My Monster Secret, Volume 6 – Review

My Monster Secret maintained its usual shenanigans this volume, keeping to a comfy stasis as these romcoms always tend to. It’s just fun spending time with this cast though, so I didn’t really mind – and it actually does seem like the characters are moving somewhat closer to romance, even if it’s at a predictably glacial pace. But hey, stories like this are about the journey, and the journey here is populated by charming characters and lots of silly faces. That’s not so bad.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Genshiken Second Season, Volume 10 – Review

Genshiken Second Season has been off the rails for a while now, and this volume doesn’t really do much to fix that. The good news is, having read the volume that follows this one, there’s at least some solid character writing coming down the pipe. But this volume… Madarame’s harem ran out of gas volumes ago, and this one really doesn’t add anything fresh to the situation. It’s a little saddening to see what Genshiken has become.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Yuureitou – Volume 3

After two volumes that layered exploitation sleaze and shock-horror twists over meditations on gender identity and the commodification of women in society, Yuureitou’s third volume opens with a conflict that seems embrace its most schlocky tendencies. Continuing last volume’s cliffhanger ending with a chapter called “The Value of Life,” volume three sees Yuureitou’s protagonists rushing around in search of a person to harvest for their body parts, all to appease the desires a mad scientist in an iron mask known only as Doctor Tesla. With a deadly virus running through their veins, Tetsuo, Amano, and their officer friend must race against time to find a suitable sacrifice.

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My Hero Academia, Volume 10 – Review

I’ve got another My Hero Academia manga review today, this time covering the fallout of the villains’ attack on Deku’s summer training. This volume’s density of exposition and table-arranging meant it didn’t really stand a chance of being as compelling as the last volume, but it certainly succeeded at expanding the scope and raising the stakes of Deku’s world. Now we just need stabby knife girl to actually get a major scene, and not just a footnote like at training camp. Seriously, they’ve been baiting her battle debut for like four volumes now. On with the stabbing!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

A Bride’s Story, Volume 9 – Review

Today on ANN, I returned to A Bride’s Story for its ninth and most Pariyatastic volume yet. Pariya is an insanely good character, and this volume was happy to just let her combination of bluntness, anxiety, and general charm carry the show. Her relationship with Umar is progressing in an endearing and believable way, and getting stuck in her headspace offered a much more immediately relatable series of challenges than Bride’s Story’s sometimes fanciful narratives. After many volumes of reserved historical drama, A Bride’s Story has finally embraced its meme-ready 4koma heart.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Platinum End, Volume 2 – Review

Platinum End starts to find its rhythm in its second volume, with the interplay of angelic powers offering a reasonable platform for Ohba’s standard thriller shenanigans. This volume also formally introduces the story’s main love interest, who is… well, she’s the same demure girl Ohba framed as the ultimate object of adoration in Bakuman, so I guess there’s no surprises there. Platinum End continues to work as a trashy but consistently entertaining page-turner, even if Ohba’s fundamental Ohbaness can sometimes be a bit much.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

One Piece – Volume 14

The battle with Baroque Works continues in One Piece’s fourteenth volume, within the leafy confines of Little Garden. The initial conceit of Little Garden was “this is an island where the creatures are huge, but still dwarfed by the resident giants.” Those giants actually get more or less pushed aside in a narrative sense here, which I frankly didn’t mind at all. Their single-minded emphasis on “honorable battle” doesn’t really do anything for me, and though Usopp’s adoration of their focus is pretty adorable, I couldn’t really buy into their feelings purely for his sake. Instead, this volume quickly resolves the giants’ battle, and moves on to something much more exciting – the next showdown with the agents of Baroque Works.

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The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Volume 7 – Review

I’ve fallen behind on linking all my reviews this week, so here comes the friggin’ flood. We’re starting off with The Ancient Magus’ Bride, which saw Chise embracing the role of dragon detective. It’s quite a volume!

The Ancient Magus’ Bride – Volume 7

One Piece – Volume 13

The very cover of One Piece’s thirteenth volume filled me with skepticism. Emphasizing a balloon-shaped Luffy and the Baroque Works baddies, it seemed to promise a volume filled with meaningless battles, where Luffy’s buddies fight inconsequential enemies while Luffy sleeps off his meal. “Luffy is incapacitated” has already become something of a warning sign in this manga – though Oda’s art is strong, the tactical interplay of One Piece’s fights can’t really aspire to the heights of something like Hunter x Hunter, meaning its battle scenes are less likely to be rewarding for their own sake. And after a volume dedicated largely to One Piece’s actual specialties (discovery! adventure!), a volume of empty fighting seemed like a bit of a letdown.

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One Piece – Volume 15

One Piece’s fifteenth volume offers a rich sampling of pretty much everything that makes this manga great. After a couple of Baroque Works-focused volumes that were frankly a little below par for the series, the team’s exit from Little Garden and subsequent steps offer action, comedy, and even some smaller character-building moments. One Piece may be at its best when fully embodying a spirit of adventure, but volume fifteen demonstrates it’s entirely comfortable operating within any number of dramatic and genre modes.

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