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Title:
  Tokyopop Sneaks Summer 2006

UK Distributor:  Tokyopop

Author:  Various

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  Free

Number of Pages:  192

ISBN:  1-5981-6859-2

Reviewed:  22nd May 2006

Reviewer:  Rich (Webmaster)

 

Donít you just love freebies?  Tokyopop produce one of these manga preview books every six months or so to give fans a look at their upcoming manga series, and usually distribute them through retailers (you get given them free with a purchase) or at trade shows.

The sneaks book is split in half, the first half consists of previews of US and Korean manga titles like Peach Fuzz, Psy-Comm, Chronicles of the Cursed Sword and PhD: Fantasy Degree.  The second half Ė reading right to left from the back of the book Ė features previews of the latest Japanese titles including Samurai Champloo, DearS, Saiyuki Reload and Jing, King of Bandits: Twilight Tales.  Each preview consists of around 10 pages of manga fronted with a short synopsis and release info, and there are a fair few to read Ė the book itself is the same size as a normal manga volume, so thatís around 190 pages!

Obviously the previews are designed to show you what a particular series is like, without giving too much away and crucially to leave you wanting more, and on these counts this book is excellent.  The previews, for the most part, succeed in doing exactly what they are supposed to, introducing the characters and ending on a cliffhanger which leaves you desperate to see what will happen next.  The fact that this is pulled off in just a handful of pages is even more impressive, and the series synopses are concise and informative too.

The book covers a huge variety of styles and genres, from the sweet comedy of Peach Fuzz through to the fantasy horror of Vampire Game, and gives you a unique chance to have a peek at something you wouldnít normally buy.  Highlights in this volume include the stylish actioner Samurai Champloo, fantasy comedy PhD: Fantasy Degree and the cheerfully inoffensive Peach Fuzz, but there are plenty of other titles that piqued my interest too.

The only previews that donít really do their series justice are Jing, King of Bandits: Twilight Tales, which is very hard to follow when the action kicks in, and Psy-Comm, which starts at the end of a chapter and ends halfway through the next.  There is still enough shown of each series to make them interesting, but they donít leave you desperate to see what will happen next.  Itís a bit of a shame but can you really argue?  This book is free!

There are a couple of drawbacks but itís not like you are paying to buy this, it doesnít cost a penny and as a promotional tool it is excellent.  On the surface Tokyopop may lose money with this book, but I for one have now started buying four manga series I would probably not have otherwise bought on the strength of the previews in this volume of Tokyopop Sneaks.  Everyone loves a freebie, Tokyopop do their reputation no harm by giving these away, but more importantly it pays them to be generous.  As a fan this is a great book too, especially if you want a look at the latest series before they hit the shelves and donít want to risk shelling out on something you wonít like.  Good for the fans and the company, Tokyopop Sneaks is a perfect example of a win-win situation!

Extras:

Contents Lists and intros are provided for both the Japanese and US/Korean sections, and the book is liberally sprinkled with adverts for other Tokyopop series.  There is also a divider page to separate the two sections and a guide on how to read the panels on a right to left orientated manga.

Ratings

Feature:   Extras:
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