Saturday, April 28, 2012

Manga Reviews: Fairy Tail Volume 1

Since I want to be as much, if not more, of a manga reviewer as an anime reviewer, I've had to decide to actually start reviewing manga. So, taking a leaf out of a friend's book, I'm going to start my manga reviewing career off by reviewing at least one volume a day. I swore to myself that I would not buy any new manga in the series I collect, until I've reviewed every single volume in the series I own. At first the idea was to not buy any new manga until I'd reviewed ALL the manga I own, but some of the issues I own are out of order, so I will need to buy the first few volumes to get around to reviewing them.

Since I'm a few volumes behind on Fairy Tail I decided to start it off with this series. After all, a while back the anime was my flagship review series, and it will be again once I get off my lazy butt. But for now it's time to go back to where it all start, the manga.

Volume one starts with Lucy, a young mage, who wants to join the mage guild, Fairy Tail, meeting Natsu, and his cat Happy. Lucy explains how the mage world works to Natsu, who tells her that he's looking for a dragon. Lucy later runs into the mage Salamander, a member of Fairy Tail, who tells her he can help her into the guild. Later on his ship, Salamander reveals that he has been using magic to seduce women onto his ship, with the intent of selling them into slavery. Before Lucy can be taken, Natsu bursts through the ship ceiling, having heard that Salamander of Fairy Tail was there.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batgirl 001-007

Well, this is kind of awkward. I posted my review of issue eight, thinking that I already reviewed the first seven issues. Guess I reviewed every series but this one. My bad. Let me fix that.

One of the major topics of conversation surrounding the New 52 was the reinstating of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. Anyone only familiar with the animated series probably wouldn't even be aware that Barbara stopped being Batgirl (though I really doubt it, I'm practically a comics virgin and I still knew there've been several Batgirls, don't ask me for the exact number I can't be bothered to look it up). But those that have more than a passing knowledge of the comics know that for the past few years Barbara was one of comics' only paraplegic characters who remained active across several different books. As Oracle she provided technological backup for several members of the Bat Family and the Birds of Prey.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batgirl 008

We finally get some answers in this issue, namely, why did Barbara's mom leave all those years ago? She basically reveals that Barbara's brother was a sociopath, and because she was afraid the mom left. A quick search on wikipedia revealed that there is some story there I'm obviously missing. Not having this backstory I'm left at odds with what I'm supposed to be feeling. Again, there's no clear distinction of what is stil canon and what isn't, and if this reboot was meant to bring new readers in, it might help to not reference things said readers are not familiar with. Either keep all the continuity, or eschew it all. Make a choice.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Graphic Novel Reviews: Aquaman 001-007

If DC superheroes were on my backlist of characters I cared about, for many years, then Aquaman never appeared on the list at all. And apparently the same is true for many people, considering the many, many jokes about him. And it's clear that writer Geoff Johns is aware of this, as most of the first issue, and beyond, is very self conscious of the fact that most people think of Aquaman as a joke. Johns responds to this by focusing on the fact that Aquaman is in fact still a super hero, and very much a badass.

Does he succeed? Well, I never cared about Aquaman before, but after reading the first seven issues I am very much hooked. Justice League helped cement Aquaman as a badass, but it was his own book that convinced me it was very possible to have interesting stories involving the super hero that most thought powerless out of the water.

Anime Reviews: Beelzebub Episode 60 - I Won't Say Goodbye


Plot Summary
Aoi narrates how it's been a week since Oga and Beel disappeared. All their friends are heartbroken over the disappearance, Aoi most of all. But the tender, and funny, moment is ruined when Oga makes it back without any trouble.


Anime Reviews: Beelzebub Episode 59 - We're the Strongest!

Watch the Show Here!

Plot Summary
Aoi faces off against Agiel, and with Komainu's help she is able to defeat her. The Ishiyama students are surrounded by their former school mates, who are now under the control of En's servant Queztocoatl. En tells them that if they want to win back their friends and their school they will have to face his servants in a series of games that they will have to risk their lives to win.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Anime Reviews: Beelzebub Episode 58 - Akumano Academy is Open

Plot Summary
Hilda has a nightmare about Oga's declaration back at the end of the fight against En's people, about how he wouldn't allow Beel to destroy the world. She wakes up feeling unnecessary, and angry at Oga, thinking that he wants to replace her. That Beel would love Oga more than he does her.


Anime Reviews: Beelzebub Episode 57 - Won't You Eat a Manju? Won't You Get in a Mixed Bath?

Plot Summary
This is another two part episode, the first half focuses on Komainu's attempts to switch bodies with Aoi. After he sees Oga and Beel practicing Super Milk Time, Komainu decides that if Oga drinking Beel's milk lets them switch bodies, then if he got Aoi to eat something of his the two of them would switch bodies.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cartoon Reviews: My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic Seasons 1 + 2

I love being a reviewer. It lets me watch anything I want, even when it's something that gets me weird looks. All I need to say is that I'm watching the show for a review. Though, I don't think anyone believes me when I say that. Or at least that's how this entire project started out several months ago.

Cartoon Reviews: The Legend of Korra Episodes 01–02 - Welcome to Republic City/A Leaf in the Wind

Plot Summary
Seventy years have passed since the end of the first series, and from the main cast only Katara survives. The new Avatar, Korra, has mastered the arts of water, earth, and fire bending, but has yet to learn air bending. When Katara's son, Tenzin, cannot move to the Southern Pole to teach Korra airbending, Korra decides to travel to Republic City to learn from the only existing airbending master.

Friday, April 20, 2012

License Requests: Kurogane

I'm a huge fan of martial arts manga. If said martial arts manga happen to have swords in them, all the better. Though I would personally prefer a manga about Western swords, since all the manga-ka that draw manga about swords are as fanboyish about katana as I am about bastard swords, the chances of that happening are slim. So I swallow my pride, and enjoy the swords for what they are.

Kurogane is by manga-ka Haruto Ikezawa, and has been running in Weekly Shounen Jump since September 2011. In it a high school student, Kurogane, joins the kendo club after he has a run in with the ghost of a former swordswoman. The spirit, insert name, takes him under her wing, and start teaching him everything about her style.

License Requests: Beelzebub

You know of my love for comedy, and you know of my love for action. Now, finally a sweet, sweet combination of the two! Well, besides One Piece that is. Beelzebub is the story of Tatsumi Oga, a rotten delinquent who one day finds himself raising the son of the Great Demon Lord, who is destined to destroy the world. Oga is joined by Hilda, a demon wet nurse tasked with caring for the young demon lord, Beelzebub (or, Beel, for short). Not wanting to be responsible for destroying the world, Oga tries to pass the child off to any of the other thugs at his school, unfortunately none of them are as rotten as he is.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

License Requests: Sket Dance

Have I mentioned that I love comedy? Even comedy that's based on cultural humor, that takes a moment for me to get because I need to read the translator's note about why the joke is funny. Even jokes like that get at least a chuckle out of me. Of course a series that's entirely made of jokes you need to be Japanese to understand probably won't do all that well in a Western market, which is why it's fortunate that Sket Dance doesn't rely entirely on cultural humor.

License Requests: Nisekoi

Because I don't have an original bone in my body, here's a column where I talk about manga I love that isn't licensed in the states, but should be. And, since apparently providence loves me, this column is coinciding with the end of Bakuman. So for the first little bit, let's use this as a chance to show off some of the series in Weekly Shounen Jump that I would love to see brought over to Weekly Shounen Jump Alpha.

Shounen Jump has a pretty high turnaround, or at least it does for series that haven't already been running for ten plus years. There are many series that never even break the twenty-five chapter mark. Some rare ones make it to fifty chapters, but those are few and far between. Nisekoi is one of those series that has almost made it to the twenty five chapter mark, and I hope that it not only passes said mark, but keeps going long enough to get licensed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Graphic Novel Reviews: Superman 001-007

What if Superman turned evil? That is basically the premise of the first seven issues. I haven't read any Superman before, but I'm pretty sure that's been done before. This series starts off well, with Superman and Lois not married, seriously DC, what is canon and what isn't canon anymore? Dick used to be Batman, so Final Crisis happened, but Clark and Lois are no longer married? Pretty sure that happened before Final Crisis, ah, whatever. I'll just settle for, DC doesn't know what is canon anymore.

Anyway, as I was saying, the series starts off well, focusing on Superman's personal conflict as Clark Kent, as the Daily Planet is bought up by a media company whose business practices Clark does not agree with. This is a perfect example of how to write drama with Superman. Most people's argument against Superman is that there's not drama in his stories because he's too powerful, and writers have to rely on kryptonite to power him down to a more relatable, vulnerable level.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Justice League 001-007

It would probably be more appropriate to review the first six issues, as they're the ones that have the unifying storyline, but since I decided to write all these while the first seven issues were out, I'm sticking to my guns. Basically Justice League is the story of how seven heroes fought against Darkseid's invasion, and despite conflicting personalities they were able to work together and save the world. Issue seven starts off a new storyline, but it continues the idea that there is friction between the group, which I like since it shows that it will take a lot for these strong personalities to gel together into a team.

The story starts with Batman and Green Lanter discovering evidence of alien activity in Gotham, and they go to find out if Superman, himself an alien, knows anything about the alien technology they found. But they arrive just as Superman is being attacked by the same aliens that attacked Batman and Green Lantern, and he assumes they are his enemies as well.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Graphic Novel Reviews: Nightwing 001-007

Nightwing is one of those books that aggravates my sense that nothing makes sense in the DC universe anymore. According to this series Dick was Batman for a while. So that happened. So Final Crisis happened. That just makes things more confusing! Are we ignoring everything that came before, or just a few things!?

When Dick returns to being Nightwing, he decides he needs to get out of Gotham for a while. A chance for this provides itself when the owner of Dick's childhood circus home dies, leaving the circus to Dick. At the same time he finds himself hounded by an assasssin named Saiko, who claims that Nightwing is a murderer. What follows is a series that doesn't really go anywhere until the very end, where it connects with the Court of Owls story in the Batman book.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batman 001-007

Out of all the new series, this was the one I wanted to read most. I came into the New 52 wanting to read Batman and you don't get more Batman than the series called Batman. Unfortunately it was not available when I went to Barnes and Noble. So instead I settled on some other series for the moment, but more on those later.

I eventually did get my hands on Batman and I was not disappointed. While it does suffer the problem of when-is-this-taking-place-relative-to-the-other-Batman-books? I found what I was reading good enough to ignore that particular nitpick. I was also able to ignore the idea that an entire secret society had managed to stay hidden from Batman.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batman and Robin 001-007

This was one of the books I came to later. Initially, when deciding which series to read I put Batman and Robin lower on my list. The main reason for this was Damian, I had bad memories of him as a character, and I saw no reason to subject myself to JTL (Jason Todd Light) when there were other books that demanded my attention. But one issue a month doesn't last long, so I soon found myself craving more Batman books.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Catwoman 001-007

Yes, yes, we've all heard it. Catwoman has costumed, angry sex with Batman at the end of the first issue. I'd rather Judd Winick had not decided to start off the new series like that, since I was quite a fan of Batman and Catwoman's relationship before the reboot. Seeing the two of them having sex when all their past history has been erased just doesn't sit well with me. It's sensationalism, and it certainly drew attention to the book. So, job well done I guess? Unless of course you wanted to see Batman and Catwoman bumping uglies. So...all of the internet then?