Tag Archives: Manga Review

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

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: The Ghost and the Lady by Kazuhiro Fujita

Kodansha Comics
Published Oct. 25, 2016
304 Pages

Deep in London’s Scotland Yard sits an evidence room dedicated to the greatest mysteries of British history. In this “Black Museum” sits a misshapen hunk of lead–two bullets fused together–the key to the untold story of a wartime encounter between Florence Nightingale, the mother of modern nursing, and a supernatural Man in Grey.

The record books show Florence fought for compassion as empires’ petty rivalries threatened to destroy the hopes and lives of common people. But a guest in the Black Museum knows the truth is not so simple, and the famed Lady with the Lamp had a ghastly secret.- Goodreads

I had no idea what to expect with this read as I picked up the book before even checking out the summary.

Its different. The entire paranormal historical plot is different from any manga I have ever read and it is slightly hard to explain. But overall, the man in grey is telling someone his story and why he is where he is at. This story includes Florence Nightingale and it is a interesting twist to her story as she becomes the mother of modern nursing. I would say this manga is romantic but not in the way most people think of it now. It provides a lightness, even though it mentions death and sickness. It isn’t dark, at least for me. But this is also not saying it can’t get dark. The author seems to leave a lot of openness in the world and I am not 100% sure if that is intended.

The story is slow and towards the end of volume one you get to know about the man in grey as opposed to majority of the volume was about Florence. What I liked about this manga beyond its uniqueness, its lightness and feel of romance, is you can take your time reading this and feel like you’re not missing anything. You’re reading a twist on historic events and that is the pull. The man is grey, although can be funny at times, tells the story as if he was speaking with you.

In regards to artwork, it is not typical manga style not even close. It is though detailed and as the story follows very light.

I know this is a fairly short review but its hard to really describe this manga. I liked it though. It is well throughout, full of history, emotional and at times full of giggle moments.


4 Pickles

Manga Review: ib – Instant Bullet by Aka Akasaka

Published April 24, 2014

Everything in this world is my enemy. This kind of world is worthless. A boy, who is called a demon with no human heart, breathes, lives and imagines. But what is the pounding in his heart when he heard he is going to save the world? That’s not his wish, though…- Goodreads

I was surprised with this particular manga. It is so different. Granted the summary is extremely vague and you really don’t know what you are getting into until you at least finish the first volume. Even then you are still a bit unsure if you want to continue but towards the end things shift and you want to keep reading to find out what happens.

Without giving too much away, there is a boy who is not only lonely but he is disliked by his peers (sounds familiar). Please tend to get hurt around, he has no family and for the most part he really doesn’t react well with people. But he comes across a girl (sounds familiar) who indirectly helps him discover a form of magic he has. But here is where the difference comes in; the magic isn’t typical magic, nor is the boy a hero or for the most part a like able character at least earlier on. And the girl… she isn’t someone who secretly loves the boy and is trying to be his friend and all of that.

I’m probably not explaining this in the best way and that is because if I tell you details, I am telling some important parts of the story that I believe help push the volumes. There is complexity to the story especially within the main characters. I love how there are similarities between everyone within their own personal stories but there are still experiences that make it personal to the character.

But beyond the story moves fairly quickly; there isn’t a lot of dead space to try to keep things going. Black and white art work that isn’t the most innovative but that is not a shot at the illustrator. The great thing about the art is no one looks the same.

Overall, if you are looking for something different in relationships and magic, I would recommend this read.

3 Pickles

Manga Review: Not Lives Vol. 1 by Wataru Karasuma, Jason DeAngelis (Editor), Angela Liu

Seven Seas
Published March 29, 2016

Mikami Shigeru is a video game genius—he can play and conquer any game, and just as easily program his own. While planning his next project, Shigeru discovers a strange oddity among his stack of research materials—a game disc labeled NOT ALIVE.

Absorbing into his body, the disc thrusts him into a strange parallel reality where he becomes the “Player” of a real life video game, one where he controls the mysterious and skilled Amamiya Kyouka as his new female avatar.

With rules to learn, other players to combat, and an omniscient GM overseeing the process, will Shigeru’s gaming skills be enough to survive in this brave new digital world?- Goodreads

There are a lot of mangas about people entering video games and/or a video game affecting their real life. Not Lives is exactly that but the difference is Amamiya isn’t just a game character. She is real life girl, who is stuck in the game until the her controller wins.

I found that aspect of this book interesting because as much as it is about Shigeru learning new skills and winning, it is about Amamiya and the history of the game. There is a lot of moving parts and as complicated as they are, you don’t get lost reading it. However, despite the new characters being introduced and the new intense battles, the story itself gets redundant and boring as it is the same ending to every battle and it truly feels as if you are getting no where. Eventually, the story picks up but you are little more than half way through the series before you start to care again.

As for Shigeru. . . He wasn’t badly written. He is a coding genius that loves creating video games and wants to be the best at it. Everything he knows and looks for is for video games. There is character growth, which I greatly appreciated because after a while, he begins to get annoying.

I have no complaints about the art work as it is detailed and provides variety within the characters. It isn’t as if the art work switches from real life to video game as the game takes place in a real life setting.

Overall, I thought it was an alright late night read. If this is your first video game verses real life manga, you will enjoy it.

2.5 Pickles

Manga Review: Kasane by Daruma Matsuura

Published Dec. 2016

Kasane is a girl with a disgusting face, almost deformed … Because of this, she suffers the harassment of her classmates. One day, in the midst of despair, she remembers what her mother, a famous actress of great beauty, said to her before she died: “If you ever stay alone and you can not take it anymore, put your lips together, get close to what you want. .. and kiss it! “ -Goodreads

As a desperate act to fully getting what she wants and to stop the harassment, Kasane listens to her mother’s advice and it completely changes her world.

When I began this manga I was like is she ugly by beauty standards or does she have a deformity that people make fun of her for. I would call it a deformity but she was born that way and there are some other things that can suggest it is family trait. However, I gave a little bit too much away.

This manga is unlike anything you have read. Not only is plot completely original but it is creative. You can maybe compare it to Cinderella but it isn’t Cinderella. It isn’t even a fairy tale. This manga is strictly stand-alone content within its own world and it is purely amazing.

Kasane has it bad. Between the harassment, her mother being dead and her abusive Aunt stealing her inheritance, Kasane has reason for being the way she is and for making the choices she made. However, at a certain point you begin to think is she the bad guy? I loved that aspect of this manga. It makes you question Kasane, her intentions and how you feel about her.

But beyond that this manga is deep. Beauty standards are huge and the series touches upon being beautiful and being able to do your job, your passion, your career.

The story move flawlessly and the pace was great. My only issue was I wanted to know more about Kasane before her life changing decision and also during. Who was she beyond beauty and the decision she made to get it.

Overall, a must read.

4.5 Pickles

Manga Review: Bungo Stray Dogs by Kafka Asagiri

Yen Press Dec. 13, 2016 192 Pages
Yen Press
Dec. 13, 2016
192 Pages

Atsushi Nakajima no longer has a home. After being kick out of the orphanage, he saves a man from attempting suicide. At a strange turn of events, the man he saves, Osamu Dazai, is part of a detective agency that employs agents with supernatural powers. So, where does that leave Atsushi?

I really. . . really . . . enjoyed this series. And I was surprised that I did because for me Atsushi was a bit useless. Let’s start from the beginning.

Atsushi is the overall good guy that does two things: jump into a situation without thinking or considers running away when everyone else fails. He does that more than once and after a while I stopped caring about him and cared more about the surround characters, who in my eyes make the book.

Atsushi is like an open book, especially compared to Osamu, who from the beginning is surrounded by mystery, dark humor and secrets. . . lots and lots of secrets. I liked him, even though by volume 2 you see less of him. Osamu had depth and that is what was missing from Atsushi. All the surrounding characters had depth and the author was able to weave the different stories, creating a perfectly complex environment. It was amazing work. I know that I am chalking Atsushi as an average character, which is kind of is, but he is powerful and plays a huge roll in the story.

The art work was great but nothing I am going to go to sleep remembering. No offense to the artist, but the storyline overpowered everything. If there was more art telling the story, then it could compete. Although I enjoyed reading this series, I believe the anime would be better.


4 Pickles


Graphic Novel Review: Funérailles 1: Fortunate Sons by Florent Maudoux

Ankama Editions Published May 7, 2013 80 Pages
Ankama Editions
Published May 7, 2013
80 Pages

In this society if you are not perfect you are not worth living. When a solider of a lower class falls in love with a woman in high society, the union is a perfect fairy tale. And union created a perfect child, destined to rule the Kingdom, while his twin brother a threat, who is toss away. 

Although pigs have eaten parts of this unwanted child, he is saved and lives for the most part a healthy life. When two boys meet, it sets the stage for events that will change their kingdom.

It is unfortunate when you find a series that you get completely into and find out that there are only two volumes….

At first I was skeptical because it appeared to be a cliche Romeo and Juliet if they would have gotten married. But it wasn’t like that at all. This graphic novel is dark, it is detailed, there is nudity, there is blood. It is perfect in a every twisted way.

What I loved most about this is how the backstories weren’t dragged out. It didn’t feel forced into the story nor did it take up the entire first volume. It was key to everything however, it felt less of a flashback and more of a this is what is happening now. Everything tied together with seamless transitions and I didn’t feel as if the author didn’t know what they were doing or that this was a first of their kind. You can see the care in the plot and it matches the artwork.

I can’t say that I had an issue with any part of this book. It is deep on the level that the higher class has a certain perception of how things should be and nothing will stop them from keeping their ideas and making it work. This highlights the darker side to this as well as science. Because science, specifically human anatomy, is strong with this graphic novel.

I enjoyed it but it isn’t for everyone and I would only recommend it to those who do not mind the dark, dull colors and violence.

4 Pickles