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The Flowers of Evil Complete Manga Omnibus Volume 1 by Shuzo Oshimi (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

February 17, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

I absolutely enjoyed “The Flowers of Evil” but I know it’s not going to be for everyone.  It’s a bit dark, twisted, audacious but it’s also original and captivating.  And I highly recommend “The Flowers of Evil Complete”!

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Image courtesy of © 2017 Shuzo Oshimi. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: The Flowers of Evil Complete Manga Omnibus Volume 1

Story and Art by Shuzo Oshimi

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kodansha Ltd.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Vertical Comics

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: October 31, 2017


The first combined edition of The Flowers of Evil features volumes 1-3 of this best-selling and acclaimed series. It follows the adventures of a lonely bookish teen struggling to find his identity through Beaudelaire’s poetry, until two girls – a beauty and a bully – help him find true love and friendship. Edgy, intense, and romantic, The Flowers of Evil has been a reader favorite. This new edition will give fans a chance to reconnect with Kasuga, Saeki, and Nakamura as it explores the issues of bulling, loneliness, individuality, and identity.


In 2009, Shuzo Oshimi wrote and illustrated the manga series “Aku no Hana” (The Flowers of Evil).

The manga was nominated at the fifth Manga Taisho and received an anime adaptation courtesy of Zexcs back in 2013.

With a total of 11 graphic novels published and having been released in America previously, Vertical Comics is re-releasing the manga series as an omnibus (three manga graphic novels in one thick book).

The story begins with an introduction to a middle school student named Takao Kasuga.  He is a guy who loves reading books, especially Charles Baudelaire’s “The Flowers of Evil” (Les Fleurs du Mal) and he is attracted to his classmate Nanako Saeki.  Meanwhile in class, there is a student who tends to get in trouble and her name is Sawa Nakamura.   She shocks her class by calling her teacher a “shit-bug” in front of everyone after the teacher outs her for getting a zero on her homework.

One day, Takao realizes that he left his book in class and when he goes to retrieve it, he sees Nanako’s gym shirt and bloomer shorts.  Because it belongs to Nanako, he takes it and brings it home.

Meanwhile, the following morning, Nanako is in tears because someone stole her gym shirt/shorts out of her gym bag.  As her classmates feel bad for her, Takao can’t help but feel bad that Nanako is distressed by what happened but keeps it to himself that he is responsible.

When Takao rides his bike back home after school, Sawa calls him and she tells him that she saw him steal Nanako Saeki’s gym clothes.

And from then on, she makes Takao take part in a contract.  She won’t tell anyone what he did, but she must do everything she says.

And the things she will make Takao as part of this contract, how far will Tako go through with it?  And how far will his feeling of guilt change him?


After reading “The Flowers of Evil Complete Manga Omnibus” vol. 1, I couldn’t help but feel that not only have I read something original, dark and shocking, but how refreshing to find a story that is unlike anything that has been released in Japan.

The story is a bit wicked, a boy who liked a girl and finds the opportunity to steal her gym shirt and bloomer shorts, at first I thought it would be the fall from grace of this book-loving intellect.

But in someways, it’s of how far this dark, intense girl named Sawa go to break him or to mold him to a person unlike others.  A person that is more or less broken from the inside.

Sawa has this control over Takao in a way that I find shocking.  When Takao gets the guts to ask Nanako Saeki out for a date, when he sees Sawa watch the two of them together, he begins to sense intense fear.  And he should because immediately, Sawa makes him wear Nanako’s clothes while he’s out on a date, goes as far to get him wet to reveal that he’s wearing her clothes and Sawa is like a twisted individual who thinks she can have his way towards Takao.  May it be hitting him, calling him degrading things and making him do the most messed up things, he does it.

At first you wonder why he does it.  At first, you can understand that it may be fear but somehow over the course of various chapters, you start to realize that Sawa has changed him for the worse.  And there is something twisted in the fact that perhaps Takao is getting a kick from the fact that she is bringing him out of his shell and having him discover his true self, or perhaps he is being broken to the point of being brainwashed.

It’s a bit shocking, unnerving and fascinating because we see how these three individuals transition after Takao’s misdeed.

But for those familiar with Baudelaire’s work, his poetry was a rebel.  He wrote criticisms of 19th century French modernism during a time when Emperor Napoleon III directed his prefect of the Seine, Georges-Eugene Haussmann to plan for the demolition of medieval neighborhoods that were overcrowded and unhealthy and bring France into modernism.  Baudelaire was against this and felt estranged from the city he lived in and his poets were inspired by the beggars, the blind, the gamblers, the prostitute, the elderly and those who were victimized by imperialism.  He was anti-bourgeois.

In connection with this series, Takao is a huge fan of Baudelaire’s work, which is a major hint to those familiar with Baudelaire’s work that within Takao, there is a rebel.  An anti-conformist, who but to weak to speak for himself. But Sawa is the true anti-conformist.  She doesn’t want to be like everyone else, so she speaks her mind and is blunt about not wanting to be like everyone else.

So, it’s a very interesting dynamic and a fascinating story.  Shuzo Oshimi in someways, because of his inspirations and thought process as featured in throughout the omnibus, makes me realize he is of the creative type as well.

Overall, I absolutely enjoyed “The Flowers of Evil” but I know it’s not going to be for everyone.  It’s a bit dark, twisted, audacious but it’s also original and captivating.  And I highly recommend “The Flowers of Evil Complete”!

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Imperfect Girl vol. 2 – Story by NISIOISIN and Art by Mitsuru Hattori (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

February 10, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

I’m not sure where this story is going. If a young girl with a knife will literally have this adult as her hostage that she can toy with and torture, it’s unusual and quite dark. And with vol. 2, it looks like “I” wants to stay, so he can understand “U” and her motivation for kidnapping him.  It’s an interesting volume to say the least and refreshingly dark but yet entertaining at the same time.

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© 2016 NISIOISIN/Misuru Hattori. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Imperfect Girl vol. 2

STORY BY: NISIOISIN

ART BY Mitsuru Hattori

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kodansha, Ltd.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Vertical Inc.

RATED: 16+

RELEASE DATE: January 9, 2018


“Leaving this house without finding out what’s going on here is no longer an option for me…!”

The improbable imprisonment that transformed “I” into a novelist continues into a third, fourth and fifth day. “U” obsesses over formalities, as “I” quietly coaxes her into taking care of herself. As this bizarre farce of a kidnapping stretches towards the inevitable breaking point, “I” starts to discover the truth about “U”, a truth he should never have learned.


“I” has been locked in the closet by his kidnapper “U”.  But while she goes out to school, he manages to find a way to escape the closet.  But as he could easily escape from the apartment, what does “I” discover, when he looks around U’s home.

All this and more in “Imperfect Girl” vol. 2!

What is “Imperfect Girl”?

Nisioisin is a well-known manga writer and novelist. Best known for his “Monogatari” novels, he already has created many series such as “Zaregoto”, “Ningen”, “Sekai”, “Densetsu”, “Boukyaku Tantei” to name a few.

In 2016, Nisioisin collaborated with Mitsuru Hattori (best known for “Concerto”) for “Imperfect Girl” which was featured in “Weekly Young Magazine”.

The series revolves around an author known as “I” hoping for a big break, but for each manuscript he has sent, he has not received one reply.

One day, while riding on his bike to get home, he sees two girls walking and one is hit by a truck and is killed. The other he sees saving her video game and rushing to her friend and then rode on.

The following day, while riding on his bike, the author gets into an accident as a recorder is stuck inside his back wheel and was able to survive thanks to his judo classes.

While the author gets home to check things on his computer, he feels a stabbing pain on his calf. When he goes to check, he sees the girl (that survived the crash) under his desk and sees her stabbing his calf with a blade.

She explains to him that her name is “U” and because she saw her, she is taking him. With the blade to his back and repeated punctures, she forces him to her home and has him go into the closet and locks him in there. As he ponders to get help, he realizes he would be a laughing stock if he told people that a young-girl has kidnapped him.

As the author tries to think of what “U” is trying to accomplish, he overthinks things, about her intention, about his life and by the time he wakes up, he realizes that he hasn’t eaten.

He is thinking it’s probably a game and her parents would come back home and he would be released…but why isn’t her parents home yet? Why is he being locked in a closet? What will happen if she leaves him locked up?


As a reader and viewer of NISIOISIN’s “Mongatari” series, there is always something fascinating about his style of work and the characters.

So, I was looking forward to reading his three volume series “Imperfect Girl” and I found the storyline to be surprisingly wicked.

A story about an author who has limited thinking and hasn’t had a successful novel, sees a girl get killed and her friend checking on her.

But instead of stopping, the author just keeps riding his bike and more or less is an observer that tries to use what he observes to incorporate to a future novel.

But the following day, he gets home and the girl he saw earlier is stabbing his calf with a blade. And now she has him by knifepoint and forces him to her home and she locks him up in his closet.

I found the whole story interesting and what if it was all in his head, what if he’s too stupid to do anything…break the closet down or whatever. Why does he just stay in the closet and not fight it? What is wrong with this guy? But as you read on, you start to realize, this little girl that has more or less kidnapped him, is wicked and unafraid and quite deadly.

With volume 2, the girl known as U leaves for school and the author, I is left in the closet and has to urinate.

Naturally, he finds a way out of the closet and while he has all the chances to escape, he sees how she is living and starts to feel bad for her.  Wondering if her parents left her all alone in the house?  Wondering if the food that she feeds him is all the food she lives on per day.

Needless to say, his curiosity leads him to stay and stay in the closet, so he can stay even longer.   But will his decision to stay, rather than leave a smart decision or a decision he’ll end up regretting?

As for the story and artwork, the collaboration between NISIOISIN and Mitsuru Hattori is solid. Some of those experimental art that you often see in NISIOISIN’s work, you tend to see experimentation with artwork and in the pages, while dark in a horror-like way, you also get a few experimental art that really looks cool.

Overall, I’m not sure where this story is going. If a young girl with a knife will literally have this adult as her hostage that she can toy with and torture, it’s unusual and quite dark. And with vol. 2, it looks like “I” wants to stay, so he can understand “U” and her motivation for kidnapping him.  It’s an interesting volume to say the least and refreshingly dark but yet entertaining at the same time.

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Kimi ni todoke (From Me to You) Vol. 28 by Karuho Shiina (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

February 4, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are looking for a teenage high school romance story with quite a bit of drama but also humor, then I definitely recommend Karuho Shiina’s “Kimi ni todoke (From Me To You)”.  And for vol. 28, it’s all about Christmas and New Year’s Eve for Sawako and friends.

© 2005 Karuho Shiina. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Kimi ni todoke (From me to You) Vol. 28

STORY AND ART BY: Karuho Shiina (椎名軽穂)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

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

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: January 2, 2018


Sawako decides to take the entrance exam for a university in Sapporo, while Kazehaya has chosen to attend university near home. The couple realizes there aren’t that many high school days left—will they move into the future together, or apart?


It’s almost time for everyone to prepare for their college entry exams.

How will Sawako and friends enjoy Christmas and New Year’s Eve?  Find out in vol. 28 of “Kimi ni Todoke”!

What is “Kimi ni todoke” all about?

From mangaka Karuho Shiina (“Crazy for You”), comes her award winning shojo manga titled “Kimi ni Todoke”.

The winner of the 32nd Kodansha Manga Award for “Best Shojo” and a series that has received an anime and film adaptation, the romance shojo manga “Kimi ni Todoke” will now be released in the United States.

Originally planned to be a one shot manga chapter for “Crazy For You”, a storyline that was supposed to be more lighthearted and fun as opposed to “Crazy For You”, “Kimi ni Todoke” ended up becoming a series that Karuho Shiina is now best known for.

The series revolves around Sawako Kuronuma. Shy, introverted and often spooking people out, she has received the nickname “Sadako” (for those who are familiar with “The Ring” horror films), because of her dark black hair and people think she can communicate with ghosts and also if you look into her eyes for more than three seconds, one will receive some type of bad luck.

Everyone in school is spooked out by her, except Shota Kazehaya, the most popular guy in school. No matter how things are, he tends to look at life positively and is always laughing and smiling.

For Sawako, she can’t understand how one person can be so happy all the time, but that is Shota’s nature.

And slowly, Shota wants to get closer to Sawako despite how other students see her, but for Sawako, she thinks it’s primarily his kindness and easy-going nature that allows him to be around her. But in truth, Shota is attracted to Sawako.

But when the two befriend a puppy, both end up spending more time with each other and being friends. But will this new friendship change the school’s negative perception of her? And what happens when the popular girls at school start to notice Shota wanting to spend time with Sawako?

For volume 28, Yano Ayane finds herself falling in love with her teacher, Kazuichi Arai (Pin). Shota and Sawako decide to celebrate Christmas together, while Yoshida Chizuru is stressed because she hasn’t told Toru that she is dating his younger brother Ryu.

Meanwhile, on New Year’s Eve, what happens when a snowstorm delays Shota and Sawako’s plans to visit a shrine and now they must spend the night at Shota’s home due to the weather?


It’s the holiday season for vol. 28 “Kimi ni todoke (From Me to You)”.  As everyone knows it will be time to prepare for the university exams, for the Christmas and New Year’s Eve season, the ladies think about their current relationships.

With Sawako considering going to a university in Sapporo, that means time spent with Shota is even more important and she really wants to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve with him.

As for Chizuru, having dated Toru, she has since fallen for his brother Ryu.  What happens when she decides to tell Toru the truth about her and Ryu?

And for Ayane, she is finding herself falling in love with her teacher Kazuichi Arai (Pin).  Pin treats her like a child and doesn’t see her as a woman, but what happens when Ayane discovers that she truly is falling for Kazuichi?

And with New Year’s Eve, as Sawako and Shota plan to visit a shrine, a snow storm hits the area and with it being too dangerous to go out, Shota’s mother encourages Sawako to stay over for the night because it’s too dangerous to go home.  But mom also is very strict and concerned towards her son to be careful spending alone time at night with another girl.

As for Sawako and Shota, how will their New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day time together turn out?

The artwork by Karuho Shiina is very well done. Good character expressions and Karuho’s artwork is shojo-style but she also use great use of line art, for example on the cheeks of the characters and also for their hair to distinguish her artwork from others work.

Overall, if you are looking for a teenage high school romance story with quite a bit of drama but also humor, then I definitely recommend Karuho Shiina’s “Kimi ni todoke (From Me To You)”.  And for vol. 28, it’s all about Christmas and New Year’s Eve for Sawako and friends.

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Witchcraft Works vol. 10 by Ryu Mizunagi (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

January 31, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Vol. 10 of “Witchcraft Works” is another exciting volume with a lot of action, a lot of humor in the first half, but by the second half of the manga, things become darker with the arrival of Kayou Kagari. If you are looking for a fun, sci-fi, action-packed manga series, definitely give Ryu Mizunagi’s “Witchcraft Work” a try!

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Image courtesy of © 2014 Ryu Mizunagi All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Witchcraft Works Vol. 10 (ウィッチクラフトワークス)

STORY AND ART BY: Ryu Mizunagi

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kodansha, Ltd.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Vertical Inc.

RATED: N/A

RELEASE DATE: December 26, 2017


Kazane gets Honoka and Kagari to help rebuild her house (along with the aid of some furry, feral friends.) Since Medusa and her minions moved in next door, Honoka asks for her help in unlocking a mysterious pendant. Inside is a world of memories which reveal forgotten history of the Kagari estate, and a fiery familiar that once terrorized the residents…


In 2010, Ryu Mizunagi’s “Witchcraft Works” was serialized in Kodansha’s “Good! Afternoon” publication. Meanwhile, a 12-episode anime series from J.C. Staff aired on Japanese television in 2014 and was streamed on Crunchyroll.

With a total of eight manga volumes printed in Japan, Vertical has picked up the series and is releasing it in North America.

“Witchcraft Works” revolves around a normal student named Honoka Takamiya. He sits next to Ayaka Kagari, the most popular girl on campus and despite sitting next to her, he has never talked or interacted with her.

And when he does, he is often beaten up by her fanclub.

But one day, Takamiya is attacked by a Tower witch and he is saved by Ayaka Kagari, a Workshop Witch, who reveals to him that she is a witch and her job is to protect him. And it is revealed that the Tower witches are after him for some apparent reason.

But because of the danger he is in, Kagari now spends a lot of time with him, drawing the ire from his fellow classmates and her fan club.

In volume 2, Takamiya becomes an apprentice and tries to learn the basics of witchcraft. But one day, he is attacked by Chronoire Schwarz VI, the Tower Witch for some apparent reason.

Meanwhile, as more Tower Witches try to target both Takamiya and Kagari, Takamiya learns important secrets about his sister and also a family secret that will change his relationship with Kagari.

In volume 3, it’s supposed to be a normal day at school for Takamiya and Kagari but suddenly a building is destroyed and Medusa. What does she want with Takamiya?

But that is not the only person looking for him, so is the faculty adviser, Mr. Mikage, who explains the importance of Kagari.

Seeing how Takamiya will always be a target, there is one way to prevent it happening at school and Kagari has a plan to make that happen!

In volume 5, all hell has broken out as witches take on other witches, while the head of the Academy, Kagane (Kagari’s mother) has been kidnapped and is now powerless due to overusing her power. But as Weekend tries her best to search for Takamiya, can Kagari protect him?

In volume 6, in order to protect Takamiya, Kagari knows she must take on Weekend one-on-one. Who will win between these two powerful witches?

Meanwhile, Takamiya is unconscious and is in the dream world.

Flashforward to vol. 10 and Takamiya tries to get some answers about his mother and why she had a scar on her back and Takami reveals his scar that he endured when he was attacked by Medusa.

Meanwhile, Kagari’s mother wants their help in building her a home, after being kicked out for squatting and being too messy.

As Kagari gets sick, what will happen when Takamiya discovers her secret stash?

And who is Kayou Kagari, the head of the Kagari family and why does Ayake Kagari have a bad feeling about her?

And who is the chained girl that Takamiya has found?


“Witchcraft Works” is a fascinating, humorous and fun manga series from Ryu Mizunagi.

The manga showcases Takamiya, a normal guy who is often protected by a witch named Ayaka and of course, she happens to be gorgeous and very powerful.

In this latest volume, a lot of things are happening with Ayaka for some reason is getting sicker and sicker.  And out of nowhere, a woman calling herself the head of the Kagiri family shows up.  But what is her true purpose and what is she hiding beneath her home?

The artwork by Mizunagi is very good with many characters and good use of closeups and action sequences. But I absolutely love the cover and there are some chapters that feature wonderful artwork.

Overall, vol. 10 of “Witchcraft Works” is another exciting volume with a lot of action, a lot of humor in the first half, but by the second half of the manga, things become darker with the arrival of Kayou Kagari.

If you are looking for a fun, sci-fi, action-packed manga series, definitely give Ryu Mizunagi’s “Witchcraft Work” a try!

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My Neighbor Seki (Tonari no Seki-kun) Vol. 10 by Takuma Morishige (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

January 31, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

An entertaining and fun manga before Morishige Takuma goes on his extended break to work on other manga. “My Neighbor Seki”, check it out!

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Image courtesy of © Takuma Morishige 2011 All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: My Neighbor Seki (Tonari no Seki-kun) Vol. 10

STORY AND ART BY: Takuma Morishige

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kadokawa Corporation

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Vertical Inc.

RATED: N/A

Available on January 23, 2018


Seki’s desktop renovation is fit for a TV show. He adds turf just to create crop circles, and lures beetles and cicadas… until a larger predator shows up. Seki’s building a kaiju with a secret inside for the school fair. And can Rumi rescue Jun’s doll from the path of vigilantism…?


As Rumi continues to be annoyed by Toshinari Seki’s antics in class, what new antics will Seki be up to this time around?

Find out in volume 10 of Takuma Morishige’s “Tonari no Seki-kun” (My Neighbor Seki).

What is “My Neighbor Seki”?

In 2010, a one-shot of “Tonari no Seki-kun” (My Neighbor Seki) was published and months later, the manga would become serialized in Media Factory’s Comic Flapper Magazine.

With a total of nine tankobon volumes printed , a 21-episode anime series having aired in Japan in 2014 and a live-action drama series in 2015, the manga series for “My Neighbor Seki” was released in the U.S. courtesy of Vertical, Inc.

“My Neighbor Seki” is a manga series in which each chapter features an unrelated story about a girl named Rumi Yokoi who is often distracted by the antics of her classmate, Toshinari Seki. No one in class is bothered by him except Rumi, and quite often, she tries to sabotage him and so, she is the one that gets in trouble by the teacher, not Toshinari.

 


I have to give Takuma Morishige a thumbs up for keeping “My Neighbor Seki” going on for so long.

A manga series about classroom antics by Toshinari Seki and the curious Rumi Yokoi, Morishige has decided to take a hiatus from the manga series to work on other manga.

Morishige wrote “This manga started off with small games played out on a school desk.  Even after the games got bigger and wilder, I want to restore things back to their original state.  I want to preserve that balance, so I’d like to carefully think through my ideas.  And so, I’d like to take breaks as I work from now on.”

Morishige also wrote, “If I have a breakthrough, I might be able to draw without breaks again”.

And I think a break is a good thing because there is only so much Morishige could do.  The series maintained it’s humor and I have written that I could only read so many chapters before taking a break and then coming back to it.

Not because I didn’t enjoy it because I enjoy “My Neighbor Seki” a lot, but it could get a bit monotonous reading about school desk pranks over and over.  Sure, the pranks are different each time but I tend to enjoy variety in my manga series and get bored of seeing the same scene over and over again.

So, I took a few days of breaks before coming back to read more chapters.

For volume 10, Seki tries to make crop circles on a grass with a UFO; another chapter features Seki trying to catch bugs for his collection during class; Another features Seki taking the top of his desk to make a stained glass table and another features Seki trying to mess around with his sister’s Rena doll.

But the antics are not limited to Seki and Yokoi in this volume.  We also have Uzawa who likes to destroy things and Seki trying to hide a car he’s building in class from him, while Yokoi observes.We also have Yokoi’s friend Goto (who thinks Seki and Yokoi are in a deep relationship) observing Yokoi and interpreting her observations and interaction with Seki as love.

And so much more!

I enjoyed Morishige’s artwork and his creative ideas of the games Seki plays on top of his desks are fun to read.  But again, there was only so much I could read per day and to avoid things from getting monotonous, I took a break every 2-3 chapters for a few days before reading more. But I would like to see a volume 11 but I also would like to see what kind of manga work Morishige can come up with next.

Overall, an entertaining and fun manga before Morishige Takuma goes on his extended break to work on other manga.

“My Neighbor Seki”, check it out!

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Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card vol. 1 by CLAMP (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

January 26, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

If you loved “Cardcaptor Sakura”, you will love reading “Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card”.

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© 2017 CLAMP – Shigatsu Tsuitachi Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card Issue #1

WRITTEN & ILLUSTRATED by CLAMP

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kodansha Comics

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Kodansha Comics

RATED: T

RELEASE DATE: December 19, 2017


Clear Card picks up right where Cardcaptor Sakura left off, with Sakura and Syaoran starting junior high school. With the Final Judgment passed, Sakura thinks school life will be quiet, but then all her cards suddenly turn blank! The mysterious new power she discovers will change how she thinks about her powers…


Way back in 1996, the manga group CLAMP wrote and illustrated the manga series “Cardcaptor Sakura”, which was serialized in “Nakayoshi”.

The manga series would last through 2000 and a total of 12 graphic novels (tankobon) were published by Kodansha and would be adapted into a 70-episode anime series.  And eventually captivating fans worldwide.

The original series took place in the fictional Japanese city of Tomoeda and focused on a ten-year-old girl named Sakura Kinomoto who accidentally released a set of cards known as Clow Cards from a book in her basement created and named after a sorcerer named Clow Reed.

Each card has special abilities and can assume any alternate form.  The guardian of the cards, Cerberus, chooses Sakura to retrieve the missing cards and with each card, she must battle the magical personification of the card and seal it.

The series introduced her best friend and second cousin Tomoyo Daidouji who likes to film her and also creates battle costumes for her, while her older brother Toya watches over her (and pretending he is unaware of her power).

The series also introduced Syaoran Li, a descendant of Clow Reed, who comes to recapture the cards for himself and at first an antagonist, starts to respect and support her.  Also introducing us to a transfer student from England named Eriol Hiiragizawa, who uses his guardian creatures, Spinel Sun and Ruby Moon to cause disturbances in the area.

Nearly 17 years since the end of “Cardcaptor Sakura”, CLAMP has created a new sequel titled “Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card” and focuses on Sakura Kinomoto as a junior high school student hanging out with Tomoyo and Syaoran (her boyfriend).

One day, Sakura has a dream of cards turning clear and seeing a mysterious cloaked figure.  Sakura goes to check her book to see the cards and all have turned clear and transparent.

What does this mean and who is the ominous cloaked figure?

 


Overall, the return of “Cardcaptor Sakura” will no doubt entertain longtime fans of the series.  Many people grew up reading the manga or watching the anime series, so the return of the series nearly 17 years later is pretty cool and CLAMP made sure to incorporate the elements of what made the first series entertaining with the characters now a little older and the mystery of the cards that she recaptured now turning clear and transparent.

There are other things that happen that I don’t want to spoil anyone but for the most part, if you loved “Cardcaptor Sakura”, you will love reading “Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card”.

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Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers vol. 2 by Katsuyuki Sumizawa and Tomofumi Ogasawara (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

January 20, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

For those who haven’t watched the anime series will find “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers” to be a deep, complex but also action-packed mecha manga series and it’ll be interesting to see if the manga continues to be more action-driven or will it find a balance with more of a plot to help with the character development.

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© 2011 Sotsu-Sunrise. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers vol. 2

STORY BY Katsuyuki Sumizawa

ART by Tomofumi Ogasawara

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kodansha Ltd.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Vertical Comics

RATED: ALL

RELEASE DATE: September 5, 2017


“Our target is OZ!” is the rallying cry of the five young Gundam pilots that fell to earth like meteors. They begin to attack OZ facilities scattered around the globe. Trowa, in the Heavyarms, launches a fierce attack on an MS factory on Corsica, when suddenly the Gundam Sandrock appears, with Quatre in the pilot’s seat, leading a Maganac corps. The battle between these two Gundam pilots, who had been unaware of each other’s existence until they end up engaged in combat, takes an unexpected turn…


Five different Gundam pilots, each with a different motivation.  Trowa Barton had come to Earth from the L-3 colonies in the Gundam Heavyarms and launches an assault on the MS production factory on Corsica but there to confront him is Quatre Raberba Winner, pilot of the Gundam Sandrock.

Meanwhile, Heero Yuy, pilot of the Wing Gundam has stolen parts from Duo Maxwell’s Gundam Deathscythe and now Duo wants revenge.

We also learn about Chang Wufei, pilot of the Shenlong Gundam and learn of the struggles from his past.

All this and more in vol. 2 of “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers”.

What is “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers”?

It was back in 1995 when an anime series titled “Shin Kido Senki Gundam Wing” aired in Japan. The sixth installment in the “Gundam” franchise, it was a series that took place in the “After Colony” timeline.

A different setting and an alternate universe than the well-known Universal Century (UC), the AC deals with events primarily “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” and its sequel “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz”.

The series is set in After Colony 195 and humans have colonized space and developed space colonies at each of the five Earth-Moon Lagrange points. On Earth, the nations formed the United Earth Sphere Alliance and this alliance has oppressed the colonies with their powerful military.

The colonies want to be free and scientists have developed a plan for revenge against the alliance with “Operation Meteor” and five teenage boys have been chosen and trained by five scientists and then sent to Earth with advanced mobile suits known as “Gundams” made from Gundanium alloy designed by each scientist.

The manga introduces us to these five teenage boys with the protagonist being Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton, Quatre Raberba Winner and Chang Wufei.

As the United Earth Sphere Alliance are aware of the attacks on Alliance soldiers, the Organization of the Zodiac (OZ) has their ace mobile suit pilot, Zechs Merquise to find the enemy.

We are also introduced to Relena Darlian, daughter of the Alliance’s Vice Foreign Minister. We learn how she found Heero Yuy, who had washed ashore on the beach neaer the spaceport and she had always wanted to learn more about him, despite him always threatening to kill her. But for Heero, he is more intent to destroy his Gundam before anyone in OZ can get to it and learn the technology.

As Heero points a gun at Relena, she is saved by Duo Maxwell and as for Heero, he is held captive by the Alliance military.

But before they could get any answers from Heero, Duo breaks Heero out and the two escape.

Meanwhile, OZ is planning to unleash their mobile suit, the Epyon.

Five different Gundam pilots, each with a different motivation.  Trowa Barton had come to Earth from the L-3 colonies in the Gundam Heavyarms and launches an assault on the MS production factory on Corsica but there to confront him is Quatre Raberba Winner, pilot of the Gundam Sandrock.  What happens when these two pilots and their Gundam’s confront each other?

Meanwhile, Heero Yuy, pilot of the Wing Gundam has stolen parts from Duo Maxwell’s Gundam Deathscythe and now Duo wants revenge.

We also learn about Chang Wufei, pilot of the Shenlong Gundam and learn of the struggles from his past.

And is a new group being created by Zechs Merquise, when he comes to the aid of Lucrezia Noin?


With the release of “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers”, readers who are not familiar with the storyline, may find it a different situation from the UC “Mobile Suit Gundam” storylines, especially if they have only read “Gundam Origin”.

The role has been reversed in the AC universe as Earth’s alliance are the aggressors and the colony who want to be free are the ones with specialized Gundam mecha suits.

The second volume can be described as a volume of chaos.

There is a lot of panels of fighting and things are so chaotic that it’s easy to get lose.   Writer Katsuyuki Sumizawa has a tough task of having to write stories about five Gundam pilots, let alone introducing characters from Zechs Marquise side that sometimes the storyline pacing becomes a little incoherent and you quickly realize the different writing stiles and character development when compared with “Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin”.

Different writing styles, both mecha/action-driven, many characters but one is engrossing and well-planned, the other is chaotic and incoherent.  In fact, you’ll find pages with a lot of action and then one word bubble.  And in this volume alone, then you get character development solely focused on Chang Wufei’s character that has much more of a plot going into his history and then leading up to his battle with Lucrezia Noin.

While I found the volume to be entertaining, considering I am a Gundam fan, I also found volume 2 to be a bit hard to follow at times.

But it’ll be interesting how the other manga will be and if they manage to give more character building stories with the other characters and showcase their origin but for now, it seems the focus is panels with pure action.

But for the most part, for those who haven’t watched the anime series will find “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers” to be a deep, complex but also action-packed mecha manga series and it’ll be interesting to see if the manga continues to be more action-driven or will it find a balance with more of a plot to help with the character development.

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Shiver by Junji Ito (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

January 7, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

If you love horror and you love manga, Junji Ito is the master of horror manga.  And “Shiver” which collects nine stories plus one bonus story is a fantastic manga collection worth owning and reading!

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Image courtesy of © Junji Ito 2015. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Shiver

STORY AND ART BY: Junjo Ito

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Viz Signature/VIZ Media

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: December 19, 2017


A best-of story selection by the master of horror manga.

This volume includes nine of Junji Ito’s best short stories, as selected by the author himself and presented with accompanying notes and commentary. An arm peppered with tiny holes dangles from a sick girl’s window… After an idol hangs herself, balloons bearing faces appear in the sky, some even featuring your own face… An amateur film crew hires an extremely individualistic fashion model and faces a real bloody ending… An offering of nine fresh nightmares for the delight of horror fans.


For those not familiar with Junji Ito’s work, his work such as “Tomie”, “Umuzaki” and “Gyo” are horror manga that no doubt gives you the goose bumps.

From creepy plots to hair-raising expressions of characters, Ito is appreciated by manga readers for his terrifying manga stories.

And now a collection of short stories are featured in “Shiver”, a collection of nine of Ito’s best short stories selected by Ito and also comes with notes and commentary.

Featured are the following stories:

  • Used Record – What happens when a girl becomes entranced to a song on vinyl capturing death?
  • Shiver – What is wrong with the girl next door and why are holes developing all over her body?
  • Fashion Model – A filmwriter is having nightmares and when the director hires a popular model that looks like a demon, what happens when they head to film scenes in the woods?
  • Hanging Blimp – Heads are floating around the city with nooses and are chasing their real life counterparts.
  • Marionette Mansion – Children of a father who was a puppeteer wonder if the puppeteer controls the puppet or is it vice versa?
  • Painter – What happens when a mysterious woman goes to a famous painter and has her paint her?
  • The Long Dream – A woman is in the hospital scared to die, while another man in the hospital is having dreams that are lasting months.  What happens when a doctor does his research on both individuals?
  • Honored Ancestors – A girl has amnesia and a boy is trying to help her gain her memories back.
  • Greased – What happens when a family has oil and grease all over their homes and how does it affect them?
  • BONUS UNPUBLISHED STORY: Fashion Model: Cursed Frame – What happens when the demon model returns?

You have to give a lot of credit to Junji Ito.

From reading “Uzumaki”, I gained an appreciation of creating creepy horror stories and for the most part, there typically is no hope for the protagonist.  Typically, his stories showcase a cloud of darkness over a city, town or individual and you see stories like this manifest in his earlier short stories as well.

If I had to pick my favorite stories, I have to first say that every short story featured in “Shiver” are very good and considering they were chosen by Ito himself, these stories are downright freaky.

The scariest would have to be stories relating to the scary fashion model.  I was reading this story (and the second bonus story) probably around 1:00 a.m., lights off, just my reading flashlight on and I was creeped out by the way he was able to draw her, a tall female figure with a long face and shark teeth.

And everyone reacts to her as most people probably would and say she’s creepy and sure enough, when they say it, she happens to be right there and her response is not so kind.  It’s quite violent and bloody.

Speaking of violent and bloody, one who is scared of seeing depicted bloody scenes or body parts strewn around, have been cautioned because this book does feature some gnarly artwork on certain panels.

Even with taking something so basic and turning it into a horror story is quite creative as Ito takes “oil” and showcases a family where grease and oil is everywhere around and it starts to get in their clothes, their skin (giving one acne) and so much more.  It’s quite disgusting and probably while not plausible, it made me think for a little while of my deceased grandfather’s apartment reeking of smoke from him smoking cigarettes and just walking into the home for a few minutes, you would come out smelling like cigarettes.

For “Greased”, it was similar but it dealt with grease and the family would eventually be consumed by it in a deadly kind of way.

And I won’t discuss anymore because these stories are meant to be read and enjoyed.  And for some, creep you to the point where you may want to pee in your pants.

But know that if you love horror and you love manga, Junji Ito is the master of horror manga.  And “Shiver” which collects nine stories plus one bonus story is a fantastic manga collection worth owning and reading!

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