Manga Monday: With You and the Rain Vol. 1

Series: With You and the Rain
Author/Artist: Ko Kidaido
Publisher: Kodansha
Released: November 23, 2021
Received: NetGalley

I was immediately drawn to With You and the Rain Vol. 1, as the art style, subject, and title all seemed endearing and cute. You guys know how much of a sucker I am for emotional manga reads!

How does the saying go? “If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck.” Well, that may be true now and then, but sometimes that duck is a goose. Err… we should probably take a few steps back here.

A woman comes across a strange little creature and decides it is a stray dog that needs rescuing. Despite all signs to the contrary, she continues to believe that this cutie is a dog. What follows is a strange and humorous series of events.

Okay, so the core concept for With You and the Rain Vol. 1 is actually really cute and funny. An oblivious woman owning a pet that is very much not a dog – hilarious, right? And for the most part, it is.

With You and the Rain Vol. 1 is mostly a collection of short stories based on this foundation. There are lots of little vignettes and interactions, none of which are really connected to each other. While entertaining, it made for a rather shallow read. There was so much potential here, and we barely scraped the surface.

I still think With You and the Rain Vol. 1 is worth reading, especially if you enjoy the art style or sense of humor.

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

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Manga Monday: The Dawn of the Witch Vol. 1

Series: The Dawn of the Witch
Artist: Tatsuwo
Creator: Kakeru Kobashiri
Character Design: Takashi Iwasaki
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: March 23, 2021
Received: NetGalley

It’s that time again! My latest read for Manga Monday is The Dawn of the Witch Vol. 1, another comic from Kodansha. The thing I love about Kodansha Comics is that there is a wide variety of stories and plots to choose from. Sometimes they work out – other times they don’t.

Saybil may not have any memories of his past, but he does have magic, and that’s got to count for something, right? He travels the world with his teacher, Loux, Holt, and Kudo. They’re an odd group, given one of them is beastfallen. It’s not quite your ordinary field trip!

Eh, I’ve got to say that The Dawn of the Witch Vol. 1 was not my cup of tea. It had the markings of an interesting or fun series, but there were just too many elements that I didn’t enjoy. It made it impossible to get comfortable and enjoy the plot.

There’s a lot in this manga, and I don’t necessarily know if that’s a good thing. We’re thrown into the deep end, with lots of dense plots. But there’s no character development and even less reason to care about any of the characters.

Throw in a butt ton of fan service (pun intended, sorry), and it just failed to catch or hold my attention. Maybe the next series will do better!

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

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Manga Monday: My Master Has No Tail, Vol. 1

Series: My Mast Has No Tail
Author/Artist: T N S K
Translator: M. Fulcrum
Publisher: Kodansha
Released: December 7, 2021
Received: NetGalley

Time to try another manga series! This time I’m going to give My Master Has No Tail, Vol. 1. I’ve been feeling like I need something more humorous, and I’m really hoping My Master Has No Tail hits the spot.

Mameda is a tanuki, which basically means she’s a little raccoon dog that enjoys playing tricks on people. Unfortunately, she was born a few centuries too late, and humans have caught onto the usual tanuki tricks by this point.

Not that this stopped Mameda from trying. All this did was get her in trouble – and bring her to the feet of Bunko, a rakugo master whom Mameda is determined to learn from. Perhaps this is how she’ll find a new way to mess with people.

It’s very easy to get into the story of My Master Has No Tail, Vol. 1. It’s light, funny, and more than a little bit quirky. Mameda is not what I would call the brightest bulb in the bunch, but you’ve got to give her points for determination.

Overall, I would have to say that this was an interesting and entertaining read, though not one that I think I would pursue. I’m happy to have read the first volume, but I don’t feel like I need to keep reading to guess how the story continues.

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

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Manga Monday: What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 1

Series: What Did You Eat Yesterday? #1
Author/Artist: Fumi Yoshinaga
Publisher: Vertical
Released: March 25, 2014
Received: NetGalley

Are you looking for a series that is original and yet utterly endearing? Consider trying What Did You Eat Yesterday?

Shiro Kakei and Kenji Yabuki are possibly the world’s sweetest couple. Shiro spends his days as a lawyer, looking forward to when he can get home to be with his boyfriend. Kenji is a salon stylist, perhaps the best fed stylist around.

You see, Shiro loves to cook and tests all his new recipes out on Kenji, who loves every minute of it.

What Did You Eat Yesterday? It is a complex and fascinating read. It has romance, food (naturally), and more. What I love about it is that it was realistic – tackling the real situations for an LGBT couple, including how the world might react to them.

It certainly made the story hit a little harder. I can see why it won an award (Manga Taisho Award). If you’re a foodie and want to see a story that blends this with romance, then you’ve got to check out What Did You Eat Yesterday?

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

Manga Monday: Lovesick Ellie, Vol. 1

Series: Lovesick Ellie #1
Author/Artist: Fujimomo
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: November 28, 2017
Received: NetGalley

Apparently, I’ve been on a bit of a romance binge with manga, and I’m okay with that. Next on my list is Lovesick Ellie, Vol. 1. It’s one part romance and one part comedy, making it the perfect balance, as far as I’m concerned.

Nearly everyone has a high school crush that they look back on and feel a little embarrassed about – mostly because of how we behaved. Eriko Ichimura is the latest to join these ranks. She has a major crush on Akira Ohmi (aka Omi-kun), but rather than approach him; she quietly stays on the sidelines.

Or, more accurately, she runs a Twitter account dedicated to her daydreams and fantasy interactions between her and Omi-kun. Her username is Lovesick Ellie, and it was all fine until a series of unfortunate events led to Omi-kun finding her account – and discovering how she feels about him.

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m charmed. Lovesick Ellie, Vol. 1 isn’t quite what I expected, but boy, did it have fun with the premise. This is a series that knows better than to take itself too seriously. Yet it doesn’t make the fatal mistake of diving into the realm of goofy. It toes the line, creating something both interesting and funny.

It helps that Eriko is an extremely charming character. From the start, it’s easy to sympathize with her, making readers willing to root for her. Omi-kun takes a little longer to open up, but that’s to be expected in this story of the tale. Once he does, it’s like we’re reading about a new character, and I loved their interactions.

Long story short, Lovesick Ellie, Vol. 1 was a lot of fun to read. I’ll probably pick up the next in this series, as I’m curious to see where it goes.

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

Manga Monday: My Idol Sits the Next Desk Over! Vol. 1

Series: My Idol Sits the Next Desk Over! #1
Author: Tetsu Tsutsui
Artist: Koyubi Sugawara
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: January 4, 2022
Received: NetGalley

What would you do if your idol transferred to your school, but nobody seemed to recognize her? This is the question that My Idol Sits the Next Desk Over! Vol. 1 decided to tackle.

Sakiko Manaka is obsessed with Chiro-chan. Not in an unhealthy way; she just thinks that Chiro-chan is the best idol out there and that the world will someday see this and agree with her. So imagine Sakiko’s surprise (and delight) when her favorite idol walked into her classroom one day.

Only nobody else seems to know that it’s Chiro-chan. She seems to be trying to fly under the radar, likely hoping to get a good education. As a fan, it is Sakiko’s duty to keep this secret.

Oh my, goodness, did this series have potential! I love the premise of My Idol Sits the Next Desk Over! Vol. 1. For the first few chapters, I was hooked. The plot was strong enough on its own before they decided to go and throw in another complication.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really like that complication. Her name is Maaya Tozawa, and this girl should probably come with her own trigger warnings. She’s a stalker and cyberbully and is pretty willing to do whatever it takes to get closer to her idol, including indulging in abusive behavior.

It adds a sour tone to what was otherwise an endearing and charming series. I didn’t like how lightly the whole Maaya plot was addressed. Heck (spoiler warning), at one point, Sakiko invites Maaya into the friend group, knowing full well that she’s a cyberbully. Not only was this pretty naive, but it was unkind to Chiro-chan, whom she didn’t bother to warn (side note: if you know somebody is stalking your friend, TELL THEM).

Long story short, I had high hopes for My Idol Sits the Next Desk Over! Vol. 1, but they kinda fell flat thanks to a couple (read: one) unnecessary plot points.

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

Manga Monday: Vampire Dormitory Vol. 1

Series: Vampire Dormitory #1
Author/Artist: Ema Toyama
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: August 20, 2019
Received: NetGalley

So I’m a little bit late to this one. Vampire Dormitory Vol. 1 first dropped in 2019, and I only recently found it. On the bright side, there are plenty more books in the series for me to dive into! (I hope my library has them!).

Mito has had a tough life. She lives on the streets, having been cast out by her family. She has nobody to love or cherish and nobody to care for her. To help make her life a little bit safer, Mito masquerades as a young boy. Yes, she still looks like an exceptionally attractive boy, but this is still safer than the alternative.

Enter Ruka. After rescuing Mito, he takes her into his life, though perhaps not for the reasons you might expect. Ruka is a vampire, and Mito’s blood is the first human blood he’s tasted in ages. It tastes bitter and sad – the effects of living so long without love. With any luck, Ruka will be able to change that.

Vampire Dormitory Vol. 1 is a solid start to the series. We’re quickly introduced to the leading characters, plus a few relevant secondary characters. Likewise, it doesn’t take long to understand the gravity of Mito’s situation.

Naturally, when Ruka steps in to save the day, I found myself rooting for all this to work out. Even if it does mean that Mito will have to continue hiding who she is (read: a woman). I kind of like this added complication to the story. Even though I can predict how it may end, it’ll still be highly entertaining to see it all unfold.

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

Manga Monday: Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister Vol. 1

Series: Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister #1
Author/Artist: Marcey Naito
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: February 1, 2022
Received: NetGalley

Who doesn’t love a good harem manga every now and then? Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister Vol. 1 sets up the most unlikely of scenarios, forcing the main character into quite the predicament. All for our sake, of course.

Uryu Kamihate is on his way to his new foster home, which shouldn’t have been much to report. Only…it’s not so much a foster situation as an arranged marriage. Uryu is expected to choose one of the three daughters to become his bride.

The Amagami sisters are lively and quirky, all with their own personalities and temperaments for Uryu to work around. How will he ever choose which sister to marry?

I’m being rhetorical here. There’s really only one choice for Uryu. The writer makes it clear from the start which sister is the most likely candidate. The older sister isn’t a good fit (and I feel like her personality has the least focus because of this), and the youngest one is too young!

Seriously, the age of the youngest sister is enough to make me uncomfortable. I get that arranged marriages can happen young, but that’s not the only thing worth discussing here. After all, the three girls are courting Uryu, which means they all get put in sexual situations. Think fan service.

On the bright side, Uryu seems to be a good guy. He wants to date the girls and get to know them before making his choice. So he gets bonus points for that.

Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister Vol. 1 is an entertaining series perfect for fans who love this genre.

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

Manga Monday: The Transcendent One-Sided Love of Yoshida the Catch Vol. 1

Series: The Transcendent One-Sided Love of Yoshida the Catch #1
Author/Artist: Shizuki Fujisawa
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: February 15, 2022
Received: NetGalley

Lately, it seems like a particular trope in manga keeps making its way onto my desk. In this trope, we get to read about manga artists creating their work (in manga). Yet there’s something inherently appealing about this, so I’m not complaining! Next up for me is The Transcendent One-Sided Love of Yoshida the Catch Vol. 1.

Yoshida is one of those perfect guys that people dream about. They either want to be him or be with him. Either way, the idea of him makes people happy. He has a regular business job, is good-looking (more than, really), and he’s kind.

He’s also not available, at least not emotionally. You see, Yoshida has his eyes set on Sena Shimakaze. Even though she’s utterly oblivious to his feelings, so instead he’s relegated himself to helping her in every venture, including the creation of her manga.

Okay, this was fun. The Transcendent One-Sided Love of Yoshida the Catch Vol. 1 makes new twists on typical romantic plots, making them fun again! If you love quirky romance stories, then you’ll probably like this one.

I was surprised to learn that the main perspective of The Transcendent One-Sided Love of Yoshida the Catch Vol. 1 is not Yoshida or Sena. Instead, it’s a new third character, and I mean new. He just signed on to learn under Sena’s wing, only…she’s a lot more chaotic than he expected.

On the bright side, our leading protagonist is quick to jump on the ship, vocalizing everything that readers would love to say. There’s a certain ironic sense of humor in that fact, which I can’t help but appreciate.

Full disclosure: Volume two was recently released (in relation to when I sat down to write this review), and I nabbed it. I’m adding this to the list of series I’m staying subscribed to. It’s worth it!

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

Manga Monday: The Lines That Define Me Volume 1

Series: The Lines That Define Me #1
Author/Artist: Hiromasa Togami & Atsunori Horiuchi
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: January 18, 2022
Received: NetGalley

Are you looking for an introspective novel that will make you think? Then look no further! The Lines That Define Me Volume 1 is here!

Most people know what it feels like to feel adrift in life – like we don’t know what we want to do or who we want to be. For some, this period doesn’t linger for very long. For others, it can make you feel as if you’re drowning.

Sosuke Aoyama falls under the latter category. That is until he met Kozan Shinoda, a renowned suibokuga artist. Something about his art, and the process of making art, connect with Sosuke. Suddenly, it feels like he’s found his purpose in life.

The Lines That Define Me Volume 1 is one story that gets under your skin, whether you want it to or not. Sosuke is going through something that I feel would resonate with many readers. Who here hasn’t felt lost or unsure?

I love the concept of art being used as a life raft. Here it saves Sosuke, giving purpose to his life (and this story!). It’s perfect, and I look forward to seeing how the rest of this story goes.

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

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