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

Genre: Dark Fantasy Seinen
Year Release in English: 2022

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

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

April 2022 Reading Recap

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:

In May, I believe there is an author interview every week so get hype for those.

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Manga Review: Chainsaw Man Vol. 4-11 by Tatsuki Fujimoto (2021-2022)

Genre: Horror Shonen
Year Release in English: 2021-2022
Buy link: Viz Media Digital Subscription

Image source: VIZ Media Page

Reminder: Star rating reflects my opinion of the series overall.
Follow these links 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.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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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.

March 2022 Reading Recap

March is another month I largely took off because of Futurescapes and traveling to a work convention. In that time, I played a ton of Elden Ring and mostly did a hard reset of my brain. My writing brain has somewhat defrosted and after setting some boundaries on the work I’ll be doing moving forward, I’m hoping my reading brain will defrost a bit as well.

No author interviews this month but there will be plenty in the next few months.

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February 2022 Reading Recap

February is a month where I largely took off from writing my own fiction in preparation for Futurescapes this weekend. Like, I dabbled a bit, mostly played video games. Still did some reading. I finally can go back to listening to audiobooks, which is great for my brain buzz.

Here is a round up of my February reads. I got to interview two fabulous authors to kick off the month:

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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

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

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.

January 2022 Reading Recap

Happy New Year from me and my very strange perception of time. January felt very long, and it’s only barely almost over. What also doesn’t help is that my goals for the year are still quite nebulous aside from the reading goals and fitness goals. Which is fine, really. Time has been strange since March 2020, and I’m sorry to remind you how far away that date is.

Anyway, here is what I read this fine January! There has also been one blog interview:

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