Manga Mondays: Art & Story

Today's Topic: Art & Story ~ How does affect you?

To those avid Manga readers and Anime watchers, we stumble across a variety of styles in the art we see. We see our stereotypical to our old style of Manga/Anime. We like the stories for the stories, and we like the art for the art. I sound kind of redundant right? It probably doesn't make much sense to you, does it?

What I mean by those two statements is that we appreciate those Mangas for its art and story line. Those are essentially what draws people into it. However, we see those stories with just the terrible plot lines with the super amazing art and vis versa, like I had explained Here (Style ~ Make or Break a Manga/Anime?) Basically, it is the same principles applied here. However, in this post, I want to focus on the essential question of whether the art and story affect your manga experience.

Well, to be honest, it should and shouldn't affect you.

Why you ask? Well, here's my reasons why:

~~Should Affect You~~
Art: Art is basically the whole premise of any animations and comics, including Manga and Animes. Essentially, if something is pleasant to the eyes, whether it is the background, character designs, or movement, we will watch it, absorb it, and enjoy it. We are affected by the art because we enjoy it in some way, shape, or form. The art in a Manga or Anime (Gonna initial that as MoA) is important to keep us entertained.
Story: Okay, so you've got your art. All good, you can make a MoA. BUT HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! Obviously, you will bore the heck out of every single person if you just put pretty art up without a meaning. Story is important whether you are drawing a comic or just a regular picture. Every picture tells a story, and as artists, they need to convey that story to the audience through the picture. 
Ask yourself: Why is he mad about that? What caused the problem? What led them to become lost? How will they resolve the fighting and conflict? 
We answer these questions through the story that is conveyed in the picture: Oh, I see why he is upset. Now I understand why she is acting this way. That's why he looked so pissed off.
The story is a such a key part of any MoA that you basically can't even have anything of a book without one.

~~Shouldn't Affect You/Isn't Used Well/HOLYCRAPWHY!?~~
Art: Okay, so bad art will always be bad art. However, just because one art isn't as mainstream as another doesn't mean it is bad. There are a lot of art styles that are non-mainstream that are wonderful and amazing to look at. However, like I said, bad art will always be bad art. If the art is mixed with a super interesting plot line, I would definitely suggest giving the MoA a chance. Yet, keep in mind that if it has a bad story line and bad art, then... Well.. You know... >.> *looks at MoA dump pile*...
(Disclaimer: I love Dragon Ball Z. Please do not think that I hate it, but that statement is the truth.) I mean, Dragon Ball Z does have a plot line, but every episode or chapter is filled with talking, and then the next BAJILLION chapters are filled with convoluted insults or fighting that is so super-human and wayyy too god-like for a fantasy/fiction story. It makes me epicly /facepalm.

So, with that, I'd like to ask you for a favor:

For those who have read Manga or watched Anime with that art that you just hate or dislike with a fiery passion, please, please, not just for my sake but for the Mangaka's sake, to read the story or watch the episode. I know it will be difficult, especially if the art really sucks in your opinion, universally, or otherwise, but you never and may never know how much you will fall in love with that story and just keep reading it again and again.

Well, even if you don't complete my favor, I'm glad you could join me for this Monday's Feature. If you have any topics you want to discuss on this feature, feel free to leave a comment below and ask a question I can elaborate on (Or multiples if you wish)!

Inked with Brilliance and Love,
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Manga Review: Mephistos

Meet Maria & Meths

Title: Mephistos [Here Be Demons series]
Artist: Naniiebim [Deviant Account]
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama, Supernatural
Volumes (Thus far): 3
Buy them HERE
Read Sample HERE

Summary: What do you do when you find yourself living next to an unusual neighbor?

Review: So, my mind was blown by this manga. Seriously, Naniiebim is a genius.
Collection of Books of Mephistos & Peeks at
the contents inside! :D
Basically, this story is about a woman, Maria and a man, Mephistos (Meths)... who happens to have a tail. Their first encounter is struck with a frozen chicken, and both characters are thrust into this unusual relationship between a woman and a demon. After Maria had met Meths, she begins to encounter a strange black shadow that follows her around, not understanding what is going on. The story progresses at a steady pace and keeps the reader wanting more. Naniiebim's intriguing story seriously is making me save up money for her books (I wish I had a job!!.. ). The story isn't a typical romance or supernatural drama at all. From page one, I have always wondered about Maria's character, especially the first page! (NO SPOILERS. GO READ IT!!) The use of panels (We'll talk about that in a few) and the expressions of the characters are excellently displayed and keep the flow of the story moving, especially with Naniiebim's unique style.

Maria and opening to Chapter 6
Maria: You know what I love about Maria? She looks like a normal woman. No, that is not at all bad. What I mean by normal is the comparison between mainstream manga and Naniiebim's artistic interpretation of Maria. Maria isn't that large eyed "woman" who looks like a 14 year-old girl; She looks like an average woman, who was living a peaceful life. Maria in the beginning and later on are how any person would react to situations (I.E. when she first sees Meths). I love Maria because 1 - She's my own definition of beautiful. Her character design is simple yet gorgeous, especially her eyes and hair. (Black hair FTW!) 2 - Her character is somewhat mysterious. From page one, like I said in the Review, Maria interests me. At first, I was wondering what she was looking at and what she was doing before hand and if it had anything to do with what is happening to her now (Maybe I am over analyzing it.. I tend to do that...) However, Maria is a perfect female protagonist and isn't some angsty woman on the edge because of love or something cliche. She's just normal, and to me, when someone or something is normal, there is totally another layer beneath he/she or it.
Meths & Maria
Meths: Beautiful character. Maria's 0.05 evaluation of Meths had be laughing my butt off. Meths' personality is totally the proverb "Don't judge a book by its cover." That is exactly what happened; Meths' personality is rather endearing, funny, and adorable. His facial expressions fit his character, and his character design is beautiful. I love the part (SPOILER ALERT) after Maria had grabbed his tail and he kept asking her what he say, when he broke down, I nearly peed myself from laughter. My stomach hurt for a good 30 minutes. XD It was especially worse because I kept reading it and seeing his expressions. (SPOILER ENDS) Meths has a unique personality compared to his protagonist counterpart, Maria, which balances the calmness with the hyperactive-ness that is Meths. Naniiebim was genius in incorporating two some-what contrasting personalities between the two protagonist. I feel that if Meths did follow the book with his personality matching his physical look, then Meths just wouldn't be as great of a character.

Panel Planning and Art Uniquity: Generally, I do not add this to my reviews when I do manga or anime, but I slightly mention them to support the claims I make. However, because Naniiebim is somewhat of a developing Mangaka, I wanted to incorporate this.
First, panel planning and viewpoints = GENIUS. Naniiebim uses unique perspectives (I love her use of the Fish-eye VP) that creates an interesting scenery in a possibly boring panel if she had not used that unique perspective. Another point that leads to is panel planning which is actually a very good aspect of any manga. Naniiebim uses panels in a simplistic way, but within every panel, it creates a build-up and conclusion, even when she might not mean to (No idea what she is thinking, but she is very clever and a genius). This build-up creates such a huge emotion in the reader that they just desire more with a passion. Seriously, I was always so excited when I saw she had added a new page.
Maria & Meths :D
One thing that scared me a little bit was Naniiebim's style. I am so used to the finished lines in mangas, pictures, or even in my own art. (I'm a perfectionist.. /lesigh...) It used to bother me a lot when I would see unfinished lines in pictures. However, Naniiebim's style just slapped me outta that. Seriously, this art is so expressful and fluid that it literally flows the manga together.

Overall: Entirely, I give Mephistos a 4/4 polishes. It's story line is well paced, and its art is beyond expression of creativity and uniqueness. Naniiebim's creative use to character expressions, gestures, and realism-meets-fantasy & fantasy-meets-realism encounters is magnificent. I really can't describe how much I wish I could buy all of Naniiebim's art work and books (Jellyfish Prince is sooo adorable!). Sadly, I am too poor... i need a job Hmm. What was that? ._.
Mephistos ~ Maria and Meths

P.S. I'd like to give a special thanks to Naniiebim who allowed me to use the art seen in this review and also allowing me to write this review about her Manga. Naniiebim, I wish you great success and you will be seeing me order your books and art very soon! Keep on drawing!

Inked with Brilliance and Love,

You have read this article 2012 Reads / Anime / Manga / Sara's Reviews with the title February 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Anime Review: Hetalia - Axis Powers (APH)

Background to Foreground: Japan, Germany, Italy
Title: Axis Powers Hetalia
Original Artist: Hidekaz Himaruya
Episodes: 52
Genre: Seinen, Historical, Comedy (This comedy is allegory for racial stereotypes. If you do not laugh at things like this, then watch Hetalia because it will change your mind. DIDN'T SEE THAT COMING, DIDCHAYA!?)
Anime: With Subtitles ~ With English Dub (Highly recommend) Also, currently on Netflix [Epi. 1-24, maybe 26, English dubbed]

Synopsis: Think of it like WWII, except every country is a pretty boy instead. A hilariously stereotypical pretty boy. America loves burgers, Russia is into the vodka, and China has pandas and a Wok.
It is centered mostly around Italy, who has both a North and South character. The Hetaria portion of the name is probably mocking Italy, as Hetare means 'Useless'

Review: OHMYGODINEVERKNEWLEARNINGHISTORYCOULDBETHISMUCHFUN! Holy crap, this show blew my mind. Seriously, it's become one of my all time favorites and for the last two-three weeks I've been watching and obsessing over it non-stop. All the characters and the stories are so awesome and creative. And if you know cultural stereotypes for any country, then you will laugh your pants off watching this show.

Left to Right: Japan, [North] Italy, Germany, Russia, England,
America, France, and China
Basically, this story follows the shenanigans of the Axis Powers and Allied Forces of WWII. Everything you've known about history has completely been hilari-fied (Is that a word? OHWELLNOWITIS). Axis Powers: Hetalia (APH) is a genius story following Italy, a pasta-loving and surrendering fool who allies himself with ever-stern and battle-fierce Germany and stoic, silent, and genius Japan to create the Axis Powers of the world. They fight ferociously with the Allied Forces of loud-and-hero-wannabe and hamburger-lover America, arrogant and irritable England, yandere and "evil" Russia, naive and combat-master China, and perverted and molesty France. 

Background to Foreground:
Russia, America, China, France & England
The main canon of the story is honestly unknown. Really though, it focuses on the countries' roles during WWI (briefly) and WWII. When episodes focus on character arcs, they generally hit the past and move to different places around the world (I.E. Japan's gardens when Italy is bothering him, or Germany's house when Italy is bothering Germany, or Germany's yard with Japan and Japan's cat and Italy bothering them both... Recurring theme here anyone?)

However, this story doesn't restrict itself completely to just the Axis Powers or the Allied Forces; it also explores other outlaying countries around the main 8. Characters such as Austria, Hungary, and Switzerland make appearances with our main characters and continue to pack on both the history and hilarity of APH. Other specific places, such as Hong Kong, Greece, and Italy's brother, South Italy, Romano, make appearances as well. Every character in this story is awesome and freaking cool as cool can possibly get.

Background to Foreground:
North Italy, Germany, & Japan
*North Italy: Oh my god. Italy makes me pee myself from laughter. He's a mega-super-boss-of-all-bosses! He's so stupid, and he gets himself in so much trouble, it makes me crack up into tears. Italy's stereotypes are definite in his character and demeanor.
*Germany: Seriously, Germany has made me like Germany a lot more... That sounds a bit redundant, but WHATEVER. IT'S COOL CAUSE IT'S HETALIA! But anyways, Germany is awesome, especially when he is yelling at Italy because of his gestures and facial expressions.
*Japan: YEAH, IT'S THE BAMF OF ALL COUNTRIES! LEMME GET A WOOT-WOOT! (wootwoot!) I love Japan's demeanor and speech within the episodes, and his reactions to certain things (I.E. Italy Hugging him) is hilarious. I could watch that scene for HOURS and never get tired of it. He's the best. He's even got a samurai sword. That just PROVES the fact that he is pimping and awesome.
*America: You want the stereotypical American? Well, you've found him. America is in love with hamburgers and milkshakes and attempts to ask France, Japan, and China their ways of staying thin (all the while making fun of their stereotypes). His loud and "I-Want-To-Be-The-Hero!" actions are totally everything that America is made of, especially with the excuse of "Let's spread democracy!" on hand. Lawl. You go America! >:D
*England: England is everything you could ask for in an... English man. You've got the funny eyebrows, always trying to be right, and the awesome accent (English VA). He's pretty freaking cool, and he became one of my favorites easily when he came on the screen!
*Russia: OH MY GOD! When Russia does his evil face, I nearly pooped myself from laughter. (Sorry that's gross but it's true... okay not really, but still!) Russia is so brawny and giant, and he is so freaking awesome. He's silent but DEFINITELY deadly.
Left to Right: Russia, China, America,
England, & France
*China: Represent my Chinese friends! I love China and will always love China because I am a bit Chinese. And this goes without saying, but China deserves it: BAMF TO THE MAX! China's got the typical kung-fu skills and beats people with a Wok and ladle. If you don't know what a Wok is, then look it up and you will probably laugh.
*France: This pervert made me want to go back into French class. He's everything that a French guy might be and stereotypically is: Bi, flashy, flamboyant, and passionate. Yep, he's everything right there. France is just a pimp and a boss at being.... well... French. Je t'aime, France. Je t'aime beaucoup.

Art and Transition/Movement:
So, I love the art in APH. All the characters are super cute and so close to their "What would a (Insert Nationality Here) look like?" Their gestures and speech are hilarious and continue to entertain the audience in a spectacular way. 

Voice Acting:
Okay, so I don't know about the Japanese voice acting, but the English voice acting....

My mind.
It's so awesome with their accents that makes it sound more... authentic, for the lack of a better word. All the nations are so well captured with their accents, and their voice acting fits nearly all of the characters I have seen. I don't think I could have found any better voice acting for any of these characters than the ones they had already found. Italy's fast speech is so perfect, and Japan's heavy "L = R" accent is well done. Germany's heavy "W = V" accent and emphasis on consonants is superb, and England's English accent is an accent I wish I had... /sigh... Nearly every nationality's voice is grand and amazing, and I say, kudos to you Funimation for making an awesome show. 

Want me to be completely honest? I'd give more than 4 polishes for APH if I could. That is legitimate. APH is a great comedical and historical Anime that I'd recommend to anyone, whether he/she liked history or not. APH really... Just read the [de]motivational poster below and you'll understand how I feel about Hetalia...

Inked with Brilliance and Love,

You have read this article 2012 Reads / Anime / Manga / Sara's Reviews with the title February 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

*Administrator's Note* An Apology Well Deserved

Hello, everyone!

This is Alisha here and I know that I have been a rarity here at BNR in the pass two months. I want to extend a huge apology to all of our readers and everyone else in the blog community. It has been hard to get some time to blog and publish reviews and make features I have been wanting to start this year. I kick myself everyday because I am not able to be on here and spend time with you all.

Since the time has passed and I can not do much to make up for the time lost. I have told myself that I need to change my schedule and my priorities so I can be on here each week and make sure we are posting what our readers are waiting for.

Starting today, each month there will be two interviews and at least one giveaway! Along with those, we will have Sara's Manga Mondays and some features I have been wanting to get started doing. I can not say when mine will start but we will continue to have Sara's Manga Mondays for now.

I have just taken to requested reviews and sent out a request for a certain ARC I've been wanting. I can not say how sorry I am for being absent from the blog community and from BNR, it's been hell and back over here. But, I promise that I will be here from now on and BNR will be better than before.

I hope you will join us for the ride. ♥

Peace and Fangs,
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Manga Mondays: The End for Bleach

The End for Bleach?!!?


I wish it was Monday last Wednesday when I saw the news and the new chapter on Seriously, I was in total shock.

I'm a huge Bleach fan. Surprisingly, my totally-closet-nerd brother introduced me to Bleach when he started watching the Anime when it first came out. For me, I decided to read the Manga, considering I had begun to get into Manga then too. I instantly fell in love with nearly all the characters and love the Manga Arcs (the Anime fillers can all burn in a ditch).

But speculation has come around to say:

Bleach is ending!!

Yep, the final arc has supposedly arrived.

However, is it really ending?

On most forums I've looked up on, considering I spent two hours trying to figure out if Bleach is really ending for sure, Kubo Tite has said that Bleach will go on for another 10 years. (Google Kubo Tite interview end, and you'll see a lot of the same information on Bleach forums, Bleach Tumblrs, etc.etc.allBleachetc.) Seriously, I was extremely relieved. However, I am still confused by the fact that the newest chapter is called "The Final Arc." Well, I guess we'll see when it ends.

However, what are we going to be expecting in this new and final arc!?
Many fans and myself have taken information from Kubo Tite's interviews at Jump Fiesta and know that the "mysterious" Royal Guard of Seireitei is supposed to appear! EEGAD!!! Not only the speculated Royal Guard but also more... QUINCIES!! Yep. More Ishidas. <3 And if you're a girl like me, you'll be glad if there are more Ishidas around... <3 Also, as seen near the end of the Substitute Shinigami (SS) Arc, our favorite Shinigami Captains and Vice-Captains have received many make-overs in character design. Even the opening pages of Chapter 480, the beginning of the Final Arc, we see Mayuri in his new design. As the reader flips through the chapter, we see two new faces, both Shinigami and investigating Karakura town. However, they are attacked by multiple giant Hollows, and thankfully, at the end, Ichigo dives right into the battle.

What can we really expect from Bleach though? Will this be the final arc for sure? Or is there really going to be another 10 years of Bleach for us fanatics to hold on to?

Honestly, I'd like more Bleach, but others might not think so. Some say it should have ended at the Arrancar Arc with the exile/death of Aizen, but with the flood of Japanese fans begging for more during the Arrancar Arc, Kubo Tite continued it and had continued it to the SS Arc. I feel that the SS Arc was fairly well written, however it also felt like it was completely rushed compared to all the other Arcs.(Basically, I took from it as a look at the whole SS BS that I thought was lame in the first place and felt that Ichigo should be looked at as an equal with the Shinigami. But you know, I'm not bitter....)

Kubo Tite had reassured that in the following years, Bleach will be more exciting and engaging for the audience. I'm super excited!

Bleach = Amazing.

Opening cover page of the Final Arc
We see Ichigo in his new Fullbring/Shinigami outfit as well as Zangetsu <3
In the background, there are the silhouettes of the Quincies. Can't wait for their appearance!

Read the first chapter of the Final Arc Here!

And let me know what you think:

Should Bleach really end here? Or continue for another 10 years? What's your opinion of Bleach in generally , the SS Arc, or your expectations for this new and "Final" Arc?

Inked with Brilliance and Love,

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Manga Mondays: What's wrong with it?

So.. For today's question, which I probably should have addressed way back then, is:

Why don't people like Manga? What's wrong with it?

I can probably already answer the question for you: Basically, people are so wrapped up in mainstream manga and anime that they can't get it out of their FREAKING mindset that not every single one is like that.

This kind of goes back to my Manga style post. Style is so important in making an impact in our ideal of manga; it's crazy knowing how much it affects our standard. So lemme ask you, what is your standard of manga/anime? If you like it, why? If you don't, why not?

Don't gimme that crud that it's "lazy and they don't have the talent for realistic art, blahblahblah." Don't. Seriously, it's getting old. I hear it enough from people who haven't even seen amazingly well-drawn manga/anime. I hear it enough from the people in my art club. I'm not saying that I am the epitome of perfection of manga/anime; I'm just an artist who draws it. I can't say I am the best.


Anyways, my point is that most (not saying all) critics of Manga/Anime only see the mainstream plot lines and designs that make it seem "standard" and if you are not in the standard, then you are not a Mangaka.


I've seen excellent and extravagant artists all around, especially on DeviantArt to tell YOU, my friend, that drawing manga and anime doesn't force you to be in the standard or the main stream. What's fantastic, and I've said this before, is the uniqueness of Manga. It is a beautiful and wonderful medium, and nearly, some pictures just take my breath away. An artist's details and designs make the characters and scenery come to life. My love and adoration of all things Manga and Anime has given me a new respect for the Mangakas and artists that arise in our society. They are criticized for their style and medium, however, they do not back down and continue to draw their passions.

So to the readers reading this ranting of mine that is completely subjective, I ask you:

Can you accept this style? Can you embrace it with the love that you have shown other pieces of work?

We all start somewhere. For us Manga and Anime artists, this is our start.

Inked with Brilliance and Love,

P.S. I'm sorry this is just a huge rant. I had to get it off my chest. And I also apologize that this isn't really a feature. I'll do a better feature next Monday. Today was just a crazy day. ;_;
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