My Monster Secret, Volume 5 – Review

My Monster Secret finally gains some ambition in its fifth volume, offering two large-scale narratives that demonstrate this story actually has some legs, Having already read the sixth volume, I know this isn’t a permanent shift for the manga, but it’s still nice to see a story with generally episodic priorities demonstrate it can handle some more dramatically ambitious stuff well. And Mikan has very surprisingly turned out to be one of my favorite characters here, occupying the role of “girl who obviously should win” in a lesser harem. I say “lesser harem” because in this case, the two leads actually are great together, and I’d be happy to see them get together. My Monster Secret is just a positive time all around.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

One Piece – Volume 10

At last, it’s time for One Piece’s triumphant return! After far too many days/weeks/months of dilly-dallying, we’re back on the One Piece train with the second volume of the fabled Arlong Park arc. Nami’s backstory, the powers of her crew, and Arlong’s menace all rolled into one explosive manga adventure. And after all this time away, I have to say that… this volume is maybe a bit of a letdown.

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My Monster Secret, Volume 4 – Review

Today I return to that reliable harem staple, My Monster Secret. This volume wasn’t as entertaining as previous ones, but part of that partially comes down to structural issues inherent in the genre, and other parts come down to the fact that the author actually does seem to be trying to improve. Having already read the fifth volume, it seems like this is just a temporary stumbling block, so I’m not terribly worried. Keep on keeping on, Asahi!

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below.

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UQ Holder, Volume 9 – Review

We’re back in the training arc mines with today’s UQ Holder, but at least this volume gave me a chance to roughly cover the manga’s trajectory to date. UQ Holder is perhaps more interesting as a dramatic problem to solve than an actual story, with “how do you make a compelling shounen drama when your hero’s already an extremely powerful immortal” its central puzzle. The manga’s solutions to that puzzle are inconsistent, but it sure is fun to talk about!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

My Hero Academia, Volume 8 – Review

Alright, let’s talk My Hero Academia. This latest volume gave me one of the strangest sources of frustration I’ve experienced regarding manga – feeling annoyed that a certain arc wasn’t padded out. Normally I’d be all for skipping through the dramatically irrelevant fights of Deku’s final exams, but for this story, I can’t think of many things I’d more like to see than the secondary characters of Class A battling against professional heroes. It’s a testament to this manga’s great cast and fun fights that I basically want filler battles.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Volume 6 – Review

Today I’m back with the latest Ancient Magus’ Bride. This one’s a bit of a mixed bag – the fantastical adventures are as strong as ever, but Alice’s story felt like it was held down by the author’s awkwardly vague impression of what her life might actually be like. Still, I can’t blame the author too much for trying to write beyond her comfort zone. And the second half is still pretty great!

The Ancient Magus Bride – Volume 6

UQ Holder, Volume 8 – Review

Today we’re catching up on UQ Holder a bit, running through the manga’s recent training arc. There’s really not much to say about this one that I didn’t already say in my review, and I’ve got thirty million things to get to today, so HAVE AT IT!

You can check out my full review over on ANN.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Volume 5 – Review

Welp, this volume was basically perfect. The Ancient Magus’ Bride was at its best this time, mixing evocative fantasy with rousing character drama in some of the manga’s most beautifully and affecting stories yet. Even the paneling demanded to be noticed in this volume, as Chise and Elias’ distinct fears were contrasted across a stunning finale sequence. This manga is super extremely good.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Volume 5

The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Volume 4 – Review

Welp, fell a bit behind in my Magus reviews, so here we are. The manga is maintaining a strong balance of fantastical digressions and sturdy character-focused material, and continuing to have a solid grip on the compelling weirdness of Chise and Elias’ relationship. I’m pretty happy with my review of this one, so head on over and check it out!

The Ancient Magus Bride, Volume 4

My Monster Secret, Volume 3 – Review

I’m back on My Monster Secret again, which is basically the definition of comfort food. I don’t expect this manga’s character writing to wow me or narrative turns to thrill me, but reading about goofy, likable people making fools of themselves in vaguely romantic ways always makes for a pleasant afternoon. My Monster Secret confidently demonstrates that a steady, upbeat execution of these romcom staples is all you need for a good time.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.