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.

Noob Reviews: Sword Art Online Manga

Welcome to my third post in the N00b Reviews series!

Yep another post, written by none other than the resident noob here at Cosmic Anvil. After looking at Shingeki no Kyojin last week I am going to be looking at Sword Art Online (SAO) in this post. Similarly to Shingeki no Kyojin I also watched the anime series of SAO prior to reading the manga.

First, let me give you a little back story as to why I watched SAO in the first place. For those reading this who don’t know me, since having gone to university and being a part of the video game society there, I have developed a strong interest in video gaming. And as you’ve probably guessed by its title, the theme of video games plays a big part in this series.

Kirito & Asuna

Kirito & Asuna


Summary:

Sword Art Online was written by Kawahara Reki and illustrated by Hazuki Tsubasa. It tells the story of ‘Sword Art Online’ (SAO) a virtual reality MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) released in 2022. The game uses a virtual reality helmet called ‘Nerve Gear’ to simulate the gamers’ senses through signals sent straight to their brains. This allows players to control their avatars in the game using only their minds.

On the release of the game, players log into SAO only to discover they do not have the ability to log out. They are then told by Akihiko Kayaba – the game’s creator – that they will need to complete the 100 floor tower to return to the real world again. They are also informed that if they die in game they also die outside the game as well. Survival suddenly becomes imperative in the digital world.

The main story arc focuses on the protagonist Kirito – a beta tester of SAO  – who sets up as a solo player in order to conquer the game alone.  Along the way he becomes friends with Asuna, a mysterious heroine and sub leader of the infamous guild “Knights of the Blood”. The two eventually team up both romantically and in battle to defeat the game.


First Impressions:

Looking at the art style of SAO it is quite ‘cutesy’ looking, which lightens the dark nature of the series (being trapped in a game that could kill you).  I also think Kawahara Reki wrote Kirito to be relatable to the audience and almost a stereotypical archetype of a video gamer (Keeps to themselves, awkward, and of course, competitive).

SAO cuteSAO cute 2


What I liked:

I really liked the way the characters had relatable traits and we wanted them to succeed in their mission to fight against the game and get back to the real world.  Not only did the characters have relatable traits, but there were awkward relatable scenes as well. You’ll see what I mean here….

SAO embarrass SAO embarrass 2 SAO embarrass 3

I also liked that the fact that whilst they were in the game, the distance between reality and the virtual world was blurred, for example the fact they still needed to eat and sleep in the game, and the skills gained also varied from everything between combat and domestic.


 What I disliked:

I really can’t think of anything that I particularly disliked about the manga. Whether that’s because I am already biased to really liking the anime (one of the top rated shows on my Netflix account) or the characters. In general there was nothing that stood out to me as bad.


Another WTF moment?!:

In chapter 8 I discovered a weird moment at the beginning of the chapter that made reference to the anime. This was a bit of a WTF because it made me question whether the anime was happening within the games’ universe or if something  had been added in by the translators to remind readers about the anime. (See the pages below below and make up your own mind).

SAO anime SAO anime2 SAO anime3


How did it compare to the anime:

The main arc of the Sword Art Online manga focused heavily on the relationship between Kirito and Asuna and skipped a lot of the long battle scenes we see in the anime. I did also notice after reading a few chapters of the Sword Art Online: Progressive manga that there was more Asuna backstory and more information was revealed in the anime earlier on in the series, such as the meeting with the top SAO players. Also, a major part of the anime that was skipped in the original manga chapters was the Yui arc that focuses on the NPC (Non playable character) AI within the game that almost becomes a surrogate daughter to Kirito and Asuna.


 Overall Opinion:

Whilst I did enjoy reading the manga, overall I think I preferred the anime to the manga as it was a lot more action-packed and visually interesting. Once again, I am being sucked into wanting to keep reading more of the series. From what I’ve researched there are four main stories of the manga (SAO, SAO: Fairy Dance, SAO: Progressive and SAO: Girls Ops). I think I will probably read the other stories at some point, when I get round to it!


Written by marketing whizzkid Jess Hardcastle.

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


N00b Reviews: Shingeki no Kyojin

Welcome to the second post in my N00b Reviews series! 

Today I will be reviewing the Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) manga, which  I chose after having watched the first series of the anime.

Last time in my Fairy Tail review, I mentioned being confused in regards to how you actually read manga, but I think I’ve finally sussed it out! It’s from right to left rather than left to right as is with Western books or magazines… Such a Noob 😐


Summary:

Shingeki no Kyojin is a shōnen fantasy manga written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. It is set in a world where humanity lives inside walled cities due to their fear of roaming Titans (huge humanoid creatures). Very little is known about the Titans apart from the fact they seem to enjoy eating humans for no apparent reason.

attack on titan anime

Fee, Fi, Fo, YUM.

The story focuses on a group of three childhood friends – Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert. After their section of the city gets attacked by an abnormal Titan (a Titan who is large and stronger than normal Titans) and Eren’s mother is graphically devoured, Eren vows to avenge her death by joining the military to fight back against the Titans.


 First Impressions:

Compared to Fairy Tail that I reviewed last weekShingeki no Kyojin has a lot more text. This could be due to the nature of the story being a lot more complicated and darker, so there is a greater need for more text to explain the situation.  Again, I really like the art style and layout of the manga, especially now that i’m coming to terms with how to read it correctly 😛


 What I liked:

What I really enjoyed about the manga was that the characters were well written and as a reader I developed feelings for them and cared about what was going to happen to them next. This made the manga addictive and I couldn’t help but keep reading more! What I especially liked was the strong female characters like Mikasa Ackerman (one of the main characters) who is shown to be ranked top in the military training and often puts herself in the way of danger to save others. Another example later on in the series is Hanji San who is experimenting on two captured Titans and is shown to be both as brave and intelligent as the male characters – or probably even more so.

I also thought the extra details provided in the story about wall building and the mechanics of the three dimensional maneuver gear was fascinating and gave me a deeper insight and understanding into the weapons and defense systems in place. It felt like a fully-fleshed out world that the writer had spent so much time crafting that it was totally believe – even with giant humanoid monsters running around eating people. I also liked the fact that as the story progresses we find out more and more about the Titans at the same time as the characters do. It also keeps up a an air of mystery around them that keeps you wanting to read more.


 What I disliked:

My only real complaint with the manga was some of the illustrations appeared too busy. It felt a bit like too much was going on at the same time and the drawings needed less detail to give more clarity to the important action panels, as you can see in this example:

Attack on Titan

Sometimes less really is more.


How did it compare to the anime?

I found the manga was more straight into the action and didn’t focus as much time on the training as the anime did – basically less filler and more story.  I also found the anime was in chronological order whereas there were moments where the manga featured a lot of flashbacks.

AoT 2

Uh-oh!


 Overall Opinion:

I really can’t stop reading this manga, someone help me?! I think I might be addicted! My only hope is I don’t go past the point of the anime otherwise I know I’m going to be disappointed with the anime in the same way that a book fan is nearly always disappointed with the film adaptation simply because it doesn’t match up the source material. It will be interesting to see how the live-action film coming out in Japan this year compares with both the manga and anime series.


Written by Marketing Whizz-Kid Jess Harcastle for Cosmic Anvil.

Check out Cosmic Anvil’s very own manga-inspired comic book series ‘Age of Revolution’ in print and on Comixology!

N00b Reviews: Fairy Tail

Welcome to my special section of Cosmic Anvil’s Recommends blog – N00b Reviews!

I’ve never read or seen any manga before, but have recently seen a couple of dubbed anime series’ such as Sword Art Online, Attack on Titan, Blue Exorcist and Steins Gate that have peaked my interest in all things Japanese. I am completely new to the world of manga though, and so each week I will be reviewing a different popular manga series by reading the first arc of the series and sharing my thoughts and opinions on them as a complete n00b to the manga world!

I am going to start by looking at Fairy Tail; a shōnen manga series written and illustrated by Hiro Mashima. The reason I chose Fairy Tail is because I enjoyed watching the first episode of the anime series, and was intrigued by potential differences between that and the manga.


Plot Summary

Fairy Tail tells the story of a 17-year-old Stellar Spirit Mage Lucy, who wants to join the infamous wizard guild ‘Fairy Tail’. Her ambition leads her into the hands of a bunch of unsavory pirates led by a devious magician. Along the way she also meets the main hero Natsu, a strange pink-haired boy that seems to have the powers of a dragon earning him the nickname ‘Salamander.’ He is also part of the wizard guild Fairy Tail; a bunch of crazy mages that always seem to leave a trail of destruction behind them. (For example, in the first issue Natsu saves Lucy from a bunch of perverted pirates and conspiring wizard but in doing so destroys half of the town.) Natsu and Lucy also join forces with a magical flying blue cat named Happy and undertake missions to gain jewels (currency) for the Guild.


First Impressions:

My initial thoughts when reading the manga were the issues were quite short, well-drawn but a bit confusing if i’m being honest! But that might be just because I’m not used to the layout of manga yet. I was unsure of the order in which to read some of the speech bubbles and it didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. But on the positive side I did really like the style of the illustrations.

There are also a few ‘WTF??’ pages though:

Fairy Tail perv 2

Is all manga full of super pervy characters? Do they all feature really creepy guys and creatures and constant references to boobs and short skirts..?

 


What I liked about Fairy Tail:

Pervy Bull

I really liked the art style and themes of friendship and teamwork similar to Yu-gi-oh. The manga is light-hearted and filled with comedy, the characters were well-written, and it did encourage me to carry on reading more issues.


What I didn’t like about Fairy Tail:

I didn’t like the short story arcs as I felt like I wanted more stuff to happen in each chapter. As I mentioned above I disliked the confused feeling I had with what was happening because I was unsure about the order in which to read some of the speech.


Overall Opinion:

All in all, I did enjoy my first taste of manga and can see it being something I genuinely gain a keen interest in. My only hope is that they don’t all feature loads of pervy characters and confusing dialogue layout. As for Fairy Tail, I would recommend giving it a read if you especially enjoy fantasy and magic-based stories.

And so my journey to discover everything there is to know about manga begins!


Written by Marketing Whizz-Kid Jess Harcastle for Cosmic Anvil.

Check out Cosmic Anvil’s very own manga-inspired comic book series ‘Age of Revolution’ in print and on Comixology!