Batman and the Justice League Vol 1
October 23rd, 2018 by diane92345

Batman and the Justice League Vol 1 has Batman, Superman, the Joker and Lex Luthor set in a Japanese manga-style plot.

A young Japanese man, Rui, goes to Gotham City to find his missing parents. His cab driver, in a VW bug (?), warns him of the city’s high crime rate and drops him off at the edge of the city. When beset with corrupt police, Rui uses his ninja-like skills to defend himself but refuses to kill. Batman rescues him. Commissioner Gordon tells Rui to leave town but he refuses. Run-ins with DC heroes and villains ensue.

Merging my two favorite graphic novel styles—manga and comics—was great fun! It took me a minute to realize that the book reads front to back (like comics) but each page reads right to left (like manga). In addition, the plot was altered slightly because it was originally written for a Japanese audience. The Joker’s new sidekick is a Japanese goddess/demon called Akurou. Using a Japanese hero, Rui, is brilliant. The fish out of water outsider viewpoint works well to emphasize new points of the Batman and Justice League’s story. The artwork also merges manga-style for Rui but only manga-style hair for the American characters though they all look much younger than they are usually portrayed in the comics.

The merging of the two styles makes Batman and the Justice League Vol 1 a great choice for both manga and comics readers. I loved it! 5 stars!

Thanks to DC Comics and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: , ,

Kamo: Pact with the Spirit World Vol 2
October 3rd, 2018 by diane92345

Kamo and Shokola are once again helping demon Crimson in Kamo: Pact with the Spirit World Vol 2.

Kamo makes a deal with demon Crimson. To be permanently cured of his deadly heart condition, he must capture twelve spirits to allow Crimson to become human again. In volume 1 (reviewed here), Kamo captures four. In this volume, Shokola leads a seance with Kamo that goes horribly wrong.

Kamo: Pact with the Spirit World Vol 2 relies on strong character development of both Crimson and Shokola. The seance aftermath sends shock waves through Shokola’s family. Kamo ups his demon fighting technique. Some new inventive spirits are found. There is a shocking twist at the end that should not be missed. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Toykopop, and Edelweiss+ for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Paranormal Tagged with: ,

Undead Messiah 1
August 7th, 2018 by diane92345

A pregnant Brazilian lands in an airport in Switzerland. She calls the police because an assassin is hunting her. When the police fail to stop the killer, a young girl appears saying she just wants the lady’s fetus. So begins Undead Messiah 1, an exciting thriller wrapped within a horror manga.

Who hasn’t been entranced by a video game, movie or book and after it’s over you still feel like it has leached into your real life? Tim loves ZAC, a zombie video game, and the Walking Dead television show. He begins to see zombie threats everywhere. However, just because he’s paranoid, doesn’t mean there aren’t zombies running amok.

I loved the innovative plot. Unfortunately, I can’t describe my favorite part since it will spoil the surprise. As a huge fan of the Walking Dead comics, I thought this book would be perfect for me. And it was. Nerdy gamer thinks he can kill real zombies until he meets one. If only there was a wireless controller for real life (heavy sigh…). The art, especially the chapter titles, perfectly set the mood and clearly illustrated the plot.

Undead Messiah 1 has elements of horror, mystery, fantasy, post-apocalyptic thriller and even romance. I can’t wait for the second volume, which comes out November 6, 2018. It is highly recommended for all manga fans looking for something different. 4 stars!

Thanks to ToykoPop and Edelweiss+ for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Horror, Mystery & Thrillers, Paranormal, Romance Tagged with: ,

Kamo Vol 1
May 25th, 2018 by diane92345

Kamo, a sixteen-year-old boy, is dying from a defective heart. Crimson from the underworld offers him a deal. Trap twelve spirit souls that will allow Crimson to live again and Crimson will repair Kamo’s heart permanently.

Despite a non-Japanese author, the artwork has an authentic manga feel. The ambience is very international. The setting is Bern, Switzerland. The female lead is a Spanish immigrant who occasionally uses Spanish phrases. The plot, based on Goethe’s Faust, is just different enough to be enjoyable without throwing off the manga vibe. 4 stars!

Thanks to ToykoPop and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Horror, Paranormal Tagged with: ,

Manga Classics Romeo and Juliet
May 11th, 2018 by diane92345

“For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

Shakespeare’s words are the best part of his plays.  However, I look to Manga Classics to shorten classic literature to manageable lengths. By including the entire play using Shakespeare’s original words, this book is just as difficult to read as the original.

Recommended for students who have to read the original anyway and would prefer to do it with really beautiful pictures. If you are a cheater like me, look to the Cliff Notes version. 3 stars!

Thanks to Udon Entertainment and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Literary Fiction Tagged with: , ,

Make Manga
April 12th, 2018 by diane92345

Focusing on composition and coloring, Make Manga! is a great next step for pencil artists.

While sketching is almost a sixth of the book, it seems too brief for most beginning manga artists. The inking and especially coloring sections are extremely well done. Most pages explain both what to do and why. Note that the author uses exclusively watercolor for backgrounds and large areas of characters. It may not be a good fit for those who dislike that type of media.

The chapters on composition and creativity are particularly useful for self-taught artists. There are also step-by-step guides in the back to create a day and a night composition for those needing more assistance.

Make Manga! would make a great gift (along with some art supplies) for the budding artist in your life. 3 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Impact Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy. This book will be published on 4/17/2018.

Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

City 1
March 31st, 2018 by diane92345

City 1 is a surreal fast-moving episodic Sunday Comics-style manga.

Nagumo (20) doesn’t have her rent money. She tried to double her money by playing the horses and lost. Her landlady, called the Granny, is insistent. Niikura, Nagumo’s best friend cannot loan her the rent money. Nagumo goes through many schemes trying to pay her rent. Granny is a street brawler (literally).

City 1 contains twelve 12-page stories. All involve city life and build on each other. Some are ironic, some are humorous but all do not seem like traditional manga.

I’m not sure if the problem is in the translation or me not understanding Japanese culture well enough despite my worship of Studio Ghibli and mecha anime. Do Japanese really touch the gills of a shiitake mushroom or rub an eraser to relax? City 1 is clearly meant to be a madcap comedy. It fell short of that for me. However, tastes vary so I’ll give this comic 3 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, Kodanska Comics, and NetGalley for a copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: ,

Again Vol 1
March 7th, 2018 by diane92345

With dyed blond hair and a hostile resting face, Imamura is finally graduating from his high school as Again Vol 1 opens. He transferred to the high school three years previously but had neither made friends nor joined a club. Imamura has also made no plans for his future career or schooling after high school ends. After the graduation ceremony, Imamura is thinking about the Ouendan (pep) club that he could have joined but didn’t.  When he tries to climb through a window into the old Ouendan club room, he is seen by Akira, who is meeting her boyfriend.  When Akira sees Imamura, she runs in fear and trips down a staircase.  Imamura also trips and lands on top of her, knocking them both out.

Imamura wakes up with his mother calling him to go to school. He realizes that it is three years earlier and he is reliving his entire high school career.  He realizes that this is his chance to make better choices including joining the Ouendan.  Akira’s tale is also told but in less detail. While berating Imamura for forcing her to fall down the stairs, she accidently joins the Ouendan too. The rest of the novel addresses typical high school rivalries and romances.

The cover artwork using pastels and watercolors is beautiful. The interior art uses cross hashing to make various shades of gray. However, the drawings appear somewhat muddled. There is nothing within the plot to mark it as original. The abrupt end of Again Vol 1 forces me to give this volume 3 stars.  Hopefully, Vol 2 will have a more complete story.

Thanks to the publisher, Kodansha Comics, and NetGalley for an egalley.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: , , ,

Nightmare Before Christmas
October 6th, 2017 by diane92345

The only thing manga in this graphic novel is reading right to left.

Disappointing manga adaptation of the Tim Burton movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas. I love the movie and I love manga. I thought this would be a perfect fit for me. However, this is an exact retelling of the movie’s plot with identical illustrations. None of the features of manga, such as big eyes and colorful hair, are incorporated in the book’s art. This is especially disappointing since the publisher is Tokyopop, my favorite manga supplier.

This graphic novel may be acceptable to a collector of Nightmare memorabilia or parents who want a bedtime story version of their child’s favorite film. However, all others would be better served by watching the movie. 2 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, Tokyopop, and netgalley for an advanced review copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: ,