Archive for the ‘Action’ 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: Zettai Karen Children

May 1, 2013

Zettai Karen Children (絶対可憐チルドレン) by Takashi Shiina

We can blame this all on Ed Chavez as we can with so many other things. As a fan of Shonen Sunday I distinctly remember Ed recommending this title to me. That led me down the road I walk today. But in the end I have no regrets. This was the only path. My whole post is recommending Zettai Karen Children.

In an alternate history set in the not too distant future, next Sunday AD, psychic powers are a rare but not unheard of phenomenon. And while some people use their power for selfish gain, crime, and destruction the forces at B.A.B.E.L. use their gifts to defend their fellow-man and help promote the idea that psychics can be a force for good. Three of the most power psychics in the world are the extremely bratty and rebellious girls known as The Children. Can their new guardian Koichi Minamoto train them to their full potential while preventing them from taking over the world?

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Manga of the Month: Seven Deadly Sins

March 5, 2013

Nanatsu no Taizai (七つの大罪) by Nakaba Suzuki

Everyone is waiting for a new hero to arrive. Monkey D Luffy is a superstar but he is only one man. Ichigo Kurosaki and Naruto Uzumaki are close to retiring. There are some B and C level celebrities like Soul Eater Evans and Natsu Dragneel but they don’t have that top-tier of star power that classic shonen champions like Goku or Himura Kenshin had. There are a few empty seats on the round table of shonen money makers and the manga industry eagerly awaits the paladins who will fill those chairs.

Nanatsu no Taizai is a new series from Weekly Shonen Magazine that is attempting to gain membership to this illustrious line up. With a fantasy setting and high-powered knights it looks like it could be a viable contender.

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Manga of the Month: Laughter in the End of the World

February 5, 2013

Laughter in the End of the World (終末のラフター)
by Yellow Tanabe

This is Yellow Tanabe’s first serial, albeit a short one, since finishing up Kekkaishi. It follows a brother and sister as they wander an Earth which was inhabited my demons many years before after a great disaster.

When we meet Luca and Haru they are entering a town which is being tormented by a demon living in the hills who demands sacrifice. Luca bears the mark of a demon on his cheek but he also hunts them and offers his service to the mayor.

There is a lot of darkness in this series which is enhanced by creative monster designs and Ms. Tanabe’s excellent use of black and shadow. The secrets of the world definitely have an horror-edge to them and in such a short format most of them remain steeped in mystery which has its own allure.

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