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?