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review

Holmes of Kyoto Novel 1

Mochizuki says in her afterword that her motivating factor in writing the series was to combine her long-held desire to write a “light mystery” with her reactions upon moving to Kyoto, and that's precisely what she's done. ― While an adaptation's quality is not always the best indicator of what the source material is like, such is the case of Mai Mochizuki's light novel series Holmes of Kyoto and its...
review

Lapis Re:LiGHTs

The series does have somewhat of a plotline, though it is thin and typically functions to link other components together rather than guide the story. ― This Summer 2020 series is the anime branch of a multimedia project that will eventually include a smartphone game and a manga. Based on the way it ends, and the way it painstakingly introduces about two dozen named girls (even at the expense of stray...
review

Fiancee of the Wizard GN 1

She had been a twenty-nine-year-old woman walking home when she was hit by a car – that was the last thing she remembered. ― Fiancée of the Wizard is one of those series with a first volume that is largely unremarkable but has the potential to become something more. Primarily this is because so much of the manga's introductory book, which covers presumably half-to-a-third of the original light novel'...
review

The Ones Within Blu-Ray

The greatest and most overarching issue is the wildly shifting tone that precludes any of the overarching sense of tension or creeping dread that a story about kidnapped young adults playing fundamentally dangerous games should have. ― Have you ever watched the adaptation of a video game you love and been disappointed by how poorly it translated to anime? That without a controller in your hand or int...
review

Weathering With You

It's a Makoto Shinkai double-feature this week. If you haven't caught the director's tale of supernatural-infused romance, Grant Jones has his take on gorgeous Weathering With You. ― What do you do when the rain won't stop? The film Weathering With You attempts to answer this question in both a literal and figurative sense. From acclaimed director Makoto Shinkai - whose other works include films such...
review

your name. SteelBook BR

The key to your name's success lies in how it uses its mysterious body-swapping gimmick and the more existential threat that Mitsuha's village faces to dress-up what is honestly a very simple and relatable story ― Makoto Shinkai may not yet be a household name here in the western hemisphere, and I am not really the kind of person to buy into the hype of him (or any other director) being “the next Miy...
review

The Legend of Dororo and Hyakkimaru Volume 1

The primary struggle of the definition of humanity is a big part of what makes this work effective. ― “Just an empty sheath.” It's one of the first lines spoken by our hero Hyakkimuaru. Accosted on the road by bandits, they demand the sword at his hip as payment to pass through. He informs them with a smirk that the sheath is empty – it's just for show. They attempt to jump him and find out that he i...
review

Given (Movie)

Given isn't just about cute and fluffy first love or teenage angst; there are some murkier aspects of romantic relationships being explored here. ― This approximately 60-minute film is a direct continuation of the TV series, although the focus is less on the main characters and more on the supporting band members Akihiko and Haruki. Even after the story moves on from Mafuyu's struggle to come to term...
game review

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

Once the training wheels come off and its gameplay opens up, however, Aegis Rim goes from a good game to a great one. ― 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is a one-of-a-kind game that blends visual novel storytelling with real-time strategy combat. It draws on some heavy inspiration from War of the Worlds. This is most apparent in its storytelling, but the book is touched on all over. Space Invaders is referenc...
review

I Don't Know How to Give Birth! GN

Kazama's crash-course in babymaking is part of what makes I Don't Know How to Give Birth! so approachable. ― Every birth story is different. This is an extremely important point to keep in mind when approaching any personal recollections of giving birth. What happened during one pregnancy can be completely different the second time around, not just from person to person. That said, as a two-time mom,...
review

Sarazanmai - The Complete Series BD

Even as plot lines get tangled and explanations have to be glossed over, the empathy the series has for its cast through every moment is what I'll recall more than any ludicrously complex butt jokes or lengthy otter monologues about being a conceptual evil. ― There are sparse few anime directors working right now with a more iconic reputation than Kunihiko Ikuhara. While his works haven't always been...
review

The Misfit of Demon King Academy GN 1 & 2

The Misfit of Demon King Academy's first two volumes are not only a nice compliment to the anime's first few episodes, but also an equally interesting take on the story with more focus on Anoth's thoughts. ― There are two sayings about history that are particularly relevant to The Misfit of Demon King Academy: history is written by the victors and anyone who fails to learn that history is doomed to r...
review

A Man and His Cat GN 1 & 2

The overall theme of Sakurai's work is the way that bringing a pet into your life can help both the human and the animal in question. ― You don't have to be a cat person to love this manga. Whether you've connected with a dog, a cat, a ferret, or any other pet, Umi Sakurai's A Man and His Cat will be familiar in the relationship between the eponymous duo, and while elements of these two volumes do fe...
review

Happy-Go-Lucky Days

Takako Shimura is known for her poignant, queer romances. Does this anime film adaptation of Happy-Go-Lucky Days continue the tradition or veer off course? ― Manga artist Takako Shimura has made a career of engrossing and sensitive portrayals of young angst. Unfortunately, she is one of those authors whose works have seen only limited official releases in English, in spite of her popularity online. H...
review

Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia GN 1

Fans of the original Sherlock TV series should continue to be satisfied (or dissatisfied, depending) with this manga version of the story. ― The fourth volume in manga creator Jay's adaptation of the BBC television series Sherlock, A Scandal in Belgravia is also the first case to span multiple books. As Sherlockians will have noticed (or remembered from the show), the title of this case is a play on ...
review

Soul Eater - The Perfect Edition GN 1

But for all its speed bumps, there's just something infectiously endearing about the idiosyncratic world and fights of Soul Eater that keeps you turning the page. ― It feels odd to think of Soul Eater as a “classic” series – not because of any lack of quality, but just because even now it doesn't feel like it's old enough to be called that. While not as omnipresent as other 00's shonen hits, Soul Eat...
review

Goblin Slayer Novels 9 & 10

While it may not be entirely appealing to read a volume where the main characters aren't all together, it's hard to argue that it isn't an effective method of showing us just how much Goblin Slayer and Priestess have changed. ― While it may not be entirely appealing to read a volume of Goblin Slayer where the main characters aren't all together, once you get into the book, it's hard to argue that it ...
review

Kiki's Delivery Service Novel

The book that inspired Studio Ghibli's classic has a brand-new translation. Rebecca Silverman discovers why the novel still casts a spell decades later. ― First published in 1985, Eiko Kadono's novel Kiki's Delivery Service is not what we'd call a light novel, but rather a solid lower-middle grade text with a few illustrations, more along the lines of Katherine Applegate's The Wish Tree in terms of r...
review

I Had That Same Dream Again Omnibus

From the writer of I Want to Eat Your Pancreas, Nanoka thinks that she still knows more than the adults around her, which is behind the importance of the three friends she makes outside of her home. ― I Had That Same Dream Again is the manga adaptation of the novel of the same name by Yoru Sumino, author of I Want to Eat Your Pancreas and At Night, I Become a Monster. That may give you a decent idea ...
review

Who Says Warriors Can't Be Babes? GN 1

I'm not opposed to parody or screwball comedies, but the humor is entirely predicated on cruel gender-based jokes that often dip into essentialism. ― You would think, in a post-Xena world, the answer to the question in the title of Who Says Warriors Can't Be Babes would be, “No one.” Pulpy fantasy is rife with bikini armor-clad babes who can swing a sword with gusto, despite having arms that look lik...
review

My Senpai is Annoying! GN 1

My Senpai Is Annoying mostly concerns itself with trying to make the reader say, “Awww,” without doing the work to make those moments effective. ― I have some questions about My Senpai is Annoying. First of all, is Futaba Igarashi supposed to resemble Yotsuba of Yotsuba&!? She has green hair, and her name means “two leaves” to Yotsuba's “four leaves”. But while Yotsuba is a curious, outgoing five-yea...
review

I Love You So Much, I Hate You GN

It's so refreshing when you read a great love story that seems to tap into how actual humans behave—at the very least, because it makes it that much easier to imagine that happy ending for yourself. ― The title of this manga is more than a little misleading. I came into a book titled "I Love You So Much, I Hate You" thinking that it would be about a love-hate relationship: the characters argue passio...
review

Ghost in the Shell

Mamoru Oshii expert Brian Ruh dives into anime classic Ghost in the Shell for the film's 25th anniversary 4K HD release. ― When Ghost in the Shell came out in 1995, it was a revelation in both content and marketing. A measure of the film's success is often given as the fact that it went to the top of the Billboard sales charts when it was released on home video in the U.S. This little tidbit is often...
review

Chainsaw Man GN 1

"Takes a delightfully ridiculous and bloody premise and just runs with it in all sorts of fascinating directions." ― I don't keep up with manga as much as I used to these days, mostly because I already spend so much of my time wading through the eternal river of New Anime That I Have to Watch, and also because whenever I do get into a new series, like The Promised Neverland or Dr. Stone, I tend to pr...
game review

Kandagawa Jet Girls

Summer isn't over yet! Kandagawa Jet Girls is racing on to PlayStation 4 but can beautiful girls bring life to this kart-style racer? ― When I first booted up Kandagawa Jet Girls, I had no idea what to expect. I watched the first half of its anime run as a primer, and I was looking forward to seeing how they would translate the premise into gameplay. If you haven't seen the show, it centers heavily a...
review

Aggretsuko Season 3 Streaming

We need that sense of spiteful optimism more than ever, so bust out those microphones, warm up your vocal chords, and let out some hellacious death screams for all of the Retsukos out there. ― I loved Aggretsuko's surprisingly heartfelt and sometimes depressingly relevant first season when it premiered on Netflix back in the long ago age of 2018, and while I liked Season 2 quite a bit, it often felt ...
review

Failed Princesses GN 1

"Things are only just starting to develop between the two girls in this volume, and there's definitely room for them to not only grow closer, but also to move into a romantic relationship." ― How do you remember high school? While everyone's experiences vary, for a group of us, the answer is far from “the best years of your life,” as so much nostalgia-based fiction tries to frame it. High school can ...
review

Demon City Shinjuku

Yoshiaki Kawajiri, king of late-night anime gorefests, brought us Demon City Shinjuku in 1988. Now available on Blu-ray from Discotek, Theron dives into the once gritty world of anime OAVs. ― The late '80s and early '90s were a heyday for intensely graphic, often sexually explicit supernatural action anime movies and OVAs, titles which became staples of late-night viewing rooms at geekdom conventions...
review

Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town GN 1 & 2

Lloyd has always been told he's weak, but the Kunlun clan member has more potential than he realizes! Rebecca checks out this manga adaptation and finds it improves on the original story. ― “_____ is as _____does” is an old saying, usually filled in with whatever quality someone wanted to emphasize as not being as important as the listener believed it to be in a case of good old-fashioned vanity prev...
review

Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist's Journey vol. 1-5

Once upon a time, Princess Jellyfish creator Akiko Higashimura was an art student waiting for her big break. ― When you look back on your life, do you know who made you who you are? What factors shaped you as a person? What chance meetings have rippled through your life and changed its course? In Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist's Journey, Akiko Higashimura reflects not just on her first years as an...
review

Children of the Sea BR

Just about any scene involving water can become something wondrous. ― One thing can be said unequivocally about this adaptation of Daisuke Igarashi's original manga: it is quite the visual spectacle. The problem is that director Ayumu Watanabe and his Studio 4° C team got so wrapped up in delivering “wow” moments that they neglected to make an interesting narrative to go with them. This is a very pre...
game review

Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS. Maxiboost ON

Myles tries his hand at the cut-throat arcade hit's port to the PS4. ― Playing Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On made me instantly nostalgic for times I spent traveling and enjoyed playing it in over-the-top Akihabara arcades. I didn't understand what I was doing or who I was doing it with, but the experience itself was a blast. I couldn't tell you then why is was that I felt so gravitated ...
review

YU-NO: A girl who chants love at the bound of this world. Part 2 BD

Admittedly, a lot of YU-NO's rough edges come down to it having influenced media of all kinds for nearly thirty years. ― When I first started watching the entirety of 2019's YU-NO: A girl who chants love at the bound of this world., I was only dimly aware of its source material's reputation amongst visual novel fans. Eventually, I learned that the much-lauded 1996 game is basically considered the Ur-...
review

Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear Novel 1

Wealthy Yuna gets sucked into a game world and finds herself wearing an OP bear onesie!? Check out the review of the light novel that's inspiring an anime series this October! ― Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear, one in an increasingly long line of light novels culled from the Let's Be Novelists website that falls under the isekai heading, has exactly one gimmick: bears. Given that the title translates to “Bear Be...
review

Seven Deadly Sins: Imperial Wrath of The Gods

While King and Diane get swept into the past to learn some of the truths behind the Holy War, Gowther deals with his own trip down memory lane and Merlin searches fervently for Arthur in demon-controlled Camelot ― After a four and a half month delay, the fourth installment – and third full series – on the animated side of The Seven Deadly Sins franchise has finally been released from Netflix jail. It...
review

Mix Part 2 Blu-Ray

Mix doesn't tell a story about sports so much as it tells a story through sports, one about nostalgia, legacy and sibling rivalry. ― I've never been much into baseball, and I'm starting to realize that's a real disadvantage when watching baseball anime. Everything I know about sports, I've learned from anime, since many sports anime don't assume familiarity with the rules or finer strategic points an...
review

The Strongest Sage With the Weakest Crest GN 1

Rebecca Silverman finds that while there are unique elements in this isekai tale, it's also a retread of similar power fantasies before it. ― Even the best plans can go wrong if you don't think about all of the factors. That's what happened to Gaius, a great wizard whose magic crest, the determinant of his magical powers, was the weakest of four. Gaius, like most powerful people who can't get what th...
review

The Girl With the Sanpaku Eyes GN 1

Amane Mizuno leans into her "scary" disposition, but inside is someone protecting herself, because inside she's desperately shy and uncertain. ― Even though the world has moved on from phrenology (the 19th century “science” of determining a person's psychology via their features and any bumps on their scalp or skull), some pieces of it live on in popular culture. In Japanese lore, one of the major re...
review

My Hero Academia: Make It! Do-or-Die Survival Training

My Hero Academia is BACK everyone! For like 40 minutes total, but hey it's something while we all wait for Season 5. ― My Hero Academia is BACK everyone! For like 40 minutes total, but hey it's something while we all wait for Season 5. These OVAs aren't the first MHA has gotten, but they are the first to release legally State-side, and with no airing date still for the next season we might as well ta...
review

Syrup GN 1

As an anthology, Syrup succeeds in bringing together a variety of stories and art styles, and it certainly has a high level of name recognition with Milk Morinaga, Naoko Kodama, Yukiko, and Kana Yoshimura, among others. ― Sometimes it can feel like a flood or a drought in the world of manga, and we're currently going through a good time for fans of F/F relationships. Syrup joins Yen Press' Éclair ser...
game review

Yakuza Kiwami 2

Yakuza Kiwami 2's recent release on the Xbox One means that the title is now accessible everywhere, and if you love Yakuza, there's no reason not to play it. ― The Yakuza series is notorious for its unique balancing act – depicting a striking and gritty realism offset by moments of ridiculous lunacy. Kiwami 2 is no exception to the trend, and it executes the franchise's characteristic mishmash of ele...
review

Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel III. spring song

At last, the twisted, gruesome tale of Sakura Matou comes to an end. ― Please note that this review will contain spoilers for the first two films. At last, the twisted, gruesome tale comes to an end. This film is the grand climax of the Heaven's Feel movie trilogy, where the fraught emotions of the remaining characters come to a head, the truth behind the Grail War is revealed, and a desperate fight ...
review

Loner Life in Another World GN 1

Haruka's a voracious reader, so when a summoning circle forms in his high school classroom, he knows he wants to get the hell out before he ends up stuck in another world with his classmates. ― If there is one thing that sets Loner Life in Another World apart from the plethora of other isekai tales, it's that it has a pretty good sense of humor. Protagonist and eponymous loner Haruka has read more th...
review

Mob Psycho 100 II BR/DVD Limited Edition

The only bad things James can say about Mob Psycho 100 II are "not every episode is a stone-cold knockout" and "it eventually ends." ― For a while there, it seemed like One Punch Man was going to make out as the spectacle-driven ONE adaptation that the fandom would adore forever and ever, but I think time has been much kinder to Mob Psycho 100's inaugural season, and for good reason. With OPM, Madhou...
review

Venus In The Blind Spot

Ito's manga regularly blends the comically absurd with unsettling horror but all of his stories have a through line of picking up on particularly common anxieties and blowing them up. ― Junji Ito is having a moment. While long considered a household name for horror manga in Japan, the last few years have seen a new push to bring him to the forefront of North American anime fandom. Viz has done an inc...
review

Final Fantasy XV: The Dawn of the Future

Inspired by planned DLC for the original game, we explore the tragic history of Prince Ardyn Lucis Caelum, once a renowned healer, who became twisted into a villainous monster. ― SPOILER WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the plot of Final Fantasy XV, including its ending and DLC. The first thing you need to know about Final Fantasy XV: The Dawn of the Future is that it is absolutely a work w...
review

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side: Sword Oratoria volume 12

This novel is the capstone for nearly everything which has transpired in Sword Oratoria to date. ― At 364 pages, novel 12 is by far the longest entry in Sword Oratoria and the third-longest novel in the whole franchise (behind only novels 8 and 14 of the main storyline). This is fitting, as this novel is the capstone for nearly everything which has transpired in Sword Oratoria to date, bringing toget...
game review

SINoALICE

SINoALICE's spin is in how it takes the subjects of these oft-sanitized stories and not only drags them back down to their darker and bloodier roots, but also slaps on even more layers of Yoko Taro's unique brand of violent, kinky nihilism on top of it all. ― When NieR: Automata became my favorite videogame of all time in 2017, I dove headlong into the eccentric director Yoko Taro's weird and wonder...
review

Love on the Other Side: A Nagabe Short Story Collection

Nagabe's style of stark draftsmanship is key to the ethereal, fairytale-like atmosphere so many of their works channel, and here functions excellently to enhance the inhuman nature of its subjects. ― Like it says in the sub-title, Love On The Other Side is a collection of short stories crafted by Nagabe, the pseudonymous creator of The Girl From The Other Side: Siuil a Run. Those familiar with Nagabe...
review

Shironeko Project: Zero Chronicle

The most baffling thing about Shironeko Project: Zero Chronicle is that it is a 12-episode prequel to a phone game that doesn't seem to have much to do with the themes of this anime adaptation. ― Shironeko Project: Zero Chronicle is bad. It's boring, poorly animated, putridly paced and half the time barely even comprehensible. And yet, watching it, I couldn't help but see the faint flame of lost pote...
review

A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow GN 1-4

A charming story about two girls who don't quite fit who learn that you really only need one person who understands you to make things worthwhile. ― While all stories have layers to one degree or another, Makoto Hagino's quiet yuri tale A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow may be covering up more than we might at first think. This possibility comes from the fact that one of the protagonists, Konatsu, keep...
game review

Fairy Tail

I went into Fairy Tail with the low expectations I've been accustomed to when dealing with many anime-adapted games, but I must say, this title blew them away. ― I went into Fairy Tail with the low expectations I've been accustomed to when dealing with many anime-adapted games, but I must say, this title blew them away. It's been a good while since I've seen an anime-based game so well realized – not...
review

Strike Witches: 501st JOINT FIGHTER WING Take Off! BR

"If you're a fan of the franchise in general, Strike Witches: 501st JOINT FIGHTER WING Take Off! is must-view content." ― The Strike Witches mixed media franchise began in the mid-2000s with a series of magazine illustrations, a three-chapter manga, and an OVA, but it really took off with the first anime TV season in 2008. Over the dozen years since then its has maintained its popularity through a se...
review

The Extraordinary, the Ordinary, and SOAP! Novels 1 & 2

This light novel series changes up the formula by focusing on a regular fantasy world denizen and a summoned hero who is NOT interested in saving the world. ― It's a truth that most iterations of the isekai genre focus on the summoned heroes. Equally true is that they're usually relatively okay with having been summoned – and if they're not, they still manage to find their niche somehow or at least t...
review

Fushigi Yugi: Byakko Senki vol. 1

Caitlin revisits The Universe of the Four Gods in the newest Fushigi Yuugi spin-off following the Priestess of Byakko. ― When I was first getting into anime in seventh grade, back when high-speed internet and legal streaming were only a distant dream, it was common practice for my friends and I to lend each other manga and anime VHS tapes. After all, we were only twelve and these things weren't cheap...
review

Mujirushi: The Sign of Dreams GN

Mujirushi: The Sign of Dreams is the sort of bizarre story that only someone who has mastered his craft could really pull off, and it's a definite credit to Urasawa that he did ― Naoki Urasawa is only consistent in that all of his stories are good in both art and story – the settings of those stories, as well as their genres, vary widely across his bibliography. Mujirushi: The Sign of Dreams is the s...
review

Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy: Siege

Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy: Siege series, the first in a promised trio of shows by Japanese animation studio Polygon Pictures, seeks to be the latest take on the war that brought the transforming alien bots to Earth. ― Once just a background element to the story of the Transformers winding up on Earth, the run-up of the war for their home planet of Cybertron has been gone back to and det...
review

How Do We Relationship? Volume 1

How Do We Relationship? walks a careful balance for its entire first volume. It addresses queer issues without being preachy while staying joyful. ― In her author's notes at the end of the volume, Tamifull comments on how most romance stories end when the main couple gets together. It makes sense, if you think about it. The contentedness of two people who have realized their affection for one another...
game review

Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris

Myles takes off the kid gloves in his review, calling this Sword Art Online game installment a "thoroughly uninvolved experience." Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris attempts to translate the most recent season of Sword Art Online into a game, beat for beat. It promised engaging fantasy-action gameplay, a riveting plot taken straight from the show, and stunning anime-quality art. It fails to del...
review

Ascendance of a Bookworm Episodes 1-26 Streaming

Rose Bridges revisits what makes this isekai series standout: a focus on classism and a plucky heroine who just wants to read! ― One of the first things I thought upon reading this anime's premise was: "Oh geez. That sounds like my own personal hell." I love books nearly as much as Main does, so I'm not sure how I would survive in a world where I was denied them. But Main manages to do as best she ca...
review

After School Dice Club

After School Dice Club offers the best of both worlds in terms of narrative and iyashikei anime. It takes the emphasis on friendship and adds just enough development and structure to keep the tension and interest. ― After the first episode, I was ready to dismiss After School Dice Club as fine, but generic, cute girls hobby anime. The kind of show that's all well and good if that's your thing, but un...
review

Bleach: Can't Fear Your Own World Vol 1

Narita takes this huge, oftentimes underdeveloped cast and fills them out with dynamic desires, emotional relatability, and carefully written reminders of just why people were enamored with Bleach's world and key players. ― Though as a preteen I adored Bleach, it's undeniable that it had one of the most severe drops in quality and popularity in Shonen Jump history. And yet, there is still admiration ...
review

act-age Volume 1

act-age is, in a lot of ways, a classic rags-to-riches sports narrative. It's in these realistic, emotionally authentic details where it really becomes something unique and special. ― I first read Act-Age when it debuted in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump. I remember being quite enamored with the premise (I love shonen battle manga, I love movies, and I was in theater in high school), and yet, not be...
review

By the Grace of the Gods vol. 1-3

It's slimes, slimes, and more slimes as Theron checks out the first three volumes of By the Grace of the Gods before the anime premieres this fall! ― Though Ryoma does become an adventurer and has a handful of significant battle scenes, By the Grace of Gods is, at its core, more a “daily life” series than an action series. Ascendance of a Bookworm is hardly a perfect comparison, but the first three n...
review

BL Metamorphosis GN 1 & 2

While this is absolutely a sweet story of intergenerational friendship, what's almost more striking is the way the two women treat their enjoyment of BL manga. ― There is, for no good reason, stigma attached to the enjoyment of certain genres. That goes for any form of reading material (and other types of entertainment, but for the purposes of this review, we'll stick with books), and while in some c...
review

Uchitama?! Have you seen my Tama?

The mascots of Sanrio's world have never looked like this before! Caitlin checks out the catboys of Third Street to see how much Sanrio sweetness she can handle. ― Uchitama!? Have You Seen My Tama? is the latest revival of the 1983 Sanrio franchise known in English as Tama and Friends, and boy, this is one heck of a way to rekindle an old property. I use the word “known” loosely, since the cute, cart...
review

RWBY: The Official Manga Volume 1

Faye revisits her high school fav RWBY in Viz's newest manga release to see how it compares to the animated original series. ― RWBY first came out when I was in early high school. I remember enjoying the first season as it aired in chunks, having grown up on Red Vs. Blue and honestly being quite taken by Monty Oum's exuberant action direction. Granted, I was 14, and my opinion of the series has dimin...
review

Hello, I am a Witch and my Crush Wants me to Make a Love Potion! Novel

This sweet romance story is a slowburn, but offers some genuinely interesting worldbuilding. ― It's right there in the title: Rose is a witch whose crush asks her to make him a love potion. Fortunately for readers, there is more to the story than that, but Eiko Mutsuhana's sweet romance novel is based around Rose's misconception that Harij (the crush in question) wants the potion for himself. It's in...
review

Sakura Wars the Animation

Resident Sakura Wars expert Samantha Ferreira gives the lowdown on the anime's latest installment and whether it captures the original's steampunk musical magic! ― On March 29, 2019, Sega fans from across Japan gathered in Tokyo for the first day of the publisher's annual Sega Fes fan event. The crowd was abuzz with excitement as visions of Phantasy Star, Persona, and more danced through their heads....
review

SPY×FAMILY GN 1

The runaway hit manga is now available in its first physical release. Rebecca Silverman sees how this odd-family comedy took manga fans by storm! ― Spy x Family has gotten a lot of praise in its native Japan, and there's a good reason for it – it's a delightful combination of spy caper and family comedy with just the right amount of zaniness thrown in for good measure. Taking place in what appears to...
review

Sarazanmai: Reo and Mabu Volume 1

Scene-stealing characters Reo and Mabu get their own manga. Caitlin Moore checks out where it fits into the Sarazanmai story. ― The prequel manga Sarazanmai: Reo and Mabu debuted in 2018, well ahead of its anime counterpart, presumably as a way to drum up hype and introduce some of the ideas that the anime would eventually present. It introduces the characters Reo and Mabu, the police partners that w...
game review

Sakura Wars

1996's Sakura Taisen was a pioneer for games like Persona and Fire Emblem. Myles sees how the franchise's newest installment measures up to its legacy. Sakura Taisen, released in 1996 Japan on the SEGA Saturn, was a pioneer for games like Shin Megami Tensei (Persona) and Fire Emblem. It was one of the first games to try and pair a sort of Social/Dating Simulator into a tactical JRPG title. Now, in ...
review

Tsugumomo2

The climax of the second season, and its immediate follow-up, is such a stunner that a third season not eventually getting animated would be criminal. ― Tsugumomo2 is a direct follow-up to 2017's Tsugumomo, beginning only very shortly after last season ended and with no recap, so I do recommend reviewing the first season before beginning this one. In many senses this season offers more of the same (f...
review

Witch Hat Atelier GN 3 - 5

Who has the right to hold power? Despite its outward trappings of a magical education series, Kamome Shirahama's Witch Hat Atelier begins to ponder this question more fully in its third volume, building the theme up more fully in books four and five. ― Who has the right to hold power? Despite its outward trappings of a magical education series, Kamome Shirahama's Witch Hat Atelier begins to ponder th...
review

The Weakest Manga Villainess Wants Her Freedom! ebook

As twists on the genre go, it's a good one if only because Elle and the readers are equally unaware of what's really going on. ― There are plenty of shoujo light novels where the premise is that an unassuming fan dies unexpectedly and ends up reincarnated as the villainess of her favorite pop culture story, but most of those feature protagonists reborn into otome games or, in the case of I Refuse to ...
review

Kandagawa Jet Girls

Summer is heating up so it's time to revisit one of the most unique sports series to grace anime: competitive jet skiing. ― This series from the Fall 2019 season is the anime branch of a multimedia project which (wholly unsurprisingly) also includes a PS4 racing game. Its first episode did not fare well in critical reviews and got only mediocre community ratings during the Preview Guide that season, ...
review

Heavenly Delusion GN 1

Heavenly Delusion is a giant mystery waiting to be unwrapped but the first volume of the post-apocalyptic manga is keeping the cards close to its chest. ― It's hard to talk about something like the first volume of Heavenly Delusion. It's a puzzle box story, asking many questions before offering any answers, making it difficult to assess in traditional ways. The story opens in the school where Tokio a...
review

The Weirn Books: Be Wary of the Silent Woods GN

Svetlana Chmakova returns with a new graphic novel about young witches exploring their powers and uncovering the mystery of the abandoned school building in the woods. ― Svetlana Chmakova has been creating OEL manga for a long time, and Be Wary of the Silent Woods feels like the natural result of that. Taking place in the same world as her young adult series Nightschool (albeit in New England rather ...
review

Pure Invention: How Japan's Pop Culture Conquered the World

Professional translator Matt Alt's "cultural detective story" details the birth of anime, from historical figures of post-war Japan to Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto's bathtub brainstorm sessions. ― It's strange. While I've taken plenty of chances to read books about Japanese pop-culture, I don't think I've ever finished one before. Rather, I'll scan the table of contents, find the topic I'm looking ...
review

Asteroid in Love

The show is about how the friendships you form in the pursuit of your dreams are oftentimes more important than fulfilling the dreams themselves. ― Asteroid in Love is a show about cute girls doing cute things in cute ways. This is a fine agenda. I have liked many series about these same things, from Girls Last Tour to Sweetness and Lightning. And yet, I struggled to get through Asteroid in Love, eve...
review

Sexiled: My Sexist Party Leader Kicked Me Out, So I Teamed Up With a Mythical Sorceress! Novels 1-2

Right from the first chapter, it's evident that this novel is commenting on real-life sexism, and that impression only further deepens as the story goes on. ― I read a lot of light novels, so I'd be the first to tell you that they come in all sorts. The light novel scene may have a deserved reputation for publishing its fair share of milquetoast male power fantasies, but it's not hard to find stories...
review

Nekopara

Caitlin finds little to love in the ecchi anime full of one-note cat girl characters living as pets in Nekopara's strange world. ― Nekopara is a fetish anime. I say that without judgment, positive or negative; it's just a neutral fact. Specifically, it appeals to the pet fetish, a sort of dom/sub relationship in which the dominant party treats the sub as they would a pet. This probably isn't a great ...
review

Our Dreams At Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare Vol 1-4

Yuhki Kamatani introduces readers to better future for LGBTQ folks, the unique kind of community where exploration of self is possible and Someone is there to listen. ― The most beautiful part of this four volume series, aside from the impressive artwork when depicting emotional states, is it doesn't give you terms set in stone for categories. It recognizes and understands the fluidity and avoids rig...
review

BNA: Brand New Animal

James Beckett visits Anima City to see if Studio Trigger has another surefire hit. ― When BEASTARS got its exceptional anime adaptation last year, there were plenty of jokes going around about it being anime's very own Zootopia, but people ought to have saved their jabs for TRIGGER's latest Netflix Original, BNA: Brand New Animal. Not only does this series share a surprising number of similar plot po...
review

An Invitation from a Crab

"This is a work that knows how to deal in extremes, and still have them make a sort of internal sense when combining them." Rose Bridges combs through the Twilight Zone-esque world of An Invitation From a Crab. ― In the past few years, we've seen an explosion in the variety of manga available for translation in English. Long-time otaku have always known that Japanese audiences will read manga about a...
review

Muhyo & Roji's Bureau of Supernatural Investigation Season 1

Muhyo & Roji flew under the radar when it premiered in 2018. Theron checks out the supernatural horror series just in time for the upcoming second season. ― This 12-episode series debuted during the Summer 2018 season but is based on a shonen manga which concluded a decade earlier. Because it started weeks later than normal, it never got Preview Guide coverage that season or picked for streaming revi...
review

Love Me for Who I Am Volume 1

All the good intentions in the world couldn't make up for Love Me For Who I Am's missteps. Faye Hopper details where the LGBTQ+ story went wrong. ― Love Me For Who I Am is a series that purports to be about the nonbinary and queer experience. It is, in the marketing and in its core thematic agenda, about queer realties in a way few manga are. But something to note is that the mangaka, Kata Konayama, ...
game review

Pokémon Sword and Shield: Isle of Armor

The Isle of Armor is the first of two expansions for the games, and it adds a set of islands with impressive diversity and new Galarian experiences. ― Before I could get into The Isle of Armor, my $30 took a one-hit KO. I was among the not insignificant number of players who got overly excited for the expansion, bought the wrong version, and got hit with a wave of confused regret. After purchasing th...
review

Witch Hat Atelier GN 1 & 2

The world of Witch Hat Atelier is beautifully built, with each new chapter revealing another small piece of the whole that combines with what we already know to make it feel organic. ― Witch Hat Atelier is much more Little Witch Academia than Harry Potter, although if you like any story about learning magic there's a good chance that you'll enjoy this one as well. Coco, like LWA's Akko, is a normal g...
review

A Whisker Away

Studio Colorido's latest film has the makings of a whimsical fairy tale, but does the cat-themed tale land on its feet? ― A Whisker Away is the kind of young adult fantasy that takes an age old question of "Wouldn't life be so much simpler as a pet?" and puts a romantic spin on it: "Wouldn't it be so much easier to get that guy you have a crush on to like you if you pretended to be a cat, since you ...
review

BEASTARS Volumes 3-4

Faye Hopper tries to unearth BEASTARS' bigger ideas on gender and identity in the acclaimed manga series. ― After the bloody climax of Volume 2, Beastars Volumes 3 and 4 appear to be a lot calmer. The focus is less on advancing an arc, building to moments of intense conflict, and more on worldbuilding, set-up and theme. In other stories, this lack of crucial event could result in wheel-spinning and a...
review

8th son? Are you kidding me?

The spring 2020 series has all the hallmarks of a standard isekai power fantasy except one. Theron Martin checks it out. ― As isekai reincarnation series go, this Spring 2020 adaptation of a light novel series closely resembles Wise Man's Grandchild in a lot of ways. The protagonist is reborn in a new world, discovers prodigious magical talent at a young age, is tutored by a prominent wizard, and dev...
review

The Poe Clan Omnibus 1

It's not Hagio's references or even the sweeping grandeur of her art. It's the pervasive air of tragedy that rises from each page like a mist, enshrouding the story and the reader in a veil of sadness. ― There aren't as many books that deal with the tragedy of how endless “forever” really is. Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting (1975) is most people's introduction to the idea, while Lois Duncan's Lock...
review

Maison Ikkoku Collector's Edition Volume 1

The Rumiko Takahashi classic is back with a brand-new translation in Viz's collector release. ― Few manga artists have had as strong an influence in the evolution of Western anime and manga fandom than Rumiko Takahashi. Ranma ½ was Viz's flagship title for years, and Inuyasha became a crossover smash hit when it aired on Adult Swim. Urusei Yatsura was published in English as the result of a fan campa...
review

Magic Knight Rayearth 25th Anniversary Box Set

Kodansha's collector's release of the CLAMP classic is up for the Eisner's! Find out why it's considered one of the manga classics of late 20th century shōjo. ― Magic Knight Rayearth may not be a magical girl series in the strictest definition of the term – the girls don't actually transform, making them magic-using girls, like Clamp's later foray into the genre, Cardcaptor Sakura – but their impact ...
review

Tenchi Muyo! Ryo Ohki Season 4

These episodes often have a slice-of-life feel to them despite the powerful and prominent characters involved. Touches of the humor that the franchise has always been known for can be found here and there, but they feel restrained ― The OVA branch of the Tenchi Muyo franchise may not hold a candle to several other major titles in terms of raw episode count, but with releases now spanning 28 years it ...

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