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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Manga Review: RWBY by Shirow Miwa


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: VIZ Signature (VIZ Media)
Release Date: January 2018
Volumes: 1.
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

In adventures based on Rooster Teeth’s hit animation series, Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang are students at Beacon Academy, learning to protect the world from the fearsome Grimm.

When the people of Remnant aren't fighting monsters, they still find conflict among themselves. Now they are at fierce odds. Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna and Yang Xiao Long are Team RWBY. Together they are learning the deadly craft of hunting the monstrous species known as the Grimm.

Never before revealed adventures of Team RWBY featuring Ruby, Weiss, Blake & Yang before academy and before they were teammates. Plus, a Team JNPR battle featuring a much-younger Jaune!

Review:

I haven't seen or read anything related to RWBY before, so I went into this book with no idea what to expect.
The book starts with a little bang, and then it goes into an introduction for each character. They all get a chapter to themselves, where we find out what brought them to this point, to this school and working together. In the latter half of the volume, it brings them all back together, where we get some glimpses of their friendships and how they're growing closer, and a competition with another group at their school, and finally where they all work together to defeat a creature attacking.
Knowing so little about this series, this was an interesting volume. But it also felt rather one-dimensional. The enemy at the end, the other groups they meet with, none of that left an impression on me. Even the chapters where we met the four characters on their own felt too rushed and not expanded enough. I didn't really feel like I knew the characters very well by the end, only had a base understanding of their characters.
It was honestly a little disappointing, though I'm curious about seeing the original or reading another interpretation, as it definitely felt like there could be more.


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

Friday, August 10, 2018

Manga Review: Anonymous Noise, Volume 8, by Ryoko Fukuyama


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: May 2018
Volumes: 16+
Spoilers?: Some/Light.
Volume: 1. 6. 9.

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…

Yuzu and Nino have been tasked with writing the debut song for a popular fashion model duo. They manage to complete their first collaboration…but to what end? Meanwhile, Tsukika goes in search of Momo, but will she be able to find him when all she has is a questionable lead?

Review:

Nino and Yuzu have agreed to write a song for this duo, and they are not quite what they expected. They give them very contrasting wants for the song, and a rather short deadline. The first couple tries they give are fine, but not what the duo want. Yuzu becomes determined to write the perfect song for them, and Nino sees something in their voices that they aren't showing.
It's a challenge, but they're determined to do it right.
Meanwhile, Momo is finally found. Both tours are drawing near. And Miou finally confronts her feelings for Yuzu and Haruyoshi. The Haruyoshi confrontation actually surprised me, but I like where they left things. I think there's still hope there, and while I feel bad for him for hanging on like this, I'm glad he's holding strong.
Of course, Nino is still between Yuzu and Momo, without realizing it. Just more torture for all of them there.
There might be confrontations coming up, there might not. It's a little hard to tell. It'll be good either way, though.


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

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Manga Review: In/Spectre, Volume 3, by Kyo Shirodaira and Chashiba Katase


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: March 2017
Volumes: 8+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 2. 4.

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:

This series is very heavy with explanation, backstory and story-telling. I suppose it makes sense, since it was a mystery novel first. And I'm glad they're keeping in all the story-telling and explanation; it takes longer to read, but it is interesting; it's not boring blocks of text, even if it is heavy.
Kotoko explains ghosts and yokai to Saki, and then Saki explains what the police know about Lady Nanase. Saki is still freaked out by ghosts, and Kuro is pretty much along for the ride. Kotoko goes to speak to a real ghost at the crime scene, and we get to rule out the actual-ghost theory out.
Near the end of the volume, we get to learn what Kuro's powers really entail, and what his limits are. Kotoko is still figuring out how to work everything to a good ending, but she's calculating it all. We draw to another cliffhanger as this is happening, as Steel Lady Nanase gets even more dangerous.
I'm hoping we get to some real action next, though this was still an interesting volume. I also really want to understand Kotoko and Kuro's relationship. He seems to be dealing with her, while she pushes herself on him. I want to know if there's more there for him or not.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Manga Review: Waiting for Spring, Volume 6, by Anashin


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: May 2018
Volumes: 9+
Spoilers?: No
Volume: 1. 5. 7.

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.

A MOST FESTIVE RIVALRY


In her efforts to become a more proactive person, Mitsuki has agreed to join the school festival committee. Now she must lead class in putting together a cafe for the day of the big event. Towa has agreed to help her, but his mind is elsewhere. His team is about to have a joint practice with Hōjō, and he and Aya will finally have a basketball showdown...!

Review:

The schools are having a joint practice, and it's a big deal. The boys are preparing for it, and Mitsuki wants to be there to watch. Reina also wants to be there, but to capture all the juicy BL moments.
The competition between Towa and Aya is heating up, and Aya is largely messing with them. Towa is taking it very seriously, though. I think he's also struggling with his feelings for Mitsuki, and whether he should be fighting for her like this; wanting to declare his feelings for her, and not.
Rui throws in a curveball here, as he declares that Aya isn't good enough for his Mitsuki. It's possible that Rui is developing romantic feelings for Mitsuki, but it feels more like a brotherly thing to me—he wants her to be happy, and wants her with someone who makes her happy. He doesn't think Aya is a good fit; but he might be okay with Towa.
After the joint practice, Mitsuki is overworking herself with the school festival. She's trying to impress and do her best, and it's taking its toll on her, as the cliffhanger shows.
This series feels like old-school shojo to me, dramatic and harem-y and fun. With a slow burn between Mitsuki and Towa that I love. I'm quite a big fan, and excited to see what happens next.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Manga Review: Kenka Bancho Otome: Love's Battle Royale, Volume 2, by Chie Shimada


Rating (Out of 5): ~1.5-2
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: July 2018
Volumes: 2.
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Beautiful boy rebels using their fists to fall in love!

Hinako thought she didn't have any family, but on the day she starts high school, her twin brother Hikaru suddenly appears and tricks her into taking his place. But the new school Hinako attends in his stead is beyond unusual. Now she must fight her way to the top of Shishiku Academy, an all-boys school of delinquents!

Hinako takes her twin brother Hikaru’s place at Shishiku Academy for boys. Fights break out every day, but there are also lots of heart-palpitating events with the boys that she never expected! And as the battle to be the boss of the school rages on, will Hikaru make it to the top?

Review:

Going into this volume, I had no idea that it was the final volume. And I only found that out by looking it up online—that ending leaves me unsatisfied.
Hinako meets her older brother in this volume, and she's surprised and very excited to find out that she has a brother who seems to dote on her. She's discovering family she never knew she had, and it's exciting for her, even if he doesn't realize she's Hinako and not Hikaru.
There's some light fighting and fooling around, leading up to Totomaru getting hurt and his father pulling him from school. This leads to a typical angst where Hinako wants to do something, but Totomaru won't tell them what's really happening, up until he's about to fly away.
It's a sweet reunion, but the whole plot didn't worry me, because they always end the same. And then the series just ends—on an uplifting note, I suppose, but still just an end to the volume. It feels more like an end to an arc, or one plot point, not the whole series. There's no conclusion to the romance, or the guys finding out she's a girl, or even what's going on with her real family since they don't seem to know or care that she exists.
It didn't feel at all like an ending, and it left me feeling lackluster. Not to mention that none of the characters had felt fleshed-out yet, and so the characters and plot felt weak. It just leaves me disappointed and underwhelmed.


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

Monday, August 6, 2018

Manga Review: Again!!, Volume 1, by Mitsurou Kubo


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: February 2018
Volumes: 12.
Spoilers?: Yes.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Kinichiro isn’t even that bad. It’s just that on the first day of high school, his narrow eyes made him look shifty, so people assumed he was trouble. Now it’s graduation, and he’s looking back on three years with no friends. He never even joined a club. But after a bloody collision and an accidental fall, he wakes up a high school freshman, with the chance to try it all over… AGAIN!!

Review:

Imamura is going to his graduation ceremony, glad that high school is finally over. All of his classmates fear him and want nothing to do with him, all because of a misguided introduction when school started that was never cleared up. He has no friends, and he's glad to be over it, with all of his regrets and wonders.
Only, when he goes to an abandoned club room, gets caught by a girl, and chases after her, they fall down the stairs, and they wake up back at the entrance ceremony three years ago. It takes a while for them to realize it, and that it's not a dream. Somehow they're the only ones from the future.
Imamura unintentionally starts changing things, reacting differently with foresight, and talking to the Ouendan club leader out of curiousity. He was always curious about her and the club that fell apart, but never thought to do anything. He doesn't really intend to, either, but suddenly new things are happening, and he's making friends.
On the other hand, Aki is experiencing everything very differently than she remembers. She's having a hard time remembering that the future hasn't happened yet, and is ready to speed it up. Like her meeting with her boyfriend, who thinks she's a freak right now for her actions.
Imamura was trying to avoid it at first, but by the end of the volume, he seems determined to help the Ouendan club and find out what happened. Things are going to get dramatic and messy soon, it seems.
This is quite fun so far, and I definitely enjoyed this first volume. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes next.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Manga Review: Queen's Quality, Volume 4, by Kyousuke Motomi


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: June 2018
Volumes: 6+
Spoilers?: Yes.
Volume: 1. 3. 5.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The adventures of mind “Sweepers” continue in this supernatural romance!

Fumi Nishioka lives with Kyutaro Horikita and his family of “Sweepers,” people who specialize in cleaning the minds of those overcome by negative energy and harmful spirits. Fumi has always displayed mysterious abilities, but will those powers be used for evil when she begins to truly awaken as a Queen?

Bug handler Ataru offers Kyutaro a deal—he’ll reveal everything about Fumi’s past if Kyutaro will do what he asks in exchange. Although Kyutaro knows this must be a trap, he goes to see Ataru… What devastating effect will Ataru’s evil plot have on Kyutaro and Fumi?

Review:

 There's a big show down with Ataru in this volume, who's hoping to take Kyutaro unguarded. This doesn't work out how he wants, but it definitely opens the way for them to actually get to know Ataru and find out what, or who, has lead him to this.
After that, there's a little reprieve for Kyutaro and Fumi, as they get massages to work through their physical and mental aches.
Fumi gets a message regarding Ataru, and so her and Kyutaro go to venture into his mind, knowing they're walking into a trap and yet unable to deny doing it. They fight two tough enemies, and Fumi struggles with her inner selves, until they come to the real issue. Ataru has been mistaking Fumi for someone else, for his supposed Black Queen, and now Fumi has to face her own Black Queen in order to move forward. It's a big risk, but she has to overcome it.
I'm curious how this battle is going to end, both because it could be really bad, and because I'm wondering how it's going to be handled. Psychologically, there's a few different ways they could take this black queen plotline.
This series is so intense, and I'm really enjoying it so far.


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

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Manga Review: Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Volume 4, by Izumi Tsubaki


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: 2016
Volumes: 10+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3. 5.

Goodreads Synopsis:

(Volume 1)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:

So, in this volume, Nozaki tries to figure out how to do a good surprise, Wakamatsu is unknowingly in love with Seo's singing, Nozaki uses an accidental sleep-over as inspiration, and his little brother shows up a few times.
We also got a glimpse of background story in this volume, first when Nozaki first moved out on his own, and then when his editor switched to Miyamae. It's definitely a lot of fun seeing Nozaki's faults, given how everyone views him. For instance, when it is again pointed out that he doesn't understand space between characters, and tries using boxes to explain it all. It was also fun seeing how wary he was of Miyamae, because of how bad Maeno was; what a difference editors can make.
I don't know what happened, but this series has grown on me very suddenly, and now I want to catch up very badly.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Manga Review: Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle, Volume 1, by Kagiji Kumanomata


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shonen Sunday (VIZ Media)
Release Date: June 2018
Volumes: 8+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A captured princess just wants a good night’s sleep!

Imprisoned in the castle of the Demon King, all spoiled-sweet Princess Syalis dreams of is a good night’s sleep! Shhh...

Kidnapped by the Demon King and imprisoned in his castle, Princess Syalis is…bored.

She decides to while away the hours by sleeping, but getting a good night’s rest turns out to be a lot of work! She begins by fashioning a DIY pillow out of the fur of her Teddy Demon guards and an “air mattress” from the magical Shield of the Wind. The princess’s hapless demonic guards soon discover that their captive expects to be treated like, well, a princess. Things go from bad to worse—for her captors—when some of Princess Syalis’s schemes end in her untimely—if temporary—demise and she chooses the Forbidden Grimoire for her bedtime reading…

Review:

People and Demons are living relatively peacefully, when the Demon King suddenly decides to kidnap the Princess and hold her for ransom. While a hero appears and starts making his way to save the Princess, she's sneaking around the castle in an attempt to find the best tools to sleep soundly.
The demon castle is huge and has lots of secrets and lots of demon servants running around. The Princess is supposed to be locked up in the tower, and yet she keeps sneaking out and causing chaos. In search of the perfect mattress, the perfect pillow, and the pros and cons of these ventures. The servants, and even the Demon King himself, marvel at all she does, with no real threat to her but herself.
My favorite is the last chapter, when she discovers the perfect night light outside of the castle and reminds herself that she's a captive—only to realize that clearly she can sneak out of the castle if she can run around it, with all the options right in front of her. And then she strolls right back to her cell.
This is a fun little comedic series, easy to read and surprisingly creative.


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

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Manga Review: Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty, Volume 2, by Megumi Morino


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

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 UNINVITED


Despite being a scaredy-cat and crybaby, high schooler Tetsu finds himself working at the eerie estate on the hill, where Shizu–the only child of the Karasawa family–is secreted away. However, his friendship with Shizu quickly turns to fear when several spirits of the dead appear before him, borrowing her appearance. As he struggles to find the humanity in her supernatural condition, Tetsu must also face a question at once terrifying and heartbreaking: What if the true Shizu never returns?

Review:

The volume starts off a little rocky, since Tetsu has decided he's only working for Shizu's family, not there to be her friend. But that rather quickly falls through, because Tetsu can't help but want to jump in to help Shizu, especially when her other sides take over.
He gets to meet her final spirit, and this one is a bit of a party girl, but a nice one. Though she's much more free-spirited and carefree than Tetsu would like, especially with Shizu's body.
There's another instance where a ghost possesses Shizu in this volume, this time a little girl. We also get some small progress on Tetsu's life, his past and what he's doing/hiding. We're getting to understand him a little more, as he's beginning to learn more about Shizu. We also get some ominous news from Shizu's family.
This series is progressing really well so far, very well-rounded and steady. I'm really enjoying it, and the more we find out, the more intrigued I am by it. I'm excited for the next one.