Behind the Scenes!! Volumes 1-2

Bisco Hatori (best known for Ouran High School Host Club) brings out a rollicking story of a shy young man finding room for his talents when he meets the right group of college friends in Behind the Scenes!!. The twist in this series is the media connection — the Art Squad handles props, costumes, and special effects for all the campus groups who want to make movies. Ranmaru is your typical manga protagonist. He’s an unassuming but high-strung country boy, […]

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Everyone’s Getting Married Volume 3

Everyone’s Getting Married is such an engrossing soap opera! The concept is basic — two people like each other, they enjoy being together, but they think they want different things in life and have different ideas of commitment — which makes it instantly involving and sympathetic. What older reader hasn’t been in a similar situation at some point? In volume 3, in a gender twist, Asuka’s career takes off while Ryu has a romantic conflict from his past pop up. […]

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My Love Story!! Volume 10

The most recent volume of My Love Story!! wraps up a storyline that began back in volume 8. Too often, Yamato seems like the perfect, quiet girlfriend. All we really know about her, beyond her deep devotion to Takeo, is that she likes baking desserts, and she’s pretty good at it. So it was a great thing when she got a summer job at a local pastry shop. Unfortunately, the star chef there decided that she was his muse and […]

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Love Stage!! Volume 6

The cliffhanger set up in the previous volume, with Ryoma and Izumi trapped in the wilderness, isn’t played out as significantly as I hoped in Love Stage!! volume 6. However, the second half recalls a key part of Izumi’s personality that I’d almost forgotten about, one that puts the boys into a charming situation. First, though, the boys are missing, and everyone’s worried. The couple gets a sex scene, but emotionally, we spend more time with the older Shogo (Izumi’s […]

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Ooku: The Inner Chambers Volume 12

Another year, another volume. (It’s like an early Christmas present!) But as Fumi Yoshinaga’s alternate history gets closer to the modern era, and the opening of Japan to the rest of the world, events move faster and more dramatically. Even with the delay between volumes — beautifully detailed historical interactions take time to draw — I had no problem catching up in volume 12. The thorough cast of characters pages help, but so does the universality of the main story. […]

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Master Keaton Volume 8

Master Keaton volume 8 has the usual mix of chapters typical to the series — some period Cold War adventures where Keaton has to stop an assassination; some heartstring-tugging family mysteries, where Keaton has to reunite relatives who have misunderstood each other; some life-or-death struggles, where Keaton’s military training is all that keeps the stubborn alive. But the chapter that stood out to me most in this collection was the one where we find out how he became an insurance […]

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My Love Story!! Volume 7

It can be difficult to keep a love story going once it gets more than a handful of volumes under its belt, particularly if you (correctly, in this case) don’t want to break up the main couple. Kazune Kawahara (writer) and Aruko (artist) in this volume of My Love Story!! are exploring another possibility, which provides a valuable contrast to the happiness of Takeo and Yamato. Takeo’s best friend Sunakawa is good-looking, so he gets plenty of attention from girls. […]

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Anne Happy: Unhappy Go Lucky! Volume 3

When I read the first volume of this series, I thought it was cute and silly. It’s still aiming for that, but now, the fan service is overwhelming the entertainment value for me. For instance, the non-student nature of the supposedly responsible adults is indicated by giving them boobs as big as their heads. That may be to distinguish them from Botan, one of the core trio of girls, who in spite of her medical worries, lack of exercise, and […]

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