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Review Archive

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


Review: Soul Eater (Vol. 11)

Soul Eater (Vol. 11)

Manga-ka: Atsushi Ohkubo
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: November 2012

Synopsis: “Arachnophobia has taken the offensive and spreads the Kishin’s madness throughout the world, using “BREW” to threaten anyone who stands in their way. In the wake of attacks at home and abroad, DWMA sends its top students to quell the madness and gather information wherever they can. But the madness is spreading much quicker and is stronger than they had anticipated. When confronted by an incarnation of the Kishin’s madness itself – the sinister Clown – will Maka and Soul fall victim to its manipulations?”

Volume eleven of Soul Eater picks up right where volume ten ended, with the DWMA on the defensive under Arachnophobia’s assault. The first chapter focuses exclusively on dealing with Stein, who is the main suspect in the murder that ended the previous book. It’s filled with good use of emotion and shots without dialogue, though it is at times not the easiest narrative to follow. This only increases when most of the other chapters in this volume are solely dedicated to focusing on Maka and Soul, which leads to some disconnect in the volume as a whole. While of course these chapters were originally published in a serialized format, I still do prefer for a volume to have some sense of unity, which this one definitely does not.

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Review: Is This A Zombie? (Vol. 02-03)

Is This A Zombie? (Vol. 02)

Author: Shinichi Kimura
Manga-ka: Sacchi
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: July 2012 | November 2012

Synopsis: “Ayumu Aikawa is settling into his new life – or lack thereof – and enjoying the ties he’s building with his new roommates, strange though they may be! But when the opportunity arises to face his murderer, will this zombie/magikewl girl be up to the task?? …  And with Eu under threat from a mysterious nemesis known only as the “King of Night,” the motley crew is tighter than ever as they resolve to keep the “shady necromancer” safe. But when the resident vampire ninja, Sera, receives orders from home that threaten Eu’s well-being, will she turn her back on her new friends?!”

Is this a Zombie? started out as a light novel series, which has since been adapted as an anime and a manga. I haven’t read the novels, since I don’t know enough Japanese, but I have seen the anime and, while it wasn’t for me, I didn’t think it was that bad.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the manga.

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Review: Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden (Vol. 11)

Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden (Vol. 11)

Manga-ka: Yuu Watase
Publisher: Viz Media
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: March 2013

Synopsis: “While Takiko learns the terrible truth behind the prophecy that set Uruki against his father, King Temdan, the country of Bêi-jîa faces both civil war and foreign invasion. Takiko’s final hope lies in reuniting the last two Celestial Warriors, the twins Urumiya and Teg. Can she mend the rifts between brother and brother, father and son?”

In this second-to-last volume of Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden, the plot is clearly getting ready for the conclusion as major plots begin to wind down and loose ends begin to be tied up. Focused on here are the conflict between Uruki and Temdan, and the reunion of Urumiya and Teg. Both plots reach their conclusion in this volume, to mixed success.

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Showcase: Tokyo Demons

Showcase: Tokyo Demons

Welcome to the first instalment of a new feature for Kuriousity – Showcase! I’ve been wanting to start something like this for a long time and hopefully it’s the start of many interesting things to come. In these columns, which will have no discernible frequency or scheduling (like everything else here – always a surprise!), I’ll be taking a look at some different independent projects that I think readers here at Kuriousity would enjoy. It might be a comic, it might be a novel, it might be a web comic – who knows! I’m a huge fan of self-published creators and hope to introduce great stories to new fans, promote a creator’s work and have a chance to rave about some favourites.

The first title I’m writing about has not only rekindled the fiction lover in me – who has been buried far too long – but is also well-timed as one of the flagship titles for the newly announced, Chromatic PressTokyo Demons.

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Review: Higurashi When They Cry – Massacre Arc (Vol. 01)

Higurashi When They Cry - Massacre Arc (Vol. 01)

Author: Ryukishio07
Manga-ka: Hinase Momoyama
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: September 2012

Synopsis: “The ‘Curse Killing Arc’…The ‘Time Killing Arc’…As each incarnation of the terrible events in Hinamizawa unfolds, Rika Furude must watch as her friends descend into madness and despair, knowing the only fate that awaits her is death. With the unique ability to see all of these worlds, Rika desperately searches for the common links between them that will help her stop the cycle and give her and her friends a happy future beyond June 1983. But with less than a month before the cotton drifting in her current life, will Rika be able to change destiny in time?”

Before now you could read the individual Higurashi arcs and still be able to understand well enough what was going on. With this volume, however, everything that has come before gels together and starts building towards a climax that brings all the previously unrelated events into one story. With the bigger scope comes bigger stakes. In the Massacre Arc it’s not just the lives of everyone in Hinamizawa that’s in danger but the very fabric of reality itself.

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Review: Aron’s Absurd Armada (Vol. 01)

Aron’s Absurd Armada (Vol. 01)

Manhwa-ga: MiSun Kim
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: November 2012

Synopsis: “On a whim, Aron Cornwall decides he wants to live a pirate’s life of thrills, sailing on the high seas in search of distant lands and buried treasure. And when you are the son of a duke, you generally get what you want. Accompanied by his reluctant manservant, Robin, Aron scrounges up a crew—including a cook who cannot cook, a transvestite assassin, and a boy (girl?) genius—and sets off on the craziest pirate adventure you’ve ever seen!”

I’m not overly familiar with the works of MiSun Kim, and if this series is an example of their work I don’t want to be. Ugh. Aron’s Absurd Armada is a yon-koma (4-panel) gag style comic series where the jokes are frequent and the story is virtually nonexistent. Most of the gags were weak or in poor taste and it felt overall like I was reading really bad roleplay logs from when I was in junior high school.

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Review: Sky Link

Sky Link

Manga-ka: Shiro Yamada
Publisher: Juné
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: July 2011

Synopsis: “The sky was a bright shade of blue on the first day of university and Ritsuki Ban hopes for a fresh start. As mysterious past regrets continue to linger in his mind, Ritsuki collides into a man who takes on an immediate interest in Ritsuki’s looks— a man whom he later discovers, is one of his new professors! The confident Professor Takagi does nothing to hide his feelings towards Ritsuki; however the reclusive Ritsuki refuses to become teacher’s pet. As Ritsuki and Takagi find themselves sky gazing together one day, they are moved by each other’s expressions and begin to find out more about each other.”

Clichés can be executed well. Sometimes a manga-ka can take a situation that has been done a thousand times before and still make it sing. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with Sky Link. Shiro Yamada’s story only highlights how absurd and tired these clichés can be.

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Review: Raiders (Vol. 08)

Raiders (Vol. 08)

Manhwa-ga: JinJun Park
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: October 2012

Synopsis: “Chris succeeds in getting the information he needs about Crossline from Area 51, but he is trapped in an underground bunker when an EMP shuts down its electrical systems. While he struggles to escape before the oxygen runs out, Irel and Lamia dive deeper into their search of the Blood of Christ… but the answer they have been looking for might not bring the results they’d hoped.”

JinJun Park’s Raiders has reached its penultimate chapter, giving to readers a parcel that continues its mix of glossy action, impeccable line work and wacky religious plot lines. Combining Christian mythology with all manner of undead creatures and conspiracy-theory madness, Park’s Raiders is still a fairly light and fun action series that occasionally cuts a bit deeper than its polished surface. It’s been awhile since I last visited Irel and Lamia, but their mission to solve their undead reality continues to be a fascinating journey. Moving her pawns into their assorted places, Parker delivers an action packed volume that reveals more of what has caused this story’s world to be full of crazed would-be messiahs.

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Victoria’s Favourites: Top 20 Manga (Part 04)

Victoria’s Favourites: Top 20 Manga (Part 04)

The hardest part about making this list was assigning the order and I replayed with the rankings over and over again. Nailing it down was the most difficult for the top ten titles or so, because all of them are ones I absolutely adore and it was very challenging to say I liked one more than the other. In fact, I only came up with the final order when I asked myself a question concerning the top five, which I am about to finally share.

That question was this: if there were only five manga series I could read for the rest of my life, which ones would I choose?

Without further ado, here are my choices.

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Victoria’s Favourites: Top 20 Manga (Part 03)

Victoria’s Favourites: Top 20 Manga (Part 03)

Time for the third part of my Top 20 Favourite Manga list. If you missed the earlier parts, you can find them here and here.

(Just a reminder, this is a ranking based on personal preference, rather than just perceived level of quality; however, with each choice, my ranking of the series over at Anime News Network is noted in parentheses.)

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Take me back to the top!