published by Viz
Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs Book 7
My favorite guilty pleasure manga! Why guilty? Because it’s by-the-numbers plot-wise… but the drawings of the doggies are so cute! It hits all those emotional buttons, even while the brain is thinking “you should be reading Ponent Mon instead”. (The brain can be a snob.)
It’s not all frothy, though. This volume opens with the story of a little girl coping with her mother, who’s become obsessive after the death of her younger son. That’s pretty heavy stuff, especially since it’s not all spelled out. Yukiya Sakuragi allows readers to draw their own implications, which makes it more powerful.
Given the premise, it’s not surprising that the family finds solace in a new pet, although how they get to that point has a lot of drama. If handled badly, it could have been seen as implying that a child can be replaced by a pet, but this book stays on the tasteful side of the line, suggesting instead that love for another living thing can help with grief.
After that, we catch up with the actress from Book 2 and her papillon, then the student from Book 3 and his shiba. Plus, in the longest story, the pet shop gets a new employee, a groomer, with her own personal problems, including a poodle in heat and a deadbeat boyfriend. A fun read with cute art and a variety of story types and characters in one book. I last reviewed Books 5 and 6.
Absolute Boyfriend Book 5
I’d given up on this series after the last volume, because it became too exaggerated and silly. As this installment starts, teen girl Riiko is coping with her robot boyfriend being the size of a troll doll. Plus, nice guy boy-next-door Soshi has moved in to protect her, making it even more like Three’s Company. Together, they make slapstick.
Yuu Watase’s art is attractive and well-done, but it feels wasted on such slight material. The increased soap opera doesn’t help. Soshi demands she choose between them, but she doesn’t know real love yet, so she can’t decide. Until she does, but that still doesn’t settle things.
Soshi vows to leave until she makes up her mind, but he can’t stick with it. She’s always thinking about whichever guy isn’t around. Night’s broken, then he’s not. (That one happens multiple times.) The book’s like a yo-yo, constantly reversing itself. It wants to keep the reader so busy figuring out what’s happening next that maybe they won’t notice how artificial it all is. The only character I care about at all is Soshi, but I can’t even wish for him to be happy, because that would mean him getting wtih Riiko, and she’s such an idiot that I couldn’t consider that a happy ending.
Supposedly, the series ends in book six. That was about twice the length I would have recommended.
Hayate the Combat Butler Book 6
I’ve never read any of this series before, but that’s what Wikipedia’s for. And it’s pretty easy to pick up what’s going on in this volume — Hayate has to win a pair race (that’s really more of an obstacle course) due to some obligation, but his mistress Nagi hates to exercise. Lots of people can relate to that, or maybe it’s just me.
It’s goofy comedy, but it’s funny, which is all I can ask. And it’s fast-paced, so there’s plenty happening and a good sense of energy that makes the outrageous happenings easier to accept. Even the asides to the reader were entertaining, especially when the maid says, “It’s okay. Most of our readers get left behind on a regular basis.” It gave me permission to enjoy what I did and ignore the rest.
With so much going on, even that strategy left me with plenty to laugh at. I also loved the chapter title “Many Kids Must Be in Trouble Since Train_Man Showed Their Parents What Comiket Is All About”. And yes, it turns out to be a Train Man parody, only with a crazy fighting nun. That’s part of the Harate’s journey to forced training to prove his ability to serve (and stay with) the girl he cares for, which takes up most of the book.
I don’t feel the need to track down previous volumes or seek out future, but for now, this was an enjoyable diversion.
(Complimentary copies for this review were provided by the publisher.)