VIZ Manga App for iPad

I’ve been doing the majority of my comic reading on the iPad lately. The iPad’s form factor and crisp backlit screen makes it a natural fit for comics. My favorite general-purpose comic reader is the comiXology reader for iPad. It features a large selection of free and paid comics available for in-app download, including titles from Marvel and DC, but it has a very small selection of manga. That’s where the VIZ Manga App comes in.

This free app lets you download and read a selection of manga from VIZ, including titles like Dragon Ball, Vampire Knight, and Naruto. There are some previews available for free, so you can get a taste of how the app works without spending any money. And through the end of March 2011, all the “Volume 1” books are on sale for 99 cents each, which is a great deal. Right now the full price books are $4.99 each, which is still a good deal considering these are around 150-200 pages each.

The actual content on this app looks great. When I read manga here, I feel like I’m basically seeing the same thing as in the paper version. The text is clear and legible even when it gets down to smaller sizes, and the app shows a whole page at a time, with no need to zoom in to read things (although zooming is supported). Swiping a finger across the screen scrolls to the next page without any noticeable delay.

One somewhat odd feature in this app is that it keeps track of what page you’re on in a book, but if you switch to a different book and then back to the original one, it will lose your place in the original manga unless you had manually set a bookmark. This is not really a problem once you get used to it, but it surprised me because I assumed it would work more like the Kindle app, which keeps track of the current page in all the books separately.

I like some of the quirky manga on the VIZ app, like Toriko, a story about a “gourmet hunter” who travels the world seeking the most delicious and exotic cooking ingredients. And my favorite manga so far on the app is Bakuman, which tells the story of two high school boys who are trying to break into the manga industry, one as an artist and the other as a writer.

Bakuman is written by the creative team behind Death Note and has a similar visual style, but none of the supernatural elements of its predecessor. In fact, it reads more like non-fiction. It could have been subtitled “Behind the scenes at Shonen Jump.” The reader (along with the main characters) learns all about the business side of manga: everything from how stories are chosen for publication, to the intense competition between editors to find and develop hits. There’s a romantic subplot too, but the main appeal comes from the insider’s view of the manga industry.

I recommend both the VIZ Manga App, and Bakuman as must-have content for it.

Industry News: Del Rey concludes, and Kodansha USA steps up to the plate.

Just days before New York Anime Festival, Deb Aoki writes of news that Del Rey of Random House is closing shop, and Kodansha USA, will be taking over, publishing their manga in English from their Japanese counterparts. Originally scheduled to have a panel at the upcoming NYAF, the panel is at this moment canceled and removed from the schedule.

This is the press release that was released:

Continue reading “Industry News: Del Rey concludes, and Kodansha USA steps up to the plate.”

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….
Continue reading “Manga Review: Train*Train vol. 3”

Manga Review: Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture vol 1

Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture vol 1
Story and Art by Masayuki Ishikawa
Translated by Stephen Paul
Published by Del Rey , imprint of Random House, Inc.
ISBN10: 0345514726
ISBN13: 9780345514721
Review copy provided by publisher

Review by Linda Yau

Imagine always having the ability to see micro-organisms with your naked eye. What would it be like? Would you embrace this ability, shun it, or would you learn to cope with it? That is how Tadayasu Sawaki lives his life. He stopped speaking about this unique ability, but learned to cope with it. Now the story begins with him starting as a freshman at an agricultural college with his friend Kei Yuki, and this is a story of their experiences. Continue reading “Manga Review: Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture vol 1”

Manga Review: Oishinbo A la Carte – Japanese Cuisine (vol. 1)

Oishinbo A la Carte – Japanese Cuisine (vol. 1)
Story by: Tetsu Kariya
Art by: Akira Hanasaki
Published by the VIZ Signature Imprint of VIZ Media
Copy supplied by Publisher
ISBN-10: 1-4215-2139-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-4215-2139-8

Review by Kris

Food… its something that we all need. Not only do we need it to sustain life but it also is very important to society. We all have dishes that are essential to our culture and one mention of these meals people immediately know where that food comes from. Scotland has Haggis, Russia and borscht goes hand in hand. When

you think of Italy pasta comes to mind and where would America be without its apple pie. Even though food is essential you wouldn’t imagine making an entertaining manga out of it. Well it has been done, and done very well.

Oishinbo A la Carte focuses on the Teito Times and their project called the Ultimate Menu. Shiro Yamaoka and Yuko Kurita are the two employees in charge. It turns out that Yamaoka is the son of renowned gourmet and famous artist Yuzan Kaibara. Yamaoka and Kaibara have been estranged for many years and the two don’t get along. They have very different views on how gourmet food should be approached. Yuzan feels that only those with culture and discriminating taste should be recognized as gourmets. Yamaoka feels differently. He feels that everyone should be able to enjoy good food and that gourmet meals can be found everywhere, not just in super fancy and expensive restaurants.
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Yaoi Review: Brilliant Blue vol 2

Brilliant Blue vol 2
Story and Art by Saemi Yorita
Published by Doki Doki Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
Copy supplied by Publisher
ISBN10: 1569701008
ISBN13: 9781569701003

Review by Linda Yau

Brilliant Blue is the love affair between childhood friends, Shouzo and Nanami. There is closure, and a probable sigh of relief from the mangaka for the conclusion. At the end of the manga, it was translated and reproduced as a very small box of thanks. I was actually relieved that the book ended with an epilogue, because that means that the story is over and done with. In the first volume there was promise, as I wrote in my review, but I was disappointed with the second volume, for several reason, and these are possible attractions of the book for a potential reader. Continue reading “Yaoi Review: Brilliant Blue vol 2”

Yaoi Review: Kissing

Kissing
Story by Teiko Sasaki
Art by Shoko Takaku
Published by Juné, imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
Copy supplied by publisher
ISBN10: 156970922x
ISBN13: 9781569709221

Review by Linda Yau

Kazushi and Haru have been childhood friends, and now they are on the brink of graduating college. What happens when Kazushi suddenly pulls Haru aside and kisses him? This sets of a catalyst for Haru, who has to think about what would their relationship is and would probably turn out if he accepts or rejects Kazushi’s obviously last ditch to reject a girl’s confession – confession to him.
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Manga Review: The Manzai Comics vol 1

The Manzai Comics
Story by Atsuko Asana
Art by Hizuru Imai
Published by Aurora Press
Copy supplied by publisher
ISBN-13: 9781934496503

Review by Linda Yau

Ayumu Seta is a new student at a Japanese middle school; he prides himself on being a normal person, but what happens when his classmate, Takashi Akimoto who is a guy no less, asks you to go out with him? And if this going out is more different than what you expect. Then what? This is what Ayumu experiences, as he is unexpectedly thrown in the world of Manzai comedy. Continue reading “Manga Review: The Manzai Comics vol 1”

Manga Review: Youkai Doctor vol 1

Youkai Doctor
Story and Art by Yuki Sato
Translated by Stephan Paul
Published by Del Rey , imprint of Random House, Inc.
ISBN10: 0345512383
ISBN13: 9780345512383

Review by Linda Yau

Kotoko Katsuga is the descendant of a long line of people who exorcises youkai or demons. However by the time she came about, she pretty much lost that power, and can only be aware of spiritual beings that no one else can see. Continue reading “Manga Review: Youkai Doctor vol 1”

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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Shojo Review: Gaba Kawa

Gaba Kawa
By Rie Takada
Published by: Shojo Beat Manga
ISBN13: 978-1-4215-2259-3
ISBN10: 1-4215-2259-4

Reviewed by Lauren Lapinski

When someone says “shojo manga”, the image that usually comes to mind is of high schools girls, pretty boys, and huge helpings of romance. Gaba Kawa is no exception to this rule, while adding a somewhat supernatural twist, another element becoming coming in the genre. The main character, Rara, is a demon who has come to the human world to wreak havoc, drag human souls down into the pits of darkness, and other lovely things like that. The last thing she’s supposed to do is fall in love with a human, which, anyone at all familiar with the shojo genre can guess, is exactly what happens. Continue reading “Shojo Review: Gaba Kawa”

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: Gakuen Prince vol. 1

Gakuen Prince vol. 1
Story and Art: Jun Yuzuki
Published by the Del Rey Manga Imprint of Random House, Inc.
ISBN-10: 0-345-50895-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-345-50895-9

Review by Kris

Jyoshioka Private High School, a.k.a. as Jyoshi (or Joshi) High, was once an all girls school but within the last few years they’ve started admitting guys. The girls outnumber the guys like no other and so to try and keep things somewhat quiet, all of the guys are in S-class. Every girl in school wants to be in S-class, except Rise Okitsu. Rise’s goal in life at Jyoshi High is to be invisible. It seems that she was bullied in her old school and wants to avoid it in her new school so to hide her stunning good looks she pulls her hair up in pigtails and wears clunky glasses.
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Yaoi Review: Brilliant Blue

Brilliant Blue: Vol 1
Story and Art by Saemi Yorita
Published by Doki Doki Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN10: 1569700990
ISBN13: 9781569700990

Review by Linda Yau

Shouzo Mita never thought that he would end up running his father’s construction business even though he has the same job at Tokyo, but when his father’s back gave out, he headed back to the suburbs. At a welcoming party he bumps into Nanami, a childhood friend and this is the start of Saemi Yorita’s Brilliant Blue. Continue reading “Yaoi Review: Brilliant Blue”

Yaoi review: Hey, Sensei?

Hey, Sensei?
By Yaya Sakuragi
Published by Juné Manga
ISBN 13: 978-1-56970-047-1

Review by April Kimm

Yaya Sakuragi is the mangaka of “Calorie,” “Soba ni Oitene,” “Renai Kyoutei Nukegake Nashi!,” “Koi Cha no Osahou” (Tea for Two) published by Blu Manga, “Mizu no Kioku,” “Plus 20 cm no Kyori,” “Yume Musubi, Koi Musubi,” “Hotel Traffic,” and “Oujisama no Ren’ai Jijyou.” “Hey, Sensei?” is a manga with four chapters and an epilogue of the main story, an unrelated one-shot “Unbreakable Bones,” and an afterword by the author. It’s soft yaoi, and sensei doesn’t lose his virginity until the last chapter, which may be why there’s a smut scene in the one-shot.
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Yaoi Review: The Lonely Egotist

The Lonely Egotist
Story by Hikaru Masaki
Published by Juné, imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN10: 1569700516
ISBN13: 9781569700518

Review by Linda Yau

Minami Kusuga is an interior designer who catches the attention of hotel owner Shinya Asakura. He was hired to help design the interior for Asakura’s next hotel. He was seduced on their first meeting, and Minami was taken on an aggressive courtship, as volatile as the hotel owner himself. Continue reading “Yaoi Review: The Lonely Egotist”