A Belated Look at Last Week’s Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha

Running around after hyperactive puppies has put a dent in my reading time, so my look at the December 10th Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha is just a little late.  Still, I managed to read the issue in between mopping up messes, washing countless dog towels/blankets, and making so many trips to the backyard that I can’t count them all.

This issue kicked off with Naruto Ch 610.  While I plan to keep reading the series, I have no idea what’s going on and continue to flounder with the story.  The epic battle with Madara and his minions continues, with Ten Tails and Nine Tails, and oh, my, I am just not getting it.  Madara is about to start the Infinite Tsukoyomi ritual to summon the moon?  Lots of speed lines, sound effects, and close ups of sweating Naruto and Kakashi.  Kind of looking forward to the start of the next story arc so I know what the heck is going on.  Any Naruto fans out there? Which volume did this story arc start in?  I ‘m tempted to go backward a little with the Viz digital manga sale….

Next up – One Piece 689!  I haven’t read this series in forever, but I didn’t have any trouble getting in the groove.  Psycho evil dude Caesar Clown picks his nose while confronted by Brownbeard!  His crimes are awful (besides the lack of hygiene caused by the nose-picking)!  He has been using Brownbeard’s crew as GUNNIEA PIGS!!  Only Caesar has given Brownbeard a muscle relaxant so he can’t expose his foul deeds!  He looks like an idiot!  Caesar gloats, impressed with his own evil genius!  The only thing I didn’t like about this chapter? Luffy shows up during the middle, ready to exact revenge and beat the snot out of Caesar, so I have to wait until the next issue  for the battle to begin.  I really like the fighting in One Piece because the odds are always stacked so far in the villains favor, but Luffy always manages to hold his own, mainly because he is so driven to do the right thing and avenge the characters who have been mistreated by the evil baddies.  The art is fun and just cartoony enough to present a unique style. 

Nisekoi Ch 52 was stupid and predictable, but I thought this was a fun read.  Two bumbling gang members beg Raku to help them open a briefcase.  They have lost the combination for the lock, which is Chitoge’s measurements, so it’s up to Raku to save the day! He has to exert his non-existent ninja skills to obtain this information before the briefcase blows up?  Implodes?  Opens a time warp?  He has no idea what’s in it, or what the consequences of failure will be, but he is certain it will cause great harm.  Instead of just leveling with Chitoge, he sneaks around the school, spying on her. See, it’s the day that physical exams are conducted at school, and he just knows that if he’s sneaky enough, he’ll get the info he needs.  This endeavor does not end well for him.  This is one of the most overused tropes in shonen manga, but for some reason I found this chapter funny.  Probably because all of the male characters are so stupid.  Who knows?

Up next – Bleach Ch 517, with a color page!  Squad Zero descends on the Soul Society in full clean up mode.  Squad Zero  is in charge of protecting the royal palace, and the rest of the squads are in charge of guarding the Seireitei.  They are disappointed with the crap job the rest of the squads have done, and they quickly take charge. They are there to collect the gravely injured captains, as well as Ichigo.  Again, I want to learn more about these guys and their powers.  I didn’t feel as lost in this chapter as I did in the prior one, and I am looking forward to next week’s installment.  This chapter was far too short.

Cross Manage Ch 11 helped to keep this series among my favorites in the magazine.  It is so easy to jump on-board and feel comfortable with the characters.  Sakurai is dejected after three of the girls quit the team, claiming that he is too harsh and the practice sessions too tough.  He begins to think that maybe he isn’t the best manager for the team.  I like him a lot.  He is an overachiever, and he just can’t comprehend not giving one’s all to a job task or activity.  I wonder what he’s going to do now that he lacks enough players to field a team.  After two chapters, I am very invested in this story, and I can hardly wait to see what happens next.

Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal  Ch 24.  Sadly, I have nothing much to say about this chapter.  I am not a big Yu-Gi-Oh fan, and I don’t find the battles interesting or exciting in the least, and I’m not sure why.  Hikaru No Go is about an incomprehensible board game, but I find it exciting and suspenseful.  This is the one series in the magazine that I have no enthusiasm for.  At all. 

Whoa – Hunter x Hunter will be in the next two issues of WSJA.  Due to the many hiatuses Yoshihiro Togashi takes, I have tried to not get hung up on this series, so I am looking forward to getting a little taste of it.  Toriko was on break this issue, which I didn’t mind because last week’s chapter was so boring.   I hope the cooking battle commences soon!

Review: Stepping on Roses Vol 7 by Rinko Ueda

 

Title: Stepping on Roses V 1

Author:  Rinko Ueda

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Poor Sumi Kitamura… Her irresponsible older brother Eisuke keeps bringing home orphans for her to take care of even though they can barely afford their own basic needs! Just when Sumi’s financial problems become dire, wealthy Soichiro Ashida enters her life with a bizarre proposition: he’ll provide her with the money she so desperately needs if she agrees to marry him. But can Sumi fool high society into thinking she’s a proper lady? Moreover, is it worth giving up everything for this sham of a marriage?

Soichiro’s reputation becomes tainted when Sumi’s true background is exposed, and even his position as president of his company is threatened! Sumi feels terrible for the trouble she’s caused Soichiro, so she decides to leave him. Will Soichiro choose to let her go, or will he forsake everything for her instead?


Review:

I just love this series!  Rinko Ueda has a knack for telling beautifully illustrated romances with lots of angst and melodrama. These are better than afternoon soaps.  Seriously! If you ever enjoyed a soap opera, download the sample chapters from the Viz Manga website and start reading Stepping on Roses.  I love the elegant drawings and the historical setting.  The contrast between the wealthiest and some of the most humble Japanese at the time makes for so many opportunities to add almost insurmountable challenges to  Sumi’s life.  Now, after Nozomu’s diabolical plans, Soichiro has lost control of Ashida Products, and he’s forced to face a life of poverty head on.  After throwing his lot in with Sumi and refusing to give her up in order to keep his company, he’s discovering just how unpleasant life can be.  So long abundant food, clean clothing, and warm baths!  I used to despise Soichiro, but my feelings for him have completely reversed in the last few volumes of the manga.

Now, Nozomu, on the other hand, has turned into a complete slime ball.   After his plot to wrestle control of Ashida Products comes to fruition, thanks in part to Sumi’s lazy, greedy brother, he let his true colors show.  Brilliantly!  Complete with a new evil-guy, slicked back hairdo, all of his focus is aimed at destroying Soichiro and stealing Sumi away from him. Her feelings don’t matter to him.  All he wants is what his ex-BFF has.  What is wrong with this guy? How could I have so completely misjudged his character?  Nozomu is the perfect villain, because part of me still feels some lingering affection for him.  I can’t help it!  He was such a nice guy, and it’s hard to accept that he’s taken an irreversible turn to the dark side.  He always seemed so gentle and kind!  Maybe he still is, somewhere in there, under all of his jealousy and hatred for Soichiro.  I am so dying to find out what is going to happen next, so this manga is a great example of the correct way to use cliffhangers, at least to keep me engaged in the plot.  How can I not want to know what happens next, with all of these high emotional final pages? 

While Sumi slips seamlessly back into her former life, privileged Soichiro has a much harder time.  He was willing to give up his company so he could be with Sumi, but things aren’t going to be a cake walk.  He can’t find a job, Nozomu keeps popping up at the most aggravating times, and the loss of his company stings.  From being one of the movers and shakers to barely scraping by, Soichiro’s new reality is  going to test him in ways he can’t even imagine.  When is he going to start resenting Sumi for his reduced circumstances?  When will he begin to blame her for everything that’s happened?  I so want to hope that his feelings for Sumi are real and that he’s grown up and is willing to take responsibility for his new life, but I’m also afraid that he won’t. Argh!  Good thing I have volume 8 so I can get another fix soon!

Grade:  A

Review: Demon Love Spell V 1 by Mayu Shinjo

 

 

Title: Demon Love Spell V 1

Author:  Mayu Shinjo

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

By the creator of Ai Ore! and Sensual Phrase

Miko is a shrine maiden who has never had much success at seeing or banishing spirits. Then she meets Kagura, a sexy demon who feeds off women’s feelings of passion and love. Kagura’s insatiable appetite has left many girls at school brokenhearted, so Miko casts a spell to seal his powers. Surprisingly the spell works—sort of—but now Kagura is after her!

Reads R to L (Japanese style) for teen plus audiences.


Review:

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Mayu Shinjo’s works.  Her titles usually feature a douche bag uber alpha hero and a timid, naïve heroine.  I usually don’t enjoy reading stories where the hero treats the heroine, his supposed love interest, like crap.  That’s one of the problems I have with Black Bird, though I find myself helplessly flipping through whatever new volumes happen to end up in my hands.  I don’t want to like it, but I do.  Ugh!  Demon Love Spell reminds me a lot of Black Bird, so if you are a fan of Kanoko Sakurakoji, you might want to give this series a try.

Miko is a shrine maiden, and while everyone else in her family can see spirits, she can’t sense them at all.  Disappointed in herself because she has no sixth sense, she nonetheless studied hard to recognize and banish demons.  So while she is familiar with their characteristics and their powers, she can’t see them, which makes carrying on the family tradition unlikely.  Still, she has hopes and she is dedicated to both the shrine and her family legacy.

When an incubus begins to prey on girls at her high school, a moment of high emotion gives her the strength to seal his powers and confine him into an itty-bitty demon form.  Once the most powerful demon, Kagura is now helpless against stronger demons, and he can’t revert back to his former self, a tall, stunningly gorgeous young man who knocks the ladies dead.  He is a sitting duck, and so is Miko.  Since she was powerful enough to seal away Kagura’s powers, all the demons want to kill him and eat Miko to gain her strength.  Eek!  She can’t even see her enemies unless she is holding chibi Kagura!  How can she defend herself against a bunch of big, bad, ugly monsters?  To make matters worse, she can’t remember which spell she used to seal away his powers, so she can’t change Kagura back to his powerful self.  She isn’t even sure that she wants to; he’ll just go back to preying on innocent women and stealing their life essences, anyway!

Kagura can enter Miko’s dreams when she’s asleep, so he steals into them and seduces her in order to gain back some of his strength.  Miko can’t remember a thing in the morning, but she feels a burning sense of embarrassment, and she’s exhausted.  Like she was up all night long.  Which she was, in her dreams, romping around with Kagura.  She begins to question why she is forming an emotional attachment to the perverted demon, and wonders if he has cast a demon love spell over her.  She doesn’t trust him, but she can’t stop her growing feelings for him.

I enjoyed this introduction to the series.  It’s a fast read, it’s brainless, and it’s fun.  Despite some awkward proportions, Mayu Shinjo’s art is attractive, and her guys are hot, hot, hot.  The characters are engaging, and though the plot is predictable, I found a lot to like in the first volume of Demon Love Spell, and I will follow the series for at least a few volumes to see how things work out for Miko and sex obsessed Kagura.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

A Peek at Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha–December 3, 2012

Thanks to the generosity of Viz, I have a subscription to Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha.  Starting January 21, 2013, there will be a simultaneous US release to coincide with the Japanese release of the magazine.  I am curious to see how that’s going to work, and to see what new series will be added to the magazine, so here is the first of my weekly looks at Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha.  The magazine looks great on my iPad, though I did have a bit of a headache before I was able to get my first issue loaded.  All it took was an update to the Viz Manga app, but I didn’t think of that until after wasting about 15 frustrating minutes.  Always check for a software update! Note taken.

This issue kicked off with Bleach Ch 516.  Whoa!  I haven’t read Bleach in ages, even though it is one of my favorite series.  For shame!  I spent the pages here wondering what the heck was going on, but by the last panel, had it figured out.   I think.  There will soon be an epic confrontation with Squad Zero, a squad comprised only of Squad captains.  No peons in this group of warriors!  There still has to be some kind of pecking system, some top dog to lord over the other squad members, right?  Unless they are all so bad ass that they have a mutual fear and respect for each other.  I am looking forward to learning more about them and catching up with Ichigo in future issues.

Naruto Ch 609 was next. Ch 609, folks!  I am hopelessly out of my depth with this one, but there was fighting!  Which I like.  And Kakashi!  Who I like.    Naruto and Kakashi are duking it out with the bad guy Obito, who hates Kakashi.  That is enough right there to elevate him to evil bad guy.  Who could possibly hate Kakashi?!  After a little help from Nine Tails, it looks like Kakashi is ready for more fighting, so next week, the battle with Obito and Madara will continue!  This is comfort reading for me – mindless speed lines, over exaggerated poses, and endless wells of energy to keep up that toe-to-toe action. 

Nisekoi Ch 51 followed.  This is a new series for me, and I believe it just started it’s run in the magazine.  Raku, one of those impossibly hopeless, hapless guys who can barely comb his hair, has attracted a gaggle of girls, I think by being nice, which in manga usually means wimpy.  Raku’s gangster father has him engaged to Chitoge, who hated him at first sight, but she’s come around and realizes that he’s not such a bad guy and that she might really, really like him.  To cast some mystery over his love life, Raku made a childhood promise to a girl, but he can’t remember who the girl is!  Her identity is locked in his prized pendant, but the lock is broken, so he can’t open it to reveal his childhood love.  You’d think he would remember the first girl he fell in love with!  No wonder these manga boys are always single!  I am actually going to have to read the sample that’s on the Viz website to help wrap my head around this one. 

Toriko Ch 22 – I don’t have much to say about this one, because the entire chapter is nothing but character introductions for the upcoming Cooking Festival.  I usually love cooking manga, but the endless parade of contestants bored me.  Better luck next week.

Wrapping up this issue is Cross Manage Ch 10 is a sports manga about a girls’ lacrosse team.  I liked this story the best.  It was easy to follow for a new comer, the art is engaging, and the characters are likable.  Ex-soccer player Sakurai reluctantly agrees to manage the high school girls’ lacrosse team.  They need a lot of help!  They can barely fill the roster, and they all pretty much suck at the game.  I’m sure that under Sakurai’s guidance they will quickly overcome their shortcomings.  I love sports manga, especially with an underdog team, so I am looking forward to more of this one.

No One Piece!  It’s on break until the next issue, which is a bummer, because Luffy always makes me laugh.

To purchase Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha, click here. You can check out the free Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha starter pack here.  Viz is having a sale on their digital manga. You can get 20% off until January 8th!  Click here for the deets.

{PR} VIZ MEDIA DEBUTS NEW SHOJO MANGA SERIES DEMON LOVE SPELL

VIZ MEDIA DEBUTS NEW SHOJO MANGA SERIES DEMON LOVE SPELL

Catch The New Supernatural Romance Series From The Celebrated Creator of AI ORE! And SENSUAL PHRASE

San Francisco, CA, December 5, 2012 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, brings new shojo manga (graphic novel) fun to fans everywhere with the debut of Mayu Shinjo’s DEMON LOVE SPELL Vol. 1. The new series (now available) is published under the Shojo Beat imprint, rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, and carries an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. The series will also be available on December 18th for digital download from the VIZ Manga digital platform (MSRP $4.99 USD/CAN).

Miko is a shrine maiden who has never had much success at seeing or banishing spirits. Then she meets Kagura, a sexy demon who feeds off women’s feelings of passion and love. Kagura’s insatiable appetite has left many girls at school brokenhearted, so Miko casts a spell to seal his powers. Surprisingly the spell works – sort of – but now Kagura is after her!

“Acclaimed manga creator Mayu Shinjo enters the supernatural realm in DEMON LOVE SPELL, her new romantic comedy,” says Nancy Thistlethwaite, Editor. “ Our down-to-earth heroine Miko finds herself falling in love with the incubus Kagura. Miko is able to bind most of his powers, but that doesn’t stop him from entering her dreams. This series features Shinjo’s captivating artwork and irreverent humor, as well as her trademark passionate scenes.”

Mayu Shinjo is the prolific creator of numerous acclaimed shojo manga, including the hit series, SENSUAL PHRASE (published in North America by VIZ Media). Her current series include AI ORE! (also published by VIZ Media) and Ayakashi Koi Emaki. Earlier this year, AI ORE! was featured on the New York Times Manga Bestseller list and has also been a BookScan Top 50 Graphic Novel bestseller.

VIZ Media’s innovative digital platform allows for complete interoperability to read manga from your iPhone®, iPod® touch, iPad®, and supported Android smart phones and tablets (including the Kindle Fire), with VIZManga.com for desktop/laptop computers. With one account, registered users are able to view their purchases across even more devices than ever, and the rapidly growing platform features over 1,000 volumes across 100 different series.

For more information on DEMON LOVE SPELL, or other shojo manga titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.shojobeat.com.

To learn more about VIZ Manga and to download the VIZ Manga App, please visit VIZManga.com and www.viz.com/apps.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan.  Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and INUYASHA, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages.  VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products.  Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.

[PR] VIZ MEDIA OFFERS A 20% OFF HOLIDAY DIGITAL MANGA PROMOTION

VIZ MEDIA OFFERS A NEW HOLIDAY PROMOTION THAT GIVES FANS 20% OFF ON ALL DIGITAL MANGA ON VIZMANGA.COM AND THE VIZ MANGA APP THRU JANUARY 8th

Explore New Titles Or Catch Up On Ongoing Series With A Special Discount That Applies To The Entire VIZ Manga Library Of Over 1,000 Digital Volumes

VIZ Media has just announced a special new promotion to wrap up 2012 that offers 20% off on all digital manga (graphic novel) titles featured on VIZManga.com and available through the VIZ Manga App, including top-selling titles BAKUMAN?, BLEACH, BLUE EXORCIST, NANA, NARUTO, ONE PIECE, VAMPIRE KNIGHT, and more. Enjoy the fun of manga throughout the holiday season with this special offer that runs for a limited-time only from now until Tuesday, January 8th.

Through the innovative VIZ Manga digital platform, registered users are able to use one account to view their purchased manga across more devices than ever, allowing for complete interoperability to read manga. The free VIZ Manga App is the top application for reading manga on the Apple iPhone®, iPod® touch, iPad® and supported Android-powered smart phones and tablets (including the Kindle Fire), and may be downloaded through the iTunes Store, Google Play Store, and Amazon Appstore. The platform is also accessible from VIZManga.com for desktop and laptop computers.

The VIZ Manga platform features a massive library of the most popular manga series in the world, featuring over 1,000 volumes across over 100 different series, with new series and volumes added every Tuesday. All manga volumes are generally available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada within the application starting from $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) each.

Download the free VIZ Manga App for your Android and iOS devices at www.VIZ.com/apps.

To learn more about VIZ Manga, and to explore free Chapter 1 previews of every manga title, please visit VIZManga.com.

[PR] VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES PROMOTION FOR FIRST-TIME VIZ MANGA APP USERS

{ED. – This is a great promo if you are curious about manga or the Viz manga app.  If you download the app on your mobile device and create an account, you can choose a volume of manga for FREE!  I went with The Earl & The Fairy Vol 1, and I’ll test out the app this weekend.}

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES PROMOTION FOR

FIRST-TIME VIZ MANGA APP USERS

Through November 20th, Download The Free Application for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android Smart Phones and Tablets, And Kindle Fire And Get A Free Volume 1 Manga

VIZ Media gives manga fans a great incentive to try out the top mobile application for reading manga with the launch of a special VIZ Manga App promotion. Fans that download the free app for the first time for their Apple iPad®, iPhone® or iPod® touch, Android smart phone or tablet, or the recently debuted Kindle Fire will be able to choose a free volume 1 of their choice from a list of over 50 different titles! This limited time only promotion runs through November 20th.

The VIZ Manga digital platform allows for complete interoperability to read manga from your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and supported Android smart phones and tablets (including the Kindle Fire), with VIZManga.com for desktop and laptop computers. With one account, registered users are able to view their purchases across more devices than ever. The platform features a rapidly growing library of the most popular manga series in the world, with over 1,000 volumes across 100 different series available, including blockbusters like NARUTO, BLEACH, BARAGE and BLUE EXORICIST and the digital anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA. with New series and volumes added every Tuesday, and readers can explore all series with free Chapter 1 previews of every title.

Volume 1’s included in the promotion are:

BAKUMAN

BLACK BIRD

BLEACH

BLUE EXORCIST

DRAGON BALL

JIU JIU

NARUTO

NEON GENESIS EVANGELION

ONE PIECE

RISTORANTE PARADISO

VAMPIRE KNIGHT

…and more!

The free VIZ Manga App is available through the iTunes Store, Google Play Store, and Amazon Appstore, and all manga volumes are generally available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada within the application starting at $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) per volume.

To learn more about VIZ Manga, please visit www.vizmanga.com and www.viz.com/apps.

Download the free Apple iPad app at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/viz-manga-for-ipad/id391613351?mt=8; the app for iPhone and iPod touch is available from: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/viz-manga-for-iphone-ipod/id421486286?mt=8

The free VIZ Manga App for Android devices may be downloaded at the Google Play Store at: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.vizmanga.android

The free Kindle App is available from the Amazon Appstore at: http://www.amazon.com/Viz-Media-Manga/dp/B008XOYHAE/

[PR] VIZ MEDIA LAUNCHES NEW ANIME SERIES “K” ON VIZANIME.COM

{ED. – This looks really good! Have you seen the first episode yet?}

October 5, 2012

VIZ MEDIA LAUNCHES NEW ANIME SERIES “K” ON VIZANIME.COM

Newest Original Anime Series With Action Packed Psychic War Between Seven Kings Launches On Leading U.S. Anime Streaming Site The Same Day It Debuts In Japan

VIZ Media takes fans to an alternative world of – K – in the North American debut of the new anime series on VIZAnime.com, the company’s own website for free anime, as well as on the free, ad-supported Hulu service and the Hulu Plus subscription service (www.Hulu.com).

K will be presented in Japanese with English subtitles, and debuts in North America the same day it launches in Japan. Episode 1 is now available, and new installments of the 13-episode series will debut every Thursday.

K is set in a world where history has taken a slightly different course from the one we’re familiar with and follows the story of a young boy whose life is caught in a psychic war between seven kings. Yashiro Isana, also known as Shiro, is wanted for a crime he has no recollection of committing. He finds himself being hunted by the groups Homura, led by Mikoto Suoh, “The Red King,” and Scepter 4, led by Reisi Munakata, “The Blue King.” While on the run, another young man named Kuroh Yatogami helps him. Will this fated encounter change Shiro’s life forever?

“K is the newest anime property to be acquired by VIZ Media and we’re extremely excited to debut it on VIZAnime.com the same day as its launch in Japan,” says Brian Ige, Vice President, Animation. “K was developed by GoHands, the studio that created the cyberpunk anime film series, Mardock Scramble, and enigmatic writers’ collective GoRA Project. The highly detailed look of K’s production and its intriguing story will definitely give this new series a strong following. Don’t miss the exciting first episode!”

For more information on K and other animated titles from VIZ Media please visit www.VIZAnime.com.