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Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:49 pm
by SierraLea
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.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:14 pm
by Mouse2010
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.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:18 pm
by SierraLea
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?

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:34 am
by Mouse2010
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.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:51 pm
by SierraLea
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.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:07 pm
by Kaori
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.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 4:52 am
by the_wolfs_howl
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.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 8:23 pm
by MangaRocks!
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 not 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 ).

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:48 am
by SierraLea
I just finished the first volume of Spy Goddess. Gotta say, I was not impressed.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 11:45 am
by Kaori
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.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:38 pm
by MangaRocks!
^ @Kaori: Oh gosh, no worries, LOL! :)

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:20 am
by Kaori
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.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:18 pm
by Kaori
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.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:05 am
by MangaRocks!
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:

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:23 pm
by Kaori
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).

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:25 pm
by MangaRocks!
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? :)

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:45 pm
by Mouse2010
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!:

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:48 pm
by Kaori
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.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:06 pm
by MangaRocks!
^ Aw man, that is really making me wish that the Imuri translation would hurry up and get restarted... :sweat:

...Anyway: Uh, so, I just realized that I've only posted about *new* stuff (not my previously continuing series) for like... a year or something, LOL. :sweat: So I guess I'd better get that out of the way before I start posting about *more* new stuff this year...... :P

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime chapters 82-92:

Oh man, my heart was just breaking for the twins here. </3 :sniffle: Zen is so inspiring though! <3 <3 <3 And that was epic! The twins' story ended so well (indeed, as well as could be hoped for under the circumstances) <3 , and AHHH, the Zen x Shirayuki reunion was so satisfying! SPOILER: Highlight text to read: They had multiple kisses again (finally!), and it was just so loving and joyful and sweet. <3 :jump: :hug: ...On the other hand, though, then there was the most recent chapter, to which I reacted with a very well-deserved "WHAT THE HEEEEECK??!!! :?: :?: :?: " :sweat: In detail: SPOILER: Highlight text to read: ...So I was both right and wrong? :( Right in that the proposal was happening (I thought it might be, with all the hints seeming to be leading up to it in the previous chapters), and wrong in that Mitsuhide actually turned it down??! :eyebrow: What made this so confusing was that he mentioned 'not settling down until Zen does,' but then for seemingly no good reason doesn't actually *apply* that to Kiki's proposal (which honestly would have been the most logical outcome to all of this)-- there's no ' if you can wait until then...' or anything of the sort, he just makes his rejection of the proposal sound so final instead! :eyebrow: :mutter: (Again: What the heck?! :?: ) ...Then again-- thinking it over more carefully-- maybe Mitsuhide is just asexual? I mean, I know that *canon* ace characters are (unfortunately) *extremely* rare in any form of fiction ( example: Despite the certifiably vast amount of fiction I've consumed in my life so far across every medium, I can only think of literally *3* characters-- *3,* out of thousands!-- who were undoubtedly written as ace; and only a handful more who *seem* to have been written as ace but who were not directly confirmed as such)... however, this mangaka *has* already written characters of differing sexualities-- Obi, for instance, has always been canon bi (as he openly loves both Zen and Shirayuki in a non-platonic way, though obviously aware that neither of those love interests will ever be available for him regardless), so it's certainly not impossible for her to have written an ace character as well. Getting back to the point, though, I just don't get why Mitsuhide wouldn't at least have accepted a long engagement with Kiki (with the terms that they wouldn't marry until Zen and Shirayuki do, as Mitsuhide had already stated) unless he's ace (which I suppose would indeed make some of his statements here and elsewhere make more sense, especially if he's towards the aromantic end of the scale. Not to say that aces {romantic or aromantic!} don't marry, of course, because a number of aces actually do; it's just that none of that sort of thing is any kind of priority when one is ace, *especially* if one is more aromantic, so I can see his reactions fitting that). Now, if it turns out that he *is* ace (which I am indeed starting to genuinely suspect), I'll be happy that I can finally add another character to the woefully short list of ace characters that I know about; but, either way, I'll still be really annoyed at how this was handled (because I *really* shipped those two :P , and this definitely deserved a better explanation, at the very least). Oh well... :forehead: :sweat:

Amatsuki chapters 106-111:

Holy crap-- Lily/Riri SPOILER: Highlight text to read: (who is Shinshu in the Amatsuki reality) is Urushibara's (the insane scientist's) daughter?!?!?! :wow!: That's... pretty darn horrifying. :wow!: And it also very efficiently explains the background on SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Hashita adopting her. (Also: The only-10%-of-the-brain-used-at-once thing has long been proven to be a complete myth, but given that the dude is completely off his rocker {despite supposedly coming out 'normal' on a psych test somehow...! :pikka: }, him spouting off complete nonsense as one of the main bases for his horrific research is not at all a surprise, LOL. :P :grin: :sweat: ) Anyway: I also liked the fact that it mentioned that trauma-- and what affects people and how deeply-- is different for every person, and that despite Toki initially dismissing his own as merely '*that* level' (meaning far less than many others', comparatively speaking), Hashita tells him *not* to dismiss it. :thumb: And, unusually for this manga, LOL (where the twists are very well-done, and often very cleverly hidden in plain sight), the 'revelation' that Toki understood here about SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Amatsuki essentially being a direct brain connection to virtual-reality, complete with physical sensations (as those merely need certain stimulations to certain parts of the brain, after all) was a mere confirmation of what I had already figured out long ago, LOL. The rest was indeed new, though :thumb: -- and Toki telling Hashita that SPOILER: Highlight text to read: *he* needed to be the one to comfort the poor girl (+ his commentary around it) was just beautiful. <3 <3 And oh man... it looks like we're finally going to get Bonten's SPOILER: Highlight text to read: real-world side of the story now, and from his expression, it's gonna be intense... :pikka:

Bisco Hatori's Behind The Scenes!! vol.'s 2-3:

Everything about vol.2 was great. :thumb: For one thing, Goda is the absolute best. <3 :jump: :hug: The lecture he gave the jerks who mocked and ridiculed the figures (and their owner) was easily the best moment in the volume, but he was fantastic throughout. And while not so much happened in vol.3, it was still really funny and there were a few nice little character moments, too; so yeah, this is a good series. :thumb:

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi last few chapters + the gaiden (end):

Finally read the finale of this series, and wow... it just reminds me even more how bad the anime 'adaptation' was. :shady: The source ending is *completely* different (and sooooo much better!), and (together with the gaiden) is a very satisfying conclusion to an excellent manga. :thumb:

A Bride's Story vol.'s 7-9:

The story with the 'avowed sisters' was so interesting and sweet (though my heart broke a bit again when Smith answered that question about marriage... </3 :( ). And oh dear, poor Pariya (for more reasons than one!)... :grin: (Somehow I think her prospective fiancée doesn't actually mind this side of her, though. ;) ...And with the next volume, which was almost entirely about Pariya and her fiancée, that is indeed proved-- in spades! It was sooooo sweet. :) )

Bungou Stray Dogs chapters 47.5-57:

Holy crap, that was brutal. :pikka: (Dostoyevsky needs to die. Painfully. :shady: ) Tanizaki was never more awesome, though! :wow!: And speaking of awesome: Oh my gosh, Ranpo is an absolute BA! :pikka: :jump: :jump: (Also LOL at Poe. <3 :grin: ) And Akutagawa 'smiling' might be one of the most terrifying things I've seen in a while, LOL... :grin: And then there was that triple twist :pikka: , SPOILER: Highlight text to read: with the backstory of the two bosses, Katai, and even the cat (LOL)! :pikka: :grin:. And then there was all that interaction between the MC and Akutagawa... :grin: :thumb: Wow, though-- I was *not* expecting that answer from the MC about why he still fights. :pikka: And the conclusion to this arc was epic. SPOILER: Highlight text to read: From Akutagawa and the MC's partnership (and the former's description of it), to the takedown of the virus ability user, to the trap set for Dostoyevsky himself (though it seems pretty clear that this isn't the last we'll see of him, despite his capture), to the deal that Akutagawa and the MC made... (And oh man, Dazai was totally remembering Oda there... :sniffle: ) So good! And the way this arc so smoothly segues right into the next is very well-done, too. Speaking of which: Trust Ranpo to be so awesome that SPOILER: Highlight text to read: he solved the next case even though he knew that a reality-bender with the most OP power ever had erased the very existence of the evidence. Indeed, that whole thing was really brilliant (and sad)-- and the way Ranpo handled it was both epic and chilling, and then made me smile at the end... that is, of course, until that *kicker* of a conclusion (and its explanation + the start of this next arc). :wow!: :wow!: :?: Indeed, the most recent chapter was the nastiest one yet-- no punches were pulled here. :pikka: And this is truly the most genuine threat to the MC's as a whole in the entire series so far. The suspense is real~ *shivers (in a good way)*

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Arc chapters 8-12:

Aww, this was sweet. :) Seriously, though-- SPOILER: Highlight text to read: stop worrying me with those expressions, Syaoran/Xiaolang! :P Also: Obviously the bunny is SPOILER: Highlight text to read: alive just like Kero is, but I have a hunch that they're going to slide *just* to the side of expected and make SPOILER: Highlight text to read: the robed figure be the person Akiho cares about, instead of Akiho herself... guess we'll see. :)

The Case Study Of Vanitas chapters 14-23:

This series is just too good! <3 :jump: I loved Noé's little observation about Vanitas acting normal, but that not being... er, normal, LOL. :thumb: Also, that sequence where Noé insisted on tagging along was priceless. :grin: And ahhh, now we get a little more explanation of why the vampires have the powers they do (and how). I do have to admit that I was a little annoyed at the hunter at first (for multiple reasons... :eyeroll: ), but Vanitas' and Noé's interactions (and how they were both so mad at each putting themselves in harm's way to save the other, and their conversation afterwards, etc.) were pretty sweet, so I’m appeased. :) And OH MY GOODNESS, the next chapter (#16) was MAGNIFICENT! :lol: :lol: :jump: Not only was there more background on Vanitas (both directly said as well as implied by his manner); Noé being just the absolute best in every possible respect :lol: :jump: ; and the hunter captain a *much* better, more-interesting, and trope-twisting character than he first appeared; but it also turns out that even the one apparent element that I wasn't fond of SPOILER: Highlight text to read: (the 'church' having a seemingly outright-insane fanatical hunter faction) was merely the setup to a wonderful punchline (which, to be honest, I really should've known... this mangaka has done that to me before, and I love her for it! :grin: :thumb: ). That backstory on Vanitas, though... that was really unpleasant (and that's an understatement!), poor man. :pikka: :pikka: Then, in ch.18, there were more hints about the original Blue Moon Vampire, great character developments for Laurent and Vanitas (and even a tiny bit for Noé), and the entire sequence all the way from SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Vanitas and Noé entering the monster straight through to the scene outside where Vanitas finally opens up/trusts Noé enough to rest against him, and then that kicker of a final panel... just, wow. <3 Chapter 19, though-- crap, poor Noé! :( And I unfortunately have an inkling of what the SPOILER: Highlight text to read: one order that he'll be given might be, too... :pikka: (Nooooooooo!! </3 </3 </3 ) And then there was the whole thing with Jeanne, which-- between Vanitas knowing exactly what she was trying to do yet also what she was feeling now (and thus being able to wind her up perfectly :P ) and the reactions of the followers-- was quite amusing. :lol: On a more serious note, though, the fact that Vanitas noticed that SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Jeanne literally couldn't speak about something even if she wanted to, that she held her neck when that occurred, and that it actually physically choked her when she tried to remember/disobey any further makes me at least hopeful that SPOILER: Highlight text to read: the 'one thing' Noé will be ordered to do either won't *directly* be what I feared (outright killing Vanitas-- though he supposedly will at some point anyway, going by the series' very first chapter </3 :sniffle: ), or at least will somehow be partially averted at the time (...all the better to make it even more heartwrenching when it actually does occur later on, of course :P -- yeah, I know this mangaka quite well now, LOL :sweat: ; my heart is prepared for every possibility this time :P ) Speaking of which: Aargh, Vanitas actually did get that hunch right (that the baddie would go after Noé while Vanitas was occupied with Jeanne), but now of course he doesn't think that was the case... :( Oh well; I'm still hopeful that he'll notice the clues later. (And the fact that he essentially dropped Jeanne like a stone and ran full-pelt all the way back to check on Noé when he got said hunch, at least, was appreciated. ;) ) On another note: Oh man, I'm loving the hunter-captain more and more with each appearance-- his changing knowledge/beliefs and both the mental cleverness and physical strength to be able to pursue this new path wherever it goes without interference is so awesome. :thumb: And, finally, now it looks like we've got the start of a new mini-arc, which I expect will be interesting. Also, Noé's desire for SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Vanitas' blood (and the expected consequences of him asking for it at this particular point in time) were also finally addressed; and while that was a bit tense, it was really sweet to see SPOILER: Highlight text to read: how easily they made up afterwards. :) Can't wait for the next chapter! :thumb:

From Maid To Mother chapter 16:

Aww, this chapter was so sweet! <3 And the whole wanting to be just like her own mother bit... *heart melt* :hug:

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun chapters 84-89:

ROTFL!!! These chapters were so brilliant. First we have Seo accidentally discovering SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Waka's particular weakness with Lorelai's voice and then using it to troll him... :lol: (And then actually trying to be kind afterwards, but of course it backfiring a little anyway... :grin: :grin: ) Then we have Sakura basically explaining her 'type,' SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Nozaki realizing that *he's* sort-of that 'type' (but only as a model, apparently, LOL), then dutifully starting to strip (!) :lol: , then after the rest of club start drooling Sakura tells him that she'd want 'her type' to only show that to her and no one else, and then he felt his heart go funny! <3 :grin: :jump: Then we have the [spoiler]Hori x Kashima ship seeming to finally begin to sail, as well! :jump: (Well, kinda. ;) ) And finally: LOL, best test answers ever. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Haikyuu chapters 235-283:

Hahaha, oh wow, Kageyama is *awesome.* :thumb: (...Well, he always was, of course; but you know what I mean. :grin: ) That said: Wait, WHAAAAAT...?! Did they actually... SPOILER: Highlight text to read: lose an early match? (And the whole rest of this is flashback now?) :pikka: I mean... I wasn't expecting SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Karasuno to win the nationals or anything like that-- at least *this* year! ;) -- but, wow, that's SPOILER: Highlight text to read: harsh. :sweat: Realistic, I suppose, though. This mangaka has surprised me more than once during this series, though (and I'm still not entirely sure that's what it was anyway, as they did SPOILER: Highlight text to read: win their first match, at least), so I guess we'll see. :) As for the first match: LOOOOOL, that's brutal-- the other side's coach putting someone in who'd never even been in a game before, no less the nationals... :sweat: SPOILER: Highlight text to read: And that was a really spectacular headshot in consequence, LOL. :lol: Though it was really sweet of the other guys to not blame him at all and just good-naturedly rag on each other about it (and not on the guy himself, either). <3 :thumb: And even the coach explained (it wasn't like he was trying to be mean or anything :P ). And the Nekoma team had some great stuff, too. And then Karasuno's second match (which is still ongoing): Oh man... not only are the opponents really interesting (and the action as epic as ever, of course :thumb: ), but also, everyone in Karasuno is really getting a chance to shine even more than they have before in this match, including some more great character development for some of the characters that hadn't had quite as much yet. (Plus, it even features one of the most singularly epic moments in the entire manga so far-- SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Hinata's first 'nice receive'! :jump: This series is just too awesome. :hug:

Horimiya vol.'s 6-9:

Welp, wasn't expecting that to happen quite so soon :sweat: , but given their respective personalities and family situations (indeed, Hori's parents were even {quite irresponsibly, I might add} encouraging it earlier! :forehead: ), it's really not a surprise. Anyway: The bit with Miyamura's past self and Hori's protection was rather moving <3 ; the lengths Miyamura and the prez go to avoid swimming are hysterical :lol: :lol: :lol: ; new character Yanagi is fun :) ; Hori finding her hidden masochist side is amusing but painful for poor Miyamura instead :sweat: :grin: ; the backstory on/resolution with the guy that had 'hated' Miyamura initially was nice; and of course the rest of the usual sweetness and hilarity. :thumb: Also: Somehow I've become really invested in the Tooru x Yuki ship <3 , so I hope that works out. And OH MY GOSH, Hori and Miyamura are now actually SPOILER: Highlight text to read: engaged!!! :jump: :jump:

Iris Zero chapters 40-41:

Ohhhhh snap-- I thought this was just a fluff side bit... I *really* should've known better! This series has always used seemingly-at-first-innocuous events to much greater impact than you're expecting, and this was no exception. :thumb: Really looking forward to more!

Joou no Hana chapters 14B-15A:

Oh my gosh, that was absolutely heartbreaking... </3 :sniffle: So good, though.

Kamisama Kiss, a.k.a. Kamisama Hajimemashita, chapters 136-149 (end) + the "25.5" fanbook epilogue chapter:

Ah, this was satisfying. Everything was wrapped up so nicely that my previous minor complaints just ended up melting into the happiness of the ending. :)

Karneval chapters 88-118:

Oh my gosh, the rest of Yogi's backstory + his complete breakdown after SPOILER: Highlight text to read: finding his thought-to-be-dead sister was heartbreaking :sniffle: , and how Nai and Gareki SPOILER: Highlight text to read: basically saved him was so beautiful... :sniffle: <3 :hug: And... yeah, just everything about Yogi and SPOILER: Highlight text to read: his sister was excellent. <3 :hug: And then, whoa, that new/expanded backstory for Karoku and Nai...! :wow!: :sniffle: :wow!: So good!!

Kimi ni Todoke vol.'s 25-27:

AHHHHH Chizu and Ryu SPOILER: Highlight text to read: decided to get married when he’s done with college!! :jump: :hug: They are definitely the best couple in this. <3 <3 Other things of note: SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Sawako and Shouta making up; Kurumi confessing and apologizing to Sawako (and them becoming friends for real); and yep, just as I thought, Ayane likes Pin. LOL/ouch on him saying that even 20 is too young for him, though... :P But yeah, Chizu x Ryu. <3 :thumb:

Kimi to Boku. chapters 56-75:

LOL!!! The new (huge) SPOILER: Highlight text to read: first-year that they end up hanging out with is so cute, and the bit where they SPOILER: Highlight text to read: have him meet Mary for the size difference (!) is hilarious. :lol: :lol: :lol: Also LOL: Poor Kaname trying SPOILER: Highlight text to read: (and utterly failing :grin: ) to pick out a birthday present for Hisako~ ;) ;) ;) (I really hope it works out for them~ :) :hug: ) And ROTFL, poor Mary's older brother... :lol: :lol: And ah, does Shun get it now? SPOILER: Highlight text to read: It's really hard to decide who I want Mary to end up with at this point, LOL, since both guys are sweet :) , so I guess I won't speculate and just see what the mangaka does. :) And, well, what else can I say? It's more hilarious, adorable, soothing, occasionally-melancholy-but-still-always-sweet goodness. :thumb:

Liselotte & Witch's Forest vol.'s 3-5:

Ah... and there's the details on Engetsu SPOILER: Highlight text to read: becoming a 'doll.' Wow. :pikka: Vol.3 also utilized the removal of SPOILER: Highlight text to read: memories as a plot/character-development device; however, I have no issues with that trope if it's actually done right, and let's just say that I thankfully had no issue with it here. :thumb: Vol.4: Engetsu's line about the clothes made me literally LOL. :lol: Some interesting stuff with Lise's brother here, too. And I genuinely teared up at Lise's 'mustn't give up on your life/it's okay to run/etc.' speech. :sniffle: <3 And vol.5: This volume was great! :jump: More character development for Alto, Anna, and Engetsu; Lise and En's relationship finally leveled up (and by her own doing, no less! :thumb: :thumb: ); Vergue and Anna had a fascinating, deep chat/interaction; Woglinde finally gets into the picture; and SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Lise's brother finally showed up and Engetsu is not-so-subtly challenging him! (The only problem is that there's a cliffhanger at the end of that volume and we have no idea when Natsuki Takaya-sensei will continue the series... :sweat: It's totally worth the read, though, even with it being on hiatus right now. :thumb: )

March Comes In Like A Lion chapters 127-139:

Ahaha, poor sensei. :sweat: :grin: It seems like Akari is finally starting to be open to the idea of love, too. :thumb: (I really do hope she chooses Shimada, though. <3 :) ) And the matches were so interesting, as well-- not only SPOILER: Highlight text to read: did the MC lose right away this time, but Nikaidou and SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Souya's match was brilliant, SPOILER: Highlight text to read: even if it was sadly cut short (that letter though, LOL... :grin: ). And welp, seems like Rei's sister is finally getting a clue, too; I hope she turns her life around now. Really looking forward to more!

Mob Psycho chapters 98-101 (end):

LOL, even as short as the first little mini-arc was it was so great! Mob winning hearts, Reigen not being alone on New Year's, ALIENS, and more. So good. And then the final arc... hoooooly crap-- it went from "cute confession troubles" to "spine-chilling doom" real quick. :wow!: On a sidenote, Teru is legitimately awesome (and his character development has been top-tier). :jump: Also: SPOILER: Highlight text to read: So "???%" was an actual split personality then. Oh man, though, Reigen crying and the whole 'acceptance' deal (especially Mob saying that his other half {"???%"} should accept *him*) was amazing. And that ending was simply beautiful. :sniffle: <3 :jump: What a fantastic finale to a fantastic manga! :jump:

Natsume’s Book Of Friends volume 20:

Interestingly, none of the stories in this volume had anything to do with the Book itself this time-- the first story utilized foggy memory as a plot device, but it was still nice; the second one was a sad yet sweet story about a mountain goddess; the third one featured creepy scarecrows and Natori :thumb: ; and the fourth one was just pure sweetness. <3 :hug: Yet another great volume! :thumb:

Nihonmatsu Kyoudai to Mokuzou Keikoku no Bouken chapter 3:

Yeah, this chapter was definitely better than the previous two in terms of being used to the tone now, LOL. ;)

Ojojojo chapters 39-43:

Aw, Tsurezure helping the sisters finally get along ('because SPOILER: Highlight text to read: he loves Haru'! <3 <3 <3 :hug: )-- and we also got the reasons for the sisters' behavior, and even the dad casually mentioning Tsurezure joining the family! <3 :thumb: Plus that priceless 'brother' comment... :grin: <3 That said: Not sure what the little cliffhanger is about, but I have no doubt whatsoever that it's going to end very happily <3 , so I'm quite on board for the ride. :thumb:

One Week Friends epilogue chapter (end):

Finally read the epilogue chapter, and at least that does give a *hint* that it finally might be heading towards a coupleship for the 2 MC's, but it took Kaori to hint at it. :eyeroll: :P Also, no real confirmation on the Shougo x Saki ship, either, but one more (tiny) hint there. So, yeah, still not much of an ending in that direction for either possible ship :sweat: , but at least it's not the *nothing* the original ending had with them, so oh well? :P

Skip-Beat! vol.'s 38-39:

ROTFL!! Sho getting 'harassed' (and then later getting a more-than-well-deserved SPOILER: Highlight text to read: kick to the shins :P) was hilarious! :lol: :lol: :lol: And I should've known that Kyouko would *still* not have connected SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Ren and 'Corn' as the same person even after all that :grin: , but it was actually still a pretty amusing/sweet scene because of all of Ren's reactions + him obviously *trying* to get her to do so (and then wishing he hadn't re-dyed his hair, LOL). :grin: Also: I really love Mr. Todoh's character (and really kinda ship him with Kyouko's mother now, too <3 {he certainly cares about her very much, to the point of a form of love, even if the expression of it is... interesting, LOL}). Seriously, though, the backstory on Kyouko's mom was so sad. :sniffle: And her encounter with Kyouko was not at all what I expected-- not a fight, nor giving in, but actually talking things out calmly, just like two mature people should (even though the subject matter was very difficult and intense for both of them). :thumb: :thumb: Best line: SPOILER: Highlight text to read: "I have made walls crumble." :jump:

Takane to Hana chapters 24-31:

"I know his weakness, but I haven't used it yet"-- LOL, priceless! :lol: (Also, Takane essentially saying, in a roundabout way, that SPOILER: Highlight text to read: he really does want to be with the MC for real was quite sweet, coming from him <3 :grin: :thumb:; and her saying a similar thing in return SPOILER: Highlight text to read: {that she wouldn't waste all that effort on just a game} + actually finally outright saying that she likes him {!} was great. <3 :jump: ) And then so many LOL's-- first with Takane shopping and then with that 'present' and her 'edit' reaction... :lol: :lol: :lol: ; then smol Takane and his emotional confusion + rebound; then the priceless 'Casanova' bit :lol: ; and, of course, all the expressions. :lol: The whole bit with Luciano was just too cute, as well, and the MC's talk with him and Takane helping out were sweet. :) And then there was Takane's grandfather's little statement to Takane that SPOILER: Highlight text to read: his eventual partner should be an equal-- someone who isn't just protected, but can protect him back, too, which was so good. <3 And finally: Ha, I knew this was gonna happen-- that Takane would have to learn to SPOILER: Highlight text to read: live as a 'commoner' at some point. This should be amusing... :grin:

Tanaka-kun Is Always Listless, a.k.a. Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge, chapters 65-78:

Aww... Tanaka's sister warming up to Oota (and Tanaka genuinely trying to cheer her up, too) were cute. <3 And while most of the rest of this was just generally really cute/amusing (as usual :thumb: ), one specific thing to note is that it looks like the SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Shiraishi x Tanaka ship might have a chance after all <3 :jump: , so that should be fun. ;)

Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii, a.k.a. WotaKoi, chapters 14-20:

Oh my goodness the date was so great! It's actually shown in parts, with 'later' chapters scattered between, so there's more to it than it first appears, as well. <3 And every one of these chapters was hilarious and great. I love this series. :jump:

xxxHOLiC Rei chapters 55-56:

...And here I was thinking about complaining how the new CCS chapters were so short, LOL... *these* were like crumbs! :sweat: (I mean, masterful crumbs, to be sure, but... :grin: ) Seriously, though, I can't wait to find out where this is going!

And Yona Of The Dawn, a.k.a. Akatsuki no Yona, chapters 151-152:

YES! YES! YES! :jump: :dance: :jump: Not only am I really happy that it finally happened, obviously :thumb: , but I actually think that this has just become one of my favorite SPOILER: Highlight text to read: confession scenes ever, due to both the perfect buildup SPOILER: Highlight text to read: (with the misunderstanding quite annoyingly at first seeming to work as it usually might in another series, despite Hak's efforts; then with Yoon and the dragons gently explaining to Yona what went wrong there and how to communicate things properly, and that she should do so no matter what, even if she's afraid of the answer, etc.), as well as the perfectly, hilariously, *brilliantly* un-traditionally-romantic execution of it-- I mean, the discussion before the very moment itself (with Hak basically clearing up every possible thing she'd been worrying about throughout the whole series until now) is certainly very romantic at points <3 , yet even then, SPOILER: Highlight text to read: you're not expecting him to outright confess. But finally, with no warning whatsoever, Hak just suddenly yells at the top of his voice that he likes her out of pure exasperation (complete with swearing, even! :grin: ), because he is just 100% Done With This™. :grin: It was so unexpected at this point (since, after that little SPOILER: Highlight text to read: "let's talk when this is all over" speech just a few chapters ago, I totally thought the mangaka would milk this out for much longer-- very well-planned bit of misdirection there, Kusanagi-sensei! :thumb: ), yet still so wonderfully in-character at the exact same time (it's moments like these that remind you that he really is still just a teen :) ), that for this series and these characters, it was absolutely done in the best possible way. (And the 'audience' reactions from Yoon and the dragons throughout were priceless, too. :lol: ) Basically, the last comment by Hak sums up my feelings perfectly SPOILER: Highlight text to read: ("Ahhhh, much better." :lol: :jump: :lol: ).

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:44 pm
by Kaori
Space Captain Pirate Harlock (complete).

Imuri vv. 10-11.


I am really glad that I read Galaxy Express 999 first, because I would probably never have picked it up if I had read Harlock first. That is because it is the most chauvinistic manga I have read in my life. However, I'll share all my general impressions first and leave my ranting until the end.

The premise of the story is that in an era when Earth's government and most people on Earth have become decadent and only concerned with entertainment, Captain Harlock and his crew are the only ones standing up against the threat (?) of the Mazone, a race of aliens who all appear in the form of women.

Early in the story the Mazone murder a couple of scientists who are trying to warn Earth about them, and we're told much later that supposedly the Mazone want the Earth for themselves, free from human presence; however, mostly the rationale for fighting them is "it's a law of the universe that when two alien races meet each other they must invariably fight until one or the other is wiped out," which dubious logic is directly contradicted by the course of events when other alien races (such as Miime, who is from a different race, or Zol and his sons) meet Harlock's crew and get along just fine. It's also hinted at in other ways that this might not be a good idea, for example, it's implied that SPOILER: Highlight text to read: humans are all descendents of the Mazone or that humans and Mazone might even SPOILER: Highlight text to read: be in a symbiotic relationship where the destruction of one race results in the struction of the other. So the whole basic footing of the plot seems rather doubtful.

Other than the premise itself, there are some other plot holes and inconsistencies as well, like when the characters ask why the ship's alarms didn't sound when an enemy ship stuck to them like a leech and the plot hole is glossed over with a joke (the ship's AI says, "Sorry!").

I also wasn't terribly impressed with Captain Harlock himself. Although his being willing to follow through on his beliefs is a good point, his thinking is pretty shallow, and aside from one interesting tactical scene in whcih he takes advantage of being able to maneuver in three dimensions (somehow the Mazone, whose culture predates Earth's by billions of years and who in fact gave Earth their culture, and whose space travel also predates humans' by billions of years, have not yet figured this out), most of the tactics are not really worthy of being called tactics but are rather things like "let's just ram straight through this ship/mysterious object/whatever."

So the manga consists of a lot of recklessly rushing into action without any deep thought, then ends with a typical Leiji conclusionless ending.

Just a theory, but I wonder whether the conclusionlessness of Matsumoto Leiji's series has to do with the fact that he really is better at developing inner themes of the characters than at developing coherent stories about external conflicts and resolutions (i.e. action). Certainly it's the case with Galaxy Express 999 (the first arc, at least) that it is mostly about Tetsurou's development as a character and his changing values and views about what is important in life. If I think about Harlock that way, also, Matsumoto starts out contrasting the spineless and decadent Earthlings with Harlock's decisiveness and fighting spirit, throughout the manga he gradually tells us more and more about the friendship that shaped Harlock as a person, and after the climactic scene where Harlock visits his friend's grave, there's nothing else that Matsumoto needs to do to complete his character sketch of Harlock (never mind that the conflict with the Mazone hasn't gotten anywhere), so the manga ends with the interstellar space battle still in full swing.

Drawings of ships and machinery and things were a highlight of the manga, but otherwise it comes across as rough work and not all that good, in my opinion. In addition to everything above, there are still more elements that seem rough-edged, like some moments here and there with abrupt, poorly-timed scene shifts, the needlessly-repeated refrain at the beginning and end of every chapter (is it supposed to be a song?), and the way that Matsumoto tries to be mysterious and hint at things, but for the most part everything's way too obvious.

About the chauvinism: I don't want to make this post too long by describing every chauvinistic phrase or tendency in this manga, but just to give a few examples: The female crew members (who are actually extremely intelligent and competent) are often told things like "women are a hindrance." There's a scene in which Miime (a woman) just committed a brave and daring rescue and then all the men, in her presence, are all toasting "those with true courage: true men!" Thereafter, repeatedly in the next few pages, the phrase that is used is "brave MEN." Note that in Japanese it would be extremely natural (unlike in English) to say "brave people" and it doesn't come across as vague the way that it does in English; also unlike English, the word "men" in Japanese means specifically and only males and cannot and never has been used to indicate all humans, so Matsumoto is really going out of his way to say MEN. There's also a scene where a woman crew member puts her life at risk in order to give a male crew member an opportunity to "rescue" her because she wants to bolster his wounded ego which was offended by the fact that he is a subordinate of her, a woman--because evidently salving a man's wounded ego is more important than a woman's life or safety.

In addition to those explicit statements and actions, there's also the fact that this entire manga is about fighting against an alien race that is entirely composed of people who take the appearance of women (on more than one occasion it's pointed out that they are maybe not real women but only taking the apperance of women, but that hardly makes a difference psychologically to the reader), so all of the villains are women, the majority of Harlock's crew are men (there are two brave women and one crazy cook), and among the other friendly alien race, from Zol's planet, the only characters that we see are men, so with the exception of the three female crew members it is very much about brave men (again, the bravery of true MEN and the friendship between MEN being something that is continually extolled throughout the manga) who are bravely going forth to crush and destroy an entire race of women. In addition to that, there's also a scene in which there was some imagery in this manga that was glaringly sexual symbolism (and was specifically described as such by the characters) done in a way I found highly disturbing. Combining that disturbing scene with the overriding antagonism towards the alien race who are all women, the impression that I was left with was that the manga expresses an extremely strong subconscious hatred of women.


It's getting harder and harder to talk about what is going on in this manga without putting my entire post in spoiler brackets, but I'll do my best.

There's a bit of a lull in the beginning of v. 10 in which we get some much-needed explanation about the mechanics of certain special fictional abilities in this manga work. This is something that the characters themselves (particularly Dulk) are trying to figure out, so although that half of the volume is a bit slow, it at least comes across as completely natural, with everyone arguing with each other and putting together their separate bits of knowledge to try to get a complete picture. During this discussion we find out what Dulk was doing during that time jump between the end of v. 7 and the beginning of v. 8 which I might have commented on earlier, and it all makes sense now. Also, the young girl that Dulk saved earlier, Chimuri, turns out to be actually quite important to the plot, which I guess should not have been surprising.

This lull does not last very long, as the action and danger picks up again immediately in the second half of the volume.

Also in these volumes, there are some plot elements executed very skillfully as the ability of Imuri twins to see what their twin is doing when they dream turns out to have another enormous effect on the plot (besides the ways it was already being used as a key plot device) as SPOILER: Highlight text to read: news of how the "tools of the Imuri" can be used as weapons spreads like wildfire through the Imuri population through their dreams, and SPOILER: Highlight text to read: the very thing Dulk most feared and was desperately trying to prevent from happening, happens, as the Imuri's use of the tools as massively powerful weapons is indeed provoking the Karma (the controlling race) to crack down on them with overwhelming force before they have a real chance to organize themselves for war.

Specifically in v. 11, there was some character development in a character whom I thought was just going to be a minor stock character as she started to develop a sense of compassion SPOILER: Highlight text to read: for Chimuri's twin sister who is being manipulated to help the Karma find Dulk's location, and in connection with this same character we also get some insight into, and more development of, Rald, who is back after not having made any major appearances for the last few volumes.

Also, there is yet again massive political upheaval among the Karma as there is a SPOILER: Highlight text to read: second coup d'etat, this time apparently a successful one. And that is where volume 11 ends.

On these volumes, one comment I want to make is that I am impressed by the way that although the story focuses quite a lot on Dulk and another character who are both teenagers (like many manga), unlike some other manga in which there's a main character who is, completely in defiance of the way that things actually are in real life, is in some incredibly elite position and incredibly skilled at what they do (often wealthy, as well) despite being only 17 years old (shojo manga with male characters who are 17-year-old company presidents of huge global corporations or "the pope" or some such thing, I am looking at you), in Imuri, it is not like that: you can see these teenage characters starting to become more and more caught up in the very center of the events that are unfolding around them, but that's a process that unfolds as you read, and also they have to grow into those roles. Dulk has some degree of talent but otherwise is an overall pretty ordinary teenager. He starts out as a generally "nice guy," in a wishy-washy, shallow sort of way. When encountered with the horrible atrocities that the Karma are committing, he rebels and refuses to accept that and go along with what his society is doing, but then in the subsequent very trying circumstances that he goes through, there are many times when he is indecisive, he doesn't know what to do, he's submissive and uncomfortable being made the center of attention, and he makes mistakes that sometimes have permanent and dire consequences. Recently, another character who appeared who is a very strong and charismatic leader, and although Dulk is being pushed into a leadership role, there's quite a contrast between Dulk and the fiery, decisive, charismatic Niko, which makes me wonder if we are going to see Dulk grow into that leadership role which he seems destined to be forced to take on. As for the other central teenage character, Dulk's twin, SPOILER: Highlight text to read: although it is not in a "every decision he makes is brilliant and successful" sort of way, he does often have some very good ideas, so overall he comes across as having a lot of talent when he is not completely flying off the handle, but at the moment he is being used by certain Karma in their political schemes; although he is just a pawn right now, he is being maneuvered into a more central role, and I have a strong expectation that his role will continue to increase in importance and that perhaps he will at some point even overthrow the people who are currently using him and become a/the leading power among the Karma.

The only criticism I have about this manga is that it is sometimes rather over-the-top in the amount of drama going on, and due to the fact that the things happening are so extreme, e.g. SPOILER: Highlight text to read: multiple coup d'etats, the Karma chasing Dulk around and destroying whatever village he happens to be in on multiple occasions, etc., and there being so many horrible atrocities that are portrayed, the compassion burn-out that I mentioned in regard to earlier volumes does continue to be a problem at times; after seeing a particular horrible thing that is meant to pull on one's heartstrings not just once but multiple times, and given the fact that there is at least one horrible atrocity in every volume (except volume 1), it just doesn't have the same effect every time.

However, as an overall assessment, I highly enjoy the overall plot and the way that the manga so successfully conveys the feeling of events unfolding on a grand scale, and how that large-scale unfolding conflict between two people-groups is mirrored on a personal level SPOILER: Highlight text to read: in the relationship of antagonism between Dulk and his twin.

So, I have to say the plotting is really well-done--at least so far.

And finally, some good news:

Because my Japanese contacts are AWESOME, not only do I have the next two volumes, 12-13, in my hands, thanks to an acquaintance who brought me back vv. 10-13 from Japan, but if all goes well another friend who is passing through Japan will be bringing back some more volumes beyond that (I don't know how many, but the most recent volume is 22), so you can all guess what I will be reading next.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:56 pm
by Kaori
(Accidental double post. I meant to add this to the end of my previous post but hit the "quote" button instead.)

@MangaRocks! or anyone who might happen to know: Anyone know if manga publishers (i.e. in the States) listen to suggestions from consumers about what manga they'd like to see licensed? I would at this rate it might be faster to learn Japanese than to wait for this manga to be translated--but I was also toying with the thought of contacting some publishers and suggesting licensing this manga. (The fact that it has NOT been fan translated is a plus, since people who have read fan-translated manga tend to not buy them; it seems to have a fair amount of popularity in Japan and received a Media Arts Festival prize; and I also think this kind of story would fare well in America, since intense stories like FMA and Shingeki no Kyojin often are very popular in the US.)

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:25 pm
by MangaRocks!
Kaori wrote:@MangaRocks! or anyone who might happen to know: Anyone know if manga publishers (i.e. in the States) listen to suggestions from consumers about what manga they'd like to see licensed? I would at this rate it might be faster to learn Japanese than to wait for this manga to be translated--but I was also toying with the thought of contacting some publishers and suggesting licensing this manga. (The fact that it has NOT been fan translated is a plus, since people who have read fan-translated manga tend to not buy them; it seems to have a fair amount of popularity in Japan and received a Media Arts Festival prize; and I also think this kind of story would fare well in America, since intense stories like FMA and Shingeki no Kyojin often are very popular in the US.)

I know at least one publisher holds regular surveys asking what people would like to see, and it certainly never hurts to contact any of the publishers via social media or anything else! (Maybe I should, too...) :thumb:

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:04 pm
by Kaori
So, about Imuri.

Earlier, I had said that I thought the violence and content level was roughly comparable to FMA.

I have to revise that, because the violence and other adult content (particularly nudity) has really been escalating. While the graphic violence isn't nonstop, it is indeed pretty graphic and it is pretty consistently present throughout the series. There has also been quite a bit of graphic nudity recently. As far as I have read (partway through v. 14), it hasn't ever been been sexual situations, but nudity has been used in some pretty grotesque and disturbing ways. And, connected with that, some things happening recently have been of a rather disturbing nature. So the adult content level right now is definitely considerably higher than FMA.

That does not, however, change the fact that I consider this manga to be very well-written and worth reading for someone who is okay with the content level--I just wanted everyone reading this thread to be aware that the amount of violence and nudity has escalated to more than what I initially said it was.

Anyways, I read vv. 12-13 a little while ago, prior to taking a break from the series, so here are my reviews of those volumes.

Compared to previous volumes, v. 12 felt like exposition, with no enormous upheavals on the scale of a SPOILER: Highlight text to read: coup d’etat, but nevertheless had some pretty huge things happening, like, for example, SPOILER: Highlight text to read: a declaration of war from both sides, and pretty continuous, fast-paced action. We get a little bit more clarification about the in-story mechanics of the Tools of the Imuri. Also, there is a plot device in which twins can see what is happening to their twin in their dreams, and this has been used for dramatic effect for quite a while, and rather than letting this plot device grow stale by using it in the same way over and over again SPOILER: Highlight text to read: by having the Karma continually using Chimuri’s twin to find out the location of the Imuri, without anyone on the Imuri side being aware of it, the mangaka is developing it in some new ways SPOILER: Highlight text to read: because now Niko (a particularly charismic leader among the Imuri) has figured out what is happening and she is trying to outmaneuver the Karma without alerting Chimuri to the fact that she is being used; also, the twin, Mimuri, is getting tired of being made to sleep all the time and seems to be getting suspicious and fed up with the routine. Also, in terms of characters and relationships, we see some more facets of Niko and what makes her such a strong and resilient leader. One other thing I want to add is that there is something going on in this volume that is very subtle and mainly showing up in characters' facial expressions and their reactions to things that happen, rather than anything anyone says or does, but there is starting to be a bit of a glimmer of hope for SPOILER: Highlight text to read: the Karma people, as we see some reactions of horror or disgust among the Karma people themselves to things like the political purging or some of the atrocities being committed, or an awakening of compassion in one particular character who at first seemed like nothing but a stuck-up snob.

Volume 13:

-Just when I thought that we knew all there was to know about the way that the Tools of the Imuri should be used, it turns out that it is way more complicated than anyone thought, and Dulk is the one who is piecing things together, quite brilliantly. In this part of the story we start to see him actually taking on a bit of a leadership role in a way that is a natural development of his personality as we knew him from the earlier volumes in the series. He’s still not a war general commanding an army or something, but one can see him starting to grow into that “boy of destiny” role that he has and which previously he has seemed woefully inadequate to.

-Just when I thought this series couldn’t twist my heartstrings anymore by showing horrible atrocities happening, the main antagonist comes up with a tactic that’s extremely psychologically cruel (poor Chimiri—I thought that in terms of SPOILER: Highlight text to read: the fate her family suffered thigns couldn’t get much worse for her, but not so.) And I have seen the plot device of SPOILER: Highlight text to read: someone known to the heroes being mind-controlled and used against them or some variation thereof too many times to count, it seems, but one still really feels Chimuri’s anguish when faced with this tactic.

-It turns out that the puppeteer controlling the main antagonist is toeing a dangerous line by feeding the main antagonist some misinformation, which, however, the antagonist is too smart for and has already seen through. I have a guess about where this is going.

-In this volume there is yet another group of Imuri with their own distinct lifestyle and culture (I have mentioned this before, but the indiginous Imuri people, kind of like the people of ancient Japan, or Native American tribes, are divided into a bunch of distinct groups which each have their own culture and accent). And although initially I thought that the culture of this particular group of Imuri was just being used for local color and world-building, actually, there was something about their culture (completely unrelated to the Tools of the Imuri which the characters are still learning about) which ended up having an important effect on the plot of the story.

Thinking back on the plot of v. 13, a few things in particular stand out to me:

1. The story has an enormous amount of dramatic irony, used to great effect.

2. I'm impressed by how when there is some plot device or some fictional ability, it's not just introduced, and that's it, but there are complicating factors that change the way that it is used. For example, there are certain abilities that after they are introduced we find out they are effective against x but not against y. Or there are the very spoilery complications to a plot device which are in one of the spoiler brackets above. Basically, though, there are numerous complicating factors preventing this plot device from being used the same way every time and getting old.

3. I have mentioned this before, but I continue to be impressed by how the fictional abilities and so on in this world are actually quite complex, but that complexity is introduced a little bit at a time, in a very organic way, for example, as the characters themselves are trying to figure these things out, or someone mentions it because it is relevant to the present situation. So there is a lot of depth to the world-building, but it is something that is continually, gradually being built up. And it never feels forced; I never feel like a character is only sharing this information so that the reader can learn it, but rather, it always makes sense for the characters to be talking about it.

. . .

Have I mentioned that this manga is really well-written?

I'm actually not sure how long I will be able to continue reading it due to the escalating content level, which is more than I feel comfortable with, but with the possible exception of The Music of Marie it is probably so far the best-plotted manga I have ever read.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 9:15 am
by Kaori
Imuri vv. 14-17.

Ah, Imuri.

The plot if this manga is such that now almost anything I say about what is going on would be a spoiler, so I will limit myself to mostly non-plot-specific comments.

I have said this before but am amazed again at how incredibly deep and long-term the schemes of one particular character are.

Myuuba is really smart SPOILER: Highlight text to read: in a too-smart-for-his-own-good way at times, and also a totally loose cannon.

Continuing in these volumes, there seem to be some unspoken lines being drawn between the majority of the Karma people who are only concerned with power and have no scruples and the few Karma who do have a sense of human decency, so I am interested to see where that goes.

In particular, there's a character I mentioned earlier whose growing sense of compassion SPOILER: Highlight text to read: ended up affecting the plot in a major way, and I'm impressed by how although this event happens in volume 16, the character is a character who was introduced briefly in v. 1 (at the time, I didn't think she was an important character who was going to appear again), and there has been a gradual change in her attitude; that gradualness among other things makes the characterization very believable, and also it's just impressive in terms of how well-plotted the manga is.

The two kinds of special, fictional powers that characters can use (the mind-invading powers used by the Karma, and the powers that the Imuri can command using the Tools of the Imuri) continue to be developed and we keep finding out more things about them, like "this power can be countered or made ineffective by this power," and so on, and in particular the Imuri keep finding out more and more about how to use the Tools of the Imuri, but there are still things they don't know, as they are trying to piece together ancient lore that has been left to them by their ancestors in the form of cryptic songs, cloth patterns, stone carvings, and the like.

One of my predictions from earlier came true, not quite in the way I envisioned, but in the general direction for the way the story is developing, I was right on: SPOILER: Highlight text to read: My guess was that the antagonist, Myuuba, who is the twin of the hero Dulk and who previously was being manipulated by his foster-father Dyugaro, was going to end up being the one on top in the end, because the two twins both becoming the respective leaders of two people groups between whom a conflict is brewing and has now come out into the open makes for a more dramatic story.

Dramatic irony continues to be used to great effect.

In these volumes there's some tension and conflict among characters that's handled in a very psychologically realistic way.

There are also a couple of particularly heart-rending SPOILER: Highlight text to read: character deaths.

Finally, another thing of interest about this manga is that, very consistently throughout the whole manga, not everything that the main character and the other people on his side try to do is a success. This ranges from things like trying to figure out how to use the Tools of the Imuri to the main character, Dulk, not always being right about everything (and not always making good decisions), to the plans that he and the others make not always going well.

I currently have vv. 18-22 (which is all that there currently is) in my possession, so I am eagerly looking forward to reading more.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:43 pm
by Kaori
MangaRocks!, I hope you're still reading, because otherwise I might just be talking to myself.

Imuri vv. 18-22

So, I read volumes 18-21.

I don't remember when I read them.

But I definitely read them. And I read them very quickly.

In fact, when I read them, I was in such a feeding reading frenzy that I didn't stop after each volume to write my impressions, as I otherwise always do. I think I planned to do it later and then forgot.

So I don't know what my reactions to them were at the time, but I'll make just a few comments about these volumes in general.

I have mentioned before that there is a lot of dramatic irony. When I was reviewing vv. 18-21 the other day to remind myself of what happened (to prepare to read v. 22), one thing that I noticed was that there is a certain dramatic irony that has been going on for a very long time. In terms of the story, it is pretty realistic, since the character in question who doesn't know a key something that we readers know really has had no way to find out that information. From a reader's perspective, though, I kind of feel like maybe it went on a little too long (in terms of how many volumes it spanned), to the point where readers will probably get impatient with it. It does go away in volume 22, though.

There was also another Very Dramatic Event which I thought was pretty unrealistic given what we were shown earlier. So as I have commented before, occasionally how heightened the drama in the story is becomes a little bit excessive . . . overall, though, the story is nevertheless very good.

On the other hand, I was favorably impressed by the realism of how it actually took several volumes (5) for a certain character who is grieving the loss of a loved one to be able to get out of the denial phase and start to let go of that person.

Also, other readers might, like me, have forgotten about the existence of the third people group that lives on these two planets. They were there and we knew about them ever since the beginning of the story, but previously, their existence wasn't ever very important to the plot of the story. Now it is. SPOILER: Highlight text to read: They have become a third group that has entered into the conflict in a way that has decisively changed the direction that the war is going. So this is also impressive, the way that something that existed all along and whose role in society we knew all along has suddenly cropped up and become very significant to the plot.

A scene that was foreseen by a character in volume 1 actually takes place in volume 20, which is just one instance of how things that happened very briefly, or characters that seemed very minor, in the beginning of the story, keep cropping up in very significant ways later on. This all goes to show that Mitake Ranjyo (the mangaka) really had this story thoroughly planned out from the beginning, and everything is woven together extremely skillfully.

Volume 22, I read today.

And this is how I felt:


A lot of different things that various people were plotting, some of which readers knew about beforehand and some of which we didn't, all clash together at the same time. The scene in which this happens, and the ensuing scenes, are brilliant. Mitake Ranjyo is brilliant. Something that happened in this volume was a thing that I really did not see coming, though now that I think of it there was some foreshadowing that this could happen all along, and I will need to read further volumes in order to really make a complete assessment, but so far I think that the way it was carried of was very skillful.

As fate would have it, volume 23 comes out this Thursday (July 12) in Japan, and I have a friend who will be traveling in Japan at that time and who, if all goes well, might be able to bring me back a copy of volume 23.

Speaking of volume 23:


This is the v. 23 cover. Just look at that man's face. You can tell he is scheming something, and that in his mind he just knows things are going to go the way he plans.

The product description for v. 23 on Amazon Japan describes this volume as being climactic, but it does not specifically say that this is the last volume, so I don't think it is (besides, that cover definitely does not look like a final-volume cover). However, things are definitely headed towards a decisive climax, so I don't think there is too much further to go.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:11 pm
by Kaori
Imuri v. 23

I'm going to keep my comments on this volume to a minimum, though Imuri continues to be an awesome, well-written manga.

In this volume, we see what happens when the plots of two different groups--both of which don't trust each other and are planning to betray or be betrayed--clash with each other. We see the plots that one side is laying, but we don't know what the other side has planned, just that they do have something planned, and that makes the volume really fascinating to read.

The story seems to be at its climax, and the tension of the plot is by no means over (as, actually, the volume ends with SPOILER: Highlight text to read: things looking pretty grim). However, with things having come to a head in this volume, perhaps there's not too much more to go? We'll have to wait and see.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:21 pm
by MangaRocks!
@Kaori: Don't worry, you're not talking to yourself, LOL! I know I'm woefully behind on posting here (I've read *tons* of stuff since the last time I posted anything :pikka: , which I suppose I really should get around to remedying at some point soon... :sweat: ), but as the one fan-translation for Imuri that I had originally found seems to have gone on an indefinite hiatus, I am very grateful for your continuing reviews of it. (And the other stuff you're reading, too. :thumb: )

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:33 pm
by Kaori
Glad to hear it! :) I'll be looking forward to hearing about what you've been reading, too.

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:09 pm
by MangaRocks!

Seriously, though, I've read an unreal amount of stuff since the last time I posted any reading updates in this thread (which was clearly way too long ago), LOL :sweat: , so prepare for a very long scroll... :sweat: :sweat:

7 Seeds chapters 1-154 (so far):

This is a manga from the same author of the classic Basara. Now, Basara was a legitimate masterpiece, and while 7Seeds is definitely excellent, I don't think it *quite* reaches Basara's level just yet (but there's still a ways to go yet in its translation, so we'll see :) ). However, it is indeed quite gripping (I seriously couldn't put it down! :wow!: ), and very well-done. It's a completely different genre-- post-environmental-apocalypse survival-- and features no real singular protagonist (there are multiple groups of people involved in the survival project, and the POV cycles between them). The survival elements are *really* well-thought-out, and the later-revealed clinical yet downright horrific actions of certain people in creating the survival project itself is extremely chilling. Plus, the eventual interactions of the people in the groups are as varied and alternately heartwarming/heartbreaking/edge-of-your-seat-unpredictable as they are in real life. And even all of that description doesn't even really do it justice. (Have I mentioned that this series is excellent? :thumb: ) ...Now, all that said, there is some content to be aware of: There are a few instances of detailed upper female nudity (not for fanservice reasons, though); attempted (but thankfully unsuccessful) rape; brainwashing + psychological torture; mass murder (complete with some sickening 'utilization' of the corpses afterwards... :pikka: ); and some other rather disturbing things (giant mutated insects + mutated environmental/animal/disease scariness in general, etc. etc.). However, none of it felt gratuitous, and the story itself is so darn gripping that it's worth it anyway, so I do still recommend it. :thumb:

Alive: The Final Evolution volumes 1-21 (complete):

This starts off as an interesting sci-fi thriller-- with some sort of sentient alien 'virus' (well, not quite, but the full reveal comes later) causing people to instantly turn into either blissful suicide cases or extremely homicidal psychopaths, with only a rare few of the 'infected' disobeying either 'order'-- and then for some reason it quickly morphs into a rather-less-interesting battle shounen. :eyebrow: :sweat: Don't get me wrong, some of it was definitely interesting; however, it just as definitely had flaws. For example: Certain leaps of logic (and time) were a bit... well, illogical; a couple of characterization threads don't really go anywhere; and the MC's love interest is not only pretty much useless/used against him throughout the entire thing :shady: , there also wasn't really any chemistry or reasoning for why they become a couple in the end other than the MC just saying that he liked her once. :eyebrow: So, yeah, it started out with some pretty great potential, but ended up just kinda meh for me in the end. *shrug*

Ao no Flag chapters 1-33 (so far):

This is a very heartfelt romance/drama series with a very unconventional love square. (Along with the many for-now-presumably-straight characters in this series, there are several prominent LGBTQ+ characters as well {one character is gay and another is lesbian}; however, it is treated sensitively, is not for fanservice at all {indeed, nothing actually happens with them anyway, either 'onscreen' or off}, and is not dwelled on more than necessary for realistic characterization.) Some discussion of certain personal and societal perceptions (such as the school beauty being furiously fed up with everyone's completely false assumptions about her, which they base solely on her image; one of the female MC's having never liked herself, with acknowledgment that there's no quick fix for that; etc.) was a pleasant surprise; the art often shows more than tells (as a lot of feelings are conveyed much more through actions, expressions, body language, and character gaze rather than speech); and despite the LGBTQ+ character presence and an occasional (but rare) cliché, so far I've found it rather refreshing for a school-set drama/romance. Now, granted, I have no idea how it's going to end (two of the for-now-presumably-straight MC's just started dating, but given their respective characterizations so far + the somewhat-subtle undercurrent of unconventionality this series seems to have, it's anyone's guess if it'll last; for example, the two guys could still end up together, or everyone could end up single for that matter, and none of it would feel out of character, so who knows? *shrug*); but everything has been fairly well-written up to here, so I trust that regardless of any of the outcomes it will be as good a read as it has been so far.

Beastars chapters 1-89 (so far):

...Oh boy. Well, basically, if Zootopia was more anthropomorphic, *far* darker, rather twisted, and made specifically for mature audiences, then you'd have this. :sweat: And while I wholeheartedly ship the adorable fox/rabbit couple in Zootopia, Beastars is definitely *NOT* a Disney flick :pikka: , which means that the 'relationships' *this* series' rabbit has are actually pretty darn unsettling (and intentionally so). Indeed, there is actually quite a fair amount of both sexual and violent content in this that (purposefully) disturbs (there is a black market for meat, for example, and its portrayal is exactly as horrifying as it sounds-- even up to and including an herbivore essentially engaging in actual cannibalism, which is pretty stomach-turning just in concept; plus all of the other carnal/seedy stuff that you'd expect from that kind of district {strip clubs, prostitution, etc.}). That said, personally, the payoff has been worth the unpleasant content so far. Legosi, the wolf MC, is a wonderful character, and when his attitude/philosophy/etc. 'levels up' in a sense, it's a thing of beauty to behold. As for the main plot thread that winds its way through the series (though it is purposefully only in true focus at specific times), the reveal of the original culprit (once it finally occurs) is surprisingly abrupt, but makes a little more sense later on once said culprit's (very broken, but expertly disguised) personality is revealed. (On the other hand, the reveal of SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Legosi's grandfather was a bit of a stretch for my suspension of disbelief, as it literally wouldn't be possible, biologically speaking; however, since all of the animals are much more anthropomorphic here than one usually sees in fiction, it wasn't too hard to let it be. So, anyway, overall, this one is unfortunately difficult to recommend due to the level of content, but is well-done nonetheless.

Dead Mount Death Play chapters 1-16 (so far):

...First things first: I unfortunately cannot recommend this to hardly anyone else because of a certain bit of content in chapter 5-- namely, SPOILER: Highlight text to read: a yuri sex scene that leaves *nothing* to the imagination. :wow!: :pikka: Thus, only if one could handle that-- *plus* other occasional unnecessary fanservice *and* some fairly disturbing violence :pikka: -- would I even dare mention it. Those unfortunate points are very irritating indeed, because when it comes to storytelling, Ryohgo Narita-sensei *never* disappoints, and true to form, even the first chapter of this series already lived up to that rule. This series brutally (and brilliantly) twists every initial expectation one might have upon first reading it-- from SPOILER: Highlight text to read: actually *reversing* the 'isekai' trope (which is very rare nowadays in comparison to the 'normal' way) to completely destroying the assumption of which character actually made that trip (as well as any assumptions one might have had *about* said character in the first place)-- and the story/worldbuilding as well as his trademark super-messed-up characters are all fascinating (and occasionally chilling) as heck. Still, despite the man being one of my all-time favorite authors, and despite the positives I just mentioned, I cannot in good conscience recommend this at all due to that very unnecessary bit of content early on. :shake:

Demons Of Shanghai chapters 1-4 (complete):

This was a cute and comedic little miniseries (with great worldbuilding, too) by Hiromu Arakawa-sensei (the mangaka of Fullmetal Alchemist and Silver Spoon, among other things). Unfortunately, it must have either been a pilot or prematurely cancelled, because not only does it not really 'end,' but there was clearly so much more story to be told. :( Oh well...

The Heiress And The Chauffeur vol.'s 1-2 (complete):

...As you might be able to guess from the title, this fits the 'pseudo-historical forbidden-love-across-social-barriers' stereotype to a T. It wasn't actually *bad* or anything (in fact, there was really nothing about it to dislike); it was just really, *really* average, and didn't attempt to be any more. So, while I didn't really mind reading it once, it also isn't something that I'd ever take the time to read again, either, LOL. :P *shrug*

Itsuya-san vol.'s 1-2 (complete):

This was a neat little miniseries featuring some unique, slightly-dark-yet-whimsical magic and a touching story. Worth a one-time read.

Kare Kano: His And Her Circumstances vol.'s 1-21 (complete):

This was... er... interesting. :sweat: At first, it was better than I'd been expecting-- said expectation being that the premise would get dragged out. To my pleasant surprise instead, the 2 MC's are actually already officially dating by volume *2,* and the 'rivalry' doesn't really go anywhere serious, either. It delves a lot into personalities and masks, gleefully dismantles the school festival trope, and was generally quite good for a while (despite some horrific flashbacks that are not easy to get through). However, later on, some issues did unfortunately arise. Namely: Some of the psychological and relational issues get worked through quite a bit quicker than is realistic... plus, even more importantly, multiple side-couples are varying shades of problematic-- one, which is at least somewhat credible (in terms of their feelings, I mean, not its actual resolution), involves (100% *not* related at all, though, thankfully) step-siblings, which I know is a turn-off for many; another stretches disbelief with an adult-teen relationship that is *not* delved into deep enough to be credible; and, to top it all off, I honestly have no idea what the heck the mangaka was thinking with the SPOILER: Highlight text to read: 'soulmate' for Asaba thing at the very end :?: -- I mean, age gap in fiction isn't an issue for me as long as it's a (...wait for it...) credible relationship on both sides, but this went far beyond even just "*not* credible" to outright "holy *crap* that is creepy, what the genuine heck??! :wow!: " real fast :pikka: ... which, as one might well imagine, kinda put a pretty big damper on the whole thing. :shady: So, yeah, this one wasn't a keeper in the end, unfortunately. :shake:

Kigurumi Guardians vol.'s 1-3 (so far):

I'm not gonna lie, I'm hooked on this. It's a beautifully-drawn (and unexpectedly dark on occasion) series featuring psychological warfare, giant fluffy transforming extra-dimensional mascot-like aliens, viciously-ripped-out-hearts, and a lot of kissing. ;) :grin: (No, really, the kissing is what temporarily transforms the aforementioned mascot aliens to and from human form. :thumb: ) ...Ahem. As you might possibly have gathered, there are two distinct tones present here-- light-hearted and dark-- yet they somehow work together so incredibly well that it just seems right. Now, that said, as for content: Other than some surprising (but not overly graphic) violence and some fanservicey clothing on occasion on the enemies' part, the one thing that I really do have to mention is that this does contain some likely shounen-ai at times (there are two straight pairings and two m/m pairings; one of the m/m ones seems to have been previously established before the start of the series and are pretty much implied to be a couple as far as I can tell, and the rest are all very likely heading towards being romantic as well... though they were all originally just partnered up purely for fighting-power compatibility and nothing else, so it is by no means certain that any of the other three pairs-- including the other m/m one-- will actually be romantic in the end); however, that element is actually quite light (nothing occurs beyond the transforming-kisses), is also balanced by the equal amount of straight pairings, and the story well more than makes up for it; so unless something egregious happens later on, I have no problems recommending this so far. :)

Kimi wa Boku no Taiyou one-shot (complete):

...MY HEART!!! <3 So short, so sweet, so perfect! Saying anything more would spoil it, so please just trust me and read this. :hug:

Kiryuu-sensei wa Renai ga Wakaranai., a.k.a. Dousei Sensei wa Renai ga Wakaranai., a.k.a. Miss Kiryuu doesn't know what love is., chapters 1-6 (so far):

Don't be fooled by the typical-sounding title, nor the series' first 8 pages (as that's actually the purposefully-cliché *in-universe* manga that the MC writes, and which she promptly {and rightfully} derides right after! :grin: ). The reason I decided to read this is because I'd heard that it featured one of the first openly-/directly-confirmed-in-canon asexual protagonists in a manga (that I'm aware of, at least). :thumb: Plus, she's an adult in her 30's, is actually fairly extroverted when not anxious, and firmly stands up for accuracy and faithfulness in the (in-universe) anime adaptation of her work (which I dearly wish more real-life mangaka would do as well, TBH :eyeroll: :P ). It also seems very well-researched in terms of the MC's orientation, experiences, and frustrations with societal expectations in general, as well as the consequent reactions of all the sexual (of whatever type) people around her-- indeed, I very much suspect that the mangaka must be ace themselves, otherwise this wouldn't be such a passionate, ever-present, and important facet of the story. I personally really appreciate this, as I just recently came to the realization that I myself am asexual-- more specifically, a *romantic* ace (...said very-belated realization-- as I approached 30 years old! :sweat: -- precisely because I've always still felt aesthetic and romantic attraction, it's just separate from/devoid of any *sexual* desire/attraction {a concept which I know is often very difficult for a sexual person-- which is of course the vast majority of the population :P -- to even wrap their mind around, and which in fact I myself didn't even realize weren't the same things until I looked it up and got an accidental revelation about what I felt [long story short, I was actually trying to figure out if a character in another fiction series I was reading before this was ace-- and then realized that the info I was looking up actually described me even better instead, LOL! :P ]}), so as long as this stays respectful to the MC's orientation and choices (since aces can obviously still *choose* to engage in romantic-- and even intimate-- activities, even if they don't feel the innate desire or drive to do so), then I'm all for having some romance in here ('cause, y'know, still romantic ;) ).

Kon no Ki Konoha one-shot (complete):

This was a bittersweet little one-shot that is somewhat reminiscent of the Hotarubi no Mori e one-shot by a different author, but this has enough of its own unique flavor to be its own thing, so I can't really compare it too much. Now, bittersweet stuff can be hit-or-miss for me at times because I'm a romantic, LOL, but if it's written well I can approve, and this certainly was (and thus I do :) ). It was somehow descriptive enough that you could mentally 'see' the blue color in certain things despite the black-and-white medium, and it definitely made me feel emotion; so, yeah, it was good. :thumb:

Liar Game vol.'s 1-19 (complete):

Ah yes, the semi-famous psychological series. Let's start with the female MC first: Initally, despite being in college, she is *extremely* innocent, childlike, and naïve; cries at the drop of a hat; and is 'rescued' by the male MC constantly. :eyeroll: :forehead: *However,* she is not actually stupid (well, not really)-- not only does she learn (although it takes more 'betrayals' than one might expect until that occurs :eyeroll: :P ), and not only does the male MC genuinely do his best to try and help her understand the depths of human nature (except in the rare case where her not knowing would actually help the current cause, but in that case he does always still explain immediately afterwards), but she can actually pick up on certain things-- and by the end of volume 3, there's already an interesting twist in perspective on the entire purpose of the 'game' thanks to her innate ideals (and, indeed, it later becomes obvious that those are actually integral to surviving the rounds), and the manga *really* gets good overall starting from vol. 4 onwards. Also: Each round in the game is extremely different, both in the designated activity itself as well as the subtle point of it (always examining different aspects of human nature and interactions); and the intentional loopholes left in each one by the creators make for some very clever (and occasionally even hilarious :grin: ) strategies. The only really annoying thing is that the gamemasters' commentary can get *really* tedious/repetitive/filler-y at times (particularly in the fourth round, which makes that particular section take way too long to get through, IMO). Otherwise, much of it was interesting. As for content, there's not really anything of note other than some swearing and the ugly selfishness of human nature on full display; but there is one character who is apparently both trans and nonbinary (he was originally male, then got some... er... physical adjustments in the other direction :sweat: , but is still perfectly fine with both presenting as either gender and being referred to with any pronoun), so there is that. Oh, and not a content thing, but man, that ending... what the heck? It just... SPOILER: Highlight text to read: ends??? :pikka: I mean, I understood the vibe it was trying to give there, but still, some closure of any sort would have been nice. :?: :sweat: Good enough one-time read, though, I guess.

Lying Mii-kun And Broken Maa-chan: Precious Lies chapters 1-5 (complete):

This was a quick little thriller with *very* broken MC's (hence the title, LOL). Nothing special, but a decent short time-killer.

Maid-Sama! chapters 1-85 (complete):

The nice thing about this (other than the humor, of course ;) ) is that the female MC is both physically and mentally very strong-- and not 'naturally,' either, but instead through much hard effort-- never backs down from a challenge, and works 10 times harder than anyone else. (And her initial antagonism towards men softens as she grows, too.) :thumb: I also loved the fact that it gleefully turned the awful 'almost-rape' trope completely on its ear towards the beginning with the female MC totally taking them out :bootout: :thumb: (...though it was a bit unfortunate that the male MC did have to save her from a similar situation with the spoiled rich boy later on {although, judging from his personality, he probably wouldn't have gone that far anyway, but still}; however, other than that, while the male MC does stand up for the female MC and support her often, it's very clearly shown that she can handle herself perfectly well on her own in the vast majority of situations, and is usually the one doing the saving anyway, LOL, so yeah). As for the story/humor/etc. itself, I will say that some of the situations are a bit ridiculous and some suspension-of-disbelief is required, but it so heartily runs with its own premises to the fullest (which even leads up to some very funny situational punchlines much later on when you're not expecting them :thumb: ) that you can't help but be drawn along anyway. :grin: Plus, while not a true trope-twister, it does play with expectations at least a little bit later on (such as with the SPOILER: Highlight text to read: characters in the rich school-- yeah, they tend to look down on those supposedly 'lower' than them, but when the male MC finally transfers there and thus you're expecting a full-on fight, it turns out that they're really just more like eccentric kids trolling for fun on occasion than actually dangerous or even truly mean; indeed, they end up causing both of the MC's laughter rather than tears, and even 'help' the female MC towards the end {well, purely for the one rich boy's great amusement + business interests, but still :grin: }). As for content (aside from what was already mentioned above): The (very straight) male MC gives another guy a quick kiss for spoilery reasons (but suffice it to say that it literally means nothing at all, LOL {in fact, in context it's actually pretty hilarious, TBH :grin: }); there is a 'teacher' who is very openly a lesbian (despite being in an {arranged} engagement with a guy) and falls for the female MC (but the MC handles that situation perfectly well by herself); and two male side-characters sort-of seem to eventually be implied to be a couple (but very ambiguously so?). TL;DR: It's not a *great* manga, but IMO it was a decently *good* one, and I quite enjoyed most of it.

Magic Knight Rayearth parts 1 & 2 (6 volumes total, complete):

...Well, as you might know if you've read a lot of their works, CLAMP can be surprisingly hit-or-miss at times. On the one hand, their good stuff is *SUPER* good; on the other, their not-so-good stuff is... pretty darn mediocre, LOL. :sweat: So it's kind-of a toss-up whenever you try out another series by them as to which kind it'll be. (But it's worth it, because, as stated, their good stuff is *excellent.* :thumb: ) So, of course, the question then becomes, which kind is MKR? ...Well, the mediocre kind, unfortunately, LOL. :P It's one of their earlier series, and it shows, in both art and plot-- especially in Part 1. Part 2 does better in both areas (although the action scenes can sometimes still be a bit inscrutable in terms of what is going on), though. That said, I can understand why this series was a big deal at the time-- it being one of the earlier RPG-like isekai manga, all 3 chosen legendary knights being female (wielding both magic and mecha, no less), having love interests but only rarely being rescued by them or anyone else other than their fellow female knights, and having a more pleasantly-surprising ending than one might be expecting. (Also, I have to admit that-- having read CLAMP's later multiverse-crossover series Tsubasa... before actually getting around to this-- the reveal about SPOILER: Highlight text to read: what (the pale-colored) Monoka supposedly really was was a twist that I definitely did *NOT* see coming, LOL. :wow!: :lol: :lol: Mostly a forgettable read nowadays though. *shrug*

Music Of Marie, a.k.a. Marie no Kanaderu Ongaku, vol.'s 1-2 (complete):

This features a whimsical world far in the future, where technology only goes so far but is wonderfully imaginative despite its lower level. I can't say much more than that without getting into spoiler territory, but I will add that the art is also surprisingly detailed, and the worldbuilding is top-tier. :thumb: Plus, the unexpected SPOILER: Highlight text to read: choice that the male MC makes at the end combined with the downright brilliant gut-punch of SPOILER: Highlight text to read: an unreliable narrator twist afterwards provides great re-read value, besides. ...Now, that said, there is some content to be aware of; namely: Male masturbation, detailed upper female nudity (though not of a real person), and a worldwide religion unfortunately worshipping what is essentially just an extremely advanced bit of technology (this last of which is an actual plot point, so that religious aspect does have quite a heavy focus). If you can handle that, however, it is a pretty amazing piece of work that will rightfully linger in your thoughts afterward. :thumb:

Please Save My Earth vol.'s 1-12 (complete) + its sequel Boku wo Tsutsumu Tsuki no Hikari vol.'s 1-15 (complete):

First things first: If you read PSME, you *MUST* also read the sequel-- because so much closure happens there that it's no mere add-on, but rather might as well just be called the second half of the story proper (more explanation on that a little later). And second things second: I do have to note all the content right away, because unfortunately there's a lot of it. :sweat: First, this series' entire premise is based on reincarnation (with memories intact), and not always to the same gender, either (...indeed, one of the male characters in the present is very confused for quite a while because he was previously female in his past life, and the man she was in love with then is now her/his best friend in the present. Neither of them are gay (indeed, SPOILER: Highlight text to read: the formerly-female-now-male character actually gets engaged to a girl later on, and they end up quite happy together); however, once the formerly-female character remembers his previous life's memories, the love reawakens for a while at first {though it's obviously even more doomed this time than in his previous life :sweat: -- and that actually becomes a plot point later-- but despite all that he does still try giving the other guy a kiss anyway [which is quite soundly rejected :sweat: ], and would clearly have been willing to do much more if the other guy had accepted it [though he didn't], so I did have to mention it}). And that's just the start. Beyond that, there are some panels depicting detailed upper female nudity (almost all of which are actually completely innocent on the character in question's part due to her upbringing, though there is one sexual instance as well); there is a very... unusual (and suspension-of-disbelief-breaking) age difference with the main couple (not that the gap itself is too large out of context, but where the starting ages are is... *really* low, if you catch my drift :pikka: :sweat: ) due to the time difference between the deaths of the characters' past lives :sweat: , although it's *slightly* mitigated in the male MC's case due to the whole SPOILER: Highlight text to read: having-adult-mind-and-memories thing... however, SPOILER: Highlight text to read: he still gives the female MC (who is a 16-/17-year-old at the time) a kiss that he really means at a body-age of around 8/9, proposes getting 'immediately' married when he's body-age 13 (although it turns out that they don't actually do so until he's 18, despite having a kid earlier than that, for some reason :eyebrow: :sweat: ), and (as just mentioned) already had a kid with her when his body-age was no more than 16 (i.e., he was body-age 15 at the time of the act, and it was the at-the-time-24-year-old female MC who pushed for it), so... yeah, that's definitely an issue :sweat:; and, topping it all off, some quite heavy stuff happened in the past lives, including SPOILER: Highlight text to read: a male character raping a female character (which is a complicated event, because the female character had actually gone to be with him willingly at first, then very definitely changed her decision once she realized why he really wanted to sleep with her; but he forced her to continue against her will anyway, hence indeed rape). That in itself is pretty unpleasant, obviously, but what makes it rather problematic even in a storytelling sense is that-- at first-- it seems as if she forgave him immediately and even fell in 'love' with him despite the violation, which obviously leaves a really bad taste for the reader at the time; in reality, however, it just takes quite a while before you finally see her perspective of all the events and so understand her true personality + what her real feelings were and the disconnect between them and what she said to others + etc., and it's all far more complex and a tad more realistic than that first flashback made it seem to appear. Indeed, in the end-- once everything is finally revealed in full-- the 'relationship' they had in that past life was not portrayed as anything other than a tragic and *very* mutually-destructive one, not positive at all. But it is still rather distressing to read, especially before that reveal (but still so even after it). Now, that said, the story itself is rather interesting; and, honestly, the continuation/sequel Boku wo Tsutsumu Tsuki no Hikari is what makes it all worth it, because it's leagues better than part one-- it's got *immense* amounts of closure and character development (indeed, so much so that it eventually becomes vitally necessary to the entire story, as mentioned above), plus the original MC's son (who is the new MC here) is just about the most adorable thing in the entire world. <3 There is one minor plot thread introduced in part two that doesn't really go anywhere, but apparently a part three was made that will hopefully be translated at some point, so I'm sure that will be addressed there; there's so much other closure though that you almost don't even notice anyway. So, TL;DR: YMMV on whether this is really worth it in the end, since only the continuation/sequel is truly good, yet the not-so-good initial series must still necessarily be read to even understand said continuation in the first place; but it was for me, so take that as you will. *shrug*

Queen's Quality vol.'s 1-3 (so far):

This is the (merely renamed) continuation of Kyousuke Motomi's QQ Sweeper, and ohhh man... I was already enjoying it before, but it's only getting even better now. :jump: The plot reasons for keeping the MC in the dark (so to speak :P ) about her past (and thus also forcing poor Kyutaro to not say anything) actually make a lot of sense, and permanently endear Kyutaro to your heart at the same time. And it's not like it's even staying that way, though, as she fairly quickly begins to learn some of it anyway. Speaking of which: Things are getting pretty serious in terms of her dark side and the baddie trying to activate it (and holy crap, that one flashback/returned memory was horrifying... :pikka: ) As for lighter things, though, the MC's official 'weapon' was priceless. :lol: Looking forward to more~ :thumb:

Ran And The Gray World, a.k.a. Ran to Haiiro no Sekai vol.'s 1-7 (complete):

This was a very... er... *interesting* series. :eyebrow: On the one hand: The art was gorgeous (and featured very detailed backgrounds/spaces that felt unusually well-lived-in, besides); the characters were a lot of fun (...well, most of the time :P ); the magic was at times wondrously whimsical, and at other times rather horrifying (in a good way, though, LOL); and the ending was sweet. :) On the other hand: While apparently not entirely human, and despite her transforming magic (which allows her to appear much older at will), the MC is still only a mere 10 years old, which makes a certain pseudo-relationship that she has for a time super-duper creepy/wrong :?: (although it's *not* ever SPOILER: Highlight text to read: official, thankfully, but that's definitely not for lack of trying on the guy's part. :pikka: :forehead: :shake: I mean, you can kinda understand it from the guy's perspective *at first,* since he's a huge playboy and the MC's older form is genuinely stunning, and he thinks she's like around 16/17-ish due to her appearance {which, given his own age, is still not great, but... :sweat: }. *However,* once it's revealed SPOILER: Highlight text to read: {...with his dying breath, no less (?!)} that he *still* wouldn't have given up even knowing her *real* age :wow!: , that's where I have to draw the line. :bootout: Luckily, the MC SPOILER: Highlight text to read: ends up with someone age-appropriate instead in the end-- but it's implied that even that only happened simply because SPOILER: Highlight text to read: the older suitor *died*... so, yeah, yikes :wow!: :bootout: :?: ); some of the sorceresses have no care for how much skin they show; and there is nudity (one male shown from the rear {just his butt}, and several females shown from the front {with detailed upper nudity}), both in sexual situations (with one of the aforementioned guy's former lovers, and also with another character's 'mate') and non-sexual (bathing, relaxing, etc.) situations. (Though, interestingly, to me the nudity seemed to feel less like fanservice and more like a genuine appreciation of the female form much of the time; but it's still there, and sex *is* involved with it at times, so YMMV). So, yeah, in terms of art, concept, characters (mostly), and plot (mostly), it was really good; but it also had some really creepy/weird content issues that unfortunately make it pretty difficult to recommend. :shady:

(Grouping together the few things I hadn't yet read from Satoshi Mizukami here under his name regardless of the usual alphabetical-by-titles order because it's easier to just put it all in one spot, LOL:)

Sanjin Sadou chapters 1-21 (complete):

This was Mizukami-sensei's very first series; and while that is obvious (it's not polished, and the story is a bit thin), it was still an entertaining short read.

Imasara Fantasy one-shot (complete):

Forgettable, but a couple of minutes of amusement. :)

Matsuri Connection one-shot (complete):

This was really cute (and rather clever besides), and I enjoyed it. :)

And Psycho Staff chapters 1-7 (complete):

Oh my gosh, this was so good! :jump: I loved the fact that the MC is a pacifist, and this was a well-paced, no-fluff, nicely-compact story that was nicely concluded, too. Recommended (as are all 3 of his other longer works {reviewed previously}-- The Lucifer And Biscuit Hammer, Sengoku Youko, and Spirit Circle).

Sugiru Juunana no Haru vol.'s 1-2 (complete):

This is a nicely creepy miniseries. It starts off deliberately slow, building up the bizarre personality change of one of the characters + the whole unpleasant family history, then gets more intense in brief spikes as things finally come to a head. It's not fast-paced at all-- again, it is very deliberate-- but it held my interest all the way through, and was definitely a decent one-time read.

Tomo-chan wa Onnanoko!, a.k.a. Tomo-chan Is A Girl!, 841 pages (...equates to around 8 volumes, I think?) (so far):

This is a comedic 4-koma that (while eventually bound into volumes as usual) is serialized just one page at a time-- hence the unconventional numbering, LOL. The premise of this series is that due to her personality, speech, strength, and habits in general, the male MC totally thought that the female MC was a fellow boy for years; and even now that he knows better, he still forgets she's a girl, LOL, etc. I have to admit, at first I thought that the joke might get stale after a while, but I was happy to be proven wrong-- for one thing, the characters other than the main girl aren't what you originally expect (Tomo's best friend is hilariously devious; the rich airhead is actually *far* more interesting than she initially appears; said rich girl's love interest Is very sweet; and even Tomo's own admittedly-dense love interest is really just more in confusion and denial than anything :grin: )... and, for another, things actually do progress. :thumb: Now, that said, it's not the *greatest* comedy around (even of the ones I'm currently reading), but it's been entertaining enough to keep me around for 840+ pages and counting, LOL, so it's good enough. :)

Toukei Ibun vol.'s 1-4 (complete):

This is a neat little period drama mystery where you only know exactly as much as the MC's do at any given time, so you're constantly trying to figure out how many baddies there are, whether or not they're supernatural, human, or some of each, if any of it has to do with the weird inter-family dispute of a local high-ranking family, and if so, who on earth the culprit(s) is/are, and-- most importantly -- *why* everything is happening. It's also a stealth SPOILER: Highlight text to read: horror *and* stealth SPOILER: Highlight text to read: tragedy. Recommended. :thumb:

Twinkle Stars, a.k.a. Hoshi wa Utau, omnibus vol.'s 1-4 (covering Japanese volumes 1-8) (so far):

...Wow. Natsuki Takaya really doesn't shy away from heavy stuff, does she (included in this one: implied gang activity in one character's background, bullying, neglect, physical and psychological abuse, personality and mental issues resulting from the previous, and attempted suicide)... :sweat: Not that that's a bad thing, of course; I just wasn't really expecting *all* of her series to have a dark edge. (Fine with me, though, if it's written well, and so far this is. :) ) There is still some humor as well, of course; and I am completely invested in seeing the main characters heal, whether or not any romance works out; so yeah. :thumb:

Undercurrent chapters 1-11 (complete):

This was an amazingly atmospheric miniseries that really used the visual medium to its advantage. :thumb: Literally the only complaint I have is the ending. Like, I totally get (and approve! :thumb: ) of the MC deciding to 'not rely on men,' etc.; however, the sheer *ambiguity* of what the helper guy did bugged me to no end. SPOILER: Highlight text to read: He totally should have stayed, for one thing... but, because he didn't actually get on the bus, does that mean he changed his mind and went back after all? Or did he just leave by walking? There's no answer, and I hate that sort of thing. (Seriously, just give me a clue here either way, for closure's sake... :shady: :?: :P ) Otherwise, quite good.

Warau Kanoko-sama, a.k.a. The Secret Notes Of Lady Kanoko, chapters 1-14.1 (complete) + the continuation/sequel Koi Dano Ai Dano chapters 1-39 (complete) + the sequel's spinoff Koinashi Ainashi chapters 1-12 (so far):

Okay... I have completely different opinions on the two main parts of this series. :sweat: The first part (Warau Kanoko-sama) was *not* great. :forehead: I mean, the first chapter of it was cute enough, but the chapters afterward used a lot of clichés, and though it *tried* to twist them/play with them a bit, that didn't really work. :sweat: (Indeed, it was originally just written as a one-shot and then later expanded, and it's pretty obvious {with not much idea of where it was going in the middle there, and a suspension-of-disbelief-shattering conceit of having the MC switch schools in every chapter :eyebrow: , etc.}. :sweat: ) However, the MC is a bit unusual in that she's whip-smart, observant to the extreme (well, except in certain circumstances ;) ), takes crap from absolutely no one, and is devious enough to wrap anyone she wishes around her finger, by force if necessary (even successfully blackmailing bullies, for example). So, thankfully, the *second* part (Koi Dano Ai Dano)--once she stays in one place for good-- is actually not only a lot funnier, but also just a lot more engaging all-around. (Plus, it's there where you discover why she 'didn't notice' the male MC's intentions-- SPOILER: Highlight text to read: because she had tremendously low self-esteem-- and the way he breaks through that is hilariously awesome. :grin: :thumb: Now, that said, several side-couple threads go nowhere, unfortunately :shady: ; but at least the one that *does* is quite satisfying. (Oh, and Koinashi Ainashi is just kind-of a random spinoff of the second part, featuring stuff similar to the kind of thing usually put as end-of chapter/volume bonus omake; it's not at all necessary, and not great on its own, but not bad for a quick read mixed in as you go throughout the second portion of the main series.) ...So, yeah, in the end, mixed feelings on this...

And, finally, Yurara vol.'s 1-5 (complete) + Rasetsu chapters 1-36 (complete) + Yume no Moribito chapters 1-2 via the usual methods & 3-16 via raws and text translations (complete):

These three supernatural-tinged series-- Yurara, Rasetsu, and Yume no Moribito-- are *very loosely* connected... which is a good thing, since while the second and third series are very good indeed, the first one is actually quite bad. :forehead: :sweat: (Yurara employs every awful cliché there is, has no depth at all {in story, characters, or relationships}, features the worst kind of 'harasser'-type endgame 'love interest,' and the list just keeps going on. Indeed, if I hadn't been using it as an entry in this year's MAL Reading Challenge, I would've dropped it like a rock before I even finished the first volume. :sweat: ) Thankfully, however, Rasetsu is *leagues* better-- the new MC is an adult, and has a deviously fun personality; the secondary MC plays off of her and the other characters really well; and the shady rival actually has a really good plot reason for acting the way he does. Plus, their boss is hilarious (and occasionally sweet in a melancholy sort of way), and the one non-powered sidekick is just an adorable fluffball who unwittingly 'heals hearts.' :grin: The story was just the right length for its plot, and both the way that said plot was subtly built up merely by one character's actions as well as the piercing-yet-still-happy ending was perfect. That said, it's not like this was one of the greatest manga or anything, but it's certainly a darn good one. :thumb: And the last of the three, Yume no Moribito, which features the aforementioned boss as its MC, isn't *quite* as good as Rasetsu, but it's sweet, and I definitely still enjoyed it. :thumb:

Re: What Manga are you reading?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:25 pm
by Kaori
MangaRocks, thanks for your reviews! I always enjoy hearing about what you've been reading. Comments about the above:

7 Seeds: That is really cool that you are reading this; thanks for reviewing it. I always used to see Tamura Yumi's other works in bookstores in Japan and wonder about them, but never made the investment to find out (other than one short story collection which didn't leave much of an impression on me).

The Heiress And The Chauffeur vol.'s 1-2: I . . . think I read this once, and yep, it was pretty average. I found the author's comment that apparently at that time in history there really were several cases of women running off with their chauffeurs interesting.

Maid-Sama!: I read most of this back when I still read fan translations, and I did really love Misaki as a character. Such a great strong female lead.

Music Of Marie: So glad you got a chance to read this. (^_^) Speaking of this mangaka, you might also enjoy Genkaku Picasso, by the same author. It's a little bit hard to recommend on CAA based on the content (for example, BDSM comes up in one chapter), but based on the kinds of things you read, you would probably like it. I'ts very psychological (they *literally* delve into the psyche of a different character every chapter) and focused on helping those characters work through things and find healing, and it also has some amazing artwork. (I think I might have posted about it in this thread, but there's no telling how far back that is now.)

(Yurara employs every awful cliché there is, has no depth at all {in story, characters, or relationships}, features the worst kind of 'harasser'-type endgame 'love interest,' and the list just keeps going on. Indeed, if I hadn't been using it as an entry in this year's MAL Reading Challenge, I would've dropped it like a rock before I even finished the first volume. :sweat: ) Thankfully, however, Rasetsu is *leagues* better

It's nice to see a mangaka improve, isn't it?

Anyways, I'm glad you enjoyed Rasetsu and Yume no Moribito. I had read a little bit of Rasetsu and it just didn't grab me enough for me to continue, whereas Yume no Moribito just *really* hit the spot for me with the dynamic of what was going on with the characters. But Rasetsu would probably be interesting to go back and read, if you say it is that good. :)

Things I have been reading:

Some free samples on Renta! in Japanese, which I almost forgot that I read.

琉球のユウナ (Yuuna of the Ryukyu Kingdom) chapter 1: This is a completely and utterly ridiculous piece of shojo fluff set in the Ryukyu Kingdom (what Okinawa was before it became a part of Japan). The king of the Ryukyu Kingdom is dressed like and pretending to be a normal person and goes looking for this red-haired girl, Yuuna, who is shunned by everyone for her spiritual powers, because he needs her to try to heal a curse. Even in the very first chapter, the plot is completely eye-rolling ridiculous, with the king just tramping around the back country and having a friendly personality (asking Yuuna to call him by his given name, being friendly towards her and making it clear that he likes her from the beginning and so on), a villain who is both suddenly revealed to be the villain and just as suddenly repents, all in the first chapter, with no character development, and the like. However, it’s also chock-full of references to Okinawan culture and history both in the drawings and in the people and things that are referred to in the dialogue, so I enjoyed it immensely for that reason.

下天の華 (Geten no Hana / Earthly Flower) vol. 1: This is a manga about a kunoichi (female ninja) who is pretending to be a princess in order to gather information. This is another shojo-ridiculous manga in which historical figures like Oda Nobunaga are transformed into bishonen, sometimes with very ridiculous personalities; for example, one historical figure (Ieyasu, was it?? I forgot) is transformed into a shy man who is terrified of women but very fond of and kind to animals. Apparently the manga itself is based on a women’s romance-adventure game, which tells us right away that every male character is going to either truly fall in love with the female lead or at least flirt with her. The first volume, however, is pretty clean other than a bit of innuendo that is not in terribly good taste, and it was interesting for the combination of exposure to real historical figures (transformed into shojo manga hero bishonen with complete disregard to realism), a female main character who is a kunoichi, and the female main character’s humorously adorable mistakes in trying to act as the polished young lady that she is supposed to be (for example, making humorous mistakes in her attempts to use honorific language, handling a frog with her bare hands when all the other women are screaming, and so on).

Although I enjoyed them both myself, I wouldn’t really recommend either one unless you are able to enjoy ridiculously unrealistic and fluffy shojo manga for the sake of their cultural and historical references (and/or also the cute and ridiculously unrealistic fluff).

I simply have not been reading a whole lot of manga recently (not because I don't like manga but because my Japanese entertainment time has all been going to video games), but I do have all of Mushishi sitting around waiting to be read, and I also just looked and found out that Ozaki Kaori (Immortal Rain, The Gods Lie) has a couple volumes of a new series out, so that will be on my to-read list when I get a chance to get to it.