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Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

by Liann Cooper,

Buy It Now!

Planetes Volume 3
Released by Tokyopop
Story & Art by Makoto Yukimura

$9.99 US

What would you do after being chosen for a super cool space mission? You definitely wouldn't be brooding and dreaming about yeti-like creatures and long-tailed cats. You would probably be flying high because of your newly achieved success. Hachimaki should be on cloud nine after being chosen as one of the elite few for the Jupiter Mission; he should be elated because he's finally fallen in love with someone. But, Hachimaki is the complete opposite of happy. In fact, he is depressed, indifferent and unemotional. He has completely closed himself off from his family, friends and especially his girlfriend, Tanabe. Volume three of Planetes takes a break from the space assignments and journeys into something even vaster than space – the human psyche. With its solid, engrossing storyline and well-developed characters, Planetes should have a permanent spot on anyone's bookshelf.

Trigun Maximum Volume 1
Released by Dark Horse Manga
Story & Art by Yasuhiro Nightow

$9.95 US

You don't even have to ask, because I already know what you're going to ask. The answer is, “Yes, it's the same series.” My psychic powers are astounding, I know. Now, if you require a detailed explanation for why the name was changed, I shall happily direct you to the encyclopedia entry for the Trigun manga. Is everything cleared up for you? Good.

For two years Vash has been in hiding; living under the assumed name of “Eriks” and hoping to live out the rest of his life in peace. However, when a random thug using the name “Vash the Stampede” takes one of the townspeople hostage, “Eriks” knows that it's time to come out of hiding and face the destiny he's tried so hard to avoid. Aided by the too-cool-for-you priest, Nicholas D. Wolfwood and the insurance gals, Meryl and Millie, Vash takes up his gun and sets out to clear his tarnished reputation. Compared to the two behemoth volumes of Trigun, Trigun Maximum seems very short at only 188 pages. However, it's only a lightweight in size; story-wise, Trigun Maximum packs just as much punch as the first two volumes. It seems there will always be those who prefer the Trigun anime over the Trigun manga, but for those who waver between the two, strongly consider checking out Trigun Maximum. The artwork seems to have improved from the first two volumes and a new arc in Vash's journey has begun; it's a perfect time to jump into the series. Vash is on the move again, and you should be too – on the move to your bookstore to snatch up this title.

GetBackers Volume 3
Released by Tokyopop
Story by Yuya Aoki & Art by Rando Ayamine

$9.99 US

With no fanservice existing in either of the other “Buy It Now!” titles, one can only imagine that you're withering away due to panty-shot deprivation or depressed because of a lack of wispy-haired men. Despair no longer my friend, for GetBackers is here to make everything better. With its plethora of boobs, panties, cute boys and humor, GetBackers has something for everyone. Money problems still continue to plague Ban and Ginji, primarily due to an incorrect assumption concerning payment for their last job. This being the case, the duo eagerly accepts their next retrieval assignment which involves getting back a rare Stradivarius violin for musical genius, Madoka Otawa. However, when a couple of Ginji's old friends - Kazuki and Shido - show up, the GetBackers could be in a more complicated situation than they had originally anticipated. Tokyopop still seems to be working out translation kinks – they made Kazuki a woman; Dr. Jackal is still “The Jackal” – but hopefully these errors will be fixed by volume four. Mistranslations aside, the GetBackers' story is still intact and entertaining as ever. With only three volumes having been released so far, it's not too late to catch up on the action. Do yourself a favor and check out GetBackers. You won't be disappointed.

Borrow It

Remote Volume 1
Released by Tokyopop
Story by Seimaru Amagi & Art by Tetsuya Koshiba

$9.99 US

I don't know about you, but I am terrified of clowns. Mickey Mouse, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny – those are just freaky, but clowns are terrifying. Needless to say, being in Kurumi Ayaki's shoes is the last place I'd want to be, especially since hers are hot on the trail of a psycho clown. Due to financial reasons, Officer Kurumi Ayaki has had to postpone her plans for early retirement. Unfortunately, since she had already turned in her resignation letter, her old job as a traffic cop was no longer available. The only job available was a position in the Criminal Investigations Department, Unsolved Crimes Division Special Unit A. Her partner is Kozaburo Himuro, an emotionless genius who is unable to leave the confines of his basement office. Wearing ridiculously short skirts and high-heeled boots, Kurumi acts as Himuro's eyes and ears as they try to crack the case of a killer clown on a rampage. The artwork isn't very appealing, Kurumi is whiny, and Himuro is too much of a genius for his own good, but Remote is somehow still really entertaining. If not for the plot, make sure you flip through this title just so you can chuckle at the pathetic attempts at fanservice that are spattered throughout the volume. All joking aside, Remote is worth borrowing and maybe even worth buying, but only if you have an extra ten bucks lying around.

Rave Master Volume 9
Released by Tokyopop
Story & Art by Hiro Mashima

$9.99 US

Raging battles, revealed secrets, big swords, and some weird snowman-like thing – Rave Master has all of this and more. If you haven't been keeping up with the series, it's best if you start at the beginning. For those who are keeping up, volume nine brings the conclusion to the Haru/Gale/King battle and also reveals the truth behind the origins of the Demon Cards. After acquiring the Rave of Combat, Haru must decide what journey he and his friends will embark on next. Will he choose to search for the remaining two Raves, help Elle recover her memory, or simply return to Garage Island? This is a long series, so it's highly unlikely that Haru will return home, but we'll have to wait until August to find out for sure.

Sister Red Volume 2
Released by ComicsOne
Story & Art by Shizuru Hayashiya


Who would've thought that the artist of Onegai Teacher would bring us such a dark, morbid series? In this final installment of Sister Red, Mahito takes matters into her own hands. In order to keep her life, she must prove to Leo, the head of the “True Medians” that she has the power to defeat the “False Ones.” Together with friend Alice and her fellow Medians, Mahito leads the deciding battle that will determine the fate of herself and all Medians. Had Sister Red been just a little bit longer, it would've been bumped up a category. Disappointingly, the series cuts itself short by being a mere two volumes long. There were a number of questions that arose in this second volume – What's up with the “Mark of Dune?” Who is Dune?” “You built up to this climactic battle between Medians, only to have the head guy defeated by fire?” The volume also takes a bit of a cop-out attitude, leaving the reader hanging with a blatantly open ending. A creative storyline combined with likeable art; Sister Red scores about even in pros and cons, which make it deserving of at least a try.

Mink Volume 2
Released by Tokyopop
Story & Art by Megumi Tachikawa

$9.99 US

After Mink and her friends mistakenly purchase some futuristic software called WANNA-BE, they accidentally transform Mink into a pop star named Cyber Idol Mink. As with any good magical girl story, Mink must go to great lengths to keep up her pop idol façade or else some disastrous thing will happen – specifically, she and her friends will be “erased.” Things aren't looking good for Mink in volume two, especially since her rival, Azumi, will stop at nothing in order to be the number one pop star. To add to Mink's predicament, a gossip columnist, known as the “Celebrity Killer,” is out to tarnish Mink's reputation at any cost. Luckily things work out in Mink's favor since people are too clueless to make the connection that the pink-haired girl named Mink could possibly be the pink-haired pop idol named... Mink. So what if Mink has nothing to offer except big-eyed girls, pretty outfits, and a giant amount of saccharine? We all get sugar cravings every once in a while.

Candidate for Goddess Volume 2
Released by Tokyopop
Story & Art by Yukiru Sugisaki

$9.99 US

In the future, mankind is doomed (it's always doomed) and its only hope for survival lies in the hands of gifted teenagers who pilot giant mecha called “Goddesses.” To become a pilot of these Goddesses, a candidate must be male and go through rigorous and grueling physical, mental, and academic testing. Let's not forget cliché characters to go with our cliché plot. We have the rebel - Zero, the rebel's rival - Hiead, and the nerd – Clay. Volume two brings a barrage of new tests, as well as some new characters called "Repairers." Each boy is matched up with their assigned repairer, who conveniently enough all happen to be girls. Zero and his repairer, a catgirl named Kizna, are immediately off to a rocky start after he makes fun of her cat ears. Fortunately, the two make amends just in time for Zero to pass the latest of the candidate exams. Candidate for Goddess suffers from a bad case of the “been there done that” syndrome. Though the detailed Goddess specs and the illustration gallery in the back are nice additions, they don't make up for Candidate for Goddess' lack of originality.

The World of Narue Volume 1
Released by CPM Manga
Story & Art by Tomohiro Marukawa

$9.99 US

There is one constant in the world of anime and manga – the geeky guy always gets the cute girl. And if the cute girl happens to be an alien, that's even better. Narue is a cute, 14-year-old school girl who happens to be a super powered alien. Kazuto is a geeky otaku who is in love with Narue. Together they travel down the well-trodden lovers' lane while dealing with secret robots, stolen headbands, and even a surprise visit from Narue's older sister. World of Narue is proof that you can't put a group of characters together and expect them to spontaneously produce plot. The world just doesn't work that way. But, who needs plot when you have true love? I do. Page after page of “Tee hee! I'm a cute alien... look at my panties!" and "OMG! *nosebleed* I saw the cute alien's panties!" just doesn't cut it for me. Who knows, volume two could introduce some plot elements that would redeem World of Narue, but for now it's just one of those "sucker one of your friends into buying it" titles.

Recycle It

Battle Vixens Volume 2
Released by Tokyopop
Story & Art by Yuji Shiozaki

$9.99 US

Battle Vixens' story is as follows: Hakufu Sonsaku is a fight-crazy girl who not only possesses incredibly large breasts, but also an ancient jewel. This jewel marks Hakufu as a “Toushi.” In order to help her hone her fighting skills, Hakufu's mother enrolls her at Nanyo Academy - a school in Tokyo that is entirely populated by other Toushi. There she must fight her way up the ranks in order to become the "Ikki Tōsen." Battle Vixens has successfully earned the "Worst Manga I Have Ever Read In My Life" award. I can't even begin to describe just how awful it is. So, Hakufu beats up other girls or she beats up other guys so that she can become the ULTIMATE WARRIOR; its plot is as non existent as Hakufu's wardrobe. She wears skirts that are shorter than short, shirts so poorly made that during any fight they rip - conveniently exposing her breasts, and Hakufu doesn't appear to realize that wearing a bra is a good thing. I wish I could get the 20 minutes I spent reading this back, but I can't. I am doomed to be tormented with mental images of jiggling, bouncing breasts, crotch shots, ass shots, and... more breasts. If there were a category that existed below “Recycle It,” it would be too good for Battle Vixens. Pretend this abomination never existed and your world will be a happier place.

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