Top

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital Set 1 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

nura-demoncapital-1

“Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital Set 1″ is action-packed, darker and exciting series!  I definitely enjoyed it much more than the first series.  Recommended!

Image courtesy of © Hiroshi Shibashi/SHUEISHA, Nurari Project. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital Set 1

YEAR OF RELEASE: 2011

DURATION: 13 episodes (325 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080i High Definition, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English

RATED: TV 14

COMPANY: Viz Media

RELEASE DATE: January 28, 2014

Original Creator: Hiroshi Shiibashi

Directed by Michio Fukuda

Series Composition by Hideaki Koyasu

Music by Kazuhiko Sawaguchi, Keiji Inai, Kouhei Tanaka

Character Design by Mariko Oka

Anime Production: Studio DEEN

Featuring the voices of:

Aya Hirano/Mela Lee as Kana Ienaga

Jun Fukuyama/Darrel Guilbeau as Rikuo Nura

Jun Fukuyama/Grant George as Rikuo Night

Mamiko Noto/Melissa Fahn as Hagoromo-Gitsune

Ai Maeda/Sophie Roberts as Yura Keikain

Akira Ishida/Vic Mignogna as Tamazuki

Ami Koshimizu/Julie Ann Taylor as Sasami

Chikao Ohtsuka/William Frederick as Nurarihyon

Hiro Shimono/Doug Erholtz as Kurōmaru

Hiroki Yasumoto/Kyle Herbert as Aotabō

Hiroyuki Yoshino/Jason Wishnov as Gozumaru

Jouji Nakata/Taylor Henry as Gyūki

Junji Majima/Spike Spencer as Karasu Tengu

Kana Asumi/Wendee Lee as Saori Maki

Kishô Taniyama/Sam Regal as Kiyotsugu Kiyojūji

Peace has returned to the Nura Clan following their victory against the Shikoku yokai, but things do not stay quiet for long. Ryuji Keikain, brother of Yura the Onmyoji, arrives in Ukiyoe Town bringing dire news: Hagoromo-Gitsune, the great yokai who was once stopped by Supreme Commander Nurarihyon, has returned! The Third Heir Rikuo Nura must now travel across Japan to gain new powers and allies in order to face down his most powerful enemy!

When Nura was younger, he saw the face of a woman who slaughtered his father.

As the adventures of Nura continues, as he gathers his 100 yokai, an amazing threat takes place as Hagoromo-Gitsune, the great evil Yokai that his grandfather, the Supreme Commander Nurarihyon had defeated 400-years-ago has returned.

And now Nura must prepare for the battle of the lifetime as he and his fellow yokai must take on Hagoromo-Gitsune and her large following of yokai.  Will Rikuo Nura convince others to join him in the battle to stop this powerful enemy?

Find out in the sequel for “Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan”, check out “Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital Set 1″!

What is “Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital Set 1″?

In 2008, mangaka Hiroshi Shiibashi created “Nurarihyon no Mago”, first published in Shueisha in 2007 and then received a serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump in 2008. With a total of 25 tankobon volumes as of December 2012, the popular manga series would receive a 26-episode TV adaptation back in 2010 courtesy of Studio DEEN, followed by a 24-episode sequel titled “Nurarihyon no Mago: Senen Makyo”.

The series is directed by Junju Nishimura (“Kyo kara Maoh!”, “Dog Days”, “Ranma 1/2″, “True Tears”), series composition by Natsuko Takahashi (“Bleach”, “Brothers Conflict”, “ATASHIn’CHI”, “Gankutuou: The Count of Monte Cristo”), music by Kouhei Tanaka (“Dirty Pair”, “Ah! My Goddess”, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure”, “Gad Guard”, “One Piece”) and character design by Mariko Oka (“Hell Girl”, “Hetalia the Beautiful World”, “Tactics”).

And now, Viz Media will be releasing Shiibashi’s popular hit anime series on Blu-ray and DVD in May 2012 and will be titled “Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan”.

“Yokai” which means ghost/demon spirits from Japanese folklore, plays a big part in the anime series, as it is said that a head of the Nura Clan would lead the Yokai (who typically see humans as their enemies).

But fast forward to modern times in which the elder Nurarihyon, the Supreme Commander of the Nura Clan has decided that with his grandson Rikuo Nura (who inherited a 1/4 of his grandfather’s blood) now turning 13-years-old, he wants him to succeed him as the leader of the Yokai. Rikuo may look nerdy and weak on the outside, but inside him is great power.

But with Rikuo being raised to live a human life and doing good deeds, unlike previous masters of the yokai, Nura cares about the humans, and not so much of yokai’s evil nature and wants to establish peace, by doing good deeds. And that includes turning into the Third Head, in which his Yokai blood activates and awakens his yokai form when there is impending danger, and turns him to this white hair, brave and powerful individual.

But he knows his role in the family and that he would be the third head of the Nura clan but he intends to live a normal life.

In the sequel, “Nura: Rise of the  Yokai Clan: Demon Capital”, Nura has decided that he is up to becoming “The Lord of Pandemonium” and accepting that he is 1/4 yokai, but unlike other yokai, he wants yokai to coexist with humans and believes it is possible.  But also to stop violent and evil yokai.

But unfortunately, the most powerful yokai, Haguromo-Gitsune has been released from her 400-year curse.  And now she is pregnant, hungry and wanting to destroy humankind with her fellow powerful yokai.

And as the yokai are on the hunt for human liver, Rikuo and his followers are determined in stopping her.  Moreso, because Rikuo has a personal score to settle with Haguromo-Gitsune.

“Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital” features the following characters:

Rikuo Nara – A 13-year old student and the main protagonist of the series. Because he inherited 1/4 of his grandfather’s blood, Rikuo is chosen by his grandfather to be the next Master of all yokai. But as most yokai do not like to be around humans, because Rikuo has lived a normal lifestyle, he has compassion towards humans and is not thrilled of having to be the next head of the Nura clan. Whenever there is danger, Rikuo’s yokai blood awakens (only during the night) and he is able to switch to his yokai form (known as “Night” Rikuo).

Nurarihyon - The grandfather of Rikuo and Supreme Commander of the Nura Clan. He likes pranking humans and wants his grandson to succeed him as head of the clan.

Tsurara Oikawa – One of Rikuo’s protectors with the power of freezing things. She is disguised as a school student and is often overprotective of him. His friend Kana wonders how close he is with Tsurara.

Aotabo – A degenerate priest and the strongest yokai in the Nura Clan. He has become one of Rikuo’s protectors.

Zen – A poisonous bird yokai and childhood friend of Rikuo. He is disappointed that Rikuo has become soft and not sure if he Rikuo has what it takes to be the next head of the yokai.

Kubinashi – One of Rikuo’s guardians and is known for his head floating on top of his body, without a neck.

Kana Ienaga – Rikuo’s childhood friend and neighbor and also a member of the Kiyouji Paranormal Patrol. She likes Rikuo but is jealous of Tsurara always around him. She has a history that involves a yokai from her past.

Kiyotsugu – Obsessed with Yokai and the leader of the Kiyouji Paranormal Patrol.

Yura Keikain - An onmyoji of the keikan House who specializes in shikigami. She was raised to see yokai as evil and her goal is to fight and destroy Nura (not knowing that Nura is the master of the yokai). She is also a member of the Kiyouji Paranormal Patrol.

Hagoromo-Gitsune – A great and powerful yokai that was defeated by the Supreme Commander Nurarihyon.  But after being sealed with a 400-year curse, she has now been released and wants to destroy humankind alongside her powerful yokai.

VIDEO:

“Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital Set 1 is presented in 1080i High Definition. The animation is vibrant, well-detailed and the art backgrounds are painted with great detail and for the most part, this is a very colorful anime series which I didn’t detect any banding issues, nor did I see any artifacts or softness. Colors are sharp, black levels are nice and deep, line detail is very good and the series looks fantastic on Blu-ray!

AUDIO:

The lossless soundtrack for “Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital Set 1″ is in Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. As one can expect from a front channel driven soundtrack, dialogue is crystal clear but I wished the soundtrack was given the 5.1 treatment because it’s an action-driven series with many characters. But that’s how TV series are in Japan and the overall soundtrack provides clarity and good dynamic range. As for the acting, acting on both soundtracks are magnificent. The Japanese soundtrack features veterans such as Aya Hirano, Jun Fukuyama, Ai Maeda, Chikao Ohtsuka, while the English dub features great voice acting from Darrel Guilbeau, Grant George, Kayla Yesratsian and Mela Lee and many others.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital Set 1″ comes with color production art, production art, omake, clean opening and a trailer.

When it comes to anime that deal with yokai, there have been interesting series in the past. From “Ghost Sweeper Mikami”, “Ghost Hunt”, “Phantom Quest Corp.”, “Haunted Junction”, “Kamisama Kiss” to name a few.

But what makes “Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan” stand out from the other anime series is the fact that its protagonist is a 13-year-old boy named Rikuo who was chosen to lead yokai, despite not exactly wanting to help them because he has lived a human life up to now.

But when he turns 13 and his grandfather wishes he succeed him as the Supreme Commander of the yokai, not only has Rikuo’s life has changed, but he now knows that because of what he is, what will he become, makes him a target for other yokai clans wanting to rule, but also them targeting his innocent human friends.

As the first series dealt with Nura resisting of wanting to lead the yokai, he has pretty much accepted his new life, but also maintaining his humanity and believing in a peaceful coexistence between humans and yokai.

But with the sequel “Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital”, life has changed for the yokai as something sinister is coming!

As the onmyoji are preparing their battle with what may be the most powerful yokai in existence, for Nura and the others, the name Hagoromo-Gitsune is a name that yokai fear.

Fear because of the evil nature of the yokai but her strong and unbelievable power.  But surprisingly, she was defeated by Super Commander Nurarihyon, Rikuo’s grandfather.

But as others prepare to fight the great evil yokai, we see how she was originally defeated by Nurarihyon, but also Rikuo begins to have memories of the person that murdered his father.

But as Rikuo is not powerful enough to take on Hagoromo-Gitsune, nor does he have his band of yokai followers, Rikuo must do all he can to find yokai and allies to help him defeat the greatest evil, who has been released from her 400-year imprisonment.

And now Hagoromo-Gitsune wants to destroy mankind! Can Rikuo and the others stop her?

The storyline is also exciting and fun. While Rikuo’s friends still do play a part in the series, not as much as the first series, as the threat level is much greater and many new characters are introduced.

As for the Blu-ray release, the animation is well-done and this sequel alone is much more action-packed and captivating versus the first series.  While the first series was full of laughs, this second series has humor but also has its share of violence and blood.  But picture quality is good, while lossless audio English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and features crystal clear dialogue.  As for special features, you get the usual art gallery, omake and Japanese trailers plus clean opening.

Overall, “Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital Set 1″ is action-packed, darker and exciting series!  I definitely enjoyed it much more than the first series.  Recommended!

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Vol. 5 by Masahiro Hikokubo and Masashi Sato (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

November 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

yugioh-5ds-v5

“Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is definitely continuing to be an exciting, action-packed manga series and volume 5 focuses on those trying to get their 12 star points but the battles featured are among the best featured in the manga series so far!  Recommended!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

Image courtesy of © 2009 by Masahiro Hikokubo, Masashi Sato. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Vol. 5

STORY AND ART BY: Masahiro Hikokubo and Masashi Sato

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

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

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: November 5, 2013

Yusei has defeated the twins Luna and Leo, but they promise him a rematch in Satellite city. On the way to Satellite, Yusei meets Rex Goodwin, who wants Yusei’s help defeating the Skeleton Knight, and although Yusei doesn’t trust this new ally.

As the second round of the Grand Prix opens, the sinister Lazar presents the Duelists with a new challenge: face the 12 “Duel Zodiacs” and open the Duel Gate to advance to the final round!

The second stage of the D1 Grand Prix has begun, the group of 12 Turbo Duelists that they must win a total of 12 “Star Ticket” levels in order to pass through the Duel Gate and the winner will become the Turbo Duel Emperor.

Yusei Fudo has managed to win a total of 4 star tickets but Lazar has sent Leo & Luna to take him on.  Meanwhile, two old friends and rivals, “The Handless Demon” Kalin Kessler takes on “The King” Jack Atlas and a backstory of both individuals are featured.  But also, Goodwin’s motivation for this tournament.

But as Yusei will do anything to save his friend Sect, what will happen when the rematch between Leo & Luna shows a different side of the group than what he previously fought before?

Find out who wins in “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” Vol. 5!

What is “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”?

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 most recently with “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” (2011-2012).

In America, both “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal”and “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” are being released concurrently on manga. It’s important to note that the storyline of the manga version of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is different from the anime series. The primary characters of Yusei Fudo, Jack Atlas and Akiza Izinski from the anime series are in the manga but the circumstances are much different, especially how the manga series includes the character, Sect.

After “Yu-Gi-Oh! GX” was shown as an anime series in Japan, “Yu-gi-Oh! 5D’s” was released.

Like previous series which featured characters playing a game of “Duel Monsters”, the series takes place in New Domino City in the year 20xx. Turbo Duels are fought from the seats of Motorcycle-shaped duel disks called “Duel Runners” and is the hottest game in the city. While the upper class population lives in New Domino City, the lower class live in a remote island where Domino’s sewage is transported, called Satellite.

We are introduced to the main protagonist, Yusei Fudo, who lives in Satellite and the 18-year-old is considered the toughest duelist in the Satellite District. His younger friend Sect is like a brother to him but he knows that Sect’s goal is to one day beat him in a Turbo Duel.

In volume 5 of ” , the second stage of the D1 Grand Prix has begun and so far Andre, Yusei Fudo, Adolf Mueller, Admire Derby have been successful in their early matchups.  But as we see Kalin Kessler take on his old friend and rival, Jack, we also find out how both were former test subjects.  But for what and why?  We finally get some answers!

Also, answers to what Goodwin’s motivation for the tournament truly is.

But also getting to see a rematch between Yusei Fudo versus Leo and Luna.  But this time, it’s a much different matchup as somehow Luna is possessed with the dark miasma.  Does he have any chance of beating them a second time?

The characters of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”:

  • Yusei Fudo – The main protagonist and an older teen who lives in the poor area of Satellite. Considered the toughest Turbo Duelist of the area, he hopes to have a one-on-one battle with Jack Atlas again. He is a guy who values his friend and his Duel Runner.
  • Jack Atlas – The “King of Riding Duels” that is arrogant and feared by other duelists.
  • Akiza Izinski - The “Queen of Queens” and an excellent Turbo Duelist who has lost only once and that is to Jack Atlas.
  • Sect Ijuin – Sect is a young Turbo Duelist who looks up to Yusei like an older brother but also a rival.
  • Crow Hogan – A skilled duelist who uses super quick synchro who is amazed by Yusei’s Dueling skills.
  • Kalin Kessler – A Mysterious and powerful opponent who is known as “The Handless Demon”. He also has a bond with Jack Atlas that has yet to be revealed.
  • Leo & Luna – Twin Turbo Duelists working for Goodwin in search of one who may be powerful enough to control the Dual Dragon.
  • Goodwin – The main antagonist of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” and the D1 Grand Prix Host.

The Second Stage of the D1 Grand Prix continues in volume 5 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” as Yusei Fudo needs 12 star points in order to save Sect, who has been possessed and changed by the Skeleton King.

And as this volume focuses on Kalin Kessler taking on Jack, we get to see more of their past as test subjects for Goodwin and to also find out what is Jack’s true motivation of competing in the tournament, along with what D1 Grand Prix host, Goodwin is hoping to achieve.

Meanwhile, as Yusei tries to do all he can to save Sect, his journey of getting 12 star points includes taking on Jean but also the twins, Leo and Luna.  Meanwhile,  Crow Hogan ends up going to a tower and finding a beaten Kodou Kinomiya, who is the deadly foe waiting in the mountainside?

Another Action-packed volume which continues the action of Stage 2 of the D1 Grand Prix competitions, volume 4 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” features the most intense card battles featured in a volume so far!

For those not familiar with “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”, the concept still focuses on card battles and top competitors going against each other. But in the case of 5D’s, they compete in card battles while racing in Duel Runner vehicles at the same time. So, the three ways of winning a matchup in the D1 Grand Prix are not done by tournament brackets, opponents are announced before each duel. Victories are when opponent’s lifepoints are zero, one beats the other opponent in the designated race or if one renders the opponent’s Duel Runner immobile.

So, the sport is Turbo Dueling which brings out large audiences watching in a stadium as the Turbo Duelist race while they are competing in a card match, so not only does one have to keep their eyes on the race, they also must plan their strategies effectively during their card battle.

For fans of “Yu-Gi-Oh!”, the card battles featured in volume 5 is exciting and almost non-stop, as you go through several battles in this single volume alone! It’s also important to note that there are characters exclusive to the manga series and this is not the same storyline that that was featured in the anime series.

Also, another fun aspect of the manga series is seeing both writer Masahiro Hikokubo and artist Masashi Sato sharing their experiences as newbies in the industry through a single-page manga panel. Definitely fun to see and read!

It’s important to note that with each volume purchased of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” an exclusive card is featured. In this case, an ultra rare card “Stardust Spark Dragon Card” is included with volume 5.

Overall, “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is definitely continuing to be an exciting, action-packed manga series and focuses on those trying to get their 12 star points but the battles featured are among the best featured in the manga series so far!

If you are a fan of “Yu-Gi-Oh!”, “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is recommended!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

Claymore vol. 23 by Norihiro Yagi (A J!-Ent Manga Review)

September 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

claymore-23

“Claymore” has been a complex but yet entertaining series.  It goes beyond the anime series and for those wanting a storyline that is deep and entertaining will find Norihiro Yagi’s “Claymore” to be a manga series worth reading!  Major revelations are in store in volume 23 of “Claymore”.  Recommended!

© Claymore image courtesy of Norihiro Yagi, Shueisha Inc., VIZ Media

MANGA TITLE: Claymore 23

STORY AND ART BY: Norihiro Yagi

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: By Shueisha

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media

RATED: T+ for OLDER TEEN

RELEASE DATE: October 1, 2013

Rebel warrior Miria penetrates the headquarters of the secret Organization that created her, discovering the appalling truth about Yoma. Meanwhile, human warrior Raki joins the Claymores on the battlefield and seems closer than ever to his goal of reuniting with Clare, his Claymore companion. Yet the cycle of violence cannot be stopped – an epic battle is brewing and Priscilla, a powerful force for evil, is back in the fight!

We have read the adventures of Clare and Raki, working together to stop Yoma  But things have changed and for seven years, Clare has been looking for Raki until she was absorbed into a Abyssal One.

But now her fellow Claymore warriors are determined in rescuing her, while the organization has revived three former warriors to take on the Claymores who have risen up in revolt.

Will the warriors along with Raki find Clare?

Find out in volume 23 of Norihiro Yagi’s “Claymore”!

What is “Claymore”?

In 2001, the manga series “Claymore” debuted on Monthly Shonen Jump.  The popular series created by award-winning mangaka Norihiro Yagi (“Undeadman”, “Angel Densetsu”).

The series has remained popular and is still ongoing in Japan via Jump Square.  Animation studio Madhouse adapted the first eleven volumes of the manga series in the 26-episode anime series “Claymore” which debuted on NTV in 2007.  The DVD’s were released separately in individual volumes and a complete series box set by FUNimation Entertainment in 2009 and in 2010, here we are with a Blu-ray High Definition release of “Claymore: The Complete Series”.

“Claymore” takes place during a time where monsters known as yoma have lived in villages, disguising themselves as human.  They feed on humans and when things get to the point where countless murders are happening in a village, a mysterious organization sends a Claymore to dispose of the Yoma.

The Claymore are humans that are half-human and half-yoma.  They are the only ones that are capable of defeating yoma and are primarily female, blonde and have silver eyes.  They carry with them a sword and some have supernatural abilities.

Upon defeating the yoma, someone in black collects the money for them.  If a village does not pay, a Claymore will no longer defend the city.  Claymore also have a rule that they can not kill any humans and also, as a Claymore tries to keep their humanity, by using their supernatural talent, they unleash their own personal yoma but each time they do that, they lose part of their humanity.

The animated series focuses on the Claymore known as Clare.  She comes to a village who has been terrorized by a yoma and defeats it.  But a boy named Raki becomes attached to Clare and will follow her everywhere to become close to her.

Clare is warned not to have a human close to her but for some reason, she allows him to be close to her and also feels protective over him.  Over the course of the series, we learn about Clare’s history and why she is protective of Raki.  We also learn what happens to Claymore who overuse their yoma energy and when they become the “awakened” and much, much more.

In volume 23 of “Claymore”, Clare has been gone for several years but an attempt by the Claymores along with Raki in order to save her, will be their ultimate task.

Claymores who have revolted have been on the hunt against the Organization.  Who will find who first?

And the truth of the Yoma is finally revealed in volume 23 of “Claymore”!

The main characters of “Claymore” are:

Clare – The protagonist of the story.  A Claymore  who may be low-ranked Claymore but she is more powerful than most.  At times, reserved and emotionless, her life is changed when she meets a human named Raki.

Raki - A boy who’s family was murdered by the yoma.  When he first meets Clare, he is the first and only person to welcome her and now wants to be by her side.

Teresa – A woman important in Clare’s life.  Known as “Teresa with the Faint Smile”, once was the #1 Claymore and is the most powerful Claymore who is emotionless but that was until she came across a human girl named Clare.

Priscilla – A true believer of the laws of the Organization, she has a tremendous amount of power but has not been trained to utilize it quite well.  Priscilla uses a lot of her yoma energy that changes her life completely.

Miria – Phantom Miria known for her tremendous speed. Suspects that the Organization is up to no good and although a Claymore, uses her position to investigate the Organization of any wrongdoing.

Ilena – A Claymore from Clare’s past who is known for her “Quick Sword Technique” and returns back to Clare’s life to give her another chance in achieving her goal.

With the release of “Claymore” 23, the U.S. is now behind by one volume from the Japanese release.

And this latest volume is perhaps the biggest volume yet with the long awaited search for Clare finally about to take place but also the truth of the Yoma is finally revealed to the Claymore warriors.

With the latest volume featuring the Claymore’s about to go into war against the Abyssal One, suffice to say the storyline will become quite intriguing and makes one wonder who will survive and who will die in the upcoming volume.

But for volume 23, there is a lot that has been revealed plus a lot of major things happen which I don’t to spoil readers, but I’ll just say that this is an important volume for “Claymore” fans!

As for the manga series, I’ve been captivated by Norihiro Yagi’s character designs.  From the eyes to the hair, especially how his shading patterns are, much different from other series as they are literally cross hatching and line art and a style that is very much unique and a style, quite personally his own.

So far, “Claymore” has been a complex but yet entertaining series.  It goes beyond the anime series and for those wanting a storyline that is deep and entertaining will find Norihiro Yagi’s “Claymore” to be a manga series worth reading!

Recommended!

One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Four (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

June 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

onepiece-s4v4

As for “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Four”, the storyline is fantastic, action-packed and also drama to keep you captivated to the overall storyline.  Find out why Nico Robin left the Straw Hat Pirates and learn more about the history of Franky as his past is revealed in this latest DVD volume of “One Piece”!  “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Four” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 1999 Toei Animation Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Four

DURATION: Episodes 242-252 (Duration: 320 Minutes, 2 DVD’s)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English and Japanese stereo

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: March 19, 2013

Originally created by Eiichiro Oda

Directed by Hiroaki Miyamoto, Konosuke Uda, Munehisa Sakai

Series Composition by Hirohiko Uesaka

Script by Hirohiko Uesaka, Hiroshi Hashimoto, Junki Takegami, Michiru Shimada, Naoki Koga, Ryota Yamaguchi, Suminori Takegami, Yoshiyuki Suga

Music by Kouhei Tanaka, Shiroh Hamaguchi

Character Design by Kazuya Hisada, Noboru Koizumi

Animation Production by Toei Animation

Featuring the following voice talent:

Mayumi Tanaka/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Monkey D. Luffy

Akemi Okamura/Luci Christian as Nami

Hiroaki Hirata/Eric Vale as Sanji

Ikue Ohtani/Brina Palencia as Tony Tony Chopper

Kappei Yamaguchi/Sonny Strait as Usopp

Yuriko Yamaguchi/Stephanie Young as Nico Robin

Kazuki Yao/Patrick Seitz as Franky

Izo Oikawa/Philip Weber as Iceburg

Takahiro Yoshimizu/David Wald as Paulie

Things have never looked bleaker in the world of One Piece. The Going Merry is no longer seaworthy, Robin and Usopp have left the crew, and the rest of the gang stands accused of a cold-hearted assassination attempt! Luffy and his remaining mates have a plan to prove their innocence, but a mysterious gang of cutthroat killers are one step ahead of their every move. Dark secrets and tragic pasts are revealed while a monstrous storm threatens to sink the city!

Contains episodes 242-252.

For the Straw Hat Pirates, having lost Usopp who decided to leave the group and stay with the broken down ship, Going Merry, one member gone from the Straw Hat Pirates is a big loss.

But two?

Nico Robin has decided to leave the Straw Hat Pirates and join a mysterious organization known as CP9 (a secret Cipher Police that are the assassins of the World Government).  But is Robin a traitor?  Would she do anything to hurt her own teammates?  That’s what the crew want to find out and no way, will the group allow Robin to leave them without telling them why.

As the Straw Hat Pirates go in pursuit of Robin, CP9 featuring their leader Rob Lucci goes after Paulie in search of blueprints that are made to create a super weapon known as Pluto.  The only one that can read those blueprints are Robin.  But realizing that the blueprints that Paulie has in possession are fake, they believe his old friend Cutty Flam has them….a man who now goes by the name as Franky!

Will the Straw Hat Pirates get the answers they are searching for?  Meanwhile, the history of Franky and Rob Lucci is revealed!

Find out why Robin left the group and Franky’s past in “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Four”, available now on DVD courtesy of FUNimation!

What is “One Piece”?

“ONE PIECE” is a popular anime series based on the popular manga series serialized in Shonen Jump by Eiichiro Oda. Suffice to say, “ONE PIECE” is the highest selling manga for Weekly Shonen Jump and its popularity has extended to various anime (via the TV series, OVA and films) and video games in America and also worldwide. The series is so popular, the episode count currently in Japan is at 580 episodes and despite receiving a heavily edited version in North America via 4Kids Entertainment earlier on, FUNimation Entertainment began releasing the original, uncut versions since May of 2008 and here we are now with the DVD release of “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Two”, available now, courtesy of FUNimation.

“ONE PIECE” is an adventure anime about a 17-year-old boy named Monkey D. Luffy who gained enormous strength (and stretching abilities) after eating a magical demon fruit. He eventually teams up with a group of pirates and have the name “The Straw Hats”. Luffy’s driven to one day obtain the most sought out treasure known as “One Piece” and eventually become the King of the Pirates.

The Straw Hat Pirates consists of:

Monkey D. Luffy – A 17-year-old guy who is the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates and dreams to be a pirate king by getting his hands on the “ONE PIECE” artifact. When he was young, he accidentally ate a devil fruit which made his body rubbery and can stretch and blow up. An airhead of sorts, loves to eat but always believes and fights for his friends.

Roronoa Zoro – A 19-year-old skilled swordsman. A skilled and very strong fighter. Wants to be the greatest swordsman in the world.

Nami – The navigator of the group. The main female crew member and really good at weapons.

Usopp – A 17-year-old marksman. A talented inventor and artistic. Known by his long nose, his marksmanship with slingshots and weapons are great.  Currently has left the Straw Hat Pirates after a fight with Luffy because he would not abandon the “Going Merry” which is in terrible shape.

Sanji – The chef of the crew. A skilled fighter that uses only kicks in battle and is passionate towards Nami.

Tony Tony Chopper – A reindeer with a blue nose. Ate a devil fruit known as human-human fruit which makes him human in someways but keeping his reindeer look. Able to speak to humans, walk upright and also able to have transformations to become a huge beast. But his talent is his medical skills as he was trained by the Doctrine to become a doctor. Has very low self-confidence because he had been treated badly not only by his kind but also by humans and has not really had a friend but the Doctor and Doctrine.

Nico Robin – The former Vice President of Baroque Works who has become a member of the Straw Hat Pirates despite some of the crew not trusting her since she was a former enemy. Has the ability to use her body parts and project them elsewhere and other mysterious abilities not yet known.  She recently left the Straw Hat Pirates to aid CP9 for some unknown reason.

Franky – A shipwright and dismantler, Franky is formerly known as Cutty Flam.  A powerful individual from Water 7, he also has done modifications on himself, that makes him even stronger.  But despite his brute strength, his abilities to create and plan major mechanical devices is one of his major skills.

Iceburg – The President of the Galley-La Company and Mayor of Water 7.  He has a past with Franky that will be revealed in this latest DVD volume of “One Piece”.

Paulie – One of the Dock One foremen of Water 7 who specializes in rigging, knots and masts. Iceburg’s go to man.  He doesn’t like to see women dress in skimpy outfits and he enjoys gambling. Has excellent shipwright skills.

While the DVD release is listed as season four for America, in Japan, “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Four” takes place during season eight in Japan. As the Straw Hat Pirates reach the land of Water Seven where powerful craftsmen, the Galley La Company reside, the crew needs the craftsmen to fix the Going Merry, which has been involved in major wear and tear through the many adventures of the Straw Hat Pirates.

But when CP9 burns down the Galley-La Company to point blame towards the Straw Hat Pirates, the people of Water 7 are not happy with the Straw Hat Pirates and want them dead.  Meanwhile, the crew wants to know why Nico Robin had left them and want to get a straight answer from her of why she left them.

Meanwhile, CP9 is after the Pluto blueprints that Paulie is supposed to have but realize someone else close to him, has them… Franky!

The “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Four” comes with episodes 242-252 on two DVD discs (note: In Japan, these episodes are part of season 8). Here are the spoilerless summaries of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 242 - The Straw Hat Pirates goes after Nico Robin, meanwhile Luffy is stuck.
  • EPISODE 243 – It is revealed that those closest to Iceburg are actually CP9 and they reveal what they are after.
  • EPISODE 244 - Lucci tries to find out from Iceburg of who has the Pluto blueprints.
  • EPISODE 245 - Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates confront Robin.  Meanwhile, Lucci shows off his transformation.
  • EPISODE 246 - Lucci who ate the Devil’s Fruit has the ability to turn into a Zoan type leopard and fights against the Straw Hat Pirates.  Meanwhile, Usopp tells Franky the story of the Going Merry.
  • EPISODE 247 - Frank tries to open Usopp’s eyes that the Going Merry is in terrible shape and must be dismantled.  Meanwhile, Usopp reveals a story to Franky about the Going Merry.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 248 - The history of Franky and Iceburg is revealed.
  • EPISODE 249 - Frank’s past is revealed and the involvement of Spandam of CP5.
  • EPISODE 250 - Continuing Franky’s and Iceburg’s history.
  • EPISODE 251 – Nami finds out the truth from Iceburg about why Robin joined CP9.
  • EPISODE 252 - Knowing the truth about why Robin left, Nami and Chopper try to find Luffy in order to rescue Robin.  Meanwhile, Sanji trails CP9 alone.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“One Piece” is presented in 16:9.  For most television series, because they are created nearly before they are aired on television, unlike film and OVA’s, there typically is not much detail involved in a Japanese animated television series. “ONE PIECE” is probably one of those rare exceptions in that it has really cool character designs and very detailed artistic backgrounds. Of course, since it is on DVD, you will see some artifacting, combing and edge enhancement but it’s not so noticeable unless you are really looking for it.

The anime series is presented in standard 4:3 definition but for a television series, “ONE PIECE” sports cool and unique character designs and beautifully painted artistic backgrounds. Definitely one of the better looking anime series that has remained consistent and has not downgraded since it first aired on television. Character designer Kazuya Hisada (who worked on the “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball GT” series) and Noboru Koizumi (who worked on “Giant Robo”, “Dragon Ball GT” and “Tenchi Universe”) have been very good of capturing “One Piece” creator Eiichiro Oda’s unique style.

As for the audio, the series is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English Stereo and Japanese Stereo. Of course, the English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound is the better audio choice to listen to, although one who has a receiver that can set their audio to all channels can definitely enjoy the Japanese stereo track as well. But both audio tracks are done very well and I have to admit that “ONE PIECE” has one of the most solid English dub tracks for an anime TV series. Very well done on both audio tracks but again, have been very impressed by the voice talent for the series thus far.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Four” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 244 Audio Commentary - Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (Line Producer/ADR Director) and voice talents Brina Palencia (Tony Tony Chopper) and Patrick Seitz (Franky).
  • EPISODE 245 Audio Commentary - Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (Line Producer/ADR Director) and voice talents Luci Christian (Nami) and David Wald (Paulie).

DISC 2:

  • Textless Songs – Textless opening song for “Kokoro no Chizu” and closing songs for “Eternal Pose” and “Dear Friends”.
  • On the Boat: Behind the Scenes of One Piece with Brina Palencia – (12:45) Featuring a video interview between Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Producer) and Brina Palencia (Chopper).
  • On the Boat: Behind the Scenes of One Piece with Eric Vale – (16:09) Featuring a video interview between Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Producer) and Eric Vale (Sanji).
  • Trailers - Trailers for upcoming FUNimation releases.

EXTRAS:

“One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Four” comes with a slipcase.

Usopp has left the Straw Hat Pirates and now Robin?

This is the part of the focus in the latest “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Four” as the Straw Hat Pirates want to hear from Robin why she is bailing from the group and aligning herself with CP9, which belong the World Government, the enemy of pirates.  Has she turned traitor?  What is the reason for her leaving everyone?

In this volume, we learn about how Robin had a difficult past (which has yet to be revealed) and when her life was literally down in the dumps, after Luffy and friends gave her another chance at life, she has come to regard them as one of her family and now she will do what she can to protect them, even if it means, leaving them.  As CP9 is after the Pluto Blueprints which were said to be kept by Paulie or Iceburg, the group realizes that their other friend may have the blueprints that can be used to create a major weapon of destruction and that person would be Cutty Flam, a name once used by a shipwright that now goes by the name of Franky!

So, while the Straw Hat Pirates are going after Robin for a reason why she is leaving them, CP9 are going after Franky.

And with this volume, the history of Franky and Iceburg is revealed!  This volume also features the first battle between the Straw Hat Pirates vs. CP9!

So, you are getting another action-packed (and also emotional) volume of “One Piece”, especially when it comes to Usopp who reveals why he is so attached to the Going Merry.

As for the DVD, you get 11-episodes and the DVD, picture quality is colorful, vibrant and looks good as one can expect on DVD. Audio is good, dialogue is clear. And for special features, it’s awesome to see FUNimation featuring more special features and in this case, two one-on-one video interviews between Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Producer) and two main cast members Brina Palencia (Chopper) and Eric Vale (Sanji). There are also two fun audio commentaries featuring the English dub voice talent, textless opening and ending themes plus trailers.

For longtime fans of “One Piece”, the latest season four, voyage four is exciting and emotional.  For fans of the series, you know how difficult it is for the Straw Hat Pirates to lose another member and for Usopp, you know how hard it is for him to say goodbye to the Going Merry.  But then you have this group of assassins known as CP9 who reveal themselves and the big question is why Nico Robin is helping them and why are they after Franky.

It’s important to note that “One Piece” is one of the longest running Japanese animated series.  While this volume covers episodes 242-252, we are 330+ episodes behind Japan.  So, one can hope that this long running series continues to be released on DVD in the U.S., because there hasn’t really been an anime series with over 600+ episodes released in the U.S.. It is the longest running action anime series in Japan and the fact that young and old continue to read and watch this series, its a testament of how addictive “One Piece” really is and how people gravitate towards this series.

With that being said, you can join in at the beginning of any season and still be interested in “One Piece”. I do recommend at least watching the first season, so you get an idea of what’s going on. To find out the goal of the Straw Hat Pirates is and how they all joined to form the Straw Hat Pirates.

As for “One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Four”, the storyline is fantastic, action-packed and also drama to keep you captivated to the overall storyline.  Find out why Nico Robin left the Straw Hat Pirates and learn more about the history of Franky as his past is revealed in this latest DVD volume of “One Piece”!

“One Piece: Season Four, Voyage Four” is recommended!

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Vol. 4 by Masahiro Hikokubo and Masashi Sato (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

June 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

yugioh-5ds-v4

“Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is a manga series with card battles that young fans and even older fans will enjoy! The fourth volume features Yusei taking on his friend Crow Hogan, meanwhile “The King” Jack Atlas takes on the “The Handless Demon” Kalin Kessler.  Action-packed from beginning to end, this exciting volume 4 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is recommended!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

Image courtesy of © 2009 by Masahiro Hikokubo, Masashi Sato. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Vol. 4

STORY AND ART BY: Masahiro Hikokubo and Masashi Sato

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

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

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: April 2, 2013

Yusei has defeated the twins Luna and Leo, but they promise him a rematch in Satellite city. On the way to Satellite, Yusei meets Rex Goodwin, who wants Yusei’s help defeating the Skeleton Knight, and although Yusei doesn’t trust this new ally.

As the second round of the Grand Prix opens, the sinister Lazar presents the Duelists with a new challenge: face the 12 “Duel Zodiacs” and open the Duel Gate to advance to the final round!

With the first stage of the D1 Grand Prix complete, Yusei Fudo has beaten two tough challengers to earn a spot in the second stage.

But after seeing his good friend Sect being consumed by darkness, Yusei has vowed to get his friend back.  Meanwhile, the D1 Grand Prix host, Goodwin, has sent twin Turbo Duelists Leo and Luna to find competitors who are compatible with Dual Dragons.  And so, the twins challenge Yusei Fudo to a duel.

Meanwhile, Goodwin reveals his plans to find someone powerful through the D1 Grand Prix to find a duelists who can hold the power of the Duel Dragons and rid the evil of the Skeleton King.

As the second stage of the D1 Grand Prix is about to begin, Vice-Director of Sector Security, Lazar introduces the group of 12 Turbo Duelists that they must win a total of 12 “Star Ticket” levels in order to pass through the Duel Gate and the winner will become the Turbo Duel Emperor.

And the first matchup will feature “Satellite’s toughest Turbo Duelist” Yusei Fudo taking on his new friend, “The Black Whirlwind” Crow Hogan.

Meanwhile, two old friends and rivals, “The Handless Demon” Kalin Kessler takes on “The King” Jack Atlas.

Find out who wins in “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” Vol. 4!

What is “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”?

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 most recently with “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” (2011-2012).

In America, both “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal”and “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” are being released concurrently on manga. It’s important to note that the storyline of the manga version of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is different from the anime series. The primary characters of Yusei Fudo, Jack Atlas and Akiza Izinski from the anime series are in the manga but the circumstances are much different, especially how the manga series includes the character, Sect.

After “Yu-Gi-Oh! GX” was shown as an anime series in Japan, “Yu-gi-Oh! 5D’s” was released.

Like previous series which featured characters playing a game of “Duel Monsters”, the series takes place in New Domino City in the year 20xx. Turbo Duels are fought from the seats of Motorcycle-shaped duel disks called “Duel Runners” and is the hottest game in the city. While the upper class population lives in New Domino City, the lower class live in a remote island where Domino’s sewage is transported, called Satellite.

We are introduced to the main protagonist, Yusei Fudo, who lives in Satellite and the 18-year-old is considered the toughest duelist in the Satellite District. His younger friend Sect is like a brother to him but he knows that Sect’s goal is to one day beat him in a Turbo Duel.

In volume 1 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”, Yusei got caught up in matches with Jack “The King” Atlas and was defeated easily. He then took on top ranked Akiza Izinski, a Turbo Duelist who holds the title “Queen of Queens” and has only lost once and that is to Jack Atlas. And the result ended with Yusei losing again!

But this time, Akiza gave him advice that he relies too much on speed and that there are other strategies important for him to work on if he is to face Jack Atlas ever again.

Despite his embarrassment and loss of pride for losing against Jack Atlas, Yusei is determined in beating the champion.

Which leads us to volume 2 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”, which begins the D1 Grand Prix, a battle between the top Turbo Duelists and performing in front of over a 100,000 audience.

In volume 2 and 3, we watched as Yusei took on tough challenges but also seeing his good friend Sect, being corrupted by the Skeleton King’s Darkness and being taken away.

Vowing to rescue his friend, Yusei Fudo must win each tournament and gain the power necessary to take on the darkness.  But for now, he must focus on defeating his latest rivals in Stage 2 of the D1 Grand Prix.

Can Yusei do it?

The characters of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”:

  • Yusei Fudo – The main protagonist and an older teen who lives in the poor area of Satellite. Considered the toughest Turbo Duelist of the area, he hopes to have a one-on-one battle with Jack Atlas again. He is a guy who values his friend and his Duel Runner.
  • Jack Atlas – The “King of Riding Duels” that is arrogant and feared by other duelists.
  • Akiza Izinski - The “Queen of Queens” and an excellent Turbo Duelist who has lost only once and that is to Jack Atlas.
  • Sect Ijuin – Sect is a young Turbo Duelist who looks up to Yusei like an older brother but also a rival.
  • Crow Hogan – A skilled duelist who uses super quick synchro who is amazed by Yusei’s Dueling skills.
  • Kalin Kessler – A Mysterious and powerful opponent who is known as “The Handless Demon”.  He also has a bond with Jack Atlas that has yet to be revealed.
  • Leo & Luna – Twin Turbo Duelists working for Goodwin in search of one who may be powerful enough to control the Dual Dragon.

The Second Stage of the D1 Grand Prix begins in “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” as Yusei Fudo and Crow Hogan, two friends and master of the synchro must take on each other during battle!  As Yusei’s motivation is to save Sect, Crow’s motivation is to give confidence to his younger brother who needs to undergo a major surgery.

Meanwhile, the D1 Grand Prix Host, Goodwin, appears to have interest in Yusei as a possible challenger who may win the power of the Dual Dragons and destroy the Skeleton King.  But that is what Yusei is being told by Goodwin, but can this man be trusted?

The second battle features Kalin Kessler taking on Jack Atlas, two individuals who have past history which is revealed in this fourth volume.

But Yusei must also undergo several tests, one featuring a battle against twin Turbo Duelists Leo & Luna and also finding a way to gain the power of a Dual Dragon.  But is he up to it?

Another Action-packed volume which focuses on Stage 2 of the D1 Grand Prix competitions, volume 4 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” features the most intense card battles featured in a volume so far!

For those not familiar with “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”, the concept still focuses on card battles and top competitors going against each other. But in the case of 5D’s, they compete in card battles while racing in Duel Runner vehicles at the same time. So, the three ways of winning a matchup in the D1 Grand Prix are not done by tournament brackets, opponents are announced before each duel. Victories are when opponent’s lifepoints are zero, one beats the other opponent in the designated race or if one renders the opponent’s Duel Runner immobile.

So, the sport is Turbo Dueling which brings out large audiences watching in a stadium as the Turbo Duelist race while they are competing in a card match, so not only does one have to keep their eyes on the race, they also must plan their strategies effectively during their card battle.

For fans of “Yu-Gi-Oh!”, the card battles featured in volume 4 is exciting and almost non-stop, as you go through several battles in this single volume alone!  It’s also important to note that there are characters exclusive to the manga series and this is not the same storyline that that was featured in the anime series.

Also, another fun aspect of the manga series is seeing both writer Masahiro Hikokubo and artist Masashi Sato sharing their experiences as newbies in the industry through a single-page manga panel. Definitely fun to see and read!

It’s important to note that with each volume purchased of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” an exclusive card is featured. In this case, an ultra rare card “Blackwing Gram – The Shining Star” is included with volume 4.

Overall, “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is definitely continuing to be an exciting, action-packed manga series.  But now with 12 competitors left in the competition, this volume alone features significant battles for both Yusei and Jack Atlas.

If you are a fan of “Yu-Gi-Oh!”, “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is recommended!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Vol. 3 by Masahiro Hikokubo and Masashi Sato (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

May 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

yugioh-5ds-v3

“Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is a manga series with card battles that young fans and even older fans will enjoy! The third volume features round 2 of the D1 Grand Prix tournament and Akiza Izinski takes on Kalin Kessler in Round 2.  Meanwhile, Jack Atlas takes on a dark and corrupted, Sect in a Turbo Duel.  Can Yusei come to his friend’s rescue in time?   Find out in volume 3 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”. Recommended!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

Image courtesy of © 2009 by Masahiro Hikokubo, Masashi Sato. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Vol. 3

STORY AND ART BY: Masahiro Hikokubo and Masashi Sato

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

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

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: October 2, 2012

Yusei has made it into the second round of the D1 Grand Prix, but his friend Sect has made a dark pact with the ominous Skeleton Knight in exchange for the powerful Shadow Card. Yusei learns that he’ll need a special card to free Sect, and the only way to get it is to win the tournament!

Yusei Fudo has succeeded in defeating Hunter Pace in round 2 of the D1 Grand Prix Tournament, despite Pace’s friends sabotaging Yusei’s Dual Runner.  But in anger, Sect uses his Beelze, King of Dark Dragons card and injuring them.

With the tournament runners now knowing that Sect has the shadow card, and Jack Atlas feeling the energy from the card emitting throughout the arena, he goes to investigate, so he can become owner of the card.

Meanwhile, the next matchup features Akiza “Queen of Queens” Izinski vs. Kalin “The Handless Demon” Kessler.

Outside of the arena, Jack Atlas challenges Sect in a Turbo Duel, Yusei feeling the Skeleton King’s miasma, tries to get to Sect before he is corrupted by the darkness.  But can Yusei get to him in time?

Find out what happens in volume 3 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”!

What is “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”?

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 most recently with “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” (2011-2012).

In America, both “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal”and “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” are being released concurrently on manga. It’s important to note that the storyline of the manga version of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is different from the anime series. The primary characters of Yusei Fudo, Jack Atlas and Akiza Izinski from the anime series are in the manga but the circumstances are much different, especially how the manga series includes the character, Sect.

After “Yu-Gi-Oh! GX” was shown as an anime series in Japan, “Yu-gi-Oh! 5D’s” was released.

Like previous series which featured characters playing a game of “Duel Monsters”, the series takes place in New Domino City in the year 20xx. Turbo Duels are fought from the seats of Motorcycle-shaped duel disks called “Duel Runners” and is the hottest game in the city. While the upper class population lives in New Domino City, the lower class live in a remote island where Domino’s sewage is transported, called Satellite.

We are introduced to the main protagonist, Yusei Fudo, who lives in Satellite and the 18-year-old is considered the toughest duelist in the Satellite District. His younger friend Sect is like a brother to him but he knows that Sect’s goal is to one day beat him in a Turbo Duel.

In volume 1 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”, Yusei got caught up in matches with Jack “The King” Atlas and was defeated easily. He then took on top ranked Akiza Izinski, a Turbo Duelist who holds the title “Queen of Queens” and has only lost once and that is to Jack Atlas. And the result ended with Yusei losing again!

But this time, Akiza gave him advice that he relies too much on speed and that there are other strategies important for him to work on if he is to face Jack Atlas ever again.

Despite his embarrassment and loss of pride for losing against Jack Atlas, Yusei is determined in beating the champion.

Which leads us to volume 2 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”, which begins the D1 Grand Prix, a battle between the top Turbo Duelists and performing in front of over a 100,000 audience.

Volume 2 featured the first round in which both Yusei Fudo and Akiza Izinski were victors.  We also saw the beginning of the second round with Yusei Fudo barely winning the second round.

In volume 3, the second round of the first stage of the D1 Grand Prix continues. Akiza Izinski must take on Kalin “The Handless Demon” Kessler in round 2.  Meanwhile, having possession of the shadow cards, Sect is starting to become consumed by hatred and darkness and for Jack Atlas, he wants that card, while Yusei tries to stop Sect from battling Jack in a Turbo Duel.  Can Yusei get to Sect in time?

The characters of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”:

  • Yusei Fudo – The main protagonist and an older teen who lives in the poor area of Satellite. Considered the toughest Turbo Duelist of the area, he hopes to have a one-on-one battle with Jack Atlas again. He is a guy who values his friend and his Duel Runner.
  • Jack Atlas – The “King of Riding Duels” that is arrogant and feared by other duelists.
  • Akiza Izinski - The “Queen of Queens” and an excellent Turbo Duelist who has lost only once and that is to Jack Atlas.
  • Sect Ijuin – Sect is a young Turbo Duelist who looks up to Yusei like an older brother but also a rival.
  • Crow Hogan – A skilled duelist who uses super quick synchro who is amazed by Yusei’s Dueling skills.
  • Kalin Kessler – A Mysterious and powerful opponent who is known as “The Handless Demon”.  He also has a bond with Jack Atlas that has yet to be revealed.
  • Leo & Luna – Twin Turbo Duelists working for Goodwin in search of one who may be powerful enough to control the Dual Dragon.

The D1 Grand Prix continues in “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” vol. 3 as the volume focuses on Akiza Izinski taking on Kalin Kessler in round 2.  Meanwhile, Jack Atlas sensing the evil miasma coming from Sect’s shadow card, as Atlas wants that card badly, he challenges Sect to a Turbo Duel.

Slowly being consumed by darkness and hatred by the cards, can Yusei save his friend before it is too late?

Meanwhile, the second state has begun and D1 host Goodwin brings out two twins, experienced Turbo Duelists named Leo and Luna to take on Yusei Fudo in his hometown of Satellite for a Death Match.

Action-packed and focus on the D1 Grand Prix competitions, volume 3 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” begins a new storyline and a new competition stage as Yusei Fudo finds out that after his battle with the Skeleton King (featured in vol. 1), his friend Sect now possesses the Shadow Card and each time he uses it, he emits an evil miasma that certain people like Yusei and Jack Atlas can detect.

Similar to “Star Wars”, Sect who was once good at heart, has now been corrupted by the dark energy and has declared both Jack Atlas and his friend Yusei as his enemies, because both look down on him.  Yusei tries to help his friend but it is too late, he has been consumed by the Skeleton King’s darkness.  And now, Yusei must find a way to help his friend, but to do that, he may need to defeat more people in the tournament and get some answers about what has happened to Sect.

For those not familiar with “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”, the concept still focuses on card battles and top competitors going against each other. But in the case of 5D’s, they compete in card battles while racing in Duel Runner vehicles at the same time. So, the three ways of winning a matchup in the D1 Grand Prix are not done by tournament brackets, opponents are announced before each duel. Victories are when opponent’s lifepoints are zero, one beats the other opponent in the designated race or if one renders the opponent’s Duel Runner immobile.

So, the sport is Turbo Dueling which brings out large audiences watching in a stadium as the Turbo Duelist race while they are competing in a card match, so not only does one have to keep their eyes on the race, they also must plan their strategies effectively during their card battle.

The third volume focuses on Akiza Izinski taking on Kalin Kessler in round two.  But thinking that she has the power to defeat Kalin, unbeknown to Akiza, Kalin has also some tricks under his sleeve as well. You also get one Yusei competition, along with a Jack Atlas vs. Dark Sect in competition.

For fans of “Yu-Gi-Oh!”, the card battles featured in volume 3 is exciting but also pretty creative when it comes to strategies of how one is able to beat their competition.

Also, another fun aspect of the manga series is seeing both writer Masahiro Hikokubo and artist Masashi Sato sharing their experiences as newbies in the industry through a single-page manga panel. Definitely fun to see and read!

It’s important to note that with each volume purchased of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” an exclusive card is featured. In this case, an ultra rare card is included with volume 3.

Overall, “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is shaping up to be an exciting and action-packed manga series that card game fans can definitely appreciate!  Cool characters and an enjoyable storyline, “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is recommended!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Vol. 2 by Masahiro Hikokubo and Masashi Sato (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

May 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

yugioh-5ds-v1

“Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is a manga series with card battles that young fans and even older fans will enjoy! The second volume features the beginning of the D1 Grand Prix tournament in which Yusei Fudo takes on the best Turbo Duelists, but will he be ready to take on these top competitors?  Find out in volume 2 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”.   Recommended!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

Image courtesy of © 2009 by Masahiro Hikokubo, Masashi Sato. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Vol. 2

STORY AND ART BY: Masahiro Hikokubo and Masashi Sato

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

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

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: February 7, 2012

Yusei enters the D1 Grand Prix, hoping for a chance to duel Jack Atlas. There are new rivals and new duels to fight and the competition will be fierce. Can Yusei battle his way to the top, or is he destined to crash and burn?

After being humiliated by the top Turbo Duelist Jack Atlas, Yusei Fudo has made it his goal to defeat “The King” (who remains undefeated) by taking part in the D1 Grand Prix tournament where the best Turbo Duelists will compete in New Domino City for the right to challenge Atlas.

Will Yusei have what it takes to advance in the beginning rounds?  Also, Rex Goodwin, host of the tournament and the Director of New Domino City Sector Security are trying to find out if Yusei Fudo is in possession of the “Shadow” card.

Find out what happens in volume 2 of “Yu-Gi-Oh!  5D’s”!

What is “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”?

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 most recently with “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” (2011-2012).

In America, both “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal”and “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” are being released concurrently on manga. It’s important to note that the storyline of the manga version of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is different from the anime series. The primary characters of Yusei Fudo, Jack Atlas and Akiza Izinski from the anime series are in the manga but the circumstances are much different, especially how the manga series includes the character, Sect.

After “Yu-Gi-Oh! GX” was shown as an anime series in Japan, “Yu-gi-Oh! 5D’s” was released.

Like previous series which featured characters playing a game of “Duel Monsters”, the series takes place in New Domino City in the year 20xx. Turbo Duels are fought from the seats of Motorcycle-shaped duel disks called “Duel Runners” and is the hottest game in the city. While the upper class population lives in New Domino City, the lower class live in a remote island where Domino’s sewage is transported, called Satellite.

We are introduced to the main protagonist, Yusei Fudo, who lives in Satellite and the 18-year-old is considered the toughest duelist in the Satellite District. His younger friend Sect is like a brother to him but he knows that Sect’s goal is to one day beat him in a Turbo Duel.

In volume 1 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”, Yusei got caught up in matches with Jack “The King” Atlas and was defeated easily.  He then took on top ranked Akiza Izinski, a Turbo Duelist who holds the title “Queen of Queens” and has only lost once and that is to Jack Atlas.  And the result ended with Yusei losing again!

But this time, Akiza gave him advice that he relies too much on speed and that there are other strategies important for him to work on if he is to face Jack Atlas ever again.

Despite his embarrassment and loss of pride for losing against Jack Atlas, Yusei is determined in beating the champion.

Which leads us to volume 2 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”, which begins the D1 Grand Prix, a battle between the top Turbo Duelists and performing in front of over a 100,000 audience.

And the first competition is between Yusei who will take on Greiger, a tough duelist who also is focused on getting his pride back by wanting to defeat Jack Atlas.

The second competition features Akiza “Queen of Queens” Izinski of Queen’s Duel Academy and Sherry Leblanc of Reigning Empress of Duel Academy Sanctuary, two female competitors who were once best friends at the same academy that were to join the elite, until Akiza left the school.  So, Sherry has a grudge towards her former friend for leaving the school.

The third competition features a new guy that Yusei has met, Crow Hogan  (who uses super-fast synchro) who takes on Bolt Tanner.

Find out who wins these competitions in the first round of the D1 Grand Prix in “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” vol. 2!

The characters of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” are:

  • Yusei Fudo – The main protagonist and an older teen who lives in the poor area of Satellite. Considered the toughest Turbo Duelist of the area, he hopes to have a one-on-one battle with Jack Atlas again. He is a guy who values his friend and his Duel Runner.
  • Jack Atlas – The “King of Riding Duels” that is arrogant and feared by other duelists.
  • Akiza Izinski - The “Queen of Queens” and an excellent Turbo Duelist who has lost only once and that is to Jack Atlas.
  • Sect Ijuin – Sect is a young Turbo Duelist who looks up to Yusei like an older brother but also a rival.
  • Crow Hogan – A skilled duelist who uses super quick synchro who is amazed by Yusei’s Dueling skills.

“Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” drops right into the action as Yusei immediately takes on his first competitor in the D1 Grand Prix.

In some ways, this latest volume of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” reminds me of how a volume focuses on one-on-one battles in series such as “Dragon Ball Z”, “Slam Dunk or even “Beyblade” with the storyline tend to focus a lot on the actual competition.  But manages to feature a storyline that is intriguing, especially now that so many characters are being introduced in the competition.

For those not familiar with “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”, the concept still focuses on card battles and top competitors going against each other.  But in the case of 5D’s, they compete in card battles while racing in Duel Runner vehicles at the same time.  So, the three ways of winning a matchup in the D1 Grand Prix are not done by tournament brackets, opponents are announced before each duel.  Victories are when opponent’s lifepoints are zero, one beats the other opponent in the designated race or if one renders the opponent’s Duel Runner immobile.

So, the sport is Turbo Dueling which brings out large audiences watching in a stadium as the Turbo Duelist race while they are competing in a card match, so not only does one have to keep their eyes on the race, they also must plan their strategies effectively during their card battle.

The second volume focuses on Yusei’s competition, but also Akiza Izinski and Crow Hogan’s matchups as well.  You get two Yusei competitions and also a side storyline in which the event host has his people searching for the person who may hold the “Shadow” card for some unknown reason.

For fans of “Yu-Gi-Oh!”, the card battles featured in volume 2 is exciting but also pretty creative when it comes to strategies of how one is able to beat their competition.

Also, another fun aspect of the manga series is seeing both writer Masahiro Hikokubo and artist Masashi Sato sharing their experiences as newbies in the industry through a single-page manga panel. Definitely fun to see and read!

It’s important to note that with each volume purchased of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” an exclusive card is featured. In this case, an ultra rare Catapult Warrior card is included with volume 2.

Overall, “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is shaping up to be an exciting and action-packed manga series that card game fans can definitely appreciate!

Recommended!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Vol. 1 by Masahiro Hikokubo and Masashi Sato (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

May 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

yugioh-5ds-v1

“Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is a manga series with card battles that young fans and even older fans may enjoy. A story about one tough young man  from the poor area of the city wanting to become stronger and better in order to defeat the New Domino City’s top Turbo Duelists.  Recommended!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

Image courtesy of © 2009 by Masahiro Hikokubo, Masashi Sato. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Masahiro Hikokubo and Masashi Sato

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

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

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: July 5, 2011

Yusei Fudo, Turbo Duelist!

 

A high-speed Turbo Duel through the streets of Satellite brings Yusei Fudo and his friend Sect face-to-face with an urban legend incarnate! Will Yusei lose Sect to the Skeleton Knight? And what sinister plans does Jack Atlas, master of New Domino City, have in store for Yusei?

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 most recently with “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” (2011-2012).

In America, both “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal”and “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” are being released concurrently on manga.  It’s important to note that the storyline of the manga version of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is different from the anime series.  The primary characters of Yusei Fudo, Jack Atlas and Akiza Izinski from the anime series are in the manga but the circumstances are much different, especially how the manga series includes the character, Sect.

What is “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”?

After “Yu-Gi-Oh! GX” was shown as an anime series in Japan, “Yu-gi-Oh! 5D’s” was released.

Like previous series which featured characters playing a game of “Duel Monsters”, the series takes place in New Domino City in the year 20xx. Turbo Duels are fought from the seats of Motorcycle-shaped duel disks called “Duel Runners” and is the hottest game in the city.   While the upper class population lives in New Domino City, the lower class live in a remote island where Domino’s sewage is transported, called Satellite.

We are introduced to the main protagonist, Yusei Fudo, who lives in Satellite and the 18-year-old is considered the toughest duelist in the Satellite District.  His younger friend Sect is like a brother to him but he knows that Sect’s goal is to one day beat him in a Turbo Duel.

In volume 1 of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”, Yusei has beat his young friend Sect once again in battle.  Excited that Yusei considers him a rival, Sect makes a plea via a “Sunset Salute” to the Skeleton Knight for a rare card that will allow him to beat Yusei, but it is considered an urban legend.

But as Yusei and friends watch Sect from afar, a temple comes out of nowhere in the city and the Skeleton Knight appears.  When Yusei runs to check on Sect, Sect is unconscious and that he will only be returned to consciousness if Yusei takes part in a duel.  But Yusei must wager his soul.

This leads to a battle between Yusei and the Skeleton Knight.

We are also introduced to two significant characters.  Jack Atlas, the cocky Turbo Duelist known as “The King”, the duelist that no on has beaten and the reigning champion.  And then there is Akiza Izinski, a Turbo Duelist who holds the title “Queen of Queens” and has only lost once and that is to Jack Atlas.

After Yusei’s battle with the Skeleton Knight and wanting to bring Sect to the hospital, he is confronted by Jack Atlas who is determined on taking on Satellite’s toughest Turbo Duelist.

How will Yusei fare in battle against “The King”?

The characters of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”:

  • Yusei Fudo – The main protagonist and an older teen who lives in the poor area of Satellite.  Considered the toughest Turbo Duelist of the area, he hopes to have a one-on-one battle with Jack Atlas again.  He is a guy who values his friend and his Duel Runner.
  • Jack Atlas – The “King of Riding Duels” that is arrogant and feared by other duelists.
  • Akiza Izinski - The “Queen of Queens” and an excellent Turbo Duelist who has lost only once and that is to Jack Atlas.
  • Sect Ijuin – Sect is a young Turbo Duelist who looks up to Yusei like an older brother but also a rival.

When it comes to the “Yu-Gi-Oh!” card games or series, it’s always interesting to see how the series tries to re-invent itself.  While the concept of card battles are the same, the circumstances behind the game on anime and manga is quite fascinating.

With “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s”, we have two different storylines that appear on the anime and manga series and for the manga series, it begins with a story of the have’s and the have nots.  The wealth of New Domino City which features its top Turbo Dueler, Jack Atlas and from the island of Satellite where people who live in the area are not wealthy, comes Yusei Fudo.

The sport is Turbo Dueling which brings out large audiences watching in a stadium as the Turbo Duelist race while they are competing in a card match, so not only does one have to keep their eyes on the race, they also must plan their strategies effectively during their card battle.

With the first volume, Yusei Fudo tries to save his young friend Sect from the Skeleton Knight, a being that no one thought that existed.  And the aftermath of that battle leads, Yusei trying to get Sect to the hospital but wanting to battle him immediately is Jack Atlas.  And not long after, even Akiza Izinski wanted to battle him.

So, it’s a fascinating first volume that is filled with four significant card battles (Yusei also takes on Sect in the beginning of the manga) and the manga series is pretty much showing how Jack Atlas is too powerful and Yusei is not a match for him…yet.  So, I would imagine the next few battles will be about Yusei discovering new strategies for battle and gaining new cards that will eventually lead to him battling both Jack Atlas and possibly Akiza Izinski for battle in the future.

Also, another fun aspect of the manga series is seeing both writer Masahiro Hikokubo and artist Masashi Sato sharing their experiences as newbies in the industry through a single-page manga panel.  Definitely fun to see and read!

It’s important to note that with each volume purchased of “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” an exclusive card is featured. In this case, an ultra rare Dark Highlander card is included with volume 1.

With both “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” and “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” being released on manga at the same time, for those wanting to choose only one series, 5D’s features older teens, while Zexal focuses on younger kids.  In 5D’s, Yusei is older and a tough fighter, in Zexal, Yuma is an underdog who was not that good in card battling and is being helped by a being named Astral that no one can see.  Both manga series are equally exciting.  Also, 5D’s focuses on its players on a vehicle, Zexal is not.  Also, the card game mechanics are so much different with Zexal focusing on overlaying cards to create a more fierce monster.  But both series are equally enjoyable!

Overall, “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s” is a manga series with card battles that young fans and even older fans may enjoy.   Recommended!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

inuyashamovies

“Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan” is another fun and exciting “Shonen Jump” series.  Yes, similar to other SJ titles like “Naruto” and “Bleach”, “Nura: Rise of the Clan” features plenty of characters, action and humor!  But definitely a series that I found entertaining and worth recommending!

Image courtesy of © Hiroshi Shibashi/SHUEISHA, Nurari Project. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1

YEAR OF RELEASE: 2010

DURATION: 13 episodes (325 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080i High Definition, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English

RATED: TV 14

COMPANY: Viz Media

RELEASE DATE: April 2, 2013

Original Creator: Hiroshi Shiibashi

Directed by Junji Nishimura

Series Composition by Natsuko Takahashi

Music by Kouhei Tanaka

Character Design by Mariko Oka

Anime Production: Studio DEEN

Featuring the voices of:

Aya Hirano/Mela Lee as Kana Ienaga

Jun Fukuyama/Darrel Guilbeau as Rikuo Nura

Jun Fukuyama/Grant George as Rikuo Night

Ai Maeda/Sophie Roberts as Yura Keikain

Akira Ishida/Vic Mignogna as Tamazuki

Ami Koshimizu/Julie Ann Taylor as Sasami

Chikao Ohtsuka/William Frederick as Nurarihyon

Hiro Shimono/Doug Erholtz as Kurōmaru

Hiroki Yasumoto/Kyle Herbert as Aotabō

Hiroyuki Yoshino/Jason Wishnov as Gozumaru

Jouji Nakata/Taylor Henry as Gyūki

Junji Majima/Spike Spencer as Karasu Tengu

Kana Asumi/Wendee Lee as Saori Maki

Kishô Taniyama/Sam Regal as Kiyotsugu Kiyojūji

Most families have a skeleton or two in the closet, but Marika is understandably shocked to learn that what her family has been hiding is a skull and crossbones! While the revelation that her late father was a space pirate would have been earthshaking enough for most teenage girls, discovering that he was the captain of the notorious pirate ship Benten Maru will change Marika’s life forever. You see, pirating is a family business, and she’s just inherited the position of captain – and her father’s former crew is quite intent on making sure Marika accepts the job!

What’s a girl to do? Well, if you’re a high school student whose prior total naval experience has been working at the space yacht club, there’s really only one moral dilemma that has to be resolved: are pirates allowed to wear really short mini-skirts?

In 2008, mangaka Hiroshi Shiibashi created “Nurarihyon no Mago”, first published in Shueisha in 2007 and then received a serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump in 2008.  With a total of 25 tankobon volumes as of December 2012, the popular manga series would receive a 26-episode TV adaptation back in 2010 courtesy of Studio DEEN.

The series is directed by Junju Nishimura (“Kyo kara Maoh!”, “Dog Days”, “Ranma 1/2″, “True Tears”), series composition by Natsuko Takahashi (“Bleach”, “Brothers Conflict”, “ATASHIn’CHI”, “Gankutuou: The Count of Monte Cristo”), music by Kouhei Tanaka (“Dirty Pair”, “Ah! My Goddess”, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure”, “Gad Guard”, “One Piece”) and character design by Mariko Oka (“Hell Girl”, “Hetalia the Beautiful World”, “Tactics”).

And now, Viz Media will be releasing Shiibashi’s popular hit anime series on Blu-ray and DVD in May 2012 and will be titled “Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan”.

“Yokai” which means ghost/demon spirits from Japanese folklore, plays a big part in the anime series, as it is said that a head of the Nura Clan would lead the Yokai (who typically see humans as their enemies).

But fast forward to modern times in which the elder Nurarihyon, the Supreme Commander of the Nura Clan has decided that with his grandson Rikuo Nura (who inherited a 1/4 of his grandfather’s blood) now turning 13-years-old, he wants him to succeed him as the leader of the Yokai.  Rikuo may look nerdy and weak on the outside, but inside him is great power.

But with Rikuo being raised to live a human life and doing good deeds, unlike previous masters of the yokai, Nura cares about the humans, and not so much of yokai’s evil nature and wants to establish peace, by doing good deeds.  And that includes turning into the Third Head, in which his Yokai blood activates and awakens his yokai form when there is impending danger, and turns him to this white hair, brave and powerful individual.

But he knows his role in the family and that he would be the third head of the Nura clan but he intends to live a normal life.

While he joined the Kiyojuji Paranormal Patrol at school, a group of students that investigate yokai, the group does not realize how close they are getting into confront yokai but also be targeted by them.

As Rikuo tries to protect his friend, someone is trying to get other yokai clans to cause problems and eliminate Rikuo, so they can be the next head of the Yokai.  Who is responsible?

“Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan” features the following characters:

Rikuo Nara – A 13-year old student and the main protagonist of the series.  Because he inherited 1/4 of his grandfather’s blood, Rikuo is chosen by his grandfather to be the next Master of all yokai.  But as most yokai do not like to be around humans, because Rikuo has lived a normal lifestyle, he has compassion towards humans and is not thrilled of having to be the next head of the Nura clan.  Whenever there is danger, Rikuo’s yokai blood awakens (only during the night) and he is able to switch to his yokai form (known as “Night” Rikuo).

Nurarihyon - The grandfather of Rikuo and Supreme Commander of the Nura Clan.  He likes pranking humans and wants his grandson to succeed him as head of the clan.

Tsurara Oikawa – One of Rikuo’s protectors with the power of freezing things.  She is disguised as a school student and is often overprotective of him.  His friend Kana wonders how close he is with Tsurara.

Aotabo – A degenerate priest and the strongest yokai in the Nura Clan.    He has become one of Rikuo’s protectors.

Zen – A poisonous bird yokai and childhood friend of Rikuo.  He is disappointed that Rikuo has become soft and not sure if he Rikuo has what it takes to be the next head of the yokai.

Kubinashi – One of Rikuo’s guardians and is known for his head floating on top of his body, without a neck.

Kana Ienaga – Rikuo’s childhood friend and neighbor and also a member of the Kiyouji Paranormal Patrol.  She likes Rikuo but is jealous of Tsurara always around him.  She has a history that involves a yokai from her past.

Kiyotsugu – Obsessed with Yokai and the leader of the Kiyouji Paranormal Patrol.

Yura Keikain - An onmyoji of the keikan House who specializes in shikigami.  She was raised to see yokai as evil and her goal is to fight and destroy Nura (not knowing that Nura is the master of the yokai).  She is also a member of the Kiyouji Paranormal Patrol.

Gyuki – A yokai who is a high ranking subordinate of the Nura clan but can he be trusted?

VIDEO:

“Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1″ is presented in 1080i High Definition.  The animation is vibrant, well-detailed and the art backgrounds are painted with great detail and for the most part, this is a very colorful anime series which I didn’t detect any banding issues, nor did I see any artifacts or softness.  Colors are sharp, black levels are nice and deep, line detail is very good and the series looks fantastic on Blu-ray!

AUDIO:

The lossless soundtrack for “Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1″ is in Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.  As one can expect from a front channel driven soundtrack, dialogue is crystal clear but I wished the soundtrack was given the 5.1 treatment because it’s an action-driven series with many characters.  But that’s how TV series are in Japan and the overall soundtrack provides clarity and good dynamic range.  As for the acting, acting on both soundtracks are magnificent.  The Japanese soundtrack features veterans such as Aya Hirano, Jun Fukuyama, Ai Maeda, Chikao Ohtsuka, while the English dub features great voice acting from Darrel Guilbeau, Grant George, Kayla Yesratsian and Mela Lee and many others.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Set 1″ comes with color production art, production art, clean opening and a trailer.

When it comes to anime that deal with yokai, there have been interesting series in the past.  From “Ghost Sweeper Mikami”, “Ghost Hunt”, “Phantom Quest Corp.”, “Haunted Junction” to name a few.

But what makes “Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan” stand out from the other anime series is the fact that its protagonist is a 13-year-old boy named Rikuo who was chosen to lead yokai, despite not exactly wanting to help them because he has lived a human life up to now.

But when he turns 13 and his grandfather wishes he succeed him as the Supreme Commander of the yokai, not only has Rikuo’s life has changed, but he now knows that because of what he is, what will he become, makes him a target for other yokai clans wanting to rule, but also them targeting his innocent human friends.

The first half of the series is more about character introductions.  How Rikuo Nura is now being forced to take on a position he never even wanted and wanting to remain human.  This is different from any previous Supreme Commander who are yokai and have caused problems for humans through eternity.  Rikuo wants nothing of that, he wants to help yokai but also help humans, he does not want to be evil or to do anything to hurt or scare humans.

The series carefully builds up by introducing us to Rikuo’s human friends and are part of the Paranormal Society that he belongs to but then introducing us to a few yokai characters, those who are there to protect Rikuo from harm.

So, the series incorporates action, a love triangle as his classmate and childhood friend Kana is jealous that he is often around Tsurara (who is a yokai protector of Rikuo),  you also have an onmyoji named Yura (who comes from a family of onmyjoji and taught that all yokai are evil) who eliminates yokai but yet hangs out with Rikuo (not knowing that he leads the yokai clan) and then you have a group of high school classmates that seem to seek out yokai and end up confronting them and getting themselves into trouble.

The storyline is also exciting and fun.  The first revolves around a rat clan that has caused problems with the neko (cat) clan and have kidnapped both Yura and Kana and Rikuo must save them.  It’s the first time we also see his yokai blood activate and transform him to the deadly and serious “Night” Rikuo.

And soon after, the storyline picks up with more yokai clan targeting Rikuo and his friends, as someone mysterious is responsible for the attacks on Rikuo and friends.

So, while these first 13 episodes are character driven episodes, the writers do a great job in character introduction (because there are many) but also making a storyline that is exciting, action-packed and a lot of fun.

Overall, “Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan” is another fun and exciting “Shonen Jump” series.  Yes, similar to other SJ titles like “Naruto” and “Bleach”, “Nura: Rise of the Clan” features plenty of characters, action and humor!  But definitely a series that I found entertaining and worth recommending!  I’m looking forward to the 2nd set!

Bleach the Movie 4: Hell Verse (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are a “Bleach” fan or an anime fan looking for an action-based film on Blu-ray, you don’t have to be a longtime viewer of “Bleach” to understand this film, you just have to be a fan of action anime.  And if that is the case, you’ll definitely enjoy “Bleach the Movie 4: Hell Verse”.

Image courtesy of Image courtesy of © Tite Kubo/Shueisha. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Bleach the Movie 4: Hell Verse

MOVIE RELEASE DATE: 2010

DURATION: 90 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, DTS-HD MA English 5.1 and Japanese 5.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Warner Bros./Viz Media

RATED: 13+

Release Date: December 4, 2012

Originally created by Kubotite

Directed by Noriyuki Abe

Screenplay by Masahiro Okubo, Natsuko Takahashi

Music by Shiro Sagisu

Character Design by Masashi Kudo

Art Director: Sawako Takagi

Director of Photography: Toshiyuki Fukushima

Producer: Ken Hagino, Noriko Kobayashi

Anime Production: Studio Pierrot

Featuring the following voice talent:

Fumiko Orikasa/Michelle Ruff as Rukia Kuchiki

Masakazu Morita/Johnny Yong Bosch as Ichigo Kurosaki

Hiroki Yasumoto/Jamieson Price as Sado “Chad” Yasutora

Kentarou Itou/Wally Wingert as Abarai Renji

Kazuya Nakai/Travis Willingham as Kokuto

Tohru Furuya/Ben Diskin as Shuren

Masaaki Tsukasa/Neil Kaplan as Shigekuni Yamamoto-Genryusai

Ryotaro Okiayu/Dan Woren as Byakuya Kuchiki

Noriaki Sugiyama/Derek Stephen Prince as Ishida Uryuu

Yuki Matsuoka/Stephanie Sheh as Inoue Orihime

Kaya Matsutani/Megan Hollingshead as Rangiku Matsumoto

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Vic Mignogna as Ikkaku Madarame

Romi Paku/Steve Staley as Toshiro Hitsugaya

Hell – a place where beings that have committed mortal sins during their lifetime are sent. It is a realm where even Soul Reapers are forbidden to interfere. When a group of vicious Sinners plots to escape from this eternal prison, they discover that Substitute Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki is the key to their freedom.

The Sinners launch an attack and in the process kidnap Ichigo’s younger sister Yuzu and take her to Hell. With the help of a mysterious man named Kokuto, Ichigo and his friends must now travel into the depths of Hell to stop the Sinners and save Yuzu, unaware that their actions could bring Hell to the World of the Living.

Ichigo Kurosaki has faced the greatest enemies and has gotten stronger each time.  But this time, it’s personal as his sisters have been kidnapped by minions from Hell and now Ichigo and friends decide to venture through Hell in order to save his two sisters, but will he be strong enough to fight in the Netherworld?

With an anime production by Studio Pierrot, the film is directed by Noriyuki Abe (“Bleach”, “Ninku”, “Ghost Stories”, “Flame of Recca”) and a screenplay by Masahiro Okubo (“Sugar Sugar Rune”, “Tantei Gakuen Q”) and Natsuko Takahashi (“Bleach”, “Prince of Tennis”, “School Rumble”).

The storyline of “Bleach: Hell Verse” takes place after the fight between Ichigo and the Arrancars and we are given a glimpse of the unusual change that Ichigo had gone through during his fight against the powerful Arrancar Ulquiorra.  Exhibiting power that Ichigo never had exhibited and a transformation to his body that he never knew was possible, Ichigo’s power even made his own friends fear because it was an unusual spiritual pressure.  And with this power, it was how Ichigo slayed the mighty Ulquiorra.

The day starts off normally for Ichigo Kurosaki until he sees Rukia and Renji who happened to be in the world of the living for some unknown reason.  As Ichigo is headed to school, the school is attacked by three demon-like creatures with masks and they are known as Togabito (“The Unforgiven”).  As Ichigo and his friends begin fighting the Unforgiven, Uryu manages to crack open one of the masks of one of the antagonists and it is revealed that the demons have escaped hell and because one of the masks were broken, a Kushanada, a guardian of Hell impales the unmasked demon and drags him back to Hell.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Unforgiven, Shuren has kidnapped Ichigo’s two sisters and as Ichigo and friends try to save them, a man named Kokuto arrives and defeats one of the Unforgiven and saves Karin Kurosaki, but unfortunately, Ichigo’s youngest sister Yuzu is brought to Hell.

Needing to get into Hell to rescue her, Kokuto who is from Hell (but without a mask) tells them that he can show them the route to save his sister and so, Ichigo with the help of Rukia, Renji and Uryu head off to the upper levels of Hell to try to save Yuzu.  But once in Hell, Ichigo’s hollow mask begins manifesting spontaneously and Kokuto warns him to not use the mask or else he will lose control and turn into a hollow.  And also reveals that spirits killed in Hell will become members of the Unforgiven and that the Kushanada torture the Unforgiven for their sins and consumes them, until they are reborn in the lower level of Hell and are continuously are caught by the Kushanada in a cycle, until the spirit of the Unforgiven is eliminated.

And as everyone follows Kokuto’s lead, they encounter Shuren, who reveals that he wants Ichigo to use his hollow powers, the kind that was used in the fight against Ulquiorra in order to destroy the Gates of Hell and so the Unforgiven can be free. If he does, then Yuzu will be free?  But will Ichigo risk the world of the living by unleashing the Unforgiven demons of hell just to save his sister?  Or is there another way to save her?

VIDEO:

“Bleach the Movie 4: Hell Verse” is presented in 1080p High Definition and “Bleach” looks fantastic on Blu-ray! Granted, it helps that this is a film and not the TV series, as there is much more detail in the actual character designs, more emphasis on fluidity on the action sequences, especially during the “bankai” segments. But this is what I enjoy about seeing the transition of popular TV series for film, a higher production and also the fact that animators have more time in production and quality of the animation and art backgrounds than the typical quick turn around that they are expected to do on a TV series.

Wonderful PQ and because many shots are in Hell, and a lot of reds and oranges, I personally didn’t see any banding issues.  For the most part, “Hell Verse” looks vibrant, colorful, sharp and fantastic on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

For “Bleach the Movie 4: Hell Verse is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1 English and Japanese.  Great use of surround during the more action intense sequences and because there is so much action, good amount of immersion from the surround channels and also moments of LFE.

Subtitles are provided in English as optional during the English soundtrack and also featured in the Japanese soundtrack of the film.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Bleach the Movie 4: Hell Verse” comes with the following special features:

  • Japanese Trailers - (2:03) Featuring the Japanese trailers for “Bleach the Movie 4: Hell Verse”.
  • Production Art Gallery - Using your remote (or mouse and keyboard), you can cycle through various production art.
  • Illustration Gallery - Using your remote (or mouse and keyboard), you can cycle through various illustration art.

December is the month for a “Bleach” animated film and as the U.S. DVD release is trying to catchup with what is being released in Japan, the fourth “Bleach” movie “Hell Verse” features a non-canon storyline and takes Ichigo Kurosaki and friends to a new area to fight in…Hell.

For “Bleach” fans, the storyline may seem inconsistent timeline wise with the manga and TV series as after the Arrancar arc, Ichigo Kurosaki has lost his powers.  But animated films inspired from the TV or manga series are typically side stories that are not mean to be part of the series’ cannon.

For “Bleach the Movie 4: Hell Verse”, it’s rather interesting because we are given a scene between Ichigo’s fight vs. Ulquiorra and the truth is that during that time of the Arrancar arc, not much is known about Ichigo’s mysterious power that he gained during that fight.  We know he tapped into something mysterious, perhaps something that may not be good at all but we do know it’s the most powerful transformation that he has been in and something he has no control over.

And while the TV and manga series tend to focus more on the battle between the Soul Reapers vs. the Arrancars during that arc, suffice to say, there was not as much Ichigo Kurosaki featured as the goal was to show an all out war featuring as many people as possible.  And it became one of Tite Kubo’s most exciting, action-packed arc thus far in the “Bleach” series at the time.

But for “Hell Verse”, it’s nice to see the animated film bring back that uncontrollable power and transformation of Ichigo Kurosaki and while a battle in Hell will provide new antagonists and a whole new world that Ichigo Kurosaki and friends that have never ventured, hardcore Bleach fans know that the Soul Society would probably not have let Ichigo Kurosaki be that reckless and endanger the World of the Living for the sake of his sister (for those who are familiar with the Deputy Soul Reaper storyline in “Bleach”, those fans will know what I’m talking about).

Otherwise, for an animated film and for fans with no familiarity with the series, it is a standalone storyline that is accessible to fans and non-fans as it focuses on Ichigo and friends trying to save his sister.  Showcasing as much action as possible and even integrating an emotional, tragic scene, longtime “Bleach” writers Masahiro Okubo and Natsuko Takahashi are really taking the characters, especially Ichigo Kurosaki into unknown territory and experimenting with situations that are not seen in the manga and also the anime series.

But that is the beauty of anime films, they tend to be standalone stories independent of the series and for the most part, “Bleach the Movie 4: Hell Verse” was entertaining, action-packed and enjoyable.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality and lossless audio quality was fantastic and that is another plus for animated films versus its TV counterpart and that’s better production value, better picture quality and in this case, a wonderful, immersive lossless soundtrack.  Special features are sparse, but they have always been like that for “Bleach”.

Overall, if you are a “Bleach” fan or an anime fan looking for an action-based film on Blu-ray, you don’t have to be a longtime viewer of “Bleach” to understand this film, you just have to be a fan of action anime.  And if that is the case, you’ll definitely enjoy “Bleach the Movie 4: Hell Verse”.

Next Page »

Bottom