Manga Monday: Peach Boy Riverside, Vol. 1

Series: Peach Boy Riverside #1
Author: Coolkyousinnjya
Artist: Johanne
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: November 10, 2020
Received: NetGalley

Peach Boy Riverside, Vol. 1 is the start of a new series, written by coolkyousinnjya and illustrated by Johanne. It’s also one of the odder and more entertaining series I’ve read recently, with several surprises mixed in.

Sartrienne Aldriac is a princess who desperately wants to get out of her kingdom and explore the world. She almost got her chance when a bunch of monsters came to destroy her kingdom, as her father would rather she run than face what was to come.

Instead of losing her family and kingdom, she watched as an odd sort of hero stepped up to face the monsters. Only, Momomtaro may not have the most altruistic intentions in mind.

Peach Boy Riverside, Vol. 1 is not a series afraid of gore – I can tell you that much. Part of the premise (or so it felt to me) was the line between hero and monster. The hero in this tale revels in all things blood and gore – though thankfully, he keeps his bloodlust focused on monsters (for the moment).

This tale is apparently inspired by classic Japanese folklore, in which a boy is born from a peach, only to rise up and battle ogres. You can see the connection in the title and a bit in Momotaro’s origin.

But honestly? It mostly feels like its own being. I feel like it’s important to emphasize the ‘inspired’ part of that description because it certainly doesn’t follow the same path. Or focus.
There’s a surprise third character introduced into this mix. I won’t spoil her introduction or any of that. But I will say that I surprised myself by enjoying her presence far more than I expected.

Thanks to Kodansha Comics and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Review: Big Hero 6: The Series, Vol. 1

Author: Hong Gyun An
Publisher: JY
Released: August 24, 2021
Received: NetGalley

Yes! Who here doesn’t love Big Hero 6? The movie was endearing, and the comics (plus manga) have been such a blast to read. Naturally, that meant I didn’t hesitate to give Big Hero 6: The Series, Vol. 1, written by Hong Gyun An, a try.

From the description, Big Hero 6: The Series, Vol. 1 is based on the animated movie (which I adore) and is more or less designed to roll right into the animated series (which I have not tried, but really should!). I love it when I can find books/comics that help bridge the gap between movies, shows, etc. So I went into this read expecting a lot of fun.

I wasn’t disappointed. This was a fun collection of adventures featuring some of my favorite characters. However, I did look into it a bit further, and it turns out that Big Hero 6: The Series, Vol. 1 is actually based on a few of the episodes – which explains why the plot is new to me. I’m not sure if a fan that has seen the shows would appreciate it as much as I did, as it is likely covering a lot of the same material.

On the bright side, that same material contains some great moments, and once again: a great cast. Sorry to keep bringing that point up, but I absolutely adore Baymax, Hiro, Gogo, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred. On that note, I’ve really got to take some time to watch the show, if my reaction to this was any indication.

Thanks to JY and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Manga Monday: In the Clear Moonlit Dusk, Vol. 1

Series: In the Clear Moonlit Dusk #1
Author: Mika Yamamori
Publisher: Kodansha
Released: December 11, 2020
Received: NetGalley

In the Clear Moonlit Dusk, Vol. 1 is the first in a new series, and guys, I think I have a new favorite! No, seriously, this series is so cute and endearing, I’m desperate for more. I already hate having to wait for volume two.

Yoi Takiguchi is more commonly known as Prince in school, which is a bit ironic, given that she’s not actually a prince. Or a boy. Yet all of the girls are content to treat her as such since she looks and acts the part of a hero.

Naturally, she’s gotten quite used to this treatment while also being ignored by most of the boys. That is until the day she bumps into Ichimura-senpai – literally. He’s the other Prince of the school, and he sees what everyone else tends to overlook: the real Yoi Takiguchi.

Let me say it once more for those in the back: I adored In the Clear Moonlit Dusk. It’s easily my new favorite manga, and I hate (hate hate) that I have to wait for volume two to come out. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to rush Mika Yamamori (or the translation team); I’m just that into this series. It’s been a hot minute since I got this into a series so quickly (the last manga I can think of getting this obsessed with was MHA).

In the Clear Moonlit Dusk is very much a traditional high-school shoujo, but I still love it. The characters are easy to like, and the plot itself is so freaking endearing! If you’re looking for a slightly cheesy romance with lots of fluff, then In the Clear Moonlit Dusk might be the right fit for you.

Thanks to Kodansha and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Review: Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story

Author: Lilliam Rivera
Artist: Steph C.
Publisher: DC Comics
Released: September 14, 2021
Received: NetGalley

DC Comics is continuing their young adult graphic novel run, and I personally couldn’t be more excited about their latest protagonist. Jessica Cruz is one of my all-time favorite DC characters and, without a doubt, my favorite Green Lantern. Naturally, that left me feeling very excited for Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story.

Jessica Cruz is a woman who has always been haunted by anxiety – even as a teenager. Living in the city and knowing full well that her parents are undocumented, it’s difficult for her to turn away from the fear of losing them.

Those fears reach all new heights when a new candidate for mayor creates a campaign on booting immigrants. It very well might have become too much for Jessica had she not found a safe space and a way of fighting back.

Unearthed has to be one of the most breathtaking and timely graphic novels I have ever read. Full stop. I know I sound biased here since I adore Jessica Cruz and all, but I really do mean it. Her struggles are so painfully human here, and more specifically: it lends a voice to those that need it most.

On top of loving this story’s overall plot and message, there were a few pleasant surprises in the mix. One comes from the safe space Jessica found, and the other is an unlikely new friend she makes. But I’ll leave that for you to learn when you pick up Unearthed to read for yourself!

Thanks to DC Comics and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Manga Monday: The Decagon House Murders, Vol. 1

Series: The Decagon House Murders #1
Author: Yukito Ayatsuji
Artist: Hiro Kiyohara
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: August 17, 2021
Received: NetGalley

The Decagon House Murders is a manga series based on a novel of the same name, written by Yukito Ayatsuji. Here to illustrated this murder mystery adventure is Hiro Kiyohara. If you’re into complex mysteries and murder, then this is a book worth nabbing.

The Mystery Club is an organization that gathers like-minded students. In this case, their interest should be fairly obvious. These students are so in love with mysteries that they have picked up monikers based on famous mystery authors.

The irony of what is about to happen is not lost on me. It isn’t uncommon for clubs to travel together, especially to points of relevant interest. Yep, you know what that means. This club is heading to a building known as the Decagon House, where several deaths occurred only months ago.

Naturally, they will soon be finding themselves in their very own murder mystery. The fact that I can only assume all but one of them will regret. (Note: this statement is not a spoiler, as I have no idea how the story ends. I’m just quippy with my assumptions).

I’ll confess going into this that I had no idea that this was based on a book. In a way, I’m kind of glad for that. It’s keeping the suspense up in the air for me, as I don’t know where this will lead or who is behind it all.

The story takes place in two perspectives; the students on the island (that is to say, at the house) and the two students who opted not to go on the trip. Both quickly get wrapped up in their own mysteries, which may or may not be related (my money is on yes).

I enjoyed the overall premise of this story, though I’ll confess that I’m not totally attached to all of the characters…which is probably a good thing if this story goes the way I expect it will. If it does, hooray! I’ll get to know them better in the future.

The character names were quite fun; Poe, Ellery, Doyle, and Agatha are all great hat tips. It also quickly established how into mysteries these characters are, and this helped to set the scene.

To put it into perspective: I enjoyed The Decagon House Murders Vol. 1 so much that I already looked up if there was a second volume out and where I could get it. So obviously, that will be going onto my TBR list.

Thanks to Kodansha Comics and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Review: Narwhal’s School of Awesomeness by Ben Clanton

Series: Narwhal and Jelly #6
Author/Artist: Ben Clanton
Publisher: Tundra Books
Released: September 7th, 2021
Received: NetGalley

Narwhal and Jelly are back for another fantastic adventure in Narwhal’s School of Awesomeness. This is the sixth novel in the collection, and I sincerely cannot recommend this series enough.

Written and illustrated by Ben Clanton, Narwhal’s School of Awesomeness sends Narwhal and Jelly off on a new adventure – the adventure of teaching. No, really! They’re becoming substitute teachers, and it is every bit as adorable and hilarious as you might imagine.

While this whole series has always been marketed towards kids (leaving room for adults to enjoy it, of course), I feel like Narwhal’s School of Awesomeness is especially relevant for young readers. After all, the focus is something they can very much identify with – school! Yet this school is arguably more entertaining than the land counterpart, as lessons revolve around things such as wafflematics, scavenger hunts, and more.

The thing I love the most about this series is how joyful the characters are. They are always genuinely happy to see one another. It’s contagious and will leave any reader feeling happier just for having picked up their book.

Thanks to Tundra Books and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Manga Monday: I Was Reincarnated as the 7th Prince so I Can Take My Time Perfecting My Magical Ability, Vol. 1

Series: I Was Reincarnated as the 7th Prince so I Can Take My Time Perfecting My Magical Ability #1
Author/Artist: Yosuke Kokuzawa
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: August 3, 2021
Received: NetGalley

So, bear with me. I know I Was Reincarnated as the 7th Prince so I Can Take My Time Perfecting My Magical Ability, Vol. 1 is an incredibly long title, but it still managed to catch my attention! You’ve got to admit, that title is very descriptive!

In fact, the title very neatly sums up the core plot of this series. Prince Lloyd was lucky enough to be reincarnated with all his memories – which means he was born instantly knowing that he had a deep love for magic.

Now, ten years later, he’s still obsessed with learning everything he can about magic, spellcasting, and any other detail that could possibly ever come to mind. The series itself is both written and illustrated by Yosuke Kokuzawa, and as it was the cover that originally caught my attention, I knew right away that I would enjoy the art style.

This plot thread will certainly sound familiar to manga and anime fans. So, while the premise itself is pretty common and easy to predict, I did find myself really enjoying the insanity of it all. Prince Lloyd’s character is super OP (which will probably become a problem, as he is only ten and is pushing the boundaries of magic), but that actually adds to the insanity of it all.

There are lots of funny details and moments strewn about, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I Was Reincarnated as the 7th Prince so I Can Take My Time Perfecting My Magical Ability (I need to find a shorter term for that!) had me laughing out loud pretty frequently.

So, to Prince Lloyd and Yosuke Kokuzawa, I thank you for all the laughter and entertainment. It was worth reading, and I think I’ll even pick up the second novel when it becomes available.

Thanks to Kodansha Comics and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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