Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

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Manga of the Month: The Heroic Legend of Arslan

August 4, 2014

The Heroic Legend of Arslan (アルスラーン戦記)
by Hiromu Arakawa and Yoshiki Tanaka

narutaki_icon_4040 Finally, the first volume is coming out in print in August! So it is a perfect time to talk up this epic fantasy from the creator of Full Metal Alchemist, based on the novel series from the author of Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

Young Prince Arslan, adept with a sword but more of a thinker, is the son of an undefeated warrior king. The king and queen look upon their son with coldness and disappointment. But when the country is overtaken by a neighboring theocracy after a disastrous battle, everyone’s fate is in Arslan’s hands as he and a few loyal retainers plot to retake their homeland.

Much like in Legend of the Galactic Heroes, the rivals in this series are more of tacticians than soldiers. And much like LotGH there is a huge cast of fascinating characters, many more bad-ass than the next.

The story is based in part on Persian myth which gives a twist on the typical fantasy setting we’re used to seeing.

Ms. Arakawa’s precision in action and anatomy really shines in this series. From grandiose, and graphic, battle scenes to the horses character’s ride, her artwork is perfectly suited to pages of intrigue and war.

Politics and action blend together in Heroic Legend of Arslan to create a sweeping fantasy everyone should be reading.

~ kate

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Manga of the Month: Yurikuma Arashi

May 1, 2014

hisui_icon_4040 On a certain level I think most of us enjoy the idea of being an early adopter when it comes to any form of entertainment. You want to be the person who learns of a title first so you can show all your friends what is cool. It also lets you present them with a title that is free from a good deal of preconceptions that fandom can attach to a property while making sure a title does not have a backlog to get through to be caught up on. The biggest barrier to hooking anyone on One Piece is the 745+ chapter/643+ episode Mount Everest sized wall to climb to gain entry alongside all the fan baggage that comes with that. It can be a hard sell.

Now recommending a new title that is still in production has its own flaws. We have all been burned by a concept that starts off with seemingly unlimited possibility that degrades into an utter mess. That is a risk with putting forth any bleeding edge ongoing title. No one wants to champion the series that dies in a horrible death spiral.

But when everything works out in that wonderful high risk/high reward formula you seem like a hero. So I’m giving you the chance to be a hero in your little section of fandom by telling you about Yurikuma Arashi before it hopefully explodes. There is only one chapter out so you can be right on the ground level for this series. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha: Wrath of Konkon

March 26, 2014


(Watch Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha on Hulu for free.)

hisui_icon_4040 If you asked anyone what their favorite series from this season was you would get a wide selection of answers but Kill la Kill and Space Dandy will probably come up the most. On the other hand if you ask Kate she will say Kuroko’s Basketball because . . . well she is Kate. BUT if you ask what was the best NEW show of the season we would both pick an anime that is sadly overlooked. It is a wonderful mix of comedy and romance. A series based on a seinen manga with a shojo appeal. That show is Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha.

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha is easy to dismiss as the “spirits and humans” story of the season to fill for a lack of a new season of Natsume’s Book of Friends or Mushishi but that is selling the show short. Konkon has an infectious joy that sets it apart from the pack. Unlike some other the other anime and manga in the genre that either go for a gentle melancholy or a soft warm glow like Kamichu! and Gingitsune this show goes for the laughs first and foremost. But at the same time there are some strong romantic undercurrents and well as solid friendships to bring it all together.

narutaki_icon_4040 It is funny to use “nice” as a way to describe a show I want others to watch, but Inari Konkon Koi Iroha is nice. Nice like it wraps you up and makes you feel good while watching it. You might find yourself sighing in contentment while viewing the show even.

But that’s not to say niceness is the only quality the series has to offer. Inari Konkon Koi Iroha is a nice, hilarious, fun, and sweet story featuring wacky gods, new loves, and the bonds of friendship.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Manga of the Month: Basara

February 4, 2014

Basara (バサラ) by Yumi Tamura

narutaki_icon_4040 Before anyone even thinks it, I know this series is woefully out-of-print. However, I was finally able to read more of it thanks to the library so I’m hoping others can do the same. And amazingly, it is available digitally!

Basara is a classic, fantasy series set in a future (yup!) Japan which has been devastated by war and environmental destruction. A loss of energy and technology has pushed people back to a simpler time and allowed for the country to be conquered by the harsh, oppressive Saffron Clan. In the desert region controlled by The Red King, there is a small village with a prophecy about The Child of Destiny that will lead the people against their oppressors.

That child is a young boy named Tatara. But unlike some other stories, this king does not let it go unchecked or laugh it off, oh no he roots out the rebellion while the child is still young. Tatara is killed when the village is attacked; the army leaves believing they have eliminated their problem. (This part, by the way, is very violent and sets the tone for much of the series.) But Tatara’s twin sister Sarasa makes a hasty decision: pretend she was killed instead, and become “Tatara” with the help of a small group who know the truth. Sarasa sets out to unite the villages and bring down the tyrants who have taken so much from her.

Sarasa becomes “Tatara” in everyday life, so much so she can start to forget herself. The exception is when she sneaks away to the secluded hot springs; on one such visit she meets a boy her age and ends up starting a distant love affair. Little did she know the man she met is The Red King whom she has sworn to destroy; and little did he know she is The Child of Destiny he is so desperately trying to snuff out.

Sarasa is wonderfully headstrong, and so fearless to the point of undervaluing her life. She has lost her identity and it shows so well as she becomes the idea of “Tatara.” Sarasa struggles with all the aspects of her life she has lost: the villages’ relief that Sarasa died instead; the constant masquerade; not being able to experience developing into womanhood in any normal way. But even if it stemmed from a lie, she is truly changing the course of her world and doing things she never thought herself possible of. She is surely a better “Tatara” than the namesake ever would have been.

The melodrama is high as the manga barrels toward revolution. Sarasa sets in motion a bloody conflict, spanning the continent, which is fraught with secrets and danger. And of course many surprises along the way, do not believe for a second The Red King is what he seems. An epic fantasy sure to satisfy.

~ kate

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