Pages

Friday, February 23, 2018

Manga Review: Yona of the Dawn, Volume 9, by Mizuho Kusanagi


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: December 2017
Volumes: 25+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 8. 10.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A red-haired princess loses her family and her kingdom… Now she must rise and fight for her throne!

Princess Yona lives an ideal life as the only princess of her kingdom. Doted on by her father, the king, and protected by her faithful guard Hak, she cherishes the time spent with the man she loves, Su-won. But everything changes on her 16th birthday when tragedy strikes her family!

Zeno, the Yellow Dragon, joins Yona’s party, and now the Four Dragons are finally assembled! Yona and her friends head to Yun’s birthplace in the land of the Fire Tribe. The people in the area not only have to deal with famine, but are forced into poverty by heavy taxes. What measures will Yona and her friends take to protect the town from oppressive government officials?

Review:

Finally, some fully new content! Ooh, man, I love it.
The gang is hanging out with Ik-su, and the village that Yun lived in before. We get to see what Yun really did to help everyone there, and the gang of course decides to help him. When some officials come to collect money and start roughing people up, Yona and the group can't help but step in. And thus, the Dark Dragon and the Happy Hungry Bunch, a gang taking control of the village, are created.
Mid-way through the volume, Yona finally makes a break through with Sinha, the Blue Dragon. When she's attacked, he's forced to step in, and she finally sees his powers. It has a big effect on them both, but it's really great to see the Blue Dragon starting to accept himself and his powers, and gaining some self-worth. If I wasn't already committed to Yona and Hak, the Blue Dragon would be winning. Just seeing him makes me infinitely happy, every time.
In the latter half of the volume, we see Yona try to get better with a knife, and the guy that Yona ruined by falling off the cliff shows up. The officials are starting to get suspicious that people are having such a hard time with such a small, weak village.
This series is always great. I love it to pieces, and I would love if they made these releases monthly. I can't get enough.


 A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Manga Review: Haikyu!!, Volume 16, by Haruichi Furudate


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: October 2017
Volumes: 30+
Spoilers?: Some.
Volume: 1. 15. 17.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Shoyo Hinata is out to prove that in volleyball you don't need to be tall to fly!

Ever since he saw the legendary player known as “the Little Giant” compete at the national volleyball finals, Shoyo Hinata has been aiming to be the best volleyball player ever! Who says you need to be tall to play volleyball when you can jump higher than anyone else?

It’s Karasuno versus Aoba Johsai in the Spring Tournament Qualifier semifinals, and Aoba Johsai has the upper hand at the end of the second set. Tadashi Yamaguchi is sent out as a pinch server to throw a wrench in the momentum of the game. Can he get past the painful memory of his past failures and close out the set for Karasuno?!

Review:

This game with Aoba Johsai is a long one. They win the first set, and then give it a really good shot in the second one—they really give Aoba Johsai a run for their money. Which leads into the third and final set, and we're left with yet another cliffhanger.
It doesn't seem like I should have much to say with each volume, and yet I do. So much happens, even if they're only in one game with one other school the entire time.
Yamaguchi finally gets some redemption for his last game, and gets put in to serve. He plays for quite a while, actually, and it's obvious that he's different now. He's not as timid, and he's clearly practiced a lot. I like seeing Yamaguchi pushing himself to be on the same level as the others; he's more of an average guy, and he's surrounded by really good players who keep pushing themselves, and he wants to be one of them. It's obvious that the other players notice, too, and that they're happy pushing each other and cheering each other on.
After Yamaguchi, we get to know Kentaro on the other team a bit more. He's fierce and angry, and competing with Ryunosuke. He lets his anger get the better of him for a while, and we get to see his struggle with wanting to play volleyball and yet not working well in a team.
I just love this series. It always takes me a while to start the next volume, because I know it's going to take me longer to read—but once I start, I just don't want to stop. I love it so much.


A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Manga Review: Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty, Volume 1, by Megumi Morino


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: December 2017
Volumes: 6.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

This funny and heartrending romantic manga set in modern Tokyo is not the fairy tale you remember! This time, Prince Charming is a teenage janitor, and Sleeping Beauty's curse is a supernatural, gender-bending dream that threatens to pull them both into a deeper and deeper slumber...

THE AWAKENING


High schooler Tetsu Misato is hardworking, frugal, and easily scared, but he commits to a part-time job at the mansion on the hill—the one that’s rumored to be haunted. As he toils away, he notices a building separate from the estate, and the mysterious girl who lives within it: Shizu Karasawa. Tetsu slowly becomes enchanted by Shizu’s lonely smile, but by their second encounter, he quickly finds himself in over his head. There’s an unsettling feeling he can’t quite shake, but there’s love there, too.

Review:

In the first half of this volume, I was a little iffy, and wasn't even sure if I would read more. But by the end of the volume, I was intrigued and wanted the next one.
Tetsu starts working at this mansion where his father works, as a deal instead of going to school. He's doing his best, but he knows the rules about no one going to the house in the back. But then he stumbles upon Shizu on accident, and it starts up an interesting friendship. The Shizu we first see is fun and energetic. But later, Tetsu meets Shizu, and she's a completely different person.
We get some scenes from Shizu's point of view, so we get to see her interacting with the other people inside her. It's a very interesting dynamic, and it's done really well so far. It's a little unclear how it works exactly, but I believe that's intentional. I like the different personalities we've met so far, but it's hinted there's another. And then, when Shizu goes out with Tetsu, something else happens.
Each personality is very different, shown differently, and the atmosphere can completely change. Tetsu struggled with his own feelings on it, and he's not sure how to handle it or whether he wants to deal with it.
I'm so intrigued by this, and I really want to read more and see what happens next.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Manga Review: Natsume's Book of Friends, Volume 20, by Yuki Midorikawa


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: March 2017
Volumes: 22+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 19. 21.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Takashi Natsume has always been aware of the supernatural world, but after he inherits a magical book from his grandmother, the supernatural world is aware of him!

Takashi Natsume can see the spirits and demons that hide from the rest of humanity. He has always been set apart from other people because of his gift, drifting from relative to relative, never fitting in. Now he's a troubled high school student who has come to live in the small town where his grandmother grew up. And there he discovers that he has inherited more than just the Sight from the mysterious Reiko.

Review:

Now that the new volume is out, I suppose it's time to look back at the old one.
This series is rather subtle and slow-paced, in the best way, but it doesn't always leave me with much to say.
The first chapter of this features Natsume being turned into a kid. He's just the cutest, and it's a bit heartbreaking seeing little Natsume try to understand that he has friends and family as a teenager. I just want to hug him so hard. It's fun to see Tanuma and Taki handle him as a kid, too.
After that, we get a couple different yokai chapters. There's some masks on a school trip, some scarecrows haunting a house, and a tiny model house whose yokai inhabitants need some help.
While this series is slow-paced, everything that happens feels big. Each time we get to see Natsume grow, a friendship form or a bond grow closer. When we meet a new yokai that impacts Natsume in some way.
It's honestly rather beautiful. And looking through the volume again makes me happy, and I can't wait to pick up the next one.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Manga Review: Love Stage!!, Volume 7, by Eiki Eiki and Taishi Zaou


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: SuBLime (VIZ Media)
Release Date: September 2017
Volumes: 7.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 6.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The next stage of boys’ love!

Izumi Sena is an average guy born into a family of famous celebrities. A college student and total otaku, he works hard every day with the goal of someday becoming a manga creator.

Read the sexy conclusion to Ryoma and Izumi's showbiz romance!

Review:

Izumi is getting stalked in this volume, and thus has to stay with Ryoma. No hardship for either of them, clearly. Though this does push Izumi to want to try being the top again, which causes Ryoma some terror.
Izumi is so very energetic. His friend sees him and Ryoma kissing, and instead of worrying even a little, he gets excited to finally tell someone about it. He's like a puppy as he tries to be the top with Ryoma, excited to be the “man”. Though, to be fair, Ryoma is also excited about their relationship, and doesn't worry at all what other people might think. It's rather nice, honestly.
This was actually quite a nice end to the series. This was an unabashedly fun series for me, even if it had some theme issues. It was fun. I do quite love Rei and Shogo, and would honestly love to see their story. It also seems like Kuroi might be starting something? I kind of just want more. I want to know their stories as well.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Manga Review: The Water Dragon's Bride, Volume 4, by Rei Toma


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: January 2018
Volumes: 8+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3. 5.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A modern-day girl gets whisked away to a strange land where she is sacrificed to a water dragon god!

In the blink of an eye, a modern-day girl named Asahi is whisked away from her warm and happy home and stranded in a strange and mysterious world where she meets a water dragon god!

Because the water dragon god wants to interact with Asahi more, he descends to the village in the guise of a human. Asahi’s friend Subaru has mixed feelings about this but joins them on a journey to the capital. What adventures are in store, and how will their fates change?

Review:

It's time to pray to the water god again, and so Asahi decides that the three of them should go away for the three days. So her, the Water Dragon God, and Subaru go away to visit other places. They see some sights, and then Asahi throws herself in to help a village when there's a fire. Afterward, when they get home, Asahi tries to help an outbreak of sickness.
Asahi continues to push the Water Dragon God. He's emotionless and uncaring, but at least somewhat curious about humans. She pushes him into doing things, and pushes their relationship as much as she can, at times to see how far it will go. Subaru is always there, at the same time. Their friendship is the sweetest, purest thing. It's honestly painful how sweet it is, because we all know bad things are going to happen there.
I'm still surprised that I don't know which direction this triangle is going. I feel like Asahi and the Water Dragon have something that isn't romantic, but a different connection. They're learning from each other, in a way. But if Asahi doesn't end of up with Subaru, then I will not be happy with Subaru ending up sad and alone. I just want to hug him, he's such a sweetheart.
We also got some hints of something from Asahi's care taker, that maybe he knows something or he has a connection with Asahi that they don't know. I'm intrigued about where that's going.
I'm really hooked on this series. I can't wait for each volume. It's sad and sweet, thoughtful and painful, innocent and psychological. I'm really starting to love it.


A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Manga Review: SP Baby, Volume 1, by Maki Enjoji


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: November 2017
Volumes: 2.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A romantic comedy about a privileged man and his kickass female bodyguard.

Tamaki Hasegawa misses an interview for a much-needed job in order to stop an assault on a man running for his life! The man—Kagetora Sugo, the prime minister’s nephew—then asks Tamaki to become his bodyguard.

Tamaki isn’t sure she’s cut out to be a bodyguard, but Kagetora has another reason for wanting to hire her. Unbeknownst to her, they’ve met before…

Review:

I'm already a fan of Maki Enjoji, so I was excited to see another of her series was being picked up. I hope we get more of her stuff—and more josei from Shojo Beat in general.
We meet Tamaki just as a man runs by her, being chased by another guy, and she jumps in to help without thinking. Afterward, the guy she “saved” won't leave her alone, and insists on having her work for him. As his bodyguard.
Tamaki has no experience as a bodyguard, aside from her instincts to fight and particularly kick, and refuses at first. But Kagetora insists, and Tamaki needs a job.
I'm a little iffy on Tamaki, or at least the set up for her. I do find her fun and enjoy her fighting spirit, and how she happily tries to learn and help Kagetora. But she's also been saving herself for this guy she grew up with, who runs a flower shop next to her house. I'm iffy on that plotline, but otherwise I like Tamaki and how she's trying to support her brother. I like Kagetora, too, and am looking forward to their attraction growing, despite how innocent Tamaki is.
This was a fun start, and I like the surprising plot. I look forward to reading more.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Manga Review: Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, Volume 28, by Karuho Shiina


Rating (Out of 5): ~4.5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: January 2018
Volumes: 30.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 27. 29.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sawako “Sadako” Kuronuma is the perfect heroine…for a horror movie.

With her jet-black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor, Sawako “Sadako” Kuronuma always had trouble fitting in. But her whole life changes when she befriends the most popular boy in class, Shota Kazehaya. Can love trump her cursed life?

Review:

Christmas and New Years passes, and there are presents, and family visits, and a shrine get-together. There's some cajoling for Ayane about Pin, but mostly a lot of fun cuteness. This seems to be one of the big plot lines left, and I'm for it. It's a little unclear how Pin will react, whether he realizes anything. I like them, and I think it will be fun to see how it plays out.
Sawako visits Kazehaya, and then gets stormed in at his place. This causes some wariness for the parents, but mostly adorableness between the two. I love seeing them share kisses and get excited and embarrassed, and just overall way too sweet to handle. It's fun seeing them spend the night together, even if nothing happens between them. They're so innocent.
I guess this series is ending soon, and that makes me unbearably sad. I don't want it to ever end, and I just love every bit of it.


A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Manga Review: Bloody Mary, Volume 9, by Akaza Samamiya


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: December 2017
Volumes: 10.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 8. 10.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A blood-pounding tale of an unorthodox alliance between a vampire and an exorcist!

“Bloody” Mary, a vampire with a death wish, has spent the past 400 years chasing down a modern-day exorcist named Maria who is thought to have inherited “The Blood of Maria” and is the only one who can kill Mary. To Mary’s dismay, Maria doesn’t know how to kill vampires. Desperate to die, Mary agrees to become Maria’s bodyguard until Maria can find a way to kill him.

Mary’s twin brother, “Mary,” is unable to fend off his overpowering thirst for blood, and as a result, Mary comes ever closer to becoming “the blood-stained vampire.” Meanwhile, Hydra learns that Bloody Eye’s plan is to ultimately battle her. Then, Maria launches a risky strategy in an attempt to get Mary back. But will the risk be worth his own life?

Review:

We get some more background on “Mary” and Hydra, and it started good, but it quickly got messy with the two Mary's. After that, we get to see more of what Bloody Eye is up to. There's a confrontation between Hydra and Bloody Eye. There's also a confrontation between “Mary” and Maria.
I expected to dislike Hydra, that she'd done something bad, but now I'm starting to feel bad for her. She didn't start out with bad intentions, and she doesn't even have them now. She's the one who was hurt.
I definitely don't like Bloody Eye, though.
While some of what made Mary what he is now is getting cleared up, it's still very unclear how he and “Mary” became one. What actually happened to make them what they are now, and why they have such different personalities and wishes. And which one is actually Mary?
I'm quite into this series by now. I look forward to each new volume. They're dirty and messy and rather sad at times, but I kind of love it.


A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Manga Review: Everyone's Getting Married, Volume 7, by Izumi Miyazono


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: December 2017
Volumes: 8+
Spoilers?: Yes.
Volume: 1. 6. 8.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Opposites attract—but should they get married?!

Successful career woman Asuka Takanashi has an old-fashioned dream of getting married and becoming a housewife. After her long-term boyfriend breaks up with her to pursue his own career goals, she encounters popular newscaster Ryu Nanami. Asuka and Ryu get along well, but the last thing he wants is to ever get married. This levelheaded pair who want the opposite things in life should never get involved, except…

Review:

They're finally getting settled living together, and then Ryu gets offered a promotion, which includes a transfer to America for who knows how long. They discuss and consider it, and then they get to savor the little time they have together until he leaves. Now they get to stick it out long distance, and see how that works. It's a bit emotional for them, but they're trying, and they believe they can do it.
While I do like how they calmly discuss things and try to compromise, marriage is a constant issue between them. And then there's Kamiya, who's been hanging out in the background for a while, but will just not go away. It's clear how he keeps trying to push Asuka, and I don't like it at all. It mostly annoys me that she keeps letting him do it, only brushing him off and yet continuing to meet up with him and converse when they run into each other. It's clearly bad for her relationship, bad for her thoughts, and yet she keeps doing it.
I'm starting to feel like this series needs to end soon. We can only prolong this plot line for so long, and it's growing a bit stale to me. I'm still enjoying reading it, it's just getting a bit repetitive in the drama.


A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!