Mad Love Chase Vol. 1

MADLOVCHA01What’s on the back: Meet Kujou Yamato. Sure, on the outside, he appears to be your average teen, pursuing love and happiness in his school’s hallowed halls… The problem is on the inside: Kujou is really Kaito, the prince of the demon realm, who has escaped to the human world to avoid a marriage he wants no part of. Kaito’s dad, furious, sends a clumsy trio of demons to retrieve him, and a mad love chase ensues…And it’s going to take a lot of luck and cleverness to avoid being dragged back home.

Review: I have no idea why this manga is called Mad Love Chase. Majority of the people chasing Kujou are guys and they are definitely not in love with him. Regardless of the name, this manga was so silly that it was quite funny.

Prince Kaito along with his cat, Rebun, runs away from a marriage that he does not want, and escapes to the human world to find himself a lot smaller than his usual self. With this disguise no one can tell that he was the former prince of the demon world, unless, they strip him and reveal the tattoo on his back.

Kuyou, formerly Kaito, finds himself enjoying his new lifestyle, where he lives freely and can fall in love with any girl wants to. Funny thing is that his taste in woman is quite bad. He befriends one of the demons, Asakura, but he doesn’t realize that Kuyou is the prince he’s looking for. Along with Asakura, there are two other demons disguised as a janitor and a student on the lookout for the prince. Along with his fiance and her goons, this manga is packed with comedy.

I enjoyed this manga for it’s comedy aspect, but that’s about it. To me, there’s no real plot to this story. Sure, Prince Kaito is on the run from a potential marriage, but that’s about it. I don’t really see a development in the story. All the characters are just too silly, especially the Janitor, who’s really an old pervert. Regarding, Kujou’s fiance, I can see why he’s running away from her. Even the King of the demon world knew that he can’t upset that woman, unless he wants to be killed. I wouldn’t want to marry her as well.

The art reminds me of Yaoi, which is because the author has produced other Yaoi works. I like it, except for the fact that at times I find the drawings a little busy. I tend to prefer artwork that are clear and easy to understand.

Final Thoughts: This manga is passable, but, in the long run it has nothing to offer except it’s comedy. The summary in the back got my attention, but in this volume it doesn’t really deliver. Hopefully, in the next volume we see an improvement in terms of plot.

Overall Grade: C-

 

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Shinobi Life Vol. 1

SHINOBILIFE1

What’s on the back: Beni is a privileged girl, who could get anything she wants, except…she wants to die, to spite her father. But one day a mysterious man named Kagetora fell down from the sky. He turns out to be a ninja who has sworn his loyalty to Beni, as her bodyguard. Kagetora comes from the past, and spent his life protecting Beni-Hime who he would risk his life for. But Kagetora mistakens Beni as the princess from the past. Can true love and honor survive after centuries-long time warp – in a crazy modern world?

Review: Beni lives a life full of hatred for her estranged father due to the death of her mother when she was younger. She jumps at any chances that would endanger her life. For example, getting kidnapped, or living recklessly. Kagetora, a man who strangely dresses as a ninja, dropped down from the sky, and turns Beni’s life plans upside down (not that it’s a bad thing). Kagetora is in fact a ninja who has traveled to the future and believes that Beni is the Hime-Sama who he was sworn to protect. As time passes on, Beni falls for Kagetora, but she doesn’t have the heart to tell him that she’s not his princess.

I heard a lot of great things about this manga. But honestly, it’s only mediocre. It seems to fit into you’re perfect senario of a shoujo. Eg. Strong-will/depressed heroine rescued by a hero, who then changes her prospects on life. I’m not complaining about it though. I love myself some good shoujo. I only wanted something new and fresh. Nevertheless, Shinobi Life was still a very decent read.

What I like best about the story, was probably the problems the main characters have to deal with, such as social standings. Kagetora (even if he’s from the past) strongly believes that social standings is a rule that should be followed closely. Which leads to Beni’s problems. Beni, even though she’s not a real princess, is still a young wealthy heiress. She finds herself falling in love with Kagetora, but it’s impossible for Kagetora to fall in love with her because it goes against his upbringing.

The second half of the manga was probably the better half for me, since it deals with time traveling. Here we meet a plethora of new characters including the real princess, and also Kagetora’s arch enemy. We also see Kagetora and Beni kind of getting together. But the presence of Beni’s father probably means that the couple is probably going to go through more hardships before they are together officially.

I didn’t mention this before, but the way Kagetora sees and treats Beni is somewhat hilarious. We have to remember that Kagetora comes from the past, where modesty is very important. Beni is raised in the 21st century where bare shoulders, and bikini tops are normal. It’s cute when Kagetora begs Beni to wear more appropriate clothing.

I got to admit, even though the story is mediocre, the art is what caught my attention. I’m a sucker for pretty artwork, and Shinobi Life seems to have been drawn in a very visual pleasing way. I love the way Kagetora looks. Also, Beni’s character design wasn’t so bad as well. My only complaint is the publisher. Tokyopop, I love you but your paper quality sucks. I always get disappointed when a good manga gets crappy paper. It takes away from my enjoyment factor.

Final Thoughts: Even though this is just a typical shoujo, I found it to be a very fun read. I would love to see how Beni’s and Kagetora’s relationship develops and what kind of obstacle is Beni’s father trying to throw at them. I’m guessing that Beni has a fiance she doesn’t know about lol, the curse of a typical shoujo, you’ll always know what will happen next. I want to see more of the new characters, especially Kagetora’s arch enemy, Hitaki. Another time traveling chapter wouldn’t be so bad as well! =D

Overall Grade: C+

Captive Hearts Vol. 3

CAPTIVEHAERTS03What’s on the back: Megumi sets out for China to find a cure for his curse, but it appears that even his health worsens if he is away from his master. Meanwhile, a maid in the Kogami household swears to make Megumi hers!

Review: The story seems to be improving with each volume, but the silliness continues to become more apparent.

Megumi sets off to China to find clues that would rid him of his curse. Suzuka has to stay at home because she still has school. Now here’s what silly: the moment Megumi sets his foot in China, he becomes severly sick, and had to return home quickly. It turns out that after a certain distance away from Suzuka, Megumi could die. Now I know this is a manga. But isn’t this a bit ridiculous? Dying because he’s away from his master? Megumi’s dad is okay with traveling far, so why is he such a weakling? I can see why Keito despise this curse. It makes her son unable to have the freedom to do whatever he wants, even if it benefits his master, Suzuka.

We get to see Suzuka being a bit more outspoken with her feelings for Megumi, after a rival maid comes and declares that she loves Megumi. I do feel sorry for Rui, who in Megumi’s eyes use to be the replacement for Suzuka, when she went missing. Rui accepts that she use to be a substitute for Suzuka, but deeply inside she still loves Megumi very much. From the very beginning, we can already tell that Rui is a doomed character. It’s already established that Megumi and Suzuka is a couple. So I don’t even see why she’s even trying under these circumstances. But I do applaud Suzuka for telling Rui her true feelings, and that she would never give up Megumi.

The big winner for this volume though is the story of Megumi’s and Suzuka’s ancestors. It’s probably the best part of the whole series. Remember in volume two, when the psychic told Megumi and Suzuka that the curse was made from love? It turns out that it was true. The basis of the story is that, a theif (Megumi’s ancestor) attempted to steal the dragon scroll, which could grant wishes. But instead, he ended up grabbing the scroll and it’s princess (Suzuka’s ancestor) who wished dearly that a man could come and save her from her destiny of marrying a man she doesn’t love. In the end though, she chose to protect her family. The thief let her go, but he kept the dragon scroll for himself. Already smitten by the thief,  the princess tells him, he must not open the scroll or he will die. The thief listens to the princess and doesn’t open the scroll. He gave the scroll to one of his comrades, and the poor man opens the scroll and dies instantly. Realizing that the princess saved his life, he decided to come back and claim the princess for his own. But unfortunately, he came at the wrong time. The Princess betrothed aim the arrow at the thief, but the princess leaped in front of the arrow and died in the thief’s arms. At this moment the Dragon God appeared and told the thief that he would resurrect the princess, on one condition: his ancestors will have too serve the Kogami family for 100 generations. Because of the gap in social standing, the thief and the princess never actually got together. But, they loved each other for the rest of their lives.

At the end of the volume, there was a short story about Christmas. I found it odd because I’m reading it in  boiling hot weather. It was a cute story, nothing special about it though. But I could tell that it was probably one of Matsuri-sensei’s older works because the art seems dated.

I was glad that there were some character developments this volume, but as of right now, this manga is just decent. Nothing is really popping out. The only thing I liked about the volume, was actually the story about the ancestors. It was a nice addition, It would have been nice as a series of it’s own! For me right now, Megumi and Suzuka’s relationship is just blah. I say forget about this curse and just try to live with it. Instead of focusing on trying to get rid of the curse, just focus more on loving each other.

Final Thoughts: This volume was better than the last, but the only reason was because of the side stories. As of now, I could say that the story is decent, nothing special. But who knows, by the end of this series, I might be wowed.

Overall Grade: C+

Captive Hearts Vol. 2

CAPTIVEHAERTS02What’s on the back: Megumi decides he wants to become a formal servant of the Kogami family so he can be worthy of Suzuka’s love. But when wealthy heir Hiryu arrives to claim Suzuka as his bride, can Megumi even compete?

Review: For the past few months, I’ve already collected the complete set of captive hearts. But it took me this long to get into volume two, simply because I thought that the first volume wasn’t that great. I kind of regret it now, because volume two wasn’t half bad. It’s not one of Matsuri Hino’s best series, but it definitely not unreadable.

The basic story of Captive Hearts consists of 1/4 rich heiress, 1/4 curse ridden/reluctant man servant and a 1/2 of a cup of quirky parents. Man, I got to tell you, Megumi’s parents just make me burst out laughing, since they are so weird! His dad is kind of dopey, and his mom is an Interpol officer, that bursts out crying because she thinks Megumi hates her. There was a short one shot at the end of the volume that explains Megumi’s childhood. Apparently, Megumi grew up, not realizing that Keito, who he claims is a crazy monster, is actually his Mother. He kinds of regret it now, because his Mom is simply crazy.

Megumi learns to accept that he is eternally attached to Suzuka as a man servant for the rest of his life. He even starts to fall for Suzuka. But Suzuka is very determined to help Megumi get rid of his curse because she wish for Megumi to have freedom. A lot of obstacles are thrown at the budding couple, such as a million wealthy suitors, notely, wealthy heir Hiryu. It also doesn’t help that Hiryu’s guardian is also a distant relative of Suzukas, which of course Megumi also has to obey.

The second half of the volume, consist of the introduction of a new character: Megumi’s mother, Keito. She doesn’t come home for a vacation though. She is out to arrest a human slave trafficker, who happened to kidnapped Suzuka when she was younger. We also get to me Arj, who was a childhood friend of Suzuka, who was also captured by the trafficker. It was thanks to Arj, that Suzuka was able to escape her fate of becoming a slave.

My most favourite part of the manga, was near the end of the volume. Megumi’s dad picked up his mother and tells her “It’s true that Master was important to me, but you’re the only one I really love. You’re the only one I’ve held in my arms like this, my princess.” I never imagine getting to see an older man confessing his love to his wife in a shoujo manga. It was nice to see another form of love.

There was a great improvement in the storyline. I feel like I could connect with the characters a little more this volume. Keep in mind that this manga is a bit silly. Like how many incidences do you know, where a man is cursed to be a servant for the rest of his life? But the sillyness is what makes it a fun read. It’s shoujo, right? There’s no need for a shoujo manga to be realistic. Even though there are cases where realism really makes the manga great, such as Nana.

You can definitely tell that Captive hearts was written before Vampire Knights because her art isn’t up to par as it is today. Not that I’m complaining though. Matsuri-Sensei is known for her good looking men such as Kaname, Zero, and in this case Megumi. I don’t really like the character design for Suzuka though. I can’t even explain why though. There’s just something there that isn’t convincing for Suzuka. It may be the hair, who knows?

Final Thoughts: Great improvement from the 1st volume. I’m getting into the story a bit more now. I’m a bit curious on how the curse will be broken in the future. This isn’t one of her best series, but definitely, it’s worth a quick run to the library.

Overall Grades: C+

Zombie Loan Vol. 2

ZOMBIELOAN2What’s on the back: Three classmates who make their living (literally!) by acting as agents of the Z Loan office and dispatching zombies, Chika Akatsuki, Shito Tachibana, and Michiru Kita are hot on the trail of an elusive psychopath know as “The Butterfly.” But as if serial killers and zombies weren’t enough to worry about, poor Michiru’s barely had a chance to get used to her new digs, her new life…And what’s this? A new Member!? Chika’s friend Shiba joins the teen trio as they solve riddle after riddle and get ever closer to the madman’s lair. Can Michiru survive life as a bounty hunter?

Review: Lately I’d notice that a lot of the things I’ve been reading either deals with vampires, or in this case zombies. Zombie Loan is one of those series I picked up because I thought it would be interesting. Plus, Peach-Pit is a famous mangaka from what I’ve heard.

Chika and Shito are a pair of guys who turned into zombies, after dying together in an accident. To once again gain their lives back, they work as agents for the Z Loan office. Michiru, has a special gift, she can see rings around people’s necks. The darker the rings are, the closer they are to death. Michiru ends up dying, and joins Chika and Shito as a team. In this volume, they are joined by Shiba, who’s not dead, but is extremely smart. The team ends up investigating an elusive psychopath known as “The Butterfly.” The Butterfly uses zombies to help him commit crimes. Whenever an evil deed is done, there is always a butterfly left at the crime scene. In the last volume, an undead Sister ends up killing Michiru, hence the reason she’s part of the team now.

Michiru, to me, lacks a presence. I barely notice her throughout the volume because Chika and Shito are such strong characters. Michiru on the other hand, is weak, and lacks confindence. If you haven’t noticed before, I enjoys heroine who are emotionally strong. Michiru wear glasses because she is scared of seeing the rings around people’s necks. I hope in later volumes, she develops as a stronger Character. Chika and Shito hate each other, and don’t really get along. It’s hinted that they may have not known each other during the time when they are alive. They are only linked together because of how they died. I’m interested in knowing a little more about their pasts. I actually like Shiba who strangely reminds me of Light from Death Note. I believe that in terms of brains, Light and Shiba are the same.

Zombie Loan’s art is nothing special. A lot of roughness plus sharp edges can be seen throughout the pages. But to me it seems to go well with the story.  I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s because I read a lot of shoujo, but I’m use to clear smooth lines when it comes to the art.

Final Thoughts: I’m not entirely hook on this story yet. But if it gets better in the next volumes, my opinion might change. I’m not really into weak heriones, so right now Michiru is in my bad books. But nevertheless, Zombie Loan isn’t half bad. I’m hoping to see some character developments next round.

Overall Grade: C+

Maid War Chronicle Vol. 1

maid-war-chronicle-manga-volume-1-coverWhat’s on the back: When the kingdom of Arbansbool is invaded, the prince escapes with a handful of his closest attendants. But these aren’t just any attendants. They’re all maids whose job is to pour tea, not raise an army and help the prince reclaim his throne. Now chief maid cacao Sardonyx and her five colleagues must take up arms and save a kingdom in this skirt-slashing, tea-spilling epic!

Review: You know when it’s obvious that a book is written for a male audience? When every other page is filled with fan service, and a kid who’s practically a pervert. Even though Maid War Chronicle is a harem manga aimed at guys, I guess I could say it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The premises of the story is good, but with so many fan service scenes, I’m a bit turned off.

A young prince recruits beautiful/exotic girls to be his maids. The maids are actually named after different sweet liquors such as: Cacao, Vanilla, Mint, etc. They’re a weird bunch I must say. One use to work in a circus, one’s a book worm, and another is an exotic girl from some island. They all have one thing in common though (except fo Cacao), they all kind of worshipped the prince, who’s totally a pervert. I’m not surprised that his kingdom got invaded. It seems to me, that the prince is more into skirt chasing, the governing a kingdom.

Art wise, Ran Sensei’s art is very similar to Ken Akamatsu, who’s the mangaka for Negima and Love Hina. Which is not surprising, since he drew the art for Mao-Chan, which is a collaboration between Akamatsu and Ran. Visually the art is very apealling but there’s nothing really special about it.

Final Thoughts: Regardless of all the fanservice, the story itself isn’t half bad. Towards the end of the volume, I enjoyed the story a little bit more. The manga moved from a fan service direction, to a more of an action/adventure direction. It’s too early to judge if the manga is going to be any good. But from what I see, it might be a little bit better in the next volume. Plus, the thing about me is, that I never ever drop a series. Curse my habits. lol

Overall Grade: C –

B.O.D.Y. vol. 2

Warning!!!! Reading this blog will lead to some spoilers!!! So beware if you wish to continue!

BODY2Summary: Everyone thinks 16-year-0ld Ryoko has weird taste in guys because she can’t stop drooling over Ryunosuke, the strong silent type who sits next to her in class. When she discovers he works for a host club — where women actually pay men to date them — will she finally wise up? Only one thing’s for sure in B.O.D.Y. — you can’t put a price on love!

Review: In this volume, we see some relationship development. Ryoko and Ryunosuke are finally going out, but Ryoko is always worrying about the girls that see him during work. To reassure their relationship, Ryunosuke tells her he’s quiting his job. Much to their surprise, his boss was never around for him to quit. Ryoko then decides to help out.

She meets a surprisingly young boss, and he quickly tells her that he’s never going to let Ryunosuke go because he makes so much money for the business. He then challenged her, if you make the same amount of money that he does during a month, he will let Ryunosuke go. I don’t know if Ryoko is dumb or what, because she agreed to the challenge. 

Ryoko is then thrown into the world of hosting. Transformed into a “Night Girl” (I don’t know what to call them. lol) she catches the attention of a rich man who’s a regular at the club. He then pays for her to spend the night with him. Ryoko refused and caused a scene. She leaves the car, and started crying. To the dismay of the client, the boss cancels the arrangements and follows Ryoko into the streets. He then comforts her, and tells her not to cry. Out of nowhere, Ryunosuke appears, and demands to know what’s going on. 

Okay, I saw that last scene happening. I suspected from the beginning of this volume, that the boss will become the third wheel in their relationship, and that a love triangle will definitely form. I know I’m jumping guns but, seriously, this wouldn’t be a shoujo manga, if there was no love tension happening. At first, I thought the boss might have been the bad guy, but as the volume approaches the end, he’s actually a pretty nice guy. He didn’t force Ryoko to sleep with that customer, and I respect him for that.

Conclusion: B.O.D.Y. is becoming a better read. Even though the story is filled with a lot of cliches, I still find myself being pulled into this story. I was very happy with some development between the two main characters. The Boss, who was introduced in this volume, seems to be a great rival for Ryunosuke. I have the next volume in my to read pile, so I’m definitely looking forward to the next volume.

Overall Grade: C+

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