Alphabetical Index of Digital Manga Reviews

Swallowing the Earth

I find it difficult to read Osamu Tezuka. I admire his craft, but so much of his work is so time-bound — he worked many decades ago, and the attitudes of those periods permeate his stories. (I’m especially uncomfortable with the gender stereotyping.) I also have a hard time reading manga that’s supposedly for adults that looks so cute and cuddly and Disney-fied. About the only series of his I’ve liked, in terms of choosing to read it for enjoyment, […]

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Millennium Prime Minister Volume 1

This is my first DokiDoki title. I had the impression that the Digital Manga imprint was for shonen-ai (or “yaoi lite”, boy/boy stories without the sex), but it seems that it’s instead intended to be “the gateway from shojo to yaoi”, romance stories of any kind for teens. Millennium Prime Minister is based on a goofy concept. 16-year-old Minori skips school one day to play video games at an arcade. (Do those still exist?) When she beats a guy whom […]

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Flower of Life Volume 4

I hadn’t realized that the Flower of Life series concluded in this volume. The stories still feel similar to the previous, without the kind of directed wrapup you see in other manga. Some situations are even left open, without clear solution. It’s been a while (two years) since the previous installment, but I found that the characters came right back to me. Plus, there’s a handy catch-up listing to start. Harutaro and Shota are trying to make manga professionally, while […]

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Antique Bakery

I tried one of the Antique Bakery volumes two years ago, when it came out. I don’t think I gave it a fair shake, because I recently read all four books in the series, and I enjoyed them a lot. The first volume opens as though this is a yaoi series, which it isn’t (although later, in volume 2, there are overtones and insinuations). A high school boy is confessing his love to a (male) classmate, who rejects him brutally. […]

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Flower of Life Volume 3

As with volume 2, Flower of Life volume 3 wasn’t what I expected. In fact, it’s beginning to remind me of the author’s previous series Antique Bakery in that she’s treating it almost as an anthology. The loose framework she’s set up allows her to tell a variety of stories, and the subjects she chooses tend to be a bit more diverse than the usual shojo. Sumiko, the manga artist from the previous volume, goes shopping with classmates in a […]

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Flower of Life Volume 2

As with volume one, Flower of Life volume 2 surprised me by taking off in a different direction than expected. This time, it’s more traditional shojo, with a class play and unexpected romance, both focused on know-it-all Majima. Even though many of the twists reminded me of other books, it was an entertaining read that kept me interested. Sumiko, a shy girl who hides behind long straight hair (she looks like The Wallflower), draws surprisingly good manga. Majima discovers it, […]

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Flower of Life Volume 1

Fumi Yoshinaga previously created Antique Bakery. I liked the premise of that near-yaoi title, especially the dessert-heavy setting, but it was a bit scattered and dissatisfying for me in terms of plotting. Flower of Life isn’t strong on plotting, either, but here, it works better for me. Everything’s so dramatic and overplayed (in a gripping, enjoyable way) that it’s hard to notice that all that happens is kids getting to know each other (and finding out some teachers’ secrets). Harutaro […]

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Project X: Seven Eleven

Unlike its predecessors in this series (Cup Noodle and 240Z), Project X – The Challengers – Seven Eleven – The Miraculous Success of Japan’s 7-Eleven Stores is relatively restrained in its adjectives. The thrust of this story is the development of the convenience store, driven by youthful amateurs, and the way it revolutionized the retail industry. The introduction (written in 2001) hopes that it will serve as an inspiration to the salary-men disturbed by the then-current recession. Which makes me […]

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