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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Manga Review: A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow, Volume 2, by Makoto Hagino


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 2020
Volumes: 7+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3.

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the moment they met at the Aquarium Club’s open house, Konatsu has admired Koyuki and treated her like she wasn’t a distant figure on a pedestal. In turn, Koyuki has been open and welcoming to the new girl who stirs her heart. When the time comes to pick a club, Konatsu chooses the Aquarium Club with Koyuki. And even though it’s just the two of them, they manage to host a successful open house. What’s next for Koyuki and Konatsu, now that the shared experience has deepened the bond between them?


Review:

During the open house, there's some embarrassment and conflicting feelings, but Konatsu and Koyuki put themselves out there and that helps make it a success. Konatsu also meets Koyuki's dad during this, who turns out to be quite a supportive and good father.
After that, it's break time. Despite their difficulties with settling comfortably together, having too many worries about how to act around each other, they end up making plans together. Some of them don't quite go as planned, but they still learn more about each other during it.
Despite how timid and new to this they both are, they keep putting themselves out there and facing the misunderstandings that come along. Konatsu in particular might not be realizing what her feelings mean, but she's still trying to grow closer to Koyuki and spend more time with her.
This is a really sweet, heartwarming yuri series. It feels like first shojo love, only with girls. I'm really enjoying reading it so far.
As a sidenote, why doesn't Viz have a label for their more diverse series yet? They've released quite a few yuri or boys love series, or just ones that have a more diverse cast, and they're only under VIZ. They should add a new label for these, I think. I do think they're probably still just dabbling in it, but I hope when they get enough releases they'll expand it.


A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Manga Review: Radiant, Volume 8, by Tony Valente


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 2019
Volumes: 13+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 7. 9.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The world is overrun with monsters called Nemeses—and a young boy infected by one will stop at nothing to defeat them all!

Evil creatures called Nemeses fall from the skies and the only ones who can fight them are Wizards—infected ones who survived a Nemesis's corruption. Seth, one of these survivors, vows not only to fight the Nemeses, but to find their mythical nest, Radiant, and destroy it!

The Day of the Accolade has come for the aspiring wizard knights! While Mélie and Myr watch over the festivities, Seth and Doc infiltrate the basement of the castle to find documents about Radiant and finally discover Diabal’s true identity. While the party is in full swing, Cyfandir is attacked by the Inquisition. But why would they suddenly wage war?!

Review:

As Ocoho is dealing with her magical leader, and Melie is attempting to distract and keep watch, Seth sneaks deep into the castle back to the hidden nemesis base. All three are in different places, though they're working together to try and get some answers.
Ocoho makes a big step in this volume, standing up for what she thinks is right, even though people might think she's crazy and it'll likely make her lose her position in the wizard ranks.
This nemesis/wizard knight fight is getting more serious, and finally getting some potential reveals. It also keeps hinting at other wizards stepping in, whether to cause more trouble or to help solve it, and I think we might finally get to see who some of them are. We also discovered something potentially important regarding Seth's brother, and I'm very intrigued there. That seems like one of the main, long-standing plot-lines running right now, and I'm curious about it, but I think we're only touching the surface at this point.
This series is getting a little heavier in the shonen magic aspect, but I don't mind. It's interesting, and I definitely like the characters.


A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Manga Review: Ao Haru Ride, Volume 9, by Io Sakisaka


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 2020
Volumes: 13.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 8. 10.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The popular shojo manga series that was adapted into the Blue Spring Ride anime!

Futaba Yoshioka thought all boys were loud and obnoxious until she met Kou Tanaka in junior high. But as soon as she realized she really liked him, he had already moved away because of family issues. Now, in high school, Kou has reappeared, but is he still the same boy she fell in love with?

Futaba Yoshioka has encountered her first love again in high school, but he seems different from the boy she once knew. Futaba does her best to force Kou out of her heart. Toma and Futaba grow closer, and Kou realizes he doesn’t have much time to win her back…

Review:

Futaba and Kou are on very different pages at this point. Futaba is under one impression regarding Kou and Yui being in a relationship, because of how Kou is treating Futaba. Which means that Futaba has told herself she needs to move on, she's been rejected, and thus Kikuchi steps in for her.
Kou is dumb, and not only does he know it, but so does Kominato and Shuko. Just as he's trying to resolve his relationship with Yui, he's realizing that he's probably missed his chance with Futaba.
Kikuchi, on the other hand, is much too good for what Futaba is dealing with. He's the sweetest boy, honestly. Knowing what Futaba is going through, he's still understanding of it, giving her time, while also making her aware that he's there and he wants to be with her. He's so forward, while also a bit awkward and embarrassed, and it's just the sweetest.
The somewhat surprise, scene-stealing couple of the volume ended up being Yuri and Ichimiya. I was already rooting for them, and it's really sweet how they finally grow closer. There's a distinct kind of honesty in these characters, and I really appreciate that.
Sometimes this gets a bit dramatic, and I definitely don't think the drama is over yet, but there's always a certain kind of sweetness and maturity in Sakisaka's characters that I really enjoy.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Manga Review: The Devil's Secret by Hinako Takanaga


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: 801 Media/DMP
Release Date: 2008
Volumes: 1.
Spoilers?: No.
Buy it here: Amazon. RightStuf.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Father Mauro lived a peaceful life in a small town ministering to his community. That is, until he found a wounded demon (?) in the bushes of the church garden. While Raoul looks like a demon, complete with horns and a tail, he doesn’t act like the typical demon. Playful? Yes! Mischievous? Yes! Outright evil? Well… that depends on the definition. Does seducing men of the cloth count as evil – especially if they like it?

Review:

This is more middle-road Takanaga. Not as good as her current stuff, but better than her early-early stuff. The artwork is getting better, the characters are better written; more steamy scenes, which is always a plus.
The first two chapters feature a priest and a devil. Pretty light-hearted and cute. Next we have a student romance, then a winter romance, all one-shots. A couple of pretty cute boy characters, and a few with some pretty good smut featured.
All in all, not a bad yaoi one-shot volume. I'll keep it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Manga Review: Return of the Prince by Junko


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: June
Release Date: 2018.
Volumes: 1.
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

At his sister's wedding, Satake Kou is reunited with his cousin Fumihiro, who used to be dumb and fat as a child. Now that Fumihiro has transformed into a charismatic prince, Kou is undeniably self-conscious, but has no idea of Fumihiro's high regard toward him since they were little. Fumihiro's admiration has turned into something entirely different now. How will Kou respond to Fumihiro's feelings? Adachi has been friends with Ritsu since they were children. Suddenly, Ritsu starts acting completely different, and the reason for that change seems to be Ritsu's new sempai, a troublesome guy. Adachi slowly realizes that he feels more than just friendship towards Ritsu... but is it too late?

Review:

Seeing this was by Junko, I wanted to pick it up. Not having read any of their yaoi stuff, I was curious. The art was good, as expected. The story was okay.
The first story featured a cousin romance, which I wasn't too keen on. Honestly, none of it was too memorable. I think it was a fun read, but nothing stood out. Decent stories, but nothing more than a kiss in any of the one-shots. That doesn't surprise me too much, either, though, now that I think about it.
Mostly just meh.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Manga Review: The Girl from the OTher Side: Siuil, a Run, Volume 7, by Nagabe


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Seven Seas
Release Date: August 2019
Volume: 9+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 6. 8.

Goodreads Synopsis:

OF MONSTERS AND MEN

Hounded by two transformed soldiers desperate for salvation and with Teacher reeling from revelations about his own forgotten former life, the past finally catches up to Teacher and Shiva. With danger closing in around them at terrifying speed, is there nowhere safe for them to live a normal life together…?

Review:

This feels like the first real fight in this series to this point. Separated, Teacher and Shiva have to face their own enemy and attempt to get out okay. It puts Shiva through a pretty dangerous, scary situation, when she's still getting over the previous traumas.
A surprise is thrown at us here. A surprise we've all been dreading, which pushes Teacher into some dark and dramatic acts. It pushes him to a new low, somewhere he's considering going only for Shiva.
It's unclear what they're going to do next. Teacher is struggling with what he thinks he needs to do and what options he actually has, given that there's no real way of knowing how this is going to turn out. There's no way of knowing what will work here.
This was a hard volume. It's harsh, more so than previous volumes have been. And it doesn't look like it'll be getting any easier any time soon.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Comic Review: Mera: Tidebreaker by Denielle Paige and Stephen Byrne


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: DC Ink/DC Comics
Release Date: April 2019
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Princess Mera is teenage royalty and heir to the throne of Xebel, a penal colony ruled by the other not-so-lost land under the sea, Atlantis. Her father, his court and the entire kingdom are expecting her to marry and introduce a new king. But Mera is destined to wear a different crown....

When the Xebellian military plots to overthrow Atlantis and break free of its oppressive regime, Mera seizes the opportunity to take control over her own destiny by assassinating Arthur Curry—the long-lost prince and heir to the kingdom of Atlantis. But her mission gets sidetracked when Mera and Arthur unexpectedly fall in love. Will Arthur Curry be the king at Mera's side, or will he die under her blade as she attempts to free her people from persecution?

An astonishing graphic novel that explores duty, love, heroism and freedom, all through the eyes of readers' favorite undersea royalty.

From New York Times best-selling author Danielle Paige (Dorothy Must Die) and artist Stephen Byrne comes a Mera and Aquaman origin story that explores Mera's first steps on land, and her first steps as a hero or villain, forcing her to choose to follow her heart or her mission to kill.

Review:

I haven't really read any American comics, especially superhero ones. I'm just more of a manga girl. But the new trend of YA superhero comics has piqued my interest, and I want to like them.
This comic is about Mera before Aquaman, how she grew up and went against the expectations put on her in order to prove herself, and how that changed her perspective and helped her mature.
The artwork is okay, the coloring is really neat. The story was okay, too. I like the idea of these, but they don't keep my interest all that well, or seem to play out as well as they could. The idea of the story is interesting, but it was just kind of meh reading it.
This was okay. I'm going to try a couple more, I think, but I've lowered my expectations a bit, sadly.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Manga Review: Yona of the Dawn, Volume 22, by Mizuho Kusanagi


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 2020
Volumes: 32+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 21. 23.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A red-haired princess loses her family and her kingdom… Now she must rise and fight for her throne!

Princess Yona lives an ideal life as the only princess of her kingdom. Doted on by her father, the king, and protected by her faithful guard Hak, she cherishes the time spent with the man she loves, Su-won. But everything changes on her 16th birthday when tragedy strikes her family!

The mission to rescue Yona and Riri from Sei leads to reunions and revelations! Who is Riri’s secret crush? And has Yona come to realize her feelings for Hak? Later, masked visitors from the nation of Xing beckon Yona and the Dragon Warriors to meet their leader!

Review:

The first half of the volume has some lighthearted-ish moments among Hak and the group, as well as some time between Riri and Su-Won. They seem to be forming some kind of aquaintance-ship, and I'm not sure how I feel about it at this point. I'm just overall very wary of Su-Won, honestly.
The second half of the volume starts a new arc. Yona and the happy hungry bunch meet the princess of Xing, a girl looking for help for her kingdom, who stands on a different side from her ruling sister. I like this sweet princess, and this plot should be interesting, with a very rude cliffhanger.
All the twisting plots are progressing, some together and some not. We're on a new adventure now, though it doesn't seem too deep at this point.
I fall ever deeper into these character with each volume, and I really just love all of them so much.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Manga Review: Finder: Target in Sight, Volume 1, by Ayano Yamane


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: SuBLime (VIZ Media)
Release Date: 2017.
Volumes: 10+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Pain and pleasure collide when a sophisticated underworld boss crosses paths with a naive photographer hell-bent on bringing him down!

This deluxe edition includes never-before-released material as well as a double-sided color insert and special cover treatment! Photographer Takaba Akihito takes on a risky assignment trying to document the illegal activities of the Japanese underworld. When he captures its leader—the handsome, enigmatic Asami Ryuichi—in the crosshairs of his viewfinder, Takaba’s world is changed forever.

Freelance photographer Akihito Takaba is captured by the very subject he’s been stalking in his viewfinder—the handsome and enigmatic crime lord Asami Ryuichi! The older man ravages him, both body and mind. Does this mean the end for the naive photographer, or will he live to shoot another day?

Review:

I'd heard the excitement over this series being re-licensed, but I didn't look into it. The plot line didn't seem like my kind of thing, and I fell behind with it.
But when I realized Ayano Yamane, of Crimson Spell, was the mangaka of it, I was immediately interested and decided to pick it up during a sale.
This first volume definitely makes me think that this was only supposed to be a one-shot story at first. We meet the main characters, a photographer and a mobster. It's definitely a hot chapter, too, as Yamane is good at. But then quite a bit of the volume features other one-shots. Most of them are okay, nothing too stand-out, but good and hot stories.
I'm curious where the story will go next. There's definite plot options to go with, but since it felt rather one-shot-like in this volume, and I know it's a longer series, I'm curious how far it'll go and where.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Manga Review: Tekkon Kinkreet: Black & White by Taiyo Matsumoto


Rating (Out of 5): ~2.5
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: 2007
Volumes: 1.
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

2008 Eisner Comic Winner! Street urchins Black and White have skyscraper-sized chips on their shoulders, but are fiercely loyal to each other. Black is especially quick to avenge any slight against his dim-witted pal. The result? The citizens of Treasure Town are afraid of them, the police are afraid of them--even the local yakuza gangsters are afraid of them! But when the crime boss known as the "Rat" returns to Treasure Town, it looks like there's gonna be a rumble... The violence in this unique European-influenced manga title is more mindful than it seems at first glance, and the subtle relationships between its unique cast of characters are marked by surprising poignancy.

Review:

This is such an odd book. Starring two middle-grade boys, living on the streets in a weird, twisted world, made to seem childlike and yet actually pretty disturbing. There's punks and violence and devil mentions, and some crazy magic thrown in for funsies.
Honestly, if I hadn't read this for a college class, I wouldn't have picked this up, let alone understood any of what was happening. This is a crazy af book, and I still have a hard time quite seeing all the deeper meanings. Or maybe I just don't like some of the meanings and I don't want to read deeper in it either.
It gets crazier and more confusing as the book continues, up until the even weirder ending.
This is not something I'd have ever picked up myself, and honestly I would probably dislike it more if I hadn't been forced to analyze it and see it from a more intriguing viewpoint.
It's weird though guys.