Fruits Basket Another Volume 1

Fruits Basket Another is the best most recent example I’ve seen of the benefits of brand extension. I read a bunch of the original Fruits Basket series, although I quit long before the end. It’s considered a modern classic, though, with lots of awareness, so Yen Press republished it in the US beginning a few years back, along with this sequel series by the same author, Natsuki Takaya. I thought Fruits Basket Another might make a good starting point for […]

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Ao Haru Ride Volumes 5 & 6

It’s that time of the series by Io Sakisaka — it’s too soon for things to settle down (since the series overall runs 13 volumes), and the first mystery has been revealed, so let’s introduce some rivals for the attention of the members of our core couple. That will provide more chance for misunderstandings and pining internal monologues of the “why would he do that?” sort. Ao Haru Ride volume 5 starts with great romantic promise. Futaba and Kou make […]

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That Blue Sky Feeling Volume 1

That Blue Sky Feeling is a different kind of manga series. It’s about two schoolboys, one of whom is thought to be gay, but it’s not an explicit romance or BL (boys’ love). Instead, it’s about friendship and learning to think about others, regardless of how like you or different from you they are. It’s a likable coming-of-age story that reflects how amorphous lines have become these days, written by Okura and illustrated by Coma Hashii. Noshiro is the excited […]

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Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu Volume 3

Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu volume 3 is another enjoyable entry in the series about modern Japanese restauranteurs serving their cuisine to medieval Germans. Reading it is a comfortable escape, with lots to tickle the imagination and tastebuds. It’s based on light novels by Natsuya Semikawa, adapted and illustrated by Virginia Nitouhei. As one might expect at this point in the series, we continue moving away from the simple “one chapter, a new situation and character, one dish” structure. We’ve begun to […]

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Candy Color Paradox

Isaku Natsume’s Candy Color Paradox reinforced for me that I’m not a yaoi fan, because I really liked the aspects of this SuBLime manga that had nothing to do with sex or the relationship between the leads. It’s a classic story of “co-workers, forced together, spat as cover for their true feelings”, only with two guys. Satoshi, a news writer, was supposed to be working on the political beat, but at the last minute, he’s sent to the “stakeout team” […]

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Ao Haru Ride Volume 4

Now that the series has some longevity to it, we get the dramatic flashback. The premise of the series is that Futaba and Kou were interested, then separated, then reunited. When they meet again, Kou behaves differently, and in Io Sakisaka’s Ao Haru Ride volume 4, we finally find out why. Family flashbacks show why Kou gave up being a top student, why he seems estranged from his brother (a teacher at their school), and why he changed his name. […]

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Ao Haru Ride Volume 3

Io Sakisaka’s Ao Haru Ride volume 3 brings the students back to the school setting (after the retreat of volume 2) and introduces a new conflict. After having her eyes opened to what friendship should mean in volume 1, Futaba is challenged by a passing comment made by new friend Yuri. Yuri likes Kou, it turns out. Futaba doesn’t want to hurt or compete with her friend, particularly since she’s unsure how deep her feelings for Kou go. Can she […]

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Behind the Scenes!! Volume 6

When I talked about the previous volume in this series, which came out last year, I was about ready for it to end. (Volume 7, the last, is due out later this year.) I enjoyed Behind the Scenes!! volume 6 more than I did volume 5, but I think the length is about right, with no need to extend further. One thing that helped was re-reading 5 before diving into 6. Although I couldn’t tell you the detailed differences between […]

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