Witch Watch, Vol. 1
Adolescent witch Nico is thrilled to move back to the city and start high school, though she’s most excited to be paired with her childhood friend, Morihito (Moi), who just happens to be both an ogre and her new familiar. As the incorrigible Nico starts school life, Morihito must protect her against a prophecy that predicts harm to befall her. Volume one, though, is far more about romcom fun and the gentle give and take between the serious Morihito and Nico, who is one of the funniest, most lovable romantic comedy leads in recent memory. She is really a joy as she schemes in the silliest of ways to draw Morihito nearer her romantically, while frequently fumbling spells which, while always technically working, lead to other sometimes painful outcomes. There’s a strong hint of mystery and action to come as well, though frankly, I’d rather the series just sit in this humorous tone, so I’m a little disappointed to see that the series might incorporate the prophecy elements more strongly. Of course, I’ll wait and see if the action elements will be as strong as the rest, which is very good indeed. ~ Twwk
Witch Watch is published by Viz.
Earthchild, Chapter 1
Earthchild is a brand new series at Shonen Jump so, me being me, I had to check it out. The premise Viz provides is, “An unlikely romance has planet-sized consequences!” With a tagline like that, why wouldn’t I try it?! But it was not what I was expecting at all. The very first chapter feels like a whirlwind, beginning by introducing a mysterious woman who saves Reisuke, and immediately afterward wipes his memory. Yet, something about her persists in his mind. There are a few rounds of mind erasure, but he still remembers her. One things leads to another, and the two begin a relationship, get married, and whoa all this is happening fast! The entire first chapter sets up the world setting and the characters in a blur, but I loved every second of it. And the end of the first chapter was just so incredibly intense. I don’t know what else to say about it that will not spoil it for those curious after my summary above. I was just hooked from the beginning from the art to the characters and am very curious where this series will go next. ~ MDMRN
Earthchild is simul-published at Shonen Jump.
Mine-kun is Asexual
Mine-kun is Asexual is a one-shot doujin from Isaki Uta. Like a different doujin (Leaper) by Isaki Uta that I previously covered, I also really enjoyed this one., too. Mine-kun begins with Mine and Murai having a meal. The latter confesses her love for Mine, while he confesses that he is asexual and could never provide her any form of physical intimacy. Mine is not merely speaking about sexual relations, as is the common assumption with that statement; Mine says he cannot and has no interest in kisses or hugs either in a romantic sense. As long as she can accept that these are his personal boundaries, he is open to them starting an emotional, romantic relationship. The one-shot hits a lot on the idea of emotional intimacy and the individual’s different desires for physical intimacy. It is definitely an interesting read and, as Isaki Uta says in their post-script to the series, reflects a bit of the asexuality of the creator itself. If you are interested in an unexpected romantic story, this may be worth checking out too. ~ MDMRN
Mine-kun is Asexual is published by Irodori Sakura.
Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister, Vol. 1
Foster child Uryu is a serious, studious young man, bent on making it into a prestigious Kyoto medical school, but his studies are interrupted when he goes to live at a shrine where three priestess sisters reside. Even more disruptive is when the skeptical Uryu is told that his payment for the stay and enrollment into a special program of study is that he must marry in to the religious family! Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister doesn’t offer much in the way of anything new—in fact, it feels like an amalgamation of recent popular fare, including The Quintessential Quintuplets, and older material like Love Hina, sharing character types and tone with those series in particular. Yet, original or not, those are a couple of excellent manga to be compared to, and volume one of this series also carries charm and heart that’s necessary to turn a harem story into something special. Whether or not it fulfills its potential is yet to be seen, but small flourishes and surprises in the plot of volume one, as well as a really interesting dynamic between the atheist lead and the religious “lead” girl, suggest a high potential for future volumes to continue the excellence established in the first. If you’re missing The Quintessential Quintuplets, you may want to try out the Amagami Sister—it could very well be that classic’s spiritual successor. ~ Twwk
Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister is published by Kodansha.
Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki, Vol. 6.5
When the previous volumes ends on a cliffhanger, the next volume should naturally be…a side story collection?! That’s more common than frustrated readers would like to admit, but in the case of this series, there may be more than $$$ determining the release of 6.5, and as author Yuki Yaku himself explains in the afterword, there’s intention here. In fact, with the exception of Izumi’s predictable and boring chapter, this side story edition of Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki is a valuable addition to the franchise. With each of the vignettes written from the perspective of one of the girls, they provide insight into the way they think, which is far more detailed and complex than the usual narration lets on. In some cases, that means that readers get to know the motivations and even personalities of the girls far better, as is the case with Kuchiki and Mimimi. And in addition, a number of these stories provide great context as well, often dipping into the past, as with Kuchiki and most notably Hinami, dropping information that I has supposed was purposely being withheld from us, possibly until a later time. By the end of 6.5, however, it’s obvious that these stories will impact how the reader approaches future volumes, with chapter seven especially being a deep dive of note into a character that has had a light shined on her, but still remains largely inaccessible, and the final chapter actually advancing the story (if only by a few minutes). Thus, volume 6.5 is not only a compelling read; it’s a critical one for this engrossing series. ~ Twwk
Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki is published by Yen Press.*
Fullmetal Alchemist: Fullmetal Edition, Vol. 15
The fullmetal editions of this classic manga, priced at about double those of the regular editions, are meant for collectors. They feature a lovely hardcover and high quality pages, including a vellum insert. It’s quite a stunning release, but one that’s certainly worthy of the material. This volume presses us nearer the conclusion of the series and features virtually every important character that’s still alive—Roy and his team continue their rebellion, Edward and Alphonse make critical choices that will divide the team and put each in peril, while the vast supporting cast moves along these various trails toward dangerous enemies. And those villains become all the more frightening in volume 15, which reminds us, sometimes in surprising ways, that the antagonists of Fullmetal Alchemist are part of what makes the series so special. Though precious few characters actually die in the course of the 15 volumes thus far, the danger always feesl real and, further, as if it will consume our favorite protagonists at any time. A thrilling read as always—and in hardcover, all the more special. ~ Twwk
Fullmetal Alchemist: Fullmetal Edition is published by Viz.
Silver Spoon, Vol. 5
As the cultural festival draws near, Hachiken’s life grows more complicated—he adopts yet another young animal, finds himself unable to say “no” to too many classmates, and starts to fall back in to the self-loathing and anxious pattern as middle school when he’s unable to perform jumps on a horse, which ultimately causes him to fight with Mikage. But his conflict with his crush leads to a short trip and another opportunity to grow in knowledge, and to grow as a person. Volume five moves fairly quickly through a lot of interlocking events involving most of the characters in the series as they participate in school activities and prepare for the festival. Because of that, although Hachiken is front and center throughout, two of the other primary character, Mikage and Komaba, are shown in a fuller light, even as their own concerns shadow them. There’s this beautiful dance that happens between Hachiken, who is so earnest and honest with himself, and his friends, who may be more mature in how they see life, but struggle to work through their emotions the way he can. The story continues to build toward their stories in addition to Hachiken’s, offering well-rounded, authentic characters for readers to attach to. Another wonderful volume. ~ Twwk
Silver Spoon 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.
Featured illustration by Aon (reprinted w/permission)