Title: Tokyopop Sneaks Summer 2006
UK Distributor: Tokyopop
Suggested Retail Price (SRP): Free
Number of Pages: 192
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
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!
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