Spy x Family, Vol. 5
The hilarious hijinks of Japan’s favorite fake family continue apace in Volume 5! Spy Loid “Twilight” Forger, assassin Yor “Thorn Princess” Briar, and mind-reading Anya are joined now by Bond the dog who can see the future—especially what’s for dinner. This can be a real life saver when it comes to Yor’s cooking. This volume focuses mainly on Anya’s school life and her harebrained plots to befriend Damian Desmond in order to help her “Papa” save the world. She’s not too clear on details, but she’s got a whole lot of gumption! Along the way, she accidentally convinces best friend Becky that she has a crush on Damian, meaning that the romantically-minded Becky joins forces with Anya to see her “dream” come true. For his part, Damian has been blushing for a while now around Anya, even adopting her derp faces (which alone are worth the price of entry to this series), though Anya is oblivious. There’s some delightful character development for Master Henry “Elegance” Henderson, and did I mention that Twilight comes face to face with his nemesis? (Or is he a fanboy?) Most shocking of all though, a rival appears in the final chapter, determined to usurp Yor’s place as Twilight’s fake wife. What a cliffhanger! If you’re looking for a blend of fluffy slice of life and dynamic kickassery, with a hint of serious drama, check out Spy x Family. You won’t be disappointed! ~ claire
Spy x Family is published by Viz. It’s also rumored to be getting an anime adaptation (hurrah!).
Kilala Princess – Mulan
I loved the original Kilala Princess manga. There, I said it. It was a cute story about a normal girl from the real world who was able to enter into the domain of Disney Princesses. In so doing, she obtained magical gems to become a princess in another realm. She also finds true love. So, when I heard about a full color side story with Kilala where she meets Mulan, I’m like—YES! Need to read it and review it! And let me tell you—it’s okay. The side story is fluffy, it’s simple, and it gives me more Kilala stories. I still prefer the original series, but for kids who really like Mulan, this provides a cute, full-color volume about Mulan and Kilala saving the day. And, frankly, that’s good enough for me. ~ MDMRN
Kilala Princess – Mulan is published by TOKYOPOP.*
When a Magician’s Pupil Smiles
Imagine a world setting where magic is real, magicians are killing each other and others regularly, and humanity does not know that magic exists. Now, insert into that world an emotionless magician’s apprentice that only knows the depth of actual emotions when he is murdering. This is the dark premise of the manga series, When a Magician’s Pupil Smiles, which follows the titular pupil as he wants to actually feel emotion and meets a human who is forced to (at first) befriend him. Collected in an omnibus edition, the series is three volumes long and features gorgeous art. The characters are interesting and well-written, but the plot becomes rushed by the third act, with implications that the feeling-less pupil is a magical vessel going unexplained, and the tease of a greater magical organization’s involvement never truly explored. I feel like another volume or so would have given the author greater freedom to explore this world setting a bit better and, frankly, may have made it more enjoyable for me. Also, it may have made me appreciate the very intentionally open ending to the series a bit better. ~ MDMRN
When a Magician’s Pupil Smiles (omnibus) is published by Yen Press.*
Drugstore in Another World ~ The Slow Life of a Cheat Pharmacist ~, Vol. 1 (manga)
Reiji immediately recognizes that he’s been isekai’d to another world, and is excited by the opportunity at a better life, even though his ability seem a bit lacking—medicine making? But he soon discovers that this form of magic is exactly what the town needs, from storekeepers to the cute werewolf girl he first heals through a sports drink style medicine. And by the time he gives his own energy drink to an old man repairing his new home, who then goes “Super Carpenter 3,” I just about lost it. Volume one of this light novel adaptation breaks exactly zero new ground and I don’t care one bit. It’s such a light, fluffy, and humorous journey that, especially at a brief 148 pages, I was left feeling dissatisfied in the best of ways; I’d been filled up with warmth and charm, but with the volume over, what am I to do now? I guess I’ll just have to try to tide myself over with Gatorade and energy drinks until volume two rolls around. ~ Twwk
Drugstore in Another World is published by Seven Seas.*
One Week Friends, Vol. 2
One Week Friends continues to be a solid read through the second volume! The story does an excellent job of showing the many sides of friendship. I love Hase’s character, but in the first chapter (chapter 4), he doesn’t make the best of choices. However, that makes him more real, as every individual has experienced that moment of jealously about how much a friend talks about another friend. Did I agree with how Hase handled a certain situation? No, but I loved him all the more for it because I found him to be even more relatable then before. Surprisingly, I also found myself warming up to Shougo in this volume! He’s still very much himself (aka very straightforward and blunt), but the panels demonstrate that he really does care about his friendship with Hase and Fujimiya, and I appreciated that. He can also be funny (in his own unique way) at times. Probably what really made me warm up to him is because I did not like a new character that was introduced. Though I didn’t necessarily agree with Shougo’s response regarding his doubt about people, I definitely was doubting the intentions of this new person, and remain slightly on the fence. Meanwhile, Fujimiya continues to be such a sweet and wholesome character, and I look forward to reading more about her and the rest in the next volume! ~ Laura A. Grace
Laid-back Camp, Vol. 9
The girls’ Izu trip comes to an end, but not before fine (camping) dining with spiny lobster, a (sorta) surprise birthday dinner, and a herd of (hot spring-soaking) capybaras. Volume nine of the heart-warming series matches the final episodes of the second season, which recently finished airing, and balances the largest group yet—all five main characters are joined on the trip by Toba-sensei and Chibiinuko. In truth, the chapters are a bit bloated with so many girls (my only real criticism, along with so much dialogue written on the very inside along the binding that not all of it can be read without damaging the paperback), but Afro still finds room for growing characterization, such as Ena’s sincere dedication to Chikuwa, as well as plenty of laughs like the continued teasing of Chibiinuko, all captured in the mangaka’s signature style which at once captures a nostalgic and outdoorsy feel without losing the utter cuteness of characters. Concluding with the very end of the trip—for it’s not complete until all group members get home—volume nine has me eager to read the next adventures for the outdoor club (and others). ~ Twwk
Laid-back Camp is published by Yen Press.*
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, Seven Seas, and TOKYOPOP for providing review copies.