Alphabetical Index of Yen Press Manga Reviews

Blood Lad Volume 1

What could have been an amusing comedy commentary on fandom becomes just another shonen manga by Yuuki Kodama. The Blood Lad of the title is a teenage-looking vampire who runs a domain in the demon world, but he’s really fascinated with Japanese popular culture, especially video games. When a human girl appears in his kingdom, he quickly runs through lust, bloodlust, and love before settling on trying to get her back home as a way of visiting the human world. […]

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Kaoru Mori: Anything and Something

Kaoru Mori is the fan-favorite author of the popular manga Emma and A Bride’s Story. As she explains in her comic-format foreword, Anything and Something is a “stewpot book… a bunch of manga short stories, illustrations, and columns” she’s done over the past ten years, since the launch of Emma. It’s good to see such a collection make it to the US, especially for those eager to buy whatever she has available, but I found the result a mixed bag. […]

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Yotsuba&! Volume 11

If you’re not reading this charming series about a curious little girl discovering the world around her, I’m not sure what I could say now to convince you. (Unless it’s how jealous I am of you that you have over 10 books to enjoy.) It’s consistently good, enjoyable in its naive portrayal of the world, and encouraging in its optimism. In this volume by Kiyohiko Azuma, Yotsuba learns how to make noodles in a local shop. Her happy face and […]

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Thermae Romae Volume 1

Only in Japan. This bizarre historical fantasy by Mari Yamazaki finds similarities between the bathhouses of the ancient Romans and the public bathing culture of modern Japan. Lucius is a Roman architect seeking new designs for a public bath. He’s just been fired for having “antiquated ideas” in his modern day of 128 AD. When he seeks to relax by bathing, he gets sucked under water and comes up in a Japanese bathhouse. After the expected culture clash, he returns […]

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Bunny Drop Volumes 6-7

If you liked volume 5, volume 6 continues the story of Rin as a teenager. Me, I already have enough shojo school stories to read, so I still miss the tales of life with a little girl. I suppose this feeling can be reinterpreted as an accurate portrayal of how life is really like when you have a kid, that they all grow up eventually and don’t stay cute forever. I don’t want to read about that part, though. Now, […]

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A Bride’s Story Volume 3

We follow Mr. Smith, the English scholar who’s studying nomadic cultures, out of the previous volume into new adventures. But never fear, fans, Amir and her husband Karluk make an appearance, riding to the rescue at just the right time. Moreover, by moving the reader to a new group of characters here in volume 3, we learn more about society at the time, see more gorgeous Kaoru Mori art and costume designs, and in a way, mimic how the nomad […]

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Bunny Drop Volume 5

If you thought the previous book glossed over too much of Rin’s growing up, you’re going to hate this installment. It opens with a note that we’re now ten years later, so Rin’s a teenager, and Daikichi has changed from caregiver to parent worrying whether she’s ready to start dating. I admit, I miss the stories of a kid during cute toddler things and her clueless dad/nephew. (Rin is technically Daikichi’s uncle, although he’s over 20 years older than she […]

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Yotsuba&! Volume 10

In an attempt to mimic and learn from the young Yotsuba’s acceptance of the world as a place of wonder to discover, I shall not complain about how long it’s been since the previous volume. (Volume 9 was out last year about this time.) Instead, I shall enjoy the stories inside, glad that we have it at all. I’ve talked many times about how funny I find Yotsuba and her unique view of everyday life, as portrayed by Kiyohiko Azuma, […]

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