Posts Tagged ‘Volume 3’

DragonEye V3So far we’ve learned about a D Virus that nearly destroyed humanity. Fortified cities were put into place in order to protect citizens from infection. In addition,  an organization named VIUS was put in charge of protecting them.

In our last volume we had our favorite VIUS, Squad Zero members, investigate a large, underground cavern. The team was unintentionally split off with Issa and Sōsei in one group and Leila, Kajiyama, Hibiki, and two other volunteers in another.

Story overview:

Continuing where we left off in the mysterious cave, Sōsei realizes that Issa is right about the numbers of Dracules. The earthquakes appear to have been started by them stomping, and so Sōsei puts on a special mask to help prevent him from being affected by the large virus density that could damage his brain.

Issa and Sōsei find a large opening where the hundreds of Dracules are crowded together. At the very front, on a sort of stage, are three human-like figures with extremely large amounts of power. One of which possesses an eye similar to the Dragon Eye that Issa has. Once the two realize that these hundreds of Dracule are planning to ransack a nearby village, Issa decides to try and stop the creatures before they can leave the cave. We discover a past identity of Issa, called Leda, whom he uses to goad the Dracules. It appears when Issa was Leda he was on their side, and had killed many humans himself.

Meanwhile, the other group of companions fight off a large number of Dracules themselves. Kajiyama uses a special bullet to add light to the cave so that the team can see the Dracules better. It’s here we are shown Hibiki’s awesome power and seemingly obsessive desire to fight.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed seeing some glimpses of Issa’s mysterious past. Also, it was interesting to see how some of the character dynamics unfolded. This is still among my top three manga.

Things to consider:

Same age as previous: thirteen plus. No sexual references, no foul language, just action violence. No real bloody violence; when a Dracule is killed it mysteriously vaporizes into the air.

Opportunities for discussion:

Sōsei falls from a cliff and almost lands into the huge crowd of Dracules, but Issa saves him. Sōsei tempts Issa to let go and end his life, otherwise he’ll only end up killing Issa later for the vengeance of his twin sister. However, Issa continues to show compassion at his own risk and saves the young man, who seems reluctant to be thankful for the action. A discussion topic for your teen(s) would be to ask them what they would do in that situation. Would they let go or save their enemy? Then read to them the Bible verse, Matthew 5:44, “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you . . .” Obviously this does not refer to the Dracules who are past the point of salvation, but more to those who are placed in our lives.

Past reviews in this series:

1) Dragon Eye (Volume 1)
2) Dragon Eye (Volume 2)

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kekkaishi vol3For those of you who have been following this blog on a weekly basis, sorry about the delay in posting. A new addition to the Maxon family has just recently been added. She’s a little young for books and manga, but we’ll get back to some reviews so that we’ll be prepared for when she is.

In the first two volumes of Kekkaishi, we learned about two teens from different families who are guardians by night. They keep creatures (ayakashi) away from their school to prevent them from becoming greater threats; as the beasts absorb the hidden power that’s buried there.

Story overview:

Yoshimori practices his kekkai barrier on a large bolder, but when practicing his “Joso” (positioning) of the kekkai, he struggles to get it where he wants. It seems his powers are enormous, but his control has yet to improve. Tokine on the other hand has the opposite problem: she has complete control but is limited on power. They both secretly envy the other’s abilities and use this as motivation to improve their skills.

They come across a Hiwatari (Ice Blower) ayakashi, and Yoshimori ends up positioning himself in front of Tokine to protect her. Together the two of them join forces (ignoring the family feud) to defeat the foe. We learn of an ability called “Nenshi” (Sense Thread,) which is a kekkai in the form of a string rather than a box. Their job is never done, and soon they face a new enemy for Yoshimori to practice the Nenshi on. Among the group is an old friend of Yoshimori’s magical ghost-like dog, Madarao.

We learn some past history with Madarao and how his/her (I’ll explain later) old friend Koya were both wild dogs living off the land until man came and destroyed it by war, thus forcing the two companions to starve to death. Now it has been five hundred or so years later, and Koya wants to kill humans for revenge. Yoshimori removes Madarao’s collar so that he/she can use full power to defeat Koya. It still turns out to be too hard a task; it takes Yoshimori and Madarao working together, doing the very thing Koya despises (working with humans) to defeat him. Yoshimori then has the difficult task of creating a new collar on the huge beast Madarao has become, and he has to do so before he/she gets totally out of control.

My thoughts:

I continue to enjoy this manga series. There’s a lot of heart in the story and the characters are wonderfully designed (and executed.) It’s interesting to know a little more history about Yoshimor’s helper, and how things work between them. We also get a few more clues into the history of the clans.

Things to consider:

OK, now don’t freak out on me parents. Remember that we use secular books to educate our children, not isolate them. I say this in reference to the his/her comment that I mentioned above in regards to the dog, Madarao. It’s unclear whether the dog is a girl or a boy, and it almost seems like he is a girl now but was a boy back before he first died. At the end of the book the author was asked about this by a fan, to which he replied, “It’s not that important [but] in my mind Madarao was always Gay . . .” Let’s talk about this below, but for now, I keep this the same rating as the other two: mainly for boys and good at around thirteen plus. No inappropriate sexual references or vulgar language, just lots of action violence.

Opportunities for discussion:

Talk to your kids about what it means to be “gay.” Tell them what your thoughts on this whole controversial issue are. Share with them what you believe and why. If you are interested in my opinion, then I suggest you tell them that God loves all his creation and that choosing to be “gay” is considered to be a sin just as much as stealing, telling a lie, or not loving God with all your heart. We all have sin issues to face, no matter what it is. I don’t believe it’s good to promote sin in a positive light, but I do not think we should teach our children to hate their fellow man either. Everyone needs to be shown love and compassion, as we are all fallen creatures. I could say more, but let’s stick to the basics; chose to educate how you best see fit, but do chose to educate, not isolate. Next, another great topic here is bias. When Koya wanted to kill all the humans, he was taking out his revenge for what people who are long dead and gone have done. We should never hate a particular group or race based on something one part of it/them has done. Ask your kids if they have ever done this and what the results where.

Past reviews in this series:

1) Kekkaishi (Volume 1)
2) Kekkaishi (Volume 2)

Iron Wok Jan v.3Getting back to the Iron Wok Jan manga series, we move on to the third volume. So far we’ve learned about a sixteen-year-old named Jan, who was brought up by an abusive grandfather–who just so happened to be a master cook.

Jan’s goal is to become the best Chinese food Chef, even if it means working at the Gobancho Restaurant, owned by his dead grandfather’s archrival.

The arrogant food critic, Nichido Otani, is the mastermind behind a Chinese cuisine cooking contest. His goal is to find a chef that can outdo Jan, and by doing so, fulfill his revenge for being humiliated by the boy.

Story overview:

We start where the last volume left off. Jan faces off with another chef, named Sawada, whose cooking style is very showy. The challenge is to make a meal using Beef. Where Sawada takes the tenderest cuts of a cow, Jan decides to use the toughest: the leg. Amazingly enough it works and Jan moves on to the next round.

Kiriko (the granddaughter of the owner of the Gobancho Restaurant, who works with Jan) also passes her rounds and makes it to the finals. Between rounds, we learn how brutal Jan’s grandfather was to him and we see ghastly scars across his back; put there by the old man’s cane.

Several rounds pass and Jan beats out technology with old fashioned cooking, and his final opponent by using what some would call a nasty trick: getting the judges full and satisfied before trying Ko’s dish. Though Ko was clearly more deserving (by more than just his food,) it was Jan who won. Three contestants go to the final round: Jan, Kiriko, and a girl named Celine Yang (who calls herself Jan’s fan and agrees with his methods.)

My thoughts:

I’ve yet to feel like I need to put this manga down for good. The nasty characters actually give some nice color to the story, and the plot with its interesting recipes still carries me on. So far I can say that I like it, but I have yet to really get into it. I will continue in this venture and share my thoughts with you.

Things to consider

Thirteen and up, this volume does have more cursing than the first two, but it’s pretty mild. There’s a scene where Kiriko sees Jan taking a shower and is shocked by the scars on his back. Thankfully the author (or moderator) placed a convenient black-bar over a certain part. Later we catch a quick glimpse of Kiriko in her undergarments, but nothing comes of it. Still pretty tame for manga standards. There’s also scenes with obnoxious violence . . .  kind of hard to explain, you’d have to read to know what I mean.

Opportunities for discussion:

Pride is a consistent theme in this story, yet we also learn there’s more to the characters than how they seem on the outside. Another good area to focus on is: how far should one go to win? Are there moral boundaries? Or is a win a win? Share these thoughts with your teens and ask them if there’s anything in their lives that this can relate to.

Past reviews in this series:

1) Iron Wok Jan (Volume 1)
2) Iron Wok Jan (Volume 2)