Legal Drug Volume 1

The newest series by fan-favorite art studio CLAMP features pretty boys working at a drugstore. Rikuo saved Kazahaya’s life when he almost died from exposure in the snow. In Legal Drug, the two now share an apartment, work together, and demonstrate the kind of “he’s so frustrating!” relationship that hints at deeper feelings of unrecognized attraction. Their boss, a psychic, sends them off on extra jobs to find mysterious artifacts, aided by Kazahaya’s ability to see visions based on memories. […]

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Hikaru no Go

This competition manga features a student learning to play go and appreciate all the tradition that comes with it. Although firmly within the expectations of its genre, the characters are so likable, the art so well-done, and the competition so compelling that it’s an addictive read. Story is by Yumi Hotta and art by Takeshi Obata. Fujiwara-no-Sai was an instructor of the Emperor a thousand years ago until a rival Go teacher’s cheating drove him to suicide. Sai’s yearnings to […]

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The Kindaichi Case Files

I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed a good mystery read until I tried this series. Each book is a stand-alone “fair play” case in which the reader can match wits with the detectives. The series is reminiscent of a grown-up Encyclopedia Brown with an older cast, more serious crimes, greater emotional motivation, and spooky overtones. Hajime Kindaichi is an under-achieving troublemaker with a gift for deduction and a grandfather who’s a famous detective. His best friend, Miyuki Nanase, is […]

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Tokyo Boys & Girls Volume 1

Author Miki Aihara created the first manga I got involved with, Hot Gimmick, so I was a guaranteed customer for her next project, Tokyo Boys & Girls. This series doesn’t have the flair or uniqueness of that one, but it’s a decent read. Mimori is a cute fifteen-year-old entering high school and wishing for her first boyfriend. She’s spunky, standing up to teachers and trying to do the right thing regardless of what people think. She quickly becomes friends with […]

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Alichino Volume 3

I flipped through Alichino volume 3 by Kouyu Shurei. I can’t say read, because I can’t keep the characters straight and I have no idea what’s going on. It sure is gorgeous to look at, though, with beautifully detailed, gothically inspired pretty people arguing about souls, death, and revenge. I only picked it up because I thought it completed the series, and then I’d have the whole set. Imagine my surprise to read the short interview with the author at […]

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Doing Time

Doing Time‘s author spent three years in jail due to violating Japan’s gun possession laws, and he’s captured the time in excruciating detail. It’s very different from what one sees of American prisons in the media, since the Japanese prisoners are very regimented and well-behaved. Unfortunately, Kazuichi Hanawa, the author, shares little of his interior perceptions or feelings. There’s no insight into what brought him there or what he learned or how the experience changed him as a person, and […]

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Instant Teen: Just Add Nuts Volume 1

Natsumi is a fifth-grader eager to grow up so she’ll have a sexy body like those she sees in magazines. Her neighbor and best friend, Asuma, laughs at her efforts to hide his feelings for her. When she eats magic nuts, given out on the street corner as samples, she wakes up to find her dream has temporarily come true: she’s physically a well-built teenager. Natsumi is remarkably oblivious to herself and her surroundings. One day, she’s turned away from […]

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CMX Manga: From Eroica With Love, Madara, Land of the Blindfolded, Swan, The Devil Does Exist

CMX Manga debuted in October 2004 from American comic behemoth DC Comics. The following are quick takes on five of their titles. From Eroica With Love I barely remember the 70s, but this art took me right back. Big feathered hair, Dorothy Hamill cuts, turtlenecks, rock star scarves, leisure suits, tight blue jeans, gold chains … it’s all here. Apparently, this is classic manga styling, affecting the looks of girls’ comics for decades. I found From Eroica With Love by […]

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