Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma Volume 25

It’s been quite a while since I tried Food Wars — the last book in the series I read, I think, was volume 16 a year and a half ago. I checked out Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma volume 25 because the publisher was nice enough to send it to me, and at least I could tell what was going on. That’s thanks to the main content being two cook-offs, which are the best part of the series. There are […]

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Shortcake Cake Volume 1

The concept behind Shortcake Cake by suu Morishita (alias for writer Makiro and artist Nachiyan) had promise, but I couldn’t keep the characters straight, because none of them are particularly distinctive. Ten lives two hours away from high school, so she moves into a boarding house to avoid the commute. Her friend Ageha already lives there, as do these stereotypical guys: * Riku, the flirtatious charmer who doesn’t understand why he instantly crushes on Ten * Chiaki, the cute boy […]

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Ao Haru Ride Volume 1

This charming schoolgirl shojo gets its title, Ao Haru Ride, from author Io Sakisaka’s vision of her story as a portrait of the characters on a ride through their youth. That age, according to her, is about feeling overwhelmed most of the time. In Ao Haru Ride, Yoshioka doesn’t like boys, except for Tanaka. She thinks that he’s different for being gentle, among other reasons, and when he shows her small kindnesses, she develops a crush on him. Then he […]

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Horimiya Volumes 3-4

And now we’ve reached the point where the series settles down into a more typical groove in order to maintain for the long term. (The most recent book out is number 11.) They’ve introduced the friends, with each having someone to talk to at school, and the trio on the cover of volume 3 are the student council members. Those characters expand the social circle while providing some people to speculate on what the two leads, Hori and Miyamura, are […]

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Takane & Hana Volume 4

I thought, if you give something enough time, it can grow on you, but each new volume of Takane & Hana just reminds me how far it’s fallen from the potential I saw in the first book. Take the latest, volume 4. Hana and her friends are finishing up a vacation trip with the guys, conveniently summed up by one of the girls on the first page: “Their group was so random! I mean, a Japanese heir, a rich Italian, […]

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Horimiya Volume 1

It’s nice to have a reliable shojo series to stick with for a while. It’s even more fun if the series has something to say beyond “cute kids fall in love”. That’s the case with Horimiya volume 1, which turns on the question of how much appearance matters. Hori is smart and popular, a model schoolgirl whom everyone wants to be. Miyamura is a loner, looked down on as a gloomy fanboy. But there’s a hint early on, when we […]

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Laid-Back Camp Volume 3

Laid-Back Camp is a wonderfully consistent series. I liked the first volume, and I like this new one, volume 3, for the same reasons. That makes it tricky to talk about, though, since it can be difficult to find something new to say. This time around, though, I’m impressed by the artist Afro’s dedication to detail, as the camping club visits a huge outdoor equipment retailer. Nadeshiko is puppy-like in her excitement and enthusiasm over everything available for camping, and […]

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Kiss Him, Not Me Volume 14

And here the series ends, although with more qualities in keeping with its unique premise than many other shojo manga series I’ve read. Usually, a last shojo volume has a couple of chapters showing the main couple getting together, a flash-forward to show their wedding and/or happy future life, and then a bunch of side stories checking in with the supporting cast couples to fill out the book. Kiss Him, Not Me volume 14 has many of those elements, but […]

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