Shutterbox Vol. 1

By Tavisha and Rikki Simons
160 pages, black and white
Published by TokyoPop

I’ve been a fan for quite a while of Studio Tavicat—the umbrella name often used by creators Tavisha and Rikki Simons—so it’s no small surprise that I’ve been hearing about ShutterBox for a while. I’d just about given up hope on ever seeing this particular project, especially when the original venue never happened, when seemingly out of nowhere, ShutterBox Volume 1 appeared. After reading the book, I realized that having things just appear like objects out of a dream or a vision is really more apt than I initially thought…

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Battle Royale Vol. 1

Written by Koushun Takami
Drawn by Masayuki Taguchi
216 pages, black and white
Published by TokyoPop

A couple of years ago, it seemed every time I turned around I couldn’t escape from talk of Battle Royale. A movie rapidly approaching cult status, everyone kept talking about its brilliant satire of television and violence and how everyone really had to see it. Viz recently published a translation of the original Battle Royale novel (the basis for the manga and then the movie), and now TokyoPop has gotten into the action as well with the first volume of the manga. Having just finished reading this first volume, I can’t decide if I need to rush out and pick up the novel and DVD, or if I should wait so I don’t have the rest of the manga spoiled for me…

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Pet Shop of Horrors Vol. 1

By Matsuri Akino
200 pages, black and white
Published by TokyoPop

The anthology is rarely a commercial success no matter what form it takes. Prose, television, movies, comics… the number that take off in their own right and really, really do well is awfully small. It’s easy for the audience to fail to find an ever-present hook to keep them around when the basic story changes from segment to segment. The solution? Find a central character or setting to structure these different stories around. Old EC Comics did it in the form of a narrator, with characters like the Crypt-Keeper or Old Witch. Junji Ito’s Tomie stories did so with the titular reoccurring antagonist. And in the case of Matsuri Akino’s comics to just get translated into English, it’s in the form of a certain mystical pet shop in Chinatown.

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