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“ERASED” Review

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (僕だけがいない街 a.k.a The Town Where Only I am Missing)

WARNING: Contains spoilers

Synopsis:

Struggling manga author Satoru Fujinuma is beset by his fear to express himself. However, he has a supernatural ability of being forced to prevent deaths and catastrophes by being sent back in time before the incident occurred, repeating time until the accident is prevented. One day, he gets involved in an accident that has him framed as a murderer. Desperate to save the victim, he sends himself back in time only to find himself as a grade-schooler one month before fellow classmate Kayo Hinazuki went missing. Satoru now embarks on a new quest: to save Kayo and solve the mystery behind her disappearance. (Source: MAL News via MyAnimeList)

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I first watched its 12-episode anime series and it was interesting enough for me to read the manga for a more in-depth understanding of the story. In the anime version, the production altered some parts of the story especially the last few episodes but at least the major parts were retained. The art and animation of the characters and the background were drawn incredibly.

But it was the intense and fast pacing of the scenes that got me hooked into it. The first episode already provided a brief explanation of the character’s “revival/rerun” ability and it was exhibited right away. Every scene was crucial to the progress of the story and its mixture of psychological and mysterious ambiance added to its overall appeal since I am really into those genres. It has an element of time traveling as it also addresses more realistic and darker themes about kidnapping and child abuse. It had me playing like a detective though it was easy for me to pinpoint the true kidnapper just within the first three episodes, so the only suspense left for me was whether Satoru would be able to pull off his plans and save his mother and friends from the murderer. The manga itself is short; it only has 44 chapters but despite its brevity, the author managed to conclude everything accordingly. (I am still a bit disappointed though that Satoru did not end up with Kayo. My ship has sunk 😥 )

  “I never stopped believing.”

ERASED resembles Detective Conan since the plot revolves around finding the real culprit, and if you are a fan of time travel stories, then you must surely watch this one! I also do recommend reading the manga after (or before) watching the anime to give you a better understanding of the characters’ backgrounds as well as its ending.

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi is definitely one of the best anime series this year and in fact, a live-action film was also released just last month featuring Tatsuya Fujiwara.

My rating: 7.5 out 10

Here’s the anime’s trailer to give you a taste of what ERASED is all about.

“AJIN: Demi-Human” Review

WARNING: Contains some spoilers *.*

I just finished watching the 13-episode anime of Ajin and the first part of its trilogy film which just basically summarized the first half of the anime series. I read a lot of posts about the seemingly good story of Gamon Sakurai-san’s manga-turned-anime-and-movie. It piqued my interest but when I discovered that it was in 3D/CG format (as it was released under Polygon Picture) I had my doubts since I am not really a fan of CGs in anime and I’m one of those who prefers the traditional 2D style. Nevertheless, the plot of the story was good enough to keep me going past the first episode. In fact, it no longer became an issue to me as I glued my eyes on what is going on with the story.  Now let’s take a look at its synopsis first.

SYNOPSIS:
Seventeen years ago, the existence of a special species called Ajin was discovered in Africa. They are said to be immortal beings, with several supernatural abilities, that look just like any other human being. Are these Ajin just random phenomena of nature or were they purposely sent to Earth to destroy it?

Since their first discovery, several other Ajin appearances have been reported worldwide. For the majority of citizens though, these creatures are less reality and more of something you see every once in a while in a textbook or on the news. This is how it was for the young protagonist of the series, Kei. That was until a sudden turn of events changed his life forever…(MyAnimeList)

In all fairness to the producers of the anime and film, they did stick to the main story of the manga despite some slight changes with the little details. It has a mixture of action, horror, mystery and supernatural elements wonderfully blended together. (I also actually read the manga right after watching it and just to spoil you a bit, Kei has some comical moments/more so like facial expressions in the recent chapters which, I hope, will be shown in the next film or second season perhaps of the anime.) The action scenes really put me at the edge of my seat, and the experiments conducted on Kei made me cringe in horror. I was somehow looking forward to seeing more of Kei’s development as a fighter but I guess it will take a few more chapters for that. Sato-san is obviously the main antagonist in the story but somehow, even just for a bit, I feel like he had his reasons for being a sadistic player. It seems like the background story about him in the manga doesn’t fully explain why he turned out to be as bloodthirsty as he is right now. He is like the epitome of monstrosity, both literally and figuratively.

I will not go into details about the manga, but fans will surely be surprised when they continue the story from where the anime left off. The manga has only about 38 chapters so far (as of this writing) that is why no wonder the anime only had 13 episodes. I think the second and third part of the trilogy films will be far more updated than the anime. I give them a plus point for casting my favorite voice actor Miyano Mamoru as the seiyuu of Kei Nagai. (Actually, I was too preoccupied with the scenes that I did not even realize that it was Miyano-san’s voice LOL.)

I cannot expound this review any longer since the story is still in its initial stage and there will still be a lot more in the coming seasons/chapters. It is interesting enough, and it will make you go gaga once you reach the climax. Have I mentioned how much I terribly want to get a hold of my IBM? Lol. There is presumably a scientific explanation behind it,  but I am not fond of science that much so I’ll leave that part to you for your own understanding. *smirks*

Anyway, to wrap it up, I’ll give this manga/anime/film a 6.5 rating. !(•̀ᴗ•́)و ̑̑ You should definitely try this one!

Orange Marmalade (Review)

오렌지 마말레이드

©석우/comic.naver.com

© Synopsis:

Vampires have evolved and don’t rely on human blood anymore. They now co-exist secretly as normal citizens even though they are still feared and discriminated against by the society. So what happens to a female vampire trying to live a normal school life when she meets the most popular boy in school and accidentally nips his neck?

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School, Shoujo, Slice of Life, Supernatural

Chapters: 119
Status: Finished
Author: Seok Woo
My Rating: 7/10
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Honestly, this seems like a normal vampire love story. There is nothing so special or noteworthy about it or the characters. Nonetheless, I was drawn with it from the beginning until the last chapter. Its emotional aspect was like a roller coaster ride for me and I was touched, especially with the ending. I silently wept in certain chapters of the webtoon and I gritted my teeth in resentment with the antagonists. Somehow, I felt like I could relate with the main characters (even though I am not a vampire lol). They say that you can easily tell if a story is good enough if you yourself feel a connection with its characters. And in my case, I actually felt that way.

©석우/comic.naver.com

Seok Woo-nim’s art style is outstanding. All the pages are colored, adding more vividness to the scenes. And just like other stories, it leaves a moral lesson to its readers. It makes us question ourselves about our humanity. In this webtoon, I felt like vampires were actually more humane than us, humans. It also tackles the issue about discrimination.
Overall, Orange Marmalade is a fairly decent webtoon with good characters and plot. I liked it, but the story’s impact didn’t linger on me for a long time.

Io Sakisaka to Launch New Manga

Io Sakisaka, the creator of Ao Haru Ride and Strobe Edge, is going to launch her new manga series in the July issue of Shueisha‘s Bessatsu Margaret magazine on June 13.

Strobe Edge was serialized from 2007 until 2010 with a total of 10 volumes. A live-action film adaptation, which stars Kasumi Arimura (Ninako Kinoshita) and Sota Fukushi (Ren Ichinose) will also be screened in March 2015.

(Strobe Edge’s Movie Trailer)

Io Sakisaka started Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ridein 2011, and the series is scheduled to conclude in February this year. It also inspired an anime adaptation series which was aired in July until September 2014. Production I.G. produced the anime which had 12 episodes. Ao Haru Ride’s live-action film adaptation was also released in Japan in December last year. Tsubasa Honda and Masahiro Higashide played the characters of Futaba Yoshioka and Kou Mabuchi, respectively.

© Io Sakisaka/aoha-anime.com

(via ANN)

Yuu Watase to Launch New Fushigi Yugi Manga

Yuu Watase, the creator of Fushigi Yugi announced in the March issue of Shogakukan‘s Monthly Flowers magazine that she will release a new manga entitled “Fushigi Yugi: Byakko Ibun” (Fushigi Yugi: Curious Tales of the Byakko) which will start in the next issue of the magazine on February 28. It is a prequel to Fushigi Yugi and a sequel to Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden, and the story will revolve around the Priestess of Byakko.

nextCover01

©Yuu Watase/Shogakukan

The original Fushigi Yûgi manga was serialized from 1992 to 1996 and it also aired a 52-episode anime adaptation which was produced by Studio Pierrot in 1995.

(via ANN)

Fans List the Top 25 Manga Series They Want to See the Ending

Naruto, one of the longest-running series in Japan created by Masashi Kishimoto, finally ended its 15-year serialization in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine in November last year. Fans were disheartened and at the same time, grateful and relieved that the long series has finally come to an end. But there are still several other ongoing manga that are left unfinished even after more than a decade. Hence, Japanese poll website Goo conducted a survey among 500 fans and asked them to vote for the manga they want to conclude soon. The results are as follows:

©Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha/Viz Media

  1. Kochira Katsushika-ku Kamearikouen-mae Hashutsujo (27.4%)
  2. Detective Conan (27.4%)
  3. One Piece (18.8%)
  4. Glass no Kamen (Glass Mask) (13.8%)
  5. Hunter X Hunter (10.0%)
  6. Golgo 13 (9.2%)
  7. Oishinbo (9.2%)
  8. Hajime no Ippo (Fighting Spirit) (8.8%)
  9. NANA (7.2%)
  10. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (7.2%)
  11. Vagabond (4.8%)
  12. Shima Kosaku (series) (4.4%)
  13.  Kinnikuman (4.4%)
  14.  Berserk (4.2%)
  15.  BLEACH (3.8%)
  16.  Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai (3.0%)
  17. BASTARD !! – Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy – (3.0%)
  18.  Bride of Deimos (2.8%)
  19.  Crest of the Royal Family (2.6%)
  20.  Shura no Mon (series) (1.8%)
  21.  Emperor of Minami (1.6%)
  22. From Eroica with Love (1.4%)
  23.  Ginga (series) (1.2%)
  24.  Bio-Booster Armor Guyver (1.0%)
  25.  Haguregumo (0.6%)

(via ANN; source: Goo)

Io Sakisaka to End “Ao Haru Ride” in February

Io Sakisaka, the creator of Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride) is going to end her manga next month according to the February issue of Shueisha‘s Bessatsu Margaret magazine. The shoujo manga’s serialization started in 2011 and as of December 2014, 12 volumes have been released so far.

© Io Sakisaka/aoha-anime.com

An anime adaptation produced by Production I.G. was also aired in July last year, and the 12th and final episode was televised in September. A live-action film adaptation directed by Takahiro Miki was also screened in Japan on December 13, 2014. Tsubasa Honda and Masahiro Higashide played the roles of Yoshioka Futaba and Tanaka Kou, respectively. Izumi Fujimoto (Yuri Makita), Yua Shinkawa (Shuko Murao), Ryo Yoshizawa (Aya Kominato), Yu Koyanagi (Yoichi Tanaka), Yudai Chiba (Toma Kikuchi) and Mitsuki Takahata (Yui Narumi) also joined the cast.

Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride) depicts the love story between Yoshioka Futaba and Tanaka Kou who both fell in love with each other when they were still in junior high. However, before she could even confess her feelings for him, Kou suddenly transferred and they lost contact with each other. Now that she is in high school, she unexpectedly reunites with Kou who changed his name to Mabuchi Kou. She realizes that she still has feelings for him, but the Kou she knew before is different now. In the course of their romance, they meet new people and friends who will also play a great part in their story.

(Source: ANN)

God of Bath (Review)

Title: God of Bath (목욕의 신)

Written and Illustrated by: Ha Il-kwon (하일권)

Genre: Comedy, Drama

My Rating: 7/10

Synopsis:

Heo Sae (age 23) a person overdue in debts for various reasons finds himself trying to hide from loan sharks. He happens to find refuge at a bath house. The owner of the bath house buys off his debt but in turn is indebted to him. The bath house owner believes that Heo Sae has a talent he himself isn’t aware of. Could he be the man with the Hand of God? The scrub battle to become the best bath coordinator is about to start.

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God of Bath is the first Korean webtoon created by Ha Il-kwon that I have read. However, I finished reading Annarasumanara first since it was completed earlier than GoB. Line only released the latter’s last chapter in December even though the Korean version concluded years ago.

The story is actually simple and doesn’t involve any intricate plots or lingo. It didn’t fail to provide comical relief in each chapter which is the main reason why I enjoyed reading it. Despite its seemingly shallow plot, the story actually has a more profound meaning and moral lesson to it. It teaches you to follow what your heart dictates and not let society chain you from doing what you think is the norm. The happiness and satisfaction you feel from doing what you really desire is far more important than what other people will say about you.

God of Bath is hilarious and inspiring at the same time. It lets you find the hidden meaning behind its comedic setting. I am certain that employees will be able to relate to the story as it tackles the issues about money, colleagues and the society as a whole.

The story only has 30 chapters, which is short compared to other manga/manhwa that I have read. But the good news is, there will be a live-action film adaptation of this webtoon which will be released in summer this year. I have doubts whether the actors will give justice to the comical scenes but I am hoping that they will not be disappointing. I am definitely looking forward to watching this movie. But before you watch it, make sure you read the webtoon first!

©하일권/Line

©하일권/Line

Annarasumanara (Review)

안나라수마나라 (Annarasumanara) by 하일권 (Ha Il-kwon)

“Do you believe in magic?”

SYNOPSIS: A rumor goes around school about an abandoned amusement park and a magician who lives there that can make someone disappear for good. Yoon Ai, a very smart girl in her class, struggles to feed herself and her sister everyday. She just wants to become an adult faster so that she can escape from the poverty and the reality of her current situation. One day, her life changes as she meets a childish magician who asks her: “Do you believe in magic?”

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I have been into Korean webtoons these days right after I got obsessed with Noblesse. They are officially translated into English though there aren’t a lot of them on Line. Each manhwa is updated every week on the said website, though I believe they are not translated immediately compared to some other online manga sites. In fact, this webtoon, Annarasumanara that I am about to review, has only been completed recently on Line though it was already published on Naver way back in 2010. Now moving on to the webtoon, I must say that it is not your typical story. The story mainly focuses on true-to-life situations especially in the phases of childhood and adulthood. It addresses the stress and pressure that most people experience just to be able to fit in the society, disregarding their own dreams and happiness just to comply with the norm. It also reflects how most people tend to discriminate and judge others who are different from their standards. The message it conveys to its readers is priceless, as it teaches them to reach for their dreams to achieve true happiness and to not let others dictate what they must do. Each character is in a realistic situation that would most likely resemble someone else’s state. As for the art style, I think it is much better than the author’s style in God of Bath. Considering its genre, it’s understandable why the art in the said webtoon looks  more eccentric (if I may say) than in Annarasumanara where the story is on a much more serious note. Unfortunately though, it is not colored unlike most webtoons. But that doesn’t matter that much because the art alone is striking enough. If I have any complaints about it, that would most certainly be the ending. I mean, the story only has 27 chapters which I think is too short. (I wanted more! T.T) On the other hand, I think the author gave the story a beautiful ending even though there were still a few more questions that were left unanswered. But the invitation at the end of the chapter was enough to wrap things up. It maintained its mysterious feel to it up until the last part. It is definitely a must-read story.  

©하일권/Line

©하일권/Line

Top 20 “Most Powerful” Weekly Shonen Jump Manga

There is no denying that Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump is one of the best-selling magazines in Japan as it homes several of the widely-known manga including the recently concluded work of Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto), which ended its 15-year run in the magazine. Da Vinci News conducted a survey and asked its readers to name what they think are the “most powerful” Weekly Shonen Jump manga. And those which managed to clinch a spot in the top 20 are as follows:

Rank Title Author
1 Dragon Ball

©Akira Toriyama/Shueisha

Akira Toriyama
2 One Piece

©Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha

Eiichiro Oda
3 Gintama

©Hideaki Sorachi/Shueisha

Hideaki Sorachi

4 Slam Dunk

©Takehiko Inoue/Shueisha

 Takehiko Inoue
5 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

©Hirohiko Araki/Shueisha

 Hirohiko Araki
6 Captain Tsubasa

©Youichi Takahashi/Shueisha

Youichi Takahashi
7 Kochikame

©Osamu Akimoto/Shueisha

Osamu Akimoto

8 Fist of the North Star

©Tetsuo Hara/Shueisha

 Buronson and Tetsuo Hara
9 Naruto

©Masashi Kishimoto/Shueisha

Masashi Kishimoto

10 Saint Seiya

©Masami Kurumada/Shueisha

Masami Kurumada
11 Hunter X Hunter

©Yoshihiro Togashi/Shueisha

 Yoshihiro Togashi
12 Kuroko’s Basketball

©Tadatoshi Fujimaki/Shueisha

 

 Tadatoshi Fujimaki
13 Rurouni Kenshin

©Nobuhiro Watsuki/Shueisha

Nobuhiro Watsuki
14 Hikaru no Go

©Takeshi Obata/Shueisha

Takeshi Obata and Yumi Hotta
15 Death Note

©Takeshi Obata/Shueisha

Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
16 Bleach

©Tite Kubo/Shueisha

Tite Kubo
17 Reborn!

©Akira Amano/Shueisha

Akira Amano
18 Haikyu!!

©Haruichi Furudate/Shueisha

Haruichi Furudate
19

City Hunter

©Tsukasa Hojo/Shueisha

Tsukasa Hojo
20

To Love-Ru -Trouble-

©Kentaro Yabuki/Shueisha

Saki Hasemi and Kentaro Yabuki

(Source: ddnavi.com via ANN)