Ascendance of a Bookworm: Part 3, Vol. 4
The newest volume in Miya Kazuki’s Ascendance of a Bookworm series dropped yesterday, and there’s a lot to take in this time around—from printing presses to prancing trees to turbulent politics. As the archduke’s daughter, Rozemyne is finally able to make use the printing press she had made many volumes ago, and with a visit to Illgner on the horizon, the bookworm’s horizons shine brightly. But there are dark clouds looming in the distance. And while I don’t want to spoil any details about the particulars of the book, I will say that I did not expect the stakes to rise so quickly. Still, Kazuki’s talent for illuminating the little things continues to shine. I loved the interactions between Rozemyne and Ferdinand, and I appreciated the trace details about magic; I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of both of those things in Part 4. In any case, expect to rejoice with Rozemyne as her inventions continue to prosper, and to be dragged along with her friends as she ascends to greater heights. ~ sleepminusminus
Ascendance of a Bookworm: Part 3 Vol. 4 is published by J-Novel Club.
In the Land of Leadale, Vol. 2
I felt the first volume of this isekai’d-to-a-world-based-on-a-game story was somewhat underwhelming, but I’m glad I still tried volume two because it was a lot of fun. The highlight of the story is still protagonist Cayna’s family interactions. Back when this world was a game she played on Earth, Cayna had been able to designate certain NPCs as children or other relatives. Mentally and emotionally, Cayna is still an inexperienced seventeen-year-old, but now’s she a centuries-old elf with (so far) real children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (plus a niece). Her struggles to adapt to this reality are entertaining, as are her progeny’s efforts to keep up with their eccentric, overpowered matriarch. Another highlight of this volume is learning that Cayna isn’t the only isekai’d person in this world—there are others (including one from a world other than Earth!). I found this volume a striking improvement on its predecessor, and happily recommend it. I’m eager to see where this lighthearted adventure goes next. ~ JeskaiAngel
In the Land of Leadale (Vol. 2) is published by Yen Press, who provided a review copy.
The Girl Without a Face
This one-shot manga centers on a guy and his noppera-bou girlfriend, a youkai that looks like a human girl, except, well, without a face. The manga is basically just slice-of-life snippets of their days together. It’s 100% fluff, with no real deeper themes or major drama, just the two of them trying to find ways to show their love for each other when one of them can’t use words or facial expressions to do so. Surprisingly enough, despite how the two live together and spend basically half the book clinging to each other, the manga is completely chaste, with nothing even resembling fanservice or a sexual relationship. It’s just a lot of cuddling, hand-holding, some kisses, and a whole lot of diabetes-inducing sweetness. Look elsewhere if you want something actually serious, but sometimes you just want to indulge in some pure cuteness, and in this regard, this manga is sure to put a smile on your face. ~ stardf29
The Girl Without a Face is available from Yen Press, who provided a review copy.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Senpai (Rascal Does Not Dream Vol. 1)
Since *ahem* someone got distracted and kind of didn’t finished reading in time to contribute to the recent LNC discussion of this volume, I figured maybe I could belatedly say something here. If I had to summarize this volume, I’d say it’s The X-Files + Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki: half paranormal mystery and half high school romcom, with a dash of sociology (especially as a related to the dynamics of a Japanese high school classroom). The real highlight of the volume is the banter between the leads, Sakuta and Mai; they have distinct voices and make great foils for each other. As an added bonus, I felt the light novel explained a few points more clearly than the anime adaptation did. The story also has some truly excellent messages, which I’ve highlighted before. Notwithstanding my lamentable failure to finish this volume in time for the Light Novel Club, I quite enjoyed it and intend to continue with the series. ~ JeskaiAngel
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (Rascal Does Not Dream vol. 1) is published by Yen Press.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse, Vol. 1
One of many alternate universe takes on the Evangelion characters, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse opens with Shinji seeing two classmates from NERV Academy (Kaworu Nagisa and Rei Ayanami) chasing after some form of monster in the night. The first volume then follows Shinji as he learns from Kaworu about the creatures known as angels who take on human form by possessing corpses. The angels in this AU are, in effect, vampires. Long story short—Shinji basically joins them to become a vampire hunter with the “Eva” being an internalized weapon that he can summon at will to defend himself against the vampires: Shinji Ikari Vampire Hunter. I’m sure there’s more depth coming in later chapters, but that’s the vibe I get from volume 1. Honestly, it’s not bad. ~ MDMRN
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse, Vol. 1 was published by Dark Horse Comics, but is currently out of print.
My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, As I Expected, Vol. 3 (manga)
What’s most notable as I make my way through the manga adaptation of my favorite light novel and anime series is that the early parts of the story—in all three platforms—march toward a distinctly different direction than where it ultimately ends. The appearance of a typical love story is heavy early on, and is presented particularly well in the manga format. Naomichi Io, the mangaka behind “Comigairu,” finds his strength in adapting and sometimes creating new scenarios that focus on romance and humor. His close-ups of the characters, particularly Yukino and Yui, are stunning—if Hikki’s defenses remain strong against the girls, readers won’t be able to prevent themselves from falling in love. And this particular volume is full of panels highlighting the girls as it focuses on the romcom aspects of the series, rarely falling too far down into Hikki-talk and instead, following him through a quandary that upsets his relationship with Yui and allows him to become more intimate with Yukino. Volume three is a transitionary part of the story, but a lovely one, regardless, both for fans of Oregairu and those who simply love a good romantic comedy.
My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, As I Expected, Vol. 3 is published by Yen Press, which provided a review copy.