Juline and her two female friends are the teenage heirs of martial arts families in a setting that’s half ancient China, half modern-day Japan. (Half of the scenes take place in generic modern schoolrooms, and the other half are set in silk-hung palaces and mysterious pagodas under the full moon.) While our blushing heroine nurtures a crush on her adult martial arts instructor, the three friends fight an evil clan ruled by the sinister Black Pearl, who, not coincidentally, looks a lot like Tamayo Black, their seductive new schoolteacher. Against the gods action title packed with an impressive number of fight scenes, Juline takes good advantage of Kakinouchi’s experience as an animator, drawing the human body in motion. At times the art is sparse, but the panels drift across the pages like windblown leaves. The melodramatic story has an undercurrent of mystery reminiscent of Kakinouchi’s horror work.
A weak attempt at an anime/manga/novel multimedia franchise. As explained in the small print in the intro, the year is 2134, and Earth has become a scorched desert scarred by an ongoing war with the rebel human colonists of Mars. Four girls and one nebbishy guy (who keeps accidentally grabbing the girls’ breasts and panties) roam the landscape in a hovertank, trying to shut down the automated Earth Purification System that threatens to wipe out what little life remains. Halfway decent mechanical designs are all that stand out among a formulaic plot and ugly, occasionally exploitative artwork. Read Gakusen toshi asterisk
The first of pop/underground artist’s Mizuno’s three fractured fairy tales, Cinderalla is a goth version of the original story, drawn in Mizuno’s usual style, which resembles My Little Pony meets Hideshi Hino. Cinderalla works at her father’s yakitori restaurant, until her dad dies and returns as a zombie, bringing with him a zombie stepmother and stepsisters. The overall mood is of a delightful jewelry box, a cheerfully cute-creepy story full of Mizuno’s favorite things to draw, like syringes and strange, bare-breasted women. Includes stickers and an interview with the artist. Printed in color on intentionally cheap, pulpy paper.