A Sign of Affection, Vol. 2
Volume one of A Sign of Affection was a manga I had on pre-order a full year before it released, and I instantly hit the preorder button whenever a new volume becomes available. No surprise then that I stopped everything to read volume two when it arrived, and it did not disappoint. It’s every bit as good volume one, and perhaps better. My heart was so giddy and happy when I finished because Yuki is such a brave and courageous woman and was really moved at how she is able to share her feelings so openly. And Itsuomi! He treats her so well, and so respectfully! I am very much appreciating this very sweet, slow burn romance, though I am eager to witness it fully unfold, especially after seeing both these characters open up to one another. Volume two shows more of Yuki’s hope concerning her friendship with Itsuomi, as well as more about Itsuomi’s dream, along with the lingering concern, first voiced by another character, about whether Yuki can fit into it. And just as Yuki feels her time spent with Itusomi is so short, I can’t help but feel the same way. I’m desperate for the third volume because the ending was such a cliffhanger! But not only that—I just love the sweetness of this story and this beautiful romance. I highly recommend this josei series! ~ Laura A. Grace
A Sign of Affection is published by Kodansha Comics.
Stitch and Samurai, Volume 1
Stitch & Samurai asks a very important question: Can the premise of Lilo & Stitch titulor alien crash landing in feudal Japan and being found by an aggressive warlord carry an entire manga series? Turns out, the answer is yes, yes it can. This first volume opens with Lord Yamato preparing to burn an entire village down as a way of spreading his authority. Then he sees something crash into the ground. It’s a rocket, holding Stitch. The “blue racoon,” as Stitch is called, causes Yamato to totally lose focus on the war efforts and instead shift them toward trying to befriend Stitch. It’s ridiculous in the best possible way. Also, the artist approached this work by doing a combination of a more traditional and realistic manga-style artwork for the Japanese cast contrasted with the American cartoon look of Stitch. It works beautifully. The first volume was a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing where this ridiculous concept goes next. ~ MDMRN
Stitch & Samurai is published by TOKYOPOP.*
Rascal Does Not Dream of Petite Devil Kohai (Rascal Series, Vol. 2)
Despite its focus shifting from “bunny girl senpai” to “petite devil kohai,” and thus severely lacking in the rapid fire exchange between Sakuta and Mai that made volume one so much fun, Rascal Does Not Dream of Petite Devil Kohai is a vast improvement on its predecessor. Author Hajime Kamoshida’s habit of not letting the story unfold in a natural way, but forcing it to go where he wants and then quickly trying to explain the rational when certain situations don’t add up, returns but in far fewer instances. Although the plot seems as complex as that in volume one—Sakuta and Tomoe, the kohai with whom he exchanged butt kicks in volume one, are trapped in a time loop in which they pretend to be a dating couple to avoid the latter being ostracized by her friends—there are actually far fewer complications with this sci-fi device and thus a smoother plot overall. Buffeted by the endearing personalities of the central “couple,” as well as final chapters that take the story in an interesting and unexpected direction, Petite Devil Kohai is a triumph, an entry that is compelling from start to finish and, after the inconsistencies of Bunny Girl Senpai, an encouraging sign for the future of the series. ~ Twwk
Rascal Does Not Dream of Petite Devil Kohai is published by Yen Press.*
Springtime by the Window, Vol. 1
Volume one of Springtime by the Window is nothing but warm, fuzzy feelings—namely, the lovey dovey kind. Cool and popular Yamada is in love with his childhood friend, Seno, while Yamada’s friends, Akama and Toda, appear to have feelings for one another as well. Originally posted as tweets by the artist, the volume has a social media or webcomic feel to it, featuring short chapters with miniature payoffs as they depict school life and place the would-be couples in situations that push them nearer and nearer to admitting their feelings. I do think this series would probably best be enjoyed in such short bursts, but I admit, I found myself reading quickly through the volume, like an elementary-aged child tearing through an entire bag of candy, making a meal on food that’s quite lacking in nutritional value, which in manga terms, comes across somewhat in story but more profoundly in the almost-novice and inconsistent art. But also like said kid, I was too hopped up on the sweetness to really care. ~ Twwk
Springtime by the Window is published by Tokyopop.*
Boys Run the Riot, Vol. 1
Based purely on the concept of the openly transgender mangaka Keito Gaku developing a manga featuring a transgender and LBGTQ+ lead discovering his voice while entering the world of street fashion, Boys Run the Riot would demand attention. But this series isn’t satisfied with staying within the confines of that premise, as complex as that lane by itself would be. Instead, Gaku is weaving a tale of young character who are trying to find out and be comfortable with who they are, despite the sacrifice and cost that comes with doing so, as represented in this volume through Ryo, who is facing gender dysphoria while being surrounded by fellow students and teachers who, whether entirely real or imagined, don’t care about his struggles; Jin, the transfer student, held a year back and seen as a delinquent, and who finds a kindred soul in Ryo as one who shares his eye for fashion, quickly enlisting him as a partner in starting a brand; and most surprisingly, several others in more subtle situations who are likewise trying to find their own way in an unforgiving world. What results is a powerful and human look at the complications for those working through issues of gender identity and a host of other identifying traits about themselves in a cultures that impresses normalcy on them, and how they learn to fight back by being themselves. This is a moving and significant work. ~ Twwk
Boys Run the Riot is published by Kodansha.*
The Treasure of the King and the Cat
The Treasure of the King and the Cat is a TokyoPop collection of two stories (and a set of small postlude vignettes) about the half-elf wizard O’Feuille and Prince Volks, the twin brother of King Castio, saving various people. The first story revolves around a young boy whose mother is ill while also conducting some world building about the inherent magical nature of half-elves in this world setting. The second leads more into the main plot about people disappearing and cats turning up all around town. This is advertised as a Boys Love (BL) manga as there’s heavy homosexual overtones, though everything is winked and nodded at with no actual relationships developing. Volks’ huge crush on O’Feuille is played up a lot with the king and his humble servant implied a lot as well, but again, no development beyond that, There’s a kingdom of missing people to deal with, after all! As you can tell, the story is silly and simple, a read without much distinction, but it does make one think about the nature of what it is you genuinely treasure. ~ MDMRN
The Treasure of the King and the Cat is published by TOKYOPOP.*
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, TOKYOPOP and Kodansha for providing review copies.