Jul 01

Monthly Recommendations – July 2016

mr_july_headWelcome to the second Monthly Recommendations column! Each month, we’ll be asking someone to pick out an anime, cartoon, comic, manga and webcomic that they love and think everybody else should check out. This month, it’s Anicom regular Phil calling the shots, so over to him!

Oh geez, there’s so many things I could suggest for some of these categories, but I’ve tried to pick things I think a lot of people would like instead of just my favourites, hopefully there’s something in here for everyone!

Cartoon – BoJack Horseman

BoJack Horseman is a Netflix original cartoon. A legit original, not like how Knights of Sidonia and Seven Deadly Sins are “Netflix Original”, this was entirely funded by Netflix.

In a world where anthropomorphic animals live alongside humans, the show follows the life of washed up actor BoJack Horseman, a horse once famed for being the star in the 90’s sitcom “Horsin’ Around”. The show deals with Bojack in the present day, trying whatever he can to make the pain of not being as famous, a bit easier. Largely a comedy with some quick witted remarks, there are moments where reality comes crashing down around BoJack, and leaves us with some very dark moments that help make the characters feel like they have more depth.

BoJack first graced our lives in August 2014, and since then (as of writing this) has 2 seasons of 12 episodes each and a Christmas special, each about 25 minutes long, with season 3 coming on July 23rd.

Stream it on Netflix here.

Comic – Spider-Gwen

What if instead of Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man, it was Gwen Stacey that receives the fateful spider bite? Enter Spider Gwen, first appearing as part of Marvels Spider-Verse storyline, a storyline that brought “Spider-Men” from the different parallel universes together.

Spider-Gwen gives a new look at Spider-Man, we’re given a 1 page “Origin story”, revealing that it was Gwen Stacey that was bitten, and confided her newfound powers in her long time friend Peter Parker. In an attempt to help his friend out Parker turns himself into the lizard and tragically dies, something which the masses at large blame on the masked hero: Spider-Woman.

Spider Gwen is a world that really dislikes their Spider powered superhero, despite this Gwen continues trying to do good, struggling to keep her identity secret from her father, the leader of the police investigation squad tasked to bring Spider-Woman to justice.

Buy it physically here and digitally here.

Manga – The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Mahoutsukai no Yome)

Chise has given up on life, at 16 years old she has no one to love her. However, fate has something in store for her, when she is purchased at a slave auction by a man with a skull for a head/face.

This story is a lot more light hearted than that first bit makes it sound. Set around the start of the 20th century, the story follows Chise and her new found life with the sorcerer Ellias as she trains as his apprentice and learns more about the world that few humans are even aware of anymore. The world that we’re exposed to is wonderfully written, but I’m a sucker for fantasy stories, especially one’s which talk about how their magic works.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (AMB) started being released in late November 2013 and is currently ongoing with a new chapter every month, with a 3 part prequel OVA airing this season! AMB is written and drawn by Yamazaki Kore, a somewhat newcomer to the manga scene, with only 3 other works, the earliest of which started being released in (late) 2012, and after reading this I fully intend to check out her other works, as well as any new releases Kore might release.

Buy it physically here.

Webcomic – Manly Guys Doing Manly Things

I’m going to copy the about page for this first part, because I think it sums it up nicely:

“…It’s a comic about dudes who are too macho to function in society getting support from a chill supersoldier who just wants to work a desk job and raise his kids.” – MGDMT About page.

There’s no grand overarching plot here, as you might have gathered. Just pretty art and plain old dumb fun with appearances from the manliest video game characters you know, and some silly goings on.

The comic is created/drawn by Kelly Turnbull, who also did Platinum Black (link) and has worked on some cartoons as well (link). Manly Guys has been going since 2010.

Read it here.

Anime – Fate/Zero

OK, I caved and picked a Fate/ show (shut up Sean!), but I honestly couldn’t think of anything else (that I’ve seen) that would appeal to as many people. For those of you that don’t know: I fucking love the Fate/ franchise and read/watch/play anything from it, but I digress.

Originally a series of light novels written by Gen Urobuchi (of Madoka and Psycho-Pass fame to name a few), this anime by UFOtable aired in 2011/12 and is a prequel to Fate/Stay Night, a Visual Novel/Anime(s)/Film(s)/Manga/everything else, by Type Moon, who you may also know from Tsukihime.

This anime follows the story of the 4th Holy Grail war, a battle royale between 7 magus and their servants, spirits of renowned people through the ages. To the victor goes the holy grail, said to be able to grant any wish. Everyone has their own desires they want to be fulfilled, some less virtuous than others.

The first episode can be a bit of a slough, as the show front loads all the information for the premise in an hour long episode, but this rewards the viewer because it means every episode after is well paced and nicely broken up with gorgeous fight scenes.

F/Z does unfortunately spoil some of the big twists in F/SN, as it assumes the viewer has read/watched Stay Night, but Zero is widely regarded as the better of the two. However, unless you acquire the Stay Night visual novel to play through, Zero is your best jumping on point for the series anyway.

Watch it online here and buy it here.

Don’t worry Phil, I won’t begrudge you a Butch Gen show! And if you’re interested in doing something for this column, then talk to me (Sean), or get in touch with Anicom via Twitter, Facebook, the forums or e-mail. All we need is a couple hundred words on one (or two, or all five!) of the comics / mangas / cartoons / animes / webcomics you love! Looking forward to it~