Zenescope, known for their usually provocative cover art featuring scantily clad women, unleashed Salem’s Daughter in 2009, written by Ralph Tedesco with interior artwork from Caio Menescal.
From their release notes: The Salem witch trials of 1692 resulted in the hangings of 19 women and men. Over the years many came to realize that the trials were perhaps done in haste with no hard evidence of witchcraft being used by any of the accused.
Two hundred years later, Anna Williams, is living a regular uneventful life in Essex County, Massachusetts. But there is more to Anna than meets the eye… much more.
Now Anna is beginning to discover her unique powers and knows her life will never be the same as she reluctantly decides to follow her true calling. And a hardened and bitter gunslinger named Braden Cole is the one man who can help her along the way.
The series kicked off numbered with zero issue, and this first in the series featured a fantastic wraparound cover featuring some very angry and fiery ladies courtesy of the art team of Eric Basaldua and Nei Ruffino.
Related Link: http://www.zenescope.com/bookpages/sd00.htm
Zenescope, known for their usually provocative cover art featuring scantily clad women, unleashed Salem’s Daughter in 2009, written by Ralph Tedesco with interior artwork from Roberto Viacava.
From their release note: Using his power of mind control, the mysterious Darius has spread panic throughout Essex County and now Anna Williams is about to burn at the stake. Darius offers Anna one last chance to join him but her refusal only fuels his rage. Now it’s all up to Braden to save Anna from certain death, but it might be too late.
Issue 3 brought the conclusion to the prequel story arch which had started with issue 0, and to celebrate Zenescope brought in superstar artist Greg Horn to produce this sizzling cover to adorn their title.
It’s certainly hot enough to burn a witch at the stake.
Related Link: http://www.zenescope.com/bookpages/sd03.htm
Kimihiro Watanuki is the indentured servant of Yuko, the beautiful but completely unpredictable Space-Time Witch. He must work at her bizarre wish-granting shop until he can pay off his own wish: to be free of the spirits that haunt him. Yuko’s latest customer is a rain spirit who wants Kimihiro dispatched on a rescue mission. Little does Kimihiro know that this mission will take him to death’s door!
And that’s not his only problem: A cute spirit has given him a Valentine’s Day present, which means he’s obligated by Japanese custom to return the favour. What do you get a girls who may not even exist in this world?
Volume 5 of xxxHOLiC continues the mystical and spiritual misadventures of the extremely excitable but unlucky in all sense of the word Kimihiro Watanuki, a high school student who can see and has been plagued by the spirit world all his life. A chance meeting with the beautiful but unpredictable space-time witch Yuko Ichihara who’s business it is to grant wishes has given Watanuki the chance to finally be rid of the spirit world for good – but in exchange the hapless student now needs to work in her mystical shop where all manner of things spiritual and downright scary abound anyway!
This volume sees Watanuki and Domeki team up once again, this time on the behest of a rain sprite that employs their help in attempting a rescue of something that lies beneath the red hydrangea patch. And of course this being a spirit world request, the danger that lies in wait for them is best left unsaid.
Second up is the mystery surrounding one of the girls that happens to attend the same school as what Domeki and Watanuki do. This girl used to be pretty normal, quiet and reserved, but now there is something a little odd about this girl’s behaviour around other people, particularly when they cause her insult – all of which may just be linked to the strange angel-like feathers growing out of her back!
And then finally it is time for Watanuki to make good on his gift received on Valentine’s Day (Japanese custom dictates boys returning the favour received from girls on ‘White Day’), even if the person he needs to compensate happens to be a spirit that resides all the way out on Reisen mountain.
xxxHOLiC is produced by the super popular, all female mangaka group CLAMP, responsible for some of the most well known manga titles to ever reach us out here in the West. These four ladies started out producing doujinshi (fan fiction) a while ago but word of their work soon caught on and being of such a high standard, they quickly began to make a name for themselves in the professional world. Some of their previous credits including Chobits, X/1999, CardCaptor Sakura, xxxHOLIC and Magic Knight Rayearth, just to name a few!
As always xxxHOLiC’s writing is based in well researched Japanese folklore and then mixed up with some targeted social commentary which is then brought to us courtesy of the loveable Watanuki and his various adventures in the spirit world. For the first time since the series started, the story introduces a new, darker back-story for Yuko, laying the foundation for what surely will be an exciting storyline to follow in the future and a welcome break from Watanuki and company’s usually comedic antics.
The writing is once again well paced and the self-contained story arcs are all satisfying and all have something to say, at the same time continuing to build up the main characters and lay the foundations for the future volumes all at once. The stories keep you guessing and CLAMP do a good job of building intrigue and mystery into their arcs, particularly noteworthy if you consider the length of each self-contained arc in the volume.
There is a lot more of a darker feeling to this particular volume and slowly but surely the stakes for Watanuki’s spirit world interventions are on the rise. However, that said, the writing retains its comical nature and xxxHOLiC will have you laughing out a loud more than once.
Visually CLAMP continue their trademark elongated character proportions which gives xxxHOLiC such a distinct yet thoroughly pleasing look. Character and character costume designs are exquisite as always, though I still feel that they are a little light on backgrounds at the moment. The clean, heavyset lines makes for very attractive visuals and combined with the attention to both simplified facial lines and super-deformed character expressions (where necessary – which with Watanuki happens to be often) makes for a very good looking book, just as you’ve come to expect from the CLAMP masters.
Overall, xxxHOLiC volume 5 really doesn’t put a foot wrong and CLAMP produce a beautiful, easy to read work that is drenched in drama and spiritual mystery but at the same time carries all the humour that makes xxxHOLiC as unique and fun as it is.
Thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining, you would do well to pick up this volume – as well as all of those that precede it!
Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XxxHOLiC
A classic Walt Disney fairytale story of the prince and his one true love Giselle, talking animals and all, are about to hit a bit of a bump in the road when Giselle is forced into our world through the machinations of the kingdom’s evil stepmother, the witch Queen Narissa. Bewildered, lost and without the staples that make an enchanted animated world what it is, Giselle is left to the mercy of modern New York City.
Fortunately for her, she is soon reluctantly rescued by a world-weary lawyer and his young daughter and slowly is given an opportunity to adapt to this strange new world – a world that unfortunately contains more emotions than just happiness and also carries a heavy lesson in reality for the young and rather na’ve Giselle!
Of course help is at hand when Prince Edward too decides to journey to our world in order to save his one true love, and much hilarity ensues as this fish out of water with a very sharp pointy sword strives to bring our world to heel and reveal the whereabouts of his princess.
Enchanted is the latest 2007 movie out of the Disney stable and is primarily a romantic comedy with the unusual twist of combining a traditional Disney 2D animated fairytale with the modern day, real world setting of New York City. The man behind the camera for this movie is Kevin Lima, a pretty unknown director who hasn’t done all that much work in the past, but has directed other Disney productions including 102 Dalmatians (2000), Tarzan (1999) and A Goofy Movie (1995).
Enchanted’s story starts out in a traditional Disney animated classic and we are introduced to the stereotypical Giselle, a woodland lover awaiting her prince in order to save her. Prince Edward is the stereotypical prince, complete with a dazzling smile and quick blade. Their happy union however is opposed by the evil Queen Narissa, who then boots Giselle out of the animated kingdom and into our world.
And this is pretty much where the humour of the movie lies. The translation of a character from their animated world antics to our real world provides a lot of laughs and unfortunately for the movie’s sake, the writers pretty much rely on this prop throughout the movie. That said it is funny to see someone create clothes from curtains, call over birds, rats and cockroaches to clean a house and to break out in song ala Disney spectacular style.
Of course, this wouldn’t be much of a romantic comedy without the romance, and it becomes pretty clear, pretty quickly that the grumpy, grounded in the real world Robert Phillip (Patrick Dempsey) is going to fall for Giselle (Amy Adams) – unfortunately this budding relationship is going to come at the cost of two other relationships (the prince and Giselle and Robert and Nancy), a seemingly strange movie from the usually very PC, family-oriented Disney writing.
The movie is pretty structured in it introduces the characters, focuses on the budding relationship and then forces the characters to ultimately make their choices in the end, and as such the movie is pretty formulaic but makes for a successful and enjoyable romantic comedy. My only real gripe with the writing in the end is the fact that the writers spoil the movie a little by introducing an unnecessarily extended ending sequence, which just drags out the movie a little longer than what is needed.
The cast for the movie do an absolutely stellar job in their respective roles, with Amy Adams leading the pack with her portrayal of the na’ve Giselle. Patrick Dempsey is as suave and as much a lady killer as he is in his usual guise of Dr Dreamy in Grey’s Anatomy and plays his role of the slightly world-weary Robert with a lot of believability. Idina Menzel plays the perfect woman scorned as Nancy while Susan Sarandon plays one of the most brilliant evil stepmom witches you will ever see. My favourite however has got to be James Marsden though – the man has an absolutely brilliantly apt broad smile and sense of comedic timing for this role, and you honestly can’t help but chuckle every time you see him on screen.
While there isn’t much special in terms of the camerawork throughout the movie, it must be mentioned that the people behind the merging of animated sequences within real life footage have one an absolutely amazing job. One of the foremost examples of this is the plucking apples in the water scene, and you’ll have to see it for yourself to understand what I’m talking about. The other side to the movie is the clever use of CGI, particularly in the use of animating Pip, our clever little rodent who also makes the trip from Andalasia to New York City.
Alan Menken, who has worked extensively with Disney throughout his career, provides the soundtrack for Enchanted, with most of the actual singing done by Amy Adams herself who does a really good job on the performance. The soundtrack is indeed everything you would expect from a classic Disney soundtrack, so it doesn’t hold too many surprises in the end.
Overall, the movie functions really, really well as a romantic comedy that delivers a good dose of chuckles and smiles and also works in a nice budding romance (if you can ignore the breaking of the existing relationship) as well. It provides some action and thrills too, in fact it is pretty much one of those flagship family movies that almost everyone will enjoy.
So if you are looking for some family friendly, PG fun with a spice of romance, then Enchanted won’t do you any harm. It is a fun premise for a movie and delivers all the goods it promises, so no wonder it is getting such rave reviews – definitely another Disney winner!
Related Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0461770/