Laid-back Camp, Vol. 10
With the recent season long gone and months since volume nine was released, I’ve been suffering from Yuru Camp withdrawal. There’s nothing out there quite like this series, with the sense of peace and fulfillment that it brings (along with plenty of humor). Volume ten, which moves past the point where the second season of the anime finished, is no different. It starts off with a backyard camping excursion at Ena’s house (which means plenty of Chikuwa!) and leads into the new Ooi River arc, which begins by partnering an unexpected duo—Rin and Ayano, Nadeshiko’s childhood friend, who ride their bikes together on the first part of this trip as they await the arrival of their mutual friend, who will first be making a short solo camp. If that storyline sounds a bit of character for Rin and Nadeshiko, it’s not—these “uncharacteristic” endeavors are a symbol of how the girls have grown in the time they’ve known each other and joined with their other friends in camping. The steady growth of the characters in the series is what elevates it into something a bit more thoughtful, even as it never drifts far from a humorous tone (there are plenty of laughs in the volume—I found myself guffawing every few pages). It’s also reflected in drawings of the characters that demonstrate evolving looks, particularly with different hairstyles—a lovely touch that helps readers draw all the nearer to the girls as they grow closer to one another, and a nice surprise, showing that this series isn’t languishing ten volumes in—it continues to get better and better. ~ Twwk
Laid-back Camp is published by Yen Press.*
The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten, Vol. 2
You know those Reddit posts where people try to figure out if their crush actually likes them? Those posts where they list out all the reasons why they think the other person isn’t into them, but it’s painfully obvious to everyone that the other person is, in fact, into them? Have you ever wanted to read the grand novelization of all those posts? Look no further than The Angel Next Door, whose slow-burn romance simmers at the speed of a Crockpot on low. I’m serious: volume two features Amane and Mahiru bridging the immense gap between “we’re not sure if we like each other” to “we like each other but we’re not sure if we want to confess it.” And it’s cute. But it also feels strained, shallow, and a little ridiculous–like Saekisan’s more interested in farming cute interactions than cultivating a tender relationship between the leads. True, there are some things to appreciate here, like Amane’s hesitance to confess because he doesn’t want to gamble what he has with Mahiru, and Miharu’s continual selfless care for Amane. I’ll definitely stick around for the next volumes. But at this point, the food’s been cooking so long that I’m despairing of ever actually enjoying it. ~sleepminusminus
The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten is published by Yen Press.
Uncle from Another World, Vol. 2
Even though the characters and main gags are already known and firmly established, Uncle from Another World masterfully delivers unexpected laughs. In fact, I don’t think there’s a series right now that makes me laugh harder or for longer than this one. Takafumi’s uncle, who in volume one returned after 17 years in a fantasy world (while his body was in a coma here), has found his path in the modern world—as a YouTuber of course, using the magic abilities he returned with to create incredible videos and running through not-quite-expert gameplays of games from his youth. In the meantime, as he shows Takafumi’s childhood friend and his nephew memories of his time in the fantasy world, it’s clearer than ever that in friendship, life, and romance, this isekai’d hero doesn’t have a clue. The setup and art are both understated, and that sets a foundation for detailed explosions, fanservice, and over-the-top gags that sneak up on the reader, delivering a bounty of humor. And the series seems to be gaining steam, building upon with its unique execution and offering a multitude of directions that it can go both in its modern, earth timeline and in continuing to reveal Takafumi’s past interactions with love interests and would-be friends alike. I expect this wonderful blend of hilarity and smart writing to continue in volume three. ~ Twwk
Uncle from Another World is published by Yen Press.*
Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills (The Manga)
Despite my affinity for Chirrut and Baze, the noble and caring men who protect the Kyber Temple on Jedha, and my further love of the movie in which they first made an appearance, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, I find it a peculiar choice that their tale received a novelization, much less this manga version of said book. They’re older characters, better suited to a supporting role than a starring one. However, the fluid and quick-moving adaptation by Jon Tsuei and excellent paneling and illustrations by Subaru changed my view as I read through the story. Chirrut, the blind guardian of the Kyber Temple, and former guardian Baze provide the same strong sense of character they had in the film, the earlier as a peculiar and wise warrior monk and the latter as an passionate and impatient gunner, as they are drawn into the rebellion by way of attempting to save an orphanage from violence and preserve the people of Jedha against the oppression and violence of the Empire. Again, just as with the film, the question of ends justifying the means takes center stage, and here, Chirrut’s philosophy is more fleshed out, providing plenty of food for thought without pushing an answer down readers’ throats. That contemporary theme mixes with a suitably tight story to produce a excellent adaptation for Star Wars fans that continues to extend the galaxy into reaches far away (but compellingly near to home). ~ Twwk
Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills is published by Viz Media.
Carole & Tuesday, Vol. 1
This review is a bit backwards—even though I reviewed volume two of Carole and Tuesday already, volume one arrived at my doorstep recently, and it was a pleasure to get back to Mars and thes titu.ar two girls and their dreams. For those who haven’t had the pleasure to watch the anime, Carole and Tuesday is about the two girls, who meet up in Alba City. Carole plays the piano and Tuesday can write lyrics, and when they meet by chance on a bridge, the duo decides to compose a song. Unfortunately, they have a hard time gaining attention on social media and even finding a gig to play. What keeps the girls going is their hope to play on stage one day like other famous musicians and make music that inspires people. The artwork in the manga is just as beautiful as the anime, even in black and white! Tuesday is ditzy and naïve but encouraging and helpful, while Carole is more street smart and has more life experience, so they both lean on each other’s strengths. I’m a fan of this duo and their journey demonstrating life’s ups and downs—and I think many of you will feel the same. ~ Samuru
Carole & Tuesday, Vol. 1 is published by Yen Press.*
Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga, Vol. 2
Do you love the 1960s Batman series? Did you already read my review of the previous volume? Well, that review still holds true for volume two. In thse chapters, Jiro Kuwata introductions his vision of Clayface as well as a villain named “The Outsider” who is a super-powered, undead version of Alfred. The entire volume is filled with BAM BOOM POW moments that feel like extended versions of the 60s TV series. Yet, they’re simultaneously quite different. The stakes are still at the level of “this will be figured out by the end of the arc and all will be well again.” Yet, the tone is definitely getting darker. One of the stories involves the death of Alfred and his inadvertent resurrection as a character reminiscent of Doc Manhattan from The Watchmen. But despite the darker feel of the stories is this volume, it still captures that same magic and fun that made me keep on reading the original volume. It’s still a lot of fun. ~ MDMRN
Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga is published by DC Comics.
Strobe Edge, Vol. 10
After discussing in some detail my frustrations with Strobe Edge over the last weeks, in volume ten, the story is finally released from Sakisaka’s weaknesses—a plot driven forward by tunnel vision and frustrating inner monologues, as well by contrived events in the story—in this final volume, where the joys of the mangaka’s work rather shine: the lovely-hearted characters and the panels in which drawings move from realism to cuteness, and often from sadness to joy. There’s a lot of that as Ninako and Ren finally talk it out, with striking panels accelerating that doki doki feel of the final chapter. But that’s not all—there are several bonuses in volume ten, including after stories and a side story about Manabu, who is probably the only character in this series I actively disliked, though after spending an entire chapter with him, I came to appreciate him a little more (I’m always a sucker for oddball romantic combinations, which is at the center of his tale). All in all, volume ten is a strong, uplifting ending to a series that was inconsistent, but at its best a lovely work that’s foundational for one of today’s top shoujo mangaka. ~ Twwk
Strobe Edge is published by Viz.
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 for providing review copies.