Tuesday, May 29, 2012

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *Battle Skipper

Set in the not-to-distant-future, Battle Skipper is a 3-episode OVA series, despite the fact the DVD release is labeled as a “movie”.

The plot involves the five members of the Etiquette Club in one of Japan’s most prestigious schools are secretly a group of crimefighting mecha pilots called the Ex-Stars. Their main competition is the school’s other club, the Debutante Club. Their leader is planning on taking over the world with her own army of mechas. So, the Ex-Stars try to foil their plans, while still keeping a decent grade average!

This series was based on a Japanese toy line, but became its own unique and dynamic action comedy series. For fans of Project A-Ko or Sailor Moon, Battle Skipper is a hilarious anime with lots of great gags and a wonderful sense of fun

JESI THE GENIE, *Part 2: Page 1

Story by Jer Alford. Art by Ariel Levya.

Friday, May 25, 2012

ANI-MOVIES, *Summer Wars

Mamoru Hosoda followed up his Academy Award-winning sci-fi shojo movie of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time with an extended remake of his original Digimon short movie(which was the second chapter in the American release of Digimon: The Movie). Summer Wars is a full-length feature blending in high school romance with digital armageddon.

At the beginning of summer vacation in Japan, math whiz Kenji is working with his buddy Takashi as a moderator for the massive online network called OZ(no Wizard Of Oz puns present)which is a virtual world similar to WOW, but with less of a midevil setting and more like playful icons involved in fighter tournaments. Kenji’s cute energetic classmate Natsuki offers him another quick job to help her prepare for her great-gramma’s 90th birthday. He accepts, and the two of them go off to Natsuki’s family estate in the country. They are a large and diverse family descended from a samurai clan, and the great-grandmother Sakae is about everything you’d be looking for in granny. Kenji is shocked though when Natsuki claims to her family that he is her boyfriend, but she says that in order to make her grandma feel safe about her. Confused during the night, he gets a strange text message send in code, which he uses his math skills to crack, and sends it back. He awakes the next morning to see on the news that OZ has been been hacked into and that he is being blamed for it. It turns out that an A.I. program masquerading as Kenji’s avatar, calling itself Love Machine. It proceeds to take over OZ, which Kenji tries to stop with a new avatar Takashi made for him, along with Natsuki’s cousin who is really the brilliant game fighter, King Kazma. They tangle with Love Machine, but after absorbing a few other avatars, it goes all Super-Saiyan and kicks them out of the system. It then proceeds to infect computer systems all over the world, causing mass confusion and hysteria. Its later revealed that Natsuki’s estranged uncle is the one who actually created the A.I. that the American military try to use, but it escaped into OZ. This news infuriates Sakae as she banishes him from her home. The ensuing action causes Sakae to pass away in her sleep. The family believes that Love Machine is responsible, so they pull all the stops to try and pull the plug on it. They call in resouces from all over the country, even by bringing in a huge supercomputer to back them up. Natsuki uses her superior skills at tea ceremony card playing to challenge Love Machine to a final card game. She gets help from players all over the world to shut him down. However, it causes a satellite to begin falling towards their location. Kenji hacks into the satellite’s system, and has it crash near the estate.

Summer Wars features some impressive digital effects, specifically in the online world, although you sorta wish there was more added to it than the cartoonish avatars. The style used for the offline parts are a little more standard, at least for a generic non-Ghibli anime movie. The main appeal for this movie though is the compelling story, and the tightnit seperate world the family of characters exist in. They’re very believable, despite some of the standard anime tropes that are present, and you can recognize at least one member of your own family in Natsuki’s. This film makes for a great watch, at least as a gateway anime since it takes alot of what makes for a great story and an engaging syle.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

MISC. MANGA, *Spider-Man: The Manga

Way back at the beginning of the 70s, years before it even became a Japanese tokusatsu live-action TV show, Spider-Man managed to be the second American superhero to get his own manga series. Batman beat him out by a few years out east, but Spidey was Marvel’s first hero to pull some numbers with the Japanese. Probably based on the fact that his outfit is quite literally “big eyes & speed lines”. It was written and drawn by Ryoichi Ikegami, who later gained fame in the States with one of the first English translated manga, Mai The Psychic Girl, as well as Crying Freeman, Samurai Crusader, and Sanctuary. It was also co-written by 8-Man creator, Kazumasa Hirai. Despite the retitling that was given to the America reprinting of it, the Japanese title was just Spider-Man

The story is largely based on the original comic book, although its relocated to Japan. Yu Komori is working on an experiment in his school’s lab, and accidently infects a random spider with radiation, which bites him. Yu soon realizes he now has spider-like powers, and within the span of just three pages manages to come up with web fluid and working shooters for them. After dawning a costume he sews together on his own, he decides to fight crime as Spider-Man! He then starts tangling with Japanese versions of Lizard and Electro, as well as some original ones.

The thing that works for this is Ikegami’s gritty art style that works for him better later on in some of his own titles. Marvel Comics released this in scattered comic book issues in the 90s, never completing the original print run though. There was an official manga done of The Hulk done around the same time as the Spider-Man one, but it had an even shorter run, and hasn’t been reprinted in English. There was also an X-Men manga which was an adaptation of the 90s TV series that was published in America by Marvel along with the Spider-Man one. A more kid-friendly manga called Spider-Man J came out a few years ago, which Marvel first reprinted in Spider-Man Family, and then in two Spider-Man J graphic novels. Although there’s so far been no English collected edition of the original 70s

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

MISC. MANGA, *Princess Prince

From Tomoko Taniguchi, the creator of Popcorn Romance and Call Me Princess, comes this funny spin on an old fairy tale.

In order to fulfill an ancient prophecy, pretty boy Prince Lawrence’s father had him raised as a princess and renamed him Lori. However, a young angel bird threatens to expose his secret. That and the handsome young suitor Brandon has intentions on kidnapping him, although he believes that Lawrence’s sister is really the princes posing as a princess. This while Lawrence under the guise of Lori escapes with the Princess Jenny who are being chased by other pursuers.

Princess Prince is an enjoyable shojo manga, although mainly for hardcore manga fanatics. The American graphic novel collects the entire series originally printed by CPM Manga in comic book format.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

MISC. MANGA, *The Mighty Bombshells

Back in the early 90s, Antarctic Press was printing out some actual manga, including Vampire Princess Miyu. Alot of these had limited runs in Japan, some of which were not released through a mainstream publisher, but dojin circles. One of these was The Mighty Bombshells, a 2-issue series that was originally printed in Japan through Bandai’s Cyber-Comics. It was created by Yujin Ishikawa, who also worked on a one-shot Antarctic put out titled Justice which looked at American superheroes through the eyes of Japanese artists. Might Bombshells was Ishikawa’s take on an all-female superhero team in the vein of groups like Femforce, but with a Justice League International approach.

The stereotypical alien queen Sondum hops on down to Earth to try and set up a new empire. Landing in New York, she quickly uses her mind-control powers to hypnotize the male members of the Vanguards superhero group. Ms. Liberty is the only one left(aside from the injured Lady Pulsar), so she puts together a makeshift team of uber-chickas to stop Sondum. She gets Blitzkrieg and Fireball from the Eastern team of “Euroforce”, the Japanese mutant Cherry Blossom, Chinese kung-fu babe Red Dragon, and Dynamite Girl from the Texas Rangers(not the football team)who’s built like a brick shipyard. They head after Sondum’s citadel, and take on some mutated citizens. They then clash with the brainwashed heroes, and with Lady Pulsar’s help at the last minute manage to stop Sondum, and free the other heroes. The girls decide to stay together as “The Might Bombshells”, even though three of them are already on other teams groups.

The story is pretty basic for a standard superhero comic, although its strange that the design of the characters wasn’t done in the expected anime style with long legs and jiggling boobs. Even the heroines costumes aren’t all that revealing, as you’d think there would be alot of short skirts with panty shots. This could’ve been a single-issue story, but some bonuses were thrown in, including some concept art, character bios, and a short quickie about Cherry Blossom’s superhero boyfriend. I’d recommend looking these up if you can find them from cheap some comics dealer.

Monday, May 21, 2012

MISC. MANGA, *Venger Robo

Even though alot of people consider this 1993 manga to be an adaptation of the Getter Robo Go anime TV series(the weakest of the Getter saga!), Venger Robo was actually an original story that was later adapted into the OVA series, Shin Getter Robo Vs. Getter Robo. BTW, this was no direct relation to the Shin Getter Robo OVA which was released in America as Getter Robo: Armageddon, or the Shin Getter Robo TV series that was also put out here under the title New Getter Robo. Venger Robo is so far the only manga of Getter Robo to be put out in English.

Set about a few years after the original enemy of the Dinosaur Kingdom was wiped out, a new threat emerges known as the Metal Beasts. To counter this, an advanced class of Getter Robots is created. The problem though is finding pilots who can physically handle the pressure of piloting one of them. The government recruits mean-ass street fighter Go Ichimon, swordsman Gai Daidou(not the dude from Gekinganger), and the stereotypical professor’s daughter, Sho Tachibana. They go on to form the new Getter Team, and fight the evil machinations of Prof. Rando and his beasts.

Getter Robo creator Go Nagai wrote this, and it was drawn by Ken Ishikawa who co-created Getter Robo along with Nagai. Ishikawa has also done manga adaptations of Ultraman, Ninja Resurrection, Samurai Showdown, and Super Robot Wars. His style is very gritty and appealing for fans of hardcore shonen anime. Viz released this as a 7-issue comic book series, although no collected edition has ever been done. Possibly because the market for mecha manga is very small as compared to animated and live-action.

Friday, May 18, 2012

MISC. MANGA, *One Piece

Before Pirates Of The Carribean(the movies), there was One Piece. This uber-popular manga which spawned of a hit anime TV series and several movies is done by the great creator Eiichiro Oda.

In it, young Monkey D. Luff wants more than anything to be a pirate. But his idol, Red-Haired Shanks, won’t let him in his crew. After taking the devil’s fruit of the Gum-Gum Tree, Monkey is cursed with the ability to stretch his body like Plastic Man, but at the price of never being able to swim again. Later on, he sets off from his home town with one purpose, to be the King of Pirates. He wants to go after the legendary treasure known as the One Piece left behind by the original Pirate King, Gold Roger. Not knowing what the One Piece itself is actually, Monkey goes to find his own crew. He runs into the orphened Koby who is the cabin boy for the large female pirate Alvida(picture Rosanne Barr as a pirate lass!). He gets him to leave her, and the two then seek to get the pirate hunter Zora to join then. After an altercation with a corrupt naval captain, Monkey and Zora leave Koby behind and off to get the rest of their crew.

One Piece is a very long series though, far beyond the point where even Dragonball would've bothered with, so you really need to commit to wanting to get into. It’s got high seas adventure for any manga fan!

JESI THE GENIE, *Part 1: Page 7

Story by Jer Alford, art by James Dawsey.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

MISC. MANGA, *Blade For Barter

In the wavy waters of American manga, Seven Seas started out doing graphic novels in the right-to-left format. Meaning, that their books are being printed in the same fashion as regular translated Japanese manga. Whether this was trying to cash in on the hype of manga, or an attempt to confuse potential buyers into thinking its an actual manga remains to be seen.

Blade For Barter is done as an all-ages action/comedy. In it, Ryusuke Washington is a freelance samurai(or ronin). He lives in the city of New Edo, which takes place in an alternate reality where modern day mixes with feudal Japan. Always looking for new work, Ryusuke hears about a job opening of an inhouse samurai for a big time corporation. After going through Super Mario-type efforts to make the interview, he looses his oppurtunity when he refuses to join the shifty Samurai Union.

Afterwards, he gets a new pet dog named Hachiko who he saved from being run over previously. However, his new neighbor and business rival, the sexy(?)ninja girl Macadameia, causes immeadiate friction for Ryusuke’s pet. Then, some local restaraunt owners hire both of them to find some bandits who’ve beem eating and running with their meals. They only way to stop them is for Ryusuke and Macadamia to pretend to join the ranks of the bill-avoiding thieves.

The art style by illustrator Hai!(yes, that’s his name)is very similar to those from the One Piece manga series. The story usually paces out like it too, with fast action and quick dialogue. Writer Jason DeAngelis originally started out as a translator for manga like Berserk. Together, they pull off a reasonably interesting graphic novel.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

JESI THE GENIE, *Part 1: Page 6

Story by Jer Alford, art by James Dawsey.

MISC. MANGA, *Chikyu Misaki

Take a shapechanging sea monster, and throw in a cool gold heist, and you’ve got the weird manga, Chikyu Misaki. A young girl named Misaki and her widowed father move into her grandfather’s lake cottage which she inherited. The town of Hohoro is a place where it snows alot, but despite that it has a legend of creatures named Hohopos living in the lake, similar to the Loch Ness monster. Misaki becomes friends with Sanae, a local in her new classroom.

On the way home from school, Misaki and Sanae come across a secluded part of the lake and meet an actual young Hohopo. It immeadiately kisses Misaki on the mouth, and then transforms into a young human boy. Misaki and Sanae are amazed by this, specially when he turns back into his sea monster form from oing back into the water. Sanae then kisses them returning him to his human form(it’s the same no matter who kisses him). Misaki then decides to let him live with her for a while, and since she technically owns the new house they live in her father can’t say much against it. Calling him Neo after a certain character from The Matrix, things seem to be slightly happy for Misaki and her cute new boytoy/pet, if only she can teach him to use the bathroom though.

Now going into a completely different plot, a young heiress is kidnapped, and the crooks want her grandfather to pay 240 million in gold for her release. What they don’t know is that the girl’s tutor is part of the kidnappers gang. After getting the ransom, the criminals head out in a plane with the loot over Hohoro during a snowstorm, but the plane crashes into the lake. Only the woman passing as the tutor survives, and is found by a neighbor of Misaki’s who is a lone hunter. The woman tries to find a way to protect her identity, and reclaim the gold now stuck at the bottom of the frozen lake.

So, as if the girl with her pet sea monster storyline wasn’t enough, they managed to fit in a pretty good crime drama too, although the two seem to take a little time to come together. There’s a serious cuteness factor going on with the two girls and their most-of-the-time-naked boy/pet, but CMX edited alot of the nudity involved as they have with several other of their titles. If you can bare that though, you should be able to enjoy a very original and unique manga.

Monday, May 14, 2012

If the My Little Ponies were anime characters...

MISC. MANGA, *Culdcept

Based on the semi-popular PS2/Dreamcast RPG video game, Culdcept is a manga taking place in the same world as the game. Not necessarily based on the game itself, but taking the surroundings and ideas from it, similar to how Wild Arms TV did from its original game series.
Set in the land of Bablascha, special card each contain a monster or creature within them that can be summoned forth to do battle. Sorta like in Yu-Gi-Oh, accept for real. Each card is a piece of an ancient book called the Culdcept which was made by the goddess Culdra in her creation of the universe. Only people called Cepters can actually wield the powers of these cards.

Najaran is an apprentice Cepter, and she gets sent by her master to seek out info about the mysterious Black Cepters who are attacking city upon city in their quest to collect all of the cards, and gain ultimate power. Najaran and her strange comrade Goligan, a living magical staff with the head of an old man, head off to desert town of Soron, and get railroaded into taking part in a Cepters tournament. After defeating all the other contestants, Najaran confronts the cocky elf boy Zeneth. Their fight nearly destroys the stadium, but Zeneth forfits making Najaran the winner.

She then gets invited to the local kings house for a banquet. Najaran soon discovers though that the king has been replaced by evil Black Cepter, Depthera. It looks like she is to be doomed, but Najaran gets saved by the last minute by Zeneth of all people. From this point, it becomes Najaran’s mission to hunt down the reminaing Black Cepters, and their dark lord.

Culdcept is a pretty good manga, certainly well drawn. The character designs are a little original for a a manga too, although some seem like their right out of Lodoss War. This is a fine series for otaku and furries. Fans of Final Fantasy will take delight in seeing Cait Sith make a cameo, or at least the Culdcept universe version of him.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

ANI-MOVIES, *Thor: Tales Of Asgard

For the last of the Marvel Animation's movie line with Lionsgate, it was decided to do a story of the younger days of the Thunder God during his awkward teenage years. Slightly based on the Thor: Son Of Asgard comic book mini-series, this was originally supposed to come out around Fall 2009, but instead Lionsgate held onto it for a 1 1/2 years to coincide with the Thor live-action movie. The wait really shows though as the animation could've use a little glossing over as compared to the previous Marvel animated movies like Planet Hulk.

Set possibly a few centuries ago, Thor realizes that all the matches he's has against the Asgardian honor guard were all rigged. Hoping to regain some bit of his street cred, Thor convinces his "brother" Loki to go with him and search for the fabled Sword of Surtur, which was used to defeat the Ice Giants in a war with the Dark Elves. The brothers stowaway on the flying ship of the Warriors Three, but instead of going to the realm of Jotunheim where the trio brag they've been too, they instead end up in a boarding house bar, where they all get into a fight with several other dieties. The presence of the Greek gods here was especially here. The five of them then sail to Jotunheim, and actually manage to find the Sword. It uncontrollably destroys two Ice Giant soldiers, and the heroes are on the run from the rest of the colossal fridges. They go to Thor's wouldbe girlfriend Sif who is training with the Valkyries, in an attempt to get some winged horses back to Asgard. All of them are captured by the misandric Brunhilde and her warrior women, but the Ice Giants interrupt them, which allows Thor and the others to escape with Sif. They encounter their ally Algrim, who was the last of the Dark Elves that was befriended by Thor's father Odin. Algrim takes the Sword, and unexpectedly betrays Thor. Algrim goes back to Asgard with the Sword, and confronts Odin, who he blames for not stopping the war between the Dark Elves and the Ice Giants, which lead to the destructionof his kind. Thor shows up back in Asgard, and stops Algrim, but Loki uses the Sword to barbecue Algrim, revealing a more darker edge to him. Thor then hands the Sword over to the Ice Giants in order to keep the peace between Jotunheim and Asgard.

This movie was somewhat lacking in some of the more dynamic-styled animation of the earlier Marvel animated made-for-video movies. There is some reasonable action in this, although considering that it has viking, valkyries, giants, and werewolves, you'd expect a little more on the level of a Conan kind of flick. Director, Sam Liu, who also did some of the other Marvel and DC animated movies, put together a fair production, although a better Thor story was done in the Hulk Vs. double-feature.

MISC. MANGA, *Imperfect Hero

There have been some anime and manga that make fun of the whole Super Sentai(or “Power Rangers”)genre. One of the funniest is the Special Combat Duty Shinesman OVA, plus the recent Astro Fighter Sunred TV series. Nankin Gureko went a little step further by turning it into a romantic situation comedy.

A group of five costumed teen superheroes known as the High School Battalion Unit: Gakusei 5. Each of the maintains a secret indentity as regular students, even Gakusei Red who for some reason always wears his sentai helmet. They try to protect the world from the evil subterranean “menace” of the Gundark, an army of faceless minions who are lead by their busty leader, the sexy queen Mayura. However, during one of their typical battles, Mayura has her tiny horn on her head broken off and seems to loose her memory. She wanders off away from her henchmen, and is found by Yuji, who is secretly G-Green from Gakusei 5, the most underappreciated member of the group. Yuji is also the one who accidently knocked off Mayura’s horn. He takes her home out of guilt, and she decides to stay with him to find a boyfriend on the surface world. With the help of her size-changing flying Pokemon-like pet Poyo, the newly-frazzled Mayura causes enough problems around town gorging on chocolate and trying to find Yuji while he’s at school. Yuji tries to keep Mayura’s real identity secret from his teammates, much to the shigrin of Momoyama, the resident Pink Ranger who Yuji has a crush on. Mayura inevitably decides to make Yuji her boyfriend, to which he isn’t totally against(she is a voluptuous anime girl, after all!), but the other Gundark might have different plans for their queen.

This was a pleasantly funny manga. It was actually very funny throughout the whole three volumes, without giving into a lot of parody stereotypes. It would’ve been a little funnier to me if the Gakusei had some vehicles or a regular giant robot, but it might’ve taken time away from the rom-com aspects of the story. Even if your not a big fan of Japanese superheroes, this is still a pretty hilarious manga.

JESI THE GENIE, *Part 1: Page 5

Story by Jer Alford, art by James Dawsey.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Top 10 Super-M.I.L.Fs

There’s lots of sexy ladies in comics, but very few of them actually live long enough to be able to have kids(still realing from Wasp’s death!). So here’s my list of the top 10 Super-M.I.L.F.s:
10. Alura Supergirl’s vengeful mom might be bent on completely seperating her super-powered people from Earthlings at any cost, but she is a fine-lookin’ woman. Plus she’s one of the most brilliant scientists in Kryptonian history, even more than Jor-El(Master of Scheduling!).
9. Hawkgirl The Thanagarian spy might have totally sold out the Justice League and the rest of the world, but when she came back in a two-piece outfit in the second series, nobody seemed to care anymore. Shayera would in an alternate timeline have the Batman Beyond hero Warhawk for a son.
8. Donna Troy Former Wonder Girl/former Troia/former Darkstar/former Dark Angel/former Wonder Woman had one of the most unlikely guys as her baby’s daddy, the offspring of which later became an evil dictator who took over the world. But Donna is way more maternal than her original Amazon counterpart.
7. Shanna the She-Devil The Queen of the Savage Land ended up shacking up with Tazarn-wannabe Kazar, and had a very underclothed son. She also kicked the shizit outta some Skrull muthas.
6. Queen Serenity Having nothing to do with that shameless Outlaw Star ripoff, Sailor Moon’s mom wears a sleeveless neglice like it ain’t nobody’s business!
5. Catwoman The Golden Age Selina Kyle had split personality problems up the wazoo, but she and the original Batman still hung upside-down to make Huntress.
4. Invisible Woman The original “den mother” of superheroes, Sue Storm/Sue Richards/Invisible Girl should’ve totally kept her more revealing outfit.
3. Silk Spectre The belle of the 40s didn’t need superpowers when it came to stunning the bad guys into submission.
2. Mera Aside from being the Queen of the undersea kingdom of Atlantis, Mera is one of the most badass mommas in all of comics. She can go toe-to-toe with Wonder Woman without breaking a sweat, and her Justice League animated version takes the fishcake!
1. Queen Hippolyta Wonder Woman’s mom is the Grand Poobah of the Amazons, and equal only to her daughter(s) in strength and skill. Even though she’s the occasional man-hater, she’ll totally give it up to a guy dressed as a giant cat. She’s sometimes seen as a blonde, but in recent years she’s a raven-haired beauty. The best is the nearly totally cleavage-exposing version from the animated WW movie

MISC. MANGA, *The One I Love

I’ll admit that I am a real sucker for anthology books. I think if someone is able to convey an entire novels worth of plot into a 20+ page story, then their storytelling skills are particularly impressive. Plus, there are incredibly few manga graphic novels(that really come from Japan). So, I’d very much recommend this particular anthology, which was put together by none other than CLAMP. It’s actually by half of the manga-ka quartet, written by Tsubaki(formally “Mick”)Nekoi, and drawn by Nanase Ohkawa. It consists of a series of essays written by Nekoi about romantic relationships she has had and being a female in love, as well as the lives of some of her friends and coworkers. The rest of it is short comic stories illustrating the points of each essay.

Each one of these twelve stories are only about 12 pages long, but all are memorable. We start with the only color entry in Different where a girl frets over wearing a kimono when meeting up with her boyfriend, who turns out to dress up on his own for her. Cute helps define between a young couple finds as being cute, even manhole covers. I Miss You shows the problems facing a manga-ka trying to carry on a relationship. Insecue has a girl being paranoid about her lover dumping her when she can’t get in their apartment. Courage is a sweet short about the Japanese tradition of girls giving chocolate on Valentines. Normal is one of the best as it has a woman realize the little things that would make her want to get married.

This is a sweet little one-shot collection, and really stands out amoung CLAMP’s library of manga titles. It would be nice for them to do more like this, even though Snow Goddess Tales and Miyuki-chan In Wonderland are also worth looking into for some of their other anthologies.

JESI THE GENIE, *Part 1: Page 4

Story by Jer Alford, art by James Dawsey.

Friday, May 11, 2012

MISC. MANGA, *Di Gi Charat: Dejiko's Champion Cup Theatre

After two other publishing gigs with Viz and Ironcat, the Di Gi Charat manga franchise comes home. Broccoli, the company that also put together the various other Di Gi Charat outings, has the cat-eared alien princess and her friends out for one set of adventures to another.

To explain a little about the series, it takes place in Akihabara in Japan. Dejiko, the catgirl princess of the planet Di Gi Charat, comes to Earth with her younger sister Puchiko, and a strange balloon creature called Gemma. Dejiko gets a job working at a local video game store called Gamers(which is an actual chain in Japan), although she has a rival in the older bunnygirl clerk, Rabien Rose. Her fights with Rabian usually leads to alot of property damage thanks to Dejiko’s laser vision.

Too make things weirder, a group of bad guys from Planet Analogue have come to Earth to capture Dejiko and hold her for ransom to Planet Di Gi Charat. They’re called the Black Gema Gema Gang and are lead by the adorable but selfish panda girl Piyoko, who can vomit energy blasts from her mouth. Her three bishounen dogboy helpers, coo, Ky, and Rik, later on show up to assist Piyoko, but for one reason or another, they always manage to bungle their changes at kidnapping Dejiko.

Di Gi Charat: Dejiko's Champion Cup Theatre is a pretty good series to pick up, even if you’ve never seen any of the prior anime installments. It’s cute subtle comedy, and highly recommended!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

MISC. MANGA, *Ebin And May

Collecting the first dozen or so chapters from the long-running Furrlough anthology comic, this graphic novel from Christina Hanson and Ed Garcia(aka: Backbreaker Studios)is a fine midevil fantasy for fans of drama as well as romance.

Taking place in a mythical renaissance anthropomorphic world modeled slightly after our own, the story revolves around an outcasted prince named Ebin who is the last surviving member of the original royal family of a neighboring kingdom which was taken over by the Felious Empire, which is ruled by the subversive Emporer Houman. Ebin is now living with the mage knight Lord Valkyn, who aside from being an accalaimed sorcerer is also a seller of fine horses(actual horses, not anthropomorphic ones). Ebin has apparently during his stay though taken a liking to their servant girl, May. They haven’t been unable to persue a relationship though due to Ebin’s loyalty to the residing king who sees Ebin as a possible candidate for his daughter’s fiance.

Meanwhile, the Emporer Houman is setting his sights on the kingdom Ebin is currently hiding out in for his next conquest. Valkyn and his wife Rani go out to investigate possible sabotage that Houman has done to damage relations between the two kingdoms. Ebin meanwhile is looking after the Princess Fluffy who Houman is seeking to wed to gain control of the kingdom as he did with Ebin’s.

Ebin & May is a charming folktale-inspired story, and its nice to be able to enjoy it in its entirety in this collected format. The story still continues in the pages of Furrlough. This is a real treat for furries, and lovers of a good shoujo-esque romance

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

MISC. MANGA, *Galaxy Angel

Based on the popular anime series, this manga deals with the Galaxy Angel team in a slightly alternate storyline. There is an original video game which is seperate from the TV show that this is derived from.

The Angel Troupe are a team of five cute girls in the future who use special fighter craft to help protect the galaxy. They’re made up of the incredibly lucky but dim Milfie, the sexy but superstitious Ranpha, the bunny-eared closet cosplayer Mint, soft-spoken healer Vanilla, and the gun-obsessed Forte.

While on vacation, the Angel Troupe gets called into escort the Prince Shiva to an area of space protected by the Moon Goddess. The goddess is an entity that in the storyline of the video games hand selected the Angel Troupe into action. So now, they’re on their way in the prince’s main ship, the Elle Ciel. Along for the ride, are the acting captain Takuto, who is just a young boy who is really smitten by the Angel Troupe, and Commander Meyers who is his advisor. On the way, they stop at a desert planet for supplies where they befriend that planet’s prince, and the girls are mistaken for actual angels. Also, they make a sidequest to a hot springs resort so Ranpha can find her true love.

Each volume is filled with tons of bonus material, usually taking up a good 1/5 of the book, including character bios, mini-comic strips, glossaries, translation notes, and more. It’s just a funny as the anime, but with more of an ongoing plot to it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Top 10 Ani-M.I.L.F.s

Since its Mother's Day, thought I'd list the top 10 anime mommas. Now, since mothers in anime are kind of an endangered species, coming up with 10 is no easy order.

10. Yui: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Where as she was already dead for most of the regular series(movie and TV), her presence is the main driving force for Gendo Ikari's plans for bringing about Armageddeon. She was also responsible for turning Shinji into a total Momma's boy, which makes her enough of a good mother to be on the list.

9. Trisha: Fullmetal Alchemist
Another dead character who was a motivation for the main protagonists, Trish was the wife of one of the most deadbeat dad's ever, but also a great alchemist. So when she passed on, her sons tried bringing her back to life, which ends up causing them to spend the rest of the series looking for a way to turn their bodies back to normal from the attempt. That's some loving kids, despite being turned into hideous abominations because of it.

8. Neo Queen Serenity: Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon's future self is kinda hot in her strapless evening gown. She'd be a better mother if she'd stop sending her only daughter back in time when the Earth is still being attacked by demonic aliens.

7. Misaki: Tenchi Muyo
Sasami & Ayeka's mom is freaking psycho! She's obsessive, picky, and overbearing. And that's what makes her so damn wonderful!

6. Harumi: DearS
The stepmom of the main Earth character, Takeya. She's very influential on him though, to the point where he even shrugs off the advances of his gorgeous alien slave girl because he's so infatuated with her. Plus, she delivers a great finishing wrestling move.

5.Nadoka: Ramna 1/2
Ranma's momma is seriously dedicated to her family. Especially since she's willing to behead both her husband and son if Ranma doesn't turn out to be a "man amoung men". Too bad he turns into a girl half the time!

4. Sakura: Hyper Police
Even though she starts out the series as a bachelorette, after she ends up marrying a samurai flung hundreds of years into the future(not Samurai Jack!), Sakura gives birth to triplets who manage to reach full toddler age within a few months. For a kitsune, she manages to care enough for her new family, although she still wants to devour a certain catgirl.

3. Nancy: Read Or Die
At first she was a super-powered clone of Mata Hari. She later becomes pregnant with the son of a former genocidal madman, who would later become a candidate for taking over the entire world! So not bad! Plus she wears a skintight leather outfit like Black Widow could only dream of.

2. Hild: Ah My Goddess

Urd's mother is the ruler of the underworld, and the grand poobah of all demons. Acting also as the boss for the demon Marller, she constantly tries to break up Belldandy's relationship with a wimpy college student. She is pretty much all powerful, but still tries to maintain the balance between good and evil. She's also one of the most voluptuous females in all of anime!

1.Washu: Tenchi Muyo
One of three goddess that govern the cosmos, Washu is also the most brilliant scientist in the universe. Giving birth to one of the most prominent members in the Kuramitsu family(of whom the character Mihoshi is descended), Washu also created the neferious space pirate Ryoko using her own egg cel. Washu can shift between her younger Washu-chan guise, to her adult form. But her full-fledged goddess stature is totally "hubba-hubba"!

JESI THE GENIE, *Part 1: Page 3

Story by Jer Alford, art by James Dawsey.

MISC. MANGA, *Guru Guru Pon-Chan

From Satomi Ikezawa, creator of the manga Othello, is this quirky comedy about a dog given the chance to become human.

Ponta is a cute labrador puppy who lives with a family in Japan. Their grandfather Koizumi is not only the head of the local school, but he’s also a closet scientist. He develops something he calles the Guru Guru Bone. It’s a synthetic non-digestable bone that is supposed to cause a dog to start speaking human language once they put it in their mouth or lick it. Koizumi tries to test it on Ponta, bun instead the effect it has on her is that it turns her into a human girl! She starts running around totally naked, and then runs into the neighbor’s yard. Their neighbor is Mirai, the handsomest boy in school. He sees this crazy naked little girl in his yard and doesn’t know what to think, but saves her from nearly getting hit by a car. Ponta runs away when she accidently pukes on Mirai, and then turns back to her dog form though as transformation is only temporary.

Nine months pass after that, and Ponta is now a few years older(in dog years). She sees Mirai again, and gets a hold of the Guru Guru Bone which was in his room for the last few months. She turns into a human again, but this time she’s a cute blonde teenager. She grabs one of Mirai’s shirts and runs home. Ponta’s family is suprised to see a mute half-naked girl running around, but then the transformation wears off again, and they learn the truth about their grandfather’s experiment.

From this point, one thing leads to another, and Ponta is now enrolled in Koizumi’s school, which his granddaughter Yuka who has a secret crush on Mirai. But what none of them know is that Ponta has a crush on Mirai too. He soon figures out about Ponta’s transformations, but still treats her like a little sister. This leads to a conflict where Ponta realizes that Yuka is jealous of her spending time with Mirai, so Ponta tries to loose the Guru Guru Bone. But that doesn’t last long, as she’s back in school in human form later on, and becomes the girl that the new transfer student gets a thing for.

This is a charming manga. It’s mostly from the p.o.v. of the dog though, but still very well illustrated, and has a bizarre but hysterical sense of humor. Certainly worth a look for dog lovers, or any shojo junkies.

Monday, May 7, 2012

JESI THE GENIE, *Part 1: Page 2

Story by Jer Alford, art by James Dawsey.

MISC. MANGA, *Hyper Police

Hopefully you’ve seen one of the definately best anime for furries, minus Inu Yasha. But before the TV series there was the manga it was based on. By creator Mee(yeah, that’s his name)this post-apocalyptic sci-fi fantasy cop show has something for nearly any kind of furry otaku. You might be familiar with another anime based on Mee’s work, Adventures Of Kotetsu, which was released on video from ADV Films some time ago.

Set in what’s called year 22 of the new Holy Century, Hyper Police happens after some disaster apparently caused by mankind, which later brings all different races of monsters out of hiding. In this new society, humans co-exist with monsters, although they are still the majority race, often treating monsters as second-class citizens. This leads to various crime committed by monsters.

Since the regular police can’t handle all this, special groups of bounty hunters step in to keep the streets clean for a nominal fee. One group is the Police Company. Natsuki is a catgirl-half that works for them, and lives in a house filled with cats. She’s under the care of her partner Batanen, a sex-crazed werewolf. But after accidently shooting him, she gets a new partner in Sakura who is a kitsune whose working to fill out her ninth and last tail. She so far has 8 1/3 tails, and has to consume a being of magical energy in order to be a full-fledged fox spirit. Sakura hooks on Natsuki because she believes her ability to use parasites which shoot out bolts of lightning would give her the power boost she needs.

From this point, its a little like your standard flashy action police anime. Sakura moves in with Natsuki while still trying to “eat” her. Later, the Police Company goes out of business, Natsuki and Sakura have to go solo for a while, but can’t collect any bounties without a license. So they become apprentices under Batanen and his dogboy partner Tommy. The weird part is the arrival of a samurai from hundreds of years in the past(Samurai Jack, anyone?)who eventually becomes Sakura’s love interest.

The manga doesn’t have as much of the action as the anime did, but there’s alot of more gratuitous fan service. Tokyo Pop did a reasonable job for a change with the translation though.

MISC. MANGA, *In Dream World

This RPG-inspired manwha seems like it might be based on an actual card game like Yugioh, but it doesn’t, although creator Jae-Ho Yoon was probably pitching for one when he made it.

Taking place in a fantasy realm, pirate girl Hanee is apparently from our world, but ends up being swept away to the a different reality where creatures called Nightmares prey upon the innocent. The only way to stop them is by using special magical cards called In Dream Cards. With them, the bearer can summon various creatures and magical warriors to battle the Nightmare monsters.

Once in this strange new world, Hanee is intoduced to the elvish warrior Drake who is also from another world like her, and she soon finds out that all aliens to this realm have the ability to become masters users of these In Dream Cards. Drake takes Hanee as his travelling companion after an initial attack by a Nightmare.

Later on, Drake and Hanee meet Bunny Girl, who is a young girl wearing obligatory Playboy Bunny ears, and has come down with a bit of amnesia. They then all meet up with another alien girl named Rosemary and her talking doll counterpart. Rosemary apparently comes from the same world as Hanee, but from a different period.

The ulitmate goal for the group is to hunt down and rid the world of all the Nightmares, while Hanee is hoping to find a way back home. It’s a little short of direction, but there’s some decent storytelling going on here, and interesting characters to flesh it out. Furry fans will enjoy the eclectic summon monsters like talking wolves and merfolk. Should look into it if you dug old school video games like Monster Rancher or Chrono Trigger.