VIZ Media Launches New Paranormal Shojo Manga Series Kiss of the Rose Princess

VIZ Media announces a thrilling new paranormal shojo manga adventure with the launch of Aya Shouoto’s Kiss of the Rose Princess on November 4, 2014.

The new series will be available for the first time digitally as well as in print under the Shojo Beat imprint. Kiss of the Rose Princess is rated “T” for Teens and will carry a print MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

A digital version of Kiss of the Rose Princess Volume 1 also will debut on November 4, 2014 for $6.99 (USD/CAN) from VIZManga.com and through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, as well as through the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks and Google Play stores. Future editions of the 9-volume series will be released in-print and digitally on a bi-monthly basis.

Anise Yamamoto has been told that if she ever removes the rose choker given to her by her father, a terrible punishment will befall her. Unfortunately she loses that choker when a bat-like being falls from the sky and hits her. Anise is granted four cards representing four knights whom she can summon with a kiss. But now that she has these gorgeous men at her beck and call, what exactly is her quest?!

“Aya Shouoto uses her stunning artwork in KISS OF THE ROSE PRINCESS to bring us a tale of a modern princess and her four handsome knights in this reverse-harem series,” says Nancy Thistlethwaite, Editor. “Our reluctant but fearless heroine must pledge herself to save the world from the Demon Lord, but what will happen if she falls in love with one of her knights? Don’t miss the start of this exciting new series in November!”

KISS OF ROSE PRINCESS Volume 1 ©Aya SHOUOTO 2009

Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set 13

Bleach DVD Set 13 is a three disc set that contains 12 episodes; each disc in this set includes four episodes and bonus features. The episodes on these discs can be watched either with English dialogue or with Japanese dialogue and English subtitles.

The first 10 episodes included in this set continue the story in Hueco Mundo. This includes character development for both Neliel and Nnoitra, as well as looking like the end is coming for Ichigo, Chad, Rukia, Uryu, and Renji. However, some Soul Society captains arrive to take on the Espada and help Ichigo and the others. Unfortunately, the arrival of the captains doesn’t mean these fights end easily; in fact, the battles the captains have against the Arrancar escalate and take several episodes to resolve. But before they can enjoy their victories, Aizen recaptures Orihime and launches an attack with the intent to destroy Karakura Town. In the final episode of this arc, Ichigo reaches Ulquiorra with the intent to take him on.

As I was watching these 10 episodes, especially after the Soul Society captains joined in the fights, I felt as if these battles ran longer than they really needed to. To me, it felt like these fights were being extended in order to stretch this part of the story out longer. My favorite part of these 10 episodes was getting to see the backstory and character development for both Neliel and Nnoitra, because this helped me acquire more respect for Nel and like her more as a character. While Pesche and Dondochakka also appear in this backstory, there wasn’t enough there to improve my view of them as characters. There’s one point where these two characters are sent flying, and I nearly cheered; I hope they’re gone for good.

I was dismayed to discover that the final two episodes are a short filler arc that sees the return of Rurichiyo, a character introduced in the filler arc that appears on Bleach DVD Set 11 and most of Bleach DVD Set 12. This was ultimately a stupid story about Rurichiyo getting mad with one of her retainers because he won’t let her play kemari because of the duties she has to do; she runs off to Karakura Town to find Ichigo and the others. When Rurichiyo’s retainer finds her, it leads to a kemari match being played between some of the characters of the series. But the game is interrupted by the arrival of a Hollow.

Ugh. Right when the canon arc was about to start into another major battle featuring Ichigo, the series cuts away to a filler story that just can’t fit in where it was put. Not only that, it features characters from the previous filler arc that I really didn’t care about. As a viewer, I was annoyed that this had happened again and that these characters made a return to the series. And it didn’t help that the filler story this time was just plain stupid. After making it through the intense fights earlier in the set and seeing the setup for upcoming major plot points, it was frustrating to have the storyline interrupted in this manner. It was probably a case where the anime was catching up too much with the manga source material, but couldn’t they have come up with a better filler than this? I really hope we don’t have to see Rurichiyo again during the series.

When it comes to the DVD itself, the omake continue to be cut off from the end of the episodes and only appear as part of the “Omake” special feature that appears on each disc. I still hope this will be rectified in one of the future DVD box sets for Bleach.

The main menu on each disc in this set is also silent again. The Naruto Shippuden box sets made a similar change to their menus, but this change ended up not lasting very long. I hope this holds true for these Bleach DVD box sets. Seeing action taking place on the menu without any audio can be rather disconcerting to me as a viewer.

Each disc has Production Art, which is line art of the characters and locations that appear in these episodes. Each disc includes nine pages of art. Each disc also has a “Clean Ending” option in the bonus features; the first two discs have the first ending that appear on this set, while the third disc has the second ending.

Each disc also has omake, as well as “sneak peeks.” There are three trailers in the “sneak peeks” on each disc, and the same three appear on each one.

If you’re a Bleach fan, then you need to get a hold of this set in order to have all of the episodes of the series in your anime home video collection.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Bleach DVD Set 13 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

VIZ Media Premieres Omnibus Print Edition of All You Need Is Kill Manga

VIZ Media announces the print launch of famed manga artist Takeshi Obata’s latest manga with the release of All You Need Is Kill as an oversized omnibus edition on November 4, 2014.

All You Need Is Kill collects both volumes into this complete edition and features color inserts, is rated “T+” for Older Teens and will be available under the Shonen Jump Advanced imprint with a print MSRP of $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN.

Digital editions for the pair of individual volumes are also available for $6.99 each across all platforms serviced by VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga App, and are similarly available on the storefronts for the Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, ComiXology, and Nook. The free VIZ Manga App continues to be the top application for reading digital manga and features a massive library of the most popular series in the world. With the dynamic platform, fans can explore and enjoy a massive catalog of classic manga series that spans more than 2,200 volumes across more than 200 different series.

Takeshi Obata’s All You Need Is Kill originally premiered in VIZ Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump digital manga anthology earlier this year and is the stunning manga realization of the popular Japanese sci-fi novel, written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. In this rousing action story, when the alien Mimics invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor called a Jacket and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to be reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On his 158th iteration, he gets a message from a mysterious ally – the female soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she the key to Keiji’s escape or his final death?

The bestselling All You Need Is Kill novel also inspired the live-action summer blockbuster – Edge of Tomorrow – which starred Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton.

“Coming just after Takeshi Obata’s first-ever U.S. appearance at the recent New York Comic Con, we are very excited to announce the print debut of his action-packed manga treatment of ALL YOU NEED IS KILL,” says Mike Montesa, Editor. “Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s award winning novel comes to life with tense and engrossing characters and plenty of visceral battle scenes, all wonderfully depicted with Obata’s signature highly detailed style. The alien Mimics are bent on destroying humanity but they are about to meet their match in this exceptional new release from VIZ Media!”

ALL YOU NEED IS KILL © 2014 by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Ryosuke Takeuchi, yoshitoshi ABe, Takeshi Obata/SHUEISHA Inc.

VIZ Media Announces the Release of Pokemon Season 1: Indigo League – The Complete Collection DVD Set

VIZ Media announces the release, for the first time ever, of the entire Pokemon Indigo League animation in one comprehensive DVD set.

Pokemon Season 1: Indigo League – The Complete Collection contains all 78 episodes (more than 27 hours) of this legendary Pokemon season on 9 DVDs and will be released on October 28, 2014. Pokemon Season 1: Indigo League – The Complete Collection will carry an MSRP of $54.98 U.S. / $63.99 CAN.

Take a trip back to the very beginning, when the adventures were just getting started! In Pokemon Indigo League, Ash Ketchum celebrates his tenth birthday and he’s ready to do what many 10-year-olds in the Kanto region set out to do – become a Pokémon Trainer! Things don’t go exactly the way he planned when he ends up with a Pikachu instead of a different partner Pokémon, and winning Gym Badges turns out to be much tougher than he thought. Luckily, he’s got Gym Leaders Brock and Misty at his side, along with a bevy of new Pokémon friends, including Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander.

Pokémon is one of the largest entertainment franchises in the world, selling more than 260 million video games, shipping more than 21.5 billion Pokémon TCG cards, and featuring a library of more than 700 animation episodes and 16 full-length animated films.

VIZ Media’s Studio Ghibli Library Imprint Releases Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke: The First Story

VIZ Media delivers a treat to readers and fans of famed director and pioneering creative visionary, Hayao Miyazaki, with the release today of Princess Mononoke: The First Story.

The oversized (11¾ x 11¾ inch) hardcover release is published under the Studio Ghibli Library imprint and carries an MSRP of $34.99 U.S. / $39.99 CAN. The beautifully illustrated storybook features Hayao Miyazaki’s original watercolor artwork, which complements his thoughtfully written fable about man’s need to maintain ecological balance with nature that became the origin for the 1997 feature film. An afterward written by Miyazaki lends further context and insights to the Mononoke story and its deep and lasting impact upon the director.

This is the original Princess Mononoke story, created by Hayao Miyazaki in 1980 while he was first conceptualizing the landmark animated film that would be released to universal acclaim seventeen years later. As an initial version of the tale, it offers a new and significantly different perspective from the final version presented in the film. After a long, exhausting war, a samurai lost in a forest encounters a giant wildcat – a mononoke. The beast saves his life, but at the price of his daughter’s hand in marriage…

“Princess Mononoke was a historic release for Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli and propelled the animation auteur to an entirely new level of international fame,” says Masumi Washington, Senior Editorial Director. “But few know of THE FIRST STORY, the imaginative fable that was the genesis for his groundbreaking film. This premium storybook fittingly presents it for the very first time in English and prominently displays his expressive watercolor characters and landscapes. We look forward to readers discovering Princess Mononoke in a whole new way in this unique release!”

VIZ Media also invites fans to also explore the imaginatively conceived world of Princess Mononoke in The Art of Princess Mononoke (MSRP: $34.99 U.S. / $39.99 CAN). The substantial hardcover edition from the Studio Ghibli Library imprint features an all new translation and contains a trove of insightful interviews, original concept sketches, character art and finished animation cels, and a look at the computer graphics technology used in the film’s production.

“MONONOKE HIME” (1980 nen Shoki Settei Ban) By Hayao Miyazaki ©1993 Nibariki

Manga Review: “Pokemon Black and White” Volume 18

Pokemon Black and White Volume 18 is a manga based on the Pokemon Black and Pokemon White video games. The manga was written by Hidenori Kusaka, and the art was done by Satoshi Yamamoto. VIZ Media released this manga in North America through its Perfect Square imprint in 2014. Pokemon Black and White is rated “A,” which means that it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Pokemon Black and White focuses on two Pokemon trainers: a boy named Black and a girl named White. Black dreams of winning the Pokemon League, and White’s dream is working with Pokemon in showbiz; but after her Tepig Gigi decides to stay with N, the leader of Team Plasma, White trains in order to participate in Pokemon Battles.

Volume 18 focuses on the Pokemon League Championships. First, there’s a match between Black and Iris; not only do we get to see the match between these two, we also see a flashback of Iris’ that provides some background and character development for her. After seeing this backstory, it made me realize that I like the Iris that appears in the videogame and manga much more than the Iris that’s portrayed in the Pokemon anime. I feel her character is much stronger and better developed here when compared to her anime counterpart.

White is also important in this volume as she tries to investigate Hood Man. While White is doing this, we see Inspector Looker watching her investigation. Looker’s appearance in the Unova region had been hinted at during the end of the Pokemon Adventures Diamond and Pearl Platinum manga series, so it’s nice to see that VIZ’s Pokemon Black and White releases that have come out since the final volume of Pokemon Adventures Diamond and Pearl Platinum have included Looker in them. I don’t know if this was simply a coincidence, or if VIZ Media had tried to time the releases to work out that way. Either way, I have to say that this was well played.

Up to now, it had also been hinted that something was different about Black’s friend, Cheren. After Cheren wins his match and becomes Black’s competitor for the finals, the truth about Cheren and his recent behavior are revealed. I hadn’t predicted the reason for Cheren’s change, but I should have known that it would somehow tie in with Team Plasma. Near the end of the volume, something surprising happens during Black and Cheren’s battle; it’s also hinted that something major is about to happen.

Unfortunately, since this volume focused exclusively on the Pokemon League Championships, we didn’t get to see anything in regards to what happened to Cilan, Cress, and Chili with their battle against three members of Team Plasma. However, since I did mention in my review for Volume 17 that I was most interested in seeing how the story around the Pokemon League Championships would evolve, I wasn’t disappointed in how this volume focused on that aspect.

Fans of the series who have enjoyed reading it up to this point will probably also enjoy reading Pokemon Black and White Volume 18.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Pokemon Black and White Volume 18 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 140 (October 20, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for One Piece, World Trigger, Nisekoi: False Love, Naruto, One-Punch Man, Toriko, Bleach, and eIDLIVE. In addition, this issue also includes the third chapter for Death Note as part of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s new “Jump Back” initiative. There’s also a brief Q&A with Takeshi Obata.

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.

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

One Piece CH:764

This chapter continues the flashback about Law and his time with the Don Quixote family. It specifically focuses on Law talking with Corazon and learning the truth about Corazon and his brother, Doflamingo. During the discussion, Corazon tells Law that he needs to get away from Doflamingo and the others. When Law threatens to tell Doflamingo the truth, Corazon attacks; later, Corazon discovers that Law hasn’t said a word. Corazon takes it upon himself to get Law away and to try to find a cure for Law’s disease. Unfortunately, when Corazon takes Law to be treated, the hospital won’t do anything because they’re afraid of contracting the disease. Corazon keeps taking him to various hospitals, but they always get the same response.

I have to say that I felt so bad seeing the treatment that poor Law was getting over and over from the various medical professionals about his disease. While I know there’s no known cure for it, he was being treated as if he was less than human and that no one wanted to risk being around him. In a lot of ways, it makes me think of the fear and uncertainty we’ve been seeing in the news lately regarding Ebola. I know it’s purely coincidental, but it sure makes this chapter feel timely! But I also liked seeing how Corazon is coming to care for Law over the course of this chapter; unfortunately, I suspect this is going to somehow come to a tragic end.

World Trigger CH:079

We see Yuma get a hit in on Viza, and then Yuma heads off to where Hyrein and Mira are. Miwa is up against these two as Osamu realizes what he has to do. Mira tries to stop Osamu, but he turns off his Trigger and runs. Miwa attacks Mira, and she’s injured; also, because she used too many windows, she’s now out of Trion. Just then, Yuma arrives, and he and Miwa ask each other where the enemy is. And right at the end of the chapter, there’s only seven seconds left until the future crossroads.

This was probably one of the better chapters of World Trigger that I’ve read since I started reading the series earlier this year. There’s a lot of action taking place, and the story is finally starting to move a little more noticeably. I suspect that the story will somehow slow back down again, but with the declaration that there’s only seven seconds left until a major event, I can’t see how the manga author can stretch those last seven seconds out for months. Of course, there’s always a chance that the manga author will find a way to do that, though.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:143

This chapter sees Onodera approaching Raku and asking him to help out with a job at a hot springs resort that’s owned by one of her relatives. As they work together, they both so nervous because of their unspoken mutual attraction for each other. But as they try to clean up son futons, they find themselves in an awkward and compromising position. This causes even more awkwardness between them as they work. But when the chef throws out his back, Onodera recommends that Raku fill in for him. This forces Raku and Onodera to work together, and this improves the situation between the two of them. The chapter ends with an unexpected surprise awaiting both Raku and Onodera.

I just read the fifth volume of the Nisekoi: False Love manga the day before reading this chapter, and as soon as I saw the setup for this story, I wanted to facepalm. Onodera asking Raku to help out somewhere already happened back in the fifth volume of the manga, so that made this whole story idea feel recycled. While this was at a hot spring resort instead of at the sweet shop, the idea that Onodera and Raku have to work together and are nervous about it the whole time thing has already been done. It’s bad enough that Komi has been recycling ideas from other manga such as Ranma 1/2 and Love Hina, but now he’s starting to recycle his own ideas from Nisekoi: False Love. Resorting to recycling makes it feel as if Komi is struggling to come up with ideas simply to stretch the series out and make it last longer.

Naruto CH:696

In this chapter, Naruto and Sasuke take a reprieve from their battle and start talking about Sasuke’s philosophy. But after this short reprieve, their battle continues again. Sasuke then works on merging all the disseminated chakra into one, and Naruto tries to counter by using one of his jutsu and the battle continues. Naruto declares at the end of the chapter that he wants to fight and win against Sasuke fair and square… but not against the current Sasuke.

This chapter sees the fight between Naruto and Sasuke stopping and starting quite a bit. But both sides keep upping the ante, so this fight shouldn’t be lasting for too much longer. Of course, with only three chapters left, it can’t go on much longer. I really hope this fight can be resolved in two more chapters, and that the final chapter will show the aftermath. It’s still hard to believe there’s only three chapters left for Naruto, and I’m hoping this series will receive a satisfying enough conclusion.

After the chapter is over, there’s a four-page spread about the new Naruto Shippuden deck building card game that’s come out. These pages explain how the game works.

One-Punch Man CH:037.6

This chapter sees Senos going up against the smaller being that emerged from the melted G4 in the previous chapter. However, this being insists that it’s only interested in going after King. Senos manages to dump the contents of a foam fire extinguisher on it, and then dislodges a water outlet in order to create steam. Right at the end of the chapter, Senos is about to head-butt the being…

This ending up being a rather quick read, and this chapter only focused on the battle between Senos and the being. With the way the previous chapter had ended with the giant bird crashing through King’s window, I’d been looking forward to seeing how that part of the story would progress. Oh well. Perhaps we’ll see more with King when the next chapter is published in Weekly Shonen Jump.

Toriko CH:297

Toriko and the others find themselves surrounded by Gore-illas. Zebra fights against the creatures, and Toriko and the others have no choice but to join in. Toriko finds himself up against a Crazy Salsa-Simian, which is a monkey that can fight by using martial arts. The other members of the party find themselves up against other types of apes and monkeys. The group finds that this swarm of primates won’t be easily defeated. But the primates suddenly stop when one of the Eight Kings arrives on the scene. Suddenly, the Choo Choo Chomper, along with Toriko and his group, fall down a giant hole to someplace deep underground that has ruins. They are approached by a creature just as the chapter ends…

This chapter spent a lot of time explaining about the various kinds of monkeys, as well as the hierarchy of their society. But just as that finished, our main characters fall someplace underground. It just made me wonder why so much time was spent on explaining about the monkeys if we’re separated from them by the end of the chapter. I’m not sure what kind of creature has approached them at the ruins, but I suspect he’ll be providing a lot of exposition in the next chapter.

Bleach CH:601

This chapter sees Squad Zero starting into their fight against the royal guards. Etsu Nimana, one of the members of Squad Zero surprises the royal guards with his sword and how he uses it. Etsu is able to take down one the royal guards, and begins attacking another one. He seems to knock this other one down, but something happens at the end of the chapter that surprises Etsu…

So here’s a chapter that focuses on one character fighting with a couple of others. The first guy seemed to be taken down rather easily, but the second one pulls off the type of surprise I’ve come to expect from Bleach when it comes to thinking someone’s taken down an enemy when they really haven’t. In the end, though, the story really doesn’t progress much by the end of the chapter.

eIDLIVE CH:003

This chapter sees Chief Brick being briefed about the escape that happened in the previous chapter. But the important aspect of this meeting is the fact that a situation is headed toward our solar system. Chuta is examined by Professor Isaku, and learns that the powerful life-based technique that eIDLIVE uses to fight with is body odor. Back on Earth, Dory begins using his power to help Chuta out, whether it’s to cover up for him missing a kick in soccer or helping to take down shoplifters. But in the process, Chuta’s Aunt Mimi is hurt, which causes Chuta to be racked with guilt. While he’s at the hospital, Misuzu approaches Chuta and tells him that using Doru’s power in his everyday life on Earth is against the rules. While eIDLIVE has taken care of it this time, the next time Chuta will be punished for it. Chuta begins thinking that he should quit eIDLIVE. After Chuta has a conversation with his aunt, Chuta realizes he has to try harder for his aunt’s sake.

After it’s discovered that the shoplifter was an alien, eIDLIVE doesn’t plan to go after it since the severity of the crime isn’t a high enough level. But Miszuu decides to bend the rules so Chuta can use this as a way to level himself up. When Chuta gets more information about the alien, it’s discovered the perpetrator is a violent criminal wanted to multiple murders. When Chuta delivers the information to Chief Brick, he’s told an investigation will be opened, and Chuta makes a case for getting involved with the investigation. Chuta and Misuzu are sent to Earth to track down the alien. In the end, it takes both Chuta and Misuzu to capture the alien.

Unfortunately, my impression of this series didn’t improve at all over the course of this chapter. In fact, I found myself feeling rather bored as I read it. It also didn’t help that this chapter was so darn long! Of the four “Jump Start” series I’ve read, I’d have to say that eIDLIVE and Sporting Salt tie for my least favorite. It’s a series that I’m not in a rush to ever read again.

Death Note CH:003

In this chapter, we see that Light is trying to take a break from media exposure, since all that’s being talked about is L and “Kira,” the name that Light has been given by the public for what he’s been doing. We also see the special investigative bureau sharing what evidence they’ve gathered in their investigation into “Kira.” We also learn that Light’s father is part of the investigation into “Kira.”

What an interesting twist that Light’s father is part of the investigation into “Kira.” And it was also interesting to see that Light is trying to find ways to toy around with L and the police investigating the case. With each chapter I read of Death Note, I find myself becoming more and more interested in the story.

But I’m a little confused. According to what I saw at the end, it’s saying there will be another chapter of Death Note in Weekly Shonen Jump next week. Is this accurate? I thought the idea was to only provide three chapters for the “Jump Back” initative, just like the “Jump Start” initiative.

Q&A With Takeshi Obata

There’s also a one-page Q&A with Takeshi Obata. This allowed Weekly Shonen Jump to ask some of the questions sent in by fans that they weren’t able to get to during the New York Comic Con panel with Takeshi Obata. I wish this had been a two-page Q&A, because this just felt a little too short.