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Manga Review: Cardcaptor Sakura by CLAMP (Omnibus 1, Volume 1, 2, 3)

Cardcaptor Sakura Volume 1 by CLAMP

7947676Cardcaptor Sakura by CLAMP
Published By: Dark Horse Manga
Publication Date: 2010 
Genres: Manga, Fantasy
Pages: 576
Rating: 3 Stars
Date Read: July 2018
Links: Goodreads

Fourth grader Sakura Kinomoto finds a strange book in her father’s library — a book made by the wizard Clow to store dangerous spirits sealed within a set of magical cards. But when Sakura opens it up, there is nothing left inside but Kero-chan, the book’s cute little guardian beast . . . who informs Sakura that since the Clow cards seem to have escaped while he was asleep, it’s now her job to capture them!

I loved the anime years ago when I was younger and I totally fell in love with the story, so now that I kind of forgot the details I decided to actually pick up the manga and get into them. I grew up with this anime, and I could say it’s one of my favourites. It just reminds me of all the things that I love about being a kid.  This manga is aimed at younger readers, generally not my preferred level. But it’s an earlier work which includes a lot of the CLAMP trope-and-character formations recycled into later works aimed at older readers. I flicked through a couple of pages and quickly found myself hooked, whether it was nostalgia or what, I don’t know, I couldn’t put this down.

Cardcaptor Sakura follows the story of Magical-girl Sakura. She’s an elementary student who stumbled upon a magical book; her mission will be about collecting all the missing enchanted cards; Clow Cards. If she fails, the world will be in chaos. The Clow Cards have all become scattered and lost; with the aid of the magical creature – Cerberus – who guards the book, she is off on a quest to retrieve all of the cards.

The Dark Horse reprints have excellent graphic reproduction, very fine and clear. The art is the usual CLAMP. Sometimes the action/magic scenes are a little hard to follow, but nothing too crazy.

My main issue is some of the relationships that are presented from the start. Sakura’s parents got married when her Dad was 25 and her Mum was 16 and he was her teacher. One of Sakura’s classmates – 10 Years Old “has an older boyfriend,” as in, their teacher, who buys her an engagement ring and tells her to take care of it until it can be a wedding ring.

One thing that I didn’t really catch when I was younger is the positive queer nod. Per instance, Tomoyo, who’s the best friend of Sakura, clearly has a crush on her. Tomoyo’s mother also has a canon crush on Sakura’s mum. Additionally, the main male character Syaoran Li likes Yukito. Yukito and Touyo (Sakura’s brother) are subtext dating. This is not just a fan speculation. The manga and anime accentuated those certain attractions. For me, the fact that the queer representation was crafted in a cute and natural way made it valid. Like, I cannot believe my childhood did that.

I read through this whole series in less than a day, it was just really fun to read. I also plan to read Tsubasa.

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That’s it for this review! I haven’t done a Manga Review for a while! Have you read this? If so, What did you think of it? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

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Manga Review: TokiDoki by Naoshi Komi (One Shot)

Manga Review_ TokiDoki by Naoshi Komi

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TokiDoki by Naoshi Komi
Publication Date: October 20th 2016
Genres: Manga, Shonen, Romance
Pages: 50
Rating: 4 Stars
Date Read: August 30th 2017
Links: Goodreads

What do you spend the time left of your life when it’s measured in heartbeats? This is the story of Hato Iijima and Hatsu Takagi, connected to each other by a rare disease called “Tempocardy”.

The unsuspecting Hato Iijima stumbles upon Hatsu Takagi undressed in the school infirmary. He hurriedly covers his eyes, but not before he sees a small medical device on her chest. She informs him later that it monitors her heartbeats. She suffers from “koku haku disease,” and she knows she’ll die when her heartbeats run out. As a result, she’s quiet in class and refrains from strenuous activity. Despite this, Hato becomes inspired to help Hatsu live her life to the fullest.

The name “Tokidoki” makes it sound like it’s going to be cute, and it was when I breezed through it. At first glance it seems like a tender-looking school manga about precious first love, perhaps even a shoujo, but it’s definitely not that.

However, as he takes her out to amusement parks, the beach, and tells her to try new foods, we get to see the real side of her. She’s a sweet girl who wants to know the world. After she tries these wonderful new things, her personality sparkles.

At the same time, we easily see what a kind person Hato is. He has a lot of fun showing Hatsu around town, but he’s also happy to be spending time with a new friend. It’s exciting to really get to know someone like this, especially since he thought she was just a shy girl who liked to keep to herself. The romance is cute and I liked the characters. Due to the unique premise, it’s definitely a story I’ll remember.

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

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Manga Review: Tokyo Mew Mew a la Mode (Omnibus; Volume 1 & 2)

Tokyo Mew Mew by Mia Ikumi (Omnibus 1; Volume 1 & 2) (3)

17345296Tokyo Mew Mew by Mia Ikumi
Published By: Kodansha Comics
Publication Date: January 14th 2014
Genres: Manga, Shojo, Fantasy
Pages: 416
Rating: 3 Stars
Date Read: February 2018
Links: Goodreads

THE MEW MEWS ARE BACK!

Berry Shirayuki is a completely normal high school girl—until she’s hit by the Mew Mew beam, giving her the powers of both the Amami Black Rabbit and the Andean Mountain Cat! Now Berry has super-hearing, super-speed, and can leap (small) builings in a single bound. But her new super powers come at a price—with their leader Ichigo studying abroad in England, the Mew Mews need Berry’s help fighting the remaining chimera terrorizing Tokyo. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s a new gang in town, the Saint Rose Crusaders. They’ve made it their mission to destroy the Mew Mews, and they’re starting with Berry! 

This omnibus edition collects Tokyo Mew Mew à la Mode volumes 1 & 2!

A spin-off of the original Tokyo Mew Mew series, but with a new Mew Mew, Berry. She has the DNA of a rabbit, and a cat. I honestly enjoyed this companion manga series. I liked the characters, especially Berry and Tasuku, and how adorable they were along with this story. I know this manga can be cheesy at times and have some rushed scenes in the plot. I actually really enjoyed this short two book series.

I’ve always enjoyed Tokyo Mew Mew, but I disliked both Ichigo and Masaya. However, this fixed that problem because Ichigo and Masaya are replaced with two new, lovable characters! Then there’s my favorite character from the entire series Berry’s childhood friend Tasuku. He’s absolutely clueless, but not in a dumb, boring way like Masaya. He’s so caring and kind to Berry, and I just love that. He’s got a playful, goofy personality, and that just makes him even more hilarious to see. I liked him better than Masaya.

The villains would have been cool if they had been explained more. I wanted to know what was going on with them, because their whole thing was confusing and there weren’t any motives at all.

Mia Ikumi’s art is adorable and I enjoyed watching Berry and Tasuku’s relationship develop. Berry’s awkwardness as she realizes her feelings are growing for Tasuku is endearing and Tasuku’s fondness for Berry is silly but equally loveable. The plot, however, is not the most developed.

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this? If so, What did you think of it? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

I am linking up to Manga Monday, which is a weekly meme hosted by Bookish Owlette. Click  here to find out more about that.

 

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Manga Review: Tokyo Mew Mew by Mia Ikumi (Omnibus 3; Volume 5, 6, 7)

Tokyo Mew Mew by Mia Ikumi (Omnibus 1; Volume 1 & 2) (2)

12526140Tokyo Mew Mew by Mia Ikumi
Published By: Kodansha Comics
Publication Date: December 20th 2011
Genres: Manga, Shojo, Fantasy
Pages: 368
Rating: 3 Stars
Date Read: February 2018
Links: Goodreads

Tokyo Mew Mew – the crime-fighting collection of girls imbued with the power of cat DNA  – face their greatest battle ever to save their beloved city of Tokyo. Arch-villian Deep Blue reveals a startling secret, and Ichigo and Masaya reveal their true feelings to each other. Will they survive long enough to celebrate their love? Find out in the thrilling conclusion to Tokyo Mew Mew! This omnibus edition contains volumes 5, 6, and 7 of Tokyo Mew Mew!

Includes special extras after the story!

I didn’t dislike it this series. But I also definitely didn’t love it. I wanted to, though, and thought I would like it more. Sadly, I didn’t. I did like the story, and the character’s weren’t too bad. I wanted to read to the end, to see how it all wrapped up. I think the Anime is done better than the manga, though. The characters are given more time to develop, especially the minor characters. It also seems less immature, and more cute magic-girl.

Volume 5:

The Mew Mews and the Blue Knight have defeated the giant cocoon at the top of Tokyo Tower, but there is not a moment to celebrate since their victory only marks the beginning of the end of the world.

We know that Tokyo Mew Mew got their powers from being infused with the DNA of Red Data animals, but what we don’t know is how the Blue Knight came to be. Such seemingly trivial matters can’t concern Ichigo just as long as she has the love of her life as an ally.

As someone, who watched the anime first, I would really loved it if the other Mew Mews were more developed. There’s no real chemistry between Ichigo and Masaya, at least to me. I think mostly, though, it was very one-dimensional. There wasn’t any real development or reasons or chemistry. It was very surface-level, all the way through the series.

The other Mews were pretty much ignored for the entire series. They were given no development, very-little-to-no background, and seemed pretty much useless without Ichigo during the fighting. The fight scenes were hard to follow, too.

Volume 6:

In this volume, the girls of Cafe Mew Mew must destroy a dome that Kish and his friends have built over Tokyo. Along the way they discover the true identity of the Blue Knight.

The story in this volume was super action-packed and I mean it as a good thing. Some revelations were made and there was a plot twist, although I did see it coming, so it was quite predictable, I predicted the plot twist, but it was still good. Ichigo finally learns the Identity of the Blue Knight!

Volume 7:

The crime-fighting crew is back once and for all to save Tokyo from utter destruction! Find out in this last exciting volume if the gutsy girls can reclaim their beloved city. When super villain Deep Blue reveals a shocking secret, will Ichigo give up her life to save her one and only true love? Don’t miss out on the party of the century when the Mew Mews throw a big bash to celebrate Masaya and Ichigo’s pledge of eternal love! 

The last volume of the Tokyo Mew Mew series keeps what was good about the previous one: cute characters, cute art, a cute romance, and a decent plotline. The cliffhanger from the previous volume is resolved nicely, in a way that’s true to the characters. The only thing that I wasn’t wild about was the mock-wedding.

With that said, this was intense, and the best volume by far, this was one of my Favourite Volumes, this one and Volume 6. It definitely pushes up my enjoyment of the series. But, the ending just didn’t do it for me. Seemed too rushed and had a lot of loose ends. But the story progression was good.

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Have you seen the Anime? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

I am linking up to Manga Monday, which is a weekly meme hosted by Bookish Owlette. Click  here to find out more about that.

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Manga Review: Tokyo Mew Mew by Mia Ikumi (Omnibus 2; Volumes 3 & 4)

Tokyo Mew Mew by Mia Ikumi (Omnibus 1; Volume 1 & 2) (1)12187559

Tokyo Mew Mew by Mia Ikumi
Published By: Kodansha Comics
Publication Date: December 20th 2011
Genres: Manga, Shojo, Fantasy
Pages: 368
Rating: 3 Stars
Date Read: February 2018
Links: Goodreads

Ichigo is out on a date with her ‘crush’ when suddenly she’s involved in an odd incident in which her DNA is merged with the DNA of an almost extinct wildcat. When four other girls’ DNA is merged with the DNA of four other almost extinct animals, it’s apparent that they’re part of a much bigger plan. Ichigo and her friends have been chosen to become a part of a secret project called the “Mew Project.” Their mission: To protect the planet from aliens who are using animal to attack humans!

I Enjoyed this second omnibus collection better than the first Omnibus! Although, I still had some problems with this volume too! We get quite a few more shenanigans in this volume. Ichigo has been asked to go on dates with Masaya, but every time she agrees to meet him, she gets interrupted by her role to team up and defeat aliens. Additional points of note are that this volume ends on a slight cliffhanger with the appearance of another new character, and there is an extra bonus story in the back that is unrelated to Tokyo Mew Mew. (The bonus story isn’t necessary to read at all, but it’s just a fun little extra included)

Volume 3:

Ichigo avoids Masaya out of fear that he knows her secret. Kish is joined by two other aliens, Pie and Tart. While Kish is confined for being unable to defeat the Mews Mews, Pie takes over attacking the girls and sends a chimera anima to attack Ichigo’s school.

To start with, why don’t we just forget about those other four girls on the Mew Mew “Team”? They have been thrown to the side lines for four volumes now, which has resulted in them hardly have any background information; absolutely no story lines of their own; and they only show up when Ichigo wants to complain about them or needs help in battle.

Instead the focus is entirely put on the relationship between Masaya and Ichigo. I don’t really like Aoyama that much. The main problem I have is Masaya’s character. He’s too boring. His character has no development. You end up rooting for the villain because at least Kish has a personality!

There’s a moment when Ichigo thinks her DNA has permanently morphed and instead of worrying about the rest of her life, her friends, her family, how things may never be the same way again and her entire life is gone, her first prominent thought on the issue:

“Maybe I’ll be stuck this way forever. Then I’ll never be his girlfriend.”

It is just incredibly frustrating when a female main character, who has such potential as a heroine, ends up crossing the line from having a crush on a boy to having really terrible priorities. I wouldn’t mind it if he was just the love interest, but then we have moments where she answers her phone during battle just to talk to him or when she tries to save the world really quickly because he’s waiting for her and she doesn’t want to upset him by being incredibly late while this thing is trying to kill people and she’s focused on trying to get to her date.

Ok, when the girl who is supposed to be saving the world is more preoccupied with being on time to her date with a boy she hardly knows, then you know you entrusted the powers of saving the world with the wrong person.

Other than that this was really fun Volume! Oh! Kish still fascinates me. I think he’s about the only random love interest who doesn’t annoy me, because I find him interesting.

Volume 4:

The girls begin their search for mew aqua, but are pulled into another fight with Kish. During the fight, Masaya calls Ichigo to ask her to meet him at five o’clock and she agrees just before Kish’s chimera anima eats her phone. She is struggling to defeat the powerful chimera anima alone when a blond haired, blue-eyed alien who calls himself the Blue Knight appears and swears to protect her.

The Mew Mews are in for big trouble when the aliens plant a giant cocoon at the top of Tokyo Tower, a cocoon that once it hatches will spread deadly poison all through the air of Tokyo. It’s up to Ichigo and the Mew Mew team to save Tokyo and the world over, all in time for Ichigo’s date with Masaya in but a few hours! Not only that, but a mysterious new superhero has appeared by the name of The Blue Knight and he has sworn to protect Ichigo at any and all costs!

I enjoyed this volume! The art is very cute, but I don’t like the direction that the romance is going in, I might enjoy it more if the characters were aged up, but there still so young!

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

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Manga Review: Tokyo Mew Mew by Mia Ikumi (Omnibus 1; Volume 1 & 2)

Tokyo Mew Mew by Mia Ikumi (Omnibus 1; Volume 1 & 2)

11476862Tokyo Mew Mew by Mia Ikumi
Published By: Kodansha Comics
Publication Date: October 25th 2011
Genres: Manga, Shojo, Fantasy
Pages: 368
Rating: 3 Stars
Date Read: January 2018
Links: Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Booktopia | Book Depository

Ichigo is out on a date with her ‘crush’ when suddenly she’s involved in an odd incident in which her DNA is merged with the DNA of an almost extinct wildcat. When four other girls’ DNA is merged with the DNA of four other almost extinct animals, it’s apparent that they’re part of a much bigger plan. Ichigo and her friends have been chosen to become a part of a secret project called the “Mew Project.” Their mission: To protect the planet from aliens who are using animal to attack humans!

For those unfamiliar, Tokyo Mew Mew is a magical girl series centred around Ichigo Momomiya and four girls – Minto Aizawa, Retasu Midorikawa, Bu-Ling Huang, Zakuro Fujiwara – that become her teammates in an on-going battle against a race of aliens who are trying to take over the Earth by infecting animals with alien parasites to use as biological weapons. Ichigo and the girls are all fused with the DNA of various “red data” animals that are near extinction to help them combat the alien threat.

I’m a sucker for magical girl books. All I ask for is cute art, a sweet main character, a quest, and silly catchphrases and I will love it probably way more than it really deserves. The environmental theme – the Mew Mew girls have all been infused with the DNA of endangered animals, and there’s a “saving the environment” thread – is not exactly well-developed. It’s just the backdrop for fighting monsters in adorable costumes. But I am totally fine with this.

Personally, I don’t think that anyone should let that prevent them from giving this series a try. It tends to be pretty light-hearted, and for a lot of younger individuals, this was the gateway defining magical girl series for them. It’s fun and the characters have a lot of heart, and my opinion of it hasn’t diminished since I watched the Anime as a young teen. I grew up watching the English dubbed anime and I was so upset when they discontinued the show. So, I recently decided to eventually pick up the manga to try and catch up to the part where they left off in the show.

Volume 1:

Ichigo is out on a date with her ‘crush’ when suddenly she’s involved in an odd incident in which her DNA is merged is with the DNA of an almost extinct wildcat. When four other girls’ DNA is merged with the DNA of four other almost extinct animals, it’s apparent that they’re part of a much bigger plan. Ichigo and her friends have been chosen to become part of a secret project called the “Mew Project.” Their mission: To protect the plant from aliens who are using the planet’s animals to attack humans.

I’ve been meaning to read this manga for a while. Apparently it’s really different to the anime, and English dubbing butchers it anyway, so this should be interesting. This is adorable so far.

I loved the transformation sequence–where she was merging with the cat. One problem though would be that it’s hard to follow the page layout sometimes. Another thing that’s bugging me–the fight scenes barely last a page! There’s little action in them, really, though it is early on. I suppose it is shojo and I shouldn’t expect much violence or action. It’d be nice, though…

I have lots of hopes of the story getting stronger as it continues, and I’m glad to find something else to add to my manga collection. Let’s hope this’ll get interesting…

Volume 2:

Kish sends out numerous chimera animas to infect the various wild animals on display at the park. Ichigo was just another normal seventh grader – until she was involved in an odd incident in which her DNA was merged with the DNA of an almost extinct wildcat. Now, she’s transformed into a crime-fight cat named Mew Mew and must find the rest of the Tokyo Mew Mew crew as soon as possible. However, that mission turns out to be much more difficult than she ever imagined!

This was a bit better than the first volume! There was more action in this one, and the Kish drama is continuing. I must say, the guy’s a creep, but I’m enjoying the whole situation with him more than I should.

Though, am I the only one who’s a bit disturbed knowing that Ichigo’s only eleven? That’s an awful lot of romance for an eleven year old… not to mention she looks about fifteen!

There is absolutely nothing spectacular about this manga whatsoever. This has the same formula that started in Sailor Moon. A couple of girls has some cute outfits and use their unique powers to defeat the evil bad guys.

While I never watched or read Sailor Moon I know that each of the girls represent a certain planet and each have unique powers. Tokyo Mew Mew is no exception. But there are a few twists. Instead of each girl representing a planet, each one is representing an endangered animal species.  I am enjoying this series though, and will Continue it!

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

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Manga Review: Crimson Shell by Jun Mochizuki

Crimson Shell by Jun Mochizuki

6406025Crimson Shell by Jun Mochizuki
Published By: Yen Press      
Publication Date: November 17th 2009
Genres: Young Adult, Manga, Fantasy
Pages: 224
Rating: 3 Stars
Date Read: January 2018
Links: Goodreads | Booktopia | B&N | Book Depository | Amazon

If you like Pandora Hearts, then you’ll love Crimson-Shell, Jun Mochizuki-sensei’s debut! Rescued from the darkness by Xeno, a mysterious swordsman, Claudia the Rose Witch is the foundation of the Crimson-Shell, a special division of the Red Rose-an organization aiming to capture the results of one mad scientist’s experiments, the deadly Black Roses. But when Xeno’s loyalties are called into question, will Claudia be strong enough to believe in her dearest friend? And what is the colour of the rose blooming in Xeno’s heart-a deep, passionate crimson…or a traitorous jet-black?

Crimson Shell is a one volume manga by Pandora Hearts creator, Jun Mochizuki. Because Pandora Hearts is one of my favourite manga series, I was curious to read Mochizuki’s earlier work in Crimson Shell.

Crimson Shell centres around Claudia the Rose Witch and the mysterious and deadly Black Roses who wage war on her Red Rose organization searching for something they possess. Red Rose could be in trouble, because there seems to be a traitor about…

There are a lot of similarities between the two stories. The first similarity is the design of the characters – that girl could easily be Alice on the cover. Not surprisingly, the art style is the same. What is surprising is that for a first manga publication, Crimson Shell is very solid, with nice background art, good flow between panels, and a strong emotional connection with the characters.

Where Crimson Shell struggles is with pacing. The story concept is interesting (and I can definitely see elements that were pulled for use in Pandora Hearts), but it isn’t given enough time to fully develop. The result is a story that feels rushed and incomplete. I can’t complain, though, if this is the sounding board for Mochizuki to experiment with character development and story ideas that enable her to create Pandora Hearts.

This was pretty good. I wish it were a series, because I think there’s a lot to expand upon. I would’ve liked to see more, since there’s a lot of promise for this. This is a pleasantly ambitious story for a single volume, with a good number of characters, mystery elements, several twists and a plot important magic system. Overall it all works but it certainly could’ve benefitted from being somewhat longer, particularly in giving more details about the magic system and Red Rose organization and letting the tension build more. That said the intrigue and main plot are really well done.

Recommended for Pandora Hearts fans. If you want a taste of what Mochizuki can deliver in her beautiful stories, I recommend you check this out. Really, Crimson Shell is pretty good for a one shot manga. I wasn’t disappointed, and I enjoyed most of what Mochizuki had to offer.

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.