Wild Adapter

Welcome to Kuriousity

News, reviews and features with a focus on manga, self-published works and a Canadian perspective. Enjoy fulfilling your Kuriousity!

SITE RETIRED - Thank you for the years of support and readership!

Review Archive

To see a list of reviews in alphabetical order, please see our review index.


Review: Weekly Shonen Jump – July 29th, 2013

Shonen Jump - July 29th, 2013

Back when Viz Media launched their digital edition of Shonen Jump, I was quick to subscribe. I did this in spite of being cranky over the loss of the print edition and honestly didn’t intend to even read the new digital version. Still, I did want to support such a bold move in the industry that was edging towards simultaneous releases. That was 2011.

Shonen Jump on iPadThis is August 2013. I’ve since become an enthusiastic reader of the weekly digital magazine which comes out Monday mornings in North America. This was helped in part by now owning an iPad for reading it on. For me, comics and PC browsers do not mix. The app process is so simple too – just open the app and hit download. Within a few seconds you have over 200 pages of high quality, brand new chapters of manga to read. No internet past the original download required.

And the price? I honestly don’t know how they can do it at this price right out of the gate – $24.99/US for a full years’ worth. For that many pages of manga every week. Manga which directly supports the creators and publishers. Win. Win. Win. This cheap serialization, with print editions coming later for collecting, is exactly the kind of digital and print combo I’ve always hoped would come of the hefty shift in the publishing world.

I’m going to start writing a bit about random issues of Shonen Jump beginning with today’s post. I don’t plan for this to be every week occurrence, nor do I read every manga running (everything but One Piece and Naruto). Editions like this week’s prove the perfect opportunity to start as they feature not only new chapters of the regular series, but a special one shot by one of their creators as well. Let’s get reading!

Read more…


Review: Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures

Author: Kim Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Artist: Cassandra Jean
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: February 2013

Synopsis: “Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever. Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them. In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.”

This was my first exposure to ‘Beautiful Creatures,’ as I haven’t read any of the books or seen the movie. To its credit the comic manages to stand well enough on its own feet: I was never confused about what was going on, but that might be because the plot is so simple and standard.

Read more…


Review: Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (Vol. 01-02)

Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (Vol. 01)

Manga-ka: Shiro Amano
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: All Ages
Release Date: May 2013

Synopsis: “After a terrible storm shatters the peace of his tropical island home, a young boy named Sora is set adrift from his world and his friends, Riku and Kairi. Meanwhile, Disney Castle is in an uproar when it is discovered that King Mickey has gone missing, leaving it up to Court Wizard Donald and Captain Goofy to find him! When Sora, in search of his friends, and Donald and Goofy, in search of their king, cross paths, their fateful encounter will change the destiny of the universe forever!!”

The recent announcement of Kingdom Hearts 3 set a rejuvenating ripple through the fandom at the recent E3 convention. Yen Press’s new release of the Kingdom Hearts manga almost couldn’t possibly be better timed.

Read more…


Review: Puella Magi Kazumi Magica – The Innocent Malice (Vol. 01)

Puella Magi Kazumi Magica - The Innocent Malice (Vol. 01)

Author: Magica Quartet/Masaki Hiramatsu
Manga-ka: Takashi Tensugi
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: June 2013

Synopsis: “Kidnapped and stuffed into a trunk by an unknown assailant, teenager Kazumi bursts forth from the confines of the case to discover that she has been stripped not only of her clothes, but also of the memories of her life before the kidnapping. When she is recovered by a pair of schoolgirls, she doesn’t recognize them as her best friends and roommates, Umika and Kaoru. As Kazumi tries to settle back into her normal life, she quickly realizes that her former “normal” was anything but!”

Puella Magi Madoka Magica was one of the best anime series I’ve seen in some time. The concept, the characters, the execution – it was a well-constructed story all on its own, but also one that laid out an entire universe’s worth of potential. I wanted to know more about this world’s magical girls, and who else had their wishes granted and became bound to battle witches. Puella Magi Kazumi Magica – The Innocent Malice is one of several spin-offs that have come about to fulfill just such a wish. Unfortunately, based on the amount of nudity and skimpy outfits on underage girls this book has, I’m not the particular audience Kazumi Magica spin-off is targeting.

Read more…


Review: The Misfortune of Kyon & Koizumi

The Misfortune of Kyon & Koizumi

Manga-ka: Various
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: February 2013

Synopsis: “Boisterous, impulsive Haruhi Suzumiya commands the spotlight wherever she goes! But the SOS Brigade chief wouldn’t be any kind of chief at all without a supporting cast of club members to command as well. And there’s no one she loves ordering around as much as Kyon! In this collection of short comics and illustrations by various artists, the boys of the SOS Brigade will at last have their moment to shine!”

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was never a franchise I could get into. I’ve watched half the anime, I’ve read half the manga, but neither compelled me to finish. Each of the leads – Haruhi, Nagato and Mikuru – feel like they’ve been popped from the anime cliché mold. Regardless of any intent by it, they bored me. However, there were two characters I did find interesting and those were the male characters, Kyon and Koizumi. Their responses and responsibilities came off to me as more ‘real’ than anything the girls did and I loved how the story used them to ground the supernatural stuff in reality. It didn’t seem odd then that if any book was going to compel me to experience the Haruhi story again, it’d be this one.

Read more…


Review: Dawn of the Arcana (Vol. 10)

Dawn of the Arcana (Vol. 10)

Manga-ka: Rei Toma
Publisher: Viz Media
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: June 2013

Synopsis: “Princess Nakaba of Senan and Prince Caesar of Belquat married each other for the sake of peace between their warring countries, yet the two find themselves drawn to each other even as political forces threaten to tear their world apart. In Lithuanel, Nakaba desperately searches for a way to save both her friend Akhil and his brother Azhal. Unfortunately, her visions show that only one of them will live. Meanwhile, Caesar’s return to Belquat may mean the end of his relationship with Nakaba…”

I’ve made no secret about my frustrations with this series every time I write about it, and yet I keep on buying each and every volume as it comes out. Volume one had moments that impressed me, but they were buried under a stiff delivery and disappointing character devolution. While time has helped the pacing issues, the change of Nakaba’s character from strong, independent woman to a cowering dependent remained on-going. Throw in the love triangle created when she falls for her abuser, and leaves her loyal best friend on the sidelines, and you have a mixed bag of yuck.

But wait, you may be wondering, ‘why is this reviewer still reading the series then?’. The answer is volumes like this. (Warning: Review will contain spoilers)

Read more…


Review: Alice in the Country of Hearts – My Fanatic Rabbit (Vol. 01-02)

Alice in the Country of Hearts – My Fanatic Rabbit (Vol. 01)

Author: QuinRose
Manga-ka: Delico Psyche
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: December 2012

Synopsis: “One day, a mysterious rabbit-eared man named Peter suddenly appears in Alice’s garden and kidnaps her, whisking her off to a dangerous world where every resident brandishes a weapon. Trapped in this land in the midst of a three-way power struggle, Alice accepts an offer to stay at the Hatter’s mansion. At the mansion, Alice meets the Hatter’s right-hand man, Elliot March, who is likable and charming and…also sports a pair of bunny ears! And yet, Alice cannot get over the fact that Elliot is actually a Mafia hitman, willing to kill people without hesitation…In this popular Wonderland manga, the March Hare has finally arrived!!”

It’s been almost a year since I read, and very much enjoyed, Yen Press’s release of Alice in the Country of Hearts. Since then, I’ve been reading the spin-off series published by both Yen Press and Seven Seas in the hopes of filling in some of the plot holes left by the original story. So far I’ve been met with disappointment, not only for a lack of substantial plot expansion but also by stories that were dull from the forced pairing of Alice with one individual. None have been awful though, simply sub par, that is at least until I read the two part series, My Fanatic Rabbit.

Read more…


Review: Higurashi When They Cry – Massacre Arc (Vol. 02)

Higurashi When They Cry – Massacre Arc (Vol. 02)

Author: Ryukishio7
Manga-ka: Hinase Momoyama
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: December 2012

Synopsis: “Keiichi’s appeals to the Child Consultation Center receive an outpouring of support from his classmates and teachers, but still the authorities refuse to intercede. Hinamizawa is a village controlled by three powerful families, and without the support of the Sonozakis-and their fearsome head, Oryou-the Center will not budge. As Keiichi struggles to convince Oryou, Rika feels her dream of living a happy life beyond the summer of 1983 begin to fade away. Does Keiichi have what it takes to make a miracle happen? Can Satoko be saved? Can Rika…?”

This volume of Higurashi only lightly indulges it’s supernatural-conspiracy side, pushing the more outlandish elements into a corner to make room for more worldly problems like child abuse and small town politics. It makes for a strange tone, as even though the weirdness level is low, the manga stays as intense as ever – it’s just instead of murders and massacres we get lots of scenes of people in meetings. The strange part is that the manga treats the two as if they are equally dramatic, giving this volume an unintentionally funny edge.

Read more…


Review: Punishment

Punishment

Author: Yamila Abraham
Artist: Yifeng Jiang
Publisher: Yaoi Press
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: September 2012

Synopsis: “As the son of a former Prime Minister, Vishva could have any government job he wants. He chooses to work as someone who canes political prisoners. Vishva’s despicable personality makes him the most loathed person in the department. That is, until an ethnic minority is hired. Fang took the wretched job because there are few prospects for him in their country. He”s quickly exposed to prejudice and abuse. Vishva befriends Fang because it infuriates his co-workers. But, the more he studies him, the more fascinated he becomes… ”

I’m not personally a big reader of yaoi manga but I, like most people who have been in anime/manga fandom for a decent amount of time, had an idea of what to expect from such a book: two bishounen in a relationship that most likely would be lacking in the consent department. In this respect, Punishment certainly did not disappoint.

Read more…


Review: Btooom! (Vol. 01)

Btooom! (Vol. 01)

Manga-ka: Junya Inoue
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: February 2013

Synopsis: “Ryouta Sakamoto is one of the top-ranked players of Btooom!, an online battle game. But no amount of simulated warfare could have prepared him for what is to come… Ryouta wakes one evening to find himself dangling from a tree by a parachute with no recollection of how he got there. Before he can orient himself to his unfamiliar surroundings, Ryouta is attacked. As a barrage of explosives rain down on him, Ryouta realizes that he too has a pack of bombs…bombs that look very similar to the ones used in Btooom! Ryouta may have mastered the online game, but can he come out on top in this real-life game of survival?!”

Btooom! is one of two very similar books to come out from Yen Press recently. Both Junya Inoue’s Btooom! and Yoshiki Tonogai’s Doubt share the same basic premise – a group of individuals are captured and forced to survive a real-life version of a video game they enjoy. Unfortunately for Btooom!, it is the weaker of the two.

Read more…


Take me back to the top!