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review

My Brain is Different: Stories of ADHD and Other Developmental Disorders GN

My Brain is Different: Stories of ADHD and Other Developmental Disorders is a highly personal book that shines a light on how the neurodivergent navigate a world that isn't set-up for them. ― I was diagnosed with ADHD in my mid-20's. For my entire life, I struggled with things other people, including my twin sister, seemed to have no issue with. I had trouble turning in homework, even if I had alread...
review

SPY×FAMILY GN 7

Everyone gets a turn to take center stage in this book, and that makes up for a slightly stalled main plot. ― One of the joys of Tatsuya Endo's Spy x Family is its varied cast of characters, most specifically the members of the Forger family. With only Anya (and to a degree Bond) fully aware of everything that's going on behind the façade of a perfectly normal upper-middle class home, misunderstandin...
review

Bungō Stray Dogs: Wan! GN 1

It's the characters you love in a brand-new way: going on mini-adventures in a chibi art style! ― In case you hadn't noticed, the main story, both in manga and novels, of Kafka Asagiri and Sango Harukawa's Bungo Stray Dogs is really very dark. It has its lighter moments, but everything tends to be in service of a greater, more serious theme, and that can weigh you down as a reader at times. That's wh...
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The Transcendent One-Sided Love of Yoshida the Catch GN 1

From the creator of Hatsu*Haru comes a story about a gorgeous salaryman named Yoshida as he yearns for the one woman who has zero idea that he's got a thing for her. ― The characters in this book may look familiar to readers of Shizuki Fujisawa's other series to get an English release (Hatsu*Haru), but otherwise you'd never know that these books came from the same pen. Where Hatsu*Haru was a heartfel...
review

Anyway, I'm Falling in Love with You. GN 1-2

The COVID-19 pandemic is the backdrop of this high school love story. What's striking about the opening chapters of the first volume is that it shows how so many things are linked to the “normal” progression of our everyday lives. ― The hardest change is the kind you don't see coming. That's something Mizuho is rapidly discovering in the spring of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to rear ...
review

My Love Mix-Up! GN 2 & 3

Aoki may have “confessed” to Ida by accident, but he's definitely got feelings for the other boy now, even if he's a little befuddled by the fact. ― I am perhaps reading too much into this, but it's wonderful that in My Love Mix-Up! we have a manga starring characters who can be interpreted as bisexual and demisexual, two orientations that don't always get the visibility that they deserve. After a vo...
review

A Man and His Cat GN 5

It's a pet owner's biggest fear: an indoor cat escapes into the wide world. Will he make it back safely? ― Reading a volume of A Man and his Cat can be emotionally exhausting. That's not necessarily a bad thing, because creator Umi Sakurai truly captures the ups and downs of having a pet. This volume, however, covers a more difficult topic than most in the series: what happens when an indoor cat gets...
review

The Case Files of Jeweler Richard GN 1 & 2

While the anime did a fine job of working with the story, the manga version shows that this is a work that may function better in writing. ― Even if you were only mildly entertained by the anime adaptation of Nanako Tsujimura's The Case Files of Jeweler Richard light novels, the manga is worth picking up. While the anime did a fine job of working with the story, the manga version shows that this is a...
review

Sensei's Pious Lie GN 1

We're so used to the narrative that people who experience trauma gain a deeper sense of empathy for others that it's easy to forget that anger, even when it's misplaced, is just as likely. ― "As it went on...I grew less and less sure. I knew it was wrong and I didn't want to be doing it...but I thought maybe it was me who made it happen. Even though I was scared, even though I wanted to run...I staye...
review

Ragna Crimson GN 4

With an anime adaptation in the works, Grant explains why Ragna Crimson gets better with each volume. ― Ragna Crimson continues to find new ways to impress me. My reception to the series has only grown more positive as each volume expands its world, broadens its cast, and enriches its conceptual landscape. This volume was my favorite by far, and honestly I can't wait to see what's next. For starters,...
review

Sakamoto Days GN 1

A retired assassin finds domestic bliss and opens a convenience store, but the crime world isn't ready to let Sakamoto go. ― Taro Sakamoto was once the most feared assassin in Japan...until he fell in love. Now he's an overweight convenience store owner, married with a young daughter, and he's very happy to keep it that way. Sadly, the crime world isn't all that keen on letting him retire in peace, s...
review

The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You GN 1

No way he gets 100 girlfriends, right? The thing is, you're thinking about this premise with logic, and logic has no home in this manga. This manga runs off of pure, lovestruck insanity. ― Now I know what you're probably thinking, just from looking at that title. 100? Really? That's obviously some hyperbolic number meant to pull you in, right? There's no way any series could actually introduce a hund...
review

Catch These Hands! GN 1

Two former delinquents cross paths again in adulthood. Their rough-and-tumble days of excitement are far in the past but maybe a new kind of excitement is awaiting them? ― An obvious element of the appeal of murata's Catch These Hands is one of contrast—that despite the nominally rough-and-tumble subject matter, the story contained within is actually adorable and sweet as hell. There's little reveren...
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I'm a Wolf, but My Boss is a Sheep! GN 1

It's not entirely fair to say that this is essentially BEASTARS Lite, but it's also a little hard to shake that feeling. ― It's not entirely fair to say that this is essentially Beastars Lite, but it's also a little hard to shake that feeling. Shino Shimizu's I'm a Wolf, But My Boss is a Sheep takes a just-similar-enough premise to tell its workplace romantic comedy: in its world, people have animal ...
review

Hello, Melancholic! GN 1

This is by and large an extremely familiar story – but that doesn't mean it can't be a good one if told well, and through this first volume, this series is a firmly charming riff on the formula. ― Stop me if you've heard this one before: a mopey, socially anxious teenager just can't find the courage to make friends. They're kind and friendly at heart, but feel like an outcast from others who make fri...
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I Can't Believe I Slept With You! GN 1

The manga starts off with questionable premise (a tenant agrees to exchange sex for roof over her head) but what you'll discover beneath that façade is an account of the desperate lengths that people will go to find a connection in a society. ― It's hard not to feel cautious about delving into a manga with such a premise. When a story about a blossoming romance between two characters starts with one ...
review

Lightning and Romance GN 1-2

20-year-old Reo returns to high school to finish his education where he meets Sumire, and she's not about to let him dictate her feelings – especially not when he's kind of bad at hiding that he may like her, too ― If you've been reading Rin Mikimoto's previously translated works, you may have figured out that she has a thing for the age-gap romance – all of her other translated works but Kira-kun To...
review

Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai GN 1

See where young warrior Dai's adventure began...in the original manga series! ― Your enjoyment of Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai will depend quite heavily on how you feel about the iconic Dragon Quest JRPGs. Do you think fondly of the franchise as a series of fairy-tale-esque adventures that provide a sense of comfort and familiarity through its whimsical and well-worn conventions? Or does the me...
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Whole of Humanity Has Gone Yuri Except for Me GN 1

Mankind is extinct but womenkind is thriving. The premise of a world occupied only by lesbians might sound silly on the surface, but 'Yuri Except for Me' is a genuine attempt at creating a narrative arc for our main characters. ― I must say, the title and initial premise of this two-volume series did have me wondering just how much the story would fall back on gay panic or other stereotypes for the s...
review

Soul Eater - The Perfect Edition GN 4-6

The shonen action series enters Crona's arc, adding the most compelling drama in the series so far. ― Volume four of The Perfect Edition sees Soul Eater in pure, shonen action mode. It's the classic setup of an evil villain waiting at the end of a gauntlet of enemies, with each of our major characters getting a battle against an established baddie as they duke it out for the fate of the world. The ma...
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Orochi: The Perfect Edition GN 1

At long last we have a new translated manga from horror visionary Kazuo Umezz. How does Orochi hold up over 50 years after its original release? ― Orochi is a mysterious, clearly supernatural woman who serves as our guide through the two stories in this volume, a little bit like how Golden Age DC horror comics House of Mystery and The House of Secrets had Cain and Abel fill a similar function. But in...
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My Isekai Life: I Gained a Second Character Class and Became the Strongest Sage in the World! GN 1

Yuji's attitude is something of a saving grace, because he's just so remarkably unconcerned about how things are playing out. They can make him live an isekai life, but they can't make him like it. ― As you can guess from the title, there's a pretty good chance that you've read, watched, or played some version of this story before. My Isekai Life: I Gained a Second Character Class and Became the Stro...
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It's That Reincarnated-as-a-Virus Story GN 1

While the book itself errs on the side of the fluffy and goofy, it's subject matter is difficult to divorce from present reality. ― Before anything else, it's important to mention that the source novel for this title, plus the decision to adapt it into manga form, both predate the COVID-19 pandemic. Original author Kalaku Yuki is very clear on that subject in their afterword, most likely out of an ab...
review

Rosen Blood GN 2

Do you read vampire manga for the sexy, sexy blood-sucking? Do you find forceful immortal men alluring? If you answered yes to either of these questions, this is just the book you've been looking for. ― Note: you can read our review of volume one here. Do you read vampire manga for the sexy, sexy blood-sucking? Do you find forceful immortal men alluring? Is your preferred aesthetic "Victorian Gothic ...
review

5 Seconds Before a Witch Falls in Love GN

Readers will find themselves quickly falling in love with this yuri romance between a sorcerer and a witch hunter that our reviewer called simply "adorable." ― 5 Seconds Before a Witch Falls in Love is more or less a short story collection. I say “more or less” because in actuality, three of the four pieces in Zeniko Sumiya's first book are actually about the same group of people, but they're broken ...
review

Fist of the North Star Volume 4

A legendary manga takes its first steps into its most iconic run in the latest volume of the action-packed gorefest. ― Folks, we are, unequivocally, In It ™ now. I often use the introduction of Rei in the last volume as the first demarcation line for when things are heating up in Fist of the North Star, and now we've crossed into the real build-up of the series. In volume 4, Fist of the North Star en...
review

Sakura's Dedication GN 1

Despite it's title, this manga is less an aggressive pursuit and more about a guy who is very concerned about making his new girlfriend comfortable around him. ― On paper, this sounds like one of those predatory romances that will send some readers running. Even the title speaks to the supposed dangerous nature of the male lead: he's dedicated to pursuing Sawa after her breakup with her previous boyf...
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Mame Coordinate GN 1

This manga about modeling tries to balance the glam with the less than savory aspect of the job, but is the problem really its protagonist? ― There's something about Mame Coordinate's worldview that I just can't like. Yes, it's a story about the modeling industry, something I personally am not terribly invested in, but a well-written and drawn story should be able to rise above petty things like a re...
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Dekoboko Bittersweet Days GN

What was the perfect high school romance for Yūjirō and Rui is about to hit some major growing pains. ― Sequels to stories that already have an established happily-ever-after are tricky. The author needs to build upon the original happy ending without destroying it, but there also needs to be believable new tension to the romance. I am pleased to report that Dekoboko Bittersweet Days, sequel to Dekob...
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Seaside Stranger: Harukaze no Étranger GN 1

This sequel to the Seaside Stranger manga and anime film sees Shun and Mio meeting the former's parents for the first time, and ready to come out. ― When we last saw Shun in Seaside Stranger, his former fiancée had just arrived on the small southern island he had retreated to with the goal of informing him that his father was ill and to convince him to return to the family home in Hokkaido. Since Shu...
review

Summer Time Rendering GN 1

Before the anime premieres, check out the manga Erica Friedman called "a can't-put-down kind of read. Once the plot took hold, I knew I was in for the whole journey." ― Ajiro Shinpei dreams of his childhood friend Ushio. In his dream, she asks him to protect her sister Mio. Startled awake, Shinpei falls face first into a large-chested woman on the ferry to Hitogashima with him, who slaps him for his ...
review

Ima Koi: Now I'm in Love GN 1

If Ima Koi: Now I'm in Love isn't precisely innovative, it is a perfectly charming shoujo romance that also is entirely cookie cutter. Honestly, that isn't inherently a bad thing. ― When Yagyu saves Satomi from a groper on the train, she falls in love at first sight. And...that's kind of it? It's a case of pure shoujo insta-love, and if Ima Koi: Now I'm in Love isn't precisely innovative, it is a per...
review

The Witches of Adamas GN 1

This story about a man who ejaculates diamonds and the witches who want him mines its concept for some truly outrageous comedy, and the horny aspects of the art are pulling their weight. ― An angle of approach I often find myself taking when going into fanservice-focused anime and manga works is to ask "Why didn't you just make porn?" It is a valid question, seeing the salacious setups some of these ...
review

Space Pirate Captain Harlock Comic

With direct input and supervision from original manga-ka (and certifiable legend) Leiji Matsumoto himself, this omnibus collection is a laborious love letter from the moment you open it. ― Jérôme Alquié's Space Pirate Captain Harlock can feel like a lot to take in. Produced by a clear superfan of an artist/writer, with direct input and supervision from original manga-ka (and certifiable legend) Leiji...
review

The Lines that Define Me GN 1

One young man's foray into classic Japanese art might just be his path to healing. ― Although The Lines that Define Me is about suiboku-ga, or traditional Japanese ink painting, that's really only the vehicle through which the characters express themselves. Aoyama, the protagonist, is clearly not doing well from the moment we meet him setting up for an art exhibit – he's worryingly lightheaded as he ...
review

The Two Lions GN

One of Furuya's strengths as a storyteller is the ability to carefully and quietly capture real emotions of the sort that we typically hide inside ourselves; the insecurities that grow unchecked and cause people to misunderstand us. ― The Two Lions is Nagisa Furuya's third English language release – Renta brought over S & N and Kodansha released My Summer of You – and if there's one thing all three t...
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Chronicles of an Aristocrat Reborn in Another World GN 1

While the magic system is fine and seeing how said system gets abused is interesting, are those elements alone enough to carry the entire volume? ― I must say, after making it all the way to the end of this almost 200-page volume, I can't help but feel like it's a bit misleading to call this volume one. I'm not necessarily saying this to criticize, and I do think there are some interesting elements t...
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Hitomi-chan is Shy With Strangers GN 1

Done well, I do very much enjoy the soft boy/wild girl dynamic, but so few of them seem to hit the mark I feel like I'm gambling my time every time I pick one up. I lost that gamble this time. ― I'm starting to get the sense that there's a trend happening in manga, or at least in what gets licensed. The number of romantic comedies starring a short, soft-natured boy and a tall, often busty girlfriend ...
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Fungus and Iron GN 1

This story about a dyslexic soldier finds itself excited to play in the dystopian sci-fi genre space, but ends up merely splashing in the shallow ends of its potential story options. ― A staple of fiction, dystopia is a concept with a myriad of applications, but like all concepts, its effectiveness is strongly dependent on execution. Spelling out the specifics of oppression, the viewpoints those oppr...
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I Want to Hold Aono-kun So Badly I Could Die GN 1-4

I Want to Hold Aono-kun So Badly I Could Die accomplishes a rare feat; successfully combining horror and romance. ― Romance and horror aren't really kissing cousin genres, despite the fact that they can both trace their origins back to the Gothic novels of the eighteenth century. Successfully combining the two into a compelling narrative, therefore, isn't necessarily an easy feat. But if that's what ...
review

I Think Our Son Is Gay GN 2

The series could be read as a wish for all parents to be like Tomoko, who, while not without her flaws, is ultimately doing the best she can while being patient and respecting her son—and loving him no matter what. ― One of the strongest points in favor of Okura's I Think Our Son is Gay is how the focus isn't solely on Hiroki's potential sexuality. It's absolutely there, but unlike many LGBTQIA+ stor...
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Sex Ed 120% GN 2

Sex Ed 120% is an edutainment manga devoted to covering all of those pesky details that often get left out of sex ed curriculums, and if it isn't perfect, it certainly continues to do an excellent job in its second volume. ― Note: you can read our review of the first volume of the series here. If you're not cisgender, allosexual, or heterosexual, there's a pretty good chance that some things were lef...
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Daily Report About My Witch Senpai GN 1

Daily Report About My Witch Senpai isn't satisfied with being just a quiet romance. It also touches on the harsher realities of being different in a world that isn't designed for you. ― Being a witch is definitely not all its cracked up to be in Shizuka's world. In Maka Mochida's Daily Report About my Witch Senpai, magic is just another talent that some people have, like perfect pitch or an eidetic m...
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She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wise Man GN 1

This story checks a lot of the usual boxes, but is it enough to make you care about the characters? ― There is a lot going on in She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wise Man. We have a protagonist who wakes up in a virtual world after taking a nap. There is political unrest, players have seemingly disappeared, and it's heavily implied that if you die in the game then you die in real life. Thankfully o...
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The Masterful Cat Is Depressed Again Today GN 1

Depending on what kind of cat person you are, this manga could either be a huge leap in logic or an absolute dream come true. ― Depending on what kind of cat person you are, this manga could either be a huge leap in logic or an absolute dream come true. For one, The Masterful Cat Is Depressed Again Today takes place in a sort of heightened everyday reality where an apron-wearing cat the size of a sma...
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The Dragon Knight's Beloved GN 1

What happens when you take the "horse girl" trope but apply it to dragons? ― Are middle-grade horse books still a thing that girls are into? When I was growing up, I indulged in a veritable glut of books about girls my age or slightly older who had a special connection with these beautiful, spirited four-legged creatures that was almost supernatural. I, who only had occasional access to horses in rea...
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Alice in Kyoto Forest GN 1

We can tell very quickly that she's no longer in our world, not just because most of the people are gadding about in kimono and hand-drawn carts, but because the tails that some people have are clearly not a fashion accessory. ― If the name Mai Mochizuki sounds familiar, that's because this is her second English-language release: she's also the author of the Holmes of Kyoto light mysteries. But even ...
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Vampire Hunter D: Message from Mars GN

Currently up on KickStarter (and having far surpassed its goal with over US$170,000 pledged), check out the comic adaptation Rebecca Silverman calls a "successful adaptation" of Kikuchi's original work. ― You may have heard of this project. Stranger Comics initially announced it in 2016 with a planned Kickstarter goal, only for a variety of issues, including the pandemic, to force a wait. Now it's fi...
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Semelparous GN 1

It feels more like the book is interested in gratuitous girl-on-girl groping than in exploring or creating a relationship. ― If you are considering reading Semelparous strictly for the yuri content, there are a few things you should be aware of. The main one is that this is one of those yuri titles that goes in for some truly ridiculous breast physics and male gaze trappings – obviously not all lesbi...
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Kiruru Kill Me GN 1

it was only a matter of time before some enterprising storyteller took the phrase "God, I want her to kill me" to its ultimately literal conclusion. ― It's the modern mantra elicited upon seeing a pretty lady: "God, I want her to kill me." So it was only a matter of time before some enterprising storyteller took that attitude to its ultimately literal conclusion. Said storyteller in this case is Yasu...
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Happy Sugar Life GN 8-10

We all knew, I think, that there was never going to be a happy ending to this story. ― We all knew, I think, that there was never going to be a happy ending to this story. From its first volume, Happy Sugar Life has dealt with the sort of mental health crises that scream for interventions that never came, and in its later volumes delved into the idea that when the people with those issues grow up wit...
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With You and the Rain GN 1 & 2

Naturally one of the most entertaining parts is the fact that everyone is aware that the “dog” is anything but. Psst, it's a tanuki. ― I know he's not a dog. You know he's not a dog. The vet definitely knows he's not a dog, but good luck convincing his new owner of that, no matter who you are. What he is is a tanuki, a real Japanese animal that has the sort of folkloric side that coyotes have in some...
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The Girl I Want Is So Handsome! GN

The Girl I Want Is So Handsome! maintains a sense of light playfulness throughout, and it doesn't dip too hard into melodrama for most of the run. ― Like its title suggests, The Girl I Want is So Handsome! is a very basic and straightforward manga. When I was given a chance to review this series, all I wanted was a sweet, gay romance between a shy and bubbly high school student and her cool athletic ...
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Frieren: Beyond Journey's End GN 2

All in all, this volume of Frieren: Beyond Journey's End turns out to be just as good—if not better—than the first. ― In general, Frieren: Beyond Journey's End is a manga that utilizes both serialized and standalone storytelling. Sometimes, events may flow naturally from one chapter to the next. Other times, we get a chapter that is unrelated to any overarching narrative. And there are also one-shots...
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I'm Looking for Serious Love! GN

Even if the content isn't an issue for you, the book is firmly mediocre, something you'd pick up if you ran out of other things in the genre to read, because it's better than nothing – more or less. ― While I always glance at the content warnings for a volume of manga, they rarely make much of an impression, unless it's one of Viz's sarcastic ones. But the warning on the back of Tokyopop's release of...
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Dai Dark GN 1

From the creator of Dorohedoro comes a new series about a man, his supposedly magic bones, and the out-of-this-world characters who try to obtain them. ― There's really no one working in manga quite like Q Hayashida. Her first manga released in English, Dorohedoro, gained a cult following for its grimly chaotic, dystopian worlds filled with brutal, thoughtless murder, populated with lovable character...
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Came the Mirror & Other Tales GN

Even with limited character designs and plots that don't quite hit as hard as they need to in the end, it's hard to fault Rumiko Takahashi's shorter work. ― Even with limited character designs and plots that don't quite hit as hard as they need to in the end, it's hard to fault Rumiko Takahashi's shorter work. In part this is because she's not stretching her ideas to translucency in order to keep a s...
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Great Pretender GN 1

The story of the Great Pretender is one of a good person trying desperately to be a bad guy in a world where everyone is out for themselves. ― The story of the Great Pretender is one of a good person trying desperately to be a bad guy in a world where everyone is out for themselves. Makoto Edamura is a character who realized very early on that the world will not always give you a handout or treat you...
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The Savior's Book Café Story in Another World GN 1

Fellow adults who would rather read than go out and save the world from monsters with magic, our isekai story has arrived. ― Fellow adults who would rather read than go out and save the world from monsters with magic, our isekai story has arrived. While this may change with later plot developments, The Savior's Book Café Story in Another World is the tale of a woman in her thirties who, when selected...
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Karate Survivor In Another World GN 1

For about the first half of Karate Survivor, it's the 'Survivor' part of the title that's the focus more than the 'Karate' part you might be more expecting. It's a 'Man Versus Wild' situation if said Wild also had goblins in it. ― Alright, another new isekai, what's the deal with this one? Thank goodness for those customarily descriptive titles, and this isn't even one of those ridiculously long exam...
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Heaven's Door: Extra Works GN

Young robots search for their parents, a man in a plane crash navigates through a strange dream, and a drug dealer crosses the wrong Amazonian deity, among other tales in this collection of grittily psychedelic stories by Keiichi Koike. ― The back copy for Heaven's Door: Extra Works, the first full volume release of Keiichi Koike's work in English, calls the stories contained within “a drug in paper ...
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Devilish Darlings Portal Fantasy

I never thought I would use jovial to describe a series that has two half-demons obsessed with making babies front and center, but here we are. ― One of the greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses of Devilish Darlings lies in its simplicity. There are definitely elements within the story that can be expanded upon in more volumes with little hints here and there to a potentially bigger adventure. B...
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Fist of the North Star Volume 3

The cast, world, and intrigue are growing as the drama of the Hokuto Brothers begins to take center stage, a preamble for one of the best runs in shonen battle manga as far as I'm concerned. ― Fist of the North Star Volume 3 is both more and better. Let me explain. If you've been following along with my prior reviews of the manga, you'll know that I regard volume 1 to be excellent, but still clearly ...
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Seaside Stranger GN 1

It's just as much about how Shun comes to understand that he deserves to be happy and that Mio truly does love him for (rather than in spite of) who he is. ― If ever there was a textbook example of a character suffering from internalized homophobia, it would be Shun. Although he seems to have known for much of his life that he was gay, Shun pushed that knowledge down, allowing himself to be caught up...
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Skip and Loafer GN 1-2

At this point it seems as if Skip and Loafer is a pure comedy series. That's not entirely fair or true to say, although it is definitely a very funny two volumes. ― A quirky small-town country girl moves to Tokyo to start her exciting high school career. Is this Daytime Shooting Star? Or maybe Mucha Kucha Daisuki? Could it be Imadoki! Nowadays? No, this is Skip and Loafer, and while it certainly isn'...
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Booty Royale: Never Go Down Without a Fight!

I think it's safe to say that Booty Royale isn't trying to tell a dynamic story – it's just trying to have fun. It's more sex than story, more comedy than serious drama, and certainly more porn than plot. ― Let me tell you upfront: if you're here for butts, butts, butts, boobs, and even more butts, then Booty Royale: Never Go Down Without a Fight! (hereafter Booty Royale), originally known as Hagure ...
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Kaiju No. 8 GN 1

After months of people begging me to get into Kaiju No. 8 and me dragging my feet, I can definitely say: they were all right, I should have started reading ages ago. ― After months of people begging me to get into Kaiju No. 8 and me dragging my feet, I can definitely say that they were right – I should have started reading ages ago. Kaiju No. 8's opening volume provides a rock-solid setup. In many wa...
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Red Flowers GN

The peace and solitude of rural spaces is a persistent theme throughout the book, and there is something that feels a bit idealized about that, making it clear that the stories were written by someone who had lived more urban than rural for most of their life. ― The second of seven projected volumes collecting the works of famed GARO mangaka Yoshiharu Tsuge, Red Flowers contains stories from 1967-68....
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A Man and His Cat GN 4

A Man and His Cat is one of those series where you can judge how effective it is by how many times each volume puts you on the verge of tears. ― A Man and His Cat is one of those series where you can judge how effective it is by how many times each volume puts you on the verge of tears. They aren't always sad tears, although this book definitely has a few of those moments; rather, they're sometimes t...
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Call Girl in Another World GN 1

If you read Interspecies Reviewers and thought, “This is fine, but I'd really like to read it from the ladies' perspective,” Call Girl in Another World may be the book for you. ― If you read Interspecies Reviewers and thought, “This is fine, but I'd really like to read it from the ladies' perspective,” Call Girl in Another World may be the book for you. There are, on the surface, some definite simila...
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Whisper Me a Love Song GN 4

Whether or not creator Eku Takeshima is intending to make a statement about the paucity of information for non-heteronormative relationships or not, that's precisely what this section does. ― Whisper Me a Love Song did not, technically speaking, need to continue past volume three. That book nicely wrapped up Yori and Himari's awkward relationship with them getting together and being delighted about i...
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My Alcoholic Escape from Reality

It reads especially poignant in a year where vices are readily available and more tempting than ever, and offers a peculiar comfort in a world filled with tragedy, heartache, and uncertainty. ― Being a fan of Nagata Kabi is a complicated thing. You're witnessing a creative pour her heart out, while also desperately wanting her to get help. On the other hand, putting pen to paper is Nagata's chosen me...
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Doing His Best to Confess GN 1

Doing His Best to Confess while it does rely on characters of unusual cluelessness, also pairs it with an incredible earnestness that ends up making things cute rather than patently ridiculous. ― A lot of comedies, particularly of the romantic variety, rely on the preternatural density of their characters to make their storylines work. That's a tricky proposition, because sometimes it means that the ...
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The Strange Adventure of a Broke Mercenary GN 1

The Strange Adventure of a Broke Mercenary is a bit humdrum, but when it does show its hand near the end there's a huge amount of promise in what's to come. The Strange Adventure of a Broke Mercenary is a decidedly… okay title. While there are a few glimmers of promise here and there, much of it appears to be an exercise in tropes that skew a bit too familiar. That familiarity is further weighed do...
review

The Night Beyond the Tricorner Window GN 9

Of all of the volumes of Tomoko Yamashita's The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window, this is the first one that truly made me think of Mikado and Hiyakawa as a potential romantic pair. ― Of all of the volumes of Tomoko Yamashita's The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window, this is the first one that truly made me think of Mikado and Hiyakawa as a potential romantic pair. That's not because it's more ov...
review

You're My Cutie!! GN 1-2

Madoka is just your average shoujo heroine entranced by her favorite trope – the adorable, innocent, slightly younger boy. But unlike many a manga character, she's also largely aware that he only exists in the realm of fiction. ― Madoka is just your average shoujo heroine entranced by her favorite trope – the adorable, innocent, slightly younger boy. But unlike many a manga character, she's also larg...
review

Asadora! GN 4

As metaphors for the 60s go, it's a pretty good one, and Urasawa is a good enough creator to really make it work. Things are building to the point where choices are going to feel much more limited, and that, too, can be a metaphor for living in uncertain times. ― After a moderate slowdown in the previous volume, Asadora! is back on track as the monster appears off Enoshima Light, swamping a fishing v...
review

Tesla Note GN 1

Because the anime adaptation made some questionable artistic choices, it's worth mentioning that the manga is much more attractive on the art front. ― Oslo, Norway is probably not one of the places you expect to be the setting for a science-fiction spy caper manga, but that's precisely where most of the action of Tesla Note's first volume takes place. The reason for this is that Norway is where the f...
review

Muscles are Better Than Magic!

Muscles Are Better Than Magic! is a fantasy comedy manga that almost feels like it is from another era entirely – in a good way. ― Muscles are Better Than Magic is a fantasy comedy manga that almost feels like it is from another era entirely – in a good way. It is a short, breezy read that entertains without overstaying its welcome. It is not of such high quality that I can give it a universal recomm...
review

Frieren: Beyond Journey's End GN 1

Frieren will long outlive her companions whether she fully comprehends that emotionally or not. To say that that makes this volume very bittersweet might be to understate—I didn't cry, but I definitely felt tears threaten a few times. ― What happens when the heroes' journey ends? That's the question this series seeks to answer as it follows Frieren, an elf mage who was once part of a quest to defeat ...
review

Kageki Shojo!! GN 2

If you've ever been involved in the world of theater, or really any performance art, Kageki Shojo!! vol. 2 will likely dredge up some painful memories. ― If you've ever been involved in the world of theater, or really any performance art, Kageki Shojo vol. 2 will likely dredge up some painful memories. Acting is a zero-sum game, and any time someone is rewarded with a role it means there are others w...
review

Higehiro GN 1

Is there actually some insightful character stuff present that looks like it can take full advantage of this arrangement? The answer is surprisingly yes for a good chunk of it with a resounding “ehhh'' for the other chunk. ― I must admit that on its face I'm not a very big fan of this type of premise. Usually, setups like this can feel very predictable and bland at best while tone-deaf and problemati...
review

The Strongest Sage With the Weakest Crest GN 3-5

The more interesting aspects of the story and world that were introduced in the sophomore volume take a backseat to much more mundane exploits, most of which rely on the fact that Matty is super powerful and awesome. ― After a brief uptick in story interest in volume two, volumes three through five of the manga adaptation of Shinkoshoto's light novels The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest take an...
review

When Will Ayumu Make His Move? GN 1

Fresh off the heels of Teasing Master Takagi-san comes another manga that firmly fits into this newly-established “teasing” genre that has really gained a fan base in the past year. ― Fresh off the heels of Teasing Master Takagi-san comes another manga that firmly fits into this newly-established “teasing” genre that has really gained a fan base in the past year. I was admittedly not a huge fan of th...
review

Yakuza Lover GN 2

Instead of just weeping prettily, Nozomi Mino shows she's willing to draw Yuri as messy, even ugly in her anger. ― I suppose it was inevitable that sooner or later, Yakuza Lover would have an arc that put more emphasis on the “yakuza” part of the title than the “lover,” shifting the focus from sex to mob politics at least for a brief time. For many series, this would be a neutral, even positive shift...
review

Witch Hat Atelier GN 6-8

This returns us to one of the themes of the series – that magic is something that should never be viewed as mundane. ― It isn't hard to realize that, having been deprived of her attempt at the Second Trial, Agott is going to be even more upset than usual. Her drive to succeed, which is almost pathological at this point, means that she's very likely to be resentful of not only the Brimmed Caps who int...
review

Her Royal Highness Seems to Be Angry GN 1 & 2

Although Her Royal Highness Seems to Be Angry does borrow from a lot of other stories, or at least to share distinct similarities with them, it manages to bring everything together in a way that's good enough to stand on its own. ― We all know better than to judge a book by its cover (in theory, at any rate), but what about by its title? If you've been reading manga and light novels for a while, you'...
review

Love After World Domination

An super sentai hero and his archenemy from an evil organization are the focal point in Love After World Domination, a comedy that is both genuinely funny and sweetly romantic. ― What an absolute delight this manga is. I have to admit, I picked this one from the review pile on a whim. I only had the title to go on, and in the lull between seasonal reviews I thought I'd give it a whirl. If I had known...
review

The Decagon House Murders GN 2

The countdown has very much begun for the students on Tsunojima and they aren't going to all make it out alive. ― And then there were six…and soon thereafter five. The countdown has very much begun for the students on Tsunojima, and if you didn't know before now that author Yukito Ayatsuji took a lot of his inspiration for the original novel from Agatha Christie's seminal 1939 novel And Then There We...
review

We're on Our Own from Here GN

We're on Our Own from Here is less about two people coming together than it is about one half of a couple helping the other to realize that he's not somehow “weird” for his sexual orientation. ― It's perhaps odd to call a story with as much internalized homophobia on the part of one of the characters as this one has “adorable,” but here we are. We're on Our Own from Here is less about two people comi...
review

Springtime by the Window GN 1

For the most part, Springtime by the Window is merely okay. It largely fails to distinguish itself through its bland characters, cribbed plots, and mediocre art. ― Ah, high school, the fictionally great time of life when a young person's thoughts purportedly turn to love. Or they try to, but things like social status, second hand embarrassment, and class bunnies get in the way, to say nothing of fear...
review

Beauty and the Beast of Paradise Lost GN 1

There's more than enough meat in the title tale type to get a good dark fantasy, so by adding in elements of other fairy tales, Yuki is not only making this her own work, she's also hiding little treasures like strawberries in the snow. ― Once upon a time, a girl named Belle went into the forest to pick some red roses. Of course, you know who Belle is – the name, meaning “beauty” in French, became sy...
review

Multi-Mind Mayhem: Isekai Tensei Soudouki GN 1

Multi-Mind Mayhem: Isekai Tensei Soudouki is one of those stories that has a stronger concept than execution. ― Multi-Mind Mayhem: Isekai Tensei Soudouki is one of those stories that has a stronger concept than execution. Its premise is one that plays around with the conventions of isekai, taking the idea of a soul from our world being reborn in a fantasy realm and running with it. Bard is an unsuspe...
review

The Girl, the Shovel, and the Evil Eye GN 1

The Girl, the Shovel, and the Evil Eye is a mix of the stale and the less-so that continues to tread a path that's so well-worn that there's no hope of grass ever growing on it. ― The Girl, the Shovel, and the Evil Eye, based on the light novels of the same name by Couchouhassha, is an isekai tale that's a mix of the stale and the less-so, which can lead to feelings of mild disappointment. Tsuguru, o...
review

My Love Mix-Up! GN 1

This book, despite only really focusing on four characters, has enough love geometry to put Marmalade Boy to shame. ― Aoki has a crush on Hashimoto, who sits next to him in class. One day his friend Aida refuses to lend him an eraser, so Hashimoto does...and when he takes off the paper sleeve, he finds that it says "IDA” with a heart! Realizing that this must mean that Hashimoto likes Ida, who sits i...
review

SPY×FAMILY GN 6

There's less Anya in this volume, which is definitely too bad, but Nightfall very nearly makes up for it. ― This sixth volume of Tatsuya Endo's spy spoof does things a little differently. Mostly that means that there's less Anya in this volume, which is definitely too bad, but Nightfall very nearly makes up for it. When we last saw her in volume five, she was bound and determined to prove that SHE wa...

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