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Author Archive for Victoria K Martin

Review: Soul Eater (Vol. 10)

Soul Eater (Vol. 10)

Manga-ka: Atsushi Ohkubo
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: August 2012

Synopsis: “With Doctor Stein unable to carry on, Maka, Kid, and Black☆Star enter the magnetic field to take up the mission and locate the tempestuous demon tool known as Brew. Time is quickly running out as the three face off against Mosquito, struggling to harmonize their wavelengths within the magnetized vortex. They’ll be lucky to escape with their lives, let alone the demon tool!”

When last we discussed Soul Eater, the series was visually impressive, but plot-wise had too much obvious filler. Volume ten is another piece of that same plot line, and likewise is mostly rising action, but it works better as for the most part actions and development feels much weightier this time round.

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Review: Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden (Vol. 10)

Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden (Vol. 10)

Manga-ka: Yuu Watase
Publisher: Viz Media
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: September 2012

Synopsis: “Takiko has returned to the Universe of the Four Gods! As the Celestial Warriors search for the scroll of the Four Gods, Takiko uncovers the truth about the prophecy that turned Uruki and his father into bitter enemies. But while they begin a new chapter in their adventures, Takiko struggles to conceal a terrible secret about herself from the Celestial Warriors…”

It has been almost three years since the Genbu Kaiden drought began but finally it looks as though it’s over. Volume eleven even has a release date for next March, which hopefully won’t turn out to be a placeholder. If it is indeed real, then Fushigi Yuugi fans everyone have lots to rejoice about.

Naturally, after said rejoicing is done, the question to ask is was this volume worth the wait. The answer to that is … maybe.

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Review: XXXHolic (Vol. 19)

xxxHolic (Vol. 19)

Manga-ka: CLAMP
Publisher: DelRey
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: February 2012

Synopsis: “Kimihiro Watanuki has passed through many trials by fire. Once an indentured servant, he has matured and become the poised and skilled keeper of the shop that grants wishes. But Watanuki’s final wish is for himself: to meet the witch Yûko one more time. With Yûko long vanished from our world, is it even possible? That question and others are answered now in the concluding volume of the bestselling manga xxxHolic.”

Ah, CLAMP. My relationship with them is a complicated one, because I love some parts of their work but have major issues with others. The only real consistent thing I can say about them is that, throughout their ups and downs, the art is always beautiful. But sometimes the story just isn’t there, and though it pains me to say this about one of my favourite CLAMP series from, this is definitely the case with volume nineteen of xxxHolic.

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Review: Sailor Moon (Vol. 06)

Sailor Moon (Vol. 06)

Manga-ka: Naoko Takeuchi
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: July 2012

Synopsis: “Just when all seems well again in the world, another enemy appears! Two new figures from the private school, Mugen Academe, appear and take a special interest in Sailor Moon and company. Who are they, and do they have anything to do with the strange occurrences that are suddenly taking place? Meanwhile, the appearance of two new Guardians takes everyone by surprise as our favorite Sailor heroes must once again face off against new enemies to save the world!”

Back in my Year in Review posting, I mentioned that I hadn’t started reading the re-release of Sailor Moon. Since then, I have rectified this most terrible of errors and have actually managed to catch up with the series, at least until the imminent release of volume seven. But better late than never, right?

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Review: Soul Eater (Vol. 08)

Soul Eater (Vol. 08)

Manga-ka: Atsushi Okubo
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: February 2012

Synopsis: “While Black☆Star and Tsubaki keep Mifune and Mosquito distracted, Sid is able to locate Arachnophobia’s demon tool and put an abrupt end to their sinister plans. But though the evil organization won’t be manipulating anyone’s morality anytime soon, the blueprints for the dangerous tool are sealed away in Shinigami-sama’s secret vault rather than destroyed. Surely Shinigami-sama would never think of constructing a demon tool himself?!”

My experience with Soul Eater before reading this volume is, I must admit, a tad limited. I know of the series mostly by reputation and have read a chapter of it in YenPlus. But beyond that, I went into this volume with very little knowledge beyond what I could find on Wikipedia. It’s a challenge I’ve faced before as a reviewer but I find that can be interesting in its own way, since you can really look at how a single volume stands on its own, more so than if you are seeing it as just part of a whole.

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The Review That Wasn’t: Spice & Wolf (Vol. 05)

Spice & Wolf (Vol. 05)

Author: Isuna Hasekura
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: December 2011

Synopsis: “Lawrence and Holo take a respite from their travels north, but a true businessman never rests! It isn’t long before an opportunity for profit in the town of Lenos presents itself to Lawrence; one that could fulfill his dreams of owning his own establishment. But as always the promise of great reward carries with it great risk – and risk is never greater than when one plans to use a werewolf as collateral!”

Hey, remember me? I used to post reviews here? No? Well, I can’t blame you for that since it has been awhile. Definitely longer than I intended it to be. And there are a few reasons for that but the main one is that I was sent the fifth volume of the Spice & Wolf light novels to review and haven’t been able to finish it. And without finishing it, I can’t really give it a proper review. I can, however, review my inability to produce a review. Or something. Roll with me here, guys.

This isn’t my first encounter with Spice & Wolf. I’ve seen the first season of the anime and about half of the second season. I even reviewed volume one way back when. My struggles weren’t due to the common issue of not knowing what is going on. No, the problems I had come down to finding it a hard book to not put down – and not entirely for negative reasons.

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Review: K-ON! (Vol. 04)

K-ON! (Vol. 04)

Manga-ka: kakifly
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: December 2011

Synopsis: “As the second school term begins, so do preparations for the upcoming school festival! The Pop Music Club starts working on some fresh lyrics as they tune up their act for their live show. But the third-year girls find themselves practising for a performance of another kind when Ritsu and Mio are selected to play the lead roles in their class production of Romeo and Juliet! With the rest of the girls tied up in play rehearsal, Azusa spends her afternoons alone in the clubroom … Will the show be ready to go on?!”

The synopsis for this volume is a bit misleading. While the themes it raises are present for the entire book, the plot surrounding the play is actually resolved very quickly. The rest of the volume is concerned mainly with the older girls of K-ON! as they face their imminent graduation and the challenges of getting into university.

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Year in Review: Victoria’s Top 5 Best Manga of 2011

Victoria's Top 5 Manga of 2011

So it’s that time of year again. Yes, the “everyone makes lists about the best/worst things of the year.” And you know what? I love it. Yes, love it. And so, I decided to put together my own list of my top five best manga of 2011.

To be eligible for this list, all a series had to do was have one book this year that I have read. Some (most actually) began in earlier years but they were the titles I looked forward to reading the most in these last twelve months. And so, without further ado, here are my top picks of the year.

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Review: Gunslinger Girl – Omnibus (Vol. 03)

Gunslinger Girl - Omnibus (Vol. 03)

Manga-ka: Yu Aida
Publisher: Seven Seas
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: October 2011

Synopsis: “There is a secret counter-terrorism unit for the Italian government known only as the “Social Welfare Agency.” Its mission: to rescue troubled girls and turn them into heartless cyborg assassins using the latest advances in cyber-technology. The newest inductee into the Agency is a second generation cyborg called Petrushka, who may be the Agency’s most powerful operative yet. Petrushka is given a formidable trial-by-fire mission, together with her handler Allesandro, to foil an assassination attempt. Can she prove she’s got what it takes in an impossible mission she may not even survive?”

Gunslinger Girl fans, myself included, have waited a very long time for the arrival of this book. The series license was once held by ADV, who started publishing the book, stopped, started again, and then had the whole manga section fold, placing the series in indefinite limbo. Thankfully, Seven Seas stepped in to pick the title up; however, getting to new material took quite some time as the first six volumes were re-published in two omnibus additions. But finally volumes seven and eight are here, together in the third omnibus, and the question about what happens next can finally be answered.

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Review: Ikigami – The Ultimate Limit (Vol. 05)

Ikigami (Vol. 05)

Manga-ka: Motoro Mase
Publisher: Viz Media
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: May 2010

Synopsis: “Beginning today, we will randomly select a different citizen who will be killed within 24 hours of notification. We believe this will help remind all people how precious life is and how important it is to be a productive, active member of society. Thank you for your continued attention and your cooperation and participation… Congratulations! You have been randomly selected by the government… to die in 24 hours! Featuring Episode 9: The Writing on the Wall, Episode 10: Honor and Duty. …where does a death messenger go on a date?”

What would you do if you knew you only had 24 hours to live? This question is one that has been asked over and over again, both in fiction and otherwise. Because of this, it would seem to be an unoriginal concept; however, in Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit, Motoro Mase proves that it’s an idea that can still be taken in diverse and thought-provoking ways.

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