Hot Gimmick Volumes 1-12

Hot Gimmick by Miki Aihara is the manga that made me a devoted proponent of the format. At the time, it was exactly what I was looking for — a girl-centered story that emphasizes emotion and character development, with fascinating plot twists and clear, expressive art. Unfortunately, the treatment of the characters and the end of the series are so disappointing as to erase the enjoyment of the beginning, and now I recommend people avoid it. The protagonist, Hatsumi, is […]

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Manga Secrets

I wanted to jump into this how-to book as soon as I received it. Manga Secrets is immediately welcoming, with well-laid-out pages, lots of attractive spot color, and an approach that suggests that anyone can draw manga with its help. Lea Hernandez clearly knows her stuff. She’s created her own manga-influenced graphic novels and worked as a retouch artist and manga rewriter. The introduction is done as a comic strip, demonstrating her art style while communicating her love of manga […]

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Peach Fuzz Volume 1

Nine-year-old Amanda selects a ferret as her first pet. Mom is concerned about the danger; it seems that ferrets like to nip until they’re trained not to. Amanda talks her mom into it, with the understanding that she’ll have to return the pet if it bites her. Peach views Amanda’s hand reaching into her cage as a five-headed monster attacking her, so of course, she bites back. Based on the premise, Peach Fuzz should have been more enjoyable than it […]

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Hana-Kimi

This modern comedy of gender roles by Hisaya Nakajo, subtitled For You in Full Blossom, is populated with androgynously cute teenagers sporting beautiful faces framed with sprays of bangs. Mizuki has returned to Japan to pursue her dreams, even if it means pretending to be a boy. She’d been living in America, but after seeing Izumi Sano compete in the high jump, she developed a crush on him. Now she’s attending the same boys’ school he does. Her outspoken, “foreign” […]

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Comic Party Volume 1

Any fan who’s ever been to a convention will recognize the setting of Comic Party, complete with all the clichés. When Kazuki doesn’t get into his chosen art school, his friends Mizuki (a cute girl) and Taishi (a geek) take him to an anime, manga, and gaming convention in order to help him find a focus for his creativity. Inspired, Kazuki prepares to put together a comic and debut it at a show. Taishi directs him by showing him this […]

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Labyrinth

My gracious, I do love Labyrinth. I just watched the DVD again, and I always forget how engrossing it is. David Bowie turns in a superb performance as the Goblin King, scary and exotic and attractive and magical all at once. The older I get, the more patience I have with Jennifer Connelly’s performance, too. Once I thought she was much too wooden, just something existing for the creatures to dance around, but she seems more subtle to me these […]

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Lander Quits

Goodbye, Randy. You’ll be missed. Randy was one of the few old-timers left from when we were both writing on Usenet ten years ago. I can sympathize with his feelings, especially when it comes to being motivated by guilt and writing for the right reasons: Truthfully, I’ve considered quitting before, and one of the factors that always kept me in was a sense of duty to the folks who sent me comp copies for review. I figured that I should […]

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Speakeasy Cancels Titles

From the Riot blog, posted by a retailer (link no longer available): every single Speakeasy title that I ordered over the past two months has been cancelled…. it’s obvious to me that the publisher is going the way of Dreamwave, CrossGen, and all the other “hey, let’s try something NEW and DIFFERENT” dodo publishers. Speakeasy tried to do too much too soon. Instead of building an audience for four or five titles over the course of a year and then […]

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