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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Laid-Back Camp Volume 4

It’s finally the perfect time of year for the winter camping of Laid-Back Camp volume 4 by Afro. The big vacation trip is happening over Christmas, with the club planning meals and making sure everyone has the right equipment. This time, all the girls are going out together, instead of Rin by herself. I admit, I couldn’t keep all the characters straight, since it’s been a while (this past summer) since I read the previous volume. That didn’t matter, though, […]

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Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku Volume 2

We’ve lost most of the office setting I enjoyed in volume 1, but the various fannish activities and the humor that comes with them are entertaining enough I didn’t care in Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku volume 2 by Fujita. There’s a continuing sequence, running through multiple chapters, where Hirotaka and Narumi go on a real date to an amusement park, where they bet each other they won’t behave as fans. They’re not very good at that. We also […]

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