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