What Manga are you reading?

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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby SierraLea » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:49 pm

Hi, I'm back after an absence of several years, but I got bored with just fanfiction and decided to come back here. Anyway, I started reading a series called A Bride's Story by Kaoru Mori. It is an excellent story based in nineteenth century Asia and Europe, if anyone else would like to try it.
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby Mouse2010 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:14 pm

SierraLea wrote:Hi, I'm back after an absence of several years, but I got bored with just fanfiction and decided to come back here. Anyway, I started reading a series called A Bride's Story by Kaoru Mori. It is an excellent story based in nineteenth century Asia and Europe, if anyone else would like to try it.
Welcome back! We could use more posters!

I've been reading that one, too! Recently read volume 8, I think. The artwork is amazing.
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby SierraLea » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:18 pm

There's an eighth volume? I can't find it at my library! Do you know if there's somewhere online I could read it?
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby Mouse2010 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:34 am

SierraLea wrote:There's an eighth volume? I can't find it at my library! Do you know if there's somewhere online I could read it?
Volume 8 came out in September. (Looks like volume 9 is not due until next September, if you're curious.) But unfortunately I don't know anywhere to access it online. It seems to be only published in hardcover. Does your library offer interlibrary loan? You might be able to get it that way.
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby SierraLea » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:51 pm

I'm rereading Bleach now. I found out from fanfiction that there's an arc involving the Quincy after the Aizen arc and decided to go back to the start to get the whole story.
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby Kaori » Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:07 pm

Yume no Moribito (complete at 4 vols.): finally got through reading this.

I'm glad I finished it, I'm just going to be honest right away and say I feel hesitant to recommend this manga mainly because of the age difference between the two leads.

The plot is, there's a girl who is put to sleep permanently as a sacrifice to seal away a bunch of harmful spirits (butterflies), but before she is put to sleep she meets a young man who is in his teens at the time, they form a connection, and then after she is sacrificed (put to sleep) he spends every day for the next eight years binding the harmful spirits inside her so that someday he can wake her up again. He wakes her up again in the very first chapter IIRC, so then the rest of the story is about her growing up mentally to match her physical age, working through the psychological issues she has due to her experience of abandonment as a child, and learning to purify the butterfly spirits inside her, as well as the characters dealing with some external conflict in the form of some enemies who want to put her back to sleep.

So the girl is 16 or 18, I can't recall which but I think 16, and when she first wakes up her mind is still that of a young girl. The story is definitely at its creepiest at that time while she hasn't yet mentally matured to her physical age, but even when she has reached the maturity level of her real age, it is still the story of a relationship between a girl who is 16 or 18 and a man who is about 10 years older. So I just want to say that that kind of thing IRL is never appropriate and I don't condone that aspect of the story.

However, other than the age difference I did like this manga and don't regret reading it to the end; in particular, in the last volume I thought it had some really valuable and beautiful things to say about how it is necessary in relationships for there to be mutual support and to not just selfishly take from the other person without giving anything back. The female lead had a very strong spiritual power that was distinct from the male lead and what he was able to do, and more importantly towards the end there was a lot of emphasis on the way the two leads mutually helped and supported each other: the male lead by literally rescuing Yume from being locked away by herself in darkness (when she was put to sleep), and Yume by loving and accepting a part of the male lead (his ability to read people's emotions by touching them) which caused him to be rejected by other people SPOILER: Highlight text to read: she also had a role in helping him overcome the grief of his father's death. A similar dynamic of mutual support being the healthy foundation of a relationship also comes up in the relationship between two minor characters.

Other than that, the reader can easily guess that Sensei's (the male lead) spending every day for eight years of his life binding butterflies at a rate of one or two per day in order to wake Yume up again was because he cares for her deeply, so to maintain at least a semblance of tension in the relationship, there's an aspect of the plot that is a definitely there as a plot device, which is Sensei's having this thing where he tends to help people only until they are strong enough to live by themselves and then kicks them out, and he also says things along those lines to the female lead. There was, however, a decent explanation for it at the end which made sense in context of the world and the background the author had created: SPOILER: Highlight text to read: After purifying all of the butterflies, it was necessary for Yume to go off by herself and scatter the purified butterflies through the world so that their energy could dissipate. So in the end I felt that although it was obviously a plot device which was there to keep the story from completely dissolving into sentimental mush, I can at least accept that it does make sense and is reasonable within the context of the story.
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby the_wolfs_howl » Sat May 06, 2017 4:52 am

The Heroic Legend of Arslan chapters 36-46

Got caught up on this again. Ahhhh, I love this manga. It's so full of detail and politicking and court intrigue and intense war strategies and brutal battles that don't sugar-coat anything...and yet it still has that hilarious Arakawa flair that I can't get enough of :n_n:

HaruXKiyo chapter 14

Well, that was...surprisingly easy when it came down to it. I'm glad they worked out their differences in the end, though.
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby MangaRocks! » Wed May 31, 2017 8:23 pm

Read a bunch more new-to-me series these past few months~! :thumb:




Ayakashi Hisen chapters 1-31 (so far):

:eyebrow: ...Er, well, this is one of those series that-- with its premise (including the whole SPOILER: Highlight text to read: past lives thing)-- *could* have been great, but... *isn't.* :shady: It starts out well enough (one of the baddies was actually quite cleverly hidden {only catching it by looking back at said character's actions in hindsight}, some of the ghosts in the beginning are truly scary {in a good way}, and yes, the main male lead is really adorable); however, unfortunately, the pacing is *very* fast, the story uses several tropes that I absolutely *despise* (and not well, either... ugh :shady: ), and the main female lead is... not the least bit intelligent/logical. At all. :shady: If all those issues had not been present, this would have been good; as it is, though, I unfortunately would *not* recommend it. :shady:




Bread & Butter chapters 1-5 via the usual methods and 6-20 via raws + text translations (so far):

Well, the beginning of this series *is* a tad cliché with the MC deciding to get married because she has no real skills other than teaching and she was basically forced to leave from that job-- to the logical mind there are certainly several other things she could do instead :P -- but with the omiai service she tried having failed her, the guy she sets her sights on (and rather flippantly asks to marry, though to her surprise he actually agrees {due to some past relationship baggage of his own}) has a pretty great personality :grin: , as does the hilarious older-lady regular customer of his bread shop :grin: , and all the characters are adults (and have had previous relationships-- yes, even including the MC), so despite having to suspend my disbelief a little in the very beginning, so far it has actually ended up being quite cute and good overall. :) (Besides, after the first chapter, the MC's family is informed and they {rightly!} go varying shades of concerned/ballistic about the whole situation :grin: , and do force the MC to start really seriously thinking things through, so that definitely helps. :thumb: Also, it's not like the MC's get married right away or anything {indeed, her parents haven't even agreed to the *engagement* yet, no less an actual wedding}; so they do essentially date first. :) And the guy's finances are cleverly explained, too.) Enjoying this so far~ :thumb:




Donten ni Warau, a.k.a. Laughing Under The Clouds, chapters 1-29 (complete), plus what has currently been translated of its epilogue-plus-extra-backstory series Donten ni Warau Gaiden chapters 1-13 (so far) *and* its mid-prequel series Rengoku ni Warau chapters 1-19 (so far):
Oh man, this series. :hug: I really like the art (the character designs in particular); the three brothers' relationship is amusing and sweet (and-- once things hit the fan later on-- extremely touching because of just how deep it is :sniffle: <3 :hug: ); and plot-wise I was already interested even with just their 'surface' job, no less the hidden one. I also like how the past 'cycles' are integrated into the storyline right away-- indeed, the second and third chapters cleverly skip back about 600 years to their ancestors {or, well, to be more precise, one character who's an ancestor and two others whose fates are forever bound} who were also adorable and awesome :) ), which also explains what they're *really* going to be up against in the 'present' (though some of those criminals are already plenty dangerous enough in and of themselves, LOL). And about midway through, the series delivers a punch to the gut that works wonders even though I'd guessed it coming... and then holy crap, that twist later on is great! :wow!: ...And then, of course, there's another gut-punch... :pikka: ...but the end makes everything worth it (they really do shine like the sun~~~!). <3 :jump: :hug: Also, IMO the Gaiden should actually just be counted (and read) as a part of the main series, because its epilogues and extra backstories really help to both give even more beautiful closure and also flesh out a few more things character-wise. As for the the mid-prequel Rengoku ni Warau (using that term because the several-chapter right-within-the-original-series prequel was set 600 years prior {two Orochi cycles back}, whereas RnW is set during the next Orochi cycle, which is 300 years prior), well... that one is actually a tad jarring at first, because the Kumous who were alive at that time were extremely unlikable until about chapter 9 or so :sweat: (though there is a reason-- hence a point at which they *do* start being likable-- but still... :sweat: ). Luckily, however, the main MC pretty much makes up for that :) , and it's still worth the read. :thumb: So all 3 are recommended!




Gakuen Alice, a.k.a. Alice Academy, chapters 1-180 (complete):

This was an old rec that I finally got around to just now. It wasn't quite what I was expecting-- for one, it took a little while to get used to the tone (some of it was a bit too slapstick-comedy {in a rather odd way}, yet some is also surprisingly dark {turns out that the 'school' is essentially a strict mini-dictatorship of a resource-/power-exploiting facility-- ostensibly for the government but later revealed really for one character's personal benefit, featuring near-complete seclusion from the outside world [including non-powered loved ones], actual [and quite severe] physical and psychological abuse by the aforementioned one character and his [equally-abused] proxies, and even forcing some of the kids via hostage blackmail to be literal SPOILER: Highlight text to read: child soldiers and even outright murderers-- with the added bonus of making them do so despite SPOILER: Highlight text to read: some of their own powers literally killing them bit by bit as they use them (!) :wow!: [luckily there is a resistance movement, but due to the evil character's actually-decently-explained amount of real-world power and influence, they have to be very careful, so it takes a while for them to reveal themselves and their plans]}... and some of it requires a bit higher suspension of disbelief than usual, too :sweat: ). As for content warnings: The secondary MC is very difficult to like at times (until quite a ways through), even once his behavior is understandable/explained-- for one thing, he is a bit of a harasser :sweat: , though he *is* only 10 years old in the beginning, and, y'know, kids bullying those they like and all that-- still, it's there; there are a few pheromone-users who-- while straight-- either don't mind, can't control, or have a 'do-what-they-must' attitude when it comes to which gender(s) their powers affect, even if it's the same as their own (and that does involve a male/male kiss in one instance, though entirely unwanted by both parties :sweat: ); there is one semi-minor male character who is obviously gay, one semi-minor female character who is almost certainly lesbian, and another female character who is either les or bi (though that last one is also almost certainly asexual, if the epilogue omake are any indication), though not much happens 'onscreen' (some very minor innuendo and a few face-kisses with the guy, and one quick kiss on the mouth with the second girl). Also, the MC's parents were a student-teacher couple, and neither had left the school yet when that relationship occurs. Now, while that usually doesn't bother me except in certain circumstances (this is just fiction, after all), this particular instance did feel a bit weirder. It's quite a long flashback that shows their history, so there's a lot of detail put into it, which normally would make it work better (narratively speaking)... however, in this case, while it's certainly understandable from the student's perspective, there's not quite enough put into the teacher's. That is, you know that he knows how she feels, and, as he should, he does try valiantly to both ignore it and direct it somewhere else; yet there's not enough development of/insight into his own feelings to make it really feel inevitable when he finally breaks down and confesses in return (though they are a very sweet couple once he does, SPOILER: Highlight text to read: as unfortunately brief as that lasts). Another couple of reasons why it feels a bit weirder than usual is that they *first* meet far earlier than the norm (i.e., she's not a teen yet then :sweat: , though clearly there was nothing inappropriate even thought of at that time-- she is around 17 when the relationship actually occurs); and it's kinda supposed to be in contrast with the aforementioned evil character's actually-very-creepy and actually-very-unhealthy interest in her :pikka: , which kinda works (because we already know that that snake is all sorts of horrible, whereas the teacher is 100% protective and loving {and does try to do the right thing-- well, mostly :P }), but also kinda doesn't (...for the obvious reason, LOL :P ). I think it would've worked a little better if SPOILER: Highlight text to read: the dad had lived, so we could've gotten more of his perspective of it, but then about half the plot would've been drastically different, LOL, so oh well...? :sweat: ...Anyway, as for the all-important ending: While the series ends on a good note and most things are given decent enough closure, it does stop just before SPOILER: Highlight text to read: they enter the timestream to look for the Imai siblings, so unless you try to dig up the fanbooks' few little epilogue illustrations + omakes + translations (which are good, but not as easy to find as you might expect), you won't know how that ends up. TL;DR: There are definitely better super-power series (and series in general, of course), but I ended up being surprisingly emotionally invested by the end, so I guess it was a decent one-time read. :)




Iris Zero chapters 1-39 (so far):

...And speaking of better super-power series: HOLY CRAP THIS IS GREAT! :thumb: For one, despite the rather-more-cutesy-than-usual art style, this series doesn't hesitate to tackle tough topics, such as severe (including physical) bullying, abuse, guilt, self-harm, and even attempted murder and suicide-- yet, somehow, it never seems too dark, and still remains very positive in the end :thumb: ; it *very* nicely sidesteps some common cliché's (the MC does *not* discover any hidden/locked power later on-- he really is an 'Iris Zero'-- and that is *not* a status anyone in that world wants to have; neither of the two characters who are 'childhood friends' are in love with each other {which, despite how much I actually *like* that trope playing out to a good conclusion, is a bit cliché [though oddly enough it's a cliché despite it really happening very often... okay I don't even know what I'm saying anymore there, LOL-- just that I like how it's written in this case :thumb: ]}; it *looks* like the MC is going to have a typical harem set up around him at first, but then it's very quickly shown that {other than the one main girl, of course, who *is* interested in him} the others have likely/potential partners of their own, so there's no harem at all; the girl who seems SPOILER: Highlight text to read: totally oblivious to her best friend's feelings towards the MC {even when the others try to explain, LOL :grin: } actually knew all along; the MC also knows SPOILER: Highlight text to read: the main girl's feelings all along, and the talk they have about it is very different {in a very good way!} than usual; etc. etc. etc.); it basically features an ensemble cast (while there is the one 'main' MC that the series is titled after, it really ends up being more like 6 MC's, and I quite like how that's written, too); and, to top it all off, there are some mystery/detective elements, which are also not utilized in a traditional way, and which thus end up being really interesting in and of themselves. (Oh, and the omake are hilarious. :lol: ) So, yeah, I am absolutely loving this series right now, and can't wait for more! :jump:




Ristorante Paradiso vol. 1 (complete) + its expansion Gente vol.'s 1-3 (complete):

Watched the anime first... and, well, this was something, LOL. :grin: ...In all seriousness, I already knew both the premise and the whole thing with the mother before I went into it, so that helped with the suspension of disbelief a little. And while the main romance is quite speedy in the beginning (even more so in contrast to the low-key pace of the rest of it), and there’s not a lot for it to be based on (at least at first) :sweat: , it’s rather sweet all the same (...y'know, despite her thinking he was still married and all beforehand :eyeroll: , and then coming on to him like crazy the instant she discovered he actually wasn’t, poor guy :sweat: {though she did apologize and calm down afterwards, and thus it mellowed out considerably and became much more understated, which IMHO works a lot better with the tone overall}). Also, some of the backstories are actually surprisingly messed-up, considering the generally mellow attitude of the series overall (see the owner + Gigi’s combined backstory and Claudio’s past trauma, for instance... :pikka: ), and the sheer number of bad relationships (and the 'resolution' to each of them) is a tad disconcerting. :sweat: After reading the manga (Ristorante Paradiso's 1 volume + Gente's 3 volumes), I can say that while the anime actually improved upon most (though not all) of the source material that it covered (to my great surprise), there is still a lot that it either skimmed through or even skipped entirely (such as all the development for Vito and his wife, Teo and Vanna, Marzio, and Gigi), so I guess the anime and both manga should be watched and read in tandem if you decide to try it. In all, I definitely wouldn't say it's a great series, but I guess I didn't mind the watch/read (once, anyway).




Tanaka-kun Is Always Listless chapters 1-62 (so far):

This is another one where I watched the anime first, and I have to say that (to my pleasant surprise) the anime was an *excellent* adaptation of what it covered. Best of all, the extra stuff that *wasn't* covered is just as hilarious and heartwarming :grin: , which means I can continue to read this lovely 4-koma whenever I want to read something feel-good~! :thumb:




And Tegamibachi: Letter Bee volumes 1-20 (complete):

I'd put this on my plan-to-read list a long time ago due to its synopsis + hearing good things, and I just finally got around to reading it (after it was completed, LOL)... and I'm glad I did! :) I loved the art, the setting, the characters, and all the stuff about 'heart.' :hug: (I even liked the bad creatures' design-- which is really saying something, considering that I loathe all bugs in real life, LOL!) And the whole thing with the letters (which ties into 'heart') is really touching. <3 :sniffle: :hug: Basically, in terms of plot and tone, I guess it's kinda like a cross between The City Of Ember, Kingdom Hearts, and the old wild west post office :grin: , with a little Natsume's Book Of Friends-type slightly-melancholy-healing mixed in at times due to the letters... in other words, great! :thumb: ...Now, as for content, there is unfortunately rather more (female) nudity than at all necessary :sweat: (*mostly* barbie-doll, but nipples can occasionally be seen), and much of it is clearly of the unneeded-fanservice variety, so that unfortunately puts a bit of a dent into my rating of it :shady: ; however, if you can handle that, the story itself is certainly very good (and very touching :sniffle: <3 ).
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby SierraLea » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:48 am

I just finished the first volume of Spy Goddess. Gotta say, I was not impressed.
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby Kaori » Sat Jun 10, 2017 11:45 am

MangaRocks! wrote:Ayakashi Hisen chapters 1-31 (so far):

:eyebrow: ...Er, well, this is one of those series that-- with its premise (including the whole SPOILER: Highlight text to read: past lives thing)-- *could* have been great, but... *isn't.* :shady: It starts out well enough (one of the baddies was actually quite cleverly hidden {only catching it by looking back at said character's actions in hindsight}, some of the ghosts in the beginning are truly scary {in a good way}, and yes, the main male lead is really adorable); however, unfortunately, the pacing is *very* fast, the story uses several tropes that I absolutely *despise* (and not well, either... ugh :shady: ), and the main female lead is... not the least bit intelligent/logical. At all. :shady: If all those issues had not been present, this would have been good; as it is, though, I unfortunately would *not* recommend it. :shady:


Sorry about that. Looking back at my own notes from when I read it, I had noted that it was not particularly literary or extremely well-written; probably I just had a vague memory of having enjoyed some aspect of it (e.g. the fact that it is a shojo manga with a male lead who is actually nice), so I ended up using the word "good" without stopping to recall whether the plot was well-written or not.
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby MangaRocks! » Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:38 pm

^ @Kaori: Oh gosh, no worries, LOL! :)
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby Kaori » Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:20 am

Finished reading volumes 2-3 of Aozora Yell, manga about a girl who is learning to play trumpet in the brass band and her relationship with a boy in the baseball team, in Japanese. (I think I mentioned in an earlier post when I reread v. 1 in Japanese?) This took me through the last of the chapters I had read in English and into some new territory.

The two leads have a relationship of mutual encouragement (in Japanese senaka-oshi, giving someone a push on the back, i.e. encouragement that pushes someone to do something) which is very Japanese and which I really enjoy. It reminds me strongly of some non-romantic relationships of mutual encouragement that I have had (or have) with actual Japanese people in real life, so that sort of feeling has some really positive associations for me.

Volume 2 ends with ends with Tsubasa (female lead) finally being able to play in rehearsals but then SPOILER: Highlight text to read: messing up in the final rehearsal before the set performance (the first one of the year) and becoming so nervous that she can’t play at all in the actual performance (even though the teacher, who is incredibly strict, didn’t tell her not to and no one else said anything either).

Volume 3 This volume had Daisuke-kun (male lead) filling in for an injured upperclassman in the match two rounds before Koushien. SPOILER: Highlight text to read: However, they lose due to a mistake that he makes in the ninth inning, and Tsubasa, trying to encourage him, starts just playing her trumpet on her own, causing annoyance to everyone and causing her to be harshly scolded by the teacher.

So the end of volume 3 is a bit of a downer (actually, so is volume 2).

Well, of course I have only read 3 volumes of this 19-volume series, so I don’t know how the whole plot is overall, but I am kind of glad that the female lead doesn’t become super-skilled right away nor does the baseball team go to Koushien in their freshman year, nor does the manga pretend that a first-year can rival the third-years in skill. So I respect that fact that this manga takes into account the reality that there is a skill difference that comes with age and experience.

Also, it is kind of nice in a feel-good sort of way that each volume ends with some sort of encouraging phrase. For example, volume 3 had a rather sad ending, with the beautiful stars in the night sky dissolving into black because they were blurred by the characters’ tears, but even after that the very final thing we were left with was “Surely tomorrow the weather will be clear.”

Summary: It is a nice, feel-good manga about the two leads mutually encouraging each other in their respective club activities as the female lead learns to play trumpet as an absolute beginner and the male lead plays baseball (which he was already skilled in). As of volume 3 the female lead is just starting to realize that she has feelings for the male lead, so the manga takes its time and allows the characters to develop a solid friendship first of all.

I do not own any more volumes of this right now, so although I could go online and rent more volumes, probably next up is more of Imuri, since I do have another three volumes or so lying around that I haven't read yet.
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby Kaori » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:18 pm

I miss the days when forums were a more active means of communication.

Just finished reading Imuri v. 7.

This is one of those SPOILER: Highlight text to read: the character systematically has everything taken away from him kind of stories. How deep and far back certain characters' scheming goes continues to be impressive in its way. This volume again had quite a few upheavals in it (though not on the political or national scale at this point, but in individuals' lives), and also the atrocities that we learn about in this volume were particularly soul-shattering and horrifying. However, because it has started to seem like there is at least one soul-shattering, utterly horrifying atrocity in every volume, and often multiple ones, as a reader I am starting to get compassion burn-out and feel a bit callous to it (events are at the times over-the-top melodramatic, so that also has something to do with it, i.e. when things are too overdone then they cease to have the desired effect).

Also we get introduced to a lot more of the native customs and lifestyle of the simple and rustic Imuri (the people group for whom the manga is named). In the Japanese they have a very thick fictional country bumpkin accent which is rather hard for me to understand.

And on the note of those newly-introduced villagers, here's a prediction:

SPOILER: Highlight text to read: So, the main character, Dulk, is a teenager (16?) and in this volume he runs into a younger girl (12?) who, when he asks her name, gets angry and says not to ask her name since they are not romantic partners (apparently the Imuri only tell their names to people with whom they are very close). Based on the way they interact, for example her indignation in saying "We're not lovers, so don't ask my name!", the blush on her face and the smirk on Dulk's when he subsequently overhears her name being called, I'm betting my virtual money that they are going to become romantic partners later in the series when she is a bit older, because I have seen this pattern of a young man meeting a woman who is younger and not completely grown up yet, having a relationship of protecting or rescuing her, and then later end up in a romantic relationship with her, in multiple manga in the past, and the interactions in v. 7 and the ones I saw flipping through the next volume a bit have that trope written all over them. If not, then it's probably going to be "this person falls in love with the hero but then gets killed" trope. This manga doesn't seem to be on the road to a warm and fuzzy happy ending, so I suppose the latter is also pretty likely.

On an unrelated note, starting with volume 8 the Japanese editions have some color pages in the middle of them (at least, v. 8-9 do; that's all I have right now). The result is not particularly spectacular, though, so if these ever come out in English sans the color, no one would be missing very much.

Preview of my future manga reading:

I currently own only up to v. 9 of Imuri, though I kind of suspect once I read to the end of that I will probably want to get my hands on more right away.

Other than that, I have all of the Space Pirate Captain Harlock manga in Japanese. If I finish reading those, then that will get me through almost all of the manga that I own but haven't read yet.
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby MangaRocks! » Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:05 am

Kaori wrote:I miss the days when forums were a more active means of communication.

Me too. :(



Read some more new-to-me series over the past number of months:



Cat Street chapters 1-36 (complete):

This was great! The theme of giving troubled/outcast/otherwise-different kids a place of their own to belong to (and hopefully heal + integrate into society in a positive way for all involved) is really good; almost all of the characters that you at first might expect to be stereotypes actually aren't really; and, best of all, in terms of the romance, the one that you think is going to be the token unrequited onlooker-- who you're most wishing but least expecting to ever get with the MC-- actually *wins* (for once)!! :wow!: :wow!: :jump: So yeah, I quite enjoyed this short series. :thumb:




Chihayafuru chapters 1-49 (so far):

See my review of the anime for my comments on both the source here as well as its adaptation. :)




Darren Shan, a.k.a. Cirque du Freak, volumes 1-12 (complete):

This was another *really* old rec that I finally just got around to now. And... well, it was... uh, interesting......? :sweat: :?: (Before I go further, please note that while I am extremely cautious about judging a story based solely upon an adaptation of it {due to the rather sad ratio of actual proper faithful adaptations I have experienced compared to the number that are not even close to being good representations of their source :shady: }-- I hadn't read the original Saga Of Darren Shan source novels, and I certainly won't now :P -- from what I've heard, this supposedly is a fairly faithful adaptation, minus a few cuts due to the limitations of chapter and volume length that the mangaka had to work under; so I think I can be at least mostly confident in my opinions of the story itself. And now that the disclaimer is out of the way...) This was a really odd mix of having a seemingly-juvenile intended audience yet displaying unflinching cruelty, a (very) few and (very) rare little nuggets of wisdom yet much 'cultural' and character stupidity :shady: , a couple of interesting concepts yet heavily flawed execution, and so on. As for the different races: It seemed like the author was going for vampire species that blend the traits we think of as 'normal' with "Our Vampires Are Different," but the 'different' bits are totally random and don't seem to have any real rhyme or reason (no less any real explanation) for being that way. And the origins of all the rest of the different races/'freaks'/whatever (including people like Evra) are also poorly explained (if at all), as is the magic (not explained whatsoever), and even what 'higher power' exactly sets the rules on foreseers and why SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Mr. Tiny is 'the only one allowed to meddle.' And as for the rest of the story: The "...But I Didn't Know 'X' Was Just About To Happen...' narrating device-- which is almost never used correctly, and this was far from an exception to that rule, sadly enough-- would have been annoying even if it had only been used once, but it was used *multiple* times, only compounding the problem; the body count of actual named characters (not just Red Shirts) is depressingly high (and also just plain *depressing,* due to their unwarranted cruelty); the motivation for the (obviously very, VERY broken, but not even in an understandable way) sort-of-main-antagonist is literally "You called me evil, so I'll do these 100% PURE EVIL things to prove... that I'm not actually evil!!!" (......Riiiiight... :sweat: ); said antagonist's plans are both needlessly and downright absurdly overcomplicated; the plotting-- which, minus only one of the many 'reveals,' is *very* predictable-- bounces all over the place; oh, and I pretty much hate the ending! (Seriously, what the heck??? I mean, I guess the little SPOILER: Highlight text to read: meta 'twist' was 'cute' and all, but holy inconsistency, Batman... when your entire story is building up to the theme of SPOILER: Highlight text to read: "creating the future with your own hands," completely negating everyone else's choices without their consent-- and not even for any supposedly good reason, but merely to save the lives of yourself and your (still-almost-certainly-psychopathic, no less-- that personality/those tendencies won't just magically disappear just because the situation didn't precisely trigger it this time, and for goodness' sake, Crepsley even *still* pegged him as evil!) 'best friend'-- leaving everything else (all the pain, death, and the rest of it) to happen exactly the same, just forcing two other poor unfortunate souls into those same 'roles' instead (...welp, too bad for them, I guess??)-- is not only completely and utterly unheroic (and leaves a very bitter aftertaste), but also completely throws that theme you were building up to right out the window (and into a flaming pit of stakes below :P )! (Oh, and it also created a massive paradox for good measure, but of course there's no way *that* was ever gonna be addressed, given the 'quality' of the plot writing here... :P ) Way to make your own story crash and burn! ...Actually, I don't really know why I even bothered to finish the thing, to be honest. :hits_self So, yeah, this wasn't good. :shake: My apologies to whoever recommended this to me back in the day, but while I have no hard feelings about it, I really would *NOT* recommend this to anyone else, LOL... :sweat:




Dreamin' Sun, a.k.a. Yumemiru Taiyou, volume 1 (so far):

This is a previous series by Ichigo Takano, the mangaka of the *fantastic* Orange (and currently-on-hiatus-but-also-great-so-far ReCollection), so I knew it had to at least be *good.* And oh man, it already is-- it's quite funny. :grin: The female MC has a bit of a sharp tongue :thumb: ; there's quite a cascade of one-sided love, but somehow it actually doesn't feel forced; and I'm already interested in seeing what this apparent family history the 'landlord' has. So, yeah, looking forward to reading the rest of this. :thumb:




From Maid To Mother, a.k.a. Maid kara Haha ni Narimashita, chapters 1-15 (so far):
OH MY GOODNESS, THIS IS SUCH A WONDERFUL HIDDEN GEM!! <3 <3 <3 :hug: :jump: The female MC is smart, emotionally strong, very capable (in a realistic way), utilizes the burden/gift of the memories of her past life (which has essentially doubled her life experience) to logical effect, and is clearly a wonderful mother to her adopted daughter. <3 The male MC (who is the most powerful magician in the land) is *extremely* socially impaired :sweat: :grin: , but really sweet. And the side-characters are adorable, too. Plus, the series is *MUCH* more about family (and the really neat world and magic system {and adorableness, of course :) }) than it is about romance (in fact, ATM the MC doesn't even really want to have anything to do with love in her current life, due to the trauma she went through with it in her past life), and there are literally no bad options there anyway should it eventually head in that direction, so wow is this a win-win! :jump: *Absolutely* recommended! :jump:




Fruits Basket Another chapters 1-7 (so far):

This is a short sequel series to my #1 favorite manga of all time, Fruits Basket. And while it's certainly not the masterpiece of the original (nor was I expecting it to be), it's still quite enjoyable so far. :thumb: In a reversal of the previous series, this time it's the MC who was a victim of both physical and psychological abuse (though she is valiantly attempting to overcome the effects of this) and the Sohmas are the ones who are trying to help her, which is kind-of a neat full-circle sort of deal. It's also pretty amusing how obvious the kids are, in terms of whose they are. ;) So, yeah, this looks like it'll be a nice little spinoff epilogue, and I look forward to reading the rest of it.




The Haruhi Suzumiya: Random Numbers short story novel (complete):

This was really cute. Enough said~ :thumb:




Kids On The Slope, a.k.a. Sakamichi no Apollon, chapters 1-45 + the epilogue "Bonus Track" volume (complete):

See my review of the anime for my comments on both the source here as well as its adaptation. :)




Koi wa Ameagari no You ni chapters 1-46 (so far):

This... has quite an age-gap, LOL. :sweat: (Like, a really big one, not just the around-10-or-so years that seem to be fairly common {and which don't bother me at all}. Nope, this one is almost 30. :wow!: ) That said, even though it's an unrealistic situation, it's actually not treated lightly-- not only does the manager valiantly try to persuade the MC to give up (despite his pushover nature), and explain the possible social consequences (some of which have already occurred), but that whole situation is starkly contrasted by the college-age playboy chef, who is in fact a genuine creep (with stepsister issues, to boot)-- plus, on the manager's part, there's literally nothing besides a few thoughts that are understandable that one might have in that situation (quickly smothered), bafflement, embarrassment, and kindness; and there's not even a *hint* of anything that could be more than that until 40 chapters in, and even then it's mostly just gratefulness that someone finally accepts who he is. Oh, and the (going-to-be) side couple (who have no age gap at all, LOL) is kinda adorable. :) Also, the art is quite unique-- not only are there actual varied body types/character designs, but it's also got this indescribable blend of both old-school and new-school aesthetics that is really pretty. The only content warning (aside from the massive age gap, of course, though as I said literally nothing at all has happened there yet aside from one fake date and a hug) are two... uh... fantasies-- one by the female MC about the older guy, and one by the creeper chef about the female MC (though both scenes are quite brief, and neither character acts on what they're imagining). Not sure I could really recommend this out easily (for obvious reasons), but it's certainly an interesting read so far.




My Neighbor Seki, a.k.a. Tonari no Seki-kun, volumes 1-9 (so far):

The anime did a fantastic job of bringing this to life :jump: , but of course all the chapters that weren't adapted are great, too. :thumb: One thing that's so cute to see in the manga that they didn't have time to get around to in the anime is that the two MC's (and even Maeda!) interact more and more as it goes on; and when Seki's mother shows up, it's priceless, LOL. :lol: :lol: (Also, oh my gosh, Seki's dad-- best reveal ever, ROTFL!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: ) So, yeah, recommended. :thumb:




Nihonmatsu Kyoudai to Mokuzou Keikoku no Bouken chapters 1-2 (so far):

This is the newest series by Satoshi Mizukami, the creator of Spirit Circle, The Lucifer And Biscuit Hammer, and Sengoku Youko (among other things). And... well, while all 3 of those aforementioned series are either pure excellence or outright masterpieces, this new series actually hasn't really grown on me just yet (and I certainly wouldn't recommend it as someone's first introduction to Mizukami-sensei's work). That said, I can already see the connections to his previous works (all of his main series take place in the same multiverse, with a certain mechanic that enables characters' appearances to... well, appear again elsewhere {that's the best way I can put it without spoilers :sweat: }); and (as far as I've seen) this mangaka has always, always twisted expected tropes on their heads in some way-- usually once the characters, world, and those tropes have been thoroughly established (at which point Stuff Goes Down™ and things get serious and epic). This is only a mere 2 chapters in ATM, and thus is obviously still very much in its setup phase; and while the comedy is a little more outrageous than usual :sweat: , given all the other things I've read from this guy so far, I still absolutely trust this mangaka to make something great, so I'm in this for the long haul. (My recommendation is still to read his other stuff first though. :) )




Shiki by Ryuu Fujisaki and Fuyumi Ono, chapters 1-42 (complete):

This series is easily the best vampire story I've read, and one of the better horror ones overall, too! :jump: Even though the reader knows the main cause for the stuff going on, the villagers obviously don't, despite some knowing it's an 'epidemic' of some sort, so watching the entire situation slowly drive the villagers violently insane is both horrifying and absolutely fascinating-- especially since several people begin to suspect vampirism very early on (and some even dig up a grave to prove it to themselves)-- but that only ends up making things worse. This is a classic horror story-- minus one single character who plays no major part, there's literally no 'moral high ground' on either side; the humans end up doing the exact same just-as-horrific stuff to the shiki as the shiki do to them (some even taking a sick pleasure in doing so). In other words, both the shiki and the humans are 'monsters'-- which, again, is very classic horror. You're supposed to come away from this tragedy with understanding-yet-revulsion in equal measure for both sides, and it succeeds admirably. This is perfect Halloween fare, or for any time you feel like reading a great horror. Recommended. :thumb:



And Yona Of The Dawn, a.k.a. Akatsuki no Yona, chapters 1-148 (so far):

This is a pseudohistorical fantasy series with quite a lot of action (fighting, I mean :P ). And not only does it start out fairly good, but once it gets to the later volumes-- where more backstory and politics appear, plus you finally get more of a sense of the king's motivations-- it becomes great. I am so darn invested in Princess Yona and her group of dragon and human companions (+ that slow-burn romance! <3 ;) ), and in how they all continue to build a better future for their country! :jump: Recommended. :thumb:
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby Kaori » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:23 pm

MangaRocks! wrote:Koi wa Ameagari no You ni chapters 1-46 (so far)

Did I ever mention this manga on CAA? I think I didn't, because I was hesitant to even mention it because of the huge age difference. (I also find the fact that it's a superior/subordinate relationship troubling.)

I read 5 chapters of it, about 2 years ago apparently, and I remember it being really well-written, in a way where the pictures are used very effectively at times to communicate things without words, and also humorous.

A lot of times if I just read a few chapters at the beginning of a series and then stop, I sort of just forget about it as it just sort of fades into the hazy background of all the other manga I have ever read (I have read a LOT of manga), but for some reason when I felt like reading manga this one kept repeatedly coming to mind as something that was memorable and I enjoyed and would kind of wish to read more of.

I think probably the reason I never read more was partly due to my decision to stop reading scanslations and only read manga that I legitimately own or have access to and partly because of some feelings of discomfort/guilt over the age difference and skeptically thinking to myself, "This is a male fantasy!" (that a young, beautiful high school girl would have feelings for a man in his forties).

But if you vouch for it and if the actual ramifications of a relationship with that kind of age difference are taken seriously, then I will put it on my radar as something I should continue reading someday (probably not for a while, though, as right now my main options are Renta! or physically importing it, either of which is kind of expensive compared to used manga in Japan).
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby MangaRocks! » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:25 pm

Kaori wrote:
MangaRocks! wrote:Koi wa Ameagari no You ni chapters 1-46 (so far)

Did I ever mention this manga on CAA? I think I didn't, because I was hesitant to even mention it because of the huge age difference. (I also find the fact that it's a superior/subordinate relationship troubling.)

I read 5 chapters of it, about 2 years ago apparently, and I remember it being really well-written, in a way where the pictures are used very effectively at times to communicate things without words, and also humorous.

A lot of times if I just read a few chapters at the beginning of a series and then stop, I sort of just forget about it as it just sort of fades into the hazy background of all the other manga I have ever read (I have read a LOT of manga), but for some reason when I felt like reading manga this one kept repeatedly coming to mind as something that was memorable and I enjoyed and would kind of wish to read more of.

I think probably the reason I never read more was partly due to my decision to stop reading scanslations and only read manga that I legitimately own or have access to and partly because of some feelings of discomfort/guilt over the age difference and skeptically thinking to myself, "This is a male fantasy!" (that a young, beautiful high school girl would have feelings for a man in his forties).

But if you vouch for it and if the actual ramifications of a relationship with that kind of age difference are taken seriously, then I will put it on my radar as something I should continue reading someday (probably not for a while, though, as right now my main options are Renta! or physically importing it, either of which is kind of expensive compared to used manga in Japan).

Yeah, I found its art style + the way things are shown/laid out to really be something memorable. As for the gap, it's not like it's *super* delved into, but every character that finds out who the MC likes is (rightfully) completely suspicious/incredulous; also, the manager explains what would probably happen, and the one time they do have a (kinda) date, SPOILER: Highlight text to read: people are not-so-quietly whispering about it being 'compensated dating' and such, so it's not like there wouldn't be some social consequences. At the moment, however (40-some chapters in), they've just kinda settled into a 'sorta-friends' relationship (they're not actually dating or anything {yet}), and the guy still seems to be trying to keep it that way, so yeah. Even if they finally do get together in the end, it seems like it'll probably be a long time from now, LOL. (And you could always just root for the side-couple instead... :grin: ) Anyway, as mentioned in the review, it's not something I'd easily recommend out, but there's just something about it that's interesting to me, so... YMMV? :)
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby Mouse2010 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:45 pm

I put Sweetness and Lightening on hold for awhile, because life was so busy. I decided it was time to pick it up again in a spare moment . . . and I've been sitting here for over an hour now catching up. It's just so good. And, as of about chapter 47, I can see some tension building up again as Kotori nears her high school graduation. In some ways, I feel like we're getting to the part of the story I'm most interested in. And I'm still wondering when Inuzaka is going to wake up and realize SPOILER: Highlight text to read: that Kotori has a crush on him. But right now, Tsumugi just said that she loves Kotori, which was a bit of a d'aw moment.

There are just two problems with this series. One is that it makes me hungry: I always want to eat what they're eating! The other is that I'm almost caught up with the manga, which means I'll have to wait forever for the next chapter. :waah!:
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Re: What Manga are you reading?

Postby Kaori » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:48 pm

Kaori wrote:I currently own only up to v. 9 of Imuri, though I kind of suspect once I read to the end of that I will probably want to get my hands on more right away.

Well, this came true.

Imuri vv. 8-9.

So, in the last volume, things that were revealed about characters' pasts were so over-the-top dramatic that it was breaking into my suspension of disbelief and I was feeling like there were so many horrible things in every volume that it was starting to lose its effect.

I did not feel that way with these volumes.

In volume 8, the events that were going on had to do with groups of people trying to escape from danger and finding that there was danger and destruction everywhere, in such a way that there was no place to go and they were cut off wherever they turned. I feel that this is a sort of thing that this mangaka really excels at--especially at making the reader experience things from the point of view of the people who are going through those desperate circumstances--so it was a very tense and high-paced volume. This was another volume in which some truly horrible and cruel things happen, but the mangaka is much more successful in this volume in keeping the reader seeing and experiencing events as they unfold from the characters' POV and being able to make the reader feel for them (at least, this is my experience with this volume).

My biggest complaint was that the main character, Dulk (who, by the way, has some abnormal powers at this point in the story), who in the previous volume had just barely escaped a manhunt and was at the end of his rope desperately trying to just stay alive, all of a sudden is acting super-macho, using his superpowers to rescue people and ordering people around in 命令形 (order-giving grammatical form used usually only by men in positions of authority, to order people around). Besides the fact that the last time we saw him he had just barely escaped with his life, there was nothing about his personality that was like that in earlier volumes, either, so I felt that was kind of an unrealistic and sudden personality change.

But overall it was a very good volume.

In volume 9, Dulk is back to acting much more like the Dulk we knew from volumes 1-7, and there's also a lot of stuff going on, though not the same "desperately trying to find a way to save oneself and/or the people around one and being cut off at every turn" sort of circumstances that have come up in some previous volumes. In this volume we encounter some more, different groups of the Imuri (ethnic group that the manga is named for) and, in a natural way, find out some more things about their cultures and lifestyles. But this is not a relaxed volume at all; the girl that Dulk rescues in the previous volume has a twin who SPOILER: Highlight text to read: is being manipulated by Dulk's evil and insane twin, who is completely loyal to the Karma ethnic group and therefore on the opposite side from Dulk, to reveal the whereabouts of her sister (who is with Dulk) so that they can "save her" from the "evil Imuri" (Dulk) who has "kidnapped" her. This is something that readers know but that Dulk and the other people around him do not know, so there's some dramatic tension there and I suspect that situation will continue to be used for more dramatic tension in coming volumes. Also, we hear about a plot that some of the Karma are plotting and start to see just the very first seeds of that being put into action. And if that weren't enough, Dulk is proclaimed to be the "Imuri of legend" who is destined to save the Imuri, and just when you think the characters might have reached a place of safety, SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Dulk and the girl he rescued, Chimuri, are taken captive by a group of warmonger Imuri who want to fight against the Karma. We are starting to hear about the Imuri finding out about the horrible things being done to them, and there's some talk of war among certain groups of them, so in this volume you can see that a potential war is brewing, and then there are also plottings and machinations going on within the Karma themselves, so as always the pace does not slacken for a moment.

This manga is really good. Like, "Once you start reading, you won't be able to stop" good. I am not at all surprised that it won an prize in the 2009 Japan Media Arts Festival. If it is ever licensed, you all should read it . . . but keep in mind that it does have at least one hideous atrocity in every volume other than the first (however, they are not necessarily always very graphic, so I think people who are okay with reading FMA would be able to read this).

Kaori's Japanese culture corner:

In volume 8 there's an an interesting thing that happens when Dulk saved the life of a young girl and then wants to leave and go his own way; however, the circumstances are such that there is no way that the group of villagers will be able to reach any place of safety on their own. So an adult from the village says to Dulk, "Why did you save her life then if you are just going to let her die a miserable death in the wilderness?" This shows a mindset that I think is a lot stronger in Japan than in the US that in a lot of situations, once you start something, you have to see it through to the end. This mindset can be seen in idioms like 乗りかかった船、 "a boat you are already riding" (you are in a situation where you have committed to something and can't just stop halfway, like if you are on a boat that has already left port).

In volume 9, since we encounter a new, different group of Imuri, I noticed anew that this author is giving the different groups of Imuri different regional accents (there was also an earlier Imuri who had a different accent than these recent ones). This caused me a lot of trouble when I was trying to figure out what on earth the villagers from volume 8 were saying (fortunately the Imuri in volume 9 have an easier accent to decipher), but I am really impressed by all of the thought and world-building that went into it (it's not just regional accents but also things like customs and culture which differ among the different tribes of Imuri). This, also, reminds me a lot of Japan, since before the days of railways and roads and mass communication Japan was difficult to travel around because it is mountainous, and a number of different regional dialects developed which to some extent still persist to this day (though Japanese is a whole lot more uniform now than it used to be). I do not envy anyone who ends up trying to translate this manga, but it is really interesting to see this kind of world-building, with there being all these little, isolated groups of people who are all the same ethnic group but who all have their own distinct cultures and customs and speech patterns.
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