Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: Zodiac P.I. Vol. 1 (Zodiac P.I. #1) by Natsumi Andō

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*No Major Spoilers*

Lili is just like any other girl — except she can foretell the future! This ‘Zodiac PI’ relies on horoscopes and astrology to help her solve crimes and track down criminals. When there’s trouble brewing, she transforms herself into the magic Detective Spica and looks to the stars to guide her way. Before long, she is joined by her childhood friend, Hiromi, who dreams of becoming a detective as skilled as Detective Spica. Soon, no astral investigation is too arduous for this dynamic duo!

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I originally found this manga at a convention I attended a couple of years ago. It caught my eye because the subject matter was something I think everyone becomes interested in at some point in their lives. Combining this with the mystery genre was something I thought would be interesting. Now let’s see if the stars align for Zodiac P.I. 

This manga was a fun read. I found the two mysteries featured in this volume to be intriguing. The first one surrounds the mysterious death of one of Lili’s classmates. The other is Lili going undercover to investigate this piano school rumored to be haunted. However, ghosts are the least of Lili’s worries once one of the teachers turns up dead in his own classroom.

Lili uses the magical power of a Zodiac ring her mother gave her before she disappeared. This ring brings forth the entities of the Zodiac to give her the victim’s horoscope for the day that they died, and the ominous messages help Lili solve the case as Detective Spica.

After the piano school case, Hiromi discovers Lili is actually Detective Spica. We then learn that Lili’s mom was the original Detective Spica before her disappearance. Now that her secret identity has been revealed, Hiromi promises to not reveal Lili’s secret and help her out with future cases.

As much as I want to nitpick this manga to death, I know it’s meant for a younger audience. I still had fun reading this story. The use of the Zodiac and the victim’s horoscope add a new element to old fashioned sleuthing. I would recommend this manga series for lovers of mysteries, Zodiac, and female heroines. This is a series I hope to be revisiting in the future.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: BEASTARS: Vol. 1 by Paru Itagaki

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*No Major Spoilers*

At this high school, instead of jocks and nerds, the students are divided into predators and prey.

At a high school where the students are literally divided into predators and prey, it’s personal relationships that maintain the fragile peace. Who among them is a Beastar—an academic and social role model destined to become a leader in a society naturally rife with mistrust?

Last night at Cherryton Academy, an herbivore student was killed and eaten. Among the members of the drama club, the herbivores’ suspicions naturally turn to their carnivore classmates… The prime suspect? Legosi, a large wolf. But he wouldn’t hurt a fly—or would he? And will dwarf rabbit Haru bring out the beast in him? Or are his feelings for her…something else?

BEASTARS has been a series I’ve been wanting to get into, however, since the world has ADHD it’s taken me a bit longer than it should have to give this manga a chance. Now with season one of BEASTARS on Netflix, I feel like now is the time to check this exciting series out.

First off, the art style is interesting. It looks like it was painted in watercolors (but of course it’s in black and white). There’s so much detail in each and every character I found it beautiful even though I’m not a fan of watercolor-like styles. The artist definitely took his time to study each animal the characters are based on.

This story touches similar themes that Zootopia touches on, racism in the fact that the carnivores are segregated from the herbivores. Now in Zootopia, they put this in an easy to understand way for children to follow and understand. BEASTARS discusses this in a more grown-up and blatant way. There’s even segregation amongst the carnivores themselves. I like stories that take on social issues, without it taking over the entire story.

Legosi is a character I can relate to an extent. He’s awkward and introverted. He is mourning the loss of his friend while everyone is secretly suspecting him of the crime because he is a wolf. This affects his emotions throughout the story.

The title Beastar is something that is given to one of the animals, much like a class president except it encompasses a whole generation of students. So there’s this popular student, Louis, and everyone is expecting him to become the Beastar. Watching him struggle to rehearse for the play that the drama club is about to put on after an injury makes you realize just how much is at stake in his world.

Overall, I really enjoyed BEASTARS. The story is well written, the art is beautiful to look at, and I can’t wait to continue this series in the future. I will also be reviewing BEASTARS on Netflix soon, so stay tuned for that!

I would recommend this series who love animals, societal issues, low-key mysteries, a slice of life, and looking for something new to read.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Vol. 1 by Akira Himekawa

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* No Major Spoilers*

Link, now a Hylian Knight, serves Princess Zelda at Hyrule Castle. When Shadow Link kidnaps Princess Zelda, Link once again must prepare himself to defeat the forces of evil. To do so, he needs the legendary Four Sword, but getting it means releasing and then battling the ancient evil power Vaati. The Four Sword also splits Link into four different versions of himself, and these new Links aren’t team players! Rescuing Zelda, beating Vaati, and getting his wild alter-egos under control isn’t going to be easy!

I enjoy the lore behind The Legend of Zelda series. However, I find most of the games to be boring. I prefer to watch someone else play the games in the background while I sleep. So I have been wanting to review one of The Legend of Zelda mangas for a long time now, so let’s dive into this adventure series!

First off, I watched a collaborative let’s play on YouTube with some of my favorite YouTube personalities. It was fun watching them trying to cooperate with each other. The four of them with their own unique playstyles trying to figure out the game and its puzzles were interesting and brought me a lot of joy.

Now back onto the book. The first thing I noticed and really enjoyed was that they actually gave Link a vocal personality and that he had the title of a Knight in Hyrule and his dad was the one in charge of the Knights of Hyrule. This change of pace from the games was something of a refreshing take on the series outside of Link and his “HYAA! HEY! YAA!”

With all of the aspects of the various personalities of Link unleashed by the Four Sword, Green Link, the original Link, has to keep the 4 of them from getting side-tracked. The other three Links outside of the Green one wore a different color tunic and hat. the red one had more of a laid back personality, the blue one was really angry and feisty, and the purple one was more of the nerdy researcher if I understood that right based on the descriptions. With these personalities, they had to work together to save the Princess, a very arduous task considering that Dark Link kept antagonizing by trying to separate them.

If you want to know more about the story than what I’ve put here, then you’re just going to have to pick up the book and read it. This is a good read and I’d definitely recommend it to any Legend of Zelda fan and or a fan of manga.

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: Onibi: Diary of a Yokai Ghost Hunter by Atelier Sento

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*No Spoilers*

Part fantasy, part travelogue, Diary Of A Yokai Ghost Hunter follows the adventures of two foreign visitors as they tour Japan. When they buy an antique camera along the way, they discover they can capture images of Japan’s invisible spirit world. The forgotten spirits they meet can be kindly, mischievous, and some, downright dangerous.

Everywhere they go from forests to Shinto temples to fishing villages they are met with Yokai, the Japanese word for supernatural monsters, ghosts, and demons. The subject of Yokai is wildly popular right now and is featured prominently in books, websites, and online videos. Google receives thousands of searches on the topic daily.

Readers 10-18 who cherished books like Cool Japan Guide and Diary of a Tokyo Teen will delight in this comic book style adventure. The graphic novel format will appeal to diehard anime and manga fans while stressing the importance this ancient spirit world is to the Japanese culture.

I enjoyed this manga, it has a different art style for sure, but don’t let that detour you away from this graphic novel. The art style looks like it was sketched with colored pencils. It makes the adventure feel realistic.

I enjoyed seeing all of the different areas of rural Japan, and how unique and different each town or village can be. It’s amazing at how a small island can have so many different environments. From mountainous forests to the sulfur flats and fishing areas. This manga covers the gambit.

I never felt like the main characters were in any real danger. The only time I ever felt uneasy is when the locals were being creepy and telling the two main characters about the Yokai that had been spotted in the area.

However, I still enjoyed the manga and all of its whimsical adventure. I would highly recommend this for lovers of legends, folklore, traveling, and mangas.

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: Giant Spider & Me: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale Vol. 1 by Kikori Morino

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*No Spoilers*

In a world that has flooded, Nagi lives deep in the mountain. When she happens to run across a giant spider, they make an unusual pair. Needing each others company, and enjoying home-cooked meals. Join them in this strange friendship as they spend their days cooking and enjoying life in the wilderness.

I found this manga series on an app called “Manga Rock” where you can read mangas for free. I thought this would make for an interesting and quick read. So I gave it a try!

I am afraid of spiders, especially tarantulas. I’ve had a fear of spiders ever since I can remember. So this manga gave me the major creeps. Somehow, the art style and design choices made me tolerate this spider friend.

I love how each chapter is not only centered on this unusual friendship but on the meals they share together! I love the cozy and homey feel of this story.

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As Nagi waits for her father to return from his latest adventure, it is comforting to have a friend in a world filled with beauty and danger. Nagi can rely on nature to provide her the ingredients she needs for her home-cooked meals, but there are wild dogs in the forests around Nagi’s home. Seeing the spider friend protect her makes the desolate world a better place overall.

I thoroughly enjoyed this simple manga. It has heart, character, and yummy recipes to enjoy for yourself. I would recommend this manga for lovers of “Slice of Life” and home-cooked meals with a story attached to them.

Posted in Book Reviews, DC comics, Graphic Novels, Manga, Marvel Comics

Free Comic Book Day Review!

So this year’s free comic book day was a good selection of graphic novels. My fiance and I mostly picked the ones rated Teen and Mature. I will list the titles in which order I read them, and hopefully, this will make sense.

Shibuya Goldfish by Hiroumi Aoi – This manga is about alien goldfish that invade Japan and start devouring the citizens. It is up to Hiro, to guide the others to safety. I first discovered this Manga through a Facebook group I casually follow. So, when they had a free preview of this I instantly grabbed it and couldn’t wait to read it. I found the preview to be interesting and definitely couldn’t wait to read more!

Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro – A cyborg soldier readies himself for battle against Alita and her friends. Who will come out of this match alive? This free preview of this manga caught my eye by the cover art. I am a country girl at heart. This issue was brief and I am curious to know more, but I wasn’t sold on the plot. I would recommend reading the whole story.

Aposimz by Tsutomu Nihei – In this futuristic dystopian land, the land is frozen solid, disease rampant, and it’s up to one small group of survivors to survive. I enjoyed this preview into this manga. I liked the art style, it brings how desolate and barren the world is. I will definitely be checking out this manga in full volume.

Frankenstein by Junji Ito – A re-imagining of the famous story by Mary Shelley, this is from one of the most famous horror manga writers, so get ready for this terrifying story! I personally enjoyed this preview. I haven’t read the original story by Mary Shelley, so I can’t compare the two. However, I did enjoy this and I would recommend this for sure!

Jughead: The Hunger #1 by Frank Tieri – In this Archie Madhouse Comic Spinoff Series, beloved character Jughead Jones discovers his family’s curse, and is on the run. Betty: Werewolf Hunter along with Archie is hot on Jughead’s trail to stop the destruction their friend is causing. I’m not familiar with the Archie Comic Universe, however, I enjoyed this horror take on a classic and beloved series. Seeing Jughead handle the consequences of running away is heartbreaking. I would definitely recommend checking out this series.

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 #1: Phantom Hand and Kelpie by Mike Mignola – Hellboy is in the 1950’s with his friend and the owner of the mansion. The supernatural goings-on has killed and maimed the guests of the mansion, and it’s up to Hellboy to destroy whatever is causing this mayhem. I am not familiar with the Hellboy comic series. However, I found that this comic gave me a good idea about what Hellboy is all about. He fights paranormal evil.

John Constantine: The Hellblazer #1 by Neil Gaiman – This issue starts off with a dead homeless man wandering through the London underground. Meanwhile, John Constantine has his own problems to sort through. I love John Constantine. He is an awesome character that fights the monsters that go bump in the night as well as help others. I will definitely be reading more Constantine graphic novels in the future.

So, in conclusion, here are the graphic novels I’m going to be reading in the future!

  • Shibuya Goldfish by Hiroumi Aoi
  • Aposimz by Tsutomu Nihei
  • Jughead: The Hunger by Frank Tieri
  • John Constantine
Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace Vol. 1 by Saito Tatsuo

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*No major spoilers*

Marika Kato is your average third-year student at Hakuoh Academy, busy with homework, leading the school’s yacht club, and working part-time at the Lamp House café. But that’s not all to Marika’s life—she’s also a space pirate! As the captain of Bentenmaru, a privateer pirate space-ship bearing a letter of marque, Marika takes on a job involving a staged attack on a luxury cruiser, where she finds a mysterious young boy on the run and a new task for the crew of the Bentenmaru.

Along with the trend of manga with funny titles. I thought I’d read this just for giggles. I was sadly disappointed, this was a very loose story and lacked much of a real plot. One of the reasons being is you don’t see Marika at school very often, and you only see her with the Yacht Club one time throughout the story.

Even though I have some more negatives, I want to touch on something positive with this story. I did like the idea that the characters’ jobs were to stage attacks on luxury cruiser class spaceships, while the concept was good and there were at least a couple of attacks staged I found the story to be lackluster overall.

To conclude this one, I might read the second one in the series to see if the pace does pick up and actually manage to hold my interest more than this book did. Although I would recommend this book to manga readers that are a fan of the sci-fi genre and consumers of the manga art style. Overall it’s not a terrible book, but it’s not the best manga I’ve come across.