Wakako Zake

Wakako Zake is a digital-only food manga that concentrates on just that. There’s little characterization or extended storytelling, only descriptions of tasty dishes and the alcohol that goes with them in short (4-8 page) chapters. Wakako likes to eat alone and drink a lot. She resembles a grown-up Yotsuba, with big, black dot eyes and a similar level of focus. Her plans revolve around such activities as a pig-out feast of barbecued skewers or having potstickers with garlic before a […]

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Tokyo Alice Volume 6

When Tokyo Alice began, it was about a shopaholic and her friends looking for love. As the series by Toriko Chiya continued, the romantic ups-and-downs have taken more focus, but Tokyo Alice volume 6 gets back a bit to shopping as the four women decide to go to Hawaii together. As the book opens, Fu is on a hot spring weekend with her boyfriend, psyching herself up for the first time they’ll be intimate and goofing things up by being […]

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Is Kichijoji the Only Place to Live? Volume 2

When I wrote about Is Kichijoji the Only Place to Live? volume 1 — the digital-only manga series by MAKIHIROCHI about finding single women the right neighborhood and place in which to live — I found it “formulaic but effective.” However, I had a slight concern that the series might become repetitive as a result. Volume 2 avoids that problem by expanding what we know about the continuing characters. The first chapter follows the pattern, with the sister real estate […]

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My Boy in Blue Volume 1

A schoolgirl falls in love with a policeman in My Boy in Blue, a silly, slightly off-putting romance by Maki Miyoshi. Sixteen-year-old Kako gets dragged to a singles mixer in order to fill out the numbers. She’s supposed to pretend to be a young-looking 22-year-old student (which is complicated by the typical shojo art style, which makes her look about eight). The organizer, jealous of her youth, tries to force alcohol on her, but a stoic, intimidating guy drinks it […]

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Will I Be Single Forever?

I enjoyed Suppli, one of the rare josei manga series releases in the US, so when I heard that Viz was putting out a digital-only release of a single volume by artist Mari Okazaki, I knew I had to check it out. (Also, while Kodansha has been prominent in its support of non-mass-market manga titles through digital-only release, I hadn’t realized Viz also did some digital-only. They’re flagged as such on their website, but I don’t know how to get […]

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Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu Volume 2

With a simple structure for this series — we saw in volume 1 how each chapter consists of a simple Japanese dish solving a problem by being so delicious — there’s a risk of it growing monotonous. Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu volume 2 avoids that by introducing new characters. One is a classically sympathetic type, while another is an antagonist with a secret. The European medieval soldiers that dine at Nobu worry about a new church deacon in town, since he […]

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Ran and the Gray World Volume 1

Ran and the Gray World by Aki Irie contains some classic fantasy genre ideas, but the overall tone is unfocused with a touch of creepy. Ran is a magical little girl who appears as a well-developed young woman when she dons a special pair of tennis shoes. Her absent mother temporarily returns in a cloud of magical cakes, with everything too much, showing us where both Ran’s potential for power and her lack of discipline come from. Her older brother […]

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Horimiya Volume 12

I had a hard time following Horimiya volume 12, simply due to its place in the series. This is a long-running relationship manga, which means by this point, we’ve left the core couple as focus a while back and spun out into various friends and schoolmates as continuing characters. We’ve caught up with Japan in terms of releases — there isn’t a backlog — so the previous volume came out almost six months ago. Combined, that means a whole lot […]

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