Yotsuba&! Volume 15

It’s been three years since the previous volume, but one of the many charms of Yotsuba&! volume 15 is that it feels timeless. Yotsuba’s wonder at the world, her interest in creating and exploring and learning new things, is soul-restoring. I want to feel like that, and for the amount of time I’m reading this, I do. There’s one chapter where she and friends take a trip to the shore to collect rocks, and it’s all about riding in the […]

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Beast Complex

The single volume Beast Complex collects six stories by Paru Itagaki, the creator of Beastars. They’re set in her world where anthropomorphized carnivores and herbivores try to co-exist, in spite of one type of being wanting to eat the other. It’s a potent metaphor. Characters are constantly under threat because of what they are, not what they choose to do, although these tales make it clear that everyone has choices. Each story puts one of each type of creature into […]

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Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu Volume 8

I haven’t written about this series in a while, but I’ve kept enjoying it. It’s a quiet pleasure, particularly as we continue to rotate through moments in the life of its recurring cast of customers and guests. The Japanese restaurant continues to serve basic dishes from that cuisine to medieval Europeans through its unspecified magical location. Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu volume 8 shows us several milestones in the lives of those vsitors: Former soldier Hans has quit his job in the […]

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What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 16

What Did You Eat Yesterday? volume 16 continues in the consistently appealing mode of this Fumi Yoshinaga series: small stories about mature life experiences, all revolving around making food. For example, Shiro is going to meet his boyfriend Kenji’s family — his mother and two sisters — for the first time (although the two have been together for a number of years). They’re eating out together at an unagi (eel) restaurant. Although the meal is perfectly pleasant, it’s tempered by […]

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A Man and His Cat Volume 4

Umi Sakurai continues to build out this world, balancing moments of substantial emotional depth with scenes of cute cat behavior with universal appeal. A Man and His Cat volume 4 follows up from the previous volume. Hibino’s resentment towards Mr. Kanda, from the days when they were both concert pianists, is explained. Thankfully, they get new chances to interact, now that Kanda has retired from the stage, when they meet in the pet store and Kanda begins helping Hibino with […]

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Mr. Bride Volume 1

Mr. Bride volume 1 by Natsumi Shiba establishes a simple premise as a way of getting two people together in an “opposites attract” situation. Hayami is a successful career woman who’s a slob at home. Co-worker Yamamoto discovers the mess and cleans up for her. The two end up rooming together, complicated by their feelings for each other. She needs someone to take care of her, and he appreciates being allowed in her presence (and benefits from her greater earning […]

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Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Volume 10

The Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju series concludes with volume 10. It came out almost three years ago, and this volume — along with some of the others in the series, apparently — may be currently out of print. But I still wanted to talk about it because as a wrap-up, it’s beautifully in tone with the theme of the series. I’ve enjoyed reading about these practitioners of rakugo (monologues/ storytelling) because the manga stories combine personal drama with […]

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My Darling Next Door Volume 1

I found My Darling Next Door a comfortable read, with familiar characters and situations. (It’s by Rukana, and it’s a digital-only release from Kodansha.) Ririka is a high school girl who lives with her divorced father, cooking for them both and taking care of the house. She meets their new neighbor, Hino, a single man new to the workforce and not long out of university, and invites him over for dinner. Dad offers to keep feeding him in return for […]

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