Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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Manga of the Month: Birdmen

December 8, 2014

Birdmen (BIRDMEN -バードメン-)
by Yellow Tanabe

narutaki_icon_4040 After the initial chapter of Birdmen, I found myself scratching my head. Nothing was clear in chapter one (which is a prologue), I didn’t know what the story was going to be about at all. But there is a hook: a repeated rumor about a mysterious man with wings. Then, we get a glimpse of him at the end of chapter two (also the prologue) just as a bus containing all our main characters goes careening off a cliff. Then, chapter three returns to seemingly normal life, but something is just off as glimpses of memory and powers begin.

The way Yellow Tanabe constructs the beginning of Birdmen creates the tension and unease you might expect from a horror story, which it somewhat is, but Birdmen is more like Ms. Tanabe’s version of superheroes.

Two sets of friends, Karasuma and Kamoda, Tsubame and Sagisawa, who have only just met find themselves on the verge of death as their bus crashes. The Birdman saves them which endows them with the same powers as he. Just as the group starts to realize their abilities, a portal in the sky drops a monster into their town.

Yellow Tanabe takes these elements and combines them with a good sense of humor, popping up only at the appropriate times. There is even a classic superhero moment as Karasuma realizes he doesn’t need his glasses anymore after gaining his powers.

The entire first volume is an origin story which sets up everything that is to come. We have a five person team, each with a distinctive personality but so far it hasn’t felt like the well trodden path you might expect. Karasuma attitude feels downright out-of-place as he feels the world just doesn’t measure up and has no appreciation for his intellect. Kamoda’s shaved head and mean face make him an odd bestie for reserved and sheeple-hating Karasuma. None of the cast are particularly keen on their powers. So far everything feels right without feeling over done.

Birdmen has a winning combination of superheroes, humor, and horror. The more I read, the more I want to read.

~ kate

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Manga of the Month: Space Brothers

November 7, 2014

Space Brothers (宇宙兄弟) by Chuya Koyam

hisui_icon_4040 I was just listening to the All Geeks Considered podcast and Vinnie’s regular co-host could not record that week so he decided to do an impromptu episode about what he and some friends from Twitter had been watching in both the realm of animated and live action fare. One of the guests on the podcast was Ed Sizemore who had taken a break from podcasting and watching anime in general. Since he was out of the anime game for a while the first show they started talking about was Space Brothers and how it ended at 99 episodes as it had caught up with the manga. There was a movie that came out August 9, 2014 but other than that there are no new episodes on the horizon. But the solution to that problem also came up on the podcast.

Just read the manga. Usually with long running seinen manga you don’t have that option unless you want to use the “methods network” but with Space Brothers you can actually read the whole thing via Crunchyroll manga. Wisely most of the series on the site are your more popular shonen series but they do have a few titles to mix things up and Space Brothers is one of the best. That inspired me to talk about the series here this month to remind people that this series is on the site and needs to be read.

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Manga of the Month: Memoirs of an Amorous Gentleman

October 2, 2014

Memoirs of an Amorous Gentleman
(鼻下長紳士回顧録) by Moyoco Anno

narutaki_icon_4040 Following in the footsteps of many of Moyoco Anno’s other works, Memoirs of an Amorous Gentlemen centers around a brothel and its employees and patrons in early 20th century Paris. I supposed you could call it a “slice-of-life” series but obviously the setting gives it a much more colorful angle, much like Ms. Anno’s Sakuran.

The story is told by Colette, a young working girl, with a way of observing those around her with calm despite the many odd, emotional, and dramatic happenings.

You may at first find yourself wondering why it is called Memoirs of an Amorous Gentleman if our narrator is Colette. And considering the state of her relationship with her boyfriend Leon, you’d hardly consider him the “amorous gentleman” of the title either. But it just so happens that Colette is writing down her thoughts in a borrowed book from one of her clients who encouraged her to write.

“I just knew I had to try to write these feelings down . . .
or the pain would never leave me.”

Moyoco Anno discusses some harsh realities of the girls while also portraying their friendships and loves. Many moments of levity come from the bizarre patrons of the brothel. Ms. Anno perfectly moves between these many moments and to deftly create the feeling of life’s many ups and downs.

~ kate

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I am DONE with You: Summer 2014

September 29, 2014

hisui_icon_4040 So another anime season is wrapping up and anyone who regularly follows the blog and podcast will know that means we have to do the Case Closed Reviews as shows end. We have to do them quickly because the new shows for the SWAT reviews are right around the corner. But there are a few shows that I watch on my own that have wrapped up recently. Since Kate did not watch them I don’t feel like recording a solo Case Closed Review but I do feel like I should put down my finals thoughts in some format. I decided to put out this post just in case anyone was curious how these shows turned out in the end.

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