Tag Archives: paranormal manga

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 10: The Faceless Boy by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 10: Faceless Boy   

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 17, 2010

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The meeting which Kanna has arranged has been interrupted by a man who styles himself a savior, and who dies for his cause. Now the police are outside, demanding the crowd disperse. Has Kanna achieved her goals, or was this gathering a failure? The young detective, Chono, is able to keep the police force at bay, at least for now, by claiming he’s protecting a crime scene. How long can that last?

Koizumi, home from Friend Land, goes to see her favorite band but finds there is something different about them. Turns out they fired their guitarist, Damian Yoshida, because of irreconcilable differences. Koizumi can’t stop dreaming of Friend Land, and the strange boy who tries to take off his mask. She doesn’t want to see his face, though, fearful of what might happen to her if she does.

Koizumi attempts to speak with Kanna at school, but that doesn’t turn out very well. Instead, she’s approached by someone who calls themselves a Dream Navigator. They inform her that she is soon to go to Friend World, like it or not. The very thought is frightening to Koizumi. Her parents, on the other hand, seem thrilled for her and have no clue how dangerous a place it really is. A terrified Koizumi remembers the card she got from Yoshitsune. Can he help her? Things go from bad to worse when she sees the new home room teacher, and recognizes his face…

This series just gets better and better. It seems as though things are gearing up to happen during the Pope’s planned visit to Japan. Obviously, the Friends have an agenda, but what is it? To further ingratiate themselves to the world? Or maybe take it over? Either way, they need to be stopped. Not to mention, they need to be outed as the true perpetrators of Bloody New Year’s Eve, and Kenji needs to be exonerated.

Koizumi is playing a dangerous game, but with the aid of Yoshitsune, she may just turn out all right. And what we think we know turns out to be very wrong, which leaves us back at square one again. Makes you wonder why so many people put their trust in a man who never ever shows his face, based on the alleged actions of some of his followers. And what does Kanna’s mother have to do with anything? More questions than answers here!

Anxiously awaiting the next volume.

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 9: Rabbit Nabokov by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 9: Rabbit Nabokov   

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 15, 2010

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Koizumi was sent to Friend Land because of her desire to write her paper on Bloody New Year’s Eve, although she tried to change her subject but was not allowed to. There she discovers that people who do not conform disappear. And just what is Friend World? Can it be worse than this? She learns that being sent to Friend World is not something anyone wants. Koizumi is shocked to learn one of the janitors is none than Yoshitsune, one of the Kenji Faction and long presumed to be deceased. He warns her that if she flunks out of Friend Land she will be sent to Friend World, so she has to do well. When she places in the top three, she finds herself in the past, where she meets the Kenji Faction as children. She thinks this is her opportunity to get to the bottom of things, but Yoshitsune is afraid she will see the Friend’s actual face… and be killed for that knowledge. He must stop that from happening!

When Kanna finds a token, her friend Mariah explains that it comes from the Casino. Remembering her uncle Kenji’s stories about the Woodstock experience, Kanna decides to make a lot of money, using her unusual talents, in order to do what must be done. She and Mariah and Chono head to the Casino. She starts off winning a little, but decides that method is too slow. That’s when someone tells her about a game with great risks but enormous payoffs, known as Rabbit Nabokov.

Yukiji learns of the crowd that is gathering because someone is allegedly giving out money. But Yukiji remembers what was said in the Book of Prophecy: “At the meeting a savior will rise up for the forces of good…but the savior will be assassinated.” Both Yukiji and Otcho race to the scene of the meeting, hoping to prevent that from happening. Can they outrun Fate?

Things are really getting exciting, what with Koizumi undercover at Friend Land, and Kanna raising awareness to prevent the assassination of the Pope. Otcho comes out of hiding and we now know that Yoshitsune is still alive. Can we hope that Kenji’s arrival is imminent, or is that expecting too much? And yet, he has been the leader all along, the voice crying in the wilderness. I’m going to cross my fingers and keep on believing!

Also, look for someone we’ve often wondered about but never really met to make an unexpected appearance at the end of this volume! Can’t wait for the next one!

 

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 7: The Truth by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 7: The Truth     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: Feb 16, 2010

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Otcho and Kakuta struggle to escape from the island prison of Umihotaru. Kakuta is determined to become a famous manga artist, while Otcho’s desire is to get revenge for a friend. Once they reach the water, Kakuta is sure he can’t possibly swim the distance required to get to freedom, but Otcho tells him the story of his friend who beat him in a swimming competition, and the friend couldn’t even swim! Meanwhile, the warden has learned of the escapes and while he is not concerned with the manga artist, he is upset about Prisoner #3, and wants him back as soon as possible, or else…

Back in 1970, Kenji and his friends are planning to see the Exposition in Osaka. Since time will be at a premium, and lines long, they have to carefully arrange their time to see as much as they can. Donkey confesses to Kenji that his parents can’t afford for him to take the bullet train to Osaka, and asks to borrow Kenji’s bike, to which he agrees. When Otcho and Kakuta reach the mainland,  years later, they find, to Otcho’s amazement, a recreation of that very Expo, with one important exception.

In 2014, a class in a Tokyo high school is given an assignment to write an essay on the Japanese history topic of their choice. Koizumi, caught trying to sneak out of class, chooses to write about Hitler, but her teacher won’t allow that, so she picks up a book at random and points to her “choice” for her subject, which turns out to be Endo Kenji, leader of the Kenji terrorist group that unleashed Bloody New Years Eve in 2000. The teacher objects, but Koizumi insists, claims she always found the official story of that night suspicious, including the iconic photograph of the group who was supposedly controlling the giant monster threatening to destroy Japan. Koizumi isn’t doing well in class because she constantly skips school in order to follow bands that she loves. A classmate of Koizumi’s tells her about another student who went berserk during a discussion of Bloody New Year’s Eve. Her name was Endo Kanna! Koizumi has some research to do!

When Koizumi runs into Kamisama and learns he knew Kenji, she has to learn more!  Back in 2000, Kenji and his friends prepare to save the world from the Friends. They need to find the remote that controls the monster that is destroying Japan!

On top of worrying about Kenji and what has happened to him and the others, we have to deal with Otcho and Kakuta and their ordeal in the current situation, still not knowing exactly what happened in the past. Plus we have a new character, Koizumi, who I feel is going to play a part in revealing the truth about the so-called Kenji terrorist group. I have to hope and believe that Kenji and the others survived whatever put Otcho in prison, and that they will yet emerge to save the day and defeat the evil Friends. Also, Kenji and Yukiji will finally get together!

Another great volume, can’t wait to read the next one!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 12 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 12      Bleach, Vol 12 cover

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 4, 2006

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer:  Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Renji Abarai, assistant captain to 6th squad’s Captain Kuchiki, after being defeated by Ichigo has only one thing to say to him—“Save Rukia!” Kira and Hinamori come upon Renji and are amazed that he has been defeated, but they are too late to fight Ichigo, as he and Ganju and Hanatoro have already gone. Kira and Hinamori intend to send Renji to be healed by the 4th Company but are prevented from doing so by Byakuya Kuchiki, who instructs them to dump him in a cell! Gin Ichimaru assures Kira and Hinamori that he will send word to 4th Company anyway. Toshiro Hitsugaya appears after Gin leaves and warns Hinamori not to trust the Third Company, especially….

 

Head-Captain Yamamoto overlooks Gin’s previous actions and declares all-out war on the Ryoka.

 

Ichigo awakens to find himself being healed by Hanataro of the wounds he suffered fighting Renji. When he insists he’s ready to go, Ganju knocks him out again, proving how weak he really is. Hanataro tells Ganju that Ichigo’s life was saved by a mask in his pocket, one which resembles a Hollow. How did he acquire such an object, though?

 

Disturbed by the idea of fighting, the peaceful Hinamori, assistant captain of the 6th Company, seeks out her captain, Aizen, to speak with him. His soothing voice and words, his calm smile, relax her so much she falls asleep. When she wakens, she finds Aizen gone and she is going to be late for assembly if she doesn’t hurry. Luckily, she knows a short-cut, but in taking this route, she comes upon a horrific sight!

 

Hinamori finds herself in hot water when she tries to attack Gin for what she believes he has done, only to be confronted by Kira. Hitsugaya steps in between them and has both arrested, then warns Gin not to ever make Hinamori bleed. Rangiku Matsumoto visits Hinamori in her cell and brings her a letter addressed to her that was found in Captain Aizen’s room, revealing what he has discovered.

 

Ichigo, Ganju, and Hanatoro approach the high tower where Rukia is being held, which seems surprisingly empty of people, only to feel a frightfully enormous spiritual pressure. The pressure turns out to belong to the soul reaper who Ikkaku spoke of to Ichigo, Kenpachi Zaraki, captain of the 11th Company. He anticipates an interesting fight against Ichigo and is excited to get started. Ichigo tells Ganju and Hanataro to go ahead and continue with their mission while he stays behind to engage in battle with Kenpachi.

 

Meanwhile, Chad has run into the captain of the 8th Company, Shunsui Kyoraku, a very laid-back fellow in a pink flowered kimono. Shunsui attempts to get Chad to have a drink with him,  not wishing to fight, but to no avail. Chad is giving him no choice in the matter.

 

I love this volume of Bleach for many reasons, but I have to mention first and foremost that I adore Shunsui Kyoraku, and these is his first real scenes in the series, which is exciting. Also the first real scenes with Kenpachi and Yachiru. I was upset over the unexpected and tragic death that occurred in this volume, but you’ll find that happens in Bleach, like it or not. It’s exciting to watch Ichigo work his way through the various captains and lieutenants of the 13 Court Guard Squads in order to reach Rukia. He is far stronger than they gave him credit for being. Uryu and Orihime were absent in this volume, but I’m sure we’ll see them soon.

 

I just finished watching the anime and am excited that I am still living the Bleach story through the manga. I understand that the manga goes beyond what I saw in the anime, so I look forward to seeing where it takes me. Another great volume of Bleach, looking forward to the next one!

 

 

 

Book Review: Soul Eater, Vol 6 by Atsushi Ohkubo

Soul Eater, Vol 6      Soul Eater, Vol 6 cover

Author: Atsushi Ohkubo

Publisher: Yen Press

American release date: January 16, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

The race is on! Can the students of DWMA prevent the First Kishin from being resurrected? If not, what will the consequences be?

As Death the Kid hurries to join forces with Black Star and Tsubaki, he finds himself unable to proceed due to the asymmetry of the hallway he must pass through. Can Patty and Liz put him back on the right track and get him to move forward? Meanwhile, fearful of being caught up with, Free commandeers Tadpole Jackson from Eruka. Maka is facing down Crona. In order to defeat her, Maka allows herself to slip into madness. Will this work? And will she be able to come back from it?

Dr. Stein is battling Medusa, while still monitoring what is happening ahead of them. As Eruka and Free draw close to the First Kishin, they begin to fall under the spell of his madness, which manifests itself in various illusions.

This is one of the most action-packed, exciting volumes of Soul Eater so far, and I loved it. Everyone is racing toward the First Kishin. Some want to resurrect him, while the others wish to prevent that. Lives will be changed, sacrifices made, but who will come out on top? I consider Maka, if anyone, to be the star of this volume, but everybody plays their parts well, even Death Scythe.

As usual, there is a certain amount of humor to be found, even in the face of what might turn into tragedy. Look for Blair the Witch, who has a small part to play herself. Looking forward to the next volume!

 

 

Book Review: Soul Eater, Vol 5 by Atsushi Ohkubo

Soul Eater, Vol 5

Author: Atsushi Ohkubo

Publisher: Yen Press

American release date: November 4, 2014

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

DWMA is having a celebration! It’s their much-anticipated anniversary and should be a blast! Unless a certain someone gets her way, aka Medusa the Witch, who has plans of her own.

Maka is concerned about Soul. He’s hanging out by himself, but denies there’s anything wrong. She tries to get him to dance with her, thinking it will help with their Soul Resonance, but ends up with her father as a partner instead, to her dismay. Meanwhile, Crona and Ragnarok have entered Death City and are waiting for Medusa to give them the signal.

A rather drunken Dr. Stein drags Medusa out onto the dance floor, to her embarrassment, but it seems he has his own agenda, and confronts Medusa with the knowledge that she’s a witch. He connects her presence at the school with the presence of a kishin beneath the Academy, and she admits that he is right. Sid returns, having survived the explosion at Medusa’s lab, and warns everyone to get out. But it’s too late, the trap is sprung, the school sealed. No one can get out! Free warns Eruka the seal will only  hold for about an hour, as she sends in the Mizune.

Stein tells them the only way to stop the intruders is by going underground and asks if anyone wishes to go with him. Maka, Soul, Black Star, Tsubaki, Kid and the sisters all volunteer. Meanwhile, Shinigami-same tells those who remain the story of the Kishin beneath DWMA.

Blair the Witch, in cat form, is strolling through Death City, wishing she could be at the DWMA celebration, which apparently is only for students, when she runs across the guy from the fish store who gives her free fish and he isn’t looking very good. Just then the mizune attack!

Stein instructs all the weapons to remain in weapon form and not take human form. He realizes the enemy has split up, lying in wait for them. Taking charge, he tells them he will take on Medusa as Make, Black Star, and Kid break through Medusa’s wall. Kid, being fastest, is to go after the ones who are after the Kishin. Maka is to pass Medusa and the Demon Sword and catch up to Kid. Black Star will hold back the Demon Sword so Maka and Kid get past, driving his soul wavelength into the enemy.

However, Maka has her own ideas of how things will go down. She is determined to get back at the Demon Sword for what he did to Soul!

This is one of the more action-packed volumes of this series, as Stein and his students work together to prevent Medusa and her minions from getting to and reviving the Kishin beneath the Academy. As always, the story is interspersed with the author’s humor. I love the scene with Stein and Medusa as they dance, and the one with Maka and Soul is very sweet. We learn about Crona and his background (his mother is a real witch!) and one has to feel sorry for him. (I keep forgetting that Crona is male, since he looks female to me). I guess we’ll find out if this treatment has destroyed his humanity or if there is a good person lurking underneath.

I liked the scenes with Stein and Death Scythe. Even though Death Scythe tends to be on the sleazy side, I can tell he really loves his daughter. Be aware that there are scenes involving Blair Witch that some might describe as ecchi. But I’ve seen worse in Food Wars lol

There is also another consideration here, that of Soul having the Black Blood in him. How will that work out, and will it become a problem? More to come, can’t wait to read it!