Silver Spoon Volumes 3-4

As suited for a series about farm life, Hiromu Arakawa is structuring these stories around the seasons, and they’re quite lengthy and substantial. The 19-part “Tale of Summer” began in volume 2, continues through volume 3, and concludes in volume 4 (which also starts up the “Tale of Autumn”). Summer is the season where Hachiken first engages in nothing but farm work, with a temporary job at his friend Mikage’s family farm during school vacation. He learns how important attention […]

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Giant Spider & Me: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale Volumes 1 & 2

In Giant Spider & Me: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale, Kikori Morino has assembled some never-fail elements — chipper girl surviving in terrible circumstances that are only hinted at, weird but adorable pet, charming domestic activities — into an odd, only-in-manga mix that brings out a smile. The cheery Nagi lives by herself in the mountains. She says hi to the birds as she heads out to gather vegetables and dreams of what she can make from her garden. Then she encounters […]

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Dreamin’ Sun Volume 7

I should have given up on Dreamin’ Sun a while ago, because it’s just spinning its wheels. Zen likes Shimana, who likes their landlord, who doesn’t seem to like women. Repeat ad nauseum with various internal monologues full of questions from Shimana, who’s gone from being cute to being vapid. Volume 7 begins with a chapter that seems to have come in from some other book. It’s finally explained by the end of the volume, but when I first started […]

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What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 13

What Did You Eat Yesterday? isn’t my favorite manga series because every chapter has yummy-sounding (or eye-opening) recipes for home-cooked Japanese meals. It’s not my favorite manga because of the relationship struggles and small victories the two leads experience as they deepen their life together. It’s my favorite manga because, as in volume 13, it’s about two middle-aged people building a life together and what it means to be an adult. So few comics deal with that time of life […]

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A Bride’s Story Volume 9

Following on from the previous book, we continue with the story of Pariya’s engagement in A Bride’s Story volume 9. (That’s her on the cover, expressing her feelings through the symbolism of bread designs in her typically brash manner.) I suspect many readers can identify with her. She cares strongly, but she doesn’t know how to express herself in a culturally appropriate fashion. She’s got a friend who seems to naturally know how to say the right things, making people […]

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Idol Dreams Volume 5

When it came out last year, I criticized the previous volume of Arina Tanemura’s age-changing fantasy for not giving us enough of the older version of the character. Idol Dreams volume 5, after wrapping up a competition between the singers, which means plenty of glamour shots of the cute girls in pigtails and short skirts, gives us more with the adult Chikage. However, the storyline isn’t about her. It’s about her patching up the relationship between her friend Tokita and […]

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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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