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Manga Monday- Clockwork Planet

Manga Monday- Clockwork Planet

Clockwork Planet is a Japanese light novel series, written by Yuu Kamiya and Tsubaki Himana, and illustrated by Shino. Kodansha has published four volumes since April 2, 2013 under their Kodansha Ranobe Bunko imprint. The story is set in a clockpunk fantasy version of the world, in which the entire planet is run by clockwork. The main characters are five people (a machine otaku, two automata, a young technician and a bodyguard) who, after a month of meeting, become the world’s most infamous terrorists.

A manga adaptation illustrated by Kuro was serialized in Kodansha’s shōnen manga magazine Monthly Shōnen Sirius since 2013 and ended in August 2018. It has been collected in ten tankōbon volumes. An anime television series adaptation by Xebec aired from April 6 to June 22, 2017.

Light novels

The first light novel volume was published on April 2, 2013 by Kodansha under their Kodansha Ranobe Bunko imprint. As of December 29, 2015, four volumes have been published. North American online light novel publisher J-Novel Club have licensed the light novel. Seven Seas Entertainment has licensed the Light Novels in North America for print.

Plot

At an unspecified point in time, Earth collapses. Despite it being almost inevitable that humankind would definitely die out, a genius engineer known only as “Y” manages to rebuild Earth entirely with gears and clockwork mechanisms, renaming it “Clockwork Planet”. 1,000 years later, original cities of Earth’s countries are flourishing inside the planet’s surface gears. Naoto Miura, a high school student living in Grid: Kyoto who is in love with mechanics, is dragged into a world crisis when a mechanical crate crashes into his apartment. There, he meets RyuZU, a broken automaton who is part of the Initial-Y Series, a series of automaton created personally by Y himself. Using his superior sense of hearing, Naoto fixes her in three hours despite RyuZU having been broken for 206 years as nobody was able to revive her. Promising loyalty to him, the two are eventually found out by Dr. Marie Bell Breguet, a princess of a noble family and the youngest person to become a master engineer in an international separate government organization “Meister Guild”, and her automaton bodyguard Vainney Halter. With the faulty Core Tower, a central tower in every Grid city that controls its gear functions, Naoto pinpoints the problem with his sense of hearing alone in ten minutes, fixing it along with other engineers of the Meister Guild and thwarting the government’s attempts to purge the city and destroy lives. As the government’s illegal technological experimentation is still at large, the pairs join forces to carry out justice and prevent further purges. A month after their encounter, all four appear in Akihabara, Tokyo, having become the world’s most infamous terrorists in their quest.

 

Manga Monday- Full Moon o Sagashite

Manga Monday- Full Moon o Sagashite

Full Moon o Sagashite  (literally “Searching for the Full Moon”) is a Japanese shōjo manga by Arina Tanemura. According to the furigana, the kanji 満月 in the title are read furu mūn (“full moon”) and not mangetsu or mitsuki, the Japanese words for the full moon. In North America, the series is officially titled Full Moon, although the full Japanese title is still shown on the front covers of all volumes.
The manga was serialized in Shueisha’s shojo manga magazine Ribon from January 2002 to June 2004 and collected in seven tankōbon volumes. The manga is published in North America in English by Viz Media.
Starting in January 2012, Full Moon O Sagashite was reprinted in four bunkoban volumes with new covers. The manga is licensed in North America in English by Viz Media as Full Moon, although the full title is given on the front cover.

Art book

On April 15, 2004, Shueisha released a seventy-page art book for the series entitled The Arina Tanemura Collection: The Art of Full Moon. Viz Media released an English language edition in North America on October 21, 2008.

Plot

Twelve-year-old Mitsuki Kouyama is a talented middle school girl who dreams of becoming a singer, but she is afflicted with sarcoma, which is curable only through a surgery that could ruin her vocal cords, and lose her ability to sing. The tumor in her throat already affects her ability to breathe well and sing loudly. Her grandmother also hates music and is completely opposed to Mitsuki’s wish to audition. Mitsuki’s dreams seem impossible to achieve, until one day she is visited by two shinigami, whom only she could see. The shinigami, Takuto and Meroko, inadvertently tip Mitsuki off that she has only one year left to live.
Mitsuki then realizes she cannot wait any longer to fulfill her dream, so she runs away from home and the shinigami, to try to audition for a singing competition. However, the shinigami stops her before she is able to audition. She moves Takuto, the male shinigami, to agree to a compromise: if Mitsuki promises to go quietly when her year is up, he would help her become a singer, so she could leave the world with no regrets. Takuto gives her the ability to transform into a completely healthy 16-year-old, so that she could meet the age requirements of the audition, and sing without hindrance.
Despite heavy competition, Mitsuki wins over the judges with her excellent voice and her enthusiasm for singing, sealing a contract with Seed Records. To conceal her true identity, she chooses the stage name “Fullmoon”.
Mitsuki had decided to become a singer two years before, when she was 10 years old. She had made a promise with Eichi Sakurai, a 16-year-old boy she met at her orphanage, that the next time they met, they would both be closer to their dreams. Eichi wanted to become an astronomer and Mitsuki wanted to become a singer. Shortly after, Eichi was adopted and emigrated to America before Mitsuki could express her feelings for him. Mitsuki hopes that by becoming a famous idol, Eichi would be able to hear her sing and realize her feelings for him. This is a tale of growing up, falling in love, awareness of life and death, and desire to move forward.

 

Manga Monday- Made in Abyss

Manga Monday- Made in Abyss

Made in Abyss is a manga series by Akihito Tsukushi about a young girl who finds and befriends a humanoid robot and descends with him into the titular Abyss in search of her mother. It has been serialized online in Takeshobo’s digital publication Web Comic Gamma since 2012 and has been collected into seven tankōbon volumes. An anime television series adaptation by Kinema Citrus aired its first season from July 7 to September 29, 2017, and a sequel film is in production.
Akihito Tsukushi began serializing the manga on Takeshobo’s Web Comic Gamma website in 2012. Since then, the series has been compiled into seven tankōbon volumes. Seven Seas Entertainment announced during their panel at Anime Expo 2017 that they had licensed the manga.
A manga anthology, titled Meido in Abisu Kōshiki Ansorojī: Doshigataki Sagu-tachi , was released on July 29, 2017.

Plot

The story is centered around an orphaned girl named Riko who lives in the Belchero Orphanage, which is located in the town of Orth on an island in the sea of Beoluska. The town surrounds a strange, giant hole going deep into the earth, which is commonly called the Abyss. The Abyss harbors artifacts and remnants of a civilization long gone, and is therefore the popular hunting spot for so-called Cave Raiders, who undertake arduous and dangerous descents into the mist-filled pit to recover whatever relics they can find. Returning from the Abyss can be dangerous as “the Curse of the Abyss,” a mysterious and potentially fatal malady, manifests upon ascension. The deeper one goes, the more acute the effects of the curse; few who have descended into the lower regions have returned to tell of their experiences. Some legendary Cave Raiders earn the title of White Whistle, one of them being Riko’s mother, Lyza.

Riko’s goal is to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a White Whistle. One day she discovers a robot resembling a human boy in the Abyss and names him Reg, whom she and her friends quickly befriend. Some time later, a balloon reaches the surface from the depths of the Abyss containing pages of discoveries made by Lyza, including a message to Riko to meet at the bottom of the Abyss. Riko bids farewell to her friends and departs to the Abyss with Reg.

The Abyss

The allure of the abyss is inescapable. Even so, no one has managed to reach the end. A golden city that sleeps at the bottom of the Abyss. Relics that surpass understanding. For 1,900 years, we have ventured into the darkness hoping to make greater and greater discoveries. The romance of a lost age and the arcane. Drawn to the great unknown, the Abyss devours us.

The Abyss is a colossal pit discovered 1,900 years ago around the islands of the southern ocean of Beolusk. The vertical hole has a diameter of around 1,000 meters and is at least 20,000 meters deep, with its exact depth being currently unknown. It possesses a unique ecosystem, wherein lie the remnants of an ancient, yet advanced, civilization. Many have challenged the mysterious Abyss, pursuing countless hidden treasures and relics of immense value. Some are treasure hunters looking for artifacts, while others are explorers determined to unveil the secrets the Abyss hides. To explore the Abyss, valiant cave raiders called delvers were born, and the town of Orth was established at the edge of the Abyss.
The Abyss still contains many sections that have never been seen, and carries many dangers. Hazardous habitats that defy common sense and otherworldly creatures adapted to the unique environment are major obstacles to explorers.
All over the Abyss, there is a mysterious force field called the “Lifeblood of the Abyss”. The force field acts as its main source of energy, carrying nutrients, producing light and sustaining life, in a similar fashion to the Sun. While it is present everywhere, it seems to be more prominent the closer one gets to the center. More savage and dangerous creatures are often found in areas where the force field is most prevalent, and the branches of vegetation always point towards the center of the hole, their main source of energy for undergoing photosynthesis. Delvers use this fact to guide themselves when they are lost. The force field itself is invisible to the naked eye, but it can be detected as a vague fog that limits the vision of humans. The field is also constantly moving, following the consciousness of living beings. There are a few specific spots in the Abyss, usually far away from the center and in secluded areas, where the force field doesn’t exist or is extremely weak.
The great pit also appears to have some form of time distortion; though it is unclear if this is a fact or merely a feeling. The White Whistle Ozen claims that the deeper one delves, the more one’s sense of time breaks, with the effect becoming extreme from the 5th layer onwards. As an experiment, she once descended for what she thought was a couple of weeks, but by the time she returned to the surface, several months had passed. While there’s little evidence to prove it, she considers it a possibility that time speeds up the more one descends.

 

Manga Monday- Itazura na Kiss aka Playful Kiss

Manga Monday- Itazura na Kiss aka Playful Kiss

Itazura na Kiss is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Kaoru Tada. Itazura na Kiss was first serialized and published in 1990 by Shueisha through Bessatsu Margaret magazine. It became successful very quickly and became the manga series that Tada became known for in Japan. The manga became so popular that three live TV series have been made so far in 1996, 2005, and 2010, with a sequel of the 2005 drama in late 2007. In 2013, a remake of the Japanese live TV series, called Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo, was made. Despite its success, the manga was never completed due to the unexpected death of the author in a house accident while she was moving to another house with her husband and son. However the manga series continues to be published with the permission of the artist’s widower. On January 27, 2009, Digital Manga Publishing issued a press release announcing the acquisition of the license to publish Itazura na Kiss in English. They will be publishing the series in 12 omnibus editions; the first two are scheduled for November 2009 and March 2010, respectively. The last two volumes are available in their Akadot Retail store.

Plot

In this romantic comedy story, a high school girl named Kotoko Aihara finally tells a fellow senior named Naoki that she has loved him from afar since she saw him on their first day of high school. However, Naoki, a hottie “super-ikemen” (handsome male) who is smart and good at sports, rejects her offhand. Fate intervenes when a mild earthquake ruins Kotoko’s family house. While the house gets rebuilt, Kotoko and her dad stay at the home of her dad’s childhood bestfriend…whose son is Naoki. Naoki eventually falls for Kotoko and starts to have romantic, protective feelings for her.

 

Manga Monday- Assassination Classroom

Manga Monday- Assassination Classroom

Assassination Classroom is a Japanese comic science fiction manga series written and illustrated by Yūsei Matsui. The series was serialized on Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine from July 2012 to March 2016 and is licensed in English by Viz Media. The series follows the daily lives of an extremely powerful octopus-like creature who also works as a junior high homeroom teacher, and his students dedicated to the task of assassinating him to prevent Earth from being destroyed. The students are considered “misfits” in their school and are taught in a separate building, the class he teaches is called 3-E. As of July 2016, twenty-one tankōbon volumes have been released in Japan with a circulation of 20 million copies.

The series began serialisation in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine on July 2, 2012. The first collected tankōbon volume was published on November 2, 2012. The initial print run for the first volume was 300,000, but after several reprints over 1 million copies were printed. Volume 20 was released on June 3, 2016. 10 million copies are in circulation. A VOMIC (voiced comic) version, which added voice clips to the manga pages, was featured on the Sakiyomi Jan Bang! variety show between January and June 2013. The series has been licensed in English by Viz Media, who began releasing the series in physical and digital editions from December 2014. The series ended on March 16, 2016 with 180 chapters.

A spin-off manga, titled Koro Sensei Quest, is being written and illustrated by Kizuku Watanabe and Jō Aoto, and began serialization in Shueisha’s Saikyō Jump magazine on October 2, 2015.

Reception

Over one million copies of volume 1 have been printed, and individual volumes frequently appeared on the lists of best-selling manga in Japan. Volumes 2, 3, 4, 1, 5, and 6 placed 26th, 32nd, 36th, 37th, 41st, and 50th respectively on the list of the best-selling manga volumes of 2013, making it the seventh best-selling manga series in Japan of 2013 with 4.5 million copies sold. It was ranked second in Zenkoku Shotenin ga Eranda Osusume Comic 2013, a 2013 ranking of the top 15 manga recommended by Japanese bookstores. It was nominated for the 6th Manga Taishō. It placed second in male-oriented comics category on the list of “Book of the Year” by Media Factory and manga news magazine Da Vinci. Nippon Shuppan Hanbai elected it the best work of 2013 in their “Recommended Comic Books Across the Country Clerk’s Choice”. It was number one on the 2014 Kono Manga ga Sugoi! Top 20 Manga for Male Readers survey by Takarajimasha.

In February 2015, Asahi Shimbun announced that Assassination Classroom was one of nine nominees for the nineteenth annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.

Plot

Earth is threatened by an enormously powerful monster who apparently destroyed 70% of the Moon, leaving it permanently shaped like a crescent. The monster claims that within a year he will destroy the planet, but he offers mankind a chance to avert this fate. In class 3-E, the End Class of Kunugigaoka Junior High School, he starts working as a homeroom teacher where he teaches his students regular subjects, as well as the ways of assassination. The Japanese government promises a reward of ¥10 billion (i.e. 100 million USD) to whoever among the students succeeds in killing the monster, whom they have named “Koro-sensei” Korosensē, a pun on korosenai (unkillable) and sensei (teacher)). However, this proves to be an almost impossible task, as not only does he have several superpowers at his disposal, including the capacity of moving at Mach 20, but he is also the best teacher they’ve ever had, helping them to improve their grades, individual skills, and prospects for the future.

As the series goes on, the entire situation gets even more complicated as other assassins come after Koro-sensei’s life, some coveting the reward, others for personal reasons. The students eventually learn the secrets involving him, the Moon’s destruction and his ties with their previous homeroom teacher, including the true reason why he must be killed before the end of the school year. The series is narrated by Nagisa Shiota, one of the pupils in the class whose main strategy in killing Koro-sensei is making a list of all his weaknesses. At first, Nagisa appears to be one of the weaker members of Class 3-E, but he later emerges as one of the most skillful assassins in the class.

 

Manga Monday- Food Wars

Manga Monday- Food Wars

Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma is a Japanese shōnen manga series written by Yūto Tsukuda and illustrated by Shun Saeki. Yuki Morisaki also works as a Contributor, providing the recipes for the series. Individual chapters have been serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump since November 26, 2012, with tankōbon volumes being released by Shueisha. As of May 2018, 29 volumes have been released in Japan. The series is licensed by Viz Media, who has been releasing the volumes digitally since March 18, 2014, and released the first volume in print on August 5, 2014.

Manga

The manga began as a one-shot in Shueisha’s Weekly Shounen Jump in April 2012 and then began as a series in November 2012. The first tankōbon volume was published on April 4, 2013. As of October 2018, thirty-one volumes have been published. Viz Media has licensed the manga for North America and published the first volume on August 5, 2014.

Plot

Teenager Soma Yukihira aspires to become a full-time chef in his father Joichiro’s family restaurant and surpass his father’s culinary skills, but Joichiro gets a new job that requires him to travel around the world, and closes his shop. Joichiro has Soma enroll in Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute, an elite culinary school where students engage in food competitions called shokugeki (anime: food war). He secures himself a spot at the school, despite the objections of Erina Nakiri, the talented granddaughter of the school’s dean. Soma is assigned to Polaris Dormitory where he meets other aspiring chefs, including Megumi Tadokoro. The story follows his adventures as he interacts with his peers and challenges Totsuki’s students as well as others in shokugeki competitions. Learning that his father was not only a student of Totsuki, but also the second seat in the Council of Ten; Soma plans on becoming the best at the academy.

Soma and the other first-year students participate in a cooking camp judged by the school’s alumni that expels about a third of the entering class. He enters the Fall Classic, a competition that takes the top 60 first-year students, pares them down to eight students who then compete in a single elimination tournament. The first-years then participate in week-long stagiaire internships at local restaurants, as well as a large-scale school-wide Moon Festival. When Erina’s father Azami takes over the school, Soma and Erina form a rebel faction to challenge the establishment.

Characters and Setting

The series is set mainly at Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute, an elite culinary school located in Tokyo, Japan, which only a handful of students graduate each year. Its students mostly come from Totsuki’s junior high school, but transfers are taken provided they pass the entrance exam. The campus is a wide-ranging resort with many research societies (clubs); cooking classrooms, and large arenas used for competitions. Housing varies, but the most affordable is the Polaris Dormitory, where characters have to impress the dorm matron with a dish in order to secure residence. Totsuki also runs a chain of resort hotels; with the biggest being the Totsuki resort; run by Gin Dojima, which is visited during the course of Soma’s first year at Totsuki.

The top student chefs occupy seats on the Council of Ten Masters. Students can initiate a shokugeki with any other student or alumni; a cooking fight with stipulations on the line. Battles fought in this way could be for cooking utensils, research society facilities, council membership, or even expulsion from the school.

Reception

It was number twelve on the 2014 Kono Manga ga Sugoi! Top 20 Manga for Male Readers survey and it was number three in the Nationwide Bookstore Employees’ Recommended Comics of 2014. The Anime News Network gave the anime series a B; citing the art as being very good, and that Soma is a very likeable protagonist. They however opined that the amount of fanservice might put some readers off, and considered some instances of fanservice uncomfortable and unnecessary.

Volume 1 has sold 139,657 copies as of April 28, 2013; volume 2 has sold 176,682 copies as of June 16, 2013; volume 3 has sold 238,590 copies as of August 18, 2013, volume 4 has sold 252,975 copies, as of September 22, 2013; volume 5 has sold 271,570 copies as of December 22, 2013; volume 6 has sold 277,726 copies as of February 23, 2014; and volume 7 has sold 279,364 copies as of April 20, 2014. As of May 2, 2018, it was revealed that the manga had 14 million copies in print.

 

Manga Monday- Fruits Basket

Manga Monday- Fruits Basket

Fruits Basket, sometimes abbreviated Furuba, or Furuba, is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Natsuki Takaya. It was serialized in the semi-monthly Japanese magazine Hana to Yume, published by Hakusensha, from 1998 to 2006. The series tells the story of Tohru Honda, an orphan girl who, after meeting Yuki, Kyo, and Shigure Sohma, learns that twelve members of the Sohma family are possessed by the animals of the Chinese zodiac and are cursed to turn into their animal forms when they are weak, stressed, or when they are embraced by anyone of the opposite sex that is not possessed by a zodiacal spirit. The title comes from the name of a popular game played in Japanese elementary schools, which is alluded to in the series.

Manga

The 136 chapters of Fruits Basket were originally serialized in Japan by Hakusensha in Hana to Yume from July 1998 to November 2006. These were collected in 23 tankōbon volumes, with the final volume published in Japan on March 19, 2007.

The series is licensed in English in North America and the United Kingdom by Tokyopop and in Singapore by Chuang Yi. The Singapore edition is licensed to be imported to Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment. All 23 English-language volumes have been released in North America and Singapore. In addition, Tokyopop released a box set containing the first four volumes in October 2007, and started re-releasing earlier volumes in “Ultimate Editions” combining two sequential volumes in a single larger hard-cover volume with new cover art. The first Ultimate Edition release met with mixed reviews, however, because they exactly reproduce the first two volumes without correcting changed page numbers or prior errors. As of June 2008, six Ultimate Editions have been released, covering the first twelve volumes of the series. After Tokyopop ceased publication, the series was re-licensed by Yen Press, with plans to release it as twelve omnibus editions corresponding Hakuensha’s collector’s editions.

Chuang Yi also publishes in Singapore a Simplified Chinese edition as well as English. In Europe, Fruits Basket is licensed in French by Delcourt, in Spanish by Norma Editorial, in Italian by Dynit, in Dutch by Glénat, in German and Swedish by Carlsen Comics, in Finnish by Sangatsu Manga, and in Polish by Japonica Polonica Fantastica, and in Danish by Mette Holm [Carlson Manga]. In Latin America, Editorial Vid has released the complete series in Mexico in Spanish, and Editora JBC has released the complete series in Portuguese in Brazil with the first volume released in April 2005.

On September 4, 2015, the first two volumes of Fruits Basket: Collector’s Edition were released in Japan under the Hana to Yume Comics Special imprint. It is to extend to twelve volumes in total. On the same day, a sequel series, Fruits Basket another, began serialization in HanaLaLaOnline. The series is planned to run for 2-3 volumes. Starting in June 2016, Fruits Basket: Collector’s Edition was released in English by Yen Press.

Plot

When high school student Tohru Honda’s mother dies in a car crash, Tohru decides to live with her grandfather. Renovations on the house and unsupportive and unkind family members cause her to move out of her grandfather’s house temporarily and, since she has nowhere else to go, Tohru begins living in a tent and supporting herself. That is, until she finds a home in the least likely of places, inhabited by her popular classmate Yuki Sohma and his cousin Shigure. The first day Tohru moves into the Sohma house, an orange haired teenager crashes through the roof of her new bedroom and starts attacking Yuki. This newcomer is Kyo, Yuki and Shigure’s aggressively angry cousin. Once Kyo loses quickly to Yuki, he tries to fight him again. When he’s about to attack, Tohru tries to stop him, but slips on an article of clothing, making her fall onto Kyo’s back. When this happens, Tohru discovers something big about the Sohmas.

The Sohmas live with a curse. Twelve members of the family (not including Kyo, who is the cat) are possessed by spirits of the Chinese zodiac and turn into their zodiac animal when they are weak, under stress, embarrassed, or when hugged by someone of the opposite sex.

When Tohru discovers the Sohmas’ secret, she promises not to tell and is allowed to keep living with them. Although the Sohmas’ curse is deeper and darker than Tohru realized, her presence and her acceptance of them soon becomes a large, positive influence on those possessed by the zodiac. She sets out to break the curse and, on the way, meets and discovers the Sohma’s vengeful zodiac spirits. Each has a different personality, just like the animals in the Chinese zodiac. One by one, Tohru’s existence changes the Sohma clan’s lives forever.

 

Manga Monday- Buso Renkin

Manga Monday- Buso Renkin

Buso Renkin is a manga series written and drawn by Nobuhiro Watsuki. It follows Kazuki Muto, who becomes an alchemical warrior in the battle against alchemical monsters known as homunculi. Watsuki envisioned the manga as his last shōnen manga, and then he tried to do as much as he could with that genre. It was serialized in Shueisha’s magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from June 2003 to April 2005. The individual chapters were republished by Shueisha in ten tankōbon volumes. The series has been licensed by Viz Media for North American release.
In Japan, the Buso Renkin manga has sold over 3 million volumes and was nominated for a Seiun Award. It received a mixed reception from manga and anime publications. Watsuki’s art received the most positive comments from reviewers, while other aspects of the manga, such as its action and characters, have divided critics’ opinions. The anime, which critics described as a generic shōnen fighting series, received mostly negative reception.

Manga

The chapters of Buso Renkin were written and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki and were serialized in Shueisha’s shōnen magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from June 23, 2003, to April 25, 2005. Only the first 79 chapters were serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump; the final chapter was published in another magazine from Shueisha in two installments. Shueisha published the individual chapters in a series of ten tankōbon (collected volumes), which were released between January 5, 2004, and April 4, 2006. In North America, Viz Media released the manga’s ten tankōbon volumes between August 1, 2006, and February 5, 2008. The manga has been licensed in Brazil by Editora JBC, France by Glénat, in Germany by Tokyopop Germany, in Italy by Panini Comics, and in Spain by Planeta DeLibros.

Plot

The narrative of Buso Renkin follows Kazuki Muto, who saves Tokiko Tsumura and is killed by an alchemical monster known as a homunculus. Tokiko, an alchemist warrior, feels responsible and revives him by replacing his destroyed heart with a kakugane (核鉄). The kakugane is an alchemical device which, when activated, takes a weapon form based on its user’s personality, forming a buso renkin—the only thing that can destroy a homunculus. Kazuki creates his own buso renkin and joins Tokiko in the fight against the homunculi and their master, Koushaku Chouno. Chouno, who has renamed himself “Papillon”, is killed by Kazuki, but is later resurrected by the L.X.E., a humanoid homunculi group led by Chouno’s great-great-grandfather Bakushaku Chouno, now calling himself Dr. Butterfly. In various battles, Kazuki, Tokiko and Captain Bravo (their team leader) destroy most of the L.X.E.’s members. After learning that Dr. Butterfly believes him to be weak and useless, Papillon rebels against the L.X.E. and kills Dr. Butterfly.
Before his death, Dr. Butterfly drains the energy of the students at Kazuki’s school to heal and revive Victor, a being superior to humans and homunculi. Victor is confronted by Kazuki, but Victor is not interested in fighting and leaves. During the battle, however, Kazuki’s kakugane is revealed to be the same type as the Victor’s—a black kakugane created by the Alchemist Army as a prototype to the philosopher’s stone. The black kakugane absorbs human life forces; to prevent this from happening, Kazuki’s death is ordered by the Alchemist Army. Captain Bravo tries to kill Kazuki, but Tokiko finds him alive. A team is commissioned to confirm Kazuki’s death, but Kazuki, Tokiko and Gouta Nakamura (an Alchemist Warrior and former protégé of Tokiko’s) fight their way past the members of the Re-Extermination Squad. Later, Kazuki’s death is postponed because, as the Alchemists’ leader explains, their top priority is to defeat Victor.
Kazuki and Tokiko find the white kakugane, which can negate the effects of the black kakugane and is guarded by Victor’s daughter Victoria, who is herself a humanoid homunculus. During the Alchemist Army’s final battle against Victor, Kazuki applies the white kakugane to Victor, but it only weakens him. To protect humankind from both of them, Kazuki propels himself and Victor to the moon. Later, Papillion creates a white kakugane to heal Kazuki. The Alchemist Army rescues Kazuki, creates another white kakugane and restores Victor’s humanity. Reunited with his daughter, Victor asks the Alchemist Army to turn him into a homunculus and tells them that he and his daughter will lead all the homunculi to the moon. The Alchemist Army dedicates itself to research a way to revert homunculi back into humans, ending their war activities. All Warriors abdicate their kakugane. Kazuki and Tokiko return to their daily lives together while Papillon becomes an urban legend throughout Japan.

 

Manga Monday- Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple

Manga Monday- Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple

Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple  is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Syun Matsuena. It was serialized in Shogakukan’s magazine Weekly Shōnen Sunday from May 2002 to September 2014.
The manga is a remake of Tatakae! Ryōzanpaku Shijō Saikyō no Deshi, which was serialized in the monthly magazine Shōnen Sunday Super, publishing five tankōbon between 2000 and 2002.
The first tankōbon was published on August 9, 2002.

Manga

The manga series is written and illustrated by Syun Matsuena. It was serialized in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday from May 1, 2002 and finished on September 13, 2014. The manga is a remake of Tatakae! Ryōzanpaku Shijō Saikyō no Deshi, which was serialized in the monthly magazine Shōnen Sunday Super.
Shogakukan has released chapters in tankōbon format under Shōnen Sunday Comics imprint and as of now 61 volumes has been published. The first volume was published on August 9, 2002, and the latest on November 18, 2014. Shogakukan also released limited edition versions of several volumes beginning with volume 35. The series is licensed in France by Kurokawa.

Story

The story focuses on Kenichi Shirahama, a 15-year-old high school student and a long-time victim of bullying. At the beginning of the story, he befriends transfer student Miu Fūrinji; and desires to become stronger, he follows her to Ryōzanpaku, a dojo housing several masters of diverse martial arts, led by her grandfather Hayato Fūrinji. After learning basics from Miu, Kenichi overcomes a high-ranking member of the school’s karate club, and becomes a target for all the delinquents in the school. While initially training to protect himself, Kenichi eventually becomes a full disciple of Ryōzanpaku, and becomes enamored of Miu. Subsequently, Kenichi’s daily routine is divided between training under the six masters of Ryōzanpaku, and his fights against the members of ‘Ragnarok’, a gang of bullies trying alternately to recruit or to vanquish him. After Ragnarok is disbanded, Kenichi and Miu are targeted by Yomi, a group of disciples personally trained by a master of an organization rivaling Ryōzanpaku, Yami. While the masters of Ryōzanpaku and their allies follow the principle of always sparing their opponents’ lives (Katsujin-ken), the members of Yami believe that any means of defeating an opponent is valid, including murder (Satsujin-ken). In the struggle between the two factions, Kenichi, Miu, and their allies fight the members of Yomi, while his masters confront the members of Yami. The conflict between the two factions culminate with the final battle to stop Yami’s main objective, which is to usher a new era of chaos and warfare in the world, also known as “The Eternal Sunset”. Once the Eternal Sunset is prevented and their main leader is defeated, Yami and Yomi are disbanded as well. Kenichi then continues to train at Ryōzanpaku, and years later he becomes a famous novelist, but it’s hinted that he also becomes Miu’s husband and a martial arts master more powerful than her grandfather, the Elder, who had always sworn he would only allow Miu to marry someone capable of defeating him first.

Terminology

The series makes use of several in-universe concepts including:

Dou ()
The word “Dou” means motion. Users seem to rely heavily on instincts and brute strength when fighting; but Dou fighters have a technique of interpreting an opponent’s movements. According to James Shiba, a Dou fighter focuses on making their ki “explode” after channeling it through a target to deal damage. According to the manga, Apachai, Sakaki, and Miu are all Dou types.
Sei ()
The word “Sei” means silence. Users focus their attention on changes in the environment and react to imminent danger. These traits are evident in Kensei, Akisame, Hayato, and Kenichi. This principle requires calm and clarity of mind. Ryūto Asamiya also seems a fighter of the Sei class; but in an experiment conducted by his master Ogata, he tried to embody both Sei and Dou styles at the same time, incurring some damage to himself.
The Path of Asura
The path of the martial artist who pursues power in order to kill. Isshinsai Ogata walks this path and tries to convince Kenichi to follow him, with no success.
Killing Fist (殺人拳 Satsujin-ken)
Literally “the Death giving fist”: the belief that bare-handed martial arts were created as killing weapons. Despite this a follower is not obliged to kill an opponent. Yami embodies this principle.
Saving Fist (活人拳 Katsujin-Ken)
Literally “the Life giving fist”: the belief that bare-handed martial arts were created in defense of innocent lives. Its guidelines are ‘not to kill and not to be killed’. The masters of Ryozanpaku maintain this principle.

 

Manga Monday- Battle Angel Alita

Manga Monday- Battle Angel Alita

Battle Angel Alita (known in Japan as Gunnm(literally gun dream), is a cyberpunk manga series created by Yukito Kishiro in 1990 and originally published in Shueisha’s Business Jump magazine.

Manga

The manga was first published in Shueisha’s Business Jump magazine. It was then serialized from 1990 to 1995 in nine tankōbon. In the U.S., Viz originally released the story in a 25-page comic book, it then followed the same volume format as its Japanese counterpart. Along with the rest of the series, Kishiro’s original Battle Angel Alita manga is licensed for North American publication through Kodansha USA. Battle Angel Alita was licensed for international release in a number of languages and regions. It was published in Spain by Planeta DeAgostini, in Brazil by Editora JBC, in France and Netherlands by Glenat, in Poland by JPF, in Germany by Carlsen, in Taiwan by Tong Li Publishing and in Argentina by Editorial Ivrea.

Another series titled Battle Angel Alita: Holy Night & Other Stories (Ganmu Gaiden) was published in Ultra Jump from January 24, 1997 to December 19, 2006. It was released in a single volume on December 19, 2007. It is composed of four short side stories: Holy Night, Sonic Finger, Hometown and Barjack Rhapsody. The series has been licensed by Kodansha USA, who published it digitally on October 30, 2018 and as hardcover on November 20, 2018.

A 6-volume special edition titled Gunnm: Complete Edition was released in Japan on December 23, 1998. The series was released in B5 format and contains the original story, but with a different ending accommodating for the continuation of the story in Battle Angel Alita: Last Order. Also included are rough sketches, a timeline and the first three Battle Angel Alita: Holy Night & Other Stories short stories.

A novel was released on April 4, 1997, by JUMP j-BOOKS, as part of the Japanese publisher Shueisha.

The series is set in the post-apocalyptic future and focuses on Alita, a cyborg who has lost all memories and is found in a garbage heap by a cybernetics doctor who rebuilds and takes care of her. She discovers that there is one thing she remembers, the legendary cyborg martial art Panzer Kunst, which leads to her becoming a Hunter Warrior or bounty hunter. The story traces Alita’s attempts to rediscover her past and the characters whose lives she impacts on her journey. The manga series is continued in Battle Angel Alita: Last Order and Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle.

Plot

Battle Angel Alita tells the story of Alita (“Gally” in the original Japanese version), an amnesiac female cyborg. Her intact head and chest, in suspended animation, are found by cybermedic expert Daisuke Ido in the local garbage dump. Ido manages to revive her, and, finding she has lost her memory, names her Alita after his deceased cat. The rebuilt Alita soon discovers that she remembers the legendary martial art Panzer Kunst, although she does not recall anything else. Alita uses her Panzer Kunst to first become a mercenary Hunter-Warrior, killing cyborg criminals in the Scrapyard, and then as a player in the brutal sport of Motorball. While in combat, Alita awakens memories of her earlier life on Mars. She becomes involved with the floating city of Tiphares as one of their agents, and is sent to hunt down criminals. Foremost is the mad genius Desty Nova, who clashes with Alita before becoming her ally.

The futuristic dystopian world of Battle Angel Alita revolves around the city of Scrapyard, grown up around a massive scrap heap that rains down from Tiphares (Salem in the anime). Ground dwellers have no access to Tiphares and are forced to make a living in the sprawl below. Many are heavily modified by cybernetics to better cope with their hard life.

Tiphares exploits the Scrapyard and surrounding farms, paying mercenaries (called Hunter-Warriors) to hunt criminals and arranging violent sports to keep the population entertained. Massive tubes connect the Scrapyard to Tiphares, and the city uses robots for carrying out errands and providing security on the ground. Occasionally, Tiphareans (such as Daisuke Ido and Desty Nova) are exiled and sent to the ground. Aside from the robots and exiles, there is little contact between the two cities.

The story takes place in the former United States. According to a map, printed in the eighth volume, Scrapyard/Tiphares is near Kansas City, Missouri, and the Necropolis is Colorado Springs, Colorado. Radio KAOS is at Dallas. Figure’s coastal hometown is Alhambra. Desty Nova’s Granite Inn is built out of a military base – NORAD at Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Colorado.

Battle Angel Alita is eventually revealed to take place in the 26th century. The sequel Battle Angel Alita: Last Order introduces a calendar era called “Era Sputnik” which has an epoch of AD 1957. The original Battle Angel Alita series begins in es. 577 (AD 2533) and ends in es. 590 (AD 2546), Battle Angel Alita: Last Order is mostly set in es. 591 (AD 2547), and Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle currently alternates between es. 373-374 (AD 2329-2330) and es. 594 (AD 2550).