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Posts Tagged Black Butler

Swag Bag: Creepy Stares, Deadly Gates and Sailor Moon’s Finale

Swag Bag: Creepy Stares, Deadly Gates and Sailor Moon's Finale

It often happens that I don’t realize how many books I’ve bought recently until I write one of these Swag Bag posts. While my buying habits of today can be a pretty far cry from the look-at-all-my-disposable-income days of yester-year, I’m still ever grateful I can afford to fill one of these columns in a month. And this past month had some real gems that I hope many readers are able to fit into the budget as well.

Vertical Inc.’s books were the cream of the crop this past July. After spending Animaritime drooling over every copy I saw lucky buyers walking around with, I was quick to come home and buy my own copy of Gundam the Origin (Vol. 02). I never thought I’d be so invested in one of the classic Gundam stories, but I fell in love with this one right away. Vertical’s hardcover, colour-page insert editions definitely help too. This volume even came with a bonus illustration by CLAMP.

Next I went for something new and bought a copy of Vertical’s one-shot, Utsubora: The Story of a Novelist. There was something very reminiscent of Tezuka’s darker works reading Utsubora. This twisted tale of plagiarism, lust and suicide-mystery nestles well into Vertical’s library and I quite enjoyed it. Then I had to try Wolfsmund (Vol. 01), which really surprised me. Both of these series are for adults only, and Wolfsmund greatly so for the violent content. But that didn’t surprise me as much as how the book took a story-convention I’m really used to (and enjoy) and turned it on its head. Episodic stories with one reoccurring common character but instead of running a magical shop or granting wishes, in Wolfsmund it’s a gatekeeper who won’t let anyone pass. I rounded out my mini Vertical binge with a copy of Limit (Vol. 01) as well.

Black Butler (Vol. 14)I took a trip to my Yen Press list next to visit some continuing series. First was Blood Lad (Vol. 02) and then Drrrr!’s sequel series, Drrrr! Saika Arc (Vol. 01). My favourite new book out from Yen though was easily Black Butler (Vol. 14). Every volume since the book hit double-digits has been a real step up in the story and art; enough so to take it from a series I considered dropping, to one of my most anticipated. Warning, very mild spoiler ahead – Sebastian getting his butt handed to him? Much more interesting than Mr. Perfect-Butler.

Next up were some sad farewells to two series. The first, from Viz Media, was Children of the Sea (Vol. 05). I still don’t fully understand what happened in this series, but I think that’s the point. The slightly confused yet tranquil feeling I had finishing it just made me miss it more. That melancholy couldn’t hold a candle to my sadness at completing Sailor Moon (Vol. 12), however. Wow, what a series. It’s dramatic, beautiful, detailed, universe-encompassing in its scope, and totally inspiring to read as a woman. I’m really looking forward to the two collections of Sailor Moon short stories due out from Kodansha Comics in the Fall.

Gate 7 (Vol. 04) is another book I bought recently that desperately wants to be as pretty and epic, but unfortunately only succeeds at the first. This is one of CLAMP’s most recent works, and while the artwork is absolutely gorgeous, and the characters are kinda fun, the story itself is completely underwhelming. I really hope something big and interesting happens soon or else it could be the first CLAMP series I’m tempted to drop.

That does it for this week’s Swag Bag. As always, feel more than free to share what purchases you’ve made recently and if you’d recommend them!


On The Shelf: July 24th, 2013

On The Shelf - July 24th, 2013

It’s a big week for Yen Press with a stack of fresh manga volumes to help us get through these rainy days. …Or boiling hot days, depending on where you are.

Though I’m still in the fading stages of my Sailor Moon overload from last week‘s final volume, my enthusiasm will soon to be shifting to what lands in my shopping bag today, notably Black Butler (Vol. 14) and Doubt (Vol. 02).

And don’t forget about Shonen Jump, which comes out every week! This week’s issue includes, among many other things, the final chapter of Cross Manage and the second installment of Akira Toriyama’s new series, Jaco the Galatic Patrolman.

Black Butler (Vol.14) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Bloody Monday (Vol.11) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Doubt (Vol.02) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Is This a Zombie (Vol.05) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
K-ON! College [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Puella Magi Oriko Magica (Vol.01) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Soul Eater (Vol.15) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Until Death Do Us Part (Vol.04) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]


Otaku USA: On The Shelf – April 24, 2013

Otaku USA: On The Shelf - April 24, 2013

I’ve been pretty busy lately working on a number of freelance projects (websites, comics and launches, oh my!), but I’m never too busy for checking out the new manga. This week has some notables I’ve recently read and really enjoyed, such as Black Butler (Vol.13) and X (Vol.05).

You can read my thoughts on this week’s manga over at my On The Shelf article for Otaku USA. Enjoy! And I’ll be back~

Alice in the Country of Hearts: My Fanatic Rabbit (Vol.02)  [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Black Butler (Vol.13)  [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Bunny Drop (Vol.08)  [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Crimson Empire: Circumstances to Serve a Noble (Vol.01)  [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Doubt Omnibus (Vol.01)  [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Flowers of Evil (Vol.05)  [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Is This A Zombie? (Vol.04)  [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Knights of Sidonia (Vol.02)  [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (Vol.15)  [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Pandora Hearts (Vol.15)  [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Punch Up! (Vol.04)  [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
X 3-in-1 (Vol.05)  [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]


Swag Bag: Marching Into Spring With All The Right Stuf

Swag Bag: Marching Into Spring With All The Right Stuf

It’s this week’s second Swag Bag! While I was busy hitting up my local comic store for goodies, RightStuf was preparing a box full of animated wonders to send my way as well. My Visa may’ve wept this week, but not as much as it has in the past thanks to RightStuf’s new shipping policies for Canadians.

Though I haven’t seen any of it, I started with parts one and two of Funimation‘s DVD sets of Toriko. I bought it based on my adoration of the manga. I’ve already made my way through both sets, which are a bit short at only thirteen episodes each. The show itself doesn’t offer anything more than the manga, but I really like the dub which is something I can usually count on Funimation to do really well. It had many funny, memorable quotes so I’m sure I’ll be watching it again just for the fun script.

My biggest purchase was the entirety of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood on Blu-ray. I haven’t seen any of this either but the manga is phenomenal and I recently finished watching the original anime on Netflix. I’m very excited to see my favorite characters who were not in the first anime. Lin! And I’ve heard that the production values are great. This purchase includes the whole series, plus the OVA collection.

And also on Blu-ray in my collection pile was the box set of Black Butler II. It actually includes both the DVDs and Blu-rays, which is a great touch. I really liked the first season of Black Butler but it ended at a point that definitely didn’t feel like it needed a sequel. Can’t say no to the fans I suppose right? From what I’ve seen of Funimation’s previews clips, the new little butler-owning prepubescent has some seriously scary issues.

Fate/Zero Keychain: Rider SDRounding out the shopping trip were some Black Jack DVDs to finish off my collection (yay discount bins), and also an adorable Sailor Moon keychain and Tuxedo Mask plushie. I also couldn’t help but buy a couple Fate/Zero key chains of Rider and Waver. I’ll buy anything with those two on it! Maybe someday I’ll do a write-up of the phenomenal statue of Rider I received a couple weeks back…

And last, as I naturally cannot make any online order that doesn’t include at least some manga, I caught up on a few recent boys’ love titles – Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love (Vol. 03) and Awkward Silence (Vol. 03). I really love SuBLime‘s releases, from the clean and consistent cover design they use across all their titles, to the solid translation and lettering work inside courtesy of decades of experience from their parent company, Viz Media. I was a little disappointed that His Favourite (Vol.03) was spaced far enough apart from the other two third volumes that I wasn’t able to include it in this shipment. Ah well, next time!

That does it for this week’s Swag Bag. As always, feel more than free to share what purchases you’ve made recently and if you’d recommend them!


Otaku USA: On The Shelf – January 23, 2013

Otaku USA: On The Shelf - January 23, 2013

More manga, more power! Or at least entertainment! I was spoiled by an early delivery week from Diamond Comics, so I was able to purchase a couple of this week’s titles last week. That means I can tell you for sure that there are some super gems out this week. Notably, Bride’s Story (Vol.04) and Black Butler (Vol.12) from Yen Press. Both were great!

You can read my thoughts on all this week’s titles at Otaku USA’s On The Shelf article, written as always by yours-truly.

Black Butler (Vol.12) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Black God (Vol.18) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Bride’s Story (Vol.04) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-Chan (Vol.03) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Soul Eater (Vol.12) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
The Flowers of Evil (Vol.04) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]


Swag Bag: Zombies, Zeal and Melancholy

Swag Bag: Zombies, Zeal and Melancholy

Diamond Comics has been sneaking out some releases early this year, so this week’s swag bag (which is actually last week’s by purchase time) includes a couple Yen Press books that I didn’t expect to be seeing until sometime this week. No complaints from me! It just means more budget for what arrives at Strange Adventures tomorrow.

My first purchase last week though was Dark Horse‘s Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (Vol. 13), as I missed it when it was released back in mid December. We only get a couple volumes of this series a year, at best, so I’m always excited to get a new one. Most of the volumes are still episodic in nature, but randomly there’s a sudden plot development that I never see coming. This was one of those volumes! I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this particular reveal, and it really feels like it came out of no where, but I’m eager to see where the story goes with it.

Another episodic series was next in my bag with Natsume’s Book of Friends (Vol. 13). Plot development is far less in-your-face in this series, and any forward progression is done via subtle character development and the occasional new face. The second half of this volume is made up of two flashbacks following the perspective of Natsume’s school friends and how they met him. We rarely see much of those who aren’t affiliated with yokai, so it was fun getting a glimpse of Natsume from someone else’s angle. This series is always so… relaxingly sad?  Soothingly melancholic? It’s a tough feeling to pinpoint, but I’m sure those who read the series understand what I mean.

Black Butler (Vol. 12)The first of my two early Yen Press buys was A Bride’s Story (Vol. 04). This volume is a big tone change from earlier books, and it’s pretty great because of that. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed each volume of A Bride’s Story, but I love that this volume is a lot more fun than usual. The twin girls on the cover are the book’s focus and it’s entertaining watching them tear around their little village trying to find perfect husbands.

And last up this shopping trip was Black Butler (Vol. 12). I wasn’t feeling all that excited to get this book since recent volumes of the series have felt a bit lackluster  Still pretty, but the story just hasn’t been clicking for me. And now zombies? Eh… And yet, my ambivalence to it was rewarded this time with surprise and awe! This could possibly be my favourite volume of the series to date. The art was top notch, the fan-service abundant but classy and all the beautiful Victorian clothing was looking especially attractive when worn by people kicking some series zombie butt. Now I’m really looking forward to the next volume.

That does it for this week’s Swag Bag. As always, feel more than free to share what purchases you’ve made recently and if you’d recommend them!


Otaku USA: On The Shelf – October 24, 2012

Otaku USA: On The Shelf - October 24, 2012

Brides, breasts, blood and butlers! But not all in the same book. I don’t think… I haven’t read them yet. But I will soon! Yesterday saw a small but fun stack of new books out including Bride of the Water God (Vol.12) and Black Butler (Vol. 11).

You can read the full list of new manga volumes and my thoughts on some choice picks over at the usual spot, Otaku USA’s On The Shelf!

Black Butler (Vol.11) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Black God (Vol.17) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Bloody Monday (Vol.08) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Bride of the Water God (Vol.12) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Disappearance of Nagato Yuki Chan (Vol.02) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Durarara!! (Vol.04) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Gantz (Vol.25) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Pandora Hearts (Vol.12) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Triage X (Vol.01) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]


Review: Black Butler (Vol. 10)

Black Butler (Vol.10)

Manga-ka: Yana Toboso
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: July 2012

Synopsis: “With his royally sanctioned dinner party a shambles and a murderer on the loose, Earl Ciel Phantomhive is a veritable prisoner in his own home, alongside those of his guests who still live. And in the most shocking of turns, the young earl now finds himself without his indispensible manservant, Sebastian. But as the mystery deepens, there arrives upon the young earl’s doorstep an odd vicar, wearing an insolent smile and an Inverness cape that flaps and splashes behind him… Is this mysterious thirteenth guest the perpetrator of the crimes that have bloodied the halls of Phantomhive Manor?”

The murder mystery resumes, taking us into the third volume of Black Butler‘s Phantomhive Manor who-dun-it. I was a little surprised to see this story arc lasted even this long, going right up to the final page of this tenth volume of Black Butler and beyond. None the less it gives secondary characters time to shine, and introduces a new character with some secrets of his own that bring about a conclusion that really couldn’t have been put off any longer.

Read more…


Otaku USA: On The Shelf – July 18-25, 2012

Otaku USA: On The Shelf - July 18-25, 2012

The recent lull of Kuriousity updates extended over to my On The Shelf article as well, but worry not curious list-seekers and manga-buyers (because I’m quite sure you were beside yourselves) – this week’s On The Shelf is a double-dose edition collecting what’s new and recent from last week and today!

My does-want-must-haves of this shipping stack include the first volume of Project-H‘s Velvet Kiss, Vertical Inc‘s classy looking one-shot, Sakuran, Viz Media’s new 20th Century Boys and the tenth volume of Black Butler from Yen Press.


Swag Bag: Very Merry Month of Manga In April – No Foolin’!

Swag Bag: April 2012

It’s the return of Swag Bag! In this once-was-weekly article I give a quick rundown of the books I bought that week and some brief thoughts, be it itty-bitty reviews if I’ve read them or first impressions if I haven’t. Since it’s been a long while since I’ve written one, this one is going to recap all my April purchases instead of just one week’s… so it’s a bit long. As always I encourage readers to share their recent purchases in the comments section!

Kamisama Kiss (Vol.08)I continued a few of my on-going shonen series with Viz Media‘s Blue Excorcist (Vol.07), Bleach (Vol.39) and Bakuman (Vol.10), the latter of which has just ended in Japan. Much as I wish sometimes series I like would go on forever, it’s comforting knowing there’s an end in sight. Kamisama Kiss (Vol.08) and Dawn of the Arcana (Vol.03) gave me a Shojo Beat fix, though I’m still not quite sure if I even like Dawn of the Arcana. Maybe now I’ll find out? So tricky to tell.

Arisa (Vol.07) was a quick-to-buy volume. I really like this series, though it is going on far too long. Suspense is one thing but get to the reveals already! And I hope comatose sister wakes up soon… I suppose I shouldn’t complain much about suspense in that kind of story after I finish reading 20th Century Boys (Vol.20). If you want a master of comic suspense, you need look no further than Naoki Usawara. So much suspense, all the time, and while sometimes it’s almost painful how much the story plays on that, it’s completely worth it. Definitely one of my favourites.

Digital Manga and Yen Press are publishing some of my other favourite currently running series, the kind that nestle neatly between the genres of shonen and shoujo. Of those I bought Black Butler (Vol.09), Countdown: 7 Days (Vol.02), Replica (Vol.02) and Durarara!! (Vol.02). I was surprised to see Durarara!! has a shiny gold finish on the cover letters; pleasantly surprised, of course. It’s a neat addition that hopefully means well for the book’s sales. It deserves them too, this series is great and I’m really glad it’s been licensed so I can finally read what all the fuss was about.

Speaking of high quality releases, Yen Press’s English edition of A Bride’s Story – WOW. It always amazes me how good it looks, not to mention of course how gorgeous the artwork is. It’s a beautiful piece of work all around. I was thrilled this month to pick up a copy of volume three. I also bought Bunny Drop (Vol.04) which is the start of the series’ time-skip to cute little Rin now being a teenager. So far my opinion on it is very… meh. Actually it’s more like, ‘I wish I’d stopped at three’. So sad.

Continuingly getting better however is Sailor Moon! Kodansha Comics recently released the fourth volume and while it was a little painfully episodic (one character after another being kidnapped), it had a lot of good Tuxedo Mask character development that the anime barely scratched the surface of. It makes me really like him as a character and even his relationship with Usagi more too. On the opposite end of the likeability scale are the characters of Itazura na Kiss (Vol.08) – why am I still reading this series!? Classic shoujo or not, the cons of the non-existant relationship are far outweighing the funny moments. Bleh.

Osamu Tezuka's DororoThankfully there were other omnibus to buy that were able to almost completely wash the ick of Itazura away – Vertical Inc’s Dororo (by Osamu Tezuka! and over 800 pages!) and Viz Media’s Cross Game (Vol.07). Cross Game has easily become one of my favourite comic series I’ve ever read – I get completely engrossed reading every volume. It’s just so good! The ability to make the everyday incrediably compelling and interesting is a skill Mitsuru Adachi definitely has. Another series that makes rather boring activities still charming to read is Seven Seas‘ Blood Alone (Vol.06). Don’t let the word vampire turn you off this one, it’s really sweet and has some good action sequences that are pretty realistic in their execution. Nothing too over the top and thus refreshingly believable.

This past week I also purchased my first digital manga volumes after buying myself an iPad (oh my credit card, it weeps!). Printed-versions are still my much preferred, but with some publishers now offering titles we’ll only ever see legally available in English via digital, I’d rather read them digitally than not at all. The iPad’s big screen and crisp graphics also offers a really nice reading experience, which I hope to go into with more detail at a later date.

After looking through different manga purchasing options, including Yen Press, Viz Media and Digital Manga’s apps, the site that earned my money was SuBLime – Viz Media’s new boys’ love publishing arm. The company sells digital copies you can then either read through your web browser on their website or download as a PDF to read however you digitally-please. This flexibility plus the tidy $5.99 price tag won me over. I bought three one-shots – Devil’s Honey, Oku-san’s Daily Fantasies and The Bed of My Dear King. All three were enjoyable in their own ways and I plan to share how and why soon.

…and that was my manga buying for April! What was in your swag bags this month?


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