Viz Media Gets in the Christmas Spirit with the Launch of Sweet Rein

{Editor’s Note: The guy is a reindeer.  Say what?!  Okay, I have to read this.}

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VIZ MEDIA GETS IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT WITH THE LAUNCH OF THE NEW SHOJO MANGA SERIES SWEET REIN

A Girl Takes On The Role Of Santa Claus With A Cute Boy Who Also Happens To Be An Enchanted Reindeer In A New Magical Romance

San Francisco, CA, November 1, 2013 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga & anime in North America, delivers a nod towards Christmas with the release of SWEET REIN Volume 1 on November 5th. The new manga (graphic novel) fantasy series by creator Sakura Tsukuba arrives from the Shojo Beat imprint in time for the start of holiday season, is rated ‘T’ for Teens, and will carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

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Manga Review: Bleach Vol 3 by Tite Kubo

 

Bleach, Vol. 3: Memories in the Rain

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Sorry for the long break between volumes of Bleach.  The Viz Manga app wasn’t working on my Kindle Fire for some reason.  I deleted it and re-installed it, and that made things even worse. Then today, several weeks later,  I tried to use it again, and – viola!  It worked again!  I thought technology was supposed to make things easier, not more confusing!

I loved this volume!  It gives so much insight into Ichigo’s character.  On the anniversary of his mother’s death, his family visits her grave, and Ichigo is forced to remember the terrible day that she was killed.  He blames himself for her death, and when a Hallow attacks his sisters, he realizes it’s the same spirit that killed his mother.  He’s enraged and determined to kill the Grand Fisher, even though he’s hopelessly overpowered by the evil being.

The reason I like this series so much is pretty much summed up by this volume.  Ichigo will do anything to protect his family, even sacrifice himself, without a second thought.  As the facts of his mother’s death are slowly revealed, one little tidbit at a time, we learn what Ichigo was like before her death, and how his guilt changed him.  He is consumed by his inability to protect his mother, and now he’s allowed the Hallow to injure his sisters.  With his new Soul Reaper powers, he’s got a fighting chance to do what he couldn’t do in the past.  The Hallow mocks him for being impulsive and for allowing his emotions to get the best of him, but these are the qualities that give Ichigo his strength.  With his limitless compassion and desire to do what’s right, he is able to tap into a limitless wellspring of strength.  He faces his own regrets, and asks Rukia to let him keep her Soul Reaper powers for a while longer, so he can protect those who are weak and in need of help.  This is the first time that he acknowledges that he has a greater duty to save others, and his reluctance to destroy Hallows disappears.

I like Bleach because Ichigo is a good guy (this is also why I like Kekkaishi and Kenshin).  He has manufactured a tough guy image, but deep down, he is a knight in shining armor.  He wants to help and he wants to protect, even if it means putting himself in danger.  How can you not like a guy who is willing to do that?

This volume continues to improve on the series, and I am looking forward to reading Volume 4!

Grade:  A-

From Amazon:

Ichigo Kurosaki was a little boy when his mother passed away. One rainy day, Ichigo, whose ability top see the undead is a blessing and curse, tried to stop young girl from drowning in a nearby river. His mother, Masaki, ran after them, frantically trying to rescue her only son. Then everything went black, and Ichigo awoke only to discover his mother dead and the little girl gone.

It’s the anniversary of Masaki’s death, and the entire Kurosaki clan, along with former Soul Reaper Rukia Kuchiki, head to the cemetary to pay their respects. Sleeping demons rarely ever stay still and pretty soon Ichigo confronts the Grand Fisher, the Hollow that may be responsible for his mother’s demise.

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Bleach Vol 2 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol. 2

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Immediately after checking into the Kurosaki Clinic with a mysterious scar on his back, the muscle-bound Chad goes AWOL. Accompanying Chad is a talking parakeet imbued with the soul of a young boy named Y?ichi. It doesn’t take newbie Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki long to surmise that a Hollow must be involved. By far the strongest spirit he’s faced to date, Ichigo is about to discover that not every soul is bound for the Soul Society, especially if it’s tainted with innocent blood

Review:

I loved this volume of Bleach!  Picking up right where the first volume left off, Chad  is in oodles of trouble because of a possessed parakeet.  Housing the soul of the a young boy, Chad has promised to keep him safe, unaware that a Hallow is hot on their heels.  It’s a good thing that Chad is a strong, sturdy fellow, because the evil spirit does its level best to thoroughly annihilate him.  Rukia tries to race to the rescue, but without her Soul Reaper powers, she’s even more helpless than Chad and the parakeet!  Ichigo is temporarily out of the picture.  His sister Karin is very ill, and he’s been tasked with seeing her home safely.  Will he get to Rukia and Chad in time to save the day?

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[PR] Viz Manga Titles Coming to a Kindle Near You!!

{Ed. I’m excited about this.  It’s so much easier to click the buy button on Amazon, compared to over at Viz.  One click, and there’s your manga.  How simple is that?  Probably too simple for my wallet!} 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VIZ MEDIA LAUNCHES EXTENSIVE DIGITAL MANGA CATALOG ON AMAZON KINDLE STORE

The Largest And Most Diverse Digital Manga Collection, With More Than 1,500 Volumes Across 160 Series Is Now Available!

San Francisco, CA, October 1, 2013 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, has announced the availability of its entire digital manga (graphic novel) catalog for Amazon Kindle devices, including Kindle Fire tablets and the new Kindle Paperwhite, beginning today. Users of the world’s best-selling e-reader now have instant access via the Kindle Store to an extensive digital library featuring over 1,500 manga volumes constituting more than 160 different series.

Volumes are available for purchase and immediate download in the U.S. and Canada from the Kindle Store for generally $6.99 (U.S. / CAN) each. New series as well as updates to numerous ongoing titles will be added each week. VIZ Media has also synchronized its digital publishing schedule so that future Kindle Store manga titles will have near-simultaneous domestic digital release that coincides with their print counterparts.

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Review: Midnight Secretary Vol 1 by Tomu Ohmi

 

Title: Midnight Secretary Vol 1

Author:  Tomu Ohmi

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Mad Men meets Vampire Diaries

Kaya Satozuka prides herself on being an excellent secretary and a consummate professional, so she doesn’t even bat an eye when she’s reassigned to the office of her company’s difficult director, Kyohei Touma. He’s as prickly—and hot—as rumors paint him, but Kaya is unfazed…until she discovers that he’s a vampire!!Kaya quickly accustoms herself to scheduling his “dinner dates” and working odd hours, but can she handle it when Kyohei’s smoldering gaze starts turning her way?!


Review:

Midnight Secretary is a very fun, fluffy read.  I wasn’t expecting much from it, and I wasn’t really in the mood for it, so I kept shuffling it from the top of my reading pile, and now I’m sorry I did.  Once I got it in my hands, the cover kind of turned me off.  I don’t find it appealing at all, so here is another instance where I misjudged the book by it’s cover.

Kaya takes pride in her job, and she wants to be the best executive secretary possible so she can get a great job, and so her mom won’t have to work so hard.  After her father died, her mother got a job at Tohma Corporation, and she worked hard to put Kaya through school.  She even helped get her a job at Tohma, and now that Kaya is getting her big break, she’s going to make her mother proud.  The big break turns out to be a mixed blessing.  She’s assigned to be Kyohei Tohma’s secretary.  Kyohei is the younger son of the senior director, and he’s a jerk.  He is a demanding boss, who works long hours, and his exacting expectations have caused countless secretaries to quit.  Kaya is determined to succeed, though, but his dismissive attitude is hard to deal with.

Kyohei has a reputation for being a ladies man, and Kaya quickly discovers that this is true.  He juggles the ladies with consummate skill, arranging meetings with them in his office after dark.  He is quick to disparage Kaya’s looks, and he grumpily complains that she’s not good looking enough to work for him.  Kaya ignores every complaint and quickly proves that she is efficient and dedicated to her job.  When she suspects that Kyohei and his girlfriends are using drugs in the office, she doesn’t hesitate to get to the bottom of her suspicions.  She’s afraid that if there is illegal drug use going on that he’ll get caught, the company will suffer, and she’ll lose her job.  What she discovers is that he’s a vampire, and that the hanky panky in his office  is Kyohei drinking the blood of his beautiful lady friends.  The illegal drug use would probably have been more welcome than working for a blood-sucking playboy!

I enjoyed Midnight Secretary because Kaya is so unflappable.  She takes the discovery that her boss is a vampire in stride, and quickly decides that she’s going to defend his secret and make sure that he is taken care of so that he can continue to perform his job duties.  Well, that and he’s threatened to have her mother fired if  Kaya quits, so she doesn’t really have much choice.  Meeting every challenge that he throws at her head-on, Kaya quickly proves that she is indispensible.  Despite Kyohei’s gruffness, she can’t help but find him attractive, especially after his secret weakness is revealed and he is forced to drink her blood.

The art is very attractive and reminded me of Mayu Shinjo.  The delicate lines are expressive, and the characters are attractive, even Kaya, who hides her baby face behind ugly glasses and a severe hair style.Midnight Secretary is fun and flirty, and I can’t wait to read the next volume. 

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Bleach Vol 1 by Tite Kubo

 

Title: Bleach Vol 1

Author:  Tite Kubo

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Hot-tempered 15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki, the hero of the popular fantasy-adventure Bleach, has the unsettling ability to see spirits who are unable to rest in peace. His sixth sense leads him to Rukia, a Soul Reaper who destroys Hollows (soul-devouring monsters) and ensures the deceased find repose with the Soul Society. When she’s injured in battle, Rukia transfers her sword and much of her power to Ichigo, whose spiritual energy makes him a formidable substitute Soul Reaper. But the orange-haired teenager isn’t sure he wants the job: too many risks and moral dilemmas.


Review:

Bleach is one of my favorite series, and I realized with a great deal of dismay that I am far, far behind in my reading of this title.  I don’t think I’ve reviewed many of the volumes, so I opted to take advantage of a comp copy through Vizmanga.com to reacquaint myself with Ichigo, Rukia, and the rest of the gang.  This is a very fun series that features a ton of action, surprisingly touching emotions, and fan favorite protagonists in both Ichigo and Ruikia.  If you enjoyed The Ghost and the Goth or The Curse Workers by Holly Black, I think you should give Bleach a try.  Admittedly, the length of the series is daunting, and it’s still being published, but there are enough volumes released in English that you can read it in manageable chunks by utilizing online sales and trips to the library. 

Ichigo Kurosaki is 15 years old and he can see ghosts.  His sisters can too, though all they can see are faint outlines.  Ichigo can see, touch, talk to, and channel these pesky spirits that he thinks are a pain in the butt.  He just wants to be left alone to mind his own business but NOPE!  That’s not happening.  Ichigo also has a high moral obligation to help anyone in trouble, even those troublesome ghosts.  When an evil spirit threatens to hurt his family, he’s forced to borrow Soul Reaper powers from Rukia, a Soul Reaper who was badly injured saving his bacon.  Too hurt to fight, she offers to lend Ichigo half of her dark powers so he can save his family.  She’s dismayed to discover that he’s so spiritually powerful that he steals all of them, and now she can’t get them back!

I love the relationship between Ichigo and Rukia.  Their back and forth banter is humorous and full of snark.  While Ichigo isn’t exactly disrespectful, he doesn’t understand the need to put himself in danger, fighting the Hollows, regardless of the obligation he acquired when he snatched away all of Rukia’s power.  When the chips are down, though, her forceful prodding  makes him realize how important a Soul Reaper’s duties are.  If he doesn’t take care of the restless spirits, they will eventually turn into Hollows, and once they become these evil monsters, they lose their last shred of humanity.  There is no going back, and the Hollows have an insatiable need to feed on souls.   Rukia put her life at risk to save Ichigo and his family, so he acknowledges that he has a duty to help Rukia until she can figure out a way to get her powers back.

Ichigo is one of my favorite characters because he can’t stand to see an injustice and not want to correct it.  He and One Piece’s Luffy have a lot in common. Both of them will give their heart and soul, not to mention their life, to defend those needing help.  They are white knights in attitude.  Ichigo can’t turn his back on bullying, or just stand by when someone is about to get hurt.  He’s not perfect, and there are many times when he should learn to keep his mouth shut, but he can’t do it.  He is fiercely devoted to his friends and family, and he won’t let anyone hurt them.  Now that he’s a Soul Reaper by default, he can’t ignore when a soul is in danger, either.

The first volume of Bleach is fast-paced, brimming with frantic action, yet it doesn’t let the characters and their interactions take a back seat to all of the fighting.  That is what I enjoy most about Bleach.  The character come to life for me, and I so badly want Ichigo to master his new powers so he doesn’t come to harm.  It’s hard watching such a likeable guy getting the crap beat out of him, even though I have few doubts that he’ll always persevere.  That assurance is the main appeal of manga for me.  I know that even as the protagonists are facing certain doom, they will eventually find a solution to all of their problems.  Reading along as they figure that out is what makes reading them so rewarding.

Grade:  A-

Review copy provided by publisher

[PR] Get Your Manga Fix! VIZ Manga Digital Releases for September!

{ED – Basara rocks, so if you haven’t read it yet, check out the free sample at Vizmanga.com}

September 17, 2013

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES DIGITAL MANGA UPDATES FOR SEPTEMBER

Shojo Manga Titles BABY & ME, BASARA, DOUBT!, THE MAGIC TOUCH, MIDNIGHT SECRETARY, SUGAR PRINCESS: SKATING TO WIN, And W. JULIET Make Their North American Digital Debut Along With Updates To More Than 30 Other Existing Series

VIZ Media delivers a substantial digital manga (graphic novel) update for the month of September featuring a host of new titles on VIZManga.com and available for digital download through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, and also for NOOK tablets and devices.

A trio of new shojo manga series that are available now include creator Yumi Tamura’s celebrated classic, BASARA (Vols. 1-2 available), as well as the dark romance of MIDNIGHT SECRETARY, and the on-the-ice drama of SUGAR PRINCESS: SKATING TO WIN. The second-half of this month offers the launch of four additional shojo series including BABY & ME, DOUBT!, THE MAGIC TOUCH, and W. JULIET (Vols. 1-2 available).

More than 30 other acclaimed series also feature new monthly updates. Many are available now! Don’t miss notable multi-volume weekly updates for fan favorites such as CASE CLOSED, HANA KIMI, SKIP BEAT and YU-GI-OH! DUELIST.

New September Titles Available Now Include:

BASARA Vols. 1-2 · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens!

Born under a prophecy that will liberate and unite Japan, Sarasa has had to take her brother Tatara’s place as the "Boy of Destiny." Fighting for the oppressed, Sarasa journeys across Japan to gain allies and defeat her enemies – all while keeping her identity a secret! BASARA creator Yumi Tamura broke into the manga world with a bang, winning the 1983 Shogakukan Grand Prize for new artists. She has gone on to write many extremely popular shojo manga stories such as the hit series, There Goes Tomoe, That Summer has Ended, and X-DAY. But the title that solidified her reputation as a top shojo manga artist was the breakthrough fantasy/action manga smash hit, BASARA. Always one to experiment in action/adventure formats, CHICAGO (also available from VIZ Media) is Tamura’s latest completed work.

MIDNIGHT SECRETARY Vol. 1 · Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers

Kaya Satozuka prides herself on being an excellent secretary and a consummate professional, so she doesn’t even bat an eye when she’s reassigned to the office of her company’s difficult director, Kyohei Touma. He’s as prickly – and hot – as rumors paint him, but Kaya is unfazed… until she discovers that he’s a vampire!! Manga creator Tomu Ohmi debuted in 2000 with the romantic supernatural series, Let’s Make Forbidden Love. Her series, MIDNIGHT SECRETARY, also ran in the popular Japanese shojo magazine, Petit Comic.

SUGAR PRINCESS: SKATING TO WIN Vol. 1 · Rated ‘A’ for All Ages

When ice-skating novice Maya Kurinoki lands a double axel for the first time, coach Eishi Todo sees her potential and vows to make her a figure skating "princess." All Maya has to do is convince famous skater Shun Kano to become her partner. Too bad Shun doesn’t want to have anything to do with her!

New Series Launching September 17th:

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[PR] VIZ Media Announces Return of Ranma ½ To North America!

{ED – Ranma 1/2 is the series that got me hooked on anime and manga.  It was so different from anything that I had seen before, and I still love it.  It’s a fun show, so if you haven’t seen it, check it out!}

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE RETURN OF THE CLASSIC SERIES RANMA ½ TO NORTH AMERICA

Legendary Martial Arts-Action-Adventure-Comedy Manga Created By Rumiko Takahashi Debuts In 2-in-1 Editions Spring 2014; Anime Launches Today On VIZAnime.com; Neon Alley, Blu-ray And DVD Debuts Coming Soon

San Francisco, CA, September 11, 2013 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, has announced the return of one of the genre’s most celebrated manga and anime properties – RANMA ½.

RANMA ½ is a renowned martial arts action-adventure manga (graphic novel) series created by Rumiko Takahashi. The manga series was a staple of the VIZ Media catalog for over 14 years and remains one of the company’s longest-running titles and one of the longest-running manga series in North America. VIZ Media plans to begin publishing the RANMA ½ manga series (rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens) in new 2-in-1 omnibus editions featuring the original right-to-left reading format for the first time ever in early 2014.

VIZ Media today also launches the smash-hit RANMA ½ (subtitled, rated TV-14) anime series on its VIZAnime.com streaming service as well as on Hulu. The series will debut on its Neon Alley anime channel this fall (dubbed), and will be available on DVD and, for the first time ever, Blu-ray box set editions next year.

To celebrate the return of RANMA ½, VIZ Media is planning a variety of booth activities and special programming scheduled for the 2013 New York Comic-Con, taking place October 10-13 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. More details will be announced shortly.

Ranma Saotome never thought a martial arts training mission to China would turn out like this! Due to an unfortunate accident at the cursed Chinese training ground Jusenkyo, when Ranma and his father get splashed with cold water, papa turns into a giant panda and male Ranma becomes a buxom young woman! Hot water reverses the effect, but only until the next time! Constantly chased by battle-happy martial artists and lovesick suitors of both sexes, what’s a half-boy, half-girl martial artist to do?

“A groundbreaking story with eccentric characters, martial arts mayhem, and quirky romantic subplots, RANMA ½ is a zany adventure that has thrilled generations of fans with its colorful mix of action, romance and screwball comedy,” says Leyla Aker, Vice President, Publishing. “We’re delighted to deliver this classic manga series to a new legion of North American fans this spring in 2-in-1 editions presented in right-to-left format for the first time.”

“RANMA ½ also introduced many influential artists to manga and anime fandom, and it remains a celebrated piece of the genre’s history,” adds Brian Ige, VIZ Media Vice President of Animation. “The addition of the anime series to our extensive digital catalog will present these acclaimed episodes in an entirely new way and allow fans to take advantage of the convenience and flexibility that VIZAnime and Neon Alley offer. Fans can also look forward to the hi-definition Blu-ray and DVD release this spring!”

Rumiko Takahashi is one of Japan’s most prolific and respected manga artists and is the creator of several long running series including MAISON IKKOKU, RANMA 1/2, and INUYASHA – all published in North America by VIZ Media. The spotlight on her prolific career began in 1978 when she won an honorable mention in Shogakukan’s annual New Comic Artist Contest for Those Selfish Aliens. Later that same year, her boy-meets-alien comedy series, Urusei Yatsura, was serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday. This phenomenally successful manga series was adapted into anime format and also spawned a TV series and half a dozen theatrical-release movies, all incredibly popular. Takahashi followed up the success of her debut series with one blockbuster hit after another— MAISON IKKOKU ran from 1980 to 1987, RANMA ½ from 1987 to 1996, and INUYASHA from 1996 to 2008. Other notable works include MERMAID SAGA, RUMIC THEATER, ONE-POUND GOSPEL, and RIN-NE (all also published in North America by VIZ Media).

For more information on Rumiko Takahashi titles by VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

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 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.