VIZ Media Names Brad Woods as Chief Marketing Officer

VIZ Media has announced that Brad Woods has been named as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

“Brad Woods is a seasoned entertainment executive with a proven success record of enhancing brand equity, increasing revenue, and achieving results with innovative strategies and visionary leadership,” says Ken Sasaki, CEO of VIZ Media. “His multi-disciplinary experience will play a vital role in expanding VIZ Media’s market share across the publishing, digital content, licensing, home media, and consumer product landscapes.”

Woods will be responsible for developing a range of marketing and product strategies to expand the VIZ Media brand and omni-channel marketing for titles across all company imprints.

“I am very excited to build upon VIZ Media’s mission to offer exciting and unique multimedia content to a diverse global audience,” Woods says. “Our dynamic catalog of titles across the print, digital, broadcast, and mobile arenas will allow us to reinvent how consumers discover, enjoy, and interact with our properties on a truly global level.”

Woods joins VIZ Media from DreamWorks Animation, where he served as Senior Vice President leading the domestic consumer products and retail business development divisions. During his tenure at DreamWorks, he restructured and substantially expanded the studio’s consumer products business, led the U.S. licensing and retail teams, and also provided strategic leadership for breakthrough marketing programs on properties including Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and How To Train Your Dragon.

Over his 20-year career, Woods has held senior positions in the entertainment and multi-media industries with companies including Mattel and Warner Bros. Entertainment. His experience spans a wide variety of marketing and licensing operations such as product marketing, brand development, corporate marketing and communications, lead generation, channel relations, and digital and social media marketing. He holds an MBA from the University of Southern California, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude, and a BS from the University of Arizona.

Manga Review: “Nisekoi: False Love” Volume Nine

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Nisekoi: False Love Volume 9 focuses on Raku Ichijo and the complications he has from pretending to date Chitoge Kirisaki. Their fathers are the heads of rival yakuza gangs, and they hope by having their children pretend to date that it will keep the peace between their groups.

Nisekoi: False Love Volume 9

Written by: Naoshi Komi
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 5, 2015

Volume 9 starts out with two chapters focusing on a big running event at Raku’s school. With all of the grumbling going on in the classroom, the teacher decides to sweeten the deal for the boys’ race by saying that the winner gets to kiss the girl of his choice. Of course, this fires the boys up, and Raku decides he has to win the race so no other guy could potentially kiss his crush, Onodera. The other boys gang up on Raku during the race, and this leads to quite a few hijinks. When I read this chapter and saw what the teacher did to encourage the boys to participate, I couldn’t believe that she had done that. Fortunately, there’s a twist at the end of the storyline that I hadn’t predicted, so it ended up not causing any real issues for anyone once the race was finished.

It’s now spring break, and Chitoge and Raku have one of their scheduled dates on April Fool’s Day. Chitoge has realized that Claude, who usually stalks the two of them on their dates, isn’t watching as much, so she and Raku don’t do romantic gestures like holding hands when they’re out. She decides to use April Fool’s Day to her advantage in order to force Raku to do some of those small gestures, but she gets more than she bargained for. The humor is derived from Raku going overboard, since Chitoge told a whopper of a lie to try to get what she wanted. But at least Chitoge learns a lesson once all was said and done.

A new school year begins, and Raku and his friends are now all second-year high school students. Onodera’s younger sister, Haru, is now a first-year at the school, and much of Volume 9 focuses on her interactions with Raku. When Haru is being accosted by some upperclassmen, Raku comes to her rescue. Unfortunately, she passes out so she doesn’t see her rescuer clearly. But she decides that her rescuer must be her “Prince Charming” and that she needs to find him. Haru has heard rumors about Raku, and when she officially meets him, Haru hates him. She also keeps insisting that Raku needs to stay away from her older sister.

With the hatred that Haru has for Raku, it’s not surprising that Komi kept trying to find ways for these two characters to have to interact with each other. But we see that the hate Haru has isn’t always a constant. At times when Raku tries to be friendly, Haru will sometimes start agreeing with him. When she realizes she’s doing this, though, she’ll become upset with herself and changes her tune. Haru also has Raku’s locket, because it had come off when he had taken her to the nurse’s office when he saved her. But poor Raku just can’t seem to convince Haru that it’s his. This element isn’t resolved by the end of Volume 9, so I imagine that this will be a running thread for at least the next volume or two of the series.

The final story in Volume 9 sees Paula, another member of Chitoge’s father’s gang, trying to set Tsugumi up with Raku. Over the course of the final two chapters, Paula finds that the schemes she tries to pull backfire. Personally, this story and the two chapters about the race were my least favorite parts of this volume. When it comes to Nisekoi: False Love, I tend to like the stories that add a new element to the series or help aid in character development. The chapters that focus more on the hijinks than on advancing the characters tend to not do as much for me.

Even though I didn’t entirely enjoy Nisekoi: False Love Volume 9, I think that long time readers and fans of the series will like getting to know Haru and seeing the various hijinks that Raku finds himself in due to all of his various potential love interests.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Weekly Shonen Jump (May 18, 2015)

This issue includes chapters for My Hero Academis, One Piece, World Trigger, Black Clover, Food Wars!, Straighten Up! Welcome to Shika High’s Competitive Dance Club, Bleach, Toriko, and Nisekoi: False Love. This issue also includes the third chapter of the Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring mini-series and the second chapter of Yu-Gi-Oh! (which is the latest title to be featured for the “Jump Back” initiative.

For the series that carried over from previous issues I’ve read, I tried to put a little more focus in my write-ups about the progression of the story from the previous chapter. I will warn you that these write-ups will more than likely contain spoilers.

I only started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March of 2014, which means there’s a number of series published in the magazine that I jumped in the middle of. Since then, I’ve been able to start reading older chapters of some of the titles, but I haven’t managed to do this for all of the titles yet. Because of this, there may be times I might inadvertently include incorrect information in the write-ups. If you see something in a write-up that’s incorrect due to my having not read earlier chapters of a series, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Not only can I correct the incorrect information in the write-up, it will also help provide information for me to have when reading future chapters of a series in Weekly Shonen Jump.

Of course, you can always check out Weekly Shonen Jump for yourself by subscribing to the digital publication at VIZManga.com.

My Hero Academia CH:042

Now it’s the match between Bakugo and Tokoyami. It’s a pretty intensive fight, but in the end, Tokoyami surrenders to Bakugo. This now means that the final match is between Bakugo and Todoroki. In the prep room, Bakugo thinks over what Midoriya said to him earlier. Meanwhile, Tenya gets a phone call from his mother saying that a villain got his brother. The chapter ends with the final match just about to get underway.

This chapter basically whizzed through the second-to-last match rather quickly. Tenya has an important character moment with his mother’s phone call, and I’m wondering how he’s going to handle the news. How much will this news affect Tenya as a character? And I guess it wasn’t too surprising that the chapter ended right as the final match was about to get underway, because this has been a common way for the chapters to end during this story arc. But I suspect that the next chapter isn’t going to try to whizz through the final round, and it will possibly even be the focus of the whole chapter.

One Piece CH:786

Luffy realizes that he still hasn’t done enough damage to Doflamingo yet because the birdcage hasn’t disappeared. Luffy tries to launch another attack, but his Fourth Gear seems to have worn him out. And then it’s revealed that Doflamingo is still alive. The coliseum announcer talks to Luffy, who says he needs ten minutes in order to get his haki back and finish Doflamingo off. The tournament gladiators gather together as Burgess tries to reach Luffy. Sabo arrives right at the end of the chapter.

Oh, darn it. Doflamingo isn’t finished quite yet. And since Luffy needs ten minutes to recuperate, this will give Oda several chapters to postpone the inevitable. I’m guessing the next chapter or two at the very least will focus on the battle with Burgess and the gladiators trying to buy Luffy time. I just hope that Oda doesn’t use this as a way to stretch out the story for an extremely long time.

World Trigger CH:102

This chapter spends a lot of its time early on with commentary, both from the commentators at the Rank Wars and from Hyuse and the other members of Tamakoma Branch. It’s pointed out that it looks like Osamu is starting to utilize a tactic that Hyuse was descibing in his commentary. It turns out Osamu and Chika are trying to create a flash flood and force Nasu and Kuruma to become targets again. Osamu jumps into the fray to attack Nasu along with Kuruma. Kuruma gets a hit in before he has to bail out due to his combat body exceeding its limit. But just as Osamu seems like he’ll finish Nasu off, she does something unexpected. And just as Yuma makes it to Osamu’s location, Nasu’s combat body exceeds its limit and she has to bail out. This brings about the end of this Rank War, and Tamakoma-2 wins.

At first, I was a little frustrated by how much commentary was included in the early part of this chapter. Fortunately, once the commentary passed, there was actually significant progress in the chapter. So much so that the winner of this Rank War was announced right at the end of it. Now it’s going to be interesting to see what will happen to Osamu and the other members of Tamakoma-2.

Black Clover CH:013

Luck has found who he’s looking for and easily takes out his underlings. The guy tries to get away, but Luck doesn’t let him and attacks him. We learn the guy Luck is dealing with is from the Diamond Kingdom and that he once fought against the leader of the Black Bulls. But before Luck can get the upper hand, the other guy uses his magic, which is weakening smoke magic. Meanwhile. Asta and Noelle are in an area where the gravity has gone insane, and the members of Golden Dawn find a door. But Golden Dawn discovers that someone else is already there and using their magic.

The majority of this chapter focuses on Luck and his opponent, although their fight doesn’t truly progress much by the end of the chapter. Asta and Noelle get focused on the least in this chapter, which is probably because they currently haven’t encountered any enemies. Golden Dawn appears right near the end of the chapter and have just encountered their enemy right just shortly before the final panels. For the most part, the plot of this story arc didn’t make much progress at all. Hopefully the next chapter will help to move this story a little further along.

Food Wars! CH:118

The first years learn about being invited to the meet and greet with the Council of Ten. The story then moves ahead in time to the meet ad greet. As the first years wait, we see that they have a hard time getting along with each other. Just then, the members of the Council of Ten arrive. When they arrive, we get to see how these members interact with each other, and it’s really no better than the first years’ interactions. Soma breaks the awkwardness by saying that he wants to join the Council of Ten right now and asks if any of the upperclassmen are up for a Shokugeki with him. He’s flat out told no.

This was basically a dialogue intensive chapter that helped to introduce a few more characters to the mix. But to be honest, not a whole lot happens by the end of this chapter. I believe that this meeting between the first years and the Council of Ten will eventually lead to something, and hopefully that will come sooner rather than later.

Straighten Up! Welcome to Shika High’s Competitive Dance Club CH:002

Masaharu tries to get out of dancing, but the president of the club won’t hear of this. Then Masaharu and Eri introduce themselves. The president introduces himself as Masumi Doigaki, and the vice president introduces herself as Rio Ayatsuji, and it’s also revealed that the club just started two years ago. When Masumi learns that neither first year has any dancing experience, he starts them off with the super introductory course. First, they must learn how to stand properly. They are then taught the rules of competitive dancing. They then start learning to dance with music, with Rio working with Eri. Then, Rio works with Masaharu, which ends with his making a faceplant into Rio’s chest. Later, we see that Masaharu and Eri ride the same train, and they talk; later, they discover they get off at the same stop. After getting off, Eri asks Masaharu if he wants go to the dance club room with her the next day. He accepts and is happy that a girl needs him.

With this chapter, I can say that there was only one real instance of any “fanservice” involved, so that was an improvement over Chapter One. But I have to admit that I hate the character design for the club president, because he literally looks like a clown. He really stands out way too much in comparison to the other characters that we’ve seen up to this point. While there were hints of a potential romance between Masaharu and Eri in the previous chapter, I felt that it seemed to be more blatant by the end of Chapter Two. So far, I’m finding this to be a decent series, but I can’t call it a great series. Hopefully Chapter Three will be more along the vein of this chapter than Chapter One.

Bleach CH:626

Ichigo and the others begin their journey to Reiokyu. We then see the Quincies delcare that Yhwach has taken all of Reio. The Quincies go to see Yhwach and discover that something mysterious is leaking out of him. Yhwach declares this is what it’s like to be overflowing with power. Right at the end of the chapter, Yhwach declares that he will reinvent their nation.

Overall, this chapter ended up being a rather quick read, with its focus primarily on Yhwach and the Quincies. We only see Ichigo and company for about a couple of pages, and it’s just enough to establish that they’re on their way and to quickly talk about a couple of things. Hopefully the next chapter will start showing a little more action to help progress the story.

Toriko CH:323

Kaka reveals that the Earth has been cooking this entire time, and then proceeds to give an explanation why. Apparently, as part of the cooking process, part of the Earth’s flavor oozes up to the Earth’s surface once every several hundred years and becomes one of eight foods. And according to Kaka, Acacia’s full-course meal is the Earth’s full-course meal. And the ones who have been preparing the Earth have been the Blue Nitro and the Red Nitro. There’s also an explanation as to what the Nitro are. It’s also revealed that the Blue Nitro’s true goal is the revival of the monster within Acacia. But once this information is revealed, a creature comes up behind Kaka and attacks.

Sigh. This ended up being an exposition chapter for all but the last 2-3 pages. While the information being imparted is important, it made this chapter of Toriko a rather boring read, since nothing much happens throughout it. But with the way this chapter ends, it looks like the stage is being set for the next chapter to have more action in it.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:170

Raku and Marika are out on a rowboat, and it sinks. Fortunately, they’re able to make it to land. Meanwhile, Chitoge learns that Marika had Raku kidnapped. Back on the island, Raku realizes that they’re stranded. Fortunately, he’s able to keep a cool head and knows what they need to do in order to survive. During the chapter, Raku admires how Marika is just as unflappable as ever, but he reminds her that if she hadn’t kidnapped him, they wouldn’t be in this predicament. The end of the chapter seems to be hinting that something is wrong with Tachibana.

This chapter shows Marika acting like her normal self, including trying to twist words around to her advantage. Unfortunately, nothing in this chapter helped endear me to her at all. And even with the end of the chapter hinting that something may be wrong with Maria, Komi has pulled similar stunts with some of the other love interests, so I’m not buying that there’s something truly serious here. This is somehow going to end with something really ridiculous and reveal that the issue with Marika is not as serious as it appears.

Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring CH:003

Boruto just misses Naruto as he heads out. Boruto has brought Naruto’s lunch, and Sarada offers to deliver it for him. Boruto rejects the offer and says he’ll take it back home and explain to his mother. But Sarada snatches it from Boruto and says she’ll take it. Mitsuki is there also, and he tells Cho Cho to come with him. But Sarada pulls her away to help her catch up to Naruto. We then see the enemies from the previous chapter, with the one called Shin (who wears a Uchiha crest and seems to have Sharingan) being ordered to bring Sarada to the other man. Shin intercepts the two girls, and Cho Cho and Sarada try to fight him. Naruto appears and gets in between the two sides, and he realizes that Shin is the person that Sasuke told him about… and that’s where the chapter ends.

OK, is it just me, or has Cho Cho suddenly become rather annoying? She was a little silly in the previous chapter, but her behavior went from silly to annoying rather quickly here. And this chapter reveals that the guy who fought with Sasuke last chapter is Shin Uchiha. Now the question is, how is he a Uchiha? And who is the cloaked man that is ordering Shin around? And will Sarada get to see Sasuke and get answers from him concerning her doubts and issues? I’m hoping the next chapter of this mini-series will begin to answer some of these questions.

Yu-Gi-Oh! CH:002

The chapter opens with a TV van in front of Yugi’s school, and a guy inside sees Yugi and says he’s going to be the star of their next project. It turns out this crew is here to do an expose on bullying and school violence, and the director believes Yugi looks wimpy enough to be the type to get beat up. The assistant director is told to find Yugi and to play the role of the bully. The assistant director finds Yugi and tells him to come behind the gym during recess to meet someone. When Yugi goes to the appointed place, the assistant director punches him. But Jonouchi jumps in to save Yugi, and it’s revealed what’s really going on. Jonouchi gets mad at the director and tries to attack, but the director claims he’s filming. But then he tells his cameraman to stop and he knees Jonouchi. We see the puzzle activate, but the director leaves. Later, Yugi catches up to the director with the puzzle activated; Yugi tells the director that he must play a game with him for trespassing in his soul. Yugi challenges him to a dice game, with whoever rolls the lowest number wins; but if Yugi wins, the director has to play a penalty game as punishment. Yugi finds a way to win and take out his revenge on the director.

It’s been interesting for me to see more of the “Season 0″ material of Yu-Gi-Oh!, and to see just how different it is from what I know of the English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! And it’s just fascinating for me to see Yugi playing games that aren’t a card game, since that’s what’s so strongly associated with the franchise. But when that Millennium Puzzle is activated, Yugi can become rather devious. But I have to admit that I enjoyed seeing the punishment he gave to the director for how he tried to manipulate reality for his project. And since there’s a “To Be Continued” note at the end of the chapter, we definitely are in store for another adventure.

Manga Review: “Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire” Volume Four

Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire is a manga that serves as a prequel series to the Resident Evil 6 videogame.

Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire Volume 4

Written by: Naoki Serizawa
Publisher: Akita Publishing Co., Ltd.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 19, 2015

The series is set in Singapore and Tropical Forest of Asia. BSAA advisor Doug Wright is investigating a viral outbreak at the prestigious Marhawa School that’s causing people to turn into zombies. A student named Nanan is the source of the infection, which she obtained after her friend Bindi brought her back to life with an injection that a hooded woman gave her. Bindi decided to use Nanan’s new ability to turn people on campus into zombies to get revenge because Nanan was being bullied at school. Bindi later uses the syringe on herself,

Volume 4 sees a boy named Ricky Tozawa being rescued by Chris Redfield from the BSAA. Two other agents have come with Chris, and an agent named Merah ends up trying to take on Bindi in her bio-organic weapon state.  During this battle, the reader is provided some backstory on Merah. Near the end of the volume, Ricky and Chris find themselves having to face off against Nanan in her bio-organic weapon state.

Volume 4 is an action-packed volume, and it’s also rather violent. I believe that Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire has received an “M” rating due to the sheer amount of violence that appears in the story.

I have to admit that I’ve been having a hard time writing this review, and this is due to two reasons. The first is, while I’ve heard of the Resident Evil game franchise, I’ve never played it and don’t know much about it. Second, this is the first volume of the series that I have read; from doing some research, it appears that Volume 4 is the penultimate volume for Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire. Between these two reasons, it made it harder for me to connect with the characters and series than usual. There’s a very emotional scene involving Ricky in this volume with something that happens to his Uncle Doug, but it didn’t have the emotional power that it should have for me since I don’t really know these characters. I expect that readers who have been following this series from the beginning will have a stronger reaction to this scene than I did.

When it comes to the art, I have to say that Serizawa did a fantastic job on the character designs. There were a few panels in Volume 4 where the characters almost looked real and looked as if they were about the jump right off of the page. Some of the backgrounds also looked as if Serizawa took some time to make sure they looked intricate. Even though I wasn’t able to totally get into the story, the quality of the art helped to make up for it. At least the volume was interesting to look at, even with all of the violence and blood that’s included.

I think that Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire series will have the strongest appeal with readers who are already familiar with the Resident Evil videogame franchise. It might also appeal to readers who don’t mind reading manga series with a lot of violence included.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Manga Review: “Dragon Ball” Omnibus Volume Three

Dragon Ball Omnibus Volume 3 collects the seventh, eighth, and ninth volumes of the series into one volume.

Dragon Ball Omnibus Volume 3

Written by: Akira Toriyama
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 3, 2009

This volume continues with Goku, Kuririn, and Bulma trying to outsmart General Blue in order to get the Dragon Ball and the pirate treasure. This portion of the story sees the group trying to overcome traps and being cornered by General Blue. There were definitely some very amusing moments during this portion of the story, which also included Bulma coming to the realization that General Blue is gay when she tries to seduce him. I found it interesting that the manga blatantly says that Blue is gay, because prior to reading this volume, I had watched the anime adaptation. In the anime, the word “gay” is never said outright, but viewers can tell that this is being hinted at with Blue’s reactions. I just found it funny that the anime tried so hard to tiptoe around blatantly using the term, yet the original manga source material had no problem with being blunt about it.

But after the three of them escape and return to Master Roshi’s place, they are pursued by General Blue. This leads to Goku chasing Blue, and the two of them end up in Penguin Village, which is the setting for Akira Toriyama’s Dr. Slump series. This becomes a crossover between Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump, and it was rather unnerving to see the similarity of designs some of the characters in Dr. Slump have to several of the characters in this series. Honestly, I really didn’t enjoy this crossover element at all. I have a feeling that fans of Dr. Slump think it’s great, but having Goku interact with these characters didn’t do anything for me. Personally, I found this crossover to be the low point of Dragon Ball Omnibus Volume 3.

Goku continues his quest for the Dragon Balls and discovers where the next one is. His search takes him to the Karin Sanctuary, where a boy named Upa lives with his father, the protector of the Dragon Ball. Goku comes across them as Colonel Yellow tries to take the Dragon Ball, and he saves the day. Commander Red hires an assassin named TaoPaiPai, who kills Upa’s father. TaoPaiPai also believes that he has killed Goku, but leaves without the Dragon Balls. Goku is still alive, and he promises Upa that he’ll collect all seven Dragon Balls and bring his father back to life. Goku then climbs up the Karin Tower to drink water that is rumored to make people stronger. Goku finds Karin at the top of the tower, and unknowingly trains to become stronger as he tries to get the water.

This section of the manga introduces four new characters, although one is killed rather early on. Even though the reader may not know Upa and his father very long before the father’s death, it’s still easy to feel sad when he’s taken down. I suspect that may be due, in part, to the fact that Upa is just so small and cute. And it’s kind of interesting to see that Karin is a cat who is also rather powerful when it comes to martial arts. We’d met anthropomorphic pigs and cats before, but having one as a powerful martial artist was something new.

When TaoPaiPai returns for the Dragon Balls, he’s surprised to find that Goku is still alive. Goku has become stronger at this point, so after a little bit of a fight, he overwhelms the assassin. From there, Goku goes to take on the entire Red Ribbon Army by himself, and wins. After retrieving the Dragon Balls they have, it’s discovered they’re one short and the Dragon Radar can’t find it. Goku and some of his friends go to see Baba, the All-Seeing Crone, who is able to divine the location of any lost object. But since they don’t have any money, they have to battle five of Baba’s champions before she will render her services. A lot of martial arts action takes place here, which is both exciting and amusing. Goku receives a major surprise after he battles the final opponent. I don’t want to give away the surprise, but I will say that there’s a rather sweet scene right near the end of the omnibus that’s involved with this surprise.

The story progresses very nicely, especially with this being an omnibus with three volumes in one release. There’s a good mixture of action, dialogue, and humor, which helps to make this volume a quicker read than one would think by simply seeing how thick it is. There is also some great action panels included in this omnibus as well.

When it comes to the art, my only real complaint comes in the portion that has the crossover with Dr. Slump. My complaint has to do with Toriyama having such distinct character designs that he seems to use with every series of his that I have had exposure to, so I kept finding myself comparing who the Dr. Slump characters resembled in Dragon Ball. The worst was how similar one of the Dr. Slump characters looks to Yamcha, because I had to constantly remind myself that I wasn’t seeing Yamcha during this portion of the story. But on the plus side, I did enjoy getting some color pages included in this omnibus.

The omnibus releases for Dragon Ball are definitely worth it for fans of the series that want to own it but don’t want to spend the time or money chasing down individual manga volumes.

The reviewer was given a copy of this item as a gift by her husband

Manga Review: “Black Lagoon” Volume 10

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Black Lagoon Volume 10 is set in the early to mid-1990s and focuses on a team of pirate mercenaries known as the Lagoon Company. They smuggle goods in and around the seas of Southeast Asia. The crew is made up of the African-American leader who goes by Dutch, a Chinese-American female fighter who is known as Revy, a university dropout from Florida named Benny who serves as a mechanic, computer specialist, and researcher, and a former Japanese salaryman named Rokuro “Rock” Okajima, who ended up joining the Lagoon Company when he became mixed up with them during one of their operations.

Black Lagoon Volume 10

Written by: Rei Hiroe
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 21, 2015

Volume 10 focuses on introducing a new character named Li Xinlin, a hacker in the People’s Liberation Army. She’s given the assignment to infiltrate Greeback Jane’s group under the alias Feng Yifei. Jane, who is now Benny’s girlfriend, is aware of who Feng really is and ends up using her to tap into the PLA’s computers. Unfortunately for Li, the PLA now believes that she’s a traitor and put a contract on her life.

At first, the connection between Li and the Lagoon Company seems rather tenuous, since she’s brought into the story through Benny’s girlfriend. However, both Rokuro and Revy find themselves getting mixed into the situation when Li is trying to get revenge for what Jane did to her. At this exact same moment, some bounty hunters who are after Li see the three of them together and try to take them all out. This forces Rokuro and Revy to become involved with Li.

It’s interesting to see the parallels that exist between Rokuro and Li. They were both tossed out by their employers when their existence became a liability to them, and they both have to create new lives for themselves. I think Rokuro ultimately decides to try to help Li out because he sees enough of his situation with what’s going on with her. I think Hiroe may also be trying to potentially set up a love triangle. It’s already been hinted that Revy has feelings for Rokuro, and I get the impression that Li may also have her eye on him as well. I don’t expect a huge emphasis on a potential love triangle, though, since Black Lagoon is more of an action-oriented series.

Black Lagoon has been given a mature rating, and from what I saw in this volume, I would say this is due to the sheer amount of swearing and to the scenes with references to sex in them. While the series can be violent, it wasn’t depicted in a way to give it an “M” rating.

When it comes to Hiroe’s art, all of the characters have very distinct looks to them. But the biggest strength with the art in this series is in the depiction of the characters’ motion. Since Black Lagoon is such an action-oriented manga, this strength with motion works extremely well. Much of the art has a crisp look to it, which helps to add to the overall feel of the story being told in the Black Lagoon series.

Readers who have been following the series should enjoy what they read in Black Lagoon Volume 10. Li definitely adds an interesting new layer by the end of the volume, and there seems to be a lot of promise with her character going forward. The series as a whole should appeal to readers who enjoy manga with lots of action, a fair amount of violence, and don’t mind reading a lot of profanity in the dialogue.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

VIZ Media Announces Special Theatrical Engagements of The Last: Naruto the Movie in Latin America

VIZ Media delivers The Last: Naruto the Movie to Latin America for a series of theatrical releases in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru.

The Last: Naruto the Movie features the epic, big screen adventures of ninja, Naruto Uzumaki. It will be presented with original Japanese dialogue with Spanish subtitles (a Portuguese dub with English subtitles will also be offered in Brazil); run time is 112 minutes. The Last: Naruto the Movie will premiere in:

May 14, 2015:
Chile (Andes Films)
Peru (Andes Films)

May 28, 2015:
Brazil (PlayArte)
Mexico (Cinepolis)

June 4, 2015:
Argentina (DSX Films)

Screenings in additional territories will be announced.

Naruto resonates with a global audience, and in conjunction with our Latin American media partners, the property has captivated fervent legions of fans” says Stephane Hellin, Senior Animation Licensing Manager, Latin America. “The Last: Naruto the Movie is a pulse-racing adventure that has our ninja hero facing the most dangerous mission he has ever undertaken! We invite audiences throughout Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru to attend these upcoming screenings and we look forward to announcing dates in additional territories soon!”

The Last: Naruto the Movie is based on the internationally bestselling Naruto manga series created by Masashi Kishimoto. In the film, the moon is approaching dangerously close to Earth! Unless something is done, the moon will disintegrate, showering the earth with gigantic meteorites. As the clock ticks towards the end of the world, can Naruto save the earth from this crisis?