What a year it has been! 2019 has practically flown by, without stopping for a break. It has been quite a busy year for me personally, but 2020 is going to be a knock out year with plenty of travel and events on the cards. Some of which I will be documenting for ComicBuzz.
Now that I am on Christmas holidays from my day job, I have gotten some time to reflect on some of the reviews I put out over the last twelve months. So here is my rundown of my top pics from 2019’s anime, manga, comics, movies and events that I think you should check out!
Must Watch Film: One Cut Of The Dead
Not only did I get to watch this fresh take on Asian Horror for the first time in the comfort of my own home thanks to Third Window Films, but I also had the pleasure of seeing it in my local cinema as part of the Japanese Film Festival 2019. One Cut Of The Dead is a very tight budget film, not only was it made in just 8 days and with the reknowned Shinichiro Ueda directing, he casted actors that had participated in workshops and filmmakers from the Enbu Seminar drama school in Tokyo. The film became such an incredible success, that it has since grossed over 1000 times its budget since it’s release! One Cut Of The Dead is available to buy from Third Window Films, and is certainly a title more than worthy of everyone’s collection. For a full indepth review, check out my original review here: http://comicbuzz.com/one-cut-of-the-dead-review/
Must Read Manga Release: Elfen lied Omnibus Vol 1
I first came across Elfen Lied as an anime many years ago and it’s story has stayed with me ever since! It is certainly a gruesome science fiction series, not for the faint hearted as it features bloody massacres and numerous severed limbs. The plot however is interesting and centres around a young, pink haired girl named Lucy. Marked as a monster due to her genetic make-up and psychic abilities. She was held captive since she was a young girl, tested upon and shown no kindness. Obviously this changed her view of mankind, as she was tortured and tested upon by her captors. After making her escape at last, she suffered a serious head wound that awakens a second personality within her – Nyu. A weak, almost new born girl, with no prior knowledge of her life and the World around her. Gradually her Lucy persona starts to reappear, death and trouble follow her wherever she goes. Fate brings her back in front of the boy she met long ago, before she was ever captured by the testing facility. The Elfen Lied manga was first released back in 2002 and is now being re-released as an omnibus edition from Dark Horse Comics. Definitely worth picking up now and the continuing releases again in the new year. You can check out my original review here – http://comicbuzz.com/elfen-lied-omnibus-volume-1-review/
Pick Up This Anime: The Ancient Magus Bride
Now I know I haven’t reviewed a lot of anime releases this year, but I have to say that I probably still would have picked The Ancient Magus Bride. This magical and ultimately life saving series, was both a huge eye opener & an immense joy to watch. This series follows a girl named Chise, an orphan who is cursed with the ability to see magical creatures that always wish harm upon her. Chise is no ordinary being, she is a rare creature known as a Sleigh Beggy. She has had only misfortune and hardship in her life, every since her father left and her mother passed away. Having decided to take her own life, she is instead talked into forfeiting it in an auction. This is where Chise meets the last Magus in the World – Elias Ainsworth, a seven-foot-tall humanoid with an animal skull for a head. Here she is magically whisked away to the English countryside, where her life takes an entirely new direction. It seems her life will always be in danger, but instead of being bought as a slave, has she instead been bought as a future wife? You can buy the entire series now from Manga Entertainment UK, and check out my original review below – http://comicbuzz.com/the-ancient-magus-bride-part-one-review/
Best Streaming Anime: Fruits Basket 2019
Now although I haven’t done any reviews on these titles yet, I have begun watching a few shows over on FunimationNow. My most recommended show is hands down the 2019 adaptation of Fruits Basket! Now Fruits Basket has long since been at the top of my favorite manga series, and I was skeptical of the new adaption. However after watching the entirety of Season 1, I can assure you they have surpassed the original, not just in animation but also in the flow of the show. Now this adaptation will be covering the entirety of the original manga series, something the first adaption couldn’t do as the manga didn’t end until five years after the anime had finished. So stay tuned for a review shortly on this show, it may even be up by the time this Round Up goes live on the website.
Other shows worth checking out on Funimation Now are Dr. Stone and Fire Force. I’m also hoping to start watching Demon Slayer as well in the new year. You can watch all these shows and more right now on the Funimation Now app. – https://www.funimation.com/shows/
Seek Out This Book: Wilde Women
For the last three years now I have been reviewing the latest book from the UK’s leading Mother, Baby and Lifestyle Youtuber – Louise Pentland. Now I know this book will not be to everyone’s taste, but I certainly enjoyed it. It’s now the end of the Robin Wilde trilogy, which followed the life of a single divorced mother as she tries her best to raise her daughter to be a respectable & caring person, as well as fighting against her own depths of depression and darkness. Through the course of these books, Robins’ life has changed immensely. Having dipped her toe into the dating pool and found a few frogs, she may have actually met a prince. All the while she has gone full time as a makeup artist and becomes one of the leading women in her agency. This series is full of the high and lows of Robins adult life, even though it only takes place across perhaps 4 years of it. Well worth a read, maybe not for you, but perhaps your mother, sister, aunt, girlfriend? So go ahead and pick up the first book – and then go back for the last two! Available to buy now in all good bookstores and online, from Zaffre. You can also check out Louise’s Youtube channel at Louise Pentland. You can read my review now of the third book in the link here – http://comicbuzz.com/wilde-women-review/
Off To the Comic Book Store – Battlecats
Do you like action? Rebellion? Royal Secrets? And Cats? Well then Battlecats is definitely up your street. We are now at the end of Volume 2 of this Mad Cave Studios comic series, which follows a band of warriors, hand chosen to be the best soldiers in the Kingdom. They were once tasked with eliminating a deathly beast by order of their King, however after uncovering a Royal secret about the beast, they spared its life. Now the Battlecats are forced into competing in trials as punishment for their disobedience. However whilst they are being reprimanded, a rebellion is getting closer to the Coliseum. You can check out my review here of the first four issues of volume 2 – http://comicbuzz.com/battlecats-vol-2-1-4-review/ It is well worth checking out now and play catch up before Volume 3 comes out sometime next year.
Best Event of 2019: J-Con
This was my first year attending J-Con, which was held at Croke Park stadium in Dublin’s fair city. I have been meaning to attend this convention for some time, as it is renowned for its stalls and panels on everything to do with Japan. From organising trips, getting a J-1 Visa and even making the leap into moving over there. The convention had you covered. The panels were well informed and great fun. It was a spacious venue for the most part, the organisers were super helpful and the trade hall was always jammed pack. Ultimately the huge draw for me to attend this year, were the guests. As they had my favourite YouTube Otaku couple attending – Akidearest and Joey The Anime Man. With them having flown all the way over from Japan (Nippon), there was no chance I was going to miss this opportunity to see them in person. Luckily for me, I was granted the opportunity to meet with them for a 30 minute interview and I made sure to record every minute of it. You can check out the entire audio recording in my J-Con Recap here – http://comicbuzz.com/j-con-2019-recap/. This was ultimately one of my biggest highlights of the year, and yes people they are both super nice both off screen and on!
Now I can’t go on without mentioning the two Dublin Comic Con events I also got to attend in 2019. Both March and August pulled in massive numbers, as well as some killer guests! In March I was lucky enough to get two email interviews with the Green/White Power Ranger Jason David Frank (http://comicbuzz.com/jason-david-frank-interview/) and my Hercules – Kevin Sorbo (http://comicbuzz.com/kevin-sorbo-interview/). That show was jammed packed with photoshoots for me, so I didn’t get to attend many panels due to the time schedule. But I would do it all again to get my pictures taken with Spike (James Marsters) and my Number 1: Riker – Jonathan Frakes. In August’ show I had far more time for panels and walkabouts, as well as getting to meet Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia from Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Holly Marie Combs (Piper from Charmed) and Patrick Warburton (Kronk from Emperor’s New Groove) at their tables and photoshoots. This is why I love attending conventions as it is so rare to have opportunities like this to meet people whose work you have admired for a long time. Can’t wait to see who will be attending DCC and J-Con next year!
Subscription Service: SoKawaii
2019 was the year I started my SoKawaii subscription, where each month I have received a box filled with cute products, normally only exclusive to Japan. I have documented each box I have received as reviews for ComicBuzz, for the sheer fact I think it would be something people would like to read about before purchasing. I sure did, buy watching videos on YouTube of people getting their subscriptions. I can not fault SoKawaii’s service one bit! They do an amazing job and always include some useful items as well as some absolute gems! December’s box was the first time they ever included a figure! It was certainly worth getting and definately make sure to check that review out when it goes live here on the ComicBuzz website. You can check out all my past reviews right here – http://comicbuzz.com/author/vixenninetails/
So everyone, that has been a recap of 2019. What has been your highlight from the past twelve months? Have you got anything in the works for 2020? I certainly do, as I will be attending several concerts, getting married in the Summer and going on a two week trip to Tokyo for our honeymoon. So hopefully I can still keep up with the reviews in between all of that!
A huge thank you to all our readers, who have supported the ComicBuzz website and our social media all year. I love seeing all the interactions on the posts from you all. I hope to improve my review skills and bring you some more posts in the new year. To all the publishing, anime and film distributors, SoKawaii and the Irish Convention scene, thank you for all your help and support this year and I hope we can build upon this again in 2020!
To all you wonderful readers, I wish you all an amazing Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!!!