Walkin’ Butterfly Volume 2

Michiko is still pursuing her dream of being a model in Walkin’ Butterfly volume 2 by Chihiro Tamaki, even though she has little understanding of what’s involved. Her first task is to learn how to walk in high heels. She gives up quickly, embarrassed to be so tall, but more because she has no work ethic, no understanding of the time and effort needed to achieve meaningful goals, without quick gratification. Her lack of patience makes her too eager to […]

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Happy Mania Volume 2

My, Moyoco Anno’s Happy Mania moves quickly. In the first volume, Shigeta’s problem is “why can’t I get a boyfriend?” Now, after a failed fling with a DJ, she’s loudly insisting she doesn’t need a man and she’s “going to live for work.” Once she gets a job, that is. She’s still depending on nice-guy Takahashi, though, to help in times of crisis (which with her is every other day) and to take her out and cheer her up. Then […]

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Tokyopop Takes: INVU 4, Metamo Kiss, Return to Labyrinth

INVU Volume 4 by Kim Kang Won I was a bit concerned, since the previous books came out five years ago, that I’d be lost trying to pick the series back up. Surprisingly, I wasn’t. I jumped right back into this high school drama (the only Korean manhwa I follow). The “story so far” page was a big help, but it could have been much improved by including captioning the art shots with the character names. The storylines are easy […]

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Happy Mania Volume 1

I’m very glad I waited until now to read this. I’ve been curious about Moyoco Anno’s Happy Mania for years (since it came out five years ago), because it was one of the earliest josei manga translated in the US. (Josei is manga aimed at women instead of girls.) If I’d read it back, then, though, I don’t think I’d have gotten the humor or been able to approach it with the lightheartedness required. Now, with more manga under my […]

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Walkin’ Butterfly Volume 1

I’m so glad to see more josei manga titles becoming available. These are books aimed at women, skewing older than the better-known shojo books for girls. And you’ll know that Walkin’ Butterfly by Chihiro Tamaki is for an older reader (it’s rated 16+) from the first page, which is a full-body nude image of the protagonist glowering at the reader. It’s an appropriate choice, since it sums up the core conflict of the story. Michiko is very tall, and as […]

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High School Debut Volume 1

A typical shojo plot — young woman desperate to get a boyfriend as she starts high school — is made highly entertaining through dynamic characters and art in High School Debut by Kazune Kawahara. Haruna is used to working hard to get what she wants. She’s a softball player (and girls’ manga fan) who thinks that slavishly following teen magazines for fashion and behavior suggestions will gain her a guy. She doesn’t understand what works specifically for her body type […]

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Azumanga Daioh Omnibus

Not your typical manga, the Azumanga Daioh Omnibus by Kiyohiko Azuma (collecting four previously published books) follows a group of high school girls through school until graduation. With a few exceptions, the entire book consists of four-panel strips (called 4-koma)… so this is more like a Japanese version of a Dilbert collection than your usual high-school romance. At first, I took them lightly, as slight gag strips that told a joke and moved on. It surprised me later on to […]

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Death Note

The biggest disappointment I’ve read recently is easily Death Note. I’d wound up collecting all 12 books of the series, and over the Thanksgiving holiday, I started reading them. Volume one was as involving as they’d said it would be. Super-student Light Yagami finds a notebook dropped by a death god to cause trouble. Anyone whose name is written in the book will die if the person writing it also pictures their face. The art, by Takeshi Obata (Hikaru no […]

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