Judge Volume 6

The series by Yoshiki Tonogai about kids forced to murder each other concludes in this volume, and that’s pretty much all you need to know, that here’s where the story ends. I wrote about the first couple volumes of Judge, but I quit talking about — and paying attention to — the intervening books, because it was just about spinning out the suspense, which wasn’t very effective. I’m trying to recall if the three twists in this volume were foreshadowed […]

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What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volumes 7-8

The more time I spend with Shiro and Kenji, the couple behind What Did You Eat Yesterday?, the more I like them and their stories. Particularly now that they’re celebrating Christmas with another couple in volume 7. Mr. Kohinata makes sense for them to get along with, since he’s relatively well-behaved and shares some of the same interests, but Gilbert seems to exist just to make smarmy cracks about how they’re not “being gay” right. (He was the one criticizing […]

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Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma Volume 6

Just when I started feeling that reviews of Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma could become almost mechanical — what’s the special ingredient for the challenge? what’s the competition hook? what crazy dish does Soma come up with to win, or at least demonstrate his strength of character? — volume 6 comes along to shake things up. The next big competition for the cooking school kids is the Fall Classic. Before summer break, those who have been selected to participate are […]

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Prophecy Volume 3

My hopes for this series raised in volume 1 weren’t completely fulfilled. Instead of thoroughly exploring the nature of computer crimes and behavior online, Prophecy volume 3 follows up on the manhunt started in volume 2, focusing on more human motivations of loyalty. It’s certainly a more dramatic way for Tetsuya Tsutsui to wrap up the series in this book, and it makes for a tighter character arc, but I liked the themes of how growing computerization are affecting society […]

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Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma Volume 5

The food competition series continues with the results of the breakfast cook-off from volume 4. The students, after being up all night, have to successfully serve 200 plates of an egg dish to breakfast buffet customers. Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma volume 5 once again provides cooking education along with its challenges. To satisfy a customer, a chef has to take into account how a dish will be served in order to keep it attractive in appearance and consistent in […]

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My Neighbor Seki Volume 2

My Neighbor Seki volume 2 is just as cute and funny as the first volume by Takuma Morishige, and that consistency is a good thing. Yokoi is still distracted by the weirdly creative things Seki does with, on, and to his desk during class, but this installment expands their world a bit with the introduction of a new character and different settings. The first chapter features a “lucky laugher” game. I’m not familiar with this piece of Japanese culture, but […]

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Manga Dogs Volume 3

And so the series ends, with more of the same. For me, Manga Dogs volume 3 demonstrates that the gag — of a school-age manga author bedeviled by three pretty boys who want to make manga but are woefully misinformed about what it takes — has run its course. As expected, the cliffhanger threat from volume 2, that Kanna’s series will get canceled under the new magazine editor, is addressed, but briefly — it was all a misunderstanding. Many of […]

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My Neighbor Seki Volume 1

My Neighbor Seki volume 1 by Takuma Morishige is something truly unusual — a refreshing read that celebrates curiosity, creativity, and imagination. It’s the kind of series that would never be created over here, but not because of weird cultural reasons or fan service or any of the other manga stereotypes. I can’t see someone here putting out a successful series about subtle battles with authority, about doing your own thing on your own. In this country, it would be […]

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