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”.

Continue reading

Review: “Loveless: Volume 10” by Kouga Yun


15800497

Title: “Loveless: Volume 10”

Author: Kouga Yun

Genre: YA/NA, fantasy, paranormal romance, AWESOME, manga & comics, GLBT, tough stuff

Publication Date: January 8, 2013 (Viz – North America)

Source: Edelweiss Review Copy

Summary: When his beloved older brother is brutally murdered, Ritsuka is heartbroken but determined to search for answers. His only lead is Soubi, a mysterious, handsome college student who offers him an intimate link to his brother’s other life: a dark and vibrant world of spell battles and secret names. Will Ritsuka’s relationship with Soubi ultimately lead to the truth or further down the rabbit hole than he imagined possible?

Still reeling from his brother’s dramatic return, Ritsuka goes back to school in search of something normal. He’s joined by the Zero unit of Natsuo and Youji, who transfer in to keep an eye on him. But even their protection won’t be enough when a new unit named Moonless approaches Ritsuka with a dangerous and seductive proposal…

☆: 4/5 stars – another great volume in the series!

Review: Those looking for a lot of action in this volume of “Loveless”, you’re going to be disappointed. There’s only one fight, and we don’t really get to see it (more on that later), just a lot of talking and internal developments. This one’s a quieter, more sinister volume compared to some of the past volumes in the “Loveless” series, but it still has that full-bodied impact that only Kouga knows how to bring with her storytelling.
Continue reading

Review: “Tegami Bachi/Letter Bee: Volume 12” by Asada Hiroyuki


15803881

Title: “Tegami Bachi/Letter Bee: Volume 12”

Author: Asada Hiroyuki

Genre: YA, fantasy, AWESOME, manga & comics

Publication Date: February 5, 2013 (Viz – North America)

Source: Edelweiss Review Copy

Summary: Amberground is locked in darkness. A man-made star casts only a dim light over the land. The pitch-black wilderness is infested with Gaichuu–colossal insects with metal exoskeletons. The Gaichuu make travel between the cities of Amberground extremely dangerous. But thankfully the Letter Bees, a brave corps of messengers, risk their lives in order to keep the hearts of Amberground connected.

☆: 4.5/5 stars – an excellent new installment in this series!

Review: Guys, get ready for your feels to get kicked in the feels because this volume in the series has a huge Big Reveal right from the jump, and it affects not only everything we know so far about the Marauders/Reverse, Noir, Gauche, Lag, Roda, and Niche – but also affects everything going forward. If you haven’t read up until this volume, you might want to wait on it until you’ve gotten caught up. A fantastic addition to this series, “Tegami Bachi/Letter Bee: Volume 12” is nothing short of amazing, alluring, and feels-poundingly good. Note, there are spoilers from here on in, so you’ve been warned.

Continue reading

Review: “Jormungand: Volume 11” by Takahashi Keitarou


17251870Title: “Jormungand: Volume 11”

Author: Takahashi Keitarou

Genre: Manga, Crime, Thriller

Publication Date: May 14, 2013 (Viz – North America)

Source: Edelweiss Review Copy

Summary: Death is their business, and business is good.Jonah is a child soldier, born amidst the chaotic conflicts that rage across West Asia, his family lost to a war fueled by weapons supplied by the so-called Merchants of Death–international arms dealers. Despite Jonah’s hatred of weapons and violence, he employs both extremely well in the service of high-flying arms dealer Koko Hekmatyar and her band of mercenaries. Their journey through the dark underbelly of the world’s arms markets may lead only to damnation, but will Jonah one day make his way back to the light? Only one thing is certain: it’s going to be a long, hard road out of hell…

Jormungand, Koko’s plan to force peace on the world by taking control of global logistics, is ready to launch. When it does, all human movement by land, sea and air will come under the control of HCLI’s satellite network and quantum computer system. But when Jonah learns that the first stage of Koko’s operation could cost the lives of nearly seven hundred thousand people, he finds himself at a deadly impasse with Koko and her team. Peace sells, but who’s buying?

☆: 4.5/5 stars – a fantastic finish to one of my favorite manga of the 2000s so far!

Review: With this volume we say goodbye to one of my favorite new manga within the last five years. I’d been hoping with the end of the second season of the anime that the events that happened there hadn’t been an end and instead, just was waiting for Takahashi to catch up with his own writing process, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. While some might say it’s a bit anti-climactic, I think it’s a way for us to imagine what might happen after those final pages. After 11 volumes, it’s time to say goodbye to Koko, Jonah, and the crew in “Jormungand: Volume 11”.

Continue reading

Review: “Tokyo Babylon: Volume 1 (Omnibus Format)” by CLAMP


16231351Title: “Tokyo Babylon: Volume 1 (Omnibus Format)”

Author: CLAMP

Genre: Apocalyptic, GLBT, Paranormal, Manga, Classics

Publication Date: March 13, 2013 (Dark Horse Comics – North America)

Source: NetGalley Review Copy

Summary: Glamour has two meanings: the modern one of style, and the ancient one of sorcery. Tokyo Babylon is the realm of both! It’s 1991, the last days of Japan’s bubble economy, and money and elegance run through the streets like rivers of neon. So do the currents of darkness beneath them – obsession, greed, and exploitation, nourishing evil spirits that only the arts of the onmyoji – Japan’s legendary occultists – can combat. The two most powerful remaining onmyoji are in the unlikely guises of a handsome young veterinarian, Seishiro, and the teenage heir to the ancient Sumeragi clan, Subaru – just a couple of guys who Subaru’s sister Hokuto has decided are destined to be…a couple!

☆: 4/5 stars – a classic must-own for any CLAMP or shoujo fan!

Review: If you were a manga fan in the ’90s, you knew about CLAMP. CLAMP was just really getting big back then – first with early titles like this one, then its sequel, “X”, and later, “Cardcaptor Sakura” and other series. But if you’re really looking for some 90s nostalgia (pre-bubble), this is definitely the series for you to check out. It’s got pretty much everything you could want – romance, danger, diversity in sexual preferences, all that good stuff. And Dark Horse hasn’t done us wrong with these CLAMP omnibuses so far. They’ve released “Clover”, “Chobits”, and are working on “Gate 7”, and “Blood-C” now. Their work has been pretty excellent so far, but this omnibus has caused some worry on my part. Read on for more details.

Continue reading

Review: “Helmetgirls: The Art of Camilla D’Errico Volume 2” by Camilla D’Errico


14489657Title: “Helmetgirls: The Art of Camilla D’Errico Volume 2”

Author: Camilla D’Errico

Genre: Artbooks, manga

Publication Date: March 5, 2013 (Dark Horse Comics – North America)

Source: NetGalley Review Copy

Summary: Camilla d’Errico is a powerful voice in pop surrealism, her work combining diverse influences in imagery both singular and hauntingly familiar. Compelling and deeply personal, Helmetgirls documents Camilla’s art and lifestyle brand that fuses manga, steampunk, and fine art into an original and meaningful aggregate. Gargantuan biomechanical headgear adorns beautiful, wide-eyed, and seemingly fragile girls. More than just decoration, the helmets express each girl’s character, needs, and desires. Look deeply into the Helmetgirls’ eyes – they have a story to tell.

☆: 4/5 stars – Awesome new work from one of my favorite western pop artists!

Review: Short review is short, but only because this is an artbook with little to no commentary by the artist on her process. Which was a bit disappointing.
Continue reading

Manga Monday – Week 25


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 25 (US Release):  “Blood-C: Volume 1” by Kotone Ranmaru & CLAMP

16122044Title: “Blood-C: Volume 1”

Author: based on the original screenplay by CLAMP & Production IG

Artist: Kotone Ranmaru

Translation Company/US Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Genre: Paranormal, Seinen, Thriller, Mystery

Publication Date: March 19, 2013 (North America)

Summary: Saya Kisaragi is a kindhearted, if somewhat clumsy, student who trains by day to perform standard religious duties at her father’s shrine—but she becomes an unstoppable, monster-slaying swordswoman by night! The saga that began in Blood: The Last Vampire and the Blood+ anime series continues here! The world of Blood-C was created by the powerhouse manga team CLAMP in collaboration with Production I.G, the legendary anime studio that produced the original Blood+ episodes and the new Blood-C animated series and feature-length movie! Don’t miss the schoolyard foibles, weird creatures, and katana-swinging action in this new manga series by Ranmaru Kotone, based on the hit Blood-C anime and infused with CLAMP’s original concepts and characters!

Usagi’s Take: I really, really enjoyed the anime, and I’m a big fan of the “Blood: The Last Vampire” franchise (which also includes “Blood+”). I’m a sucker for anything CLAMP creates – be it a whole story or just character designs, but in this one they teamed up with Production IG (one of my favorite animation houses) to do a whole new story for the “Blood” universe. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I have read a few chapters of this manga and I really like it. However, I do wish CLAMP had done the manga instead of just doing work on the anime, but we can’t always have what we want, I guess. Just a warning when you read this manga – it’s violent, but also, nothing is as it seems. Everything that seems clean cut is most definitely not and there’s a lot of complexity here that makes it a really great read. So definitely check this out when it hits stores here in the US in March.

Continue reading