Hot Gimmick Volumes 1-12

Hot Gimmick by Miki Aihara is the manga that made me a devoted proponent of the format. At the time, it was exactly what I was looking for — a girl-centered story that emphasizes emotion and character development, with fascinating plot twists and clear, expressive art. Unfortunately, the treatment of the characters and the end of the series are so disappointing as to erase the enjoyment of the beginning, and now I recommend people avoid it. The protagonist, Hatsumi, is […]

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Peach Fuzz Volume 1

Nine-year-old Amanda selects a ferret as her first pet. Mom is concerned about the danger; it seems that ferrets like to nip until they’re trained not to. Amanda talks her mom into it, with the understanding that she’ll have to return the pet if it bites her. Peach views Amanda’s hand reaching into her cage as a five-headed monster attacking her, so of course, she bites back. Based on the premise, Peach Fuzz should have been more enjoyable than it […]

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Hana-Kimi

This modern comedy of gender roles by Hisaya Nakajo, subtitled For You in Full Blossom, is populated with androgynously cute teenagers sporting beautiful faces framed with sprays of bangs. Mizuki has returned to Japan to pursue her dreams, even if it means pretending to be a boy. She’d been living in America, but after seeing Izumi Sano compete in the high jump, she developed a crush on him. Now she’s attending the same boys’ school he does. Her outspoken, “foreign” […]

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Comic Party Volume 1

Any fan who’s ever been to a convention will recognize the setting of Comic Party, complete with all the clichés. When Kazuki doesn’t get into his chosen art school, his friends Mizuki (a cute girl) and Taishi (a geek) take him to an anime, manga, and gaming convention in order to help him find a focus for his creativity. Inspired, Kazuki prepares to put together a comic and debut it at a show. Taishi directs him by showing him this […]

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The Walking Man

Although manga, The Walking Man is published in a form more typical to collections of art comics, with jacket flaps and thick, crisply white paper. That suits its subject matter well, positioning it to an audience who can appreciate a series of reflective encounters beautifully illustrated by Jiro Taniguchi. (Also suited to that audience, it’s been flipped, so that it reads left-to-right.) Each chapter covers one of the man’s walks, showing us what he sees. In the first, he’s just […]

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Tuxedo Gin Volume 1

When Ginji finds true love at first sight, he’s not given a chance to enjoy it. Gin is a boxing champ, and his fighting skills have caused him to become a target for revenge. He never makes it to his first date with Minako, because his enemies cause a motorcycle accident, and he dies. However, a monk with angel wings appears and tells him he can choose to be reincarnated as an animal. When that being’s natural life span is […]

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Imadoki!

Yû Watase is best known for her two fantasy series, Fushigi Yûgi and Ceres: Celestial Legend. Although it takes place in a more normal school setting, Imadoki! (Nowadays) still has quite a fairy tale air about it. Tanpopo is so eager to check out her new Tokyo school that she jumps her bike over the gate, crash-landing into a boy tending a dandelion. In contrast to her outgoing energy, he’s reserved but caring, bandaging her injury the same way he […]

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Suki

Suki, contrary to first guess, isn’t the name of the young girl on the cover; she’s Hina. Instead, it’s from the phrase “Suki, Dakara Suki” (“I like you, that’s why I like you”). That kind of simple acceptance is a hallmark of Hina’s naiveté in this short CLAMP series. Hina lives alone with only two teddy bears for company. One snowy night, her new substitute teacher moves into the empty house next door. She’s thrilled to have a neighbor who […]

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