All posts filed under: Humble Manga Opinions

Twin Star Exorcists Volume Four – Review

Something you come to learn quickly as an adult is that your childhood is one that should have been cherished. Out parents used to tell us that, when we become adults, we will come to miss being children, but unfortunately as adolescents we often take things for granted, only fully understanding once that time has passed us by. For some, days of old were ones spent in anguish, building them to be the men and women they are today. Many will say that hardship build character, but seemingly at the cost of a lot more. Rokuro Enmado had a childhood unlike any other. Training to be an Exorcist, he had no choice but to take up arms against fellow trainees who had succumb to the devilish influence of the Kegare, forced upon them by once-friend Yuto Ijika. This once seemingly innocent boy was the catalyst behind the Hinatsuki Tragedy, and he’s back to finish what he started. Given a choice, Rokuro must now decide whether or not to join Yuto in his plan to become the …

Black Clover Volume One – Review

It was in the early months of 2015 when Black Clover was first introduced to Western audiences thanks to Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump “Jump Start” initiative that showcases three full chapters from a brand-new Manga as a way to gauge audience reaction and determine whether or not to continue featuring it within the pages of the weekly issue release. Yuki Tabata, who was more well known for his short-lived series Hungry Joker at the time, began developing Black Clover after his previous Manga was cancelled abruptly. At the time of Black Clover’s pilot chapter release, I was nowhere near as open-minded as I am today, writing it off as a distinct duplicate of Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto in disguise as Hiro Mashima’s Fairy Tail. From what I am lead to believe; many people felt the same way as me at the time. The strange thing about this series is that it is still going strong today despite the heavy judgment from Shonen Jump readers early on in the piece. It isa case wherein which the loud …

World Trigger Volume Ten – Review

In life, every action has a reaction. There will never be a time in your life wherein which a choice you make will lead to naught, there will always be a consequence to everything you do, good or bad. Often this is something that is ignored in Shonen Manga of all kinds. With Shonen Jump’s demographic being young adults, one would imagine that realistic lessons would be the first to teach, but more often than not this isn’t the case. Shonen Jump’s modo is “Friendship, Effort, and Victory“, but never cause and effect, so to see something as realistic as a government-run press conference to address the severity of a war just passed as demanded by the general public situated within said war zone both startled and interested me greatly. With only seven seconds left until the crossroads, time is running out. Black Triggers face off as Miwa activates Fujin to bring the invasion to an end. But can everyone really escape the worst possible future? – VIZ Media Daisuke Ashihara’s mature style of writing is shown …

Tomodachi x Monster Volume Two – Review

From birth, we’re taught to be ourselves under all circumstances, never to succumb to the pressure of our peers, only to become something that ultimately we are not. Children, as inexperienced as they are, often do not go about their young lives following this frame of mind, instead they will do whatever it is they can to fit in so as to not be seen as “odd“, “weird“, “strange“, or anything else that would lead to their social outcasting. As you grow older, despite the fact that some social circles never change, you begin to learn that it matters not what others think, and that going through life while staying true to yourself is a road very much worth travelling. Narimiya Wataru’s situation, similar but unlike that of any other human child, is one that can only be described as…twisted. Now that Peke and himself have become great “friends“, others with similar companions belonging to a renegade group of murderous youths named “Carnival” are coming for him, but why exactly? Well, it could have something …

Tokyo Ghoul Volume Five – Review

Countless times in the past I’ve had conversations with other individuals regarding the vast difference between us humans and animals. For the longest time I felt as though I never had an educated-enough answer, or an intelligent-enough justification for my statement, but over the years I have come to understand certain small things about this interesting experience we call life that has allowed me to formulate answers to certain once-difficult questions that plagued me in my years as a young adult. What is a defining factor that truly separates humans from animals? One answer I feel as though I can accurately describe is an animal’s ability to assess situations and other animals within a split second, allowing them the opportunity to make break-neck decisions that could essentially mean the continuation of their life. Man kind does indeed feature a similar trait that, in more contemporary times, has been labelled “judging a book by it’s cover”, but I tend to believe it goes much deeper than that. It descends to an evolutionary level, the likes of …

Food Wars! (Shokugeki No Soma) Volume Ten – Review

Few characteristics make a Shonen Manga likeable. It is these same characteristics that also set the sub-genre apart from all others. For the most part, a Shonen story must feature a character cast of eccentric but relatable personalities, each one incomparable to the last. As a part of this “roster”, the protagonist will be left with the burden of having to carry the rest through the bulk of the series’ story. This is a Shonen staple, and a weight-baring facet that will never change. This isn’t always for the worst though, in fact, a story relying entirely on the metaphorical strength of it’s hero can often work out for the better, that is…if the Manga has a protagonist like Soma Yukihira. It’s the last quarterfinal match of the Fall Classic. Takumi Aldini, looking for another chance to challenge Soma, faces off against the smug-looking Subaru Mimasaka. What’s making him so confident? The truth—and the dish he prepares—sends the entire auditorium into an uproar! Let the shokugeki begin! – VIZ Media Food Wars! isn’t unlike it’s …

World Trigger Volume Nine – Review

Shonen Jump is a publication I feel as though I’ll follow until the very day I die. Despite the fact that Shueisha’s weekly issues are directed at young adults with a proclivity for action and friendship, I believe that the themes of Friendship, Effort, and Victory are three that can be appreciated by the young and old alike. Thanks to new Manga series’ like My Hero Academia, and Twin Star Exorcists – two contemporary Manga I feel as though stand above the rest – Shonen Jump is heading into a new era that, while nowhere near as ground-breaking as the Golden Age, will breath new life into the publication. One of the new Manga I feel as though stands with the likes of those I mentioned above is the one currently being reviewed; World Trigger. It is a series that started off it’s run in quite a weak position, with very few readers finding it as enjoyable as some of the others that begun alongside it, but regardless of that it has stuck to the …

Terra Formars Volume Ten – Review

Mars is a planet 225 million kilometers away from Earth, and that is at it’s closest. It’s a planet so far away that it would take between 150 and 300 full days to reach it’s surface. Matt Damon was recently marooned on the red planet, and the mission was so arduous that it took a Childish Gambino to get him home to us. The point I’m trying to make is that Mars is quite a long way from Earth, and yet not even those currently inhabiting it cant seem to escape from the child-like politics on Earth. Terra Formars’ latest arc is one that revolves around China’s heel turn as they attempt to seize control of the mission so as to return to Earth the sole survivors accompanied by what would be the only source of research data from the exhibition. Having said data in the palm of their hands, being the only country in the world with it, would make China the superpower they have always wanted to be, so their Annex soldiers will …

Vagabond (VIZBIG Edition): Volume Eleven – Review

Often, people are quick to tell you that it’s never a good idea to meet your idols. When you admire someone, be they an actor, musician, public figure, etc. there’s always a great chance that they simply aren’t the people you believed them to be. A celebrity’s image is only one of two, sometimes, strikingly different personas that those in the public eye tend to play host to, so that particular warning is not one that goes unwarranted. During Japan’s Sengoku Period, one’s level of celebrity was not spread through television appearances, or with the release of their latest album. It was through sheer word of mouth, and often those who look up to these legendary few go to their graves never even knowing what they look like, let alone fulfilling their dream of meeting them. For a young Takezo (Miyamoto Musashi), it was Ito Ittosai, the “Sword Demon”, that inspired him to become the renowned swordsman he is today, but when the two finally come face-to-face, it is a meeting unlike every fantasy that swelled …

Terra Formars Volume Eight and Nine – Review

No longer is the war on Mars being fought by two different planetary races. At one point in time this mission to the red planet was for the sake of not only combatting the forces of the Cockroaches, but to capture live specimens for experimental use back on Earth. You may have forgotten this, but there’s a virus spreading across Earth that is a direct cause of the evolution process that developed thanks to the terraforming of Mars. Part of the reason why the Annex I were sent there in the first place was to bring back samples of which Earth scientists could create a cure from, but like anything else that has evolutionary traits, the Cockroach samples can not only be used in the medical field…it can also be used for warfare. In the previous volume it was revealed that the Chinese soldiers on Mars, who were once a part of the Annex I mission, turned heel against the rest of the crew under orders from their superiors back on Earth. While there is a …

Tomodachi x Monster Volume One – Review

Imagine the absolute devastation that a Pokemon roaming around in our reality could cause simply by existing. While in the realm of the Pokemon franchise most Pocket Monsters wouldn’t dare attack a human, but add their variable to the equation we call “real life” and what you’ll find is chaos, death, and destruction. While the Fire Blast of a Charizard may cause a Venusaur to faint in-game, it’s effects in our dimension would be much more dire: Not only would that poor creature simply burn to death, but the environment surrounding it as well! I wont even bother going into detail regarding the varying nature of these monsters, the likes of which could result in many human deaths. We often hear about domestic animals like a family dog attacking someone due to a variety of reasons, and while that canine can leave you with a nasty bite wound, it is nowhere near as bad as a Hyper Beam to the chest. In Yoshihiko Inui’s latest Manga masterpiece Tomodachi x Monster, licensed by Seven Seas Entertainment here …

Vagabond (VIZBIG Edition): Volume Ten – Review

Each of us, every single human being, has a path to walk. Wrong or right, it is a path regardless, and what must be known is that with every step forward comes incredible change. Some say that there are many paths to take, which can often instil a sense of anxiety in an individual: Where to go next? What to do now? Have I made the right choice? These are but only a few of the questions that come with a life of choice, but what if I was to say that the choices are not our own, that are lives have been predetermined by some higher power? Pose this question to Monk Takuan and what he’ll tell you is that such a belief allows for us to be completely free. Instead of thinking, pondering, wondering what comes next, we walk forward with determination, facing what comes in our way only when it does so, all the while staying true to ourselves on an instinctual level. Such freedom is a gift few of us have …

One-Punch Man Volume Four – Review

Superheroism is a dangerous game. More often than not, these (optionally) caped crusaders stand toe to toe with titanic terrors that threaten the very safety of humanity or, to a slightly lesser extent, the stability of society and must stand their ground for the benefit of all. Of course this is nothing new and these exploits of championhood have bolstered stories and legends throughout the ages. What doesn’t often make the tale however is the innate uncertainty that dwells within certain heroes, nor does the selfishness and danger that comes with making oneself an icon. However, as we spiral ever further into the investigation of the flawed individual, we come to find that even those who stand out as the best are sometimes born from intentions which are far from the same. Yet still we must question the benefit of such and endeavour, as peering beneath the mask defeats its purpose and throws one of the world’s most tries and true tropes into chaos. As down time is an almost alien concept within Cities A through …

Tokyo Ghoul Volume Four – Review

I love watching the cooking channel, this is something all my family and friends already know. Now, just because my nightly routine has me following the tasty exploits of Jamie Oliver and Anthony Bourdain, that doesn’t mean I’m any kind of gourmand. I like food, obviously, and I enjoy watching people cook it, but I don’t know what it means to be a lover of fine cuisine. Unfortunately for Tokyo Ghoul protagonist, Kaneki Ken, he has just been introduced to a man who considers himself quite the culinary connoisseur, but seeing as this man is more a devilish Ghoul than that of an actual man, it is very much like him to take things to the absolute extreme. Shun Tsukiyama, a Ghoul titled “The Gourmet“, is known for causing trouble for both humans and Ghouls alike, and now he’s set his sights on one Kaneki Ken; a half-human half-ghoul hybrid with a mouth-watering odour…apparently. With Shun’s sights set on him, Kaneki will quickly come to understand what it feels like to be the main ingredient …

World Trigger Volume Eight – Review

Last we saw of World Trigger, back in volume seven; our world was at war with the invading Neighbours. Unfortunately for Border, the organisation created specifically to defend against such forces, the Neighbours are no longer simply sending through their monstrous soldiers. The appearance of what the series is calling Humanoid Neighbours has raised the stakes of this war ever higher, because with their introduction comes the true motive of this invasion. The true enemy have revealed themselves, and they’re from a world called Aftokrator. Their purpose; to collect as much Trion energy as possible, and if that means they have to take a few of our Border agents with them, then that’s just what they will do! In the previous volume, we saw one of their toughest soldiers, Ranbanein, taken down by a small team of A-Rank agents in a life-or-death situation that could not only mean the end of them, but the end of the world we know it as a whole. Unfortunately, despite the retreat of one soldier, there are more Humanoid Neighbours to …

Twin Star Exorcists Volume Three – Review

Who the hell do you think you are, huh? Going around saying things like; “A Shonen Manga can’t have shocking revelations so early on in it’s run“. It makes me sick to my stomach knowing that there are people like you making such-oh, wait…you didn’t say anything like that? Seriously? Geez, well, I’m so sorry, I kind of flew off the handle there for no reason. It just scares me to think that maybe somewhere out in the big, bad world people might be saying things of this kind, especially because of how much I’m liking Shonen Jump’s latest Manga hit Twin Star Exorcists, which just so happens to feature it’s fair share of shocking twists. Volume two of the Manga left off with one heck of a cliffhanger: It was revealed that Rokuro was at the very center of the Hinatsuki tragedy, and as a cause of it was cursed with his Kegare-like right arm. Volume three of Twin Star Exorcists decides that one twist was not nearly enough. In fact, it was just the …

Naruto: Seventh Hokage And The Scarlet Spring – Review

The Last: Naruto The Movie, despite what the name suggests, was not the last Naruto…anything. In fact; it was the film that kicked off not only another short Manga run but another theatrical film titled Boruto: Naruto The Movie. Between the events of those two films lies the events of this here Manga; Naruto: The Seventh Hokage And The Scarlet Spring, which tells the tale of Sarada Uchiha’s search for who she believes to be her true mother. After the events of The Last: Naruto The Movie, it seems as though the the once-innocent child Ninjas of The Village Hidden In The Leaves all decided to begin procreating with their significant others almost immediately after the great war’s end. I suppose the removal of fear must be replaced with emotions just as powerful, and Lust…now that’s a big one! The issue with Sarada, the offspring of Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno, is that, well…she doesn’t believe any of this! After discovering a photograph of Sasuke’s old Taka teammate Karin, Sarada begins to believe that the …

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign Volume Seven – Review

Everybody starts from somewhere. Despite how one may seem, they were not born with the inherent ability to succeed. Cliche as it may be, success takes consistent effort, a desire to strive onwards, the will to be better than yourself. Of course, this is more often easier said that done, which leaves many would be go-getters winding up in the proverbial wayside to which many before them have fallen. Yet, for those who refuse to surrender, whether through pure determination or indomitable stubbornness, there awaits a summit, a pinacle on which to stand. However, despite the awe inspiring nature of such a view, one much never lust for it at the expense of witnessing each and every step up their metaphorical mountain, lest they find their victory Pyrrhic in every sense of the word. Road trip! Just three guys, two girls and a jeep speeding down the highway, heading straight for sun, adventure and one of the largest military missions ever undertaken by the remnants of humanity who now call the ruined landscape of Japan …

Food Wars! (Shokugeki No Soma) Volume Nine – Review

Month after month, release after release, volume after volume, Food Wars! (Shokugeki No Soma) still finds ways to surprise and delight me, and it has quickly become of my more favoured alternative Shonen Jump productions of recent times. We’re now up to Volume Nine of the series’ run and, for the longest time, there has been an ongoing arc which, in my personal opinion, will go down in history as just another one of those outstanding Shonen Jump arcs that you will continue to remember long after you’ve finished reading. The Rescue Rukia arc from Bleach, the Chunnin Exams arc from Naruto, the Paramount War arc from One Piece, and now the Fall Classic arc from Food Wars!. What makes these story arcs so riveting? What makes them so memorable? What makes them stand out above every other arc featured in their significant stories? This writer feels as though it has a lot to do with heart. The thing about the arcs I mentioned just before is that they don’t actually share many similarities. Yes, of …

Uzumaki Naruto: Illustrations (Art Book) – Review

Masashi Kishimoto: The man behind the adored Shonen Jump series Naruto. The world knows who he is. In fact; it’s harder not to know who he is than that of the inverse. Between the Manga’s first (published in 1999) and final (published in 2014) chapter, a lot has changed for this talented Mangaka. Not only did his writing style change over the many years of the series’ run, but so did his illustration skill, eventually coming to master the practice of sequential art in much the same way the legends before him had done. For the first time in SnapThirty history, and for the first time in my personal career as a pop culture-centric writer, I’ve been given the opportunity to review the, somewhat, collected works of Masashi Kishimoto in the form of the recently released Uzumaki Naruto: Illustrations art book which, as you may already know, is wonderous release dedicated to the illustrative work of Naruto’s Shippuden Era which spans from the titular character’s return to the village to his eventual role as the Hokage of …

Vagabond (VIZBIG Edition): Volume Eight And Nine – Review

To live the true life of a Samurai, one must master not only the art of combat but poetry, painting, illustration, conversation, and everything in between. The road of the warrior does not lead straight ahead, there are turns to make through avenues unexpected that will teach a man to master the lifestyle. Miyamoto Musashi, the greatest swordsman in all of Japan, wrote about this in The Book Of Five Rings saying: “You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain”. What is interesting about the life of Miyamoto Musashi, a famed Samurai and philosopher, is that it was only through years of combat that he was able to come to develop a practice not entirely based on swordsmanship. Some time in his life something had changed him. Whilst a young Miyamoto Musashi would grin at the possibility of combat, an older Miyamoto Musashi would write about why one believes such a situation to be beneficial, or the inverse. In volumes Eight and Nine of Takehiko Inoue’s Vagabond, provided to …

One-Punch Man Volume Three – Review

Regardless of what they entail, jobs can be stressing. Be it an issue with a computer, a clash with a customer or an all round slow day, their are countless trials and tribulations that can turn any frown upside-down and then immediately right side up. But what ho, fiction dawns upon the horizon, that age old escape from the problems of a hard fought day, that window into a world unbound from the laws of our own, free to exist in whatever form it so desires. Monsters, angels, demons, heroes, beings free from the confines of reality, from the mundanity of…no. wait, heroism is a career now. Damn. Ah well, a little fiscal accountability never hurt anyone…right? Yes my friends and fans of fiction, being a champion of justice just got legal. No longer are our caped crusaders vigilantes in the eyes of the law, no longer must they hide for fear of recompense, for they are now agents of the law, under the law. Sounds like a pretty sweet gig right? Well yes and …

My Hero Academia Volume Two – Review

Heroes are cool. Swooping in whenever and wherever they are needed most, vanquishing evil and keeping the innocent safe. What the populace is not privy to however is the behind the scenes effort that goes into forging these stalwart beacons of hope. I  speak of training, the necessary evil in producing champions of the highest caliber. Sure running sprinting drills isn’t the most awe inspiring task in a world filled with an immeasurable number of super powers, but it just might be that hundredth dash that gave that hero the extra fraction of a second they needed to arrive in the nick of time. It may be cliche, but though everyone is not born equal, their actions may make them greater than the sum of their parts. As with every hero story ever put to paper, we began with the origin story, the answering of the call to action that sets up any great protagonist big or small, empowered or not. That being said, My Hero Academia is, in its own conception, an origin story, so …

Tokyo Ghoul Volume Three – Review

When this world was created, by any deity you choose to believe was the cause, do you think all living things were made as equals? Chances are, if you answered “yes” you may be the type of person who doesn’t necessarily eat meat of any kind. Slaughtering and devouring an animal is akin to believing you have the right, as a superior being, to take another creatures life for the sake of prolonging your own…some believe. Others, like myself, tend to consider this act a simple part of the natural food chain. Much like a lion hunts a gazelle, we feed on cattle, and though there are ways to survive without taking the life of another beast, there are also clear differences, both intelligence and otherwise, between us and the animals we choose to call “food”. Now what if our food was as intelligent, if not moreso, than ourselves? Does that make it wrong to hunt, kill, and feed on said creatures for sustenance? Granted, when referring to the Ghouls of Tokyo Ghoul, some more …

Food Wars! (Shokugeki No Soma) Volume Eight – Review

  The final pages of Food Wars! Volume seven left readers in a state of anticipation thanks to the cliffhanger ending that saw protagonist Soma finally about to go head-to-head with his Fall Classic arc nemesis Akira Hayama; the self-proclaimed master of curry. Volume seven served as an introductory volume that set up a great deal of the story that leads directly into the confrontation between these two culinary juggernauts. That then transitions almost seamlessly into the next, and possibly final, segment of this tournament-arc. Thanks to Madman Entertainment, once again, for allowing us the opportunity to review the latest release in this much-loved Manga series.   The battle of the Fall Classic preliminaries comes to a thundering close! Can Soma conjure up a curry masterpiece brilliant enough to surpass a dish from the master of fragrance, Akira Hayama? This volume also includes a bonus story about the adventures of a certain someone during her lazy summer vacation! – Madman Entertainment Volume eight took an entirely different approach to story development than volume seven which, …

Twin Star Exorcists Volume Two – Review

Like it or not; we all have things from our past that we simply cannot escape. Bad memories, bad experiences, things that tested us both physically and mentally; often we wish that they could simply be erased, so we run from them. The problem is…we cannot run forever. Eventually the things we fear so gravely will catch up to us, this is an inevitability. For the Twin Star Exorcists Rokuro and Benio, their pasts are filled with nothing but tragedy; memories they wish they could escape, but never will. Volume two of Twin Star Exorcists has just been released down here in Australia thanks to Madman Entertainment, and with it comes the bombshell of a lifetime that has truly kicked this Shonen Jump Manga into second gear, readying it for the first big arc of the series; something a seasoned Shonen reader knows can make or break a Manga. Hopefully it’s not the latter. Twin Star Exorcists volume two stays in much the same realm as the first volume with it’s Shonen story elements mixed …

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign Volume Six – Review

It has been a long held saying that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Now, whilst this is true enough in most scenarios, the waters are noticeably muddied in conflicts containing an ever increasing number of factions. Wherein one moment you may find yourself standing shoulder to shoulder with necessitous allies, the next you may notice a blade placed firmly between your shoulder blades. Such is war in an ever crumbling society I’m afraid although, if you are particularly fortunate, you may just happen upon a few who are allies in the truest sense of the word, and ones who will leave your back remarkably un-stabbed. With vampires being the apparent jerk bags that they are, humanity is in rather swift need of a truly powerful strike force, capable of relieving a certain blood sucking sect of the world of their metaphorically big heads and well over inflated senses of ego. Luckily for this particular fictitious, apocalyptic world, Shinoa Company are here and, by way of protagonistic power, are just the ragtag team …

World Trigger Volume Seven – Review

A Shonen Manga with an engaging storyline and likeable characters is what drives people wild. It’s why series’ like One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach rose to such high levels of fame so early on in their release. World Trigger has all that, if it didn’t, it wouldn’t have gotten it’s own Anime and Video Game. People are absolutely loving it, and so am I, but it’s not just a good storyline accompanied by good characters that makes a Shonen Manga so enjoyable, not even close. A Shonen Manga has to have a certain level of edginess shown through countless battles that highlight the strengths and weaknesses of said characters, driving the story ever forward. A true Shonen staple is memorable battles, and in volume seven of World Trigger, well…we’ve found one of, I assume, many memorable battles. In volume seven, World Trigger takes a huge step forward into the more exciting bulk of it’s story by introducing audiences to a team of antagonists that, while not yet entirely established, show clear signs of hostility, and …

One-Punch Man Volume One and Two – Review

Strength, power, ability, all words synonymous…well for the same thing really, but it is something that is longed for nonetheless. For those wishing to make a difference, for those desiring a different lot in life, for those with a dream. Now, whilst I could spend a sizeable chunk of time delving into the various interpretations of what power is, I’m going to keep it simple and just talk about the one that makes you punch harder. Why you ask? Because of the manga title, see how I tied the punching thing in there? With all the subtlety of a freight train? You know what else has that level of subtlety? One-Punch Man. Taking place in a world that is the fruition of tokusatsu fan’s dreams, this particular manga provides us with an unforgettable face in the form of Saitama: Hero for Fun. Having hop skipped and jumped through his origin story in record time, we come to learn that he was a despondent,  unemployed gentleman, sparked into action by a helpless (and annoying) child and his dormant childhood …

My Hero Academia Volume One – Review

Superheroes. The hallmark of imagination since the calendar year began with a 1 and a 9. Beacons of hope born from the recesses of authors, illustrators and any other person who dared to leap outside of reality. With power born from the simplicity of their existence, heroes serve as idols to a world not their own, becoming more than fiction as they lay bare the greatest powers of humanity. Compassion, consideration, goodness, all that cliche hallmark crap that will never cease to inspire. Sure powers have gotten more complex than flight, and costumes more specialised than a cut of billowing red fabric, but the message has never, and will never change; being righteous is never wrong. For the sake of argument, and arguably reality, I’m going to assume you’ve all heard of at least one costumed crime-fighter in your life. Marvel, DC, that movie Sky High, it doesn’t matter, you know the basics of heroism. So, with that in mind, we find ourselves in yet another origin story, the beginnings of a nobody who will …

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood Volume Three – Review

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has always gotten away with how ridiculous and inherently insane it is on one thing: pure commitment to itself. That unbridled commitment to its core concepts and the extreme level of detail to the bizarre makes every single page utterly compelling, demanding you to suspend you disbelief because why not believe that something so insane could happen when it is this fun? That commitment is why Jonathan’s climactic battle with Dio’s decapitated head on a zombie filled cruise liner inferno is so damn good. For all its intricate little details, the declaration fueled dialogue and the sheer passion that flows through every panel, Araki’s Phantom Blood is a masterstroke clearly on accident. This third volume concludes the Phantom Blood arc of the series and it does beg the question, was this how this series was originally intended to conclude or did Araki plan it to span generations? I think that given later plot holes that occur, it is obvious this was the originally intended ending of the manga and it is interesting …

Food Wars! (Shokugeki No Soma) Volume Seven – Review

Every story, no matter how boiling hot, gets to a point wherein which it starts to cool, it starts to slow down, it comes to…a simmer. After six jaw-dropping volumes of Food Wars! (Shokugeki No Soma) I feel as though the time has come for the series to take a natural step back in preparation for big things to come, and it was the pacing of this latest volume that put such a thought into my head. Every good Manga series has that one volume that doesn’t quite hit the mark, possibly because, much like this particular one, what goes on between it’s pages is mostly set-up for the duel between the story’s main character and the current rival. Almost every single Shonen Manga has this and, seeing as Food Wars! (Shokugeki No Soma) is indeed a Shonen Manga…it makes a great deal of sense that, it too, would fall victim to such a common pacing issue. Thanks to Madman Entertainment, as always, we’ve been given to chance to review the latest volume of the …

Tokyo Ghoul Volume Two – Review

Tokyo Ghoul is the story of a boy who’s forced into a life between two worlds, having to exist on either side of two opposing forces each willing to kill the other for the sake of their kind’s survival. Kaneki Ken is no longer a human and yet, despite his organs being that of a Ghoul’s, he also has no place in the world of these monsters either. In the first volume of this young Manga series created by the mysterious Sui Ishida, we were introduced to the young man mentioned above; a intelligent individual named Kaneki Ken. In volume two the introductions stop as room is made for tragedy to begin unfolding. For the very first time as a member of the Ghouls, Kaneki Ken has seen the true discriminate brutality of the humans as he bares witness to a fellow pacifistic Ghoul being put down by the forces of the CCG (Commission of Counter Ghoul), a sub-government organisation with a singular purpose; kill all Ghouls. This is the genesis of Kaneki’s change of heart as …

Terra Formars Volume Seven – Review

The thing about space travel is that it’s quite dangerous, as well as being extraordinarily expensive. Once you leave the gravity of Earth, who the hell knows what is going to happen next. If you’re a crew of half-bug people on your way to Mars, chances are some weird stuff is going to go down…like bipedal cockroach men, but that’s something you’ve been trained to deal with, kind of. What happens when, after almost a week of trying to survive against said cockroach men, you’re then having to deal with the forces of…other humans? Terra Formars is now into it’s seventh volume, and it just continues to get more and more exciting. Madman Entertainment have been doing a fantastic job bringing this thrilling science-fiction story to Australia and New Zealand, and, once again, us here at SnapThirty have been given a chance to review the latest volume which takes a huge stride to the left and begins branching off on a storyline I saw coming a while ago, but I’m very much glad is now …

World Trigger Volume Six – Review

World Trigger volume six is the latest volume of the Manga to be released in Australia thanks to Madman Entertainment. Unfortunately, due to mysterious circumstances, our review copy was delivered about a month late…but that’s not a bad thing, not when the cause of which opens your eyes to something quite striking: I’m in love with this Manga. For the last four weeks I have been on the back of fellow writer Luke Halliday regarding the shipment of World Trigger, not through frustration but through excitement. Turns out, despite the series of Bs and B+s I’ve given it in the past, World Trigger is one of my most anticipated contemporary Manga releases, and volume six has finally made me exactly aware of just why it is I’ve fallen for this humble Manga. Story-wise, not a great deal develops in volume six of World Trigger, in fact, by the end of the volume more questions were raised than answered, but that’s to be expected with a set of chapters as combat heavy as the ones in …

Food Wars! (Shokugeki No Soma) Volume Five and Six – Review

Madman Entertainment continue to roll out fantastic releases each and every month, but none more exciting than that of Food Wars! (Shokugeki No Soma). Why though? Not only is it a fantastic Shonen Anime that somehow relates the culinary world with that of a treacherous battlefield…but Madman are releasing two volumes at a time! Don’t you get what this means? It means we’re getting double the usual amount of Food Wars! media which means I’m spending double the time being engulfed by this fantastic series. Calling it a “fantastic series” shouldn’t be too much of a review-spoiler by now seeing as I’ve already critiqued each and every volume up until this point in time and have loved it all the way. We’re now up to volumes five and six; a pair of volumes that, together, perfectly set up the coming arc which I’m lead to believe wont come and go as all the others have done in the past. This is the calm before the proverbial storm…and it isn’t even that peaceful. I guess that’s …

Tokyo Ghoul Volume One – Review

There’s a few fairly obvious reasons as to why you’re all here reading this review. Although I’d like to think it’s because you’re a fan of the website and, more importantly, a fan of my writing…I don’t think it has anything to do with that, not when the subject is Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul. A psychological thriller revolving around the collision of two worlds, Tokyo Ghoul quickly became one of the most popular contemporary Anime titles as of late, much like that of Hajime Isayama’s Attack On Titan which went through a similar popularity spike after just the first episode. Chances are, you’re not that big a fan of the Anime. If you were, you probably would have already bought the Manga for yourself before reading any reviews, that’s just how dedicated the fan base of Tokyo Ghoul is. I’d like to think you’re more like me; someone who watched the Anime all the way through and was left somewhat unsatisfied. Being told that the Manga is much more in-depth and therefor more enjoyable than the Anime, you …

Twin Star Exorcists Volume One – Review

Everyone’s good at something, this much I’m sure of. Even if you think you’re not good at anything, chances are you’re pretty good at something. Rokuro, well, he’s really good at slaying demons. He’s been that way ever since he can remember, but a certain tragedy stopped him from doing what it is that he once did best. Imagine you’re really good at soccer: You’re the star player on your team, everybody thinks you’re great, and your opponents are actually pretty scared of you, even though they come across as being fearless. What if one day one of the opposing teams slaughtered each and every single member of your crew…bar you. Chances are, you’re not going to want to play soccer again, right? Now replace soccer with demons, and teammates with the closest thing you’ve got to a family…now you’re on your way to understanding the life of our young hero. One of Madman Entertainment’s latest Manga publications, Twin Star Exorcists, has just hit shelves around Australia and New Zealand, and we at SnapThirty have …

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign Volume 5 Review

When you live in a world swarmed by demons, vampires and creatures that defy classification, the one thing you can be thankful for is the ease with which you can differentiate friend from foe. After all, it’s not exactly difficult to tell a human apart from a skycraper sized abomination, even vampires have those fangs and unmistakeable bloodlust…they’re also probably already biting you if you’re close enough to focus on the details. But what if, just maybe, there were enemies within? What if there were those who stood alone amongst the survivors? What if you couldn’t trust a human? Following the rather explosive volume that preceded it, this particular instalment of Seraph of the End dwells in a more conversational realm. Having been involved in a sizeable vampire attack, the Shinoa Company is called in by the illustrious Hiragi family, rulers of the Imperial Demon Army…you know, like how all military forces are dictated by a single family. Though I suppose that does call back to historical Japan in its own way, talk about history …

Gangsta Volume Six – Review

Gangsta is set in a city that is almost constantly on the verge of caving in on itself. Run by four Mafia heads, there’s a constant struggle with each of them trying to claw their way to the top. They’re all very dignified and they play nice with each other to maintain their respective facades, but with The Destroyers in town causing trouble and The Hunters on the prowl tying up loose ends, this gives one of the families the chance to launch themselves above the rest by doing something more sinister than you can imagine. Something that will throw off the balance of Ergastulum in a way like never before. Volume six sees the end of one conflict which naturally leads into the beginning of another. Delico, still searching for his twin sister, continues along the path of reconciliation with his partner Yang, and Galahad stays as strong as possible for the sake of the Christiano’s while mourning the death of someone that was once very close to him. Volume six is one of …

Terra Formars Volume Six – Review

An Earth day lasts twenty four hours. Do you know how long a full day on Mars lasts? Not too much longer than that, maybe only about forty minutes. This means that Earth and Mars have similar rotations. Now if you were to ask me how long a day on Mars lasts after only reading through Madman Entertainment’s hit Manga Terra Formars, I’d probably tell you it lasts a great deal longer. Actually, if we’re determining the length of a Mars day going strictly off of the Manga’s release schedule…a complete Mars day lasts for almost five months, but I don’t know why you’d determine the length of another planet’s day by using the release schedule of a popular science-fiction series. I most likely would, this is why I’m a writer for an online publication and noy an astronaut. We’re now into the sixth volume of Terra Formars, five of which have focused on the soldiers of Annex I and one of which works as somewhat of a prequel to the events of the series’ …

Food Wars! (Shokugeki No Soma) Volume Three and Four – Review

How did we get so lucky? Over the past two months, Madman Entertainment have been releasing the Food Wars! Manga in pairs, I assume so that they can catch up to Viz Media’s North American release schedule which is already up to volume eight! Despite the reason why, I just hope the Manga keeps coming at this pace because I’ll be damned if I have to go a month without reading at least a single volume of this Shonen Jump Advanced food fest! Yeah, that’s how much I’m liking it so far. There may be some of you out there who aren’t exactly up to date with Food Wars!, and I suggest that you do not read this review seeing as you’ll be way out of the loop. Instead, why don’t you go and read my review of the first two volumes which can be found here. I assure you, as the person who wrote the review, it’ll be very much worth your while. Who knows? You may even end up grabbing yourself a new …

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood Volume 2 Review

The bizarre adventure into the heart of gothic darkness continues with the second volume of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’s first part, Phantom Blood. While the first volume introduced us into the bizarre domain that is the world of Jonathan Joestar and Dio Brando, volume 2 is more focused on paving the pathway for their fated collision. It is evident from the very first chapter of Phantom Blood that this story is going to end in one way and one way only, with Jonathan and Dio duking it out in mortal combat. After Dio had put Jonathan’s father out of commission permanently in the last volume, Jonathan is trying to go on with his life. Eventually Jonathan comes to meet Zeppelli an eccentric man who informs him of Dio’s survival and intentions of building an undead army to conquer the world. Johnathan isn’t having none of that of course and after learning the ancient art of Hamon (or Ripple if you are that way inclinced) he sets out with Zeppelli and the downright hilarious Speedwagon. This volume …

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Graphic Novel) Review

The Legend of Zelda. Probably the world’s most popular RPG that still has a great deal of the populace confused as to who the titular character actually is. Though, to be fair, I’m not entirely sure how constantly being captured by an evil wizard constitutes a legend. Poor Link does all the work after all, without a word of complaint might I add…well, without a word of anything, but you get my point. Anywho, as one might gather from the title of this particular novel of graphic form, this release details the exploits of a Link to the Past, an early story in what would become a gaming legend…of Zelda. Young Link was just a humble guy, sleeping in his bed like any other night, when suddenly a voice rang in his ears. Now this wasn’t just any disembodied voice haunting him during the witching hour, it was rather the voice of Princess Zelda, imploring him for help. You know…because. Anyway, putting plot reservations on the background, our hapless hero immediately storms an enemy fortified castle, …

Food Wars! (Shokugeki No Soma) Volume One and Two – Review

I WOULD say that cooking programs are my “guilty pleasure“, but I honestly don’t feel much guilt after catching an episode of Jamie’s fifteen Minute Meals. The way I see it; humans eat a minimum of three times a day. You’ve got breakfast, lunch, AND dinner, though if you ask Childish Gambino…they’re just for beginners. Us humans eat SO much, we might as well eat good! That’s why, although my skills are closer to “none” than “great“, I still insist on being the cook in my household at least once a week, though I’ve never wanted to be an actual chef. Something I understand about the life of a proper chef, from knowing a number of former chefs, is that it is an incredibly difficult one. I was once told that a chef never quite leaves the kitchen, even long after their hard day is over. A lot resort to drinking to wind down, and most don’t last too long in the industry without cracking and hanging up their apron for good. I suppose what Anthony …

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood Volume 1 Review

Whether you love it or you hate it, there is one thing that is undeniable: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is something special. While it is easy to pass off JoJo’s early goings as a Fist of the North Star knock-off at first glance at hulking men drawn with sharp lines and heavy ink. Phantom Blood is brimming with creativity the likes of which are damn near incomparable. That is what JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is, simply unlike anything else in manga. Phantom Blood is the first of eight (and counting) parts of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure series. Originally released back in 1986, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has spanned hundreds of volumes and thousands upon thousands of chapters and remains in serialization today. However this is the first time ever that the Phantom Blood part of the series has been released in English, with Viz Media having only ever dabbled in localizing part three of the series, Stardust Crusaders. Needless to say, this is a release that is a long time coming and Viz Media have not disappointed, giving …

Assassination Classroom Volume Three – Review

As an Australian who got his education at an Australian school, taught by Australian teachers, surrounded by Australian friends and Australian environments…it has always been hard relating to the average Anime or Manga student seeing as, well…they’re Japanese, and the two cultures don’t have much crossover. I’ve never had a fellow student take roll call, I’ve never eaten lunch on the school roof, I’ve never had to change into sports gear midway through the day, and I’ve never been introduced to a transfer student. In comparison to the Japanese school lifestyle…my education days were terribly boring. Volume Three of Yusei Matsui’s Assassination Classroom finishes off the small arc that started midway through Volume Two, which saw Class-E head off on a trip to Kyoto only to promptly run into trouble…typical of students from the Assassination Classroom. Unlike what I experienced in Volumes One and Two, what I was reading in Volume Three simply didn’t hit me in the same way. Especially the first half of the volume. The great jokes that once made me chuckle out loud, …

World Trigger Volume Five – Review

It’s so strange to me; Daisuka Ashihara’s World Trigger isn’t nearly as popular as I imagined it was months ago. I saw this Manga turned Anime and thought to myself; “surely this is what’s leading the popularity polls in Japan”. I can’t honestly say I know why I thought that, it just had a look about it that I couldn’t help but shake. It was a huge surprise to me when fellow writer and friend Luke Halliday explained that it is a Manga that has constantly been on the verge of being axed, which is sad but also wonderfully uplifting. Think about this: World Trigger calls the chopping block it’s home. It’s always on the very edge of continued publication yet somehow always remains in the pages of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump and author Daisuke Ashihara is still employed to keep up with production. This means that, although World Trigger is almost always one foot in the grave, it fights on to live another day. This hasn’t just happened once…this has happened many times, and …

Terra Formars Volume Five – Review

This may seem somewhat outlandish but I beg that, before you jump to aggressive conclusions, you think about just what it is that I’m about to say: We live in a strange age that glorifies and celebrates mediocrity, especially in the world of pop culture. I’ve seen countless Anime and Manga rise to stardom undeservedly, I’ve seen many characters who’ve risen to an unjustified level of popularity, I’ve seen what I consider to be the downfall of story/character writing and now I’m seeing one hell of an overall shift. In recent months I’ve been able to experience some of the most exciting Anime and Manga of all time thanks to my role here at SnapThirty. Before we started this website, I thought the industry was at an all-time low…and I truly think, even now, that it was. Since then things have been looking up. I was introduced to Manga like World Trigger, Assassination Classroom, Gangsta, and yes, Terra Formars. I then came to realise that an overall storyline is not just what makes a series …

Gangsta Volume Five – Review

What is it that compels people to kill? To take the life of another? We’re taught from birth that such a thing is simply inhuman. Never should this be done, so why is it that people continue to do it? There’s this force within some of us, humans I mean, that lies in wait entirely invisible to all our senses. It wells up inside and forces people to do the things they never thought they could. Sometimes that thing is murder. Most of us never even ponder the possibility of taking a life, yet people do it countless times every single day. Pop culture as a whole has desensitised us to death, that alongside the evening news. You know, sometimes even the hero kills if they have to. Kohske’s Gangsta is just another Manga series that doesn’t shy away from the death and destruction. You’re guaranteed to see a brutal murder every single volume but do you know what the difference is? The protagonists never insinuate that what they are, are anything BUT just two …

Terra Formars Volume Four – Review

I havn’t always been this way but, as of recent years, I’ve come to believe in the true concept of evolution. Why I would disbelieve it is something you’d have to ask a very young Frank Inglese, but the fact that I now believe in that particular process of growth means that I, myself, have gone through a sort of evolution. I now believe that those who do not evolve will become obsolete; something many around me have been preaching for some time but something that I havn’t quite come to terms with until now in my old age…of twenty one. Yu Sasuga and Kenichi Tachibana’s hit Manga Terra Formars deals a great deal with the idea of rapid growth and evolution, with some startling and frankly terrifying results. Many years ago, Humans tried their hand at terraforming Mars because, well…I think maybe Earth is on it’s last legs. A viable option to replace Earth would have to be to change Mars and that’s exactly what the scientific citizens of Earth did. Too bad that those …

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign Volume 4 Review

As is so often the case in a post apocalyptic setting, the world can prove to be a less than friendly place. Pack all the weaponry and gear you want, but the creatures that dwell in the darkness of a broken planet will not back down easily. Be they horrendous abominations that stand as tall as skyscrapers, or humanoid foes that hold a mirror up to humanity, even trained soldiers would have their work cut out for them. However, one must also be wary of the demons that lie within the souls of man, lest they be played for a fool and taken by surprise. Well, we all knew this was coming. Since the very first time we saw little Mika all grown up and vampirised, we knew he and Yu would eventually come face to face with one another. As we also knew, it was not to be the happiest of reunions, what with the whole “abandonment of humanity” thing. Well, it is what it is and I have to say that Yu took …

Assassination Classroom Volume Two – Review

Yeah, I’ll admit it; I sometimes miss my high school days. I do, I do. I hate saying so though, especially because my Mother would always lecture me on the importance of enjoying my experience there while I could. It’s funny, she never spoke to me about anything regarding academic excellence. She always pushed me further into the things that I loved but never forced me to do anything I didn’t have even a shred of enjoyment doing. Maybe that’s why I decided early on that I was going to be a comedian, or that I was going to be a writer, or that I was going to be a graphic novelist. I was never given the spiel about being a doctor or a lawyer because, to her, what is important isn’t money or status but happiness. Amazingly, there were only a few teachers in my time that ever preached the same way of thinking; that doing something you love is ultimately more rewarding than being at the top of your class or on the very last …

World Trigger Volume Four – Review

World Trigger, incase you’ve all been living under a huge rock for the past year or so, is a young Shonen Jump Manga that is currently being released around the world to the delight of…most. No, World Trigger isn’t the much-loved Shonen manga you’re all probably imagining it is. While it does have a pretty dedicated audience, unfortunately it’s one that’s pretty small in comparison to a lot of the other contemporary Shonen titles like My Hero Academia and Assassination Classroom but, in my humble opinion, I think it can stand up against the best of them. If I didn’t think that way I wouldn’t keep requesting review copies of new volumes from Madman Entertainment who distribute it down here in the wonderful land of Australia. Incase you’ve not been keeping up with the series; make sure you go back and read my reviews of Volume One, Two and Three. While they don’t tell you everything you need to know about the series, they’ll tell you enough to understand what I’m writing here. Now allow …

‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ Manga (3-in-1) Volume 1 Review

Known world wide for its trading card game, not many know that there was a time when Yu-Gi-Oh! was not entirely about card games. With the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga we get a look into the bizarre origins of what would ultimately go on to become a trading card games colossus. Never released in English there was a little known first season of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series dubbed by fans as ‘Season 0’ it follows Yugi and friends during high school as Yugi finds himself entangled in a number of ‘shadow games’. Essentially Yugi and his darker ‘Yami’ side would engage in all manner of competitive games in order to solve whatever problems faced them. What many might not know is that what resulted was far from the kid-friendly card games anime many know and love, in fact the original Yu-Gi-Oh! was downright sinister and with this first omnibus volume of the manga we get a deep look into the dark world that existed before ‘Duel Monsters’. This first volume proves to be a compelling read for …

Vagabond (VIZBIG Edition): Volume Five and Volume Six – Review

The month of March saw the release of two volumes of the critically acclaimed “Vagabond” Manga by legendary graphic novelist Takehiko Inoue. For someone like me that absolutely adores the series it was comparable to that of Christmas day when my review copies of the volumes finally arrived. With three volumes per Vizbig Edition I felt somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer number of chapters I had ahead of me, but my excitement to see just what comes next in the story of Miyamoto Musashi possessed me to spend every possible waking moment engulfed by the series that has not only inspired me but millions around the world. After completing the first volume I then made the decision to combine what would usually be two individual reviews into one. It was only at those final pages of volume five did I realise that the series had entered a new arc that would likely span not only the next volume but long after that. Volume five took us back in time to a point in history long …

Dawn of the Arcana Volume One – Review

Dawn of the Arcana is a fairly successful Shojo series in its native territory, and it is actually the first series by author and illustrator, Rei Toma, to be picked up for an English localization. Running from 2009 to 2013, this series has garnered praise for being a fairly solid Shojo that’s situated within a pretty heavy political fantasy premise, along with all the relationship triangles and romantic shenanigans that you’ve come to expect from the genre. At a glance, Dawn of Arcana is like Game of Thrones with a strong feminine touch, which can be a good or bad thing depending on who you are. All 13 volumes of the series have been localized courtesy of Viz Media, and Madman has picked the series up for distribution in Australia and New Zealand. The first volume came out just recently, so let’s see if it leaves a lasting impression. Dawn of the Arcana tells a typical tale of two warring nations stuck within the confines of an island, with decades of bloodshed and animosity that …

Gangsta Volume Four – Review

Sex sells! It’s a simple truth of this world. In fact, there’s an entire industry that proves it and it’s featured in, surprisingly enough, almost all facets of pop culture. Specifically; crime stories. Every good gangster-type story has three main staples: Guns, suits and beautiful women. Unfortunately, most of the men who write these types of stories forget that the ladies are just as important as characters than the men. This is why, most of the time, the story will focus only on the male characters and not so much the women. “Gangsta”, though, is very much different. The Manga takes what we’ve been taught about the life of a Mobster and flips it on its head: For once, the men and women are on an even keel. This means both genders can own their own brothel BUT both can be gunned down violently by an enemy family. It seems as though volume four, above the three that came before it, makes the audience well aware of the fact that women in the world of “Gangsta” play just as …

Terra Formars Volume Three – Review

Let me lay it down for you: Eventually, so I’ve been lead to believe, this planet will be no more. With the inevitable death of the Earth will come the eradication of every single native species…that includes us humans. This is why we have to start thinking about alternative existence plans. Lucky for us, there are a whole bunch of other planets hanging around in the same solar system as ours that would gladly allow for us to change it’s overall makeup to resemble Earth. This is what we call ‘Terraforming’, though it’s a little more complicated than what I just described. – Excerpt from “Terra Formars” Volume One Review By this point in “Terra Formars”, Earth has tried their hand at colonising Mars a couple of times but, for some mysterious reason, the crews sent to the red planet all come back dead…or, in fact, not at all. Volume three follows the story of Annex I, the fourth group to head to Mars, on their trip across the stars. Unfortunately they’re attacked by those …

LBX: Little Battlers Experience Volume 1 Review

It’s zoids but not really. It’s crush gear without the wheels. It’s Little Battlers Experience, the latest craze to sweep the children of Japan by storm. Stop me if this sounds familiar to you. Because boy oh boy is this a familiar ride. If you’ve ever read a kids shonen manga or watched a shonen anime, you’ve likely seen something like this before. But you know what? That’s alright because Little Battlers Experience or LBX for short is actually pretty fun. Like many kids shonen manga before it, Little Battlers Experience revolves around a world that revolves around a children’s game and the toys involved in it. Even the evil criminal organizations are obsessed with LBX and love to LBX battle in order to solve all disputes. But in the world of kids shonen, that is just par for the course and LBX is no exception to the rule. LBX follows Van Yamano a young boy whose father who went missing after a mysterious LBX incident on a plane to an LBX event. Van seeks …

World Trigger Volume Three – Review

The world is in constant danger of a “Neighbour” attack. The last time the “Neighbours” got a full chance to wreak havoc in the realm of the humans, many people perished. That’s why a little government-run organisation called “Border” was established: To develop an army of capable soldiers, each trained to take on and despatch the other-worldly forces before they get a chance to, once again, claim the lives of the innocent. There’s a problem, though. I huge one. One that will soon come to prove detrimental to the well-being of our dimension, and one that happens to be the the fault of those who’re supposed to be defending us. What first entered my life as a terrible Anime series has quickly become one of my favorite contemporary Manga titles and without the support of Madman Entertainment who has provided us with review copies I would have never gotten the chance to experience “World Trigger”, so to them I say “thank you”, and to you out there I say “let’s get on with this review”! …

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign Volume 3 Review

Vampires, Demons, Cursed Gear, Horsemen. With these powerhouses of fiction failing miserably at any form of co-existence, one would not be remiss to expect a series of conflicts to permeate the world. Why, one might even say the situation is down right apocalyptic. Who are we kidding? It is most assuredly that. The world, as we the reading audience know it, is over and chaos reigns. But, as we the reading audience also know it, villainy does not often prosper in a world where the good guys can tentatively tame demons. Sure it might not be the cleanest solution, but when has that ever been the most fun? Grab your stylish threads and inconceivably powerful weapon on the way through because you’ve just been promoted to Moon Demon Company. Well Yu and friends have at least. Now fully fledged soldiers and gearing to kick some serious blood-sucker hide, the recently established Shinoa Squad is responsibly amped about their first mission. However, as we are so thoughtfully told, Moon Demon Company works in groups of five, …

Assassination Classroom Volume One – Review

Yeah, I’ll admit it; I sometimes miss my high school days. I do, I do. I hate saying so though, especially because my Mother would always lecture me on the importance of enjoying my experience there while I could. It’s funny, she never spoke to me about anything regarding academic excellence. She always pushed me further into the things that I loved but never forced me to do anything I didn’t have even a shred of enjoyment doing. Maybe that’s why I decided early on that I was going to be a comedian, or that I was going to be a writer, or that I was going to be a graphic novelist. I was never given the spiel about being a doctor or a lawyer because, to her, what is important isn’t money or status but happiness. Amazingly, there were only a few teachers in my time that ever preached the same way of thinking; that doing something you love is ultimately more rewarding than being at the top of your class or on the very last …

Pluto Volume 3 Review

Pluto has been on my mind for weeks. After reading the heart-stopping third volume, I was left awestruck. What could I possibly hope to say that could do this justice? How could I possibly convey the thoughts racing through my head? How could I ever critically assess this masterpiece? It is a task that has rolled around in my mind as I dragged my feet on putting this piece together. As I sat pondering Urasawa’s genius manga, a familiar song began to sound from my radio. Suddenly it hit me, this is what Pluto is really all about. “Love and hate, get it wrong, She cut me right back down to size, Sleep the day, let it fade, Who was there to take your place? No one knows, never will, Mostly me and mostly you. What do you say? What do you do, when it all comes down?” – Gavin Rossdale (Comedown by Bush) So what does it all mean? To cut a long story short, Pluto is an epic exploration of existentialism and the things …

VAGABOND (VIZBIG EDITION): VOLUME FOUR – REVIEW

With every new volume of “Vagabond” comes another lesson about combat and about life, as well as a very happy Frank Inglese because recently “Vagabond” has quickly become one of my favorite Manga titles of all time. Based on the true-to-life story of Miyamoto Musashi, “Vagabond” follows the young warrior on his way to worldwide supremacy as history’s greatest master of the sword. From the battle of Sekigahara all the way up until his death, famed Mangaka Takehiko Inoue takes us on a visual journey through the blood-filled times of an ancient Japan and thanks to Madman Entertainment I’ve, once again, been given the chance to review the latest volume. It’s quite funny: People constantly complain about the monotony of repetition. It’s usually a huge issue with video games but you come across this time and time again when it comes to things like Anime and Manga too. Every volume of “Vagabond” is, at its most basic, about Miyamoto Musashi going to fight another school. It’s seemingly very simple but what’s amazing is that it is …

20th Century Boys Volume 3 Review

In its third volume 20th Century Boys has gone all in. The stage was set in volumes 1 and 2 and now the show has truly begun. After all the build up and moving pieces into place, this explosive volume brings us more closer than ever to the cult of Friends and their enigmatic figurehead. As Kenji dives deeper into this mystery he finds himself more and more deeply entangled within it. So much so that a childhood story created by the boys winds up being a prophecy of sorts, leaving Kenji racking his brain to remember what comes next. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Naoki Urasawa is a special kind of genius. The way he adds layer upon layer to this tale all the while peeling layers back is a work of art. In only three volumes this is undoubtedly one of the most complex intellectual manga series I have ever read. The detail and incredible story-telling structure of the series is bar none an is a testament to why …

World Trigger Volume Two – Review

  Here we are at “World Trigger” volume two. My likes and dislikes are, surprisingly enough, divided by pretty simple guidelines: Give me something that piques my imagination and allows me to escape just as much into my own head as into the world of the story I’m reading, watching or playing and it gets an everlasting spot in my “Like” list. Give me something that is one-dimensional, ill-explained and overall boring, and I’ll simply forget it which, in turn, will land it on my “Dislike” list. “World Trigger” I never thought would be a series I’d continue reading. In fact, I never even thought about picking it up until Madman Entertainment offered it to us but here I am, onto volume two and before I’ve even finished I’m already in the mood for more. Like any other Manga series, volume two continues directly off of volume one so I’d suggest you read the first before moving on, or at least read my review of volume one of which you can find by Clicking Here. …

World Trigger Volume One – Review

It’s been a very long time since I last read a Manga by famed publisher Shonen Jump. I used to be a huge fan back in my teen years which, coincidentally, is the target demographic for Shonen Manga’s like “Bleach” and “Naruto” but as I continued to grow, my love for these series’ began to dwindle. This is why I found myself in a very odd place when Madman Entertainment reached out to us an offered a copy of “World Trigger” volume one. For some reason I figuratively lunged at the chance to review a contemporary Shonen Manga despite my dislike for the recently-aired Anime adaptation and for the Shonen genre as a whole. Something deep within forced me onto “World Trigger” and, for the life of me, I cannot figure out just what it was. I just hope doing so doesn’t lead me down a path of review copies I can’t even stand to pick up…but Madman hasn’t let me down before so I’m hoping they won’t start now with “World Trigger”. (Written before …

Vagabond (Vizbig Edition): Volume Three – Review

  “If you wish to control others you must first control yourself”, an excerpt from Miyamoto Musashi’s “The Book Of Five Rings”. With every new volume of “Vagabond” comes another lesson about combat and about life, as well as a very happy Frank Inglese because recently “Vagabond” has quickly become one of my favorite Manga titles of all time. Based on the true-to-life story of Miyamoto Musashi, “Vagabond” follows the young warrior on his way to worldwide supremacy as history’s greatest master of the sword. From the battle of Sekigahara all the way up until his death, famed Mangaka Takehiko Inoue takes us on a visual journey through the blood-filled times of an ancient Japan and thanks to Madman Entertainment I’ve, once again, been given the chance to review the latest volume. Musashi suffers a humiliating defeat against Inshun, the second-generation master of Hozoin Temple. To prepare for a rematch, Musashi undertakes an intense spiritual and physical training regimen with a most unlikely teacher – Inshun’s predecessor, the founder of the Hozoin Spear Technique. To …

Time Killers: Kazue Kato Short Story Collection – Review

You know, reader, I really like the Manga “Blue Exorcist”. Actually I moreso like the lady behind “Blue Exorcist”. A Mangaka named “Kazue Kato” who, like anyone in some sort of artistic spotlight, started on her career a very long time ago but only in the last decade or so gained mainstream success. This is the plight of all who want to do something creative for a living. Singers, musicians, artists, film makers, actors, each of these careers follows a long and arduous road that many never reach the end of. Kazue Kato has reached that end with her Manga “Blue Exorcist” but has decided it is about time she shows her fans exactly where it was she started and she’s doing it with one of Madman Entertainment’s more recent Manga releases; “Time Killers: Kazue Kato Short Story Collection”. Thanks to the Australian Anime and Manga distributor, we’ve been given the chance to experience the life of a Mangaka from her first concept all the way up until the one that eventually lead to her …

Terra Formars Volume Two – Review

For weeks now I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth thanks to the appalling Anime adaptation of a Manga I find myself very exciting to continue reading; “Terra Formars”. Riddled with censorship, the Anime has so far only worked to diminish what positive popularity the Manga had built. This hasn’t stopped me from wanting to continue the Manga, though. If anything, it has made me want to read the Manga even more with the hopes that it will explain more and show all the things the Anime refused to and thanks to our friends as Madman Entertainment I’ll be able to keep reading the Manga completely for free! Though…from what I’ve read so far, I would have no problems at all paying full price for every new release. Volume two marks the beginning of a whole new generation of characters and the third crew to be sent off to Mars. This time, though, they know what’s up there waiting for them and they’ve made some pretty serious preparations to avoid the slaughter that occurred …

Pluto Volume 2 Review

Pluto continues to amaze with a fantastic second volume of manga following on from the shocking events of volume one. As the body count continues to rise, Gisecht turns to a familiar face for assistance in his investigation. The case grows more and more difficult as questions outweigh answers and Gisecht discovers that robot memory may not be infallible. It goes without saying that Urasawa is a brilliant mangaka, but having the incredible source material of ‘The World’s Strongest Robot’ arc from the original Astro Boy does go along way. The magic of Tezuka’s original translates incredibly well into Urasawa’s distinctive gritty style. What I find most compelling however is the way that Urasawa takes Tezuka’s work and gives it a new perspective. His look into this world where robots and humans must coexist is utterly tantalizing. This volume focuses in on the notion that what makes humans primarily different from robots is their ability to forget. What is most interesting about this idea is that Pluto immediately proceeds to break that idea down and …

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign Volume 2 Review

Vampire slayer. It’s one of the oldest professions in the horror world. Those who take up the mantle of said profession are generally your rogueish types, those who have seen the violence spread by these fanged foes and learn the methods to end them. Now imagine if somebody decided to organise these hunters of the hunters of night. To create a trained group, a military if you will. Now bestow upon them weapons of immense power, add in a few high school students and you’ve got yourself one hell of an anti-vampire brigade. Did I mention the demons yet? Because there’s totally demons. Having proved himself against a rampant demon, Yu has officially earned his place in the Moon Demon Company, the best of the best. As did Yoichi, good for him. Of course, owing to Yu’s lone wolf philosophy on life, which he scarcely follows, he manages to immediately butt heads with fellow classmate Kimizuki. Actually, he manages to butt heads with him before he even gets to class. Impressive. Not wanting to waste …

20th Century Boys Volume 2 Review

Throw down that T. Rex record and let that familiar riff roar on through to the inner most reaches of your soul. It is very fitting that Naoki Urasawa named this series after that classic song. Much like its namesake, 20th Century Boys strikes you to the core. It reaches deep and grabs a hold of your soul and refuses to let go until the last page is turned. All great songs are ones in which you simply don’t want to end, the same applies to manga and 20th Century Boys just doesn’t have enough pages per volume to satisfy my need for more of this intense masterpiece. Picking up where volume 1 left off, 20th Century Boys volume 2 is right in the thick of things in regards to the mystery of the cult of ‘Friend’. The volume largely deals with Kenji’s attempts to identify the mystery man who seemingly has a connection to his past, although it ventures into a number of interesting side-stories that add a lot of colour to this ever …

Fullmetal Alchemist (3-in-1) Volume 2 Review

Life is a journey. An ever stretching path that leads into uncertainty. For most who walk this path, there are a few surprises, some unexpected turns that serve to remind them of existence’s inherent unpredictability. And then there are the others. Those who deign to set a waypoint in the mystery, a goal to strive for, regardless of the road that rises to meet them. Though noble in its conception, there are instances where such desire leads to the road better not travelled, a way of mistakes, a way of pain. But whether or not one walks a path of light or darkness, or even refuses to walk at all, there remains one irrefutable fact: there is no turning back. As their quest threw them into a world of secrets and subterfuge, the brothers Elric discovered the truth that had eluded them for so long…along with the horrifying details of its origin. Torn between their innocent desire, born from their hubris, the brothers found themselves pitted against enemies who tested both their minds and bodies. …

Vagabond (Vizbig Edition): Volume Two – Review

“An emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function, and ultimately a change in behavior…”, is the official definition of fear. It’s a feeling that exists within all of us. The strong and the weak both find themselves afflicted by its crippling grip. It’s an invisible force that can turn the most confident of people into the most meek and if volume two of Madman Entertainment’s ‘Vagabond (Vizbig Edition)’ taught me anything, it’s that nothing can stop it. ‘Vagabond’ is a Manga series written and illustrated by famed Mangaka Takehiko Inoue who’s most famous for his Shonen sports series ‘Slam Dunk’. Based off of the novel ‘Musashi’, ‘Vagabond’ tells the story of real life figure Miyamoto Musashi; the worlds most well-known and masterful samurai. Volume two continues Miyamoto’s journey through Japan. Already storming his very first samurai school but making it out barely alive, he decides to continue on path of the blade thanks to his ignorant and stubborn nature. Heading to Nara, he intends …

Gangsta Volume Three – Review

History is such a huge factor in the growth of a relationship, platonic or otherwise. There are some things within ones past that simply cannot be overlooked and, as humans, these are things we will never forget. This is just the way we are. We use what has happened in the past to define how we will grow into the future. Sometime for the better but other times for the worst. ‘Gangsta’, for those of you not in the know, is a new Manga series that follows the story of two men living in a town entirely occupied by killers, thieves, con men and criminals of all different types. Ergastulum, the city, is teeming with these ‘bad eggs’. What makes this place even worse is that some of its citizens happen to be the remnants of a civil war wherein which humans were turned into super soldier-type beings through the implementation of drugs. These are known as ‘Twilights’ or ‘Tags’. Worick, a gigolo and human memory card, has known his partner Nic, a deaf samurai …

Battle Royale: Angel’s Border Review

Battle Royale shocked the world with its controversial subject matter upon its original release. Some countries flat-out refused to release or even acknowledge the film or novel. The story of Battle Royale is a shout into the void, a fist raised in the air against the messed up world we live in. It is that rebellious heart that captured the imaginations of audiences across the globe and with Battle Royale: Angel’s Border, fans of the original have some extended reading to attend to. Focusing in on one of the saddest parts of Battle Royale, the lighthouse scene, Battle Royale: Angel’s Border adds another layer of heartbreak onto what is already a tragic scene to say the very least. Diving deeper into the characters of the lighthouse girls, this manga explores the other side of the story for the ill-fated inhabitants of the lighthouse. Not unlike a Shakespearean play, Battle Royale: Angel’s Border plays out in Acts and chapters serving as scenes in each ‘Act’. Where the Shakespearean vibe really hits home is the inherent tragedy …

Pluto Volume 1 Review

With a pedigree by the names of Naoki Urasawa and Osamu Tezuka, it is damn near impossible for Pluto to not be good. This first volume of Urasawa’s re-imagining of the wonderful world envisioned by Osamu Tezuka is utterly remarkable. Exploring human emotion through artificial beings is an incredible thing to tackle and Urasawa does so with the deftest of delicacy. Pluto tells us a lot about what it means to be human, all through a robot’s eyes. Urasawa’s take on Tezuka’s world of Astro Boy is a dark one indeed. The style feels almost like a cross between Urasawa’s Monster and Tezuka’s Astro Boy. A winning combination undoubtedly and the direction this story takes is astonishing to say the very least. The series follows a slew of murders taking place across the globe in a future world where humans and robots coexist. We follow Gisecht a robot detective tasked with the case of the series of murders. Gisecht looks very human in appearance, however on the inside he is machine. Throughout his travels to various …

Terra Formars Volume One Review

Let me lay it down for you: Eventually, so I’ve been lead to believe, this planet will be no more. With the inevitable death of the Earth will come the eradication of every single native species…that includes us humans. This is why we have to start thinking about alternative existence plans. Lucky for us, there are a whole bunch of other planets hanging around in the same solar system as ours that would gladly allow for us to change it’s overall makeup to resemble Earth. This is what we call ‘Terraforming’, though it’s a little more complicated than what I just described. The crew of ‘Bugs 1’ – a team of highly intelligent, professionally trained astronauts and scientists that have been sent into space to search for a worthy Terraforming candidate – land on Mars. The red planet, being more like Earth than any other planet in the solar system, seems like the perfect place to start anew. To help the Terraforming process the crew spread things like heat-absorbing moss and algi around the planet, …

Vagabond (Vizbig Edition): Volume One – Review

There’s something within each and every single human being that drives us forward. We set ourselves goals we aim only to achieve despite the odds that may or may not be stacked against us. We enter into a state much like that of a boxer’s ‘tunnel vision’ where all we see is future success and no matter what, we believe that we will succeed. This is why the world continues to evolve day by day, but why exactly do we do this? In a way, being the greatest in your own field is somewhat of a selfish act. Think, just for a moment, the true reason why we do what we do. Is it for self satisfaction? Perhaps. Is it for the fame and glory? Quite possibly. Is it to be immortalized in the history of life itself? In my opinion, that’s exactly why we reach for higher ground day after day. As humans we long to live forever! Infinity is something we each wish to achieve whether it is through your career or through …

20th Century Boys Volume 1 Review

The 21st Century may not be ready for 20th Century Boys, a manga that is so far ahead of its time that it may take another century for the world to truly get it’s brilliance. Naoki Urasawa is the brains behind the work and with a rich history of intelligent, ground-breaking manga, it isn’t any surprise that 20th Century Boys proves to be unlike anything else in manga today. The manga series originally began serialization at the turn of the century, a time of momentous change in the world, but what 20th Century Boys offers is more than just a change from the norm, it reinvents the norm, this is Urasawa’s world and we are all bearing witness to it. From the very first few pages of 20th Century Boys Volume 1 it becomes abundantly clear that this is not your average manga. The framing, the detail, the angles, the fine touches that add immeasurably to the visual messages that Urasawa is trying to convey. There are machinations at work in this volume that would likely …

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign Volume 1 Review

Taking a look at pop culture nowadays, you may realise that the monster genre is rather widespread…much like the viruses that usually exist within them. But, wherever a virus is lacking, some monstrous race will take footing and plague humanity. Seraph of the End likes both of these ideas. Thus begins a story that features both, the effect of which are…less than beneficial on mankind. Roughly four years ago, a terrible virus spread throughout the world. Going the extra mile in specific cruelty, only children below the age of 13 were immune to infection. As such, the world lost its guiding force and children were rendered parentless…then the vampires came. With no way to defend themselves, the children were stolen away by these monsters, to live as a continuous source of blood. Thus we arrive in the present, wherein we meet Yuichiro, a plucky young boy with an unyielding desire to slaughter his vampiric oppressors and free his fellow orphans from the shackles of servitude. Of course, lacking the power to do so, he is …

Fullmetal Alchemist (3-in-1) Volume 1 Review

If you’ve ever picked up a manga, chances are high that you’ve heard the name Fullmetal Alchemist, and for good reason. Not specific to this review in particular, Fullmetal is widely regarded as a pinnacle of the medium. So carry this knowledge with you as we take a trip back to where it all began, following the story of two brothers attempting to fix their mistake. Their horrible, ungodly mistake… Teachings that do not speak of pain have no meaning…because humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. Such is the world of Fullmetal Alchemist, wherein this teaching permeates not only those who dwell within its confines, but the power which they wield: Alchemy. A science that strides beyond humanity and into the domain of God. Transmuting the component elements of existence into whatever one desires, so long as the product’s composition is equivalent to that of it’s precursor. Those who bear said power utilise their gifts for the betterment of humanity…or join the military and weaponise their talent. Regardless of their choice, there remains …

Dragon Ball Full Colour (Manga) Volume 3 Review

The Saiyans have arrived. The Z Fighters are either dead or on the verge of being so. Goku, the only hope left for Earth, has finally returned from the afterlife. He’s faster, stronger and more determined than ever but he’s up against the man who calls himself the ‘Prince of Saiyans’…this wont be an easy one for him, but they never really are. Madman Entertainment has, once again, given me the chance to review another volume of the new ‘Dragon Ball Full Colour’ Manga series, one that this site has been following from the very beginning. The new releases, bigger than your standard Manga volume and chock full of vibrant colours, allows readers to relive their ‘Dragon Ball’ experience while at the same time inviting others not yet a part of the fandom to partake in something they’ll never forget. One of the quintessential Manga Shonen Manga series’, ‘Dragon Ball’ tells the story of a young man who must save the world from all the forces that oppose it. In the last volume, of which …

Dragon Ball Full Colour (Manga) Volume 2 Review

I have been searching the skies and the seas below for volume two of the ‘Dragon Ball Full Colour’ Manga, and after weeks of longing for a glimpse at it’s sweet, colourful pages, Madman Entertainment has thrown me a bone…Quite literally! A lot of this generation’s Anime fans grew up on ‘Dragon Ball Z’. We were watching it before we even knew what Anime was. We were watching ‘Dragon Ball Z’ even though we had no knowledge of ‘Dragon Ball’, the series that came before it. It didn’t matter to us that certain things didn’t make sense, we just watched it for what it was and it, in turn, made us love it. Many, many years later I’m presented with the re-release of the original Manga that spawned an Anime that practically raised me to be the Anime fan I am today. Obviously I dropped to my knees and openly wept but after I gathered myself and cried every last tear I opened the book and began to read. Memories rushed back to me. Yes, …

Dragon Ball Full Colour (Manga) Volume 1 Review

Ah nostalgia, it’s a wonderful thing. A lens that allows you to return to a series and look upon it with wonder. Of course it certainly helps when the series you’re looking back on is as awesome as Dragon Ball and, what a coincidence, that is exactly what I’m here to talk about. Not the anime mind you, but the manga and in full colour no less. Taking us all the way back to the innocent days before Z was even a suffix, to the story that took what you thought you knew and turned it on its head: the Saiyan Arc. For the uninitiated, this particular arc takes place five years after the defeat of Demon King Piccolo, a terrifying villain who, as you may know, continues to play a role in the series, but I digress. Taking a quick trip to Roshi’s island, we are re-introduced to a few of the characters who aided Goku on his perilous journey throughout the world. But, as with any first act, the happiness is short lived …