Manga Review: Graineliers V 1 by Rihito Takarai @yenpress


May Contain Spoilers

This was different! In a world were seeds are a vital part of life, they are carefully regulated by the Grainelier Institute Security. Common, cheap seeds can do things like ignite with a touch, while rare seed are cultivated and studied by the National Grainelier Institute. Growing these seeds is against the law, and ingesting them could get someone banished, and the person who provided them charged with murder. Pretty cool!

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Manga Review: Highschool of the Dead V 3 by Daisuke Sato & Shouji Sato


May Contain Spoilers

I love zombie stories, and a recent trip to the library netted a few volumes of Highschool of the Dead. I started reading this when it first came out, but stopped. I didn’t remember much about the plot, and once I started reading volume 3, I understood why. This is a totally forgettable story, with confusing dialog, panty shots, and enormous, deformed boobs. Maybe I shouldn’t have checked them from the library after all.

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Manga Review: Silver Spoon V 2 by Hiromu Arakawa @yenpress


May Contain Spoilers

This is a really fun series. Who would have thought that life at an agricultural high school could be so exciting? Certainly not Hachiken, who is only attending Ezo Ag to get as far away from his parents as possible. The series follows his daily activities, which by all accounts should be pretty darn boring, because scooping manure from horse stalls and fattening up piglets really isn’t all that exciting. But somehow Hiromu Arakawa makes these farming chores page-turners.

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Manga Review: Liselotte & Witch’s Forest V 1 & 2 by Natsuki Takaya



May Contain Spoilers

Here’s a quick combo review of the first two volumes of Liselotte & Witch’s Forest. To be honest, the first volume didn’t do much for me, but I like Takaya’s art, so I borrowed V2 from the library. This series features a saccharine sweet heroine, who is modest and self-effacing to a fault. I find this kind of character in shojo manga to be very boring, so after V1, I wasn’t expecting much. Liselotte is a lot like Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket, but without the conflicts of the Sohma’s, it fell flat for me. Then came the end of V2, and I’m a little more invested in the series.

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Manga Review: The Royal Tutor V 1 & 2 by Higasa Akai @yenpress


May Contain Spoilers

I picked up this series because the first volume was three bucks on Amazon, and the cover is cute. I had no idea what The Royal Tutor was about, but after just a few pages of V1, I was charmed. This is an engaging slice of life manga about a passel of spoiled princes and their unlikely tutor.

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Review: Gossip Girl: For Your Eyes Only V 2 by Cecily von Ziegesar & HyeKyung Baek

 

Title: Gossip Girl: For Your Eyes Only Vol 2

Authors: Cecily von Ziegesar & HyeKyung Baek

Publisher: Yen Press

ISBN: 978-0759530270

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Queen B has fallen off her throne and landed in Brooklyn (of all places!), where she’s sharing an apartment with V. It’s hell at first, but somehow they find a way to make it work – and B even discovers that she has some domestic talents she never knew existed! But now N and S are a couple, and heartbroken B’s desperate attempts to maintain her reputation have put her on "sweet" little J’s foul side. And when it comes to these girls, revenge is a dish best served HOT!
Can you take a little heat?

Review:

I will be the first person to admit that I hated the first volume of this manga series.  The characters rubbed me the wrong way, and I found the plot boring and trite.  Fast forward to volume two, and guess what?  I enjoyed this outing much, much better.  The plotting was better, Blair had to eat humble pie, and the rest of the cast were a little more agreeable.  I gobbled this up in one sitting, and now I have a new appreciation for the series.  I can hardly wait to read the next installment.  What a difference from my first venture into the Gossip Girl franchise.

Blair, Blair, Blair, you finally got a teeny bit of what was coming to you.  How does it feel to have no money and to see how the other 99% live?  Without your mommy’s AMEX card and access to your endless closet, you really had to learn how to rough it.  After moving in with Vanessa, you were even forced to share a bathroom, eat weird new things that were fried in fatty goodness and, horrors, you were recruited to do the cleaning in order to earn your modest vittles.  And best yet, you discovered something that you excel at!  Who knew that Molly Maid was lurking in your not quite pure soul?

I found this volume much more humorous, but mainly because Blair, who really is a Queen B, was the butt of most of the jokes.  Things don’t go her way here, and because I didn’t like her the first time I met her, I was overjoyed.  Go clean the toilet, witch!  Wear the same jeans twice in one week!  See how the rest of us do things!  lol – yup, Blair is one character that is fun to hate on.  So imagine my surprise when I actually started to like her by the end of the book?  I never saw that coming!

Now that I am in Blair’s corner (for this volume, at least!), I am looking forward to seeing her go up against her new adversaries.  While she certainly deserves to be reviled,  I now want to see her get her revenge against her tormentors.  Since she can be so mean herself, I am sure that she will cook up a tasty dish of vengeance pie.  I am just hoping that she retains some of her newly discovered perspective on life, but I have my doubts.  The next volume should be jam-packed with really bad behavior, and, to my chagrin, I find myself looking forward to it.

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Highschool of the Dead Vol 2 by Sato and Sato

 

Title: Highschool of the Dead Vol 2

Author: Daisuke Sato & Shouji Sato

Publisher: Yen Press

ISBN: 978-0316132398

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Separated from the rest of the survivors from their high school, Takashi and Rei make their way through town, taking in the full scope of the sudden outbreak that’s turned most of the residents into undead terrors. Though the immediate threat of attack has subsided, their survival instinct is still on high alert. Among those untouched by the disease, anarchy is the only law, and when anything goes, Takashi and Rei may have to become monsters themselves if they want to stay alive.

Review:

It’s the last week before the Labor Day holiday.  This is a time for soaking up the last of the warm summer rays before the leaves start to change colors and the colder weather of autumn begins to settle in.  This is the time for brainless, action-packed movies, and caving in to the theory that too much thinking is sometimes bad for your noggin, I picked up the second volume of Highschool of the Dead to help usher out the last of the summer. 

Where to start?  Let’s see – brainless certainly fits this series.  It is a mindless festival of gore and blood splatters.  Oh, and impossibly large breasted women, but I think I already covered that in my thoughts on the first volume.  Takashi and Rei have split away from their friends because of a falling out with Shidou.  They race off on a motorcycle, each clutching blunt-edged weapons so they can pummel the crap out of any zombies they encounter.  Ignoring for the moment the fact that motorcycles are loud, noisy machines, they make it unscathed to a gas station, where they are accosted by a nut-case intent on kidnapping Rei so he can have his wicked ways with her.  And because he needs a chick to survive. Or something like that.  During this encounter, both Rei and Takashi discover that they enjoy beating the brains out of anything that moves, including cash registers.  Go figure.

After discovering that all of the bridges in town have been closed off and our little gang is trapped on the wrong side of all of them, Rei and Takashi are reunited with their buddies from the bus.  Naked bath scenes with large breasted bimbos ensue.  Again, I wonder at the intelligence of these characters as they cavort loudly and drunkenly with hordes of the undead searching for a snack just outside of their bathroom.  Since there isn’t really a plot, whatever, we’ll just go whichever way the rubber ducky floats.

There is a rescue scene, a Hummer running over zombies scene, and even police officers firing on frantic crowds of desperate people trying to escape becoming zombie chow scene.  The bulldozer squashing everyone in its path scene only got a few measly panels, but it’s here!  Flattening anything in its path, leaving human and not-quite human pancakes in its wake!

I am not a fan of brainless horror flicks, but some people love them.  Dean will sit in front of Syfy all day long, watching Mongolian Death Worms, Mega Piranha, and Dinocroc, one right after another.  This is why I read.  I am trying to avoid having my brain cells rot during the course of a Sunday afternoon.  Still, there must be an audience for these kinds of movies, because they keep making them.  So, in theory, there must be an audience for brainless manga as well.  I am just not a part of it.  Maybe if they added naked beefcake and a sausage fest, it would be more to my liking. 

Grade:  Ughhhh!

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Jack Frost Vol 5 by JinHo Ko

 

Title: Jack Frost Vol 5

Author: JinHo Ko

Publisher: Yen Press

ISBN: 978-0316126755

Recommended for Older Teens

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

With his friends in danger, Hansen puts memories of the past behind him and squares off against his brother. Though long-dead, Der Freischütz is still a gunman to be reckoned with, but Hansen has a secret weapon in store that could turn the tables on the deadly sharpshooter. As Hansen delivers his final blow, Jack decides he’s had enough of sitting on the sidelines and does what Jack Frost does best. But victory is short-lived as the head of the East District moves his final pawns into place! What does the mastermind behind this attack have in store?

Review:

Gosh, I’m embarrassed to admit this, but some volumes of Jack Frost go right over my head.  Only the frenzied battle scenes manage to save the read for me.  If there are lots of explosions, impossibly large firearms, bullets, and blood spattering in every direction, my baser instincts emerge and can’t help but keep turning pages at a rapid rate.  It’s like driving by an accident scene; you know you shouldn’t be gawking, but you can’t help sneaking a peek as you drive by.  I consider this to be one of my worst reading weaknesses.  As long as there is a lot of action, I can usually get caught up in pretty much any series.

Which leads to my disappointment with this volume of the weird and occasionally grotesque Jack Frost.  While there is some fighting, with the requisite gunfire, bodies, and imploding buildings, the action sequences are just not as compelling as in previous outings with the demonic Jack.  He doesn’t really get to do much here.  He’s a supporting player in Hansen’s battle with his brother.  Jack does make a few cryptic remarks about the Tailor and the Mirror Image, but his comments are more of a tease than the exchange of any real information.  Boo.

Ethan from the East District makes his big move and attempts to blackmail Noh-A into joining his side.  He does a good job of it, but the whole storyline there is predictable and not very compelling, and that’s my problem with this volume.  I didn’t get caught up in the activity playing out across the panels, which made me not care who won and who lost.  I didn’t feel any emotional connection with any of the characters this time around, unlike in earlier volumes where the characters’ backstories engaged me in the read.  This time, there are just too many characters cycling throughout the volume that I found myself getting more and more detached from their individual plotlines.

Though this volume of Jack Frost left me underwhelmed, I’m still invested enough in the series to wonder what’s going to happen next.  I am hoping that this installment is the lull before an upcoming storm of epic Jack fighting.

Grade: C+

Review copy provided by publisher