Manga Monday: Vector Ball by Raiku Makoto

This week for Manga Monday I’ve got a Quick Review for a rather interesting series. It’s Vector Ball by Raiku Makoto!

Plot Synopsis: After a series of bizarre incidents in his school, student Kometaki Okaka decided to investigate the cause of it. What he discovers will turn his world upside down…

Plot: The plot of this series is really out there. It is full of really odd gags, least of all being the belly hair song…. Yeah I really just wrote that. I was actually laughing my head off the entire time I was reading, but after finishing this first chapter I found out that the Mangaka axed the series by his own request after 44 chapters. So while I’m really intrigued by the series I don’t know if I’ll continue reading it.

Characters: The cast is just plain odd. I can’t stress how odd this series is. Kometaki was an interesting lead character, if really strange, but that can be said about every character. My favorite side character was Mouryou (spelling is probably wrong, but oh well).

Art: The art was great, it’s not got the high detail level of a Jump work, but it’s still quite good. And it fits this series perfectly.

Overall: If you don’t mind the series being axed prematurely and enjoy really oddball stories, you’ll love Vector Ball.

For those who like: Bizarre Things, Action, Comedy, Interesting Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters, Great Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, or a series that ends abruptly.

Sensate Saturday: Twin Role by Harumi Hitsuji

This week for Sensate Saturday I have another Quick Review. It’s Twin Role by Harumi Hitsuji!

Plot Synopsis: Azuma Izumi goes to a school that involves art and music but both sides compete against each other to win awards. Online, Izumi goes under the name Iz and creates the images to music videos created by a user named Kanon who is listed as a 21 year old female.  However, this user has a secret! Turns out Kanon is really the new transfer student Sagami Kaoru – the son of a famous musician and someone whom Izumi dislikes at first glance. Kaoru quickly puts two and two together and figures out Izumi is Iz, much to his chagrin and consternation.

Plot: Twin Role really shows how awkward Love Triangles can get, almost hilariously so. I’ve never been a fan of Love Triangles in general, but I have to admit that Twin Role handles it amazingly well.

Characters: Izumi and Kaoru are actually pretty well done lead characters, in fact I was really intrigued by them so I’ll probably continue reading this series when I get the chance.

Art: The art isn’t Shueisha level work, but it comes really close.

Overall: If you want to read a really awkward Love Triangle series that isn’t handled poorly, Twin Role is the best I’ve seen in a long time. For those who want action, look elsewhere, this is a Shoujo Romance/Slice of Life Series.

For those who like: Romance, Slice of Life, Drama, School Life, Great Plot, Fantastic Lead Characters, Excellent Art.

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

Manga Monday: Golden Kamui by Noda Satoru

Hey all, this week for Manga Monday I have another Quick Review. It’s Golden Kamui by Noda Satoru!

Plot Synopsis: In Hokkaido, the far northern lands of Japan, Sugimoto survived the Russo-Japanese war of the Meiji era. Nicknamed “Sugimoto the Immortal” during the war, he now seeks the riches promised by the gold rush in hopes of saving the widowed wife of his now deceased comrade from the war.

Plot: The plot is pretty awesome, I was pretty much instantly hooked after this first chapter, hopefully I’ll get to read all of it sooner rather then later. I do want to point out one more thing about the series, it is award winning, so take that how you will.

Characters: Sugimoto is a pretty interesting guy, it’s pretty obvious he’s dealing with serious issues from the war he fought in, despite all that he’s a pretty stable fellow. The rest of the cast we’ve met are pretty much nameless, but they look fairly interesting from this first chapter.

Art: The art is amazing, but once I looked up who the publisher was I wasn’t surprised to find it was Shueisha. That being said it is very graphic, so those with squeamish stomachs should probably not read this.

Overall: This has me hooked, so I’m going to give it the go ahead. Plus it’s an Award Winning series, it can’t be super terrible if it’s received an award.

For those who like: Historical Fiction, Military, Drama, Action, Adventure, Romance, Excellent Plot, Amazing Cast of Characters, Fantastic Artwork.

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

Manga Monday: Queen Millenia by Matsumoto Leiji

Hey all, I’m back with my first Manga Monday in a while, and it’s a Quick Review for a really old series. It’s Queen Millenia by Matsumoto Leiji!

Plot Synopsis: The series takes place in the (then) futuristic year 1999. Professor Amamori discovers a 10th planet in the Earth’s solar system, which he names La-Metal, while at his observatory in Tokyo. Its diameter is 9 times that of Earth. Amamori notes the planet has a highly eccentric orbit and, as it emerges behind the distant Pluto, Amamori realizes that La-Metal is on a collision course with Earth. He calculates that the planet will impact Earth on 9 September 1999, at 9 o’clock, 9 minutes and 9 seconds.

Plot: So yea this series was written way back in 1980, and was serialized in an actual newspaper (rather than a magazine). It’s definitely one of the earliest series out there, but it’s related to the authors previous work Captain Harlock.

Characters: Yayoi, our heroine, is an incredibly mysterious girl, who just happens to know things for reasons even she doesn’t know. Hajime, the male lead, on the other hand is a spunky kid who has a huge interest in anything related to space.  The rest of the cast is very eccentric as well, although that might just be me projecting onto them because of the artwork.

Artwork: Speaking of which, the artwork is definitely some of the earliest I’ve seen, and frankly I was a bit appalled at how off the art was until I learned that this originally ran in two different newspapers, instead of a magazine like most series do today. This means that the lack of detail you see in these chapters is totally intentional to save ink. It also leads to some really hilarious art. Characters look like totally deformed monsters sometimes.

Overall: This is worth a read, if you can get over the sometimes awkward looking artwork.

For those who like: Sci-Fi, Seinen Series, Mystery, Early Manga.

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

Manga Monday: Black Torch by Takaki Tsuyoshi

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This week for Manga Monday I’ve got another Quick Review, although this is a very new series. It’s Black Torch by Takaki Tsuyoshi!

Plot Synopsis: As a descendant of shinobi, Azuma Jirou has been learning ninja techniques his entire life. But in addition to that, Jirou also has the ability to talk to animals. One day when he rescues a strange black cat named Ragou, he learns that the world is filled with spirits called mononoke that can take the form of both people and animals…

Plot: The plot of this first chapter was pretty awesome, and while there were tropes aplenty I didn’t really mind them. That being said some will probably be less excited, but personally I think this might just become a great series in the future. I’ll probably hold off on reading the second (and latest chapter) until there are a lot more chapters to read.

Characters: Jirou is a pretty interesting main character, he’s a pretty slick young man who seems to have his stuff together pretty well, although he is a bit arrogant. Ragou on the other hand is pretty snarky, which was fun. I hope he keeps that quality as the series continues, as I always enjoy snark.

Art: The art is excellent, but given that this is a Shueisha publication I expected nothing less.

Overall: Giving this a go ahead, though with the warning that it’s only got two chapters thus far.

For those who like: Urban Fantasy, Ninjas, Supernatural, Action, Adventure, Drama, Great Plot, Excellent Characters, Awesome Artwork.

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

Manga Monday: Piano no Mori by Isshiki Makoto

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This week for Manga Monday I’ve got another Quick Review. It’s Piano no Mori by Isshiki Makoto!

Plot Synopsis: A tranquil tale about Amamiya Shuhei, who transfers to Moriwaki Elementary filled with hope and ambition about his new life. But it doesn’t take long before he gets picked on by the class bullies, and gets involved in a dare to play the mysterious piano in the forest, leading to his meeting an enigmatic child that goes by the name of Ichinose Kai …

Plot: This first chapter’s plot is pretty decent. It’s nothing spectacular mind, but it isn’t terrible either. The series probably gets better considering that it’s an award winning series, but I didn’t have the time to read past the first chapter.

Characters: Shuhei is a pretty normal character, frankly he’s pretty much a side character in this first chapter, with the spotlight being switched to Kai almost immediately upon his appearance. I’m hoping the characters get a bit more mature though as the series progresses, and like I said above given that this is an award winning series it will probably happen. Kai is pretty foul mouthed for a 10 year old kid, but he seems to be have more depth than Shuhei based solely off this chapter.

Art: The art is okay, it’s got an old timey feel, but isn’t quite as timeless as something from Urasawa like his work on 20th Century Boys. It probably improves over the course of the series, but this first chapter wasn’t super impressive.

Overall: I’m giving this a go ahead solely because of the Award Winning tag I saw in the genre descriptions. Hopefully it proves to be a bit more captivating as the series goes on.

For those who like: Music, Slice of Life, School Life, Drama, Interesting Plot, Decent Characters, Good Artwork.

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

Sensate Saturday: Furi Fura by Io Sakisaka

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This week for Sensate Saturday I’ve got another Quick Review. It’s Furi Fura by Io Sakisaka!

Plot Synopsis: The story centers around Yuna and Akari who have two very different views of love: Yuna is someone who sees love as a dream and Akari is someone who is very realistic about her romance choices.

Plot: The plot of this first chapter is very stereotypical, which given the other works the Mangaka has done isn’t too surprising. It’s lasted longer than some of his other works though so it’s got that going for it. That being said I wasn’t very impressed by this first chapter.

Characters: Yuna and Akari are very different characters, where Yuna is shy quiet and people shy, Akari is bright cheerful and outgoing. Frankly I don’t mind the stark characterization most of the time, but for some reason it bothered me this time. Maybe the series gets better as it goes on, but frankly I’m not interested enough by this first chapter to keep reading the story until I’ve exhausted my considerable backlog.

Art: Io Sakisaka has always had good art, but it wasn’t enough to save previous works, and it’s not enough for me to continue reading the series.

Overall: An easily skippable series, unless you are really desperate for a Romance to read.

For those who like: Romance, Drama, Slice of Life, School Life, Great Art.

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