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Manga Monday- Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

Manga Monday- Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is a Japanese fantasy adventure manga series written and illustrated by Shinobu Ohtaka. It was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from June 2009 to October 2017, with the individual chapters collected and published into 37 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan.

An anime television adaptation by A-1 Pictures aired in Japan from October 2012 to March 2013 and a second season titled Magi: The Kingdom of Magic aired from October 2013 to March 2014.

In North America, the manga has been licensed for an English-language release by Viz Media and the anime series by Aniplex of America. It has also been licensed by Kazé in United Kingdom and by Madman Entertainment in Australia.

A spin-off series titled Magi: Adventure of Sinbad, written by Ohtaka and illustrated by Yoshifumi Ohtera, began serialization in Weekly Shōnen Sunday in May 2013, before being moved to Shogakukan’s website Ura Sunday, where it was published from September 2013 to April 2018.

In 2014, the Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic received the 59th Shogakukan Manga Award for the shōnen category. As of April 2016, the manga had over 23 million copies in print.

Manga

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is written and illustrated by Shinobu Ohtaka. It began serialization in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday magazine on June 3, 2009. In October 2015, the manga entered its final arc. In August 2016, Ohtaka announced that the manga was halfway through its final arc. The series finished on October 11, 2017. The first tankōbon volume was released on December 18, 2009; Thirty-seven volumes have been published as of November 17, 2017.

In North America, Viz Media announced in February 2013 the English-language release of the manga, with the first volume being released on August 13. As of August 13, 2019, Viz Media has published the thirty-seven individual tankōbon volumes.

An spin-off series titled Magi: Adventure of Sinbad, written by Ohtaka and illustrated by Yoshifumi Ohtera was released as an additional material with the first volume of the anime series. It was later expanded into a regular series, which began serializing in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from May 18 to June 26, 2013, and later moved to Shogakukan’s webcomic site Ura Sunday, from September 18, 2013 to April 25, 2018.

Reception

Four months after the series’ anime adaptation announcement in June 2012, the print circulation of the manga went from 3 million copies of the first 12 volumes to over 6.5 million copies of the first 14 volumes in October of the same year. As of October 2013, the manga had over 13 million copies in circulation. The numbers increased to over 18 million copies in print as of May 2015, and over 23 million copies in print as of April 2016. In Japan, Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic was the 9th top selling manga series for 2012; 4th in 2013; 8th in 2014; 20th in 2015 and 2016; and 10th in 2017, its final serialization year. The series won the award for best shōnen manga at the 59th Shogakukan Manga Awards in 2014.

In his review of the first volume of the manga, L.B Bryant noted “not only is it a shonen title but it’s a GOOD shonen title” and recommended it be picked up. Rebecca Silverman of Anime News Network ranked the first volume as a B. Silverman criticized how the fanservice was handled and pointed out that the story felt more like a role-playing game than a manga, and that it seemed as if Ohtaka was not sure about the story’s direction. She compared Aladdin to One Pieces protagonist Monkey D. Luffy and commented that Ohtaka’s art improved since her last series Sumomomo Momomo. Silverman concluded, “overall those looking for a good old shounen adventure story about a couple of plucky kids (with bonus burly djinn!) pursuing their dreams should give this a shot. It isn’t perfect, but it is a good time.” Leroy Douresseaux of Comic Book Bin also ranked the first volume as a B, and compared Ohtaka’s art style to Yuuki Iinuma’s Itsuwaribito. She described Magi as a “straight-forward, fun to read adventure, part Prince of Persia and part Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

IGN listed Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic among the best anime series of the 2010s, and wrote that it is “a fun watch and has a surprising amount of action for those that are fans of shonen.

Synopsis

Setting

The series is largely based on numerous stories from 1001 Arabian Nights, most notably the tales of Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Sinbad the Sailor.

The story is set in an alternate recreation of the ancient Old World with several regions and nations having some resemblances with real-life counterparts from that time. In this world, all living beings possess an essence known as Rukh and when they die, this essence returns to the huge flow (also known as “guidance”) of Rukh that gives life to all subsequent beings in an eternal cycle of rebirth called “Fate”. Once a person is overcome with sadness, anger, and hopelessness, their Rukh becomes corrupted, unstable, and black, and deviates from the main guidance in a process known as “Fall into Depravity”.

There are also several magic castles full of treasures and traps known as “Dungeons” and each of them is the lair of a powerful magic being, a Djinn. Individuals that manage to overcome the trials of a Dungeon and earn the allegiance of its Djinn are known as Dungeon Capturers, gaining the ability to use its powers infused in a personal item of theirs known as a “Metal Vessel” and create less potent “Household Vessels” for their companions as well.

People can use the Rukh in their bodies to create an energy known as Magoi to power their magical weapons and abilities. This energy must be used with care, as despite the fact that an individual’s magoi can be restored with feeding and rest, once fully exhausted it causes their death. Among those that can perform magic with their own Magoi there is a rare class of magicians known as Magi, that can also use Magoi from the Rukh around them, greatly increasing their capabilities. A Magi usually chooses Dungeon Capturers to offer guidance and protection making them into their King Vessels. There are several nations in history that were founded or improved by the rule of such individuals.

 

Manga Monday- Spice and Wolf

Manga Monday- Spice and Wolf

Spice and Wolf  is a Japanese light novel series written by Isuna Hasekura, with illustrations by Jū Ayakura. ASCII Media Works has published 21 novels since February 2006 under their Dengeki Bunko imprint. ASCII Media Works reported that as of October 2008, over 2.2 million copies of the first nine novels have been sold in Japan. The series has been called a “unique fantasy” by Mainichi Shimbun due to the plot focusing on economics, trade, and peddling rather than the typical staples of fantasy such as swords and magic. Yen Press licensed the light novels and is releasing them in English in North America. ASCII Media Works has published three volumes of a spin-off light novel series titled Wolf and Parchment since September 2016.

A manga adaptation illustrated by Keito Koume began serialization in the November 2007 issue of ASCII Media Works’ seinen manga magazine Dengeki Maoh. The manga was licensed by Yen Press, which has begun releasing the volumes in English. A 12-episode anime adaptation aired between January and March 2008, plus a single original video animation (OVA) episode released in May 2008. A second OVA was released in April 2009 as a prequel to the second anime season Spice and Wolf II, which aired 12 episodes between July and September 2009. Both anime seasons were released in English by Kadokawa Pictures USA and Funimation. Two visual novels based on the series for the Nintendo DS were released by ASCII Media Works in June 2008 and September 2009.

Manga

A manga adaptation illustrated by Keito Koume began serialization in the November 2007 issue of ASCII Media Works’ seinen manga magazine Dengeki Maoh. The first tankōbon volume was released by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Comics imprint on March 27, 2008; 16 volumes have been published as of February 2018. Yen Press licensed the manga series at New York Comic Con 2009, and began releasing the series in English in North America.

A manga adaption of Wolf and Parchment by Hidori began serialization in the July 2019 issue of Dengeki Maoh.

Plot

Spice and Wolf’s story revolves around Kraft Lawrence, a 25-year-old traveling merchant who peddles various goods from town to town to make a living in a stylized, fictional world, with a historical setting with European influences. His main goal in life is to gather enough money to start his own shop, and he already has been traveling for seven years while gaining experience in the trade. One night when stopped at the town of Pasloe, he finds in his wagon a wolf-deity named Holo who is over 600 years old. She takes the form of a 15-year-old girl, except for a wolf’s tail and ears. She introduces herself as the town’s goddess of harvest, who has kept it blessed with good harvests of wheat for many years. Holo has experienced increasing isolation and disillusionment at the townpeople’s move away from her protection towards their own methods of increasing the harvest. She is especially hurt at their forgetting of the promise made between her and a farmer when she arrived in the village and their criticism of her as a “fickle god” for needing to replenish the soil with smaller harvests. Because of these changes, she wants to go back to her homeland in the north called Yoitsu; she believes the people have already forsaken her and that she has kept her promise to maintain the good harvests. Holo also wants to travel to see how the world has changed while she has remained in one place for many years. She manages to bargain her way out of the village by making a deal with Lawrence to take her with him. As they travel, her wisdom helps increase his profits, but at the same time, her true nature draws unwanted attention from the Church.

 

Manga Monday- Black Jack

Manga Monday- Black Jack

Black Jack is a manga written and illustrated by Osamu Tezuka in the 1970s, dealing with the medical adventures of the title character, doctor Black Jack.

Black Jack consists of hundreds of short, self-contained stories that are typically about 20 pages long. Black Jack has also been animated into an OVA, two television series (directed by Tezuka’s son Makoto Tezuka) and two films. Black Jack is Tezuka’s third most famous manga, after Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. In 1977, it won the 1st Kodansha Manga Award for shōnen. About.com’s Deb Aoki lists Black Jack as the best “re-issue of previously released material” of 2008. Osamu Dezaki’s anime film adaptation, Black Jack The Movie, won Best Animation Film at the 1996 Mainichi Film Awards.

Manga

The manga series was first serialized from 1973 to 1983. Each volume was divided into 12 to 15 chapters; each chapter is about 20-some pages long. The first episode was called “I Need a Doctor!”, and the last episode was called “A Question of Priority”. Most of the manga series had never been directly adapted into anime form until a Black Jack Special was aired in 2003, thus initiating the Black Jack anime series in 2004, and the Black Jack 21 series in 2006.

Vertical Inc. has released translated volumes of the series in the United States, starting with Vol. 1 in September 2008 and finishing with Vol. 17 in November 2011. These collected volumes include a dozen or so stories each in the original unflipped format, and the stories will be published in the same order as the Japanese Black Jack collections. Vertical has also released limited editions of the first three volumes that include bonus stories not printed in any other edition.

Two translated volumes had been previously published by Viz Communications, but those editions are now out of print.

There is also a series called Black Jack ALIVE which was published in 2005, this series was created from numerous artists adding stories onto the original series. A chapter from this series was published in the last volume of “Magetsukan Kitan”. In 2013, he is celebrating his 40 anniversary since his first appearance, along with Princess Knight’s 60th, and Astro boy’s 50th.

A manga called Say Hello to Black Jack has no connection with the Black Jack series, along with its sequel Shin Black Jack ni Yoroshiku.

A 2005 remake of the series was titled Black Jack – Kuroi Ishi.

Another manga called Black Jack NEO was published by a different author. It may be another remake. Not much information is known.

Young Black Jack is another manga, written by Yoshiaki Tabata and illustrated by Yūgo Ōkumaby, featuring Tezuka characters, that started in 2011. The story follows Black Jack as a medical student in the 1960s.

Plot

Most of the stories involve Black Jack doing some good deed, for which he rarely gets recognition—often curing the poor and destitute for free, or teaching the arrogant a lesson in humility. They sometimes end with a good, humane person enduring hardship, often unavoidable death, to save others.

 

Manga Monday- City Hunter

Manga Monday- City Hunter

City Hunter is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tsukasa Hojo. It was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1985 to 1991 and collected into 35 tankōbon volumes by its publisher Shueisha. The manga was adapted into an anime television series by Sunrise Studios in 1987. The anime series was popular in numerous Asian and European countries.

City Hunter spawned a media franchise consisting of numerous adaptations and spin-offs from several countries. The franchise includes four anime television series, three anime television specials, two original video animations, several animated feature films (including a film released in February 2019), several live-action films (including a Hong Kong film starring Jackie Chan, and a French film), video games, and a live-action Korean TV drama. It also had a spin-off manga, Angel Heart, which in turn spawned its own anime television series and a live-action Japanese TV drama.

Manga

The series ran in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1985’s 13th issue until 1990. The series was printed in 35 collected volumes by Shueisha under the Jump Comics range between January 15, 1986 and April 15, 1992. In these volumes the series is grouped into 55 different stories or “episodes” instead of as their original individual chapters. Each story is centred on a different female character or “heroine”. The series was an 18 volume edition by Shueisha from June 18, 1996 to October 17, 1997. A third edition of 32 volumes was published by Tokuma Shoten from December 16, 2003 to April 15, 2005. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the series, a fourth edition City Hunter XYZ edition is being published by Tokuma Shoten across Twelve volumes. The first volume was published on July 18, 2015. The eighth volume was published on October 20, 2015.

Takehiko Inoue was an assistant on the series.

Attempts were made to license the series for the American comic market during the 1980s; however, Hojo insisted the manga should be released in the right-to-left format. In 2002 Coamix created an American subsidiary, Gutsoon! Entertainment. City Hunter was a flagship title in their Raijin Comics Anthology. Raijin switched from a weekly format to a monthly format before being cancelled after 46 issues.

The series is currently available to read in Japanese as an iPhone application by Rainbow Apps.

In 2001, Hojo started a spin-off series titled Angel Heart. The series takes place in a universe parallel to City Hunter, where the character of Kaori Makimura is killed and her heart transplanted into Xiang-Ying, Angel Heart’s protagonist.

A spin-off manga titled Kyō Kara City Hunter was launched July 25, 2017 in Tokuma Shoten’s Monthly Comic Zenon magazine. It is centered around a 40-year-old unmarried woman who is a fan of Ryō Saeba and the City Hunter manga, and suddenly dies in a train accident and is reincarnated into the world of City Hunter.

Reception

By 2016, the City Hunter manga series had sold over 50 million tankobon volumes worldwide. In addition, the series was circulated in an estimated 900 million copies of Weekly Shōnen Jump manga magazine between 1985 and 1991, with those Jump issues generating an estimated $2 billion. The series was voted the 19th “Most Powerful” series to have featured in Shonen Jump. In a 2005 poll held by TV Asahi, City Hunter was voted #66 out of the 100 most popular animated TV series, as voted by TV viewers. A TV Asahi web-poll put City Hunter at #65.

In Manga: The Complete Guide, Jason Thompson described the manga stories as “well told and entertaining”. Writing for Mania.com, Eduardo M. Chavez describes the series as “funny, sexy, action packed and at times just plain whacked” and praises the mix of action and comedy. Patrick King of Animefringe described the series as “not the most intellectually stimulating piece of fiction I’ve experienced lately” but called it “a blast to read”.

The characters Ryo and Kaori proved popular with fans. In the reader voted Animage Anime Grand Prix Saeba Ryo was voted second in the Best Male Character section in 1988. In 1989, 1990 and 1991 he was first place. In 1992 he was voted sixth place. Kaori Makamura was voted fifteenth in the best Female Character category in 1988 before climbing to eighth in 1989. Kaori then placed fifth in 1990 before falling to sixth and eleventh in 1991 and 1992 respectively.

The Motion Picture has been praised for the quality of its English dub but criticised for changing the characters names.

The first anime ending theme, “Get Wild” by TM Network, and a later 1989 remix, sold a combined 515,010 singles in Japan. The anime series was also popular in France, where it was dubbed as Nicky Larson and 140 episodes aired in the early 1990s.

Plot

The series follows the exploits of Ryo Saeba, a “sweeper” who is always found chasing beautiful girls and a private detective who works to rid Tokyo of crime, along with his associate or partner, Hideyuki Makimura. Their “City Hunter” business is an underground jack-of-all-trades operation, contacted by writing the letters “XYZ” on a blackboard at Shinjuku Station.

One day, Hideyuki is murdered, and Ryo must take care of Hideyuki’s sister, Kaori, a tomboy who becomes his new partner in the process. However, Kaori is very susceptible and jealous, often hitting Ryo with a giant hammer when he does something perverted. The story also follows the behind-the-scenes romance between Ryo and Kaori and the way they cooperate throughout each mission.

Manga Monday- Black Lagoon

Manga Monday- Black Lagoon

Black Lagoon is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rei Hiroe. It has been published in Shogakukan’s Monthly Sunday Gene-X since 2002, and eleven collected volumes have been released so far. It was later adapted into an anime television series by Madhouse, that aired from April to June 2006 for twelve episodes. A second season, subtitled “The Second Barrage”, ran for twelve weeks starting on October 2, 2006. A five volume original video animation series, titled Roberta’s Blood Trail, was released from July 2010 to June 2011.

In North America, Viz Media began releasing an English translation of the manga on August 12, 2008. The anime was dubbed and originally licensed in English by Geneon Entertainment in July 2006. Funimation has acquired the distribution rights to the series since a distribution agreement with Geneon in July 2008. Funimation later licensed the OVA, which also was licensed by Kazé in the UK, for release in spring 2013.

Manga

Written and illustrated by Rei Hiroe, a pilot chapter of Black Lagoon was published in Shogakukan’s Monthly Sunday Gene-X‘s April 2001 issue and the main series premiered in the May 2002 issue. Chapters run monthly and are later collected into tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan. The first was released on December 12, 2002, and to date eleven have been published, the last in 2018. The series first went on hiatus in May 2010. It resumed in January 2013, before being put back on hiatus in January 2014. In the January 2017 release of Monthly Sunday Gene-X, it was announced that the manga will resume in May 2017; it went on hiatus again in September 2018. The December issue of Monthly Sunday GX revealed that Hiroe would resume the series in spring 2019, however the series did not resume its publication as planned. In June 2019, Monthly Sunday GX announced the manga will resume in September.

The manga has been licensed for an English-language release in North America by Viz Media. The first volume was released on August 12, 2008. Black Lagoon has also received domestic releases in many other countries; in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Mexico, Poland and Finland, by Kabuto, Carlsen, Jade Dynasty, Panini Comics, Chuang Yi, Haksan Publishing, Norma Editorial, Grupo Editorial Vid, Waneko and Punainen jättiläinen respectively.

Reception

As of February 2014, the first nine volumes of the manga had over 6 million copies in print in Japan. The first eleven volumes had over 7 million copies in print as of November 2018. About.com’s Deb Aoki listed Viz Media’s English release of Black Lagoon as the best new seinen manga of 2008, along with Gantz.

Plot

The story follows a team of pirate mercenaries known as the Lagoon Company, that smuggles goods in and around the seas of Southeast Asia in the early to mid 1990s. Their base of operations is located in the fictional harbor city of Roanapur in southeast Thailand near the border of Cambodia (somewhere in the Amphoe Mueang Trat district, likely on the mainland north/northeast of the Ko Chang island or on the island itself). The city is home to the Japanese Yakuza, the Chinese Triad, the Russian mafia, the Colombian cartel, the Italian mafia, a wide assortment of pickpockets, thugs, mercenaries, thieves, assassins, and gunmen. The city also has a large Vietnamese refugee population following the Vietnamese refugees exodus after the Communist takeover of Vietnam in 1975.

Lagoon Company transports goods for various clients in the 80-foot (24 m) Elco-type PT boat Black Lagoon. It has a particularly friendly relationship with the Russian crime syndicate Hotel Moscow. The team takes on a variety of missions—which may involve violent firefights, hand-to-hand combat, and nautical battles—in various Southeast Asian locations, even going as far as Phu Quoc island of Vietnam. When they are not working, the members of the Lagoon Company spend much of their down time at The Yellow Flag, a bar in Roanapur which is often destroyed in firefights.

 

Manga Monday- Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Manga Monday- Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Puella Magi Madoka Magica often referred to simply as Madoka Magica, is a Japanese anime television series created by Magica Quartet, an artist collective consisting of director Akiyuki Shinbo, screenwriter Gen Urobuchi, character designer Ume Aoki, and producer Atsuhiro Iwakami. The story follows a group of female middle school students who choose to become magical girls, subsequently battling surreal enemies known as “witches.” In consequence, they learn of the anguish and peril associated with their new role.

The first ten episodes of the series aired in Japan on TBS and MBS between January and March 2011, while the final two episodes were delayed until April 2011 due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. A manga adaptation of the series and various spin-off manga series have been published by Houbunsha and licensed in North America by Yen Press. A novelization by Nitroplus was released in August 2011, and a dedicated magazine titled Manga Time Kirara Magica was launched by Houbunsha in June 2012. A video game for the PlayStation Portable was released in March 2012 and another for PlayStation Vita was released in December 2013. A film series has also been produced; it consists of two films recapping the anime series and released in October 2012. A third film featuring an original story was released on October 26, 2013, and a concept film acting as a trailer for a new project was screened in December 2015. A smartphone game, Magia Record, launched in August 2017, and an anime adaptation premiered in January 2020.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica has received widespread critical acclaim; critics praised the complex narrative, visuals, artistic direction, and soundtrack of the series as well as its unconventional approach to the magical girl subgenre. It became a commercial success; each Blu-ray Disc volume sold more than 50,000 copies in Japan. The series garnered a variety of awards, such as the Television Award at the 16th Animation Kobe Awards, as well as 12 Newtype Anime Awards and the Grand Prize for animation in the 2011 Japan Media Arts awards.

Print media

Houbunsha has published several manga series based on Puella Magi Madoka Magica. A direct adaptation of the anime series was illustrated by Hanokage and published in three four-chapter tankōbon volumes that were released between February 12 and May 30, 2011. The manga has been licensed in North America by Yen Press. A side story manga titled Puella Magi Kazumi Magica: The Innocent Malice, which was written by Masaki Hiramatsu and illustrated by Takashi Tensugi, was serialized in Manga Time Kirara Forward between March 2011 and January 2013. A third manga titled Puella Magi Oriko Magica, which was written by Kuroe Mura, was released in two tankōbon volumes on May 12, 2011, and June 12, 2011. Both Kazumi Magica and Oriko Magica have been licensed by Yen Press in North America. The first volume of Kazumi Magica was released in May 2013. Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Wraith Arc, which was written and illustrated by Hanokage, began serialization in the 20th issue of Manga Time Kirara Magica released on June 10, 2015. The plot describes the events that happened between Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Eternal and Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion.

The first volume of an official anthology comic featuring illustrations by guest artists was released on September 12, 2011. A dedicated monthly magazine published by Houbunsha and titled Manga Time Kirara Magica was launched on June 8, 2012; it features various manga stories, including spin-off stories of Oriko Magica. A film comic adaptation of the series titled Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Film Memories went on sale on May 26, 2012. Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story, another manga by Hanokage, was published in three tankōbon volumes between October 12 and November 12, 2012, and was licensed by Yen Press in 2014. The first volume of Puella Magi Suzune Magica, which was written and illustrated by Gan, was released on November 12, 2013, before being serialized in Manga Time Kirara Magica on November 22, 2013. Puella Magi Homura Tamura, which was written and illustrated by Afro, is serialized in Manga Time Kirara Magica; its first volume was released in October 2013 and was licensed by Yen Press. Puella Magi Homura’s Revenge! , written by Kawazukuu and illustrated by Masugitsune, was serialized in Manga Time Kirara Magica and released two volumes in December 2013; Yen Press licensed the manga.

Hajime Ninomae wrote a novel adaptation of the series that was illustrated by Yūpon and published by Nitroplus on August 14, 2011. Pre-release copies were available at Comiket 80 on August 12, 2011. A book titled Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Beginning Story, which is based on Gen Urobuchi’s original draft treatment for the anime, was released in November 2011.

Plot

In the fictional city of Mitakihara, Japan, a middle school student named Madoka Kaname and her friend Sayaka Miki encounter a small, cat-like creature named Kyubey. It offers a contract in which a girl may have any wish granted in exchange for obtaining magical powers and being tasked with fighting witches. Meanwhile, a transfer student and magical girl named Homura Akemi tries to stop Madoka from making the contract with Kyubey. Madoka and Sayaka then meet Mami Tomoe, an upperclassman at the same school who is also a magical girl. Noticing their indecisiveness on whether to become a magical girl, Mami offers to take Madoka and Sayaka along on her witch hunts so they may learn of the responsibilities that come with being a magical girl.

However, after witnessing Mami’s death at the hands of a witch, Madoka realizes the life of a magical girl is filled with danger, anguish, and suffering. This is further enforced by the appearance of Kyoko Sakura, a veteran magical girl whose wish indirectly caused the death of her family. Madoka also discovers magical girls give up their souls to form their Soul Gems, the source of their magic, and that when Soul Gems become too tainted with despair, magical girls change into witches.

Sayaka decides to become a magical girl after learning that doing so would allow her to heal a young musician who she admires. However, her classmate Hitomi Shizuki confesses to him first, causing Sayaka to become disillusioned and fall into an inescapable despair that turns her into a witch. Kyubey reveals to Madoka that he is of an alien race that has been harvesting the emotions of magical girls for centuries to use as energy to counteract the spread of entropy, and thus stave off the heat death of the universe. Madoka also learns that Homura is a magical girl from a different timeline who has repeated the same month countless times to try to save Madoka from a grisly fate.

Madoka and Kyoko attempt to reverse Sayaka’s transformation, but the plan fails and Kyoko is forced to sacrifice herself to allow Madoka to escape, leaving Homura as the only remaining magical girl. Following this, an extremely powerful witch known as Walpurgisnacht approaches the city. Homura attempts to stop it, but is defeated. She prepares to rewind time to repeat the month again, but Madoka stops her. With the past month’s events in mind, Madoka decides to become a magical girl and makes a wish to stop the creation of all witches in the past, present, and future. The scope of this wish rewrites history and the laws of the universe, and her existence as a human is erased from time. She transcends into a cosmic phenomenon called “The Law of Cycles”, which appears to all magical girls at the moment before they become witches and rescues them by taking them to a heavenly paradise. A new reality, in which Homura is the only one who remembers Madoka, is formed. Homura vows to continue fighting in honor of Madoka.

 

Manga Monday- Heat Guy J

Manga Monday- Heat Guy J

Heat Guy J is a Japanese anime television series created and directed by Escaflowne director Kazuki Akane and animated by Satelight.

Heat Guy J was licensed and distributed in the U.S. in 2003 by Pioneer. It was re-released by Funimation in the fall of 2009. The first 13 episodes of the show also was broadcast on the cable channel MTV2. A one volume manga was created based on the series, and was licensed and distributed by Tokyopop. The show was picked up for a UK DVD release by Manga Entertainment starting in March 2006. It was packaged in double DVD sets to make up for the long delayed release of the series.

Manga

Coinciding with the anime series in 2002, a manga version of Heat Guy J was released. It was eventually distributed in the U.S. by Tokyopop in 2005. It was written and drawn by Chiaki Ogishima. While the main characters and general setup were similar to the anime, the manga has its own unique storyline and supporting characters. There is only one volume in the series, and it includes several pages of bonus material related to the show.

Plot

Heat Guy J chronicles the adventures of a young Special Services officer named Daisuke Aurora and his android partner known simply as “J”. The pair live and work in the fictional, futuristic Metropolis of “Judoh” (Jewde), where the understaffed and underfunded Special Services Division of the Bureau of Urban Safety has its headquarters.

 

Manga Monday- Ai Yori Aoshi

Manga Monday- Ai Yori Aoshi

Ai Yori Aoshi is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kou Fumizuki. The manga was serialized in Hakusensha’s Young Animal magazine from 1999 to 2005 and the chapters collected into 17 tankōbon volumes. It is a love story between two characters who have not seen each other in years, but were once childhood friends.

An anime television series adaptation was animated by J.C.Staff and directed by Masami Shimoda, with Kenichi Kanemaki handling series composition, Kazunori Iwakura designing the characters and Toshio Masuda composing the music. The anime was broadcast on Fuji TV in 2002. A second season titled Ai Yori Aoshi: Enishi was set two years later and aired in 2003. There are 37 episodes total, counting an alternate-continuity Christmas special. The anime was released in North America by Geneon and the manga was released in English by Tokyopop. Four visual novels were also released for the PlayStation 2 and Windows 98.

Manga

Ai Yori Aoshi began as a manga series written and illustrated by Kou Fumizuki. It was serialized in Hakusensha’s Young Animal magazine from 1999 to 2005 and the chapters collected into 17 tankōbon volumes. The first volume was published by Hakusensha in Japan on May 28, 1999, and the last volume was released on December 20, 2005. The manga was released in English by Tokyopop. The first book was released in January 2004 and the last book was released in October 2007.

The series has also been licensed in Europe (Non English Releases), Asia, and Middle America. In Europe, the series was licensed in French by Pika Édition, in German by EMA, and in Spanish by Norma Editorial. For Asia the series was licensed in Chinese by Jonesky, in Korean by Daiwon CI, and in Russian by Sakura Press. In North America the series has been published in Mexico by Grupo Editorial Vid.

Reception

Ai Yori Aoshi did well with its English manga release, with book one ranking number 45 on the top 50 Manga’s sold of that month. With an estimated 3,329 books sold, the series peaked at number 18 of 100 with Volume 6 but soon fell out of the top 100 list for the other releases. The last volume ended at number 66 out of 100 on the sales list.

As for reviews the manga has been described as “fun to read” and a “good solid romance story”. Adam Beck of Advanced media Network anime pointed out however that some volumes lack dialogue but a good dialogue translation was done by tokyopop.

Plot

Kaoru Hanabishi, a university student, is the eldest son of Yūji Hanabishi, the head of the Hanabishi Zaibatsu, and was set to take over the zaibatsu after his father retired. His mother, Kumi Honjō, and his father never married, making life difficult for both him and his mother. Kaoru’s father died when he was five years old. After that, Yūji’s father, Gen’ichiro Hanabishi, took Kaoru under his wing and began educating him for the eventual succession. However, Kaoru never felt at home in the Hanabishi family and exiled himself after his mother’s death. Day by day he felt alone, thinking that he was living life with no reason pushing him on.

There was, however, a person who loved Kaoru so much that she felt had to do whatever was necessary to be with him. Her name is Aoi Sakuraba. Aoi is the only daughter of the owner of the Sakuraba Dry Goods Store (later renamed to Sakuraba Department Store). Kaoru’s family and Aoi’s family had expected for Kaoru to marry Aoi, but after Kaoru left, the marriage was canceled. Both families had a friendly relationship, and unbeknownst to Kaoru, Aoi had been in love with him from the start. The Sakuraba family had already been searching for someone suitable, but Aoi was unwilling to marry someone else and walked out, chasing Kaoru.

Both were freed from their families’ affairs but did not know how to make their living. Miyabi Kagurazaki, Aoi’s caretaker, has Aoi live with her in a grand western-style summer mansion owned by the Sakuraba family, with Kaoru living in a house for servants next to it to prevent a scandal as with the previous. They are soon joined by Tina Foster, an American expatriate; Taeko Minazuki, a clumsy housekeeper; Mayu Miyuki, Kaoru’s childhood friend; and Chika Minazuki, Taeko’s cousin. The house is eventually converted to a dormitory and Aoi becomes its landlady.

Eventually, Miyabi helps Kaoru reconcile with the Hanabishis and patch up the original engagement. However, Kaoru’s half brother attempts to gain control of the Hanabishi Zaibatsu by proposing to Aoi. After Kaoru foils the proposal, Aoi abandons her family name and Kaoru gives the ownership of Hanabishi Zaibatsu to his half-brother. Five years later, Kaoru and Aoi are married.

 

Manga Monday- Great Teacher Onizuka

Manga Monday- Great Teacher Onizuka

Great Teacher Onizuka, officially abbreviated as GTO, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tooru Fujisawa. It was originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Magazine from January 1997 to February 2002. The story focuses on 22-year-old ex-bōsōzoku member Eikichi Onizuka, who becomes a teacher at a private middle school, Holy Forest Academy, in Tokyo, Japan. It is a continuation of Tooru Fujisawa’s earlier manga series Shonan Junai Gumi and Bad Company, both of which focus on the life of Onizuka before becoming a teacher.

Due to the popularity of the manga, several adaptations of GTO were established. These adaptations include a twelve-episode Japanese television drama running from July to September 1998; a live-action film directed by Masayuki Suzuki and released in December 1999; and a 43-episode anime television series aired in Japan by Fuji Television and Animax from June 1999 to September 2000. Both the anime and manga have been licensed in North America by Tokyopop. A second live action series aired in Japan during 2012, and two more in 2014. It won the 1998 Kodansha Manga Award for shōnen category.

Reception

Great Teach Onizuka won the 1998 Kodansha Manga Award for the shōnen category.
In Manga: The Complete Guide, Jason Thompson refers to the series as “Shameless, frequently sexist and totally hilarious”. He adds “The rule of the manga is that every time Onizuka does something incredibly cool and heartwarming, he must immediately do something unbelievably retarded”. He praises the series for staying fresh through imagery, detailed art and pop culture dialogue even though the formula repeats itself. Lastly he states that it “approaches true social satire”. He gave the series four stars out of four.
In The Dorama Encyclopedia, Jonathan Clements and Motoko Tamamuro note that the subject and humorous approach to the series was well received by the teenage audience.
In The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation Since 1917, Jonathan Clements and Helen McCarthy noted the use of computer cloud and water effects in the anime adaptation. While appreciating the advantages of the anime adaption allowing for more violence, they call the first live action adaption the “quintessential GTO”.

Manga

The series was published in Weekly Shōnen Magazine from January 8, 1997 to February 13, 2002. A total of 25 volumes were published between May 14, 1997 and April 15, 2002. The series was licensed in English by Tokyopop and was one of Tokyopop’s first releases in the “Authentic Manga” lineup of titles using the Japanese right to left reading style. In doing so the artwork remained unchanged from the original compared to previous publishing methods. The 25 English volumes were published between April 23, 2002 and August 9, 2005.
On 9 June 2009, a sequel to the GTO manga began releasing in Kodansha’s Weekly Shōnen Magazine, under the title GTO – Shonan 14 Days. North American publisher Vertical Inc began publishing GTO: Shonan 14 Days globally in English, as GTO: 14 Days in Shonan beginning January 2012 and has published all nine volumes. Vertical also continued and concluded the Shonan Junai Gumi manga series, from volume 11 onwards, as GTO: The Early Years in 2012.
A new manga series entitled GTO: Paradise Lost started in Kodansha’s Weekly Young Magazine on April 14, 2014. Fujisawa put the manga on hiatus in October 2017 due to a staff shortage. In May 2019, Fujisawa announced his plans to resume the series.
Kodansha USA currently publishes the manga in English in a digital format since 2017.

Production

When writing GTO, Fujisawa was influenced by the writing style of Kouhei Tsuka. The series was originally intended to run for 10 volumes, however it was extended at the request of the publisher. Fujisawa began to run out of characters as a result. When faced with writing block he would write stories without Onizuka.
Onizuka’s first name, Eikichi, was taken from musician Eikichi Yazawa. When developing Onizuka’s character for the series, Fujisawa sought to incorporate real character traits from Japanese gangs often referred to as “Yankees”. Onizuka’s look is modelled on such gang members and was not intended to convey an “American look”. Onizuka acts tough and confident but is actually shy and lacking in confidence to follow through on some of his desires. He is a simple character that stands by his own reasoning and principles and has his own conscience. Fujisawa gave him the viewpoint that you should take responsibility for your actions, something he sees as important.
Onizuka’s role in the school is to provide a bridge between the students and teachers. The character of Fuyutsuki reflects the point of view of the average teacher. Fujisawa highlights his own school experience where teachers were mostly focused only on a good performance record rather than the teaching itself. However he was able to take an interest in Mathematics because of the approach of his teacher. He used this experience to build the series.
Tatsuya Egawa has claimed that GTO plagiarized his debut manga, Be Free!.

Plot

Eikichi Onizuka is a 22-year-old ex-gang member and a virgin. While peeping up girls’ skirts at a local shopping mall, Onizuka meets a girl who agrees to go out on a date with him. Onizuka’s attempt to sleep with her fails when her current “boyfriend”, her teacher, shows up at the love hotel they are in and asks her to return to him. The teacher is old and unattractive, but has sufficient influence over her that she leaps from a second-story window and lands in his arms.
Onizuka, upon seeing this display of a teacher’s power over girls, decides to become a teacher himself. However, he earns his teaching degree, just barely, at a second-rate college. In his quest, he discovers two important things: he has a conscience and a sense of morality. This means taking advantage of impressionable schoolgirls is out of the question, but their unusually attractive mothers are a different matter. He enjoys teaching and, most of the time, he teaches life lessons rather than the routine schoolwork. He hates the systems of traditional education, especially when they have grown ignorant and condescending to students and their needs.
With these realizations, he sets out to become the greatest teacher ever, using his own brand of philosophy and the ability to do nearly anything when under enough pressure. He is hired as a long-shot teacher by a privately operated school, in Kichijōji, to tame a class that has driven one teacher to a mysterious death, another to nervous breakdown, and one other to joining a cult. He embarks on a mission of self-discovery by breaking through to each student one-by-one, and helping each student to overcome their problems and learn to genuinely enjoy life. He uses methods that would be unorthodox, against the law, and also life-threatening, yet somehow, he manages to succeed in educating and opening up his students.

 

Manga Monday- Hoshin Engi

Manga Monday- Hoshin Engi

Hoshin Engi, also known as Soul Hunter, is a Japanese manga series by Ryu Fujisaki. Hoshin Engi is inspired by the Chinese literary classic Investiture of the Gods, a shenmo novel. The story involves the Chinese mythology and history of China, in particular the last members of the In (Yin Dynasty aka Shang Dynasty) and the plot to overthrow them.
The manga series was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine from 1996–2000 and compiled in 23 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha. Viz Media acquired the rights to the manga, with bimonthly releases starting June 5, 2007. The manga has been re-released and re-compiled into fewer larger volumes with new cover art, illustrations and afterwords. The 18 kanzenban volumes were released periodically between July 2005 and April 2006 in Japan only.
The story has been adapted into a 26-episodes anime series titled Senkaiden Hōshin Engi, broadcast on TV Tokyo in 1999 and released in North America on DVD as Soul Hunter in 2001. In January 2009, Shomei TV announced their intentions to remake the anime series if they received 10,000 signatures.
A new 23-episode anime television series adaptation titled Hakyū Hōshin Engi and featuring a new cast aired from January to June, 2018. Fujisaki also wrote a short manga series that was serialized in Weekly Young Jump from April to June, 2018.

Manga

Hoshin Engi is written and illustrated by Ryu Fujisaki. It is based on the Japanese translation novel by Tsutomu Ano of the Chinese literary classic Investiture of the Gods, published by Kodansha between November 8, 1988 and January 6, 1989. The manga series was serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine from June 24, 1996 until November 6, 2000. The series was compiled into 23 tankōbon volumes published by Shueisha between November 1, 1996 and December 22, 2000. The manga has been re-released and re-compiled into fewer larger volumes with new cover art, illustrations and afterwords. The 18 kanzenban volumes were released periodically between July 4, 2005 and April 4, 2006 in Japan only.
In North America, Viz Media announced at the New York Comic Con 2007 that they had acquired the rights to the manga. The first volume was published on June 5, 2007, and the last volume on June 7, 2011.
In 2018, Fujisaki wrote a short manga series that was serialized in Weekly Young Jump from April 26 to June 14. A tankōbon volume was released on July 19, 2018.

Plot

The story is set in legendary China. A beautiful female fox spirit named Dakki is controlling the emperor Chū-ō  and the ruling In dynasty, and is using her power over him to do evil in the nation. An immortal-in-training named Taikōbō is chosen by the great immortal sages for the Hōshin Project — to seal away or destroy the evil demons that infest the world. In the course of his adventures, Taikōbō gathers other powerful companions and sets out to seal away the demons and eventually destroy the fox spirit Dakki.
There are significant plot differences between the novel, the manga series and the animated adaptations.

Manga plot

The 23-volume-long series follows the adventures of Taikobo and his trusty “Rei-jū” Sū-pū-shan. Taikobo was given a mission by Genshi-tenson. Taikobou’s mentor and the leader of the Sennin World – Konron to complete the Houshin Project.
The goal of the Hoshin Project, as explained by Genshitenson, is to trap Dakki and her minions in a ‘middle’ world between the Sennin World and the Human world, renamed ‘Shin’ (Deity or Gods) World, named ‘Shinkai’, Realm of the Gods. Taikobo’s mission is to hunt down the 365 people whose names were written on the Hoshin Scroll. As Taikobo defeats and seals off each of the 365 people on the scroll, their souls are instantly transported to the Hoshindai (a floating island made to trap souls) and sealed there until all the 365 souls are gathered.
At first, Taikobo refused to take up such a troublesome mission, but when threatened with expulsion from Konron, he quickly relented. After that, he was given a Pao-pei, Whip of the Gods, as his weapon along with Supushan.
Upon leaving Konron, Taikobou and Supushan immediately met up with the first person listed on the Houshin Scroll, the all-powerful Shinkouhyou and his Riding Beast – Kokutenko. After a short battle between the two Doushi, in which Taikoubou was easily defeated, Taikoubou suspected that the order of the Houshin Scroll is sorted according to strength (Shinkouhyou being the first on the list) and decides to avoid fighting him. Aiming for the core of the whole problem, he enters the capital, Chouka and defeating one of Dakki’s sisters, Ou Kijin (who reverted to her original form, a stone lute), he used her to enter the service of the emperor in order to spot Dakki’s weakness. Furious with her sister’s plight, Dakki contrives a plan to reclaim her sister. Taikoubou, overwhelmed by her guile, was defeated and was about to be thrown into the taibon (a pit full of poisonous snakes) along with some of the Kyou clan, when during a commotion caused by them, Buuseiou Ko Hiko saved him. It was then that he came to a realization that there was no way he could take on Dakki and her followers, on his own. That’s why he set off searching for strong fighters to join him on his quest to rid the world of Dakki. Taikoubou soon met up and joined forces with Nataku, Raishinshi, Kou-Tenka, and Youzen .
As the series progresses, Taikobo slowly realises that there is no hope in disrupting Dakki’s strangle hold on the Yin Dynasty or her influence over Chuuou. As such, he abandoned the kingdom and requested that Ki Shō  form a new Monarchy to rival the Yin, renamed the Shū Dynasty with their new emperor – Bu-ou, who is the second son of Ki Hatsu who had died due to self-starvation caused by Dakki serving him his son as a hamburger during his capture. Taikoubou then became the military advisor to Zhou, helping the Western Army conquer the lands once owned by Yin.
Bunchū, the senior advisor to the emperor Chū-ou in the country of Yin and also a pao-pei user, sees Taikoubou as an obstacle and sends out some of his best Doushi companions to attack Taikoubou and company. The ensuing fights between the two groups eventually lead to the involvement of almost all members of the 2 Sennin Worlds – Konron (where Taikoubou originates) and Kingou-tou (金鰲島) (where Bunchuu learnt his arts). At the climax of the Sennin war, both worlds were completely destroyed with hundreds of souls sealed into the Houshin Dai. And though Bunchuu was eventually defeated, Taikoubou lost many friends and his home in the process.
Eventually, after Taikoubou and the Zhou army successfully defeated Chuuou and officially declared the fall of the Yin Dynasty, Taikoubou and company decided to leave the Human world and return to what’s left of the Sennin world. It is then revealed to him that there is possibly a third Sennin World, one that belongs to Dakki, and is probably where she and the last of her minions fled to when the Yin country was finally conquered.
Genshitenson also reveals to Taikoubou that the real goal of Houshin Project isn’t just about defeating Dakki, it is about defeating the eternal being supporting Dakki throughout all her chaos years, one of the ancients.
The ultimate enemy of Houshin Engi – Jyoka is a “Jui Que”, one of 5 ‘aliens’ which landed on the Earth, millions of years ago. Jyoka had a dream to recreate her home world on Earth (which had self-destructed some time ago), but the other aliens disagreed and enclosed her in a glass cage. Later, she was able to move about in her “soul” form and direct the trend of history to her liking. This is when she met up with Dakki, and the two started working together to make Jyoka’s dream come true. Each time history diverted from what Jyoka wants it to become, she completely destroyed the civilization that existed and started all over again, like a child moulding a perfect sand castle. No one really knows how many civilisations Jyoka had destroyed throughout time in her pursuit to perfectly replicate her old home, but when asked why she’s trying to do this, Jyoka simply states that she would like to know what would have happened if her home planet had not made those simple mistakes that led to its own destruction.
After hearing the ultimate truth, the Sennins retaliated against Jyoka. Soon, she finally decided to destroy Earth once and for all, and find another world in order to replicate her old home. The battles raged for a while before the deceased Taikoubou (who had ‘died’ recently) reappeared in front of his comrades again. This time, it is revealed that he was once one of the “Jui Que” as well, the last of the 5 aliens and was left on this earth for the sole purpose of killing Jyoka once and for all. Using the energy of his friends as well as those souls trapped in the Houshin Dai, Taikoubou (now renamed ‘Fukki’) was finally able to defeat Jyoka and release the world from her influences.
Just prior to this happening, Dakki somehow managed to take over Jyoka’s body for a time and merged with the life energies of the Earth, becoming the mother of all life. After the fight with Jyoka ended, Jyoka selfishly asked Taikoubou to disappear together with her, afraid of being left alone again and since Taikoubou felt that he had done what he had set out to do, complies (also due to severe injuries in the last fight). When he was about to fade away, Dakki came and saved his life, thus reviving him.
In the epilogue, Youzen was made the Headmaster of the new Sennin World, with Choukei (Bunchuu’s only disciple) representing the Youkai (demons) and Nentou-doujin (ex-Juunisen, who helped defeat Jyoka) representing the Humans, supporting him. Genshi-tenson manages the ex-Houshindai, which houses all the souls which had been houshined, and dispatches them to the Human World if their help is needed. Since these souls are invisible to the Human eye, they are able to solve matters without being seen. When Supushan and Bukichi went to the Human World to update Buou on the happenings of the Sennin World, they found out that Taikoubou is still alive (he visited Buou before they arrived) and went in search for him but to no avail as Taikoubou seemed keen on avoiding them to the extent of following them behind their backs without them knowing, and somehow prevents the people they meet from revealing his whereabouts.
In the end, Supushan and Bukichi returned to the Sennin World to request Youzen’s help. While Taikoubou was lazing around, Shinkouhyou approached him and wanted a duel, but he left saying that it would be boring if his only rival were to perish so quickly by his hand. Taikoubou then disappeared to places unknown.

Setting

The fantastic world of Hoshin Engi encompass both the pre-historical world – in which primitive human society coexist with the revered divine gods and goddesses – and the futuristic world – in which highly technological weaponry, combat strategy, as well as futuristic visions, are employed. Paopei, the sacred weapons used by Doshi and Sennin alike, are versatile instruments created Sennin.
The Seven Super Paopei were the ones left from the Original People, and all the rest are copies made from those. Paopei can only be used by Sendou, those born with Sennin bones which are trained to be used to power paopei. If someone born with these bones is not trained, then they become a Tennen Doushi, and the potential of their skeleton creates almost super natural strength or speed; however, they would never be able to use a Paopei. It is possible to transplant Sennin bones into a normal human, as in the case with Younin, but it does not appear to be a common practice. There are such beings as “human Paopei,” that is, a living being created from a paopei. They all have a core they are built around, and can take extensive damage and be rebuilt so long as the core remains intact.
Besides paopei, there are spells, an ancient form a magic rarely used by the time series takes place. The only ones seen in the series are the peaches that can turn water into sake, Youzen’s transformation technique, and Nentou’s various fighting and healing abilities.