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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.

Manga Monday- Full Metal Panic!

Manga Monday- Full Metal Panic!

Full Metal Panic! was adapted into a manga on several occasions. The first series entitled Full Metal Panic, was serialized in Monthly Comic Dragon by Retsu Tateo. The first Full Metal Panic! manga was collected in nine tankōbon volumes published from August 30, 2000, to July 1, 2005. Full Metal Panic! was one of the first manga licensed by ADV Manga, being announced in July 2003. They released all of its volumes from November 10, 2003 to April 11, 2006. A parallel series entitled Full Metal Panic! Comic Mission, was also written by Retsu Tateo and focuses on the comedy elements from the series. Seven volumes were published from November 1, 2003, to September 1, 2006.

Another spin-off series is Full Metal Panic! Overload! by Tomohiro Nagai. It was released in five volumes from January 30, 2001, to April 1, 2003. Overload was licensed by ADV Manga in December 2004, and all of its volumes were published in English from June 6, 2005, to May 24, 2006. Nagai also wrote Full Metal Panic! Surplus which is a single tankōbon manga published on July 1, 2003, focused more on the action elements from the franchise. Next manga adaptation Full Metal Panic! Sigma was written by Shoji Gatoh and illustrated by Hiroshi Ueda and focuses on the missions of Sousuke as a sergeant. The first volume was published on August 1, 2005, and the last volume, the nineteenth, was published on September 20, 2013. Its events are based from the fourth Full Metal Panic! light novel onwards.

Main characters

Sousuke Sagara

Voiced by: Tomokazu Seki (Japanese); Chris Patton (English)

Sergent Sousuke Sagara is the male protagonist of the series. He is of Afghan Japanese heritage. While he is inherently Japanese due to his name, Sagara grew up in Helmajistan, a region in Afghanistan that was caught up in political strife. At age 8, he joined a guerrilla movement to survive, and was eventually recruited by Mithril. Sousuke only knows military life and as a result he does not handle the everyday occurrences of civilian life very well. He also has a tough time integrating into high school life as his social skills are not quite up to par. His military bearing and encyclopedic knowledge of weapons earns him the nickname ‘Military Maniac’. The basic problem this causes is, for instance, how he blows up the shoes lockers if there is any clue that someone has tampered with them. Sousuke can be quite insensitive at times, for example in volume 7 he bought a pregnancy test while out with Kaname and did not understand what was wrong, though his intentions are always in the right place. His deep feelings for Chidori Kaname are unavoidably clear by the beginning of TSR when he punches his fist through a laptop with the message of his direct order to not contact her anymore. Sousuke eventually decides to give up his life as a soldier and retires from Mithril, deciding that he wanted to be with Chidori instead. Upon his return, Sousuke confirms his feelings for Chidori and the two share a kiss in the school court yard.

Also, he was formerly known as ‘Kashim’ according to Gauron.

Kaname Chidori

Voiced by: Satsuki Yukino (Japanese); Luci Christian (English)

Kaname Chidori is the female protagonist of the series. She is often described as, ‘The kind of girl everyone looks up to, but not even a boy wants as their girlfriend’, as a male fellow student put it. She’s very much the loud mouth, speak your mind kind of girl; a trait she picked up when she studied abroad in the United States. Until then, she feels like she must protect Sousuke from the harsh, cruel world of high school – a place where he doesn’t quite fit.

Sousuke is assigned to guard her as she is one of the “Whispered”. People that have in their subconscious very technologically advanced knowledge that numerous governments and other groups want to use for their own means.

She often uses a paper fan to hit Sousuke, besides berating him on how the kinds of weapons he uses are not exactly proper for a high school student. While she criticizes Sousuke for being too militaristic and overprotective, she appreciates it under life or death situations. Chidori develops serious feelings for Sousuke and is dejected when he is so obtuse in such matters. Eventually Chidori confesses her love to Sousuke and the latter reciprocates it. Towards the end, Chidori feels hollow upon learning Sousuke’s death and is shocked when Sousuke is revealed to be alive. Sousuke and Chidori finally kiss each other.

Teresa “Tessa” Testarossa

Voiced by: Yukana (Japanese); Hilary Haag (English)

Teresa Testarossa is the Captain of the Mithril’s submarine Tuatha de Danaan. She is a young girl of 16 who has a crush on Sousuke and bears the weight of Mithril’s mission – to make the world safer by destroying terrorist organizations and drug facilities. Tessa is young, and therefore, hasn’t lost that optimism that she can make a difference. She is also stubborn and will try her hardest to prove wrong those who tell her she can’t do something. Still, most of her crew sees her as weak and frail – someone who never got her hands dirty on the battle field and therefore can’t defend herself.

Kurz Weber

Voiced by: Shin’ichiro Miki (Japanese); Vic Mignogna (English)

Sergent Kurz Weber first appears to your typical lady’s man, yet he is often the one giving Sousuke advice about life and love. He’s a laid back kind of guy who won’t dodge responsibility if it comes his way, and is one of the finest snipers in Mithril. Kurz is shot down by his mentor Casper in Volume 13 of the Manga. Later on it was found out that he survived.

Melissa Mao

Voiced by: Michiko Neya (Japanese); Allison Keith (English)

Sergent Major Melissa Mao is the superior officer of both Sousuke and Kurz and demands respect for her role. She is also a spunky woman who loves beer, smokes a lot, and wishes she could be free spirited and optimistic like Tessa. She was originally a member of the Marines, signing her recruitment contract on the day she was supposed to marry a businessman her father had pushed onto her. Eventually, she left the Marines and joined Mithril, where she met Kurz and Sousuke as new recruits. The two were downplaying their skills intentionally, Kurz pretending to be a terrible shot and Sousuke purposefully scoring low on written exams. Eventually, she realized what they were doing and picked them out of the camp to be her new teammates.

Gauron

Voiced by: Masahiko Tanaka (Japanese); Mike MacRae (English)

Gauron is Full Metal Panic’s main antagonist. He’s an especially twisted and violent mercenary deeply involved in the black market and global terrorism. Despite possessing an extremely vile personality, his ruthless cunning and mastery of the Lambda Drive system make him a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. In combat, his vehicle of choice is the super AS called Venom.

Manga Monday- Snow White with the Red Hair

Manga Monday- Snow White with the Red Hair

Snow White with the Red Hair is a Japanese shōjo manga written by Sorata Akizuki. It was serialized in Hakusensha’s bi-monthly shōjo manga magazine, LaLa DX but has since moved to monthly LaLa and is published in collected volumes by Hakusensha.

Plot

Shirayuki is a normal herbalist in the kingdom of Tanbarun with one unique feature: her beautiful red hair. Due to her unusual hair color, Shirayuki was raised to always be careful of showing her hair in new surroundings and grew to be an independent young woman. However, her hair gets her noticed by Prince Raj, who orders her to become his concubine. Refusing his orders, she cuts her hair and leaves it behind as part of what he wanted and escapes to the neighboring kingdom of Clarines. On her way there, she meets and befriends Prince Zen and his two aides Mitsuhide and Kiki. When Zen is poisoned by an apple meant for Shirayuki gifted by Raj, Shirayuki successfully obtains the antidote and decides to accompany the trio to Clarines. Shortly thereafter, Shirayuki passes an exam for a position to train in the palace as a herbalist. Shirayuki and her friends find a place in Clarines and carries out her duties as a court herbalist. Over the course of the story, Zen and Shirayuki begin to fall in love with each other and eventually begin a romantic relationship, in spite of opposition due to their difference in social status.

Manga

The manga was serialized in Hakusensha’s monthly shōjo manga magazine, LaLa DX in 2006 but has since moved to LaLa and is published in collected volumes by Hakusensha. As of April 2017, 17 volumes have been published in Japan. It has been licensed in France by Kana and in Taiwan by Sharp Point Press. The eleventh volume ranked 21st in Oricon’s weekly manga ranking for the week of January 6.

Manga Monday- The Record of Lodoss War

Manga Monday- The Record of Lodoss War

Record of Lodoss War is a franchise of fantasy novels by Ryo Mizuno based on the work he originally created for a world called Forcelia as a rules-free setting for role-playing games (RPGs). There have since been multiple manga, anime and computer game adaptations, several of which have been translated into English. The plots generally follow the conventions and structure of the RPG systems including Dungeons & Dragons and Sword World RPG, in which several characters of distinct types undertake a specific quest.

Manga

 

  • The Grey Witch 3 volumes, art by Yoshihiko Ochi
  • The Demon of Flame 2 volumes, art by Ayumi Saito
  • The Lady of Pharis 2 volumes, art by Akihiro Yamada
  • Chronicles of the Heroic Knight 6 volumes, art by Masato Natsumoto
  • Welcome to Lodoss Island 3 volumes, four panel manga, art by Hyakuyashiki Rei
  • Deedlit’s Tale 2 volumes, art by Setsuko Yoneyama
  • Legend of Crystania  3 volumes, art by Akira Himekawa
  • The Grey Witch 3 volumes, art by Tomomasa Takuma

The manga adaption and its anime derivative Chronicles of the Heroic Knight continues the adventures of Parn for the first eight episodes, but then focuses on Spark and his adventures to complete a quest tasked onto him to protect Neese, the daughter of Slayn and Leylia. He is accompanied by his own cast of friends in the form of Leaf, Garrack, Greevus, Aldo, and Ryna. The television series shares similarities with the plot of the OVA, such as Wagnard seeking to kidnap Neese in order to use her as a reagent for the resurrection of Naneel, a priestess and the Avatar of Kardis who was slain by Leylia’s mother, the high priestess Neese a short time after the battle with the demonic god. Leylia was the reincarnation of Naneel, but when she lost her virginity she was no longer capable of being the doorway or reagent needed to unseal Naneel.

 

Manga Monday- Princess Jellyfish

Manga Monday- Princess Jellyfish

Princess Jellyfish is a Japanese josei (a manga written with older teen girls and women in mind) manga series written and illustrated by Akiko Higashimura. It was serialized in Kodansha’s manga magazine Kiss from October 2008 to August 2017. The manga is licensed in North America by Kodansha Comics USA.

Plot

Princess Jellyfish centers on Amamizukan, an apartment building in Tokyo, where the only tenants are otaku women, and where no men are allowed. While each character has her own particular fixation, the protagonist is Tsukimi Kurashita, whose love of jellyfish stems from memories of her deceased mother taking her to an aquarium and linking the lace-like tendrils of jellyfish to the dresses of princesses. Tsukimi hopes to become an illustrator and is an awkward girl terrified of social interaction, attractive people and the prospect of formal work.

The other tenants of Amamizukan are the same, being NEETs who refer to themselves as the “Amars” (nuns). Tsukimi meets the stylish Kuranosuke Koibuchi, the illegitimate son of a politician, who cross-dresses to avoid the obligations of politics and to feel closer to his mother. Tsukimi keeps the secret of his masculinity from her man-hating housemates, even as she is troubled by the intimacy of having a man in her room at times.

Amamizukan’s neighborhood is under threat of redevelopment, as opportunists aim to turn the quaint area into a more cosmopolitan region, with many of the buildings being demolished to make room for hotels and shopping centers. Although Amamizukan’s tenants fear and loathe attractive people, they are helped by Kuranosuke who does not want to see Amamizukan destroyed.

Manga

Kuragehime began as a manga written and illustrated by Akiko Higashimura. It was serialized in Kodansha’s Kiss manga magazine from October 25, 2008 in the 21st issue of that year to August 25, 2017 in the October issue of that year. Kodansha released the series in 17 tankōbon volumes from March 13, 2009 to November 13, 2017. Kodansha Comics USA licensed the manga for release in North America, which are being released in omnibus editions containing two volumes each starting in March 2016. Crunchyroll has also added the manga to its web distribution service. The manga is also licensed by Star Comics in Italy, and Akata in France.

Manga Monday- Parasyte

Manga Monday- Parasyte

Parasyte is a science fiction horror manga series written and illustrated by Hitoshi Iwaaki, and published in Kodansha’s Afternoon magazine from 1988 to 1995. The manga was published in North America by first Tokyopop, then Del Rey, and finally Kodansha Comics.

Manga

Parasyte was originally serialized in Japan in the Morning Open Zōkan from 1988 and switched to Afternoon after a few issues in 1990. It was collected into ten tankōbon volumes by Kodansha, and was later republished in eight kanzenban volumes. It was originally licensed for English translation and North American distribution by Tokyopop, which published the series over 12 volumes. The Tokyopop version ran in Mixxzine. Daily pages from the Tokyopop version ran in the Japanimation Station, a service accessible to users of America Online. The Tokyopop English-language manga went out of print on May 2, 2005. Del Rey Manga later acquired the rights to the series, and published eight volumes following the kanzenban release. Kodansha Comics later republished the volumes in North America between 2011 and 2012.

Characters

Main characters

Shinichi Izumi 
Shinichi is the protagonist of the manga, a thoughtful, compassionate high-school boy whose hand is infected with a Parasite and is repeatedly put into difficult positions. He must find a way to peacefully coexist with Migi, the Parasite which has taken over his hand, and reconcile his desire to protect humanity from the Parasites with his desire to keep his own Parasite a secret in order to avoid being killed or used as a laboratory specimen. Like a superhero with a secret identity, he must also find a way to explain away his Parasite-fighting activities, as well as the stress and grief they cause him, to his friends and family. While originally forced to have Migi fight for him, Shinichi later gains heightened abilities when trace cells of the Parasite course through his body, and fights his own battles, with the two having an advantage in both being able to act independently and work as a team. Shinichi’s retention of his humanity, despite gradually becoming emotionally distant as a side-effect of Migi’s cells, makes most of the other Parasites deem him a threat. After defeating Gotou, with Migi deciding to “go to sleep” indefinitely afterward, Shinichi attempts to live a normal life again while having an understanding of natural order from his experience.
Masanori Harada, a 20-year-old student, wrote to the editor of the Monthly Afternoon noted that Shinichi acts calm when he is threatened and that he is “not human anymore!” Iwaaki responded, stating that Shinichi is accustomed to “close calls” partly because Migi calms Shinichi down during battle. The statement and response were printed in the April 1993 Afternoon.
Shinichi is portrayed by Shota Sometani in the film.
Migi 
Migi is the Parasite which lives in Shinichi’s right hand, named after the Japanese word for “right” ( migi). Unlike “successful” Parasites, Migi has no desire to kill humans for sustenance, and is nourished by the food Shinichi eats. Migi is, like other Parasites, completely without emotion. His primary consideration is survival, and he has threatened (and in some cases attempted) to kill other humans who pose a threat to his and Shinichi’s secrecy. When he and Shinichi were first coming to terms, he even threatened to remove Shinichi’s other limbs in order to render him unable to place the two of them in danger. Migi can be reasoned with, however, and has just as much reason to be mistrustful of other Parasites as does Shinichi. On the other hand, unlike Shinichi, Migi has no inclination to place himself at risk in order to protect other humans from Parasites. But Migi gradually evolves over the course of the series, he becomes more human while able to temporarily separate from Shinichi’s body. After the final battle with Gotou, having been absorbed by the Parasite prior to his defeat, Migi’s composition is greatly altered to the point that enters a deep sleep though he briefly woke up to save Satomi without Shinichi’s realization.
Iwaaki explained that while Migi appears to be Shinichi’s weapon, in fact Migi is in control of the battle and orders around Shinichi. Iwaaki explained that Migi is easily able to order Shinichi since Shinichi is young and “needs guidance”, while Migi would find difficulty if he became a part of a politician or a president of a company since in that scenario Migi and his host would argue a lot.
An 18-year-old from Saitama Prefecture named “Midari” asked in the letters to the editor that if Migi took Shinichi’s left hand, if he would have been named “Hidari”. Iwaaki answered that it would be Hidari, but Iwaaki felt that the name would be similar to those of Bokuzen Hidari or Tenpei Hidari and the name would “bring to mind a doddering old man, so that wouldn’t have been a good idea”. Iwaaki then said that the first man to climb Mount Everest “had a name an awful lot like that…”
Migi is voiced by Sadao Abe in the film.
Satomi Murano
Shinichi’s best friend and love interest. She is a thoughtful, tender-hearted young girl who cares deeply for her friends. While Satomi and Shinichi are mutually attracted towards one another, their relationship is strained to the breaking point when Shinichi’s life is thrown in turmoil by the Parasites.
From the moment she is introduced, Satomi is depicted as being romantically attracted towards Shinichi due to his kind and sensitive nature. Consequently, she is utterly grief-stricken as she watches him grow ever more cold and withdrawn over the course of the story. Despite her best efforts to find out the reason behind Shinichi’s behavior , Satomi becomes increasingly estranged from him as he desperately strives to keep her in the dark about Migi and the Parasite threat. As a result, she begins to question whether any trace of the gentle, caring boy she originally fell in love with remains. After losing nearly all hope, Satomi’s faith in Shinichi is restored upon witnessing him cry freely while protectively cradling Reiko’s orphaned baby in his arms. Upon learning that Shinichi is part Parasite at the end of the series, Satomi firmly proclaims this does nothing to diminish his humanity because he still regards all life as precious.
Satomi is played by Ai Hashimoto in the film.

Manga Monday- Hetalia: Axis Powers

Manga Monday- Hetalia: Axis Powers

Hetalia: Axis Powers is a Japanese webcomic, later adapted as a manga and an anime series, by Hidekaz Himaruya. The series’ main presentation is as an often over-the-top allegory of political and historic events as well as more general cultural comparisons. Characters are personifications of countries, regions such as Hong Kong and micronations with little reference to other national personifications. Both positive and negative cultural stereotypes form part of each character’s personality.

The main storyline’s events occur during World War II, but the vast majority of the comics take place during other historical events, modern holidays, or at no specific time whatsoever. The series often uses satire and light-hearted comedy to reinterpret well-known events as well as less common historical and cultural trivia. Historical, political, economic, and military interaction between countries is generally represented in Hetalia as social interactions and misunderstandings between the characters.

Himaruya originally created Hetalia as an online webcomic, and so far six tankōbon have been published by Gentosha Comics, the first on March 28, 2008, the second on December 10, 2008, the third on May 20, 2010, the fourth on June 30, 2011, and the fifth on July 31, 2012. English translations of the first two volumes have been published by Tokyopop in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Both printed volumes published so far have topped The New York Times manga best seller list. As of May 2012 the English-language version of the manga was published by Tokyopop via Right Stuf Inc.

Manga

The original Hetalia: Axis Powers webcomic was adapted into six tankōbon and published by Gentosha Comics under the manga imprint Birz Extra. The first volume was released on March 28, 2008, the second on December 10, 2008, the third on May 20, 2010, the fourth on June 30, 2011, and the fifth on July 31, 2012. There is soon to be a seventh volume of the Hetalia manga books, although this seventh book will be the first volume of Hetalia: World Stars. Every tankōbon except the first were released as a standard edition and a special edition that included an extra small booklet. The first two volumes sold over a million copies by late 2009.

In January 2009 Anime News Network reported that the series would also begin serialization in Gentosha’s seinen manga magazine Comic Birz starting in the April issue, but this was later announced to be a publishing error. The Gentosha press release on which ANN had based their article actually referred to a new series by Himaruya, Chibisan Date. Amazon.com has listed Hetalia: Axis Powers as being licensed by Tokyopop for a North American release, with the first volume released on September 21, 2010. After Tokyopop withdrew from the English language market in 2011, Right Stuf has been publishing the Hetalia manga in English since May 2012. On July 7, 2013, Tokyopop announced via their Facebook page that Tokyopop and Right Stuf are teaming up to being out Hetalia Volumes 4 and 5 in Winter 2013.

Characters

So far, over 60 countries and territories have been depicted. There have also been historical figures depicted, such as (but not limited to) Maria Theresa, Roman emperors, Napoleon Bonaparte, Leonardo Da Vinci and Jeanne d’ Arc. There are also personifications of other figures, like General Winter, the United Nations, Italy’s tanks and every country’s Mr. Newspaper.

The following countries are the 8 main roles in this manga.

Axis Powers

The Axis Powers, the main characters of the Hetalia series. From left to right: Japan, North Italy, Germany

The Axis Powers group of characters consists primarily of Germany, Italy, and Japan (the Axis Powers of World War Two), who are also the protagonists of the series.

Italy Veneziano,

usually shortened to just Italy is the primary protagonist and the title character, portrayed as a bright, energetic, and mostly sweet young man. In the series, he is depicted at various points as the infant grandson of the Roman Empire and is recognized as one of the weakest characters in the series as well as a carefree and cowardly soldier who often surrenders without a fight, usually by waving a white flag. His artistry and love of pasta and pizza are references to stereotypical Italian culture. He uses his adorable ways and cute face to charm girls he meets. He is portrayed as a “loveable loser”. Despite looking weak and helpless, Italy is viewed as being strong as a child, being able to defeat Turkey single-handedly during his golden days. According to Himaruya, Italy is strong, but because of his cowardice he doesn’t show his strength.
Italy Veneziano represents the northern half of the country, while his older brother Romano represents the southern half. Hence, their full character names are Italy Veneziano and Italy Romano respectively.
In the anime series, both Veneziano and Romano are voiced by Daisuke Namikawa in Japanese. In English, Veneziano is voiced by Todd Haberkorn and Romano is voiced by Ian Sinclair. Young Italy, from a common segment on the show called Chibitalia, is voiced by Aki Kanada in Japanese and Brina Palencia in English.

Germany 

is viewed as a hard-working, efficient, bureaucratic, and serious man. In the series, Germany is primus inter pares among the Axis Powers, and takes responsibility for the training of Italy and Japan. He is tall, muscular, with blond hair and blue eyes (possibly a reference to the National-Socialist concept of an Aryan Master Race) and usually wears military fatigues, uniforms, or formal wear. Although he has a tendency to act aggressively to other characters he encounters (in particular Italy and Japan), he can sometimes show a kinder side to his personality. Another aspect of his character is his relative inexperience with relationships, leading him to be very by-the-book as a result of the belief that things will go wrong if he does not follow instructions to the letter. Despite this, as the series progresses, he forms a close friendship with Italy. In the anime series, he is voiced by Hiroki Yasumoto in Japanese and Patrick Seitz in English.

Japan 

is a reclusive and hard-working man. He seems to have a problem with others being in his personal space, for he gets uncomfortable if anyone touches him or gets too close, though he does seem to have gotten used to this to some extent. In the series, he is shown to be inexperienced with the Western world, and prone to culture shock; but he also finds fascination in the ways of other nations since he takes photographs of cultural oddities in other countries’ lands. A young man, his character design features dark brown eyes and black hair, common physical traits among Japanese people; and has the attire of an officer of the Japanese Navy. He often tries to adopt the cultures of other countries he meets such as France, or when other countries meet him such as America. He “senses the mood and refrains from speaking”. Generally quiet, he is often depicted with the attitude of a businesslike old man. In the anime series, he is voiced by Hiroki Takahashi in Japanese and Christopher Bevins in English. Young Japan is voiced by Alexis Tipton in English.

Manga Monday- Fist of the North Star

Manga Monday- Fist of the North Star

Fist of the North Star is a Japanese manga series written by Buronson and illustrated by Tetsuo Hara. Serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1983 to 1988, the 245 chapters were initially collected in 27 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha. Set in a post-apocalyptic world that has been destroyed by a nuclear war, the story centers on a warrior named Kenshiro, the successor of a deadly martial art style known as Hokuto Shinken, which gives him the ability to kill most adversaries from within through the use of the human body’s secret vital points, often resulting in an exceptionally violent and gory death. Kenshiro dedicates his life to fighting against the various ravagers who threaten the lives of the weak and innocent, as well as rival martial artists, including his own “brothers” from the same clan.

The original manga was published in English by Viz Communications as a monthly comic book, and later by Gutsoon! Entertainment as a series of colorized graphic novels, although neither translation was completed.

Plot

Part 1

In the 1990s, civilization was ruined as a result of a worldwide nuclear war and many creatures died out. However, mankind survived and entered an age where the strong ruled over the weak, as the few survivors fought over whatever supply of food and uncontaminated water remained in the wasteland of the world.

Kenshiro, successor to the ancient assassination art of Hokuto Shinken, wanders into a village in search of water when he is caught in a trap and imprisoned by the local defense force. In prison, he befriends a young orphaned girl named Rin who nursed him back to health. When the village is attacked by a biker gang and Rin is taken hostage by their leader, Ken breaks free from his cell and rescues Rin, defeating the gang leader with his deadly martial art technique. Kenshiro leaves the village and continues his journey, now accompanied by a young boy named Bat. He becomes involved against the King organization after witnessing the many atrocities they have committed. As he infiltrates the gang’s stronghold in the city of Southern Cross, he finds out that the leader of King is his old nemesis, the Nanto Seiken master Shin, the man who engraved the seven scars on Kenshiro’s chest and kidnapped his fiancée Yuria. Kenshiro emerges victorious against Shin, only to find out from Shin that Yuria is no longer with him, having taken her own life in despair by jumping off the roof of Shin’s palace.

After Shin’s downfall, Kenshiro settles in an oasis where he is reunited with Rin, who wandered off searching for Kenshiro after leaving her village. Having acquired a reputation as a saviour after defeating other organizations such as the Golan army and Jackal’s gang, Kenshiro is hired by a certain village to serve as their guardian against the Fang Clan, a group of bandits who are terrorizing the locals. With the help of village leader Mamiya, a female warrior who bears a striking resemblance to his lost love Yuria, as well as fellow guardian Rei, the successor to the Nanto Suichōken style, Kenshiro succeeds in vanquishing the Fangs.

However, Kenshiro learns that his three former brothers-in-training in the ways of Hokuto Shinken are still alive and sets off on a journey to find them. He finds out that Jagi, the second youngest, seeks vengeance against him after being disfigured in a past altercation. Jagi is quickly eliminated and Kenshiro goes on to search for the second eldest, a gentle healer named Toki who surrendered the Hokuto Shinken succession after becoming terminally ill due to exposure to nuclear fallout. Kenshiro finds out that Toki is being kept prisoner in the dungeon city of Cassandra, which is controlled by a ruthless warlord known as the Ken-Oh (King of the Fist), who seeks to conquer the post-apocalyptic world by imprisoning everyone who could oppose him. Ken-Oh is in fact the eldest of the four Hokuto brothers, Raoh, who has broken the law of Hokuto Shinken by killing his master after refusing to surrender the succession. After freeing Toki, Kenshiro returns to Mamiya’s village to defend it from Raoh, but the long gruelling battle ends in a stalemate and the two warriors are forced to settle their differences another day. Rei is fatally wounded as a result of a previous battle with Raoh and he spends the last few days of his life tracking down his nemesis Juda, successor of Nanto Kōkakuken, who once tormented Mamiya in the past. After defeating Juda, Rei goes on to die, at peace with himself.

With Raoh still recovering from his wounds, another warlord, the Nanto Hōōken successor Thouzer, proclaims himself as the Holy Emperor, having enslaved children in order to construct a mausoleum for himself and his deceased master. Kenshiro joins a resistance movement led by the Nanto Hakuroken successor Shew, who sacrified his eyesight in the past to rescue a young Kenshiro. When Shew is captured and executed by Thouzer, Kenshiro confronts Thouzer and foils his ambitions. With Thouzer now gone, Raoh recovers from his wounds and goes on to resume his reign of conquest. Toki, who is on the verge of dying, uses his remaining strength to challenge Raoh as part of a childhood promise they made to each other, but is ultimately no match for him. Raoh can’t bring himself to land a killing blow on his own brother, and spare Toki’s life. With Toki no longer in condition to fight, Kenshiro is left as the only one who can defeat Raoh.

The Last General of Nanto appears and decides to side with Kenshiro in order to defeat Raoh, sending out her five guardians, the Goshasei, after Raoh. Kenshiro and Raoh both learn that the General’s true identity is Yuria, who was rescued by the Goshasei after her attempted suicide in Southern Cross and was hidden away. After a series of numerous events and battles, Kenshiro emerges victorious over Raoh and he is finally reunited with Yuria. However, the victory is bittersweet, as Yuria, having affected by radiation sickness, has only a few years left to live. Kenshiro leaves his friends and spends the final few years of Yuria’s life with her.

Manga Monday- Say ‘I love you’

Manga Monday- Say ‘I love you’

Say “I love you”. is a Japanese manga by Kanae Hazuki. In North America, the manga is published by Kodansha Comics USA. The manga is both written and illustrated by Kanae Hazuki and began serialization in Japan in Kodansha’s Dessert magazine. It was later obtained by Kodansha Comics USA for publishing in North America starting in April 2014. The sixth manga volume was released in two versions, a regular edition and a special edition with the latter being bundled with a special CD. The eleventh manga volume was also released in both regular and limited editions with the latter being bundled with an original video animation DVD. Seventeen tankōbon volumes have been released as of October 11, 2016. The manga will end serialization on July 24.

Plot

Quiet and unassuming Mei Tachibana has spent her high school years without making friends or getting a boyfriend because of a childhood incident that left her believing that people will betray each other sooner or later. She encounters a popular boy named Yamato Kurosawa, he becomes interested in her, and it is through their tentative friendship and blossoming relationship that Mei ultimately begins to branch out and befriend others.