Alphabetical Index of Yen Press Manga Reviews

BTOOOM! Volume 2

This series has gotten some (deserved) flak for its treatment of women as visual fan service, and I can’t disagree — heck, just look at that cover — yet I’m still reading it when I want adrenaline-teasing escapism that requires no thought. The premise hasn’t changed from the first volume by Junya Inoue. We’re watching people stuck on an island blowing each other up, since only one can survive. There’s a lot of wallowing in violence and abuse, in order […]

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GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class Volume 5

Normally, starting a manga title with the fifth book in the series would be a recipe for disaster, but GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class is easy to jump into, since it’s a collection of four-panel (4-koma) strips. It’s also very approachable, with a cast consisting of art school students. Although I had no idea who the individual girls were, the situations and gags were still funny and touching. The jokes resolve around two main subjects: making art and summer. At […]

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Thermae Romae Volume 2

This second volume in the series by Mari Yamazaki has all the same great elements from the first book — the oddly addictive story of an ancient Roman using baths to travel through time, the wonderfully detailed art, the author’s notes “Rome & Baths, the Loves of My Life”, the oversized hardcover format, and the translation notes in the back. About the only thing that isn’t as good as the first book is the cover — the nifty clear plastic […]

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Bunny Drop Volume 8

I really liked the early volumes of Yumi Unita’s Bunny Drop, when it was about raising an adorable child. By this book, Rin is firmly a teenager, trying to make her own decisions in life. Unfortunately, I don’t find her motives plausible or all that interesting to read. As volume 8 opens, Rin has been visiting her birth mother and her husband (a meeting begun in volume 7). Rin’s adoptive father Daikichi is concerned that seeing the mother with a […]

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BTOOOM! Volume 1

BTOOOM! by Junya Inoue reads like a combination of Survivor and Lost filtered through a video-game overlay and the now-expected forced murder plot. Ryouta is unemployed, which gives him plenty of time to become one of the world’s best players of BTOOOM!, a new online video game in which you kill opponents with bombs, not guns. The next time he awakens, he’s on a tropical island, forced to play the game for real along with a mixed group of others. […]

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A Bride’s Story Volume 4

My fear that Kaoru Mori was going to follow anthropologist Mr. Smith away from the original bride Amir is thankfully not justified. As the series continues, the story sprawls, with chapters introducing new characters as Smith meets them as well as other chapters continuing to follow life with Amir. As volume 4 opens, we see more of what has happened with Amir’s family after they were unable to capture her back. Their reputation is damaged, which might ultimately result in […]

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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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