Manga Review: MADE IN ABYSS Vol. 10 by Akihito Tsukushi (2022)

Genre: Dark Fantasy Seinen
Year Release in English: 2022
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warnings: Body horror, gore, suicidal ideation
There may be spoilers for Volumes 1 through 3, 4 and 5, and 6 through 9.

We’re at the end of another arc in Made in Abyss and all I can say is: glad Riko made another friend, but holy shit at what cost.

The Hollow Village’s upset is definitely more philosophical than strictly bad bodily shit happens to the characters (though there is plenty of that). So, seeing all the emotional threads come together made me glued to each chapter.

I have a theory that what makes dark fantasy and grimdark slap so hard is the promise of cool stuff to look at amidst all the distress and duress. The battle between Faputa and the Turbinid-Dragon is absolutely incredible. It’s so easy to follow, but what really shines here is the culmination of the themes and stakes. I love how Tsukushi ties together the entire concept of value, but more importantly, how it ties into humanity, especially as the bends in this level of the abyss lead to loss of said humanity.

They’re at the literal bottom of the barrel, and I’m so nervous about what’s to come.

Manga Review: CAN’T STOP CURSING YOU Vol. 3 by Kensuke Koba & Natsuko Uruma (2022)

Genre: Horror Shonen
Year Release in English: 2022
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warnings: Self-harm, gore, murder
See my reviews of Volume 1 and Volume 2 for more thoughts on this series

This series is end-to-end edgy nonsense and I love it. In Volume 3, the school is under attack by a Curse-God Contractor (yes, again), this time featuring a deadly game of tag where every 666 seconds, the “It” person dies.

I really liked the twists in this one! The villain isn’t who you think it is, and it’s such a great vehicle for the world’s further rules and building. We actually find out how a person becomes a Curse-Breaker, and I think that’s neat.

What I’m enjoying the most, however, is with every peek into Saeyama’s moral compass, there’s a few steps back. He’s powerful, he’s seen some shit, and I hope we get more of his backstory in the upcoming volumes

Manga Review: OROCHI Vol. 1 by Kazuo Umezz (2022)

Genre: Horror Shonen
Year Release in English: 2022
Source: Forbidden Planet NYC

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The first volume of a short story collection from a new-to-me horror writer. To be honest, I picked this volume up because the cover and packaging were gorgeous. I found myself delighted by the horrors found within.

A mysterious young woman finds herself entangled in others’ personal lives with powers that can shift the tides of fate.

It’s easy to tell that the art style is much older, with the original works having come out in the late 60’s, early 70’s. The lines are bold and there’s great use of blank spaces with solitary figures. There’s also not a lot text to be found in the pages, letting the art do a lot of the story-telling. Some of it is unsettling, and I’m invested in the stories told in facial expressions alone.

I found both stories chilling, but “Sisters,” to me, had the more effecting twist. I’m definitely into the style and I’m looking forward to the stories found in the following volumes.

Manga Review: THE KINGDOMS OF RUIN Vol. 3 & 4 by yoruhashi (2021-2022)

Genre: Dark Fantasy Seinen
Year Release in English: 2020 – 2021
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

Reminder: The star rating reflects overall opinion of the series. Click here for my reviews of Volumes 1 and 2.

This series continues delivering hyper violence with a politically-charged back drop while humans witches face off in a war of obliteration while one young man is on a mission to eliminate them both.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Manga Review: CREEPY CAT MANGA Vol. 1 & 2 by Cotton Valent (2019-2022)

Genre: Slice-of-Life Horror Comedy
Year Release in English: 2019-2022
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

In yet another adorable manga series about a cat, Flora inherits a mansion from a distant relative, and it comes with a live-in critter, Creepy Cat. With full-color, adorable art, the hijinks this cryptid kitty gets himself into are a delight to behold

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Manga Review: CAT MASSAGE THERAPY Vol. 1 by Haru Hisakawa (2021)

Genre: Slice-of-life comedy josei
Year Release in English: 2021
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Nekoyama decides to go to a massage parlor and discovers that it’s actually run by a cat. His magnificent toe beans leave quite the impression, and eventually the entire neighborhood finds out, including several local offices.

There’s not much to say about this one aside from the fact that it is absolutely adorable. There’s the cat massage manager whose toe beans can be touched on the embossed hard cover. He has three itty bitty kitty trainees who exude warmth and cuteness.

The full-color art is precious, the expressions priceless, and absolutely nothing bad happens to anyone involved. Well, except for when the meowsseur needs to take a vacation due to being overwhelmed by the popularity of in-office visits.

Manga Review: HELL’S PARADISE: JIGOKURAKU (Full Series) by Yuji Kaku (2018-2021)

Genre: Dark Fantasy Shonen
Year Release in English: 2018-2021
Source: Viz Media Digital Subscription

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

In this historical dark fantasy, there are rumors of an island containing the elixir of life. Every scouting team sent, however, returns as floral corpses. The Shogunate dispatches a group of their own executioners coupled with a convict sentenced to death. The one who finds and returns the elixir will be given a pardon. Gabimaru the Hollow wants nothing more than to return to his wife. A bunch of monsters both literal and human will not be able to stop him.

A series with beautiful art, compelling characters, body horror galore, and impressive escalation that raises the stakes without introducing nonsense out of left field.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Manga Review: DAI DARK Vol. 3 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.

See my review of volumes 1 and 2 here. My lord, does this series continue to be grisly fun where not everyone can be trusted as far as you can throw them.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Manga Review: CAN’T STOP CURSING YOU Vol. 2 by Kensuke Koba & Natsuko Uruma (2021)

Genre: Horror Shonen
Year Release in English: 2021
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content warnings: Self-harm, gore, murder

Now that Volume 1 introduced this strange world of curse killers and curse gods, Volume 2 focuses on a specific killer to stop, while introducing a network of antagonists: Cursed Blood.

I really liked the villain here, Yami Akeno. The journey we go on with her descent into villainy really worked for me. Her motives are quite clear, her execution (both metaphorical and literal) are quite chilling. But what really keeps me invested is how Curse Breaker Saeyama keeps both his colleagues and the villain on their toes, keeping his hand close. There’s not enough established yet to have the reader figure out what’s truly at play, but it’s a fun ride and I’ll definitely keep reading.

Manga Review: MIERUKO-CHAN Vol. 3 & 4 by Tomoki Izumi (2021)

Genre: Slice-of-Life Horror
Year Release in English: 2021
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

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

For some reason, I never rated Volume 3. Anyway, this continues to be a consistent delight. The ghosts are just getting scarier, the plot is starting to take shape, and the greater world of spiritualists unfolds.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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