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Her family decides to act. If we wanted to get serious for a moment, I could talk about the often used motif of the unchanging ordinariness of Japanese society played against any number of increasingly non-native individuals. Aliens of all stripes, goddesses, angels, demons, vampires, and on and on have all been paired with this motif, making it one of the standards of Japanese manga in general. Manga, after all, fills every imaginable niche.

Chibi Vampire was originally brought to the states by our dear departed friends over at Tokyopop. Just recently our friends over at Viz have come out with digital copies of this series. Or you can check out mangahere. This title is cross-platform with the manga, a book series also translated by Tokyopop and an anime.

Utilizing her controlling charm, Hazuki tries to get Kouhei to set her free. Moon Phase is the manga that launched the popular anime! Kouhei has a real problem. Since the family business is not an option, he does photography.

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And he seems to be able to get the most amazing ghost photographs. Going to Schwarzquella castle was just another assignment before bumping into Hazuki.

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Lady Luna as her keepers call her, promptly bites him, expecting him to become her slave, so he can break the object holding the barrier spell in place, which keeps her imprisoned.

Not going to happen; not with Kouhei. No vampire mumbo-jumbo can effect him. One smashed crystal ball coming up.

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When everyone gets back to Japan after that misadventure, Hazuki is already there, waiting. A few lies, and a few tears later, she has connived a place to stay during her search for her mother.

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His immunity comes from knowledge and training, not from being an insensitive blockhead. A few insensitive words later, then a promise to make things right, and poor Kouhei is certainly acting the role of slave. Moon Phase is Eastern mysticism meets Western vampire lore.

Domestic sit-com which slowly morphed into romantic comedy. The measured success of work arounds, focusing on set up and consequence, attitudes or short hand often invites thoughts of how neat the action would be if adapted into a full motion medium.

Akihiro Ito's Geobreeders is an unexceptional boring guy with exotic girls action series, made exceptional because, better than just about anyone else I'd include Gunsmith Cat's Kenichi SonadaIto can pull off a automotive stunt in manga and give it near cinematic impact. That I remember this otherwise not to good manga, released by now defunct publisher Central Park Media six year ago speaks to how rarely this type of action is really well project into manga.

No Ito level talent, Keitaro Takahashi conveys action with a lot of close ups and instants. The steering wheel getting spun, the gas pedal being slammed down, the cars screeching around. These shots are never too removed from a characters face, with their expression, whether cold or battle rage fired, directing the reader's response. This doesn't wow with complexly laid out sequences, and there isn't too much give and take to tussles, but steering the vibrant characters with bold strokes this way does prove effective.

Jormungand doesn't fracture realism too far beyond what a Bourne movie would. In the scheme of manga, we're not talking the abandon of Crying Freeman's submarine knife fights, and Jormungand does try for a notable air of somewhat straight credibility. Beyond that degree of measuredness, as it flails its limbs, part of what helps the manga maintain a foot planted on the ground its attention to details.


There's probably an audience of scrutiny prone military geeks reading this manga in its Japanese publication, and Jormungand does apparently have the aim of meeting their expectations. The way that the characters wrap their guns in white tape before trekking onto a snow covered field or even how they fill out their clothes with credibly muscled bodies lends the manga a sense that it's at least trying to conform to reality. At the same time, the realishness and the attempts to nail the gun powered and burnt rubber tinged action are complemented by the manga always, unmistakably being Jormungand.

Wonky lines, zip tones outside the area their supposed to shade. It's not so much ugly as it is purposefully haphazard. The disorder can't be entirely unintentional. Characters are always winking, stretching or moving at tangents, enhancing their asymmetry.

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This style makes Jormungand specific, bold, highlighted. It gives the manga its snarl. It's not just run and gun, it's run and gun with a distinct species of fanged people, adapted to thrive in orchestrated chaos.

If Jormungand is indulging in the spectacle of battle, and the manga certainly is, that should undercut, or at least complicate, the manga's suggestion that it is offering a serious meditation on subjects like the arms business or global conflict.

Whether Jormungand is being hypocritical or unsuccessful, the manga is not convincingly offering much of a worked out consideration of violence's appeal to the reader, the real consequence of violence or the possible relationship between the two. To its credit, Jormungand isn't lecturing or chiding the audience reading for the guns and gunfire. However, as it shoots from the hip, if it's trying to subvert their expectations, it isn't too smartly.

Yet, it's no mistake that each of the book's covers feature Koko paired with a member of her crew. Her oddly shaped thinking and oddly shaped ethics are the primary molds for shaping the manga. Its stories are mostly structured around her manic thinking and often lateral solutions to the challenges of the arms business.

Those other figures on the covers go off on their own directions, but, those directions are always set in an orbit pulled by the cult of personality around Koko. While there is continuity in Jormungand, with returning adversaries and semi-adversaries or unfinished business being later resolved, there's little apparent focus on the long term or gathering momentum.

Instead, Jormungand looks to find substance in those five chapter stories and in those characters revolving around Koko. When it comes time for the manga to prove its thoughtfulness, it offers familiar tracks of redemption and the ironic circles of revenge. Disappointingly, the ragingly free thinking crew aren't given the opportunity to overthrow the conventions.

Even with Koko's circuitous plans in the mix, Jormungand never manages to demolish the genre enough to crack open a jagged look at the implications.

I'm not convinced that Jormungand would be better if it were stripped of the pretence, but I am convinced that it is not as provocative as it might have been if it would more able to work in more thoughtful moral and political considerations. As it stands, it's a nicely weirdly looking, nicely exotically populated modern action serial: Biomega Volumes Released by Viz Media Sales figures suggest that there are people whose manga purchases are largely limited to the best sellers Beyond that, observationally, manga appears to be largely bought by manga fans.

As someone who'd like to think that they possess an understanding of what media people would like, I believe that the reason for this is not so much that manga lacks broader appeal as it is that manga's a loser in the battle for the attention and funds of the potentially interested. After being looked or ruled out in dollar-to-entertainment calculation, there are plenty of audience that manga could speak to or entertain who give the medium little considerations.

Biomega is held up, both by critics and its publisher, as an example of manga that could appeal to consumers who generally direct their allotted entertainment resources towards video games. Speaking of allotting time, I read plenty of video game reviews and listen to plenty of podcasts dedicated to the subject, but, honestly, I spend very little of my time actually playing video games.

I do believe that I follow the industry and conversations about that medium to the extent that I have some understanding of what gamer look for and how games appeal for their attention, but I imagine that there's plenty of room for my opinions to be contradicted. I both agree and disagree that Biomega deserves to be a paramount manga recommendation to gamers. The position is far from baseless. Biomega author Tsutomu Nihei focuses on a sort of biomechnical horror sensibility that has long complemented video game shooters.

It's little surprise that he was the manga creator tapped to produce a Halo comic for Marvel. Biomega features a lone, armed motorcyclist sent alone apart from female, holographic AI into a space-zombie infected plague-zone, in which he fights creepily apron clad, boned head hulks and the like.

And, the icing on that cake is a consciousness in the body of bear, armed with sniper rifle who acquires a hook-hand. At issue, for better and worse, Biomega is a Nihei work through and through - with all the double edged qualities along for that ride. If you aim find manga in which you can open a book to any arbitrary page and be certain to find something to give an action sci-fi junkie a strait hit, you can't beat Biomega.

Nihei's gift is his mastery of creating landscapes of cyclopean structures that truly appear to dwarf human beings, populating them with disconcertingly mutated inhabitants, and then sending lone, armed anti-heroes down the immensity. The work is reminiscent of plenty As things get reconfigured, and not just a cityscape or domed Mars colony, but Strar Trek sized objects turned more alien, the backdrop begin looking like am astronomical scale version of the fungal forrests of Miyazaki's Nausicca.

At the same time, as the synthetic, megacorp operative hero progresses into the madness, if there was stream of Lovecraft work that I'd compare the spiraling odyssey to, it'd be the trek into more fractured landscapes of his Dream Cycle.

The trouble is that Biomega is too free.

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In that, the unbound story becomes a bad read. The narrative is actively problematic. Freedom from emotion initially seemed to benefit the manga. Here was a cold juggernaut storming the halls of terror. The demeanor of the protagonist was so at odds with the world swallowing threat, that it was if this hero was settings his sights on the very concepts of disease and corruption.

Since Biomega is based around this, the problem became, not so much that the manga was underwritten as lacking.

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It became a matter of an immovable object versus an unstoppable force, both of which are, after a fashion, showy. Neither of which has much personality. Beyond an appreciation for Biomega consistently looking exceptionally cool, it is difficult to muster much enthusiasm for what the armed mannequin is doing in his battle against all sorts of horrors.

After reading volume 5, I had no idea that the series was about to wrap up in its sixth. There is an expectation of at least an illusion of agency from modern video game. Advent Children, Biomega is like that, but more so Anything that might allow the manga to be really grasped on to has been blasted off.