Honey and Clover, Vol. 3 – Manga Review

Review by: Sophie Stevens

Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat Manga)
Author: Chica Umino
Genre: Shojo (Graphic Novel)
MSRP: $8.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

When love triangles start falling apart.

Chica Umino … you have no idea how your Honey and Clover series has a hold on the people in this rather spacious office. Since the first volume arrived, it not only became something of an office favorite with the ladies but it also has a hold on the lads as well (especially Clive who is the first to take it from my desk Shinobu Morita-style). Oh yes, Honey and Clover is just one of many of our favorite manga series and with good reason.

While the first two volumes set up the two sets of love triangles, this third volume takes one triangle further while the other seems to calm down. Takemoto had always had a feeling in the back of his mind that maybe the mad-yet-brilliant Morita has feeling for Hagu who is starting to cope with the fact that her uncle Hanamoto is out on assignment in Mongolia. However, as graduation and final semester projects loom ever so closely, Hagu is finding it hard to come up with something worthy of her artistic talents. Thankfully, the pressure of turning out something brilliant is diminished thanks to her friends Yamada, Takemoto, Mayama and (in his own way) Morita. Morita even makes her a birdie broach to cheer Hagu up.

The five of them have become closer than ever and share everything from a late night supper that was Mayama’s treat (thanks to the fact that he is now working for an architectural firm) to a little field trip to Odaiba. The trip, Takemoto feels, is something special seeing as they were complete strangers a few years ago and now so close that he can’t imagine not seeing them again. On the other hand, as Takemoto is now a senior in school, it might be the last chance the five of them would get together like this again. Of course, when they reach one of Odaiba’s attractions, a giant Ferris wheel, it becomes a bit awkward when they attempt to pair up. Pushing Mayama and Yamada together in one gondola, Morita sticks with Takemoto and Hagu were tension is certainly felt by the trio.

Takemoto has always had an inkling that Mayama might like Hagu the same way he does and in this volume his hunch becomes truth. It’s Mayama (of all people) who picks up on this right away and tells Takemoto that giving up before he even steps into the ring is a good way to not only lose the fight but lose all the progress he made with Hagu. It’s pretty amazing how a talented yet introverted girl like Hagu was able to be comfortable around him as well as branch out to become more social to the point of accepting Yamada’s offer of working over the holiday selling cake and roasted chicken. As the small street vendors attempt to compete against a Wal-Mart-like franchise, it is Hagu who saves the day by encouraging the vendors to gussy up their shops and even helps create a giant bear made of balloons.

Yet when Hanamoto-sensei does return, Hagu once again falls back to relying on him. In one chapter, she asks Hanamoto to accompany him to an art store only to have Morita offer to take her instead. The result is a very awkward outing Hagu doesn’t enjoy whatsoever. It’s clear that she’s interested in Morita and appreciated the birdie broach he made for her but it’s uncomfortable being with him to the point that she hides from him during a cherry blossom viewing festival. It is in that same festival that the local street vendors begin to wonder how a guy like Mayama still has a hold over Yamada’s heart.

Oh, but the best part comes in the final chapter when Morita encounters Hagu alone outside campus. I won’t spoil things by telling you what happened but it’s an event that changes everything to the point that Hagu becomes physically ill as a result of it. Sensing that something had happened between the two, Takemoto races to find Morita by hoping into the car of the young man who is somehow connected to the reason that Morita always disappears for several weeks. This is also the first time we see Takemoto show anger towards Morita

This is, personally speaking, one of my favorite volumes of Honey and Clover so far. Yes, it’s a bit on the moody side but I genuinely love how Takemoto waxes philosophically and Chica Umino’s sense of humor is fun and (as we see in the extra short chapter in the end of the volume called Pukkun and Milky Tea) actually cute without being too over sweetened. Plus, there’s just something about her art that just does it for me.

Volume 3 of Honey and Clover is the volume that stands out so far and it will surprise you towards the end of it. Wonderfully written and still filled with the pleasant humor that made the first two volumes fun to read, it is clear that Honey and Clover isn’t your garden variety shojo fare but rather a series that truly deserves its faithful following.

 

REVIEW BREAKDOWN

STORY: A
As graduation and end-of-term projects draw ever closer, Hagu finds that she just can’t get Morita out of her mind despite the fact that it’s uncomfortable being around him. Meanwhile, Takemoto feels like he’s losing everything. This volume also includes a short chapter that was featured in an issue of Bessatsu Young You. Also, is it me or is Morita getting nuttier with every volume?

ART: A
I said it before and I’ll say it again. Chica Umino’s art is uniquely her own and – for my money – it works wonderfully. There are panels where the art really stands out and the covers are always my favorite.

OVERALL: A
Honey and Clover, Volume 3, is a more meaningful and highly-enjoyable volume in the series thanks to the fact that the love triangle that is Hagu, Morita and Takemoto becomes a tad more complex. How good is it, you might ask? Let’s just say that everyone in this office is waiting to get their hands on it … again.

 

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DRMASTER PRESENTS AN ACTION-PACKED END TO THE SUMMER!

NEPHYLYM, MAMORU THE SHADOW PROTECTOR & THE FOUR CONSTABLES AVAILABLE NOW!

SAN JOSE, CA – September 2008 – DrMaster Publications has announced the release of the new fantasy-action manga Nephylym vol. 1 by Rei Kusakabe, Mamoru the Shadow Protector vol. 2, the comedy manga series by Sai Madara, and The Four Constables-Secret of the Delirium Dagger vol. 2, the kung fu action-packed, brilliantly colored manhua series by Andy Seto and Tony Wong.

 

Nephylym vol. 1

Shun has a unique power to electrically charge metal materials. A mysterious winged angel-like being named Air picks up on his powers and chooses him to become her partner, thus enhancing Shun’s powers. Shun soon finds out that his classmate Sanari (the class hottie), also has a winged angel partner of her own, named Blissful. She explains to Shun that these beings are called Nephylym, and they choose suitable humans to be their “Answerers” to help them purify evil elements (Noirs). Together with Sanari and Tsukasa (Shun’s rival in love and an Answerer as well), they battle alongside their Nephylym against Noir that possess human beings.

 

Mamoru the Shadow Protector vol. 2

Mamoru Kagemori is a dull high school boy who’s not handsome, athletic, or intelligent. But he is actually the eldest son of the 400-year-old Ninja clan specializing in protecting their neighbors, the Konnyakus. And the object of Mamoru’s protection is none other than their only daughter, Yuna Konnyaku, a natural born accident-prone troublemaker. When Yuna enters an idol contest and makes it to the finals, despite her hilariously bizarre performance, Mamoru has to go all out with his ninja skills in order to fend off perverted judges and crazed fans! But if Yuna becomes an idol will Mamoru still be able to protect her?

 

The Four Constables-Secret of the Delirium Dagger vol. 2

Emotionless and Yuan-Shan Lan are engulfed in an intense battle, when they discover a spy with evil intentions… While Iron Fist and Cold Blooded fight for their lives as they get closer to finding the evil mastermind behind all the vicious killings. Who is he? And what machinations does he have planned? The plot thickens as more secrets are revealed… You don’t want miss out on all the kung fu fighting action!

 

Availability

Nephylym vol. 1, Mamoru the Shadow Protector vol. 2, and The Four Constables-Secret of the Delirium Dagger vol. 2 are ALL AVAILABLE NOW. Nephylym vol. 1 and Mamoru the Shadow Protector vol. 2 are each priced at $9.95. The Four Constables-Secret of the Delirium Dagger vol. 2 is fully-colored and will be priced at $13.95.

       

About DrMaster Publications Inc.:

DrMaster Publications Inc. is a uniquely quirky publishing company that was started in 2004. Specializing in bringing interesting graphic novels from Japan and China, across the Pacific for American audiences, DrMaster Publications offers a myriad of titles to cater to its various niche readers. The company is what some may call a boutique publisher, which tailors each its titles to suit every reader’s unique desires. Ranging from side-splitting comedies and heart-wrenching dramas to explosive action adventures and enchanting fantasies, DrMaster books provide a glimpse into a new realm as seen through the eyes of the authors and artists. You don’t just read a DrMaster book-it jolts you to life, as you are propelled through the pages.

 

Please visit www.drmasterbooks.com for information on our current and upcoming titles. And feel free to tour the site. Regular updates will follow as our line of “masterful” comic series expands.

 

About DGN Productions International:

DGN Productions (Digital Graphic Novel Productions) is a newly-formed production company and studio made up of industry veterans within the comics and video game industries. Through strategic licensing of key comic book titles and the use of recognized industry professionals within the fields of animation and video game development, DGN Pro. Intl. is dedicated to producing cutting-edge video games, comics and animated features adapted from some the biggest and brightest in Hong Kong, Japanese and Korean comic book properties. DGN Productions Intl. was founded June 2004 and is based in Fremont, California.

Nephylym volume 1

ISBN: 978-1-59796-181-3

Price: $9.95

Availabilty: 09/28/2008

Mamoru the Shadow Protector volume 2

ISBN: 978-1-59796-184-4

Price: $9.95

Availabilty: 09/28/2008

 

The Four Constables: Secret of the Delirium Dagger volume 2

ISBN: 978-1-59796-129-5

Price: $13.95

Availabilty: 09/28/2008

 

 

Death Note, Vol. 1 (Collector’s Edition) – Manga Review

Review by: Edward Zacharias

Publisher: VIZ Media (SJ Advanced Collector’s Edition)
Author: Tsugumi Ohba
Artist: Takeshi Obata
Genre: Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
MSRP: $19.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

Righteous judgment or mass murder … it’s Kira versus L.

What if you were suddenly given a chance to change the world for the better but the only way of doing it isn’t exactly morally correct or legal? This is a question that comes up in the first volume of Death Note and thus sparking a smart and original cat-and-mouse game between a bored genius, an equally bored Death God and a mysterious figure known throughout law enforcement officials around the world as a brilliant detective.

The collaboration between manga author Tsugumi Ohba and talented artist Takeshi Obata was like pairing Lennon with McCartney and the result was a 12-volume series that captivated readers in a global scale. It also inspired a great anime and two live-action feature films. In short, it’s worthy of VIZ Media’s hardcover Collector’s Edition treatment of the first volume. Featuring a sturdy hardcover of the first edition cover with a dust jacket featuring the image of the Shinigami (or Death God) named Ryuk. Even if you already own a copy of the first edition (like me), this Collector’s Edition is definitely what you’ll want to have displayed in your bookcase.

The series’ strength has always been the battle of wits between the main protagonist and the genius that is L and in the first volume the battle between the two unfolds rather quickly. We meet 17-year old High school student Light Yagami who is the picture of scholastic excellence. He’s a straight-A student who breezes through class without much effort and is thusly bored out of his mind because of it. Deep in the depths of the Shinigami realm is Ryuk who finds his existence rather boring as well. To quell his boredom, he drops his most deadly possession – a simple notebook he dubs the Death Note – in the realm of the humans. As fate would have it, though, Light sees it fall from the sky and land on his school’s quad.

Out of mere curiosity, Light picks it up only to discover that the notebook contains blank pages and a page filled with guidelines on how to use it. What catches his eye is the fact that the Death Note claims that the name of the person you write in the blank pages of said notebook would ultimately die within 40 seconds. Dismissing it, at first, Light decides to write the name of a criminal who, at that moment, was holding eight hostages in a nursery school. It’s a shock to Light that the criminal actually DOES drop dead of a heart attack just like the Death Note promised it would.

Light begins testing the Death Note to make sure it wasn’t some kind of weird fluke or coincidence and surely enough the people whose names he wrote in the pages of the notebook suddenly die of heart attacks. Just as he’s convinced that the Death Note works, Ryuk pays Light a visit and discovers that Light was the right person to possess the deadly supernatural notebook. Both Ryuk and Light are no longer bored and so begins the strange relationship between Death God and human who sees this as an opportunity to change the world for the better. As executioner of the wicked, Light feels like he can turn the world into a crime-free utopia. The evildoer will die by the hand of Light who passes judgment on them from an unknown location and without revealing his identity.

Of course, the local Japanese authorities as well as law enforcement officials all over the world don’t see the sudden and mysterious deaths of criminals as a blessing. Murder is murder no matter what but how do you catch a culprit who kills quickly, efficiently and without even making an appearance? As Light continues he quest to rid the world of criminals, the media quickly picks up on his deeds and calls him Kira. The Japanese NPA as well as the American CIA and Interpol gather together to try to figure out who or what is behind this but can only come to the conclusion that this hard-to-solve case can benefit from the talented mind of a detective simply known as L. As it turns out, L already has a few ideas on Kira’s location as well as his method of killing.

In the first volume’s biggest highlight, L and Light do face off … well, sort of. L lays a trap via a television broadcast that gets Light angry enough to write the name of a man claiming to be the famous detective himself. I won’t reveal what happens (in case this is your first time picking up Death Note) but let’s just say that what transpires during the broadcast shows Light that his opponent is a formidable one indeed. Of course, Light feels he has a slight advantage being the son of the Inspector in charge of the Kira case in Japan!

Of course, Light soon finds out that he has a shadow that’s been following him. He sets up a trap aboard a bus to reveal the identity of the man following him only to be surprised that the man in question is an FBI agent named Raye Penber. In the end, Light tests another perk of owning the Death Note and that is owner of the Death Note can also write a cause and time of death.

Death Note has always been a very chatty series as you’ll know from the first volume and thankfully it rich with Ohba’s solid writing. It’s also one of the most eye-catching series as well thanks to the great art from Obata who has an incredible eye for detail. The Collector’s Edition includes a number of color pages that make the first few pages even more gorgeous and also includes the four-panel comics in the end of the volume much like the original.

If you have some extra money in your pocket, I highly suggest you pick up the Collector’s Edition of Death Note. If you’re new to the series, I recommend picking this edition over the first printing edition because you will most definitely be picking it up again and again. It’s one of those works that is ripe with all the things a good book should have and that’s definitely a rare thing.

 

MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
Tsugumi Ohba weaves an intricate and supernaturally charged tale that is not only intelligent but downright entertaining enough that you can only look forward to the next volume and the next one after that. Yes, Death Note was that brilliant and this first volume proves this point.

ART: A+
Anyone who has ever picked up a volume of Hikaru no Go will go on about what a brilliant artist Takeshi Obata is and – you know something? – they’re one hundred percent right. Obata’s work in Death Note is not only eye-catching put also one of the many things I looked forward to throughout the course of the series. The Collector’s Edition sports some great color pages and the black and white Ryuk cover is downright awesome.

OVERALL: A+
Befitting of a hardcover Collector’s Edition, Death Note’s first volume is one of those rare gems that require more than one reading. It not only sets up a lengthy and smartly original cat-and-mouse game but it also proves that gripping work like this can be just as compelling – if not more so – than your average mystery novel. Buying this one is a must even if you already own it.

High School Debut, Vol. 5 – Manga Review

Review by: Faith McAdams

Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat Manga)
Author: Kazune Kawahara
Genre: Shojo (Graphic Novel)
MSRP: $8.99 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Now Available

Friends, foes and everything in-between.

Christmas was like a vivid dream to Haruna. All the things she wished Yoh would say to her were said and everything she planned for that date went down smoothly until they reached the restaurant where Yoh’s friend Asaoka worked. After that night, Haruna found she couldn’t talk to Yoh and this, of course, was a major problem.

Somehow, Haruna mustered all her courage and ran after Yoh and she told him that she loves him. It was a moment fans of the series just couldn’t help but cheer … but the question remained. Will Haruna ever get to talk to Yoh normally again?

The answer is yes and in Volume 5 we find the couple just as we had seen them before the Christmas date disaster. Yoh even planned a weekend of snowboarding with Haruna to make up for the long days of “therapy” that took up their winter break. It’s a prospect that has Haruna so excited that she doesn’t really pay much attention in class until her teacher introduces a new transfer student named Leona Matsuzaka. As beautiful (and somewhat buff) Leona is about to take a seat, her jaw drops and her eyes widen at the sight of Haruna.

Wondering why this new girl keeps staring at her and following her around, Yoh jokingly suggests that maybe Leona admires Haruna. Yet somewhere deep in Haruna’s mind she feels that she has seen Leona before somewhere. It isn’t until one day when Leona actually confronts Haruna that she finds out that the girl was in a rival softball team in junior high that played against Haruna and Mami’s team. Back then, Leona had a great batting average and a bright future in softball until she went up against Haruna who can pitch like nobody’s business. As a result, Leona feels cheated of her once-impeccable record and seeing our clueless gal makes her determined to ruin Haruna’s happiness and relationship with Yoh.

So, once again, Haruna is on a mission to protect her boyfriend … a fact that has Yoh feeling like he is the girl in the relationship. It’s hilarious to watch Haruna jump to strange conclusions and thinking that maybe Leona is deranged enough to poison Yoh’s juice box. Leona does, however, carry out a trap quite successfully … although the outcome isn’t what she expects. Leona manages to trick the couple and then lock Haruna and Yoh in a custodian’s closet in school. Fearing they might freeze to death, both Yoh and Haruna don’t freak out about their dilemma but rather grow even closer because of it. It isn’t until Mami and Asa come along to save them that Yoh realizes that he wouldn’t have minded staying locked in there with Haruna a bit longer.

Leona’s threats to Haruna’s happiness don’t last very long, though, thanks to an impromptu rematch out in the park. Later in the chapter she even focuses her need for revenge on somebody else in Haruna’s pack of friends so she doesn’t remain a constant threat to Haruna nor does she become a continuing rival. Still, it comes to Yoh’s close friend Asaoka that Yoh doesn’t fully appreciate Haruna and the great lengths she goes to make him happy. He’s quick to point out that Yoh hardly even compliments her.

What does threat their relationship in this volume is Haruna’s determination to set up her friend Mami with Asaoka seeing as Mami was always there for her when Haruna has a problem. Reluctantly, Yoh helps out but it’s clear that neither one wants to be hooked up at all. With Yoh no longer wanting to step in and help with the matchmaking, a disagreement soon has the two not talking to each another. Up until now, Haruna has never raised her voice to Yoh and this being their first real fight it would have felt out of place in their series if it wasn’t for Kawahara’s natural gift for balancing drama with her brand of comedy.

The real drama occurs in the last chapter when Asaoka tells Yoh that he’s going to ask Haruna out. Knowing his friend probably has good intentions, he lets him do it and so the two go on a date. As always, Haruna isn’t quick to pick out what exactly is going on but she trusts Asaoka and knows this is probably a trick to get Yoh jealous enough to apologize and express how much she means to him. It isn’t until towards the end of their “date” that Asaoka tells Haruna something that actually stuns her. Yoh does finally show up but it’s Haruna that feels like maybe there was some truth to what Asaoka told her.

The conflict that arises in Volume 5 of High School Debut mixes things up a little and Kawahara does a marvelous job maintaining the familiar vibe that makes this series such a pleasure to read. Watching the relationship between Haruna and Yoh develop was fun but watching it become strong enough to survive two crisis in one volume is pure gold. With the series ending with the twelfth volume, it’s surprising to see how well this series continues to develop.

 

REVIEW BREAKDOWN

STORY: A-
After the Christmas fiasco, Haruna is finally able to speak to Yoh but now that they can a person from Haruna’s past threatens their happiness. Oh, aside from that there’s yet another character who feels that Haruna deserves somebody better. Yep, Volume 5 has it all.

ART: A
Kawahara’s art does the trick nicely and her characters really stand out. I don’t want to say she’s gotten sloppy in the final chapter of this volume but Haruna’s facial expressions towards the end are a bit, well, sloppy.

OVERALL: A-
Haruna and Yoh relationship is put to a test in this fifth volume and line is crossed by a familiar face you would never expect. In short, Volume 5 is a surprisingly compelling read that keeps up the same pleasant humor intact despite the rivalry that threatens a relationship we’ve been rooting for since Day One. Missing this one is not an option.

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF NARUTO, BLEACH and DEATH NOTE EPISODES ON HULU.COM

 

Innovative New Online Video Streaming Service To Carry Original Uncut Japanese Episodes

 From Three Smash Hit Animated Action Series

              

San Francisco, CA, September 25, 2008 — VIZ Media, LLC., one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies has announced the availability of the original Uncut Japanese versions of NARUTO, BLEACH and DEATH NOTE animated episodes (subtitled in English) on Hulu.com. Hulu is an online video service that offers hit TV shows, movies and clips at Hulu.com and other online destination sites — all for free, anytime in the U.S. Hulu has more than 100 content partners and offers nearly 900 show and movie titles, including 200 full-length feature films and 400 television series with hundreds of videos added to the service each week. NARUTO and DEATH NOTE launched in the United States on Hulu this week.  BLEACH and new episodes of each title will be added regularly on Hulu.

 

The launch with Hulu is the latest expansion of VIZ Media’s ongoing strategy to make available a variety of hit animated series through some of the most innovative web-based, video streaming outlets. Hulu, launched in March of this year , provides convenient 24/7 accessibility and offers users the freedom to legally share full-length episodes or clips via e-mail or embed them on other web sites, blogs and social networking pages.

 

NARUTO, DEATH NOTE, and BLEACH have emerged as three of the world’s most popular Japanese animated series, each attracting millions of devoted viewers with a blend of stylish animation, multi-faceted characters and riveting story lines. Each series is based on a popular manga (graphic novel) series and enjoys tremendous international popularity.

 

“We are very excited to launch NARUTO, DEATH NOTE, and BLEACH on Hulu,” says Ken Sasaki, Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, VIZ Media. “Hulu gives users the ability to customize their viewing experience online. We invite longtime, as well as new, NARUTO, BLEACH and DEATH NOTE fans to check out Hulu.com for the exciting episodes that are available for unlimited streaming.”

 

NARUTO (Uncut): Rated TV-14 (English subtitled) http://www.hulu.com/naruto

NARUTO has become the hottest animated series across North America and is one of VIZ Media’s most successful manga and animated properties in terms of sales. Created by Masashi Kishimoto, the series depicts the adventures of a young boy named Uzumaki Naruto who trains to become a ninja. The boy is cursed with the spirit of a nine-tailed fox demon and is forced to live a bullied life discriminated against by his fellow villagers. Naruto is resilient and undaunted in his quest to become a master ninja and his determination often inspires those around him. Through amazing adventures, the young ninja learns the importance of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, creativity, ingenuity, and right vs. wrong. Dedicated website at www.naruto.com.

 

DEATH NOTE (Uncut): Rated TV-14  (English subtitled) http://www.hulu.com/death-note

DEATH NOTE is based on the manga series of the same name and is currently one of the hottest animated titles in Japan. The series depicts the adventures of Light Yagami, an ace student with great prospects but who is bored out of his mind. All of that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals mysteriously begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to investigate, and he is soon hot on the trail of Light, who must now reevaluate his one noble goal. Dedicated website at www.deathnote.viz.com.

 

BLEACH (Uncut): Rated TV-14 (English subtitled)

BLEACH, an animated, hyperkinetic, ghost-busting action series is the story of a 15 year-old named Ichigo Kurosaki who was born with the ability to see ghosts. When his family is attacked by a Hollow – a malevolent lost soul – Ichigo encounters a Soul Reaper and absorbs her powers. Now he has dedicates his life to protecting the innocent and helping the tortured souls find peace. Dedicated website at www.bleach.viz.com.

 

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga (graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa and is a global ex-Asia licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, and DVDs, and develops, markets, licenses, and distributes animated entertainment for audiences and consumers of all ages. Contact VIZ Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and web site at www.VIZ.com.

VIZ MEDIA TEAMS WITH JOOST™ TO DELIVER HIT SERIES NARUTO, BLEACH AND DEATH NOTE TO AN EVEN WIDER AUDIENCE

Web Video Portal To Offer Streamed Episodes Of Three Hit Series Complemented With Social Interaction

              

San Francisco, CA, SEPTEMBER 23, 2008 — VIZ Media, LLC. (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies has announced that Joost™, the world’s first broadcast-quality internet television service, will carry the original Uncut (Japanese version/English subtitled) episodes of the hit animated series NARUTO, DEATH NOTE and BLEACH (coming soon) in the United States. Episodes will be made available for free at www.joost.com with new installments being added regularly.

 

With Joost, NARUTO, BLEACH and DEATH NOTE fans will be able to watch these shows in their web browser while interacting with others in the Joost community. Whether they join or form fan groups around their favorite characters, or add their own comments to their favorite shows, Joost’s unique social features help a larger audience find and discover these hit shows.

 

“Joost recognizes a truly diverse community for content and has developed an interactive vehicle that will help build an even larger audience for NARUTO, BLEACH and DEATH NOTE,” Ken Sasaki, Sr. Vice President of Strategy & Business Development, VIZ Media. “VIZ Media shares a vision to use the latest web technologies to make compelling animated content easily accessible in a legal, secure and high-quality format. We look forward to fans sharing their favorite episodes of NARUTO, BLEACH and DEATH NOTE on Joost and taking advantage of its social features to discuss and trade commentary individual episodes and expand the global momentum behind these properties.”

 

Danny Passman, global head of programming for Joost, said, “Our goal is to be the leading online destination for premium, legal anime – and VIZ Media is a key partner in this objective. NARUTO, BLEACH and DEATH NOTE have great fan bases because of their amazing artistry and compelling storylines, and with Joost’s social features, these shows will be introduced to an even larger audience.”

 

NARUTO (Uncut): Rated TV-14(English subtitled) http://www.joost.com/search?q=viz

NARUTO has become the hottest animated series across North America and is one of VIZ Media’s most successful manga and animated properties in terms of sales. Created by Masashi Kishimoto, the series depicts the adventures of a young boy named Uzumaki Naruto who trains to become a ninja. The boy is cursed with the spirit of a nine-tailed fox demon and is forced to live a bullied life discriminated against by his fellow villagers. Naruto is resilient and undaunted in his quest to become a master ninja and his determination often inspires those around him. Through amazing adventures, the young ninja learns the importance of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, creativity, ingenuity, and right vs. wrong. Dedicated website at www.naruto.com.

 

BLEACH (Uncut): Rated TV-14 (English subtitled)

BLEACH, an animated, hyperkinetic, ghost-busting action series is the story of a 15 year-old named Ichigo Kurosaki who was born with the ability to see ghosts. When his family is attacked by a Hollow – a malevolent lost soul – Ichigo encounters a Soul Reaper and absorbs her powers. Now he has dedicates his life to protecting the innocent and helping the tortured souls find peace. Dedicated website at www.bleach.viz.com.

 

DEATH NOTE (Uncut): Rated TV-14 (English subtitled) http://www.joost.com/search?q=viz

DEATH NOTE is based on the manga series of the same name and is currently one of the hottest animated titles in Japan. The series depicts the adventures of Light Yagami, an ace student with great prospects but who is bored out of his mind. All of that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals mysteriously begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to investigate, and he is soon hot on the trail of Light, who must now reevaluate his one noble goal. Dedicated website at www.deathnote.viz.com.

 

About Joost™

Founded by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström, Joost brings video and social interaction together online. All of the video on Joost is professionally produced and streams on-demand to people around the world for free in a high-quality format. Today, Joost has more than 30,000 program elements, including more than 400 television series and 1,200 movie and short film titles. For more information, visit http://www.joost.com.

 

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga (graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa and is a global ex-Asia licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, and DVDs, and develops, markets, licenses, and distributes animated entertainment for audiences and consumers of all ages. Contact VIZ Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and web site at www.VIZ.com.

THE MANGA WRITER: SHOJO HEARTBEAT

Written by: Brenda Greggson

HEART SKIP BEBOP

I’m not a mangaka, nor will I pretend to be one for the purposes of this short and hopefully insightful little guide on manga writing in the shojo genre. What I am is a lover of manga, particularly the ones that feature love blossoming eternal and people finding romance during the most awkward phase. I also want to write my own series one day and perhaps create even more of them when I’m done. I think what I’m trying to say is that I absolutely, positively and wishfully hope to be a mangaka.

Of course, wishing to be something doesn’t necessarily make you what you want to be, right? So the only thing you can to make your dreams come true is to go out there and do it. If you want to be a star quarterback then go out there and practice and practice until somebody notices you determination and ball-handling skills. If you want to be an famous ice skater, girl, hit the ice and skate until you’re shivering from the cold and somebody notices your technique. If you always wanted to be tall … well, there’s not much you can do, really, unless you’re comfortable wearing high heels or platform shoes all the time.

What I’m saying is go out and do it. A little green fellow who has an intimate knowledge of the Force once said that there is no try … you do or you do not. So I wrote my first draft for a one-shot shojo manga I called “Tango Kiss.” Of course, the nearly 200 pages I wrote were easy because the manga script was autobiographical rather than fictional but it was my way of getting to know to tell a romance story, get to know the format and then the joy of having to work out the visuals with an artist.

Writing, of course, comes first so I followed a simple and clichéd rule fiction writing instructors always say: write what you know. So thinking back to all my favorite shojo manga titles that I collected over the years (believe me, all of them take up a whole wall space alone) and a number of favorites I’m reading now (from “Love Attack” to “High School Debut”) I began writing what I know. I know myself and my life and one part of that life consisted of a romance that blossomed between myself and the Editor-in-Chief of this very site. Of course, back then we were freshmen in our High school in Southern California. Back then I was a sort-of-shy-sort-of-awkward girl that was great at dancing and he was a friendly-and-outspoken cute boy who just didn’t know how to approach the girl he wanted the most.

FIRST DATE

Writing was, surprisingly enough, not the hard part. The hard part to me was the format that would be easy for an artist to follow. I tried my hand at drawing and thought it was horrible so I knew I couldn’t be a mangaka who could pull double duty. So I knew I had to be as descriptive as I can possibly yet still give my artist enough creative freedom to inject his or her own unique artistic style to the project. I’m not a very demanding person so in “Tango Kiss” I gave my artist – Tokiko Sanada – the freedom to be as creative as she want to be with her style and flair for detail just as long as the characters and our school look the way I need it to look.

I read somewhere that manga and graphic novel writers must learn the Hollywood art of screenwriting because they almost go hand-in-hand with comic book writing. The truth is that there’s no ONE way to write a manga script just as long as it follows a consistent format all the way through. I voted for a more screenplay look to my scripts but left note for my artist within the descriptions of the actions.

Every story, of course, has a beginning, a middle and an ending. “Tango Kiss“, in a nut shell, is about a shy girl who falls for an outspoken cute boy who has a crush on a somewhat popular girl in school. This boy goes to great lengths to try to pursue the girl and comes to the conclusion that if he can become the popular girl’s dance partner he could get close enough to her to tell her how he feels about her. Of course, the boy has two-left feet and turns to the shy girl who is taking dance arts on campus. Soon the shy girls befriends the boy and comes to realize that she is falling in love with him despite the fact that said boy only has eyes for the popular girl. A conflict arises when the popular girl starts noticing the boy more and the shy girl just goes for it by kissing the boy. Will the boy put aside his quest to win the popular girl and stay with the girl that loves him more or will he break her heart and turn to the popular girl? Let’s just say that happy endings are nice but they’re not necessarily what happen in real life.

Of course, along the way other things occur outside the Beginning-Middle-End and you can inject those into your story as long as you keep the central story and main characters intact. Once you have that down you can write the story whether you plan it as a one-shot deal or a whole series. So it’s story and characters first, then work on the format and finally plan things out with an artist. Personally speaking, I found it useful (but not necessary) to buy a program called Manga Studio. It’s essentially a program for manga artists but I use to make thumbnails of how a scene will break down. Don’t worry if you can’t draw. Anyone can make stick figures, right? It’s just something to help your artist realize how the scene should look. It’s the artist that will take your thumbnails and bring their own style and creativity to it.

LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH

Tango Kiss followed a consistent and screenplay-like format that I didn’t necessarily came up with but it seemed to work when I took my script to Japan several months ago. You don’t have to go to Japan to get a manga done (I’m half Japanese so I was there because I love visiting relatives there). You can find an artist on your own and collaborate with them and have it printed here via publishing services you can hire.

Oh yeah, we were talking about format. Well, as I said, keep it looking consistent in order not to confuse your artist. Here’s a sample from “Tango Kiss” to give you the idea of my style.

PANEL 1

The quad again only this time it’s bustling with the lunch crowd that uses it as a hangout. To the right are three Goth kids … the girl working the Gothic Lolita look for all its worth. To the left are the hip-hop kids that, while multiracial, look like Hollywood’s version of urban kids. One of them bares a striking resemblance to rapper Eminem.

Sitting in the center is BRENDA and EDDIE who are sipping their Big Gulps and checking out the scene in front of them.

PANEL 2

CLOSE UP on EDDIE noticing something we don’t see just yet.

PANEL 3

It’s TIA in a cheerleading outfit. She has her pom poms and is cheerfully walking and talking with a group of other perky cheerleaders. All around them there are guys practically with their eyes glued to the group of curvy girls.

PANEL 4

BRENDA has her eyebrow raised as she eyes EDDIE watching the object of his affection walk past them. EDDIE is sporting a rather goofy grin on his face.

BRENDA: You know, I didn’t think she would get any more air-headed but –

EDDIE: She’s NOT an airhead.

PANEL 5

BOXOUT – BRENDA is eyeing EDDIE more curiously now.

PANEL 6

EDDIE, slightly annoyed by her glance, is practically glaring at his friend.

EDDIE: What!?!

BRENDA: Nothing. I just can’t see you dating a cheerleader.

BRENDA 2: It doesn’t suit you.

There it is, friends, my format. You can develop your own but bare in mind that some publishers have their own format in mind so if you are sending a script to, say, TOKYOPOP, just make sure you check with the format they are comfortable with or if they require you to have an artist with working with you.

Other than that all I can say is good luck. May you make your dreams of becoming a mangaka come true and hopefully one day your work will inspire other writers to do the same. Do it for yourself or do it for the love of manga but just do it.

Oh, just a side note here. “Tango Kiss” is not on sale. I wrote it for myself but also to have something to show publishers when I do have a project to sell. Consider it a business card of sorts to get your in the door. And, for those curious, “Tango Kiss” does not have a happy ending but the epilogue has a meeting of the two characters again in their college years when they do become sweethearts.

Their meeting, in a banquet hall during a friend’s wedding, reveals how much these two people actually did love each another. A band is playing an old Argentinean tango as the two, realizing they love each another, hold hands as they look into each another’s eyes.

BRENDA: May I have this dance?

EDDIE: That one and any other dance as long as it’s with you.

Now that’s a happy ending.

 
BRENDA GREGGSON lives in Southern California with her tea cup-sized puppy Chihuahua named Chibi and hopes to be a mangaka soon. Her hobbies include reading manga, playing tennis, traveling to Japan and hopes to write reviews for Animanga Nation.