The Bride Was a Boy

The Bride Was a Boy presents author Chii’s true story of her gender transition and wedding. It’s a timely topic, cutely told. Each chapter covers an obvious question readers might have, from the couple’s meeting (and her concerns over when and how to tell him about her status) to Bride-chan’s surgery. Some are focused on the gender topic; others, such as the story of the proposal, are about their romance. Chii also tells us how she came to recognize her […]

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Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Volume 5

After spending most of books 2-4 on flashbacks to the 1940s-50s apprenticeship of two young rakugo artists, Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju volume 5 wraps up that story tragically. (Rakugo is a monologue storytelling performance.) We find out what happened to the talented but erratic Sukeroku and how his fellow apprentice Yakumo wound up with his daughter Konatsu. Just as Yakumo has come to new understanding about the nature of connection and the need for other people in one’s […]

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Everyone’s Getting Married Volume 8

After learning that their relationship would have to go long distance in the previous book, Everyone’s Getting Married volume 8 ramps up the drama of their separation. I thought this plot twist would be more plausible, but I underestimated author Izumi Miyazono’s ability to create various obstacles for the key couple. Everything reminds Asuka of how much she misses Ryu, particularly when she’s under the weather and wants comforting. His trip to the US is going very well for his […]

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Sweetness & Lightning Volume 8

The girls are growing up in Sweetness & Lightning volume 8. Kotori has to start thinking about what she’ll do after school, while Tsumugi has begun elementary school. Tsumugi has well learned the pleasure of sharing food with others, but when she tries to share her school lunch, her motivations are misunderstood. That’s ok, because she and her father and Kotori can make their own version at home. More serious is how Kotori has learned that some people don’t want […]

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Kiss Him, Not Me Volume 13

As I mentioned in my review of the previous volume, Kae is now dating. However, this installment gets back to wacky fan behavior, as she keeps forgetting about her boyfriend when offered cool events to go to featuring her favorite anime. That’s a challenge many people have, learning how to consider another person’s feelings when entering into a relationship. The older we get, the more difficult it becomes to change established patterns of behavior, particularly when it comes to hobbies. […]

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Takane & Hana Volume 2

There’s a telling author’s note early on in Takane & Hana volume 2, in which Yuki Shiwasu reveals this is her first serialization, and she finds it “fun to get to explore deeper story lines.” The chapters of the first volume were created as one-shot stories, while here, she’s had to change her approach to thinking of it as a series. That explains why there’s less humor here and more of a retreat to traditional shojo romance elements. Hana is […]

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My Brother the Shut-In Volume 2

I was surprised to see how the original premise of My Brother the Shut-In fell by the wayside in this second digital-only volume by Kinoko Higurashi. We’ve moved away from Shino’s conflicts, with her concerns about taking care of her family and her worries about her friends disappearing. Instead, the focus here is on getting her brother Tamotsu a job. I still enjoyed reading it, particularly the surprisingly useful job-hunting advice, but it’s a different type of series than I […]

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Behind the Scenes!! Volume 5

Word has just come out that the end of this series by Bisco Hatori is in sight in Japan, and no one will be terribly surprised. It’s an entertaining series, but not a particularly memorable or remarkable one. The plotlines here in Behind the Scenes!! volume 5 indicate a certain amount of casting around for purpose. The first chapter even has some of the characters asking the leader of the special effects group why they’ve taken a particular job, that […]

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