The Power Couples Book Tag

I was tagged by Raquel at RADIODDBOOKS about a month ago. Go and check out her answers to this tag. She’s also participating in my #ReadManga18 challenge, and I’ve been super excited following her progress!

This is technically a Valentine’s Day tag, so the questions are “couples” related. If romance is not your thing… umm… then this is going to be a disappointing read!

ONE. A couple that share big passions and goals

Naoki and Kotoko from Itazura na Kiss by Kaoru Tada. This is a classic shojo relationship featuring a dynamic couple with completely opposing personalities and skills. Ditzy Kotoko has fallen for the Genius Naoki. When Naoki realizes he might have a passion to pursue medicine, Kotoko pursues Naoki all the way to nursing school. Though they get into medicine difference ways, they end up finding a common passion, and a dream to work together after graduation.


TWO. A couple that love and respect each other

In a way I can’t sympathize with Asuka and Ryu from Everyone’s Getting Married by Izumi Miyazono. On the surface, they love and respect each other… but then, as I think about it, maybe they don’t?? Asuka wants to get married and become a housewife, and Ryu never wants to get married. But, despite their difference they are drawn to each other. They both love each other, and in a way respect each other by acknowledging their differing opinions on the matter. But, at the same time, I can’t understand why she bothers with Ryu knowing what she wants. Of course, if Miyazono wants to write a happy ending into this story, the only resolution will lead to wedding bells. So, maybe Ryu “respects” Asuka because he secretly wants to get married too — he just won’t admit it, yet.


THREE. A couple that is stronger together than apart

Kanade and Arou from Land of the Blindfolded by Sakura Tsukuba share a unique power. Kanade has a mysterious power to see the future, and Arou can see the past when they touch someone. Both have learned to deal with this power differently, but when they discover each other, they become each others source of strength and are able to boldly walk into dangerous and awkward situations to help strangers and friends. Without each other, they would both be shrinking violets still struggling to cope with their strange powers. And because of their emotional connection their powers also begin to get stronger as the story progresses.

sland of blindfolded

FOUR. A couple that wholly supports each other

It starts off a bit rocky, but as Yuri and Kail in Red River by Chie Shinohara get to know each other, they develop a deep respect for each. Kail can see the potential in Yuri as the future leader of his people, and despite his desperate desire to keep her safe, locked away in his palace, lets her make her own decisions and places her in the dangerous position of military leadership. And Yuri, with her tenacity, and charisma does everything she can to help further Kail’s plans as a future king of Anatolia while suppressing some of her own needs. They’re probably my favourite couple in shojo manga.

sred river

FIVE. A couple that is genuinely cute together

Ageha and Yukari from V.B. Rose by Banri Hidaki are genuinely adorable together. At least, they are once they get over their mutual abhorrence. Their mutual love of beautiful things, Yukari a wedding dress designer and Ageha a handbag maker, draws them together. As they see the qualities in each other and become comfortable with each other they also become incredibly sweet with each other. Despite the fact that this was incompletely printed by Tokyopop, I still love to pick it up from time to time… because this couple is just too cute!


Since this was technically a Valentine’s Day tag, I’m not going to tag anyone. But, if you want to answer these questions yourself, please consider yourself tagged. If you do it, leave a link to your post below, so I can find you! ^ ^



#ReadManga18 | Update no.2 | Feb 2018

I thought I had posted this already! I’m a bit late in putting this together. But, this is the next batch of titles that I’ve read for my #ReadManga18 yearly reading challenge that I am hosting. I think there are still a few of you who are participating with me as well. If you’ve been posting about this challenge, please leave a link down below so I can go and follow your progress.

absolute boyfriendChallenge #5 : A Romance Manga.

Absolute Boyfriend, volumes 1-6 by Yuu Watase. 

This is a challenge to read any manga with romance in it. Since MOST manga have some romantic elements in them, I could have picked just about anything. I am also reading this as part of my monthly “shelf challenge”.

I’ve read this title before, but it’s not one that I pick up often. I think I’ve only read it 2 or 3 times. This is a shōjo manga from Viz’s Shojo Beat Manga imprint. It basically features a girl who is very unlucky in love. When she is feeling her lowest, she is given access to a secret website where she can buy “love” in the form of a human-like sex doll. In her haste to order, she ends up adding in every conceivable trait you’d wish for in a boyfriend… and ends up ordering a “super boyfriend”.

This new doll, which she names “Night” is given the task to gather data on girls to send back to his company which will help them develop even more dolls. Over the course of the series, he not only is able to gather data, but starts to become more-and-more human to the point of rebelling against his manufacturers.

Night’s appearance in her life, encourages her best friend/next door neighbour to confess his long harbored feelings for her. And with two seemingly perfect boys now in love with her, Riko can’t seem to choose between them.

This is a fun series, but probably my least favourite title from Yuu Watase. I have a difficult time sympathizing with a character caught in a love triangle.

Challenge #13: An Out of Print Manga. 

zodiac p.i. 1

Zodiac P.I., volumes1-4 by Natsumi Ando

This was published by Tokyopop in 2003, and is probably one of the very first manga that I ever bought. It’s probably also not been read since it was first released.

I’m glad I picked this up again. It was very cute, if a little young. This is a shojo manga about a 13-year-old Detective/Astrologist who uses a magic ring to solve crimes. When she knows the birthday of the victim of the crime, she calls on her ring, and out pops a “fairy” type character associated with that astrological sign. They show her images that help lead her to solving the crime.

This wouldn’t be complete without her partner, a boy that she was friends with when they were 4 years old. He is a genius, and already has a degree in criminal psychology from an American university, but is now back in Japan attending junior high… (I can never understand this scenario, and it’s a popular one in shōjo manga)

The conflict feels minimal, the crimes are solved relatively easily, and the main character is happy, athletic, and charges head-first into situations to help her friends. Overall this is just a very cute 90s shojo manga.

ajinChallenge 25: A translated manga where the title was not changed from the Japanese.

Ajin Demi-Human by Tsuina Miura and Gamon Sakurai

I’ve already written a fairly long response to reading this title, here. But, I will say that I did really enjoy it, and can’t wait to keep reading in the series.

The title Ajin is the original Japanese title. It literally translates to Demi-Human. The English title is just the Japanese title with the English translation appended to it, so this is why I have decided to use it to fulfill this challenge.

This is the story of the outbreak of a new type of human. Or a human possessed. A young boy is discovered as a demi-human, and so leaves his family and friends to escape the grizzly fate that is awaiting him.

It is quite gruesome in some parts, but there is so much going on, and it definitely leaves you thinking about things beyond the actual story. I’m very excited to pick up more volumes of this one.

Challenge #46: A 2018 Release.


Takane & Hana by Yuki Shiwasu

I was really looking forward to this title since some of my favourite shōjo romance manga feature the teen/adult romance dynamic. With this big of age gap, the situation always runs the risk of being inappropriate, but it’s something I’m always eager to read. Because sometimes, it’s perfect!

This unfortunately wasn’t my favourite. I didn’t think it was inappropriate, but I found the adult character to be childish and annoying. And that made me sad.

This is basically a story about a teenage girl who goes to a match-making meeting (omiai) in place of her elder sister. She ends up meeting the socially awkward, yet very wealthy Takane. And, there is something in her brazen attitude that Takane can’t leave alone.

It’s more of a comedy than a romance at this point, but I don’t particularly find these character types to be that funny.

genshikenChallenge #50: A Light Novel.

Genshiken by Kio Shimoku and Iida Kazutoshi

I’ve already written a review of this title, which you can read, here, if you’re interested.

This is not manga. It is a “prose” version using the characters from the Genshiken manga as inspiration. But I’d say it’s not effective at… well…anything.

It’s really one of the worst things I’ve read, which is saying a lot because I’ve read A LOT!

I didn’t think I was going to like the light novel that I chose for this category, so I’m not actually disappointed in it. And, I’m very glad that I have this category over and done with. It’ll be a while before I feel compelled to pick up another one.

So, that’s it! I’m feeling pretty happy about my progress. Also considering that this isn’t the only thing I’ve read over the last month. There are other things, for other challenges as well. I hope this reading momentum continues through the year.

Continue reading

Manga Review : Ajin Demi-Human (vol. 1-8) / story by Tsuina Miura, art by Gamon Sakurai

ajinAjin Demi-Human, volume 1-8 (ongoing) / story by Tsuina Miura, art by Gamon Sakurai.

Translated from the Japanese by Ko Ransom.

Published by Vertical, 2014

Originally published as Ajin, in good! Afternoon magazine (Kodansha, Ltd.), 2012-

9781939130846 (volume 1)

From GoodReads:

High school student Kei Nagai is struck dead in a grisly traffic accident, but immediately revives to learn that he may not be like every other human. Instead, he may be a mysterious, almost immortal being, granted not only the powers of rejuvenation, but the abilities to see supernatural beings. Scared, he runs away, and is aided in his escape from society by his friend. Unfortunately for Kei, the manhunt is on and he will soon be caught within a conflict between mankind and others like him as they prepare to fight a new war based on terror. 

This is more of a first impressions than an actual review. I’ve read 8 volumes of the series so far (which is all we own currently) so that is what I will be commenting on.

This is a bit of a surprising series for me, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by it. Maybe not pleasantly…horrified…no less than 3 times has this title made my hair stand on end…

This is a horror manga, and the scene is set by the second volume. When we see the fate that awaits the captured ajin. It is incredibly brutal, and may just be closely associated with one of my greatest fears. It is not something to read right before bed, especially if you are at all affected by gore.

I wasn’t expecting that. To be surprised by manga is what I’m always looking for when I read, even if the surprise is something as horrible as this.

The back cover (or the summary from GoodReads above) doesn’t fully grasp what this story is, or what direction it is going to take. This is probably the source of my surprise. Without getting too spoiler-y the basis surrounds the nebulous definitions of good vs. evil. The lines aren’t clearly drawn. You aren’t entirely sure who you should believe, who you think is good or bad, and who you think should win. But, it also feels more true because of this.

I think also, you can’t help but compare it to Tokyo Ghoul which began releasing around the same time in English. Both feature a young teen boy who discovers he’s a monster and now is being hunted by humanity.

And what is humanity after all? Though this question isn’t being as obviously asked as it was in Tokyo Ghoul, it is still a subtle underlining question. And possibly something that will become more obvious as the series progresses.

At the end of volume 8 we are left in the middle of an all-or-nothing battle where the “good” side appears to be losing. We still don’t know fully what the ajin are, and why they exist, and we certainly don’t know how to stop them. There are a lot of questions in this manga, which are slowly being addressed and answered as we progress. But, as these questions are resolved, more questions are asked…

This helps to keep the series highly engaging. I can’t wait to continue reading and fill in all of the spaces. I suspect I can guess the end result, but I can’t imagine how we’re going to get there, which has me hugely excited to keep going with this!

If you like this series, you might also like:

  • Gunslinger Girls / by Yu Aida. Especially the mood, the politics and the final showdown.
  • 3×3 Eyes / by Yuzo Takada. Especially for the grizzly repeated deaths experienced by immortals.
  • Tokyo Ghoul / by Sui Ishida. Especially for the initial scenario and the questions about “what is humanity?”


*Just an extra note of nonsense: The word Ajin literally means Demi-Human in English. So, the English title of “Ajin Demi-Human” is literally “Demi-Human Demi-Human”. The original series in Japanese is just “Ajin”, not “Ajin Ajin.” You can call the series what you want.

Manhwa #MangaMonday Recommendations

Funny, how despite being the person who sets up these themes, they seem to spring up on me! Ack!

Today’s #MangaMonday recommendations are for manhwa. So, not manga at all… this really should have been called #ManhwaMonday. Manhwa in its simplest definition are comics coming out of South Korea. There’s more to that definition, but I’ll talk about that at some later point.

I actually have a pretty size-able collection of manhwa in my collection, but it’s something I pick up rarely to read. I think I only read 2 or 3 titles last year. And, I rarely buy manhwa. I used to pick it up because I didn’t notice the difference between it and manga, plus it was published and promoted as manga… so as a new reader, the difference wasn’t clear.

But now as a seasoned reader, I will say that because manhwa can look so much like manga that it actually shows its differences more clearly. It comes from a completely different country, so of course the stories, art, scenarios, and iconography will be different. In my opinion, this difference is one of the main reasons you or I as a manga reader should be reading them. It challenges, and hones your understanding of another comic form.

So, here are a few titles that I recommend you check out:

Pig Bride by Kook Hwa Huh and SuJin Kim.

pig 1This is a short 5 volume manhwa that I would equate to a shojo fantasy romance. At the tender age of 8 a young boy, and son to a powerful family, finds himself lost in the forest. He is found by a girl in a pig mask, who’s mother threatens not to let him leave if he doesn’t marry her daughter. He is forced into this marriage, and then sent back to his family. But, at the age of 16 this girl which he remembers from his dreams now has appeared and is ready to start their married life together.

At 5 volumes, this series is packed with unexpected twists and turns, and is a treat to read. Plus, because it’s so short, it shouldn’t be too hard to collect.

Very! Very! Sweet by JiSang Shin and Geo

very very sweet

This series is similar to the above in that it stars the self-assured and cool son of a wealthy family. His family has made a name for themselves in Japan. And, because of his behaviour he is sent to live in Korea to find his roots, and maybe correct some of his bad behaviour.

He soon develops a romance/rivalry with his new next-door neighbor. And they bond over their mutual love of cats! It’s seriously one of the cutest things. Plus the art is absolutely gorgeous!

The comparison is straight-up shoujo romance. But in this one at least, the rivalry (you know that girl who has a prior claim) is dealt with in a very unusual and refreshing way. It’s interesting to read, if only to get a new perspective on an annoying trope in manga. This manhwa, like it’s title suggests is Very! Very! Sweet and is my favourite title by this author/artist duo.

Milkyway Hitchhiking by Sirial

milkway hitchhiking

This is probably THE nicest and prettiest publication that I have from Yen Press. It’s printed in their standard large size, but they’ve used a heavy weight, thick, white, high gloss page. And the book is printed in full colour.

It needs to be in colour, as that is a primary feature of this manhwa. This is essential a series of stories about the cat from the stars. He travels to different times and locations and watches humans. Sometimes he is adopted by them, and sometimes he just sits back and observes.

It’s written in a very poetic and simple language, and is an incredibly cozy read. I would highly recommend you pick this up if you have the chance. It is absolutely a treat to look at!

I think that’s all I’m going to recommend today. I do have a few other recommendations in my video from today, too, if you want some more. Anyways, I hope I’ve encouraged you to pick up some manhwa and give it a chance!

If you would like to participate in #mangamonday recommendations on your blog or YouTube (or wherever), check out the instructions and future topics, here:

Manga Review : Alice 19th / by Yuu Watase

alice 19Alice 19th, Volumes 1-7 (complete) / by Yuu Watase

Translated from the Japanese by Lance Caselman

Viz, 2003-2004.

Originally published as “Alice 19th”
by Shogakukan, Inc., 2001

9781591162155 (volume 1)

Verso (volume 1):

Alice Seno is a seemingly shy and meek girl who always seems to be outshined by her older sister Mayura. One day, Alice has an encounter with a mysterious and magical rabbit girl, and her life is turned upside down. Alice discovers that certain words have power, and that she has the potential to be master of a set of sublimely powerful words called the Lotis Words. But power always comes with a price, and the price may turn out to be Alice’s sister Mayura.

*also, I copied this image off of GoodReads. My copy has the correct spelling of “story” (not “sroty”) on the cover. If you’ve got a first edition of this manga, I’d love to know if it was sent out with this spelling error… because that’d be hilarious!

This is a series that I read relatively regularly, so this is certainly not my first experience with this.

But without reading it, and from the clue of the cover alone, it is pretty obvious what the “Alice” part of this title refers to. This is yet another (of seemingly hundreds) of manga that draw influence from Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland. Watase has named her main character Alice, a girl who follows a white rabbit into the strange and wondrous landscapes of the human heart. There’s no escaping that comparison. But, rather than being a metaphor or having great meaning, I think this is just simple inspiration.

Which leads me to believe that the “19th” may also be as simple. There are no translation notes on this, and it is definitely not referenced in the manga as far as I can tell so it’s not clear why Watase called her series Alice 19th. I’ve finally taken to the internet to check this out, and now wonder if she isn’t referring to astrology. This is pure speculation on my part, but it could refer to the 19th lunar day, which according to some websites on this day:

  • The world is ruled hard and unfavorable to human energy.
  • There is great danger to succumb to evil networks.
  • The day is associated with moral purification of the soul and conscience.

Which are all major themes in this manga. There is even talk on some sites about the difficult state of dating relationships. I can’t help but think that Watase found a day in the astrological calendar with a lot of intriguing fortunes, and built a manga around it.

From the side panels, where Watase discusses her writing inspiration, she does mention this as being her response to the 9/11 attacks that shook the world in 2001. In its essence this is a story about the use of words as a mode to peace or havoc; that words are the first and last source of healing or destruction.

I’m not confident in this interpretation though, so I don’t want to get into it too much. But certainly, at the time this was published, these events could very well have affected Watase’s story. But, in general, this feels like a story that Watase likes to tell.

She has pit two characters who have a close relationship against each other. Here Alice (the hero) is a naive yet sincere character who in a moment of jealousy [“Marsha Marsha Marsha!“] wishes her sister, Mayura, to disappear. Due to the power of her words, and the fact that Mayura is already struggling with her own dark feelings, sends Mayura into the darkness to be consumed by the evil Darva.

The story progresses with many elements seemingly taken directly from some of Watase’s most famous stories. If you’ve read Fushigi Yugi or Ceres The Celestial Legend, in particular, you’ll recognize character dynamics, relationship woes, plot twists, and even costume and character design in this series. This is only a bad thing if you’re not a fan of her other work.

I am obviously a huge fan. So, at only 7 volumes, I’m happy that I get some of the “best” elements of her two biggest series in this short work.

But because this is such a short series, some of the seemingly important characters are added too late in the series. Just before she is about to go and fight her last battle, Alice is joined by a small group of powerful Lotis Masters (magic users). They’re added, I believe, to make the battle more epic, more harrowing, and frankly more plausible. I don’t know how much I would have enjoyed the series if the frightening bad-guy who was going to destroy the world, was defeated easily by a small group of four untrained teenagers.

Unfortunately, these extras are merely caricatures; paper-thin characters without any depth or motive. There’s no time to flesh them out. An extra volume would have been satisfactory. So this is certainly disappointing.

I’m also a bit disappointed in how little we get from Mayura in this series besides feelings of jealousy. There has to be more to her hatred than worrying about her boyfriend, Kyō, falling for her sister. I understand that as she is consumed by the darkness her personality is also somewhat absorbed, but I don’t feel like much of what she says has weight since she seems to only have the one emotion. I always wish for a little more from her or to at least understand her feelings a bit better, since this is essentially a story about feelings.

alice 19 dOverall, I really enjoy this title. There are certainly some elements that I don’t care for, but most of them are due to the length of the series and therefore easily forgiven. I would recommend this series, especially if you’re looking for a romantic shōjo fantasy that focuses more on fighting inner demons than outer ones.

If you like this, you might also want to try:

  • Ceres: The Celestial Legend / by Yuu Watase
  • Fushigi Yugi / by Yuu Watase
  • Sailor Moon (especially the Dead Moon Circus arc) / by Naoko Takeuchi
  • Magic Knight Rayearth / by CLAMP
  • Flower of the Deep Sleep / by Yuana Kazumi
  • QQ Sweeper / by Kyousuke Motomi


Unique Blogger Award

unique blogger badgeThank you polyphonic v0x for nominating me for The Unique Blogger Award! This was very sweet of you! I’ve been enjoying your awesome content as well! Keep up the good work! ^ ^


  • Display the award!
  • Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  • Answer the questions they’ve written for you!
  • Nominate 8-13 bloggers and give them three questions in the spirit of sharing love and solidarity within our blogging family!

polyphonic v0x’s questions:

  1. What are some of the animated shows you’re nostalgic for?
  2. Is there a topic you’ve been itching to blog about but haven’t gotten to yet?
  3. Who is your favorite singer/band and why do you enjoy their music?


What are some of the animated shows you’re nostalgic for?

Though, I don’t watch a lot of TV now, I actually prefer animation to live action (anything). I’ve spent a lot of my childhood watching cartoons. These are probably some of my best memories of childhood:

The Fluppy Dogs: Magical Talking Dogs that can travel through time and space… yes, please!

The Raccoons: Canadian environmental concerns thinly disguised as a children’s cartoon.

Fables of the Green Forest: Fairy and Folk Tales told by the animals of the Green Forest. I would watch this at my granny’s house. She didn’t live near us when I was a child, so this is one of my few childhood memories of her. And maybe I should give her credit for introducing me to anime?

The Mighty Hercules: Still one of the best opening songs ever! And, yes, I do still sing it ALL the time (but I have different words)! This is oddly enough, one of my memories of my other granny.

Hercules, Singer of Song and stories

Hercules, Winner of all your glories

Fighting for his life

With a rubber knife…

The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible: Probably the single best Christian cartoon series ever produced (you should expect nothing less from Hanna-Barbera)! And probably where my love of archaeology, art and ancient history stems from.

Strawberry Shortcake: And where would we be without one of the greatest 80s cartoons ever made? Well, we’d probably be lost not knowing what girls toys to buy that season! And oh my, Russi Taylor, might be my favourite voice actor ever! She also does a few voices in the original My Little Pony cartoon series…she’s rad! (that’s 80s speak for “awesome”)


Is there a topic you’ve been itching to blog about but haven’t gotten to yet?


I’ve only recently revived this blog, so I’ve barely had time to “introduce” myself and write a few reviews. I haven’t scratched the surface of what I want to talk about here. I have literally about a hundred (or more) blog and/or video ideas written in my bullet journal on the topic of manga that I want to develop. At the moment, I’m working on two series which I’m currently calling “Manga 101” and “Manga Master Class.”

I mostly want to share my passion for manga here (and on YouTube) and eventually want to discuss it’s value and significance historically as both a mode of art, and serious literature. My education is primarily in art history, museum studies… and currently I’m studying for an English degree (for fun). I’d like to bring all of these things together and relate them back to my interest in manga.

My ideas all require a good deal of research, so it’ll be some time before you see the results of my efforts!


Who is your favorite singer/band and why do you enjoy their music?

My interests in music are VERY eclectic. I couldn’t say that I have a favourite singer, as such. Actually, I’ll probably listen to just about anything except Jazz. I don’t get Jazz…

My go-to music is usually J-Pop/J-Rock and Classical. I do prefer to listen to music where I don’t understand the words (or there are no words). There’s a quote from Voltaire that I like, “Anything too stupid to be spoken is sung.” Which seems more-and-more true to me! I’m reminded of this every time I turn on the radio. I wonder if this means I’m getting old? “You whipper-snappers and your loud music!”

M-Flo. They experiment with sound. They perform with ‘everyone’. And, they produce  infectious tunes.

Spitz. He has such a nostalgic sound. There’s just something so dreamy about his voice.

Kousuke Atari. I could listen to his beautiful voice on repeat forever.

I’m ADDICTED to the sound of the harpsichord. I stop everything when I hear a harpsichord being played. Bach is too good.

And one of the best bits of music is The Dance of the Knights in Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet. I really hate the story of Romeo & Juliet. But the music! Ah! I die.

And probably my favourite classical music piece since childhood… which is weird because I’m not actually a musical person…I don’t know why I had it in my mind to listen to classical music as a child… is Chopin’s Nocturne in E-Flat Major. Still gets me every time! I can’t listen to it with my eyes open. Make sure it never comes on when I’m driving! haha


Nominees / People I Tag:

*Feel free to participate, or not. I know there are a lot of these floating around.

My Questions:

  1. Have you ever considered quitting your hobby?
  2. What is something that you collect?
  3. Which fictional character is most like you?

Manga Reading Wrap-Up | Feb 2018

Here’s everything I read in the month of February… with commentary!

★★★★ 5 Star Reads:

Dolis by Maki Kusumoto. Multilayered. Complicated. Twisted. Beautiful. Compelling. Begs to be Re-read.

The Park Bench by Chabouté. Wordless and wonderful! The poignant story of an object, illustrated in stark black/white contrast. Gorgeous book!

★★★★ 4 Star Reads:

Chihayafuru, volume 2 by Yuki Suetsugi. This is a bilingual Japanese-English manga published by Kodansha Japan. It’s the only way to read this title in English in print. It’s also available digitally through Kodansha Comics website. It’s so good, I may have to break down and buy the digital copy… because I can’t wait to see if Kodansha will actually give us a print publication of this in English! We needs it!

Giant Days by John Allison. An uncomplicated experience of college-friendships. Relate-able, Current and not too heavy. Definitely looking forward to more!

Pemmican Wars, volume 1: A Girl Called Echo by Katherena Vermette. This is the first title I’ve read a comic book with a métis lead character. I’ve actually been asked to do a presentation at work about comics by Indigenous Authors (because my work is the coolest) as part of Canada’s Truth and Reconcilliation. I’ve read quite a few comics by Indigenous authors and this is one of my favourites so far. At least at this point it has a lot of potential! I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler, volume 2 by Homura Kawamoto. I enjoyed volume 1, but volume 2 takes it a step further. The characters and story are actually rather undeveloped, but the scenario is engaging and the game-play looks hilariously fun! I hope it continues on with this tempo, but my interest in the series will drop if our main character doesn’t get a solid back-story or motive.

★★★ 3 Star Reads:

Zonzo by Joan Cornellà. You’re supposed to be offended. If you are a breathing human being (feelings or not), you will be offended. That’s the point. You’ll be disappointed in yourself when you laugh at this. It’s satire. Just keep telling yourself that.

Black Cloud, volume 1 by Jason Latour. The story was confusing and unexplained. But, there was something about this title that has me intrigued, and kept me interested until the end of the volume. I still don’t know any more than I did when I started, but I may be willing to read another volume of this. I really can’t explain what it’s about though.

Dream Fossil by Satoshi Kon. Some fascinating stories mixed with a few disappointments. Kon shows his skill for drawing comics like a moving picture.

Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler, volume 1 by Homura Kawamoto. This was fun, but a standard first volume to a fairly common scenario in manga. But, it gets better…

One Fine Day, volume 1 by Sirial. This manhwa is completely adorable. A little anthropomorphic kitty, puppy and mousey live a VERY happy life with their magician owner that loves them. If you’re looking for something simple & sweet… this is it!

No Other Duke Will Do by Grace Burrowes. Look at me reading romance novels – it is my once a year adventure. It had better writing than other romance novels I’ve read, but still totally contrived, and overly modern (despite it’s Victorian setting).

King of Cards, volume 1-2 by Makoto Tateno. I’d forgotten what the main premise of the story was, so I decided to read it. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. There were issues with the totally unbelievable game-play scenarios and the main characters romance with her cousin… but in general it is fun, cheerful, and totally addicting.

The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This is a cute “fictionalized” story starring Marie Kondo as she instructs a messy apartment owner on how to clean-up her life. It’s a quick and easy read, and fairly enjoyable but, there were situations in the manga that felt more silly or bizarre versus their portrayal in her non-fiction prose title “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up“. I did really like the instructions of how to fold your things… but also, I would never have the patience for that in real life.

Ant Colony, by Michael DeForge. A closer look at a handful of ants and their role in the ant colony… then suddenly the colony is destroyed and they’re the only ants left. I will preface this by saying this is an adult title. The situations and drawings are far from child appropriate. But that being said, I really enjoyed this title. It is less conventional than his other work “Sticks Angelica” and there is some level of humor in the “dark” situations that I like. Plus, a bit of poignancy in the message about struggling against convention but never getting anywhere.

Click, volume 1 by Youngran Lee. This is the story about a chauvinistic boy who finds out he has a rare hereditary genetic mutation that causes him to change gender at puberty. All of a sudden he’s missing a piece of himself that he found very precious! It’s quite funny, but it also feels like being turned into a girl is punishment for being a jerk. I do agree that he needs to be taught a lesson, but being a female isn’t a punishment… Anyways… This is somewhat comedy-romance and somewhat coming-of-age tale where “She” learns how to traverse her new life as a girl, and fend off unwanted suitors who are attracted to her “cool” boyish-personality.

Snotgirl, volume 1 by Bryan Lee O’Maley. This was fairly average, but I think that’s the general consensus for reviews I’ve read. I’m not particularly interested in reading further. The general premise is that behind the lens life isn’t as perfect for a beauty blogger. There is a bit of intrigue at the end, where you’re not sure what is up with the “new” beauty blogger character that’s introduced, but in general there wasn’t enough of it to keep me interested.

★★ 2 Star Reads:


Crime and Punishment by Osamu Tezuka. Is this the story of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment? It doesn’t intrigue me enough to pick up the larger novel. I suspect it is mostly at fault for trying to squeeze a massive tome into a short graphic story. It’s a nice publication though, and I’m still a fan of Tezuka’s humor and art style.

Takane & Hana by Yuki Shiwasu. This was a serious disappointment. I expected more from an age-dynamic that I usually seek out. I think the author made the male character ridiculously immature to make this insta-lovey/10-year age gap relationship seem more palatable for the average reader. I think this is supposed to be more of a comedy than a romance… but it didn’t feel like either.

Cucumber Quest, volume 1 : the Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D.G. I initially liked this sweet art style, cute characters and story premise. But, I started to get bored about half way through. The writing in this was flat, and the storytelling got lost. It would probably work better for a new young reader.

Sound of Snow Falling by Maggie Umber. If I was rating this as a science study, I would have rated it much higher. But as a graphic novel it failed. The art (though beautiful) was too difficult to read, the panels flowed in disruptive patterns, and in the end the story was relatively void of any plot.

Highbone Theatre by Joe Daly. In the end I wasn’t sure why I read this paranoid black comedy. I found the art style quite humorous, but in the end it was too masculine for me and felt like it was trying to be more clever than it actually was.

★ 1 Star Reads:


Genshiken: return of the Otaku by Iida Kazutoshi. Let’s forget this ever happened. But, if you don’t want to forget, I have a full review on my blog, here.

That’s everything that I read in February. Surprisingly few manga compared to everything else. I’ll have to rectify that in March!

What was the best thing you read in February?

Project Learn Japanese | Update no.2 | Feb 2018

I’m FINALLY getting into the self-study that I had talked about earlier. It’s taken me a bit longer to finally get “to it.” I’ve had so many other competing priorities this year and a lot of external pressures, so it’s been difficult to fit this in. But, I’ve squirreled away a little dedicated study space in my house (my kitchen table), and am now getting down to business! […to defeat… the huns…]

03.03 messy studying

I’m saving the vocab review for April. Until then, I’m going through all of the chapters in my two volumes of Minna no Nihongo. I’ve got the accompanying grammar and notes book, which I’m using to fill a blank notebook. It’s laid out really well for my needs. (but overall I don’t actually recommend this book unless you’re using it as a class text)

I’m writing out the grammar point & highlighting it, writing their example sentence(s), and then creating 3 or 4 of my own example sentences using the same point. I’m not taking much in the way of actual notes though. Seeing the constructed sentences are sometimes enough to get the point across.

I’m also going through the book and creating flashcards for all of the vocab that I don’t know, or might get wrong if I hear the word out of context. I’m hoping that I’ll be done going through these books by the end of March, and so April I will start officially studying for the JLPT, studying the flashcards I’ve just constructed, and reviewing the kanji.

At this point, I’m not sure I’ve learned anything new. But, I’m glad to be getting this much-needed review!


New Japanese Materials:


I had to replace the Kodansha’s furigana Japanese-English dictionary. On my first day of classes I accidentally spilled pop all over my bag which ruined my original dictionary. I’ve had that dictionary for years… and absolutely love it. If you’re in the market for a Japanese-English dictionary, this is THE one you want. (there’s also a reverse English-Japanese dictionary available which can be useful too)

You will need to know how to read kana to look up any words. But, you really should be doing that before you start learning Japanese anyway.

I’m just so glad I was able to replace this!

Hopefully by the end of March I’ll be on track to start studying for the JLPT. It’s been going really well for the last few weeks, so hopefully this is something I’ll be able to sustain for the long term and actually achieve a decent level of fluency…

Manga Challenge Winners!

Ack! I’m racing to post this. Unfortunately didn’t have time to write a corresponding blog post to the video that just went up!

If you entered my giveaway to win some of my “doubles”, you’ll want to watch the following video to see if you should be expecting any manga in the mail! Congratulations to all 3 winners! I had a lot of fun doing this.

If you participated but didn’t win anything this time, don’t fret! I’ll definitely be holding more giveaways in the future!

TBR Unwrapping #2

I’d written a previous post where I talked about wrapping up my books in wrapping paper, and selecting titles randomly to read over the year. I had originally planned on making this a video series, but have since decided not to. I may talk about my prose reading on my YouTube some time in the future, but I don’t think this will be part of it… at least not this year.

But, I am still going forward with this project.

In September I wrapped up 35 books (mostly novels) in wrapping paper. In January I unwrapped 6 of them:

I’ve since read:

The goal is to keep unwrapping 6 books every other month, and to read at least 3 of the books before moving on to the next unwrapping.

At the end of this (in December), I want to have read at least 20 prose novels (and some non-fiction). I haven’t been reading as much prose, but I still have been buying some, and getting some as gifts from friends & family. I have quite a few books on my shelves that I haven’t read yet. So, I’m making an attempt to clear some of that up.

At this point, I’ve already read 6 novels, so I’m very hopeful for how things are going to go!

As much as I want to read the remaining books on my TBR, I also want to get into a perpetual state of reading motion. So, I’m going to leave behind the other unread books for now (unless I have a demanding need to pick them up) and pick some more books.

DSC00214bI’ve chosen the next 6 books from my TBR. The Blue/Green paper represents non-fiction, the Red/Brown flower paper are classics (anything written before 1910) and the Colourful geometric papers are everything else.

Here’s what I’ve picked for the next 2 months:


jane austenLady Susan. The Watsons. Sanditon / by Jane Austen

I’m mostly interested in reading Lady Susan, as I’ve actually read the other two “short stories”. Basically they are incomplete beginnings to two novels. Lady Susan is the last novel of Jane Austen’s for me to read. It is a very short epistolary story, and so much different than her others. But, I hear it is bitingly witty.

i am a catI am a Cat / by Natsume Soseki

I picked up this novel after reading Soseki’s “Botchan” last year. It wasn’t my favourite novel, but it was an interesting look into Japanese culture. And, I’ve definitely been interesting in reading more Japanese fiction since then. [I actually have a very hazy plan to read exclusively Japanese fiction in 2019. I still have 10 months to decide… but it sounds very tempting!]


jane austen bioJane Austen / by Carol Shields

I have heard very good things about this short biography by Nobel Prize winning author, Carol Shields. I found it at a second hand sale a couple years ago now, so I’m surprised I haven’t read it… considering how big of a Jane Austen fan I am.

valezquezThe Vanishing Valazquez / by Laura Cumming

I won an arc copy of this title in a GoodReads giveaway. And, it’s actually a title I’m interested in reading, especially since there may be a conversation about collecting and obsession in it. I’ve been looking at that relationship quite closely these days.

General Fiction:

rebeccaRebecca / Daphne Du Maurier

Since it is represented so often in popular culture, I have a feeling I already know what this novel is about. I really would like to read it, but because it’s so long, this probably is the least likely of the list to get read in the next 2 months. But, who knows if I’ll been in the mood later on.

bamarreThe Two Princesses of Bamarre / by Gail Carson Levine

I’ve read Levine’s “Ella Enchanted” and “Fairest” which are wonderful middle-grade fantasy stories. Levine crafts wonderful imaginative stories which are appropriate for that tween age reader… which is great because I’m an aunty to a couple of tweens who like to read, and who I can share my books with when I’m done with them.


I still have no idea what I’ll end up reading. I’m just going to put them on my nightstand and let nature take its course! haha!

Have you read any of these? Is there a title you’d recommend I start with?