It's Hard to be evil on a part time wage.

It sure is hard being the devil and a lord of a vast demon host when you only get part time hours at the local McRonald's restaurant. But Sadao Mao (as the Devil now call himself) is doing just that. Originally from another world called Ente Isla the Devil and his arch nemesis the Hero Emelia are thrust through a magic portal into our world. Left without their magic they are stuck and the Devil and his demon companion have to live in a tiny apartment and work part time jobs just to pay the bills.
This Manga based on a Light Novel and Anime of the same name is fantastic. It will keep you guessing as to what the real motivations behind the demon lord of Ente Isla truly is. The series has everything, action, adventure (and possible a little love) so if you're looking for a light hearted look at the Devil and his companions you can't go wrong with The Devil is a Part-Timer and the library is getting volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3!

Time for Some Hack and Slash! It's Chanbara Manga!

The first question you may ask after reading the title of this post is "What is Chanbara?" Simply put, chanbara refers to samurai films in Japan and must include three things: samurai, sword fighting, and a historical setting. Samurai are differentiated from other warriors by their code of honor, and they must be skilled fighters to qualify. The historical setting is typically the Sengoku Era (1478-1603), the Tokugawa Era (1603-1868), or the Meiji Period (1868-1912). Obviously this post is about manga, not films, but the categorization of chanbara applies to lots of things outside the cinema!

So if you're wanting some action, drama, and samurai, check out these series!

Rurouni Kenshin: Set in the Meiji Period, Kenshin Himura was the famed battosai assassin and helped bring about the fall of the Japanese government. Now, in a time when samurai are no longer needed, Kenshin seeks a path of redemption and peace after all the lives he took. But that isn't easy when every powerful warrior in Japan is set on fighting and killing him.

Lone Wolf and Cub: Set in the Tokugawa Era, Ogami Ittō held the role of executioner for the shogun. Disgraced after false accusations and forced to flee, he takes on the role of assassin and seeks revenge, all while caring for his 3 year old son.

Lady Snowblood: Lady Snowblood Oyuki (a Japanese play on the name of Snow White) becomes an assassin, using her feminine looks to lure in her targets. Set to the task by her imprisoned mother, Oyuki seeks vengeance on the men that killed her family and imprisoned her mother.

If you're not in the mood for reading manga though, here are some anime titles that the library has that are classified as chanbara!

Sword of the Stranger: A young boy and his dog are fleeing from a mercenary group on mainland China and come across a ronin (former samurai) who has a mysterious past and refuses to draw his sword.
Samurai Seven (the anime series based on the famous film The Seven Samurai): A group of seven samurai are brought together to help defend a poor village from bandits, but this leads them on a journey to overthrow the corrupt and power-hungry Emperor who has risen to power.
Sengoku Basara: Super over-the-top fighting action and totally worth the watch. Based on a series of video games by the same name.
Afro Samurai: Afro is a master samurai, seeking to obtain the legendary Number 1 headband from the man who killed his father, thereby giving him revenge and the power of a god that comes with the headband.
Shigurui: Competing in a tournament hosted by the daimyo, this story follows two unique individuals-The one-armed swordsman Gennosuke and the blind warrior Seigen.

Avatar, the Last Airbender

If you're looking for a fun TV show that appeals to both kids and adults, check out Avatar, the Last Airbender. This cartoon has a great plot that will keep you interested until the very end.

The wold is divided into four nations (Earth, Water, Fire, and Air). Each nation’s people are able to manipulate their specific element. This manipulation is called “bending” and each nation’s bending is based off of a specific martial art (for example, water bending is based on tai chi, and fire bending is based on Northern Shaolin). There is one person who is born with the ability to bend all of the elements called the “Avatar,” this person is also in charge of keeping peace between the nations. However, when the Fire Nation decides to attack, the Avatar disappears.

A hundred years later, the Fire nation is now on the verge of dominating the entire world. But two siblings from the water tribe, Katara and Sokka, have just found the missing Avatar, a twelve-year-old boy named Aang, and his flying bison frozen in an iceberg. But can Aang learn to master all four elements and restore peace in time?

While this cartoon is not technically considered anime, it is heavily influenced by anime in it’s character designs. The fighting sequences are incredibly entertaining to watch and there are plenty of humorous moments which makes this cartoon a hit with the young and not-so-young.

If you enjoy the TV show, you should also check out the books, graphic novels, or even The Last Airbender movie that was directed by M. Night Shyamalan (disclaimer, if you are a big fan of the cartoon, this movie may miss the mark).

Post-Nuclear-War Graphic Novels

In popular fiction, the atom bomb destroys not only physical matter, but also society and even reality as we know it. Nuclear destruction is the modern day equivalent of the biblical flood that wipes out the world and its entrenched order. Unfortunately (according to the imaginations of most writers) this tends to lead to an even more brutal world instead of giving our children a clean slate and a fresh start. I guess we’ll never learn. Here are a few of my favorite post-nuclear-war graphic novels.

Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind – This ecological parable from the artists of Studio Ghibli follows a teenage girl caught up in a war for the dwindling resources of the planet.

V for Vendetta – A masked crusader fights for freedom against the corrupt government in the post-nuclear totalitarian state of England.

Barefoot Gen – After the bomb destroys Hiroshima, Gen, his mother, and his little brother must find a way to survive and carry on with their lives.

The Dark Tower – The Gunslinger rides to meet his destiny among the sorceries and plots of his war-torn world.

Akira – Neo-Tokyo sits on the ruins of the old city, which was destroyed by a mysterious blast years earlier. Now history is beginning to repeat itself.

PokeMonday

Monday July 16, 2012: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

Summer's here and that means it's time for Pokemondays! Join us for 4 Mondays in a row. We'll be holding these tournaments at different branches each week, so be sure to check the out one close to you. As always you'll need to bring your Nintendo DS or DSi and a copy of your Pokemon game (black and white won't work,sorry.) Big screen and Union Rooms battles are used for admittance into the finals, so be sure to have Pokemon, level 30 or under trained for battle. They'll be needed for qualifying rounds!

This event is for grades K - 5.

PokeMonday

Monday July 9, 2012: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room AB

Enjoy a good game and challenge? Well, summer's here and that means it's time for Pokemondays! Join us for 4 Mondays in a row. We'll be holding these tournaments at different branches each week. As always you'll need to bring your Nintendo DS or DSi and a copy of your Pokemon game (black and white won't work,sorry.) Big screen and Union Rooms battles are used for admittance into the finals, so be sure to have Pokemon, level 30 or under trained for battle. They'll be needed for qualifying rounds!

This event is for grades K-5.

Comics!

Comics and comic book characters have always been popular with many but have more recently broken into the mainstream in a huge way. Because of the recent rise in popularity, many kids (and "kids at heart") are taking up an interest in comic books.

The Ann Arbor District Library has fantastic Graphic Novel collections in youth, teen, and the adult sections of all 5 library branches and also offer lots of neat programming involving comics, how to create them, and info about those who do.

Tomorrow, May 7th, 2001, is Free Comic Book Day. Free Comic Book Day - the first Saturday in May each year - when participating comic book shops around the world give away comic books to anyone who comes into their stores. Check out local comic book store, Vault of Midnight, and see what you can find!

And for those busy tomorrow that can't get out to Free Comic Book Day, check out this event in June: Kids Read Comics hosted at the The Chelsea District Library and throughout the downtown business district in June.

"Kids Read Comics Convention is a totally free event that unites kids, teens, parents, teachers and librarians with professional artists and writers from the comics and animation fields. Our goal is to introduce kids to worlds of imagination while unlocking their creative impulses, and to serve that goal, the convention features:

* hands-on workshops
* panels and presentations for kids, families, and educators
* a chance for kids to meet and chat with comics and animation professionals
* the opportunity for kids to have their own art portfolios reviewed"

Hands-On Manga Workshop With Visiting Manga Artists Konohana Sakuya!

Konohana SakuyaKonohana Sakuya

Thursday March 10, 2011: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

Join us for an amazing hands-on evening with two visiting Japanese Manga artists! Konohana Sakuya is the alias of the working partnership between two comic artists, Kohei Nishino and Tsugumi Nishino. Since August 2004, the duo has had its latest work, "The Lights," serialized in the monthly version of the Shonen Jump magazine.

Learn how to make your own manga comic and ask questions about the real world of manga in Japan!

Ghost in the Shell

Vast information networks, artificial intelligence, and cybernetics applied to the human body are the wave of the near-future in Masamune Shirow’s sci-fi thriller, Ghost in the Shell. Major Kusanagi, an operative of Section 9, must follow the trail of the Puppet Master, a mysterious hacker who can even access the human mind and manipulate memories. What Kusanagi doesn’t know is that the Puppet Master has been looking for her as well.

The film version of Ghost in the Shell received high critical praise upon its release in 1996 and has strongly influenced the genres of anime and science fiction. Empire magazine placed it at #92 on its list, The 100 Best Films of World Cinema.

Masamune Shirow also created the popular graphic novel series Appleseed. If you like futuristic manga involving cyborgs and existentialism, Masamune Shirow is the author for you!

Youth and Teen Magazine Update -- Mars, Manga and the World's Greatest Drummers

by Nadya Pekk, Flickr.comby Nadya Pekk, Flickr.com
Want to jump into January 2011? Try these magazines -- with awesome new issues for the New Year!

For kids:
Ask Magazine: Giant dinosaurs, an island of tiny humans, and the reason giants don't exist.
Muse Magazine: Women Astronauts, Space-Sickness and Martians, oh my!

For teens:
Drum! Magazine: The Ultimate Readers' Choice Awards -- The World's Greatest Drummers!
Otaku USA Magazine: News, reviews and, of course manga! This month Otaku USA features sneak peeks at Lychee Light Club and Street Fighter Gaiden, with reviews of FLCL, Gravitation, Xam'd: Lost Memories.

Read 'em while they're new, people!

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