Citrus Vol 1-5 Review

citrusI almost didn’t pick up Citrus by Saburouta, as the description on the back gave me the impression that this series would be more heavy then the fluffy yuri romances that I’ve enjoyed in the past. But I decided to give it a chance anyway, and I didn’t regret it.

Yuzu is a flashy and out-going high school girl whose mother gets remarried to a man who has a daughter the same age, named Mei. Mei is the cool and collected student council president and the two initially butt heads, but, as Yuzu discovers more about Mei and helps her to work through some of her struggles, she starts to develop romantic feelings for her new step-sister.

The almost incest, but not really, set-up with the two leads being step-sisters, is what initially made me weary of picking this series up. This kind of set-up is not something that I’m really a fan of, but in this case it does serve the function of throwing our two leads together (and having them living under the same roof lends itself to some saucy situations). While there is some melodrama surrounding how being step-sisters makes their love taboo, the series is overall a lot more fun then I was expecting.

Yuzu is an amusing and likeable main character. She is open and honest with herself and, most importantly, she is a woman of action who doesn’t back down from a fight. On the other hand, Mei’s more withdrawn and brooding personality makes her less easy to relate to initially. As we learn more about her struggles, however, she becomes more sympathetic and I’ve enjoyed seeing Mei grow as the series goes on. Yuzu helps Mei to stand up for herself and learn to communicate better with her family. I really like how the two characters are helping each other to grow and I’ve found their romance, with all it’s ups and downs, to be very engaging.

The art work in this series is lovely and expressive. The lines are crisp and the characters have distinct and attractive designs. I hope we get more of this artist’s work licensed in English in the future.

Overall, I have really been enjoying this series. If you’re looking for a romance that’s both dramatic and fun, then I’d recommend checking this series out.

Final Grade: A-

For more information on Citrus, check out Seven Seas Entertainment’s website: http://www.gomanga.com/books/citrus/511

Sailor Moon Crystal Season 1 Review

sailor-moon-crystal

Like many of my generation, I grew up watching the original Sailor Moon anime, in all of it’s censored, terrible English dub glory. This is a series that I have a lot of nostalgia for, so I was excited when I heard that a new anime was being made. I watched the first couple of episodes on crunchyroll.com and enjoyed them enough that I decided to pick up the DVD (note that I am reviewing the regular DVD release of the first season, not the special edition).

The story of Sailor Moon Crystal closely follows the manga, so viewers who are only familiar with the original anime are in for some surprises. The plot centers around Usagi, a junior high school girl who discovers that she is really Sailor Moon, a magical warrior destined to find and protect the moon princess. She is joined by a talking cat named Luna and four other girls representing other planets. Together they battle the forces of evil and discover the truth about their past lives as denizens of the Moon Kingdom.

I never found Usagi to be a likeable main character in the old show, but here I feel that her strengths are properly show cased. She might still be a bit of a cry baby, but she is also shown to be someone who is capable of seeing people for who they really are, rather then pre-judging them based on outward appearances. The kindness that Usagi shows towards the other Sailor Scouts, who are all outsiders when she first meets them, is quite touching and I found Sailor Moon to be a more convincing choice as leader as a result.

Usagi isn’t the only character who came off as more likeable in this version. Sailor Mars is much nicer and doesn’t have a confrontational relationship with Sailor Moon in this series. Tuxedo Mask is less of a jerk and the stupid love triangle with him, Sailor Moon and Sailor Mars is thankfully absent.

The animation for the Sailor Moon Crystal is lovely and there are a number parts that seem influenced by the original anime. The style of the backgrounds has a similar feel to them and the sailor scouts transformation sequences are clearly referencing the original transformations, which was a nice touch. One thing about the animation that I’m not crazy about though, is the fact that these transformation sequences feature computer generated animation. This works for some of the Scouts, for example, the flames in Sailor Mars’ transformation look fantastic, however, I think Sailor Moon’s transformation looks a little odd and at times I wish they’d just stuck with the same animation style throughout the whole thing.

So, as a fan of the original anime, how did I enjoy this new take on this classic series? Overall I really enjoyed it! The story moves along at a fast pace, but still manages to be poignant when it needs to be. The action scenes are exciting and the ending left me wanting more. There will always be things from the original anime that I love, but this new anime is a faithful and fun adaptation of the manga and I would recommend that any fan of the original anime check this series out.

Final Grade: A-

For more information on Sailor Moon Crystal Season 1check out Viz Media’s website: http://www.viz.com/watch/dvd/sailor-moon-video/12051

October Manga

It’s the start of another month so it’s time to talk about the new manga I’m excited about picking up this month.

I’d have to say that the manga I am most looking forward to is Liselotte and Witch’s Forest vol. 2. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a big Fruits Basket fan, so I was super excited when Yen Press announced that they had licensed two of Natsuki Takaya’s more recent series. Liselotte is the first of those two series to be published and I was already charmed by the first volume. I’m excited to see where this series is going.

I’m also looking forward to the first volume of Cells at Work! This looks like a fun action series where the characters are all anthropomorphized cells in a human body. With a concept like that, how can you go wrong? Lastly, I am excited for the concluding volume of GA- Geijutsuka Art Design Class, a cute 4-koma series about a group of girls attending an art school.

Here’s the complete list of what I’ll be buying this month:

  • Liselotte and Witch’s Forest vol. 2
  • Princess Jellyfish vol. 3
  • Astro Boy vol. 5
  • The Wolf-Boy is Mine! vol. 2
  • Yona of the Dawn vol. 2
  • Kamisama Kiss vol. 22
  • My Love Story!! vol. 10
  • Twin Star Exorcists vol. 6
  • Honey so Sweet vol. 4
  • GA – Geijutsuka Art Design Class vol. 7
  • Cells at Work! vol. 1
  • World’s Greatest First Love vol. 5
  • Bandette vol. 3: The House of the Green Mask (not manga but still great)

That Wolf-Boy is Mine! Vol. 1 Review

wolf-boy“That Wolf-Boy is Mine!” by Yoko Nogiri  is one of those series that I decided to pick up without really knowing anything about it. I actually decided to give it a try mainly because the back cover promised that it was ‘perfect for fans of Fruits Basket!’ Well, Fruits Basket is one of my all time favorite manga series, so I figured that this Wolf-Boy series was worth checking out. Good job Kodansha Comics marketing team! Your strategy worked!

So let’s dive right in here. “That Wolf-Boy is Mine!” vol. 1 starts with our protagonist, Komugi, moving to a new town to live with her dad. She had been having some trouble at her previous school, so she is determined to avoid any social blunders at her new school. However, right off the bat she draws unwanted attention form her classmate Yu Ogami, one of the school’s top hotties, who likes the way that she smells. This, of course, draws the ire of the school’s mean girls (who have apparently all made some kind of a pact that no one is allowed to get close to Yu or his hot friends. Not unlike the Yuki fan club in Fruits Basket. So there’s parallel number one). Komugi initially tries to distance herself from Yu, but then she discovers his secret… which (surprise!) is that he can transform into a wolf.

Komugi is a very likeable main character. She is level headed and tends to tackle problems head on. Most importantly she has no problem sticking up for herself, or for others, when she needs to. I think she is this manga’s greatest strength. It’s greatest weakness, on the other hand, is probably Yu. As a romantic lead he leaves something to be desired. Sure, he seems like a genuinely nice guy, but he comes off as spacy and oblivious most of the time. Hopefully he gets fleshed out more in future volumes, because as it stands now, I am not really feeling that invested in seeing him and Komugi get together.

So, did “That Wolf-Boy is Mine!” live up to the hype of being perfect for fans of Fruits Basket? Not exactly. Aside from the boys having the ability to transform into animals there aren’t that many similarities. At least not in this first volume. That being said, it was still an entertaining read. The art is nice, if not spectacular, the story moves along at a good pace and there were a couple of pretty funny moments. So, while I’m not in love yet, I think there is enough potential in this series that I will be picking up volume two when it comes out.

Final Grade: B

For more information on this series, visit the publishers website at: http://kodanshacomics.com/volume/wolf-boy-mine-1/

September Manga

Hi Everyone! I wanted to kick off my manga blog with something that I hope will become a monthly feature. In a wonderful celebration of consumerism, I’m going to list the new manga coming out this month which I plan to buy!

This month I’m most excited about the third volume of Tsubasa World Chronicles. I’m a huge CLAMP fan and I can’t wait to see how this particular adventure is going to end.  I really hope CLAMP will be continuing this series at some point in the future (sadly there are a number of CLAMP series which I feel that way about…). I’m also really looking forward to the new volumes of A Bride’s Story and Umineko When They Cry.

Here’s the complete list of what I’ll be buying this month:

  • Blue Morning Vol 6
  • Don’t Be Cruel Vol 2
  • Tsubasa World Chronicles Vol 3
  • Genshiken: Second Season Vol 9
  • Goodnight Punpun Vol 3
  • Witchcraft Works Vol 9
  • Citrus Vol 5
  • Tomadachi x Monster Vol 3
  • Umineko When They Cry: Dawn of the Golden Witch Vol 2
  • Of the Red, the Light and the Ayakashi Vol 4
  • The Boy and the Beast Vol 2
  • Nichijou Vol 4
  • A Bride’s Story Vol 8
  • Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Vol 1

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