Category Archives: Manga

Manga Monday: Light and Shadow by Ryu Hyang, Hee Won (Illustrator)

                Kakao

It’s a rude insult when lowly and headstrong servant Edna comes to marry Duke Eli, instead of the noble daughter he expected. But the ambitious maid hides an even bigger secret behind her obvious ruse – one that could change the kingdom’s very history.

Can the two find freedom, redemption – and love – without drawing their swords on each other?– Goodreads

TW: Rape (?)

Notice the question mark next to the trigger warning? I put that there because although I view it was rape, others may not (just a heads up)

This is a very straight forward, historical romance manga and I am glad that I finished it.

I was surprised with how much I loved this book and how easy going it really was. Its complicated but not by a whole lot (as it is a pretty short manga). Edna is way more than what she is appears to be as well as the Duke Eli. I have a love hate relationship with Duke Eli. He became a better character. . . a better person for Edna but that beginning was rocky and I was almost at the point of putting this manga down but I liked Edna and wanted to know her story.

Artwork was well down and bonus if you read the manga on Kiss Manga its in color :)

Previously, I had mentioned that it is straight forward . . . it really is. Things move fast. Situations become resolved with as little complication as possible. Are there some twists to give the read a bit of a thrill? Yes but I mean straight forward as in everything comes together without all the extra fluff/beat around the bush. It was actually a breathe of fresh air to not read a long winded manga, that is filled with a bunch of assumptions about what the other person is feeling. Granted I will still read those but this one was nice.

Pace was great. As mentioned before this is a short manga (I breezed through it in a night).

Overall,

4 Pickles

Manga Review: Wonderland by Yugo Ishikawa

Seven Seas
October 30th 2015
180 Pages

Teenage girl Yukko awakens to find that she has shrunken in size–but this is no rabbit hole or fairy tale–this is real life! In a desperate and bloody struggle to stay alive, while fleeing giant predators and other twisted dangers, Yukko learns that she is not the only person who has turned tiny.

Can she survive long enough to learn the truth behind her curious transformation?- Goodreads

This is a Alice in Wonderland retelling. But it is no where near your typical retelling. Yukko is the focus of this manga with Alice, technically, the side character (I only read the first volume, so that may be subject to change).

The story takes place in the modern world and Yukko wakes up tiny. She comes to find out her parents are tiny as well as the people of her neighborhood. From the time she wakes up, it is a battle to survive. At first, I thought this manga was going The Borrowers route and I honestly wouldn’t have been mad at that (its a classic movie to me). However, I am glad it didn’t go that route.

This manga is a bit dark. What makes it dark is reading how humanity reacts to this issue. Yeah, you see death. Yeah, there is an emotional pull and yes, you see blood. But you expect some really messed up cover-up from the government but what you don’t expect is how the people around you react. I mean maybe you do but it still isn’t pretty to look at.

In regards to artwork, there is nothing special well let me rephrase. . .  nothing groundbreaking about it. Its good, do not get me wrong but the artwork didn’t caught me; only the story.

The pace of the novel is A+ It moves fast enough where the reader doesn’t feel like the author is adding a lot of fluff and oddly enough the first volume gives you a lot of background information. It is a really good balance and keeps the read interested.

Overall, I liked this manga and plan on continuing it.

3 Pickles

Manga Monday: Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu

Udon Entertainment
September 18th 2018
164 Pages

A Japanese style pub called “Nobu” exists in a back alley of the fictional medieval European city of Eiteriach. Its customers? A pair of slacker soldiers, a spoiled heiress, an uptight tax collector, and more… When the citizens of this strange world sit down to enjoy some unfamiliar Japanese cuisine, their troubles simply melt away…

The curtain rises on this otherworldly eatery and the gourmet fantasy about to unfold within!- Goodreads

I have only read the first volume to this series and I am completely in love.

I have a thing for cooking. It doesn’t matter if I am cooking it myself or watching/reading other people cook. It inspires me and it is just so fascinating.

What I loved about this manga so far is the fact that it introduces you to the different characters by surrounding them around this restaurant that makes food they have never heard of. Each character has their own story and as a reader you get to exam each one as they eat and experience joy through food.

As it is the first volume, you have your ideas of what could be going on and there is a bit of confirmation, however, nothing is exactly set in stone in this volume. There are still ways to go to find out information of the restaurant. However, the way the story is written, you don’t have a pressing need to know everything.

Its like sitting down at a bookstore, in the fall, with your tea, at a window seat. You are taking your time and just enjoying the refreshing peacefulness that you feel. This manga is slow but it is refreshing, especially for someone that constantly reads the action fantasy or drama-filled fantasy.

Artwork is on point. Especially when they zoom in on the food :) I loved the contrast of colors between the world outside of the restaurant and inside. You see and feel the difference and it clearly shows that this is intentional. It is really beautiful how the illustrations are done.

Overall, completely in love with this read and looking forward to taking the time to read book two.

4 Pickles

The Return of Manga Monday: So You Want to Get Into Manga

Starting next week, I will be bring back Manga Monday. It was one of my favorite posts of the week but life got in the way and I wasn’t able to keep up with it. With that in mind, I wrote this post, so you all will be prepared for the next coming weeks.

I really do. Let’s get to it.

Here is what you should know about manga (insert what manga is). . . there are so many different niches that one bad manga does not mean that they are all bad. If you are reader, this is something that you should be fully aware of. Manga gets a bad wrap (dare I say much worst than graphic novels/comics) due to people not understanding the cultural difference, being pretty much racist AND unwilling to try new things.

First things first is how to read manga. Manga is read from right to left. In most books, you should see a page devoted to directions. This is important, not necessarily reading the directions but know how to read manga because you can quickly get lost.

Different Sub Genres 

*Note: I believe these would be considered sub genres as each manga is still broken down as Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary etc. This could be an American thing but I am not 100% sure about that. 

  • Shonen is geared towards young boys under the age of 15.
  • Seinen is geared toward to young men between the ages of 15-24.
  • Shojo is geared toward girls between the ages of 10-18

 

  • Josei is geared towards adult women.
  • Kodomomuke is geared towards children.
  • Yaoi is also known as boy’s love and are stories about male gay relationships.
  • Yuri is also known as girl’s love and are stories about female gay relationships.

 

  • Ecchi is has a lot of suggested content (i.e. sexual) and may contain nudity.
  • Hentai is pretty much pornography with a story behind it (not to say there may not be porn with a plot but yeah that is what this is).

There may be more but this is what I have for the time being. It is important to know what you are getting into but manga doesn’t exactly shy away from certain topics. They can be extremely detailed, so knowing what you want to deep dive into is a good start.

And just because there is a particular age group that the manga is set for i.e. the demographic, you can read any manga you want. I wouldn’t obviously recommend children to read the adult themes but you know what I am trying to get at.

I read manga in two different ways. By going to Kiss Manga or purchasing at a bookstore, usually Barnes and Nobles.

One things to note with Kiss Manga is that is can be overwhelming because there are a lot of choices. Not all manga will be available on this website but you still can find a chunk of it. So happy hunting!!

Listed below are some (because there are so much more) of my favorite manga and it includes a range also some new and old.

I hope that this post was helpful ^_^ I look forward to you starting your manga journey!

Manga Review: Please Save My Earth by Saki Hiwatari

Viz Media
Published 1987

Part science fiction, part fantasy, and completely engrossing, this provocative manga stars sensitive high school student Alice Sakaguchi, who has a recurring dream that she’s part of a team of alien scientists on the moon! She doesn’t really believe it, until new evidence arrives.

Now even her eight-year-old neighbor is acting strange! Alice’s dreams of being a lovely woman living on the moon are a respite from her job babysitting the holy terror Rin! When he goes one step too far, she slaps him, causing him to fall off a balcony and into a coma.

When he awakens, he seems changed–and strangely connected to Alice. Meanwhile, at school, Alice meets a pair of boys with an oddly close relationship. Soon she learns they too have dreams–of living on the moon!- Goodreads

I was recommended this read by Barnes and Noble. It seemed like something I could get into even though it is over 30 years old and the artwork is a bit outdated.

To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. This was a good manga that is deep into reincarnation. Alice isn’t much of a interesting character. She is very soft spoken, a bit spacey and cries a lot. She doesn’t have a back bone at all and I genuinely did not care for her.

Although she is one of the most important characters within this manga, I had to tune out the whiny voice. However, Rin moved this story along as he was the hate to love. His reasoning for what he was doing made sense, although how he was doing things was wrong, which made me think how exactly or where is the author going with this.

Because of Rin, there is almost zero predictability within this series. It literally can go in a few different ways and I stuck with the series to see what way it would go because without him and the whole theme of reincarnation, it would just be another romance with a fragile girl that everyone loves.

The books moved slow, so if you are expecting fast pace in any form, you won’t get it. I felt that science fiction aspect of the series was more interesting than what was presently happening. This could be due to my love of fantasy and my interest in the not normal but as the entire series is based off the past life, I was more drawn to that.

Overall, I would recommend this manga, especially if you are into love triangles, conflicted feelings and betrayal.

3 Pickles

Manga Review: For the Kid I Saw in My Dreams, Vol. 1 by Kei Sanbe

Yen Press
Jan. 29th 2019
192 Pages

As a young child, Senri Nakajou saw his family murdered before his eyes, and he’s lived for revenge ever since.

From his daily activities to his studies, everything is about attaining the power and money necessary to find the killer and make him pay-even if it means getting a little dirty himself…- Goodreads

If you have not read, Kei Sanbe’s manga Erased, you should do that now. It was fantastic and although the ending was a bit eh, it is still worth the read and buy 100%.

With that being said, because of how much I loved the first series, I started at this one. And let me tell you something, this man has a way of getting your attention in a short amount of time.

Senri had a rough childhood and this is even before he saw his family murdered. His father is abusive, his mother doesn’t do anything and the only person he has is his twin brother. The two share a very strong connection that goes much more than one twin getting hurt and the other twin feeling it.

Senri rage comes from seeing his families death but also because of his Twin. Without giving much away, he grows up bottling his anger, conning people of their money all the while going to school. When an opportunity comes to find and extract revenge on the person that ruined his life, Senri doesn’t hesitate but at the same time he doesn’t realize the mess he just put himself in.

I loved this story and I cannot wait to fully dig into it. There are several things going on at once but nothing is confusing, nothing is over complicated, nothing seems forced and everything is connected.

I was interested in the characters because their stories are building up this quiet world that is literally waiting to explode with the truth. The pace of the manga was good; actually surprisingly good. There is so much packed into these pages I thought it would move faster but it didn’t. The pace was thought out, not rushed but moved in as much real time as a book can get.

The artwork was a little bit off. Especially for a specific female character; her lips were almost as big as her face and this is something that was seen in manga in maybe the 70s or 80s. I wasn’t expecting to see it with a book by Kei because the art work in Erased was pretty good.

Overall, a must read for those that love themselves a murder mystery. However, I would recommend waiting until the second book comes out, which is in June.

5 Pickles

Manga Monday: A Girl on the Shore (Umibe no Onnanoko #1-2) by Inio Asano

Vertical Comics
Published Jan. 19, 2016
408 Pages

When Koume and Keisuke’s relationship begins to take shape, it is apparent that they are both searching for something. Maybe Keisuke wants something more than a kiss from the fair Koume. Maybe Koume is looking for someone better than Misaki, the local playboy. But what they find in each other over the course of a summer might be far greater than anything they were expecting.

Their lives are going to change. And this will all transpire before high school exams!- Goodreads

I didn’t particularly enjoy this manga and I believe a lot of this has to do with not understanding where the author was going with this.

Firstly, if you are uncomfortable with sexual themes and images, you will not enjoy this book in the least. Secondly, although the manga starts off with a very obvious storyline, it jumps a tangent and generally becomes confusing.

Koume and Keisuke are young kids and they have a very weird relationship. There is obviously abuse within their relationship and they are both using each other but for what, it isn’t really defined. The cycle keeps going for a while and it becomes really disturbing. When you do see some kind of truth, it is hard to put two and two together.

This was frustrating and even at the end, I was even more frustrated because there didn’t appear to be any reason behind it any of the actions. What I mean is the bigger picture was just not there for me.

But I finished the book because the characters were interested. I wanted to know more about Koume and Keisuke, specifically I wanted to know more about what made them tick and a bit about their past. Granted they are young and there may not be a long winded history but something like that would have made the story less confusing and gave it a kick.

In regards to illustration, it was drawn very well, detailed and you can see the care in the artwork.

Overall, I would have to give this series

2 Pickles  

2 because initially I enjoyed the story, was looking for progress and I finished it.