Posts tagged ‘Manga ‘




Manga Review Special!

Just recently, I’ve read and finished several manga. I decided to do a report on them, since I’ve been having a special interest in Ai Yazawa’s manga lately.

Paradise Kiss

This manga follows the crazy happenings of Yukari, a book-worm-turned-model. With stunning looks and her height, she was a natural for the modeling world. However, I’m here to tell you how she got to that.

While roaming the streets with school (or the library) in mind, she stumbles upon Arashi and Isabella. The two are from a budding fashion line called Paradise Kiss. When Arashi sees her, he becomes determined to make her the model for their senior show at Yazawa Gakuen (a school for young, talented artists). At first, she thinks the idea is crazy, but she eventually gives in and becomes their model. Thus begins her life of fashion and beauty, with her new friends (and her lover George, whom she seems to be having problems with). Will life be lived happily for young Yukari, or will she become a sad and lonely mannequin…?

Characters

Yukari

Yukari is the heroine of the story, a high school student who is tired of the meaningless and repetitive life that has been forced upon her by her uptight mother. She eventually models for Paradise Kiss after being “kidnapped” by Isabella and whisked away to Paradise Kiss’ “atelier”. She is often referred to, inexplicably, as “Caroline” by Miwako.
Yukari begins the series as a pretty faced, yet rather unattractive in personality, high school senior that studies dutifully for university entrance exams. When she meets the ParaKiss crew, she begins to discover new depth to her personality and life. Her passionate and sometimes destructive relationship with George is key to this self-discovery. Yukari is competitive, quick to blame others, and desperately wants to experience more; George often points out the flaws in her personality, but admits that he finds them alluring, claiming that she was “born into this world to drive him crazy.”

George Koizumi (Jouji Koizumi)

George is an eccentric, handsome, and extremely charismatic student of Yazagaku who has extraordinary talent with a gift for fashion design, haute couture in particular. Despite his cold demeanor, he has extravagant ideas on everything, most of which are not accepted by the general public. He wants Yukari to become an independent woman, as well as a girl that will take responsibility for her own mistakes. He considers himself bisexual, or as he says, “an equal opportunity lover”. His appearance is loosely based on Brian Slade of Velvet Goldmine, and several references to the film are made by him in the manga. He has distinctive blue hair and eyes, making Yukari humorously question if he is an alien. George can come off as cold and manipulative–Arashi warns Yukari that he is “not a man that will make a woman happy”–but he deeply cares for Yukari. George is the one to steal Yukari’s virginity, even mocking her for it during sex. The lifestyle that he lives is top-notch; he lives in a loft apartment and drives a vintage Jaguar, but because his mother was merely a mistress, he rarely sees his father. Regardless, his mother dryly complains that he looks and acts just like him.

Miwako

A student of Yazagaku who works with George to run their own brand, Paradise Kiss. She is the younger sister of the Happy Berry brand’s creator/president, Mikako Kouda, who is the protagonist in Ai Yazawa‘s Gokinjo Monogatari work. She is exceptionally sweet and cute. Miwako tends to act in a rather childlike manner, both in her Lolita style dress and unique vocabulary. She owns a cat named Josefine. At the end of the manga, Yukari and Hiroyuki talk about Miwako, who is married with Arashi and they have a daughter named Erica, who looks more like him.

Arashi

Arashi is a student of Yazagaku with a taste for punk style, piercings, and alternative music. He is Miwako’s boyfriend, they have both known each other–along with Hiroyuki Tokumori–from childhood. Miwako later reveals that she “chose” Arashi over Hiroyuki when the three of them began high school. Even though Arashi has a generally cynical, sometimes abrasive personality, he does care deeply about those around him. When the members of ParaKiss engage in outrageous behavior, Arashi is usually the voice of reason. He is the son of a musician, Kanzaki Risa, who is a good friend of Mikako Kouda.

Isabella (Daisuke Yamamoto)

Isabella is the mother figure to the members of ParaKiss. This tall Yazagaku student is the epitome of high class and femininity. Isabella inspired George’s very first dress during childhood, and often had the habit of taking every piece of clothing that he finished. Isabella encourages Yukari when she needs it the most, whether it be regarding George or her abandoned studies. Notably, Isabella is actually a crossdresser, and she is mortified when anyone refers to her as ‘Daisuke’, her birth name.

Hiroyuki Tokumori

The picture isn’t the best, sorry! Only one I could find in color.

Yukari’s classmate, an intelligent and handsome young man who happens to be the object of Yukari’s affections at the beginning of the story. Hiroyuki was once in love with Miwako, but Arashi forbade her from seeing him. He eventually falls for Yukari, who foolishly assumed that he’d never date a girl like her.

Here’s a few more ParaKiss pictures!!

Moving on to my next review, this will be the last for this post.

Kagen no Tsuki

Mizuki Mochizuki is a high school student that one day meets a man by the name Adam. In the two weeks they are together, she falls in love with him, and the day he is to leave, she decides to follow him. Bringing her passport and a bag, she crosses one of Shibuya’s many streets, on a red light, to follow after him. Only, when her ex-boyfriend calls out her name, she turns around, in the middle of the street, to see him running after her. While standing there, she is hit by a car.

Some time later, a girl named Hotaru, who has lost her cat, mistakes a stray as her own. The cat wanders into an abandoned home, and she squeezes through the bars to follow after the cat. When realizing that the cat isn’t hers, she decides to leave, but is drawn in by a beautiful melody. She makes her way to where the sound is coming from, and discovers a girl playing a piano. After telling her friends about the girl, they all leave to check out the scene. When they go there, they cannot see the girl, but knows she is real when Hotaru hands her a notebook, and she takes it from Hotaru’s hands. They have no idea who this girl is, but they are determined to find out just who she is and why she is there. The rest of the story follows their discoveries of the ghost they call Eve.

It’s nearly impossible to find any pictures of the characters of this manga. It was hard enough to find the one up above. It’s not so well-known, and the title was never picked up for American audiences. I’ll post some info on the characters now!

Mizuki Mochizuki

A 17-year-old student that fell in love with the mysterious Adam. She is hit by a car and is put into a coma. Her spirit is then taken over by Eve (or, Sayaka) and when she wakes up, she doesn’t remember anyone, including Adam, Eve, and the children that helped her.

Hotaru Shiraishi

A girl that lost her cat. She stumbles upon Eve one day as she was searching for her cat, and after talking to her, vows to help her out of the house that entraps her. She is helped by three other friends from her school and is the only one who can see and communicate to Eve.

Eve

When Mizuki is in a coma, Eve takes her over and becomes an alternate identity. Eve was in deep amnesia, not remembering anything but a foreigner named Adam. She is in love with him, and he is her only concern. She doesn’t even know who she, herself, is.

Adam Lang

An English singer that is the lead of the now-broken up band Evil Eye. He has blond hair and blue eyes, and is the only person whom Eve can remember. He was in love with a girl named Sayaka and is aware that Mizuki is her reincarnation. He is, partially, the reason Mizuki is ran over.

Sae Kayama

One of Hotaru’s best friends. She is the first person Hotaru introduces to Eve, but Eve is invisible to her. She is, at first, scared of what Hotaru tells her about Eve, but eventually decides to help Hotaru find out who Eve is. She has a crush on Miura.

Tetsu Sugisaki

He is the son of the doctor that took care of Hotaru while she was in a coma. He is usually referred to as a monkey by Hotaru and the others, and has a crush on Hotaru. Hotaru accepts and returns these feelings, as well. He helps Hotaru find Eve’s identity.

Masaki Miura

The son of a famous actor. He is Tetsu’s best friend, and is crushed on by Sae. His parents are divorced, and he basically lives alone with the help of his father’s money, who is always away on business. He usually seemed passive and uncaring, but he truly wanted to help Eve find her identity, and so he helps the others. He usually has the best plans.

Tomoki Anzai

Mizuki’s ex-boyfriend and lover, he cheated on and betrayed her with her best friend. When she finds out, she leaves him and becomes extremely lost and lonely. He was truly sorry and wanted to prove so, but before he could, she is hit by a car. He is the last to see her.

Sayaka Kamijou

Adam’s girlfriend and lover. She always tagged along on shows and was the princess of Evil Eye, despite how sickly she was. She eventually dies from her sickness in her late teens, not too long before she was to turn twenty. When this happens, Adam joins her in a suicide. Sayaka doesn’t rest easy, sad that she leaves her lover behind, so she lives on in another’s body.

I really enjoyed both of these manga. They’re both quite interesting, with Kagen no Tsuki being the more mysterious one. I suggest you try reading them. I read Kagen no Tsuki (since it isn’t in English) on OneManga.Com. Try reading either of them anytime you like!

Thanks, Rina-chan out!!

Add a comment Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yazawa Fashion.

Mangaka (manga artist) Yazawa Ai is one fashionable lady, and it shows, especially in her famous manga NANA and Paradise Kiss. Most of her characters a punk-fashioned, with cool little chains and gorgeous hairstyles. She also pays very great attention to every detail, and it counts. I’ll show you several Paradise Kiss pictures of her fashionable characters.

Miwako (a definite lolicon and is part of the fashion line Paradise Kiss)

Yukari (an upcoming fashion model and main character of the series

Arashi and Miwako (both are of the Paradise Kiss fashion line)

George and Yukari (George is the head honcho of Paradise Kiss and Yukari’s a former-prep-student-gone-model)

As you can see, all of these characters are quite fashionable (as is suspected of a manga all about how a girl wants to free herself of the boring lie of a person she was, and begins modeling after finding the inspiration of some weird, but very nice [and sometimes mean] fashion designers of Paradise Kiss). Most of the characters are pretty unique (no, actually, none of them are too alike). And I just started reading this manga, I love it!

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. I’m going to show some examples of several fashionable NANA characters.

Nana O. (lead vocalist of the rock band BLAST) and Nana K. (housewife of Trapnest’s head)

Nana Komatsu (nicknamed Hachi or Hachikou — a pun on her behavior, she acts like a lost and clingy puppy, just like the real Hachikou — check my history post)

Nana Osaki (Just goes by the name Nana)

BLAST (Nobu, Nana, Yasu, Shin)

Nana Osaki and Ren Honjo (Ren is the guitarist of Trapnest and former bassist of BLAST)

Now that I’ve shown you the anime version, I think it’s time to show you the cosplay (or live action) version of some of her characters.

These next two pictures are of Nana Osaki (from NANA)

This is Nana Komatsu (from NANA)

Chou cosplaying as Yukari (from Paradise Kiss)

Arashi (from Paradise Kiss)

Wow, so cool! The mangaka behind the stories, though, was born in 1967, meaning she’s about 41. Despite getting “up there,” this is her. The only picture I could even find.

She’s pretty fashionable, if you ask me. I like her lipstick. Her hair style suits her, too.

Thanks for reading! I know I haven’t been posting as much lately and that might make you sad. But, look! I finally gave you another fashion issue! Aren’t you happy?

Rina-chan, out! Peace!!

Oh my gosh, I’m wearing pigtail braids. *_*

3 comments Monday, September 8, 2008

American-Japanese Cultured Mags.

When I say American-Japanese, I mean, seriously, Japanese-cultured mags in America. I’ll introduce some really good ones!

Shojo Beat (under Viz Media)

On the cover, we have NANA’s Nana (Hachi) Komatsu.

Shojo Beat focuses on, well, shoujo (girls’ manga) titles. It is a line under the main branch, Viz Media, and brings shoujo titles to America for us to read. Many of their popular titles are NANA, Sand Chronicles, Vampire Knight, Honey And Clover, and Absolute Boyfriend. There are many, many other titles, and those are just a few. As of right now, Haruka, Honey And Clover, Honey Hunt, Crimson Hero, Vampire Knight, and Sand Chronicles are all serialized in the magazine. This month, there were two previews — one chapter of We Were There (Bokura ga Ita) and one chapter of Captive Hearts. I’m currently subscribed to this mag (it’s much cheaper!).

The price for the mag is $5.99 each, but if you subscribe, it’s only about $30 a year (and $2.50 an issue). It is published monthly, usually over 300 pages-filled. It includes music, letters to the mag, horoscope, fashion and tips, and any other girly thing you’d find in a shoujo mag.

Shonen Jump

The cover is, obviousl, Naruto.

Shonen Jump is also under the Viz Media label. It is an American version of Japan’s Shonen Jump Weekly. It obviously focuses on shonen (manga targeted at boys) and is probably one of the most popular manga mags of America. Some popular titles are Bleach, Naruto, YuYu Hakusho, and Hikaru no Go. They are all serialized in the magazine, along with One Piece, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, and Slam Dunk. There are over 300 pages in this magazine, and sometimes, it nears or surpasses 400.

I don’t subscribe, which is silly, because I buy it every month. Included in this magazine, there are usually game cards in the trade card game section, as well as covers on games, Japanese language and culture, mangaka (manga artists) interviews, news on anime and manga, and much more. The price is the same for Shojo Beat ($5.99).

Anime Insider

That’s the guy from Final Fantasy VII.

This is, personally, one of my most favorite magazines, period. I love this magazine. Although it doesn’t have as many pages as Shojo Beat and Shonen Jump, it has plenty of content. It goes over Japanese culture completely, barely ever missing a spot. It includes tons of reviews on manga and anime, even dramas, music, language, and even places in Japan that just catch your eye. There’s a segment in every issue called JPN101, which teachers you many phrases and words. There’s even a “fan service” picture, showing a girl and a guy that you just can’t help but stare at, as well as a VS. segment, where they describe what would happen if two people, from two different series, go head to head and fight. It’s usually very funny. There’s so much more in the magazine, it’s a must-have for any anime/manga lover as well as for anyone interested in Japanese culture.

The price for this mag is $4.99. Here’s the website for you:

http://www.wizarduniverse.com/anime.html

That’s all for now, folks. If you want to know about another other manga-themed or anime-themed magazines, here’s a list for you:

  • Newtype USA (was done after February, but there’s still backordering)
  • Otaku USA
  • PiQ (didn’t last too long, but backordering for this one too would work)
  • Protoculture Addicts
  • Naruto Collector
  • Future Anime

Thanks for reading! I hope I informed you of something new or got you into the latest and greatest!

Rina-chan, out!

Add a comment Friday, September 5, 2008

Fruits Basket ~Special Review~

This is my third installment of special reviews.

Fruits Basket is about, basically, a girl who meets the Sohma (Souma) family. They’ve been cursed for eternity; thirteen of them turn into animals when hugged by the opposite sex. There is one that stands out–Kyo, the cat–who is not apart of the zodiac. In the ancient story, he was tricked into being late for the “bash” that all the animals should have went to, and so he was stuck being an outsider, unapart of the zodiac. A cat. The girl, Tohru (Touru), wants to free them of their miseries, despite having some of her own. Her father died of a sickness when she was young, and, more recently, her mother died. She was left alone, burdened with the fact that asking others for help would burden them too. And so, she sets up in a tent and gets sick one day, on the Sohma family grounds. They take Tohru in with the exception that she has to, basically, be a maid.

Anime

There isn’t much of a different between the anime and the manga art. The only difference, really, is their art. However, in general, the manga and the anime are almost completely different.

The anime clocked in at twenty-six episodes, and has no scheduled second season and probably never will, despite the profits that’d be gained. It ends around volume six of the manga and closely follows the plot up until then, abruptedly ending. Although I love the anime, I prefer the manga because I get to see how it truly ends.

Manga:

The manga more-recently ended back in 2006 with twenty-three volumes, with twenty of those volumes published here in America.I have yet to read the ending, of course, so I can’t say much other than I’ve read all of the chapters available to the US audience. So far, so good. The story’s getting pretty good and I can’t wait to finish it. I’ve been working on this manga since I was eleven, and when it’s finally over, I can breath a sigh of relief and know how it went down.

I certainly hope it’s a happy ending.

Anyway, down with the characters. I’ll introduce you to the most important characters — Tohru, Kyo, and Yuki

Tohru Honda (Touru Honda)

An orphaned high school student who, at the start of the story, begins living with Shigure, Yuki, and Kyo Sohma in exchange for housekeeping. She loves to cook, describes herself as an excellent housekeeper, and has an after-school job as a janitor to pay her tuition fees to avoid being a burden on her grandfather. She is depicted as polite, optimistic, extremely kind, and selfless; several other characters, including Kyo, Rin, and Hanajima, tell her she needs to look out for her own interests and not shoulder everyone else’s burdens. In the original Japanese, Tohru habitually speaks formally, but not always correctly, a habit she picked up from her father, Katsuya, after he died when she was three, as a way of replacing him in her mother’s eyes. Tohru’s mother, Kyoko, raised her alone until she died in a car accident shortly after Tohru entered high school, a few months before the start of the story. Tohru repeatedly calls Kyoko the most important person in her life and treasures her photograph; when she falls in love with Kyo she feels guilty of being “unfaithful” to her mother’s memory.
In the first half of the series, as Tohru learns about the zodiac curse and its effects on those she loves, she becomes distressed, and when she learns that the dangerous Akito is the “god” of the zodiac, she resolves to break the curse. Only later does she admit that she wants to free Kyo most of all. Despite setbacks, she stubbornly persists in her goal and eventually frees Kyo and her friends. In the last chapter, she begins moving with Kyo to another city so he can continue his martial arts training, and in the final pages they are shown as a loving elderly couple with a granddaughter.

Kyo Sohma (Kyo Souma)

I decided on two pictures because, while one is a great profile of him, the other is more of his “natural” look.

Kyo is cursed by the cat, an animal not in the Chinese zodiac but which legend says would have been if it had not been tricked by the rat into missing the induction feast (see Zodiac origin stories). He is depicted as an orange-haired young man who is short-tempered and charismatic, if initially awkward around people; Arisa Uotani once calls him “anger management boy,” and Yuki Sohma expresses envy of his ability to make friends easily. He is also fiercely competetive, and can be easily manipulated into doing things he does not want to by turning it into a competition—especially against Yuki. As the cat, Kyo hates Yuki, the current rat of the zodiac, who he sees as never having to work hard at anything, and has dedicated his life to defeating him. Shortly before the series beginning, Kyo made a bet with Akito: if he defeats Yuki before graduating high school, he would officially be accepted as part of the zodiac; however, if he does not, Kyo would be confined inside the Sohma estate for the rest of his life. Despite many months of strict training, however, Kyo never lands a decent blow on Yuki. Their rivalry distresses Tohru, who likes them both, but she comes to worry even more when they do not fight. The two eventually tell each other, during an argument, they envy as well as despise each other and come to a truce for Tohru’s sake.
At the start of the story, Kyo moves into Shigure’s house with Yuki and Tohru. When Kyo was young, his mother died in an accident rumored to be suicide over her son’s curse, and after his father rejected him, Kyo was taken in by Kazuma Sohma. The two love each other as father and son, but Kazuma insists he continue to live with Shigure because he believes Tohru is helping him open up.[39] Aside from his foster father, however, Kyo runs away from the people who want to help him, because he is ashamed of his true form—a grotesque, foul-smelling, larger version of his zodiac animal—which he turns into when his bone juzu bead bracelet is removed. When Tohru sees his true form, however, she is initially repulsed but follows him to beg him stay with her, which strengthens their bond. However, Kyo also blames himself for the death of Tohru’s mother, whom he could have saved at the risk of turning into a cat, and he was shaken by Kyoko‘s last words, “I’ll never forgive you…” As the story progresses, Kyo falls in love with Tohru, but he refuses to subject her to the pain he is convinced he will cause, so when she confesses she loves him, he calls her “delusional.” Only when Uotani, Hanajima, and Yuki impress upon him how deeply his rejection hurt Tohru does he get up the courage to accept her, and when he does finally confess to her, his curse lifts—along with the rest of the zodiac. In the last chapter, he and Tohru begin moving out of Shigure’s house to another city, where he will study at another dojo in preparation for inheriting Kazuma’s, and in the final pages they are shown as a loving couple with a grandaughter.

Yuki Sohma (Yuki Souma)

Yuki is the rat of the Chinese zodiac. Yuki is depicted as an attractive, reserved, and accomplished young man with many admirers, but who finds being friendly difficult. When Yuki was young, Akito Sohma kept him isolated and convinced him no one liked him; because of this, Yuki has low self-esteem and feels isolated. He is known as “Prince Yuki” and “Prince Charming” at school, where he has a fan club headed by Motoko Minagawa that tries to “protect” him from other admirers, with the result that Yuki is further isolated, and he is pressured by his popularity to become president of the student council despite his misgivings. Yuki, however, wishes that he could be with people as friends, rather than be admired from afar, and envies both Kyo Sohma‘s and Kakeru Manabe‘s easy ways with others. He is touched when, faced with the prospect of having her memory of the Sohma family secret erased, Tohru Honda asks that he remain her friend, which no one had asked him before. With Tohru’s help Yuki is gradually able to “open the lid” on his feelings, and the summer after she begins living in Shigure’s house, Yuki admits to himself that he loves her.
When Yuki was around six or seven years old, he ran away from Akito and was the one who returned Tohru to her mother when she was lost. For that, Yuki has always had fond feelings for Tohru for actually “needing” him. However, he later admits to Manabe that he was looking for a mother-figure and found her in Tohru. As the rat, Yuki despises the current cat, Kyo, despite envying him, and is contemptuous of his attempts to defeat him. Even when he recognizes the true nature of his feelings for Tohru, Yuki is uncomfortable when he recognizes her and Kyo’s growing feelings for each other. Yuki becomes attracted to Machi Kuragi, a student council secretary who also had a traumatic childhood, and falls in love with her. When he knows that Kyo will be confessing to Tohru that he loves her, Yuki meets with Machi, and is with her when his curse lifts, whereupon the first thing he does is embrace her. In the last chapter, he gives Machi a key to his new apartment, where he will be living as he attends university.

There you have it, folks. I reviewed one of my favorites for you and now I hope you can enjoy it. If not, thanks for reading! Rina-chan will follow up with her usual lesson later, bye bye!

1 comment Tuesday, August 26, 2008

InuYasha ~Special Review~

InuYasha can’t be more popular than it already is. It’s just completely impossible. Not to mention all its episodes and manga chapters. Why did it take over a decade to come to an end? It should’ve been done shortly after the anime was done… because, that’s when it got boring.

What is this anime about? Let me answer that for you.

“The story begins in Feudal Japan, when InuYasha, a half-demon (han’you), steals the Jewel of Four Souls from a village. The Jewel of Four Souls is an item that can increase one’s powers enormously. InuYasha does not get far before Kikyo, the young miko of the village, shoots him with a sacred arrow that indefinitely seals him onto Goshinboku, a sacred tree in the nearby forest. After being mortally wounded, Kikyo tells her younger sister, Kaede, to burn the jewel with her body to prevent it from falling into the hands of evil.

In modern Tokyo, a junior high school girl named Kagome Higurashi is on her way to school. She stops in the well house of her family’s Shinto shrine to retrieve her cat, Buyo, when a centipede demon emerges from the well and pulls her into the Sengoku period of Japan.

Not knowing where she is, Kagome wanders around a forest near the well. She spots Goshinboku off in the distance and proceeds towards it. On the tree, she finds InuYasha, who is still sealed in an enchanted sleep. Villagers seize her and take her to the old priestess, Kaede. Recognizing that Kagome is the reincarnation of her sister Kikyo, Kaede tells her the story of Kikyo and InuYasha.

The centipede attacks again, and Kagome is forced to release InuYasha from his enchantment so he can kill it. After defeating the centipede, InuYasha tries to take the Jewel of Four Souls from Kagome. In order to thwart InuYasha and to save Kagome’s life, Kaede places magical prayer beads around InuYasha’s neck so that Kagome can subdue him.

The Jewel of Four Souls attracts more demons, and in a battle against a carrion crow demon, the jewel is shattered into numerous shards that spread across Japan.

Kagome and InuYasha set out to collect the shards and restore the Jewel of Four Souls. Along the way, they befriend Shippo, a fox demon; Miroku, a cursed monk; and Sango, a demon-slayer whose brother was possessed and forced to slaughter his father and the other demon slayers. The group encounters many friends and foes during the adventure, including InuYasha’s older half-brother Sesshomaru; Kikyo, who died 50 years ago but, was resurrected with part of Kagome’s soul; Naraku, who tricked Kikyo and InuYasha into turning against each other; and a wolf demon named Koga, who is in love with Kagome and whenever he and InuYasha meet they constantly bicker.”

There isn’t much difference between the anime and manga art. But I’ll reference you to it.

Anime:

I must admit, I loved this anime when I was… eleven. But I’m fourteen now, and it seems just as cliche as Sailor Moon. Don’t get me wrong, fans — the first two or three seasons rock, but then it just got so… boring after that. Anyway, clocking in at 167 episodes and six seasons, InuYasha proved to almost be as long as Sailor Moon was. In fact, it could’ve gone on way longer after that, as the manga was probably double the size of the anime, but they chose not to. And I’m thankful of that. I probably would’ve skipped over every episode just to watch the end, and be like, “What the heck? Happy ending?”

This one was quite a long one. Even Naruto, with 400 or so chapters, is way shorter than this one. Actually, Naruto has short chapters, with around seventeen pages. InuYasha has about 30 pages. It’s insane! Anyway, InuYasha ended with 558 chapters (wowza!) and 56 volumes. I wonder if America will publish all of those? Good luck to ya, America!

Anyway, I think it’s about time I introduce you to the gang. I’ll have you know, Kagome and InuYasha were always my favorite characters. I wonder why I almost always love the main characters…

Characters:

InuYasha

Sorry, it was almost impossible to find a better screenshot of InuYasha… than this.

He’s in his “demon form.”

InuYasha is a hanyou (half-demon), the product of an inu-youkai (dog demon) and a human. He wields Tetsusaiga, a supernatural sword made from one of his deceased father’s fangs. When properly wielded, the sword can destroy one hundred demons with a single swing. InuYasha can quickly recover from injuries that would be fatal to a human, largely due to his demonic blood. During the first night of each lunar month (new moon), InuYasha changes into a normal human with black hair and brown eyes and loses his demonic powers. InuYasha was bound to Goshinboku by Kikyo‘s arrow for fifty years until Kagome freed him. InuYasha wears a special bead necklace that forces him to respond to Kagome’s command “Osuwari!”, which translates to “Sit!” in English. In the English-dubbed version, “InuYasha, sit!” or “Sit, boy!” are sometimes used instead. Following the command, InuYasha is thrown to the ground. Kaede had placed the necklace upon InuYasha because he had threatened to kill Kagome if she refused to give the Jewel of Four Souls to him. As the series goes on, he begins to like Kagome more and more, shown when he will leave a battle to keep her from being hurt.

Kagome

This is what you call the “average Kagome pose.”

She’s always shooting bows and arrows. Anyway…

Kagome is a fifteen-year-old ninth grade student. She is the reincarnation of Kikyo, a miko (priestess) who died fifty years before the time Kagome first emerged from the Bone Eater’s Well in the Sengoku period. Because of this, Kagome has powerful spiritual powers and can sense the shards of the Shikon Jewel, an item that is said to balance the forces of good and evil, and resembles Kikyo. Later in the series, she admits that she loves InuYasha, which is also shown when she stays with him at the end of the series.

Miroku

That’s him. The pervert always rubbing Sango’s (she’ll be explained in a moment) butt.

Miroku is a Buddhist “houshi” (low-ranking, itinerant monk) who travels the countryside performing services such as exorcisms and yōkai exterminations to earn his living. He suffers from a hereditary curse originally inflicted upon his grandfather Miyatsu (also a Buddhist monk) by Naraku. The curse created a hole in his hand that became a kazaana (air void or “wind tunnel”) that sucks in anything that is not nailed down, regardless of its mass. However, absorbing poisons or sharp objects harms him and can decrease his total life-span, a fact Naraku takes advantage of by creating highly poisonous insects whose presence prevents Miroku from using his kazaana on Naraku or his allies. Miroku uses the kazaana as a powerful weapon against youkai, but if the curse is not broken (by defeating Naraku), it will grow too large to control and will consume Miroku himself. Miroku is a talented con artist who does not hesitate to invent fictitious supernatural menaces, which he can then offer to combat in return for food and shelter. He has a distinct weakness for single women. He makes a point of asking every attractive woman he meets if she will bear his child, and he habitually strokes the buttocks of attractive women. Miroku eventually proposes to Sango, though this does little to curb his flirtations with other women. At the end of the series, they are married with three children.

Sango

She’s gripping that giant boomerang she always seems to have.

Sango is a serious “youkai taijiya” (demon slayer) who hails from a village of professional demon slayers. Sango wields the Hiraikotsu, a massive boomerang made of youkai bones, and uses a broad repertoire of tools and tricks to battle youkai. Sango seeks revenge against Naraku for the death of her family and her entire village. In addition, Sango seeks to rescue her brother Kohaku from Naraku’s influence and somehow save his life, even though Kohaku’s life is tied to the jewel shard embedded in his back. She eventually develops romantic feelings for Miroku. Despite the fact that everyone, even InuYasha, notices her interest, she refuses to admit it exists. The manifestation of her interest often takes the form of hitting Miroku when he flirts with other single women. Miroku eventually returns her feelings and proposes to her. At the end of the series, they are married with three children.

Shippou

Look at Shippou. He’s such a brave little fox, in his own way.

Shippou is a young orphan kitsune (fox demon) whose father was killed by the Thunder Brothers, Hiten and Manten, and the first character in the story to join InuYasha and Kagome in their travels. Shippo can shape shift, but his forms are temporary and often incomplete and ineffective, such that he is usually given away by his tail. His other noteworthy abilities are using illusionary tricks with toys like his giant spinning top attack, using his race’s notable foxfire magic, and duplicating things, such as leaves or his own body. He tends to be naively observant and often makes pointed and cheeky comments directed towards InuYasha, earning him a retaliatory rap on the head for his unsolicited “advice”.

Kirara

That’s a typical scene. Kirara’s owner is Sango, so of course they cuddle!

She’s so cute… but scary and deadly when she transforms.

Kirara is Sango’s faithful nekomata. She has cream-colored fur, black ears, two black stripes on each of her two bushy tails near the tip, and black-tipped paws. Kirara can change between two forms: a ferocious lion-sized youkai with the ability to fly, and a cute kitten. Sango, Miroku, and Shippo often use Kirara’s flying ability as transportation in order to keep up with InuYasha.

Well, that’s them all! There’s a bunch more of characters, but these are the ones you’ll probably see in nearly every episode. Since I have fond memories and I’m such a fan girl, I’m going to post a few more pictures!

All right, all right! I’m done fan-girling. Thanks for reading. Hope I made it interesting for you! Rina-chan, out, and a big, giant “Peace!!” to you!

Add a comment Sunday, August 24, 2008

Vampire Knight ~Review Special~

Howdy, everyone! I’d like to say that I’m a huge fan of Vampire Knight, and so I thought I’d do a special for it.

What’s the difference between the manga and the anime?

While I personally prefer the anime over the manga, there is a difference. The anime cuts out the small issues and focuses on the big screen and has cleaner art with brighter colors, but the manga has many side stories and doesn’t show the full picture– which tends to confuse me…

Is Vampire Knight any good?

Sure! If you like blood-sucking creatures with a real story, not just them going after people like in a murder movie, Vampire Knight is all for you!

Why should I watch/read Vampire Knight?

Well, to tell you the truth, you don’t have to. But after I watched it, I thought of vampires in a whole new light. I also didn’t think it was any good, but the moment I checked it out I was so addicted I couldn’t stop watching–until I finished the show. Then when I finished the show, I was so sad.

What is Vampire Knight even about?

Well, let’s make it short. Maybe.

Vampire Knight follows the story of a supposedly human girl Yuuki, with no memories of her first, maybe, five years of her life. Her parents were murdered. Her friend, Zero, was also treated the same way. After his parents were murdered by a vicious vampire and he was bit by the pureblood, he became one himself. But he despised vampires. Getting back to Yuuki, she was saved from a level-E (a human gone vampire) vampire, by a pureblood. Since then, she had become attached to him. You’re wondering why I’m talking about what happened, rather than what is happening, aren’t you? Well, today, Yuuki is to tend to her school and guard it. She is in the Day Class – class for humans. Night Class is where the true guarding begins, because she must stay up all night and watch the vampires of that class. She gets into several tricky situations with the vampires of Night Class, but she is very devoted to her work.

The story basically starts when she realizes Zero is battling the transformation of becoming a level-E. Why is becoming a level-E so important? Level-E’s are the very vicious vampires, the ones who cannot hold themselves back at the sight of humans and blood. He doesn’t want to become vicious, and she doesn’t want him to, either.

Wow. That’s weird. So, is this thing all about bloody vampires and stuff?

Not completely. There’s very-shoujo love scenes and stuff, just to give the anime an appeal to all audiences. Do you really think I’d actually watch this if it had no depth whatsoever? Haha.

Okay, that’s enough for Q&A (questions and answers). Let’s show you some pictures so you can see the difference of the art.

Anime:

That’s Zero and Yuuki.

Some anime news:

Currently, there’s only thirteen episodes and there’s no word on if it’ll get a US release, but in Japan, a second thirteen-episode season is going to air at the right time–October, 2008! I can only hope it’ll get subbed right away or there will be a release for America soon, but there’s nothing promising, it seems.

Manga:

That’s the manga art. If you haven’t noticed, Zero and Yuuki is my favorite couple.

Some manga news:

Currently, there’s about fourty or so chapters and eight volumes in Japan, and there is an American release still going on. It started in the July 2006 issue of Shojo Beat, and four volumes are released a year.

Characters:

These are the main and most-important characters, in their typical anime appearance.

Yuuki Cross

The adoptive daughter of the headmaster of Cross Academy, Yuuki is a member of the school’s disciplinary committee, which is also known as Prefect (Guardian). Ten years prior to the events of “Vampire Knight,” Yuuki was attacked by a vampire, but was rescued by Kaname. She has lost all memory of her life before the attack because her mother, Juuri Kuran, used her pureblood powers to put her vampire side to sleep, and Headmaster Cross took her in as his own daughter. She, like Chairman Cross, believes that vampires and humans can live together peacefully. Yuuki loves Kaname so much to the point where her heart beats like crazy and she loses her mind. She even went as far as to kiss him. She has also been giving her childhood friend Zero her blood to save him from becoming a Level E vampire. She and Kaname were raised as siblings by Yuuki’s parents, Juuri and Haruka Kuran, who were also siblings and heads of the Kuran line of pureblood vampires. She is also Kaname’s fiance, whom she believes to be her brother, and Kaname has yet to tell her the truth about who he is. Yuuki loves Kaname who has always been protecting her and by her side during all her childhood as a human and as a vampire, but is still not sure who Zero is to her. When Rido Kuran, Yuuki’s uncle, resurfaces at Cross Academy, Kaname awakens her vampiric side and pureblood powers.

Zero Cross

Zero’s family was killed by the pureblood vampire Shizuka Hiou. Zero was taken in by the headmaster of Cross Academy, and became a Prefect (Guardian), alongside Yuuki Cross. He has a great hatred for vampires though he is revealed to be himself a Level D due to Shizuka’s attack four years ago. He also has a younger twin brother named Ichiru who was living by Shizuka’s side. Even though Kaname killed Shizuka, Ichiru thought it was Zero and blamed him. Zero assumed that Ichiru wanted revenge but instead he wanted death so he let Zero “eat him” making Zero complete putting him at a tier of power above vampires and hunters and possibly saving him from becoming a Level E indefinitely. Zero also seems to have developed feelings for Yuuki, always protecting her, and almost kissing her.

Kaname Kuran

A pureblood vampire, Kaname saved Yuuki from an attack by another vampire when she was little. He is the class president of the Night Class, much feared and respected by the other Night Class students. While he is cold and authoritative towards his fellows in the Night Class, he is always kind and sweet to Yuuki. He has shown that he cares deeply for Yuuki, and loves her in a romantic sense. (He allows Zero to live because he knows his death would sadden Yuuki, and because Zero is useful.) He is both jealous and angry of Zero for biting Yuuki and endangering her life. He has a deep love for Yuuki. They are also engaged, just like Haruka and Juuri, who were married to each other as it is common for pureblood siblings to marry. It is essential to keep the bloodline pure. Also, a fact yet to be revealed to Yuuki is that Kaname is not her “true brother”. He is actually the ancient ancestor of the Kurans, and Rido is his master who awakened him from his grave, making him unable to kill the man.

Thank you very much for reading the review of one of my favorite anime!! Please.. uh.. come again!

Rina-chan says, ‘Peace!’

2 comments Saturday, August 23, 2008

Manga Mania.

In this post, I’ll discuss manga that was brought to America and give reviews, plus tell you what it’s about.

NANA

A popular manga brought to America by Viz Media, NANA follows two girls – Nana Osaki and Nana Komatsu (known as Hachi) – that suddenly meet each other by accident while the both of them set off to Tokyo one cold winter’s night to follow their dreams. Nana Osaki is the lead of Black Stones (lovingly known by the fans as BLAST) and dreams to make it big. When her ex-boyfriend, Ren, leaves the band to become a guitarist (which he was originally a bassist) for the popular band Trapnest, BLAST is left devastated. However, they move on, and, with the help of Hachi, find a new bass player. However, Hachi is a normal girl, heading to Tokyo with hopes of making her own dreams come true. When her boyfriend left for Tokyo in order to become an art student at a college, he told Hachi not to follow after him until she had a plan and some money. When Hachi raised up enough money, she chased after him to Tokyo so that they could be together. Both of these girls meet on the train to Tokyo and don’t meet again until they set off to find an apartment – in which, they both, surprisingly, are interested in the same apartment. They decide to live together and split the rent, since the apartment had two bedrooms. The two were inseparable ever since and remained best friends through whatever ups and downs (as NANA mainly focuses on) life throws at them.

I, personally, find this as my all-time favorite manga. I buy every volume and I can never wait until the next one. Highly recommended for anyone who likes real shoujo.

LIFE

LIFE follows Ayumi Shiiba, a ninth grade student, soon going into high school (which starts in tenth grade for the Japanese). She has a fairly normal life, having her friend Shii-chan by her side for anything. But when it’s time to decide your school, Shii-chan decides to go to a school that Ayumu couldn’t possibly pass the tests for, becauses, after all, Shii-chan is her smart best friend and Ayumu has grades that could certainly be avoided. Not wanting to lose her best friend, she asks Shii-chan to tutor her, and Shii-chan happily accepts. And so, when the entrance exams are taken and the results come back, Shii-chan does not get in. But Ayumu does. It seems that when Shii-chan focused much of her time on tutoring Ayumu, she had no time to study herself, and so, she was rejected. Destroying Shii-chan’s dreams tears both Shii-chan and Ayumu up inside, and when Shii-chan tells Ayumu “I hate you!,” Ayumu begins to cut herself with a razor blade.

Coming into a new school, though, is where the problems truly begin. She meets a girl – Manami – and they instantly become friends. At first, Ayumu is leery about befriending her, but she gradually accepts it. As a good friend, Manami introduces her boyfriend Katsumi to Ayumu, and Katsumi instantly takes a liking to her. One day, he tricks Ayumu to coming over to his house and nearly rapes her. When a friend of Manami sees Ayumu leaving his house, she tells Manami. Manami becomes very mad, and soon manipulates everyone into bullying her. She even gets the teachers on her side, although they know the truth. After almost being forced to swallow needles (through a promise they made to each other) and getting put into many difficult situations with Manami’s boyfriend, Ayumu finally finds a real friend. Hatori, a strong, tall, and beautiful girl, compels Ayumu to make it through the troubles she has and to stop cutting.

This was originally my favorite manga until I started reading NANA, but it is very good. A quick read, with detailed pictures and not as much words as the typical manga, it tells a very compelling story that’ll have you cheering, “GET HER, AYUMU!”

Sand Chronicles

Sand Chronicles is a retelling of a woman’s past. The story begins when she is twelve. Her mother collapses and so, Ann (the main character) decides to take on jobs in her mother’s home town, Shimane. In Shimane, she meets Daigo, Fuji, and Shiika. Fuji and Shiika are brothers and sisters, and Daigo is her boyfriend-to-be. Daigo and Ann take up jobs in Fuji and Shiika’s mansion, doing many odd tasks around the house. When her mother collapses again, Ann’s grandmother literally tries to slap some sense into her to tell her to be strong for her daughter, but Ann’s mother instead jumps off of a cliff and commits suicide. When Ann is told of her mother’s death, seemingly, the only ones to comfort her were her best friends. As with all stories, this isn’t the end of the story. When her estranged father comes to Shimane, three years after her mother’s death, Ann completely rejects his offer to move with him into Tokyo. But when Ann finds out the truth of why he never came, not even once, Ann is filled with guilt and regret…

Regardless of how the story goes on after that, this is another of my favorites. It’s sad, it’s shoujo, and it’s serious. My favorite. It’s not your average shoujo with pretty girls and flowers and bubbles, as they’re associated with, but is more down to earth.

High School Debut

This manga is about a girl who was formerly on the soft ball team in middle school. Stepping up into high school, she wanted to change. She wanted cute clothes. She wanted to look good. Most of all, she wanted a boyfriend. While she spent her whole time in middle school playing soft ball, she developed a body that was hardly compatible with anything cute. Everything she tried on looked tacky on her and she just couldn’t attract the right guy. That’s where Yoh (You) comes in. She hears about a guy who can turn any girl into a beautiful and attractive piece of steak, and boldly approaches him. After asking for his help, he declines to help her in any way. In fact, he says something like, “Girls get upset easily and cry. No freaking way. I hate girls.” But after being very persistent, he eventually gives in and helps her out. The only exception was that she had to promise not to fall for him, or he would immediately back out and drop her like a burnt hot dog. Only, she does fall for him. So what happens next? The story certainly doesn’t end there.

Haha, this is also a favorite of mine. I could sit here all day talking about my favorite manga, since I have so many of them. Maybe in the future I’ll review more than just these four, but for now, check out any titles above if they interest you. They sure have my going to the mall every couple of months.

And that’s my cue! Rina-chan, out.

Add a comment Wednesday, August 20, 2008

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