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Archive for the Swag Bag Category

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!


Swag Bag: Girls, Guys and Thermae Romae

Swag Bag

It’s a new Swag Bag post! And as the last was a month ago, we have some catching up to do.

Seven Seas’ omnibus edition of Kisses, Sighs, and Cherry Blossom Pink was one of my favourite purchases as of late. Yuri is uncommon enough, but after this release and Girlfriends, I won’t ever pass up an opportunity for more of Milk Morniaga’s work. I found this book tricky to get through. I related to these characters more than most in manga, so the book took considerable more emotional toll on me than I’m accustomed. It only speaks to their quality when in the right hands, however, and while it means I’ll likely never be able to write a full review for them, I have all the hopes in the world they continue to do well so we can get more.

Yen Press continues to make clever power plays for room on my bookshelves with a new set of shiny re-editions. This time it’s Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (Vol. 01-02) and Chain of Memories. Both are adaptations of the video games of the same name, products near and dear to my fangirl heart, and titles that Tokyopop originally published. While I already own the Tokyopop books, Yen Press’s new collected editions look and read great, plus have that new book smell. How could anyone resist? For more thoughts, you can read my review of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix.

A Devil and Her Love Song (Vol. 09) began my Viz Media purchases and was an enjoyable romp of beach time fun and character development. I reviewed another recent shoujo purchase, Dawn of the Arcana (Vol. 10), last weekend. Always the Queen of the crop, Sailor Moon (Vol. 11) was quick to enter the swag bag and carries us into the final, and possibly most emotionally intense, arc of the series.

Completing it’s final arc is Saturn Apartments (Vol. 07), which really surprised me with how dark it got for a while. I honestly didn’t know how it was going to turn out, which is always the best way to read something. All surprises! Much less of a surprise were Attack on Titan (Vol.01) and No. 6 (Vol. 01) from Kodansha Comics, since I’ve already seen the anime versions. But I love them both, Attack on Titan in particular, so I had to buy the manga of each.

Thermae Romae (Vol. 02)It was super shonen time with the newest volume of Toriko (Vol. 16). It’s continuing to be a little disorienting following the series both in the collected form and as new chapters come out via Shonen Jump. The two haven’t overlapped yet, but it is neat seeing what comes, what’s been and wondering what could possibly fill the gap. Less suspenseful is Pokemon Black & White (Vol. 10) but it’s always cute and fun.

Speaking of cute and fun, though in entirely different ways, I was thrilled to finally pick up a copy of Thermae Romae (Vol. 02). This series is amazing, both in the surprise of something with this plot simply existing, but also in how well it’s executed. This series continues to be hilarious and educational, not to mention brilliantly packaged by Yen Press. If you haven’t already, make sure you buy these gems while you can!

And I finished this month’s purchases off with some boys’ love – Bonds of Dreams, Bonds of Love (Vol. 04) and Blue Morning (Vol. 01). Bonds of Dreams, Bonds of Love is now over and went out the same way in came in – funny and full of enjoyably horny hijinks. Blue Morning starts a brand new series and one that’s pretty much the polar opposite in tone. I found Blue Morning a bit dull as it’s dark mood almost suffocated it, but now with the characters set-up, I’m looking forward to seeing more plot progress in volume two.

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!


Swag Bag: Biz With Viz, Passion and Perils

Swag Bag: Biz With Viz, Passion and Perils

It’s been March since the last Swag Bag! Well that won’t do, now will it? While my post about TCAF outlined a bunch of my most recently purchased comics, there’s been lots of manga bought between the last Swag Bag and that post. Because I’m too lazy to go through my bookshelves to find each and every one, let’s take a look at some notables!

Always the must have buy is Sailor Moon (Vol. 10) which I’m loving more and more every volume. This point in the story was broadcast only briefly on television, and these manga volumes were more difficult to find, so while I’m familiar with the story, it all feels more fresh and new and full of surprises since I have less familiarity with it. Eternal Sailor Senshi!

Then it’s my why-do-I-keep-buying-this-series with Dawn of the Arcana (Vol. 09). Loki keeps getting the short end of the stick, and I find the relationship between Nakaba and Cesare so lacking in chemistry. I think it must be some tiny sliver of hope Loki gets a happy ending that keeps me reading. I hope I’m rewarded for my diligence…

Much more satisfying were new volumes of Bleach (Vol.56), Toriko (Vol.15) and A Devil and Her Love Song (Vol.08). Toriko is still one of my favourite manga series running now, though I’m a little sad to see it dissolve to chapter upon chapter of one on one fight scenes in the current issues of Shonen Jump. On the flip side  the current chapters of Bleach have been really great – actually super relevant and interesting flashbacks!

And last up from Viz Media recently was Pokemon Adventures (Vol.16), which continues the adventures of these two new Pokemon trainers who are really, really entertaining. Flip those gender roles! The male trainer is obsessed with making Pokemon beautiful, while the female trainer is a wild girl (like Tarzan wild) who wants her Pokemon to be the strongest.

In other worlds of young people doing interesting things – I picked up Arisa (Vol.10) where we finally know who the King is. There are still some motivations left to be explored, but I’m glad the one secret is finally out in the open. It’s more classic mysteries on-going in Young Miss Holmes (Vol.03-04) where the adorable lead makes it a joy to read, even when plot itself gets a little bogged down in details.

Mobile Suit Gundam the Origin: Activation (Vol. 01)And the biggest buys recently were Mobile Suit Gundam the Origin: Activation (Vol. 01) when it came out back in April, and The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame this past weekend. Both had amazing production values – really nice work done on the design and packaging. I wasn’t sure how I’d like the Gundam manga but actually really, really liked it. As the original Gundam story, it felt simple and streamlined while containing everything that makes the franchise so popular. Very easy to read, and I look forward to more. Passion was also great, but in a very different way. Gengoroh Tagame’s work is always shocking, and I was really curious to see which of his works would be in this book. Picture Box did not hold back!

And lastly during my visit to Toronto, I picked up some out of print books from The Beguiling. Hollow Fields (Vol.01), First Love (Vol.01) and In These Words (Vol.01). Sadly I doubt I’ll ever see second volumes of First Love and In These Words, which is sad because they were both great reads and I’ve been looking for them a while. I also bought two new bara anthologies which star many of the artists we’ll see in Picture Box’s Massive anthology next Spring.

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!


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!


Swag Bag: Prequel, Vampires and Caramel Pudding

Swag Bag:  Prequels, Vampires and Caramel Pudding

Swag Bag time! I had a little shopping hiatus the past month, but, believe me, I’ve made up for it in the last couple weeks. So, without further ado, here’s the first of a few Swag Bag posts to cover it all!

To start things off with a dose of boys’ love, I bought the Digital Manga oneshot, Caramel. My first impression was that the little guy has really silly looking hair. Second impression was it looks adorable. Both were correct – the little guy had silly hair and the story was super sweet, albeit a little sad being so short.

My impulse purchase of the day was Dark Horse‘s Blood-C (Vol.01). I don’t have any real interest in the Blood franchise, and my knowledge of this anime stops at CLAMP’s involvement. Still, the cover was really nice and the interior artwork looked good too. It looks very CLAMP-like actually, I’d say very likely inspired by their more recent works such as Tsubasa. We’ll see how the monster hunting itself entertains as I read it.

Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden (Vol.11)

Something that is never impulse and always a must-have-right-now is Naoki Urasawa’s work. This week that was 21st Century Boys (Vol.02). It’s the last volume in the 20th Century Boys story. It’s so weird knowing this series is now done after all these years. I’ve already read this final volume and I’ve gotta say… I can’t remember who ‘that’ is. Oops. Time to re-read!

It never stops being weird buying a new volume of Fushigi Yugi though, such as this week’s Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden (Vol.11). Now this is a series I’ve been reading a long time. It was one of my first manga from back in the Animerica Extra days of serialization. This prequel series only has one volume left, however, and the downside to it being a prequel is we all know how it’s going to end. So sad! But it’s so good.

Then it was meta territory with Bakuman (Vol. 18) – manga about making manga! This series is fantastic; I adore every volume, even with the awkward romantic subplots. This volume addresses the intensity of manga deadlines when the two leads launch yet another series. How many pages a month!? Freaky.

I finished off my Viz Media purchases with Pokemon Adventures (Vol.15) and Afterschool Charisma (Vol.07). There was quite a wait since the last volumes of each but fortunately neither are especially complicated in the plot department (though telling the clones apart in Afterschool Charisma isn’t always easy).

And then what’s a week without an omnibus? I’m a few months late on this one but I was pleased to buy Young Miss Holmes (Casebook 3-4). The first volume was cute with this precocious niece of Sherlock Holmes solving mysteries. I loved the short cameo from the dowdy Sherlock and Watson as well.

And then lastly for manga I had to nab a digital copy of Sword and Mist, released by SuBLime. It’s a digital only release but I’ve made my peace with these as an occasional thing, and I can’t deny that SuBLime puts out a great product. This title was a must have because it’s by Hayate Kuku. She’s only had one other series released in English – Love Sickness by Digital Manga – but I really loved it. Her masculine characters and sense of humor reminds me a lot of one of my BL favorites, Naono Bohra, who unfortunately hasn’t been as embraced by English publishers as I’d like. In any case, Sword and Mist! It’s got manly men, assassins, feudal China and cross-dressing – how could I resist?

The Adventures of Superhero GirlAnd then finally was a new book by a friend of mine, Faith Erin Hicks. Out now from Dark Horse is a hardcover, full color compilation of her web comic, The Adventures of Superhero Girl. It’s been a while since I read these comic strips so it’s been fun re-experiencing all the funny in-jokes about comics and super heroes. It’s an entertaining and worthwhile purchase for sure, and I’m looking forward to finishing it cover to cover again.


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.


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!


Swag Bag: Boys’ Love Beginnings, Cops and Curls

Swag Bag: Boys' Love Beginnings, Cops and Curls

It’s the return of Swag Bag! It’s been a while hasn’t it? Many months in fact. Yikes. 2012 wasn’t a very good year for me after the summer hit so both my buying and my enjoyment of said purchases dipped a lot. Fortunately things are looking up, and it’s a brand new year! It’s the perfect time to kick back into some enjoyable old habits and Swag Bag shall be one of them, my semi-weekly column where I briefly share my first impressions on what I bought that week.

So, without further ado, here are my first purchases of 2013, courtesy of (as almost-always) my favourite local store, Strange Adventures:

Bleach (Vol. 54)This is the first time in a while that I’ve purchased a single volume of Bleach. This week’s new volume, Bleach (Vol.54), marks the end of Viz Media‘s speed up of the print editions. They’ve come really close to catching up with the Japanese releases now after their recent two-books-a-month trend. I still haven’t gotten used to Rukia’s new hair cut, as seen on this volume’s cover. I like it, it’s cute, but it definitely doesn’t help with confusion between characters when hair styles are often one of few defining features. As for the volume content itself, I’m looking forward to the return of Uryuu Ishida! Ah, one track mind sometimes…

Also out from Viz Media was Otomen (Vol. 14). I really loved what happened in the previous volume, but it made me wonder where the series would go now that one of the biggest plot points had been pretty much resolved.  In what seems like a well decided move, this newest volume spends more time focusing on the secondary characters. I’m not an especially big fan of Kitora and his flower obsession, but it was nice seeing him grow as a character. I do really want to see what Hajime chooses to do when forced to confront his Father  about his love for make-up and makeovers someday, and this volume does a great job setting up that conflict.

Then there’s Danza, which despite my thought that it was after seeing the book, did not in fact come from Viz Media. Published by Kodansha Comics, Danza uses the larger cut size I’m more accustomed to from Viz Media’s signature line, not to mention it’s Viz that usually publishes Natsume Ono’s work. It’s definitely a nice touch though, for collectors like me who enjoy putting creator’s work together. Danza fits very nicely on the shelf with my other Natsume Ono books. It’s another collection of her short stories, which I always enjoy, even if admittedly I would still describe them as rather dull. Consistently pretty good, but never something I’d rant, rave and weep over the completion of.

Girlfriends (Vol.02)I can’t say the same for the last two books this week however – Heart of Thomas and Girlfriends (Vol.02). Girlfriends is now over with this second omnibus edition. I really adored this series, and greatly lament we don’t get more yuri series available in English. I found myself empathizing far more with the characters in Girlfriends than I have in 90% of the shoujo series I’ve read over the years. It made it a somewhat emotional read but all the more satisfying for it.

Heart of Thomas was similar for me in ways, resonating a lot more on an emotional level for various reasons. While Girlfriends is a great example of a modern yuri, Heart of Thomas is probably the best example of the earliest of boys’ love works. It helped define the genres of shoujo and boys’ love as we know them today, and I couldn’t wish for anything more substantial as a starting point. I hope to go into my thoughts with more detail in a full review someday, but as I’m still in the hazy afterglow of completing it, I will say for now that this story of suicide, love, abuse, friendship and family was very, very good.

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!


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: 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!


Take me back to the top!