Manga Review: KASANE Volumes 1-4 by Daruma Matsuura (2017)

Genre: Contemporary Seinen
Year Release in English: 2019-2021
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

Reminder: The star rating reflects overall opinion of the series.

The girls are kissing in this one and there is nothing romantic about it. Kasane Fuchi is a very ugly girl with a secret: she inherited a lipstick from her late mother that allows her to borrow people’s faces. She wants to become an actor and you can see where this is going. Intense, gray morality to the nth degree, I’m strapped to the seat of this wild ride.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Manga Review: MADE IN ABYSS Volumes 6-9 by Akihito Tsukushi (2019-2021)

Genre: Dark Fantasy Seinen
Year Release in English: 2019-2021
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

Reminder: The star rating reflects overall opinion of the series. Spoilers for the movie and Volumes 1 through 5 abound.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Manga Review: AZUMANGA DAIOH Vol. 4 by Kiyohiko Azuma (2004)

Genre: Slice-of-Life Comedy
Year Release in English: 2004
Source: Borrowed from Friends

Rating: 4 out of 5.

In the final volume of Azumanga Daioh, the threads and character development of the previous three come together. We get one last school trip, final exams, and finally, graduation. I did not expect to find myself having so many emotions about graduation, but there I was.

The comedic timing and pacing throughout comes from ridiculous puns and slap-stick style comedy. The way Azuma pulls in jokes from the previous entries. Seeing the students with the teachers provided some of the best overlaps in how little sense both the adults and kids have. The arc with Sakaki gets a resolution and we get more dream sequences.

Overall, an enjoyable slice-of-life that touches on the innocence of school life with a light tone and funny situations.

Manga Review: JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE PART 1: PHANTOM BLOOD by Hirohiko Araki (2015)

Genre: Fantasy Shonen
Year Release in English: 2015
Source: Viz Media Monthly Subscription

Reminder: The star rating reflects overall opinion of the series.

Overall, this first entry has vampires, English nobility, growing-up-together rivalry, betrayal, and a magic system that just keeps escalating. Fun in a way that completely lives up to its name.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Review: SOLUTIONS AND OTHER PROBLEMS by Allie Brosh (2020)

Genre: Non-fiction Graphic Novel
Year Release: 2020
Source: Borrowed from Friends

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content warning: suicide, cancer (human and dog), hospitalization, mental illness, divorce, chronic illness.

I read the first book and immediately started the second. I genuinely feel a bit bad for people who waited seven years between volumes.

This book is equal parts humor and emotional devastation, as Brosh recounts what had transpired in her life between the time of the first book’s publishing. There’s a lot about mortality and the strangeness of children and their relationship with each other. Oh, and quite a bit of nihilism.

Still charming with a very noticeable improvement in the art, this collection of stories and essays touches on much heavier topics with the same quirkiness that endeared readers to Brosh’s work to begin with.

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Review: HYPERBOLE AND A HALF: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh (2013)

Genre: Non-fiction Graphic Novel
Year Release: 2013
Source: Borrowed from Friends

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content warning: use of the “r” slur to refer to the diminished intelligence of a dog

I had read some of Allie Brosh’s blog posts around a decade ago, so this blog-in-novel form has been on my radar for almost a decade. My friends lent me a bunch of things and I’m in the process of reading them all before I leave for Texas at the end of the month.

This frank and funny collection of stories and anecdotes made for quick, easy reading, and I’m definitely looking forward to the recently-released sequel.

The art is not “beautiful” in any sense of the word. But the quirky illustrations and hand-written dialogues are charming. The long form writing cannot be replaced by the images nor do the images serve as a kind of caption for the words to come. It’s really effective and the humor worked for me, for the most part.

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Manga Review: DAI DARK Vol. 1-2 by Q Hayashida (2021)

Genre: Science fiction horror comedy shonen
Year Release in English: 2021
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

Reminder: The star rating reflects overall opinion of the series.

In short, perfect for fans trying to fill in the space skeleton dark fantasy horror void while waiting for any news about Alecto the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Manga ARC Review: UNDEAD GIRL MURDER FARCE Vol. 1 by Yugo Aosaki & Haruka Tomoyama (2021)

Genre: Fantasy Mystery Seinen
Year Release in English: 2021
Buy Link: BOOK☆WALKER

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read a NetGalley eARC
Content warnings: Blood, murder, nudity, disembodied head

In 19th Century France, vampires are allowed to live alongside humans. Detectives are called in but little does anyone expect, it’s the disembodied head who’s also a demon.

This manga opens up with a dead vampire, a family member suspected, and a kooky trio consisting of a maid, a himbo, and a disembodied head in a cage. It is wonderfully strange and not very deep. It ends on a cliff-hanger, and I’m eager to see what the cage user has hidden behind his kind lack of sense.

The art style is really neat, though at times, the background work gets in the way of comprehending the words on the page. I’m unfamiliar with the differences between ARC manga and finished copies, so perhaps it is cleared up, and I hope so. I had a ton of fun during this read.

If you’re looking for something with cheek, thought-out world-building, and engaging action, definitely give this a shot.