Friday, August 31, 2018


Just because it's an old-school manga doesn't mean that it can't be derivative and muddled, as today's review demonstrates.

HYPER DOLLS (Rakusho! Hyperdoll), by Shinpei Itoh.  First published in 1995 and first published in North America in 2002.


Everything starting going wrong after Hideo Akai wished on a shooting star.  He didn't get a wish, but instead had his town invaded by bizarre alien monsters.  He's saved by a pair of pretty lady warriors calling themselves the Hyper Dolls, but they swear him to secrecy or else they will rip his head off.  Now the girls, Miyu and Miaka, are trying to lay low at Akai's high school, but dark forces from both Earth and space are conspiring against them...

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Today's review is not only a blast from manga's past, but also one that strives to recapture the style of older comics and pulpy sci-fi in one place.

STEAM DETECTIVES (Kaiketsu Joki Tanteiden), by Kia Asamiya.  First published in 1994, and first published in 1999.


Somewhere between the past and present is Steam City, a fantastical city powered entirely by steam.  The downside is that the constant clouds of steam allow all sorts of nefarious folks to roam the streets and evade the law.  The only person who can stop their plans is Boy Detective Narutaki.  With the help of Ling Ling the nurse, the sentient automaton Goriki, and his ever-present butler, Narutaki vows to clean up the streets of Steam City and find the answers to his own mysterious past.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Review: RANMA 1/2

August means that it's time for another Old-School Month, and today's review is both apt and nostalgic.  It's a work from a newly minted Eisner Hall of Famer, beloved by many an older manga fan, and (no joke) was the first review I ever wrote.

RANMA 1/2 (Ranma Nibun no Ichi), by Rumiko Takahashi.  First published in 1987 and first published in North America in 1993.


One day, Soun Tendo gathers his three daughters together: motherly Kasumi, boy/cash-crazy Nabiki, and hot-headed tomboy Akane.  Soun's old friend Gendo Saotome is returning to Japan after many years with his son Ranma, and one of the girls must become Ranma's fiancee to ensure the survival of the Tendo School of Indiscriminate Grappling.  Akane is the unlucky winner, but she thinks her luck has turned around when their family is greeted with not a man and his son, but instead a man-sized panda and a girl named Ranma.

After an accident in the bath, Akane learns the truth: Genma and Ranma have been transformed after falling into some specifically cursed springs while training in China.  When Ranma and Akane aren't fighting with one another, they have to face off with the pompous kendo champion Kuno and Ranma's hopelessly directionless rival Ryoga.

Friday, July 27, 2018


The only thing harder than adapting a TV to manga form is adapting a TV show based on a light novel which is a prequel to another TV series, which itself is an adaptation of a visual novel to a manga.

FATE/ZERO (Feito/Zero), based on the novel by Gen Urobuchi and Type-Moon, adapted by Shinjiro.  First published in 2010 and first published in North America in 2016.


Once every generation or so, a group of magically gifted organizations gather to wage war.  They summon magical warriors torn from the pages of legend and history to fight against one another.  The last one standing will win the Holy Grail and with it, the chance to have any single wish granted.  As the fourth Grail War begins, a few new contenters appear.  This includes a teenaged magic-user looking to prove himself, a murderous priest, and an assassin who hedges his bets with technology and guns.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Like last week's review, this is another adaptation of a beloved anime series from the 2000s (although it took a lot longer for this one to earn its acclaim).  Unlike that review, this one isn't a simple rehash of the source's just a major downgrade.

PRINCESS TUTU (Purinsesu Chuchu), based on the story by Ikuko Itoh & Jun-ichi Satoh & art by Mizuo Shinonome.  First published in 2003 and first published in North America in 2004.


Ahiru is a clumsy girl who wants nothing more than to impress Mytho, a boy who is as handsome and gifted at ballet as he is sad and distant.  Edel, a local shop owner, gives Ahiru a pendant that allows her to transform into the magical Princess Tutu.  As Tutu, Ahiru can not only dance beautifully, but also salvage shards of Mytho's heart from monstrous creatures.  As Mytho's feelings return, Ahiru/Tutu finds herself in conflict with both Mytho's stern protector Fakir as well as the mysterious Princess Kraehe.