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Friday, September 18, 2020

Manga Review: Yona of the Dawn, Volume 25, by Mizuho Kusanagi



Rating (Out of 5):
~5

Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)

Release Date: August 2020

Volumes: 33+

Spoilers?: No.

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

Volume: 1. 24. 26.

 

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!

 

Review:

 

In a lot of ways, this was the volume we've all been waiting for.

Yona stakes her claim, and she doesn't back down. It's an important moment between her and Su-Won, but it's also just a tasting. There's still a lot of tension there, that I assume will be confronted at some point. There's a very different kind of tension brewing between Yona and Hak, which is also being put off till a later date.

And then the dragons. There's a lot of other things going on with the war coming, and underhanded attacks regarding it, and the contrast between the two princesses of Xing and Yona, and even with Riri. But the dragons. There's such a monumental big scene with them as the volume ends, and I can't contain myself. I've been wondering if something like this could happen, or what it would mean, and it's beautiful and stunning, and it makes me so happy.

This volume and the previous ones had very important moments in them. There's a lot of major plots being addressed, and I imagine it's only going to continue into the next volume, especially with that cliffhanger. I seriously cannot wait for it.

I've had to re-read the end of this volume like a handful of times, it just makes me so giddy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Manga Review: Sweat and Soap, Volume 1, by Kintetsu Yamada



Rating (Out of 5):
~4

Publisher: Kodansha Comics

Release Date: February 2020

Volumes: 8+

Spoilers?: No.

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

Volume: 2.

 

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 copiously -- met Koutarou -- a perfume developer who can't get enough of Asako's, er, scent. Don't miss a romcom manga like no other!

Yae's living her dream, working at the toiletry maker Lilia Drop. Little do her coworkers know, the reason she loves the company so much is that she's ashamed of her body odor, and their soap is the only thing that does the trick. So when the company's lead product developer, a perfuming genius, approaches her in the lobby and wonders what "that smell" is, she's terrified... but could it be... that he likes it? And, even more surprising to Yae... does she like him?

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:

 

Asako works at a toiletry maker, which makes her favorite soaps. Coincidentally, she has a bit of a sweating problem, which embarrasses her a lot. When all of a sudden Natori, with a super sensitive nose and who happens to make the scents, sniffs her out and is instantly entranced.

This sounds like a crazy start of a series, given how the love interest starts smelling Asako all the time and she kind of goes along with it, even though it embarrasses her. But really, they basically just start dating. He takes her out to eat, they have what looks like moments of fooling around, when really he's just sniffing her neck and taking notes of the scents. She's basically his muse.

I admit that this sounds very weird. When I first heard about this, I didn't particularly think to pick it up. It seemed like it would probably be an ecchi seinen series, especially when I heard it was adult. I think the subject matter is what gives that impression.

When instead, this very much feels like a josei series. Asako is the protagonist, and while clearly Natori has an odd fetish, she goes along with it, and even gets used to it. She's not being forced here. And very quickly, a romance starts to form.

I like a dirty josei romance, and one with an odd fetish is not at all a problem to me. Plus, I really liked the characters, and the pace and writing.

I'm basically hooked, which even surprises me. But that means I'll be reading more.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Manga Review: The Promised Neverland, Volume 15, by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu



Rating (Out of 5):
~4

Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)

Release Date: June 2020

Volumes: 19.

Spoilers?: Yes, light.

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

Volume: 1. 14. 16.

 

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…

As Norman and his group prepare their plan to eradicate all of the demons, Emma searches for her own path. Can she find a way to create a new promise that achieves peace without resorting to violence?

 

Review:

 

The confrontation with Norman happens. He has information to share with Emma and Ray, just as they have their own worries to share. It's so hard to see Norman as this unmoving adult, when you know he's just doing what he believes is the right thing, but also when Emma has such bigger peaceful goals in mind.

We're given some new, surprising information in this volume. And then Emma and Ray are off on a timed mission, where it looks like they're starting a test for real answers. Norman has put them on a timer for it, but also the monsters have caught on and aren't going to let these human be for too much longer.

I'm intrigued to see where Ray and Emma are off to, and what's going to happen there. But this is also really hard to take. I'm afraid of where this series is going to go, cause I really don't want a bad ending for these three.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Manga Review: IM: Great Priest Imhotep, Volume 3, by Makoto Morishita



Rating (Out of 5):
~3

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: May 2020

Volumes: 11.

Spoilers?: No.

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

Volume: 1. 2. 4.

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

 

The Ennead Priesthood has given Im a new objective: Return to Egypt and use "Damnatio Memoriae" to wipe the record of Prince Djoser clean from the record of the world. But when Djoser suddenly shows up-in the flesh?-the plan is forced to change. How will Im cope with seeing his friend again...when his only option is to kill him...?

 

Review:

 

Im is being put into a bad position, where he has to decide to ruin his best friend yet again, only it's even more important this time. He wants to fix things between him and Djoser, only to find out that that's not really an option for him. Not quite in the way that he expected, though.

Most of this volume was taken up with the friendship and feud between Im and Djoser. Im has regrets from his past, but he's also being put into a situation where he is forced to see what's happening in a new perspective and make a choice.

I'm not following this closely, but it's an interesting read. The characters are good and odd, and I find the Egyptian mythology/history really interesting. In the second half, Hinome gets to see Im playing at being a student, getting some carefree time. It's not something he's been able to experience before, and she discovers that he never got the chance to play and dream like a kid.

This has a surprising amount of depth, and I appreciate that.

 

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

Friday, August 28, 2020

Manga Review: Love Me, Love Me Not, Volume 2, by Io Sakisaka


Rating (Out of 5):
~4

Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)

Release Date: May 2020

Volumes: 12.

Spoilers?: No.

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

Volume: 1. 3.

 

Goodreads Synopsos:

 

Love and friendship have become quite complicated for these four friends. Yuna has fallen in love with Rio, but he has feelings for Akari that he’s never been able to express. While Yuna keeps his secret, Akari makes a move on the person she’s interested in.

 

Review:

 

As tensions increase in the Rio and Akari household, Yuna struggles with how to deal with her own feelings. As is typical with Sakisaka (which I still appreciate), she doesn't hold them back for long though. This could complicate things, but Yuna uses it as a way to be open and honest, and to move forward as both of their friends. Akari is a bit oblivious about it, though, as she's trying to only be Yuna's friend and Rio's sister.

Then there's Kazuomi. He's everyone's friend at this point, and seems pretty oblivious to all of the drama bubbling up. He's just a good guy, and I like him.

I think I'm only slowly following this series because I'm not sure where it's going yet. Even though they're only four characters, there are a couple of different ways these relationships could go still. I'm not sure which one I really want, either. But I like all of the characters, how well-rounded they're all becoming, and the friendships that are forming between each of them.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Manga Review: Komi Can't Communicate, Volume 4, by Tomohito Oda


Rating (Out of 5):
~4

Publisher: Shonen Sunday (VIZ Media)

Release Date: December 2019

Volumes: 17+

Spoilers?: No.

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

Volume: 1. 3. 5.

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

 

The journey to 100 friends begins with a single conversation.

Socially anxious high school student Shoko Komi’s greatest dream is to make some friends, but everyone at school mistakes her crippling social anxiety for cool reserve. With the whole student body keeping its distance and Komi unable to utter a single word, friendship might be forever beyond her reach.

School is out for the summer, and Komi is still getting used to this strange new world of having friends. She’s discovering that friendship doesn’t automatically save you from awkward situations with people, but the more time she spends with her friends, the easier it all seems. And to her astonishment, for the first time in her life Komi isn’t anxious for summer to end.

 

Review:

 

It's summer, which means this odd friend group has to find excuses to see each other. There's some video game competition, and some last-minute homework groups. We also get a chapter of Komi just at home, where it's hot and she hangs out with her brother and decides to cook. It's very slice-of-life and quiet, and honestly I rather like it.

Then school is back, and there's sports competitions. We also meet a new character, a new student with an accent who admires Komi. There's one chapter where Tadano shows the other two what Komi is really thinking; they're way off, and somehow Tadano can read her perfectly. They also visit an arcade and take purikura pictures, which is very cute.

I relate a lot to Komi—not as extreme, but a quiet introvert nonetheless—and so I enjoy this series quite a bit. Even just the relaxed chapters, but also just seeing her figure out how to communicate, is all very real to me. I'm enjoying this series a lot.

 

 

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

Monday, August 24, 2020

Manga Review: Overlord, Volume 12, by Kugane Maruyama, Hugin Miyama, so-bin and Satoshi Oshio


Rating (Out of 5): ~2.5

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: May 2020

Volumes: 13+

Spoilers?: No.

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

Volume: 1. 11.


Goodreads Synopsis:


At last, Demiurge's schemes in the kingdom begin bearing fruit...Between Jaldaboath and a powerful fighter capable of manipulating insects, the beleaguered humans have no choice but to rely on the Blue Roses!


Review:

 

This volume continues with an ongoing arc, by jumping into a battle against a bug maid. This takes up a good portion of the volume, as it delves into another, harder fight. It appears that two groups are coming together to fight Jaldaboath, and working with the town to win. It doesn't appear that everyone is fully on the same side, however.

I jumped into this volume with zero idea of what I was getting into. I apparently had a very different impression of what this series even was, and have no context for these characters or how this world works.

Overall, I'm not much of an action fan, and the battles weren't interesting to me. Possibly the tiny bit of characterization we got from Evileye, or the backstabbing of the royal family. But otherwise, this just wasn't for me. Meh.

 

 

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

Friday, August 21, 2020

Manga Review: Yona of the Dawn, Volume 24, by Mizuho Kusanagi


Rating (Out of 5):
~4.5

Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)

Release Date: June 2020

Volumes: 32+

Spoilers?: No.

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

Volume: 1. 23. 25.

 

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!

Review:

 

Yona and Hak are doing what they can to stop, or at least stall, the impending war. They attempt to see Su-Won, but that confrontation might be for a later time still. Instead, we get a surprise reunion with Min-Su, a surprise supporter of Yona.

Similar to Tae-Jun, who also appears in this volume, Min-Su seems to be a surprise companion for Yona. Someone who she knew before, whether good or bad, who Yona ends up influencing in bigger ways than expected.

Yona and Hak separate in this volume, off to do what they can to stall and negotiate this thing. But! Also! Surprise Yona and Hak Development! Ah!

Also! That ending! Cliffhanger!

I can't say any more about this volume, because it's all spoilers. But this was a surprisingly huge volume in progress and plot, and I'm so excited to read the next one, I cannot wait.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Manga Review: I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, Volume 2, by Kisetsu Morita, Yusuke Shiba, and Benio

Rating (Out of 5): ~3

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: May 2020

Volumes: 6+

Spoilers?: No.

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

Volume: 1. 3.

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

 

 After 300 years of a laid-back life, witch Azusa's peace is interrupted by a host of wacky challengers after the word spreads that she actually is ridiculously strong. What sort of adventures and new friends will her rapidly expanding family encounter in the next volume?!

 

Review:

 

Azusa has maxed out her level in this fantasy land, and is now living a relatively simple life with her new family, and then Halkara knocks on the door crying for help. She wants to keep her family safe, but she decides to help her hide from Beelzebub.

While there are some potential dangers and drama, this has a pretty slice-of-life kind of feeling most of the time. The girls all live peacefully in their home, they meet new people, and they travel on adventures where they usually end up helping someone. They help Halkara figure out why Beelzebub is after her. Then they help their dragon sisters family, and end up forming a truce between fighting dragon clans.

There is some fan service, but this is mostly all women in the main cast. It was a light isekai fantasy, and I didn't mind it.

 

 

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

Monday, August 17, 2020

Manga Review: Nyankees, Volume 6, by Atsushi Okada


Rating (Out of 5):
~2.5

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: May 2020

Volumes: 6.

Spoilers?: No.

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

Volume: 1. 5.


Goodreads Synopsis:


A triggered Ryuusei hones in on Madara and strikes with a mighty cat punch, but there's more to the calico tom than meets the eye! Untold secrets and grudges are laid bare as the Nekonaki strife draws to a close in this final volume of Nyankees!


Review:

 

Jumping into this series at the very end, it was hard to follow at first. I clearly didn't know what this was about, because it took me a second to realize that the cats were being represented as the people, and that they were stray cats being represented as some kind of gang. It's very odd.

Also, I hate seeing animal violence like this, so seeing their back stories was hard to read. I don't read series like this, for this very reason. I can't take it.

Not knowing the rest of the story, it appears that all of the answers are given in this final volume. Ryuusei gets the answers he needs regarding Gekka, and finally gets some closure and a purpose.

The ending was actually pretty sweet. I liked the thoughts that we're left with, and how everything seems to wrap up.

Not necessarily my kind of story, but I imagine this was a nice ending for the people following it.

 

 

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