Alphabetical Index of Kodansha Manga Reviews

Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Volume 7

I was about ready to give up on Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju. It wasn’t what I wanted it to be and seemed to have gotten bogged down in some gangster junk. Then I re-read the series before reading volume 7, and I realized that there were many more connections than I remembered, bringing new depth to the story. This is a series that rewards paying attention to detail as the story sprawls over three generations. The most important […]

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Cells at Work! Volume 5

Now that the premise has become a bit repetitive, Akane Shimizu is changing things up a bit by creating a through plot in Cells at Work! volume 5. An ordinary cell is bored and resentful of the attention immune cells get. He rescues four baby germs and hides them, but they turn out to be lactic acid bacteria, a kind of bacteria that live in the digestive system and aid the body. Although they’re helpful, they’re still outsiders, so they […]

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Cells at Work! Volume 2

I had no idea the topics inside the human body were going to be as varied as they are in Cells at Work! volume 2 by Akane Shimizu. The first book was mostly respiratory related, with allergies and flu and such. In this volume, though, we get food poisoning, heat stress, and a two-part battle against creepy-looking cancer cells. The various types of white blood cells continue to be personified with different character quirks. The chapter on food poisoning focuses […]

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Cells at Work! Volume 1

I may have enjoyed Cells at Work! so much because, when I first read it, I was getting over a winter cold. That made the exploration of the body’s defense system by Akane Shimizu even funnier to me, particularly when the giant missile labeled “Sneeze One” appears in a glorious two-page spread. The cute young lady on the front cover is a red blood cell, responsible for moving packages of oxygen around the body. She’s new, so she keeps getting […]

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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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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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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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