Manga Monday: Sakigake Otokojuku by Miyashita Akira

This week for Manga Monday I’ve got a Quick Review of a rather ridiculous Manga. It’s Sakigake Otokojuku by Miyashita Akira!

Plot Synopsis: The genius principal of the private school, Edajima Heihachi, was a war hero during World War II. He trained his students to play an active role in politics, economics and industries in Japan and all over the world, though the way of training is highly anachronistic. Staged in a private boys’ school that teaches ōendan to troubled teenagers. The students are trained to “revive the Spirit of Japan” and mainly engage in fighting courses.

Plot: The plot of this first chapter is pretty freaking ridiculous and while I’ve been told that the series has a Genre Shift later, the first chapter is almost nothing but gags. I don’t have a problem with Gag Manga in general, but they can get grating after a while so knowing that it doesn’t just stick to gags is good. I’ll probably read the entire series eventually, as it’s been completely translated a while ago.

Characters: Tsurigi Momotaro is our protagonist and he fits right in with the rest of the Manga. He has a quote in this first chapter that I wholly agree with. “There’s no place for logic in Otokojuku.” It is pretty much the entire theme of this first chapter.  Edajima on the other hand is completely over the top in his reactions to criticism. I enjoyed both of them immensely.

Art: The art is pretty standard for the era it was written in, which was 1985 when it first ran. That being said it was pretty awesome with tons of detail and shading, and since it’s a Shueisha publication I expect the art will stay pretty uniformly awesome during the entire series.

Overall: If you enjoy Gags and Martial Arts, you’ll enjoy Otokojuku.

For those who like: Action, Comedy, Drama, Gag Manga, Hilarious Plot and Characters, Excellent Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Sensate Saturday: Zero The Man of the Creation by Ai Eishi

This week for Sensate Saturday I’ve got another Quick Review. It’s  Zero The Man of the Creation by Ai Eishi!

Plot Synopsis:  There is a mysterious and resourceful man who goes by the name “Zero.” An expert on artworks, antiques and ancient artifacts, Zero is adept at rooting out their histories and uncovering any unusual qualities they possess. Because of this, he frequently gets called on to dispel “curses” and to both uncover and create forgeries.  Zero is a man who will stop at nothing to see a job done, but he will also charge whatever fee he deems appropriate: it might be a billion dollars, or it might just be one.

Plot: The plot of this first chapter was excellent and also really informative, as someone who has studied Art History, although not the subject covered in this first chapter, I was highly intrigued and captivated by this plot. I won’t say it’s the best thing I’ve ever read, but it definitely scratched the Art History itch for me and that’s more than enough to make me pleased. Sadly while the series is complete in Japan it’s only started to be translated, so I’ll probably need to wait a few years (probably more) before reading the rest of the series.

Characters: Zero is a really interesting main character, and while it seems that the rest of the characters introduced in this first chapter are going to be just one time characters, you never know.

Art: The art is excellent, although it’s definitely not like more modern series, but that’s not surprising since the first chapter was released back in 1991! It is a Shueisha publication so I expect the artwork will stay consistent.

Overall: This was a really interesting read, and any Art History buffs will enjoy the series greatly.

For those who like: Mystery, Art History, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Protagonist, Great Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Manga Monday: Journey to the West by Zheng Jian He

Hey all, I’m back with another Quick Review for this week’s

Plot Synopsis: The journey to the West was a conspiracy of heaven! After the Sutra (Buddhist sacred texts) went missing for more than a decade, thus Heaven sent its army to search for it. In order not to let the Sutra once again fall into the hands of heaven, the journey to West begin again.

Plot: So this takes the Chinese classic, Journey to the West and turns the whole thing onto it’s head. This first chapter deals with introducing us to the major characters, but it did capture my attention almost immediately. That might be more to do with my fascination with the original Journey to the West though.

Characters: Bai Lang seems to be our main character, and he’s a pretty chill guy. He loves the status quo, although he has a fascination with becoming human. I’m not entirely sure what that is all about, whether this is strictly a character trait of Bai Lang’s or if it is a goal pursued in many pieces of Chinese Literature.  Xiao Yu on the other hand seems to be an interesting young woman. But there seems to be something off about her.

Art: The art is pretty awesome.

Overall: If you like classic Chinese literature you ought to give this a read.

For those who like: Chinese Legends, Action, Adventure, Drama, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Artwork, Interesting Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Sensate Saturday: Made in Abyss by Tsukushi Akihito

This week for Sensate Saturday I’ve got another Quick Review. It’s Made in Abyss by Tsukushi Akihito!

Plot Synopsis: The enormous cave system, known as the Abyss, is the last unexplored place in the world. Nobody knows how deep down goes this titanic pit, inhabited by strange and wondrous creatures and full of mysterious ancient relics which purpose in unknown to modern man. Generations of bold adventurers have been drawn by the cryptic depths of the Abyss. In course of time those brave enough to explore the dangerous pit came to be known as “Cave Raiders.” In Oosu, the town at the edge of the Abyss, there lives a little orphan named Rico, who dreams of becoming as great a cave raider as her mother was and solving the great mystery of the pit…

Plot: This seems to be pretty interesting, although so many flags were raised in this first chapter I’m actually a little apprehensive about later chapters.  I might throw this onto my read in the future pile, but thus far, with just this first chapter I’m not interested enough in continuing to read it right now.

Characters: Rico is a ball of curiosity wrapped in an orphan. I’m intrigued in her fervent desire to follow in her mother’s footsteps, but I don’t find it completely believable. If you were orphaned because your mother died when you were so young you can’t remember her, I just don’t think you’d be that eager to follow in her footsteps at such a young age.

Art: The art is interesting, but it’s not super amazing either. It reminds me of the old GBA game Sword of Manga a bit though so I was intrigued by that nostalgic feeling. Just not enough to put a priority on reading further into the series.

Overall: This might be interesting, especially for those exploration lovers out there, but personally it just wasn’t interesting enough to make me want to continue reading immediately.

For those who like: Exploration, Adventure, Mystery, Drama, Interesting Premise, Good Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Manga Monday: Karate Apocalypse by Takajou Masahiko

This week for Manga Monday I’ve got another Quick Review. It’s Karate Apocalypse by Takajou Masahiko!

Plot Synopsis: Kimon Daisuke is a young man doing time in a juvenille detention facility for getting into a fight while on probation to protect a female classmate from being sexually assaulted. He was taught Karate by his brother who is the reigning national champion. This is his story….

Plot: I wasn’t expecting this to be such a serious series, but after reading this first chapter I’m pretty intrigued. The series is only three volumes long however so once I get around to reading the rest of it, it shouldn’t be a super long read.

Characters: Daisuke is a pretty decent dude, if a delinquent. I’m curious to see why he was on probation in the first place, but I’m guessing we’ll learn that in later chapters, probably. Akiyama on the other hand seems to be decent female lead, although a little bland. That’s pretty all of the cast we’ve met thus far.

Art: The art is pretty old school, but considering that the series is from 1986 that shouldn’t be a surprise.

Overall: A decent read, not the best I’ve read, but I’ve read much worse series.

For those who like: Action, Drama, Martial Arts, Intriguing Plot, Great Art.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Sensate Saturday: Nobunaga no Chef by Nishimura Mitsuru

This week for Sensate Saturday I’ve got another Quick Review. It’s Nobunaga no Chef by Nishimura Mitsuru!

Plot Synopsis: Ken is a modern-day chef who wakes up one morning in war-torn 16th century Japan. Faced with an impossible situation, he does what he does best – he cooks. Soon, word of his wonderful food reaches the capital, and the ears of warlord Oda Nobunaga, who immediately orders Ken to cook for him…

Plot: The plot is pretty awesome, I’ll be the first to admit that this rose pretty quickly towards the top of my reading list after I read this first chapter. Personally this is a lot like Shokugeki no Soma except without the food porn connotations and the blatant fan service.

Characters: If you know anything about Japanese History you’ll be aware that Oda Nobunaga is probably the biggest wild card in Japan’s history. He had a history of doing things completely out of the blue for seemingly no reason whatsoever. He also was known to be one of the most brutal warlords in Japanese History. Ken on the other hand is a rather cool tempered guy who doesn’t really care so long as he gets to cook. I enjoy him. My favorite side character is Natsu, but the reasons why would be spoiling.

Art: The art is excellent, frankly I’d put this up there with some of the best, not the absolute best, but it’s in the top 100 easily.  It’s not even published by Shueisha either, which was a bit of a shock to me, but it’s their loss, because this looks to be an amazing series.

Overall: If you like food and/or history you have to read Nobunaga no Chef.

For those who like: History, Time Travel, Fiction, Cooking, Awesome Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters, Excellent Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Manga Monday: Grand Blue by Inoue Kenji

This week I’m back with another Quick Review for Manga Monday. It’s Grand Blue by Inoue Kenji!

Plot Synopsis: A new life begins for Kitahara Iori as he begins his college career near the ocean in Izu city, full of excitement for his new life. He will be moving into his Uncle’s diving store “Grand Blue.” There he finds the beautiful ocean, beautiful women, and men that love diving and alcohol. Will Iori be able to live his college life dream?

Plot: The plot is really sort of sparse in this first chapter, it starts off pretty similarly to a bunch of other series, but quickly devolves. In fact as soon as Iori encounters most of his uncle’s clientele playing Strip-Baseball-Scissors the chapter goes off the rails. It was amusing at first, but it got old pretty quickly.

Characters: Iori is probably one of my least favorite main  characters I’ve read yet. If only because he quickly succumbs to peer pressure and starts playing Strip-Baseball-Scissors and gets hammered… The rest of the cast isn’t that great either.

Art: The art is great however, and probably the only saving grace this series has. The ridiculous faces are pretty hilarious as well.

Overall: This might be a fun series to read for those who like to read about drunkards, but otherwise it’s a series to avoid.

For those who like: Drunkards, Strip-Baseball-Scissors, Diving, Great Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.