A Bride’s Story Volume 7

As expected, I greatly enjoyed A Bride’s Story Volume 7, although my recommendation comes with caveats. Kaoru Mori’s artwork is as lovely and detailed as always, but much of it this time around is dedicated to drawing women at the bathhouse, which means lots of lovingly illustrated naked breasts. Americans who get upset over nudity won’t want to read this volume (but they probably aren’t aware of this series anyway). There is something refreshing about the variety of bodies she […]

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Idol Dreams Volume 1

Idol Dreams puts a clever twist on a typical manga situation, that of becoming famous in show business. Only Chikage is a 31-year-old office worker, unpopular, lonely, and nervous around men. She’s having a mid-life crisis, feeling she peaked when she graduated high school. She attends her class reunion, dreaming of reuniting with her crush from back then, only to be embarrassed by a classmate blurting out her status as a virgin. She’s hopeless and suicidal. But then comes the […]

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Kiss Him, Not Me! Volume 2

I enjoyed Kiss Him, Not Me! volume 2 more than the first book, since the harem of guys are developing distinct, recognizable personalities. Fangirl Kae has four admirers, and here, they go on a series of dates in expected manga situations. First, there’s the school festival, and due to the cosplay theme, Kae gets to make outfits for several of the guys (including one who’s playing princess). They get upset at spending all their time with her in a group, […]

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Emma Volume 3

Emma Volume 3 is where William and Emma’s relationship really gets interesting. But first, there’s a charming digression that establishes essential background information about William’s family. (See Volume 2 for more history.) William’s father Richard Jones had money but no background. His attempts to join society were rebuffed, with the “right people” blatantly talking about how unsuited he was. We see him meet his eventual wife Aurelia, who is considered hopeless for having no talents. The two marry and create […]

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The Manga Guide to Physiology

It’s been three years since the last Manga Guide, but it’s a pleasure to see the series continue with The Manga Guide to Physiology. I always learn things reading these volumes. It’s a shame, though, that this came out so close to Human Body Theater, which tackled a similar topic — how the body is put together and how it works — in a way that’s more appealing to American audiences. I found the humor there, particularly having the organs […]

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School-Live! Volume 1

The premise of School-Live! Volume 1 is amusing, but I found reading the book frustrating. It’s got too many hints, too little actually happening or explained. Four girls are living in their school after a zombie apocalypse. Thankfully, the school has a well-stocked science lab, a school store for consumer products, solar panels for power, and a full garden on the roof. Yuki is the cute, naive one who doesn’t seem to be accepting the reality of the situation. Kurumi […]

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L♥DK Volume 1

Sometimes there’s a place for a completely unchallenging formula story. They can be relaxing or comforting, as events play out as expected. That’s the best way I can describe this shojo manga. L♥DK gives us a hard-working girl who gets involved with the good-looking “school prince” due to their living situation. Aoi lives on her own, so instead of school activities, she spends her time out of class hunting for grocery bargains and cooking. Her new neighbor turns out to […]

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Ooku: The Inner Chambers Volume 11

It’s been a year since the last volume of Ooku: The Inner Chambers, but the themes of volume 11 are so powerful and immediate that I had no trouble picking it right back up. And Fumi Yoshinaga’s art is so gorgeous that it’s always a pleasure to spend time with, particularly given her facility with emotional expression. After 150 years, there’s finally a male shogun ruling the country, placed there by his strong-willed, murderous mother. Meanwhile, the doctors trained by […]

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