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Posts Tagged Hinako Takanaga

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 – February 13, 2013

Otaku USA: On The Shelf - February 13, 2013

Our snow here was short-lived, two feet of beautiful white fluff now little more than some crusty banks after a night of rain. It was rather disappointing! On the other hand, it means there’s nothing but some distance between me and new comics.

For my thoughts on the new manga out this week, you can check out my On The Shelf article for Otaku USA.

Awkward Silence (Vol.03) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Deltora Quest (Vol.10) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Hayate the Combat Butler (Vol.21) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Hiroaki Samura’s Emerald & Other Stories [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
InuYasha VIZBig (Vol.14) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
Knights of Sidonia (Vol.01) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]


Swag Bag: Searching for Shinigami, Knife-Makers and Reasons to Smile

Swag Bag: February 10, 2013

It’s a Viz Media week for me today as I get caught up on several on-going series from their Shonen Jump, Shoujo Beat and SuBLime imprints. So many great goodies to be had! I’ve also been keeping up on their weekly digital editions of Shonen Jump, but that’d be a whole post in itself someday – and maybe it might be, if people are interested?

Toriko (Vol. 14)For now though, it’s the collected editions and I start with Bleach (Vol. 55). It’s the start of a new story arc now, which is a big relief after the previous few books which I found pretty dull and silly after the huge Aizen fight. It was fun to read scenes in this volume where everyone is chummy. Defeating Hollows and defending their town is now something the leads do between class and lunch at Ichigo’s house. However, things turn bad quick when…! Some people show up I won’t spoil, but I will say this… could you really not go for this particular mission, Uryuu? Really?!

My second dose of Shonen Jump collected was Toriko (Vol. 14). I have so much love for this series! I hope it’s selling okay, I’d hate to think of it stopping in English because of it’s… strangeness. In this volume Toriko goes off to find a missing knife-maker while Komatsu is left behind to tend to the self-confidence of the knife-maker’s disciple. While there’s some of the usual scary monsters, weird food and humanly impossible survivals, most of the volume is actually pretty light-hearted fun as Komatsu makes a new friend, and Toriko continues to treasure the friendship he has with his new partner. Ah, shonen bromance…

Then for some shoujo, I picked up Kamisama Kiss (Vol. 12). This volume looks more about the swamp yokai and her human boyfriend then Nanami and her cranky fox-demon but I see plenty of adorable and funny moments to come. Plus, Julietta Suzuki’s artwork is really gorgeous. It gets better with every book – some of the full body character spreads in this volume are fantastic!

Far less cheery a series is A Devil and Her Love Song. I bought and read volume seven the other day, and what a downer! It’s a beautifully drawn story with some really heart-wrenching emotional scenes about friendship and love, but this volume had little in the way of progress towards happy times. In fact, not only are things more strained than ever between this group, hearts of the most loyal are broken, and now we’re seeing more glimpses of Maria’s traumatic, repressed past. I need a tissue.

A Devil and her Love Song (Vol. 07)

Then it was time for some boys’ love as I work to get caught up on the three SuBLime series I’m following before their third volumes come out later this month. From one of my favourite artists, Hinako Takanaga, is Awkward Silence (Vol. 02). It’s a really cute story about a young man who can’t express his emotions outwardly, and has little inner dialouge and doodles to show what he’s really thinking inside. That’s about all there is to it, alongside his caring, baseball playing, boyfriend. More adorable hijinks shall occur, I’m sure.

Quite the opposite communication-wise is Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love (Vol. 02) where the lead character is a little pretty boy who is very open and direct about what he wants, and that happens to be an older friend who works at a neighbouring shrine and who cared for him growing up. Drama! And the fine line of underage dating – beware!

While in that series’ it’s the smaller who tries to control the situation, in His Favourite (Vol. 02), I’m confident that the smaller guy is going to continue being freaked out and unsure about the frequent advances of his popular and good-looking friend, whose insistence on loving him brings the ire of his school’s female fans. I really love Suzuki Tanaka’s art style, especially when she draws really cleanly and more ‘cartoonish’. His Favourite is a little more BL generic looking for her titles, but there’s a short story at the end of this second volume that I love the look of and really catches what I try to describe so flimsily as cartoonish.


Digital Manga Puts BL on Backburner, Books and Yaoi Con Postponed

Digital Manga Puts BL on Backburner, Books and Yaoi Con Postponed

Digital Manga made an exciting move when they recently relaunched their digital reading website, eManga, which now includes numerous format options. Hentai fans have also seen continuing bulk licenses for new titles scheduled out over the next couple of years. While several parts of Digital Manga seem to be taking off, and to mostly positive effect, it’s unfortunate that what used to be their bread and butter has taken equal hits. Boys’ love fans have been dealt a double blow by Digital Manga with news that they would be halting all their BL print productions until summer of 2013, and, North America’s largest boys’ love convention, Yaoi Con, will be postponed until 2014.

Read more…


Otaku USA: On The Shelf – October 31, 2012

Otaku USA: On The Shelf - October 31, 2012

Belated Happy Halloween! Only two new volumes of manga were shipped to store shelves this week, but I’m sure both are must-haves for many out there. You can read about them at my weekly On The Shelf article for Otaku USA.

Awkward Silence (Vol. 02) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]
The Flowers of Evil (Vol. 03) [Amazon CAN, Amazon US, RightStuf]


Otaku USA: On The Shelf – July 11, 2012

Otaku USA: On The Shelf - July 11, 2012

There is lots of diversity this week as seven publishers all step up to the shipping plate to deliver their goods tomorrow (be here now, Wednesday-goodness!). While there are more volumes I’d put on must-buy lists than books I wouldn’t, exceptionally notables for me include Fantagraphic‘s Wandering Son (Vol.03), SuBLime‘s Awkward Silence and Seven SeasJack the Ripper: Hell Blade (Vol.01).

You can read the complete list of books shipping this week over at the usual place, Otaku USA’s On The Shelf article by yours truly.


Digital Manga Grabs a Snack with Mr. Mini Mart, Announces Yaoi Con GOH

Digital Manga Goes Out For Snacks with Mr. Mini Mart

Convention season is officially underway and Digital Manga was at Fanime with some news to share. Just before that though they announced another new boys’ love license: Junko’s Mr. Mini Mart.

The book is scheduled to be released in print next year (Summer 2013) at a cost of $12.95. This license announcement even came with a plot synopsis, something I’ve bemoaned DMP before for lacking, so yay on actually knowing the plot of a book so I can properly anticipate it!

“NEET shut-in Endou just wants to get his life back on track, but employment at a convenience store brings the rude Yamai Kouhei into his life…soon Endou finds himself troubled by his past and trying to get along with Yamai.”

During their Fanime panels, Digital Manga shared current and upcoming plans for their digital-only release group, Digital Manga Guild, including news they’ll be releasing translated light novels and have licensed Erementar Gerade: Flag of Blue for a digital-only release (they’re currently releasing Erementar Gerade this way). They also let fans know that success of their previous two Kickstarter projects has prompted them to put another Osamu Tezuka title into the works to be funded the same way. No word yet on what the title is.

Now that Digital Manga are owners of Yaoi-Con, they’ve announced their guest of honour for the 2012 boys’ love event is Uki Ogasawara. DMP has currently released two volumes of her series, Black Sun (review), while DramaQueen previously released two other stories, Chronicle of the Divine Sword (correction: this title was licensed, but never released) and Virtuoso di Amore (review).

This is going to be my first year at Yaoi Con and I was really hoping for a bigger name guest, notably more akin to previous guests such as Fusanosuke Inariya, Ayano Yamane or Hinako Takanaga. I still feel the leftover tears from not being able to attend the years those artists were there. Uki Ogasawara is still a good guest, of course, as a published manga artist and a new comer to the event, but with this being Digital Manga’s first year as Yaoi Con management (and them facing scrutiny over how they’ll handle it), I was expecting a more fan-favourite creator to wow the crowds. Of course Yaoi Con 2010 had almost a dozen artistic guests so who knows what else could be announced between now and the convention this October.


Swag Bag: Girls and Guys, Guardians and Ghouls

Swag Bag

It is raining so hard outside! While this has left me soaked during my early morning treck home, it at least provides the perfect opportunity to curl up in a warm, dry set of blankets with a good book. My past two weekly trips to the comic store has alloted me plenty to choose from (but where to begin!?):

I stocked up on shoujo with the second volume of A Devil and Her Love Song (which I loved as much as the first) and volume one of The Earl & The Fairy (which really could’ve used more fairies). Both were from Viz Media.

From Kodansha Comics, Sailor Moon (Vol.05) was a big given. This particular volume is extra hefty with pages and a lot happens, finishing up the entire Dark Moon arc. It’s been so long since I’ve read the story so a lot of little elements of the plot are fresh surprises, which is awesome! I love these original versions of the characters so much, Sailor Moon and Chibi-Usa in particular. Everyone is super classy.

Speaking of another type of classy, I bought a few new seinen titles all of which are continutations of series I’m collecting – Saturn Apartments (Vol.05), Blood Alone (Vol.06) and Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (Vol.12). The first two are really relaxing reads, very laid back and mellow, even when things get dramatic. In some series I’d find it boring, but in these two it’s their greatest charm. Kurosagi is still fun to read, what with all the corpses, murders and creepy endings. The wait between each book is rough! I do hope we see a return to the connecting stories earlier books had though. I miss those…

Last, but certainly not least, comes some new boys’ love! Digital Manga served up another action-packed and sex-filled time with the fourth and fifth volumes of Ayano Yamane’s Finder series. So much gun-touting melodrama as the hunter is now the hero – it’s the sort of kinda-trash you can’t help but love. It was all fluff, feelings and a little physical-fun, however, in the sixth volume of Hinako Takanaga’s Tyrant Who Falls In Love (Vol.06). I really like this series because of the characters but it’s tough watching their relationship dragged on so long. In this volume the cast of the prequel series, Challengers, show up too – bonus!

Those were my recent purchases – feel free to share some of their own! Anything you’d recommend? Loved? Despised? Share the contents of your own swag bag!


Cute Guys and Cats – DMP Licenses Three New Titles for Fall

DMP Licenses Secret Thorns and Start With a Happy Ending

With barely a breather between them, Digital Manga has announced another three new licenses to be released this fall:

Secret Thorns – Kikuko Kikyua (June)
Start With a Happy Ending – Risa Motoyama (DMP)
The Hentai Prince And The Stony Cat (Vol.01) – Okomeken / So Sagara / Kantoku (DMP)

Secret Thorns and Start With A Happy Ending were both announced via Digital Manga’s social media accounts and their website’s blogThe Hentai Prince And The Stony Cat was listed admist the string of new titles in their recently e-mailed Digital Manga Newsletter.

Secret Thorns is a one-shot boys’ love title by the same creator as the book, Entangled Circumstances, that DMP released last year. It’s a romance title set against the backdrop of an editor and author’s turbulent relationship when being lovers is thrown into the equation.

Start With A Happy Ending is a multi-volume series collecting a number of short stories and looks to be one for the cat lovers out there. The main title is about an individual who is reincarnated as a cat with seven days to live and reflect on their life before moving on. The series is only one volume currently but is on-going in Japan.

Tyrant Who Falls In Love (Vol. 08)

Despite its title, The Hentai Prince And The Stony Cat isn’t a hentai (18+) and will be released under the DMP line of books. Its story sounds as bizarre as the title though – it follows a young man who has obvious perverse intent behind everything he does and yet no one seems to acknowledge it. He wants people to see him for who he truly is and stop hiding his true feelings to save face. When a friend recommends a fix, he seeks out a stone cat that he hears can grant wishes. It’s there he meets a girl who wants the ability to actually hide her true self. Quirky, pervy hilarity apparently ensues! A short preview of The Hentai Prince and The Stony Cat can be seen at Amazon.jp.

Other extra tidbits in the newsletter include the license of Hinako Takanaga’s final volume of Tyrant Who Falls In Love (Vol.08) and affirmation that the first twelve volumes of Erementar Gerade will be “using translations adapted from the original English releases” (from Tokyopop), with volumes 13-18 being adapted by the Digital Manga Guild.


Tuesday Twitter Treats – DMP and SuBLime Announce New Licenses

Twitter Treasures From Digital Manga and SuBLime

Both Digital Manga Publishing and SuBLime had fans glued to social media sources tonight when representatives from both teased they’d be announcing a number of new licenses this evening. I was following them both via their Twitter accounts (DMP/SuBLime) for the news.

Digital Manga (blog post):

The Man I Picked Up – CJ Michalski (June)
With a Dictionary and No Skirt – Tomoyuki Enoki (Project-H)
Colorful Harvest – Ponkotsu Works (Project-H)
An Ideal Day to Fall in Love – Ponkotsu Works (Project-H)

CJ Michalski’s The Man I Picked Up is about a club-owner who finds an injured young man outside his establishment. It’s a one-shot, love-at-first-sight boys’ love story by the same creator as That Was Good, which DMP published last year.

With a Dictionary and No Skirt, Colorful Harvest and An Ideal Day to Fall in Love are all one-shot volumes as well, all three published under DMP’s hentai imprint, Project-H. Colorful Harvest is the story of a young man returning home to help with his family’s vineyards where he meets an old childhood friend.

SuBLime (blog post):

Kiss Ariki – Youka Nitta
Awkward Silence – Hinako Takanaga

Both these new boys’ love titles are scheduled for digital and print releases (yay!) with their first volumes due out this summer.

Kiss Ariki is currently being published in English by Animate USA on the Kindle. Since August 2010 they’ve published seven chapters. Presumably SuBLime will be doing their own translations and typesetting. Several other Youka Nitta titles have been released by Animate USA and other publishers over the years, including DMP’s White Brand and Otodama. Her series, Kiss Ariki, is about a yakuza’s son sent to a deserted island for his protection. Along with him is the son of his father’s second-in-command. Two young men + deserted island? You guess the rest!

Hinako Takanaga’s Awkward Silence is my favourite announcement of the night. As a huge fan of the creator’s work, I’ll always be happy to have more of her books to purchase. This title in particular I’ve been buying in French and I’m super excited to get a copy in English (my French reading skills are more than a bit rusty these days!). It’s an adorable story about a young man whose shyness leads to trouble speaking and expressing his feelings. When asked out by the classmate he has a crush on, he begins to open up to both him and his friends. Very cute and often funny! I’d recommend this series to those who enjoyed Hinako Takanaga’s Little Butterfly.


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