Stan Lee’s Ultimo in Sept. Shonen Jump

The ultimate East meets West collaboration is finally coming to our shores in the form of Ultimo. This is the product of Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man and the X-Men, and Hiroyuki Takei, the creator of Shaman King.

So what’s this Ultimo story about anyway? From the Viz website:

“High above Farmless City, citizens are stunned by the sudden appearance of two floating figures. Are they human boys, monolithic robots, or something much more strange? As the battle ensues between them, destruction and devastation falls on the hapless city. One figure is Vice, and seems to be as evil as his name implies. The other is Ultimo, intent on trying to stop Vice from wreaking more havoc. ” Continue reading “Stan Lee’s Ultimo in Sept. Shonen Jump”

Review: Sanctuary, Vol 1

If your perception of manga is based solely on the types of titles you find on the shelves of your local chain bookstore you’re missing the whole picture. Contrary to the abundance of yaoi, shojo and shonen comics on the shelves, there’s actually a large subset of manga that tells stories of a darker, more ominous nature.

Sho Fumimura’s and Ryoichi Ikegami’s Sanctuary is just such a comic. This isn’t something for the Strawberry Marshmallow or Naruto crowd. Sanctuary is a manga made strictly for adults. Don’t expect a hentai but don’t expect Fumimura-san or Ikegami-san to pull any punches either.

The story follows the lives of a young yakuza named Akira Hojo and a young politician named Chiaki Asami. After surviving the killing fields of Cambodia the two escaped to Thailand and eventually to Japan. Their plan is to transform Japan from the ground up on two different sides of the law. Hojo works to change society through the underworld life of a mobster while Asami works his change through the established channels of the Diet. Continue reading “Review: Sanctuary, Vol 1”

Vampire Knight

I found out recently that I wasn’t the only 12 year old girl obsessed with what some poor mother called “the vampire books”… Seeing as I’m not 12 anymore and I still have a thing for vamps, I think that some girls don’t just “grow out of it.”

For example, a couple of weeks ago, I devoured all of Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino—at least all of it that I could find in English.

VK is about an interesting boarding high school called Cross Academy that caters to “Day Class” students (regular humans) and “Night Class” students (vampires), complete with Sun Dorm and Moon Dorm. (Can you guess which class stays in which dorm?) Day and Night students aren’t really supposed to interact, since the school is an experiment in human/vamp co-habitation, and they don’t except when classes change at around 4 PM every day.

Continue reading “Vampire Knight”

Battle Angel Alita

This was one of the first manga I ever purchased when I was beginning to explore the genre. I told myself I would carry on with the other volumes of the series but, sadly, I never picked up another volume.

The story centers on Ido Daisuke and an essentially dormant (but living) brain encased in the cybernetic refuse of a head and upper torso that Daisuke finds in the giant scrapyard beneath the enormous floating city of Tiphares (named Salem in the original Japanese series). She is soon awake but has lost all of her memories, so Daisuke christens her Alita (Gally) after his recently deceased cat. Continue reading “Battle Angel Alita”

Kosher Kuts: D. Gray-man

D. Gray-man is essentially a gothic version of the X-Men. The idea has some initial originality. A dark undertone to a classic idea can provide new ground to explore in the action superhero genre. However, the foundation of the team and the plot must be strong to keep the series from sinking into banality. These sentiments are the deciding factors when you read through D. Gray-man.

The aforementioned plot of D. Gray-man has a Zoroastrian bent to it. There are people around the world who possess a super-human power called “Innocence.” An organization called the Black Order is trying to find these people and recruit them to become exorcists. Exorcists are supposed to defend humans from an elf-like creature called the Earl of the Millenium, which is attempting to destroy all humans who utilize Innocence (and thus to bring about the end of the world). He has his own group of human followers and manufactures beasts called Akuma with the souls of dead people whose loved ones want them to live again. In doing so, the Earl fulfills the wishes of humans, but damns the souls of the dead. The exorcists use their powers to save the Akuma from damnation and to protect Innocence. Continue reading “Kosher Kuts: D. Gray-man”

Deathnote: The Good and The Bad

The Good

This week, I take you into the world of Deathnote. Here in our Western culture, we have our personification of death in the “Grim Reaper,” that famous guy dressed in black and with a scythe.

For those of you unfamiliar with traditional Japanese culture, their icons for death are gods (plural) of death, called Shinigami. Just as there are many different vampire legends in the West, so too are there different views of Shinigami in the East. In Deathnote, the Shinigami live in a world separate from ours, on a different plane of existence, watching our actions and—every once in a while—coming to our world … to collect. Continue reading “Deathnote: The Good and The Bad”

Kosher Kuts: Eyeshield 21

Japanese manga and American football: can two different tastes taste great together? Both forms of entertainment have their rabid devotees and people who indulge in fantasy scenarios with their favorites, but the similarities basically end there. Well, Riichiro Inagaki and Yusuke Murate apparently felt the gap should be bridged between the two mutually-exclusive fanbases and created Eyeshield 21. It began publication in Weekly Shonen Jump in 2002 and has since come stateside courtesy of Viz Media. There is also an anime version of the running that is sponsored by NFL Japan. There is no information yet about the anime coming to the United States.

The focus of Eyeshield 21 is Sena, a freshman at Deimon High School who tends to get bullied into running errands for people. Apparently, this constant harassment since childhood has provided Sena a pair of “Golden Legs”. Sena’s speed gets the attention of the school’s only two regulars of the high school’s football team, who recruit him on the spot as a running back. In order to mask Sena’s identity from rival teams and his over-protective friend, it is suggested that he wear an eyeshield with his helmet to completely cover his face. Sena is given a uniform with the number 21 on it and the saga of the Deimon Devil Bats football team begins.

Continue reading “Kosher Kuts: Eyeshield 21”


By Ed Kidhardt

Imagine if you will, dear reader, you are a high school senior living in a tiny town in Japan. You’ve just started dating a clumsy (yet cute) girl who apologizes for everything she does, like walking slow or reading comics. You truly have feelings for her, but every time you try to tell her you end up yelling at her, eventually making her cry.

After three awkward weeks of this, your town is attacked by an unknown air force. During the strike you run outside and who should appear from the sky but your girlfriend – her arm transformed into an automatic rifle and metal wings sprouting from her back.

You slowly embrace your destroying angel, and she starts to cry. Continue reading “Saikano”