Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Mutant Turtles Gaiden Review


It’s time to look at a quick TMNT one shot that came out a while back. Unlike the last two titles I read this one is a full volume so there’s more of a story to tell. Each of the 4 stories are fairly stand alone but there is continuity here. It’s a fun enough TMNT story and one that fans should enjoy as it’ll definitely remind you of the 80s cartoon. The turtles are ready to fight, but they’re really just interested in the pizza. Meanwhile Shredder is up to his usual schemes.

The first story gives us the quick introduction of the turtles. April managed to find out about the Foot Clan, but naturally this means she is on Shredder’s hit list now. The Turtles save her from being kidnapped, but the Shredder hasn’t given up yet. At this point in the game the turtles are pretty confident about their skills and I suppose they should be since they handle the underlings with absolute ease. The Shredder still appears to be above them though.

The second story has the Turtles framed as a new group of turtles appear and are stealing gems. It turns out that Shredder built 4 turtles of his own that have copied the skills of the real turtles. This made them into perfectly deadly copies who seem to be stronger than the main ones. Fortunately Splinter shows up with a pep talk to whip the turtles into shape so they start to make a comeback. It’s definitely clear why Splinter is the leader of this group. Without him the turtles would be doomed.

Next up is probably the story with the highest stakes. Shredder is finally ready to unleash his doomsday weapon on the world. It turns out that this is in the form of a giant robot. The Turtles almost immediately give up once they see it so it’s lucky that Splinter was in the neighborhood. While the actual robot’s design may not have been amazing, it was nice to see Shredder come to close to world domination.

The final story is probably the oddest one of the bunch. That’s because it’s a total comedy while the others tried to be serious. It also decides to have Japan be a stereotype as everyone has buckteeth. It’s certainly out of left field and I don’t know what the author was going for here. Then we find out that Shredder’s big plan it to use the Muramasa sword to turn April evil, but by mistake he gives it to her best friend who decides to beat Shredder up. If you ever wanted to see him running for his life while asking for mercy this is the one for you.

So, that’s the TMNT collection. The art is pretty sound throughout so that’s good. It’s a pretty pleasant read as a result and it’s easy to go through the chapters. As far as the writing is concerned, I suppose it’s good. Ignoring the final story which was a full comedy, the others did a good job of capturing the 80’s turtle vibe. The action scenes are fun when they happen even if they tend to be short. Shredder and the Foot always have a presence here.

If anything, fans of the turtles may just not like how quick they are here to give up. Also, the turtles don’t really have much of their respective personalities as they all tend to act the same. Mikey’s probably still the turtle who is the most into pizza and stuff, but we don’t see Raph being rebellious or Leonardo doing anything particularly as a leader. He’s just along for the ride like everyone else. Meanwhile the villains are all pretty generic to bad. I guess the only solid one would be Shredder’s boss and the volume ended before he could actually appear. If only the series could have kept on going.

A risk of the anthology format is always that you’ll run into some weak stories in the mix. Fortunately TMNT manages to avoid that. While the final story is the weakest, it’d not like it impacted the score or anything. I still think having a full ongoing adventure is always your best bet, but when the title succeeds I suppose I can’t have any real complaints. Each story was fun and had a fight scene. At the end of the day you can’t ask for much more than that.

Overall, there may not be a whole lot of memorable moments here that you’ll look back to down the line, but it’s still a fun volume that I’d recommend checking out. I still have two more TMNT titles to check out so we’ll see how those do. I expect they should be pretty good. With the exception of the Michael Bay movies, TMNT is typically a consistent franchise. The best version of it was back in the 2003 show, but the rest are still pretty fun. As long as you are ready for this then there should be no problems.

Overall 7/10

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Manga

Klonoa: The Adventure Begins Review


It’s time to look at another quick video game manga adaption. This one takes a look at the very beginning of one of the games. There are two chapters and when combined they become about as long as the average weekly chapter. It’s another nice preview to a game and really shows you what to expect with Klonoa. The art is good enough where you start to wish that this had been a long running series. Fortunately there is another Klonoa title for that, hopefully it is as solid as this one.

The basic plot is that Klonoa is having a good ole time when danger strikes and he goes in to investigate. It turns out that a master villain has shown up and is bent on taking over the world. Klonoa must now stop this guy and show the world why he is a hero. Klonoa isn’t the strongest guy on the block and does get nervous quite a few times in this short manga, but the important thing is that he never gives up. He slowly realizes the gameplay mechanics at play here and then as the series ends he is ready for more action.

Klonoa is the kind of lead who can really hold his own adventure. He’s just a fun guy and the art is also on point so he looks like a classic main character. You kind of get a Beyblade or Pokemon Adventures type feel from the artwork. The battle scenes are solid and everything feels like it is taken right from the game. Certainly a good manga adaption to check out if you really want to know what to expect in the game. The minions/suction gameplay gimmicks were definitely pretty enjoyable in the games so it’s nice to see them here. I also like the design of the main villain. He’s the kind of antagonist who lets you know that there will be real stakes here.

Overall, Klonoa is a fun one to check out. It’s only about 15-16 pages so you’ll blast through it. I’d also recommend the video game while you’re at it. It’s a solid platforming series with a good plot to accompany the gameplay. It’s just a solid all around package and I can say the same for the manga. It’s always nice to have a bit of supplementary content so the fact that this was released at all is pretty neat. Of course there isn’t much else to say about it. You could probably read the title in the time it takes to read this review. Just know that Klonoa is the kind of hero that you want in your corner.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Mario’s Picross Review


It’s time to take a look at a short tie-in Mario manga that accompanied the Picross guidebooks. This one’s super obscure but to the best of my knowledge the 3 chapters that have been uploaded online conclude the mini stories. Combined the 3 chapters are shorter than the average monthly chapter so that makes for a quick review. It’s a fun little collection of Mario stories and they do get you properly hyped for the actual Picross challenges.

The first story is a classic adventure as Mario, Luigi, and Peach travel through some ruins and free Yoshi from his cage. It’s a pretty fun journey and shows that Mario has an adventurous side to him. The other two stories feature Wario. In one of them he kidnaps Peach so Mario and Luigi have to try and save her. In the final story he turns Mario back into his 2D form so our hero has to harness the powers of the N64 to turn 3D again and foil Wario’s dastardly plot.

I enjoyed the art for these stories. They’re pretty well detailed and colorful. The pictures really pop out at you right away and help enhance the overall experience. Of course by the same token it means that you’ll be blasting through each of the stories very quickly since they’re so easy to read. There isn’t a lot of dialogue on any of the pages which helps even more. The writing is on point here and Mario is suitably heroic. You’ll feel bad for Luigi here since naturally things don’t really go his way. Of course, Peach and Yoshi both got captured at different points so really Mario is the only one who was always coming out on top. Surprisingly Bowser didn’t make an appearance. I guess he’s not really into puzzles.

Wario was a fun pick for the villain spot. His plan to use 3D against 2D was actually pretty brilliant. It’s safe to say that it was my favorite story of the 3. Still, all of the stories were fun and at the end of the day that’s part of what has made the Mairo series to good over the years. It provides you with consistent entertainment through thick and thin. You really couldn’t ask for much more out of a short one shot manga like this one.

Overall, Mario’s Picross is pretty fun. You’ll have the whole series read in about 5 minutes or less so it’s a short experience though. It does remind you that there is a lot of potential in the Mario series as a whole. Honestly it’s still surprising that Super Mario Kun has not been licensed yet. While there may not be a big overlap in manga readers who are big Mario fans, I can’t help but think that there would be enough to still make this sell well. Maybe I’m over calculating this one. Regardless if you’re a Mario fan then I recommend checking this one out. It’s not every day that you can get to see Mario explore a cavern right? Just watch out for Yoshi’s facial expression when it shows up, it’s probably one of the scariest visuals in all of Mario!

Overall 6/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Pokemon Let’s Go! Pikachu & Let’s Go! Eevee: Adventure Start Comic Review


It’s time to look at another quick Pokemon manga. This one is about the Let’s Go game and decides to frame the one shot as being about the kids playing it as opposed to taking place in the game. It’s a tactic that Nintendo used earlier with another Pokemon manga so I guess they thought it went well. I do like this approach. I probably wouldn’t want it to happen too often but it’s a good change of pace once in a while to keep us guessing. This is a nice one shot to quickly check out before you play the game.

It starts with two brothers getting their copies of Pokemon Let’s Go. The main character is a longtime Pokemon fan so he’s been waiting for this one while the other admits that he has never played the Pokemon games before. Naturally the lead decides that this won’t do and so he lets the brother play first. As he is playing, the main character shows his bro the ropes. How to land a good catch and stuff like that. As this game takes mechanics from Pokemon Go it is a very different experience compared to most of the classic Pokemon games. A tutorial like this makes sense for newcomers although Nintendo’s always done a great job of making their games pretty self explanatory so I don’t think it would confuse you for long. As they play the two main characters quickly realize that this may be the best Pokemon game yet.

At the end of the day this is basically a glorified advertisement for the Pokemon Let’s Go game. I think it’s a pretty effective one though. The artwork looks nice and it is a very realistic showing of what the game looks like. The screens on the TV in the manga look accurate and all of the advice is quite sound. I never ended up getting the game myself so I had to forego my chance at getting all of those crispy Meltan gifts, but it’s definitely a title I could see myself getting one day once it has been long forgotten by the masses.

Overall, This is another good one shot. It helps that I am just a Pokemon fan in general. I don’t expect you will learn anything new here unless you somehow missed the Pokemon Go boom. Still, it’s a nice enough story to remind you that for some people, Pokemon Let’s Go will be their first big Poke experience. It’s definitely something to keep in mind when playing. It may not be the best installment yet, but if you hadn’t played the others then I think it would rank even higher. I’ll definitely be ready for when the next big Pokemon game comes out.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Delibird’s Present Review


It’s time to look at a quick Pokemon manga one shot that came out. This one is extremely short, but technically a lot of one shots are. The average one shot either ends up being about as long as a monthly chapter which is preferable or it just ends up being a few pages. I don’t think I can say much about this one’s length as it is technically reasonable, but of course there is only so much that you can do in a one shot. I think it’s a pretty nice manga and worth a read.

The plot involves a Delibird as the title suggests. Pikachu and his Pokemon pals were playing around in the snow when they accidentally bump into Delibird and cause the package he is carrying to be sent down the hill. They feel a little guilty about this and decide to go and help him retrieve it. The only problem here is the fact that the package won’t stop rolling. It turns out that the content inside is a Lucky Egg that is being delivered to a sick Pokemon so he can light the Christmas Tree. The stakes have never been higher and Pikachu is determined to help, but what if the electric mouse is simply too powerful for such a peaceful mission? Time to find out!

Most of the one shot is the chase scene which makes sense. You feel the intensity behind Pikachu when he’s trying to grab the egg. He also uses some quick thinking to make the best of a situation that almost got very dicey. He reminds me of why I’m such a big fan in the first place. Pikachu gets the job done. The art looks pretty good for this title. You can always tell what is going on which is ultimately the purpose of art. It’s naturally not ready for the big leagues, but it’s considerably better than it could have been.

Overall, This makes for a fun little Christmas story. It’s always nice seeing all of the Pokemon hanging out without any trainers around to hold them back. Pikachu and the gang make for good main characters. Seeing the Christmas tree light up at the end was also a good epilogue to this fun story. I have another quick Pokemon one shot review coming up so expect that one soon as well. This will help us wait for that promised Pokemon Switch title. Slowly but surely it draws closer.

Overall 6/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Megaman X5 IF Review


It’s time to take a look at a quick one shot that came out recently. It’s extremely short, but still gives us a quick battle so that’s always good. I can’t say that I remember X5 in particular too well as they all start to blend together from X5-X8 for me, but the Nightmare Zero saga was always fun with the cool boss theme that we got. In this manga, Zero has been turned over to the dark side and is trying to destroy X. X has to fight back, but can he save the partner that he once had? It’s a pretty emotional 8 or so pages.

As this is an IF title you can probably imagine that it went in a different direction than what happened in the actual game. Here, X manages to defeat Zero, restoring him to normal. Unfortunately X seemed to die at this point so Zero used his own parts to rebuild X. Essentially they are now one and the same although then the ending rewinds time a bit and we see that they will both survive. I’m thinking that the latter part is what actually happened in the game with the first ending being the IF that this manga is named after. If that is the case, then I do think that the IF path would make for a reasonable spinoff although I think getting rid of Zero like that would be a dicey move. Having both X and Zero around is part of what makes the series so fun in the first place.

The art is definitely quite good. The character designs are on point and the action is pretty intense. You will find no problem with this part of the story. The pacing is also fairly good considering the length. I do think the one shot should have been longer, but maybe this will inspire the team to make a true Mega Man X manga at some point. We’ve had a few in the past, but having a nice ongoing series would definitely be a good way to revitalize some more interest in the series. Not to mention that it would just be a lot of fun.

Overall, IF is a nice little manga. It’s not one that will really be remembered though and I can’t blame readers for that because it will be over in the blink of an eye. The best way to think of this is to look at it as a little short story that can be placed at the end of a manga. If you haven’t checked it out yet then I’d recommend doing so. Particularly if you remember X5 a little more than I do, you’ll be able to appreciate this alternate route more. I do think it’s nice that the title addresses how Wily created Zero. That’s an angle that the X games never went into and I think it would be pretty interesting. Likewise with Light building X. Times must have been quite dire in those days and that would be the perfect plot for a big budget movie. Have it start out with Mega Man being defeated and the world falling into ruin until X shows up to save the day. Boom, that could be film of the year!

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Darkness Review


It’s time to look at a one shot Pokemon Mystery Dungeon adventure. There is only so much that you can do in 15 pages of course so the writer has to really focus to get across a meaningful experience. There’s only so much that you can write about it as well so this will probably be a bit of a short review. It’s a fun enough story and gets you ready for the game, but there just isn’t much to it. At the end of the day it’s still Pokemon though and that brings with it a fun franchise tag.

The story starts off with a human waking up in the digital Pokemon world. He doesn’t know what is happening but doesn’t have too much time to think about it as another Pokemon shows up and lets him know that the world is in a bad place. Someone stole the time stone away from its shrine. Without it, Pokemon are slowly losing their reason and turning rabbid. If they don’t recover the stone soon then it’ll be curtains for the entire planet. Our hero can’t let that happen so he decides to save the world. Still, he may have to deal with a torublesome past if he ever does get back to his world.

I’ll give the story some kudos for making the main character’s backstory a little unexpected. I wasn’t really expecting one and just figured he would wake up and it was all a dream or something. (In the game. I don’t think the manga would end like that) Having a sob story at all should be interesting and it’ll at least give him a little more character than some of his predecessors. While that part of the plot is basically recycled from the last games, what is new is the fact that the time stone is in play here. As a main plot I think that’ll work pretty well. I do have to wonder how one Pokemon can steal it so easily and escape from the rest, but if the Pokemon are as trusting as I think they are, perhaps it was unguarded. They need to find a psychic Pokemon quickly if they want the stone back.

We’re also introduced to a villain team led by Weavile. It’s hard to say if they’re evil villains out to destroy the world or just petty thieves as we just see signs of the latter. Naturally they will still be bad guys, but at least the heroes won’t have to worry about them much yet. Weavile seems to make for a capable commander and leads his troops well. I may like him more than Gengar from the original manga at the moment. Again, these are really all just first impressions of course.

The art looks pretty good. The character designs are on point and the fight scene between the Pokemon was handled pretty well. It’s a shame that this couldn’t have been a full volume. I think it would have been a lot of fun. Naturally it’s no Adventures or Reburst but it would have been a solid adventure. Everything about the manga is on point so far so there were no weaknesses. The pacing is good and the characters have potential. The only character who seems a tad boring compared to the other main fighters is the lead’s sidekick and that guy is usually meant to not be very interesting.

Overall, Whether you’ve played the game yet or not this is a fun one shot to check out. It’ll only take you a few minutes to read as well so there’s no real reason not to check it out right? The manga is just waiting to be read and now you can finally do that. I definitely look forward to playing another one of the Mystery Dungeons one day. The first one was pretty solid and I’m assuming that the next ones will be just as good. After all, what beats actually playing as one of the Pokemon?

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Noragami Stray Stories Review


It’s time to look at the Noragami short stories volume that came out recently. It may get a follow up at some point but seeing as it has been several years I think it’s unlikely so I may as well write the review right? It’s not that good unfortunately as it’s an anthology series which is already difficult and it forgets most of what makes the main series good. It could have been better if it didn’t rely on fanservice for quite a few of the jokes as well.

Let’s start with the stories! One adventure starts off with a guy who is down on his luck so he has decided to jump off of the largest skyscraper in the world. He ends up calling the main character accidentally so Yato jumps off with him to listen to the story. This guy has been using up all of his money to please the whims of a girl he just met since she is broke. The problem is that he gave all of his money to this cause including rent and such. Now he has nothing. Yato helps set him straight and we find out that it was one of the gods messing with the poor chap. It was a bit of an unexpected twist but it makes the girl look pretty mean. Perhaps she didn’t realize I guess. It’s a decent story even if you can’t feel sympathetic to the guy who was wasting his money since he made his choice.

Another story has the main cast chilling at a cabin in the middle of nowhere but someone appears to be trying to assassinate Yato. Someone knocks him on the head with a blunt instrument, poisons him, etc. Of course the main character is a god so he can’t die through mortal means but this killer must be stopped! I think the villain gets off rather easy here as it was an aspiring writer who just wanted to see what murder was like. That’s an interesting justification but the guy should still be locked up if you ask me. Instead he is taken to an institute though so at least he’s not running around scot free. It’s definitely the most fun story here. While Yato is never in any danger or anything like that, it’s still pretty fun to see him try to figure out what’s happening.

Following up on that we have a story where Yato wants to join the main group of gods so he can get rich and famous. The problem is that none of the other gods like him. They have all either dealt with him before or just don’t see what he has to bring to the table. That’s when he decides to possess the main heroine to make it instead. This gets dangerously close to succeeding. It’s a fun story for the first half but you always end up feeling bad for the heroine when she is thrown into these scenes. Yato always crosses a line when he unexpectedly takes control of her like that. He needs to respect the boundaries.

In another story Yato is tricked by a clever fortune teller. The guy tricks Yato into giving away his secrets and then the guy “predicts” them in exchange for money. Yato decides to get revenge by turning the tables on him. It’s a fun enough story and maybe the best one in the batch. It was a little sad to see Yato get played like that but he evened the scoreboard before very long which was good. The guy doesn’t just crumble before a loss, he embraces it! Yato is certainly petty, but that’s part of what makes him such a fun character at times.

One of the shortest stories is when Yato’s sword finds out that he can actually apply to get a real job instead of just hanging around Yato all day. The lead tries to stop him at every turn, but at the end of the day it’s his sidekick’s decision to make. The kid decides to stay with Yato which is the smart thing to do since none of the other gods can be trusted of course, but at least he pretends to be tempted for a while to mess with Yato. Considering how much Yato messes with everyone all the time that is definitely a reasonable thing to do.

Finally we also have the story where someone appears to be stalking Yato. Naturally this is a little distressing to him for 2 reasons. 1 is that mere mortals can hardly even see him and then tend to forget about him entirely a few minutes later. The second is that tracking him should be nearly impossible since Yato is always teleporting around quite frequently. As a result he is quite terrified, but it turns out that the stalker is fairly harmless. Having an internet god makes sense with how big it is and it’s almost too bad that she’s not in the main series. Cyber powers can always be interesting.

The art is pretty solid as always which is good. All of the character models are on point and the art is clear so it’s easy to read. Noragami in general is pretty consistent in that regard. The only time the art tends to get tricky is when there’s a large scale action scene but naturally you won’t be seeing something like that here. It’s just consistent from start to finish.

At the end of the day your enjoyment of this series will largely depend on if you’ve read the main series. Without it you’ll have no reason to care about these characters and most of the gags are based on character traits that we know about the characters through their adventures. At the same time, as this is a pure comedy you won’t care for it either way if you mainly enjoy Noragami for the action scenes. The cast can lend itself well to comedy so a spinoff like this would have potential but the series has definitely got to curb the fanservice if it really wants to get ahead of the crowd.

Overall, The stories here are fairly entertaining but they are brought down by the fanservice that tends to show up. If the series had played it straight then it would have been a solid comedy one shot that I could recommend. As it stands I’d say that you should just read the main series instead. It has its share of issues as well but it has big fight scenes to distract from them. It’s still surprising in general that this series got a spinoff but the more the merrier right?

Overall 4/10

Manga

Pocket Monsters BW: Good Partners


I’ve finally started a new Pokemon manga thanks to a scanlator finally picking it up. The series is off to a good start based on the 10 page debut chapter. As it’s only one volume the series will wrap up fairly quick so a strong start really helps it out. I’ll review the series when it finishes and who knows, maybe this could make it as the best Pokemon one shot. It’ll have to dethrone Pokemon Mystery Dungeon for that though.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth Review


It’s time to review a quick one shot that was recently scanned. The story takes place towards the beginning of the Cyber Sleuth game and you can think of it as a promo for the game. It’s a fun little adventure. I always wish that these one shots could at least go on for a full volume, but I suppose that one shots have to exist or the term wouldn’t mean much. Whether you know the plot from the game or not, it’s pretty accessible to new readers since they explain enough to keep you in the loop.

A detective agency exists to help people with cyber related crimes. The world is very high tech so this takes place in the future or in the present time of another world which is more advanced than ours. Kyoko is the leader of this 2 man group and her subordinate is known as the Cyber Sleuth. He lost his physical body thanks to an accident involving the mysterious creature known as an Eater. He now lives as a half digital being that can exist in both planes of existence. He uses these unique abilities to help people as he tries to find a way to become normal again. In this chapter, some people show up to ask for help since their accounts have been stolen. The main character heads to the internet to stop the gang that is responsible. It’s a fairly direct story since he just has to beat them up and then the case is cleared.

A running gag in the game to an extent is the fact that the main character always shows up too late to save the people and they end up being eaten by the Eaters. That continues in this chapter as the gang members are simply eaten and no trace of them is left. So much for those guys eh? We got a nice little fight scene and the main character looked tough so that’s always a plus. This was during his rookie days so he is fairly inexperienced, but does a decent enough job. His personality seemed very different from the games though as he would interrupt Kyoko and was more assertive than usual. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but he would have to step up a bit as a main character if it were a longer series. Being assertive is great, but then you have to be consistent and this main character would be getting worried in the next panel.

The art is all right. It looks like it has the potential to be very good with some nice, crisp cuts, but other moments don’t work quite as well as the art can get a little cluttered. I think it’s just a case of trying to do a little too much because of time constraints. It probably wouldn’t be an issue for a longer series as the artist would get used to the characters and you would see it get smoother over time. You can still tell what is happening the whole time and that’s certainly the important thing.

Overall, There’s not much more to say about it. The chapter is only around 30 pages or so and it’s a good story. There’s some action and foreshadowing, not to mention that they leave you with a decent cliffhanger so you can go play the game yourself. I completed it a while back and highly recommend it. It’s certainly one of the best Digimon game and that’s considering that the competition is rather stiff. Most Digimon games end up being rather awesome. If you’re a Digimon fan then you should definitely check this out. I can’t say that you’ll get much out of it if you’re not already familiar with Digimon though. Maybe you could just enjoy it as a quick action story I suppose, but there’s only so much you can do in 30 pages. It’s good to see more Digimon manga being scanned. It shows that there is always hope for obscure one shots and other titles that are missing to the wind. On the video game side, I’m ready for Cyber Sleuth 2 although I know that probably won’t happen. The new Digimon World game will definitely be fun though.

Overall 7/10