Manga Reading Wrap-Up | Jan 2018

In an attempt to find some balance between YouTube and Blogging, I’ve decided to move my monthly wrap-ups here.

I have or will be talking about most of these books on either this blog or on my YouTube channel, so I’m not actually going to describe any of them in these “wrap-ups”. This is really just an attempt to keep track at least in part the titles that I’m reading throughout the month.

I’m arranging the books by my star rating. It’s not necessarily a useful way to share books since ratings really only mean something to the person making them. But, if you’re curious about how I decide ratings (it actually only applies to manga) I do have a video talking about that on my channel.

 


★★★★★ 5 Star Reads:

 


 

★★★★ 4 Star Reads:

 

 

 


★★★ 3 Star Reads:

 

 

 


★★ 2 Star Reads:

 

 

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#ReadManga18 | Update no.1 | Jan 2018

So, if you haven’t heard, I created a manga reading challenge for 2018. It’s not too late to join in, if you’re interested. Actually, you could probably join until December, if you wanted! Click the “challenges” link in the menu above to find out how to participate.

I think, I’m going to attempt to post updates every month(ish) to tell you which prompts I’ve completed over the course of the year. I’ll be spreading these updates a bit further apart on YouTube (if you’re also following me over there).

At any rate… the challenges…

One thing you may notice is that I’m attempting to read a whole series, or as much of the series as I possibly can before I count it towards my #readmanga18 challenge. In the instructions you can use a single volume of manga to count towards as many challenges as you want. I read a LOT of manga in the year, so I wanted to encourage myself to read full series. I haven’t done a lot of that in the last 2 years.


 

 

 

I completed Challenge #32 : A manga that features a female main character with  Complex Age, volumes 1-6 / by Yui Sakuma. This is the complete series, which finished publishing last year. I was so impressed with this manga! It is essentially the story of a “young” female cosplayer as she starts to come to terms that she’s not quite as “young” as she used to be, and maybe she’s getting too “old” for her hobby. This concept is compounded by the experiences of at least a half dozen other women in various aspects of fandom and their individual responses to the aging process.

This was soooooooooo relate-able. As someone in her late 30s, I can’t believe I’ve found a manga that has resonated with me so much. I am “old” compared to the majority of the people in fandom. I’ve had to get over my own insecurities of being into something “childish,” and I’ve had to make conscious decision about what my life in fandom will continue to be. I certainly interact VERY different with my hobby than it ever did in my youth. Not everyone has to give up their hobby, but everyone needs to make the decision for them self. What will you make of yourself? How important is this hobby to you?

I would absolutely recommend this manga, but especially if you’re a woman in your late 20s (or older).

someday's dreamersChallenge Number 37 : A manga by 2+ authors was satisfied by the 2 volume series, Someday’s Dreamers / by Norie Yamada and Kumichi Yoshizuki. This was an older release by TokyoPop, but I’ve recently been informed that OverDrive has a digital license to lend out this manga. If your library has OverDrive, but they haven’t picked up this title yet, you should definitely request it from them!!

This is a very sweet, quiet, slice-of-life type manga about a country girl who has moved to the bustling city of Tokyo to begin her magic apprenticeship. She’s had a few issues in the past, which has made her shy and insecure but through this new experience has a chance to change.

I picked this title up because I was looking for short shonen manga to recommend for my #mangamonday recommendations post earlier in the month. I haven’t read it in years, and was glad to try it again. Though it’s not my favourite series, and there are certainly some flaws with the storytelling and translation, overall this is a cute and emotionally impactful series. It will encourage you to leave the past behind!

clockwork appleFor Challenge Number 44 : A collection of short stories I read Clockwork Apple / by Osamu Tezuka. Again, a title I was very pleasantly surprised by. I actually didn’t realize this was going to be short stories when I picked it up. I chose this to read because it was part of my “shelf challenge” project that I’m doing on YouTube.

I’m continually impressed with Osamu Tezuka’s stories. I don’t know why, but I always drag my feet before picking up any of his works… but then fly through them because they are so engaging. I have yet to read a Tezuka title I didn’t like.

This was certainly “different”. There are a number of stories in this which mostly had a science fiction/mystery bent to them. They actually reminded me a lot of watching “The Outer Limits” or the “Twilight Zone.” There was just something so strange and bizarre, and also somewhat disturbing about most of them.

The title that most sticks in my head is a WW2 story. An ex-German officer is about to be executed for his crimes in the war, but he’s not worried because he’s stolen a secret weapon from one of his Jewish prisoners that should help him escape. The result is downright disturbing. This is definitely not for children.

I would recommend this. But, it does look like DMP titles might be increasingly difficult to pick up after this latest news of their impending demise. Good luck on your hunt!

chocolat 1The title I read was for Challenge number 48 : A manhwa/manhua title. Chocolat, volumes 1-8 / by Shin JiSang and Geo is a Korean comic book series or manhwa. It was published by Danbi, which again I think has gone defunct. (…I think)

This was such a cute title!! It’s basically about a girl who is a super-fan of a popular KPop group. She is head-over-heals in love with them. And, she accidentally gets mixed up with their rivals; including getting forced to become the leader of their fan club.

Of course, romance ensues with some of the band. There are two strong candidates for love in this triangle — but, this is one series where you don’t know who she’s going to end up with. I can’t remember the last time this has happened to me!

Korean titles definitely have a different pacing and art style than shoujo manga. But, if you are a big fan of “girls’ comics”/and KPop then you should really check this out. I think it’ll give you a new perspective on the genre.

Warning: there are quite a few scenes of bullying including physical abuse in this title. If those are things that bother you, you might want to avoid this one.

51DRg3abQ5LAnd the final book I read was for the category Number 51, A comic/graphic novel from another country.  Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason was the book I chose for the category. According to the book flap, Jason is a Scandinavian artist working in France.

I’ve actually already read quite a few comic books and graphic novels (that were from other countries) this year. It’s something I have been enjoying a lot lately. And will definitely be doing more of.

Werewolves of Montpellier is a bizarre graphic novella. In fact all of Jason’s work are bizarre. But, there’s some quality of his work that I have yet to put my finger on to describe what it is… and why I like them so much.

This story is about a young man who is bored in his present life, and so pretends to be a werewolf to do some cat-burglarizing… until some real werewolves catch-on to his scheme and want to stop him. But mostly, nothing really happens. It’s just subtle characterizations of people weaved through an illusive stream-of-consciousness story.

Something in this works for me. And indeed, in all of Jason’s works that I’ve read so far. I’m still investigating European comics (I’m especially going to be focused on French comics this year) and what they’re about. So maybe after some more exploration in this area, I’ll have a better grasp as to why I liked this so much.


So. Not a bad month. I’ve read other things this month as well, which I’ll hopefully be able to talk about in a future post/video.

Any bloggers out there participating in the 2018 Manga Reading Challenge?

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Manhwa Review: Very! Very! Sweet by Ji-Sang Shin and Geo *spoilers*

Very! Very! Sweet Volume 1Very! Very! Sweet Volume 1

by Ji-Sang Shin and Geo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very! Very! Sweet is just as the title describes: very. very. sweet. Loved it! It is the story of classmates Tsuyoshi and Be-Ri.

Tsuyoshi is a Japanese boy from a well-to-do family who is ordered by his grandfather to move to Korea and discovery his ancestry. Tsuyoshi has a terrible family secret about his past which has been making him feel “Not quite complete” since his childhood. His grandfather has been keeping it from him, and is hoping that it will be revealed on his trip. He’s a bit of a playboy and his been involved with a girl Erica who follows him to Japan.

Be-Ri is one of his new Korean classmates — and his new neighbour. She’s earnest and straightforward, and they share a love of cats. Be-Ri is also involved in a significant love triangle: In love with her older sister’s boyfriend, and loved by her loud-mouthed classmate Mi-Hyuk. She’s in a tough situation — and because she’s so straightforward and honest has a hard time actually understanding her changing feelings.

It is a really sweet comic. It was touching enough to bring tears to my eyes. It’s well drawn — and there are some nice elements. I especially appreciated the way the failed relationship between Tsuyoshi and Erica was handled… It was quick and less painful than it would normally be. Sometimes these relationships are just so painful to read.

Personally I found that the conclusion included too much information. Too many revelations revealed in the last few chapters. I think they dealt with too much personal angst in the last volume that didn’t have enough lead-up in the previous volumes. However, It was definitely worth the read. Plus, the boys were so cute… *sigh* so cute