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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Manga Review: Orange: Future by Ichigo Takano


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Seven Seas
Release Date: January 2018
Volumes: 6.
Spoilers?: Very light.
Volume: 1. 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

In this long-awaited sequel to the critical and commercial hit, orange: future contains two stories that continue from where the series ended.

Review:

This is the conclusion to the Orange series, a tag-along volume.
It goes back and forth in time line, and back and forth in each version of their lives. Much like when the series started, we get to see the version where Kakeru lived in the future, where they all meet up again as they're all grown. And we also get to see how the original versions went on after Kakeru passed. How Naho and Suwa grew closer and started dating. The small moments that led up to it, the time that they mourned and Naho had to heal. How they moved on, kept going, even as they kept Kakeru in mind and never forgot.
This was a really sweet final volume. We got to fill in some of the pieces, and catch up with both sides of the story. It was really nice.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Manga Review: My Hero Academia, Volume 18, by Kohei Horikoshi


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: April 2019
Volumes: 23+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 17. 19.

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?

Review:

The fight between Deku and Overhaul goes out with a bang. Overhaul is a big enemy to defeat, and with Eri helping Deku, it's still a dangerous line to work with.
A bit of this volume is dealing with the aftermath of what happened. A lot of people are hurt, and even more of them are affected emotionally. Particularly Mirio, who is affected in a few different ways. I actually like him a lot, and I'm wondering where he's going to go from here.
The villains also throw in a last fight at the end, which is surely not going to lead to anything good next.
The latter half of this volume includes the heroes who get to re-take the hero test. Their new test is a different kind of battle than they're used to, and I think it's a good challenge for them.
I'm mostly wondering where the heroes are going next. They're back in school and training, and several of them have new motivation and have realized what they want to do and what they're fighting for. I'm curious what's next.


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

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Comic Review: Soppy by Philippa Rice

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Release Date: 2014.
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

True love isn’t always about the big romantic gestures.

Sometimes it’s about sympathizing with someone whose tea has gone cold or reading together and sharing a quilt. When two people move in together, it soon becomes apparent that the little things mean an awful lot. The throwaway moments in life become meaningful when you spend them in the company of someone you love.

SOPPY is Philippa Rice’s collection of comics and illustrations based on real-life moments with her boyfriend. From grocery shopping to silly arguments and snuggling in front of the television, SOPPY captures the universal experience of sharing a life together, and celebrates the beauty of finding romance all around us.

Review:

This was a cute, very light and easy comic. It's mostly pictures, with not a lot of dialogue. It's a slice of life kind of book, where we get to watch this couple before, and then as they live together, and the little moments of their life together.
We see the cute, odd conversations, how they tease and decide what to eat for dinner. Snuggling on the couch, the realities of how they sleep in bed, what they do in the morning as they get ready and then work.
It's all the little moments. And I appreciate that.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Manga Review: Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits, Volume 2, by Waco Ioka, Midori Yuma, and Laruha


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: March 2019
Volumes: 5+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Faced with the choice of being married to a strange spirit or being made into dinner, Aoi decides to create a third option for herself!

Aoi Tsubaki inherited her grandfather’s ability to see spirits—and his massive debt to them! Now she’s been kidnapped and taken to Kakuriyo, the spirit world, to make good on his bill. Her options: marry the head of the inn her grandfather trashed, or get eaten by ayakashi. But Aoi isn’t the type to let spirits push her around, and she’s determined to redeem her grandfather’s IOU on her own terms!

Aoi’s having no luck finding a job at the Tejin-ya inn, but a chance encounter with the tengu Matsuba might give her another option! Her home cooking and kind manner impress the crow demon, and when he finds out why she’s in Kakuriyo, he offers to welcome her into his family as a daughter-in-law to pay off her debt! Can the still unemployed Aoi afford to turn down such a generous offer?

Review:

Aoi's standing at the inn is still very shaky at this point. She's temporarily staying at the empty building connected to it, of a recently closed restaurant that didn't work out. Aoi's good at cooking, but it's questionable whether they need another restaurant. She refuses to marry the ogre who owns the inn, but she's having a hard time finding a place to work off the debt.
In this volume, she makes friends with an influential tengu, though not on purpose. It helps her, at least a little. And when another girl at the inn attempts to sabotage her, she forms a possible agreement or even friendship with her, when she tries to help her.
There was an extra story at the end of the volume, and it was sweet. A nice look at Aoi before all this, her sweet interactions with yokai, and a peek at her relationship with her grandfather.
I didn't mind the first volume, but I understood some of the comments during this second one. As the volume kept going, it definitely felt more one-dimensional to me. The reactions and characters were feeling less complex, and the relationships and developments weren't really hitting me. I want to like this a lot more than I currently do, so I hope it gets better.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Manga Review: Hitorijime My Hero, Volume 1, by Memeco Arii


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: January 2019
Volumes: 8+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

"I don't like caramel sauce. I prefer something bitter..."

Masahiro Setagawa doesn't believe in heroes, but wishes he could- He's found himself in a gang of small-time street bullies who use him to run errands. But when high school teacher (and scourge of the streets) Kousuke Ohshiba comes to his rescue, he finds he may need to start believing after all...and as their relationship deepens, he realizes a hero might be just what he was looking for this whole time.

Review:

I was excited by the idea of this series. I haven't watched the anime or anything, but I was intrigued by the idea of Kodansha releasing yaoi series, and given the hype I was curious about this series. Which is to say, I'm a bit disappointed.
As the volume starts, I felt a bit lost. You get thrown into a discussion and history of these two characters, amid discussions with their friends. But it feels like some of the story has already happened, like I was missing something.
We meet Masahiro, who was in the wrong group of friends, but ends up growing close to older Kousuke, who's a bit too brash for him at first. There's some conflict, as one knows what he wants, and has to force the other to acknowledge his wants and rethink these things.
Kousuke's younger brother was cute, possibly the best part of the volume. His relationship was sweet, and he was fun to watch.
This volume felt a little off to me, and I had a hard time getting into it. I wanted to like it a lot more, and now I'm iffy on if I want to read more. I didn't really care too much for any of the characters, and overall it was just okay, I guess.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Manga Review: Kiss Him, Not Me!, Volume 14, by Junko


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: July 2018
Volumes: 14.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 13.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Kae here for one last huzzah! I went all the way to Shiga to tell Mutsumi-senpai he's the only one for me! There, we ended up spending the night together in a hotel, and ... !!! Well, let's just say things would have gone a little differently if it was one of my BL ships!

And remember how Mutsumi-senpai is graduating this year? He suggested that we spend time making as many memories as we can, but also says his dream college is all the way in Kyoto...

Aaahh, what do I do?! I don't want him to give up on his dream! Will we find our happy ending, or is that the sort of thing that only happens in doujinshi?

Review:

This series wrapped up rather sweetly. The last hurdle for Kae and Mutsumi is graduation, as college can be a big change. It causes some worry for a brief period, as they're also starting to deal with intimacy between them at the same time.
The epilogue featured a big time skip at the end, and I wasn't terribly surprised. This is a bit of a stereotypical series, so it made sense for it to use this theme as well. I think it worked relatively well, though, and that Kae's fluctuating weight ended up being a running thing.
I enjoyed this series overall. It had good and bad moments, but I think it used its humor to the best of its ability to make it work. It was a fun read.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Manga Review: Radiant, Volume 4, by Tony Valente


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 2019
Volumes: 11+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3. 5.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Evil creatures called Nemeses fall from the skies and the only ones who can fight them are Wizards—infected ones who survived a Nemesis's corruption. Seth, one of these survivors, vows not only to fight the Nemeses, but to find their mythical nest, Radiant, and destroy it!

Seth finds himself face-to-face with a man named Piodon, who claims to be his brother. Picodon came to Rumble Town to watch the destruction, but upon finding Seth, offers him something to help with his infection. Meanwhile, Grimm and Mélie continue trying to prevent Hameline from destroying the city.

Review:

I don't know how to feel about a couple of things in this volume. Firstly, the reveal of Seth's brother, a lead to his past, which gets very quickly put on hold, with very little information. And then the plot with Hameline goes in a surprising direction for Seth, and then very quickly downhill.
I was really liking the potential between Seth and Hameline, and am upset by how it ended.
The end of the volume, when Seth and Melie go to town for a celebration, encompasses what happened, I think. Everyone on the outside is seeing something impressive and admiring Seth, but he just went through something real and important, and he's not in the mood to deal with their shit. I appreciated that, actually.
I'm curious to see where Seth goes next. He's forming really close friendships, and possibly getting closer to his goal. Along the way, he's definitely growing and learning to define what he wants and discovering more things about himself.
I'm really impressed with this series, and definitely want to keep reading.


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

Monday, July 8, 2019

Manga Review: The Promised Neverland, Volume 9, by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: April 2019
Volumes: 14+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 8. 10.

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…

The search for the mysterious Minerva has led Emma to a secret room within Goldy Pond. Heeding Minerva’s clues, Emma and the other children have successfully escaped Grace Field House and survived the dangerous terrain of the outside world. But when Emma opens the door to the truth, will Minerva’s secrets be everything she’s been hoping for?

Review:

I'm really glad that I decided to continue with this series. It was not hugely on my radar when it was first announced, but I truly love the story and characters, and I so badly want to know what happens next every time. Plus, I just recently discovered the fandom for this series, and I am so glad. (#NorEmma, yes.)
Emma and Lucas get to venture behind the locked door, and discover what was left for them next. Mr. Minerva left a trail of clues for them, and he traced his steps very carefully. We discover a whole conspiracy behind the farms/orphanages, and what Mr. Minerva was dealing with as he attempted to leave them clues and safe passage.
As they process and figure out how to deal with this new knowledge, they still have to deal with the rich-monster playground they're currently in. These kids are really too smart for their own good. They're against tough enemies, but they know what they're doing, and they're really good at predicting what's going to happen next.
I'm really curious to see what Emma does, in particular, during this battle. We're still not sure what Ray and the man are doing at this point. And then there's this huge plot twist/reveal in the middle of this volume, and while I suspected, it was still a surprise and it hit me so hard, and I am just so happy about it I can't even. So I won't spoil it. But! So good!


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

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Comic Review: Alice From Dream to Dream by Giulio Macaione and Giulia Adragna

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Boom! Box
Release Date: October 2018
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

After moving back to Ohio, Alice is stuck sharing a bedroom with her brother, and worse, sharing his dreams! The bright spot in her life is her best friend, Jamie, but there's more history between their families than Alice realized, and there are secrets buried deep in their small town that only she’ll be able to explore...but only in her dreams!

From writer and artist Giulio Macaione (Ofelia), Alice: From Dream to Dream is an otherworldly trek into a spectacular world of dreams, nightmares, and being a teenager.

Review:

Alice visits peoples dreams when she sleeps, whether she wants to or not. Sharing a room with her brother is making this particularly difficult for her, as he enjoys horror movies, and thus means she's rather sleep deprived. But she can't tell her family about it, and so grows more like a moody teenager.
I didn't mind the plot line in this book, but it also didn't really hit me. I'm not sure if it just didn't feel fleshed-out enough, or what, though. There's some history between Alice's parents and her best friend Jamie's parents. Then there's the typical mean girl at school, who Alice ends up forming a kind-of friendship with, after Jamie gets hurt and they bond to save him; this kind of worked.
Including the school psychologist seemed odd to me, especially since Alice decides not to tell her family about her ability, and yet talks to this stranger about it. Then the drama with Jamie's father just seemed a little weak to me, especially with how Alice saves him afterward.
It was just okay. I wasn't all that impressed, and actually a little disappointed, because I really wanted to like it.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Manga Review: Shortcake Cake, Volume 3, by suu Morishita


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 2019
Volumes: 11+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 2. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

An unflappable girl and a cast of lovable male roommates at a boardinghouse create bonds of friendship and romance.

When Ten moves out of her parents’ home in the mountains to live in a boardinghouse, she finds herself becoming fast friends with her male roommates. But can love and romance be far behind?

Chiaki and Ten pretend they’re dating to dissuade Rei, Riku’s younger brother, from continuing to bother her. But Chiaki believes that Riku still has feelings for Ten and tries to bring them together.

Review:

I feel like I should be enjoying this series a lot more than I am. It definitely feels like my type of shojo, cute and a little understated, with a lot of thoughtful panels, and switching points of view. But for some reason, it's just not quite hitting me. I'm not sure if its the emotions, the characters, or even the plot. I don't get it.
Most of this volume focused on the forming love triangle. Now that things have calmed down for the moment, the boys get to deal with their conflicting bromance, and Ten gets to reflect on her feelings for both of them. She hasn't really considered Chiaki, but she's starting to feel more for Riku.
The friendship between Chiaki and Riku is probably my favorite thing so far. They're friends who think a lot of each other. Chiaki is probably my most relate-able character, but I'm rooting for Riku for the romance. And I don't mind Ten, but I don't really think too much of her at this point.
I don't know, I just really want to feel more for this series than I do at this point.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Manga Review: The Bride was a Boy by Chii


Rating (Out of 5): ~4.5
Publisher: Seven Seas
Release Date: May 2018
Volumes: 1.
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The heartwarming transgender love story, based on true events!

Drawn in the style of diary comics with an upbeat, adorable flair, this is a charming tale about Chii, a woman assigned male at birth. Her story starts with her childhood and follows the ups and downs of exploring her sexuality, gender, and transition--as well as falling in love with a man who’s head over heels for her. Now they want to get married, so Chii’s about to embark on a new adventure: becoming a bride!

Review:

I'd heard good things about this one, but it wasn't until I went to glimpse through it at the bookstore, and ended up reading almost a chapter, that I decided to pick it up. The concept grabbed my attention from the beginning, and it's a diverse subject that isn't mentioned much in manga.
The story follows Chii, who was born a boy, and how she slowly discovered and accepted that she always felt more like a girl than a boy. It's autobiographical, and it shows as Chii addresses the audience often, and explains things to us, about legal issues and how she worried about telling people. This is definitely more of a lighthearted story than I'm sure a lot of people experienced, but Chii had a relatively easy time of it. For her, though, her family was rather easy-going, and the boy she meets is perfectly fine with all of it as well. He's so in love with her, that he doesn't mind she's not completely a woman yet, and is perfectly fine dealing with the obstacles of all of this with her.
This is a really cute story, but I also think it's a really important one. It's a tough thing to go through in any society, and there are a lot of obstacles and things to consider and ways to handle it.
This was a fun read, and I think it's a really important one, too. I would definitely recommend it, and would love to see more books like it released.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Manga Review: Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Volume 8, by Izumi Tsubaki


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: July 2017
Volumes: 10+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 7. 9.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The air around shoujo manga-ka high school boy Nozaki rings loud with greetings between acquaintances old and new!


Mikoto Mikoshiba hides the fact that he works as a manga assistant, but Hirotaka Wakamatsu finally discovers his secret, and the two meet anew...?! Meanwhile, Wakamatsu meets Yuzuki Seo's older brother, Ryousuke, for the first time!! What will come of the psychological warfare that ensues?! Later, Masayuki Hori's true feelings for Yuu Kashima come bursting out!! And everyone at last gets to meet the youngest Nozaki sibling, Yumeko!!

Review:

There's a lot of inter-relationship drama in this volume. We get acknowledgment of who knows about Nozaki's manga and who helps with what, and who knows about it. As some of these things get cleared up and some of the puzzle pieces connect, there's some confusion and understanding.
Waka also gets to meet Seo's older brother in this volume, and there's some confusion regarding their relationships/dynamics with Seo, and then some horror and pity and understanding. Since Seo is one of my favorite characters, this was a lot of fun to read. Kashima is another favorite of mine, so having her involved, and then seeing her attempt to grow closer to Hori, is a lot of fun.
Waka also invites Nozaki's younger brother as a buffer on a group date. There's some misunderstandings here, as Waka is clearly seeming to forget the reason for going on a group date. Also, Nozaki's younger brother is quite a hit.
These volumes are so much fun. I've grown fond of all of the characters at this point, and it's fun to see them all interact and misunderstand each other and all the chaos that creates. It's great.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Manga Review: Flying Witch, Volume 6, by Chihiro Ishizuka


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

Goodreads Synopsis:

Spell Celebration

Everyone gathers to grill giblets to celebrate Chinatsu’s first bit of witchcraft. The familiars are lured to school with the promise of a tasty lunch... which draws the attention of an upperclassman witch. Makoto is tasked with solving a case where people get spirited away, but the solution turns out to be very down-to-earth...

Review:

The volume starts with a celebration, as Chinatsu did her first bit of magic. Then, summer starts off with a very odd snow storm—but only in certain patches of the town. In the middle of the volume, we get a little break as the story focuses on the cats. Chito and Keeny decide to visit Makoto at school for the day, and journey their way there for some food.
In the second half of the volume, we meet a new witch, Sayo. She's very intense and strict, but surprisingly sweet and energetic in text. She's a classmate, and they end up going on a job together. It's nice to see Makoto branching out and meeting other witches, getting to learn from them and make new connections.
This series is so fun. It's fast and easy and funny. It's a simple pleasure, and I'm a bit upset that we're pretty much caught up with Japan already. That was fast, and now we have to wait for each volume. But that just means it'll be a fun surprise each time, I'm sure.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Manga Review: Black Torch, Volume 3, by Tsuyoshi Takaki


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 2019
Volumes: 5.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 2. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Ninja and animal lover Jiro Azuma’s life is changed forever when he finds himself in the middle of a war of ninjas vs. demons.

Jiro Azuma is descended from of a long line of shinobi, and he also can talk to animals. One day, he rescues a very unique black cat named Rago, a supernatural being, and is dragged into a secret supernatural war.

Inside the illusory world generated by Fuyo, Jiro and Rago face off against a giant mononoke named Amagi. In the Edo period, Amagi attempted to recruit allies to fight back against the newly formed government ninja squad, but Rago refused to join him! What secrets lurk in the depths of Rago’s lost memories? And what’s behind the sudden string of mass murders happening in the real world?

Review:

Jiro's test about his inner demons ends up being taken over by Rago's past, which makes sense.
After that brief test, the group gets to go on their first real mission together. A part of town is being controlled and attacked, and the three split up to take care of the people in control of it. Rago gets personally attacked during it, and then Reiji discovers a person from his past involved as well.
I like Ichika's fight in this, as her battle ended up being interesting to me. During all of this, Rago discovers something about his connection with Jiro, which worries him more than Jiro. I'm curious to see how they handle it, but also to see what Rago does. Despite being a powerful mononoke, and how he possibly tried to stay away from humans, he seems to grow attached and protective, and I like that. I also find it interesting, given the connection between him and Jiro. They seem like a good match.
I haven't read many action-based shonen in a while, and I'm enjoying this one so far. I'm liking the characters, at least, so far.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Comic Review: Spinning by Tillie Walden

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Themes: YA, Comic, LGBTQ+, Ice Skating
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: 2017
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

It was the same every morning. Wake up, grab the ice skates, and head to the rink while the world was still dark.
Weekends were spent in glitter and tights at competitions. Perform. Smile. And do it again.
She was good. She won. And she hated it.
For ten years, figure skating was Tillie Walden’s life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. Skating was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love with her first girlfriend, she began to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fit in with the rest of her life, and whether all the work was worth it given the reality: that she, and her friends on the team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she’d outgrown her passion—and she finally needed to find her own voice.


Review:

This is an autobiographical comic, about Tillie as she was growing up, as an ice skater, and a lesbian.
It's about ice skating, and discovering herself, and coming out, all as a growing teenager.
This has a pretty good mix of all of these things. We see Tillie practicing, as she gets up very early every morning to ice skate, whether she enjoys it or not. We see her with good and bad coaches, with good and bad friends, as she enjoys it and works hard, and as she starts to question whether it's just habit and discovers that she doesn't actually like ice skating. Friendships form, and she falls in love for the first time, and decides to tell her family.
I understood parts of this book, and I really enjoyed following her as she discovers herself and decides what she wants for herself. It was also very frustrating to see her coming out, and how some people react to it, like her family. Seeing people react as if it's wrong (and parents, as if they've done something wrong) bothers me, so much, and I know it happens, still.
I really enjoyed reading this. I don't read a lot of American comics, but some of them are definitely worth reading. And I liked following this journey.