Toriko manga Volume 23

Toriko manga Volume 23 cover

Anime reporter returns for another course after far too long a fast. With great relish and appetite, it’s time for Toriko Volume 23 (chapters 199-207)! If you’re not familiar with Toriko as a series, you really ought to be and a great place to start is with my take on the first five volumes here.

Now, if you haven’t acquainted yourself with the first twenty two volumes, you should definitely to expect more than a few spoilers here.

Spoiler Alert

Ok… are they gone? Just us seasoned Toriko veterans left? Excellent! Quick show of hands; who else was incredibly excited by last volume’s Read more ›

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Posted in Manga, Manga Series, Reviews

Psycho Pass, complete Season 01 review

Psycho Pass Season 01 00 Title Screen

“…people have found a way to analyse a person’s mind. The intelligence of science finally uncovered the secret of our souls and our society has changed drastically because of it. The problem is, free will has been stripped from the equation and, if man is not judged by their choices, then how are we really deciding who is good and who is evil?”

Psycho Pass Season 01 11

Anime Reporter tip-toes carefully in the darkness, trying desperately not to think of anything crazy, because they’ll know if I do, and, brings you the world of Psycho Pass, the Complete Series (eps 1-22).

Psycho Pass Season 01 07

Psycho Pass is set in the year 2113, when violent crime is virtually unheard of, thanks to Sybil. What’s that? You don’t know about Sybil? Well, Sybil is the delightful computerised watchdog that scans the minds of all citizens and determines their crime coefficient. Crime coefficients represent the likelihood of any individual going violently crazy and basically serve as an early-alert system for psychopaths. So, if you feel your thoughts going a murky green-yellow (for added fun and convenience, your mental state is represented by both a number and colour), Sybil should let you know that it’s time to get yourself some help and you can be guided back to normalcy.

Psycho Pass Season 01 04

Unfortunately, not everyone walks past one of Sybil’s conveniently located security scanners in time and let themselves get into violently berserk states. That’s when the police cruise over with their Dominators, powerful guns which scan a target and tranquilise or liquefy them based on their threat level and refuse to fire if a target is deemed acceptable. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “But wait a minute, if the police see someone get blown to bits by their own hands, that’s probably going to traumatise them a little. Isn’t Sybil just making its own police into criminals by its own standards?” Now you’re thinking “How did he know what I was thinking?”, but to answer your first thought, Sybil has come up with a rather elegant solution; police officers who are already legally insane! That’s right, when things start to get just too dicey for regular cops, it’s time to call in the Enforcers, an effective SWAT team who have already been pushed past the brink of sanity. These unhinged individuals are constantly living with a blade to their throats, knowing that if they break the rules, they’ll be carted off to jail or, if appropriate, executed on the spot.

Psycho Pass Season 01 02

All seems pretty straight forward when rookie cop Akane Tsunemori (voiced by Guilty Crown’s and Steins;Gate’s Kana Hanazawa in Japanese and Kate Oxley in English) joins the force until a series of bizarre deaths start pointing to someone who’s getting away with murder right under Sybil’s watchful eyes. In a world where most people have grown up seeing people arrested or executed before they reach the capacity for murder or violence, a serial killing sociopath is an entirely alien concept.

Psycho Pass Season 01 01

This series is brutal. Brutal and dark and intense and brutal again. It’s Minority Report meets Demolition Man, 1984 meets I, Robot and Hannibal meets Dexter and yet it’s absolutely none of these things at all. It’s something altogether original and, while there are certainly sci-fi elements at play, it really packs a punch through its use of psychological discomfort. This series isn’t a light, laugh-a-minute experience, but it is seriously gripping television.

Psycho Pass Season 01 08

From the anonymity of online living to the censorship of artistic thought and expression, Psycho Pass presents us with a world not a million miles from our own with the big exception that people’s thoughts are very literally being policed. If a citizen sets foot outside their door, they have to accept the reality that one really bad experience or disturbing thought could leave them forever branded as scum in the eyes of the law.

Psycho Pass Season 01 05

Psycho Pass offers wonderfully graphic violence and some seriously tense drama into a police series setting. Character portrayals are evocative and endearing, though, with the majority of people willing to let the Sybil system plot out their lives for them, it’s invariably the psychotic Enforcers who seem to have any real elements of freedom or personality. While Psycho Pass has earned itself an age rating of 15 for graphic violence, its tension and disturbing peek at the human mind may be a bit much for some minors.

Psycho Pass Season 01 06

If you only want to watch one intense psychological thriller series this year, I’d highly recommend pushing Psycho Pass to the front of the queue.

Psycho Pass Season 01 03

Psycho Pass, the complete first series is available on DVD and Bluray from September 1st 2014 from Manga Entertainment UK. For more info, check out the Manga UK website.

Psycho Pass Season 01 12

Psychotic villains:         9

Premise:                       9

Animation:                   8.5

Suspense:                     9.5

Story development:       8.5

Psycho Pass Season 01 13

89% – Holy Crap! – Psycho Pass presents the rotting underbelly of utopian living and reminds us that theres little more disturbing than the human mind. Watch this show, but do it with the lights on.

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Posted in Anime, Anime Series, Reviews

Attack on Titan manga Volume 13

Attack on Titan manga volume 13 cover

Anime Reporter jumps once more into the fray for another dose of Attack on Titan. This time, we’re picking up the pieces from way, way back in volume 12 and looking at the latest shenanigans erupting from volume 13 (chapters 51-54).

Needless to say, though I of course always do, with a manga built upon such a foundation of plot twists and suspense, you’ll be doing yourself no favours by reading this review before you’re familiar with volumes 1-12. (Reviewed here, here and here.)

Spoiler Alert

Well, Volume 12 was a tough act to follow after a veritable royal rumble of titans, with some pretty weird new abilities and Read more ›

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Posted in Manga, Manga Series, Reviews

Robotics;Notes Part 01 review

Robotics;Notes Part 01 07 Gunvarrel

Anime Reporter gets things moving with Robotics;Notes Part 1 (episodes 1-11). As some astute and well-versed anime fans have no doubt already deduced from the title, this is the latest anime series to follow in the footsteps of Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate (reviewed here). Like its two predecessors, Robotics;Notes was originally a visual novel video game and the similarities don’t stop there.

Robotics;Notes Part 01 00 title screen

The plot starts in 2019 with Kaito Yashio (voiced by Blood Lad’s Ryohei Kimura in Japanese and Clifford Chapin in English), a young Japanese student, obsessed with his Phonedroid Pad (Yep, basically what it sounds like, the super advanced great-great grandchild of your smart phone/tablet), though he mostly seems to use it for projecting cute cat ears onto girls and of course, playing his favourite video game, Kill Ballad. Kill Ballad is a touch screen based robot Read more ›

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Posted in Anime, Anime Series, Reviews

Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji) manga volumes 11-15 reviewed

Black Butler manga Volume 15

Anime Reporter sets out the good silverware and serves up my take on Black Butler volumes 11-15. (Volumes 1-5 reviewed here. Likewise with 6-10). I hope you’re hungry; this one comes with a lot of courses.

Spoiler Alert

Black Butler manga Volume 11Firstly there’s the fallout from Volume 10’s spectacular murder mystery. Prepare to have any niggling little doubts silenced once and for all as the details of each and every murder and obscure clue and summarised for our convenience with the utmost grace. What’s more, and at the risk of running into a heavy helping of cliché, a familiar face returns to join the Phantomhive estate.

After everything is very neatly tied up, the plot moves onto something suitably gothic, grand and downright stylish as Ciel, Sebastian and co. head off on a voyage of, dare I say it, titanic proportions. Ciel is roped into a voyage to New York alongside his adorable fiancée and her rather elitist family. Naturally, Ciel wouldn’t be up for this type of lying about, but as it happens, a rather suspicious group claiming to resurrect the dead is having Read more ›

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Posted in Manga, Manga Series, Reviews

“Everything You Need to Turn Your Passion into a Career” – a review of How to Get Published as a Manga Artist

how_to_get_published_as_a_manga_artist_by_christopher_hart

Switching gears ever so slightly, Anime Reporter takes a look at best-selling author Christopher Hart’s latest book, How to Get Published as a Manga Artist. That’s right! He’s back, and with a difference. The man who brought you such best-selling manga tutorial titles as Basic Anatomy for the Manga Artist, Manga for the Beginner (also available in Kawaii, Chibi, Midnight Monsters and Shoujo flavours) and the vibrant Manga Mania books has come out with something that aspiring manga artists of any genre will probably want to get their hands on.

Where this title differs from the majority of Christopher’s other books is that it isn’t offering tutorials or advice on drawing characters or designing comics. This book is all about what to do once you’ve got the skills and want to start making it as a professional manga artist.

The book covers a wide range of areas and gives pros and cons to many different aspects of the career path. Chapters include a focus on different types of Read more ›

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Posted in Books, Reviews

“What Manga Is” or “Why One Piece is a Better Story than Batman”

riko_kumabukuro_20726

The Reporter's Desk

Okay, so full disclosure: We’re starting off with a wordy one. This article is almost entirely taken from a piece I wrote as part of a university course. Needless to say, I own none of the characters or images within this article.

There will be spoilers here for a few manga titles (nothing terrifically damaging, but if you’re just getting started on One Piece, you’re taking a few risks here.) Some spoilers will also occur for recent superhero comics, though nothing specific and nothing which hasn’t been long since established/advertised. :Spoiler Alert

As part of full disclosure I should also add that I’m as much a fan of Western comic books as manga, but that I’m trying to put away my love for the Dark Knight and just assess these two series based on their merits as storytelling.If you’re worried at any point that you might be about to venture into spoiler-rich territory, you can skip ahead to Part vi for my final (spoiler-free) thoughts on the subject. Thank you, I hope you enjoy:

What Manga Is

or

“Why One Piece is a Better Story than Batman”

This article is an intro to manga for anyone who might be more familiar with Western media. If readers are totally familiar with manga and anime, you should be able to scroll down to Part iii without losing too much information. Otherwise, you Read more ›

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Posted in The Reporter's Desk
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