« November 2004 | Main | January 2005 »

So there you go, 366+ manga for this year. Like I said many times before, making that New Year's resolution of an average of one book a day was pretty dumb, but I was true to my words.

For next year, I'm making no promises. I'm definitely not going to make an artificial target for my reading and who knows, I may even read more. But there's a lot of other DVDs, CDs, and games that I had to sacrifice and postpone until 2005 because of comics. I need to get rid of those first.

As for this site, I'll continue in low-priority mode until February. I'll put up manga magazine reviews as it's a waste to let them sit around. However, for everything else like anime DVDs, manga, and games, I'm going to put on pause (or many just a very few updates). There's something that I wanted to do since last year, but do to time constraints, couldn't start it. January will be devoted to that. I also want to spruce up this site for the new year, so that's in the works too.

Anyhow, that's it for now.

Happy New Year!

041231finished.jpg


And here's the leftover pile from 2004 that I'll hopefully have time to finish next year.

041231leftovers.jpg

050101mascots.jpg

The Negima desktop accessories has been released and with it comes 11 new mascots. So add that up with the ones from Love Hina, it means a lot of RAM wasted on little cute icons. They give 5 mascots (Eva, Chachamaru, Ayaka, Yue, and Kufei) and you're supposed to play the game to unlock the other 6 (Nodoka, Chisame, Chiu, Setsuna, Konoka, and of course, Asuna). I've only managed to find Nodoka so far.

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1/1/05 Update:
I managed to get all the mascots and have updated the picture above accordingly. Just for future reference, you get wallpapers by playing the story game and defeating the 5 beasts, desktop clocks by talking to characters before starting class, and voices from just talking to characters in each room. The mascots are a bit more tricky:

Konoka: This is the hardest mascot to get. You have to go to her fortune-telling room and answer a series of 5-10 questions (I forgot how many). The questions are limited, but you get a different set everytime. The goal is to answer the questions correctly and get a good fortune. I think each response is assigned a score and your total score has to pass a certain threshold. Your fortune can range from a moster in the Library Island (bad), popular teacher (slightly good), principle of Mahora (good), an excellent mage (very good), one more which I forgot that gives you a very good, and finally, the teacher of 3-A (excellent, I think it was 3rd year but could have been 2nd). You only get the mascot when you get an excellent.

Asuna: Slighly difficult to get. As Asuna, you have to play 4 rounds of paper-rock-sissors with your fellow Baka Rangers, Ku fei, Makie, Kaede, and finally Yue. There seems to be a pattern with the earlier opponents, but luck ultimately prevails. You have to play all 4 rounds in a row, winning 6 rounds each without losing 6 rounds, to get Asuna. If you lose, you start all over again.

Setsuna: You get this by playing the Library Gollum mini-game from the mini-games menu (not during the story game). It's a rapid clicking, whack-a-mole type game, so it wasn't too difficult. Having played it many times during the story game, I just started it up at level 5 and beat it. There might be a certain minimum score to beat, but I passed it the first time I tried it.

Chiu & Chisame: You have to play the "Who is Fuuka and Fumika" reflex game. You get a vocal prompt from one of the twins saying "Who's elder/younger sister," or "Who's Fumika/Fuuka" or "Who am I" (if she uses "Boku" it's Fuuka, if she uses "Watashi" it's Fumika). You're then presented with two pictures and you have to click one within 1 second and pick the right girl. Most of the pictures show their hair, so it's easy to pick it out as Fumika, the younger one, has her hair in buns. The tougher ones are with face-shots where you have to learn it from just playing it. You have to get all 10 tries correct and maybe there's a minimum score too (~3500?).

Nodoka: Easiest to get. During the story game, go in the school house and take Kamo's 50 question quiz. You don't have to get them all in one sitting as it remembers what questions you answered and doesn't clear your record if you miss questions. However, the positions of the answers do change.
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The first edition of the software also comes with calendar cards that have the wacky versions of Negi's partner cards. They look quite nice alongside the other cards I got from the first editions of each character CD single.

041231negimacards-thumb.jpg

As always, if you want those mascots, CD Japan has all the desktop accessories from Love Hina and Negima on sale.

ラジオすかいてんぷる (Radio Sky Temple) OP SingleTitle: ラジオすかいてんぷる (Radio Sky Temple) OP Single
Original Creator: Age
Vocals: 浅井清己 (Kiyomi Asai) and 吉住梢 (Kozue Yoshizumi)
Release Date: 12/29/04
Catalog No.: LACM-4172
Rating: 4/4

This CD contains the intro to Radio Sky Temple, a segment on the Kiminozo radio program. The songs are good, but the included DVD music clip is awesome. For fans of Kiminozo, the music video is a real treat. It has cameos with the seiyuu for all the main characters of Kiminozo (Joy-max is in there too).

Both the songs included are very upbeat songs sung by the seiyuu for Ayu and Mayu (on the cover, read the name of the duo backwards). If this CD didn't come with a DVD, I might have dismissed these two songs. The second one is decent. The first song is very catchy, but what sold me was watching the music video.

The DVD is about 5 minutes long. The video has a prologue and epilogue, which are pretty much live-action Kiminozo. It starts with a short prologue at the Sky Temple restaurant where the Kisyo (Takayuki's seiyuu) and Chiaki (Mitsuki) are arguing about Kisyo seeing another girl (implying Haruka). He wants more coffee and finds out that his cup is empty, so he asks for more. Video then starts with Kiyomi and Kozue. Near the end of the video, everyone at the restuarant starts dancing around. Kisyo and Chiaki are there as are Minami (Haruka), Kaori (Akane), and Joymax. After the video is over, Kisyo and Chiaki walk out, arm in arm. The waitresses have done their job well.

まほらば (Mahoraba) Vol. 8 LETitle: まほらば (Mahoraba) Vol. 8 LE
Artist/Author: 小島あきら (Akira Kojima)
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 178pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly GANGAN Wing 6/04-10/04
First Printing: 1/27/05
Rating: 4/4

Like most of the previous volumes, this volume is also excellent. Ryuushi and Kozue finally start dating (after 8 books, sheesh). Because of that, a bit more is devoted to serious issues, but as always, the gags are hilarious. Can't wait until the anime comes out on DVD.

Limited edition comes with an extra booklet that allows you to play a choose-your-own-adventure by following the numbers labeled next to each paragraph. First printing also comes with a Haibara/Johnny tarot card. Chapter includes a deluxe version of Subcharacter's bonus comic.

38. アルバイトして (Working)
39. きみが好きだ (I Love You)
40. 17回目の誕生日 (17th Birthday)
41. ホワイトクリスマス (White Christmas)
42. その兆し (Those Omens)

成恵の世界 (The World of Narue) Vol. 7Title: 成恵の世界 (The World of Narue) Vol. 7
Artist/Author: 丸川トモヒロ (Tomohiro Marukawa)
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 200pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly Shonen Ace 2/04-9/04
First Printing: 12/25/04
Rating: 4/4

This volume was original slated to be released in October but got delayed until Christmas. The stories included keep with the "Heart-Warming" theme that the author always claims is World of Narue. It doesn't feel like anythings coming to a conclusion yet (and the author does state that there's going to be a volume 8) and Rin gets a lot of face-time in these chapters.

Bonus comes with colored pages and a bonus comic in the back.

45. 大いなる迷信の河 (River With Many Superstitions)
46. 埴輪の庭 (Garden of Haniwa)
47. 正義ノみかた(前編) (Friend of Justice, First Part)
48. 正義ノみかた(後編) (Friend of Justice, Last Part)
49. HELLO, GOODBYE
50. ハルちゃん (Haru-chan)

まぶらほ (Maburaho) Vol. 2 LETitle: まぶらほ (Maburaho) Vol. 2 LE
Artist/Author: 宮下未紀 (Miki Miyashita)
Original Creator: 築地俊彦 (Toshihiko Tsukiji)
Character Design: 駒都えーじ (Eiji Komatsu)
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 160pp., w/furigana
Volume: 2/2
Original Serialization: Monthly Dragon Age 1/04-10/04
First Printing: 12/8/04
Rating: 3/4

After watching most of the anime since the first volume, I have a better understanding of the characters, so relating to the stories here was easier. Unfortunately, having been spoiled by the new Maburaho Colorful Comic, the artwork in Miki Miyashita's version is quite bland.

Limited edition comes with a Yuuna figurine. The volume has a bonus chapter (in color).

7. ゆうな、まじぼれかもしれないの巻 (Chapter Where Yuuna Might Be In Love)
8. りん、いぬずきかもしれないの巻 (Chapter Where Rin Might Like Puppies)
9. くりこ、こころをきめたかもしれないの巻 (Chapter Where Kuriko Might Have Decided on Love)
10. ゆうな、はいぼくかもしれないの巻 (Chapter Where Yuuna May Suffer Defeat)
11. ちはや、ほんとうだったかもしれないの巻 (Chapter Where Chihaya Might Be Real)
12. りん、けっこんかもしれないの巻 (Chapter Where Rin May Marry)
13. ふたり、やくそくがなくてもの巻 (Chapter Where Even If The Both Of Us Don't Promise)

ネギま! 3月:文化部4人組 (Negima! March: The Four From the Culture Club)Title: 魔法先生ネギま! 3月:文化部4人組 (Magic Teacher Negima! March: The Four From the Culture Club)
Original Creator: 赤松健 (Ken Akamatsu)
Vocals: 笹川亜矢奈 (Ayana Sasagawa), 小林美佐 (Misa Kobayashi), 相沢舞 (Mai Aizawa), and 猪口有佳 (Yuka Inokuchi)
Release Date: 12/22/04
Catalog No.: KICM-3060
Rating: 2/4

Maybe I'm in a good mood, but the song included is tolerable. The last four characters are Kazumi, Chizuru, Natsumi, and Zazie. The regular mix of the song is a soft rock, the remix version has more of a beat, but is pretty much the same.

The drama has Kazumi, who is currently in a slump without any new breaking news, asking around for anything. She hears from Natsuki that Chizuru might have something and ends up following Zazie around as she seems a little suspicious. Turns out that Zazie is just meeting up with a kindergartener that Chizuru helps take care up and tries to cheer her up with magic. At the end, Zazie performs a disappearing trick, but Kazumi jumps in and her clothes disappear.

The seiyuu talk isn't all that interesting with talk related to the drama like illusions and magic.

美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 8 LETitle: 美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 8 LE
Artist/Author: 井上和郎 (Kazurou Inoue)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 206pp., w/furigana
Volume: 8/8
Original Serialization: Weekly Shonen Sunday Vol 22, '04 - Vol 34, '04
First Printing: 11/15/03
Rating: 4/4

This series has one of the more complete endings of comics I've read recently. All the important characters have their own conclusions and Seiji and Midori also have their special moment. I'm pretty surprised that I came to like this series, given that it's a story about a girl who grows out of a guy's hand.

Limited edition comes with a Midori cell phone strap. Bonus includes character descriptions, parting message from the author, 4 panel comics on the back flap, and a couple of notes from the author's peers and sensei he used to be an assistants for. One of the guys is Bow D(z)itama, author of Mahoromatic who talks about his drinking binges with Kazurou Inoue.

75. 正正堂堂 (Playing Fair)
76. 夢の第一歩 (The Dream's First Step)
77. 天才少女 (Genius Girl)
78. 最後の手段 (Last Resort)
79. 最高の女の子 (The Best Girl)
80. あいまいな態度 (Ambiguous Behavior)
81. 告白 (Confession)
82. 本心 (True Feelings)
83. もう一度 (One More Time)
84. 日記 (Diary)
Final. 新しい日々 (New Days)

蒼い海のトリスティア (Tristia of The Deep-blue Sea)Title: 蒼い海のトリスティア (Tristia of The Deep-blue Sea)
Artist/Author: 結城さくや (Sakuya Yuki)
Original Creator: 工画堂スタジオ/くまさんちーむ (Kogado Studio/Kumasan Team)
Character Design: 駒都えーじ (Eiji Komatsu)
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 194pp., w/furigana
Volume: 1/1
Original Serialization: Monthly Dengeki Comics GAO 4/04-11/04
First Printing: 12/15/04
Rating: 3/4

Saw this at the bookstore and the obi had, in big letters, "character design by Eiji Komatsu." Well, I'm sold. The story is based off a video game that was later turned into an OVA earlier this year. The story is about Nanoka who is the granddaughter of a famous inventor in Tristia, a city that used to be a bustling commerce point, but is not a quiet town. With her inventions, she wants to revive the city. The story doesn't really seem to follow that as it's just a collection of short stories that don't seem to deal with main plot. But that's to be expected from a game tie-in manga. The episodes in themselves are interesting and of course, the character design is great.

Bonus includes character design and sketches from the OVA.

1. 1st Invention
2. 2nd Invention
3. 3rd Invention
4. 4th Invention
5. 5th Invention
6. 6th Invention
7. 7th Invention
8. Last Invention

コードネームはセーラーV (Codename is Sailor V) Vol. 2Title: コードネームはセーラーV (Codename is Sailor V) Vol. 2
Artist/Author: 武内直子 (Naoko Takeuchi)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 292pp., w/furigana
Volume: 2/2
Original Serialization: Various issues of Runrun 3/04-11/97
First Printing: 11/22/04
Rating: 3/4

A lot of the battles end so quickly. Sailor V just appears, transforms, and the enemy disappears. What had the most meaning in this volume is the last one where Minako realizes that she's not just Sailor V but Sailor Venus and starts to remember her past as a Sailor Scout.

Bonus includes a few pages of illustration and like the previous volumes, the cover is apparently a first printing special.

9. セーラーV vs. デブリーネ (Sailor V vs. Deburine)
10. セーラーVピンチ!? 怪盗A登場! (Sailor V in Trouble!? Phantom Thief A Appears!)
11. ペット編その1 娘々の陰謀 (Pet Chapters Part 1, Nyan Nyan's Plot)
12. ペット編その2 王々の陰謀 (Pet Chapters Part 2, Wan Wan's Plot)
13. ペット編その3 触々の陰謀 (Pet Chapters Part 3, Chu Chu's Plot)
14. ハチマキ石にかけた青春 (Deathly Ill Youth)
15. 新たなる旅立つッ! 前編 (A New Journey, First Part)
16. 新たなる旅立つッ! 後編 (A New Journey, Last Part)

愛人 (Ai Ren) Vol. 5Title: 愛人 (Ai Ren) Vol. 5
Artist/Author: 田中ユカタ
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 278pp., w/o furigana
Volume: 5/5
Original Serialization: Young Animal Vol 2, '02 - Vol 8, '02
First Printing: 10/5/04
Rating: 3/4

The final volume made the story lines a little more clear as everything gets wrapped up, although it mostly focused on Ikuru and Ai. The ending turned out to be a little different that I had expected. The characters who I knew were going to die did so, but not in the order that I thought they would. Haruka's epilogue, which wasn't in the original serialization, summed up the underlying meaning of the story pretty well.

The author has a pretty long essay at the end of the volume.

35.5. 雪景色〜にんげんのふるさと〜 (Snowy Landscape~Home of the Humans~)
36. 夏の恋人 (Summer Lovers)
37. 初夜 (First Night)
38. 夜 (Night)
39. 海・明け方の夢 (Sea, The Dream at Dawn)
40. 帰宅 (Going Home)
40.5. また明日 (Again Tomorrow)
41. 手紙 (Letter)
42. ヨシズミ・イクル (Ikuru Yoshizumi)
42.5. あいの絵日記III〜ヨシズミ・イクルの遺品より〜 (Ai's Picture Diary 3, From Ikuru Yoshizumi's Documents)
43. 春の日に、君と帰る (Returning With You on a Spring Day)

櫻の一番 (Sakura's Best) Vol. 5Title: 櫻の一番 (Sakura's Best) Vol. 5
Artist/Author: 影崎由那 (Yuna Kagezaki)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 172pp., w/furigana
Volume: 5/5
Original Serialization: Monthly Comic Dragon 10/02-2/03
First Printing: 4/1/03
Rating: 3/4

Being the last volume, I had expected a little more from the ending especially since I liked the previous volumes. It have a great conclusion, but it's enough to finish up the story and tie things up with Asami and her brother.

Bonus includes color pages, omake manga, and the usual author's 4 panel comic.

21.深い闇を越えるために(其ノ壱) (In Order to Get Over The Darkness, First Part)
22. 深い闇を越えるために(其ノ弐) (In Order to Get Over The Darkness, Second Part)
23. 深い闇を越えるために(其ノ参) (In Order to Get Over The Darkness, Third Part)
24. ココロの帰る場所(前編) (The Place Where the Heart Goes Back To, First Part)
25. ココロの帰る場所(後編) (The Place Where the Heart Goes Back To, Last Part)

美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 7Title: 美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 7
Artist/Author: 井上和郎 (Kazurou Inoue)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 190pp., w/furigana
Volume: 7/8
Original Serialization: Weekly Shonen Sunday Vol 13, '04 - Vol 21, '04
First Printing: 7/15/03
Rating: 3/4

This volume was pretty much like volume 6. All the stories were pretty good, but nothing really stood out. From the build-up in the last few chapters it seems like the last volume is going to be good.

Bonus includes a bonus chapter with Seiji and Midori back in the old samurai days. An omake manga and 4 panel comic on the back flap is also included.

66. 恥辱の女 (Humiliated Woman)
67. 以心伝心 (Telepathy)
68. 秘めた想い (Stored Feelings)
69. ケンカ野球 (Fighting Baseball)
70. 父と息子 (Father and Son)
71. 友の存在 (The Presence of Friends)
72. 送別会 (Farewell Party)
73. さよならルーシィ (Goodbye Lucy)
74. ガマンの限界 (The Limits to Restraint)

舞-HiME (Mai-Hime) Vol. 1Title: 舞-HiME (Mai-Hime) Vol. 1
Artist: 佐藤健悦 (Kenetsu Satou)
Story: キムラノボル (Kimuranoboru)
Original Creator: 矢立肇 (Hajime Yatate)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 200pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Weekly Shonen Champion Vol 38, '04 - Vol 45, '04
First Printing: 12/10/04
Rating: 2/4

It's a little strange that a weekly would have an anime tie-in. I'd expect a post-anime manga to show up in Dengeki Daioh or the likes, not in Champion.

I like the artwork with the only exception being the character's faces drawn at an angle. The artist draws them pretty poorly in my opinion (isn't this one of the basic angles that all illustrators have to know how to draw well?). The action and other scenes are good though. The blurb on the back of the cover claims that this is an original story. Not having seen the anime, I can't compare, but as it is, I didn't think that the story here was that interesting. I don't feel as bad for not picking this anime up next month despite Kuribayashi and Kajiura's involvement in it's soundtrack.

The book includes an interview with the seiyuu for Mai and producers of the anime.

1. ボーイ ミーツ ガールズ (Boy Meets Girls)
2. 大嫌い!! (I Hate You!)
3. 理屈じゃない!! (It's Not Logical!!)
4. 長い夜 (Long Night)
5. そばにいてくれ… (Be By Me)
6. 炎の記憶 (Fiery Memories)
7. 生徒会執行部 (Student Councilmen)
8. オリHiME隊 (The Origin HiME)

愛人 (Ai Ren) Vol. 4Title: 愛人 (Ai Ren) Vol. 4
Artist/Author: 田中ユカタ
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 237pp., w/o furigana
Volume: 4/5
Original Serialization: Young Animal Vol 11, '01 - Vol 20, '01
First Printing: 12/24/01
Rating: 2/4

I understand that the theme of this story is life, but the two parallel stories that go still muddle things for me. Ikuru's story with Ai is easy to follow, but the other story with Camaro is utterly confusion. On the bright side, it seems like her story is over so hopefully the last volume will conclude Ikuru's story.

Bonus comes with a glossary of people and places used in the story and the author has a write-up in the back.

27. 密月 (Honeymoon)
28. この世にて (On This Planet)
29. ひとどろしの夢 (Dreams of Murder)
30. 誕生-BIRTH-
31. Stand By Me
32. からだのうた (Song of the Body)
33. この世界とボク ~We love you~ (This World and I)
34. NEW WORLD
35. いきているボク (The Me Who Is Alive)

恋風 (Koi Kaze) Vol. 5Title: 恋風 (Koi Kaze) Vol. 5
Artist/Author: 吉田基已 (Motoi Yoshida)
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 215pp., w/o furigana
Volume: 5/5
Original Serialization: Bi-Weekly Evening KC Vol 10, '04 - Vol 22, '04
First Printing: 12/21/04
Rating: 4/4

I haven't even finished all the DVDs yet and I'm finished with the manga that was published after the anime finished. I don't know how the anime ended, but for the manga, I can't say that I disagree with the ending, but up until the very end, the story made me believe that Koshiro and Nanoka were going to end up differently than they really did. Definitely a good story overall, a lot different that most of the stuff I usually read.

29. ふたりの長い夜(前編) (Our Long Night, First Part)
30. ふたりの長い夜(後編) (Our Long Night, Last Part)
31. 夏のおわり (End of Summer)
32. 生涯の恋 (Life's Love)
33. 家族の風景 (Family Scene)
34. 陽だまり (Sunshine)
Last. そしてまた春 (And Then Spring Again)

千夏のうた (Chinatsu's Voice) Vol. 3Title: 千夏のうた (Chinatsu's Voice) Vol. 3
Artist/Author: きたがわ翔 (Sho Kitagawa)
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 242pp., w/o furigana
Volume: 3/3
Original Serialization: Weekly Young Jump Vol 30, 04 - Vol 44, 04
First Printing: 11/24/04
Rating: 3/4

It's quite unfortunate that this series ended here. Like a lot of others, I felt like it had potential. This volume does give more insight into many of the characters and so I don't feel like the story was hurriedly terminated since it does provide a conclusion, however, I had hoped that it would go one for a bit more. There have been worse manga that have gone on for much longer.

No bonuses, cover is the same waxy treatment as previous volumes.

20. 思い出の夏 (Summer of Memories)
21. 夏祭り (Summer Festival)
22. おばあさんと約束 (The Promise to Grandmother)
23. 初登校 (First Day of School)
24. 仲間の条件 (The Condition for Friendship)
25. お友達 (Friend)
26. 歌声の記憶 (Memories of the Singing Voice)
27. エーデルワイス (Edelweiss)
28. 大地の歌 (Song of the Earth)
29. 虫かごの生活 (Life With Insect Cages)
30. 母と… (With Mother)
Last. 光射す (Shining Light)

よつばと! (With Yotsuba!) Vol. 3Title: よつばと! (With Yotsuba!) Vol. 3
Artist/Author: あずまきよひこ (Kiyohiko Azuma)
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 184pp., w/o furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly Dengeki Daioh 5/04-11/04
First Printing: 12/15/04
Rating: 3/4

My Dengeki Daioh subscription started with chapter 19, so I had to catch up on the ones that I missed. Out of the ones that I haven't read already, the fireworks in chapter 16 provided a good laugh. I wonder when this is going to be made into an anime. The character image single CD is supposed to come at the end of March.

The very last fireworks page is in color (the monthly was in black and white). The cover has a waxy texture to it like the previous volumes.

15. おみやげ (Gift)
16. あさぎ (Asagi)
17. フラワー (Flower)
18. お盆 (Bon Festival)
19. ぞう (Elephant)
20. 花火大会? (Fireworks Gathering?)
21. 花火大会! (Fireworks Gathering!)

美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 6Title: 美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 6
Artist/Author: 井上和郎 (Kazurou Inoue)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 190pp., w/furigana
Volume: 6/8
Original Serialization: Weekly Shonen Sunday Vol 49, '03 - Vol 12, '04)
First Printing: 5/15/04
Rating: 3/4

While all the chapters were funny in their own respect, none of them really stood out like some of the previous ones. Chapter 57 with Shuuichi was hilarious (as he always is).

Bonus comes with a couple of omake 4 panel comics, color page and summary, and a 4 panel comic on the back flap.

55. 泥まみれの栄光 (The Glory of a Mud Bath)
56. 勝利の儀式 (The Victory Ceremony)
57. マニアの鑑 (Mirror of Mania)
58. 正治の初恋 (Seiji's First Love)
59. 思われる女 (The Thought Of Girl)
60. 愛のキューピッド (Cupid of Love)
61. 野性の証明 (The Proof of a Wild Nature)
62. 緊急事態 (Emergency)
63. 新型の力 (The New Model's Power)
64. 愛情表現 (Expression of Love)
65. 沢村の選択 (Sawamura's Choice)

櫻の一番 (Sakura's Best) Vol. 4Title: 櫻の一番 (Sakura's Best) Vol. 4
Artist/Author: 影崎由那 (Yuna Kagezaki)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 171pp., w/furigana
Volume: 4/5
Original Serialization: Monthly Comic Dragon 5/02-9/02
First Printing: 11/1/02
Rating: 3/4

The first three chapters continue from the last chapter in last volume. They explain a little more about Asami's brother's past and the crime he committed. Like most of the stories for this series so far, it's dark and a bit violent, but has a sense of profoundness to it. The last two chapters discuss what goes on with Asami's friends during vacation.

Bonus includes color pages and 4 panel author's comics.

16. 地獄の境界線(其ノ弐) (The Boundary of the Underworld, Second Part)
17. 地獄の境界線(其ノ参) (The Boundary of the Underworld, Third Part)
18. 地獄の境界線(完結編) (The Boundary of the Underworld, Final Chapter)
19. 操さんの家庭の事情 (Misao's Family's Situation)
20. 欠けた月とその影 (The Waning Moon and That Shadow)

月詠 (Moonphase) Vol. 3Title: 月詠 (Moonphase) Vol. 3
Artist/Author: 有馬啓太郎 (Keitaro Arima)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 178pp., w/o furigana
Original Serialization: Comic GUM 10/00-4/01
First Printing: 5/10/01
Rating: 3/4

I liked this volume better than the previous because it focused on one main story. Hazuki got kidnapped and Kouhei has to go and rescue her. There are some action shots, but overall, the artwork is still pretty plain.

No bonuses besides the colored pages in the beginning.

12. 予兆 (Premonition)
13. 母の影 (The Shadow of Mother)
14. じじいの大活躍 (Grampa's Big Activity)
15. キンケル反撃 (Kinkeru's Counterattack)
16. 覚醒と守護 (Awakening and Protection)
17. Kissの力 (The Power of a Kiss)
18. 素直な気持ち (True Feelings)

少年マガジン (Shonen Magazine), '05 Vol 4/5Title: 少年マガジン (Shonen Magazine) Vol. 4/5
Issue Date: 1/19/05
Publisher: Kodansha
Pages: 578

This week's double feature has a special one-shot, Santa Claus of Junk. Ken Akamatsu had a special Christmas one-shot in this magazine years ago too. The feature has several pictures of jailbait idols. The blurbs in Tsubasa say that more details about the anime will come in vol. 7.

The main character in Toto is 案山子 (Kakashi). Wish they would have mentioned that in last issue.

Toto: 3かかしと男鶏団 (Kakashi and the Man Chicken Gang): Kakashi has become the chore-boy on the blimp. He finds a world map (for kids) hanging on the wall and is fascinated by it. The leader of the gang finds him and points out where Kakashi's home island is. When asked about why it's a kid's map, the leader mentions that his kid gave it to him. The blimp is then under fire from the ground and the gang has to escape the burning airship. Kakashi yells out in anger that it's his birthday today. The leader then has him get a parachute runs to the exit with him. He tells him that he just remembered today was his dead son's birthday. He pushes Kakashi out with a parachute and stays on the ship himself as he doesn't have a parachute for himself.

Negima: 78時間目 開幕、ネギ争奪戦 (It Begins, The Scramble for Negi): Despite the pretend date with the older Negi, Asuna still hasn't confessed to Takahata yet. Meanwhile, everyone is preparing for the cultural festival and the students all invite Negi to their event. The students include Nodoka, Chachamaru, and Kotaro. Kotaro's event is a fighting even and Kamo has the idea to give them the temporary aging pills. Negi comes back as his older self and introduces himself as Nagi. Eva then sees him and thinks he's *the* Nagi. Negi explains the situation to her and she challenges him. If he can't beat her at the fighting event, Negi has to date her on the last day of the festival (as Nagi). Negi seems to be overbooked for the festival and Asuna finally calls Takahata.

Suzuka: #48彼女 (Girlfriend): Honoka hears from Ayano that Yamato and Suzuka are coming back at noon, so she waits at the station for them. She meets Yamato and Suzuka. When Suzuka leaves, Yamato and Honoka kiss.

Student Council: #5戦いの螺旋 (The Spiral of Battle): Musashi comes back with Mami after their battle. As she's taking a shower, he suddenly remembers back to the boating accident where his parents were killed. He apparently used his powers back then too to save himself. Akane comes over and he tries his best to keep Mami a secret from her, but Akane finds out that he has another girl at his house. In her depressing and anger, he goes to the park and gets accosted by Kaoru.

Changing Now: #33慟哭!! 若者の叫び (Cry!! The Call of the Young): Yoshino is a regular young man who has a part time job, but that's only a front for his true identity. He works for the bad guys, the people who Dog Fighter combats. Today, Dog Fighter infiltrates their base and knocks out his two front teeth. In his anger, Yoshino fights back and makes Dog Fighter flee. He becomes a hero in his group for the day.

Tsubasa: 66永遠の想い (Eternal Memories): After being killed, Yasha disappears and turns into one of Sakura's feather. Ashura explains to Shaoran how the real Yasha had died already and this current one is just an illusion. She hands the feather to Shaoran and that's what he wanted. Afterwards, she pursues her own wish and proceeds to destroy the castle in the sky.

King's Sword: 17敵は鉅鹿にあり (The Enemy Is In Kiyoroku): Ryubi and the army are advancing to Kiyoroku where they'll meet with the rebels (I think) for battle. They stop off at a desolate village which seem to be home to the bandits. Ahi trips and falls down a cliff and as he's unconscious, a girl picks up his weapon and points it at him.

Hamanaka Ai: 064少年は使者になる (The Boy Becomes the Messenger): The tutors and students have a Christmas/New Year's Party at Ayana's house. Rinko apparently still believes in Santa, so as to not ruin her night, Nakamura has Masahiko sneak into Rinko's bed to put a present under her pillow. She wakes up thinking that Santa transformed into Masahiko to grant her Christmas wish: to make a her a woman.

Full Swing: 13ちょっと待って! (Wait!): Tama wins the next point to make it 30-40, but the coach stops the game as Shun has broken a string. He reminds them that this is only practice so it's not a big deal. The two shake hands and Shun accepts him as a tennis player. At home, Tama's parents give him a new tennis racket and later, she rallies with Douchi.

I managed to delete the database that holds all the text for this site yesterday and spent most of the day trying to restore the data. I have a full backup from September, but I still needed to manually upload all the entries since then. Ugh.

Such a shame, I'm so close. I'm still 3 books behind the breaking even point and I have to go off skiing for a week. When I get back, it's going to be in the double digits again (sigh). I think I did a pretty impressive job of catching up though. I believe in just 17 days, I've read 50 some volumes. Just need 17 more to hit 366...

I'm actually quite tired right now, can you tell which one I wrote first? The Dragon Age and Dengeki Daioh write-ups?

ドラゴンエイジ (Dragon Age) December '04Title: ドラゴンエイジ (Dragon Age) December '04
Issue Date: 12/10/2004
Publisher: Kadokawa (Fujimi Shobo)
Pages: 754

Having caught up on most of the manga that I'm interested in this magazine, it's taking me longer and longer to read it. I have 9 series I'm following this month (including the new series), and that's not even counting the fact that Someday's Dreamers and Nodoka Nobody is taking a month off.

The new Maburaho manga starts this month, titled Maburaho Colorful Comic. Because it's by a different author, the artwork is slightly different. I like this new artist's characters better. It sticks a little more closely to the original character designs.

I've decided to go ahead and continue reading Zero In even though I'm missing chapter 11 (vol. 2 ends on chapter 10 and my first issue, August, starts on chapter 12). What a shocker at the end of chapter 13.

The new series this month is "The Masked Maid Guy." It's about a girl who's about to turn 18 and will an heir. However, her grandfather is worried about her being targeted, so he hires a girl maid for her brother and a guy maid for her. At first, I was doubtful given the title, but I decided to read it anyway. It's not as bad as it sounds. The guy maid is a lot like Sosuke in that he's overprotective and that gets him in a lot of trouble, especially from the girl he's protecting.

The bonus is chapter 2 of the Zero In drama CD. The way they're doing this is that they're releasing the first 3 chapters (full 20+ minutes each!) of the drama CD with the magazine (next one is next month). The final chapter will be included in the limited edition of Zero In manga vol. 3 along with the three previously released tracks. Like the drama CD is just as cool as the manga. I'm becoming a bigger fan of Sanae Kobayashi. The first drama CD (last month) is named after the first chapter and follows it, although it does take liberties. The second drama CD is named after the second chapter in the first volume, which is technically a side chapter, but includes events from multiple chapters. It covers the time that Mikuru and Kou are training. Kina also has a different debut in the drama CD.

Maburaho Colorful: 1: Rin, Kuriko, and Mariho Kurioka (probably a newer character) quickly recap their intentions with Kazuki. They overhear that Yuuna has gone to the river with some other guys. They find out that the guys want the matching "K" and "Y" sweaters that she made for Kazuki and her (the guy's name also starts with a K). In her anger, she unleashes some magic and ruins the clothing, but Kazuki tells her that it's the thought that counts.

Karin: 恥の20「雨水くんの風邪とおばあちゃんの企み〜Intrigue〜」 (Kenta's Cold and Grandma's Plot): Kenta's been missing school due to the cold and Karin pays a visit (although she tries not to think of it as something so romantic). Having heard from her parents that her grandma doesn't like humans, she warns him about the situation. At home, grandma finds out more about her granddaughter although the family tries to hide the fact that she's more of a normal person than a vampire. She makes the connection that Karin's school has young people and goes there at night where Kenta sees her again, but this time knows she's not Karin.

Tsubame Syndrome: ACT12[チェンジ・マインド] (Change Mind): Taiga doesn't tell Tsubame that he's training with Ura and she becomes worried because he always comes back late and tired. She follows him one day to Ura's ship and discovers he's training. A phantom appears and according to Ura's analysis, it's shield is too tough for Tsubame to penetrate. Taiga then transforms into a phantom himself (from the power of his origin heart) and defeats the beast, but remembers none of it. Ura's cameras just happened to freeze at that point, so there's no footage of it either.

Full Metal Panic: MISSION54 One From the Heart: Thinking that Sosuke won't come, Kaname tries to fight off her captor in the submarine (Dunnigan, I think is his name). Sosuke does come through and rescues her and they have a quiet moment where she admits that she feels like excess baggage and Sosuke tells her that he wants her to have a normal life. Meanwhile, Tessa is witnessing the torpedos that Galon launched whiz by.

Zero In: Piece15 Feeding Trouble: A halloween killer is on the loose and with the Minkei short a person, they add a new recruit, Zou Hanatomo and have a new police officer managing them named Misono Shikie. After a little remembrance for Kina, they go out and find the criminal. Mikuru does her Zero In Burst attack to disable the guy, but rather than apprehending him, Zou just kills him on the spot.

Love Dog: 第2話「真ちゃん熱をだす」 (Shin-chan Has a Fever): Because of all early morning walks in the cold, Shinichiro has a fever and is now in bed. As he's sleeping, he has a dream about his late grandmother who tells him that he's no longer alone because he has the 4 dog/girl companions.

Maid Guy: 1: Naeka Fujihara will be 18 in half a year and will be an heir. However, due to the fear that she'll be targeted, she has maids who protect her. After some strange events (due to the zealous maids), she gets called to meet with his grandfather who wants her and her little brother, Kousuke, to live with him. She refuses and wants to live alone with her brother. However, they live in a pig-sty. So, the grandfather makes them live with a maid, Hubuki. Because Kousuke is an otaku, he has an obsession with maids. Naeka contends that having a maid in the house with only allow him to live in his fantasy world even longer, so the grandfather unveils the maid he has for her, Kogarashi. He's is a tall, built man who wears a maid uniform and a mask.

Girl Following: 第2話「さがしもの」 (Lost Item): After coming back from her date to the aquarium with Eitaro, she realizes that she's lost her precious keychain. She and Eitaro ask for Miori's assistance as she practices the occult. They first try dowsing with a crystal necklace. This leads them to a tree. They next try an Ouija board, which gives some scrambled letters, but gets decoded incorrectly. Lastly, the crystal ball says a beautiful sunset. She finally finds the keychain on top of a tree which overlooks the city (she's there at sunset).

Supasu-pa: 24春奈のラブモード事件 (Haruka's Love Mode Event): Another spirit is chasing Itsuki again, so he and Haruna are hiding out while Suzu tries to exterminate it. While they're hiding, Haruna becomes uncharacteristically brave and open. She confesses to Itsuki and then tries to embrace him but gets shocked after touching his necklace. He remembers his father telling him that the necklace repels spirits and sure enough, a spirit emerges from Haruka. Suzu comes in to exterminate it and finds Itsuki and Haruka in an awkward position. The next day, Haruka tells him that what she said yesterday was true (the spirit just gave her the courage to say it).

電撃大王 (Dengeki Daioh) December '04Title: 電撃大王 (Dengeki Daioh) December '04
Issue Date: 12/1/2004
Publisher: メディアワックス (Media Works)
Pages: 678

The latest news today is that Ichigo Marshmallow is going to be animated with Saeko Chiba, Aya Kawasumi, Fumiko Orikasa, and Mamiko Noto playing the lead roles. Futakoi is also going to be a manga (the other story) next year too.

No real bonuses included this month with only a pullout. The Henrietta figurette is a mail-in thing. Ichigo Marshmallow and Yotsubato! have the month off.

Gunslinger Girl: 第23話 泡沫 (Bubble): One of Patricia's co-workers has taken interest in investigating the social welfare office and thinks he knows what really goes on. He mentions that they have re-engineered kids doing assassinations, but Patricia isn't surprise as she already knows, even though her ex, Marko, didn't tell her. He goes on investigating some more, asking police chiefs and such. Finally, he meets up with Marko who knows he's a terrorist. The guy takes Patricia hostage, but Claes comes in and finishes him up.

To Heart R: 2: Hiroyuki and Akari try to recover Maruchi's memories, and after about a week or so, she finally can recall her previous memories.

Muv-luv: 4: Takeru tries not to reveal that he's from another world and tries to introduce his Gameguy (Gameboy) as something that super elite forces use. He has Meiya play with it and she becomes more withdrawn from her friends, which causes some concern, and only talks with Takeru. It's because she's been engrossed in the game. When the batteries die, she goes back to a normal life.

Kashimashi: 6: Hazumu is still wondering about what Yasuna really thinks and in a pile of her drawings, he sees that she's drawn him.

Psiren: 5: Meruna and Soichiro, both who should be bitter rivals, have dinner together. During their conversations, both of them almost leak their secret identities. After he drops her off at her apartment, they exchange numbers, just like a real couple.

KuraKURA: 4: Runa has a reflection about how she first met Hayakawa and how they became co-class leaders.

Uta-Kata: 3: Ichika and Manatsu help a classmate, Nao, be able to get a visit from his mother (or rather, they send him to her).

美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 5Title: 美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 5
Artist/Author: 井上和郎 (Kazurou Inoue)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 189pp., w/furigana
Volume: 5/8
Original Serialization: Weekly Shonen Sunday Vol 35, '03 - Vol 48, '03)
First Printing: 4/15/04
Rating: 4/4

Given that I'm going to go skiing later today, I particularly enjoyed those chapters, especially the one with Nao being an excellent snowboarder. I don't think Lucy is necessary in the story as Nao, Kouta, Shiori, and Takako already provide enough romantic tension, but I guess she brings another type of girl into the mix.

Bonus comes with color pages, 4 panel comic on the back flap, a one page omake comic, and short seiyuu interviews.

44. 力の限り (The Limit of Power)
45. 犬は大嫌い (I Hate Dogs)
46. 生身の女 (Live Woman)
47. 頼れる人 (Dependable Person)
48. 最後の願い (The Last Wish)
49. 結ばれる運命 (Bound Fate)
50. 存在理由 (Reason for Being)
51. プロポーズ (Propose)
52. アメリカ鬼 (American Devil)
53. 運命の再会 (Reunion of Fates)
54. 耕太の選択 (Kouta's Choice)

コードネームはセーラーV (Codename is Sailor V) Vol. 1Title: コードネームはセーラーV (Codename is Sailor V) Vol. 1
Artist/Author: 武内直子 (Naoko Takeuchi)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 274pp., w/furigana
Volume: 1/2
Original Serialization: Various issues of Nakayoshi and Runrun 8/01-11/93
First Printing: 10/29/04
Rating: 3/4

Despite having seemingly logically placed chapters, it surprised me to find out that the order they are in the book isn't the order they first appeared in. Chapter 3 is apparently the first chapter, chronologically.

The Sailor V stories give insight into Sailormoon and provide some background info into the universe. A few scouts also make cameos. The story was a little weak though for something that isn't a collection. It's a lot like a monster a chapter and not an epic. Maybe I'm just too used to it being a drawn out story, especially for this series.

First edition, it says comes with a special cover, although I don't find it any more special than usual. There's also some color pages and a page of sketches.

1. セーラーV誕生! (Birth of Sailor V)
2. 美奈子 in 「ゲームセンタークラウン」 (Minako in "Game Center Crown")
3. セーラーV初登場! (Sailor V's First Appearance)
4. プチ・パンドラの野望編 (Mini-Pandora's Ambition Chapter)
5. ダーク・エージェンシーの陰謀編 (Dark Agency's Plotting Chapter)
6. 対決!セーラーV vs. 電脳少女闘士ルゥガ (Showdown! Sailor V vs. Ruga, the Computer Girl Warrior)
7. セーラーVバカンス編 (Sailor V Vacation Chapter)
8. 並木道の恋 (Love On the Tree-Lined Street)

やえかのカルテ (Yaeka's Karte) Vol. 3Title: やえかのカルテ (Yaeka's Karte) Vol. 3
Artist/Author: 武田日向 (Hinata Takeda)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 132pp., w/furigana
Volume: 3/3
Original Serialization: Monthly Comic Dragon (Dragon Age) 12/02-9/03
First Printing: 3/1/04
Rating: 3/4

Unlike the previous two volumes, there isn't the full-text intermissions between chapters. However, the story does flow a little better in this volume. The ending is sweet, but a bit fast. Now it's time for the drama CD.

Bonus includes color pages and an author's afterword about half way through the book.

19. THANK YOU
20. PARENTS
21. TRAINING
22. MEETING HALFWAY
23. FRIENDS
24. CHOICE
25. CONTRAST, FIRST PART
26. CONTRAST, LAST PART
27. REMEMBER

櫻の一番 (Sakura's Best) Vol. 3Title: 櫻の一番 (Sakura's Best) Vol. 3
Artist/Author: 影崎由那 (Yuna Kagezaki)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 171pp., w/furigana
Volume: 3/5
Original Serialization: Monthly Comic Dragon 12/01-4/02
First Printing: 6/1/02
Rating: 3/4

There's a bit of cheesiness in here where Asami convinces a female murderer to value her life. However, that arc I though played out pretty well. There's also a little more romance where the dual personality Tsukiko/Keiji play out as the male personality has a crush on Asami.

Bonus includes color pages, author manga, and omake chapter.

11. 夏休みの直前事情 (The Situation Just Before Summer Vacation)
12. 線路の果てに(其ノ壱) (At the End of the Railroad, First Part)
13. 線路の果てに(其ノ弐) (At the End of the Railroad, Second Part)
14. 線路の果てに(其ノ参) (At the End of the Railroad, Third Part)
15. 地獄の境界線(其ノ壱) (The Boundary of the Underworld, First Part)

はやてxブレード (Hayate Cross Blade) Vol. 1Title: はやてxブレード (Hayate Cross Blade) Vol. 1
Artist/Author: 林家志弦 (Shizuru Hayashiya)
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 178pp., w/o furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly Dengeki Daioh 1/04-6/04
First Printing: 7/15/04
Rating: 3/4

This series belongs to the other monthly I have, Dengeki Daioh, although I think I'm still missing a few chapters between this volume and the first volume of the monthly I have. I had thought the story would be somewhat series, but in turns out that it's a pretty funny. It basically has a energetic, but unskilled girl having to team up with a well-trained swordswoman who takes this a little too seriously. I like the character designs, but the action scenes are a bit lacking.

This story is about a girl, Hayate, who is going to a special swordsmanship school that her twin sister, Nagi, was supposed to go to. However, because her sister is in the hospital, she's taking her place. She arrives and discovers that the students at the school occasionally have challenges when a certain bell rings. They're supposed to "take" the stars that are on each other's uniforms, and they get monetary rewards for doing so. As a rule though, they have to fight in pairs. At first, Hayate's not interested but she finds out that her friend's apartment got vandalized and needs money, so she decides to participate. Hayate, who eventually gets discovered as a fraud but is allowed to remain, joins forces with a reluctant Ayana and their lives as students there start.

Bonus includes a handwritten letter from the author and a comic on the front cover.

1. 遅れて来たバカ (The Baka Who Came Late)
2. 迷走するバカ (The Baka Who Strays)
3. バカが暴かれる時 (When the Baka Was Exposed)
4. バカが頂点を目指す (The Baka Aims for the Top)
5. 突き抜けるバカ (The Baka Who Breaks Through)
6. 飛び出すバカ (The Baka Who Rushes Out)

美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 4Title: 美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 4
Artist/Author: 井上和郎 (Kazurou Inoue)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 189pp., w/furigana
Volume: 4/8
Original Serialization: Weekly Shonen Sunday Vol 25, '03 - Vol 39, '03)
First Printing: 11/15/03
Rating: 3/4

The more I read this, the more I feel for Takako. The more I read it, it seems like she's had a crush on Seiji for a whie, maybe even as long as Midori herself. The other character I've come to like is Kouta. And of course, there's always the otaku Shuichi for a good laugh.

Bonus comes with another author's manga.

33. 綾瀬やります! (Ayase Will Do It!)
34. 変態博士の逆襲 (Demented Doctor's Counterattack)
35. 僕の彼女 (My Girl)
36. 幻の美少女 (The Phantom Girl)
37. ロマンの男 (Romantic Man)
38. 公然の秘密 (The Open Secret)
39. 男達の挽歌 (Men's Elegy)
40. 愛の共同作業 (Love's Teamwork)
41. サムライの証 (Proof of a Samurai)
42. 2人の世界 (The Couple's World)
43. 負けない勇気 (Unrelenting Courage)

フルーツバスケット (Fruits Basket) Vol. 15Title: フルーツバスケット (Fruits Basket) Vol. 15
Artist/Author: 高屋奈月 (Natsuki Takaya)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 189pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Hana to Yume Vol 24, '03 - Vol 6, '04
First Printing: 9/25/04
Rating: 3/4

Not too shabby. The first half of the book has Yuki explaining more of his past with the secret of Tohru's hat finally reveals. Despite all my rants the Yuki's history and the book's previous attempts to explain it, I actually became interested as he kept on talking about his first encounter with Tohru. The rest of the book deals with the cast performing a Cinderella-esque play at the school's cultural festival.

Contains chapters 84~89.

こいこい7 (Koi Koi 7) Vol. 4 LETitle: こいこい7 (Koi Koi 7) Vol. 4 LE
Artist/Author: もりしげ (Morishige)
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 186pp., w/furigana
First Printing: 12/25/04
Rating: 3/4

News since last time is that this series is going to become an anime next April. This volume's story is a little more series and primarily deals with Sakuya. However, it does dig into some of Tetsuro's father's history and the creation of the cyborg girls. In all, it added to the main theme pretty well.

The limited edition comes with a 22 minute drama CD housed in it's own case. The only member of the seiyuu crew I knew is Nana Mizuki who plays eye-patch Asuka. The acting job is pretty good, although I can imagine Yayoi becoming annoying rather quickly...na no desu. The story has the girls and Tetsuro being shipwrecked and swept on an uninhabited island. They bath in the ocean (Yayoi goes birthday-suit), set off fireworks, and have run-ins with the creatures on the island, including dinosaurs. However, this island actually belongs to Miya and they were shipwrecked because of her island defense //system sinking their boat. Miya and Sakuya get in a fight and blow everything up, leaving Tetsuro to figure out how to get back to Japan for their anime premier.

The other bonus for the LE is a special dust jacket (shown). Next volume will also have a limited edition with a drama CD.

18. 屁糞蔓かく語りき (So Says Hekusokazura)
19. 心の五光会 (Goko Club of the Heart)
20. 五光会に光なし (Goko Club Without Light)
21. ミヤとちょうちょうカタツムリ (Miya and the Butterfly Snail)
22. ミヤ、青いレモン (Miya, Lime)
23. ミヤ様シンドローム (Miya-sama Syndrome)

まぶらほ (Maburaho) Vol. 9 LETitle: まぶらほ (Maburaho) Vol. 9 LE
Volume: 9/12
Catalog No.: BIBA-4209
Release Date: 9/24/04
Rating: 3/4

This series continues to defy my normal watching habits. The background scenes are pretty poorly drawn, the BGM is okay, and there's no real overall story, and yet, I keep on enjoying it. It seems almost like crime.

The two stories included in this volume are good, but I've already explained my bias. The first has Nakamaru mistakened for having the same magical genes as Kazuki. The second takes place in Kyoto where Rin battles Sayumi. Given that there's only a couple more discs to go, I think I know how this series is going to end.

Bonus comes with a Sayumi keyring, picture cards, a voice CD (they messed up the last one), a picture card binder, a holographic card which is the cover of the box, liner newsletter, and picture label. The CD itself has a pretty picture label too.


17. きめちゃった (I Decided)
18. しかけちゃった。。。どすえ (I Trapped It, spoken Kyoto style)

美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 3Title: 美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 3
Artist/Author: 井上和郎 (Kazurou Inoue)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 189pp., w/furigana
Volume: 3/8
Original Serialization: Weekly Shonen Sunday Vol 13, '03 - Vol 24, '03)
First Printing: 8/15/03
Rating: 3/4

I'm becoming more accustomed to the stories in this series. Most of them are fun reads, but nothing really significant. The last two chapters add a bit to the main plot with Midori leaving Seiji's arm and then coming back, but it's more of a tease. This series won't conclude for another 5 books.

Bonus comes with another author's comic where he talks with the manga god.

22. 悩殺のアタック (Seductive Attack)
23. 男の道 (Man's Path)
24. 肉体の神秘 (Bodily Mystery)
25. 追う女 (Girl Follows)
26. 僕を男に! (Make Me a Man!)
27. 沢村の好み (Sawamura's Favorites)
28. 今夜はボンバイエ (Tonight is Bombaye)
29. 愛の教育実習 (Love's Teaching Practice)
30. 2人の追試 (Two Person's Make-up Test)
31. 魂の意志 (Spirit's Will)
32. 本当の幸せ (True Happiness)

櫻の一番 (Sakura's Best) Vol. 2Title: 櫻の一番 (Sakura's Best) Vol. 2
Artist/Author: 影崎由那 (Yuna Kagezaki)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 171pp., w/furigana
Volume: 2/5
Original Serialization: Monthly Comic Dragon 7/01-11/01
First Printing: 9/1/01
Rating: 3/4

The second volume is a little weaker than the first, but the last two chapters where pretty good. The story is a little more dark than I had anticipated, and feels more like a mystery story than anything else. With all these people dying at the Sakura Girl's School, I wonder who's going to be left by the end of chapter 5?

Bonus comes with color pages at beginning, an author's manga, and a 2-page omake comic.

6. 櫻の倶楽部(前編) (Sakura's Club, First Part)
7. 櫻の倶楽部(後編) (Sakura's Club, Last Part)
8. 兄と休日 (A Day With Brother)
9. 透子の行方(前編) (Touko's Whereabouts, First Part)
10. 透子の行方(後編) (Touko's Whereabouts, Last Part)

美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 2Title: 美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 2
Artist/Author: 井上和郎 (Kazurou Inoue)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 191pp., w/furigana
Volume: 2/8
Original Serialization: Weekly Shonen Sunday Vol 1 '03 - Vol 12, '03)
First Printing: 5/15/03
Rating: 4/4

I'm still loving the series. The situations are as cute as ever. While all the chapters are great, my favorite story probably has to be when Seiji tries to buy Midori some warmer clothes and meets the otaku, Shuichi, at the store.

Bonus comes with a 4 panel comic on the back flap and a bonus author manga where he recounts being visited by the god of manga.

11. さよなら美鳥(前編) (Goodbye Midori, First Part)
12. さよなら美鳥(後編) (Goodbye Midori, Last Part)
13. オトリ作戦 (Decoy Plan)
14. しらない一面 (Unknown Side)
15. ポマード小僧 (Pomade Boy)
16. 妻の役目 (A Wife's Duty)
17. 情熱の視線 (Passionate Glance)
18. 悪夢ふたたび (Nightmare Revisited)
19. 本当の母親 (Real Mother)
20. 王様のキス (King's Kiss)
21. 伝わぬ想い (Unconfessed Feelings)

ネギま! 2月:いたずら3人組 (Negima! February: Trick Trio)Title: 魔法先生ネギま! 2月:いたずら3人組 (Magic Teacher Negima! February: Trick Trio)
Original Creator: 赤松健 (Ken Akamatsu)
Vocals: 狩野茉莉 (Mari Kanou), こやま きみこ (Kimiko Koyama), and 板東愛 (Ai Bantou)
Release Date: 11/26/04
Catalog No.: KICM-3059
Rating: 1/4

The second to last CD and they're really grasping for air now. This CD features the twins, Fumika and Fuuka Narutaki, along with Misora Kasuga. Their image song is supposed to be cheery and happy, but it's quite poor. The lyrics don't hold any meaning for me as I don't really remember their personalities that well, but that's more of my fault I guess. The remix version tries to make it sound a bit more latin with the trumpets, but it doesn't work.

The drama has the three girls trying to snare Chachamaru. They set up traps for her and see her walk by talking to Eva (from last drama CD). However, the three girls fall for their own traps. The cast free talk has the seiyuu talk about an embarrassing mistake they've made. Ai's moment is when she tried to a door with her train pass. Mari was confused about the meaning for "hello" when she was in elementary school. And Kimiko's has gotten lost despite having maps. Yawn...

First edition comes with a tarot card with the twins.

やえかのカルテ (Yaeka's Karte) Vol. 2Title: やえかのカルテ (Yaeka's Karte) Vol. 2
Artist/Author: 武田日向 (Hinata Takeda)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 136pp., w/furigana
Volume: 2/3
Original Serialization: Monthly Comic Dragon 3/02-11/02
First Printing: 3/1/03
Rating: 3/4

The manga portion of this manga are still just a collection of short, but sweet stories with Yaeka and friends. Like last volume, each chapter is supplemented with two pages of text. This time, it has the conversations between the characters and short diary entries that Yaeka writes. To be honest, the text is a little more interesting that the chapters themselves, but in all, I still like it.

Bonus contains a short fold-out chapter along with the essays.

10. WHALE WATCHING
11. SPECIAL NIGHT
12. STAMPLESS LETTER
13. ALL THE WAY
14. BOND
15. COMPOSITION
16. LACKS, First Part
17. LACKS, Last Part
18. BIRDCALL

xxxHoic Vol. 5Title: xxxHolic Vol. 5
Artist/Author: CLAMP
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 181pp., w/o furigana
Original Serialization: Weekly Young Magazine Vol 26, '04 - Vol 42, '04)
First Printing: 11/17/04
Rating: 3/4

This is the first volume of xxxHolic that has chapters after I cancelled my subscription to Young. To my surprise, I've already read most of it and only had a few chapters, maybe 2 or 3, that were new to me. I used to be able to follow the parallel story with Tsubasa as I got both magazines at the same time. With only the book now, it's a little harder as there aren't any publication dates associated with the chapters. Yuuko does make a disappearance in the last few chapters, which I remember should correlate with her appearance in Tsubasa several weeks ago.

No bonuses, and apparently no chapter numbers either.

Re-feel (Kanon & AIR)Title: Re-feel: Kanon AIR Piano Arrange Album
Original Creator: Key/Visual Art's
Release Date: 12/28/03
Catalog No.: KSLA-0010
Rating: 3/4

This CD has tunes from Key's games, Kanon and Air, re-arranged and performed on the piano. I can't comment on Kanon's themes, but for the Air songs, I think they did a wonderful job in picking songs that would sound well on the piano.

Of course, they have the intro song, which sounds great, but being a piano mix, sounds a lot more mellow. The other tunes sound good as well. It doesn't have the original piano theme that plays during the gameplay intro. What it contains (for AIR) is the theme when Yukito walks around town, Kanna's theme from the past, the tune that plays when Misuzu falls into her mom's arms at the end of "Air," and the nighttime theme at the Kamio house. I have those songs so ingrained that I know where each track is played. I don't know whether that's impressive or just obsessive.

Bonus comes with the sheet music played on the CD for the main themes of Kanon and Air.

ゼロイン (Zero In) Vol. 2Title: ゼロイン (Zero In) Vol. 2
Artist/Author: いのうえ空 (Sora Inoue)
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 163pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly Dragon Age 1/04-6/04
First Printing: 8/1/04
Rating: 4/4

This series is just too cool. Maybe I should be reading more action stories so I won't be so easily impressed. This volume has Kou joining the private police. He doesn't do much besides offer some distractions while the others do their work. There's also a new girl, Kina, who made an appearance at the end of last volume who now is Mikuru's rival in love. She herself has past that haunts her. Can't wait for volume 3 and the drama CD.

Bonus includes color pages and two side stories.

6. Blown Primer
7. Resizing Die
8. Lock Time
9. Half Cock
10. KINA

美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 1Title: 美鳥の日々 (Midori no Hibi) Vol. 2
Artist/Author: 井上和郎 (Kazurou Inoue)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 191pp., w/furigana
Volume: 2/8
Original Serialization: Weekly Shonen Sunday Vol 1 '03 - Vol 12, '03)
First Printing: 5/15/03
Rating: 4/4

I'm still loving the series. The situations are as cute as ever. While all the chapters are great, my favorite story probably has to be when Seiji tries to buy Midori some warmer clothes and meets the otaku, Shuichi, at the store.

Bonus comes with a 4 panel comic on the back flap and a bonus author manga where he recounts being visited by the god of manga.

11. さよなら美鳥(前編) (Goodbye Midori, First Part)
12. さよなら美鳥(後編) (Goodbye Midori, Last Part)
13. オトリ作戦 (Decoy Plan)
14. しらない一面 (Unknown Side)
15. ポマード小僧 (Pomade Boy)
16. 妻の役目 (A Wife's Duty)
17. 情熱の視線 (Passionate Glance)
18. 悪夢ふたたび (Nightmare Revisited)
19. 本当の母親 (Real Mother)
20. 王様のキス (King's Kiss)
21. 伝わぬ想い (Unconfessed Feelings)

櫻の一番 (Sakura's Best) Vol. 1Title: 櫻の一番 (Sakura's Best) Vol. 1
Artist/Author: 影崎由那 (Yuna Kagezaki)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 171pp., w/furigana
Volume: 1/5
Original Serialization: Monthly Comic Dragon 2/01-6/01
First Printing: 9/1/01
Rating: 4/4

This series the author's first published series with her second one being one of my favorites, "Karin." Her artwork in Karin seems a little more refined than this first volume, but the style is the same.

Storywise, I didn't have too high of expectations as most artists's first work is usually average at best. However, I was pleasantly surprised with this book. It has a trained teenage swordswoman (using wooden swords), Asami Hinomori, who comes to Tokyo to attend a girl's school. She also has a brother, Ikuro, who works as a detective in the city. She finds out that there's a serial killer targeting young girls in the area and decides to take actions herself when classmate gets killed. That story arc finishes in this volume, which has me a little afraid because I have a feeling that things can only go downhill from here. Have to wait and see.

1. 朝見、上京 (Asami, Going to Tokyo)
2. 帝都の切り裂きジャック(前編) (This City's Jack the Ripper, First Part)
3. 帝都の切り裂きジャック(中編) (This City's Jack the Ripper, Middle Part)
4. 帝都の切り裂きジャック(後編) (This City's Jack the Ripper, Last Part)
5. 月下の少年 (The Boy Under the Moon)

やえかのカルテ (Yaeka's Karte) Vol. 1Title: やえかのカルテ (Yaeka's Karte) Vol. 1
Artist/Author: 武田日向 (Hinata Takeda)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 140pp., w/furigana
Volume: 1/3
Original Serialization: Monthly Comic Dragon 5/01-1/02
First Printing: 5/1/02
Rating: 3/4

This series had a brief revival a couple of months ago in Dragon Age with a one-shot and sample CD along with the sale of a drama CD. The artwork is great, character design is pretty, but the story is a little lacking. The volume has many short chapters. Between each chapter is two pages of text where Yaeka and Sena have a conversation and introduce other characters in the series (Yaeka's friends who attend the same school, but study veterinary elsewhere). The problem is, most of the characters introduced don't show up in the manga until the very last chapter and don't really have a story. Maybe in next volume. The text pages also have some tips about animals and some background info about the story.

Bonus comes with a color page, the text pages mentioned above, and an afterward.

1. EVERYDAY WITH ME
2. WATER DOG
3. SEASIDE NOTES
4. THROUGH THE VIEWFINDER
5. AT HOME ALONE
6. DAY AND NIGHT (First Part)
7. DAY AND NIGHT (Middle Part)
8. DAY AND NIGHT (Last Part)
9. SCHOOL DAY

月詠 (Moonphase) Vol. 2Title: 月詠 (Moonphase) Vol. 2
Artist/Author: 有馬啓太郎 (Keitaro Arima)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 161pp., w/o furigana
Original Serialization: Comic GUM 3/00-8/00
First Printing: 10/10/00
Rating: 2/4

If I had read this volume by itself, maybe it would be tolerable. However, with all the stuff I read today, this volume for Moonphase seemed pretty dull. Hazuki is staying Kouhei and as usual, she's obiedient around everyone else except for her "slave." A new rival appears at first wanting to take Hazuki back, but then goes after Kouhei.

Bonus includes a color page and two pages of preliminary character sketches.

6. 新しい生活 (A New Life)
7. フルムーンな夜 (The Night With a Full Moon)
8. Ama Vampire
9. 危険な誘惑 (Dangerous Seduction)
10. 邪眼とベッド (Evil Eye and the Bed)
11. 素直な気持ち (Obedient Feelings)

フルーツバスケット (Fruits Basket) Vol. 14Title: フルーツバスケット (Fruits Basket) Vol. 14
Artist/Author: 高屋奈月 (Natsuki Takaya)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 192pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Hana to Yume Vol 16, '03 - Vol 22, '03
First Printing: 4/25/04
Rating: 2/4

The primary focus for most of this volume is on Isuzu (Rin) with her past and her affections for Hatsuharu. I'm sure all the members of the zodiac had a tough time growing up as they were different from everyone else. That theme appears pretty regularly now with the different characters, but it has yet to interest me.

Contains chapters 78~83.

栗林みな実 (Minami Kuribayashi) in BASXI Concert DVDTitle: 栗林みな実 (Minami Kuribayashi) in BASXI: Secret Live "Birthday eve"
Vocals: 栗林みな実 (Minami Kuribayashi)
Release Date: 12/28/02
Catalog No.: ALDV-001
Rating: 4/4

With this DVD, I now have Minami singing Rumbling Hearts in 4 separate performances. This is on top of the 5 different versions of the song I have on CDs. I think it's fair to say that it's become my favorite song, topping even Yui Horie's song for Naru.

The DVD includes many songs from Kiminozo and Muvluv, and even includes the theme song from Age's first game. In addition to two Rumbling Hearts performances, she also sings the ending to Kiminozo! Ota-sasa and Joymax host this concert which occurred in the summer of 2002 in a club in Tokyo. The "secret" part of this concert is that the men who sing some songs in Akane Maniax and Muvluv make a surprise appearance here.

The concert is about 2 hours long and has very little edits. The MC job is funny in it's own way and I loved most of the DVD except the very end where Minami starts crying. I hate seeing people cry. One thing I learned is that her guitarist is the guy who writes most of the music for her songs.

The Muvluv Supplement game (LE version) will also contain another concert DVD, but only with Muvluv songs. Now if they can only release a DVD for the concert a week ago where Mitsuki's seiyuu made a surprise appearance and sang duets with Minami.

ゼロイン (Zero In) Vol. 1Title: ゼロイン (Zero In) Vol. 1
Artist/Author: いのうえ空 (Sora Inoue)
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 161pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly Dragon Age 7/03-12/03
First Printing: 2/1/04
Rating: 4/4

(Yet another) series I'm catching up on for Dragon Age. The third volume to be released early next year will come with a limited edition drama CD. In addition, the past two Dragon Age magazines all had bonus drama CDs for this series that I haven't been able to listen to until now. The author for this series did the manga for Real Bout Highschool, but he wasn't the one who came up with the story. This time, Zero In is his creation.

The story is pretty interesting. It revolves around a high school aged boy, Kou, who gets rescued by a girl he recognizes from school, Mikuru. While she's a regular high school student (a bit on the popular side), she also serves as an agent for Minkei, a private police force. She has her own background story of why she joined and why she can't kill people.

The artwork is excellent, especially when Mikuru is up-close and attacking the enemies.

Just a color page as bonus along with two side story chapters.

1. 爲妹みくる (Mikuru Nazume)
2. 白石光 (Kou Shiraishi)
3. 教官・久巻勇示 (Instructor, Yuji Hisamaki)
4. Switch Barrel
5. Wildcat Cartridge

ツバメしんどろ〜む (Tubame syndroMe) Vol. 2Title: ツバメしんどろ〜む (Tubame syndroMe) Vol. 2
Artist/Author: 茜虎徹 (Kotetsu Akane)
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 131pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly Dragon Age 5/03-8/04
First Printing: 10/1/04
Rating: 4/4

There's a new character introduced, a space pirate Ura. She's a young little girl who could have potentially been a brat, but I think she fits in the entire story pretty well. Her side story was touching. As for Tsubame and Tiga's plot, it's keeps the momentum of the previous volume.

Bonus includes some color pages where the equipment on Tsubame's suit is introduced. There's also a bonus chapter with Ura's side story about her second family on earth, and a one page author's manga.

5. 腕と秘密と2人のツバメ (Arm, Secret, and Our Tsubame)
6. 波の言葉 (The Words of the Waves)
7. 愛する資格 (Prerequisite for Love)
8. 守るべき”価値”あるもの (The Thing of "Worth" That Ought to Be Protected)

ヤングアニマルあいらんど (Young Animal Island) Vol. 2Title: ヤングアニマルあいらんど (Young Animal Island) Vol. 2
Issue Date: 11/10/04
Publisher: Hakusensha
Pages: 336

I wonder if they're going to have one of these every time Ai yori is released so they can include a bonus cover. The cover included this time is very provocative. The other bonus included is a To Heart 2 pencil board.

Like the previous volume, this one is filled with many one-shot and side story chapters. There's Ai yori, of course. Tamami Momose of "Doki Doki School Hours" has a side chapter for her new series. Ken Yagami has another one-shot here. And Yutaka Tanaka of "Ai Ren" (I'll get back to that one of these days) has a one-shot here too.

The Ai yori story focuses on Natsuki in particular when Chika and Chizuru make a surprise visit to her apartment complex and find out that she has a male childhood friend. The two girls get thoughts that they could be lovers, but Natsuki and Keisuke deny it. However, Keisuke doesn't think it would be a bad idea.

Momoiro Sweetie introduces Kado-chan and the people who interacts with as a plug for the first book of the series. It's a 4 panel comic like Doki Doki School Hours.

To Heart2 introduces the characters and follows them as they're preparing for the school festival. Art is really good in this one.

Ami's Tactics is a story about Takeru, a series Shogo player who meets a young girl who apparently is one of his dad's pupils in the game. At first, he doesn't take her serious as she's too carefree to play Shogo, but he learns that he doesn't always need a poker face to play the game.

Motoko's Dearest Lover is a one-shot manga with 5 very very short stories involving a manga author and her editor.

少年マガジン (Shonen Magazine), '05 Vol 2/3Title: 少年マガジン (Shonen Magazine) Vol. 2/3
Issue Date: 1/12/05
Publisher: Kodansha
Pages: 580

The next two volumes will be double issues. Negima is missing this week. A new series, "Toto" is starting. The artwork reminds me a lot of One Piece (haven't read it though). I don't think the two chapters included this week mention the main character's name, so I'll assume it's Toto. Tsubasa is really skimping it this week with only 15 pages, and the cover girl is Aya Ueto.

Toto: 1少年と犬 (Boy and Dog): Toto has always wanted to get off his small island after receiving his father's diary that told him the world is a vast place. After many failed attempts to fly and sail away, one day a blimp comes and makes an emergency landing in his town. Seeing that this is his only chance, he sneaks into it. He finds another stowaway, a puppy. After they're in the air, he finds out that the blimp has been taken over by terrorists and they've already kicked the normal crew and passengers off.

Toto: 2家族なんだ!! (We're Family): As the hijackers go through the luggage, they find Toto and the dog. When given the choice to live and go back home to the island or to die on the blimp, he doesn't choose either. In a struggle, the puppy gets thrown overboard, but he manages to grab it with one hand while hanging off the blimp with the other. He refuses to let go of the puppy to grab hijacker's hand because he says the puppy is his family. The wood siding he's holding on to loosens and he gets ejected towards the propeller. The dog then transforms into a large beast and saves him. After defying death, the hijackers allow him to stay aboard.

Suzuka: #41蛍袋 (Bellflower): Yamato and Suzuka go out in search of Fireflies on this summer night. The place that he takes her too only has a couple. He explains to her his childhood dream of confessing his love with a bellflower lit with a firefly and Suzuka allows him to live out his dream on her. To his surprise, she answers and answers in the affirmative, but soon tells him that they're just playing after all.

Student Council: #4第二の目覚め (The Second Awakening): As Kaoru sends his birds to attack Musashi, Musashi notices that things slow down. In fact, he realizes that he's able to move lighting fast to dodge the attacks. When he's cornered against a building, he ends up being able to push the building behind him off its foundation. Mami tells him that these are the powers he now has with his second awakening.

Hamanaka Ai: 063思い出の器 (Container of Memories): While Misaki and Masahiko are going through some old stuff in the closet, a bloom handle jams the door from the outside and they have to wait until Ai comes to let them out. After a while, Masahiko has the urge to urinate and has Misaki get a container for him. At that moment, Ai is outside and all she hears is him yelling that "he's gonna come."

Tsubasa: 65動き始める刻 (When Things Start Moving): Shaoran meets the faux Kuro and battles him, but for some reason he feels like his arm is being controlled by someone else. Ashura stabs Yasha.

King's Sword: 16廬植と劉備 (Roshoku and Ryubi): Ryubi brings the two kids to his casle, the Takuken where he meets up with his mentor before leaving for another adventure.

Full Swing: 12ここなんだ!! (Here!!): It becomes 6-5, Shun and he's up 15-40 (double match point) with Tama serving. During the rally, Shun breaks a string and Tama's return hits the tape and flies directly up...

Changing Now: #32物件!! ヒーローの居場所 (Things, A Hero's Home): Takeko and her dad see Daimonji (Dog Fighter's partner in crime) looking for a place to live. As Daimonji is talking to the broker, he explains that he has no guarantor, works as a hero, and gets paid with smiles.

フルメタル・パニック! (Full Metal Panic!) Vol. 8Title: フルメタル・パニック! (Full Metal Panic!) Vol. 8
Artist/Author: 館尾冽 (Retsu Tateo)
Original Creator: 賀東招二 (Shouji Gatou)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 163pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly Dragon Age 2/04-7/04
First Printing: 9/1/04
Rating: 4/4

When I started reading the first page, I thought was going to be another volume with fun, but ultimately disjoint chapters. That was not to be the case though as this whole volume follows a central plot. Sosuke and his colleagues see some more action and there's more development with Tessa and Kaname (which involve Sosuke). Overall a very good volume, and I'm finally caught up!

Bonus is the usual color pages, author manga, and Sosuke is on the inside of the dust jacket.

46. 夏への誘い…かなめ運命の予感!? (Invitation to Summer... Premonition of Kaname's Fate!?)
47. パーティ・で・ダナン! (Party de Danan)
48. 約束と重圧と (Promise and Pressure)
49. 戦場に潜む悪魔 (The Devil Hiding in the Field)
50. アーバレストの誤算 (Avarest's Miscalculation)
51. 居場所のない世界 (A World Without a Home)

フルーツバスケット (Fruits Basket) Vol. 13Title: フルーツバスケット (Fruits Basket) Vol. 13
Artist/Author: 高屋奈月 (Natsuki Takaya)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 189pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Hana to Yume Vol 8, '03 - Vol 14, '03
First Printing: 11/25/03
Rating: 3/4

The characters have finished their summer vacation and are back at school. I still have mixed feelings about the direction that Kyo and Yuki are going in. It still doesn't interest met that much. However, I enjoyed the chapters that had Tohru trying to find out if Alyssa's Kureno was the same Kureno of the Souma house.

Contains chapters 72~77.

ちびまる子ちゃん (Chibimaruko-chan) Vol. 4Title: ちびまる子ちゃん (Chibimaruko-chan) Vol. 4
Artist/Author: さくらももこ (Momoko Sakura)
Book Size/Pages: A-6, 264pp., w/o furigana
Volume: 4/9
Original Serialization: Monthly Ribon 5/90-9/90
First Printing: 12/17/03
Rating: 3/4

It's been a while since I read the previous volume. Fortunately, Chibimaruko is chapter oriented, so there's no continuing plot, meaning nothing to remember. There are less chapters in this volume than there was in the previous volumes because there's a extremely long chapter in here that wasn't part of the original serialization. I liked the story as it was bit touching with two of Maruko's classmates having to split because one of them was moving away. It was a bit too drawn out though, in my opinion. The final chapter with a peek into the future was interesting.

Bonus is a bookmark and postcard, like the previous volumes.

栗林みな実:Overture (Minami Kuribayashi: Overture)Title: 栗林みな実:Overture (Minami Kuribayashi: Overture)
Vocals: 栗林みな実 (Minami Kuribayashi)
Release Date: 12/1/04
Catalog No.: LACA-5324
Rating: 4/4

The only new song CD that hasn't been released before is the full version of the song used in the Kiminozo fan disk game. Everything else is available on CD on either a Muvluv or Kiminozo soundtrack of some sort in it's exact form. I guess it's good for a newcomer Minami fan, but not for someone who has the songs already elsewhere. However, she does leave out her version of the ending to Kiminozo game (better than rino) which was on the Muvluv single. It would have been nice if she included the new Akane Maniax intro here, but that's already scheduled to be released next Feburary 23rd as a single CD with the ending theme.

The song from the fan disk is a little different than the one she performed during Haruka's ending credits. The one she had in the game sounded very engineered, meaning that the voices were too perfect. The song included on this CD sounds more like it's a live performance where you can hear more variations in her voice as she sings the song. While I generally like things perfect, her singing on the CD version has a bit more "realness" to it. As for everything else, I love Minami's talents at both singing and song-writing. The version of Rumbling hearts included is the same as the one included on Dramatheater vol. 2.

Despite mentions of a first pressing bonus, I don't think there was one. Everyone who bought it on the first day and took pictures/scanned it had the same one I got.

AIR Original SoundtrackTitle: AIR Original Soundtrack
Original Creator: Key/Visual Art's
Release Date: 9/27/02
Catalog No.: KSLA-0004~5
Rating: 4/4

This soundtrack, in particular the theme song, will lead to my going deaf. Ever since I got the CD a few days ago, I've been playing it non-stop. During the time I was playing the game, I grew to appreciate the song. By the time I was done, I would have an urge to fire up the Playstation just to listen to the song. As it got progressively worse, I decided to just buy the soundtrack.

In the game, it only has the first verse which I had already enjoyed immensely. The CD comes with the full version of the song and the second verse along with the rest of the song is even better! It sounds awesome when piped through DPLII or Neo:6 and in fact, I would say that it's the only way to fully enjoy the rich atmospheric feel and nostalgic mood that the song evokes. It's currently the only song that I keep in lossless format in iTunes/AirTunes so that my receiver has ALL the sound frequencies to perform the surround sound algorithm.

I love the song a lot. As I said previously, the song has a very rich atmospheric feel to it driven by a strong bass. The first verse is good, but when the song changes key at the beginning of the second verse...musical heaven. At first, I wondered why the song was about a bird, but the lyrics make a lot more sense once I finished the last chapter "Air" in the game.

The rest of the soundtrack is very good. Out of the instrumentals, my favorites are the piano solo that plays during the intro and near the end as well as Minagi's theme. The tune that plays during summer, Kanna's theme (?), is good along with tracks 19/22 and of course, the orgel version of the theme song. I'm not really a fan of the two other vocals. It's not that I don't like them, rather, they're heavily overshadowed by the intro theme.

There are a total of two CDs in this album. Since the original game came with the soundtrack, they probably had to put some extra stuff. It comes with a few songs that they didn't use in the game, short versions of the intro/ending as well as the karaoke. The liner notes have the lyrics, musical score for the three vocal songs, and a blurb from the composers for each of the tracks.

ドラゴンエイジ (Dragon Age) November '04Title: ドラゴンエイジ (Dragon Age) November '04
Issue Date: 11/10/2004
Publisher: Kadokawa (Fujimi Shobo)
Pages: 818

Karin has two chapters, one that follows the normal story like and the other is a side-story featuring Ren.

Quite a bunch of new stuff this (last) month. There's three new series starting along with two one-shot chapters. The first new title is a continuation from the one-shot manga two months ago, Girl Following. Now, I don't know if that's the correct translation as it's in kana, but I like the sound of it. The second one is "Love Dog." Bad title, but the story is your typical romantic comedy. Third is Devil 17 with the author being Shinji Saijo. He used to have a series in Shonen Magazine, Futatsuki, that I used to read. Seems like he's migrated here. I don't particularly like his artwork and the story is a little on the violent side, so it's something I'll pass. One of the one-shot is similarly violent, and the other one isn't too interesting.

The bonus this month is a sample of the Zero-In drama CD that'll come with vol. 3 of the manga early next year. Haven't gotten around to reading the first two volumes yet, will do soon, so I'll have to defer that till later. It also comes with a special pencil board that has a Maburaho illustration on one side and another illustration on the other. I didn't realize it before, but Maburaho manga is over! But wait, from the previews, another Maburaho manga will be starting next month with a different artist. I think the novels have concluded, but I may be wrong on that. Kannagi is over with this last chapter. I had thought it would continue, it seemed like it had potential.

Karin: 恥の19「あわてる家族といじわるばあちゃん〜Confusion〜」 (19, Panicking Family and Grandma Who Teases): After a series of earthquakes, a vampire from the basement of Karin's house awakens. Soon after, there Kenta sees someone who looks like Karin attacking helpless victims. Fortunately, the vampire lets Kenta go. Back at Karin's house, Karin finds out that her grandma as been out on the prowl. Even though Karin hasn't spent time with her in the past, the parents both dislike her and Ren quickly runs away as soon as he sees his grandmother.

Karin: 番外集2「煉の卒業と日向の名残り〜Vestiges〜」 (Side Story 2, Ren's Graduation and The Remnants of the Days in the Sun): Recounts the days when Ren finally awakens as a vampire and has to leave behind the girl who has a crush on him as he can no longer stand daylight and has to quit school.

Girl Following: 第一話「だいじなもの」 (1, The Important Things): After overhearing Miori's fortune-telling and her advice about taking something dear to a first date, Natsuru decides to take her childhood friend, Eitaro to the marine park. She takes along a keychain that contains a little note that the two of them wrote as a child saying that they'll marry each other.

Love Dog: 第一話「犬神娘の贈り物」 (1, The Gift From the Dog-Spirit Girls): Shinichiro lives with four dog spirits who change between canines and beautiful young girls. In the order of their age the girls are, Yura, Sakura, Amane, and Nanana. It all started when he picked up Amane and the sisters soon followed. The four girls want to show their appreciation for their masters, so they try to figure out what a boy of his age would like from a couple of pretty girls. After several failed attempts, he tells him that he's grateful that they're there for him and doesn't need anything else.

Taisetsu na Koto: Step 10 龍太郎の告白 (Ryutaro's Confession): Nami's starting a new school semester and has a brief run-in with Ryutaro who helps her carry somethings, but doesn't think anything of it. After school, Nami's little brother who works for Ryutaro, gets hurt and is driven home where his parents find out he's taken a side job. Ryutaro defends him and stays for dinner. Nami comes home, surprised to find the object of her affection at her house. As he's leaving, he tells her about his mother who died a year ago.

Nodoka Nobody: 伍の湯「時代」 (5, An Era): Nodoka is suppose to help restore a place that her father had worked on before. She remembers and has fond memories of the place. However, she finds out later that the owners of the building owe money and disappeared to escape their responsibility, so Nodoka isn't allowed to finish the job has to let go of her memories.

Kannagi: 最終話 聖戦へ (Last Chapter, To a Holy War): Nanami reveals herself as the Miko of light and Hijiri serves her. They rescue Eri who had became a monster. However, that's only the beginning...

フルメタル・パニック! (Full Metal Panic!) Vol. 7Title: フルメタル・パニック! (Full Metal Panic!) Vol. 7
Artist/Author: 館尾冽 (Retsu Tateo)
Original Creator: 賀東招二 (Shouji Gatou)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 163pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly Dragon Age 8/03-12/03
First Printing: 3/1/04
Rating: 3/4

More of the same from last time. The stories are disjoint and I'm starting to wonder where this series is headed. There's hardly any action anymore. However, out the of chapters here, I particularly liked chapter 44. Chapter 42 was unnecessary.

Under the dust jacket is Kurz Weber, and this volume includes a bonus chapter, as well as the typical author's comic and colored first pages. This time, she writes about her first year as a wife.

40. 侵入者にチュー意せよ! (Beware of the Intruder, pun on the word "beware" with "kiss")
41. 相良軍曹ノ密カナ愉シミ!? (Sergeant Sagara's Secret Pleasure)
42. We are ウォーター・ガイズ! (We are Water Guys!)
43. 交渉はこうしよう!? (This Is How We Do Negotiations!?)
44. イメクラでクラクラ!? (Dizzy at the Image Club!?)
45. 尾行者はタブン中尉でおじいちゃん!? (The Follower Is a First-Lieutenant Grampa!?)

かみちゃまかりん (Mini-Goddess Karin) Vol. 4Title: かみちゃまかりん (Mini-Goddess Karin) Vol. 4
Artist/Author: コゲどんぼ (Koge-Donbo)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 190pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Nakayoshi 4/04-7/04
First Printing: 7/2/04
Rating: 3/4

This volume is a little shorter than the previous ones as the side-story is pretty long. Rather than doing plot development, this volume focuses more on the relationship between Karin and Kazune. Pretty good, although a bit slow at times.

In addition the clear dustjacket, the first page has a transparent overlay with Karin, and a short omake chapter with Kazune's fan-club at school. There's a very nice bonus side-story chapter where Karin and Kazune are bound by the hand for a day.

Crossover Vol. 7Title: Crossover Vol. 7
Artist/Author: 瀬尾公治 (Kouji Seo)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 184pp., w/furigana
Volume: 7/7
Original Serialization: Weekly Shonen Magazine Vol. 31, '03 - Vol. 40, '03
First Printing: 10/17/03
Rating: 2/4

This series, at the very end was a bit of a let-down. It got a little hung-up with the new player, Chris and his relationship with Eiji and Caine. I would have preferred if the author put a little more focus on the relationship between Natsuki and Mitsuki. While I enjoyed the games, there just wasn't any character development. Natsuki's still the same guy he was in the first book. Nothing's changed about it.

No bonuses in this book.

51. 天才ガード (Talented Guard)
52. 詐欺 (Trick)
53. 上屋抽梯 (Pick a Fight)
54. 天才の覚悟 (The Talented's Preparation)
55. 帰還 (Return)
56. ヒーロー見参 (Spotting the Hero)
57. 最強のルーキー (The Strongest Rookie)
58. ナツキ、飛ぶ!! (Fly, Natsuki!!)
59. 檸檬 (Lemon)

AIR PreludeTitle: AIR Prelude
Original Creator: Key/Visual Arts
Volume: 1/1
Catalog No.: PCBX-50636
Release Date: 11/17/04
Rating: 4/4

Wow, I mean "Gao!"

So this DVD is a preview for the show and it seems as though it's directed towards people who already have some knowledge of the story. It a limited edition, only 20,000 made according to marketing. It contains the non-text op/ed for the TV show, a preview of the first few episodes, cast interviews, and an interview with the character designer.

The op/ed uses the same songs as the game, which is a slight disappointment. I love the intro song (more on that when I write up the soundtrack), but if you're going to sell the story again, do something new with it. Kiminozo had new op/ed songs with the original game songs thrown in as a bonus. The images used in the opening is similar to the game intro with the silhouettes of the characters. The ending uses the same background as the game's start screen and even does the day, dusk, night scenes.

The cast interview is pretty tongue-and-cheek and is hilarious if you know the story. The voice actor for Yukito goes around trying to find the voice actor for Misuzu to ask for some highlights from the first episode. Along the way, he bumps into the seiyuu for the other main characters (Michiru = Yukari Tamura) is noticeably missing. The (seiyuu) for Michiru gives Yukito some rice coupons, but the best part is when Misuzu writes out the best part about the episode. "Horeru na yo!" Hilarious.

The interview with the character designer is insightful with some background into her history in animation career. The most interesting question I thought was where the host asked what she actually works since there's already a game out with characters all drawn. Her answer was that with animation, there's movement and more angles that need to be considered. And she drew pretty well as a junior high student. If I only had those skills...

The disc comes in a beautiful anamorphic format with linear PCM audio. Besides the video, it comes with a calendar printed on cards.

ツバメしんどろ〜む (Tubame syndroMe) Vol. 1Title: ツバメしんどろ〜む (Tubame syndroMe) Vol. 1
Artist/Author: 茜虎徹 (Kotetsu Akane)
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 131pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly Dragon Age 12/03-3/04
First Printing: 9/1/04
Rating: 3/4

Yet another series I'm catching up on in my Dragon Age subscription. This volume is pretty short, and fortunately, the price reflects that. The art in here is pretty dense, meaning that most of the pages have a lot of ink on it. The characters and backgrounds are drawn with a lot of detail though.

The story revolves around Taiga who doesn't have memories from more than two years ago after his parents died in an accident. He lives with his sister, Tsubame, who he finds out is from outer space with the job of protecting him as he posses the Origin Heart. Story is a little overused, especially the part where he's the one who can "activate" Tsubame (a bit like Suzu and Itsuki from Supasu-pa), but it's a good read.

The bonus has color pages and a short side-story where Tsubame remembers her past as well as an author's self-manga.

1. アブナイ…暴走!! (Danger... Thump, Thump!!)
2. 笑顔の裏のキモチ (The Feelings Behind the Smile)
3. 雨、君の傘の中 (Rain, Under Your Umbrella)
4. 知らない今日の、ありがとう (Thank You For Today, Which I Had Forgotten)

まぶらほ (Maburaho) Vol. 8 LETitle: まぶらほ (Maburaho) Vol. 8 LE
Volume: 8/12
Catalog No.: BIBA-4208
Release Date: 8/27/04
Rating: 3/4

Slowly going through my backlog. I was looking at what I wrote for vol. 7 back three months ago. I had mentioned that I wasn't planning on reading Dragon Magazine. My, how things have changed in such a short time.

After watching Akane Maniax, I realized that the backgrounds in this show are very lousy. Fortunately I like the story and characters enough to turn a blind eye, but what a difference it is from an OVA.

LE bonus comes with a Kaori keyholder, another hard case for the last 4 keyholders, some more cards, the DVD box to hold volumes 5-8, and the usual newsletter/liner notes and picture disc.

15. のぼちゃった (I Rose)
16. のぞいちゃった (I Wished)

Crossover Vol. 6Title: Crossover Vol. 6
Artist/Author: 瀬尾公治 (Kouji Seo)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 192pp., w/furigana
Volume: 6/7
Original Serialization: Weekly Shonen Magazine Vol. 20, '03 - Vol. 30, '03
First Printing: 8/12/03
Rating: 3/4

How convenient. Just when things turn tough, a extremely tall transfer student from the US arrives and is allowed to play center. There are a few games in here, but given that this is the penultimate volume, it's not hard to figure out what's going to happen. A lot of it though is the relationship between Chris and Caine.

Bonus has a chapter where the characters are in a starship manga battling it out.

42. 実力 (Real Ability)
43. 本気 (Seriously)
44. Blurry Eyes
45. 目標 (Purpose)
46. 重圧 (Pressure)
47. ケイン (Caine)
48. ケインとクリス (Caine and Chris)
49. ヒーロー (Hero)
50. すれ違い (Disagreement)

かみちゃまかりん (Mini-Goddess Karin) Vol. 2Title: かみちゃまかりん (Mini-Goddess Karin) Vol. 3
Artist/Author: コゲどんぼ (Koge-Donbo)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 194pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Nakayoshi 12/03-3/04
First Printing: 3/5/04
Rating: 3/4

More plot advancements in this chapter. Kazune's past is revealed a bit, but Karin is still clueless as usual. In addition to the main story, there's another side-story included here where Karin has a dream where she meets her friends as children. It's a bit touching.

This bonus in this volume includes an illustration collection, the side-story chapter, and an omake manga along with a letter from the author.

セーラームーン (Sailormoon) Short Stories Vol. 2Title: 美少女戦士セーラームーン (Pretty Guardian Sailormoon) Short Stories Vol. 2
Artist/Author: 武内直子 (Naoko Takeuchi)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 204pp., w/furigana
Volume: 2/2
Original Serialization: Runrun 9/93, and two one-shot stories
First Printing: 9/22/04
Rating: 4/4

The first story included in this collections a pretty long one and was originally a volume in itself. The story, I believe, is the basis for the S movie, although I didn't remember until Luna transformed into a human. That's when I vaguely remembered seeing that scene animated somewhere and finally made the connection. The second and third story weren't animated, but I could be wrong. The last story has a little peek into the future.

Bonus includes color pages, sticker sheet, and a timeline of Sailormoon throughout the years.

1. かぐや姫の恋人 (Princess Kaguya's Lover)
2. カサブランカ・メモリー (Casablanca Memory)
3. ばられる せーらぁむ〜ん (Exposed, Sailormoon)

フルーツバスケット (Fruits Basket) Vol. 12Title: フルーツバスケット (Fruits Basket) Vol. 12
Artist/Author: 高屋奈月 (Natsuki Takaya)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 195pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Hana to Yume Vol 24, '02 - Vol 6, '03
First Printing: 6/25/03
Rating: 3/4

When I was buying this series several months ago, for some reason, all the local bookstores were sold out of this volume. I knew I wasn't going to get around to reading it until much later, but I couldn't have a series sitting around with a missing volume. I don't mind not having later volumes, but everything before has to be sequential. I ended up having to order it overseas and as soon as I had it shipped, Asahiya stocked it. Grr.

I thought this volume was a bit better than the previous ones. The kids are back at school, so there's a little more action. The story between Kagura and Kyo is a little more fleshed out with a flashback to their past. Overall, I think this volume helped develop Kyo's character a lot.

Contains chapter 66~71.

フルメタル・パニック! (Full Metal Panic!) Vol. 6Title: フルメタル・パニック! (Full Metal Panic!) Vol. 6
Artist/Author: 館尾冽 (Retsu Tateo)
Original Creator: 賀東招二 (Shouji Gatou)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 163pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly Comic Dragon 11/02-4/02, Monthly Dragon Age 5/03
First Printing: 7/1/03
Rating: 4/4

The chapters contained in this volume are self-contained episodes. They have continutity though as the Christmas chapter is followed immediately by the New Year's chapter. Speaking of which, this would be my second Christmas story for the day with the other being in Sailormoon. There's not much action in this volume, but it's packed with a lot of romantic comedy between Sosuke and Kaname.

Bonus includes several colored pages and a afterward where the author celebrates about the upcoming anime.

33. あっと驚く「アートな日」 (Surprising Day of Arts)
34. お料理天国、うくるは地獄 (Cooking Heaven, Preparing Hell)
35. 戦場のメリークリスマス (Merry Christmas at the Battlefield)
36. 宗介、新年の信念 (Sosuke, New Year's Resolve)
37. 古典ノートにコテンこてん!? (Notes on Classics on Display...mmm..translation's not quite right as it's a play on words)
38. ピンクの文書でピンチの軍曹 (The Sargent in a Bind with a Pink Document)
39. スペシャル・ウージュアル・ディズ (Special, Usual Days)

アカネマニアックス (Akane Maniax) Vol. 1Title: アカネマニアックス (Akane Maniax) Vol. 1
Original Creator: Age
Volume: 1/3
Catalog No.: ZMBZ-2046
Release Date: 11/25/04
Rating: 4/4

The first thing I noticed is that the animation quality is pretty good. Like all R2 DVDs, the picture quality is sharp and crisp. However, this OVA has extremely good animation and even backgrounds. That's to be expected out of a video-only release.

Being a side story of Kiminozo, I can't help but like it. It's still just a side story though. There are some references to the original series throughout this episode. Joji a little annoying, but I think he'll tone down as this progresses.

Love the intro song and hopefully Minami will include it in her next album. A lot of the other BGMs though, I think were taken from Kiminozo. Okay, I guess, but just less of an incentive for me to try and get the soundtrack (can't do the mail-in thing).

First edition comes with a bunch of stuff including a Rumbling Angel card, figurine, artwork, picture label, and mail-ins for the OST and a chance at a concert.

1. 〜城二 白陵に立つ〜 (Joji at Hakuryo)

少年マガジン (Shonen Magazine), '05 Vol 1Title: 少年マガジン (Shonen Magazine) Vol. 1
Issue Date: 1/1/05
Publisher: Kodansha
Pages: 526

Tsubasa to be animated and broadcast in April, NHK. No Negima next week and King's Sword will start a new arc next chapter.

Tsubasa: 64途切れた記憶 (Disconnect Memories): Reiterates about the other Shaoran. Sakura sees Shaoran come back with battle wounds and gives him a kiss. She then jumps back surprised at her own actions. Mokona tells them that there are two types of memories, one of the heart and one of the mind, and that one might have memories while the other one remains incomplete. Mokona tells them that Sakura's feather's in the castle in the sky. Later, Ashura talks to Sakura and explains Shaoran's determination. Ashura has a discussion with Yuuko, and Shaoran goes about town asking to see if anyone has see Fye or Kuro.

Negima: 77恋のキテレツ予行演習 (Strange Rehearsal of Love): Asuna and the older Negi go on a practice date. After playing for the day, Asuna explains to Negi about how she got her hairbands, the bells, from Takahata. She then tells him that she has the courage to confess to him now. However, they see Takahata and Sizuna at a cafe. Despite that, Asuna says she'll still tell him even if he's already taken.

Student Council: #3謎の学園 (Enigmatic School): Musashi remembers how he lost his parents in the accident in the ocean while napping in class. He finds out that most people have been attacked at the school and finally sees Kaoru, who let's him know how betrayed he felt when he wouldn't help him and launches an attack on him. Musashi realizes who the culprit and fights back. Mami senses this and goes to give Musashi the bracelet that he'll need to win.

Suzuka: #40実家 (Home): Suzuka stays with Yamato's family and feels bad for imposing. Yamato wants her to relax and take a walk with him, but she refuses as she knows that Yamato is with Honoka. Yamato gives a call to Honoka to let her know of the situation. He comes out again and unexpectedly, Suzuka requests to stay one more day.

Hamanaka Ai: 062少女的Bアップ作戦 (Femine Bust Size "Up" Plan): Rinko asks Ayana how to increase her bust size, but Ayana directs the question to the tutors who tell them that they need milk, exercise, and massages. However, the next day, Rinko just shows up with pads for instant success.

King's Sword: 15青い空の下で (Under the Blue Sky): Ryubi and Kanu find Ahi again and have a reunion. Ryubi's horse comes back to him and the three of them set off on another adventure.

Full Swing: 11ストライクゾーンを (The Strike Zone): Tama fights back in the second set from love to an even 5-5.

Changing Now: 31妄想!!憧れのヒーロー (Dreaming!! Beloved Hero): A new student in Takeko's class, 大野健介 (Kensuke Oono) yearns to be a superhero. He sees Dog Fighter and one of his partners discussing their plan and try to learn from them until the boy reveals that he's in love with Dog Fighter/Fujioka's daughter.

ながされて藍蘭島 (Washed Away, Airan Island) Vol. 4Title: ながされて藍蘭島 (Washed Away, Airan Island) Vol. 4
Artist/Author: 藤代健 (Takeshi Fujishiro)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 198pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly GANGAN Wing 12/03-5/04
First Printing: 8/22/03
Rating: 3/4

As if there wasn't enough girls on the island already, another one gets added to the mix. Meimei's short arc was entertaining, but I preferred Chikage's story in this volume. She reminds me a lot of Ikuyo, from her looks to her personality and attempts at world domination.

The standard color page, character guide, extra chapters (2 this time), and omake comic are included.

19. ふんじばって (Tied Up)
20. はずかしくって (Embarrasing)
21. 聞きたくって (Wanting to Hear)
22. とりかえて (Exchanging)
23. ためしたくって (Wanting to Try)
24. ひゃっこくて (Cold)

Crossover Vol. 5Title: Crossover Vol.5
Artist/Author: 瀬尾公治 (Kouji Seo)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 192pp., w/furigana
Volume: 5/7
Original Serialization: Weekly Shonen Magazine Vol. 10, '03 - Vol. 19, '03
First Printing: 5/16/03
Rating: 3/4

The team is finally out of that shrine where they trained. It's still unbelievable in the sense that only after a few weeks training, the team is able to beat another whose average player taller than Marianu's team. There's now a new student, a foreigner, who is at the school who might be a potential center.

The bonus comic has the cheerleaders as sailor scouts.

33. 肩甲骨 (Shoulder Blade)
34. 悪戯の代償 (The Wicked Price)
35. 二人の傷 (The Scars of the Two)
36. ひとりとふたり (One and Two Persons)
37. 初恋の味 (The Taste of First Love)
38. バスケットだ!! (A Basket!!)
39. クリストファー・ナイト (Christopher Knight)
40. お披露目 (Debut)
41. Ain't nothing much

かみちゃまかりん (Mini-Goddess Karin) Vol. 2Title: かみちゃまかりん (Mini-Goddess Karin) Vol. 2
Artist/Author: コゲどんぼ (Koge-Donbo)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 190pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Nakayoshi 7/03-11/03
First Printing: 12/5/03
Rating: 3/4

This volume pretty much just established the characters, including the ones who appear to be the antagonists. In addition to being able to make great characters, Koge-Donbo can also make hilarious SD caricatures.

Bonus includes a tear-out postcard. I don't know if this is a first-pressing bonus or what not, but my issue is the second pressing and it still has it. I checked again and my first volume didn't have one. It has a bonus comic and the plastic cover.

あぃまぃみぃ!ストロベリー・エッグ (I, My, Me! Strawberry Eggs) DVD BoxTitle: あぃまぃみぃ!ストロベリー・エッグ (I, My, Me! Strawberry Eggs) DVD Box
Catalog No.: GNBA-1057
Release Date: 11/25/04
Rating: 4/4

It's been such a long time since I've done this, but I marathoned on all 13 episodes of this series tonight after receiving it in the mail after work on Friday. I have a rule about not buying series that I already have a copy of (in this case, I got the US release years ago), however, this is one of series that I love dearly and wanted to see it in its most perfect, pure, and best form -- a R2 DVD (on a projection screen!). I had missed the original Japanese release when it first came out as I wasn't into importing goods and had some self-restraint at the time. Ever since I've contemplated about buying the whole series second-hand, a 5 disc series. After putting it off for the longest time, I found out that they were going to re-release the series as a box set. Yay!

This limited re-release comes with 3 discs, but each of them are DVD-9s. The first two hold 5 episodes and the 3rd disc holds the last 3 plus over an hour of bonuses. The bonuses are identical to what was included in the original Japanese release, which included extra seiyuu interviews (not too interesting, but Fumiko Orikasa was as beautiful as ever) and more eyecatches (I think) than the US version. In addition, the voice-only introduction sketches had different images displayed while the people were talking. The menus were noticeably well-designed and I didn't see a "do not copy" warning screen (the typical "for your safety" message was there though).

The included booklet also has short write-ups looking back at the series and introducing the origins of the story, characters, music, and an afterward. Interesting to know that it might have been called "Hi, Fu, Mi! Strawberry Eggs" as that was the first working title which was based on the first moras of the main character's names. It doesn't have pictures that were used in the original release, but the box art is a new illustration. My complaint is that it came with a shrinkwrap rather than plastic wrapping, that's why I had to scan the image in with the obi.

I think this series is almost perfect in every way. I love the music and in fact, watched every single intro and ending credits during the marathon. In addition to having all the CDs for the show, I have all (both) Hitomi Mieno's albums that also contain the intro song. The drama CDs are fun to listen to. The character design is great as I'm also a fan of Hand Maid May, haven't tried G-on Riders though. There's great plot and character development throughout the 13 episodes and each episode contributes to the overall plot. The ending, with all the music and drama, is probably one of the best executed. The ending doesn't just feed you something happy, but makes you empathize with protagonist as he tries to discover himself and his beliefs, but implicitly knowing that whatever he chooses, everything will turn out alright.

And yes, I was wearing the official "I, My, Me! Strawberry Eggs" t-shirt as I was watching it. Just goes to show how much I love this series as I normally don't have any "related" merchandise for shows besides CDs, DVDs, and books/magazines.

かりんと。 (With Karin) Vol. 1Title: かりんと。 (With Karin) Vol. 1
Artist/Author: THE SEIJI
Original Creator: 氷幻嵩人 (Taketo Higen)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 200pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Weekly Shonen Champion Vol 11, '04 - Vol 18, '04
First Printing: 8/10/04
Rating: 3/4

I found out about this series when I searched for "Karin" which is the title of another series I'm following. I kept the title in the back of my head and saw it at the bookstore. Since Kinokuniya's having a 10% off sale, I decided to try it out. The cover art reminds me a little of Narue, but the inside feels a bit more like something Noriyuki Yamahana would draw with the rounds faces. I don't find the story particularly unique in anyway, but it's a good read. There's some fan-service in here, including one particular which got my attention because it didn't seem fitting for a shonen manga.

The story is about a high school student, Junpei, who has a crush on a classmate, Karin. One day, he's offered the opportunity to be with Karin for a whole day. He accepts it not realizing that it meant switching bodies with Karin's older brother, Shuichi. Junpei finds out Shuichi has always lusted over his fraternal sister, but now, after taking Junpei's body, can how hit on her without any moral objections. The real Junpei has to find a way to revert his situation while not alienating the object of his affection.

No colors in the book, but comes with a short bonus omake manga and a preview of next issue.

1. 始まりの日 (The Day It Starts)
2. 初デート (First Date)
3. 花梨のキモチ (Karin's Feelings)
4. アブナイ秘密 (Dangerous Secret)
5. 花梨を守れ!! (Protect Karin!!)
6. 花梨の唇 (Karin's Lips)
7. 花梨の寝言 (Karin's Mumblings in Her Sleep)
8. 誰かのために (For Whom)

かみちゃまかりん (Mini-Goddess Karin) Vol. 1Title: かみちゃまかりん (Mini-Goddess Karin) Vol. 1
Artist/Author: コゲどんぼ (Koge-Donbo)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 206pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Nakayoshi 12/02-6/03
First Printing: 9/5/03
Rating: 3/4

So as I was walking through the bookstore, I had picked up "With Karin" when I came upon the Koge-Donbo stack and saw another "Karin" book! Had it been any other day, I would have passed up on it, but since I was in the "Karin" mood, I picked this series up too. It's unfortunate that I can't use Yuna Kagezaki's "Karin" series and make it a triple-header since I'm already all caught up in the magazine.

As a one sentence intro, the story is about a young girl, Karin, who finds out that she wields the power of a goddess. Everytime I see her character, I have to tell myself that's not Misha. The character designs are so similar it's hard to tell sometimes.

Rather than a normal dust jacket, all the books in this series come with transparent plastic instead. The text is printed on the plastic and once removed, the cover image can be seen without text. There are also a couple of colored pages.

恋風 (Koi Kaze) Vol. 2 LETitle: 恋風 (Koi Kaze) Vol. 2 LE
Original Creator: 吉田基己 (Motoi Yoshida)
Volume: 2/5
Catalog No.: GNBA-1040
Release Date: 8/25/04
Rating: 3/4

So I had thought that this series was 6 DVDs long as most of them are, but to my surprise, the box fits only 5. However, I didn't discover this until I found out that November was the last DVD -- I had planned buying the DVD in December too.

The three episodes included on this DVD were pretty mellow, but that's what I expected. Nanoka and Koshiro are both trying to come to terms with their feelings for each other and see what love does to their friends and co-workers. I've really come to dislike the ending song. It sounds like the last breaths of a dying cat.

Limited edition comes with a box to hold the 5 discs as well as the typical first edition bonuses of a sticker sheet and a postcard.

2. 春愁 (Spring Happiness)
3. 薫風 (Summer Breeze)
4. 夕立 (Evening Shower)

ながされて藍蘭島 (Washed Away, Airan Island) Vol. 3Title: ながされて藍蘭島 (Washed Away, Airan Island) Vol. 3
Artist/Author: 藤代健 (Takeshi Fujishiro)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 194pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly GANGAN Wing 6/03-11/03
First Printing: 3/22/03
Rating: 3/4

I felt like this volume came off a pretty slow start with a too much emphasis on Machi. Machi is an interesting character by herself, but the first few chapters didn't strike a chord with me and as such, the toned down my excitement for this volume. Her younger sister, Ayane, still cracks me up.

It has one more bonus chapter than last volume, an omake comic, and Ayane sketches. The limited edition version of this volume came with a figurine. To my surprise, I actually had it in my Amazon wish list for some reason since January, but never bought it before it went out of print.

13. にゃんだって ("Nyan")
14. みたくって (Want to See)
15. 雨だって (Rain)
16. おいしくて (Tasty)
17. あったかくって (Warm)
18. はりあって (Competing)

ねとらん者 (Netrun-mon) THE MOVIE #1Title: ねとらん者 (Netrun-mon) THE MOVIE #1
Volume: 1/1
Catalog No.: ISBN4-7973-2943-2
Release Date: 10/24/04
Rating: 3/4

A random purchase for me. From what I read, this DVD is an OVA to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Netrunner magazine. The story has two duck-like siblings, BB Runner and Ranna who come out at night to help the writers of Netrunner finish their stories. However, on this night, they get summoned by Chiyu to help save the Net characters. Given that it's only a 30 minute OVA, I wasn't expecting much. The story is pretty quick and superficial, but entertaining enough for someone who doesn't know the background.

First edition comes with a Nin-tan figurine which is the 4th figurine in the series. It has the full version of the song on the DVD and lyrics on-screen as well as a bunch of little bonus clips and art galleries.

まほろまてぃっく (Mahoromatic) Vol. 8 LETitle: 8. まほろまてぃっく: 美里家のまほろさん (Vol. 8 Mahoromatic: Mahoro of the Misato House) LE
Artist/Author: ぢたま某 (Bow D(z)itama)
Original Creator: 中山文十郎 (Bunjuro Nakayama)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 264pp., w/o furigana
Volume: 8/8
Original Serialization: Comic GUM 10/03-9/04
First Printing: 12/5/04
Rating: 4/4

What a behemoth of a volume compared to the previous ones. Despite its size though, I managed to finish it pretty quickly. The story moved pretty quickly during these last few chapters. Mahoro and Suguru have their sweet moments before the final climax. The only gripe I have is what happens to Suguru right before the last chapter. What the heck, man.

I thought the ending was fitting for the series, although it felt a tad bit forced.

Limited edition comes with pretty, and heavy, Mahoro crystal which lights up. As usual, there's the 4 panel comics on the inside covers and the inside dust jacket has Nanami on a pole.

1. マシュー (Mashuu)
2. さよならの日 (The Day of Goodbye)
3. 絆 (Bond)
4. カウントダウン (Countdown)
5. まほろの願い (Mahoro's Wish)
6. 空に星の降った日から (From the Day the Stars Fell in the Sky)
Last. そして、紫陽花の咲く庭で (And Then, At the Garden Where Hydrangea Blooms)

月詠 (Moonphase) Vol. 1Title: 月詠 (Moonphase) Vol. 1
Artist/Author: 有馬啓太郎 (Keitaro Arima)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 162pp., w/o furigana
Original Serialization: Comic GUM 9/99-2/00
First Printing: 4/10/00
Rating: 3/4

As one of the anime series this fall, I thought I would see what it's about. I'm actually at a loss for anime series that I'll buy and watch in January. The only one is Futakoi right now, and the DVD release hasn't been announced yet. Anyhow, it doesn't seem like I'll be picking up this title.

The story is interesting, but it doesn't to have much of anything. There's some humor, some romance, some darkness, however it lacks a strength. The artwork is okay. It seems a little more raw that some others, but tolerable. Despite my complaints though, it's something I think I'll enjoy reading.

Bonus comes with short bonus chapter and a letter from the author.

1. シュバルツクヴェレの少女1 (The Girl from Shibarutsuveru 1, it's German)
2. シュバルツクヴェレの少女2 (The Girl from ... 2)
3. シュバルツクヴェレの少女3 (The Girl from ... 3)
4. 帰国 (Return Home)
5. 再会 (Reunion)

ながされて藍蘭島 (Washed Away, Airan Island) Vol. 1Title: ながされて藍蘭島 (Washed Away, Airan Island) Vol. 1
Artist/Author: 藤代健 (Takeshi Fujishiro)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 187pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly GANGAN Wing 6/02-11/02
First Printing: 2/22/03
Rating: 4/4

This is the third Gangan Wing comic I'm reading after Mahoraba and Dear. I didn't know much about this series before I started. There's no blurb on the back of the book, but it just looked like something fun. The story is a little unbelievable, but it's ultimately a harem series, so who needs anything believable.

I like the character design, but what caught me was the lush scenery. Being a monthly, this is what I expect. Besides the art, I find the characters all very interesting in their own way. While it's still all the girls chasing after the guy, hopefully a story will start evolving from it.

Bonus comes with a colored page, a short 2 page comic in the back and the covers have a different image than the dust jacket.

1. ながされて (Washed Away)
2. せまられて (Threatened)
3. おいかけられて (Followed)
4. 日が暮れて (Day Ends)
5. 役立って (Being Useful)
6. あらわれて (Be Washed)

ながされて藍蘭島 (Washed Away, Airan Island) Vol. 2Title: ながされて藍蘭島 (Washed Away, Airan Island) Vol. 2
Artist/Author: 藤代健 (Takeshi Fujishiro)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 187pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly GANGAN Wing 1/03-5/03
First Printing: 8/22/03
Rating: 4/4

I really feel sorry for Ayane. She is certainly annoying, but the punishment she gets from her sister is a little excessive. I think the fan-service increased significantly in this volume, which I don't mind. There's a few more stories that help character development for a few of the girls. Good stuff.

Bonus includes two short chapters, a two page omake comic, and sketches.

7. おどろいて (Being Surprised)
8. にげてのがれて (Dodging and Escaping)
9. さがして (Searching)
10. あいたくて (Wanting to Meet)
11. まねかれて (Invited)
12. 魅せたくて (Wanting to Show)

フルーツバスケット (Fruits Basket) Vol. 11Title: フルーツバスケット (Fruits Basket) Vol. 11
Artist/Author: 高屋奈月 (Natsuki Takaya)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 197pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Hana to Yume Vol 15, '02 - Vol 21, '02
First Printing: 2/25/03
Rating: 2/4

My interest is waning a bit after this volume. I can understand that Akito is a central figure in the story, but his constant abuses to the other members of the family really don't interest me. Yes, Yuki was abused as a kid and Akito can still evoke guilt from Kyo. Bah. On to the next volume...

Contains chapters 60~65.

フルメタル・パニック! (Full Metal Panic!) Vol. 5Title: フルメタル・パニック! (Full Metal Panic!) Vol. 5
Artist/Author: 館尾冽 (Retsu Tateo)
Original Creator: 賀東招二 (Shouji Gatou)
Book Size/Pages: A-5, 161pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly Comic Dragon 5/02-10/02
First Printing: 12/1/02
Rating: 4/4

This is probably the best volume so far. Plenty of action with the two siblings. Tessa's apparent retreat to the countryside was a welcome change of pace and added much to her character, although they didn't have to do unnecessary twist ending.

Bonus include a recollection of the author's trip to Taiwan in manga form. The covergirl on the inside of the dust jacket is Seina.

27. ふたりの美少女を奪還せよ!! (Get Those Two Girls!)
28. タクマの居場所 (Takuma's Whereabouts)
29. 最後の願い (The Last Wish)
30. 闘いの果てに (At the End of the Battle)
31. Sweet Memories

Lunar Scribbles