The Millennium Snow series is on my list of most enjoyable manga series.
Chiyuki is a seventeen-year-old girl who's dying from a heart problem she was born with. Toya, a vampire who hates the taste of blood, saves her by biting her, which allows them both to live. Against his will, Toya slowly falls for her happy nature and constant positive attitude.
Toya has a cute little bat companion named Yami-maru who helps the girl pull his master out of the comfortable isolation he has come accustomed to. Somehow Yami-maru adds that chibi element that manga's love to have without making things too silly. Yami-maru couldn't be any cuter if you put him on a Sanrio stationery set.
The fun really begins when a werewolf boy named Satsuki falls in love with Chiyuki. He professes his undying love to her and thus begins the love triangle. Toya grumbles and calls Satsuki "Dog", but it seems as though he knows Chiyuki needs the werewolf around. The ultimate in teen girl fantasy, these two guys fight over Chiyuki at every turn.
Volume 2 delves deeper into the relationship between all three characters and how the vamp and werewolf put up with each other's presence for Chiyuki's sake. The cover of this manga has a great shot of Toya with his arm around Chiyuki. Trusted bat companion, Yami-Maru, is perched on his hand and Satsuki stands behind them.
As always, I look for the extras in manga's as a plus. In volume one, there is a female to female love story called A Romance Of One Moment though short, it's rather good and shows potential for a manga of it's own.
This was one of the first manga's I ever read and therefore they are a set of books that have held a standard for other manga's to follow. My only complaint is that there doesn't seem to be any plans for more volumes despite the last one coming out in 2007.
If you'd like to purchase these items, they are available at Amazon.com
Millennium Snow, Volume 1
Millennium Snow, Volume 2
The Millennium Snow series is on my list of most enjoyable manga series.
Manga Review: Vampire Doll by Erika Kari
You gotta love the storyline for Vampire Doll. A powerful vampire prince, Guilt-na-Zan, was sealed into a cross necklace by an exorcist. Years later, the exorcist’s descendant, Kyoji, releases him but there’s a catch. You see, instead of letting the vampire free to hunt, feed, and generally be his good old evil self, he awoke in the body of a wax doll. Not only has the exorcist handicapped Guilt-na-Zan by placing him in a cute blonde-haired girl with ruffles, he also expects him to be his maid. Such a concept probably has you wondering if it’s a horrible joke. Nothing like this could ever be good, right? Wrong. Though I was skeptical at first, I found Vampire Doll funny and entertaining. Example? There are many.
First, when Guilt-na-Zan first awoke, he tries to summon tempest and beasts, but with his new found doll body, all that comes is flowers and teddy bears.
Next, when he is given an apron by Kyoji, he asks what it is. Kyoji says,
“A special battle apron. Now your maid skills are at level two and your cuteness level is at five!”
Something about a powerful vampire prince being treated like a dress up doll is just too funny for words.
Other characters include Guilt-na-Zan's faithful bat servant, Vince, who is now in a man’s body. Although he has his own room with a bed, he insists on sleeping hanging from his feet in the closet. He is cute, but very dumb.
Kyoichi is Kyoji’s brother and they have a bitter rivalry in which they try to kill each other regularly. Kyoji’s sister Tonae seems to be the only sane one. She adores Guilt-na-Zan’s doll form and every time she lets him drink a drop of her blood, he is able to transform into his male vampire form. These rare occurrences conveniently coincide with an event where they need his vampire skills to survive. Though Guilt-na-Zan's male form is like a 1980's hair band reject, he's still rather intimidating as the vampire prince.
- Glossy color pictures of the characters
- Bonus comic strips which put the characters into silly positions or to tell jokes.
- Author notes.
- Trivia and Japanese word/concept definitions.
- A funny manga about how the book is made.
- A one page manga called “Sweets and Me” where the author explores why strawberries on cakes look so arrogant. “Nothing is done to them. They are naturally born with that shape. Yet, they have the attitude of a main ingredient!”
- Cross over comics with the characters of Strange Plus.
Entertainment for hours awaits you in the pages of Vampire Doll. If you’d like to purchase them, they are available at Amazon.com.
Manga Review: Rozen Maiden by Peach-Pit
Calling all goth-loli girls and Alice enthusiasts! Rozen Maiden is going to make you want to buy every single one of these volumes.
A boy named Jun, who has decided to no longer attend school, becomes addicted to mail ordering. He accidentally orders a doll who takes over his life. The doll then involves him in a game with her other doll sisters where the playfulness can lead to injury, missed bedtimes, and death.
In the first volume, the package arrives and the doll, Shinku, awakes. She starts ordering Jun around and commands that he swear to protect her. When he refuses, Shinku sends a butcher knife wielding, foaming-at-the-mouth teddy bear after him. Jun reluctantly agrees to her demands and she brings all of his action figures to life to kill the teddy bear. This opening scene tells you, you aren't reading any old manga... this one is going to be good!
Just when Jun gets used to having the irritating doll around, others start showing up. Jun’s sister, Nori, is no help as she adores the dolls and makes them all the little sweets and tea they want.
Even though they do tackle deeper issues such as depression and human frailty, there remains an element of little girl silliness to the story line. In volume three, a standoff ensues between the youngest doll and the other dolls. Their threat is cutting her off from the sweets!
“Listen up. We’ve secured the kitchen and fridge. If you ever want sweets again, you will give yourself up!”
This manga is more than a chaotic romp in a doll’s fantasy “Alice” game. It is a comment on teens who sequester themselves away from others in hopes to hide from ridicule from mean classmates. The message in these volumes is that if you go too far, your spirit and all your talents that make you special will be lost. While the authors seem to agree that there are some social situations that make us all want to cower in the attic, they also show us that we can’t let those haters keep our creative spirit down.
For you horror lolita’s, there are several freaky aspects I think you’ll enjoy. The first being Suihuintoh, the spooky doll sister who has black wings and tries to destroy the other dolls by terrorizing them in a mirror world called LaPlace. In LaPlace resides a freaky rabbit in a tux and top hat. He is what they call the Demon of LaPlace and seems to be there more to confuse them than attack them.
Although Jun thinks the dolls have ruined his life, they really save it by making him face his fears and come out of hibernation. By the end of volume three, the story has changed to a serious nature when Suihuintoh kills one doll and takes a part of Shinku. Jun risks his life to retrieve the part of Shinku and in the process learns more about his depression.
By the end of volume four, the creator has added another doll for comic relief. She speaks to a kitty cat about how she is going to infiltrate the house and begin killing dolls. It’s a throw back for me to those comics of Snoopy when he pretended to be in combat and snuck through the bushes to the enemy camp. I think perhaps she was brought in for volume five in which Jun goes into a massive depression and the book is rather dismal if you don’t count the breaks they take to bring in the silly doll on a quest.
Spookiness (and Jun) return in volume six when an new doll is discovered. She has to be the scariest doll yet, wearing all white with a rose and thorny vines growing out of her right eye.
Over all this manga is very entertaining, but perhaps has a more dismal storyline than others I’ve read. The ups and downs in this plot might make you more emotional that you would think. The art is detailed and beautiful. As for extras, there aren't many. Volume three has a few interesting collaboration comics with the mangas Zombie Loan and DearS. Volume four contains a cute comic on how the manga is made.
If you'd like to check these manga's out, they are available at: Amazon.com
Review: Crescent Moon by Haruko Iida
Crescent Moon is a manga began in 2000 with the name, Mikan no Tsuki (An Incomplete Moon). Plot: A young girl is a good luck charm to all those around her, but she herself is the most unlucky person alive. A group from the lunar race ask for her help to find a power source called Teardrops of the Moon that has been stolen from them. The lunar race representatives are a vampire, a werewolf, a kitsune (fox), and a tengu (heavenly dog). The girl enrages the tengu at every turn and though he hates her, you get the feeling they will fall in love.
- Beautiful underwater art.
- Filled with poetry.
- They study a cool book, which shows research pages from an ancient text.
- The beginning is confusing. The author used a character entrance format that was hard to understand.
- I didn’t know what was going on until half way through the book.
- Sometimes the characters had freaky long limbs that did not have anything to do with the supernatural, it was how they were drawn.
Where to get it: You can buy Crescent Moon Vol. 1 at Amazon.com.
Upcoming: There are 6 volumes in the series, but it did not interest me enough to continue. This was not a bad manga, just not my cup of tea. You can find out all about this manga at the Tokyopop Cresent Moon page.
Review: Princess Resurrection 1 & 2 by Yasunori Mitsunaga
Contrary to what the cover and write up leads you to believe, the star of this manga is not Princess Resurrection. The true star is Hiro, an abandoned boy who is resurrected to be a slave for the princess. Poor Hiro wakes up in a morgue unaware that he is now undead and wanders to the Princess's house. Princess Resurrection is nonchalant and uncaring of his life or what becomes of him. As the daughter of the king who stands above all monsters, I guess she has the luxury of being jaded about death. She wields many weapons such as stakes, swords, jackhammers, and her favorite, a chain saw. Despite the many monsters she massacres, her dress is never damaged. Now, this is a girl we can look up to!
So, let's see... we have a hell-bent princess, an undead boy, a robot maid, is there someone missing? Ah yes! Let's add a rebellious werewolf girl into the mix.
These books are great. No matter how many times Hiro is "accidentally" killed by the Princess's weapons or the robot maid says her only word "Hooba", this story never gets old.
What you'll find in Volume 1:
• Hiro wakes up dead and finds the Princess battling a horde of werewolves • Insane hospital employees attempt to make Hiro their savior and then try to kill him. • Werewolf girl saves Princess Resurrection from a battalion of squidmen. • Extras in the back include a four page spin-off comic and two pages of translation notes explaining the significance of certain scenes along with a sneak peek at Volume 2. • Favorite quote: "You think Hiro's alright?" "He only drowned for one night. There shouldn't be a problem."
What you'll find in Volume 2:
• The Princess's evil little sister visits and infects the house with triffids. • A sexy vampire girl wants Hiro for her own and attempts to steal him from the Princess. • The Princess battles another horde of werewolves. • The robot maid finds an android who she cares for. • The Princess kills an eyeball squid creature with a jackhammer. • Extras in the back include a five page spin-off comic and two pages of translation notes explaining the significance of certain scenes along with a sneak peek at Volume 3 which looks to include a mummy army. • Favorite quote: While most of the crew is fighting for their lives against triffids, the maid is cleaning up. "It's a little noisy upstairs... Oh well. I need to vacuum!" The art in this manga is not pretty and frilly, but it is very well done. Monster art, gory blood, fighting, and a girl who cuddles her weapons? What more can a horror manga fan want?
Go to Amazon.com to preview or purchase Princess Resurrection 1, Princess Resurrection 2, Princess Resurrection 3, Princess Resurrection 4, Princess Resurrection 5, Princess Resurrection 6, or preorder Princess Resurrection 7 (released November 24, 2009). There is also an animated DVD Princess Resurrection: Collection 1
Review: Until The Full Moon by Sanami Matoh
This is not going to be one of those warm fuzzy reviews that has you skipping down to the manga store eager to spend your hard earned cash. Those of you experiencing a budget crunch can now take that sigh of relief. Until The Full Moon promised to be an excellent male to male love story with vampires and werewolves in it. Instead, it was a disappointing read ruined by chibi jokes and silliness.
Marlo is a half-werewolf half-vampire guy who changes into a woman on the night of the full moon. David is a full-blood vampire who loves Marlo in both his forms (male and female). I had high hopes for this formula!
This book is entertaining, but for all the wrong reasons. It’s corny jokes draw more of a moan from the reader than a laugh. It’s funny the rating on this book is 16+ because the jokes and situations seem to fit more into the 10-12 year old boy philosophy. Is it rated 16+ only because it deals with a same sex relationship? You have to wonder.
Although created in 1998, the art style is completely 1980’s. All the clothes and hairstyles look to be pulled from watching the first MTV VJ's. The guys have long feathered hair. The chicks have big hairsprayed bitch-do’s. This 1980’s feel is strengthened by the appearance of Marlo’s ex-girlfriend from America. The stereotypical Jersey girl tries everything to win Marlo back until she finds out he turns into a girl at full moon. Then, she’s on the next plane back to Jersey with her blown-out hair and dangly earrings.
It bothered me that when Marlo is in his guy form, he makes fun of David being gay. Yet, when Marlo is a woman, he loves David passionately. There is no explanation for this. It’s not like he has two people in his body. He remembers everything that happens to him in both forms. So, wouldn’t you have a bit of lingering feelings, even if you changed form?
There’s also a strange folk tale in the middle of the manga that starts to explain why werewolves can turn into women during full moon, but then you learn this is just a story the mom made up. This manga left too many questions.
I found the two vampire father’s meeting rather comical. The mother can throw out a few quips that made me laugh such as: “Our son becomes a woman at full moon? How do I buy him clothes?”
The artwork irritated me because the characters had plain Charlie Brown-like mouths sometimes. The way the artist draws ears is disturbing. They look like lemon slices on either side of the character’s head.
Overall, I was disappointed in this manga. It showed so much promise, but did not deliver.
If you'd still like to check this manga out, it's available at Amazon