Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Episode 046 - April 29, 2013 - Manga Endings | Medaka Box

Welcome to Manga^3, your one stop for manga news and commentary, for the week of April 29, 2013. This week we talk about something we've been overlooking for a while—Manga Endings. Coincidentally, we also talk about a manga that just ended—Medaka Box! Weirdness abounds. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Graphic Novel Reviews: Talon 007

The Story
Calvin manages to escape from the court, while at the same time Casey traps Sebastian and escapes with her daughter. While Calvin is trying to make it back to their safe house, he is intercepted by Batman. He manages to escape, but when he confronts Sebastian, the old man not only confirms that he was the one who selected Calvin to be the Talon, he is also working together with Bane. Bane grabs Calvin by the neck and snaps it with one hand.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batman - The Dark Knight 019

The Story
The Mad Hatter spies Batman dropping off his current girlfriend, and realizes that she is perfect to play the role of Alice. He runs his slaves through the reenactment of that perfect date, and after the rehearsal is over he murders them all and dumps them in a lake for Batman and Gordon to find. In the meanwhile, Bruce wonders if what he's feeling for expendable #1 is in fact love.

The Review
I apologize in advance for sounding like a lunatic in this review.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Episode 045 - April 22, 2013 - The Naruto Conundrum: Why Do People Like Side Characters More? | Cooking Papa

Welcome to Manga^3, your one stop for manga news and commentary, for the week of April 22, 2013. This week we talk about one of the oddities of manga. Why exactly do people like side characters more than the main characters? The answer to that one may be obvious, but we go into more depth anyway. We also check out one of the many, many cooking manga and the fourth running manga series by volume count. We've only read nine chapters. 

Anime Reviews: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure 2012 - Part I - Phantom Blood

Part I - Phantom Blood - Episodes 3–9

The Story
When Dio returns back to the mansion after his encounter with a creature he unknowingly created, Jonathan is there waiting for him. After Jonathan’s investigations all point out Dio as the one responsible for making George Joestar ill, Dio turns to his final resort by doing what he did earlier to himself: using the stone mask and George Joestar’s blood to become a creature of the night: a vampire.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Anime Reviews: Attack on Titan Episode 002 - That Day

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The Story
The episode begins with an explanation of the titans, how they appeared over a hundred years ago and began preying on humanity. In retaliation, humans built three walls to keep the titans out. With the wall breached the titans are eating everyone in Zhiganshina, a small protrusion from the wall meant to focus the attack of titans on that small area, to simplify the defense of the wall.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Anime Reviews: Attack on Titan Episode 001 - To You Two Thousand Years Later

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The Story
Humanity is kept safe by fifty foot tall walls, until the day when a titan larger than the walls themselves shows itself over the top of the walls. But before that, we skip to earlier, while the survey corps are attacking a smaller titan. Cut even earlier, to a fractured dream the main character, Eren, is having. Him and his friend, Mikasa, head back to the city from gathering firewood. While on the way back they notice the guards are drinking. Eren gets mad at one of the guards, Hannes, for not being prepared to defend the city. The guards say that no titan has breached the wall in a hundred years.

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Anime Reviews: Toriko Episode 97 - The Four King's Assemble to Mark the 100th Episode!

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The Story
The four kings gather together, and between them and Komatsu they compete to see who can catch the Madam Fish first. While the four kings use their special abilities to narrow down the Madam Fish's location, they all discover that Komatsu picked the right spot at the beginning, thanks to his food luck. Together they are able to catch the fish and defend it against an opportunistic predator.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Cartoon Reviews: Gravity Falls Episode 17 - Boyz Crazy

The Story
It’s just another day at the Mystery Shack in Gravity Falls with Mabel being Mabel and Dipper fawning over Wendy as usual.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Graphic Novel Reviews: He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe 001

The Story
Following after the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe mini-series, the Sorceress' funeral is being held in the capital city of Eternos. While King Randor's speech is ongoing, the hordes of Hordak invade Eternia. With the funeral concluded, Hordak's forces attack the city. The Masters mount a defense while Adam transforms into He-Man, only to be confronted by the leader of invading army, Hordak's daughter, Despara. But she is not who she seems to be.

The Review
I randomly found the He-Man mini-series last year, and was impressed by the story it was telling. An amnesiac Adam, meeting up with his former friends and taking down Skeletor. Since my knowledge of the series is limited to the Filmation and the 2002 series I was impressed by not only the maturity of the story, but by the different tact it was taking to your regular He-Man story.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Graphic Novel Reviews: Nightwing 019

The Story
The issue starts with Nightwing chased by the Chicago police, gunned down and cornered; when he remembers what brought him to Chicago in the first place. Chasing down leads to find Tony Zucco, Dick moved into a new place, with a new roommate, and started looking for information. He finds an information broker being attacked by a clearly unstable woman who fights Nightwing and manages to escape. After giving the broker his assignment, Nightwing is cornered by the police. While Nightwing escapes, a police chopper hits a bilboard and starts to go down. Nightwing saves the officers, but with the city alerted to his presence his search for Zucco will become much more difficult.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Catwoman 019

The Story
Catwoman is inserted into Arkham Asylum to go undercover with the society. Once there she breaks out, threatens Dr. Arkham, and sneaks into an underground of some kind.

The Review
Back when the New 52 was young, there were a lot of complaints about the Catwoman title. Be it from the gratuitous costumed sex between her and Batman, to the ludicrously sexualized covers. And for good reason, because Catwoman is one of my favorite characters, I hate seeing her reduced to mere sexualization in a leather outfit. But you know what, I would prefer one of those terrible, not sexy at all, covers over this one. Just...what is wrong with her face!? That is without the worst expression I have ever seen a character make on a comic book cover. Is that supposed to be her angry face? I had no idea Selina was related to Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Episode 044 - April 15, 2013 - The Naruto Conundrum: Why Do We Hate Sasuke? | Mutant Turtles Gaiden and Super Turtles

Welcome to Manga^3, your one stop for manga news and commentary, for the week of April 15, 2013. This week we tackle a contentious topic, one which even the different sides cannot completely agree on. We discuss why we, or I really, hate Sasuke from the series Naruto so much. We also talk about some pretty atrocious manga adaptations of a beloved franchise. 

Manga Bookshelf's Weekly Shonen Jump Recap: April 15, 2013

As I work on getting this week's episode of Manga^3 posted (it's a bit longer so it's taking longer to export), I think I should best use my time to post this most recent update to my Weekly Shonen Jump Recap column over at MangaBookshelf. Go ahead and read at least the Naruto section of the column, to get a taste of the rage you are about to experience in the podcast itself. It's the first time I just flat out lose it. All my other reactions are generally light hearted in nature, or tempered by my natural tendency to keep control of my words. This time, nope, I just flat out snap and spend several minutes ranting about how much I hate Sasuke as a character. Go ahead, read the column, and then come back for the podcast episode.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cartoon Reviews: Young Justice Invasion Episode 20 - Endgame

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The Story
The Justice League are convicted on Rimbor; Megan and Connor arrive just too late with the confession from the Light and the Reach. On earth Blue Beetle, Green Beetle, and Aqualad attack the Reach ship. Green Beetle's scarab is destroyed by Black Beetle. When Black Beetle tries to do the same to Jaime, the latter and his own scarab turn the tables on Black and destroy his scarab. During the short connection Jaime reads Black Beetle's plans to destroy the world.

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Anime Reviews: Fairy Tail Episode 105 - Fire Dragon Vs. Flame God!

The Story
Natsu fights Zancrow, but is overpowered by his God Slayer magic, and blown off the mountain. Elsewhere, Lucy and her group are fighting Caprico, but are unable to lay a hand on him. Loke shows signs of recognizing Caprico.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Anime Reviews: Fairy Tail Episode 104 - Lost Magic!

The Story
After a flashback to when Makarov was young and Purehito was still master, Hades takes down Makarov and the two fight. Makarov matches Hades blow for blow, but the clear advantage lies with Hades. After a massive attack, the scene shifts to the other Fairy Tail characters, who all are fighting off Grimoire Heart's foot soldiers, and wondering where the explosion came from.

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Graphic Novel Reviews: Batman and Red Robin 019

The Story
Carrie Kelley drops off a note at the Wayne estate, with a bill for Damian, and a request to set up the next batch of what can be assumed were acting sessions. Bruce Wayne goes to her apartment, where a party is underway and Carrie is wearing a Robin costume, and leaves the note and DVDs she left behind.

Batman then proceeds to kidnap Frankenstein, and set up in the Frankenstein Castle to perform tests geared at replicating the process that brought Frankenstein to life, on Damian. Alfred sends Red Robin out to check on Batman, and once there Tim realizes what Batman is doing. He interrupts the research and Batman leaves, furious at Red Robin for interfering.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batgirl 019

The Story
Barbara returns to her apartment, where she reveals everything that has happened to her, minus her secret identity, to Alysia. Alysia returns the favor by revealing that she is transgendered. Barbara then leaves to confront James.

At the Gotham Police Department, Gordon gets a call from James, telling him to meet down by the Aquarium. James meets with Batgirl and their mother, where he reveals that Batgirl is Barbara. Their mother shoots James, and in the ensuing fight Batgirl throws a batarang into James' face, who falls over a railing with a broken back.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batman 019

The Story
The issue starts with Bullock and Gordon facing off against an unknown bank robber. As the criminal comes out with a hostage he is revealed to be Bruce Wayne. Gordon tries to stop him, but is shot by Wayne. Right as Wayne is escaping, Gordon sees that he is wearing his Batman armor under his suit.

Cut to six days ago, where Batman stops the villain Reaper from attacking a funeral service with poisoned flowers. Batman stops the van, and Robin enters, commenting about the ludicrousness of Reaper's plan. The scene shifts to the Bat Cave, where it is revealed that Batman has been watching recordings of old cases. Alfred reveals that Wade, an associate of Bruce Wayne's had committed suicide. Batman decides to investigate, after determining that there was no reason for Wade to commit suicide.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Anime Reviews: Fairy Tail Episode 103 - Makarov's Charge

The Story
When Pantherlily and Charle confront Mest, he teleports away, towards Wendy. But he is revealed not to be the enemy, as he protects her against an attack by the real Grimoire Heart agent. Mest actually an agent of the magic council, undercover in search of evidence to use against Fairy Tail. Pantherlily fights against the enemy, Azuma, but he and the other three are overpowered.

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Manga Bookshelf's Weekly Shonen Jump Recap: April 8, 2013

It's another week, and my column for the week went live on MangaBookshelf this morning. That's a personal best, to have it ready the day after the chapters originally come out. Now to see if I can keep that up.

I might as well use this section to put in some personal updates. Right now I'm just sitting here, trying to get podomatic to cooperate with me. I'm working on getting the iTunes version of the podcast for this week uploaded. But chrome is being a pain and the podomatic page isn't responding. I refuse to kill the page because it's practically done uploading the stupid file. But, for those of you that can't wait to know what I thought of the chapters this week, go ahead and check out my column.

In other news, I'm working on getting some more videos done. Chances are my procrastination will counteract that, but I figure the more public I make my plans, the more accountable I will have to be. Not that that's ever stopped me, but we'll see what happens. I don't have a release schedule yet, I'm seeing if I can do a video a week. I'm looking at having these done by Friday, or Saturday. Or I might work on them during the week and release new videos on Monday. I think that would work, since currently I have stuff coming out Tuesdays and Wednesdays for certain. It's a good way to start the week.

I suppose by next Monday you'll know if I actually went through with it.

Episode 043 - April 8, 2013 - Tournament Arcs: Are They Worth It? | Binbo-Gami Ga!

Welcome to Manga^3, your one stop for manga news and commentary, for the week of April 8, 2013. This week we tackle a topic that ever shonen manga reader will have to face at some point. Tournament Arcs, are they worth it? Why have them? Can they ever actually be good? We answer at least some of those questions this week. Find out which. We also discuss the surprisingly pro-feminism (if you squint) series Bino-Gami Ga!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cartoon Reviews: Gravity Falls Episode 16 - Carpet Diem

The Story
When Mabel invites her friends Grenda and Candy to a sleepover, Dipper finds it unbearable to stay in the same room. Soos discovers a hidden room in the Shack, Dipper and Mabel fight over it as Grunkle Stan decides to have a contest to decide which twin gets it.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Anime Reviews: Fairy Tail Episode 102 - Soul of Iron

The Story
Gajeel and Levy are barely able to hold against the Grimoire Heart wizards. When they reveal that their main forces are still on the way, Gajeel faces off against them alone, leaving Levy to go warn the others of the impending attack. Seriously injured, Gajeel remembers the moment when Makarov invited him to join Fairy Tail. Strengthened by his conviction as a Fairy Tail wizard, Gajeel defeats his enemies.

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Anime Reviews: Fairy Tail Episode 101 - Black Wizard

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The Story
Natsu is almost killed when he is hit by the strange mage's dark magic, but somehow Igneel's scarf absorbs the dangerous magic. On a sky ship on course for the island, Grimoire Heart, the dark guild, reveals that the strange mage in question is in fact the dark wizard Zeref.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Anime Reviews: Toriko Episode 96 - Hidden Training Ingredient! Emergency Instructions From Ichiryu!

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The Story
Toriko defeats a rampaging beast, and frees the artisan village from its clutches. There he meets with Monchi, whose help he needs to find one of the training ingredients Ichiryu has assigned to him. Later, Komatsu goes to meet Toriko at Biotope 2, where the two meet to get dinner, and discuss the task Toriko has before him. He was thinking of getting some seafood from Biotope 2, for the fortune roll that Monchi would make for him. But nothing he has seen is sufficient. Right after this an IGO employee comes with a message from Ichiryu, saying that the stew pond has frozen over, and that the four kings have been called to capture the Madame Fish.

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Graphic Novel Reviews: Detective Comics 019

The Story
In its most simple form, Batman fights to stop the contagion of Man-Bat virus. With the help of Doctor Kirk Langstrom the outbreak is brought under control. In the side stories we learn that Emperor Penguin has been using the outbreak as a cover for multiple robberies. In the other side stories we get to see the aftermath from the point of view of several different characters. We even get a story of Bane's failed attack on Gotham, with the promise of future developments in that storyline.

The Review
Good gosh this thing is massive! First of all, for those confused by the multiple stories shown in the table of contents, the first story (after the prologue that is) is a direct continuation of the main Detective Comics storyline. The other stories are all side stories that are connected to events in the main storyline, but through alternate perspectives.

Manga Bookshelf's Weekly Shonen Jump Recap: April 1, 2013

I probably shouldn't forget to mention this, but I write a column over at MangaBookshelf. I review each new issue of Viz's Weekly Shonen Jump, and give my basic opinions of each new chapter. If you follow Manga^3, and I hope you do, it's a great way for you to discuss each new manga chapter. And if you don't follow my podcast (shame on all of you) then it's a great way to get a review for the newest manga chapters.

Either way, you should head over to MangaBookshelf and check out this week's column. I'm sure you'll love it.

Graphic Novel Reviews: World's Finest 011

The Story
Huntress investigates Holt Industries, to discover how an apparently missing man ordered his goon's to Power Girl's island. In a flashback Huntress and Power Girl break into a government facility to find what information they can use to get home, but find that the government doesn't even know anything about parallel worlds. Back in the present the two of them attend a Holt Industries convention party. Here is where Michael Holt reveals himself to actually be Desaad in disguise.

The Review
With the exception of what I consider miss-characterization on the part of Power Girl, I quite liked this issue. I'll be interested in how Apokolips plays into the rest of the DC universe from here, but for now I'm content to see it in the context of this series alone.

Graphic Novel Reviews: My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Issue 005

The Story
Twilight and the rest of the Mane Six have been having nightmares that are keeping them awake all night. After they all get together for a slumber party, hoping that being together would have an effect on the nightmares, Rarity is kidnapped by a formless darkness. Princesses Celestia and Luna arrive, Luna having sensed the return of the darkness that transformed her into Nightmare Moon. She reveals that Rarity has been taken to the moon, and that if the darkness grows any more powerful it would destroy Ponyville and the rest of Equestria.

Luna plans to go confront the darkness herself, but Twilight an the others insist on going with her. Celestia plans to remain behind, to help Ponyville prepare to protect itself.

Graphic Novel Reviews: My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Micro-Series Featuring Rainbow Dash

The Story
During a performance with the Wonder Bolts, Rainbow Dash injures her wing when she crashes into a storm cloud inhabited by two Gremlin like creatures. The creatures syphon off the happiness of Ponyville, and despite Rainbow Dash's best efforts, with her injured wing she is unable to drive away the storm cloud.

Finally, after trying everything she could safely try, Rainbow Dash performs a double sonic rainboom and drives off the Gremlins and their storm cloud. The double rainboom cheers all the ponies up, and has the side-effect of coloring Applejack's apples in all the colors of the rainbow.

The Review
Art-wise this issue is similar to the Twilight Sparkle issue, with outlines colored similarly to the color of the object. But the art style itself is a bit better than last issue. Not quite at the same level as the main comics, but it certainly gets closer at emulating the art style of the show but not quite. The art in this issue also manages to do a better job with the faces, making them more expressive when required.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Episode 042 - April 1, 2013 - Abridged Series | My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Volume 1

Welcome to Manga^3, your one stop for manga news and commentary, for the week of April 1, 2013. This week we take a break from manga to talk about a comic series that has been making waves in the US market, just like the cartoon it's based on has been making waves on the internet for the past few years. No, this is not a late April Fools joke. We're dead serious here. Also we talk about abridged series. 

Graphic Novel Reviews: My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Micro-Series Featuring Twilight Sparkle

The Story
Princess Celestia calls Twilight in for a special test. She has Twilight work in the royal archives, where she serves as an assistant to Summer Mane, the head archivist. Summer turns her away, but Twilight manages to trick her into letting her into the archives. Summer tells her to stick to her work, and is generally a sourpuss. Over the course of the next few days the two get to know each other better, and Twilight discovers a secret that Summer had been hiding.

The Review
First off, I think the art is worth mentioning. Where the main series uses black outlines for the characters, the art in this first issue in the micro-series tries to match the look of the show more by matching the color of the outline to the color of the object, and then using a color a few shades darker. I get what they are trying to do, and it works in the show, but in a comic it just makes everything seem less solid. In comics the dark lines help give objects a stronger presence, hence why the art in the main comic series stands out more.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batgirl Annual 1

The Story
Catwoman is hired to rescue the Talon that was captured during the events shown in Batgirl during the Night of Owls. Batgirl tracks Catwoman and the escaped Talon down, which leads all three to the member of the Court that hired Catwoman in the first place. When he double crosses Catwoman, she sides with Batgirl, against him. They, and eventually the Talon, fight the other remaining Talons, and just barely manage to win.

In the end the police surround the place, and rather than letting the police capture the Talon, Catwoman gives herself up, earning at least some respect from Batgirl.

The Review
I've said it before, I really like Catwoman. So any chance to read her is good, unless the story turns out to be lousy. Which in this case it does not, fortunately. I won't call it essential reading, because while it does cover events leading from the Court of Owls, nothing in this book is essential beyond just being a standalone story. It's entertaining enough, but without any gravity to the events I can't see it as more than an entertaining bit of fluff.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Graphic Novel Reviews: The Dark Knight 018

The Story
Batman tracks down Mad Hatter's operation, but is overpowered. He runs into Catwoman, who has stolen his hubcap to try and get his attention. We get another flashback of Mad Hatter's, where we learn the source of his insanity was a dangerous testosterone pill he took as a child. And then Batman reveals who he is to his current F.R.I. (Forced Romantic Interest, thanks to ERod).

The Review
Whooo boy, and we were doing so well with this story. Where do I even begin? Perhaps with what I liked. I like the way Van Sciver draws Batman's cape. It's a bit odd, but the way it's put together makes it look like proper bat wings when the air catches it.

I like the fact that Catwoman made a random appearance, even though it basically affirms that we're back to the early stage of their relationship. I liked where it had gone before the New 52, so going back to square one is annoying. And confusing, considering they did the nasty in Catwoman 001.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Talon 006

The Story
Calvin escapes from the O'Malley Talons, but is recaptured. While Casey digs deeper into Sebastian's secrets, Calvin confronts the Grand Master of the Court of Owls. Both discover that Sebastian was the former Grand Master of the Court, and the one that recruited Calvin.

The Review
I actually called the twist last month, though since I don't think I documented that anywhere I can't claim credit. Then again, I don't really feel like claiming credit. After all, there's always a traitor, so the simple act of calling it isn't that impressive. If someone other than Sebastian had been the traitor, then I would have been surprised.

My powers of plot aside, what does this mean for the book? Well, as a reader I tend to be quite forgiving. And my calling a plot twist ahead of time is hardly an indication that the book itself is no good. Granted it would be better had the reveal been more surprising, but what we got was good enough for me.