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ANIME AICN - by Scott Green - Samurai Champloo, Berserk, Patlabor and More

Anime Spotlight: Jubei-Chan 2: The Counter Attack of Siberia Yagyu Volume 2 Vendetta
Volume 3 Revelation

Released by Geneon

Akitaro Daichi is probably best remembered for the manic, comedic energy that he infuses into the anime he's worked on. However, between the lines, rather than just playing off the wall motor-mouths and spazes for laughs, the speed and joy is often really a mark of the strength of human spirit in the face of difficulty and sadness. Jubei-Chan 2 (a sequel series, but seeing the first isn't critical), written and directed by Daichi brings this theme to its pinnacle.

Jubei 2 plays on the juxtaposition of the commercially appealing qualities of anime (fast action, captivating motion, attractive design) with harsh tragedy and characters who painfully aren't at ease with their situations. The characters are not just striving to win battles, they hate being anime characters, leaving them in existential dilemmas. The cuteness and pain plays less as irony than as a utilization of the connective power of simple eye catching designs to convey the frustration and rage of characters being stuck in a genre roles, diametrically opposed to their natures.

The series continues progressing through the one sided grudge match between Freesia, a bubbly blonde who woke up after being frozen in ice for 300 years and school girl Jiyuu Nanohana, who, through her "lovely eyepatch" becomes the recarnation of famed swordsman Jubei Yagyu. Freesia assualts Jiyuu/Jubei's life, manipulating Jiyuu's friends and family with her false cheerful persona and physically attacking Jiyuu in her own guise of transformation reconfigured swordswoman guise. Jiyuu on the otherhand isn't looking for the prestigue associated with the name and skills of one of the history's foremost swordmen. Her desire is to take care of her father and spend time with her friends. The role of a swordwielding warrior is completely anathema to her caring and mediating personality.

The theme to all the characters' woes in Jubei 2 is their battles with expectations. The conflict is not just teenagers getting the point in their school lives where they have to buckle down and choose a path, or the expectations of heritage (Jubei's, as wells as classmates', from the goofy thug wannabe who is supposed to inherit his family saki brewery to a more upper crust classmates), but is as it applies to adults, such as Jubei's bipolar father who is comfortable as a ghost writer, but is driven to write his own material or a one time adversary who isn't having an easy time with her duties as a ninja and trying to become a housewife. Lay aside any fear of potentially seeing paralyzed , moping characters. These ones are scratching for what they need. That there's a discussion about a universally a experienced topic sets apart the series. Sequels are uncommon in anime, but that its not just a quick swords and laugh rehash of an existing concept really makes Jubei-Chan 2 something worthwhile.

Daichi sharpens a edge of guilt in the enjoyment of the series. He's firing on all cylinders. It's a funny series. It's an exciting series. Daichi's key sense of timing is impeccable as ever as its applied to action and humor. The spirited goofiness can't be contained by the three wall of the narrative (some injokes extend to the point where they're directing invoking Daichi's work on Kodocha). The fights are brilliantly exciting. There's a speed in moment that gives everything a rushed sense of full commitment. These characters look to be going at the fight like they mean it.

But the characters don't get off easy from the physical confrontations. They're an stunningly choreographed and animated falling fight that turns out to stun several of the characters rather badly too. Nor do these characters brush off physical injury like its all part of a days work. There's a harsh reality that the characters are striving to work with and in some ways overcome.

Manga Spotlight: Smuggler
by Shohei Manabe

Released by TOKYOPOP

Whether or not you've tried Shohei Manabe (Dead End), his shorter, one volume, Smuggler offers an excellent opportunity to experience his unique brand of brutality in this debut The crime story is set in a world that's circling around in its own barbarism. Infractions aren't just met by death, but atrocity material death. Heros aren't so much white hats as they are people with some compunctions about the work and an attitude to questions the fundamentals of the criminal world at a deeper level.

Ryosuke Kunita is a young man whose stumbling through life lead him into a bad neighborhood. His loan shark debts lead him to a job serving as a smuggler, moving bodies of crime hit victims. He works with Jo, the tough crew alpha, Noboru, an old man who is paying for his wild life, and later a young woman who's a bit more than just a mob girlfriend. Kunita has good wits, but he isn't at home in the underworld, nor does he have the killer instinct, either in this life or in his previous attempts to make it as an actor.

The work becomes stranger and difficult for the crew when, after transporting the body of a slain yazuka boss, they're hired to move his live, capture assassin. A deadly man known as Spine, kindof a more narrowly vicious Bruce Lee character, down the nunchakus, but with bleached hair and vertebra tattooed down his back.

The narrative strikes the perfect balance of mundane conversation that real, without showy artificial wit, meditativeness and meat grinder action. The characters, for the most part, see that their world is a mess, and whether they're looking to stay in, movie out or change they, they aren't sure how to assess blame for the their problems, whether its bad luck, bad times or bad decisions.

Shohei Manabe has a real handle on making the look of things, people, places or violence, matter.
The look of his illustration is distinctive and undoubtedly what could be called ugly. The form of people aren't really distorted, asymmetrical or wild lined. Instead the technique employs faces, like what you might find in a Sergio Leone movie. They are alot of eyes would wouldn't want to meet in life. Too tired. Too wild. Too vacant. It's human and disturbing and the two elements play off each other to make Manabe's work something visceral, but also mentally engaging to witness.

Manga Spotlight: Samurai Champloo Volume 1
by Masaru Gotsubo

Released by TOKYOPOP

The Samurai Champloo manga collects more adventures of the chambara mix tape odd trio: sword wielding wild-man Mugen, spectacled ronin Jin and energetic and mysteriously driven teenage girl Fuu. The Samurai Champloo manga is a decidedly inferior product to the Cowboy Bebop follow-up anime. Which isn't to say that its not a fun product, just that its a taste of Champloo without what really made the anime distinctive. The attitude is present, but without the beat music and scratch style editing, its just goofy anachronistic samurai chambara material. Considering that Samurai Champloo is less about story than presentation, manga simply isn't the format for the work. The fighting, cartooned expressions, and some reasonably good design makes the manga a more engaging read than the Cowboy Bebop manga, but its as if Gotsubo knew the limitations of his subjects and consequently went for unambitious light, quick stories.

As an illustrator Masaru Gotsubo is doing what is needed. The charactesr looks attractive and fight well. Nothing outstanding, but able to tell a story and look good. Gotsubo's own design holds up with well with the anime's, and existing design is carried over without losing anything in translation. The costume and architecture of the time period, even the Samurai Champloo derivation of it create the required atmosphere for a Samurai Champloo work to function.

For the fight illustration, Gotsubo is not Samura, Inoue or Watsuki, but the sword fights do work. There's enough chain fighting, jumping around in a barrage of slashing and kicking to be exciting. It works in capturing the distinctive differences and styles, which often marks the difference between fight placeholders and good in-manga fighting. It's more over-the-top gory than the anime, with some more in-your-face blood bathes and wounding.

In terms of writing, there isn't much going on. There's no added necessity that makes the work something other than a good looking, relatively inexpensive item for fans of the anime to purchase. Stories move quickly and end abruptly. It's also more overt than the anime. Mugen yells out explanations about every aspect of his character from his Okinawan heritage to his metal soled sandals.

Beyond the medium shift the fault in the manga seems to be misunderstands about whether anachronistic elements thrown into a historical genre are automatically funny or interesting. They're not, and Masaru Gotsubo seems to think that they are. The aesthetic work is often good, such as clan logos on a kimono that look more like sports equipment corporate logos, but at times there seems to be a working assumption that throwing in a pop culture reference, such as mentioning an actor, even a genre actor, would amuse the reader.

Anime Spotlight Baki the Grappler
Volume 4

Released by FUNimation

Baki, the ultimate guy's anime (pretty much just about people who want to fight for the purpose of fighting) continues to be both predictable and unpredictable. Predictable in who will win all the fights. Unpredictable in the speed the story jets ahead. In a storm of unrequited and confused love Emi gives her "masterpiece" , her son Baki, to her husband Yujiro to test his progeny in a no-holds-barred free-for-all. Seeing has how Baki hates his father and yearns for the unreturned affection of his mother, he's bringing plenty of emotional baggage to this bout. That Yuirjo is the world's preeminent ass-kicker means Baki has quite the task in store for him.

The interesting dimension to this fight is that it is a distinct chapter close in the story. Baki has resolved the issues he's had with the people he has already fought in the anime and he's bringing a stage in his training to its conclusion. Its not much of a spoiler that Baki loses. That's the point of the work. Yujiro is the one man that Baki will never be able to defeat until Baki has reached the absolute peak of his potential. After this fight, in this volume, time jumps ahead several years and an older (visually redesigned) Baki returns for the next stage.

The series has plenty of annoying traits (including, after a small break, back to pissing on analogues of real world martial artists), especially that it cheat ALOT, but by the end of the volume its disappointing that there isn't another episode on the disc. It does right what sports or pro-wrestling do right when their working: men fighting to dominance that allow the viewer to invest in the struggle. It's not the smartest anime, or the best looking, or the anime with the best ideas, but it is the anime that best encourages an interest in what character A can do to character B with his fists.

There are plenty of little cheats (like a recap episode, that's not fooling anyone, its just a short cut), but for a series the couches itself as following something like real world fighting, it has a bad habit of using super human abilities without admitting that its far off what a human is capable of. The damage people can take, the holds they can escape out of,the height they can jump, even its description of endorphins are far from real world. It's all standard for anime, but this particular series tries not to the standard fight anime.

The second problem regards Yujiro, which is especially noteworthy in this volume, which has plenty of him. Yujiro is the ultimate adversary in the series. No one Baki has fought so far approaches his abilities. As a consequence, when the plot requires him to reassert his dominance, destroying people that Baki struggled to defeat, nothing is shown of the battles themselves. This feels like a cheat, especially for a series that at least pretends to be grounded in real fight mechanics. It seems like a fight series should show the fights rather than just the what leads up and aftermath.

OEL Spotlight: Juror 13
Written by D.J. Milky
Illustrated by Motoko Nakatsuka

Released by TOKYOPOP

There's a trap here. Juror 13's twist ending is a defense against the criticisms you can lay against the book. That said, you can fully understand the Twilight Zone bit and still say Juror 13 strains credulity the whole time and has disappointingly little to do with the legal system. In Memento you weren't slapping your head at the character's motivation when you didn't know the full story. The same can't be said of Juror 13.

Juror 13 is the story of Jeremy Rosen, whose life is in a tailspin. His girlfriend left him. His buddy is a real heel, who's succeeding at the insurance firm while Jeremy isn't quite even hanging on. Matters are tipped over the edge when Jeremy receives a summons for jury duty.

There are some kernels of good ideas with Juror 13. A one volume original English language manga could work. So could a legal thriller manga. Even the high concept twist could work (though like many it fights under scrutiny). Unfortunately, reading Juror 13 you're constantly groaning and asking "why did they have to do that..." "why did they have to say that..." Originality and new ideas are present. A skilled presentation isn't.

The flaws in character behavior and speech may, arguably be clues to what's going on the story rather than stilted writing. Even so, you probably will not guess the resolution (unless you accidentally open the book near its conclusion), but if the book is full of subtle hints, it reads more like D.J. Milky (writer of the Courtney Love project Princess Ai, reportedly a pseudonym for TOKYOPOP co-founder/ceo Stuart Levy) works entirely in bombastic movements. The setup does make the unlikablity of the lead understandable, but when a the lead arrives at work and his coworker brings in the lead's jury duty notice saying "This thing came for you. It's from the COURT" (accompanied by the lead covering his mouth in shock a) why is the jury duty notice arrive at the office rather than the residence b) why does the co-worker have the letter, granted in plenty of offices he could grab it, and he is a real twit, but grabbing it to deliver to the lead is at least a huge deviation from work place decorum ) c) could the hand-off look a little less like the delivery of a death warrant. All the characters have their irritation meters stuck on full, so there's plenty of hysterics to go around.

Then there's all the things that just don't make sense. The over-the-top Peppermint Panda bar. First there's the fact that single women are in a bar staffed by way underdressed waitresses. Then there's that the TV has on court reporting that shows a jury box. It's hard to tell whether the TV coverage was showing the faces of the jurors. They weren't drawn, but neither were the faces of many of the bar patrons. And out of no where the lead GTA's a motorcycle for an escape, knocks the hat and lollypop off a kid and races away. There's the absolutely cyclopean (probably 15 oversize stories) court house over a two page spread with the following inscribed on its frieze "on of Justice is thfir(space?)mest*pillar of good*government".

The problems are capped by a splash of red ink used for blood in the works conclusion. In a black and white medium the red ink comes across less as a striking exclamation than as a pretentious declaration (almost airs that this work thinks its above the bulk of the medium), and as a mark of unimaginativeness. Is it an effect that couldn't be captured within the constraints of the mediuum?

Manga Spotlight: Berserk
volume 9
By Kentaro Miura

Released by Dark Horse Manga and Digital Manga Publishing

Because of the pacing was adjusted on the segment of story-line it adapted, the Berserk anime left an impression of a status quo was broken, where upon things literally went to hell for the band of mercenaries known as the Hawks. The original manga never left the impression of a break. It is more an ever flowing and shifting work, whose narrative doesn't fit into a structure that can be labeled.

Volume 9 is a quieter volume than many of its predecessors that spends time establishing the characters, especially the lead, Guts. It ensures that the reader understands what makes the reticent, physically overpowering swordsman tick. In the previous volume he broke from the Hawks after coming to understand that by staying with the group his position in life would be limited that of a tool of its genius and ambitious general Griffith. Guts departure broke Griffith's previously unblemished composure, leading to a premature play for power. Now Griffith languishes in a dungeon under a sentence of a year of torture before his death. The remnants of the Hawks are a small band of outlaws.

The volume opens with the introduction of a character that didn't appear in the anime, but who fans of the franchise will likely be familiar with: the ominous mounted knight with skeleton shaped armor. (More elements that weren't in the anime also begin working their way into the manga. Silat, who's almost a running gag makes several appearances as well. He's an exotic eastern fighter, with Arabian and Indian elements. Basically he knocks around every fighter he engages except for Guts who always resoundingly beat him.)

The Skull Knights lays out the foundations of Guts' character. He was bourn under a corpse, and since birth, for better or worse, through his struggling, he's been the guy who survived everything. This discussion and the manga as a whole is an uncommon exploration of the type of character that generally just deals and receives physical punishment. It plumbs the depth of a Man With No Name archetype character: how they process events and get to what might cause such a person to have a real emotional breakdown. Ultimately, it isn't the ware of battles that unravel him, but his connection with Casca, one of the Hawk's other captain who, like Guts, came into her own without Griffith. There's a sex scene in the volume that's just about the most painful thing you'll read in manga.

Despite this being a quieter volume, mainly aligning the characters, Miura still delivers with plenty of the best iron war-craft fights you'll find in comics, from army movements to brutal one on one scrapes. Miura's level of detail never ceases to amaze. Even with faceless combatants there's a real sense of people sweating and dying on the battlefield. An element particular to this volume is the degree to which Guts has become dominant in battle. Fighting still doesn't look effortless, nor does Guts appear invincible, but it looks like he's truly mastered the craft.

Patlabor For Ipod

CPM has posted the first episode of Patlabor: The Mobile Police OAV series at here. Patlabor is a classic hard sci-fi mecha work featuring the talent of Ghost in the Shell movies' Mamoru Oshii.

Game News

The Magic Box has pictures of Naruto: Narutimate Hero ~ Mugenjo no Maki for the PSP here.

Merchandise News has images of Toynami's 12" InuYasha figure here. The figure will be released in April for approximately $35.00

Musicland Woes Causing Problems for Anime Biz?

ICV2 reports that according to The Book Standard Website, Musicland Group has shut down its Media Play division, and is now asking creditors to payment on 40-50% of its payables for three years in return for preferred stocks. The company will also be looking for rent concessions for its Sam Goody and Suncoast locations.

ICV2 speculates the impact on the anime business of any Musicland restructuring will be greater than the impact on the manga business based on Musicland's respective shares of the two categories, according to industry sources. Tokyopop COO John Parker described Musicland's share of the manga business as "single digits," but noted that the company's share of the anime business was larger, recalling that when Musicland and Best Buy were one company, their combined share of the anime business was over 40%, although Best Buy probably has the larger portion of that percentage now.

For more details see ICV2's article here.

May Viz Collections and Premieres

From AnimeOnDVD
May 2
D.Gray-man manga volume 1

May 9
The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service
The Saikano OVA: Another Love Song DVD

May 16
Ranma 1/2 Movie Boxset

Pastel Preview

Del Rey Manga has posted a preview site for the sexy shonen relationship comedy Pastel here. The site will present 30 preview pages of the manga, revealed on a page-a-day schedule.

Baoh OOP

An AnimeOnDVD forum read points out that AnimEigo's DVD release of sci-fi action Baoh, based the manga by JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Hirohiko Araki.

Second Galaxy Railways

News was posted on the Anime on DVD's forum (by the opperator on the unfortunately now on hold Little Harlock), a second season of Ginga Tetsud Monogatari (aka Galaxy Railways) will be airing on Japanese TV in April 2006. The series follows up the the Leiji Matsumoto (Star Blazers/Battleship Yamato, Captain Herlock) space opera, which is released in North America By FUNimation.

Original Creator / General Setting / Design: Leiji Matsumoto
Director : Masashi Shimoda
Executive Producer : Yasutomo Yanagida
Scenario : Yuki Touyasu & Nahoko Hasegawa
Producer : Hiroshi Kon
Work Producer : Yasuo Hasegawa
Planning / Production : Planet
Manufacture : Commonwealth Entertainment

Manabu Yki (Seiyuu: Naoki Yanagi)
Louis Fort Drake (Seiyuu: Asami Sanada)
Yuki Sexaroid (Seiyuu: Nahoko Suzuki)
Schanhelt Buldge (Seiyuu: Akio Ohtsuka)
Layla Destiny Shura (Seiyuu: Yoko Asagami)

Late January/February ADV Releases

January 24th
ES Otherwise: The Sacrament Of Calvaria (5 of 6)
Neo Ranga Complete Collection ($59.98)
Princess Tutu: Erwachen (3 of 6)

January 31st
Hakugei - Legend Of The Moby Dick: Across The Galaxy (2 of 6)

February 7th
Diamond Daydreams: Atsuko / Karin (1 of 3)
Madlax: Sacrifice (6 of 7)
Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok: All Things Evil (3 of 7)

February 14th
Ghost Stories: Junior Jitters(3 of 5) Maburaho: Divine Intervention(6 of 7)
Samurai Gun: The Bitter End (4 of 4) Saint Seiya Collection 1 ( $49.98)

Diamond Daydreams
Directed by Bob Shirohata (Gravitation) and created by Oiji Hiroi (Sakura Wars), Diamond Daydreams is actually six stories of love and loss that become intertwined in the bitter cold winter of Hokkaido. Based on the popular Japanese videogame for the PS2, Diamond Daydreams is lushly animated by fan-favorite Studio DEEN (Fruits Basket, Maison Ikkoku).

Synopsis: The bitter-cold winter of Hokkaido meets the warmth of the human heart, as six women suffer through their own tragic love stories before fate brings them all together. We begin with Atsuko, whose arranged marriage collapses in the face of a love triangle. Then theres Karin, a sickly schoolgirl who develops a crush on her doctor, only to have it blow up in her face. These are just two of the women chasing their own Diamond Daydreams.

ES Otherwise
A psychically charged, high-energy adventure focused around the future of human evolution and its possible consequences, ES Otherwise is based on the hit comic series that original appeared in G Fantasy Monthly. The spectacular, state of the art animation was directed by Masami Shimoda (Macross 7, Saber Marionette J) and produced by Studio Pierrot (Saiyuki, Naruto).

Hakugei - Legend Of The Moby Dick
a sci-fi adaptation of Melvilles classic tale of obsession. Directed by Osamu Dezaki (The Rose of Versailles), Legend of the Moby Dick is distinguished by lush artwork and dazzling panoramas. Set in the far distant future, this series relocates the search for the great white to a crew of space borne scavengers and the doomed planet they must rally to protect.

Maburaho is the magical comedy series directed by Shinichiro Kimura (Cosplay Complex, Burn Up! Excess). Kazuki ranks at the bottom of his class at wizard school. Worse, he can only use his magic eight times in his entire life before turning to dust. But while Kazuki's magic may not be top notch, his future child is destined to be the greatest magician of all time, making him the target of three hotties determined to bear his child.

Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok
Directed by Hiroshi Watanabe (King of Bandit Jing, Video Girl Ai), Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok is funny, charming, and macabre. Loki is the Norse god of mischief, now banished to Earth by Odin. Forced to exist in exile in a little boys body - but with all the powers of a god - Loki runs a private detective agency. Alongside his trusted assistant, Yamino, and a beautiful high school girl, Mayura, they set out to shine a light into the deepest corners of the paranormal. But there is one metaphysical mystery remains: Just what in the Heavens has Loki done to find himself banished to Earth?

Neo Ranga
Across the ocean, on the tiny island kingdom of Barou, the ancient god Neo Ranga awakens from his slumber. He is mysteriously drawn to Tokyo, and the three beautiful sisters - Minami, Ushio, and Yuuhi - who are unwittingly linked to the monster. But instead of rolling out the red carpet, the military rolls out the weaponry, and things start to get nasty. The plot thickens: Why is Neo Ranga driven to Tokyo? Is he a messenger with a warning for humankind, or just a big boy out for a good time? And whats behind Rangas mysterious eyes?

Princess Tutu
Directed by Junichi Sato (Sailor Moon, Kaleido Star) and Shougo Kawamoto (Youre Under Arrest! Season 2) and produced by HAL Film Maker (Kaleido Star) and TBS (Chobits), Princess Tutu is a classic fairy tale story with a twist of mystery, magic and romance. Darkness hid the pieces of her beloveds shattered heart, and time is running out for Princess Tutu to find them. Her dream of becoming a human girl has come true. However, peril lurks in the unseen shadows. Using the power of an enchanted amulet, she must unravel a dark and twisted mystery to keep her Prince and herself alive.

Samurai Gun
Samurai Gun is a blood-drenched tour of the bakumatsu years, a turbulent time that ultimately brought an end to Japan's feudal system. A special breed of samurai stands against the corrupt Shogunate, armed with superior strength, speed, agility.. and guns! Morally ambiguous heroes, razor sharp dialogue, and hair-trigger violence give Samurai Gun the feel of a taut Western. When one lone gunman takes on an army of samurai, they don't stand a chance.
Based on the popular manga by Kazuhiro Kumagai, Samurai Gun was produced by Studio Egg and Avex, Inc. (Initial D) in association with ADV Films. It was first aired on Japanese television less than a year ago. The final volume in this DVD series includes a never-before-seen 13th episode.

March Manga Premieres

From Love Manga

ADV Manga
Anne Freaks volume 1
A disturbing manga about a boy who just killed his mother who is blackmailed into going against a murderous cult

Dark Horse
Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex The Lost Memory Novel
Lullabies From Hell Vol 1 Tp: from underground horror sensation Hideshi Hino

Del Rey
Kagetora Vol 1 Gn

Digital Manga Publishing
My Only King Gn
Project 24Oz Gn
Only The Ring Finger Knows Lonely Ring Finger Novel
Sweet Revolution Gn

Icarus Publishing
Midara Gn

ICE Kunion (Manwha)
Hissing Vol 1 Gn

Seven Seas
Boogiepop And Others
Boogiepop Vol 1 Doesnt Laugh Gn
Horror manga corresponding to the anime released by Right Stuf

Chibi Vampire Vol 1 Gn
Life Vol 1 Gn
Love Hina Novel Vol 1
Magical X Miracle Vol 1 Gn
Priceless Vol 1 Gn
Shout Out Loud Vol 1 Gn
X Kai Vol 1 Gn
Yubisaki Milk Tea Vol 1 Gn

Viz Media
Aishiteruze Baby Vol 1 Tp
Claymore Vol 1 Tp

Oricon Top 5 Manga reports Oricon has released the results of a "Top 5 Attention-Grabbing 'Manga' and 'Books' of 2005" poll:
The ranking manga are
2. Hana Yori Dango (Boys Before Flowers)
3. Death Note
4. Dragon Sakura
5. Hachimitsu to Clover (Honey and Clover)

Love Manga points out that of the list, Nana has been adapted into a live action movie, Hana Yori Dango has been adaptated into a live action drama, as has Dragon Sakura and Hachimitsu to Clover (also adapted into an anime series).

Nana, Death Notes, and Hana Yori Dango have been released by Viz.


MangaNews reports that the following upcoming titles have been confirmed for release by TOKYOPOP and are listed on their website.

Beyond the Beyond by Yoshitomo Watanabe
Legend of Zipangu BLOOD SUCKER by Aki Shimizu
Platinum Garden by Maki Fujita
Secret Chaser by Tamayo Akiyama
Shonan Junai-gumi by Toru Fujisawa

Angel Cup by Jae-ho Young

Dogby Walks Alone by Wes Abbott

Grim Reaper Manga Trend

MangaNews points out and translates an article about the new prominance of Grim Reaper themed manga from series like Death Note.

The thriller Death Notes has been released in North America by Viz. It follows a bored genius who locates a death god's note book, that allows him to dictate the death of the person whose name he enters into the ledger.

Manga Hiring

Manga publishers Digital Manga Publishing and TOKYOPOP has listed new hiring positions here and here.

Berserk To Become Bi-monthly?

Manga News points out a SkullKnight forum post reporting Dark Horse will release Berserk on a bi-monthly schedule beginning with volume 13, which has an estimated ship date of September 20 2006

New Manwha Publisher Debuts in January

ICV2 reports Netcomics, an affiliate company of Ecomix (a leading online publisher of comics in Korea), will begin publishing a line of Korean manwha graphic novels in the U.S. in January. Ingram Publisher Services will distribute Netcomics titles to U.S. bookstores and specialty shops.

The first three titles to be released in January include shonen style title Zero/Six Vol. #1 ($9.99) by Youjung Lee and shonen ai style comics Seyoung Kim's Boy Princess Vol. 1 (200 pg. $9.99) and Let Dai Vol. 1 (240 pg. $9.99) by Sooyeon Won.

Looking For a Logo...

The Ain't It Cool News anime and manga column is looking for a logo. If you're interested in creating one, contact Scott Green at Compensation can include money, anime/manga, in-column credit, or some combination of the three.

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