Tag Archive: Viz Media


The view from my hotel toom every morning... life didn't suck

The view from my hotel toom every morning… life didn’t suck

Woke up bright and early Friday morning. I had a lovely breakfast of Italian cold cuts, cheese and some of a wonderful gluten-free baguette from Mariposa bakery. Not exactly what anyone would consider breakfast, but it was worth it. I had to make sure that I was going to be ready to have another day fairly packed with panels… not even enough time to really get lunch.

After finishing breakfast it was time to herd back in to the expansive convention center. It feels both huge and crowded when you’re looking at about 120,000 people in one place.

I quickly made my way to the Neon Alley panel.
Thankfully I made it in time to get a decent seat for the Neon Alley panel. I’m not a huge fan of sitting way in the back for anything… well except for when I was in high school, but that was for entirely different reasons… and I digress.

So, the Neon Alley panel was largely similar to Viz Media panel as Neon Alley is run by Viz. Like their specialized panels, they tend to focus on what the panel is about.

In this case they’re focusing on Neon Alley. So, they start by talking about what Neon Alley is about.

Hercules and Megara

Hercules and Megara

Before last year, Neon Alley was a subscription-based online channel. They wound run shows on a timetable. They dropped that model in favor of just having a Hulu channel where they stream anime on demand. This is a huge change, and makes it easier to both see what you want, when you want and to be able to binge-watch series.

They then told us what they are currently showing on the Neon Alley Hulu channel. So, what are they showing on Neon Alley?

Here’s a list: Sailor Moon (subbed, dubbed coming soon), Naruto Shippunden (dubbed), Ranma ½, Bleach (up to episode 205 both dubbed and subbed), Death Note (dubbed and subbed), Vampire Knight (dubbed and subbed), Inuyasha (entire series, dubbed and subbed), Blood Lad, Gargantia (dubbed). Starting in fall they will be showing Naruto: Rock Lee and Ninja Pals.

Last month they said they were going to have Bleach up to episode 229. They also were going to have

Love that I found Link with the Postman. Looks like the Bunny Hood really works.

Love that I found Link with the Postman. Looks like the Bunny Hood really works.

12 new episodes of Naruto. They also put up 13 more Nura episodes (for you Nura fans out there).

Other then that, it was largely a lot like the Viz Media panel. There wasn’t any news that was specially held specifically for this panel. They did, however, talk a bit about what they were planning for their Sailor Moon panel on Saturday.

After that, I made my way to my next panel. For the first time in 3 years I finally made it to the Comics Art Conference. They always seem to have interesting topics, but I’ve always had other panels the same time. I finally made it this year.

I made it to the panel on sexism, gender and comics. It sounds like an interesting enough topic. Something that seemed to largely been discussed this year.
The topic itself was interesting. The Comic Arts Conference is a place for scholars to present their papers on to comic fans. That means that not everyone is going to be as equally engaging. That was the problem that I ran in to. The topic itself and the papers on their own were interesting. The people presenting them were not as engaging. So, I found myself less interested as the panel went on.

The papers being presented were on the following: A Methodology for the Analyzing of Sexism in

Child Deadpool is ready to fight some crime... or make witty remarks.

Child Deadpool is ready to fight some crime… or make witty remarks.

Comics: Birds of Prey, Love Slaves and Wonder Woman, Golden Age of Wonder Woman (this one had an interesting discussion of psychology) and Abjection and Objectification of Motherhood in Jack Kirby’s Fourth World.

All interesting titles, but the presenters lacked the charisma to keep me truly engaged. In many ways that made me sad. Since they’re dealing with more scholarly subjects, you have to find a way to make this more engaging.

Of course they talked about new volumes of both Bleach and Naruto Shippunden. This year, Viz had brought Junko Takeuchi, a voice actor from Naruto, who signed autographs and took gifts at 10:45 on Friday morning.

Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing

They’re going to be releasing the complete Vampire Knight (which breaks down to Vampire Knight and Vampire Knight Guilty) in to one complete and very nice looking box set. The set looks amazing and comes with some pretty nifty extras. That was released on July 29.

They’re also re-releasing the complete set of Moribito, this time on Blu-Ray DVD. This will be available on August 26.

They have decided to release Ranma ½ in glorious HD. This is something that any fan of classic anime would love. Ranma is being released in very lovely box sets. Sets 1 and 2 are currently available,

set 3 will be out in September.

They’re also going to be releasing all of Blood Lad (the anime). The series is short (10 episodes), but it doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be worth having… especially considering that it’s a satire series. The series will be available on September 2.

They’re Also releasing a box set for Gargantia. It looks like an interesting series. If you’re already a fan of it, it would certainly be worth picking it up on DVD. The set will be available in October.

Viz Media panelists

Viz Media panelists

Viz is also releasing a new Naruto movie for the general populace. The movie is Naruto: Road to Ninja. It will have a limited release in movie theaters. It will be in theaters for a limited release on August 29. Keep an eye out to see if it will be in a theater near you. If you live in San Francisco, it will be playing at the New People theater from 7-9 PM.

And finally, they’re going to be releasing all the Sailor Moon catalog. It will be released in an amazing looking, sparkly box set. It will be a combopak release (so a season at a time instead of individual DVDs for 3 or 4 episodes). Set 1 will be released November 11. Something to look forward to for all you Sailor Moon fans out there.

After all of that information, they also did questions and answers. This gave birth to one of the most awkward and uncomfortable pick-ups I’ve ever seen anyone attempt. A guy went up to the mic to ask if Viz was ever going to release any hentai because he really liked hentai. They told him they weren’t sure, but Viz does release Yaoi. He then used this point to state that he was also single and looking for a special woman.

Comic Con accessories

Comic Con accessories

After he said that, I looked at the girl next to me and we both said no. There was no way that would happen. I have to say, that has to be one of the most awkward pick-up attempts I’ve seen. Who knows, he might have found a girl who shares his passion for hentai. If he was successful, more power to him. To me, it was awkward and uncomfortable.

Of course, this was a lot to have packed in to 1 hour. It’s a lot of information. However, it wasn’t the only informational panel that I went to on Thursday. After hitting the Viz Media panel, I made my way to the other end of the convention center to make it in time to see the Funimation Industry Panel.

The first panel I attended this year was the Viz Media panel. This year there was a lot of news… lots of new things coming our way. So, I’m going to try and wade through it.

This year at Fanime, they had con-specific merchandise available at one of the booths with a $20 purchase. That’s neat as they haven’t had something like that before.

The graphic novel and the novel for “All You Need is Kill” is now available. “All You Need is Kill” was

Shan Yu, Captain Hook and Maleficent

Shan Yu, Captain Hook and Maleficent

adapted in to the movie, “The Edge of Tomorrow” starring Tom Cruise. It’s a movie I won’t pay to see, because I am not a Tom Cruise fan. Sure, I get to see Tom Cruise die repeatedly, but I don’t think it’s worth the $15/adult. The manga, which is being serialized in Shonen Jump will be available on 11/4.

Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, also known as the prequel to the Dragonball series (you actually see Bulma as a child) is coming out as a graphic novel. It will be available 1/6/2015. It will contain a Dragonball story that focuses on Goku’s parents.

Another series that has been regularly serialized in Shonen Jump is also coming to manga form. World Trigger will be coming print form on 10/7. It’s an interesting series. I still haven’t quite formed an opinion on the series. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet.

They’re also releasing a series called Assasination Classroom. It’s the story about a group of outcasts who are being taught by a tentacle monster. This is not hentai, but I can see some interesting doujin coming out about this series. Viz describes it as GTO with tentacles. That will hit the shelves on 12/2.

Kiss of the Rose Princess is also coming to print. It’s a reverse harem story (one girl with multiple males) in a vein similar to Roasrio+Vampire. It will be available in November.

Another title coming to print is Yukarism. It’s the story of an author named Yukari. He writes incredibly accurate historical fiction, that’s because he can see his past lives in his dreams it sounds like an interesting story… I’ll have to see when it comes out December 2014.

Sad news, the Vampire Knight series will be ending soon. In the meantime, they will be releasing volume 19 (limited edition then standard) on 11/19. The limited edition will include a mini art book. Also coming out on that day is the Vampire Knight box set that will contain volumes 11-19 (volume 19 will be the limited edition version).

Kiki  picture by Jeanie Butera

Kiki
Picture by Jeanie Butera

There will also be a Resident Evil manga. It takes place before 6. It’s a 5 volume series, so it’s fairly short. That will be available 11/18.

They will also be releasing a manga with the name “Master Keaton”. It essentially is the “story of a badass”. It sounds very much like Indiana Jones. It will be available 12/16.

There are two more Miyazaki books hitting the stores. The Art of Princess Mononoke and Mononoke: the First Story are both due in stores on 10/7. As the title states, Mononoke: the First Story is a prequel to the movie Princess Mononoke..

Also, the big manga news is that Hunter x Hunter is coming out of hiatus. The first new chapter just ran last week in Shonen Jump Weekly.

tumblr_lq0299qE851qamhydI spend a lot of time reading manga. I would say that it’s one of my favorite things to read. There are some unique and inventive stories being put out there in the graphic form. It’s amazing the variety of things to read. From slice of life to Sci-Fi, from boys-oriented (shōnen) to girls-oriented (shoujo) and porn, there’s something out there for everybody.

In, I believe it was 2008 or 2009, Craig and I were going through the Kinokuniya book store in Japantown. We often will walk through the manga section to see if there was anything new that we would be interested in. While we were walking around we found a new series that sounded quite interesting. That series was “Ooku: the Inner Chambers”.

So, what is this Ooku you speak of? What is it about?

ooku_01It’s a what-if version of history. It takes place during the Tokugawa shogunate (which is the beginning of the Edo period). An illness has swept through Japan. It only affects the male population. It decimated the male population leaving women to pick up the traditional male roles from farming to being heads of state. They take on mens’ names in addition to their roles. Ooku is the tale of what the Tokugawa shogunate would be like were they run by women.

Since the male population has been greatly decreased men then take on the traditional female roles in the court including being concubines, cooks, doing all the sewing. All the political machinations are done by women. They take on male names to keep up appearances to the world at large, which is still largely male dominated.

So, what do I think?

I really enjoy this story, but there is a lot of middle English in it. You don’t need to be fully conversant in Ooku-Volume-6Shakespearean English to understand it. It’s pretty easy to follow. The art is really good and I find that Fumi Yoshinaga is capable of creating some wonderful characters that you can easily become emotionally invested in. The story is unique and interesting. It also teaches you a bit of what it was like to be in a daimyo’s house. From the maze of halls and chambers to navigating which retainer keeps which alliances, I think that I’ve gained a real understanding for how complicated that household can be.

It’s a well-drawn manga. The art is nice to look at. It’s consistent. You can see that care went in to the illustration. The art also lives up to the quality of the story. I don’t feel like I’m conversant enough with this artist/writer to be able to really give an in-depth talk about her art style.

The only downside to the story is that it can drag in parts. Some stories are less engaging than others. That being said, it’s no different than any other long story. There are lulls in-between the more interesting parts. After all, a story can’t be all action. Each story needs a time of rest.

Ooku_Eien2_zps7eb574d2

Image from the live-action drama

I am more surprised that there is not only a movie based on the series, but there’s a live-action drama. I’m curious enough to seek them out and watch them.

Is it worth reading?

Yes! I have no idea how much more emphatically I can say that. I highly recommend this series. It’s been consistently been among the top manga at the Comic Con panel. It won an Eisner in 2008. It won the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize in 2009 and the Shogakukan Manga Award. The story is interesting. The concept is also interesting. What would the world be like if it had to be run by women? Would it be any different? Would it be the same? How would it be different? I love that Ooku asks these questions boldly. Unafraid of the answers.

I think the story can have a more universal appeal. Many of the characters are relatable. The writerOokue makes it easy to share their triumphs as well as their sadness. While the language can be a bit of a challenge, it isn’t so much of one that makes it unreadable to people who may not know Shakespearean English.

It’s a series I enjoy. It’s one that I would highly recommend to pretty much anybody. While the situation and setting are extraordinary, the characters aren’t. They’re relatable. They’re well fleshed out.

I don’t think I could gush about this series more. I highly recommend it. Go and pick it up, order it on Amazon. If you can find it, pick it up. There are 9 volumes now available. Volume 10 should be available soon.

Go, pick up, read, enjoy! That’s my recommendation.

This Week in Preview

Here we are, once again… except it’s Tuesday. It was a long weekend, and I’m back with stories to share.

So, what to write about this week… what to write.

I’m still dealing with some issues and emotional windfall for the past two weeks. I find myself incredibly rundown without any downtime (both emotionally and physically). So, I might just do some personal reflection.

And this week was Fanime… and there will be a recap of this past weekend’s shenanigans. So, keep an eye out for that.

What else is there?

If I can manage to squeeze it in, I might finally get in that review of Ooku. I know… this is something that I keep saying will happen. It will. If I can’t get it in this week, I’ll take care of it next.

Soooooooooooo… Yeah, I think that’s all .

Hope you enjoy!

This Week in Preview

Yes, I know that this is normally a Monday morning thing. Unfortunately yesterday was circumvented by jury duty. So, here I am, on Tuesday. Talking about what this week holds.

I still find myself reeling from the emotional content of last week. And while I’m still not quite mentally ready to handle much, I do still plan on writing this week. I won’t take an extra week of this time.

So… what to write about…

Well, I do feel the need to write about some rather personal stuff. As I stated, this was quite the week and I feel like I need to write things out.

What else do I want to write about?

I’ll finally get around to reviewing the ongoing manga series Ooku. It’s a noted series (it won an Eisner Award in 2008). It’s one of many series out there… and since I read a lot of manga, I feel like I should share what I do read with you.

This week might be further abbreviated as Fanime is coming this weekend. I may or may not be able to write on Friday as well. That also means that a Fanime round-up is coming in the near future.

So, exciting stuff. Hope you enjoy and are ready for some more.

Until Tomorrow!

This Week in Preview

Here we are, another Monday… So, as per the norm on Mondays, it’s time for me to reflect on what I would like to write this week.

So, I’ve said I was going to write a follow-up review for Final Fantasy XIV talking more about the story, game mechanics and more… well, I might need to wait another two or three weeks for that more. We’re investing in a PS4 and will also cover the differences between the PS3 and PS4 versions.

I’ve got the most recent volume of the manga Ooku. It’s a series that I have read for a couple of years and I will write about it this week.

I’m still debating putting up some more short stories. We’ll see if more will go up.

I might also cover some more personal stuff. I’m still working on killing this flu… but it keeps lingering like some awful taste on my tongue. No matter how hard you try to get rid of it, it just won’t go away.

What else will I write about?

I don’t know. I’m sure that something else will come and piqué my writing interest. Who knows…

So, until next time!

Nami and Ussop take a break from the Straw Hat Crew to hand out drinks on a balmy San Diego day for us Comic Con attendees.

Nami and Usopp take a break from the Straw Hat Crew to hand out drinks on a balmy San Diego day for us Comic Con attendees.

Afterwards they were doing a little outside party thing where they were giving out Shonen Jump-themed beverages and free t-shirts. The line was long for the t-shirts (not surprising as they were being screenprinted on site). It was a 2 hour wait but it was well worth it because we got to have some interesting conversations with the people around us. It also allowed us the chance to get the last stamp on our scavenger hunt.

After spending a good amount of time outside, we decided that it was time for air-conditioned sit down time and made good use of the random tables in the registration area.

We decided at that point that we were going to go to different panels. I decided to head over to Gays in Comics XXVI.

Every year Prism Comics puts together a panel about what it’s like for the LGBT community working in both the comic industry and the entertainment industry. It was interesting to hear some

Superman, Supergirl (deceased) and Sir Not Appearing in This Comic (but if you know, tell me) from Crisis on Infitnite Earths storyline

Superman, Supergirl (deceased) and Sir Not Appearing in This Comic (but if you know, tell me) from Crisis on Infitnite Earths storyline

of the things that are going on and getting to hear about some of the LGBT comics out there. I still keep holding out for more bisexual comics. I have a feeling that’s going to take some time to happen. (Unless there’s some manga-style illustrators out there reading this blog, because I have a story…).

It was pretty cool to hear about some of the stories that are out there. It’s pretty amazing. It was also pretty cool to hear how much respect they had for each other.

There’s also the jokes and anecdotes that made the panel more interesting. In many ways it reminded me of the Black Panel.

I was in that panel for a hour when it became obvious that it was going to run over (which was not a problem as it was the last panel in that room). I jogged all the way over to a panel I thoroughly enjoyed last year, The Best and Worst Manga of 2013.

I love this panel.

I do. I have gotten so many wonderful suggestions on manga to read from it… and this year was no

The Gaslamp from the Geek and Sundry Prom

The Gaslamp from the Geek and Sundry Prom

exception. I got to hear a lot of titles that I hadn’t heard of before like Kitaro, Wandering Son, Children of the Sea, etc. etc. They also mentioned manga that I had been reading/heard about like: Attack on Titan, Silver Spoon, Blue Exorcist, After-School Charisma, Bleach, Vagabond, Ooku, etc. etc. It was quite the list and there are so many that I really want to pick up now. The last thing I need is more manga to buy (but will probably do so anyways).

If any of you out there are interested in what their suggestions were for the last year, I happen to have them all in photos. So, let me know. I can always just post the list in picture form.

And that was our last panel for the night. It was a bit difficult to leave the panel as it was about the same time that the Masquerade started. It’s a popular event, but I have yet to actually watch one (and I’m not great enough at costuming that I can

Awesome couple that I met at the Geek and Sundry prom... and quite possibly the best Link and Zelda costumes I've seen.

Awesome couple that I met at the Geek and Sundry prom… and quite possibly the best Link and Zelda costumes I’ve seen.

participate). It made it a bit slow-go to get out of the building for the night.

Once we were out we headed out to dinner, followed by the Geek and Sundry Prom event.

Then event itself was pretty neat. There was DJ.ed music, a working bar (that was slammed the entire time we were there), photo booth style prom pictures, board and video gaming and an awesome chill space.

It was pretty awesome to get to hang out with some of the cosplayers… especially the best Link and Zelda duo I’ve seen all con. They were so incredibly friendly and we had a great conversation. It was a lot of fun to get to be out for a bit… even for my incredibly introverted self.

The Master and Torgo from, "You know, Manos, the Hands of Fate". One of the awesome things was getting to talk about MST3K with fellow fans.

The Master and Torgo from, “You know, Manos, the Hands of Fate”. One of the awesome things was getting to talk about MST3K with fellow fans.

Saturday was a day where things didn’t quite go as planned. That’s not a bad thing so much as it meant that I got some more downtime instead of running back and forth to panels all day. Given the previous two days, that was a much-needed break.

I had intended to hit the Machinima panel on Saturday morning, I really had. Once we had sat down to breakfast I had decided that I really would rather just take it easy and make it a more chill kind of day. So, instead of throwing myself into the line for Indigo Ballroom, we instead decided to look at the dealers’ room yet again.

We bought some neat gear (like a sweet Elf Quest shirt from Mighty Fine). I also got an opportunity to play a bit of “Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns”. For a game that so many people disliked, it seems as though it’s profitable enough to make 3 sequels.

And I actually enjoy playing the game. It’s an interesting new interface. You can change jobs midstream

Saitama from One-Punch Man taking inventory... Or really into reading something.

Saitama from One-Punch Man taking inventory… Or really into reading something.

(similar to Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2). You are a one person party and you need to switch frequently through out combat. So, it definitely feels different from the other two Final Fantasy XIII games.

The one thing that I disliked about the game (but I’m sure plenty of guys will enjoy) is that every time you’d change a job it looked like Lightning was wearing less clothing as each job change requires a change of clothing. Given that that’s my one quibble with the game, I’d say that it’s worth buying and I will probably pick myself up a copy.

This is also when I signed up for the open beta for Final Fantasy XIV. It was free and I figured why not. I’m willing to give games a try.

We wandered around the room for a bit more before deciding to head to the first panel for the day, the Weekly Shonen Jump podcast panel.

Heeeeeeeeeeeeello Nurse from Animaniacs

Heeeeeeeeeeeeello Nurse from Animaniacs

It had been many years since I’ve picked up a Shonen Jump magazine. It had been some time since I had picked up a monthly manga magazine. The last one I had picked up was Shoujo Beat (because I do enjoy me some shoujo manga).

It was interesting to see them doing a live podcast instead of your standard panel. So, this was less informational and more entertaining. The entire panel was talking about the currently running Weekly Shonen Jump manga which include: Blue Exorcist, Dragonball Z, One-Punch Man, Jaco the Intergalactic Policeman, Nisekoi, Naruto Shippunden, Bleach and World Trigger. The entire panel was a Q&A session as both the panelists and the crowd got to both answer questions and ask them as well. It was a pretty fun panel to see.

This was an amazing crossplay of the Riddler.

This was an amazing crossplay of the Riddler.

After the Titan panel, I stayed for the Neon Alley panel. There were some techinical difficulties that started during the Titan panel and persisted into the Neon Alley panel, forcing a late start. So, instead of just getting into the programming, they started off with some Q&A.

A lot of the news that they shared wasn’t much different from the information I heard about at the Viz Media Panel at San Diego Comic Con and at the Viz panel at Fanime.

Things that weren’t talked about at those panels were that Set 2 for Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan was to be released on August 2, Set 18 for Bleach was released on September 10 and Set 2 for La Grange will be available this winter.

I did have quite a bit of downtime between the Neon Alley panel and the panel I was eagerly awating, 35 Years of Elf Quest.

In that time I did another turn around the dealers’ room. I visited the Viz booth. This year they were

A fabulous Chun Li.

A fabulous Chun Li.

doing this neat scavanger hunt through the dealers’ room. I also got to play a demo of the next Phoenix Wright game. This might be the game that makes me want to get a Nintendo 3Ds. It was fun to play and I loved playing it as much as the previous installments.

When it came to be about time to go to the Elf Quest panel we went in early enough to sit in on the panel before it. The panel was about Pongo. I had heard of Pongo, but I had never read them. It was neat to hear people talk about. It piqued my interest in the Pongo comics.

I was thrilled to see that there was an Elf Quest panel. It made so incredibly happy to hear about all things Elf Quest… because, yes, I’m that kinda nerd. I started reading Elf Quest back when I was in middle school. I fell in love with the story when I first read it. It was amazing for me to get the chance to meet Richard and Wendy Pini last year. They had

Cutter, Leetah and Pike.. oh my!

Cutter, Leetah and Pike.. oh my!

written a story that was more formative of my than I had realized.

The panel started out talking about Wendy Pini’s personal history. They talked about Elf Quest had started in Fantasy Quarterly. They formed their own company, Warp Graphics. She then moved to Hollywood for an Elf Quest movie. They still hope an Elf Quest movie will happen, to this day. I think that Elf Quest would make for a great series of movies. It also turns out that Johnny Galecki (of Roseanne and Big Bang Theory fame) is a huge fan of Elf Quest.

There is currently a 5 minute Elf Quest short movie online, you can watch it here. However, their information about their being an Elf Quest movie in development is outdated… unfortunately.

IMG_1322

Kokiri Link, FTW!

We Love Fine is also selling a line of Elf Quest t-shirts… They are really cute and I would love to have them all, except price woud preclude me from doing so. They are really neat looking shirts and perfect if your the same kind of nerd as I am when it comes to Elf Quest. Wendy’s personal artwork will be kept at Columbia University as well.

There are 2 artbooks coming out as well by Flesk. One will be an art of Elf Quest book and the other will be a book of Wendy’s art and may not necessarily be Elf Quest oriented. They both should be out in 2014.

The most exiciting and saddening part is that there is new Elf Quest. They will be released through Dark Horse. The first book will be starting something called Elf Quest: the Final Quest. And that’s where it’s sad. I hate to think that Elf Quest is ending. The series had meant so much to me. In many ways it was something that gave me the push to be a writer. While I’m glad there’s new Elf Quest (yay), I’m also sad that that’s it. I don’t know if they’re going to re-release the earlier editions of Elf Quest.