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Chobits Art Book: Your Eyes Only
Chobits Art Book: Your Eyes Only
by CLAMP
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for Chi fans!, 17 Jan. 2008
After a string of delays, this art book has finally been released in English, and I must admit that Tokyopop have done a good job of it.

The book is in paperback and features nearly 60 illustrations (most in colour, but some in black and white with colour background) from one of CLAMP's most popular series, Chobits. It is easy to see that they have put a lot of effort into each of Chi's outfits, putting loads of detail into all the ribbons, frills, lace and beads. Although some of the pictures are a bit similar (there are at least four pictures of Chi sitting on a telegraph pole or something like it, with a blue sky) there are some that are quite breathtaking. One of my favourites is a picture of Chi standing by an open window with her hair and dress blowing in the wind, with all the elaborate swirls that CLAMP usually like to do. There are also a few pictures near the end featuring Chi with Freya with matching costumes.

The pages are non-glossy and thick and the printing is of good quality. The art featured in the book includes the covers for the manga volumes, DVDs, inserts from magazines and illustrations for other bits of merchandise. At the end of the book are little thumbnails of each illustration with a short comment from the creators for each, which is interesting to read. I'm also impressed that Tokyopop for once didn't put a "STOP! You're going the wrong way!" page at the back, didn't put adverts for their other series in the back, and also didn't put that horrible red logo on the spine! In truth, the logo's just now in purple and camouflages well, but at least it doesn't spoil the overall feel of the book.

Of course I would have loved to have seen an artbook with pictures of a few of the other characters too (such as Yuzuki), but this is still a beautiful book and perfect for anybody who loved the Chobits series or just likes artbooks in general. I for one wasn't disappointed.


Fruits Basket Volume 18: v. 18
Fruits Basket Volume 18: v. 18
by Natsuki Takaya
Edition: Paperback

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fruits Basket Volume 18 - Picks up the pace again, 10 Dec. 2007
I'll have to admit that I was losing a bit of hope for Fruits Basket with the previous few volumes. I wasn't really feeling anything for the characters. I wasn't fond of the student council members - I didn't need MORE people to have depressing pasts when I didn't know everything about the Sohmas yet. Even the "revelation" in volume 17 didn't do anything for me!

But this volume gives the series the good pick up it needed. It mostly focuses on Hatsuharu and Rin, and I thought that their story was shown really well with lots of raw emotion. The funny bits I found funny again, and the sad bits I found sad again. For me, Natsuki Takuya has got things back on track.

Previous volumes were a bit slow (especially with the layout of the speech bubbles with something like only 3 words per bubble - anybody else find that?) but this one was a real page-turner for me. It gets back that charm that it had at the beginning of the series, but of course it's not as light-hearted as it used to be. For once, I'm really looking forward to the next volume!


Azumanga Daioh Volume 1: v. 1 (Azumanga Daioh (ADV Manga))
Azumanga Daioh Volume 1: v. 1 (Azumanga Daioh (ADV Manga))
by Kiyohiko Azuma
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Azumanga Daioh complete series review, 31 July 2007
Azumanga Daioh was one of the first series released by the manga division of ADV - and did they do well.

This series doesn't seem that exciting at first. There are no giant robots. No super-heros. No saving the world. No love triangles. No monsters. No aliens. No fights in outer-space. This series is just pure comedy.

The layout of Azumanga Daioh is also different compared to other manga series. It is mostly in "yonkoma" format, which consists of 4-panel vertical comic strips which each involve a gag of some sort.

So without a huge epic plot to hold it together, how has Azumanga become so popular? It's just about a group of high-school girls, going about their everyday lives. They do their school work together, participate in school sports days and events, enjoy summer holidays together... and that's just about it.

However, each character in Azumanga is different, such as the cute 10-year-old prodigy Chiyo, the athletic and tall Sakaki, and the rather slow Osakan... Osaka. As you follow their lives, it'll be easy to pick your favourite (my personal favourite being Osaka, who I believe is one of the best anime/manga characters of all time!). Even though nothing extraordinary happens, this series is just packed full of funny moments and jokes, and you'll end up smiling and eventually laughing out loud as each character has their own quirks. It is hard to describe the humour - just see for yourself.

ADV has presented this series very well. The books are slightly bigger than the regular size from Tokyopop and Viz Media. Each book comes with a few colour pages at the beginning, and there are translation notes included in the back of volumes 3 and 4. It's a shame they didn't have these translation notes in the first two volumes, but perhaps they were not required. A good idea though if you're considering this as a Christmas present: There is an omnibus edition of Azumanga Daioh being published in Novemeber 2007 which compiles all four volumes of the series into one big book. It might be a bit awkward to read such a big book, but something some people might want to consider.

As I said before, this series is just pure comedy. Although I recommend that you read the volumes in order, it is easy to just pick up a book, flip to a random page and find yourself laughing. If you find yourself wanting more, then I would also recommend the anime series (also available from ADV) which is a loyal adaptation of the manga. This series is only 4 volumes long, and is, I think, an essential part of anybody's manga collection. A worthwhile purchase you won't regret!


Pita-Ten Box Set: v. 1
Pita-Ten Box Set: v. 1
by Koge Donbo
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pita-Ten complete series review, 31 July 2007
This review is from: Pita-Ten Box Set: v. 1 (Paperback)
Pita-Ten is a 8-volumes-long series by Koge Donbo, the creator of Digi-Charat. But don't expect tiny girls from outer space in this story.

Pita-Ten tells the tale of a young boy called Kotarou, who has to lead a rather independent life following the death of his mother and with his father often away at work. One day, however, an incredibly energetic and cheerful (more like hyperactive) girl called Misha moves in next door and claims to be an angel. The story mainly follows the relationship between Kotarou and Misha, as the "angel" tries to help her friend out in every way she can, but often makes the situation worse.

As you can probably work out by the art style, Pita-Ten is basically supposed to be an ultra-cute series. The pink-haired Misha often ends her sentences with "-su" and fills silences with a "teeheehee". In the English translation by Tokyopop, the way Misha talks can get rather irritating, as it gets a bit like strange a mix between Texan dialect and baby talk. I'll admit that the first time I picked up this series, I gave up reading by the first volume just because I couldn't stand the way Misha talked. But I'm glad I gave it another chance.

If you have seen the anime version of this (which is unlicensed at the time of writing), I can assure you that the manga series is darker and deeper. The first few volumes just show the characters going on with their ordinary lives, which holds a few funny moment. But if you're thinking it's a bit childish - stick with it. In the later half of the series, it gets surprisingly dark (for a series like this, don't expect anything like Hellsing here) as Kotarou finds out about who Misha really is. Before I knew it, I just kept reading and reading as more things were revealed. That was what made the series just slide up to 5 stars for me.

If you're interested in getting this series, I recommend getting the box-set with the first four volumes. The box itself is just made of thin cardboard, not as good as some of the other Tokyopop boxes, but it works out cheaper anyway. At just 8 volumes long, it's a nice (and more affordable) addition to a manga collection.


Pita-Ten Volume 1: v. 1
Pita-Ten Volume 1: v. 1
by Koge-Donbo
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pita-Ten complete series review, 31 July 2007
Pita-Ten is a 8-volumes-long series by Koge Donbo, the creator of Digi-Charat. But don't expect tiny girls from outer space in this story.

Pita-Ten tells the tale of a young boy called Kotarou, who has to lead a rather independent life following the death of his mother and with his father often away at work. One day, however, an incredibly energetic and cheerful (more like hyperactive) girl called Misha moves in next door and claims to be an angel. The story mainly follows the relationship between Kotarou and Misha, as the "angel" tries to help her friend out in every way she can, but often makes the situation worse.

As you can probably work out by the art style, Pita-Ten is basically supposed to be an ultra-cute series. The pink-haired Misha often ends her sentences with "-su" and fills silences with a "teeheehee". In the English translation by Tokyopop, the way Misha talks can get rather irritating, as it gets a bit like strange a mix between Texan dialect and baby talk. I'll admit that the first time I picked up this series, I gave up reading by the first volume just because I couldn't stand the way Misha talked. But I'm glad I gave it another chance.

If you have seen the anime version of this (which is unlicensed at the time of writing), I can assure you that the manga series is darker and deeper. The first few volumes just show the characters going on with their ordinary lives, which holds a few funny moment. But if you're thinking it's a bit childish - stick with it. In the later half of the series, it gets surprisingly dark (for a series like this, don't expect anything like Hellsing here) as Kotarou finds out about who Misha really is. Before I knew it, I just kept reading and reading as more things were revealed. That was what made the series just slide up to 5 stars for me.

If you're interested in getting this series, I recommend getting the box-set with the first four volumes. The box itself is just made of thin cardboard, not as good as some of the other Tokyopop boxes, but it works out cheaper anyway. At just 8 volumes long, it's a nice (and more affordable) addition to a manga collection.


Love Hina Volume 1: v. 1
Love Hina Volume 1: v. 1
by AKAMATSU KEN
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Hina complete series review, 18 May 2007
Love Hina was one of the first manga series I bought for myself. It's a great introduction to manga as it's easy to follow, light-hearted, funny and has a bit of cute romance thrown in for good measure.

Ken Akamatsu's character designs are pleasing to the eye, and he has created a varied (although perhaps cliched) cast of characters. The series is mostly anchored by the plot-line of Keitaro Urashima, a student trying to get into Tokyo's top university after several failed attempts. His motive is because in his blurry past he remembers promising a girl to go to Tokyo university with her, as they say that if two people who love each other go there, they will live happily ever after. Even though he has no idea where or who this girl is, he still aims to get in and hopes he'll see her again because she'll have remembered the same promise!
However, during his quest to pass the entrance exams, he gets kicked out of his home and goes to stay at his grandmother's hotel, which only later he finds out has been turned into a girl's dormitory and he ends up being their landlord!

Sounds confusing? It's a little wacky sometimes, yes, and with the one guy vs. many pretty girls it gets a bit cliched, especially since Keitaro always manages to find himself being smacked into the high heavens by one of the dormitory girls. However, each of the girls in the dormitory are very different and soon you'll see who's your favourite.

At around volume 9 or 10, the story starts to drag a bit as new characters are introduced. By the final (14th) volume, you might just groan every time Keitaro gets punched.

Tokyopop's translation of this series is decent, but compared to today's standards there are A LOT of mistakes, but this might have changed from the early editions I have. In pretty much every volume you can find several spelling mistakes and empty speech bubbles. Sometimes there are bits of Japanese that they've forgotten to erase and translate, and sometimes the wrong text is in the wrong bubble. There are inconsistancies such as from volume 9, they start using honorifics (eg. -san, -chan) when that haven't done before; another example is that Tokyo University, usually referred to as Tokyo U, is sometimes called ToDai (short for Tokyo Daigaku). Also the artwork is sometimes cropped off by the edge of the page which can be annoying for some, and when bits of text are erased, you can see rather pathetic attempts at drawing the lines back in to complete the picture.

Overall, despite the cliches, it's a solid series and just a load of good fun. If you don't mind all the fan service and nudity, and you're looking for a romantic comedy, then this could be for you. If you've seen the anime, I personally find the manga better. A worthwhile addition to any manga-collector's shelves.


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