Reader’s Corner: Zom 100, Medalist, and the Way of the Househusband, Vol. 5

The Way of the Househusband, Vol. 5

Tatsu’s former life as the “Immortal Dragon,” a legendary yakuza enforcer, has prepared him well to be a househusband, but is he finally in over his head at the..buffet line? Getting schooled by some downright mean-looking middle-aged ladies in the rush for dessert is one of many highlights in volume five of The Way of the Househusband, which still doesn’t miss a beat in its fish out of water humor—and by beat, I of course mean beatboxing and rapping, as in the bonus manga at the end where an AU version of Tatsu goes on a talk show to promote his new record, “Beef.” Also, I should mention that “the crow did nothing wrong.” You’re going to have read volume five if you want to get that reference. Trust me, it’s worth it—everything in this manga is worth it. ~ Twwk

The Way of the Househusband is published by Viz.*

Hana-chan and the Shape of the World

After reading Hana-chan and the Shape of the World, I still don’t know exactly how I feel about it. It’s a series of short stories that are in no particular chronological order about the titular Hana-chan. The one volume release illustrates stories of the young child playing with her friends and goes on adventures throughout town. Some of the stories are “real,” while others are clearly fictionally embellished by Hana-chan and her friends’ imaginations. The blurry line between reality and fantasy is what makes the series captivating. The art style is very cartoonish, expressive, and outrageous, which is helps it all work. So, maybe I do know how I feel about it after all—and maybe I’ll read it again. ~ MDMRN

Hana-chan and the Shape of the World is published by Yen Press.*

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, Vol. 2

Volume one of Zom 100 featured Akira breaking free from the constraints of society via zombie apocalypse (natch) and completing a few items on his newly-formed bucket list—but there’s far more to check off (not nearly 100, but he’ll get there) in this irreverent take on the zombie apocalypse that’s both quite funny and brimming with kinetic energy. It’s oddly inspiring, too, with Akira facing his years of downward spiral with lines like, “I’d rather be eaten by a zombie than let this opportunity pass me by!” While by no means a philosophically-minded series—the tone is extreme, bouncing between heavy fanservice, graphic gore, and cheeky humor, sometimes all on the same page—it’s a good mix of a western approach to zomcoms, now that that’s almost its own genre, and the shonen conventions that manga fans adore. And if that weren’t enough to get your attention, three words: walking zombie shark. Still not doing it? How about…zombie blowfish? ~ Twwk

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is published by Viz.*

Sasaki and Miyano, Vol. 2

Continuing along the lines of volume 1, the second volume of Sasaki and Miyano continues to be…well, cute. Miyano is still into Boys Love (BL) manga and is enjoying sharing his enjoyment with Sasaki. However, Sasaki has decided to be a bit more open about the fact that he has a crush on Miyano. It’s all in hints and winks and nods, but it is very clear that he is attracted to Miyano and thinks of him in a romantic sense. The entire volume continues the story as Miyano grapples with his own feelings. Honestly, he doesn’t know how he feels as he has always assumed he was heterosexual. It is still a cute, slow burn romance, but it’s also forcing characters to rethink their own preconceived notions both about others and themselves. I appreciate that. ~ MDMRN

Sasaki and Miyano, Volume 2 is published by Yen Press.*

Medalist, Vol. 1

Do you remember the scene in Ratatouille where the food critic takes a bite of the titular dish and is taken back to his childhood in a rush of warm, nostalgic memories that he had long left behind? That what was it was like for me to read volume one of Medalist, about a failed ice dancer, Tsukasa, who takes on a too-old beginner ice skater, Inori, as a student, except that I was reminded of Yakitate!! Japan, a manga that solidified my love of the medium. Like that series, this one is full of heart and optimism, starting with its main characters, both the wears-his-heart-on-his sleeves Tsukasa and the 5th-grader Inori, who is so beat up by life and world that every little success makes you want to yell in triumph for her. And also like the classic manga, we get insight into the world at the heart of this series, with the lessons in ice skating helping to pain the world rather than feeling too instructional of mechanical. What a charming start! It’s certainly seems that Kodansha has a winner here. ~ Twwk

Medalist is published by Kodansha.*

Girlfriend, Girlfriend, Vol. 1

Naoya’s new girlfriend is Saki, the beatiful girl he’s been pining for his whole. But just as this one relationship begins, the cute and almost-perfect Nagisa confesses to him as well! So what’s a boy to do? How about ask the girls if he can date both of them? And so, Naoya does. The mangaka, obviously, has to tread careful ground here, lest he make Naoya seem overly selfish and gross, so he imbues the MC with characteristics like a strong sense of honesty and innocence, while also developing the girls’ characters in ways that attempt to make it seem reasonable that they would accept Naoya’s request without seeming subservient and unrealistic. But despite characters drawn in a relatively cute style, a humorous approach, and the aforementioned attempts at walking a fine line—and perhaps precisely because of it—the story comes across as gross and basically a boy’s fantasy. Scenes move by very quickly so as not to linger on Naoya’s polyamorous requests (which include a threesome when he hasn’t even yet kissed Nagisa), almost as if the mangaka is saying, “I’m sorry for this series. I really am. But if we speed through it, it’s like pulling off a band-aid. It won’t hurt too bad.” I’m sorry to report, though, that it does. ~ Twwk

Girlfriend, Girlfriend is published by Kodansha.

Reader’s Corner is our way of embracing the wonderful world of manga, light novels, and visual novels, creative works intimately related to anime but with a magic all their own. Each week, our writers provide their thoughts on the works their reading—both those recently released as we keep you informed of newly published works and older titles that you might find as magical (or in some cases, reprehensible) as we do.

*Thank you to Yen Press, Viz Media, and Kodansha for providing review copies.

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