New Manga Releases: March 26, 2013

Here are the new manga releases for March 26, 2013. If you see any errors or omissions in this list, please feel free to contact me and let me know.

Angelic Layer Omnibus GN 2
Attack on Titan GN 4
Battle Angel Alita: Last Order Omnibus GN 1
Blade of the Immortal GN 26
Blood Lad GN 2
Durarara!! Saika Arc GN 1
Fairy Tail GN 24
GTO 14 Days in Shonan GN 8
Happy Girls GN
Higurashi When They Cry: Massacre Arc GN 3
The Limit GN4
Love Hina Omnibus GN 5
Mobile Suit Gundam: THE ORIGIN GN 1: Activation
Ray’s Days GN
Sailor Moon GN 10
Soul Eater GN 13
Unico GN

Manga Review: “Angelic Layer” Volume Five

Article first published as Manga Review: Angelic Layer Volume Five by CLAMP on Blogcritics.

Angelic Layer Volume Five is a manga by CLAMP, and it was published in North America by Tokyopop in 2003. The rating for Angelic Layer is “A,” which means the series is suitable for all ages. After reading the whole series, I can say that I agree with this rating.


Volume Five continues exactly where Volume Four ended, and it follows Misaki through the remainder of the national tournament. During the tournament, she must battle against two unexpected opponents. I’m sorry for the lack of detail here, but saying too much more will give away spoilers.

However, I can now say with certainty I was correct about the identity of the mysterious dark-haired woman who kept appearing throughout the series. I have to say that since I was able to tell early on who she was supposed to be, it made the revelation of her identity in this volume feel anti-climactic. I also thought her motivations for trying to stay out of sight and not interact with Misaki didn’t entirely work for me.

In my review of Volume Four, I also mentioned that I was starting to suspect what Icchan’s motives were in regard to Misaki; this volume also proved to me that my suspicions were correct. At least it took me a bit longer in the series to figure out his secret in comparison to the secret of the dark-haired woman.

Volume Five was another quick read, due to the amount of action panels that appear in this volume for the national tournament. The only time the volume truly slows down is right at the end of the main story, when the dark-haired woman’s identity is revealed. There are also a couple of chapters that take place after the main story, and they don’t rely on the action panels.

Angelic Layer is a decent manga series for the audience it’s being aimed at and for its short length. However, I wish there had been a way for CLAMP to make the story last a little longer. Even in this final volume, the overall story felt rather rushed.

Readers who have read and enjoyed the previous four volumes of Angelic Layer should be satisfied with how the series concludes. While the series did get a little better for me as it progressed, I still have to say that Angelic Layer isn’t quite as strong of a manga series as some of the other CLAMP titles that I have read.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Angelic Layer Volume Five that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Manga Review: “Angelic Layer” Volume Four

Article first published as Manga Review: Angelic Layer Volume Four by CLAMP on Blogcritics.

Angelic Layer Volume Four is a manga by CLAMP, and it was published in North America by Tokyopop in 2003. The rating for Angelic Layer is “A,” which means the series is suitable for all ages; from what I’ve read of the series, I would agree with this rating.


Volume Four begins with Misaki qualifying for the national tournament. However, before she goes to the tournament, Icchan (the crazy scientist who got Misaki started in Angelic Layer) gives her a DVD to watch. On the DVD is footage of an Angel named Wizard in an Angelic Layer tournament.

Misaki goes to the national Angelic Layer tournament, and she is up first. Her opponent ends up being Ohjiro Mihara, and he is the deus for Wizard. The remainder of the volume focuses on Misaki’s bout with Ohjiro.

The mysterious dark-haired woman appears again, and the reader actually gets to see her face. With what I read in this volume, I’m still convinced that I’ve guessed who she is; however, I will not name who I think she is, because I don’t want to wander into spoiler territory. The mysterious woman knows Icchan, and now I’m starting to suspect that I have an idea as to his motivations in regards to Misaki. Since there’s only one volume of Angelic Layer left, I’m very curious to see if I have made correct guesses for both of these characters.

One thing I really noticed in this volume is the fact that the themes of determination and believing in yourself are emphasized very strongly, especially during Misaki’s battle with Ohjiro. While these themes have appeared in the earlier volumes of the series, they seem to be utilized a lot in Volume Four.

The fourth volume of Angelic Layer is a very quick read, due in large part to the number of action panels that appear during the national Angelic Layer tournament. In a lot of ways, I still believe that this series feels rushed, and I’m a little afraid that Volume Five will ultimately rush the series to its conclusion. I hope I’m wrong on this, though.

If you’re a reader who has already read the previous three volumes of Angelic Layer and enjoyed the series, you should be able to also enjoy reading Volume Four. While I’ve come to appreciate this series better than when I first started reading it, I still think it’s not quite as strong of a series as the other CLAMP titles that I have read.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Angelic Layer Volume Four that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Manga Review: “Angelic Layer” Volume Three

Article first published as Manga Review: Angelic Layer Volume Three by CLAMP on Blogcritics.

Angelic Layer Volume Three is a manga by CLAMP, and it was published in North America by Tokyopop in 2002. The rating for Angelic Layer is “A,” which means the series is suitable for all ages; from what I’ve read of the series, I would agree with this rating.


The major focus of Volume Three is on the Angelic Layer finals. Over the course of this volume, there are two complete battles and the start of a third. Misaki is featured in the first complete battle and the third battle; Hatoko Kobayashi and Sai Jounouchi are the competitors in the second battle.

Early on in this volume, there is some character development for Misaki’s friend, Koutarou Kobayashi. It was nice to start seeing a little more dimension being added to his character. Unfortunately, their mutual friend, Tamayo, is still rather one-dimensional. It seems that Tamayo is meant to be the comic relief of the series, so I suspect that she may not get much more in the way of any real character development.

The mysterious dark-haired woman who appeared in Volume Two makes more appearances in Volume Three. From some things being said, I think it’s become rather clear who this mysterious woman is supposed to be. I had a feeling of what her identity was by the end of Volume Two, and I believe Volume Three basically clinched my suspicions. I have a feeling her identity will be revealed in either Volume Four or Volume Five. I’m interested to see whether or not I accurately guessed her identity.

I admit that I have started enjoying this series more than I did when I wrote my review for Volume One. However, one thing I’ve discovered as I’ve continued reading is that the series is feeling rather rushed. Knowing that there’s only two volumes remaining, I suspect that this rushed feeling will persist for the rest of the series.

A reader commented on my review of Volume One that they hadn’t read the manga, but that they had seen the anime adaptation. The commenter said that the story they had seen included CLAMP’s philosophy on human relationships, fate, and the destiny of mankind. From these three volumes, I can kind of see the idea of human relationships, and perhaps an argument could even be made for fate. However, I’m not seeing anything about the fate of mankind. Perhaps all of these concepts will be hit on with full force in the final two volumes of the series. If they don’t, then I’ll be a little disappointed; I really want Angelic Layer to be more than simply another “fighting” manga series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Angelic Layer Volume Three that my older daughter checked out through the King County Library System.

Manga Review: “Angelic Layer” Volume Two

Article first published as Manga Review: Angelic Layer Volume Two by CLAMP on Blogcritics.

Angelic Layer Volume Two is a manga by CLAMP, and it was published in North America by Tokyopop in 2002. The rating for Angelic Layer is “A,” which means the series is suitable for all ages; from what I’ve read so far, I would agree with this rating.


This volume of Angelic Layer continues right where the first volume ended. Misaki continues to battle in the Angelic Layer tournament; during this volume, she continues her battle with Ringo Seto, and she also battles against Arisu Fujisaki and Madoka Fujisaki, as well as an unnamed opponent, for the first time.

A new character named Ohjiro Mihara is introduced, and he’s one of the strongest competitors in Angelic Layer. He attends the tournament as a spectator, rather than as a participant, and he appears to have an interest in Misaki. There’s also a mysterious dark-haired woman hanging around and watching Misaki from the shadows.

Icchan, as well as Ohjiro, make some comments in this volume about Misaki that makes it look like there’s more to Icchan’s interest in Misaki than something completely random and out of the blue. Even Misaki’s aunt makes a cryptic comment to herself that seems to be dropping a hint at something. I have a feeling it will make sense as the Angelic Layer series continues.

I have to say that Volume Two of Angelic Layer is an improvement over the first volume. I wish that at least one hint to Icchan’s interest in Misaki that was dropped in this volume could have been worked into one of the chapters in the first volume. If it hadn’t been for the fact that my older daughter checked out a copy of Volume Two and had it around the house for me to read, I wouldn’t have had any idea there was more to the story than what was shown on the surface in the first volume.

The art in this volume of Angelic Layer is a bit of a mixed bag. There are some characters who are consistently drawn with a lot of detail; the other characters are either hit or miss when it comes to details, or they’re drawn with very little in the way of detail. I did notice in this volume that there are a couple of panels where the reader sees Icchan in profile, and he’s shown as having a nose; however, whenever he’s shown from the front, he still lacks a nose.

While there’s been some improvement in the story and art of this volume of Angelic Layer, I still stand by my assertion in my review of Volume One that this series is one of the weaker ones that I have read from CLAMP. However, I think that Angelic Layer is a manga series that younger readers will be able to find some enjoyment in.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Angelic Layer Volume Two that my older daughter checked out through the King County Library System.

New Manga Releases: September 18, 2012

Here are the new manga releases for September 18, 2012. If you see any errors or omissions in this list, please feel free to contact me and let me know.

20th Century Boys GN 22
Angelic Layer GN Omnibus 1
Berserk GN 36
Cardcaptor Sakura GN Omnibus 4
Deltora Quest GN 8
Genshiken Omnibus GN 2
Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney Investigations GN 2

Manga Review: “Angelic Layer” Volume One

Article first published as Manga Review: Angelic Layer Volume One by CLAMP on Blogcritics.

Angelic Layer Volume One is a manga by CLAMP, and it was published in North America by Tokyopop in 2002. The rating for Angelic Layer is “A,” which means the series is suitable for all ages; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.


The protagonist of Angelic Layer is Misaki Suzuhara, a middle school freshman. She’s a young woman who is easily distracted and can be rather flaky and a little too trusting at times. She has just arrived in Tokyo to live with her aunt in order to attend a better junior high school. When she arrives in Tokyo, she sees a competition going on between two robotic-looking toys. It turns out she’s watching a competition for Angelic Layer, the biggest rage in the toy industry.

As the competition finishes on the screen, Misaki is approached by a man wearing glasses and a lab coat. He tells her to call him Icchan, and he takes her to a nearby toy store in order to purchase an Angelic Layer egg and the various accessories; this causes Misaki to spend all of her money.

After Misaki customizes her angel, which she has named Hikaru, she meets a preschooler named Hatoko Kobayashi who is really into Angelic Layer. Hatoko’s older brother, Koutarou, is in Misaki’s class, and they become friends; Misaki also becomes friends with Koutarou’s friend, Tamayo Kizaki.

Misaki keeps running into Icchan, and he keeps giving her advice and help for Angelic Layer. Misaki learns that she controls her angel telepathically through an attachment called an “angel cord.” After a couple of hours of practice, Icchan has Misaki enter a contest. Misaki manages to win, and gets her Angel Card. At the end of the first volume, Misaki competes in an Angelic Layer tournament.

It seems like CLAMP was trying to set up Angelic Layer to become a “fighting” manga property in the vein of Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Dragon Drive, etc. My biggest problem with this series is in the initial setup, because no motivation is given as to why Icchan suddenly approaches Misaki out of the blue. Yes, he probably saw her getting excited when she watched the tournament on the screen at the beginning of the story, but is that truly enough motivation for him?

Later in the volume, before Misaki has truly done much competitively, Icchan believes that she’s worth watching. My question is: Why? I have a hard time buying the setup for this series, and I really have a hard time caring whether or not Misaki does well in the Angelic Layer tournaments. My 14-year-old daughter also read this volume and said that she really liked it, but for the life of me, I really can’t see why she likes it so much.

Also, I have to say that of the CLAMP series that I have had a chance to read at least one volume of, Angelic Layer is the weakest series that I have read so far. In my opinion, not only is the story on the weak side, but the art of Angelic Layer is also weak for CLAMP’s standards. The thing that bothers me the most with the art is that all of the characters have a normal look to them except for Icchan; for some reason, Icchan is not shown as having a nose. Without a nose, how do Icchan’s glasses stay on? Compared to CLAMP’s other work, there doesn’t appear to be much detail used for the art of Angelic Layer.

Perhaps younger readers will have a greater appreciation of Angelic Layer than I do. Also, readers who like series like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! might also find some enjoyment out of reading Angelic Layer.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Angelic Layer Volume One that my older daughter checked out through the King County Library System.