N00b Reviews: One Piece

After the break last week, N00b Reviews is back and with the results of the reader’s poll in which we asked you what I should be reviewing next.

I can now reveal you have chosen… One Piece!

Before you wonder how the hell I am going to read all 782 chapters (kind of impossible in a few days…) I’m just going to see how far I’ll get to in two days and write about what I’ve read. It also only seems natural that I should read One Piece, what with it being one of the most successful manga series’ of all time, and it’s still going after 782 chapters!


Summary:

One Piece is written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda and tells the story of  Monkey D. Luffy, a young pirate whose body gains the properties of rubber after accidentally eating a ‘Devil Fruit’. Along with his diverse crew named the Straw Hat Pirates, Luffy explores the ocean in search of the ultimate treasure known as the “One Piece” in order to become the next Pirate King.

Luffy


First Impressions: 

Right from the first page of One Piece I found I genuinely enjoyed the simple and super-cartoony artwork, as well as the way we are given the backstory of each character at the beginning of the protagonists’ journey so they are fleshed out right from the start.


What I liked:

I really liked that the main themes of the manga included friendship, having courage, and not being afraid to fail. The characters are well-written, likeable, and had personality traits that I definitely think are relatable to. For example, Luffy’s determination and ambition, or Usopp’s courage to stand up for his friends.

Another thing I found I particular admired was the diversity in the characters. Each character has their own reason for joining Luffy and a separate mission they are trying to accomplish as well as helping with his.

Main_characters_of_One_Piece

As you might have noticed I quite enjoy a bit of a comedy and One Piece does not fall short in this respect! It’s ridiculous in the best way right from the off, with Luffy eating a fruit that makes his body have elastic properties, to Gaiman being stuck in a treasure chest with only his head visible.


Wait, What?!

Is it me or does this strange hypnotist villain, Jango (pictured below), remind you of Michael Jackson..?

MJ Ref             MJ Ref 2


What I disliked:

The only thing I could really say I disliked about the manga was the Syrup Village Arc because it seemed to drag on and I just wanted the main story to progress. However, that’s the only real fault (so far) I could find with it to be perfectly honest.


Overall Opinion:

I can easily see why One Piece is such a popular and long running series.  What’s not to love? Pirates with super powers; fun lovable characters; a gripping story; and a distinctive cartoonish art style. Unlike many of the other series I have looked at I have not yet watched the anime series that accompanies this manga but it is something to add to my list now!  Once again I have found another Manga series that I would definitely recommend to N00bs like me and seasoned readers alike.


Written by Jess Harcastle, Marketing Whizz-kid for Cosmic Anvil.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology!

Avatar: The Last Airbender – ‘The Search’ by Gene Luen Yang, Bryan Konietzko, and Michael Dante DiMartino

Nickolodeon’s Avatar: The Legend of Korra  has now finished and sadly that it is the last we will see from the Avatar show.  Although I’m of course upset that the show has ended, the creators have revealed in an interview that even though Avatar has reached its end in animation form, the ending didn’t completely finish the Avatar Saga and COULD be continued in other formats such as comics.

This is already true of the previous series – Aang: The Last Airbender – which has been continuing in comic book form since finishing on TV. This has already been released in three comic book sagas: The Promise, The Search, and The Rift. These comic books follow Avatar Aang and his ‘Team Avatar’ during a series of events that take place after Aang ends the 100 Year War. Although I recommend reading all three, the one that I will be focusing on in this recommendation is The Search, as I feel it’s the most powerful of the three, and the most sentimental for Avatar fans.( By the way, if you have not seen any of Avatar I would advise against reading on, as this will contain spoilers…also, you should watch Avataranyway as it’s the greatest animated Western TV show of the past ten years.)

The Search is a three-part saga that takes place after The Promise saga, which is set directly after The Last Airbender show. The Last Airbender ends on a pretty epic cliff hanger as the New Fire Lord, Lord Zuko, asks his dethroned Father, Lord Ozai, for the location of his missing Mother.The Search picks up on that cliff hanger, and starts with Lord Zuko, his sister Azula, and Team Avatar (minus Toph) all adventuring forward to find Zuko’s Mother, Ursa.

Fire Lord Ozai

Fire Lord Ozai

The comic doesn’t just copy the show, and in this saga we are treated to seeing the main characters of the show in a totally new situation – the new situation being that they have to work alongside Azula. In the show, Azula was just as cruel and evil as her Father, but far less restrained. She was crazy and powerful, and all of a sudden in this comic Team Avatar must work with her to help both Azula and Zuko find their Mother, which was a surprising twist. The other element of this story which I really enjoyed was finding out more about the identity of Zuko. In this saga, Zuko finds out the Lord Ozai might not be his Father which is huge for Zuko. Zuko’s life has seen many transitions all centred around his relationship with his Father – first wanting the love and respect from his Father, then wanting to defeat and destroy him. After that, Zuko became Fire Lord and during this time he was struggling against becoming his Father. To discover that this connection might not even be real is earth-shattering for him.

Zuko’s Mum, has got it going on. She’s all that I want, and I’ve waited for so long!

The Search has a really good story, but I feel that I mainly like it because of the nostalgia of growing up with the TV show. The mystery of Zuko’s Mother was constant while watching the show, and to finally have it answered is a big pay-off for long-time fans. But having said that, there is definitely something new and cool for first time Avatar readers in this saga. Avatar is a tale set in a very familiar world with certain events mimic historical events that happen in the real world; however it is filled with a rich culture based around the existence of a real Spirit World. In this saga we get a good feel for that world, with spirits galore in this tale. The art for me isn’t that amazing, but it is very true to the show in terms of design, and the story is powerful enough and becomes very emotional towards the end.

If you are feeling that a void is emerging, because Avatar is about to end, then these comics are the next place to go. The reason why they make it into my ‘Recommends’ list is that I have a strong bond with the characters already, so although newcomers could read these, I would suggest watching the show first to experience the full emotional impact of the story. It might seem like a lot of effort, but seriously: Watch it; read it; you won’t regret it.


Written by Huw Williams of the Huw’s Reviews Blog.

Follow Huw on Twitter @Big_Huw

Don’t forget to also check out the official Cosmic Anvil website to find out more about our independent comic book series, Age of Revolution!

N00b Reviews: Sorry Guys!

sad face

There is no Noob Reviews post this week as we are waiting on results from our poll to see what you’d like me to review next. Don’t forget to vote by clicking below or over on our Facebook page! If you think there’s something we’ve missed add your own suggestions in the comments section below.

Don’t worry it will be back next week with me having my say on your recommendations!

N00b Reviews: Chobits

It’s N00b Reviews, time!

After having watched some episodes of Chobits whilst I was at university with some housemates without realising it was anime, I have decided to read and re-watch the series for this blog to see how it compares to my original thoughts and see if anything has changed my opinion whilst on my journey of discovery into all things Manga!

cover


Summary:

Chobits is a Manga written by the all-female manga collective Clamp. Clamp are also responsible for Cardcaptor Sakura, Tsubasa:Reservoir Chronicle, Wish and Angelic Layer  (to name just a few!)

The Chobits series focuses on the protagonist Hideki Motosuwa and his relationship with an abandoned ‘persocom’ (personal computer) named Chi. Initially Chi can only say “Chi” but as the series progresses Hideki teaches her to speak, interact, and behave.

Hideki & Chi

Hideki & Chi


First Impressions:

The art style used in the Chobits manga is cute and not overly detailed in regards to the human characters. However, I think the way emotions are portrayed through the characters’ facial features makes you feel empathetic towards them. Unlike the human illustrations the persocoms seem to have more detailed features, particularly in their hair and clothing. But I did notice that something that was done particularly well was the way that their expressions were drawn. Expressions of sadness, happiness, and anger, were very distinct on the faces of the characters. This is a very charming addition that draws attention away from the dullness of the human illustrations.


What I liked:

What I really liked about Chobits was it’s length. Each chapter was short and sweet which meant it was easy to read unlike the Toriko manga I read last week that I really struggled with, I did actually manage to read the whole of Chobits.

I also liked the way it offered light-hearted comedic moments that are sure to put a smile on your face! Many of the jokes came at the expense of Hideki and his behaviour around women. For example, in one scene he is looking to buy underwear for Chi but is too embarrassed to enter the store.


 When did This Manga Get so Philosophical?

Are persocoms capable of emotions? Can they have real relationships with humans?

In multiple story arcs these kinds of questions are explored as the computers’ memory is compared to human feelings and memories. The character Minoru Kokubunji, for example, loses his sister and then creates a persocom to replace her, but then realises that the persocom is completely different to the real thing with different memories, and so he learns to recognise that his sisters’ memories are unique.

Another example is the character Hiroyasu Ueda who falls in love with and even marries his persocom, but she develops hardware faults and he cannot not bring himself to have her repaired because her memories might be lost and he felt she would not be the same person if this happened. One night while walking with his persocom, Hiroyasu, lost in thought, walks into the middle of the street, unaware of an oncoming truck. In a final moment of clarity, his persocom pushed him out of the way and was herself run over. Her last word to Hiroyasu was “Konnichiwa” – the default greeting for a newly activated persocom with no memories. It’ so heartbreaking.

 story


What I disliked:

There were moments in the manga where I felt really awkward and uncomfortable about the relationship between Hideki and Chi, not only this but the references to pornographic material that didn’t seem necessary to the plot. Other than this issue though, I found the manga captivating and it intrigued me as to where they would take the relationship with the two main characters.

embarassing


How Did it Compare to the Anime:

Whilst bits of the manga were embarrassing and cringy the anime was even worse for this! The anime also seemed to have some more filler content in between the main story and introduced characters sooner into the story than the manga did.

Like in Attack on Titan, the plot in the anime also appeared in a different order to the manga. The Chobits anime feels more like a cutesy alternate universe, removing all the drama and tension that appeared in the manga. This is apparent even just from the titles of each episode: “Chi goes out”, “Chi learns”,  “Chi goes on errands”… I could go on. I’m not saying the anime is completely rubbish – it did have many redeeming features including the aesthetic. The way it was presented was beautiful and visually faithful to CLAMP’s art style. You can see the similarities in the style to Cardcaptor Sakura, Clover and of course Angelic Layer.

                                   bra                                                                     porn sites


Overall Opinion:

Unlike some of the other manga and anime series I have read/watched I actually preferred the manga in this instance. I read all of the manga but could not sit through and watch all of the episodes of the anime. The pace felt much slower than the manga and even though episodes were only roughly 20 minutes long it felt like a lot more.

After a little research I discovered that a reason for the poor pacing and filler content is the fact that the manga was still in ongoing whilst the anime was airing and it started to get ahead and then rushes to catch up towards the end. For this reason would definitely recommend reading the manga first as it was funny, emotive, and enchanting; the characters were well-written and the artwork was beautiful.


Written by Jess Harcastle, Marketing Whizz-kid for Cosmic Anvil.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology!

N00b Reviews: Toriko

Welcome to N00b Reviews!

In this series so far we have looked at manga involving wizards’ Guilds, creepy human-eating Titans, and video games that could kill you. Today, I will be looking into yet another weird one: the world of Toriko and all things food. I know Toriko is a much loved favourite of our very own writer Huw Williams, so here’s what I think.

Toriko-Time-to-eat

*Droooool*

 


Summary:

Toriko is a manga written and illustrated by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro that follows the adventures of Toriko, a ‘gourmet hunter’ – a title that means that Toriko is on a quest to find rare and diverse foods to complete a full course meal. Along his way he teams up with a weak and timid chef Komatsu who is inspired by Toriko’s ambition, and travels with him to improve his culinary skills and to find rare ingredients to cook with.


 

First Impressions:

Is it just me or does the art work kind of look grainy? Like the static on an old TV. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing but just not quite what I expected. Maybe its a bad page scan.

Toriko grainy

Grainy?

 

As for the story it kind of reminds me a little bit of Pokemon, in respect of capturing monsters and the monsters having different levels… except that they don’t eat the monsters in Pokemon of course! (Well, except for Slowpoke tails.)

Already in the first couple of chapters of Toriko I am a little weirded out. It’s pretty terrifying and some bits seem to make no sense whatever… like since when did crocodiles have the ability to evolve into dinosaurs? What have I started reading?!

toriko croc

Is it a Crocodile?

 

toriko not croc

No, it’s a dinosaur?!

 

I didn’t really like the fact that after reading the first few chapters it didn’t hook me and make me want to read more. It all felt a bit samey. Toriko gets challenged to find a rare monster, defeats said monster, eats it; rinse and repeat. Hopefully as I read more it will become more varied and less formulaic.


 

What I liked:

I liked that the manga was about food and it was nice to read something a bit different from the other manga I’ve read so far. Even if the whole food thing did make me hungry :P. It all looks soo tasty – get in my belly!

toriko food

YUM!

 

Another thing I also liked about Toriko is the wide range of facial expressions used, even if some of them where absolutely terrifying! The same character on one page can look completely different on another page.

toriko terrifyingfacet

face


What I disliked:

As I said earlier, I didn’t like the fact the first few chapters were very repetitive in terms of story and it didn’t really hook me into reading more, which was surprising considering it’s all about food and that’s definitely something I love!

food-hungry

So. Hungry.

 


Overall opinion:

Whilst I liked the fact that Toriko was very different to any of the other manga I’ve read, I’m not sure I will continue reading it as I didn’t find it captivated me as much as the others did. Sorry Toriko!


 

Written by marketing whizzkid Jess Hardcastle.

Check out Cosmic Anvil’s original manga series ‘Age of Revolution’ in print here and digitally on Comixology.