Flower of Life Volume 3

As with volume 2, Flower of Life volume 3 wasn’t what I expected. In fact, it’s beginning to remind me of the author’s previous series Antique Bakery in that she’s treating it almost as an anthology. The loose framework she’s set up allows her to tell a variety of stories, and the subjects she chooses tend to be a bit more diverse than the usual shojo. Sumiko, the manga artist from the previous volume, goes shopping with classmates in a […]

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Divalicious! Volume 1

Divalicious! is a frothy, episodic ramble through the life of a self-obsessed teen pop star. Tina’s got it all — career, fans, a rival, and manager Shaquille. Watching her overreact to all of it is hilarious. Writer T Campbell (Penny and Aggie) covers the gamut of modern celebrity culture in content-packed chapters, while Amy Mebberson’s art more than keeps up with how over-the-top everything is. Her characters are friendly, even when they’re self-absorbed or stupid. Tina’s into every trend, whether […]

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Flower of Life Volume 2

As with volume one, Flower of Life volume 2 surprised me by taking off in a different direction than expected. This time, it’s more traditional shojo, with a class play and unexpected romance, both focused on know-it-all Majima. Even though many of the twists reminded me of other books, it was an entertaining read that kept me interested. Sumiko, a shy girl who hides behind long straight hair (she looks like The Wallflower), draws surprisingly good manga. Majima discovers it, […]

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Flower of Life Volume 1

Fumi Yoshinaga previously created Antique Bakery. I liked the premise of that near-yaoi title, especially the dessert-heavy setting, but it was a bit scattered and dissatisfying for me in terms of plotting. Flower of Life isn’t strong on plotting, either, but here, it works better for me. Everything’s so dramatic and overplayed (in a gripping, enjoyable way) that it’s hard to notice that all that happens is kids getting to know each other (and finding out some teachers’ secrets). Harutaro […]

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Beauty Pop Volumes 1-7

The concept of the makeover is an important part of shojo manga. It’s important for the shy girl to be revealed, with a better haircut, as surprisingly beautiful or the geeky girl to become popular when she pays more attention to working on her looks. This series by Kiyoko Arai takes that concept and knocks it on its ear. Kiri is a very talented hairstylist who knows the transforming power of the right cut. She doesn’t much care about her […]

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9 Faces of Love: Manhwa Novella Collection Volume 2

“Manhwa Novella Collection” is Netcomics’ umbrella title for a series of anthologies containing shorter works, each focused on a notable Korean comic author. Here, I’m looking at Volume Two: 9 Faces of Love by Wann (whose Can’t Lose You has also been published by Netcomics). Personally, I’m not always fond of this technique. If I only care for certain types of works and/or particular authors, it bugs me to have (for instance) books numbered two and four on my shelf […]

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Genshiken Volume 8

I had thought that this was the last volume in the series by Kio Shimoku, but there will be at least one more. However, this book did provide the focus on Ogiue I was looking for. The aspiring manga artist suffers severe guilt over her explicit yaoi because of an incident that happened five years ago. At the urging of her friends, she’d drawn yaoi featuring a student in their class. When he and others found out about it, he […]

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Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs Volume 2

I do love this series by Yukiya Sakuragi. I know it’s predictable and flawed — it’s almost a case study in the way it infantilizes its two-dimensional heroine — but it makes me so happy to read it. How can you not enjoy being reminded of how dogs make people happy? After getting hired at the pet shop in volume 1 to take care of the dogs, now Suguri has to learn to sell them in volume 2. Except for […]

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