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Friday, July 20, 2018

Manga Review: Yona of the Dawn, Volume 12, by Mizuho Kusanagi


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: June 2018
Volumes: 26+
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1. 11. 13.

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!

Yona returns to her homeland when the Hazara Clan, a powerful family in the nation of Kai, invades the Kingdom of Kohka! How will the Fire Tribe defend against this audacious attack, and what will Yona resort to in order to protect Saika?!

Review:

 After the festival, the group is about ready to move on, when Yona gets the feeling something is happening at Kohka. Despite it being dangerous, and maybe even none of her business, she can't stay out of it.
They infiltrate in disguise, nosing around as they try to find out what's happening, what's planned. They're being told one thing, and simply waiting in the village. But pretty soon, the numbers and actions aren't matching up with the information. And they realize there's a distraction tactic being used.
Despite the fact that Yona has no reason to help Su-Won, and in fact shouldn't, doesn't stop her from heading straight for Kohka. It's her country, even if Su-Won took it. Though, of course, Su-Won isn't one to be taken by surprise, as we've seen.
This is sure to be an interesting encounter and battle. I'm excited and worried.
At the end of the volume, we got a little extra featuring Gija's childhood. It's a new insight into him that we haven't seen before. It's bittersweet, really; it's sad, and yet Gija doesn't really let things get him down much.


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

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Manga Review: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Volume 3, by Akira Himekawa


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 2018
Volumes: 3+
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1. 2. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Link must defeat evil at every turn in his perilous quest to help Princess Zelda!

Once upon a time, wizards tried to conquer the Sacred Realm of Hyrule. The Spirits of Light sealed the wizards’ power within the Shadow Crystal and banished them to the Twilight Realm beyond the Mirror of Twilight. Now, an evil menace is trying to find Midna, Princess of the Twilight Realm, and the fragments of the Shadow Crystal to gain the power to rule over both the Twilight Realm and the World of Light.

Link and Midna journey toward Death Mountain, seeking a power that can save Hyrule from the Shadow King. In the face of so many obstacles, Link must steel himself to overcome his own doubts and to find Ilia and the other villagers kidnapped by the forces of evil. But even if Link can defeat these challenges, he still has to find the shards of the Shadow Crystal. The quest continues in the Shadow Realm…

Review:

We find out that all of the children have unintentionally joined up in a village way out on a hill. At first this seems good, but then something comes over the village. Thankfully they're mostly safe with a shaman there. Link is on his way there, though also unintentionally. He runs into a man with a nest in his hair, who gives him a lantern, and he's on his way.
Link has to fight his way to save the village. Then he gets Epona back, and he has to face off with a beast. He's determined to find Ilia next, but it looks like there's a few other things he has to take care of on his way.
This series is okay. It's a little average in excitement and characterization for me, so not much of it is really grabbing me. I will admit the scene we got of Ilia in this volume is probably the one that stands out the most to me. Having never played the games, though, it's interesting to find out some of what happens.


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

Monday, July 16, 2018

Manga Review: Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Volume 3, by Izumi Tsubaki


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5-4
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: May 2016
Volumes: 10+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 2. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

To the eyes of classmate Chiyo Sakura, high school student Umetarou Nozaki--brawny of build and brusque of tongue--is a dreamboat! When Chiyo finally works up the courage to tell Nozaki how she feels about him, she knows rejection is on the table...but getting recruited as a mangaka's assistant?! Never in a million years! As Chiyo quickly discovers, Nozaki-kun, the boy of Chiyo's dreams, is a manga artist...a hugely popular shoujo manga artist, that is! But for someone who makes a living drawing sweet girly romances, Nozaki-kun is a little slow on the uptake when it comes to matters of the heart in reality. And so Chiyo's daily life of manga making and heartache begins!

Review:

After taking a break from this series, and reading more of her Oresama Teacher series, I think her humor has started growing on me again. This volume was a lot of fun, and just what I was looking for. I'm very behind, but I might have to catch up.
There's a rather big cast in this series, and I tend to forget who some of them are. We got a few chapters featuring side characters, like Nozaki's publishing team—his editor and his friends, like at a school reunion. Aside from that, there are some miscommunicated dating attempts, a visit to the glee club, a check in with the theater club. Chiyo finds her forgotten Valentine's chocolates for Nozaki, and Wakamatsu discovers and renames some tones.
I really do enjoy all of the time spent working on Nozaki's manga, and how crazy it can be. Seeing his flaws in that area is also quite funny. The other school antics are great, and all of the characters are so odd. It's a lot of fun to read.
I'm really looking forward to the next one now.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Manga Review: Behind the Scenes!!, Volume 5, by Bisco Hatori


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5-4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 2018
Volumes: 7.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 4. 6.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Ranmaru Kurisu comes from a family of hardy, rough-and-tumble fisherfolk and he sticks out at home like a delicate, artistic sore thumb. It’s given him a raging inferiority complex and a permanently pessimistic outlook. Now that he’s in college, he’s hoping to find a sense of belonging. But after a whole life of being left out, does he even know how to fit in?!

Love is in the air at Shichikoku University, until it plummets to the ground to be trampled into the dirt by uncaring feet! Ranmaru, Ruka and Soh are all suffering from various levels of unrequited interests, and all three deal with their painful affections in different ways. Will any of their strategies succeed, or will they just get further tangled in the tortuous net of love?

Review:

So the theatre group does a lot this volume. They help make fans for a boy band, they help make costumes for halloween, and they help on a set for a play Soh is in. Maasa helps a girl find out how to really represent herself, though that ends unhappily for Maasa, who's oblivious to the one guy who actually pays attention to her.
During all this, Ranmaru is struggling with his feelings of insecurity around Goda, because he wants to be like him, and because of his feelings for Ruka. Ruka is dealing with some family stuff at the same time, and Goda is acting indifferent to her. There's a lot of unrequited feelings going around right now.
This is a fun series, and the releases are much too far apart. I forget how much I miss Hatori's humor and characters between each book, because it's such a fun ride when I pick them up.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Manga Review: Requiem of the Rose King, Volume 7, by Aya Kanno


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 2017
Volumes: 10+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 6. 8.

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.

Review:

We see the realization at the beginning of this volume, and the subsequent downfall after. It's honestly heartbreaking.
Richard is reeling from this new knowledge, and he doesn't quite know how to cope. Cecily has no issues continuing with her plan, though. The two queens continue with their determinations for battle, and it ensues. There's manipulation and secret-identities; lots of blood and potential deaths.
It appears that York has won, but not happily. It's rough. And then, when Richard goes to see Henry, it's apparent that Cecily has gotten to him first.
This is honestly heartbreaking, and the worst moment I've read so far. It's awful, and I don't want to imagine what happens next. It can't be good.


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

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Manga Review: Haikyu!!, Volume 21, by Haruichi Furudate


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: March 2018
Volumes: 32+
Spoilers?: Hints.
Volume: 1. 20. 22.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Shoyo Hinata is out to prove that in volleyball you don't need to be tall to fly!

Ever since he saw the legendary player known as "the Little Giant" compete at the national volleyball finals, Shoyo Hinata has been aiming to be the best volleyball player ever! Who says you need to be tall to play volleyball when you can jump higher than anyone else?

The fifth set of the Miyagi Prefecture qualifier round finals continues. With Tsukishima out of the game, Karasuno's defense is starting to fall apart. However, they're determined to keep it together. With both teams physically and mentally exhausted, which one will keep it together the longest and move on to Nationals?


Review:

So this game is rounding ever closer to the end, the points are raking up, and each time is giving each other a fight. It's nearing the end when Tsukkishima finally gets released to rejoin them, and both teams have used all the time-outs they have. The specific rivalries are heating up—Tsukki wants to beat Ushijima as much as Shoyo does. Aside from that, each character is trying to prove a point. Karasuno wants to prove that they deserve to be there.
During this, there's the reminder of Aoba Josai's captain watching, waiting to see who will win this one. An interesting point is when we see Shiratorizawa's coach watching Shoyo, and his background that is a direct contrast to Shoyo. He was a short volleyball player who didn't get to shine, and he is practically determined to stick with those old prejudices. Shoyo is very directly fighting that.
I will admit that I expected this to turn out differently. I didn't think they would go this far this fast. (I guess it has been over 20 books? Is that not fast?) But at the end of the volume, we get a hint to the Tokyo team's starting round. And it, sadly, looks like we'll get to see whether Fukurodani or Nekoma move forward.
I don't know how I still have things to talk about every volume, but still all I want to do is gush. I love it so much. I wanted to cheer with them at several points in this book.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Manga Review: Waiting for Spring, Volume 5, by Anashin


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: March 2018
Volumes: 9+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 4. 6.

Goodreads Synopsis:

IN CIRCLES Summer vacation is in full swing! When Mitsuki and her friends go to the amusement park together, she’s faced with plenty of romantic date spots and superstitions. When she finally works up the courage to ask Towa to ride the Ferris wheel with her, her plans are interrupted and she has to think of another way…but just when Mitsuki’s about to throw in the towel, Towa picks up the game right where she left off. Alone together on the Ferris wheel, Towa’s confession of a secret past may be more than Mitsuki is ready to hear.

Review:

This volume contains the end of their vacation trip, and then Mitsuki finally goes on her “date” with Aya. Mitsuki is still trying to see Aya as a boy, while Aya is trying to compete with Towa for her affection, when Mitsuki is also still trying to get the courage to do anything with Towa. It's a very conflicted triangle, especially when Aya is the only one being upfront about his feelings.
There's some sweet tension between Mitsuki and Towa in this volume, particularly as they're growing close enough to hug and whatnot. The little touches between them is very cute and innocent, and I'm a big fan.
It feels like they're trying to make basketball a big part of this series, but I'm just not feeling it that much. They're using it to up the competition, at least, and as something for the boys to focus on. It is nice to see Mitsuki taking on some other responsibilities on her own, though, as something for her to grow from.
This is a fun school shojo series, and I'm really having fun reading it.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Manga Review: The Promised Neverland, Volume 4, by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: June 2018
Volumes: 9+
Spoilers?: Hints.
Volume: 1. 3. 5.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The children of the Grace Field House orphanage must escape a macabre fate before it’s too late.

Life at Grace Field House is good for Emma and her fellow orphans. While the daily studying and exams they have to take are tough, their loving caretaker provides them with delicious food and plenty of playtime. But perhaps not everything is as it seems…

With Norman scheduled to be shipped out, the children try their best to save him. Emma and Ray come up with a new plan, but then Norman makes a surprising decision.

Review:

This series is brutal.
After that last cliffhanger, things don't get better. Emma and Ray are determined to do what they can, but... Norman thinks it's all too risky. He wants everyone else to be safe more than himself. It's honestly crushing.
I acknowledge that the last shot we have of Norman could mean something different than what the scenes before and after indicate, particularly seeing Mother walk back to the house with his hat. I admit to a tiny sliver of hope for that. But I have doubts, because I don't want to get my hopes up. Because the reality otherwise is just so awful.
Afterward, we know that Emma and Ray's time is coming to a close very quickly. Their birthdays are approaching, and Ray's is first. The whole thing with Norman puts them in a depression, and Mother takes advantage of that.
I will admit that, with the twist at the end, I didn't see it working out like that. There were quite a few twists thrown in, in a very short time. I'm both excited to see what happens next, and dreading parts of it. This series is honestly awful, it's cruel and disturbing, and I am utterly impressed and entranced with it.


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

Friday, July 6, 2018

Manga Review: Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, Volume 29, by Karuho Shiina


Rating (Out of 5): ~4.5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: May 2018
Volumes: 30.
Spoilers?: Hints given.
Volume: 1. 28. 30.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sawako “Sadako” Kuronuma is the perfect heroine…for a horror movie.

With her jet-black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor, Sawako “Sadako” Kuronuma always had trouble fitting in. But her whole life changes when she befriends the most popular boy in class, Shota Kazehaya. Can love trump her cursed life?

Review:

The first half of the volume is the conclusion to Ayane and Pin's potential romance. She takes some persuading to actually go to him, and he's worried and rooting for her to pass her exams. And coincidentally, it's valentine's day.
I will admit that I'm a little disappointed. It makes sense, and isn't necessarily surprising, and I won't spoil it beyond that. But I was kind of hoping for a different ending.
After that, it's graduation. Kazehaya and Sawako get a little time together, there's a lot of tears as everyone is saying goodbye. Sawako gets to make a speech, as the valedictorian. Afterward, there's the tradition of button-stealing and whatnot, with a super cute moment between the main couple (and some between every other relationship).
There's only one volume left, and I'm super upset that this series is ending. It's definitely one of my favorites, and I'll miss it, but I can't wait to see how it ends.


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

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Manga Review: Children of the Whales, Volume 3, by Abi Umeda


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: VIZ Signature (VIZ Media)
Release Date: March 2018
Volumes: 12+
Spoilers?: Some.
Volume: 1. 2. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

In this post-apocalyptic fantasy, a sea of sand swallows everything but the past.

In an endless sea of sand drifts the Mud Whale, a floating island city of clay and magic. In its chambers a small community clings to survival, most dying young from the very powers that sustain them.

The Mud Whale is in dire trouble. In four days, the imperial ap├ítheia soldiers will return to destroy all its inhabitants. But the Committee of Elders would rather kill everyone on board than wait for the “mercy” of the empire, and the fighters of the island will do the elders’ bidding without a second thought. Now Chakuro and the other children are forced by circumstance to rebel against the adults in order to save their home and their lives.

Review:

The children stand up to the committee in their decision to save the island, to stop this while they can. Having one of the allied army there, and seeing Neri possibly sacrifice herself, seems to have put a stop to it.
Afterward, they decide to start training to fight. They know how long they have till the next attack, and they want to defend themselves and fight if they can. During this, is the start of the Sand Festival on the island, a time for them to celebrate and find joy in something after all the devastation.
They strategize, and they use the sand storm to their advantage. Despite the small reprieve we get in the middle of the volume, at the end it's back to the fighting, and the possible impending massacre. It's real bad.
This is an intriguing series, for sure. I'm a little unsure of it, and it's not generally my genre of book, deep in lore and violent. But I'm intrigued by it. And it's very pretty.


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