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.

Platinum End, Volume One – Review

Today I dug into the first volume of the newest collaboration between Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, which was… well, certainly a collaboration between Ohba and Obata. Obata’s art is perfectly suited to this story – while very technically refined, it also always comes off as sharp and somewhat inhuman, which is ideal for this sort of grand, faux-religious narrative. Platinum End also leans into Ohba’s strengths as a storyteller, which do exist, in spite of him being a generally misanthropic writer. Overall, it’s a pretty fun, trashy time.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Goodnight Punpun – Volume 2

Goodnight Punpun’s second volume is clammy and claustrophobic and cold. Its characters are alternately bundled in heavy winter clothes or sweating and naked beneath the sheets, suffused with a sense of spiritual isolation or simply embarrassed at the wriggling baseness of their desires. Childhood is over for Punpun, and even if it was an awkward and frightening time, it was still laced with precious, golden memories. Punpun is in middle school now. Middle school is terrible.

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A Bride’s Story, Volume 7 – Review

I returned to Bride’s Story after some time away this week, reviewing a volume that felt more or less like an intended breather after last volume’s high-stakes drama. Anis’s story was pleasant enough, but mainly just a very warm and fuzzy romance, largely conveyed through evocative floral garnishes and whatnot. It’d have been a stronger story if Anis and her avowed sister actually had some chemistry, but both of them were just too mild people for that. The manga’s art was still beautiful, but this was definitely a less compelling narrative than usual.

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

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My Hero Academia, Volume 5 – Review

My Hero Academia’s fifth volume is a friggin’ masterpiece. That’s basically all there is to it – the manga has continued to improve from a starting point of “extremely solid archetypal shounen,” and at this point its strong art, wonderful characters, and bubbling themes are all working in concert to create legitimate magic. This was a tournament arc where I actually cared about every single competitor, where I cheered and cried at every single fight. It perfectly fused climactic action and very personal storytelling, demonstrating exactly how you make fights worth fighting. I can’t even imagine what comes next.

You can check out my full review over at ANN!

My Hero Academia

My Monster Secret, Volume 2 – Review

My Monster Secret is some very solid comfort food. You’re not gonna be impressed by its character writing, you’re not gonna be shocked by its dramatic craft, you’re just gonna laugh and watch some stupid kids make funny mistakes. I’m frankly happy to see it being released now – I generally need a certain density of active manga releases to keep me satisfied, and with both A Silent Voice and Biscuit Hammer having ended, I was running low. My Monster Secret obviously can’t replace either of those shows, but I’m enjoying my time with it just the same.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my kinda useless chapter notes below!

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UQ Holder, Volume 7 – Review

Back to the UQ grind again, with a volume that finally dug into one of this manga’s core issues – how goddamn boring its protagonist is. Tota is a shounen lump, and this volume did its best to paint some character on that lump, with generally positive results. UQ is still a surprisingly mediocre performance from the guy who made Negima, but there’s plenty of entertainment to be found regardless.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

UQ Holder!

Genshiken Second Season, Volume 8 – Review

Genshiken continues its questionable adventure into harem territory, making the most of it but still being fundamentally much worse than what the manga used to be. There are certainly plenty of effective moments here, and the story still has better dialogue than most manga and solid art all around, but Second Season is still an inescapable disappointment. We are in the lean times of Genshiken now.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Genshiken