Highschool of the Dead Vol. 01

December 4, 2007

Zombies you say? Exactly, HOTD is your Dawn of the Dead manga version. Not so original for a storyline but I really like these kind of stories. To me they’re not just a kill-all-the-zombies type of movie but more of a psychological thriller toying with human instincts and behavior. The surviving characters are placed in some sticky situation and they eventually interact, decide to act alone or help each other out, learn to solve problems bit by bit and with their reasoning skills and emotions put to test at all times.

HOTD starts out on the rooftop of the school with the main characters Takashi, the soujutsu club member Rei, and Karate black-belter Hishashi. Armed with a baseball bat and metal pole, they wacked the heads of other students who had turned into zombies. There was some love triangle issue among them but was somehow decided instantly. A flashback of the events followed but there are no clues yet as to how the pandemic started.

Great artwork and the paneling is one of the best I’ve seen. Zombies biting necks, blood gushing from limbs, students bashing Zombie heads – all are very detailed.  The other survivors are also unique and interesting. You have Saeko, the president of the Kendo Club who is really skillful with her wooden sword; Saya, the intelligent spoiled brat with homicidal tendencies; Kouta, the nerdy guy who is good with guns (nail guns); Marikawa, the clueless school nurse; and Shidou, the self-centered sensei.

This may be just another Dawn of the Dead but I have the impression that HOTD packs great graphics, unique characters and better storyline as it goes on.


Kurozakuro Chapter 01

April 1, 2007

There’s a lot of fuss about this manga at my place so I decided to take a peek to see what it is all about. The story goes something like this – you have your normal highschool and like any normal highschools there are ugly bullies. Enter Mikito your four-eyed weakling who seems to have a habit of getting beaten up and extorted for money. He actually has a noble reason for this but his friend Saki doesn’t understand and thought he was just a coward. Moving forward, a crystal ball somehow got into his bag and transported him to strange place where he met Zakuro, a little monster who’s looking after a barren tree. Zakuro asked Mikito his innermost desire so Mikito told him that he wants to be stronger. Zakuro granted his wish and in return he wanted Mikito to make the flowers bloom all over the tree. Mikito didn’t quite understand and he woke up in his bed. Mikito felt strange and when he ran into the bullies at school, a bloody fight ensued. But this time Mikito was the only one left standing.

Sorry for the spoilers but I find this manga so interesting that I can’t help but tell all about it. The 1st chapter, though, still leaves a lot of questions. There’s obviously some sinister scheme behind Mikito and Zakuro’s deal and I read from a summary that Mikito will gradually turn into an ogre/monster. I’m really excited about the flow of the story, a lot of interesting angles. Fight scenes are detailed and effectively drawn highlighting great moves from Mikito. I’m expecting more of these engaging scenes in the next chapters.The manga is already quite popular and I wouldn’t be surprised if it hits the TV screen anytime soon.

REC Vol. 01

March 30, 2007

Where else can you find a guy who gets to score with a girl in the first episode/chapter? Matsumaru Fumihiko is the man! And the (poor and really cute) girl is Aka Onda. But don’t be fooled, this explosive start actually sets up the plot for the romantic and somewhat realistic relationship between Matsumaru and Aka.

Aka is an aspiring voice actress while Matsumaru works for a sweets company. The story is a diversion from your usual highschool love comedy and would definitely appeal to the working class like yours truly. A story of two persons struggling with their work and dreams somehow takes a more mature and realistic tone. REC surprisingly delivers this in a light manner. It has its share of funny scenes but you’ll see something deeper. You’ll see conflict and misunderstandings brought about by common demands and frustrations of work.

I’ve already watched the 9-half-episode anime which covered vol. 1 of the manga and expanded it a bit. I haven’t heard of any sequel so I guess we’ll just have to read the manga for the rest of the story. The anime was short but mini series seem to be more appealing to me like Hantsuki. Maybe because I don’t really have the luxury of time to watch a naruto-bleach sort of anime. Anyway artwork in the manga is ordinary but characters are distinctly drawn. Matsumaru reminds me of a younger Koshiro (Koi Kaze). Aka is simple which suits her character.

Overall, I really like it. If you want a break from the usual highschool story but want to retain the romantic element, then try this one.

Kaichou wa Maid-sama! Chapter 01

March 23, 2007

You read it right, the student council president is a maid at a maid café! This is quite a unique story for me; a kind of plot that I can only imagine in hentai films hehe but seems to be a good scenario for a romantic comedy. You have Misaki, the super strict school council president who relentlessly badgers students with school rules; and Takumi the most popular guy in school who developed an interest in Misaki.

Pacing is fast, bringing in characters with bits of history. Family problems forced Misaki to work part time and ended up in the maid café while studying and doing council work. Takumi is your silent-shojo-type of guy who knows how to fight but with the brains of Soichiro Arima (Kare Kano). Fate led them together when Takumi saw Misaki while she was working at the café and wearing a maid uniform of course. But the good guy Takumi kept everything to himself. This worried and irritated Misaki.

The story seems to be plot-based and character-driven at the same time. We got an interesting setting – Misaki’s part-time work has already been discovered; a thing she’s trying hard to hide from school? What if the school finds out? I’m guessing it would eventually come to that point and that would be interesting. Characters are likewise appealing. Misaki looks like Haruhi of Ouran except for the bossy aura she emits. She’s the type who looks at the practical side of things and motivated by the plight of her family. Her character will likely develop later on. Takumi looks like one who has a dark or complicated past. Some secrets about him might also be revealed.

Artwork is good; characters are distinct. As to the story, it’s still hard to predict. Lot of things can happen. This makes it interesting. I’m looking forward to the next chapters.

Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan Chapter 01

March 21, 2007
Sakura-kun is your average middle school student who has a crush on his friend and classmate Shizuki. He had this one-man exchange diary which appears to be a notebook for love testimonials (I think I have one of those in highschool hehe kidding). Now while Sakura is cheerfully writing on his notebook, a girl (Dokuro-chan) appeared from his drawer…

As the title implies (beat to death angel), there’s a lot of action in here. Dokuro-chan saw the diary and as she tried to read it Sakura panicked. Thinking he’s making the moves on her, Dokuro hacked him with a spiked club. Dokuro diced him pretty good with blood and body parts splattering all over the place (and I thought Naru’s uppercuts on Keitaro were violent hehe). For a moment I thought I was reading braveheart or 300. Yes, there’s blood in here and Sakura actually died but no worries Dokuro is a cute angel/necromancer who can revive the dead. Poor Sakura had two beatings in this chapter and I expect more blood bath in the following chapters.

This chapter doesn’t say much aside from introducing the main characters. It kinda intrigues me how Dokuro ended up in the drawer, her purpose, and where the heck did that spiked club come from?! I can only surmise that she is on some kind of a mission but one thing is certain Sakura’s gonna get a lot of clobbering in the rest of the chapters. There’s also a hint on some other characters. One or two might be angels as well. Shizuki will likely play a major role here.

The drawings are on the chibi-cute side. Not much focus on the background but paneling is good. Characters still have a lot of mysteries in them which make you want to know them more. This may be just one of those magical loli mangas but I have a feeling this may take a new spin and the plot might turn out to be good.

Again, nothing much in this chapter to base any verdict on but its building an intriguing plot. If they keep up with the clobbering thing, this will be a riot. ^_^

Parallel Chapter 01

March 21, 2007

The first time I heard the title of this manga I thought it was a sci-fi flick but when I actually saw the cover page of Nekota and Hoshino, I know right then that there’s some romance in here. So I read the first chapter to see what it can offer us.

As mentioned, this is a story of Nekota and Hoshino. They are highschool classmates who are constantly bickering whenever they get near each other. But for Nekota everything seems to be a front act because deep inside he is in love with Hoshino. When he mustered enough courage to confess, he got rejected. He went straight home only to find out that his father got engaged with Hoshino’s mom and both had to leave for a vacation. This now forces Nekota and Hoshino to live under the same roof until their parents return. In the midst of emotions and a typhoon, will Nekota be overcome by his perverted thoughts? Hehe.

This is a typical highschool romantic comedy manga where you have an average pervert guy in love with a pretty-smart-and-adored-by-everyone-in-school girl, all in a backdrop of highschool hijinks and misadventures. Yes, very typical but I’m a sucker for this kind of stories ^_^. The manga spans a total of 4 volumes only so I’d expect that this will be short and straightforward and will focus mainly on the two protagonists. One can expect hilarious as well as touching moments. It has ecchi contents but only to the extent that any manga reader can appreciate.

Artwork is quite good revealing convincing facial expressions. Characters were also beautifully drawn with good background details. Hoshino looks really cute and hot. As for Nekota, he looks like your average pervert with a good heart. We all know how that looks like (see above) ^_^.

Overall, this will be an easy read and promises a typical but still enjoyable and light storyline. I’ll be following up on the next chapters.

Manga or Anime?

March 14, 2007

This is one of the common topics in most anime and manga forums, drawing out a lot of replies and discussions. I haven’t really given an answer to it because I’m just a low-life leecher in most of those sites/forums so I’m not supposed to participate hehe. The topic suddenly crossed my mind again and made me think seriously about it. Seriously it did ^_^. Now, I don’t have technical expertise on anime and manga but I would like to share my thoughts on the matter.

I see nothing antagonistic between the two media as they practically exist on the same plane, I think that much is agreeable. Everything boils down to preference. The common objective of both media is to present a story, a plot, or an issue. They only differ in the method of how such goal is accomplished.

Anime has OP, ED and background themes; voices; and most importantly a colored moving graphic. These are the best elements that can be used to effectively present a story. On the other hand, you only see a black and white drawing and dialogues in a manga. But take note that what is surprisingly unique about mangas is that artworks and paneling are made in such a way that it actually create movements on paper. That is indeed an amazing aspect of mangas. Another point, since most of the anime come from mangas, the latter are usually more detailed storywise. You have the cases of Video Girl Ai and Ichigo 100%. The VGAi OAV covered only the first 3 volumes of the manga which are introductory parts of the 15-volume story. A lot of things happened after vol.3 and most of the issues were only explained in the latter volumes. Similarly, the 13-episode Ichigo 100% anime didn’t really give justice to the manga which I found really good. The OAV was merely snippets of the rest of the manga.

As I said, it’s a matter of preference. There are stories I would rather watch in anime and there are those I’d rather read. Happy watching and reading!^_^

(images from top to bottom: Tenko from Kamisama Kazoku and manga page from Video Girl Ai)