News : Would you read manga on an e-book?

Would you read manga on an e-book? That's the question I'm asking you.

For a few years now, companies have been coming out with e-book readers. Basically a small electronic device with a singular screen that you can read off. Usually the actual reader sets you back a bit, but in return the cost for digital distribution of novels is somewhere around $1-3 dollars US, substantially lower than if you just went out and bought the book.

Amazon has been spearheading the operation with their e-book titled Kindle and allowing you to buy books digitally from a vast collection of titles, as well as let you move PDF's to your e-book for a small monetary fee.

But now Google and Sony have formed an alliance and are making a new e-book reader. It is also rumored that they are working on an alternative strategy than making a user pay individually per book. There's also the chance that it will have PDF support for free, which could allow manga publishers to sell via digital distribution which you can then move over to your e-book.

There's already software out there for the Sony PSP to be used as a type of manga e-book and a few companies have taken advantage of that, allowing manga downloads in a format easily accessible on the PSP.

So would you consider it or do you believe e-books are just a gimmik? Obviously having a lot of publishers jump aboard the e-book would help substantially, but it just doesn't seem like there's a huge demand out there for it currently. Although I know a lot of manga readers currently read entire manga titles off arguably legit internet sites, so perhaps it's not as bigger leap for fans of this medium.

News : X-men making the jump to manga.

It looks like they're trying to cover both shonen(boys manga) and shojo(girls manga), the misfits one is kind of disturbing don't you think? I mean X-men is predominantly a comic made for males and it seems like they're stretching it a bit in an attempt to appeal to a female audience.

I'm not really a huge fan of X-men, but it's interesting to see what they're trying, might check out the wolverine one if I see it in stores. As someone mentioned to me, he looks like an 80's rock singer! I think I'll pass on the "girl at all-boys school" one though.

The gripping, all-new adventure of the X-men's greatest icon, completely reimagined in the Manga style.

This is not the Wolverine you know.

Logan is a teenage rebel with a real good reason for having a real bad attitude. Ever since being left in a nearby forest–with no memory of who he was or how he got there–Logan (or Wolverine, as his classmates sometimes call him) has been stuck in a martial arts school in the icy wilds of Canada. No wonder he’s bored, restless, yearning. There’s a whole world out there, and Logan can almost taste it. But he’s chained to a past he can’t remember and can’t escape. Now it just may destroy his future.

Marvel's mutants in a radical remix! Kitty Pryde has always been the odd girl out. A mutant, she was born with strange superpowers, magical talents that make her the class freak. But Kitty's world is changed when she's invited to study at Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, a special home for mutant teens. There's just one catch: Kitty's the only girl at the all-boy school, and she ends up just feeling like a freak all over again.

Blurb and pictures from
They will also be selling them when released if your interested.

Review : Welcome To The N.H.K.

There is a massive conspiracy going on, one huge company is calling the shots. Their sole purpose, to destroy your dignity, self esteem and turn you into a house-bound hikikomori (social recluse). Luckily one brave hikikomori has seen through their scheme and is fighting back, his name is Satou Tatsuhiro.

Satou is a 22 year old, unemployed, university drop out, who has been living holed up in his apartment for 4 years. He sleeps 16 hours a day, only ever leaves when he needs to buy smokes or food and lives off money funneled through to him from his parents. Satou hasn't given up, but any attempt to leave his apartment is foiled by the N.H.K. A real-life Japanese television channel and in his mind an evil corporation whose sole purpose is to stop him from re-entering normal society.

Satou's life is arguably changed for the better though when Misaki, a young girl with aspirations of curing him appears out of the blue. But it's not quite that simple, thanks to his perverted otaku neighbour and friend who ends up getting him into all sorts of morally questionable activities. Like downloading gigs of porn, hiding in bushes and taking photos of school girls and to top if off, attempting to make a hentai game.

It's not all fun and laughs though, with the characters all having to deal with their own traumatic emotional issues and hardships. Which perhaps reflect many of the social and mental issues associated with todays youth and modern society.

The art is that of the usual manga style. It communicates Satou's psych quite well, it can make him change from just an average guy, trying his best, to a crazy depraved molester in mere seconds. It's all in the angles, use of shadows and facial hair. Obviously with such questionable themes comes questionable imagery. Welcome To The N.H.K. is best kept to a mature audience. Also for anyone interested, the original book that the manga is based on is also available in english from Tokyopop and has a very different ending.

Welcome To The N.H.K. is perhaps one of the greatest black comedies ever written, it will make you laugh, cry and even gasp in horror at some of things Satou and crew get up to.

Review : D.Gray-Man.

Born with a disfigured arm and cursed by his foster father, Allen Walker is not your average protagonist. In his curse, however, lies his power. The ability to perceive akuma, dangerous unholy monsters that disguise themselves as the humans they kill, who work for the Millennium Earl and the Noah family, those forsaken by God.

Fortunately for Allen, his disfigured arm is also an anti-akuma weapon, which are called innocence. Hundreds of innocence are scattered about the world and at the right time and place can come to synchronize with certain people. These people are known as exorcists, part of the black order, a branch of the church dedicated to destroying the akumas and stopping the Millennium Earl from destroying the world.

The object of the game lies in the innocence. One out of the thousands contains "the heart" the only way to stop the Earl. On the other hand, the Earl knows that getting his hand on the heart will mean mankind has no hope. Some of the un-synchronized innocence cause strange phenomena, like giving dolls life, vampires or even make a day repeat itself over and over. Leaving it a race between the Earl's akumas and the exorcists to investigate any strange activity and acquire, or destroy the innocence.

Allen's team consists of Lenalee, a girl with innocence impowered boots, allowing her to fly and kick akuma's pretty damn hard, Kanda, a young Japanese man whose innocence lies in his samurai sword and Lavi, the older of the four, who wields a hammer that can extends and grow to any size. They fight against the akuma of various shapes and sizes, they also evolve and become much more dangerous, the Noah family, super strong human beings who are marked by stigmata on their forehead and last of all the Millenium Earl, a strange, plump, mysterious being with one purpose, to destroy the world.

The art is of a higher quality than the normal shonen battle manga, the style doesn't really stand out, but it's extremely consistant and sharp. Character designs are rather good as well, except for a few strange ones, for some reason the Earl looks like Penguin from batman. There's only really fantasy violence, the weapons used would never be mistaken for anything real and the akuma are machines, rather than creatures of fleash.

D.Gray-Man is a great fantasy battle manga with a fresh story and goth overtones. Whilst sometimes it does seem to drag out a little, like most battle manga do, it keeps the story vivid and interesting enough to read on.

Review : Speed Grapher.

Dodge the lens of the camera as best you can, not because your having a bad hair day or just feeling a tiny bit shy, but because anything caught by Saiga's cameras instantly explodes.

Saiga is a famous war photojournalist, reduced to the everyday job of a bottom feeding paparazi, that is until things take a turn for the worst. Following a trail of corruption and murder Saiga uncovers a bizarre ceremony being held by an elusive underground society. When his cover is blown, it seems like the end, until the object of the ceremony, a so called goddess, gives him his one true desire. To destroy the things he takes photos of.

With camera in tow, Saiga takes the goddess hostage and to his surprise she's just a simple school girl named Kagura, unaware of what shes been doing. Both wanting to get away from the sinister underground society, they make a break for it. But it's not so simple when there are others with powers just as strong as Saiga's after them.

The art is of a very high quality, mirroring the style of Takeshi Obata (the artist of Death Note) nearly exactly. It works very well with such serious manga, theres not really many comedic moments, it's fast paced pumping action from beginning to end. It is also very violent and contains pornographic imagery, so obviously better kept to the older audience.

Speed Grapher is a very interesting title, with a cool protagonist, a violent fast paced plot and amazing art. Can't really ask for much more than that.

Review : FLCL.

Imagine if you suddenly grew a horn on your forehead. But it's not really a horn, it's the portal to the belly of a robot cat. Doesn't make a lot of sense to you? Well that's what FLCL is all about, making barely any sense, in the coolest way possible.

Naota is a young boy living in a small town, who spends his days hanging around with his older brothers clingy ex-girlfriend. That is until some crazy girl riding a scooter appears and smacks him in the forehead with a guitar.

When Naoto regains consciousness he returns home to find the crazy scooter girl and some weird robot with a tv for a head working as maids in his house. Naoto has barely anytime to take this all in before a giant robot hand emerges from the guitar wound on his forehead. Before any more of the hand makes it through the TV headed robot shows up, tears it off at the root and then systematically beats it into a pulp. As the story progresses more of the robot makes it through. Naoto and crew are forced to deal with them, albeit, not in the usual battle-manga type way.

Obviously a strange story needs a strange art style and Hajime Ueda offers just that. Unlike any other manga, the art is very rough, but in a stylish way. Featuring heavy sketching, odd angles and demented characters. Even if the story doesn't particularly speak to you, it's worth a read just for a look at the unique and amazing art. There's some violence and sexual themes, but it's kept to a minimum and would be enjoyable for the usual 13+ manga audience.

FLCL has a crazy story, crazy characters, crazy art, generally a crazy manga. You'll either love it or hate it, but if you hate it, one day a crazy girl on a scooter may come and smack you in the forehead with a guitar. You've been forewarned.