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Manga Monday- Midnight Secretary

Manga Monday- Midnight Secretary

Midnight Secretary is a supernatural romance manga series by Ohmi Tomu that was serialized in the manga magazine Petit Comic since 2006, with the 34th and final chapter published in the May 2009 issue. The serial chapters were collected in seven shinshobon volumes by Shogakukan. Viz Media licensed the series and released the first volume on September 3, 2013.

Midnight Secretary follows the relationship between Kaya Satozuka, a private secretary, and her boss, Director Kyouhei Touma of the Touma Company, who is a vampire.

Plot

Considered to be the “perfect secretary” yet constantly criticized for her ultra-conservative dress style by her boss, Director Kyouhei Touma of the Touma Company, Kaya lives a normal life until she finds out that her employer is actually a vampire. Despite uncovering his identity, she dedicates herself to serving the Director to the best of her abilities. The early part of the story focuses on the trials and tribulations of Kaya’s increasingly hectic workload, then shifts to the developing personal relationship between her and the Director.

Characters

Kaya Satozuka
The main character of the story, Kaya starts her position as private secretary to the Director at the beginning of the manga. She dresses in a very sophisticated style when at work, citing her professionalism, yet does so mainly because of her insecurity about her child-like looks. Due to her plainness, she is initially rejected by the Director for the job, yet she proves to be an invaluable worker and succeeds in gaining his acknowledgment. Despite discovering that the Director is a vampire, Kaya remains loyal to him and does everything in her power to protect his health and secret. Over the course of the story, she starts developing feelings for the Director, and becomes torn between her responsibilities and personal life. Her blood is considered to be a special rarity, which is able to quench the Director’s thirst with just a single drop. She eventually develops a sexual relationship with the director and leaves her official position as his secretary to work for a subsidiary company. Later on, she becomes the director’s “midnight secretary”, doing his office work at night in his mansion after she leaves her other job. She falls in love with the director, but is stubborn to the point where she insists it’s only because she’s his secretary that she risks so much for him. Kaya continues to be the perfect secretary, always trying to put business before her feelings, because she thinks that if she lets her “cowardice as a woman” get in the way of their relationship, she’ll only trouble Kyouhei. Later she confesses to the director that if she were not a perfect secretary, then he would want nothing to do with her, and that scares her. After that, everything goes normally, and Kaya, thinking the director wants to break it off with her, decides to “…break the wall between vampires and humans…” and goes to Kyouhei not as a secretary or food, but as a woman. At a time where the climax of whether she was with a baby or not was being distributed among the vampire clan, Kaya was flooded with numerous engagement proposals and wedding interviews – due to Hiraoka claiming she, as a human was a hindrance to the pride-taking clan. Kyouhei eventually proposes to her casually so they can live together, offering her mother to live with them also. The two confront her mother with their engagement, and after some reluctance she accepts it and agrees to come live with them. Shortly after Kaya finds that she is unable to have Kyouhei touch her without breaking out in shivers and after attempting to feed from her, Kyouhei finds that her blood has turned to poison. After speaking with an ally in the vampire clan, they find the reason for this problem is that Kaya is pregnant, with a powerful vampire baby. (To ‘protect’ the mother the baby somehow makes her blood poisonous to vampires to discourage being fed upon and uncomfortable feelings at touching vampires.) After Kaya reaches an ‘understanding’ with the baby, Kyouhei is able to touch her, but has to restrain himself as he’s under ‘probation’. The vampire clan wants to kidnap Kaya as powerful vampires are rare, only another vampire could resist being controlled by the baby, and to have the child become part of the clan ‘properly’. Thanks to some plans and hard work, (most of which he deliberately didn’t tell Kaya what it was for to tease her) Kyouhei is able to get the clan to stop trying to kidnap her for the time being. At the end of the series, Kaya and Kyouhei are married in a small, private ceremony and await the birth of their child.
Kyouhei Touma
The Director of the Touma Company, Kyouhei is known for his capability and strictness in the business world, which is preceded by his reputation with women and his ability to charm them for his own pleasures. Soon after being appointed a new secretary, he is discovered to be a vampire after one of his “meals”. Despite being a vampire, he states that they avoid killing humans and their bite doesn’t turn a human into a vampire. He’s very cold towards his family, seemingly not caring for their welfare or concern. However, he works behind the scenes to protect his family such as during negotiations for a merger with another company he used his resources to uncover evidence of wrongdoing by several individuals which would’ve badly harmed his family’s company. The women whom he sleeps with are his “meals” whenever he needs blood to quench his thirst. Because of seeing them as a mere necessity, he shows no particular interest or love for any woman. However, this attitude becomes shaken with the introduction of Kaya in his life. He eventually becomes attached to her, despite his stated insistence that she is nothing more than food to him. At one point, he refuses to drink any other blood than Kaya’s, and jumps into the midday sun to save her life. He is frustrated with his growing love for Kaya, and is even more frustrated at Kaya’s constant distance, as she is often telling him that she does the things she does because of her position as a secretary and nothing more. He confesses to Kaya through a fit of anger and after she confesses her fear of him leaving her, that even if she were not food nor his secretary that he’d, “continue to torment you. Because I want you!” After he admits to himself he may love her, Kaya comes one night and he openly admits to her that he loves her. After Kyouhei is banished from the clan, (he refused to give up Kaya despite the vampire clan reminding him that she wasn’t worthy enough by their standards) he proposes to Kaya so that they can live together without her mother worrying. Although she finds out he’s a vampire thanks to a dirty trick from the vampire clan, she reluctantly agrees to them seeing each other. Despite the fact that Kaya is now pregnant with a powerful vampire baby, which is preventing him from feeding on her blood, Kyouhei marries her and now waits for his child to be born.

 

Wednesday News- September 9, 2020

Wednesday News- September 9, 2020

Evangelion Theme ‘Cruel Angel’s Thesis’ Tops Anisong General Election- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2020-09-07/evangelion-theme-cruel-angel-thesis-tops-anisong-general-election/.163500

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim Game’s Trailer Previews English Dub- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2020-09-08/13-sentinels-aegis-rim-game-trailer-previews-english-dub/.163801

Breath of the Wild Prequel Game Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Announced- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2020-09-08/breath-of-the-wild-prequel-game-hyrule-warriors-age-of-calamity-announced/.163803

As the Gods Will’s Akeji Fujimura Launches New Manga- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2020-09-08/as-the-gods-will-akeji-fujimura-launches-new-manga/.163780

Anime

  • Diabolik Lovers Complete Collection BD
  • Ghost in the Shell 4K HDR/2K BD
  • One Piece Season 10 Part 2 DVD
  • Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon—Ultra Legends The Last Grand Trial DVD
  • Sakura Quest Complete Collection Essentials BD

Manga

  • Ace of the Diamond GN 28 (Digital Only)
  • Ajin – Demi-Human GN 15 (Digital Only)
  • APOSIMZ Graphic Novel (GN) 5
  • Caste Heaven GN 3
  • Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! GN 6
  • Clover GN (hardcover)
  • Cooking with Wild Game GN 3 (Digital Only)
  • Demon Lord, Retry! GN 3 (Digital Only)
  • The Dungeon of Black Company GN 5
  • Elfen Lied Omnibus GN 4
  • Failed Princesses GN 2
  • Fly Me to the Moon GN 1
  • Gal Gohan GN 4 (Digital Only)
  • Giant Killing GN 22 (Digital Only)
  • The Ideal Sponger Life GN 6
  • I’m Standing on a Million Lives GN 7
  • Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear GN 2
  • Mushoku Tensei – Jobless Reincarnation GN 11
  • Peter Grill and the Philosopher’s Time GN 2 (Digital Only)
  • Pokémon Sun & Moon GN 8
  • RIN-NE GN 35
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero GN 14
  • Sailor Moon Eternal Edition GN 9
  • The Seven Deadly Sins GN 39
  • Splatoon GN 10
  • Therapy Game GN 2
  • Tokyo Revengers GN 17 (Digital Only)
  • We Must Never Fall in Love! GN 1 (Digital Only)
  • Who Says Warriors Can’t be Babes? GN 1
  • Yōkai Watch GN 15

Other

  • Adachi and Shimamura Novel 2
  • Black Summoner Novel 1 (Digital Only)
  • The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter Novel 2 (Digital Only)P
  • Holmes of Kyoto Novel 1 (Digital Only)
  • The Holy Knight’s Dark Road Novel 3 (Digital Only)
  • The Invincible Shovel Novel 3 (Digital Only)
  • Monster Girl Doctor Novel 6
  • Past Life Countess, Present Life Otome Game NPC?! Novel 6 (Digital Only)
  • RPG Maker MV Switch, PS4 game
  • Sarazanmai Novel 1
  • Seirei Gensouki – Spirit Chronicles Novel 11 (Digital Only)
  • Skeleton Knight in Another World Novel 6

 

Manga Monday- Love Me, Love Me Not

Manga Monday- Love Me, Love Me Not

Love Me, Love Me Not is a Japanese shōjo manga written and illustrated by Io Sakisaka and serialized in Bessatsu Margaret starting in June 2015. A live-action film adaptation is scheduled to premiere on August 14, 2020, while an anime film adaptation produced by A-1 Pictures is scheduled to premiere on September 18, 2020. Viz Media licensed the manga in English under their Shojo Beat imprint. The first volume was released in March 2020.

Reception

Volume 3 debuted at #4 on Oricon’s Japanese Comic Ranking and peaked at #2 and sold an estimated 325,010 copies in Japan. Volume 4 debuted at #1 and sold an estimated 168,863 copies in its first week alone. It sold an estimated 293,419 copies in a month and consistently ranked from October to November. Volume 4 debuted with 168,863 copies. Volume 5 debuted at #6, selling 110,175 copies in its first week and peaking at #1 in its second week with 121,903 additional copies sold.

The manga won the 2017 Shogakukan Manga Award in the shojo manga category.

Plot

Yuna Ichihara is in the spring before her first year of high school and is pained to be separated from her best friend Sacchan who is moving away. On her way to the train station, she is stopped by a random girl who asks her for money for her train fare. Although Yuna is somewhat afraid and reluctant, she gives the girl money, who in turns give Yuna her bracelet as a promise she will meet her tomorrow to pay her back. On the same day, Yuna runs twice into a boy who looks like the idolized prince of her childhood. After the girl, named Akari, returns Yuna’s money, they head home together only to find out that they live in the same apartment building. The girls instantly become friends. However, they find that they explore love in completely different ways, and Yuna may be in love with Akari’s brother and Akari in love with Yuna’s childhood friend.

 

Manga Monday- Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

Manga Monday- Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? and with English subtitle Familia Myth, is a Japanese light novel series written by Fujino Ōmori and illustrated by Suzuhito Yasuda. SB Creative has published fifteen volumes since January 2013 under their GA Bunko imprint.

It has received two manga adaptations as well as an anime television adaptation by J.C.Staff, which aired from April 4 to June 27, 2015. An OVA was released on December 7, 2016. A second anime season and an original anime film adaptation were both announced in February 2018. The film, titled Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Arrow of the Orion premiered on February 15, 2019. The second season aired from July 13 to September 28, 2019. A third anime season and an OVA episode were both announced on September 27, 2019. The third season was slated to air in July 2020 but was delayed to October 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, a spin-off light novel series titled Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side: Sword Oratoria began in January 2014, and another spin-off light novel series titled Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Familia Chronicle (illustrated by Nilitsu) began in March 2017. Both spinoffs have also received manga adaptations, and a television anime adaptation of Sword Oratoria aired from April 14 to June 30, 2017.

Manga

The series has been adapted into three manga series. The one based on the novels is illustrated by Kunieda and started serialization in Square Enix’s seinen manga magazine Young Gangan from August 2, 2013. It has been collected in ten tankōbon volumes. Yen Press announced at their New York Comic Con 2014 panel the rights to publish the manga in North America.

The Episode Ryu manga series is a special story focused on character Ryu Lion from the main series.

A four-panel manga series titled Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka 4-koma: Kamisama no Nichijō by Masaya Takamura began serialization in Square Enix’s online manga magazine Gangan Online from August 14, 2014.

Setting

The story takes place in the fictional city of Orario to when gods all came down seeking excitement, limiting their divine powers to perceive and experience the hardships that thrives on the lower world. Offering mortals to fight monsters assorted in an underground labyrinth known as Dungeon. Adventurers visit the dungeon to defeat monsters and take their crystal shards, which are used to craft magic items, among other treasures; however, they can also be exchanged for the world’s currency. The people of Orario join groups called Familia, who serve a range of functions from dungeon crawling to crafting items. Each Familia is named after and serves a resident deity. In a fashion similar to role playing games, the adventurers are grouped into levels, increasing their levels and abilities according to their achievements.

Wednesday News- August 26, 2020

Wednesday News- August 26, 2020

Crunchyroll Announces New Membership Tiers With Offline Viewing, Multiple Concurrent Stream- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2020-08-25/crunchyroll-announces-new-membership-tiers-with-offline-viewing-multiple-concurrent-streams/.163274

Review: My Hero Academia: Make It! Do-or-Die Survival Training- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/review/my-hero-academia/make-it-do-or-die-survival-training/.163021

‘Love Me, Love Me Not’ Anime Film Features Cameos by Live-Action Version’s Cast- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2020-08-26/love-me-love-me-not-anime-film-features-cameos-by-live-action-version-cast/.163306

Finale Episodes Princess Tutuhttps://www.animenewsnetwork.com/review/princess-tutu/episodes-25-26/.163169

Anime

  • Caligula BD
  • Combattler V BD
  • Crusher Joe OVA Series BD
  • Domestic Girlfriend Premium Box Set BD
  • Fuuka Essentials BD
  • Gundam Reconguista in G Movie Part 2 Perfect Pack BD (import)
  • Human Lost BD
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service Steelbook BD/DVD
  • Lupin III: Dragon of Doom BD
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Steelbook BD/DVD
  • The Pet Girl of Sakurasou BD
  • VS Knight Lamune & 40 Fire BD

Manga

  • Abe-kun’s Got Me Now! GN 3 (Digital Only)
  • Accomplishments of the Duke’s Daughter Graphic Novel (GN) 6
  • Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor GN 9
  • Arifureta – From Commonplace to World’s Strongest: Zero GN 3
  • ASHIDAKA -The Iron Hero- GN 1 (Digital Only)
  • Astro Boy GN 15-16 (Digital Only)
  • Attack on Titan GN 31
  • Bakemonogatari GN 4
  • Beast Children GN 1-3 (Digital Only)
  • A Centaur’s Life GN 18
  • A Certain Magical Index GN 22
  • Chi’s Sweet Home Complete Box Set GN
  • D-Frag! GN 14 (Digital Only)
  • Destiny Lovers GN 3
  • Double Taisei GN 1-3 (Digital Only)
  • Drifting Dragons GN 5
  • Fiancée of the Wizard GN 1
  • Fire Force GN 19
  • A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation GN 1
  • The Girl With the Sanpaku Eyes GN 1
  • Guilty GN 6 (Digital Only)
  • Hayate the Combat Butler GN 13-14 (Digital Only)
  • High School Prodigies Have It Easy Even In Another World GN 8
  • Hotaru’s Way GN 15 (Digital Only)
  • I Fell in Love After School GN 7 (Digital Only)
  • Im: Great Priest Imhotep GN 4
  • Inside Mari GN 7
  • In/Spectre GN 12
  • Interspecies Reviewers GN 4
  • Kounodori: Dr. Stork GN 16 (Digital Only)
  • Laid-Back Camp GN 9
  • Love Massage: Melting Beauty Treatment GN 6 (Digital Only)
  • Lychee Light Club GN 13 (Digital Only)
  • Magika Swordsman and Summoner GN 13
  • The Misfit of Demon King Academy GN 2
  • My Dress-Up Darling GN 2 (Digital Only)
  • My Room Is a Dungeon Rest Stop GN 3
  • Non Non Biyori GN 13
  • Re:Monster GN 5
  • Rent-A-Girlfriend GN 2
  • RIN-NE GN 11-12 (Digital Only)
  • Sazan & Comet Girl GN (Digital Only)
  • School-Live! GN 12
  • Smokin’ Parade GN 8
  • Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town GN 2
  • Sweet Reincarnation GN 3 (Digital Only)
  • Utsubora: The Story of a Novelist Novel 1 (Digital Only)
  • Waiting for Spring GN 13 (Digital Only)
  • Wave, Listen to Me! GN 3
  • When We Shout for Love GN 3 (Digital Only)
  • The World’s Strongest Rearguard – Labyrinth Country’s Novice Seeker GN 2

Other

  • Adachi and Shimamura Novel 3 (Digital Only)
  • Arifureta – From Commonplace to World’s Strongest Novel 9
  • Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions PS4, Switch, PC game
  • Death end re;Quest 2 PS4 game
  • Demon Lord, Retry! Novel 4 (Digital Only)
  • The Garden of Words Novel (hardcover)
  • Giraffe and Annika PS4, Switch game
  • Goblin Slayer Novel 10
  • Jump Force Deluxe Edition Switch game
  • Kandagawa Jet Girls PS4, PC game
  • Katanagatari Novel 4 (hardcover)A
  • Monster Girl Doctor Novel 6 (Digital Only)
  • Monster Tamer Novel 1 (Digital Only)
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: ANIMA Novel 3
  • The Saint’s Magic Power Is Omnipotent Novel 1 (Digital Only)
  • Udon’s Art of Capcom 2 Artbook (hardcover)

 

Manga Monday- Golden Kamuy

Manga Monday- Golden Kamuy

Golden Kamuy is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Satoru Noda. The story follows Saichi Sugimoto, a veteran of the early twentieth century Russo-Japanese War, and his quest to find a huge fortune of gold left by the Ainu people, helped by a young Ainu girl named Asirpa. The Ainu language in the story is supervised by Hiroshi Nakagawa, an Ainu language linguist from Chiba University. The manga won the ninth Manga Taishō award in 2016.

An anime television series adaptation by Geno Studio premiered with two seasons from April to December 2018. A third season will premiere in October 2020.

The series has been licensed for an English-language release by Viz Media in 2016.

Manga

Golden Kamuy is written and illustrated by Satoru Noda. It began serialization in Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump magazine on August 21, 2014. The series has been collected into 22 tankōbon volumes as of June 2020. Viz Media announced that they licensed the manga at New York Comic Con 2016, and they have been releasing volumes in North America since June 2017.

Reception

Golden Kamuy had 5 million copies in print as of April 2018. It charted on the Oricon Japanese Comics Rankings for the week of April 18–24, 2016, with volume seven placing eighth place. By June 19, 2019, the date that manga Volume 18 was released, the total number of copies printed had reached 10 million.

The series won the ninth Manga Taishō award in 2016. It was nominated for the 20th and 21st annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2016 and 2017, and won the 22nd in 2018 in the Grand Prize category. It was also nominated for the 40th Kodansha Manga Award in the general category, and for an Eisner Award for best US edition of an Asian comic. It was ranked second in the 2016 edition of the Kono Manga ga Sugoi! list for male readers.

The British Museum in London used an image of the character Asirpa to promote its Manga exhibit, which ran from May 23 to August 26, 2019.

Plot

Saichi Sugimoto, a veteran of the Battle of 203 Hill in the Russo-Japanese War, works as a miner in Hokkaido in order to provide for the widow of his dead comrade. He hears a dubious story about a hidden trove of Ainu gold, the location of which is hidden in the tattoos of a group of convicts who escaped from Abashiri Prison. When he discovers that the story is true, and that multiple other groups are in pursuit of the gold, he decides to search for it along with Asirpa, a young Ainu girl.

 

Thursday News- August 20, 2020

Thursday News- August 20, 2020

Heaven’s Design Team Anime’s Teaser Unveils More Cast- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2020-08-19/heaven-design-team-anime-teaser-unveils-more-cast/.163074

Touhou Sky Arena: Matsuri Climax Game Gets PC Release- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2020-08-19/touhou-sky-arena-matsuri-climax-game-gets-pc-release/.163058

Shirobako Anime Film Returns to Theaters With Remastered Footage on August 28- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2020-08-19/shirobako-anime-film-returns-to-theaters-with-remastered-footage-on-august-28/.163075

Review: Final Fantasy XV: The Dawn of the Future- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/review/final-fantasy-xv/the-dawn-of-the-future/.162739

Anime

  • Beyond the Boundary Collector’s Edition BDPl
  • Ensemble Stars! Part 1 BD
  • Fragtime BD
  • Island Essentials BD
  • Pokémon – Diamond and Pearl: Galactic Battles Complete Collection DVD

Manga

  • The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Jack Flash and the Faerie Case Files Graphic Novel (GN) 1P
  • Angels of Death GN 10
  • Aoharu x Machine Gun GN 18
  • As Miss Beelzebub Likes GN 10
  • Bibi & Miyu GN 1
  • Black Butler GN 29
  • Bloom Into You GN 8
  • Blue Flag GN 3 (Digital Only)
  • Cardcaptor Sakura Collector’s Edition GN 5 (hardcover)
  • Cells NOT at Work! GN 3 (Digital Only)
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair GN 2
  • The Death of Replicist GN 2
  • Dolly Kill Kill GN 5 (Digital Only)
  • Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro GN 3
  • Fairy Tail: Happy’s Heroic Adventure GN 5 (Digital Only)
  • Flower Demon Door of the Sakaimeya GN 4P
  • The Fox and Little Tanuki GN 2
  • GE – Good Ending GN 8 (Digital Only)
  • Gleipnir GN 7
  • Golden Kamuy GN 17
  • Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends GN 18P
  • How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord GN 8
  • How to Train Your Devil GN 3
  • I Don’t Know How to Give Birth! GN
  • Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side: Sword Oratoria GN 12
  • The Island of Giant Insects GN 5 (Digital Only)
  • Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler GN 12
  • Kakushigoto: My Dad’s Secret Ambition GN 6 (Digital Only)
  • Living-Room Matsunaga-san GN 8 (Digital Only)
  • Loner Life in Another World GN 1
  • Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story GN 2
  • Mikami-sensei’s Way of Love GN 8 (Digital Only)
  • Moonlight Moratorium GN 3 (Digital Only)P
  • O Maidens in Your Savage Season GN 7
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers GN 17
  • Orient GN 5 (Digital Only)P
  • Overlord: The Undead King Oh! GN 4
  • Parallel Paradise GN 2
  • Phantom Tales of the Night GN 5
  • Plus-Sized Elf GN 5 (Digital Only)
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica Complete Omnibus Edition GN
  • Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai GN
  • Redefining the META at VRMMO Academy GN 3 (Digital Only)
  • Reincarnated as a Sword GN 3
  • The Rose of Versailles GN 3 (hardcover)
  • Saiyuki The Original Series Resurrected Edition GN 2 (hardcover)
  • Saki the Succubus Hungers Tonight GN 3
  • Shōjo Fight! GN 12 (Digital Only)
  • So I’m a Spider, So What? GN 8
  • Space Brothers GN 37 (Digital Only)
  • Spirits & Cat Ears GN 9
  • Sweat and Soap GN 3
  • Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization GN 6
  • Teasing Master Takagi-san GN 9
  • That Blue Summer GN 8 (Digital Only)
  • Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun GN 13 (Digital Only)
  • To LOVEru DARKNESS GN 16
  • Toradora! GN 9
  • Urusei Yatsura GN 7
  • Venus In The Blind Spot GN (hardcover)
  • Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs GN 10 (Digital Only)P
  • Zo Zo Zombie GN 8

Other

  • 86 Novel 5
  • Aokana: Four Rhythms Across the Blue PS4, Switch game
  • Bleach: Brave Souls PC game
  • Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki Novel 4
  • The Demon Sword Master of Excalibur Academy Novel 1
  • Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! Novel 10 (Digital Only)P
  • The Dirty Way to Destroy the Goddess’s Heroes Novel 4
  • Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? Novel 6
  • Final Fantasy I*II*III Novel
  • How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Novel 12 (Digital Only)
  • Rascal Does Not Dream of Petite Devil Kohai Novel 2
  • Skeleton Knight in Another World Novel 5
  • Slayers Novel 1 (Digital Only)
  • Sword Art Online Novel 20

Manga Monday- Chihayafuru

Manga Monday- Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yuki Suetsugu. It has been serialized in Kodansha’s Be Love magazine since December 2007. It is about a school girl, Chihaya Ayase, who is inspired by a new classmate to take up Hyakunin Isshu karuta competitively. A 25-episode anime television series adaptation aired from October 2011 to March 2012. A 25-episode second season aired from January to June 2013. A 24-episode third season premiered in October 2019. Three live action film adaptations were released from 2016 to 2018.

The manga has won the Manga Taishō and the Kodansha Manga Award. Since its fourth volume was released in March 2009, it has regularly appeared on the Japanese Comic Ranking chart, and in 2016 was estimated to have over 16 million copies in print. Its popularity has boosted the profile of competitive karuta in Japan.

Manga

The manga has been serialized in Be Love since 2007, and has been collected by Kodansha into 44 tankōbon volumes as of May 2020. According to the author, the manga was close to ending in late 2019. Kodansha has also published the first three volumes in a two-volume bilingual edition, with English translations by Stuart Varnam Atkin and Yōko Toyozaki. On 14 February 2017, Kodansha Comics began publishing a digital edition of the series in English; 20 volumes have been released as of June 2020. The manga is licensed in French by Pika Édition, in Korean by Haksan Culture Company, in Taiwanese by Tong Li Publishing, and in Thai by Bongkoch Publishing.

Reception

Chihayafuru won the second Manga Taishō award, and the 35th Kodansha Manga Award in the shōjo manga category. When Chihayafuru won the Manga Taishō award, it was commented that the series combines elements of the sport genre and literary elements with a discerning eye on the subject matter. The manga had sold over 16 million copies in Japan as the first half of 2016, and its popularity has boosted the popularity of competitive karuta. The manga has regularly appeared on Oricon’s Japanese Comic Ranking chart. Between March 2009 and September 2011, the fourth through fourteenth volumes all appeared in the top 25 during the week of their release and the week after.

Among North American reviewers, Gia Manry, writing about the first episode of Chihayafuru, felt that despite the animators’ efforts, karuta seemed boring, and criticised the overuse of CG sakura, describing it as a “mixed bag” of an anime. Bamboo Dong says that Chihaya’s passion and characterisation make karuta interesting. Carlo Santos felt that the series was the “first genuinely good show of the season”, citing its characterisation, unusual subject, and polish of the first episode. Marcus Speer enjoyed the production values of the first episode, but felt that the theme songs were “standard fare”. He was intrigued by how the characters’ childhood impacted on their present interactions. Theron Martin appreciated the focus on the characters rather than the game, feeling that while the teenage Chihaya seemed “gimmicky”, her younger self was “quite likable”. Chris Beveridge praised the tension shown between Arata and Taichi in the second episode’s karuta match. Theron Martin felt the second episode’s karuta tournament was tense and compelling, and that despite the plot unfolding in a predictable fashion, the execution made this forgivable.

Crunchyroll’s editorial team chose Chihayafuru as one of the best anime of the 2010s decade and writer Humberto Saabedra commented, “You might expect such a series to be dry and uninteresting, but Chihaya’s journey from bright-eyed freshman player to wiser and well-practiced is why the series shines”. Writing for Forbes, Lauren Orsini considered it to be one of the five best anime of 2011; she wrote, “Even Western viewers will quickly become invested in the fast-paced drama of competitive karuta“.

Development

An Edo period karuta card with the Kami no Ku, or “upper phrase” from the Chihayaburu Tanka and the attribution to “Ariwara no Narihira Ason” written on it. The name of the series comes from this Heian Era poem.

Yuki Suetsugu belonged to a karuta club in high school and feels that the school years are a period of a person’s life where “you can dedicate the most genuine part of yourself to something.” The name of the series is a poetic Makurakotoba, or pillow word, and comes from the first five syllables of the seventeenth poem in the Hyakunin Isshu poetry anthology, a collection of 100 poems which are printed on the karuta cards. In this poem chihayaburu is used as an epithet to kami and can be translated into English as “shaken in fury” and “swift in fury”, according to Edwin A. Cranston, or “awesome”, as offered by Joshua S. Mostow.

Plot

Chihaya Ayase is a girl who has spent most of her life simply supporting her sister in her model career. That changes when she meets a boy named Arata Wataya, a talented karuta player. After becoming friends, he believes that Chihaya has potential to become a great player. As Chihaya takes on a new dream of becoming Japan’s best karuta player, she is soon separated from her karuta playing friends as they grow up. Now in high school, Chihaya is reunited with her childhood friend, Taichi Mashima. Together, they form the Mizusawa Karuta Club. With her teammates and friends supporting her, Chihaya strives to become the best karuta player in the world and to one day be with Arata again.

 

Manga Monday- Peacemaker Kurogane

Manga Monday- Peacemaker Kurogane

Peacemaker Kurogane is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated created by Nanae Chrono. It is unrelated to the Peace Maker manga by Ryōji Minagawa. The story begins in 19th century Japan before the Meiji Restoration, a chain of events that led to enormous changes in Japan’s political and social structure while the seeds of the revolution are being planted. The story follows the boy protagonist, Tetsunosuke Ichimura, who joins the Shinsengumi while seeking strength to avenge his parents’ death at the hands of a Chōshū rebel.

The prequel of Peacemaker Kurogane, Shinsengumi Imon Peace Maker  was published by Enix in the magazine Monthly Shōnen Gangan. Shinsengumi Imon Peace Maker was licensed in North America by Tokyopop.

Manga

Peace Maker

Peace Maker (Shinsengumi Imon Peace Maker (新撰組異聞PEACE MAKER, Shinsengumi Imon Pīsu Meikā)) was published from April 12, 1999 to August 11, 2001 in Japan by Enix magazine Monthly Shōnen Gangan and was compiled in six volumes by Enix.

The sequel to Peace Maker transferred to Mag Garden’s Monthly Comic Blade. Mag Garden republished Peace Maker in five tankōbon volumes on September 10, 2005.

Mag Gardened edition was licensed and published in North America and Germany by Tokyopop. Tokyopop released Peace Maker’s five tankōbon volumes between August 14, 2007 and November 4, 2008. Later, Tokyopop re-released the manga through Madman Entertainment. The first volume was released on November 10, 2008. The second was released on February 10, 2009. Tokyopop Germany released the manga’s 5 tankōbon volumes between December 2005 and June 28, 2006. The manga was also licensed and published in Italy by Star Comics and in France by Kami. Kami released the manga’s 5 tankōbon volumes between September 20, 2006 and July 11, 2007.

Peacemaker Kurogane

Peacemaker Kurogane itself was started as a new series in Mag Garden’s Monthly Comic Blade in 2001 and transferred to Monthly Comic Garden in 2014. Mag Garden released the manga’s first five tankōbon volumes between October 10, 2002 and March 10, 2005.

Peacemaker Kurogane was licensed by ADV Manga, which released three volumes between October 4, 2004 and March 22, 2005 before putting it on hold indefinitely. After the license lapsed, Tokyopop acquired it and released the manga’s first volume on March 10, 2009. It released four volumes in total. The manga was licensed and published in France by Kami, and in Germany by Tokyopop. Tokyopop Germany released the manga’s first five tankōbon volumes between June 1, 2005 and October 1, 2005.

Reception

Mania.com’s Megan Levey commends the tension and emotion of the second volume of Peacemaker Kurogane that “seems to just ring from the pages”. Mania.com’s Megan Levey commends the third volume of the manga for its “very close facial expressions” in its artwork but criticises the manga’s color pages for coming “across as extremely flat and somewhat washed out”.

Peacemaker was ranked 9th as the “Favourite Anime Series” in the 26th annual Animage readers’ poll. THEM anime reviews comments that the “drama of the series is paramount” but its comedy is lame. Animefringe.com criticises the protagonist of the series, labelling him as “an annoying brat that cries and moans when he doesn’t get what he wants”. Mania.com’s Chris Beveridge commends the anime for its slowly revealed “supernatural elements” as well as the simplicity and comical nature of Saizō the pig. John Sinnott at DVD Talk praises the first DVD of Peacemaker for its original language version over the English dub because Ayumu’s English voice actress uses “one of those fake southern accents that are really horrible”. DVDtalk’s John Sinnott criticises the fifth DVD of the anime for “the lack of focus this series has”. Brian Hanson at Anime Jump criticises the anime for aping Rurouni Kenshin as well as not displaying the qualities of other Weekly Shōnen Jump anime when it becomes “surprisingly violent”. DVD Verdict’s Judge Jeff Anderson commends the anime for its “CGI that blends well with the animation” and English dub that has a much more dynamic sound than the original Japanese track. Science Fiction Weekly’s Tasha Robinson commends the anime for its “highly textured, detailed and beautifully rendered semi-historical drama, very much in the spirit of Rurouni Kenshin” whenever Tetsu “drops to the background” or “shuts up for a few scenes”.

Plot

The story is focused on the main character, Tetsunosuke Ichimura, who is an energetic, short and very childlike fifteen-year-old (16 in the manga). He and his older brother Tatsunosuke are left to fend for themselves after the vicious murder of their parents. While Tetsunosuke wants to get revenge, his pacifist brother is not so inclined. “Tatsu” joins a special police force dubbed the Shinsengumi, as an accountant to earn a living, his brother “Tetsu” wishes to join as a soldier to seek his revenge. The story chronicles Tetsu’s trials and tribulations as a struggling page craving redemption. He develops relationships with all the legendary members of the Shinsengumi army helping them with their various struggles as he constantly battles his own against himself. At the story’s climax, Tetsu discovers himself and the overwhelming responsibility the power he is searching for holds.

Manga Monday- Gurren Lagann

Manga Monday- Gurren Lagann

Gurren Lagann, known in Japan as Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, is a Japanese mecha anime television series animated by Gainax and co-produced by Aniplex and Konami. It ran for 27 episodes on Japan’s TV Tokyo between April 1, 2007, and September 30, 2007. It was directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi, written by veteran playwright Kazuki Nakashima, both of whom would later collaborate on two more projects, Kill la Kill in 2013 and Promare in 2019, and had been in development since the participation of the famed animator in the Abenobashi mecha-themed episodes by the same studio. Gurren Lagann takes place in a fictional future where Earth is ruled by the Spiral King, Lordgenome, who forces mankind to live in isolated subterranean villages. The plot focuses on two teenagers, Simon and Kamina, who live in a subterranean village and wish to go to the surface. Using a mecha known as Lagann, Simon and Kamina reach the surface and start fighting alongside other humans against Lordgenome’s forces, before fighting the forces of their true enemy.

In North America, although initially announced to be licensed by ADV Films in 2007, the license was transferred to Bandai Entertainment in 2008 and then transferred to Aniplex of America in 2013. In the United Kingdom, it was licensed by Manga Entertainment in 2007, then transferred to Beez Entertainment in 2008, and then transferred to Anime Limited in 2013. The Sci Fi Channel acquired the broadcasting rights of Gurren Lagann and began airing the anime on July 28, 2008, as part of Sci Fi’s Ani-Monday anime block. The anime won several awards at the Tokyo International Anime Fair and the Animation Kobe and Japan Media Arts Festivals.

A manga adaptation was published by ASCII Media Works between 2007 and 2013. Bandai Entertainment licensed the manga and released it in English in North America. A series of four light novels was published by Shogakukan between 2007 and 2008. A Nintendo DS video game was released in October 2007, bundled with a special episode of the anime series. Two animated film versions were produced; the first premiered in Japanese theaters on September 6, 2008, and the second premiered on April 25, 2009.

Manga

The Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann manga, illustrated by Kotaro Mori, started serialization in the June 2007 issue of MediaWorks’ magazine Dengeki Comic Gao!. The manga ended serialization in Dengeki Comic Gao! with the April 2008 issue when the magazine was discontinued, but continued serialization in ASCII Media Works’ manga magazine Dengeki Daioh with the June 2008 issue and continued until the July 2013 issue. Ten tankōbon volumes were published between September 27, 2007 and June 27, 2013 in Japan under ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki Comics imprint. Bandai Entertainment licensed the manga and released an English translation of the first six volumes in North America. The manga follows the same basic story as the anime, although there are some changes to the order of events, and the addition of character backstories that had been cut from the anime, such as the relationship between Dayakka and Kiyoh.

A spin-off manga entitled Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Gurren Gakuen-hen was serialized in Comp Ace between August 26, 2008 and January 26, 2009; a single tankōbon volume was released on March 26, 2009. The manga takes the characters from the original story and puts them in a school in a parallel world. In the manga, Simon attends Dai-Gurren Academy with his friend Kamina, and childhood friend Yoko. Simon, who lives in a run down apartment building, wishes for a normal life, and meets the mysterious Nia one day when she trips down the stairs. She immediately takes a liking to Simon and declares him her husband. Kamina finds another “aniki” in Nia, who shares his hot-blooded style. She enrolls in Dai-Gurren Academy, and all three must deal with the threat of students from Teppelin Academy, who wish to bring Nia back to her father, the principal.

Another spin-off manga titled Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann 4-koma Kingdom: Yoko no Oheso-hen was published by Futabasha in 2008 as a compilation of various short stories.

Plot

Story

Gurren Lagann takes place in a future where Earth is ruled by the Spiral King, Lordgenome, who forces mankind to live in isolated subterranean villages. These villages have no contact with the surface world or other villages and are under constant threat of earthquakes. Selected villagers called diggers are conscripted to expand their homes deeper underground. Simon, a meek young digger ostracized by his peers in Giha village, finds solace in his best friend, an older brother figure who is an eccentric delinquent named Kamina. Kamina encourages Simon to join his gang, Team Gurren, to help him achieve his dream of visiting the surface world. One day, Simon unearths a drill-shaped key called a Core Drill, followed by a small mecha resembling a face called a Gunmen. Shortly thereafter, a huge Gunmen crashes through the ceiling and begins attacking the village, followed by a girl named Yoko, who attempts to repel the Gunmen. Simon uses his Core Drill to activate the smaller Gunmen (which Kamina names Lagann) and its drilling-based abilities. He successfully uses it to destroy the larger Gunmen and break through the ceiling to bring him and Kamina to the surface world.

Simon and Kamina learn from Yoko that humans on the surface are attacked each day by Gunmen who are piloted by beastmen which are humanoid creatures who serve as Lordgenome’s army. Kamina hijacks a Gunmen and names it Gurren, combining it with Lagann to form the mecha Gurren Lagann. Their actions inspire other humans to steal their own Gunmen and join Team Gurren, which makes Kamina rename it Team Dai-Gurren. Eventually Team Dai-Gurren captures an enemy Gunmen fortress to use as their base of operations, though Kamina is killed in the preceding battle by one of Lordgenome’s four generals. Rossiu, a boy from another village, takes over the job of piloting Gurren, but Kamina’s death causes Simon to sink into depression until he meets Nia, who is revealed to be Lordgenome’s daughter. Team Dai-Gurren is initially distrustful of her but they allow her to join them when it becomes apparent that she was abandoned by her father, like many who came before her. Nia helps Simon come to terms with Kamina’s death, and the rest of Team Dai-Gurren prompt him to take up the role as the team’s leader, leading them and other teams of humans, who had captured other Gunmen and Gunmen fortresses, to Lordgenome’s palace. As the palace itself turns out to be a gigantic Gunmen called the Teppelin and launches armies of other Gunmen, the human forces engage them while Simon, Nia, and Rossiu pilot Gurren Lagann against Lordgenome himself, who fights them in a similar Gunmen called Lazengann. When both Lazengann and Gurren are damaged, Lordgenome fights Simon in Lagann with his bare hands, and emerges victorious, until Simon uses his Core Drill to defeat him once and for all.

Over the next seven years, mankind prospers on the surface world with Simon and the other members of Team Dai-Gurren serving as the world’s government in their new capital of Kamina City. As soon as the human population reaches one million people, an alien race called the Anti-Spirals emerges and uses Nia to announce their intentions: they have sent the Moon onto a collision course with the Earth as part of their effort to wipe out all of the life on the planet, to prevent them from evolving to such an extent that they will risk destroying the universe in a cataclysmic event called the Spiral Nemesis. With guidance from Lordgenome resurrected as a bio-computer, who was once part of an intergalactic army of warriors who fought against the Anti-Spirals and had hidden mankind underground to protect them from the Anti-Spirals, and with help from Viral, an old enemy of Simon who pilots Gurren, Simon, Gurren Lagann and Team Dai-Gurren prevent the Moon’s collision, revealing it to be Lordgenome’s flagship that was reprogrammed by the Anti-Spirals. Using it, they retrieve the real Moon from the pocket dimension the Anti-Spirals had hidden it in, and go to the Anti-Spiral homeworld. After a journey with significant loss, they rescue Nia, and in a one-on-one Gunmen battle that virtually spans the universe, Simon in Lagann finally destroys the Anti-Spirals. This, however, causes Nia to fade away into nothing, as her own existence is tied to that of the Anti-Spirals. Simon, finding his life in battle to finally be over, hands his Core Drill over to Gimmy and leaves his friends to spend the rest of his life wandering the planet as a nameless vagrant, saying his destiny was merely to “dig the tunnel to the future”, not to travel down it himself.

In the epilogue, twenty years have passed since the team’s victory over the Anti-Spirals. With many of Team Dai-Gurren retired, it is up to the new generations of pilots to prevent the Spiral Nemesis and ensure the safety of the universe. Other races across the galaxy, freed from the Anti-Spirals, contact Earth. President Rossiu of Kamina City joins forces with them and during the twenty years, has created the Galactic Spiral Peace Conference. Yoko, now as Miss Yomako, becomes the principal of the small school she was at during her seven years absence from the team. One of her students, Nakim, becomes a representative of the galaxy in the Grapearl Squadron. Gimmy and Darry use Simon’s Core Drill to become the new pilots of Gurren Lagann. Viral becomes the captain of the Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren and an emissary for Earth. Nia’s memorial and her engagement ring are shown to have been placed next to Kamina’s grave. Simon, still living as Simon the Digger, watches over them as a squadron of multiple Gurren Laganns flies overhead through the night sky on their way to join their Spiral brethren in the stars.