My Lovesick Life as a ’90s Otaku Volume 1

I loved the idea of My Lovesick Life as a ’90s Otaku as soon as I heard about it. Nico Nicholson gives us the story of Megumi, a 40-something divorced mother who can’t believe she’s now living in a world where being an otaku isn’t something to be embarrassed about. Anime and manga fans can be open about their likes; heck, they’re even sought after as customers worldwide. Her daughter Sakura takes full advantage with buttons and charms and an […]

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Fangirl Volume 3

I hadn’t expected to have much to say about the third volume of Fangirl. It’s part 3 of 4, after all, so it’s supposed to just be getting the characters in place for the upcoming conclusion, right? Certainly, everything’s going wrong for Cath, fanfic writer and new college student. She isn’t sure whether Levi is a friend or a potential boyfriend, particularly now that she’s seen him kissing someone else. She’s gone from writing with her sister to a classmate, […]

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Why I Adopted My Husband

I’m glad to see more manga memoirs coming out. Comics is such a great format for nonfiction true-life stories, as they show what happened in such approachable fashion, including the emotional affect. The trend seems to have started with My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness (2017), with more recent examples including Until I Meet My Husband, Until I Love Myself, and Embrace Your Size. Why I Adopted My Husband by Yuta Yagi is the true story of his relationship (and the […]

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The Way of the Househusband: The Gangster’s Guide to Housekeeping

I didn’t read much of The Way of the Househusband. It’s a good concept — Tatsu, a former gangster, applies the same kind of single-minded dedication and scary overachievement that made him top of the yakuza to taking care of the house — but I found the joke paled for me quickly. It’s the kind of thing that I would enjoy reading more in its serialized form than in collected volumes. Yet The Way of the Househusband: The Gangster’s Guide […]

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Cinderella Closet Volume 1

I didn’t expect to like another “schoolgirl has crush, gets a makeover, learns about life” manga, but the twists in Cinderella Closet volume 1 by Wakana Yanai kept me interested enough to want to read another volume. “Country mouse” Haruka came to Tokyo for university. She had dreams of romance and popularity but finds herself working hard at a cafe and no time to be cute or do anything else but study. A random encounter with an attractive young woman, […]

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Embrace Your Size: My Own Body Positivity

I loved the message in Embrace Your Size: My Own Body Positivity, but I wished it had gone further. Perhaps this is a difference between American and Japanese attitudes. Or perhaps I was just hoping for a different book than this was intended to be. Embrace Your Size is hara’s story of how she came to realize that she could still be interested in fashion and wear cute clothes while being larger-sized (which in Japan is a size bigger than […]

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Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: Deluxe Edition Volume 1

With patience, sometimes we get what we wish for. I first encountered Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou in a pirated, scanlated online version back in 2009. I’d only been reading manga for a handful of years at that point, diving in as an escape from superheroes and maudlin autobio — it was give up comics, or find a new enthusiasm. Manga meant more genres, and books featuring young women, and more approaches to storytelling, such as this one. The series, a pastoral […]

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The Masterful Cat Is Depressed Again, Today Volume 5

In Hitsuzi Yamada’s The Masterful Cat Is Depressed Again, Today volume 5, the cat Yukichi meets Saku’s parents! Which is kind of appropriate, as he’s the perfect boyfriend, except for the whole being-a-human-sized-cat thing. It’s New Year’s, and the parents have pulled out the guilt stops to get Saku to come visit, when all she wanted was a quiet holiday at home. That means plenty of favorite plot points, from a road trip to meeting former classmates to a shrine […]

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