Strobe Edge Manga Is Getting a Special Chapter

The March 2015 issue of Shueisha’s Bessatsu Margaret magazine is announcing that Io Sakisaka’s Strobe Edge manga will get a special chapter in the April 2015 issue, which will be released in Japan on March 13, 2015. The chapter will be an epilogue about Ninako, Ren, and Ando. The chapter is running to commemorate the live-action film, which is opening in Japanese theaters on March 14, 2015.

Sakisaka drew Strobe Edge in Bessatsu Margaret from 2007 to 2009. VIZ Media published he 10th and final volume of the series in North America in May 2014.

Source: ANN

2014 In Review: Notable Anime and Manga Headlines From 2014

While there was a lot of news to come out during 2014, this post will focus on the most notable headlines, and they are listed chronologically by month. The only headlines missing will be deaths of people involved in the anime and manga industries, because those will be covered in special “In Memoriam” posts that will be posted on December 31, 2014.

January 2014:

Speed Racer Licensing Lawsuits Settled: Tatsunoko Productions announces that the suits have been settled by mutual agreement of all parties and being discussed in full. According to the settlement, the Speed Racer rights terminated in their entirety on May 31, 2011; at that date, the rights automatically reverted back to Tatsunoko. With this settlement, Tatsunoko alone now owns and controls the rights to Speed Racer intellectual property rights worldwide.

New Sailor Moon Anime to Debut in July 2014: It was announced that a new Sailor Moon anime would debut in July 2014.

FUNimation Adopts Elite Subscriber Model for Its Streams: FUNimation Entertainment announced that its Elite Video subscribers will get first access to most of its latest streamed episodes as they air in Japan. Free users will gain access to new episodes a week later.

Two Anime Receive Oscar Nominations: Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s The Wind Rises was nominated for Best Animated Feature, while Shuhei Morita’s “Possessions” from Katsuhiro Otomo’s Short Peace anthology was nominated for Best Animated Short Film. Unfortunately, neither anime won the Oscar that they were nominated for.

Cross Media International Bringing Osamu Tezuka’s Animated Properties and Characters to North America: Cross Media International announced that the company has entered into an agreement with Tezuka Productions to develop distribution opportunities for Tezuka’s portfolio of popular properties and characters within North America.

Winners of the Second Manga Translation Battle Announced: Mangapolo announced the winners of the second official Japanese-to-English manga translation battle. Sarah Kim Perry was the grand prize winner. First prize winners were Ami Ross, Nina Matsumoto, and Emily Balistrieri and Juri Ishikawa. D.M Akie won the audience award.

Nippon Television Network Corporation Acquires Tatsunoko Productions: Nippon Television Network Corporation has announced the acquisition of 54.3% of anime production company Tatsunoko Productions from Takara Tomy, who will continue to hold a 20% stake in the company.

February 2014:

Wandering Son Named on ALA’s Rainbow List for Children & Teens: The American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) has selected Takako Shimura’s Wandering Son manga for its Rainbow List.

Strobe Edge in YALSA’s Top 10 Graphic Novels for Teens: The American Library Association’s (ALA’s) Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) released its 2014 list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens. 10 manga titles are on the list, and includes Io Sakisaka’s Strobe Edge, which also ranked in the Top Ten graphic novels overall this year. The  10 manga titles include Strobe Edge, No. 6, The Heart of Thomas, Tropic of the Sea, Sunny, Kitaro, Knights of Sidonia, Tiger & Bunny, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, and Vinland Saga.

Hayao Miyazaki Wins Annie Award for Writing The Wind Rises: Hayao Miyazaki won the Annie Award for Writing in an Animated Feature Production for The Wind Rises.

Anime Limited Launches Kickstarter for U.S. and UK Release of Mai Mai Miracle: Anime Limited launched a Kickstarter campaign to release the Mai Mai Miracle film in the United States and the United Kingdom. The Kickstarter ended up being fully funded in one day. The Kickstarter reached its stretch goal for an English dub on February 11, 2014.

VIZ Media Announces Changes for Neon Alley: VIZ Media announced significant changes for its Neon Alley service as the company moved to consolidate all of its digital streaming anime content offerings under the Neon Alley brand. On April 1, 2014, VIZ Media transitioned its weekly episodic anime programming to the free ad-supported Hulu and subscription-based Hulu Plus Video-on-Demand services.

March 2014:

Kadokawa’s “ComicWalker” App to Offer Manga in English: Japanese publisher Kadokawa announced that its web comic service “ComicWalker” would launch on March 22, 2014, and that the service would include manga in Japanese, English, and traditional Chinese.

Taiyo Matsumoto’s Sunny Manga Wins Cartoonist Studio Prize: The online magazine Slate Book Review and Vermont’s Center for Cartoon Studies announced the winners of their second annual Cartoonist Studio Prize. The first two volumes of Taiyo Matsumoto’s Sunny manga series received the Best Graphic Novel prize.

Ghibli Co-Founder Toshio Suzuki Retires as Producer: Producer Toshio Suzuki voluntarily stepped down from his position at Studio Ghibli, although he will be assuming the new title of “general manager.” Yoshiaki Nishimura will be serving as the producer of Studio Ghibli’s films going forward.

GKids to Release The Tale of the Princess Kaguya in North America: GKids announced that it will be releasing Isao Takahata and Studio Ghibli’s The Tale of The Princess Kaguya anime film in North America in 2014.

Ranma 1/2 Reissued With New Manga and Home Video Releases: VIZ Media began reissuing the Ranma 1/2 manga as omnibus editions with two volumes included in March 2014. These releases are also the first Ranma 1/2 manga to be released in an “unflipped” version. The anime also began being reissued in March 2014, on both DVD and Blu-ray. These new home video releases present the episodes in their original Japanese series order, and the Blu-rays featured the episodes in full 1080p High Definition, taken straight from the original Japanese Blu-ray masters.

April 2014:

Attack on Titan to Air on Toonami: Adult Swim announced that its Toonami block would begin airing the Attack on Titan television anime series on May 3, 2014 at 11:30 p.m. PT.

New Space Battleship Yamato 2199 Film Announced: It was announced that the Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Star-Voyaging Ark film was scheduled to be released in Japan on December 6, 2014.

Hunter x Hunter Returning to Weekly Shonen Jump: The English and Japanese editions of Weekly Shonen Jump announced that the Hunter x Hunter manga would be returning to the magazine on June 2, 2014. Unfortunately, after only a short amount of time back in the magazine, Hunter x Hunter went back on hiatus.

Oldest Surviving Anime Short by Kon Ichikawa Found: Anime News Network reported that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the United States discovered the oldest known surviving anime short by director Kon Ichikawa. “Yowamushi Chinsengumi” (Cowardly Samurai Squad) is a five-minute animated short dating back to 1935.

NIS America Licenses Cardcaptor Sakura Anime Series: NIS America has announced that the company would release the Cardcaptor Sakura television anime series in a Blu-ray Premium Edition and a DVD Standard Edition in North America.

May 2014:

DisneyXD to Air Doraemon Anime: Digital cable and satellite television channel DisneyXD began airing the Doraemon television anime series in the US in Summer 2014.

Attack on Titan Draws More Than a Million Viewers on Toonami: Attack on Titan debuted on the Toonami programming block of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim with 1,341,000 viewers and ranked as the night’s top non-NBA original with a 0.6 in adults 18-49.

VIZ Media Licenses Original Sailor Moon Anime: Viz Media announced after its Anime Central panel that it licensed the original Sailor Moon television anime series, which include streaming, digital and home video rights for all 200 episodes from the five television series, the three feature films, and the assorted tie-in specials. This will include the first North American release of the final television series, Sailor Moon Sailor Stars.

Tenchi Muyo to Return in a Series of Anime Shorts: The Okayama-based Sanyo Shimbun reported that Takahashi City has presented plans to invest in the production of a Tenchi Muyo revival. The new production, called Ai Tenchi Muyo!, was planned as a 50-episode run of 5 minute shorts, which were scheduled to debut in October 2014.

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods to Have Limited Theatrical Release in the U.S.: FUNimation announced that the Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods anime film would have a limited theatrical release in the U.S. According to their announcement, the film would be screened on August 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, 2014.

June 2014:

Digital Manga, Inc. Launches Kickstarter for Osamu Tezuka’s Captain Ken: Digital Manga, Inc. launched a project on Kickstarter to translate and publish the two volumes of Osamu Tezuka’s Captain Ken manga in English for the first time. The company reached its goal on June 18, 2014. Kickstarter backers are scheduled to receive their copies of the manga in February 2015.

VIZ Media Comes to Comixology: ComiXology and VIZ Media announced a digital distribution agreement to bring fan-favorite manga series to comiXology’s entire platform across North America.

CLAMP to Launch New Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle Manga in August 2014: The July issue of Kodansha’s Magazine Special announced that CLAMP will debut their newest manga series in its August issue. The new manga was a miniseries with “another story.”

Hayao Miyazaki to Be Inducted Into the Science Fiction & Fantasy Hall of Fame: The Science Fiction & Fantasy Hall of Fame announced that it is inducting Studio Ghibli co-founder and Oscar-winning director Hayao Miyazaki this year, alongside artist Frank Frazetta, author Leigh Brackett, author Olaf Stapledon, and director Stanley Kubrick.

July 2014:

Harmony Gold Announces Kickstarter for New Robotech Series: Harmony Gold announced at Anime Expo that the company had launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new Robotech series called Robotech Academy. The company cancelled the Kickstarter campaign six days before the deadline, since it was readily apparent that the project would not succeed. The company says it will “continue to explore its options with Robotech Academy” and further updates will be made on the project’s official website.

VIZ Media Announces the Return of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Manga to North America: VIZ Media announced at the 2014 Anime Expo that Hirohiko Araki’s manga series, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, is making a return to North America.  JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1 – Phantom Blood will launch in print beginning in February 2015, with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 2 – Battle Tendency scheduled to debut Fall 2015.

New Dragon Ball Z Anime Film Scheduled for 2015: The September issue of V Jump magazine announced that the new Dragon Ball Z anime film is scheduled to debut in the 2015 Golden Week block of spring holidays (April 29-May 5, 2014). It was later announced that the film will be titled, Dragon Ball Z: Revival of ‘F,’ and will premiere in 2D and 3D in Japan on April 18, 2015.

Leiji Matsumoto to Launch New Captain Harlock Manga: The September issue of Akita Shoten’s Champion RED magazine announced that Leiji Matsumoto would launch the Captain Harlock ~Jigen Kōkai~ in the issue released on August 19, 2014. Koichi Shimahoshi illustrates the series.

Anime Sols Tries New Crowdfunding Approach: Instead of focusing on crowdfunding money in order to release DVD sets of series, the company decides to try crowdfunding various series in order to continue subtitling them and streaming them to site visitors. The first two series launched under this new approach were Dororo and Gordian, The Warrior. As of this writing, Dororo reached its first crowdfunding goal. A second goal has been launched for Dororo, but as of this writing, it’s still $2,220 short of succeeding.

New Naruto Film Being Released in Japan in December 2014: This year’s 35th issue of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine announced that The Last -Naruto the Movie-, the first Naruto anime film in two years, would open in Japanese theaters on December 6, 2014.

Osamu Tezuka’s The Mysterious Underground Men Wins an Eisner Award: Osamu Tezuka’s The Mysterious Underground Men won this year’s Best U.S. Edition of International Material-Asia award at the 2014 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards ceremony at San Diego Comic Con.

Hayao Miyazaki Inducted Into the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame: Hayao Miyazaki was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame during the 2014 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards ceremony at San Diego Comic Con.

August 2014:

Studio Ghibli Is Not Closing Down at This Time: Rumors swirled on the Internet about Studio Ghbili shutting its doors after Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki appeared on the TBS program Jonetsu Tairiku to discuss the studio’s future after Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement from directing feature films. Anime News Network clarified Suzuki’s comments with an article of their own, and the information below came from that article. During the interview, Suzuki discussed the changes that the entire studio is undergoing at the studio’s shareholders meeting; he mused that some of these changes could include dismantling the production department. While there has been some talk of dissolving the studio outright, Suzuki said the studio is considering “housecleaning” or restructuring for now. The end result would be “rebuilding” the studio in order to create an environment for the next generation. Suzuki also said during the interview: “On what to do with Studio Ghibli’s future, it is by no means impossible to keep producing [movies] forever. However, we will take a brief pause to consider where to go from here.”

Kickstarter Campaign for the Under the Dog Sci-Fi Anime: A Kickstarter campaign was launched for an original 24-minute anime titled, Under the Dog. If funded, the project would be in Japanese with English subtitles, and will also include the original soundtrack and behind-the-scenes diaries and interviews. The campaign reached its goal on September 4, 2014.

Hayao Miyazaki to Receive Honorary Award From Oscars’ Academy: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to award anime director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki with an Honorary Award at the Academy’s 6th Annual Governors Awards on November 8, 2014.

September 2014:

Star Blazers Live-Action Film Has Been Green-Lit: The Sports Nippon magazine is reporting that that a Hollywood live-action adaptation of the Space Battleship Yamato anime (which was released in North America under the title, Star Blazers) has been green-lit. According to the report, the film will be released as Star Blazers as soon as 2017. Skydance Productions will be producing the project, and Christopher McQuarrie will direct as soon as he finishes 2015’s Mission: Impossible 5.

VIZ Media Announces “Jump Start” Initiative to Deliver English Premieres of Brand New Weekly Shonen Jump Manga Series on the Same Day as Japan: VIZ Media will simultaneously premiere the first three chapters (one chapter per week) of every brand new, first-run manga series that appears in the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump in its digital English language edition on the same day of that issue’s general print release in Japan. The first title in the initiative was Judos, which launched on September 8, 2014.

Attack on Titan Wins a 2014 Harvey Award: The Harvey Awards announced its winners for 2014 at a banquet on September 6, 2014. Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan series won an award in the “Best American Edition of Foreign Material” category.

VIZ Media to Reprint Yu Yu Hakusho Manga: VIZ Media announced on Twitter that the company will be reprinting all 19 volumes of the Yu Yu Hakusho manga series.

AnimeNation Retailer Closes After 20 Years: AnimeNation.net’s Gene Field announced on both the company’s site and social media accounts that the online retail company would be closing shop after 20 years.

VIZ Media Announces the Finale of Matsuri Hino’s Vampire Knight: VIZ Media announced that the company would be releasing Vampire Knight Volume 19, the final volume of the series, on October 14, 2014.

Pony Canyon Launches North American Anime Distributor: Japanese distributor Pony Canyon announced that the company is making a leap into the North American anime market by launching a new brand called PONYCAN USA. The first two titles being released by PONYCAN USA are Denki-Gai no Honya-san and Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru. In addition to worldwide streaming, PONYCAN USA plans to release new anime titles on Blu-ray and DVD throughout North America in 2015, and promising the same high standard of quality as the Japanese editions.

The CW Brings an End to the Vortexx Programming Block: The CW’s Vortexx Saturday morning programming block came to an end on September 27, 2014. As of October 4, 2014, the block will be airing a live-action E/I block. Vortexx replaced the CW’s former Saturday morning block, Toonzai, on August 25, 2012. This change took place after 4Kids Entertainment, the original North American rights holder for the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise that programmed Toonzai, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Saban Entertainment acquired 4Kids’ Toonzai assets, and the company renamed the block to Vortexx. The occasional anime appeared on the Vortexx block, and this included B-Daman Crossfire, Sonic X, Dragon Ball Z Kai, Digimon Fusion, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal.

October 2014:

Naruto Manga to End: The official website for Weekly Shonen Jump announced that Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto manga would end in this year’s 50th issue of Shonen Jump on November 10, 2014.

Sunrise Partnering With Right Stuf to Release the Gundam Franchise in North America: Sunrise announced during the company’s panel at New York Comic Con that the studio is partnering with Right Stuf, Inc. to release the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise in North America. The company will release the first Mobile Suit Gundam television series and the Turn A Gundam anime series next spring. In a press release, Right Stuf also mentioned that the company will be releasing Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ for the first time in North America.

LINE Service to Offer Digital Manga in English and Chinese This Year: LINE Corp., the operators of the voice-chat/messaging app LINE, has announced that the company will launch a new subsidiary called LINE Book Distribution; this new subsidiary will be releasing manga internationally. LINE Book Distribution will release properties from Kodansha, Shogakukan and other Japanese publishers in English and Traditional Chinese globally via the LINE manga app. LINE Corp. plans to launch the LINE Manga Global Version app later in 2014.

Digital Manga Planning Kickstarter to Cover Six Tezuka Titles: Digital Manga has announced that the company planned to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund six Osamu Tezuka manga for a total of 31 volumes. While Digital Manga managed to launch this massive Kickstarter campaign, it ended up not reaching its goal.

Anime Director Keiichiro Kimura Launches Kickstarter Campaign: Awesome Japan launched a Kickstarter campaign for an animated short film created by anime director Keiichiro Kimura titled, “Go! Samurai.” Kimura’s son will be directing and editing the work. The campaign reached its goal during November 2014.

FUNimation Announces Broadcast Dubs Initiative: FUNimation announced a new initiative called “Broadcast Dubs,” which features English dubbed episodes of select shows that are currently broadcasting in Japan. FUNimation’s Broadcast Dubs will be available exclusively for FUNimation subscribers. With this new initiative, select series are dubbed into English using the broadcast/simulcast materials from Japan just weeks after broadcast. Following the release of the Broadcast Dub, FUNimation will continue to produce a final English dub for the DVD/Blu-ray release, using materials from Japan’s DVD/Blu-ray release. This final version can be different from the broadcast version, including uncut footage not seen in the broadcast. The first two shows to be included in this initiative were Laughing Under the Clouds and Psycho-Pass 2.

Crunchyroll Acquires the Rights to Simulcast Case Closed: Crunchyroll announced that the site acquired the rights to simulcast the Case Closed anime as it airs in Japan. As of right now, only the most recent episodes of the series are available for streaming on the service.

November 2014:

Naruto Manga Mini-Series to Launch in Spring 2015: This year’s 50th issue of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine announced that a new, tentatively titled Naruto manga mini-series will launch in Spring 2015. According to the announcement, the mini-series will tell “a newly budding Konoha story.”

Nozomi Entertainment’s Lucky Penny License Rescues Looking Up At the Half Moon: Nozomi Entertainment announced that its Lucky Penny imprint has license rescued the Looking Up At The Half Moon anime and plans to release the six-episode series in Spring 2015. Crimson Star Media had held the license for this title until legal troubles caused the company to not release it.

Digital Manga Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Osamu Tezuka’s Ludwig B Manga: Digital Manga, Inc. has launched a new Kickstarter campaign for Osamu Tezuka’s two-volume manga, Ludwig B. If the campaign succeeds, the company plans to release this title in July 2015. The campaign reached its goal on December 26, 2014, with only four hours to spare before the deadline.

December 2014:

19th Detective Conan Film Opening in Japan in April 2015: The first 2015 issue of Shogakukan’s Weekly Shonen Sunday announced that the 19th Detective Conan film, Detective Conan: The Hellfire Sunflowers, will open in Japanese theaters on April 18, 2015. The film will tell the story of Conan trying to track down Kaito Kid, who has supposedly stolen a replica of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” during an auction.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Nominated for Three Annie Awards: Studio Ghibli and Isao Takahata’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya received three nominations: Best Animated Feature, Isao Takahata is up for “Outstanding Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production,” and Joe Hisaishi is up for “Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Production.”

Streaming of SHIROBAKO Episode Six Suspended Due to Rights Issue: Niconico has announced that “streaming of SHIROBAKO episode 6 has been temporarily suspended due to circumstances regarding rights.” The site also added that the return date of the streaming has not been determined, but the service will announce it as soon as it is confirmed. Crunchyroll is also streaming SHIROBAKO in the Americas and several countries in Europe as well as other regions, and it also no longer lists episode 6 “Idepon Miyamori: On the Move.” The episode reappeared on Crunchyroll later in December 2014.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Film Scheduled for 2016: The third issue of 2015 of Shueisha’s Shonen Jump magazine announced that a new Yu-Gi-Oh! film will premiere in 2016 and will focus on Yugi Muto and Seto Kaiba. The magazine also says that the film will have an original story.

Kodansha Temporarily Suspends Vinland Saga Manga in the U.S.: Kodansha USA has stated that its Vinland Saga manga releases are “temporarily suspended.” Volume Six was supposed to be released on January 6, 2015. However, Amazon is now listing a 2017 release date for this volume.

Crunchyroll Streaming Service Down Amid DDoS Attack: The Crunchyroll streaming service announced on December 30, 2014 that it is currently down due to a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack “of the same magnitude” as those recently targeted towards Sony and Microsoft consoles. The Crunchyroll service went down at approximately 4:00 a.m. EST on December 30, 2014.

Additional 2014 In Review posts:

Manga Review: Strobe Edge Volume 10

Strobe Edge Volume 10 is a manga by Io Sakisaka, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2014. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading the entire series, I would agree with this rating.

Strobe Edge Volume 10
Written by: Io Sakisaka
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 6, 2014

Ninako Kinoshita is a high school freshman who is in the middle of a love triangle. She is in love with a guy named Ren, while Ninako’s friend Daiki has confessed that he likes Ninako. Unfortunately for Ninako, it turns out that Ren already has a girlfriend: Daiki’s older sister, Mayuka. Ninako’s friend, Sayuri, has confessed to Daiki that she likes him, and two start going out. Another potential love interest for Ninako was introduced in Volume Two: Ren’s classmate, Ando. Daiki ends up coming out of the love triangle getting into a relationship with Ninako’s friend, Sayuri. At the end of volume five, Daiki’s older sister breaks up with Ren.

At the beginning of Volume 10, Ninako and Ren have a very awkward encounter and nothing is resolved between them. Later, Ando learns from Ren about Ninako turning Ren down when he confessed his feelings to her. When Ando asks Ninako about it, he learns that Mao filled her in about Ando and Ren’s past. Ando catches Ninako by surprise when he kisses her, but she pushes him away and realizes why he did it. Ninako realizes that she truly loves Ren and runs after him. Mao also declares that she’s going after Ando.

Ninako manages to find Ren and she explains her thoughts when she turned him down and then says that she loves him. Ninako and Ren become a couple, but the transition from being friends to being a couple is a bit awkward…

Overall, I have to say that this was a satisfying ending for Strobe Edge. After everything that has happened between Ren and Ninako, their awkwardness when they become a couple feels very realistic. If it hadn’t had that awkwardness to it, that transition wouldn’t have felt nearly as believable.

The actual story only takes up about half of the volume. The rest of the volume includes three bonus stories. The first focuses on the character of Manabu, and we see when he falls in love for the first time. Unfortunately, he has no real chance with her, but he keeps pursuing her anyway. It was nice to see Manabu get his own story, since he was seen throughout the series but never truly played a major part throughout it. But this story does help explain why we never saw Manabu actively pursuing anyone or looking for love.

The second bonus story focuses on Ren and Ninako, and it takes place after the end of Strobe Edge. While the ending of manga was a nice way to end the story, I believe that this story could have been added on to make the main story a little longer; the ending of this side story would have also made for a good ending for the main story.

The third bonus story takes place when Ren, Ninako, Ando, and the others find out if they made it into the high school that they attend during the series. It’s rather short, and in the long run, I’m not entirely sure if it truly added much. It only truly enforced the idea that Ando isn’t happy about the fact that he’s in the same high school as Ren. This fact was made really clear in the series, so this bonus story is kind of redundant in that way.

In the end, I have to say that I did enjoy the Strobe Edge series. While I hadn’t been too sure about it after the first volume, I’m glad I continued reading the series. While the story itself may have fallen into the “typical shojo” category, the characters were well defined and I came to care about them as a reader. If you enjoy reading shojo romances, then I think you’ll enjoy reading Strobe Edge.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Strobe Edge Volume 10 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Additional posts about Strobe Edge:

VIZ Media’s May 2014 Digital Manga Update

VIZ Media has announced the company’s May 2014 digital manga update. The update includes the digital-first release of Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma Volume 2 and the debut of the graphic novel adaptation of All You Need Is Kill, the sci-fi novel that inspired the forthcoming Edge of Tomorrow live-action film that stars Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.

Other notable additions include Phantom Thief Jeanne Volume 2, along with the final volumes for Psyren (Volume 16), Strobe Edge (Volume 10), and Otomen (Volume 18).

May 20, 2014 will see the release of the final volumes for Boys Over Flowers (Volume 36) and Knights of the Zodiac (Volume 28). The conclusions for Phoenix (Volume 12) and Whistle! (Volume 12), and scheduled for May 27, 2014.

The digital launch for Fate/Stay Night and Future Diary will begin happening on May 20, 2014, and will be digital exclusives at an MSRP of $4.99 each (US/CAN).

Readers can enjoy these and other new May 2014 manga updates that are available on VIZManga.com and the VIZ MANGA app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, Android-powered smart phones and 7″ tablets, These titles may also be purchased through the NOOK, Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and GooglePlay stores.

ALL YOU NEED IS KILL Graphic Novel · Unrated ·
MSRP: $8.99 (U.S. / CAN) · Available Now

Written by Haikasoru editor and noted sci-fi author, Nick Mamatas, featuring full-color artwork by popular comic book artist Lee Ferguson, the new graphic novel offers a single-volume retelling of the original All You Need Is Kill light novel that inspired the Edge of Tomorrow movie starring Tom Cruise.

When the alien Mimics invade, soldier Keiji Kiriya is killed, on the battlefield. But he wakes up the previous morning as if nothing happened and must fight the battle again… and again… and again. Teamed up with the mysterious female fighter known as the Full Metal Bitch, Keiji must figure out how to stop the cycle—and what role his new and deadly ally plays in the fight to save Earth.

New Title Available Later in May

FOOD WARS!: SHOKUGEKI NO SOMA Volume 2 · Rated “T+” for Older Teens ·
MSRP: $6.99 (U.S. / CAN) · Available May 20, 2014

Soma Yukihira’s old man runs a small family restaurant in the less savory end of town. Aiming to one day surpass his father’s culinary prowess, Soma hones his skills day in and day out until one day, out of the blue, his father decides to enroll Soma in a classy culinary school. Can Soma really cut it in a place that prides itself on a 10 percent graduation rate? And can he convince the beautiful, domineering heiress of the school that he belongs there at all? Leaving home for the first time in his young life, Soma moves into the Polaris Dormitory—a place run by an old crone and filled with crazy and eccentric students. Barely settled in, Soma quickly finds himself in one of Tohzuki’s legendary cooking duels—a shokugeki. Who will his very first opponent be?

FATE/STAY NIGHT · Rated “T” for Teens ·
MSRP: $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) · Available May 20, 2014

The manga addition to the super-popular multimedia franchise has finally arrived. When he was little, high school student and amateur mechanic Shirou Emiya was adopted by a magus man. Now he wants nothing more than to follow in his stepfather’s footsteps and become a hero of justice. Little does he know that a war is waging among the Magi and that he is about to become its focal point. Volume 2 debuts on May 27, 2014.

FUTURE DIARY · Rated “T+” for Older Teens ·
MSRP: $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) · Available May 27, 2014

Sakae Esuno’s chilling manga masterpiece is a relentless adventure that will have readers questioning the boundaries of time and space – and wishing for the slightest glimmer of hope in a dark, desolate world that may look surprisingly familiar. Yukiteru is a lonely student whose only hobby is the daily diary he keeps on his cell phone. But Yukiteru has a secret that nobody knows about… his cellphone can tell the future. Now, a vicious game of survival is about to begin among twelve future diary holders – with the winner crowned god of the new world! Sakae Esuno’s chilling shonen masterpiece should not be missed.

Manga Review: Strobe Edge Volume Nine

Strobe Edge Volume Nine is a manga by Io Sakisaka, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2014. The series is rated “T” for teens; from the nine volumes that I’ve read of the series, I would agree with this rating.

Strobe Edge Volume 9
Written by: Io Sakisaka
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 4, 2014

Ninako Kinoshita is a high school freshman who is in the middle of a love triangle. She is in love with a guy named Ren, while Ninako’s friend Daiki has confessed that he likes Ninako. Unfortunately for Ninako, it turns out that Ren already has a girlfriend: Daiki’s older sister, Mayuka. Ninako’s friend, Sayuri, has confessed to Daiki that she likes him, and two start going out. Another potential love interest for Ninako was introduced in Volume Two: Ren’s classmate, Ando. Daiki ends up coming out of the love triangle getting into a relationship with Ninako’s friend, Sayuri. At the end of volume five, Daiki’s older sister breaks up with Ren.

Ninako tries to suppress her feelings for Ren because she thinks she’ll be able to make Ren and Ando friends again. Ren, meanwhile, realizes he’s in love with Ninako but is too afraid to say anything. However, he realizes that he needs to say something, so he’s determined to tell her after the school sports festival is over.

During Volume Nine, Ando gets a surprise when Mao admits that she’s still in love with him. Unfortunately, this does nothing to sway Ando away from having feelings for Ninako.

When the festival is over, Ninako has an after-party for the cheer squad to go to. However, Ren says he has something to tell her so he’ll wait for her in the classroom. Unfortunately, Ninako stays until she needs to go to work, so Ren’s already gone from the classroom. Ninako calls Ren and leaves a message on his voicemail, saying she needs to talk to him.

When Ninako’s shift is over, the boss insists that Ando escort Ninako because some rough guys have been hanging around lately. They have an encounter with the rough guys, and Ando gets beaten up in front of Ninako. After helping Ando out, Ninako feels guilty about what happened. So when Ren tells Ninako how he feels, she surprises herself by turning him down…

When I got to the scene where Ren and Ninako finally talk and Ren confesses his feelings, I nearly wanted to scream when Ninako turned him down. Here I was, so excited that it looked like the two of them would finally get together, that I was thinking, “No, Ninako! You’re messing this up!” when she turned him down.

I have to give Ando some credit for the fact that he didn’t simply go back to Mao after she admitted that she was still in love with him. However, I really couldn’t feel sorry for him when he was depressed when he thought there was a chance that Ninako and Ren had become a couple after meeting up face-to-face.

There’s only one volume of Strobe Edge left, so I’m really hoping that Ninako and Ren are able to work things out by the end of the next volume. If they don’t, I’m going to be feeling disappointed and gypped. The two of them make such a good couple, and I’ve been rooting for them for so long, that anything less than Ninako and Ren ending up together is going to be a letdown of an ending. I also hope that the ending of Strobe Edge doesn’t turn out to be like the ending of A Devil and Her Love Song, where it was essentially a non-ending after building up the story for 12-13 volumes. I’m really wanting to reading Volume 10 of Strobe Edge in order to find out how the series will ultimately come to an end.

If you’ve read the previous volumes of Strobe Edge, I think you’ll like this volume… although you may find yourself getting a little frustrated with Ninako for blowing her chance with Ren.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Strobe Edge Volume Nine that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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Manga Review: Strobe Edge Volume Eight

Strobe Edge Volume Eight is a manga by Io Sakisaka, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2014. The series is rated “T’ for teens; from the eight volumes that I’ve read of this series, I would agree with this rating.

Strobe Edge Volume 8
Written by: Io Sakisaka
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: January 7, 2014

Ninako Kinoshita is a high school freshman who is in the middle of a love triangle. She is in love with a guy named Ren, while Ninako’s friend Daiki has confessed that he likes Ninako. Unfortunately for Ninako, it turns out that Ren already has a girlfriend: Daiki’s older sister, Mayuka. Ninako’s friend, Sayuri, has confessed to Daiki that she likes him, and two start going out. Another potential love interest for Ninako was introduced in Volume Two: Ren’s classmate, Ando. Daiki ends up coming out of the love triangle getting into a relationship with Ninako’s friend, Sayuri. At the end of volume five, Daiki’s older sister breaks up with Ren.

Ninako spends most of this volume dealing with her confusion about her feelings with Ren. While she knows she likes him, she’s afraid that if the says anything to him that he’ll feel awkward and not want to be friends anymore.

At one point in this volume, Ninako makes the decision that she wants to pursue Ren. However, Ando’s former girlfriend Mao talks to her and tells Ninako about Ren and Ando being friends in middle school and how she came between them when she dated Ando in order to get closer to Ren. Now knowing this information, Ninako decides to try to suppress her feelings for Ren because she doesn’t want to get in the way of Ren and Ando potentially becoming friends again. Unfortunately, Ninako tells her friends that she’s no longer going after Ren but won’t explain why; this causes her friends to worry about her.

As I read this volume, I thought that Sakisaka was able to effectively portray Ninako’s conflicted feelings. Throughout the scenes that she appeared in, I almost thought I could actually feel the emotions that she was feeling. I just kept feeling so bad for her, especially since she’s unaware that Ren has actually developed feelings for her. It almost makes me want to smack Ren and tell him to just tell her straight out how he feels so Ninako can quit beating up on herself.

A new character is introduced, a loud-mouthed guy from another class who’s working with the cheerleaders for the upcoming sports festival. As he spends time around Ninako, he actually becomes the source of some helpful advice for her.

From what I’ve seen, there should only be two volumes left of Strobe Edge. At this point, I’m going to predict that these final volumes will focus on the sports festival and wrapping up the loose ends in regards to the various love interests. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Sakisaka will ultimately bring the story of Strobe Edge to its conclusion.

If you’ve read the previous seven volumes of Strobe Edge, then I think you’ll also enjoy Volume Eight.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Strobe Edge Volume Eight that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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Strobe Edge in YALSA’s Top 10 Graphic Novels for Teens

The American Library Association’s (ALA’s) Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has released its 2014 list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens. 10 manga titles are on the list, and includes Io Sakisaka’s Strobe Edge, which also ranked in the Top Ten graphic novels overall this year.

The 10 manga titles in the list are:

  • Strobe Edge GN 1-6 by Io Sakisaka
  • No. 6 GN 1-3 by Atsuko Asano & Hinoki Kino
  • The Heart of Thomas GN by Moto Hagio
  • Tropic of the Sea GN by Satoshi Kon
  • Sunny GN 1 by Taiyo Matsumoto
  • Kitaro GN by Shigeru Mizuki
  • Knights of Sidonia GN 1-2 by Tsutomu Nihei
  • Tiger & Bunny GN 1-2 by Mizuki Sakakibara and Katsura Masakazu
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin GN 1-3 by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
  • Vinland Saga GN 1 by Makoto Yukimura

Source: ANN

Manga Review: Strobe Edge Volume Seven

Strobe Edge Volume Seven is a manga by Io Sakisaka, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2013. The series is rated “T’ for teens; from the seven volumes that I’ve read of this series, I would agree with this rating.

Strobe Edge Volume 7
Written by: Io Sakisaka
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 5, 2013

Ninako Kinoshita is a high school freshman who is in the middle of a love triangle. She is in love with a guy named Ren, while Ninako’s friend Daiki has confessed that he likes Ninako. Unfortunately for Ninako, it turns out that Ren already has a girlfriend: Daiki’s older sister, Mayuka. Ninako’s friend, Sayuri, has confessed to Daiki that she likes him, and two start going out. Another potential love interest for Ninako was introduced in Volume Two: Ren’s classmate, Ando. Daiki ends up coming out of the love triangle getting into a relationship with Ninako’s friend, Sayuri. At the end of volume five, Daiki’s older sister breaks up with Ren.

Ninako spends a lot of Volume Seven feeling rather conflicted. She believes that Ren is willing to spend time with her and smile because they’re simply friends; because of this, she doesn’t want to confess her feelings to him again, out of fear that if she does, they’ll no longer be friends. Unknown to her, though, is the fact that Ren has feelings for her but isn’t saying anything. I found myself feeling rather bad for the both of them, because I knew that if they could just admit their feelings for one another, things would be OK.

A major focus of Volume Seven is on the class trip. Ninako, Sayuri, Ren, and Yutaro end up being the same group. The trip becomes tense, due to several factors. Obviously, Ninako and Ren’s reluctance to tell the other how they feel is one part of this tension. However, Sayuri notices that a girl from Daiki’s class seems to be a little too close to him, so she spends her time worrying about whether or not Daiki is being faithful to her. And it turns out there’s a secret that involves Sayuri and Yutaro that adds to the tension.

Manabu and Ando are in another group. While Manabu tries to have their group keep their distance from Ren and Ninako in order to give them space, Ando keeps trying to find ways for their groups to be together on the trip.

At the end of the volume, there’s also a bonus story called, “Wishing for Yesterday,” which focuses on Yutaro and Sayuri. This bonus story gives the reader the backstory that’s needed to better understand their secret that’s revealed in this volume. This is at least the second time that I can think of during the series that Sakisaka has provided a bonus story in a volume to help give the background on something that appeared in that volume. This is information is important, but including it as a flashback in the main story in this series would have hurt the flow of the story too much. I have to give Sakisaka a lot of credit for writing and illustrating these bonus stories in order to impart important information to readers.

If you’ve read the previous six volumes of Strobe Edge, then I think you’ll also enjoy Volume Seven.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Strobe Edge Volume Seven that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Additional posts about Strobe Edge:

Manga Review: Strobe Edge Volume Six

Strobe Edge Volume Six is a manga by Io Sakisaka, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2013. The series is rated “T” for teens; from the six volumes that I’ve read of this series, I would agree with this rating.

Strobe Edge Volume 6
Written by: Io Sakisaka
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 3, 2013

Ninako Kinoshita is a high school freshman who is in the middle of a love triangle. She is in love with a guy named Ren, while Ninako’s friend Daiki has confessed that he likes Ninako. Unfortunately for Ninako, it turns out that Ren already has a girlfriend: Daiki’s older sister, Mayuka. Ninako’s friend, Sayuri, has confessed to Daiki that she likes him, and two start going out. Another potential love interest for Ninako was introduced in Volume Two: Ren’s classmate, Ando. Daiki ends up coming out of the love triangle getting into a relationship with Ninako’s friend, Sayuri.

At the end of volume five, Daiki’s older sister breaks up with Ren. When Ninako learns about the breakup in this volume, she finds herself feeling rather conflicted. On the one hand, Ren is free and she wouldn’t have to hold back her feelings. However, she also realizes that Ren must be having a hard time with the breakup, so she doesn’t want to do anything that would make him uncomfortable. Of course, the other girls at school who have had their eye on Ren since Volume One are trying to pursue him, which only complicates Ninako’s feelings.

Ando is still pursuing Ninako, and hearing that Ren and his girlfriend have broken up makes him want to try to win Ninako even more. Even when they’re having to compete against each other in sports, Ando wants to beat Ren in order to impress Ninako. The new school year starts up at the end of the volume, and both Ren and Ando end up being in the same class as Ninako, which is already causing some tension.

Now that Mayuka and Ren are no longer together, the dynamics of the story have really started to change. Personally, I believe this change of dynamics is a good thing, because the story could have become stale if this shakeup didn’t happen.

With Ren potentially becoming a real threat to Ando when it comes to Ninsko, Ando is definitely starting to become more tense and his character has really started to change. As a writer, I could see several different ways that his character could go in future volumes, so I’m very interested in seeing how Sakisaka is going to progress Ando’s character, as well as the story as a whole.

In addition to Strobe Edge, a one-shot that Sakisaka did is included in this volume. The one-shot is called Colorless Dreamer, and it focuses on characters who are slightly older than the characters in Strobe Edge. In Colorless Dreamer, a young woman named Rena Kowaki lives with her musician boyfriend, Haruka. Rena is the one trying to earn money in order for them to eat and keep a roof over their heads, but she keeps getting fired from her jobs. One day, she overhears some of the female fans at Haruka’s band’s shows that Rena doesn’t deserve Haruka and that he looks like he’s worn out and has lost weight. Rena starts doubting herself and thinking she doesn’t deserve to be with him.

In Colorless Dreamer, you can definitely tell that this is Sakisaka’s art style, since some of the characters in this one-shot look somewhat similar to characters that appear in Strobe Edge. While this one-shot may feature a shojo love story, it does feature slightly older characters than you normally associate with shojo. The story says that Rena is 19, so I assume Haruka is 19 as well, or perhaps in his early 20s. This particular story definitely works as a one-shot; there’s no way this story could have worked for an entire manga series. It’s a decent one-shot, and should be enjoyable to readers who have already come to like the Strobe Edge series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Strobe Edge Volume Six that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Additional posts about Strobe Edge:

Manga Review: Strobe Edge Volume Five

Article first published as Manga Review: ‘Strobe Edge’ Volume Five by Io Sakisaka on Blogcritics.

Strobe Edge Volume Five is a manga by Io Sakisaka, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2013. The series is rated “T” for teens; from the five volumes that I’ve read of this series, I would agree with this rating.

Strobe Edge Volume 5
Written by: Io Sakisaka
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 2, 2013

Ninako Kinoshita is a high school freshman who is in the middle of a love triangle. She is in love with a guy named Ren, while Ninako’s friend Daiki has confessed that he likes Ninako. Unfortunately for Ninako, it turns out that Ren already has a girlfriend: Daiki’s older sister. Ninako’s friend, Sayuri, has confessed to Daiki that she likes him, and two start going out. Another potential love interest for Ninako was introduced in Volume Two: Ren’s classmate, Ando.

In this volume, while Ando and Ninako are out shopping for supplies for a Christmas party, they run into Ando’s old girlfriend from middle school. This is the girl that used Ando back in middle school to get closer to one of his friends, and Ando wants nothing to do with her. After an awkward exchange, Ando leads Ninako away. Later, while talking during a shift at work, Ando grabs Ninako in a hug to comfort her, and Ren suddenly walks in. As you read these panels for this, you can actually sense the awkwardness.

After this, Ando tries to convince Ninako to go out with him, but Ninako comes to the conclusion that she still loves Ren and would simply be using Ando to get over him. In fact, she decides she’s going to work on pretending she doesn’t feel anything for Ren.

Meanwhile, Mayuka and Daiki are spending some time with their father before he leaves. Over the course of this volume, Mayuka finds herself doing some soul searching, and a major change takes place at the end of Volume Five because of her.

There’s an additional short story called “Unfinished Map.” It’s a supplemental story about Ren and Ando back in middle school. In fact, this story covers the incident that happened with Ando’s ex-girlfriend who appeared earlier in the volume. In the actual story, Ando has always been a bit on the vague side when he talked about what happened between him and his ex-girlfriend, so this story was a nice additional piece for the reader to have a better understanding of this part of Ando’s history. This was a very well-done supplemental short story, and it adds a new layer to what has already been presented in the series.

When it comes to the main story, a major theme that runs through this volume is confusion. Ninako finds herself feeling confused about her feelings for Ren, and Mayuka also starts having confusion and doubts about her relationship with Ren. The confusion for both of them permeates much of the story that appears in Volume Five, and right at the end of the volume, one character loses their confusion while another characters gains a sense of confusion.

The love triangle also really goes through some very interesting changes in dynamics over the course of Volume Five. And with what happens at the end of this volume, it’s going to be very interesting to see where Sakisaka takes the story for Volume Six. I’m actually looking forward to getting a chance to read the next volume, and hopefully I’ll be able to read it sooner rather than later.

After reading Volume Five, I believe that readers who have read and enjoyed the first four volumes of Strobe Edge will really enjoy reading this volume as well.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Strobe Edge Volume Five that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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