Tag Archives: Review

Review: Higurashi Time Killing Arc 1

Higurashi Time Killing Arc 1

Story by Ryukishio7

Art by Yoshiki Tonogai

Reviewed by JMD Reid

In 1985, two years after the Hinamizawa Disaster, a detective named Akasaka learns that the young child he met seven years ago on a case was murdered in the shrine the night before the volcanic eruption released the toxic gas that wiped out the village.

The story flashes back to 1978, when the village of Hinamizawa is in the middle of protesting the dam project that would see their village flooded beneath an artificial lake. A high profile politician’s son was kidnapped and the village’s protest group, known to be violent, is suspected. Akasaka is sent to investiage. There he meets Rika Furude, a little girl respected by the village. Akasaka isn’t happy to be on this assignment since his wife is in the hospital with complications from her pregnancy.

He gets to know Rika as he’s given a tour and learns about the village. They seem friendly and he has a hard time believing they could be behind the kidnapping. That is until Rika suddenly begins talking like an adult and warning him that he should leave before he regrets it. She predicts that the dam project will fail within the year and he’ll only find grief if he stays.

Undaunted, Akasaka soon learns that his cover is blown and he maybe in danger from the Sonozaki family. Will he stay, or will he leave?

This short arc provides a lot of the back story. It shows us there is something up with Rika. She’s shown herself to have a surprising maturity at times in the story, dropping her girlish act. Now we see her giving threats to Akasaka that have the young detective unnerved.

This arc has mystery and gives us clues, providing a great transition from the question section of the series and the answer part. We see that the Hinimizawa disaster and Rika’s murder happen in multiple timelines since the Oishi of this timeline doesn’t go missing in the woods while investigating Teppei Hojo’s murder like in the last arc. It’s a hint towards what is going on, though we are still struggling to understand it.

There is something evil in Hinamizawa. The question is this: is it Oyashiro’s curse or is there a human culprit working in the background. We’ve had both the Sonozaki family put forth as the human cause, and the curse punishing the wicked on the other end. But the story is murky, and like all good mysteries, nothing is what it seems.

The art is great. Young Rika is adorable and the artist captures her childish glee and enthusiasm. It has a mellow story, but the tension slowly builds as new information is revealed, leading us towards the ending driving us towards the ending.

What will Akasaka find with Oishi?

Higuarshi is an intriguing and engaging series. The characters are likable, making you feel for them when things go wrong over and over again. You are rooting for these characters to survive one of these summers. Will they?

You’ll just have to read this series to find out.

You can buy Higurashi Time Killing Arc 1 from Amazon.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmailby feather
Facebooktwitterrssby feather

Review: Higurashi Curse Killing Arc 2

Higurashi Curse Killing Arc 2

Story by Ryukishio7

Art by Jiro Suzuki

Reviewed by JMD Reid

The first volume, we have come to know Satoko. Keiichi’s surrogate big brother relationship was really sweet. But this is Higurashi, and the happiness between the friends can’t last. Doom falls on the gang in the form of the return of Satoko’s abusive uncle Teppei Hojo.

A vile man who abuses and degrades her. As Keiichi and his friends want to help the girl, they find out that even the adults in their lives are powerless. Their teacher has done all she can. The government finds no evidence of child abuse. Keiichi becomes more and more desperate as he sees Satoko swallowed up by pain and suffering.

And then he remembers Oyashiro’s curse. For the last four years, one person has been murdered and one person disappeared on the night of the Cotton Drifting Festival. Oyashiro, the shinto deity who protects the village, punishes those who try to harm it.

So why not Teppei Hojo this year?

Not wanting to relay on the nebulous “curse,” Keiichi plans to use the superstition to his advantage. He’ll save Satoko. He’ll murder Teppei Hojo.

This is one of the most heartbreaking stories to read. The artist and writer have captured the way Satoko crumbles beneath the abuse, how she tries to be strong, to pretend nothing is going wrong even as she grows more and more dead, wliting. The bubbly, happy, outgoing girl crushed beneath Teppei’s curelty. It crashes into the unfairness of the world. Into the grinding pace of a government bureaucracy. Into the limitations of modern life to defend your neighbors.

Keiichi’s transition from student to murderer makes sense. It flows down the path. You’re rooting for him, so it’s so tragic when it all goes wrong. And that ending. That gut punch at the shrine then the “disastor” only makes you have more question.

Just what happens in this village? What is going on wrong? Why did the disaster happen this time and not in the last scenario. Mion no longer seems to be in charge of the killings like she was last time. But once again, Tomitaki dies and Takano is murdered/goes missing. Only this time, we get something more with her. Something sinister.

For the most part, the art is better in this volume. The style fits the more depressing shift in the story. There were a few times it didn’t work, like with Takano. All in all, this was a powerful story. It leaves you hoping there is a way out for these friends, to survive the summer of 1983. This is the last of the question arcs. Up next is an arc to get some back story and set up the ending, and a filler one that gives us a spooky story set in the aftermath of this arc.

You can buy Higurashi Curse Killing Arc 2 from Amazon.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmailby feather
Facebooktwitterrssby feather

Review: Higurashi Cotton Drifting Arc 2

Higurashi Cotton Drifting Arc 2

Story by Ryukishio7

Art by Yutori Houjyou

Reviewed by JMD Reid

It’s the night of the Cotton Drifting Festival. Keiichi Maebara, newcomer to the village, wants to watch the ceremony, but Shion (twin sister of Keiichi’s friend Mion) wants to show him something. They find two individuals breaking into the sacred storeroom for the shrine. With everyone in the village watching the ceremony, it’s the perfect time to break in.

Inside, Keiichi learns the dark past of Hinamizawa. A history of human torture of those who break the rules. For the last four years, the village has been punishing those who supported the dam project that would have seen village destroyed.

This year, they’ll have to punish the four people who entered the sacred shrine.

As Keiichi realizes just how bad the situation is when he learns that the two people who broke into the shrine with him and Shion have been murdered. Worse, other people whom Keiichi and Shion confided in have gone missing. It’s clear the secret leadership of Hinamizawa is cleaning house. How much longer before they come for Keiichi?

While the first volume of this story is rather peaceful, things ramp up fast in here. Paranoia sets in and things get nuts. After the last volume, we saw that Mion and Rena were possessed by demons. It seems that same force is at work as we learn more about the history of the village. The tragedy plays out to the bitter end. The horror is intense.

But it’s all so tragic. Once again, close friendships have ended in bloody murder. The culprit is different, but the results are just the same. There is something wrong with this village. What is the truth of what is going on?

What will happen when the time resets for the next arc? As always, look for the things that stay the same. There are little clues for what is really going on.

This arc, while tragic, is well done in what it’s purpose is. Ryukishio7 has created a scenario that serves to fuel the mystery. The art is great. I especially like the color drawings at the start. I like how they use different artists for the arcs, matching them up with the corresponding answer arc.

You can buy Higurashi Cotton Drifting Arc 2 from Amazon.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmailby feather
Facebooktwitterrssby feather

Review: BERSERK Volume 17

BERSERK 17

by Kentaro Miura

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Captured by the Holy Cross Knights, Guts is in stocks and imprisoned as night descends. The demons and evil spirits his brand attracts will be here soon and being surrounded by a company of knights won’t be much protection. He needs to escape.

Farness, the female commander of the knights, is shocked by the events of yesterday. She’s caught a glimpse of something she’s never encountered in Guts, and it’s only going to get worse. Night is falling and she’s about to learn first hand why Guts has so many weapons. Why he’s left a path of carnage in his wake.

Guts might be a human monster, but he’s the only one capable of fighting the inhuman denizens about to fall upon the camp.

BERSERK 17 transitions us into the second half of this story. The first was all about how Guts became the Black Swordsman, now we’re moving past that. He’s had his two years of fruitless revenge on Griffith and things are changing. Something is building in the world. An evil is growing. What started on the eclipse is not over.

That was just the beginning for whatever plan the Godhand have for their newest member. As the world falls apart, a “savior” is needed.

Miura does a great job with this transition, showing us more of the world through the introduction of Farness and by jumping back to the characters we’ve met in early parts of the story at Windham. Momentous things are building, and Guts will have to face his decisions.

That moment when Guts realizes what he’s doing is the pivotal moment for his character. The last two years of rage have only transformed him into something like Griffith. Is that what he wants? It’s time for Guts to decide to keep being a coward, or to be a hero for the last person left he cares for.

BERSERK continues to be a great read! Powerful, full of deep and complex characters, with themes that make you reflect!

You can buy BERSERK Vol 17 from Amazon.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmailby feather
Facebooktwitterrssby feather

A Beautiful Lie (The Monster Series Book 1)

A Beautiful Lie (The Monster Series Book 1)

by Amber Naralim

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Ellie is struggling to adjust to her new life after her parent’s deaths. The young girl is adrift, searching for something to give her life meaning. She finds that meaning in a young man, a drifter in need of help.

Vincent is lost. Cursed and haunted by his actions, he drifts through life. If he can find something, even a lie, to cling to, perhaps he can put himself back together. Perhaps he can tame the beast inside of him.

Two paths cross and two lives are forever changed.

A Beautiful Lie is a prequel to Naralim’s fantastic Walking with Monsters, showing how Ellie met Vincent and how the tragedy that befell her family and catapulted her into a life of danger, the life of a fugitive. It’s a fascinating look at the characters before the darkness claimed them. Before Ellie walked with a monster and left the light behind.

Naralim is an indie author who writes powerful stories full of dark and engaging themes. Any fan of urban fantasy, dark romance, and fairy tales needs to check out her series! You will not be disappointed!

You can buy A Beautiful Lie from Amazon.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmailby feather
Facebooktwitterrssby feather

Review: BERSERK Vol 16

BERSERK 16

by Kentaro Miura

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Jill has learned the truth of what her friend Rosine has become, but the idea of becoming an “elf” still appeals to her. Growing up abused, like Rosine, she doesn’t want to return to her village. She hates her father and fears becoming a weak woman like her mother. If she allows Rosine to transform her, she can be free of that.

But Guts, wounded, driven by his rage, shows her the truth of Rosine’s transformation. Her friend has become a demon. That sweet girl she used to play with as a child has become a monster. And even this inhuman monster is scared of Guts.

Rosine will have to reveal her true form to defeat Guts. But will it be enough? Or will she be the next demon slain by the Black Swordsman?

This arc is more about Jill and her loss of innocence as she sees the brutality of the world and what it takes for a man like Guts to survive in it. Her transformation over these pages as she survives these terrible events gives us a glimmer of hope that this world isn’t wholly lost. Even as Miura makes us feel pity for the monstrous Rosine, he shows us that Jill might have the strength to do something good in this world.

Either way, Guts continues on only now he’s hunted by the Holy Chain Knights led by Farness. After two years of following his trail of destruction, they have finally caught up to Guts. He’s wounded form his fight with Rosine. Will he escape, or will they take him prisoner?

BERSERK continues to impress. Miura shows us how the cruelties we inflict on each other can create new monsters. Because that’s the true essence of this series: all the evils, all the atrocities, all the demonic entities are just humans who have given into their selfish natures. Whether it’s Rosine who wants her childish paradise or Wyld who wants to be powerful again, the evil in BERSKER is spawned by human weakness.

So can there be any hope in such a bleak and nihilistic world? Maybe. There’s Puck the Elf. There’s Jill. And maybe even Guts can find his way out of his darkness before the beast of rage inside of him consumes him.

This is why BERSERK is one of the greatest works of fantasy literature and art produced in the world. If you’re not reading it, you should be!

You can buy BERSERK Vol 16 from Amazon.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmailby feather
Facebooktwitterrssby feather

Review: Higurashi Abducted by the Demon Arc 2

Higurashi Abducted by the Demon Arc 2

Story by Ryukishio7

Story by Karin Suzuragi

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Keiichi Maebra, a teenage boy who recently moved to the sleepy village of Hinamizawa in the mountains of Japan, fears he might be murdered. The village has a dark reputation. Beneath it’s picturesque exterior, rumors of a man-eating demon lurk. A demon the villagers aid in its mission of protecting their villagers.

Outsiders have to be sacrificed to it, and Keiichi’s new friends, the girls Mion and Rena, might not be humans like he thought. They might be demons wanting to murder him. He’ll have to find the evidence to prove what is going on and defend his life before he’s the next person demoned away.

The paranoia and fear escalate. Rena especially seems to transition from her normal, cute girl persona to a demonic, cat-eyed demon. She goes from taunting Keiichi to wanting him dead, demanding to know his secrets. The art gets crazy, capturing Keiichi’s terror along with transforming the young Rena into something monstrous and terrifying.

And when you know the secret of the series, these scenes only become more tragic. The clues are there, little speckles at the true story, but that first time you read it, you’re left stunned. How did this happen? It all started so fun, so light-hearted. Keiichi, Mion, and Rena were such good friends. They were playful and innocent.

And then syringe and the baseball bat.

At the end, you’re wondering how this series can continue? Where could it possibly go after this ending. Where it goes only makes this series more intriguing. The story may seem over, but it is far, far from complete.

You can buy Higurashi Abducted by the Demon Arc 2 from Amazon.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmailby feather
Facebooktwitterrssby feather

Review: Higurashi Abducted by the Demon Arc 1

Higurashi Abducted by the Demon Arc 1

Story by Ryukishio7

Story by Karin Suzuragi

Reviewed by JMD Reid

“Please don’t be sad,

Even if the world doesn’t forgive you, I will forgive you.

Please don’t be sad,

Even if you don’t forgive the world, I will forgive you.

So please tell me,

What shall I do so that you’ll forgive me.”

—Frederica Bernkastel

If you know the story the above poem that opens the series is stunning. Who is Frederica Bernkastel? What is going on in his series? You’ll have to read to find out.

Keiichi Maebara is newly transferred to the sleepy mountain village of Hinamizawa in the summer of 1983. He’s quickly made friends with some of the local girls, Rena, Satako, Rika, and their leader, Mion. He feels like he has a new life. A new start from living in the city of Tokyo.

But there is something dark lurking beneath the surface of Hinamizawa, a dangerous past that his new friends are hiding from him. Why don’t they want him to know the truth of the village? What are the concealing from him?

As Keiichi discovers more of the village, can he truly trust his new friends? Are Rena and Mion wanting to protect him, or are they setting him up to be the next victim?

Higurashi is a rather interesting story. IT starts out light and fun, the characters introduced well. They have a fun atmosphere, hyper-competitive but in a good-hearted way. You can see that they know each other and are welcoming the newcomer Keiichi.

And then he hears rumors about the village’s past. Suddenly his friends are acting weird. A sense of unease slowly pervades the story. Paranoia steps in as things grow more and more dire. The story has a mystery that keeps you reading while the characters keep you engaged. What is going on? What will happen? Are Rena and Mion truly his friends, or are they something else?

These questions will be begging to be answered over the course of this manga.

The art is great, bouncing between the playful to the tense with skill. The artist captures both with ease. If you’ve played the doujin visual novel this is based off of, you’ll see the story is being faithfully adapted.

Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni is one of the best mystery series in Japanese pop culture. Whether it’s the anime, the original doujin novels, or this manga series, it’s worth checking out!

You can buy Higurashi Abducted by the Demon Arc 1 from Amazon.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmailby feather
Facebooktwitterrssby feather

Reveiw: Darkblade Savior(Hero of Darkness 6)

Darkblade Savior(Hero of Darkness 6)

by Andy Peloquin

Reviewed by JMD Reid

The Hunter has finally reached Enarium and he has finally found his wife. The mysterious woman who has haunted his memory, vestige of life he lived before his memory was repeatedly whipped for the last five thousand years.

But is Taiana the same woman he loved. Can he trust the woman who plunged a dagger into his chest despite what he feels for her? Does he have much choice? Because the world is about to end. The demonic Sage has also arrived in Enarium. His forces hold the city. The energy gathers in its bowels.

Soon, it will be unleashed along with the Destroyer.

The Hunter will have to figure out what is going on, how to save the young boy Hailien, and stop the Sage from unleashing the embodiment of entropy onto the world? After all the Hunter has learned, he’s about to discover he knows nothing.

This concludes the first arc of the Hunter’s story. And it is amazing. The story flows form twists and turns, peeling back the obscuring millennia that has hidden the truth of the story. The characters are great. Peloquin has already made you care for the Hunter and Hailien, now he has new characters to flesh out. You ache for the Hunter and his wife to have their reunion, but not even you the reader can trust her. It gives a sense of impending doom looming over everything. That one false step, and it will all come crashing down.

This series was a satisfying read. It hurtled you along, carrying you from one breathless action piece to the next. Each one built and built towards the epic conclusion. It was a great ride, and I’m glad that the Hunter story isn’t over. I’m eager to see where the story goes next!

Fans of fantasy, you have to check out one of the up and comers in the indie fantasy market! Andy’s works are astounding!

You can buy Darkblade Savior from Amazon. Check out Andy Peloquin’s website, connect on Linked In, follow him on Google Plus, like him on Twitter @AndyPeloquin, and like him on Facebook.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmailby feather
Facebooktwitterrssby feather

Review: BERSERK 14

BERSERK 14

by Kentaro Miura

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Newly recovered from his injures suffered from the eclipse, Guts has to face his new life living in the boundary between life and death. Thanks to the brand he received when Griffith offered him a sacrifice, evil spirits seek to devour his soul.

And he’s not the only one branded.

Caska, her mind reduced to that of a child after being raped by the demonic Griffith, has no idea the danger she’s in. Guts has to race to her fast to protect her from the demons. But will it matter? Even if he saves her, she now fears and hates him, so traumatized by her experience. Her mind is broken. Nothing is ever the same.

All that is left for Guts is vengeance. The Black Swordsman we met at the beginning of this series is born.

Volume 14 also jumps us to two years later, putting is after the events of the early volume. Guts, now traveling with Puck, is about to find another one of the demonic apostles. He has another chance to find vengeance.

Miura’s epic continues. For those who watched the original anime, this volume carries it beyond what that started. From here on out, the story isn’t known. We don’t know if Guts will survive his vengeance. We don’t know if Caska will ever regain her sanity. All we can do is march with Guts ever on, trying to defy fate in a world that has lost all hope and given in to evil.

You can buy BERSERK Vol 14 from Amazon.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmailby feather
Facebooktwitterrssby feather