Alphabetical Index of Vertical Manga Reviews

What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 4

If you look closely at the cover to What Did You Eat Yesterday? volume 4, you’ll see a number of European-sounding dishes listed: hamburgers in mushroom sauce, leek consomm√©, spaghetti neapolitan. And they all appear in the book, as Shiro cooks a variety of meals, but they all have a uniquely Japanese spin to them. The tomato in the spaghetti sauce, for example, comes from ketchup, shudder. The material in this series by Fumi Yoshinaga continues to get more and […]

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What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volumes 2-3

I adore this series. I’m so thrilled that Vertical has committed to What Did You Eat Yesterday?, since it combines such favorite things: art by Fumi Yoshinaga, a focus on cooking as an achievable skill, and insightful underlying relationships. Volume 2 opens with a flashback, showing how Shiro and Kenji met at a gay bar and got to know each other. They’re so cute together, both unsure in various ways, creating a relationship anyone can identify with. To commemorate, the […]

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In Clothes Called Fat

Vertical has recently brought several of Moyoco Anno’s manga to our shores, including the historical portrait Sakuran: Blossoms Wild and the biography-inspired comedy Insufficient Direction. Previously, we’ve seen the dark comedy of a woman looking for happiness in Happy Mania, the magical kids of Sugar Sugar Rune, and the savage comments on beauty and popularity of Flowers and Bees. It was reading that last one that made me realize why it is that, while I appreciate Anno’s work, I don’t […]

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Insufficient Direction

I’m amazed that Insufficient Direction made it into the translated English market, because it is SO geeky. Sure, lots of readers will identify with the idea of a nerd couple sharing their passions, but the specific references will be unknown to all but the most devout anime fans. Although I was quite surprised by an early mention of Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp — that 1970 TV show for kids featuring dubbed monkeys indicates the level of obscurity prized here. There […]

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What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 1

For a long while, this has been my most-anticipated manga release, even when it looked like we’d never see it in English, due to its specialized subject matter. What Did You Eat Yesterday? is about two men who live together, one a lawyer and accomplished home cook, the other a hairdresser. They talk over their day while we see in glorious detail what they’re eating, as prepared by Shiro. I wanted to see it so much that when a work […]

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Helter Skelter: Fashion Unfriendly

Although similar in tone and approach to her Pink (but with a stronger, less episodic storyline), Kyoko Okazaki’s Helter Skelter may be more approachable. It’s a more recent work, for one thing, and the subject matter may be more sympathetic. Liliko is a top model, beautiful and well-built. She knows she’s in demand, so she treats those around her — so long as she’s not in public — like dirt. Her secret is that she’s a creation of plastic surgery, […]

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Pink

Pink was originally published in the late 1980s, and I think it helps make sense of it — however much the story does make sense — to realize that culture had different expectations and obsessions then. It was the tail end of a decade devoted to consumerism and appearance and money, where everyone worked hard to afford the branded clothes and status symbols that showed you knew what mattered. Yet this story of young people on the loose in the […]

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Wolfsmund Volume 1

When I started reading Mitsuhisa Kuji’s Wolfsmund, I thought I was in for a medieval adventure focusing on spirited rebels attempting to reclaim their land (14th century Switzerland) from a harsh occupying regime. By the end of the first chapter, I was disabused of my assumptions in shocking fashion. Given the usual formulaic structure of many manga, it was a pleasure to be so surprised by a change in direction. This series is titled after the location, a militarized pass […]

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