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Posts Tagged Black Jack

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!


Year In Review: Lissa’s Favourites of 2011

Lissa’s Favourites of 2011

There are no shortage of ‘Best Of’ lists this time of year. While I like popping around to different peoples’ sites and seeing what they thought, it’s a bit of a frustration that I can’t seem to write one myself. How people choose a solid list containing five or ten favourites, from across different genres and subject matters, is just something I can’t seem to muster the brain power for. Not enough conviction I suppose? There’s just so much to love!

But I can’t overlook the perfect chance to look back at all the great titles a year had to offer and 2011 had some really fantastic ones. So then where is this going, oh rambling one, you ask? My semi-traditional equivalent to the yearly best of – the random Lissa’s favourites and best-ofs list! Which really just means you get a lot more titles broken into a lot more categories so I can remain a lot more loving to a lot more series. And in some cases not so loving… From the Best Release Quality to the Favourite Fan Service and even to the most Gag Worthy – here are a bunch of my favourite titles from 2011!

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Otaku USA: On The Shelf – November 30, 2011

Otaku USA: On The Shelf - November 30, 2011

It’s Wednesday! And the fifth Wednesday in the month too, that’s an extra week of new comics. You can see the list of new manga out over at my On The Shelf article for Otaku USA.

The big titles out today are the long-awaited new volume of MPD Psycho from Dark Horse, and the seventeenth and final volume of Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack from Vertical Inc. I may very well cry when I finish that one – it’s never easy when one of your favourites comes to an end!


NYAF 2011: Vertical Inc

Vertical Inc and a logo edit of mine that completely defeats the point of the original!

The second big manga panel of NYCC/NYAF was Vertical Inc‘s which happened Friday night. It was one of the most anticipated manga related events as the company’s marketing director, Ed Chavez, paved the way to it with teasing hints about new titles they’d be revealing. The panel was run by Ed and the company’s editorial director, Yani Mentzas. Their signature Chi plushie was also present, always offering the audience a well worn smile.

A powerpoint presentation was used for the panel to showcase Vertical’s current and upcoming volumes. Ed noted he’d made the same presentation multiple times this convention season so he’d be going through them pretty quick. While that may have been the case, he still had something interesting to add about almost every one. There’s a lot of info here so I’m going to stick with a more list-style format for this panel write-up.

Oct 15 Note: A few cover images will be added to this post after the con ends so check back if curious!

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Swag Bag: Until The Full Moon in the Belly of the Beast

Swag Bag

Books, books and more books! Digital manga may be picking up speed but I’m so thankful we still have bookshelves, upon bookshelves of manga to buy. This past week I got a bunch of new titles along with scattered older titles that I missed.

I also secured remaining plans for my trip to New York next month for NYAF/NYCC. Going to the con again is going to fun, meeting new and old acquaintances amazing and then there’s the opportunity to step foot into Kinokuniya again. A place of manga beauty… Anyway! Any other Kuriousity readers going this year?

In terms of goodies bought here at home recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find an early copy of Osamu Tezuka’s The Book of Human Insects. It’s published by Vertical Inc. and is a nice hardcover edition. I wasn’t expecting it to be flipped, since I’m so accustomed to reading their Black Jack books, but at least it doesn’t take long getting used to reading it the other way around.

Ikigami (Vol. 07)Adding some new boys’ love to my shelves, I bought the one-shot Midnight Bloom from Digital Manga and two volumes of the Takumi-kun series: Tales Out of Season and Barefoot Waltz. I also bought The Betrayal Knows My Name (Vol. 01) which though not undeniably boys’ love yet, is definitely leaning the way. This one’s an omnibus release which is a format I’m becoming more and more fond of – so much manga in one affordable go!

To my sadness, I bought the last volume of Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit (Vol. 07). It’s not actually the last volume of the series itself but looks like (based on retailer listings) that it’ll be the last one Viz Media is going to release. It’s unfortunate, but I suppose not very surprising as it doesn’t look to have sold very well. Starting something new to try and off-set the abrupt end, I bought my much anticipated Drifters (Vol. 01) from Dark Horse.

Another new series I bought (this one on a total whim because it was there) was Mardock Scramble (Vol. 01) from Kodansha Comics. From them I also bought Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Vol. 02) and Until the Full Moon (Vol. 01). There was a huge quality contrast between these two titles – Until the Full Moon looked beautiful with a really nice paper stock for the cover. Phoenix Wright however had really low resolution artwork on the cover that was pixelated and fuzzy – it looked like a bootleg product. Not good, Kodansha!

Until The Full Moon (Vol. 01)From Viz Media I continued a handful of on-going series with Pokemon: Black & White (Vol. 03), Bleach (Vol. 36) and Toriko (Vol. 06). I’ve already read Bleach and it was really good – a great flashback volume into the pasts of all the Shinigami. Toriko was just really, really, really weird still (they’re fighting a battle inside a giant mammoth’s intestines!) and I can’t help but love it because of that. I then purchased Fall in Love Like a Comic (Vol. 01 – 02), having just recently read and enjoyed the first volume from the library.

Lastly I bought a whole stack of old Tokyopop titles thanks to Strange Adventures‘ great discounted manga section. First I bought Soul Rescue (Vol. 01 – 02) since it’s by the same creator as Otomen, which Viz Media currently publishes. Because the cover looked really pretty, I then bought Million Tears (Vol. 01 – 02). Forget About Love (Vol. 01) was the last of my TP titles and unfortunately never had anything further than that published (so here’s hoping I don’t like it too much?).

Alas it looks like no Sailor Moon for me this week (why, Diamond Comics, why?!) but I’ve still lots and lots to read. Time to get started! So what’s in your Swag Bag this week?


Swag Bag: Sunshine Surgeons and Flopping Fantasies

Swag Bag - August 12

It’s been a little while I’ve had a Swag Bag column. In a very disorganized way it suits the current state of my apartment, where I keep finding books I’d forgotten I bought! Upside is I always find something new to read, inadvertently stopping myself from simply reading everything the moment I get home.

So what goodies have I been ‘finding’ over the last couple of weeks?

Starting off with some shoujo, I picked up the fourth volume of Kobato. It’s not my favourite CLAMP series but I’m still enjoying it’s cute-factor. I reviewed this volume earlier in the week and really liked the cameos from CLAMP’s other series. For something less fantasy and more kooky, I bought Dengeki Daisy (Vol. 05) – which I recently learned is created by a male manga-ka (the more you know!) Edit: Or not? See comments below!. For a story darker than those two put together, Arisa (Vol. 03) fit the bill perfectly continuing to deceive anyone I show with its cutesy covers.

Dengeki Daisy (Vol. 05)After drawing a lot of attention back when it was first announced by Viz Media, volumes one and two of Pokemon Black & White have hit comic store shelves (they were in most big chain bookstores a couple weeks back). The size of them is interesting – more square shaped than Viz’s standard books and considerably thinner, more similar to the way they used to publish Pokemon Adventures during its first graphic novel run. I love reading a manga with the Pokemon from the new games and they’ve got no shortage of attitude based on what I’ve flipped through so far.

The second omnibus collection of Full Metal Alchemist offered me something substantially larger in regards to page-count. Having finished this, I’ve now read the equivalent of six volumes of the original run, and it’s official – I’m hooked. So good! It’s going to be hard not to rush out and buy the rest of the series in singles. At first the omnibus paper quality bothered me (it’s noticeably thinner than the single books) but it really doesn’t make much of a difference when you’re reading as long as you don’t try to hold your book up by a single sheet (and why would you do that in the first place?).

High quality publishing from Viz Media are two books from their Viz Signature collection – Ooku (Vol. 06) and La Quinta Camera. I openly admit that I can barely grasp who is who and what’s going on half the time in the grand scheme of things in Ooku but Fumi Yoshinaga makes every scene so potent with drama and expression that I’m completely engrossed all the time anyway.

From Vertical Inc, I bought the newest volume of Black Jack (Vol. 15) – always an absolute must-have! This volume comes in sunny shades of yellow, an eye-catching but somber reminder that sun is something we’ve seen very little of this summer here in Nova Scotia! Ah well, a new volume of Black Jack can always chase away the rainy day blues.

Deltora Quest (Vol. 01)Looking to try a new series, and get a fantasy-fix in the process, I picked up Deltora Quest (Vol. 01) from Kodansha Comics. The plot sounded super generic but that’s not always a bad thing. Unfortunately the art style, which has already had my roommate and I in giggles over some of the super awkward panel choices and character designs, has me questioning the purchase. We’ll see how I feel about it as a whole when my review goes up early next week.

And finally, to fill in some empty spots on my bookshelf, I bought Tale of an Unknown Country (Vol. 02) from the now non-existent CMX and Natsume’s Book of Friends (Vol. 05), which is a random volume mid-series I somehow managed to miss purchasing.

What was in your swag bag this week?


Swag Bag – Avatar and Attorneys

Swag Bag

It’s swag bag time! Purchases have been light these past couple weeks after an enjoyably hefty purchase stack last time but there’s still some highly recommendable goodies!

First up are two of my top favourite running series – 20th Century Boys (Vol. 15) and Black Jack (Vol. 14). I can always count on both to be consistantly entertaining and these new volumes were no exceptions. 20th Century Boys in particular always make me want a manga book-group or something of the sort here in Halifax – this is a series that demands discussion! And darn that Urasawa, the man can make a cliffhanger.

From Viz Media I picked up the newest volume of Bakuman (Vol. 05) which continues to be excessively wordy and flounders on decent main character interaction BUT manages to be fun and educational all the same. I find myself actually excited for the new volumes, especially since they’ve been getting better with each book (granted volume one definitely wasn’t hard to top).

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Vol. 01)Looking to start something new, I bought the first volume of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney by Kodansha Comics. I’ve never played the games and my knowledge of the story ends at people yelling ‘Objection!’, so it’ll be interesting to see how I find the manga edition.

Next, though not manga it definitely has it’s share of crossover interest: Dark Horse has released a huge collection of short Avatar: The Last Airbender comics in a full-colour book called Avatar: The Lost Adventures. I’ve been waiting a long time for something like this to come out so I literally ran to Strange Adventures to buy my copy – worth every penny and then some! Both the art and the writing is fantastic, very true to the original story with lots of humour – highly recommended!

And last but certainly not least, something else not manga related but still awesome – a Tardis Cookie Jar! Oh yes. I’ve recently gotten hooked to the new seasons of Doctor Who and after marathoning all six new seasons in two weeks, I couldn’t resist buying this when I saw it. It’s big, it’s blue and it lights up and makes that Tardis sound, you know the one. It’s so cute, I love it :)

So what was in your swag bag this week?


Swag Bag – The Doctor Is In

Snow, snow and more snow! A warm and wet end of 2010 has definitely seen a cold and snowy beginning of 2011 here in the Maritimes. With less time travelling around to my favourite manga-buying spots, I didn’t get too much this week but there’s definitely something to be said for the quality over the quantity.

New out from Viz Media this week was the new volume of Pokemon Adventures (Vol. 11). I still haven’t completely made my peace with the new artist when it comes to the human designs but I’m really liking the new (for the time being) main character, Crystal. It’s fun following a ‘capturing expert’ and seeing her bombard Professor Oak with her data unlike previous Pokedex owners. Flipping through, it looks like we’ve got a return of Yellow as well – yay!

Black Jack (Vol. 13)My other purchase of the week, and the one I had to read as soon as I was handed my reciept for buying it, was Black Jack (Vol. 13). It’s my favourite of Osamu Tezuka’s works that I’ve read and easily one of my favourite manga series ever. Black Jack’s such a fun character, the kind of person you wouldn’t really want to meet under most circumstances in real life but on the page he’s a well-rounded individual with crazy surgeon skills and the attitude to use them for his own means. There’s quite a bit of Pinoko in this volume and aliens, plus Black Jack’s jerkliness is at an all-time low – yup, low. Volume thirteen really feels like a collection reminding us he’s got a heart of gold when sometimes it’s easy to forget.

In anime-purchasing news, I put in an order at RightStuf which included the boxset for the Twelve Kingdoms anime and the new Tsubasa OVA collection from Funimation. I’m really excited to get both of them and now it’s just a matter of waiting for the post office to deliver. I just finished the third Twelve Kingdoms‘ novel and I’m putting off the fourth because it could be the last we’ll see in English – so depressing! I recommend everyone who enjoys good fantasy fiction pick up this series, it’s amazing and I love how Tokyopop adapted it.

That’s it for me this week – time to perch myself in front of the mail box and get to reading!


Year in Brief Review – Manga Favourites of 2010

It’s New Years Day! And that means the end of 2010 has come and gone – the end of the first decade of the 2000s’, the end of another year of fantastic comics (upon other many wonderful things).

Just for a little living in the past on this first day of 2011, what better time to look back at 2010 with some favourites, surprises, disappointments and neat website tidbits. Sure it would’ve made more sense to have posted yesterday but who has time with all those celebrations going on… right?

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NYAF 2010: Vertical Inc.

NYAF 2010: Vertical Inc

Saturday evening at New York Anime Fest sported an industry panel by Vertical Inc. It was your standard one-hour panel but they made it count with a couple license announcements and a whole bunch of other information.

The panel was run by marketing director, Ed Chavez, and Vertical editorial director, Ioannis Mentzas.  Sitting in on the sound box was the bug-eyed Chi plushie (belonging to the namesake series’ creator), which has become a staple at Vertical events since the toy was left behind at SDCC.

On the note about the plush toy, they noted that they’ve been taking photos of fans with the cat at various events and, with individuals’ permission, would like to one day release a postcard book of the pictures. That being said, the Chi plush will also be making an appearance at MangaNext.

There were two new titles announced during this panel.

The first is a new Osamu Tezuka title called Book of Human Insects. It’s a fairly hefty series at ten volumes with each one currently planned to be sold at $29.99. The book will be 360 pages and is slated for release on July 26, 2011 at a price of $21.95. (Thanks to Kate Dacey for the correction) The original title of the series was ‘Human Metamorposis’ and it tells the tale of a woman who repeatedly changes her profession, and subsequently her entire identity, which direly affects those around her.

The second title is No Longer Human by Furuya Usamaru. This is the artist’s most current work. The series itself is three volumes long and will be $12.95 a volume. The first volume will be 208 pages and will be released September 13, 2011. The story is based off a novel written by Osama Dazai about a man named Oba Yozo who struggles with his need to hide behind a false personality as he suffers from the trauma of a sexual childhood experience.

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