February Review Blitz: Forbidden Dance

February Review Blitz: Forbidden Dance

Forbidden Dance is a manga about a high school girl who has to work hard to achieve her dreams and get with the incredibly hot and perfect guy she loves. Because, you know, no manga has ever done that exact storyline before. Even worse, Forbidden Dance indulges in every tired cliché of the genre; the gorgeous ex-girlfriend, the mean girl(s) who pick on the heroine, the apparently arrogant and cruel dude who turns out to have a sad, sad past…it’s enough to make you gag. Aya is a high school kid and devoted ballet student. She’s the pride of her ballet school, until she chokes up at a competition and falls off the stage. After that she can’t bring herself to dance in front of an audience, despite the encouragement of her teachers and best friend, second-rate ballerina Nachan. This makes Yoshino, her main dancing rival, very happy. Then one day Aya is chilling in the park and a random guy gives her a free ticket to a performance by a small ballet company called COOL (he’s actually not that random, turns out he’s a classmate/fellow dancer she just noticed before). She attends the show and is blown away by the athletic performances of the dancers, especially the lead dancer, Akira, who is apparently unbelievably attractive. Aya decides that the only way on God’s green Earth that she will ever ever ever be able to dance again is if she can dance with unbelievably attractive Akira. She approaches him after the show and asks to be allowed to join COOL. Unfortunately, she was so obsessed with Akira that she...
February Review Blitz: Mai the Psychic Girl vol. 1-2

February Review Blitz: Mai the Psychic Girl vol. 1-2

Mai, the Psychic Girl is a misleading title. The titular character is not, in fact, psychic. She’s something even cooler: telekinetic, meaning she can manipulate inanimate objects with the power of her mind (though the manga calls it psychokinesis, which is also correct, ‘telkinesis’ just sounds neater). Mai Kuju is a regular 14-year-old school girl- because all manga heroines are regular school girls…at first- who hides her powers at the request of her beloved, widowed father. She’s silly, doesn’t pay attention in school, gossips with her friends, all the things teenagers do. She’s not particularly concerned when a group of strange men tries to follow her home; after all, she can use her power to cause a traffic jam to hold them up. But then the strange men come to her house and fight her dad, who has awesome mystical martial arts skills. It seems Mai is wanted by a mysterious international organization called The Wisdom Alliance, which is trying to collect people with ESP powers so they can somehow use them to keep world peace (although, considering they are a mysterious international organization, that’s probably a big lie). And Mai is the most powerful ESPer they’ve ever seen. To this end The Wisdom Alliance has made a deal with the Kaieda Agency, some kind of underground information network run by a creepy old dude with amazing martial arts skills. He needs to get Mai for the Alliance, and he personally wants to test Mai’s dad’s kung fu against his own. Mai and her dad flee to a shrine where he tells her that she inherited her power from...
February Review Blitz: Biomega vol. 1

February Review Blitz: Biomega vol. 1

If Tsutomu Nihei is a prophet, the future is going to suck ass, but at least it’s going to look awesome. In Blame! and its companion manga, Noise, people are repressed by bizarre cyborgs and have to live in an endlessly-ascending cyber-dungeon. In Biomega, they get to go outside, but there are zombies everywhere. And in Biomega, the last hope of saving humanity isn’t…even…human. It’s 3005 A.D. Mankind completes its first manned mission to Mars in seven centuries. The astronauts find that the formerly populated Martian outpost is wrecked…except for one forlorn,  mysterious human- or a forlorn, mysterious human-shaped creature. Jump forward six months. Mankind has been devastated by the NS5 virus, which the astronauts brought back with them. Instead of killing those who contract it, NS5 just turns them into mindless ‘drones’; zombies, basically, although they can mutate into gross monsters and attck when threatened. As the story opens, Zoichi Kanoe, a ‘synthetic human’ arrives in a city on his badass motorcycle. He’s been sent by his employers, Toa Heavy Industries (a company of the same name was mentioned in Blame!, but the two series don’t seem to be connected, as least so far), to ‘purify’ the city by ridding t of drones. But as soon as he enters the city he accidentally runs down a teenage girl. Her dismembered leg sticks  itself right back on, to Zoichi’s surprise. He’s even more surprised when a bipedal, gun-toting grizzly bear bounds out to protect the girl and usher her back into the city. The girl, it turns out, is seventeen-year-old Eon Green. She’s an Accommodator- someone who contracts the...

America’s Greatest Otaku?

I haven’t actually watched this trailer yet. I am a little afraid. Will it make me angry at the way anime fans are represented? Will I shake my head, weeping for the future of our nation’s youth? Or will I just be jealous? America’s Greatest Otaku! I am so not an otaku. I know a lot about anime, in fact, I probably know more about the history of anime than most ‘hardcore’ otaku. But I don’t watch everything that comes out just because it’s anime. And I don’t have any statues of cute anime girls in bikinis on my coffee table or anything. So I’m not America’s Greatest Otaku...
February Review Blitz: Kitchen Princess

February Review Blitz: Kitchen Princess

This one is spoiler-iffic! Of all my guilty anime/manga pleasures (Najica: BlitzTactics and Demon City Shinjuku among them), Kitchen Princess may just be the guiltiest. It’s one of the hundreds of shoujo manga about poor teenagers who go to boarding schools packed with rich kids, who have to prove themselves to the Mean Girls and win the hearts of the handsomest boys. Most of these manga have some sort of gimmick to make them stand out: the kids are fashion models, or fairies, or they’re on the field hockey team. Kitchen Princess’ gimmick is food. Lots and lots of food. The story begins a little like Revolutionary Girl Utena. Najika is a little orphan whose parents have just died in some vague sort of accident. While walking one day she Jumps into a stream, and is rescued from drowning by a little boy. He gives her the snack he was carrying- a cup of flan- and comforts her. The food and the head-patting give Najika the will to live again. He leaves behind the teeny-tiny silver spoon that came with the flan. Unfortunately, unlike Utena, Kitchen Princess doesn’t go into a delightfully weird tale of swordfights, incest and lesbianism. Instead, Najika just keeps the spoon as a reminder of her ‘flan prince’, and vows to find him someday as she grows up in an orphanage, where she learns to be disgustingly sweet and helpful. The markings on the spoon lead Najika to an elite private boarding school in Tokyo. She applies and gets in, with a special recommendation from the Director, to the ‘A’ class. The A class is...
February Review Blitz: RG Veda vol. 1-3

February Review Blitz: RG Veda vol. 1-3

It’s Manga Wednesday! I have a love-hate relationship with CLAMP. By that, I mean they’ve produced two series I love, and a bunch more that I hate (or, more usually, that I’m indifferent to). RG Veda is one of the bunch to which I am indifferent. I don’t hate it, I certainly don’t love it, and I’m not particularly sorry Tokyopop dropped it after only five volumes (originally there were ten). I admit, I have zero knowledge of the original Rigveda, one of Hinduism’s four sacred texts. But I’m guessing that all it has in common with CLAMP’s version is the title, especially considering that the original is described as a series of hymns, and also considering that the manga is packed with a few of CLAMP’s favorite things- shounen ai leanings that are never fulfilled, people vowing to become stronger to protect their loved ones, and women committing honorable suicide for love. The story opens post-war: the king of the gods, Tentei, has been dumb enough to get himself beheaded by a rebel god, Taishakuten. Taishakuten of course is the villain in this tale, and he destroys anyone who defied him. This means that many of the guardian tribes (which kept peace in the kingdom as well as defended it from giant monsters and demons) have been decimated, so not only is the place being terrorized by monsters, it’s also being terrorized by its ruler. Lord Yasha, king of the creatively-named Yasha guardian tribe, comes across an exiled fortune-teller, who tells him where to find the sole survivor of the most powerful guardian tribe (destroyed by Tasiahkuten during...