PA#79: MANGA REVIEWS

by Martin Ouellette

Adventure Kid, Vol. 4Black Leopard, Vol. 1Ceres: Celestial Legend, Vol. 1
FLCL, Vol. 1Ghost In The Shell 2 #8GYO, Vol. 1
Hot Gimmick, Vol. 1Legend Of The Overfiend, Vol. 6Love Hina, Vol. 1
Maison Ikkoku, Vol. 1Shaman King, Vol. 1Slayers Special: Spellbound GN
Tenchi Muyo!: Sasami Stories GNTokyopop Sneaks: Fall 2003Yu Yu Hakusho, Vol. 1
Agharta, Vol. 1Battle Royale, Vol. 1Collection Shonen, Vol. 6
Monster, Vol. 1

Adventure Kid, Vol. 4

This is the last book of this series. While not the best work of Maeda, it does contain everything a hentai otaku will ever need: sex, weird sex and bizarre sex (as well as immoral sex). While I am definitely NOT into hentai, I do think that this title will interest fans of the genre, if only because it was done by the master himself...

Manga-18, Story & art by Toshio Maeda, 200+ pg., B&W, Flipped, Cat. #CMX63504G, $16.95, 18+.

©2001 Toshio Maeda ° Brahman. English version ©2002 A18 Corporation.

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Black Leopard, Vol. 1

Yet another Kung Fu epic from Wing Shing Ma, one of the best known and most appreciated masters of the genre (he also does the famous Storm Riders). In this first volume, Black Leopard finds his sword, the legendary Sabertooth and has his first duel with Edge Sanbu, master of the Katana and successor of the Sanbu family empire. The art is, as always, superb, the printing magnificent and there even seems to be a good story behind all this. I'll follow this one closely...

Comics One, Story & art by Wing Shing Ma, 150+ pg., Full Color, $14.95, 13+.

©1996 Jonesky (H.K.) Limited.

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Ceres: Celestial Legend, Vol. 1.

This is the work that followed the now legendary Fushigi Yugi. You get the same atmosphere, the same kind of art and nearly the same characters (Toya is only a modern version of Tamahome, Aya is Miaka, etc.)! So, if you like Fushigi Yugi, then you should try Ceres! However, an imitation is never as good as the original...

Viz Comics, Story & art by Yu Watase, 200+ pg., B&W, Flipped, 15+.

©1997 Yuu Watase/Shogakukan. New and adapted artwork and text © 2003 Viz LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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FLCL, Vol. 1.

Gack! This is so... Bizarre. It does somewhat reproduce the atmosphere of the anime, but the berserk artwork makes the story even more difficult to understand. This can easily be compared to the weirder stuff produced by European BD (Bande Dessinée) artists. I like it, but I don't know why and that bugs me... Strange and not for everybody.

Tokyopop, Story by Gainax, Art by Hajime Ueda, 180+ pg., B&W, Unflipped, 13+.

©2000 GAINAX and Hajime Ueda. All Rights Reserved. English text © 2003 Tokyopop Inc.

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Ghost In The Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface #8.

In this issue, Motoko continues her search for Millenium and finds none other than the president. OK, so the art is fantastic, but, sincerely, even after many lectures, both in English and French, I find myself incapable of truly understanding where Shirow wanted to go with this. So I have accepted the fact that I like this because it looks so great. Am I wrong?

Dark Horse Comics, Story & art by Masamune Shirow, 36 pg., B&W, Flipped, $3.50 US/$5.99 CAN, Mature.

©2003 Masamune Shirow. All Rights Reserved. English-language edition © 2003 by Studio Proteus and Dark Horse Comics, Inc.

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GYO, Vol. 1.

Yet another disturbing (and also quite disgusting, this time) tale of horror by Junji Ito, one of the masters of the genre. Tadashi and Kaori go to Okinawa on vacation, only to find a stench of death floating around. Then a strange legged fish appears and the vacation turns into a nightmare. For real horror fans...

Viz Comics, Story & art by Junji Ito, 200 pg., B&W, Unflipped, $12.95 US/$20.95 CAN, Mature.

©2002 Junji Ito/Shogakukan. New and adapted artwork and text © 2003 Viz LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Hot Gimmick, Vol. 1.

Hatsumi goes out to buy a pregnancy test for her sister and has an unfortunate meeting with the bully son of the owner of the building complex her family lives in. Then what does the scum do? He blackmails her into being his slave, sexual and otherwise. What will Hatsumi do? The art is superb, but the story, while very good, somewhat revolts me. Maybe I am a little too idealistic, but if things like this really happen in Japan, then they have a damned serious problem...

Viz Comics, Story & art by Miki Aihara, 180+ pg., B&W, Unflipped, &9.95 US/$13.95 CAN, 16+.

©2001 Miki Aihaara/Shogakukan. New and adapted artwork and text © 2003 Viz LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Legend Of The Overfiend, Vol. 6.

In this sixth volume of Toshio Maeda's legendary hentai/horror saga, Nagumo finally transforms and impregnates Akemi with the real Chojin and Kuroko dies protecting Amano. Now all Nagumo has to do is destroy the world to prepare the advent of the Chojin. I am not a hentai fan, but this is a true classic of the genre, so fans should have it in their collection.

Manga-18, Story & art by Toshio Maeda, 190+ pg., B&W, Flipped, Cat. #CMX61106G, $16.95, 18+.

©1986-1987 Toshio Maeda. English version ©2002 A18 Corporation.

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Love Hina, Vol. 1.

You probably saw the anime and, like a lot of people, you probably loved it. Well, this is the original manga version and it is not different from the anime. Even the character designs are exactly the same. The art is simple, but very nice and the story is a riot. Love Hina was awarded the "Best Manga USA Release 2002" at Anime Expo, so it is quite popular on this side of the Pacific. Lots of fun!

Tokyopop, Story & art by Ken Akamatsu, 200+ pg., B&W, Unflipped, $9.99, 16+.

©1999 Ken Akamatsu. All Rights Reserved. English text © 2003 Tokyopop Inc.

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Maison Ikkoku, Vol. 1.

This is a re-release of the series, but, this time, Viz put back the material that had been cut in the other versions. This manga was done a long time ago, so Takahashi's style is slightly different from what we are used to now, but Maison Ikkoku is, without any doubt, her most achieved manga as far as story and character development is concerned. It can seem a little long, but stay with it, because the ending is truly magnificent. A masterpiece!

Viz Comics, Story & art by Rumiko Takahashi, 220+ pg., B&W, Unflipped, $9.95 US/$13.95 CAN, 16+.

©1984 Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan. New and adapted artwork and text © 2003 Viz LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Shaman King, Vol. 1.

Sorry, but I really do not like this manga. The art leaves me with a sense of "deja vue", the characters are somewhat unappealing and this kind of story is just not my cup of tea. However, there are some funny moments and I am sure kids will love it. [See also the review in PA#71: 64]

Viz Comics, Story & art by Hiroyuki Takei, 200+ pg., B&W, Unflipped, $7.95 US/$10.95 CAN, 10+.

©1998 Hiroyuki Takei. All Rights Reserved.

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Slayers Special: Spellbound GN.

In this volume, Lina saves an endangered species from the horror of tabloid journalism, meets a not-so-spooky witch, faces a Sherlock Holmes wannabe (complete with hat and pipe), finds a new rival and makes the acquaintance of Phil, the pacifist Prince of Seyrunn (TV serie's Amelia's dad!). The cartoony art is superb and the stories are hilarious, thanks to the presence of Naga. Good, clean fun!

CPM Manga, Story by Hajime Kanzaka, Art by Tommy Ohtsuka, 180+ pg., B&W, Unflipped, Cat. #CMX64504G, $15.95, 13+.

©2001 Hajime Kanzaka, Tommy Ohtsuka. ©2001 Rui Araizumi. English version ©2003 Central Park Media Corporation.

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Tenchi Muyo!: Sasami Stories GN.

This GN contains, as its title indicates, only Sasami stories (some of them published in English for the first time). Strangely, it is true that, of all the Tenchi Muyo! female characters, Sasami is the most popular (except for Ryoh-Oki, but she is a Cabbit, so...). The reasons for her popularity are diverse (I will not look into the possibly sleazy ones...), but it is true that she is a cute little character. As always with Hitoshi Okuda, the artwork is of extremely high quality. For real Tenchi fans.

Viz Comics, Story & art by Hitoshi Okuda, 180+ pg., B&W, Flipped, $9.95 US/$13.95 CAN, 10+.

©2001 Hitoshi Okuda, AIC / VAP, NTV.

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Tokyopop Sneaks: Fall 2003.

As the name says, this is a kind of catalog for some of the coolest titles Tokyopop will be offering in the next few months. Some really cool stuff is on the way, such as X-Day, Wild Act and Confidential Confessions (for which I have high hopes). The right way to organize your manga shopping for the next several months... By the way, it is supposed to be free.

Tokyopop, Story & art by Various Artists, 132 pg., B&W, 7+.

©2003 Mixx Entertainment, Inc.

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Yu Yu Hakusho, Vol. 1.

In this first volume of Yoshihiro Togashi's famous saga, Yusuke gets killed while saving a little kid and finds himself in a bizarre situation, as his death was quite unexpected and no place for him in either heaven or hell had been reserved. So Yusuke has two choices; become a ghost or try to come back to life in a rather risky manner. Togashi's art, while simple, is extremely efficient and the story is really fun. However, the focus changes as the story advances, getting to feel more like Dragonball Z than anything else.

Viz Comics, Story & art by Yoshihiro Togashi, 200+ pg., B&W, Unflipped, $7.95 US/$10.95 CAN, 12+.

©1990 by Yoshihiro Togashi. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA IN FRENCH

Agharta, Vol. 1.

Juju is a young drug dealer trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. One day, after a bad deal, he meets a strange girl, bound with shackles, bathing in a fountain. However, Rael is not only the sweet, slightly autistic girl she seems to be. She is also a living, killing machine... While it is hard to judge a story from just one volume, Agharta is rather intriguing and the art, a mix between Satoshi Shiki (Riot, Kamikaze) and Hiroaki Samura (Blade Of The Immortal), is really nice. Worth a look.

Kana, Story & art by Takaharu Matsumoto, 200+ pg., B&W, 17+.

©1997 Takaharu Matsumoto. All Rights Reserved. French version ©2002 Dargaud Benelux.

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Battle Royale, Vol. 1.

As this is the French version of this manga, there is not much more to say than in our review of the English version [in PA#80], except that the printing is even better and Koushun Takami, the author of the novel, delivers a chilling message on pg. 208, which can be resumed in a few words "Our society is ready for The Program, so the shuya and Noriko of this world should make sure it never happens". However, I prefer the English translation, as the dialogues feel more realistic...

Vegetal Manga Shoten/Soleil, Story by Koushun Takami, Art by Masayuki Taguchi, 200+ pg., B&W, Unflipped, 18+.

©2000 Koushun Takami / Masayuki Taguchi. All Rights Reserved.

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Collection Shonen, Vol. 6.

This manga compilation continues to offer really cool titles, such as Young GTO (the early adventures of Onizuka), Cyborg Kurochan (the little Cyborg cat with bad manners) and the popular Getbackers. This issue also contains the first episodes of Psychic Academy and the hilarious Puppet Revolution. If you read French (or if you have a good French/English dictionary), try this.

Pika Edition, Story & art by various artists, 250+ pg., B&W, 15+.

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Monster, Vol. 1.

Kenzo Tenma is a young Japanese brain surgeon with an extremely promising career in Germany. However, one day, he chooses to operate a dying little boy instead of the Mayor of Dusseldorf and the Mayor dies. Tenma finds himself out of a job and looses everything. Nine years later, monstrous murders are being committed and it seems that they are connected to both Tenma and the little boy he saved so long ago... If you want a thriller, well, this is one! Naoki Urasawa has had many successes in his career, two of the best known being Yawara! and Master Keaton. Monster is his third great success and should definitely be read. Not for little kids, though. Excellent!

Kana, Story & art by Naoki Urasawa, 210+ pg., B&W, 17+.

©1995 Urasawa Naoki. All Rights Reserved. French version ©2001 Dargaud Benelux.

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