About Heroes

Midweek Manga Reviews: From Air Gears to fighting Reindeer

Air Gear vol. 6
Story & Art: Oh Great!
Translation: Makoto Yukan
Letterer: NMSG
Publisher: Del Rey

After a long streak of love story manga, I decided to go back to my true roots and read something with plenty of action and plenty of fan service. Thank God for Air Gear! Back to the world of high-tech inline skating, intense battling/racing, and gorgeous half naked women. Who could ask for anything more? In this volume Ikki(Itsuki Minami) learns a little about Rika’s past, which of course revolves around the Sleeping Forest and Sora. Instead of learning a lesson from hearing about Sora’s tragic past, Ikki sets a new goal; to be the new storm. For some reason Sora sees that the wind loves Ikki and starts training the new sleeping forest. What I found rather odd was a silly philosophical look about Rika’s moves starting at her ass. Ikki eventually meets one of the four Titans of Behemoth; Mitsuru Bandou (The Cyclops Hammer). It’s funny how the art style really mirrors the extreme fun, fast speed, and exciting thrills that the story provides. The use of heavy manic lines and high-speed action sequences are some of the best that I have ever seen. The battle sequence between characters or whenever they are just training take place high above the skyline and the art really brings out the sense of being that high in you. Sure there is plenty of over the top fan service, but I can’t wait to see where Oh Great takes us with the next volume. A-

Gon vols. 2 & 3
Story & Art: Masashi Tanaka
Publisher: CMX

As you might have noticed there are no credits for a translator or for someone who did the English adaptation. It’s simply because there are no words in these books that have to be translated. To put it simply Gon is a journey about a little tyrannosaurus and his explorations of the great animal kingdom. He is a little 2 foot tall dinosaur that packs attitude and style with every bite. He has an appetite for exploring and humiliating the great predators of the wild. From destroying a school of piranhas, eating some bad shroooms and taking all his animal friends out, to defending his fellow wolf brothers against a Siberian tiger. That is his goal though, Gon just marches through life enjoying the world and defending the weak with his own sense of justice. Although sometimes he can act a bit sadistic or mean he sure can be an intimidating force. It’s a great mix of Kimba, Jurassic Park, and Bambi. These books really bring out the kid in me and that’s a rare thing to find in today’s books. This is one of the best manga of all time and when you open these pages you can tell why Gon is loved by adults and children all over the world. Now, stop what you are doing and go and buy these great books! A+

The King of Fighters 2003 vol. 4
Story: Wing Yan
Art: King Tung
Translation: TJ Zhao
Publisher: Drmaster

You think that a comic based on a videogame that came out in 2003 would draw no interest from me. But this is King of Fighters we are talking about and those games have been part of my life since 1994. I’ve known Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami, and Leona longer than I have known some of my friends. But anyway, this review isn’t about fond memories of a 30 year old. Volume 4 kicks up the action a notch when Team K goes against the High School Girl Team, but their match is interrupted by Phantom Pain-Kirameki Kannaduki. We also have a great match between the Hero Team vs. the Fatal Fury Team (who to me should be part of that hero team). We see Terry Bogard sport his outfit from the Mark of the Wolves game and take on Shen Woo. What’s not to enjoy about this series? We have the characters that are staying true to their videogame counterparts, the settings that are based on stages within the game, gorgeous artwork that captures the fantastic martial art techniques and awesome power moves, and ohhh yeah plenty of gorgeous women that keep making you turn those pages. My main gripe is with the price point and length of these books. They are $13.95 for 130 pages of comics. Keep in mind though that the pages are in color and they are printed on some nice glossy paper, but there are trade paperbacks with more pages that cost less. If you are a fan of the series or interested in a book full of action this is a must buy for you! B

Kuro Gane vols. 1 & 2
Story & Art: Kei Toume
Translation: Ikoi Hiroe
Lettering: Gabriel Lee Levine
Publisher: Del Rey

When I looked at the covers of volume one and two, I really didn’t know what to expect from this series. I thought it was about a deformed samurai or a samurai/frog creature (don’t know why I thought frog). As it turns out this story is about a robot samurai. Do you know how badass that is? I’ll say it again; Robot and a samurai, even though he is more of a cyborg than robot, but still. On a quest to avenge his father Jintetsu died and was given a new body by Genkichi, the man who found his dying body. However, with his new body comes a few problems such as he can no longer talk because he has no vocal cords and his face has a metallic look to it. But, he does have a talking sword that is somehow connected to his brain and can speak his thoughts. After Genkichi is killed Jintetsu begins a quest to look for his father’s murderer. It is here where he runs into an old friend Otsuki, the beautiful girl he left behind. After he kills his father’s murderer he leaves Otsuki for a second time, but this time his sword tells her he is nothing but Jintetsu’s ghost. In the next volume he really does the same thing by going to a new town and helps people out with their dilemmas. The art is very reminiscent of Blade of the Immortal and Samurai Deeper Kyo. The characters are drawn with sketchy lines and the layout of the panels really make the action sequences easy to follow. These two books give you your money’s worth with over 200 pages of samurai action and a set of wonderful translation notes that Del Rey is notorious for always providing. If you are looking for something new and interesting this is the book for you. A

Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation
Story & Art: Yoshiyuki Nishi
Translation: Alexander O. Smith
Lettering: Mark Griffin
Publisher: Viz

After reading Uzumaki, Museum of Terror, the Ring, and Present; I was in a mood for some dark manga. Manga that would creep me out and put images in my head that would haunt me for a week. For some reason I thought I was going to get this from BSI. I have no idea why I thought this by looking at that cover. So, yes I was disappointed in the book looking at it like that. But, when I read it I found myself really liking the story and I can’t put my finger on it, but I thought the story and art were superb. This book feels more like The Real Ghostbusters, yeah not the one with the Gorilla and Yu Yu Hakasho. It has everything you need to tell a semi-haunting yet fun story; Magic, demons, ghosts, and the spiritual law enforcement. It’s about these “legal exorcist trying to stop out of control ghost from getting out of control. The book is separated into chapters that deal with different and stand alone stories of the occult. But they all seem to be a setup for something larger in the future. I love how the two partners are not the best of friends and are always bickering with each other. Some of the art really does remind me of those horror stories, specially the walking doll and the chair that tried to swallow Jiro. The book is not without flaws though, while I enjoy the art, I really don’t like the character designs for the main protagonists. They seem really outdated for a book that premiered in 2004. The hair style and clothes are reminiscent of manga I have read in the late 80s. Sometimes the jokes get a little repetitive too, but I am still curious to see where this series takes me….so I can’t be that bored. B

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