Buy and Brag #1

August 31, 2009

Why hello there, Andrew.  Long time no see.  I thought I’d break my year long hiatus with an easy post, the old buy and brag.  This is the package I got in the mail from rightstuf today.  A mixture of my CMX, Del Rey, and Weekly Specials orders.  I might make posts like this in the future to show off my collection or for just another easy post.

Hunter x Hunter vol. 3–  I didn’t expect to enjoy this after dismissing the manga as shonen drek, but I guess it’s true what they say, all Yoshihiro Togashi manga work better as anime.  This will shoot to the top of my “to watch” list as soon as I delete some stuff from my DVR.

Astral Project vol. 4–  The fourth and final volume.  I just ordered this during the CMX manga sale and haven’t received the first three yet so this will be kept in the shrink wrap for now.

Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei vol. 3– I didn’t find the second volume to be as hilarious as the first but I’ll give it another go.

X-Men: Misfits vol. 1– The second to be released in Del Rey’s “Marvel Manga” series (the first was Wolverine: Prodigal Son).  I was excited to read this, but the shojo artwork is turning me off.

CMX Summer 2009 Preview– Yay, something for free!  Rightstuf had a deal that if you purchased $50 worth of CMX manga, you’d get a free sampler.  So I did.  Everything is still on backorder, with a couple pre-orders.

So, that’s it for now.  If you’re interested in a review of any of the above titles, leave a request in the comments!

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GTO: The Early Years volume 7

June 17, 2008

Shonan Junai Gumi volume 7

by Tohru Fujisawa

The latest installment of Shonan Junai Gumi staring the two man team Oni-baku, known individually as Onizuka as Ryuji. Previously, Ryuji has fallen in love with the beach babe known as Nagisa. However, the poor virgin can’t get a girlfriend that easily. Nagisa has an alter ego known as Yasha, a tough biker girl with a price on Ryuji’s head! Yasha is the girlfriend of Akutsu, a scary man who just got out of juvie and plans on rejuvenating the infamous biker gang feared by all, the Midnight Angels. Can Ryuji save Nagisa from her other self?

This volume continues the trend of opening with a very light-hearted chapter. Classmate Kiyoma is thought to have psychic powers. Whenever girls stand by him, the wind mysteriously lifts their skirts! However, his secret is revealed and he is soon beaten up by local gang members. On with the continuing story, the cops are dealing with the rise of the Midnight Angel gang that has reached nearly 150 members. The gang war has started. Nagisa and Ryuji are hospitalized after a run in with Akutsu who torches the building they were fighting in. Now in a hospital bed, Nagisa fights the demon of her other self, Yasha. Akutsu reveals what he’s truly after, the coat owned by former Angel leader, Masaki. He believes this coat will give him official leadership over the gang but there’s a problem, the coat was passed on to Oni-baku and for good reason. After passing Ryuji in the hospital, Onizuka dons the coat and heads towards Akutsu. The new Midnight Angel members fall instantly as Onizuka leaves a trial of carnage in his path. He has come to teach Akutsu a lesson.

The series continues to be distributed in omnibus format and shrinkwrapped with a parental advisory sticker. Aside from some gang violence and blood, there’s really not a lot of questionable material within. Language is severely toned down for a series of this kind with many cheesy 80s slang (“What the fun?”). Art continues to be a problem with all the black, slick-haired gang members closely resembling Ryuji.

I feel as if I’m slowly losing interest in this series. No matter how many “tough-guys” the Oni-baku take care of, there will always be another. The Midnight Angel gang war was an interesting concept but as it turns out, the leader Akutsu is really just a jealous prick who can only hurt others by A.) torching them with gasoline or B.) stabbing them in the stomach while they’re talking sensibly to him. Recently, Tokyopop, the distributer, has experienced financial problems with many series being canceled or in some cases, online distribution only. GTO: The Early Years has been identified as at risk due to poor sales. The guys at Tokyopop are huge Tohru Fujisawa nerds so hopefully they have enough balls to finish off the second half of this series.

Grade: C+


The Animation Report Vol. 1

August 17, 2007

About a year ago, I started a short lived column called The Animation Report on an unnamed forum. The Animation Report was a weekly column detailing the latest and greatest news on cartoons and anime including trailers and releases of the week information. I thought I’d try to start it up again on this blog today.

*News*

USA Today Booklist August 6-12th contains Fruits Basket volume 17 at #99, Fullmetal Alchemist volume 14 at #148, and Bleach volume 20 at #140 enjoying it’s 3rd week on the list.

-A pharmaceutical company is serializing a manga on it’s website to educate men suffering from erectile dysfunction.

-Mattel wants their Roronoa Zolo and Batman figures back.

-A 22 year old Australian man has been fined 8,000 US dollars for importing anime and video games depicting child pornography.

Cromartie High School arist Eiji Nonaka is starting a new manga.

Viz Media will distribute digital downloads of Bleach through Direct2Drive starting August 31st.

FUNimation has announced new titles for the months of November/December. Of note is the 2nd Case Closed film 14th Target, BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad volumes 4-5, and the second Fullmetal Alchemist box set.

Christmas Time in South Park will be released on November 13th. The box set will include all 7 Christmas episodes.

Nogin and The N will become 2 separate channels.

Warner Bros. Studios will be working on live-action Johnny Quest films. They hope this will be their “replacement” once the Harry Potter franchise ends in 2010.

DuckTales volume 3 and TaleSpin volume 2 will be released on November 13.

Viz Media has announced 5 Shojo Beat titles, Be With You, Monkey High, Haruka, Fairy Cube and B.O.D.Y.

Viz Media has also announced 5 other titles for 2008 release, Switch, Nightmare Inspector Yumekui Kenbun, and Record of a Fallen Vampire.

Shrek the Third will also be available on November 13th. A strong contender for my worst movie of the year.

Ice cube will star in the movie 10 based off the graphic novel.

Yen Press have licensed Sundome, Kieli, and Kaze no Hana.

Captain America returns. Surprising…

The Simpsons/Futurama Collection Crisis will be released in 2008 to coincide with the release of the first Futurama direct to dvd release movie.

-Matthew Vaughn will direct the live-action adaptation of Thor.

Hulk Smash direct to dvd cartoon to be available October 2008.

-Cartoon Network is currently airing a Naruto marathon this weekend in honor of its’ 100th episode. 100 episodes, 50 hours, 3 days.

*Multimedia*

Innocent Venus episode 1

Avatar: The Last Airbender Comic-Con 2007 Panel

*Releases*

Available this week

– Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters

-Air TV volume 1

-BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad volume 2

-Doctor Strange

-Initial D: Second Stage

full list @ animatedbliss

Available next week

-Big O II: Anime Legends Complete Collection

-Innocent Venus volume 1

-Le Chevalier D’eon volume 4 Ancien Regime

-School Rumble volume 1

-South Park complete 10th season

full list available @ animatedbliss

*Anime of the Week*

~Street Fighter II V

Currently airing on Sci-Fi’s Ani-Monday block, Street Fighter II V packs an unexpected punch. In the “sequel” series to the original and adaptation of the videogame, Ryu receives an invitation from his best friend Ken to visit him in America. In the half a dozen episodes that have aired so far, Ken, who’s parents are super rich then travels with Ryu to Hong Kong where they stay in a $20,000 per night hotel suite. But they did not come to relax in luxury! Ken hires a travel guide to take them to Kowloon Palace, a lawless area where the toughest fighters in HK duel for the betting addicts. After beating every fighter in the arena, Ken and Ryu barely escape with their lives. After treating their tour guide with an expensive shopping spree, Ken and Ryu leave for Thailand to learn the fighting skill “muy thai.”

If you’re looking for an addicting action series that not 300 episodes and counting I can’t recommend Street Fighter II V enough. It appears that the remaining episodes will involve Ken and Ryu traveling to other countries to learn other secret techniques and fight the best fighters. The main characters may be complete airheads and at times act homosexually, but their blissful innocence and passion for fighting is enduring.


BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad (volume 7)

March 16, 2007

BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad (volume 7)

Author: Harold Sakuishi

Publisher: Tokyopop 

Three months after the last volume and a month after I finished the first 20 volumes of the scanlations, Tokyopop finally decides to release the 7th volume of BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad.  For the uninitiated, BECK is the story of an underground rock band in Japan that is desperately trying to break out of the scene and get signed.  In this volume they get one step closer to success, not in Japan, but America.

After performing as an opening act, a man from a small indie label based in Chicago gives Ryusuke, BECK’s guitarist, his business card.  Willing to get the band’s name out in any country, Ryusuke agrees to let this indie label distribute their first single in the states.  After achieving moderate success and a second printing, Ryusuke’s discovers that he should have probably discussed royalties.  But that’s not the biggest problem, the American CD has Ryusuke playing the infamous guitar, Lucille, on the cover!  Knowing that there is very dangerous people after this guitar, Ryusuke has to decide on his next plan of action.  Meanwhile, Koyuki, our main character finally saves up enough money to buy his Telecaster.  With his new guitar, Koyuki puts new energy into his live performances.  He even starts recording some of his own material and passes it off to Ryusuke to comment on.  Koyuki and Maho’s relationship seems to develop more in this volume as her TV star friend tries to end their friendship.  Another BECK fan is introduced as Hiromi, Saku and Koyuki’s classmate, who turns out to be the girl from the donut shop across the street from the Chinese restaurant Koyuki works in.  In between gymnastic lessons, Koyuki gives Hiromi guitar lessons.  Late one night, Ryusuke is awakened by the sound of a helicopter, has Malcolm come back to claim Lucille again?

If you couldn’t tell already, I’m extremely disappointed at how slow this series is being released in America.  This series easily became one of my favorites before I even finished the first volume.  Hopefully with the anime airing in Canada, BECK will receive some sort of recognition in the manga charts.  One of the best features of BECK is trying to figure out all the band references/parodies buried within the pages.  For example, this volume opens with a parody of a famous Aerosmith album cover. Also, a lot of the poses the band takes in their performances are ripped from bands such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers (which Harold Sakuishi openly admits in a review at Tokyopop.com).  There are your average shonen style elements in this series, such as the obvious “I want to play better!” “I want to get signed!” but they all add to the comedic element of the series.  My favorite joke in this volume is the TV drama Yoshito stars in: Loneliness of the Short Distance Runner.

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Rating: 4.5/5