Manga Review #1 SPECIAL A
Author/Artist: Maki Minami
Her whole life, Hikari Hanazono has been consumed with the desire to win against her school rival, Kei Takishima—at anything. He always comes out on top no matter what he does, and Hikari is determined to do whatever it takes to beat this guy…somehow!At age 6 Hikari lost to Kei in an impromptu wrestling match. Now, at 15, Hikari joins “Special A,” a group of the top seven students at a private academy, for the opportunity to trounce the guy who made her suffer her first defeat.
Length: 17 Volumes.
Obviously not the greatest rating but that’s because I’m very critical. However, I really did enjoy this series. Each chapter did seem to follow the same route but that did not stop it from giving me butterflies every now and then. I find that Maki Minami’s unprofessionalism sometimes irksome due to the fact that she did not plan out the series properly, the whole class had to repeat a grade because of it (of course it was not mentioned in the story itself) but she did apologize. Also, the main character Hikari has an older brother but he is sometimes mentioned as a younger brother. That’s confusing, however that could be a mistake of the translator. And the surporting characters were underdeveloped, I would of liked to learn more about them. Nonetheless, Maki Minami is hilarious, she has a great sense of humor in the story and out (artist’s comments) although I’m not sure she is funny on purpose, I think she’s just a funny person naturally without realizing it. Which is awesome. Funny female mangaka are a rare breed I find (That’s what makes Rumiko Takahashi a goddess). The ending was not what I expected, it wasn’t a shock or anything but I was expecting certain things to happen but it never did and it was a tad dissapointing. (I wont give anything away, so I wont say what.) Regardless, it wasn’t a bad ending either. Minami’s art improved immensely through out the series and she’s well on her way, I intend on following her through her other works.
I really enjoyed Maki Minami’s art style and it was exciting watching it improve as the series moved along and there was a lot of certain pictures that took my breath away. However, when you compare it to the works of other manga it doesn’t quite measure up. I know a lot of people who only read manga based on the quality of the art and not the story and they would probably not give this one a chance because of it. Honestly I found some of her poorly drawn parts to be humorous and were probably meant to be bad for that reason. I think Maki Minami is a very funny and endearing woman and S.A. is a reflection on that.
“…This time may I propose a contest? If I win… I get you for an entire day." - Kei vol. 3
“…It was so much fun. From that day on… The day I fell in love with Hikari…" - Kei vol. 4
“I want to kiss you." - Kei vol. 12
“Say you love him" - Alisa "I… I… H-Him…" - Hikari vol. 13
“A boy, always wanting to be one step ahead of the girl. A girl, always wanting to be one step ahead of the boy." - Narrator vol. 17
Hikari, Kei, Iori, Atsushi, Tadashi & Ryuu.
Least Favorite Characters:
Sui, Chitose, Kaname, Nagi & Alisa.
Hikari & Kei, Hikari & Iori, Hikari & Tadashi, Yahiro & Akira, Ryuu & Finn.
Least Favorite Couples:
Kei & Nagi, Ryuu & Alisa, Jun & Sakura.
- Do Yahiro & Megumi really get together?
- Do Midori and Kaname get along better now?
- Does Hikari ever move back with her family?
- Do Hikari & Kei have kids?
- What will Ryuu & Finn’s life be as royalty?
Book One of the Chemical Garden Trilogy
Publishing Date: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.
When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape—before her time runs out?
This is a fabulous debut novel with a beautiful (yet a little cliché) cover of writer Lauren DeStefano. I wasn’t able to ever put the book down; it caught my attention from the very first page. The idea of having a very short life span of 20 or 25 if you are male is extreme then throwing in polygamy in the mix as well. Polygamy has interested me since a documentary I watched over a year ago. However, it’s not something I wouldn’t want for myself; I guess that’s why most people are curious why other people would want that kind of lifestyle. DeStefano has a beautiful and crisp writing style that kept me interested, I really love understanding and not feeling lost in what I am reading and that’s how it should be and I defiantly got that from her. Wither goes over the details of a polygamous marriage in a considerate way. Rhine who is not a happy camper because she has been sold as a bride to Linden a man now of three wives which is a tough situation but you end up feeling sorry for everyone (including Linden) not just her. As for Rhine’s sister wives, both of whom she becomes close companions with during the novel, they provided nice contrasting views of the marriage they’ve been forced into. The younger Cecily was naive and eager to be a good wife to Linden, whereas the older Jenna was hardened from everything she’d experienced but she’s also resigned to her fate. The romance in the book was pretty non-existent for a teen novel, at least in the beginning. It gets a lot better between her and Gabriel but by the end of the book you are left fairly disappointed. Nonetheless, I am sure DeStefano is just leaving all the juiciness for the next book (or she really does end up with Linden?!) Who knows, but I am kind of bored with this whole two guys for one girl (*Cough* Jacob vs. Edward *Cough*) crap but I make an exception for Wither, because it was THAT good.
“I always knew I was an excellent liar; I just didn’t know that I had it in me to fool myself.”
“…He’s in agony, and she wants him to know that his pain will never go away. Her smile is her revenge.”
“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
Rhine, Jenna, Gabriel
Least Favorite Characters:
Cecily, Linden, Vaughn
- What will Rhine and Gabriel do with their new found freedom?
- How will Linden and Vaughn react to the two’s escape?
- Will Cecily really be happy as the only wife of Linden?
- Where the hell is Rhine’s twin brother?
- Will she find him before its’ too late?
The 3DS is the new released successor of the original Nintendo DS, (DS Lite, DSi, DSi XL, etc.) It is known for the system’s ability to produce “3D effects without the need for any special glasses.” It was first released on February 26 in japan and a month later it came out in Europe, North America and Australia. The 3DS does have backwards compatibility so Nintendo DS games can still be played.
Built in Software
- Street Pass/Mii Plaza: This is software that can be left activated when the 3DS is on sleep mode. Its purpose is for your Mii to communicate with fellow Miis created by other 3DS owners if you have come close in contact with one. You can exchange Mii data, gameplay info and more. Once meeting another Mii, you will be able to see them in the Mii Plaza the next time you start playing. This is great and all, but I have had my 3DS for a month and have yet to experience this.
- Mii Maker: This is a more in depth Mii creator than the one available on the Wii. It has a lot more features, especially the one where you can create a Mii from taking a photo of you or a friend with the 3DS built in camera and make any final adjustments. Its not exactly accurate but its a good laugh. I really like this, it gets a thumbs up.
- Face Raiders: Is a fun game where you use the built in camera to take a photo of you, a friend, family member, whoever and have fun literally shooting them in the face! To play you have to physically get up and move, turn, lean, etc. to hit the targets. It’s really cool seeing the photo placed right onto the range of shooting targets; it even changes the face’s emotions.
- Activity Log: The log tracks both your game play (even regular DS games), noting which game has been played and how long it has been played for, as well as how many steps you have taken while carrying your 3DS. However, it only works if your 3DS is in at least sleep mode which is a problem with such a short battery life that when the 3DS is not being played, it should probably be turned off. It’s an issue with Street Pass as well. Nonetheless, it is still pretty cool. It tracks all your data and organizes it by date. The more you walk, the more Play Coins can be earned, which are compatible with games and apps on the 3DS. However, a very limited amount of 10 Play Coins can be earned per day. So that’s a bummer.
- Nintendo eShop: This application has yet to be released; however it is something I am pretty excited about. Like the Shopping Channel included with the Wii, you can purchase older games from older systems like Game Boy and others. You may also choose from a variety of new downloadable games, some that were previously available for the Nintendo DSi with its eShop. You can also receive updates on upcoming games that will be available in retail. However, you will need a wireless connection.
- Internet Browser: Just like the eShop, you will need a stable wireless connection to access the internet using the Nintendo 3DS.
- Nintendo 3DS Sound: This is an application that lets you record your own voice and play with the sounds using the built in microphone with a variety of filters to tinker with. You can also listen to music saved on files on an SD card (Must be in MP3 or ACC format)
- 3D Camera: With the built in Nintendo 3DS cameras (inner and outer), you will be able to take three dimensional photographs and utilize a variety of lenses and tools. However, I find the quality of the photos to be not that grand.
- 3D Videos: In addition to 3D games and photos, the 3DS system has the capability to show videos in 3D. Also, I have heard that Netflix will be coming out for the 3DS and when it does, you can watch 3D movies directly on the system.
- Adjustable 3D Screen: There is a stereoscopic wide screen 3D display on the upper half of the 3DS. You are able to adjust how much 3D you’d prefer in your gameplay with the 3D Depth Slider on the right side of the screen.
- Motion & Gyro Sensors: These react to the motion and tilt of the system to make whatever you are playing go up and down, side to side, however you wish, it responds instantly.
- Analog Stick: A circle pad has been added above the traditional gameplay buttons. This is a big plus in my books.
- Adjustable Stylus: I actually don’t care for this, I find the stylus when it has been expanded it slowly reduces its self after a period of time while playing, I preferred it when it didn’t adjust at all like the stiff old plastic styluses but I know this is a plus for most people so I put it on the Pro list.
- 2GB SD Memory Card Included: Pretty self-explanatory, a memory card is included with the Nintendo 3DS system to hold onto music, photos, etc. to transfer from your 3DS to your PC or vice versa.
- Charging Cradle: I don’t really understand this feature. I know it’s a docking system for your DS but I don’t see why it is needed. However it is a nice cradle to put on your table. But, I don’t see myself using it since you can’t really play the 3DS while it is on the cradle. Thankfully, the cradle does not need to be used to charge the 3DS.
- Backwards Compatibility: I have so many older DS games that it would be such a shame if I could not use them on the 3DS system. So if you want to chuck your old DS system and get the upgrade at least you know you can still play your old games. However obviously the 3D capabilities cannot be used on regular DS games.
- Graphics capability that is on par with Wii: I was blown away with the graphics, especially after watching the trailer for Kid Icarus Uprising, I was so disappointed with the graphics on some of the original DS games that makes this so much more refreshing.
- Large list of games to be released: There are a lot of big names that will be released such as Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Paper Mario. Tons of games that will be very much worth buying the system.
- Poor Battery Life: It has a known battery life of 4-6hrs but I find sometimes even less.
- Poor games released on launch date: There were not very many games at all that were worth buying when the 3DS came out. I thought of picking up either Pilot Wings Resort or Nintendogs but even then they are pretty iffy too and not worth purchasing the system for but alas I did anyway.
- Price: I didn’t find the 3DS price to be too bad, but a lot of people do. Considering I probably bought the original DS (The Brick, which I like to call it) for around $200, I didn’t find $250 all too bad.
- No more Alarm Clock: I find this a con, seeing how I used the alarm clock feature on my DSi to wake up for work in the morning.
Games to be Released:
(At least the ones I look forward to Not in any specific order.)
Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor, Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle (name not final), Animal Crossing, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Mario Kart, Paper Mario, Star Fox 64 3D, Sonic, 3D Dragon Quest franchise, Final Fantasy franchise, Kingdom Hearts franchise, Dead or Alive 3D, Naruto Shippuden Action and more.
My Overall Thoughts:
I found that the 3DS wasn’t exactly worth buying right away, actually I knew this when I purchased it. However, I had been excited about the system for almost a year, I just couldn’t help myself. I could of waited for them to release a 3DS with a wider arrange of colours, a longer battery life and I could of waited for them to release better games. However I didn’t but I will be ready when they do come out with my future favourite games. I do enjoy the 3DS, I love a lot of the built in software and I find it a great system. I do get headaches every now and then from the 3D, that gets annoying but it’s not like it can’t be turned off for a bit. I have yet to experience Street Pass but that’s probably because people are waiting for the 3DS. Pretty much I’d say to wait for better games and for them to update with the eShop, unless you are like me and would just rather have it right away. :)