Otakon 2010: Vic Mignonga’s Mini Concert

Due to the sheer number of fans that Vic Mignogna has, the mini concert was held in panel 3, which was one of the largest panel rooms in the convention center with an addional autograph session held at the end. This was my first Vic concert and I must say, I enjoyed it. He is a good performer, a great singer and he engaged the crowd very well for being a one-person show with a keyboard. The concert started with ‘True Light’ in English from DNAngel. The animation flashed across the screen as Vic dances from the stage and up and down the catwalk. The second song was ‘Separate Ways’ by Journey, very upbeat and had everyone dancing (if they weren’t dancing already.) The ‘Brothers’ (Fullmetal Alchemist melody began to the cheers of the crowd…though it was was stopped immediately. He stated that he wasn’t going to sing that one as he sat at the keyboard.

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Otakon 2010: Madhouse Panel

The Madhouse panel was already well underway when I entered the room. Although the panel info spoke of there being both Maruyama-san and Koujina-san as panelists, only Maruyama-san sat at the front. Trailers and clips from the latest Madhouse projects were shown including Highschool of the Dead, Rainbow – Nisha Rokubo no Shichinin, Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail and of course the long awaited movie, Trigun: Badlands Rumble. (Funimation is hoping for theater-wide release of Trigun.) One of the most unique new projects was Tibetan Dog which is based off of a Chinese novel by Yang Zhijun. The character designer is none other than Monster creator, Urasawa Naoki with director Koujima Masayuki (who was also director on the Monster animation.) Maruyama-san mentioned that he traveled to Tibet for research. The story is simply about a boy growing up being a mix of Chinese and Tibetan…but nothing by Madhouse is truly simple.
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AnimeNEXT 2010: Stereopony – Music at the Speed of a Pony

J-rock band, Stereopony debuted in 2008 with ‘Hitohira no Hanabira’ which became the 17th ending song to BLEACH and ranked #25 in Oricon charts. Their second single, ‘Namida no Mukou’ was the ending song to the second season of Gundam 00. It ranked #2 on the Oricon charts. Their singles are not the only ones to rank highly on the charts: their debut album ‘A Hydrangea Blooms’ was released in June 2009 and ranked #7 on Oricon. Their brand new second album, ‘Over the Border’ was especially sold at AnimeNEXT along with ‘A Hydrangea Blooms’.
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AnimeNEXT 2010: Kamiyama Kenji – Cyberpunk and Conspiracies

This year’s AnimeNEXT was from June 18-20, held at the Garden State Exhibit Center in New Jersey. There was an array of distinguished guests including voice actor, Greg Ayres, Japanese designer, Gashicon among many others. I had the pleasure of attending two Q&A panels for both director Kamiyama Kenji and Japanese band, Stereopony.
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Manga Review: Train*Train vol. 3

Train*Train vol. 3
Story and Art: Eiki Eiki
Published by the Doki Doki Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN13: 9781569700983
ISBN10: 1569700982
Review copy provided by the publisher

Review by I-hsiu Lin

Next stop is Minami-Kitazawa Station…please step away from the closing doors.

Fall has come to Minami-Kitazawa and Asahi Saruta has been there for some time working as a station staff along with his incredibly good looking senpais, dealing with crazy events that are all part of the schedule in that particular station (and some events that are not part of the schedule but are still crazy.) Their policy is ‘Service with a Smile’…and everything that it entails. But Asahi pops the question that might as well have echoed through everyone’s mind: “When did Minakita become the ‘Legendary Station Where Good-Looking Guys are Chose to work’…?

Actually, my question is…who are the guys on the cover?

Time for a flashback or two….
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Manga Review: Millennium Prime Minister vol. 1

Millennium Prime Minister vol. 1
Story and Art: Eiki Eiki
Published by the Doki Doki Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN13: 9781569700921
ISBN10: 1569700923

Review by I-hsiu Lin

This week, it has been announced: Japan has a new prime minister. And so does Eiki Eiki’s latest Doki Doki release, Millennium Prime Minister. Minori Nagashima was your average high school girl, loves playing video games, cutting class and having fun. Getting engaged to the newest prime minister wasn’t in her plans. But Japan’s youngest politician and House Representative, Kanata Okazaki is determined and will definitely get his way! She can’t escape…Minori’s future, heart (and hair) are now in his capable hands.
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Manga Review: Train Train vol. 2

Train Train vol. 2
Story and Art: Eiki Eiki
Published by the Doki Doki Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN13: 9781569700976
ISBN10: 1569700974

Review by I-hsiu Lin

Pursuing his dream of becoming train operator, Asahi Saruta had joined the staff with four hot ‘guys’ at Minami Kitazawa Station. But things aren’t as simple as taking tickets, making announcements and reciting timetables. The cute but financially broke Asahi has to deal with the bills, his pet prairie dog (who is possibly going through mating season) and sexual harassment attention from his over affectionate senpais.

A life as a station staff at MK definitely isn’t easy at all. Deputy Akita can tell you that! Open volume two and perhaps you’ll discover the answer to the main question…just who is the station master?
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Yaoi Review: Steal Moon vol. 2

Steal Moon vol. 2
Story and Art: Makoto Tateno
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN13: 9781569701010
ISBN10: 1569701016

Review by I-hsiu Lin

Voyeurism taken to the next level.

In the first vol. of Steal Moon, street fighter Nozomi ends up as commodity in the peeping room internet site of ‘Digital Angels’. He later discovers that it is only a cover-up to distract a computer monitoring them from the moon, ‘Isis’. Teaming up with Hermes and Coyote (who placed him in this situation in the first place,) he finds himself wrapped up more and more with the conspiracy to take down the digital surveillance. Through it all, Nozomi falls for the enigmatic Coyote who in turn confesses his feelings for him. Just a bit more, Coyote promises that they’ll be free from observing eyes. But the situation turns to shock when during their final plan to shut down the moon’s computer, they had in fact turned it on. Hermes and Coyote had a plan of their own, but what about his feelings for Nozomi? “You may not believe me but…I still love you.”
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Manga Review: Train Train

Train Train
Story and Art: Eiki Eiki
Published by the Doki Doki Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN13: 9781569700969
ISBN10: 1569700966

Review by I-hsiu Lin

A young man’s dream of becoming a train operator…is not as easy as it seems. Especially since he has been assigned to Minami Kitazawa station. With a premise like that, the story doesn’t seem to be very interesting. However, once you step through the doors of the station master’s office, you’re surrounded by four hot guys…along with a mob of fangirls. Dealing with the attention from his weird senpais, mobs of female fans and learning about his job all at once…for one young man with aspiring dreams, it may just be too much for him. But Asahi Saruta will never give up!
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Manga Review: Princess Princess Plus

Princess Princess Plus
Story and Art: Mikiyo Tsuda
Published by the Doki Doki Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN13: 9781569700907
ISBN10: 1569700907

Review by I-hsiu Lin

The Princess System. Guys dressing up as girls to bring up the morale of an all male school. It’s a system unique to this particular school. The three princesses have survived their freshmen year of jumping through various hoops that comes with their jobs and they are ready to step off their thrones. They have worked hard and deserved their peaceful years as normal students. However, they can’t rest yet because coming next is training the new princesses!
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Yaoi Review: Time Lag

Time Lag
Story: Shinobu Gothoh
Art: Hotaru Odagiri
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN13: 9781569709214
ISBN10: 1569709211

Review by I-hsiu Lin

Two confessions and two rejections…but he doesn’t want to give up.

Satoru is in love with the star athlete of the school, Shirou. For the last two years, he would confess his feelings and be rejected. Though they were childhood friends, they don’t seem to be friends any longer. Seiichi has always comforted Satoru and encourage him to move on…but he couldn’t. As a photographer and a boy in love, his eyes are only on Shirou.

Supportive, calm Seiichi is editor in chief of the school newspaper where Satoru is photographer. Who Seiichi loves is obvious to everyone, except to Satoru. There are misunderstandings that take three years to unravel…but when Shirou and Satoru finally understand the past, will it be that easy to talk to each other?
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Yaoi Review: Hero Heel vol. 3

Hero Heel Vol. 3
Story and Art: Makoto Tateno
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN-10: 1-56970-728-6
ISBN-13: 978-1-56970-728-9

Review by I-hsiu Lin

A passion that blossoms from behind the set of a live action drama. It’s been some time already since Minami became the hero, Oreidos. After their one night together, Sawada has rejected any feelings towards him. Resigned, Minami promised that he will not see him beyond their roles as enemies. That resignation appropriately supplies the drive needed for their characters on screen. During the filming of the special, Minami meets and ends up working closely with Takagi, Sawada’s old partner (on and off the screen.) As Minami and another actor, Katagiri draw closer together, Sawada agreed to give Takagi a chance at love again. Two couples taking a step in their new relationships. But then Sawada suddenly kisses Minami….

And we’re only up to the second half of the shooting!
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Yaoi Review: Blue Sheep Reverie

Blue Sheep Reverie
Story and Art: Makoto Tateno
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN13: 9781569706060
ISBN10: 1569706069

Review by I-hsiu Lin

A man searching for the one who killed his girlfriend. Becoming a bodyguard to seek revenge. A blue ring, rival gangs, fights and guns. Sounds like a manga for guys rather then a manga about boys love. But skillfully woven together by Makoto Tateno, it’s a story that envelopes everything and sets the stage for Steal Moon. First, it was Blue Sheep Reverie.
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Yaoi Review: White Brand

White Brand
Story and Art: Youka Nitta
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN13: 9781569706039
ISBN10: 1569706034

Review by I-hsiu Lin

White skin and dark skin.

Youka Nitta’s White Brand takes a different approach on romance. Though the topic seems to be ‘skin color’, the story doesn’t take much of a political or controversial view. Five stories about a variety of characters with romances that are more then just color of skin, height or nationality. Instead, the focus is on the emotions and the trauma that Asano suffered from his father’s death. Fukaya hopes to draw Asano out from his aversion to his darker skin. As Asano agrees to try to overcome his fear, his feelings are drawn out as well. At least that’s the first story….
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Yaoi Novel Review: Passion: Forbidden Lovers

Passion: Forbidden Lovers
Story: Shinobu Gotoh
Art: Shoko Takaku
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN-13: 9781569705742
ISBN-10: 1569705747

Review by I-hsiu Lin

The forbidden relationship between teacher and student. High school student, Hikaru Umino is in love with his teacher, Kuniaski Shima. In a desperate attempt to confess his feelings, Hikaru ends up raping his teacher. Although reprimanding, Shima allows Hikaru to ‘atone’ for his wrongdoing by becoming his lover. It’s only pretend. Shima quips, “We could play like we’re lovers…I’ll go out with you only until you graduate.” Hikaru begins playing the game with time limits and rules.

But his feelings have no limits.
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Yaoi Review: A Gentleman’s Kiss vol. 2

A Gentleman’s Kiss vol. 2
Story and Art: Shinri Fuwa
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN-10: 1-56970-582-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-56970-582-7

Review by I-hsiu Lin

To recap my previous review, rival yakuza heirs and successful club owners, Homura Yasobe and Touji Karasuma are secretly lovers. However, a host, Kyoya finds out about their affair and decides to step up his plans to make Homura fall for him. That ended the first volume. In the second volume, Touji has plans of his own with a sudden marriage proposal to a daughter of one of the yakuza leaders in Homura’s group. What is really going on? Touji is still in love with Homura who can’t even face him. Instead, he turns to Kyoya. To kill time or to seek support?
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Yaoi Review: A Gentleman’s Kiss vol. 1

A Gentleman’s Kiss vol. 1
Story and Art: Shinri Fuwa
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN-10: 1-56970-581-x
ISBN-13: 978-1-56970-581-0

Review by I-hsiu Lin

Homura Yasobe is an owner of several successful clubs as well as heir to a yakuza faction. It just so happens that his lover of four years, Touji Karasuma is also heir to a rival group. In legal and illegal transactions, Yasobe and Karasuma are enemies. However, behind close doors, Homura and Touji meet secretly. It will not bode well for either of them if anyone finds out that the potential heirs to the rival yakuza are in bed with each other. Homura moves out to avoid such issues…at least that was what he hoped for until one of his hosts discovers Touji….

Or more like Touji discovers the host.
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