After Hours Volume 3

The Viz yuri manga series After Hours concludes here as it started — with an emphasis on feeling instead of plot, and prioritizing club life over love. I find in general that yuri series are more elliptical than others. I suspect those looking for that kind of content (or to see characters finding themselves and their feelings) like the uncertainty and ability to read between the lines, while I find it annoying. My trying to puzzle out what was going […]

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The Manga Guide to Cryptography

When I was a kid, I found codes and cyphers interesting, because the idea of communicating secretly was appealing. Now, with business conducted on the internet, they’ve become even more important. The latest in the Manga Guide series tackles the subject. The Manga Guide to Cryptography is written by Masaaki Mitani and Shinichi Sato and illustrated by Idero Hinoki. For the manga part, there has to be a story, and as usual for this series, it stars a schoolgirl. Ruka […]

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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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