Posts Tagged ‘Volume 4’

In our last volume, Lag became an official Letter Bee only to find out that Gauche went missing. Moving in with Gauche’s sister (as a roommate), Lag spent his time learning the ropes while seeking for evidence of his role model’s disappearance.

Story overview:
In continuing his Letter Bee training, Lag learns that not everyone shares his same feeling of heart. Among these is Moc Sullivan; a Bee who believes in not getting involved with the letters or the people associated with them.

Lag also comes across a man named The Corpse Doctor, who takes an interest in Steak (the little creature that sits on Niche’s head). Unfortunately for Steak, the doctor’s interest in him is for dissection. While attempting to rescue Steak, Lag receives additional insight as to Gauche’s possible whereabouts.

Investigating the lead, Lag travels to a town named Honey Waters–a place no Bee has been in a long time. While there, Lag leans why: a large anti-government organization has taken over the town. Lag and his companions find themselves in a mess of lies and confusion, and, as always, Lag seeks to find the heart of the matter.

My thoughts
Having watched a good part of the anime, I started becoming bored with the story and almost drop both it and the manga. For the most part, I thought the anime followed the manga quite well. At least, in the beginning. It wasn’t until I got further along that I realized the manga and the anime differed quite a bit. From what I can tell, the anime added a ton of filler episodes, which is what caused me to become bored with the story. The book, however, had a much better forward progress. I might give up on the anime altogether and stick with the book, but curiosity will probably keep me viewing both.

Things to consider:
There are a few shots of Niche wearing tight underwear, forced upon her by Sylvette in an attempt to make her more like a girl. Niche prefers to keep Lag’s boxers–as it is the symbol of their bond (read volume 1). Other than this, I found nothing questionable, and even so, this was really quite tame. The age target continues to be fitting for preteens and older. Good for both girls and boys.

Opportunities for discussion:
One of the letters Lag delivers is filled with lies, which, greatly disturbed him. He believed that all letters contained the heart of the person who wrote them. This caused Lag to question the letter’s value, and whether it was worth risking his life to deliver. In the end, he realized that regardless of the content, it was his job to take it to its proper destination. In doing so, Lag discovers that the recipient was already aware of its misgivings, yet because it was written by her son, it’s true heart was still intact. Warn your children that, when they grow up, there will be times when their job seems unfulfilling and meaningless, but in all things, there is cause to be thankful. By fulfilling ones duties to the best of our abilities we may be accomplishing more than we know.

Past reviews in this series:
1) Tegami Bachi (Volume 1)
2) Tegami Bachi (Volume 2)
3) Tegami Bachi (Volume 3)

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DragonEye_4Continuing in this series, we leave off volume 3 with Squad Zero (and volunteers) investigating Dracule activity in a cave not far from Mikun city. Issa and Sōsei fight off a horde of Dracules while the rest of the team (separated from Issa and Sōsei) are busy with a group of Dracules of their own.

Story overview:

Leila’s group is able to escape the cavern only to find that Issa and Sōsei have not yet returned. After a delay the two show up. Issa asks Sōsei to keep what they saw a secret. Why? He wants to avoid panic at Mikun. Hibiki and Issa have a slight personality conflict as Issa stops Hibiki from killing a bear, which Hibiki thought was a Dracule.

We get a glimps into Issa’s past. Ciara (Issa’s sister?) is shown in chains but Issa seems content just being with her, regardless of what she makes him do.  In the present, Issa narrowly escapes demotion while Leila goes on an undercover mission to discover who is in charge of illegal Dracule fighting.

In another scene, it seems that Hibiki is secretly set to the task of taking over Issa’s position as Squad Zero captain. A higher-up appears to be the brains behind this scheme; but unknown to Hibiki it seems that the man has some ulterior motives.

My thoughts:

We learn that Mikuni keeps tabs on Issa (and others?) who happen to possess the same type of fetter. Thankfully for Issa, he does not use the eye and therefore does not risk expulsion from Mikun. The mysteries are unfolding, and yet they continue to prompt more questions which hopefully can be answered in future volumes. I thoroughly enjoy reading these.

Things to consider:

The ratings for these stay nicely consistent. Targeted mainly towards boys ages thirteen plus. I do not see anything inappropriate for this audience.

Opportunities for discussion:

Issa tells a lie about what happened in the cave. His intentions were good; he did not lie to edify himself, but rather at the risk of demotion in order to protect those concerned. This brings up a good opportunity of discussion for your teens. Ask them what they think about lying, and if there is ever an occasion where it is OK to do so. Then ask them if there is anything they lied to you about, and see if they are willing to give an explanation as to why. If not, ask them what they think about the topic. Use this opportunity to share your thoughts. Comment if you are interested in my thoughts on the topic.

Past reviews in this series:

1) Dragon Eye (Volume 1)
2) Dragon Eye (Volume 2)
3) Dragon Eye (Volume 3)

Kekkaishi v4Yoshimori and Tokine are the legitimate heirs of their clan. They protect their school from ayakashi, as the creatures try to absorb the hidden power that is buried deep beneath the building.

Yoshimori is the more powerful of the two and he has a hidden love for Tokine. Tokine makes up for the lack of power with skill and precision, but she tends to think of Yoshimori as a younger, annoying brother.

We pickup from the last volume where Yoshimori’s dog, Madarao, battled against an old friend who turned out to be a new enemy.  After the battle, Yoshimori replaced the power-restricting collar on Madarao. It seems that Madarao develops a little more respect for the boy.

Story overview:

We welcome back the ghost of a patissier (pastry chef,) whom Yoshimori had helped out in a prior volume. The ghost seems to be reluctant to leave the living world. He claims that it is because he did not like that his last word was “cabbage,” but there seems to be something else going on. To help out the ghost, Yoshimori works with Yumeko Hananokoji, the Psychic Counselor that he referred the ghost to. Together they find the ghost’s brother and put closure on the thing that was bothering him so that he could finally find peace.

This leads to the introduction of Yoshimori’s own brothers. His younger brother, Toshimori, feels he’s not as talented as Yoshimori. And his older brother, Masamori, came home for a visit. Masamori is a highly skilled, Executive Officer of the Shadow Organization and seems to harbor some unspoken resentment towards Yoshimori for being the one born with the symbol of the legitimate heir. Yoshimori could care less about being the heir, but has a certain amount of animosity towards his older brother.

Masamori puts Yoshimori to the test as he feels the heir needs to use his skills more intelligently. Passing the test in his usual reckless way, Masamori realized his brother’s strength is greater than he thought. Once Yoshimori discovers that his brother is watching him from the sky, he figures out how to use his kekkai to climb up to meet him. At this time he tells his older brother his plans to seal off the Karasumori site forever.

My thoughts:

This one is still currently one of my top three favorite manga series. As always, great character dynamics and a constant page turner. Good humor too.

Things to consider:

Good for ages 13+ and mainly directed towards boys. No questionable content for this age group. Just the typical action violence.

Opportunities for discussion:

The subject of passing on to another world is brought up. Where this series does not take liberties to share what that world is, I believe this is a good time for parents to. Ask your teens what they think about life after death, and then share with them your beliefs and why you believe them.

Past reviews in this series:

1) Kekkaishi (Volume 1)
2) Kekkaishi (Volume 2)
3) Kekkaishi (Volume 3)