Review: The King of Fighters: A New Beginning volume 1

cover art by Kyōtarō Azuma

The King of Fighters: A New Beginning volume 1
Story by: Kyōtarō Azuma/SNK
Art by: Kyōtarō Azuma
Serialised in Monthly Shonen Sirius
Published by Kodansha, 2018
Copy purchased from eBookJapan

When there’s no one left to fight
Boys like him don’t shine so bright
Soon as I see the dust settle
He’s out on the town tryin’ to find trouble
Sticks and Stones‘ by Jamie T, 2009

What is it?: The King of Fighters: A New Beginning is the manga adaptation slash expansion of SNK’s 2016 return to fighting games, The King of Fighters XIV, taking what had been a fairly loose first entry in a new storyline and fleshing it out into a full tournament storyline, exploring the fights and backstory of The King of Fighters tournament, with a particular focus on Shun’ei and his Team China, and series veteran Kyo Kusanagi and his Team Japan, as well as a surprising change with Samurai Shodown’s Nakoruru, now an outside spectator observing a strange phenomenom in the sky involving dead spirits (which was a part of her appearance in KoF XIV, but she was also an explicit participant in the tournament, something seemingly absent in this telling).

More than anything it’s good times and good fights between mountains of SNK’s most-beloved characters and fresh faces, as they all compete to be THE KING OF FIGHTERS.

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Review – That Blue Sky Feeling volume 1

art by Coma Hashii, design by Yukiko Whitley

That Blue Sky Feeling volume 1
Story by: Okura
Art by: Coma Hashii
Translation by: Jocelyne Allen
Lettering by: Joanna Estep
Design by: Yukiko Whitley
Edited by: Joel Enos
Originally published by Square Enix, 2017
Published by Viz Media, 2018
Copy purchased from ComiXology

I will crawl
There’s things that are worth giving up I know, but I won’t let this get me
I will fight
You live the life you’re given with the storms outside
And some days all I do is watch the sky
Watch the Sky‘ by Something Corporate, 2003

What is it?: Chunky and enthusiastic good boy Noshiro has transferred to a new school, and whilst he’s able to quickly and easily make new bonds, one quiet, distant student gets his attention, Sanada. In trying to get to know him he learns that rumours of him being gay are true, and Noshiro has his eyes opened to his own prejudice, as well as the potential feelings within him. A heartwarming coming of age, slice of life-type dealie, but with a significant focus on being a gay teenager.

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Review – Baki: New Grappler Baki volumes 1-3

art by Keisuke Itagaki

Baki: New Grappler Baki
Story & Art: Keisuke Itagaki
Translation by: Richard Jesner/Momosuke Inc.
Originally published by Akita Shoten, 2000
Published by Media Do, 2018
Copies purchased from ComiXology

Punch your lights out
Hit the pavement
That’s what I call entertainment
Causing problems makes you famous
All the violence makes a statement
-‘Lights Out‘, by Mindless Self Indulgence, 2008

What is it?: New Grappler Baki is the second series in the intimidatingly long Baki series, which clocks in at its (currently, as a new series is incoming) completed length of some 132 volumes across four individual series, with New Grapper Baki being volumes 43-73 of the run.

This era of the mega-series follows Baki Hanma, a martial arts expert and high school student, newly crowned champion of Japan’s underground fighting circuit, as he’s faced with a strange moment of synchronicity; five of the world’s worst, most animalistic and violent criminals have all been inspired to escape prison and make their way to Japan, so that they may ‘taste defeat’. An ultraviolent series of ‘anywhere, anytime’ bouts begin, where who lives, dies, or is impossibly maimed can only be decided through martial combat.

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Review – Gigant volume 1 (Hiroya Oku)

-art by Hiroya Oku

Gigant volume 1
Story & Art: Hiroya Oku
Originally serialised in Big Comic Superior
Published by Shogakukan, 2018
Copy purchased from eBookJapan

All I wanna do is see you turn into a giant woman, a giant woman!
All I wanna be is someone who gets to see a giant woman
All I wanna do is help you turn into a giant woman, a giant woman!
All I wanna be is someone who gets to see a giant woman
‘Giant Woman’, by Rebecca Sugar, 2014

What is it?: Hiroya Oku, of Gantz and Inuyashiki fame, returns with a brand new series, tying the science fiction sensibilities of those two hits with the sexy and dramatic stylings of his original debut work, Hen.

Yamada Yoko is the son of a filmmaker, a bit of a do-nothing wastrel obsessed with media and making his own work, when he isn’t pleasuring himself to the latest blu-ray of his favourite huge-breasted porn actress, Papiko. Through unusual happenstance he becomes friends with Papiko, real name Chiho Johansson, right before she inherits a strange device from a strangely-dressed dying man, one that allows her to increase her size at will!

[CONTENT WARNING: Gigant deals with themes of physical and emotional abuse in relationships, both romantic and familial. These subjects will come up in the review, so be duly warned going in]

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Review – Hana ni Arashi volume 1

art by Luka Kobachi

Hana ni Arashi volume 1
Story & Art: Luka Kobachi
Originally serialised online @ Sunday Webry
Published by Shogakukan, 2018
Copy purchased from eBookJapan

There’s something about you
That takes my blues away
Life’s nothing without you
I can’t get through the days
I’ll never be cynical
‘Cause you wouldn’t have it
I believe in miracles, I believe in magic
-‘Unicron Loev’, by Raleigh Ritchie, 2016

What is it?: Nanoha and Chidori are two perfectly healthy teenage schoolgirls, spending time with their friends, running a literature club, going to class and hanging out together. They’re also secretly dating, sneaking bits of public affection out wherever they can.

From this core concept we get a series of short, sweet chapters, exploring the duo’s secret relationship with warmth and humour.

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