Rosario Vampire Season 2 Volume 9.

On June 29th I was perusing one my local Hastings when I spied Rosario Vampire Volume 19. I immediately opened up volume 18 and saw clearly that the release date was supposed to be July. Lucky me that someone screwed up. Either Shonen Jump Advanced or Viz Media for putting down the wrong date. Or, I'm not going to say anything else about it because I don't want some hard working individual that barely makes minimum wage to get in any trouble for stocking the shelves too soon. All I need to say is thanks, dude.

Before I get into a long discussion about volume 9, I need to go back over volume 8. I started discussing several similarities I noticed between it and the anime Orphen. I didn't get too deep because of spoilers. Now it has been several months and everybody who is a fan has bought and read it. Probably has even been to the site that I get the upcoming scans from. By the way, this site has all the way through chapter 54. No doubt that a lot of people have read it all the way through. I assure you that I'm waiting for these things to come out to my local bookstores and BUYING them. (I will admit to reading several other series that are not available here in the U.S. Better hurry, it's only a matter of time before this site is shut down.)

Continuing with Orphen, I'm only going to say one thing, but first let's look at some pictures:

Then there is the character Lycoris. A younger sister that had all her memories sealed away. Sound familiar?

I don't think there is anything intentional on Akihisa Ikeda's part at all. I have no doubt if I were to delve into my video collection I might find some of the same scenes. As a matter of fact I do seem to remember somewhat of the same things going on in an episode of Transformers and Thundercats.

However I do find this interesting:


Now let's look at Rosario Vampire Season 2 volume 9 (finally.) Graphically I noted that there seemed to be a return to the style that has been used throughout the entire series: getting occasional well drawn out and detailed scenes and more simplistic ones for the most part. While the first half is well done, the second half is back to the old style. A side note from me, while reading through the online version I noticed a distinct lack of detail as opposed to the volumes I bought.


That image brings back a point I made in an earlier article: too many characters. In volume 8 Mizore was just sitting there in Moka's dream doing nothing the whole time. On top of that, characters we were led to believe were killed, weren't. If the story progresses the way I think, we're going to have about ten people assaulting the Fairy Tale headquarters. That's just the good guys. We also got badguys from a long time ago returning and joining in as well. I don't doubt the writer's ability to make it a cohesive and compelling story, I just question the necessity of it all.

Speaking of compelling story, most of the last third isn't. More of Tsukune's whining about wanting to get stronger to protect Moka. A bedroom scene between Gin and Kurumu with Mizore trying to make her mark in comedy. Then a total breakdown in training amongst the B Team. What was interesting was Kurumu. The last part really focused in on her and her love for Tsukune.

Since we're talking story, I noticed this earlier, but I can't remember if I ever made any mention of it. It's the way the writing has drastically changed. In season 1 we mostly got comedy with small doses of seriousness and character development. Season 2 has evolved into serious storytelling with punctuations of humor. I really want to see this series go back to being more of a comedy. Thinking about it further, that really was the anime's strongest point.

Now for some funny asides.

This judgmental thought brought to you by a twelve year girl that drools over the prospect of a three-way with vampire and a ghoul.

The hell? Not just here, but everywhere. When has he ever talked like this? So I did some research. Rosario Vampire Season 2 volume 5 does describe him as talking like a hick and Gin does say "ya'll" occasionally. However, taking the whole series into consideration, I really never got  the notion he talked like Larry the Cable Guy until now.

I know I'm stepping into a mine field on this one. Plus I'm doing it without a mine detector or even a flak vest. But, I must give credit where credit is due. I have long decried the nudity and upskirts in this series. This volume was a lot different in that respect. No nudity and very few panty shots. There were many opportunities for them, but the writer decided to start taking the high road. Thank you. Keep in mind, still rated "Older Teen." (What ever that is supposed to mean.)

If only Yokai Academy was a monster college instead of a monster high school. All the blood and nudity really wouldn't bother me. I do keep in mind that Hastings ain't reaching into my pockets and taking my money and leaving copies Rosario Vampire behind.

Overall I think I got my money's worth. I very much look forward to Rosario Vampire season 2 volume 10.

Yes, I will wait and NOT read ahead.

Back That APP Up.

By now you all know that you can get you favorite ass kicking vampire chick's adventures on the smart phone and tablet of your choice. However it seems that all those pages of succubus upskirt isn't saved to your hard drive. "What?" You say? What if my iDevice gets stolen, lost, or damaged? Well Viz Media will allow you to redownload all that ice princess stalkery. What if your account information is lost? It happens. I had to buy a new hard copy of Bejeweled because Popcap lost my registration information on my downloaded version. (Yeah, I know I could have saved myself some gas and did a new account and redownloaded it. (They could have lost that too.)) Viz Media is a total pain in the ass to set up.

The app is free; setting up the account is free. The agony is free as well. What they don't tell you is that the password can't have special characters in it. Like !@#$%^&*(). (Which is what I was saying the whole time while trying to get it to work.) After several password resets through my email and website on my PC, (by the way: email allows, and in fact demands, special characters.) it occurred to me to try a plain vanilla password. I was finally able to start purchasing all the tied up witch whip cracking adventures, sort of. You see when you want to make a purchase, you then have to input your iTunes password. (Which allows things like !@#$%^&*(). Also, the iPad is a total pain in my hand to type on. When you change back and forth from capitalized to lowercase, there's a slight delay.) After about several hours of this, I finally get all of Rosario Vampire in digital form.

First thing I do is sync my iPad with iTunes. Now, I think I'm the smartest guy in the whole wide world by putting his iTunes folder inside his Carbonite folder. That'll back up all my music, video's, apps, and especially all that bloomer goodness. (Yeah, I'm now scratching the bottom of the barrel for perverted ways to describe the content of Rosario Vampire.)


All your apps are backed up in your "user" folder. You can't change that in iTunes. (It is a pain to type out iTunes and iPad. The natural tendency is to capitalize the i. (We're back to that again.)) You have to manually move them yourself. With a little further research I discovered that your manga IS NOT saved to your PC. the Viz Manga IPA doesn't change file size. I even open it up with Zorin OS and all that was there was just the basics. Eventually I figured out that all the images are stored on your iPad. I'm paranoid. Not only can a fire wipe out my books, it can wipe out my iPad. What if my user info is lost? I don't really want to rebuy all that, again.

I know about taking screen shots: hold down the Home Button and press the Power Button. With a bright flash you have your image. That's how I got the background image for this section. But, I don't want to do that a minimum of 200 times over twenty volumes. There must an easier way.

This turned in many a result the first time I tried it. Most said I had to jailbreak my iPad to look at anything. A couple of sites came up with programs that could do what I specifically asked. The first one demanded that I register first. I really don't like doing that. Even with a phony email account it is still a hassle. The next one I found was iExplorer. Get it form the link provided here. It takes you right to the developer's web site. I originally got the version from CNET. They just love junking up the installer with 80,000 toolbars under your nose.

(That's only the start of it.)

The one from the official web site has none of that stuff. (Or as most would call it "crapware.") Now iExplorer is a bit unwieldy to use: you must have iTunes installed with your iDevice attached to it, the browser system is choppy and doesn't recognize the back button on the mouse, copying files takes forever, and you are constantly nagged to buy it. The "Demo Mode" is good enough for what we need.

To make things simpler , here's the location you want: Apps\VIZ Manga\Library\Caches\documents\manga. I just right click and click on "Export to Folder." Wait awhile and there you have it.

One side project I have in mind is to replace all the "unofficial" images I have used on the website with "official ones." I'll continue to use images gleamed off of all those manga sites I go to for the blog. That way I can comment on the latest releases with corresponding images.

Rosario Vampire Season 2 Volume 10.
(Total Panty Shots: Two, maybe three. Amazingly enough it's NOT Kurumu.)

At the end of the last volume we were told to expect this one in October. Based on the fact that Volume Nine came out a week ahead of schedule I was telling anybody that cared that I was going to have this page up in October. Well, October rolls around and nothing. Ironically enough not even by Halloween. (Though I think it is kind of poetic that a monster manga comes out on Election Day.) The most surprising thing was that it came out in electronic form first. I got an email from Viz saying so. I thought that was incredibly stupid. If they had changed the way the images were stored on the iPad I could see it, but they are still stored as individual JPEGs. They got it right before: Sell the hard copies for a couple of months and then release the digital version. This is the smart way because no doubt there is someone seeding torrent sites with official copies as I type this out.

Enough of that drama. Now for the drama of a boy and his harem.

We start out with Tsukune learning about his new powers and coming to the realization that Moka isn't the only one he cares deeply about. The story transitions to Moka and Aqua aboard a blimp that docks at the flying fortress that is Fairy Tale headquarters. It is here that the dreaded Alucard has been stored for many years and Moka sees him for the first time for the second time.

In order to make full use Alucard, Fairy Tale must wait one month which is coincidentally the amount of time it takes Team Tsukune to train up to rescue Moka. Strangely enough they walk right inside FTHQ. (Didn't Aqua, Fujisaki, or anybody from the 7th Branch Office give a description of Tsukune and tell the guards to NOT let him and his friends in?) What was supposed to have been a clandestine mission turns into battle royal when our heroes are discovered rather quickly then find themselves involved in a boss rush/gauntlet match.

Oh God spare us.

These types of stories get tedious after awhile. Made even more so because I am concurrently reading Oh My Goddess. Its boss rush is running somewhat similar to Rosavam's: The overwhelming power of the boss is defeated by the clever tactics of the goodguys. The bosses are really nothing more than monster-of-the-day with no backstory to make you care about what is going on. You do learn a little bit more about the goodguys, but it seems more of a retcon than anything else.

Not all of these gauntlets are bad. The one from Rurouni Kenshin was good. In that the bosses were people we met many time prior. Even though we had to suffer through a whole hell of a lot of talk, I myself did care about all the characters involved.

Back to Rosavam, there are a few things that I thought were interesting about its boss rush. The first was the return of the witch who really knows how to crack a whip: Ruby!

Ruby's battle for the most part is no different than any other boss rush battle I have seen: Ruby gets her ass kicked most of the time. Ruby does get in a few good hits. As Ruby is about to be defeated for the last time, Ruby pulls off a victory. We also get the flashback portion to help explain how Ruby's powers were developed. Here I have to admit it was good thing to review because the last time we saw any of Ruby's inner feelings was way back in Season 1 Volume 4. What made the battle really interesting was Ruby's use of magic to invoke scientific fact. I thought it was neat way of teaching the reader about electrical conductivity.

(As a reminder: Manga reads from right to left. As an English reader I tend to read the punch line before the setup.)

In the second gauntlet match starts off with Fangfang who is soon joined by Yukari. This to me harkened back to the whole mind swap business a while ago. I had wondered why at the time, now seeing these two paired up again, I think there maybe a little bit more going on between these two that only the writer would know for sure. Then again, I'm probably reading way, waaaaaay too much into it.

Overall. The writing was a little hack in this volume. Explaining Fairy Tale's plan with Moka and Alucard twice. The whole boss rush thing. Character development did get pushed a little but was overshadowed by other elements. The background artwork was mostly outstanding but was punctuated by simplicity. Same with the characters. This is a technique employed by artists the world over. They work their asses of to put awesomeness out for a few pages and then switch to ink saving, time saving, writer's camp/carpal tunnel preventing giant head on white background. I did notice what seems to be a style change going on. It's in the eyes.

I mentioned earlier that the online version of Rosario Vampire Season 2 Volume 10 came out before the brick and mortar version did. It was interesting to read it that way first. The backlight of the iPad really helped me see all the detail put into it. The screen size really enhances the readability of the manga format used by Viz Media. It is really-really nice to be able to read a page flat as it was intended without it having a bend.

A couple of final points: Does Issa Shuzen know anything about his castle being destroyed and the fact that one of his wives took Alucard? What about Koko? She was there and hasn't said a word about it to anybody.

Thens there's this:


Reprinted with permission. (Yes, I actually did ask for once, and for once I got a yes.)

When overpriced iDevice apps aren't big enough...

Now that apparently everyone is back into The World Ends with You thanks to Solo Remix, and most of the mugshots are now on The Spriter's Resource, I decided to throw my hat into the ring again. With "marvelous Photoshoping skills".

I had to open my big mouth and say:
"In the upper right corner of the first image, is that Orphen or maybe possibly Sagara Sanosuke ?"