Manga of the Day Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto (Sakamoto desu ga?)

Sakamoto is the ‘coolest’ guy in school. The girls want him. The bullies can’t beat him. He makes the bad look good. Don’t underestimate his skills. Sakamoto’s prowess is out of this world.

 

 

 

My Review (Part 1)

Haven’t you heard? I’m Sakamoto aired its anime this year. I heard good things about the show but I needed to experience the manga first. Warning: there’s going to be a lot of school life reminders for those on Christmas break.  *Apologies to those who have to go back soon. I hope this manga cheers you up.*

Sakamoto keeping cool in the face of real fire

The Art

Nami Sano’s art resembles the work of Yano Toboso specifically the infamous Sebastian of Kuroshitsuji. Sakamoto-kun has a similar look with the ‘demon’ butler. Both have an elegant form, charming aura, and fluid motion. Sakamoto also shares the ability to look beautiful even in the oddest transitional poses. Also, the emotion, or lack of, is similar where the character remains ‘cool’ when others start sweat-dropping.

 

 

No mistaking one Kubota for Sakamoto

Overall the manga is well-drawn. Every character has a distinctive detail making it easy to quickly recognize. For example, Kubota’s short pudgy figure stands out against his classmates, specifically when he is at Sakamoto-kun’s side. The classic pigtails are Aina’s signature feature and the gym teacher is the only character who breaks the status quo.

The Characters

Sakamoto has almost super-human abilities. He’s a master at performing tasks but a novice at understanding humanity. The jealousy of Sakamoto’s ‘coolness’ gets him into constant situations where he performs flawlessly without dissing his enemies. He wants to protect people even when they promise to beat him up.

Kubota-after being saved by Sakamoto-kun, Kobuta turns to him for help. He admires his rescuer without resenting the man’s ‘coolness’. Through the manga his confidence slowly starts to improve. He is protective of Sakamoto after discovering his mother’s obsession with the highschooler.

Aina-the most devious of competitors for the position of Sakomoto’s girlfriend. She has a history of manipulating guys. Sakamoto’s subtle rejections shock Aina. Obsessively stubborn Aina plots to win Sakamoto’s heart!

 

 

It’s all part of the plan

My Review (Part 2)

The character of Sakamoto-kun shares an otherworldly ability like that of Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji. His coolness makes a simple task an exercise in extravagance but he’s more than just a cool guy with skills. The guy is a mastermind at thwarting even the most devious bullies. No violence necessary.

 

Sakamoto: Gopher from Hell

For example, Maruyama-sama (2nd year bully) names Sakamoto his personal gopher. Instead of decking the guy, he does the grunt work above expectation. When Maruyama runs out of tasks, Sakamoto becomes obsessive at anticipating his every need. The ‘coolest’ guy in school leaves the senior bully traumatized.

 

 

 

Traumatizes bully Maruyama.. up pops Hayabusa

I enjoyed seeing the brilliant ways Sakamoto maneuvers through life. Every chapter has Sakamoto versus a problem. I loved the ideas but started to get disappointed with the lack of variety. Only so many bully besting scenarios before one begins to wonder where the manga is going.

Chapter five’s remark by Sakamoto ‘I am actually a denizen of this world’ hinted there could be a depth behind this unusual statement. Instead we never get insight into who Sakamoto is. Kubota sums up the conundrum of his closest friend. He doesn’t know anything about him. What makes his coolness possible? What is his life like? Who is he?

 

Never heard group dates described so academically

My biggest question was ‘why does he see humanity from the viewpoint of a scientist collecting data to analyze.’ Is there a non-human component to him? Is this why he wants to work for NASA? What are you Sakamoto? Are you a citizen from a different world residing on earth? Or are you a genetic anomaly born to be the ‘coolest’ high school student of all time?

 

 

Sakamoto, NASA, & a mission to Mars?

The manga’s ending left me feeling like something huge was denied to its readers. All the ‘whoa Sakamoto-kun is brilliant’ turn to ‘what was this manga’s message again?’ So much potential exists for Sakamoto desu ga if the creators would just give readers a few more chapters. Clear up the confusion over plot or a pre-manga chapter explaining Sakamoto’s abilities. I would even be open to having a follow-up manga series following his new life studying the stars. Yes. I am that interested to know more.

 

 

He puts the cool in school

To the Reader

Slice of life and school life manga fans will find lots to love in Sakamoto. Comedy genre fans will love the humor in this. Anyone looking to read a feel-good non romance manga should try it. Horror fans I recommend my new favorite webtoon: Bastard.

 

Final Rating: 8.6 


Details

Name(s): 坂本ですが? Sakamoto desu ga??, lit. “I’m Sakamoto, You Know?”; Haven’t you heard? I’m Sakamoto

Author(s): Nami Sano

Artist(s): Nami Sano

Year: 2012

Volume(s): 4

Genre: School life, Slice of life, Seinen, Comedy

Status: Complete

Anime: Yes


Haven’t you Heard? I’m Sakamoto is now available! Buy  the anime on Amazon today!


Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoshitsu)

Assassination Classroom

Class E is the Assassination Classroom. Here the
lowest students of the school have a secret mission: kill their sensei before he destroys the earth.

My Review (Part 1)
Gintama’s parody of Korosensei as Ginkorosensei
I was creeping on the Japanese best-seller list when a manga caught my eye. Surrounded by ridiculously popular titles like One Piece
and Attack on Titan, Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoshitsu) drew a blank. Over 8.6 million copies sold in 2015 alone, a best-seller, and I had never heard of it.
What made this manga so incredibly popular? And did this finally explain that
moment in Gintama? What was I getting myself into?
The Art
Korosensei: the happiest looking moon destroyer in all manga

Korosensei: the happiest looking moon destroyer in all manga

The cover art for Assassination Classroom took me by surprise. Instead of dark intensity; I found comedy. Korosensei looks like a balloon with a happyface transplanted onto an octopus’s body. For a being capable of destroying themoon I would have expected sharp edges, deep shading, mysterious eyes notsomething so humorous. The decision to make Korosensei the way he looks was thefirst introduction to the refreshing world of Assassination Classroom. The manga takes humor to a different place where a being capable of worldwide destruction is also a unique sensei who counters assassination attempts with manicures.

Nagisa’s character appearance is another of my

favorite things from Assassination Classroom. I love the
big eyes (I’m a sucker for great eyes), the hair with an actual reasoning
behind it, and how his look matches so naturally with who he is. His angelic smiles are so deviously distracting! Even the deadliest assassins can be forgiven for falling into his charm.

Now comes the most significant problem I hold with

Students of Class E

Assassination Classroom’s character designs. The majority of Class E student’s look so incredibly similar. They run the line of falling into the ‘same face shape’ just slightly different hair rut. The manga’s length did give them a chance to become recognizable but at first glance they all blend together with few exceptions. The blandness is an immense disappointment when compared to a creative character look like Korosensei.

The Characters
Nagisa: the
student who makes the greatest insights into the enigma of Korosensei. Nagisa
is used to being ridiculed for being in Class E and accepted it until the year
Korosensei takes over Class E. Nagisa is loyal to his beliefs. He doesn’t lose
them throughout the manga although his assassination education unleashes a
hidden side of his character.
Karma Akabane: Incredibly
quick-witted with a

brilliant mind and ruthless killing sense he is the first
student to cause actual damage to Koro-sensei. Karma is a master manipulator
with the ability to spot the lurking darkness in a person. He was removed to
class E as punishment for violent offenses. Among all the Class E students, he
is closest to Nagisa having known him before becoming a Class E student.

Bitch-sensei (Irina
Jelavic)
– Extremely confident in her powerful sex appeal, Irina is a top
rate assassin who is tasked to kill Korosensei. She is an excellent actress but
her true self is prone to being petty and easily frustrated. She had no initial
intentions of being a real teacher but slowly grows to care for the students of
Class E.

 

 

Karasuma Tadaomi: bridge between the world

governments and Class E he takes
the role of PE teacher to turn the students into assassins. He is intelligent,
level-headed, and capable of facing high-stress situations without breaking a
sweat. The class admires him greatly and strives to follow his example.

 

 

Korosensei is an enigma in the manga. What he is and why he
wanted to become a teacher for Class E is a large part of what drives the
manga. He is off the wall intelligent, creative, and humorous even when
fighting off serious assassination attempts. Nagisa finds he has a lot of
surprising weaknesses as well. Example: When he tries to look cool, his
weaknesses show; he is surprisingly quick to panic; and boobs (a dangerous
weakness for many men).
My Review (Part 2)
Assassination Classroom is more than a mere manga on
ordinary students attempting to save the world from unordinary destruction. The
charm of the manga lies in the way it combines a struggle with a

journey. The
struggle is more than the students work

to become top-notch assassins. Class E
is literally the loathed bottom feeders of the school whose existence is meant
to make the ‘normal’ students work harder to avoid having to join their ranks.
They face daily persecution for not being ‘good enough.’ Korosensei in his
ridiculous way starts a change in these forgotten ones. His efforts to make a
difference isn’t always understood by the students. He wants them to succeed in
more than an assassination. From raising their academic rankings to being sport
standouts, he fights alongside them. Some of the battles are humorous, others
make you want to cry, but all teach no student has to be what one a-hole
principal schemes for them.

The part which never fails to stand out is just how
incredible a character Korosensei is in the manga. He is so inhuman and deadly.
Yet has the most ridiculous hilarious weaknesses it stuns the reader just how
one character with a weakness for porn can outfox the world’s military forces.
He brings out the best of his students taking them from rejects to death served
with a smile. Deadly plots lie in humongous puddings, while porn stashes are
hidden assassination plots. The topsy turvy keeps one guessing while never
forgetting the world is at stake. How it will end is the reader’s guess but the
manga is so page-turning one won’t want to miss a panel before reaching the
final conclusion.
To the Reader
Assassination Classroom is clearly of the school life genre.
You will find many of the school life scenarios: exams, sport festivals,
student rivalries etc. The adventure in those scenarios along with the drama

Love the manga? Watch the anime!

keep it from sinking into a standard school story. And the humor…the humor is
everywhere! Some of it is the immature ‘porn jokes’ type but much of it comes
from odd ironies and the characters themselves. For those who worry it will all
be one big joke there are many moments which bring emotions to the surface.
It’s not hard to see personal life experiences in the feelings these characters’
struggle with. Feelings which occasionally do fall into the genre of romance but don’t take
away from the feeling of action and suspense flowing through this excellent
manga.

Final Score: 9.4
Make it your end-of-summer manga must.

 

 

Details
Names(s):
暗殺教室 ; Assassination Classroom ; فصل الأغتيال ; 암살교실 ; Classe do Assassinato; Ansatsu
Kyōshitsu

Author(s):
Matsui Yuusei

Artist(s):
Matsui Yuusei
Year:
2012
Genre(s):
Humor, Suspense, Drama, School Life, Sci-fi, Action
Chapter(s):
184
Status:
Complete
Anime: Yes

Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)

Awkward loner Yukiteru keeps a cell phone diary of his daily life. His close friends areMirai-nikki-01-2 the imaginary Deus and Muru Muru who turn out to be the real keepers of space and time. Now he is at the center of their deadly game where there can be only one winner. To survive he will need the help of deranged stalker Yuno. Together the two must save space and time by murdering all the future diary participants leaving the winner ruler of this strange world.

 

Review (Part 1)
Death games are not new to mangas so Future

Sweet Schoolgirl Yuno Amidst Her Latest Victims

Diaryś creative cell phone diary is what made the manga first stand out. The odd relationship between imaginary friend´s being actual gods did make readers wonder just how Yukiteru got to such a lonely place. Little focus is given because the manga immediately jumps into action with Yuno´s appearance. The innocent Yuno does horror proud by proving the popular sweet girl seated at the head of the class is a psychopath in disguise. Outside appearances mean little in Mirai Nikki. Even little boys can be creative murders if a win is at stake.

The manga writers have a deep grasp of the psychology behind most character´s which make

Actions Always Speak Louder than Words in Mirai Nikki

readers reconsider the belief evil vs good comes only in black vs white. Who decides what is ´the greater good by becoming the next god´ is not the heart of the manga. Jealousy, rage, and good intentions form the tangled web of a storyline in Mirai Nikki.

The Characters

Yukiteru is a shy awkward loner. He records the day´s events in his diary but doesn´t take part in them. His diary becomes a future diary after his ´ímaginary´ friend Deus turns out to be the real god of Time vs. Space. Yukiteru has low self-esteem and views himself as weak compared to others around him. Yuno´s obsessive strength is both his biggest benefit and harshest criticism to himself.

 

 

Gasai Yuno is a beautiful well-rounded student secretly obsessed with Yukiteru. Hergasai-yuno-2 entire life revolves around Yukiteru´s existence. Yuno doesn´t understand the importance of human life unless it is Yukiteru´s. She doesn´t kill for pleasure; it´s all about saving Yukiteru no matter the cost.

 

Keigo Kurusu (the 4th) has the investigation diary. He is interested in solving crimes not becoming the next claimant to the ´throne of God.´ 4th proclaims he will protect the 1st (Yukiteru). He follows his ethics which define whether or not he holds to an allegiance. He has a unique relationship with the 9th.

mirai-nikki-615353-1

 

 

Minene Uryuu (the 9th) holds the escape diary. She is infamous as a terrorist an holds a deep grudge for her parent´s murders. The 9th changes throughout the manga showing more emotion over time. She has a heart but does not often share it.

Review (Part 2)
I struggled with Mirai Nikki when

Except if you have Yuno then your known identity isn´t much of a checkmate

the god Deus revealed the rules of the game immediately. Figuring out what the boundaries are is part of the fun of a good manga (and anime). Worse is when the importance of ´keeping one´s identity a secret´ immediately falls apart. Yukiteru´s existence should have had an arrow pointing straight at him. The 9th´s claim to have found him by tracking his change in behavior is woefully scant. Even the 4th figures it out almost immediately. If Yuno were not there to save Yukiteru´s lame self the manga would have been over before it began.

The manga´s fast pace does help to redeem itself. I attribute most of this to Yuno whoseYuno's Insanity bloodthirsty stalker personality drives the plot to new heights. Having been victim to stalking myself they can be downright terrifying without have a diary informing them of your every breath. Yukiteru´s relationship with Yuno is both horrifying and fascinating. She wants to keep him to herself. If it means killing anyone who clashes with the idea then it´s as simple as one two three. Her brilliance in planning takes the plot into deeper places then a blatant battle. This manga requires some thinking to fully comprehend.

Plot twists are big in Mirai Nikki. Nothing is ever in

Time Leap Plot Twist?

cement when a cell phone entry of ´game over´ can be avoided with quick finesse. Deus´s demise adds another element to the game making it more than being the last one standing. No winner. No world left to fight in. Not to mention, unlike the Hunger Games exception, there can only be one winner. No matter how much love exists someone will have to be the sacrifice for humanity to keep on existing.

The Art
Mirai Nikki is a well-drawn manga which does stand out. The characters have looks to match their personalities. This means they are more than the same body with different hair being a defining factor. The eyes of manga characters are my greatest passion in their drawings and Mirai Nikki´s characters are filled with expression. They look beautiful as well which is always a bonus.

Beheading Blood Spatter a Bit Bland

Would I call this the best looking manga in the world? No. In the horror genre the best blood scenes are intimately intense. We are talking full detail all out Tokyo Ghoul style. Is it the prettiest? No. Bride of the Water God is my take on that. Overall though, well-done and worthy of appreciation for fans of manga art.

Final Recommendation

Dead Ends aren´t Alwasy the End in Mirai Nikki

Mirai Nikki is a horror manga making it perfect for those in love with the genre. There is immense horror in people being murdered by a pretty girl who wears blood like it´s a daily routine. The suspense is key in Mirai Nikki. No one knows who is the next bloody attacker and what exactly is their diary´s special trait until it´s almost to late. With an escape diary user in the mix the suspense of how a ´certain thing´ scenario is going to play out is forever a game of luck. Action fans will not be disappointed. There are no epic Bleach sword fights but bloody battles do abound. As for romance, I could say there is some but it might just be more of a Stockholm Syndrome then Orange Marmalade affection.

Overall Score: 8.2
Worth the read for those curious. Probable must for diehard Mirai Nikki anime fans.

*The manga community needs your help! Purchase Mirai Nikki to support the manga’s creators.

Anime fans the same to you! Buy Mirai Nikki on DVD or Blu-Ray!

 

Details

Name(s): The Future Diary, Future Diary, Mirai Nikki


Author(s): ESUNO Sakae

Artist(s): ESUNO Sakae

Year: 2006

Chapter(s): 59

Genre(s): Horror; Suspense; Action; Drama; Sci-Fi

Complete: Sort of. The Mirai Nikki is listed as complete but a secondary manga exists with a final final(?) ending

Anime: Yes

Samurai Champloo

Former waitress Fuu has enlisted the help of two body

guards on her search for ´The Samurai who Smells of Sunflowers.´ Mugen is a free spirited mercenary with a champloo fighting style. Jin, a deadly samurai, seeking a reason to fight. Together they are outrunning the law in a wild journey of hilarious adventures and death battles.

My Review (Part 1)

No compensation. No plan for finding this samurai.
How did you get these bodyguards to stay?

Samurai Champloo came about in an unusual order. The anime was created before the manga but the manga was released first. Samurai Champloo’s beginning almost matches the anime’s first episode. Perfect for me since I just watched the series. My mental critique of the anime´s episode one sums up chapter one.The beginning throws the reader into exciting sword scenes but lacks on details about the manga. Fuu somehow ropes the two into being her bodyguards without ever giving a clear picture of what she is searching for. It’s difficult to understand just why two fighters would agree to put their lives on the line to find a ‘Samurai who smells of sunflowers.’

The Art
Samurai Champloo exemplifies many excellent manga

styles of the 2000s. The characters are well-drawn in

proportion. The artist has the skill to give movement to a figure without appearing static. You could go on about the many things done ‘right’ in the drawings. The problem isn’t in the skill. Samurai Champloo is well drawn. The issue is how cliche the drawings are.

 

I´m seeing a blend of Uryuu & Komui & Etc

Jin is the worst victim of this artistic conundrum. Hislook is standard at best. The addition of glasses may have been an attempt to help him stand-out but give him more of a Komui feel (D Gray Man) then anything unique. His look feels half-finished. Maybe a longer ponytail or better bangs or slight fashion change could draw him from fading into bland.

Mugen is the one character who rises above the usual.

He cannot be summed up as a single character

Mugen wins for artist looks in Samurai Champloo

reference because his look is his own. There is a refreshing breeze about him. His wooden clogs, narrow features, crazed hair, and motley mix of fashion feels imaginative in Samurai Champloo. The artist put Mugen’s essence into his look and it worked.

Samurai Champloo does have a unique twist to its´ art. In chapter 9 the artist´s brother takes over in Samurai Champloo. Comparing the two I prefer the original artist. The brother has obvious skill in imitating his work. My issue is it comes off more hurried with less detail in the fight scenes. Although I do think the woman are much prettier in the final arc then before.

The Characters
 

My Review (Part 2)
The fascination of Samurai Champloo lies in its’ main

All time Favorite Character wanted poster

characters rather than suspenseful storyline adventures. To many minor characters with to little explanation leads to more impressive fight scenes than plot lines. I read the manga twice (the second time on mangareader.net) where an editor’s notes gave me a fascinating perspective on the meaning of the characters.

The world they live in is a motley mix of Japanese

That awkward moment when you realize you´ve just gotten Japanese
history and culuture totally wrong.

eras with modern elements laced in. Historically it is hardly textbook accurate. The manga is not trying to be. Japan’s history is a humorous element which takes Samurai Champloo to an interesting place. They make nonsensical out of the historical similar to moments from Gintama’s manga.

The characters remind me of a ‘Gone With the Wind’

Mugen questions Jin´s reserved decision to hold off on useless
violence.

example. One character symbolizes the values of the

past, one the current time, and one the future of the manga’s world.Jin is the traditional samurai facing the end of Japan’s samurai era. Jin’s fighting style is reminiscent of tradition. He is the ‘serious’ one, the man facing a crisis of modern era with traditional samurai. Fuu has a more obvious humor than Jin. She is a sign of the times. There are moments where a fiery independent ‘modern value’ woman emerges. Simultaneously she has a feminine traditional ‘damsel in distress’ role. Fuu gets frustrated with Jin but her pain-in-the-ass is Mugen.

Mugen is the one who makes Samurai Champloo rise above a standard Shojen manga. He is the future. No

loyalties to traditional samurai values. He’s a mercenary who is not above murdering for a meal.

Hostage situations? Forget that.

Mugen’s ways are the humor in Samurai Champloo. Jin and Fuu find themselves in bad situations because of Mugen’s random ways. He tries gambling, loses all their money, and pays off his debt with Fuu’s hard work. If a damsel-in-distress is rescued by a random guy he doesn’t thank them. Attacks them for stealing his ‘money opportunity.’ Mugen kept me laughing and guessing. I found myself wishing the manga was devoted entirely to him. Fuu and Jin are add-ons in my enjoyment of Samurai Champloo.

I read multiple manga site versions of Samurai Champloo because it´s ending(?) makes no sense. MangaPark declared it ongoing yet Mangareader listed it as complete. The manga itself has a ´the end´ page but no ending. This might just be because the maker animation Studio, Manglobe, responsible for Samurai Champloo closed in 2015. Maybe a new studio will pick up the rights to the series. No plans for it yet but I really hope they do. Samurai Champloo is sorely in need of a true ending.

Support Samurai Champloo by purchasing the manga

or Checkout the Anime


To the Reader
Samurai Champloo personifies two genres: action and

comedy. Mugen’s completely random style works well to offset Jin’s traditional swordsmanship. You get the best of both. If fist beating is more your taste there is plenty of it. Samurai Champloo’s second draw is comedy. There is the occasional ‘sexual’ humor but it is not the only reason this manga amuses you. Example: Mugen sees Fuu crying. He promises to make the guy pay IF Fuu pays. Mugen even has a chart in ryo amounts how much a kick, punch, and kill will set you back.

Samurai Champloo is only ten chapters. Watching the anime then reading the manga gives me a nasty

Do Check Out the Anime!

suspicion why it is. The manga´s great start fallsapart into disjointed single adventure chapters. Samurai Champloo´s anime is where the complete journey unfolds. The manga gets derailed and left to straggle its way to a complete??!!! ending. ¨Neither can live while the other survives¨ sums up the relationship perfectly. Creators tried working both. They ended with a weak manga whose potential got stunted. Hurts to admit the truth but it had to be said.

Final Score: 5.4

Details

Name(s): Samurai Champloo
Author(s): Watanabe Shinichiro
Artist(s): Gotsubo Masaru
Year: 2004
Genre: Action; Adventure; Comedy; Shonen
Chapters: 10
Status: Complete(?)
Anime: YES

Yu-Gi-Oh (the original!)

Yugi Mutou has solved the Millenium Puzzle and gotten his wish. Yami is the spirit of the Millenium Puzzle with a fondness for daring shadow games. Sharing one body the two are about to take on adventures ranging from digital pet disasters to escaping prisoners. No one, not even the vengeful Kaiba, will stop the pharaoh from taking on the ultimate game.

My Thoughts (Part 1)
Netflix had Yu-Gi-Oh! available for streaming so a nostalgic part of me couldn´t help but check it out. There is something mysterious about a 5,000 year old pharaoh inhabiting a Millenium Puzzle who shares a soul with a modern human. I like a great deal of Yu-Gi-Oh! as it feels a tad more mature than other ´Saturday Morning´ animated shows. Maybe that is why it occurred to me I really need to read this manga!

The time before Yami

The manga starts off in the time before Yugi has solved the Millenium Puzzle. Back where he was a regular punching bag for the other kids especially bullies Jounouchi (Joey in the anime) and Honda (Tristan in the anime). After solving the Millenium Puzzle he isn´t even aware he has a whole other personality knocking off evil with shadow games.

Slightly psychotic acting Yami

Yugi´s other half, Yami metes out justice with shadow games. Lose the shadow game and the penalties are severe. Especially when it is handed to you by a smirking, slightly-psychotic, ancient pharaoh in a teenager´s body.

Go with the disclaimer on this game of Yami´s

Unlike the anime Yu-Gi-Oh! (season 1 & onward) the manga has more games than just duel monsters. Games where digital pets battle one another and gangs duke it out with yo-yos. Find yourself on the losing end and risk playing against Yami for keeps.

The Characters

Yugi hates violence. He would gladly take a beating if

Yugi takes yet another beating

it meant keeping anyone (even his own bullies) safe. Yugi is incredibly loyal to family and friends. On the outside Yugi is often treated like a child for his size. He does have a love of games which some might find childish at the same time he is definitely a teenage boy.

Jounouchi is an overconfident hotheaded ´punk´ who

Not much of a friend to Yuugi

begins as Yuugi´s tormentor. He makes a complete turnaround after seeing Yugi protect him. Jounouchi has a bad home life and is always attempting to pay off his alcoholic father´s debts. He cares deeply for his fragile sister but is hesitant to show a ´softer´ side around others. Jounouchi is not afraid to literally fight on Yugi´s behalf (usually winning). He is extremely loyal and self-sacrificing to protect his friendships.

Do NOT mess with Anzu
Anzu (Tea in the anime) is a strong-willed intelligent and attractive childhood friend of Yugi´s. She reopens their friendship after saving him from being tormented (yet again) by Jounouchi and Honda. Anzu often acts as peacemaker of the group.  She is the first to discover Yami (or as Anzu describes him´the cool Yugi). Her feelings are sisterly towards little Yugi but often run into romantic for Yami. 

Honda stands with Yuugi & Jounouchi
against Kaiba in the Death Game

Honda is very vocal on his job in ´beautification´ since Joey is always teasing him for losing out over student council. He takes his role very seriously and is firm in making decisions. He fights with Joey but is intent on their friendship. Honda is loyal but also stupid at times especially when it involves his passionate crush, Miho-chan. When Yugi helps him attempt to win the heart of Miho-chan they come away as good friends.

Kaiba is Yugi´s arrogant rival who becomes obsessed

No expense spared to beat you Yugi!

with beating him. When Kaiba lost to Yuugi he set up an entire theme park just to ensure Yugi´s demise. He overlooks his brother, Mokuba, even betting he will lose to Yugi. Kaiba has a heart (somewhere) but for now it is doing a pretty good job of hiding out. He runs his father´s company with authority and ensures his ownship through any means. I hold out hope for Kaiba. Yugi is going to find a way to reach him.

The Art

Yami

I love the way the artist has chosen to depict the most key characters. Instead of drastic changes the artist stays true to the importance of reminding us Yami & Yugi share body and soul. Though they look alike the eyes are done to perfectly set off who it is we are looking for. Stronger angles, sharp eyes, and

Yuugi

an element of supreme confidence defines Yami. Wide, bright eyes, and open is the soft look of Yugi. They are by far my favorite characters to see.

I will say the best manga drawings are during those times when Yami appears. Suddenly everything goes

up about 50 notches. This is where the art most impressed me. I love the expressions on the characters especially Kaiba when Yugi breaks his smug confidence. I wish there could have been more of this style throughout the manga instead of just saving it for the áction scenarios.

Still the final consensus is overall very well drawn which made the season zero anime all the more impressive since it was able to carry the style from paper to screen.

To the Reader
If you enjoyed the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime then definitely give

Grampa Mutou is a bit of an old pervert

the manga (plus season zero) a look. There is a lot to enjoy for those who are comedy fans. Drama is huge as well especially when it comes to tense situations like being held at gunpoint by escaped criminals or captured in a bomber’s game. Romantics can feel free to imagine “shipping” but Yu-Gi-Oh! is more about friendships then relationships.

My Thoughts (Part 2)

I sincerely enjoyed the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga. At fifty-nine chapters it did an excellent job at answering many of my Yu-Gi-Oh! questions while still keeping me entertained. At the end I did feel a bit like it cut off quickly which would be because it continues in the next *series: Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist´s Kingdom. Which continues on in more series! I started Duelist Kingdom but need to move on with reviews.
And with that here is my final score:
8.73 out of 10

Details

Name(s): Yu-Gi-Oh! (The First Series); YuGiOh!; 遊☆戯☆王; Vua trò chơi; Yuugioh
Author(s): Kazuki Takahashi
Artist(s): Kazuki Takahashi
Chapter(s): 59
Genre(s): Slice of life; comedy; fantasy; action; adventure
Year: 1996
Status: Complete
Anime: Yes (Watch Season 0)

*When published in Japan the manga´s multiple parts were actually all released in the same series. For the rest of us, Yu Gi Oh! is chapter´s 1-59 followed by the next series then the next etc.

Angel Beats-Heaven’s Door

       You’re dead but can’t die. How do you know? The Angel Beats manga starts out the first chapter with the character Hinata being literally kicked off the top of the school roof. He wakes up to discover he not only survived but is in fact told by Yuri this is the Afterlife. The Afterlife like no one ever considered. A school where those who died unfairly in life are sent. Here is where Afterlife Battlefront begins. The plan? Fight to find this mysterious God and punch him for giving such a raw deal.

Otonashi. Without you and Kanade…
there just wouldn’t be the Angel Beats anime we love

For Angel Beat anime fans think of the manga (so far) as a prequel to the arrival of Otonashi. This is the story of the history of Afterlife Battlefront. They didn’t just come into this world united in a fight against the ‘God’ entity. Yurippe is the one who brings together the strangest of personalities in hilarious ways. 

My Thoughts

I told the LT boyfriend about how he sounded like Hinata the worst of my
being sick. He was horrified at being compared to an anime which made
me laugh of course. What a great girlfriend.

First off, I love the Angel Beats anime. One of the most important reasons why is being able to relate to the characters anger over a God who would make life so unfair.In the anime my heart always goes out to the story of Yui (who is not in the manga…yet?) and the peace granted her when Hinata promises no matter how she was physically in life he would still love her.

Shina is one crazy assassin from a past we never really get to know.

One of the reasons I find myself really caring for the manga is getting to know the characters in a way thirteen short episodes never had time to explain. Take the character Shina. In the anime she is reduced to saying ‘this is so stupid’ while displaying ninja like skills. When you read the manga you find she was immensely difficult to recruit into Afterlife Battlefront. To her this world is completely alien. She comes from a completely different era in Japan’s past. 

Iwasawa is even more amazing than we once thought.
She made it through to find friendship here.

 Even Iwasawa (who you find yourself reaching out to in episode 3 of the anime) is far more complex than a band leader with an unfair past. Hisako (the lead guitar) had to practically beg her to form a band. She didn’t understand what true friends. Actually she never even thought of a band and her band name ideas were…terrible. Very different than the composed, strong hearted Iwasawa of the anime.  

I love the character design in the anime and the manga. Also, just because Angel Beats
is pretty doesn’t mean Tenshi can’t take you out in two seconds flat.

Being a fan of darker drawings I normally would say ‘the artwork is nice but without those details (like in Tokyo Ghoul) it appears a bit bland. This time I love how the anime sticks true to the manga in character design. I feel like the two are in harmony which makes me go for the manga even more.

Note: I found out Angel Beats is based on a light novel! I will be attempting to hunt down a translated version asap.


To the Reader:

Gotta love Yurippe and Hinata’s friendship. Kicked off a rooftop yet still going
strong!

Angel Beats deals with the idea of death but it is filled with humor. Not just in words but the expressions as well.When Yuri, the leader of Afterlife Battlefront, decides to prove Hinata is dead by kicking him off a roof…well…it would be horrible in real life but here it made me laugh. The humor comes from quips, sarcasm, and the character’s individual identities.

Uniforms, principals, and school life.
Complete with hijacking the principal,
death, and cute uniforms.

Those with a yen for school life manga will feel at home since the majority takes place in a school. One which is unusual but still a school, uniforms and all. There is the obvious mystery of this God, who he is, and how they will find him. Naturally, drama and perhaps even a bit of romance thrown in.

Love the Angel Beats anime!

Readers who loved the Angel Beats anime should definitely read the manga as it answers a lot of questions. I recommend those who enjoy school life, comedy, and a variety of genres to check out Angel Beats. Although if you strictly are dedicated to continual fighting action manga then it will fall short on continual fight scenes. If you have been on a darker manga kick (like myself) then Angel Beats is like a raspberry mojito on a hot summer’s day. Refreshing yet no run of the mill experience. Give it a chance and you may find it to be your new favorite (manga that is).

Details

Name(s): Angel Beats エンジェルビーツ; Angel Beats!AngelBeats天使节拍-天国之门
Year: 2010
Author(s): Maeda Jun, Key
Artist(s): Asami Yuriko, Na-Ga
Chapters: 35
Status: Ongoing (updated randomly)
Anime: Yes!

Manga Versus Anime: To Read, Watch, or Both?

One of the greatest questions I have found as a manga reviewer is whether or not reading the manga is going to enhance or destroy the anime? Or vice versa.

Allow me to illustrate my feelings using a non-manga example. The first time I

Hunger Games made me hungry for answers

watched the Hunger Games I ended up asking a LOT of questions, especially about why they do the three finger salute. I looked it up but found the answers not exactly clear and a bit frustrated at the variety of comments made by fellow watchers. So I read the book and it made not just a little sense, it also enhanced the storyline. In fact I was so into the first book I spent a weekend reading the rest of the series.

Yes to the Book Series. No to seeing another movie!

Now the downside…I could not bear to watch anymore of the films knowing the future the story takes. Knowing your favorite characters are going to go through some tough shite and then meet their maker in horrid ways does not make for great viewing.Did reading the books ruin the films for me? Yes in the way that I was not going to watch another one. However, I found myself getting so much more enjoyment from the series than the movies could do that in the end…I am glad I read them.

Now on to the point…I believe if you really find yourself intriqued or even loving an anime then you should definitely read the manga. So many animes I

Lizzy (Kuroshitsuji) looks sweet in anime/early manga but badass sword skills
emerge in the later manga chapters.

enjoy always seem to end a little abruptly mostly because they never caught up to or had to end before the manga got there. One example being Kuroshitsuji (which I have an on and off again relationship with) the manga only made for a better anime experience also it did clear up a lot of details. Although the whole second season is not in the manga but I got to experience both which was awesome. D. Gray Man is another great example although the manga is on a permanent(?) hiatus [Update! D. Gray Man has returned!] right at its peak of awesomeness.

Shiroyasha never fails to impress whether in manga
or in anime Gintama

When it comes to having read a manga first I do often seek out the anime. Most of the time I find myself thinking the anime falls flat. Why? You cannot get every detail into a twenty four episode show that you could in a seventy chapter manga. No one (well the one person who watches anime with me) probably appreciates when I feel the need to point out how this or that was not in the manga. And sometimes I think the manga writers never met the creators of the anime because the two are so radically different the only common point is the name. Then I find an anime like Gintama and the manga goes hand in hand. The characters, voices, antics, make the manga really come to life in my head. All I can think is….yesssss…f***ing awesome!

 
   What is the final consensus?
With manga art like this…I ended up never finishing the anime.
FYI check out my manga review on Tokyo Ghoul.

If you find yourself really into an anime or manga then definitely check out both. For your sanity I recommend finishing one before the other. I attempted to watch Tokyo Ghoul and read the manga. Finally I stopped the anime just to focus on the manga. Doing both just got confusing since multiple chapters make up one episode so then you get to wondering…where was that in the manga? O yeah. I have yet to get there. Then reading the manga and wondering if I skipped an episode in the anime because obviously something was missing. Sheesh. Give your brain a break.

There are always exceptions like La Corda d Oro. It has so much music there you cannot get the same

Manga could not make up for the silence. Anime on classical music needs
some music!

feelings from the manga. I tried. Only Ave Maria just does not flow in my head the way it does when being played on a violin. That anime is one of my few exceptions where I truly did want to read manga but could not find myself enjoying it having seen the show first.

Cheers and a gold badge for you!

Most of all remember the experience should always be fun. Just because you like an anime does not mean you have to read the whole manga. Same goes for the manga. As a reviewer I do not always have time to do both so I focus on the manga (clearly). If you like the storyline then feel free to watch the anime. I cannot promise you they will be the same or one is the BEST. I merely do my best to spark your interest in something new. So live life. Love Manga. and Enjoy Anime!

XXXholic Rei

Those who have read XXXholic (or seen the anime) know the story of Kimihiro Watanuki. A student with the ability to see spirits who finds himself the part-timer of a mysterious time-space witch by the name of Yuuko. She promises to grant his wish to be free of the spirits, in exchange, he must work for her doing whatever she demands.

Watanuki begins to recall the past 

While the first manga builds the storyline, Rei is what you might call a second season. You need to have read at least a good chunk of the first to understand the second. In Rei there is a great deal more emphasis on Watanukis past than on any other aspect. Many manga/anime characters seem to be without parents so it is not to uncommon for a boy the age of Watanuki to live alone. And in the beginning of the original manga no one really focuses on why that is. We also do not really become aware of the fact that Watanuki actually has no memory of previous times. This is where Rei comes in beautifully and where I have to admire Clamp.

Mysterious caller from another dimension

Rei starts in the familiar scenario in Yuukos shop. Customers with a wish are drawn in by inevibility and not coincidence. Their wishes are told then granted in unusual ways. Only there is a difference in payment than we have come to know. While customers continue to come it is Watanuki who begins to find changes are happening. Strange thoughts flit like memories forgotten, the truth is just out of reach, and the answer must come from his choice alone. Or as we learn…it comes from a certain someone Tsubasa followers will know well.

My Thoughts

The truth comes from Watanuki alone. Yuukos eyes are sad

I enjoyed Rei immensely because while the original manga is enjoyable, it is always an excellent feeling to finally see the puzzle pieces begin to draw themselves together in a different way. If you know the story of XXXholic well you will probably love finally getting to see the mature and strong young man who we once saw as a bit of a spazz.  Rei has small spots of humor but for the most part I would describe it as being dramatic and a touch tragic. 

There is a softness to Watanukis journey to discovering his past and it makes the time it takes enjoyable rather than feeling like you have to trudge through it so you can finally reach the end.

Returning to the beginning to understand the truth

The original manga does share a great deal of the same story happenings but I find Rei does it better. I felt less like I was trying to catch all these new revelations coming at me with ludicrous speed and more like I could enjoy them one by one. 

Reis last page (update soon!)

Rei is also ongoing (yay!) which does mean cliffhangers but being able to return to the world of XXXholic on a regular basis? Simply awesome. Getting to know what comes after the end is not for everyone but I am most definitely a fan. Also, I love the manga illustration style of XXXholic. I can never get enough Yuuko drawings…

To the Reader:
If you have read the XXXholic manga then I strongly recommend

reading XXXholic Rei. You may decide you like the first better but

Do you wish to enjoy this manga?

at least you got to experience this manga a new awesome way. For those interested in Rei I suggest you read the original manga first so you can understand this one. Or you could possibly cheat and use wiki but that kinda ruins the fun of experiencing an excellent manga.

Details

Name (s): XXXholic: Rei; XXXholic: Return
Artist: Clamp
Author: Clamp
Genre: Drama, Supernatural, Mystery, Fantasy
Released: 2013
Chapters: 43
Ongoing: Yes
Anime: Ok. There is XXXholic Rei but its not this Rei

Note: The apostrophe key did not work on this Google Chrome. No idea why so excuse the grammar issue please.

Tokyo Ghoul (Toukyou Kushu)

Strange liquid is all that remains at murder sites all

over the city of Tokyo. The culprits are believed to be a type of eater ghoul. No one is sure of just what these ghouls look like but college students, Kaneki and Hide-san have a theory: these ghouls are walking around masquerading as normal humans. The guy next to you in line, the girl serving you coffee, even a kid on the playground can all be ghoul suspects. You wouldn’t know until your intestines are about to be ripped out of your body.

When the girl of Kaneki-san’s dreams shyly asks him

to walk her home he is in for a shocking answer to their theory. Saved in the nick of time, he’s going to die unless an organ transplant is immediately found. Ironically, the very ghoul who was flattened in the midst of killing him becomes his donor. Kaneki slowly begins to suspect the very organ which saved his life has given him a new one. One which means he is no longer human nor ghoul. In a very dangerous world Kaneki must find a way to balance his new ghoulish hunger for humans with his desire to remain himself.

My Thoughts:

The first time I heard about Tokyo Ghoul, the anime, was in a tattoo parlor. The girl getting the tattoo (it’s surprisingly not odd at all to be chatting anime while someone gets tattooed) said it fit with my tastes and was a must. Months later I was looking for a manga update when Tokyo Ghoul popped up. Several pages in and I was hooked.

  

There is something about a dark manga with fabulously drawn illustrations which draws me in but the storyline is what keeps you going. Tokyo Ghoul moves very quickly. New characters get introduced a lot so at first it can be a bit overwhelming. You might want to know a bit of backstory on one and then poof! they might be dead a few pages later. Or you just think they are dead but later on, it’s revealed they arent (?).

The best part of the manga for me, so far, is definitely Kaneki-san. For those sneering on how of course its your favorite, hes the main character! this is actually quite unusual for me. Anyway, I have to give a lot of props to him for his struggle to fight the ghoul within. He reminded a bit of the main character in parasite who literally was willing to take a knife to himself and cut out the problem than face a half life.
Maybe it’s partly because he often compares his own life to that of one of his favorite novels, The Black

Goat’s Egg, which I find uniquely amazing in a manga. Even if the book is on a guy who is forced to turn into an insect. I am also a huge fan of how he really really tries so hard to control his impossible ghoul side. Heck. He has to live every moment smelling humans as meat but not breaking down to devour them. His friendship with Touka-chan, a ghoul successfully masquerading as a human has revealed her to be quite the kick-ass. Also, the

fact that she works at a coffeeshop run by a ghoul for mainly ghouls was quirky in the best way. Who knew the only type of human food not tasting like sh** to ghouls would be coffee? Ironically I was drinking a cup of coffee when it was revealed which amused me.

To the Intrigued Reader:

Even if you are not usually into the darker horror drama (etc) genre I still recommend taking a chance on this one. Tokyo Ghoul does one amazing job at getting you to wonder just how you would be reacting, especially when you begin to discover eating your favorite food is like trying to down a pile of greasy horse crap.

Warning: I do not recommend Tokyo Ghoul to younger readers/those who have an issue with gore/blood/murder. Some people are very sensitive so best to stay away if you have doubts.

As for the anime? I will be bringing it up the next time I visit with my one anime loving friend (no one else enjoys anime like us!) as our ‘new anime to watch.’ For now though I expect great things to come in the manga! 
Details

Name(s): 东京食尸鬼; 東京喰種トーキョーグール;Tokyo Ghoul, Toukyou Kushu, Toukyou Ghoul

Artist: Ishida Sui
Author: Ishida Sui
Year: 2011
Genre: Horror, Drama, Supernatural, Fantasy, Supernatural, Action, Tragedy 
Chapters: 143.5
Complete: Yes
Anime: Yes

Hakushaku to Yousei

  

  Earl and Fairy (Hakushaku to Yousei) is not your average fairy tale; actually you might not want to go so far as to even call it one. 

 The (not your typical fairy tale-tale) begins with interrogation at gunpoint. Edgar, a strikingly handsome young man, is ready to kill for the information required to grant him vengeance. Information which requires the knowledge of Miss Lydia Carlton, one of the world’s few remaining fairy doctors.

Lydia Carlton is a seventeen-year old fairy doctor living in a world which no longer believes in the existence of fairies. Instead of seeking out her help, her fellow townspeople gossip about the crazy girl who talks to ‘fairies’ and does all manner of odd things. Lydia’s closest companion is a fairy cat named Nico who acts pompous, drinks his tea from a cup, and has a bit of a mischevious side. Nico is also the one who points out the dangers in front of his mistress.

Danger which starts when Lydia attempts to make a visit to London to see her father. Instead she is unknowingly kidnapped, saves a young man imprisoned on the same ship, and finds herself the now ‘guest’ of this man, Edgar. Edgar whose good looks win him hearts but underneath is a manipulative liar. Edgar who leaves Lydia with no choice but to help him find the sword of the merrow, the sword which belongs to the Blue Knight Earl. Claiming the sword would show him to be the true descendant of the Blue Knight Earl. Edgar doesn’t believe in fairies and he certainly is no descendant but he will attempt it.

 At his side is a young man, Raven, who is the host to an evil sprite. Any implied danger to Edgar and the blood-thirsty sprite turns Raven into a kick-ass fighting demon. Raven proves himself to kill mercilessly to protect his master. His sister, Ermine, is Edgar’s other companion who escaped with him from the clutches of an evil man known simply as ‘Prince.’

Lydia may appear to be a delicate naive girl but she has definite courage and fiery spirit. Even knowing Edgar is only using her she protects him. Edgar who never fails to be amazed at Lydia’s kindness. Who is also entirely baffled by Lydia’s continued refusals about his ‘undying’ love for her. She knows he has no qualms about taking out anyone in his way, including her. Finding the sword of the merrow will only be the beginning for this unusual pair. And what will Lydia do when Nico reveals Edgar’s plan to use her as a sacrifice? Not all is at it seems in this unconventional fairy tale.

A Quick Recap:

My Thoughts:

Hakushaku to Yosei is an anime, light novel series, and a manga. I’ve watched, read, and gone through all three for one reason. Anyone who knows me knows just why I would’ve gone for this series, even if it had been called Lamest Manga on Earth. Thankfully for me I really found myself enjoying Hakushaku no Yosei. I found a lot of admiration for Lydia who has put up with so much crap for using the gift she was given in life. The girl has courage, a huge heart, and the ability to see the best in even the worst of people (like Edgar).

Edgar himself at times reminds me of a smarter Tamaki from OHSHC. He’s got the surface charm. If that were his only trait the manga would have gotten old fast. Instead his dark past (a bit like Ciel’s from Kuroshitsuji), incredible intelligence, and genuine confusion over the good in Lydia makes you want to keep on reading. Not to mention having Raven who is a bit of a bad-ass sociopath.

I also like the way the manga follows the light novels (mostly and a bit out of order). Sadly no one has gotten far enough to translate anywhere near to the last one. Which makes me a bit frustrated as I really enjoy the storyline. I plan on checking back in regularly in hopes of  further translations.

To the Reader:
Having been reading mainly darker manga lately Hakushaku no Yosei was like a refreshing mojito. There is a lot of fresh humor (think the mint in a mojito) and an overall sweetness to the storyline. If you are an action manga fan there may not be enough for you here. For pure romantics you may get frustrated at the lack of whimsical love scenes. O well. In the manga world nothing is ever simple which is part of why Hakushaku to Yousei is a mix which should be sampled by any reader.

If you would rather try it out via anime, the anime does stick to the light novel storyline and via that the manga. You don’t have to do all three to get a feel for whether or not this is the one for you.

Details:
Name(s): 伯爵与妖精; 伯爵與妖精; The Earl and the Fairy, Earl and Fairy, Hakushaku to Yosei, Hakushaku to Yousei, The Earl and the Fairy
Author: Tani Mizue
Artist: Ayuko
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Historical, Humor, Drama etc
Volumes: 4 (15 chapters total)
Pages per Chapter: ~30+
Released: 2008
Complete: Yes
Light Novels: Yes (however not all translated)
Anime: Yes