Manga Updates

It’s been a long while since I’ve had the chance to relax with a lot of good manga… so I’ve quite enjoyed catching up with new chapters in favorite series in addition to the new volume reviews I’m working on.

Hana-Kimi 14 provides a welcome return to the original premise of the book. Mizuki’s pretending to be a boy while rooming with her crush Sano, who knows her secret, but she doesn’t know he knows. They’re back to nervous attraction, but it’s made deeper and more enjoyable by the history between the two, history that the reader’s now shared. Plus, there’s a bonus boys’ love story, done with a preexisting character for whom it makes perfect sense.

Aishiteruze Baby 5 reveals more about Kippei’s personality by putting his girlfriend in danger from another boy. There are two other major stories in the book, one about Kippei’s younger brother’s love life, and one about how Yuzu is coping with her mother’s absence as she gets older. That made for a filling read, as I was never sure what approach would be changing on the next page. Not as cute as previous volumes, but this book isn’t the same kind of light entertainment as previously, so too much cuteness would be inappropriate.

Sensual Phrase 16 starts wrapping plots threads up on its way to its conclusion in two more volumes. Great over-the-top drama with lots of emotion in this story about different kinds of love and passion.

I’m glad I listened to everyone recommending Nana, because I’m really glad I stayed with it. In Nana 4, almost everything has changed from the first three books. The characters are frustrating and adorable and painful to watch, complex in their wants and choices.

Another random thought: While pulling books off the shelf for this reading session, I noticed a key distinction among Viz, Tokyopop, and CMX. All of the Viz spines are white, with big, bold, usually red lettering I can read from across the room. Very handy in trying to figure out if I have something.

Tokyopop spines are mostly dark with light lettering, which makes their titles get lost from a distance. Aside from those with light-colored spines (Voices of a Distant Star or Dramacon, for instance), they all look black and interchangeable. (At least, all the ones I’m currently reading, which are mostly original series.)

CMS walks a middle ground by picking a strong color and carrying it through — Emma is beige with maroon text, for instance, and Densha Otoko a solid seafoam green — which means you can tell them apart but not necessary read the titles in enough detail to see how to spell them. But that’s enough for what I wanted at the time.

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