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Apr 17, 2013
"The very first snow fall always gives a special sort of feeling. It's like you're thrust into a whole different world the moment it falls."

Swan maidens are a reasonably well-established element of general mythology and Japanese theatre in particular -- notably Sagi Musume -- and while adapting mythology or fairy tales into a contemporary setting is nothing new, Hagoromo Mishin is an interesting instance of the swan maiden myth not simply adapted but integrated into a contemporary story of love, purpose, and everyday life. Kodama Yuki's sensitive yet pragmatic storytelling balances the elements carefully, allowing her to tell a quirky, unique, and compellingly fresh story read more
Jul 16, 2012
Preliminary
"We had a rumor at our school... At night, in the school's pool, mermaids would appear..."

Yoshitomi Akihito is an author with a diverse body of work, ranging from cute girls love oneshots to medical dramas to shounen sci-fi stories. For a horror series to pop up on such an eclectic resume isn't all that unusual, but beyond being unique among his works its subject matter and distinct method of storytelling stands out as memorable even among similar series in the same genre. Although its brief duration limits the overall impact of the delivery, School Ningyo is a delightfully creepy story that knows just when and read more
Jun 6, 2012
"For fifteen years, we've chased one man... or rather, one boy. All over Japan... no, from one end of the world to the other...!"

Ishinomori Shotaro's Skull Man (or Skullman, or The Skull Man, depending on your preferred romanization) is a 100 page oneshot that ran in Weekly Shounen Magazine in January of 1970 as the third entry in a string of one shots from various popular authors celebrating the New Year. Its biggest cultural achievement is likely its role as the predecessor of Kamen Rider, but Skull Man itself has enjoyed a decent amount of popularity both at the time of its release and up read more
May 24, 2012
"'We've done well to get this far,' you chuckle, and light up a cigarette." (B'z, 'Run')

Neogandhara is the self-published thirty-someodd page oneshot pilot chapter of Saiyuki, predating the series proper by about two years. Although it has the characters and core plot elements fans know and love, like many other series' pilot chapters it has a number of differences -- but despite its discrepancies in style and characterization and a page count a bit too short to clarify its intentions with the plot, it's a fun read for anyone and a priceless artifact for any Saiyuki fan.

With its limited page count, Neogandhara doesn't have read more
Feb 19, 2012
Line (Manga) add (All reviews)
"A single cell phone. That's all it took... to drop me into a deep, dark hole."

At only a single volume, Line has a limited space to fit its ambitious concept into. What results is a fast-paced, frenetic, somewhat haphazard but ultimately compelling story about the value of life and the power of one person. While the story can seem a bit thin and disorganized and thematic exploration is limited, to say the least, the brief chapter count, quick pace, and inherently compelling subject matter make it hard to pass up.

Line's strength is in its core concept, which managed to take much of the danger out read more
Mar 29, 2010
"All the good people of this world are already dead."

Now and Then, Here and There is a series that has attracted a certain degree of notoriety for its uneven, gradually declining emotional level; that is to say, it starts off optimistic and goes to hell spectacularly. This in and of itself is not necessarily a flaw, and the series does it well, but this is unfortunately not the only aspect in which it's uneven, and to call some of the other areas flaws would be kind indeed. Of course it's not a particularly bad series; it has its high points and they are rarely the read more
Mar 12, 2010
Scandal (Anime) add (All reviews)
"Huh? Where did the school festival go? ...Ah well."

SCANDAL's dozen one minute episodes are by nature quite restrictive, but this is a series that knows how to make the most of what it has! ...is what I would like to say, but unfortunately when the question of how to utilize a handful of 60 second segments was posed, SCANDAL had trouble finding an answer. Luckily, it's not without its charms.

SCANDAL's brief duration doesn't give it a lot of room to develop much of a plot, and I came into it with low expectations accordingly. After all, semi-plotlessness can be fun too! Sadly, SCANDAL failed to read more
Oct 17, 2009
"She's magical, oh, she's magical... Akiba-chan! One more time!"

Akiba-chan is an odd series, to put it mildly. After all, it's not often you come across a series acted out entirely with dolls and a little CG magic. Luckily in the case of Akiba-chan it works quite nicely, albeit while lacking the depth and staying power of many series utilizing more classic tried-and-true techniques.

Rather than having an ongoing plot carry over from episode to episode, Akiba-chan has episodic storylines arranged in five-minute vignettes. Each episode has a cute but somewhat shallow story; one episode has Akiba-chan and Milk-chan making chocolate, another has Akiba-chan trying to lose read more