Kiniro Mosaic Volumes 1-2

I don’t normally read a lot of 4-koma manga (collections of four-panel strips), because I find them too fluffy and inconsequential. I do like Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun, because it’s got a good amount of in-jokes about making manga, and I appreciated the best-known, Azumanga Daioh. Too many, though, just want to copy that last title by showing a group of girls, each with a mildly distinctive characteristic, and lots of school uniforms. Kiniro Mosaic by Yui Hara has a premise […]

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Flying Witch Volume 1

Don’t be misled by comparisons to Sabrina the Teenage Witch — Flying Witch by Chihiro Ishizuka is more in the vein of Yotsuba&!, a comfortable exploration of everyday domestic life, with a country flavor and the occasional weirdness. Makoto, accompanied by her cat Chito, has come to stay with her cousins Kei, a boy about her age, and Chinatsu, a younger girl. (The mother shows up later but isn’t particularly involved.) Makoto’s a witch — although that’s handled in odd […]

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Behind the Scenes!! Volume 3

The wacky adventures of the group of special effects artists in college continue with just as much entertaining escapism in volume three. This time, they’ve taken over a house to film a horror story starring a creepy young boy. The problem is that the child actor is spoiled and demanding. While he’s ordering everyone around, Art Squad leader Goda is hiding from him, because he doesn’t like kids. This makes for a difficult film camp experience, but I enjoyed the […]

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Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma Volume 16

After several volumes that explored the food business, I thought Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma volume 16 was a distinct step backwards, from the exploitative fan-service cover to the repetitive plotlines. Soma’s once again facing off against a high-ranking school council member. This time the competition involves running a booth at the school festival. There are a number of rules in place (established in the previous book) that mean Soma risks leaving school if he loses. There’s nothing new here, […]

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Kiss Him, Not Me! Volumes 6-8

Now that we’re firmly into the run of Kiss Him, Not Me!, the series about a yaoi fangirl with four potential boyfriends and a potential girlfriend, it’s settled down into typical harem antics, only with a fannish twist. Volume 6 continues from the previous book, with Mutsumi planning to confess his feelings to Kae. His determination spurs everyone else to realize they should do the same. As he tells them, “You’re all free to do whatever you want.” That is, […]

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Kiss Him, Not Me! Volume 5

As if having four guys and a girl after Kae wasn’t enough, in Kiss Him, Not Me! volume 5, we meet the older brother of strong-and-silent Mutsumi. He’s a student teacher in the kids’ school, and he decides he’s interested in Kae as well, although there’s a strong implication that it may be just to annoy his brother, or that he enjoys manipulation. First, though, the gang goes on a treasure hunt based on a map found in the history […]

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Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun Volumes 1-2

It’s a tad self-referential, but Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun by Izumi Tsubaki is surprisingly playful and funny. Chiyo confessed to a classmate that she had feelings from him, but since he’s a manga artist, he gave her back an autograph, thinking she was a fan. He’s behind on deadlines (when is a manga artist not in comics?) so he takes her to his home to help ink backgrounds. It turns out he (under a pseudonym, of course) draws flowery shoujo stories […]

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Sweetness & Lightning Volumes 1-2

Sweetness & Lightning combines two favorite types of manga series: the uncertain single father raising a child (as in Bunny Drop or Yotsuba&!) and learning more about food and cooking, complete with recipes (as in What Did You Eat Yesterday? or Food Wars!). Inuzaka is taking care of his little girl, Tsumugi, after his wife died. He doesn’t know how to cook, so he feeds her pre-made boxed meals, but he worries about nutrition and whether he’s doing the right […]

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