2013 Issue 1 Staff Pics

Sweet Blue Flowers
Submitted by Tony C.

Sweet Blue Flowers is about the deeply romantic, sometimes heart-breaking entanglements of girls in love with each other. When it gets serious, it's all drama instead of melodrama. And when it's comedic, it's like a funny story between close friends. The characters have real depth and nuance. They genuinely grow, often in profound ways, as they navigate their relationships. And  there's a calm earnestness to the storytelling that treats the subject matter with empathy and respect, without missing the humor. Even if you have no interest in girls' love, this story is still compelling, touching, cute and fun

Berserk: The Golden Age Arc Blu-ray Movie 1: The Egg of the King
Submitted by David O.

Nearly 15 years after the original animated TV series was made, Kentaro Miura's fantasy epic is reborn! Whether you're an old fan of the manga or anime, or whether you're completely unfamiliar with Berserk, this is a must have. This film covers the first third of "The Golden Age" of Berserk, following the struggles of Guts, a warrior that fights without concern for his life and the friendship he finds in Griffith, the charismatic leader of the mercenary group, The Band of the Hawk.

Cat Planet Cuties
Submitted by Michael B.

This lighthearted comedy is a joy to watch. Kio certainly has his hands full after all the cute alien cats pop into his life and take residence in his home. There's a good mix of characters, and the story line keeps you guessing. There is also plenty of good old-fashioned fan service for the guys out there.

Toriko
Submitted by Christy S.

If Fist of the North Star, Oishinbo, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had a baby, it would probably look something like Toriko. With a hardcore, fighting-machine hero who has a passion for gourmet delicacies, a deep respect for nature and a hatred for injustice, it's a difficult series to classify. Shounen fans will love the destructive battles, dangerous pitfalls and vicious creatures and foes Toriko faces, while foodies won't be able to get enough of the wildly creative ingredients introduced throughout his journeys.

Retro Game Master: The Game Center CX DVD Collection
Submitted by Judy A.

For all the old-school gamers out there: growing up, did you ever have that one friend who would die at the first goomba or tilt the controller to run faster? While he's not quite that bad, Retro Game Master takes video game newbie Shinya Arino, sits him down in front of some of gaming's hardest classics, and gives him a set amount of time to beat each one. It's absolutely entertaining to watch the poor guy get subjected to games like Ninja Gaiden and Solomon's Key - and you'll be on the edge of your seat to see if he wins!

Strobe Edge
Submitted by Alison R.

There's a difference between being told about something and experiencing it yourself. Fifteen-year-old Ninako is about to discover this, as she finds herself dealing with both the romantic feelings of a close childhood friend and her own newfound interest in a handsome classmate. With a realistic set-up and cast of likable characters, the first volume of Strobe Edge starts out as quietly engrossing and develops into a refreshing alternative to some of the more over-the-top shoujo manga series.

Kaoru Mori: Anything and Something
Submitted by Alison R.

Kaoru Mori super fans: This book is for you! Anything and Something lives up to its title, collecting far-flung odds and ends from throughout the manga-ka's career – ranging from pin-ups, store promotional pieces and autograph pages to Victoriana-focused manga essays and plenty of creator notes. It's an interesting and idiosyncratic companion to her Emma and A Bride's Story manga.

Kimi ni Todoke
Submitted by Marie C.

Boy meets girl. It's the oldest story in the book, but Kimi ni Todoke's simple, heartfelt approach allows it to sidestep cliche with ease, and the emotional honesty of the characters elicits a realness beyond that of any drama. Navigating the waters of love and friendship is rarely easy - and during high school, even less so - but Sawako and Kazehaya are both determined to try as best they can for each other. Kimi ni Todoke is sweet, but never saccharine.

Limit
Submitted by Christy S.

While bullying may be the primary theme in The Limit, this story is no after school special. It's a dark, disturbing (and meant to be!) exploration of the dynamic between students suddenly forced to face life-or-death situations after the sudden loss of their previous labels as either popular girls or social outcasts. There are unexpected psychological twists and turns in every single chapter, and the consequences of past actions leave the reader wondering just how much damage years of quiet cruelty can cause.

Neon Genesis Evangelion
Submitted by Alison R.

The first and longest-running Evangelion manga - written and illustrated by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, the anime series' character designer - has been a long-time favorite of mine because it always managed to be true to its source material while also building upon it. The same can be said of VIZ's new omnibus editions. The larger trim size and color pages gorgeously reproduce Sadamoto's art and makes these the defi nitive editions of this modern classic. Highly recommended for new fans... and also very much worth a re-buy.

Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia
Submitted by Judy A.

Hyrule Historia is an incredible book - it includes: 1) an introduction to the world of Skyward Sword, 2) a compendium of Zelda facts straight from Shigeru Miyamoto, including the full, official timeline (something Zelda fans have been speculating about for decades!) 3) a collection of never-before-seen artwork, sketches, and concept drawings, and 4) an all-new Skyward Sword manga by the fantastic Akira Himekawa. Put it all together in beautiful binding, and you have the greatest Legend of Zelda book ever made!