Say I Love You Volumes 10-15

I let a bunch of volumes of Say I Love You stack up, and coincidentally, it was right when the series took an interesting turn. The previous book, volume 9, was more of the high school love story that I was enjoying, but with these books, author Kanae Hazuki begins treating these kids as the adults they’re about to be. It’s fascinating to see the characters grow and the series transition from love story into meditations on growing up and […]

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What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 11

As always, this recipe manga series by Fumi Yoshinaga shares principles about cooking and eating that are universal and welcome, even if I can’t make the exact dishes. (Since the meals are based in Japanese home cooking, they often depend on ingredients, like shirodashi or mitsuba, that I wouldn’t know where to get. I usually end up looking them up on Wikipedia, since they aren’t translated or explained in notes.) But the specific recipes aren’t the point — the key […]

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Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun Volume 6

In trying to catch up with Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun, I found it helpful to keep Volume 4 at hand, because that’s the book that has the cast’s character profiles at the back, and I tend to get the various male supporting characters confused easily. The young women are much more distinctive: there’s viewpoint character Sakura, the nice girl who tries hard and crushes on manga creator Nozaki; Seo, who’s athletic and mean but sings beautifully; Kashima, the androgynous prince who’s […]

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Kiniro Mosaic Volumes 1-2

I don’t normally read a lot of 4-koma manga (collections of four-panel strips), because I find them too fluffy and inconsequential. I do like Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun, because it’s got a good amount of in-jokes about making manga, and I appreciated the best-known, Azumanga Daioh. Too many, though, just want to copy that last title by showing a group of girls, each with a mildly distinctive characteristic, and lots of school uniforms. Kiniro Mosaic by Yui Hara has a premise […]

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Flying Witch Volume 1

Don’t be misled by comparisons to Sabrina the Teenage Witch — Flying Witch by Chihiro Ishizuka is more in the vein of Yotsuba&!, a comfortable exploration of everyday domestic life, with a country flavor and the occasional weirdness. Makoto, accompanied by her cat Chito, has come to stay with her cousins Kei, a boy about her age, and Chinatsu, a younger girl. (The mother shows up later but isn’t particularly involved.) Makoto’s a witch — although that’s handled in odd […]

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Behind the Scenes!! Volume 3

The wacky adventures of the group of special effects artists in college continue with just as much entertaining escapism in volume three. This time, they’ve taken over a house to film a horror story starring a creepy young boy. The problem is that the child actor is spoiled and demanding. While he’s ordering everyone around, Art Squad leader Goda is hiding from him, because he doesn’t like kids. This makes for a difficult film camp experience, but I enjoyed the […]

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Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma Volume 16

After several volumes that explored the food business, I thought Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma volume 16 was a distinct step backwards, from the exploitative fan-service cover to the repetitive plotlines. Soma’s once again facing off against a high-ranking school council member. This time the competition involves running a booth at the school festival. There are a number of rules in place (established in the previous book) that mean Soma risks leaving school if he loses. There’s nothing new here, […]

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Kiss Him, Not Me! Volumes 6-8

Now that we’re firmly into the run of Kiss Him, Not Me!, the series about a yaoi fangirl with four potential boyfriends and a potential girlfriend, it’s settled down into typical harem antics, only with a fannish twist. Volume 6 continues from the previous book, with Mutsumi planning to confess his feelings to Kae. His determination spurs everyone else to realize they should do the same. As he tells them, “You’re all free to do whatever you want.” That is, […]

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