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Portrait of M & N

Portrait of M&N Volume 2
Manga Review

Tachibana Higuchi's current and ongoing manga series is Gakuen Alice, so Portrait of M&N is already a concluded work already in Japan with only six volumes. Tokypop has spent more time releasing the latter title, but any reader who enjoys Tachibana's work should read this short series. With the publication, it shows an effort on the part of the publisher to bring out a storyline that can be accepted by readers. For this particular title, it has been released in English with a steady release schedule already. With this review, there have been two more volumes translated and available for purchase. Portrait of M&N is most likely slated to be complete in English by 2011-2012.

Portrait of M & NThough the notes from the author are dated, it is quite interesting to see what concerns and worries the author has with the process creating the story. It brings in a personality of the author, and shows a side of Japanese publishing not as similar in American publishing. Portrait of M&N was not meant to be written with cliff hangers, but have a story format that is complete. That even if the story was to be concluded in a stated amount of chapters, for every chapter release there is an ending that is satisfactorily completed.

In a previous review, there is the mention that Mitsuru and Natsuhiko are people with strange characteristics, and this is to be taken with a grain of salt, since both characters have sufficient reason for being the way they are. Many will call them weird, but with sufficient cause, realization, and insights people will mature. For Mitsuru and Natsuhiko it gets to the point of selflessly protecting others over their obvious alienating personality vices.

In volume two, as the relationship of Mitsuru and Natsuhiko progresses, there are the continuing conflicts such as meeting one side of parents, or realizing feelings over the presence of a third wheel and the continued jealousy of other people. Any of these elements can be a simple matter in reality, but in a shoujo manga, any and everything can happen. 
Portrait of M & N
Manga Review

Mitsuru and Natsuhiko are two teens with secret fetishes. They are also new students at their high school. What happens when one day - these two discovered each other's secrets? From that point on, a comradeship begins, and a teen romance starts.

In the title, there are the M & N, which stands for Masochist and Narcissist. Mitsuru mistakes physical abuse as love, and this is a result of years of abuse and the desire to please her family steamrolls her. As she introduces herself from the beginning, classmates call her a Madonna, and she catches the attention of male classmates, and later upperclassman Hijiri. Individually, she wants to be friends with Natsuhiko, who has his own significant issues to deal with.

Portrait of M & N After being isolated from other people at a young age, Natsuhiko with a mirror develops a tendency to love himself to the point of alienating himself in a negative manner. With a grim resemblance to the Greek mythology of Narcissus, his set off point is gaining a reflection of himself. From the very beginning though, he has taken to wearing thick glasses, and covering his looks. He learns Mitsuru's problems, and what is he suppose to do about it?

As an entertainment quality, the story is light enough for the reader to enjoy without looking on this book with adult eyes. That is a hurdle to step over. There is no extreme graphic violence, but there are domestic psychological issues that should strike a chord with readers.

Fans of Tachibana's other more famous work is Gakuen Alice, should seek this story out to read more types of this mangaka's works. Portrait of M & N should also appeal to gothic lolita fashion fans or die-hard romance fans. For the secretive double persona, readers would have read Kare Kano, or Fruits Basket. Typical shoujo romance fans, shouldn't forget Vampire Knight. 

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Dragon Ball: Origins 2 launches onto the Nintendo DS!

Dragon Ball: Origins 2 launches onto the Nintendo DS!

Battle through the Red Ribbon Army Saga as Goku and friends in this excellent action-adventure game!

You can relive the action from when Goku first encounters the Red Ribbon Army through the resurrection of Upa's father not only as Goku, but as Krillin, Bulma, Yamcha, and other allies from the Dragon Ball world! Each character has specialized abilities and power-ups, and you'll need them to solve puzzles, find treasure chests, and lay waste to armies of bad guys! The camera adapts as you play, from an expansive overhead view to the side-view boss-battle fights that emphasize the signature fighting style of the Dragon Ball series!

With multiple control styles to choose from (both stylus and button input), action is fluid and the puzzles are really satisfying. Fighting against multiple enemies is a snap, and the game captures the graphic effects and hilarious situations of both the manga and the anime. There's a huge variety of tools, items, figurines, and other valuables to collect as you play, along with aerial attacks, combos, and interaction with the environment.

In addition to the eight multi-level episodes Dragon Ball: Origins 2 has to offer, there are a number of multiplayer co-op battles against unique and powerful rivals! As you play through the adventure, you'll unlock additional multiplayer stages, including challenging boss fights, as you make your way to the top of Survival Tower.
Dragon Ball: Origins 2 for Nintendo DS is available now! For more information about the game, please visit or To join the official fan community, please visit

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Heroman Anime

Anime Review

As American pop culture has traditionally sparked Japan interest, it should surprise no one that comic legend Stan Lee has turned his pen toward the land of the rising sun. Trying to find a new breed of "True Believers," Heroman is Lee's second work published/animated for Japan. Heroman — the name should say it all.

Drenched it hot dogs and American Flags, Heroman is a walking (though non-offensive) stereotype of Americana, wrapped up in classic (silver age) superhero tropes. Let me spell it out for you. Protagonist "Joey Jones" lives in the super average/large/suburban anytown of "Center City." His best friend plays guitar and rides skateboards, while his love interest is a cheerleader with an overprotective jock brother. Joey, for no explained reasons, spends his free time assisting the town's most eccentric and brilliant scientist, Dr. Denton. 
 Fascinated by space, the good doctor created a signal that actually managed to reach alien life. Of course, these aren't your galactic diplomats, they are invading type. The "skrugs," as they are called, are bent on enslaving humanity, and only the efforts of Joey Jones and his friends can save the city. Well, I say Joey and co., but what I really mean is Heroman. A champion with little motivation or backstory, Heroman is pretty much as boring as they come. A Deus-ex-machina machine come to life, the nearly soulless automaton, Heroman is a remote control toy that was mysteriously empowered by mysterious blue lighting.
 Now, capable of transforming a one foot tall hunk of plastic into a beefcake robot, the duo goes where help is needed. Okay, okay, we're critical, we're jaded, but beneath it all, this really could have been a Marvel comic from the 70's. Those looking for the modern drama of conventional comics might not appreciate the silver age tones Stan Lee uses. To be fair, as the Godfather of Marvel Comics, it only seems like giving us anything else would probably be untrue to the man.

All and all, there's fun to be had watching Heroman. The absolute explosion of conventional tropes, mired in hold over clothing styles, leaves a feeling that brains should be checked at the door. Bright, colorful, and overflowing with Japanese styled Americana, Heroman accomplishes what it set out to do. Those looking for a more transcendental work need not apply, but if can imagine a serious work about a robot draped in the American Flag, than it will probably give you just enough to satisfy.

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