It’s that time of the series by Io Sakisaka — it’s too soon for things to settle down (since the series overall runs 13 volumes), and the first mystery has been revealed, so let’s introduce some rivals for the attention of the members of our core couple. That will provide more chance for misunderstandings and pining internal monologues of the “why would he do that?” sort. Ao Haru Ride volume 5 starts with great romantic promise. Futaba and Kou make […]
That Blue Sky Feeling is a different kind of manga series. It’s about two schoolboys, one of whom is thought to be gay, but it’s not an explicit romance or BL (boys’ love). Instead, it’s about friendship and learning to think about others, regardless of how like you or different from you they are. It’s a likable coming-of-age story that reflects how amorphous lines have become these days, written by Okura and illustrated by Coma Hashii. Noshiro is the excited […]
Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu volume 3 is another enjoyable entry in the series about modern Japanese restauranteurs serving their cuisine to medieval Germans. Reading it is a comfortable escape, with lots to tickle the imagination and tastebuds. It’s based on light novels by Natsuya Semikawa, adapted and illustrated by Virginia Nitouhei. As one might expect at this point in the series, we continue moving away from the simple “one chapter, a new situation and character, one dish” structure. We’ve begun to […]
Isaku Natsume’s Candy Color Paradox reinforced for me that I’m not a yaoi fan, because I really liked the aspects of this SuBLime manga that had nothing to do with sex or the relationship between the leads. It’s a classic story of “co-workers, forced together, spat as cover for their true feelings”, only with two guys. Satoshi, a news writer, was supposed to be working on the political beat, but at the last minute, he’s sent to the “stakeout team” […]
Now that the series has some longevity to it, we get the dramatic flashback. The premise of the series is that Futaba and Kou were interested, then separated, then reunited. When they meet again, Kou behaves differently, and in Io Sakisaka’s Ao Haru Ride volume 4, we finally find out why. Family flashbacks show why Kou gave up being a top student, why he seems estranged from his brother (a teacher at their school), and why he changed his name. […]
Io Sakisaka’s Ao Haru Ride volume 3 brings the students back to the school setting (after the retreat of volume 2) and introduces a new conflict. After having her eyes opened to what friendship should mean in volume 1, Futaba is challenged by a passing comment made by new friend Yuri. Yuri likes Kou, it turns out. Futaba doesn’t want to hurt or compete with her friend, particularly since she’s unsure how deep her feelings for Kou go. Can she […]
When I talked about the previous volume in this series, which came out last year, I was about ready for it to end. (Volume 7, the last, is due out later this year.) I enjoyed Behind the Scenes!! volume 6 more than I did volume 5, but I think the length is about right, with no need to extend further. One thing that helped was re-reading 5 before diving into 6. Although I couldn’t tell you the detailed differences between […]
Unlike my usual practice, this discussion of Everyone’s Getting Married volume 9 will not avoid spoilers. It’s the final volume of the series, anyway, and the happy ending is given away right there on the cover. When we left our troubled couple of Asuka and Ryu at the end of volume 8, she had just declared her intention to break up with him, since he was working for several years in the US and she thought she was distracting him […]
After giving up on Ichigo Takano’s Dreamin’ Sun, I thought I’d try their Orange, because I was intrigued by the time travel aspect. (There’s a mini-boom in these “what if I knew then what I know now” manga, including Again!! and Erased.) Naho is a 16-year-old high schooler who gets a letter that says it’s from herself ten years in the future. It tells her not to invite new student Naruse to walk home with her and her group of […]
Ao Haru Ride is the current shojo series I’m most invested in. Volume 2 continues its air of melancholic and uncertain young love by moving its leads, Futaba and Kou, into the same school class. Futaba has taken the lessons of the first book to heart, trying to create a friendlier air in her classroom, but she doesn’t have the popularity or leadership to do so. Refusing to give up, and inspired by wanting Kou to think well of her, […]
Is Kichijoji the Only Place to Live? volume 5 keeps the series, about finding young women the perfect apartment, fresh in two ways. Author MAKIHIROCHI continues to find different reasons and challenges for the house-hunters, while we see more about what the real estate agent twins are doing for their own living space. The first chapter presents a young woman moving out on her own for the first time, accompanied by her mother, who finds fault with everything. Can the […]
As the series prepares for its conclusion (volume 10 is the final one), the characters in Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju volume 9 contemplate the pending retirement of Yakumo, the last rakugo master. Yakumo and an old friend, a gangster, begin the volume with a garden stroll while they reflect on how much things have changed. It’s a mood I can empathize with more and more. It’s wonderful that so many people value Yakumo’s work and want to tell […]
Satoko and Nada means well and looks unusual for manga. Created by Yupechika, it’s the story of two college roommates in America. Satoko is Japanese, and Nada is a Saudi Arabian Muslim who wears a hijab. The series’ origin as a 4-koma (four-panel strip) online is apparent in its simple art style, with flat, minimal figures and each page a complete comic. But most aren’t going to read this for impressive visuals. The appeal is seeing two very different people […]