The Walking Cat: A Cat’s-Eye-View of the Zombie Apocalypse, Vol. 1
I didn’t really used to get into zombie stories. However, the idea of a zombie story told from the perspective of a cat trying to survive the apocalypse definitely piqued my interest. Seven Seas published The Walking Cat as a single volume omnibus containing all three volumes of the original series. After finishing volume one, I have to say that I am glad I picked this up. Yes, this is not for the squeamish as it absolutely is graphically violent at times as the first volume follows Yuki, the titular cat, and an unnamed human male who is looking for his wife. They survive together as we see Yuki interacting with other cats as well as other people as the man seeks both his wife and a potential safe space island that the zombies have been unable to reach. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that there were so many unique and bittersweet moments in the first volume. I would definitely recommend this for those who like zombie stories, can handle some graphic violence, and are looking for manga that tell are told from a different perspective. ~ MDMRN
The Walking Cat: A Cat’s Eye-View of the Zombie Apocalypse is published Seven Seas.
Shuriken and Pleats, Vol. 1
A modern-day ninja traveling to Japan to honor the last request of her killed master? Mangaka Matsuri Hino, you have my attention! Shuriken and Pleats has been a title I’ve wanted to read for years. It wasn’t until I went to the bookstore and saw the first volume on the shelf that I decided to start reading it, and wow, it has been worth the wait! Main character, Mikage, is a different shoujo heroine compared to what I’m use to reading; she’s calm, cool, collected, and doesn’t have an actual romantic interest. That in itself was quite an interesting premise, but I definitely also loved the action and the way the art really amplified the sense of movement as Mikage practices the way of the ninja. There was an underlying thread of intrigue and danger that brought about seeing more internal dialogue in the protagonist then I am use to seeing in manga overall. I found the story to be a lot of fun to read and one that I definitely wouldn’t mind reading again! There is something very cool seeing this young woman trying to experience the life of a “normal girl,” but also having to still be a ninja due to certain situations she unexpectedly finds herself in. It definitely made for a good fast-paced shojo manga! Highly recommend! ~ Laura A. Grace
Shuriken and Pleats is published VIZ Media.
Love After World Domination, Vol. 1
We typically cover series that are just getting English releases after having long been out in Japan, but Love After World Domination bucks that trend. Serialized in late 2019, this series not only received an English adaptation after just a few volumes of release in Japan, but it’s also already getting an anime adaptation next year. So what’s all the excitement about? Well, think cute superheroes, a la My Hero Academia (though more in a team sentai-style), with a much heavier focus on kawaii dating relationships than on the action. Desumi is a villain representing the evil Gekko team, while Fudo is a hero among the Gelato Five. But despite their opposing sides, the two fall in love. What takes place is a pretty usual dating series as the two talk about holding hands and figure out what a date is all about, though in the world of opposing superheroes and supervillains, finding time to get away for such an occasion must happen during a battle in amusement park, for instance, while the pair try to hide their relationship from team members. Those who enjoy cute dating series or else would like more romantic developments in MHA will get a kick out of Love After World Domination. There are some fanservice that feel out of place in this otherwise family friendly excursion, but it’s otherwise a win, full of kawaii moments and other that had me chuckling. Also, it has cliffhanger ending, a nice touch for this neat little entry into both the worlds of manga romcom and superheroes. ~ Twwk
Love After World Domination is published by Kodansha.*
Doing His Best to Confess, Vol. 1
Be still my heart! I am always on the lookout for sweet and wholesome shojo romances, and Kodansha has delivered with this release out a week from today! Doing His Best to Confess is a new digital manga about a young man, Natsuaki, who is handsome and popular with the ladies because of his aloofness. However, his friends know the real deal in that he’s just shy and stuck in his own thoughts! Though Natsuaki may be both, he’s hoping to work up the courage to confess to his longtime crush, Nashida. I have to admit that I am not the best at keeping up with digital manga titles, but I am reallyyyy wanting to stick with this one because it was so precious and heart-warming! I found myself giggling and smiling through this whole volume because Natsuaki is absolutely adorable! The situations he finds himself in and the way he really is trying his best to confess makes for such an enjoyable story that leaves my heart floating. Plus, the art is gorgeous! It really brings cute vibes while being beautiful in a very realistic way! Though of course there is some good comedy thrown in that makes the story even more delightful. Warning though! That ending was quite the cliffhanger; I’m already desperate and checking Amazon for when I can get my hands on volume two! Highly recommend this story! ~ Laura A. Grace
Doing His Best to Confess is published by Kodansha and is available for pre-order now (releases Oct. 19th)*
Her Majesty’s Swarm, Vol. 1
Far more than the typical opening volume of a light novel series, Her Majesty’s Swarm is a challenge to evaluate. Virtually no time is spent developing the protagonist and world-building gets little attention as well, both by design in this story of an 18-year-old who awakes to find herself Queen of the Arachnea, a group of insect-like creatures who only seek “victory” and would fall on the “chaotic evil” end of the scale, in a world that resembles a game she once mastered. If anything, reviewed in a bubble without much knowledge of where the series is heading thematically (though a short chapter near the end, which introduces a little more about the concepts of this world, gives some hints), volume one seems to be about the terror of humanity at its worst, the monsters we turn into—both from a “collective” standpoint of an army or nation that would commit genocide and by opposing forces who have severe faults of their own and would also murder those they hold in contempt. If read as such, Her Majesty’s Swarm is mightily effective—it’s a violent, non-stop work that may make the reader queasy with its voluminous description of torture and death, though even with its vivid descriptions of complete war, including bisections and disemboweling, there are times when the author holds back while still permeating the work with a tone of horror. With what must certainly be influences from WWI, WWII, genocides from the Holocaust to more moderns ones, and earlier conflicts as well, Her Majesty’s Swarm gives considerable food for thought, if the reader can make it through all the bloodshed, massacres, and “meatballs.” ~ Twwk
Love Me, Love Me Not is published by J-Novel Club.*
Yu Yu Hakusho, Vol. 1
I’m not a huge fan of “spiritual” stories in the way the manga series Yu Yu Hakusho is, but I needed/wanted to read volume one as part of a video collaboration I’m doing on my personal Youtube channel. I was pretty caught off guard by how much I enjoyed the opening volume! Yusuke is quite the character! We see his very early death of pushing a young child out of the way of a speeding car and then following his amusing adventures in the afterlife as a “ghost” who helps those alive (and even other ghosts like himself occasionally). What’s in store for this delinquent as he tries to achieve a second chance at life if he passes “the test”? I’m not quite sure, but when this volume ended, I was thoroughly disappointed I didn’t have the other volumes on hand! Yusuke is a pretty hardcore delinquent and I confess I wasn’t super fond of him in the beginning because of that, but after he died (sounds weird to say this), I liked him better. He is extremely loyal and while he may be the “bad boy,” he also has a caring heart. Granted, the way that “caring heart” comes out in situations was pretty hilarious at times! It was also sweet in its own unique way. I already requested the new few volumes from my local library and looking forward to seeing what wild antic Yusuke will do next! This series has been a fun one so far! ~ Laura A. Grace
Yu Yu Hakusho is published VIZ Media.
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 Kodansha and J-Novel Club for providing review copies. Featured illustration by 霧月 (reprinted w/permission).