Alphabetical Index of Viz Manga Reviews

Shortcake Cake Volume 1

The concept behind Shortcake Cake by suu Morishita (alias for writer Makiro and artist Nachiyan) had promise, but I couldn’t keep the characters straight, because none of them are particularly distinctive. Ten lives two hours away from high school, so she moves into a boarding house to avoid the commute. Her friend Ageha already lives there, as do these stereotypical guys: * Riku, the flirtatious charmer who doesn’t understand why he instantly crushes on Ten * Chiaki, the cute boy […]

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Ao Haru Ride Volume 1

This charming schoolgirl shojo gets its title, Ao Haru Ride, from author Io Sakisaka’s vision of her story as a portrait of the characters on a ride through their youth. That age, according to her, is about feeling overwhelmed most of the time. In Ao Haru Ride, Futaba doesn’t like boys, except for Kou. She thinks that he’s different for being gentle, among other reasons, and when he shows her small kindnesses, she develops a crush on him. Then he […]

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Takane & Hana Volume 4

I thought, if you give something enough time, it can grow on you, but each new volume of Takane & Hana just reminds me how far it’s fallen from the potential I saw in the first book. Take the latest, volume 4. Hana and her friends are finishing up a vacation trip with the guys, conveniently summed up by one of the girls on the first page: “Their group was so random! I mean, a Japanese heir, a rich Italian, […]

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Takane & Hana Volume 3

I enjoyed the first volume and was disappointed by the second. Was Takane & Hana volume 3 more to my taste? No, but I think I have a better handle on the approach author Yuki Shiwasu is taking to extending this series. (I can’t believe it has 10 volumes out in Japan!) In this volume, the misunderstanding with Takane’s foreign playboy friend Luciano is resolved, and Takane helps Hana study after her grades drop. (Once again, she tells him to […]

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Everyone’s Getting Married Volume 8

After learning that their relationship would have to go long distance in the previous book, Everyone’s Getting Married volume 8 ramps up the drama of their separation. I thought this plot twist would be more plausible, but I underestimated author Izumi Miyazono’s ability to create various obstacles for the key couple. Everything reminds Asuka of how much she misses Ryu, particularly when she’s under the weather and wants comforting. His trip to the US is going very well for his […]

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Takane & Hana Volume 2

There’s a telling author’s note early on in Takane & Hana volume 2, in which Yuki Shiwasu reveals this is her first serialization, and she finds it “fun to get to explore deeper story lines.” The chapters of the first volume were created as one-shot stories, while here, she’s had to change her approach to thinking of it as a series. That explains why there’s less humor here and more of a retreat to traditional shojo romance elements. Hana is […]

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Behind the Scenes!! Volume 5

Word has just come out that the end of this series by Bisco Hatori is in sight in Japan, and no one will be terribly surprised. It’s an entertaining series, but not a particularly memorable or remarkable one. The plotlines here in Behind the Scenes!! volume 5 indicate a certain amount of casting around for purpose. The first chapter even has some of the characters asking the leader of the special effects group why they’ve taken a particular job, that […]

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Takane & Hana Volume 1

I’ve found my next frothy romance manga to enjoy — Yuki Shiwasu’s Takane & Hana is ridiculous from the start but has a fun sense of humor, as the leads tell each other off while getting glimpses into each other’s very different lives. Hana is 16, a high school student, but as the book opens, she’s been dolled up for a marriage meeting. She doesn’t want to be there, but her gorgeous, spoiled, seven-years-older sister, who’s supposed to be taking […]

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