Monday, August 26, 2013

Saiyuki (Manga) Review

Saiyuki Manga Review

Saiyuki Manga Cover
Manga Cover Volume 1
Saiyuki is a great manga to read. It really is not that hard to get throug and has some amazing fighting scenes. Plus you get to learn a little about Buddhism as well. It is a bit hard at first to tell what era they are in due to the clothing and the weapons being misleading at times. The four main characters are basically a monk gone bad, an intellectual, a perverted drunk, and a starving child. They seem to be the basics, but they really are not. This was a manga series I could not put down. It only took me two days to go through all nine volumes.

Saiyuki Plot

Saiyuki Plot
Sanzo and a Youkai
Saiyuki is about four men traveling together to gain perspective on why the Youkai's have gone crazy. Youkai's and humans lived in harmony at one point, but recently the Youkai's have started to kill people and do random things. It is up to Sanzo, Gojyo, Goku, and Hakkai to find out why. They are sent by Sanbutsushin on this quest. The Sanbutsushin consist of three 'aspects' of Buddha. They take orders from heaven. Sanzo and his group are constantly having to fight off Youkai's that have come for Gyumaoh's resurrection. Gyumaoh was a demon king that is now dead. His wife is attempting to give him life again but she needs the scriptures (one of which Sanzo carries).

Shangri-La is the setting in which this all take place. Here the humans and Youkai's have lived peacefully. Some have even fallen in love with the opposite being even though this is forbidden. Most towns fear any Youkai whether they are sane or not. This makes it hard for the group to travel due to the fact that Gojyo, Goku, and Hakkai are all Youkai. They have bands or protection on them that makes them immune to what has happened to the Youaki.

Saiyuki Characters

Saiyuki Characters
There are four main characters of Saiyuki. Genjyo Sanzo is teh team leader. He is the only human of the four. He is held in a high position with Buddhists everywhere due to his name. He loves to smoke and is the shoot first maybe ask questions later kind of guy. Goku is the monkey king and the rest of the group does not let him forget he is a 'monkey.' He is constantly wanting to eat and sleep and do childish things. He may look like a teenager but in reality he is older than he lets on. Gojyo is the ladies man. He is hot tempered and tries to sleep with any woman he can. He is also a chain smoker and a drinker. The last person in the group is Hakkai. He is the quiet and intellectual man of the group. He has a bloody past though.

The other characters in the manga are people that show up from someones past or part of  Gyumaoh resurrection. Of the people that end up bringing someone's past back, only three seem to be a big part of the story. Sanzo ends up having two people show up at separate times attempting to get revenge. Shuei once knew Sanzo when he was little. He took up for Sanzo when the older monks made fun of him. He later comes back as Rikudo, a Fuda user who kills any Youkai without question. A man calling himself Kami-Sama was once an acquaintance of Sanzo. He ends up stealing the Maten scripture Sanzo carries.

The Youkai involved in the Gyumaoh's resurrection are Kougaiji, Lirin, Dokugakuji, Yaone, Gyukumen Koushou, and Ni Jianyi. Gyukumen Koushou is the mastermind behind the Youkai's chasing Sanzo and many other things. She is the legal wife of Gyumaoh. They have a daughter Lirin, which Gyukumen intends to sacrifice to save Gyumaoh. Kougaiji is Gyumaoh's son and half brother to Lirin. He only wants to save his mother. He has two friends that act as guards for him: Dokugakuji (Gojyo's half brother) and Yaone (a medicine user).

Saiyuki and the Youkai

Saiyuki and Youkai
Youkai is just another word for demon in the Saiyuki manga. The Youkai only live in the Shangri-La area though. Some are evil, but some do live normal lives. A Youkai family can often be seen in the Shangri-La area. There are Youkai's and humans that fall in love and have a child. This is, again, forbidden to do. The child will come out having crimson hair and eyes. This is how you can tell if they are a half breed. Gojyo and Kougaiji are both products of a Youkai and human relationship.

I hated that the manga was split up into two separate series. Saiyuki, again, was a great manga. The story does not end though and continues onto another series. Honestly they should have just put it together, but possibly for marketing reasons they could not. I would recommend reading Saiyuki especially if you like Samurai/Buddhist related mangas.

Overall Grade 8/10

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Full Moon (Manga) Review

Full Moon Manga Review

Full Moon
A long time I had seen a picture of the Full Moon manga on the internet. I saved the pictures on my computer thinking it was so beautiful. Sadly I did not save the picture under the name of the manga, so I never knew what it was called. I had always wanted to read the manga ever since then. Years later I got a hold of the Gentlemen's Alliance Cross manga. I noticed the art work was similar and put two and two together. Full Moon is filled with surprises and doing a review without ruining anything will be hard.

Full Moon Plot

Full Moon
Mitsuki Singing
In Full Moon, Mitsuki is a twelve year old girl that lives with her grandmother. Her parents died when she was younger and was taken to an orphanage as a mistake until her grandmother took her. There she met a boy named Eichi. The two fell in love, but Eichi was taken from her when he was adopted by Americans. Not too long after her grandmother came into possession of her. She had always wanted to sing, but has cancer in her throat and singing makes it worse.

Mitsuki is able to see Takuto and Meroko which are Shinigami's. They explain she will die one year from that day and she runs away. She runs to a competition and Takuto and Meroko attempt to stop her again. Takuto feels sorry for her and transforms her into what will later be known to the world as Full Moon. She is able to sing with no problem in this sixteen year old state.

In this manga world, Shinigami were once humans that committed suicide. They are forced to forget their memories and wander in the underworld filled with regret. Mitsuki is different to them though. She helps them remember their past and each one is some how connected to her. Meroko puts up a shield around Mitsuki so other Shinigami's won't come and steal her soul.

Full Moon Characters

Full Moon
Left Top: Izumi, Meroko, Takuto, and Mitsuki
Mitsuki is the main character of Full Moon. She is a young child that only wishes to sing and find her true love, Eichi. She is a quiet and physically weak human, but she is a strong willed child. Takuto and Meroko come to take her soul. They are part of the children Shinigami unit. Takuto is a mysterious boy who had the talent of singing at one point. Meroko is even more mysterious. She is quiet and at times supports Mistuki and others she wishes to go ahead and take her soul.

The other characters that are prominent through out the series is Izumi, Oshige, and Wakaoji. Izumi is another Shinigami with something up his sleeves. He seems to have an alternate plan for Mitsuki. Oshige is Full Moons manager and good friend. She is secretly in love with Wakaoji. Wakaoji is the doctor that looks after Mitsuki. He seems to care about her a lot and for some reason wants to look after her.

Full Moon Art

Full Moon
Art of Full Moon
Like I said earlier, I first saw the art of Full Moon a while ago. It was intoxicating. The art work alone is worth the read. Mitsuki (and the other characters) have great wardrobes and excellent stances. Arina Tanemura is great when it comes to art and pulling you into the sotry that way. Even though the story plot alone is worth the read. The art is just a bonus.

Full Moon was a great story. The plot is sad and has a lot of twists in it. Event the side stories have twists you do not see coming. Reading Full Moon will make you think twice about what you say to someone, becuase you never know if it will be the last thing. I only wish it went on longer.

Read Full Moon Here.

Support Full Moon Here.

Overall Grade 9/10

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sword Art Online (Manga) Review

Sword Art Online Manga Review

Sword Art Online
Manga Cover
Sword Art Online the manga was quite short. It seems to only highlight what happens in the story and therefore at times can be confusing. I would really suggest reading the books or watching the anime first. This review only consists the Aincrad Saga.

Sword Art Online Plot

Sword Art Online
Manga Page
The of Sword Art Online is based in a video game. The year is 2022 and a man named Kayaba Akihiko has created a virtual reality game. The only catch is the people that originally logged in are stuck in the game. They must finish all one hundred floors to return to the real world. If you die in the game though you die in real life.

Kirito is the a boy that was lucky enough to be involved in the beta test. This gives him the advantage and he eventually is given the option to beat the game. The plot of the manga rarely strays to side stories. Two years pass in the game before they are allowed to return after beating the game. Many players lose their life though attempting to leave the game by killing themselves or by being killed in battles. There are those that kill others and become criminals.

Sword Art Online Characters

Sword Art Online
Manga Page
Kirito is the main character of Sword Art Online. He is a quiet fifteen year old at the beginning of the game, but eventually becomes the hero. He is very skilled and works on his own so he is not responsible for anyone else's life. Asuna is another main character of the game. She started as a weak character, but becomes strong and desires to return to the real world. Her and Kirito become fast friends and eventually lovers.

There are many other characters that appear in the manga, but only a few that play important roles. Klein and Agil are both friends of Kirito and appear randomly in situations. Klein is a rough looking guy that fights on the front lines. Agil is a merchant that will come to fight at times that it is needed. Yui appears only once in Sword Art Online (More so in Fairy Dance though). She is a program that sees Asuna and Kirito as her parents. She is only briefly in the manga though. Heathcliff is the head of the Knights of Blood. He is another very strong character with a few tricks up his sleeves.

Sword Art Online The Manga

Sword Art Online
Manga Page
Like I said, Sword Art Online the manga was a very short. It only hits the main plot of the story and rarely goes off track. The art is good though. The fighting scenes are laid out very well and at times very detailed. I would recommend reading the manga, but only after you have seen the anime or read the books. To be honest, I was not the impressed with Sword Art Online Manga.

Read Sword Art Online Here.

Support Sword Art Online Here.

Overall Grade 5/10

Friday, August 16, 2013

Loveless (Manga) Review

Loveless Manga Review

Loveless Chapter
Manga Chapter
I started reading Loveless (thinking it was complete) after I saw the anime. I really wanted to know what was going to happen because (SPOILER) Seimei ended up showing his face at the end of the anime. Plus who is Loveless Fighter anyways? Still have yet to have that question answered sadly. The manga is still ongoing and slowly creeping along.

Loveless Plot

Loveless Manga
Manga Page
Ritsuka's brother, Seimei, was murdered a few years ago by the Seven Moons. Ritsuka is wanting to take revenge for what happened, but really has no means to do so. His mother says that he has changed in the past two years since his brother died. He is transferred to a new school and makes only one friend, Yuiko. Ritsuka is just a quiet 6th grader. On his first day, Soubi comes to him and says he knew his brother. Ritsuka quickly takes an interest in him.

Soubi has come to Ritsuka through the orders of Seimei. He becomes Ritsuka's fighter even though they have different names. Seimei was Beloved and therefore made Soubi Beloved as well. Ritsuka carries the name of Loveless. Through many battles, though, Soubi and Ritsuka learn to use each others powers better.

When they both learn that Seimei is alive, it devastates them. Soubi is feeling betrayed while Ritsuka is finding out what Seimei's true nature is. Seimei only treated Ritsuake with love and care, while he was cruel to everyone else and tortured Soubi. At this point Seimei's true fighter is with him. By the end of the manga, Seimei takes Soubi from Ritsuka. The fighter with the name of Loveless has still not shown up yet, neither has the name on Ritsuka.

Loveless Characters

Loveless Characters
Characters: Youji, Ritsuka, and Natsuo
Ritsuka is the main character of Loveless, thus the manga is named after him. He is a quiet and abused child. He has trouble making friends. He is the sacrifice of the fighter Loveless, but uses the fighter Beloved. Soubi is the fighter Beloved. He is a college student mastering in art. He cares about no one but Ritsuka really.

Seimei is a cruel person intending to take down Seven Moons. He uses his true fighter Nisei. Nisei is much like Seimei in that they are both cruel and care for no one but themselves. Nisei really seeks Seimei's approval, but never receives any.

The Seven Moons is actually a group of people. The group works out a school that trains fighters and sacrifices and matched them up. There have been experiments and creations of other fighters and sacrifices though.

Loveless Fighter/Sacrifice Relationships

Loveless Relationships
Fighter/Sacrifice Relationships
Every sacrifice controls a fighter and every fighter protects their sacrifice. The name of such sacrifice predicts what their future will be like and how their personality will turn out. So far the names consist of Sleepless, Beloved, Loveless, Bloodless, Breathless, Moonless, Fearless, and two sets of Zero. Each set has certain advantages or powers due to their name and nature. For example, both Zero's feel no pain. This is a handy ability, but can be deadly. Moonless fights better when there is no moon showing, making them somewhat invincible.

There are fighters though that are not connected to anyone particular. They are called blank slates and can stand in when a sacrifice has lost their fighter. Soubi was a blank slate to begin with until Seimei wrote Beloved on him. Yuri is was also a blank slate until Hideo (Bloodless) wrote his name on her face.

Loveless is a great manga to read. Even though it is a Yaoi, it really isn't a "strong" Yaoi. Reading Loveless can help you figure out how you feel towards someone. The manga seems to be about trusting and relationships between one another. You may find something out about yourself. So give Loveless a shot!

Read Loveless Here.

Support Loveless Here.

Overall Grade 8/10 (Incomplete)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Zombie Loan 101

Zombie Loan

Z-Loan Anime
Zombie Loan Logo

 Zombie Loan starts off a little slow. It takes a while to get into the anime, but it is well worth it when you finally do. The story takes a new perspective on zombies. Normally zombies are slow and only have one thing on their mind, human flesh. While Zombie Loan holds true to that side of the myth, they also put their own spin to the myth. Zombie Loan is a loan shop ran by Bekkou. He finds people that are about to die and makes a deal with them. They become a zombie that has to hunt and kill other zombies. These zombies can either be the flesh eating kind or the kind from Z-Loan.  

Zombie Loan Plot

Zombie Loan Plot
Zombie Loan's Plot

Michuru Kita can see when people are about to die. When people are about to die a ring shows up around their neck. As the time gets closer to their death, the ring becomes blacker. Michuru meets two boys from her school, Chika Akatsuki and Shito Tachibana, who have black ring around their neck. She goes to warn them, but through a series of events finds out they are zombies. Chika and Shito work at Zombie Loan with Bekkou. Michuru tags along with the two and helps them spot out rogue zombies. The story ends a little to early for me. Really it just ends. The main arch of Zombie Loan is completed a little but it could've gone on for a few more episodes.  

Zombie Loan Characters

Zombie Loan Characters
Characters of Z-Loan

The quality of the characters are very good. Zombie Loan offers a variety of characters but likes to stick to the usual ones. That is you have the shy girl, the cold male, and the hungry male. Every anime has a food nut and Zombie Loan is no different. The actors and actresses who play the voices fit the characters well. The animation is a more classical style (which I prefer) and the music was very fitting as well.


Overall Grade: 7/10.

Loveless (Anime) Review

Loveless Anime Review

Loveless Soubi and Ritsuka
Loveless DVD Cover
I came across Loveless by mistake when I was looking for cute neko anime characters. I loved the art style of the manga, but could only find the anime at the time. I watched it not knowing what to expect. Even though it leaves an opening for a second season and never officially wraps things up, it was a good anime. It was a bit hard to get into at first, but it was worth the wait.

The Plot of Loveless

Loveless Anime Plot
Beloved and Loveless
Ritsuka's older brother was murdered and devastated him so much that he created a "new" personality. His mother went insane and beats him, saying he is not her Ritsuka. This just furthers his belief that he is not this Ritsuka. Even worse, he is placed in a new school. Yuiko is the only girl who speaks with him and they soon become friends.

Soubi is waiting for Ritsuka on his first day of school. He grabs him on his way out and tells him he knew his brother Seimei. Ritsuka becomes enthralled with this and immediately trusts Soubi. Soubi tells him he is Loveless and that Soubi was there to protect him. Ritsuka was his sacrifice in this underground battle. Since Soubi once belonged to his brother Beloved, that made it illegal for him to have another sacrifice. Someone is after Ritsuka and wants him for their own cause. They must get rid of Soubi to accomplish this.

The Characters of Loveless

Loveless Main Characters
From Left to Right: Yuiko, Shinonome, Ritsuka, Soubi, (top) Kaidou, (Bottom) Yayoi
Ritsuka is the main character of Loveless, and also goes by the name of Loveless. He is only a 16 year old kid and has been through a lot. He always has his defenses up, but not so much around Soubi. Soubi claims to be his fighter and previous fighter of Ritsuka's brother Seimei. He is an adult and very mysterious. He constantly says he will do anything for Ritsuka, but this is only due to Seimei's order.

Ritsuka has many supporting friends which come along the way. Shinonome is his teacher and actually has a crush on Soubi. She is picked on since she stills has her ears and tail. Yuiko is the happy go lucky girl who follows Ritsuka around, making him at times feel like someone cares for him. She is always happy and has a crush on Ritsuka. Yayoi happens to have been in love with Yuiko (and still is), but she rejected him because he is to short. He therefore does not feel as threatened by Ritsuka because he is short as well.

Then there are those who are trying to get a hold of Loveless. The two to show up first was Breathless. They were both teenagers around Ritsuka's age. Sleepless shows up as well, failing to bring Ritsuka into the boss. Another pair of children show up calling themselves Zero. They feel no pain and therefore are much harder to beat. They actually become friends with Soubi and Ritsuka. Eventually another pair show up claiming to be Zero as well. These two females are the original Zero's and therefore much stronger.

The Cats of Loveless

Loveless Cat Ears and Tail
School of Cats
Kemonomimi is a type of anime in which the characters have cat features such as a tail or ears or both. In Loveless, the kemononmimi characters serves a purpose on an adult level. When people lose their virginity in this anime, their ears and tails fall off. Therefore it is easier to tell if someone is an adult or not. Shinonome is one of the few adults in the anime that still has her ears and tail and is constantly picked on due to this. Some teens will wear fake ears and tails to hide it from their parents or schoolmates.

Loveless was a good anime, and honestly it should have gone on to a second season. The anime is different at some points than the anime, because the manga was not complete until after the anime was. Therefore only the first four volumes are what the anime is based after. So if you want the rest of the story, just read the manga. I know I am.

Overall Grade: 7/10