Emma Volume 2

The Yen Press rescue of Kaoru Mori’s Emma series continues here. Emma volume 2 reprints the paperback volumes 3 and 4 in a larger-size hardcover with a reversible dust jacket. This part of the story splits up the maid Emma and the well-off William. After the death of her mistress, Emma is returning to her hometown, but a chance meeting with another maid leads her to a new position at a very different kind of establishment, a bigger house with […]

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High School Debut 3-in-1 Edition Volume 5

High School Debut 3-in-1 Edition volume 5 is the final volume of the series, and it contains the equivalent of volumes 13, 14, and 15 of the single-volume run. Only volume 13 was previously published here, back in 2010. Having the volume start with a book I already read was a big help in catching up with the story of Haruna, goofy but warm-hearted tomboy, and Yoh, her “life coach” who falls in love with her. I enjoyed reading the […]

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My Neighbor Seki Volumes 3-4

My Neighbor Seki is the kind of series it’s difficult to continue talking about, because it’s full of stand-alone chapters, all of the same consistent high quality. As I’ve previously explained, Seki comes up with all kinds of distractions during class, which drives Rumi crazy, since she’s trying to pay attention, but Seki’s activities are so much more interesting. In volume 3, they’re so wide-ranging: Digging for fossils in his desktop Snow sculpture — with an adorable bunny! A variety […]

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Secret Volume 2

Secret volume 2 continues to be an improvement over Yoshiki Tonogai’s previous series, with more emphasis on character profiles and less on gratuitous murders. The deaths happened in the past, so now people are analyzing them — although there is the occasional attempted homicide, just to ramp up the suspense. We open with a profile of an accidental survivor. He stayed home sick from class on the day of the deadly bus trip, but he’s still severely affected by the […]

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Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan

Although intimidating, with its doorstop size and historical focus, Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan is surprisingly readable. I found it fast-moving, with an inviting combination of personal reminiscence and an educational approach to cultural history. This is the first of four volumes covering the entire Showa era, the reign of the Emperor Hirohito, ending in 1989. It’s chunky, over 500 pages, but there’s a lot to cover. An introduction by Frederik L. Schodt explains the background of both the […]

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Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma Volume 8

Most of Food Wars volume 8 is dedicated to the ongoing competition of the Fall Classic, as begun in the previous book, but there are a few digressions that serve as highlights. First, as the finals to determine the Classic participants conclude, Soma faces off with Akira, a spice expert, in making curry dishes. The importance of aroma in cooking is emphasized, as dishes are described as fragrance bombs. The descriptions are heavy on the virtues of various spices in […]

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Love Stage!! Volume 3

Love Stage!! (published by SuBLime Manga) is now the boys’ love manga series I’ve followed the longest, making it to three volumes with me still enjoying it. That’s because the characters, as written by Eiki Eiki and drawn by Taishi Zaou, are so fun and most of their encounters so good-hearted. Over the past two books, Izumi has come to terms with his burgeoning feelings for Ryoma. I imagine that the typical yaoi fan is something like Ryoma: comfortable with […]

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Genshiken: Second Season Volume 6

Genshiken: Second Season has focused a lot on Hato, and volume 6 is no exception. It’s not surprising, since he’s an only-in-comics character that captures a lot about fandom, the focus of this manga. I do worry, though, that part of the reason I can’t keep the other members of the club straight sometimes is because we’ve spent so much time with him. Hato’s a cross-dresser, a fanboy who took his love of yaoi (termed BL here, which is more […]

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