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Monday, November 12, 2018

Manga Review: My Hero Academia, Volume 13, by Kohei Horikoshi


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: June 2018
Volumes: 20+
Spoilers?: Not really.
Volume: 1. 12. 14.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Midoriya inherits the superpower of the world’s greatest hero, but greatness won’t come easy.

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

The students of Class 1-A have reached another milestone—the Provisional Licensing Exam. After making it through the first part of the test, they ready themselves for the next phase, which takes place in a simulated disaster area. Midoriya and his friends have to rescue as many victims as they can, and although the students of rival Shiketsu High are technically supposed to be helping, competition between them is fierce and even dangerous! As the scenario unfolds and actual villains arrive to shake things up, the UA students will have to find new ways to work with each other and make use of their Quirks.

Review:

This volume concludes the hero test. It's a tough test, with a few twists thrown in, and gives them the chance to prove whether they would be good out in the world as heroes or not. It actually has a surprising result for a few people—or not so surprising, given how a few of them acted on the battle field. Afterward, select characters get a following chance, and they get to reflect on how they did.
There are mixed feelings for why some of them passed and some of them didn't.
The main conflict is between Deku and Bakugo, which Bakugo decides to confront, once and for all. This has really been coming for a long time now. I'm not sure when Bakugo was seen as a possible good guy, and not a complete bully, but there's still been some underlying tension between these two this whole time. Bakugo has gotten the feeling there was some connection between Deku and All Might, though he hasn't known what or why, and he's been resentful of it this whole time.
It'll be interesting to see what happens between them, when they actually fight all out against each other. Although, it did bother me how Deku feels responsible, just like Bakugo does, for All Might's downfall, when I'm pretty sure it has been coming from the very beginning.


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

Friday, November 9, 2018

Manga Review: Idol Dreams, Volume 4, by Arina Tanemura


Rating (Out of 5): ~3-3.5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: November 2017
Volumes: 6+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3. 5.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Chikage Deguchi, age 31, reverts her appearance back to age 15 to pursue love and success as an idol!

At age 31, office worker Chikage Deguchi feels she missed her chances at love and success. When word gets out that she’s a virgin, Chikage is humiliated and wishes she could turn back time to when she was still young and popular. She takes an experimental drug that changes her appearance back to when she was 15. Now Chikage is determined to pursue everything she missed out on all those years ago—including becoming a star!

To pursue missed chances at love and success, 31-year-old Chikage Deguchi takes an experimental drug that changes her appearance back to how she looked at age 15. Chikage tells Tokita she’s decided to date the teenage Ru as her 15-year-old self, and Tokita wonders how things might have been different if he had confessed his feelings for her back in high school…

Review:

Chikage has started dating Ru, the less obvious choice for her teen self. This brings about all kinds of conflicted thoughts for the reader, and her other male contenders, but Chikage herself doesn't seem to notice. She's in a honeymoon world of her own, thinking everything is working out for once.
I must admit that I appreciated the turnout for that relationship. Chikage realized what their relationship was doing, and decided to be the mature adult for once, and make the correct, though hurtful, decision that she does. That felt like a step in the right direction, and I was surprised by how quickly it happened, but we'll see.
I will admit that Chikage has pretty much taken on two full-time jobs, as two different people, and so it makes sense that one—if not both—of those jobs are going to take a hit, as we see in this volume.
This volume took an upward leap for me, so I'm hoping the next volume continues that path.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Manga Review: Waiting for Spring, Volume 7, by Anashin


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: July 2018
Volumes: 10+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 6. 8.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A sweet shojo story of a soft-spoken high school freshman and her quest to make friends, Waiting for Spring will delight fans of earnest, fun, and dramatic shojo like Kimi ni Todoke and Say I Love You.

Mizuki is a shy girl who's about to enter high school, and vows to open herself up to new friendships. Of course, the four stars of the boys' basketball team weren't exactly the friends she had in mind! Yet, when they drop by the café where she works, the five quickly hit it off. Soon she's been accidentally thrust into the spotlight, targeted by jealous girls. And will she expand her mission to include... love?

Review:

The school festival finally starts, and we get to see Mitsuki's hard work pull off.
Mitsuki's relationship with Aya-chan is complicated. I want to just dislike Aya and call it good, but then the story focuses on their relationship for a while, and we see him be cute and sweet to Mitsuki, and more mature than the boys, and we see that their relationship is nice. I might not want to like Aya, and am definitely not rooting for him, but I can appreciate his character, I suppose.
Aside from that, there's all the festival activities, the dressing up and picture-taking, and it's very fun. And then we finally, finally get to see Towa make a step forward with Mitsuki. It's not the step I thought he was going to take, and she didn't react how I thought, either, and yet it's super sweet, and honest, and it's mature on a different level, I think. It makes me super excited to read the next one.
I'm really quite hooked on this series. It's such good, fluffy, high-school shojo.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Manga Review: The Ancient Magus' Bride, Volume 8, by Kore Yamazaki


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Seven Seas
Release Date: February 2018
Volumes: 10+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 7. 9.

Goodreads Synopsis:

THE CURSE

Chise may have stopped the dragon’s rampage, but at a great cost: she has been cursed, and a dragon’s curse is unbreakable! Chise and Elias are visited by Marielle the witch, whose fellow witches claim to know the secret to helping Chise. There’s one catch-–in exchange for their aid, Chise must join the witches’ coven.

Review:

Chise is dealing with the repercussions of her drastic actions. She wants to save everyone, but doesn't take into account her own mortality, and now she has a cursed hand.
She gets invited to a witch's meeting, which has some pros and cons they debate on before deciding to go. There's the possibility that they'll know how to cure her, but this doesn't quite turn out how they would hope.
In the background, Josef has been roiling up some mischief. And when Elias does something drastic to try and save Chise, possibly not realizing how upset it will make her, it only turns out worse for both of them. The cliffhanger is surely not going to lead to anything good.
This is the first real fight Elias and Chise have had, I think. It's rather sad, really.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Manga Review: Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Volume 6, by Izumi Tsubaki


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: February 2017
Volumes: 10+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 5. 7.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Hit shoujo manga-ka and high school boy Umetarou Nozaki will do just about anything to find ideas for his manga! He'll test his courage with horror games. He'll even play the role of the girl manager for a sports team! But will he get that romantic payoff at the end? Better yet, will Chiyo, whose passion spirals out of control when her beloved Nozaki is away?!

Review:

I love all of the ridiculous relationships and characters in this series. Nozaki is always doing crazy things as research for his manga, like when he drags Hori and Kashima to do a scare test by staying at school overnight, and when he experiments with doing a horror story by turning off the lights and playing a text-only video game with Sakura and Mikoshiba.
Then we see Sakura missing Nozaki during the break and going to visit him, in his parents' home. Nozaki and Seo attempt coaching basketball, and Kashima tries not to talk to Hori to get ready for a role. There's also a texting debacle starring Nozaki's younger brother, and I love seeing how utterly bad he is at it.
I am quite infatuated with this series now. I can't wait to read more, and might even have to try the anime.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Manga Review: Everyone's Getting Married, Volume 8, by Izumi Miyazono


Rating (Out of 5): ~3-3.5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: May 2018
Volumes: 9.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 7. 9.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Opposites attract—but should they get married?!

Successful career woman Asuka Takanashi has an old-fashioned dream of getting married and becoming a housewife. After her long-term boyfriend breaks up with her to pursue his own career goals, she encounters popular newscaster Ryu Nanami. Asuka and Ryu get along well, but the last thing he wants is to ever get married. This levelheaded pair who want the opposite things in life should never get involved, except…

Review:

Now they're officially long-distance, and they have to deal with the trials of that. Ryu is busy working overseas, and Asuka is working, too—but she's struggling with the separation more. She has to sleep in their apartment, by herself, now. They do get to see each other when they make the trip—though that can be hit or miss. And they talk on the phone and video a lot, but that can only do so much.
Asuka gets lonely. But she doesn't want to be the reason that Ryu misses promotions and more exciting opportunities. But on the other hand—which Asuka isn't really seeing—Asuka is becoming the first woman to make Ryu consider other options.
The cliffhanger in this volume isn't surprising, but it is hard. I'm not sure how Ryu is going to react, really. It could go either way, but I don't think this series is ending soon.
Although, I also don't really care for Asuka's other option of suitor, honestly.

Update: I was wrong. Apparently the next volume is the last one. So. Hm. Good, I suppose, that means this plot won't drag on much longer, then. Hopefully it won't be rushed, either.


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

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Manga Review: Barakamon, Volume 15, by Satsuki Yoshino


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: February 2018
Volumes: 17+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 14. 16.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Severely overestimating the villagers' wealth, Handa-sensei finds himself quite short on students for his calligraphy school upon announcing his exorbitant tuition rate. But as his hopes begin to fade, a savior appears!?

Review:

(New volume is out, so I better review the last one, ahhhh...)
The harsh realities of life are crashing down on the villagers. Hiroshi's graduating soon, and he'll be off to Tokyo. Handa-sensei is now attempting to be a teacher, on his own, and now he's being told he has to pay his own rent. Ahhh, life.
Handa is attempting to find students, and has to set up a classroom. Thankfully, Kawafuji shows up to help, as Handa really has no sense on how to do any of this. Kawafuji also gives him a reality check, in the form of what each student should actually be paying for the classes. Handa was practically in some other world for his budget.
Even though some real progress is being made, it's still crazy and hilarious. The antics and the everyday life of living in the village, with festivals and weather changing.
I just love this series. It's so fun, and I forget between volumes, just how much I enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Manga Review: Natsume's Book of Friends, Volume 21, by Yuki Midorikawa


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: January 2018
Volumes: 23+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 20. 22.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Takashi Natsume has always been aware of the supernatural world, but after he inherits a magical book from his grandmother, the supernatural world is aware of him!

Takashi Natsume can see the spirits and demons that hide from the rest of humanity. He has always been set apart from other people because of his gift, drifting from relative to relative, never fitting in. Now he's a troubled high school student who has come to live in the small town where his grandmother grew up. And there he discovers that he has inherited more than just the Sight from the mysterious Reiko.

Nyanko Sensei hasn’t been home in days, and Natsume is starting to get worried. He knows Sensei left in a party mood, but he has no idea where his friend and bodyguard was headed. And now there are rumors of evil spirits from the east heading to the local forest. Are they related to Nyanko Sensei’s disappearance, and will Natsume have to face this threat all on his own?

Review:

This volume took me a long while to get to, and then it was a slow start. I think I started it a few times, so it felt familiar. But I think that's also just how this series feels—it is familiar, and slow, and thoughtfully easy, if that makes sense.
While the episodic chapters are fun, and I do enjoy meeting new, odd and cute creatures, I do really appreciate when the plot or characters or relationships progress. When we get to see Natsume building his friendships, and get to know more about his friends and family, it's just so special.
One episode featured his friend Kitamoto and a book shop, with a sweet girl yokai. Natsume makes a little Nyanko-sensei figure that comes to life, and that was quite cute. Then we got a chapter that didn't include Natsume at all, and instead Natori.
These volumes are always a sweet, smooth treat.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Manga Review: Requiem of the Rose King, Volume 8, by Aya Kanno


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 2018
Volumes: 10+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 7. 9.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The intrigue and royal conspiracy in the Bard’s Richard III is given a dark manga twist that will appeal to aficionados of both comics and the classics.

Richard, the ambitious third son of the House of York, believes he is cursed, damned from birth to eternal darkness. But is it truly fate that sets him on the path to personal destruction? Or his own tormented longings? Based on an early draft of Shakespeare’s Richard III, Aya Kanno’s dark fantasy finds the man who could be king standing between worlds, between classes, between good and evil.

Ten years after the king’s death, things have changed for Richard. His feud with his sibling has deepened, and the witch Jane tempts the new king with her mysterious charms. In this swirl of human desire, Richard reaches toward his own future and rises again in defense of the York family!

Review:

 This is a new phase for Richard. He still has big, specific plans, but no one is really aware of it. Except Anne, who he kind of blackmailed into marriage.
Nothing good is to come any more. There don't seem to be any high/happy points in this series any more.
In this volume, there's a party, poison, and lots of sneaking around. Family members sneaking around and making lots of silent moves, and a witch making waves. And it all leads to the big cliffhanger, which is really, truly awful. I don't know what has been happening to him since we last saw him, and I don't think I want to know.
It's... just... awful.
The feel of this series is dark and ominous and horrible, and I'm not sure what is going to go wrong next.


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

Friday, October 26, 2018

Manga Review: Anonymous Noise, Volume 10, by Ryoko Fukuyama


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: September 2018
Volumes: 16+
Spoilers?: Yes.
Volume: 1. 9. 11.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Music and longing collide in this ballad of unrequited love!

Nino Arisugawa, a girl who loves to sing, experiences her first heart-wrenching goodbye when her beloved childhood friend, Momo, moves away. And after Nino befriends Yuzu, a music composer, she experiences another sad parting! Luckily, Nino reunites with Momo and Yuzu in high school, but things haven’t played out the way anyone expected…

With their nationwide tour in full swing, the members of In No Hurry to Shout witness a true miracle. Unable to contain his soaring spirits, Yuzu approaches Nino… Will he finally make his move?

Review:

The concert ends on a very good note, and everyone's happy, and then Yuzu gets his voice back and confesses to Nino.
Clearly this needed to happen at some point, and yet I really didn't expect it to happen like this, this soon. But I really liked the way it happened. Much like the rest of the series, it's bold and sudden and necessary. They yell, they're interrupted, they run away and then come back together. This series is very big drama, and it's done so intensely, and so very well.
I appreciate the way that Yuzu handles it, that he gets out what he needs to. And I appreciate how Nino reacts—she's stunned and unable to process, and then she runs away and yells, and has to talk to Miou about it. It's a process that they both need to go through, I think.
The volume nears its end as we see two more big moments. We see a really sweet realization and confrontation between Miou and Haruyoshi—so sweet, how they're growing together. And we get a confrontation with Momo's mom, as Nino (and the reader) gets a glimpse of why there's tension between them, and what she's like (which isn't good).
Also, as a sidenote: I really appreciate Yuzu and Momo's friendship. They have such a bromance, and I love it. It's similar to Nino and Miou—they have rivalry and conflict, and yet they also are just close, good friends. It's a pure, good theme in this series, honestly.
This series is so unabashedly good. I'm so glad it was picked up, and I can't wait for more.


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