Tag Archives: Viz Media

Book Review: Chainsaw Man, Vol 2 by Tatsuki Fukimoto

Chainsaw Man, Vol 2     

Author: Tatsuki Fujimoto

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 1, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Denji agrees to help Power retrieve her cat Meowy from the Bat Devil, for which she has promised him he could touch her breasts. Little did he suspect that she has led him into a trap, and he has been promised to the devil as a snack! But Denji is determined to get his reward, and he’ll do what it takes to defeat this devil! Denji isn’t the only one who was lied to, as Power and Meowy find themselves in dire straits themselves! Denji saves them only to run up against the Bat Devil’s dismayed girlfriend. She tells him to run and leave the other two behind, but he has a goal, one that doesn’t include sacrificing Power.

Afterward, Denji doesn’t hold a grudge, despite Power’s apparent betrayal. But attaining his reward isn’t as fulfilling as he anticipated it would be. What’s up with that? In Aki’s home, recuperating, Denji receives a dressing down from Aki, who reminds him he has to do as he is told. When Makima sends Power to live there too, Aki asks Makima why he gets all the dangerous ones.

Makima asks Denji why he is so down and he confesses that the dream he sought for so long wasn’t what he expected. Then she makes him an unexpected offer – if he can kill the Gun Devil, he can ask anything of her he wants… anything. She will grant him one wish. With motivation like that, how can Denji fail?

Apparently the Gun Devil appeared at the same time as a major terrorist attack in the US… and the death toll was staggering, about 1.2 million people. But the Devil hasn’t been seen since. How are they to find it? Apparently through the pieces of flesh it’s left behind, which if they accumulate enough of them will try to regenerate and through that they will find it. Of course, Denji is totally onboard for this, considering his feelings for Makima. She’s different from Power, as he’s come to realize that not all females are the same.

Aki’s group of devil hunters, including Denji and Power, head off to a local hotel, which has requested a devil be exterminated.

I am enjoying this series so far, and have decided to wait to watch more of the anime until I get further along in the manga. Denji is such a sweet innocent/terrifying devil. He learns a valuable lesson in this volume, namely that not everything you think you want will turn out the way you think it will. I like watching his interactions with the others – Makima, Power, and even Aki, who can’t stand him. Well, he says he doesn’t, I don’t totally believe him. The devil at the hotel was creepy and funny both! Looking forward to seeing more of the hunt for the Gun Devil.

Book Review: Assassination Classroom, Vol 5 by Yusei Matsui

Assassination Classroom, Vol 5     

Author: Yusei Matsui

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date:  August 4, 2015

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Action Adventure Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

In the mandatory exhibition matches, the girls of Class 3E have unfortunately lost their basketball game. But they are delighted to discover that the boys are doing well in their baseball game. However, a monkey wrench has been thrown into the works in the form of Principal Asano, who will do whatever it takes to assure his class prevails. Are the boys of 3E up to the challenge?

Despite the fact that Karasuma has intensified his training of the would-be assassins, his lack of immediate results has brought him under scrutiny and the Ministry of Defense has assigned someone else to assist him. His methods are different from Karasuma’s. To make matters worse, Karasuma has been told that Takaoka is now in charge of training the students while Karasuma’s job is to find assassins. Despite his initial kindly appearance, Takaoka’s methods are a terrifying mix of love and fear. He plans to push the students to their limits and doesn’t care about their grades at all, which upsets them greatly. When Karasuma objects, Takaoka offers him a deal – Karasuma can pick one student to attack him with a knife.  If this student succeeds in striking him once, Takaoka will concede that Karasuma is the better teacher and he will leave. However, if the student fails, Karasuma loses the right to criticize Takaoka forever. Karasuma accepts the challenge, and after some deliberation selects the quiet, gentle Nagisa. Does Nagisa have what it takes to bring down this loud-mouth one-time soldier?

Summers are brutal, but the students of Class 3E don’t even have AC in their ramshackle class building. And they can’t use the school pool because it’s located in the main school building, where they aren’t allowed to go. So Koro Sensei does the next best thing – he creates their own pool on top of their mountain. And the students observe that water is a weakness of Koro Sensei. More opportunities for assassination!

I loved the baseball game and seeing the brats on the other team get their comeuppance, and especially Principal Asano, who I can’t stand. I think we are watching Karasuma grow, both as a person and as an instructor, which after all is the goal of writing, to see your characters change and develop. We also see a side of Nagisa you wouldn’t have believed existed before now. Another great volume, looking forward to more!

Book Review: Assassination Classroom, Vol 4 by Yusei Matsui

Assassination Classroom, Vol 4     

Author: Yusei Matsui

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date:  June 2, 2015

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Action Adventure Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Ms Vitch has been pronounced lacking by her mentor and considered not fit to continue the assassination assignment. A compromise is reached in which both she and the mentor will attempt to “assassinate” Kurasama. If Irina wins, she can continue to teach there. The battle is on! If she resorts to begging, will she be able to persuade Kurasama to let her “kill” him?

Koro Sensei has plans to see an action movie in Hawaii because the film is being released in the States first and he doesn’t want to wait to see it. Nagisa and Karma beg him to take them along, even if that means traveling at Mach 20 along with him! Will they make an assassination attempt or simply enjoy the outing?

The arrival of the second transfer student is now imminent. This student is preceded by a mysterious white guardian, who introduces himself first and then brings in Itona…who announces that he is Koro Sensei’s brother. What? To say that he is odd would be an understatement, and he instantly earns the ire of his fellow classmates. So Itona and Koro Sensei decide to have a showdown, right there in the classroom…but there have to be rules, naturally. Perhaps the class will learn something by watching these brothers interact.

Since he was sent to Class 3E, Sugino hasn’t been allowed to play on the baseball team, which he misses greatly, since he loves the game. A school sports tournament is being held, but naturally the Class 3E team can’t play. But they’re required to play in the exhibition matches afterward. The boys have to play the Varsity Baseball Team, while the girls have to play the Varsity Basketball Team. Maybe, with Koro Sensei’s help, they can show the rest of the school what they’re really made of. Things are going pretty well for the boys, to the dismay of the Varsity team, when Principal Asano throws a monkey wrench into the works.

I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. By which I mean Ms. Vitch. She’s come a long way from the woman she was when she first entered Class 3E. She’s proving to be more than a pretty face, and is actually beginning to enjoy her teaching as much as being an assassin.

Itona is very irritating, and I’m glad he left,  but I know we’ll see him again. My favorite part of this volume was the baseball game, because I love to see the students turn the tables on their snobbish schoolmates whenever possible, whether in athletics or academics. Can’t wait to see what the principal does. Hopefully whatever it is, Koro Sensei can overcome it. Another great volume!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 20 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 20        

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: February 2, 2021

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

The fighting intensifies as four of the Hashira battle Muzan’s number one demon, Kokushibo, who was once a demon slayer himself! But things don’t look good for the Hashira. Tokito has been gravely injured and Genya was cut in half – how is he still alive, and drawing on demon blood powers? The Stone and Wind Hashira brothers enter the fray, as they attempt to utilize their strengths against this demon. But will it be enough?

This is such an intense volume, so much going on! A real nail-biter! One of the things I like about the author is that everything is not black and white. He shows that even demons are not entirely bad, as is evidenced here with the story of Kokushibo and his twin brother.

The Demon Slayer story is beginning to draw to an end. If they can get past this demon, their next target will be Muzan. Last seen, Tanjiro was headed toward him. Can’t wait to see how everything plays out!  Great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Chainsaw Man, Vol 1 by Tatsuki Fujimoto

Chainsaw Man, Vol 1   

Author: Tatsuki Fujimoto

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 6, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Denji’s life is a hard one. He’s begun selling body parts just to make ends meet… and to pay off the enormous debt his father accumulated before his death. Denji’s only friend is his dog Poochita, who happens to be a devil. Despite that, they’ve become close. A desperate Denji goes to the man he owes the debt to and requests he hire him as a devil hunter.

Through unfortunate circumstances, Poochita dies, but his last act is to give Denji his heart, so the boy can live, and now he is part devil himself. And that part makes him a living chainsaw man! Then he meets a girl named Makima and falls in love… and is offered the chance to make a new life for himself. Of course, that offer does have a few strings, but what the heck. Denji may actually get to achieve his lifelong dream of touching… well, you’ll see.

The first volume of this series was pretty cool, no lie, and a great supplement to watching the anime. As usual, the manga contains information that is either missing or easy to miss in the anime. Denji is an interesting character, and so are the people he gets to work with, such as Makima and Aki and Power. Looking forward to seeing where these characters’ journeys will take them!

Book Review: Assassination Classroom, Vol 3 by Yusei Matsui

Assassination Classroom, Vol 3    

Author: Yusei Matsui

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date:  April 7, 2015

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Action Adventure Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

While on a class trip to Kyoto, Kayano and Kanzaki have been kidnapped by lowlife thugs! Never fear! The class is up to the challenge, thanks to the handy dandy travel guide provided for them by their astute teacher, Koro Sensei.

Unknown to all but a few, a professional assassin has been set on the trail of Koro Sensei, with the assistance of his class, of course. They are in the perfect position to know his every move, since they are choreographing everything. But will this assassin take out their assigned target and claim the prize for himself? Or will Koro Sensei actually teach him something about assassination and life?

Karasuma receives information that upon their return to the school, there will be two new assassins sent to them, one at a time. He’s warned that the first student may look a little “different”. The other students aren’t sure what to expect, but on their arrival at the classroom, they see no one. Not until they notice the large object in the corner. Turns out this is a virtual assassin whose name is “Autonomous Intelligence Fixed Artillery”. She has the face of a young girl and is very polite. But once class starts, she is all business as she attempts to assassinate Koro Sensei. But the problem is that she spends the entire day doing that and disrupting classes. The students of 3E aren’t about to put up with those kinds of shenanigans.

Maehara is a ladies’ man, and the girls all seem to like the handsome student. But when one of them is caught with him, she turns the tables and makes it all Maehara’s fault for being in Class 3E and thus off-limits to her.  Some of the guys beat on Maehara, because they know they can get away with anything. Principal Asano sees them and doesn’t even attempt to help Maehara, but is that really surprising? However, Maehara’s class aren’t about to take this insult to their friend lying down.

Irina receives a surprise visit from the one who recommended her for this job, Lovro. He is seriously disappointed in her and wants to remove her from the assignment. At Koro Sensei’s suggestion, he agrees to give her a chance to prove herself – they will both target Karasuma. The first one to take him out wins. If Irina loses, she has to go.

Already, we can see that the Class 3E is growing and maturing in ways beyond simple assassination.  Watching them rescue their classmates and teach the bullies a lesson was awesome, as was the situation with Maehara. I also hate Asano more every time I see him. I just love this manga so much! Can’t wait for the next volume to see who can assassinate Karasume first lol

 

 

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 15 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 15      

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date:  November 4, 2008

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Action Adventure Manga/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Things are heating up for Kyoko on location! Bad enough Sho is there but Vie Ghoul too? What terrible Fate is this? Kyoko runs into Sho’s manager, Ms Momose, in the bath, and they talk. Afterward, coming from the bath, she encounters the lead singer of Vie Ghoul. Is Reino putting the moves on her or what? And then Sho unexpectedly turns up and he intervenes in what is going on and Kyoko is able to escape. But not until after she makes it clear that she and Sho are not in a relationship!

Feeling frightened of the potential for all manner of bad things to happen to her, Kyoko reaches out to Ren. But she finds that she can’t tell him what is worrying her for fear of worrying him, so makes light of her call.  Meanwhile, Sho is upset over his perception that Reino intends to make Kyoko his. Bad enough the group stole his brand new song, but now Kyoko? He intends to write a replacement song and let them have the one they stole. His manager is concerned whether he can do that or not, in his current state of mind.

Ren is sure something is wrong, despite Kyoko’s words, and asks his schedule be rearranged so he can join them at the shoot the next day. Sho sees Kyoko on the set and warns her not to go wandering off alone. When Reino comes to see her also, she hides from him and flees into the woods. But he finds her anyway, and things get… creepy. Especially when Reino announces his plans to crush Kyoko!

It’s so funny to see Kyoko as the object of interest for both Sho and Reino! How alike they are. Both of them sleazy lol I love how Ren knows when Kyoko isn’t being truthful (and isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black considering what he hasn’t told her…yet. Waiting to see the fall-out when that day arrives!)

I loved the ending and can’t wait to read the reaction to that! Great volume, looking forward to more!

Book Review: Assassination Classroom, Vol 2

Assassination Classroom, Vol 2   

Author: Yusei Matsui

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date:  February 3, 2015

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Action Adventure Manga/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

A new teacher arrives at Kunugigaoka Junior High, a rather buxom young woman named Irina Jelevich. For some reason, she is hanging all over Koro Sensei, to the confusion of his students. Nagisa continues to document the teacher’s weaknesses so that they can use them against him and assassinate him, which will prevent him from blowing up the earth. But Irina is not really a teacher. She’s been brought in as a professional assassin! Karasuma insists she maintain her cover and teach the students, but Irina is sure she’ll be able to achieve her goal of assassination on her first day with the class.

The students dislike her from the get-go and deliberately mispronounce her last name as Hellabitch. When her teaching skills are found to be lacking, they yell at her to get out, they need to study for their college entrance exams.

All the students, including Class 3E, must attend student assembly. Koro Sensei even attends, in “disguise”. But the rest of the school is determined to humiliate Class 3E, even to the point of withholding vital information. But they haven’t counted on the ingenuity and speed of Koro Sensei, who saves the day! The treatment of Class 3E is all due to the machinations of the school’s principal, Asano. He believes that by holding the class up as examples of what not to be, and treating them badly, he will scare the other students into doing well for fear of ending up like them. He is one of the few who know the truth about Koro Sensei, and refuses to listen to arguments that he should treat Class 3E better, claiming that if the world isn’t going to be destroyed, he has the future to consider.

Exam time arrives, and Koro Sensei announces he wants his entire class to score in the top 50! Even if the principal is giving the other students unfair advantages. Can they do it, even with his accelerated teaching techniques?

It’s time for a school trip – three days and two nights in Kyoto! Koro Sensei makes an enormous travel guide for his students that should cover anything that comes up during their trip! However, some of the girls in his class have been targeted by some unsavory characters and find themselves in a peck of trouble!

In this volume, we are introduced to the charming yet obnoxious principal of the Junior High. His disdain for Class 3E is incredible and his treatment of them is beyond abhorrent! Also, we meet Irina Jelevich, who doesn’t exactly endear herself to the students, and who uses her two biggest assets to lure her targets to their doom. There’s also a bonus story about Koro Sensei and a particular bun!

Great volume, look forward to the next one!

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 14 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 14 

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 2, 2008

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kyoko joins Director Ogata for lunch. He seems happy to see her, which is more than can be said for her co-stars. Naturally, the conversation turns to Ren and how he’s doing. The director is doing better as well, and has a new-found confidence he was lacking before. That is largely due to something Ren said to him. Meanwhile, Ren and Mr. Yashiro are headed to his next job. The agent is working on Ren to talk to Kyoko about how he feels, and Ren doesn’t even bother to deny his feelings anymore. Not to him, anyway. What Mr. Yashiro doesn’t know, though, is Ren’s past with Kyoko. Perhaps if he knew that, he’d drop hints to Kyoko in order to get these two lovebirds together! Ren believes that there is someone who could possibly sway Kyoko’s heart by the mere mention of his name, and that disturbs him.

Kyoko is scheduled for an interview on Japonet Scope, thanks to her rising star. But on her arrival, she notices a door marked with Sho Fuwa’s name! What, can he really be here also? But the guy she runs into is not Sho, and yet he knows who she is… and seems to look down on her? Kyoko is surprised to learn that a new group named Vie Ghoul has not only climbed the charts but they have a song that has surpassed Sho’s! But she is indignant to discover that they are imitators of Sho! An angry Kyoko marches to Sho’s dressing room and tells him she needs to talk to him!

Mr. Yashiro tries to get Ren to watch the music video clip that Kyoko is in, but because it’s Sho’s clip, Ren is less than inclined to do so. His agent is trying to make him jealous so he’ll do something about his feelings, but Ren is resisting.  Kyoko is being sent on location for a few days for the film. She doesn’t realize until she’s there that a well-known music studio is nearby. And oh dear, it looks as though both Sho and Vie Ghoul are going to be there! What else could happen? Maybe Ren could show up too?

Kyoko has definitely grown and matured since we first met her. And while she still plans to get her revenge on Sho, she is not afraid to tell him about his shortcomings. The rose-colored glasses she once wore are gone… even if she can’t see how much she likes Ren. Still, it’s a start. But what’s going on with these Vie Ghoul guys? Are they going to throw some oil on this fire or start a conflagration of their own?

Great volume, look forward to more!

Book Review: Assassination Classroom, Vol 1: Time for Assassination

Assassination Classroom, Vol 1: Time for Assassination

Author: Yusei Matsui

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 2, 2014

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shonen Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Class 3E at Kunugigaoka Junior High find themselves in a rather unique situation. Besides being considered to be the dregs of the entire school, looked down upon, belittled, used as warnings to other students to do well or end up like them, forced to attend class in a rundown classroom on top of a mountain…they have also been assigned the task of assassinating their teacher!

Their teacher is like no other in that he resembles a tentacle monster, can move at Mach 20 speed, and is impervious to most everything. Oh, and he is responsible for the destruction of two-thirds of the moon, which hangs in the sky as a silent reminder of what has occurred. He has threatened to destroy the entire earth in one year unless his demands are met. And what he demands… is to teach Class 3E at Kunugigaoka Junior High.

Why does he want to do this? No one knows, but they are in no position to resist, so he is given the assignment. The government tells the students of his class that they are to kill him, but also no one else is to know about what is going on outside of their class. Well, it’s not like they are even allowed to enter the other part of the school. But the real incentive is the reward of 10 billion that is being offered for the teacher’s death! So, game on… time to kill teacher!

This first volume is a perfect introduction to this unusual manga. The students of class 3E have a hard time, used by the principal as examples of what not to be. But this teacher, whom they have named Koro Sensei as a play on can’t be killed, sees them for who they are. While encouraging them in their assassination attempts, he also teaches them and raises their self-esteem. This book is both humorous and touching. I love the artwork. Koro Sensei is awesome! There is also a fantastic anime of this series which I highly recommend.