Forget Being the Villainess, I Want to Be an Adventurer, Vol. 1
At age three, Serephione realizes she’s in one of those reincarnated-as-a-villainess isekai. Amid the stereotypical trappings of such tales (noblewoman engaged to prince, magic school, magically gifted commoner girl), Serephi’s character dies abandoned and rejected by all. Naturally, she wants to change her fate, but it won’t be easy, and this volume introduces some interesting wrinkles to the formula. First, Maribelle (the novel “heroine”) is also someone reincarnated who knows the original story, and she has some kind of plot-correcting power that sways people to follow the novel’s plot. Many of the people around Serephi who were named in the novel are susceptible to this power, and may turn against her and side with Maribelle. I’ve seen plenty of stories where the protagonist tries to change the game / anime / novel plot, but it’s unusual to find them opposed by another character who’s actively trying to enforce the original story. I also really liked how the novel noted the collateral damage caused when Serephi derails part of the plot. She encounters the girl who wound up engaged to the prince in her place, and realizes that by dodging the engagement, she’s inadvertently set up the poor girl for a lot of suffering. I really enjoyed this volume; the premise may be familiar, but it’s implemented well. If you like the reincarnated-as-a-villainess genre, check this one out. ~ jeskaiangel
Forget Being the Villainess, I Want to Be an Adventurer is published by J-Novel Club.
Alice in Bishounen-Land, Vol. 2
While I deeply enjoyed volume one of Alice in Bishounen-Land, I couldn’t quite connect with the rushed feeling of story and some of the characters being “at odds” in comparison to the beginning of the series. Alice continues to try and leave the virtual reality she’s in by having her idol group win in all their performances. In between leveling up for those performances, a summer festival, and an unexpected surprise, there isn’t a quiet or dull moment. As it was previously, this story is quite quirky (if not even more so), but unlike before, I wasn’t pulled into it. I think the turning point for me is when one character out of nowhere used coarse language and what seemed to be a romantic development turned into getting the cold shoulder. Neither were what I expected, nor was the slightly less then hopeful ending for Alice’s friend. However, the series did end well overall. I still laughed at times and really enjoyed the characters, but I found myself bummed that things were wrapped up so quickly and didn’t “deliver” on the romantic aspect like I thought it would. I would still recommend the first volume, though, to those who like quirky stories and otome games! ~ Laura A. Grace
Alice in Bishounen-Land is published by TokyoPop.
Fly Me to the Moon, Vol. 8
Yet another lovely volume of this manga. On their hot spring getaway, Tsukasa’s adoptive grandma Tokiko shows up and relentlessly trolls her and Nasa. The couple navigates the complex issue of a husband and wife taking bath together. Post-vacation, Nasa installs an air conditioner, which in turns leads to the notorious trial of setting the temperature. We also meet another middle school acquaintance of Nasa, Oka Nakiri. The mechanically inclined Nakiri (herself a girl) learns much about “girls” (as if they are some unfamiliar species) through Nasa’s impressions of Tsukasa. And a random girl who doesn’t give her name asks Tsukasa to…pretend to be Kaname and give advice? The main couple is as adorable as usual, while the supporting characters provide a lot of hilarity. The story also brings up various cliché manga hot spring / bath scenarios and skewers them for how they don’t work in real life. I had a great time with this volume. ~ jeskaiangel
Fly Me to the Moon is published by VIZ Media.
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Legendary Edition
I was never one to really get invested in playing the Legend of Zelda games. However, I always loved the lore and world building these games provided. One of the few I played in full was Ocarina of Time. So, this seemed like a perfect manga to jump into for me. The Ocarina of Time manga adaptation, like much of the more recent Zelda adaptations, was created by the female manga duo Akira Himekawa. Their gorgeous art in this two volume series shines, featuring both child Link and adult Link in dynamic battle sequences and fantastic action, and advances the plot well. I’m sure there are those who would have quibbles about what got cut short and what did not, but overall I feel the manga does an excellent job of providing the entire plot of the game. My 12-year-old son also read through this with me and had nothing but praise for the art and pacing of the series. The “Legendary Edition” is a wonderful, single volume collection of the entire series. It features gorgeous, full color pages and the cover looks fantastic on the shelf. I enjoyed this so much that after finishing it, I ordered a copy of the Legendary Edition of the Majora’s Mask adaptation. I never finished the game, but with great manga adaptations such as these, there may be no need to. ~ MDMRN
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is published by Viz Media.
Rosen Blood, Vol. 2
When I read the end of the first volume of Rosen Blood, I was pretty nervous that Stella, the protagonist of the series, was going to be devoured when she proclaimed she would be these men’s food source. While that caused me to have reservations about the manga, I wanted to try the second volume in hopes that she would be okay and to see more “romance” between her and another character. I can say both of my hopes were met in this volume! (At least for the most part.) Volume two centers around Levi’s past, and I found the worldbuilding and concept of how we discover his past (and more about the crystals) fascinating. One thing that has most engaged me about this series is the art and the aforementioned worldbuilding, and I was very happy to see more of that. Granted, while I felt a little thrill at these, it came at Levi’s expense; while I found his backstory very compelling, it was also heartbreaking. He has been my favorite guy (and continues to be) and I truly hope he will have a happy ending. However, one of his “friends” (another gentleman in this mansion) is doing all he can to destroy Levi’s happiness and I absolutely hated it. He’s manipulative and I found it unacceptable how he used Stella as a tool and for his own physical pleasures no less. I say good riddance to him in future volumes! Otherwise I overall really enjoyed this sequel despite it continuing to take me outside of my comfort zone. ~ Laura A. Grace
Rosen Blood is published by VIZ Media.
Star Wars: Tribute to Star Wars
Forty-five illustrations grace the pages of this art book depicting characters and scenes from Star Wars as drawn by mangaka and light novel illustrators. The log of artists that contribute is impressive, and includes the mangaka for Noragami, In/Spectre, BLAME!, House of Five Leaves, Peach Girl, Genshiken, and Chihayafuru, among others. The pieces are as distinctive and contrasting as you’d expect, though there’s certainly an affinity to the original trilogy above the others, and toward Annakin, Darth Maul, Darth Vader, and, surprise surprise from kawaii Japan, the Ewoks. Some of the pieces are breathtaking, incredible works of art. Others, frankly, aren’t very good at all. But the up and down quality almost doesn’t matter (and a editorial mistakes, like a reference to Return of the Jedi as Episode IV rather than VI, can be forgiven), because what’s most surprising about the collection is that each illustration is accompanied by a short testimony of sorts by the artist(s), so many of which truly are Star Wars fans, and through their sometimes heartfelt, sometimes hilarious writings, paired with their works, I felt I went on my own nostalgic journey, shared with these artists from a
galaxy county far, far away. Star Wars: Tribute to Star Wars may not share the quality of other recent art books we’ve reviewed, but it is their equal or better in conveying how a property can spark imagination, and change the entire course of a person’s life. ~ Twwk
Star Wars: Tribute to Star Wars is published by Viz Media.
Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on the Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte, Disc 2
As much as I love some light novels that go on for dozens of volumes, it’s also really nice to read stories that wrap up a bit more quickly, and that’s exactly what this second volume does. The first introduces Endo and Kobayashi, ordinary high school students recording a Let’s Play of a dating sim staring the extremely sympathetic and tragic “villainess” Lieselotte. After discovering that characters within the game are able to hear their commentary and interpret it as the voices of gods, Endo and Kobayashi promptly start fighting for the happy ending Lieselotte deserves. And this volume, just as sweet as it’s predecessor, finishes the story. Charming and silly, this tale has the sort of setting and romantic comedy you’ve seen in other LNs inspired by dating sims. However, having humans in our world interacting with the fantasy world through a game and being perceived as deities makes a fun twist on the formula (it’s a good bit more lighthearted than The NPCs in This Village Sim Game Must Be Real!, which uses a similar plot device). The story featured some twists I didn’t see coming, partly because some of them are so silly. I might even say some parts were a bit “deus ex machina,” except that would be dumb considering actual gods are involved. By the end, I was quite satisfied with how things worked out. If you’re in the mood for a satisfying and sweet completed light novel consisting of a mere two volumes, please consider Endo and Kobayashi Live! I liked it. ~ jeskaiangel
Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on the Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte is published by J-Novel Club.
Anonymous Noise, Vol. 2
I am so thankful for manga recommendations because while I felt a little unsure about starting Anonymous Noise, I am now officially all in with this manga after reading volume two! I feel it’s probably one of the most dramatic series I’ve read, and what I thought was a love triangle originally, really isn’t. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been lots of feelings all around though because this manga excels at doing just that! In between surprise opportunities for Nino, working on growing and becoming a better singer, and facing feelings of longing for a certain someone, there is not a moment where there isn’t something emotional happening. I’m not sure which was the most emotional (I think that last quarter might take the win), but I do know hearing Yuzu’s backstory was a lot sadder then I expected. On the flip side, Momo leaves me…angry? Upset? I think I’m supposed to be fond of his character, but it’s hard to really like him with how much Nino wants to see him and seeing her pain from not being able to. I have been surprised though in how much I like Miou. While her and Nino haven’t become BFFs, I do like how despite things that have taken place, Miou is “supporting” Nino. It was refreshing to see how their “friendship” is not what I anticipated it would be. Overall, this was a really really good volume and I’m very happy I decided to start this series! ~ Laura A. Grace
Anonymous Noise is published by 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.