[Manga Review] Investor Z – Grooming the Next Generation of Finance Professionals

Have you ever wanted to learn how to invest in stocks? Or do real estate? Or engage in day trading like the pros?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should probably go buy a textbook on the topic and start reading up.

For anyone who’s not sure if they’d be interested in any of that stuff, though, I’d recommend you check out Investor Z. Written by Mita Norifusa, the author of the acclaimed Dragon Zakura series about preparing for college entrance exams, Investor Z covers the adventures of protagonist Zaizen Takashi, a middle school student who is suddenly whisked into the high-risk world of stocks and investing.

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[Manhwa Review] Catharsis: How to Literally Fight Your Inner Demons

Leon Mori is a stereotypical high school outcast, bored with life and bored with school. The only person he interacts with on a frequent basis is Ami, his middle-school tutor, stand-in guardian and current teacher, whom he also has a secret crush on. All very normal so far, except for a few niggling tidbits, like the fact that he is born with synesthesia and see sounds in colors. Or that he has been having a recurring nightmare for weeks, where he wanders in darkness running from disturbing laughter that paints his world in red. He sinks into the nightmare whenever he dozes off, and it is so vivid that it blurs his sense between dream and reality, turning his everyday life into something … monstrous. Soon though, Leon realizes his dreams may not be just dreams…

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[Anime] Haikyu!! Season 2 Impressions – Still endearing and still awesome

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[Warning: Contains Season 1 Spoilers]

If you haven’t seen the first season of Haikyu!! (or Haikyuu!!, however you spell it), go watch it now. It’s a sports anime done right, very much in the same vein as Eyeshield 21 or Prince of Tennis. The sport is volleyball, which means a cast of 6 regulars and 4-5 benchwarmers, plus a manager, coach, and a couple of side characters. Not too few and not too many. And after you’ve watched the first season, you will come to appreciate and empathize with every single one of them.

The first season was amazing, which meant I was super excited for the second season. Would it live up to the high expectations set by the first season? Would it be worse? Could it possibly be better?

Here are my impressions after watching the first four episodes of the second season:

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[Manga] DICE: The Cube that Changes Everything Review

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The conclusion of the Liar Game Kdrama left me searching for another story like it, another world with a psychologically intense plot and interesting characters. That’s when I stumbled upon DICE: The Cube that Changes Everything. The written summary for this manhwa speaks of a game that can change a player’s life and a bottom-of-the-social-ladder main character who is given the opportunity to play this game. While DICE isn’t as intellectually intense as Liar’s Game, it does have some strong story elements that make it a good series in its own right.

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[Light Novel] Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari Review

Iwatani Naofumi was summoned into a parallel world along with three other people to become the world’s heroes and save the kingdom from the Calamity. Each of the heroes were respectively equipped with their own legendary equipment when summoned. Naofumi coincidentally received the Legendary Shield as his weapon, the only defensive weapon of the lot. Scorned by everyone for his uselessness, Naofumi’s destiny in a parallel world begins…

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Overall Impression

Hands down, Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari takes one of the most unique approaches to the virtual video game genre I’ve ever read / seen. And that is, the light novel incorporates a very real emotional element in its storytelling. Having read many tales in this emerging genre, I am definitely not over-generalizing when I say that most virtual MMORPG stories are lacking in “dramatic complexity.” And that’s perfectly fine because audiences are buying into these stories for the vicarious experience of living a video game, becoming heroes / villains, and conquering the world. Even Log Horizon, which takes a more “slice of life” approach to the genre and explores the psychological difficulties of suddenly living a video game, has mostly one dimensional characterization in a mostly happy-go-lucky atmosphere. Well, Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari is definitely not happy-go-lucky, and characters are certainly far from one dimensional.

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[Light Novel] The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor Review – It’s about the Journey, not the Destination

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The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor is a Korean light novel about a virtual reality massively multiplayer online role playing game (VRMMORPG) called Royal Road and the efforts of a poor but hard-working guy to become number 1 in the game and make real-life money in the process. The RPG aspects of this series very much resemble those of Sword Art Online, .hack, or Log Horizon, but unlike many of the other MMORPG stories out there, The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor (LMS) is more humorous and light-hearted. It’s a subtle difference, but it significantly changes the way you experience the story…

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[Anime] Nodame Cantabile: The Seven No’s for a Great Romance Anime

I was so inspired by Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso that I went back and re-watched all three seasons of Nodame Cantabile, which in my opinion is one of the best music and romance animes of all time. Nodame Cantabile is about the developing relationship between Shinichi Chiaki, a perfectionist piano and violin genius who longs to become a conductor, and Noda Megumi (Nodame), a klutzy “loser” pianist who has a lot of hidden potential. Both music students in the same department at the same university, Chiaki and Nodame’s first unfortunate meeting leads them onto a path that changes their lives forever.

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[Manga] Tenkuu Shinpan: Why the Battle Royale Genre Can Still Be Fresh

Richard Connell, in “The Most Dangerous Game,” declared that the ideal animal to hunt “must have courage, cunning, and above all, it must be able to reason.” In other words, a human. This thinking resonates throughout human history and across all cultures, giving us Roman gladiators, Battle Royale and The Hunger Games.  In the past decade, Japanese media especially has been over-saturated with dystopian horror stories depicting people forced into “play or die situations”–Gantz, Mirai Nikki, Doubt, Deadman Wonderland, Btooom, Sword Art Online, etc. Tenkuu Shinpan, a new entrant on an old scene, is another example.

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[Anime] Tokyo ESP Review – A Fast-Paced Whirlwind of Cliches and Absurdity

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This past week, I was looking to de-stress with a mindless anime series, something simple, epic, and preferably violent. After reading a synopsis of Tokyo ESP, I thought it was as good a choice as any. I was wrong.

What’s it about?

One normal day in Tokyo, many heads turned to behold a strange phenomenon. A penguin and a school of glowing fish floated through the air, wandering across the city. Not everyone could see the fish, however, but for those who could, they would see a fish split off from the pack and swim into their bodies.

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[Manga] Shokugeki no Souma

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Synopsis

Yukihira Souma’s dream is to become a full-time chef in his father’s restaurant and surpass his father’s culinary skill. But just as Souma graduates from middle school, his father closes down the family restaurant to cook abroad, leaving Souma with a do-or-die challenge: reach the top at an elite culinary school where only 10% of the students graduate … or don’t even dream about catching up to him (the father). Can Souma survive?

Read Shokugeki no Souma here.

First Impression

First off, Shokugeki no Souma hooked me on the first page by delivering great artwork, a fast-paced storytelling style (sorry no slice of life manga/anime for me folks), and all the key elements of a great shounen manga.

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