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.

VIZ Media’s Perfect Square Announces Special Voltron 30th Anniversary Commemorative Release

VIZ Media takes readers on an exciting journey to explore the history and legacy of Voltron®, the legendary giant robot anime series that marks the 30th Anniversary of its original North American broadcast premiere.

Voltron: From Days of Long Ago, A 30th Anniversary Celebration examines the entire Voltron universe and the property’s notable impact on pop culture and will be released in-print on October 28, 2014 from the company’s Perfect Square imprint. The hardcover oversized edition will carry an MSRP of $29.99 U.S. / $34.99 CAN.

A digital version of Voltron: From Days of Long Ago, A 30th Anniversary Celebration also will launch on October 28, 2014 for $14.99 U.S. / CAN from the Perfect Square App, which has titles available for the Apple iPad® and iPad® Mini. The Perfect Square App is available from the iTunes store. Readers also will be able to find a digital version for the NOOK, Kindle Fire, and Kobo eReaders, as well as in the iBooks and Google Play Stores.

Thirty years ago, Voltron: Defender of the Universe hit the airwaves, and the world hasn’t been the same. Now, Voltron: From Days of Long Ago chronicles the story of Voltron and its cultural relevance, taking a detailed look at the story behind the show and the many related toy releases, the mythology of both Lion Force and Vehicle Voltron (with a nod to Albegas), and concludes the exciting Voltron Force saga. This new book is truly for fans, by fans: authored by Brian Smith, a former Marvel Comics editor and writer for Perfect Square’s Voltron Force® series of original graphic novels, Marc Morrell, co-host of the official “Let’s Voltron!” podcast, and Joshua Bernard, founder of CollectionDX, a popular website devoted to covering the world of Japanese toys, action figures and pop culture; with a bonus Voltron comic written by Smith and illustrated by Jacob Chabot, artist on the Voltron Force series; with a foreword by Jeremy Corray, former Creative Director of World Events Productions, the company behind the classic Voltron TV series.

“Voltron premiered on North American television in 1984 and the media landscape changed forever. There are so many VOLTRON fans, and we wanted to both honor their devotion and invite them to be a part of this project,” says Traci Todd, Senior Editor. “VOLTRON: FROM DAYS OF LONG AGO, A 30th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION offers fans a treasure trove of insights, history, and little-known facts about the evolution of the series and the show’s lasting pop culture impact.”

VOLTRON ™, ® and © WEP, LLC

Manga Review: “Nisekoi: False Love” Volume Five

Nisekoi: False Love Volume Five is a manga by Naoshi Komi, and it was released by VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2014. The series is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read of the series, I would agree with this rating.

Raku Ichijo, a high school boy from a yakuza family, made a promise ten years earlier with a girl he knew then that they would get married someday. He has a locket that the girl gave him, and she has the key that will open the locket; unfortunately, he hasn’t seen this girl since, and he has no memory of her name or what she looked like. He has a crush on a girl named Kosaki Onodera, but he is having to pretend to date Chitoge Kirisaki in order to keep the peace between his father’s yakuza gang and Chitoge’s father’s gang. As the series has progressed up to this point, Raku has also acquired two more potential love interests: Marika Tachibana and Seishiro Tsugumi.

Volume Five sees Raku learning that Marika is someone that he did know 10 years earlier as a sickly girl who he called Mari. His memory is triggered when Marika accidentally reverts to using a speech pattern that she’d stopped using in order to impress Raku now. A lot of this volume focuses on Marika scheming to find ways to get Raku away from Chitoge.

I’m sorry, but I find Marika to be an annoying and manipulative bitch. Of Raku’s potential love interests up to this point in the story, she’s the one I like the least. I’ve seen some later chapters thanks to reading Weekly Shonen Jump over the past few months, and I can say that while Marika seems to have dialed herself back a bit, she’s still annoying when she does appear in those later chapters.

It’s also revealed that Raku, Chitoge, Marika, and Onodera all knew each other 10 years ago and were all actually good friends back then, and that all three girls made promises with a boy they can’t remember and all of them have a key to a locket. At this point, Raku’s pendant needs to be fixed; however, especially at the point I’m at in Weekly Shonen Jump, I wonder why they haven’t just tried the various keys to see if any of them unlock his locket. The real world reason, of course, is that this would bring the series to an end. However, what is the reason in the world of the series?

At this point, I almost expect Komi to troll us all in the end by revealing that NONE of the keys work with Raku’s locket, or more than one key will work with it, or that this whole series has been Raku’s dream or something along those lines. At thuis point, if I had to choose which girl Raku would end up with, I’d have to go with Onodera.

Speaking of Onodera, she asks Raku to help at her family’s sweet shop one day because of their employees can’t make it. Onodera’s mother has to leave, and is unable to make it back before a big storm hits. Raku has to stay at Onodera’s while the storm is going, and it leads to awkward moments between Raku and Onodera. This was one of those moments where it leads me to believe that Raku should end up with Onodera; they both legitimately like each other and there are no pretenses or hidden agendas involved.

There’s something that’s been bugging me about Nisekoi: False Love for a while, but I just couldn’t quite place my finger as to what it was. After my almost 17-year-old daughter read this volume, she talked to me and succinctly told me what it was that I wasn’t quite getting. She said something to the effect of, “This manga author is trying to do too much in this series.” I realized that she was right, but I also found it kind of sad that she picked up on that after only reading five volumes of the series. I did provide a couple of spoilers to her that I know about from reading more recent chapters, and she was exclaimed, “More love interests?” I think there might have been a facepalm in there as well. As she was saying to me, while Ranma 1/2 may have more love interests and more complicated relationship webs than Nisekoi: First Love has, the story in Ranma 1/2 is much simpler and doesn’t have the excess that this series does.

At this point, I still soldier on with Nisekoi: False Love in order to fill in the gaps and catch up to where I started following this series in Weekly Shonen Jump. Also, following this series also provides me with a more recent manga series to cover on my blog.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Nisekoi: False Love Volume Five that I checked out through the King County Library System.

VIZ Media Announces Release of the Resident Evil Manga Series

VIZ Media gives gamers and action fans a special FREE sneak preview of its forthcoming Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire manga series as part of the company’s participation in 2014 Halloween ComicFest.

The terrifying 5-volume apocalyptic action thriller was created by Naoki Serizawa and serves as a prequel to the storyline of CAPCOM’s bestselling Resident Evil® 6 game property. The manga series is rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers and will launch on November 18, 2014 under the VIZ Signature imprint. Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire Volume 1 will carry a print MSRP of $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN.

Held each year, Halloween ComicFest is celebrated at scores of comic shops and retailers nationwide on the Saturday before Halloween. On this day, participating shops offer fans and visitors a special FREE Halloween ComicFest sampler filled with previews of scores of exciting upcoming titles. For additional information and a list of participating retailers, please visit: www.halloweencomicfest.com.

The highly virulent C-virus became a global disaster, but where did the outbreak start? In the series’ opening volume, at the prestigious and elite Marhawa Academy in Singapore, a female student suffers a horrifying transformation. Called in to investigate, Professor Doug Wright and his nephew Ricky find themselves caught up in a deadly and growing tragedy. As things get rapidly out of hand, Chris Redfield and his team from the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance arrive on the scene, while behind it all a mysterious figure looms.

“Discover the sinister beginnings of the Resident Evil story in the first-ever manga series based on the smash hit game property,” says Michael Montesa, Editor. “Along with tracing the source of the deadly viral outbreak, the manga series also presents the debut of Piers Nivans, who appears in the Resident Evil 6 video game as Chris Redfield’s new partner. Readers will not want to miss a special advance preview of RESDIENT EVIL as part of Halloween ComicFest. Catch the full launch of this spine tingling new series from the VIZ Signature imprint next month!”

RESIDENT EVIL © CAPCOM © 2012 NAOKI SERIZAWA / AKITASHOTEN