Manga Review of Beastars: Vol 1

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Series: Beastars: Vol 1

US Publisher: VIZ Media

Tatsuya Matsuki (Author), Shiro Usazaki (Illustrator)

Genre: Fantasy/Drama

Rating: 4/5

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Description:

One night at Cherryton Academy, an herbivore student is brutally murdered. Among the members of the Drama Club, the herbivores’ suspicions naturally turn to their carnivore classmates… The prime suspect? Gray wolf Legoshi. But he wouldn’t hurt a fly. Or would he? Will dwarf rabbit Haru bring out the beast in him? Or are his feelings for her…something else?

*received an ARC from VIZ via Netgalley for an honest review*

I found this series to be quite original in that there aren’t many manga that focus on animal characters, or at least that are big in America yet. I know the furry community is excited for this and BNA to be on Netflix and have more of a following. I think this series stands out because it has both carnivores and herbivores in the same school and discusses what sort of incidents might be involved.

This manga starts out with the murder of an herbivore and everyone believes it to be one of the carnivore students, which causes much distrust. The mystery isn’t solved in the first volume, of course, but we start to learn about the main character Legoshi and how he is going through wanting to be kind and having beast instincts.

I am interested to find out who the murderer was and what will happen next with Haru. We are barely introduced to her before the end of the volume, although I know some things that happen next from watching the anime.

The only problem I had with the manga was that the art wasn’t something I enjoyed. I liked the art in the anime, but this art was a little too freeform, if that is the right word, and I can’t quite concentrate or understand what all is going on. That is my personal opinion, and I am not saying the art is bad. It just isn’t a style I enjoy and I know a lot of people do.

All in all, if you like mystery and animals, I say give it a shot!

~Dani

Manga Review of Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku Vol 1-3

Series: Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku Vol 1 – 3

US Publisher: VIZ Media

Mangaka: Yuji Kaku

Genre: Historical Fiction/Horror

Rating: Volume 1: 5/5; Volume 2: 4/5; Volume 3: 4/5

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Description:

Gabimaru the Hollow is one of the most vicious assassins ever to come out of the ninja village of Iwagakure. He’s ruthlessly efficient, but a betrayal results in him being handed a death sentence. He has only one hope—in order to earn his freedom, he must travel to a long-hidden island and recover an elixir that will make the shogun immortal. Failure is not an option. On this island, heaven and hell are just a hair’s breadth away.

Vol 1:

Volume 1 does a great job of introducing Gabimaru and his job as an assassin and how he keeps using his powers to evade death. After being interviewed by Sagari of the Yamada clan, it is determined that he will be given a pardon and can live his live with his wife in safety. It seems like a good deal, but there is definitely more than meets the eye on this deal.

Gabimaru and Sagari are very interesting characters that we learn about through the first volume. It is definitely rated mature and has a lot of violence and nudity throughout the book. The art is very detailed and well done. I found the story for the first book to be quite interesting and am looking forward in learning more.

Vol 2:

In this volume we learn more about the main characters Gabimaru and Sagari and what they have been through to become the killers that they are. After we are introduced to the other murderers and guards that will be going to the island, I started to lose track of who was who and what exactly was going on. While I liked the idea of the paradise plants and bugs taking over bodies and the mystery of what is going on, I was losing track of who’s backstory we were seeing flashbacks for and who was alive or dead.

Vol 3:

*received an ARC from VIZ via Netgalley for an honest review*

In the third volume, we learn more about the paradise and what is going on with the plants and insects. Like volume 2, I was confused who’s backstory we were learning about. We do learn more about Sagari and her strengths and weaknesses. I feel she is a believable character in the world this mangaka has created. If you like horror, I definitely recommend as the art is quite spectacular and the characters are interesting. Although it is a little confusing, it is still really interesting and I am curious as to what will happen next.

~Dani

Manga Review of Act-Age

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Series: Act-Age

US Publisher: VIZ Media

Tatsuya Matsuki (Author), Shiro Usazaki (Illustrator)

Genre: Coming of Age/Adventure

Rating: 4/5

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Description:

Kei Yonagi must delve deep into her psyche to succeed in the cutthroat world of acting, but can she keep her sanity while doing so?

Is there a method to Kei Yonagi’s madness when it comes to acting? The young actor has a family of siblings to feed, but she finds herself struggling with her psychological demons when playing a role. Her desperate acting catches the eye of a famous director, Sumiji Kuroyama, who’s looking for raw talent to mold. Can he help Yonagi navigate the cutthroat world of acting without losing her sanity?

*received an ARC from VIZ via Netgalley for an honest review*

I found this story to be quite interesting. It follows Kei as she wants to be an actress and support her brother and sister. She is obsessed with movies and associates things her life to feel the emotions. She is a method actress and becomes who she is supposed to be playing. The first manga is about how she gets selected by a director/agent.

The plot was interesting, and while the characters are quite unique, I couldn’t get into it. I think a lot of people may like it, and that is why I gave it 4 stars, but I don’t feel it is one I would continue. It just isn’t my style, and I didn’t care for the art. It isn’t a style I like and I felt there were quite a few mistakes for a published manga. As for the pacing, it is a little slow, but it picks up at the end. I definitely recommend for people who like stories about actors and actresses.

~Dani

Manga Review of Prince Freya Vol. 1 & 2

Series: Prince Freya Vol 1 & 2

US Publisher: VIZ Media

Mangaka: Keiko Ishihara

Genre: Action/Fantasy

Rating: 5/5

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Description:

Freya thinks of herself as a simple village girl, but her idyllic life is shattered when she is caught up in the aftermath of a treacherous Sigurdian plot. She bears a striking resemblance to her country’s beloved Prince Edvard, who lays dying from poison. Without its ruler, all of Tyr will quickly be engulfed by Sigurdian violence. Now Freya must take Prince Edvard’s place and lead his valiant knights in defending the realm!

Vol 1:

This series starts out introducing the kingdom of Tyr and the impending war from the Sigurdian army. I find the mix of Viking folklore but also creating one’s own world to be quite fascinating. It was definitely a world I was interested in and found myself hooked at the start.

In the beginning, Freya felt a little too helpless to me, but she grows in character in the first and second volume. Although it appears to be almost lighthearted, I will warn you now, this is not for the faint of heart. There are some really sad scenes that made me want to throw the manga (except I read it on my iPad so I wasn’t going to. I am really fascinated, however, and definitely want to read what happens.

Vol 2:

*received an ARC from VIZ via Netgalley for an honest review*

In this volume, I feel Freya definitely grows as a character and we see what causes it (no spoilers). We also learn more about the surrounding characters, and about the different towns. I feel it still is a little bit of setting up the world, but still has enough movement to keep you reading. I am looking forward to see what happens in book 3. I want to know more about Sir Julius and what is going on with him. The art is beautiful and very well done. I recommend to anyone who likes Viking history and fantasy.

~Dani

Manga Review of RWBY: The Official Manga, Vol. 1: The Beacon Arc

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Series: RWBY: The Official Manga, Vol. 1: The Beacon Arc

US Publisher: VIZ Media

Mangaka: Bunta Kinami

Genre: Action/Fantasy

Rating: 5/5

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Description:

Experience the introductory arc of the international smash hit series RWBY in a whole new way—manga!

Monsters known as the Grimm are wreaking havoc on the world of Remnant. Ruby Rose seeks to become a Huntress, someone who eliminates the Grimm and protects the land. She enrolls at Beacon Academy, eager for the tests and combat challenges to come.

Ruby knows she has the talent to achieve her goal, but is she ready to clash with Weiss Schnee, a fellow student and the haughty scion of the Schnee Dust Company?

*I received this manga from Netgalley for an honesty review*

I watched the show a while back and love it! I was excited to be given a copy for an honest review. This manga follows the show as much as I can remember. The art is beautiful and I really admired it. I believe it brings the right style to mimic the anime, but also be it’s own thing.

This series has strong female characters that kick butt, mystery, suspense, friendship, heartbreak, plot twists, and cunning bad guys. Although the first season/manga is more setting up who the characters are and how the became a group, make sure to keep on reading/watching as the plot starts to speed up, we learn more about the world, and fall in love with he characters.

So if you love RWBY, give this a read, or if this is new to you and you love strong female characters with a fantasy element, definitely check this out!

~Dani

Manga Review of Kakushigoto: My Dad’s Secret Ambition

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Series: Kakushigoto: My Dad’s Secret Ambition

US Publisher: Kodansha Comics

Mangaka: Akane Shimizu

Genre: Comedy/Slice of Life

Rating: 5/5

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Description:

Kakushi Gotou is a single father with a secret: he’s a top-selling manga artist of a raunchy series that perhaps isn’t suitable reading material for his young daughter, Hime. So he does what any doting father would do—he hides it all from her, no matter the hijinks that ensue!

*I received this manga from Netgalley for an honesty review*

This series is really adorable! A single father going WAY out of his way to make sure his daughter doesn’t find out that he writes dirty manga. The stories are short and sometimes play on top of each other. I really liked how there were notes from the author on how some of the stuff has happened to him, and how it is in the manga business. You learn a bit of what goes on and at the same time, are laughing at what this father is willing to do. I have seen some spoilers from Funimation, but I am not sure of all that happens at the end of this series, but I think it might be a little sad so heads up! It is also an anime on Funimation, but I haven’t finished it yet.

If you like slice of life, definitely check out this series!

~Dani

Manga Review of Cells at Work!

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Series: Cells at Work

US Publisher: Kodansha Comics

Mangaka: Akane Shimizu

Genre: Comedy/Science/Slice of Life/Action

Rating: 5/5

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Description:

Strep throat! Hay fever! Influenza! The world is a dangerous place for a red blood cell just trying to get her deliveries finished. Fortunately, she’s not alone … She’s got a whole human body’s worth of cells ready to help out! The mysterious white blood cell, the buff and brash killer T cell, the nerdy neuron, even the cute little platelets—everyone’s got to come together if they want to keep you healthy!

To be honest, this manga saved me in Disease Processes class last year. Each week I would look up the sections we were supposed to read of the textbook, then read the manga chapter that related, and it all made so much more sense. From what I know, a lot of biology and anatomy professors are loving this series as it is another way students can learn about the body. I told my anatomy professor about this series, although I’m not sure if she ever watched it. She was interested though and from the couple of minutes I sent her, she said it was pretty accurate.

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In looking at just the manga and not the anime, which follows pretty closely, the characters are funny, adorable, and they really explain how cells grow up in your body and what jobs they each have. I really like white blood cell as he is trying to learn more about the body, although it isn’t his job.

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I am pretty excited about the spin offs that they have. I didn’t realize they had been translated and are available as e-books. I definitely will be downloading them and helping support the medical knowledge I gained in the past couple of years.

To conclude, if you want a cute series that will definitely help you in anatomy, disease processes, or just want to learn more about how your body works, I recommend this. Even if you don’t care for science, it is a great series. Check it out and let me know what you think!

~Dani

Manga Review of Bloody Mary

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Series: Blood Mary

US Publisher: VIZ

Imprint: Shoujo Beat

Genre: Vampire/Drama/Supernatural/Boy Love

Rating: 4/5

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Description:

“Bloody” Mary is not your typical vampire. He can withstand sunlight, holds a reflection in mirrors, refuses to drink blood—and wants 17-year-old student and priest Maria to kill him. But to Mary’s dismay, Maria doesn’t know how to kill vampires. Desperate to die, Mary agrees to become Maria’s bodyguard until Maria can find a way to kill him at last.

The art for this series really drew me in (and the fact it was about vampires). The story started out a little slow, as we are introduced to the world of Bloody(Mary) and Maria. There is a lot going on in this world, so it took a while to a hang of what was going on, and every time you thought you understood, a secret was revealed that always threw me for a loop. It was definitely a well-crafted series.

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One problem I did have with the series was that it didn’t feel as romantic as what seemed to be hinted (mainly by the covers). While it is touched on near the end, I felt the author could have elaborated more and hinted more about what was going on through their heads about each other.

All the characters that were introduced were well established and their reasoning and background made sense. I hated a few of them, but at least their drive made sense to me. My favorite character was Bloody because lets be honest, he’s so adorable!

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All in all, I definitely enjoyed this series, especially as a fan of vampire stories. I would recommend it to anyone who loves the vampire or BL genre. It is a completed series so you don’t need to wait for any more to come out and the author ended it in a good spot and it felt complete. Be sure to check it out and let me know what you think!

Also, did I mention I like vampires?

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~Dani

 

Manga Review: Wanted

Wanted by Matsuri Hino

A short little manga series that had a lot of potential but unfortunately got shelved due to her Vampire Knight series going on for 19 volumes (but that is amazing as well!).

The story starts out about a girl who lost her love to a pirate and goes on to find the pirate who kidnapped her love. She finds out that the pirate captain is actually her love and she stays on the ship to be with him. They also run into problems with the navy, of course, and they have to stay out of trouble.

The art, as always, is tremendously beautiful. I love Matsuri Hino’s art in all of her work, and this story does not disappoint. I really like the pictures in between chapters as she puts in so detail to what she puts in each drawing. Not only is the drawing beautiful, but the colors are great as well. For example:

The characters are pretty interesting, I just wished that Luce wouldn’t treat Arto like a little girl, but it is understandable as she is on a boat with a bunch of pirates. As I said, it ends short and there should be more to the story. If you love pirates though, this is a great short and will make you smile.

Also, there is a short story at the end called Spring Cherry Blossoms that is also cute and heartwarming. If you love Vampire Knight, definitely check this out.

I give this manga a 5/5 as it wasn’t the story’s fault that it got cancelled or not finished as she had prior obligations. It’s beautiful, cute, and sweet and I never wanted to put the manga down.

Dani

 

Manga Review: Soul Eater

Soul Eater by Atsushi Ōkubo

Hi all!

I finally finished this manga (all 25 books!) It was a lot to read, especially since I read most of it this summer (I think I had five done before that).

Soul Eater follows young kids as they are learning to be Meisters and Death Weapons to keep the world safe under the Shinigami. They go to school at DWMA where they learn from crazy teachers, such as Dr. Franken Stein. But when all seems fine, the Kishin is resurrected by the witch Medusa and they must put a stop to the madness that is spreading.

Anyway, I loved this manga! Ōkubo did a great job tying the plot together throughout the ten years that this manga went on. Although some people think that there are different arcs, really it is one large arc with many smaller arcs. That is definitely hard to do on such a long time frame, by Ōkubo nailed it!

As for the characters, I think they are all very well rounded, some of them developing throughout the manga because of the events unfolding and others not so much as developing, but are minor characters who have already become the person they are meant to be (if that makes sense). I will go into more detail below, but it will be under the *spoilers* section.

The art is good, it isn’t my type of art, but it is consistent and very well done. It definitely goes with the theme throughout the manga, so the style didn’t bother me that much even though it wasn’t something I would normally look for. That is just a personal preference, so it’s nothing I would mark the series down for.

All in all, I loved this manga and give it five stars—a must read for anyone who enjoys dark fantasy manga. But have to warn, there are a lot of Fan Service moments…

And now, for the spoiler section.

*SPOILERS*

So I had to add my thoughts of the end. First off, I want the whole ‘madness of boobs’ explained. Seriously, that needs to be figured out. It’s funny, but I need to know…

As for character arcs, everything that had to do with shinigami was fantastic. I wanted to punch Excalibur at the end, but it was fantastic. Having the Kishin be Kid’s brother really brought things to a close, and I felt teary-eyed when Death died.

Maka and Soul had an awesome development throughout, getting through the fears and what they have faced in the past, and what they face in the present. They became strong together and they learned to fight like two badass people. I really liked when Maka fought with her father, because the connection of family, while facing Crona, bringing that development within Crona out in the open.

As for Black Star, at first I really didn’t like him, but after the mini arc of him wanting to become stronger, I really started to appreciate the character. He grew up and learned what it meant to be truly a warrior.

And last but not least, I really really enjoyed Stein’s progress throughout the story. He was the one most susceptible to the madness at DWMA and even though he was losing himself to the madness, his friends always stayed by his side. They never left him, even when he was young and mad, wanting to dissect everything. His friends were true, and I think that was the greatest strength that Stein had. And in the end, he was able to control his madness and use it to his advantage. Just in time too, because now he has to give up cigarettes for his new little monster.

So let me know if you read it, want to read it, or have any other comments.

Thanks!

Dani