Review: “Tiger & Bunny: Volumes 1 & 2” by Sakakibara Mizuki


A14861-1553487631.135162758716146012Title: “Tiger & Bunny: Volumes 1 & 2”

Author: Sakakibara Mizuki

Genre: Manga, Superheroes, Comedy

Publication Date: April 9, 2013 (Volume 1), July 9, 2013 (Volume 2 – Viz – North America)

Source: Edelweiss Review Copy

Summary: The official manga tie-in to the international smash-hit animated series!

Volume 1: Superpowered humans known as NEXT appeared in the world 45 years ago. Some of them fight crime in the city of Stern Bild while promoting their corporate sponsors on the hit show “HERO TV.” The people love their superheroes, even if they don’t completely understand them, and not all of the NEXT use their powers for good.

Veteran hero Wild Tiger has years of experience fighting crime, but his ratings have been slipping. Under orders from his new employer, Wild Tiger finds himself forced to team up with Barnaby Brooks Jr., a rookie with an attitude. Overcoming their differences will be at least as difficult for this mismatched duo as taking down superpowered bad guys!

Volume 2: Kotetsu and Barnaby are the first NEXT superhero duo, but they’ve got a few differences to overcome if they’re going to learn to work together. A reality TV show intruding into their daily lives doesn’t help, but a bomb threat just might get them to cooperate. Then a misguided surprise party leads to a NEXT-involved diamond heist!

☆: 4/5 stars – a great new series in which everyone will find something to enjoy!

Review: This is going to be a combined review for volumes 1 and 2, so be warned, there may be some spoilers lurking ahead. But I’ll try to keep them to a minimum. After watching the anime series last year, I totally fell in love with the world that is “Tiger and Bunny”. I’ve grown to love anything with superheroes in them, especially ones that are able to make fun of themselves. I think everyone’s going to fall in love with the “Tiger and Bunny” series like I have, and I think everyone will find something to like in it, too. If you’re looking for a great new superhero manga (or anime) with lots of wackiness and fun, definitely choose “Tiger and Bunny”.

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Manga Monday – Week 36


mangamondaySo, I’ve seen this feature on a few book blogs out there, and decided to make this feature my own. After suggestions from friends, Manga Mondays comes to Birth of a New Witch! I’ll try to give equal billing to manga being released both in the US and in Japan, since US licensing takes awhile and I read manga in both languages. I want to cater to other fans out there who do the same.

Confused by some of the terms I use in this feature? See Week 1 for clarification on my most commonly used terms.

And now, to this week’s US and Japanese choices!

Week 35 (US Release): “Cardcaptor Sakura: Volume 1 (Omnibus Edition)” by CLAMP

7947676Title: “Cardcaptor Sakura: Volume 1 (Omnibus Edition)”

Author/Artist: CLAMP

Genre: Shoujo, Magical Girl/Mahou Shoujo, Magic/Paranormal

Publication Date: October 20, 2010 (North America)

US Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Summary: Fourth grader Sakura Kinomoto finds a strange book in her father’s library — a book made by the wizard Clow to store dangerous spirits sealed within a set of magical cards. But when Sakura opens it up, there is nothing left inside but Kero-chan, the book’s cute little guardian beast . . . who informs Sakura that since the Clow cards seem to have escaped while he was asleep, it’s now her job to capture them!

Usagi’s Take: Okay, okay, I admit it. I have a soft spot in my heart for magical girls. I was actually turned onto this series when I finished “Rayearth” (another huge CLAMP property) and wanted to read more CLAMP stuff. And find more magical girl stuff. Voila, I found this series. It’s fluffy, and it’s not very deep, but it’s always held a special place in me for its sheer magic, amazing costumes, and tarot-like Clow cards. What’s better? CLAMP later includes this series and most of their other series in the “Tsubasa”/”XXXHOLiC” series as retellings. So that’s pretty awesome, too. If you’re looking for something sweet, this is definitely a series you need to check out!

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Manga Monday – Week 35


mangamondaySo, I’ve seen this feature on a few book blogs out there, and decided to make this feature my own. After suggestions from friends, Manga Mondays comes to Birth of a New Witch! I’ll try to give equal billing to manga being released both in the US and in Japan, since US licensing takes awhile and I read manga in both languages. I want to cater to other fans out there who do the same.

Confused by some of the terms I use in this feature? See Week 1 for clarification on my most commonly used terms.

And now, to this week’s US and Japanese choices!

Week 35 (US Release): “House of Five Leaves: Volume 1″ by Ono Natsume

6759124Title: “House of Five Leaves (Saraiya Gorou): Volume 1”

Author/Artist: Ono Natsume

Genre: Historical, Seinen, Slice of Life, Mystery

Publication Date: September 21, 2010

US Publisher: Viz

Summary: A best-selling series from one of Japan’s most respected authors. Masterless samurai Akitsu Masanosuke is a skilled and loyal swordsman, but his naïve, diffident nature has more than once caused him to be let go by the lords who employ him. Hungry and desperate, he agrees to become a bodyguard for Yaichi, the charismatic leader of a group calling itself “Five Leaves.” Although disturbed by the gang’s sinister activities, Masa begins to suspect that Yaichi’s motivations are not what they seem. And despite his misgivings, the deeper he’s drawn into the world of the Five Leaves, the more he finds himself fascinated by these devious, mysterious outlaws.

Usagi’s Take: Ono does some amazing work, and “House of Five Leaves” is definitely no exception. It’s historical, it’s slice-of-life, and there’s some comedy in there too. It’s definitely one of my favorite “high brow” pics in terms of manga, and Viz has done a great job with this series in terms of translation. Just wish it was marketed a little more aggressively – it’s definitely one of the most under-marketed, under-loved manga from Ono out in the States right now. Highly recommended!

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Manga Monday – Week 34


mangamondaySo, I’ve seen this feature on a few book blogs out there, and decided to make this feature my own. After suggestions from friends, Manga Mondays comes to Birth of a New Witch! I’ll try to give equal billing to manga being released both in the US and in Japan, since US licensing takes awhile and I read manga in both languages. I want to cater to other fans out there who do the same.

Confused by some of the terms I use in this feature? See Week 1 for clarification on my most commonly used terms.

And now, to this week’s US and Japanese choices!

Week 34 (US Release): “D. Gray-Man: Volume 1″ by Hoshino Katsura

568454Title: “D. Gray-Man: Volume 1”

Author/Artist: Hoshino Katsura

US Publisher: Viz

Genre: Shounen, Paranormal, Steampunk, Alternate Universes/Parallel Timelines

Publication Date: May 2, 2006 (North America)

Summary: Set in a fictional end of the 19th century England, it’s the story of Allen Walker, a 15-year-old boy who roams the Earth in search of Innocence. Washed away to unknown parts of the world after The Great Flood, Innocence is the mysterious substance used to create weapons that obliterate demons known as akuma.

A born exorcist, Walker’s primary anti-akuma weapon is the cross that’s embossed on his red and disfigured left hand, which contains Innocence. But not only does Walker destroy akuma, he sees the akuma hiding inside a person’s soul! Together with his fellow exorcists fighting under the command of the Black Order, Walker leads the battle against the Millennium Earl, the evil being out to destroy mankind.

Usagi’s Take: An oldie but goody, “D.Gray-Man” is one of my go-to series when I can’t find anything new to read. While it’s not entirely one of my absolute favorites, I really really like this series. There’s a little something for everyone in this series – magic, romance, an alternate universe for the 19th century. This is a very fun series, and it hasn’t yet worn out its welcome in the manga world in either country, which is refreshing from a Jump magazine title. I would love another season of anime, though! Highly recommended!

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Manga Monday – Week 33


mangamondaySo, I’ve seen this feature on a few book blogs out there, and decided to make this feature my own. After suggestions from friends, Manga Mondays comes to Birth of a New Witch! I’ll try to give equal billing to manga being released both in the US and in Japan, since US licensing takes awhile and I read manga in both languages. I want to cater to other fans out there who do the same.

Confused by some of the terms I use in this feature? See Week 1 for clarification on my most commonly used terms.

And now, to this week’s US and Japanese choices!

Week 33 (US Release): “March Story: Volume 4″ by Kim Hyung-Min

15800503Title: “March Story: Volume 4”

Author: Kim Hyung-Min

Artist: Yang Kyung-Il

US Publisher: Viz

Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tales Retold, AWESOME

Publication Date: October 16, 2012 (North America)

Summary: Among the quiet villages and towns of 18th century Europe, demons known as the Ill hide within the most beautiful works of art, sparked to life by the torment of their creators. Attracted by their jewel-like allure, the unwary find themselves possessed by the Ill and driven to horrific acts of violence. Only the hunters of the Ciste Vihad can dispel the Ill. The Ill prey upon human feelings, using them as both a lure and a weapon. March must conceal her feelings for Rodin lest the Ill that lies inside her should awaken and destroy her. When Rodin receives an invitation to a fancy dress ball, March surreptitiously tags along. The gala has also attracted a devilish guest who thirsts for the blood of the young maidens in attendance. March faces her terrifying past once again, and this time all of her friends are in danger!

Usagi’s Take: One of my favorite manwha/manga fusion titles, this one has a gorgeous, dreamy sensibility to it with utterly brutal battle scenes and scary monsters that are also deliciously wicked. Sadly, there’s not a lot of information on this title out there -it appears to be manga, just done by two Korean artists and published in Japan. Which is rare (don’t get me started on how rare -that’s a history lesson all in itself), but interesting nonetheless. I can’t wait until volume 5 comes out – since the story isn’t over in volume 4. Come on and give us more “March Story”, Viz!

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Manga Monday – Week 32


mangamondaySo, I’ve seen this feature on a few book blogs out there, and decided to make this feature my own. After suggestions from friends, Manga Mondays comes to Birth of a New Witch! I’ll try to give equal billing to manga being released both in the US and in Japan, since US licensing takes awhile and I read manga in both languages. I want to cater to other fans out there who do the same.

Confused by some of the terms I use in this feature? See Week 1 for clarification on my most commonly used terms.

And now, to this week’s US and Japanese choices!

Week 32 (US Release): “Attack on Titans (Shougeki no Kyoujin): Volume 1” by Iseyama Hajime

13154150Title: “Attack on Titans (Shougeki no Kyoujin): Volume 1”

Author/Artist: Iseyama Hajime

US Publisher: Kodansha Comics USA

Genre: Horror, SciFi, Seinen, Post-apocalyptic, Dystopian, AWESOME

Summary: Humankind is down to just a few thousand people who live in a city surrounded by three concentric walls. The walls protect them from their enemies, the ravenous giants known as the Titans. The Titans appear to have only one purpose: to consume humanity.

For one hundred years, what’s left of mankind has lived in the city on earth, protected by walls that tower over even the Titans. Untouched by the Titans for a century, humanity has become complacent. But Eren Jaeger has had enough. While his fellow citizens are content to hide, Jaeger has the passion to take action to not only protect the city, but to learn what the Titans actually are. But on his first mission he comes face to face with horrors beyond his imagination… and secrets from his own past that could shift the tides of war.

Jarger and his friends are determined to survive. But everything about their situation is a mystery that only becomes more complicated the more they learn.

Usagi’s Take: This one popped up on my radar due to a good friend – and the fact that the anime just started airing with the new spring season in Japan. Very similar to “Claymore” in many ways, “Titan” is a really awesome, breathtaking series that takes no prisoners and pulls no punches. I love the design of the Titans the most – they look like something out of a Dali painting or out of Dante’s “Inferno”. They’re hideous, and they want to eat people. So far, Kodansha’s done a good job translating it, and I’m glad it’s available here for everyone to enjoy. Definitely recommended if you like a little horror mixed in with your monsters!

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Manga Monday – Week 31


mangamondaySo, I’ve seen this feature on a few book blogs out there, and decided to make this feature my own. After suggestions from friends, Manga Mondays comes to Birth of a New Witch! I’ll try to give equal billing to manga being released both in the US and in Japan, since US licensing takes awhile and I read manga in both languages. I want to cater to other fans out there who do the same.

Confused by some of the terms I use in this feature? See Week 1 for clarification on my most commonly used terms.

And now, to this week’s US and Japanese choices!

6821718Week 31 (US Release): “Doubt: Omnibus Edition (Doubt #1-4)” by Tonogai Yoshiki

Title: “Doubt: Omnibus Edition (Doubt #1-4)”

Author/Artist: Tonogai Yoshiki

US Publisher: Yen Press

Genre: Seinen, Horror, Thriler, Survival

Summary: Doubt revolves around a fictional cell phone game called “Rabbit Doubt”, in which the players are rabbits in a colony; one of these players is randomly chosen to act as a wolf infiltrating the group. Each round, the rabbits guess which is the wolf as the rabbits are eaten one-by-one until only the wolf is left.

Why?: This is a really compulsively-readable series. Not one of my favorites, but definitely one I always recommend if you’re into the survival game genre (and yes, that’s become its own genre within manga). I’m glad that Yen Press is going to be doing all four volumes in one easy (and inexpensive) omnibus edition for the US release – it’s an addictive read, and having to wait for each volume would be pretty torturous. This is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it’s a really fun series all the same. Hopefully we’ll also get the sequel/spin-off series, “Judge”, if this omnibus version sells well, too.

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