Karnevel Vol.1 by Touya Mikanagi: review

Karneval, Vol. 1 (Karneval, #1)Karnevel Vol.1 by Touya Mikanagi
Series: Karneval #1
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Shounen, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Synopsis: When innocent country boy Nai sets foot into the sordid cutthroat realm of the city, he might as well have painted a target on his own back. Kidnappers, murderers and desperados abound, waiting to take advantage of a boy guileless enough to believe blood is merely “red water”. When he is framed for a murder, it is the bandit Gareki who bails him out. Being a shrewd and sharp-eyed thief, however, Gareki’s motives are less than pure. Nai is looking for a friend who has disappeared and left behind something particularly intriguing – an I.D bracelet from the organisation named “Circus”, the country’s supreme defense agency. While Gareki has his sights set firmly on the bracelet, “Circus” in turn, has shifted its eye onto the duo as well…

My Thoughts:

For a first volume, this volume was pretty great. Yes, it was a bit hard to follow, but it promises that the it’s the beginning of a series that has much potential. And to be honest, I am kind of in love with the title.

Right from the start the reader is thrown into the story. Information is shown little by little. This can cause some confusion–heck, even I had some question marks floating over my head at times– but I thought it was well done for the most part. The volume is pretty fast paced with tons of action, so I was never bored and stuck in my seat!

I have always loved stories in which powerful organizations play a important rule. This is pretty apparent in my obvious love for Pandora Hearts. But instead of the organization Pandora, we have Circus, an organization that keeps control of crime and sets up circus carnivals as an apology for disrupting the daily life of citizens. So yeah, I am sort of attracted to this manga because of Circus.

The characters are quite interesting… Nai gives a whole new meaning to the word naive (he consistently calls blood ‘red water’). This naivete might grate on the nerves of some readers but I actually think that this trait makes him adorable. Normally I am very irritated by extreme naivete, but I feel different about it this time. And Gareki is very mysterious at the moment but right now he seems like the type of character that is outwardly cold but kind in the inside. I think there is a developing friendship between the two!

Some other noteable characters are Yogi and Tsukumo. Yogi is pretty silly which makes him very entertaining to read and Tsukumo is very quiet right now, but she does seem very tough.

To be honest, I wish there was more ‘Circus stuff’ in this volume. Sure, we get some scenes with the organization, but I want to see the conflict within the organization of Circus and really see the personalities of all the people working for it. It’s only the first volume so hopefully we get some of that in the future.

The art, awhile rough, is beautiful. There is a lot of close attention payed to small details like the creases in clothing and strands of hair. If you are a sucker for pretty art like I am, then this manga might just be for you. The art is to die for.

Overall, this was a pretty neat first volume. It wasn’t perfect but it was a great beginning to a probably great series (I have heard nothing but good things about it). Thank you, Delaney for wildly recommending this!

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March Story Vol.1 by Hyung-Min Kim, Yang Kyung-Il: review

March Story, Vol. 1 (March Story #1)March Story Vol.1 by Hyung-Min Kim, Yang Kyung-Il (art)

Series: March Story #1

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Shounen

Publisher: VIZ Media LLC

Release Date: October 19th 2010

Synopsis: Reads R to L (Japanese Style), for M audiences. 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.

March is one such hunter, tracking the Ill from town to town to find the antiques that contain the demons before they can possess anyone. If the worst has come to pass, March’s full powers are unleashed to battle the fiendish Ill. Born of tragedy, the artifacts all have their own tales to tell, as do each of their victims. But March’s story may be the most tragic of all.

My Thoughts:

It has been a long time since I have been so mystified by a beginning of a series. If a person wants to start a series, this is how they should start it. With an intriguing introduction to the main character, a couple of amazing stories, and a dose of master storytelling.

I might as well insert a little warning in the beginning of this review. Awhile I label this manga as something in the Young Adult age group, I do think that only people who are mature enough to handle some adult things should read this. There is a good amount of blood in some of the chapters, and some nudity. I don’t think that these were used in excess or were just used to be used, though.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s go on!

As of right now, I can say that March Story is a story that follows March, a hunter of Ill. Ill are beings that live inside old artifacts, waiting for a human to pick them up. When a human picks them up, the Ill possesses the human and drives them to insanity with their whispers, and then take over the human’s body. The only thing that can stop an Ill is a Ciste Vihad, a person who has gotten the Ill possessing them under control. And that is what March is, a Ciste Vihad.

Of course, I believe that there is a much deeper storyline that is going to come into play in the future, but this first volume only touches upon what Ills and Ciste Vihads are, and the characters with the chapters it contains.

Most of the chapters in this volume have a very sinister feel to them. There is blood and screaming and horror. But there are some that are actually quite heartwarming. My favorite chapters is the one with the glass deer. It was such of an amazing chapter.

March is an enigma of a character for a time until about the middle of the volume. We don’t even officially know her gender until then. All we know at first is that she is a hunter that eliminates Ill. But when we actually get to know her and her past, well, it’s pretty painful.

The reoccurring side characters are also very good. I especially loved Jake, the chubby (an understatement) fortune teller that immediately caught my attention, for some reason. And Rodin is such of an interesting person. He is the man who owns a shop that sells items that have been cleansed of the Ill inside of them. And he isn’t at all hesitant to rip people off. It’s quite funny 😛

And Yang Kyung-Il’s art is GORGEOUS! Everything is vividly drawn, with great detail, and obvious love. Heck, even the dripping blood is nice to look at at times. Seriously, the art is Pandora Hearts pretty. That’s saying something.

This is a great beginning to a series. And if this continues, this might become tied with Pandora Hearts as my favorite manga series. The mangaka’s have a wonderful idea for a story. I would definitely recommend this for fans of D.Gray-Man since it does have similar elements.

Nabari No Ou Vol. 1 by Yuhki Kamatani: review

Nabari No Ou, Vol. 1Nabari No Ou Vol. 1 by Yuhki Kamatani

Series: Nabari No Ou #1

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Genre: Shounen, Action

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: May 12th 2009

Synopsis: Apathetic schoolboy Miharu Rokujou is content to meander through life in the sleepy village of Banten. But his quiet existence is shattered when the Grey Wolves of Iga, a powerful ninja clan, attempt to kidnap him in broad daylight. Only then does Miharu discover that the ultimate power of the hidden ninja realm – a power that can do both great good and great harm – is sealed within his body. As battles erupt among rival ninja clans seeking to control him, Miharu must overcome his apathy and learn the ways of the ninja if he wants any shot at survival!

My Thoughts: 

The first volume of the Nabari No Ou series is a bit hard to write. Maybe it’s because I have read most of the series and this is just a reread? I don’t know. Anyways, this is a pretty good first volume. Oh, and since I have already read most of this series I will be pointing out things from future volumes if I feel the need.

This volume introduces the story of Miharu, a boy who has suddenly been dragged into the Nabari world (a world that coexist with the Surface world) and finds out that he has the power of the Shinrabanshou, a power that contains all the wisdom of the universe, hidden inside him. People are out to get him and people want to help him. Even if Miharu wants to keep living his apathetic life, he has no choice but to be involved in this battle.

If you haven’t realized already, this is the start of a series about ninjas. No, this is not a copycat of the well-known mainstream manga series that is also about ninjas. But it seems like people do feel inclined to compare it to that, and it seems like Kamatani was prepared for that. She uses this first volume as a way to hint that Nabari No Ou has a more serious story and a story that is very different.

My favorite thing about this volume is how quickly it gets to the point. This volume doesn’t take to long to introduce the main characters and getting into the story. And then even after getting into the story it is still fast paced. There will be no boring moments in this solid beginning.

To be honest, the characters are pretty average in this volume. They are definitely entertaining and fun to read about, but they aren’t memorable. It really isn’t until the next installments when that happens. But the characters do have a certain light-heartedness that isn’t in the next installments (when things get more deep and serious) in this volume.

And that is the reason why I return to this volume repeatedly.

Sometimes I just want to read about the apathethic kid called Miharu that really doesn’t care whether or not he has the wisdom of the whole world hidden inside him. To read about Tobari and his phobia of moving vehicles. To read about Raimei and her tendency to get over-excited. And to read about Kouichi and his very calm demeanor.

The humor element definitely puts to use Miharu’s I-don’t-care attitude and his cuteness. Most of the little jokes revolve around those traits.

Shirt: Muscular Pain… Miharu didn’t care enough to change out of the outfit his grandma made him wear.

The mangaka has a clean, distict drawing style. Her art is lovely most of the time. Although there are a couple of panels in which the characters look drawn awkwardly in volume one. (The art becomes absolutely beautiful later, so don’t drop this series because of the art in the first volume.)

Overall, this is a good introduction to a series. It isn’t overly good but still a solid volume that will definitely make one want to continue (especially because of the fact that two sides are battling it out at the end). I will definitely recommend this series if you are a fan of ninjas or reading books that involve the use of nature as a source of power or maybe even just some sword fighting (Raimei kicks butt with that blade).

Durarara!! Vol.1 by Ryohgo Narita, Akiyo Satorigi, Suzuhito Yasuda: review

Durarara!! Drrr!! x1 (Durarara!! Manga, #1)Durarara!! Vol.1 by Ryohgo Narita, Akiyo Satorigi, Suzuhito Yasuda

Series: Durarara!! Manga #1

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Genre: Shounen, Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: January 24th 2012

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)Welcome to Ikebukuro, where Tokyo’s wildest characters gather!! Meet an ordinary boy who daydreams about the extraordinary. A naive stalker girl. The strongest man in Ikebukuro. A shut-in doctor with questionable credentials. A hedonistic informant…and the “headless rider” astride a pitch-black motorcycle!? As their paths cross, this eccentric cast weaves a twisted, cracked love story…

My Thoughts:

If only one word could be choses to describe Durarara!! the word would be crazy. The characters are crazy. The plot is crazy. Everything about Durarara!! is crazy. But that is not to say that it doesn’t make sense. The creator of Durarara!! masterfully weaves together the weird personalities these characters have, the supernatural element, and the gang wars.

Now. Before I start reviewing this specific volume I have got to talk about the gigantic amount of characters this series has. The five characters on the cover aren’t even half of the entire cast of characters. Sometimes using a lot of characters doesn’t work at all, but Ryohgo Narita (the creator of the story) is great at putting to use a large amount of characters.

What drove me to read the first volume of the Durarara!! manga series was the anime. For me, the anime was just pure enjoyment even though the story is very complex. It was just fun. And when I finished the anime I craved more Durarara!!. To be more specific, I craved more of this:

image

Yes, that is a fridge that Izaya is being hit with.

So when I found out that the manga series was licensed in english I was pretty darn happy. I immediately went to the bookstore to buy the manga and start reading it. And I am very happy to say that so far the manga does the anime series justice.

The characters are still the same awesome characters that I loved in the anime. Shizuo still needs anger management, Izaya is still loving humanity (and observing/manipulating it), Celty is still kick butt, Shiinra is still kind of a pervert, Simon is still trying to sell sushi, and Mikado, Anri, and Masaomi are still the normal (or are they?) group of teenagers caught in the mess known as Ikebukuro. I am really excited to read more about these characters (and the ones I didn’t mention).

From what I have seen of the plot so far in the manga, it is being told in a fluid, smooth manner. Even though a lot goes on in the series, what with the Dullahan looking for her head, the gang known as the Dollars, the murder, and the random fights (this is all in the first volume)the creator is still able to tell it without confusing the audience. I admire him for that.

The only thing I can complain about is the art. Don’t get me wrong, the art is great as long as you don’t count a few derpy-looking expressions the characters make. I just wish that the art had the same style as the art in the anime. I’m not use to seeing the characters drawn in the particular style the illustrator of the manga uses and I am a bit bothered by that.

Overall, I have high hopes the for manga series. The first volume was really great and I hope that continues with the rest. I would recommend this for people who are itching for a creative, fun, and complex shounen series that definitely strays for the norm. And if you want to know who was throwing the fridge in the gif I showed earlier it is this guy:

Future Diary Vol.3 by Sakae Esuno: review

Future Diary, Volume 3Future Diary Vol.3 by Sakae Esuno

Series: Future Diary #3

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Genre: Mystery, Psychological, Thriller, Paranormal, Shounen

Publisher: TokyoPop

Release Date: September 1st 2009

Synopsis: Yukiteru Amano, a junior high student, has trouble making friends. He views himself as a spectator from the sidelines and often writes down what he sees in a cell phone diary. Tormented by solitude, Yukiteru interacts with his imaginary friends Deus Ex Machina, the God of Time and Space, and Muru Muru, Deus’s servant. One day, Deus grants Yukiteru’s cell phone the ability to record the future for the next 90 days. Yukiteru is then forced to participate in a battle royale with eleven other people, each of whom also have a diary that can predict the future in some unique way. The rules of the game are simple: before the world ends on day 90, the contestants must find and kill all the other contestants, and the last one standing will become Deus’s successor.

Note: This manga is aimed at an older audience.

My thoughts: There are moments in Future Diary that are unintentionally laughable. Well, this volume is different. The whole thing is unintentionally laughable.

The story in each volume of Future Diary is pretty much all the same. A new diary holder is introduced and Yuki and Yuno must defeat that certain diary holder in an epic battle of wits and future telling. This time the villain is a sociopathic six year-old obsessed with poison. Yuki and Yuno must defeat this dangerous child or else!

Reisuke Houjou (the dangerous six year-old) is a character that is hard to hate. Awhile he is the villain and does get close to killing Yuno and Yuki he does provide some laughs-mostly from the fact that he is a six year-old obsessed with poison. He is kind of cute in a morbid way. I am starting to like Minene, the cosplaying bomber, more and more. She is becoming a more important character and unlike most of the diary holders she is still alive after the volume she is introduced in. Minene is currently in an alliance with Keigo who is also becoming more important.

Yuki also manages to do his part in this game of survival. He helps keep Yuno alive quite a few times. This might cause Yuno to get more obsessed with him as time goes on even though she is pretty darn obsessed with him as it is now.

My only issue with this volume is the fact that the villain is a child. I rather not see a six year-old die in a game of survival. I will still continue this manga as it seems that Rei is the only child-villain in the series.

This manga never fails to be fast paced and exciting no matter how unrealistic it gets. The unintentional laughs* are pretty entertaining. Sakae’s art is not mind blowing but it is able to tell the story clearly and it seems to be getting better 🙂

*or maybe they are not unintentional?

Future Diary Vol.2 by Sakae Esuno: review

Future Diary, Volume 2Future Diary Vol.2 by Sakae Esuno

Series: Future Diary #2

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Genre: Mystery, Psychological, Thriller, Paranormal, Shounen

Publisher: TokyoPop

Synopsis: Yukiteru Amano, a junior high student, has trouble making friends. He views himself as a spectator from the sidelines and often writes down what he sees in a cell phone diary. Tormented by solitude, Yukiteru interacts with his imaginary friends Deus Ex Machina, the God of Time and Space, and Muru Muru, Deus’s servant. One day, Deus grants Yukiteru’s cell phone the ability to record the future for the next 90 days. Yukiteru is then forced to participate in a battle royale with eleven other people, each of whom also have a diary that can predict the future in some unique way. The rules of the game are simple: before the world ends on day 90, the contestants must find and kill all the other contestants, and the last one standing will become Deus’s successor.

Note: This series is for an older audience

*My manga reviews may contain spoilers

My thoughts: Volume two impressed me. It completely surpasses my expectations. I did like the first volume even though it was pretty average. The second volume ,though had great pacing and a plot twist that I didn’t expect at all!

The beginning is very light-hearted. Yuno and Yuki are going on a date at an amusement park(although Yuki is very reluctant). Yuno is pretty darn cute when she is not being a super stalker. This all ends rather quickly when Yuki goes into Yuno’s house and discovers a secret that Yuno does not want him to know. The rest of the volume Yuki is wondering if he can trust Yuno or not.

After this certain event Keigo(who is currently in an alliance with Yuki and Yuno) finds out that the terrorist from volume one, Minene has been captured by a cult group that goes by the name Church of the Seer. The Church of the Seer also happens to worship a girl who can tell the future and she just might be another diary holder. Things don’t go as planned when a person who calls himself the Hero of Justice enters the church and it is revealed that he is also a diary holder. Yuno and Yuki have to fight to survive the chaos and be careful not to reach a “dead end”.

I love the characters in this series even though some of them might not be the most realistic. I find it interesting that Yuno can switch from being a sweet and cute girl to a dangerous psychopath in a matter of moments. Tsubaski is a character that I feel really sorry for. The way she grew up caused her to be a bitter and unpleasant person. She made my heart ache. Then there is the Hero of Justice: the guy in a power ranger suit. He made me laugh at the oddest times… I believe that Minene will have a bigger role as the story progresses. I like her character and want to know more about her.

I love the fact that in this manga, survival is all about making the right choices. One choice can change the future completely and effect the game in a way nobody expects.

The suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. I never know what exactly is going to happen. I hope that more unexpected plot twist come later!

There are some moments that unintentionally cause laughter. I like that about this series. It is mostly serious but there are some times where something can happen that is so random or strange that it can make me laugh. Those moments are a good break from all the blood and suspense.

This mystery manga series is impressing and I will definitely finish it to see how it ends.

Future Diary Vol.1 by Sakae Esuno: review

Future Diary, Volume 1Future Diary Vol.1 by Sakae Esuno

Series: Future Diary #1

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Genre: Mystery, Psychological, Thriller, Paranormal, Shounen

Publisher: TokyoPop

Synopsis: Yukiteru Amano, a junior high student, has trouble making friends. He views himself as a spectator from the sidelines and often writes down what he sees in a cell phone diary. Tormented by solitude, Yukiteru interacts with his imaginary friends Deus Ex Machina, the God of Time and Space, and Muru Muru, Deus’s servant. One day, Deus grants Yukiteru’s cell phone the ability to record the future for the next 90 days. Yukiteru is then forced to participate in a battle royale with eleven other people, each of whom also have a diary that can predict the future in some unique way. The rules of the game are simple: before the world ends on day 90, the contestants must find and kill all the other contestants, and the last one standing will become Deus’s successor.

*My manga reviews may contain spoilers

My thoughts: Future Diary is a manga that I doubt I will be forgetting anytime soon. The combination of future telling, cellphones, and death is an unforgettable one. The idea of the story is original and a breath of fresh air. The first volume of Future Diary is definitely not perfect but I enjoyed reading it.

Volume one is an introduction to the game and the two main characters Yukiteru “Yuki” Amano and Yuno Gasai. Yuki is not an impressive character. He can not fight, he is not smart, and he is not brave either. He is a normal young boy and the way he is acting is understandable. I am sure that Yuki will annoy some readers but I think the way he is reacting to the things around him is quite realistic. Yuno is a very…strange character.

She is obsessively in love with Yuki. She will do anything for her love for him without hesitation. Even if it means killing someone. These two are Future Diary‘s main characters and they make a very interesting pair. There are some other characters introduced that are participants in the game: Minene Uryu (a terroist), Keigo Kurusu (a detective), and another guy who is unnamed that gets killed almost immediately. I really want to learn more about the characters- expecially Yuno. They all have something about them that makes you want to know more about their personalities and past.

There is plenty of action and things happening in this volume. There is also a lot of suspense. I was never bored. In fact, I couldn’t stop reading. I just had to know what would happen next. I should also warn you that if you decide to read this manga you are going to need to suspend your beliefs a bit. There was one instance where a person escapes on a motorcycle that just popped out of nowhere.

The art is very clean and nice to look at. The actions scenes were decently drawn and the character designs were nice to. I have also noticed that Future Diary is the only manga that I have read where the students do not wear uniforms at school…

The first volume of Future Diary was good but it was a set up for the next volumes so I believe that the story will get better. I will definitely be reading next volumes of Future Diary.

Pandora Hearts Vol.6 by Jun Mochizuki: review

Pandora Hearts, #6Pandora Hearts Volume 6 by Jun Mochizuki

Series: Pandora Hearts #6

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Genre: Shounen, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery

Publisher: Yen Press

Synopsis: Though Oz’s sudden appearance in the midst of Pandora wreaks havoc, the initially chilly reception to the prison-breaker runs more than warm when Jack Vessalius, hero of the tragedy of Sablier and the man from Alice’s memories, manifests in Oz’s body. Sensing Oz’s resultant inner turmoil, Uncle Oscar drags Oz and company on a “mission” to Lutwidge Academy, where Oz’s little sister, Ada, is a student. But some carefree fun and a tearful reunion ten years in the making is not all for which Oz must prepare himself: crimson-cloaked foes are lying in wait to torture him for answers about the events of a hundred years ago…

*Beware of minor spoilers

My thoughts: A smile grew on my face when I realized that the girl on the cover shared my name 🙂 Her personality seems a bit unstable but I love crazy characters so no complaints from me. Oh, and look a there is a stuffed black rabbit on the cover…and Lottie is choking it with a chain. Nice.

I enjoyed reading the beginning of this volume because we get to learn more about Break and how he became the person he was today. There are still some questions about his past but there are some answers which satisfied me. I loved the scene with Sharon beating Break with a pillow for sacrificing the thing he has been looking for so long in order to save her. It made me laugh and it shows how much Break really cares for Sharon.

I hope that Echo grows into something more than Vincent’s puppet. She is showing some signs of independence so I have high hopes.

I was a bit turned off when I found out that an academy was going to be the main setting in those volume. It worked really well though. We got introduced to two new characters: Elliot and Leo (called Reo in some translations) and we are also introduced to one kind of new character: the older Ada. There is also an encounter with the Baskervilles! I loved how Elliot and Oz fought a lot and yet they also help each other. The argument Oz and Elliot have after Elliot spoils Oz’s favorite book series was hilarious.

Oz’s tendency to sacrifice himself for others is focused on a lot in this volume which I really appreciate. The way Jun Mochizuki uses the book series Oz (and Elliot) loves to represent that tendency was really clever and amazing.

The Baskervilles were pretty awesome if I do say so myself. Even though they don’t do much damage in this specific volume you can tell that they are dangerous. Lottie is my favorite Baskerville 😀 Jack appears at the end!

The art is still pretty.

Volume six was awesome which is to be expected of Jun Mochizuki. I think it is impossible for her not to be brilliant. Now time for the next (probably awesome) volume.