Manga TBR Shelf #40 | from Pi to Ra

I mentioned in my previous TBR shelf post that I’m creating a monthly TBR (to be read) by randomly selecting shelves from my manga room. This month, I’ve chosen shelf number 40! This contains regular sized manga from Pi to Ra.

This is one of those strange shelves where many of the series are incomplete. Several of these incomplete titles like Pieces of a Spiral are actually fairly new to the collection. They were picked up in the hopes that someday we’ll eventually be able to collect all of the volumes, and then eventually read them. But we’re not in any hurry.

I may decide to read a couple of the volume 1’s from these series, but when there are big gaps in the middle, I don’t force myself to continue.

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10 Most Anticipated New Manga : Spring – Summer 2018

My most anticipated new releases for Spring/Summer 2018 (April 2018 to August 2018). Release dates are subject to change without notice.

These first 5 titles are ones I’m most interested to hear reviews of. I’m probably not going to pick them up right away, but they are the ones I’m most intrigued by:

Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction by Inio Asano (Viz Media / Released: April 17)

dededemons

If you don’t follow me over on YouTube, you might not know how much I actually have been disappointed in Inio Asano’s works. I don’t like the stories he tells. But, I like how Asano composes his stories. And, I’ve been told (by some people who’s opinions I trust on the matter) that this will cure me of my woes. I’m doubtful, but hopeful.

Moteki: Love Strikes by Mitsurou Kubo (Vertical Comics / Released: April 3)

moteki

I believe this is by the same author involved in Yuri on Ice, which is super popular right now. I wouldn’t know really if it’s worth picking up from that since I rarely watch anime itself… but, I was actually more drawn to this by the cover art design which leads me to believe that this will be a drama series featuring adult characters… Unfortunately my shopping this year being somewhat hampered by other priorities, I’ll have to sustain myself with everyone’s reviews until I can afford to pick this one up.

My Boy by Hitomi Takano (Vertical Comics / Released: April 10)

my boyThis story follows the premise of a 30-year-old woman and her relationship with a 12-year-old boy. It may become a romantic relationship which definitely crosses the line and is enough for me to avoid this title… but it could be a conversation about the inappropriate nature of this kind of relationship. It’s hard to say with Vertical titles, they do often get very close to that line for me. I am very curious about it, but I think I’m more interested in reading the reviews once it’s been released.

Sacrificial Princess & the King of Beasts by Yu Tomofuji (Yen Press / Released: April 24)

sacrificial princessSounds like a Beauty and the Beast retelling to me. And since the character actually appears to be a “beast” I’m totally on board for it! But, because it’s by Yen Press it’s also going to be a bit overpriced, so it will take me a bit longer to pick this one up… unfortunately.

Go for it, Nakamura by Syundei (Seven Seas / Released: July 3)

go for it nakamuraThis just sounds like a hilarious “yaoi” comedy. So, this just seems like an unusual scenario compared to any yaoi or shonen-ai I’ve read before. I’m pretty sure this title is also on my sister’s radar, so hopefully it won’t be long before it joins our collection.

 

These last 5 are probably my top priority picks. I don’t think I’ll wait to see if people like them. They are titles that NEED to join my collection.

Captain Harlock: The Classic Collection by Leiji Matsumoto (Seven Seas / Released: April 24)

captain harlock classicHurray!! Of course, this is probably my most anticipated title on the list. I am so excited to see so much L. Matsumoto titles being released in English… And Harlock may be one of my first anime crushes. Ahhhh. It’s going to be so good. This is the first hardcover title I’ll be picking up from Seven Seas, so I’m very curious to see how the quality fairs. They’ve been doing a good job with their paperback titles. I am a little disappointed that it isn’t going to be Kodansha again. I was hoping that these books would match their Queen Emeraldas release.

Sailor Moon Eternal Edition by Naoko Takeuchi (Kodansha / Released: April 24)

sailor moon eternal

I recently picked up a bilingual manga with the same cover art from Kodansha Japan, so I’m pretty interested to see how different this is. It claims new cover art, french flaps, and a revised translation (which could really just mean, improved grammar). It doesn’t look like it’s much different than the previous edition that I already own from Kodansha… but I’m not sure I care. It’s Sailor Moon!

The Troublemakers by Baron Yoshimoto (Retrofit Comics / Released: May 23)

trouble makersUh. Ah. I’m not sure I can tell you anything about this. I’ve really been enjoying alternative manga lately, and the best person to follow if you want to read alternative manga is Ryan Holmberg. Every time I pick up a book he’s translated I’m always super impressed. That’s pretty much the ONLY reason I need to pick this up. But, it does look weird. And I’m always a fan of weird.

Claudine by Riyoko Ikeda (Seven Seas / Released: June 26)

claudineI’ve been desperate to read Ikeda’s Rose of Versailles, but it seems the release has been taken hostage by Udon Entertainment a few years ago and they still haven’t set a release date for it. I’m just super excited to be getting a vintage shoujo manga… and hope this is successful enough that we see more.

Dementia 21 by Shintaro Kago (Fantagraphics / Released: August 28) 

dementia 21I’ve been told by a few online friends that I should get into Kago’s work. It’s supposed to be quite twisted, violent, and sexual. I’m not sure if he qualifies as eroguro, but that was what we were talking about when this author was mentioned. From the little searching I did online, I suspect it may scar me for life… and I may become permanently damaged… but, doesn’t that sound like something worth reading?!

Manga Review: Platinum Garden (vol. 1-6) / by Maki Fujita

platinum garden 1Platinum Garden, volumes 1-6  / by Maki Fujita

Translated from the Japanese by Egan Loo. English Adaptation by Sarah Dyer.

Published in English by Tokyopop, 2006

First published in Japanese by Akita Publishing Co., 2001

1598163612 (volume 1)

Rated: 2.5/5 Stars


From GoodReads:

When Kazura is sent to live in Mizuki’s house, she learns that she’s really there to become his wife! Furious, Kazura tries to leave, but discovers that she was given as payment for her deceased grandfather’s debts. But things aren’t what they seem to be in this household–Mizuki can call back people’s souls, and Kazura wants him to bring back her grandfather! Maki Fujita’s shojo comedy is filled with delicious family secrets, dreamy high school romance, and plenty of spirited fun!


I picked up Platinum Garden to read because it’s on the next shelf that I’ve picked for my monthly bookshelf tours (video will go up beginning of April). My sister owns this series, and neither of us have finished reading it. Which I guess is okay, considering how it was dropped at the half-way point. There are still 7 volumes which never got an English release. She owns the first 6 volumes, which is what I’ll be discussing:

I remember picking up the first volume years ago… probably when she started buying it (in 2006) and being too bored to continue. I thought it would be a good time to try this again.

It was. I was pleasantly surprised by how good this title was. Was it great? No. It’s pretty average. But it’s better than I remember… and everything from story, art and translation improves as you progress into the later volumes.

The first volume is a train wreck. Here you are introduced to the characters, and the scenario. Poor writing, expected scenarios, weak art, and I’ll even say awkward translating. If this was all I judged the series on, I would say it is barely worth looking at.

It doesn’t help that the back cover (detail from GoodReads) is also completely misleading.

The surprise in the title (despite it being in the summary on the back) is Mizuki’s spiritual powers. There are no hints of it (except on the cover) that this title is going to have anything spiritual or fantastical in it. It suffers from a severe case of “tell” instead of “show”. There should have been hints, or some lead-up in the body of the series so that despite the “surprise” of the revelation, you aren’t also left feeling like it’s a lie. There’s no reason for Kazura to believe Mizuki has spritual powers at this point. And, it just isn’t believable for his character.

The other part of the scenario which is mentioned on the cover, is that Kazura wants Mizuki to revive her dead grandfather. I’ve read up through the first 6 volumes. There is no hint that this is even a remote possibility in Kazura’s mind. There are some reasons that Kazura wouldn’t consider asking Mizuki for this favour. I would discuss them, but they jump into spoiler territory.

So basically, the summary that was supposed to sell you the book, was completely misleading. Reading that, and jumping into the first volume, I can see why I was bored and uninterested to continue the first time around.

But, I’m glad I did continue. Though, none of the volumes rate higher than 3/5 stars for me, I did have fun reading it. Story, Art, Characters, and translation all improve significantly from volume to volume. And hidden among the expected scenarios, and tropes, there were a few surprising character-reactions and secrets that made the experience worthwhile.

What’s great about this series are the characters. The main two characters aren’t terribly likable in the first volume, and Mizuki seems downright abusive. But, they develop and gain a more believable reason for being the way they are by the third volume.

The heroine, Kazura’s personality wins people over. Because of her, they see the bad in themselves, and then want to change it. Kazura is a shining light. Surrounded in the darkness of Mizuki’s past, she is still able to reach people, and make true friends.

Over the first few volumes, she changes from a weak, undefined, and unlikable character and becomes a strong character who is both traditionally “girly” but also can stand up for herself… and the people around her. She’s not quick to judge, or to feel depressed. And despite the fact that she’s the quintessential shojo heroine (complete with failing grades) she’s not frustrating to read about.

But more so even than the main characters, the side characters, the enemies, the family members are all interesting and likable with their own quirks and special gifts. They are the primary reason I would recommend this series. Some of them, like Mizuki’s great-grandfather are truly wonderful creations.

platinum garden 8Overall, I’d say there are some major flaws with the series. The worst offense, is that this 15 volume series was dropped (went defunct) at 8 volumes. It has major flaws, and there are significantly better series out there, but I had fun reading it.

I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to finish. I’m doubtful any publisher will be rescuing this series (even digitally), and if they did I would hope that they give it a bit of a makeover with a rewritten summary, and a new modern translation.

Is it worth your time? Maybe. If you don’t have high expectations, and you like standard 90s high school setting shojo manga, this might appeal to you. But incomplete at 8 volumes, I wouldn’t go out of my way to pick this up.

If you like this, you might also like:

  • Fruits Basket / Natsuki Takaya *especially the supernatural content, and the scenario (incurably optimistic girl gets involved in/heals a family with deep hurts due to a cursed fate)
  • Secret Sakura Shares / Akira Hagio *especially for the scenario (girl gets sold to wealthy young man to pay her family debts)

Manga Mysteries #MangaMonday Recommendations

There are a whole bunch of manga mystery stories. Here are a very small selection that I think you should check out if you have the chance!

The Kindaichi Case Files by Kanari Yozaburo and Sato Fumiya

Kindaichi

This is wildly out of print, but because most of the stories are self contained within each volume, it’s well worth picking up if you find a volume here and there. This is essentially a series featuring the young detective Kindaichi who solves murder mysteries; very much scenarios like you’d find in Agatha Christie novels. Kindaichi is an unassuming youth, but has great powers of perception. The stories are more about the mysteries, than they are about the characters, so if murder mysteries are something you like to read I would definitely recommend checking this one out. Published by Tokyopop.

Utsubora: the Story of a Novelist by Asamiko Nakamura

Utsubora

This is a recently in-print manga, so you should still be able to get your hands on it. This is a beautifully illustrated josei series about a novelist who has some relationship to a young woman who has recently commit suicide by jumping to her death. The mystery is subtly woven in an art house style manga. After you’ve read through it and revealed all of the secrets, you will definitely want to pick it up again. This is one of those mysteries that you get more out of every time you pick it up — which says a lot for a mystery! Definitely would recommend checking this title out. Mature Content. Published by Vertical.

Young Miss Holmes by Kaoru Shintani

Young Miss Holmes

This is exactly what it sounds like, a series about a “miss” Holmes. This miss is the niece of the famous detective, who like her famous uncle has a nimble mind and keen observation skills. This is normally a type of series that I don’t like, so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. For one, the art in it is beautiful! I would recommend it for that alone. But also, this takes on the concept that miss Holmes is not her uncle’s helper, but her uncle’s competition. She is a tenacious child who wants to best her uncle at solving crimes. They often appear simultaneously at the conclusion, but have come to the correct conclusion in a different way. It’s a delightful read, but recently out of print, so pick it up when you have a chance! Published by Seven Seas.

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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.

sitazura

TWO. A couple that love and respect each other

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#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”.

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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.  Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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! Continue reading

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! ^ ^

Rules:

  • 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?

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