One Piece – Volume 16

One Piece’s sixteenth volume opens with the team in crisis. Having sailed to the island of the former Drum Kingdom in search of a doctor, they discovered the only doctor here lived on top of a towering mountain. Strapping the sickly Nami to his back, Luffy set off with Sanji at his side, fighting through snow drifts and giant killer rabbits on the way to the summit. But then, before they could arrive, their movements prompted a mighty avalanche. And so we find our heroes sprinting back down the mountain, time ticking down with the storm at their backs.

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My Monster Secret, Volume 8 – Review

My Monster Secret leaned heavily on its most minor side characters this volume, with altogether disappointing results. This manga definitely can succeed as a full-on farce, but when it’s not relying on the emotional appeal of its characters, the jokes really need to show up… and this volume’s collection of mediocre sight gags and too-long gimmicks just didn’t cut it. Ah well.

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Hunter x Hunter – Volume 34

Hunter x Hunter’s thirty-third volume was entirely dedicated to establishing the base conflict of the Dark Continent arc. Even with a full volume worth of board-adjusting and exposition, those chapters still felt like they were bursting at the seams with pure information. The king’s declaration, and his alliance with Beyond. The Hunter Association’s reaction to that announcement, and their conscription of Kurapika and other potential allies. The background interference of Ging and Paristan, and the concerns of the larger scientific community. The introduction of the king’s succession war, and Kurapika’s subsequent enrollment in the youngest prince’s service. All of that served as meaty but ultimately passive setup, setting the stage for volume thirty-four to come barreling out the gate with the true start of the arc.

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Genshiken Second Season, Volume 11 – Review

Today I reviewed Genshiken Second Season’s latest volume, which was… acceptable? I no longer expect genius from what I once considered my favorite manga series, but this volume definitely had some of the awkwardly true-to-life conflicts and conversations that once made this series so great. Flashes of greatness are okay by me!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

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.