Master Keaton Volume 2

I talked, in my review of the first volume, about how Master Keaton is an older series. I knew going in that there would be an air of “that was then” reading it. Yet it surprised me how many of the stories in this second volume were also looking backwards within their own texts. For example, the first story involves insurance investigator Keaton helping with the undercover sale of a medal from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The former owner’s widow […]

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Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma Volumes 9-10

The quarterfinal matches of the Fall Classic cooking competition continue and conclude in these volumes. The showdown began in volume 7 and extended into the previous book, where the contest between our hero Soma and the molecular gastronomist began; she presented her bento box there. Here, in Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma volume 9, we see Soma’s entry, a twist on a seaweed bento, using some of the fancy cooking science techniques. Although technologically advanced, Soma’s dish is focused on […]

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Say I Love You Volume 9

It’s been a while since I’ve caught up with the mismatched couple, school prince Yamato and shy Mei, at the center of Say I Love You. I liked the emotions she expressed as she began to understand the value of friendship and feeling loved, but I wondered how the series could continue for this long (14 volumes in Japan, 11 so far here) with just them at the center. That’s a hint, since the series doesn’t stay focused on just […]

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Shuriken and Pleats Volume 1

The concept of Shuriken and Pleats — schoolgirl ninja — is short but interesting. Sadly, the execution is slow and obvious. Author Hino Matsuri is best known for the popular Vampire Knight series, which I don’t remember being this patchy in plotting. The young female ninja is Mikage, whose older master wants to adopt her and take her back to Japan with him. There, she plans to enroll in school, but she quickly finds herself protecting a younger man, part […]

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Master Keaton Volume 1

Naoki Urasawa is a modern manga master, well-known here for his works Monster, 20th Century Boys, and Pluto. That reputation means we get the pleasure of seeing his earlier, more adventure-oriented stories in Master Keaton. Urasawa was the artist here, with story by Hokusei Katsushika and later, Takashi Nagasaki. Originally published beginning in 1988, this series is being released in deluxe, oversized volumes (matching the Monster re-release) with color pages. Viz is calling the series “post-Cold War detective suspense” — […]

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Yowamushi Pedal Volume 1

Yowamushi Pedal volume 1 seems like it might be a sports manga, with its focus on cycling, but it’s really about a loner guy learning how special he is. Sakamichi is a meek nerd. He regularly rides his “mommy bike” a long distance over hilly roads to get to Akiba, where he can buy limited-release DVDs and toys and other signs of fandom. (Thanks to the translation notes, I found out “Sakamichi” means “hilly roads”.) He doesn’t realize how hard […]

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So Cute It Hurts!! Volumes 3-4

The twins’ gender-switching is over, and everyone is trying to deal with whether their relationships will continue now that the truth is known. This series is so fluffy it’s a great escapist read. But it does leave me with odd questions. Like… Megumu’s crush Aoi is one of those only-in-manga tough guys who’s “allergic” to women. As in, he actually faints if he gets too close to one. Where did this idea come from and who finds it at all […]

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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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