Nightmare Inspector: When you really need to get rid of your nightmares.

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A gothic manga set to hit stores April 8 is Shin Mashiba’s “Nightmare Inspector: Yumekui Kenbun” which chronicles the cases of Hiruko and the people who seek his help. Hiruko, who hangs around the Silver Star Tea House, is not human but a creature who eats your dreams in lieu of payment. Suffice it to say his clientele is made up of folks plagued by nightmares.

Published in America by VIZ Media, “Nightmare Inspector” is geared for teens and comes with a price tag of $9.99. Each chapter is a story of a client who has found himself or herself at the tea house for one reason or other.

The artwork is beautiful and several of the stories have a twist to them such as the fan obsessed with an actress. He finds to his cost that life does imitate art. The story of the young man who yearns for the woman who he only knows as a voice at other end of his phone is actually a tale about narcissism. And the woman who dreams she is literally falling apart has a bloody secret to hide.

Volume One hints there is more to Hiruko than meets the eye; calling him as someone no longer human. So how did he become a nightmare inspector? Why is his base the teahouse? Hopefully latter episodes will answer these questions.

It reminds me of the horror comics I read while growing up in the ’70s and ’80s. “Nightmare Inspector” doesn’t break new ground but it’s a nice read.

The manga was published in Japan by Square Enix, the publisher of the first manga series from Shin Mashiba.

Bleach movie licensed

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Here’s the latest news from the land of “Bleach”, the popular action anime about soul reapers.

VIZ Media based in San Francisco has secured the license for “Bleach the movie: Memories of Nobody!! According to the company’s press release, the film will have a limited theatrical release in major cities throughout North America this summer with the DVD release to follow in the winter.

“Bleach” is a popular ongoing shonen series in Japan which is based on an equally popular manga by Tite Kubo. In America, the anime airs on Adult Swim.

“Bleach” has also spawned several video games but I haven’t played those so I can’t tell you how they rate with me.

Do I like the show and manga? Hmmm. The main character, Ichigo Kurosaki, is on this blog’s design, my car’s rear window sports Ichigo’s temporary soul reaper logo and dangling from my bag is the character Kon who is a modified soul kept in a stuffed toy. Yeah I like “Bleach.” A lot.

If ya need more info, the “Bleach” Web site is bleach.viz.com or www.viz.com.

Mystery and a board game to boot


Here is the opening song to the anime “Shion No Ou” or “Shion’s King” which combines a mystery with a sport anime. This is courtesy of YouTuber xAzakura. The show is also known as “Flowers of Hard Blood.”

Shion Yasuoka is a sweet girl who plays shogi, a board game similar to chess, very well. She communicates via a notepad because she hasn’t spoken a word after witnessing the stabbing deaths of her real parents at age five. Her neighbors, the Yasuokas, adopted her and raised her as their own. Her adoptive father is a professional shogi player and he nurtures her innate talent for the game.

At a young age, she is considered an excellent female shogi player.

Like any anime geared toward competitions, the show focuses on the players and the games. So the simple act of moving a game piece is overblown sometimes. But that’s common in such shows.

What makes this anime interesting is the mystery of who killed Shion’s parents. The show never loses sight of that main plot line so I have yet to see a wasted episode.

More anime tunes

I was checking out YouTube and saw this courtesy of Top 5 Anime. I have no idea if the contest was just a fan-driven thing. The tunes are nice though.

In order of presentation they are:

1. “Hare Hare Yukai” by Ayano Hirano which was used as the closing song to “Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”

2. “Rewrite” by Asian Kung Fu Generation which was one of the opening songs used in “Full Metal Alchemist”

3. “The World” by Nightmare which is the first opening song in “Death Note”

4. “Undo” by Joker also used as an opening song in “Full Metal Alchemist”

6. “Grip” by Every Little Thing which heralded the arc involving the seven Shichinintai in “Inuyasha”

7. “Asterisk” by Orange Range which is the first opening theme song in “Bleach”

Personally, I would pick “Asterisk”, “The World”, “Go” and “Rewrite.” I’m crazy that way.

Anime and manga classic to hit the big screen

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So Leonardo DiCaprio and Warner Bros have teamed up to bring a live action version of “Akira” to the big screen, according to the Hollywood Reporter. It’s supposed to be a two-parter with the first movie possibly coming out in summer 2009.

I’m sure my friends who are fans of the manga and anime versions will be lining up to see the film.

I won’t.

At the time it came out, “Akira” was considered cutting edge with its animation and some of its themes. I saw it and wondered what the big deal was about. I still do. Yeah I know I’m in the minority when I say that.

While I appreciated the attention given to details so the animation flowed smoothly and the action scenes were good, I never liked the character designs much less the plot. Another rebellious teen (this time a biker kid) living in a post nuclear world has to deal with a government experiment on children gone awry. And it was such a letdown to find out who Akira was.

The anime and manga has a lot of fans so a quick search of “Akira” on the Net will bring up all the info you want on said classic.

Before you hurl that tomato at me, I better come clean. I also didn’t like “Princess Mononoke” maybe because I saw the horrible version dubbed in English. Then again, I doubt if the plot would make more sense to me if I saw it in the original Japanese with English subtitles.

And “Spirited Away” didn’t move me either. I remember sitting through the entire movie out of some misguided belief that if one started something, one has to finish it. It wasn’t a bad film by any means. I just couldn’t get into it.