The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Vol. 3

HARUHISUZU3What’s on the back: The SOS Brigade gets browbeaten into entering a baseball tournament to help their fearless leader stave off boredom. But Haruhi has no intention of losing…and she’s ready to pitch a fit if her team doesn’t step up to the plate!

Review: I have a love/hate relationship with Haruhi. For example, I hate the anime, but I kind of love the manga…sometimes. I got to say, volume three was probably the best the series has to offer so far. This is just such a quirky manga series. I was just constantly confused through out the whole anime, so I’m glad that the manga clears up some of the story for me.

Haruhi is extremely bored, and somehow coerce her club members (which consists of an alien, time traveler, and an esper) to join a baseball competition. Their team lack members, so Kyon’s sister and friends were recruited. Their team was probably the worse team in the competition, but that didn’t stop Haruhi from wanting to win. In fact, Koizumi warns Kyon, that if their team loses, Haruhi’s emotions would caused a close space to appear, and all hell would run loose. The team ends up winning, after some unusual powers were used. After winning one game, the team quits because Haruhi’s boredom was quench for the day.

We gets to see a little bit of slice of life this volume. Mikuru entering her first “Cute and girly clothing shop”. Haruhi being jealous that Kyon and Mikuru went shopping, so decided to go shopping herself.

The most interesting thing about this volume, is the little flash back, where Mikuru takes Kyon back to the past. He meets middle school Haruhi, and helps her make a crop circle in order to make a wish for Tanabata. At this point, Kyon’s existence is not yet known, since the present haruhi has yet to meet him. It’s kind of interesting that Kyon’s meeting with Haruhi in the past, may have caused Haruhi to be the way she is now. I like the little bit where Kyon and Mikuru slept three years in Yuki’s house in order to reach the present again.

Character development, was actually great this volume. We get to learn more about Haruhi’s past. This volume does hint that Haruhi may have a soft side. In a sense, her two wishes of the earth revolving around her, and for the earth to rotate the opposite direction has already kind of come true. Haruhi is basically like God. All these aliens, time travelers, espers are here to monitor her actions and movements because she holds the threat of destory the whole world. So in a way, the earth does revolve around her. Her other wish, is a bit more abstract. I believe that Haruhi wished that something exciting, or fun would happen. It doesn’t matter if it causes harvoc, in Haruhi’s eyes, that would be something she would enjoy. She lives for something different to happen in her life. In a sense, it’s the same thing as the earth rotating the opposite direction. Because if that happened, the climate, the whole world would be pushed into chaos. But at least something different would happen.

Art-wised, I’ve got nothing to complain. The art is kept very close to the anime and novel. The manga itself is very easy to read, but it does have a lot of moments where you go “Wtf, how did that happen,” throughout the whole series.

Final Thoughts: So the final verdict is that fans of the anime or the novels, should probably pick this manga up. But for those of you who are interested in watching the anime, I would even suggest reading this manga first, before going into the anime. The anime is probably one of the most confusing thing I’ve ever watched. The manga does an excellent job of clearing up all the questions that are created throughout the whole series. So even if you new to this Haruhi fandome business, be sure to pick up this manga for it’s quirkyness and lack of normacy.

Overall Grade: B

Mr. Flower Bride (YAOI)

MRFLOBRIDE1What’s on the back: The powerful Souda family is big on tradition…and to Shinji Souda’s dismay, the tradition they’re keenest on involves him marrying a boy! And not just any boy, but his classmate Aoi Uno, who doesn’t seem to be at all fazed by the news of their engagement. With their attitudes at odds, are Shinji and Aoi headed for a lifetime of unhappily ever after?

Review: Wow, got to say this was a weird one. Not in a bad way, more of a “How the hell is this possible?” kind of way. This volume of Mr. Flower Bride, is actually quite a good read, besides from the fact that the bride looks more like a girl, than he does a guy.

Shinji just learned that his sister-in-law is about to give birth to a boy. This is bad news for Shinji because he has to marry a man! Why you may ask? To keep a family tradition of protecting their future heir. Shinji’s dad promised to find him the most beautiful man-bride in the clan. But this doesn’t make Shinji feel any better. So when his friend Aoi surprised him as his bride, Shinji was shocked. He didn’t want to marry Aoi because at times he thought that Aoi was beautiful. Aoi was not fazed about the news of the engagement, because he was already in love with Shinji, and was trying his hardest to be picked as Shinji’s bride.

Shinji and Aoi ends up getting married. They were moved to the Hanare, where traditionally newlyweds go to give birth to babies. But in this case, it’s highly impossible for those two to conceive. lol. As time goes by, Shinji finds himself falling in love with Aoi. A lot of obstacles such as his little sister and Aoi’s childhood friend gets in their way.

Mr. Flower Bride, also has a few short stories after the main one. My favourite one is called “Even if it Costs Me My Life,” which is about a bodyguard who is trying to protect his master from people who are after his father’s company.

In “If I Can See You Anytime,” I was a bit confused on whether this was a Yaoi story, or was it straight. The author never mentions whether Natsuiro was a guy or a girl. I’m just going to assume he’s a guy since this is a Yaoi anthology. lol.

Lily Hoshino, is famous for her art. I’ve got to admit that it’s very pleasing to the eyes. Another thing that she is famous for is also for her really girly ukes. If it wasn’t mention in the story that Aoi was a man, I swear I would have confused him for a chestless girl. He’s just that girly… The only thing I’ve got to complain about is the fact that sometimes the art confuses me on what’s happening. Like how I mention before about not realizing if the person is a girl or a guy. Anyhow, besides that, the lines were drawn clearly, and the character designs were nice to look at.

Final Thoughts: Despite the weirdness of the plot, I’ve enjoyed reading this story a lot! I’ve Mr. Flower Groom in my TBR pile, so I’m hoping for some more development in the plot. It’s one of those reads that are nice to read when you are in a mood for a Yaoi. It has plot, the main characters are pleasing to the eyes, and the sex scenes are kept to a minimal. I’m definitely more interested in the rest of Lily Hoshino’s manga that are currently liscensed. On a side note, I like it how Yen Press is really expanding it’s genres by publishing some Yaoi!

Overall Grade: B

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+

One Thousand and One Nights Vol. 3

1001nights_3Warning!!!! Reading this blog will lead to some spoilers!!! So beware if you wish to continue.

What’s on the back: The most beautiful Queen ever who ruled and destroyed the hero. Cleopatra, her name will be remembered eternally among those who loved her…even more among those who hated her… On the third night, Shahrazad tells the extraordinary story of the beloved yet tragic Queen, Cleopatra. Come along and listen to the fascinating tale alongside the Sultan.

Review: One thousand and nights is somewhat a guilty pleasure for me. It has everything in a story that I like such as adventure, love, and history. Each volume of 1001 nights tells us a separate story. In this volume, the story that Shahrazad tells is the story of Cleopatra.

During the beginning of the volume, the Sultan escapes Ali, who has captured him in the last volume in order to avenge Leila, who was one of the girls that the sultan has killed. This is all thanks to Shahrazad, who asked some chinese merchants to help him release the sultan.

The story of Cleopatra wasn’t as moving as the past stories, but nevertheless, it was still quite entertaining. I always enjoyed the concept of strong heroines, and cleopatra was definitely one of those. I’m not saying that she’s pure, but definitely, she’s one of those people who knows what she want. To summarize the story: Cleopatra got married to her younger brother. During the marriage, the younger brother was pressure by his eunuch to dethrone Cleopatra who he feared was getting to powerful. Cleopatra gets exile, and cunningly met up with Ceasar in order to be permitted to enter the castle again. Caesar falls in love with her beauty. Because he betrayed Cleopatra, her brother leaves the palace, and forms an army in order to defeat Cleopatra.

At the end of the volume, there is a page that tells the history of Cleopatra. I thought it was nice of the author to clue his or her readers into the life of cleopatra. It was definitely a great bonus.

Final Thought: 1001 Nights is still one of my favourite Manhwas. The art is beautifully drawn, and the story is still pretty much enticing. I will definitely be looking foward to the next volume.

Overall Grade: A

One Thousand and One Nights vol. 2

1001nights_2Summary: I’s the second night and our unusual Shahrazad tells yet another story to save his own life from the mad sultan. This time it’s a tragic  love story between a beauty from an exotic Eastern Kingdom, and a slave from a far away Western Kingdom.

Review: I had a very hard time finding this volume. I ended up buying it from indigo/chapters store online. I didn’t mind the time it took to find it though because coming into volume two, I realize that it was totally worth it.

The thing about this manhwa is that I’m not sure if it’s BL or just shoujo. Sometimes it hints at just being a regular shoujo…then a scene in volume two would pop up and I would think it’s BL. lol. Either way, regardless of this confusion, the story is still pretty much great.

In this volume, the “mad” sultan got captured by a group of rebels. The leader of the group happens to be a childhood friend of Shahrazad. Apparently he use to love Laila (another childhood friend) who was unfortunately one of the women that were excecuted by the Sultan. While the Sultan was in prison, Shahrazad decides to tell him another story.

I actually liked this story quite much. I’ve always been a sucker for ancient historical stories. Basically the story is about a slave who was left in a foreign country, and an exotic beauty who falls in love with each other. During the relationship, things happen and the exotic beauty finds herself falling in love with the prince of her country. The slave finds out about it, and commited suicide.

To tell you the truth, I don’t understand  what the relationship is with the story and the sultan. Up to now, all of Shahrazad’s stories have been a sad one. Is it suppose to be a lesson for the Sultan? Who Knows?

Conclusion: Even though there is a little bit of confusion running along this story, I still find myself enjoying it quite a lot. I find myself liking all the stories that Shahrazad tells the sultan. I guess it was worth the search for this volume. lol.

Overall Grade: B