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The Cat Proposed by Dento Hayane

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ARC was given by NetGalley and LOVE x LOVE in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (February 23rd, 2021)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Suicidal ideation and mentions of attempted suicide

“That day… I took a story by the hand.”

It’s very easy for me to fall in love with a manga and The Cat Proposed is no exception! I fell head over heels in love with the manga. Despite the dark themes of this book, I really enjoyed my time reading it. I really wish we would see more of this book or see it turned into a series. I’ve always loved the lore and mythology of the bakeneko of Japanese culture and knowing this manga exists, ugh, it filled my heart with so much warmth and excitement.

“We may be completely different, but I still want you.”

Our story follows Souta Matoi, a company worker, who’s contemplating suicide because nothing has changed, his life seems to be stuck in a terrible loop. Living the same routine day in and day out, overworked by his company, a deep exhaustion has set into his bones and he desperately wants to make a change. Then one fateful night Souta decides to change the routine by going to a kōdan storytelling. And that’s when his whole world begins to change. Starting with meeting Kihachi, the kōdan storyteller.

I really loved the way the author portrayed Souta and Kihachi. Though they seem like absolute polar opposites of one another, the chemistry between them is perfection. Souta is very timid and bashful, has a hard time expressing how they feel, declaring what they want. Whereas Kihachi is the opposite. Not only is Kahachi a bakeneko, but he’s very upfront about what he wants and direct with how things will work between one another. Also, they’re both sensitive beings who care very deeply for others. They’re both the type of people who puts everyone before their needs. And they just balance each other out so well. There’s some really hilarious side characters we get to meet as well. Yamabuki is absolutely hilarious and I enjoyed the little pokes of fun he has with Kihachi. Also, he’s a lover of stories like Kihachi is and somehow, between all their banter, you can tell they’re long-time friends!

“The light in the darkness is twinkling beautifully.”

If you haven’t guessed already, this manga involves Japanese mythology and folklore. Bakeneko appear a lot throughout Japanese history and culture. From works of literature and landmarks all the way to famous legends, bakeneko have played a role in Japan’s mythology and folklore. Most commonly found within the Endo period, but don’t quote me on that since there’s a chance they appeared during the Kamakura period with the nekomata, since they’re so similar. But I really loved how the author took that mythology and knowledge to weave their own tale. I think the author did a fantastic job of bringing to life the world of bakeneko and finding a way to encourage the reader to learn more about this mythology.

While I know it’s a dark turn of things, I want to take a moment to pause and appreciate the way the author wrote about suicide in this book. I think the author did really well at talking about what it means to be suicidal, to have suicidal thoughts, and to feel such a bone deep exhaustion that’s almost suffocating. And on top of that, I love how the author made sure to show how one person can save us from and how important little acts of kindness, endearment can truly make a difference. I thought it was beautifully and respectfully written.

Overall, I just really loved this manga. I truly wish the author would consider turning this into a series because I have no doubt that I would purchase the whole series for my manga collection. I loved it so, so much! I adored the characters, I really wanted to see more of the bakeneko community and their world. There’s so much untapped potential with this one book and honestly, I want more. I’m excited to see what this author will do next and I’m so glad I got to read an arc of this manga early.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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Whisper Me A Love Song (Whisper Me A Love Song #1) by Eku Takeshima

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ARC was provided by NetGalley and Kodansha Comics in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published after the release date (October 20th, 2020)

What a supper cute, humorous manga! Typically I don’t read a lot of fluffy manga, but in some case it really works well and this is one of those books. I adored the characters, their personalities are so memorable and easy to fall in love with. Even the side characters fit the perfect story. I’m truly surprised I haven’t heard of this manga series sooner, but I’m super excited to continue this series and watch these characters fall in love with one another.

🎶 Himari Kino – Is a cheerful, very loving first-year in high school, who ends up falling in love at first sight on her first day at school, during the open live performance from SSGirls. With her best friend Miki-chan besides her and being in the front row, when she’s suppose to check out Miki’s sister, Himari can’t help being swept off her feet by the cool singer of the band.

🎶 Yori Asanagi – Is a cool, lone wolf third-year high schooler, who loves to sing and write their own in their personal time, ends up filling in for the singer of SSGirls. With the members of SSGirls begging Yori to write them songs and join their band, Yori refuses due to severe stage fright, until they meet Himari. Soon, their world changes and be a little head over heels.

Though these two are new to love, we follow their story after they confessed their feelings to one another, as they get to know each other, chat about their love for cats, and become more entranced with one another. There’s just one problem… They both have a hard time believing the other is really in love with them and keep misunderstanding one another’s words.

“I’m going to make you fall in love so hard. So you better brace yourself.”

I really loved the personality of both main characters. Yori is calm and collected, but easily gets embarrassed and has a deep love for cats. Himari is very energetic and has a very bubbly personality. When the two come together, they balanced each other out really well and have great chemistry. I also love how Yori never gets over-shadowed by Himari’s personality, as well. Himari is very much the instigator, Yori always speaks for herself, allowing both of them to be on equal footing. The process in which they grow closer is also super adorable and they have an amazing supporting cast with the side characters. I would have loved to see more of Miki-chan have a role in helping out, but the band is really fun and supportive of Yori.

This is very much a feel good story. It’s meant to be light, fluffy, and the music angle was such a good hook to make Yori stand out. There’s a lot of really cute moments throughout this book and the way Himari is so encouraging is refreshing. The way this manga leaves off, there’s bound to be drama on the horizon especially from the trope that’s being used in this book. However, I think the one issue many readers will have with this book is the clashing of two elements. You have the ‘love at first sight’ trope and then you have the ‘two people not being on the same page’ element added in. Sometimes it can feel like a bit much and I think many readers may struggle with that balance.

Overall, this was really enjoyable. I was chuckling and smiling the whole time reading this. I think the manga does an excellent job at being a feel good read. I think if readers are looking for something fluffy, charming, and just a read that’s going to leave you happy. Plus, the way this manga ends will leave you wanting to know what’s about to happen next with these characters!

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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Blue Period, Vol 1 by Tsubasa Yamaguchi

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ARC was provided by NetGalley and Kodansha Comics in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (October 13th, 2020)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Underage drinking and side remarks directed at a side character who crossdresses

“Here are a few tips to ensure a smooth relationship: Tell people what they want to hear. Don’t focus on yourself, make sure they are having fun in the conversation. At least that the only way I know how to communicate.”

I can’t believe how much I loved this manga and I still can’t believe I didn’t know about this series sooner! This might be a new favorite manga series I need to invest in because this story line, these characters, oh be still my fluttering soul. Going into this book, not realizing how centered around art it was, and then being blown away by so much within these pages was truly an experience. And I just really enjoyed this manga so much, with my whole heart!

Our story follows second year student, Yatora Yaguchi, who’s always gone with the flow and making sure to be practical, to stay on the path his family expects of him. He’s spent most of his time pleasing those around him, never really talking about his passions or interests because to choose those would cause trouble for those around him, or so he believes. When one day he returns to the art room, he comes across a painting that stirs something within his soul and shortly after, his thoughts begin to be consumed by art.

I really loved Yatora as our main character. Yatora’s character is such a breath of fresh air especially in the manga world. Yatora is classified or labeled as a “delinquent”, but despite the bleached hair and the terrible smoking habit, Yatora is actually an honors student and has really high marks on their grade card. And like any coming of age story, we see a light shined upon some of the inner thoughts almost every high schooler has, thoughts such as passion vs. money, hobby vs. career, follow expectations vs. make your own path, peer pressure, parents support and disappointment, etc… We see a lot of that inner monologue with Yatora and I think many readers will be able to connect with a lot of those thoughts. There’s a moment where Yatora receives praise for a class assignment and how it touched him, how good it felt, and I truly believe that scene alone will resonate with so many readers.

“And those who are true to themselves make truly great art. Because art is a language without words.”

I think the progression of the story is the biggest factor that impacted my reading of this manga. The progression of this book is very much geared towards providing information about art and the various art school in Japan. Setting that aside, I couldn’t help becoming swept up in all the hard work, the dedication, and the way Yatora’s skills were developing. Even meeting the side characters and learning about their own skills was really enjoyable. I’ve never been an artist, but this book reminded me of how much I love to draw and sketch. However, I do think some readers will feel bogged down with the amount of information that’s scattered throughout this book.

I do want to say that there were a few minor things that caused me to reread the passages to make sure I was reading them correctly. Yatora’s friends are really disrespectful and there were times where it caught me off guard or it would throw off the entire vibe of a scene. There were also one or two moments where side remarks were made towards the side character Yuka, who cross dresses. For most readers, I think this will get overlooked or no one will talk about it. However, when I caught it and then noticed it was never challenged, it didn’t quite sit right with me. And that might be my own reaction especially due to cross dressing in the past myself, but it was hard to tell what the intentions were with those remarks and hopefully in future issues this will be challenged more.

“Liking something and saying so is scary.”

Overall, I had a pleasant experience and as I said, this might be a new series I’ll end up investing in. I’m eager to see how things will play out, I’m dying to know if Yatora will tell his parents, and most importantly, I want to see more of the side characters in the art club. There’s just a really soothing and enjoyable mood when all the art club students are together. Plus, the teacher is a a true gem and she’s one of those teachers who really cares for her students. If you’re looking for a new manga series to fall in love with, I definitely recommend give this series a chance. I think many readers will enjoy the progression of this manga and be eager to find out what will happen next!

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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Weathering with You, Vol. 1 by Makoto Shinkai & Wataru Kubota

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ARC was provided by NetGalley and Vertical Comics in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published after the release date (September 22nd, 2020)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Homelessness, physical assault, gun violence, mentions loss of loved ones

Did I request this manga because I loved Your Name? Yes. Did I completely fall down a rabbit hole reading this manga and therefore need to know what’s going to happen next? Also, yes! I really loved Your Name. It was a very emotional, whimsical series and movie. So naturally my interest was at an all high when I saw this was available for request. And this book didn’t disappoint! It fully captured my heart and I think many manga readers are going to fall in love with this series, if they haven’t already!

We follow a boy named Hodaka, who’s run away from the island he grew up on, fleeing to the Kabukichō neighborhood of Tokyo to start a new beginning. However, Hodaka finds himself struggling to adjust to the new city and all the gloomy weather. Until he comes across a girl named Hina, who has a the special ability to bring out the sun, also known as a sunshine girl. Together they’ll turn Hina’s ability into a means of helping Hina gather funds to support herself and younger sibling, but Hodaka is keeping secrets and Hina is keeping her own.

“All this time, I think… I was chasing the light that you bring, Miss Hina.”

I loved these characters so much. They’re not your typical main characters who are fierce warriors or magical beings. They’re just two kids who come from rough backgrounds, trying to survive in the big world. I love when characters are just like everyone else, but we get to see their hardships, they’re struggles. It makes those characters feel more realistic and easier to connect to. And of course, the story line that pulls these two characters together is so beautifully woven. I loved seeing the small pieces of Japanese myths and legends tie in to the events happening and the characters.

Just like Your Name, Weathering with You has underlying themes to it. Looking at Hina’s character in this book, he character is designed to show the weight that women often carry. Women are often expected to provide warmth, comfort, and happiness, more time than most being the caregiver of the household. Now, I don’t want to spoil too much (especially for the anime), but the author does a brilliant job of showing this and how if affects women, how much energy the deplete from themselves, and the toll it begins to take on their bodies. I thought it was so beautifully done and I think this book shows the beginning of that process really well.

And of course, I have to talk about how stunning the art style is because it is gorgeous! The beginning of this arc we have one to two pages of colored art and it is everything. That alone had me gasping for breath. It so beautiful and I wish more manga had more little glimpses into colored panels. Even the black and white panels just really had an extra emphasis on the events happening throughout the book. The illustrator of this book is truly talented and I can’t wait to see what they’ll do next!

Overall, I really enjoyed this manga with my whole heart. I think the story line does a fantastic job hooking the attention of the reader, pricking the curiosity of those who want to know more. It truly is a beautiful story and I can’t recommend this graphic novel enough. I hope my fellow manga readers will be picking this series up and if you haven’t checked out this series yet, please do. It truly is wonderful!

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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Heaven’s Design Team 1 ([Ten-De-Bu] What a strange animal! #1) by Hebi-Zou, Tsuta Sizuki, & Tarako

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ARC was provided by NetGalley and Kodansha Comics in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (October 13th, 2020)

This truly was an adorable manga! This is one of those manga series that’s unique and hasn’t really been dabbled with before (at least to my knowledge). I loved the the different personalities of the teams and how some of the characters are named after the planets of the solar system. And I think this is a great way to spread information about animals many people might not know about. Just a really enjoyable manga for a rainy day! A side note; this series has already been printed (back in 2017, I think), but I do believe this is going through a reprint because of the new anime series. You can watch the trailer HERE!

Our story follows the design team of Heaven who have been tasked with one major project, create creatures to populate the Earth. However, things are easier said than done. With their reject pile climbing higher and higher, the team fears they’ll never be able to fill all the request flying into their inbox. But even in times of doubt, inspiration can strike the most. We join Heaven’s design team on this wild adventure, literally!

I really do love the cast of characters we’re given in this book. Our cast of characters has such a diverse personality range and even though it’s never specified, a plethora of ages. I also really enjoyed each character’s interests. For example, I love how Mr. Saturn is an older gentleman who’s pride and joy project is the horse and has an obsession with all this horses (including unicorns and pegasus). There’s also Neptune who’s a gentle giant and creates some of the cutest animals. Neptune is such a cinnamon roll character and might be my favorite thus far.

I also really liked how this is more on the educational side of manga. While the design team crafts these animals, at the end of each chapter we receive a paragraph of information and facts about the animals that were created in that chapter. For those who don’t have zoology in their background or never had interests in animals in their life, this is was a unique way to provide that information to that reader base. I also think this is going to be a manga series perfect for those who are younger and just starting to discover manga.

My biggest struggle with this manga was the humor in this book. It’s not that the humor is bad or anything, it just didn’t translate on page well for me. I know there’s an anime out and I think the anime will be able to better convey the humor that this manga is trying to portray. I think for other manga lovers, this will be perfect for them to get some chuckles, but I’m very much a “slapstick” humor kind of person and to hear how the humor is trying to be expressed.

My other thing about this manga is the plot and story-line. There really isn’t any end goal or objective to this manga. I think for many manga reader, they might not like this aspect because this book really relies on the educational elements in this manga. The sole purpose of each chapter is to educate the reader on the animals the design team is creating. For me, the banter was fun and so were the conversations, but in the end, I would’ve liked to have seen more at stake (like a time limit) to make things a little more exciting or make me more invested in the story.

Overall, this was a fun little read. I think this is really going to be a manga for those who are just now discovering manga and dipping their toes into the vast pool that is manga. As I said, this is the first manga I’ve encounter that has an educational element to it. I do come from a background of zoology, so a lot of the animals and facts mentioned in this book weren’t anything new for me. However, for those who aren’t from that background, I think it’s going to intrigue those readers especially those of a younger audience. It’s just an easy going book and I think many readers will enjoy this manga. I’m definitely interested in seeing the anime and seeing how the manga compares. I think if you’re looking for a unique manga or you’re just starting out, then I definitely recommend checking this series out.

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Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Vol. 1 (Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku #1-2) by Fujita

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Mentions of sexual harassment, mentions of anxiety, alcoholism

Friends, this was the absolute cutest! I had a fantastic time reading this and I had such a hard time setting this down. This is such a whimsical, charming, and perfectly geeky book for those who are looking for a book to brighten their day up. And you might just laugh yourself silly like I did. This manga has also been made into an anime, you an watch the trailer HERE.

We follow Narumi, a secret fujoshi who seems to be down on her luck with relationships. Until one day, she reconnects with her childhood friend Hirotaka, a secret hardcore gamer, at their office job. This sparks Narumi suggestion they should go out for drinks to catch up with one another. And while they’re catching up, Narumi reveals to Hirotaka how hard it is to find someone who accepts her for who she truly is. To Narumi’s surprise, Hirotaka offers a solution. And this is their story.

This manga focuses on two different relationships. The main relationship this manga focuses around is Narumi and Hirotaka. Not only do they work together, but when they’re together they’re absolutely precious. Since they’ve known each other for such a long time, we see soft moments like when they can tell the other is upset or aren’t acting like themselves. We also get some really great moments where we see their personalities show a different side compared to when they’re in the work place. The other relationship this manga also focuses on is between Kabakura and Hanako, friends and coworkers to Narumi and Hirotaka. Their relationship is intense, they fight almost constantly, and the tension between them is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

“We’re together because I love you and I like seeing you doing things that make you happy.”

I really enjoyed Hirotaka and Narumi together. Their interactions with one another were so cute and wholesome, but they have a deep understanding of each other. They have some really precious moments that really show how much they care about one another, not only as couple, but also as two individuals who have been friends for such a long time. I really loved that. I also really appreciated how we see both couples in this manga on double dates. I rarely see the double dating in books. So that was a pleasant surprise that I really enjoyed. I also really adored how close Hanako and Narumi are in this manga. They cosplay together and seem really protective of one another. I’m always here for a friendship that’s positive especially between two women.

I only had two issues with this manga. The first one was with the second relationship, the one between Hanako and Kabakura. I felt like we never got to see them be soft and gentle with one another. For the majority of this book, they’re constantly arguing at each others throats, insulting one another, and there’s even a scene where Hanako tries to pressure Kabkura into cosplaying when he specifically says no. We see maybe one or two moments between them where they’re being gentle to one another, but the majority they’re fighting with one another. I’m hoping in future books, we see more moments shared between them where they’re being kind to one another or loving.

My second struggle with this manga was no solid story line or plot. It felt like there were outlines of a plot or story line, but for the most part it felt like this manga was just sharing moments between Hirotaka and Narumi. It felt very repetitive because of no solid story line or plot. With that being said, I’m hoping in future volumes we’ll see change of scenery and things won’t have a repetitive feeling to it. We’ll see an actually story form of how their love is growing, maybe we’ll see some character development, and maybe we’ll see some end goal within this book.

“If my smile could reach the person I love… I think I’d explode with happiness.”

Overall, I really did have a fantastic time reading this book. I loved how we follow two geeky people who’ve been friends since childhood form a relationship. They’re incredible sweet to one another and Fujita has an incredible way of capturing that. I also really enjoyed the art style. Fujita has a way a capturing the emotions of characters and make a panel play to the moment. And the way Fujita writes has such a subtle way of saying so much meaning with saying very little, I really loved that. It was just a really great times reading this manga. I’m really eager to give the anime a try and see how similar it is to the manga. But if you’re looking for something funny, charming, and wholesome then I can’t recommend this manga enough!

Buddy read with Kayla from Books and Blends 🧡

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There Are Things I Can’t Tell You by Edako Mofumofu

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ARC was provided by NetGalley and Tokyopop in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published after the release date (July 21st, 2020)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Adultery, cheating, memories of parental emotional and verbal abuse, parental neglect, internalized homophobia, homophobic comments, abandonment

“And then, like tumbling down a hill… I fell in love with Kasumi.”

I loved this so, so much! You hear me talk about manga so much and I can honestly say this is a new favorite. I love how there’s so many important topics mentioned throughout this book and these two boys, these two cinnamon roll boys are so precious! I just really enjoyed this manga so much and I’m low-key hoping we see more.

Kyousuke Shiina is a talented and ambitious graphic designer who’s secretly in love with him childhood friend. When this perfectionist of a hard worker isn’t pulling all nighters at his office with his team, he’s whipping up delicious food in the kitchen or spending every moment with Katsumi.

Katsumi Amemiya is the polar opposite of Kyousuke; quiet and shy, klutzy to a fault, and disorganized like a whirlwind just flew through (not even joking, those rooms are pure chaos). Katsumi has been friends with Kyousuke ever since grade school, when Katsumi had no friends, nothing to live for, and by some miracle, crossed paths during after school hours and a wishing tree.

“If I’m going to share my life with anyone… I wish I could be with someone who really loves me.”

I loved both of these characters so much. Thanks to a very dear friend of mine, I’ve fallen in love with the grumpy-sunshine love trope and that’s exactly what this relationship is. Katsumi is always feeling the weight of abandonment and lonliness, always in the darkness that his life has given him. While Kyousuke tries to always forge ahead with charisma and determination, always trying to make everyone happy and smiling at what he does. Though these two may be opposites of each other, they balance each other’s personalities so well and work beautifully together. We also have the friends to lovers arc with these two and I loved it so much especially due to some of the time gaps.

With all of this being said, Kyousuke grew up in a household that was very homophobic. Due to the way his father continuously says how wrong it is for someone to be gay or how it’s “gross” leads to Kyousuke internalizing that homophobia against himself. Kyousuke ends up grappling with some deep feelings and grapples with the thought that he’s leading Katsumi down the “wrong path”. So he tries to avoid leading Katsumi on as much as possible. On the opposite side of things, Katsumi has always been open about his love for Kyousuke since the beginning. After Katsumi confessed his love to Kysousuke in the past, Katsumi has no reason to believe his charming best friend could ever find a reason to love him back.

“Maybe the love I’m feeling… doesn’t even begin to describe it.”

I was fully wrapped up in my feelings. I ended up crying during the entire ending of this book and my heart broke repeatedly for these two cinnamon rolls. When they’re together, they just ignite in the most precious way and they deserve all the love. This was a story line that I loved and I appreciate so much. This addresses how there countries out there that still don’t accept anyone who is lgbtq+ openly and how the homophobia is laced all throughout society (even in the homes you grow up in). There’s also an underlying topic of adultery that isn’t often discussed and how media can sometimes encourage that kind of behavior in relationships. I also appreciate that the topic was handled with a woman being the adulterer when far too often we see men being the ones who commit adultery in literature or films. And I have to talk about the fact that Katsumi is bisexual character! I live for books that have bisexual representation in them especially when it feels like literature often forgets about bisexuality and pansexuality (sometimes).

I also want to take a moment to remind anyone who decides to pick this manga up, that this is an adult romance. Yes, there are explicit scenes between both the characters. If this is something you’re not comfortable with this or you’re not sure how to feel, I recommend picking up a different manga. And if you’re someone who is comfortable with graphic yet brief depictions of sex, I definitely recommend this manga! Those scenes were a solid ten out of ten!

“But just seeing him and shooting the breeze and laughing together… That’d be enough for me.”

Overall, I loved this. I sobbed, I died a little inside, and then I was cheering. The story line moved at a solid pace and it was hard not to get wrapped up in the story. I mean, I had to pause my reading to remind myself to hydrate because I was so eager to find out what would happen. And as I mentioned, this book has some great topics and this book also shows that those who feel they’re too broken to find love, can find love. I truly enjoyed this and I think many other manga readers will enjoy this book. A soft reminder, this is an adult romance and there are explicit scenes. But I can’t recommend this manga enough and I’m eager to see more work from Edako Mofumofu.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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In/Spectre, Vol. 2 (In/Spectre #2) by Kyo Shirodaira & Chashiba Katase

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👹 In/Spectre Vol. 1 | Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Content/Trigger Warnings: Death, death of a parent, violence, graphic injuries, graphic human experimenting

Friends, you know how much I love my manga. Well, I’m glad that I still enjoyed the story line of this series so far. I really enjoyed the first book in this series and was interested to see where the story would lead us next. I love the story line and I think that’s why I’m still willing to continue on with this series. Plus, a disabled lead character! This manga series is also an anime you can watch on Crunchyroll.

If you haven’t read my review for the first volume, please make sure you read that.

Our story follows seventeen-year-old Kotoko, who was kidnapped by yokai as a child, turned into someone who can communicate between them and the humans, and maintains the peace. In this volume, Kotoko travels to investigate the death of idol, Karin Nanase, who seems to be terrorizing the town of Makurazaka. She’s known as “The Steel Lady”. With Kuro missing, she’ll have to team up the only person who might be able to help her, Kuro’s ex-girlfriend, Saki. Together they’ll uncover the truth about the origins of The Steel Lady’s bizarre powers.

I love the story line of this manga series. It’s probably my most favorite thing about this entire series. I love anything that has to do with yokai. And even thought we had only a few bread crumbs in the first book about Kuro, I was still excited to see Kotoko’s backstory. But when I heard there was the chance we would start learning more about Kuro’s background in this book, I was really excited. The story line keeps you very interested, though. I’m constantly wondering what the next bit of information will be.

Of course I have to talk about Kotoko for a second. She’s our main character of this series. She’s was taken by yokai as a child and when she was returned to the mortal world, she was missing one eye and one leg. So she has an artificial eye and prosthetic leg. There are scenes from both the first and second volume where Kotoko will detach her prosthetic leg when in battle with demons or monsters. While I can’t speak on the disability representation, I deeply appreciate how our main character is disabled and she continues to live her life despite being disabled. I wish more manga had disability representation and it was more normalized within them.

My biggest issues with this manga volume was two major things. The first thing is the way Kotoko announces to Saki that she and Kuro are in a relationship. In the first volume, we never see them have that conversation of becoming boyfriend and girlfriend. We get the sense that they formed a partnership to deal with demons and monsters, but the relationship was dropped out of nowhere. My second issue in this volume has been the fact the author has pinned Kotoko and Saki against each other, fighting over a boy. This is a huge problem especially since Saki has agreed to have dinner with one of her coworkers. It just seemed really unnecessary to have Kotoko and Saki pinned against one another, fighting over Kuro. It felt very petty and it felt dragged out throughout this volume.

Overall, I still enjoyed this volume despite the issues. I’ve been sitting on the fence on whether or not I want to continue this series. I truly love the setting, the story line, the back stories of the main character and love interest, and we all know I’m here for the yokai. I think if this volume didn’t have Kotoko and Saki pinned against each other over a boy, I would have loved it more. It felt too much like a bad love triangle. If this series does interest you, I highly recommend checking it out. This is one of the first manga series I’ve encountered with disability representation and I think many manga readers are sleeping on this series.

Read for The Reading Rush 💚

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The Girl from the Other Side: Siuil A, Run Vol. 8 (The Girl from the Other Side, #8) by NAGABE

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🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 1 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 2 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 3 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 4 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 5 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 6 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 7 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Content/Trigger Warnings: Graphic injuries, impalement, talk of democide, grief, starvation, attempted sacrifice, terminal illness

“This time I will surely save you.”

Friends, I love this series with every fiber of my being! These characters, this world, just everything about it makes me melt into a puddle. I have been following these characters since I got my hands on the first volume and to say this isn’t a new favorite would be doing it a disservice. Also, if you haven’t read my full series review yet, please go check it out so you have a better idea about this world and these characters!

Factions

🌻 Humans/Mortals – Like you and me, live on the Inside
🌻 Cursed Ones – Beast like creatures, plagued with The Curse, feared by mortals, roam the Outside
🌻 Humans/Mortals – Like you and me, live on the Inside
🌻 The God of Light – Creator of happiness and peace
🌻 The God of Darkness – Trickster, plays pranks on the God of Light, steals away happiness, cause of The Curse

Characters

🌻 Teacher – Main character, horned Cursed Child, guardian of Shiva, either a scholar or doctor when mortal
🌻 Shiva – Main character, child of Light, protected by the most holy, innocent, companion to Teacher
🌻 Teacher – Main character, horned Cursed Child, guardian of Shiva, either a scholar or doctor when mortal
🌻 Father or Head Priest of the Church – Orders for constant capture of Shiva, believer of the “prophecy”, orders soldiers to cause democide, aid of his royal majesty
🌻 Mother – Intentions unknown, creator of the Black Children
🌻 The Black Children – Created by “Mother”, similar to Teacher, wish to obtain Shiva’s soul

This is the volume where it finally happens, the church final captures Shiva. So the majority of this book we follow her perspective and the things that befall her after Teacher saves her life. In previous volumes, we learn that the church has been trying to capture Shiva because of a prophecy that claims if you sacrifice the child of white from the Outside then the curse will be lifted. However, things don’t go according to plan when things take a turn for the worse during the ceremony.

I have said this so many times, this series is so good at building a story-line and anticipation! Not to mention that this author has a tendency to end their volumes on a cliffhanger. I have never come across a manga series that ends on so many intense cliffhangers. Now, I may be over selling it. However, in all my time reading manga, I have never wanted to acquire a series so fast because of the way the story-line is built and how each volume ends. Each volume is it’s own master piece at painting the bigger picture of the story that’s unfolding and it makes the reader become fully invested.

I really loved that we see a lot of character development in this volume. In past volumes there was character development, but in this volume we really get that sense of what the main characters mean to one another. Teacher makes the ultimate sacrifice to save Shiva, while Shiva realizes how much she wants to stay with Teacher after being captured by the church. We already had a sense of how important each main character was to the other, but this volume has both main characters acknowledge their love for one another, the importance of each other, and how they don’t want to lose one another. This is a very similar character development that you see in the manga series, The Ancient Magus Bride between Elias and Chise. I love these type of character developments and I really enjoy when characters realize the importance of their love interest or their companion/friends.

“You were like the light of a flickering candle flame. Too faint to illuminate the path ahead. You were so small, so slight and fragile. A breath could have extinguished you. And yet… You were all that I needed and more.”

Of course, we also see more of the church and His Majesty in this volume. We’ve seen bits and pieces of them in past volumes. Along with scenes of soldiers sent by the church venturing through the Outside, but we never had a volume that fully involves the church. In this volume, we learn that His Majesty is terminally ill with a type of heart condition that keeps becoming worse. We also have this sense that the church is pulling a lot more strings then it lets on. The last scene we have of the priest leaves a dark, ominous feeling that would lead to speculation that something far worse is coming or the possible potential of the church taking matters into their own hands. Either way, this volume has more darker themes than one would expect.

And I have to mention how the author includes these important moments with specific items. Near the end of this book, Shiva interacts with a stranger within the prison she’s being held in. This stranger ends up bringing her the pocket watch that Teacher gave to her. Turns out, Teacher had the pocket watch inscribed to Shiva to show how much he valued her, how important she was, and ultimately gave this pocket watch to her. Now going back to the stranger, we have no idea who this person is or what their true motives are. However, my guess is this person will be revealed in a later volume that shows them helping Shiva escape captivity or secretly be a Cursed One. Either way, I have no doubt that this person is going to be of great importance in volumes to come.

Overall, I absolutely loved this volume. I can find nothing wrong with this series and I truly love it with my very being. I can’t believe we have to wait until August for volume nine to be published in English! However, we have a cover for the volume and it is absolutely stunning! I can’t wait to see what the next volume will hold in this dark fantasy. Seriously, if you haven’t picked this series up yet, let me be the voice that tells you to give this manga series a chance! It’s so good and I recommend it with every ounce of my soul!

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The Girl from the Other Side: Siuil A Run by NAGABE

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Please note, this is going to be a manga series review!

🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 1 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 2 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 3 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 4 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 5 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 6 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 7 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Content/Trigger Warnings: Violence, graphic injuries, decapitation, impalement, death, talk of sacrifice, attempted sacrifice, abandonment, witch hunt themes, kidnapping, mass murder/democide, trauma/PTSD, grief, loss of a loved one, torture, and more!

After many, many requests… I am finally do a full series review of The Girl from the Other Side! Dearest readers, if you have been with me for a while then you’ve probably seen me mention this series a lot. Whether you have seen me talk about this manga series on my blog or on IG, you know that this series took me by storm. I love this series with my whole heart and soul, I recommend this series to everyone I come in contact with, and honestly, I can’t stop talking about this series. Plus, the eighth volume in this series just released in the U.S. on March 17th, 2020 so I figured now would be the perfect time to gush about this series!

The Girl from the Other Side follows two main characters; Shiva, a young girl in white and Teacher, a humanoid beast in black. Both live in a split world between the Inside and the Outside. Those who live on the Inside are told to never venture to the Outside and should they find themselves on the Outside, hope and pray the curse won’t touch them. Though our two main characters are never allowed to touch, they share a unique bond that keeps them tethered to one another. But when Shiva’s patience has finally ran out, she leaves to find her grandmother. Only in these two realms, you never know who you can truly trust.

For starters, let me say how excited I am that this is being adapted into an anime series! This manga series is very underrated and I wish more readers were picking this series up. To hear that it has been picked up for an anime series, the actual blessings! Secondly, if you’re a fan of the manga series or the anime series, The Ancient Magus Bride then you’re going to fall in love with this manga series. The relationship between Shiva and Teacher have a lot of similarities to Chise and Elias. So let this be the reason why you pick this series up!

Okay, if that didn’t convince you on why you need to pick this series up then let’s talk about the world building. Though the world may be black and white, split into two realms, the way this world is built and how the side characters are all portrayed are anything but black and white. The world is established through an old legend where the God of Light punished the God of Darkness, transforming the God of Darkness into a terrible monster. But the God of Darkness allowed his rage to consume him and turned his punishment into a curse to spread to others. So the God of Light banished the God of Darkness to the Outside, splitting the world into the two realms, the Inside and the Outside. I love a world that’s built off a legend or folklore. It just makes the world even more unique.

Then we have the way all the main and side characters are portrayed in this series. The side characters are all painted in a morally grey light, yet their intentions come off as malicious. As for our main characters, they’re the most morally grey in this series. Their personalities develop as the series continues and we really see how they mirror one another. We all know that I love morally grey characters because they are the type of characters that resemble the most realistic traits of humanity. I think this series does a fantastic job at showing all these different personalities and truly shows how complex thoughts and actions are when there’s no straight forward answer to a problem. I really loved it and I loved the way the character development is shown in this series.

And of course, I would be an absolute fool if I didn’t mention the art style. Each panel is unique and really sets the mood at times. I remember when I first opened the first volume and how quickly the art captured my attention. The tone in which every shade of white, black, and gray sets everything up to be mysterious or leave you wondering what will happen next. I truly could live within the pages of this manga series. They’re so aesthetically pleasing!

The story-line is probably one of my most favorite pieces of this series though. I found it was really easy to get wrapped up in everything happening and wanting to find out more. The author does a really fantastic job on ending each book on a cliffhanger that makes you want to pick the next volume. We also receive little bits of information that make you want to unravel the mystery of how everything will come into play later on. I’m excited for future volumes to come because I have so many questions and I can’t wait to see how everything will paint the big picture for us.

Overall, I truly hope more readers will be picking this series up. Other than myself, I haven’t heard many people talking about this manga series. It completely boggles my mind! This series is such a slow build, slow burn and I love every second of it. I think the story-line is absolutely fantastic and I think if you’re like me, you’d want to obtain the whole series in one go too! There will never be enough words to convey my thoughts and feelings about this series. I truly love it and I can’t wait to see what they do with the anime adaptation! If you’re looking for a series that’s dark fantasy, has a slow build story-line, prophecies, and little pieces slowly unraveling then you definitely need to pick this series up!

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