Say I Love You Volume 18

Shojo manga series have the best conclusions. They’re formulaic, of course, usually jumping us just enough forward in time to see the lead couple have their happy ending, then spending the rest of the final book checking in with the various side characters and showing us their futures and (usually) pairings. Say I Love You volume 18, the last in the series, is no exception. As I noted the last time I reviewed this series, author Kanae Hazuki has already […]

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Takane & Hana Volume 1

I’ve found my next frothy romance manga to enjoy — Yuki Shiwasu’s Takane & Hana is ridiculous from the start but has a fun sense of humor, as the leads tell each other off while getting glimpses into each other’s very different lives. Hana is 16, a high school student, but as the book opens, she’s been dolled up for a marriage meeting. She doesn’t want to be there, but her gorgeous, spoiled, seven-years-older sister, who’s supposed to be taking […]

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SP Baby Volume 2

What an unfortunate time to be publishing a series with so much “humor” dependent on sexual harassment and treating women as property. Thankfully, the series is over with this volume. I didn’t think it was possible, but our “lead”, Tamaki, becomes even more of an object in SP Baby volume 2. Her crush and neighbor faces off with her boss while she’s sick, basically handing her off while she blushes and dithers. Her boss, called master, continues to grab and […]

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Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Volume 1

Two cynical kids, the smartest in their class, are convinced that every couple has an imbalance of power. They like each other, but since neither wants to lose at anything, neither will be the first to admit their feelings. That’s the premise of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War volume 1 by Aka Akasaka, that “the one who falls in love first loses!” The chapters revolve around the two scheming to force or trick the other into admitting interest. I found it […]

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The Young Master’s Revenge Volume 1

Meca Tanaka’s previous series, Meteor Prince, was a goofy take on “love with a supernatural creature” manga. Here, she tackles the “we knew each other as children and now meet again” genre with similarly silly results. The Young Master’s Revenge stars Leo Tachibana, returning to Japan to start high school. The decade he spent out of the country, he fixated on revenge on Tenma, whose family has suffered a decline. While Leo’s father’s fashion business has since made them rich, […]

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My Brother the Shut-In Volume 1

I haven’t had much chance to explore Kodansha’s digital-only manga releases, and I’m not sure why I decided to start with this one, other than that it dealt with a situation we don’t often see here. But I enjoyed the story, in part because it’s unusual, and I’d like to see more. My Brother the Shut-In is about high school student Shino, who enjoys her time with friends and her after-school job. She tells everyone she’s an only child because […]

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SP Baby Volume 1

I thought the short, silly SP Baby would be a fun read. After all, I liked the similar Flower in a Storm, which also combined romance with comedy violence. But SP Baby never came together for me. I should have paid attention to the creator. Maki Enjoji was also responsible for Happy Marriage?!, a silly, smutty shojo with sex about an arranged marriage with a dippy lead girl. That approach to characterization continues here. Tamaki needs to find a full-time […]

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Astra Lost in Space Volume 1

I had hopes for Astra Lost in Space, based on the premise, about a class trip set in the future with space travel. When an accident occurs, the group of students has to figure out how to survive and get back home. It’s a classic setup with lots of promise for character development and exciting adventures. I anticipated something that fans of classic manga science fiction like They Were 11 or Twin Spica might enjoy. Unfortunately, what I got in […]

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