Every year I like to do something special for the the month of October. Last year is was a month of digging into different mythologies and urban legends that came up in anime and manga and looking at their origins. I had a ton of fun doing that last year, and I hope you all enjoyed it too. Continue reading
Magic school narratives have been and. I suspect, will always be very popular. With the overflowing fandom surrounding books like Harry Potter and other similar fantasy novels, the amount of stories of this type have proliferated far and wide into varying mediums. Anime and manga, in particular, took a strong interest in this narrative type. Manga like Witch Hat Atelier, Ancient Magus Bride’s most recent arc. Anime like Little Witch Academia, Gakuen Alice, and now Irregular at Magic Highschool (honestly the list goes on). It’s certainly not a new anime, having originally aired in 2014, but with the recent announcement that it would be getting a second season soon, I figured I had the perfect time to talk about it considering the time of year. The series started as a novel and then became a light novel series before being picked up by Madhouse for the anime adaptation. I became a fan shortly after, attracted by the unique view of magic presented in the series and the well-crafted fight scenes. I’m not saying this is a perfect series, but it definitely has its strengths, especially for fans of magic school narratives.
The anime follows two siblings, Shiba Miyuki and Shiba Tatsuya, who are accepted to one of the top magic schools in the country. Miyuki manages to pass all of the entrance exams with flying colors and is accepted into the full Course 1 program, while her brother Tasuya has a slower magic processing speed and winds up being accepted into the lower Course 2 class. The narrative follows these two siblings as they navigate the culture of their new school with its favoritism towards Course 1 students, while trying not to be dragged into the country’s various political struggles in the process. Continue reading
Welcome back to another installment of “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb the internet for all the news you need to know so you don’t have to. It’s been a busy week for me in terms of October specials, so if you haven’t checked out some of my reviews of magic and fantasy-themed anime, manga, and comics I’d highly suggest heading over to my home page and scrolling through. A new special will be going up tomorrow. However, it’s been a very slow week for news. I had a lot of trouble finding major news items for the anime and manga section but there were quite a few series announcements that I listed below. What I’m really excited about is the announcement that Lore Olympus from Webtoons is getting an animated series from the Jim Henson Company. There’s also been a lack of good articles this week, but some pretty good videos I’ve linked below. Be sure to check those out, and have a great rest of your Sunday! Continue reading
Sabrina the Teenage Witch has been a staple show in American culture since the TV show premiered on ABC in the late 90’s, adapting the story from the ever popular Archie series of comics. Now we have a resurgence of this iconic series with the recent adaptation of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina that premiered as both a comic series and Netflix TV show last year. Well, the series has been adapted again by Archie Comics into a less chilling mini-series, simply titled Sabrina the Teenage Witch. The miniseries runs 5 issues, or 1 volume, and winds up being a great companion to the more chilling series for those, like me, who prefer a less horror themed Sabrina. The last issue was released this past September, concluding the first arc of the series, but plans for a second mini-series have already been announced for 2020. If you’re a fan of the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch with all the teenage hijinks and snarky Salem come-backs, then I would highly suggest checking this out.
This mini-series reboot follows Sabrina Spellman as she makes the move to Greendale to live with her two aunts. But adjusting to a new school and a new town has its challenges, especially for a teenager who can use magic. Not only does she have to deal with all those pesky teenage hormones and the bullies at her new school, but something seems to be transforming the teenagers of Greendale into monsters. After being forced to do battle with a Wendigo and a giant Kraken, Sabrina puts all of her magical knowledge to the test in order to figure out this mystery…in between kissing some cute boys of course. Continue reading
Witch Hat Atelier became a big hit when the first volume was released in April earlier this year, and honestly I’m not surprised. It’s art is eye catching and the story is fantastically magical. I’m really surprised we haven’t heard much from this mangaka in the past considering the polished nature of the art and the detail put into the story, but with further digging it looks like I missed quite a few things. Kamome Shirahama is an accomplished artist who has been doing work for Marvel and DC for a while. They worked on various covers for Marvel including Howard the Duck #4 featuring Ms Marvel. It also looks like they are working as a regular cover artist for Batgirl and Birds of Prey. I’m honestly surprised, but looking through their past covers, I’m just really glad they were given the chance to create a full-length manga to show off their awesome art style. It also looks like they had another manga in 2012 called Eniale & Dewiela, but it looks like it may have only been given a French translation and hasn’t made it to the US yet. But if you’re a fan of witches, magical worlds, interesting magical systems, and magic school stories, I would highly suggest picking this volume up for a try.
The manga follows the story of young Coco who has wished she could learn magic from a young age. But everyone knows you have to be born a witch in order to use magic, so Coco spends her days helping her mother at their tailoring shop. Resigned to her un-magical life, she is about to give up on her dream when the witch Qifrey shows up at their shop. After secretly spying on him while he casts magic, Coco learns that her dream of becoming a witch may be closer than she ever thought. Continue reading
Mythical Beast Investigator is another manga that popped up one day while I was looking for some new series to get into. I wasn’t quite sure what I would think of it, but I have an interest in all things fantasy and especially a focus on magical creatures. When I was reading Ancient Magus Bride I was always drawn to all of the weird and mythical creatures that would appear in the series, whether covertly in the background or taking center stage for a particular chapter. Here is a series that focuses on one particular troublesome creature each chapter, exploring its history and looking at how its existence fits into the larger world of this fantastical manga. While I don’t think it’s the best fantasy manga I’ve read, it’s been interesting enough that I plan on completing the series when the final second volume comes out. But therein lies one of my concerns too, that the shortness of this series will not allow the narrative to fully explore the world and creatures in it. I’m hesitant to say that this is a great series without seeing the culmination of both volumes, but it’s interesting nonetheless for those who enjoy stories about mythical creatures.
This manga’s story takes place in a world where humans and magical creatures live side-by-side, humans living beside dragons, mermaids, or other possibly dangerous creatures. And when things do go wrong, that’s when Ferry is called in. Ferry is a mythical beast investigator who longs to see peace between beasts and humans eventually come to be real. Armed with an extensive knowledge of magical creatures and fierce and mysterious protector, Ferry travels from town to town solving the disputes between human and beast, and more often than not setting humans straight about the nature of mythical beasts. Continue reading
I’m always on the look-out for new manga to read and often make it a point to check in on all the major publisher websites at least once a month to see what new volumes are coming out. The Alchemist Who Survived popped up one day and its description intrigued me. The full title of the manga is The Alchemist Who Survived Now Dreams of a Quiet City Life. It’s quite a mouthful, so I’ll be using the shortened title throughout the rest of the review, but the full title does give you some idea about the nature and the story of this particular series. After reading through this first volume, I can predict that I’ll be falling in love with this series as more volumes come out. It reminds me so much of a combination of Snow White with the Red Hair in its focus on herbology and daily life and Ancient Magus Bride in its creation of the magic system. I have a deep love for series that focus on the daily life of mages, herbalists, or people in a magical setting, and I’m really interested to see where this series goes.
The Alchemist Who Survived follows the life of one of Mariela who wakes up from a magically-induced sleep to find that her former home has been destroyed by a monster stampede. To make matters worse, the spell has kept her asleep far longer than she wanted, finally allowing her wake after 200 years. In those 200 years, she finds that the city she used to live and sell her potions in has been decimated by the monster stampede, reduced to only part of its original size, and that she happens to be one of the last Alchemists in the area able to make potions. Mariela sets out to make a place for herself again, selling her potions, and trying to lead a quiet life. Continue reading
Welcome to a new series for the blog: “My Top Obsessions from this Month” (title still under construction). This came about after some consideration on the nature of my blog and what I really want to talk about. I love having a blog specifically dedicated to Romance and all the anime, manga, and comics that fall under that genre, but there are times when I want to gush about other things. Well I figured I’d create this little space for myself to talk about some of the things I’ve fallen in love with on a monthly basis (to be published on the last day of every month), to give me the space to step away from the romance genre for a little bit and give everyone some more exposure to different things and myself the space to gush about various things on my mind. For this month I’ve included sections for manga/comics, books, TV shows/Movies, Podcasts, and youtube channels. Let me know in the comments if you also are obsessing over these things or have anything in particular that you’re currently obsessing over. Continue reading
Welcome back to another installment of “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb the internet for all the news you need to know so you don’t have to. Next week starts the October Halloween specials on the blog, and I hope you all will stop by during next month to check out some great fantasy/magical anime and manga I’ll be highlighting. As for highlights from this week: Sony Pictures has merged Funimation and Aniplex to improve their world-wide distribution; HIDIVE and MyAnimeList have formed a partnership; and the Joker movie is drawing a lot of controversy and fears of violence as it begins screening in theaters. Make sure to check out some of the articles and videos linked below as well, and as always, have a great rest of your Sunday! Continue reading
I feel like being a critic or a reviewer of anything pop culture related has always been a hard job. Especially when it comes to large news outlets, pup-culture criticism and reviews have always taken a back seat to politics and larger news stories. In the past couple years, a lot of newspapers and websites have dramatically scaled down their review sections in favor of covering more political news stories, which is understandable in this volatile climate, but I think people forget just how important pop culture criticism can be for the wider population of fans or future fans.
Being a pop culture reviewer can at times seem like a daunting job when you start seeing the kinds of backlash reviewers get for daring to voice any sort of opinion about a specific franchise. Marvel is one of the recent examples, with each movie garnering a wide array of opinions, some of them toxic and others not. We had boycotts of Captain Marvel and fights over Wonder Woman and Avengers: Endgame. In addition to this, we have the anime and comics fandom that have shipping wars, arguments over the opinions on Goblin Slayer and Rising of the Shield Hero, and comic book fans trying to gatekeep women and minorities out of the fandom. It’s an interesting time to be a reviewer right now, and I think a lot of writers wonder with every post whether they’ll get barraged with hate.
While I think the climate of pop culture reviews and criticism has definitely changed over the years–especially with the rise of social media–where there has been art there have always been critics of some form or another. But what I think has changed is the fans and how much of fandom has become tied to the creation of individual identity and pride. Continue reading