Category Archives: Manga Blitz

Toriko – Typical battle shōnen…but with cooking!






Title:  Toriko

Author:  Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro

Summary:  Super-powered genetically engineered warriors working for rival companies fight over the best ingredients and search for the ultimate ingredient, “god.”

Gut reaction: Typical battle shōnen.

Why: eh characters, developed setting, eh battles, eh plot, eh

At least the setting is quite expanded upon.  Although the summary sounds interesting, the story follows the gourmet hunter Toriko and his chef sidekick Komatsu as they fight the evil Gourmet Corporation over delicious flora and fauna.  It’s not that bad, but it doesn’t stand out. Toriko starts out very powerful and grows through hax cells in his body to defeat all his opponents.  His friends are semi-interesting people and the villains are suitably villainous, but it’s too generic.

The battle tactics are pretty well-thought out, but they take too long and the winner is always the good guy.  The plot seems to be heading toward some goal, but right now Toriko is just getting hired to get ingredients or going for personal interest and he isn’t truly working towards some higher purpose.  It’s definitely a good series, it’s just that you can find any number of series just like it.

Who would like this book:  Any shōnen or cooking fan would like this, although the cooking bit is admittedly lacking.  I’ll probably keep reading this until it gets boring.

–Lexie, 15, West Seattle



S·A – Typical shōjo but still funny…

S-A-specialTitle: S·A – Special A

Author: Maki Minami

Summary: A talented girl who is always in second place in everything falls for her rival in an elite school for the smart and/or rich.

Gut reaction: Typical comedic super-boy and hard-working-girl shōjo.

Why: Memorable characters, overdone setting, boring plot.

The characters themselves, although not new, are done well and done interestingly.  Although the main couple is boring, they are done in a refreshing manner.  The side characters are two-note but consistent and entertaining.  The setting is weird but not odd and had potential to be much worse than it is.

The plot sucks and anyone who has read Maid-sama can quote it development for development, although I’m not sure which came first.  It’s quite irritating that the girl can never get ahead.

Who would like this book: Any fan of Maid-Sama or shōjo in general would like it.  It’s funny but the comedy alone won’t carry you through.  It’s easy to read, so I’ll follow it to the end.

–Lexie, 15, West Seattle


Lexie loves Cheshire Cat Waltz

AINTCOFTitle:  Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat WaltzAuthors:  QuinRose & Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Summary:  Alice’s adventures continue in a new country where she gradually begins to fall for Boris, the Cheshire cat, while struggling over the option of returning home

Gut reaction: Shoujo with Alice and bloodshed.

Why:  This is a continuation of the Alice in the Country of Hearts series, adapted from a otome game. In the second game in the series, an Alice who chooses Boris’ path has adapted to her new world and decided to stay, and other forces are conspiring to ensure that she never leaves. The follow-up to the setting was spectacular. The setting is amazingly detailed and explained. Alice is a character who never bores me, although I’ve read many portrayal of this particular Alice, and Boris is surprisingly deep. I enjoyed the characters. The love was a bit annoying to start out with, and as they grew closer nothing really changed. I feel like the character development played a huge role.

Who would like this book:  Shoujo fans and those who have already read series inside the wider “Alice in the Country of” series will enjoy this one. As the theme is of acceptance and many characters are exceedingly violent, any ok-with-romance seinen fans might also enjoy it. I can’t stand there being a series I haven’t finished, so I’ll finish this one up and move to the next Alice.

–Lexie, 15, West Seattle


Manga Reviewed: Real

RealTitle:  Real

Author:  Takehiko Inoue

Why I started reading?  It was a manga.  I think I’ve read almost every manga in the system. Besides that, I kept hearing mentions of how serious it was, which is rare for a sports manga.

Review:  A violent basketball player drops out of high school and becomes connected with the star of a wheelchair basketball team when he’s involved in a crash and his sort-of girlfriend ends up in a wheelchair. Sort of complicated, but basically the plot revolves around him cleaning up his life and the player in the wheelchair moving forward in society.

In a yearbook, the main character would be voted Most Likely to: Become a Gangster.

This book reminds me of…  I’m going to have to say Whistle! although not much, because they’re both realistic sports manga.  However, Whistle! is more generic.  I think the point of Real is to differentiate from the genre.

–Lexie, 15, West Seattle



Manga Reviewed: Hayate the Combat Butler

HayateTitle:  Hayate the Combat Butler
Author: Kenjiro Hata

Summary:  Extremely unlucky yet skilled boy works as butler to eccentric otaku rich girl.

Gut reaction: Good comedy, great for otaku.

Why:  Although lately it is taking a more serious tone, the story’s strengths lie in its constant comedic interactions between characters and casual allusions to otaku culture.  The characters are all very funny in their struggles, although most are girls, and the sheer randomness of poor Hayate’s misfortunes never ceases to amuse.  Recently the plot has become more serious and I feel that it’s losing its appeal.  I am very far into the series now and I cannot give it up so this is quite disconcerting.  The first 20 or so volumes are hilarious.

Who would like this book?  Any fan of shoujo, parody, or comedy would enjoy this. Also, hardcore otaku will get many references and gain satisfaction.  As I’m stuck with it for the long haul, I hope it returns to its token comedy soon…

–Lexie, 15, West Seattle


Manga Reviewed: Naruto

Title:  Naruto

Author:  Masashi Kishimoto

Why I started reading it?  It’s common, it’s America’s idea of manga, I was young and impressionable.​

In a yearbook, the main character would be voted Most Likely To:  Fail while smiling obnoxiously.

Review:  Naruto follows a middle school-aged ninja who is alone except for his teacher and has a demon sealed inside his stomach that almost destroyed his ninja village the night that he was born.  It’s surprisingly not angsty until much later.  Naruto will be considered a classic once it finishes, slated for this year.  He has to gain the trust of his ninja comrades and navigate his world all while trying to become the leader of his village and the strongest ninja there.  The theme here is protecting friends and making everyone in the world your friend.   It gradually gains politics, battle action, mythology, psychology, various traumatized pasts, and, eventually, what being a soldier, a scapegoat, a leader, and a friend really mean.

This book reminded me of O-Parts Hunter and Hunter X Hunter because they’re all shonen.  O-Parts Hunter was written by Kishimoto’s little brother and it really shows.  They have similar premises and art styles, as well as character styles.  Both are distinctive and good on their own; they aren’t copying each other.  Naruto has been accused several times of stealing concepts and characters from Hunter X Hunter, which in my opinion is much better, but they aren’t that similar.

Websites of Interest:  Narutopedia; Watch Naruto Free @ Hulu!

–Lexie, 15, West Seattle




Check out Endrias’ review of Naruto!

Jump in the way back machine to check out Oliver’s manga suggestions…complete with visual aid!

Rae's Manga Blitz: Tiger & Bunny

Tiger & BunnyTitle:  Tiger & Bunny
Author: Sakakibara, Mizuki
Audience: Teen
Genre: Humor, Action, Superheroes

Summary:  “Superpowered humans known as NEXT appeared in the world 45 years ago. Some of them fight crime in the city  while promoting their corporate sponsors on the hit show Hero TV. The people love their superheroes, even if they don’t completely understand them, and not all of the NEXT use their powers for good. Veteran hero Wild Tiger has years of experience fighting crime, but his ratings have been slipping. Under orders from his new employer, Wild Tiger finds himself forced to team up with Barnaby Brooks, Jr., a rookie with an attitude. Overcoming their differences will be at least as difficult for this mismatched duo as taking down superpowered bad guys!”

Rae’s Review: This is a ridiculous, amazing, and completely over-the-top series.  The artwork is incredibly detailed and the characters fleshed out.  There’s a lot happening in the first volume (as always w/manga!) but I get the feeling all the volumes will be bursting at the seams with action, intrigue, and as many insults as these two can fling at each other…all while making a buck for their “sponsors!”

What Wikipedia Says: Tiger & Bunny
Online Streaming o’ Anime: Free at
Questions? Comments? Love it or hate it? Let us know!

Wanna write your own manga (book/tv/movie/play) review? Go for it. Send it to us, we’d love to give you your own blog post.

Teen Review: Boys Over Flowers (K-Drama)

Boys over FlowersIf you’re looking for something new or refreshing to watch, Korean dramas happen to be popular among teenagers recently. One of the most popular dramas is Boys Over Flowers. It is based off of the Japanese manga; the story itself has been made into many different formats, but this drama can definitely be considered to be the best.  It is about a girl named Jan Di, who fights for others no matter what the cost.  An accidental situation brings her to Shinhwa Academy, a school only for the wealthy and elite.  There, she runs into the F4, a group of the four most popular, rich, and gorgeous boys in the whole school who are cold and heartless toward others.  When defending a friend against the F4, she gets on their bad side and is targeted as their next victim. Can Jan Di ever get through to them and win their respect?

The characters in this drama are played by popular idols of the Korean world today: Lee Min Ho as Goo Jun Pyo, Kim Hyun Joong as Yoon Ji Hoo, Kim Bum as So Yi Jung, and Kim Joon as Song Woo Bin. Jan Di is played by Koo Hye Sun. The drama itself is fun and interesting to watch. The story includes a lot of romance and comedy, and revolves around their daily school life.  There are also segments involving family issues, which can really get viewers to connect to the characters.  It was very enjoyable.

So join other Korean drama fanatics by starting here! Find this drama at your local Seattle library.

Rae's Manga Blitz: translucent

Title: translucent

Author: Kazuhiro Okamoto

Audience: Teen

Genre: Humor, Romance, Psychological

Summary: “”Eighth-grader Shizuka Shiroyama is an introverted girl, dealing with school woes, bossy peers, and a medical condition, the mysterious Translucent Syndrome, which causes her to periodically turn semi-transparent or completely invisible.  One classmate, the hyperactive Mamoru Tadami, is falling for Shizuka despite her problem, and his dogged determination and unconditional support brings hope into her life.”

Rae’s Review: I love this story. With a simple art style and a slightly heavy-handed narrative voice, Okamoto explores the idea of self (self-importance, self-perception, feeling insignificant, perception of self by others, etc.) in a very literal sense – transparency.  A new mysterious ailment, Translucent Syndrome, is striking individuals randomly.  Strangely enough, when someone gives attention, approval, or love to that person they start to become visible again.  Hmmm…

The lesson here is very “clear” and the author makes no bones about it.  But, the story is interesting and the characters are likeable and engaging.  Shizuka’s best friend (maybe someday boyfriend?) is a riot and just the right amount of light-hearted to off-set the troubled girl.  Each chapter features a new or different character, with Shizuka being the through-connection.

I highly recommend this short series (only three volumes) for everyone, but it’s an especially good read for anyone who’s ever felt overlooked or unnoticed.  Nice reminders throughout of the people in our lives who keep us grounded and love us for who we are.

Wikipedia Says: translucent (manga)

Online Streaming o’ Anime: Nope. Hasn’t been made yet, fingers crossed!

Questions? Comments? Love it or hate it? Let us know!

Wanna write your own manga (book/tv/movie/play) review? Go for it. Send it to us, we’d love to give you your own blog post.

Rae's Manga Blitz – Library Wars

Library Wars

Title: Library Wars

Manga Author: Kiiro Yumi

Original Story Author: Hiro Arikawa

Audience: T+ (Older Teen)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance, Drama, Political, SF (future)

Summary: “In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves—the Library Forces! Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore when she was younger. But now that she’s finally a recruit, she’s finding her dream job to be a bit of a nightmare. Especially since her hard-hearted drill instructor seems to have it in for her!” Continue reading