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Archive for September, 2011

Xxxholic Manga #17

It looks like Watanuki has settled into being the shopkeeper at Yuuko’s place. His abilities and knowledge have expanded, especially through dreams. Doumeki still keeps an eye on Watanuki. We get a full explanation of why Watanuki can only see Himawari once a year. Watanuki continues to deal with unusual clientele, including a request from the spider Yokai who ate Watanuki’s eye. Watanuki also has an unusual present for Doumeki for his birthday . . . Not much of real significance happens, but we do see what Watanuki’s life is like now which makes this volume worth it for any fan.

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Sailor Moon Manga #1 Reissue

There are several things of note about this new version by Kodancha Comics USA. First is the size. Back when Mixx and Tokyopop came out with Sailor Moon over a decade ago they were pocket versions – smaller. The size we now have is what is standard these days, which makes it easier to read and to enjoy the art. No author or publisher comments. There are cultural notes in the back and we get a few color pages! The cover is different. This version is also based on the Japanese reissue. This means several things – it is more up to date. For example, in the original Ami studies from a disk. Now she studies from a CD. Instead of five chapters this volume has six. Which brings me to another wonderful point – all the Japanese names are used, instead of their American counterparts from the English-dub! The Japanese cultural references are kept. The American ones, unless there is a direct correlation in English, are kept out. Finally, this book is in the original Japanese form of right-to-left, unlike the first English version which was left-to right. In short, if you have been wanting the complete set of Sailor Moon manga in English but have not been able to find all of the Mixx/Tokyopop ones for a decent price or like Sailor Moon but didn’t like the first English version, weep not! This is the version to get and this is the time to get it! And while I won’t be getting them myself, if you have ever wanted Code Name Sailor-V, Kodancha Comics USA is also releasing this series as well for the first time in English!

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The first episode is “The Little Fox’s Clock”.

What a lovely episode! In this one, Natsume’s foster-father decides to go to a pottery class and invites Natsume to go with him. Some great interaction there! The thing is, this class is near where the fox Yokai lives. The fox child is much better at taking care of himself now. He is still very excited to see Natsume. However, as much as Natsume wants to see him this is not the primary reason for his visit. They keep missing each other. A rock spirit tells the fox that human time and Yokai time are different – which is something we have seen before. Still, the fox wants to help Natsume. Natsume did bring along Nyanko-sensei, but the not-cat is still recovering from being hit by Matoba’s arrow. Natsume heard that a moss that only Yokai can see (or those who can see Yokai) will help. The fox manages to get some for Natsume. Natsume makes two pottery pieces – one for Nyanko-sensei and one for the fox. Meetings mean partings, but that is no reason not to enjoy those you meet.

The second episode is “Fading Autumn Wind”.

Ah, cultural festival time! Okay, so it is rather cliche in anime, but in this case it is put to good use. It shows how Natsume’s behavior towards his classmates has changed. When his class decides to do a bazaar, Natsume gets voted as one of the shopkeepers! This would never have happened in the first season, and if it did, Natsume would have flat out refused. Only one problem – Natsume keeps being troubled by a Yokai who wants his power and keeps possessing those around Natsume to try and get him, and Nyanko-sensei is still recovering. In the end, while Natsume does act a bit weird before his classmates who can’t see what he can, no one thinks less of him, the cultural festival is a success, and Nyanko-sensei gets better in time to save the day^^;

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Everyone is getting ready for the cultural festival. And finally Sawako and Kazehaya are starting to talk to each other again! Only they keep getting interrupted! Pin is mostly no help at all either, though he does manage to actually be profound once in a while. If you have been waiting for Sawako and Kazehaya to confess to each other, this is the volume for you! At first, everyone wonders if Sawako got Kazehaya through her black magic, but over all it is good to see how supportive everyone in general is. A few die-hard Kazehaya fan girls take the news a bit harder. . .

Next volume we will be going past what was in the anime. I am excited!

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The first episode is “The Thing That Lurks in the Storeroom”. Natsume and Tanume get waylaid by a storm and take shelter at a large home that happens to be where Taki’s family lives. In thanks for the shelter, the two guys agree to help her clean her grandfather’s storeroom. While far back her family were powerful exorcists no one for several generations now has been able to see Yokai. Taki’s grandfather was interested in Yokai and studied them in the hope of someday seeing them, an interest that Taki alone of the family shares. During cleaning, Natsume breaks a seal on a dangerous Yokai. Fortunately, both Tanuma and Taki know that Natsume isn’t just acting crazy – in fact, Tanuma can sense something of what is going on even if he can’t see. They try to convince the local Yokai who watched Taki’s grandfather through his life to help, but at first they refuse. Eventually, though, they do help. They are fond of humans in their way. After the dangerous Yokai is gone, Taki thanks the others and one of them uses her circle to say your welcome.

The second episode is “That Which is Not Human”. Natsume and Nyanko-sensei visit a fair. Natsume bumps into someone and finds blood on himself. So of course he has to investigate. He finds a bunch of injured Yokai locked up and is attacked, but a Yokai escapes with him. She is quite surprised to find that Natsume is human and drops him on top of Nyanko-sensei^^; It turns out someone has been capturing Yokai and draining them of blood. This sounds like human work, specifically exorcist work, to Nyanko-sensei who warns Natsume that protecting him against other Yokai is one thing. Protecting him against humans is another thing entirely. Of course when the same Yokai who rescued him is in trouble Natsume has to intervene. Fortunately, Natori helps out. It turns out Natori has been shielding Natsume from the notice of other exorcists. Natori agrees to help. They track where everything started, but then get trapped in that town so they have to stay overnight. While alone Natsume is attacked by a Yokai. That he is able to deal with, but Matoba (an exorcist) and his helpers are another matter entirely.

The Third episode is “Exorcist”. Natori and Nyanko-sensei are very concerned when they find Natsume is missing. Meanwhile, we finally get to properly meet Matoba. Like Natori he is an exorcist, but his attitude is very different. To him Yokai are things to be used, though in all fairness his view of other humans seems to be scarcely more enlightened. His family has been cursed by a Yokai – an ancestor reneged on payment to a Yokai. Matoba has a very unhealthy interest in Natsume, and is also looking for a very powerful Yokai in the neighborhood. Natsume manages to escape and finds the Yokai. It is really a trap – an ex-exorcist is furious at Matoba for killing her Yokai servant. Natori and Nyanko-sensei find the place as well, as does Matoba. In the process of things Nyanko-sensei almost looses it, but for Natsume he reigns himself in. Unfortunately Nyanko-sensei was also injured and Yokai blood is what is needed to wake the powerful, sleeping Yokai in the cave they are in. Everyone gets out. Natori and Natsume go back to seal the Yokai, but things don’t go well. Matoba kills the Yokai. Natsume is not very happy about these events, and Matoba is still interested in him.

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