I Don’t Know How to Give Birth
I Don’t Know How to Give Birth is an incredibly raw look at pregnancy from the point of view of a couple of married manga artists. It was written and is primarily from the point of view of Ayami Kazama as she walks through their challenges becoming pregnant as well as the entire pregnancy. This manga not for the weak of heart as it is a truly unfiltered look at her thoughts throughout the pregnancy, covering everything from how frequently her and her husband had sex to the softness of her nipples as she prepares to nurse her unborn baby to how her husband feels about preparing a sample for in vitro. It’s authentic, and it’s entertaining. I appreciated the complete honesty shown on each page, while the art style keeps it light and fun to read. Each chapter ends with a written summary from both Kazama and her husband about their experiences with that chapter’s struggles, perfect footnotes to an endearing work. ~ MDMRN
I Don’t Know How to Give Birth is available from Yen Press.
The Saint’s Magic Power Is Omnipotent, Vol. 1
This is the story a reluctant heroine who hears the call of adventure and studiously ignores it, yet gradually moves toward accepting her calling in spite of herself. Sei, an overworked office lady, is transported to another world through a ritual to call forth a magical Saint. But when the ritual summons two people, the prince in charge totally ignores Sei and arbitrarily decides the other, a high school girl, must be the chosen one. Naturally, Sei confirms fairly quickly that she’s the Saint. She just steadfastly (and hilariously) refuses to acknowledge the fact, even as her own narration reveals it! Sei longs to live a quiet, peaceful life, and to not be forced into doing a high-stress like job like being a world-saving hero. The rest of the volume is a chill, lighthearted tale of how Sei adapts to her new world, grows closer to its people, and starts to both accept and reveal to others that she’s the Saint. This volume was excellent, and I look forward to seeing how the story develops from here. ~ Jeskai
The Saint’s Magic Power Is Omnipotent vol. 1 is available from Amazon.
Mapping: The Trash-Tier Skill That Got Me Into A Top-Tier Party, Vol. 1
This is another series I gave a first-impressions review of, where I said I was looking forward to the character development the first parts set up. And overall, the story did provide a pretty solid base for that character development. That said, I do have some issues with how that character development plays out, but that I can attribute to the fact that, when it comes down to it, an adventuring party is not a therapy group, and what happens makes sense for his situation. The narration definitely continues to help a lot as we get to see into the protagonist’s thought processes, and there are some decent character relations being built up as well. Overall, my view of the volume is positive, but like the protagonist, it is just getting started, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it improves from here on out. ~ stardf29
Mapping: The Trash-Tier Skill That Got Me Into A Top-Tier Party is available from J-Novel Club.
Past Life Countess, Present Life Otome Game NPC?!
A high school romance isekai with some fun twists. Past Life Countess features Annerosa, a noblewoman of another world in her past life, reincarnated as a girl named Urara in a variant of modern Japan based on an otome game. But while Urara is the protagonist of the book, she’s only supposed to be a nameless NPC in the game. Another girl, who played the game in her previous life, has reincarnated as the game’s protagonist. This combination of the two “protagonists” has pretty amusing results. There are several endearing characters and cool story beats, and by the end, all the story threads have (mostly) been tied off acceptably well. My main criticism of Past Life Countess resembles the ones the LNC had when covering another standalone, one-volume romance from Cross Infinite World: characters I wish had received more development, events I wish had been more fully explained, and one majorly unconvincing plot device that needed more work. That said, the story is totally still good enough to recommend. ~ Jeskai
Past Life Countess, Present Life Otome Game NPC?! is available from Amazon.
Time Paradox Ghostwriter (complete)
Time Paradox Ghostwriter quickly became one of my favorite weekly series on Shonen Jump after it dropped. The premise was complicated. It was about a mangaka having trouble connecting with his readers suddenly receiving issues of Weekly Shonen Jump from the future. He then used them to created a new manga series that became an immediate success. The story progresses from there as the protagonist meets the original creator of the manga (a teen girl who had shared it with no one) and discovers the meaning behind why the manga was sent back in time. The series seemed to know from day one that it’s days were numbered and tried its hardest to complete the ambitious story that was planned from the beginning. While I appreciated the ending, I know many who felt it was anticlimactic and I absolutely understand their point of view. ~ MDMRN
Time Paradox Ghostwriter is available from Shonen Jump.
Holmes of Kyoto, Vol. 1
This “light novel” is pretty unusual in that it takes place in a modern Japan setting with no magic to speak of, and rather than focus on romantic hijinks or life-threatening scenarios it’s just about a guy solving pretty mundane mysteries. That said, it is definitely still quite good, as the focus is less on the mysteries themselves and more about the interpersonal relationships surrounding those mysteries. The main character Aoi, for example, is dealing with all sorts of issues after hearing that her best friend had taken her boyfriend behind her back, and without saying too much, the volume resolves that in quite a satisfying way, while also setting up a nice potential relationship with the titular Holmes. And if you had watched the anime, the light novel does have a number of additional parts that provide more context to various events, so it is definitely still worth reading. ~ stardf29
Holmes of Kyoto is available from J-Novel Club.