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Sunday, December 27, 2020

Manga Review: Spy x Family, Volume 2, by Tatsuya Endo


Rating (Out of 5):
~4

Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)

Release Date: September 2020

Volumes: 6+

Spoilers?: No.

Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Book Depository. Powells. RightStuf.

Volume: 1. 3.

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

 

Master spy Twilight is unparalleled when it comes to going undercover on dangerous missions for the betterment of the world. But when he receives the ultimate assignment—to get married and have a kid—he may finally be in over his head!

Twilight must infiltrate the prestigious Eden Academy to get close to his target Donovan Desmond, but has he ruined his daughter Anya’s chances with his outburst during the admissions interview? Perhaps the truly impossible mission this time is making sure Anya both becomes an exemplary student and befriends Donovan’s arrogant son Damian!

 

Review:

 

Now that the family is all together, the first mission was to get Anya into the private school. After that interview, it surprisingly doesn't go too bad. While the task technically has a different step next, Twilight thinks that Anya could make friends with the main targets son in her class instead. But they're kids, so that doesn't quite go as planned.

Throughout all of this, of course, the three are still getting to know each other and growing closer. They're forming a familial bond, even though they've only been doing it a very short time, and with so little preparation. And then Yor's overprotective brother shows up.

This series is a lot of fun. I really like the characters, and I'm enjoying seeing them grow closer with each other. This development with Anya and her new classmates is also a lot of fun, since it's something she hasn't quite done like this before.

This is definitely a series to keep following.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Manga Review: Sweat and Soap, Volume 3, Kintetsu Yamada



Rating (Out of 5):
~4

Publisher: Kodansha Comics

Release Date: August 2020

Volumes: 9+

Spoilers?: No.

Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Book Depository. Powell's. RightStuf.

Volume: 1. 2. 4.

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

 

In an office romance, there's a fine line between sexy and awkward... and that line is where Asako -- a woman who sweats copiusly -- met Koutarou -- a perfume developer who can't get enough of Asako's, er, scent. Don't miss a romcom manga like no other!

DROPPING A BATH BOMB
The office romance between the quiet and sweet accountant Asako, who's spent her life ashamed of how much she sweats, and rising star of the bath and toiletry world Kotaro got off to a fast and steamy start! Kotaro's status at the company has made her wary of revealing their relationship to their colleagues at Liliadrop, and she's stumbled into the discovery that Kotaro has been mentoring an attractive, young product developer named Korisu. He doesn't seem to have feelings for her, but might she be harboring a secret crush? Awkwardness explodes into anxiety when Kotaro tells her he's scheduled to take a four-day business trip with Korisu--just the two of them! Can Asako's budding relationship survive, and what's Korisu planning to do over three nights with her supposedly-single boss?

The hilarious ups and downs of an office romance at a personal care products company are the subject of this sexy, strange romp. Sweat and Soap combines the odd-couple chemistry of Wotakoi, the "too real!" workplace comedy of Aggretsuko, and a heavy dollop of office steaminess!

 

Review:

 

Kotaro has to go away on a business trip in the first part of this volume, which means a longer time without seeing each other than they've gone before. This confronts an issue with his assistant that had been brewing. After that, it's Kotaro's birthday, and the two end up planning a little trip alone together.

I really like how this series has handled serious issues so far. The whole thing with his assistant could have been big and dramatic, but instead Kotaro did what he could to help the situation, and then was honest about it, so that Asako could also deal with it for herself. And even how things go between the two women is very honest and supportive, and I liked that.

Aside from that, things are slowly heating up and growing closer between the main two, and I'm enjoying seeing it happen. I really do love the main romance here, and how sweet and mature it is.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Manga Review: Twittering Birds Never Fly, Volume 1, by Kou Yoneda



Rating (Out of 5):
~3

Publisher: June

Release Date: 2014

Volumes: 6+

Spoilers?: No.

Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Book Depository. June Manga.

Volume: 2.

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

 

 Yashiro is the young leader of Shinseikai and the president of the Shinseikai Enterprise, but like so many powerful men, he leads a double life as a deviant and a masochist. Chikara Doumeki comes to work as a bodyguard for him and, although Yashiro had decided that he would never lay a hand on his own men, he finds there's something about Doumeki that he can't resist. Yashiro makes advances toward Doumeki, but Doumeki has mysterious reasons for denying.

Yashiro, who abuses his power just to abuse himself, and Doumeki, who faithfully obeys his every command, begin the tumultuous affair of two men with songs in their hearts and no wings to fly.

 

Review:

 

Yashiro is in charge of this chain of yakuza, and while he's stoic and strict, he's also a masochist and likes toying with people. When Doumeki comes to work for him as a bodyguard, Yashiro starts playing with him, taunting to see if he can do things with him, which mainly ends up being in the exhibitionist sense.

I've liked some of the things I've read by Kou Yoneda in the past, so I was really hoping to like this. But yakuza type stories aren't really to my interest. And then, the way that the characters all seem to stay distant and never show any emotions, doesn't really do anything for me. I'm a little intrigued in where this is going, but I'm not connected with it at all so far.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Manga Review: Daytime Shooting Star, Volume 8, by Mika Yamamori



Rating (Out of 5):
~4

Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)

Release Date: September 2020

Volumes: 12 + Extra

Spoilers?: No.

Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Book Depository. Powells. RightStuf.

Volume: 1. 7. 9.

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

 

Clueless country girl Suzume moves to Tokyo and finds her heart caught between two men!

After arriving in Tokyo to live with her uncle, Suzume collapses in a nearby park where she had once seen a shooting star during the day. A handsome stranger brings her to her new home and tells her they’ll meet again. Suzume starts her first day at her new high school sitting next to a boy who blushes furiously at her touch. And her homeroom teacher is none other than the handsome stranger!

Suzume has moved to Tokyo and is living with her uncle. Mr. Shishio’s change of heart causes Suzume to shut herself up in her room. When Suzume's mother returns to their hometown for a brief stay, Suzume makes the sudden decision to return home. But Yuyuka and Suzume's other Tokyo friends are determined to bring her back.

 

Review:

 

Recovering from the breakup, Suzume needs to get away. Coincidentally, her mom is back home, and so she gets to go back home for a little while. It's nostalgic and sweet, her getting to see her old friends and be back at her old home. But her new friends miss her, and Uncle Yukichi is worried about her, and her new home wants her back after a point.

Despite my feelings about Shishio at this point, and all the brewing things between Suzume and Mamura (which I thought was done with!), I really like how all of this is handled. Suzume needed to step back, and she needed to see her mom, and she gets to take that time away and do that. And when she gets back to school, she's stronger for it.

I think I'm still for Shishio in the romance, but I do love Mamura. And getting to see his family again was really fun. I like Mamura, I just don't know if I like him as much for Suzume. But, honestly, I'm a little conflicted about it at this point.

Why'd Shishio have to go and ruin it?

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Manga Review: A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow, Volume 3, by Makoto Hagino


Rating (Out of 5):
~4

Publisher: VIZ Media

Release Date: May 2020

Volumes: 8+

Spoilers?: No.

Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Book Depository. Powells. RightStuf.

Volume: 1. 2. 4.

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

 

 Sometimes you find what you yearn for…

When her dad gets a job overseas, Konatsu Amano has to leave the Tokyo life she’s always known and relocate to a small seaside town to stay with her aunt. The move also means starting a new school surrounded by complete strangers, and it’s a lot to handle for a girl who has trouble with change. But on her first day in her new town, Konatsu is instantly drawn to Koyuki, an older girl who is the sole member of the Aquarium Club. Konatsu’s introverted tendencies are hard for her to overcome, but maybe she’s found something worth coming out of her shell for?

Koyuki and Konatsu, each lonely in her own way, are the only two members of the Nanahama High School Aquarium Club. As they spend time together, they discover that they are increasingly drawn to each other. When they go to the town summer festival together, Konatsu is finally able to ask why Koyuki spoke to her that first day at the aquarium open house. But Koyuki doesn’t have an easy answer, and her stumbling reply makes the mood uncomfortable. Will this new awkwardness force a distance between them?

 

Review:

 

In this volume, Konatsu realizes that her and Honami don't really know very much about each other, and so she tries to fix that. They're in the same club, and they've started growing closer, and yet she doesn't even know what class she's in. They make a misguided step toward understanding each other, but then when it's almost time for the festival, Konatsu works hard to take on more responsibilities for the club's show.

While there is some distance between the two girls, they both have good intentions and growing feelings for each other that they still don't fully understand. Plus they both have pretty good support systems with Konatsu's new friends and Honami's family. They're getting there, slowly.

This is still a really sweet yuri love story, and it just has a really nice, warm feel to it. I'm enjoying it quite a lot.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Manga Review: An Incurable Case of Love, Volume 4, by Maki Enjoji


Rating (Out of 5):
~3.5

Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)

Release Date: July 2020

Volumes: 7.

Spoilers?: Light.

Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Book Depository. Powells. RightStuf.

Volume: 1. 3. 5.

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

 

 Nurse Nanase has striven to once again meet the prince of her dreams, so how is it he’s become such an aggravating doctor?!

After witnessing a handsome and charming young doctor save a stranger’s life five years ago, Nanase Sakura trained to become a nurse. But when she meets the doctor again and they start working together, she finds Kairi Tendo to be nothing like the man she imagined him to be!

At long last, the Dark Lord has been defeated! Wait—it can’t be that easy!

Nanase became a nurse to chase after Dr. Kairi Tendo. Nanase hears that Kairi has requested to study abroad. She is shocked by the news and tells him she doesn’t want to be apart, but Kairi’s response makes her uneasy!

 

Review:

 

Sakura is suddenly confronted with Tendo's past, which he at first refuses to say anything about. When he's given an opportunity he's waited for, though, she has to find the reason why, and she has to decide whether to let him go or not.

Maybe because this isn't the final volume, the story decides to follow the cheesy “surprise! It was all for nothing, because the choice was taken away from them for him to stay” thing. It's really annoying to me when this plot point is pulled. It's kind of unnecessary to me, because they could have gone through his past without him suddenly moving far away.

I really want to like this series more than I do, I think. I've enjoyed Enjoji's series in the past, and maybe it's Tendo? But I'm just not hitting it off with this couple, or this story, or something, as much as I have in the past. I really want to, though, I'm really trying.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Manga Review: One-Punch Man, Volume 19, by One and Yusuke Murata


Rating (Out of 5):
~3.5

Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)

Release Date: March 2020

Volumes: 22+

Spoilers?: No.

Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Book Depository. Powells. RightStuf.

Volume: 1. 18. 20.

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

 

Life gets pretty boring when you can beat the snot out of any villain with just one punch.

Nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem—he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on!

The Monster Association has kidnapped Tareo, the boy who admires Garo, and now Garo finds himself plunging headfirst and alone into the heart of the Monster Association’s hideout. Meanwhile, the Hero Association pushes forward with its operation to rescue Waganma, while Genos and the others are living it up enjoying hot pot at Saitama’s place!

 

Review:

 

While Saitama is having a hot pot night at his house, fighting over the meat, Garo is getting a boy out from the villains lair. He says he doesn't care, but for some reason he seems to want to save this weird little boy. Most of this volume is taken up with Garo's evolving indestructibility. The more he fights, the more he wants to fight and win, and the stronger he appears to become.

Honestly, there was a lack of Saitama in this volume.

It looks like Garo is building up to potentially be the first real fight for Saitama to have. But, then again, it very well might be a while for that. And the other heroes are stilling planning to bust into the villain lair and rescue the rich boy being kept there.

 

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

Manga Review: The Promised Neverland, Volume 16, by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu



Rating (Out of 5): ~4

Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)

Release Date: August 2020

Volumes: 20.

Spoilers?: No.

Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Book Depository. Powells. RightStuf.

Volume: 1. 15. 17.

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

 

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…

While attempting to locate the Seven Walls, Emma and Ray find themselves trapped in a mysterious world. Can they escape this labyrinth and make the promise that will finally bring about peace? Meanwhile, Norman has his own plans...

 

Review:

 

While Emma and Ray are thrown into a reality-bending timescape, Norman has a new mission in the real world. Emma and Ray are being put to the test to figure out the ultimate puzzle, in order for Emma to make a new promise. It's unclear what she's willing to sacrifice to make it, though.

Gilda and Don are given a new mission by Norman as the volume starts. It's clear that Norman believes Mujika is a threat, so it's not surprising he sends them out to find her. They seem to read through at least some of his tricks, though. We meet Ayshe here, a girl sent out to help them. She doesn't speak, and they're not sure if she even understands them.

Ayshe might be one of my favorite characters so far. She adds a new complexity and complication to the story, in a way that I was kind of hoping would happen. She really intrigues me, and I'm really excited to see what happens next with her.

As this series draws closer to the conclusion, it's definitely getting more intense and complicated. I'm loving it, but I'm also increasingly worried about the ending.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Manga Review: Yona of the Dawn, Volume 26, by Mizuho Kusanagi



Rating (Out of 5): ~4.5

Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)

Release Date: October 2020

Volumes: 33+

Spoilers?: No.

Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Book Depository. Powells. RightStuf.

Volume: 1. 25. 27.


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!

After unleashing their powers to save Yona, the Four Dragons lose consciousness and collapse! Su-won and the Kohka army arrive to participate in a summit with Xing, but Priest Gobi’s anti-war faction members attack Princess Kouren! Can the nation of Xing achieve peace with all this infighting threatening its foundation?


Review:

 

After that very intense cliffhanger, the volume continues into battle. It's still intense, but that last moment is a little hard to compete with.

Yona is still going strong, fighting along with Kouren as much as she can. When Su-Won shows up, it's truly a moment to appreciate. He definitely knows how to stay diplomatic and how to handle people, and I can respect that. It's a little hard to tell what he intends with Yona in the end, and now with the dragons, but he's separating himself from it to an extend, very clearly.

After all of that, we finally get a confrontation between Yona and Hak. Man, this series got intense and progressive very suddenly!

I will admit I didn't expect it to happen like this, but oh man am I excited to see what happens in the next volume. I cannot wait.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Manga Review: Given, Volume 3, by Natsuki Kizu


Rating (Out of 5): ~4

Publisher: SuBLime (VIZ Media)

Release Date: August 2020

Volumes: 6+

Spoilers?: No.

Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Book Depository. Powells. RightStuf.

Volume: 1. 2. 4.


Goodreads Synopsis:


Love of music unites the four members of the band Given: hotheaded guitarist Uenoyama, playboy drummer Akihiko, gentle bassist Haruki, and Mafuyu, a singer gifted with great talent and burdened by past tragedy. Their struggles and conflicts may drive them apart, but their bond to the music—and to one another—always brings them back together again.

Uenoyama realizes he’s in love with Mafuyu and steals a kiss from him backstage at their first live performance. But now he’s even more confused—he hasn’t shared his feelings with Mafuyu and has no idea how Mafuyu feels about him. In contrast to their naive romance, Haruki has been harboring a secret desire for bandmate Akihiko, who’s already entangled in an intense, conflicted relationship with someone else.


Review:

 

Now that their first concert is over with, they get to deal with the aftermath. Uenoyama gets to recover from his confession and then how to proceed with his feelings for Mafuyu. This actually comes in the form of a surprise for him, since Mafuyu is so honest about his feelings.

I think it's cute how they consider the other bandmates' feelings, but that's all rather easily handled. It was pretty obvious to everyone where that was heading.

We finally get some real backstory for Haruki regarding his feelings, and then Akihiko with his roommate. I was actually a little surprised with the ending of the volume, though I really shouldn't have been. It makes sense.

It's a little sad, but it makes sense.

I'm interested to see where the side characters' stories are going from here, but I'm still 100% in this for Mafuyu. He's the sweetest, best boy, and I seriously just love him so much.