Hope’s Peak Academy is an exclusive private school that only accepts the best of the best. Graduates of this elite – yet enigmatic – institution have the world at their fingertips, but getting a cap and gown is easier said than done. The hallowed halls are ruled by the sadistic administrator Monokuma, who declares that the only way to pass the class is by sending a fellow student home in a body bag. If you can get away with murder, you’ll get your diploma. But if you’re caught red handed, you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of a deadly detention slip! When your principal is psychotic and your finals are fatal, high school goes from being the best years of your life – to your last.
Matt Kamen follows the white rabbit in this brutal prison saga
After an environmental disaster ravages Tokyo, three quarters of the city is wiped from the Earth. What’s left of the once-bustling metropolis is re-developed into Japan’s largest prison, a privately owned concern known as Deadman Wonderland, that forces inmates into sadistic carnival shows for bloodthirsty spectators. To force participation, prisoners are collared with a device that slowly poisons them, a lethal dose building up over three days unless they eat a foul-tasting piece of candy to purge their system and reset the timer. The prison’s chief warden Makina is a no-nonsense ball-buster who never hesitates to punish insubordination or misbehaviour, often with a slash of her lethal sword.
At their production peak, Shaw Studios sanded down some of the historical elements in their epics, concentrating on acrobatics and heavier violence. This, in turn, made them more palatable or at least accessible to non-Chinese audiences, and inadvertently stoked the fires of the Kung Fu Boom.
Eric Khoo's film focuses on one of the founders of gekiga, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, who died on 7th March. The framing story is Tatsumi’s account of his life and development, growing up with a difficult family. He had none of the technology and luxuries that we take for granted, no reason to think he could ever make a living from the fledgling manga industry. And yet he was utterly driven to draw comics, like his hero Osamu Tezuka.
Jasper Sharp reviews a book on the maddest film producer of all
Paul Fischer’s hugely entertaining book, A Kim Il-Sung Production, is the story of two men who lived, ate and breathed cinema, the actress who brought them together and the monster they created together – the Godzilla-inspired Pulgasari (1985), the last of seven features Shin and Choi made in the DPRK in a period of just three years.
By the time Fairy Tail Part 9 hits the shops here, the J-pop band responsible for its ending theme will be fast approaching their second anniversary – of breaking up! Though, this particular writer can’t help but think Fairy Tail may have had something to do with the band’s demise…
Tears, cheers and liver-ripping fun with Japanese ghosts
The battle to destroy the eight seals dominating Kyoto steps up in this second half of the second series adapting the manga of the same name. Nura, our young hero, here finds his desire to use the supernatural to protect humans means he has put his clan in the way of much greater harm than ever before – and before series’ end, yokai, onymyoji and humans will have all spilled blood....
Japanese duo Tacica won’t be winning the Manga UK Blog award for most original song title anytime soon, mostly because no such award exists. But if it did, they still wouldn’t win. Especially not with the title of their hit single and Naruto Shippuden opener, Newsong.
With a series of box-ticking MacGuffins, wandering-monster encounters and vaguely defined side missions, Appleseed: Alpha feels all too often like one is watching someone else playing a computer game, not the least because several crucial moments are bodged or oddly framed, so that it is not always clear what’s going on.