Alphabetical Index of Tokyopop Manga Reviews

Mail Order Ninja Volume 1

The writer, Joshua Elder, intends this 96-page story to be all-ages comedy “like the classic Looney Tunes cartoons”. Unfortunately, that’s not the impression the opening scene of Mail Order Ninja gives. It’s closer to a superhero comic structure, with a humorless (and fairly violent) ninja action scene being revealed to be part of a manga Timothy is reading. The action art by Erich Owen is well-done, so much so that I found the first glimpse of Timothy freakish. He’s typically […]

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Steady Beat Volume 2

I enjoyed the first volume of this series, although I was concerned that maybe a bit too much was being attempted — it seemed that the book had more plots and revelations than it might have space for. Things are much more focused here in volume two. It opens with a return to the key plot points, re-introducing the Texas suburb in which Leah lives, complete with expectations of church attendance and hidden secrets. In a few quick conversations with […]

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The Dreaming Volume 1

In this original graphic novel by Queenie Chan, twin girls enter a remote boarding school in the Australian wilderness. From the beginning, there’s an air of something wrong. The girls are warned that they must pretend they’re not twins, only sisters, because of an odd prejudice on the vice-principal’s part. Their aunt, headmistress of the school, leaves as soon as they arrive. The quieter, more sensitive girl begins acting in a way that worries her more outgoing sister. Disturbing pictures, […]

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Kat & Mouse

Kat has just moved from the Midwest to New England, where her dad is the new science teacher at a private school. When a break-in at the science lab puts his job in jeopardy, Kat and new friend Mouse are determined to find out who’s responsible in this series written by Alex de Campi and drawn by Federica Manfredi. It’s a familiar setting, with plenty of welcoming hooks for the reader. As a high concept, it’s Nancy Drew meets Mean […]

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Dramacon Volume 1

In Dramacon, Svetlana Chmakova has created an instant classic. Never mind if you don’t like manga, don’t like non-Japanese manga, don’t like Tokyopop… this romantic comedy is witty and amazingly wonderful, hitting all the right notes in a unique setting. Christie and her boyfriend have created a comic. (She writes, he draws.) To promote their effort, they’re attending an anime convention, she for the first time. She’s overwhelmed, mostly by how a different environment turns her boyfriend into a raging […]

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Fool’s Gold Volume 1

I wanted to like Amy Reeder Hadley’s Fool’s Gold more than I did. That’s not a criticism, per se, but a recognition that I had incredibly high expectations based on early preview chapters. I expected to love it, but due to my high expectations, I only liked it. The full book had lots of wonderful, creative ideas but ended up falling back on more standard plot elements. Penny’s an individual, making her own clothes and dreaming of a career in […]

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Steady Beat Volume 1

Steady Beat is a fascinating blend of a wide variety of elements and influences: teen romance, manga, and political drama. Sixteen-year-old Leah has grown up in the shadow of her big sister Sarai. Even when Leah scores an important goal during the school soccer championship, her glory is short-lived, as her varsity captain sister is coaching. To be fair, Sarai gives Leah a chance to demonstrate her skills and responsibility, but Leah gets distracted by a discovery that will change […]

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Peach Girl Volume 1

Sometimes it’s not just the comic that determines whether you like it or not, but the circumstances in which you find it. Peach Girl by Miwa Ueda was one of the earlier manga series I flipped through, but it wasn’t until the story was reissued in the right-to-left “authentic” format that it clicked with me. Perhaps that’s because I’ve gained a new appreciation for and am much more familiar with shôjo teen romance, or perhaps it’s because the art reads […]

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