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Manga Monday- Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan

Manga Monday- Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, known in Japan as Nurarihyon’s Grandson, is a manga series written and illustrated by Hiroshi Shiibashi. The series was first published in Shueisha as a oneshot in 2007. The manga has been continuously serialized in the Japanese manga anthology Weekly Shōnen Jump since March 2008 and has been collected into 25 tankōbon volumes as of December 2012. Viz Media acquired the licensing rights for a North American release of the manga and anime adaptations.

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is written and illustrated by Hiroshi Shiibashi and has been serialized in the manga anthology Weekly Shōnen Jump since March 2008. As of December 4, 2012, the series has been collected into 24 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha, with the first being released on August 4, 2008. In the thirtieth issue (2012) of Weekly Shōnen Jump, it was announced that the manga would be leaving the magazine for the conclusion to its final story arc which will run in the seasonally published Jump NEXT! Starting on August 11, 2012 the first of three chapters will be published with a 64-page chapter, and will continue in October and December. The manga was licensed for an English language release by Viz Media who publishes the series chapter wise in its manga anthology Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha since the magazine’s launch on January 30, 2012, and in bound volumes since February 1, 2011. As of February 5, 2013, 13 English-language volumes have been released. The first tankobon was translated by localization company AltJapan Co., Ltd.

The covers of each volume make a continuing picture of all the characters.

Plot

Rikuo Nura is 3/4 human and 1/4 yōkai, in which he has a human form in the day but transforms into his yōkai form at night. He lives in a house full of yōkai along with his yōkai grandfather. Trying to escape his fate, he does good deeds in order to avoid becoming a yōkai, despite his grandfather’s wish that Rikuo succeed him as the Third Head of the Nura Clan. Rikuo is different because he helps humans. He eventually comes to terms with his yōkai blood and decides to take up the position of the Third Head of the Nura Clan. Multiple factions aim to stop him or usurp his position, and he must gather friends and allies, a new Hyakki Yakō under his banner of “Fear”.

Storyline

Gyuki’s Test Arc
The Kiyojuji Paranormal Patrol travels to Mt. Nejireme at the invitation of a supposed yōkai specialist. However, the invitation turns out to have been a trap by the head of the Gyuki Clan. Separated, the members of the Kiyojuji Paranormal Patrol must deal with yōkai of the Gyuki Clan and Rikuo ultimately faces Gyuki himself. Rikuo learns that Gyuki set up the trap because he didn’t want the Nura Clan, which he greatly cherishes, to suffer under the influence of a weak leader.The two clash and Gyuki is overwhelmed by Rikuo’s night form. Afterward, Rikuo decides to take up the mantle of Nurarihyon and officially become the next Nura Clan head.
Shikoku Arc
When one of the board members of the Nura Clan is attacked and killed, and Nurarihyon subsequently disappears without notice, the Nura Clan is thrown into chaos. Trying to keep them together, Rikuo encounters a rival faction from the Shikoku area who intend to take over the Nura Clan’s territory. Their leader, Tamazuki, is ruthless and willing to sacrifice his subordinates to further his own goals. Rikuo and his Hyakki Yakō battle with Tamazuki and his Hachijuuhakki Yakō (consisting of 88 demons, instead of the 100 of a Hyakki Yakō) and emerge victorious.However, Rikuo decides to spare Tamazuki after the battle at the request of his father – who Nurarihyon had gone to visit. Tamazuki is spared under the condition that he build a memorial in honor of the subordinates who died by his hand.
Past Arc
The story of Rikuo’s grandparents Nurarihyon and Yohime, the creation of the spirit blade Nenekirimaru and the battle against Hagoromo Gitsune 400 years ago.
Tono Arc
When Haguromo Gitsune resurfaces in Kyoto, Rikuo is determined to fight her and take revenge for his father’s death – as well as rescue Yura, who has gone to aid the rest of the Keikain family in protecting Kyoto. However, as he is still too inexperienced and weak, his grandfather asks the head of the yōkai Tono Village to take in and train Rikuo. After an encounter with one of the Kyoto Yokai, Rikuo comes to realize what sort of power the yōkai Nurarihyon possesses and, having grown stronger, leaves along with several Tono Yokai to return to the Nura House and prepare for the assault on Kyoto.
Kyoto Arc
Rikuo, along with the vast majority of the Nura Clan and several yōkai from Tono, invade Kyoto. Nearly all of the onmyoji barriers around the city have been destroyed by Kyoto Yokai, and the Keikain House itself struggles to fight against Hagoromo Gitsune’s forces. They ultimately join forces with Rikuo’s Hyakki Yakō to replace the fallen barriers and stop Hagoromo Gitsune from giving birth to a new evil.
Hundred Tales Clan Arc
After the battle with Hagoromo Gitsune’s forces and the resurrected Abe no Seimei, also known as Nue, Rikuo and the Nura Clan are challenged by the remnants of the Hundred Tales Clan and its executives. The clan was once led by a human named Sanmoto Gorozaemon who grew in power by spreading stories about yōkai and in turn created them. The group was destroyed by Rihan and the Nura Clan 350 years ago. Now, the clan is encroaching on the Nura Clan’s territory and working to revive Sanmoto’s main body, which resides in hell.
Gokadoin House Arc
Following the battle with Sanmoto Gorozaemon and his Hundred Tales Clan, it was revealed that the onmyoji sect known as the Gokadoin House is composed of Abe no Seimei’s descendants who used Seimei’s forbidden research on immortality to prolong their lives. When the Gokadoin house starts mobilizing to “purify” the land of yōkai and humans, Rikuo starts to establish an alliance between the various yokai clans throughout Japan.

Manga Monday- Ao Haru Ride

Manga Monday- Ao Haru Ride

Blue Spring Ride is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Io Sakisaka. It began serialization in the February 2011 issue of Shueisha’s Bessatsu Margaret and ended in February 2015.

Manga

Blue Spring Ride is written and illustrated by Io Sakisaka. Serialization began in the February 2011 issue of Shueisha’s manga magazine Bessatsu Margaret. The first tankōbon volume was released on 13 April 2011, and the twelfth volume was released on December 12, 2014 along with the anime’s 13th and final episode. The manga series ended on 13 February 2015.

Tokyo Pop released a German translation of the first volume in December 2012 and, as of June 2014, has released seven volumes under the title Blue Spring Ride. Kana released a French translation of the first volume on 5 July 2013 and, as of July 2014, has released six volumes under the title Blue Spring Ride. Panini Comics released an Italian translation of the first volume in September 2013 and, as of May 2014, has released five volumes under the title Ao haru ride – A un passo da te. Tong Li Publishing released a Chinese translation of the first volume in January 2013 and, as of June 2014, has released seven volumes under the title 閃爍的青春. Waneko released a Polish translation of the first volume in February 2014 and, as of June 2014, has released three volumes under the title Ścieżki Młodości. Viz Media announced during their Anime Boston2018 panel that they will publish the manga in English. The manga has sold over 5.84 million copies as of 9 May 2014.

Plot

Futaba Yoshioka is a 17-year-old high school student who has an inferiority complex, as she has the need to fit with her female friends by acting brash towards the male students, due to a history of attracting the latter which made other girls jealous and ostracize her, as a result causing her to feel that her life is nothing interesting. She finally abandons her facade when she befriends fellow outcast Yuri Makita, who is adamant in keeping her “cutesy” personality in exchange for being ostracized. At the same time, Futaba is surprised when she reunites with Kou Tanaka, whom she befriended during middle school and with whom she had mutual love until he abruptly moved away to Nagasaki to live with his late mother. She is disappointed, however, as the new Kou is going with his mother’s surname “Mabuchi” and seems to be a completely different person than she knew back then, as he is now a rude, cold, and sneaky individual. Kou enrolls in the school under supervision of his brother, Yoichi Tanaka, who teaches at the school.

However, Futaba and Kou have to work together when they apply for the class representative positions, assisted by event representatives Yuri, the also-outcast Shuko Murao who harbors feelings for the elder Tanaka brother, and her admirer, Aya Kominato. The five attend the leadership training and are able to form a bond. After the training, Yuri realizes that she has fallen in love with Kou and confesses during summer festival, but is rejected. Instead, she decides to support Futaba’s attempt to woo him and ends up falling in love with Uchiyama, a member of the school band. Meanwhile, after an embarrassing first meeting, Futaba is admired by Toma Kikuchi, Uchiyama’s bandmate, who begins inroads to make her turn from Kou and fall for him. He gets his attempt when Kou’s middle school friend from Nagasaki, Yui Narumi moves to Tokyo and begs him to take care of her. This causes Futaba to think that anymore attempt to woo Kou is futile, and, after a formal rejection from him, accept Kikuchi’s confession.

Nevertheless, Futaba struggles to erase Kou from her mind and be serious in her relationship with Kikuchi. Kou, who is revealed to have always loved Futaba after all those years, realizes that Narumi is dragging him back and decides to end their relationship. As Futaba’s relationship with Kikuchi becomes complicated with Kou making moves towards her, she chooses to separate from Kikuchi at the end of the school year. With Kikuchi out of the picture for Christmas, Futaba agrees to meet Kou in the same place where they promised to meet years before until his transfer, but it is cut short when Kou is involved in an accident. At the hospital, Futaba and Kou declare their love for each other.

The new couple’s first task together is helping Kominato confess to Murao. At the start of the new school year, Tanaka also decides to move to the United States to pursue further education and discover new things, wishing his brother happiness out from sulking about their mother’s death. To assure his family that he is well, Kou reverts his surname back to Tanaka. The series ends with Futaba and Kou seeking refuge from the rain at a temple like they did years before, which Futaba interprets as the evidence that something interesting has finally started for her.

Manga Monday- Detective Conan aka Case Closed

Manga Monday- Detective Conan aka Case Closed

Case Closed (US title), also known worldwide as Detective Conan, is an ongoing Japanese detective manga series written and illustrated by Gosho Aoyama. It was serialized in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday on January 19, 1994, and has been collected into 94 tankōbon volumes as of December 18, 2017. Due to legal considerations with the name Detective Conan, the English language release was renamed to Case Closed. The story follows an amateur detective who was transformed into a child while investigating a mysterious organization, and solves a multitude of cases while impersonating his friend’s father and other characters.

The tankōbon volumes of the manga have sold over 200 million copies worldwide, making it the fourth best-selling manga series. In 2001, the manga was awarded the 46th Shogakukan Manga Award in the shōnen category. The anime adaptation has been well received and ranked in the top twenty in Animages polls between 1996 and 2001. In the Japanese anime television ranking, Case Closed episodes ranked in the top six on a weekly basis. Both the manga and the anime have had positive response from critics for their plot and cases.

Case Closed was conceived in 1994, during the rise of mystery genre manga due to the publishing of the series The Kindaichi Case Files; the first chapter appeared in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday on January 19. Aoyama cites the stories of Arsène Lupin, Sherlock Holmes and the samurai films by Akira Kurosawa as influences on his work. When scripting each chapter, he ensures the dialogue remains simple and spends an average of four hours for each new case and twelve for more complicated ones. Each case spans several chapters (except for a handful of shorter cases that only span one), and is resolved at the end where characters explain the details of their solutions in simple terms; a database consisting of all the cases from the manga was launched in 2007.

Case Closed became the 22nd longest running manga series with over 1000 chapters released in Japan. The individual chapters are collected into tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan; the first volume was released on June 18, 1994. Gosho Aoyama’s assistants have also written an anthology series of Case Closed which are released irregularly.

Viz Media announced its acquisition of the series for North America on June 1, 2004. Following Funimation’s localization, Viz released the series as Case Closed and took their character names to keep consistency between the two mediums. Viz Media released the first volume in September 2004 and began releasing digital editions in 2013. Gollancz licensed and distributed 15 of Viz Media’s volumes in the United Kingdom before ceasing publication of manga. (Viz Media has since re-released them.) In 2014 Shogakukan Asia began their own English localization of the series for Singapore as Detective Conan. The manga has also been localized in other regions such as China, France, Germany and Indonesia. Localizations in Scandinavia ceased one by one, Finland being the last in 2013, when the publisher shut down the entire manga division.

Plot

Jimmy Kudo (Japanese: Shinichi Kudo) is a high school detective who sometimes works with the police to solve cases. During an investigation, he is attacked by members of a crime syndicate known as the Black Organization. They force him to ingest an experimental poison, but instead of killing him, the poison transforms him into a child. Adopting the pseudonym Conan Edogawa and keeping his true identity a secret, Kudo lives with his childhood friend Rachel Moore (Ran Mouri) and her father Richard (Kogoro Mouri), who is a private detective. Throughout the series, he tags along on Richard’s cases, but when he is able to solve one, he uses a tranquilizer needle to put Richard to sleep, and impersonates his voice using a voice changer to reveal the solution to the case. He also enrolls in a local elementary school where he makes friends with a group of classmates who form their own Junior Detective club (Detective Boys). While he continues to dig deeper into the Black Organization, he frequently interacts with a variety of characters, including his professor friend Dr. Agasa, Ran’s friend Serena (Sonoko), a fellow teenage detective Harley Hartwell (Heiji Hattori), various police detectives from different regions, and the Kaito Kid.

Kudo later encounters an elementary school transfer student, Anita Hailey (Ai Haibara), who reveals herself to be the creator of the poison that made him small. She too had ingested the poison, but she is no longer affiliated with the Black Organization. She soon joins the Junior Detectives. During a rare encounter with the Black Organization, Conan helps the FBI plant a CIA agent, Kir, inside the Black Organization as a spy.

In 2007, Aoyama hinted he had an ending planned out but does not intend to end the series yet.

 

Manga Monday- Anonymous Noise

Manga Monday- Anonymous Noise

Anonymous Noise is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Ryoko Fukuyama. The series is published by Hakusensha in Japan and by Viz Media in the United States.

Manga and drama CD

Ryoko Fukuyama launched the series in the 10th issue of Hakusensha’s shōjo manga magazine Hana to Yume on April 20, 2013. A drama CD was bundled with the 7th issue of Hana to Yume released on March 5, 2014. Fukuyama mentioned that the cast of the drama CD was based on her own recommendation, with most of the cast reprise their roles in the anime adaptation. North American publisher Viz Media announced their license to the series on October 2, 2016. The limited edition of the volume 13 was bundled with drama CD.

Plot

Nino Arisugawa is a young girl who loves singing and is gifted with an extremely resonating voice. As a child, she experiences two heart-wrenching partings: one with her first love and neighbour Momo Sakaki, and another with Kanade “Yuzu” Yuzuriha, a young composer who helped her reignite her hope that her voice will one day reach Momo. Each of the two boys made a promise with Nino to find her one day through her unique singing voice, a promise that she clings on to for six years as she enters her first year of high school.

As a high schooler, Yuzu has secretly formed a band “in NO hurry to shout”, but experiences writer’s block without the inspiration of Nino’s voice, almost forcing the band to disband until they reunite during Nino’s orientation as a first-year high school student. When Miou Suguri, Yuzu’s girlfriend with a one-sided love for him recognises his love for Nino, she decides to quit the band and let the latter replace her instead. Coupled with Miou’s voice lessons and her feelings, Nino strives to improve her singing skills in an attempt to get the attention of Momo, who has changed his last name to Kiryuu and is now a professional composer. With music at the core, how will the love triangle play out?

Manga Monday- The Irregular at Magic High School

Manga Monday- The Irregular at Magic High School

The Irregular at Magic High School, known in Japanese as Mahōka Kōkō no Rettōsei, is a Japanese web novel series by Tsutomu Satō. It was published on Shōsetsuka ni Narō, an internet web novel website, between October 2008 and March 2011. Satō reached a deal with Dengeki Bunko and began releasing his work in a light novel format beginning July 2011. In 2013, each story arc received a manga adaptation with varying manga artists and publishers.

The Irregular at Magic High School was adapted into a manga series with storyboards by Fumino Hayashi and illustrations by Tsutomu Satō; it was serialized between GFantasys January 2012 and October 2013 issues. Square Enix collected the individual chapters into four tankōbon volumes and released them between September 2012 and December 2013. After the conclusion of the first manga adaptation, it was immediately followed up with two more adaptations beginning in GFantasys November 2013 issue; the two adaptations were based on the light novel’s Nine Schools Competition Arc and Yokohama Disturbance Arc story arcs. The Nine Schools Competition Arc is illustrated by Tsuna Kitaumi and is currently ongoing. It was collected into four tankōbon volumes released between April 2014 and October 2015. Meanwhile, the Yokohama Disturbance Arc is illustrated by Gin Amau and ended in the October 2015 issue. It was collected into five tankōbon volumes released between April 2014 to November 2015. A manga adaptation subtitled and based on the Recollection Arc was serialized between Dengeki Daiohs April 2014 and September 2015 issue. It is illustrated by Waki Ikawa and was collected into three tankōbon volumes under the Dengeki Comics Next imprint. In the final chapter of the Yokohama Arc, Amau announced he will adapt the Visitor Arc, the next part of the story. Yuzuki N Dash will launch a new manga in Dengeki Daioh focusing on the President Election Arc on April 27, 2018.

The Honor Student at Magic High School

A spin-off manga titled The Honor Student at Magic High School  by Yu Mori premiered in Dengeki Daiohs June 2012 issue. It is currently ongoing, and was collected into seven tankōbon volumes under the Dengeki Comics Next imprint. Yen Press licensed the series’ tankōbon volumes for a North American release; the first volume is localized in November 2015

The story takes place in an alternate history where magic exists and is polished through modern technology. It follows Tatsuya and Miyuki Shiba, siblings who enroll into First High magic high school. While keeping their connections to the infamous Yotsuba clan secret, they attempt to live their daily life in peace where Tatsuya is shunned for his apparent ineptness and Miyuki is validated for her magical abilities.

The series has been well received. The light novels appeared on Sugoi Japan’s 2015 polls and since 2011, is one of the top selling series in Japan with 5.3 million copies sold as of 2014. In addition, its manga and anime adaptations also appeared on top selling charts. English reviewers had mixed to negative reception towards the anime adaptation. The complex technicality of magic within the series was received warmly but the exposition was criticized for being heavy, unclear, and poorly executed.

Manga Monday- Kimi ni Todoke

Manga Monday- Kimi ni Todoke

Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You  is a Japanese shōjo romance manga by Karuho Shiina. It has been published by Shueisha in Bessatsu Margaret since 2005 and collected in 29 tankōbon volumes as of November 13, 2017. In 2008, it won the Best Shōjo Manga award in the 32nd Annual Kodansha Manga Award. The series was also nominated for the first Manga Taisho awards in 2008.

Plot- 

Sawako Kuronuma – dubbed Sadako by her classmates for her resemblance to the character from The Ring – has always been feared and misunderstood because of her appearance; rumors around school report that she can see ghosts and curse people. However, despite her ominous appearance, she is actually a sweet and timid girl who only longs to be able to make friends and be liked by everyone else. When her idol, the popular boy Kazehaya, begins talking with her, everything changes. She finds herself in a new world, making new friends and talking to different people, and she can’t thank Kazehaya enough for giving her these opportunities. Slowly, but surely, a sweet love blossoms between the two as they overcome circumstances and obstacles that stand in their way.

Originally planned on being a one-shot to be compiled in her previous work, Crazy For You, Shiina decided to expand the story and make it into a full series. It has been running in Japan in Bessatsu Margaret since the September 2005 issue of the magazine, with 29 compiled volumes as of November 13, 2017. Shiina took a break starting in the March 2009 issue to have a baby; serialization resumed in the October issue. With the release of the September 2017 issue of Betsuma, on August 12, 2017, Kimi ni Todoke entered its final arc. The series is licensed by Viz Media for an English-language North American release. The manga will conclude in November 2017.

Characters – 

Sawako Kuronuma 
Voiced by: Mamiko Noto (anime), Mikako Tabe (live-action)
Sawako is a shy yet honest girl in search of friendship, but her resemblance to the horror film character Sadako Yamamura makes this difficult. Her shy and modest nature prevents her from correcting people’s misconceptions, to the point that most of the school believes her name is, in fact, “Sadako.” She is rather short – a characteristic inherited from her father, who is only 160 cm tall – but during a soccer match at the school’s sports festival, it is revealed that she is surprisingly fast, to the point that some people believe she is teleporting. A running gag is that she takes everything people say very seriously, and tends to over-analyze a situation. When she is deep in thought, her dark appearance often terrifies her peers.
Sawako has always desired friends and acceptance, and thanks to Kazehaya’s kindness, she gradually begins to open up to her classmates and talk to different people. She is grateful to Kazehaya, and idolizes him for giving her the opportunities to make many close friends, which come to include Yano, Yoshida, Kazehaya and Ryu. Forever humble and unassuming, Sawako is very modest towards her newfound friendships that Yoshida actually has to tell her point-blank: “Did you know? Without realizing it … we were already friends!” Yano and Yoshida admit that Sawako’s ‘like’ for Kazehaya is probably stronger than the ‘like’ she expresses for themselves.
In chapter 34, Kazehaya practically confesses his feelings right in front of her, but Sawako believes it is just a misunderstanding and that he simply likes her as a friend. After everything is cleared up, the couple officially starts dating, though rumors pop up that Sawako somehow used black magic to get him. In chapter 71, she overhears her classmate asking if Shota and her are steadily dating, and she becomes confused about their relationship. After Shota turns away when she grabs his coat, she cries and admits that she wants to be with him, and asks if he is still in love with her. In her shock, Shota kisses her 4 times.
Shota Kazehaya 
Voiced by: Daisuke Namikawa (anime), Haruma Miura (live-action)
Kazehaya is Sawako’s outgoing and friendly classmate, and also her idol. His popularity is so widespread that during middle school, the many girls that liked him had to form a “Kazehaya is Everyone’s” alliance in order to maintain some level of peace among his admirers; more than half of these girls now attend his high school. Kazehaya falls in love with Sawako shortly after meeting her, and admits (though not to Sawako) his feelings, unaware that she feels the same for him. During their second year of high school, he begins to wonder if she actually does like him as she does not give him chocolates on Valentine’s Day, not knowing that she had been too nervous to give him any. After the ordeal, he seemingly becomes calmer and shows a depressed and expressionless face more often. However, after being confronted by Ryu (influenced by Chizuru) and Pin, Kazehaya goes to Sawako as his friends jokingly remark that he likes Sawako; however, Kazehaya takes the remark seriously and agrees, subsequently confessing directly to Sawako. However, after Sawako’s misunderstanding of his confession, he believes she rejected him. However, in chapter 40, he is finally able to confess his feelings to her, and they are officially dating. Kazehaya is prone to become easily jealous and overprotective of Sawako, and deeply treasures her. He seems to avoid Sawako because he wants to be careful in loving her because in chapter 58, the two almost end up kissing and he is worried that Sawako may end up thinking too much about it. In chapter 71, Sawako starts asking if he is still in love with her, he quickly kisses her.
Ayane Yano 
Voiced by: Miyuki Sawashiro (anime), Natsuna Watanabe (live-action)
Ayane is a close friend of Sawako. She is the arguably the most mature of the group and she has a boyfriend in college as well as having her ears pierced multiple times. Initially Shiina conceived of Yano and Yoshida as a pair, and in the first two chapters the two are difficult to tell apart. She then redrafted the characters, combing Yano’s hair and styling it in a fashion that looks like a pony-tail. Kurumi starts a rumor that Ayane played around with more than 100 guys in middle school, and that she and Yoshida are thug underlings of Sawako’s in high school. Perceptive and intelligent, Ayane tends to take just enough information to leave others wondering, thus forcing them to move forward. She was also able to figure out that it was Ume who spread the rumors, getting Ume to admit it, and discovering that Sawako, “liked” Kazehaya. Although she is usually calm and collected, she is easily infuriated if someone hurts Sawako and does not hesitate to attack the one she believes is responsible (frequently Kazehaya) with kicks and sharp words. She is also fairly intimidating when angry, being called scary by Chizuru a number of times. Later on she breaks up with her boyfriend, who had begun to become too possessive of her: calling her all times of the day, wondering what she has been up to, and checking if she has been with any guys. After she suggests they break up, he slaps her across the face, and when he tries to apologize and asks her back, she realizes that the man she liked was not her boyfriend but rather who he was when they started dating. After Sawako and Shota finally become a couple, Ayane comforts the girls that were potentially Sawako’s rivals. When Chizuru tells her she is too nice, Ayane denies it, but is surprised when Pin affirms she is nice, and she starts developing feelings for him. When schoolmate Mogi confesses to her, she agrees to date him, which shocks everybody. However, it appears that she is not in love with him, and her feelings towards Pin seem to increase. However, starting from chapter 59, it has been strongly hinted that Kento has feelings for Ayane. In chapter 71, she told Sawako that she’ll go home with Kento. After that, Pin tells Sawako that maybe they got together already.
Chizuru Yoshida 
Voiced by: Yuko Sanpei (anime), Misako Renbutsu (live-action)
Yoshida is another close friend of Sawako. She is the tomboy of the group, and she even admits this when Ryu calls them brothers, where she argues about who is the older rather than that she is not a ‘brother’. She can be very emotional at times, usually seen humorously crying after a touching moment between her friends. She has a soft spot for innocent mannered people, so she takes a near instant liking to Sawako. In Kurumi’s fake rumors it was passed around that she was a former Yankee, though Chizuru just takes the rumor as a means of scaring people off or as a joke for her friends. One of the rumors states that Chizuru holds a record of ninety nine straight wins on being able to beat a guy on a one on one fight (Chizuru took credit of this rumor, she herself stated that her streak was broken when she lost to her hundredth opponent, Ryu Sanada). Chizuru is mostly on the slower side of things; she did not realize that Sawako liked Kazehaya until after the Kurumi confrontation and that Kazehaya liked Sawako (even though she and Ayane planned many events for them) until late in the series, after they started their second year of high school. She is a close childhood friend with Ryu Sanada, her neighbor, and she went to the same middle school as Kazehaya and Ryu. Because of this, Ryu’s family regards Chizuru and her family as their own and vice versa. She has a crush on Ryu’s brother, Toru, since she was very young knowing the age gap between them. When Toru visits with his fiancée, she realizes that he will only see their relationship as just siblings. She is very dense to the fact that Ryu loves her, even interpreting him saying “I love you” as an expression of their friendship. When he confesses to her again, this time making it clear, it shocks her to the point where it becomes difficult to talk to him normally as she never thought about him like that and believes that they can’t go back to how they were before ever again. But she begins to grow feelings for Ryu and in chapter 88 she confesses to Ryu and he kisses her.
Ryu Sanada 
Voiced by: Yuichi Nakamura (anime), Haru Aoyama (live-action)
Ryu is also member of Sawako’s group of friends. He is the son of the ramen shop owner of Chizuru Yoshida’s favourite ramen shop. He is quiet most of the time and rarely talks, but still can communicate well with Sawako, as they both don’t talk much anyways. Ryu and Kazehaya became friends when they were on the baseball team during middle school. He is also close childhood friends with Chizuru and does not deny having feelings for her, such as simply smiling when Sawako asks if he and Chizuru are dating. He later confirms his love when he confesses that he likes Chizuru to Sawako. While his love is one-sided, he is very patient with Chizuru realizing that Chizuru probably won’t like him in a romantic sense, at least not right away. He’s more than willing to comfort Chizuru if she’s depressed, though he would rather have her mad at him as he knows Chizuru can vent out her emotions better. Ryu also seems to like animals a lot; when Shota was going to walk “Maru”, his adopted puppy, home with Sawako, Chizuru pulled Ryu away telling him he’s going to walk with Ayane and her instead. While being pulled away from Shota’s puppy, he cried out for it. A running gag in the series is that he has a very hard time remembering a person’s name (with the exception of Kazehaya and Chizuru as he’s known them for a long time, and after some time later Sawako and Ayane). In chapter 43, he casually tells Chizuru that he loves her and she is totally shocked. However, in chapter 59, he truly confesses his love for her, but she replies saying, “I have never looked at you in that way”. In response, he smiles and says, “I know.”
Kazuichi “Pin” Arai 
Voiced by: Yūki Ono (anime), Arata (live-action)
Arai is the temporary homeroom teacher for Sawako’s class, taking over when the previous homeroom teacher became sick during the summer holidays while Sawako was helping him. Sawako, being formal, always refers to him as “Arai-sensei,” while almost everyone else refers to him by his nickname, “Pin.” Pin is a great fan of baseball as well as the school baseball team’s coach. He used to be part of Kazehaya’s father’s league team, so he has known Shota since when he was young. A loud and eccentric man prone to believing the silliest things, Pin apparently enjoys interrupting people. He nicknames the puppy that Sawako and Kazehaya find by the river “Pedro Martínez” after the legendary baseball pitcher, which Sawako suggests be shortened to “Maru”. A running gag through the series, despite being a teacher he is prone to actions that are more suited to a teenager, such as eagerly running to the bathroom when he heard about a fight yet became depressed when Sawako and her friends were making up rather than fighting. He and Ayane tend to run into each other a lot, often bickering loudly as they walk away, though on rare occasions he will give her advice (though it comically ends in his ruining the moment to praise himself). He also has a false impression that Sawako is an exorcist. But for how he acts, Arai is rather insightful and is very helpful when it comes to his students, especially when he was suggesting career paths for Sawako, Ayane and Chizuru that best suit their talents and abilities. Pin also has a habit of believing girls in Sawakos year fancy him and often turns them down when they speak to him, stating that he’s just too old for them.

Manga Monday- Shaman King

Manga Monday- Shaman King

Shaman King is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiroyuki Takei. This manga follows the adventures of Yoh Asakura as he attempts to hone his shaman skills to become the Shaman King by winning the Shaman Fight. Takei chose shamanism as the main theme of the series because he wanted a topic that had never been attempted before in manga.

The Shaman King manga was originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump between 1998 and 2004. The individual chapters were collected and released in 32 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha.

In North America, Viz Media obtained the English-language license for the manga and published chapters of Shaman King in its Shonen Jump magazine from March 2003 to August 2007.

In Japan, the manga has been popular, selling over 26 million volumes. Both the manga and anime have been featured, at various times, in “top ten” lists of their respective media. The Shaman King anime has been watched by a large number of television viewers in Japan. Publications about manga, anime and other media have commented on the Shaman King manga, with positive comments on the series.

Plot

The plot of Shaman King revolves around Yoh Asakura, a shaman, a medium between the worlds of the living and the dead. Yoh seeks to become the Shaman King, the one who is able to contact the Great Spirit, and will gain the ability to reshape the world in any way they wish, and for this purpose he must to win the Shaman Fight, a battle held once every 500 years between competing shamans. Anna Kyoyama, Yoh’s fiancée, soon enters the scene and prescribes a brutal training regimen to prepare him for the tournament. Thus begins the plot that will lead Yoh on a journey that will lead him to befriend Ryu, Tao Ren, Horohoro, Faust VIII, Lyserg Diethel, and Joco McDonnell (known as Chocolove McDonnell).

During the Shaman Fight, Yoh encounters Hao Asakura, a strong shaman who wishes to eradicate humans and create a world for shamans. At the end of the shaman battles, the remaining teams consist of Yoh and his friends, the X-Laws and Hao’s team. The remaining teams choose to forfeit the tournament, crowning Hao with the title of Shaman King. As Hao is led away, Yoh and his allies decide to attack Hao while he is merging with the Great Spirit, which is in a coma. To conquer Hao, Yoh and his friends must defeat The Patch Tribe members who are obligated to serve under the new Shaman King.

After Yoh and his friends overcome the ten Patch Tribe members, Hao is awakened as the new Shaman King. He defeats Yoh and all his friends and absorbs their souls. Inside the Great Spirit, Yoh, Ren, Horohoro, Lyserg, and Chocolove battle against Hao using the five legendary spirits: the Spirit of Earth, the Spirit of Thunder, the Spirit of Rain, the Spirit of Fire, and the Spirit of Wind. When former associates of Yoh and his friends begin appearing in the Great Spirit, it is revealed that the Great Spirit granted Hao’s wish for someone to bring back his mother’s spirit. With Anna’s help, Hao’s mother is brought to the Great Spirit. Hao’s mother tells him that, in order to be saved, he must forgive the humans for murdering her. Hao decides to postpone his plan to eradicate humans and to observe how Yoh and his friends will change the world.

Seven years later, Hana Asakura waits at a station for the five legendary warriors and his parents, Yoh and Anna.

Production

Before creating Shaman King, Takei, an assistant of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s Rurouni Kenshin, exchanged ideas about the series with the other assistants. As a colleague of Watsuki, he worked primarily as a manga assistant, only focusing on his own projects during his days off. He was influenced by street art from hip-hop and rap culture, which is apparent in his manga artwork. For drawing, he used calligraphy inks and pen nibs. When illustrating, he used Copic brand color markers.

He chose shamanism as the principal topic of the series because he wanted to choose a subject that had never been approached in manga before. He said he incorporated his own personality and beliefs in Shaman King. He has an interest in the topic, and “choosing shamanism as the subject of this story seemed like a natural extension of that.” For the title, he said he used “shaman”, an English word, due to the fact that “the nuance is really great” and because he could not find a Japanese word with the accurate meaning of the word “shaman”. Another reason to have shamanism as the main subject was because he could explore elements from different cultures and their relationship with the dead and the spirits.

Takei created the stories after he created the characters because he believed the “stories are born because of the existence of the characters”. In addition, he felt that “the most important thing [to create a character] is to have originality”. Through his characters he wanted to show different cultures, backgrounds and values. When asked “how do shamans of pacifistic religions ever win the Shaman Fight?” he answered that the Shaman Fight is fought using the “strength of the soul”. Takei declared “the final message of Shaman King is that fighting is no good.”

Publication

The chapters of Shaman King were written and illustrated by Takei and were published in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump from June 30, 1998 to an abruptly and improvised end on August 30, 2004. The first 275 chapters were collected into 31 tankōbon volumes; the first of which was released on December 3, 1998, with the 31st being released on October 4, 2004. The release of volume 32—intended for publication on December 3, 2004—was delayed and Shueisha reported they would only publish volume 32 if they receive evidence of demand from approximately 50,000 people. The release of the last ten chapters in tankōbon format happened on January 5, 2005. A spin-off to Shaman King, Funbari Poem, lasted for five chapters—all of which were included in volume 32. Taking place seven years after the end of the manga series, it features Hana Asakura, son of Yoh and Anna, and his journey with Ryu to find the Five Elemental Warriors for a reunion before the opening of the Funbari Hot Springs Inn.

Takei declared it was not a decrease on the series profitability that was the reason for its cancellation, but a “fatigue” he had been through because he was no more able to follow his fans’ wishes. In the author’s opinion, Shaman King was being “normalized” by the desire of his readers with the introduction of typical shōnen aspects and losing its originality. In 2007 he revealed he was planning to end the series with the final he initially envisioned to be published in another Shueisha magazine in the end of the year or in the beginning of 2008. Eventually the entire series was reprinted in 27 kanzenban volumes with the title Shaman King Kanzen-Ban (or “Perfect Edition”), concluding with the “true ending” to the series. The new series finale was also posted on the official Kanzen-Ban website, in addition to the print editions. The first volume of the Perfect Edition was released on March 4, 2008, with the last (volume 27) being published on April 3, 2009. Five years after the end of the series, when the Shaman King Kanzen-Ban was finished, Takei said, “After making the readers waiting so much for this, the last thing I wanted to do was to disappoint them”. He thought the ending was a “huge responsibility”. This edition served to make corrections and adjustments and, for Takei, it was something “fun,” as it was different from scratch. Shaman King has also been published as part of the Shueisha Jump Remix series of magazine-style books. Sixteen volumes of Shaman King were released under the Shueisha Jump Remix series between April 1 and October 28, 2011.

Viz Media licensed the series for an English-language release in North America; the chapters initially serialized in the American Shonen Jump, beginning in third issue in 2003 and ceasing its serialization in the August 2007 issue. From then, it was exclusively published through graphic novel format and Viz said it was done in order to speed up the series’ publication. Volume 1 was released in August or September 2003, and volume 32 was released to conclude the series on January 4, 2011. In Australasian region, Madman Entertainment licensed and published the series between February 10, 2009 and September 10, 2011. The manga has also been licensed in some countries such as in Brazil by Editora JBC, in France by Kana, in Germany by Carlsen Comics, in Italy by Star Comics, in Norway by Schibsted Forlagene, in Russia by Comix-ART, in Singapore by Chuang Yi, in Spain by Editores de Tebeos, in Sweden by Bonnierförlagen, and in Vietnam by Kim Đồng Publishing House.

On November 10, 2011, a series of one-shot called “zero stories” detailing Yoh and other characters backstories started to be serialized in Jump X. In the same issue the first “zero story” was published, Shueisha announced the serialization of a sequel, focusing on Hana Asakura’s development as a shaman; Shaman King: Flowers started on April 10, 2012. Both series concluded in the final issue of Shueisha’s Jump X on October 10, 2014. Two volumes of Shaman King: Zero were released on May 10, 2012 and January 19, 2015 respectively. The Flowers series was compiled into six tankōbon released between August 10, 2012 and December 19, 2014.

In December 2017, Kodansha’s magazine Shonen Magazine Edge, in which Takei is publishing his ongoing manga Nekogahara, announced the company acquired “Shaman King” trademark from Shueisha. A website was created and opened on January 1, 2018, and it announced Kodansha is celebrating the series’ 20th anniversary. As such, Kodansha will republished the manga as ebooks with new cover artwork, and a new arc will be published beginning Spring 2018 in Shonen Magazine Edge.

Manga Monday- Paradise Kiss

Manga Monday- Paradise Kiss

Paradise Kiss, abbreviated to “ParaKiss”, is a manga series written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa. It appeared as a serial in the Japanese fashion magazine Zipper. Shodensha collected the chapters into five volumes.

This comic and anime are widely popular not only in Japan, but in many countries around the world. The Paradise Kiss manga and anime has been translated and dubbed or subtitled from Japanese to at least ten different languages, Vietnamese, Chinese (Taiwan), Korean, Finnish, French, Italian, Polish, Thai, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese (Hong Kong) and English. The English version was published by Vertical, Inc..

Paradise Kiss occurs in the same universe as Yazawa’s previous work, Neighborhood Story, which has not yet been published in English. However, Paradise Kiss is a stand-alone story, as only three of the supporting characters are featured, who were only small children in Gokinjo Monogatari. Some of the main characters from Gokinjo Monogatari also make appearances throughout Paradise Kiss.

Tokyopop licensed Paradise Kiss for an English-language release in North America and serialized it in its manga magazine Smile. After Tokyopop’s dissolving in 2011, New York based publishers Vertical, Inc. acquired the rights to the property with plans on releasing the series in a three-volume A5 sized set with new covers, color plates and newly commissioned translation set for Fall 2012. Madman Entertainment distributes the series in Australia and New Zealand. The series is also licensed in France by Kana, in Poland by Waneko and in Russia by Comics Factory.

Characters

Yukari “Caroline” Hayasaka

Yukari is a pretty high school senior that studies dutifully for her university entrance exams. She cannot find meaning in her repetitive life and feels that she has not truly lived at all. As a student at a prestigious high school, she begins with a snobbish attitude towards the fashion design students. After she is scouted by Arashi and “kidnapped” by Isabella, her attitude towards them begins to change to one of admiration for the students’ passion and drive. Her intense relationship with George pushes her to grab hold of her identity, despite the fact that she feels he is a cold and manipulative man. The members of ParaKiss support her as she discovers new depths to her ambitions (becoming a professional model) and personality. She is often referred to as “Caroline” or “Carrie” by the members of ParaKiss. (Before the group knew her name, they called her Caroline. The nickname stuck.) In the manga, she eventually marries Hiroyuki after George leaves to pursue fashion design in Paris. In the anime, she gets married to an unnamed boyfriend assumed to be Hiroyuki. In the live-action film, she rejects Hiroyuki and finds George while on a modelling job in New York.

Jōji “George” Koizumi

George is a senior at Yazagaku fashion school with a gift for fashion design, particularly in haute couture. Although his personality can appear cold, he lives like a hedonist and has extravagant ideas on everything, most of which are not accepted by the mainstream. George is bisexual and explains himself as an “equal opportunity lover”. He refers to Yukari as both his muse and a tease. He wishes for her to become an independent woman that makes her own decisions and takes responsibility for them. His appearance is loosely based on Brian Slade of Velvet Goldmine, several references to the film are made by him in the manga. Yukari humorously questions if he is actually an alien because of his distinctive blue hair and eyes. The lifestyle that he lives is that of a wealthy young bachelor; he lives in a high-end loft and drives a vintage Jaguar. This lifestyle and his tuition are both paid for by George’s wealthy father, but because his mother was merely a mistress, he rarely sees him. His mother often complains that despite his ill will towards his father, he looks and acts just like him. In the end, he’s sad to leave Yukari behind but goes with Isabella to Paris to pursue fashion design.

Manga Monday- Louis the Rune Soldier

Manga Monday- Louis the Rune Soldier

Rune Soldier is an anime and manga series based on the original light novel series by Ryo Mizuno, which features soldier Louie as the hero. The series takes place on the continent of Alecrast on the world called Forcelia, and is related to the novel, anime, and manga series Sword World. It is a sibling series to Record of Lodoss War (which is also directed by Mizuno), taking place on a continent north of Lodoss Island.

Characters

Louie 
A member of the Magician’s Guild in Ohfun and the adopted son of Carwes the guild’s master. Muscular and a little on the dumb side; Louie is prone to getting drunk in bars, chasing after girls, and brawling when he should be studying his magic. As a result, he tends to use brute force instead of magic, much to the chagrin of his companions (for example, on his first adventure, Louie lost his temper when a troop of goblins clubbed him on the head and then broke his wand when he used it to club them back). Despite his shortcomings as a wizard, Louie possesses a strong sense of justice and is unfailingly loyal to those he considers his friends. Louie’s stupidity mostly results as a lack of planning and forethought, he’s actually a lot smarter than he usually appears to be, often figuring things out that others overlook. While it isn’t mentioned in the anime (other than Louie’s strong resemblance to him) it is strongly hinted in the manga that Louie is the illegitimate son of the King.
Melissa 
Adventurer and priestess to Mylee, god of war. Naive and idealistic, Melissa’s dream is to serve a chosen hero of her patron god which of course causes her great despair when Mylee reveals her destined champion is Louie (in the anime she frequently says “This is against my will” several times an episode). Throughout the course of the series, Melissa gradually begins to realize that perfect heroes don’t exist and by the end of the series not only fully accepts Louie as her chosen hero but may also have developed feelings for him as well.
Genie 
Adventurer and former soldier of Ohfun. She has a rather cool demeanor but Louie’s stupid behavior tends to push her to the point of violence. A highly adept warrior, Genie’s favorite weapon is a broadsword as big as herself and likewise is strong enough to slug it out on the same level as Louie. As the story progresses, Genie comes to respect Louie as a friend when she finds that he, unlike most men, doesn’t look down on her because she is a woman and even teaches him basic sword fighting.
Merrill 
Adventurer, thief and part-time job worker with a fanatical obsession for money. When not adventuring, Merrill is either raising funds for the next adventure through various part-time jobs or looking at any scheme to get rich, including running booths at various events in Ohfun. Like Genie, Merril is driven crazy by Louie’s behavior and frequently explodes in violence at him.
Aila 
Member of the Magician’s Guild and Louie’s friend. Despite many attempts to get Louie on a date, especially considering her rather voluptuous frame, their relationship remains platonic and open much to her dismay. Although highly knowledgeable in magic theory and magical item lore (her chief area of study), Aila herself claims to be inferior to Louie in raw magical prowess. She also tends to go to pieces and pass out whenever trouble surfaces on adventures she tags along with. In the manga, Aila’s character is more sultry than in the anime and she especially enjoys getting Louie flustered by flirting with him.
Celecia 
A beautiful elf girl the group met while journeying through a forest.

 

Manga Monday- Revolutionary Girl Utena

Manga Monday- Revolutionary Girl Utena

Revolutionary Girl Utena is a manga by Chiho Saito and an anime directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara. The manga serial began in the June 1996 issue of Ciao and the anime was first broadcast in 1997. The anime and manga were created simultaneously, but, despite some similarities, they progressed in different directions.

Utena is a highly metaphysical, surreal and allegorical shōjo series. It contains a mix of borrowed visuals from Takarazuka theater, shadow puppetry and classic douseiai-style shōjo manga.

Manga plot

Utena is seen as having conflict with the staff of her current school and they call in her aunt, who is an interior decorator. Utena’s friend Kaido is introduced and the two seem to have a strong friendship. It is then explained that Utena may be as headstrong as she is because of her parents’ death at such an early age. Utena gets a letter from someone who has been sending her letters every year when the roses bloom. She says it started after she was rescued by her prince as a little girl. Kaido is intent on finding out who is sending her the letters. Later on Utena meets a co-worker of her aunt’s, Aoi Wakaouji. He seems to bear a strong resemblance as well as the same ring as Utena’s prince. She is drawn to him but only to have her hopes that Aoi is her prince shattered when she catches him and her aunt in a passionate moment. From there the scene from her childhood is recreated right in front of Kaido’s eyes. He informs her that he found that all the letters reveal themselves to be a picture of Aoi’s alma mater, an exclusive prep school. From this knowledge Utena decides to change schools. She leaves a heartbroken Kaido, who it seems has feelings for Utena, to find her prince.

On May 20, 2017, Shōgakukan announced that a new chapter will be published in the September issue of its magazine Flower (to be released on July 28, 2017). Shōgakukan didn’t precisely state if other chapters would be released past September. Chiho Saitō is still in charge of the drawing.