Monthly Archives: June 2011

Manga-ka of the Month – Yabuki Kentarou

YABUKI KENTAROU

(矢吹 健太朗)

June

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Pen Name: Yabuki Kentarou (矢吹健太朗)

Hometown: Kochi, Shikoku, Japan

Date of Birth: 4February 1980

Yabuki is best known for the series Black Cat which ran 20 volumes and has finished publishing in the U.S. He is also notable as the artist and collaborator on the series To Love-Ru alongside former assistant Saki Hasemi. Three of his serialised works were adapted into an animated series, namely Black Cat, To-Love-Ru and Mayoi Neko Overrun!

His mentor is the illustrator Obata Takeshi, who is famous for his works Death Note, Hikaru no Go and Bakuman to name a few.

Works

Yamato Gensōki (邪馬台幻想記) (1998 Shueisha)

Jigen Bakuju (時限爆呪) (1999 Shueisha)

Black Cat (ブラックキャット) (2000 Shueisha), Illustrator

Trans Boy (One-shot, 2004) No. 37-38 on Shounen Jump

To Love-Ru -Trouble- (To LOVEる -とらぶる- Toraburu) (2006 Shueisha), Illustrator

Mayoi Neko Overrun! (迷い猫オーバーラン!, Stray Cats Overrun!) (2010 Shueisha), Illustrator

Futagami Double (One-shot, 2009) Shounen Jump

To Love-Ru Darkness (To LOVEる -とらぶる- ダークネス) (2010 Shueisha), Illustrator Continue reading

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4-koma for Beginners? Sonna Mirai wa Uso De Aru & Wa!

As I reflect back upon this year’s spring anime, I think about the bottom 2 anime on my list – Sofutenni and A Channel. The former, I just found impossible to find interesting; and the latter I just loathed with every fibre of my being. Anyway, both have the similar trait of having 4 girls as their characters and being adapted from a 4-koma – I’ll be focusing on the 4-koma aspect here.

I’m not discriminating against 4-koma adaptations- there are some that are among my favourite (K-On! And Working!!) but I never really got down to reading the manga itself. Honestly speaking, it has quite a lot to do with the 4-koma style – the plain, 4 panel boxes and the very ordinary pacing that comes along with it. This is made especially more since I’m used to the flashy slashy jumpy panels with my shounen manga. Stories that I would usually like a lot end up being liked only a little, which I find is such a huge shame.

So I tried something kinda of 4-koma ish, but not exactly a 4-koma. I started with Sonna Mirai wa Uso De Aru, also known as That Future is a Lie.

Sonna Mirai wa Uso De Aru (そんな未来はウソである) / That Future is a Lie 

Manga-ka: Sakuraba Koharu

Genre: School life, Shounen, Supernatural

A girl who can see the future. Another girl who knows if what you’re telling is true or not. Continue reading

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One-Shot for the Weekend – Monster and Child

Monster and Child (モンスター アンド チャイルド)

Manga-ka: Okino Maho

Genre: Action, Comedy, Supernatural, Tragedy

A sad tale of a young boy (later named Vita) who comes into a solitary vampire’s life and changes him forever. The vampire, Rubiel has been craving for the end of his life, as his family have all fallen for insanity.

Published as a one-shot in 2010

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So I was at the bookshop just the other day and went over to the tween section. As usual, I was spammed with the sight of all this black and red books about – well would ya look at that! – vampires. It was all blood here, lust there, cross here, 592 pages there, whatever. And just so you know, the negative phototropism typically exhibited by vampires are only observed in creatures like cockroaches and larvae and bluebottles and maggots and all those little critters you’d rather smack and kill with your heavy Twilight book.

Honestly quite tired at this point about all the black and blood drenching the bookshelves, I turn back to manga and try to think of some nice vampire manga. I have faith in the manga/anime world – Shiki is probably the only vampire story that doesn’t make me feel like the undead. So I went through some of my previous one-shots, and found Monster and Child.

That Mr. Vampire is blatantly labelled ‘monster’ from the get go instead of being some smexy man is good enough for me. He’s got the usual depressing angst-y past like the everyday vampire, but he can actually lighten up. Instead of wallowing in what had happened before, he starts celebrating life bit by bit with the appearance of the human child. And despite all that had happened after, he was still able to move on with the lessons that he learned from the child who couldn’t even speak.

Not much different from the usual vampire story, but the change in perspective is so refreshing I could almost give it a 5/5.

But nawh.

Rating: 4.3/5.0

Have a good weekend! =D

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Figurine – Natsume Yujincho 1/8 Scale Pre-painted PVC Figure: Natsume Takashi by Alter

Product name: Natsume Yujin-Cho 1/8 Takashi Natsume Complete Figure

Manufacturer: Alter

Product Line: Altair

Original Title: Natsume Yujincho (Natsume’s Book of Friends)

Character(s): Natsume Takashi & Madara (Nyanko-sensei)

Copyright: Midorikawa Yuki, Hakusensha

Sculptor: Naoto Moriwaki & Mirano

Specifications: Complete Pre-painted PVC Figure
Size: appx. 180mm (1/8 scale)
Includes base

Release Date: 07/2010

Original Price: 7140 Yen (including tax)

From the heart-rending, nostalgic anime Natsume’s Book of Friends comes a beautiful new 1/8 scale statue of Takashi Natsume himself! Takashi, a boy born with a natural ability to see spirits, is posed on a super-detailed 3D base along with his companion, the spirit Madara, or Nyanko-sensei. Depicted taking it easy in a natural setting, everything from the ripples of the water (created with clear materials), to the moss on the tree have been faithfully reproduced. You can even detach the kimono Takashi has over his shoulder for more display possibilities.

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Wooohooo! My first ever figurine and it’s marvelous I say! Extremely happy & very satisfied! I’ve scanned the front box cover (the first pic) and other illustrations on the box since they’re gorgeous and I’m sure you’ll all love them!

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One-Shot for the Weekend – Onegai, Sensei : Altair no Koibumi

Altair no Koibumi | Altair’s Love Letter

Manga-ka: Taamo

Genre: Shoujo, Romance, Slice of life, Drama

Sueo, a countryside girl, becomes friends with Tsutsui-kun, the lonely city boy. After that, every summer he goes to see her, without fail. Sudenly, he doesn’t show up, for three years! She sends him letters, but he doesn’t reply. What’s going on?!

Published as the 2nd story in the Onegai, Sensei Anthology Tankouban by Taamo.

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This one-shot illustrates that love makes no comprimises, that it is both painful but also spectacularly beautiful. It’s a long one-shot spanning at about 60 pages and it deserves it.

The one thing I really love about it is that it ends in a very melancholy way, it’s so full of emotion. I’m not sure if some would agree with me but I think sadness can really be the most powerful emotion of all. The ending is in fact a “good” ending, but this element of sadness is consciously in the air from the beginning to the end which just leaves this profound impact.

If I were to choose one word to describe it, it would be ‘powerful,’ you don’t symphatise the characters but you feel their emotion. You don’t care about their flaws or what they’ve done wrong and if we were to ever do something for them; it would be to pray for their happiness. It’s one step beyond other love stories with it’s brilliant concept and nostalgic atmosphere.  I was on the edge of tears.

A story where childhood meets love, where no one bears witness to their everlasting devotion, but the night and the stars above. Will Vega and Altair be able to meet in the rain?

Rating: 4.9/5

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Some Autumn/Fall Anime 2011!

Yes, you can tell how impatient and eager I am for the autumn line-up seeing as the summer anime hasn’t even had a chance to start. Ah well. I’m mainly doing this post since one of my favourite manga is being adapted into an anime for the fall, and since I was at it I thought I might as well add a few others.

My main source for all the anime listed here is from Fan Sub Wiki. The other sources I cite are mostly those I found after I went through my main source; you can find articles all over but I’m not gonna cite every single friggin one I found

After writing up this whole article, I kinda feel like this fall line-up is actually a whole lot more interesting than the summer o_O

Anyway! Let’s start with the one I’m most excited about! =D

Chihayafuru

All her life, Chihaya’s dream was to see her model sister become Japan’s best… That is, until a quiet, unassuming transfer student named Arata tells her otherwise. A dream, he explains to her, is something she needs to work at herself. Arata plays a competitive version of a traditional Japanese card game–known as Hyakunin Isshu–in a way Chihaya has never seen before. After taking Arata’s place in a game, Chihaya discovers she has a passion for it. Now Chihaya wants to become number one in the world, the Queen of Karuta.

I was super excited when I found out this was being adapted into an anime. I follow the manga, and it is really, really good. Worth every single scrap of time you may or may not have. It’s about a game probably nobody outside Japan would have heard of –karuta. It doesn’t really matter to me though – I’ve read stuff like Eyeshield 21 (epiccc), Saki and Ookiku Furikabutte without understanding what the hell was going on in the first few chapters (I still didn’t understand crap about mah-jong by the end of Saki) but I still really, really enjoyed the stories. These sports manga really emphasises dedication, perseverance and teamwork – themes I really like.

So I like Chihayafuru. A lot.

Autumn Anime BANZAIII!! =D

Source Moetron

Continue reading

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Art of Animation: ‘Watch Me Move: The Animation Show’ at the Barbican Centre, London

Exciting news for Londoners and visitors! I didn’t get this news until I was watching BBC on the telly the other day.

There’s an Animation exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery from 15th of June to 11th of September. It’s one of the largest animation exhibitions featuring more than 100 years of history.

I condensed most of the information into this:

For the first time, there is an exhibition set to bring a whole variety of works featuring a history of over 100 years of animation. Many popular artists, film-makers and studios such as Walt Disney, Pixar and Studio Ghibli will be represented. I’m particular excited about Studio Ghibli since most of their work are my favourite movies! Continue reading

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