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Monday, September 24, 2018

Manga Review: Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma, Volume 24, by Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki, and Yuki Morisaki


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5-4
Publisher: Shonen Jump Advanced (VIZ Media)
Release Date: June 2018
Volumes: 31+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 23. 25.

Goodreads Synopsis:

An action-packed, saucy food comedy featuring one boy’s determination to be top chef!

Soma Yukihira’s old man runs a small family restaurant in the less savory end of town. Aiming to one day surpass his father’s culinary prowess, Soma hones his skills day in and day out until one day, out of the blue, his father decides to enroll Soma in a classy culinary school! Can Soma really cut it in a place that prides itself on a 10 percent graduation rate? And can he convince the beautiful, domineering heiress of the school that he belongs there at all?!

In order to overturn their classmates’ expulsions from Totsuki, Soma, Takumi and Megumi challenge Central to a team shokugeki! The big showdown is to take place at the final stage for the advancement exams—Rebun Island. Soma’s team undergoes teamwork training with Gin and Joichiro. But can these Totsuki alums improve the first-years enough as chefs to bring down the best Totsuki has to offer?

Review:

In the first half of the book, we get to see the team practicing together. Splitting them in two teams, they get a challenge, and get to work with one adult to make a dish. Only, they're not allowed to talk to each other. It's a fun challenge, and the turnout is nice. It lets them work together in a new way, and see each others' way of cooking and their strengths.
In the latter half, we're amping up for the competition. We're finding out who's on each team officially, and Erina throws in a surprise for her father. I like the people chosen for the rebels team—I enjoy the added characters. It's just getting started as the volume ends, so there's probably a lot of competition left. We're starting with Soma, and I still quite enjoy the way he freaks out the audience and tasters. He's always using some weird ingredient or style to throw them off.
Also, the announcer has clearly been brainwashed, or possessed. The look on her face is honestly creepy.


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

Friday, September 21, 2018

Manga Review: Yona of the Dawn, Volume 13, by Mizuho Kusanagi


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: August 2018
Volumes: 27+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 12. 14.

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!

Kang Su-jin, chief of the Fire Tribe, has been plotting to become the ruler of the Kingdom of Kohka—and now he’s started an uprising by attacking Su-won at Hiryuu Palace! As the armies clash on the battlefield, will Yona and her friends join the fray with so much on the line?!

Review:

The attempted rebellion meets its end in this volume. The two tribe leaders thought they were pulling one over on Su-Won, but they mightily underestimated him. Su-Won is smarter than anyone gives him credit for at this point, though understandable. He doesn't seem as cunning as he is, and he puts on a happy-go-lucky front very easily. But he's much more tricky than they expected.
This gives Yona a new perspective, though, seeing what the other leaders are up to. She sees Su-Won in a new perspective, why he did what he did. Now that she's seen what's happening in the tribes, what the leaders are doing, she sees that they need a strong ruler—and that her father wasn't quite it. It's unclear what she's going to do with this new knowledge, though. It's also unclear what Su-Won is going to do. They're both kind of avoiding each other, and letting them do what they are.
Quite a bit of this volume involves the Fire Tribe's main family. Tae-Jun and his older brother get to deal with the aftermath of what their father did, and they get to see what Tae-Jun has been up to. Su-Won is making his rounds, meeting with the tribes in the aftermath of what they did.
We get hints of progress between Yona and Hak as the volume ends. They're just so sweet... Aw.
I'm utterly in love with this series, of course. 


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

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Manga Review: Blue Exorcist, Volume 18, by Kazue Kato


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5-4
Publisher: Shonen Jump Advanced (VIZ Media)
Release Date: January 2018
Volumes: 21+
Spoilers?: Some.
Volume: 1. 17. 19.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Rin and his exorcist classmates are caught in a secret war against the forces of darkness.

Raised by Father Fujimoto, a famous exorcist, Rin Okumura never knew his real father. One day a fateful argument with Father Fujimoto forces Rin to face a terrible truth – the blood of the demon lord Satan runs in Rin’s veins! Rin swears to defeat Satan, but doing that means entering the mysterious True Cross Academy and becoming an exorcist himself.

After dealing with the demons of Shura’s past, Shura, Rin and Yukio return to True Cross Academy. While Yukio recovers from his wounds, Rin and his friends get back to their lives. But trouble is brewing as the Illuminati continue to advance their plans. Lightning launches an investigation of the Illuminati, intending to get to the bottom of things. With Suguro in tow, he delves into the archives deep below True Cross Academy, where he may uncover secrets that were buried there for a reason…

Review:

The plot line regarding Shura's demon concludes in the first half of this volume. It's a team effort, though the wrong team ends up with the specimen. Either way, Shura is free now.
The main plot includes Shiemi confronting Rin's feelings for her. She doesn't really know what romantic love entails, and Izumo decides to give her some examples in manga with a sleepover. It's a bit conflicting to me, because while she gives Rin an answer, she has different reasons for them. She thinks she needs to mature more, as she's still figuring out what she wants to do after graduation, and she's still trying to become a stronger person. I respect the the reason for her decision, even if I feel bad for Rin.
Meanwhile, Bon is following Lightning around for some detective work.
I've fallen a bit behind in this series, but I'm still quite enjoying it. I think, since it's been so long, and since the releases are a bit spaced out, it can be hard to keep track of all the little details of the main plot line. All the stuff with the Illuminati and who's doing what in regards to it, is a bit hard to remember after so long between volumes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Manga Review: In/Spectre, Volume 4, by Kyo Shirodaira and Chashiba Katase


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: May 2017
Volumes: 8+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3. 5.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The new mystery thriller with a romantic edge from the creator of Blast of Tempest, and The Record of a Fallen Vampire!
Both touched by spirits called yokai, Kotoko and Kuro have gained unique superhuman powers. But to gain her powers Kotoko has given up an eye and a leg, and Kuro's personal life is in shambles. So when Kotoko suggests they team up to deal with renegades from the spirit world, Kuro doesn't have many other choices, but Kotoko might just have a few ulterior motives..."

Review:

The murder sets this case on a much higher level, both for the coverage it gets, the theories around it, and the power it gives the ghost. It's a very bad outcome so far.
As Kotoko is trying to figure out how to spin this story and create their own conclusion and reason to decrease the current popular theory, we get some flashbacks. Because Kuro's cousin is apparently directly involved—the cousin that was in the hospital, who Kuro clearly had a history of some kind with. This leads to some revelations for Saki regarding her relationship with Kuro and his relationship with Kotoko.
It clears up some questions from the beginning of the series, and possibly some between their relationships.
I really like the ideology behind this series. The idea of a fandom online creating a ghost much like yokai is quite thought-provoking, and I like the use of modern methods being put to old-time theories. All of the explanations are really interesting to me, smart and well-thought out.
I'm excited to see where this goes next. I'm enjoying all of the text-heavy explanations and theories more than I thought I would, plus I like seeing the humor and reprieve between it all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Manga Review: Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt, Volume 4, by Yasuo Ohtagaki


Rating (Out of 5): ~2
Publisher: VIZ Signature
Release Date: August 2017
Volumes: 12 (Hiatus)
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3. 5.

Goodreads Synopsis:

An epic story of war and survival set in the legendary Gundam universe!

In the Universal Century year 0079, the space colony known as Side 3 proclaims independence as the Principality of Zeon and declares war on the Earth Federation. One year later they are locked in a fierce battle for the Thunderbolt Sector, an area of space scarred by the wreckage of destroyed colonies.

The fleets of the Earth Federation’s Moore Brotherhood and the Republic of Zeon have shattered each other in a bloody battle for the Thunderbolt Sector. Mirroring the greater struggle, the ferocious duel between Io Fleming and Daryl Lorenz leaves both the Full Armor Gundam and the Psycho Zaku heavily damaged and Io a prisoner of war. The Zeon space habitat A Baoa Qu now becomes the final battleground of the One Year War…

Review:

Having never read or watched anything Gundam before, I'm not sure what I was expecting. I knew it was a tech series, so I really shouldn't be surprised.
Almost this entire volume takes place in space-suit-ships, during battle. Two sides are fighting, and I don't know any of the people flying them. I didn't get much of a sense of any of the characters during this, or really where the fight was going. There were glimpses of possibly interesting interactions, but I don't know enough about the characters or relationships to fully understand why.
I was mostly lost in this volume, but this isn't really my kind of series anyway.


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

Monday, September 17, 2018

Manga Review: My Hero Academia: Vigilantes, Volume 1, by Hideyuki Furuhashi and Betten Court


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: July 2018
Volumes: 5+
Spoiles?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

In the world of My Hero Academia, not everyone needs a license to fight for justice!

In a superpowered society, there is nothing ordinary about evil anymore. Heroes, trained and licensed to protect and defend the public against supervillains, stand above all the rest. However, not everyone can be an official hero, and there are those who would use their powers to serve the people without legal sanction. But do they fight for justice in the shadows or for reasons known only to themselves? Whatever they fight for, they are called…vigilantes.

Koichi Haimawari couldn’t make the cut to become an official hero, so he uses his modest Quirk to do good deeds in his spare time. Then one day, a fateful encounter with some local thugs leads him to team up with two other unlikely heroes. None of them really know what they’re doing, but they’ve got the courage—or foolishness—to try. But they soon discover fighting evil takes more than just being brave…

Review:

Given the world of this series, it makes sense that there would be vigilantes running around. Not only because these things always happen—though, of course. But also because there's such a strict law system for how heroes can do things, of course people would want to use their powers secretly. That's kind of where superheroes come from, you know?
Koichi has a pretty low-key power in which he slides along the ground, so he's not qualified to be a hero. But he still wants to do good, so he helps people at night. But he gets into some trouble, and he tends to get bullied, so he stumbles upon some allies. First being a big, gruff older guy, and the other being a pop-idol girl who sneaks around to give people shows around town. There's a villain sneaking around throughout this, causing chaos for the public, with big nefarious plans.
I like the idea for this series, and the group of characters are interesting. It's just okay so far, but I think it has potential to be a lot of fun.


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

Friday, September 14, 2018

Manga Review: The Water Dragon's Bride, Volume 6, by Rei Toma


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: July 2018
Volumes: 9+
Spoilers?: Yes.
Volume: 1. 5. 7.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A modern-day girl gets whisked away to a strange land where she is sacrificed to a water dragon god!

In the blink of an eye, a modern-day girl named Asahi is whisked away from her warm and happy home and stranded in a strange and mysterious world where she meets a water dragon god!

Asahi continues to be trapped between power-hungry humans and exposed to ill will. When she becomes gravely injured, will the water dragon god be able to save her? How will these two change during this time of distress?

Review:

Everyone's abuse toward Asahi finally hits the Water Dragon God, and he breaks. He goes to drastic measures, because he wants her to stop being in pain. He decides that he needs to protect her at all costs, and so he takes her away from them all. And when that doesn't work, he takes their memories of him. And still, when that doesn't work, he sends her home.
Seeing Asahi back in the modern world is what I've been waiting for this whole time. It's bittersweet, though. Because while she's with her family again—though they have no idea what happened to her, and she's started reading all these books, and now she has a little brother—now she doesn't have the Water Dragon God or Subaru or even Tsukihiko. Her parents want her there, and she's forming a relationship with her new little brother, but she also misses it there.
This series just gets to me. It's subtle and quiet in its intensity, but so heartbreaking at times, and it just hits me so deep. I need to find out what happens next.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Manga Review: Haikyu!!, Volume 24, by Haruichi Furudate


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: June 2018
Volumes: 33+
Spoilers?: Yes.
Volume: 1. 23. 25.

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?

Karasuno has qualified for the Spring Tournament! The team buckles down to practice harder than ever, but Takeda immediately rushes in to announce that Kageyama is invited to participate in the All-Japan Under 19 Youth Training Camp, while Tsukishima is invited to the Miyagi Prefecture Rookie Camp! Overflowing with jealousy and inspired by an offhanded comment made by Yamaguchi, Hinata takes it upon himself to get in on the action and crash the rookie training camp!

Review:

Over the summer, most of the team is training together. Except, Kageyama gets invited to a very high-class training camp, in which each person is hand selected. And Tsukishima gets invited to a rookie training camp, though he's less impressed and enthused by it. All of this means that Shoyo was not invited to a training camp, and he's not okay with that. He knows that they're learning important things from different players and coaches, they're upping their skills, and he's being left behind. He can't stand it—so he decides to crash Tsukishima's camp, because there's less risk involved in that one.
This is a hilarious decision on Shoyo's part—he's not supposed to be there, and all of them know it. There are definite consequences involved, and he faces them, but he's also given the option to watch and be the ball boy—not play volleyball with them. Shoyo feels left out, but he's also getting a different view of the sport now, watching everyone and how they're playing. It's a bit humbling for him, but it's also helpful.
And then there's Kageyama's training camp, which we get to see a little bit of. It's helping him out, of course, but we also get to see another short volleyball player rivaling Shoyo. These are all players in a bigger league, which sadly Shoyo is missing out on.
It looks like there's more practice and joint trainings coming up. I love seeing the huge groups of characters, how they interact and play together and learn from each other.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Manga Review: Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty, Volume 4, by Megumi Morino


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: May 2018
Volumes: 6.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3. 5.

Goodreads Synopsis:

This funny and heartrending romantic manga set in modern Tokyo is not the fairy tale you remember! This time, Prince Charming is a teenage janitor, and this Sleeping Beauty's curse is a supernatural, gender-bending dream that threatens to pull them both into a deeper and deeper slumber...

THE MOVING FORWARD


Shizu's grand scheme to get Tetsu to play soccer one last time was a big success, and has become a catalyst for change for everyone involved. One of the biggest changes comes from Chihiro, who works up the courage to tell Tetsu his biggest secret. Will this revelation tear the friends apart?

Review:

After the stadium thing, Shizu has grown somewhat okay with leaving the house now. And she's formed an acquaintance-ship with Chihiro. This opens to the bromance between Chihiro and Tetsu—we get Chihiro's backstory, and a secret about him, and then we get to see what kind of friendship they really have, as they both come to realize they are actually friends.
Shizu gets to go to a festival in a yukata for the first time, just as her father shows up and ruins everything.
We finally get into the deeper plot in the last half of the book, as Shizu's father shows and we see what drastic measures he's willing to take to hide his daughter, and what her mother is willing to let him do because of her own fears and insecurities.
The end of the volume feels like there's not much left, but we still have two volumes. I'm excited to see where this goes next, now that Tetsu is taking a stand.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Manga Review: Honey Senior, Darling Junior, Volume 1, by Chifumi Ochi


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Net Comics
Release Date: 2008.
Volumes: 2.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

W/A) Chifumi OchiA senior and a junior, members of their school's tennis team, take a spur-of-the-moment trip. When they arrive, however, they find no hotel vacanies, except in love hotels. With no other options, they act as if they are lovers and check into a room. While playing around, one boy accidentally touches the other's private parts - but they find that they can't stop there. What begins as shy, unexpressed mutual attraction quickly evolves into a full-blown affair.

Review:

Meh.
There are four short stories in this volume, and none of them really stood out for me. They were okay in story and character, but especially the first one was very rushed and underdeveloped. I didn’t care for it.
The artwork is okay, nice to look at. The smut would be okay, if the stories were a little more developed and it didn’t happen so fast, though in some it was more mentioned than shown.
It wasn’t particularly memorable, and it was just average to me.