you get a good number of diverse stories. From Keaton helping out the bar owner who’s estranged son was murdered.  Who was responsible?

Another story revolves around Oliver Woodworth coming back and leaving his father’s wealthy business to become Keaton’s assistant.  But Keaton tries to prevent Woodworth from being his assistant due to the danger of the job.

There is also an intriguing story that involves a smuggling ring with each of its members being killed.  With a link to the Nazi’s, Keaton must find out who is murdering members of the smuggling ring.

And another fascinating chapter involves Dr. Neville going to Landbery Village in Wales to find an escaped convict.  Neville finds Keaton also on the scene but something sinister is happening around the village.

For the most part, I was very impressed with each of these stories as they were well-researched, well-written and really go into the historical details of an item, of cultures and more.

The art and the ancient history portion of various chapters are well-researched and Hokusei Katsuhika did a wonderful job, while the artwork by Urasawa is wonderful as always.

It’s absolutely wonderful that Viz Media has released the “Master Keaton” omnibus in North America. It’s one of the most intriguing, smartly written manga series available in the United States. And the good thing is you can pick up any volume and not really miss out on continuity because each chapter is a different case for series protagonist, Keaton.

If you love mystery, action and well-written, smart stories, “Master Keaton” is highly recommended!

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Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt vol. 3 – Story and Art by Yasuo Ohtagaki (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

April 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The story has been action-driven, detail of the artwork has been excellent and for mecha fans, “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” vol. 3 gives readers a gritty, emotional and darker side of the war.

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© 2012 by Yasuo Ohtagaki. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt Vol. 3

STORY AND ART BY: Yasuo Ohtagaki

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Signature

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2017


In the Universal Century year 0079, humanity is divided between Earth and huge space colonies known as Sides. The colony known as Side 3 proclaims independence as the Principality of Zeon, and declares war on the Earth Federation. As the conflict nears the one-year mark, the Earth Federation and the forces of Zeon are locked in a fierce battle for the Thunderbolt Sector, an area of space scarred by the wreckage of destroyed space colonies.

The Federation attack on the Zeon fleet in the Thunderbolt sector is a bloody fiasco as Io Fleming leads a squadron of inexperienced young pilots into the teeth of the Zeon defenses. Desperate, the Federation throws even the maintenance crews into the fray. Casualties mount as the two fleets clash, and Fleming and his Zeon rival, Daryl Lorenz, engage deep in the ruins of one of the space colonies. Shattered and driven by memories of the past and all they’ve lost, their duel resonates with the fierce emotions of both sides in this deadly conflict.


The Principality of Zeon thanks to their Zeon Sniper Daryl Lorenz and his new Psycho Zaku has taken the Federation by surprise and nearly wiped out the entire fleet.  And with the surviving members of the Federation, they are not aware that Zeon Fleet Commander Kleiber is on their way for support.

Meanwhile, Io Fleming with his Gundam and Zeon Sniper Daryl Lorenz clash once again, but this time, who wins this battle?

What is “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” about?

Back in 2012, mangaka Yasuo Ohtagaki wrote and illustrated the manga “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt”.

With eight volumes published, the series would receive a 4-episode ONA anime adaptation and a second season is slated for adaptation.

The manga is set during the One Year War (U.C. 0079) and the Earth Federation’s Brotherhood and the Principality of Zeon’s Living Dead Division are in battle in the Thunderbolt Section, a zone that is littered with debris from the destruction of space colonies and because the area has numerous electrical discharging.

Fighting for the Earth Federation is Ace pilot, Io Fleming and for the Principality of Zeon, Zeon’s best sniper, Daryl Lorenz is focused on killing Fleming.

As Io won the first meeting between the two, this time around, both the Federation and Zeon plan to escalate the battle as the Federation plans to send the Gundam in one more time to finish the job, but leading the Gundam are young recruits. Meanwhile, Zeon follows Daryl Lorenz piloting the new Psycho Zaku.

And with a sneak attack, they are able to decimate the Federation.  With only a few survivors of the Federation, what happens when appen’s when Earth Federation’s Moore Brotherhood enters a Zeon ship?

Also, the Federation’s Io Fleming and his Gundam takes on Zeon’s Daryl Lorenz and his new Psycho Zaku.

What will be the outcome of this major battle in the Thunderbolt Sector?


When it comes to the Universal Century Gundam stories, they are my favorite. And while many of us have been entertained by stories involving Amuro Ray, there have been a variety of stories that have taken place in the Universal Century, some more deeper than the others and others just focusing on the action.

“Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” may seem like the latter because of the action focusing on Earth Federation vs. the Principality of Zeon but once the manga goes into character development, the storyline focuses on how people are growing tired of the war. People sick of seeing deaths of friends and loved ones.

Io Fleming is a man born from a wealthy family and he and his friends are thrusted into war. Fleming is secretly dating Captain Claudia Peer, a captain who is sick and tired of war and that the Earth Federation keeps sending teenage pilots as reinforcements and always depressed and tense when Fleming, the Beehive’s best pilot goes to fight against the Principality of Zeon. Along with Fleming and another childhood friend, engineer Cornelius Kaka, all three were born in privilege and are now assigned to the Beehive.

Fleming is an excellent pilot and surprises the Principality of Zeon when he shows up and takes many of them out with his Gundam and always playing his jazz music through a pilot radio station.

Meanwhile, on the opposite end are the Living Dead Division of the Principality of Zeon. A group that is put together of people who have been significantly injured or maimed and are still fighting with prosthetics.

Their best fighter, Zeon Chief Petty Officer Daryl Lorenz, is an excellent sniper and wants revenge against Fleming for killing his teammates. He has lost his legs in battle and carries a retro-style radio that he listens to in battle.

We see the other side as those who feel they are wronged and want revenge against the Earth Federation for the death of their loved ones.

Zeon scientist Karla Mitchum is responsible for giving the soldiers prosthetics but when her loved one is killed, she wants Daryl to rid of the Earth Federation, especially the man responsible, Io Fleming.

But we see how the grass is definitely not greener on the other side and how difficult life was for children growing up in the Principality of Zeon and in order to make sure their families were taken care of, they had to join the military at a young age.

So, the third volume of “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” gives us a look as both sides and both were decimated by each other.    People injured and not sure if they will live, but with this latest battle, Zeon has the edge as they managed to do a sneak attack to decimate the Federation.

As only a few of Earth Federation’s Moore Brotherhood around to infiltrate the Zeon ship, what will they find?

Meanwhile, another clash between the elite Io Fleming and his Gundam and Daryl Lorenz and his Psycho Zaku.  But who will have the edge in this latest battle?

The character designs, artwork and storyline by Yasuo Ohtagaki are wonderful and I really like how the emotion of the characters are depicted. The story has been action-driven, detail of the artwork has been excellent and for mecha fans, “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” vol. 3 gives readers a gritty, emotional and darker side of the war.

After this volume, nothing will ever be the same between the Federation and the Zeon in the Thunderbolt sector.

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Dragon Ball Super Vol. 1 – Story by Akira Toriyama, Art by Toyotarou (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

April 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you loved “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z”, I can’t highly recommend enough of how awesome “Dragon Ball Super” truly is.  I was just as skeptical, being a hardcore DBZ fan but I was quite pleased with the overall manga and can’t wait until vol. 2!

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Image courtesy of © 2016 Bird Studios, Toyotarou. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Dragon Ball Super vol. 1

Story by Akira Toriyama, Art by Toyotarou

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: May 2, 2017


Having defeated Boo, Goku is starting to get bored with his life on Earth. His wife, Chi-chi, wants him to get a job, but all he wants to do is train and fight stronger enemies. However, he might soon regret his wish for greater challenges, as one is on its way right for him!

Elsewhere in the universe, the God of Destruction, Beerus, and his attendant Whis are traveling from planet to planet in search of food and entertainment. After blowing up some hapless victims, Beerus is reminded of a man from his dreams with the moniker “Super Saiyan God,” or something like that. The God of Destruction sets his sights on Earth to track the source of his visions, leading to a battle like no other.


A new “Dragon Ball” series?

It was something that fans knew was a possibility but whether or not it would be accepted, that is a different story.

As “Dragon Ball GT” was created but not considered canon, because series creator Akira Toriyama was not involved, “Dragon Ball Super” is considered canon as the anime series credits Akira Toriyama for the original story and character design concepts.

As the “Battle of the Gods” and “Resurrection ‘F'” films are considered canon and take place before “Dragon Ball Super”, one may want to watch those two films before jumping onto this manga series, but fortunately, it is not needed as the first volume of the manga series gets readers caught up of what has transpired with the characters after Son Goku had defeated Majin Boo.

Written by Akira Toriyama and featuring artwork by Toyotarou (who did the manga adaptation of “Resurrection ‘F'”, an artists that Toriyama highly approves of, we begin a new chapter in the “Dragon Ball” manga series with the first volume of “Dragon Ball Super”.

As peace has taken place after Son Goku had defeated Majin Boo, for the next four years, Son Goku has become a radish farmer to support his family.

As Beerus, the God of Destruction and his assistant Whis destroy a planet in Universe 7, he had a dream of taking on a Super Saiyan God.  And is in search of him.

Meanwhile, Beerus’ twin brother Champa, God of Destruction of Universe 6 has secretly visited Universe 7 along with his assistant Vados to find the final Super Dragon Ball.

As Beerus pays a visit to the planet of the Lord of the Northern Worlds where Kaio-ken resides, Goku is training.  And when Beerus allows Goku to try and defeat him, Goku is beaten quickly.

This leads Beerus to interrupt Bulma’s birthday part on Earth (as featured in the “Battle of the Gods” film).

Needless to say, with the Dragon Balls and a ritual performed, Son Goku is transformed into a Super Saiyan God and challenges Beerus and it ends in a stalemate.  As Vegeta also acquires significant power, the two are trained by Whis.  And all was going well until Champa and Vados shows up to visit Beerus and Whis.

The two have a disagreement of which universe has better food and when Beerus introduces Champa to Cup Ramen, Champa proposes a challenge.  A fighting tournament featuring Universe 6’s best fighters vs.  Beerus’ choice of five of Universe 7’s best fighters.  Whoever wins gets access to the Super Dragon Balls and Champa’s goal is to switch Earth’s and have Beerus’ Earth switch places with the barren/devastated by war Earth of Universe 6.

All agree to have this tournament take place and now Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Boo and a fighter of Beerus’ choosing will need to take on Champa’s top five fighters.

Let the tournament begin!


I was very skeptical when “Dragon Ball Super” was announced.  Having enjoyed “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z”, “Dragon Ball GT” was no doubt a series cashing in on the “Dragon Ball” characters and a storyline that was more or less geared to attract younger viewers (as it focused on Son Goku turned into a child, his granddaughter Pan and Vegeta and Bulma’s son Trunks).

I was not excited about the two newer films because I felt that Akira Toriyama ended “Dragon Ball” and that should ahve been it.  Afterall, the first two “Dragon Ball” series are a big part of younger years and I didn’t want to see a new terrible series marring the original Toriyama work.

And with over 80-episodes of “Dragon Ball Super” having aired in Japan and not having seen one episodes, I figured I would read this manga and see if if I would enjoy it.

And to my surprise, this series manages to capture all the fun, laughter and action that the original had and more.  Suffice to say, I loved reading this first volume!

Not only do we get new characters but you get to see characters who have been featured in other Akira Toriyama series such as “JACO:  The Galactic Patrolman” make an appearance and also, we see all characters reunited for the next biggest test for the Son Goku and friends.

And while the first half of the manga series focuses on character introductions and the power of Beerus and Whis, we also learn that there are other powerful Gods of Destruction of other universes and for Son Goku, getting stronger and beating his opponents has always been a big part of the storyline.

And now, Son Goku and friends will need to take on the top warriors of Universe 6.  In some ways, it’s kind of an Akira Toriyama nod to DC Comics with Superman and the heroes of Earth-1 and Earth-2 and the differences of similar universes but different outcomes for various planets in the universe.

Needless to say, this first volume made me crave for more.  The humor and action are fantastic and is consistent with previous “Dragon Ball” series but most importantly, it’s entertaining and so much fun!

And I can see why Akira Toriyama has so much faith in Toyotarou, with an interview featured at the end of the chapters, you can tell that Akira working with Toyotarou is somewhat of a passing of the torch.  Toyotarou’s similarity to Akira Toriyama’s work is fantastic and this collaboration between the two shows their admiration as their work is fantastic.

Overall, if you loved “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z”, I can’t highly recommend enough of how awesome “Dragon Ball Super” truly is.  I was just as skeptical, being a hardcore DBZ fan but I was quite pleased with the overall manga and can’t wait until vol. 2!

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Boruto – Naruto Next Generations – vol. 1 – Story by Ukyo Kodachi and Art by Mikio Ikemoto (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

April 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you enjoyed “Naruto”, you’ll find “Boruto – Naruto Next Generations -” to be entertaining and a lot of fun to read! I look forward to the second volume of “Boruto – Naruto Next Generations -“.

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Image courtesy of © 2016 Masashi Kishimoto. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Boruto – Naruto Next Generations – vol. 1

Creator/Supervisor: Masashi Kishimoto

Story by Ukyo Kodachi and Art by Mikio Ikemoto

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shueisha Inc., Tokyo

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: April 4, 2017


The ninja adventures continue with Naruto’s son, Boruto!

Naruto was a young shinobi with an incorrigible knack for mischief. He achieved his dream to become the greatest ninja in his village, and now his face sits atop the Hokage monument. But this is not his story… A new generation of ninja are ready to take the stage, led by Naruto’s own son, Boruto!

Years have passed since Naruto and Sasuke teamed up to defeat Kaguya, the progenitor of chakra and the greatest threat the ninja world has ever faced. Times are now peaceful and the new generation of shinobi has not experienced the same hardships as its parents. Perhaps that is why Boruto would rather play video games than train. However, one passion does burn deep in this ninja boy’s heart, and that is the desire to defeat his father!


The popular manga series “Naruto” has been going strong since its debut in Shueisha back in 1999 via “Weekly Shonen Jump” magazine.

The manga by Masashi Kishimoto is about a young ninja named Naruto Uzamaki, a ninja of the Konoha leaf village who grew up facing prejudiced within his fellow ninjas because the evil nine-tailed fox was sealed inside him. But throughout the series, we have seen how Naruto is a kind-hearted boy who has worked hard in protecting his friends and staying true to his word with the goal of someday becoming the next Hokage of the village.

In 2014, Kishimoto wrapped up the “Naruto” manga and in the final chapter (featured in volume 72), Naruto would eventually become the Hokage of the Leaf Village and he and his wife Hinata would have two children, Boruto and Himawari.

Meanwhile, Sasuke and Sakura would have a daughter named Sarada, Shikamaru Nara and Temari would have a son named Shikadai, Sai and Ino would have a son named Inojin and Choji Akimichi and Karui would have a daughter named Chocho.

Everyone has grown up and Naruto is busy as the new Hokage at the village, this causes resentment from Naruto’s son Boruto who feels that his father was never there for him or the family.

This leads us to the new manga series “Boruto – Naruto Next Generations” which is created and supervised by Masashi Kishimoto but is now written by Ukyo Kodachi and artwork is by Mikio Ikemoto.

The manga begins with Boruto telling his story and him and his team partners, Sarada and Mitsuki being trained by Master Konohamaru.  A lot has changed in terms of ninja skills and technology.

Now, a jutsu can be contained in a mini-seal and put into a bracelet which gives anyone, ninja or not, the power to use a jutsu.  No chakra is even needed to use the new technology.

With the next Chunin exams coming up, Sarada and Mitsuki want to take the exam but Boruto, he has no desire.  He doesn’t want to be like his father and that means not wanting to be Hokage.  But for Sarada, she wants to be Hokage and tries to get Boruto to take part in the Chunin exam to let his father know he could do it.

Meanwhile, Sasuke Uchiha returns to the village and Boruto, not wanting to be anything like his father, goes to Sasuke to take him in as a pupil.  But Sasuke will only agree if Boruto can learn the Sharingan jutsu.

We also get to learn about Mitsuki and find out who his parent(s) may be.


Reading “Boruto – Naruto Next Generations – vol. 1”, I can’t help but be entertained by the fact that the series focuses on the children of the characters that many of us grew up reading/watching for 15 years.

“Naruto” having lasted so long was a big part of the lives of manga/anime fans of the series that we watched “Naruto” grow from a child, to a teenager and a young adult.  Seeing how his heart and his passion would inspire so many but also seeing him determined to defeat those who threatened the village or his friends.

With Naruto, he is a student that felt he had to prove himself through hardwork and determination.

So, it’s fascinating to see how Boruto is much different than his father.  Naruto, who had always said he would become Hokage is now the new Hokage of the Leaf Village but this new role means being busy with work and unfortunately, that means no time spent with the family.

Hinata is literally taking care of both children and you can see how Boruto is upset at his father for neglecting them, but he harbors a bit of anger for his father not being there for him.

What’s even more interesting is that Boruto is not too aware of his father’s past and how he grew up, so he is not aware of the challenges or difficulties his father grew up with.

And because of his feelings towards his father, he asks his dad’s rival, Sasuke Uchiha to become his master.

The first volume features the first test in the Chunin exams but also goes into who the parent of Mitsuki is and really interesting background about him as well.

And I’ll leave it that.

This is a new beginning, a new chapter and not sure if this will last for another 15 years but this is a tremendous task and also honor that “Naruto” creator Masashi Kishimoto had bestowed upon writer Ukyo Kodachi and artist Mikio Ikemoto.

The story and artwork is well-done and for the most part, I just enjoy reading this latest volume because this storyline is literally a passing of the torch to a new generation of characters in the Leaf Village.

And having read and enjoyed the “Naruto” manga (I enjoyed the anime series but the plethora of filler episodes made things drag out way too long for me), it’s great to read a story focused on the 7th Hokage’s son.

If you enjoyed “Naruto”, you’ll find “Boruto – Naruto Next Generations -” to be entertaining and a lot of fun to read!

I look forward to the second volume of “Boruto – Naruto Next Generations -“.

 

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Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V – Vol. 1 by Shin Yoshida and Naohito Miyoshi (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

March 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V” is a manga series with card battles that young fans and even older fans may enjoy. Personally, I enjoy the complexity of the battles and the strategy combined with a storyline featuring action and humor. And to have a protagonist who wants to be more of an entertainer (that can battle) is also fascinating. If you are a fan of card gaming and also a “Yu-Gi-Oh!” fan, “Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V” is recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2014 Kazuki Takahashi, Shin Yoshida, Naohito Miyoshi. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V – Vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Shin Yoshida and Naohito Miyoshi

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: April 4, 2017


Action Duels have become a global sensation, but what is the dark secret behind them that threatens to destroy the world? 

Yuzu Hiiragi and her father run a Dueling school that’s seen better days. If only they had a star teacher to bring in new students! When a rogue Duelist known as Phantom appears in the city, Yuzu may have found a savior, but Phantom will have to deal with the Leo Corporation’s special forces before he can get into any community service!


In 1996, Kazuki Takahashi would create a manga series about card games known as “Yu-Gi-Oh!”. Wanting to create a battle manga that was unique and not about fighting and a fan of tabletop role-playing games, Takahashi did not imagine how popular the series would be among fans worldwide.

With the original manga serialized in Sept. 1996 through 2004, the games have been popular among anime, manga and of course, the card gaming fans in America and also around the world. The series would spawn off various series (featuring manga adaptations by other artists/writers) such as “Yu-Gi-Oh! GX” (2005-2011), “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” (2008-2011) and “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” (2011-2012).

With the completion of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal”, the fifth “Yu-Gi-Oh!” franchise titled “Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V” was unveiled in 2014 and a manga adaptation serialized in Shueisha’s “V-Jump” magazine in August 2015.

And now “Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V” is now released in America courtesy of Viz Media.

What is “Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V”?

“Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V” continues the card battling theme that the original series was most popular for.

The series is set in the near future in a place called Maiami City and starts off at the Syo Zo Duel School where Principal Syu Zo Hiragi and his daughter Yuzu are worried that they will be unable to pay rent because they have no students.

Meanwhile, three helicopters from the Leo Corpration are in pursuit of  Yuya “The Phantom” Sasaki and when they corner him, Shingo Sawatari confronts the hooded individual and the young man tells them he isn’t Yuya Sasaki but his name is Yuto, but he will battle them.

As Yuzu watches from another building, she comes up with an idea, what if she can get Yuto to be a teacher at the school, then the school can make money.

As the battle between Yuya and Shingo begins, Shingo thinks he will win the battle but to everyone’s surprise, Yuto unleashes a pendulum summon and then reveals himself to be the best entertainment duelist in the world, Yuya Sasaki.

And when Yuya thinks he has a fan and goes to sign a paper, thinking he’s signing an autograph for Yuzu, he actually is signing a contract to teach at the Syu Zo Duel School.

Meanwhile, Reiji Akaba of the Leo Corporation will do anything to find and capture Yuya Sasaki.  But what is his motivation for doing so?


The concept of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V” is one that will appeal not only to fans of the original series and love card battling.  Where previous stories allowed for building certain card characters and turning them into something more powerful, the concept still remains but you now have this pendulum factor that really make a huge difference in a battle, along with four random action cards scattered around the action field.

It’s a much different concept than the other previous series, but the storyline has mystery and humor, which fans of the series will surely enjoy.

It’s important to note that with each volume purchased of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V”, an exclusive card is featured. In this case, an Odd-Eyes Phantom Dragon.

Overall, “Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V” is a manga series with card battles that young fans and even older fans may enjoy. Personally, I enjoy the complexity of the battles and the strategy combined with a storyline featuring action and humor.  And to have a protagonist who wants to be more of an entertainer (that can battle) is also fascinating.

If you are a fan of card gaming and also a “Yu-Gi-Oh!” fan, “Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V” is recommended!

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The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home – Part 4 by Konami Kanata (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

March 11, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are passionate about neko (cats) or a person who watched “Chi’s Sweet Home” and want to read the manga, definitely give Vertical Inc.’s “The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home” a try.  And if you have purchased the previous omnibus, the final “The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home” is definitely worth reading!

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© 2016 Konami Kanata. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home – Part 4

STORY AND ART BY: Konami Kanata

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kodanasha

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Vertical, Inc.

RATED: 8-12 years old

RELEASE DATE: December 20, 2016


After six years in North America the Chi’s Sweet Home saga has finally come to an end! Chi, Blackie, Cocchi and the rest will wrap up their adventures near Green Park in this final collection. But before Chi moves on to her new role as a 3DCG anime star, will she find her new home? Or will she decide to move away in search of new adventures?


When Chi’s human family are moving to France, Chi is reunited with her kitten family.  But which family will she choose?

The story of Chi ends with the final omnibus of Konami Kanata’s “The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home – Part 4”.

What is “The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home”?

In Japan, mangaka Konami Kanata is best known for her neko (cat) manga which goes as far back in 1982 with “Buchi Neko Jamu Jamu” which was published by Kodansha.

But her best known series is “Chi’s Sweet Home”, which was serialized in the Kodansha magazine, “Weekly Morning” since 2004.

With a two-season anime series (2008-2009) and a 3DCG television anime adaptation (2016), a total of 12 graphic novel volumes were published in Japan.  Here in the United States, Vertical Inc. has released four omnibus featuring three volumes each.

The story of “Chi’s Sweet Home” began with a young kitten named Sarah who has wandered away from her mother and siblings while going out for a walk.

Lost and scared, a young boy named Yohei and his family take in the young kitten, despite their apartment complex not allowing pets into their home.

So, the family tries to find a new home for the kitten but to no avail, they end up taking care of the young kitten.

While the kitten is housebroken, it responded to the word “Chi” (in Japanese, the word is “Shi” and the kitten was responding to the word “Shikko” which means urine/pee)  and so, the family calls the kitten by that name.

And as Chi gets used to his human family, he also manages to make friends with other animals living outside the neighborhood.

In “The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home – Part 4”, Chi meets a cat named Cocchi and when Chi takes him to his human family, Cocchi is shocked to see how Chi has been living.

As Cocchi returns back to the park, he meets two other cats that look similar to Chi and he takes Chi to meet with them.  At the park, he learns about family and that his family are cats with tails and that the family he lives with are not cats.  But Chi loves going out to the park and playing with other cats and seeing animals just like him.

Meanwhile, Yohei’s father has seen a poster that have been searching for a cat that looks exactly like chi and Yohe’s parents debate on whether to call the owner since Yohei has bonded with Chi.

As Chi and Cocchi are walking, they see their cat friends with her mother, but when the mother sees Chi, she calls out “Sarah”.  The mother goes searching for Chi and finds him with a human family that has taken him in.

Meanwhile, Yohei’s father gets a job opportunity in France and that means giving up Chi, prompting him to call the number on the poster.

What will happen to Chi?  Especially to young Yohei who has bonded with Chi?


If you are a person wh o loves cats, Konami Kanata’s manga “The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home” will no doubt appeal to you for its storyline showing you two different perspectives, one coming from a young kitten named chi discovering this new world with other animals but his love for the human family that has taken him in, especially the young Yohei.

The other perspective comes from the human family as the parents of Yohei know they are not allowed to take in pets at their apartment complex, but seeing how their young son loves the kitten, they decide to keep it.

But with this final three volumes featured in “The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home”, Yohei’s father sees a poster searching for Chi.  At first, Yohei’s parents are torn because they know their son loves Chi but with a new job offer to go to France, they decided to call the owner.

Meanwhile, as Chi has a new friend named Cocchi that introduces him to other cats at the park, Chi starts to learn about what a cat is and that there are others like him and have similar bodies.  He starts to realize the differences between him and others, including his human family.

But the more he plays in the park, Chi is not aware that he is playing with his siblings and when his real cat mother sees him, mother wants to be reunited with her lost kitten.

As Chi learns about family, which family will he prefer to live with.  His real family along with this siblings or will he want to live with Yohei and family?

A touching final volume, “The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home” ends with a positive, uplifting story that people of all ages can surely enjoy.  Along with volumes 10-12, the omnibus also comes with extras and a bonus cat comic.

If you are passionate about neko (cats) or a person who watched “Chi’s Sweet Home” and want to read the manga, definitely give Vertical Inc.’s “The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home” a try.  And if you have purchased the previous omnibus, the final “The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home” is definitely worth reading!

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