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Border (manga Kazuma Kodaka)
Crimson Spell (manga) Ayano Yamane's art in Crimson spell is fantastic. (Literally too, since this is a fantasy series.) Even if the plot happened to be crap, which thankfully it's not, I would recommend it on the art alone. The plot is your basic quest based sword and sorcery fantasy. Prince Vald, along with his magic sword, and magician Havi search for a way to remove Vald's demon curse. Since this is a yaoi, there is quite a bit of man sex, but beyond that the plot is actually quite good. I enjoyed both volumes and I hope the series is eventually continued as it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. Unfortunately, Media Blasters looks to have discontinued their manga line and as of yet, there is no vol. 3 in sight.

I recently revisited this, along with Yamane's other series, Viewfinder. Sublime is up to volume 5 now, and their version is much nicer than the old Kitty Media books. Despite the amount of sex in the earlier chapters, Crimson Spell is alot more romancey and plot based than Finder. It is very traditional fantasy with some BL. I prefer this series so far and wish there were not so long a wait between volumes.

Embracing Love (manga) I read all 5 volumes CPM put out and I loved it. Youka Nitta draws men in a manly way, which is a welcome break from all the girly looking boys invading yaoi and shoujo manga in general. She takes time here to actually develop some characters. They're memorable and quite recognizable. This series ran for 14 (?) volumes and I'd love to read the rest. Unfortunately, despite it's popularity, I'm not sure we'll ever see this again due to Nitta's tracing scandal.
Gangsta. (manga)
Honey Hunt (manga) Very good Yura is a shy and lacking confidence, but decides to be an actress in order to gain acceptance from her mother. I really liked the charcterization here. Yura's insecurities were explained and understandable. Her trio of suitors are also well realized. Q-ta, despite all his surface kindness, has a selfish, controlling streak. Her manager, instead of being honest, is quietly manipulative behind the scenes. Of the three, only Q-ta's brother Haruka seems like he really genuinely likes Yura and have her best interests a heart. Knowing that this is a Miki Aihara manga, she'll probably end up with the most unhealthy one. Unfortunately, this has been on hiatus for years. I hope Aihara goes back to it, as I'd live to see how the love square turns out and if Yura and her parents ever reconcile.
In These Words (OEL manga)
Kimi ni Todoke - From Me to You (manga) Very good
Maiden Rose (manga)
NANA (manga)
REAL (manga)
Skip Beat! (manga) Excellent Very rarely has a series this long managed to maintain my interested, but I devoured all 33 volumes in a couple of days. Kyoko is such an interesting and well realized character that I must know what she'll do next. She starts out wanting to be a celebrity on a whim to fulfill a grudge, but genuinely come to love it and want to improve for herself. Not only that, the comedic aspect is excellent as well with great timing and well drawn expressions. I will happily keep following this series as I feel there's so much more to tell.

I recently revisited this series after watching the anime, picking back with volume 12, wher the show leaves off. I tore through it in a couple of days again. It is just a good the second time around. I only wish it were finished so I wouldn't have to wait to read the rest.

Vagabond (manga)
Yotsuba&! (manga) Masterpiece Yotsuba&! is the funniest manga I've ever read, hands down. Anyone who has spent any amount of time with young children will easily be able to relate to the series. The art is pretty distinctive, if not really "beautiful" in the traditional sense. It's detailed and expressions and meanings are easily read through the panels. I've caught up with the English releases and fortunately Yen Press has rescued this series from the defunct ADV manga, so now I can continue reading this gem in the future. It is not to be missed.

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100% Perfect Girl (manhwa) Good In this series, Jay meets a prince from some fictional European country in a hotel lobby. He immediately falls in love with her, tracks her down and asks her to marry him. This was a soap opera, plain and simple. It read a lot like an old fashioned romance novel, with the super possessive hero and the heroine who behaves stupidly. It was almost impossible to take seriously because it was so over the top. There was amnesia, kidnapping, and a bunch of hospital scenes and attempted rapes. It was ridiculously entertaining though. I kept turning the pages wondering what crazy roadblock these two would encounter next. Even the emotions expressed in this were completely over the top. At one point, Jay decides that Jarte must not love her anymore, so she decides to leave him, move to New York and pretend to be a boy. Of course, they're still supposed to be completely in love. None of this is particularly logical. Also, Wann's art really compliments this series well, as all of her characters are impossibly pretty. This series is the sort of trashy guilty pleasure entertianment that I can't stop reading. It's completely melodramatic, but I found it to be a lot of fun.
20th Century Boys (manga) Excellent While not quite as good as Monster, 20th Century Boys is a solid read nonetheless. It's a tightly plotted thriller, with a large cast of distinct characters. It takes place in a couple of time periods and I am amazed that Urasawa could keep an intricately plotted series of this length coherent. I was ready for it to go off the rails, but it never did. That's not to say there weren't some eye rollers. The final reveal for example, where the Friend reveals he's held a grudge because Kenji stole his toy badge when they were kids, is laughably stupid. The story is immersed in a kind of hippy nostalgia that doesn't do anything for me either. I was born in the eighties, I can't relate to growing up in the late 60's. Hell, these characters are older than even my parents. Still, the story works for me if I don't think too hard about the more ridiculous aspects of it. I was entertained the whole way through and would like to read the follow up, 21st Century Boys.
7 Billion Needles (manga) Good This is a short 4 volume sci fi series about a girl who hosts an alien lifeform and must fight an invasion of similar life forms. It's very similar to Parasyte actually. As far as such stories go, I enjoyed it, although it was not nearly as good as Parasyte. I think the characterization was a little shallow in comparison and that's a big reason I wasn't able to enjoy it as much. Also, the plot got a little WTF at the end with the evolutionary mediator showing up. Despite it's problems, the series is at least entertaining. I'm glad I read it, although I'm not sure if I will ever revisit it. I'm much more likely to go back to Parasyte if I'm in the mood for this type of story again.
9th Sleep (manga) Decent Published under DMP's June line, this book contains barely a whiff of boy's love. Instead it's a rather convoluted shoujo fantasy about two kings of heaven who must duel the receive the "king''s soul" and the right to be the next king. The white king, Luke, refuses to fight and kills himself in order to be reborn on Earth as a human. The cycle repeats itself several times. I won't spoil the ending, but it does manage to wrap itself up at the end of the volume. The story is interesting, but a bit too rushed and shallow to be called "good". Tateno's characters all seem to look alike as well. This story probably could've been better with more elaboration and development, but as it it's it only mildly entertaining.
A,A' (manga) Very good This book is a collection of three stories about a genetically modified race of humanoid "unicorns". The title story is about a clone, A', who is sent to work in a research facility when her original dies. This story was my favorite, as it deals with some interesting quesions about whether a clone is "the same" or not. All in all, the whole collection was quite strong. I haven't read much Moto Hagio, but this is the first I've ever read by her and thus remains a favorite.
About Love (manga) Decent This is a pretty low key romance between a wedding planner and his very first client. I like how the romance progressed slowly, from casual acquaintances, to friends, to dating. It felt a lot more natural, unlike a lot of BL romances where they meet and fall into bed right away. On the other hand, the characters are also low key, meaning once they get over their initial communication issues, there isn't much to tell. As a one volume story though, it works. Sometimes it's refreshing to read a romance between average guys.
Absolute Boyfriend (manga) Very good This reminded me quite a bit of Chobits (the anime), except the genders were reversed in this story. While still very entertaining, this story lacks the depth that Chobits had. Rieko was spineless and indecisive. I couldn't figure out why the guys were fighting over her. Despite that, I still really enjoyed the story and recommend it as a light, entertaining read.
Affair (manga) So-so I read this a couple of years ago and it didn't make much of an impression. I honestly couldn't remember a thing about it. When I picked it back up, I saw why. It's an anthology. The stories are super short, lack depth and character development, and are just very forgettable. I usually like Shiuko Kano's stuff, but this one just failed to interest me. It was mildly entertaining a best and I doubt I'll remember it tomorrow.
After School Nightmare (manga) Masterpiece I was blown away by this manga! After School Nightmare reminds me strongly of Revolutionary Girl Utena, but a bit more straightforward and a bit less cryptic. The whole thing has a mysterious, dreamlike feel (even when the students are not dreaming). It was crazy and unpredictable and I tore through the whole thing in only a few hours. It has become my new favorite.
Age Called Blue (manga) Very good The title story features a pair of musicians whose lives sort of parallel that of their rock star idols. The story skips around through the timeline, starting with a tragic beginning and mostly backtracking until the end chapter, which jumps forward again and ties it up on a hopeful note. The rest of the volume contains a couple of short stories. Est Em is another artist that draws men in a very masculine way. I love her style. Really, anything that breaks free of those cookie cutter "manga /anime" art styles and comes up with something distinctive and unique wins points from me on art alone. Fortunately, Est Em can also craft well written short stories with a sense of realism not often seen in yaoi manga. For that, I am a permanent fan and will read anything she publishes in English
Ai Ore! (manga) Decent This is the first three volumes of Mayu Shinjo's genderbending romance, Ai Ore!, in which a masculine girl and feminine boy get together. There really isn't much to it. Mizuki is in a band and when their singer leaves, girlish Akira becomes their new singer. The couple start to date shortly thereafter and all sorts of ridiculous gender based hijinks ensue. It is a more lighthearted series than the mangaka's other work, more comedy based and less smutty. I mostly enjoyed it as a pleasant diversion.
Ai-Ore! Danshikō no Hime to Joshikō no Ōji (manga) Decent This is the continuation of Ai Ore!. While I mostly enjoyed this "odd couple" romance, I felt it started to drag after awhile. Mizuki was extremely insecure, and I felt that this was mostly used as a plot device in order for the couple to argue over stupid shit, break up, and then get back together. I noticed this pattern repeat itself a few times. Still the series is so ridiculously over the top that I can't hate it. It was entertaining for a one time read.
Aishiteruze Baby (manga) Very good Kippei is an irresponsible boy who is given the care of his little cousin after her mother abandons her. This is a rather cute series that tells it's story with a mix of humor and seriousness. The art is standard shojo fare, with big eyes and sparse backgrounds. It's the characters and plot that stand out on this one. It was interesting reading a shojo manga with a male protagonist and Kippei develops a lot over the course of this 7 volume series. The plot was believable with the drama being realistic and not over-the-top. In short, Aishiteruze Baby was a very enjoyable read.
Alcohol, Shirt and Kiss (manga) So-so Alcohol, Shirt & Kiss is lighthearted romance between two partner detectives. I thought it was just ok. The humor just kinda fell flat for me and I didn't think the characters or their relationship was that interesting. I also wasn't a fan of the art style. Something about the way the faces were drawn just bugged me.
Alice 19th (manga) Very good I was intitially very interested in this series. The art was beautiful and the story set up in the first volume was excellent. Unfortunately, I found myself losing interest as the series wore on. There were quite a few throwaway characters and the plot was pretty thin and began to drag. Alice 19th was fairly entertaining, but it wasn't one of Watase's best.
Alice in the Country of Hearts (manga) Very good Here I was expecting another ho hum Alice in Wonderland inspired fantasy story, and ended up with something that was more than a sum of it's parts. This series was a lot darker and stranger than I was expecting. It starts off with Alice being kidnapped by the rabbit and coming to Wonderland to play a "game", yet she (and the reader) are only given snippets of information about her purpose there. There is a creepy undertone to the story throughout and the series gives the feeling that there's something quite unnatural about this Otome game based world where everyone loves Alice. Even the ending raises a few questions, such as what's is the meaning of Alice's missing memories and what other reason do the inhabitants of Wonderland have for trying to prevent Alice form leaving? I can only hope that the dangling threads are addressed in the sequels. On it's own though, Alice In the Country of Hearts stands out as something a bit different and to me that's always worth a read.
Alice in the Country of Hearts: My Fanatic Rabbit (manga) Not really good So, having enjoyed the original series, I was interested in checking out the many Alice spinoffs. This one is not very good unfortunately. It glosses over world building and characterization in order to focus on the creepy "relationship" between Alice and the March Hare. I say "relationship" because it's not clear why there two characters fall for each other in the first place. Also, the Hare is one of those creepy super possessive types which I find completely UNromantic. For a romance series, the romance here just failed. I'm not keen on reading any more of these if they are all as shallow as this.
All My Darling Daughters (manga) Good While this isn't one of my favorites by Yoshinaga, it was still a solid book. It follows several loosely interconnected stories about women. Yoshinaga's art and sense of comedy are wonderful as always. Since it was basically an anthology, I wished for more depth in the stories. Despite that, I quite enjoyed it.
All Nippon Air Line (manga) Weak This is a parody/comedy manga. Unfortunately, while a did get a chuckle or two out of it, many of the jokes fell flat for me. The art was really rough looking as well. This just wasn't for me.
Alley of First Love Love (manga) Good This is the first Ellie Mamahara book I've ever read, and compared to fairly decent Double Cast and not so good Baseball Heaven, it's the best. The characters and their situation were decently written and I empathized with them. These characters were everyday adults, one working in the family liquor store and the other coming home from a long time overseas. Atsushi's little sisters were really cute too. I quite liked this book and it seems like as long as Mamahara doesn't go too far outside her element (Baseball Heaven), she is able to craft decent emotional stories about adults. I hope to see more of her work licensed in the future.
Allure (manga) Weak A couple years ago, when I first discovered Dramaqueen's existance (and disappearance) I went and bought up all their books, which were becoming increasingly harder to find.. Most of DQ's catalogue were good and/or memorable books, except this one. I couldn't remember a single thing about it, so i decided to reread it.

This book is a dud. The basic premise is this: A blind man gets a corneal transplant and the first thing he lays eyes on when he can see again is his surgeon, who he falls in love with for some reason. The surgeon is grieving his lover from whom the donor eyes were obtained. The romantic feelings in this story felt completely fake and contrived. There isn't any build up or explanation as to why these characters are in love. The book was also filled with a lot of cheap hollow melodrama: a jilted fiancee, a homophobic bigwig dad, a transfer overseas with the other one in pursuit, and sad doctors crying in the snow. None of this was developed sufficiently for me to give a damn. The art too was bare bones with practically no backgrounds at all. The characters had awkwardly wooden expressions and movement and were drawn in a "generic BL" style that is indistinquishable from a thousand others. Based on this book, I'm not inclined to read any more of Yuri Ebihara's manga. This was painful enough.

Ambiguous Relationship (manga) Not really good "Extremely formulaic" is the phrase I'd use to describe this short story collection. There is nothing here I have not already read a hundred times over in other BL collections. The stories are all underdeveloped and too short, which makes for tiresome reading when I can't connect with anything. Not recommended.
An Even More Beautiful Lie (manga) Not really good The story here is kinda clumsily written, as it doesn't always make sense. From what I can gather, one college art student looks up to another who is good at painting. They hang out a lot and sort of form a relationship. The feelings in this are expressed in a sort of disjointed manner. I'm not sure if that's the translation, or if the original language used is that ambiguous. Also, there is an out of left field rape scene at the end that had me going WTF!?! Offhandedly, it's revealed that the painter has a famous dad and was kidnapped as a child, so at the end some dudes break into his apartment and violate him. Why? Their motivations are never disclosed. The other student busts in and beats them up, so I guess that is supposed to be that. Really, the "plot" is just a great big sloppy mess. The cover is pretty though, I'll give it that.
Angel's Coffin - Ave Maria (manga) Decent This one volume romantic tragedy was too short to have any impact for me. It wasn't a complete waste however. You Higuri's art is wonderful as always, and the historical Austrian setting was different and interesting. The actual plot was pretty good as well, it was just too condensed. If it had taken place over multiple volumes and allowed more room for elaboration on the characters and events, I probably would have liked it much better.
Antique Bakery (manga) Excellent Antique Bakery is a slice-of-life manga about a bakey called Antique and the four guys who run it. The focus is pretty much on the characters and the food. The characters were well written, interesting, and memorable. What humor there was worked nicely. This is an understated manga without overblown drama or silly slapstick humor, and that's one thing I liked about it. (It also made me crave carbs.) I enjoyed these four volumes immensely. I even thought the ending was appropriate. This is a manga that does everything right.
(The) Antique Gift Shop (manhwa) Good This manhwa starts out like Petshop of Horrors, in which people buy unique items with paranormal properties from a mysterious little antique store. In the beginning, the stories are mostly episodic but as the series goes on the story becomes more linear as it focuses on the Antique Shop owner and her one employee. The owner, Bun Nyu is tasked with selling all of the antiques by her grandmother who wishes to protect her from a family curse/evil spirit thing. The plot itself is rather meandering, and I was only mildly interested in it. The art however, was spectacular. This series struck me as very Korean, with a lot of folklore and old wives tale-like traditions woven through it. I've not come across a manhwa series like this yet, so it stood out. I did think the characters were a bit wooden, but even still I enjoyed the series.
Aqua (manga) Good This is the prequel to Aria, in which the heroine first lands on Aqua and begins her adventures as an apprentice gondolier. if you've seen the anime, this is more of the same. The main draw is the setting and landscape. The art is lovely, but I have to say I prefer the anime, as the addition of color and sound really bring the story to life. As far as plot, there is none. This is a very slow slice of life series. Some would say it's boring. And it is, in too large a dose. This little two volume bite though, is just enough of a taste without overindulging. I enjoyed it.
Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion (manga) Not really good I found this to be a terribly generic and crappy reverse harem manga. None of the charactes are developed and the story is a dull tale of high school kids with supernatural powers. (Not like I've ever seen that before *rolls eyes*). This was five volumes, which was five volumes too long.
(The) Art of Loving (manga) So-so This is an unfinished series from Eiki Eiki. The characters meet in high school, where on is the son of a prominent family under loads of pressure, and the other is a delinquent transfer student. As time goes on Yutaka begins to obsess over Tohno and goes on a downward spiral as his grades slip. I would have liked to find out how this all turned out, as it looked promising, but the manga was abandoned after one volume.
Astral Project - Tsuki no Hikari (manga) Good This started out very good then sorta went off the rails midway through. The premise was interesting: Masahiko finds a mysterious CD in his dead sister's room and when he listens to it he gains the ability to astral project. In the beginning chapters, this is a mystery as Masahiko has questions about his new ability and what may have happened to his sister. Later, the astral projection mystery makes way for some dumb conspiracy theory and a rundown of Japan's social problems. Lame. I thought the series had real promise, but I thought the way it panned out was dumb as hell.
Author's Pet (manga) Weak This is another boy's love anthology full of super shallow short stories with cardboard characters. In fact, it was so bland I started to check out about halfway through, as I couldn't drum up any enthusiasm to read this thing. To add to the dullness, the art was completely generic and devoid of detail or backgrounds. Whole stretches of pages would go by with various screentone being the only background. This book was just a chore to read.
Awaken Forest (manga) Not really good This book contains three stories in Yuna Aoi's signature style of overly melodramatic romance bordering on obsession. Unlike Jazz, which was trashy and offensive, this book is just trashy. I didn't totally hate it, but I doubt I'll remember it in an hour.
Azumanga Daioh (manga) Excellent I will state up front that I am generally not a fan of the 4-koma comic strip style of storytelling. All too often it results in choppy storytelling, lazy characterization and the reliance on jokes that if not set up properly, just fall flat. Azumanga Diaoh overcomes all of these pitfalls. The characters are interesting and distinctive, with memorable personalities. The slice of high school life plot is well done. All of the common high school events are portrayed here, the sports festival, the cultural festival, the class trip, entrance exams, etc. But, instead of being boring, here they feel fresh and new. The humor is spot on as well, with the jokes being well timed and the punchlines are actually amusing. So, if I had to read a 4-koma, there's no going wrong with Azumanga Diaoh. I liked it quite a bit.
Backstage Prince (manga) So-so This is standard shoujo romance here, in which an ordinary high school girl finds herself going out with a possessive, needy guy. The guy is an antisocial Kabuki actor who attend her school. She is roped into being his assistant after she whacks him with her bookbag. If it sounds really contrived, it is. Why they are attracted to each other isn't explained. I guess we are supposed to settle for some he/she's the one bullshit and call it a day. On the positive side, the story is two volumes long and the couple gets together fairly early, so it doesn't drag. Overall, I found it be be rather mediocre, but I was at least entertained.
Bad Teacher's Equation (manga) Good This is a relatively long (10 vols) BL series by Kizuna creator Kazuma Kodaka. This time it's set in a school and follows the relationships of a group of teachers and students. It was created in the early 90's and it shows, especially in the character's clothes and hairstyles. It is also much more lighthearted and comedic than Kizuna. The series length also allows for quite a bit of character and relationship development. I vastly prefer series like this that take their time to one shots where people seem to fall in love at the drop of a hat. While not as good as Kizuma IMO, I still enjoyed this series quite a bit.
Banana Fish (manga) Masterpiece I was really blown away by this manga, I couldn't stop turning the pages. It's basically an action story, set in the grimy underworld NYC of the 80's, and the action is nonstop, with events happening at a furious pace. The story follows a thug named Ash Lynx and his friends as they fight a crime boss and try to thwart a government conspiracy. Yes, this is a shoujo manga. It does what shoujo manga is particularly good at as well, fleshing out the characters and the relationships between them. By the end of the story, I had grown attached to the huge cast of characters. Which was why the ending, while fitting, was a little hard for me to take. I had hoped that Ash would finally catch a break at the end of the series, but the ending was appropriate so I can't fault it. Overall, Banana Fish was so different from othe shoujo manga that I can't help but rate it a masterpiece. It's a very well written page turner.
Basara (manga) Excellent I first time I picked up Basara, I thought it was "Meh." I recently picked up the rest of the series and reread the first volume and was instantly hooked. I was initially put off by Yumi Tamura's really stylized art style, but eventually I grew to love it. The story is a very detailed fantasy epic along the lines of "The Twelve Kingdoms". This 27 volume story moves at a good clip and never feels stagnant. Basara has made me a Yumi Tamura fan for sure.
Baseball Heaven (manga) Not really good I liked the other Ellie Mamahara books I read, but I was pretty disappointed with this. I'm not a baseball fan, and even I noticed a lot seemed "off" with the baseball aspect. The mangaka admits in her notes that she didn't have a lot of research matertial and neither her nor her editor knew anything about baseball. So...why? Why not pick something you are more familiar with to base your story on? To be fair, the baseball is mostly just used a window dressing. The actual story is the teammate romance, but even that felt kinda contrived. Do baseball players in Japan live in dorms? Is all that ass smacking just a sign of latent homosexuality? Really, this book is dumb. On the plus side is Mamahara's art. While sometimes proportionally challenged, it doesn't resort to making one of the guys "the girl". They both look masculine and the same size. Points for that at least.
Battle Angel Alita (manga) Excellent I've only read 1 volume so far. The art is beautiful, with one exception: why, oh Why does Daisuke look like Inspector Gadget? The story is basically a superhero tale. It was somewhat entertaining. I do plan on giving Vol. 2 a read. It's not a top priority though.

It's been several years now since I first gave volume one a read and now having just completed the whole series in one giant marathon, I'm wondering why I haven't read this sooner. It's one of the best action manga I've ever read. The art is gorgeous, the action is clean and easy to follow, and Alita is a great heroine. I even love the old 90's feel sci-fi setting. One of the things I particularly appreciated about the characterization in this series is that the artist didn't go out of his way to further sexualize Alita. She was a strong heroine, but still very feminine, without focusing on her tits and panties. I get a little tired of picking up action series for guys with female leads and having much of the focus zooming in on their chests and asses. Battle Angel totally avoids that trap and for that I'm grateful. Another thing I liked was how the passage of time was handled. This series takes place over several years and it feels like it. Alita herself grows up a lot, and the world/characters around her change as well. My only small complaint is that the ending is a little rushed. I would have liked to see more of Tiphares and how it worked especially. Despite that, I was satisfied with how it ended and am a little leary of picking up the reboot, Last Order, because I'm afraid of it going off the rails. So, I think I'm just goin to stick with the original so not to poison my impression of this excellent series.

Battle Royale (manga) Excellent Battle Royale is the most grotesquely violent manga I've ever read. Fortunately, it has an awesome plot to back up the shocking visuals. It's faced paced and exciting, and never predictable. There is a huge cast of characters and each manages to be unique and make an impression, even with limited screen time. In fact, it seemed that I'd just start getting attached to a character before they'd kick the bucket. Best of all, the story wraps up nicely, with closure. Battle Royale is definitely one of the most memorable manga I've read. I will surely read it again.
Beast & Feast (manga) Decent This is a pretty standard yaoi romance between a detective and his childhood friend who turns out to be a yakuza. It's pure escapism, as reality doesn't exist in this world. How would that even work anyway? Imagine eventually having to arrest your boyfriend... I probably shouldn't think so hard about it. On the plus side, the art is pretty nice. The mangaka admits that she likes to draw guys a little more built and I can definitely support seeing more of that.
Beast Master (manga by K. Motomi) So-so
Beauty is the Beast (manga) Good This was a pretty good slice-of-life story about dorm life. The author admits in a side bar that she based the manga on her expeiences living in a dorm, so it's no wonder that the setting had a more authentic feel to it than I've encountered in other shojo manga. The art was serviceable, nothing special, but it got the point across. I enjoyed the characters. My one complaint is the very, very abrupt ending. It felt like the author got tired of writing the series and just tacked one on at the end of vol. 5. The relationship drama was just starting to become interesting before the author cut it short. It was sort of cheap, since I expected to see more to it. Well, I still enjoyed it, but it probably should have been given a few more volumes to resolve itself.
Because I'm a Boy! (manga) Decent This is a yaoi anthology published by Kitty Media, which is to say, it's porn. The stories are all super short and the punchline is sex. As porn, it's mildly entertaining. I'm on the fence about Watanabe's drawing style. The stories were a mixed bag artwise, and the style changed between stories as if they were drawn over an extended period of time. I prefered her more masculine style as I don't like the girly "bishounen" look. My favorite story in the whole anotholgy is the one that doesn't have any sex at all and is drawn in a more manly style. My second favorite story was the bondage couple. The rest were completely forgettable.
Benkei in New York (manga) So-so This one volume story is about a shady guy named Benkei who works for the mafia. He's a hit man who takes jobs involving vendettas and each chapter focus on a revenge story. I found the book a little boring. Benkei himself is a blank slate, and the chapters are short, so the stories are a bit shallow. On the positive, the art is great, but I need more than that to maintain an interest. In the end this book just didn't deliver.
Better Than a Dream (novel) Good This is a yaoi light novel. I've read almost all of these that June has published, and this is one of the better ones. It is basically a romance novel about a cafe owner with a tragic past and the new guy who comes to town. The story was decent, with believable characters and emotions. It was a more emotional story, which worked for me. The prose was readable, except for the very first chapter told from the POV of a dog chained up by the bus stop. Man, that was awkward as hell and we never hear from the dog again. Other than that, nothing yanked me out of the story. I enjoyed it for what it was, a low key yaoi romance novel.
Beyond… Scandalous Seiryo University (manga) So-so This is book three in the Seiryo University series. The series doesn't get any better with this volume. It's still ridiculously stupid, but the smut is entertaining.
Biomega (manga) Very good Like Blame, this is another nonsensical scifi action story. I found Biomega a lot easier to follow though. Basically, an alien virus is infecting earth and turning human life into zombies. This is all orchestrated by a researcher in order to "reinvent" humanity. The narrative does a lot of herky jerky timeskipping and jumping from character to character. The art is very atmospheric, with surreal landscapes and creepy looking monsters. In fact, the main reason I read Nihei is just for the art. It helps that i like crazy scifi too.
Bird Kiss (manhwa) So-so It's refreshing to read about an unlikeable heroine for once. Miyoul is an absolute cow for most of the series. Her dorky next door neighbor Heerack has been harbouring a crush on her for years. She treats him like a servant. Heerack gets a makeover and is now handsome (but still dorky), and slowly Miyoul realizes that she likes him too. Despite the novelty of the mean girl heroine, the charactization isn't very good. The characters were pretty much one note archetypes. There isn't much to Miyoul and Heerack beyond "the mean feisty one" and "the dorky nice one". They're surrounded by other one note types such as the conceited player, the quiet cool guy, the pretty rich girl, and etc. The story too is as predicatable as they come, not offering much in the way of plot. We know Miyoul and Heerack will end up together at the end, and they do. I was marginally entertained by this series, but it's about as mediocre as they come.
Black Sun (manga) Good Published by 801 media, this two book series is pretty explicit. However, this is not simply plotless porn. The story, about a captured knight during the crusades, is interesting. I also love Ogasawara's art. She draws well, using delicate line work and including a good bit of detail in her panels, so it's not all characters on top of empty space. Her character designs are attractive too, pretty while still looking masculine. Because of this series, I ended up buying her artbook, which is quite nice. I have been converted, I am a fan.
Black-Winged Love (manga) Good This is from the mangaka of "Dining Bar Akira". Although i enjoyed this, I thought it was a weaker work and much prefered Dining Bar Akira. For one this is an anthology, which I am rarely satisfied by. Fortunately, Yamashita's unconventional style drags this one out of the realm of forgettable. At this point, I'd read anything of hers published in English.
Blade of the Immortal (manga) Masterpiece If I'm being honest, the first volume isn't that impressive story wise. It is only after several volumes as you see Rin and Manji develop as characters that this goes from merely very good to exceptional. And the art! It is outstanding, every panel packed with intricate linework and detail. The story itself is a basic revenge tale, but it is well written with nuance. I was hooked all the way to the excellent, if bittersweet, ending.
Blame! (manga) Excellent I've only read the first volume so far. It took me a while to get used to the lack of dialog and understand what was going on. Once I kept reading, it made more sense. The art in this is amazing. Especially the backgrounds. I want to read more just to find out about the world that Killy inhabits.

It's been a few months, but I finally finished this one, and it was amazing. Blame! has got to be one of the most imaginative sci-fi universes that I've encountered. A lot is never fully explained and much is left up to the reader's interpretation. Usually stories like this irritate me, but in Blame!, it's part of the fun. My only real annoyance was with the non-ending. This series really could have kept going, but I guess the creator wanted to move on. Oh well, I'd have loved to read more.

Blood+ (manga) Very good I haven't seen the recent anime that this is based of off, so I went in with no preconceived notions about the manga. I really liked it. It's faced paced with an interesting plot and characters. There was plenty of action and it was well drawn. If anything, reading the manga made me more curious abuot viewing the anime.
Blood+ Adagio (manga) Decent
Blood+ Kowloon Nights (manga) Decent This is a one volume side story taking place in China. A police officer investigating a string of strange murders runs across Hagi in his investigations and learns about the monsters he's hunting. Saya isn't in this, Hagi is alone, which gives the mangaka an excuse to give it a light BL flavor. Kisaragi's character design certainly are pretty as well. Because it's one volume, it's assumed you are familiar with the main story. So, it doesn't stand alone. Regardless, it's a quick and entertaining if not particularly memorable read.
Bloody Kiss (manga) Weak Bloody Kiss is one of the worst shoujo I've had the misfortune to read lately. It comes complete with doormat heroine, douchey possesive love interest, and no plot what so ever. Oh, and there are vampires. Honestly, this thing is way worse than Twilight (I've read it), at least Twilight was entertaining.
A Bloody Kiss Tonight (manga) So-so This is a vampire story. In the first story, a vampire kidnaps the reincarnation of his lover. In the second story a librarian encounters a vampire who becomes obsessed with him. This is some "rape is love" bullshit right here. Writing aside, I'm finding Makoto Tateno's art really tiresome. All the characters look the same. In every single book it's the same two characters with light or dark hair. This book is on my discard pile.
Blue Morning (manga) Good I really wanted to like this series more than I did, but man did the story ever draaaagggg. It is a period romance set around the turn of the century about a nobleman and his butler who educated him. There's a lot of family politics and class drama that to be honest I found drawn out and uninteresting. I was on board for a more serious romance without typical over the top BLisms though, so beyond being a bit draggy, I mostly enjoyed it.
(read June 2020)
Blue Sky (manga by Y. Kuwabara) So-so Here we have yet another generic BL title taking place at an all boys school. Does it get any more cliche than this?
Body Language (novel) Not really good June's yaoi light novels are hit or miss. Sure, some are decent and every now and then I'll read a good one, but this is definitely not one of those. It falls under the realm of "plotless porn", with a flimsy story and cardboard characters. About the only thing keeping me awake through this book were the sex scenes, as the characters had no development whatsoever beyond describing the jerky guy as the "asshole" and the girly one as the "cool beauty". One note tropes does not characterization make. This book also suffered from some awkward sounding prose and sentence structure. To put it simply, this book is not very good and only passable if you feel like reading a lot of sex scenes, which unfortunately were the best part of the book.
Bond(z)  (manga) Good In the end, this is really just another yaoi anthology. Bondz contains four stories, three of which are completely forgettable. It's only the title story that manages to bring this book up from mediocrity. Bondz is about two friends who fall into a destructive and self absorbed relationship with each other and aren't able to deal with it's intensity. I've read Bondz before about a year ago and only this story made an impression on me. I remembered it clearly for the reread, while drawing a complete blank on the other three. I've come to discover that I prefer Toko Kawai's work when she writes more serious stories like this one as opposed to her more silly and sappy work like Our Everlasting and Cafe Latte Rhapsody. As an anthology, the book is very uneven, but I'm going to give it a pass on the title story alone.
Boys Love (manga) Very good Don't be fooled by the generic sounding title, this is not a generic boy's love manga. For one, it's a tragedy. You don't see too many of those published here, among the fluffy schoolboy romances. It's also emotional and the romance is well written. The story is this: there were once three very close childhood friends, until one dies from leukemia. The boys are scarred by this. Years later, one eventually begins to move on and falls in love again, but the other is unable to. Both boys are a little unhinged, but Naoru shows signs of healing. The other boy is completely unbalanced. The third character, Mamiya, was the only normal one and served as the catalyst for Naoru's recovery and the other boy's self destruction. I liked how Tachibana was able to flesh out these three characters in so short a page count. The book is very streamlined and narrow in it's focus, therefore more time could be spent on the central cast and the conflict. I liked the book and I'm curious to read more from this mangaka.
Boys Over Flowers (manga) Excellent How do you keep a 37 volume manga series from getting stale? First, create some interesting and memorable characters, which Yoko Kamio has totally succeeded at here. Second, keep the plot twists happening. Nothing is worse than "mid series slump" in which nothing happens. Third, know when to let it go. Nobody wants the read the story that never ends. Now the series wasn't perfect. Some of those late series plot twists were dangerously close to jumping the shark, and the art in the early volumes was a bit rough, but despite these, Boys Over Flowers was one of the most fun shoujo experiences I've ever read.
Breath (manga) Good Breath is a soap opera, plain and simple. Arata is picked up in a bar and spends a night with Yanagi. The next day he has regrets and skips out in a hurry. Yanagi carrys a grudge and blackmails Arata into continuing to see him. Arata also has a twin brother, Ten, who he doesn't want finding out about his relationship. The crap hits the fan when Ten finds out. Ten is a jealous creeper and one of the reasons this story works. His interference multiplies the drama x10. Without him, this would have been yet another sex=love Boys Love romance, albeit a better developed one as this is five volumes long. However, with the addition of certain over the top elements, such as Ten, this story becomes much more memorable and entertaining. I can't quite say it is very good, the art is sort of bland and a bunch of tired and familiar BL tropes are present, but I did have fun reading it.
Brilliant Blue (manga) Excellent Shou moves back home to work in the family business when his father is injured. He runs into an old classmate, Nanami, who they used to call "white piggy". Nanami is a simple minded and childlike guy, both in looks and personality. Nanami is a little slow and has trouble grasping more complex things, yet he's a genius with numbers and has no problem at his job. It's that lack of emotional maturity that made his relationship with Doumeki seem very creepy and one sided. Even with Shou, it seems like Nanami is more a dependant than an equal. Despite that, the romance between the two is believable and the two character seem to compliment each other well. What makes this series good are the characters. Since it takes place in a small town, many side characters make an appearance and have a role in the story, from Shou's parents to Nanami's brothers, to their coworkers and various friends and aquaintances. It fleshes out the story in a way that one usually doesn't see in a short two volume BL series. The characterization is excellent, as Shou and Nanami are pretty fleshed out and three dimentional. All in all I quite liked this manga, as it's pretty well written for what it is.
Bring it on! (manhwa) Decent This is a rather bland sunjeong (Korean shoujo) manhwa. I did like the non doormatty heroine of which I tend to see more often in the Korean stories I've read. As for the rest of the characters and the plot, I can scarcely remember it a couple of weeks after I read it. That's not a good recommendation. =/
Brother (manga, Yuzuha Ougi) Very good Well, this is certainly the most explicit manga I have ever run across. Am I a pervert if I totally enjoyed it? The art was hot, and it did have a story, you know, to string the sex scenes together. (LOL) Actually, discounting the sex scenes, the plot was fairly readable and the characters did manage to be interesting. So, I liked it, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that doesn't have an interest in yaoi of an explicit nature.
Bunny Drop (manga) Good I had a hard time rating this because reading it felt like reading two separate manga. The first four volumes focus on Daikichi raising Rin, then an abrupt time skip finds Rin in high school and the series takes on a whole different tone. As for it's notorious ending: I found it very uncomfortable. I think I could have accepted it better if Daikichi was an older friend of the family or something, but as the man who raises her, any romantic feelings are icky. Hell, even an age gap that great is creepy and bordering on pedo territory. And it seemed like Diakichi wasn't all that into it and just went along with it for Rin. I don't understand why he didn't get with Kouki's mom, as there were mutual feelings there, so that just seemed like a cop out. As you can see, I'm a little upset with the ending and feel like it ruined what could have been an excellent series. It's still "good" but I'ma slap on warning on that first.
Bus Gamer (manga) Good I couldn't really get into Saiyuki, but I really like Kazuya Minekura's darker manga. The premise is based on a sort of corporate espionage, where teams engage each other to steal information. It's rather violent and action based and Minekura's art is quite suited to this. Unfortunately, she never wrote more than one volume. I'd have loved to see this story continue, as it is quite interesting.
...but, I'm your teacher (manga) So-so This is a yaoi anthology. The stories are all pretty typical, and rely on a lot of the usual tropes. The only thing that saved it from being a complete snoozefest is that it veers to the more porny end of the spectrum. Since it's published by Kitty Media, that's to be expected. Nothing here is particularly memorable though, as this is actually the second time I've read it and the majority of the stories were a complete blank in my memory. The only one I remembered was the very disturbing codependent relationship between the photographer and the model at the end of the book. That one was extremely creepy. Everything else was very forgettable.
Butterflies, Flowers (manga) Good This is a very silly romantic comedy about a formerly wealthy office lady and her new boss/former servant. I liked reading a series where all the characters were adults in the adult world. Masayuki is quite amusing, with a personality that does a complete 180 between hardass boss and fawning servant. Toss in a bunch of otaku references and a narrative that doesn't take itself seriously in the slightest and you get Butterflies, Flowers. I enjoyed it.
Butterfly of the Distant Day (manga) Decent This is a sequel/spinoff to Il gatto Sul G. The main story features Riya's cousin who is reunited with a past fling and they work out their differences. Music is a theme here too. I just found it to be "ok". This is the kind of fare thats entertaining enough while one is reading it, but will not be remembered tomorrow. On the other hand, Miyagi's art has improved greatly since drawing Il gatto Sul G. Characters and expressions are much more detailed and well drawn.
Café Kichijouji de (manga) Not really good This is a plotless gag manga about a group of guys working in a cafe. The humor is of the random slapsticky variety of which I am not a fan. I barely cracked a smile at any of these jokes. The characters were uninteresting as well, being pretty much one note wonders. You have the clean freak, the poor guy, the womanizing prettyboy, the freakishly strong one, and the occult otaku. One wacky personality trait does not characterization make. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed with this manga. On the other hand, DMP did an excellent job on these books. They printed it on nice white paper complete with several color pages and nice dustjackets. I wish they took this much care on their June line.
Café Latte Rhapsody (manga) Not really good Toko Kawai describes the main couple in her afterword as "a girly-guy couple...almost like a yuri couple". Both characters were supposed to be grown men but neither character was in any way believable as such. There was altogether too much blushing, crying and too many childlike expressions for me to take either one seriously. I felt like I was reading about a couple of elementary school kids. She also wrote that her goal was to create a cute, lovey-dovey romance. Well, she succeeded, but I think it went too far. It went beyond cute into saccarine territory and that's just the sort of BL I don't like. One of the characters muses that he felt like he "was in a shoujo manga" and it was that element that didn't work for me. It felt like I was reading light, fluffy no substance shoujo, with two crying, blushing heroines and too much sparkle.
Caged Slave (novel) Good This book is a guilty pleasure for me. I can objectively state that it's not very good. The plot is a cliche secretary/boss romance cribbed from a Harlequin novel. The prose is stilted and riddled with gramatical errors. The characters are pretty one dimentional. Yet, I like the book. I found it very entertaining. So, I can't really explain myself. This book is crap but I like it anyway.
Calling (manga) Very good I've read this manga twice now and I must say that it holds up well to a second reading. It's a romance between a salaryman and a porn actor who "meet cute". It's cute and funny and the romance works for me. The art is very good, with both guys being depicted the same way, i.e. no super girly bottom/super manly top. The characterization was fairly good here. I could see why these two guys liked each other. In short, it's a solid read for fans of BL.
Camera, Camera, Camera (manga) So-so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this one. Akira has a bit of a creepy brother complex, and is being pursued by an older photographer guy who's into him. I found it to be lighthearted, funny, and really entertaining. I liked the art too. My only complaint was with a plot point at the end that seemed needless.

I recently tried to reread this one and I found it painfully mediocre. Firstly, the characterization in this was extremely shallow. The photographer falls in love with Akira seemingly instantly and without explanation, making it a stretch to believe. Also, the art wasn't that great. The character designs are incredibly simplistic, and the brothers (supposedly not blood related) I had extreme difficulty telling apart. The lack of backgrounds doesn't help things. I'm not sure why I enjoyed this so much the first time around, and I can only conclude that I didn't have much to compare it to, as it'sd one of the first BL I ever read. I've read much better since then.

Can't Lose You (manhwa) Decent This here is a high drama style romance series. Plot: Our heroine Yooi shares the same face as rich bitch Lida. Lida hires Yooi to be her body double. Drama ensues. Can't Lose You is drawn in what I've come to see as a generic shojo manhwa style: Big puffy lips, sharp slanting eyebrows, and really androgynous men. In other words, it was nothing special artwise. While I sot of liked Can't Lose You, it's not a memorable manhwa. It's ok for some quick and light entertainment, but don't be expecting any depth from this soap opera.
Candy (manga by S. Sugita) Decent This book contains two stories. In the first, Tohru's cousin (nonrelated) comes to live with him and his brothers, and the second is a romance between a couple of teachers. The first story is the stronger of the two, but ultimately both were pretty mediocre. I enjoyed the book, but only marginally.
Canon (manga) Good I like vampire tales, so I expected to like Canon, and I did (no surprise). Canon is your basic revenge tale. Since this is only 4 volumes, the story moves at a good clip. I appreciated that there was no clear cut "good" and "bad". I believe the world is painted in shades of gray rather than black and white after all. My only slight complaint is the sort of abrupt ending. Because the series is so short, I pretty much expected that. Even so, the author still manages to create some interesting characters and an exciting story in such a short format.
A Capable Man (manga) So-so This is an anthology by Hinako Takanaga. The stories are all short and shallow. There are plenty of blushing high school boys, which is so not my thing. The best story in the collection was the only one not dealing with high school boys. It featured two cooks in a restaurant, one of which loved to torment the other with his bad food because he had a fetish for the other guy's reactions. Anyway, I'm only lukewarm on Hinako Takanaga's work, so I didn't enjoy this as much as a superfan might. It was only OK for me.
Caramel (manga) So-so I liked the two Puku Okayama manga I've read in the past, but this one sort of left me cold. A girlish young man is looking for a cheap room for college and happens across one in which he can stay for free if he handles all of the house duties. The rentee is a man child who can't seem to take care of himself, yet works in a $$ office job. This is BL so they fall in love, but it felt unbalanced and empty. I didn't find humor in the salaryman ordering Iori about. This book was a miss for me.
Casino Lily (manga) Decent Magira aka "Casino Lily" has legendary gambling luck. The catch is that he can only win with other people's money. So, he goes around the world to different casinos in an effort to break his "curse". He eventually is pursued by a casino owner with the ridiculous LOL worthy name of "Monte Carlo". This is kind of a silly book, not in a comedic way, but more in a cheesy way. I do like Nitta's art quite a bit, although she has a habit of making Magira look too androgynous at times. In one scene he comes out in a red suit (no shirt) and pearls. That is just one example, but there were multiple times where I thought he seriously needed a fashion intervention. This is only a one volume series, so the romance is too condensed for it to make much of an impact on me. I found the book entertaining and I did like it, but I vastly prefer Nitta's longer, better developed and more well known "Embracing Love".
Castle Mango (manga) Very good This is a surprisingly emotional heartfelt romance between a high school boy whose family owns a love hotel and an adult film director who sometimes films there. The premise could have been super seedy but it is quite chaste. The characters were lonely people with tragic backstories and seeing them come together was satisfying. I also liked that the story took place over two volumes, allowing for a bit more depth to the romance and characters. I enjoyed it.
Cat Paradise (manga) Not really good After enjoying the mangaka's other series, Chikyu Misaki and King of Thorn, I really expected to like this one too. Sadly, I didn't. Cat Paradise makes use of the tired and worn out high school setting, where the student council along with their pet cats possess magic powers they use to fight demons. Another thing I really dislike are animal mascot/sidekick characters. I never find this cute and here the talking cats just about did me in. They were portrayed more like little humans in cat form, so it was like they could have been any animal really, dogs or hamsters would have worked just as well. Maybe I could have gotten past the talking cats if this had not been yet another demon busting high school series with a cackling supervillian at the end. Who knows. In the end, I found the series to be very ho-hum and I did not like it very much.
A Century of Temptation (manga) Not really good This is a BL one shot by the Madness and Brave 10 mangaka. Honestly, it's not very good. The art is great, but the story and characters are severely under-cooked. It'as about a vampire who is allergic to human blood who falls in love with a human. Another vampire is obsessed with him and is jealous. Honestly, any sort of conflict, such as Sevi's human lifespan, Hornet's weakening powers, and the antagonist are handwaved away at the end, like the mangaka had to wrap it up super fast and didn't know how. So, any potential this thing could have had pretty much goes down the toilet with the ending.
Ceres: Celestial Legend (manga) Excellent Ceres is one of Watase's best so far. It's also darker and much more violent than her other series, which is probably one of the reasons I liked it so much. It felt a bit more "mature" than others I've read by her. The art was beautiful as well, but I've come to expect that from a Watase manga. My only complaint is that the story sort of dragged in the middle volumes. I also appreciated the ending. The story would have been cheapened if it had ended all roses.
Challengers (manga) Decent This is Hinako Takanaga's debut series. it was interesting seeing her older art style, I quite liked it. By the end of the series though, Tomoe starts looking younger and girlier as per Takanaga's current style. (Bleh.) Challengers is basically a romantic comedy and here the comedy mostly worked. I got a couple of giggles out of it. Takanaga created an interesting and varied cast of characters and they play off each other well. So well in fact that the protagonists both are overshadowed by vastly more interesting side characters, such as Tomoe's homophobic brother Souiichi and his lab assistant Morinaga, Kurokawa's friend Isogai, and Kurokawa's mom. Compared to these, Kurokawa and Tomoe are pretty flat. Fortunately, Takanga wrote a spinoff, the pretty popular "The Tyrant Falls in Love" that focuses on Souiichi and Morinaga. I can't wait to read that one. She really created a couple of memorable characters there. Unfortunately, Challengers by itself is kinda bland. I wasn't that interested in the main story, and I don't share Takanaga's love for genderless young looking blushing boys (Tomoe).
Cheeky Angel (manga) Excellent I thought Cheeky Angel was a really fun romantic comedy. It had a decent plot, was nicely paced and never dragged. I really liked the characters and the humor actually made me laugh. The art wasn't the most polished, but it fit the tone of the series and got the message across. I thoroughly enjoyed this series.
Chicago (manga) Very good Chicago is an interesting little sci-fi/action title by the author of the shojo fantasy epic, Basara. I loved it and wish I could have read more. Unfortunately, it ends just as the plot starts to get really interesting. Nonending aside, the characters really made this for me. It's nice to see a female character who's not afraid to kick a little ass.
Chikyu Misaki (manga) Very good
Children of the Sea (manga) Decent Daisuke Igarashi's art in this is amazing and it's well worth reading this for that alone. Unfortunately, the story while interesting, didn't really grab me. There was a lot of mystical mumbo jumbo concerning tribal creation myths and their relation to the sea. Also, Viz has published 35 chapters in four volumes and I am unsure if that is the complete series, as the ending starts getting very surreal and makes very little sense to me. Either way, by the end I had pretty much lost interest. I'm glad I read this, but I'll probably never revisit it, as it isn't ever going to be a favorite of mine.
Chocolate Surprise (manga) So-so Meh. Another lackluster anthology. After enjoying Love Quest and Flower Bride/Groom, I was let down by this one.
Cigarette Kisses (manga) Good I admit that Nase Yamato's books are hit or miss for me, as I'm not really a fan of her style. However, I quite like this book. It involves a trio of childhood friends, now adults, who work at the same company. The outcome of the love triangle is not as glaringly obvious as those I've often encountered in manga, with the clear "throwaway" character. There was a moment in the middle of the book when I felt that it could go either way. I appreciated this book for not insulting my intellegence, although it does end a bit too neatly for all the melodrama that goes down. Either way, this is the best book by Nase Yamato I've read thus far.
Cipher (manga) Decent Cipher started out fairly interesting. Its set in New York where Anise befriends her classmate Siva. Siva has a twin, Cipher, and these two basically share an identity. Anise gets closer to them, slowly learning their situation and along the way they both develop into separate people. I found the whole thing interesting for the first few volumes, but it began to drag after awhile. The character development was nice, but it and the story moved at a snails pace. I really liked the 80's atmosphere. Reading this was kinda like opening a time capsule. The art was also nice without looking too dated. Overall, I thought Cipher showed promise in the early volumes, but since it was dragged out too long, the drama lacked impact and the whole thing went downhill.
Clear Skies! (manga) Decent This can be summed up as a sort of family comedy. I liked it. The humor worked for me. The art was a little rough looking but expressive. The well depicted facial expressions added to the laughs. The plot wasn't the most original, but I liked it.
Close the Last Door (manga) Very good I was a bit hesitant to pick this up due to Yugi Yamada's artwork. It's not "pretty" and I hear it's a bit of an aquired taste. Fortunately, this was on sale so I decided to give it a chance. I'm glad I did. The characters and story were so engrossing that the awkward art grew on me. I'm looking forward to volume 2.

Years later, volume two finally sees the light of day. I have to say I no longer think Yamada's art is awkward. It's not "pretty" and her characters are more masculine looking than the tradtional bishounen you usually find in these sorts of manga. It's refreshing actually. The series is just as wonderful as I remembered, with well thought out characters and great comedy between them. The story, a romance featuring adult men, is excellent. I have to say of all the Yugi Yamada books I've read, I haven't been disappointed by one. All of her manga are quite good, even the anthologies. However, Close the Last Door is my favorite.

Clover (manga, CLAMP) Very good This is an absolutely beautiful series that barely makes any sense plotwise. The whole thing has a sort of surreal cracked out feel to it. The story jumps around in the timeline and very little is explained. Despite that, it is still pretty easy to follow, I just wish it had been more detailed and had an ending. Unfortunately, this is one of the manga that CLAMP never finished. Even still, this so far is my favorite of their works. The art is top notch, and they did some very interesting things with panelling that I've not seen before. Dark Horse's presentation is excellent as well. The book is printed on nice white paper and includes many color illustrations. It was definitely worth the purchase price.
Code Geass: Tales of an Alternate Shogunate (manga) Weak I've tried to read a few of the Code Geass manga now and none of them have been very good. This one is especially bad. The story makes no sense and nothing is explained or elaborated on. The art is painfully sketchy and amateurish. The book has no redeeming qualites, as it's only a poorly constructed franchise tie in for people who are already superfans of Code Geass. The only positive thing I can say is at least it's inoffensive, but that doesn't save it from being a complete waste of time. This is bottom of the barrel material here, absolutely forgettable in every way.
Color (manga by Eiki Eiki) Decent This is a collaboration between Eiki Eiki and Taishi Zaou, who both have a very similar art style. The charaters are artists who discover that both of their paintings at an exhibition have the same title and look eerily similar. This is a loose "BLization" of how both artists became met and became friends. Essentially, its another BL schoolboy story, as both boys are high school students. I found it mildly interesting and the notes in the margins added by the artists were an amusing touch. Knowing the history behind the book gives it some added depth. Otherwise, it's nothing special.
(The) Color of Love (manga) So-so Color of Love is a collection of short stories. It was pretty mediocre.
Constellations in My Palm (manga) Good This was a pretty solid "schoolboys in love" romance. It was pretty much about two boys angsting over their feelings and working up the courage to confess. I liked it, but really it's no different than tons of other shojo romance out there, in which many problems would be solved right away if people would just communicate.
Cool/Uncool (manga) Decent Truthfully, this was just another run of the mill schoolboy romance boys' love title. It was only mildly entertaining. I thought the initial premise keeping the boys apart was mind numbingly stupid. One of them is self concious about being slightly shorter than his love interest, so he refused to make a move until he was taller than the other boy. Umm, what?! My thought was "good luck with that". The art style illustrated both boys in the same style and didn't cater to stupid yaoi cliches in that both looked masculine and about the same size. As it was, I was losing patience with the idea that the "bottom" has to be little and cute, though thankfully the guy gets over his hangup eventually. So this was an ok, if forgettable book.
Core Scramble (manhwa) Decent I was intrigued enough by this three volume Korean BL series to go read the volumes on the Netcomics site. This one is a sci fi romance, with above average world building for BL. Alien entities from another dimention called Halls/Bugs threaten the world and the lead character belongs to a military organization who is tasked with eliminating them. Of course there are individuals who seek to use them for profit as well, so enter another group called core hunters. Now the actual characterization here doesn't go beyond tropes, but the story is fun and engaging. It's BL with a creative sci fi twist and I enjoyed it.
Crescent Moon (manga) So-so Crescent Moon was very mediocre for me. The monsters and magic theme has been done again and again, and I don't feel that this title does anything to distinquish itself from the rest. The art, while not bad, didn't blow me away either. At only six volumes, this story was a quick read and it at least concluded nicely, but I doubt I'll ever re-read it.
Crimson Cross (manga) Decent I must say I liked this far better than the writer's other US published manga, Jazz. The hate filled relationship between vampire hunter turned vampire and his creator was a lot more interesting than a creepy doctor/patient boys' love series. The book is short, so there isn't a whole lot of plot. Not that there was really anywhere to go with it anyway. After a couple of run ins in which innocent women die, the pattern has been established. The ending is open ended but you easily get the picture. The art in this one was done by the Cafe Kichijouji artist, which was the only redeeming quality of that manga IMO. Overall, an entertaining way to spend a half hour.
Crimson Snow (manga) Good This is a short story collection with three stories. The title story, about an injured yakuza who finds shelter in the home of a young man, is the best. i really like this manga-ka's art style. It's very clean, with distinctive looking characters. She's not afraid to draw very masculine looking characters either. I just wish the young man in the title story didn't look so much like a young woman. In the author's notes in the back, she explains that she was ordered to make the "uke" look more feminine with less muscles, so that explains it, but I wish she had stuck to her guns as the book would have been better for it. As it is, while very entertaining, it's very conventional looking and doesn't push any boundaries at all. As one who is sick of seeing male/female gender portrayals transposed onto two men in BL, this is a point against it.
Crimson Wind (manga) Decent This is the sequel to White Guardian.
Croquis (manga) Decent Hinako Takanaga's style is of the cutesy variety, with effeminate blushing boys and sappy romance. This is generally not to my taste. The only work of hers I really liked was "Little Butterfly", which did have blushing boys, but also had a darker thread of drama woven into it. Everything else has been very forgettable. Granted, I haven't read her most popular work yet, "The Tyrant Falls in Love". "Croquis" is typical of her sappy style. This is an anthology and the stories are all pretty mediocre. It's pretty much the very definition of brain candy: undemanding and sugary sweet.
Cross (manga) Not really good Cross got a little better as it went on, but it still wasn't very good. The pacing jumped all over the place, the plot barely made sense, and it had no ending. (Did the author just quit?) On a positve note, The art was very pretty.
Cross Game (manga) Very good I like sports stories and I really liked this, but it isn't a favorite for several reasons. One: baseball is one of my least favorite sports, and this series gets very technical with it. Two: The art is a very cartoony style that is generally not to my taste. Third: this is a shounen i.e. for young boys series, so there was fansevice sprinkled throught, and it seemd as if any development Aoba could have had was sacrificed in favor of Kitamura. Basically, I was not the target audience. For what it was, this is an exceptionally well done and well written baseball manga.
Crossroad (manga) Excellent This series reminded me quite a bit of Fruits Basket. The characters were likable and I found most of the humor cute. The story got a little melodramatic a times, but since this is the first manga series I've finished, I'm not sure if that's the norm for teenage angst manga. Overall, I enjoyed it a lot.

This is the first manga series I ever read, and after revisiting it half a decade later, I'm sorry to say that it doesn't old up. It's very been there-done that, as far a story and humor go. Also, the art is crude with flat expressionless faces and little in the way of backgrounds or detail of any kind. Oh well, at least it frees up some shelf space.

Crown of Love (manga) Very good Here, the Loveless mangaka shows us another borderline creepy relationship in Crown of Love. It's about a young man's love bordering on obsession for an idol. He's really intense about it almost like a stalker, yet he's so earnest that I can't help but root for him at the same time. Even though it does work out in the end, I still felt a little uncomfortable about it because the relationship seemed so unhealthy and Hisayoshi's methods were so manipulative. Yun Kouga's writing here is excellent as well, because Hisayoshi is rightly portrayed as a little unbalanced, instead of a romantic hero à la Hot Gimmick. I quite enjoyed the series although not as much as Loveless, which is even more twisted.
Crushing Love (manga) So-so Only one word needed to describe this manga: Bland. Everything from the plot to the characters to the art were incredibly mediocre. It can't say it was bad, but it wasn't good either, and I doubt I'll ever remember any of it. Heck, I've almost forgotten it already.
Crying Freeman (manga) Decent Crying Freeman is a kind of like a wish fulfilment manga for men. Freeman is kidnapped by the Chinese mafia and indoctrinated into their service as an assassin. He eventually takes over the organization and becomes it's leader. The first volume was the best, but unfortunately the series jumps the shark pretty early in volume two. The situations become increasingly more ridiculous so that they are impossible to take seriously. Freeman is like a Gary Stu, the perfect man who is handsome, excels at everything from art to fighting, and all women (especially his enemies) eventually fall in love with him. By the end he had gathered a harem. One point in the manga's favor was having Ryoichi Ikegami do the art in his photorealistic style. For a manga with so many naked people, at least they were drawn in proportion. The near constant nudity was sometimes laughable though, as characters are alway fighting in the buff for seemingly no reason that makes sense. In the end, this series boils down to nothing more than entertaining schlock. I am not the target audience for sure, but I was interested to see what over the top elements would pop up next and in that regard Crying Freeman didn't disappoint.
Cut (manga) Very good This is a cut above your usual schoolboy romance. It's not your typical fluffy sweet love story. For one, both boys have serious issues, one with a cutting problem and the other with a screwed up childhood. Anyway, it proceeds in the typical manner, these boys meet and fall in love, etc. It did not however, cross the line into sappy territory, which is a problem I had with another of Kawai's books, "Everlasting Love". "Cut" was dark and the characters were interesting, the plot typical but well executed. It's all I ask for really, in order to be entertained.
Cute Beast (manga) So-so I kept my expectations low for ths anthology so I wasn't disappointed. The first story was the best. I was a little annoyed with the teacher/student story. That teacher was a douche and he should have been fired. The other stories were all pretty mediocre as well. The book was cute and entertaining and that's it. I doubt I'll remember it tomorrow.
Cute Devil (manga, Hiro Madarame) Very good Here's a manga that really messes with that girly pretty boy=bottom trope. "Fuu-chan" is idolized by his classmates for being cuter than a girl and he totally plays people by acting cute and helpless when in reality, his persnality is radically different. When his cutesy act doesn't seem to work on the class president he reverts to his real self; pushy, super demanding and kind of a jerk. This book was the first I had ever read by Hiro Madarame. I love her art, she has a knack for conveying expressions. Her line work is delicate and detailed with a slight sketchy quality and the result is fantastic. I really enjoyed this book and would love to read the sequels. However, with Tokyopop gone, that doesn't look to be very likely. =(
Cynical Orange (manhwa) Decent The manhwaga described this as a "princess manhwa" and I think that sums it up nicely. Hye Min is our physically perfect heroine, yet she's cold and withdrawn and she doesn't have any friends. Next, along comes the love interest to pull her out of her isolation. Naturally, there are a lot of obstacles before the prince rescues the princess from her ivory tower. This manga is a melodrama, plain and simple. The emo quotient was sometimes over the top. I did like that the characters were somewhat multi dimentional. They were fleshed out enough that their actions and motivations made sense. Overall, I found the series to be entertaining, but predictable.
Danza (manga) So-so This is yet another short story collection form Natsume Ono that unfortunately I had a "meh" reaction to. The recurring them seemed to be father/son or mentor/subordinate. Many of the stores featured police in some capacity or other. A few were set in Italy. I couldn't really connect with any of them, as they were too short. I imagine it's difficult to attempt to write an emotional story with only a few pages to do so, and these were not successful for me.
Darker Than Black (manga) Not really good This two volume anime spinoff contained some interesting ideas, but they were poorly executed. The plot just goes along wthout any real explanation. I have never seen the anime (which I have read is much much better), so I was not familiar with the universe beforehand. That lack of explanation makes the story feel somewhat disjointed and hard to relate to. The art doesn't help, it's amaturish at best. The proportions are all wrong, the panel layout lacks flow, and action scenes are poorly laid out and hard to follow. Ultimately, this manga just isn't very good. I'd still like to see the anime though.
Darkside Blues (manga) So-so This is a one volume manga by the Vampire Hunter D creator, Hideyuki Kikuchi. Whenver I read his work, I feel like I've gone back in time to the 90's. This one takes place in a gritty futuristic world controlled by a giant mega corporation, Persona Century. The characters are rebels who fight its tyrannical rule. Into all of this appears "Darkside" who comes into the world driving a carriage through a myserious portal. None of this is ever explained, and I was kinda struggling to see the point of his presence in the story. There are several other characters that appear and do nothing as well. Even the character important to the plot are under developed. In fact, the more I think about it, this book was kinda a nonsensical mess. The one point in it's favor though was the gorgeous art. Very retro and detailed, it made it easier to read about paper thin characters and a plot that barely made sense.
(The) Dawn of Love (manga) Decent Here is a simple romance between a college student and a promiscuous classmate. This is the sort of BL I prefer reading, one with adult characters who persue a relationship together, with no rape is love crap or weird fetishy BS. The characters in this story are a bit one dimentional and the plot is super shallow, yet I was entertained by it all the same.
(The) Day I Become a Butterfly (manga) Good This collection of short stories can barely be called boy's love, much less yaoi. For one, I thought the character in the first story was female until I noticed the pronoun. Also, a few of the stories are centered around typical shojo boy X girl relationships. Despite the genre confusion, this is a pretty good set of short stories with a somewhat melancholic portrayal of teen love. I liked it.
Days of Cool Idols! (manga) So-so This is a very shallow one shot about a plain glasses wearing boy who transfers to a special school for idols. When he takes off his glasses and puts on a wig, he looks just like another famous (female) idol, who has a stalker and has turned into a shut in. So, he's drafted to be her body double and perform in her place. Yawn. It actually sounds more interesting than it is. It wasn't bad, just very very mediocre, of the sort that I have trouble saying even anythong about it as it leaves that little of an impression. Even the art is undistinguishable from a thousand other generic shoujo.
Dear Myself (manga) Not really good Meh. I didn't find this tale of codependency romantic at all. It's a tale of two high school boys, one who is an amnesiac who has recovered his memories but has forgotten everything in between, including his boyfriend. The boyfriend has abandonment issues. I thought Daigo needed some meds, or better yet, a straight jacket. And what in fresh hell was that short story in World's End, about the 20 yr old being molested by his 18 yr old step dad? Yeah, you read it right. It was creepy as fuck.
Deeply Loving a Maniac (manga) Good This is yet another You Higashino smutfest, this time about an otaku, Morita, who transfers his obessions with 2-D anime girls on to Sakura instead. I found this book a little more comedic than expected from a Higashino title. I was amused when Morita couldn't control his fantasizing and it bled into his day to day life. Apparently, this book is the middle book of a three book series. It can be read alone, although I would really like to read the first book, in which Morita and Sakura met and first started going out. Hopefully 801 media will go back and publish it.
Delivery Cupid (manga) Not really good This is the first CJ Michalski manga I read and it wasn't very good. The title story was about an aspiring cupid (literally) who shoots shady looking target but accidentally stabs himself with his own arrow. Really the stories were all of the "meet, have sex, I love you, the end" type. Boring.
(The) Demon Ororon (manga) So-so This was only an "OK" read. I was not a fan of the art style either. Something about it felt very chaotic. I occasionally had trouble differentiating between the characters and a lot of the fonts were a pain to read. All of this wouldn't have been a problem if I were completely drawn in to the story. Unfortunately, I wasn't.
Depression of the Anti-Romanticist (manga) Decent I actually liked the title story here. The characters meet in bar, where one is a host and the other is a customer, and their relationship develops slowly and naturally and doesn't feel forced. There appears to be effort put into developing the characters some as well. Unfortunately, the story abruptly ends on a cliffhanger. I assume there is going to be a sequel at some point, because as it is this story is clearly unfinished.

Years later, a second volume appears! This one wraps up the story nicely. There really isn't any new ground tread here, but the romance is nice and the addition of Mizuki's (sp?) family gives it a nice touch or realism. The flood drama came a bit out of left field, I guess the mangaka couldn't think of a more subtle way to force the characters to admit their feelings at the end. Still, i liked the series overall.

(The) Desert Prince (manga) Decent I like Shu^3 Sakurai's manga. They tend toward stupid silly fun, and this book is no different. The title story is a ridiculously over the top Arabian prince romance and the story after that is a parody of "tough guy" yakuza BL. The rest of the stories weren't so memorable. Even still, I occasionally enjoy reading a book that doesn't take itself seriously at all.
Desire Sensibility (manga) Decent This is a pretty straight forward workplace romance. Kosugi works part time at a customer service call center and has a crush on his boss, Ogata. It doesn't really break any new ground and it's predictable as hell, but I found the story pleasant enough.
A Devil and Her Love Song (manga) Very good At first glance this is yet another high school set shoujo romance. What sets this one apart form all the others is a unique heroine. Maria isn't your typical everygirl or a genki tomboy, she's actually the stereotypical popular girl, except she's blunt and speaks her mind which doesn't win her any friends. She transfers into a new school in volume one and quickly makes enemies of almost the entire class. The story is basically about her finding acceptance (and romance of course). I found it to be well done (mostly). There is a plot point where Shin avoids Maria for several volumes that I found a bit overwrought. Otherwise, the series is very good and avoids stepping into soap opera territory.
(The) Devil Does Exist (manga) So-so The premise sounded interesting, and it was for the first volume. Other than that I found most of the conflicts to be silly and inconsequential. Since the "drama" was really silly, the plot wasn't very interesting. The characters were pretty boring as well. Kayano was your standard spineless "good girl" type. And Takeru was just dull. I did read to the end just to see how it all turned out, but I prefer more maturity in my romance series.
Devil's Infirmary (manga) Decent I usually have to divorce myself from reality in order to read the more porny BL manga. This book is no different, as it involves a school nurse hitting on his students. It's fine as a porn set-up but it would be icky in real life. This is a typical sex=love plot as well. I was entertained by the book, but it's certainly not Shakespeare.
(The) Devil's Secret (manga) So-so This is an anthology by popular BL mangaka Hinako Takanaga. I never really got into her work, and this book didn't change my mind. The stories are all short, shallow and forgettable fare, with cardboard characters and cliche scenarios.
Dining Bar Akira (manga) Excellent This is one of the few yaoi I've encounted that could be about actual gay dudes. The characters look and act like regular guys. The plot is simple: a manager at a restaurant gets a confession from one of the waiters. The rest deals with their developing relationship. There are none of the typical yaoi conventions. It's not cutesy, and there are no pretty boys. I found it extremely refreshing and loved it. This one's a keeper.
A Distant Neighborhood (manga) Masterpiece A salaryman facing a midlife crisis wakes up to find himself reliving his 15 year old life. It's two volumes long, but the story is complete and satisfying and well developed. In fact, I loved it. Taniguchi's art is really lovely as well.
Dog Style (manga) Very good I've been extremely disappointed with the quality of BL that's being released lately, so I went back and reread this series. I remember liking it quite a bit the first time around and I'm happy to say it holds up to a second reading. What sets this series apart from all the shallow one shots are some actual honest to goodness three dimentional characters. Teru is a bit of a loner and a delinquent who's been ditched by his best friend in favor of a new girlfriend. Miki has some abuse and abandonment issues and a sort of crush on his best friend. Both the friends in both scenarios are brothers, so Teru and Miki happen to run into each other now and then and form a sort of relationship. Much of the series is about the two exploring their feelings and defining said relationship. It's not all heavy drama though, as Motoni has a knack for comedic expression. There is a bit of comedy in this series, but it's more the situational sort and not the annoying slapstick variety. There are no chibi's in sight. I quite like this series. I like how the character and their feelings are explored in depth and not just glossed over for a cheap happy ending. Both characters were convincing as highschool boys, goofing off and horsing around. They both were drawn in the same style and liked that the mangaka ignored that tired old trope of making one character the "girl" stand in. Even their first time isn't stereotypical with the boys complaining about how it was uncomfortable. (some good comedy there. I laughed.) Even though I've read this, it was just as if not more enjoyable the second time around. I wish more like this was brought over instead bland anthologies and saccarine schoolboy stories.
Dogs: Prelude (manga) Good This manga contains 4 short stories and is a prequel to the Dogs: Bullets and Carnage series. It's basically a set up introducing all of the characters. It's very faced paced and action packed, and also stylishly drawn, with lots of exaggerated poses and bullet effects. I was entertained by this volume and I really want to check out the main series now, so in that light it was successful in whetting my appetite for more.
Dolis (manga) Weak This was a one volume short about people with Serious Issues. I couldn't relate at all with the characters or the story. It was too "emo" for me. The art was off-putting as well, with very distorted facial features (even for manga). My verdict: give this one a pass.
Don't Blame Me (manga) Decent Don't Blame me follows a bunch of college film club members and their relationships. I liked it, but only mildly. Yugi Yamada's art looks really odd from some angles and really good from others. It's distinctive though, I'll give her that. The plot was decent, if not spectacular. The characters were sort of forgettable. I was entertained by this, but I thought Close the Last Door (also by Yamada) was much better.
Don't Rush Love (manga) So-so Mio Tennohji's manga are all of the "plot, what plot" variety. This book, "Don't Rush Love" is no different. It trots out the tired old "all boys school where everyone is queer" trope yet again, and has a couple of boys rooming in dorms who hook up. There isn't much to say about this, as characters were pretty cardboard and there was a lot of sex. Frankly, I just found it tiresome. Porn is supposed to be titillating, but this book was rather boring and rote.
Don't Say Anymore Darling (manga) Decent This is a collection of short stories from the same manga-ka as Antique bakery. I found it pretty uneven. A couple of the stories I really liked, but then I'd read something like that android story (Ewww!) or that "last man on Earth" thing (WTF?). So, while the selection was diverse, I was overall unimpressed. This collection doesn't hold a candle to other works by Fumi Yoshinaga.
Dorothea (manga) Good This takes place in medieval Germany and features a young albino woman named Dorothea who joins a mercenary group in order to protect her homeland. Because of her red eyes and white hair, she is accused of being a witch and is hunted by religious fanatics and inquistors. Despite the ugliness and violence of the time period depicted here, the setting of this didn't quite feel authentic. I prefer to look at the story more as a "medieval" fantasy romp, rather like those fantasy novels featuring some chick in chainmail on the cover wielding and impossibly heavy looking sword. In that vein, Dorothea is a very entertaining little action series. Even the fake middle ages style dialog adds to the fun. (Zounds!) The art isn't bad, though it doesn't have a discernable style, but it doesn't detract. It does focus a little too closely on Dorotheas tits at times, which made sense when I learned the mangaka mostly writes Hentai manga. Despite that, I did enjoy this little six volume action/historical/fantasy series. I'm not going to run out and read the mangaka's other output though. =/
Double Cast (manga) Good This one volume story is an understated romance between two rival actors, one who is an up and coming star and another who's career is starting to decline. The relationship initially starts out antagonistic, with the two guys competing for roles and generally pushing each other to be better. Things eventually turn romantic, and feelings are confessed at the very end. I quite liked this book, as a lot of the tired tropes are missing and both characters look like men. There's no "only gay for you" as both characters easily admit that they prefer dudes. The character's actions are believable as well. My only gripe is the length of the story. I wish it was a bit longer and had more depth, because relationships have far more to them than the initial confession + first kiss. The set up was well done, so I wanted to see more of these characters and how their relationship played out.
Double Trouble (manga) So-so This is another barely mediocre book by Takashi Kanzaki (His Arrogance, Falling into Love). Here the tired old "all boys school where everyone is queer" trope is dusted off. The main story involves a guy with a split personality, his stepbrother who has a crush on him, and the crusher's roommate who in turn has a crush on him. It is really, really stupid. The guy has a split personality only because the roommate hypnotized him (whut?!). This is also an older book, so the art is rougher, characters go off model and facial proportions are wonky as hell. The only redeeming factor I can give it is that it is just dumb enough to be entertaining.
Doubt!! (manga by K. Izumi) Good This series is by the same creator as the hilarious Seiho Boys' High School. While the story is not nearly as strong, as it's a typical plain girl makeover gets popular guy scenario, the humor is enough to draw me in, as it can be quite funny. The writing got a little sexist for me a times though, as the underlying message seemed to be something along the lines of being pretty is most important for girls, and dating the handsome playboy is somehow more desirable than your self respect. I don't know why Ai didn't just dump prettyboy-kun when she found out he was three timing her, instead of vowing to "try harder". Some "prizes" really aren't worth winning you know? As a comedy I felt the series succeeded, but as a romance, I felt it completely failed. Even still, I was entertained while reading the series and I felt the main character, Ai, was relate-able, it a bit misguided.
Dragon Girl (manga) So-so Dragon Girl was just another cliche ridden high school set shoujo. The protagonist (whose name I have already forgotten) wishes to join the school's cheering squad. The squad only has one member at the start and is opposed by an elite student council group with the prerequisite cheesy name for such groups: "Platinums". This was about as bland and unoriginal as it gets. Even the big plot twist in volume two was visible from about 10,000 miles away. The characters were particularly underdeveloped, with one note personalities and maybe only the barest mention of any backstory. It helps when using a lot cliches to at least make the characters worth reading about but nope, not here. As for the positives, the art was clean and attractive, and the story was at least inoffensive, if painfully mediocre.
Dragon Head (manga) Very good This is a great entry into the survival horror genre. It was very creepy and my eyes were glued to the page. The plot was quick and action packed and the twists kept coming. The series is absolutely brutal, with almost over the top violence and despair. It's not one I'll reread often, but it has a permanant place on my shelf.
Dramacon (world manga) Good Dramacon is a three volume short that takes place at an anime convention. Since I've never been to a convention, I had no point of reference for this story. The story was fairly enjoyable and the humor worked for me. I did find the plot to be rather predictable though. Overall, I enjoyed it as a light fluffy read.
Dry Heat (manga) Good More Yugi Yamada! Having read all her other work printed in English, this is more of the same, with her wonderful humor and expressive art and characters.
Duetto (manga) Not really good Half of this book was taken up by a story about two guys in a long distance relationship. There was a time skip every chapter, which made the whole thing feel rather disjointed. The art and panelling in this one was rather ametuerish as well, as I had trouble reading the flow of events and telling characters apart. The last two stories, which were written later in Kujyou's carrer, saw a marked imporvement visually, but were still paper thin in the writing and characterization department. The second to the last story, "Secret", actually creeped me out, as it featured "father-con". Overall, this thing is just the sort of forgettable poorly written dreck that I dislike and find often in the BL genre.
Durarara!! (manga) Decent Having already viewed the anime this is based on, reading this manga felt a bit redundant. It is four volumes long and only follows two of the intertwining arcs from the anime, Celty's search for her head and the creation of the Dollars. This isn't a bad adaptation, the story is still fun, the characters are certainly memorable, and the art is decent as well. But overall, I found the anime to be a much richer experience.
Earthian (manga) Decent The only other Yun Kouga manga I've read has been the truly excellent Loveless. So, perhaps my expectations were too high, because I didn't like Earthian nearly as much. It was "ok" at best. For one, the plot was all over the place, with the story jumping around and introducing random characters and events with seemingly no direction. It did manage to find some cohesion by the end, but it wasn't enough to make up for the chaotic beginning. The art was a bit on the dated side as well. This was clearly an older work when compared to Loveless. Tokyopop's release of this series was excellent though. The books were far above most US releases in quality, with color pages, embossed covers and really nice quality paper/printing. Too bad the content wasn't as good as the packaging. Don't get me wrong, I did mildly enjoy Earthian, even with its flaws.
Eensy Weensy Monster (manga) Good This is short and sweet two volume romantic comedy from the Kare Kano mangaka. Since it was only to volumes, I was able to enjoy it much more than Kare Kano, which I thought was needlessly drawn out. Instead, here the characters are cute, well written, and manage to work their differences out in the first volume. The second is devoted to their developing relationship. The art is much more polished in this series as well, it is several years newer after all. Overall, I quite liked it. It doesn't break any new ground, but it's a lighthearted and cute diversion.
Eerie Queerie! (manga) Decent This is a rather silly little series about a high school boy who has an affinity for ghost and is constantly getting possessed. His first possession is a girl who has a crush on one of his classmates. After sending the ghost off to the afterlife, the boys become friends, sort of. This is a boys' love series, so there's a bit more to the relationship between the boys. I thought it was cute and I wasn't annoyed by the silliness of the premise like I usually am with these tyes of series. I think because this is a series and allowed for more room to develop that I was able to get into it. The mangaka admits that this was her first published series and the art was pretty rough in the first volume, but improved greatly by the end of the series. In the end, I mildly enjoyed this series. It's light, silly and fluffy. Just good brainrotting fun.
Electric Hands (manga) Good I like Taishi Zaou's manga. At first glance they always appear to be your typical cliche stories, but she always seems to mess with the common tropes just enough to make them interesting to me. My favorite story in this anthology was the one with the two brothers who attempt to seduce their new stepbrother. I really wasn't expecting it to go in the direction it did. I really like her art too, her characters are drawn cleanly with nice bold lines. This type of story (anthology of blushing schoolboys) is usually one that gets panned by me, yet I enjoyed this one.
Emerald (manga) Good This is a collection of short stories by the Blade of the Immortal mangaka. My favorite was the title story, a western. It was the closest to BotI in tone and execution. The others we are a bit more "out there". Some super creepy such as the masochist dad in the second story or just a regular kind of weird like the virtual reality story starring a mangaka. Overall, I enjoyed the collection but the only story with "keeper" value in my opinion is Emerald.
Emma (manga) Masterpiece I actually put off reading this for awhile, as I wasn't immediately grabbed by the first volume. Once I picked it back up and read further, I couldn't put it down. The level of detail in the art alone is just amazing. I've never read something set in another country that feels so authentic. The mangaka surely did her research. The story is a romance between a maid and a man from a well off family and the difficulties they face due to the class difference. It is fleshed out with a large cast of characters, many of whom are revisited in the side stories in volumes 8-10. The ending was absolutely perfect, a giant wedding in volume 10. I loved this series and it will go down as one of my favoirtes.
Empty Heart (manga) Good I liked Masara Minase's wonderfully twisted "Lies and Kisses" and found this book to be enjoyable too. At the start of the story, Takumi is already in love with his older brother's friend who also happens to be his teacher. The teacher used to be in love with Takumi's brother Ryuuta. Takumi throws himself at Usami sensei in hopes that he will notice him. Despite how this sounds, the age difference isn't really a factor here. Minase draws characters with a more "adult" look, so Takumi looks more like an older teen instead of a blushing schoolboy. Usami is only a few years older as well. So a premise that could have been creepy is just only mildly inappropriate. My only annoyance was Usami's out of town friend who randomly shows up and crashes at his place. I found his accent annoying to read and he was basically a cheap plot device to get the characters to admit their feelings. I also wish it had been a bit longer. A lot of these BL one shots are so short that they don't have much emotional impact, unlike say a "Let Dai" where the romance has to develop over many volumes. Other than that, it was entertaining for what it was. I do like Minase's work and I hope to see more of it in the future.
Endless Comfort (manga) Good This is a serious romance between two damaged people. A rich guy returns to his childhood home left to him by his dead mother and falls for his dog trainer who was abused as a child. Despite the sort of trite way abuse trauma is cleared up with "true love" bs, I enjoyed this more serious (and consentual) BL romance. I only wish the characters, including the two coworkers, and their backstories were fleshed out a bit more, as this book feels a little bare bones. Not only that, the plot feels a bit rushed because of it, with the leads falling in love almost immediately. It would have been a better book if it had more time to develop those relationships and characters. The book only merits a "good", but it could have been excellent.
Endless Rain (manga) Decent This one can be best summed up as a melodramatic soap opera. The plot and characters are pretty shallow. It's not a memorable book, but I thought it was fun and entertaining, and that's about it.
Entangled Circumstances (manga) Decent This is a rather run of the mill salaryman romance. One man is being pursued singlemindedly by the other, who finally wears down his object of affection and gets his guy. It's short, predictable and nothing new. Also, Kikuya's art style is not really to my tastes, as the characters are drawn too boyish looking to be adults. If this was a schoolboy romance, the style would fit right in. Ultimately, the book was mildly entertaining, but nothing more. I doubt I'll remember it tomorrow.
ES (manga) Masterpiece What a great story ES was! A perfect length at eight volumes long, ES was an evenly paced and compact story. No endless filler here. I also really like Soryo's art style. Her characters are drawn with very clean lines and the backgrounds are nicely detailed. It was refreshing to read about adult characters for once as well. I liked ES so much that I can't think of one complaint. This definitely tops Mars as Fuyumi Soryo's best.
(La) Esperança (manga) Good I took me a couple of volumes to warm up to this title. Once the characters grew on me however, I found myself wanting to find out what happens next. La Esperanca is a very chaste school boy romance set in catholic boys school in a pseudo European France-like country. I liked the atmospheric art and cathedral settings. I felt Kawai's wispy ephemeral art was well suited to such a setting. The plot was very angsty and almost crossed the line for me at times into pure melodrama. It managed not to go too far though and I enjoyed it very much.
Eureka Seven (manga) Very good I watched the anime before I picked up this manga. While the story was the same in general, the way it unfolded was a bit different, so it was more like an alternate retalling than a rehash of the previous material. The character designs were kept intact from the anime, which I appreciated, because I did like the art in Eureka Seven quite a bit. Since the manga is only 6 volumes long, much of the character and relationship development is skimped on. It's not so much of a problem if you've seen the anime, because you are able to fill in the blanks yourself. If I hadn't seen it, I don't think I would have enjoyed reading this nearly as much. Eureka Seven is one of my favorites, and I liked being able to revisit the story and characters again. I thought the manga was pretty good.
Everlasting Love (manga) So-so Here we have yet another collection of BL short stories. This one is average and forgettable for the most part. There was one story that was a slight cut above the rest, but they all basically share the common problem that short stories tend to have, and that's a lack of depth.
Exotic and Delicious Fate (manga) So-so Miyagi is a restaurant manager who enters into a relationship with the new chef. The plot of this was soap opera like. Miyagi turns out to be a "secret baby", and the chef is hiding a secret as well. This could have been entertaining if the characterization were not flimsy as hell. I will not remember these characters tomorrow.
FAKE (manga) Good When I originally tried this manga, I couldn't get into it. I had read two volumes and thought the "mystery" plots were boring and cheezy and the two kids, Bikky and Carol, were annoying as hell. (WTF kind of name is Bikky anyway?) I recently tried it again, as it is a BL classic and I wanted to see if my opinion had changed. Now, since I now have more familiarity with the genre, I can appreiciate Fake for what is is: basically a homosexual buddy cop story. The interactions between the main characters is where this series shines. The dialog is quite funny. The actual plot of the series does seem to begin with episodic cases, but as the series goes on they begin to relate to each other to form a larger story. I'd say the weakest plotwise was the hotel murder mystery in volume two. The kids are sill annoying, but thankfully their screen time is diminished as the series goes on. The best thing about this series is the relationship and the natural way it progresses. After reading a ton of short BL oneshots where the characters declare their love in chapter one and get in on in chapter two, something like Fake with it's actual plot and slower progression is a breath of fresh air. I'm so glad I gave this series another chance. I totally get it now.
Fake Fur (manga) Good I was pleasantly suprised by this manga. I found the relationships depicted within to be a lot more realisticly portrayed than the majority of romance manga. No eyeroll inducing, cheesy, sappy lines or contrived situations are used. I found it refreshing and I really liked it.
Fallen Moon (manga) Weak This is an antholgy collection. I hesitate to call these short stories as they're more like story fragments. The collection is choppy, since the fragments aren't related. I found the whole thing to be poorly written overall. The art isn't bad though. Character designs are sufficiently detailed and the panels are not devoid of backgrounds. Having read another lackluster offering by this mangaka, Othello, I'm going to be giving future works a pass. Hopefully licensors do as well, because it's a shame that forgetable dreck like this gets published while many quality titles remain unlicensed.
A Fallen Saint's Kiss (manga) Decent All of You Higashino's work I've read so far has been plotless smut and this book is no different. This one is a BDSM themed student/teacher high school thing. Higashino's art style tends to run toward the angular and masculine, so her schoolboys look a little old and that's cool with me. There's also no hearts/flowers/sparkle in this book, so those looking for sappy romance are sure to be disappointed. As far as I'm concerned, the book succeeds at what it's trying to do. I thought it was hot.
Falling into Love (manga) Not really good Nothing I've read by Takashi Kanzaki has been any good. The stories have all been typical yaoi fare full of the same old tropes. This book is no different, but I like her art, so I keep giving her books a chance.
Family (manga by Yuuya) Weak Not much to write about here, as the story is about as shallow is it comes. It features a "love" triangle between three brothers, the middle one being adopted. This was originally published as doujinshi according to the mangaka. It really nothing more than pointless smut.
Feverish (manga) Not really good Feverish was very bland and completely generic. I can scarcely remember it just minuted after finishing it. Nothing about it stood out in nay way. It wasn't offensive, just really boring, with boring cardboard cutout characters and a boring shallow plot. There is much better BL out there. Read that instead.
(The) First Stage of Love (manga) So-so Here's another collection of short stories. These were extremely forgettable. I can barely remember them scarcely an hour after reading it. Oh wait, the last story about the fat kid was a cut above the others, but still it was far too short. I keep reading these short story collections, but very few of them have managed to impress me.
(The) Flat Earth Exchange (manga) Decent I've read and seen this premise before, in which the protagonist is cryogenic-ally frozen and wakes up to find a very changed future world. This one really doesn't offer anything new, but I enjoy these types of stories, so I was entertained. The mangaka wrote the first few volumes much earlier than the conclusion and it shows. The earlier art looks very dated to the vastly improved later chapters. Since the series is only four volumes long, a lot of the charcters are short changed in development, and a lot of plot threads are left dangling. Fortunately, s/he managed to wrap it up with the conclusion of a story arc so it still feels satisfying even though it needs a sequel.
Flower in a Storm (manga, S. Takagi) Decent The premise of this two volume series is completely ridiculous, and the mangaka knows it. It doesn't take itself seriously, which is a point in its favor. It's also entertaining. But, it crossed the line from ridiculously fun to just stupid a few times and I started to lose interest. I liked the two bonus stories at the end of each volume far more than the main story. They're both serious, understated romance stories and I thought they were much more well written. I'd like to read a longer work from this mangaka in her more serious style. This silly manga with its wacky premise fell flat for me.
Flower of Life (manga) Excellent This is an excellent high school slice-of-life manga by Fumi Yoshinaga. Her characters are always so human and realistic, as is the way they interact. Her plots never feel contrived or cliche. Her humor is truly funny. Its more subtle and not of the gag/slapstick variety. Really, I haven't read a bad manga by her yet, and Flower of Life is no exception. I loved it.
Flowers & Bees (manga) Excellent Flowers and Bees is an absolutely hilarious story of a guy who will go to great lengths to get girls to like him. Unlike a lot of other comedies, this one actually goes somewhere, neatly concluding the story in just 7 volumes. I liked the character designs as well; everyone had their own distinct look, even the ugly people. My only teeny tiny complaint is that I wish the end hadn't been so abrupt. Other than that, I loved it!
Forbidden Dance (manga) Not really good This is an early work from Hinako Aishihara, the mangaka who brought us "Sand Chronicles", and it shows. Whew! It's rough. The art is very sloppy, with proportions all over the place. The thing looked like it was drawn by a class of five year olds, seriously. The plot and characters are similarly underdeveloped. Ashihara admits that this was her very first serialization, so I will cut her some slack as she obviously improved on her later series. A couple of the oneshots used to pad out the volumes hint at being better. In these, the mangaka was able to create some high drama, which the main story tried and failed to achieve. Thankfully this was only four volumes long and I found it interesting as a curiousity; an early work from a decent mangaka.
A Foreign Love Affair (manga) Decent The plot is simple. A Yakuza guy on honeymoon with his arranged marriage bride ends up having an affair with an Italian dude. Pretty much this manga's point is to undress a guy in a kimono. The plot is shallow, but the naked parts are hot. Ayano Yamane's art is really detailed, and she draws "manly". Anyway, I wasn't expecting great literature when I read this, just simple entertainment, for which it succeeded.
Freefall Romance (manga) Good The plot can be summed up as "romance between coworkers". It's simple but for a one volume story, it worked. I thought it was decent. I liked the art as well.

I recently reread this as I didn't know at the time it was part of a larger story. I think I appreciated it more having had a little backstory on the main character. I've also read a lot more yaoi between now and then and having come across so many duds makes this story look so much better. It's simple, yes, but it is well written for what it is: a nice clean salaryman romance.

From Far Away (manga) Decent From Far Away is your basic "girl gets sucked into another realm" shojo story. This series was excellent for the first few volumes, but the plot really slowed down around the mid point. As for the art, it was fairly good, but not outstanding. Overall, I enjoyed From Far Away, but I don't think it's one of the more memorable series I've read. I'd give it a B-/C+
From Up Above (manga) So-so This series was published in 2006 and has only the one volume published but it ends with a "to be continued". I appears it has been abandoned and it doesn't look like the mangaka is working on anything else either. (Maybe got tired of the slave wages and got another job?) Regardless, this book isn't really that good. A boy is struck by lightning and is now followed around by some sort of cat/lightning god who was sealed away by the boy in a previous life. The cat/man thing is demanding the boy give him back his "mana" but the boy doesn't remember a thing. Near the end, the pair encounter another god/demon thing and the book ends just as a confrontation is imminent. The set up is kinda interesting, but since it ultimately doesn't go anywhere the book just feels pointless. As it is, I can't recommend this one.
Fruits Basket (manga) Good I know this is massively popular, but I only marginally enjoyed it. *ducks the rotten tomatoes* Perhaps if I had read this as a young teen instead of a grown adult, it would have had more of an impact on me. From my perspective, it seemed to wallow in the melodrama, almost like it was forced. Bad characters are super evil and twisted and the good characters were oh so good and it was a little bit unbelieveable to me. Tohru in particular I had a problem with, other than being perfectly good and saintly, she had no personality or character development what-so-ever. On the other hand, Kyo and Yuki both go through changes and I felt this series was more about them than anyone. Takaya's art also matures thoughout the series, as she visible ages up her characters as time goes on. On the other hand, her character designs do not have a lot of variation, so sometimes I got them mixed up. I did think the main romace between Kyo and Tohru was sweet and nicely written, if (again) a bit too melodramatic. Their reasons for being apart struck me as overblown, but maybe that's my adult perpective. I do remember being a teen and thinking inconsequential things were much more important than they really are, but as an adult I can't help but thinking it's a bit stupid. My final verdict: the series was just "good", nothing great and I doubt I'll ever reread it.
Full House (manhwa) Very good This manhwa makes use of several hoary old romance tropes, such as The Marriage of Convenience and The Big Misunderstanding. Yet, even though I knew when the creator was going with the story, I still found myself hooked. Ryder and Ellie were such a well matched couple that I couldn't help but root for them. In stories like this, it's about the journey than the destination. Soo Yon Won is also the creator of one of my favorite, Let Dai. While this story isn't quite as fresh, I still found it highly enjoyable. Her art is lovely and detailed, with beautiful character designs and excellent background art. Unfortunately, this series has only been published up to volume four. I had to make due with the dreaded scans to get the rest of the story. I would absolutely love to have the rest of the series on my shelf though.
Fushigi Yûgi (manga) Decent It's been several years since I've seen the anime. so I decided to sit down and read Yuu Watase's classic "girl gets sucked into a fantasy realm" manga. This manga has been cribbed from so much that it's hard to go back and read it with fresh eyes. On the other hand, the cast is so memorable and the melodrama so over the top that I couldn't help but get into it anyway. The lead, Miaka, is the dumbest twit ever to grace a reverse harem shoujo, in my opinion. In true harem fashion, she's surrounded by lots of handsome men who inexplicably fall for her. The setting is fun, a fantasical ancient China, in which gods, demons and magic are commonplace. Miaka must collect her seven warriors and summon the god Suzaku to bring peace to the land. Overall, I found it mildly entertaing. I can only wonder if I would have connected better with this story if had read this when i was much younger. Then I would have been less critical of it's many flaws, such as the dumb as a box of rocks lead, the contrived way all these dudes seem to fall for her (like how she turned Noriko straight), or the character actions that are improbable or over the top (Yui for example). To be honest, the whole thing is kinda dumb, but then again, I am not a twelve year old girl. I'm glad I at least read this once.
Future Lovers (manga) Excellent What a great story this was! I found the plot to be wonderfully realistic and the characters were memorable and 3-dimentional. It was a good mixture of LOL moments mixed with well written romance. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Gaba Kawa (manga) Good I've enjoyed all of Rie Takada's work so far and Gaba Kawa is no different. It is about a demon girl who is sent to earth in order to do evil deeds and capture souls to send to hell. Unfortunately for her, she falls in love with a human boy. I found it very funny. Takada is spot on with comedy. My only complaint was the ending. It wasn't good. In fact, it was the cheapest reincarnation gimmick I've ever seen. Other that that though, I did find Gaba Kawa a fun read.
Gakuen Heaven (manga by You Higuri) Not really good The story is generic and crappy. The only reason to read this is You Higuri's art.
Gakuen Heaven Nakajima ver. (manga) So-so This incarnation of Gakuen Heaven is a little bit better than the first, but that's not saying a lot. The story is still shallow and cheesy, but You Higuri's art somewhat makes up for it.
GALS! (manga) So-so I'm more familiar with the GALS! anime since I saw that first. I've read five volumes of the manga so far and I'm not liking it as much. I've had the rest of the series sitting on my shelf and I'm finding it hard to drum up any excitement to read it. It's still the same lighthearted shoujo comedy, but I find the jokes and situations duller without color, sound and voices. Also, maybe it's not as funny the second time around. Or, maybe I just have to be in the right mood to enjoy this thing. I'm not expecting my opinion will improve, but I'll slowly finish the last five volumes and report back.

I just finished volume six. I'm really disliking Otohata at this point. The prevailing message here seems to be some sort of "keep chasing him even if he doesn't express any interest in you" and "he's only a dick to you for your own good" sort of BS. Yes, Aya is a huge pushover, but their relationship is skeeving me out. This is another variation on the standard shoujo doormat herione falls for jerky guy scenario. Four more volumes to go.

Aaand I've managed to slog through volumes 7 and 8. What's really not doing it for me is the screechy slapstick. Yelling and Exaggerated reactions leave me cold in the humor department.

I've finally finished the last two volumes! Sadly, the series never managed to engage me. The humor didn't click, I found the drama boring, and I couldn't connect with the characters. It's strange to me that I had this reaction, because I did end up enjoying the anime. It isn't a favorite, but I did like it. For some reason though, this manga left me cold.

Gantz (manga) The premise of Gantz is really interesting. The newly dead wake up to find themselves in an empty room, except for a giant sphere, that gives them directions and gear and tells them to kill space aliens. The violence is over the top and the fanservice is kinda gross, yet it was entertaining. The characters are horrible though. Most of them are just there as cannon fodder, they get a cursory intro before getting wasted. The lead, Kei Kurono, is a self absorbed little punk. I also got the feeling while reading that the cool set up was never going to be explained. It seemed like the series was just going to be a gorefest without much actual story. At this point, I'm not sure I want to continue...

UPDATE: I picked this back up with volume eight, the end of the Buddha arc, where the anime ends. After going through so much, Kurono's character is a little more sympathetic, and he's a lot more palatable as a protagonist. The art is great, although I could do without the constant topless pinups that have nothing to do with the story. It's off-putting and the mangaka's creepy breast obsession spills into his author's notes in the back. It may as well have a "not for you" warning pasted on the front cover. Despite the juvenile tone, the story is action packed and fun, and at this point I'm willing to just go with the flow. I'm on board for more.

So, I finally got around to reading the second half of the series, starting at volume 17. It starts to get stupider around that point. The vampires are introduced and pretty much disappear as a plot point. Kei was resurrected twice at the same time. Why? So he could also date two girls at the same time. Really juvenile stuff. I think it jumped the shark at the apocalyse point, with the giant humanoid aliens and their giant space ship and their abductions. Despite all this, Gantz is fun in a braindead way. Oku's art is great, even if he does try to squeeze a breast onto every page.

Gatcha Gacha (manga) Good The first volume of this is very promising. It is your standard high school set shoujo romantic comedy, yes, but the characters are a bit different than your regular stock 2D cutouts. The heroine, Yuri, is a serial dater, described as having "turned every knob in the school". She befriends a beautiful, bad natured girl named Motoko. she has a crush on a notorious womanizer, and the straightlaced class prez has a crush on her. For the most part, I enjoyed this manga, the characters are interesting and their interactions make for some fun. What bored me was the overly melodramatic past involving Motoko, her sister and Yabe. Volume 7 in particular was a low point in the series, as it focused almost soley on Motoko and an old friend from junior high. What made the series most interesting was Yuri, her strange friendship with Motoko and her misadventures with love. I was also sort of disappointed that there was no resolution for Hirao. Sure he was pretty spineless for most of the story, but he really steps up in those last few volumes, so I was rooting for him. Oh well, The series is certainly well worth reading as it is a bit different from a lot of what's available for high school shoujo romances.
Gay's Anatomy (manga) So-so This is an earlier work by You Higashino. The art is not as strong as her later works. Her style is still the same but it's not as consistent, with some oddly proportioned faces. It seems as if she tried to write a "romance" here as well, but it's rife with tired tropes like the huge demanding guy dominating the girly blushing one. Bleh. She should just stick to porn. The "love scenes" in this book aren't as adventurous as I've come to expect from her later work as well. So, while in general I'm a Higashino fan, this isn't a very good book.
Genkaku Picasso (manga) Good This short three volume series is about Hikari, a runty antisocial boy who draws pictures. One day he and his only friend are in an accident, and he gains the power to draw pictures of the inside of peoples hearts. These are usually surreal in nature and have to be decoded in order to solve the person's problem. Hikari has to help people or else his body will rot. The premise was really interesting, but the execution is of the standard shounen "problem of the week" variety. Fortunately, the art in this is fantastic, and made up for the mediocre writing. Since, it was such as short series, it never had the chance to get stale either. The ending was a little trite and touchy feely but a least it did end. I can understand a kid friendly ending for what ultimately is just a kid's series, although a more creative one than I'm used to seeing. Overall, I enjoyed it.
Genshiken (manga) Excellent Genshiken is a fun and realistic slice-of-life comedy about a bunch of otaku and their school club. The characters were well written and memorable. I found Kasukabe's reactions to the various nerdly activities priceless. I got a laugh out of the initiation ritual as well. The manga is pretty much full of anime and manga references and both pokes fun at and celebrates otaku culture. I don't consider myself an otaku, but I enjoyed it greatly nonetheless.
Gente - Ristorante no Hitobito (manga) Good This is a prequel to Ristorante Paradiso. The story begin with the opening of the restaurant and follows the employees, both former and current. This is a slice of life manga about average people. I enjoyed reading about adults with adult problems. Unfortunatley, I really didn't find these people that interesting. Perhaps it's because there were so many characters, some who looked alike, and not enough page time to really delve into each one. The orginal book, Ristorante Paradiso, handled this much better, focusing almost soley on Nicoletta and her mother and fully deveolping their cinflict. In the end, I did like this series, although not as much as I was hoping.
Gentle Cage (novel) Not really good This is a yaoi novel. The premise is this: Itsuki enters into a weird non sexual sugar daddy relationship with some eccentric sculptor who agrees to pay all his depts in exchange for his absolute obedience, which includes cutting off all contact with his sort of friend//boyfriend. As the story opens, they meet again 8 years later on business and the former boyfriend is still in the dark and holding a grudge. This book barely escapes being super creepy, mostly because by the end, the mentor has died and Itsuki has left without a word, gone back to school, and gotten a job. The romance was of the super jealous "rape is love" bullshit variety. This might actually have been a good story if it were just about Itsuki breaking free and finding himself, but no, there had to be a super possessive caveman hero.
A Gentleman's Kiss (manga) Good This is a BL about two sons of rival "business yakuza" groups. When the story opens, the two are adults and have been together for several years, keeping their relationship a secret. It has a bit of a Romeo and Juliet (or Romeo) vibe, except the factors keeping them apart are mostly internal. One half of the couple is insecure about admiting his feelings and is also afraid to commit due to family and etc. I liked this rare romance about adults. It does feature some romance cliches, such as the doomed to fail rival and an overwrought hospital scene near the end. Still, it was a good, entertaining read. Shinri Fuwa's art is of the barebones backgroundless variety, and her men are occasionally anatomically challenged, but I do like that she draws men looking like men. Overall, I liked this story and it does hold up to a second reading.
Gentlemen's Agreement Between a Rabbit & a Wolf (manga) So-so Once again a short story collection that will be forgotten in an instant. The title story is about a couple of bickering coworkers forced to wear animal suits to promote...something ? never explained. They bang, the end. On the positive Oumi's art is great. Too bad the rest isn't.
Gerard & Jacques (manga) Excellent Gerard and Jaques has a unique premise in that it's set just before the French Revolution and stars a fallen aristocrat and a wealthy writer. Like another truly excellent Europe based manga, Victorian Romance Emma, I found the characters to be believably European. (A lot of manga creators seem to fail at this). Not only were the characters above par, the plot exceded my expectations too. Out of all the Fumi Yoshinaga manga I've read so far, this one ranks up there with Antique Bakery as one of my favorites.
Ghost in the Shell (manga) Good I watched the movies and the TV show before reading this. While this was pretty much more of the same, I enjoyed the movies and the TV much better. First, the good: the art in this was in the ultra detailed 80's style and it was beautiful. The stories were very well written. Some of them were adapted into the TV series while others were combined for the movie. The bad: The art suffered from a sort of cheap sleazy porn asthetic. Every female character appeared in some sort of stripper gear while the rest of the (male) characters were dressed in normal clothes. I don't mind nudity, but the disconnect with the way the male and female charcters were portrayed sort of hindered my enjoyment of the story. It's hard to take the Major seriously when she's portrayed in the strpper squat, cameltoe on display. Thankfully, the fanservice aspect wasn't present in the movies. All the nudity there made sense in the context of the story and didn't feel cheap and pandering. I also felt the movies was more tightly plotted, as the manga stories sort of meandered a bit, jumping from one case to another without much to connect them. Because of these issues with the manga, I enjoyed the anime much more and will stick to that in the future for my GITS fix.
Ghost Slayers Ayashi (manga) Decent This is a two volume adaptation of the Bnes anime Ghost Slayers Ayashi. Ususally, manga adaptations are pretty bad, but this one is passable. However, the manga assumes familiarity with the anime and doesn't spend much time on introductions. Like the anime, it is episodic. Volume one is broken up into two stories, and volume 2 contains one whole story. The art retains the style used in the anime as well and comes across quite nicely on the page. I was mildly entertained by this short series. It isn't anything mindblowing, but for fans of the anime, it's worth checking out.
Girl Got Game (manga) Good Girl Got Game is a cute and funny romantic comedy with a basketball theme. There isn't much actual basketball in the story though, it's mainly used as window dressing. The characters were cute and I really liked Kyo. I was happy to see her kick some ass and not be a submissive doormat. I hate seeing women portrayed that way and having it looked at as some sort of feminine ideal. I know it's common in shojo manga, but it still touches a nerve, which is why I get excited when the heroine has an actual personality beyond pleasing her man. The art was standard shojo style, which gets the job done, but doesn't stand out in any way. What made this story was Kyo herself, and the humor of her dealing with her teammates. The humor totally worked in this manga.
Glass Sky (manga) Decent I'm beginning to like Yugi Yamada. Glass Sky is a book of short stories. I'm usually not a fan of short stories, because they don't allow for a lot of depth. However, these were pretty entertaining. Yamada's art style is growing on me and she does have a flair for expressions and comedy. I'm looking forward to reading more of hers.
Golden Cain (manga) Good In Golden Cain, a self destructive young man begins an affair with Cain, a model. I enjoyed this one, mostly because the characters were interesting. Both were a little messed up, which made for an entertaining read. Golden Cain was memorable, which isn't something I can say for Sweet Revolution, which I also read today.
Golden Prince and Argent King (manga) Weak This one volume story reads just like a cheesy soap opera, full of melodrama and ridiculousness. An orphaned high school boy is taken in by his rich grandfather and goes to live with older two half brothers. He falls in love with the older one, and both are into him, while later it's revealed that he's not actually blood related to the older one. The art was wooden and amateurish and the plot was laughable. Actually, the story is the least of this thing's problems. It was just terribly written with stilted dialog, horribly drawn expressions and nonexistent characterization. I was just barely entertained and objectively I can admit that it wasn't very good.
Gorgeous Carat (manga) Good Gorgeous Carat was more entertaining than I had expected it to be. It's a fun sort of historical adventure series about a couple of aristocrats, one of which who is a jewel thief. This is another of Higuri's series which takes place in exotic locales, this time France and Northern Africa at the turn of the 20th century. It's probably far from historically accurate, but it is something different, which I appreciate and You Higuri's art depicts it wonderfully. The story arc about the Templars' treasure wraps up at the end of the fourth volume, but some threads are left hanging, such as the relationship between the lead characters and the fate of the Black Hand. I only hope that Higuri goes back to this someday and continues it, as there is still a story left to tell.
Gorgeous Carat Galaxy (manga) Decent This is a sequel to Gorgeous carat, although it reads more like a side story. Noir and Florian head out to one of Florian's aquaintence's estates in order to inspect some art and encounter a gothic style murder mystery. Yep, this one has a creepy castle with secret pathways and the requisite mentally ill relative. The book itself doesn't address anything left hanging at the end of the original series, so I was a little disappointed with it. The story itself just wasn't as intesting as the last series as well. I was still entertained but I just didn't like it as much.
(The) Gorgeous Life of Strawberry Chan (manga) So-so This is basically a gag manga about a boy and his pet frog. It is utterly plotless and silly, and full of Morinaga's WTF style humor. In this case, the humor is hit or miss. It took most of this first book for me to warm up to the characters and start finding some of the jokes funny. I got most of my laughs from the second book, "The Super Cool Life of Strawberry Chan".
Gravitation (manga) Very good This is the first yaoi manga I have read and overall, I enjoyed it. One thing that was especially noteworthy was the lack of the traditioal female role in the romance. I found that refreshing, as it allowed Shuichi to persue his career and call Yuki out on being an asshole, something I've never seen with shojo heroines. Usually they just focus on making the man happy, no matter how much of a dick he is, and have no aspirations other than that. *Pukes* the humor in the story occasionally ventured in to over-the-top territory (the giant robotic panda!?), but it managed to be very funny at times too. I found that I enjoyed this manga a lot more than the anime as well.
Gravitation EX (manga) So-so Maki Murakami only finished one volume of this Gravitation sequel before abandoning it. It's been quite some time since I've read the original series. About the only positive I can give to EX is Murakami's art looks a bit more polished than I remember, and it was nice seeing all the characters again. Unfortunately, the plot is nonsensical. The more outlandish elements that saturated the later volumes of the original are in full force here, like the giant robot panda, also plenty of guns, explosions and silly violence. Most of the characters appear here, kinda like a reunion show. The bare bones "plot" is wrapped up at the end of the volume, so I'm perfectly content to end it here. As it is, this book adds nothing to the original story. I would have been better off rereading that instead.
GTO (manga) Very good At times, I thought this read like a cheesy after school special. Some kid always has a problem and Onizuka always shows up to fix it. It was eye-rollingly over the top at some points. On the other hand the moralizing was injected with a shot of great humor. Despite the ocasional corniness, GTO is a pretty entertaining manga. I liked it overall.
GTO: 14 Days in Shonan (manga) Good This is a GTO side story in which Onizuka spends 14 days in his hometown shacked up in a group home with a bunch of troubled kids and a couple of hot chicks. Of course Onizuka helps all the kids solve their personal problems and he's still a virgin. Yep, all of the typical gags are reused in this series. Onizuka is pretty much a blatant Gary Stu, good at everything and can solve any problem with just his sheer awesomeness. Still, I found the series entertaining on the whole, but not quite as good as the main series.
GTO: The Early Years (manga) Good Based on reading GTO, I was expecting a hilariously crude comedy series. The first volume was exactly that, with Ryuji and Onizuka going to a resort and lying about their ages/school to pick up chicks. It was hilarious. After that the series settled down into a typical shounen fighting manga, with the pair encountering one new foe after another that they must beat up to preserve their reputations as bad-asses. This started to drag after awhile as the formula was getting a bit stale. Fortunately, during the last third of the series the mangaka must have realized this, the comedy picked back up and it was great. The art saw a marked improvement as well over the course of the series, with the early volumes looking a bit crude and old-school and the later volumes looking more like GTO, with Onizuka's trademark over-exaggerated expressions. Overall, I enjoyed this series, if not as much as it's sequel. Those last few volumes in particular were awesome.
Hanako and the Terror of Allegory (manga) Good This is a fun little short series based on the premise that urban legends become real when people believe in them. Aso is an "allegory detective" who investigates paranormal mysteries. He is assisted by Hanako, an allegory herself, and Kanae, the subject of chapter one's case that helps out at the office. The stories are mostly episodic, with a few offering hints as to Aso's special powers and a larger story. One was pretty comedic, in which Kanae makes a deal with the mirror demon in order to become an idol. The series was pretty entertaining and a lot lighter than Esuno's other series, Future Diary. I enjoyed it.
Hanky Panky (manga Koreaki Kamuro) So-so This is the kind of forgettable dreck that disappoints me the most when I pick up a new-to-me mangaka. Let start with the art, which was ametureish. There were minimal backgrounds, faces were weirdly proportioned, and all the characters had this same face with similiar hair. This was a short story anthology, but the couples in each looked exactly alike. The stories themselves were super shallow and disposable. It was entertaining enough I guess, but I will not remember it after an hour.
Happiness Recommended (manga) Decent Here, Yukiharu was raised by his grandfather who dies and he moves in with his 6 younger brothers. Both parents have skipped town and the household is poor and slovenly. Haru has to learn to fit into his new life and also reaquaint himself with his childhood friend, Makoto. This is boy's love, so Haru and Makoto's friendship is more than it seems. My main problem with the book is that is felt like it need a sequel. This book was the set up, but lacked much of an ending. Overall, I liked the book. There was just enough to the characters that I wanted to know how they got along with their new living arrangement.
Happy Hustle High (manga) Very good At first glance, this is just another run of the mill high school shoujo romance. Rie Takada's writing and knack for comedy and expression make this one out to be a cut above the rest though. I laughed out loud several times during the reading of this. Hanabi was an absolutely adorable and hilarious main character, definitely not a typical shoujo doormat. The romance was cute and well written. I could "feel the love" between the two and I wasn't left scratching my head as to why they liked each other. After finishing this and reading "Wild Act", I have become a serious fan of Takeda's work and am looking forward to tracking down the rest of her manga published in English.
Happy Mania (manga) Excellent Happy Mania is about a 20-something, Kayoko, and her search for a boyfriend. I thought the story was excellent. The characterization was especially good. Each character was three dimentional and human, flaws and all. My only wish is that it had ended a bit more conclusively, but it makes sense that it didn't as that's just the way life is. Overall, an A+!
Hard Rock (manga) Good I liked this slice of life/romance story about four guys in a band. The relationships appeared somewhat realistic and natural, unlike a lot of BL manga. Also, I quite liked Akane Abe's art as well. Each of the characters had a distinctive look and personality, far from generic. I can't stand manga where everyone looks alike except for varying hair colors. It's lazy art. Hard Rock definitely is above average in the character art department.
Hate to Love You (manga) So-so This is a BL one shot about sons form two rival rich families. They both attend the same private school and while at odds with each other, are in love with each other. Honestly, it's pretty "meh". This is a standard Romeo and Juliet style story, and just to beat on e over the head further with it, one of the dads drop a "just like Romeo and Juliet" line in the story. Gag me. Since this is a one shot, characters are stick figures, and plot? what plot? In the end, this book wasn't actively terrible, but it wasn't good either.
Heaven!! (manga, Shizuru Seino) Very good I found Heaven!! to be a very good romantic comedy with spot on (for me) humor. I even laughed out loud a few times. Seino's expressive art is also well suited to comedy. After enjoying this and a couple of her other works (Girl Got Game and Love Attack) I'll pretty much buy anything of hers that is printed in English.
Helter Skelter (manga) Very good This manga is about a model and her obsession with being the most beautiful to her detriment and eventual downfall. It really portrays how harmful obsession with youth can be and the sad fact that there is no escaping it. It's everywhere. Whether you turn on the TV, read the internet, or open a magazine, those messages are inescapable. Okazaki's art compliments the book beautifully, with very bold lines and exaggerated proportions its almost "ugly", mirroring the characters themselves. The end gave a "to be continued", but I felt that it ended just fine as is. I don't see what else Liliko has to tell really. I'm really interested in reading other work by the mangaka though.
Her Majesty’s Dog (manga) Decent Overall, I thougth it was mediocre. I'm having a hard time coming up with things to say because it wasn't bad, it just didn't leave much of an impression. I thought the characters were underdeveloped and the plot kinda meandered until the last two volumes where it picked up a bit and came together with a pretty good ending. In this case, the ending dragged up the rating from "so-so" to "decent".
Here is Greenwood (manga) Decent This one was a dissapointment. The good: I liked the 80's style art and some of the humor was really funny. The bad: The rest of the humor and such flew right by me because I kept getting confused. The art and/or dialog didn't always make it clear exactly what was going on. I had to re-read the bathroom scene in volume 1 three times and I still didn't get it. I don't think I'll continue with this one.

So, I gave this one another chance. I liked it better this time around, and I was able to get through all 9 volumes, but it will never be a favorite. The series reminds me a bit of "School Rumble" with its absurd humor, yet I don't find "Greenwood" to be nearly as funny. I liked it best when it stuck to the slice-of-life humor and the boys' everyday hijinks. When it ventured into alternate fantasy realms, I had trouble maintaining interest. The character designs were sometimes difficult to tell apart too, Shinobu and the other blonde one (Ikeda?) especially, which probably accounted for some of my confusion when I first picked up this series many moons ago. Despite its flaws, it really is a good series, if not to my tastes in regards to humor.

Hero Heel (manga) Very good I admit that initially I didn't understand the fuss over Makoto Tateno's work. That could be because my first experience was with her one-shots, which IMO aren't the greatest. Although, I did like Yellow and now Hero Heel has also come along to cement my opinion as a fan. I must say her series are much better than the one-shots. Plots are more intricate and the characters and emotions are better developed. In Hero Heel, the relationship was a complicated and drama filled thing, playing out over all three volumes. I appreciated reading about a romance that had complications, it's more entertaining for me and the ending was ultimately more satisfying than if the couple had gotten together in the first volume. This is another reason I prefer a longer series format. I thought the setting was fun in Hero Heel as well. The characters were actors in a "Power Rangers" sort of action show and it felt authentic and not merely window dressing. Tateno's art is a plus overall, with my only peeve being that sometimes the characters tend to all look alike. Since I havn't read a whole lot of her work yet, this isn't so much of a problem. However, I did enjoy Hero Heel very much and look forward to checking out more of her series in the future.
Hey, Sensei? (manga) Good This student/teacher romance is my favorite by Yaya Sakuragi that I've read so far. The premise is cliche, but the execution is not. Both characters are portrayed as men and the relationship feels equal. Sakuragi doesn't resort to "girlifying" one of the characters to fit into traditional gender roles and for that I'm grateful. There isn't much to the story, it is a simple romance, but it succeeds at what it's trying to do and I like it.
High School Girls (manga) Excellent Rarely has a series made me laugh so loudly. Volume after volume, it stays funny and never feels stale. High School Girls is set in an all girls school and follows a group of friends. Instead of going the cutesy slice of life route, it depicts high school girls as they really are, gross out humor and all. Seriously, girls are not made of sugar and spice and everything nice. They are just as slovenly and dumb as teenage boys. It's refreshing to see girls depicted that way instead of perfect little fetish objects. I really enjoyed this series.
His Arrogance (manga) Weak This is a fairly typical cliche sort of BL manga that doesn't leave much of an impression. Ryo's father owns a modeling agency and his brother is a famous model. Ryo lives in the company dorm with all the models and starts a relationship with one of them. That's the premise, and its a pretty cliche one. Just an excuse to draw pretty boys. Yawn. Ryo also has a brother complex, although his older brother's brocon is even creepier. I found that relationship to be a bit offputting. The characters were pretty much cardboard cutouts, able to be summed up in a couple of words. Ryo was your standard submissive "cute" type, which is common in bad BL and I find really out of place in a BL manga. He was basically your standard shoujo heroine. He did not pass my "is this a believable male" test. Why not just make him a girl and have done with it? There was also not a single woman in the whole book. It's like that half of the species went extinct. No wonder everyone is gay. =D
Hissing (manhwa) Good This is a fairly typical sunjeong manhwa, with it's overly melodramatic plot and androgynous art. The art did strike me as awkward at times. Yelling characters in particular often looked like big mouthed bass. Also, Da-Eh's nose was so small she looked like Micheal Jackson's long lost twin. I did like Da-Eh though, she was not like the leads in Japanese shoujo manga. She was no doormat and stood up for herself just fine. I seem to run across these types of heroines much more often in the Korean manhwa. As for the plot, I mostly found it to be underdeveloped and lacking explanation. For example, the situation with Da-Eh's little brother, nor Ta-Jun's relationship with his sister/cousin are really delved into. A lot of the melodrantic stuff lacked impact because of that. The central romance between Da-Eh and Sun-Nam was nice. Other than that, much of the plot and character development was tossed by the wayside. That's too bad because while I was entertained by "Hissing", it could have been better.
Honey and Clover (manga) Excellent Honey and Clover is a slice of life drama about a group of friends at an art college in Tokyo. The characters are just so well written and nuanced, they came across as very human and real, definitely not shallow archtypes. The story features not one, but two love triangles. The first one features the childlike art prodigy Hagu, and her two admirers, Takemoto and Morita. The second features Mayama, his employer Rika, who he is in love with and also his friend Yamada, who is in love with him. Neither of these goes in a direction one would expect. Umino wrote them both in a realistic manner with some characters finding their paths together and some heading off alone. I really wanted to whack that Yamada upside the head. She clung to her hopeless feelings for Mayama for far too long. He made it clear that he didn't have any feelings for her early on, but she refused to move on. I alternated with feeling sorry for her and getting frustrated with her. I credit it to Umino's writing skill that I was able to invest so much into these characters. I cried at the end. This is a truely excellent series.
Honey Colored Pancakes (manga) So-so This is a short story collection by Keiko Kinishita. Kiss Blue is one of my favorites, so I was expecting better from this book.The stories were just too short and underdeveloped. I'd say the blandest of the bunch was the title story, about the pastry chef and the guy he picks up who likes sweets. The two student/friend romances had to most potential, but they were just cut too short. If either had been expanded to fill a whole book, it could have been pretty good. In the end though, the collection was just barely average.
Honey Darling (manga Norikazu Akira) Good This one volumes story is about a shiftless young guy who takes a job as a live in housekeeper/assistant at a vet clinic. He discovers he really likes the work while he falls for the vet. Its a pretty standard romance and I enjoyed it. What made this one stand out for me was the art. The characters are drawn in a much more masculine way than I'm used to seeing an a BL manga, which i appreciated. Nothing pulls me out of a story faster than seeing grown men depicted like pretty young girls. I also liked the heavy focus on Shiro, the cat. Norizaku even mentions in her notes that she didn't mean to draw a cat manga, but I thought it was fun.
Honey Senior, Darling Junior (manga) Not really good This is actually the second time I read this, yet I didn't remember a thing. The stories in this are a forgettable as they come. The main story is about a sempai/kohei who are in love. That's it. No plot whatsoever. cardboard characters. Really dated, crude looking art. On the plus side, it isn't offensive. Just painfully bland.
Honey*Smile (manga) Not really good This is the second lackluster Yura Miyazawa manga I've read, the first being Love Syndrome. In this there are two stories, both featuring coworkers at generic offices. The characters are stock types of the cardboard variety, and the romance feels manufactured and shallow. There is nothing offensive in this book, it's just very forgettable fare. On the plus side, the art is clean and attractive, but that can't save it from bad writing.
Honey/Chocolate (manga) So-so The first half of this book is a continuation of one of the stories in The Object of My Affection. The second half is a student/teacher romance. This is just mediocre fare, with underdeveloped stories and characters. It mildly enjoyable but still strictly middle of the road.
Hot Gimmick (manga) Excellent I really enjoyed this story despite the fact that none of the characters were particularly likeable. Ryoki was an abusive d-bag and Hatsumi continued to be a doormat throughout the whole story. Their relationship was completely disfunctional, and that's what made it interesting (and disturbing). I just wish Ryoki would've gotten a clue, and Hatsumi would've stood up for herself. There's no effin way I'd ever allow a man to slap me. Why Hatsumi? Why?
Hot Limit (manga) Decent I was pretty entertained by this one because it aspired to a plot beyond your usual insipid love story. It can be summed up like this: a rich kid is prostituting himself at the behest of a crooked polititian/lover and ends up being helped out of the situation by a broke college student who falls in love with him. It's not going to win a literary prize, but it sufficed for some light entertainment.
Hotel Harbour View (manga) So-so I bought this because Jiro Taniguchi did the art. His writing is excellent also, but unfortunately he didn't write this. The book contains two stories in which a man is killed by a female hitwoman. They are very dated in that 80's pulpy ultra sexual and violent way. But, I since I wasn't expecting much from the writing, I wasn't disappointed. Taniguchi's art is the draw here and the book's production values really compliment it with it's thick white paper, clear dustjacket, and large size. I wish this type of presentation was more common.
How to Capture a Martini (manga) Decent Makoto Tateno is hit or miss for me. I've enjoyed her longer series like Hero Heel and King of Cards, but her one shots and anthologies tend to leave me cold. Martini ends up in the middle of the scale. In this, a guy runs into an old boyfriend (a bartender, hence the title) and wants to rekindle the relationship. Since they broke up years ago without closure, he's still in love with him. It's an emotional story and which mostly worked for me, except for the revelation about why they originally broke up. It was super contrived and tested my believablity meter. I wish Tateno would've come up with a more plausable reason, as otherwise I mostly liked the book. It does suffer from a lack of depth and a rushed story, but the fact that it wrung any emotion from me at all gives it a leg up on the countless other yaoi onehots that I read and forget immediately after.
How to Control a Sidecar (manga) So-so This book is a sequel to Martini, but focused on diffeent characters. This time, it's another bartender who's being persued by two guys. This book wasn't as engaging as the first book. The characters don't have any history together, so the romance seems even more rushed. This book also uses the tired old rape & later fall in love with rapist plot, which really stretches believablity. Especially since it was a pretty black and white rape, not a "forced seduction". I couldn't get into the relationship because of this. It appears this is one of Makoto Tateno's "misses".
How to Seduce a Vampire (manga) Decent This is a mediocre first effort by a new to me manga-ka. The title story, about a vampire barber, is marginal. The second story, which takes place in a historical time and also features the vampire barber, is much better and pushes this book into "decent" territory. This is a darker story which explains where Kureha met the blacksmith who makes his magic shears. The final two storys are comlpetely forgettable. One is about cosplay and the other is a historical piece. Both feature bearded dudes with long hair. Clearly the manga-ka has a fetish. On the whole, this book isn't goin to blow anyone away, but I found it mildly entertaining. It's not bad, but I wouldn't call it good either, strictly middle of the road fare.
Hybrid Child (manga) So-so This is a short story collection from the creator of Junjo Romantica. Unfortunately, this doesn't compare to JR at all in terms of quality. Hybrid Child is a story about androids set in the 19th century. It took my a couple of stories to figure out that this was a historical piece. It was an awkward mix IMO. I did like the one (tragic) story without the androids though. In the end, I found the collection mildly entertaining only.
I Can't Stop Loving You (manga) Decent This two volumes series rests on the "meh" part of the scale, neither good, nor bad, but directly in the middle. It's characters are a couple of high school boys, one who's a buddhist priest in training and another who can see ghosts and has super human strength. They are dating and constantly getting cock-blocked by one ghost related incident or another. There is no real plot to this thing, it's all short little episodes starring the same two characters. The characters themselves are pretty thin. I did get some chuckles from the humor though. I do like Row Takakura's art too. I like how she draws faces, even the gaggle of little old ladies in volume one. Overall, this series was entertaining if middle-of-the-road.
I Give to You (manga) Decent This is the first book I've read from this mangaka and it was just...ok. The lead character is an airheaded sort who is running form the loansharks after his boyfriend skips out on him leaving him with tons of debt. He ends up at a tea shop run by former Yakuza. The story itself wasn't bad, I just wasn't able to connect with the characters at all. They were uninteresting and flat. The romance can basically be summed up as "upbeat guy charms sullen recluse out his shell". There wasn't much else to it. I was mildly entertained by this book only.
I Shall Never Return (manga) Excellent This was a really excellent high-drama style romance story. The characters are interesting and well written and there is actual honest to goodness character development in this series. The art style is typical of the early ninties, and I liked it. I was satisfied with the ending too. It ended happily with out being sickly sweet.
I Want to Bite (light novel) Another yaoi light novel, this time a romance between a vampire and a vampire hunter. While overall it was meh, the author did make a attempt at a little world building, putting this in the urban fantasy genre. The translation seemed to flow a bit better than I usual experience with these translated novels. Still the story was formuliac, with stock characters, nothing to write home about.
I'll Be Your Slave (manga) Not really good I guess this was supposed to be a parody or a gag manga? Either way, it fell flat for me. Most likely because the characters had no personality whatsoever. It's hard to see the humor in something that fails to be interesting.
I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone (manga) Very good I'm not going to bother with a plot summary, because it's not really the focus here. This manga was pretty porny. I thought it was hot, so I guess it accomplished what it set out to do. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who isn't into explicit boys' love. Manga like this appeal to a very narrow niche and anyone who isn't the intended audience just isn't going to get it.
I've Moved Next Door to You (manga) So-so Here's a prime example of "plot, what plot?" boys love. There is a shallow story here that's just there to set the stage and handwaved away at the end as the couple gets together. None of the characters are any more than cardboard cutouts. Unfortunately for a story this shallow, the fanservice is...not that interesting. So in the end this book is pretty forgettable.
(The) Ice Wanderer (manga) Good This is a collection of short stories by Jiro Taniguchi, mostly focusing on the wilderness and the great outdoors. My favorite were the Jack London adaptations and the whale story at the end. Overall it's a pretty strong collection of stories and Taniguchi's art is great as always.
Ichigenme... The First Class is Civil Law (manga) Very good I really like Yoshinaga's manga. I haven't found one dud yet among them. This one takes place mostly at a university and actually feels pretty authentic. The characters and the setting were well done. So many manga use setting as "window dressing", i.e. Schools when no one studies and workplaces where no one does any work, so it was nice to run across a university setting where the characters actually go to class.
Idol Pleasures (manga) Not really good Here is another lackluster manga form Fuhri Misasagi (I've Moved Next Door...). In this one, the brother of a talent agency exec is given a job to manage a young idol, who has a generic tragic backstory. I'd be amazed if these characters could be more cardboard than they are. Anyway, the idol becomes attached to temporary job-kun and at the end we get a random revelation that he used to be a detective and a former coworker attempts to revenge rape him only to be saved by idol-kun and they admit their love, yadda yadda. Yeash, the more I think about it, the book was terrible.
Il Gatto Sul G (manga) Decent Always on the lookout for something different, I initially was very interested in this story as it features a protagonist with multiple personality disorder. Too bad I did not like the neat and tidy way the boy was "cured" i.e. falling in love cures all things. *barfs* I did not expect complete realism in a manga, but at least it could have been believable. Also, the art was done in a style that I've come to identify as "generic BL". Wispy, feminine boys and sparse backgrounds is not a style I particularly admire and it's worse when it has no distinctive quality that sets it apart from other manga of it's style. In short, the art has no personality. It's boring. Thankfully, the plot wasn't boring. Extremely unrealistic and cliched, yes, but not boring. So, I despite its flaws, at least I was entertained.
Imadoki! Nowadays (manga) Decent Imadoki was a slight disappointment for me. I had expected more after reading other Watase works such as Ceres and Fushigi Yugi. It wasn't bad however, just your standard high school based romantic comedy. It was cute and sweet, but not particularly memorable. I vastly prefer Watase's other series.
Immoral Darkness (novel) I'm not even going to bother to rate this book. It is a yaoi light novel published by DMP. It has one of yaoi's staples, the student/teacher relationship. However, the only way to enjoy this book is to completely divorce yourself from reality. If that is not possible, DO NOT READ THIS. It borders on erotica and is kinda rapey. In the context of reality, the relationship is super creepy. On the other hand, as a fantasy novel, it's kinda hot, which is what it basically boils down to.

So, it's probably been about a decade since I read this and decided to revisit it. It's even creepier on the second read. This book is toxic. I was still entertained though. Still, I know I will not read this again so time to ebay it.

Immortal Rain (manga) Good This is a different sort of shoujo, taking place in a futuristic world and featuring an immortal man and a teenage girl who fight against a evil corporation and a figure from Rain's past who are bent on world domination/destruction. There is a lot of action in this manga and it is quite well drawn. The story got a little ludicrous at times, but the emotional aspects were solid. While I'm glad I read this and I liked it overall, it's not something I enjoyed enough to keep on my selves to be read again.
(The) Incredible Kintaro (manga) Decent This is a gag manga, with most of the jokes centered around penises (penii?) and nudity. Granted, penises can be pretty funny looking so the humor did work for me. The premise is that main character-kun is the heir to a private school and in order to become the next principal, the staff members have to compete for his virginity. To protect himself, he enlists his childhood friend Kintaro as a bodyguard. Kintaro busts out some ridiculous naked martial arts and wields an ax as he takes down weird tentacle robots and pervy swim teachers. The book is pretty silly and I got a chuckle out of it.
Innocent Bird (manga) Good Innocent Bird is essential a romance story tossed into a mildly interesting plot about a war between angels and demons. The art was really lovely, with elaborate clothing, flowing hair, and really detailed wings. I also appreciated that the men looked masculine and not like little boys (or girls). Overall, I enjoyed the stroy.
Intense Rain (manga) Weak This is a very formulaic BL one shot containing two stories. The first is about a pair of reunited lovers and the second, well I forget that one already. Characters are the cardboardiest of cardboard, backgrounds are nonexistent, art is generic as is the writing. I really don't have anything to recommend about this book. At least it wasn't offensive, just painfully dull.
Intriguing Secrets (manga) Decent This is standard school boy boys' love. Two boys become friends after sharing in some afterschool punishment. They develop crushes on each other and after some silly misunderstandings, confess their feelings. The end. This was a light fluffy sort of story and I didn't find anything objectionable about it. Both boys were drawn in the same manner, there was no forced seduction, it was all pretty straightforward. For me, it was a little too cutesy. I vastly prefer stories about adults, but this would be fine for the teenage fangirl set, as it is very vanilla.
Invisible Love (manga) Not really good A yaoi anthology; typically mediocre, and this one is no exception. The title story about a couple of friends with secret crushes on each other is the longest and best of the bunch. The rest are not worth mentioning as they were the barest of the bare in terms of any kind of detail or development. Honjoh's characters all look alike as well, just with different hairstyles (something she admits to in her notes). This seriously makes it even harder to distinguish these cardboard slabs from each other. This is not a terrible book, just utterly forgettable and I wish I had done something more productive with my 30 minutes.
Isle of Forbidden Love (manga) Not really good This story had an interesting premise, in which an isolated island of the coast of Japan exist in which people live unaware of the outside world and are frozen in time. There's a bunch of murders there and a task force from Tokyo (modern day) is sent to infiltrate the island and investigate. The problem was that all this was written in the most cursory and bare bones manner, nothing is elaborated on. The characters are similarly bare bones, so their love relationship came off shallow as hell. The art is nice, but it's not enough to drag this from being barely mediocre.
Jazz (manga) Weak Jazz is supposed to be a about romance between a doctor and a patient, but I didn't feel the love. In fact, it reminded me of one of those awful bodice rippers from the 80's, with the abusive cavemanlike hero. The doctor had pretty much no personality at all, and the patient was a crazy obsessed stalker type. Instead of jumping into a relationship with this psycho, the doctor should have gotten a restraining order. Needless to say, I didn't like this manga. As a romance, I felt that it failed.

It's been several years since I first read this, so I had to reread it just to see if it was as terrible as I remembered. It was. In the very first volume, the patient, a high school boy, drugs and rapes the doctor, and we're supposed to buy into this relationship? I'm seeing creepy obsession but no real love here. If it were standard shoujo, it would read like a training manual for abusive relationships. This series is absolute trash.

Jihai (manga) Decent This is a 3 volume futuristic fantasy series about clones with predetermined lifespans. Aoi is such a clone, and his time is almost up. He has some sort of special ability, so people are after him. He's taken in by a mysterious dude who runs a diner. The plot had some interesting elements, but none of them are really explored in detail. I enjoyed reading it but felt it was a little too shallow. I did like the art thuogh.
(The) Judged (manga) Decent I picked this up after reading Akira Honma's other work published by Dramaqueen, the very good Last Portrait. While not quite up to the standard of Last Portrait, The Judged is still pretty decent. The characters in this all have serious issues and plenty of angst. I've really appreciate Honma's art as well. I really wish DQ hadn't disappeared so that we could see more of Honma's work in English.
Junior Escort (manga) Not really good This is an anothlogy of the blandest and most forgettable sort, featuring cardboard characters with only the merest sketch of a plot. The art is also similarly bare bones, consisting of a few lines for the characters and very sparse backgrounds. Faces are oddly proportioned and character's faces and clothes have no detail whatsoever. The eyes are empty of expression and really the only thing differentiating the characters were their hairstyles. The whole thing is pretty amateurish looking. The title story spins off into sequels. I've read them and they are just as bad. Or, more acurately to say, I don't remember a thing about them. I'll probably forget this one again too (even though I've now read it twice).
Just Around the Corner (manga) Good Student/teacher romances are a dime a dozen in yaoi-land. This is by far one of the best written though. The characters don't fall into cliche stereotypes and the drama is present in small doses. I found it to be a more understated romance. While Toko Kawai's art is not my fav, I do like that she avoids the blushing girly-boy style. While the characters *are* pretty, they still look masculine. Overall, this is one of my favorite by her.
Just My Luck (manga) Not really good
Jyu-Oh-Sei (manga) Very good Jyu Oh Sei is a science fiction story about a pair of twins condemned to a prison planet and forced to learn how to survive. The place is a very hostile environment, with carnivorous palnts and brutal winters. I found the setting pretty cool and imaginative. The story was fast paced and well written. I really like sci-fi stories, so this was right up my alley. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
K-ON! (manga) Decent I'm going to state up front that I'm generally not a fan of 4-koma style manga. With the execption of Azumanga Diaoh, they've all failed to capture my interest. K-ON isn't too bad, but it didn't exactly change my mind. It's cute and the characters are memorable, but it lacks substance. It is literally "cute girls doing nothing". I am so not the target audience, because "cute girls" just leave me cold. While I occasionally got a chuckle out of their antics, a lot of the time I was just bored. I have a feeling that I will like the anime a bit better, as this really could use some livening up with sound and acting. Overall though, K-ON the manga was mildly entertaining for me.
Ka Shin Fu (manga) Decent This was pretty mediocre. I like Tateno's art style, but the plot on this one was underdeveloped with shallow one-note characters. Its about a couple of long lost heirs to some family dynasty who discover a family secret (not that interesting). They fall in love, the end. I realize they can't all be a "Kizuna" or a "Love Mode", but is it too much to ask for some well written characters? Aside from my ranting, I found Ka Shin Fu mildy entertaining but ultimately forgettable.
Kaoru Mori: Anything and Something (manga) Decent This is a hodgepodge of short stories and illustrations by Kaoru Mori (Emma). Mori's art is top notch, but the book itself is rather shallow. None of the stories are longer than a few pages, and I was a bit unprepared for the fanservice. This stuff definitely ran in men's mags, male gaze was evident with all of the ass shots and such. Mori likes her maids as well, since a few stories have them too. This book is a must for a Mori superfan, but I only really liked Emma, so it's on my purge pile.
Karakuri Odette (manga) Excellent This is an excellent series! It's about a young girl, who happens to be an android and is virtually indistinquishable from a human. She decides to go to school and must learn all about fitting in and getting along in the human world. Odette doesn't know or understand a lot of things, so she questions a lot. It was an interesting look at human behavior through Odette's impartial eyes. At only six volumes, the series is the perfect length, long enough to build a story but not so long that it drags on. The plot is paced well and it wraps up nicely at the end. My strongest impression of the series is an overwhelming feeling of cuteness. Watching Odette deal with developing feelings and having them explained to her was just super adorable. I loved this series.
Kare First Love (manga) Decent This series started out entertaining and sort of fizzled out at the halfway point. It's nothing one hasn't seen before in a million romance stories, glasses wearing shy girl somehow hooks the cute guy. After they start going out, Karin deals with normal teen romance things, like disapproving parents and Aoi pressuring her to have sex when she's not ready. After they clear these hurdles however, the story focused on Aoi's personal problems with his family and truthfully, it became a little dull. Have no fear though, this one ends in standard romance fashion with a wedding! So overall, as a fluffy teen romance it was decent but not notewothy.
Kare Kano (manga) Good I wanted to like this story more than I did. The anime is one of my favorites, despite's it's non ending. Unfortunately, I was only mildly entertained by Kare Kano the manga. While the main story itself kept my interest, I felt the volumes in the middle that focus on the side characters were pretty boring and unneccessary. I also felt the story began to drag around volumes 17-20 where the focus shifts to Soichiro's dad and an extented flashback to his childhood. I did find the ending to be very satisfying though. There are no loose ends or plot threads left dangling (I'm looking at you Kare Kano anime). The art is standard shoujo, nothing spectactular. I did notice that it seemed to improve withthe later volumes. The manga was written over a period of 9 years, plenty of time for Tsuda to improve her art. Finally, I'm going to be honest and say that sweet high school romance stories such as Kare Kano aren't really my thing. I'm an adult so a lot of the character's actions I find it hard to relate to (i.e. Oh! He touched my hand! *dies from embarassment*). Although, I did rate Mars highly, but I wonder if it would hold up as well if I read it again today.
Kaze no Hana (manga) So-so This was a really disappointing manga. It's like one big ball of dangling plot threads. The plot went absolutely nowhere and the ending was one of the worst non-endings I've ever read. I went searching to see if there was a follow up series and I found nothing, which is really sad, as the story started out with some promise.
(The) Key to the Kingdom (manga) Decent "Meh" pretty much summed up my reaction to this one. I have no real objections to it though. It was decently plotted and the characters were interesting enough, but it just didn't grab me. I read a lot of fantasy fiction back in the day, and this read a lot like that. It was basically just your run of the mill dragon fantasy. I think I'm burnt out on such things. If it doesn't bring anything new to the table, I have a hard time getting into it and unfortunately Key to the Kingdom isn't anything new.
Kill Me, Kiss Me (manhwa) So-so The first volume of this is an amusing genderbender, in which a pair of cousins swich genders in order to attend each other's schools. if it had continued in that direction, I would have liked the series much more, as those characters were interesting. However, from volume 2 onwards, we follow a different set of charaters and it's only loosely related to the first volume. Basically it's like two different series. Unfortunately, the rest of the series is not nearly as interesting as volume one. In fact, months later now, I barely remember it while I do have some recall of the first volume. Not a good sign.
Kimi Shiruya - Dost Thou Know? (manga) Decent This one shot is about a pair of brothers who do kendo. It is saved from being your typical "schoolboys in love" story by having kendo and the rivalry between the two older brothers figure largely in the plot. I liked that the mangaka didn't just use the sport as "window dressing" but really integrated it in the story. The story itself was decent, but nothing special. I like this mangaka, but I don't think her work is very popular here. All that's been published thus far is this and one volume of "God of Dogs".
King of Cards (manga) Very good This is a shoujo about a girl who gets into a fictional card game called "Chaos" by accidentally aquiring a rare card. You'd expect a manga about a fake card game to be cheesy and boring, but this wasn't the case. Tateno manages to make it interesting and creative, explaining the rules and tournaments in such a way that it sounds like fun. If it were a real game, I'd play. The heroine, Minami, is kinda your typical shoujo crybaby, but strangely, for this story it works. She gradually builds confidence as she gets better at the game. The love triangle was also well done, since the final choice wasn't clear to me until the very end. I was pleasantly suprised by how much I enjoyed this series. since I've been lukewarm on most of Tateno's work except for Yellow and Hero Heel. It seems I enjoy her longer series more than her more numerous one shots and short little 2-volumers.
(The) King of Debt (manga) So-so This is a BL antholgy and I have a hard time coming up with anything to say about it because it was so painfully mediocre. This is the second time I have read it actually, because I had the book, yet I had completely forgotten its contents. I expect to forget again within an hour or so. The art was the same way, sorta generic, and the anatomy (especially the naked parts) was laughable. On the other hand the book wasn't bad, just extremely bland and seriously lacked depth.
King of the Lamp (manga) So-so Here is a collection of shorts. The first few are about a genie that grants girls' wishes, making this a wish fulfillment manga for girls, literally. The last story was about an orphan girl and a pair of womanizing incubi who take her in. All of the stories are super shallow love-confession-happy ending things. The book in entertaining enough, but it very thin on plot and not the sort of thing that sticks with you.
King of Thorn (manga) Excellent I thoroughly enjoyed this action/horror manga. The plot was fun and imaginative, if not terribly original, as the manga-ka himself admits that he swiped the ideas from movies he's seen (Jurassic Park would be an obvious one). Even so, The story is faced paced with plenty of action and feels fresh despite the obvious influences. I thought it was pretty cool and I tore through all 6 volumes in a few short hours.
A King's Lesson (manga) Bad What a terrible book this was! This book regurgitates every negative stereotype people have of boys love manga, starting with the ridiculous "rape is love" plot, which takes place in an all boys school, and features a girly looking young man. The art is terrible too, with simplistic badly proportioned faces and overuse of screentone. This is just a bad book and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
Kiss All The Boys (manga) Good This was a quick and entertaining read. The characters were interesting and their "issues" were believable. The humor worked for me and Shiuko Kano's art is another plus. On the other hand, the end is just a little too neat and tidy. Some of these characters really get the shaft (no pun intended) and to have everyone end up happy after all that goes down seems a little hard to believe. I also wasn't a fan of the pairings; seeing middle aged dudes paired with high school boys slightly creeped me out. Despite these problems , Kiss All the Boys is still a fun read and I was able to enjoy the story.
Kiss Blue (manga) Very good Among all of the English translated BL, Kiss Blue is somewhat of a rarity: an understated, rape and fanservice free tale of two adults finding love. The plot is a super simple, but realistic and well executed take on best friends falling in love. While it's not my favorite style, Kinoshita's sketchy, expressive art fits the story well. I'm so glad that the second volume of this two volume series was finailly published (years after vol. 1). This is by far the best of Kinoshita's works available in English. The other two I've read by her, Little Crybaby and You & Harujion were not impressive, which probably acounts for her poor sales here. That's unfortunate, because Kiss Blue is a quality title and should be recognized as such.
Kissing (manga) Decent More "school boys in love". This time it's a couple of college students who start out as friends until one of them wants more. It was ok, but nothing particularly memorable. I've read this scenario before, and the author didn't manage to make her story stand out in any way from all the rest.
Kitchen Princess (manga) So-so I've come to notice that in shoujo manga, the larger the eyes, the younger the target demographic. This proved to be true of Kitchen Princess as well. It's basically a cliche ridden high school romance with the main character being an underdog sort with dreams of being a pastry chef. Typical school romance tropes pop up constantly, with the mean girl rival, the love triangle, and the way Najika seems to solve all problems by "doing her best" (which mostly involves baking a dessert). For the target audience, this isn't a bad choice, it's cute and inoffensive. For me, it's a little bland. I think I'm too old for the super sparkly shoujo.
Kizuna - Bonds of Love (manga) Excellent I'm not very well read in yaoi manga. My initial impressions (before actually reading any of it hehe) of the genre were not so good; I mostly thought that it was shallow gay romance. Kizuna is pretty good though. Combining one part yakuza story, one part sports manga, and two parts romance, Kizuna manages to rise above my low expectations of the genre to tell a good story. The characters were interesting and nuanced, and I actually cared what happened to them. Unfortunately, this manga was never finished in the US. I've only read up to volume 5, and volumes 6 and 7 are astronomically priced on the used market. It's not likely that I'll ever get to read the rest of the story and that's a shame, as this is one title that deserved to be rereleased.

It's been several years since I first picked up Kizuna and wrote the above. After all this time, the characters and story have remained with me. The cast is memorable and they and their relationships are well developed. Instead of following a formula with generic characters who fall in love, then bed, the end, all in a single book, Kazuma Kodaka has created an actual story about these people that feels real and genuine. If I have to criticize, I'd say the series biggest issue is the choppy narrative, especially in the beginning volumes. The timeline jumps all over the place from chapter to chapter before finally settling in. The series has other flaws as well, like using a couple of hoary old romance cliches here and there, and perhaps the dated art style (which I love). Despite not being perfect, I feel lucky in having picked this series as my introduction to BL, because it's one of the best.

Kodocha - Sana's Stage (manga) Very good I was introduced to Kodocha first through the anime (of which I've only seen the first 52 episodes). After reading up to volume four, I was only mildly interested, as I already knew what was going to happen and the story up until then still focused mostly on silliness. Starting volume five, the story became more serious and I found myself becoming more engrossed. Sana and Akito's story is very charming and I found myself staying up late to finish it.
Land of the Blindfolded (manga) Decent I found Land of the Blindfolded to be rather bland and vanilla. The premise was interesting and it's fun in a sweet, innocent undemanding sort of way. There just isn't really any real conflict in the story, which makes for a bland read. The characters were very pleasant but shallow. It was just a bit too saccarine for me. The art was standard shoujo. Overall it was a forgettable experience.
(The) Lapis Lazuli Crown (manga) So-so This was about as bland and mediocre as shoujo gets. There's very little plot or characterization here. It's short, at only two volumes, possibly because even the mangaka knew she had nothing.
Last Portrait (manga) Very good There are two stories contained in this volume. In the first, a man is in love with his sister's fiance. This was a very well crafted short story, not just for a yaoi, but for any genre. I wish it had been longer with more time to delve into the character's backstories. I found that whole family facinating and thought it really could have been expanded into a series with some more development.

The second story was a bit weaker, dealing with FBI agents. I didn't think the setting and plot felt authentic in this one. I wonder if the manga-ka had ever even met an FBI agent, much less been in their offices. It didn't feel like it, which is why I couldn't get into this story as much. On the plus side, it wasn't a total waste, as I did get into the characters.

Both of these stories were pretty non explict, with mostly implied sex. So, those looking for porn yaoi, look elsewhere. For the rest of us, Last Portrait offers an interesting read.

Laugh Under the Sun (manga) Very good I quite liked this one shot about a shiftless, loser ex-boxer and his two friends. The characters felt very 3 dimensional and their actions were believable. I like Yamada's sense of comedy too. Her works tend to be more sarcastic funny than over-the-top silly, which is more my style. After reading several of her manga by now, I can say that her art does grow on you as well.
Let Dai (manhwa) Masterpiece It's been a long time since I've read a wonderfully emotional drama such as Let Dai. It's the fully three dimentional nuanced characters that make stories such as this succeed so well. Seeyeon Won's art really adds to this story, as she depicts people and emotions with skill. Let Dai pretty much worked on every level for me. I went through the full range of emotions while reading it: I cried, I got pissed off, and I felt happy, al signs of a great drama. I will read this one again someday (I just have to brace myself for the emotional onslaught).
Level-C (manga) Not really good This is pretty much plotless porn. The art isn't that great, it's very '90's. There's not much to say about it, other than at least it's better than the OVA, which is extra bad. Either way, even as porn, it's mediocre.
A Liar in Love (manga) Decent This is a one shot by Kiyo Ueda (The Color of Love). It was about a lying using playboy type who finally falls in love. It was decent in that the was some character development for the playboy lead, but the love interest was a cardboard cutout. The art was generic with nonexistent backgrounds as well. The book was just a small step above "meh" overall.
Liberty Liberty! (manga) So-so I really have a hard time connecting with Hinako Takanaga's work due to her penchant for drawing young looking blushing girly boys. The lead character here was supposed to be a college drop out that is found drunk and laying in the middle of the street in his own vomit, yet he looked like a skinny 12 year old girl, with blushing cheeks and huge eyes. The guy who picks him up is drawn in a normal masculine way, so I know she can draw men looking normal. I guess she adheres a little too much to the formula, i.e. small looking girly one =bottom and taller manly looking one =top. I would rather see this disappear in favor of well rounded charcters instead of the stereotypical boy's love tropes used as chaacterization shorthand. It's lazy and I'm sick of it.
Lies & Kisses (manga) Good In this one volume story, our main character picks up some guy in a bar who turns out to be his long estranged half brother. Yes, there is drama in this story. The art is quite nice also. I liked it, but only because I didn't allow myself to think too deeply about the incest part. I realize it's not for everyone, but since I was able to enjoy something like Koi Kaze, the plot doesn't unnerve me as much as it would others.
Lies Are A Gentleman's Manners (manga) Good Here's a more mature josei BL book about a closeted gay man. Despite his preference for men, he ends up marrying to please his family and in the end he truely loves his wife and daughter. It was quite sad actually, as he was never able to pursue a relationship with either of the men he loved. I appreciated the much more realistic tone of this book. After so many trope filled BL with samey stories and stock characters, this book reads like a breath of fresh air.
Little Butterfly (manga) Very good Little Butterfly is a touching and emotional high school romance. Kojima befriends Nakahara, an outcast with a difficult homelife. Nakahara has a lot of problems, but his relationship with Kojima manages to keep him grounded. Little Butterfly gave off a realistic vibe, and I really enjoyed reading a plausible school boy romance for once. The characters were well written and more importantly, their romance made sense. After reading a bunch of June titles, I count Little Butterfly as one of their better offerings. Too bad volume 1 is already out of print.
Little Crybaby (manga) Not really good This is yet another ho hum boys' love anthology. Little Crybaby features, you guessed it, a whole lot of man crying. I guess we are supposed to find this cute? Not me. The stories were very short and shallow as hell. I have a hard time even recalling them a mere hour after I read the book. The only thing I found somewhat palatable is Keiko Kinoshita's art. She uses very light delicate lines which give the whole thing an "airy" look. Occasionally, faces were a little off proportion, but her style overall is very pleasing to me. It's a very recognizable, non-cookie cutter style which stands out and it's the only thing that made this book readable, although I hear her other work is much better, so I won't write her off just yet.
Live For Love (manga) Bad In the end, it was the art that did this one in for me. Small, short noses, with pointed chins and tiny mouths made the characters look distinctively mouse-like. If being jarred out of the story by extremely ugly character designs wasn't bad enough, the plot was undercooked as well. It's about a pair of private detectives. One is adopted and agrees to go to a marriage meeting at his family's behest. The other one objects, then there is a rape and a love confession. The end. This book is just terrible.
Living for Tomorrow (manga) Decent Tasuku's mother was an "ageman", a woman who brought men good luck, so everyone wants to date him and hopes he has the same power, but he's in love with his best friend. This is a pretty simple school boy romance. Its sweet without being saccarine, but its short and lacks depth. I like Taishi Zaou's character designs, as they have a "bright and shiny" appeal. Overall, I was mildly amused by this book, although it's not my favorite by her.
(The) Lizard Prince (manga) So-so This was obviously supposed to be a one shot story that got expanded in this two volume series. The main conflict was pretty much solved in the first chapter, so the rest kinda ends up being a plotless mess that goes nowhere. I will say the second volume pulled itself together a little better than the first in offering some sort of plot, but it's nowhere near as interesting as the first chapter.
(The) Loudest Whisper: Uwasa no Futari (manga) So-so More cliche schoolboy boys' love. Yay. Seriously, reading this title was like going down a checklist of boys' love tropes. It was mostly short stories with the title story carrying over to the next volume. None of the stories had any depth whatsoever. They basically served as mindless fluff to pass the time. Matsumoto's art isn't the best either. It was messy (not in a good way) and I sometimes had trouble telling characters apart. They all looked alike. Despite not being impressed with this offering, I still want to try Kyou Kara Maoh!, also by Matsumoto.
Love Bus Stop (manga) Good This collection of short stories actually proved to be fairly good (I'm usually not a fan of shorts). Perhaps it's because all of the stories featured adults after being inundated with tons of high school settings and characters. Even though I liked Love Bus Stop, I would have prefered the stories be longer and more in depth. I thought most of them showed potential but were cut far too short. It's a common occurence with short stories and one reason why I generally don't like them.
Love Control (manga) So-so This is a salaryman romance. Kei is hired to do the interior design on a bar. The owner is a player and flirts heavily with him. Kei falls for him against his better judgement. The characterization here was pretty cardboard. The character designs themselves were well drawn, pretty in a masculine way. I found the series entertaining enough I guess, but lacking any sort of substance that would compel me to revisit it.
Love for Dessert (manga) Good Of the few book published by Luv Luv, this is one of the better ones. It's an anthology with several stories. I didn't notice anything particularly offensive in this book that bothered me with other Luv Luv books, such as girls falling for jerky douchebags and attempting to portray such a thing as romantic. The stories were all interesting. It's nice to be able to read about the love lives of adult women for a change. My only complaint is with the brevity of the stories. They're just too short to be particularly memorable. This is actually the second time I've read this and I completely forgot about half of the stories. Even rereading did not jog my memory. On the other hand, I read it twice and enjoyed it both times, so that must count for something.
Love Full of Scars (manga) Very good This is another one that brushes off those yaoi conventions with a dismissive wave. For one, the artist actually drew some body hair. More importantly, the standard male/female stereotypes yaoi characters adhere to are totally turned on their head. And despite the angsty sounding title, the manga is genuinely funny as well. I laughed out loud several times. It's definitely one of the better entries in the genre and I enjoyed it immensely.
Love Hurts (manga) Not really good Published under the Blu label, this book skirts the edge beween regular shoujo and boy's love. In fact, the last story was purely shoujo, about a girl who can see aliens. The first couple of stories were very strange and features a man who kills his boyfriend, and two guys who are always duking it out. I think these were supposed to be some sort of dark comedy? Whatever, I didn't laugh. The third sotry was about guys with superpowers who fight crime, but we never learn what those powers are and there's no actual crime being fought. All of the stories were pathetically flimsy with cardboard characters and little development. I didn't like the book, nor did I like the mangaka's other series, Menkui. I'll be steering clear of her work from now on.
Love is Like a Hurricane (manga) Not really good This series is the epitome of boring cliche schoolboy yaoi. Seriously, if there's a stereotype of what kind of manga a "yaoi manga" is, this fits. You've got a bunch of genericly drawn young looking pretty boys at an all boys school. Of course the really pretty smaller ones are "bottoms" and of course they dress up as waitresses/maids for the school festival. If the characters weren't getting it on so frequently in the story, I would've fallen asleep. That's all this series has to recommend it though.
Love Knot (manga by L. Ichijo) Decent This is a rather run of the mill yaoi anthology. Nothing groundbreaking or original, yet nothing too offensive either. I was mildly entertained. I also appreciated that the mangaka wasn't afraid to draw a penis. I think it's a bit weird when some BL manga opt to go for the "Ken doll" look when drawing naked dudes. These are supposed to be boys after all, not androgynous genderless creatures of BL land. Anyway, the book was decent, nothing more.
Love Lesson (manga) So-so I found this short story collection to be pretty hit-or-miss, with mostly misses. Let's start with the art, which in my opinion, was pretty bad. The faces were really awkward and alien looking. The stories themselves weren't enough to carry the amaturish art. The first one, a teacher-student story, was more creepy than romantic. Most of the middle ones were mediocre and forgettable. The only story I sort of liked was the last one. I wasn't really into this collection and I'm not planning on picking up this manga-ka's work in the future.
Love Machine (manga) Not really good Meh. The andriod thing has been done to death in pretty much all genres. Chobits, Absolute Boyfriend, the list goes on. Even still, those works were still enjoyable, and this one is not. I do not like shota; it creeps me out. Even when they're robots.
Love Mode (manga) Excellent Love Mode has a large cast of loosely related characters and tells their stories as they pair up and fall in love. As such, it is light on plot and focuses more on characterization. There is a ton of feel good romance to be found in this series, as well as some high drama. (It seemed like there was a hospital scene in every volume LOL). The art started a little shaky, I'm not a fan of the really angular faces and some of the anatomy looked really awkward, but I felt it improved with each volume (or maybe it just grew on me). Since this series was 11 volumes long, there was plenty of room to introduce and flesh out the characters and their stories, which made a pretty satisfying read (I hate cliffhangers and unresolved endings). Overall, I found it to be a highly entertaining series for romance fans.

I recectly revisited this series nearly a decade after I first read it. It hasn't really aged well. The stories are rote and full of tropes which are pretty tired at this point. The art is seriously dated, with huge pointy chins and "yaoi hands". It's not a bad series, but reading it again let me with a "meh" feeling instead of warm fuzzies.

Love Quest (manga) Good I was fully prepared not to like this as I have heard not so good things about Lily Hoshino's manga (especially about her style of depicting really girly looking boys-not my thing). After reading it, I can call myself a fan. The story was a silly fantasy romp. I thought it was great fun. Hoshino's art is pretty, with clean lines and a distinctive, recognizable style. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this book.
Love Share (manga, Aoi Kujyou) Weak Eh. Typical BL manga. I didn't really "get" the characters or all of their angst. This manga-ka just isn't for me.

I just read this again as I'm weeding out the duds from my collections and I can better explain whats wrong with the book now: pretty much everything. The characterization is so sparse that they may as well have been stick figures. Nothing is elaborated on, so I had no baseline for the characters: how they met, what they were to each other, nothing. Some of these things are explained at the very end, but by then the book is over and it's too little too late. Even the art is the same face with different hair and blank backgrounds. Basically this is as bare-bones and generic as it gets. Avoid.

A Love Song for the Miserable (manga) Good I actually got in to this one. I expected another bland June offering, but A Love Song for the Miserable proved me wrong. The art was nice and the romance worked for me
Love Syndrome (manga) Not really good This is yet another boy's love anthology from June. It completely failed to make any impression on me what-so-ever; the absolute height of mediocre forgettable boys love manga.
Love Training (manga) Decent This collection of shorts took place at a school (so common) and featured a group of students all relating to each other in some way, so the whole thing felt more cohesive than your average volume of short stories. The art was ok, I wasn't blown away by it but I wasn't offended by it either, and it was fairly expressive and overall pleasing to the eye. The stories were your standard romance short stories, nothing groundbreaking there either. Overall, I found the collection to be entertaining.
Love!! (manga) So-so Yawn. Another all boys school where everyone happens to be gay. This time it's a lighthearted romance between a perverted transfer student and the uptight student council prez. It was pretty shallow and forgettable and the awkward art doesn' t help. The book is not offensively bad, but not recommend either. It's a time waster.
Love*Com (manga) Very good While high school set romantic comedies are a dime a dozen in shoujo manga, Love Com is a step above the rest. This one centers on a romance between a short boy and a tall girl. The lead couple is funny and has genuine chemistry, making them fun to read about. Aya Nakahara has a knack for conveying comedic expressions as well. The story follows the couple through all 4 years of high school and ends with graduation. My only complaint with the series is that it appeared to jump the shark around the time Grampa showed up. By that time, all the major problems with the relationship had been smoothed out and it seemed like the mangaka had run out story and so invented new problems in order to keep it going. I also had a slight complaint with Otani's character. He was so prickly at times that sometimes I had a hard time seeing why Risa liked him so much. As a story though, it did generate a lot of the comedy, as Otani and Risa's reactions to each other were what made this series funny in the first place. Love Com is a shining example of shoujo romantic comedy and I enjoyed it very much.
Love+Alpha (manga) Decent I haven't really been impressed with anything I've read by Takashi Kanzaki. I do like her art, but her plots tend to run along the silly and ridiculous line. This one is no exception. The story goes like this: Yuuya is being persued by his childhood friend and another friend who is also a ghost. What really happens is they take turns molesting him while he makes a wishy washy token protest. This manages to work for me since Yuuya isn't portrayed in a girly way, just in denial about his gayness. The book is entertaining in a tillitating way, but that's it. It is pretty stupid and it's not something that I'm going to have out on my bookshelf and readily admit to reading.
Love/Knot (manga by H. Ishimaru) So-so This one shot BL story makes an attempt at a plot, when Keigo discovers a runaway and takes him in. Turns out his runaway has psychic powers and escaped from a government research facility. Unfortunately, the story is very bare bones and the characters are as flimsy as cardboard. The art is pretty rough also. The book could have been good, but suffered from poor execution.
Loveholic (manga) Decent Toko Kawai's manga run from the pretty serious to the silly sappy sort. Loveholic falls somewhere in between. It's a pretty traditional romance between two guys who work together, complete with a happy ending. I'm not a fan of Kawai's sappy stuff, so fortunately the silly parts of Loveholic didn't overpower the more serious apects. Although, the lighthearted bits did work out, the characters played off each other well. Overall, I did enjoy the series, as it is entertaining if not particularly original.
Lovely Sick (manga) Bad This manga can be summed up in one word: Creepy! The relationship between the doctor/guardian and his patient/ward was not "cute" or "romantic", instead it was all kinds of wrong. Just. Ick. This one wins the "honor" of being the grossest manga I've ever read.
Lover's Flat (manga) Decent
Lover's Pledge (manga) Decent Here we have a BL anthology with three stories. The title story is the weakest. Overall, it was a mediocre book so I don't have much to say about it. I found it to be mildly entertaining.
Lovers and Souls (manga) Excellent This one was a tearjerker. I admit it, I cried. It's not often that a manga can do that to me (anime does much more frequently). It's a great accomplishment if a mangaka can set up the characters and make me care in only one volume. This is one of the best tragic romances I have ever encountered in manga.
Lovers in the Night (manga) Good This is another one of Yoshinaga's European historical manga. I liked this a little less than Gerard and Jaques because it lacked a little depth in comparison. Of course, it was only one volume long, so what do you expect? Even a mediocre manga by Fumi Yoshinaga is better than 90% of the other crap that foisted upon us in the yaoi genre.
Ludwig II (manga) Good I'm always interested in historical manga, and this one doesn't disappoint. Using German history as a framwork for this story made for some interesing plot and characterization. It's almost fool proof really, the bones are already there, all the mangaka has to do is flesh it out. You Higuri is obviously up to it, as is her art, which compliments a story of this style beautifully. I quite enjoyed it.
Lychee Light Club (manga) Decent WTF did I just read? I don't even know where to start. Let's just say that it was "interesting". It's about a group of really wacked out kids who form a club (more like a cult) in an abandoned factory. They build a robot and order it to catch a beautiful girl. The gimmick here is that the robot ends up being more human than the boys who are all psychotic. The violence in this is over the top. I couldn't stop reading, but only because of the sheer what the fuckery of this thing. Is all of Furuya's work like this? This one is definitely not a fave, but I'm interested in reading more of his work.
Mad Love Chase (manga) Good I quite enjoyed this little five volume shoujo comedy. Yamoto is the demon prince who escapes to the human world in order to escape his life and arranged marriage. On Earth, he is an average high school boy. However, soon his father's minions as well as his fiancee come to earth in order to find the demon prince. This is a silly plot well beftting the slapstick style humor. I usually don't like slapstick, but in this instance, it works. Takashima's characters are fun and memorable, and their interactions make up for most of the humor. All of the minions end up at Yamato's school in one way or another, and watching them all try to accomplish their goal while pretending to be normal is highly amusing. The story also manages to balance the silliness with a few emotional moments. All in all it was a pretty entertaining series, not great literature by any means, just solid fun.
Madness (manga) Not really good I have to commend a BL manga that focuses on plot instead of the same ol' same 'ol romance. Unfortunately, the plot of Madness was kind of a hot mess. Izaya is a priest who keeps a prisoner underneath his church. The prisoner is Kyo, a mass murder and the leader of a gang called Madness. One of Kyo's old cronies shows up, they fight, and Kyo is set free. He decides to be a bounty hunter and hunt down members of Madness. Izaya tags along. Along the way they team up with more of Kyo's old aquaintances and are hunted by a church assassination group. It sound convoluted, and it is. I had a difficult time establishing the setting. The messy art made following all the action sometimes difficult. Also, Izaya was clearly "the girl", a useless, crying, protesting stereotypical BL "uke". That's even more apparent when contrasted with Miyabi, the series' sole female character. She's capable, and not a crying, useless, submissive mess. I guess that why she's not the heroine. This series is clearly very flawed, but in the end I was at tleast entertained.
Mai the Psychic Girl (manga) Very good The set up for this story was really interesting. Unfortunately, it falters a bit in the middle and the ending was blah. The art was excellent, no complaints there. I think my problem stemmed from the lack of character development for pretty much everybody except Mai. The plot was interesting, as were the characters, but it felt like the author could have done so much more with it.
Maid in Heaven (manga) So-so Eh. It wasn't very good. The plot was extremely shallow and the characterization was flimsy as hell. Also the art wasn't to my liking either (really girly looking main character). It was entertaining in a brain dead way. I've read good yaoi that was not only entertaining but also not mind numbingly stupid, Maid in Heaven is not one of those titles.
Make Love & Peace (manga) So-so This manga is about a girl and her cop boyfriend and their relationship. That's it. I found it and the sequel "Make More Love and peace" to be really bland. The characters felt very one note and the plot was flimsy as hell. There was quite a bit of sex in this manga, but even that managed to be boring, not hot. I kept waiting for something to happen for me to care about the characters, but it never did.
Mamiya Doll House (manga) Decent Kazuhiko Mishima is a mid-tier mangaka for me. I buy her books because they are entertaining fluff reads, but they don't tend to leave much of an impression. This book is no different. The title story about a shady "real doll" store that specializes in making dolls indistinquishable from humans, is kind of creepy. The very last story is about a man buying a body pillow, except its an actual human pillow...thing. Are these stories a playful poke at weird otaku? Could be, as their tone is not entirely serious. My favorite stories were the trio of schoolboy stories padding out the rest of the book. Especially the one with the bishounen fearing future baldness and going overboard to prevent it. I did laugh out loud reading that. Mishima's pointy, spiky haired art style seems more suited to drawing schoolboy stories as well. In the end, I was mildly entertained by this book, although I'm sure I will forget most of it by tomorrow.
(The) Man I Picked Up (manga) Decent This is a collection of related short stories featuring employees and customers of a gay bar. They're all pretty short, so there's not much development, bu they still managed to entertain me in a shallow way. Michalski's writing is lighthearted and comedic, which is a good fit for short and sweet stories like this. I'm also a fan of her art, even though it adheres to the seme/uke tropes a bit too much, it's clean and attractive. Overall, this isn't a particularly memorable book, but it was a pleasant enough read.
(The) Man of Tango (manga) Very good
(The) Man Who Doesn't Take Off His Clothes (novel) Very good Here we have a two volume yaoi light novel series from DMP/June. This one is a salaryman romance falling firmly on the romance end of the scale rather than porn. The lead character, Kaitani is kind of a screw up and despises his prissy uptight boss, Fujiwara. Watching these two grow from dislike to love was highly entertaining. Since this is a two volume series, the relationship is developed a lot more than I've come to expect from these yaoi novels. There is also quite a bit paid attention to Kaitani's job and the workplace environment. I wasn't jarred out of the story by awkward prose, so I found it passable to read. Overall, this is one of my favorite releases from June's light novel line.
Man's Best Friend (manga) Decent Creepy premise alert! *Whoo Whoo (sirens) The dog man story was pretty icky. The art was great but I couldn't get past the dog-man part. Thankfully, that story only takes up half of the book. The other half is a story of two childhood friends reconnecting. I really liked that one.
Maniac Shorts Shot (manga) Decent There are four short stories in this book. The title story, about a couple of guys who find a box of novelty underwear, is plotless porn. The second story, about a couple of guys meeting at the class reunion, was the high point. The third story featuring the bike shop was a typical "rape is love" plot, ugh. The last story, about the hair fetishist, stood out as being one of the most completely twisted scenarios I've read. To say any more would spoil it. All stories were about adults which for me is a big plus. This book is also memorable, but more for the weirdness of it's stories than anything. The stories aren't long enough to have interesting characterization or much of a plot. It was certainly entertaining, but all in all, the collection was just decent.
Manic Love (manga) Good This is the prequel to Fake Fur, in which Maki is the main character. While I did like this one, I didn't like it as much as Fake Fur only because I didn't "get' Maki. I encounted the same feeling of realism in the plot, but because Maki isn't as sypathetic as the characters in Fake Fur, I didn't enjoy it as much.
Maoh: Juvenile Remix (manga) Excellent I read this manga as each volume came out, so the finer details were a little hazy with each new book. However, I had no problems diving back into it as the characters and the story were so memorable. This is the story of Ando, who witnesses the rise of a popular and sinister organisation called "Grasshopper" and doesn't like what he sees. The manga has interesting things to say about mob mentality and going against popular opinion. There is a big twist in volume seven that I didn't see coming, that's for sure. This is based on a prose novel, and it shows, as it is fast paced and tightly plotted, without that "made up as it goes along" feel of a lot of shounen manga. I was satisfied with the ending as well. Overall, the series was an enjoyable, memorable read.
March on Earth (manga) Good March On Earth is a two volume series about a high school girl raising her 2 year old nephew after her sister passes away in a car accident. It was handled in a very straightforward and realistic manner, showing all of the things Yuzu has to give up and the sacrifices she has to make as essentially a teenage mother. Since it's a manga, it all seems to work out in the end, but just seeing the situation portrayed in an unglorified way was a breath of fresh air.
Mardock Scramble (manga) So-so The first volume had an interesting set up: a young girl is murdered and then revived in a new cyborg body to help take down her killer. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out to be very good. After the first volume, it starts to get weird, and not in a good way. Weird villains with grafted body parts, weird names like "Boiled" and "Shell", and other shit thrown in seemingly "just because". The casino arc in volumes 5 and 6 was very tedious as well. As for it's good points, it's fast paced, somewhat entertaining, and the series isn't long, so I didn't feel like I wasted my time at least.
Marmalade Boy (manga) Good Overall, I enjoyed this story. I felt at 8 volumes, it was the perfect length; it didn't drag on too long. I can appreciate that this is a classic in the shojo genre. I recognize a lot of the story elements from more modern manga. It does feel a little dated, so I prefer the more modern stories to this one. This is definitely worth a read though.
Mars (manga) Masterpiece I couldn't put this one down. As soon as I finished one volume, I found myself reaching for the next. This is what I look for in a shojo love story; likeable, interesting lead characters that are fun to root for and good, believable motivations for their actions. The story itself was engrossing and while drama as present, it didn't feel contrived or too over the top. The art in this series was excellent as well. Sometimes I would stop reading and just take a moment to look at the pretty pictures. I definitely plan on re-reading this series someday.
Mars: Horse with no Name (manga) Decent The title of this is a little misleading. It's actually a compilation of three short stories of which only one has anything to do with Mars. The stories were just ok, but I'm not really a fan of short stories. I prefer longer and more detailed plots.
Maybe I'm Your Steppin' Stone (manga) Very good This is a spinoff of I'm Not Your Steppin Stone. If you've read the first, you know what to expect: manly men in porny situations. I've become a real fan of Shiuko Kano's art. No girly looking anime dudes here!
Meeting You (manga) So-so I haven't been impressed by anything I've read by Mio Tennouji thus far. This book is no different. It's yet another yaoi anthology with shallow forgettable stories and cardboard characters. The first story is yet anther BL in an all boys school. Yawn. "Stale" pretty much sums up this collection.
Melted Love (manga) So-so I found this antology to be an uneven mix. I thought the second to last story about the tattoo artist was quite good. On the other hand, the story with the torture loving dentist was just bad. The rest were a pretty forgettable bunch. I had a problem with the art. The odd sort of "flat" way the mangaka draws faces just about pulled me out of the story. The proportions are just strange, making everything look off. Needless to say, I didn't really care for the book, with the exception of that one story.
Menkui! (manga by S. Tanaka) Decent Meh. A Menkui is a shallow person and that describes the main character. One character quirk does not characterization make. This three volume manga was the very picture of mediocre.
Merry Family Plan (manga) Decent This is an anthology by a new-to-me mangaka. The art style took some getting used to. It's drawn in a quirky, cartoony, highly stylized fashion. The characters have really round heads and crudely drawn bodies. I must admit that I really didn't like the look of it. However, the stories them selves were more on the realistic side, with minimal cliche usage, which is refreshing in the BL genre. Unfortunately, being an anthology, they were far too short. I am curious to read a longer story from this mangaka, because despite the art, I think her writing is fairly good.
MeruPuri - The Marchen Prince (manga) Decent Meru Puri is a silly, fanservicey manga. In short, it's mindless fun. The character designs are absolutely beautiful, with really elaborate costumes and detailed hair. The backgrounds are your standard shojo sparkle though. The characters are so well drawn, one hardly notices. The plot is of your standard fairytale variety. However, at only four volumes, it works. I didn't expect anything great out of Meru Puri, therefore I was able to enjoy it for what it was: a couple hours of light entertainment.
Metro Survive (manga) Good Metro Survive is a short 2 volume survival drama series. A massive earthquake hit Tokyo, trapping a group of people in a subway station. Plotwise, I thought it was great. It moved at a brisk pace and told a complete story. The characterization was a bit flimsy, but at only 2 volumes, it's to be expected. The art was servicable if not spectacular. It managed to convey a sense of desperation, which fit the story well, so it got the job done at least. Overall, I thought the series was good and entertaining.
Midare Somenishi (manga) Good I picked this up because I am a fan of the mangaka's other work, Kizuna. I found this one to be very dark, violent, and disturbing and also somewhat of a rape-fest. I can't say I enjoyed Midare Somenishi, but it wasn't a bad manga, it was actually fairly good. The characters were well written and the story itself was decent, if a bit rushed. I like Kazuma Kodaka's art as well. I'd be interested to see more of her work licensed and translated.
Midnight Secretary (manga) Decent This is basically a manga harlequin romance. In this one, Kaya is a secretary and discovers her handsome womanizing boss is a vampire. It's pretty shallow in plot and characterization. The boss is your standard controlling jerk type and Kaya is a "do anything for her man" doormat. These tropes are so old fashioned and well worn that they're not even really used in romance fiction anymore (at least not in anything considered good). As far as this series goes, it was an ok distraction for a couple of hours. it wasn't great, but I found it a somewhat entertaining smutfest.
Millenium Darling 2006 (manga) Weak Too many characters, nonexistant plot, lame humor. I didn't like it and I won't read the sequels.
Millennium Snow (manga) Good I read in an Ouran volume that the author does eventually plan to continue this story. As of now, it's on hiatus after two volumes. In my opinion, it's a bit rougher than Ouran in the art department and it has a "made up as he/she went along" feel to the plot. The characters make up for this though. Overall, it was a fairly enjoyable read. I would like to see it continue.
Mirai no Kioku: Kaze no Yukue (manga) Excellent This is the sequel to Future Lovers. This second volume is just as good as the first. I especially got a kick out of the future depictions of Kento and Akira as old fogies. Since this is a yaoi manga, I know many people will write it off and that's a shame, as this is a really well written romantic comedy.
Missing Road (manga) Not really good This is a rare boys' love manga without the love. It's a futuristic sci-fi story and I thought it was interesting and entertaining. Unfortunately, it wasn't very good. There were several volumes worth of plot here crammed into one volume. Without enough eleboration, some things made very little sense. Because of the condensed feel, it also lacked depth. I really wish Sakurai had made this into a series and developed everything a bit more, as it had potential to be really good. As it is, it feels a bit like a barebones outline of a story, with a couple of sex scenes thrown in because it's BL. On the positve side, I do like Sakurai's art and I liked seeing a more ambitious story in a BL manga, even though it failed. I'm also happy that Dramaqueen is still releasing books, and I look forward to reading more by Sakurai in the future.
Mister Mistress (manga) Good This one is silly and humorous. There's a tenticle monster and "little Fujimaru" talks! I got a few laughs out of it. The art is nice also. It was pretty open ended so I assume there will eventually be more than two volumes (I hope).
Model (manhwa) Decent The first volume of "Model" was very promising. The story set up was interesting, and I liked the art and character designs. I thought the androgynous looking male characters sort of fit the whole gothic, vampirey vibe the story was going for. Unfortunately, I found myself losing interest as the series wore on, waiting for something to happen. I'm glad it was only 7 volumes. I think this story could've been concluded in 4 or 5.
Monster (manga) Masterpiece This is something very different from the usual manga fare, a fast paced action thriller. I couldn't put it down and blew through the whole thing in a couple of days. It's very densely plotted, with a large and varied cast of characters. I've never read another manga like it. Truely a masterpiece.
Monster Collection (manga) Very good This sword and sorcery style fantasy was a lot of fun. The plot is fast paced and is liberally sprinkled with humor throughout. This is a manga that doesn't take itself too seriously. The characters are fun, and while characterization is not really present, they aren't shallow archetypes either. The art is quite nice. The monsters and creatures as well as the characters and world are very well drawn and detailed. The small amount of fanservice present wasn't offputting, possibly because Kasche was a capable heroine and didn't exist as wholly as an object of titillation whose clothes inexplicably shred at the lightest touch. There was always an explanation for the nakedness in the story and I appreciated that small concession to taste. In short this manga was a good read. I enjoyed it.
(The) Moon and the Sandals (manga) Good This is a slice-of-lifeish style romance following two couples. What's interesting about it is that it keeps going even after the couples get together (where most romance manga seems to end), and shows their relationships develop in a realistic way, problems and all. No over the top drama here. Fumi Yoshinaga's art is growing on me. I'm still slightly put off by the way she draws chibis though. There's something alienlike about them. I enjoyed the story and am looking forward to reading more of Yoshinaga's work.
Moonlit Promises (manga) Bad This is an anthology containing three stories. The first story, about the lab created animal boy "pets" sold to old pedoes, was creepy as hell. I'm not easily offended by yaoi premises, but this one actively disgusted me. The second story was a tame affair in comparison, about two orphan boys living together. The last story was a genie in the bottle affair (no pun intended). All the stories were super vague as to setting, and the lack of drawn backgrounds weren't helping. If it weren't for that first story, I'd say that this is just another mediocre, forgettable BL anthology, but the inclusion of furry boy prostitution puts it into actively avoid territory.
Mr. Convenience (manga by Nase Yamato) So-so I know Nase Yamato is a popular BL mangaka, but I'm not a fan. Her art is not to my tastes at all. She draws very feminine to the point that her uke characters are virtually indistinquishable from any other shoujo heroine. When one is supposed to be a salaryman with the face and body of a 14 year old girl, my suspension of disbelief is broken. On the other hand, I do see why she has a following. Her art is clean and faces and bodies (even the super girly ones) are well proportioned. Disregarding the art, this book was just ok. It contains two stories about handy men. Neither manage to break the mold and both are pretty forgettable. I've read a few Nase Yamato books now and I've not been impressed by the writing on a single one.
Mr. Flower Bride (manga) Decent I found this and it's sequel, Mr. Flower Groom, to be fun little romance stories. To be fair, I liked Groom a touch better because I felt the relationship was better developed. I regard these more like a two volume series than two stand alone stories. The first book spent time setting up the whys and hows of situation, while the second book spent more time on the romance. Even so, I quite liked both.
Mr. Flower Groom (manga) Decent This is the seguel to Mr. Flower Bride. While I think it sometimes comes across awkwardly in a yaoi story, I really love Hoshino's art. It's really delicate and feminine looking, which is a problem when depicting men, but would look great in a standard shojo. (Has Hoshino written any of those? I'd love to read a non-yaoi by her.) It's a really distinctive style and I really like it. I get bored by the "sameness" of art in certain genres sometimes, so it's refressing to find somethig that breaks the mold a bit.
Mr. Mini Mart (manga) Good Endo is a shut in who quit school because he was bullied for being gay. In order to get out of the house, he takes a job in his family's convenience store, where he falls in love with his coworker. Unlike his first crush this one has a happy ending. i really liked this story, as the romance was heartfelt and believable. It's a positive story, as Endo eventually comes to terms with his feelings and that there is nothing wrong with him. I only wish that the story were not so short. It felt a bit condensed and I felt there was more room for growth/elaboration.
Mr. Tiger and Mr. Wolf (manga) Not really good I'm generally not really a fan of "furry" stories. Instead of humans with animal parts, this one is about animals that have human shape. The characters are very simple in the way of animals and are portrayed in their habitat living in caves and hunting buffalo (guys with horns roaming the fields). The book clearly doesn't take itself seriously. However, I was a little bored. The characters are one dimentional, the art is weak looking, and there is no real plot. The draw here must be the furries, of which I am not one, so this book didn't do anything for me.
Mushishi (manga) Excellent I've seen the anime first, so the stories through volume 5 were already familiar to me. Even still this manga is excellent. Mushi are otherworldly-like beings that inhabit the world along with everyday life. Ginko is a "mushishi" which is kinda like a traveling medicine man and he travels the land encountering mushi related problems. The stories are episodic for the most part, although there are a few that flesh out Ginko's past. The art is amazing, with its depiction of nature and the countryside and the strange bug-like mushi. The setting is a sort of rural Japan that kinda looks likes something out of the past, yet Ginko is wearing modern clothes. The whole thing has a sort of magical feel that I can't quite describe. I loved it.
MW (manga) Let me get this out of the way first: Osamu Tezuka's art is amazing. That said, I don't really for his work but I can appreciate it and the influence it has on modern manga. For one, Tezuka has a problem with writing realistic women. His women are all silly, weak creatures seemingly incapable of rational thought. Also, they are always getting raped. Every Tezuka book i've read thus far has female characters getting raped. I am aware that the attitude towards women in his time were less than kind, but I can't take the work seriously in 2010 because of them. Stuff like that relegates the book to being more like a curiousity of it's time than something that has relevance today. So, in the end, I appreciated MW, I found it entertaining, I admired the art and panel work, but I didn't particularly enjoy it. *Runs and ducks rotten tomatoes* for not worshipping the "god of manga".
My Bad! (manga) Decent This is an anthology by Rize Shinba (Mister Mistress, My Girlfriend is a Geek). The stories were nothing special, the only thing somewhat memorable is the title story about the stalker kid who steals underwear. In fact almost all of these stories had a mild stalking element. My least favorite was the last story, a silly "Romeo and Juliet" comedy about two rich kids form rival political families trying to hide their relationship. The humor in that one left me cold. All in all, I found the book only mildly entertaining. My favorite by Shinba is still Mister Mistress.
My Girlfriend's a Geek (manga) Decent In this manga based on a novel, a college student starts dating his girlfriend and finds out she's a secret otaku. The story is told from Taiga's perspective as an outsider who is introduced to the culture. He knows nothing, so even the most basic of things is explained to him, such as the meaning of the acronym BL. I found reading this a little tedious at time because of that, since so much of the this is known to me, I didn't find it that funny. Granted, I did get a giggle or two out of it, but much of the humor is centered around Taiga as the straight man and his girlfriend as the weirdo. The characters themselves seemed a little one dimentional as well. By volume five, the series had completely played out it schtick. I was mildly entertaind but that's it.
My Only King (manga) So-so Yet again, another lackluster anthology. The only story of note is the title story, a fantasy yarn about an ordinary high school boy receiving a magical crest proclaiming him King and the girlish looking sorcerer who was searching for him. I really like Lily Hoshino's distinctive clean lined character designs. but I wish her uke characters didn't look like young girls. I pretty much pulls me completely out of the story. I wish she'd either stick to straight shoujo or just make both of her leads look masculine.
My Paranoid Next Door Neighbor (manga) Decent This is another "schoolboys in love" yaoi. A dime a dozen, I know. The plot is pretty straightforward. Yukito's friend Hokuto is rooming at his house in order to attend highchool. After they figure out that they're gay, they get to it. The End. I was entertained, but this title isn't particularly memorable.
(The) Name of the Flower (manga) Excellent
Neck and Neck (manhwa) Decent Neck and Neck is another run of the mill high school set romantic comedy. I thought it was cute and it got a couple of chuckles from me, but overall it was pretty mediocre. The plot was pretty predictable. It goes like this: Our heroine Dabin convinces her crime boss dad to let her transfer schools in order to closer to her crush, Eugene. On her first day, she has a run in with the son of her dad's rival. See where this is going? If you guessed the standard love triangle with the predicatable outcome, you were right. Despite it's paint by numbers plot, it was mildly entertaining. The characters were fun and the humor scored more hits than misses.
Necratoholic (manga) So-so This was just an OK manga. It's basically a lighthearted (mostly) romance between a vampire and a vampire hunter. The vampire aspect bumped it up a notch, but the shallow plot and the flimsy characterization brought it back down. It was a mildly entertaining way to spend an hour, but it wasn't particularly memorable.
Nephilim (manga by A. Hanamaki) Decent This manga reminds me a lot of old school romance novels. You know, the ones with the shirtless guy on the cover holding a chick whose dress is falling off. The hero and heroine in Nephilim embody those stereotypes to a tee. Abel is beautiful and fiesty, and also always in need of rescue. Honestly, this story was just good campy fun. The mangaka put it on hiatus after two volumes, but I'd read it if it ever continued. It's certainly not fine literature, but it's at least entertaining.
New Beginnings (manga) Good At first glance, this appears to be one of those run of the mill school boy romances. I didn't expect to like it nearly as much as I did. Chichiro's childhood friend Keigo moves in with him to attend high school while his parents work overseas. Keigo confesses feelings for Chichiro, who doesn't know how to handle it. For one, he likes girls, and it turns out, the girl he likes also likes girls. This causes him to be more accepting of Keigo's feelings, even if he can't return them (yet). I liked natural way in which the characters and their feelings were portrayed. Usually manga of this type fall into the cutesy fanservicey realm. This one went for a more realistic take on first love. I quite liked it.
Night of the Beasts (manga) Good This was a fun little action/paranormal shoujo featuring a little demon battling, a little romance, and a family curse. It's short at only 6 volumes long, but the story wraps up nicely. Because it's so short, there isn't a whole lot of detail to the characters and the plot is very simple, but for all that, it's still enjoyable. I really like Shiomi's art. She doesn't draw "flowers and sparkles" style shoujo. Backgrounds are present and characters are drawn in a more mature style with somewhat normal sized eyes. I like that. It suits her work as well, which is usually more action based. After reading this and Canon, which I also liked, I'm definitely going to pick up her other work published in English.
NightS (manga) Very good This is the second book I've read by Kou Yoneda and it cements her in my opinion as a quality mangaka. There are three stories here. The first is about a drug runner and the one I most wanted to see expanded as I really felt there was more to tell. The second was a typical schoolboy crush story, but it was a very well written example. The last was about a pair of guys who worked at a car dealership. This was a four part story and I felt the relationship here was particularly well done and natural feeling. What I like about the stories in this is that none of the characters or feelings expressed within feel contrived at all. It's some of the best written BL I've encountered.
No One Loves Me (manga) Good Yugi Yamada has become one of my favorite boys love mangaka. All of her books are good, and this one is no exception. She usually bases her stories around working adults, which is super refreshing among a sea of school set romances. The emotions expressed in the book felt genuine and not overblown and melodramatic. All in all, it a well written romance with adult characters, my favorite kind.
No Touching At All (manga) Very good Here's a rarity: an understated and believable romance between adults who actually look like adults ( +1 for Yoneda's art style). In this, Shima has just started a new job and develops a crush on his boss. The story itself is predictable, and it sometimes veers towards too melodramtic, but it plays out in a most uncliche way with a more realistic approach to a relationship between two men. I apreciate a story that doesn't rely on tropes as plot and characterization. This book was like a breath of fresh air.
NOiSE (manga, Tsutomu Nihei) Excellent I'm trying to decide if I rated this so highly due to my love for Blame! or not. I was highly entertained by it and loved revisiting the Blame! world. The premise was very interesting. However, at one volume, Noise is painfully short and I would have loved to see it expanded into it's own series.
Not Enough Time (manga) So-so This is a short story collection by Shoko Hidaka. This might have even been her first manga.the stories feature wishy-washy sort of characters who have trouble admitting to their feelings. There are glimmers of promise here and there but overall it's pretty meh and forgettable.
Not Simple (manga) Good This is a tragic story about a young man with a hard life who dies in an unlucky way. It almost feels emotionally manipulative as Ian catches no breaks whatsoever, it's a downer from beginning to end. The first time I read this a couple of years ago I cried, but I'm not feeling it much on the reread. I imagine that this sort of story loses its impact if you know whats coming. As far as far as Natsume Ono works go, this is one of her better ones in my opinion. I far prefer it over her short story collections.
Object of Desire (manga) Good This is an anthology of short erotic romance stories. Most are mildly entertaining. The standout is the two parter about the two classmates. It's an "opposites attract" kind of story. The characters were memorable and had good chemistry together. The title story is fairly good as well, about a girl who is tired of guys pretending to be interested in her just so they can sleep with her. The only story that really hit a nerve was the second story. The POV was a douchebag cheater who does nothing but complain about his chatty girlfriend. At the end he realizes that he does love her, but he seems more worried that she'll find out about his latest fling more than anything. In a romance anthology, this story does not work. I could not suspend my disbelief enough to think that this couple would ever be happy together. She, with her head in the sand about his true nature, and he with his selfishness and lack of caring or respect for his chosen partner. I mean if you don't like her, just dump and find someone who doesn't make you complain to all of your friends. So yeah, I hated that second story. If I ignore that one though, the rest of the book was fairly good.
(The) Object of My Affection (manga) Decent This BL manga contains three short stories centered around a college basketball team. The basketball is only window dressing however, just an excuse for these guys to spend a lot of time together. The romance is of the low key sort, no over the top drama. The stories themselves were a bit too shallow for my taste. Characterization was flimsy as well. Overall, the book was just another mediocre BL.
Ohikkoshi (manga) Very good This manga, a romantic comedy, is a complete 180 from Samura's well known title "Blade of the Immortal". It's interesting to see his amazing art in a more mundane setting, this time depicting a bunch of college kids. I quite liked the title story, which takes up most of the book. The second story which stars a female mangaka who falls on hard times is absurdly amusing, but not as strong. Overall, the book is entertaining and the stories well written and i enjoyed it.
Oku-san's Daily Fantasies (manga) Very good I found this book to be very funny. Oku-san has a crush on his delivery guy, so he's always ordering crap off the internet for an excuse to see him. Some of the scenarios he comes up with in his head are hilarious. The art is very good also, containing more detail than I typically see in a BL book, where not just the characters, but objects and backgrounds are given equal attention. The ending is very good too, and the story plays out not like one would expect, which is a nice surprise. This book is currently only available digitally from SuBLime, Viz's BL imprint. It's a good book and I would buy it again in a heartbeat if it ever saw print.
Olympos (manga) Not really good This is a short series about Greek gods toying with mortals which had the promise to be interesting but actually is dead boring as it doesn't really go anywhere. The art is absolutely beautiful though.
On Bended Knee (manga) Weak Here we have yet another BL anthology filled with forgettable cookie cutter stories. There are five stories crammed in here, all well worn tropes. We have: yakuza X bodyguard, two doctors, student X teacher, model X manager, and chef X waiter. In each story, the couple wants to get together, there's some stupid misunderstanding, they confess, have sex, the end. I'm so sick of reading this generic crap and I wonder why companies keep licensing it. Surely they realize BL readers have standards too right? It's not that I hate antholgies, it's that so many are sub-par. The good ones are few and far between. This book is so not one of the good ones.
(The) One I Love (manga) Weak This was a very thin little volume of shorts by CLAMP. Of course the art is lovely, however, it could not save this manga from being a waste of time. The short stories were all very very short and as a result, very very shallow. There was nothing there to care about really, the stories were all so forgettable. I really wouldn't bother with this.
One Night Lesson (manga) Weak This is a short story collection. The longest story is about a couple of schoolboys. Characters are of the cardboard variety. Art is super generic with minimal backgrounds and samey faces with changing hairstyles. The "plot" is also of the paint by numbers variety. In fact, this is the second time I've read this dreck and I'm already forgetting it again. So, on the discard pile it goes.
One Thousand and One Nights (manhwa) Very good This manhwa is the boy's love version of 1001 Nights. In this story, a man disguises himself as a woman to take the place of his sister who is to be brought to the kings harem. Upon discovery, he is thrown in prison. In order to keep his head, he tells stories. Most of these are quite good and blend seamlessly with the main story, except for one in volume 7, which is set in modern times. It felt a bit jarring to be hearing a modern story from an ancient storyteller who had been telling even older stories up to that point. Other than that, the series is fast paced and doesn't get stale and I was satisfied with the ending.
Only Serious About You (manga) Good I wasn't expecting much from this two volume series by Kai Asou (Cool/Uncool), having been underwhelmed by her previous release, but I was pleasantly surprised. The story is about a single dad who works in a restaurant and befriends a regular customer who is gay. The relationship is allowed to develop naturally, and both characters are given enough fleshing out that their behavior and choices make sense and are not just convenient for the "plot". Asou's art is just a shade more competent than average, as the characters were easily distinguishable and enough background was drawn that I didn't have trouble establishing a setting. All in all, this series was unexpectedly good.
Only the Ring Finger Knows (manga) Decent This is a very chaste school boy romance. I found it to be light entertainment but not the sort of thing that sticks with you for very long.
Ordinary Crush (manga) Good I went on a Hyouta Fujiyama binge today, starting with "Ordinary Crush" as it's the first of her interconnected stories. Fujiyama's style is very mainstream I guess one could say. She writes your everyday schoolboy/salaryman romance, without any objectionable content that I could see; no weird fetishy stuff, no noncon, not too explicit, and her art is pretty without making the guys look feminine. Despite the very vanilla aspect of her stories, they are far from boring, as the characters are well developed and she takes time to explore the emotional aspect of a new romance. I thought it was very well done and I really enjoyed "Ordinary Crush" and the sequels: "Freefall Romance" and "Sunflower".
Othello (manga by S. Ikezawa) Decent I started out really liking this manga. The main character Yaya is a shy and quiet girl who has another opposite personality called Nana. The brash and brave Nana looks after Yaya because she's too timid to stand up for herself and others. This got old after awhile. The jokes while funny at first, also became repetitive. Yaya was just so useless, the typical shoujo heroine, that I couldn't really empathise with her. Nana was also similarly a one-note character. I did get some enjoyment out of this manga, but it's not one of my favorites.
Othello (manga by Toui Hasumi) So-so Yawn. Another boring yaoi anthology. With the shallow plot, the shallow characters, and the uninspiring art, it had nothing new to offer.
Otogizoushi (manga) Very good I enjoyed this very much. It's short at only two volumes, but the story never feels rushed or crammed together. After having read this, I really want to check out the anime.
Our Everlasting (manga) Decent This two volume series is romance of a more sappy variety, something that on the whole, is not my favorite thing. The conflict in this story is a very real one: finding out whats more important, the one you love or your dreams. However, I felt like I was going to see one of the "You're Shmoopy. No, you're Shmoopy!" a la Seinfeld scenes any moment. It was just too lovey dovey. I was entertained by Our Everlasting, but it just wasn't my thing. I prefer more conflict and tension. I think it makes for a better story.
Our Kingdom (manga) Not really good I was disappointed in this. I seem to remember enjoying Naduki Koujima's work in the past, but I think as I've become more familiar with the genre, I can honestly say hers is not good. For one, her art is not to my tastes at all. She draws young looking characters which almost border on shota-ish. They always have these huge shiny eyes which kinda give them the look of a small woodland creature. When she draws older characters this is not as apparent, but unfortunately she tends to stick to the standard, cliche school boys. And the plot, it was your typical schoolboy story. It was dull and repetitive the characterization was pretty one note. Akira seemed to get kidnapped every volume, Rei saves him every volume. Ho Hum. Why did this drag on for 6 volumes? Why did I read all of it? (Ok, I admit to being a completeist.)
Our Kingdom - Arabian Nights (manga) So-so This is a side story to Our Kingdom. I slightly enjoyed this one more, because it is only one volume. The main story drags on way too long for 6 volumes, but this one is told and wraps up in one. The same issues with her shota-esque art still apply here, which is to say: I don't like it. The plot is your typical desert setting with some Arabian prince, which is a major cliche, as Harlequin romance novels have been milking this one since time began. It's not any more interesting with BL trappings. So, while I can't really say I enjoyed this book, I didn't hate it either. =/
Ouran High School Host Club (manga) Excellent Ouran is hilarious! I was entertained from the start by these wacky characters and their antics. The art is clear and lovely too. I've never been confused with what's going on or who is who. I've caught up with the U.S. releases and eagerly await each new installment.
Oyayubihime Infinity (manga) Good This was a very good short (six volumes) about past lives and reincarnation. I was happy to read about a shojo heroine who was smart and funny instead of a dumb doormat for once. The art was serviceable, nothing special. It was the characterization that made this story one of the more enjoyable shojo love stories I've read recently.
(The) Palette of 12 Secret Colors (manga) Good I was pretty bored with Kusakawa's other series, The Recipe for Gertrude, but Palette of 12 Secret Colors ended up being pretty good. The mascot characters, the birds, were pretty inoffensive and while I didn't really find them cute, their presence wasn't irritating like the puppets in Gertrude. I thought the premise of the color magicians was imaginative. The series itself was mostly plotless, with the chapters mostly consisting of episodic adventures. The only continuing plot thead was Cello's goal of graduating and her romance with Dr. Guell, of which both are neatly tied up in the last volume. it's rare that I find younger shoujo this entertaining, so I was pleasantly surprised by this series. I enjoyed it.
Paradise Kiss (manga) Excellent I first watched and absolutely loved the anime before picking up Paradise Kiss, the manga. There were no real discernable difference between the two. It pretty much played out exactly the same with just a little more elaboration on the ending in the manga. I think I enjoyed this a little bit more as an anime though. The colors, music, and voices really lend themselves to this very well written story.
(The) Paradise on the Hill (manga) Decent I must admit that I'm not really a fan of Momoko Tenzen's work, but of all that I have read, this book is the most passable. It takes place at an all girls school and features a romance between two teachers. This is yet another story where the characters angst over their feelings for almost the whole book and confess at the end. This book would've been a lot shorter if they had just communicated. I find misunderstandings based on lack of communication frustrating instead of entertaining. Despite that, there's just something about this one that keeps it off the forgettable crap pile. I found myself enjoying the story and characters even though I've not enjoyed any of Tenzen's other manga. Maybe because it was a story about adults forming an adult relationship contrasted with the setting being full of schoolgirls and their schoolgirl crushes. So much manga is about teens that a story about adults is refreshing. I liked it.
Parasyte (manga) Excellent Parasyte is a page turner that I just couldn't put down. Izumi is infected with a strange lifeform that takes up residence in his arm. He is lucky, as the goal of these creatures is to take over the brain, essentually killing the human and using it's body to perform the life functions. It is not explained where they come from as they float down from the sky like seeds, but they feed on humans. Izumi manages to form a reluctant partnership with his. It was interesting to note the character development in this series as human and parasite eventually become sort of friends and ther relationship is more than just that of parasite and host. The story is pretty faced paced as well. I read the whole series in an afternoon because I just had to find out what happened next. The ending was great, a real resolution with very few loose ends. In short, I love this series and it has a permanent place on my shelf.
Passion (manga) So-so For a longer series, I expected to see a little more depth. Unfortunately, I didn't find it. The characterization was a bit shallow, and the plot a simple student/teacher romance. The art was somewhat odd as well, with the teacher looking the same age as the students. I was mildly entertained by Passion, but that's all.
Passion Fruit (manga) Good This is actually a two volume series by Tokyopop consisting of two standalone volumes by different mangaka. The first, Sweat & Honey is a collection of short stories by Mari Okazaki. The theme here is friendships between women. Some of the stories are quite yuri. The second is Galaxy Girl, Panda Boy by Junko Kawakami and focuses on adolescent love. The books are good if not particularly memorable. Short story collections rarely are for me. However, if I had to choose, I'd say Okazaki's book was the stronger of the two.
Passionate Theory (manga) Weak There isn't much plot here, the story is about a love triangle between two students and a math teacher, told in the driest way I've ever read. The characters are pretty much blank slates and the mangaka's art style with the dead lifeless eyes doesn't help. I honestly could not connect to anything in this book, as it was such a dead bore.
Pathos (manga) Very good This is a very dark yaoi manga about vampires in which they do what vampires are meant to do, kill people. It's somewhat unusual among June's other super fluffy/sweet BL releases. I wasn't expecting it and it was a pleasant surprise. The romance was dark, the art was excellent and I really enjoyed it.
Peace Maker (manga by N. Chrono) Very good This is a story about a pair of brothers, one who's a new member of the Shinsengumi, and his younger brother who is eager to join as a way to take revenge for his murdered parents. At first it starts a bit rocky, as Tetsunosuke (the younger brother) is a bit of a brat and flies off the handle without much thought as to the consequences of his actions. However, as he spends more time living and training with the Shinsengumi, he matures greatly. The series appears to be based on a historical event and many historical figures are present. Tetsunosuke and his brother may be made up characters, but a large amount of the cast and the events were real. I often enjoy historical fiction, so no surprise that I enjoyed this quite a bit. I really like Nanae Chrono's art as well. It's very sharp and contrasty, with attractive and unique character designs. A lot of these characters have similar hair and uniforms, but I have no trouble telling them apart. The fifth volume is the end of this particular story arc. The sequel, Peacemaker Kurogane, takes place three months after the conclusion of Peacemaker. I'm looking forward to reading more.
Peach Girl (manga) Very good I went into this expecting another generic high school drama. It turned out that I really enjoyed reading this. It took a few volumes for the characters to really grow on me, but once they did, I was hooked. What really made this series stand out for me though, was a really spectacular villian. Sae is what kept this story from becoming forgettable. She was so rotten, yet not a one-dimentional "super villian" type. I think what I liked best about this is that the characters' personalities were believable.
Peach Girl: Change of Heart (manga) Very good This is the second half of Peach Girl (Vols 9 through 18). I tore through this last half of the story. I enjoyed that Momo's choice never seemed to be a forgone conclusion. I was never really sure which boy she would end up with until the very last volume. I dislike when the love triangle plot device is used predictably. Oftentimes, one character always seems to be a "throwaway character". That isn't the case here though, and is another example of why this story succeeds so well.
Peepo Choo (manga) Very good If I had to sum up this three volumes series in just a couple of phrases, I'd say it's about cultural misunderstandings and shock value. There is a lot of over the top violence and sexual content here, but it is so crazy it crosses the line into absurd. It is absolutely not meant to be taken seriously. The core message, that you can't form assumptions about a country based on it's entertainment, is a good one and I laughed several times throughout the story. Morimoto Rockstar's immitations of gang culture cribbed from movies and rap videos was absolutely hilarious and I'm sure Milton's fake Japanese learned from an anime was the same to Japanese readers. Despite the cultural divide, people are essential the same everywhere, as illustrated by Milton and Reiko's unlikely friendship. Both characters felt constrained in a society that doesn't understand them. I was happy to see some character growth for both, when eventually they stopped trying so hard and just did what they liked. I would've liked to see the same for Morimoto, but he remains oblivious until the end. the ending left it open for a sequel, as we see both the transformed Reiko and an injured Morimoto in an airport waiting room holding tickets to Chicago. Now that's a sequel I'd love to see. It'll probably never happen, as I doubt this series was popular in Japan. Peepo Choo wasn't perfect, and certainly had some problems, but I totally loved it.
Penguin Revolution (manga) Decent I'm feeling a little let down by Penquin Revolution. While I liked it better than the other series I read by the same mangaka, Land of the Blindfolded, it failed to tie up some major loose ends. Like her other series, this one has very little conflict or drama and is a more low key shoujo. That's fine and good, but I usually find such series to be dead boring. Penquin managed to just barely escape that fate by having a likeable and interesting heroine and creating some possible romantic entanglements. However, the romance that kept the series interesting is not resolved by the series' end. I felt ripped off. So, while I somewhat enjoyed this reading experience, it's not reread worthy.
Picnic (manga) Good This is a short story anthology by Yugi Yamada. After reading a number of Yamada's manga, I am a fan. Her short stories are of the interesting non-forgettable variety. The title story in particular was well done, featuring a group of friends, two of which are in that awkward stage of "almost dating". The dialog and humor are spot on and the art is excellent, with well drawn expressions and not a boy whio looks like a girl in sight. My only complaint is the same with all anthologies, I wish the stories were longer and had more depth.
A Place in the Sun (manga) Weak This is one of the shallowest BL anthologies I've ever read. If it can even be called BL, because the romance aspect is barely present. Without it, the stories are painfully boring, and lack depth. I don't care about these characters since I only get a chapter to read about them before we're on to the next story. The stories themselves are basically plotless and in some cases just inane. In the dumbest one, a scatterbrained guy keeps missing the trash pickup and strikes up a friendship with the trash man. The trashman gets injured on some chopsticks in the garbage and the ditzy fellow goes over to his house to apologize. For some reason, they kiss and flash forwrd to the next day, where the dummy is late again for the trash pickup. The end. If brain cells died while reading my little summary, imagine how I felt reading the actual story. the whole anthology was like that. The art was lackluster as well, really rough and sketchy, with sloppily drawn backgrounds. It looked like a really amateurish work. So, I don't recommend this one.
Planet Ladder (manga) Good I was enjoying Planet Ladder until I got to the end. The ending was not so hot. It looked like the author didn't quite know how to tie it all up and started throwing in some random explanations and eventually just ended it on a time skip where everone is all happy some years later. Obviously, we can assume that the worlds were saved, but how that conclusion came to be was never illustrated. I think the author needed another volume in order to wrap this up properly. As for the rest, the heroine was your typical useless, weak variety. Fortunately, the rest of the characters like Bambi, Kagami, and Seeu were interesting enough to carry the story. The art was fairly nice, characterized by heavy use of screentones. I didn't find it distracting though. Overall, I liked it, I just wish more thought could have been put into the ending.
Planetes (manga) Excellent I saw the anime first and really enjoyed it so I was fairly sure I'd love the manga as well. I was right. Great art and interesting, likeable characters make Planetes so much fun to read. It also helps that I really enjoy space stories. I much prefered the manga ending as well.
Please Save My Earth (manga) Very good Despite a sort of nonsensical reincarnation/revenge plot, I quite liked the manga. It was like a compulsion, I couldn't stop reading. It was well paced, never slow or dull. The characters, Rin/Shion and Mokuren especially, were interesting. The moon flashback segments were the most compelling part of the story to me. That part of the plot was the most clear and well told in my opinion, once it switched to the present day things got a bit more sloppy. I thought the present day characters were not developed quite as well as their moon base counterparts too. Also, the art in some of the earlier volumes is very dated and pretty much screams "80's". I saw a marked improvement in later volumes though. Overall, while PSME is not without it's flaws, it was a positive reading experience for me.
Pluto (manga) Good This is a manga that I'm glad I've read once, but ultimately didn't do much for me. I liked elements of it, such as the gorgeous art and the sci-fi elements, but the robots vs humanity themes as presented in this series really weren't that interesting to me. It probably doesn't help that I've never read a single page of Tezuka's original Astro Boy, or that I'm not the biggest Tezuka fan to begin with. Honestly, I can't help but compare this series to Monster, which I read not too long ago, and find it lacking. Despite my gripes, I didn't hate Pluto, I liked it actually. I was just hoping for more I guess.
Poison Cherry Drive (manga) Good The first time I read this, my reaction was WTF! I had just finshed reading Motoni Modoru's "Dog Style" which I thought was excellent, but this is completely different. It is a pure gag comedy manga. Taken as it is, it's actually pretty funny. I found myself laughing out loud several times and the Doraemon parody in chapter two was priceless. Modoru's brand of humor is completely my style. I liked this book quite a bit and I'd like to read more by Modoru as I've liked everything I've seen so far.
President Momoi Kun (manga) Good I usually don't find gag manga to be my thing, but this one was so utterly ridiculous that I couldn't help but smile. Momoi is the president of a company and he has no idea what it does. He's only there to find a hot boyfriend in a suit, preferably with glasses. The fourth wall was constantly being broken and the entire book was firmly tongue in cheek. There was even a out of the blue vampire subplot. The book was completely cracked out and I totally enjoyed it.
(The) President's Time (manga) Weak This is supposed to be a light comedy about a company president who must become "evil" in order to fulfill his dead father's request and keep his inheritance. So, he goes about this by crossing on a red light and defacing posters, as he's hopelessly inept. The problem here is I didn't laugh. It's just too dumb. The "romance" took place with one of his subordinates who took pity on him I guess? It's of the meet, sex, instantly in love variety and I couldn't give a damn as it was just so hollow. The art in this book was terrible as well, full of badly drawn anatomy and disproportionate faces. The characters were all of the same face with different hairstyles, making it sometimes hard to tell them apart. In the end this book, while not actively terrible, just wasn't very good.
Prétear (manga) Decent Pretear was ok. It was a little light on plot and characterization, the art was mediocre, and the ending was kinda bland. It just managed to keep my attention at four volumes long. I am curious to see if the anime is any better.

P.S. And now that I've seen it, it is.

Pretty Poison (manga) So-so I found Pretty Poison to be pretty "meh" and forgettable. Our main character is being played by her boyfriend, who pawns her off on one of his friends when he gets tired of her. Both guys were douches. The lead character was a lame doormat. There was a lot of sex in this manga, which made it readable, but otherwise: pass.
(The) Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy (manga) Not really good I have mixed feelings about this manga. The plot was interesting and the art was lovely. However, both main characters were awful people. I was disgusted by their plan to marry and deceive their future spouses about their homosexuality. I realize that this must happen all the time, but I would rather not read about it. It hard to get into a story if I can't stand any of the characters.
Prince Charming (manga) Good In Prince Charming, a gay student has a crush on his teacher. I had to suspend my disbelief, because those students sure were experienced!

Having now finished all three volumes of the series, I found myself enjoying it. The longer length allowed more time for developing the relationships than in a typical one-shot or anthology, which I appreciated. The high school characters still didn't ring true, but the story was entertainig despite that.

Private Teacher! (manga, Yū Moegi) Not really good This is a student/tutor series with boring one dimensional characters. Also, plot? What plot? It was all stupid little non issues interrupting the characters relationship so they could later make up and have lots of boring sex. The art was great and that's about all this series has to recommend it.
Punch Up! (manga) Good This a BL manga by Shiuko Kano, one of my fav mangaka. Granted, some of hers are only "meh" for me, but this is not one of them. Punch Up! is a spin off of Play Boy Blues and stars a side character from that series. I like reading about relationships between adults, so this story was especially welcome. At four volumes long, Maki and Kouta's relationship and characterization is given time to develop, making the characters more memorable and the romance feel more real. It did get a little melodramatic with the anmesia storyline, but thankfully that's not dragged out too long. Overall, this is one of Kano's better series and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wish PBB was brought over here in it's entirety as well, as I'd love to read more than the first volume.
Punch! (manga) So-so I usually like Rie Takada, but I thought Punch! was just meh. The characterization was flimsy in this series, making it read like a teenage girl's shallow wish fulfillment fantasy. The guys were very pretty but had very little personality. All of their actions pretty much seemed focused on going out with the main character who had her moments of hilarity but was not as fun as other Takada heroines. Some of the "romantic" lines were beyond cheesy as well. I actually liked the two short stories at the end of volume 3 better than the main series. I got a few laughs out of those and the relationships while still somewhat contrived, at least made more sense. My final verdict? Skip it and read Wild Act instead.
Quest for the Missing Girl (manga) Excellent Shiga, a mountain man, one day receives word that his dead friend's daughter has gone missing and off to Tokyo he goes in order to search for her. This has all the makings of a good suspense movie, culminating in an intenseand memorable action scene. The man climbs a skyscraper. How badass is that? Taniguchi's art and pacing are perfect in this manga. I am a fan of his art and everything he writes.
(La) Quinta Camera - 5 Banme no Heya (manga) So-so This is one of Natsume Ono's earlier works, and it shows. The art is a little more scribbly and the narrative is a little more disjointed. It's a slice-of-life story taking place in Italy about four guys who live together and the empty room they rent out to students. The story is basically, "lets watch all these cool Italian people hang out". Between this and Ristorante Paradiso, I'm beginning to suspect Ono has a bit of an Italy fetish. I was a little annoyed that the American exchang student was a walking stereotype. Of couse he was fat and ate nothing but greasy pizza and french fries in great quanities. That was his sole characteristic. In fact the characterization for everybody was similarly one note. I usually like Natume Ono's style, but this wasn't up to par. It was only mediocre at best.
Rasetsu (manga) Good I really wanted to like this series more than I did. I am a fan of Chika Shiomi's work, but I found this one to be one of her weaker ones. The story is largely episodic, with the only overarcing plot line being Rasetsu's search for true love. She must find someone before her 20th birthday, or a demon will possess her soul. Thankfully Rasetsu isn't a weak doormatty whiner, so this wasn't as cheesy as it could have been. Also, I appreciated reading about grownups for once. I don't think I can take much more high school set romance shoujo. I think my problem was that even though the series was entertaining, it wasn't particularly memorable. The characters and their story didn't grab me. I wasn't in a rush to read each volume. So in the end, Rasetsu was "good" but not "great".
Real Love (manga) So-so There were two short stories contained in this volume. Neither of them hit the mark for me. I though both guys were douchey and the girl from the second story suffered from doormat syndrome. Neither of the stories were really deveolped either. The whole thing was rather shallow. I actually got more entertainment from the author's section in the back.
(The) Recipe for Gertrude (manga) Decent This is a very cute shoujo manga for kids. I would have loved it if I were 8 years old, but as a grown adult, it doesn't do anything for me. Thankfully, the series was short. It's not a bad manga, in fact it's one of the better examples of kid's manga I've read. Kusakawa's art is somewhat crude but her characterization makes up for it. The story is simple without being mindnumbingly stupid. Her humor is cute and it works for the story. Little girls could do worse than pick up this one.
Red (manga, Sanae Rokuya) So-so This is a period piece. The ruler of the land is about to die and the heir is living as a normal man under an assumed name. One of the lord hires a couple of assassins to kill him. Instead, one of them falls for him. The other used to be his childhood retainer. The story is kinda convoluted and rushed. The characters are pretty flat, so it's hard to care about what happens to them. Also, the plot whips through events too fast for them to make any impression. This might have been better if it had been stretched to two books and fleshed out a little. As it is, it's just another mediocre boy's love one-shot.
Red Angel (manga) So-so This time Tateno tackles a vampire story, where the lead is actually a vampire fallen angel with red wings who has both male and female forms. The series was ok. it's two vloumes and most of the first book was taken up with short unrelated stories featuring Micha/Eru (See what they did there with the names?). Anyway, not the worst Makoto Tateno manga I've read but far far from the best
Red Blinds the Foolish (manga) Very good In a sea of similarly styled BL, this one stands out as something different. First, it takes place in Europe and features adult characters. Second, the art is excellent and very detailed. Faces are expressive and backgrounds are present. My only quibble is this; because the stories were so short, I found it hard to connect with any of them. They were all very fast paced and I wish more time had been given to each one in order to appriecate them more. In any case, I was entertained by the sheer "otherness" of this manga and will definitely be trying more by this manga-ka.
Red River (manga) Decent Red River is a historical fantasy involving a teenage girl who is magically transported to ancient Mesopotamia. It reads just like an 80's style bodice ripper, with lots of adventure and a feisty heroine who gets her bodice ripped a lot. Most of the characters were one note wonders, the plotting was painfully transparent, and the main villian's machinations (the Queen and her henchman) took some incredible leaps of logic. I tried not to think too hard about the sometimes ridiculous plot and took this for what it was, a really long romance manga. Too long I think, because it started to drag. On the plus side, I do appreciate the mangaka loosely incorporating history int he series, as those bits were somewhat interesting. Unfortunately, they weren't enough to save this series from only being mildly entertaining.
Restart (manga) So-so This is another work by Shoko Hidaka (Not Enough Time). The majority of the book is taken up with the story of two models who fall for each other. This is pretty standard far that didn't break any new ground. I enjoyed it but I doubt I'll remember it in an hour.
Return to Scandalous Seiryo University (manga) So-so This is book two in the Seiryo University series.
Revolutionary Girl Utena (manga) Very good The Utena manga plays out a lot like the Utena anime, but with a lot less repetition and no filler. The manga is a little more straightforward than the anime, having only 5 volumes to tell the story in. But, it doesn't quite have the same sense of surrealism that the anime had. Maybe it's the lack of music, the rituals, or the crazy imagery, who knows. Either way, I felt the manga was missing that sense of mystery that the Utena TV has. While I liked revisiting Utena again, I enjoyed the anime a bit more.
Right Here, Right Now (manga) Decent This two volume series can be basically summed up as a boys love time travel romance. It's mildly entertaining for what it is, but don't expect anything substantial. My main problem it is the same for many BL, the extemely rushed characterization. It takes place in the waring states era, but not much time is actual spent building a plot out of that. Too bad, as it could have been an interesting premise, but is instead squandered on yet another cookie cutter BL romance. As it stands, the series is a mildly entertaining diversion, nothing more.
Rin! (manga) Good I enjoyed this sweet little tale of archery and school boy love. The art was rather pretty and I liked the archery angle, it was interesting. Overall, it was a light fluffy sort of romance series. Not the sort of thing that sticks with you, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Rising Storm (manga) Decent This is porn, since it's pretty explicit. It contains three stories, the title story and two shorter ones. The title story and the story about the dentist were ok. There was no weird gender role stereotyping or noncon. The other story had a pretty violent rape. Ick. Ougi's drawing style is pretty angular and pointy. The book was uneven artwise, with some chapters looking more polished and others having weird anatomy issues. This is explained in the authors notes where she states that some of the chapter were several years old. Anyway, I can objectively say that the book isn't very good, the "plot" is laughable, but I found it entertaining regardless. Leave this one alone if you aren't interested in seeing peen though.
Ristorante Paradiso (manga) Very good This is the story of a young woman who travels to Italy in search of her mother, from whom she is estranged. I thought the handling of the mother/daughter conflict was very interesting and both characters felt like real three dimentional people. I liked the restaurant setting as well. I'm now craving Italian food. Natsume Ono's quirky art style was perfectly suited to this off beat story. In fact, I believe that this is one of her better manga. I really enjoyed it.
Romeo x Juliet (manga) Not really good This is a two volume series, released here as an omnibus, adapting the 2007 RxJ anime. I thought the anime was "meh" and this manga adaptation is not an improvement. 26 episodes of story are condensed here into only two volumes. As a result, there is no depth to this story or characters whatsoever. Even the art is generic and bland, with very sparse backgrounds and cardboard cutout character designs. Also, the panelling and action parts lacked flow and were difficult to follow. Ultimately, I found it hard to care about this manga as it is the very picture of bland mediocrity.
Rose of the Rhine (manga) So-so This is a wallpaper historical BL loosely based on an old medieval German saga. The tone is not serious and the story is basically a collection of the silly adventures of King Deitrich. It is about a deep as a kiddie pool. There isn't much to the "plot" and the characters fare no better. This could've been fun if it were better written.
Ruff Love (manga) Weak I have mixed feeling on this one, because while I liked the characters and the story was nice, I didn't like that it "went there" i.e. the sex scenes with the dog boy. If it had stayed an innocent story about love and devotion between a master and a pet, I would have rated this much higher. But, I was creeped out by the furry sex. To be fair , I do enjoy hard yaoi and I don't have anything against sexual content if it fits the story. I just feel that it could have been left out here.
S (novel) Decent I read this series a long time ago and remember liking it, so I revisited the first volume. These June novels tend to have really clunky prose and this one is no different. Awkward wording aside, the story is actually decent. Shiiba is an undercover detective, and falls in with a yakuza while trying to gather information. The detective work doesnt seem like complete window dressing here, as the amount of exposition suggests some sort of research. That alone gives it a leg up on the other cookie cutter yaoi romance light novels i've read.
Sakuran (manga) Excellent I've long been a fan of Moyocco Anno's work, and this book didn't let me down. This book follows an apprentice courtesan named Kiyoha as she's deals with the situation she finds herself stuck in, i.e. essentially being sold into slavery against her will. Anno's art style is so expressive and she writes such interesting and nuanced characters that even a subject as distasteful as this is interesting. I can't help but feel sad for Kiyoha, as she's denied such a basic right as simple freedom. Even just leaving the pleasure district gets her dragged back and beaten. Despite all that, she's very strong, which allows her to survive in that environment without totally going crazy. I found this book highly engrossing, my eyes were glued to the page and I couldn't put it down.
Samejima-kun and Sasahara-kun (manga) Good Friends to boyfriends stories are common in BL, but this one was a cut above the rest. Samejima and Sasahara are friends who both work in a convenience store and attend the same college. The dynamic changes when Samejima confesses that he likes Sasahara as more than a friend. Their friendship was well depicted, the way they were around each other and how they ragged on each other, making the romantic progression seem natural and believable. The art is of the sketchy variety, but no one looks too feminine, so that's a bonus. Based on this book, I will be searching out more of Koshino's work.
Samurai 7 (manga) Not really good I'm a really big fan of the Samurai 7 anime, so I was very disappointed after reading this manga. It wasn't very good. For one, the story suffered from being condensed a lot in order to fit into two volumes. The characters were lacking as well, being as three dimensional as cardboard. My biggest problem (besides the lackluseter story and characters) was the art. It just wasn't good. The creator decided to ignore the perfectly good character designs from the show and go with something that looked more "generic anime". Poor Kirara suffered the most. In the anime, she's a strong character with personality. In the manga she's a nonentity. So, due to the awful character designs, the lack of characterization, and the wham-bam-thank-you-maam plot, I couldn't get into this.
Sanctuary (manga by R. Ikegami) Very good I've had this long out of print series from Viz sitting on my shelf for several years before finally picking it up to read it. I'm glad I waited, as Sanctuary is so refreshing after reading another run of the mill school based shoujo or another moe laden shounen. Stuff like this just doesn't get published here anymore. The story follows two young men who vow to change Japan at any cost. One goes into politics and another joins the Yakuza. This is a serious drama featuring a lot of backroom dealing and political maneuvering. The art is done by Ryoichi Ikegami in his signature photo-realistic style, which fits a story like this perfectly. I just love his art. Faces, expressions, body proportions, all are true to life. Even the time period is captured, as this was drawn in the early nineties and it shows with eighties style hairstyles, fashion, cars, boxy computers and even the huge phones. The ending was a little abrupt, but even so, I enjoyed this story very much.
Sand Chronicles (manga) Excellent In this story, Ann moves to her mother's hometown after her parents divorce. She quickly makes new friends but learns that time doesn't stand still. This is not your typical shoujo manga. The characters are introduced when they are children, but the story wraps up when they are about 30. Ann grows up throughout the course of the story, both physically and mentally. It deals with relationships in a very realistic manner, this is no hearts and flowers shoujo. I cried like a baby through the end of the main story. For those tired of wimpy heroines and perfect princely heroes, this manga is a breath of fresh air.
Say Please (manga) Very good This one is actually two stories. I liked it quite a bit. After reading and enjoying a few of Kano Miyamoto's manga, I can safely say I'm a fan. I like her art and writing. Anyone that can write a short story with some depth eventually makes it to my "auto-buy" list.
Scandalous Seiryo University (manga) So-so This is the start of a four volume series. It's mindnumbing stupid, yet entertaining smut is about all I can say. This is the kind of thing you read because you have nothing else, acknowledge that it's crap, yet are still mystifyingly entertained by. The plot is laughable, new student at Seiryo "university" is harrassed by twisted student council prez (since when did they wear uniforms in university?). I did sorta like the art. Although, there is a marked improvement with the last volume. Anyway, I can't recommend this series to anyone but boy's love fans who don't have anything better to read. Like me.
Scarlet (manga) Not really good There are three stories in this book. The first one is, well, a bit disturbing to put it lightly. After a violent rape, the rapee blithely forgives the rapist because they are just so in looove. Derp. I found it highly unrealistic. Instead of ending happily ever after, the story should have ended with the psychotic one going to jail. The second story was my favorite. This one is about a shy office worker who meets his crush in a gay bar. The characters in this story were not selfish and dispicable people, so I found it easier to read about them. The last story featured your regular garden variety douchebag who thinks too highly of himself. This guy is also one who can't seem to stop sleeping with women even though he's in a relationship with a man. And his partner just takes it, without a word. Again, unrealistic. Most people, regardless of gender, would dumpity dump. Despite my criticisms, the collection is at least entertaining. Entertaining and rant worthy is far better than painfully dull I say. I also really love Madarame's art style. It's beautiful.
Scrapped Princess (manga, Go Yabuki) Not really good I read this a couple of months ago and found it boring and forgettable. It's basically side stories and has no bearing on the main plot from the anime. The art was just ok, nothing special. It's really better to just stick with the anime on this one.
Secrecy of the Shivering Night (manga) Decent This BL anthology contains four short stories. They tend toward more emotional romance than fanservice. I found them competent in execution, but far too short for my tastes.
Secret Thorns (manga) So-so The first of Kikuya's manga I read was also about a magazine editor, like this one. This time the editor is being pursued by an ex he broke it off with but is still in love with. Rounding out the book are a couple of short stories I've already forgotten even though I literally just finished reading. Like her previous work, this book features simplistic "moe-ified" character designs and minimally drawn backgrounds. Based on the two utterly forgettable books I've read by her, I'm going to have to give Kikuya's work a pass in the future.
Secretary's Job? (manga) Weak Having read and been underwhelmed by another of Miki Araya's BL manga in the past, I had low expectations for this book. Unfortunately, it was still terrible, although not offensively bad, just "why did I waste my time on this" bad. It consists of two stories about salarymen, and one short story about college kids. Everything was super bare bones, the backgroundless art, the wooden expressions on the characters, the writing/characterization, etc. This si the kind of bland, lifeless fare that you forget moments, no, while you are reading it. After this, I'm not going to bother wasting my time or money on another book by this mangaka.
Secretary's Love (manga) So-so This book is about a couple of guys in a relationship working in the oh so exciting world of pharmicutical sales. The relationship has already been established, so a lot of the focus is on work, fixing other employee's screw ups, dealing with the boss, and training new employees. Truthfully, it is a bit boring. It seems as if this is a story with nothing to tell. The characters, while having good banter together, are a little one note. On the plus side, Akiba's art is clean and attractive. Her notes at the end of the book are highly amusing too. In the end though, this is a book about nothing. It has no plot, no conflict or characterization, therefore it will be forgotten almost immediately after reading it.
Seduce Me After the Show (manga) Decent I find est em's work to be very interesting. The stories and art are always very distinctive and unlike any other manga-ka's. This particular volume was fairly standard. I wish she would write a longer series, because this one falls into the trap of most short stories in being way too condensed. Other than that, I liked it, but the short story is definitely not my format of preference.
Seiho Boys' High School! (manga) Excellent I was initially expecting something like "Here is Greenwood" when I picked up this manga, so I was surprised at how good it was. It is quite humorous, and more of the situation-al variety than silly slapstick like Greenwood. Also, there is quite a bit of drama in this series, since a lot of it focuses on the boys' relationships with girls. I particularly liked reading from the perspectives of boys as it gives it a different flavor from the usual high school set shoujo romance. The characters felt well rounded and three dimensional as well. All in all, I really enjoyed this series and I'd love to read more from the mangaka.
Seimaden (manga) Decent This is your typical paranormal romance shoujo, set in a fantasy land and featuring demons. There is your typical mishmash of Christian imagery, with one character being depicted as an angel and the repeated appearance of crosses. (This has nothing to do with the story. I bet Higuri just thought it looked cool). Anyway, the plot was mildly entertaining. A pretty girl named Hilda has lost her memory and finds herself caught up in a war between the demons and the humans. I did like how most of the characters were morally ambiguous. There really was no clear "big bad". This is an older series by Higuri, and her art is a little less polished, but still very much in her style as everyone is impossibly pretty and wearing elaborate costumes. Overall, I thought it was decent. i read Higuri's manga mainly for the art and to be entertained. I wasn't expecting a deep thoughful masterpiece, therefore I wasn't disappointed.
Selfish Love (manga) Not really good I found Selfish Love to be another cliche high school romance. I've read a ton of shojo manga of this variety and I'm coming to see that it's a common plot line in yaoi as well. I did get annoyed at the attempt to portray the characters as being in college even though they were clearly wearing high school uniforms *eye roll*. Also, the caveman like Honor Society prez and the helpless lead character (forgot his name already, ha!) call to mind countless shojo romances just like it. Even still, though it doesn't bring anything new to the table this title managed to be entertaining to me, if somewhat forgettable.
Sensitive Pornograph (manga) So-so Published by 801 media, this is a plotless smut type anthology. The stories and characters themselves aren't memorable in the slightest, the only reason to read this is the smut. Unfortunately, your milage will vary based on how hot you find girly looking pretty boys. I don't like them, so the book mostly left me cold.
Sensual Phrase (manga) Decent The words I'd use to sum up this series: Over the top. Was it great literature? No, not by any stretch of the imagination. But it was very entertaining. This soap opera like drama was like a trainwreck, I just couldn't look away. I did like the characters somewhat as well, pushy Sakuya and the airheaded Aine. I thought they went well together and it's refreshing to read a shoujo where the characters aren't afraid to get physical. Maybe because I'm older, but I tend to roll my eyes at the stories where even holding hands is a major event and worthy of embarassment.
Seven Days: Friday-Sunday (manga) Good This is the second volume of Seven Days, in which the series comes to a satisfying if predictable conclusion. It really doesn't break any new ground in schoolboy BL, the story and characters are just better developed. As this is a two volume series instead of a one shot or an anthology story, that's to be expected. I enjoyed it even though schoolboy BL is generally not my cup of tea. The series doesn't venture into sappy saccarine territory and for that it gets a thumbs up from me.
Seven Days: Monday-Thursday (manga) Good This is volume one of a two volume series. It's not your typical schoolboy romance. Seryou has a complicated relationship with his brother's girlfriend which causes him to go out with a different girl every week. If he doesn't fall for them by the end of the week, he breaks it off. On a whim and not really seriously, Shino asks him out on Monday. Unbeknownst to him, Seryou begins to fall for him. I liked how the relationships here were portrayed seriously and without the treacly blushing and sparkles and unfunny slapstick I usually find in these high school stories. Rihito Takarai's art style is not really to by tastes though. The boys are drawn long and willowy with androgynous faces and overlong floppy hair. I think it's rare to find a schoolboy BL where the boys are drawn in a realistic manner, i.e. not too girly or too old/masculine looking. I think Puku Okayama (Warning!, The Rule of Standing on Tiptoe) is one artist who manages to get this absolutely right though. To get back to the book, I did enjoy the story and I'm looking forward to reading the second half. It's nicer to see a longer BL story with some attempt at character development as well.
Sexy Voice and Robo (manga) So-so I didn't like this one as much as I had hoped. The story was just ok, and I wasn't fond of the art style either. The roughness and the thick black lines made it look sort of "blobby". My personal preference is more detail and more intricate lines. For example: I think manga like Blade of the Immortal and Fushigi Yugi: Genbu Kaiden are beautiful to look at.
Shinobu Kokoro - Hidden Heart (manga) Decent Here is yet another collection of BL short stories. This one centers around a ninja clan in a remote hidden village. I was a little confused by the setiing because at first I assumed that it was a historical piece (due to the ninjas), but the appearance of "enemies" dressed in modern school uniforms clearly disproved that idea. Like most collections, the stories were pretty shallow. The art was nice however. I found the book mildly entertianing, but ultimately pretty forgettable.
Shirley (manga) Good This is a one shot from the creator of Emma. Most of the book centers on a young maid named Shirley, who starts working for an older single woman. I liked the Shirley stories and her character. There's backstory hinted at there that never does get expanded. I would have liked the see more of Ms. Bennett and Shirley, as they were the most interesting characters in the book and had the most potential to make a really good story. The rest are short stories featuring a couple of maids and their employers. These are short and sweet but not particularly memorable. Overall, Shirley is an entertaining and readable Victorian slice-of-life.
Short Cuts (manga) Good This two volume manga is basically a comedy poking fun at Japan's kogal culture and is like a four panel comic, with a 1-2 page long set-up followed by a punchline at the end. Most of the humor is of the crude variety, and it is pretty funny 90% of the time. I laughed out loud several times. There were a small handful of jokes that I didn't get or were just gross (like the turd one in volume one). The best parts were the jokes featuring recurring characters, like pantyflash girl, or the girl who talked to celebities on her sode can phone. Mostly these books were just very funny with a side of WTF. I enjoyed them.
Shout Out Loud! (manga) Excellent This is one of the most well developed romances I've read. The characters are interesting and well written and their relationships progress slowly and naturally. (Meaning the characters don't just decide "I like you-lets go to bed" in a matter of pages.) It gives the manga a sense of realism that's lacking in a lot of yaoi. I appreciated it very much and for that, this one's going on my short list of yaoi favorites.
Shy Intentions (manga) Decent I liked this short romance. It's about a couple of adults who meet at the hospital while taking care of sick relatives. The story took up the whole book, so there was room for some actual storytelling and characterization. It's not anything special, but it's at least competent. I like Shoko Takaku's character art as well. Everyone looks suitably masculine and easily distinguishable from one another.
Sighing Kiss (manga) Good This one volume story contained a rare well-executed love triangle. Most of the time, they end up bieng tired and predictable, but this time I was actually unsure of the outcome until the very end. That alone raises this title above the vast sea of mediocre boy's love titles.
A Silent Voice (manga) Very good
Sky Link (manga) So-so I've never heard of this mangaka before. According to the afterword, this book, originally published in 2010, was her very first. I quite liked the art, with it's sharper featured characters and the lack of cutesy blushing and silly sight gags. Unfortunately, the stories themselves were somewhat lacking. The book contained two, both of which felt very rushed. So much so that I couldn't connect at all with what seemed intented to be more emotional stories. Without any fleshing out, The characters seemed "emo" for little reason. Ritsuki for example is a melancholy slacker type, yet we are given almost no reason for his personality beyond being told that he is "wild". In other words, show, don't tell. To sum it up, the stories themselves weren't bad, but the cardboard characters made this book a bit of a bore to read.
(The) Sky Over My Spectacles (manga) So-so This is yet another bland yaoi anthology. The title story is the longest and takes up half the book. It's about high school boys *yawn*, one of which who has a glasses fetish. The rest are super short stories that are completely disposable. I don't remember them and I only read them an hour ago. About the only thing that distinguishes this book is that Mio Tennoji's art is a bit more explicit than usually published here. That was pretty much the only thing keeping my attention. Without that, I would've fallen asleep through this boring, forgettable book.
Skyscrapers of Oz (manga) So-so I have to at least commend this yaoi one shot for trying to have a plot, but unfortunately, it falls very short. The premise is that Oz, an "odd jobs" company was hired to set up some high school boy so that he doesn't inherit a fortune from some rich old man. This is based on a novel, which I have not read. I get the impression that the manga left some things out, namely characterization. The characters were as thin as paper. The plot whips through so quickly that I suspect that has been truncated too. Overall, it's not terrible, but it's not good either.
Slam Dunk (manga) Excellent Long running Shounen Jump manga are definitely not my thing, and I was prepared to drop this one too, but it is compulsively readable. Sakuragi starts the series as a cocky little punk who joins the basketball team in order to impress a girl. He is pretty hopeless at the start, so watching his development over the series was quite entertaining. The pacing is excellent, as something this long could have easily gotten stale but never does. The art is also top notch. Yes, in the end it's a standard sports story about underdogs rising to the top, but it manages to execute those old cliches super well and earns it's place as the classic basketball manga.
Sleeping With Money (novel) Good This is another yaoi light novel published by DMP/June. The premise is in the title. A yakuza guy sleeps with a wealthy businessman in order to get a huge loan, discovers he likes it, they fall in love, the end. It's kind of a typical yaoi plot. Like all of June's novels that I've read, the prose is clunky, although this one didn't have the glaring typos and gramatical errors that I've found in other books. Ignoring that, the story is entertaining, which is all I ask for when I read these light novels. I'd say this is one of the better offerings among June's line up.
Snow Drop (manhwa) So-so Snow Drop is a melodramatic Romeo and Juliet style love story. I enjoyed the first few volumes, but it quickly deteriorated into a repetitive mess. It was a constant stream of "We should break up!"..."No we have to stay together!"...blah, blah, blah. I finished this hoping it would get better, but it just kept going downhill.
Solanin (manga) Masterpiece Amazing story! I cried. This follows a group of college kids as they struggle to find their path in life. The characters are very well written and the story is an emotional one. I loved it.
Solfege (manga) Good While Solfege was better than a lot of June's one shots, it was still pretty mediocre. I'm pretty bored by classical music, so maybe that's one reason. Another is that I felt it lacked the great characterization shown in other works by Fumi Yoshinaga. This one just fell flat.

Huh. I must have been in a bad mood when I read this before, because I've read it again (granted, years later) and thought it was quite good.

Someday's Dreamers (manga) Decent These two volumes were adapted into "Someday's Dreamers" the anime. This plays out almost exactly like the anime, which I've seen first, the difference being the anime elaborated a bit with more plot and character development. I found it to be really cute and I did really enjoy the soft watercolor look to the art.
Someday's Dreamers: Spellbound (manga) Very good This is a spin off of the original "Someday's Dreamers", featuring new characters. The main character Nami is an ineffective magic user with confidence issues. The series follows her and her friends thorugh their senior year of high school, while they deal with things like romance and their futures. This is much more of a romance series than the original. I thought the romance was very well done too. It was emotional without being overwrought, and the classmates were not neatly paired off in the end. Yamazaki's pretty watercolor-esque art adds to the subtle atmosphere as well. I really liked this story and find it one of the better shounen romance I've encountered; no fanservice, no moe, just solid storytelling.
Sono Toki Heart wa Nusumareta (manga) So-so
Sound of My Voice (manga) So-so This one didn't click with me. I'm not very interested in the inner workings of the manga/voice acting/anime industry, so manga dealing with this subject usually fail to capture my attention. It wasn't bad though, it's just not my thing.
Sounds of Love (manga) Weak Having now read all of Luv Luv's books, I can safely say that this one ranks near the bottom in quality. First, the characters: they were dull and I didn't like any of them. They had too much dull sex. Seriously, all of the scenes were the same. It was so formulaic that it was unsexy. I had a major problem with the art. The faces in particular were very awkwardly proportioned and pretty much pulled me right out of the story. As for the story, I didn't like it. The plot was so shallow as to be nonexistant. In short, this book just wasn't very good. Try "Object of Desire" instead. I found that one to be Luv Luv's best.
Spell (manga) Good This is one of Fujiyama's better manga. Here both her characters are normal guys in college. They meet at a mixer and eventually decide to go out. I like how she focuses on the feelings of these characters as they sort of muddle through their initial dealings with each other. It read in a really natural way and I thought it was a well done romance.
(The) Spiral of Sand (manga) Weak I should have known what to expect from this as it's by the same mangaka as Jazz. Here, it's a trashy rape=love "romance" with a convoluted family revenge plot as a backdrop. I found I wasn't offended by this though, as the characters were so cardboard and the plot so nonsensical that it was difficult to take seriously. This is the third strike for this mangaka, as I've also read and not enjoyed Awakened Forest. Her stuff is so over the top bodice ripper trashy that I can't fathom why it gets licensed. Maybe it's because of suckers like me, who are so desperate for something to read that they'll try anything? Either way, this is the last straw for me. This book is terrible.
Spring Fever (manga) Decent Even a mediocre Yugi Yamada book is better than a lot of the other crap BL manga out there. This one contained two stories. Both could have been better with more development. I guess that's why short stories so rarely entertain me, they are usually too short to really do anything with. On the plus side, I did like the manga. It was good enough to read while I'm waiting the the rest of "Close the Last Door".
Star (manga) Decent It was refreshing to read a more realistic romance featuring adults. This one takes place in a work environment (mostly). Both of the lead characters were flawed and human, pretty well drawn IMO. There was no outlandish melodrama, just normal people faliing in love the normal way. I liked it.
Stay Close to Me (manga) Weak This is basic schoolboy yaoi. It tried for comedy but pretty much failed. Even comedies have to be bellievable. What guy would ever worry about becoming too tall and go on a diet? Also, while I generally like Sakuragi's art, here the characters looked a little too old/manly for high school. I vastly prefer her more recent works centered on adults. This was a miss.
Steal Moon (manga) So-so I wanted to like this more than I did, as I usually like Makoto Tateno's manga, but this was a dud for me. The plot was nonsensical and felt made up as it went along. Cayote abducts Nozomi so he can access some computer thing and shut is down is the basic gist, but the random elements and reveals just haphazardly dropped in there with no foreshadowing, no set up, and no elaboration make the whole thing feel like a runway train going nowhere. It doesn't help that characters are cardboard as hell, making the "love" story element fall flat on it's face. It felt like the story was too ambitious for the skill of the writer to convey coherently. At least it was only two volumes long so I didn't really waste too much of my time.
Stop bullying me! (manga) So-so Typical blushing school boy boy's love is what this is. Tomo's older brother's best friend picks on Tomo because he likes him, then the confession, they kiss, the end. It really didn't make much of an impression as the "plot" and characterization were thinner than tissue paper. Shino's art is not to my tastes either, as it's rather cutesy and Tomo looks about 12. Also, it's proportionally challenged, as she tends to draw oversized torsos with too small heads. There isn't anything particularly objectionable about this book, it's just painfully mediocre.
Storm Flower (manga) So-so This is my first time reading this mangaka and I was underwhelmed by this book. The writing is very disjointed, but from what i can tell, it's about an heir to a flower arranging school who has trouble connecting with people and his relationship with two classmates who are twins. A lot of the narration is Kaede's inner monologue, which is sometimes vague and overly-emo. On the plus side, the art was very pretty, with delicate linework and well suited to this sort of story. Characters did have a tendency to all look alike though, adding to the confusion. All in all, I think the book was terribly written. I'm not gonna blame the translation either, as it's clear the problems are deeper. Kaede in general was just a problematic narrator, as his motivations are never really clear and his thoughts are full of melodrama. His reason for being prefering men, "mommy issues", was laughable. I don't get his fixation on one of the twins after sudenly falling in bed with him two years ago and it makes no sense to pretend to date the other twin. The book was just dumb, the end.
Strain (manga) Very good Despite loads of graphic violence and tons of gratuitous sex, I really enjoyed this title. The art is top notch (although there are a couple of things I wish I could un-see). The characters and plot were engaging. Somehow, the author took some really disgusting individuals and managed to redeem them by the end of the story. The story wrapped up nicely in only 5 volumes, which is another plus. If I had to compare it to anything, I'd say it reminds me most of Black Lagoon.
Strawberry Marshmallow (manga) Excellent Strawberry Marshmallow is another top-notch comedy. The girls are all so cute and the hilarious situations that they are put in make for a lot of laughs. I've read them all and am always excited to get my hands on the next volume.
Stray Cat (manga) Decent This is a BL anthology. The stories within are of the mediocre forgettable sort. Not bad, not good, just middle of the road. The best part of the book for me are the extras at the end about the mangaka's cat. It's a few pages of 4-panel strips about her cat and dogs. I found it more amusing than the main book.
Strobe Edge (manga) Very good This is a very cute story of first love. Nanako has never experienced love until she falls for Ren, but unfortunately, Ren has a girlfriend. The manga is basically about Nanako learning to manage her feelings/expectations. It was great up until volume 6, where Ren and his girlfriend split. After that it begins to drag a little and the reasons he and Nanako are apart feel contrived. The final volume is great though and very satisfying. In the end, yes this is just another high school set shoujo, but I think the writing was a cut above the rest. The characters were genuinely likable and easy to root for and nothing here offended my feminist sensibilities as I really hate deeply sexist material in works for girls. =(
Sugar Milk (manga) Good This is the mangaka's first book and it's a pretty good first effort. It's an anthology, but all of the stories are interesting. They still suffer from being too short, yet they have a certain spark to them that sets this book apart from other ho-hum boy's love anthologies. Jaryu Dokuro's art is excellent, with distinctive looking characters and a knack for comedic expression. The title story is the best, as it is several chapters long and the characters play off of each other amusingly. I also got a laugh out of the first chapter, when the convience store clerk is jumped by a customer's dog outside the store. It's two panels long, but drawn from inside the store looking out, so you see the action through the window as customers browse in the foreground. The book is full of clever little set ups like that, which make it very enjoyable to read. The style reminds me of Yugi Yamada's work in a way, as the humor comes from the charcters themselves rather than sight-gags, chibis or slapsticky wacky nonsense. This is the only book out in English from this mangaka, but I'd love to read more. I enjoyed this one quite a bit.
Sugar Sugar Rune (manga) Excellent Wow! I was beginning to get a little tired of shoujo manga, as it all started to seem a little too "same-y", and then I read this little gem. It's simple and fun and doesn't take itself seriously, with names like "Queen Candy" and "Vanilla Ice", chocolate rainshowers, and "pee pee" color hearts. It features a heroine different from most in shoujo and she's described as quote: "fearless and selfish and just a little mean". The story is set as a little girl style fairytale, mostly dealing with friendship and love. In this fairytale though, it's the princess who saves the prince. I found the whole thing to be very refreshing and I loved it.
Sundome (manga) Excellent This manga is a lot better than the premise indicates. This is not a simple fanservice manga. Hideki and new transfer student Kurumi form a sort of master/servant relationship that turns out to be a lot deeper than expected. Not just Hideki and Kuriumi, but also secondary characters Kyoko and "fish lips" are given some depth. My only complaint with it is the rushed and somewhat ambiguous ending. The time skip is a little abrupt and the events happening before the time skip just sort of end without ending. Other than that, I was surprised at how much I liked this series as I really enjoyed it.
Sunflower (manga) Good This is the sequel to "Ordinary Crush" and "Freefall Romance". After reading the whole series one day, I've become a fan of Hyouta Fujiyama's style.
(The) Super Cool Life of Strawberry Chan (manga) So-so This is the continuation of "The Gorgeous Life of Starwberry Chan". I found this one to be slightly better, since I had a whole volume to grow accustomed to the characters and humor. Overall though, while I like Morinaga's humor, this didn't do much for me. Strawberry Chan is not her strongest work. I much prefer "You and My Secret" and "Duck Prince".
Sweet Admiration (novel) Weak This is a run of the mill salaryman romance. The story itself is shallow, but inoffensive. No, the real problem here is the atrocious prose. This is the clunkiest translated novel I've ever read. Still, even a good localization couldn't save these characters from being super cardboard, so the actual romance is hard to care about. Oh well, the book was short so not a whole lot of time wasted.
Sweet Regard (manga) So-so This one volume story is about a relationship between a man and his dead sisters husband. The dreaded "forced seduction" trope is dusted off and used liberally here. The guy initially isn't into it and has nightmares about his dead sister. The whole book is basically him letting go and allowing himself to be happy. It could have been good, if not for the rape, generic art, and flimsy characterization. As it is, it's just barely passable.
Sweet Revolution (manga) Not really good I found Sweet Revolution to be a rather bland offering in the vast sea of boy's love titles. Characterization was flimsy and the plot was nonsensical, which makes for a bretty boring read. With a boring title, you'd hope there would a least a little fanservice to keep me from falling asleep, but nope, it's practically nonexistant here. In conclusion, Sweet Revolution is utterly forgettable.
Tableau Numéro 20 (manga) Good This is a collection of 4 shorts: the titles story about an art restorer and a painting that comes to life, the second about a couple of friends in which one has hidden feelings, the third about a flamenco dancer, and the last about a couple of old men in which one has Alzheimer's. These are all pretty good in that they are different and manage to be expressive with a short page count. Est em's art contributes with detailed distinctive face and well drawn emotion. I wish they were longer though. I feel I need a longer story to really immerse myself in. I wish Est em would tackle a series.
Tail of the Moon (manga) Very good I quite enjoyed this manga. For one, I loved this historical setting. It was a nice change of pace from the mountain of school based shoujo out there. I liked the characters quite a bit, particlarly Usagi who was sort of a lovable idiot type. Usagi is an inept ninja and her goal is to marry Hanzo, an elite ninja. This was funny at first but after five volumes began to wear a little thin. Everything Usagi does is in order to please Hanzo, whether it's ninja training, housework training, or losing weight (ugh! I just threw up a little). Fortunately, Ueda keeps the plot moving and some actual character development begins to happen for Usagi in book 12. The rest of the characters are interesting as well and Ueda can draw the hell out of a shirtless man. Overall, while occasionally suffering from flaws, this was a fun and entertaining shoujo.
Take Me To Heaven (manga) Weak This is about a boy who can see ghosts and his neighbor, the son of the local shrine priest. There isn't much to it other than that. The boy needs saving from the ghosts now and then and his friend comes running. Nase Yamato's art is not to my tastes at all either, super girly ukes and generally generic character designs. The writing in this one was pretty generic too. It will be forgotten in an instant.
Takeru: Opera Susanoh Sword of the Devil (manga Karakarakemuri) Good This is a four volume fantasy story based on a play (I think). Three young men are on a search for a legendary sword in a land at war. The story is fast paced yet not rushed. The art is beautiful, clean and attractive, with good detail but not so much that it obscures the action. The characters are pretty shallow, but I can more forgiving of such things in a plot driven story like this. Overall, its was a fairly good series for what it was, a short but sweet fantasy romp.
Tale of the Waning Moon (manga) Decent Ryuka wishes for true love on a hilltop and meets the moon spirit Ixto who cast a spell on him. Ryuka than goes on a quest to find him again. This is a fantasy BL with a bit of an RPG influence. There's even a "hint guy" to provide the hero with clues. It's very silly and not to be taken seriously. It's also very shallow in the characterization department. I'd say the series is just fun, silly eye candy fluff, with no substance whatsoever. It was entertaining though.
Tanpenshu (manga) Excellent This was an excellent collection of short stories. They were very well written, and I enjoyed most of them. A few were very bleak and violent: "The Girl, the Crows, and the Yakuza", "The Platform", and Because You're a Cute Girl" in particular. "High School Girl", about Endo's midlife crisis was amusing. Of the stories, I'd say "The Platform" and the one about the college theater troupe were my favorite. The were also two of the longer stories and I felt were better developed. I must admit I really didn't get "Hang", the first story in the second volume. It seemed like a pointless smutfest, although it was well drawn (that's ok, I like smut too). The last one, "Boys Don't Cry", seemed promising but was way too short at only a few pages long. Endo's art is excellent as well. It's very detailed and expressive and I think is particularly suited to depicting dark and violent works. After reading this, I can't wait for Dark Horse to finish releasing "Eden" so I can read that too all in one go.
Tea for Two (manga) Decent I was disappointed by this manga. I quite liked the other work I read by this mangaka, "Hey ,Sensei!" so I was expecting more from this. Sakuragi's art is just as good, but the characters in Tea for Two felt a little flat, as did the plot. Perhaps this was a case of my expectations just being too high. It wasn't a bad manga, I was entertained at least.
Temperature Rising (manga) Decent This is a sequel to "Happiness Recommended", about the orphan boys living in the house and the landlord's twin sons. This book follows the younger orphan boy and his compensated dating deal with one of the twins. In reality, the money is used as an excuse for both to sleep together without admitting their feelings, and by the end they decide to date for real. Of all the Souya Himawari manga I've read, this one is my favorite. She takes the time to explore their relationship and emotions a bit, which I would rather read than some hum drum anthology.
TenRyu: The Dragon Cycle (manga) Decent This was a mediocre fantasy yarn set in a pseudo medieval china type land. These are a dime a dozen. In this one, some shape shifting dragons must defeat an evil dragon and save their land. Sounds cliche, and it is, but it's somewhat entertaining and I like Sanami Matoh's art. Some of the action scenes got a little messy, but her characters are well drawn. This series was drawn over a number of years, so it was interesting seeing the progression of her art style. While the plot was nothing to write home about, it was a short and undemanding read to pass a couple of hours with. Overall, I enjoyed it.
Tenshi Ja Nai!! (manga, T. Shigematsu) Very good I've encountered the crossdressing theme a few times in manga now. It's not actually believable that Izumi could pass for a girl, no dude is that pretty, but even so I still enjoyed the story. I especially liked the character designs and the details in the clothing. I like fashion, so seeing all the different outfits was fun.

This is one of the very first manga series I ever read and it's been years. I just tried to revisit it and unfortunately it has not held up well. The premise is ridiculous. Izumi is a cross dressing guy attending an all girls school, who is eventually found out by his roommate. He takes a naked pic of her and blackmails her with it to keep her silence, and I'm supposed to be rooting for a romance between these two? No thanks. The art is rough as hell too. It looks like I can let this series go and clear some space on my shelves.

Tesoro - Ono Natsume Shoki Tanpenshū 1998–2008 (manga) Decent This is a collection of short stories by Natsume Ono (House of Five Leaves, Ristorante Paradiso). Most of the stories were too short to even make an impression. The were a couple that I quite liked though; One of the Bento stories about the single dad making his son's lunch was really sweet and I also liked the story about the parentless woman who made up lies to fill the void left by her situation. The rest of the book was "meh".
Testarotho (manga) Good I am not the target audience for this manga, yet despite the cheesy fanservice, I still enjoyed it. The underlying story about warring religious factions set in a psuedo-Italian fantasy world was interesting. The lead female character was of the useless variety who existed to have her clothes shredded and get rescued, but I found her easy enough to ignore. Leonedas was far more interesting and carried the story. Unfortunately, the series got cancelled and Sanbe had to wrap it up prematurely. The ending pretty much sucks and doesn't resolve anything. I enjoyed the 4 volumes that were released, but I wonder where it would have gone if Sanbe had been able to write the story in its entirety.
That Was Good (manga) Good The only CJ Michalski book I've read before this was the lackluster "Delivery Cupid", so I kept my expectations low for this one. Suprisingly, this book was actaully pretty good. The first story involves and man hired to be a live in housekeeper to a single dad and his son. It's kind of a typical romance novel style plot and even involves the dreaded "big misunderstanding" trope. Despite that, I still found it an entertaining read. My favorite was the second story, about the popular guy who immediately falls for the nerdy otaku boy. The comedy in this book was a hit for me. I'm glad I gave this book a chance as I did like it. It's nothing groundbreaking, just a solid fun read.
Then Comes Love (manga) So-so Here is a kind of generic romance about a couple of college aged guys. They are friends and one is in live with the other. Actually, both are in love with each other but neither bother to communicate. If they had, this story would have been over is a chapter. The art is as generic as the story, sort of standard and forgettable. The book wasn't bad, but it's the sort of thing you read and forget the next day.
Thirsty for Love (manga) Good This is a rather serious story about a boy who discovers he is sharing his girlfriend with two other guys. They form a strange love quadrangle and eventually seek comfort form each other when the girl dies from leukemia. It's not a happy story, but I liked it. Yukine Honami's art is nice too. The relationships in this story are really messed up though.
This Night's Everything (manga) Good This is the first book I've read from this mangaka, but it won't be the last. Naono is an assassin for some sort of secret agency and is handed a new recruit, Aoi. Now, the world building in this is a little murky. I gathered that there was some war and in the aftermath, Naono is recruited by a man known as the Professor, but I couldn't get a sense of the time or the place. The atmosphere and characterization are where this book shines. The characters behave in ways that make sense and the feelings expressed felt real and not contrived. It had a dark melancholy tone to it that was emphasized the the soft watercolor style art. The cover is beautiful. I really enjoyed this one.
Threads of Time (manhwa) Good
Three Wolves Mountain (manga) So-so Werewolf yaoi, huh? Well, it certainly is different, but it's very shallow. There are lots of elements, such as the werewolves, the man living alone who guards the graveyard, the spirit possessions and etc., that are just thrown in there with no explanation. The book is seriously lacking depth to the point that I had a hard time caring about the characters. It is well drawn though, I'll give it that.
Time Lag (manga) Good Here is yet another high school based BL romance. This one features a big misunderstanding and a love triangle. The story took up the entire book, so it was able to be a bit more fleshed out than most one shot stories or the short collections. The plot was somewhat decent and I was entertained. Odagiri's art is not to my tastes however. It's just sort of "generic shojo/BL" with it's airy lines and the super pretty femmey looking dudes.
Today's Ulterior Motives (manga) So-so I found this to readable and entertaining, but not very good. The "plot" was extremely shallow. The art was fairly standard for the genre, not standing out in any way. The characters were pretty 2-dimensional. The humor was hit-or-miss. So, why was I still entertained? There was a lot of sex. It kept me from falling asleep, but just barely.
Togari (manga) So-so I found the first volume of Togari to be interesting. Tobei is a murderer and has been in hell for 300 years. In order to be free, he must collect sins called Toga with his magical wooden sword, Togari. The series appeared to show promise, but quickly went downhill. The battles ceased to be interesting and degenerated into a repetitive mess of Tobei hunting down criminals and defeating their Toga. The ending was a joke as well, since nothing is resolved. The only positve to the series was the character development for Tobei. He starts off as a pretty bad dude but later develops some compassion as he's changed by the people he meets in the human realm. In the end, I was really disappointed in this series, as I was really hoping for more.
Tokyo Boys & Girls (manga) Very good I read had read and really enjoyed Aihara's other work, Hot Gimmick, before picking up this story. I liked this one as well. The characters were a little less neurotic, which was both a good and a bad thing. Good because I hate stupidity, but bad because without it, the story is rather shallow. The art is a little rougher in this story as well. I have come to realize that I like shorter, more compact stories, and this one is a perfect length, wrapping up in just 5 volumes. On the whole, I thought this was a very good high school romance.
Tomorrow's Ulterior Motives (manga) So-so This is the sequel to "Today's Ulterior Motives". Like the prequel, it's pretty much plotless, with paper thin characterization. I found it tired, predictable and boring.
Tonight's Take-Out Night (manga) Decent This is an anthology and the second book I've read by Akira Minazuki. While not quite as good as This Night's Everything, it was still a good read. The first story, about a fast food manager and a guy who works at the restaurant's main office was cute without being cutesy. I particularly liked the second story, about an inhuman snow spirit that steals warmth and life from humans, who falls in love with a man and becomes human himself. The last story about a sculptor and his apprentice was pretty forgettable though. Minazuki's delicate watercolor-like art style is used to full effect in this book. I really like her style and anthologies are not my favorite reading, this one was decent.
Total Surrender (manga) Not really good Here is yet another ho-hum anthology. The stories all followed the same pattern: the set-up, followed by the confession and concluding with a love scene. They were the epitome of shallow: ultra short and totally forgettable.
Totally Captivated (manhwa) Excellent This was a different sort of yaoi manga. Unlike in many, the relationship develops over all 6 volumes. It's not love at first sight, a common plot device in yaoi, and I appreciated the actual character development. It was non-explicit also, which fit well with the more plot and character based approach of this manga as opposed to the titillation factor which is the point of many stories in the genre. I like titillation and all, but sometimes I want to read a story with some actual meat. Totally Captivated delivers on this and that's why it's one of my new favorites.

I just re-read this after a few years and it doesn't quite hold up. The story comes across as a little "harlequin-esque", with it's super possessive love interest. If I were rating it today, it would merely be "good".

Tough Love Baby (manga) Good This one shot didn't have the cracktastic quality of Shiuko Kano's other works, and suffers a little from the lack. It's a little bland and forgettable in comparison. On the other hand, I still found it entertaining and readable. There are a couple of female characters in this, and they're not evil wenches. The "I like you" part of the story is dealt with right in the beginning, so most of the story is focused on the more interesting aspect of defining the relationship. Kano's art is also a plus; she has a sharper more masculine style that I really like. So, while not as enjoyable as Kano's other series, I'm not disappointed. I like her work and hope more gets released here.
Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (manga) Very good This is a very short slice of life manga dealing with Hiroshima victims. The first stroy takes place 10 years after the bombing and deals with a family experiencing the more recent aftermath. The second piece takes place in the present day and follows the brother of the heroine in the first story. He was sent away as a child to protect him from the aftermath and he's now an old man. His daughter follows him on a day trip to Hiroshima. This was a very good book, if sad in a few parts. The whole thing had a sort of quiet, melancholic tone. The art is not your typical "manga" art either, instead looking a bit more alternative, like a european comic. It's nice every now and then to take a break from the same old manga plots and tropes and read something entirely different.
TRAIN+TRAIN (manga) Decent "Meh" was my reaction. The premise of this takes place in a future planet with special "school trains". A girl named Arena wants to board the special train and ends up dragging an average boy named Reiichi with her. The engage in adventures along the way while both characters grow up a bit. The End. The plot was somewhat entertaining but ultimately nothing special. The art was not the best. It sorta had a generic anime style to it, except faces tended to look wonky as hell. So, to sum it up: "Meh".
Truly Kindly (manga) Good I found this to be well written and thought provoking if not always pleasant to read. The title story in particular is the one I'm refering to. I quite liked both of the historical pieces at the end. Yoshinagas art is quite suited to that particular setting in my opinion. All in all, the collection was pretty good.
Twin Spica (manga) Good This series begins with a girl who has a dream of going into space and enters an astronaut training school. It actually is mostly about her and her friends and the bonds they form. It is very well written, emotional with out feeling overwrought. I would have preferred more actual space, but I enjoyed the series regardless. The art wasn't really to my tastes, as everyone looks much younger and rounder, but it didn't detract from the story. So, in the end I liked this, but I wasn't blown away by it.
Two of Hearts (manga) Very good The only other Kano Miyamoto I've read so far was the excellent "Lovers and Souls". While not quite as good as LaS, Two of Hearts was still very good. The characters were interesting and likeable and I enjoyed their romance.
(The) Tyrant Falls in Love (manga) Good It took a couple of volumes for me to get into this one. Morinaga has a longstanding crush on his upperclassman, except his crush hates gays and is firmly in the closet. It was hard to take Souichi as he is so unpleasant I couldn't see why Morinaga liked him at all. As the story progressed, it is clear that he is a prickly, mean tsundere character type and really does have feelings for Morinaga, but getting him to admit it is like pulling teeth. I guess if the relationship hadn't been so one sided, the story would have been over quickly, but it was just a little frustrating to read. Overall I liked it though. Also on the plus side, Takanaga's art didn't stray into that super girly uke territory, as both characters were drawn in the same size/way. I prefer that.
Ugly Duckling's Love Revolution (manga) Bad This is based on an otome game, so I wasn't expecting much, but it still turned out to be garbage. Hitomi is fat and surrounded by a gaggle of handsome guys who help her with dieting and stuff. The characters are flatter than cardboard and poor Hitomi doesn't even have a face. Nope, she's only given a face in the very last chapter, when she's skinny. The series seemed to have been written by one with an uninformed view on weight loss, as if all fat people are just lazy gluttons. Combined with the fact that Hitomi only gains a face when she's skinny sends a poor message. I'm not even fat and I found this series borderline offensive. Even ignoring that, the manga is duller than dishwater. All the standard high school events: the sports fest, the class trip, culture fest, pool episode, part time job, etc, are used as a backdrop for this thing. As a result, the writing is as tired as they come, with not a single whiff of originality. My verdict: Absolute crap! I wish I wouldn't have wasted my money on this terrible manga.
Under Grand Hotel (manga) Very good This manga is one of a kind, I haven't read another like it. It takes place in a Mika Sadahiro fantasy prison, nicknamed "Under Grand Hotel", a violent place populated with interesting and twisted individuals. Despite all the violence and murder, this is one of the most sappy BL romances I've ever read. Sadahiro's characters are not your average cardboard cutout schoolboy/salaryman types either. Her art is excellent as well, with all of the characters looking suitably masculine and with well drawn backgrounds that really convey the setting. UGH is like the antidote to all the plotless, saccarine schoolboy fluff that gets published and I really enjoyed it.
Until the Full Moon (manga) Decent This short two volume series is about a bunch of vampires. Two families both have sons, one of which has the unique circumstance of turning into a woman at every full moon. The parents decide to marry them off, the sons are cool with it, and then they have a few adventures until their wedding day. Honestly, there isn't much plot to go around here, as it's mostly a comedy series. I guess I found it to be just "ok", meaning it's readable but nothing to write home about. There is a sequel series, @ Full Moon, but I honestly don't know why it exists, as Until the Full Moon wraps up w/ the wedding. Where is there left for the story to go?
Utahime: The Songstress (manga) Good Utahime is an interesting one volume fantasy story. It's about a brother and sister born to the "songstress", who isolated in her tower, protects the land. Traditionally, the songstress has always been female, but in this case Kain has inherited the power while his sister Maria has not. The story is mostly about questioning this tradition and the kingdom's dependance on these songstresses at the expense of their freedom. Overall, I liked it.
Utsubora - A Story of a Novelist (manga) Decent This is somewhat of a mystery story. A young woman falls to her death, and the circumstances behind it are unclear. Meanwhile an author falls in with a crazed fan. To say how these are connected is to reveal spoilers, so I won't. I found the story intriguing, but I didn't really connect with it or the characters. It's the sort of fare I'm glad I read once, but I will never have the urge to revisit.
Vampire Game (manga) Good Vampire Game turned out a lot better than I thought it would. I originally thought it would be another cheesy vampire story, but really its a fantasy adventure/comedy. The lead character, Ishtar, is priceless and the plot actually kept moving for the entire 15 volumes. This story was a lot of fun!
Vampire Knight (manga) Good I probably would have enjoyed this more if I were a younger reader, as it has all the sorts of things tweens tend to like, pretty boy vampires and an overwrought plot full of turns. But, I just found it ,"ok". A lot of stuff involving Kaname was just sort of handwaved. The ending was a bit lackluster, as it doesn't feel like anything is really resolved completely. I feel like Yuki is never fully realized as a character, as we're not really privy to her true feelings, and that especially hurts the ending. Even the art was only ok. Other than the three leads, most characters started to look a bit samey. I'm glad I read this once, as I did find it interesting and really did want to find out what happened, but it's not the sort of fare I would ever read again.
Vampire's Portrait (manga) So-so This is a lot darker and more violent than the usual sweet romancey school boy stories typically published under June. It's a vampire story. Lou is commissioned by a vampire to paint his "true face". His true face is pretty monstrous as well, with misshapen features, huge pointy teeth, a big leathery bat wings. It's refreshing to see vampires depicted this way in a vampire story. The story itself is interesting. Lou is caught in the middle of a conflict between two vampires, one of which wants to die because he's killed so many people that he's forgotten his original identity. The plot is a little rushed and the characters are super cardboard, which is unfortunate, because this could have been good. As it is, it's just a disappointment.
Vanilla (manga) So-so Vanilla is a student/teacher romance. They are a dime a dozen in shojo/BL manga. I couldn't really get into the characters in this one. The main character was a bit of a doormat. I just couldn't understand his persistence in pursuing the teacher, who was a bit of a douche. The romance was alright. I was entertained at least, but this doesn't really stand out in any way for me.
Venus Capriccio (manga) So-so This is a rather run of the mill shoujo romance. The protagonists are childhood friends who play piano and the story focuses on that quite a bit. I found the whole thing to be lukewarm: the romance, the characterization, the drama with Akira's father, the quickly introduced and discarded "rival" characters, etc. This is the kind of thing one reads and immediately forgets, as it doesn't make much of an impression.
Very, Very Sweet (manhwa) Good This was a very cute manga although I liked the duo's other sadly unfinished work, Chocolat a bit better. This one is about a Japanese boy of Korean descent who gets sent to Korea to learn the culture and history. He moves in next to a funny girl named Be Ri. The relationship between Tsuyoshi and Be Ri is an interesting culture clash. The manga is full of cool Korean and japanese cultural artifacts. It is worth reading for that alone. The characters are fun and the comedy is gold as well. My only complaint is that the relationships were pretty shallow. The characters were junior high students, so could be one reason for keeping it light but the emotional content wasn't as strongly written as the comedic content in my opinion. Still, it was a fun read and worth the few hours I spent on it.
(La) Vie en Rose (manga) Decent This is an anthology of sorts withthe stories all centering around a bar. The bartender, a promiscuous sort, is a recurring character in all of the stories. While I liked that all the stories were linked, they were still too short to make much of an impression. The book has no real plot to speak of. The only character that gets much page time is Shiraishi, the bartender. Everyone else is instantly forgettable. However, I didn't hate the book. I found it mildly enjoyable for what it was.
Virtuoso di Amore (manga) Good I enjoyed Virtuoso. It was a little soap opera like, what with the infidelity and the drug addiction. I find I am usually more entertained by manga of this type if the characters are a little messed up in some way, of which this fits the bill. It's a little over the top, but it makes a good story.
(The) Voices of a Distant Star (manga) Very good This manga is based off of the movie of the same name. Suprisingly, unlike most manga adaptations, this one is good. The movie was only 30 minutes long, so the manga expanded on the plot and characters a little bit. I actually prefer this manga adaptation. The movie was very sad in tone, but the manga has a more hopeful vibe.
Voices of Love (manga) Good This is a compilation of several short adultish romance stories. They were all fairly entertaining; about on par qualitywise with LuvLuv's "Object of Desire". Only one story featured a real "loser" (the one banging his friend while he had a girlfriend-yuck!), the others were decent dudes. Some of the girls were a little doormatty (the art student-yuck!). The art I found a little awkward at times too. But despite a few blips, I found the collection entertaining on the whole.
VS (manga) Very good This is a different sort of shoujo manga. The protagonist is a boy, a violin prodigy, who attends a prestigous art school and is assigned a new instructor in order to win some big music contest (I know absolutely nothing about classical music). The tone of the story is a bit more mature than I was expecting. The plot is basically about the characters working to overcome their personal issues to succeed. The two leads, SaioIn and Hane sensei were well written and developed. The romance element unfolded in an unexpected way (if not the way I prefered). I strongly disliked a certain character, but I don't want to spoil it. The ending was well written and realistic. All in all, I quite liked the series.
Wagamama Kitchen (manga) Good I picked this up after reading and liking Monchi's "Hey Class president". No surprise, I liked this one too. Monchi's art does take some getting used to; it kind of has a wispy, sketchy quality and her way of depicting faces is certainly distinctive. Her writing is fun. There is a vein of humor running throughout that suggests her stories don't take themselves too seriously. This particular book contained two stories, both of which were readable but too short. The second story in particular cries for a continuation. Even still, I found the book to be enjoyable and will certainly be picking up more of Monchi's manga should it be licensed.
Walkin' Butterfly (manga) Very good Walkin' Butterfly is the story of a tall woman with low self esteem who decides to become a model in order to gain some confidence. She's quite pathetic and self destructive at the beginning of the series, but by the end she's accepted herself and she's able to stand on her own two feet. The character development is excellent. Chihiro Tamaki's art style somewhat reminds me of Moyocco Anno's, one of my favorite mangaka. Aurora only published three volumes of this four volumes series before going under. I purchased the fourth volume in French. I'm envious of the French editions. They have beautiful slip covers with nice paper and color pages. Really though, I'm just happy to have the whole series on my shelf. We don't get very many Josei manga for adult women here, and that makes me sad.
(The) Walking Man (manga) Very good This is a quiet atmospheric collection of shorts about a man out and about in his neighborhood. Taniguchi's art is wonderful as always and I enjoyed the quieter look at everyday life in Japan.
Warning! Whispers of Love (manga) Decent This would be typical school boy boy's love, except this is genuinely cute and comedic without crossing the line into cutesy and trite. The title story, which took up half the book, was the strongest, about a boy with an ear cleaning fetish chasing around an underclassman who he thinks is cute. The interactions between the two boys is quite humorous and I laughed. I also got a couple of laughs out of the dog story at the end, mostly because of the dog, whose actions and expressions were so dog-like. The biggest problem I have is that these stories is that they have no ending, they just stop. They don't have enough page count to develop fully and end properly so they get cut off. I would be interested in reading a full story from this mangaka, as what I've read here was fairly good.
WARU (manga by Y. Hashida) Decent I expected the art on this to be as ugly as the cover, but thankfully it wasn't. It looks very shojo with "girl" having the big sparkly eyes and huge eyelashes. It ended up being visually pleasing even if the plot was silly as hell. I did get a laugh from a couple of the jokes, this manga is not meant to be taken seriously at all. I found the book to be entertaining if somewhat shallow.
(The) Way To Heaven (manga) Very good The story for this manga isso cracked out I almost don't know where to start. Apparently the two leads died by falling from a bridge into the path of an oncoming train. Instead of moving on to the afterlife, their souls are waylaid by an "alien" woman who wants to use them for some sort of experiment. So, they are forced to relive a day in their pasts over and over Groundhog Day style. The plot has a lot of holes and barely makes sense, but that's not the point here. It's entertaining is what it is. Also, the characters and their feelings seem really genuine, which makes the whole thing come together. The art is another plus in it's favor, as the artist draws men looking like men. Nothing would have pulled me out of this story faster than a "big eyed uke" archetype. On the whole, this is a really fun, memorable book. This is the second time I've read it and it holds up well to a second reading.
We Were There (manga) Very good Nana enters high school and falls in love with Yano. Yano seemingly is perfect, he's handsome, popular and smart, but it quickly becomes apparent that he has Serious Issues. His mom is a flake and had him out of wedlock, his first love cheated on him and died. This colors his dealing with Nana and I could see that this relationship was a trainwreck in the making. I couldn't stop reading no matter how frustrated I got with the series.. The characters are very nuanced and well written, but this is a melodrama, so they often made poor decisions. The pacing is slow, I just wanted them to get on with it already. I hated yano, His reasoning for what he does is piss poor and he really could have done with some psychiatric help. I'm frustrated with Nana for not moving on after he dumps her. Five years is a long time, realistically, people generally move on. The romance didn't quite work for me as I couldn't buy them getting together after the time skip. On the whole though, the writing was solid. People do make mistakes and make bad decisions, usually they are not rewarded with a happy ending though.
Weekend Lovers (manga) Good I expected this to be another boring yaoi anthology,but I was actually pleasantly surprised. It was actually fairly entertaining. The art was pretty, and while some of the stories were typical romance, two in particular stood out. Both were quite dark and almost felt out of place among the standard sweet romance tales. I quite liked them; they were different from what I'm used to reading. I'm definitely keeping a lookout for more manga by Fuwa in the future.
Welcome to the N.H.K. (manga) Good I've seen the anime already, so the first few volumes of this felt a bit redundant. I didn't find the jokes as funny on the page as I did on the screen. The story deviates from the anime a bit starting in volume 5, and I found myself enjoying it more. A couple times I even laughed out loud, like Satou's bad trip at the onsen in volume 5. The panels showing the "stoned" view of the place probably wouldn't have worked as well animated (maybe why they left it out?). Overall, while I enjoyed this manga, I liked the anime version better. The story just works better with motion and acting. So, I will stick with that if I ever want to revisit NHK.
What a wonderful world! (manga) Decent This is a two volume series consisting of very loosely related short stories about people. The shorts follow a theme of people overcoming or accepting stuff: their insecurities, growing up, bullies, etc. I found it readable, but it didn't really grab me like Solanin, by the same mangaka. I'm wondering if it's the short story format at play. I never have enough time to get to know these people, so I find it hard to care about their personal problems. The manga was just "ok" for me.
Where Has Love Gone? (manga) Not really good This is a salaryman romance. Unfortunately, it's not very good. For one, it's never actually stated what kind of company these characters work for or what it is that they do. The "work" is apparently window dressing only. The book also starts on an icky note. One character is caught making out with a guy after work by his coworker, who then proceeds to sexually harass him starting the next day. As the start of a romance, it fails miserably. I really wish it had started another way, as the book wasn't bad when both guys were into the relationship. In fact I kinda liked the last half of the book. The first part is terrible though.
White Guardian (manga) Good If I were judging this on the art alone, I would have given it an "excellent". The faces are expressive and the hair and costumes are elaborate and detailed. The plot is decent, but nothing to write home about. It's basically a political intrique plot set against a fantasy background with a whole lot of man sex thrown in. It ended on a cliffhanger (AGH! Hate them!) so I'm assuming there's a sequel.
Wild @ Heart (manga) So-so This is another manga that falls under the "super sized saucer eyes=manga for 10 year old girls" umbrella. It's a very vanilla romance story appropriate for preteen girls. The romance is super contrived and the plot is silly and full of holes, neither of which the target demographic is likely to notice. I'm an adult, so I did. I did enjoy this just a smidge more than Ando's other manga "Kitchen Princess", but I suspect it's only because this one was much shorter. I'm coming to find out that I don't really enjoy shoujo for younger girls. I think this was the last straw. If I see a cover with super huge eyes, I'm steering clear.
Wild Act (manga) Good My thoughts on this manga: Ridiculous yet fun. The plot is nonsensical and far fetched but the characters really shine and the whole thing is really fun. It doens't take itself seriously at all. I decided to "just go with it" and I found it highly entertaining.
Wild Butterfly (manga) Decent This is an anthology from June, but not quite what I was expecting, Wild Butterfly turned out to be a surprise. For one, all of the short stories were dark and/or tragic in nature. There was no romance to be found. Aside from the first story. they featured some demons, a vampire, a pack of werewolves, and a good helping of violence. The art was atypical as well, with a more shonen/seinen style. It was a refreshing change to read an anthology like this. Unfortunately, the stories were a bit short and underdeveloped, but overall this was decent.
Wild Rock (manga) Good Wild Rock takes place in a prehistoric era. In the opening panels, our heroes are hunting a saber toothed tiger. While the setting and premise were certainly interesting, the plot in Wild Rock was typical. However, the art was fantastic. That alone made this title memorable for me and I'm curious what the mangaka could do with a better plot. Unfortunately due to some legal mess, Takashima is no longer drawing manga and all her projects have been cancelled, which is surely a shame because what I read here showed some real promise.
A Wise Man Sleeps (manga) So-so My reaction to this was a big "Meh". It's episodic style story that really doesn't go anywhere plotwise. The heroine swallows a magic ring and gets some powers, which she uses to solve jewelry related problems. It doesn't end so much as just trickle out. It's obvious the mangaka had no idea where she was going with this and it shows. By the end of the second volume I was super bored. I've read much better by this mangaka. My favorite Takeuchi work so far has been "Bound beauty", the only one GoComi! didn't finish. =(
Wish (manga) Decent Wish didn't do much for me. The story was mildly enjoyable and the art was nice, but the Angel girl was irritating, especially in shrunken form. I didn't find the love between the two lead characters to be particularly compelling or believable either. The art is pretty much the only reason the earned a "decent" instead of a "so-so".
Words of Devotion (manga) Decent I liked this story about school friends who eventually become more. The relationship was portrayed as a gradual procession and it was shown in such a way that it felt natural and not contrived (a lot of yaoi fails at this). I also enjoyed that there were some female characters. It's more realistic to include them. After all, women are half of the population and sometimes it seems weird when they are conspicuously absent (yaoi can be guilty of this too). While there are only 2 volumes, I did feel that this series was meant to continue. I did like it enough to keep reading if that happens to be the case.
X-Day (manga by S Mizushiro) Very good This is a very good two volume series about a group of teens (and one teacher) who want to blow up their school. Like Mizushiro's other series published in English, After School Nightmare, it is very psychological in nature. The school bombing plot brings these people together and ultimately they abandon the idea as they realize they are not alone and their lives are not so hopeless after all. I loved the story. I want so badly for more of Setona Mizushiro's work to make it over here as she writes characters so very well.
Yakuza Café (manga) So-so Here is your typical yaoi fluff piece: a young man goes to work in his dad's cafe, where all the employees are former yakuza. One of them is secretly in love with him. Overused cliches abound. Snore.
Yakuza in Love (manga) Decent It hard to rate this one because my enjoyment of the title is somewhat related to it's abundance of female oriented fanservice (i.e. Would I like this title as much if all the characters were ugly old guys? probably not). The plot of Yakuza In Love is pretty much summed up by it's title. At only 3 volumes long, it works. The art is nice; I prefer it when grown men are drawn to look like grown men, instead of feminine boys. It's actually a pretty tame romance up until the last volume, which is a little porny. Since the story deals with the Yakuza, it does involve some violence as well. This manga was a fairly entertaining way to pass a couple of hours. I'd much rather be reading Kizuna, but this substitutes nicely in the meantime.
Yellow (manga) Very good Yellow was pretty good. The action plot was interesting and the romance part wasn't rushed. I prefer when romance plots aren't all "love/fall into bed at first sight-the end" because when the two characters finally do get together, it has a bigger impact. Makoto Tateno's art, while nice, is not really to my taste. She has a tendency to draw faces really really girly. Younger boys for example look just like shoujo heroines (big sparkly eyes). I prefer a more masculine style. I did appreciate the art even if it wasn't my favorite, and the great story more than made up for it.
Yellow 2 (manga) So-so The original Yellow wrapped up nicely in volume 4, so where could the sequel go? Nowhere it seems, as all three slim "volumes" were just single chapter side stories with no interconnecting plot. I guess this is for superfans of the original who just don't want to see it end. As for me, I didn't feel there was any more story to tell so Tateno is just spinning her wheels at this point. It's not a terrible manga, but it just feels pointless.
Yokai's Hunger (manga) Very good This was certainly different from all of the run-of-the-mill yaoi I've been subjected to lately. There was a plot! (what a novelty) And it was actually fairly good. The humor worked for me as well. I liked the art. I can't say it's beautiful, but it has it's own quirky style that sets it apart. After reading this, I'm definitely interested in seeing more of Naono Bohra's work published in English.
Yokan - Premonition (manga) Decent This was released under the name "Yokan" here. This was not my favorite Tateno series. I'd put it somewhere in the middle of the pack. I thought the relationship aspect was rushed. Granted, the series is only 2 volumes long, but I've read short series that have done it right, such as Future Lovers or Tateno's own "Hero Heel". I did enjoy that both characters were truly equal in the relationship. They were musicians from rival bands and both competed and pushed each other to become better. I just wish that there had been more depth to the story. As it is, this was a pleasant if mediocre read.
You & Me, Etc. (manga) Good This is my first time reading this mangaka and it was a pleasant surprise. Her art is well done, with a clean look, not overflowing with screentones. The characters in particular are all distinctive looking, not the same face with different hairstyles. The book is an anthology, but I found the stories to be well done for what they were. They mostly appeared to focus on growing friendship, with very little in the way of romantic content. I thought this worked much better than trying to cram a whole relationship into a chapter or two. I wouldn't mind reading more from this mangaka in the future as I liked this offering.
You Make My Head Spin! (manga) So-so This manga has got to have one of the ugliest covers I've ever seen, with it portrait of a lopsided face and the garish color scheme. The contents within aren't nearly as poorly drawn, but the writing is a little lacking. Here we have two cliche BL stories, one a student X teacher and the other a new transfer student X delinquent. There is no new ground tread here so the book is mildly entertaining and that's it.
You will drown in Love (manga) Good This is the sequel to Takanaga's "You Will Fall in Love". I liked this one a bit better, mainly because the characters were drawn in an "older" style. Takanaga has a tendency to make her characters look too young and boyish instead of like grown men. The main character for this is the one who was rejected in the prequel, "You Will Fall in Love". I felt he was a lot more likeable in that book. He was portrayed with a more decisive personality. In "Drown" he becomes somewhat of a simpleton and is very wishy washy. On the other hand, I liked the relatioship between the lead charcters a lot more in this book. The jealousy issues that were present in "Fall" are a lot more subdued here and overall the partnership felt more equal. While this wasn't my favorite by Takanaga, it was still very good and I was entertained, which is all I ask for.
You will fall in Love (manga) Decent Overall, I liked this Hinako Takanaga offering. I did have some problems with it though. For one, the character design for the teacher; He looked way too young and pretty for his age. The love interest was very , um, "forward" as well. Honestly, this read a lot like those shoujo manga where the heroine ends up falling for the controlling douche. On the other hand, the love story was nice and the art, if you can get past the pretty, pretty style is good as well.
You're My Pet (manga) Excellent What a great love story this was! I couldn't stop reading it until the end. The art was fairly good, nothing spectacular, but the story was so compelling and the characters felt so human. It was refreshing to read about characters who were not high school age for once.
Your Honest Deceit (manga) Decent Your Honest Deceit is a two volume series about a secretary in a law office in love with his boss. I liked the first volume, the set up was interesting, but I felt the second volume fell a little flat. I think the problem was with the characters. While the relationship itself was interesting, the characters themselves were not. It probably should have ended once the couple finally got together at the end of vol. 1, because once they got together, they couldn't hold my interest.
Your Love Sickness (manga) Decent This is a one shot containing several stories. The longest is about a couple of "in love" shrine guarding fox spirits. The best story was about a rain god who summons a human and spirits him away. The final stories were about a guy with a crush on his food delivery guy and a yakuza/cop childhood friends story. The art was strong throughout the book, only the stories were kinda shallow and the characterization was one note. The oni story was the most memorable as it had a fairytale like quality, but the others were pretty forgettable.
Your story I've known (manga) Good This is the second manga by Tsuta Suzuki I've read, the first being volume one of A Strange and Mystifying Story. This one was a little more grounded in reality that the previous, and I quite liked it. The title story in particular is what stood out. I only wish it were fleshed out a little more and took up the whole book instead of just half. As it is, it's too short to really connect with and the resolution was abrupt. The rest of the stories in the book were your standard forgettable anthology fillers. Suzuki's art is wonderful, with a more mature style. She draws even the standard pretty boy type looking masculine. I'd love to see a longer manga by her. Since ASaMS has more volumes out, I will definitely be picking them up.
Yurara (manga) Decent Yurara is another run of the mill shoujo starring a shy timid girl surrounded by hot guys. Yurara can see dead people and is possessed by a guardian spirit also named Yurara. The two class hotties can also see dead people and immediately fall in love with Yurara. The whys and hows of this are not sufficiently elaborated on. The romance was of the silly teen fantasy variety and not based in any reality I know. I did find the manga mildly entertaining, but I like the mangaka's other darker action/horror based works far better.
Ze (manga) Decent I was hoping to enjoy this more than I did, as I remember really liming "Love Mode", but it was just ok for me. Its an 11 volume series featuring a few couples. The gimmick is that there is a family of magic users who cast curses with words that results in a backlash of injury to themselves. In order to combat this, paper dolls are given human form/emotions in order to take on or heal their masters injuries. It's kind of weak and tropey, with characterization more on the card board side of the spectrum. It really did not have much in the way of plot either, just romance stories featuring these couples. It was mildly entertaining at best.
Zoku Tora-san to Ookami-san (manga) Not really good This is the sequel to Mr. Tiger and Mr. Wolf, a BL story starring anthropomorphized animals. How this thing lacking any sort of plot or characterization got a sequel I do not understand. It is lacking in any substance what so ever.
A Zoo in Winter (manga) Very good This is an semi-autobiographical story by Jiro Taniguchi about a young manga assistant starting out in the 60's. I generally like all of Taniguchi's work, and this is no different. This is basically about an everyday guy getting his start and it's genuinely interesting. My only complaint is that it just seems to end abruptly. I suppose ending it after the lead has just had his first work accepted for magazine publication is as good a place as any, but I wanted too see what happened after that. Regardless, this is worhtwhile read with Taniguchi's wonderful artwork as a bonus.

Will not finish Rating Comment
07-Ghost (manga) I found the first volume of this entertaining enough, but lost interest while reading subsequent volumes. The set up is interesting: Teito attends a military academy and accidentally overhears a conversation that gets him imprisoned. He escapes and ends up at some sort of church which is guarded by 7 powerful spirit dudes. Teito finds out that he himself bears some sort of great power as well. The problem with this manga is that it just keeps piling stuff on, so much so that it bogs down under its own weight. The plot is easy enough to follow, it just tries to include too many characters and elements and doesn't slow down to explain any of it, so by volume 3 I found it hard to care. The art is great though. Sure, some faces look a little too much alike, but they're clean and well drawn. In the end though I didn't like this series enough to keep reading it. I have the three volumes that Go Comi! published, but I'm not clamoring for this one to be continued.
13th Boy (manhwa) Hee So has just been dumped by her 12th boyfriend and vows to get him back. As of the first two volumes, she hasn't yet succeeded in changing his mind. I predict that instead she'll end up with his friend, Whie Young (who was probably also the first boy whom she can't remember). Yep, this manga makes use of tired cliches such as the forgotton childhood friend. Also, I'm turned off 99.9% of the time by mascot characters, so Beatrice the talking cactus wasn't adding to my enjoyment. Overall, this manga read a little young for me. It's cute for a little girl, but I can't get into it as a grown up. So, dropped.
A.I. Revolution (manga) I read all five volumes that Go Comi put out before going kaput. I thought it was mediocre overall. I was expecting a cheesy "fake boyfriend" story a la Absolute Boyfriend, and it was still cheesy, but it lacked the entertainment value of a Chobits or AB. The plot sort of meandered. If it had picked a direction and went with it, i would have enjoyed this much more, but by the end of the fifth volume, there was still no clear direction in the story. The characters also were kinda flimsy. Asami's art was a sort of generic shoujo style. The faces were attractive enough, but everyone looked the same. Backgrounds were sparse as well. Overall the series was pretty generic and I'm not sure I'd have continued with this even if Go Comi had kept releasing the books.
AEGIS (manhwa) I wanted to like this, as the premise is really interesting: a story about two orphans forced to be child soldiers. However, the writing was so disjointed and nonsensical. It would hop time periods and jump from one character to another with little explanation or transition. Other than the two leads, the characterization was lacking. Nothing was really explained and the story in general became super vague. I read up to volume six, the last one Netcomics put out, and I'm not sad to have to stop here.
Afterschool Charisma (manga) The premise of this series is interesting, in which a special school creates clones of famous historical figures in order for them to take their place in society in whichever field their original excelled at. It quickly becomes apparent that all is not as it seems. The problem I had with this manga is that the art and actual plot aren't as good as the premise. There are so many clones and with different generations of the same clones running around that characters look a lot alike, which makes sudden point of view shifts sometimes confusing. The characters themselves aren't developed beyond one character trait: i.e. the smart one, the pretty one, etc. I've read up to volume seven and at this point, I'm losing interest, so it's best for me to stop here.
Air Gear (manga) While I didn't hate Air Gear, it clearly isn't for me. There is a very juvenile tone to the story, not that the story itself is a shining masterpiece either. It was clearly written for teenage boys. Our lead character is a spiky haired teenage boy who is parentless and living with four sisters. Your standard fanservice cliches are present: the accidental boob grab, the naked chicks in the shower talking about each others boobs, the walking in on of said girls, etc. The plot (at least so far) is your basic fighting shounen, with all the corny cliches that entails. About the only positive thing I can say is that I really like Oh!Great's art. It's clean and attractive and his action scenes are easy to follow. I couldn't get into the story or characters though, as I couldn't stop my eye rolling. The one volume I read was entertaing, I'll give it that, but also really really dumb. I'm not going to read more.
Angel Sanctuary (manga) I read the first volume of this a couple of years ago and put it off as I was on the fence about it. I had the first five volumes and just now decided to give it another go. Honestly, it's still not doing much for me. Kaori Yuki's art is amazingly detailed and beautiful, but her plot is a convoluted mess and full of holes. Neither the incest angle nor the butchering of Christian mythology bothered me. I was done in by too many plot threads and too many characters, some of which were hard to tell apart. In the end, I'm giving up on this hot mess and selling my copies on Amazon.
Appleseed (manga) I just finished "Ghost In the Shell" and I decided to pick this up. First, artwise, this looks like an earlier work. It's not as detailed and the character designs look a little older (and thankfully, the stripperiffic elements of GITS are absent here). Unfortunately, the writing is not as good either. I saw a lot of 'splosions and not much substance. Also, this manga is very silly in tone. I expected something much more serious in a sci-fi action story, but the characters mostly behave in a goofy way. It's sorta offputting actually. I only read volume one and I don't plan on continuing. After reading this and GITS, I guess I'm just not a Shirow Masamune fan. (Don't shoot!)
Arata: The Legend (manga) I usually like Yuu Watase's manga, but this one was kind of a dud, It sem to follow the standard shounen formula: average kid gets sucked into a fantasy world and is the "chosen one" who has to learn to fight with his powers and gather allies. Honestly, I found it dull. The only points of interest were the all too brief flashes to the present day with black haired Arata. Most of the focus though seems to be on blonde Arata, who is painfully boring. I've read three volumes of this and I think I'm gonna call it quits.
Arm of Kannon (manga) Based on the first volume, Arm of Kannon is a cheesy gore fest with a nonsensical plot involving monsters and genetic experimentation, with Buddhist mystical trappings. I can see how one could enjoy this for the camp factor, some of the scenes were unintentionally hilarious and or creepy. Naked dismembered woman in the fridge? Check. Out of left field hand job scene? Check. Demon rape? Incent undertones? It's all there. Honestly, this series is terrible. For some, it may be so bad it's good, but for me, I need shit to make sense. I don't think I'm missing much by declining to read any further.
At Full Moon (manga) @ Full Moon is the sequel to Until the Full Moon. A bunch of new characters are intorduced and it's broken up into short story arcs. We get new rivals for David and Marlo, David and Marlo get kidnapped, Marlo is stuck in female form, and etc. Unfortunately, none of this is particularly compelling. The original series was only two volumes long, with not much in the way of plot or characterization. Therefore, there's not much to build upon for a sequel series and it ends up being this bland under-cooked offering. This series is currently on hiatus (I think) so this is a prefect place to stop reading. I doubt this is going to get any better at this point.
Awkward Silence (manga) This is a high school set romance by Hinako Takanaga. It's about as bland as it looks. Shy Tomo is asked out by his crush yet has trouble making his feelings known. The characters are cardboard slabs, and the "plot" is repetitive as hell: Tomo has something he needs to say but fails and misunderstanding occurs until Tomo clears it up. Rinse and repeat. I've read all 4 volumes available and it doesn't really seem to be going anywhere, so I quit.
Basilisk (manga) I read the first volume of Basilisk. It was pretty much a rehash of the anime, frame by frame, which doesn't really add anything to my enjoyment of the story (which was predictable in the anime and doubly predictable now that I've already seen it). So, I'll drop this and if ever I feel the need to revisit Basilisk, I'll just watch the anime.
Black Bird (manga) Bad This series is problematic in many ways. The most glaring is the really creepy relationship between Masao and Kyo, culminating in the most unsexy sex scene ever in volume 8. The imagery of the Bird of Prey ripping into it's meal during the sex scene really brings it home how unnatural and unbalanced this relationship is. Masao is a crying nonentity of the worst sort, a doormat heroine with absolutely no personality. The plot is the second big glaring flaw in this series, as it's really shallow. Basically, Masao is "food" for demons and demons are after her to either eat her or sleep with her to gain power. Even the plot treats her like a "thing" for these demon dudes to fight over. Her whole goal is to sleep with Kyo. The narrative seems to support some sort of sex=love message, which had me rolling my eyes. I really can't recommend this series to anyone, especially not teenage kids who don't know how relationships are supposed to work, as this send all the wrong messages. As for myself, I refuse to read any more of this dreck.
Black Butler (manga) This did absolutely nothing for me. I struggled through two volumes and failed to find the point. As far as I read, there didn't seem to be any sort of overarcing plot to follow. It was mostly episodic. The characters weren't very interesting to read about. The only mild point of interest was Sebastian and Ciel's master/servant deal, of which had not been explained by volume 2. The rest of the characters, such as the inept servants were of the wacky for wackyness sake variety. This sort of humor leaves me cold. I'm hoping the anime is a lot more fun to watch than this was to read. As of now, I'm dropping this.
Black Knight (manga) Weak I read all four volumes that BLU released, and I know it continues, but I have no desire to track this series down. While the art was beautiful, I had trouble maintaining an interest in the super generic fantasy world and the cookie cutter characters.There was an attempt at making a plot out of the struggles of various factions vying to gain power, but it's all very lukewarm. Game of Thrones this ain't. What it boils down to is prince Chris Jeremy (stupid name) gets kidnapped and dueled over a lot. I found it boring. So yeah, I'm done.
Blood Alone (manga) Meh. This one didn't do much for me. The premise is a cute loli vampire lives with a man who is a writer. They have an odd sibling/sorta romantic relationship and slowly more is revealed about them. There is no real overarching plot. It's not bad, I just don't care to read more as it's not for me.
Blood Sucker: Legend of "Zipangu" (manga) I'm a little burnt out on pretty boy and loli vampires, so coming across a series where they are portrayed as monsters and the bad guys was like a breath of fresh air. It starts out a little rocky, with some confusing time line skipping, but soon finds its bearings. Depite being a pretty gorey action heavy series, the characters are interestingly written and I wanted to know more about them and how their story unfolds. Unfortunately, Tokyopop only got to volume 7 before putting the series on haitus, and now that they are gone, I don't expect to see anyone else to release this. The series is pretty solid action/horror fare and I'm wondering if it didn't get a little lost in Tokyopop humungous catalog. This is more like something Dark Horse would release, right alongside Blade of the Immortal, Hellsing, and Berserk.
Bloody Monday (manga) This could've been cool; a story in which a teenage hacker foils an evil organization bent on releasing a supervirus on civilians. Instead, it's not very good. The characters are flat and uninteresting. The lead character, instead of being a genius hacker is TSTL (too stupid to live), casually outing himself as the Falcon and blindly confronting the big bad all on his own. For a hero who's supposed to live by his brain, he doesn't do much thinking. From the reviews I've read, he gets dumber and the plot gets more farfetched as the series goes on, so I'm out after volume one.
Bokurano: Ours (manga) I read the first six volumes of this manga, all I had on hand, before deciding to drop it. it starts out with a group of kids who are recruited to pilot a giant robot and fight monsters. The twist is that when a kid is chosen to be the main pilot for each individual battle, his/her life force is used to pilot the robot, and that person will dies at the end. So what it boils down to are chapter focusing on a character and their problems up until their battle, and then they die. It a very unpleasant, pessimistic series, as the prevailing message seems to be "life sucks, and then you die". I can imagine that it ends with all the pilots dying and the destruction of the human race or something and the only surviving organism being a cockroach. Either way, I don't care enough to purchase the rest of this series to find out.
Bride of the Water God (manhwa) The art in this is absolutely beautiful, but the story, while interesting at first, quickly grew tiresome. Soah is sacrificed by her village as an offering to the water god in hopes of rain. She ends up in the realm of the gods, betrothed to the water god. Learning about her new home and the gods along with the wonderful art was great. Unfortunately the plot begins to get bogged down with the machinations of the various gods and it starts to get dull. Also, too many characters with barely there introductions who look similar with the same face make it somewhat confusing at times. This is a long series but I stopped at volume 11. I just stopped caring at that point.
By the Sword (manga) This reminded me alot of Matoh's other fantasy series, "Tenryu: the Dragon Cycle", except the art in "By the Sword" is a bit more polished. They share a lot of the same plot elements as well, and the story for both can be summarized as "party of characters goes on a quest", which is like a fantasy cliche at this point. ADV only published two of the three volumes for this series, and based on what I read, I'm not clamoring for anyone to relicense "By the Sword". It's mediocre at best and really only worth it for hardcore Sanami Matoh fans. Her art has really evolved from her early ninties style and I really like it. Her action sequences are clean and easy to follow and her character designs are pleasing. I haven't been impressed with any of her storytelling/plotting though.
Cage of Eden (manga) I am a fan of survival horror stories. I loved Dragon Head and Battle Royale, and I've read and liked Hunger Games. Unfortunately, while I thought the premise was interesting, I didn't like Cage of Eden. I could get past the paper thin characters, the lead is your standard "short spunky boy" shounen hero, and all the other characters introduced were nothing more than cardboard cutouts. What ultimately turned me off was the really juvenile tone of the story, in which logic was thrown out the window in favor of a fast pace and gratuitous cheesecake shots. Seriously, if I crash land on a strange island with deadly creatures all over the place, my first instinct is not going to be getting naked and bathing in the nearest stream. The fanservice seemed to serve no purpose other than the mangaka randomly put in panties at intervals because the target audience of 12 year olds expects it. Secondly, this thing was full of holes. Of course the nerdy looking short kid has a laptop with all the answers in the wilderness, and the adult flight attendant would naturally let a school boy take the lead. What it comes down to is that the series has imagination, but it's not all that well written, and for that reason, it's not for me.
Captive Hearts (manga) I picked this up because I am a fan of the author's other work, Vampire Knight. Big mistake, because Captive Hearts is pretty bad. The author admits that the story is silly, but I think it flew past silly into just plain stupid. I read in the sidebars that this is Hino's first serialized work. It shows, since the art isn't as polished as in VK either. Since after reading this, I felt like I wasted my half hour, there's no way I'll continue.
Chi's Sweet Home (manga) I picked this up because I really like cats, so I thought this would be a no brainer right? Wrong. I didn't like it. It was just too cutesy and precocious. The "baby talk" dialog didn't help. What I did like? The scenes without any dialog, when Chi was just being a cat, doing cat things and body language and expression were used instead of cheesy dialog. This is just not my kind of manga, so I'm going to drop it.
Chobits (manga) I watched the anime a few years ago, so I was already familiar with the basic premise of Chobits. What I wasn't prepared for was the creepy way that the persocoms are sexualized. The persocoms are basically computers in the shapes of females, I didn't see any males. I found the favorable comparisons to real girls a bit unsettling in a "Hey guys, here's a mindless fembot to serve your every need! Who needs real girls!" kind of way. The double entendres along the lines of "hehe she makes a good 'lap top' " were pretty bad too. Also, the fanservice was just creepy. For instance, in the opening chapters, Hideki invites his friend over to check out Chi because he thinks she's broken. The friend proceeds to pull up Chi's shirt and fondle her prepubecent breasts under the guise of "inspecting" her. The panels focus directly on her nipples. It's weird and I felt it needed a Pedobear warning. I don't remember Chobits being quite so loli pandering, so I think this was toned down a bit in the anime.

I ended up finishing the whole omnibus, and I was relieved to see the "creep factor" lessened as the series wore on. The art is absolutely beautiful. I've always loved CLAMP's art. Too bad I couldn't get into the plot. I don't think I'll be finishing this one.

Chocolat (manhwa) Very good This is a fun little romance series. Kum Ji is a superfan of the boyband DDL and gets mixed up with another boyband group in her attempts to get closer to them. Hijinks ensue. The characters are interesting and decently developed instead of one note stereotypes. Kum Ji is a plain, plucky sort who doesn't take any crap and is very easy to root for. Unfortunately, the artists are no longer working on this series so it doesn't have an ending. I hope that they someday go back to this one because I really liked it and it would be nice to know how the love square turns out.

It's been a few years and I recently tried to go back to this as Yen published the final three volumes as an omnibus. Unfortunately, it has not aged well, or maybe my tasted have changed, or standards grew a bit, as this series now reads impossibly juvenile to me. I no longer care how it ends as I have no more interest in revisiting it.

Chunchu (manhwa) Dark Horse only released three volumes of this manhwa before dropping it. Its plot is kinda cliche; twin brothers are born to a clan, one is said to be the son of a demon, but due to some trickery, the demon's son is the heir and the other son is discarded. So the outcast must stay alive through adversity and fight his enemies, blah, blah. Despite the been there done that story, it is really entertaining. The action is copious, fluid and well drawn. I can see why Dark Horse picked it up, as in spirit, it's quite like BotI or Berserk, where the lead is constantly fighting and killing people in bloody bloody ways. Unfortunately those series have a much better story than this one, and ChunChu didn't appear to sell all that well. As it is unfinished, I'll just drop it now.
Claymore (manga) After reading the first five volumes of Claymore, I was only "in like" with the series. I find the world interesting, and the action entertaining, but I don't love long running shounen battle manga, which is what this boils down to. Even after just five volumes I was beginning to find my interest waning, so I'm going to stop here. If this were a short series with a more cohesive plot, I might have kept going, but not at 20 volumes and no end in sight.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (manga) I aquired two volumes of this manga when I bought the limited edition Code Geass DVD sets. I watched the anime almost a year ago, and now I finally had a chance to read the manga. Too bad it wasn't good. The plot in the manga feels very disjointed and underdeveloped. The characters also feel very flat and lack depth. I think this manga is for super fans of the show who are already familiar with the characters and plot. Otherwise, it's tough to give a damn when events that took place over the course of a few episodes are condensed down to a chapter or two, and the characterization relies too much on prior knowledge to fill in the many blanks. So to sum it up, I thought this manga sucked and I'm not going to read any more.
Couple (manhwa) So-so The now defunct CPM manga published the first three volumes of this. It reminded me of you typical shounen romance a la Kimagure Orange Road, with the immature perverted lead character and the girl he likes. I was somewhat entertained, but the whole thing was so juvenile in tone despite the fact that the lead characters were in college, that I really don't have the desire to read any more. It seems like it was written by someone without much experience with actual live women. Boob jokes stop being funny after junior high.
CROWN (manga) CROWN is a blatant wish fulfillment shoujo for younger girls. A poor orphan girl finds out she is actually a princess and she meets two handsome men who are to be her bodyguards to protect her from the evil queen who wants to kill her. It's incredibly simplistic and as shallow as a puddle. Characterization is nonexistent. About the only thing it has going for it is You Higuri's art, but honestly even that is not enough to save it. I quit after two volumes.
CY-Believers (manga) This was pretty generic shoujo. No plot, cardboard characters, juvenile humor that fell completely flat, lifeless art, the list goes on. I could'nt believe this was written and drawn by the same manga-ka as Crossroad, which I loved. (Although, it was one of the first manga I ever read, I wonder if it would hold up as well if I were to reread it?) Anyway, I really can't recommend Cy-Believers and I won't be continueing past vol. 1.
D.N.Angel (manga) Decent This was a fairly decent story. The characters, art, and plot were all fairly mediocre in execution. It does end on a cliffhanger and I am curious to see how it all wraps up. Vol. 11 was published back in 2006, but there is a teaser for Vol. 12 in the back of the book, so I'm guessing that this was supposed to be continued.
Dance in the Vampire Bund (manga) I quite liked the first volume. I thought the set up was interesting, as was the character, Mina Tepes. However, subsequent volumes really didn't seem to go anywhere. Mina and/or Akira are under attack by a rival of some sort, which they must fight. Rinse and repeat. I found myself becoming bored the more I read. So, I'm bowing out after volume five.
Dazzle (manga) While this manga is a bit of a mess, I find it mildly appealing. The plot, such as it is, is almost nonexistant. Rahzel is kicked out of her home in order to see the world. She is joined by a couple of companions. They essentially travel around and encounter random shit. There is very little linking these random adventures and the setting is very vague. I have no sense of the when or where that this thing takes place in. The only thing holding it together and making it somewhat readable are the three leads. They are all mysterious individuals with hints of a darker past. They also have a likable chemistry together that makes them interesting to read about even when their adventures are not. Tokyopop has stalled out at volume ten of this series and I'm not sure if it'll ever be continued. Really, I don't care as this is a pretty mediocre series and since it doesn't have much of a plot, I'm not upset at the lack of an ending.
Deadman Wonderland (manga) Decent In this series, Ganta is sentenced to the Deadman Wonderland prison for killing his classmates. He's innocent of course, and the prison is a cover for some sort of research facility. I read up to volume five before being forced to stop. There really is no good stopping point for this series, as the plot is fast paced and never lets up. The twists keep on coming too. It's unpredictable and I never know what to expect when I pick up a new volume. I do wish someone would rescue this and finish out the series, but I'm not holding my breath. Perhaps somebody will license the anime so I can find out how this story ends.
Dengeki Daisy (manga) So, I'm three volumes into this and I can already feel it beginning to drag. The whole "Daisy" schtick is pretty much played out, and the hacking subplot is undeveloped and boring. I can see this is one of those shoujo manga that will take forever to get anywhere with the romance as well. Reading reviews is telling me that it is not worth my time to continue either, as my problems with the series thus far are not resolved in later volumes. On the plus side, the characters and the humor are cute, but not 13 volumes worth.
Detroit Metal City (manga) I know ths one is popular, but I didn't like it. The humor just rubbed me the wrong way, and I usually laugh at crude humor. I think it just went over the top and crossed a line for me into bad taste. The premise was funny enough, pop music loving Negishi ends up being the frontman for death metal band DMC and he switches between his regular persona and his alter ego. Krauser II. I do admit that I did chuckle a couple of times. I didn't think the manga was bad, but some things, such as most of those rape jokes, fell completely flat for me. I just can't laugh at that sort of thing. I don't find misogyny funny. So, I'm dropping this. It obviously isn't for me.
(The) Devil Within (manga) This manga was a hot mess. The plot...WTF! I was a little grossed out by Rions love of young boys also. I won't be picking up the second volume, that's for sure.
Dog X Cat (manga) This is a story about childhood friends who find themselves in a relationship as adults. It's generic as hell. There is no real plot, just romance checkpoints and lots of boring sex. Characterization is minimal. One point in its favor: both characters in the story are adults, with the series starting with them in college and by volume 4 graduated with jobs. However, these people and their relationship were predictable and boring with no real conflict/plot. In the end this is a perfectly forgettable romantic comedy that I will not remember tomorrow. Four volumes and done.
Dogs: Bullets & Carnage (manga) Good This manga is all style and little substance. There's a plethora of action, in fact action scenes dominate the narrative. Fortunately, the cast is populated with memorable characters. So, even if I forget the gist of the plot, as long as I remember who's who I shouldn't have a problem sorting it out. I've read up to volume six now and I'm on board for more.

So, it's been a while since I finished volume six, almost a year, and I just now read volume 7. I have complete forgotten whatever plot this thing is supposed to have and only barely remember the characters. All that's left is the stylish art and well drawn action scenes. I'm sorry to say I have pretty much lost interest. My initial impression of the manga, that it is style over substance, stands. I'd prefer to read style with substance, so I'm dropping this.

Dorohedoro (manga) Good Great art. I read through volume 14 and don't know if I wanna buy anymore. I kinda lost interest after Caiman got his head back.
(The) Drifting Classroom (manga) I usually like survival horror type stories. I really liked Battle Royale and I thought Dragon Head was great, but Drifting Classroom failed to capture my interest. First, it doesn't establish the characters well enough. Other than the little boy, the rest of the students and the teachers are not introduced until after they all start going crazy, so I never felt invested in what happened to them. Secondly, they all seem to go off the deep end very very quickly, and when contrasted with other disaster type fiction, Drifting Classroom seemed to take a perverse delight in showing the worst of people. The art too seemed a little cartoony for the subject matter. Dramatic moments and expressions ended up looking a little comical as a result. So in the end, i just couldn't get into this one. I read the first volume and I have no interest in this plot or what happens to these people, which is a sure sign to stop reading.
Eden - It's an Endless World! (manga, Hiroki Endo) Very good This is a big and complex sci fi tale with the main theme being a fragmented society after a virus is unleashed on the world. I've read up to volume 13, where Dark Horse has left off so far, and I still have lots of questions. The characters themselves took awhile to grow on me as well, but the series slowly revealed their back stories and motivations and I want to see what happens to them. The art is super detailed; backgrounds, characters, expressions and action scenes are well drawn and support the narrative perfectly. Needless to say, I'm going to keep reading this.

It has been years since Dark Horse released vol. 14. I have completely lost interest in this story. I just tried to read 14 and while it was well crafted, I just don't care anymore. I read some spoilers for the ending to see if it is worth it to wait and it doesn't look like it. So, dropped.

Fate/stay night (manga) I read the first volume of this. It was not good. From the lackluster art to the rushed and paint-by-numbers plot, there was nothing here to compel me to keep reading. Somehow, the manga managed to make the characters appear flat and lifeless and Holy Grail War premise sound really dumb. I originally picked this up because I am a fan of the anime, but I will not be continuing.
Finder (manga) Very good The Finder story only takes up half of this first volume; the rest is a bunch of shorts. Fortunately, this title has been picked up by DMP, so I don't have to track down those super costly out of print CPM volumes. I'm happy to be able to read more of this as the art in particular was stunning and I'm interested to find out where this story is going.

Unlike Crimson Spell, Yamane's other series, Finder is pretty much porn. It really doesn't start to develop a story until volume 4/5 or so, when Akithito starts to investigate the missing woman. The stuff with Fei Long in volumes 2/3 was pretty much an excuse for porn. Hope fully these characters are developed byond that as the series continiues. The art still continues to be beautiful and I am definitely on board for more. I can't wait until volume 8.

Its been several years since I read this and I decided to revisit it "the great BL purge of 2020". It has not really held up. Sure, the art is still pretty, but the characters are shallow as hell. Even the porn wasnt interesting any more. I've gotten a lot more discerning with my entertainment over the years, and flimsy plot and characters as an excuse for copious sex scenes does not cut it. Time to release this series to eBay.
(revisited June 2020)

Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden (manga) I think I've grown out of Fushigi Yuugi. I just couldn't get into this story, as it seems so juvenile to my adult self. Granted the original is worse, and I do think this work is better (so far), but I can't bring myself to read the rest of it. Maybe it's Yuu Watase's work in general I've outgrown. I'm afraid to reread Ceres b/c what if it's not as good as I remember? Either way, dropped after three volumes.
Future Diary (manga) Good This series reminds me a lot of Higurashi:When They Cry, most likely due to the psychotic axe wielding character, Yuno. It shares a few other elements too, like when seemingly ordinary situations end up in murder. The premise goes like this: "God" is about to die and bestows 12 humans with the "future diary" and declares that they must fight to the death to become the new God and remake the world. The story is fast paced and fun to read. The art is clean, attractive and easy to follow. I only wish that Tokyopop had survived long enough to publish volume 11, which wraps up the main story. I can pretty much guess the ending, but there were a few loose ends, such as Yuno's identity, that I was curious about. I did enjoy the ten volumes that I did read thuogh.
Gakuen Alice (manga) Overall, I liked the six volumes I read of Gakuen Alice. It's cute, it's whimsical, and I like the characters. I just don't like it enough to follow it for 30+ volumes. I found the story itself to be only mildly interesting, so I just don't want to invest the time and money on a series this long when I'm only "in like" with it.
Ghost Hunt (manga) I've already seen the anime, so maybe that's the reason that I felt the manga version of Ghost Hunt was lacking. The first volume adapts the first arc of the TV show, but without the acting, music,and sound effects, the suspense was nonexistent. While I was genuinely creeped out by the TV show, this manga feels gray and lifeless in comparison. I stick with the anime and not waste any more time reading this. It isn't doing anything for me.
Ghost Talker's Daydream (manga) Decent I actually like Ghost Talker's Daydream. It follows an albino dominatrix who can communicate with the dead. She works for an agency that deals with cases involving suicide and accidental death via ghost. The cases are seemingly unrelated at first, but enough clues are scattered in that they seem to be forming a bigger picture. I'm not so keen on the art, as characters look too much alike and proportions are all wrong. Anatomy class, stat. The problem with this series is that I don't like it enough to keep up with it. Dark Horse seems to have stalled out on it, and I don't care enough to track down a scan. If the rest of the volumes were to appear in front of me by magic, I would read them, but I don't like it enough to put forth any effort in obtaining them myself.
God of Dogs (manga) I enjoyed this, but it was a bit confusing. Nothing is explained. There are a lot of characters and the plot is pretty expansive. I felt like I''d been dropped into the middle of a story, which turned out to be the case. There is a prequel that introduces the characters and kicks off the plot which hasn't been published by June. There's also a volume 2. Apparently, this was a poor seller for DMP and there aren't any plans to print the rest. The series is pretty rough, art in particular, but also the writing which is jumpy and confusing. However, the series had potential and I'd have liked to read more as this was a bit different sort of BL, violent and action oriented with almost no actual BL content.
(The) Good Witch of the West (manga) This series is a fairytale style high fantasy story. I can see a lot of classic fairytale influence here, starting with the princess who grows up in a farm village ignorant of her purpose. The plotting occasionally felt a bit made up as it went along. Elements, such as the dinosaurs and the unicorns, would be added seemingly without much thought. Like: "Oh! And then there were these {insert thing}". Despite the rocky writing, I did find the series mildly enjoyable. Tokyopop never printed the last volume fo this series, but I can sort of guess how it ends. I'm not upset that it will remain unfinished, as it is just a mediocre seres.
Great Place High School: Student Council (manga) Here we have yet another generic boys' high school BL with the student council being the focus. There are a lot of characters with one note personalities and I had trouble telling them apart. Naduki Koujima's art style doesn't help. Her panels are super busy and her character designs, while distinctive, all look alike. I really dislike her big eyed shouta-ish style as well. Because these characters are so bland and look the same, I couldn't get into the labyrinthine relationships between them all. I've read 4 volumes and that is enough for me. I'm out.
Hana-Kimi (manga) I've read ten volumes of this and it's really beginning to drag. Where is this story even going? The premise is flimsy; girl crossdresses and attends an all boys school because she likes a guy. The characters are likeable enough, but not so interesting to sustain a series 23 volumes long! At volume 10 the plot is already dangerously close to jumping the shark. I'm not sure I want to keep reading. I can predict that the mangaka will just keep making up new obstacles to keep the lead couple apart and it will just drag on and on. Maybe if it were just a few volumes longer, but it doesn't have 13 volumes worth of plot left in it so...I'm out.
Hellsing (manga) This is the very first manga I ever picked up. I had just finished watching the anime and really enjoyed it and wanted to find out how it really ended. Unfortunately, this manga left me cold, but thankfully it didn't turn me off manga alltogether. I've always wanted to give this series another go, just in case the unfamiliarity of reading manga in general was the cause of my "meh" reaction.

Now that its been just under an handful of years later, I managed to read both volumes one and two. I still couldn't get into it, despite my love for the anime and now I know why. This series is all over the top action and absolutely no substance, which makes for fun brain-free viewing, but tedious reading. The plot is super simple, with events whipping by too quickly to make any sort of impact, and the characterization is non-existant. Even the art started out a little rough, with oddly proportioned faces and mismatched eyes. There is a marked improvement in volume two, as the jarring "off model" faces came less often. (Hirano's new series Drifters looks fabulous, his art has improved so much.) After dropping this series twice, I'm going to stick to the anime, as the manga is simply not for me.

Hetalia - Axis Powers (manga) I like history, but I have a hard time maintaining interest in Hetalia. Honestly, it's just not funny. I read the first three volumes, and while the historical tidbits were mildly interesting, they were overwhelmed by a torrent of "stupid" humor, my least favorite kind. This series clearly isn't for me.
High School Debut (manga) This is yet another high school romance shoujo. In this one, Harumi, an awkward tomboyish girl seeks "coaching" from popular guy Yoh in order to become "cute" and get a boyfriend. The premise is enough to make me puke. Especially during one scene where Harumi is proud of her muscular calves and she's told to hide them "because girls shouldn't have muscles". Triple barf. Anyway, Harumi eventually begins dating the surly Yoh, and as is her nature, she tries way too hard. It's actually frustrating to read. I finally decided to quit the series after volume four, when Yoh kisses Harumi for the first time. She's so embarassed that she not only refuses to talk to him, but actively avoids him for days. That's way too much drama over a peck on the lips. I'm too old for this shit. Dropped for annoying characters, irritating sexism, and too much melodrama.
Higurashi When They Cry: Abducted by Demons Arc (manga) I've been watching the anime and since I had the first volume of Higurashi: Abducted by Demons Arc sitting on my shelf, I thought it the perfect time to test it out. This volume adapts roughly the first couple of episodes of the anime, even down to lines of dailog. If you've seen the anime, this is redundant as hell. The manga does seem to play up the moe angle a little more, putting the characters in fetishy costumes for kicks. I have a low tolerance for that kind of otaku bait, so it didn't do anything for me. The creepy aspect didn't come through as well on the page as it does on the screen either. So I'm just going to keep watching the anime, as the manga adaptation isn't offering me anything new.
Hitohira (manga) In Hitohira, a shy girl with low self esteem is roped into joining the theater club. It's a very quiet sort of series, with soft looking art in the big eyes small mouthed "moe" style. Frankly, the book about put me to sleep. Cute girls doing cute things is not enough to get my attention. Aurora released three volumes of this series before going kaput. Fortunately, I don't plan on continuing with the series anyway, so I'm not sad. Too bad about Queen of Ragtonia though... R.I.P. Aurora
House of Five Leaves (manga) I've seen the anime, so reading this felt redundant. I actually preferred the anime, as such a character based story really benefits from voice acting. And, the be perfectly honest, Natsume Ono's art style never really did grow on me. It's awkward and blob-y and looked better with some movement as in the anime. It's a shame, but I should really stop trying to force myself to like things because I "should". This is a quality manga, just not one for me.
I Hate You More than Anyone (manga) I read the first volume of this and it was kind of generic. There was nothing to differentiate this from the many other shojo romances I've encountered. I wasn't really bad, but I'd rather take the time to read something better instead of something so utterly forgettable.
I've Seen It All (manga) So-so This is a pretty typical BL with a totally ridiculous premise. Dr. Saikawa is a penis doctor and having become tired of seeing diseased members becomes obsessed with the "perfect penis". He runs across Ayumi on the street and instant knows he's found the one. He follows him around (stalks) him a bit before they begin a relationship. What follows is two silly volumes of Sensei trying to convince Ayumi that he really loves him for more than his penis. This is the kind of story that so, so dumb, yet isn't really meant to be taken seriously. Don't expect deep plotting or nuanced character writing here, just over the top dialog and contrived reasons for porn. I found it mildly entertaining and that's it and I'm content to stop at two volumes.
Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit (manga) I'm on the fence with this one. On one hand, the volume I read was well written and interesting, the art was clean and attractive, but the story is not one that particularly appeals to me. I want to read more to see how it all plays out. Does our lead eventually grow more frustrated with his job? Does anything happen to shake up the Ikigami system? On the other hand, I know this is something I'd only ever read once and never revisit, so I have no desire to buy the books. Unfortunately, my Library doesn't appear to have them in the system, so no luck there. I'm not interested enough to track down a scan either. I hate reading on the computer anyway. So, I guess this one will remain unfinished.
In the Walnut (manga) There's no real plot here, it's just slice of life about an art gallery owner and his boyfriend. The series starts out with the couple already established, so there's no real development there, and the art aspect was only mildly interesting. I really didn't find much of a hook for me to keep reading this, in fact I found it a little ho-hum, so: dropped.
Invisible Boy (manga) One word: Bland. I think I read this before, when it was called "Gakuen Heaven". I'm sure I've encountered other student council based BL too, but it all congeals together as one big blur of mediocrity. This is supposed to be a series, but I'm not going to read any more.
Itazura na Kiss (manga) This series is where all those shoujo cliches, like the sorta dumb "everygirl" heroine and the cold but perfect hero, got their start. For that reason, I had a tough time getting into it at first, as it does read as a bit of a cliche fest. However, by volume four the characters had really grown on me, even Naoki's super pushy mother. One thing I do like about this story is that it follows the characters through high school, college, and beyond. Marriage is not the end of the story, more like the beginning, as it happens earlier in the series. On the other hand, I had trouble buying Naoki and Kotoko's relationship a lot of the time. As he is so cold and stingy with his affection. The art in this is super dated too, very early nineties looking. Even still, this series is a lot of fun. I've made it through volume eight and now I'm in for the long haul.

It's been at least a year and I've finally gotten around to volume 9. I must say that my interest in the series has diminished quite a bit. The characters haven't changed. Kotoko is still an idiot and her husband is still a cold fish. I didn't laugh this time around either. I'm guess that this series has just worn out it's welcome with me and I'm dropping it.

Junjo Romantica (manga) Decent I like the series but it isn't a favorite of mine so i don't feel the need to have it in my collection. Nakamura's art never did anything for me and the story wasn't anything special. I also own and enjoy the anime, so need need to keep this around.
Kabuki (manga) Eh, I tried to start this series twice now and I just can't get into it. The story is basically about reincarnation. The book didn't work for me on many levels. First, I don't know whether or not I should take this series seriously. There's not quite enough humor to make it a comedy, yet too much for me to find the drama convincing. Second, the characters are rather flat. Also, Hashida's art is really wispy and feminine, which I don't like in a BL story. I only read one volume of this five volume series and I'm gonna stop here.
Kashimashi ~Girl Meets Girl~ (manga) Not really good This was a rather cheap yuri series in which the main character, a boy, is abducted by aliens and magically transformed into a girl. Fortunately for him, his love interest is into girls more than boys. Unfortunately for me, my suspension of disbelief was completely broken by this series. Especially when his childhood friend (a girl), who previously had a crush on him as a boy, suddenly turns gay. Yeah, I don't think so. His parents are strangely all for the gender switch as well. All around, the series just failed. I read the first omnibus and I'm done. Stick a fork in me.
Kingyo Used Books (manga) This is a manga for people who love manga and books in general. It centers around a used manga store and the people who work and shop there. Each chapter is a self contained story. I've honestly never heard of many of the series discussed here, but even so I find this series interesting. I suppose I just like reading about books. I doesn't hurt that the art is clean and attractive as well. This is released slowly, about two volumes a year, but I end up reading each new volume as soon as I get it.

It has been several years since Viz has released a volume of this, and I've completely lost interest in it over that time. I highly doubt that this sold well for them, so the odds of them finishing it are very low.

A Kiss for My Prince (manhwa) This sunjeong manhwa features your standard Cinderella plot in which the housemaid dreams of being a secret princess. She ends up working in a household with three handsome princes. The housemaid is a vain twit. For that, it was interesting. It's not often that you run into such a dislikable lead character. Usually, they tend to be likable in some way so the audience identifies with them. Also, the art was quite lovely. Infinity Studios printed the first two volumes with several color pages and dustjackets. Their quality was excellent and I'm sad that they're gone.
Knights of Sidonia (manga) Blame! is one of my favorite series, so I was really expecting to enjoy this one, but it was only "ok". This series has the cool sci-fi plot, but it also has a lot of characters that interact (and look alike), which would be fine, except they are cardboard slabs. I guess well written characters is not Nihei's strong point. Blame! hardly had any dialog, so that wasn't an issue, but there are relationships in Knights of Sidonia that one is supposed to care about, but since the characters are flimsily constructed, it sort of falls apart. I was mildly entertained by the plot, but not enough to continue buying the volumes, so I'm out after volume 4.
Kurashina Sensei's Passion (manga) This is yet another creatively bankrupt BL set in an all boys school. Kurashina is a new teacher and finds himself meeting a gaggle of cute school boys of various types on his first day. First, a lot of characters are thrown in at once, and they are all as thin as paper. Second, this thing has no real plot, just "encounters with schoolboys and their teacher who is indistinguishable fro them". Third, the art is kinda terrible. It's off proportion, with characters faces even changing model from panel to panel. The only real way to tell them apart is the hair. I'm not keen on reading any more of this, so I'm out.
Kyo Kara Maoh! (manga) I read one volume of this and it didn't really capture my attention. I've seen the anime and liked it, but the manga feels too much like a rehash as this point. Kyo Kara Maoh! is pretty stupid in a fun kind of way, and having the silliness portrayed in black and white is a bit of a let down after seeing it with color and sound. I'm not sure if I will bother reading any more. I may just stick with the anime.
Lady Snowblood (manga) I really couldn't get into this manga, but I didn't hate it. In fact, at times I found it interesting, such as when it focused on the historical aspects. What turned me off was the exploitative nature of the series. Oyuki is always fighting naked, and someone is always getting raped. Oyuki is pretty much a blank slate in terms of characterization. She's not any more interesting to me when she ends up naked either. I don't mind violence and nudity doesn't offend me, but this is just schlocky. Entertaining schlock, but schlock nonetheless. I only read the first volume, but I'm not going to bother reading any more.
Legend (manhwa) This is yet another average girl gets sucked into fantasy realm story. I'm ambivalent to these types of stories, sometimes they can be excellent, like The Twelve Kingdoms or Saver. Legend falls into the "painfully mediocre" part of the spectrum though. It doesn't help that the overall tone and the comedy are geared to a much younger audience than myself. If I were ten again, I'd probably be more forgiving. Since I'm not, the story utterly failed to engage me or capture my attention in any way.
Library Wars: Love & War (manga) The premise of this manga is a bit ridiculous. The idea that people will kill each other for the chance to check out library books is really over the top. It also doesn't hold up to scrutiny. For example, if the gov wanted to form a task force to raid libraries and bookstores of "harmful" books, why don't they just regulate the publishing industry. It would cost less and generate less animosity, what with less invading and killing and all. Anyway, the main character is a sort of gong-ho but inept sort, who joined the task force in order to emulate her prince, but ends up being rescued a lot by her commanding officer. The relationship between them is cute, but unbelievably unprofessional. In the end, I really had a difficult time taking this story seriously. It's a little too "shoujo", a little too hearts and flowers and melodrama to be believable. So, I'm out after 7 volumes.
Limit (manga) I am a fan of survival horror stories and I like shoujo manga, so you'd think I would like Limit. Unfortunately, no. I actually found it rather stupid. Reading about a pack of self absorbed high school girls trapped in a forest was extremely tiresome. I get that the manga is trying to say something about bullying and the effect that it has on people, but I just found it hard to care. I did not care what happened to them and I wanted all of them to fall off the nearest cliff. Needless to say, I won't be reading any more.
Love Attack (manga) This is basically a run of the mill high school set romantic comedy shoujo. Even Shizuro Seino's humor can't pull this one out of the pit of mediocrity. Not that it's bad, the characters are fun and the humor is humorous, but the plot is one we've seen a million times already. The main couple start dating at the end of volume one, with contrived plot elements popping up in subsequent volumes to challenge their relationship. The crazy dad interferes, the old female friend pops up, annoying misunderstandings occur, and at the end of volume six, there appears to be a male rival as well. In fact, as the series wore on I was beginning to take more interest in a couple of the secondary characters. The series doesn't look like it has the plot to drag on for much longer, but regardless, it was only published up to volume six in the US. If Kodansha decides to finish it someday, I may pick it up, but I'm not going out of my way for it. I liked the series, but only marginally.
Love Recipe (manga) Weak Once again, I'm not interested much in the manga industry, I just like reading the manga, so this story about a yaoi manga-ka and his editor kinda bored me. Second, I didn't care for the lead character at all. I get that he was supposed to be helpless and clumsy and "moe", but I never really understood "moe" characters in the first place. I don't think moe should be sexualized either. It just feels wrong. This was definitely not for me.
Love Stage!! (manga) I read the first 5 volumes, and the first three are a solid romantic comedy. After that, Izumi makes his showbiz debit, and it gets really dumb. The whole amnesia subplot was enough for me to throw in the towel on this series.
Loveless (manga) I almost don't know how to describe Loveless, as it was very strange. The cat/dog people, the ambiguous genders, and the unexplained magic all combined into a manga that is somewhat unique. I enjoyed it very much. Unfortunately, I got to the end of volume 8 before I realized that this series is unfinished, as it just sort of stops there. I hope TokyoPop publishes more as I really want to see what happens. Loveless contains some of the more memorable characters I've encountered in manga recently and I'd really like to see how their story ends.

Many years after I wrote the above, I finally got around to rereading Loveless, this time up to volume 12, where Viz left off. It is currently on hiatus again and like the last time it left off, it is a cliffhanger. I'm not nearly as enamored of it as I was before. Soubi and Ritsuka's relationship is unhealthy and creepy. Seimei is super creepy and his motivations are still completely unexplained at this point. The word battles and "Septimal Moon" are also unexplained, i.e. their purpose in the first place. Ultimately, the heart of this series are the psychological relationships, the rest is just window dressing. So, at this point I think I'm gonna stop here. I don't think this can end in anything but tragedy and I feel sorry enough for Ritsuka as it is.

Maka-Maka (manga) Decent My experience with yuri manga so far has been this and Kashimashi. I must say, this is far better than Kashimashi, however, I still wasn't into it. The good: characterization. Both of the characters felt like real people and not one note stereotypes. Based on their personalites, their relationship was believable. The bad: this manga was utterly plotless. The girls used sex as a way to get closer since they weren't able to find that closeness with their boyfriends. As a result, they have sex all the time. This whole volume was pretty much all sex. There's nothing wrong with that, but as a very hetero female, naked chicks sexing leave me absolutely cold. Since that's the main draw of this, I couldn't really get into it. As a yaoi fan, I definitely understand it's appeal, but it's not for me.
(The) Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (manga) After reading the excellent novels and watching the equally as good anime, this manga series comes off pretty poorly. It's basically yet another watered down adaptation. It seemed rushed, with several scenes skipped so the character development felt a little stunted, especially for Kyon, who also narrates here. Except here he doesn't seem to have much personality. Also, the timeline was messed with a bit, which created some plot holes. Finally, the art was very generic. The artist attempted to mimic Noizi Ito's character designs, but sadly fell far short, so the whole thing looks amateurish. I struggled through only one volume before giving up. I'll stick with the far superior novels
(The) Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (light novel) So far, I've only read the first book. I thought it was excellent. It is written in first person, with Kyon as the narrator, much like the anime. Kyon's sarcastic tone conveys well through the translation. The anime is a very faithful adaptation, so fans of that (like myself) should definitely read this.
Millennium Prime Minister (manga) The set up for this story is mind numbingly stupid. The new 25 year old prime minister plays hooky and heads for the arcade. He's beaten at a game by Minori, a 16 year old girl. He likes her pony tail and declares that she'll do and he tells her that she's going to be his wife. Minori objects, but she really has no say in the matter and is just sort of swept along with the tide. Kanata, the new prime Minister, is laughable. He looks and acts like a high schooler and he's never shown doing any actual work. We're not supposed to take this series seriously are we? Is this a comedy? There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of humor and I didn't laugh. It comes off as a wish fulfillment romance for teenage girls, where the hot powerful dude inexplicably falls for the average Jane. But, because it's so ridiculous, I couldn't suspend my disbelief enough to get into the romance, not to mention the power inbalance between the two and the ways that Kanata manipulates Minori were a little disconcerting. I really can't find a single reason to keep reading this series. It's bottom of the barrel shoujo at it's worst.
Missing: Kamikakushi no Monogatari (manga) This paranormal mystery failed to capture my interest. I read one volume. I didn't find any of the characters particularly interesting, and the plot fell flat for me as well.
Moyasimon (manga) I found this to be a charming and creative manga about a subject that I sadly have no interest in. The lead character is a freshman at an agricultural college and has the unique abilty to see microbes with the naked eye. It isn't plot heavy, more like a slice of life with an empasis on nerding out to germs. While I can appreciate this manga as something different, the subject matter leaves me cold. Therefore, I'm going to stop where Del Rey stopped, at volume 2.
Mugen Spiral (manga) I read the first volume last month and I can barely remember anything about it. Were there demons maybe...? All I do remember is that it wasn't good. I think I graded it a 2 out of 5. Needless to say, I have no desire to read the second half of this two volume series.
My Darling! Miss Bancho (manga) CMX put out only the first volume of "My Darling, Miss Bancho" before closing up shop. I thought it was cute but I'm not clamoring for more. It was a bit too silly and saccarine for me. Miss Bancho is written for 12 year old girls and reads like it too. It's not a bad series, but I usually do not enjoy series that are obviously written for younger readers as they tend to be too simple and not entertaining for me.
My Heavenly Hockey Club (manga) This feels a bit like an Ouran Host Club rip off. The premise is the same, a tomboyish girl gets roped into joining a club full of pretty rich boys. Even the love interest is a little similiar to Tamaki. Unfortunately, Hockey Club pales in comparison to Host Club, mostly due to inferior characterization. The only characters that get any meaningful dialog are the lead couple. The other members are more like wallpaper. They get a decent amount of screen time, but I can't even remember their names. The humor isn't quite as spot on as in other Morinaga works either. I read a few volumes of Duck Prince right before picking this up and the difference is clear. Hockey Club is definitely not one of her better efforts. Maybe that's why this hasn't sold for Del Rey? They dropped it after publishing only eight volumes. I did find this manga to be mildly amusing, but since it's not finished, I have no desire to read any further. Consider this dropped.
Nabari No Ou (manga) I was hoping for more from this manga, but I found it deadly dull. Honestly, I can't even remember the characters names and I just put it down an hour ago. The lead was so expressionless that I just couldn't care about him or his plight. I realize that indifference was his "thing" but it did not endear me to him. Even the side characters aren't interesting enough to save this thing. I'm going to drop it, as the first two volumes just about put me to sleep. I do have the anime in my backlog, so I'm going to give that a looksee instead. Maybe some color and sound will give a much needed jolt of life to this story.
Never Give Up (manga) So-so This is a rather mediocre story about modelling and "never giving up". The lead character is a boyish girl, who's in love with her childhood friend who's a girlish boy. I don't know why I keep reading, as it's a very run of the mill love story. Maybe I just want to see how it ends. Unfortunately, TokyoPop has put the series on haitus after 8 volumes. I hate leaving things unfinished.
NG Life (manga) I think this is a case of "it's not you, it's me". I just couldn't get into this manga. The premise was really intriquing, a high school boy is reincarnated with his past memories and his former best friend is now a girl while his past wife is a boy. I did find Saeki mildly amusing, he's a spastic sort of character and his (over)reactions were sometimes quite funny. Unfortunately though, I found the manga to be dead boring. Despite the interesting premise, the story with the weird love triangle did nothing for me. I coudn't get into the characters either, so I found reading about them to be a chore. By the end of volume 3, I found myself starting to skim. This wasn't a bad manga, I can appreciate the comedy at least, but it's just not doing it for me.
Night Head Genesis (manga) So-so I've already seen the anime this is based on, so I was already familiar with the characters and the plot. Unfortunately, it is not a very good adaptation. The pace is way too fast and nothing is explained. Most of what was crammed into the first volume took place over several episodes. On the plus side, You Higuri's art is excellent as always. This series was never finished, as Del Rey only printed the first two volumes. It's no great loss in my opinion, as it just wasn't very good.
Nodame Cantabile (manga) Chiaki is a music student and meets Nodame a classmate whose apartment is right next door. Both are studying piano. I read three volumes and Nodame is a clear "manic pixie dream girl" trope and the story seems to be continuing with that cliche, where hanging out with her froces uptight, rigid Chiaki to learn lessons about music, people, his goals, and WTF-ever. Honestly, it's super cliche to the point where I'm not all that interested in reading any more. I'm guessing that Chiaki will eventually fall for her and being with her will help him achieve his dreams and etc. Whatever, I'm done.
Oh my god! (manga) I didn't like this one at first. I read the first volume and was put off by the silliness. For some reason, I had the second volume and forced myself to try it again some months later. I really liked it the second time around. The art was great and the humor got a couple of chuckles out of me. Unfortunately, Deux only printed the first few volumes before disappearing so I'm not holding out much hope for seeing the rest of the series. I really hope they prove me wrong though.
Old Boy (manga) This here is a case of "it's not you, it's me". I should like this, the mystery is interesting after all, but for some reason I don't. In fact, I couldn't care less why Goto was locked up in a cell for 10 years. The game of cat and mouse he plays with his jailer after he is freed almost feels pointless. Therefore, reading this feels pointless, so I'm going to bow out after 3 volumes.
Oresama Teacher (manga) After reading the phenomenal Skip Beat, a cutesy shoujo like Oresama Teacher isn't doing it for me. Mafuyu transfers to a new school after being kicked out of her old one for fighting and she runs into a teacher who happened to be the next door neighbor boy she idolized back in the day. She of course makes some new friends while trying (and failing) from getting dragged into silly brawls and the like. This is a comedy. I have a feeling that it'll turn romantic sooner or later, but the focus is definitely on silly hijinks. The problem is the characterization at this point is one dimensional and the story is sort of plodding along with little in the way of plot. The humor is sometimes funny, but not enough to hold up this house of cards. I don't think I'll miss much if I bow out now after 5 volumes.
Pet Shop of Horrors (manga) I've read the first volume of this manga and I'm not sure if I want to bother to continue. It's set up as an episodic series with the only recurring character being Count D and possibly the detective. The stories themselves are interesting enough, but short stories generally aren't my thing, and a whole series of them isn't getting me excited to read. If I knew that they would have some significance to an overarching plot, I'd be much more inclined to keep reading. Also, Count D and the detective just aren't very interesting at this point. Count D sells a dangerous animal, the detective comes to the show wanting to know what it was and the circumstances, story is told. Rinse and repeat. At this point, I doubt I'll come back to this, as it's long out of print and I don't feel like tracking down volumes of a series I'm ambivalent about.
Pita-Ten (manga) #1 most irritating manga award goes to Pita-ten. All those cutesy-wootsy characters and their annoying baby talk made the one volume I managed to struggle through an absolute chore. FAIL.
Platinum Garden (manga) I had to give up on this. I read three volumes. The story wasn't memorable at all and the lead was pretty annoying. Pass.
Portrait of M & N (manga) This is a cute shoujo about a girl and a boy with secret fetishes. They find out about each other and become friends. I would have liked to see how it ended as there were only two volumes to go before Toykopop closed up shop. I am a fan of Tachibana Highuchi's other series "Gakuen Alice" as well. Her art is nothing special, having a typical "Hana to Yume" look to it, but I do like her stories.
Princess Princess (manga) Tohru is chosen as a "Princess" at his new all boys school. The Princesses crossdress for the entertainment of the rest of the student body. I was expecting more laughs than I got from this. I read the first volume, and it wasn't bad, I was just expecting more. The characters didn't click with me, nor did most of the humor. Boys in Goth Loli don't do anything for me either. I'm not sure I will keep reading this.
Pumpkin Scissors (manga) I've already seen the anime and these five volumes I've read cover absolutely no new ground. Granted, the pacing is much better here, but a lot of the side missions are still uninteresting. The art is passable. The story is sort of spinning its wheels, but it does have potential. Unfortunately, Del Rey put this one on hiatus, and a new volume hasn't come out for several years. I don't find this series interesting enough to go looking for translations, so I'm dropping it. It's mediocre at best and there are much better things I could be spending my time reading.
Rabbit Man, Tiger Man (manga) I had the first two volumes sitting on my shelf for years. The premise is Uzuki is a doctor and runs into an injured Yakuza with a gunshot wound. He fixes him up and next the guy shows up at his hospital looking for him. This is a BL so of course the doctor falls for him. There's also some yakaza drama ba that I didnt find that interesting. What annoyed me most about this was Uzukis character design. Hes the "rabbit man", but hes drawn all big eyed and shoujo and looks like a 12 year old. Its looks wrong since pretty much all the other men in the story look like grown men. The trope of making the submissive bottom dude super young and girly looking has got to be my number one most hated. The story itself is nothing special, and some of the comedy was passable, but I just can't with girly looking Uzuki.
(The) Record of a Fallen Vampire (manga) I wasn't entertained by this. First, the art was beautiful, but where was the plot? I saw a lot of fight scenes and a lot of dialog, but nothing actually happens. Boring.
RG Veda (manga) I read two volumes of this. The story does nothing for me. It reminds me of a rough draft for X/1999. Same basic plot. It's a shame, because the art is really beautiful.
Romance Papa (manhwa) This is my least favorite of Youngran Lee's manhwa. Not that it is bad, just meh in comparison to Click and Something About Sunyool. I read three volumes and that is enough for me to call it quits.
School Rumble (manga) I've seen and loved the anime, but reading the manga feels redundant to me. The anime is a faithful adaptation, and the jokes are funny, but they lose some of their sparkle without the color, sound, and voice acting. This series is not exactly big on plot either, so I don't feel as if I'm missing anything by declining t read further and just sticking with the anime.
Shinobi Life (manga) The first couple volumes of this were rather ho-hum. Kagetora is a ninja from the past who timetravels to the present day and meets Beni, a girl who looks just like the hime that he was assigned to protect. The beginning of the series is all about them exploring their feelings and having obsticles thrown in their way: an arranged marriage for Beni and Beni's dissaproving dad for Kagetora. It feels really contrived actually and I wasn't really into the story at this point. However, when Beni and Kagetora finally decide to be together, the story really takes off. The timetravelling is more important to the story and more time is spent in the past. The Ninja politics are far more interesting than the present day. Too bad volume seven, the last one that Tokyopop published, ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. I've warmed up to this series considerably and would have liked to continue.
Silver Diamond (manga) This is a mildly enjoyable fantasy shoujo in which this time a boy is spirited away to an alternate world to be its savior. Rakan has a special power that causes plants to grow and the world he finds himself in is a barren wasteland. I thought the use of seeds to grow guns, clocks, bridges and etc. was interesting and imaginative. This is also one of those subtext heavy BL series, where a more than friends relationship between the Rakan and his one guardian is implied pretty heavily. Tokyopop published up to volume nine, which unfortunately ends on a cliffhanger. If they were still in business, I'd finish the series, but I'm not too bothered by it's incompleteness.
Spice & Wolf (manga) I've seen the anime, and I've read a few of the novels. Reading the manga after that is redundant. This is not a bad manga, but it pales in comparison to the anime and novel. I do not feel the need to buy and read any more.
Spice & Wolf (light novel) I've seen the anime, and it's a very straightforward adaptation of the novels. While I can objectively appreciate these books, as they are rather good for light novels, subjectively I don't find them that interesting. I appreciated the cast and world much better in the anime, as the subject matter benefits well from livening up with acting, color, and music. I'm just going to hope more of this gets animated rather than try to keep up with these books, as it is quite a long series and too expensive to collect when I'm only lukewarm on it.
Stepping on Roses (manga) After enjoying Tail of the Moon I thought I'd enjoy Rinka Ueda's next series, but I have to drop it after three volumes. It's just not good and I can't take any more. The story makes use of several hoary old romance tropes: the marriage of convenience + the rich bossy jerk hero + the crazy obsessed stalker rival + the poor down on her luck heroine. It takes some great characterization to pull off a been there, done that story like this, but you will not find it here. The characters are about as shallow as they come, with absolutely no chemistry together. They can pretty much be summed up as "the douche", "the doormat", and "the stalker". This is the kind of bottom of the barrel shoujo I can't stand, so I'm not wasting any more time reading this.
A Strange and Mystifying Story (manga) June put out three volumes of this (were there more, maybe?) and honestly volume 3 is a good enough stopping point. The main story is about a young man who inherits the family curse after his grandfather dies. The only way to cure it is with the help of the family guardian spirit which is a fox/dog/man. They fall in love. Whoop-de-do. Volume 2 is mostly about main character-kun's coworkers. Honestly, I found that one a lot more interesting. Volume three introduces yet another fox/dog/man who is pledged to the daughter of some house in exchange for prosperity, except the "daughter" ends up being a boy. Yawn. This series is pretty much a "meh" at this point and I on't have any desire to continue.
Tactics (manga) I read the first volume of Tactics and I wasn't impressed. There really wasn't much plot to begin with, and what story there was felt rather disjointed. The character and costume designs were rather pleasing though.
Taimashin: The Red Spider Exorcist (manga) More weirdness from Hideyuki Kikuchi. This time it's mostly horror, with fighting monsters and grotesque creatures of the dead. The two volumes I read covered one and part of another story arc, seemingly unrelated except for the presence of the spider exorcist himself. it didn't really catch my interest, so I'm done.
Takumi-kun Series (manga) Weak Ugh. This is yet another ho hum boys love series set in an all boys school, complete with a the requisite cliches that go along with that. The characters are all cardboard cutouts and the "plot" was poorly paced and uninteresting. I could barely summon up the enthusiasm to read the three volumes that I had. I see now why Blu never finished this series, it's just not very good.
Tenjo Tenge (manga) I started reading this because I enjoyed the anime and I really like Oh!Great's art. Seriously, his art is awesome. Too bad his writing isn't. It's basically your typical battle shounen, only with lots of tits. It requires a heavy suspension of disbelief in order to read, or just ignore the nonsensical plot and appreciate the art. I made it through eight volumes before the plot became too much bullshit and dropped it.
Toradora! (manga) Honestly, this is a watered down version of the anime (and probably the novels too-never read them). It's still pretty good, but since a better version exists, I'd rather stick to that. Reading this manga feels redundant, like I'm wasting my time..
Trinity Blood (manga) Good I still haven't read the novels that this manga is based on, but I did watch the anime. I must make note that the manga is far superior to the anime. The story is set in a sort of futuristic yet still kinda historic Europe in which the Vatican is at odds with a neighboring country ruled by vampire aliens. It sounds convoluted but somehow all these elements work together to build a rather unique world. The cast is very large, yet the characters are all so interesting to me that I can't help but keep reading even through a less interesting story arc. The art is absolutely beautiful, with attractive and unique character designs dressed in elaborate costumes. Fortunately, this series is also being published in English in Singapore, so I don't have to rely on Tokyopop to collect this manga. As soon as volume 14 is available, I will import it.

It's been some time since I've revisited this. My opinion is about the same. The world is interesting, the characters are cool and memorable, but the story is kinda crap. But that art though! Pretty much the one thing singlehandedly keeping this on my shelf was the art. Now I have artbooks and I can let this series go. I really have no desire to ever read it again. I just liked looking at it.

Two Flowers of the Dragon (manga) I have a hard time getting into comics for younger readers, which isn't surprising since I'm an adult. Two Flowers for the Dragon is a shoujo fantasy romance aimed at young girls. The main character is a princess who turns into a dragon. She is betrothed to one man until her original fiance comes back from the dead, and then she has to make a decision via a couple of tattoos on her arms representing each man that grow with her affections. Because this is aimed at kids, it's all very lighthearted. The romance is also often brushed to the side in favor of episodic adventures. Honestly, I found it rather trite. Clearly, this is not for me so I'm gonna leave it after 3 volumes
Ultimate Venus (manga) I found this to be a pretty run of the mill reverse harem shoujo. Our heroine, Yuzu, goes to live with her wealthy grandmother after the death of her mother. She's immediately surrounded by a gaggle of handsome dudes, and her gramma is plotting to marry her off. I couldn't get a handle on Yuzu, her characterization is all over the place. One moment she appears to be a fairly strong heroine, and the next that is undermined as she is a weak whiner. I've only read up to where Go Comi left off at volume five, but I'm thinking I'm not missing much by stopping now. The series is pretty mediocre and I'm only finding it mildly entertaining.
Until Death Do Us Part (manga) I read the first volume and found the premise of this action series, a young girl with precognitive abilities teams up w/ a blind swordsman and a military organization to take out bad guys, interesting enough to pick up the second. After reading the second volume though, I found myself becoming bored. This series is virtually all action and very little substance. Yes, the action scenes are pretty and very well drawn, but for me that is not enough. It probably didn't help that I read the second volume after finishing 20th Century Boys, a manga both well drawn and amazingly well written. Until Death Do Us Part is not even in the same galaxy quality wise, so I'm not going to waste any more of my time on it.
V.B. Rose (manga) I've tried twice to read this series and I never get past the first volume. In fact, I've tried all of Banri Hidaka's manga series published in English and I couldn't get into any of them. So I guess I'm not a fan. Her art is in the Hana to Yume "house style", which is to say it's rather generic. She tends to write slow slice of life-ish romances, with little romantic tension and bland characters. V.B. Rose is no different. It's cute and undemanding, but that's it. Why waste my time reading something that's only passable when I could be reading something great? So, I'm dropping this and passing on Banri Hidaka's manga for good.
Voice or Noise (manga) I read the first three volumes, all that Blu had published, and I found it "meh". I liked that the mangaka allowed for quite a bit of time to pass before the lead characters actually acknowledged their relationship, as one of the leads was underage in the first two volumes. I liked the art as well. What I didn't like was the gimmicky "talking animals" thin. The writing was also kind of choppy and disjointed, jumping from one thread to another randomly. The story had a disorganized feel to it. I was mildly entertained while reading it, but it's not good enough of a series for me to care how it ends.
(The) Wallflower (manga) I read four volumes of this, and while the premise was interesting, it's starting to wear a little thin. There doesn't seem to be much else to this other than the "weird scary girl living with four pretty guys" set up. It's like a one trick pony, and it rides that horse for 25+ volumes. If this were a 5 or 10 volumes series I'd have stuck with it, but 25 volumes (and still counting!) of this paper thin plot is too much for me. So, droppity drop.
Wild Ones (manga) This is a high school set shoujo about an orphan who goes and lives with her grandfather who turns out to be a yakuza boss. This is a Hana-to-Yume series, so none of this is serious in the slightest. I wanted to like this more than I did, however, it's overreliance on the same old tropes and situations pretty much made it a bore. I read through yet another beach episode, the school trip, the school festival, a matsuri, and I wouldn't be surprised to find a sports fest and the pool episode in future volumes. The characters don't have enough depth for me to keep reading either. It's your typical good hearted average girl type and a protective pretty boy surrounded by the typical rival type and a bunch of comic relief characters. The art is also pretty generic and I'm recognizing that Hana-to-Yume series all sort of look the same. The mangaka's eyes in paticular threw me off, as they seemed to have a sort of glassy eyed stare. Just look at Rakuto on the covers. He looks pretty lifeless. I read two volumes of this and it's not worth my money or time to continue, so consider this one dropped.
With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child (manga) Despite having no interest whatsoever in the subject matter, I found this manga is very readable. It begins when Hikaru is a baby and follows his development as he grows. I've only read the first two volumes, so Hikaru was still in elementary school when I left off. I like that HIkaru's world was rather fleshed out, as his classmates, teachers and the neighborhood around him all contribute to the story. On the other hand, this manga is mainly about children, Autistic ones, normal ones, school activities, etc, a subject I have zero interest in. Therefore, no matter how well written it is, I can't really get into it. I'm donating my copies to the library, as they absolutely should be read, just not be me.
xxxHOLiC (manga) I've already seen and loved the anime, so maybe that's why I didn't get into this as I thought I would. The characters seemed to lose their sparkle when reduced to black and white and without the excellent voice acting. To be fair, I've never really been hooked by CLAMP's writing, but I do love their art. I thought the cross over with Tsubasa was a neat little gimmick, but not one that really kept me interested in either story. Of the two, Tsubasa skewed a little young for me. I much prefered xxxHolic, so when events started to focus on TSubasa happenings, I started to skim. A long series like this is a big investment and I'm not going to bother since I'm only lukewarm on it. I'll stick with my anime box set. If they ever release an artbook though, I'm so there.
Yubisaki Milk Tea (manga) Despite a unique and interesting premise, I began to lose interest in this series quickly. It starts with a boy, unsure of his identity and not quite ready to become an adult, taking up crossdressing in order to escape. The cross dressing quickly takes a backseat to the love triangle between the main character, his childhood friend, and a classmate. I couldn't find it in myself to care about these characters at all. The lead is one of those bland wishy washy sorts who is unable to choose between two girls who obviously are madly in love with him. I've seen Maison Ikkoku and Kimagure Orange Road. Both of those do this theme much better, by having memorable characters you could empathize with. I quickly grew tired of the indecisiveness of Yoshinori, since he knew he had to choose but kept throwing signals at both girls, who were understandably upset and confused. There was also a lot of fanservice here, which really isn't my thing. Especially since a lot of it centered around the younger Junior high aged girl next door. It had a bit of a lolicon tone to it that put me off. In the end, I've discovered that this series is obviously not for me. Tokyopop never did finish this, but I'm not sad, as I'm putting it down after volume 3.
Zone-00 (manga) Kiyo Qjo seems to have a sort of "everthing but the kitchen sink" style, both in plotting and in art. In the art it works, as every panel is so packed full of details and little dialog asides that it kept my interest thorugh the nonsensical and convoluted plot. From what I can decipher, The lead character is a mysterious transfer student who meets an eccentric boy in his new class who gets beheaded early in and manifests as some sort of demon lord. Somehow his head gets put back on and he goes back to being an ordianry boy. Add in a whole lot of paranormal elements and lots of fanservice, and you got yourself Zone-00. The main problem with Zone-00 is that it could have been interesting if it had some sort of direction. For example in one chapter, the characters (Kujo, a couple of buxom witches, their shape shifting animal/human guardians, a couple of shape shifting bikes {?!?}, the transfer student, and some other characters I had trouble distinquishing) go to the beach, Why? Who knows. What do they do there? Get in thier swimsuits while the male characters work at a host club. Not much made any kind of coherent sense in this manga. It's not worth the energy to puzzle it out either, as ultimately, this is a cheap fanservice fest. It is pretty to look at though, I'll give it that.