Tag Archives: Viz Media

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 12 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 12   

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 3, 2020

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

The upper echelon demons are gathering, no doubt to receive Lord Muzan’s latest instructions regarding the current situation. Apparently, they do not all get along, and even among so-called allies there is a certain amount of animosity and competitiveness as they attempt to curry Muzan’s faavor. Some of these demons are certainly less human than others and some are decidedly creepy. When Muzan announces the death of Gyutaro, Doma offers to gouge out one of his eyes as atonement for having brought Gyutaro and Daki to his lord’s notice. Muzan declines the offer. He tells them he sees them all as failures, having failed to live up to his expectations. The Ubuyashiki family is still alive and the blue spider lily has not been found. Gyokku claims to have information on the family’s whereabouts, so Muzan says once confirmation is obtained, he and Hantengu should go there.

Tanjiro awakens from what must have been a dream – or was it a memory – to find that he has been unconscious for two months. He asks after his friends and learns that Zenitsu awoke and was sent on a mission, and Tengen was up, but supported by his wives’ shoulders. Inosuke, on the other hand, was in bad shape. Tanjiro decides he must be hallucinating seeing  Inosuke on the ceiling, but it’s really him. Tanjiro inquires if a katana has come for him, as his was chipped in the recent battle. But all he has received is an angry letter from Haganezuka. It is suggested that Tanjiro go to see the swordsmith in person , and Tanjiro is surprised to learn how close the swordsmith village is. But getting there is far from straightforward.

On Tanjiro’s arrival, he learns that the swordsmith has disappeared and is being sought. Probably sulking, they assume, as that is often his way. Not because his sword has been damaged but because of what he perceives as his shoddy workmanship that allowed the sword to be damaged. While searching, Tanjiro encounters a rude Hashira bullying a small swordsmith, so he intervenes. Tokito, the Mist Hashira, insists on using the practice doll, although Kotetsu tells him it will break. But every action has its consequences, even selfish ones.

This begins the Swordsmith Village arc, and we are seeing the upper ranked demons in larger numbers than before. Their relationship to their lord is interesting to watch, and you know they are just jockeying for position in order to get closer to him. They’re feeling the pressure of his displeasure and will do anything to regain his favor. The swordsmiths are interesting. We see little of Inosuke this volume, and none of Zenitsu, but I’m sure they’ll be back soon. Muzan is an interesting study, cold-hearted demon that he is. In this volume, he was actually standing on the ceiling as he addressed them.  It’s always fun to watch Tanjiro battle, and he certainly has to keep his wits about him to defeat these foes. Hopefully he’ll be able to obtain the blood he needs to help cure Nezuko.

Great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Monster: The Perfect Edition, Vol 7 by Naoki Urasawa

Monster: The Perfect Edition, Vol 7   

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: January 19, 2016

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Horror/416 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

As the news spreads that the serial killer long sought by the police, Kenzo Tenma, has been taken into custody, certain people listen with disbelief. Detective Suk is determined to go to Prague to speak with Tenma before he is extradited back to Germany, but runs into two other detectives, who inform him that his name has been cleared thanks to a journalist named Grimmer. Meanwhile, Detective Lunge, who is supposedly on vacation, is also in Prague, following various leads. He learns certain things which point away from Tenma’s guilt. Will he believe them? Or is he too obsessed with the idea that Johan is Tenma’s alter ego?

In the jail, Tenma is called upon to treat a fellow prisoner, due to the doctor being otherwise occupied. The prisoner knows who Tenma is and asks if he wants to escape with him, but Tenma declines. An attorney, son of an accused spy, is enlisted to aid in Tenma’s defense at the request of a number of people, including a group of his former patients who all believe in his innocence. He goes to see Tenma, who tells him everything, and decides to take his case.

After his own meeting with the attorney, Dr. Reichwein goes back to Eva and tells her she needs to cooperate with the lawyer in order to help Tenma. But she isn’t interested in helping him. She wants to see him suffer for the rest of his life for breaking up with her. She blames him for the way her life turned out, rather than blaming herself. Tenma receives a surprise visitor – Roberto, the assassin he shot the night of the fire. Roberto tells him he might kill Eva. Now Tenma has no choice but to escape in order to save her.

There is so much going on in this volume. The tension is rising, and it feels like we are close to the end, to the truth. So many burning questions. Will Eva change her mind and testify for Tenma, now that she realizes she actually saw Johan that night? How are we supposed to tell the difference between Johan and Nina, when he looks just like her when he’s in disguise? The secrets of the Rose Red Mansion are coming out.  The story with Eva and the detective was pretty interesting, I’ll have to admit, although I can’t stand the woman. Will Tenma’s escape lead to anything? What will Nina do? Guess we have to wait for the next volume to find out.

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 11 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 11   

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 3, 2020

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Daki’s brother Gyutaro is fast, like a mantis. He’s proving to be difficult to kill, even with the combined efforts of Tengen, Tanjiro and the others. Thinking quickly, Tanjiro slices off his feet and keeps them from regenerating with the use of wisteria extract. But how long can such tactics work on this demon?

Tanjiro’s quick thinking and fast actions save the life of one of Tengen’s wives. The Hashira is grateful to him, and says he owes him one. Everyone tries to cut off Gyutaro’s head, but that proves to be trickier than they thought. And now Daki is back in action?  Perhaps they should cut off her head first… assuming they can.

Tanjiro refuses to give up, no matter how bleak things look. And they are looking pretty bleak. How many more will they have to lose?

In this volume, we get to see Daki and Gyutaro’s back story. No one is born evil, and neither were they. Sometimes people are born into difficult situations and they do the best they can.  Also, we get a glimpse into the relationship between Tengen and his three wives. This was a pretty good battle, and it was hard to know what the outcome was going to be. But since this isn’t the last volume of the series, it should be apparent that good must prevail.

Good volume, looking forward to seeing more of the mystery guest introduced on the last page!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 50 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 50     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 6, 2012

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

A curious Ichigo has accepted Ginjo’s invitation and gone to see what he has to say. He is more than surprised when Chad shows up, having not seen him at school for a while. Ginjo goes on to explain that everyone there has something in common—parents who were attacked by Hollows before each of them was born. This left them with residual powers that are closer to that of a Hollow than a Soul Reaper. The problem is they are disgusted by this power and want to get rid of it. Through trial and error, they learn that this can be done by transferring the powers to someone who is both soul reaper and human. Ichigo certainly fills that bill! Therefore, if they give their powers to Ichigo, he can be a soul reaper again and they will have gotten rid of them. Win-win, right?

Ichigo agrees to be trained by them for the purpose of taking their powers. But he’s confused when Ruriko brings out a doll house and looks at him expectantly. Seriously? She wants him to train inside that? But she does, and she demonstrates her Fullbring power of doll house, placing him inside the house. Fullbring is the power these people have, one she says Ichigo has too. But he isn’t alone in this place. There is a huge pig there. Ruriko tells him to use his Fullbring power to beat the pig so he can get out of the house. Is that even possible?

Meanwhile, a concerned Orihime goes to Chad’s apartment. But as she stands there, she is addressed by a young man who asks if she would mind dying? But once Orihime turns toward him, the young thug is so stunned by her beauty that he loses focus on why he is there and finds it impossible to attack her. Orihime is polite… until she thinks he attacked Uryu. But another man appears and claims responsibility for the attack.

As Chad and Ichigo walk home together, Chad suddenly realizes there is a problem with Orihime’s spiritual pressure, so the two hurry to her apartment. But when they arrive, Orihime says she’s fine, and a friend had been with her. Ichigo and Chad are confused but can prove nothing. Ichigo calls Ginjo to see if he has any idea what is going on… and he does.

Back to training for Ichigo… this time with Jackie Tristan!

I have to admit this is one of my least favorite Bleach arcs, and I find the Fullbringers annoying. But it’s for a good cause, to help Ichigo regain his soul reaper powers. He has obviously been lost without them, and I know he misses Rukia and Renji and the others. Ruriko is very annoying but I find it amusing that despite her nasty words toward Ichigo she obviously has a huge crush on him. So let’s move through this arc quickly and get on to other things.

Still well worth reading!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 48 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 48   

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 2, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Gin returns to Aizen’s side claiming to have killed Matsumoto. However, Aizen’s no fool, and he realizes Gin wants to kill him, but he just isn’t sure how he intends to do that. But why would Gin want to kill Aizen?

Ichigo has finally returned and is ready to face Aizen. Aizen is disappointed, telling Ichigo he feels no spirit energy from him. “You’ve failed to evolve. You’ve failed to take advantage of the final opportunity I gave  you.” Ichigo tells him he wants to fight him somewhere else, and while Aizen is still voicing his objections, Ichigo has overpowered him and pushed him to another place, shocking Aizen. Suddenly Aizen realizes why Ichigo has no spirit energy… he’s converted it into physical strength.

Is this truly the final battle? How much can Aizen change? Has Ichigo learned the final stage of his bankai, and at what price? And what has Kiskue to do with anything?

This is really it, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The battle of battles between Ichigo and Aizen. And let me tell you it does not disappoint, neither is it clear from the start who will emerge victorious. Naturally, we all hope it will be Ichigo, and of course it is because there still many volumes of this series left to read. Even so, if you don’t know that, it’s very exciting to watch. For the first time, I felt empathy for Gin, even though he has been nothing but a rat in previous volumes. But now all has been revealed, and I actually cried for him, and feel bad for Matsumoto. She actually helped to humanize the snake that was Gin, and when push comes to shove, Gin, we hardly knew ye.

Aizen deserved worse than he got, wonder if we’re through with him. I hope so, I’ve seen enough of him to last a life time. Now life goes on, but for Ichigo it will bring serious changes. How will he handle them? Only time will tell. Wonderful end to the Arrancar arc, looking forward to seeing what is in store for them next!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 47 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 47       

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 4, 2012

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kira watches in disbelief as a very wounded Matsumoto ignores her injuries to go to the battle between Gin and Ichigo. Meanwhile, the new—but not improved—Aizen is still deep in conversation with Kiskue and Yoruichi. As usual, Aizen is condescending and laughs at their attempts to battle him. And then Isshin unexpectedly arrives.

Just as Gin threatens to kill Ichigo there and then, Aizen appears, having broken out of his chrysalis form, and asks what he’s doing, to which Gin replies he is only playing with the boy. Aizen orders him to open the Senkaimon and they take their departure. As they pass through, Aizen the arrogant decides he wants to play with the Kototsu, desite Gin’s warnings that is not a good idea. But Aizen gonna do what Aizen gonna do. When Isshin and Ichigo follow, Isshin realizes what Aizen has done, and he knows just how to use that to their advantage. He can train Ichigo in the final stage of his Bankai. Thanks Aizen!

And now back to the actual Karakura Town… Keigo awakens to a surreal sight. Everyone in town is sleeping in the streets. What is going on here? Hysterical, he begins to run around, yelling for people to wake up. Luckily, he runs into Arisawa, who calms him down with a quick but effective punch. They begin to gather their friends and take them to safety as obviously something is very wrong here. Meanwhile, Isshin holds down the fort while Ichigo meets with Zangetsu for his training. But this isn’t the Zangetsu he is used to.

Gin and Aizen have arrived in Karakura Town, and they run into Keigo and Arisawa. Gin tells her, “You seems to be in some trouble, girl. You should call for a hero at a time like this.” And just like that one arrives, one we’ve not seen in quite some time. But can he really be the hero that is called for? And is he enough to stop Aizen and Gin? Common sense says no.

We seem to be nearing the end of this arc. How it will end is still up in the air. Of course, the good side will prevail, but just how they’ll do it remains to be seen. I really enjoyed watching Ichigo train with Zengetsu. You have to respect him for doing what is right, even though he understands the price that is attached to what he is doing. And the unexpected reappearance of both Don Kanonji and Fro Man was great! The scenes with Keigo and Ichigo’s other friends was a bit of comic relief in an increasingly dramatic arc. From the beginning, they said only Ichigo can beat Aizen. We’ll see how true that may be in the next volume. Can’t wait!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 9 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 9     

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 5, 2019

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Tengen Uzui is one flashy Hashira! Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inoskue agree to go with him on a mission in order to spare the shy Kanao. They have no idea what they are getting themselves into! Tengen begins by explaining to the three demon slayers that he is a god and they are trash. What a way to begin a working relationship! He takes them into the Entertainment District. While he searches for a Demon, their job is to find and contact his three wives, who are working undercover there. Unsure exactly which houses they are at, Tengen has narrowed the list down to the three most likely locations and splits up the three demon slayers accordingly. However, there is a catch… they also have to dress as women and they have to be selected by these houses!

After making them up as women, Tengen approaches the first house. The owners find the “girls” ugly but decide to take the honest-looking one, Tanjiro.  A Madam from the House Ogimoto offers to take Inosuke, which only leaves Zenitsu, who is angry at Tengen because he is too handsome (he has removed his flashiness momentarily). When they clean up Inosuke, they find his natural looks much more pleasing than the make-up job Tengen did on him, not surprising since he has a girly face. Tengen manages to place Zenitsu, even though he is considered to be ugly, because of Tengen’s own good looks. But it’s the House’s lucky day as “she” proves to be very talented, despite “her” looks.

The three begin to investigate, listening and watching, and they learn that girls have been going missing, to the consternation of the other girls. Tanjiro learns that one of the missing girls is one of Tengen’s wives! Can they find the missing girls and rescue them before it’s too late?

I must say Tengen is an interesting character, although very arrogant and full of himself. I was sad when Rengoku died unexpectedly in the last arc. And even though Tengen is the way he is, I would hate to see him suffer the same fate. He certainly is flashy, though, and he knows how to fight. Seeing Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke in drag is hilarious! I wasn’t surprised that they washed off Inosuke’s make-up and found what was beneath to be much better. As usual, there is a great deal of humor in this volume as well as drama, as they search for Tengen’s missing wives. (I assume polygamy is okay here). An intriguing behind-the-scenes look at a few of the houses in the Entertainment District. I love the artwork, especially the full color pictures. The author has created some memorable characters, can’t wait to see where their adventures take them.

Great volume, looking forward to more of the same!

Book Review: Skip Beat, Vol 46 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 6       

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: May 1, 2007

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

After succeeding in the audition for the commercial, Kyoko and Moko are warned by the director that they have to take good care of their bodies, because that’s what professionals do, and he gives them a rather frightening glare for good measure. Entitled brat Erika is still miffed that Moko bested her and swears she will keep her from succeeding as an actress, no matter what!  Her sycophantic toadies leap at the chance to be of service to her and begin to stalk Kyoko and Moko, but no matter what they attempt to do to harm the two girls, Kyoko manages to unwittingly thwart their efforts.

Ren is on the set with his manager, Mr. Yashiro, whom he fears is coming down with a cold, when Maria appears. Right behind her, her grandfather Lori makes his usual grand entrance, complete with band. Maria tells Ren it’s for a commercial that is being shot, and Ren is surprised to learn that Kyoko won the audition. Maria, who is insanely jealous of Ren, tells him the story of how she met Kyoko at Training School, giving Ren much to think about. After he leaves, Lori becomes aware that Kyoko hasn’t been able to go to High school, but not by choice, and offers her the opportunity to do so. That means she will have to study hard!

At LME, when a manager is ill and unable to perform their duties, the company appoints a daimane, or substitute manager. But when Yashiro does indeed come down with a cold, none is available, so Kyoko is giving the job of managing Ren. Neither of them is particularly pleased with this decision but can’t do anything about it. Kyoko is afraid she will screw up and not do a good job, thus earning Ren’s wrath. Ren doesn’t think she can do a good job, and feels like he doesn’t need help, since he’s very self-sufficient. Kyoko finds being alone with him awkward. When he notices her rumbling stomach, he suggests they stop and eat, not taking no for an answer, and he takes time to eat as well, which is what Lori had counted on when he gave Kyoko the assignment, since Ren is prone to ignore such things as meals.

Kyoko is very observant and nurturing, and takes care of Ren despite himself. But when a particular scene has to be re-shot repeatedly because the actress Ren is playing against is too stupid to pronounce a word correctly, Kyoko is concerned, as it is raining and she already thought Ren was wearing himself out and could get sick. When her fears are realized, she goes above and beyond to bring him back to full health!

I really loved this volume of Skip Beat!  (Who am I kidding, I love them all!) This one was especially good because of the great interactions between Kyoko and Ren. He’s been suspicious of her motives for joining LME ever since he heard it was for revenge against Sho. But he’s beginning to realize she is really interested in succeeding as an actress. Not only that, she has a great natural talent. Who knew? Of course, he has an advantage in that he remembers her from when they were children, and she isn’t aware that he is her beloved Corn. Wonder how long he’ll keep that secret. Kyoko is growing as a person, and as an actress. Her natural abilities, plus her own kindness and goodness, continue to shine through. My biggest wish is to see these two get together, but I know that’s not in the cards for a long time to come.

Great volume, looking forward to more!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 46 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 46

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 4, 2012

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

The battle between Ichigo and Aizen continues! Ever arrogant, Aizen tells Ichigo he missed his chance to kill him. “That was my last vulnerable moment.”  Then he reveals that it’s not due to super powerful regeneration skills, rather it’s because he has fused with the Hogyoku! Aizen further reveals that he has been watching and controlling Ichigo’s growth and development… from the time he was born? How is this even possible? Ichigo is confused, naturally, as he tries to process Aizen’s words. Flustered, he demands Aizen explain himself. But just as Aizen is about to tell Ichigo something perhaps he shouldn’t, another country is heard from, as Isshin Kurosaki appears, in full Soul Reaper uniform! What is going on here?

Isshin takes on Aizen, leaving Ichigo to deal with Gin.  Ichigo and Gin battle, but their fight spills over and interrupts the conversation Aizen is having with Isshin (or is that lecture?). But suddenly, another contestant enters the arena, none other than Kiskue Uruhara! AIzen is not surprised to see him, having been awaiting his appearance. He accuses Kiskue of being jealous of Aizen’s ability to control the Hogyoku. Uruhara manages to trap Aizen, but he knows that won’t last, and sure enough the villain returns, but he has… changed. What does this portend? And Ichigo is still in the midst of his battle with Gin, who warns him that they have no idea of Aizen’s true powers.

You didn’t think the fight would end that quickly, did you? Seriously? This is an epic battle, and it will not be told in one volume, or even two. The appearance of Ichigo’s father, and the questions that are left unanswered, is mind-boggling. But Ichigo shows an unexpected maturity when he sets his questions aside. “I don’t know how to ask you without being disrespecting you, so I’ll wait.” He has certainly grown since we first met him 46 volumes ago, hasn’t he? Aizen, as usual, has to run his mouth, but this makes for interesting conversation between him and Isshin, who has thrown off his usual doofy mannerisms and reveals himself for who he really is. Ichigo and Gin’s interactions makes for a fascinating read too. And at the very end, a very wounded Matsumoto becomes aware of Gin’s proximity and begins to stir. Guess we’ll see what’s up in the next volume!

Book Review: Spy x Family, Vol 6 by Tatsuya Endo

Spy x Family, Vol 6   

Author: Tatsuya Endo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 5, 2021

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Fiona Frost, aka Nightfall, has long had a crush on her mentor, Twilight. She feels as though the time he has spent with the false Forger family has diminished him. She is determined to put him right… by getting rid of his troublesome fake wife!  The two spies are given a mission involving a wealthy art collector. Their boss believes the collector, Cavi Campbell, is in possession of some seriously sensitive documents known as the Zacharis Dossier. Nightfall has a plan, though. But it involves her and Twilight posing as tennis players in an illegal underground tennis club tournament. The winner of the tournament is allowed to select an item of their choice from Campbell’s collection. That would include the painting they are actually interested in, Lady in the Sun, once owned by Colonel Zacharis. Is it any surprise that Nightfall has them posing as husband and wife?

Twilight says he’s dabbled a little in tennis, but his modesty is apparent when he and Nightfall begin to blow the competition away the competition, who are seasoned professionals, despite the various tricks they employ. Upon winning, they request the painting but learn that it is the one item they cannot have. And someone else is going to pick it up in ten minutes! What can they do?

Afterward, as Fiona drops off Loid, he hears the voices of Yor and Anya. They are playing tennis in the park. Fiona inserts herself into the scenario, introducing herself to Yor and challenging her to a game of tennis. Anya is appalled to overhear Fiona’s thoughts regarding supplanting Yor in Loid’s affections. Can Fiona best Yor and take Loid as her prize? Afraid she is going to be replaced, Yor suggests she and Loid have some couple time and they go to a bar for a few drinks. But Yor can’t hold her liquor, and things get… strange?

Anya is concerned about being able to win eight Stella stars. Her friend Becky misinterprets her obsession with Damian Desmond as being of a romantic nature and decides to help make the boy fall in love with Anya! She takes her shopping but the two girls have completely different ideas about fashion.

It’s time for the Imperial Scholar mixer. Will Loid be able to attain his goal and speak with Donovan Desmond at last?

I’ve been hoping from the start that Loid and Yor will develop feelings for one another, and I think my hopes are beginning to be realized. What better ending than to have them become a real family? Although I don’t want the series to end, either, so maybe they can continue as spies, but working together as a family?

And the good news is that there is an anime of the manga that is going to come out next year. I can’t wait! I love this series so much! Another great volume, can’t wait for the next one!