Hajime no Ippo manga is pretty epic.

6 07 2009


I never thought I could become a big fan of a sports manga, much less a boxing manga, but here I am trying to burn through 800+ chapters of Hajime no Ippo.

I would like you to imagine my friend. This friend of mine is tall, burly, and if that isn’t manly enough for you, sports a rugged beard. He enjoys anime like the rest of us here, but is especially well-known for his great devotion to all things manly and gar. So when he first introduced Hajime no Ippo to me, I imagined testosterone-filled slugfests with sweaty men and quite a few crude jokes.

And boy, was I right! (Well, not as many crude jokes as I thought, but they’re there.)

But it really is a lot more than that. As with all long-running series, the manga has a huge cast, and the way the whole cast interacts is wonderful and charming. The manly slugfests aren’t simply people duking it out in the ring, but involves quite a bit of strategy and tactics. I don’t know much about boxing, so I don’t know how accurate the depiction is…but I’ve certainly learned quite a few boxing terms. And the matches at the beginning start off pretty good, but the fights get intensely EPIC later on in the series. My heart can’t help but beat faster when I imagine the boxing ring, the gong ringing, and the cheers of a gigantic audience.

The manga’s not perfect, of course. In certain fights, the referee is oblivious to blatant fouls that everyone else seems to notice. (Oh well, the characters get over it pretty easily anyway.) The main character suffers from the standard shounen ailment of having a love interest but never actually GETTING anywhere with her. And at some points, it’s all too easy to predict the storyline. (But, the manga would be dumb if the main character kept losing matches, right?) Of course, it’s never predictable enough to get me bored–there are quite a few plot twists during fights and each fight has something unique. Even if I go in thinking “Ippo’s going to win this fight,” I can’t help but be on edge through the entire thing. The manga-ka really does have a way of making me feel like I’m watching an actual sport. In the end, Hajime no Ippo tells a very enjoyable story. Check it out if you like getting pumped up.

Maybe I should read more sports manga now. I’ll grow a rugged beard while I’m at it–wouldn’t mind feeling a little manlier.

~eNamorD (by the thrill of a comeback KO)


Manga: Boku ni Natta Watashi

15 04 2009

Manga reviews aren’t really my thing, but since Tekky is currently caught in a whirlpool of his own procrastination, I thought I’d fill the silence with something short about a manga I found recently.

Boku ni Natta Watashi (translated something like “When I Became a He”) is a five-volume shoujo manga about a girl named Takanashi Momoko, who, when her twin brother Akira’s running away from home threatens to lose his spot at an elite boys’ academy, is forced by her mother to disguise herself as a boy and take his place.  Because the description I read said something about “surrounded by gorgeous guys,” I thought it would be a reverse harem, but it’s actually a straightforward romance – Momoko’s secret is discovered by her handsome roommate, Itou Kunio, almost right away, and their relationship begins soon after.  The story is more or less about their trials and tribulations as a couple.

It seems like a pretty normal shoujo manga, right?  And then you get to the part where Momoko confesses to Itou:



Note that this is not an ecchi manga!  I was completely blindsided.  Now, I am allowing for the possibility that this is a quirk of translation and that the actual line was “love slave,” which…has the same implications but at least doesn’t have the innocent virgin Momoko (who later in the series hesitates seriously about having sex with Itou) explicitly asking the guy she likes to make her his bitch.  But still, I think that this wins Boku ni Natta Watashi the Menma Prize for Worst Confession in a Shoujo Manga Ever.  I don’t hand those out like candy, you know! Read the rest of this entry »

TRC Chapters 215-216 *SPOILERS*

23 03 2009

So I finally found the time to catch up on manga and I was not disappointed by the latest Tsubasa chapter. The previous chapters have been heaping suspense upon suspense especially with Yuuko’s appearance and her disappearance in xxxHolic. We find that the Syaoran and Sakura we saw in the beginning of the series trapped in the tube are in fact CCS!Syaoran and CCS!Sakura. I am somewhat both surprised and unsurprised at this revelation since that thought did come up when I first began reading TRC, but I figured with xxxHolic’s confirmation of their deaths it was impossible. By the time xxxHolic unconfirmed it, I had already forgotten about that idea. So, CCS Sakura and Syaoran are both trapped in that tube unable to touch each other as price they paid and we finally see CCS Touya and Yukito (well their backs actually) where it is said Yuuko was entrusted with CCS Sakura and Syaoran.

Did anyone feel like the recent chapters have been one WHAM after another? Considering the nature of Yuuko’s existence and Clow Reed’s significance in her state between life and death, I was seeing Clow Reed in a whole new perspective. I am also happy to see that Touya and Yukito are indeed present in xxxHolic since I found it strange that there has been no interaction with them if one takes into account their relationship with Watanuki. I also feel like we’ve gone past the point of building up to the climax and are now free falling rather than rolling down the proverbial hill/mountain with everything we’re finding out and Syaoran finally managing to take Sakura’s hand. Looking forward to the next release.

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun – Chapters 9 & 10

9 02 2009

(I’m not regularly gonna do manga reviews, only on occasion when I feel a chapter is worth discussing, and I have enough time and motivation)

For those of you who don’t know, the manga version of To Aru Majutsu no Index has a spin-off called To Aru Kagaku no Railgun (eng. “A Certain Scientific Railgun”).  As the title suggests, the spin-off centers on Misaka, Kuroko, and various cases involving espers in Academy City.  In this version, Touma is a side character, similar to what Misaka is in Index.

Chapters 9 and 10 continues the ongoing investigation into the “level-upper”, a technology that supposedly increases an esper’s level instantaneously (with adverse side-effects).  These chapters highlight Kuroko in a way that Index never did, and well…

I will NEVER look at the teleport ability the same way again...

In Index, Kuroko was nothing but a nosy friend of Misaka.  But after these chapters, I can’t help but appreciate her.   She isn’t a level 4 esper and a member of JUDGEMENT for nothing.

Just something I noticed (and so did probably a lot of other people): there is a lot of parallelism between this story and the steroids scandals today.  Just think about it
– esper-level <=> skills/talent
– level-upper <=> Steroids/drugs 

These chapters cemented, in my mind, that Railgun is a better manga than Index.  It’s something I noticed recently in the anime (and my growing dissatisfaction with it), so I’ll probably mention it again once it finishes.  The first few arcs set up an epic battle between science and religion, with Touma and Index caught in the middle… but it never happens.  Instead, Index falls into a pattern of having some evil mage, or esper getting involved with Touma, Touma monologuing about how this and that is wrong, and then Touma punching the evildoer.  But this isn’t the anime’s or the manga’s fault at all. The fault lies in the source material, the light novel.  The light novel was written in that pattern, and 16 volumes/arcs later, nothing has changed.

While this “case study” approach fails in Index it works remarkably well with Railgun.  Probably because Railgun follows a “police-like” entity, so it ends up being like a police case-files manga. Either way, Railgun centers around my favorite character in Index so all is good. =D

*whistles* well I’m done. That post ended up being quite a bit longer then I anticipated…


Manga Review: X-Day and Last Supper

6 02 2009

Title: X-Day
Mangaka: Mizushiro Setona
Synopsis:It’s senior year, and Rika is seriously stressed out. She’s got more homework, exams, and papers than she can handle, and was recently dumped by her boyfriend. In other words: Life sucks! One day, she’s chatting online when she meets three classmates who hate school as much as she does. Together, they hatch a plan to blow up the school when no one is present. The countdown is on for X-Day … – From Tokyopop

First off, I’d like to say that this is a pretty powerful piece of work if one sits through both volumes and doesn’t skip anything. It explores relationships between people, conflicts within the human psyche and methods of escape people would employ to make reality more bearable. Rika deals with her relationship problems by presenting an unaffected front, leading her ex to call her cold and uncaring. Another classmate, Polaris, is unable to express herself when not in her gothic lolita outfit. The biology teacher, Jangalian is stalked by the superintendent’s daughter, and Mr. Money has an abusive mother whom he still cares deeply about but is crippled by a fear of women due to the abuse.

Although the four people met up to blow up their school, the story focuses on their individual problems and the breaking point of these characters as they are pushed to the limit. In fact, Rika’s first meeting with Polaris in person is to prevent her from jumping off the school’s roof. I do not believe this review does the manga justice because it truly is a very moving story that people should read if they are interested in psychological or profound manga. The characters all have problems that most readers should be able to relate to as I feel that a major point of the story is the loneliness Rika and her friends feel although they are all lonely by different means and situations.

I think for the more cynical audience, this manga may border on the emo side of things but I state once again, I found it to be a great read and it should relate well to many people.

X-day also includes a short story about a future where cows no longer exist but humans still desire beef so they engineered a creature with a cow’s DNA. This new creature looks and acts like a human except for the ears and they are treated as animals. One of the cow’s, Lamda decides that he wants more than to be food for his rancher’s family especially after they slaughtered his father figure to celebrate the first day of school of the rancher’s son. Last Supper, in keeping the mood of the main story, is also bittersweet and a profound look into human nature.

I would also like to add that the artwork in this manga is beautiful and in combination with the great story, makes for an amazing read.

Manga Review:After School Nightmare

15 01 2009

First review! I feel proud of myself ^_^

Title: After School Nightmare/Houkago Hokenshitsu
Mangaka: Mizushiro Setona
Synopsis: Like most teenagers, Ichijou Mashiro has a secret. But Mashiro’s secret is that he’s neither fully male nor female! So far, Mashiro’s been able to live his life as a boy, but all this changes when he’s informed of a new class he must take in order to graduate from his elite prep school. To pass, he must find the “Key”…and the only way to find it is to enter into a nightmare world where his body and soul are put at the mercy of the worst kind of enemies: his classmates! -From Go! Comi

At first I thought I wouldn’t like this particular manga since it feels like a pseudo shounen-ai/shoujo-ai conflict and I want it either one or the another. The summary also felt like it would belong to the smut genre. However, the premise was too interesting to pass up and the mangaka left me with a good impression with Diamond Head so I began reading it. After spending the remainder of the night finishing what was available in english and then moving on to the raws, I have to say, it did not disappoint. In fact, as the story progressed, I completely forgot I had an 8am class in a few hours and just kept reading. Character developments, plot twists, and more make this a truly great manga and will sometimes cause the deeper readers to question some of the mangaka’s takes on the meaning of life.

For those who like elements of horror but not enough to actively scare them, this is it. For those who like drama or psychological genres I recommend this too! Now onto the manga itself.

As the summary states, the main character is a student named Ichijou Mashiro who has the upper half of a male and the lower half of a female. He begins to notice that students are disappearing and the number has increased although he does not know why nor does he remember the students. The class he must past is supervised by a nurse he has never met before and the class itself  takes place in a dreamworld where students of that class compete against each other for the “key”. This key will open a door in that dream world that will allow them to graduate. Another interesting part of the dream world is that the students he meets do not look like themselves as the dream world exposes their innerselves. He meets and befriends Kureha who suffers from arrhenphobia due to a childhood trauma. He also catches the interest of a student named Mizuhashi Sou who confesses to be in love with him. It is in this dream world that Mashiro must resolve his conflicting selves as male and female while dealing with hidden agendas his classmates may have and fighting off the advances Sou makes towards him as he tries to confirm his identity as a male by dating Kureha. Meanwhile, a black moon appears to be visible only to a few students, strangely enough, it appears to students who will soon graduate.

For those who have read this story, I won’t be posting a spoiler since the translated chapters should go up soon from different groups and I don’t know how to make a cut to a separate page.