Rurouni Kenshin Volume 8

The series’ new direction begins in earnest with this volume by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Kenshin has left his friends to go to Kyoto to prevent an assassination. They react as suits their temperaments: the fighter Sanosuke with rage, the caring Kaoru with depression. They feel abandoned, although duty prevents Kenshin from doing anything else. He’s trying to protect them, in his way. I was impressed by the author’s confidence in his characterization. Kenshin doesn’t even appear until halfway through the book, […]

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Rurouni Kenshin Volume 7

This volume marks a major turning point for the wandering samurai. It begins with him having a flashback to the past, before he gave up killing, and ends with a new direction for the series by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Kenshin’s thinking of the past foreshadows the appearance of an enemy with similar history. Fujita Goro was formerly a captain of a military unit of fearsome swordsmen. Now, he’s changed his name and meekly works for the police. He also takes on […]

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Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4

Kenshin, the former assassin who’s vowed never again to kill, sets out to rescue Megumi. She’s a former doctor’s assistant being held hostage by Kanryu because of her knowledge of opium creation. Now, Kenshin has to fight past members of Kanryu’s private army of spies and freaks. Superhero fans who’ve been wondering about manga will find this a great starter volume. For one thing, at $7.95, it’s very reasonably priced, cheaper than even the standard manga price but of high […]

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Rurouni Kenshin Volume 1

Subtitled “Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story”, Rurouni Kenshin is a fighting manga set during the 1860s (the Meiji Era). It’s against the law to carry a sword, but the title character, a former assassin who’s become a wanderer, carries a reversed blade that can’t hurt anyone. He encounters Kaoru, a woman trying to maintain the reputation of her dead father’s fighting school in the face of a murderer damaging their name. After he helps her keep ownership of the school, he […]

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Ranma ½ Volume 2

As we learned in the first volume, Ranma Saotome, while undergoing martial arts training with his father, fell into a magical hot spring. Now, whenever he gets wet, he turns into a girl (because the spring was cursed when a young girl drowned in it). To change back, he has to be dowsed with hot water. Conveniently, there were hundreds of these cursed springs. Ranma’s father, for example, turns into a panda when he gets wet. It’s a flexible gimmick […]

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Chobits Volume 1

In the future shown in Chobits, persocoms are girl-shaped computer companions. A geek’s fantasy, they look just like real girls, except for their metallic ear casings, and they’ll follow their owner’s every command. Hideki is a typical sad-sack student struggling to pay his bills, so a persocom is far beyond his means. When he finds one in the trash, it seems like his wish has come true. As the premise suggests, there’s a lot of teasing to this series. Hideki […]

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I.N.V.U. Volume 1

One morning, Sey is woken by moving men. Her mother has decided to go to Italy to work on her novel, and she’s rented out their house. Sey will be living with her mom’s friend Meja, a happy homemaker who’s always wanted a daughter. And here comes the element that sets I.N.V.U. apart from other teen manga romances: Meja does have a daughter, Hali, but Hali has to pretend to be her dead brother Terry to keep Meja from having […]

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Cheeky Angel Volume 6

Rich, spoiled Keiko wants to be recognized as the prettiest girl in school, but she can’t compare with Meg’s magically granted beauty. While the boys are praising Meg as an angel and a goddess, Keiko fades into the background, a fate she refuses to accept. Her resulting plots are comical in their fussiness. For example, to get revenge on boys who ignore her, she has a crew that pours mud and then drives by in a car to splash them […]

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