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: AZUMANGA DAIOH Vol. 1 by Kiyohiko Azuma (2003)

Genre: Slice-of-Life Comedy
Year Release in English: 2003
Source: Borrowed from Friends

Rating: 4 out of 5.

One of the essential slice-of-life manga, I came into Azumanga Daioh by way of Pop Team Epic. Unlike Pop Team Epic, this manga is grounded in the experience of five high school girls and their two teachers, which things only being absurd enough to exagerate reality.

The entire cast is so charming, and so, so, so useless. Except for maybe Chiyo, but she’s ten years old and in high school, so make of that what you will. Everyone has their strengths, but its their weaknesses and differences where the humor really comes forth. Sasaki can’t make friends with cats, Osaka is the transfer student and that’s not even her real name.

The two teachers are a sapphic delight. Casually going on dates together, insisting on driving together, showing up at each other’s homes. It’s sweet and subtle, but fits right in with the other shenanigans going on around. I really liked the beach episode and that time they tried to adopt a kitten, and it just wasn’t having it.

Can’t wait to see what comes next.

Manga Review: REQUIEM OF THE ROSE KING Vol. 1 by Aya Kanno

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content warnings: Transphobia, misgendering, medieval violence

The premise of this manga is that it is Richard III but instead of having a hump, Richard is intersex, with elements of Henry VI woven throughout. This cover kept coming up on recommendations and feeds, so I had to dive in.

Dear readers, this is going to ruin my life and I am excited.

We’re introduced to the conflict of the Lancaster and York families which has lasted for a while. It looks like the Yorks are winning, but things take a turn for the worst when York retreats. I love the relationship King Richard has with his son. His death is completely telegraphed, but its depiction on the last page pulled me right in. It’s moving, it’s brutal, and I went two days before I caved and got the last volume.

Richard’s mother, Cecily, is a piece of work. She hates her son for being intersex, even though everyone around him otherwise accepts him. The other character who’s an asshole is the ghost of Joan of Arc, whose sole function seems to be to terrorize Richard. I’m invested enough that I definitely want to know more about her and the context for why she has latched onto this goth prince.