Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Volume 9

As the series prepares for its conclusion (volume 10 is the final one), the characters in Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju volume 9 contemplate the pending retirement of Yakumo, the last rakugo master. Yakumo and an old friend, a gangster, begin the volume with a garden stroll while they reflect on how much things have changed. It’s a mood I can empathize with more and more. It’s wonderful that so many people value Yakumo’s work and want to tell […]

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Satoko and Nada

Satoko and Nada means well and looks unusual for manga. Created by Yupechika, it’s the story of two college roommates in America. Satoko is Japanese, and Nada is a Saudi Arabian Muslim who wears a hijab. The series’ origin as a 4-koma (four-panel strip) online is apparent in its simple art style, with flat, minimal figures and each page a complete comic. But most aren’t going to read this for impressive visuals. The appeal is seeing two very different people […]

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Takane & Hana Volume 6

I read Takane & Hana volume 6 about a month late. It came out at the perfect time, at the beginning of December, for its content, which starts with a Christmas chapter and continues to New Year’s Eve. I gave up reading the series because we were supposed to believe the businessman and the teenager were in love with each other despite treating each other miserably. I didn’t find it believable or funny or entertaining, just mean. However, the situation […]

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Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits Volume 1

After reading Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits volume 1, I made the following list of cliched elements it has that I’d seen before: A nondescript but kind-hearted girl Takes pity on a mysterious handsome guy Who kidnaps her to a demon realm where he’s the leader And demands she marry him Because her grandfather owes him a debt And she was orphaned when grandfather died a month ago And she has the ability to see supernatural creatures I only […]

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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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