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Posts Tagged Dawn of the Arcana

Swag Bag: Farewell Ouran, Hello Shonen and Bye-Bye Kizuna Boys

Swag Bag - June 13, 2012

Swag Bag time! Below are some of my thoughts of books I’ve purchased in the past two weeks (and love very, very much). As always these books were purchased at my local comic shop, Strange Adventures.

My favourite buy of recent weeks was the final volume of Ouran High School Host Club (Vol.18). I couldn’t even wait to get home to read it so I was quick to find a place to sit down and enjoy. It was a fantastic ending, probably one of the best I’ve ever actually read in manga series, especially a shoujo. I plan to go into it in more detail in an upcoming review, but in summary – yay! Though I’m really sad there’s no more to read.

Also from Viz Media this week were the first two volumes of their Bleach speed-up. Despite some pleadings from my wallet, I simply couldn’t leave volume 41 on the shelf when I was walking away with volume 40, so both it was! I enjoyed these together more than I have Bleach in a while and having two volumes at once I think played a big role in that. You can read more of my thoughts in my recent duo-review of the volumes.

Hopping back on a different shonen train, I purchased Toriko (Vol.09). It’s still one of my favourite on-going series right now which I never would have expected when I first came across it. It feels so reminiscent of Dragonball, including Komatsu who ups his adorable and toughing-it-out points in this new volume. On the flipside, I bought Dawn of the Arcana (Vol.04) which is a series I thought I would really like but it has yet to click with me. Volume four is it! If I don’t get into it after this, then I’m done with this iffy shoujo series.

With one series over and three others continuing, I sought something brand new by buying Puella Nagi Magica Madoka (Vol.01) from Yen Press. I haven’t seen the anime but heard the story was really good. The manga didn’t live up to my expectations, but I can see it being worth exploring further in some format at least. I wrote and posted a review on my Madoka thoughts last week.

Evyione (Vol.01)Catching my eye was an older title from UDON EntertainmentEvyione Ocean Fantasy (Vol.01). Even knowing their track record for continuing manhwa past a first volume is horrendous, I couldn’t help but buy it. It’s a retelling of the Little Mermaid story except the mermaid is a gorgeous mysterious merman and the prince is instead, you guessed it, a princess. I really like what I read here but I won’t hold my breath for getting volume two.

And then it was boys’ love time! Two new Digital Manga titles arrived in-store, which is always a surprise since you never know for sure when their books will ship. Both titles were by Kazuma Kadoka – Kizuna (Vol.06) and Bad Teacher’s Equation (Vol.04). I was a little disappointed to see that the Kizuna volume was only a single, where all the others released by DMP were omnibus. Nothing that can be done when that’s all that’s left though. I’ll miss the series now that it’s over – it’s a true BL classic. Bad Teacher’s Equation as a series is so silly – I have fun reading it so I’m glad there are still a few volumes left to go.

And in non-manga buying news, but something that still overlaps a lot with the fandom, I purchased the second Avatar the Last Airbender: The Promise graphic novel from Dark Horse. As a big fan of ATLA, I adore these graphic novels for reading so much like the original series (very amusing dialogue, for one) and for being drawn by the very talented, GuruHiru.

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?

Review: Dawn of the Arcana (Vol. 02)

Dawn of the Arcana (Vol. 02)

Manga-ka: Rei Toma
Publisher: Viz Media
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: February 2012

Synopsis: “Princess Nakaba of Senan and Prince Caesar of Belquat only married each other for the sake of peace between their two warring countries, but things take a surprising turn when Caesar finds himself falling for his strange wife! Caesar tries to get Nakaba to return his feelings, but she maintains that he is her enemy and that she hates him. So when Nakaba has a vision of Caesar getting killed, will she say anything to save him?”

Princess Nakaba remains a captive as the wife to Prince Caeser, heir to the throne of the kingdom warring against her own. With Nakaba’s loyal attendant Loki at her side, her time in the castle has shifted its attentions from survival to instead coming to terms with her growing romantic feelings. It’s not the direction I was hoping the story would go but I can’t say I’m surprised. At least with someone still worth rooting for and artwork to oogle, Dawn of the Arcana could be a winner yet.

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Review: Dawn of the Arcana (Vol. 01)

Dawn of the Arcana (Vol. 01)

Manga-ka: Rei Toma
Publisher: Viz Media
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: December 2011

Synopsis: “Princess Nakaba of Senan is forced to marry Prince Caesar of the enemy country Belquat, tantamount to becoming a hostage. While Caesar is pleasing to the eye, he is also selfish and possessive, telling Nakaba outright: “You are my property.” With only her attendant Loki at her side, Nakaba must find a way to cope with her hostile surroundings, her fake marriage… and a mysterious power!”

When a ‘red-hair’ Princess is forced to marry the Prince from a neighbouring country in a bout of political play, Nakaba finds herself in unwelcoming territory of her country’s opposing nation. With her dependable friend and servant, Loki, at her side, Nakaba must maintain her native-country pride and survive. Determined as she may be, however, her efforts to stand firm are marred by a story that pits her against genre-trope odds to disappointing result.

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PR: Viz Media Announces New Shoujo – Dawn of the Arcana


A Princess Uses Her Power to Make a Difference in New Fantasy Romance Series

San Francisco, CA, December 7, 2011 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, has announced the release of the manga (graphic novel) series, DAWN OF THE ARCANA, by Rei Toma. The brand new title, available now, is published under the company’s Shojo Beat imprint, is rated ‘T’ for Teens, and carries an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

In DAWN OF THE ARCANA, Princess Nakaba of Senan is forced to marry Prince Caesar of the enemy country Belquat, tantamount to becoming a hostage. While Caesar is pleasing to the eye, he is also selfish and possessive, telling Nakaba outright: “You are my property.” With only her attendant Loki at her side, Nakaba must find a way to cope with her hostile surroundings, her fake marriage…and a mysterious power!

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PR: Viz Media Manga Makes Holiday Gifting Easy!


D. GRAY MAN, NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN, VAMPIRE KNIGHT And More Among The Best-Loved Series That Are Sure To Top Holiday Wish Lists

San Francisco, CA, November 14, 2011 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, offers a wide variety of unique art books and manga (graphic) releases – several of them brand new series – that make ideal gift selections for even the most discriminating fan this holiday season.

From the debut of Natsume Ono’s TESORO and the brand new shojo series, DAWN OF ARCANA, by Rei Toma, to a box set of the recently concluded FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST, to the latest editions of popular ongoing titles including BAKUMAN。, BLUE EXORCIST, DEATH NOTE BLACK EDITION, NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN, and the recently launched PSYREN, there will be plenty of aspiring young manga artists, spirit bending exorcists, royal romantic intrigue, charming stories of bonds between friends & family, tales of alchemy and more to complement everyone’s holiday season this year. And for the fan that has been especially good all year, don’t miss two gorgeously illustrated art books for D.GRAY-MAN and VAMPIRE KNIGHT. Each is filled with vivid character art, concept drawings, and insightful artist commentaries and also includes a full-color poster.

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Viz Media Adds New Pokemon, Fantasy and Omnibus for 2011

Viz Media

A press release sent out by Viz Media late last week revealed some new titles coming out later this year. A little lack-lustre a PR may be but I love to hear this kind of news directly from the publisher, and doubly so during this season which is generally down time for manga licenses.

So what new titles do we have to look forward to?

Pokemon Black and WhiteFirst up on the list was a new Pokemon series – Pokemon Adventures: Black & White (Edit: Currently it is unconfirmed if Pokemon B/W will be released under the Pokemon Adventures series’ title). This particular announcement is really well timed since the new Pokemon games just came out yesterday (of which I’m currently making my way through White!). This series is written by the same author responsible for the previous Pokemon Adventures volumes and has returning artist Yamamoto Satoshi who took over from artist MATO as of volume ten. The first two volumes will be released in July 2011 (Note cover image is a placeholder for final Viz Media cover design). [Editor’s Note: More information about Pokemon B/W in follow-up post]

Offering more volumes of continuously loved franchises, there’s more Yu-Gi-Oh on the horizon with Yu-Gi-Oh 5D. I haven’t really followed the series since Yugi was no longer than main character but based on the synopsis this looks like the manga version of the story currently being aired on television – so battling in an apocalyptic future on motorcycles. The first volume is due out in July 2011.

Confirming and scheduling a previously revealed series, Viz Media lists Psyren – a story about a boy fighting for his life in an alternate dimension – for release in October 2011. Just in time for Halloween! Following that in November is a one-shot collection of stories by Natsume Ono title Tesoro – twelve short works and bonus material from the creator of not simple! and House of Five Leaves.

Dawn of the ArcanaLastly for ‘new’ series is Dawn of the Arcana with its first volume coming out in December. It sounds like a pretty classic fantasy series about a Princess being betrothed to a Prince and learning the backstabbing ways of the royal court and the magic that overlaps it. While I love a classic English-fantasy story, what really makes me curious about this story is the artwork since, upon looking them up, this artist has lovely covers!

And to top things off, we have coming to us omnibus collections of CLAMP’s X/1999! As a huge CLAMP lover and collector everything with their name on it I can find, this really excites me. I already own Viz Media’s last run of the series, and though I’m not one too bothered by flipped artwork, I’m looking forward to re-experiencing the story in it’s original format. Each volume will have 3 books in 1 plus extra full-colour illustrations. Combined with Dark Horse’s omnibus editions, CLAMP is getting an impressive second-wave shot at English readers for nearly all its series – that’s really something and speaks a lot to their popularity (and the faith in their works bringing in new fans as well).

Lots of neat stuff here and there’s more I’m eager for than indifferent towards so yay! How about you? Something here an especially exciting new title to look forward to?

PR: Viz Media Details New 2011 Manga Acquisitions


Eagerly Anticipated New Titles Include Kids Favorites, Stirring Sci-Fi Action, Shojo Fantasy Drama, And Works By Natsume Ono And The Celebrated CLAMP Manga Creative Team

San Francisco, CA, March 3, 2011 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has detailed a variety of notable new manga (graphic novel) acquisitions for the second half of 2011.

Scheduled for release in coming months, perfect for kids’ summertime fun, are a pair of new POKÉMON™ titles including a Travel Activity Kit and the debut of the POKÉMON BLACK & WHITE manga series. The highly anticipated cute and quirky bean dogs of MAMESHIBA will also debut in their own manga and in a character guide. Other titles aimed at Teen and Older Teen readers will feature the high-speed action of YU-GI-Oh! 5D’s in an innovative new original story, the tense mystery drama PSYREN, a remastered 3-in-1 collection of the classic apocalyptic saga X by the celebrated manga creative team CLAMP, an anthology of 14 never-before-released stories by Natsume Ono in TESORO, and the dramatic fantasy of DAWN OF THE ARCANA.

MSRP: $11.99 US / $13.99 CAN • Available May 2011
This Activity Kit offers a variety of brand-new Pokémon from the new Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version video games. The box of fun delivers hours of entertainment and allows kids to play alone or with friends. Included is a 64-page activity pad (featuring word puzzles, mazes, etc.), two sheets of stickers, one double-sided play poster, six crayons and two standees. All of this is contained in a durable, suitcase-type package with Velcro closures and a handle for easy portability.

POKÉMON BLACK & WHITE Vols. 1-2 • Rated ‘A’ for All Ages •
MSRP: $4.99 US each / $5.99 CAN each • Available July 2011
Meet Pokémon Trainers Black and White! White has a burgeoning career as a Trainer of performing Pokémon. Black is about to embark on a Training Journey to explore the Unova region and fill a Pokédex for Prof. Juniper. Who will Black choose as his first Pokémon? Who would you choose…? Plus, meet brand-new Pokémon Tepig, Snivy, Oshawott, and many more never-before-seen Pokémon from the unexplored Unova region!

MAMESHIBA: ON THE LOOSE! • Rated ‘A’ for All Ages •
MSRP: $6.99 US / $7.99 CAN • Available July 2011
It’s a BEAN! It’s a DOG! It’s…BOTH?! Meet Mameshiba, the cute little bean dogs with bite! Starring in their first-ever adventures, they rescue friends, explore outer space and offer interesting bits of trivia when you least expect it! Hold on tight–Mameshiba are on the LOOSE! And don’t miss the Mameshiba Shorts!

MEET MAMESHIBA • Rated ‘A’ for All Ages •
MSRP: $6.99 US / $7.99 CAN • Available July 2011
Are they beans? Are they dogs? Not quite either one–they’re Mameshiba! Though they all love to share weird facts, each has its own quirky personality. Find out about Edamame, Chili Bean, Lentil and all their friends in this insider’s guide packed with trivia, quizzes, comics and activities!

YU-GI-OH! 5D’s Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
MSRP: $9.99 US / $12.99 CAN • Available July 2011
In New Domino City, the hottest game in town is the Turbo Duel, fought on blazingly fast motorcycles called Duel Runners. On the outskirts of New Domino City, in a district known as Satellite, a new Turbo Duel hero emerges named Yusei Fudo! On his custom-built Duel Runner, Yusei takes on all challengers, fighting for his friends and the future of Satellite! Also included in first print-run editions is a bonus Dark Highlander collectible trading card!

PSYREN Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
MSRP: $9.99 US / $12.99 CAN • Available October 2011
Ageha Yoshina just got transported to a warped alternate dimension where you’ve got to fight your way back to our world – or die trying. “Save me!” Those were Sakurako Amamiya’s last words to her friend Ageha Yoshina before she mysteriously went missing. Now Ageha’s on a quest to find her. He’s convinced that the mythical Psyren Secret Society has something to do with the recent rash of disappearances. And now he seems to be caught up as a player in their very deadly game…

X 3-IN-ONE Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens •
MSRP: $19.99 US / $22.99 CAN • Available October 2011
X, the epic fantasy series from CLAMP, will be released in deluxe collector’s editions. The pages have been recomposed in the original right-to-left reading format and restored to their highest quality. Each volume contains three of the original graphic novels, along with gorgeous, full-color illustrations never before published outside Japan!

In X, Kamui Shiro is a young man followed by mystery. Taken from Tokyo by his mother while still a child, he must leave behind his closest friends. Returning to Tokyo after his mother’s death, Kamui is now a changed young man – moody and distant to his old friends, yet determined to protect them from the dark forces that constantly swirl around him. He is the nexus of a great cataclysm to come, and the inheritor to a strange destiny that could decide the fate of the entire world.

TESORO • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • MSRP: $12.99 US / $14.99 CAN •
Available November 2011
This is an engrossing manga treasure trove containing 14 charming stories about family, friends, couples and unexpected bonds. Written by Natsume Ono over ten years, here is the long-awaited collection of her early work, including numerous illustrations and previously unpublished stories!

DAWN OF THE ARCANA Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
MSRP: $9.99 US / $12.99 CAN • Available December 2011
To end the conflict between the warring kingdoms of Senan and Belquat, Princess Nakaba of Senan is sent to Belquat to marry Prince Caesar. Accompanied solely by her half-beast attendant Loki, Nakaba must learn not only how to survive the intrigues of a hostile court but also how to handle the mercurial Caesar. And in the swirl of secrets and treachery, there could be one thing greater than all: the mysterious power of the Arcana.

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