New Year’s Eve

Party Popper

Hello everyone.^^/

2014 has been one big adventure. Many happy things have happened for me as well as many nerve-racking moments. In fact, I keep on forgetting the littlest of things that happened this year. Passing an online course, completing my first ever story, attending my sister’s wedding and going out many times, especially London! Right now I’m just busy enjoying the festive season. =)

I’m sure 2015 will treat me just as kindly, if not more. I’m not sure what’s going to happen really, but there are many things for me to look forward to. There are plenty of Marvel films coming up at the cinema. I think a new James Bond film is also coming out at the pictures. I will hopefully take the opportunity in that year to upload my book onto Amazon Kindle. I’m very excited yet nervous about that prospect. =)

My New Year’s Resolution?… I don’t have one. Well, my New Year’s Resolution applies every day in every moment, not just on the 1st January. That resolution is to always be kind to others and to enjoy every moment of every day. I’m sure that whatever happens in 2015 is meant to be.

I will continue to write about my thoughts and how I cope in social situations. I will write plenty of anime and manga reviews. I also anticipate that I will share with you all my past experiences during my acting days. I have many funny stories to tell and I figured it’d be worth sharing. =)

I wrote quite a few haikus as it is one of my hobbies. I don’t usually share them as they’re rather personal to me. However, my gut feeling is telling me that I should share one haiku in particular. It’s the one that I wrote specifically for this time of year. Here it is:

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

My-resolution,

Is-for-everyone-to-be,

Happy-all-year-long.

Written By

Ryan Speak

31st December 2014

THANKS FOR READING

Non Non Biyori Calendar 2015

My New Year’s Eve has just got better. My Christmas present, Non Non Biyori calendar, has literally arrived just in time before we welcome 2015. I’m really happy, so happy that I decided to share a photo of it here. =)

I hope you all have a peaceful night and fun celebrating.

Thanks for reading.

Happy New Year everyone.^^/

Ryan

Reviewing Anime, Manga and Film

No Game No Life wallpaper

Konbanwa.^^/

It wasn’t my intention to review my favourite anime and manga when I started blogging, it just sort of happened. I was blogging about how I cope with Autism around the same time when I started to get into manga. It was at this point, I thought, that I could actually add another string to my bow (aka my blog) and review manga. Reviewing my favourite things, such as anime, manga and movies, would be another good way for me to express myself. Most of my friends and family don’t share this common interest with me so I don’t really have anyone to talk about this kind of stuff with. How do I solve this problem? Simple. Share my thoughts through the art of blogging. =)

I didn’t really know how to review a story. Is there only one way of reviewing? Initially I sort of just used my instinct and just spoke about what I enjoyed about that story. I also posted some anime news that I was happy about, especially concerning High School DxD. I could have easily researched previous reviews of anime and manga but I didn’t want to be influenced, so, I just went with my gut instinct. =D

When reviewing entertainment products I did find that I did probably force myself at times, especially when it comes to anime seasons. I felt I had to review every single anime that I watched. Here, I put unnecessary pressure on myself. Because I forced myself I wasn’t as natural as I could have been. It is at that point that I did research some reviews and this seemed to put more pressure on me to get it right. I felt that I ought to try to be more professional in my writing. This detracted my enjoyment of reviewing. It was only after the High School DxD Volume 2 that I had an epiphany… Reviewing manga, anime and films like a pro was never my intention to begin with.

The whole point of my ‘reviewing’ style is to share my enjoyment in manga and film and TV. My intention was to make my style personal rather than professional. After my reviews from High School DxD, I felt that my enjoyment and personality came out more. I actually enjoyed reviewing the latest manga and anime. I never forced myself to bring the words together, they all came together naturally. =)

I already have some anime and manga that I plan to review in the near future, but, I will not force myself to review them. I want to take my time and when I’m happy with it, I’ll share my thoughts on them with you. =) I think, in all honesty, my reviews are more like casual rambles. I feel like I’m a fan just spouting my thoughts on manga rather than analysing its contents.

I also found my own style of rating anime, manga and movies. You can check it out in the blog, My Rating System.

Here is a list of anime that I intend to review

  • High School DxD
  • Locodol
  • Non Non Biyori

A list of manga that I intend to review

  • Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends – Now With 50% More Fail!
  • Nisekoi: False Love – Volume 4
  • No Game No Life – Volume 1
  • See Me After Class – Volume 1

A list of TV series that I intend to review

  • Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends – Series 1

A list of Movies that I intend to review

  • Iron Man

I originally had a category called ‘Ryan’s Game World’. I intended to review games but I never got round to them. A year has gone by since I started to blog and I still haven’t reviewed a game. I might review the games of Atelier Escha and Logy, Super Mario and Senran Kagura but I’ll see how things go. =)

THANKS FOR READING

Non Non Biyori Wallpaper

I figured this blog would be an appropriate follow up to my First Year Blog Anniversary. I wanted to talk about my reviews in that blog but I deemed it not relevant, hence, why I made a separate blog for this one.

I hope you enjoyed the read, even if it was a short one. =)

See you next time.

Sayonara,^^/

Ryan.

My First Year Blog Anniversary

Party Popper

Blog Tidings.^^/

It seems rather strange that I have been blogging for one full year now and this was met by many adventures that I did during that period. =) I’m not sure how it started really. I believe I was just rambling on with my family when it came up in passing that I should blog about my experiences with Autism. I learned over the years that writing things down can release my unwanted tension and it’s another form of me expressing myself. =)

After careful consideration, I registered on WordPress and my blogging journey started…

I could talk about my year as a whole, but instead, I’ll just summarise and link to the blogs that I think are significant.^^/

  1. Introduction

This is my introduction which I wrote one year ago. =)

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/introduction/)

  1. WWE Raw 2013

I went to WWE Raw with my circle friends. I used to be a big fan of WWE but this was the first time that I attended an actual wrestling show. It was daunting but it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. Plus, my favourite wrestlers were in attendance.

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/wwe-raw-experience/)

  1. Segway

This was good experience and an instant highlight of the year. I arranged a birthday treat for my brother. This was the first time that I had actually arranged anything. I was also venturing into the unknown here. It was a little distance away but we both had a really good time and I would do Segway again without hesitation.

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/segway/)

  1. Pub-Quizzing

On some occasions I would go to the Pub Quiz either as a night out or to celebrate a special occasion. I would often have to have a long think about whether I want to go out or not. Last month though, I went to the pub quiz for Cheese’s (the friend, not the dairy product) birthday celebration. Instead of needing to think I just decided to deal with my emotions when the time arrived.

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/pub-quizzing/)

  1. WWE Royal Rumble

In early 2014 I stayed at my brother’s until the early hours watching WWE Royal Rumble. For some televised wrestling events I would often stay over. Usually after the event I spend the rest of my night sitting in a chair reading as I don’t feel comfortable sleeping in someone else’s house.

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/wwe-royal-rumble-2014/)

  1. Completing a Writing Course

This was certainly a joyous occasion and I celebrated it with a pint of J2O. 😉 I learned a lot about writing and how to approach a publisher. Nothing has been happening for me and my books just yet but I believe I’m steering myself in the right direction. =)

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/passing-an-online-course/)

  1. Positivity and Autism

Naturally, coping with Autism can be tough. I tend to over-think and read into situations that are not there.

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/negativity-to-positivity/)

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/negativity-to-positivity-over-thinking/)

  1. Visiting College

Visiting my college again was quite a challenge. I was invited back to college a few times to watch performances and to catch up with people but I declined those offers. I was out of routine and had become unfamiliar with everything.

However, this year, I decided to pluck up my own courage and visited. I thought long and hard about this invitation but in the last minute I decided to say “yes.”

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/visiting-college/)

  1. The Wedding Blogs

I didn’t have much to blog about in July except for one…my sister’s wedding. That was a very significant moment and I achieved a lot personally on that day.

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/the-wedding-part-one/)

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/the-wedding-part-two/)

  1. Yoga

My outlook on myself and confidence is highly due to my regular practice in Yoga.

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/my-yoga-journey/)

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/my-yoga-journey-continues/)

  1. Film with a Friend

I went to watch the Transformers film with a friend… this was definitely a significant moment as this was the first time that I’ve been out with someone without a family member being present. The following day I went to the cinema with my Dad, and I took the initiative as he is less familiar with the procedure then I am.

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/transformers-age-of-extinction-film-review/)

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/inbetweeners-2-film-review/)

  1. Impromptu Outing

Going to an impromptu trip to a train station was an interesting challenge.

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/journey-to-tumbleweed-station/)

  1. November Happenings

November was very busy month and was perhaps the most challenging.

I designed a Halloween costume dressed as the Shockmaster for my Brother’s Halloween party. The day after that I went to London to watch Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. As I travelled to London it was necessary for me to stay in a hotel, the first time that I ever slept in a bed that wasn’t my own… If that wasn’t challenging enough, I then travelled to Liverpool to watch WWE Raw.

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/halloween-as-the-shockmaster/)

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/london-trip-part-one-the-preparation/)

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/london-trip-part-two-the-london-experience/)

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/london-trip-part-three-the-final-fantasy-concert/)

(https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/wwe-raw-and-liverpool-experience/)

BLOGGING

I believe I still have a lot to learn where blogging is concerned. What I have learnt though is that at times I probably forced myself to blog about stuff if I felt that I should blog about it. I like to think that in one year I developed my own style of writing and blogging. I consider myself always upbeat and looking on the happy side of life.

What I learnt is that I need to enjoy what I’m writing and I would often remind myself that all these blogs are from my own point of view. I tend to get the best out of myself if I enjoy writing, especially when reviewing film and manga. It can be hard at times since I find it difficult to summarise but thankfully I have my editor (aka Mum) to help me out. 😉

I find as well that if you don’t force yourself to blog you will have more things to talk about.

I feel a lot better when I’m blogging as it’s a good way to express myself. However, it came to light at times that viewers from all over the world are actually reading what I have to say. I’m also aware that some of my blogs have put smiles on the faces of my friends.

Making people happy is what motivates me to continue writing and blogging. Being happy is important, and if I’m making someone happy then I intend to keep up with that flow! =)

THANKS FOR READING

Two Thumbs-Up

I summarised my whole year to the best of my abilities. How did I do? Did I waffle too much? Haha. Well, I had to figure out how I was going to write this blog. In all honesty, it wasn’t a tough as I anticipated. All I had to do was sum up what I did and share my adventures from last November to now. =)

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I can’t wait to see what my future adventures will involve next.

See you next time.^^/

Namaste,^^/

Ryan.

High School DxD Volume One Review

High School DxD Volume One

Konbanwa.^^/

 

This week, Monster Musume Volume 4 has gone straight to number one in the New York Times! I’m really chuffed and over the moon about this. I still got my copy on pre-order on Amazon.co.uk and isn’t due out until September 1st. =)

 

With that happy thought, I present to you my review on High School DxD Volume 1. =)

 

WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY

 

  1. MY SYNOPSIS

Issei Hyoudou is a typical young man who lives the life of a normal young man. He was one of the most unpopular lads at his school until one day; he went on his first ever date with a beauty; Yuuma. All was well until he lays on the floor in a pool of his own blood, murdered by his date, Yuuma!

On death’s door Issei wished to die in the arms of a crimson-haired beauty…

Rias Gremory, the proclaimed most beautiful lady in school, has saved the life of Issei Hyoudou. After the shocking relevation of Yuuma and being brought back to life, Issei was left with yet another bombshell… he has been reborn as a devil and has become a special piece for the devil, Rias Gremory!

Let the fun times as a reincarnated devil roll.

 

  1. STORY

2.1. Overview

This manga consisted of four chapters, all of which were quite long, so I really wanted to take my time in reading it. The plot and themes are quite deep so I found that unlike D-Frag or Monster Musume I had to read carefully in order to grasp the story. It’s a really good story by all means but it was necessary for me to take my time with it in order to enjoy it and appreciate the story more. =)

 

2.2. Chapter One

I did feel sorry for Issei when it turns out that his date, Yuuma, turned out to be a psychotic murderer… on the outside Yuuma is easy on the eye but then she sullied her own attractiveness when she murdered her ‘date’. All anime/manga girls are attractive, no question, but their appealing factor, for me, is their personalities. So, I hereby declare Yuuma as ‘ugly’. 😉

 

We then get the introduction of two of Issei’s friends who are erotically charged, apparently as much as Issei. I’m not so keen on over-the-top perverted characters but at this moment it seems realistic enough. Over-the-top perverted male characters tend to ‘peek’ on girls and so far, on this occasion, Issei and co are divulging their lust into dirty magazines. I can get that it’s probably what most young men would do. Apart from the fact that Issei is more concerned about his ‘date’ rather than thinking dirty thoughts.

 

The ravishing Rias Gremory then makes her appearance. =D She appeared in Issei’s dying thoughts and she even gazed up at him as he looked at her from the window… I wondered if there was going to be a connection between the two, and it made me wonder if she had something to do with Issei coming back to life… assuming what he experienced wasn’t a dream. A female waking up in a bed beside the lad is a typical manga cliché but I still enjoyed reading it. It was a wonderful introduction.

 

2.3. Chapter Two

Poor Issei… he tried to summon himself to the client’s place but it somehow didn’t come to fruition, so, he had to travel via bike. Begrudgingly, I found it hilarious. It went from being cool and dramatic to a mellow and uncool atmosphere. XD He eventually arrives at his client’s place. The client is Mil-Tan who turned out to be a big buffed otaku who likes to cosplay. Haha. The highlight of this chapter, I must say, is the introduction of the sweet and innocent sister, Asia. =)

 

2.4. Chapter Three

You just know that Asia is sweet just by her brief introduction and with the way that she emitted an aura of a docile and kind personality.

Issei could have easily taken advantage of her and her docile demeanour but he didn’t. However, he did the opposite. He appreciated the kind of sweet girl that she is and he actually looked out for her as if she was a little sister in distress. He was interested in her as a person and helped her to get to the church… even if it did mean causing him some pain, that’s the kind of good male character that I’d like to see. =) He even reacts to her when she shows her cross, since devils are weak against vessels and such from the church. =)

She helped a young injured boy… whilst the boy’s mother gave Asia the cold shoulder the boy thanked Asia for healing him. I’m not sure if she is nice because she’s a sister or if it’s just in her nature, however, I still like her nonetheless.

It will be interesting to see if a relationship brews between Issei and Asia. He’s a human reincarnated as a devil and she’s a nun of the church, so… we could have a forbidden romance on the cards. =D Rias, being the over-protected sister type person, will probably have contrasting views and scold Issei for interacting with someone associated with the Church. And she did just that, but that’s just because Issei met someone of the Church rather than a Romeo and Juliet situation…

And now, in this very chapter, comes the introduction of the battle system… all the devils are pieces depending on rank…. Rias Gremory, who belongs in the Gremory household, is the King and she has her very own pieces. Her queen is Akeno, who specialises in magic and is an extreme sadist… what fun. 😉 Her knight is Yuuto who is a speed type. Her rook is Koneko who uses superhuman strength. And Issei, is her pawn… in a way, Issei being a pawn is quite appropriate because pawn can have more than one meaning. 😉 Is it an innuendo? Poor Issei though… he really has a long way to go to be ‘harem king’.

These explanations were used correctly as Rias and crew battled some stray devil. Everyone showed off their abilities whilst we establish which rank each devil is… Visual aids and simple explanations do wonders for a story. =)

 

2.5. Chapter Four

Chapter Four, Issei sleeping in a bed- BOOM- Rias is naked next to him. We learn that Rias can’t sleep very well when she’s naked, how convenient. 😉 He resisted touching her through fear and self-control.

In every walk of life, and in manga, girls generally do have some kind of empowerment over guys. Ladies know that the gents love sex and to get in the sack they tend to do jobs or chores for the ladies since they promise them a ‘reward’ so to speak. They’re empowered because they call the shots. In this case, Rias has Issei completely wrapped around her fingers. XD He can grope her breasts if he manages to get someone’s contract… of course, this highly motivated Issei and he got straight onto the job without much fuss… I really liked the way how Rias used the word ‘deman’ in a seductive manner to Issei…mixing man and demon in the same mix… what fun.

Then came the unfortunate encounter between Issei and some chaotic priest, Freed. He got mad and they had a bit of a scuffle, naturally Issei struggled being a devil, but then who should come to his aid but the charming and amiable, Asia. =) This is where the potential forbidden love could start… she learns that Issei is in fact, a devil, her natural enemy… However, it didn’t matter to her that Issei was a devil, because he was her friend. It’s very touching…

Issei got enraged, naturally, when Freed started to get frisky with Asia… she clearly is a pacifist. It’s good that Asia is a pacifist and all but it can cause her problems in certain situations… like this one.

What luck!

Rias and the devil posse came by to aid Issei.

Oh no!

They have to leave because more fallen angels were on the way. And Issei had to leave poor Asia behind. She is the enemy of the devils and she can’t be transported through that summon thing since only Rias and her devils can transport through it. That slap from Rias did seem to be a bit harsh. Was there any need for that? Rias reassured Issei that everything was alright, since Asia has nothing incriminating on her that would merit fallen angels to hurt her…

That ending was simply heart-breaking to read. That was when Asia smiled through her tears to Issei that they will meet again… It was upsetting to read. If Freed tried to take advantage of her in front of Issei, just imagine what’s going to happen when he’s all alone with her… anything can happen. What is going to happen? I feel very nervous about Asia’s future. I’m hoping that nothing bad happens to her, but, I don’t like her chances of survival in Volume 2…

 

2.6. Parody Elements?

I didn’t tag this manga as a parody as it didn’t feel right. However, I did notice sporadic appearances from characters from other anime/manga.

  • The Haruhi alarm clock which is based on Haruhi Suzumiya from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa and Noizi Ito.
  • Posing as Goku from Dragon Ball, by Akira Toriyama, when he’s about to perform the Kamehameha move
  • “I will be harem king” is a shout out to Luffy’s “I will be pirate king” from One Piece by Eiichiro Oda.
  • Motohama’s [Issei’s friend] scouter is a reference to the scouter used in Dragon Ball which is used to detected power levels.
  • Beauty Pure, the title of Matsuda’s porn parody DVD is a reference to the anime, Pretty Cure.

 

  1. THEME
  • Action
  • Comedy
  • Ecchi[1]
  • Fantasy
  • Game
  • Harem[2]
  • Mature
  • Romance
  • School Life

 

  1. ART AND DESIGN

Miyama-Zero has done a wonderful job with the characters and their design. The artist of this manga does a good job with the art, I find it really cute. I especially like the uniform on the girls of what looks to be a jacket of some kind… I really don’t know how to explain it but I know what I like, and I certainly like that. =D

Rias’s description was good. She has a good dynamic bloody red hair that Issei visualised within his dying moments. It was very appropriate for the situation. It makes you wonder if that is why she had red hair to begin with. With Rias having red hair Akeno having dark hair I wonder if they are supposed to represent English Rose[3] and Yamato Nadeshiko.[4] Their beautiful appearances and charismatic auras does suggest this to me.

 

  1. CHARACTERS

5.1. ISSEI HYOUDOU

(PAWN)

I like Issei.

By what I have observed he loves the ladies very much both emotionally and physically. Being a young man it’s only natural for him to be interested in the ladies, and he has an alarm clock in the form of Haruhi Suzumiya. Haha.

His imagination is at the forefront when it comes to getting down and dirty. However, when he wakes up with a naked Rias next to him, he becomes shy and awkward. His mind is all over the place. Imagination is one thing, but dealing with reality is something completely different. Issei may have a vivid imagination but this is his first experience of being intimate with a lady, especially with Rias. In a way I find this to be realistic. All young men have lustful desires, but nice young men won’t necessarily take advantage of the opportunity.

It came to light that Issei is a reincarnated devil and he has this strange weapon called the ‘Sacred Gear’. It makes sense now why Yuuma and other Fallen Angels would go after them, as they deem the Sacred Gear ‘dangerous’.

 

5.2. RIAS GREMORY

(KING)

Rias is incredibly lovely and has a cool yet humble personality.

To top it off, she is a beauty! You see… I actually do have a little thing for girls with wings. Whether it’s angel with wings, devil with wings or succubus with wings… any girls with wings basically! I like mermaids too, but let’s stop there before I get off track!

I instantly like her more than Yuuma. Her self-confidence in her looks and self-assurance is nice to see. How many ladies do you know who would sleep naked beside a young boy you just met? This tells me that she has no shame and that she has no sense of personal space. And she’s totally ok with Issei exploring her chest region should he choose to do so… oh my.

She does strike you as the big sister type who is very responsible and will look out for you if you need her to. However, whilst she is clearly very affectionate she’s also quite sexual in nature. Some of her actions and flirtatiousness can be interpreted on different levels. I would say that she treats everyone in a voluptuousness manner but I’ve only seen her treat Issei in this regard. Is he the special exception perhaps? She seems to sleep naked with him a lot, using him as a ‘pillow’. Perhaps using him as a ‘pawn’ is not a coincidence and that he fulfils her duties outside of the battlefield too. 😉

In some ways she reminds me of Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit as they’re both sensual, seductive and show their affection in a more than physical manner. Out of the two, I do actually prefer Rias. 😉

We know that she’s a devil and all but I actually think that it would be more appropriate to describe her as a succubus rather than a devil. Haha. I’m referring to her confidence in her personality rather than her actually being a succubus[5]. She would never take a man’s soul for her own gain.

 

5.3. ASIA ARGENTO

(SISTER)

I think Asia’s introduction was actually my favourite introduction of a character from High School DxD. I would talk about her character but I think I pretty much summed up my feelings and perception of her in the whole of Chapter Three. XD

I like girls like her who are caring, sweet and don’t judge. I can see she is a bit of a scatter brain and is a little naive. I deduce that she’s naïve due to her lack of experience in normal society. She also doesn’t get why Issei has a nose bleed. In manga, guys get nose bleeds when they get ‘excited’.

I’ll leave it as that. I look forward to seeing her more in Volume Two, if she survives that is.

 

5.4. AKENO HIMEJIMA

(QUEEN)

I like Akeno’s sadist side. I like anime girls to be a little bit different and unique. Normally Akeno has the appearance of a beautiful lady and acts with dignity when it comes to etiquette and polite manners. However, the bloodlust will rush when it comes to battling opponents. Being a sadist she gets off when she hurts her opponent badly… haha.

She can definitely compete with Rias in terms of being voluptuous, especially when she’s in battle. I enjoy seeing this side of her but I definitely wouldn’t want to be her opponent!

 

5.5. YUUTO KIBA

(KNIGHT)

Kiba is pretty cool and reliable. He is the traditional handsome man with blonde hair who will attract the ladies not only with his ruggedness but with his charm too. Very smooth and crisp sword skills too, it’s very appropriate for a knight.

 

5.6. KONEKO TOUJOU

(ROOK)

Koneko is cute and her looks are very misleading since she has superhuman strength and is Rias’ rook because of her unmeasurable strength. I like her.

 

  1. CONCLUSION

This is definitely one of my favourite manga, at least top five.

It pretty much has everything that I’d like to see in a manga. Good action with the cast’s rank based on chess pieces. It has a good fantasy story that mixes devils, angels and fallen angels. There are many parts of the story that made me laugh, engage me and make me extremely sad and worried, especially at the end. It involves ladies who have cool personalities, a caring nature and can kick your cherry behind. 😉

Plus, we have the main male who is strong and is interested in the ladies but is not over-the-top about it. He dreams about having a harem… I’m not necessarily a harem supporter but I don’t like to see any girls or guys become broken hearted so I route for a multiple boyfriend/girlfriend so that everyone’s happy… this looks like it could go that way but at the minute we have to see if a relationship will blossom between Asia and Issei.

I wonder if a tension is going to develop between Rias and Asia… better see how things go! Rias doesn’t mean to be mean to her but she is just looking out for her devils, especially Issei.

I’m gnashing my teeth at the thought of something bad happening to her!

I don’t like the fallen angels and stray devils; they treated Issei and Asia terribly. For that, I dislike them. A lot of villains have a reason why they turned evil, but with the likes of Yuuma and Freed, I don’t see any redeeming features.

I simply love the uniqueness and battle system in the style of chess pieces. I like it how everyone has a rank based on chess pieces, with the King being the highest and the pawn being the lowest… I actually wanted to create something similar in terms of a battle strategy based on the chess piece system… High School DxD evidential got there first but I still find it reassuring that other people come up with similar ideas. I see it in a way as fate telling me that great minds think alike. =)

 

High School DxD Volume One gets Two gets Two Thumbs-Up. (My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up 

 

THANKS FOR READING

High School DxD Poster 01

Funny enough, just as I finished reviewing Volume One, High School DxD Volume Two has just arrived. =D This week has been very kind to me indeed. I don’t anticipate that I’m going to review this any time soon as I want to read it for fun and understand 100% what’s going on within the story.

 

Thanks for reading. =D

 

Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

 

[1] This manga contains risqué and sexy moments or lecherous characters.

[2] In this manga all the ladies are gunning after one man and/or lady.

[3] An English Rose is the most beautiful and attractive lady from England. Many describe Diana Princess of Wales as this.

[4] The term, Yamato Nadeshiko, in Japan means “personification of an idealized Japanese woman”, or “the epitome of pure, feminine beauty.”

[5] A Succubus comes from hell with the sole purpose of draining the soul of sleeping men through the act of sex. The male equivalent is Incubus as they have sex with sleeping ladies.

D-Frag! Volume One Review

D-Frag Volume One Cover

Konbanwa.^^/

This is the first manga that I’m going to review that isn’t Monster Musume. I’m excited as it’s licensed by the same publishers, Seven Seas, and Seven Seas are licensing a lot of good manga as of late. =D

 

Let’s roll.

 

WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY

 

  1. MY SYNOPSIS

Oh no! A self-proclaimed delinquent has emerged at Fuou High in the form of Kenji Kazama! Is this something to be feared and wary of? …nope.  

Kenji may have decided to live the life of a ‘delinquent’ but in all honesty he is a kind and sincere young man. The Kazama Gang were determined to live up to their reputation so they decided to cause mischief when they came across the Game Development Club…only to discover that they had bitten off more than they could chew.

This club consists of four attractive girls who are incredibly wacky but deceitfully strong. They were able to subdue the Kazama gang due to their aligned ‘elements’ such as lightning, water, earth and fire(?) Kenji is forced to join the club following the ‘pungent torture’. Can Kenji handle the Game Development Club or will he crash and burn?

 

  1. STORY

2.1. Overview

I could tell immediately that this is a gag type story. Straight from the get go it involved over-the-top panels with an eccentric but comical cast.

Whilst I feel that I established what this manga is all about I’m not certain what the overall plot entails. So far I see this manga as a battle of supremacy in terms of winning a game or ruling over the club/school. But these battles and games involve Kenji’s daily escapades of dealing with farcical scenarios from the wacky ladies. He may want to be known as the ‘badass legend’ but with the likes of Roka (club president) and Chitose (school council president) to contend with, his wish won’t come true anytime soon. Especially as his reputation, as well as his gang’s reputation, is little to non existent.

I do question Kenji’s so called status of being a ‘delinquent.’ It’s a unique role reversal since some blokes would pretend to be good but really they’re bad. Why does he want to rule over school? Why does he want to be a delinquent? Does he have hidden traumas that have yet to be exposed? Perhaps something occurred that awoke Kenji’s strive to become the ‘king of the hill.’ He may act tough and emit a cocky attitude but in all honesty he’s as soft as they come. When faced with a crisis, he will be the hero instead of the villain. 😉

 

2.2. Chapter One and Chapter Two

The Kazama gang got a sound introduction and were potentially problematic. If you judge a book by its cover, sure, but if you got to know them personally, you wouldn’t even worry by the likes of them. Through Yokoshima’s proposal they attempted to ransack all the games from the Game Development Club… they went from being heinous to heroes since they put out a brewing fire. Even Kenji was surprised by his own actions…

Kenji and his gang went from being heinous to being heroes to being weak… Kenji especially looked weak since he abandoned his friends to save his own skin. Haha! It was touching when he got caught up in the moment and joined the club willingly… it seems that he was in debt to Roka, Sakura and Chitose after they saved him…. Would a delinquent show gratitude, get caught up in the moment and JOIN a club? Most definitely not!

My highlight is when he tried to escape Roka’s ‘darkness’ and flew right out of the window. That was unexpected. XD

 

2.3. Chapter Three

Kenji was innocently eating his lunch with his gang when who should appear but their good friend since middle school days, Ataru! This chapter was all about Ataru for me.

I could not stop laughing when I read it. I like guys who are cool but I also like guys who are hilarious. I like them especially if they have some kind of odd fetish, in this case Ataru being a masochist. The way he gets off from being mistreated is most funny. It was especially funny when he called Kenji and his gang ‘country bumpkins.’ XD This is where we truly establish Kenji’s status in the school. He’s not even close to being as ‘bad’ as he wants… Chitose being the Student Council President of the school was a bit of a surprise, but it also makes a lot of sense. I wonder what the other delinquents will be like. Are they genuine troublemakers or are they good people pretending to be bad like Kenji?

Hatsudai is cute, even if she is just an extra. 😉

Ahem-

Kenji and Ataru managed to get one over Chitose… but they lost since they entered the girl’s changing room. Of course they never intented to peek but they did it to prove her wrong… I wonder if Chitose did this on purpose.

 

2.4. Chapter Four

The club president of the ‘real’ game development club, Takao, makes her appearance. She offers a challenge to the ‘fake’ club for battle of superiority and pride. Not before meeting Kenji in person though… whilst being dressed in black cloaks! That was one heck of an introduction. The strong pace of good comedy moments and new characters being introduced felt just about right…

Kenji and Takao even share a funny and unequivocal banter between each other, especially about the topic involving boobs. Rumour started to spread by this time that Kenji had a leg-fetish, but then he walked right into the start of that topic when he mentioned that he liked boobs. He wasn’t going to win this argument with girls. Not only will he never beat girls physically, since they all seem unrealistically strong, but he will never beat them through banter or arguments either… XD He was never going to hit her since he’s not the kind who would hurt girls…

Oh! The moment when the cops came and took Yamada away was probably one of my favourite moments in Volume one. Everyone betrayed him by pretending that they’d never seen him before. Then, they all watched as he got arrested and taken to the Police car. It was a glorious moment indeed… I wonder how they were able to spring Yamada free.

 

2.5. Chapter Five and Six

We got a little bit of an insight into the relationship between Takao and Roka. I can understand why Takao would be upset about Roka. It was all Chitose’s fault and Takao knows this but she still can’t help but feel upset. I suppose it’s one of those situations where Takao felt betrayed or dumped to be with someone else other than her. Takao’s challenge was all about her club and the fake club joining forces so she could be with Roka again.

It was sad to see Takao upset and crying (although admittedly it was cute at the same time) but it shows that she does care about Roka despite her claims. I was really pleased that they made up in the end, all’s well that ends well.

The fake club wanted to cheat or sabotage the real club since there was no chance that they could win. In a surprising turn of events Kenji actually solved the problem through wit instead of physical force. Good for him! Games can be just as fun to play  as well as create.

 

2.6. Chapter Seven

The games begin!

Takao was wary of when Kenji invited her to their club’s festival. I think her worries were justified. However, out of all the people, Kenji was the most trustworthy since he would never lay her into a trap. I actually wondered if a trap was awaiting her without Kenji’s knowledge. Turns out, the club’s festival happened in the yard! And it consisted of many, many games to play. Chitose abused her role of authority and the Student Council as well as the rest of the Kazama gang slaved themselves dry into helping with the set. Ataru enjoyed the mistreatment he got  from Chitose… whatever rocks your boat. Haha.

Roka really suits a mustache. I enjoyed her interaction with the Tough Guy and Tough Son act. It seems that they’re extras but they’re brilliant extras and contribute well to the funny situations.

 

  1. THEME
  • Comedy
  • Parody
  • School Life
  • Slice of Life[1]

 

  1. ART AND DESIGN

I describe the art style to be striking, dramatic but strangely cute. All the characters have lovely designs. The tough guy act father and tough guy son look hilarious with their tough and realistic looking faces.

In the clothing department, minus the school attire, we see that Roka and Chitose are trendy. Minari has to dress smart because she’s a teacher but because of her personality she will wear whatever is comfortable and cosy. She also has that lazy look about her, especially in the eye department which look quite droopy. Sakura is the sporty type. I’m anticipating that Takao will wear girly girl clothes. I look forward to seeing her in her every day wear.

 

  1. CHARACTERS

5.1. KENJI KAZAMA and the KAZAMA GANG

Haha the Kazama Gang… Nagayama and Yokoshima look tough and therefore stand out more than Kenji. I don’t know about you but I can’t take Yokoshima seriously due to his haircut and height. XD

Despite his occasional outbursts of outrage to his club members Kenji actually blends in very well with the club, even if he does vividly deny it.

He comes off as a dude who is tough and rebellious due to his status as a ‘delinquent’. However, deep down, I can’t help but suspect that he’s as soft as a kitten. It seems like for some reason he wants to be viewed as tough so he decided to choose the life of being rebellious. Although to be honest he’s not exactly convincing, especially since most of the time he plays the role of the straight man.[2]

 

5.2. TAKAO

Takao… I could talk about her for ages but I will restrain myself.

I find her to be cute, beyond cute. In the anime world she would be described as a moe.[3] I would describe her character as someone who is awkward, impeccably cute, mature-yet-innocent. She is very responsible, hard-working and is a good role model for anyone when it comes to dealing with club activities. However, when dealing with a confrontation she becomes very sensitive and flushed, to the point where she is on the brink of tears. It can be upsetting to see her cry but this is where we see her cute and innocent side.

I think she displays traces of a traditional tsundere.[4] She is very awkward when it comes to expressing how she really feels. On the surface she challenges Roka and her club and if Takao wins then Roka and her club with merge with Takao’s club. That’s a roundabout way of Takao saying that she wants to be in the same club as Roka again. She was very hostile towards Roka and a little bit towards Kenji but deep down she wants to be with Roka again as she likes her.

No doubt Takao’s boobs will be one of the main focuses in this manga. Normally boobs would be used in a cheeky perverted situation to stimulate or excite the reader. Here though, I anticipated that her boobs will be used for gag purposes as so far they’ve been shown and talked about in a funny manner rather than a perverted manner. I find it quite refreshing. This manga I don’t feel needs cheeky moments, just a lot of humour and entertainment.

Her conversation with Kenji about boobs was entertaining to read. I’m not even sure how they got into that sort of conversation. It all started off when it was proclaimed that Kenji had a fetish for legs until he corrected them and said he liked boobs… that opened a can of worms. XD

I wonder what her first name is. I find it a bit odd that the rest of the cast have a first and last name but Takao is just Takao… maybe she doesn’t have a first name? Perhaps it’s not necessary to unveil her first name yet? It’s piqued my interested, whatever it is.

I like all the characters in this manga but at this moment in time Takao is by far my favourite. =)

 

5.3. ROKA SHIBASAKI

(FIRE TYPE/DARKNESS TYPE)

In the looks department she is very cute but she is probably by far the most eccentric character in the series. Her personality and looks don’t mix, yet, the contrast brings out a really quirky character in Roka. She is very small too and we tend to see a lot her chibi appearance.[5]

Her element is amusing. I wonder if that technique has actually worked on anyone. Her ‘true element’ the darkness, appears to be a lot more effective so she should use this more often.

When Roka comes out of her eccentric shell, she can be serious and either says something cool or does something cool… only to end up looking uncool or saying something daft. … This happened when saving Kenji, when having a heart-to-heart with Takao and talking to Kenji on the rooftop… This tells me that Roka is capable of being serious but ultimately she will bring us all back to reality by being ‘uncool’. XD

 

5.4. SAKURA MIZUKAMI

(WATER TYPE)

Sakura is mightily cute. She’s a zealous athletic type person who never seems to stop smiling. I like happy-go-lucky characters like her. She’s eccentric in the sense that she can’t do anything without her bottled water. I bet she will do well in the Ice Bucket challenge… when she pours the water over Kenji’s head, that is! XD

I would say that she’s very strong but a bit of an airhead. If she could stop Nagayama within a matter of seconds then taking care of Kenji wouldn’t cause her any trouble. She actually caught up with him after prepping herself in a running position. XD

 

5.5. CHITOSE KARASUYAMA

(EARTH TYPE)

Chitose is mean, short-tempered, intimidating and protective… in a way. She is the school council president and she is not afraid to abuse her power whether it’s something big or small. She will abuse her powers but she does have a somewhat caring side, like when she embraced Takao or when she created a fake game development club with Roka. I think she has a bit of a lecherous streak in her, especially when it comes to Takao’s chest. Haha.

I wonder why she is so fixated with sand castles. Does she strive to become a Queen? She’s also the school council president, so she isn’t green when it comes to power and dominance.

She is super strong and probably the strongest out of the entire school. Even if Kenji was capable of hitting the ladies I still don’t think he would be able to beat Chitose in a one-on-one fight.

 

5.6. MINAMI OOSAWA

(LIGHTNING TYPE)

Out of all the girls in the club I actually think that she’s most sane. XD I imagine that she does have some sort of crazy streak in her. What normal teacher would allow such chaos to go on in a clubroom? Perhaps Chitose coerced her to become the adviser of the club with the opportunity for Minami to sleep and slack around?

I think the teacher is normal to some extent because she is not 100 % insane but she’s not 100% sane either. XD Her look and presentation fits her personality to a tea. I like her. She reminds me a lot of the teacher from Non Non Biyori.

It was definitely an interesting twist when it turned out that she was a teacher. The story was making out that she was a student but it turned out that she was a teacher. The revelation of her being a teacher was timed perfectly as it suddenly had Kenji back on the ropes. XD She doesn’t necessarily stand out but I think she will contribute as an underlining character as she’s a teacher and all.^^/

 

5.7. ATARU

Not much to say except that Ataru is a very good character. He’s responsible and mature when it comes to handling duties as the vice president but he’s also mad when it comes to his fetish. The fetish of him being abused and punished… it’s truly utterly hilarious. It’s also good that he still remains close friends with Kenji and his gang…he wants to outdo Chitose since she pipped him to the post of the President of the School Council, but, he always comes up short… perhaps he deliberately loses so she can punish him? Haha.

 

  1. TRAIN STATIONS

What I also like about this manga is that the names of the cast are based on real train stations in Japan. Shibasaki Station, Roka-koen Station, Chitose-Karasuyama Station, Minami-Osawa Station, Sakuragaoka Station, Nagayama Station and last but not least, Takao Station.

 

  1. CONCLUSION

I’ve really enjoyed reading this and no doubt I will re-read this again and again. Even if it does have serious moments like when Roka and Takao have a heart-to-heart it will ultimately conclude itself through something humorous and silly. XD

I feel that all the characters in this manga are genuinely likable. There’s always a manga where I don’t necessarily hate someone but whom I don’t particularly care for. In this manga though there isn’t a single character that I dislike, even the extras in this story contribute some sort of goodness and importance to the manga. Like the Tough Guy and Tough Son characters as well as Hatsudai who has a very cute and feminine design.

All the characters are great, especially Takao.

Without any doubt or question, D-Frag! Volume One gets Two Thumbs-Up from me. (My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up

 

THANKS FOR READING

Double Takao I can’t wait for the release of D-Frag! Volume 2. =)

 Thanks for reading. =D

 

Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

 

[1] Based on everyday mundane life.

[2] The straight man is usually performed during a double act. When the partner behaves or says something daft the straight man will respond either with outrage or frustration. Usually he will say something to make his partner look daft/funny. The straight man in Japan is usually called Tsukkomi. Morecambe and Wise, an old British Comedy act, use the straight man in their comedy sketches.

[3] It has come to my attention that there are many meanings to the word ‘moe’ but in this case it means a young person who is very cute in appearance and innocent in nature.

[4] Tsundere is a person who is usually involved in romantic circumstances. The tsundere (usually a girl) would act in a hostile and blunt manner towards the other person (usually a guy) but deep inside she usually cares a lot for him. Perhaps more than she realises. Sometimes a tsundere is in denial that she loves that certain person or she is very awkward when it comes to expressing her feelings. “Tsun tsun” means along the lines of to be disgusted, whilst “Dere dere” means lovey lovey. Taiga Asakura from the anime Toradora is a classic example of a tsundere.

[5] A deformed character or a chibi character in anime or manga means small and miniature in a cute way. You will see it a lot in D-Frag!, especially with Roka. You would normally see Roka in her normal appearance but in certain comedic situations you will see a deformed version of her, or a minimised version of her. You can see the casts’ deformed versions on the front and back of D-Frag Volume One.

Monster Musume Volume Three Review

36962793

Konbanwa.^^/

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for giving your time to read my reviews on Monster Musume. I’m still learning and developing my own style when writing reviews. I do enjoy expressing my feelings, blogging thoughts about my favourite things like Monster Musume as it makes me feel happy. However, it is a massive bonus when the reader takes their time to read what I have to say. For that, I am truly grateful.^^/

MonMusu[1] Volume 2 seems to be especially popular and it has given me extra impetus to blog about Volume 3. =)

Here it is.^^/

WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY

1. MY SYNOPSIS

Up till now Kimihito has been a host to four liminals; a passionate Lamia, a playful Harpy, a proud Centaur and an illegal species, Slime. Life has been kind to Kimihito; he has liminal guests who adore him and continue to pursue his hand in marriage. The competition is getting tougher though since the arrival of the courteous and gentle Mermaid, Mero.

In the same breath the darker side of the liminals started to show. A group of erotically charged orcs emerged and caused a commotion at a local otaku shop, offering gratuitous demands. Due to the interspecies Cultural Exchanged Accord the police can’t legally touch the orcs… but all is not lost since Ms Smith has a plan to solve this problem, but whether it will work or not is a completely different issue!

2. STORY

The pace and flow of this story was well thought out and applied cleverly. Not only is the timing of the story good, but the comedy and the quirkiness of the characters are well placed too.

At first glance it appears that Suu is nothing more than a background character that just happens to be there for the sake of adding more humour to the story. But actually she has played many pinnacle moments. Because of her the plot unfolded in certain chapters. I will talk more about this in Suu’s character section.

There are no small parts in a story; even the smallest part in the story can create the biggest conflict. Look at that young boy from Home Alone. When the sister did a head count and mistook the neighbours boy for her brother, it led to Kevin McAllister being all by himself. Thus, home alone.

*

Mero is really growing on me- her development was completely unexpected, in a good way. From our point of view, Mero being up to no good was all just in Miia’s head, since we come to learn that Miia has a very hyperactive imagination. Then, when Mero smiled in an unnerving manner, it made us think that Miia was right to be wary. It came to light that it was all in Miia’s imagination and that Mero isn’t after Kimihito, at least not in the normal sense.

*

It’s rather fascinating how the topic; fairy tales was brought up. Mermaids are probably one of the more popular legendary creatures, look at the book and film The Little Mermaid. I for one would be excited to meet one if they existed in real life. It’s clear in Monster Musume that this manga is very self-aware so it’s quite interesting that they delve into fairy tales- more specifically mermaids.

Mero spoke about how mermaids love the story the Little Mermaid. Miia then confessed that she too likes fairy tales and yearned to have her own prince… we see a flashback of Miia reading her fairy tale books, she looked mighty cute when she was little. All of this deep conversation developed a more one-sided rivalry between Miia and Mero. At the end of the chapter it was established that Mero’s ideal love is rather…unique. Turns out, the entire time, she wants to be a mistress rather than a wife. Haha! That was unexpected but in some ways it makes a lot of sense. XD

*

My favourite part of this volume is when Kimihito holds Miia in her arms, like a damsel in distress. He looks very good too. That’s probably the best image I’ve ever seen of him, he looked cool, strong and you could see his eyes. His eyes are never visible unless he’s part of a serious scene. It was a sweet moment too because Miia’s dream of being held came true, right after she dived in to the water to save him, even though he didn’t need to be saved. It was sweet and brave, considering the fact that she’s not good with cold temperatures, especially Mero’s pool.

*

Chapter 12 focused heavily on Ms. Smith and her new MON squad. You could say that it detracts from the main story but I personally think it’s a nice change of pace. So far we’ve been seeing Ms Smith’s useless side but here we are seeing that when confronted with a crisis, she is on the ball. She can be serious when the situation calls for it. I suppose we see more of her familiar side when she’s with Kimihito and co…

*

The baddies were fairly decent.

I usually prefer baddies or catalysts to be serious but due to the themes and style of this manga, they were perverted. XD You have the Orcs who ransacked a shop with silly desirable demands and a ‘TV crew’ who just wanted to get their hands on Papi’s egg so he can become rich. They were perverted and stupid but it would be inappropriate to expect anything else.

I’m sort of hoping that- if this manga gets serious- we’ll have a proper villain introduced who is not cheesy or perverted. He/she would be allowed to be funny but not cheesy. That’s just me though. XD

*

Up until now we just saw baddies who were narrow minded and purse snatchers but here the author is exploring a darker side of both humans and liminals. It looks like that may continue since the creepy director is on the run.

*

I like how Mero’s fetish side is coming to the surface. I can see her visions becoming animated, like she is daydreaming in her own imagination. Rather funny and cute. It’s also funny how Mero trusted Miia’s cooking and fainted, with a creepy grin on her face. You wouldn’t have thought that someone with a high class background would have such an improper fetish. XD

*

The extras and facts at the back are fun to read, I especially enjoyed Mero’s facts. Kimihito appeared to be very conscious about what food he buys since Papi is half bird (chicken) and Mero is a mermaid (fish). It turns out that it was all wasted worrying since Papi eats chicken and Mero likes fish…all perfectly fine with cannibalism. XD!

*

Chapter 14 was very engaging. It had good pacing with a very solid ending. It’s the kind of ending that makes you want to read Volume 4.

I knew the TV crew were dodgy straight away, so did Kimihito. They felt obliged to comply because of the uneasy tensions between humans and liminals.

Paper was certainly important in this chapter. I was as shocked as the characters in that scene when Papi announced that she was going to lay an egg…later revealed that it was unfertilised…Of course, this announcement led to hilarious consequences, poor Kimihito…

I do wonder how harpies and lamias reproduce. Birds and snakes do usually reproduce through eggs. I did see a documentary that certain snakes do mate. The female snakes’ stomach would turn pink, indicating that it’s going through a lovey-dovey season. 😉

It was a pity that the creepy director went on the run, but fortunately he got his come-uppance by a mysterious Arachne.

I feel quite excited yet nervous for Kimihito. It seems clear that she’s going to come after him…

Maybe she’ll join his ever expanding harem? But on the other hand she might become the latest villain.

From my initial impression I think that she’s cynical. I’m just basing this on her mannerisms and demeanour. Her design also suggests that she is. The art isn’t always about the style but the designs within the style. Her clothes are very bold, dark and suggestive.

3. THEME

  • Comedy
  • Ecchi[2]
  • Fantasy
  • Harem[3]
  • Mature
  • Romance
  • Seinen[4]
  • Slice of Life[5]

4. ART AND DESIGN

I feel that the art and story blend well together. It’s appropriate for this kind of story with plenty of cheeky situations.

All the characters have glowing presentation to their appearance. Miia is casual, Centorea is formal and Papi is…Papi. XD Mero’s gothic lolita design is pretty cool and gives off the aura of an aristocrat. Her pink hair and mermaid part of the body is very feminine and pleasing on the eye. Pink is definitely a good choice for her, I sort of pictured her fins and hair as aqua/turquoise based coloured, since she’s a mermaid. Pink is definitely the right choice, I feel. =)

I like also how Miia’s headband (representing Lamia’s eyes) varies depending on her hairstyle or what she wears on her head. It sort of reminds me of Sena Kashiwazaki from Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends. She has butterfly clips in her hair, but it changes depending how she styles her hair. Miia is very much the same in this regard.

The colourful pages were especially good. The background in one of them was designed in scales coloured red, obviously representing Miia.

It was a just a cameo but I really like that red haired mermaid that appeared in Mero’s vision. She’s like a carbon copy of Miia.^^

5. CHARACTERS AND RELATIONSHIPS

5.1. MIIA

Miia really is a gem of a character and is my favourite from this manga.

She might be a Lamia but she’s cute, sexy, caring and very hilarious. Someone so cute should not be able to show various facial expressions like she does. Before the competition ensued she was portrayed as someone who is passionate, loving, affectionate, shy, a touch naive and lovey-dovey.

Since the arrival of Papi and Centorea we started to see additional sides to her, funny sides. We’re starting to see vices in the form of jealousy, possessiveness and competitiveness. They tend not to show when she and Kimihito are alone together.

In some ways she has a bit of a vindictive and cunning streak. When she comes up with plans to stay as Kimihito’s “number one” it tends to back fire badly, especially when Kimihito had to carry Mero around.

My favourite moments do actually involve Miia, especially her comedic reactions to situations and they’re so easy to visualise. Every time she goes “waaaah?” I can just picture her shouting “naaniiii?” in Japanase. XD

It’s a shame how terrible she is at cooking. We do learn that her speciality is boiling eggs, mostly because eggs are her favourite food- as she is part snake.

5.2. MERO

On the surface Mero is pure and lady-like.

It is suggested that she could be of noble blood. If she is of noble blood then it makes sense why Ms Smith assigned her to Kimihito’s household. She knows that Kimihito treats his guests with utmost respect and affection. Someone of noble blood would probably have to receive the best treatment in the best possible way, and who more appropriate to be her host then Kimihito?

5.3. SUU

Suu is an absolute brilliant character. I was really excited when a character like Suu was introduced but I find that I like her more the more we learn about her. Her quirks in transforming, reading people’s minds, mimicking and general abilities are very unique.

In fact, it is her uniqueness that has provided many pinnacle moments in the story.

  • Her ‘attack’ on Mero led to Miia being saved by Kimihito and a heart-to-heart between Miia and Mero.
  • She was able to enter Kimihito’s room, when ill, without the worry that she will catch his ‘virus’. Of course that led to many comical situations.
  • She read Kimihito’s mind when he was ill. She ‘nursed’ him back to health.
  • She read the creepy director’s mind which confirmed that he was filming with evil intentions. It wouldn’t have unfolded had it not been for Suu.

You will note that in those situations Suu was nothing more than a background character that made a sudden appearance, i.e., a sudden impact which changed the dynamics of the story line.

It was only Chapter 13 that she played a pivotal role. Not only did she play an important part but we also got to see her personality develop.

It was very touching to see her speech and declaration of love for Kimihito. It seems as though every time we see her, there’s more to her personality. Her feelings started to grow more affectionate to, the more she starts to develop a mind of her own. She had her own personality to begin with; we’re just seeing her grow as an individual, even if she is just a Slime.

5.4. MON SQUAD

The MON (Monster Ops Neutralization) Squad are a very good addition to the series.

You have an overzealous captain, Zombina, who is the undead, or zombie. Her specialism is raiding. It’s appropriate for her to charge into dangerous situations since there’s no danger of her dying.

Then there’s Manako, who is a Cyclops. A very shy type of character who cries easily due to her oversized singular eye.

You then have Doppel who can transform into anyone that she desires. This can be very handy for when she goes under-cover. It especially helps when she pretends to be that pinup type character girl as it certainly fooled the orcs.

I especially like Tionshia. I describe her as a gentle giant. I think she’d be more suited to being on a catwalk rather than as part of the MON squad.

5.5. MS SMITH

It’s very easy to take Ms Smith at face value but I can’t help but wonder if there’s more to her than meets the eye. We’ve seen her in bad light plenty of times but she showed that she can be reliable in dangerous situations.

I question her views towards Kimihito. It’s not clear if she harbours a deep affection for him but it’s clear that she sees him in a positive light. Since the young lad became an impromptu volunteer she became very familiar with him and his house. I don’t think this can be swept under the carpet.

Sure, we could say that she’s taking liberties and uses him as an excuse to get away from work and hang out for coffee and dinner. But, she could use any other hosts as an excuse to get away, so why is it Kimihito? She teases him sometimes through flirting. She assigned a noble like Mero to his household. And she turns a blind eye to any wrong doing that involves Kimihito, including the illegal species like Suu. Is she slacking off, or, is she giving him special treatment?

Whatever should happen I think it is worth keeping an eye on Ms Smith’s relationship with him to see if something happens.

6. BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL / SELF-AWARE

We established that one of the many charms of this manga are the puns and its self-awareness. Miia’s “Fire for fire, slime for slime” was one of those glorious puns. And “Get your filthy fins off my darling2.” Haha

Then you have moments where I feel like the manga breaks the fourth wall. In two of the cases it was Kimihito and Miia who broke the fourth wall.[6]

One where Kimihitio said “look, I don’t care how much the fetishists get off on this…!! I still don’t wanna drown!” when Suu is suffocating him, and the one with Miia…

“Anyone who gets that excited over my skin… is the worst kind of pervert!”

I couldn’t stop laughing when I first read that. I initially interpreted that as Miia insulting herself. However, when I read it again, I actually think it’s a joke between the author and the reader. I think it’s implying that we, the reader, have a ‘fetish’ over Miia’s skin which is why we are reading it.

Regardless, I think it’s hilarious. XD

7. CONCLUSION

The pace of the story was very good throughout.

One story focused on Ms Smith and her crew to give us a glimpse as to what she’s like at work. It was good. Certain characters like Suu were important in order to conclude parts of the stories. If Suu and her uniqueness didn’t exist then none of the stories could have unfolded and have a decent ending, even if they appear to be a background character. The one-sided rivalry between Miia and Mero had an unexpected and funny ending and the ending finished in a dramatic way which whets my appetite to read the next volume.

Most importantly though, I laughed a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it and I am most looking forward to Volume 4. If something makes me laugh and smile then it becomes very precious to me.

I give Monster Musume Volume 3 two thumbs-up.(My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up

8. OFF-TOPC RAMBLE: 12 BEAST

12 Beast Volume 1

This week I have learned that Seven Seas are going to release the manga, 12 Beast, on 14th April 2015.[7] [8]

12 Beast is another manga by Okayado and by what I’ve heard and seen, it’s somewhat similar to Monster Musume. I would say it looks more of an adventure fantasy rather than a slice of life like MonMusu. I’m very excited about this announcement and it’s something that I’m looking forward to in 2015, that and Avengers: Age of Ultron. 😉 I like Okayado’s work and style of writing and I get the impression that I’m definitely going to like 12 Beast. =D

For those who are interested, it is now available on Amazon.com.[9]

9. OFF-TOPIC RAMBLE: HIGH SCHOOL DXD

High School DxD

I’m also pleased to hear about the news of High School DxD. The TV Anime is going to have a third series and OVA within the next year. Yen Press publishers have also licensed the spin-off of High School DxD starring Asia and Koneko. It’s called High School DXD: Asia and Koneko’s Secret Contract!?[10] It’s released sometime in December so this is going to go on my Christmas list! =D

I’m twiddling my thumbs in anticipating for the novel to be licensed.^^/

I wonder what the DxD stands for in the title. Does anyone know? Judging by the theme and what I’ve read it’s probably something like “Devil x Dragons” or “Dragon x Dragons”… I’m hoping for the latter, it sounds cool. =D

THANKS FOR READING

 33671041

I learnt I can’t truly share my thoughts unless I spoil it a little…I know I’m not good at keeping secrets but the only way I can share my thoughts is if I don’t hold myself back. So, I do apologise if you didn’t want to be spoilt but it’s important to me that I annotate my feelings without restraint. =)

From now on a “WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY” will be plastered at the top of each review so that you’re aware of the spoilers ahead. =)

Thank you very much for reading.

Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

[1] Acronym for Monster Musume

[2] Risqué and sexy moment or lecherous characters

[3] All young females gunning after one man and/or lady

[4] Target audience for young man

[5] Based on everyday mundane life

[6] On a stage of a room there’s usually three walls. The fourth wall is presumed to be there, but it’s invisible. The audience is watching the TV/play on that fourth wall. The fourth wall is “broken” when the actor/performer engages with the audience through the fourth wall. British sitcoms like Miranda and Mrs Brown’s Boys break the fourth wall through their shows.

[7] http://sevenseasentertainment.tumblr.com/post/93331953770/license-2-from-one-of-our-new-york-times

[8] https://twitter.com/gomanga/status/499262048396910592

[9] http://www.amazon.com/dp/1626921776/

[10] http://www.amazon.co.uk/High-School-DXD-Konekos-Contract/dp/0316334855/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1407950639&sr=8-7&keywords=High+School+DxD

Monster Musume Volume Two Review

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Konbanwa.^^/

I am delighted to see MonMusu[1] volume 3, which is now on sale, is selling very well. It is now number two in the New York Times, previously number one for three weeks. It was knocked off the top by Dragonar Academy, which is also licensed by Seven Seas.^^/

I’m very impressed with Seven Seas recently, it was announced that they have licensed both D-Frag and No Game No Life. I really enjoyed the D-Frag anime and I get the feeling that I’m going to enjoy the manga. So, I pre-ordered the manga on Amazon. =D

Ahem-

Let’s roll with the review before I get anymore off topic. 😉

 

1. SUMMARY OF THE PLOT… IN MY OWN WORDS

Ms Smith has revealed to Kimihito that the government are looking for test subjects that involve a human marrying a liminal… I’m sure you gather what this will entail. 😉 Basically Kimihito now has the choice of marrying one of his house guests, and likewise, all of his house guests are currently fighting for his affection so they can be his number one lady… alas, things never transpire as smoothly as they or Kimihito would have liked. Until now Kimihito has been holding back his urges since he’s a gentleman and law abiding…but now that he has a choice in the matter, it will beg the question, can Kimihito keep his urges under wraps? You will need to read it to find out.

 

2. STORY

I feel that the story now has a clear purpose. The ultimate plot I suppose was eluded to at the end of the volume one book. That purpose involves Kimihito choosing one of his house liminal guests to be his future wife…if he so desires.

This is definitely in my top five all-time favourite manga, even though I’ve already read two volumes of this franchise. I just connected with this story very quickly. It’s my kind of story and I really love the unique characters and their design. Whilst it’s borderline soft-core I feel that they are used at appropriate times. The stimulating art goes extremely well with the comedy. The comedy is used in both the slapstick comedy (visual) and the funny quips and puns used in dialogue (verbally).

If the comedy elements were absent then I don’t think I would have enjoyed this as much. One of the charms of the story is how self-aware it is. The cast often make parody references and puns about their own kind.

At times there was some nail-biting stuff that bought me to the edge of my seat. I was nervous about what was going to happen but by the end of it, my worries soothed. I laughed more than worried when I read this volume.

 

2.1. Harem

Spoiler alert…

Kimihito’s harem is strong and it looks like it’s going to get bigger and stronger than before. Manga that have harem elements usually end with three options.

  1. The main male/female chooses the lady/gentleman at the end.
  2. Open-end
  3. Bigamy or, the main male/female choosing everyone.

It will be interesting to see how the harem route plays out. At the minute Kimihito is opting to go on dates with everyone in order to bond with the girls. So, at this moment in time, it is difficult to tell how this will end. I’m anticipating many more female characters to appear before we have an idea where the story is going.

It showed that the girls are willing to ‘share’ Kimihito whilst under the influence of the full moon.

I personally always prefer either the harem route or the open-ended route. I don’t support the guy being with more than one girl, just because I don’t like seeing any girl get heart-broken.^^

 

2.2. Theme/Genre

  • Comedy
  • Ecchi
  • Fantasy
  • Harem
  • Romance
  • Seinen
  • Slice of Life

 

3. CHARACTERS

3.1. Recurring Characters

I feel that I’ve learned a little bit more about the recurring characters, we got an insight into their hobbies, backgrounds, likes/dislikes and so on. There was quite a bit of extra information plus an additional story at the back of the book.

I really do admire Kimihito for keeping his libido in check but I also admire him for treating the girls very nicely. In this type of harem manga there’s not many guys like Kimihito who would embrace a house full of girls straight away. Yet, he adapted more or less straightaway. He did freak out when it came to marriage but he eventually manned-up and apologised for over-reacting.

Ms Smith is still as useless as ever, but, deep down I know she has a good heart…maybe. XD She was especially funny in chapter 10.

 

3.2. New Characters

3.2.1. Meron Lorelei

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A very gentle lady, the kind of gentle character that I felt was needed. All the female cast can be innocent in their own way but none of them are exactly what you would describe as gentle. Meron fits this bill to a tee.

I had some sort of inkling that she was going to be a mermaid, or at least some kind of sea creature. She looks very pretty, especially her fin-like ears. I found them very cute. I bet Miia is going to see her as extra competition, especially since they have similar body figures. 😉 Perhaps they’re going to be strong rivals at some point?

I noticed that she dresses like a maid. I wonder if this is a cheesy pun because the ‘maid’ is part of the ‘mermaid’. I wouldn’t be surprised since all the cast have puns in their names in one way or another.

I like her. It was a nice twist in chapter ten when it came to the whole illegal species drama involving Suu.

I envisage her voice to be soft spoken, sweet, gentle, and well-mannered and a touch curious. Add humble to the equation too. If this turned into an anime then I would propose she would be voiced by either Satomi Akesaka or possibly Rie Murakawa. They both have sweet and polite voices and they add a calming and soft charisma to their characters. =)

 

3.2.2. Suu

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Everyone on the internet highly anticipated a slime girl to make an appearance in MonMusu, the same slime that appeared in Okayado’s Hentai one-shots. I too wanted to see that very same slime girl in this manga, and we all got our wish, we all got Suu. =D

I simply adore her, her personality, her design and her overall uniqueness. She is definitely one of the most unique characters that I have ever come across. Because she’s a slime, she has the ability to transform into any form. She can shape herself as petite as Papi, or as curvy as Miia and as busty as Centorea.

She can be very deadly, but at the same time, she is definitely the most innocent. It makes me wonder if she actually has a mind of her own or if she just simply imitates what she sees. Thinking and observing is one thing, but, does she actually harbour any feelings? In my opinion, she does. Her reactions are very positive and cute; she reacted strongly when she and Papi were above the water. She was afraid, and being afraid is an emotion. Emotion is a feeling. So, I deduce that she imitates whilst having feelings.

As strange as this may sound, I actually envisage her with a mature voice. Since she imitates others it makes me wonder if she’ll imitate other people’s voices as well. I don’t necessarily picture Suu imitating voices but more like imitating their tones and expressions. If this turned into an anime then this could be similar to the case with Eucliwood Hellscythe from Is This a Zombie? In that show Eu has about 20 different VAs, since Ayumu keeps on visualising her with different voices each time. XD I can’t see Suu being used in this way though.

Her abilities are superbly unique and if she was as smart as Centorea then I bet she could conquer the world… whilst avoiding water.

 

4. ART

The art is such fun to look at. I like the overall design of the characters and style; it matches very well with this kind of story. I mentioned it above but the comedy and the art really go hand-in-hand. They literally bounce off each other. There are many borderline soft-core moments, and one moment which is definitely rude…but that moment is ‘covered’ up by another panel. So, if you’re thinking of reading it you will need to prepare yourself to see cheeky situations. Haha.

I especially like the characters when they’re pulling funny faces, particularly Miia’s. Looking at Miia grimacing and pulling all kinds of faces literally cracks me up every time. For someone so pretty she shouldn’t be capable of pulling funny faces. XD One minute the visuals show her being very silly and the next it shows her being frisky in the bedroom. Wink, wink.

There are a few inconsistences though- like the penultimate page of chapter 8. Miia’s ear is supposed to be shaded (depicting red) but at the bottom panel it’s just a blank. Sometimes the scales on Miia’s face are absent and not drawn on. It’s a similar case to Naruto from Naruto really. He has whisker marks on his face but sometimes his marks disappear.

Still, little stumbles hardly matter though, at least to me. The whole point of this style is to make the girls attractive and titillating and Okayado does this extremely well.

Strangely, I like how he draws Kimihito, especially his eyes. Usually they’re just round and white, but they become visible if he’s experiencing a strong emotion or he’s in a serious situation. It’s as though we are being told when the situation is serious. Perhaps it’s a form of symbolism? Either that or it’s a cop out since Okayado would prefer giving more detail to the ladies then the guys? And if that’s true who can blame him? XD

 

5. ANIME

I’m certain that Monster Musume will get an Anime adaptation at some point in time, possibly next year. However, the more I think about it, the more I get the impression that it will receive commission for an OVA/special instead of an actual TV series.

Really, it all depends on which studio decides to sign up MonMusu as well as there being many other factors to consider. How are they going to animate it? Who will be the artist? How much funds do they have to produce it? Who is going to voice who? Which composer are they going to hire? In some ways, depending on the choice of studio the Monster Musume anime would be either a hit or miss. It’s all pure speculation though, but I’m definitely crossing my fingers that the right people will commission MonMusu.^^

I think Aniplex, same studio as the Monogatari show, would be best suited for MonMusu. However, I get the impression that it will be a toss between Xebec, Studio Dean and Gonzo.

Saitou Hisashi I think could do a good job at directing Monster Musume. He was the same director who directed Heaven’s Lost Property, Bamboo Blade and Haganai. My reason being, his creativity when it comes to directing and animation.

 

6. CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM… IF ANY

I don’t think I really have the heart to criticise this manga since I always focus on the stuff I really like, but, I’m giving it a shot!

Although I’m used to it by now I must say I find unfortunate that manga is printed in paperback. It’s very sad to see my manga being bent into unnatural shapes. =( Cue the violin music…

Ahem-

The term ‘monster girl’ has been thrown round quite loosely in the story itself, even by the liminal themselves. So really, there’s no real issue here, especially since it’s not a serious story. However, the term ‘monster girl’ seems to be rather demeaning. It’s like saying that the ‘monster people’ are inferior to humans, both in genes and appearance.

I suppose it’s the kind of society where the humans are still getting to know the liminals. Some welcome them with open arms, others, not so much. In some ways this situation is very similar to the case with the Mutants from the X-Men franchise.

Still, none of the ‘monster girls’ seem to take offence so all is good. Haha.

 

7. CONCLUSION

I enjoyed this just as much as the first volume book. Great art, funny scenarios, unexpected twists and good character development all round. I would have given this score higher then two thumbs if it were possible. Since it isn’t I’m just going to give this two thumbs up. =)

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8. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Okayado., 2014. Monster Musume Volume Two. Los Angeles: Seven Seas.

Okayado Twitter Page., 2014. @Okayado1215. [online] Available at:

<http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=267014&gt; [Accessed 6 June 2014]

Okayado Pixiv Page., 2014. [online] Available at:

<http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=267014&gt; [Accessed 6 June 2014]

 

9. OFF-TOPIC NONSENSE

I just thought I’d share this video that I found on my random browsing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PNr5bYfGBI[2]

This link is actually advertising the Monster Musume manga. It is a rather fun video. Ka-wai-i. XD

 

10. SAYONARA

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Hope you folks enjoyed reading my review as much as I enjoyed writing it. I had to keep on restraining some of my opinions since I don’t want to spoil the story…which is a very bad habit of mine. XD

 

Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

 

[1] Acronym for Monster Musume

[2] Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou Commercial. Asimofufan. Published 29 Jun 2013. [Accessed 06/06/2014]