Friday, January 25, 2008

Pick of the Week!

Pick of the Week!
The Kindaichi Case Files: Opera House Murders--Great Read!

Do you like mysteries, comedy, and great characters that just make you want more? Well, then you'll like the Kindaichi Case Files by Kanenari Yosaburoh with art by Satoh Fumiya, a series published in the United States by Tokyopop.

The main character is Hajime Kindaichi, the grandson of the famous Japanese detective, Kousuke Kindaich, a literary figure like our Sherlock Holmes. Of course, you wouldn't know it by looking at him. He's a slacker and joker and seems like a total waste of space, until a mystery appears, that is. Then he shows his true colors. He is a genius. He flunks out of his classes because he sees no point to them when he could be catching up on his sleep! He is aided in his mystery solving by his childhood friend, and general good-student, Miyuki Nanase. She's his side-kick. Perhaps she'll be his love interest, too?

This volume one, The Opera House Murders, is an exellent introduction to the Kindaichi Case Files. The murder mystery takes place on an island, a classic convention that is then put to good use. Kindaichi joins Miyuki's theater club to help out, mostly at her insistance. The troup is practicing for a competition and decided that this Opera House Theater was the best location. Then the murders start, patterned after the murders in the Phantom of the Opera, which the students are perfoming. Who is the murderer and why is he killing? Ah, it takes a brain like Kindaichi's to figure it out!

That is the key thing about these mysteries. I have read most of the mysteries multiple times, and I just can't get over how complicated and interesting they are. Even when I reread them and see the clues, I am amazed at how well hidden they are. But not too well-hidden. If you are really good at these, you might guess the answer to the mystery by yourself. I never can, but unlike some poorly written mysteries, everything you need to find the answer is right there in the story of the Opera House Murders.

The character development is phenomenal, as well. You start off with your doubts about Kindaichi. After all he is a slacker and acts kinda goofy, but he also shows rather early that he is very intelligent. The characters progress, as well. Kindaichi starts off as a goofy kid, but he turns into a leader. Miyuki starts off as a rather serious young lady, but she picks up a little of Kindaichi's goofyness. But, it is important to remember that this is a murder mystery. The story is the mystery and the characters generally start off as they came in. The real changes in these types of stories are with the murderers, who get to realize that they can't get away with murder. Still, the characters are charming, so you want to see what they do next.

Lastly, a few words on art. I have rarely seen art like this from a manga. The art isn't edged, like we are used to seeing from shounen manga. It is very rounded, actually, but not overly pretty, like in a shoujo. I actually find it refreshingly real. The art is another reason to read this. It is a unique, but highly attractive, style.

Okay, that's my Pick of the Week! I'll be back next week with another one. Until then!

Kate Davids
The Picker

This Weeks Rankings Announced!


Japanese Comic Ranking, January 15-21 2008

#1 - Detective Conan #60 (Case Closed) - Author: Gosho Aoyama
#2 - Hayate no Gotoku! #14 - Author: Kenjirou Hata
#3 - Negima! Magister Negi Magi #21 - Author: Ken Akamatsu
#4 - Kekkaishi #19 - Author: Yellow Tanabe
#5 - Tsubasa #22 - Author: CLAMP
#6 - Fairy Tail #8 - Author: Hiro Mashima
#7 - The Gentleman Alliance #9 (Cross) - Author: Arina Tanemura
#8 - V.B. Rose #11 - Author: Banri Hidaka
#9 - Inuyasha #52 - Author: Rumiko Takahashi
#10 - Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge#20 - Author: Tomoko Hayakawa

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Taisho Awards-Nominees Announced

1st Ever Manga Taisho Awards-Nominees Announced!
The time has finally arrived fellow Otaku’s- for The FIRST EVER Manga Taisho awards! The nominating committee members each chose five works during the first 18 days of 2008, and the top 10 vote-getters were officially nominated. However several works received the same number of votes so this year the nominated selection was expanded to 12 works! The second round of voting will determine the three lucky winners of Manga Taisho 2008. They will receive their awards at the Manga Taisho awards ceremony to be held at the end of March. We can’t wait!


  • Umi Machi Diary 1 Semishigure no Yamugoro by Akimi Yoshida
  • Ooku by Fumi Yoshinaga
  • Gaku by Shinichi Ishitsuka
  • Kinou Nani Tabeta? by Fumi Yoshinaga
  • Kimi ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina
  • Koukoku no Shugosha by Daisuke Sato and Yu Ito
  • Tomehanetsu! Suzusato Koukou Shodoubu by Katsutoshi Kawai
  • Natsume Yuujinchou by Yuki Midorikawa
  • Himawari -Ken'ichi Legend- by Akiko Higashimura
  • Flower of Life by Fumi Yoshinaga
  • Moyashimon by Masayuki Ishikawa
  • Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


  • What is anime and manga?

Anime and manga are, respectively, the cartoons and comic books of Japan. While many definitions exist, the most popular is that anime and manga have to be made by the Japanese for the Japanese. Many different styles of anime and manga exist, so it really makes no sense to have a definition based on those, and usually even American cartoons are drawn in asia, but they do not qualify as manga and anime.

  • What is shounen?

Shounen is a style of manga and anime that is oriented towards boys. Usually it is action and has hard lines and angels. However there are some shounen that have a large female following (Rurouni Kenshin).

  • What is shoujo?

Shoujo is a style of manga and anime that is oriented towards girls. Usually the lines are softer with romantic stories. However there are some shoujo (Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles) that have a large male following.

  • What is Otaku?

Otaku has two meanings, depending on where you are. To the American (and just about the rest of the world outside of Japan), it means a big manga and anime fan. To us, it is a complement or merely a label that we live with. We like it.

To the Japanese, it is an insult. It means maniac, and can be applied to all forms of "hyper obsession." So don't go up to a Japanese manga fan and call him an Otaku!

  • Is Teen Titans an anime?

No. It is, by the definition mentioined above, not an anime. It was made for Americans, though using many of the same design elements classic to anime. Same thing goes for the series Avatar: The Last Airbender by Nickelodeon.

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