Archive for the ‘Supernatural’ Category

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Manga of the Month: X/1999

June 4, 2013

X/1999 (X) by CLAMP

 The as yet unfinished masterpiece from CLAMP. Fate, tragedy, sacrifice, violence, and the rush toward the end of the world hit like waves which quickly sweep you deep into the story.

Following the death of his mother and a prophecy, Kamui returns to Tokyo seeking the means by which to change the fate of the world as armageddon is fast approaching. Two supernatural factions vie for control over the world’s destiny, both seeking the power of Kamui to reach their ultimate goals. And thus fights for power erupt all over Tokyo as Kamui is torn between friendship and the power to change the course of the Earth’s future.

A large cast makes up this epic as CLAMP interweaves the desperate battle for Earth with the relationships and personal stories of all involved. There is always someone new and interesting just around the corner, sometimes literally, in this story but be prepared to say goodbye to quite a few of them because death and destruction are present at every turn.

Everyone has their favorite CLAMP work and this is mine. I much prefer their earlier series where the art feels more tactical and less perfect.

This is a prime time to pick up X/1999 and enjoy all 18 volumes of beautiful art since VIZ has started releasing fantastic oversized omnibus editions which include color inserts.

As the years go by it becomes less and less likely that X/1999 will ever receive an ending in manga form. They should really consider doing it as a doujinshi!

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Hotarubi no Mori e: Love That is So Close Yet So Far

March 4, 2013

Two common things I hear people asking for when it comes to anime is more easily consumable titles and more titles for women. Back in ye olde golden days (which are never as golden as people member them) it was easier to find short little OVAs. They were often just commercials for much longer manga series but it was nice to be able to sit down and watch a series in a single sitting.

And no matter what the length it seems that while manga has a decently even split between the sexes when it comes to anime the medium always has had a male focused bias when it comes to what shows get made. Shojo anime is just uncommon enough that it is almost always appreciated by its target audience when it is animated.

So Hotarubi no Mori e (Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light) is a wonderful combination of these two somewhat overlooked niches. It is a single stand alone shojo story that requires no outside knowledge and can be watched in a single 44-minute sitting. In that time it tells a  simple but bittersweet love story. As the original story of Hotarubi no Mori e was written by Yuki Midorikawa, of Natsume’s Book of Friends fame, you know that you will surround yourself in a relaxing if slightly melancholy story of yokai that pulls on the heartstrings.

narutaki I must admit that I’m a total sucker for human-falls-in-love-with-ghost stories. It isn’t too hard to see the beauty of love transcending the bounds of time and death. There is also the romantic yet inevitable melancholy ending that is sure to follow.

I also had a lot of confidence that this move would evoke those wondrous qualities because of Natsume’s Book of Friends similar feeling. Japanese myth and romance come together in perfect harmony in Hotarubi no Mori e.

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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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Manga of the Month: Billy Bat

January 1, 2013

Billy Bat (ビリーバット) by Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki

There are certain artists who you can assume by default create things worth looking into unless advised otherwise. One of those people is Naoki Urasawa. Pluto, Monster, 20th Century Boys, and Yawara! are all critically acclaimed series with near universal praise. So in general you can bet good money that if you see a new series by him it might be not be worth buying the whole series sight unseen but it is always worth checking out the first book especially when Takashi Nagasaki is involved as well. And his current ongoing series (alongside Master Keaton Remaster) is Billy Bat.

Billy Bat starts after World War II with a popular Japanese-American comic artist, named Kevin Yamaga, trying to discover if his smash hit comic is actually a copy of a manga he might have seen when he was in the service. He soon discovers that his Billy Bat character is not just simply a copy of an obscure manga but an ancient symbol used by a variety of dangerous secret societies. Soon the ancient conspiracy surrounding this nigh incomprehensible bat god sucks in Kevin Yamaga to a world of ninjas, faked moon landings, magic, and people like Lee Harvey Oswald and Albert Einstein.

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