by Shannon Hochman
Many of us who grew up in the 90’s have a grudging attitude towards the new generation of anime fans that are exploring the niche in a world that makes it far more accessible than it ever was even five years ago. We resent that they peruse the likes of Naruto and Bleach without a care for any of the retro classics that helped define an entire genre. But that begs the question as to whether or not it’s really their fault. After all, you’re lucky to find a rogue copy of Paradise Kiss or something from the Tenchi meta lying around, much less something as definitive as Sailor Moon or Urusei Yatsura. Maybe it’s a little unfair to blame the uninitiated when a good number of those familiar, classic titles aren’t even in print anymore.
That’s where Dark Horse comes in, flaunting beautiful new reprints of both Cardcaptor Sakura and Chobits, two amazing series that any fan of anime and manga should have in their lexicon. Both represent high points in the career of manga powerhouse, CLAMP, a quartet of ladies who began in the realm of doujinshi (or fan comics) and continued on to revolutionize the approach to manga for everyone else. Their current projects are the parallel-running XXX-Holic and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles, which actually features many characters who appeared in older CLAMP titles.
Cardcaptor Sakura is reminiscent of a time when the magical girl category practically dominated shojo manga, though Cardcaptor went far above and beyond the call of duty. Following the exploits of a young girl named Sakura, who accidentally releases a deck of magical cards into the world and is charged with the task of collecting them again, Cardcaptor boasts lovable characters and phenomenal art. Many of the characters, such as Sakura’s brother and his best friend, have incredibly developed side stories and relationships that are sure to endear any reader, not to mention secrets that keep the plot a constantly evolving entity. The drawings are tight and detailed, with a wide array of wonderful outfits and cool monsters. The pages are all masterfully laid out, fluid and loaded with dynamic drawings. Cardcaptor is especially a must-read for younger girls looking for an involved story geared towards them: Sakura endures many situations familiar to middle school girls, such as having a first crush, or dealing with a rival who doesn’t seem to like her very much at all! At its core, Cardcaptor Sakura presents a heartfelt story with a lot of charm and soul to go around for all. Continue reading
By Mat K.
Why is it so busy? Good question, but not really the point. The delicious fact is that after last week’s short release list, this week is chock full of books for you to pick up. So lets start off with the premier titles, at least the interesting looking ones. Oh, one quick mention DARK HORSE IS REPRINTING CARDCAPTOR SAKURA. That’s right, in an omnibus edition just like they did with Clover, and Chobits. Dark Horse knows good Clamp when they see it. But I digress into my childhood. Moving on. This week we’re not just getting one, but two Haruhi Suzumiya books. The first one is The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya Volume 7, the direct continuation of the main series. And the second is Melancholy Of Suzumiya Haruhi-Chan Voulme 1. “What’s the difference?” you might ask? It’s the SOS Brigade like you’ve never seen them before! Witness the untold adventures of Haruhi Suzumiya’s quest to uncover aliens, time travelers, and espers in this cute, four-panel comedy.
Next on the list is March Story written by Hyung Min Kim and illustrated by Kyung Il Yang. Among the quiet villages and towns of 18th century Europe, demons known as the Ill hide within the most beautiful works of art, sparked to life by the torment of their creators. Attracted by their jewel-like allure, the unwary find themselves possessed by the Ill and driven to horrific acts of violence. Only the hunters of the Ciste Vihad can dispel the Ill. I have to admit, the art in this one is really nice looking. Almost looks like Godchild meets D Gray Man. Definitely potential for a fun read. Yay demons, art, and violence! Continue reading
By Mat K.
So, there is a lot of interesting stuff coming in this week, surely not the kind of week to scoff at, and definitely the kind of week in which you should just muster the energy to get out of the house and come around here. I know, I know, it’s been rainy and gray for the last week and a half. Well, get over it, a little rain never melted anyone.
So, if you’re wondering what this week’s title is talking about, let me introduce you to a promising new series called 7 Billion Needles by Nobuaki Tadano. Loosely based on Hal Clement’s golden age title Needle, this gripping homage follows the life of a teenage girl whose melancholy days are dramatically changed when her body becomes host to an alien life form caught up in an intergalactic manhunt. Always sporting her headphones to try to close out the people and the world around her, Hikaru is a somewhat reclusive teenage girl. Within her body resides another lifeform known as Ciel, a hunter in search of an intergalactic murderer intent on wiping out humanity. In 7 Billion Needles, two lives share one heart as they race to protect each other and the memories they cherish. So, get it? Yeah when I first looked at it I thought “7 billion, that’s an awfully specific number of needles.” Then I read the description and realized it was a planet-wide manhunt, therefore searching for the proverbial one in a haystack. Also, as someone who has been blocking out humanity with headphones since i was 11, this book looks awesome. Continue reading
By Mat K.
If anyone has met me in the last 6 months you may be aware that I adore Florence & The Machine, and you may recognize the title of this week’s article as not just a timeless phrase, but the title of their current hit, (used in lots of movies and TV shows and commercials for such). However, that’s not really the reason for using the term as the title of this week’s anime column. The truth is the title comes from the saying “The dog days are over” which refers to the hot dreary uneventful days of summer coming to an end. The beginning of Autumn spurns the coming of school, and cooler weather, where we lose the lethargy and become busy anew. The origin of the “dog days” comes from those summer months that are ruled by Sirius (derived from the Greek for Scorcher) the dog-star which represents heat and fire. The end of the Dog Days also has a metaphorical significance, meaning that your stagnant life has come to an end, and revolution is coming. Nothing ever changes without the original form first “burning up”, like a phoenix. This concludes the educational portion of this week’s manga new article.
Now that you’ve learned something new, welcome to another full release week in September. Ironically, (for reasons I’ll leave to my older readers), this week also sees a lot of yaoi titles coming out. At the very least there are 11 yaoi titles(and a couple which may or may not be considered yaoi), many of which are coming at us from Digital Manga Publishing (as either June Press or Doki Doki). One of the biggest news releases for our yaoi titles is that June finally has the rights and releases the first book in the Finder Series: Target In The Finder, and even though this one might cost a bit more than most June books, it’s still less than when it was when it was being published by CPM. And I’m sure the fans of this series are thrilled to have it back, considering CPM went down before they had the chance to finish printing it. Also, for some reason they did manage to print the third book, but it never made wide distribution and was only available on, like, Amazon.com for an exorbitant amount of money. But I digress. Continue reading