RIGHT TURN ONLY!!
TP Attack

by Liann Cooper, Jun 10th 2004

Buy It Now!

Fruits Basket Volume 3
Released by Tokyopop
Story & Art by Natsuki Takaya

$9.99 US

Tohru Honda is a lucky, lucky girl. She gets to spend her days living under the constant care of cute guys who, when hugged change into animals of the zodiac. So far Tohru has met the rat, cat, dog, rabbit, boar, and dragon. Volume three introduces yet another member of the Sohma family – Haru, the cow. After picking a fight with Kyo and confessing his love for Yuki, it becomes evident that Haru's personality (not just his hair) is split as clearly as black and white. Introductions aren't the only things happening in this volume; Valentine's Day has come and gone, and in honor of White Day, Momiji and the other Sohmas decide to treat Tohru with a trip to the hot springs. Save the *groans* for Love Hina, because Fruits Basket's trip to the hot springs is actually refreshing. Rather than having the boys try and sneak a peek at Tohru, the trip provides a nice opportunity for character development. With such a lovingly created cast of characters, you shouldn't need any convincing to buy Fruits Basket.


Comic Party Volume 1
Released By Tokyopop
Story & Art by Sekihiko Inui

$9.99

Anyone who's ever attended an anime convention has seen them - rabid fangirls who claw each other to get the last copy of “Inuyasha/Miroku Dream Date Volume #5" or cat-eared fanboys who drool over the latest issue of “Maid Love Maid Love You.” After observing such a sight, the last thing you probably want to do is pick up a manga about a wannabe doujinshi artist. But, Comic Party is so enjoyably hilarious, once you finish the first volume, you'll find yourself eagerly awaiting volume two. A parody of sorts on the doujinshi/otaku world, Comic Party tells the story of Kazuki Sendoh - a talented artist who has just been introduced to the world of doujinshi. Much to the chagrin of his friend, Mizuki, Kazuki soon becomes consumed with attending “comipa” and drawing manga. Encouraged by his crazy friend, Taishi, Kazuki sets off to create successful doujinshi that exudes his passion for the media. Filled to the brim with hijinks and cute girls and poking more fun at otaku than you can imagine, Comic Party is so fun to read that you won't even notice the paper-thin plot.


Rurouni Kenshin Volume 5
Released by Viz
Story & Art by Nobuhiro Watsuki

$9.99 US

Red hair, cross-shaped scar, “Oro,” reverse-blade sword - yeah, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, be ashamed... be very ashamed. Thanks mostly to Cartoon Network, Rurouni Kenshin is probably one of the most recognized names out there, right behind Cowboy Bebop and Trigun. Having broad appeal to both male and female audiences, Kenshin has proven to be a hit in both the anime and manga departments. With the first half being a “Yahiko special” and the second half being the introduction to the Rajuta Arc, this volume could most aptly be classified as “filler.” Filler or not, “Ruroken” volume five is still a solid read with an action-packed storyline and great artwork. The Kyoto Arc looms on the horizon, so jump on board now or else you'll be left behind.


Suki: A Like Story Volume 3
Released by Tokyopop
Story & Art by CLAMP

$9.99

Teddy bears and a guy with a Lolita complex - if that doesn't entice you, I don't know what will. What if we throw in a happy-go-lucky girl, some suspense, and gorgeous CLAMP guys? Yup, I knew that would reel you in. All questions are answered in the final volume of this short, but sweet series. Asou-sensei is still working hard to secretly protect a naive Hinata and Hinata is still blissfully in love with her teacher. After kidnappers manage to capture both Hinata and Asou-sensei, Hinata's feelings are put on the line when the true identity of Asou-sensei is revealed. A fitting conclusion to a loveable story, you may find yourself wishing that Suki were just a couple volumes longer. But, isn't that the case with all CLAMP titles?


The Demon Ororon Volume 2
Released by Tokyopop
Story & Art by Hakase Mizuki

$9.99 US

Fashionably-dressed, androgynous characters with lanky limbs having gory battles in the name of Heaven or Hell - hey, what's not to love? I found myself drooling with every page turn while reading this novel. What Demon Ororon lacks in aesthetics, it sure makes up for in substance. Daughter of a human and the archangel Michael, Chiaki has been shunned by her family and regarded as a crazy freak. Meanwhile, Devil King Ororon would rather die than return to his royal position in the Underworld. Having fallen in love and bound by the promise to be together forever, Chiaki and Ororon fight against bounty-hunting demons, as well as their own personal demons, with the hopes of finally finding peace in a world that has rejected them. The one fault with Demon Ororon is its usage of about three different fonts. Pretty fonts don't make for easy reading; squinting to try and decipher the white text in the black panels isn't fun either. Regardless, Demon Ororon is a dramatic, touching love story between a devil and an angel - once you read it, you'll be hooked.


Hikaru no Go Volume 1
Released by Viz
Story by Yumi Hotta & Art by Takeshi Obata

$7.95 US

Who knew that a book about the game of Go could be so entertaining? Hikaru no Go is about a young boy, “surprisingly” named Hikaru, and his relationship with a Go-crazed ghost named Fujiwara-no-Sai. Having been denied the opportunity in his past life, Sai's greatest desire is to perform the “divine move.” It's only after he plays that move that Sai will be released from his spiritual prison and pass into Nirvana. But, things aren't going to be easy for Sai. His Go skills are 140 years out of practice and Hikaru has never played Go and shows no interest in learning. Normally I'm not a strong promoter of buying Shonen Jump titles - mainly because they're incredibly long, repetitive, and I lose interest after about five volumes - but, as with anything, there are exceptions. With Hikaru being such a likeable character combined with Sai's ridiculous pleas to play Go (mixed with little *hearts*), you can't help but thoroughly enjoy every moment of this book. Granted, it's only the first volume so my attitude could change, but for now I say “Yea” and place it in the “Buy It” pile.


Borrow It

Bleach Volume 1
Released by Viz
Story & Art by Tite Kubo

$7.95 US

Look! It's Kyo from Fruits Basket, only he has a sword and exists in the world of Shaman King. Ichigo Kurosaki is a good-hearted, surly guy who has the ability to see and talk to spirits. Until he met “Soul Reaper” Rukia, Ichigo's only real involvement with ghosts was occasionally helping a wayward soul or two find peace. However, after meeting Rukia, Ichigo learns that there are two types of ghosts – Wholes, who are good spirits and Hollows, who are evil. After a Hollow attacks Ichigo's family, his only hope to save them is to absorb take some of Rukia's soul reaper power. Surprisingly Ichigo absorbs every bit of her power, which temporarily puts her out of the “soul reaping” job. Until Rukia regains her powers, Ichigo must take over her job of protecting the innocent from wayward Hollows. Earlier I mentioned how Shonen Jump titles have a tendancy to be repetative - for me Bleach falls into this category. Now don't get me wrong, because I think Bleach is a good read, but by the middle of the volume, Bleach already shows signs of turning into an episodic, monster fight-fest. There were some intriguing questions hinted at - regarding Ichigo's astounding spiritual energy and his ability to suck Rukia dry of her powers – but until some more character development happens, Bleach is a definite “borrow before you buy."


Immortal Rain Volume 1
Released by Tokyopop
Story & Art by Kaori Ozaki

$9.99 US

For some reason, no matter how many times I look at the title, I always read “Immortal Rain” as “Purple Rain.” Thankfully, you won't see verses to “When Doves Cry” or pictures of a gyrating, 90lb. man within these pages. Instead, you'll find the melancholy story of an eternal being named Rain Jewlitt – or “Methuselah” as he's more commonly called – and his fateful encounter with the young bounty hunter, Machika. For centuries, Rain has been hunted so that the secret to his immortality can be uncovered. Many have tried to kill him with no success; included in the many was Machika's grandfather – “The Grim Reaper Zol.” Vowing to avenge her grandfather's death, Machika sets out to kill Rain. But when she encounters the feared “Methuselah,” she discovers that he is merely a man who wants nothing more than to die. Immortal Rain feels a little "empty" with its light artwork and underdeveloped characters, but there's still room for improvement. If you're looking for something to tide you over until the next volume of Trigun comes out, Rain and Machika's adventures may be right up your alley.


The Seikai Trilogy: Crest of the Stars
Released by Tokyopop
Original Story by Hiroyuki Morioka
Composition by Aya Yoshinaga & Art by Toshihiro Ono

$9.99 US

Set against the sprawling backdrop of a sci-fi space epic, Crest of the Stars tries to tell a compelling story of a prince, a princess, and a galactic empire. However, rather than sweeping you away into the vast unknown, you're submersed in a sea of foreign lexicon and jumbled characters. When Jinto Lin was a child, his home world fell under Abh attack. His father sacrificed its freedom in exchange for a seat in the Abh Empire. After seven years of Abh education, “Prince” Jinto is about to meet his first Abh - a sharp-tongued princess named Lafiel. Unfortunately, their rendezvous is cut short after war breaks out between the Four Nations Alliance and the Abh Empire. In order to secure their safety, Jinto and Lafiel are subsequently ordered to flee to the capital city of Lakfakalle. Dense in page count and in content, Crest of the Stars is an aggravating and tedious read. Instead of getting a recreational reading experience, you'll find yourself getting a massive headache as you trudge through pages of back-story and alien lexicon. With characters saying things like, “I've never seen Lef as servile as your Gosk,” as well as spouting other crazy Abh vernacular, you have to continuously refer to the included “Seikai Trilogy Abh Dictionary” in order to understand what the heck people are saying. Only check this out if you're a Crest of the Stars fan, otherwise you'll just be stuck with a fat book filled with weird words.


Recycle It


Deus Vitae
Released by Tokyopop
Story & Art by Takuya Fujima

$9.99 US

Put down that copy of Maxim, because Deus Vitae has more than enough titillating action and hot women to satisfy your appetite. Granted, the women are androids, but when they're getting naked and moaning in orgasmic delight all while trying to “connect” with a human male... do you really care? The year is 2068 and Earth is under the rule of a supercomputer named Leave. In order to make room for her superior android race, the Selanoid, Leave has eradicated most of the human race. Despite Leave's "cleansing," a small group of humans – led by a young man named Ash - has managed to survive and they want nothing more than to overthrow Leave and reclaim Earth. When an attempt at breaking into the “mother system” results in Ash's capture, he is left with no choice but to rely on the help of a young Selanoid named Winslet. I really, really wanted to like Deus Vitae. It has gorgeous artwork and the interesting premise of man vs. machine. However, once machines start saying things like, “Become one with me, Ash,” and, “I'll be gentle... my body is strong and such a snug fit,” it becomes painfully evident that artwork can only go so far.

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