20th Century Boys art manga Naoki Urasawa reviews

20th Century Boys Volumes 1 & 2 – Naoki Urasawa (2009): Review

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One name has dominated manga over the last few years – in the west at least – Naoki Urasawa. Probably best known for his dark mystery series (and it’s subsequent anime spin-off) Monster and Pluto, his recent re-telling of a story arc from Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy, the series that has most recently grabbed not only the attention and awards but also spawned a trilogy of live action movies is the sci-fi and comedy tinged mystery 20th Century Boys. Despite the ferocious buzz around the comic across manga-fandom, I’m slightly embarrassed to say that it was only this month I finally managed to sit down and check it out, courtesy of Viz Media dropping me copies of the first two books to review.

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art books manga reviews Tezuka

Black Jack Volume 5 – Osamu Tezuka (2009): Review

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Even if you’ve never read a single page of manga before, the chances are you’re familiar with Osamu Tezuka – and if the name isn’t familiar, then it’s likely that his most famous creation Astro Boy, is. Even though she’s never, to my knowledge, read a page of the manga herself, my girlfriend’s most prized purchases during last year’s Tokyo shopping exhibitions where the t-shirts featuring the iconic robo-Pinocchio she picked up in Harajuku. But Tezuka – often referred to as the ‘God of Manga’ and the ‘Father of Anime’ – had an impact beyond his cute character designs and children’s adventure stories, with even Astro Boy at times exploring the darker sides and moral ambiguities of human nature, and perhaps his strongest vehicle for this being the character Black Jack.

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ghibli Links > Anime & Manga Miyazaki movies panda! go panda! ponyo retro reviews Takahata Totoro

Panda! Go Panda! (1972): Review

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With the English language release of Ponyo imminent, and his recent promotional and speaking visit to the US causing a stir, there’s no denying that there’s a buzz around Hayao Miyazaki at the moment. And it’s a buzz that’s not just getting the attention of anime fans, but also grabbing the interest of the wider mainstream media and audiences – something that is, arguably, long overdue. As such it’s either luck or great timing that Manga Entertainment have just released Panda! Go Panda! on DVD here in the UK, and while it’s been out in the US for several years, this was the first time I’d had a chance to sit down and watch this early chapter in Miyazaki-san’s career.

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books Japan Mariko Koike novels reviews

The Cat in the Coffin – Mariko Koike (2009): Review

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Mariko Koike is one of Japan’s best known women writers, having built a reputation on the popularity of her romance and detective novels, short stories and essays. While winning critical and commercial acclaim in Japan, along with a string of award, she has of yet failed to gain popularity outside her home country, mainly due to the obvious language barriers. Which is way I was particularly interested when publishers Vertical Inc sent me a copy of her first novel to be translated into English, The Cat in the Coffin.

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before you die features Links > Anime & Manga noobs reviews TV

Ten anime series you should see before you die

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First off I’d just like to say a huge thank you to everyone that read my list of ten anime films you should see before you die – the response has been phenomenal – not just the number of people that read it, but also those that took the time out to get involved in the following discussion at Reddit, Stumbleupon, Twitter as well as here on TMB. Some people loved my selections, some people thought I was well off the mark, but it was clear that there was no way I was going to be able to avoid putting together another list, this time of TV series and OVAs.

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books manga reviews

The Manga Guide to… (2008 – 2009): Review

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I’ve been wanting to check out the bestselling Manga Guide series since I first saw images of them when they were published in Japan, so I was thrilled this week when I received the first four English translations, courtesy of their US publisher No Starch Press. I’ve already got a large and random collection of teach-yourself, ‘Dummies guide’ style manuals covering everything from web development to postmodernist theory, so combining that format with manga artwork was obviously going going to snare my interest. The question was though, where the books serious study aids or just another Japanophile curiosity?

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first episodes Japan Links > Anime & Manga reviews TV

First episodes round up: K-On!, Saki, Ristorante Paradiso, Valkyria Chronicles

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The Spring 2009 anime season marches on, and as always time is my enemy. Trying to keep up with the shows I am interested in is hard enough, let alone taking time out to sample the season’s other offerings. But sample I have, and here I present my findings on the first episodes of four shows that, while I may not follow them, you may want to check out.

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basquash! Japan Kawaii Links > Anime & Manga mecha reviews Satellite Studios TV

Basquash! 1 – 5 (2009): Review

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With the anime industry facing recession and accused of creative stagnation, a common recent tactic has been to take two well established genres and weld them together, often with questionable results. Satellite StudiosBasquash! pulls the same move, merging sports drama and mecha action to depict a futuristic world where basketball is played with giant robots.

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