Bleach: Special One-Shot
Bleach is a polarizing show for many fans, whether bys the way the anime ended in filler episodes or because of the shounen tropes in the manga that don’t always work out. I for one am a fan of the series, so I was excited that a one-shot was released, featured on the Viz main page; I was immediately intrigued ad eager to see how the story continues after the end of the manga. I won’t spoil anything from the final arc of the manga, but if you don’t know how it all ended, then this special will be confusing. The on-shot itself starts off a little slow because of all the silly conversations that this series is known for (though at least we get to see some of the new characters and how they behave). Later on, the chapter introduces a new threat to the Gotei 13 and Ichigo, which is basically hell itself? I thought that Hueco Mundo (hole world in Spanish) was the literal hell of the series, but it seems that this time it’s the real deal. Will they be fighting satan or demons? Will God or the Bible come up somehow in this new arc? I’m not sure, but the way these pages ended, there’s no way they can leave it at just this one special. Perhaps a connection to the returning anime is in store? I want more and hope to read it soon!
Bleach: Special One-Shot is published by Viz.
Love Me, Love Me Not, Vol. 10
I continue to be impressed with Io Sakisaka’s growth as a mangaka, as she pushes this tale into complicated territory while neither losing the charm of her work nor—and this is new for her—crafting stories that become too bogged down in nonsense, storylines and character interaction which begin to feel disingenuous. In volume ten, Sakisaka keeps Akari and Inui from revealing their feelings for one another and placing obstacles in their path which could realistically keep them apart, particularly through Akari’s ex who is a real piece of work and the family difficulties that each are facing. Using the possibility of divorce as an obstacle to relationship seems like it could be asking for trouble, but her maturation as a writer allows Sakisaka to create a complex and pivotal point in life for both these characters which doesn’t feel forced, while indeed feeling worrisome for readers. Real-life angst at work here with issue that could realistically keep Akari and Inui apart—this despite best efforts from Ryo and Yuna. We’re reaching a climax in Love Me, Love Me Not, and it’s every bit as engaging as the rest of the work has been. ~ Twwk
Love Me, Love Me Not is published by Viz.*
The Quintessential Quintuplets, Vol. 13
Have you ever found yourself reading a story when you suddenly come to a very important realization that’s basically in parallel with the main character of the tale? That happened to me as I read through the 13th volume of the fantastic The Quintessential Quintuplets. In this volume of the series, Futaro confesses that he loves all five of the Nakano quintuplets. The entire series saw their relationships grow and change organically. We also saw each of the sisters (and Futaro) grow as individuals in unique ways. Each of them pushing each other and strengthening each other. But now as graduation is looming and they’re all at their final big event of their senior year, Futaro has planned to decide whom he actually loves romantically. Let’s be honest, he does love them all. Yet, when it came down to it in the end there he truly saw at the same moment I did who the best choice was for him romantically. Having that same mental realization at the same time as the main character is just good writing. Really enjoying this series. ~ MDMRN
The Quintessential Quintuplets is published by Kodansha.
The Unwanted Undead Adventurer (Manga), Vol. 1
In the afterword for volume one, the mangaka for The Unwanted Undead Adventure calls the original light novel “a most charming work,” and despite the description—the story of low-ranking adventurer who encounters a dragon which consumes him, and then is reborn as a monster without flesh—he’s quite right. Rentt, the unfortunate hero, is described throughout volume one as being valuable for his intangible skills despite his low adventurer ranking, but his interactions with the other characters, whether its those he knows or those he’s never met previously , indicate that even that is an underestimation. He’s a significant individual in his town, and a wonderfully kind and humble protagonist as well, which feeds heavily into the charm of a narrative that puts far more weight on the goodness of people rather than the specter of townspeople who will want to hunt and kill Rentt for now being a monster. Surely, antagonists, other than the mysterious dragon at the center of Rentt’s transformation, will arrive, but volume one is mostly a page-turning and unexpectedly feel-good account, lovingly and skillfully illustrated (particularly through use of the shadows) and worthy of praise for both the original writer, Yu Okano, and the mangaka, Haiji Nakasone. For those who love fantasy but may be interested in something in something that remains well-crafted without becoming grimdark, this may be the undead adventurer you’re looking for. ~ Twwk
The Unwanted Undead Adventurer manga is published by J-Novel Club.*
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 Viz and J-Novel Club for providing review copies.