July was…heavy, to say the least. There was some writing professional news that netted out less than positively, a meteor of a personal emergency that is still unfolding, and I think I finally figured a writing time management system that works for me (and a realization that I definitely write to run away, and there is a lot I want to run from).
I also went to NYC to see my family and catch up with some friends. Equally restful and stressful. I’ve stayed safe from disease the best I can, and wish the same for you and yours.
My birthday month has come and past. Have I caught up on my reading goal? No. How is the writing going? It’s going. The highlight of this month was absolutely attending ALA AC 2022 in Washington D.C. with one of my best friends, Elliott, as part of the Zine Pavilion. Many zines were peddled, authors met, and despite the masking, things felt normal. I also accomplished holding a plank for a minute straight! It’s been a good time.
Genre: Slice-of-Life Horror Comedy Year Release in English: 2022 Source: BOOK☆WALKER
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Flora discovers the trials and tribulations of having a patron in this one. It starts when an artist commissions a whole bunch of work for her mansion, starting with a Biblically-accurate Creepy Cat that comes to literal life. What unfolds is a sequence that reminded me a bit of The Picture of Dorian Gray as we learn what makes Flora’s paintings so special. It’s a fun installment to a series that offers sustained spooky, goth charm.
The plot definitely feels coherent in this volume. While there are elements of the slice-of-life charm, the comics feel less like they can be read out of context. This isn’t a bad thing, it really works, and kept me glued to this latest installment.
While the humans continue along their character arcs, seeing all the different paranormal interact is definitely the highlight here. They have such unique powers that lend themselves well to saving Flora and her painting career.
Genre: Slice-of-Life Horror Year Release in English: 2022 Source: BOOK☆Walker
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Content warnings: Ghosts, body horror, disturbing imagery
The ghosts continue to be horrifying and Miko is avoiding them with varying success. We get some more school insights, but the plot moves along nicely.
The female friendships in this series are so good. There’s the link between Godmother and Miko, there’s Yuria, Miko, and Hana as a trio, there’s also Hana and Miko as lifelong friends. The protection and care they show towards each other is so cute. I really liked the scenes of Miko trying to preserve Hana’s aura via snacks and meals.
Meanwhile, Yuria investigates Shindou Romm’s ghost tours. The ghosts are the scariest yet, and it’s unclear whether or not Romm can see them. The Ardyn Izunia-looking YouTuber has several tricks and grifts, and possibly blackmail, up his sleeve, and I’m so nervous for Miko teaming up with him to learn the truth about the mysterious shrine.
My May goals were fairly modest: get new glasses, start the process of renewing my passport, and continue working on the revision. I did all that! And I worked out 3-4 times a week, and I feel like things are steadily trucking along. I think I can finally listen to audiobooks again, and I super missed it.
There was an author interview practically every week. Take a look:
Genre: Science Fiction Seinen Year Release in English: 2022 Source: BOOK☆WALKER
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Content warnings: Gun violence, kidnapping, body horror
This science fiction requires much suspension of disbelief in order to work. Basically, the premise is that a solar flare knocked out all the color on Earth, and all humans are monsters now. A bunch of technology got wiped out as well. So, when hitman are going after a café waitress, it’s up to a rogue Professor to get her back, until everyone realizes she has a pre-solar flare human visage. Mysteries unfold, but Chie’s life is still very much in danger.
I really like the art in this one. The lines are crisp and the monster designs are unique. The city designs are also rad, the urban landscape feels very much lived in with its own sets of rules and curfews that really fit where the story kicks off. But, most importantly, I’m a sucker for the trope of a character who only knows her name and not much else, so I’m super invested in how she fits in among the different groups at war.
Like, there’s a color-worshipping cult that I want more insight about and, more generally, how Earth adapted and evolved into the world as established in this manga.
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.
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
Where did April go? This month seems to have blown by really fast, and I can’t even articulate exactly why. I didn’t do any traveling, taxes were an exciting, I turned around a short story in what-feels-like a short amount of time, and got a lot of work done on the revision. I’ve also gotten back to tri-weekly workouts which has been really good for my energy levels. A productive month, even if the productivity wasn’t exactly linear.
I did two blog interviews, which you can find here:
Reminder: Star rating reflects my opinion of the series overall. Followtheselinks for my review of Volumes 1 through 3.
At the beginning of the series, we meet Denji, a boy saddled with generational debt who gets killed by gangsters, only to make a pact with his dog, Pochita, to become a Devil-human hybrid called Chainsaw Man. He gets picked up by the department of public safety, whose Division 4 is managed by the beautiful, enigmatic Makima. Their primary objective is to eliminate the Gun Devil, which wreaked havoc on Japan over a decade prior.
There’s elements of slice-of-life, true horror, and exciting action as we follow Denji on his quest to fulfill the lower levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs with satisfying twist after satisfying twist.