I’ll Never Set Foot in That House Again! Vol. 2
While I really liked the first volume of this series, the second definitely falls off a bit. Part of this is simply because, now that the storyline of Chelsea mentally overcoming her abusive upbringing and getting justice against her abusers has concluded, the narrative has lost its most compelling element. Instead, it moves on toward the secondary storyline of Chelsea’s seed-creation ability and purifying miasma, which is fine for a light read but not particularly engaging otherwise. And then there’s the major elephant in the room: the romance between the 12-year-old Chelsea and the 18-year-old Glen. It was mostly kept one-sided on Chelsea’s part in the first volume, so it wasn’t too bad there, but here there are developments that will definitely make some readers uncomfortable. It may be accurate to the setting and at least things are kept very chaste on the physical end, but it’s definitely something I have to warn about. The volume isn’t all bad, as there are plenty of fun moments, especially as it’s confirmed that Glen and one other character were in fact isekai-reincarnated from our world, and it’s a pleasant enough read otherwise that I don’t mind continuing as long as the story is very careful with its central relationship. ~ stardf29
I’ll Never Set Foot in That House Again! is available from J-Novel Club.
Mermaid in the Bottle
Mermaid in the Bottle is a one-shot doujinshi (independently produced and distributed and/or self-published work) that has been translated and brought to the US digitally by Irodori Lite. The story begins with two siblings who work for their mother’s cosmetics company. While going through merchandise, they discover a single bottle containing a live mermaid. A teeny, tiny mermaid to be precise. Uta Isaki’s tale follows Takeru and his sister as they dig into their relationship after their parent’s divorce, issues with the company, and how to take care of this tiny mermaid. With such a short, self-contained story, this one-shot dives into certain topics deeply and conclusively. Without being bound by longer-form narrative requirements, Mermaid in the Bottle is able to speak to how parents can treat siblings differently and how that impacts them into adulthood in a compelling manner. If you’re looking to take a dive into the wide world of doujinshi, this is definitely a worthwhile read. ~ MDMRN
Mermaid in the Bottle is available through Irodori Lite.
A Sign of Affection, Vol. 1
In the wrong hands, a manga featuring a deaf protagonist could come across as exploitative and a cheap imitation of A Silent Voice. However, volume one of A Sing of Affection shows the care and sensitivity that the manga team of suu Morishita take toward the subject, as well as their talent and adeptness at shoujo manga, as they develop a lovely main character, Yuki, who is easy to root for as she starts to take an interest—perhaps romantically—in the adventurous polyglot, Itsuomi, and create a sense of romance by portraying the complexities of relationship, which in this case means a communications barrier in addition to love rivals and other traditional shoujo fare. All that lends itself to a wondrous opening that has me excited to continue the tale. Note: We have additional thoughts on this volume through our anime and disability Twitter account. ~ Twwk
A Sign of Affection, Vol. 1 is available through Kodansha.
Sword Art Online: Project Alicization, Vol. 1 (manga)
I don’t follow many isekai series. I’ve even found Sword Art Online, a memorable one for me, to be uneven and at worse, unenjoyable. However, I may once again pick that anime up after volume 1 of the Sword Art Online: Project Alicization manga, which has this arc off to an intriguing start. Kirito and Asuna are more mature now than in previous incarnations, and the storyline is thrilling, wi th Kirito is trying out a new game where he and two friends go on an adventure that ends up with one of the friends in grave peril. After leaving the game, he can’t seem to remember what happened, leading Kirito to discuss the potential technological advances this experience can have on people (an interesting development that may lead me to writing a longer piece sometime in the future). The end of the volume is also exciting, leaving readers at a cliffhanger featuring a real life enemy who wants to end Kirito’s life. The artwork is full of detail, and the story, as mentioned above, is engaging and involving. Definitely check this one out if you enjoyed SAO—or even if you didn’t. ~ Samuru
Sword Art Online: Project Alicization is available via Yen Press.
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas
From the prologue of this beloved story, the reader is aware that a death is coming—what we’re left with is the in-between, how the days leading up to it will impact the narrator of I Want to Eat Your Pancreas, a lonely, friendless soul who is swept up into the life of the excitable Sakura, who befriends him during her last year of life. Despite frequent allusions to reading and classic literature, the story is a simple one, which pulls the reader into the story quickly and easily, but at times is off-putting. At it’s worse, it’s hard to connect with the narrator, whose lack of self-awareness is a bit too difficult to relate to or believe in, and comes off rather as simple immaturity rather than a significant obstacles to climb during the course of this novel, perhaps softening an otherwise impactful ending. Still, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas concludes fiercely, not pulling but wrenching at the heartstrings, while reminding that imperfect relationships, like flawed writing, can still make authentic connections that are worth the challenges in getting through. ~ Twwk
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is available through Seven Seas.
Review copies provided by Seven Seas and Kodansha. And as mentioned above, we encourage you to follow our anime and disability Twitter account—our threaded tweet about A Sign of Affection is linked below.
Volume One of "A Sign Of Affection", a new shoujo manga by @KodanshaUSA is out now!! It's a really sweet story about a deaf girl named Yuki and her blossoming feelings for a boy named Itsuomi, who she meets at college.
Here are some of my thoughts about it:
— Beneath the Tangles (Disability Ministry) (@bttdisability) February 23, 2021