Manga Review: DICK FIGHT ISLAND Vol. 2 by Reibun Ike (2022)

Genre: Fantasy Josei
Year Release in English: 2022
Source: Physical Copy

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review of Volume 1 can be found here
Content warnings: Dubious consent with lots of male sexuality on display; fantasy prejudice

The second half of the story of Pulau’s political system of having a coming tournament every four years focuses on the relationships between its chosens and the origins of the Great Wyrm Tournament. It’s earnest, it’s sexy, and there are so many men in love with other men.

We get the full introduction to Harto and his lover, Matthew, who were roommates in college. They got along as more than just students, with Harto telling Matthew about his culture to comedic and earnest effect. The way their relationship develops is swoony and romantic.

Then we cut to others who also had chance encounters connected to some loosely developed mythology. Bulan had been saved by a stag that loosely reminds him of Roro, and years later, the two get stuck in a snowstorm and there’s only one bed. Another couple are gifted a whole lot of lube to improve their “technique.” There’s even a wedding. It’s a wonderful snapshot of different types of relationships, and, honestly, this had me smiling and flailing from cover to cover.

Very fluffy, raunchy, and full of gay earnestness.

Manga Review: MIERUKO-CHAN Vol. 6 by Tomoki Izumi (2022)

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

Miko goes to the temple hidden by a forbidden barrier with Mitsue and Rom, despite Mitsue warning them both about trying to put those spirits to rest. The young woman might be the key to putting the disturbance to rest, however.

This volume has smaller cast, featuring just the three in the summary with references to Hana and Yuria in flashbacks and mentions. The focus of the art in this one, as a result, is centered on the horrific ghosts, and Izumi really shows off what they’re capable of. I recoiled at some of the panels, and it’s great fun.

I did not expect to get so emo about the ghost psychic shill, Rom. The backstory about him and Mitsue is among the most touching. While this series veers towards more comedy and slice-of-life, those take a backseat to horror and more linear plot. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hilarious that Rom metal music playing from his phone as part of his ghost-taming arsenal. But, it’s a mostly seriously volume that has me on the edge of my seat for the next volume.

Manga Review: DICK FIGHT ISLAND Vol. 1 by Reibun Ike (2021)

Genre: Fantasy Josei
Year Release in English: 2021
Source: Physical Copy

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warnings: Dubious consent with lots of male sexuality on display

This over-the-top sexual fantasy story has chosen warriors from various clans vying for the spot of king in a tournament where whoever comes first loses.

The lads who are signed up for this are so enthusiastic about participating and giving sexual pleasure to their opponent. One of them, Harto, returns from studying abroad with a new technique that’s destined to decimate his enemies. But he also has a secret that might disqualify him. There’s tenderness and so much mutual respect as warriors and interesting powers that verge on magic. It’s so earnest, and the characterizations are top notch. My personal favorite is Vampir, but that’s because I’m predictable.

The art is high quality and the variety of dicks is delightful. Each one has elaborate armor that comes off during the battle. If you want to squeal in the delight that is the absurdity of a political system that revolves around orgasms, this one is for you.

July 2022 Reading Recap

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.

This month’s blog interviews were:

In August, I have four days off from my dayjob, which I intend to use for making lots of paintings

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June 2022 Reading Recap

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.

This month’s blog interviews were:

July has three authors interviews in store for me and all the ARCs from ALA arrived at my doorstep.

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Manga Review: CREEPY CAT MANGA Vol. 3 by Cotton Valent (2022)

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.

Manga Review: MIERUKO-CHAN Vol. 5 by Tomoki Izumi (2022)

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.

May 2022 Reading Recap

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:

June is my birthday month! And my goal there is to catch up on my reading goal (I’m 4 books behind), especially since I’m traveling at the end of the month.

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Manga Review: COLORLESS Vol. 1 by KENT (2022)

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.

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.