I had heard about this series for a while and had meant to look at it eventually but with the Manga Moveable Feast I decided to check out the first four volumes of these series.
KCDS follows the adventures of a team of people with various supernatural powers and a few with more useful mundane powers. None of them are particularly competent but this leads to a series of odd adventures that often send them around the world and interacting with some of the less than reputable types in the world as they find corpses and try to fulfill the last wish of the person.
Within the first four volumes there is some playing with different formats for storytelling before settling on doing standalone stories with some elements of continuing plot (this is really only hinted at in the last chapter that I read) and since I only read the first four to prepare for this I can’t comment on that too much (although I did purchase the digital copy to read later). Within these books are stories that take an entire volume (vol. 2 if you want to get a long story), some that take up two of the series standard length stories (standard here being about 50 pages).
I enjoyed a lot of things about this series. The overall creepy but humorous feel of the book is really enjoyable and the characters are very fun, with each of them getting some of the focus every now and then. There is some focus on Kere Ellis, the puppet that channels the entity of an alien, but this is mainly due to the popularity of the character (in my opinion, I really like the character). All the characters have some fun quirks that make any story fun no matter what is really going on. The book is chock full of fun references to other manga and folktales, which make for a great easy way to get a feel for the characters. Luckily Carl Horn did a great job making extensive translation and editor notes that make is easy to read when you see that is a reference but you’re not sure what is going on.
There are some issues I have with the series. The first is the gore level of this very high and honestly is very realistic, for me this was off-putting but I know that some people really like this kind of thing. I suspect that this was a common issue for many people since the gore level drops as the series goes on. This is not to say that the gore isn’t there but it is less frequent. As for general story-telling issues, there is a tendency in the one part stories to have a sudden revelation when they solve the mystery and then suddenly they end the problem, there is such a rushed storytelling style to this book that it really isn’t good, however, I hope that this might be explained through the previously mentioned subtle storyline.
All-in-all I really enjoyed these four volumes, although they didn’t make the best marathon since the stories tend to be similar to each other so this might have been better to read this as a monthly or as the books were coming out. If you like a quirky black comedy this might be one to checkout. It had a great team element which can be a fun style of writing.
Would you like to read about a galaxy that is unlike any you’ve read about before? Something that involves aliens and monsters, magic and technology? Then I may just have something for you. I picked up Saga knowing I needed to read it for job purposes and expecting, based on the seemingly thoughtless hype, that I would think it mediocre at best. I loved it. This is a novel with pictures. It is not too wordy but enough so to convey the construction of a universe full of depth. I do not want to spoil it. It is worth it not to and let you discover it on your own. It is accessible to American comic readers, manga readers, and novel readers. Go pick this up and give it a try. At $2.99 for a 44-page no ad book is not exactly the direst of risks.
This ad appeared in a comic shop in Florida and will be distributed at Megacon. Now, this was not designed by DC however, it was approved and funded by them. While its bad that a comic book store would do since it might alienate customers and prevent some new people from coming in, its even worse for a giant in the comics industry is attacking the small fries in the industry. I know that some of you might say that I thought it was cool that IDW was doing a similar promotion with 30 Days of Night and Twilight but that was a smaller franchise attacking a bigger one. Continue Reading
This week there were two big pieces of anime/manga news that really caught my eye. One is fairly old now (in the world of news but I haven’t really given my comments so, I figured I could still do it here) and the other is newer and could have a bigger effect on the medium in the long run.
Sadly, I cannot post my reference material here since it has been taken down from YouTube. This video was the trailer (or test footage, I my opinion) of Kenji Kamiyama’s (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Eden of the East) was working on a theatrical version of Cyborg 009 that would be 009 Re: Cyborg. See these headlines really got me excited, I enjoyed GitS and am enjoying EotE. Way back when Cartoon Network showed the recent (well 2001) anime. I have the DVDs for this and will get to it someday (I have to the be the worst about watching things, but this blog keeps me from watching and reading things, hahaha). I really hope that people saw this video but given that it has now been listed as private, I don’t know if you will see the original trailer (below I’ve included a fan modification of the trailer with music from the 1960s anime). The original music really didn’t excite me too much. There are moments in this trailer that remind a lot of Kamiyama’s other works and I think that if he can do his thing with this (the original story of Cyborg 009 can be modernized well by him). I do not like this animation style whatsoever. I think it takes the best of both CG and tradition styles and forgets about them and creates a very awkward form. Part of me says that this might not be the final product and the end product could be very different. Also, even if this is a production trailer it might be only trying to show the character design (which I think looks really ugly, and doesn’t make the transition well). My hope is that this gets switched to traditional animation but I don’t think this will happen. Only time will tell and I hope that this makes its way over here in 2012/2013.
Second bit of news is that Singapore has decided on the film that it will submit to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. The choice was Tatsumi, which was based on Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life and other short stories. This is only the first step in what may help this film see a “wide” release. This is not saying the film is nominated but it means that there is a chance it will be nominated. I am now expert on international film at all so I cannot even speculate on its chances. I am not keeping my hopes up, last year Summer Wars failed to be nominated for Best Animated Picture and there has only been one animated piece ever nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. The trailer I saw really captured the style of Tatsumi and I hope to see this make it to the States in some form. The trailer and a video with the staff are included in the news article. My realistic hope is that this gets shown at films festivals next year so that it can get some press and maybe make it big.
Recently Kodansha USA released the first volumes of both Codename Sailor V and Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi. Both of these comics are very similar. This should come as no surprise given that they were published in the same year and are part the same universe. Now it happens that Sailor Moon is a follow-up, not really a sequel, to Sailor V. I’m going to start with my review of Sailor V and move on to Sailor Moon
Sailor V is the tale of a ditzy, clutzy Japanese girl named Minako Aino who meets a white cat with a crescent shaped bald-spot on its forehead, Artemis (a male, don’t worry that gets mentioned). He acts as Aino’s mentor during the volume as she learns her abilities and duties as Sailor V/Sailor Venus, both are used, my lazy rule is she is V when wearing a mask and Venus when not wearing a mask. There are eight chapters and seven stories in this book (one story is over two chapters). Throughout the book she must fight the Dark Agency who is trying to collect energy from people through various ploys like creating pop idols or stealing the joy of people of vacation. This works out to create a very monster of the week story that got old really quickly, if I didn’t want to write this review I would have given up about half-way through. Even after reading the whole book, it didn’t get particularly better.
I am glad that this got released at some point for the fans of the franchise but at least it isn’t all that long (only 2 volumes). Beyond just the story of Sailor V the translation had a lot of things that I am not a fan of. There was extensive use of honorifics after too many names. Even after all these years of anime and manga they still take me out of the work. For me the point of translation and adaptation, you want to read it as if they were speaking English. I understand that many fans disagree with me on this but please find another way instead of using sempai and other words, there should be little need for translation notes especially when you are leaving words untranslated. My final verdict is that I will be picking up volume 2 because it is the last volume of the series and that will lead into Sailor Moon which was significantly better.
Sailor V is the tale of a ditzy, clutzy Japanese girl named Usagi Tsukino who meets a black cat with a crescent shaped bald-spot on its forehead, Luna (a female). Yes you read that right I just Mad Libbed the first sentence of the previous review to create the start of this one. The similarities extend to other parts of the plot, in this case the villains are also seeking energy. However, there are a few key differences. In Sailor Moon there is also an element of team formation that is present throughout the volume. This at least allows for some development and interplay of characters (although this is fairly minimal). Also there are few items that are being sought after and often they will follow leads to other objects that end up not being what they want. When comparing this to Sailor V, the book is a little more fun and easy going. This is a significant improvement over the earlier work. The translation issues are not nearly as prevalent as they were in Sailor V, almost the point where I didn’t notice. There is more of a building plot with the quest for the gem and trying to find out more about Tuxedo Mask.
I will be reading Sailor Moon for a while and I hope that it remains enjoyable.