people: Vertical Inc.


2017


'Peepo Choo': Turning Japanese
Felipe Smith's 2010 manga did more than show a Western creator could make use of the form; it provided a riotous critique of the very audience that might seek it out
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'The Ghost In The Shell: Five New Short Stories'
A spry, classy set of riffs on the 'Ghost In The Shell' universe, drawing on characters we know and extrapolating from the setting at large, but newcomers to the franchise shouldn't make this their first outing with it
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2016


Tsutomu Nihei's 'Blame!': Sisyphus In The Labyrinth
Tsutomu Nihei's debut manga is all industrial hellscapes, sudden violence, and science-fiction gloom -- and in those few things it's everything it needs to be
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'Kizumonogatari': Came Back Haunted
Freshly translated into English, Nisioisin's novel of vampires and hapless human thralls is catnip for fans of his 'Monogatari' series, but everyone else faces an uphill climb
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2015


'Prophecy': Watching Big Brother Right Back
On the face of it, a techno-thriller in the Michael Crichton vein; underneath that, a meditation on the way society is shamed into doing the right thing
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The First Rule Of 'Lychee Light Club' Is You Don't Talk About 'Lychee Light Club'
Usamaru Furuya's Grand Guignol horrorshow weeds out all but the sternest stomachs with its transgressive story and gory art -- but is the true test of a piece of work how quickly it empties the room?
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'Paradise Kiss': There's More To Love Than Boy Meets Girl
Far more than just a 'romance' or a 'love story', this is a story about becoming worthy of being loved -- and a sprightly, funny story at that
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Usamaru Furuya's 'No Longer Human': The Downward Spiral
Osamu Dazai's despairing novel galvanized postwar Japan; Usamaru Furuya's modernized manga adaptation does justice to all its hearts of darkness
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'Utsubora': The Book Thief
Somewhere between thriller, noir, mystery, erotica, and tragedy lies this absorbing, if convoluted, story of the thefts of both ideas and lives
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Short Takes: 'Witchcraft Works Vol. 2'
Second verse of this fantasy-comedy, a bit less interesting than the first, as coincidence and contrivance take precedence over invention and storytelling
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2014


Short Takes: 'A-Jin: Demi-Human Vol. 1'
From a simple premise can be spun any number of stories, and 'A-Jin' unfolds its premise with savage cleverness and whiplash speed
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