Fly Me to the Moon (Tonikawa), Vol. 3
Season one of Tonikawa may be complete, but Fly Me to the Moon, the manga on which its based, is continuing to roll out, and it remains superior to the show in virtually every facet. Volume three, released yesterday, focuses on Tsukasa and Nasa’s trip to visit his parents, in the process leading the couple through some friction and opening up the questions about Tsukasa’s background and identity more and more. However, never fear ye readers looking for your regular dose of sugary sweetness; the series still lives mostly in the world of cute interactions between the young couple and in plentiful humor, the latter of which was unexpectedly missing from the anime. ~ Twwk
Fly Me to the Moon Vol. 3 is available through Viz.
Love Me, Love Me Not, Vol. 6
Having been thoroughly captivated by the five previous volumes of Love Me, Love Me Not, I expected to enjoy volume six just as well—but I didn’t. What changed? Sakisaka-sensei’s technique and style certainly didn’t, as these chapters are in all ways a continuation of all that’s gone before. But while I’ve argued that the poor decisions and mental lapses of the four main characters are authentic to how 16-year-olds act, the characterizations have started becoming stale, with progressions only being very primary and obvious in nature, and little “true” character growth to speak of, and now joining the already weak and rehashed plots of the story in leading to a most mediocre volume. Seeing unexpected sides of the boys, however, counter some of the issues in volume six, which relies too much on mistaken interpretations for its shoujo angst (it should consult Maison Ikkoku for a more masterful way to achieve this). Most of all, I fear that Sakisaka is going down the familiar Ao Haru Ride route and creating “bad guys that really aren’t bad” characters; the earlier chapters had emanated something special, and I hope for a return to form by volume seven. ~ Twwk
Love Me, Love Me Not Vol. 6 is available through Viz.
The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten, Vol. 1
In this high school romantic comedy, next door neighbors Amane and Mary Poppins Mahiru grow closer to each other. The laid-back pace of their relationship’s development is lovely, and they have some genuinely sweet moments, but the story still left me underwhelmed. First, why do they get together? I don’t know. They’d never spoken before, but then Amane shoves an umbrella into Mahiru’s hand and runs off, and next thing you know, she’s cooking for him on a daily basis. Huh? This relates to a second issue: I don’t know who these characters are. Why does Mahiru take such care of Amane? Do they have any common interests or life experiences? Why are they both living on their own? And so on. The two leads eventually start to get characterization beyond “He’s slob who can’t cook and she’s practically perfect in every way,” but not nearly enough. The narration is also annoyingly heavy-handed at times: specifically, it dwells on Mahiru’s looks way more than necessary. The story also has excessively frequent claims that there’s absolutely not anything romantic about their relationship and they don’t have and can’t possibly develop any feelings toward each other beyond neighborly friendship; it felt like the author kept turning my way and giving these exaggerated winks. The second half of the book is noticeably better than the first, with more humor, more characters, more chemistry between the leads, etc. I can’t exactly recommend this on its own merits as a standalone volume, but there’s enough potential here that this might turn out to be a weak start to a worthwhile series. I think I’ll at least want to try vol. 2. ~ jeskaiangel
The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten Vol. 1 is published by Yen Press.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Raising Project. Vol. 1
About a year ago I was back in my hometown at the town video game store. It has a manga section where they will re-sell used manga for usually around $1 a piece. I saw a single copy of volume 1 of Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Raising Project sitting there and had to go for it. An Alternate Universe (AU) version of Evangelion? Sold. This series follows an AU where Shinji and company are not piloting Evas and Angels aren’t attacking Tokyo-3. His parents, both of whom are still alive, are working for the Artificial Evolution Research Center for some, at present, unknown purpose. Then, suddenly, Rei shows up in Shinji’s life and is living at his house. The first volume shows a Shinji that is oblivious to the love of his childhood friend (Asuka) and living a relatively normal teenage life in Tokyo-3. It’s weird seeing them in this context as it’s mostly a silly romance story with some future science fiction elements hidden in the background. The jokes hit well especially if you’ve recently watched the original series. I’m onto volume 2 now and interested to see where this goes. ~ MDMRN
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Raising Project Vol. 1 is available through Dark Horse.
Our Crappy Social Game Club Is Gonna Make The Most Epic Game, Vol. 1
First of all, a “social game” is basically a mobile game, playable on various social media platforms (hence the name), and often with gacha elements. This light novel gives us a world where high school students actually form clubs to develop said games, and at least when it comes to the actual game development aspect, it’s very good. There’s quite a lot of detail on what actually goes into developing such a game and how they can be successful, and the titular club’s struggle to overcome their issues to make a game is likewise a good read and allows for good character development. This novel is also part romantic comedy, and while that aspect is more standard fare, it’s decent enough with a solid rapport between the main leads. Overall I definitely enjoyed this volume a lot, especially the game development part, and will be looking forward to more. ~ stardf29
Our Crappy Social Game Club Is Gonna Make The Most Epic Game Vol. 1 is available from J-Novel Club.
Reincarnated as the Last of My Kind, Vol. 1
Behold, a new entry in the reincarnation-type isekai sub-genre. What distinguishes this slice-of-life story is it’s focus on unconventional family relationships. Marcus the knight came home one day to find his wife had abandoned him, taking their daughter with her and leaving behind divorce papers; soon after, he also loses an arm in battle. In the process of retiring and returning to run his parents’ inn, he comes across the protagonist, a baby girl whom he adopts and calls Tina (short for Tinaris); while Tina’s species is still unclear, one can deduce from the title alone that she’s not human. Then Nakona, Marcus’s estranged daughter by his ex-wife, tracks down her father. The last major character is Lico (short for Licorice), a knight, alchemist, divorcee, and potential mother-figure for Tina and Nakona; her ex-husband abandoned her to marry Marcus’s ex-wife. Along with familial interactions full of challenges, complications, and heartwarming moments, as well as Tina’s efforts to mastery alchemy, there are also indications that a save-the-world plot might be brewing. As an added bonus, the hints that Lico will be a love interest for Marcus give me hope that this story will avoid a certain unsavory pitfall some other single-man-adopts-little-girl stories have wrecked themselves with. I quite enjoyed this volume and look forward to seeing how the story progresses. ~ jeskaiangel
Reincarnated as the Last of My Kind Vol. 1 is published by Cross Infinite World.
Komi Can’t Communicate, Vol. 1
Komi Can’t Communicate is a cute, mostly wholesome series about a girl who can’t communicate. Yea, the premise is literally the title of the series. Upon entering high school, Tadano finds himself drawn to the very quiet Komi who happened to sit next to him. Over a series of chapters, he tries to get the nerve to talk to her only to find out she has a hard time talking to anyone. Her anxiety gets the better of her when she tries to even state her name in front of the class. Through a series of goofy stories, Tadano is trying to help Komi make friends. It is a lot cuter than I expected and a very fast read. I was through the first volume before I knew it with how easy it read. I definitely enjoyed the volume and am interested to see where it goes as Komi tries to make new friends. ~ MDMRN
Komi Can’t Communicate Vol. 1 is available through Viz.
Featured illustration by 和遥キナ (reprinted w/permission)